Almost everywhere in Westeros is governed badly, not just by modern standards but by its own. “All I ever wanted was to fight for a lord I believe in,” says the imposing female warrior Brienne of Tarth. “The good ones are dead and the rest are monsters.”
Unlike the Westerosi, modern audiences know the way out: liberal democracy, republicanism, the rule of law, and the separation of powers. Lest we assume these are part of the natural order of things, Game of Thrones—with its echoes of our own distant past—reminds us that they are not, and that maintaining them is as difficult as it is essential.
No Jeffersonian figures inhabit the Game of Thrones universe. Such a modern intrusion would break the spell of epic high fantasy and violate the compact between author and audience. A Jeffersonian wouldn’t make historical sense, anyway. The American Revolution grew out of the European Enlightenment, and no such philosophical movement ever existed in Westeros. Even so, consumers of fiction, whether it’s written or filmed, need someone to identify with, someone who shares at least some of their values. Martin gives us the dangerous yet inspiring Daenerys Targaryen.
Go read it all.