Last summer, I binged on Game of Thrones. And, like any binge, most of what’s ingested is unconscious and lost to the ethers. Before the release of Season 7 this summer, I decided to watch it all again from the beginning.
This time, I’m paying close attention. This time, I’m able to piece it all together and keep it all straight: the characters, the kingdoms, the wannabees, the has-beens, the up-and-comers, the plotters, the schemers, and the kidney pie maker.
By the end of season 2, I’d heard the word bastard more times than I’d heard anything else, drawing me to the conclusion that, despite the endless violence, beheadings and eviscerations, the overall exploitation of women, the warring, the whoring, the incest (oh,my!), and the witchcraft, one thing stood out above all else:
It’s a very bad thing to be a bastard.
Fast forward to Season 7, Episode 4, which I watched last night:
Forgive me, but, may I ask you a question?
Your name is Jon Snow but your father’s name is Ned Stark.
I’m a bastard. My mother and father weren’t married.
Davos (to Missandei):
Is the custom different in Naath?
We don’t have marriage in Naath so the concept of a bastard doesn’t exist.
(to Jon Snow):
Liberating, indeed. The meaning ascribed to the word bastard was all made up. Back then, you weren’t “legitimate” if you were a bastard. You were less-than, all around. Your status was low, regardless of what you’d achieved or to what you aspired. If the lowest of the low wanted to one-up you by even just a half-step, all they have to do was call you bastard.
BASTARD BASTARD BASTARD BASTARD BASTARD BASTARD
Nowadays, in this country anyway, the word bastard holds little meaning. It’s an overused swear word, at best. Its original meaning has all but evaporated. There are “bastard” children everywhere and it doesn’t mean a thing.
What do you suppose could happen if we were to look at each and every epithet and linguistic separator to which we’ve given so much meaning and simply eliminated the meaning? For example:
Fat, old, millenial, tranny, cracker, nigger, beaner, dago, slut, chink, ugly, ghetto, right-wing, “liberal”, hayseed, yankee, illegal, faggot, dike, kike, “feminist” and on and on on it goes…………….
All of these words possess the meaning that we give to them. And, within these meanings lies the same motivation to separate ourselves from others. We are just like all the “legitimates” of the kingdoms in GAME OF THRONES, seeking to one-up each other while clawing our way up some made-up, meaningless hierarchy.
We can all agree on the end result of this practice: we feel separated from each other. And, if you talk to yourself using these words, you end up feeling separated from yourself.
Now what if we were to send all these linguistic separators the way of the bastard…..straight to the Land of Meaninglessness. Let’s imagine that we’re all Narthians and that, like the word bastard, none of these other linguistic dividers have any meaning, either.
In the end, it’s only us, and we’re making it all up.
It is we who assign meaning to everything.