Kit Harington reflects on the end of Game of Thrones

Jon Snow

The excitement of the newest Game of Thrones trailer landing today has us all anxious for season 7, but the closer we get to it, the closer the end becomes. As fans, it’s difficult for us to imagine life without Game of Thrones on our television sets. It will be even harder for the cast and crew, who have put so much of their time, energy, heart, and soul into its production.

For Kit Harington – who has played one of the most central characters, Jon Snow – the end of the series will be bittersweet. In a new interview with Esquire, Harington shares his outlook on life after Game of Thrones. “Without saying whether I make it to the last season, we’ve been trying to say goodbye to the show this year,” he explains. “Thrones nicely bookended my twenties, but I’m thirty now. Maybe I can reinvent myself and get away from an image that’s so synonymous with Thrones, but maybe this was the role I was always meant to play and that was it.”

Finding the right man for Jon Snow wasn’t easy. “Snow is a challenging part,” according to author and executive producer George R.R. Martin. “In the books, what’s going on with Jon is internal. I can tell you what he’s thinking, but you can’t do that on TV. The actor has to sell the depths and subtleties and conflicts of his character.” Once they saw Harington, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were sold, despite his lack of acting experience at the time. “He just had the look – the brooding intensity; the physical grace; the chip-on-the-shoulder quality that we always associate with extraordinarily short people.”

The 5’6” (according to Esquire) actor is used to insults and pranks from Benioff and Weiss, and he doesn’t hold back from indulging in them himself. According to castmate Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Harington would steal their phones and send “disgusting, distasteful, and hilarious” texts. Benioff and Weiss once sent Harington a fake script in which Jon’s face is burned and disfigured, telling him, “HBO was worried that his underdog, outsider-hero thing was feeling too Harry Potter.” They seem to enjoy roasting the star (pun intended), saying, “It takes real strength of character not to let being Kit Harington turn you into an asshole. And in the past eight years, Kit has not taken a single step in that direction.”

Photo credit: Kit Harington by Norma Jean Ray for Esquire

Photo credit: Kit Harington by Norma Jean Ray for Esquire

The rest of the cast doesn’t go any easier on Harington. Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) jokes, “There’s a consistent drumbeat of taking the piss out of his incredible hair and startling good looks. His hair just takes over everything. My ridiculous handcrafted wig doesn’t come close to standing up to his man bun.” Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) adds, “His hair has its own trailer.” According to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), “There’s a change in the level of female lust in the room when Kit is there, which all the males find annoying and disrespectful.”

Perhaps that explains the decision to have Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) disparage Jon’s manhood last season. “There has to be some downside to being Kit Harington, right? It seems only fair,” Benioff and Weiss explain. “He’s handsome, talented, smart, and so decent to the core that it’s impossible not to like him. Maddening. The one thing we can do is saddle his character with a tiny pecker.” Harington appears to take it all in stride, saying “They’re all reprobates.”

A cultural phenomenon, Game of Thrones has been used as a reference for all manner of subjects: from global warming, to immigration, to politics, just to name a few. Harington believes the show does have lessons to teach us, saying, “Thrones can be used as a metaphor way too much, but if there’s one truth, I think, it’s that people who really desire power are the people who shouldn’t have it.” In the context of Westeros, Harington believes his character is one of the few who deserves that kind of responsibility. “Maybe Jon’s the one person who should have it,” he says, “because he’s not looking for it.”

For more on Harington’s upcoming projects, his relationship with former costar Rose Leslie (Ygritte), and his plans for life after Game of Thrones, read the entire interview over at Esquire.

66 responses

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    1. Awww!! I love what David Benioff said about Kit! And also that he has not become an asshole, when he so easily could have because of his very lucky casting as Jon Snow, with almost no acting experience and now getting paid big bucks, his good looks, and adoration from female fans! Me included!!😍❤️🔥And I love how the cast is such a family and they can tease each other, like a family! I think Kit was a perfect casting decision to be Jon Snow too! Also love the fact that he and Rose Leslie fell in love and are still together, and moving in together, because of GoT! I wish Kit and all the cast much success in their lives after Thrones!😥It is hard to imagine that right now!

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    2. At least his still taller than his youngest sister when they reunite one day as Maisie is about 5’0, also taller than Emilia she’s about 5’2. It’s kinda funny sometimes that GOT has some of the tallest actors playing characters aka Brienne, Sansa, The Hound, The Mountain and then there are the quite short ones aka Jon, Dany, Arya there isn’t as many inbetween

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    3. They’re just taking the mic out of his him and his hair. 😀 Good for him. He’s just 5’6, damn I’m 6’4.

