Legal Structures in a Game of Thrones: The Laws of the First Men and Those That Followed
50 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2018 Last revised: 5 Feb 2019
Date Written: July 9, 2018
For as long as we humans have recorded our existence, we have developed rules to govern our affairs. It is not surprising then that the rule of law predominates not only our own life, but also that of those worlds that only exist on paper or the screen. Generally, the more complex the society, the more complex the rules it has developed to govern it. The more you read of Game of Thrones, the more you realize you are reading about our society, our mores, our evolving rules and standards, and most especially about power and who wields it. The laws of this society of dragons, magic, and treachery at times feel shockingly different from our own, but many more similarities exist than we may prefer to acknowledge. Broad themes such as a border-length wall to keep out [the] Others, the abolishment of slavery, effective criminal procedures, and the very structure of the political system itself whether through a democracy, aristocracy, plutocracy or theocracy abound. This paper will look at significant legal topics such as political and legal structures, criminal law and procedure, and, briefly, immigration law, and will examine the applicable rules, laws and customs for each in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. In addition, this paper will highlight stark differences and startling similarities to many of our current laws and customs demonstrating the underpinnings of what binds us together and makes us a society.
Keywords: Game of Thrones, Song of Ice and Fire, Westeros, Esteros, Others, Stark, Targaryen, immigration, criminal procedure, legal systems, political systems
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation