Last week, we got into a little office conversation about the long-awaited premier of season 5 of Game of Thrones. Turns out, I was the only one NOT waiting: yes, it’s true, I have yet to watch a single episode. (Alarming! I know!)
Lauren, our new Director of Operations, did her best to describe the show to me (so complicated!) and how many parallels she felt there were between the show and life as an artist. In the end, I encouraged her to create a blog post about it. It seemed to be sitting in her back pocket, ready to be shared with all the true Game of Thrones fans.
I offer you Lauren’s take on the parallels between Game of Thrones and your life as an artist. Let us know what you think. Enjoy!
1. The Underdogs Persevere
The most popular characters in Game of Thrones tend to be those who started with nothing, or who fell so far it seemed they’d never rise again. They’re those individuals who, in final moments of despair, seize unexpected opportunities to find their elusive success. Their achievements rarely take the form they’d initially envisioned, but success is success, nonetheless; and it’s always relative.
Despite getting kicked around, losing faith, and experiencing degrees of despair, the characters who thrive often manage to do so from the bottom of the heap, making unexpected comebacks at the last moment.
2. It’s Emotional…
…and what artist isn’t? ‘Nuff said.
3. It’s Clever
Game of Thrones is one clever show! And you’re one clever artist. Just as the characters play their game, so too does any artist who seeks to conjure career from craft.
4. It’s sexy.
It might not always feel sexy to be an artist, what with the constant threat of failure and financial insecurity. But think, for a moment, about how non-artists regard creatives: as romantics with an uncanny and admirable compulsion to follow their hearts!
Sure, it’s not all sipping espresso in a Paris cafe being fabulous and inspired 100% of the time. But without artists, where would the world get its beauty?
Beauty and creation are among the sexiest things that exist, and they do exist, thanks to you.
5. Power Plays
In Game of Thrones, the characters work hard to keep whatever power they have, whether it’s a lot, and especially if it’s not.
As artists, when we land a gig that allows us to engage with our craft for money, we often hold onto it as long as we can. Even sometimes past the point of productivity or usefulness. Whether you’re Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, or an artist trying to pay the rent or get to the next level, sometimes the best course of action is to say no, and allow someone else to sit upon the throne du jour.
6. Twists and Turns
What says “creative career” like a few near misses, misapprehensions, and double-backs?
In Game of Thrones, those who perish seemed just a moment before like they might make it. Some trust where they shouldn’t, and yet others doubt when they’d be better off with a bit of faith.
If these dips and turns don’t resemble the tumult of a creative career, we don’t know what does. As complicated and fascinating and full of surprises as Game of Thrones is, so too is your career. In moments of self-doubt, don’t miss the forest for the trees.
7. Tyrion Lannister
Okay, your career might not have a literal Tyrion, but it probably has a figurative one. Played by the incomparable Peter Dinklage, Tyrion is bestowed with certain innate gifts, like wealth and a way with the ladies.
You’re bestowed with certain gifts, too, like the creative impulse, and a drive to follow the dream.
Tyrion also faces some serious disadvantage. His father, Tywin, is a very unpleasant fellow. He takes every opportunity to remind Tyrion that he’s a disappointment and a failure.
Not sure about you, but he’s a bit like our Inner Critics personified!
Tyrion advises John Snow to wear what he is “like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” He was referring to both being a bastard, and being a dwarf, but we think it applies just as well to being an artist.
Although Tyrion’s tender heart suffers, he maintains his sense of humor, and has so far prevailed.
Tell us what Game of Thrones has taught you about your career!
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