Progress and process in mental healthcare: A discourse on Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones

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Warning:

As a disclaimer, this post covers detailed content up to the season 8 finale of Game of Thrones. Please do not read further if you want to avoid spoilers. As another disclaimer, this post discusses material exclusively from the Game of Thrones HBO TV series, and it does not draw from any content from George R. R. Martin’s books. I also want to mention that this post explores substance use disorders and themes of addiction, and I would like to include a trigger warning because of these sensitive topics. Additionally, even if you do not watch or read Game of Thrones, this case study is a broad overview about the character of Jaime Lannister, followed by a generalized discussion on mental health practice as a whole.

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What can Gollum from The Lord of the Rings teach us about Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)?

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Character Overview:

Most commonly recognized as Gollum, Smeagol is a Hobbit who becomes corrupted by the One Ring, and slowly loses his self-identity while an ulterior, nefarious second personality develops. Though he is widely known as the creepy character bloodthirstily whispering the words “my precious”, Smeagol’s original character was a relatively ordinary Hobbit living in The Shire with his family. Gollum’s persona is particularly interesting throughout the Lord of the Rings trilogy, since initially this character does not even seem to be human, but rather a repulsive creature. This case study will explore Smeagol’s slow recovering of his past, his split personality between two opposing identities, and how his behaviors can relate to the prevalence of psychosis today. Continue reading →