Hoo boy there’s a lot goin on this week, and I don’t just mean in our favorite fantasy land of Westeros. Tough decisions are being made, old friends are reemerging from the depths of Flea Bottom, and the dead are getting closer by the second. “Eastwatch” has somewhat inadvertently become Game of Thrones’ most timely episode to date. The episode wasn’t as hot as last weeks’ dragon fire beat down, but it is actually important for how it defined our characters, and what it has to say about us. And yes, Jamie’s alive, it’s fine let’s move on.
Jon: We’re all on the same side.
Gendry: How can that be?
Jon: We’re all breathing.
If you stumbled upon this review on your Facebook news feed then you likely scrolled past a few stories about what’s going on in the world right now. There are race riots, threats of nuclear war, and many many terrible things happening to people right now. It can seem all easy to tune it out or feel helpless as to what to do. I feel that way often. A story about dragons and thrones can seem trivial in comparison, but as good, legitimate art does, it helps illuminate the truth of what’s around us. While, of course, heaping out stupid amounts of nail-biting entertainment.
This is a story with many characters who began a journey against an oncoming tide of corruption, power, and uncertainty. They too had no idea what to do at first. But they went forward anyway, because they had conviction for what is right. I’m talking Jon Snow, Arya, Daenerys, Davos, and many others. They believe something similar about humanity to what we’re called to believe in as Christians- that we’re all on the same team. So, simply put, if your belief system divides people, it’s not the gospel. The Christ-centered view of humanity is, essentially, everyone who has breath is on the same side.
We both want to help people. We can only help them from a position of strength. – Daenerys
Watching Daenerys teeter on the line between breaker of chains, morally-upright leadership and full on, burn-them-all, mad-king style craziness is fascinating. This quote sums that balance up perfectly. She wants to help people, but hey, it’s cool if you to have to barbeque up a few dragon nuggets along the way. So, let me get this straight Dany… you’re helping people… AND you aren’t? To have a greater influence on this enormous country, yes it would help to sit on the iron throne. But what poor ol’ Jon is trying in vain to get the world to see is- if you can help people in any way, at any level of strength, that’s worth more than any crown. And it just might save the world.
That is absolutely true for every one of us. Yes, you will feel helpless while flicking past the news stories on your social media feeds. Yes, you will at times think that you can’t do anything of value to help those suffering injustice. But anything, literally anything at all that you do to make an effort is worth it. One step toward justice is further to the goal than we were before. Just look at our story. Jon Snow took single, small steps towards justice, and now his journey has led him to nearly saving mankind. It’s a tiny parallel, but absolutely applicable.
If you tell people the threat is real, they’ll believe it – Sam
Perhaps the most helpless thing about feeling helpless is looking to your leadership for an example and seeing nothing but inaction. I was right with Sam in his disappointment of seeing these great men of influence at The Citadel waffle at the idea of doing something to help others because it might mean personal cost to them. All they would need to do is tell everyone the truth and people would act. Instead, they choose comfort and position over what is good. It’s eerily familiar to our own world, and my gaze is squarely on these self-entitled church “leaders” playing politics. But guess what? We can, and will act despite them.
So basically, watch out army of the dead! We’re here to sip Arbor Gold and kick some frozen behinds. And we’re all out of Arbor Gold. Well, not Thoros of Myr, but still. We might not get to go fight an army of undead icicle zombies or swing some awesome obsidian (dragon glass) weapons in battle, but there’s real strife in the world and despite what you may feel, you can help. We’re called to do exactly what Sam did- act when no one else will. Be helpful to your neighbor, reach out to them and help them in whatever capacity you can. Our world needs to be reminded right now that we’re all on the same side.