6 Strategic Life Lessons From Game Of Thrones: Season 5

6 Strategic Life Lessons From Game Of Thrones: Season 5

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6 Strategic Life Lessons From Game Of Thrones: Season 5

You’re probably thinking ‘how on Earth could the tv show Game Of Thrones help me achieve success?’ – but bear with me. I have identified 6 key strategic life lessons that can be learned from season 5 that directly relates to you and the situations you’ll encounter on your journey to success.

The last episode of season 5 of Game of Thrones was shocking for another time. In surprise of the series fans who haven’t read the books, Jon Snow was betrayed by a gathered group of the Night’s Watch men who stabbed him until he fall dead on the ground.

It seems that JRR Martin likes killing an important member of the Stark family in the end of each season. But the death of Jon Snow wasn’t the only remarkable happening in the last episode of season 5. Stannis attempted to attack Winterfell after the snowstorm ended and the snow began to melt.

Did I mention that he sacrificed his daughter to the Gods because his Witch lover told him this was the only way to win Winterfell? Unfortunately, it all ended in a disaster for Stannis. Then we saw Myrsella Lannister dying from the poison Ellaria Sand(Oberyn’s wife) gave her from a simple kiss in the mouth!

This was just a small recap to get into the main subject. Game of Thrones is a very intriguing series with a plot that really represents situations from real life. Betrayals from friends and brothers, terrible fathers and revenge are very common in real life as well.

Let’s see what strategy lessons the last episode of Game of Thrones and Jon Snow’s death can teach us:


1. People who are close to you because of your money will abandon you in the first difficulty

Stannis believed that his daughter sacrifice was enough to help him attack and conquer Winterfell. He also believed that an army of mercenary cavalry would really help him become a king. But as soon as his army encountered a heavy blizzard his mercenaries were looking for the first chance to abandon him.

Who would risk his own benefits (life) in front of a monetary reward that wasn’t even sure? Stannis would need to pass a lot of struggles before he could become a king. His paid army left him as soon as the heavy snowstorm ended. Then Stannis army was decreased by 50%.

This applies in real life too. When you keep people close to you because you offer them money in exchange for their alliance or relationship don’t expect these people to help you get through hardships.

They will be close to you as long as you provide them with what they need (money) but they will leave you alone when they see that you can’t offer them money and luxury anymore.

Friendships and alliances built up on money are completely unreliable.


2. Don’t make hasty decisions & don’t be afraid to take a step backwards

Stannis did another terrible mistake in the last episode. Even after his army abandoned him, he decided to attack Winterfell anyway. How could he do otherwise? He has been told that sacrificing his daughter would help him win Winterfell no matter what.

As soon as he faced another tragedy, namely his wife’s suicide, his mind was obfuscated. His critical sense was absent and he took the hurried decision to attack Winterfell with an unmounted army which was exhausted from the cold. The defenders of Winterfell were well prepared and mounted. As a result they crushed Stannis unmounted army.

When you encounter a huge difficulty or a series of tragedies (ie something like Stannis’s daughter death, wife suicide & being abandoned by his cavalry) the best decision you can make is to just wait.

Wait until your mind is clear and you are not emotionally affected by your failures. Take a step back and reorganize yourself. Don’t rush to make the decision to move forward and attack because you will end up beaten like Stannis was.

“And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.” – Kurt Vonnegut

3. You can’t trust anyone

I know this sounds harsh but nobody is 100% reliable, even your own family and friends. Sure people in your close environment care for you and will be more likely to help you, but how many times were you disappointed by someone, a friend of yours or relative, who didn’t do what he was supposed to do to help you?

People are very selfish, that’s the ugly truth. Trusting others without consideration or back up plans will cause you a lot of harm.

In particular, don’t trust people who have repeatedly disappointed you, betrayed you or tried to harm you in the past. Myrsella died from the poison that Ellaria Sand gave her by kissing her in the mouth to say her goodbye.

Elarria had tried to kill Myrsella before and she still wanted to take revenge from Myrsella’s family even if she said that she was sorry for her actions. Myrsella should never have trusted Ellaria’s words of repentance. If she had never trusted her she would have never kissed her and she would be still alive.

In addition, Jon Snow believed his steward Olly when he told him that a missing relative of his was alive. He didn’t take some time to think if he could trust Olly’s statement and driven by his emotions he followed Olly into a trap that lead to his death.


4. It’s the quiet ones that you have got to watch

The High Sparrow (what a foolish name) was given authority from Queen Cersei and King Tommen and was appointed High Septon (position of supreme authority in GOT church).

This old man was originally a humble septon who preached equality among all men and helped the poor while he was living a humble life. He seemed like a harmless old man. As he was gathering followers around him he became the leader of a movement called the Sparrows and due to Queen Cersei’s influence, he became the head of the church.

This position along with his steel personality made a guiltless old man a person who doesn’t bow to authority, someone who can’t be intimidated or threatened. As a result Queen Cersei who has made the mistake to give him this huge power was imprisoned by the Sparrows because of her previous sins. She was tortured and then humiliated in front of countless people.

Sometimes people who seem very guiltless, people who you think could never do any harm, are the ones that you should be afraid of. You have to watch them really closely and be careful about giving them power because you don’t know how they will use it.


5. Build your body

Ancient Greeks said that mens sana in corpore sano which means that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind and vice versa. Building your physique and doing some strength training to empower your body is essential for success.

