There are many lessons life has to offer, but you’d be quite surprised that one of the world’s most exciting, imaginative and adventurous TV Shows, Game of Thrones has a really lot to teach it’s viewers about family values, honesty, loyalty, bravery, self-belief and tackling and overcoming all obstacles life throws at you. Game of Thrones takes place centuries back in a world of Westeros where 7 Kingdoms are ruled by one King. There is a fight for the throne and a power struggle of good vs evil, right vs wrong in a twisted world of kings, queens, fantasy, family honor and titles, alliances, love, secrets, magic, dragons, knights, betrayal, war, and even an ice zombie apocalypse all of which, when stripped of it’s armor, can teach us some of the most basic and powerful life lessons we’ll ever need to learn.
MILD SPOILER ALERT – This text does contain spoilers and assumptions created throughout seasons 1 thru 5. If you don’t wish to ruin it, stop here and go back! If you still want to learn the “life lessons” send us an email at kristen@yourPositiveAttitude.com and we’ll send you a spoiler FREE version. Until then… Valar morghulis, valar dohaeris! Winter is HERE!
1. Life is short.
Season 1 says it all. Your life can end at any time and the direction or quality of your life can alter in a heart beat, so you had better make the most of if. Godspeed that all of you will live long, happy and healthy lives, but you never truly know what each day will bring. Good and bad things can happen at any time and they are simply a part of life that we must experience and learn from and ultimately adjust in order to move on.
2. Family is everything.
Bound by blood, but also by marriage or loyalty, sometimes they’re the only people you can trust or count on in the worst of times and in the best. While you may struggle to get along with family at times, it’s important to remember that most families love each other very much and the ones that do are the ones that get through hard times together. Families love each other, literally to the death and will do whatever it takes to make sure their family is safe. Every time one of the houses turned their back on family something pretty bad happened. Lysa Arryn poisoned her husband and got the whoel ball rolling. Sansa’s dog was killed when she didn’t stand up for her sister. Theon made a mess of Winterfell when he turned on the family who raised him. Cersi only made things worse when she turned on her brother. Tywin Lanister met his fate when he betrayed his son and the same for Viserys Targaryen when he turned on his sister. Every time one of the houses stood up for family when they needed it most, they became stronger. Ned Stark loved his sister until the end and brought home her bastard son to love as his own, make him part of his family and keeping him safe in the most anticipated plot line – R+L=J!
3. Keep your friends close.
There are many types of people in this world… some who are your friends, some who are your enemies and some in between when the occasion, advantage or mood suits them. There can be times and situations where it becomes difficult to know who your friends are and who you can trust. Make sure you know who these people are in your life, treat them well and keep them close to your heart. Danaryes Targaryen had to make careful decisions on her journey on who she can trust.
4. Keep your enemies closer.
They’ll try to slow you down, trip you up, or contribute to your downfall. They find joy in your shortcomings, failures and struggles and cannot be trusted with the most important of things. If you openly fight with the people who are at odds against you, they’ll always be on the defensive. To stay one step ahead, you need to befriend them, gain their trust and keep a close watch on what they’re up to. It’s the only way to be prepared and stay one step ahead of the game. Both Lord Varys and Tyrion Lanister do this very well in order to get what they want. Little Finger seems to be the best at this out of everyone and even uses his enemies to fight his enemies.
5. Pride and arrogance go before the fall.
Pride can be portrayed as both a good and bad trait. You can take pride in yourself, which is a wonderful thing you should do every day. Then you can display pride in an arrogant way that makes others irritated, upset or angry. Theon Greyjoy’s pride and arrogance surely landed him in a world of trouble as he made the wrong choices that resulted in a long string of torturous, painful and regretful events. Ramsey Bolton’s and Jamie Lannister’s pride also got in their way. One learned from their mistake and for the other, it was just too late.
6. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Ygritte showed Jon Snow mercy and helped to spare his life because she showed her the same kindness. Jamie Lannister and Brienne of Tarth have on going respect and understanding for each other that have lead them to help each other out of terrible situations. Joffrey Baratheon, Walter Frey and Ramsey Bolton ignored this rule and both suffered the consequences of a lifetime and lifestyle of treating other people horribly. The High Sparrow decided to give everyone a taste of their own medicine instead of treating them the way he wanted to be treated and cost the lives of many and the collapse of a kingdom.
7. Act the part, and the rest will follow.
If you want people to believe you are King (Or Queen) then you must play the part and act like a king. If you believe it and show it in your actions, others will believe it too. Danaryes Targaryen has come a long way from being a young bride to a fierce conqueror leading cities and armies to war. She has build up the trust and faith in those who fight with and for her and is now on her way to reclaim the Iron Throne which is rightfully hers. Jon Snow played the part of a brave leader instead of a follower and has done good by the people and their houses, earning their faith, trust and alliance. This applies to anything in life. If you want to be successful you need to act that way and adapt mannerisms that allow you to display the characteristics needed to be that role. It will not go unnoticed.
