Mahabharata is considered as the most multifaceted and intricate of all epics in the history of time. That there could be so many unfathomable layers to this multi-cast noir story is extraordinary. If you have read the heroic saga, you will agree that it is, in fact, its characters that have crafted the tale of love, longing, deceit, rage and revenge.
If you have looked for reason, you haven’t found any. The magnum-opus event took place several thousand years ago. It was both apocalypse and reawakening. And its learnings have shaped the nuclear world. The epic that marked the end of dvapara yuga has catapulted minds into thinking what is, and what should be.
Though it is too utopic a thought, what if the author of A Song of Ice and Fire series George RR Martin, actually based his plot on the principle of Mahabharata? Considering the novels (and the television series) do have an uncanny semblance and connection with the larger-than-life epic, we cannot help but draw a parallel between the two. And if Game of Thrones is indeed loosely based on Mahabharata, here’s what we think of its characters:
- Robb Stark as Yudhishthira:
The mighty have fallen: things changed for both of them in one night. All it took was a well-conceived sinister and corrupt plan, to yank these men from their roots. Yudhishthira was the oldest of the Pandava brothers and the most trusting of the lot. He took people at face value. So, when he was invited to a game of dice, he wagered his all hoping to win everything back. But alas, that did not happen. He lost his kingdom, his brothers and even his wife. Akin to that, the King in the North – the oldest of the Stark siblings – was too trusting for his own good. He ended up with a dagger in his heart, butchered mercilessly at a wedding.
- Jon Snow as Karna:
Karna was Mahabharata’s tragic hero. He was a skilled fighter, armoured in gold, but never had the chance to showcase his grit and valour. Throughout his life, he fought cynicism and hate, for having been born a ‘charioteer’s son. He learnt the truth about his birth much later, but died fighting. He reunited with his blood brothers and biological mother on his deathbed. Jon Snow – the bastard born – has been fighting incredulity for a long time. He has not been enlightened on his biological parents either. Snow has been ignored, back-stabbed and killed. He has returned vengeful though. One feels pity for this mighty warrior.
- Sansa Bolton nee Stark as Panchaali:
Both these women have been wronged to the point of indifference. While the Pandavas shared a wife who they adored and respected, the Starks share this sister who they love. Panchaali, born out of a fiery altar suffered at the hands of others for the longest time. She was forced into marriage with the five Pandava brothers, much like Sansa, who was jolted out of fantasies after the death of her father. Sansa first married Tyrion Lannister, the imp, and then went on to marry the psychopath Ramsay Bolton. Her sadist husband violated her body on the wedding night and tortured her every night, thereon. Panchaali too was shamed inside a court. She became rancorous after the last straw. We await Sansa’s act of payback too.
- Arya Stark as Arjuna:
Battered and bruised, this Stark girl is mastering the art of assassination. She has been wronged and she remembers everything, but is training to shred herself open to become a new person. Arya Stark is currently training under the faceless man Jaqen H’ghar. He is teaching her the art of masquerade, while slowly sculpting her into a lethal armament. This girl has no name but a set of specific skills that will take her wherever she wants to go. Arjuna too, was an accomplished warrior. He lived in the guise of a woman during his years of exile. He returned to face his foes on the battlefield. Wishing something similar for this Stark girl too.
- Petyr Baelish as Shakuni:
The evil uncle of Game of Thrones. Every character in the multifarious show has an agenda that they have disclosed. The television series is in its sixth season, but what nobody knows yet, is this man’s schema. But much like his Mahabharata counterpart, Baelish too (perhaps) wants to shatter the kingdom from its core. He started from scratch, built his own legacy, and now everyone is his to toy with. The master manipulator, this one.
- Joffrey Baratheon as Duryodhana:
In Mahabharata, Duryodhana is consumed by the idea of absolute power. All he wants is to sit on the throne of Hastinapur. He does not care about anyone, not even his blind father. When he publicly shamed Panchaali, he said disrespectful things to her that included sexual innuendos. His GoT equivalent Joffrey Baratheon too, was blinded by the idea of dominion. All he ever wanted was to sit on the iron throne. And after he got his wish, the Baratheon scion (or should we say Lannister lad) did not think twice before letting loose mayhem. He tortured Sansa Stark day in and out, even suggesting he would rape her on her wedding night. Supremacy became his death, but only after he had inflicted enough torture on his subjects.
- Tyrion Lannister as Vidur:
“A wise man once said true history of the world is the history of great conversations in elegant rooms.”
The youngest of the Lannister siblings, Tyrion is well-read, well-informed and eloquent. He is a dwarf who has not mastered warfare. So his only weapon, he says, is his mind. Unusually peace-loving, this man is blessed with the power of persuasion. He believes wars bring destruction but talks ensure results. In Mahabharata, Vidur was the half-brother of blind king Dhritarashtra, who ruled Hastinapur after his brother Pandu went on a self-imposed exile. Vidur was the prime minister to the throne and counselled the king. He was a celebrated genius, whose intellect helped douse volatile situations. Tyrion too, served as the Hand of the King, and later the Queen Daenerys in Mereen. And just like Vidur, his opinions too weren’t heeded when most needed.
- Jaqen H’ghar as Vasudeva Shri Krishna:
We do not know what He looks like, until we know it. Lord Krishna has been the most mysterious and celestial of all characters in Mahabharata. This formidable God has so many layers to him, that it is almost impossible to understand him. All we know is, this benign being came on earth to bring an end to the yuga that culminated at the battle of Kurukshetra. The Blue God knew everything about everything and chose to back the Pandavas’ cause. Every knowledge that Arjuna acquired, came from him – which is why after he died, the Pandava lost his dexterity and skill. Considering the fact that Arya Stark is our Arjuna, it is but obvious that her tutor Jaqen H’ghar is Krishna. The man has a shroud of the anonymity surrounding him. He does not fight unless required, and when he does, he does it clean. The master assassin, H’ghar is one character that comes closest to playing the astute politician and game-changer Krishna.
And it goes without saying that author George RR Martin is sage Ved Vyasa. Or maybe he isn’t. So what do you think about this comparison? Is it too far-fetched, or are there real similarities between the two?