“…Cripples and Bastards and Broken Things.”George R.R. Martin.The Prophetic Conclusion of Game of Thrones.

The Raven…The Broken.

Has an ending ever been so controversial or talked about? Still the dust is being kicked around about the conclusion of Game of Thrones. A petition of over a million signatures want the whole of Season 8 to be re-written. Social media is full of dissatisfied people disgruntled that certain characters acted in certain ways, and that story arcs finished as they did. And as for Bran ending up as the King of the Six Kingdoms!!! But as I watched the final episode I found it very moving, satisfactory and totally prophetic in it’s outcome. I was a late starter to the drama and intrigue of Game of Thrones. I had tried when it first came on, but to no avail. But just before Season 5 was due to air I decided to give it another go as they repeated the previous Seasons. This time I was hooked, especially when it got to Season 1, Episode 4, entitled

Cripples, bastards and broken things.

A quote from Tyrion, who himself is a dwarf. I knew at the time it had significance and it spoke to me about the type of people that God uses to confound the wise. That this brilliant drama about power hungry, throne desiring people, was not going to be won by the most evil or the strongest or the dominating leadership styles of the Kings and Queens, whether we thought they were good or evil. It was going to be won by the least, the despised, the rejected of the ensemble. Who that was going to be at the time was not clear, but everything was pointing to the futility of war and dominion and government, and leading us to see through the eyes of those on the outside. That this ended up being Bran was totally unexpected by nearly everybody, but to me a stroke of genius. The boy in the wheelchair who couldn’t fight in a battle, and the only one who seemed to have no claim or desire for a throne. He was the chosen one. The least. The last. Or was he? He was also a Seer. A visionary. A prophet. The one who had insight. With no interest in the politics, but eyes to see. The three-eyed raven was really the only one who could take on the leadership and help unite the seemingly fractured society. It was no longer about power but about sight. And stories…

A Better Story.

At the end of the day Game of Thrones was not about gaining the throne. We were showed the futility of that as Drogon (one of the Dragons) burnt the throne to the ground in the final episode. It did reveal the futility of thrones and power and war. It was more about stories, and the power of stories.

“What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing more powerful in the world than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken?… Who’s better to lead us into the future?”

There is nothing more powerful than a good story. Isn’t that what the Old Testament, Gospels and Acts are built on? The power of a story. Our family gatherings are built on good stories. They are powerful, life affirming, uniting, empowering. In our increasing digital age we can forget the power of a story. So much is fed to us. Life becomes about education, career, climbing the ladder, asking Alexa or Google anything, being given all the answers to every issue neatly tied up in a drama. We can get through much of life without imagination, and sadly without story. We’ve lost the parable by being sermonised. Who better to lead us into the future than one who holds the stories? That is such a powerful, prophetic declaration that even we as part of the Church need to hear. The power of story. C.S. Lewis knew it. J.R.R. Tolkien knew it. Tyrion knew it. Do we appreciate how the story has held identity, community, hope, purpose in the past? Let’s not lose it’s future.

An Ending…

People are talking about Game of Thrones and how they would have ended it. What would they have done differently? What will happen to John Snow, Arya, the Dragon? I find it interesting that George R.R. martin talks about doing Prequels, but there will not be a Sequel. We will have his conclusion in the books, when he finally gets around to writing them, but it seems as if we will not know where it all goes from here. It will be left to our imagination. We will have to become the story writers. Just as we, in conversation, are re-writing the end. When asked if his ending will be different in the books Martin replies

Well… yes.  And no.  And yes.   And no.   And yes.   And no.   And yes.

He calls it an ending. And when asked what will be the real ending he replies

Book or show, which will be the “real” ending?   It’s a silly question.   How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? How about this?  I’ll write it.   You read it.  Then everyone can make up their own mind, and argue about it on the internet.

This is a reference to the 1939 film of Gone With the Wind where O’Hara has only one child, whereas in the book she has three children. In the sequel book she has four children. The power of the story is not affected either way. Just as the power of our story is not affected by detail. But by the way it effected our lives.

The ripples will keep going on for a long time about that ending. In the midst of it all let us not miss the prophetic heart of the power of the story and the way that God so often lifts up the humble; the cripples, the bastards and the broken ones, and creates incredible stories with the pieces that he finds. These are the ones who will lead us forward. The least likely. The visionaries. The broken. The story-tellers. Bran the Broken.


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