I will be your champion: A short rumination about love and honour inspired by a scene from Game of Thrones

Oh lord, I am doing a Game of Thrones related blog post. I didn’t see this coming at all! But given my media background, love of writing, and constant commentary of film and TV plus being a millennial who needs to have an opinion of everything on the blogosphere (ha)— here I am.

Background:

This past December I started catching up on all the episodes of GOT from the very beginning as per the request of enthusiasts. Well, I always knew I would like the show but at the time of the GOT frenzy to download episodes off torrent I was somehow preoccupied with other mundane aspects of my life and shows like How to Get Away with Murder, Jane the Virgin, catching up on Mad Men, riding the House of Cards wave, then Jessica Jones and riding the feminist wave, Narcos, plus attending university and working part time… I simply could not take on the EPICness that was GOT. So now, having graduated, moved to a new country, no uni, no job (now I have a job), it seemed like the perfect opportunity to catch up. And what a ride it’s been!

Mother-s-Mercy-game-of-thrones-1024x576

For now I can tell you that the Mongolian in me really loved the Dothrakis. The Latina in me really likes the Dornes because hey Pedro Pascal as the Prince Oberyn is ace. Tyrion Lannister is my favourite character though. He is a brilliantly written character with flaws and virtues and the stigma of being a dwarf in the GOT world that hits close to home with each one of us on that everyman feeling of being different, odd, and freakish. To be hated and ridiculed by your family, to be made to feel that your legitimate right as son and heir is but a favour nobody wanted to do, the shame thrust upon you by others and the pushback to say “No, I will not be ashamed of who I am” by Tyrion through his wits and his intelligence. And most of all, his gentleness because all he ever wanted -as most of us do- is our family’s acceptance.

The Scene: “Mockingbird” Season 4, Episode 7

Oberyn: When we met your sister, she promised she would show you to us. Every day we would ask. Every day she would say, “Soon.” Then she and your brother took us to your nursery and… she unveiled the freak. Your head was a bit large. Your arms and legs were a bit small, but no claw. No red eye. No tail between your legs. Just a tiny pink cock. We didn’t try to hide our disappointment. “That’s not a monster,” I told Cersei, “that’s just a baby.” And she said, “He killed my mother.” And she pinched your little cock so hard, I thought she might pull it off. Until your brother made her stop. “It doesn’t matter,” she told us. “Everyone says he will die soon, I hope they are right; he should not have lived this long.”
Tyrion: [tears welling] Well… sooner or later, Cersei always gets what she wants.
Oberyn: And what about what I want? Justice for my sister and her children.
Tyrion: If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place.
Oberyn: I disagree. I’ve come to the perfect place. I want to bring those who have wronged me to justice, and all those who have wronged me are right here. I will begin with Ser Gregor Clegane, who killed my sister’s children and then raped her with their blood still on his hands before killing her, too. I will be your champion.

“I will be your champion!”

So then what does it mean to be someone’s champion? In the scene, at face value, it means that someone fights for your life and freedom in your stead. Let’s stop and think about this for a second. Just imagine for a second the honour, sacrifice, and camaraderie that must embody a person for them to fight for someone’s else’s life and freedom by putting your own life at stake. In situations like this, when you are being someone’s champion and adopting their struggle as your own, quite literally in a fight of life and death, you do not say “I am suffering too” and “I am doing this for you” because those degrade your honour. It stops being honour, sacrifice, and even love, when accounts are made. I will be your champion is the proposal and perhaps all that needs to be said about what you will do. Then do it. Simply do it. No more, no less. That is honour.

We are all small men and I suppose that we all aspire to be great. What is greatness? How to achieve greatness? Through matters of with great stakes and yet the stakes are not so high in our sedentary lives. We rot and think about daily mundane things until our brains turn to mush when we should be running for our lives. Sacrifice is not sacrifice is you say “I am sacrificing for you” as if asking for credit or recognition. Perhaps it is because it is so hard for a person to do that it is considered divine. How then does this translate into our modern, sedentary world? We are taught to look out for ourselves in our individualistic society. It’s the culture of “getting due credit”, suing to get royalties for copyrighted material. It’s the culture of “intellectual property”. Mine, mine, mine. Give me credit, give me this lest it be a costly affront to one’s pride and dignity.

I will be your champion, yes, is idealistic. One side will say “It’s idealistic to aspire for that, you will be disappointed so just be realistic and move on” while the other side says “What’s the point of anything if we do not aspire for greatness?” I diddle-daddle between the two and see that what gives me the joie de vivre is the latter. It is not all joie though- joie is the result. The work is painful. To truly be someone’s champion is divine work. I look back at the 26 years old my life and wonder… when have I been someone’s champion? When have I not made accounts and simply loved freely? I come closest to this feeling with my brother and sister. This phrase ‘I will be your champion’ is something that spouses should be able to do for each other when they get to that divine place in their relationship. So then, is that the sanctity of marriage? Forget marriage. What about the sanctity of any meaningful partnership?

And so, this scene starring Prince Oberyn and Tyrion Lannister made an impact on me that led me to think about deeper things like this. In the same breath I condemn oversaturation of our lives by media I also commend masterful pieces of performance art like this one. It’s so good that my mind wanders back to think about this scene every couple of days… I throw the question back to you then? Can you, my dear reader, say that you have ever been someone’s champion with all the honour, sacrifice, courage, conviction, self-control and selflessness involved? I would like to think I have, but I have not. What a privilege would it be to someday be someone’s champion for the sake of honour and humility trusting full-well I am strong enough to do it and that trusting the strength in the weakness of the other without demeaning him/her. I will stop here before I write a book of a post. I will leave you with this, though. I  am inclined to say that we have not truly lived until we have been, at least once, someone’s champion.

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3 thoughts on “I will be your champion: A short rumination about love and honour inspired by a scene from Game of Thrones

  1. You chose a great clip from Game of Thrones to write about, since the scene was electrically dramatic and unexpected in both the books and the show. (Well, it surprised me in the book, and I was surprised how great it also was in the show, even if I was expecting it.)

    You followed up with excellent insights in the value of sharing someone’s troubles and advocating on their behalf, with some risk and trouble to be navigated past.

    Like

      1. There weren’t really any differences. In the books, things looked very bad for Tyrion. Oberyn, who was not identified by me as particularly sympathetic to Tyrion, showed up, gave his backstory, and when he offered to be T’s champion, it was GREAT. Because Oberyn was doing something that made such sense. This was his chance for revenge, and it aligned with Tyrion’s needs so perfectly.

        It was both unexpected and completely consistent.

        Knowing the details from the book, I was surprised how well the show nailed all of that, even rekindling some of my old feelings about the scene from the book.

        Liked by 1 person

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