A Game of Thrones – what wrong we can do for love?


What would you do for the people you love?

In biology, there is this concept that is called “kin selection”, which says that people (and sometime animals) can sacrifice (lives or materials) for the well-being of genetically close individuals, such as family members. It is also possible to do so for non-genetically close but culturally or value-wise close communities/societies: defending countries in wars is a good example.

Anyways, you know my fascination with the George RR Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” (the first book of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series) and puzzlement by the phrase uttered by the character Jaime Lannister “the things I do for love” right before he pushes the character Bran out of the window to presumably protect himself, his lover-twin sister Cersei, and their 3 kids (and yes, I still am disgusted by this incestious relationship).

Since these two characters (Jaime and Cersei) are possibly the most hated ones at the beginning of the book(s), it is so hard to believe for me that a great and pure feeling as love would be felt by them and can have a direct role in such a horrible act (that eventually crippled Bran, a 7 years old boy at the time of the incident).

Yet, later in the book we see a similar phrase “the lies we tell for love“, this time by possibly the most liked character, Ned Stark (page  504, A Game of Thrones, GRRM), when he chooses to write “my heir” rather than “my son Joffrey” in the will that King Robert is dictating him at his death bed. Ned stark does this as he believes Joffrey is not King Robert’s son and has no claim to the throne. Ned Stark, who is the most honorable character in that book, thus slips to the dark side…

Or not?

Should Ned have done the right thing and write down the exact words dictated by the King? Or, was what he has done the right thing?

I keep wonder; what is the right thing to do in this situation?

Consider a parent stealing food to feed his children who have not eaten in the last one week. This act is wrong, but then how about the alternative? What is worse and more wrong – to steal or to starve your children and let them die?

If you had read the book (or watched the movie) “Sophie’s Choice by the author William Styron”, you will notice a similar dilemma where no choice is better than the other.

I do not wish anyone to have such dilemmas in their lives. But as these examples make it clear sometimes there is no better alternative, a clean solution. Sometimes all possibilities are bad or unacceptable one way or the other. I hope no one will find themselves in such situations and will always have a chance to do the right thing.

Another hats-off to George RR Martin for not only writing a highly creative saga but also constantly challenging our minds and understandings.

 

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