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Once data is pulled into Gatsby, your pages and components specify what data they access through GraphQL queries.
Pages can specify exactly the data they require from sources via GraphQL queries.
Components can specify exactly the data they require from sources via GraphQL queries, though they cannot use variables in the query.
If you find GraphQL confusing, or just want to simplify things, it's possible to use an “unstructured data” approach -- no GraphQL required.