Game of Thrones Philosophy Breakdown: S7E3 “The Queen’s Justice” – Power, Faith vs. Skepticism, and Restorative vs. Punitive Justice

*SPOILER ALERT FOR GAME OF THRONES, OBVIOUSLY. Don’t listen to this if you haven’t watched the show!*

I feel like the only real way to honor this episode is to keep the introductions short.

This is Game of Thrones Philosophy Breakdown. It’s episode 3.

In this breakdown of “The Queen’s Justice,” my man Ryan Ferguson and I get together LIVE AND IN PERSON to record our thoughts on the ethics of Olenna’s revenge, the ethics of Cersei’s revenge, and wow, there’s a lot of revenge going on this season, isn’t there? We also dig into some really interesting ideas in the realm of political and legal ethics that are just as practical in our world as in Dragon-Direwolf-Incest Land (my pet name for Westeros):

  • What justifies faith in someone’s testimony? What does skepticism look like in Westerosi culture? And what can myths teach us – even when they’re not strictly true? – Daenarys and Jon 
  • Is asking “who is innocent/guilty” the wrong question? Why restorative justice instead of punitive justice? How would restorative justice work in the world of Westeros? When does restoration + making the right decision become impossible? And what are the philosophical limits of justice? – Cersei and Ellaria Sand 
  • How does political power shape a culture and its ethics? Is the pursuit of power ethically responsible for parents? And to what extent is political power truly based on the will of the people? What role does memory play in preventing the immoral use of power? – Cersei, Jaime, Euron, and Westeros
  • What is the right way to respond to the suffering of your enemies? Is vengeance really a good way to go? And what effect does keeping secrets and revealing secrets have on the human psyche? – Jaime and Olenna

Ready to dig in? Download episode three from iTunes or your favorite podcast app. 

You can also listen to this episode (and others!) in the in-browser player below. Want to chime in with your thoughts? Comment on this blog! I’m sure we haven’t said anything controversial AT ALL.

NSFW WARNING: These episodes contain language and themes not appropriate for children and probably not safe for work or your grandmother. In no circumstance should these be heard by the delicate ears of Prince Tommen.

DISCLAIMERS: Despite all evidence to the contrary in this show, I am not a professional philosopher, doctor, climatologist, maester, brother of the Night’s Watch, or financial advisor.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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