      Kit over the years grew into the role and i’m glad he’s not become an asshole due to his fame. It can easily be this way because suddenly you’re surrounded by different people that might push him into that direction. Also happy for him and Rose in their personal life.

      At least one relationship from Game of Thrones ended in a good way albeit in the real life.

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    4. Google always told me he is 5’8 so that’s what I thought. One would think that 2″ isn’t much of a difference when it comes to height but it actually is. A 5’6 guy imo is really, really short, while a 5’8 guy is short but with some decent boot heals he can get relatively close to 6′. I don’t know what all he’s wearing for shoes in public images but he just seems like a guy that’s in the 5’8 range. I can’t see him being barely taller than the 5’4 Kevin Hart for instance. Standing next to women is tough to judge since they always have varying height with high heels.

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    5. Is 5′ 8″ including the hair and 5’6″ not including the hair?

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    6. Dee Stark:
      ghost of winterfell,

      Mel,

      hahaha so true… Cast group photos are quite funny!!!!!!!

      My favorite photo is the one where Kit and Iwan were standing next to Rory and Gwendoline Christie during the Emmy’s. They looked like hobbits next to Rory and Gwen in her heels lol.

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    7. You always can see that Kit is very Humble… He is willing to take pictures with his fans, even when they are always stocking him :p … I hope we can see more of him in the future. 🙂

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    8. What? No comments regarding the ‘manspreading’ in the second pic? 99% of all other men doing that would initiate an editorial regarding etiquette, manspreading and mansplaining the next day! I am quite envious that he gets a pass. 🙂

      I enjoy reading about the behind-the-scenes pranking going on around the GoT set, especially the prank scripts. Fun!

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    9. I read the whole article before the trailer dropped yesterday. Now it’s getting completely overshadowed, which is a shame because this was a fantastic look into Kit’s life with some hilarious anecdotes. I highly recommend reading the whole thing. Gotta love Kit and his honesty.

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    10. Flayed Potatoes: So…. I am taller than Kit? Nice.

      That might depend on how exuberant Harrington’s hair is on a given day.

      I know some people who have met him. They said that he was really nice and actually asked them questions about their lives.

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    11. Hodors Bastard: What? No comments regarding the ‘manspreading’ in the second pic? 99% of all other men doing that would initiate an editorial regarding etiquette, manspreading and mansplaining the next day! I am quite envious that he gets a pass.

      Harrington will probably have to overdo the manspread indefinitely lest he give credence to certain script’s implications…..

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    12. As an American fan of BBC documentaries, I literally just watched one discussing the toilet last week and the mention of John Harington made me laugh a lot. He was a poet who was known to write a risque verse or two and being in favor of a Queen, so there you go, seems to run in the family. :p

      That being said, in the same exact documentary binge, I saw one on the Gunpowder Plot that made a similar argument as his premise and thought that was intriguing for a movie, so I’m sort of excited he’s running with that. No one else may care, but you can’t take my money fast enough! Take all of it!

      Also, I need to stop binging BBC documentaries.

      Cheers to Kit, hope his post GoT career is brilliant. Till then, please don’t touch the lovely hair! *sniff*

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    13. Let’s just split the difference and call him 5’7″.

      In any event, in medieval societies, 5’7″ would have been a very respectable height, certainly above the mean for men (which was about 5’5″).

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    14. Too funny, bunch of reprobates! 😂

      For a moment I thought Liam meant that Kit’s hair had it’s own trailer for Season 7, which I’m sure would be a hilarious parody.

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    15. Ryan Neuner:

      I highly recommend reading the whole thing. Gotta love Kit and his honesty.

      Definitely recommend – what a great interview! Kit’s adorable and the quotations from his castmates are hilarious. It basically read like an affectionate roast!

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    16. Isabelle:
      mau,

      Thanks for the link!! So cute, especially the family portrait.

      lol, after reading this article and then seeing the EW photos, you can see how they positioned Sophie and Issac to make Kit seems a little or more taller or balanced is evident, nice job by the photographer 🙂

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    17. mau:
      People who really desire power are the people who shouldn’t have it

      I agree! 😀

      This has been such a central theme of the story from the get-go. It’s why I was immediately reminded of ‘I, Claudius ‘ when I started reading the books and watching the show. Though I always thought of Tyrion, not Jon, as more the Claudius character: intellectual guy very close to the center of power who stays alive mostly because he allows others to mock him and keeps his head down while his more ambitious kin are all busy stabbing and poisoning one another. Cersei is very much Livia and Joffrey is very much Caligula.

