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.

The Friendship/Gossip Triangle by Chukwukadibia Ude

The friendship/gossip triangle represents a geometric series of conversations between three persons who know each other.

This piece explains how these conversations engage many others who revolve inside the triangle thereby instituting positive or negative attributes depending on the nature of these conversations.

A triangle has only three points representing three persons as explained in this piece. (Any shape can be used for this analysis but what matters is the understanding derived from it)

The lines that bind the three points are assumed in this piece to be bound with two things: THE TONGUE AND THE EAR.

Simply put the tongues and the ears of those at the three points of the triangle.

(For emphasis, THE HANDS could represent the lines when you consider the social media or instant message applications that we operate nowadays. In any case, the hands only type what would have been said if it were possible to talk).

THIS ARTICLE WAS BORN WITH A REFLECTION ON THE USE OF THE TONGUE

(The ear is only considered because the next person who speaks, speaks only what is heard or speaks a different interpretation of what is heard)

HOW THE THINGS WE SAY PUT US IN SITUATIONS WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO HANDLE

Why do we give deaf ears to the Philosopher Socrates’ advice? He said: “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?” As easy as it sounds, almost everyone disobeys this principle.

Why do we always involve people where they have no responsibilities at all? Joyce Meyer even clarified this stating pro actively that “anywhere you do not have responsibility, do not bother to have an opinion”. With this, even when the speaker has made the mistake to speak what you see as irrelevant to you, you could help stop the flow if you pay attention to Joyce’s advice. The baseline is that when one starts a conversation, the receiver/listener could help shorten it if what is to be said is neither true, good nor useful or as well following Meyer’s statement. This will teach the speaker a lot about what is actually necessary to be said.

Here comes the analysis:

Three persons A, B and C are friends who know each other and represent the points in a triangle while their tongues and ears join these triangle points and as well bring about many companions who are not in any case necessary to the personal friendship of A or B or C or even their group relationships.

Questions to ponder:

Why would any of A, B or C tell their problems with anyone of the other two to the third?

Why won’t the two resolve their problems?

Why explain your personal affairs to the other two? Are they God?

Why mention what someone did to you and even his/her name to the other two? Do they have any responsibility in your problem with him/her? Why can’t he/she approach who offended him/her?

Why would the other two also spread the issue to many others?

Why can’t A tell B what he/she doesn’t like about him/her? Why rushing to complain to C? Why rushing to communicate your issues with another person to someone who isn’t involved? Have you thought of the dangers of involving him/her?

Why would A, B or C act as a friend but actually works as a spy? Are you in party politics or are you practising in the field of detectives?

Why would A destroy the friendship of B and C (or B that of A and C as well as C that of A and B)? Why involving D to Z in your friendship with A, B, C, A & B, B & C, A & C and even affecting the friendship of A, B and C with D to Z?

Even if what A says is true about B or C or B and C to D to Z, how good or useful is it to them?

If you understand this well, you will observe that only the tongue has engaged so many companions.

Oh, the power of the tongue. This power is seen to hold life and death as recorded in Proverbs 18:21 and the advice thereof is that he/she who loves it will eat its fruit.

The ear of the receiver has also helped to transfer the information by hearing and the tongue of the receiver then keeps making it a geometric build up until the triangle makes one’s life almost ruined.

D to Z in the analysis represents many people we involve in what does not really concern them. We multiply our companions by the things we speak out. Remember, Proverbs 18:24 warns that a man of many companions may come to ruin but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Find that friend and still follow Socrates and Meyer’s advices on such a friend.

Not taming the tongue can be likened to a bad attitude and a bad attitude is seen by some great men as a flat tire which means you cannot go anywhere without changing it.

Most times, the way we see life could make taming the tongue almost impossible. We may want others to be like us. We live by the law and expect everyone to do to us the same we do for them forgetting that everyone sees life differently. Using our ‘do me, I do you’ perspective, we hardly trust, we complain a lot, we give up on people easily, we involve many things and many people even when the situation has not got the extent we think about. The way we think about life has been a contribution to our use of the tongue.  When we see life as a law, there is a low understanding of love and where there is no love, there is dishonesty and all these lead to the way we apply our tongues to irrelevancies. Even the holy book confirms that love is the fulfillment of the law and not the other way round. When we love, we could help shape our lives. Do not forget that mercy triumphs over judgment as noted in James 2:13.

Comparison is another big threat to friendship. The more we compare, the more we take sides. The more we take sides, the more we hardly know the truth. The more we know less of the truth, the more biased we become. The more biased we become, the more we never see something good in people. This in turn blocks the knowledge of the truth. The funniest thing is that we know the truth just that our negativity buries it. The final point is that it leads to hatred and envy.  With this, all we do is TALK, TALK, and TALK. Guess who we talk to: people that have no business in the subject matter. The tongue sells the product of our comparison to markets where there are no customers at all to buy it rather than mere advertisements. No one buys the dummies, they are just samples. Please, let us reduce the extent we sample many people. Why have more dummies in your shop than real products?

