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Understanding Office Politics, as Explained by Game of Thrones

Whether it be your first job out of college, or you’re a seasoned vet, navigating office politics can be a terribly difficult thing to do. Understanding how different departments interact with one another is a vital component to surviving the workplace. With that in mind, and with the 6th season of Game of Thrones ready to kick itself into high gear this weekend, we’re offering you a handy guidebook to office politics as explained by the politics of Westeros.

The Lannisters

Who else could this be other than the C-Level employees? They have all the wealth and power & everyone else is secretly (sometimes openly) rooting against them. In some cases, becoming a part of this group seems to have more to do with birthright rather than actual qualifications.

House Tyrell

In GOT, house Tyrell is the second most powerful family in Westeros. While they enjoy a ton of power, they are constantly scheming for a way to take control of the Iron Throne. Sound like anyone you work with? That’s right, middle management. These folks are going to lead their teams and try to be as successful as they possibly can be. They’ll celebrate with the “common folk.” But don’t be fooled, they will always have one eye on that corner office.

The Iron Bank

This is clearly your accounting department. They account for every penny coming in and out of the kingdom, err, business. They will analyze every line of your expense report, so don’t even try to sneak those tickets to the ballgame on there as a business expense because they somehow always know whether or not you actually took a client with you.

Meereen

Meereen is a former slave colony that was taken over by Daenerys Targaryen (aka The Mother of Dragons, aka Khaleesi). Her first order of business was the free all of the slaves. Can you imagine the number of HR complaints that must have been filed after all of that went down? Of course HR is based in Meereen.

House Stark & House Bolton

This is your marketing and sales teams. Based on their proximity, you’d think that they’d be natural allies. But the marketing department typically are the tortured heroes of your office (The Starks), campaigning for what is right. Sales are the Boltons, tagging along for the ride until something goes wrong. As soon as that happens, sales will go all “Red Wedding” on marketing.

The Iron Islands/House Greyjoy

GOT doesn’t spend a lot of time on the Iron Islands. What we do know about them is that they are a dark, damp and grey place and their people seem to just be bitter and angry about everything. Can there possibly be a better explanation for your company’s IT department? They typically prefer dark offices off in a corner away from everyone. And when you do need them they pretty much seem constantly annoyed that you need their help with anything.

The Knights Watch

Always on call and sworn to protect the realm against White Walkers and the Westeros version of The Hill People. These would be your consultants or customer service team. These folks reluctantly dedicate their careers to the aid of others, always on the lookout for trouble. This group more or less lives in their own world and can get cliquey and can quickly turn on each other. Think John Snow, just with less stabbing.

Khaleesi

The Mother of Dragons is typically some member of the Owner’s extended family, like their nephew. They got their job based on their family ties, walk in thinking they own the joint, try to make a bunch of changes and just end up burning everything to cinders. Which is pretty much what Daenerys Targaryen has been doing since season one.

If reading this blog makes you long for your days as a sandwich artist at Subway, fret not. Like Westeros, the workplace can be a crazy place. But it is survivable if you know where you stand and what to expect. And depending on your ambition, the Iron Throne is always up for grabs.