Frank Underwood and Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish.

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Frank Underwood and Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish.

  • John Faust

    Underwood and Littlefinger, are they essentially the same person?  Would you call Littlefinger an entrepreneur or crony capitalist?  Who would Frank be if he were born in Westeros?

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  • Matt Gilliland

    Oh wow, I’d never thought about how similar those characters are.  Frank doesn’t get obsessed over people in the way Littlefinger does, but otherwise their style is almost identical.

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    Scott MG

    Hey John,

    Both are definitely sociopaths. I still can’t put my finger on little finger however, as he never mentions that he doesn’t have any moral rules or rules that he lives by, just that you want to keep your advisories guessing. In this way he tells us that you can’t be a piece in the game, unlike others like Ned Stark. I think Underwood on the other hand is just underhanded and makes clear that his only goal is power. He really has no rules.

    Even though the liberty minded here (hopefully) are not sociopaths, I do not want to be a piece in anyone’s game in politics. I want Independence and claim full ownership to my mind, actions and motivations. I comply with the non-aggression principle but beyond to how I will act, when, and why I keep to myself.

    Just like Petyr Baelish, who is one of my favorite characters. Although I will say the shows version of him is quite different in my mind from the book. He is more like Underwood in the book.

    I think little finger is smart. Entrepreneur or Corney Capitalist he can put on both hats. I do not think he has a problem being one or the other, as I think he really is both.

    As for Frank it would largely depend where he started out. I think Little Finger is much smarter, but who knows if he started out even lower nobility he could wind up being the Lord of Dragon stone or something.

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      John Faust

      Scott, I like the way you think.  Where do you think Littlefinger will end up?

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        Scott MG

        It is tough to say…

        The series almost implies that all the major players want the iron throne, hence the title game of thrones (that’s the goal’s game). Little fingers goal is definitely power and I do believe the iron throne to be his ultimate goal, but given the circumstances would he settle with less power? I don’t know.

        He is not of Noble birth and he seems like he truly wishes to help Sansa succeed with whoever he plans to marry her to.

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    Mike Reid

    Super good question. Underwood is Tyrion Lannister.

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      Matt Gilliland

      I don’t know if I could possibly disagree more. How many of the books have you read?

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        Reagan Rothbard

        Read — why would you read when there is HBO? 🙂

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        • Scott MG

          Because like many other book series the television show has no choice but to gut a lot of the substance and subtleties that make the books so excellent!!! I watch the show to see it come to life and how they interpret it. Plus they do seem to get the characters themselves spot on.

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        • John Faust

          The books are fantastic, so is the show.  The show tends to simplify things though.  You lose some of the nuance and symbolism.  That said, you get greater contrast in the show which makes the important themes far more prominent and reach a different audience.

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        • Reagan Rothbard

          I wonder how many people get the point that the system is the problem, not the people?

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        • John Faust

          It’s true, we just did a podcast about this.  I am excited about it.  I hope we have it out in the next couple days.  We talked about the right to rule, rule of law, and legitimacy of the State.

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        • Reagan Rothbard

          Definitely share it when it’s live!

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      John Faust

      I would have to disagree as well.  Tyrion has a moral compass as well as looks out for people besides himself.  Littlefinger is an enigma, but both he and Frank are long game schemers and planners.

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    Matthew John Hayden

    This is difficult, because Baelish inhabits a world much like the European middle-ages, when political entrepreneurship was the in thing, with warlords carving out dominions on a rolling basis in the so-called game of thrones.

    Electoral republic / constitutional monarchy as the two accepted forms of government today have largely drained politics of its entrepreneurial element, making it almost exclusively about bureaucracy and apologetics (PR) for said bureaucracy.

    Today’s only real political entrepreneurs are Islamic State, offering the only parallel today with Baelish.

    As for Underwood; he’s venal and manipulative, as is Petyr, but his scope for action is curtailed by the times he lives in (and he curses this more than once while taking the audience into his confidence) meaning he cannot destroy people with gay abandon or claim territories or castles.

    Ultimately he’s stuck in the same office, trying to get to the top of the executive branch, and thus of the bureaucratic arms of the state. In his perceptiveness in his confidences to us, I suspect he would be an anarcho-capitalist if only he didn’t enjoy being the one with power so much.

    So while their personalities seem similar I’d have to say Baelish is the only one who’s really entrepreneurial in hiss political scheming.

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