self-improvement

What has Hollywood got to learn from Game of Thrones?

Hold the door. Hold Door. Hodor. RIP.

For everyone that has read the books or seen the show from season 1, the fifth episode of season 6 named “The Door”, was a heartbreaking one. Every viewer must have been touched by the impact of the sacrifice of Hodor. And in a mind blowing reveal, turns out that Hodor had lived in the shadow of his own ill-omened destiny for as long as anyone could remember.. and that makes me a sad panda.

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But out of this tragedy comes a lesson for all (screen)writers. A prime example of how to write a character’s backstory. Hodor was a minor character. The impact of his death didn’t come from the fact that we had invested so much into him, like when a main character leaves. But the kick came from the way he left, in a completely selfless act and by a sudden revelation in the backstory, that made the viewer reconsider the entirety of this characters life. During the entire time we thought we knew this individual. He had only one word to contribute, what’s there not to get, right? But as it turns out, he had a death that had as much impact to fans as Ned’s decapitation or the Red Wedding.

G.R.R. Martin and the showrunners made the perfect move. They knew that fans were interested in Hodor’s background. The easy way would have been to give a nice juicy bit of expositional dialogue and that’s it.  But that’s not how they roll. They saw a chance for a big revelation, heartbreaking moment and a way to make one minor character become the highlight of the season. They ushered us in with a vision of Hodor’s past, who once was Wyllis, a simple stable boy very capable of having a conversation with more than one word. That made the mystery only larger, as the anticipation grew. Why the hell will this boy be able to speak only one random word in the future?

And in a clever move they made us understand the what and the why. Hodor was never one word, it was three: “Hold the door”, as in “Hold the door and accept that I’m going to die”. By merging the past and the present, by letting us simultaneously see both the moment of the change in Wyllis and the realization of his fate, the show gave us one of the most memorable moments of the entire saga. And it seems to me that it only made sense the way they presented it. There was one way to pull it off and they nailed it. They hit the spot so good that they had to apologize for it:


I don’t even know which scenario makes G.R.R. Martin seem more ingenious – if he planned it since the beginning of the first book or if he just looked on what he had and came up with this solution midway. But the determination of this kind of writing is exemplary. Do not let any opportunity go to waste.

Come up with a backstory. Take time.Build on it. Keep secrets. Reveal.

What comic book movies have been trying to do recently, is achieve the same emotional impact without any of the attachment. Hodor had 6 years, movies have 2 hours. There are franchises, that could gain the same momentum. It would be a delight to see what James Cameron has to offer with his upcoming Avatar sequels and Marvel cinematic universe has also nailed some moments that they have built up with several preceding movies. The recent Civil War was a prime example, as the headbutting of Captain America and Tony Stark felt completely natural, whereas the clash of Superman vs Batman felt utterly rushed.

All in all, Hodor’s demise is a bitter moment, but out of it comes a sweet example of brilliant storytelling that is truly inspiring.

Do fish notice water?

Going with the flow. Seems like an expression derived straight from the life of a fish. It’s an evolutionary process that humans have in common with many social animals. Go with the pack and you have the best chances of survival. Good for life in the dark ages, but bad for personal development in the 21st century.

As for the fish, it seems logical that they do not notice the water. Destined to become aware of it only when a fisherman catches it and lifts it out into the air, removing the environment that the fish thought took for granted. And when the fish is released back into the water, it embraces the water, notices it. That would be the case, if the fish could think or its memory would last for more than 5 seconds.

Do you notice the water you are in? The flow of your everyday life.

Personally, I became aware of it sometime in the last summer. I was walking down the beach with my earphones on. The kind which cut you out of the outside noise completely. There were plenty of people, the day was warm. I walked through the small crowd and in the silence, everybody seemed to lack a purpose in their actions. Moving by me just for the sake of going and because they are used to walk those roads, when the day is warm. I washed through the people and started to think that what is my purpose there. What could be the purpose of others, as if there is a lack of purpose, then it seemed a waste of potential.

