Winter is coming… For us all

Westeros and Europe

Winter is coming“: perhaps the most iconic lines from Game of Thrones (the TV adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire books).

To viewers and fans of this modern saga, these lines remain a constant threat looming large in the background behind all the other “games of state” which play out along the many episodes of the series: the threat of something unknown, something great, something evil that dwells beyond the Wall, asleep and left to its itself for a long, long time. A time so long that reality is transformed into legend.

Lannisters, Starks, Baratheons and Targaryens fight for control of the continent of Westeros and the planting of their standards upon the board. They seek out allies and make war to the cries of “order”, “liberation” and “prosperity”. Yet in reality, they are seek only that which no man will give up: power.

For this reason, none of the power players are interested in the approaching darkness. None of them care that the sun has begun to set upon all that over which they fight, that destruction is coming: shadows are approaching and no light is lit against the dark. Frost begins to cover the land. Mighty edifices are left cold and empty.

Game of Thrones has been a roaring success for its ability to keep fans in suspense, and for the attention to detail. That said, I believe it’s also been successful because it mirrors the West, of which Italy is a part. A West bent on fighting to preserve its power and wealth that is, in fact, “shrouded in darkness”: unable to rise to a true leadership role at the global level or to produce culture and innovate.

Faced with this marked decline, all that is left is a West that clings on to its standards for dear life, looking for “someone else” to accuse for the situation in which it finds itself, that it may wage war.

The “Jon Snow” of the present situation (the Church together with other institutions that call for unity and solidarity) are unwelcome. They are constantly criticized and silenced with words cast from swords, the last resort for those who have no real argument … Deep down, after all, “You know nothing, Jon Snow”.

Will Cersei, Jon and Daenerys be able to leave aside wrongs suffered, ambitions and desires and unite in order to face darkness and death together? It’s what fans are eagerly waiting to know.

And can we Christians and all people of good will do this? We don’t know  … And yet, perhaps, this is what we are now called to do: light small fires in the darkness, small fires that might guide and help others in the darkness and ice to come … for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. (Cfr. Song of Songs 2: 11-12). If only we could be as concerned about Europe as we are about the fate of Westeros.

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