      Using this model, someone should end up running things at the end who is well-suited for the job but really doesn’t want it. Could still be Tyrion, but Jon’s character would also work.

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    18. Firannion: This has been such a central theme of the story from the get-go. It’s why I was immediately reminded of ‘I, Claudius ‘ when I started reading the books and watching the show. Though I always thought of Tyrion, not Jon, as more the Claudius character: intellectual guy very close to the center of power who stays alive mostly because he allows others to mock him and keeps his head down while his more ambitious kin are all busy stabbing and poisoning one another. Cersei is very much Livia and Joffrey is very much Caligula.

      Using this model, someone should end up running things at the end who is well-suited for the job but really doesn’t want it. Could still be Tyrion, but Jon’s character would also work.

      Tyrion would definitely want the power! He enjoyed being the HOTK and the power it gave him too much, it even corrupted him a bit in the books, first time I remember seeing real shades of gray with his character.

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    19. ghost of winterfell: My favorite photo is the one where Kit and Iwan were standing next to Rory and Gwendoline Christie during the Emmy’s. They looked like hobbits next to Rory and Gwen in her heels lol.

      ^ This…made me laugh out loud!

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    20. Hodors Bastard:
      What? No comments regarding the ‘manspreading’ in the second pic? 99% of all other men doing that would initiate an editorial regarding etiquette, manspreading and mansplaining the next day! I am quite envious that he gets a pass. 🙂

      I enjoy reading about the behind-the-scenes pranking going on around the GoT set, especially the prank scripts. Fun!

      well, the 1% on the beauty scale always get a pass on things like this, I don’t see any woman complaining to Kit about spreading his legs, lol

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    21. Hodors Bastard:
      What? No comments regarding the ‘manspreading’ in the second pic? 99% of all other men doing that would initiate an editorial regarding etiquette, manspreading and mansplaining the next day! I am quite envious that he gets a pass. 🙂

      I know you’re jesting here, but you may have missed the point about what makes manspreading an issue for women. No one I know is bothered when a guy sitting alone manspreads. Get as comfortable as you like, guy. It’s when men do it while sitting next to other people (such as on public transportation), oblivious to the fact that they’re crowding them, that women protest.

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    22. Firannion: I know you’re jesting here, but you may have missed the point about what makes manspreading an issue for women.

      Understood. Actually I brought it up (per a cohort’s comment and giggles) because I wondered ‘who sits like that’? Backpacks to the face, perfume abundance, umbrella skewering, LuluLemon yoga pants and briefcases to the crotch are also signs of the apocalypse within the mass transportation context. 🙂 Your point would make a great GoT satire if the fully-garbed KitN actually rode the Kingsroad subway and manspreaded with his greatsword, with folks trying to stand and sit around him. Who shall be the brave one to change his ways? I dare say her name is… Penny!

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    23. viki: He enjoyed being the HOTK and the power it gave him too much, it even corrupted him a bit in the books

      How did being HotK “corrupt” Tyrion? He never used his position for personal gain. He did use it to advance his family: but in his world, it would be “corrupt” (dishonorable) to not do that.

      I have to disagree with the idea that “people who want power should not have power” is a theme in this story. For one thing, SoI&F is (like most modern literature) largely athematic. IF the theme was that people who don’t seek power are the best for it, the Jon would not have made such a hash of his time as Lord Commander. Now, one might counter: “That wasn’t Jon’s fault: he was stuck in a series of Catch-22 situations.” And you would be correct. However, one hallmark of athematic works is that characters are in Catch-22 situations. If J.R.R. Tolkien had written this, then Jon’s “true” and “noble” actions would have inspired the Nationalists to put aside their old grudges with the Wildlings and inspired Stannis to better respect the neutrality of the Wall. That didn’t happen. And that means that there is no theme of “people who do not want power become great leaders.” Instead, Jon is on a learning curve.

      Similarly, I think that too many people confound seeking power with wanting power. Stannis seeks power. He makes it very clear (in both media) that he does not want the power, but that he is morally obliged to do this because he is Robert’s true heir. It would simply be wrong to let Jaime Lannister’s bastard sons steal Robert’s legacy. If Joffery had been Robert’s son, then Stannis would have been a loyal follower even if this new person was as sociopathic as Joffery was.

