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.

I wasn’t an early adopter at all. Until three months 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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About the author

Thais Compoint is an internationally acclaimed specialist in inclusive leadership. Her achievements have been acknowledged with 14 awards, including the prestigious “Top Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader Award 2018”. Thais is a TEDx speaker, facilitator, consultant, the author of the book “Succeed as an inclusive leader”, the creator of the Inclusive Leadership Global Conference, the YouTube show and podcast “The Inclusiveship Show” and the microlearning series “Inclusive Leadership Tips”. Last but not least, Thais is the founder and CEO of Déclic International, a global boutique consultancy that she created after leading the Inclusion and Diversity strategies of three Fortune 500 companies: Vinci, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Cisco.

  • Jacqueline Rolf

    Thais I love the way you have pointed out these lessons. I have not had the slightest interest in GoT – until now! I’ll be watching it and looking out for these great examples. I’m particularly keen to promote the portrayal of the full range of strengths in diverse characters in the media, especially alternatives to the overt sexualisation of female figures in the gaming world, GoT shows it can be done!

    July 11, 2018
  • Elizabeth McAleer

    I am a GOT fan and appreciated all the strong female characters represented. Thank you for opening my eyes to see the inclusion of the diverse characters.

    July 13, 2018

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