#GoT OMG – Even TV Isn’t Safe Anymore.!


Updated: June 5, 2013


Change is definitely here, and in the midst of our personal transformations where we are most vulnerable, how insulting that we be betrayed! Who said it was ok that Chaos would kick Certainty’s backside in the most sacrilegious manner? The horror of it all!

Therapists’ offices will be packed this week with existential angst.

For those of you Game of Thrones fans (the HBO series based on George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy book series) I’m sure you’re still recovering from the shock of seeing your favorite characters, or better described, an entire plot line be demolished in a most gruesome way this past weekend.

Not everyone has read the books before the show aired, which by the shocked reactions now going viral on the internet (367,000 Twitter mentions at last count), splits us into two camps. Myself, on the side that knew what was coming (not by any special sight, just by plain old reading), and others who were completely unprepared for the Red Wedding.

That being said, reading it in a book isn’t the same thing as being betrayed in the one place that’s been safe for all of us, where we can escape our chaotic lives filled with such uncertainty.  It’s the place where we collectively tune in to our favorite show to watch the trials and tribulations of characters that become like “family” to us. We have a stake in their lives even if we’re voyeurs, and we’re personally invested in the fantasy.

I think what really hit home for me in GoT was the ritual of salt and bread was passed round to everyone who entered the Frey’s castle signifying the sacred oath of hospitality that no one would be harmed within the walls. Maybe that’s why I like popcorn with salt when I watch these shows signifying that no matter what happens I will be ok.

My father used to say to me over and over when I was a little girl that change was the only constant, and that life will not be fair, but it will be experienced as it is. I think I always ignored the part about fairness.

The same is true for us Downton Abbey fans.  I saw the British version of the show prior to the American version airing and I was beside myself wanting to talk to someone—anyone—about how the storyline played out.

Who would’ve imagined Lady Sybil would die after childbirth? She was the “good” daughter to many of the viewers and it just wasn’t fair.  And what about Matthew and Lady Mary?  As fans we had been rewarded for our patience with a love-story-gone-right.  There was finally an absolution of Lady Mary’s “sin,” a wedding and the hope of children to come.  Then came the final scene of the finale. How could they do that to us? We were invested in their stories and all the joy and hope for the future was snatch from us.  A bit dramatic, I admit, but still! How could they?!

I think there’s always been this mythical and non-negotiable agreement in story telling that our good guys would be allowed to go through horrible things but after the cliff hanger that they survive and even triumph in spectacular ways. No one wants to open the Pandora’s box of fears that lets out the one where the hero could not even get through half his journey before being torn to shreds – The End.

That’s just not ok.

So for those of you who don’t know what all the fuss is about, some of us have had a dose of reality thrown on us, that even if we were expecting it, at some deep primal level the fragile locks to our souls were broken and secret rooms were ransacked, and made us doubt.

I think that’s the point, TV, however brutal, is about delivering relief, where we know that someone is in charge of the story and will deliver what we want; freedom, faith, triumph, and power.

One thing I do know that no matter what characters and story arcs within me, and in all of us that are put to death, sometimes without warning. The things that must die in order that a greater story be fulfilled, are eventually replaced by truer more authentic wisdom and power.  You just can’t see it when it’s happening.

This is why Game of Thrones reaches into the Zeitgeist and reminds us of how powerlessness can invade all of our stories right now. TV sometimes delivers the modern version of talking art—telling stories that we can relate to in archetypal characters and their journeys to self- discovery and purpose.

Art is meant to be provocative and evocative, often requiring us to reflect on things too difficult or threatening to language.  From tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, North Korea and Dennis Rodman, pirates, and kidnappings, etc.  From one extreme to another are the real-world Kingdoms of Chaos.

Luckily you and I don’t play the Game of Thrones.

Do you turn on the TV or read a book as an opportunity to escape? Do you have an expectation that you will have a particular experience?  With Downton Abbey I was witness to a different social experience and learned how we evolved. It kept me entertained and educated.  It is an intelligent show with sharp wit and I love that in a show. But I was beside myself with the plot twists.  The certainty for me was in the relationships.  They were the best part of the show and when Matthew was killed I flipped out.

