Society is no picnic in A Game of Thrones. Our heroes and villains (and just regular people) have to navigate a social jungle filled with dangers. One of the main difficulties is that there are so many different societies, each with their own set of rules. And no one is immune to the power of society: even when the powerful Eddard Stark comes out of the north to King's Landing, he has to adjust to new set of social rules that hold sway. Keeping track of the customs, traditions, and morals of each society is not only difficult for the characters, but also for the readers. But, hey, that's what makes George R.R. Martin's world so rich and engaging.
Questions About Society and Class
Which societies do we learn the most about in this book? How does Martin convey the information we learn? What do you think about the societies that we only glimpse briefly, like the wildlings?
It's pretty clear that there are a lot of negatives that come from living in a medieval society, but what positive things does the society of the Seven Kingdoms have going for it? Would you rather live in the Seven Kingdoms or with the Dothraki? Why?
Are there any social customs in the book that you find bizarre or uncomfortable? How do you feel about these particular customs? And does the author describe them in a neutral way, or does he express an opinion, too?
What sort of cross-class relationships are there in this book? And how do they work? Think about Arya and Mykah, the butcher's boy: are they really friends? Is it an equal relationship? Does it work out well for both of them? (You could ask the same thing of Ned Stark and Jory Cassel; or Bran and his servants, Osha, Old Nan, and Hodor.)
Chew on This
A Game of Thrones is not an ideal society by any stretch of the imagination. Actually, it's more like a dystopia.
The multitude of societies is what leads to war in A Game of Thrones.