Game of Thrones: Lessons

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As the season 5 of the popular TV show, Game of Thrones (GOT) comes to an end, let’s look at the possible lessons we have learnt so far.

1. GOT has completely changed how we view Mondays. New episodes are often released every Monday hence making the often dreaded Monday a day to look forward to. Thanks to GOT, “Oh God! I hate Mondays” is now “Thank God it’s Monday.”

2. Wisdom is better than strength.
“Wisdom oft comes from the mouth of babes”

Tyrion “dwarf” Lannister had little or nothing to match Stannis Baratheon’s army during the latter’s invasion of King’s Landing but he had a good head on his shoulders and a chemical that could kill thousands. With combination of these, he was able to defeat Stannis.

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3. Family is everything.
“Whatever you may believe of me, Lady Stark, I promise you this – I never bet against my family.” – Tyrion Lannister
“It is the family name that lives on. Not your personal glory, not your honour..but family” -Tywin Lannister

GOT depicts how powerful (the names of) families can be. The Lannisters, Starks, Tyrells, Martells, Targaryerens, Boltons all fought to protect their families and married each other to form an alliance and strengthen their authority over the 7 Kingdoms.

4. Think before you make a promise.
“A Lannister always pays his debts” – Tyrion Lannister

A promise is like a bond; don’t take it lightly. One of the quickest ways to lose respect and power is to make promises you can’t keep. Going back on your promise can result in unexpected situations. Walder Frey never forgave Rob Stark for not honouring his promise and slaughtered him, mother, wife and unborn child at the Red Wedding.

5. Knowledge is power.
“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge” – Tyrion Lannister
“Knowledge is a weapon, Jon. Arm yourself well before you ride forth to battle.” -Maester Aemon to Jon Snow

Lord Varys and Tyrion knew their weaknesses and focused on acquiring knowledge. In this information age, knowledge is everything. We are lucky to have abundance of information at our disposal, thanks to Internet. Knowledge, wisdom and a broad perspective are just some of the things one can gain from reading. These help one see to the world more objectively.

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6. Learn from your experience.
“A bruise is a lesson…and each lesson makes us better” – Arya Stark

Everyday we experience things that change us. Bad experiences, whether mental, physical or emotional, teach us more. The scars definitely hurt but don’t dwell on them rather focus on the lessons.

7. Winter is always coming and usually defines your character.
“Chaos isn’t a pit, chaos is a ladder. Many try to climb, fail and never try again. The fall breaks them.” – Lord Baelish
“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?” Brann Stark asked; the father Ned replied “That is the only time a man can be brave.”

Everybody maintains his composure when the going is good but it takes a person of character to rise above obstacles against all odds. There’s always some form of evil lurking in the dark. Tough times reveal the true strength of every individual; effective leaders keep their heads up and never give up. Pray for the best but prepare for the worst.

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8. Never appear desperate.
“A true man does what he will, not what he must.” – Cersei Lannister

You make yourself an easy prey when you appear desperate. Stannis was desperate to take control of the 7 kingdoms and sought the help of God of light (religion). He ended up killing his brother, Renly and burning his only daughter. The wife committed suicide afterwards. Lest I forget, Stannis still didn’t get the Iron Throne.

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9. Friendzone sucks.
This is just to reiterate what we already know, getting stuck in the friendzone fucks you up big time. Just ask Ser Jorah.

10. Life is not a straight-line graph.
“Every man must die Jon Snow. But first he must live.” – Ygrette

GOT, unlike other fairytales, seem more realistic because in reality you can’t predict what life will serve you the next minute. Life is unfair and full of twists & turns; bad things happen to good people all the time. The only thing certain in this life of uncertainty is that all men must die. VALAR MORGHULIS 

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11. Be modest; let others praise you.
“Any man who must say I am king is no true king” – Tywin Lannister

There are five things that can make one arrogant: fame, beauty, affluence, intelligence, and talent. If you possess any of these, it is important to maintain a cool head and let others praise you.

12. First impressions are often shallow and wrong
“When Jon Arry named you master of coins no one cared. Always been a grumby job, why not let a grumby man do it.”

Sometimes what we hate end up being the best things that ever happened to us. Many hated the title, “Master of Coins” but Lord Baelish yielded more power as master of coins than he/others expected and ensured Joffrey assumed the throne.
The best love story in GOT remains the one between Khal Drogo and Khalessi however many forget the beautiful story started with a forced marriage and rape.

13. Everybody wants you to do well but not better than them.
Listen to this convo between Lord Baelish and Lord Varys.
Lord Baelish: “It is flattering really..you feeling such dread at the prospect of me getting what I want.”
Lord Varys: “Thwarting you has never been my primary ambition, I promise you. Although who doesn’t like to see their friend fail now and then.”
Need I say more? Ok! Maybe one more.
“It is not those foes who curse you to your face that you must fear, but those who smile when you are looking and sharpen their knives when you turn your back.” – Melisandre

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14. Power intoxicates like wine.
“Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.” – Lord Varys

Power is something everybody yearns for however being power-drunk, like Joffrey, or lust for power, like Cersei, are recipes for disaster and discontentment respectively.

15. Self-belief/self-pride, not self-obsession, is required for success.
“Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like an armour and it can never be used to hurt you.” – Tyrion to Jon Snow

If you do not believe in yourself, how do you expect others to do? Never underestimate yourself. Our minds and brains are like transmitters, people pick up what you transmit. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and work hard to develop/magnify the former and diminsh the latter. Despite the famous saying, “you know nothing Jon Snow” he grew to be the leader of the Night’s Watch.

