If you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, there’s a popular HBO show called Game of Thrones, which is an adaptation of the original George R. R. Martin novels. The show, which centers around several warring kingdoms, grapples with concepts such as morality, loyalty, politics, and masculinity.
The show has exploded in popularity over the past few years due to its complex story line, well-refined character development, phenomenal acting, and awesome cinematography. Yet there’s one reason that this show rises above all the rest, that I believe few are aware of: it depicts true masculinity.
In a world where most TV shows portray men as incompetent, floundering buffoons, who are often the butt of all jokes (The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.), a show which depicts the brutal reality of the medieval ages, and what men had to endure to survive it, stands out from the crowd by a lot.
Why do you think shows such as History Channel’s Vikings, AMC’s Breaking Bad, and other such shows have been growing in popularity over the past decade? It’s simple: men crave shows which depict raw, unadulterated masculinity, where men will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.’ With that in mind, here’s some of the best quotes from Game of Thrones, that all men can learn from.
“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ he asked. ‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
This is perhaps, one of the most oft-cited Game of Thrones quotes, and it isn’t hard to see why. Comprising of a single line, this quote aptly summarizes the all-encompassing emotion of fear into a single philosophy. Bravery isn’t something that we can achieve without fear—no, it’s something that requires fear.
Nothing is great unless it requires you to push yourself. No action can be strong unless there is an equal and opposite force to resist you along the way. All greatness in life requires resistance, whether it be something as small as asking the girl of your dreams on a date, or conquering an entire empire.
Bravery is something that modern men can hardly relate to. We’ve been stuck behind our computers, televisions, and other comforts of modern civilization for far too long. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to face death and to laugh in its face. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to lose a brother in arms, or to nearly die for something you believe in.
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength, then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
In this poignant scene, a dwarf born of the most wealthy family in all of the Kingdom, is speaking to a bastard about his identity. This bastard, whom we soon discover is Jon Snow, was born of an affair that King Stark had with a woman while away at war. This badge of shame has pinned itself on him, and followed him for his entire life.
His family hardly accepts him. His people hardly accept him. His accomplishments are always overshadowed by his older “brothers,” who were born of a legitimate marriage. Yet somehow, Jon Snow is the most relatable, admirable, and honest characters throughout the entire show. His weakness becomes his strength.
All men must do the same, whether born in ancient times or the new millenia. Who you are can never be taken from you—it is to be worn as a badge of honor, something which others will marvel at and admire you for. When you do this, nothing can be used to hurt you.
Own your struggles. We have far too many men apologizing for who they are and what they’ve done. It’s time for men to be proud of who they are, it’s time for shame to be thrown down into the pits of hell where it belongs, and it’s time for us to reclaim our lost masculinity.
“I may be small. I may be a girl, but I won’t be knitting by the fire while I have men fight for me.”
For as much as modern feminism claims to empower women, it actually does the opposite in many ways. Modern feminists simultaneously demand to be treated like equals, but then pull the victim card whenever it’s convenient. One only needs to take a small gander at the current state of our college campuses to see this.
Yet, these famous lines spoken by Lyanna Mormont, head of House Mormont of Bear Island due to an early death by her mother, shows us that there was a time when women truly were women. There was a time when the insidious philosophy of victimhood had not yet infected the minds of our youth, as it has today.
Now, we have 19 year old Yale students complaining that they’re being oppressed by the “evil patriarchy,” while they live in their lavish $50,000 a year dormitories. We have women complaining about the “gender pay gap,” when they choose to go into less profitable careers. We have a bunch of adult-sized toddlers whining and bitching about how they haven’t gotten their way.
Lady Mormont did not give a single fuck about such narcissistic philosophies, however. Even though she isn’t even a teenager yet, she shows more courage, more appreciation of men, and more honor, then 99% of today’s modern spoiled crybabies—and this is something I can respect.
“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”
This famous quote, uttered by none other than the formidable Eddard Stark, was uttered as a rule to his son Bran. King Stark, having passed a death sentence onto a man for abandoning the Night’s Watch (a group of men that guards the Northern Border), was an honorable man who believed in swinging the sword himself.
The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword, for if he cannot do so, then maybe the man does not deserve to die—no truer words have been spoken. Today we have distant and out-of-touch politicians ordering drone strikes onto lands 10,000 miles away, on people who they will never meet.
