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Everything I Know About Motherhood, I Learned From GoT

The Mother Lode
On the surface level, it might seem strange that so many moms watch a show like Game of Thrones. It’s visceral, gut-wrenching, messy and anxiety-inducing. But if you really think about it, some of those very reasons point toward why the viewership among mamas makes perfect sense — the series actually speaks to motherhood on many levels.

Personally, as the mother of a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old, I long ago realized there were important truths I could pick up in GoT that might help me rule my own Westeros, er, home. Here are a few of the most salient lessons I’ve learned from Daenerys, Catelyn and the other main mamas of the Seven Kingdoms. Yep, even Cersei.

No matter how much your kids screech, you’ve got to love them through it.

Daenerys knows better than most that kids can be unruly little monsters, but that doesn’t mean you love them any less. Constant screeching and, well, dragon breath be damned; being a mom means adoring your offspring unconditionally. Another salient lesson from Dany? That unconditional love includes the oh-so-frustrating teen years — when your kids’ hormones make them do things like carrying you away from Meereen right into Dothraki territory. Or, uh, something like that. You get the picture.

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Courtesy of HBO. Courtesy of HBO.

It’s probably best to avoid moms with Moon Doors.

Not all mothers are created equal. Take Lysa Arryn, for instance. As GoT moms go, she’s one odd bird who stirs up quite a bit of drama. Plus, she believed every castle needed a Moon Door as a method for quickly and easily getting rid of enemies. What we can learn from Lysa is to trust our mom gut. If a fellow mom seems to have a metaphorical Moon Door — or, in other words, she’d push you out if it served her interest — it’s in your best interest to steer clear of her and her drama.

You can never fully be prepared for winter.

White Walkers ain’t got nothing on kids cooped up inside for days on end because school’s out and it’s too cold to play outside. One day can truly feel like the longest night once you run out of ways to entertain your little wild ones.

Love hard, but also love smart.

Kids can be so gosh darn adorable, right? One look into those sweet little faces and something takes over. You know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you’d do anything for them. However, let Catelyn be the cautionary tale about motherhood without reason. Her all-consuming devotion to her kids is ultimately what led to the downfall of her and most of her family during the Red Wedding. The moral of this story, Mamas, is that you should be as devoted as Catelyn but as cunning as Dany.

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Courtesy of HBO. HBO.

Sometimes protecting your little ones means you can’t play nice.

Disclaimer: No, this does not mean we’re going to borrow a page from Cersei’s book and have any perceived threat beheaded. But if there’s one thing that GoT hammers into your head time and again, it’s that you sometimes have to fight like hell to protect your kids. And as much of a monster as Cersei is, you can’t help but wonder just what lengths you’d go to save your kids from the clutches of misfortune.

It’s never too early to teach your kids practical life skills.

Living in Westeros is hard for women and their offspring, so GoT mothers do their best to prepare their children for unpredictable circumstances. Of course, those circumstances are often pretty grim — but fortunately for me and you, we don’t have to go full survivalist mode like Ellaria training her daughters in combat. Aka no Sandsnakes necessary. But it’s definitely not a bad idea to teach your little ones basic life skills, like heating up food or washing laundry.


Being a mother is a powerful thing.

Let’s be real: the women of GoT are all total badasses and, because Westeros is a society in which heirs are essential, mothers wield tons of influence. It doesn’t always feel like it outside of the Seven Kingdoms, especially when you can’t convince your fickle kid that there are other food groups outside of fruit snacks. Still, there is inherent power in motherhood — which is a nice thought to hold onto when you lose that food group fight with your little one. You are the mother of dragons. You are Mhysa.

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