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16. Love is powerful.
“The thing we love destroy us everytime lad. Remember that.” – Jeor Mormont to Jon Snow
“Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.” – Cersei Lannister

Everybody longs to love and be loved. Love makes everything beautiful and gives humans drive and purpose. Virtually every character in the show is driven by love. Khal Drogo lost his life and power cos of his love for his wife and never born child. Theon Greyjoy’s infamous love for the female genitalia was his undoing.

17. Listen to elderly people, they know the short-cut to life.
If Brandon Stark had listened to the mother, he wouldn’t have been thrown off a cliff by Jaime, which led to his father,Ned, travelling to King’s Landing to seek justice and ended up losing his leg and subsequently his head.

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18. Everybody wants something; don’t be afraid to take a risk.
“Everybody wants something and when you know what a man wants, you know who he is and how to move him.” – Lord Baelish

Give and it shall be given to you. One must be willing to give in order to take. You don’t always receive when you ask; people aren’t God but you increase your chances when you offer help to others.
Cersei and Tywin Lannister wanted Tyrion to pay for Joffrey’s death at all costs, Tyrion took a huge risk and demanded trial by combat even when all odds were against him. Take risks, you might surprise everyone including yourself.

19. Don’t get too attached; learn to let go.
Humans often grow intemperate likeness for people and things, including TV shows. GOT teaches one that all good things come to an end. Do not, I repeat, do not get attached to a character in GOT lest he/she may end up dead.

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20. If a woman asks you if she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Just say Yes, your life might depend on it. Never trust anyone especially someone who loves your partner; just look at Ned Stark and Lord Baelish. Your child may end up like Joffrey, a king, if you decide to give him everything. No woman born of a woman is immune to flattery; flatter that lady today. The street is military and only the strong survive; all hail Lords Baelish and Varys. Never believe anything anyone says before a but...”you know my brother once told me nothing someone says before the word “but” really counts” – Benjen Stark to Tyrion on the wall.

What have you learnt from the series that I omitted? Please do tell.

Talent

I’ve always wanted to play football in one of the big leagues and show the world the talent God gave to me.

People who’ve known me for years still can’t believe I didn’t play professionally. Allow me to blow my own horn; I am blessed with the gift. I can play as a playmaker, striker or winger. I am tremendously skillful with both feet, have a flair for defence-splitting passes and a hawk eye for goal.

Everybody in my family supported this dream of mine except my dad. My dad is a very intelligent, meticulous and articulate man thus I trust his opinions and thoughts. The moment I knew he didn’t give his consent, my heart sank because I believe the man die!

He said “How can you, my son be a professional footballer? Mba nu! You are more intelligent than that. You must be educated. What would you do when you retire from the game at 30/35?”

He had a very serious point. Most footballers call time on their career between the ages of 30 and 39. You know what they say, life begins at 40 so you see where he’s already looking at. If I retire at 30 without education, I could become a liability to other members of the family.

My dad always maintained education doesn’t make one rich but gives you wealth of knowledge and removes the scales of ignorance from your eyes. He believed footballers are womanizers, who lavish their money on girls, cars and other irrelevant things because they lack educational exposure.

My late uncle was an ex-Green Eagle and my in-law, Christian Obodo used to play for the Super Eagles. In my late uncle’s case, his career was cut short by a nagging knee injury and my dad said to me…”My son, if you have a career ending injury like your uncle, what would you do with your life?” I couldn’t utter a word.

I kept on nursing my ambition to lock horns with the stars I watch every week on television, I sent my video clips to some clubs, most notably Manchester United and Real Madrid wearing their colours in the video clips. I even proceeded to write SAT with my friends Ababa & El Rey which I passed and got admission to study Economics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, UCLA or University of Illinois but my dad didn’t budge. The coach of University of Illinois Men’s soccer team at the time, Ben Massena tried to pull the deal through…for where? UK and Ireland (University of Loughborough to study Chemical Engineering) came calling…zilch! Then my dad asked me one question that if I answer it correctly I could go play wherever I want. He asked “what would you do with the money you will make?” Huh, did I hear him correctly? Who you dey ask that one? I mean I was 15/16 at the time and of course, I couldn’t answer that question. I was speechless and numb.

Parents often pressurize their kids into choosing things they don’t want like filling Medicine and Surgery, Law, Enginnering or any other professional course on their JAMB forms for one particular reason or the other (could be selfish or not). That’s why some of these kids end up failing because they have no interest in the course or are afraid of failing & disappointing their parents.

Don’t get me wrong, our parents love us and they want the best for us but what they fail to understand is that God gave you that talent you have for a reason.

All they have to do is support and encourage the child’s dreams and ambitions and help him/her develop that talent. When they do, the child will definitely do exceedingly well. I’m yet to see a person who failed to bring to fruition his dreams, goals and ambitions when he/she had the backing of the parents.

For instance, look at Lionel Messi, the man who every football lover believes is a Martian, was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at the age of 11. Argentine perennial champions, River Plate backed out on offering him a deal because they had no money to foot his medical bills. Then came Barcelona with an escape route for the Argentine imp, offering to pay his medical bills only if Messi signed for their academy (La Masia). The father, Jorge agreed and resigned from his job as a factory steel worker and migrated to Barcelona to be with his son.

Today, he’s won everything winnable except the World Cup. He has been world footballer of the year thrice at just 24 and has 21 winners medal with club and country including a myriad of individual honours.

If you have a talent, nurture it and put it to great use. If you are a parent, help your child discover his/her talent, aid and support the development of this God-given talent.

What’s your talent?