Game of Thrones Philosophy Breakdown: S7E4 “The Spoils of War” – Representation, Omniscience, and Weapons of Mass Destruction

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

Should Jon Snow bend the knee to Daenarys Targaryen? Is it moral to use weapons of mass destruction – like dragons – in warfare? And would omniscience really make you creepy and weird (looking at you, Bran)?

Ser Ryan of House Ferguson and I came together for another in-person recording of Game of Thrones Philosophy Breakdown to discuss all of the ethical dilemmas of Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 4: “The Spoils of War.” This episode of the show was literally on fire, and we were burning up to bring you this next installment, so get lit. (Yay, dragonfire analogies!)

  • What are the ethics of consent within political representation? Is it possible for an elected person to truly represent the will and rights of someone else?  Daenarys Targaryen and Jon Snow
  • Is it possible to be both absolutely powerful and good? Are Daenarys’s soldiers really following her voluntarily? – Daenarys Targaryen and her followers
  • Why does our opinion of a person’s character and guilt change over time and space? How do we rightly judge a person’s character with those changes? – Jon Snow and Theon Greyjoy 
  • Is chaos a ladder? How does the relationship between chaos and order shape our world? What is the right relationship to chaos and order? – Bran Stark and Petyr Baelish 
  • What effect would omniscience and/or reincarnation have on a human being? – Bran Stark 
  • Why is living memory important? What role does it play in the ethics of a society? – Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, and Ned Stark(‘s Tomb)
  • How do we determine the “right side” in a war or conflict? Do good and evil exist? What does the moral complexity of George R.R. Martin’s characters teach us about morality?  – Lannisters and Targaryens 
  • Is it ever ethically appropriate to use weapons with mass destructive capability? Is it immoral to have or use dragons, period? – The Field of Fire, Part Deux
  • What is the value of watching violent movies/TV shows? – GAME OF THRONES IN GENERAL

Ready to dig in? Download episode four 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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