I’m currently halfway through “A Dance With Dragons”, book five of the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, which is also known as the “Game of Thrones” series thanks to HBO. When I first started reading the novels, I was just in for a good “man read”, you know a “fighting for the king and defending the throne” kinda thing! A huge fan of movies like Braveheart, 300, Troy, and the likes, I was glad to have these books recommended to me. (If you’re not a “Game of Thrones” fan, bear with me, there’s something good in here for you!)
The writing format of the “Game of Thrones” books, are written in first person narrative, with each chapter being a different character’s “first person vantage point”, giving you insight into multiple character’s thought processes. After reading the 1st book, I started to develop judgments about certain characters, such as rooting for the Stark’s (the good guys) and going against the Lannister’s (the bad guys). But by the time I got into the 2nd and 3rd books, I tripped out how my view of certain characters changed. I found myself now rooting for Tyrion Lannister and even Jaime Lannister, the king slayer!
What caused this emotional shift for me was George R.R. Martin’s writing style. Thanks to his continual shifting of first person narratives, I was able to see the other side of each person’s story. Getting this unique vantage point helped me get inside the head of different characters, which gave me insight and understanding into why they did what they did. Understanding the motives and internal reasoning’s of the characters, erased judgmental thoughts and allowed me to understand them better.
Okay, so here’s the real world application. Experiencing the shifting of my emotions to different characters in the books, made me think about how this can work in real life. For someone who I may make a certain judgement about, I thought, “If I could get inside their head and understand their reasoning I may see them in a different light too!” This illustrated the saying “there’s two sides to every coin”.
It even went beyond that for me, because I realized that there is actually more than two sides to every coin, meaning it’s more than being “right” or “wrong”. Sometimes there are no “good guys” or “bad guys”, there are just guys that do the best they can, who end up with a little bit of both. This reminds me of this verse from the Bible that says:
There is a path before each person that seems right (Proverbs 14:12 NLT)
Meaning that everybody believes that they are doing the right thing, according to their assessment of the situation. What I gained from this pondering, was to have an abundance of “grace” for people that I may be quick to make a judgement about. I may not understand their reasoning’s, but most of the time people are just trying to do the right thing. Even if their intentionally doing something harmful to others, there is some reasoning behind their actions. Now, I’m in no way justifying their harmful actions, but just trying to gain a better understanding of why people do what they do. The saying ” hurt people, end up hurting other people” rings true here.
In closing, I hope that sharing my insights with you would give you a little better understanding into some relationships that may be a little difficult for you. You may not agree with everybody, but know deep within, that most people are trying to do the right thing. Most people are doing the best they can with the understanding they currently have. Instead of making judgements about certain people in our lives, maybe we can “read their chapter” with their first-person narrative, and see the situation in a different light. Before we’re quick to label someone “good” or “bad”, maybe we can just label them as “people”. People do things that are good and at times not so good, but they are still people, people who are trying the best they can to do what they believe is right.
So, thanks to “Game of Thrones”, here’s to extending “grace” into your relationships, embracing empathy, and doing the best we can to love people just because they’re people!
Cheers to Your Good Life!