Game of Thrones is a masterpiece of symbolism, yet most will consider a fictional writing of someone who smokes too much (man, do i hate this joke). An immense ceremony as referred to the most significant lessons of morality and truth.
As we enter the world of GOT, we discover allegories and words of wisdom in an ancient and universal language understood only by the wisdom minds and truthful hearts. In this ceremony, the candidate towards light represents the spiritual corner stone on which everything else is build, ceremony which was also noted in the Mysteries of Dyonisos. It has to be observed every archetype that has to perform its appropriate duty in carrying the emblematic allusions. Its form and substance are both seized by the comprehensive grasp of the symbolic science.
As so, the story starts in the North, in the place of darkness, symbolic for the profane world, in a place between worlds separated by Walls and a Gate, guarded by men of the nights watch. It starts from one side, the human world, through a dark tunnel used as symbol for the tabernacle, towards the other side of the world, unseen and unknown.
All history concurs in recording the fact that, in the early ages of the world, its northern portion was enveloped in the most profound moral and mental darkness. It was from the remotest regions of Northern Europe that those barbarian hordes “came down like the wolf on the fold,” and devastated the fair plains of the south, bringing with them a dark curtain of ignorance, beneath whose heavy folds the nations of the world lay for centuries overwhelmed. The extreme north has ever been, physically and intellectually, cold, and dark.
The first episode actually holds the key to all the events and nothing is left to chance by the author and by the movie producers.
The candidate is a neophyte, and represents the link between worlds. He has much to learn, much to grow and much to clean of this mortal impurities, therefore his allegiance is divided and all the process he is taken to is symbolized through other characters. It is not wholly in one part nor on the other.
The first key event at the beginning of the episode is represented by the execution of one of the riders of the Night Watch seen as a traitor of oath, although his words are full of truth: “i have seen the white walkers and the people must know”, while because nobody believed him, he left the wall to announce it. Thus, Ned Stark, warden of the North, makes his biggest mistake that will cost him his life. Executes a man that spoke the truth under the condition that “A man who passes the sentence, must yield its own sword and execute it”. But injustice is injustice, and Ned will be beheaded also for treason, an injustice made by the Lanisters whose throne became threatened as Jeoffrey was not Robert Baratheon’s son and his true heir.
The execution of a traitor was done in front of the 10 year old Brandon Stark. “The old way is our way” was Ned’s teaching towards his son, shadowed for a moment by Jon Snow, an archetype that will future bear the symbols of Crow and Ghost, his dire wolf’s name, which i will discuss in a future writing.
The ceremony of the north-east corner derives all its typical value from this symbolism of the cornerstone, and was undoubtedly intended to portray, in this consecrated language, the necessity of integrity and stability of conduct, of truthfulness and uprightness of character, and of purity and holiness of life, which, just at that time and in that place, the candidate is most impressively charged to maintain.
In the rich Orientalism symbolism, the cornerstone represents a mark of a prince or chief who is the defense of his people, and more particularly in Scripture, as denoting that promised Messiah who was to be the support of all who should put their trust in his divine mission.
In building such a spiritual temple, he commences the intellectual task of erecting a temple in his heart, beautifully sustained in the allusions to all the various parts and qualities which are to be found in a “well-formed, true and trusty” cornerstone. So, too, do this permanence and durability of the cornerstone, in contrast with the decay and ruin of the building in whose foundations it was placed, remind the mason that when this earthly house of his tabernacle shall have passed away, he has within him a sure foundation of eternal life, a cornerstone of immortality, an emanation from that Divine Spirit which pervades all nature, and which, therefore, must survive the tomb, and rise, triumphant and eternal, above the decaying dust of death and the grave.
Although, the author focused the attention on the characters of power, the key character in this work, is none other than Bran. He is the candidate to be initiated throughout an impressive and complex archetype characters, mystical journey in time and space, towards light and purpose. Ned Stark, does make a mention in a short discussion with Arya about Brandon, the Builder, in the following episodes.
One of the main elements that actually set the course of the events is the end of the first episode, when Bran climes the tower and discovered Cersei and Jamie having sex. Climbing a dangerous top is a symbol of the first stage of the initiate. And so it starts his symbolic journey, long and difficult, taking the candidate, towards the Orient, the place where you find Daenerys, an archetype symbol of light and truth and again back to the West. The allegories will put the candidate towards the most difficult situations to be purified by all elements. Air is the first of them, wind of the North. The first initiation journey is towards the meaning of life on Earth. From falling into sins, to conflict of interests, the weight that pulls him back to take action, countless and difficult obstacles set by enemies or opportunists to ruin any effort, all of this are represented by a seemingly chaotic and loud journey. But nothing is left to chance.
Having reached the top of the tower, and pushed away by what he had seen, the candidate would have died if a “protecting hand” wouldn’t have intervened. The meaning of this allegoric event is that if you do things only by yourself in life, being preoccupied only by yourself and your interests, against others, everything you try to accomplish will be in vain and you will struggle in disappointments and leftovers. Selfishness is a false companion and leads only towards failure.
The second journey is purification through water, like a philosophical baptize, this journey is presented through Jon’s archetype. He must fail, hesitate, knowing that any mistake can cost him his life, but a right and truthful heart will always protect him. Water is meant to cleanse the impurities of being. In the same time, he must go with the flow and use his own intellect to not become a slave on other people’s beliefs and judgement. “Never forget who you are and wear it like an armor” said the imp to Jon, on their first meeting. Weapons are all that surrounds him, in Jon’s case, swords and spears are used, while he joins the Nights Watch, making such noise of the continuous battle the candidate must take to reject all corruption that tries to influence and dominate him. If he is wise enough he will not let himself be dragged into others competing interests, or those who preach hate, lust or greed.
The most difficult yet, is the purification through fire, represented by the Daenerys Targaryan sitting in the mist of it, as symbol of everything that remains after all, is wisdom, noble and generous. He must discern between what is good and what is evil, what is sacred and what is profane and must be able to go to the deepest depth of abstract knowledge.
Ignorance is the biggest sin and is prohibited. A candidate work is towards people, he cannot live for himself only, but for a greater good and bear the heaviness of others unfulfillment. It is the vocation of a heartful man and often his intentions are misunderstood for most people are selfish, greed and hateful and see him through their petty sight.
When Jacob, the bible saint, set up the stone on which he had slept in his journey to Padan-aram, he was blessed with the vision of ascending and descending angels, through which God showed him many things from his world and the one to come.
In Bran’s case, you will find him sleeping next to trees, having visions, being able to travel in time and place and connect to animals.
As he is carried in his journey by Hodor, or the other two companions, reveals the fact that all the other journeys that other characters are taking, are completely symbolical, as he himself cannot move, being kept under the Divine forces, later to be seen as the Lights of Seven (“he is in the hands of the seven right now”- Catelyn Stark, when Bran was in coma), until he will be awaken to the great Light of Truth and work.
source: literature from sacred texts