Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in A Game of Thrones.
I thought I’d hate the TV show Game of Thrones. I’d heard it was full of violence and sex, and despite Steph’s frequent praise of both book and TV series, I couldn’t understand why women would enjoy it.
Fast forward a couple of months, and my boyfriend and I have caught up with all three series of the TV production, and I’ve finished the first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series (entitled A Game of Thrones). My views have indeed changed. This post will focus on this first book, although I’ll probably make passing references to the screen adaptation.
What A Game of Thrones is About
A Game of Thrones can be compared to The Lord of the Rings trilogy alongside other fantasy novels. It has knights, castles, war, barbarians, strange gods, made-up languages, and even dragons. However, it also has much more human aspects: love, arranged marriages, and divided families, for instance. I have to warn you too about the murder, conspiracy, incest, and rape that frequently feature.
What A Game of Thrones Can Teach Us About Life
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Image from the Guardian.
I enjoyed reading A Game of Thrones primarily because it made me think about my own situation and direction in life. I’m due to start working for a start-up company in Barcelona from September, and this will undoubtedly strike me as a major change. I feel that I will be ready for it, but I could do with some extra courage to help me get there. Reading A Game of Thrones was surprisingly helpful in this respect.
The novel holds a fantastic portrayal of courage, but we can also relate to other elements of the text. Below is a brief outline of ways in which we can relate to A Game of Thrones, although this is my no means extensive.
What A Game of Thrones Can Teach Us About Growing Up
On Changing Ourselves and Others
Characters Facing Trauma
Knowing Friends From Enemies
A Game of Thrones quickly shows that trust cannot be given out freely. It’s a novel in which allegiances change, support can frequently be bought, and friends can quickly become enemies. The characters that succeed (and more fundamentally, survive) are generally those that can distinguish their friends from their enemies. Some trials are fair, others are less so. Such characters are often more reluctant to trust others without sufficient ground, but they provide guaranteed back-up for the few they have faith in. Eddard and Catelyn Stark lean towards fairer trials of allegiance, while House Lannister often prioritises power over morality.
This is a novel that differentiates between wanting to act heroically and not always knowing how to do so. Despite the mythical elements of the series, we are exposed to so many feelings and emotions that we can truly relate to, alongside decisions and directions forward that we can learn from. The multiple points of view prove that all characters, no matter how villainous, have their own conflicts and baggage, but they also indicate that success and power can come from the most traumatic and challenging of experiences.
Recommended for: finding courage and strength, overcoming trauma and hardship