Admittedly, war today is more complicated than it ever has been. War today is fought in the shadows. It’s fought in secrecy. It’s funded by private organizations overseas, and we fight enemies that we cannot see or hear. Yet still, Eddard Stark’s honorable words regarding justice and vengeance hold true.
Eddard Stark, known to his family and friends as Ned, was a man of honor—something that very few men today know of. We would rather make the easy choices, and take the path of least resistance, when sometimes in fact, it’s the very path we should be avoiding if we wish to grow our character.
“A lion does not concern himself with the opinion of a sheep.”
Another one of my favorite Game of Thrones quotes, this line spoken by Tyrion Lannister aptly summarizes my approach to life and others. Every day, I get emails from men asking about what they should do if others say this, or if others say that—and do you know what I say?
Fuck them. You do what you want to do, you say what you want to say, and you be who you want to be. Life is far too short for you to concern yourself with the opinions of others. In 70 years, when you’re on your death bed, you’ll bemoan the fact that you were too weak to follow your own heart.
Be a lion; be an alpha male. Simply decide what it is that you want, and go out there and get it for yourself. The world is far too crowded with men who concern themselves with the opinions of sheep. Do not fall for this great trap, simply do what you believe to be true and good and admirable, and others will follow in your footsteps for years to come.
“My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind…and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read so much, Jon Snow.”
I swear, I could write an entire book of quotes merely spoken by Tyrion Lannister—half of the best Game of Thrones quotes are spoken by him.
By far the most witty and strategic character throughout the entire series, Tyrion has learned to rely on his mind his entire life. Seeing that he was born a dwarf, and could easily be bested in combat by anyone past the age of 12, he’s had to rely on other methods to fight his battles.
Rather than using a sword to survive, he uses his wits. Rather than using brute force, he uses strategy. Rather than using intimidation by strength, he uses intimidation by politics. Tyrion understands the limits of his physical strength, and the limits of his mind—which is why, perhaps, he’s managed to stay alive all this time despite many who want to kill him.
This is the reason why I urge men to read great books every single day. In a world where battles are fought in the corporate office, in the social realm, and by wit (and not force), it is paramount that men arm themselves with the knowledge and the tools necessary to succeed in the modern arena.
Do not neglect your body, for it is the vessel which you use to navigate the world—but understand its limitations. The pen is truly mightier than the sword, as English novelist and playwright Edward Lytton wrote in 1839, and in our modern arena occupied by average men, this is more true than ever.
“A true man does what he will, not what he must.”
Masculine energy, for all of its complicated nuances and interpretations, can really be summed up in one word: will. As the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “The way of men is will. The way of women in willingness.” This quote could not be more accurate in contrasting masculine and feminine energies.
The way of men is will—men make things happen. We exert our will on the world. Much like our biology (AKA our penises), our energy is to penetrate the world. Masculine energy is driven to exert what it believes and wants onto external reality. “The way of men is will, the way of women is willingness.”
Men do what they WILL, not what they MUST. True men, real men, do what they know they wish to do. They do not care for societal expectations, and they do not care for circumstances. They simply act who they are onto the world’s stage and let it play out, for better or for worse.
These words are very well spoken by the great George R.R. Martin, because they hone in on the crux of masculine essence. Nowadays, men do what feels good. They do what they feel they should, what their parents tell them they should, and what society tells them they should. Really, they should do what they know they should.
In essence, men today are complete pussies, because we lack guidance. Modern men lack the struggles that men of the past had to endure, which served to shape their character. The biggest struggles we have now are dealing with bitchy co-workers and controlling bosses.
Yet even so, there is purpose to be found in life—it’s not to late, nor is it ever too late, for a boy to become a man. In order to do so, however, you will need guidance, and I can think of no better guidance than by learning from great men, conquerors, and orators of the past.
If you haven’t gotten into Game of Thrones already, I highly urge you to do so. It’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen on television, and best of all you can watch it all from the comfort of your own home—I personally watch it for free through my Amazon account.
These are some of the most badass, alpha male Game of Thrones quotes that I know of, but it’s completely possible that I may have left some out. If you can think of any, please feel free to leave a comment below—and as always, I’ll see you guys next time.
Jon Anthony is a dating coach, fitness expert, and self-improvement guru. He dropped out of college to start Masculine Development in 2015, and has since been self-employed, helping men across the world achieve their best lives. You can best reach him on social media, or via email for questions.