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Game of Thrones: Is abuse of power worth it?

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Game of Thrones fan Adrian Lee wonders if all the oppressing, backstabbing and killing to attain high position, power and riches is really worth it.

Another Game of Thrones season came and went. For the unfamiliar, Game of Thrones is a fantasy television series revolving around battles by certain dynasties to claim the Iron Throne that rules the Seven Kingdoms.

Set in the fictional kingdom of Westeros, characters such as Eddard “Ned” Stark, Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister and Joffrey Baratheon are placed at opposing ends of the political divide and are either loved or hated.

The series, which has a global following, contains all the elements of the seven deadly sins and are depicted through acts of vengeance, betrayal, greed, lust and violence. Tyrants and rulers are continually dethroned by force.

As one tyrant is superseded by another, the people continue to suffer. Infighting among leaders results in the people’s welfare being ignored. Poverty becomes widespread as the gap between the poor and the rich expands in the cities of Westeros.

A tyrant or an elite few who control the wealth of a nation determine the political direction of that nation. Since the right to the throne is hereditary, democracy is non-existent while those close to the ruling elite receive riches.

As the rule of law becomes concentrated in the hands of one individual, the tyrant wallows in the riches of the land and flesh, while torturing and murdering dissidents in the name of royalty, race and religion.

Archaic laws to secure the tyrant’s position are used while murder, rape, robbery, bribery, kidnapping and treason are justified as necessary evils to protect the kingdom and its people.

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Cracks in the hegemony are quickly dealt with by mobilising repressive and ideological state apparatus – political dissidents are imprisoned without trial or in a sham court while members of society are re-indoctrinated about loyalty.

Jealousy, insecurity and paranoia fill the head of the tyrant, who then rules that freedom of speech is seditious. When all else fails, the race and religious cards are used to create a false sense of unity against an unseen threat.

At the end of the day, the tyrants in Game of Thrones who lust for more money, power and sex often die a bloody death. Such is the path chosen by smug, self-indulgent and self-righteous tyrants in the series.

As the tyrants lie dying, I wonder if they ever thought whether it was it all worth it. Seeing such a stomach-churning death surely serves as an admonition that those “who live by the sword will die by the sword”. Yet the violence continues. Tak insaf!

As a Game of Thrones fan, I similarly wonder if all the oppressing, backstabbing and killing to attain high position, power and riches is really worth dying for?

So I figure, if I somehow become a powerful leader someday in a somewhat parallel realm, would I be a compassionate, just and wise leader or a tyrant with only my self-interest at heart?

I wonder if I was a leader…

Would I truly have the needs and wants of society at heart – or would I be one who exploits society for selfish purposes and popularity?

Would I understands the suffering and distress of society – or would I be someone one who is out of touch with reality?

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Would I free those wrongly imprisoned and provide second chances – or would I be someone who incarcerates those who go against my word and will?

Would I share with society whatever riches I have – or would I forcefully take from society to enrich myself and those closest to me beyond our wildest dreams?

Would I provide society with a robust economy and healthy standard of living – or would I steal from state coffers and imposes senseless taxes?

Would I upholds the rights of women and minority groups – or would I carry out lustful and unjust acts against women and minority groups?

Would I spread peace, reconciliation and goodwill – or would I declare wars, spark conflict and cause death?

Would I protects Mother Nature – or would I unreservedly clear jungles, rainforests and swamplands to raise more condominiums and shopping malls accessible to only an elite few?

Would I encourage a free media environment and society to speak critically and freely – or would I suppress free and open speech?

Would I feel accountable to society – or would I be someone delusional who bends the rules thinking that that my right to rule is God-given and society should instead kowtow to me?

Would I educates society that all women and men are equal regardless of gender, race, religion and creed – or would I punish and segregate the people based on gender, race, religion and creed?

Would I upgrades and modernise the military, police, and civil service to protect society – or would I misuse state machinery to fortify my position?

So would it be worth it? I wouldn’t know for I’ve never walked in the corridors of power. That is just my fantasy.

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But I am truly glad that I do not live in an oppressive Westeros city but in a democratic society with elected leaders who recognise that they are in power through the consent of the Rakyat.

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