Game Of Thrones is really a show about family and parenting. After all, the War Of The Five Kings is basically just one huge, messy family feud ruining the Realm for everyone.
Full of (mostly) awful parents and children behaving very badly, the fantasy show comes loaded with lessons about how (not) to raise kids.
So with the beginning of Season 7, here’s 10 tongue-in-cheek tips so you don’t stumble into the same parenting pitfalls.
1. Children need love, respect, discipline and hugs.
Otherwise, you risk rearing a sadistic, psycho brat (Joffrey), a murderous helicopter mum (Cersei), a bitter drunk (Tyrion), a traitor with daddy issues (Theon) or a sick monster (Ramsay). It’s all bad news, really.
2. Ensure you hire the right help.
They say it takes a village to raise a child and in Game Of Thrones, that’s literally true. When looking for a nanny, look for someone who’s protective and devoted. Like Hodor.
3. Never chain your kids up
Even if you’re the ‘Mother Of Dragons’ and your children are naughty, fire-breathing lizards. Locking your little ones in a dungeon just creates resentment and distrust and they’ll run away the first chance they get.
4. Embrace your child’s individuality
“Never forget what you are,” Tyrion tells Jon Snow in the first episode. “The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour, and it can never be used to hurt you.”
It’s powerful advice, both for a bastard warrior and a toddler finding their feet in the world. Encourage them to love themselves and they’ll be able to conquer everything from kindergarten to an army of wildlings at The Wall.
5. Let your children follow their dreams
Not every girl wants to act like a lady or marry a lord. No, some like Arya, want to learn to fight and slay sworn enemies and become a blind, cockle-selling assassin. Sure, it’s not the usual career path dad would have picked, but at least she’s still alive.
6. Lock the bathroom door
There’s nothing more annoying than a kid busting in on you mid-stream when you’re on the other ‘throne’. Except when he’s having a tantie and wielding a loaded crossbow.
7. Don’t underestimate little people
“A very small man can cast a very large shadow,” Varys tells Tyrion in season two. It’s true for toddlers too. They might be short, but they sure are clever and unique little creatures. And just like Tyrion, they’re endlessly amusing.
8. Books are the best weapon a kid can wield
It’s not all swords and sorcery in Game Of Thrones. “Sleep is good and books are better,” Tyrion says in the novels. Tired parents may argue his priorities, but it’s an important message for young scribes. He also tells Jon Snow “a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” Read up, kids, and one day you might get to rule your own King’s Landing (or hopefully somewhere less deadly).
9. Don’t play favourites
Tywin did, Catelyn did, Balon Greyjoy did… and look how their family has turned out! Prioritising one kid over another pits them against you and each other, and sets you up for years of agro, anxiety and therapy bills. Play nice.
10. Remember every parent has bad days
One day you’re giving your beloved daughter the finest doll in the land. The next you’re being betrayed, wounded and thrown in a dungeon. Every day is a battle and as a parent, you win some and lose some. Just take a deep breath and remember ‘it will pass’.