What Game of Thrones Has to Say About Depression (and Fighting It)

I know I’m behind the curve, but I just finished the TV show Game of Thrones. Since I was slow to watch it, there were unfortunately several big moments that I had already heard about, and that weren’t that surprising when the happened.

What did surprise me about the show, though, were the moments characters made comments that I felt didn’t have to do so much about an other-dimension, medieval fantasy world (that seems to be remarkably geographically small, yet incredibly heavily populated with expendable, military-age young men)–instead, that seemed like they were talking about depression and the fight against it.

I’ve assembled some of these quotes and tried to make them look nice. I hope they inspire you, too.

As good of a description of depression if I’ve ever seen one.

A reminder that, when things are bad, you hold tight onto anything you can get your hands on–an idea that kept Jon Snow aloft when riding a terrifying beast.

The quote that kept Arya Stark fighting hard still applies if what it saves you from is yourself.

In the first season of Game of Thrones, we meet a Sansa Stark who’s innocent, spoiled, and naive–a “little bird” according to Cerci Lannister. By the final season, we see the girl has been replaced by a woman who has experienced horrific abuses and hellish circumstances, but who now knows how to lead, and how to spot–and defeat–her enemies. In that last season, the leader–and ultimately queen–admits her suffering helped shape the powerful figure she becomes.

Do you remember Meera and Jojen? I was never quite clear on the sister-and-brother team’s story, but I understood that Meera, the girl, was the fighter, and Jojen, her brother was the one who needed protecting–in the staunchly misogynistic world that is Game of Thrones. Meera understood her brother had talents as a seer–but also that he needed help in life to fulfill that role, and that he needed her physical protection.

Their story made me think about my own family. It’s taken me several years to figure out two things: First, that depression will likely always be an issue for me, and second, being that’s how things are, that my family has proven that they will do almost anything to help me. It’s not bad to need help. It also doesn’t mean you can’t help others in return.

Words of wisdom from Ned Stark to his son Bran. You can’t be brave if you’re not scared.

Daenerys Targaryen is another strong female Game of Thrones character who didn’t start out that way. Do you remember when we first see her in the series? It’s when her older brother sells her in exchange for the use of an army. But every thing that happens to her, she uses to become stronger. In season seven, she explains that that comes from believing in herself–even though, in the beginning, she didn’t even know who she was.

After all, it wasn’t until she literally walked through fire that she discovered she could walk through fire.

If there are any good quotes I missed, be sure to let me know below.

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