There is much to be gleaned from the final episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, but the speech of the dwarf Tyrion Lannister resonates more than any other words or deeds. In a sense he was telling us why we watched the show and why it was important to watch it, irrespective of the magnitude and spectacle.
Tyrion, still grieving over the death of his brother, stood above the ashes of a slaughtered city with a death sentence on his head and the self-knowledge that he had been wrong about so many things, and delivered what was, in fact, the message of every writer:
“What unites people?” he asks the representatives gathered to decide his fate. “Armies? Gold? Flags?”
And he pauses, because he knows it is none of those, then continues.
“Stories,” he says. “There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”
We all have them—stories, that is. And if they don’t rise to the level of deciding the fates of millions, they at least give life to ourselves, our forebears, our descendants.
Game of Thrones took on a life of its own as vast as the battles it comprised, and today people are arguing over the validity of its ending. Some are angry, others are disappointed, but me? I’m grateful for having been given the role of observer in a narrative of such scope. Someday when the specifics of the families have faded, when we vaguely remember Starks and Lannisters and wonder aloud weren’t there dragons too?—then the story—and the fact that there was a story—will still unite us.
And to those who who complain that the series did not end the way they wanted it to, spoiler alert: life is like that too.