by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
I doubt very much that either Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead is the product of an overwhelmingly conservative group of storytellers. (From what I can learn of the politics of the writers, that does not seem to be the case.) But both shows are obliged by the nature of their dramatic structures to consider the fundamental questions of politics, and both invite deeply conservative interpretations.
The Walking Dead is, at this point, a show that is only incidentally about zombies. It is mainly a story about the origins of political order, one that has taken several different approaches to Mancur Olson’s idea of the state as a “stationary bandit.” …
… The unhappy reality at the center of the political economy of Game of Thrones is one of particular interest in the Western world just now: that, as the proverb has it, great men seldom are good men, that the characteristics that make one an effective leader — a leader who is genuinely of use to his people — often are the characteristics that make one a god-awful human being. And the converse: that many of the virtues of good men make them poor leaders in difficult times. Jon Snow, who recently (and at the most inconvenient of times) has learned that he is presumably the legal heir to the Iron Throne, is a decent, fair-minded, liberal man — and an almost completely incompetent leader of men.