If you feel disturbed about someone, please call the person and have a face time conversation. Life is a test; we only pass it when we stick to approaches that promote value. Without the right values, nothing is sustainable.

Someone advised that a right word at the right time to the right person at the right time can’t be a coincidence but orchestrated by God. We all make mistakes but we are also aware of the new mercy of God we have every day so let us always filter our words before speaking.

The way we see life, how we think about others, how we react to what others do to us, the way manner in which we rush to explain things to people who act as if they care, etc. should be our next line of action when it comes to change.

I remember the update someone used on social media; it says “Your thoughts, Your life, Your choice”.

If you have said what is not meant to be said, this is the time to have a re-think. You could be causing a lot of injuries. When you speak what is neither true nor good nor useful, you cause a lot of harm. Like Benjamin Franklin highlighted, the tongue offends and the ear takes the cuffing. He also advised that it is better to take many injuries than to give one. He, whom you have given so many injuries, will be pitied but you who cause the injury will be hated. Be wise. Do not speak off the cuff, otherwise you will feel so injured within yourself as well. For those who listen, when it is your turn to speak, don’t speak off the cuff as well.

If you have been wronged by what someone said about you, do not worry. Rumours do not define you. Even if what is said is true, count it as a something that requires you to grow. Remember, it is only at the tree loaded with fruits that people throw stones. You are so fruitful, that’s why most people are interested in you. Keep shinning. The problem is not the problem but your attitude about the problem.

In all you do, discipline the tongue so well. No plan will survive first contact with the enemy as stressed by Van Molke. Often times, we reveal our plans to people with our tongues.

One thing could help make the tongue always so clean. It is not tooth brush and paste. It is the ability to keep the mind clear and bright. Someone stated that the mind is the window through which we see the world. Most times, the tongue says what the mind feels or the interpretation given to what is seen or heard which revolves around the masterpiece called the human mind.

Despite Uncle Remus quote stated thus, “you cannot run away from trouble, there ain’t no place that far”, I believe that we could still reduce our troubles by minding what we say and listen to.

If you desire the inner zone of the triangle to be filled with peace and true friendship, mind what you say or listen to or discuss. If you desire the inner zone to be filled with gossips, worry and injuries, then keep talking the way you want. Its either you create a friendship triangle or a gossip triangle.

Do not gossip. Do not allow gossips or it gets into you. It destroys the mind. The pain of the mind is more than the pain of the body.

Within us, we have so many troubles. Do not go criticizing others. D.L. Moody even emphasized “right now I am having so much trouble with myself that I do not have time to criticize my friends”.

Settle your issues with who is concerned. Do not make it a debate for others. The others you tell have no business. Such debates make no good history.

Make your friendship triangle peaceful. Find friends who try as much as they can to make theirs peaceful. Embrace them.

Be watchful as it is the only way. If you are just careful, you could still make a lot of mistakes. Being careful is not enough. If you don’t want it to be heard, tell no one at all. Use your discretion to filter words that you want to release; words could uplift or destroy you.

Whatever mistakes you have made, see them as lessons learnt and forge ahead. Malcolm Forbes defined failure as success if we learn from it. The worst is repeating the mistakes; the triangle will grow as a gossip triangle to a gossip decagon and become unbearable. It is always better to have a peaceful network in a friendship triangle even if the triangle is so small. Mind your thoughts, mind your tongue and mind your ears. When you do not know what to reply over what you heard, do not start explaining; just smile. A wise man made a wonderful comment that no matter the language you speak, a smile will never need a translator.

The tongue weighs practically nothing but only a few can hold it. I need to learn, you need to learn, we need to learn.
We can make our relationships sustainable. Let us be truthful. Let us be lovely and lovable. Let us be faithful. Let us forgive. Let us encourage greater values. Let us know. Let us learn. Let us grow. Let us live. Let us be alive. Let us be peaceful.

Watch your tongue, hold it, keep it clean, and discipline it.

Filter what your say and what you hear.

Clean your ears, not with cotton buds, but with listening filter.

Keep your minds clean and bright.

In relationships with people, engage your mind only on what is true, good and useful about people.

Manage your stakeholders; engage who is responsible or accountable, consult who is experienced, objective and unbiased when necessary and inform only who is to be informed when necessary.

Encourage value and you see your relationships become highly sustainable.

AN APPROACH TO LIFE; LET US WATCH IT!!!