The Innocents

The end of Game of Thrones’ past season made me think of Ned Stark’s humiliating beheading in front of his daughters, by order of King Joffrey, that bastard boy with the look of a devilish doll who dies like he lives, in a repelling and sadistic way. A friend of mine tells me that the honorable patriarch Stark is more of a manifestation than a character of the story, and he’s right. Game of Thrones immediately warns you that is not an adventure saga designed to console yourself for your hang-ups and that when it comes to questions of power, there are no shortcuts and no minor decisions.

I have revisited the series before I delve into the final season and I feel it has a noble idea of life and politics. Abuses, impostures, and errors are paid for sooner or later. Calamities and personal flaws find redemption if they are managed with effort and intelligence. The hero, when he’s not a bastard son, is a dwarf or a eunuch, or a crippled aristocrat, or a woman in a world of men. Every death is justified, however gory it may be. Only the characters who are faithful to their virtues and capable of making them grow survive the slaughters.

The series is ideal to enlighten the world of complacent invertebrates that consumerism has engendered. When heroes no longer defend interests greater than themselves, chaos falls upon them. In the middle of a bloody war of families, confusing the necessities of love with the necessities of power does subject the characters to tragic decisions that haunt them all their lives and only overcome by sharpening their character. No one is indispensable, but everyone has an opportunity. Happiness is made up of moments, just like the victories and the defeats, when they can be assimilated.

Like life itself, Game of Thrones is an immense web of delicate balances in which there is no rest and nothing comes easy. Hope keeps intuition awake only when it’s genuine and nothing is expected in return. While I was watching the series, I was thinking about the biography of Winston Churchill that I’m reading. Churchill spent his life exposing himself to death in such ways that his friends felt they were unwarranted. Perhaps he was trying to remind himself that to have a clear mind, you have to control your emotions and, therefore, get over the fear of losing everything you believe you've earned or consider yours.

Through the metaphor of the ice wall, the series presents life as an endless and unsuccessful epic battle against death and deceit. The purpose of power, according to the series, just like the purpose of love, is not the privilege of resting on your laurels but the privilege of keeping yourself in the game for as long as possible. Actually, there are not that many differences between the kings and courtiers who unwillingly dig their own grave, and the zombie army that threatens to conquer the world of men with their blind fury.

The past season begins with civilization at the brink of collapse. While the zombie army crosses the ice wall, a well-kept secret is about to prove that not even Ned Stark was as honorable as it seemed. Cersei, the official bad girl in the series, is pregnant again, and therefore she has a greater purpose than herself to defend her power tooth and nail. Daenerys and Jon Snow are about to discover that love is like a lightning bolt that splits you in half and makes you reconsider the idea you have of yourself and of others.

The dwarf, the eunuch, the Stark girls, the one-armed knight, everyone has ghosts in the closet trying to get out and take over their lives, certainly as happens in the comfort of home. The series reminds you that no one has an overall vision of the world or a clear idea of the role they play. The saga reminds you that the greatest act of faith that one can make is to believe in oneself, even as does the witch Melisandre, who can't get a single one right but keeps using her sinister powers. Through the cruel world that the series presents, you realize that no one knows why the hell they were born, but no one wants to live subjugated or deceived nor is in a hurry to die.

Translated from Catalan by Fernando Beato