These 'Game Of Thrones' Characters Are Eerily Similar To Real-World CEOs


"Game of Thrones" returns to the airwaves for its seventh season Sunday night.

According to Variety, the Time Warner Inc TWX's HBO premiere tv series averaged 23.3 million multiplatform views during its sixth season and is primed to become even more popular in the seventh.

Although the setting and plot of the show are fantastical, with magical elements seeped deep into the plot, some of the show's characters exemplify the same dispositions and motivations of real-world CEOs. Here are four examples of "Game of Thrones" characters and their CEO comparisons.

Tyrion Lannister: Elon Musk

Elon Musk, best known for being the founder and CEO of SpaceX and the CEO of Tesla Inc TSLA, is the closest thing to a real-world Tyrion Lannister there is. As a child, Musk was constantly picked on for being nerdy and “bookish” at school and at home. This aligns with Tyrion, who is subjected to constant prodding and tormenting for his dwarfism.

Besides being bullied by peers, Musk was emotionally and physically taunted by his father for his shortcomings, similar to Tyrion ’s battered relationship with his father, Tywin. That said, both Musk and Tyrion used their brains and intellect to rise up against the odds and become powerful leaders in their respective worlds. Musk is arguably the smartest man in technology, whereas Tyrion is arguably the smartest man in all of Westeros.

However, both men’s journeys to the top were not smooth. Tyrion escapes death multiple times, winning a trial by combat at the Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn and escaping imprisonment by his own father in King’s Landing. Musk, on the other hand, has risen to a $13 billion net worth since finding himself broke in 2010 after losing money in business and a divorce case.

The two also needed help from others to reach their eventual positions of influence. Varys, Bronn and Tyrion ’s brother, Jamie, all came through for Tyrion in times of desperation. Similarly, many of Musk’s business companions aided him financially until he was able to get back on his feet after going broke seven years ago.

Musk and Tyrion both were born into poor situations with all the odds against them. After hard work, determination and help, both are worth boatloads of money and aren't done changing the world.

Steve Jobs: Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister can be understood as Westeros' Steve Jobs, the late co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. AAPL. Both are massive world leaders looked upon with utmost respect. Jobs was at the helm of Apple, perhaps the most recognizable and successful brand in the entire world. On the other hand, Tywin sat comfortably as Hand of the King and head of the Lannister family, easily the most powerful family in all of Westeros.

Both men were touted as very wise and wanted nothing but perfection from their workers or followers. If a king's guardsman or soldier messed up during battle, Tywin would have them killed. If an Apple employee messed up with their assignment, Jobs would have verbally berated them.

As a child, Jobs was given up for adoption, and this was part of the motivation to become great. Likewise, Tywin was driven to succeed due to his father’s shortcomings, which in part led to his critical and intense attitude toward work and family.

Although both Jobs and Tywin may not have fulfilled their full potential as rulers of empires, there is no doubt the power they achieved changed their respective worlds.

Do Won Chang: Jon Snow

Do Won Chang, the founder of Forever 21, personifies Jon Snow, King of the North. Both men are kings of their own domains. Chang and Snow found power in foreign lands. The Forever 21 founder moved from Korea to the United States in 1981, whereas Jon Snow moved about 1,500 miles to the Wall after having lived in Winterfell his entire life.

It took a lot of time, hard work and humility for the men to rise to greatness. Wang worked three different jobs — as a janitor, gas station attendant and coffee shop employee — before venturing into retail and opening his first Forever 21 store. Snow, on the other hand, worked from the very bottom of the Night’s Watch for years before becoming Lord Commander and eventually the King of the North.

Along with that, both learned the ins and outs of their respective fields by working in the lower echelons before rising to the top.

The two also demonstrated early on they were going to be highly successful once reaching the peak. Chang made $700,000 in his first year of starting Forever 21, and Jon Snow saved the Wildlings, killed White Walkers at Hardhome and defeated Ramsay Bolton to retake Winterfell — all in his first season and a half as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.

Snow and Chang both could have been contributing mid-level members of society, but they chose to get bear down, learn the industry and rise to power.

Mark Zuckerberg: Varys

Mark Zuckerberg is the quiet billionaire and strategic genius. He created a social media superpower with Facebook Inc. FB by keeping friends close and enemies closer. Similarly, Varys, another strategic and quiet genius, rose to substantial power by staying in the shadows and helping the people he knew would bring him to power.

Zuckerberg spited the Winklevoss twins en route to creating Facebook and an incredible personal opportunity. Varys spited then-Hand of the King Tywin by helping Tyrion escape from imprisonment en route to finding Daenerys Targaryen and more prominence and prestige.

Both men are also very smart and sophisticated but struggled to find social acceptance. It is widely believed that part of Zuckerberg’s motivation to create Facebook was a rejection from a girl in college, and part of Varys’ motivation to rise to power in the seven kingdoms was a rejection from society that left him in the streets to die.

The two men also became experts at one skilled trait in order to create a foundation of success. Zuckerberg is an expert at coding and programming, and Varys, an expert of pilfering and manipulating. They used both of their specialized skills to become valuable to other people, helping them rise to an unfathomable degree of power.

Zuckerberg and Varys also possess the desire to help society. Zuckerberg created Facebook to help college students mingle and become connected online, and Varys uses his power to protect the common man in Westeros, with an especially kind heart for children suffering the same unfair disadvantages that he had.

Zuckerberg and Varys are very intelligent and sophisticated men who have made great fortune by staying under the radar and letting their ingenuity take them to power.

Watch "Game of Thrones" season seven premiere on HBO this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.


Image Credit: By Suzi Pratt from Seattle, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Posted In: EducationOpinionMediaGeneralDo Won ChangElon MuskForever 21Game of ThronesMark ZuckerbergSteve Jobs
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