(Lessons from Game of Thrones)
“Pity is the empathy that we have on someone going through what we or our loved ones have gone through in the past”.
Ser Jaime Lannister in the TV Series, ‘Game of Thrones’, was a man blessed with several privileges. He was a fighter from his youth and a very good one at that. Good looking, well-built, and from a very rich family. There was nothing he wanted that he could not get. If he cannot get it by physical strength, he will get it by wealth, or by his family name and influence. These privileges blinded him to the pains, challenges, and sufferings of other people in society.
I am strongly of the opinion that pity, is a sense of compassion we show to those passing through what we or our loved ones have passed through in time past. Most times, we find it hard to be genuinely compassionate to people going through what we have never experienced. For example, when people say they have stayed three days without food, not because they are fasting, but because there was nothing to eat. If you’re like me that has never stayed a whole day without a meal, you will find it hard to believe that someone can survive three days. At best you will think they are exaggerating the situation because to you it is not possible. But someone that has stayed for that long will just start feeling sober hearing such tales because he can completely relate with the condition. That’s how some very rich people find it hard to believe that a family of five can survive with a meagre monthly income of twenty thousand Naira. By the time they calculate the amount spent in feeding their pets, they will rule out the possibility of any family surviving on such amount. By so doing, they are blinded by their privileges. When we are raising funds for indigent students, that is how some persons think. They often ask me questions like this, “is it true that these parents can’t raise fifteen thousand Naira for a fee that is being paid annually?”
Ser Jaime, unlike his younger brother, the dwarf, has never had a reason to be helpless. He was the swordman many young boys wanted to be. He was the rich guy every young lady would want to have. At a point in his life, he was captured in battle and became a prisoner, but he was unbroken. His confidence in himself, and his family’s power to get him released was enough to keep him strong while in detention. Things soon changed when his right hand was chopped off, and for the first time, he saw how it feels to be helpless to oneself. How can he fight without his lovely right hand? Now he had a taste of what his dwarf brother had been going through not being able to defend himself all his life.
The only thing he had now was his family name, as his being a famous fighter had gone with his right hand. You need to see the frustration and hopelessness all over his face when he told his twin sister that he could not fight as before due to his lost hand. That experience broke a part of him, and he soon started to show his compassionate side. As his sister would describe it “he started to grow soft”.
Everything we own in life is a privilege. You’re good looking, intelligent, rich, enterprising, influential, just name it, it is just a privilege. We must be on our guard not to be blinded by these privileges. We don’t have to wait until a misfortune happens to us before we start to see life in proper perspective. The one that is poor, dull, ugly, and unknown did not wish that for himself, things happen that made him like that.
Don’t allow your privileges and opportunities to blind you to the painful realities of other people. Just as the sage, Chinua Achebe, wrote in one of his books, “those who their ancestors helped to crack their palm kernel, should not speak evil of their mates who cracked theirs themselves”.
Are you among the privileged? Help others access these privileges, and make the world a safer and better place.
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.