‘Game of Thrones’: 5 Money Lessons I Learned From ‘Beyond the Wall’
You get what you make out of entertainment, and Game of Thrones is no exception. One fan learned a lot while watching "Beyond the Wall."
Okay let’s get one thing out of the way: this post has spoilers.
The current season of Game of Thrones has left us feeling so many emotions. I honestly think my heart stopped beating at least eight times while watching last night’s episode, “Beyond the Wall.”
From Yara being captured by the evil Euron to Cersei announcing her impending doom to the explosion of the loot train, Game of Thrones leaves viewers reeling after each episode this season. But nothing will top the awesomeness that was last night’s episode.
There were five things in Sunday’s Game of Thrones episode that really exemplified my views on money.
Before you go any further, though, I want to make sure that I reiterate that there are spoilers throughout this post. If you haven’t seen last night’s episode, “Beyond the Wall,” stop reading and go watch it.
1. You Owe It To Those You Love to Bring Them Honor
If you remember back in season two of Game of Thrones, Lord Commander Mormont gave Jon Snow his family sword, Longclaw. This sword – and any sword handed down between families in Game of Thrones (and literal medieval times) – is a sign of honor and respect between children and parents. So for Jorah’s father to give Jon the family sword, Jon had to bring great honor to Lord Commander Mormont. That said, you owe it to the people you love and respect to do things honorably.
We can translate this into how we approach our debt. Like the Lannisters, we should always pay our debts. Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t. When we let that debt pile up, it causes stress to both our families and ourselves, and it forces us to do things that we may never have done before the debt.
Debt is not fun. I get it – I come from debt. I’ve dealt with so much debt that I wanted to rip the eyes from my head. But because I’m a mom, I work hard to pay off my debt so I can bring honor to Fox, my son.
2. What are You Leaving Behind for Your Successors?
When Tyrion Lannister confronted Daenerys about her line of succession, she avoided the question like the plague. This isn’t in her best interest, especially after her encounter with the Night King.
When you take a look at your life, you need to analyze every bit of it – from your finances to who will take care of you when you can no longer care for yourself. Are you going to leave behind a world of debt and chaos for your successors (your children, a spouse, or even sibling)? I’m not suggesting that you should beat yourself up about who’s going to take care of what when you’re no longer able to. I’m just suggesting that you should ensure that you build your empire with your family in mind.
We’re selfish by nature – that’s just a fact. It’s okay to be selfish in our younger years. But as we grow older, we need to make sure that we’re setting our families up for success when we are no longer able to take charge.
3. Who Will Be There to Save You from The Zombie Bears?
Many of us watching last night’s episode saw a polar bear off in the distance during the peak of the storm beyond the Wall. Thinking it was just a normal bear – one that would likely do no harm to our heroes – was a serious mistake. The bear leapt from the storm and killed two fighters and seriously wounded the fire priest. It was incredibly shocking to watch.
Think of that bear as your finances. Everything looks perfectly fine from afar, but as you dig deeper into your financial situation, it could rip you apart. Don’t let your finances take control of your life and rip you to shreds. Know what’s coming for you before it takes you down by taking control of your finances.
4. Don’t Underestimate the Dead (or Debt)
The sole mission in “Beyond the Wall” was to capture a white walker and bring it back to King’s Landing, thus producing proof to everyone that the real war lives in defeating the Night King. At the beginning of the episode, the group of men seem to know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. It seems simple enough capture the white walker, go back to King’s Landing, convince everyone to fight the Night King, and live to see another day, right? Wrong!
They underestimated the white walker, just as we can underestimate what it’s really going to take to pay off debt. The smart approach is to take our time and understand our financial situation before diving too far in. We hear from so many people who have paid off thousands upon thousands of dollars of student debt. For some of us, like me, it’s impossible for us to wrap our minds around paying off that much student debt. We need a plan – a smarter, more accessible approach.
It’s possible to pay off a horde of debt, and I’m not going to discourage anyone from doing that. But there are people out there who need to get real about what it’s going to be like the pay off that much debt. Don’t underestimate what it’s going to take.
5. Sometimes You Can’t Save Yourself
I’ll admit it right here and right now: I have a shopping addiction. Growing up not exactly rich, but not exactly poor was difficult. I always wanted to buy and have nice things, then grow up to have everything I could’ve ever wanted. But that comes with a price. A shopping addiction is not just a poor financial habit – it’s a mental health disorder. It’s an addiction. I struggle with this addiction all the time. When my paycheck hits my account, all I want to do is spend the money.
This issue relates directly to Jon Snow and his need to be the hero. There hasn’t been one moment throughout this season – or, quite frankly, throughout the entire show – when Jon Snow hasn’t taken it upon himself to save the people around him (contrary to my issue, I know). It’s very noble, but he always gets himself into trouble as a result.
Jon Snow has been stabbed, killed, left behind, mutinied against, and now nearly drowned in a lake of ice. Why? Because he’s addicted to being the hero. That’s just his nature. When it came down to it, John couldn’t save himself. He would have died had it not been for Daenerys riding in on Drogon and setting fire to the white walker horde – or for his Uncle Benjen riding in at the last minute to save him.
When you look at an addiction – or even something that’s monetarily difficult for you to part with – you need to seek help from others. It’s important to take care of your mental health so that you don’t end up stuck in a bad situation.
Sometimes you can’t save yourself, and that’s okay. Surround yourself with friends and family whom you can lean on when times get tough.
A Final Thought
Some of this may seem like a bit of a reach, but that’s the point of pop culture. It’s supposed to find a way to relate to you or to situations that you’ve encountered before. The fact that Games of Thrones takes place in a medieval fantasy world doesn’t mean that we can’t find a way for the show’s themes to relate directly to our lives.
The next time you sit down to watch Game of Thrones, I suggest watching it twice through – once to capture all the shock and awe throughout the episode, and a second time to understand how the themes relate to your life, society, and global situations. The show is more than meets the eye.