Game of Thrones – The Power of the Story in Recovery from Trauma

By Kevin Burke, LSW

“There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can defeat it…”  – Tyrion Lannister

[Major Spoiler Alert for Series Game of Thrones!]

Like the raging, grieving fire-breathing Drogon, Game of Throne’s (GOT) devotees are spewing some serious flames of anger at the writers and directors after the series finale. 

A million of those disgruntled fans so disliked the final episodes that they signed a petition to demand a remake of the final season!  (Here’s some background on the show if you are not familiar with the story.)

 Many fans have expressed that the last season seemed rushed at times and poorly written.  That’s probably a fair criticism, though it must have been challenging for the writers and directors to wrap up such a sprawling story and epic series in the final episodes. 

I wonder if the fan protest is also related to the ending of the series.  After all, it is a type of death, and grief can be expressed with the emotion of anger.  Maybe, like Drogon melting the Iron Throne after the murder of his queen, some of that hot anger is rooted in grief. 

War Weary

In the Game of Thrones finale, the leaders of the Seven Kingdoms are weary after years of war and an apocalyptic battle that unfolded in season eight against the Northern Ice King and the army of the dead.  They know too well the consequences of the continual violent struggles for power that have plagued the realm. 

Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf who has counseled a number of powerful leaders, has been imprisoned by the Dragon Queen Daenerys for the crime of treason.  Tyrion has been humbled by his many years of personal sin and failings as he negotiated the Machiavellian politics of the Seven Kingdoms.

 Tyrion has an opportunity to address a gathering of the surviving leadership of the Seven Kingdoms.   He suggests that rather than continued violent struggle for power, the leaders appoint a worthy leader to ascend the Iron Throne and bring peace to the realm.  Tyrion suggests the disabled “Bran the Broken” [1] who evolved during the series into the mystical “Three-eyed Raven.”

Tyrion proclaims to the assembled leaders:

“I’ve had nothing to do but think these past few weeks [in prison.] About our bloody history, about the mistakes we’ve made. What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories.

 There’s nothing more powerful in the world than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken?

The boy who fell from a high tower and lived. He knew he’d never walk again, so he learned to fly. He crossed beyond the Wall, a crippled boy, and became the Three-Eyed Raven. He is our memory, the keeper of all our stories. The wars, weddings, births, massacres, famines. Our triumphs, our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?”

While Sansa Stark remains Queen of an independent Northern Kingdom, the others agree with Tyrion.  After years of violence and chaos they decide to appoint Bran the Three-Eyed Raven their King of the Six Kingdoms. 

GOT fans had some serious disagreement with Bran having the “best story.”  But Tyrion touches on something important.

 Story Telling in Trauma Recovery

The GOT series has been wildly popular.  As a counselor and social worker with those suffering traumatic grief and loss, I am interested when I see a story connect in a powerful way with so many people.  Part of the reason is of course the quality of the production; the writing, acting, sets, special effects (amazing dragons!) and engaging story lines. 

But I see other themes in this series, especially in the final episode that touches on a powerful and hidden national trauma that is often a closely guarded secret.

In episode seven, the Dragon Queen Daenerys unleashes the hell fire of her dragon on the innocent men, women and children of King’s Landing held hostage by their Queen Cersei Lannister.  Daenerys justifies this use of her power over the defenseless inhabitants of the city as a necessary sacrifice so she can realize her destiny as unifier of the Seven Kingdoms.

Jon Snow challenges his Queen’s failure to pause and listen to the voice of her people before she continues to burn down the old world to give birth to her utopian vision.  He decides that to preserve the fragile peace and to prevent further genocide, he must kill his beloved Queen. 

Like the poor peasants of Westeros and Essos caught in the battle between powerful Queens and Kings, with the legalization of abortion in 1973, the 60 million preborn boys and girls of our nation that died in their mother’s womb had no voice. 

No matter how it is rationalized and justified by abortion apologists, like the killing of the innocent of King’s Landing by the Dragon Queen, abortion is an exercise of violent raw power against the weak and defenseless.

The ascendancy of Bran the Broken, promoted by a man who was himself a dwarf, reveals that the stories of those who are weak and seeming powerless in the eyes of the world, can be instruments of healing and peace. 

The Healing Power of the Story

Women and men often make the decision to abort in a time of weakness and fear.  Women are often pressured by their partners, family and friends to see abortion as the only sensible solution to their pregnancy. 

When women and men come to a place of wanting to reconcile that abortion experience, an integral part of that recovery process involves “telling your story.” 

An abortion recovery program provides a safe emotional and spiritual place so participants can honestly share their stories.  An honest telling of their abortion story is the door they must pass through on the road to reconciliation and healing with God, and their aborted child/children. From this act of humility will flow the hope of repairing other relationships injured by the aftershocks of the abortion procedure.

The stories of those who have survived abortion, and the stories of women and men who later regret their abortions, hold the power to change the direction of a nation that has legalized the destruction of preborn children in the womb. 

Read their storiesWatch their videos.  Share them.    

 “There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can defeat it…”    – Tyrion Lannister

[Please note if you are going to view the series:   Game of Thrones has some morally offensive scenes featuring the exploitation of young women in brothels and other settings.  Many episodes have depictions of graphic violence.]


[1] As a boy, Bran witnessed an incestuous liaison between Queen Cersei and her brother Jaime Lannister in his family’s tower.   Trying to protect their secret, Jaime tried to murder the boy by pushing him off the tower.  Bran survived, but was disabled from the fall. ority51 \lsdl

Leave a Reply