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Game of Thrones and the journey to self

Arya Stark., Photo from

Simone Delochan,

This piece is for the Game of the Thrones’ fans, and there is no need to comment that you have not seen—not one!—episode of it. Those of us who followed it faithfully from Season One did so anxiously engaged in the political shenanigans that morphed into a battle against supernatural powers, the victory over which most viewers were uncertain. In the third and most recent episode, ‘The Long Night’ the conflict between the Night King and his massive army of wights (undead), and the humans come to a head. Well, not just humans: there were three dragons as well. It’s a fiction lover’s Eden.

What struck me, without going into spoilers for those who have not seen this episode yet and those who choose to begin looking at it, is how the journey of one of the protagonists shaped her to be exactly what she needed to be for this fight. Arya, of the family Stark, had a long and at times perilous and solitary path before this pivotal fight scene.

The entire storyline from Season One to now running Season Eight, saw characters who contributed in small and major ways to each of the threads of the main narrative up to this point in the story. Every character, whether they survived or not, every incident—albeit mainly tragic—was meaningful to the contours of the story. Nothing was extraneous to the plot even if the viewer at the time had not seen its relevance.

It reminded me of a movie which came out in 2011, Hugo, which I have seen more than once, because as a good book has to be read more than once, so too should a good movie be seen multiple times so nothing is missed. Clocks are the main motif of the movie, whose action occurs in a train station in Paris in the 1930s. The mechanics of things generally are a particular preoccupation. Scenes are replete with moving parts, cogs, frames, axles etc. There is the automaton that the orphan Hugo Cabret is desperately attempting to fix, the many large clocks that dot the length of the railway station, and the mysterious owner of the toy store who sells and fixes clockwork toys.

Toward the end of the movie, Hugo says to his best friend as they sit under an enormous clock overlooking a wintry Paris night: “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine… I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.”

This quote came to me as I looked at Arya during the nightmarish scenes of ‘The Long Night’ as she, at this crucial point in the history of Westeros, utilised every skill she was taught, and the accumulated mental and physical strength she was forced to develop came to bear.

Is this striking a note yet? Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple made this insightful comment: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” To this I add God.

The Game of Thrones lesson to you reader, is simply this—there is a purpose to what may appear to be a random series of meetings and experiences. The key, however, is to truly learn from the experiences, not to become embittered, but to assist you in growing into a complete individual to fulfil your God-intended purpose. Have you paused to quietly look back and connect the dots, the people and stark events which have molded your contours? Are you pleased with who you are now emerging from the meetings and the accidents? Do you trust that God is in your life?  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer 29:11).