Remember Jon Snow

"Jon Snow - Painting" | Art by Lasse17. Used with permission.
Pick a quote! Any quote! “You know nothing, Jon Snow”? Classic. “The Lannisters send their regards”? Brutal. But my favorite Game of Thrones quote is the one that keeps on giving, the one that we continue to hear as the show progresses, the one that’s perhaps the most meaningful of all:

“Winter is coming.”

These three words, the motto of House Stark, hang heavy over Westeros. Early in the series, they function as a lyrical anchor, beautiful words that help us understand the Starks, the geographic location of their home, and their hardiness. But even then, we know the maxim belies greater meaning. A long, horrible winter is coming, and this frightful season will befall everyone in the series—the good, the bad, and all the others in the vast spectrum between.

For five seasons now, ancient families and their armies (and sometimes dragons) have jockeyed for the throne. All the while the White Walkers, undead and hostile beings, have been looming as a threat, growing stronger as winter prepares to blow in. Most of the Game of Thrones’ events have solely focused on the the crown, despite warnings from Jon Snow and others that a much larger menace, one that could overwhelm the entirety of Westeros, is coming.

What I do here and now has an eternal impact and time is short.
In the eighth episode of Season Five, the White Walkers strike, devastating the wildling town of Hardhome (for which the episode is named). Though the wildlings put up a valiant fight, they are unable to stop the invading force, even with the help of the Night Watch. Zombie apocalypse: imminent.

Or maybe not.

During the battle of Hardhome, Jon Snow discovers that his sword, made of Valyrian steel, is able to annihilate White Walkers. Until this time, the belief was that Dragonglass, in very limited supply (and lost during the fight), was all that could subdue the savage foes. This surprising find is of vital importance. If only Jon can deliver the news—if only the world will believe it.

As viewers, we have the privilege of seeing Game of Thrones from a limited omniscient angle. While we don’t necessarily know all that’s coming (and even less so now that the show has caught up with and surpassed George R.R. Martin’s novels), we can determine what the creators, directors, and scriptwriters deem is important. Thus, the White Walkers are important to us. They trudge right into our living rooms, in all their frightful glory. But for the population of Westeros and even the soldiers at Castle Black, they are miles and miles away.

Jon’s mission is to bridge these gaps, the ones caused by physical distance and by what the residents of Westeros perceive as having higher priority. He brings tidings far more critical than those involving wars among men; he has news that can save all mankind.

Unfortunately, before he can prepare Westeros for a defense against the White Walkers, Jon Snow is assassinated, by his own men. It seems that, though the White Walkers are at their door, even the Night’s Watch is suffering from snow blindness.

Jon Snow brings tidings far more critical than those involving wars among men.

The Night Watch’s response reminds me of my own short-sightedness in the things that I do, how I focus on the crown rather than on the zombies in the distance. And the thing is, I don’t do so with the kind of blind ambition that rules so many Game of Thrones characters; I simply just don’t prioritize larger, far-off matters. I might consider a project deadline for work while forgetting about a grandparent’s well-being; focus on taking my children to extracurricular activities while avoiding the anxiety they are feeling in the classroom; or pour myself into studies while spending little time developing spiritual habits. All too often, I live with an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.

It’s especially in matters of faith where I most miss the forest for the trees. After all, faith has an invisible quality that’s difficult for me to keep in my mind if I’m not diligent. As I scurry back and forth, busying myself with everyday affairs, it becomes easy to put my faith, my beliefs, and my God on the back burner. I also miss out on chances to love others by prioritizing things like career and even family above everything else. Not that those things aren’t important, but when I’m constantly distracted in my own little bubble while ignoring what’s going on around me, something needs to change.

As a Christian, I believe that putting my faith first is important, and there are consequences if I don’t. I believe that trusting God and following His commands allows me to see life more clearly and prioritize others over my own selfish desires. What I do here and now has an eternal impact and time is short.

Winter is coming. Are you preparing for it?

Charles Sadnick

Charles Sadnick

Contributing Writer at Area of Effect
Converted from the moment he first heard Han Solo reply, “I know,” Charles resisted his nerdy urges until Hayao Miyazaki, Spike Spiegel, and Evangelion Unit-01 forced him to confront the truth of his inner geekery. Baptized into otakudom, Charles masks himself in the not-so-secret identity of TWWK as he blogs endlessly about anime and faith.

He can also be found, however, feeding his other nerd habits, including A Song of Ice and Fire. Charles also remains hopelessly stuck in the 90's, maybe best demonstrated by his unexplainable passion for The Phantom Menace.

A historian and director at a government agency by day, Charles joins in the work of college and digital ministry is his off-time, while growing each day in the round-the-clock charge of being a husband and father.
Charles Sadnick