Never forget who you are, especially if you are a bastard

Tyrrion Lannister and Jon Snow

This image, published by web site FanPop, captures one of the best moments of dialogue in the whole bloody saga that is Game of Thrones. This is the first episode, season one, when the two characters meet. I like both characters shown here a lot.

As an adoptee, I have great affection for all characters, mythical, imaginary, and historical, who share my status as a man who was born without his biological parents joined in marriage. The word for us, through history, is “bastard.” Don’t worry, fair readers, us bastards are comfortable with the word. We know its true meaning and know how others respond to it. It may be you who is not at ease with the word and the reality.

So it may be no surprise that one of my favorite little scenes from the series Game of Thrones is when the Imp, Tyrion Lannister, gives advice to the main bastard character of the series, Jon Snow.

“Let me give you some advice, bastard,” says a drunken Tyrion. “Never forget who you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor.”

In other words, make your apparent weakness your strength and own the fullness of your identity, regardless of what anyone may say. Good advice for a bastard. I should know. And so should Jon Snow.

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Life’s journey leads to many friendships

Two of seven samurai mourn a loss.

Katayama Gorobei. left, and Kambei Shimada mourn the loss of their fellow Samurai, Heihachi Hayashida.

I just saw Akiro Kurosawa’s masterpiece, The Seven Samurai, for perhaps my fifth time. It just gets better and better with time. A gem I found in this viewing was in the line from the first samurai, Katayama Gorobei, recuited by the leader of group, the wise and wily Kambei Shimada. When offered the proposition to pledge his life to defend the villagers from bandits with Kambei, Katayama replies with a smile, “In life one finds friends in the strangest places.” Could not agree more.