Why stories won Game Of Thrones
“What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken? The boy who fell from a high tower and lived.” Tyrion Lannister
For years the world has been wondering who will end up on the Iron Throne, and in the most pivotal moment of the ﬁnal episode of Game Of Thrones, Tyrion convinces all the Westeros representatives gathered to decide his fate that Bran The Broken should rule the 7 (or 6) Kingdoms.
A dull boy in a wheelchair who self-proclaims not to be in this world anymore should be a tough sell as King. But in this moment, Tyrion is using a powerful story to convince his audience that Bran has the best story, and nobody can argue with a good story.
The best story wins.
Indeed, Tyrion is the master Game Of Thrones storyteller. In just 47 words he does a number of things that work well in storytelling.
He sets up a question. A big, lofty one at that. ‘What unites people?' It immediately draws us in. He then answers it himself with armies, gold and ﬂags. But immediately questions that they in fact truly unite us. If he had asked the group, many would have rightly said any of the 3, but the genius of his story is that nobody questions his questioning.
They are now all wanting to know what actually unites us. Nothing can stop the power of a great story. No arguments there. Unlike the tangibility of armies, gold and ﬂags, stories create an unseen emotional bond between us. ‘No enemy can defeat it.’ What a brilliant line, and even more powerful for a show in which enemies are all that people understand. If you have something that your enemy can’t defeat, then you’ve won.
The best story wins.
The greatest genius of the cagey little fella is carefully spinning the story for his own gain. Bran didn’t ‘fall’ from a high tower! He was pushed by his selﬁsh brother who was fucking his own sister to save their family name. And in this moment, Tyrion is also protecting the family name.
But it’s just not his name he’s trying to protect in championing Bran. Tryion is up for treason. He knows that if Bran is king, he’ll make him his hand and save him. Earlier in the season the two were talking and Tyrion asked ‘Tell me a story.’ They cut before Bran spoke, but that story gave Tyrion the conﬁdence to tell this story in this vital moment.
His story worked because he showed empathy for someone others had dismissed. He played on our belief in what is just, in what is right. And he put forth an argument that you just can’t argue with. He told a story about the power of stories that answered one of the greatest stories ever told.
We can all learn from Game Of Thrones, and it's clear their success came from superior storytelling. While your business may not have the might of armies, white walkers or dragons, it does have the power to tell a great story.
And the best story always wins.