6 Inclusion Lessons From Game Of Thrones

Spoiler alert: please only read it if you have seen the 7 seasons of Game of Thrones

The TV series “Game of Thrones”, GoT for intimates, based on George R. R. Martin fantasy book series “A song of Ice and Fire”, started in 2011 and since then it became a worldwide phenomenon. Its 8th and final season is about to start on April 19.

I wasn’t an early adopter at all. Until one year ago, my daughter asked me “Mum, I’m watching Game of Thrones for the 6th time, would you like to watch it with me?”. Because I wanted to do something with my daughter, and because I was curious about what could make her want to watch a series for 6 times, I reluctantly said “Yes, why not?”.

Without expecting it at all, I became the biggest GoT fan. I finished the 7 seasons in no time, and I’m now reading the novels.

Being an inclusive leadership specialist, I couldn’t help to notice the lack of certain types of diversity in it. GoT has been criticised for its lack of main black characters. That said, I couldn’t help to see many inclusion and diversity lessons in it as well.

Here are six lessons I’d like to share with you.

Lesson #1: Go beyond first impressions

I had lots of prejudices against GoT to begin with. My husband and sons were watching an episode years ago, I stopped by and only saw sex and violence scenes. I said to myself “I’m not wasting my time with this gory and shallow thing”. Well, in fact, what seemed to be so superficial, was actually a very profound, and entertaining, experience. There are so many deep messages in GoT about power and love, and the good and the evil in each one of us. So, I’m grateful I gave it a second chance.

Lesson #2: Female leadership comes in all shapes

In GoT there are amazing female characters who go for it. Some are “good” (Daenerys Targaryen) some are “evil” (Cersei Lannister), some are tough and masculine (Arya Stark, Ygritte, Brienne of Tarth, Yara Greyjoy…), some are soft and feminine (Lady Sansa, Melisandre, Margaery Tyrell…). All powerful in their unique ways.

Lesson #3: Disabilities = different abilities

There are many characters with visible disabilities that bring to the table unique talents. Tyrion Lannister, has dwarfism, is the finest strategist. Bran Stark, has paraplegia, can see the unseen. Jammie Lannister, with one hand, is the Lannister army commander….

Lesson #4: There’s no age to succeed

Young and old characters succeed in doing things beyond age stereotypes. Robb Stark successfully leads an army at the age of 15, mature Jorah Mormont is the best fighter…

Lesson #5: Look beyond titles

One of GoT’s main heroes, Jon Snow, is a bastard. But despite his lack of titles, his true leadership is recognised by his peers over and over. In companies, so often we fail to recognise people’s talent and contributions because we wrongly believe don’t have the “right” degrees and titles.

Lesson #6: Despite our differences, we’re all the same

Too me, that’s really the most beautiful lesson. Wildlings, Starks, Lannisters, Dothrakis… it doesn’t matter who they are, their main common challenge is the White Walkers and their army of the dead. No matter who we are, we all face the fear of death, we all want to be happy. When Jon Snow becomes ally with the Wildlings, he acknowledges their common humanity and they get together. So often we lack the courage to go beyond walls, and to focus on what we have in common, rather than on what separates us.

Let’s see what the 8th and final season of GoT brings us. Can’t wait to watch it in 2019!


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

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 THAIS COMPOINT is a top global specialist in inclusive leadership. Her achievements have been acknowledged with 15 awards world-wide, including the prestigious “2019 Top Global Diversity and Inclusion Leaders Award”. She’s a speaker, author, facilitator, and consultant with 19 years of experience. Thais spoke at three TEDx events, is the author of “Succeed as an inclusive leader”, the creator of the Inclusive Leadership Global Conference, and the host of the YouTube show and podcast “The Inclusiveship Show”. Thais is also the founder and CEO of Déclic International, a global boutique consultancy that she founded after leading the inclusion & diversity strategies of three Fortune 500 companies: Vinci, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Cisco.

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