8. Follow what you believe, no matter what people say.
Danaryes was told her dragon eggs would never hatch, but that never stopped her from trying and now she has three living, fire-breathing dragons. She also believes she’s the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and is on her way to getting it back. Arya Stark believed in her abilities to train to fight and be a faceless man, has now achieved revenge and is making her way back to Winterfell. Jon Snow believed in himself and his family name and for what was right and has gained the trust and alliance of many houses moving forward in the war against the Whitewalkers.
9. You must fight for what’s right.
It’s not always about fighting for what’s popular, but what’s right. Danaryes has been building an army to right a wrong that happened so many years ago leaving her cast away from her right to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Her followers are behind her in the strong belief that not only is she the rightful heir, but that she will be a just and fair queen and restore peace and balance back to the realm. Davos Seaworth fights against and stands up to Stannis Baratheon for the murder of his daughter, he stands against the Red Woman’s evil magic, and he stands up for the fight against the Whitewalkers. Jon Snow and his supporters are building an army to fight the battle, not for the Iron Throne, but for all mankind against the Whitewalkers. Sometimes its not about fighting for a cause as small as your own, or for what people think is popular. Sometimes life means you have to go against the grain and stand up for values, morals and the good of greater mankind.
10. Sometimes you need to pick your battles, or lose a battle, to win the war.
You can’t wage war on the world even though some of the characters definitely tried. Joffery Baratheon would have beheaded everyone, at any time if he could. Arrogant and feeling personally invincible because he was the King, his war against everyone cost him his life. You need to pick and choose the battles you engage in, and only when the time is right. Sometimes you need to lose a battle to win the war. Patience, strategy and wisdom are needed to defeat your enemies, challenges or opponents in Westeros and in real life. The smartest people avoid making things unnecessarily ugly and tend to refrain from engaging in a battle at all cost. Composure is key. There is a time and a place for everything in life and sometimes you get ahead by avoiding or retreating from a battle instead of attempting to face life head on.
11. Make alliances whenever possible.
The key to gaining strength, power and staying alive in Westeros is to make alliances (or at least ones that you can trust!). The same thing applies to getting ahead in life. Sometimes it’s all about who you know, your ace in your pocket or the home field advantage. You need to network, make friends and connections and strengthen your life alliances on all levels. You never know when you may need to call on these connections for a favor.
12. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
People aren’t always who you think they are. Varys, LittleFinger (Petyr Baelish), Theon Greyjoy, Ramsey Bolton, Jorah Mormont, Roose Bolton, The High Sparrow, Jaqen H’ghar, Melisandre all people who are more than what they seem. Take the time to get to know the people in your life, who they really are, what their intentions are, both good and bad. Judge them on their words, not their actions and while sometimes you just have to trust others, be prepared and cautious. Not everyone can be taken at face value. Petyr Baelish is a lying, sneaky coward who runs from a fight, hides from his enemies and who possesses no physical combat strength or ability, yet he is the most dangerous player in the entire “game”.
13. Think about the consequences.
Many of the Game of Thrones characters do not think of the consequences before they act… Joffrey, Theon, Ramsey, even Ned Stark. You have to consider the consequences of your actions at every step of the way, especially if you are going to do something drastic, like reveal that you know a secret to someone about themselves, that the person wants to take to the grave. Every action has a reaction, sometimes even a benefit but drastic actions often come with consequences that you need to be prepared for and that you need to consider in all possible scenarios. You may cheat at work to get ahead, but if someone finds out, you’ll lose your job entirely. You may lie to someone to get them to like you, but not being truthful will eventually cost you their love, trust and respect. Think before you act.
14. Show others kindness and loyalty and they will do the same.
Jamie Lannister and Brianne of Tarth, Jamie Lannister and Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow and Ygrette, Daenerys and her followers, Arya and The Hound, Podrick Payne and Tyrion and Brianne, Samwell Tarly and Gilly, Daenerys and Khal Drogo and Arya and Gendry and Hotpie. When you are kind and good to others you develop a respect, trust, mutual understanding and even a friendship. Davos displayed his loyalty by standing up to others and telling them what they didn’t want to hear, and by being kind to others. Bear Island joined Jon Snow in the war out of kindness and loyalty. Characters have come to the aid and rescue of others out of trust and admiration for each other and life is no different. The people you show kindness to in life will never forget it and hopefully they will be there to support you in your biggest time of need.