As the fish was denied oxygen, I  cut off the sound of the world. Something unusual and interesting that created new thoughts and ways of thought. As always, routine holds back innovation.

Inspired by my new perceptions of the world, I wrote my fist poem that day(kindergarten doesn’t count). Just writing down unfiltered thought that rose into my mind:

I like to think.

Start discussions

about things, that otherwise would slip

by me.

Only this separates

a man from beast –

the ability to think.

Why have many forgotten it?

What is your purpose,

your motive, why

you do the things you do?

Routine should not be

the answer to your life.

People, you do not think

as much

as you believe you do.

No given moment, action

or your whole life is

for letting it

slip by thoughtlessly

like an ant or a bear.

Better remind yourself, what makes

you tick, what gives you meaning and soul.

If there is something

stuck inside you, then find out what

and how to set it free.

Create something with your life.

The times, when the sole goal

was to stay alive and breed

are over, because

the power of thought is so immense.

And it must be

used.

In short, notice the beautiful surroundings, notice other people, notice your own actions. Give thought to what you are doing and why.

Noticing others helps you in the social world, too. Keening your eye on noticing details about others is an amusing exercise. Ever wonder how Hercule Poirot became so good at being the worlds best detective? He had to start somewhere. I started by trying to notice the eye color of the persons I talk to. Trying to notice unusual ticks in body language is also the way to become a good at telling when others are bluffing.

A good place to begin is to start making a list of “Top 3 interesting things I noticed today”. Guaranteed self improvement.

Happy noticing!

What would you change about yourself?

This is a post for those people, whose answer to the following question is “no”:

Are you at the point in life, where you want to be? . . or . . Are you the kind person, who you want to be?

When you truly can say that you do not want to improve yourself or your surroundings, then you are lucky. Even though, the situation can change at any given moment. If your answer at any point in time is a “no”, then it means your life needs improvements. It is a crucial point in self development – the realisation and acceptance that you are not yet your ideal.

Again, as in the last post, routine and the fear of change interferes progress.

A friend of mine once said: “We can not get to the point we want, if we do not make changes.” When you think about it, it is actually very logical. If you don’t make changes, then you maintain your status quo. And this is the logic I want to express in this post. If your goals are different from your current state, then by definition already, you can not get there, if you stay the same. Changes do not happen by themselves. One can not just sit by idly and hope for a “lottery of life” – this kind of action only makes you more unhappy, because you do not see progress towards your goal.

The change can even be something completely random. You just have to get out of your comfort zone. It frees up, little by little, the enormous amount of potential we all hold within ourselves. Settling down before you are ready is a mistake. When you are hungry, you might settle for a half a plate, but the merry mid-day sleep on a full stomach could be so much more delicious.

For example, a year ago I wanted to change. I had comfortable savings so that I could not go to work beside school and life was safe. But I wasn’t going anywhere that way. I saw that getting to be the person I wanted to be, in the way I was living, would take ages – I wasn’t doing anything for that to happen faster. So I deliberately spent basically all my comfort-money on travelling and after that I had close to 1 month to get something going, or I would get into starving zone. But that way, my back against the wall, I was working harder while noticing and using up more opportunities. And before that 1 month, I got a good sales job(my 1 goal was to have very good interpersonal skills) in a bank(my 1 goal was to learn how investing works) and with a schedule with which I could keep focusing on university too. Things worked out. When I felt that things were starting to feel out of balance again, and I had gotten what I need from that job, I quit. I spent 5 months on finishing my school and now I’m ready for new changes.

I mean, on most of the times the outcome is unpredictable and things might not work out the way you thought they would. But people can acclimatise with absolutely every situation – for me, that is a fact.. The act of changing itself gets you out of your frozen mindset. That already puts your brain back into active mode. .  Changes are good, they should not be feared. But the ironic fact is that  by default we are just the opposite of bold. No matter the short-term outcome, You’ll get there eventually. . you have set off the roll of the snowball-, or sometimes, the avalanche of progress.

All that snow waiting to be unleashed.

All that snow waiting to be unleashed.