Game of DiSC: DiSC Theory in Game of Thrones
I will share what is DiSC theory and how to view four characters from the last episode of Game of Thrones through the lens of DiSC theory.
What is DiSC?
Here’s a quick introduction to DiSC, if you want to skip to the main premise of the article use this link.
DiSC theory gives a framework to describe preferences of each individual along two orthogonal axis.
- Do you prefer to take Action or keep things Stable?
- Do you want a Challenge of a task or Collaborate with others?
With these two axis orthogonal to each other, there are four major personality traits:
- Individuals that prefer to take action and a challenge of a task are high in the Dominance trait. They prefer to achieve success by making decisive actions towards their goal. They like to get results.
- Those who like to take action but in a collaborative manner with other people are high in the Influence trait. They want to achieve success by persuading others to work with them toward their goal. They have a lot of enthusiasm.
- When a person wants to collaborate but prefer stability, they are high in the Steadiness trait. They want to make sure everyone works together in a team to achieve success, provide support.
- One that want stability but prefer a challenge are high in the Conscientiousness trait, they like to work within established rules and procedures to ensure success by being accurate.
If you would like to learn more about DiSC, check out my previous article on taking free DiSC tests and analyze yourself.
DiSC in Game of Thrones
DiSC is fine, but how does this relate to the last episode of Game of Thrones?
Although the world of Game of Thrones is a fantasy one, it is still a story written for us in the real world. To make each character believable, they are a complete person and operate with a set of rules, that are human. Humans are the basis of DiSC theory, so even a fantasy story will have elements of DiSC theory.
In this episode, I see the following major characters fall into one of these four DiSC types:
- Daenerys Targaryen
- Sansa Stark
- Jon Snow
- Tyrion Lannister
If you have not yet watched the last episode, the following sections will contain details of the end of the story.
In the last episode of Game of Thrones, I observe Daenerys is the epitomy of Dominance trait. Dominant personalities are results oriented. They just want to get things done and make decisions towards their goal.
In Daenerys’ case, she wants to continue to free people from tyrants. She doesn’t care about the process she uses to get her goal and she values results above all else.
Defining scene is when Jon and Daenerys discuss the future:
Jon Snow: How do you know it will be good?
Daenerys Targaryen: Because I know what is good.
Jon Snow: How about all the other people that think they know what is good?
Daenerys Targaryen: They don’t get to choose.
People with high dominance traits just know things. They are results oriented and the way Daenerys responds to Jon exemplifies this perfectly: “I know what is good” and “They don’t get to choose”.
People with high dominance make quick decisions and usually “cut to the chase”.
High dominance individuals are easy to spot in real life because they are like Daenerys in this episode. Things to think about:
- Where have you ever encountered a high dominance personality like Daenerys?
- What did you like or dislike about them?
- What were they like in a casual setting? How about a stressed setting?
While Daenerys has personality type high in dominance, a contrast to her would be Sansa Stark, who likes to take action, but wants collaboration.
Sansa’s personality is a high influence as she focuses on people while being assertive. Her goal is also to free people from tyranny, but her approach is different than Daenerys in that she will work with others.
The scene that best highlights this is the moment:
After her brother Bran Stark becomes King, she asks for the North to not be part of the Seven kingdoms anymore. He could not say no to her as her timing is impeccable.
People that exhibit high influence personalities like to work with other people to get things done and have no problems asking questions of others.
With high influence individuals, things think about:
- Is there anyone in your life that prefers to talk or chit-chat instead of doing the job?
- A person that likes to have meetings or delegate their tasks?
- Anyone you now that have ‘no fear’ in asking strangers for help, such as directions in a busy city?
- What do you like or dislike about them?
- How do they make you feel around them?
As Sansa works for her people by taking actions for them, Jon works for his people, but in a way that maintains stability. He maintains peace, even if it goes against his morals.
When Jon confronts Grey Worm the moment he is about to kill another set of former Lannister soliders, Jon wanted the execution to stop as the right thing is to let the soldiers go as the battle is over and the soldiers have given up.
Grey Worm responds that he is killing by order of the Queen.
Instead of forcing Grey Worm to do what Jon knows is right, by stopping the executions, Jon walks away. Jon prefers to main the peace between him and Grey Worm instead of defying the Queen’s order.
Individuals high in the steadiness trait are loyal, even to the end. They want to maintain harmony, even at their own expense.
Things to think about with the steadiness trait:
- Which of your friends will always help you out, no matter the situation?
- Even if your situation is not as dire as your friends, have they still helped?
- Do you know other relationships where it looks like one person is taking advantage of another?
If Jon is loyal to people, Tyrion is loyal to process. As he his a “high born”, he knows all the rules and processes. He does his best to ensure others follow the established rules and prcoesses.
I consider Tyrion Lannister to be high in conscientiousness as he is the Hand, err, “brains”, behind everything.
Tyrion’s disappointment in the destruction of Kings Landing, even though the bells rung, Tyrion believes Daenerys went too far and did not follow the rules of battle established before the start.
Tyrion expresses his rage by going up to Daenerys during her battle celebration and threw away his “Hand of the King” insignia, his way of telling her: “I resign”.
If you were Tyrion level mad at your boss and wanted to send them a message, would you just “toss away” your company ID badge to demonstrate your anger?
Individuals high in conscientiousness follow rules, even to a fault.
Things to think about with conscientious individuals:
- Do you know anyone that loves processes and rules?
- Do they always follow them, to an extreme, even if following them doesn’t make sense to you?
- How do they make you feel?
So, I feel the following four characters from the last episode of Game of Thrones exhibit four major DiSC personality traits:
- Dominance: Daenerys Targaryen
- Influence: Sansa Stark
- Steadiness: Jon Snow
- Conscientiousness: Tyrion Lannister
After writing this article, it still surprises me that in a fantasy world like Game of Thrones, DiSC theory still holds up.
Of course, Game of Thrones is a story for us and to make a story credible and engaging, it helps to have real aspects, such as DiSC.
I focused on the last episode as it provides clear examples of characters at extremes and their personalities come through as the situation is simpler.
I know the next time I rewatch the series, I will observe characters more and consider their DiSC traits more.
Game of Thrones has been an epic ride and I will miss it.
And now my watch has ended.
All images used in this article are copyright HBO, except where noted. If there is an issue regarding the imagery, please contact me