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15 Things Game of Thrones Teaches Us About Prepping

Game of Thrones, now in its 7th season, airs on HBO on Sunday nights. This riveting series chronicles the conflicts between several powerful feuding families. It’s based on several books by George R.R. Martin, which even he admits, are somewhat loosely based on a series of wars between two royal houses, the House of York (white rose) and the House of Lancaster (Red Rose).

In addition to resembling the historic Wars of the Roses and introducing us to characters such as Joffrey Baratheon, Cersei Lannister, and others that we love to hate, there are some lessons Game of Thrones teaches preppers about how to prepare for future threats. If you’re a GOT fan, we’d love to hear what prepping lessons you’ve learned from watching GOT. We’ve included fifteen lessons we discovered below:

Winter is Coming

Ned Stark, the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North first announced, “Winter is Coming”. As the series progresses over the next several seasons, others in Westeros and across the sea in Braavos, gradually come to not only accept that winter is coming but to reluctantly start to prepare for and conquer it.

This is like prepping. First you become aware or awakened to the fact that something (i.e. SHTF) is coming. Then you must accept that the threats are real and inevitable. Once you accept it, you start preparing by stockpiling supplies and learning as much as you can about how to survive what is coming. In many cases you may even try to convince others, especially those who love, that a threat is coming.

Like the people in the North, some people will flat out deny winter or SHTF is coming. Others slowly accept it’s coming and begin to prepare reluctantly. Some may begin to start preparing too late.

Never Fully Trust Anyone, even relatives

As GOT progresses through six seasons, there have been over seventy different betrayals that occur and more than half of these betrayals are perpetrated by family members of the victims. Unfortunately, when times are tough and their back is against the wall, most people will do whatever it takes to save their own skin or push their own agenda and well-being.

worm farming

As in the way Ramsay Bolton kills his stepmother and newborn brother to cement his claim to the throne, you may find that relatives will take your supplies without regard to the fact it means you will starve. Perhaps not everyone will confront you as viciously as Ramsay Bolton, but dangerous just the same. In the time of war and chaos following a SHTF event or even a natural disaster, anyone can become a direct or indirect threat to your survival, even one of your most trusted relatives.

In some cases, your relatives could be tortured by others and forced to reveal your plans and secrets to save themselves. Be careful who you talk to about your prepping plans. The more people who know the details about your stockpile and your prepping plans, the more likely it is that someone will come for them when things get desperate. When other people know about your stockpile or resources, it increases the number of times you will have to defend yourself. No matter how skilled you are at defense, the more times you must defend yourself, the more likely it is that you will be injured or even killed.

Sometimes, to survive you must unite with neighbors against a common threat.

The people of the North have been at odds with the free folk or wildlings for decades. But Jon Snow knows the threat they soon face will be insurmountable without numbers. To get those numbers he works to align the Night’s Watch of the North with the Wildlings beyond the wall against a threat that will surely wipe them all out if they don’t work together.

It will be like this following a disaster or SHTF event also. You may need to put differences aside and work with neighbors in your area against a danger that threatens to wipe everyone out. Survival becomes the priority and if the chances of you and your family surviving is greater with the help of your neighbors, you must do whatever is necessary to bring people together.

Sometimes the Right Thing to Do is the Worst Thing You’ve Ever Done.

When Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, refuses to bend the knee to Stannis Baratheon, he is burned at the stake. Unable to take hearing the respected leader’s screams, Jon Snow turns and puts an arrow through his heart. Jon has to make a series of these hard decisions throughout the series and we see the stress of his guilt weighing on him at time progresses.

The thing that most preppers aren’t prepared for following a major SHTF event, is having to make hard life and death decisions. The right thing to do will likely be one of the worst things you’ve ever had to do. For some people, the stress of having to make such horrendous decisions will be more than they can bear.

Two is one and one is none.

