The True Nature of Power

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Shane St Pierre
Shane St Pierre
15 Apr 2022

⁣The True Nature of Power

Varys - "Power is a curious thing, my lord. Are you fond of riddles?"
Tyrion - "Why? Am I about to hear one?" Varys - "Three great men sit in a room, a king, a priest and the rich man. Between them stands a common sellsword. Each great man bids the sellsword kill the other two. Who lives? Who dies?"
Tyrion - "Depends on the sellsword"
Varys - "Does it? He's not the crown, no gold, no favor with the gods"
Tyrion - "He's got the sword, the power of live and death"
Varys - "But if the swordsman's who rule, why do we pretend kings hold all the power? When Ned Stark lost his head, who was truly responsible: Joffrey, the executioner, or something else?"
Tyrion - "I have decided I don't like riddles"
The riddle in the book, A Song of Ice and Fire, goes as follows:

In a room sit three great men, a king, a priest, and a rich man with his gold. Between them stands a sellsword, a little man of common birth and no great mind. Each of the great ones bids him slay the other two. 'Do it,' says the king, 'for I am your lawful ruler.' 'Do it,' says the priest, 'for I command you in the names of the gods.' 'Do it,' says the rich man, 'and all this gold shall be yours.' So tell me- who lives and who dies?
What's interesting about this riddle is whether or not there is even an answer to it. What I mean is this: the riddle is kind of a trick question because it means to point out the fact that power is a perception of men and it resides where men believe it does. So, how do you answer this riddle? It really is more of a philosophical lesson on power than a puzzle to be concretely solved.

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