“We all live in its shadow and almost none of us know it,” declared Tywin Lannister. He was speaking about the Iron Bank of Braavos, the largest independent bank in George R.R. Martin’s fictional world, and maybe the most powerful behind-the-scenes player in Game of Thrones. “You can’t run from them, you can’t cheat them, you can’t sway them with excuses.” The Iron Bank will have its due, and it has a mercenary force of debt collectors to hold clients accountable. The bank seems a fitting nemesis given the new irony of the Lannister house slogan: “A Lannister always pays his debts.”
In these days of post-war, anemic financial recovery, power attracts death as honey attracts flies. First there was Robert Baratheon, then Ned Stark, Robb Stark, and now Joffrey Lannister. Thus Lord Baelish’s subtle power grabbing seems prudent. He thinks he has the strategic pawn to rule in the North—Sansa Stark—whom he believes is the last remaining Stark and thus the natural heir to the Northern throne.