Marco Werman: If you were not obsessed with the World Cup this week, I bet many of you were watching HBO's Game of Thrones. Last night was the season four finale. Our reporter Marine Olivesi in Libya was not watching because she's still transfixed by season one. But if you're in Libya following any season of Game of Thrones you're probably seeing some parallels the rest of us are not.
Marine Olivesi: The idea came from a tweet I read about a month ago. One Libyan posted "Just started watching Game of Thrones. Looks a lot like Libya, minus the sex." And I found the analogy pretty great, so when I arrived in Tripoli a week ago I asked around to see if there was any Game of Thrones fans around here. It turns out there are a lot.
Werman: That includes Marine's translator, Hassan Morajea. He says the fictitious Seven Kingdoms in the series looked pretty much like Libya - a whole lot of competing clans all trying to take the throne and pushing their own interests. Here's Marine and Hassan breaking it down.
Olivesi: So let's start at the very beginning. Season one, the king is assassinated. In Libya it's 2011 and the king of course is Muammar Gaddafi. One of the earlier kings in the Game of Thrones stories referred to as the "Mad King" which is fitting with the reputation Gaddafi had - "lunatic", "ruthless".
Hassan Morajea: Yeah, and Gaddafi was nicknamed the "Mad Dog" so . . .
Olivesi: Here you go.
Joffrey Baratheon: The King can do as he likes!
Tyrion Lannister: The Mad King did as he liked. Has your uncle Jaime ever told you what happened to him?
Olivesi: OK. So just as many of the Game of Thrones kings, Gaddafi had a bloody reputation and a bloody ending, but still he was the one holding together the Seven Kingdoms. And once he dies everything falls apart. Today, Libya is into season four, post-revolution just like Game of Thrones. So let's look at the picture now. Who's who and what's going on here. Let's start with King's Landing, the capital.
Morajea: And that's Tripoli, Libya's capital. Like in the show, whoever controls the capital, no matter what's going on elsewhere, controls, at least on paper, the rest of the kingdom. And Tripoli today, more or less, is controlled by mainstream Islamists related to the Muslim Brotherhood. That's the most powerful political group in Libya's parliament and they are backed by some of Libya's largest militias.
Olivesi: So you're saying the Islamists are like the Lannisters?
Morajea: Yeah absolutely. In the Game of Thrones the Lannisters' hometown is Casterly Rock. That would be Misrata in Libya. And just like the Lannisters, the Misratis have a reputation for holding a grudge.
Tyrion Lannister: Have you ever heard the phrase "Rich as a Lannister"? Of course you have. You're a smart man. You know who the Lannisters are and of course you have also heard the phrase "A Lannister always pays his debts".
Olivesi: Then what about Winterfell, home to the the Stark family? Who are they?
Morajea: For me Winterfell is Benghazi and the Starks, they're just like the Libyan army. Historically the core of the Libyan army has been in Benghazi. In Libya today you clearly have scores of people who say they want an army, not militias, because militias want the power for themselves. The army is just trying to do what's right, but the problem is they're not very powerful. In season four Winterfell is occupied. Its forces are in shambles. You can pretty much say the same for Benghazi and the Libyan army at this point.
Eddard Stark: You think my life is some precious thing to me? As if I would trade my honor for a few more years of what? But I grew up with soldiers. I learned how to die a long time ago.
Werman: If you're really into Game of Thrones you'll want to hear our reporter Marine Olivesi and translator Hassan Morajea go deeper on the parallels with Libya. That's at PRI.org.