      Daenerys also seeks power. And she, too, does not particularly want power. Again, it is the same morality: she is obliged to do this because she is Aegon’s true heir, and it would simply be wrong to let the Baratheons (or, if the rumors are true, bastards-of-Lannisters) steal the Targaryen legacy. Had Viserys not gotten himself killed, then Daenerys would have let him go after the crown.

      Again, if this were a thematic work, then putting family honor above personal desire might pay off (if “family first” was the moral of the story, that is). But it doesn’t. Stannis is a disastrously horrible leader, in large part because he’s a moral absolutist. Daenerys is like Jon: she’s learning and she has admirable goals (unless you are in the “pro-slavery” crowd….), but she also is not some sort of political “Mozart” who can just play people like Wolfy played a violin.

      Instead, what we see again and again is that pragmatism demands that people compromise their values: and that holding one ideal often requires compromising another ideal. In a thematic work, holding to some ideal or another would overcome that: but we’ve not seen any ideal that is impervious or even simply more resistant to realistic problems.

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    24. Hodors BastardBackpacks to the face, perfume abundance, umbrella skewering, LuluLemon yoga pants and briefcases to the crotch are also signs of the apocalypse within the mass transportation context. 🙂

      All reasons to be glad that I rarely need to take subways anymore. Worst of all – far worse than the manspreaders – are the men who use the bumps and turns of a ride in a standing-room-only subway car as an excuse to grind up against standing women. Sometimes riders are packed so tightly that there isn’t even room to squirm away. Then if you confront the offender, he claims it was accidental, that he was just thrown against you by the train’s movements. Grrrr.

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    25. Firannion: riders are packed so tightly

      As a longtime commuter on the NYC, DC and Tokyo subway systems, tolerance and vigilance are a way of life. Mental and physical balance is precarious indeed.

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    26. Hodors Bastard:
      What? No comments regarding the ‘manspreading’ in the second pic? 99% of all other men doing that would initiate an editorial regarding etiquette, manspreading and mansplaining the next day! I am quite envious that he gets a pass.

      Kit’s manspreading would earn him a police citation on the subways here in New York City. He’d also need a new little black book, manspreading or not, after just one ride just because he’s Kit Harington. 😉

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    27. I have had a shitty evening. Thank the Gods (Old and New) for the Kit interview. He seems as a very nice person and I wish him all the best “in the wars to come” (both in GOT and in his post-GOT career).

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    28. Firannion: All reasons to be glad that I rarely need to take subways anymore. Worst of all – far worse than the manspreaders – are the men who use the bumps and turns of a ride in a standing-room-only subway car as an excuse to grind up against standing women. Sometimes riders are packed so tightly that there isn’t even room to squirm away. Then if you confront the offender, he claims it was accidental, that he was just thrown against you by the train’s movements. Grrrr.

      Firannion,

      This gives “Mind the gap” a whole new meaning.

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    29. Clob:
      Google always told me he is 5’8 so that’s what I thought.One would think that 2″ isn’t much of a difference when it comes to height but it actually is.A 5’6 guy imo is really, really short, while a 5’8 guy is short but with some decent boot heals he can get relatively close to 6′.I don’t know what all he’s wearing for shoes in public images but he just seems like a guy that’s in the 5’8 range.I can’t see him being barely taller than the 5’4 Kevin Hart for instance.Standing next to women is tough to judge since they always have varying height with high heels.

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    30. Wimsey,
      I agree wholeheartedly with your post.

      History is full of examples of people who held power in spite of showing no interest and / or love for it… And they pretty much all failed miserably in their duties. From England’s Charles II to France’s Louis XV, reluctant rulers tend not to perform well.

      I believe we generally equate a lack of desire (or lust) for power with moral purity and we extrapolate that the only way to resist the corruption that allegedly accompanies power is to possess said purity. However, none of this is quite verifiable…

      Does not wanting power make one a “good person” ? Not quite. One can not desire power and still be a pretty detestable human being.
      Is power inherently corrupting ? I do not think so. It is just inherently difficult.
      Does being a “good person” help when it comes to ruling ? Not really. Being nice, sympathetic or well-meaning has little to no bearing on the ability to devise a sound tax policy or come up with an operational justice system.

