As HBO’s blockbuster series Game of Thrones roars into its eighth and final season, it’s sure to be the number one Monday morning water cooler topic. While sex, blood, and dragons steal the spotlight week after week, the show actually has a lot to say about financial resources, too.
Let’s consider how some of the most important TV show characters might advise you on how to invest your very own coin(s). Of note: we’re working with the TV series, and not going into the world of the books.
Cersei looks great in a shame-based pixie cut or unnecessarily long braids, but she also shows a certain moral and fiduciary flexibility. She’d be the type of certified financial planner (CFP) to tell you that you’d be a fool to waste even a cent on needy, pathetic relatives who ought to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. But once in awhile, she’d surprise you by urging you to donate to a truly worthy cause like a reputable children’s charity. And then she’d call you ugly and fire you as her client.
Tyrion himself succeeds Lord Baelish as Master of Coin under King Joffrey, and discovers to his dismay that Baelish put the kingdom into heavy debt to the Iron Bank. Tyrion ends up leaving his post when he’s unjustly accused of murdering King Joffrey (thanks, Olenna Tyrell—RIP, you badass.) But one can assume that Tyrion would tell you that borrowing heavily on credit is a slow but steady track to an unnecessary amount of stress.
Can Daenerys actually count? I’m not sure. But she says words with great conviction while various persons of lower status do the actual work for her, so that’s nice. Daenerys has been through real trauma but she’s a great example of how people born with a lot of privilege will always find other people (and winged creatures) to do the heavy lifting while they look pretty. She has some interest in equal pay for equal work, and certain labor protections, so she’d remind you to pay your union dues.
Much like his dearly beloved Auntie Mother of Dragons, Jon Snow is very attractive and good at saying words with a specific facial expression. This is the guy who gives until it hurts, and then gives some more. He’d likely tell you to do the same, but remember that when it comes to emotional energy and money in the bank, you’ve got to manage your generosity so that you don’t burn out or wither away.
Arya is frugal, tough, and nearly fearless. She’s also sometimes unhealthily obsessive as she pursues her goals. This is a person who would monitor the NYSE, the NASDAQ, and the overseas stock exchanges constantly, chanting the names of your primary investments over and over again to herself. She’d be a tireless advocate for you, but she’d also call you at all hours of the night to discuss strategy. But if you’re into the dangerously intense approach, sure, hire her. Just don’t cross her.
How would these sexy, occasionally violent free-range hippies deal with modern personal finance? I guess they’re a great option for advice if you’ve got a truly edgy side and love to take risks. Put that hot bearded redheaded bro in a suit and tie, and let him convince you to invest in his cousin’s bow-and-arrow start-up. You’ll probably have to listen to said cousin tell you all about how he once met Elon Musk on “the playa” at Burning Man, but hey, maybe you’ll make a million bucks (you won’t).
Wow, do you hate yourself? Then you’re in luck—this financial advisor hates you too! Hire a White Walker to figure out your investment strategy and you’ll find your credit tanked and your bank account empty. Also, your identity will be stolen and you might die. There are a lot of cheats, con artists and miscreants out there, and those who don’t call themselves “life coaches” are probably calling themselves “financial planners.” This is why you need to find yourself a CFP with a proven track record.1
So, while characters can illustrate life themes, don’t look to Game of Thrones for financial lessons. Instead, research your financial advisors, whether they are Certified Financial Planners (CFPs), certified public accountants (CPAs) or just bestselling authors with cool-sounding ideas. And have fun this season. Because this spring, we’re gonna have one hell of a winter.