Good Afternoon Gentlemen,
So I have been making my way through the Netflix series Peaky Blinders. I enjoy the old, grungy feel to everything contrasting the sharp style that everyone wears. If you haven’t watched this series, let me give you a synopsis of the show and we’ll dig into this particular scene.
Peaky Blinders is about an 1920’s English gang dealing mainly in horse gambling and the smuggling of goods. Like any other gang, they have their territory in the city which they ruthlessly protect. The show is all about survival, expansion of their empire, evading the law and rival gangs, and loyalty to family.
Without further ado, let’s watch this clip and start looking into how different people employ the 48 Laws of Power to manipulate the others. Don’t worry, you don’t really need to know much about the show to follow along with this clip. It’s basically a standoff between the Peaky Blinders and a rival gang led by Billy Kimber.
Law 37: Create Compelling Spectacles
The first part of this clip we’re go to look into is Ada making her grand entrance at the 0:50 mark. She is dressed in full mourning attire with her and Freddie’s baby in tow. This strikes everyone as so odd that they dumbly move out of her way as she struts on through. In fact, everyone is so flabbergasted that the impending firefight is halted while Ada does her spiel. However, Ada doesn’t stop there. Now that she has everyone’s undivided attention, she cleverly utilizes a second law to weaken both sides’ resolve to continue this fight…
Law 13: When Asking for Help Appeal to People’s Self-Interest Never To Their Mercy or Gratitude
At the 1:00 mark, Ada uses her attire to paint the visual of what awaits them if they continue down their current path. She plants the image in their minds of their families all wearing black as they attend their funerals. She appeals to both gangs’ self-interest in survival. She then lays down an ultimatum: She and the baby will stay smack dab in the middle of no-man’s land. If the fight were to resume, they would have the blood of an innocent woman and child on their hands. This unarguably affects Freddie and the Peaky Blinders more than the other side since she and the baby are related to them, but you can begin to see traces of uncertainty on the faces of the rival gang.
Law 42: Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep Will Scatter
Inevitably, shots are fired by Billy Kimber and Thomas Shelby is hit. Thomas sees that it is only a matter of seconds before the other gang gathers their nerve and goes on the offensive. He must act quickly and decisively to end this situation or else he and everyone else will be killed. If he charged forward shooting wildly into the group, it would only start a full-on conflict. Instead he steps forward and places one bullet square in Billy Kimber’s head. With their leader dead, the lackeys are in shock and unsure of what to do next. Now that the immediate threat has been neutralized and everyone is unsure of what to do next, Thomas gets to decide how to proceed.
Law 47: In Victory, Learn When to Stop
It would have been very easy for Thomas Shelby to urge his crew to charge the rival gang who was still reeling from their leader just being killed. In the resulting battle, however, there is no doubt some, if not most, of his own gang would have been killed as well. Instead of pushing his advantage, he allows his enemies to leave with the subtle appeal to their self-interests (Law 13), “Go back to your families.” With that, the battle is won and the losses were reduced from the dozens down to just two.
The 48 Laws of Power are a great point of reference for learning how individuals rise to power and manipulate others. Even if you have no grandiose plans of your own, it would behoove you to learn these laws so you do not fall victim to them. The laws on display in shows such as Peaky Blinders are typically exaggerated, but are real nevertheless. Make it a point to watch for subtle power plays while watching interactions, both on television and in real life and be on the lookout from everyone. Even your beloved family will likely attempt to persuade you to do what they want by using some of these laws, although hopefully they aren’t plotting your downfall.
Stay safe while navigating your social circles. Until next time.