      Jon and Daenerys are about as “pure-of-heart” as they come.
      Both mean fantastically well and both approach power from a sense of duty (Jon never sought power but was entrusted with it by his “subjects”; Daenerys’s political ambition seems rooted in a desire to honour the memory and broken destinies of the men she loved : her late brothers, husband and son).
      Yet, they have both been shown not to be particularly gifted when it comes to ruling. The Mother of Dragons has demonstrated subpar skills as a monarch, culminating in a fairly disastrous reign over Meereen which was barely salvaged by Tyrion (even though I still think this poor city and its people are doomed to descend into chaos within six months of the Queen’s departure). As for the White Wolf, his turn as Lord Commander was less than stellar, as demonstrated by most of his men’s fairly relieved decision to side with the mutineers once the dirty deed was done.
      Now, I have no doubt they are going to learn more along the way, for this is where their narrative arcs are going, but so far both have followed proudly in the footsteps of Ned, Robb or Robert Baratheon, namely reluctant rulers who made a dog’s breakfast of the power they unenthusiastically received.

      Conversely, the story counts quite a few morally dubious and / or openly ambitious characters who handled power well : Tywin (whom no one could accuse of being “pure of heart”), Olenna, Renly (he would have made a good king, come on !) and Tyrion, to name but a few.

      As of right now, would one prefer to live in a country ruled by Jon or Varys ? Sincerely, I would choose the Spider. A nation under Daenerys or Littlefinger ? I, for one, would bet on Baelish.

      If there is any “thematic coherence” to the narrative thread of power, I believe it is to be found in Maester Aemon’s words :

      ‘Many good men have been bad kings, Maester Aemon used to say, and some bad men have been good kings.’

      echoed by George RR Martin himself :

      My reading of history has shown me that simply ‘being a good man’ is not enough. That there are many kings who are good men and yet bad kings. And even good kings sometimes make disasterous decisions. So government is complex, politics is complex.

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    31. To: Vanessa Cole

      Thank you for this post. It was extraordinarily well-written, informative, and entertaining.

        Quote  Reply

    32. Danke! I would make one addendum:

      ACME: Tywin (whom no one could accuse of being “pure of heart”),

      Well, we could: I mean, from the view point of dioxin, couldn’t you call dioxin-tainted water water-tainted dioxin?

      However, as we usually focus on the “water” when we look for pure-of-heart, I take your point completely! 😀

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    33. Hodors Bastard: As a longtime commuter on the NYC, DC and Tokyo subway systems, tolerance and vigilance are a way of life. Mental and physical balance is precarious indeed.

      Also, an occasional “accidental” swing of a computer bag as one is sitting down (guided by the Force, of course) can often get the broader “lebensraums” to clamp shut….

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    34. @ACME
      How would Littlefinger make a better ruler? Or Tywin for that matter? Both care only about themselves(or their house); imo they’d make terrible rulers.

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    35. Wimsey: Danke!

      Bitte 😉

      Wimsey
      I would make one addendum:
      Well, we could: I mean, from the view point of dioxin, couldn’t you call dioxin-tainted water water-tainted dioxin?
      However, as we usually focus on the “water” when we look for pure-of-heart, I take your point completely!

      Ha ha ha ! Very fair point bloody well made. Tywin was 99% roaring lion and 1% fluffy bunny; perhaps we do not give enough credit to the bunny 😉

      Onlooker:
      @ACME
      How would Littlefinger make a better ruler? Or Tywin for that matter? Both care only about themselves(or their house); imo they’d make terrible rulers.

      Your assessment of both Tywin and Littlefinger is, I believe, pretty much correct. However, I fail to agree with your conclusion…

      It is undeniably true that Baelish and Tywin care solely for either their personal interest or that of their house; nevertheless, as rulers, they would make the country’s interests fuse with their own.

      We know that to have been the case for Tywin. He unofficially ruled Westeros for close to two decades when acting as the Mad King’s Hand and those two decades were noted as particularly prosperous and beneficial for the overwhelming majority of the Seven Kingdoms’ population. Tywin’s satisfactory run as a ruler had little to nothing to do with him caring for Westerosi (I doubt he ever did); it had everything to do with his understanding that a nation that is both satisfied and at peace is stronger economically, commercially, diplomatically, politically and strategically.
      And considering he intended to sit his daughter on the throne as Rhaegar’s queen, he wanted the government to be as stable as possible.

      The very same logic would probably apply to Littlefinger. Regardless of what one may think of his morality (corrupt or non-existent are pretty much the sole two options), one cannot quite question that his love of chaos is only fuelled by his tactical necessity : in a world where order dictates he cannot access the highest level of government, he is pro-chaos; in a world where he could sit on top on everything, he would be pro-order and demonstrate, I believe, enough intelligence to realise that a well-fed, well-organised population at peace with itself and its institutions would be richer (more tax money !) and much less likely to rise up and rebel against its ruler’s authority…

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