Our Lust for Power
The desire for power is a quality that many of us share, but its interpretation can vary. Different people have different viewpoints about the definition of power. One may think it is the ability to make change while another may think it is brute strength. I think it is usually an evil brought upon by a desire to control others, but sometimes this desire can also be used honorably.
It is common among human society to create characters that fit our qualities, we tend to this subconsciously.
We do this as a way to express our ideas, thoughts, and feelings. The fictional characters that we have an emotional attachment to exemplify these qualities. In particular the HBO show Game of Thrones, a medieval fantasy feature that revolves around the control of the iron throne in the seven kingdoms of Westeros, the fictional world where most of the story takes place. Game of Thrones contains archetypical characters that reflect our history and deep-seated personal desires for power.
The constant struggle for power in Game of Thrones is no better exemplified than in the Lannister family. They are one of the most influencing and affluent families, who rule over Casterly Rock, a castle built on a rock formation near the sea. The most prominent Lannister, Tywin, is head of the family and lord of Casterly Rock, he is followed by Cersei, Jamie, and Tyrion, children of Tywin. Each Lannister’s crave for power supersedes their value of human life. Cersei desires power for her own personal motives, this being her aspiration of becoming queen, and has led countless numbers of people to their death. She has given innocent people who she perceives as enemies to a necromancer, Qyburn. He conducts ghastly experiments on his victims, which include invasive surgical procedures such as mutilation, he removes irreparable body parts that lead to his victim’s death. Cersei does this to gain the influence of Qyburn and thus surrounding herself with obedient servants such as him. She exemplifies how this desire for power can be evil, but one must ponder if this has to be. Are we akin to the Lannister’s or can we be virtuous?
To contrast, the ferocious nature of Cersei’s desire, is unlike Daenerys’, which is to disrupt the institution of oppression that exists within Westeros. This includes but is not limited slavery, corruption, and prostitution. Her personal experiences to evil authoritative figures have caused her to detest leaders that take advantage of others. Visery’s, Daenery’s brother, had arranged for her to marry a warlord, Khal Drogo, and fervently affirmed that he would let Khal Drogo’s entire tribe (of thirty thousand) rape her if it allowed Visery’s the ability to control the Khal’s army. She desires to ‘break the wheel’. The wheel referring to the culture of power that is currently in place, which is characterized by the strong taking advantage of the weak. Daenery’s, who has experienced this unmerciful culture, wishes to abolish it and in doing so alleviate the pain that the ‘wheel’ brings upon the penniless and imprisoned. As a leader, she cripples Westeros’s slave societies. She leads a military campaign with the goal of emancipating the slaves of Slaver’s bay. She essentially wishes to liberate the oppressed.
We are constantly exposed to the dynamics of power, both the virtuous and the evil, in our daily lives. We might not even be aware of this, as I am not. The daily arguments that I have with figures of authority, such as my parents, are struggles for power. My mother for example demands excellence from me in my academic work, indifferent of what I would have to sacrifice, this being my social life, hobbies, and sleep; I often compare her to Cersei. My mother’s desire to control my life leads to constant arguments. For Cersei, her desire to be queen leads to the demise of many, for Daenery’s it leads to the liberation of many.
To conclude, power however it may be defined can simply be defined as having control over others. We can see that this control may be used in various ways. Fiction shows us the consequences that our lust for power can have. If the characters of Game of thrones represent us, our thoughts, our innermost feelings, does this mean that we are simply beasts that take advantage of the destitute for our own personal gain, or does it mean that we can be messianic beings, capable of empathy and compassion? I think compassion comes naturally to us, we must not let our sporadic wishes take control of our actions.