Game of Thrones:
Social Class Interaction
The TV show that I have chosen to write my sociological reflection on is Game of Thrones and the interactions between the different social classes within the show. Game of Thrones is a fantasy drama based in fictional continent called Westeros. IT has medieval themes that includes dragons, magic, religion, social clout and mythical creatures. Like all societies, Game of Thrones has many social classes, and the most prominent ones from the bottom to the top of the ladder are illegitimate children, common folk, Lords and Kings.
In chapter 11 of the Revel reading we learn about ancestry and ow it affects our lives before we are born. The illegitimate children in the show, even born to noble parents, are on a scale lower than peasants and the poor. They do not carry the family name, do not inherit land or money, and are typically outsourced to jobs not connected to their family. They are ostracized and condemned from birth for the acts of their parents. They are not treated well and are made aware often that they are “no one.” You see this type of behavior in blended families (perhaps not as severe) in blended families. There are some Husband/Wives that resent their partners previous children, and/or possibly children that have come into the relationship out of acts of adultery.
The common folk within the show are your everyday “John and Jane” characters. Some have money, some are barely making ends meet. They are the “fillers” of this society if you will. However, it is their jobs that keep the kingdom functioning. Within this class I believe you would find great examples of functionalism and social conflict. The “elite” of this class would think it’s necessary to keep the less privileged working in lesser positions to keep the wheel of functionalism turning. Or that the “elite” is keeping resources to themselves and not sharing with all the common folk.
Next are the Lords. These are the individuals who are given sections of Westeros to govern on behest of the King/Queen. They are essentially nobility. They are rule and are treated as if they are thing King/Queen. They live in castles and keep. Some of the Lords will battle with their soldiers, while others send people to do it for them. Some take great care of their people, and some let them die for their own greed. There are lower houses that live like the common folk, working just as hard as they do, socializing on a daily basis. Whilst there are those that won’t even hold court with the common folk.
Lastly, we have the King/Queen of Westeros. The one that sits upon the iron throne and rules the seven kingdoms. From the beginning of Game of Thrones, the kings that have ruled have been relatively useless, and the only reason why the Kingdom continued to function is due to the 7 Lords ruling them.
The social interactions of these groups vary on what is needed of each other. The King/Queen may need a squire, so a common folk family is called on to give one of their children. An illegitimate child may be legitimized to take over as heir of their family in the event there is no rightful heir. Although class separates them, there is still interaction.
An example would be the friendship of Arya Stark (daughter of Lord Ned Stark) and the Mycha the butcher’s son. Arya is obviously higher on the ladder than Mycha. While playing together one day they are approached by heir to the throne Joffrey Baratheon. He is a sadistic character, and begins to taunt the common boy Mycha by shoving his sword in his face. Arya becomes upset and attacks Joffrey; the results of the interaction leads to Joffrey killed. Although Mycha wasn’t the one that attacked him, Joffrey was unable to have a Lords daughter killed at his command.
There are some positive interactions of the social classes. Later in the series, Jon snow, the illegitimate child of Lord Ned Stark, and the only supposed living male heir to Ned was mad “King of the North” by the people of the Northern Kingdom. He was given this position because the people of the North knew of his heroics and bravery. Although illegitimate, the people saw past this and made him their leader. Before he was crowned, such an act was unprecedented
Another positive social interaction was between Howland Reed (the head of House Reed, not a Lord but a house dedicated to the Northern Lord.) and Ned Starks sister Lyanna Stark. Howland was headed to a great tournament hosted by heir Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. While his people were not of great stature (physically and economically), they were still invited. While there Howland was accosted by the squires of noble Knights participating in the tournament; he was taunted and beat by them for being of a common class. Lyanna came to his defense (at the time her father was the current Lord of the North.) and berated the squires for their terrible behavior. She took him back to her tents where she offered him first aid, and invited him to sit with her family at the grand dinner that evening; an honor to almost any common folk.
Within the noble classes, there are still good people that don’t look at social status as an important aspect of living. This can be seen within our own society at times as well. The owner of the company I work for is a part of one of the richest families in Northern California, but is one of the nicest and down to Earth people you would ever meet. We send holiday greetings and on Halloween we even swap photos of our costumes! Most notably, during the recent wild fires in the North Bay, he helped aid employees that were displaced by the fires. These are the Jon Snows and Lyanna Starks of our society. That despite their social clout and class, they disregard it because they know that there is more to life than status and money. However, there are unfortunately still the Joffrey Baratheons as well. During the hurricanes in Texas, there quite a few companies that were requiring their displaced employees to work, or risk losing their jobs. The social interaction of the characters on Game of Thrones isn’t much different than our own society. There are people in power positions that treat others with kindness and equality. Then there are those that do the exact opposite, even within their own social class.