Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Economics

How George R.R. Martin infuses his fantasy series with real-world economic lessons.


The sixth season of HBO's hit fantasy series Game of Thrones will kick off Sunday night. For those of you who like a bit of economics with your dragons and White Walkers, take a look at Reason TV's 2013 interview with Auburn University economics instructor Matthew McCaffrey.

From the original May 30, 2013 write-up:

McCaffrey has recently written about the economics involved in the popular Game of Thrones novels by George R.R. Martin as well as the HBO series based on the books. He sat down with Reason TV's Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss the various economic concepts that develop alongside the character-driven plot line, such as sin taxes, coin clipping, and the ever-present cost of borrowing.

According to McCaffrey, Martin extensively researches historical economic systems to make "the Realm" as plausible as possible.

"As part of his process he ends up uncovering a lot of historical details that usually get lost in a fantasy book of this kind," says McCaffrey, "just practical difficulties of running a kingdom, how public finance works, how the game of thrones corrupts the people who play it and how it ends disastrously for the people who don't play it well."