The Iron throne
Tetanus shot not included.
Season 6 of HBO’s Game of Thrones is almost here! While many fans are pouring over the latest theory as to who dies this season or who may not be dead from the last, we couldn’t help but see a link between the fictional landscape of Westeros and the unicorn-filled Valley of Silicon, which got us thinking: how would our celebrated tech superstars compare to our favorite characters? We are being more than a bit tongue-in-cheek, but here’s how Popular Science thinks the Seven Kingdoms match up with today’s tech landscape.
Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt: Olenna Tyrell
With the passing of Tywin Lannister, Olenna is the series’ most influential character, using her guile and intelligence to manipulate situations behind-the-scenes. Schmidt is the elder statesman of the Silicon Valley crowd, and his influence doesn’t just stop at Google, where he is the executive chairman of Alphabet. He was recently named the head of an advisory board at the Pentagon, charged with bringing innovation to the U.S. military, and he has led efforts to promote Internet access and growth in Iraq, North Korea, and Cuba. Schmidt might not have the on-the-street recognition of some of the others on this list, but he is arguably one of the most influential actors within the tech sphere.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: Jon Snow
According to Andrew Beveridge, associate professor of mathematics at Macalester College, Jon Snow is one of the most important characters in Game of Thrones, the most connected individual whose actions weigh heavy on the rest of the series. The same could be said for Zuckerberg, whose social network refined and quantified our connections with friends, acquaintances, and even random individuals.
SpaceX’s Elon Musk: Ramsay Bolton
Musk has some big ideas, and isn’t afraid to share them. From the hyperloop to SpaceX, Tesla to self-driving buses, Musk has tasked himself with starting and advancing the conversation on topics with significant societal impact. Ramsay Bolton is an apt comparison in that whatever Ramsay wants, Ramsay gets, and the two individuals seem to share the same ethos.
Alphabet’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page: Cersei and Jaime Lannister
Cersei and Jaime, Sergey and Larry — two pairings that will always be mentioned in the same breath.
Facebook’s Regina Dugan: Daenerys Targaryen
Regina Dugan has led DARPA, headed Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects lab, and is now at Facebook. She has burned trails all across Silicon Valley, much like Daenerys’ trek from Slaver’s Bay to Meereen. She’s a queen of dragons and tinged with a glimmer of greatness.
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey: Varys Targaryen
Varys has little birds throughout Westeros, while Dorsey’s own little birds, in a 140-character format, have broken news and sparked revolutions worldwide.
Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg: Tyrion Lannister
Both were directly responsible for the success of their respective kingdoms — Sandberg plays a chief role in developing Facebook’s projects, while Tyrion has managed both King’s Landing and now Mereen (in Daenerys’ absence). Plus, both bootstrapped what might have been meandering financial situations.
Baidu’s Robin Li: Sansa Stark
Li is the co-founder and CEO of Baidu, the largest search engine in China, whose worldwide recognition is slowly but steadily gaining momentum. Sansa, who many assume dead (while others know is in deep hiding), could be the key to taking control of a war-weary and torn Westeros.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos: Petyr Baelish
Baelish is arguably the savviest character in all the Seven Kingdoms. He gets the game, as he makes clear in his speech to Varys about chaos: “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder … Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.” The same can be said about Bezos; Amazon, Blue Origin, the Washington Post — there is little Bezos hasn’t dabbled in that didn’t make waves.
Uber’s Travis Kalanick: Roose Bolton
What started on a snowy night in Paris has transformed into a multi-faceted conglomerate; Uber isn’t just a taxi service, it is a verb and a noun, and founder Travis Kalanick isn’t afraid to displace those who aren’t as quick to adapt. Robb Stark should have known the depths to which Roose Bolton’s loyalties lie, as should the Lannisters or Waldo Frey. Bolton cares for nothing but his sigil.
Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel: Arya Stark
Youth isn’t the only attribute both Spiegel and Arya share. Blink, and you’ll miss your friend’s story, and should Arya’s story arc on the HBO production mirror her narrative in the George R.R. Martin books, it’s the same fleeting sensation.
Investor Chris Sacca: Bran Stark
If Sacca were investing in Game of Thrones’ characters as he has in Twitter, Instagram, and Uber, he might lead the angel investing round for Bran, the Stark with warg talents whose importance is still very much up in the air.
Myspace’s Tom Anderson: Ned Stark
Ned was our introduction to the complex world of Westeros, as was Tom for the Internet. We made our first online friends through Myspace, and Ned taught us values and how to be upstanding amidst chaos and corruption. And while both were undermined, we still think fondly of them.
Activist Edward Snowden: Brienne of Tarth
Snowden exposed the mass surveillance and illegal operations overseen and implemented by the U.S. government. Brienne was tasked with a mission some would consider impossible — find and protect Sansa and Arya Stark — yet she trudges on, the last remaining character whose virtue has yet to be tarnished.
Netflix’s Reed Hastings: Melisandre
Other than sharing an affinity for the color red, Melisandre and Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, are doggedly pursuing their respective end goal. For Hastings, Netflix will revolutionize how we consume media; for Melisandre, all will worship at the pyres of the Red God, the one true god. And there are proving to be few who will stand in either’s path.
Apple’s Tim Cook: Tommen Baratheon
Tommen Baratheon is in an unenviable position: a successor to the crown whose previous inhabitants were murdered. There is a considerable amount of weight on his teenage shoulders, which Tim Cook can empathize with. Cook has eased Apple into the post-Steve Jobs world, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy (with more than a few hiccups along the way).