Caution. Spoilers ahead.
If you haven’t seen last Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones and you want to stay surprised then stop reading here…
Oh. My. God. Arya Stark just taught us all how to kill it. Whatever it is.
Let me paint the scene to refresh your memory.
It’s 30 minutes into the episode. The Night King has created a storm and reduced visibility so that Jon Snow and Daenerys who are both riding dragons and can barely even see each other much less Winterfell.
Winterfell is alone and the white walkers have broke through every defense so far.
Two things stand between them and the people. The Trench and the Wall.
Davos is on the Wall signaling for anyone to light the trench but with the storm both Daenerys and John can’t see him and the wind blows out any torch that’s brought near.
It’s at this point that Melisandre, the red priestess, approaches the trench and lays hands on the wooden spears embedded there and begins an incantation.
She repeats it over and over again losing confidence with each breath. Her eyes dart left and then right as it cut to scenes of the snarling white walkers pushing their way through.
Just when it seems that the unreliable Lord of light has abandoned her and at the very last moment the trench bursts into flames giving the soldiers a momentary respite. That’s when we see Arya on the Wall next to Devos.
But the respite is short lived. Within the next 10 minutes the white walkers have found a way through the Trench and attack the Wall. Piling body on top of body on top of body they build a mountain of white walkers and breach the last defense of Winterfell.
If there was hope… Only the most foolish have it now.
But they don’t let us off that easy. At 42 minutes in Arya comes in with the weapon she had Gendry make for her slicing the head off one white walker and quickly dispatching, by my count, 17 white walkers single handedly.
She then moves to another section of the wall and is able to dispatch a dozen more but not without cost. She takes a blow to the head and ends up on her back with the white walkers advancing.
Even Clegane has given up saying, “We can’t beat them… We’re fighting death. You can’t beat death.”
It’s at this point that Beric sees Arya fighting the white walkers on the roof, points Clegane to her and says, “Tell her that.”
Clegane, animated rushes towards her and this provides the thread of hope that sustains us through the gut wrenching scene with Bella and the giant that broke my heart to watch.
It sustained us as the white walkers completely overran Winterfell and our heroes all scattered to what was surely going to be their end.
But then, the next time we see Arya is during a 10 minute long sequence of her running through corridor after corridor to escape the white walkers. She appears to have no plan. She’s barely one step ahead of them.
Even when she randomly meet up with Beric and Clegane it all seems pointless. There is no hope. They are, as Cleagan said, fighting death.
It’s at this point in the show that my wife leaves with a slight look of disgust thrown towards me as she does…
What the hell are these people doing? Why are they even bothering? Why am i even watching this? What is so wrong with me that i am watching it? I know that is what she is thinking…
In their last refuge, Arya, Clegane and Beric barricade the door as Beric passes. To their surprise, Melisandre, the red priestess, has been waiting for them in that room.
Arya hasn’t seen her since season three where she prophesied that Arya would shut many eyes. Brown eyes, green eyes and, she says with emphasis… blue eyes.
As Melisandre says these word “Blue eyes” something clicks with Arya. She understands.
Melisandre then quotes Arya’s mentor Syrio, “ What do we say to the god of death?”
“Not today.” Replies Arya. The two women look at each other and Arya races off.
But what can a little girl do?
It’s just a minutes later the Jon Snow fails to confront the Night King.
It’s just minutes later that the Night King resurrects all the dead including those who just died. His army is virtually limitless And unending.
The Night King has won. Everyone will die. The next 15 minutes is cinematic Existentialism that culminates in Camus’ irresolvable emptiness. Yeah. That’s about all of it.
That is, until Arya f**king Stark flies out of nowhere towards the Night King.
The Night King pivots to catch her by the throat. Which, I might add, is about the most i’ve seen him move ever.
His left hand is around Arya’s throat. His right hand has arrested her dagger in mid air.
Then Arya drops the dagger, catches it with her left hand and embeds it in the Night Kings belly who immediately turns to ice and shatters.
Oh. My. God.
Outside of the world of girl power, gender bending and turning the hero troupe on its head there is a lesson for us Creatives.
Arya was lost. She was struggling. She was chased through tiny hallways and narrowly escaping death at every turn.
She was no hero. Every second she was alive she was just lucky until she met Melisandre for the second time. Melisandre, for all intents and purposes, told Arya that it was her destiny… Her mission to kill the Night King.
You know, we are so used to these tired heroes stories of someone steadily breaking through obstacle after obstacle… That it may seem, to those who are down on our luck for the moment, that we may never get there. Where ever there is. Whatever it is that we want to achieve as Creatives.
But the Creative’s is not the normal heroes journey.
If you find yourself being chased down corridors by doubt and insecurity and barely creating work that excites or just barely scraping work together at all…
Then I have to ask you, why are you running from it… when you need to be running Towards It.
Stop trying to be safe or play it small and aim for the heart of the problem.
It’s a new era of heroes and knights and princesses have had their day. You have what it takes but the real question is, are you willing to accept it.