Game of Thrones is arguably the best TV show ever made. Breaking Bad comes a close second, imo. I read all the George R. R. Martin books before I watched the series on HBO. This is my default M.O. for any blockbuster show that is based on a book. I like reading and understanding the detail behind the characters, the deeper context of their lives and the undertones of the plot lines before I watch a one hour episode about the same story.
Today, Aug 21st at 9 p.m. E.T., HBO releases House of The Dragon, the story of the tumultous and violent Targaryen dynasty, set about 200 years before the hit show that wrapped up in May 2019. We, GOT fans, could not be more excited.
As I was running along the beach this morning, I started thinking of the many lessons one could glean from an epic, multi-generation, geo-political saga like the Game of Thrones. Btw, I once did a similar exercise using the Godfather movie series…will write about that in a seperate post.
P.S. In case you have not watched GOT, I will keep the spoilers vague and to the minimum.
Everyone has an agenda and speaks their book
This is so true of all the talking-heads we hear on pick-your-favorite-fin-media publication/TV channel/social media channel/newsletter. The Lannisters, the Boltons, the Tyrells and the Greyjoys were some of the families vying to grab a larger share of Westeros. Every move they made, every alliance they struck, every word they spoke was in pursuit of this singular goal….to rule. Investors need to be aware of any advice, recommendation or stock tip they receive from such “trusted sources”. More than likely, the source has an agenda behind their recommendation.
Traders will trade in almost any market condition
Littlefinger (Petyr Baelish) was the quintessential “trader” in the show. The man was so agile, depending on the situation, that he could put a professional contortionist to shame. He first aligned with the Baratheons, then with the Starks, then with the Lannisters, then with the Arryns, then back with the Starks and onto the Lannisters and so on. You just never knew which side he stood on and what his true motives were.
Meme trading is here to stay - wild and unpredictable
The Dothraki, a daring, no-holds-barred race of nomads in Essos, knew only three things in life:
- Winning every raid, every battle…there was no other option
- Horses were important to their survival…transportation, food and war
- Enjoy life to the fullest…sex, alcohol and spoils of war
Meme trading is much-maligned and belittled. Every time we hear about either a success story (heard about the kid who made $110M on BBBY -5.96%? ?) or a failure on the other end of the spectrum, the traditionalist among us (me included, btw) shake our heads and start tsking with an “I told you so…”. We need to get better at realizing that meme trading is here to stay and actually preferred by a growing class of young investors. If we do not want to participate, that’s fine. But let’s not presume to know what is best for those young 'uns.
Have a plan and stick to it
Success comes in all shapes and sizes and no one embodies this better than Arya Stark, my favorite character in the show. That little peanut of a girl persevered through the entire tale to become one of the deadliest assassins Westeros has ever seen, quietly taking revenge on the worst of her enemies. Her kill-list was a daily prayer that kept her focused, determined and resilient in the face of immense odds.
Successful investors find a formula that works for them and they stick to this playbook, including a set of rules within. They stay focused, keep reading and learning and more importantly, they are flexible and nimble through any adverse situation.
Never fall in love with a stock and refuse to give it up
Robb Stark was racking up victory after victory until he was taken down at the Red Wedding by the wily Freys. His downfall was precipitated when he broke off his engagement with one of the Frey daughters because he fell deeply in love with another woman.
As investors, it is sometimes hard for us to give up on our favorite stocks, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the business is faltering and the share price is not going to recover any time soon. 2022 has been especially hard in this regard as many of our growth stocks have experiences 50-75% drops due to the challenging macro environments and pressure on valuations.
Do your own due diligence
While trying to investigate the white-walkers north of the wall, Jon Snow is captured by the Wildlings and taken to their King. Contrary to popular belief, by all people south of the wall, he is surprised to find that the Wildlings are just regular folks trying to survive, feed their families and raise their kids. He makes new, enduring friendships amongst them, including his first love. He uses this knowledge to create new alliances with the wildlings during several key battles that help turn the tide against the enemy.
Our lives are busy. We always have an excuse to not do our own research on a stock tip or idea that we read about or hear from a friend. We subscribe to investing newsletters and research services to save time. We put money into companies without truly understanding the past performance and future prospects of the business. Until we do our own due diligence, we have no one to blame but ourselves if an investment goes south.
History repeats itself
You can open any history book or investing biography to find countless examples of this cliche.
Starting tonight, House of The Dragon will tell us if the Targaryens have learned this lesson over their 300 year rule.
Enjoy the show!