The Iron Throne, institutional reform, and what’s next in Westeros

Credit: HBO

Daenerys Targaryen: Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell they’re all just spokes on a wheel. This ones on top, then that ones on top and on and on it spins crushing those on the ground.

Tyrion Lannister: It’s a beautiful dream, stopping the wheel. You’re not the first person who’s ever dreamt it.

Daenerys Targaryen: I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel.

Winter is here. Sunday, April 14th, 17.4 million viewers tuned in to the 8th and final season premiere of Game of Thrones. As the battle for the Iron Throne continues, Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University, joins host Chris Robichaud to talk about how Game of Thrones relates to governance (and how the series might end!).

🚨 This episode does NOT contain any season 8, episode 1 spoilers. However, we do briefly discuss some important scenes from earlier seasons.

🎶 Intro music credit: KSHMR & The Golden Army soundcloud.com/kshmr/game-of-thrones-kshmr-the-golden-army-remix

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This Week’s Guest: Ilya Somin

🐦 @IlyaSomin

📝 reason.com/people/ilya-somin/

ILYA SOMIN is Professor of Law at George Mason University. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, and the study of popular political participation and its implications for constitutional democracy. He is the author of Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter(Stanford University Press, revised and expanded second edition, 2016), and The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain (University of Chicago Press, 2015, rev. paperback ed., 2016), coauthor of A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case(Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and co-editor of Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Democracy and Political Ignorance has been translated into Italian and Japanese.

Somin’s work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals, including the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Critical Review, and others. Somin has also published articles in a variety of popular press outlets, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Room for Debate website, CNN, USA Today, US News and World Report, Newark Star Ledger, South China Morning Post, Legal Times, National Law Journal and Reason. He has been quoted or interviewed by the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, The Economist, the Christian Science Monitor, the Associated Press, CBS, MSNBC, NPR, BBC, Reuters, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Al Jazeera and the Voice of America, among other media. He has testified on the use of drones for targeted killing in the War on Terror before the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. In 2009, he testified on property rights issues at the United States Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Somin writes regularly for the popular Volokh Conspiracy law and politics blog, now affiliated with Reason magazine (previously affiliated with the Washington Post from 2014 to 2017). From 2006 to 2013, he served as Co-Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review, one of the country’s top-rated law and economics journals.

Somin has served as a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Hamburg, Germany, the University of Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Zhengzhou University in China. Before joining the faculty at George Mason, Somin was the John M. Olin Fellow in Law at Northwestern University Law School in 2002–2003. In 2001–2002, he clerked for the Hon. Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Professor Somin earned his B.A., Summa Cum Laude, at Amherst College, M.A. in Political Science from Harvard University, and J.D. from Yale Law School.


Is there something you want to hear on This Week in Dystopia? Reach out to the show’s producer Sarah at sarah_grucza@hks.harvard.edu or message us on Twitter @WeekinDystopia.


Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @WeekinDystopia, like us on Facebook, and subscribe via iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play. If you like us, rate us and share the show. 👍

This Week in Dystopia

This Week in Dystopia is a new podcast hosted by Christopher Robichaud, Harvard Kennedy School Senior Lecturer. A podcast of politics, theory, and pop culture, This Week in Dystopia, brings commentary from the halls of Harvard to everyone's headphones.

🎙This Week in Dystopia

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A podcast about the promise and perils of democracy, hosted by Christopher Robichaud, Harvard Kennedy School Senior Lecturer.

This Week in Dystopia

This Week in Dystopia is a new podcast hosted by Christopher Robichaud, Harvard Kennedy School Senior Lecturer. A podcast of politics, theory, and pop culture, This Week in Dystopia, brings commentary from the halls of Harvard to everyone's headphones.

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