The Game of Thrones characters have been through many ups and downs (mostly downs). Many of their stories fit a particular narrative identity. A narrative identity summarises the trajectory of our life stories. In particular, we often tell ourselves stories that explain how we overcome adversity.
Redemption narratives involve people overcoming obstacles so they can reassess their life. Characters like Daenerys Targaryen experience hardships, such as being sold into slavery, and learn to appreciate freedom.
Contamination stories involve a person spiraling down after misfortunes and failure. So many characters fit this story but it’s the Starks who are always betrayed and persecuted.
Where characters form bonds after some trauma, they are participating in a ‘connection’ narrative. Arya, for example, forms a connection with the Hound after her frequent series of misfortunes.
Many of the characters in Game of Thrones push through obstacles and difficulties with blunt force or their wits, taking control of their destiny. Tyrion spends much of the first two seasons fighting through his obstacles, which is perhaps why he’s so popular.
Game of Thrones Season 6?
Jon and Sansa have each been experiencing their own contamination stories. Jon’s ended with literally being killed. Sansa was tortured for five seasons. Surely, in Season 6, we are now witnessing their fighter stories emerging?
Daenerys Targaryen is once again being forced to fight for her freedom after two seasons of contamination stories.
Meanwhile Theon has returned home to support the future rule of his sister. Theon spent many seasons in contamination arcs but redeemed himself in Season 5. His redemption story appears to continue.
Similarly, Tyrion is finally back on the road to the Iron Throne, sitting comfortably and playing politics.
These stories might all be a ruse, of course. Knowing George RR Martin, now that we feel all these characters are safe, they might end up all being flayed by Ramsay Bolton who appears to be on his own contamination story in Season 6.