Game of Thrones, the novels and the mega-hit HBO series follows a currently popular trend of IAF characters trying to survive and win in a DLF world.
Fictional characters also can have MDNA Profiles. Typically every great character is based upon somebody in real life, except the persona and core traits are amplified. This makes learning the principles of their MDNA Profile much easier and a valuable exercise. Not to mention it can be fun and entertaining.
Please note that I stopped watching GoT on television after season 4 for personal convictions (how UCD of me). I do keep up on the story somewhat. But I also have only read the first four novels. Even though I might not be current on the story, I’m pretty sure I have enough to use GoT as an opportunity to learn and teach about MDNA. Also this list may not be complete but I will update the characters as opportunity arises.
DLF vs. IAF: Power Versus Compassion
The DLF is all about institutional authority and loyalty. This is overtly represented in GoT by all the warring factions that want to win the Iron Throne. This is a cruel world where domination, politics and exploitation reign. The DLF, in many ways, is like a king or queen of an empire that can fall into these traps of power and authority.
This is where the story becomes interesting as the characters we cheer for on GoT are mostly IAFs. This is also where we are heart broken because as the IAFs show mercy, compassion and generally try to do the right thing as human beings should, they are punished (most often to their deaths) by the DLF powers that be. In other words, the IAF is always being crushed for their sensitivity and hearts.
The IAFs in the story that do gain some power however, are then caught in an internal struggle of how to lead while achieving a vision simultaneously preserving their ideals and souls.
Let’s examine a few characters and how their MDNA gifts create a compelling narrative. Now although we will focus on the DLF and IAF characters, no world, fantasy or not, would be complete without the other MDNA gifts. We will touch on them here as well. (They will be at the bottom.)
Eddard Stark – IAF
Commonly referred to as Ned, Eddard Stark was the Lord of Winterfell and the Warden of the North. He is our first hero and demonstrates the IAF sense of excellence, compassion and loyalty. You can see his love for family and the sensitive nature in which he lorded over his kingdom. However, Ned’s trap was his sense of duty and sacrifice that followed King Robert Baratheon back to King’s landing. It is there his compassion ultimately leads to his demise as he is betrayed by a bunch of DLFs and slowly fed through the wood chipper and finally beheaded which starts a war.
That’s just the beginning of how deep this DLF vs. IAF world goes.
The Lannisters – DLF
House Lannister of Casterly Rock is one of the Great Houses of the Westeros world in GoT. It is also one of its richest and most powerful families and oldest dynasties. House Lannister’s Heraldry consists of a golden lion and their House words are “Hear me roar!” Their unofficial motto, which is as well quoted as the official one, is “A Lannister always pays his debts.”
These are classic traits of the DLF. A roaring lion is the perfect animal to represent the DLF gift, while loyalty is always rewarded.
Tywin and Cersei Lannister are the ultimate representations of power-hungry institutional authority. Twyin, as the patriarch of the family, expects everybody, especially his children, to obey and keep the family institution strong and growing. Each are assigned key roles and there is a system of power that everybody must follow. To Tywin, pain is a part of life and his offspring are expected to “suck it up” and grow into their leadership. His daughter Cersei is the exact same, however she was cursed with being a woman in a man’s (fantasy) world. If she was male, she would have gladly become king and ruled with the same domination and ambition.
A common and unfortunate vulnerability for the DLF is “betrayal from within.” This occurs when others do not respond to imposed institutional authority. Those that appear loyal within inner circles can then become opposition. And no matter at what level opposition occurs, this is interpreted with feelings of betrayal by the DLF. In the case of GoT, this betrayal is quite literal as Tywin ends up being murdered by his own son Tyrion.
Let’s not forget Joffrey Baratheon. He is the son of Cersei Lannister which gives him a key political role in the Lannisters obtaining power. He becomes King after Robert Baratheon. Even before he ascends to the Iron Throne however, Joffrey is spoiled, arrogant, cowardly, and sadistic. This just gets worse when he actually becomes king.
Of course Joffrey is murdered by his own grandmother-in-law (ahem, there’s that pesky DLF betrayal from within again). Which led all fans of the show to cheer because he was the absolute worst (and well portrayed) expression of an immature DLF.
Tyrion Lannister – IAF
This is where one of the more colorful characters advances the story. Played by the amazing actor Peter Dinklage, Tyrion is born a dwarf and is shunned by his family. Yet he possesses an amazing intelligence, wit and intuition. Many times during the story he demonstrates his ability to sense what others are feeling and any accompanying ulterior motives. The issue is that Tyrion is ruled by his own sense of self-gratification. This is expressed through addictive behaviors, sexual promiscuity and in general settling for mediocrity compared to his family name.