During the Battle of the Bastards, the wildling leader, Tormund, can win out over the Bolton army leader because he had a hidden spare knife he used after losing his main weapon in the battle. Having a pare knife saved didn’t just come in handy for Tormund, it saved his life. This drives home the prepper strategy “two is one and one is none.” which basically means always have a spare in case you lose or break one. This philosophy applies to anything you need for survival and could include knives, firearms, fire-starting materials, ways to filter water, etc.

First impressions are often misunderstood or wrong.

Sansa Stark initially believes Joffrey Baratheon to be gallant and honorable. He’s young, he’s handsome, and he’s a Prince. What more could a gal want. She begs her mother to let her go along with her father to King’s Landing to give her the opportunity to meet the Prince. But the more Sansa gets to know Joffrey, the more she discovers that her first impressions of him as a gallant prince couldn’t have been more wrong.

This will be the case after a SHTF event as well. People will appear to be what they are not. Good people may appear to be a threat and evil people may appear kind. Be observant, blend in with the crowds and observe others. Avoid making snap judgements about people because this could lead you to expose your home, your family, and your stockpile to someone unworthy.

A woman can survive and even conquer when she leverages her knowledge

Throughout the first six seasons, we see Sansa Stark grow from a child to a woman. She sees her father beheaded, is held hostage by a cruel King, and then married off to his brother, the Imp, who is easily three times her age. Through it all she is given advice from those around her, including Cersei, Tyrion, Alerie Tyrell, and even Margaery who replaces her as Joffrey’s wife.

When Joffrey is killed and Tyrion accused of murdering the King, she must flee for her life only to end up manipulated by Baelish into a marriage where she is continually tortured by Ramsay Bolton. In each situation, she observes everything going on around her and soaks up knowledge about how those who are tormenting her operate and what their motivations are. As we enter Season 7, we can see that leveraging the knowledge she has gained starts to transform her into a great strategist.

Women will need to leverage their knowledge following a SHTF event as well. The more you learn from those around you now, the better you will be prepared to handle situations that come up when things are in chaos. And the more you know about how those who would harm you are motivated and will react when stressed, the better you will be able to protect yourself.

Never give up the fight

Jon Snow finds himself alone facing Bolton’s mounted army. He’s cut off from his comrades and then buried in pile under dead bodies gasping for air but he continues to fight anyway. Most men at this point would have seen continuing to fight as futile. Suddenly the Knights of the Vale arrive, having been called by Sansa.  Had Jon Snow given up even five minutes sooner, the battle could have ended very differently.

You will find following a SHTF event that you may at times feel like just giving up. But the key to survival is less about how physically strong you are and more about how long you continue to fight. Just like Jon Snow, you need to keep fighting to survive, one minute at a time if necessary, until the situation changes or unexpected help arrives.

Being invisible can ensure you get home

Arya Stark finds herself learning how to become no one, training in the House of the Faceless Man in Braavos. She learns to become invisible and go unnoticed even in a crowd of people. The skills she learns enable her to take revenge upon those that have wrong her family and to survive until finally she is on her way home, stronger and more capable than when she left. This is how learning to become a gray man will benefit preppers following a SHTF event.

Being too cocky and arrogant can get you killed

We see this in several characters in Game of Thrones. Joffrey Baratheon, Ramsay Bolton, and Oberyn Martell, all of whom became too cocky and sure of themselves just before being killed.  Joffrey and Ramsay take great pleasure in seeing the torment of others and in the end, they die at the hands of those they have taunted or wronged. Even the Waif from the House of the Faceless Men who finds pleasure in taunting Arya obviously thinks she’s invincible right before Arya puts out the light.

The same thing will happen in the chaos that follows a SHTF event. Some people will naturally rise to leadership positions. There will be good leaders and bad leaders. Some of them will be cocky and arrogant and will begin to feel invincible. It is at this point that they will be most vulnerable to making the kinds of mistakes that will get them killed. When SHTF, you will have to curb your generosity and compassion to keep from being taken advantage of by others. But don’t go the other way and become so hardened and arrogant that you refuse to listen to the input of others.

