Musing content alert! We are fans of the series, “Game of Thrones”, although we haven’t read the books because, quite frankly, I tried and the body count was simply too much for my taste. The series is bad enough with that and I will attempt to be careful in writing this so that if someone hasn’t watched the last few episodes, it won’t be a spoiler.
As a quick summation, the “Game of Thrones” refers to the constant jostling among the seven major houses (kingdoms) as to who will rule and sit on the Iron Throne. The king who had brought everyone more or less into line died and an event occurred that caused a war to erupt with the claim that the very young (and quite unbalanced) King is not the rightful heir. His maternal line is the powerful house of Lannister and so far, they’re managing pretty well to retain their hold on power. It is the grandfather who not only wields the real power, but who understands the machinations and has outmaneuvered those he considers a threat. Which brings me to the point of the blog.
In the season finale, a brutal event is set into motion by the grandfather and one of his sons questions the lack of honor in the action. “I did it to stop this war,” is the answer. “Why is it considered more honorable for 10,000 men to die on a battlefield than for a dozen to die thusly?” (I just paraphrased that). Okay, that would seem to be a good question and you think, well, yes, perhaps that would be justified. Except – the core point is that while the war was launched by another house, it was the specific action of the young King that precipitated the response. And, if the grandfather was willing to face the truth, he would learn that perhaps the young King’s hold on the throne is in fact dubious at best. Ergo, his claim of desire to end the war (while ensuring his family stays in power) fails to address where the actual responsibility lies.
I will grant that in this scenario, admission of responsibility is likely to end in significant bloodshed, but in the metaphorical sense, the “bloodshed” can mean adverse career or relationship impact. It is, too often, the wish to avoid those impacts that cause individuals to obscure responsibility when an action he or she goes badly.