I’ve started to watch Game of Thrones. I have been holding out on watching it because the content is a bit extreme for my tastes. The graphic violence, sexual content, and negative overtones towards religious faith have all played into why I was hesitant to get into it. But with the release of the seventh season on the horizon, and the constant praise it received from my friends I decided to give it a try. And I got hooked.
It’s a remarkable series in its realism. As I’ve watched, I’ve thought, “wow, this seems like that’s how life there would actually be like.” Usually this is kind of in a negative sense. I hold that the world is a pretty bleak place, where people in power use their power to stay in power. The violence, the sex, the lying, the false alliances, all the filth seems so realistic. And I think that it is in that realism that it is captivating. With all the series out there that are an escape from realism, where the good guys can’t lose and all the scummy people get what’s coming to them, a show where it seems that all the good guys lose, and all the seeming villains get their way.
One scene that comes up fairly regularly is when there is a powerless person before a powerful person pleading for mercy. And no matter who is on the throne, and who is begging before them you know what’s going to happen, the person begging is going to die. The lead up may make you think that there may be a chance that they might survive, but time and again those scenes end with bloodshed. It’s hard to watch at times. I want there to be mercy, especially when it’s my favorite characters that are pleading for their lives. And I unfortunately believe that if these scenes were playing out in the real world (maybe not now but a couple hundred years ago) the results would be the same, bloody.
And I got to thinking how unfortunately it is that those in power always seem to be the worse kinds of people, that see cruelty as virtue. And I thought about how refreshing it would be to see a compassionate king. A king who was moved by pleads for mercy, and decided to not dispel terrible judgement, but rather extended a gift of mercy. This wouldn’t probably work to well in the world of Westeros, and that king would probably be killed rather quickly. In a violent world, the choice of restraint doesn’t seem like a choice to take.
But what about our world, is our world just as violent and prone to revenge as the world with the Iron Throne? I think it is, and I think it isn’t. I think that violence does seem to win the day. That those in power will do whatever it takes to keep their positions of power, and choose to use that power to punish and destroy rather than to show mercy. But I do believe that there is a throne unlike the one of Iron, and there is a king unlike any that have existed in the works of fiction or in the history of Earth.
See, I believe that Jesus is a king, and that his kingdom, his way of ruling, is different than anyone else. Because rather than getting all excited over the prospect of punishing by beheading, or stabbing, or drawing and quartering people, Jesus is moved by pleas of mercy. Instead of a king high upon a throne looking down at his people wondering how he will keep order through pain, King Jesus looks down at his people, not with rage, but compassion, excited about the new and creative ways that he gets to show his people his love, compassion, mercy and grace.
So we don’t have to be afraid of our king, like how the people of Westeros were afraid of Joffery. Because instead of being a cruel, sadistic worm of a person, Jesus is good, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. And he has established a kingdom where the vilest offenders can receive mercy, all they have to do is ask to receive it.