life lesson from Game of Thrones (no sword required)

*mild, early-season-5 spoiler ahead.  (why aren’t you caught up?)*

Arya Stark, a young tomboy who (mistakenly!) believes her entire family is dead, heads to the far-off city of Braavos to find a friend who promised help if she was ever in trouble. 

after sailing the Narrow Sea since the end of last season (a full calendar year) she arrives.  wearing the same outfit she’s had since the pilot and with the greasiest hair ever, she knocks on the door of the friend’s house, (literally) says the magic word, and awaits a warm welcome.   

instead, the stranger at the door says there’s no one by that name at the house.  if it were any other show i’d blame personal hygiene for the lack of hospitality, but Game of Thrones characters get away with one-outfit nonsense all the time.

“i don’t have anywhere else to go,” Arya says.

“you have everywhere else to go,” says the oddball gatekeeper before locking her out.

after moping in the rain for a few days, Arya begins roaming the city and killing birds for food.  the sweetness here is after she moved on and headed “everywhere else,” the man she was searching for rescued her and took her in. 

but back to the conversation in the doorway.  when you’re rejected, it doesn’t mean “hide in a wicker basket for the rest of your life.”  it means “one house down, thousands to go.  keep moving.”

it’s a powerful message embedded in a brief scene.  rejection is forward, not backward, motion.  it’s the start of the process of elimination.  since you removed an option that would’ve failed,  you’re actually closer to your destination. 

the actions you imagined—arrive in Braavos, say the word, reunite with friend, be saved—are still possible.  but the order of events is rearranged.  at that point the question becomes, are you willing to adjust with it?  can you deal with a few adventures in the meantime?