Your Word Is Your Bond!
(Lesson from Game of Thrones)
“….he that swears to his own hurt and change not”
We live in a world where words no longer have meaning. Agreements and vows are broken on the altar of ‘duress’. People give flimsy excuses for breaking vows and not keeping to promises. As immoral and imperfect Tyrion Lannister was, in the TV series, ‘Game of Thrones’, he was one of, if not the only Lannister that stayed true to their family slogan, ‘A Lannister always pays his debt’. The first time he made a vow was to the cell keeper when he was held captive by Caitlyn Stark. And as soon as he regained his freedom, he gave the cell warden the pieces of gold he promised him.
In another occasion, he needed a swordsman to fight for him in combat, as a condition for his release. Being a dwarf, he obviously could not withstand any knight in single combat, and with his brother far away, a sellsword came to his rescue and fought for him. He made a promise to the fighter that he would double whatever deal anyone offers to kills him. Despite making these promises in what would have easily been accepted as ‘duress’, he did not use that as an alibi not to keep to his words.
After surviving a very tough battle, this sellsword came to him and his elder brother, as an assassin sent to kill them. The dwarf reminded the man of his vow to always double what was offered for his head. The assassin requested that he declare his offer, and he did. After he became one of the most powerful men in the kingdom, with powers to crush the assassin, one would have assumed he would not redeem that vow for many reasons.
Firstly, he made it with a knife to his throat, so it could have simply say it was under ‘duress’.
Secondly, he now has power and wealth to crush this man, or even threaten the man to beg for his life. He could have even imprisoned him for daring to kill him. But alas, he did none of these. And instead, he kept his word and redeemed his vow to a man that threatened to take his life. That was indeed a very honourable thing to do!
This is what we lack today in our society. People turning around to bite the hands that fed them in the name of saying the pledges, vows and agreements were made under ‘duress’.
Betrayals and oath breakers have taken over our business and political space. Men and women without honour!
We must learn not to make promises or pledges we can’t keep, and once we have made those promises, we should endeavour to honour it, no matter what. The idea of making promises just to get what you wanted with no plan of fulfilling it is a recipe for distrust and disaster.
If words no longer hold meaning, then humanity has lost it!