As a die-hard Game of Thrones fan with a grandpa-crush on Tywin Lannister played by the amazing Charles Dance, I’m familiar with the word legacy way too well. In Game of Thrones, bloodline is everything. Tywin hates his own midget son Tyrion due to his deformation, but he will not let him die and let anyone kill Tyrion because he is still a Lannister. He thinks his own daughter, Queen Cersie, is stupid. He mocks her for being incompetent. Tywin’s only a bit less harsh on Jaime, the golden boy, but he is still disgusted by the incest Jaime has with Cersie.
All in all, Tywin Lannister is not a loving father. Whenever he is with them, he acts condescending and cruel. He whores his own daughter out twice and forces his son to marry a child to consolidate the power of his house. He thinks the happiness of his children is only secondary, or not less, compared to the greater good of the family.
Even though he would protect his children from defamation. I don’t think he loves them. What he loves is the Lannister pride. It’s his duty to uphold the honor of his house and safeguard it from falling prey to others.
Nothing is more important to Tywin than his legacy.
A friend of mine’s wife is expecting a child. Like every soon-to-be parent, he couldn’t stop talking about how cool having a child is. He thinks it’s non-sense that I’m so against the idea even though time and again I’ve proven myself a wonderful children-magnet.
“You just haven’t met the guy you wanna have babies with,” he said.
I told him I think the world is just too f–ked up, and I think life in general is too hard. I’d avoid bringing an innocent life to Earth to suffer.
He told me, “A child carries your own blood. You’ll die, but your legacy will live on because of your child.”
I just needed to stop the conversation there because I knew we had reached a point of disagreement. If I kept talking, either one of us, if not both, was going to be pissed off.
I think he outlined a very selfish reason to have kids. I know some people think people who don’t want to have kids are selfish because we dodge the responsibility of being a parent, but I just don’t know what is more selfish anymore. Procreating because you want to pass on your so called legacy is putting all your hopes onto a tiny human being. As a teacher, I deal with more helicopter parents than anything. Sometimes I feeling like a big part of my job is to please the parents rather than pleasing the kids. Many of these parents project all their ambitions on their children. They compare their children’s grades to their cousins’ or neighbours’. They get more upset than their kids when their kids get an A- instead of a full A. Their children can’t act like children. Their schedules are more packed than mine filled with different after school courses.
Is that how legacies are passed on? Not in my opinion. If you are already a legend in your own right, you don’t need your sperm or egg to pass on your legacy. Forgive me for bringing up Steve Jobs again, but he is just the perfect example for so many things. Steve Jobs was able to touch my heart and influence me tremendously even though I don’t carry his blood. His contributions, his perseverance and his visions made him a legend. He built his legacy through his genius. Even if he hadn’t had four children, people would still have worshiped him and celebrated him all the same.
The need to have children to pass on my so-called legacy is mitigated because I know I’m changing lives every day. Every time when I see an improvement in a student, every time when they learn something from me, I know I’m passing on my legacy. There are already so many lost souls out there. I’d rather save those that are already here than to bring another one to this world.
Legacies are passed on through good deeds, not through blood.