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Tag Archives: Family
“Blood of My Blood.” The title gives it away. Though Game of Thrones is frequently centered on the idea of familial legacy, this episode in particular focuses on the bonds of family, the connections between parents and children and the other ties of kinship that can both pull us into place and break our hearts. These are the people who can save us, help us, make us stronger, but who also have a unique capacity to wound us, to frustrate us, and to unravel us.
Nowhere does “Blood of My Blood” explore the different sides of this idea more than in Sam’s return to his childhood home. Despite the smaller stakes and lack of major reveals as compared with the rest of the episode, Sam’s homecoming proved to be the best part “Blood of My Blood.” Game of Thrones spends most of its of time focused on the larger machinations of the plot in one form or another. Even when it’s not devoting time to the dragons or magic or other fantastical elements of Westeros, the show anchors itself around the titular game of thrones, as different players vie for power and an the existential threat comes from the north.
Despite this, Sam’s visit home has the feeling of something apart from the major story arc that drives the series. There’s no magic at play in Horn Hill. And while this brief stop is intended as a respite for Sam, Gilly, and Sam Jr. on the way to the Citadel, where Sam intends to earn his maester’s chain and ostensibly help Jon, there’s also little larger relevance to the detour when it comes to the show’s overarching plots. Instead, these scenes with Sam’s family offer a quiet character study, one whose chief purpose is to tell us more about who Sam is, where he came from, and what he’s become since he left home.
Be kind to your dragons. Be kind to your giants. Be kind to your enforcers and lieutenants and underlings. Be kind to the nobodies, to the downtrodden, and to the “little people” who, unbeknownst to you, can loom quite large. Because these individuals have power–power that you may not recognize, power that you may take for granted–but power that may be turned against you or that, at some difficult moment, you may even sorely need.
No one is kinder, if still cautious, on this front than Tyrion. His quiet scene with Dany’s two remaining dragons was the highlight of an eventful, action-packed episode because of its simplicity and tension in the moment. Perhaps Tyrion is uniquely suited for dragon taming, particularly attuned to earning the trust of superior beasts. He is, after all, someone who has had to get by on disarming the powerful with his wits and charms rather than with his sword (though he’s occasionally used his pocketbook instead). And as Tyrion noted when we first met him, he has a particular appreciation for the unique and broken things across Westeros.
2. Village Idiot Moment
Definition – Those times when you’re consuming a beverage when suddenly, someone says something funny and makes you spray the drink all over everywhere, nasally or otherwise.
The Story – This one also involves my family, but it’s a much more straightforward tale and term. On one family trip to a cousin’s wedding a number of years ago, we stopped at a local store to grab a drink for my sister, and to pick up a few sundry items for the trip. Before we drove off, both my parents wanted to fix my sister’s outfit before we arrived at the wedding. She was sitting in the back, drinking some juice, as my parents were futzing and fiddling with her dress. All of a sudden, some random young and quite inebriated fellow was walking through the parking lot, and rambling incoherently. To his subsequent dismay, my dad uttered five words that are now infamousin my family – “Look, it’s the village idiot!”
If you want to make it easier to recognize something, to understand it and to learn from it, then give it a name. In many ways, all words and phrases are merely shortcuts – quick little representations of much larger thoughts and concepts that make discussing these big ideas, not to mention wrapping our heads them, much much easier. Indeed, Shakespeare was a wordsmith, not for the glory, but out of necessity. There were certain things he wanted to express quickly and succinctly, and the English language just had not caught up yet. It’s the same reason each generation comes up with its own slang; it’s the same reason phrases like “too big to fail” went from being barely in the public consciousness to something everyone knows the meaning of in the current economic climate, and it’s the same reason Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” swept the nation. In that spirit, here is a series of five terms that I have come up with in order to describe some hereto unlabeled phenomena. Most of these terms have a good story behind them, but all of them are useful shortcuts for certain sentiments and activities (more…)