Those of you who watched the final episode of Game of Thrones (my condolences, obviously) may remember a moment when Tyrion Lannister asks the surviving cast members what unites people. “Armies? Gold? Flags?” He pauses there, to let the audience know that something insufferable is coming, before answering himself: “Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.”
Look. It’s not a good line. It’s an unsupported thesis, wildly out of place in a show that brutally mangled most of its own plotlines in the name of grim realism, or maybe just cool CGI. There’s also a certain degree of cringe involved when a storyteller has one of their characters talk about the importance of storytelling; one can’t help but see the puppet strings.
And yet: I teared up a little. I’m not proud! I just have a helpless biological response to anyone who suggests—in any context, at any time—that stories matter. Because they do, to me, very much. So what could be better than stories about stories?