Game of Thrones may have become a thing of the past, but not Tyrion Lannister and what he stands for
I am probably a bit late into the game here. When the whole world has moved on from GOT I have just started discovering the hidden gems in it. Thanks to Covid, I spend 3 weeks of my holidays re-watching the whole series. What a waste of time isn’t it? I mean imagine spending that time learning a new skill or a craft.
But it’s not always about the “source” of knowledge and wisdom, if you look deep enough there is something to learn from everything around you. So when you go through the lives of many characters living in the seven kingdoms of Westeros, from King’s Landing to Winterfell, and the Iron Islands to the Dorne, you can’t help but learn a great deal about courage, suffering, greed, honor, and lust.
And if you are one of those people who find reading fiction or watching series a pure waste of time; my friend, I can only say that life is short. If you want to experience life beyond what you can possibly be exposed to, then go on exploring the many fantasy worlds brought to life in the form of books and series by those incredibly talented writers and craftsmen out there. They will show you the many facets of life that you or I may never come across in our lifetime.
Out of all the incredible characters in GOT, one who will never fade away from our memories is that of Tyrion. Born a dwarf, to one of the richest families in the seven kingdoms of Westeros; the Lannister’s, whose legacy has many warriors to its name. His mother lost her life-giving birth to him. His father Tywin Lannister abhors him for his physical appearance and finds his son to be a shame to his family’s name. His sister hates him for being the reason for their mother’s death.
Tyrion is made fun of wherever he goes. He suffers a great deal growing up. But despite all that, he goes on earning the respect of many powerful men and women in Westeros, and achieving heights that many in his family or even in the seven kingdoms could only dream of.
Tyrion represents in many ways a great many of us, not in his physical appearance but in the struggles, he undergoes in life. And he shows us the way on how to overcome them and succeed in life. Of course, he has many vices, and I don’t intend to steer any of us in that direction. But let’s look at some of the positives that we can all tap into.
Never be ashamed of who you are
Tyrion is never ashamed of being who he is, despite having to undergo a great deal of suffering due to his physical appearance. And he preaches the same to others. Talking to John Snow, who struggles to come to terms with his existence and at being called a bastard, Tyrion says to him – “Never forget who you are, the rest of the world won’t. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used against you.”
We are all from different backgrounds, with different skin colors, speaking different languages, eating different food, praying to different gods, and having different upbringings. That’s what makes us who we are. Nature doesn’t intend any of those characteristics to be inferior or superior to the other. But when we start associating our differences to being inferior, that’s when we play into the hands of our oppressors. Similarly, when we start associating our differences to being Superior to others, that’s when start contributing towards oppression.
Hence Tyrion shows us to be proud of who we are, no matter the differences. Wear our identity like a badge of honor. If we are proud of who we are, then our identity cannot be used to offend us. “If you let them see that their words can cut you, then you’ll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name take it, make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore”.
Life is full of possibilities
He shows us that if we ought to go beyond what we thought was possible, we need to believe in life’s possibilities. Possibilities often stays hidden, unless we dig deep for them. They need to be actively sought out; they seldom present themselves to us.
But many a times we tend to stay away from them because we are afraid of change. We get too cozy and comfortable in where we are when things are going fine. We start to believe that we have explored and exhausted the possibilities. And this leads us to being complicit in leaving our potentials untapped.
As Tyrion says, “It’s easy to confuse ‘what is’ with ‘what ought to be,’ especially when ‘what is’ has worked out in your favor”.
Being Selfless and being just, takes you a long way
Tyrion has a big heart, he is just, and he is selfless. He helps others with no expectations in return from them. These qualities of his earned him many well-wishers throughout his life. When he thought his life was over facing certain death, it was his selfless acts from the past that attracted help from unexpected quarters, which ultimately lead to his freedom.
We all will go through ups and downs in life. When we are down, we long for someone to come along and help us out. But when we are up, do we reach out to those in need? Helping those in need should be part of our lives. It may not necessarily be monetary help, it can be a piece of advice to a someone who needs it the most, some support to a colleague who is struggling to make it in the company, or a referral for a friend who is in need of a job. Something that may seem insignificant for us, can be life changing to others.
When you do something in expectation of reciprocity, you set yourself to be disappointed. Be selfless and you will be surprised at what comes around.
Have the right intentions, give it your best, and don’t worry about the outcome
Tyrion faced many setbacks from the decisions he made while serving as the hand of the Queen. Some of which were serious enough to undermine the Queen and her cause. But he always had the best intentions while making those decision. He worked wholeheartedly for the greater cause, which may not have always turned out the way he intended. Those whom he served understood this, and hence never questioned his loyalty, or punished him for failing at what he did.
This takes me to the speech a leader in my organization gave when he first introduced himself to us. He said, make an honest effort with the right intentions, give it your hundred percent, and despite that, if you don’t succeed, I won’t ask you why. All I want to know is that you tried and that you have given your best.
Make an effort, give it your best, have the best intentions while doing so, and never worry about the outcome. You may win or you may fail. But you can sleep in peace knowing you have given your best.
Admit to your mistakes no matter the consequences
Tyrion may have made some horrible mistakes, some of which were serious enough to be punished by death. But he always chose to admit to his mistakes. And this is one thing that has always helped him to get a second chance.
In today’s world probably our mistakes may not be easily accepted. But be brave and own up to it and admit it. It requires courage to admit it, but once it is done, we can start the process of learning and healing. If we don’t own up to our mistakes, then there is no way to improve on them, there is no self-reflection, and there is only self-destruction.
Knowledge trumps strength
Tyrion understands his weaknesses better than anyone. He knows he can’t be a warrior with his physical limitations. And he understands that there is something more powerful than strength and that’s knowledge. When asked why he is always reading books, he answers, “My brother has his sword, King Robert has his war hammer, and I have my mind. And a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.”
If there is one thing in this world that has contributed the most towards bridging the gap between the fortunate and the less fortunate, it is knowledge. World over knowledge has changed the fortune of many. And in today’s world knowledge has become accessible like never before. Anyone with access to the internet and the willingness to learn has the best content out there which were once the privilege of the wealthy. It’s up to us to understand the importance of it and reach out for it.
Go on and explore beyond the things which are traditionally taught to be the source of knowledge and wisdom. There are things to learn from everything and everyone around you. And work of fiction is not any different.