Arya Stark’s Kill List and My Guard Dog Ego
Game of Thrones was a cultural phenomenon for good reason. Beyond the dragons, epic battle scenes, and graphic sex, the core of the story was chock full o’ Jungian archetypes and universal themes of good and evil (embodied, at least for a while, in a bratty teenage king, no less).
Though I was a devotee at first, I simply could not deal with the huge number of rapes sprinkled liberally throughout the show like titillating eye candy for the sadistic male gaze, so dropped out early on.
Still, though, parts of the story stay with me as metaphors for contemporary life that happen to be set in a pseudo-medieval fantasy world. A fitting mishmash for our times.
Game of Pain
I’ve written about my own metaphorical journey often. Briefly stated, I was profoundly ill for over 40 years and now I’m not.
In a little more detail… I grew up depressed, anxious, and suicidal. I’m autistic, but I wasn’t diagnosed until just a couple of years ago which meant a lifetime of confusion. I was bullied, most of all by my father, and my guard dog ego ran my life for decades in a ludicrous attempt to keep me emotionally safe. For reasons I can’t quite explain, the pandemic brought with it mercy and grace that motivated my desire to live — just as I was about to take myself out.
Now I’m deeply joyful — way beyond the fleeting happiness that I’d known only in glimpses before. My mindset had to change for me to get out of the mental hell that I’d unwittingly constructed. I didn’t know how I was gonna do that, but I had faith that I could make it happen.
Arya Stark’s Kill List
One of my favorite characters on Game of Thrones was Arya Stark, the feisty young daughter of the beloved (and beheaded) king who spent years on the run, surviving on her wits alone. The thing that kept the girl going through impossible ordeals was her lust for vengeance. That lust was symbolized by a list of names she repeated to herself like a mantra — the people who had hurt her and her family, the people she vowed to kill, repeated under her breath as she took on foes and as she fell asleep in some miserable barn where she’d…