What do we say to the God of death?
You ever have this strange feeling like you miss someone you’ve never met? You look for them everywhere and in everyone, but nothing fills that void. Then maybe you realize that the person you miss might just be a part of yourself, a tiny fraction rooted in uninhibited truth. A fraction that is often felt and filled when you pick up a book or stumble upon a story that negates any emptiness. Because sometimes, a good story is exactly what you’ve been looking for—what you’ve missed.
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire became the friend a lot of people never knew they missed. Stories like the ones that take place in Westeros operate as a distraction: a distraction from the things that might agitate us. A good story strips away our day to day worries and allows us to just be… well, us, even in the face of our own mortality. At this moment in time, the internet is flooded with GoT news, theories, and tidbits—impassioned discourse. People rally behind certain characters, resonate with certain themes, and complain about certain lighting issues.
What we see is a part of ourselves—a part that we choose to share with each other. Stories like these connect us. I’m not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing. Countless miracles and monstrosities are happening around the world at this very moment; we choose to focus on fiction.
Today we can focus on both. I read an article on WCVB’s website—about an eighty-eight-year-old woman in hospice from Rhode Island. A woman who loves a good story. This woman’s name was Claire Walton, and, like the rest of the world, she was and is a fan of Game of Thrones. Last week, she found herself marinating in anticipation for Sunday’s episode of GoT‘s finale season—an episode that had been hyped as containing one of the biggest battles sequences ever put on film. Claire joked with her care providers that she wanted to meet the cast before she died, but would settle for watching “The Battle of Winterfell/The Long Night.”
It is reported that caretakers at HopeHealth in Providence reached out to the cast regarding her fandom, and magic ensued. Ten actors from the series sent Claire reverent messages—most notably Liam Cunningham, (Sir Davos Seaworth), Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel), and Josef Altin (Pypar).
“I hope you’re fit enough to watch the battle,” Cunningham said. “I wish you the very best. I hope your days are not bad and I hope you can manage. Take care!”
You can watch some of the messages via video a hospice care provider posted on Facebook:
Claire watched the episode in its entirety Sunday before dying Monday afternoon. Her story reminds us of one thing: a good story can change lives—it can bring fame and joy to people as well as hope and understanding. A good story can teach us a little bit more about the human condition, bring people together, or just make someone’s day. Claire Walton’s motives were simple. In the end, she just wanted to watch her favorite show and fill herself with the type of joy that can only come from the company of a friend or a good story. Something about that feels more triumphant than the perfectly timed placement of a Valyrian steel dagger.
The HBO series set various viewership records Sunday night.
Featured Image Via Metro UK.