Lessons from Westeros Part 1: A Game of InformationKendyll Ferrall
*Warning – Game of Thrones season 7 spoilers ahead.*
With the highly anticipated return of the final season of Game of Thrones, fans everywhere are picking up where they left off at the end of season 7 – the discovery that not only is Jon Snow a Targaryen, but that his true parents, Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, were legally married, making him the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne. In a show filled with dragons, giants, red witches, and an army of the dead, the most important plot point of the series was discovered with good, old-fashioned research.
Gilly, the character who discovered that Snow’s father annulled his previous marriage in order to legally marry his mother, learned this through research. She sat down, opened a book, started reading, and then asked one of the most important questions in the entire series, “What does annulment mean?”
The bombshell heard ‘round Westeros was buried in a book in the Citadel and while Gilly wasn’t able to recognize the significance of a man named Rhaegar annulling his marriage, fans of the show were because they had collected bits of information throughout the series to piece together the story of Jon’s true lineage. And that is the power of research.
Researchers write stories through information that is collected through what is available to them, be it social media, public records, old yearbooks, or a three-eyed raven. Research can separate you from your competition and it is a crucial tool for crafting arguments, advancing narratives, and accomplishing goals. Whether the goal is to win a campaign, market a product, or take the throne, information is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.
Through research, we discover truths by reading and asking questions and looking for unique angles with uncommon or unassuming sources. After all, tucked in-between High Septon Maynard’s diary entries about how many steps were in the Citadel and how many bowel movements he made that day, was a piece of information that could’ve prevented an entire war.