Through exercising you learn how to develop discipline and focus, overcome obstacles, set up goals and achieve them. You also develop the physical power to accompany your brain’s power as well as the attractiveness derived from a well-built physique.

Why do you think that Spartans were so disciplined and one of the most powerful civilizations ever lived? They believed that working out and developing their bodies is essential for success.

In the last episode of Game of thrones we saw Sam (Jon Snow fat friend) asking Jon to let him leave the Night’s Watch and Castle Black to go and study to become a Maester (a man wise in history, science and medicine).

The reason behind Sam’s motive was mostly to protect his lover Gilly from the other men in Castle Black (who were not allowed to have sexual contact with women but would like to). Sam is a very smart guy but he is also extremely fat and weak and couldn’t physically protect Gilly and her baby from them.

He was badly beaten up when he tried to protect them and he would have died if Jon Snow’s wolf hadn’t saved him. If Sam had focused on building his body and learned to use it, he would have the power to protect his lover.

This doesn’t mean that you need to lift weights and become huge in real life to fight and beat other people. Our society is a little more civilized but even in the case you would need to do that, a strong and muscular body would help instead of a weak, fat one.

Either way, exercising and building your body can only offer you several significant benefits. It’s far better than sitting on the couch eating pizzas and burgers. It feels awesome.


6. Jon Snow dies because of lack of communication skills

Jon did the terrible mistake to help the wildlings and bring them to Castle Black. Jon’s decision was well-intentioned and kind because he saved a ton of lives but his “brothers” in the Night Watch didn’t think the same. The Night Watch was fighting for years with the wildlings and many of the Night’s Watch brothers were killed in these fights.

Even the fact that he was lord commander of the Night Watch didn’t make its members accept his decision to help the wildlings. They considered him a traitor.

Jon Snow dies in Game of Thrones because of his lack of understanding the feelings of the other men in the Night Watch. He knew that they would feel betrayed but he didn’t do anything to fix the situation. Maybe the situation could never be fixed but he could still try to change their feelings.

If this didn’t work then he should be ultra cautious and careful. When you know that some dozens of people hate you and want to harm you, you must be perspicacious enough to recognize the threat and try to avoid potential dangers.

The same can happen in business, politics and every form of leadership in real life. Being a leader is tough and sometimes you might need to make decisions that will make people angry. If you don’t take measures to reduce their feelings of anger or prevent harmful situations you might end up losing a lot of money or even your work.


Thanks for reading my article! What did you learn from Game Of Thrones: Season 5? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!


  1. Very good article, I love how you linked it all together, please do one for Breaking Bad there is so much one can learn from Walt`s character. Me personally as a Christian I put my confidence in God because I know he will never let me down, we were not made to trust completely in our own abilities and intellect but to depend on God by faith. Sorry if some don’t believe or agree with this view.

    Psalm 118- 8

    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

  2. The last bullet point on Jon Snows communication skills is stella, I love it so much that when I read it I laughed out loud. Even thought it was a solid strategy that Jon Snow had, he lacked empathy for the very men he was trying to motivate. Men who were already on the fence about ability to lead in the first place… Great life lesson, lack of empathy kills… Great article !

  3. Nice observations and well crafted.

    To contribute:
    1. Agree. As the Beatles said, “money can’t buy me love”. Stannis’ decision to burn his daughter also burned his relationship with his army. Although it was alledged, they weren’t privy to her blood magic and had no reason to believe that the sacrifice would result in victory. The sacrifice itself served as the catalyst for mass exodus and ultimately defeat.

    2. Agree. Stannis had lost his mind at this stage. All his family relationships ended as a result of his delusions towards power. A man on his last legs resigned to finishing his last fight.

    3. Disagree. You can trust some people. You just can’t trust all people. In fact, you can’t trust most people, so mostly agree but just disagreeing for the sake of difference.

    4. Agree. Especially the smart, principled, disciplined, erudite, wise, cunning and quiet ones.

    5. Does Sam even lift bro?

    6. In the end, Jon Snow did prove that he did in fact, know nothing… about understanding the depth and range of emotion among the men he commanded. He was a young educated bastard of a well respected noble. His men were likely a range of betrayed royal courteseans and condenmed men. He assumed that his men would follow a similar line of thinking and emotional development as he did through his relationship with the girl. Most of his men had never touched a woman. Their raw bitter hatred of the Wildlings was lifted from them and transferred onto Snow. It was more than he could carry. He fell.

    • Hey Daithi,

      This was a very insightful comment! Absolutely well said.

      As for the 3rd point: of course there are people that you can trust and depend on more than others. But sometimes the only person you can rely on 100% is yourself.

  4. This was a very interesting article. I surely do watch the game of thrones when I get the chance to. I think some of these you hit right on the money. Number 1 is very true. Your real friends would never abandon you, and the people you have by your side because of the monetary value you give them, will never be truly faithful to you. It is very interesting though that you look at the high sparrow in such a negative way. I thought he was just really a guy who worshiped the Gods before anyone else. The Queen was the bad one in my eyes. It was still nice to see a different perspective of things.

    • Hey lawrence, thanks for leaving your opinion. You are spot on what you said about money.

      Concerning the High Sparrow, I don’t know man, maybe I don’t like him because of the hilarious name. Why on earth call your self sparrow? Even if the queen was the bad one I don’t think she deserved that kind of humiliation.

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