Choices: Grrm’s Vision of Showing the Human Heart In Conflict

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Hey Guys,

I wrote a little essay on why I think despite all the criticisms of the show’s writing, how the show still illustrates GRRM’s vision of showing the human heart in conflict with itself.

George R. R. Martin has always said that the only thing worth writing about is the heart in conflict with itself, and after watching the penultimate episode of the series, this has been illustrated. When looking at our main characters in King”s Landing, Jon, Tyrion, Jamie, Cersei, Arya and Daenerys, all of these characters have been presented with choices where in their heart they know the outcome of either choice, but because of a major character flaw they have, they pick what they perceive as the wrong choice.

Jon has always lived by a strict, unwavering moral code that was instilled in him by Ned Stark growing up. After the Long Night, when he is presented with a choice while encountering Daenerys, he has to make the decision to either be honorable and not keep secrets from his family, or hide his true identity to not risk the aftermath of what will happen if the secret gets out. He chose honor, and that led to contributing to Daenerys” unhinging and her ultimate breaking point.

Tyrion, after being sentenced to death by his own father and being betrayed by everyone except is brother and his best friend, Varys, feels that he had nothing to live for after his escape, and tries to drink himself into an early grave. Varys then succeeds in helping Tyrion find someone to believe in, who can change the world through her justice and kindheartedness. When Daenerys shows signs of her unhinging, and Varys suggests that she is past the point of no return, Tyrion refuses to let go of his support for Dany and betrays Varys despite knowing that Varys makes a very valid argument. Tyrion doesn’t want to acknowledge Dany”s flaws, because it’s his belief in her that gave him a reason to live.

Jamie at his core is addicted to Cersei the way a drug addict is addicted to cocaine. He is fully aware she is bad for him, yet he cannot resist going back to her. Jamie has always wanted to be honorable and good, yet the only thing that holds him back is Cersei. If you notice, every evil thing he has done in the show and books had to do with Cersei. In Winterfell, Jamie has a choice to abandon her completely and start a new life with Brienne, but just like your typical addict, he relapsed, and it cost him his life.

Cersei is as ruthless as she is vulnerable, however, she makes extensive efforts to hide her fear while in front of her enemies. Her stubbornness and pride blind her judgment. We see a little of this when she comes into contact with the Faith, but this is on full display when she executes Missandei. Cersei knows exactly that the option Tyrion proposed to her would save the life of her child and herself, but her hubris causes her to choose the decision that risked everything she still cared about. Cersei, in her dying moments, expresses her fear of death of her and her child, however, because of her stubbornness, they both die.

Arya has been on a revenge tour ever since her father was executed, adding names to her list as the seasons went on. This seems to be her only objective in the show, to cross out every name. And just like everyone else, she is confronted with a choice: does she die trying to kill an already doomed Cersei, or does she let it go and try to live a life of peace. Unlike the other major characters of the show, Arya is the only one to forsake her main goal/character flaw and does not follow Sandor to certain death.

Lastly is Daenerys. Knowing what it’s like to be on the run the most of her life, she has experienced oppression. This gives her compassion for the misfortunate and inspires her to want to change the world and make it a better place to live in. Dany learns to rule in Essos and learns the complexity of being a leader. Dany”s main flaw, however, is her impulsivity and violent nature, which gets checked by her advisors throughout the show. Her real test comes when most of her support gets vanquished by the Night King and Cersei, and she is pushed to the wall. After the Lannister army surrenders, Dany has a choice to make. Does she give in to her provoked anger from all that has happened to her this whole show, or does she check her impulses and spare the innocent. Dany chooses to instill fear through fire and blood. Emilia Clarke described Dany”s impulsivity as a diabetic or person trying to lose weight eating cake. You know you’re not supposed to eat it, but being the human that you are, you just give in. The same thing is occurring on Game of Thrones but on a much larger scale.

Game of Thrones feels like a character study of the human mind, and how the decisions we make lead to our ultimate fates. It is our very nature that either leads us to peace and harmony, or violence and pain.



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