A rare asseveration was made by the Master of Whisperers, Varys, while describing power in Westeros- ‘A very small man can cast a very large shadow.’
This is one of the many divulgent statements made in the ‘Game of Thrones’. Here and there, between the mystery, drama and humour, Game of Thrones provides us with life lessons in the most uncanny of situations. Most importantly, these books are one of the rare kind that do not present a picture perfect world.
As a teenager obsessed with the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV Series as well as ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ book series, I am often pointed out by my elders, that, the series is disturbing for children, at many levels and is highly inappropriate for youngsters. Well, this makes me feel like sticking ‘em with the pointy end.
Personally, I love Game of Thrones. It’s one of its kind that does not present a picture perfect world. It’s not only the amazing storyline and the very unexpected plot twists. It’s the way my heart paces at the speed of light every time Ygritte looks Jon Snow in the eyes and claims that he knows nothing. It’s the nail marks on my palms when I clutch my hands too hard every time I re watch The Battle of the Bastards. The triumphant feeling, I get every time Arya cuts a name off her list. The smile that appears on my face every time Daenerys says “Dracarys” and somebody is burnt to death. (Ok, that last one was kind of violent but it’s so satisfying.)
Apart from the heart melting ships, the transfixing action and the most scintillating combination of Fantasy and depictions of Reality, there are countless number of quotes and incidents throughout the series that allow the viewers to discover a very unique perspective to family, loyalty, money, strength and survival. Here are the five most important things Game of Thrones has taught me-
Strength Comes in Different Forms
You know who was strong? Arya. A nine-year-old who had the right instinct from the very beginning. A nine-year-old who fled King’s Landing and vowed to make reprisal for the injustice that was done to her family. Years later, after going through cynical circumstances, she came through. Arya Stark, is the kind of brave my dad expected me to be when I was five and scared of heights and he leaned in to tell me, ‘You’re a brave girl’ before I stepped onto the Ferris wheel.
To the lady who went from ‘Oh, my beloved Joffrey.’ to ‘How do you answer to these charges, Lord Baelish?’, Sansa Stark has made each of the mistakes that any teenager would, while growing up. She has gone through more than it’s possible to imagine. Sansa, according to me, has had the best character development in the series. She realised how cruel the world can be, and in the end, even after all the mistakes and the harassment, she survived. She thrived. She is the kind of brave I wish all women could be, who utter the words ‘Me Too’.
Cersei. I have heard many a times, that people hate Cersei because she is a tyrant. But I believe, that, harsh, was something her life made her. What I always respected was, her love for her family. Her dedication towards her children. She held Tommen close to her during the battle of the Black Water because she would rather let him die than be tortured by Stannis. She was devastated when Myrcella was sent to Dorne. Joffrey was always impertinent with her. But she protected him with all her heart. The deaths of her children caused her great grief, but she did not break down. She continued, for Jaime, for the Lannisters. She is the kind of brave, mothers are.
Life is Full of Possibilities
Every death in the series, has only made me appreciate life more. There were so many deaths that were uncalled for. The most unexpected one for me, was Ned Stark’s. He had promised Jon that the next time they meet, they would talk about his mother. He had promised Arya that one day he would be proud looking at his daughter excel in sword-fighting. He had promised Robert that he would take care of Joffrey. He had promised Catelyn that he would come back home. But he didn’t. Valar Morghulis. But why not live a life worth dying for?
The thought that,” I’ll do it when I am older” or “I’ll do it when I’m rich” just doesn’t pop into my head anymore. I am glad. Because all ‘one day’s have become ‘today’.
I also realised, that life, just doesn’t have time for regrets. Bran could have stayed with Jon at the Wall and sobbed about his paralysed body. He could have wished again and again that he didn’t climb the castle wall that day. But he didn’t. He scurried across the Wall and became the Three Eyed Raven. He didn’t become the warrior Old Nan told him stories of. But he became something better. He brought to life, a figment of his imagination.
People Change. And I don’t mean it in a bad way. I mean, think about Hot Pie. A criminal. A bully. But at last, the person who returned to Winterfell two of the Starks. If you seize the right opportunities in life, you can go a very very long way.
And need I mention his mouth watering bakes?
Societal Norms do not Define You
“I wasn’t playing. I don’t want to be a lady.”
Septa Mordane used to castigate Arya all the time for not acting lady like enough. In a universe where women were expected to stitch and sew, smile and drink wine with their husbands at dinner, Arya Stark took secret ‘dancing lessons’ because she didn’t want to be a lady.
Brienne. A high born. Expected to marry a High Lord. Instead, becomes one of the most loyal protectors in the series. She avenged Renly Baratheon. She upheld the promise she made to Catelyn Stark.
It would be wrong if I didn’t acknowledge Samwell Tarly here. Always undermined by his family. Called upon by the people in the Night’s Watch. He wasn’t the son a High Lord wished to have. He wasn’t the fighter that the Watch required. But his knowledge and his confidence in taking chances led him to contribute more to Westeros than any warrior ever could.
These are the characters who are looked upon, by every person who was ever told,”What would the society say?”
I am almost sure that when Sansa was looking at Brienne and Arya practise sword fighting at Winterfell, she had a tad bit of regret in her eyes.
The North Shall Always Remember
I am not the biggest believer of Karma. Because Karma says,” What goes around, comes around.” I believe that something worse comes around. Remember that iconic moment, when Arya went, “When people ask you what happened here, tell them the North Remembers. Tell them Winter came for House Frey.”
When I first heard this line, I found it very (I’m not sure how to describe it) realistic? Or eye opening? I am not sure. But what I do know, is that at some level, it had a metaphorical meaning.
In a world where you can be Samwell Tarly or Osha, don’t choose to be the Mad King. Because life has weird ways of getting back at you.
A Lion doesn’t Concern himself with the Opinion of a Sheep
Many a times, people interpret this line to be reprimanding the judgemental attitude of people. But I think that that’s not what the line is about. I believe that this one line says a lot about self-confidence.
It tries to embolden people to not get disheartened by criticism. Tyrion Lannister. A dwarf. The brother that killed their mother. The disappointing son. Tyrion Lannister turned out to be one of the greatest masterminds on the show. Cersei loathed Tyrion. But she knew, she knew that the Battle of the Black Water would have been lost by them if it wasn’t for Tyrion. She knew that he was her most loyal confidante on the small council. That didn’t stop her from accusing him for everything that went wrong with her family. But Tyrion’s morale and fealty remained unmoved.
Tyrion’s character taught us, that, being different will get you condemnation but that doesn’t mean that your different is bad. It only makes you unique. And you must not get dismayed by the disapproval of people who don’t matter.
Game of Thrones is the Universe that gives a most literal depiction of today’s world. A world with nations that fail to unite against a common enemy. A world with greed, anger and vengeance. Game of Thrones showed me, that, it takes more than just a crown to be a leader. The characters whose imperfectness and flaws render so close to my heart and show me, that, my individuality is my greatest weapon. Most of all, it taught me, that, you don’t give up on Family.
I did not create any of the artwork displayed above. All the images have been taken from Google Images and if any of it is yours, please do let me know.