Identity Verification

What Game of Thrones can Teach Us About Identity Verification

When you think of Game of Thrones you probably think about dragons, Cerci Lannister, the Starks, and epic fantasy battles. The last thing you would consider is identity verification. Truth be told though, the show does a great job at showcasing how important identity verification is in this day and age. Through the story of Arya Stark, Game of Thrones has shown, in fantastical fashion, how easy it is for someone’s identity to be stolen. Arya’s story demonstrates how important it is to verify identities before interacting with other individuals.

Please note, there are spoilers for every season of Game of Thrones in the article ahead.


How Arya Stark first Encounters Death


Arya Stark started her journey in Game of Thrones as one of the ladies of Winterfell. She moved to King’s Landing with her family when her father, Ned Stark, was appointed Hand of the King. It was there she began training in swordsmanship with Syrio Forel and encountered Braavosi for the first time. Eventually, her father was murdered for crimes against the king and she narrowly escaped death as well and fled King’s Landing.

The next stage of Arya’s journey had her traveling through the 7 Kingdoms. She originally was travelling to the Night’s Watch in the North, but fate led her elsewhere. It is during these initial travels that she first encounters Jaqen H’ghar. She becomes enamored with him and helps save him from death before she is taken hostage to Harrenhal. Because Arya saved Jaqen’s life, he offers to kill 3 people for her. It is during this time that first encounters the power of the Many-Faced God or the God of Death.


The God of Death


The God of Death is a deity worshipped by the Faceless Men, a cult of assassins that resides in the Braavos. Faceless Men believe that their purpose is to do the bidding of the God of Death and bring death to those who deserve it. Faceless men are trained to let go of their former identities and become no one, and from there become entirely different people. With this ability, they can serve the God of Death and deliver death to those who deserve it.

Arya eventually goes through this training herself, and successfully becomes no one. She rejects being a Faceless Man though and decides to return to the 7 Kingdoms as Arya Stark, a woman with deadly power.


Arya Stark: The Girl who is No One


When Arya returns to the 7 Kingdoms, we really start to see the powers of the God of Death. She kills Walder Frey in cold blood, taking his life while impersonating one of his serving girls. She also kills Walder’s sons while impersonating Frey. She leaves the Frey house in ruin after they rebelled against her family and killed her brother during the Red Wedding.

Upon returning home to Winterfell, her sister Sansa rummages through her things and discovers many faces that she took from Braavos. She then explains to Sansa that with the faces she can become anyone she wants to be, like how cybercriminals can become anyone they want to be by stealing the right personal information from another individual.


Identity Verification Can Identify No One


In the real world, there are many cybercriminals who act in the same way that Faceless Men act. They steal people’s identities—the Faceless Men through faces and cybercriminals through personal information—and use it to perform crimes. The difference between cybercriminals and Faceless Men though is that they can be caught.

On Game of Thrones magic is used to fully transform Faceless Men into the people whose faces they wear. There would be no real way to identify them as who they really are on the show. In contrast, cybercriminals can be identified as false using comprehensive identity verification solutions. With digital identity verification solutions that use biometrics as a part of their service, cybercrime can be prevented before it starts in customer-not-present scenarios, like during digital onboarding at a bank.


Conclusion


Arya Stark’s story showcases how important it is to know who you are interacting with on a personal or professional basis. Game of Thrones displays in gruesome detail how deadly the consequences can be if a person is not who they say they are—like with the deaths of Walder Frey and his children. The stakes are not as deadly in real life, but they are equally important. Businesses and individuals should work diligently to verify identities and ensure that the people they interact with online are really who they say they are. Otherwise, they risk becoming involved with identity theft, money laundering, terrorist financing or other forms of cybercrime.

To learn about IDMERIT and it uses digital technology to verify identities online, please reach out to us for more information.

Jay Raol