The mythical realm of Westeros, the 'Iron Throne, the Living Dead and fire breathing dragons; sounds like a weird- unreal world yet is the plot of the most expensive and elaborately produced TV show ever- Game of Thrones.
While sketching the script, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss who effortlessly made us all believe in this brutal tale of ruthless rulers and mythical creatures; would never have imagined the show to leave behind so many PR lessons to take learnings from.
So, let’s take a close look at the 'wind' falls of PR through our favourite- GOT stamped spectacles.
A glance at 3 characters who well exercised PR muscle to rise beyond length and breadth of Westeros and other 3 who completely lacked any PR skills.
GOT characters with Top notch PR sills!
‘When the snow falls and the winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives’- Sansa Stark
Sansa Stark, the Lady of Winterfell tops the list of people who used PR as a strong ally to survive. It was her PR skills that, enabled an alliance with Little Finger to win the ‘Battle of Bastards’; a battle that Jon Snow was about to lose to Ramsey Bolton if an army hadn't supported him at the battlefield through a pre-decided coalition. Later, in the next season, she turned the table on Little Finger and got him murdered, this time through an alliance with Arya.
Development of her character has been most progressive amongst all. Shock at the death of her father only later deepened at the news of how her mother and brother Robb were horrifically killed at the Red Wedding and their corpses desecrated. She then went through a harrowing experience as a prisoner of Lannisters, a plaything for psychopathic Joffrey to have publicly beaten by his guards for petty amusement. And, then came Ramsey Bolton into the picture to paint the canvas with disgrace and cruelty.
Throughout this gruesome journey from Season one to eight, her well-positioned PR strategy has assisted her to rise above her own head and shoulders at every juncture. Whether it was gaining her title at Winterfell or defeating Ramsey or displaying conflict of opinions diplomatically to Daenerys, she does it with ease.
Little bird has positively transformed into a harpy eagle.
‘Even the most dangerous men can be outmanoeuvred’- Petyr Baelish’
Petyr Baelish (also known as 'Little Finger') was the master of coin on the small Council under King Robert Baratheon.
While there is Queen Cersei who wins through the power of her position, mountain who dominates through physical strength, we have Petyr Baelish who wields influence more subtly that dominates the game. He exercises the key skill of PR in its true form, an ability to convince effectively. And by doing this, he gets others to do exactly what he wants.
He survived long in the show only because of a complete focus on his aims, with Ned Stark, Catelyn Stark, Lysa, Sansa Stark and more. All these people later turned out to be his prominent victims, which contributed in making him a strong player in the game.
Peter Baelish may have been killed in the series now but his presence across seasons have been phenomenal. He is certainly the master when it comes to conceptualising strategic public relations.
‘You are in the great game now and the game is terrifying’- Tyrion Lannister
While Peter Baelish is considered as the master of PR in Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister is unquestionably the 'Genius of PR'. Also known as the ‘halfman’, Tyrion has come a long way in the series and has efficaciously survived each stumbling block, no matter how callous or death-defying it was.
He survived murdering his father Tywin Lannister followed by the court trial, he survived the treachery of his sister Cersei Lannister, also survived the Eyrie prison and Battle of the Blackwater and most importantly- he survived the Mother of Dragons in the recent episode; probably all because of his affluent political manoeuvring.
GOT characters with a desperate need of a good PR consultant!
Brienne of Tarth
‘All my life men like you have sneered at me. And all my life I've been knocking men like you into the dust’- Brienne of Tarth
Ser Brienne Tarth, commonly known as Brienne of Tarth, was earlier a knight of House Tarth and has recently emerged as a knight of the seven kingdoms. She is a sole surviving character that promotes self- indulgence in the complete absence of PR. She isolates herself from the rest of the world and often comes across as a person who does not like sharing thoughts or emotions or even talking much.
She is more comfortable carrying a sword than wearing a gown after eight seasons of fighting off the collective contempt of half of Westeros. Throughout the show, she had the strength, the personality and the capability to develop alliances but never did so.
It was Jamie who later, brought a different side of Brienne to the audience where she explored personal joy but she ultimately stayed alone. She deserved much better in Game of Thrones if only her PR strategy was not a strong punch!
‘If you show too much kindness, people won’t fear you, if they don’t fear you, they won’t follow you’- Stannis Baratheon
One of the most experienced military commanders on the show- Stannis, is a ruthless man after he murdered his brother, and daughter and burnt innocents. When many heroes started falling in the North, making it a territory dominated by Ramsay Bolton in Winterfell and White Walkers beyond the wall, Stannis got an absolute chance to become a force in the region.
Stannis has believed in independence instead of binding the power of allies in the war. As a result, potential allies did not aspire to partner and this finally not only marked his downfall.
No one as stubborn and unadaptable as Stannis was going to last long.
And PR is never about fear.
‘Some men take their oaths more seriously than others’- Catelyn Stark
Wife of Ned Stark- Catelyn, was a brilliant shield for the family, she never really bothered to extend relations with outsiders including Cersei or Jon Snow.
Reaching out to Walder Frey is a prime example of the PR card played at the wrong time. Chances of her murder at the Red Wedding may have been reduced has she read the 'news' analytics correctly and acted in advance.
The show has ended leaving behind a sea of learnings, extraordinary tactics and marvellous interpretations of PR.
About the Author
Raj Sharma is a GOT fanboy, an avid traveller and a sous-chef to his mother. He loves his beer, fish and chips and movies, not necessarily in that order.