Situational awareness can save your life

During the Red Wedding, Catelyn Stark notices a guard barring the door to the hall and she notices the musicians change their music. These things seemed “off” to her but she neglected to act. Instead she dismissed these small things. She does try to warn her son several moments later but her words come too late for him to save his wife or himself.

Had Catelyn acted immediately when the guard barred the door, she could have given her son Robb more warning and maybe saved his life and many of her people. In fact, had they been more situationally aware leading up to the Red Wedding, they would have realized the danger the House of Frey represented.

Following a SHTF situation, the streets and many other areas will be in chaos. Martial law may be enacted and there could be soldiers going from house to house. If you have trained yourself to be situationally aware, you’ll notice subtle clues before things start to get out of hand. Someone who is situationally aware:

  • Notices the placement of the exits when they enter any building
  • Searches out resources like fire extinguishers and alarms in case they are needed
  • Practices noticing and recalling different elements such as license plate numbers, facial features, number of hats in the room, etc.
  • Identifies people who may be moving at a different pace or direction from others as a possible threat.
  • Is aware of time in relation to behavior.
  • Trains their peripheral vision to be more aware of what’s happening out of their line of sight.

If you are situationally aware, it increases the likelihood that you will see trouble before it arrives full force. Those valuable moments may mean that you and your family will have time to bug out or hunker down before the real trouble starts.

Are you a GOT fan? Have you been watching GOT this season? Share with us in the comments below any prepper lessons you’ve picked up on by watching the show.

Your greatest ally may be someone very different from you.

Arya Stark finds herself held against her will by The Hound as he attempts to ransom her back to her family.  After discovering many members of her family have been murdered, she reluctantly aligns herself with The Hound as they attempt to survive.

Preppers must be prepared for a similar situation to occur after a SHTF event and be willing to do whatever it takes to survive even if that means aligning yourself with someone you’d least expect as an ally.

“If a man paints a target on his chest, he should expect that sooner or later someone will loose an arrow on him.” Tyrion Lannister

Some mistakes preppers make that equate to painting a target on their chest include wearing gear that is too tactical and telling too many people about their stockpiling plans. The George R.R. Martin quote above said by character Tyrion Lannister, teaches preppers the value of not drawing attention to yourself. The more attention you draw to yourself after a SHTF event, the more likely it is you will become a target for someone who wishes to do you harm.

Evil can be disguised as kindness

Lord Petyr Baelish continues to show kindness and serve as a sort of protector over Sansa Stark but his other actions show him to be capable of evil when it serves his larger goal. We know he’s had a hand in some of the shadier betrayals that have taken place, but he seems to have a soft spot for Sansa and still hasn’t quite shown his true colors.

After a SHTF event, there will be many people with ulterior motives who may show you kindness but with a goal that involves finding out what supplies and resources you have so they can take them.

In a time of peace, prepare for war.

This is the most valuable lesson preppers can learn from watching Game of Thrones. As we progress from the start of the first season through the start of the current Season 7, it’s clear that preparing for war even before it begins is a good strategy.  The characters who prepare continually for confrontation and warfare far better than those who bury their heads in the sand or try to deny the danger that is coming.

Your preparations should include the following areas:

  • Knowledge
  • Supplies
  • Gear

The more knowledge you can gain now, before you must rely on it for your survival and that of your family, the better off you will be. Stockpiling supplies and gear is a necessity during a “time of peace” because after a SHTF event, there is little way to predict what things you will be able to get. Depending on the type of event that occurs, shipping and transportation could be affected as well as manufacturing. It’s much wiser to stockpile food, water, and other supplies now so that when they are needed you can be confident in your ability to feed your family.

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About Megan Stewart

Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart. For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of six grandsons, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.

One comment

  1. Wow whay can I say!!!

    Great, great, GREAT!

    GOT Fan! a Lot of lessons to learn from the GOT series! Great job thanks.

    Chris W

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