Did Disabilities Win the Game of Thrones?

I found the final episode of Game of Thrones interesting on a number of levels. One of those was the way disabilities were portrayed, not just throughout the series, but in the conclusion.


Mighty kings and queens had been battling for eight seasons to determine who would rule the seven kingdoms. All of them had their strengths and weaknesses. But no one anticipated who would become king.

Bran Stark

In the final episode, Bran Stark was chosen as king of the remaining six kingdoms. Bran was a young boy in the first episode who climbed a tower, saw something he shouldn’t have, and was pushed down. The resulting fall left him with a broken back and paralyzed.

It looked like he had no chance for glory like his older brothers Robb and Jon. However, while trying to escape his pursuers, he found his destiny by travelling beyond the wall and becoming the three-eyed raven. Don’t ask, just be aware that it gave him great knowledge. Bran was eventually able to get some mobility with a primitive wheelchair.  It was Bran that the dreaded Night King sought to kill.

Tyrion LannisterWhile it looked like Bran’s (sort of) brother Jon Snow might be king, it ended up being Bran who was chosen as king. Bran chose as his hand (think prime minister) Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion was a dwarf. Not a dwarf as in the race found in the Lord of the Rings but as a birth defect. Tyrion was raised being treated as a monster. Many hated him just for the way he looked.

So this unlikely duo, a boy in wheelchair and a dwarf, become the most powerful people in Westeros. Not what one would expect in a world defined by strength in battle. What made this better was that Bran and Tyrion were chosen, not out of pity for their disabilities, but because they were the best ones for the job.

There were many things about Game of Thrones that were crude. But I thought their portrayal of disabilities was well done and led to a satisfying conclusion.

Perhaps it was disabilities that truly won the Game of Thrones.


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