3 Parenting Lessons from “Game of Thrones”


Nicole Peterson of Anime Boston drew this for her Tumblr.

Game of Thrones is an all-ages TV show, right? It’s got cute little wolf pups, features a loving family with homegrown Waltons-style values, and some giant keeps giving piggy back rides (HODOR!).

Alas, no. I don’t like to be judgy, but if you think GoT is a kid’s show, you must be watching with your eyes closed. And ears too, I guess, since being on a fantasy show doesn’t excuse you from having to meet HBO’s F-word quota.

But don’t let that fool you into thinking that there’s nothing for parents to gain from watching this bloody, sexy, disturbing and completely wonderful series. A lot can be learned about parenting from the various terrible and (sometimes) well-intentioned families in Game of Thrones.

If you don’t like spoilers, here’s another article for you to read instead.

Lesson 1: Stay Together

Seriously – bad things happen when you spread your brood to every damn corner of the kingdom. I probably only need to give you one family to make my point, but I’m feeling generous, so you get two.

First, the Starks. Remember when Starks were happy? Remember when Winterfell wasn’t burning in the credits? Ah, good times.


Then, Ned took Sansa and Arya to King’s Landing (it’ll be great, kids! There will be tournaments and pretty dresses and awesome food everywhere!) and the rest is history. If the Starks had stayed together, think of all the money Sansa would be saving on future therapy bills.

The Lannisters should have followed this advice too, although their consequences have been less severe (so far). If Jaime had stayed at King’s Landing with his um – sister, he’d still be writing in his diary and giving high fives all the livelong day.


Takeaway lesson here: The severed body parts of the family members who separated from the herd symbolize the danger of splitting up. Keep that family together, ya’ll.

Lesson 2: Protect Your Fetus

Being pregnant is never easy, but if you’re a queen or a Khaleesi, you’ll need to add “having a target on your back” right next to “swollen ankles” and “sardine cravings” on the list of preggo woes.

If Khaleesi D. had not trusted a witch against the advice of every advisor ever, she, Drogo and bouncing baby Rhaego would be posing for a family portrait right about now. I’m not too sad about the outcome though, since the Dragon Mama that Dany phoenixed herself into is sooo much cooler.


Knowing how things usually go in this series, we should have seen what was coming when Robb’s queen Talesa got herself knocked up. We also should have seen it coming after they decided to name their baby Eddard, which practically resigned that kid to follow in his grandpa’s ill-fated footsteps. But no, what happened to that poor fetus was part of the single most surprising and horrific moment I have ever seen on TV.


If Talesa hadn’t proudly paraded her pregnancy around in front of the jilted Frey family, maybe things would have been different for the little unborn heir to the North. Either way, it’s important to take away the right lesson here, Mom: if you’re making decisions for two, always play it safe!

Oh, and stop naming your kids after relatives that were brutally slaughtered. It’s just bad Juju.

Lesson 3: Enjoy Them While They’re Still Young

One minute they’re little bundles of joy that remind you of your beloved twin brother, and before you can blink, they’re impetuously beheading their “dad’s” best friend and starting a massive five-sided civil war.


Life lesson: They grow up so fast.

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