comments 11

On being brave

I’m nearing the end of Series 1 of Game of Thrones now and I am gripped.  I was pretty into it before, but now it’s grabbed me and won’t let go.

There’s the obvious reason why things have got so exciting – Eddard Stark languishes in prison and his daughters are fighting, in different ways, for their lives.  Sansa is trying her best to play the political game, to work out what is required of her to save her father.  Arya, like her father, has refused to submit.  There’s an amazing scene when the King’s men come to get her, and her fencing tutor refuses to let them take her.

It’s not just the action that makes GOT so memorable.  It’s the courage of the characters and the way their belief in their values is so important to them.  The fencing scene is a brilliant example of the bravery and sacrifice that are prevalent in the series.  I think that is why the series is so popular – we love it when people are brave.  It appeals to us that people will sacrifice their own selves for the greater good, for what they believe in.

Why is it that we love bravery, but that bravery is so difficult in real life?

One of the settings I love in GOT is The Wall, situated at the northernmost part of the North.  There’s a real sense of men coming together and looking after each other in an otherwise very bleak setting.  Now, I’d love to say that I was like Jon Stark – emerging from a privileged but unwanted upbringing, to lead men through bravery and intelligence.  In real life, I think I’m more like Jon’s sidekick, Samwell Tarly – well meaning , bookish, awkward, unco-ordinated – and by his own admission, a coward.

Due to my upbringing, I instinctively find anger and conflict very difficult to deal with.  I’ve found ways round it, by depersonalising things, by bringing out stock phrases.  But my heart still beats fast when the prospect of conflict approaches, and even sometimes when I disagree with someone and am trying to express it.

I do like a good exchange of views, and conflict is just a variation on this.  I find one of the problems to be that when an issue really matters to me, it’s difficult sometimes not to feel emotional about it.  I guess I feel threatened.  Feeling threatened is what takes some people the opposite way from me, into the place where people get aggressive or violent in conflict.

I would like to be brave like Tyrion Lanister, who never fears to say what he thinks, but whose size means that he has to fight with his brain rather than his fists.  Since being captured by Catelyn Stark, Tyrion has bribed a grunting prison guard into letting him out of his cell, charmed a knight into being his Champion, thus winning his way to freedom, and negotiated his way out of a sticky situation with an angry clan.  Using his approach, being confident and not flinching is doubly important!

I would like to be brave like this panda

I would like to be brave like this panda



  1. I agree with you about conflict and find it hard not to get emotional at times as well. Particularly when the topic is something I feel strongly about. Having said that, I also like to have my ideas challenged and the best way to do this is through conflict so I think it depends on how it’s done. If the dialog is fair and civil and respectful then I’m ok with it. When things degenerate into name calling and insults then that’s when it gets tough and unproductive.

  2. Just started watching the first series of GOT – I couldn’t ignore it any longer, there are so many people raving about how good it is. I have only watched the first episode and was shocked by the amount of quite graphic scenes already, I hear there are many more to come. I have to say, the bit at the end of ep1 with Bran and the tower had me putting my hand to my mouth and audibly gasping in shock. I think I’m going to get hooked very quickly!

    • I will try not to spoiler it for you – I thought I must be the last person on earth to have started watching so recently!

      But now you have watched it I can talk about it too – the ingeniousness of that scene was that I thought the climbing was all about Bran’s stubbornness and risk taking, but it turned out to be central to the intrigue and plot.

      • I know, but I thank it for being on Sky bizarre. Series 1-3 for free, I couldn’t not! I was never interested in reading the books even though they were hugely popular. Some of our friends were surprised that we hadn’t watched any as they thought it would be something my OH would really enjoy. I’m glad you blogged about it as I think that was the tipping point for downloading them. I’m on to episode 3 now but sure I’ll catch up soon!

  3. Great post on bravery and Game of Thrones.

    I particularly appreciated your singling out Sam and Tyrion, who would both tell you that they weren’t especially brave. But are.

    • I really like Sam. His scenes with Jon Snow are great. Touching and funny in the most unexpected of situations.

  4. Now I must watch this show. It sounds fascinating. I can relate to your upbringing and how it affects you know in confrontation, etc. You sound so self-aware… I bet you are a constantly evolving, amazing human being. And very brave.

    • Don’t know about self aware – I think a lot and need an outlet sometimes, hence this blog!  The strange thing is when you start talking about things, how many other people relate, when on the surface I sometimes assume everyone is more OK than me.

      GOT is a great show, if you don’t mind it’s a bit gory, but I just look away at those points!


      • Denise, We are all working on myriad things. Anyone who pretends to be perfect is not being genuine or honest with others, or maybe themselves. I love your honesty – it is reassuring. I will absolutely check out GOT. Not into gore, but it sounds like the characters are well-developed and there is a nice story line. Have a great night, Shanna

  5. Oooh, so exciting that you are watching GOT and really into it! We are all caught up now and really looking forward for it to start again next month as I know you are! I wish I could say more. Reading this I’m sitting on the edge of my seat saying , ‘Oh, just wait……’ but I can’t say anymore!
    I will say though that Sam is my favourite, I adore him and even more as the story goes on (also Tyrion, love his wit and how he handles so many bad situations despite his size. Love him!) Jon Snow starts to annoy me at one stage but….well, I can’t say anymore. Hurry up and watch it all so we can discuss!!!!! I wish we could meet up and have a GOT-fest, ha 🙂
    Oh, and me too Denise, I wish I could be brave like this Panda. Conflict of any description gets my heart fluttering too but life is full of it unfortunately, or so it seems anyway.
    BUT, and it’s a very big but, I happen to think you are very brave in so many ways and I admire you immensely for all you achieve on a daily basis in your life, at work, in your home, as a mum to your beautiful, lovely D’s and just as the person you are and blossoming into.
    So Denise, get that cape on and fly over here pronto so we can do the GOT thing 🙂

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