By now, you’ve either seen the Longest Night episode of Game Of Thrones or you don’t care about it at all. And if you’ve seen it, you have one of two opinions about it.
- It was too dark and too many people survived, but basically great!
- It ruined the whole series OMG.
Listen, I’m not here to tell you that if you think thing 2 you are wrong, exactly. I’m just here to tell you that if you think thing 2 you are probably ruining your own life.
Let’s break this down.
Most people who are upset about how the (spoilers!) Night King died feel that way because they think Jon should have killed him. Jon, after all, is odds-on favourite to be Azor Ahai, the Prince Who Was Promised, the flaming-sword-swinging saviour set to defend humanity in its darkest hour. Arya, meanwhile, is…I dunno, a girl? And Jon would have fought him mano-a-mano, while Arya just, well, got the fucking job done.
Here’s the thing, though: prophecies aren’t real. Sort-of-not in Thrones land, but definitely not in real life. And Jon, while excellent at swordfighting, hasn’t spent seven years or whatever training under swordmasters and faceless men, learning to walk silently with the waif and fight dirty with the Hound. Back in season 2, she already knows that anyone can be killed – she’s been preparing half her life for this moment, and she has tossed away her own fear of death to be ready for it. Jon is great at making friends and fighting dudes with a sword, and both of those are great, valuable traits, that he has practised and perfected, but sometimes those things are not enough. If Jon really knew what was up, the episode would have ended with the Night King standing imperiously amid a ring of boiling fire and then getting merced in the head from the side with a dragonglass-tipped arrow, because honestly who the hell goes into to the Long Night with only one White Walker-killing weapon if they have a choice? But it didn’t, because that’s not Jon’s thing. And so.
And so here’s the takeway: you get what you practice for, assuming you also get quite lucky as well. You don’t get what you’re destined for, or what you should get – you get good at what you do over and over again, until your knuckles bleed and you can’t sleep properly and everything feels like just too much but you keep doing it anyway. Arya knows this: Jon knows this. If you deny this, you’re setting yourself up for failure. As Tormund would probably say: fuck prophecy. And live hard.