Hi everyone, I was going to write “10 Lessons for Nonprofits from Game of Thrones,” but that requires way too much analysis and I just ate an entire bag of bittersweet chocolate chips and can’t concentrate. Here, however, are 10 Game of Thrones quotes that you can use in everyday nonprofit work. Don’t worry if you are not up-to-date with the show. There are no major spoilers here. Also, even if you don’t intend to watch the show ever, you might as well learn some of these lines so you can fit in at the water cooler…if your nonprofit can afford a water cooler, of course. (We just put a bucket on a chair and fill it with Capri Suns). I like to run into a meeting, scream “I will take what is mine with fire and blood!!!” then quickly grab some baby carrots and hummus and run out.
1. “You know all that from staring at marks on paper? You’re like a wizard”—Gilly, encountering written words for the first time.
Perfect for: Board meetings, when the Treasurer presents the financial statements. Or when consultants present their final report and recommendations.
2. “If we die, we die, but first we’ll live.”—Ygritte to Jon Snow.
Perfect for: A pep talk before an annual fundraising event.
3. “Has anyone ever told you you’re as boring as you are ugly?”—Jaime Lannister to Brienne of Tarth.
Perfect for: Staff performance reviews.
4. “Let me give you some advice, bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”—Tyrion to Jon Snow.
Perfect for: Coaching and mentoring up-and-coming young professionals.
5. “I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth. And you will know the debt is paid.”—Tyrion to his sister Cersei.
Perfect for: A coworker who ate your food from the office fridge without asking you.
6. “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”—Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish.
Perfect for: Motivating youth in a leadership or employment program
7. “Paint stripes on a toad, he does not become a tiger.”—Sandor Clegane.
Perfect for: Sniping at rival organizations that seem to have an unlimited marketing budget.
8. “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”—Ramsay Snow.
Perfect for: End of the fiscal year, when a new budget is being created. Or when coworkers leave their dirty dishes in the sink for days.
9. “Winter is coming”—the motto of the Stark and Winterfell.
Perfect for: Explaining to staff why their program budgets have been reduced.
10. “I will take what’s mine with fire and blood!”—Daenerys Targaryen
Perfect for: Motivating a team after losing a major grant or contract to another organization. Or when there’s leftover snacks after a meeting.
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