The Internet is full of interesting things to read outside of The A.V. Club—no, really! In our periodic Read This posts, we point you toward interesting or noteworthy pieces that caught our eye.
Game Of Thrones inspires all sorts of interesting debate, from hot talks about whether Daenerys Targaryen can really afford to give up one of those dragons to chatter about whether or not Tyrion Lannister can get it. (Donna from Parks And Rec says yes.) The latest hot topic, though, is whether House Tyrell is, in fact, wealthier than House Lannister. One of Slate’s financial journalists, Matthew Yglesias, has been diving deep into the issue, and his thoughts make for fascinating reading.
For example, Yglesias believes that because the Iron Throne owes so much to House Lannister, House Lannister is essentially gambling with its fortunes, especially considering that the Iron Throne is financially insolvent at the end of Robert Baratheon’s reign. Wrap your brain around this:
Note that Robert's debts aren't some kind of countercyclical stabilization policy. This is an agricultural economy governed by a real business cycle. Nor is he going into debt to finance productive investments. He's not improving Westeros' infrastructure. He's not strengthening the Wall. He's throwing feasts and tourneys. If he doesn't have the money he needs today, then he's not going to have the money he needs tomorrow either. That means a fortiori that he's not going to have the money to pay Tywin back. Making things worse, winter is coming! The Iron Throne needs to be saving during the fall to deal with the huge negative shock to income that's coming during the winter. Last but by no means least, Robert also owes money to the Iron Bank of Braavos. As the saying goes, "the Iron Bank will have its due" so any Lannister effort to recoup even a part of what it owes will have to content with the competing claims of the Iron Bank.
It’s some heady shit, but an interesting way to look at Game Of Thrones, and an even nerdier way to nerd out about something that’s already incredibly nerdy. Bookmark it for some pre-show reading this Sunday.