The IAF is wired for intimacy. Deep down they want to know others and be know. This is why IAFs tend to have a very close intimate circle of friends which they fiercely care for. Tyrion’s character was no different as evidence by his relationship with Shae, a prostitute that later turns on him and breaks his heart.
Through this story arc, Tyrion slowly begins to demonstrate his compassion and breaks away from his family institution. He refuses to exercise his authority over Sansa, the daughter of Eddard Stark that was forced to marry him after she was supposed to marry Joffrey (yes it gets convoluted but that’s the GoT for you). All to the chagrin of his father of course. And as we know, he ends up killing his father. This is where his journey begins to become redemptive in a way that only GoT fans can appreciate.
Daenerys Targaryen – IAF
Daenerys becomes a queen after hatching dragons (yes, this is where things take a fantastical turn but it is executed believably enough in the books and show). She is, depending on what side you are on, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. And because she is “The Mother of Dragons,” she is immediately recognized with power and destiny.
In the beginning of the series, Daenerys is married to Khal Drogo who represents the DLF authority in her story arc. At first, she is forced to submit to him but later falls in love and wins his heart. Classic IAF stuff! But after Drogo dies, she is introduced to the authoritarian struggle of trying to reclaim her birthright. And throughout this journey she must constantly deal with her inner conflict between compassion and power as a leader. And as usual in the GoT world, her compassion gets her in trouble.
This quote from the show demonstrates being an IAF in a DLF world the best:
“You have a good claim: a title, a birthright. But you have something more than that: you may cover it up and deny it, but you have a gentle heart. You would be not only respected and feared, you would be loved. Someone who can rule and should rule. Centuries come and go without a person like that coming into the world. There are times that I look at you, and I still can’t believe you’re real.” ―Ser Jorah Mormont to Daenerys Targaryen
Let’s take a look at some other supporting characters with other MDNA gifts that add to this mix.
Bronn – CVS
Bronn is a sellsword; a mercenary soldier whose services as a fighter are always for hire. He first starts as obscure muscle-for-hire, but is eventually financially retained by Tyrion Lannister and because of his skills, eventually becomes a knight. As per typical CVS fashion, he is motivated by ROI. He is also independent and private with his life (unless drunk) just like the CVS. In this case, he wants to be paid in gold and will work for the highest bidder. And also common to CVS, there is no black and white to him. So in the DLF world of political power, everything is a shade of grey when it comes to morals and integrity.
Podrick Payne – SSA
“Pod” starts as a squire for Tyrion Lannister. Squires in this world are basically servants to knights. And as punishment for a crime he was assigned to servitude under the dwarf Tyrion. However Podrick, although he struggles with the morality of the entire scene, serves Tyrion tirelessly and even saves the Lannister’s life. Slowly he begins to earn favor and is given more authority and responsibility. This is typical for the SSA to always be promoted as they demonstrate servant leadership and build platforms of success under others. True to form, Pod stays loyal to Tyrion even when he is offered a massive reward of knighthood to betray his friend.
Eventually Podrick is assigned to squire for Brienne of Tarth, a female warrior on a very dangerous assignment. While Brienne assumes that Podrick must hate being in her service, he is actually proud to be her squire and admires her skills. She apologizes for her previous rude behavior and offers to teach him how to wield a sword and ride a horse properly. The relationship between the two provides some of the more heartfelt scenes in the cold cruel world of GoT.
Pod was one of my favorite characters to watch and demonstrates the heart and gift of the SSA.
Melisandre – UCD
Also known as the Red Woman, Melisandre claims to be a Red Priestess of the Lord of Light. She represents the UCD theme and spirit (pun intended) in the GoT. As a UCD Melisandre is driven purely by an ideology which is expressed in a form of religion. She is an advisor to Stannis Baratheon who believes he should also be king on the Iron Throne (yes there are a lot of people fighting for DLF power here that it becomes hard to keep track). Stannis is a cookie cutter DLF. This is a very typical combination of a UCD advising a DLF on strategy and how to fix problems based upon convictions and principles. The UCD, being also driven by deep vision, understands the sacrifice often necessary to uphold an ideology. This, in the case of the Lord of Light in the GoT, of course involves blood sacrifice and death by fire.
Being a UCD myself, I get a chuckle when I read the following quotes from the Melisandre character because I have said the same only using different words and of course outside of a fantasy world:
“Death by fire is the purest death.”
“Look to your sins Lord Renly, the night is dark and full of terrors.”
(Yup, I can be a bit dramatic at times but sometimes people like us can’t help it!)
I know I have missed out on other major fan-favorite characters such as Jon Snow, Robb and Arya Stark. To be transparent, I am on the fence with these characters and should eventually get to digging in and properly profiling them. I will update this when appropriate. Until then, this should give you a good idea of how to read or watch Game of Thrones through the MDNA lens.