Prince: Wisdom is what makes a good king.
Tywin Lannister: Yes. But what is wisdom? Hmm? A house with great wealth and fertile lands asks you for your protection against another house with a strong navy that could one day oppose you. How do you know which choice is wise and which isn't? You've any experience of treasuries and granaries or shipyards and soldiers?
Tywin Lannister: No. Of course not. A wise king knows what he knows and what he doesn't. You're young. A wise young king listens to his counselors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest kings continue to listen to them long afterwards.
Tywin is an advisor advising that the advice of advisors be heeded continually.
There’s merit in Tywin’s advice but how much?
The advice is from an advisor who’s interests aren’t the same as the ruler’s. In that case, whose interests come first? Advisor and master spy Varys claims to serve the realm, rather than the ruler at the moment.
Advice may start as good and gradually change to bad over the years without getting noticed. That’s how Tom Hanks got cheated by his insurance advisor over a 13 year period.
In Game of Thrones, many advisors are old. They don’t leave their posts willingly. Are they good at giving advice or good at remaining advisors?
Here’s another scene in which Lord Baelish appears to be helping Lady Sansa.
Lord Baelish: What did I once tell you about the capital?
Lady Sansa: We're all liars here.
Lord Baelish: Come, my lady. I know you've had a difficult day. But you're safe now. I promise you that.
Lord Baelish has an important role as an advisor to the king. Yet he includes himself among the liars. How then do you tell when you’re being told the truth? Lady Sansa doesn’t ask. Perhaps that’s a sign of wisdom.
Better Advice About Advisors
Better advice about advisors comes from others who have used advisors. A prince can ask his parents and royalty in other realms — without blindly accepting their answers. Questions include:
- How valuable are advisors?
- How many advisors are ideal?
- When do you stop taking advice and take leadership?
- How do you select the right advisors?
- When do you change advisors?
Your Financial Castle
You’re the king or queen of your castle. Do you have the right advisors to guide you along your Financial TRAIL?
- Do advisors put their interests first?
- Case study: the advisor who’s disappearing online
- Can you trust your doctor’s prescription?
- How to tell if your advisor is independent
PS The best advice? Be like Varys: watch what advisors do to figure out what they want.