Game of Thrones

HBO’s Game of Thrones has been a lesson in humility; viewers all over the world are in love with GOT characters. In Game of Thrones, several characters meet with bad ends, but the one character viewers identify as the hero is—Eddard “Ned” Stark, the one whose cause is always righteous, and whose missteps are the result of ill fortune or adherence to a Western sense of honor—appears to be safe. If allies of Eddard are felled by their enemies, the viewer is assured that, at the very least, the hero Ned will survive and ultimately exact vengeance. But when Ned is executed by the arbitrary young king Joffrey—an act which shocks and horrifies even the king’s own supporters, we learn a multifaceted lesson here. The viewer realizes that Eddard Stark was, in fact, the antagonist the whole time, and that the viewer was being tricked into believing he was the hero.

Game of Thrones is also a game of knowing, a puzzling chain of views that are sometimes linked, but which often fail to make contact at crucial points, just as our own perspective as viewers cannot possibly hold everything together. The most important element in this lesson is one of realism, or authenticity. The scope of the series allows the viewer to learn that sometimes truly terrible things happen, and that, despite this misfortune, the course of history moves on. There is this building up of excitement, the restlessness of the brain that analyses the plot, and possibilities; and yet, the showrunners have succeeded in retaining mystery as a central experience of the ice and fire story, even, astonishingly, for those who know the books so well. Moreover, although many of the prophecies are ambiguous or have yet to come true, there are others that have unambiguously come to pass such as Daenerys foreseeing the birth of her dragons.

Tyrion Lannister has a fundamental passion for reading. Reading and learning help, always. Tyrion heavily influences the narrative’s discourse, channeling the events of the story through his own unique perspective. However, he is simultaneously shaped and re- shaped by those same events. The shock and bewilderment surrounding the death of the ostensible hero Eddard Stark reinforces the harshness and complexity of the HBO show; and signifies the larger loss of the series’ moral center. Ned chooses his daughter Sansa’s life above his own reputation. Sansa Stark seems a fundamentally passive character with virtually no control over her own destiny. From her betrothal to Joffrey, to her mistreatment at the hands of the Lannisters, to her forced marriage to Tyrion, to her abduction by Littlefinger, the course of Sansa’s story arc is shaped by those around her. Robb, like Sansa, is a pawn; just as Sansa’s course is shaped by the Lannisters and Littlefinger, Robb’s course is delineated by a powerful force beyond his control.

In Game of Thrones, Bran’s first vision of the “heart of winter” fills him with terror; he sees below him “the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon … points”. As winter finally arrives, as the narrative meanders toward its climax, and the Stark children fulfill their destinies, the fantasy saga becomes even more interesting and shocking. Amidst all of this conjecture is a worrying dearth of clear answers. Relationships, commitments and alliances remain shady and ambiguous; one cannot help but wonder who is playing, and on behalf of whom. The high lords play their game of thrones and the smallfolk suffer accordingly. We realise that despite our conceits that we are in possession of free will and that our actions bear relevantly upon the universe, our actions—as in the case of Bran and Eddard above—are just as subject to the inexorabilities of fate and circumstance as falling leaves or thrown rocks.

Fire crackiling; the rains of Castamere playing; the coming of a Valyrian steel sword into the view; thus, begins the season 4 of Game of Thrones. Episode 10 of the season has a good phrase to remember, “You’ll never walk again, but you will fly”. These are golden words. They inspire, give hope, and make you want to go on looking for your dreams. The Lannister drama was a great play and turned the political drama into something far more personal. Joeffrey’s wedding-day death; a bloody duel for Arya’s protection; and the clash between Jon Snow and the Wildlings, all made season 4 the best of GOT. The high drama of characters in this season could not be matched by any other season. Arranged and mismatched marriages are dangerous, and season 4 shows how the need to choose the right partner, one who you truly love and understand is truly a great deal, and can save you a lot of pain.

The nonsensical and dooming season 8 is in exact contrast to what season 4 had offered. Considered to be   one of the best shows on TV, Game of Thrones with its brilliantly designed characters, plot and the design of the Seven Kingdoms offers personal, moral as well as rational lessons. As the King in the North Robb Stark is dead, betrayed by his own people during the infamous Red Wedding carnage; season 4 depicts the meaningless feuds of the south; and warns the viewer of the horrors that lie beyond the Wall. Game of Thrones has won AFI Awards, TV Choice Awards, 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Saturn Award, and what not; but most importantly it has won the hearts of the people all over the world-there is a crazy fan following of GOT that has more to offer than just a show. In Game of Thrones, Bran asks his father, “Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?” to which Lord Stark replies, “That is the only time a man can be brave”. More than anything else, GOT can inspire you and bring out the best in you, only if you give up all your fears and relentlessly pursue what you truly want.

4 thoughts on “Game of Thrones

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