Study Guide

A Game of Thrones Principles

By George R. R. Martin

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In A Game of Thrones, principles are often questions of duty and honor. Oh, and they're never fun. No one ever says, "my principles tell me that I should eat this pie." Pretty much everyone in this book has a role to play in their society and those roles come with certain duties – from sewing to killing. So what if your duties don't match up with your principles? Is it better to be dutiful or honorable? Well, come to think of it, a lot of characters in this book would answer that question with a resounding "neither."

Questions About Principles

  1. Where do principles come from in this book? Are they born within individuals, or are they influenced by family or religion?
  2. Why does Jaime say, "Give me honorable enemies rather than ambitious ones, and I'll sleep more easily by night" (9 Bran 2.35)? Is it possible to be ambitious and honorable at the same time? (If you're not Shmoop, that is.)
  3. What happens when different principles conflict? How do characters choose what principle to follow? Or, if they don't choose, how is the problem resolved?
  4. In A Game of Thrones, are there ever any good reasons to compromise a principle?

Chew on This

It's better not to have any principles in A Game of Thrones. You'll just have to compromise them anyway.

In A Game of Thrones, every character has principles of some sort, whether they're based on honor or greed. All of these ways-of-life are equally valid in this society. (Hey, whatever helps you survive.)

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