Game of Thrones and The Originals are two TV series with very little in common, except they are both my favorites, though my enthusiasm for the former has waned over the years and the latter is my current obsession. Game of Thrones’s unofficial motto is “Valar morghulis”, meaning anyone can die, whether you have been a regular for more than five years or you were just introduced the last season. The same hold true for The Originals – in fact, half the cast has already been dead waaayyy before the series was birthed (read: vampires); therefore, it’s pretty hard to kill them off, and when they are indeed killed off, they don’t usually stay dead. Necromancy, body jumping, fandom’s pressure and sometimes lazy writing… there are various ways for a deceased character to enter the land of the living. Again and again. The chance is even higher if said character happens to be a Mikaelson, the thousand-year-old family that makes up the very core of this series and there’s saying: it’s nearly impossible to kill off a Mikaelson, and just as impossible for them to really, truly remain dead.
Despite their obvious differences between the two series, there are a number of interesting similarities between the two significant families of each series: the Lannisters (Game of Thrones) and the Mikaelsons (The Originals).
- Their impacts on the plot and the general force behind the plot drive
I feel like I’m repeating myself when I write that the Lannisters and the Mikaelsons play a major role in their respective series. The plot of Game of Thrones is kick-started thanks to the scandalous affair between Cersei and Jaime Lannister and from that, things get dominoed until the whole land of Westeros is consumed in civil wars. The Lannisters’ actions have influenced and caused numerous tragic events, which in turn have directly impacted the fates of several characters. Simply speaking, if the Lannisters hadn’t existed, Game of Thrones’ five seasons, with the sixth in production and more in the future, wouldn’t have happened and Westeros would have been a safer land to live… until the winter comes.
The Originals, on the other hand, wouldn’t have come to being without the Mikaelsons, aka the Original family. Previously villains on various degree in their parent show, The Vampire Diaries, these thousand-year-old vampires/ hybrid had gathered a large enough fandom for the idea of a spin-off series to be born and take wings. While their story and interaction has made up the major plots of The Vampire Diaries’ seasons 2 and 3, and continued to have their fair share of season 4, it’s truly in The Originals that the audience have the chance to discover their much-loved Original (always capitalized) bloodsuckers. Many obscure details get explained, the past discovered and the future unfolded. It wouldn’t have been titled The Originals if the series weren’t about the Mikaelsons.
- Family heritage: good genes
Both the Lannisters and the Mikaelsons are a bunch of good-looking people. Except for the dwarfish Tyrion Lannister (arguably since Peter Dinklage is generally considered handsome), other Lannisters are all physically attractive. The twins Cersei and Jaime are the peak of the Lannister beauty (golden hair and emerald eyes), with their children following very closely behind.
Although there is no such thing as a ‘Mikaelson beauty’, each and every Mikaelson, dead or alive, witch, vampire or hybrid, is gorgeous in his or her own way, from the parents Mikael and Esther down to the youngest child Henrik, who, tragically, only had like 30 seconds of screen time. After all, it is not a CW series if everyone is not looking like models in super trendy clothes.
Bonus point as the casting of both series had managed to find actors who actually resemble one another to play siblings.
- Wealthy and power hungry
Beauty is not the only family heritage of the Lannisters and the Mikaelsons; there are wealth and a thirst for power. The Lannisters are one of the most affluent families in Westeros, owning a land which is rich in gold. Their money has made up an essential element of their influence and political power for decades, though it is now rivaled by the Tyrells. The Mikaelsons were not privileged by their land like the Lannisters; in fact they didn’t appear to be any wealthier than their werewolf or witch neighbors when they settled on the American continent; nevertheless, after centuries of being powerful vampires that could compel any human to do their biddings, surely the Mikaelsons could learn a thing or two about accumulating wealth. One does not simply call themselves an ancient vampire if one cannot afford luxuries, to parody a Sean Bean’s meme.