We are in a period of time right now when certainty is not guaranteed anywhere, not even on our TV shows. We have enough uncertainty in real life, we want our storytellers to be true to us and when they betray us we don’t know how to handle it.

Therefore we have to find our certainty from inside of us.  Our relationship we have with a higher power is certain.  There is certainty in knowing that you have a purpose in life even if you don’t know exactly what it is. You can be guaranteed that you are an essential part of this symphony of life.

Faith is not the absence of fear, it is the courage to be present no matter what, and know that the Unknown, undiscovered territories in our lives sometimes come by first entering the chaos, then trusting the Greater Intelligence of an ineffable order that will continue to participate in a story of which we can proud.

As I say in the IN-Vizion® process we need to find spatial distance, perspective and the neutrality of being the Observer. When you are on the back of that three-eyed raven you see that there is a vast vista. In the largest picture any single event that happened will reap a harvest even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment or for some time afterwards. Our certainty can’t come from our physical universe it has to come from something inside of us – something greater.

Consider this wise quote:

“Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.” – Deepak Chopra

One day at a time. I will act in faith, that no matter what, with an attitude of gratitude and actions of compassion and honesty, a willingness to be teachable, and making amends where necessary.  I will make every moment count and get on the raven’s back and be reminded that all experience is what it is. I have a choice on how I respond.

You with me?  From where do you get your certainty?

Many blessings,
Colette Baron Reid

The InVision Project
Founder, CEO

Showing 8 comments
  • samia

    Brilliant article colette. I have the same reservations about violence and television. I saw people’s reactions to GOT on my FB even though I do not watch the show. I do however, watch Downton Abbey and it seems people are using shock-value tactics to raise ratings. I’m glad that you shed some light on this for me.

  • Nancy Peske

    In my book, Cinematherapy, I had a chapter on Happily Ever After movies for when you need a sense of safety and certainty. There’s nothing wrong with wanting resolution! I think people enjoy thrillers for this reason, too–I had a relative who had a very serious medical condition that caused her to spend a lot of time in the hospital, uncertain about the outcome, and she was reading mysteries and thrillers all the time because no matter what bad things happened, the detective solved everything in the end. Happily ever after!
    I love the old 30s and 40s black and white comedies with Irene Dunne, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, and Carol Lombard for this reason. Zany antics, goofy snafus, and a happily ever after ending.
    I love Downtown Abbey but you’re right–a saga like that always ends up having a dramatic twist that shocks you, so I have to be in the mood for something that might hit me with a surprise.

  • Mary Jo Vick

    I LoVE that you watch GOT… Weird, but makes you seem more accessible and, umm, like the rest of us. I agree with your insight about a grander prospective(like on the back of the three eyed raven). Having read the books, I, too, knew the Red Weddimg was coming. Watching it was disconcerting… Particularly the brutality towards Rob’s wife. And you’re right, the difference for me is that I already know what is going to happen and none of it would be so if not for the chaos of that wedding. I know who’s going to be flying dragons… Even though that book isnt finished and who will be leading the people to freedom. Such and excellent metaphor! Thank you and heppy to get to ‘Know’ you a little
    More today!

  • Leda Grace

    Great article….thank you… I feel GoT is tapping into a few things relevant (hidden / subconscious) in our society and the other one is the emergence of female power / strong female leaders; plus also the issue of ‘whores’ and men’s need for plain old sex….

  • Nia

    I love the quote you used by Deepak Chopra. And find it to be true. Just smiling puts me in a lighter mood. = )

  • Sacha

    So perfectly put! I feel silly being so affected or “whammed” by these shows (I too watch Downtown Abbey and Game Of Thrones). Thank you for your reflection and perspective.

  • Janice Davison

    Having spent many years as a lawyer and therapist, I deal with uncertainity in my fiction reading by choosing authors that ALWAYS have a happy ending, reading the end before I buy the book, or read the book bracing for the ending if it is worth it. I’ve spent enough time in my work life dealing with loss and misery. This may not have been the best way to “leave it at the office”, but it helped to keep me (relatively) sane.

  • Julie Ryan

    What a wonderful series 🙂 I’ve not read the series YET! but look forward to do doing so when it is finalised 🙂 Can’t wait 🙂 🙂

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