What is Freelance Work as Told Through Game of Thrones

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What is Freelance Work as Told Through Game of Thrones

It might sound silly that we need to ask the question: “What is Freelance Work” or that freelancing needs a definition, but evolved so much in the last few years that it does deserve having a discussion.  What is freelance work really and how does it impact the working world in general?

A freelancer was probably popularized in the medieval times.  By probably, we mean really.  “Freelancers” would be those knights or “lancers” who was free for hire.  Typically knights would be hired for a specific duke or lord or king or sorts, but freelancers go to be swords for hire.

Let’s explore the etymology of “freelancer”.  So naturally I type this into Google’s search bar and this is what I got:

Google Search for the keyword: “Freelance etymology”

Good ol’Google already picked a site and posted this definition for us.  It confirmed my suspicion that freelancing really is from (well maybe not the medieval times) but the 19th century on someone who is a mercenary.  So that root of the word comes from swords for hire.  Yikes!

“Bronn” from Game of Thrones. All rights to HBO.

So freelancers really come from those sells-swords for hire.  Sellswords have been popularized to the masses by Game of Thrones.  Remember Bronn — the guy who Tyrion Lannister picked up and was a bad-ass swordsman?  Here’s a picture to jog your memory.

So that’s where freelancers come from.  You have a skill (i.e. you’re good at sword-fighting) and you are loyal to people who pay you (i.e. clients).

But let’s look at how the word Freelancing and the Freelancing profession as evolved over time.  Queue Google search…. by clicking on the expanding Freelancing definition:

Google Search for the keyword: “Freelance etymology”

So as you can see that Freelancing has moved up in the world and the use of the word over time.  I’m not sure how Google was tracking the use of the word “Freelance” before it even became a company and even before the internet was created (e.g. 1800’s) but I guess they know what they’re doing. 😉

So the modern definition (selected by Google today) is:

“working for different companies at different times rather than permanently employed at one company.”

I would say that the seed of the idea is the same between a sell-sword, a mercenary and a modern-day freelancer (though it would still be the same if you’re freelancing ninja or rather Ninja who is for-hire).

Let’s boil down what a freelancer really is and the characteristics of a freelancer:

  1. You don’t pay yourself (someone pays you, hires you) for a specific job/task/event
  2. You have likely more than one person pay you
  3. There is a beginning and end of the relationship you have with the person paying you.
  4. You likely have a skill that is high-specialized
  5. Your reputation and experience makes you highly-valued

(Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen Season 5 or 6 of Game of Thrones!)

If you’re like Bronn, a Freelancer could eventually have a “title”, land and a castle.  Go figure!  So it can be lucrative for you if you know who to align with.  Just a thought. 🙂

All rights to HBO.

So that’s What is Freelance Work as told through Game of Thrones.

So What is Freelancer Work to you? Love to hear your thoughts below!



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