5 Career Lessons From The Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for HBO. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, the first of which is A Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones has attracted record viewership on HBO and has a broad, active, international fan base. It has been acclaimed by critics, particularly for its acting, complex characters, story, scope, and production values. However, what a lot of people do not see is the career lessons you can learn from some of the exceptional characters in this fictional show.

The show’s rich character back stories are some of the best writing you’re ever going to see and it is this richness that builds up their character arches in such a way that some of their core values are so motivational. There are some career lessons we believe you can learn from The Game of Thrones Characters:

  1. Yesterday’s wars don’t matter anymore (Jon Snow):

Too many of us allow the past to control us. Failures and Successes of the past are simply that; in the past.

Jon Snow spent the first seventeen years of his life being raised in Winterfell as Lord Eddard’s illegitimate son, alongside his true born children and his wife. I don’t think there’s any need to explain how complex his childhood would have been. Yet he would go on to fight to protect a woman that couldn’t love a motherless child.

He was a member and leader of the night’s watch; a brotherhood of soldiers who for the most part fought a race of people known as the wilding. But when they were faced with a greater evil, he granted them safe passage into his home. And when they were called upon, they joined his forces to reclaim his homeland.

As a bastard, acceptance and a need for recognition would have been paramount and one can only imagine the level of validation he received when people who once only saw him as an afterthought named him their king, the “King in the North”. But when faced with the decision of keeping his crown or gaining an alliance to defeat a threat, he dropped his crown to save his people.

As you can imagine they didn’t take it very well. But in his own words:

“You all crowned me your King. I never wanted it. I never asked for it. But I accepted it because the North is my home! It’s part of me, and I will never stop fighting for it, no matter the odds! But I was given a choice to keep my crown or protect the North. I choose the North!”

He has a capacity for forgiveness that is almost biblical and his loyalty is borderline naive.

Bottom line is, if you can focus on what lies in front of you and leave the past where it belongs you will always make better career decisions.

  1. Believe in Yourself (Daenerys Targaryen):

Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen “the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains” Is now one of the most powerful characters in the show but a few years ago she was simply the younger sister of a want-to-be king who sold her to a savage king to acquire an army.

In her own words to Jon Snow;

“I spent my life in foreign lands. So many men have tried to kill me, I don’t remember all their names. I have been sold like a broodmare. I’ve been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing through all those years in exile? Faith. Not in any gods. Not in myths and legends. But in myself,In Daenerys Targaryen. The world hadn’t seen a dragon in centuries until my children were born. The Dothraki hadn’t crossed the sea. Any sea. They did for me. I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms, and I will.”

No matter how much people praise you or shame you, in the end, your destiny is in your own hands. Take charge and never let anyone stop you.

  1. Knowledge is Power (Lord Varys):

Lord Varys was born as a slave in a slave city far away from the modern world. As a child, he was sold to a sorcerer who used him for magic rituals. He was emasculated (cutting off his privates, “Root and Stem” as Daenerys would say) and thrown out to the streets to die.

For a lot of people, this would be the end. But not Lord Varys, He did whatever he had to do to survive. He grew his intellect and adopted a thirst for knowledge and the acquisition thereof. That is what keeps him relevant; a fact he is well aware of:

“Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, but I keep on paddling”

“Power is a curious thing, my lord… Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. And, a very small man can cast a very large shadow”

Lord Varys is currently an Advisor to a Queen he plotted to kill as a baby. How was this accomplished? It’s simple he remains relevant. Cersei Lannister famously told Littlefinger “Power is Power”, Lord Varys continues to prove that knowledge is the greatest currency in the world.

  1. Know your strengths and play to them, (Lord Tyrion Lannister):

Few fictional characters have a capacity for leveraging on their strengths in the face of so much weakness more than Lord Tyrion Lannister.

Lord Tyrion Lannister is the youngest child of Lord Tywin Lannister and younger brother of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. As a dwarf, he uses his wit and intellect to overcome the prejudice he faces. “You are an ill-made, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning. Men’s laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors since I cannot prove that you are not mine. And to teach me humility, the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion that was my father’s sigil and his fathers before him. But neither gods nor men will ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.”

That is what his own father told him when he asked for his inheritance. Since that statement was made, he has been sold into slavery, defeated men in single-combat and become Hand of the Queen [Equivalent to The Prime Minister in today’s world] and is considered by most people as the greatest mind in the Seven Kingdoms.

  1. Don’t be intimidated (Lady Lyanna Mormont):

This Ten-year old girl is what it means to be bold and brave. She never allows anyone to tell her what she can and cannot do. She is never intimidated as long as she is in the right but yet knows when to concede defeat.

When told that there’s no need to train girls to fight:

“I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me. I might be small, Lord Glover, and I might be a girl, but I am every bit as much a Northerner as you.”

“And I don’t need your permission to defend the North. We’ll begin training every man, woman, boy and girl on Bear Island.”

Her response says it all. Be bold Be brave and Stand Up for what you believe. Do this and your career is sure to be successful.

Every day people make us nervous, it’s normal. From bosses to love interests. It is natural to feel intimidated sometimes. And this is often by people we look up to or don’t even know at all but seem cool. We harbor the feeling that we are not good enough, or smart enough, or interesting enough.

The good news is, It’s you, and it’s not them. The fear of others is generated within us, not by the person in question. Realizing this helps you stop being so hard on yourself and letting go of the fear becomes easier.