Most of the times, being rich often leads to being power hungry. It’s true as the Lannisters actively seek to make Westeros their own Lannisport, starting with producing heirs that are none-Baratheon (the sovereign family) and very Lannister. With Tommen on the throne, they arguably have the kingdom in their hands. The Mikaelsons siblings, Elijah, Niklaus, Rebekah and possibly Kol, built and helped make New Orleans the prosperous city it is now, so naturally they claim the right to own the city. Let’s say they, Klaus in particular, aren’t very pleased when they return to find New Orleans under Marcel’s reign.
- Always pay their debts
“A Lannister always pays his debt” is the signature line of the Lannisters: please them and you’re handsomely rewarded, cross them and you’re gloriously screwed. In that sense, the Mikaelsons also never fail to pay their debts, with an extra-emphasis on the “cross them” part. It’s never too late to take vengeance and when you are immortal vampires, you literally have an eternity to track down and punish your enemies.
Trevor and Katherine (former Katerina) and numerous others learned it the hard way when they crossed the Mikaelsons.
- A cold, domineering father
Tywin Lannister is, to inappropriately quote Loras Tyrell, “a force to be reckoned with”. Both his enemies and allies know that Tywin is a terrifying and a harsh man. To his children, he’s not much gentler: he constantly abuses them in one way or another: disregarding Cersei’s efforts because she’s a woman, hectoring Jaime to give up his vow (and his chance to stay with Cersei and their children). And he’s the most cruel to his youngest son, Tyrion, whom he considers a disgrace to their family and treats like a bastard. Mikael is nearly the same to his children, with the only exception being Freya: all Mikaelson siblings suffered in physical and mental abuse under their father’s hands. Of course, Niklaus, who Mikael had hated even before the knowledge of his wife’s infidelity, suffered the most. A thorn in their fathers’ sides, both Tyrion and Niklaus have been tormented for years, the consequence of which culminating in their murders of their fathers (in Klaus’s case, twice).
- The core trio
The siblings Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion make the core of the Lannisters while The Originals mostly revolve around the trio Elijah, Klaus and Rebekah. If we look at these two sets of siblings, we can certainly see the similarities. Not only are the sexes similar (one female and two males), their roles in the sibling dynamic resemble one another. Cersei and Klaus, both blond, are paranoid, manipulative and power-hungry – one wants to be queen and the other, king of New Orleans. They stop at nothing to get what they want, never showing hesitance in abusing their powers to manipulate others to suit their needs, flinging violent threats anywhere and anytime. It’s no surprise Cersei and Klaus are most hated by people outside their family, and are no. 1 in creating more enemies for their families.
Jaime and Rebekah, also both blond, are the ones to care least about power. Ill-tempered, arrogant, sarcastic and sometimes prone to violence as Jaime and Rebekah are, they can become rather sweet once you get to know them enough. Different from their power-thirsty siblings, they seem to care more about the pursuit of freedom and love than who’s going to rule what.
Tyrion and Elijah arguably have no similarity in appearance; however, they both play the voice of rationality in their respective family. Both favor negotiation over violence when problem-solving and like to make allies whenever they can, offering terms and deals that their potential partners find it hard to refuse.
It’s interesting that while Cersei and Jaime have been engaging in an incestuous affairs for years, their ‘counterparts’, Klaus and Rebekah exude very strong incest vibes. Klaus has a tendency to murder any man who gets involved with his sister (with Marcel and Stefan being two exceptions because Klaus loves those two); moreover, the women we have seen him show romantic interest for (Caroline and Cami) somewhat resemble Rebekah in looks and attitudes. Rebekah, likewise, generally falls for the bad-boy type, who are like Klaus.
- Papa-Wolf/ Mama-Bear instinct
They may not be above killing their own parents (sometimes more than once); still, both the Lannisters and the Mikaelsons are fiercely protective of their children. Despite being a cold bitch who lusts for power, Cersei loves her three children more than anything in the world. Part of her motivation for striving to gain more power is for securing a safe future for her children, who could be in great predicament if their bastard heritage was exposed. Her love for her children is her redeeming quality, as Tyrion once said. Similarly, Elijah, Klaus and Rebekah will stop at nothing to protect Hope, even going so far as bathing themselves in blood.
Finally, despite how twisted and dysfunctional these two families are, there’re some of us just can’t help loving the hell out of them and wish for them to stay on our small screen as long as it is possible.