The Real Game of Thrones

Starting July 17, 2017and for the coming six week, vast majority of Indians will eagerly await not for Sundays but for Mondays. People will avoid using social media like a contagion and blood (spoilers) will be everywhere. Reason- Game of Thrones, a hugely popular television show becomes available for the Indians on Monday instead of Sunday (thank you Standard Time for messing with our Sundays).

Now airing its Seventh Season, Game of Thrones is the story of several Great Houses, their lords and landed knights vying for an Iron Throne, the seat of Power for the continent of Westeros. Full of amazing actions and not so amazing CGI, lovable characters who lose their heads every now and then along with hugely hated characters who just can’t seem to be dead soon enough, the show’s plot full of schemes and devious plots has become an immense hit amongst the world’s populace, who seem every ready to draw real life parallels from it. The plot is full of the usual sex and violence along with deep plot complexity and loads and loads of power struggles. Where I Live, we love Power struggles and while I do watch Game of Thrones, the bulk of my interest lies in a different Game of Thrones, one that is real and far more complex than the plot of Game of Thrones will ever be. That’s right, a real actual-life Game of Thrones.

India is a not a country, but a continent full of diverse regions like Westeros united by a seat of power(reel- King’s Landing, Real- you know). The regions are governed by regional satraps (hereditary in Westeros, not so hereditary here). To advise these local satraps and aid in their administration, maesters or Administrative officers are trained in well-established academies. The local law enforcement is the primary duty of the regional satraps who govern their regions as they see fit. The result, some regions may be very well-governed and prosperous like the Westerlands while some may languish in poverty and be full of stifle like the Grey Islands (both have real-life parallels). Unlike Westeros, India is home to a diversity of religions (far more than the 2/3 found on Westeros), people, languages, cultures, traditions, practices and behaviors, not found anywhere else in the world. Unlike Westeros, you don’t die if you lose the Game of Thrones, you get another chance in five years. Sooner, if you lucky. No one, not even God himself, should he ever decide to take a guess himself, can predict the Indian Game of Thrones. Alliances are made and broken everyday and yesterday’s friends may become today’s enemies to re-emerge as tomorrow’s best buddies. Calling it unpredictable would be understatement.

The story can be said to have begun in the late 2013. The Great House of the Hand supported by the regional houses of the “Forever-Youth-Leader”, “the one who should not be put in charge of Cattle Fodder” and the other minor houses had been ruling the entire continent for a decade from the seat at New Delhi. However, the head of the Great House of Hand, was worried as their rivals, the Great House of the Lotus had found its new leader, a rags to riches Saffron Knight who had administered the provinces in the west and had made a name for him. While the old guard in the Great House of Lotus, which unlike the Great House of the Hand was not dynasty, was wary to cast its lot with the Saffron Knight, the peasants and the middle class prevailed on it and the Saffron Knight along with his most trusted advisor, Ser Bald-win set out to claim the seat of power. Alliances were made with the Regional Houses in the South and the Centre while the Knight of Good-Governance broke his alliance with the House of Lotus. Most of the smaller houses hitched their fates to either of the two great houses or a new Great House, which they planned on establishing after having captured power. In the Great War that followed, the House of the Hand along with its allies was decimated, fallen to massive charges led by the Saffron Knight and the strategizing of Ser Bald-win. Only the Houses of the Simple Lady in the East, the Smart Guy on the Sea and the Loving Mother in the South could resist the Saffron Knight. Defeated and out of power, the decaying but not yet Dead Great House of Hand re-made alliances with regional houses and Landed Knights. Swallowing its pride, the armies of the House of the Hand were relegated to the rear while the battles were fought primarily and mainly by the Allied Knights. After capturing the seat of power, the Saffron Knight went on to win several key provinces one after another. But his advance was checked, in his own backyard by Ser Protest-a-lot, a brilliant yet eccentric knight and his rag-tag band of the common folk. Ser Protest-a-lot dealt a heavy blow to the Saffron Knight wiping out his entire force, barring a trio.

The Saffron Knight lost another battle, this time in a province right next to his citadel. He was surprised and defeated by a coalition of the Knight of Good-Governance, the one who should not be put in charge of Cattle Fodder and the Great House of the Hand. Successive defeats put pressure on the Saffron Knight but he took a lesson from his defeats. The next year, while he lost battles to House of the Simple Lady in the East and the Loving Mother of the South, his battle prowess was praised and he snatched a key state in the North East from the Great House of the Hand, helped by their former vassal who was wary of a Landed House in his state under the Great House. In the near-abroad, the Kingdom of Green, a sworn enemy had begun a plethora of nefarious activities to harm the state. The Saffron Knight allowed a free hand to his warriors and the Kingdom of Green was given a befitting reply, shells for a bullet, rockets for a shell. In the East, the Empire of the Chairman grew restless, apparently at the growing power and I don’t care attitude of the Saffron Knight. Back Home, while Ser Protest-a-lot did win a great victory, inexperience and infighting ensured that he could not follow through on his victory and was defeated by the House of the Lotus in a skirmish. The Great House of the Hand under a bold Ser Captain wrested back a key province from an ally of the Great House of Lotus but Ser Bald-win ensured that the Great House of the Lotus won the major province of “80 Castles” and appointed the High Priest to govern the province. The death of the Loving Mother of the south sparked a rebellion in her house and Ser Bald-win, sensing an opportunity played peacemaker and gained their support to elect their fellow brethren to the seat of the “Protector of the Constitution, Lord of the Pardons and the Commander of the Army, Fleet and Dragons”. The Great House of the Hand realized that the next War could not be won without several allies. They tried to cobble together a coalition of the defeated lords but Ser Bald-win engineered a major coup when he weaned away the Knight of Good-Governance to his fold, hammering the final nail on the coffin of “the ambitions of the House of Hand to field a unified force against the Saffron Knight”. To defeat the Saffron Knight, the Great House of the Hand needs to find a new contender to the throne, some-one powerful enough to check the Saffron Knight but not so powerful so as to overthrow the House of the Hand itself and time to mount such a challenge is fast running out before the next War. But will it be able to do so, only time will tell.

(This article is intended to be a fun read and does not Endeavour to offend anyone. Have a hood laugh)

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M.Tech. (Petroleum Engineering), Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, Rae Bareli.

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