Are Westworld and Game of Thrones the same show? Obviously they're both epic dramas on HBO; both have high-caliber casts, generous budgets and top-notch production values. They even share a composer: Ramin Djawadi created the original music for both dramas.
But now that (at the time of this writing) HBO has aired 16 episodes of Westworld and 67 installments of Game of Thrones, the parallels are starting to go even deeper than that. Beyond the visuals -- sweeping vistas full of armies, men on horseback and elaborate armed encampments -- the shows have a ton in common.
Take, for instance, the characters on both shows, and compare them side by side. It's a little eerie how many parallels there are. Is the Westworld theme park merely a few oceans away from Westeros -- or are the Seven Kingdoms actually the expensive theme park's Ye Olde Medieval World With Bonus Zombies and Dragons? Only HBO executives know for sure. But these are just some of the similarities:
Arya Stark = Dolores Abernathy/Wyatt
A girl has many names -- Arya has assumed many identities and even faces during the course of her adventures, and Wyatt is just one of the personas buried in the formerly innocent Dolores' coding. These women may have started off sheltered and unaware -- Arya grew up in a castle surrounded by a loving family, and Dolores (as far as she knew) was an optimistic farm girl with a passion for art. Nowadays, we'd hate to meet either of them in a dark alley. They're badasses with vengeance on their minds -- for good reason.
Daenerys Targaryen = Maeve Millay
These two women started out as pawns in enormous, complicated games -- and then decided to take over the games and mow down or overwhelm every competitor in their paths. If Maeve, the former proprietor of the Sweetwater brothel, decided to start riding around the Westworld park on a dragon, would you really be surprised? I wouldn't. As we've learned this season, she can control other hosts with her mind, just as Dany can control her enormous dragons (up to a point) via an almost telepathic link. Her dragons are enormous -- as big as Maeve's grudge. Don't cross these women, seriously.
Ned Stark = Teddy Flood
Oh, Teddy. Oh, Ned. You are both just too sweet and too stupid to live. Teddy's still around, and James Marsden is excellent in the role, but this naive cowboy's lack of a killer instinct, as Dolores decided in the fifth episode of Season 2, was just too much of a liability. We saw a new version of Teddy in the sixth episode, and he appears more likely to survive the various forms of mayhem occurring all around the park. If only trusting Ned had undergone a bit of a reset before he left Winterfell, alas.
Cersei Lannister = Theresa Cullen
Both women -- Westworld's head of Quality Assurance and the post-Tywin leader of the Lannister clan -- endured a lot to get where they ended up, and neither was afraid of using their power when they needed to. Cersei's ambitions have led to some setbacks -- the naked Walk of Shame through King's Landing was not a high point -- but honestly, Theresa had it worse. The show never really knew what to do with her, and she was killed off midway through the uneven first season of the show. Not cool.
Tywin Lannister = Robert Ford
Both are the masterminds behind incredibly complex worlds, and both were played by excellent actors from the U.K (Charles Dance and Anthony Hopkins. respectively). Also, both characters are now dead. At least Ford went out in a somewhat more dignified fashion than Tywin, who was shot by Tyrion while the elder Lannister was on the toilet. The imperious ways of the scheming Tywin also bring to mind the Westworld titan James Delos, who was played memorably by Peter Mullan, but I'm sticking with Tywin = Ford.
Tyrion Lannister = William/The Man in Black
The Tyrion viewers met in Season 1 of wasn't exactly as sheltered and kind as the William seen in the first season of Westworld, but, like the tart-tongued Lannister, young William was a little bit lost and looking for a purpose when he first arrived in the fantastical theme park owned by the Delos Corporation. As both men have evolved, they've become much more hard and cynical, and willing to use any means necessary to achieve their goals. Both have a core of decency left in them, probably, but The Man in Black is pretty scary and hard to read on that front.
Jon Snow = Bernard
Bernard and Jon are generally decent men caught up in confusing situations -- and both have strong links to the core of each story's mythology. Bernard, the head of Westword's programming division, is a copy of the park's co-founder, and Jon, it emerged, is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, so he has a strong claim to the throne of Westeros. Jon could eventually rule over all, and Bernard conceivably knows all -- if he can get his noggin to work correctly, that is.
Varys = Charlotte Hale
Both characters -- the savvy Westeros spymaster and the driven Delos executive -- enjoy manipulating those around them, gathering intel and watching less competent people self-destruct. They're also pretty good with a quip or a sick burn. Who wouldn't love to have a drink and a gossip with both these schemers?
Jaime Lannister = Logan Delos
These handsome scions of wealthy families started out in life with the world at their feet, but things haven't exactly gone well for them, despite the advantages they were raised with. At least Logan still has both his hands, so that's something.
The Hound = El Lazo/Lawrence
If there's going to be fighting, you want these guys in your corner. In a one-on-one battle, the Hound would probably destroy El Lazo/Lawrence, but don't necessarily count out the Westworld gunslinger; he's sly and has a lot of tricks up his leather sleeve. Both men have done a lot of bad things, but they're so charismatic that we can't quite look away from whatever adventure they embark on.
Sansa Stark = Elsie Hughes
Both these characters -- a Stark daughter and a bright Westworld programmer -- have been left on their own in dangerous situations a lot, and we're glad when either show remembers they exist and devotes more than 30 seconds of screen time to them.
Margaery Tyrell = Grace
Grace, who was enjoying a holiday in Westworld when things went seriously awry is, like Margaery, the daughter of a very powerful house. Her father is William/The Man in Black, and she's in the middle of a whole bunch of dangerous factions and shifting alliances, much like the former queen. Let's hope there's no High Sparrow in Westworld, for Grace's sake.
Littlefinger = Lee Sizemore
Two caustic British men who think they know everything and aren't afraid to tell the world all about their brilliance. If these two men ever met, each one would probably spend the entire time trying to prove that he was smarter (while secretly wondering if everyone hated him). Lee Sizemore is ahead of Littlefinger, however, in that he remains alive. For now. Sizemore, who used to write all the Westworld narratives, is at the mercy of Maeve, who isn't exactly a fan of his work. Littlefinger should have known not to try to set the Stark sisters against each other, and, speaking of life lessons learned by arrogant manipulators, Sizemore should really, really not piss off Maeve.
Ygritte = Armistice
Neither woman is all that fond of chit-chat, and both are skilled fighters. Surviving in forbidding environments is no big deal to them.
Missandei = Clementine
Dany's servant Missandei was sold into slavery as a child, and Clementine was a Sweetwater sex worker who endured the nightmare existence of most pre-revolution Westworld robots. Both ended up on the side of powerful forces pressing for more freedom -- factions quite willing to use violence in order to get it. These women are quiet, but certainly not passive.
Bran Stark = Peter Abernathy
Both men have two much information in their overtaxed brains. Poor Peter, Dolores' "father," is glitching a lot, while Bran, who is the Three-Eyed Raven now, sounds like the most pretentious college sophomore you've ever tried to avoid.
Hot Pie = Hector Escaton
These characters have absolutely nothing in common, but they both have cool names!
Rickon = Sylvester and Lutz
Minor characters who are generally having -- or had -- scary or terrible experiences almost all the time.
Literally any Martell = Ashley Stubbs
Try as I might, I just don't care about the Martells or the park's clearly overmatched Head of Security. Meh.
Westworld airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. Game of Thrones will return in 2019.