Game of Thrones and Religious Rationalities
Alyssa Rosenberg makes a smart observation about A Song of Ice and Fire:
In fact, the whole series is really about what happens when you try to assert purely rational governance in a world where fairy tales and Gods reach out into the world and muck up your affairs. It’s one thing to play the Game of Thrones when the rules are stable and the motivations of the actors you’re dealing with are predictable. It’s quite another when dead men walk, dragons return from extinction, and even humans are governed by things other than pure self-interest.
Indeed. I’m particularly curious to see how Petyr Baelish, who’s shown devilishly superior prowess as a player so far, fares as mysterious, unpredictable powers and their otherworldly rationalities advance upon the board. Baelish has succeeded thus far by subtly and secretly putting others in positions where he knows how they’ll act, but the influences of the Others and the fires of the red god R’hllor may be more than he can handle. We’ll see.
To win, whatever winning means for him, he’ll need to understand these and other mythical forces and wisely interpret how they may reshape the game board and influence the actions of those, major and minor, who play the game of thrones. If his plans and strategies leave no room for religious ruptures, he’ll be in for a world of pain.
There’s a song the players should be singing, and it’s not the song of purely rational governance. It’s a song of ice and fire.