Friday, March 11, 2016

Why Justin Trudeau is Canada's Robb Stark

Justin Trudeau and Robb Stark. One is the leader of a northern land steeped in magic and mystery, the other is a fictional character. ;)

Seriously though, there are actually a few similarities between the new Prime Minister of Canada and the Young Wolf of George RR Martin's fantasy epic.

(1) -They Each Rule a Large, Cold, Northern Land 


In the ASOIF universe, Robb Stark is declared King in the North after the death of his father. The North is almost as large as all the other Seven Kingdoms combined. Despite its size though it has a relatively small population compared to other southern regions like the Westerlands or the Reach. The harsh, cold climate along with large areas of untamed wilderness, makes living in many parts of the North difficult.

Trudeau, of course, is in charge of Canada. Like the North it's much larger than its southern neighbors (sorry America) but has about one tenth of the population of the United States. Much of its vast territory is still wilderness or beyond the arctic circle making the southernmost belt on the US border the most inhabited area of the country.

(2) -Their Countries Border a Dysfunctional, Divided Land to the South




Let's face it, the political scene in the States right now is dire (pun intended). Average Americans are more and more divided between conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat. The rise of Trumpism hasn't helped heal any wounds or bridge the political divide. Canada's southern neighbor is getting more and more dysfunctional by the day as two competing visions of America become locked in an increasingly bitter and outraged struggle.

Westeros in the time of Robb Stark, is of course, divided between even more competing camps who violently struggle with one another in the War of the Five Kings. Some like the Lannisters and Baratheons fight for control of the Iron Throne. Others, like the Greyjoys and the Starks, just want o secede entirely from the Seven Kingdoms. Let's hope America never reaches that stage.

(3) -They Inherited a Political Dynasty From Their Fathers 


The Starks, one of the oldest noble families in Westeros, ruled the North as kings for generations before submitting themselves to the authority of the Targaryens. When Robb's father Ned Stark, is beheaded by King Joffery Baratheon, Robb (as firstborn son) inherits his father's title as Lord of the North. He then decides to lead his countrymen in a war of independence against the Iron Throne and hopefully avenge his father.

While Justin Trudeau is no Lord or King, he did inherit a family name and a political legacy from his father Pierre Trudeau. Regarded as one of the most influential PMs in Canadian history, Pierre Trudeau had a profound impact on his country during his time in office. Justin, Pierre's eldest son, stepped into his father's former office in no small part to his dad's name recognition.

(4) -They Are Idealistic -Perhaps to a Fault 


Now a disclaimer. A politician is a politician no matter what. Even the best of them put on an act of some kind when they are in public. Justin Trudeau is no exception. No one makes it very far in politics without being at least a little two faced.

With that said, the younger Trudeau's public persona is one of an idealistic and liberal reformer. He has created an extremely inclusive cabinet made up of many women and racial minorities. Many of his positions are similar to his father's.

Robb also inherits values from his own father, particularly a strong sense of personal honor. It's this drive to do the honorable thing which ultimately brings about is downfall when he marries Jeyne Westerling after sleeping with her.

Hopefully, Trudeau's own idealism doesn't lead him to any Red Weddingesque disasters. 


(5) -They Are Good With Animals