15. It’s the struggle and fear in our lives that make us strong and brave.
Many of our characters did not find greatness on their own, they had it thrust upon them. It took a major struggle for them to build up the strength, and had to face fear to really display the depths of how brave they actually are. After losing her family Arya becomes strong in the ways of a fearless assassin in order to survive. After losing her husband Daneryes has to find a way to regroup and exhibit leadership in order to save herself and her followers and become stronger. Jamie struggles though losing his arm and thus his identity, in which he works hard to reclaim it and discovers and revisits the parts of himself that are brave, honorable and loyal. Catelyn Stark goes through an endless string of horrible events that she endures painfully and conquers her enemies, where most women would have fallen. Samwell fights through is own insecurities about himself and what others think to find love and support from a family that’s his and to really find his place and calling in life. Theon struggles not only with is own pride but to right the wrong of his shameful choices and his ultimate undoing and suffering. Life is full of struggles but how you handle them is going to determine if they make you stronger or continue to weaken you. Sometimes you need to wait out the bad and make a move when it’s time, but the personal growth, strength and success comes from conquering our public and private struggles and fears.
16. Life is Unpredictable.
Anything can happen at any moment. One day you are welcoming the King and his family to your home in Winterfeld, and the next you are watching your father get beheaded and fighting/running for your lives. One day you are celebrating a wedding and joyous occasion, the same moment you bare witness to one of the most gruesome and disloyal massacres in TV show history. One moment you are standing trial in the city church, and the next minute your entire life gets blown apart, literally. In your life you’ll find many twists and turns, ups and downs, rises and falls, progressions and digressions… You can meet a person at any moment’s time that will change the course of your life completely – albeit better or worse. There are no guarantees in life and now fortune tellers that can accurately predict it’s outcome. All you can do is live it day by day, fight your way through the struggles, enjoy it’s precious moments and live it to the fullest. Stay prepared for the worst and hope for the best and you will lead a fulfilling and happy life.
17. Don’t burn bridges or make promises you aren’t willing to keep.
Red Wedding. Enough said… by betraying the promise he had made to Walter Frey and his mother to marry one of Walter’s daughters, Rob Stark leads Catelyn Stark, his unborn child and newly-wed wife, along with the lives of thousands of other innocent people to come to an end. People take promises very seriously, and betrayal, even more so. While you may feel that you have the best intentions for breaking a promise, you need to consider the damage it can and will do to yourself and the person you promised it to.
18. What goes around comes around.
Lying, deceit and treachery will come back to get you in the end. Cersi lied about her affair with her brother and the paternity of her children to the entire kingdom. Walter Frey lied about creating an alliance with the Starks and had them massacred in his own home. Shae betrayed the one she loved in many ways and paid the price for it with her life. When you weave a tangled web of lies and deceit it only ever come back to haunt you in ways you can’t predict. Trying to lie, deceive or mislead others in order to gain an advantage in life is no way to get ahead. If you haven’t believed in karma, you will after Game of Thrones because a lot of what goes around, comes right back around ten fold. You need to be honest with yourself, truthful, and trustworthy to live a genuine, positive and happy life. Still waiting on the sneakiest of them all, Petyr Baelish (LittleFinger), to get his, but I know it’s coming.
19. People are human and make mistakes (and learn from them and change their ways).
Theon let his pride get the better of him and turned on his family and the family that raised him. The “Hound” (Clegane) lived a life of murder and killing and moved on to try and live a more peaceful and fulfilling life. Jamie Lanister discovered how his pride was his downfall, costing him his hand and his identity in the process and he has then since evolved as a person with different priorities. Jorah Mormont started out as a spy and found a new purpose in his life after being cast out. Brann Stark become hopeless and depressed after the lose of the use of his legs, but found a new quest and purpose to his life after meeting the three-eyed raven.
20. Life is not always fair.
Sometimes you’re born a bastard or a poor man, and other times you’re born with the royal blood of a Baratheon King or the firey blood of a Targaryen running through your veins. Sometimes you’re forced to do things you don’t always like for a much greater good. Sometimes terrible things happen and you are forced out on your own, and need to grow up much faster than you had ever planned. We can’t all be rich. We can’t all be kings. We can’t all get what we want in life if it’s not in the stars for us. Sometimes we lose wars, loved ones, houses and castles. Sometimes we get certain privileges due to our family name or the special friends or powers we may possess, but at the end of the day, nothing in life is “fair” and life doesn’t owe itself to you to be that way. It is a privilege to be dealt a hand at life at all, and not fold, and it’s your duty to play that hand in the best of your ability to make you the happiest. The sooner you accept what you are and use it to your advantage the more fairer life will become.
21. A greater understanding that life is a collection of experiences, alliances, battles, friendships, family troubles, neighbor feuds, power struggles, romances, and events that help to make you a stronger, wiser and more confident person, based on how you react to them and conduct yourself not only during life’s biggest challenges and struggles, but when things are peaceful and toward others. Simply put, be a good person, stick to what you believe in and never stop reaching for your dreams or believing in yourself, no matter what life throws at you. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Use every thing you can in life to learn and grow as an individual, nurture your kingdom by treating others fairly and just, build faith and trust in your followers by being brave and bold yet kind and merciful and never stop following or working toward your dreams. The world is your oyster and what you wish to do with these opportunities and how you move through life will either bring you up or drag you down. Become the strongest, bravest, fairest, fiercest and wisest version of yourself that you can and you will become the most beloved ruler of your own personal kingdom called life.