Acronyms, Acronyms, Acronyms: A G.O.T. R.O.I. & S.W.O.T. Analysis - Daenerys Targaryen
The number of characters jostling for the Iron Throne fluctuates faster than the relevance of Dorne. For seven full seasons now, it hasn’t really changed hands; the Baratheon-but-really-Lannister line has held it from Winter is Coming to The Dragon and the Wolf. With a handful of Starks in Winterfell, the Night King leading a zombie army, and Dany commanding a Dothraki horde, an Unsullied army, and
three two dragons, we’re closer than ever to a real power shift. But who’s best positioned to wind up on top of the special spiky seat when all is said and done? I’ll turn to my whopping 10 years of corporate experience to conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis for each character and predict the ROI (return on investment) for the kingdom should they end up in the hotseat.
Let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen.
Claim to the Iron Throne
Until Jon Snow’s heritage and legitimacy is revealed, Dany has the strongest claim to the Iron Throne. Even then, Jon’s reluctance and her own cause’s desire to “break the wheel” may encourage people to do away with the male line of succession that has worked SO well over the years.
Despite an occasionally troubling tendency to burn people alive, Dany truly inspires many of her followers. She convinced the Dothraki to re-join her side with a great demonstration of strength in Vaes Dothrak, the Unsullied are pledged to her by both tradition and choice, and former slaves refer to her as their Mother (Mhysa).
Dany still has two dragons in her army, the Unsullied, the Dothraki, and now the combined forces of the North. Varys and Tyrion are both high-level planners and schemers, and Yara Greyjoy…I don’t know, I’m tired of expecting the Greyjoys to do anything useful.
The Targaryen army holds Dragonstone, a small island devoid of meaningful resources. Their two closest Westerosi allies prior to their arrival are both compromised, with Highgarden sacked and the Dornish leadership dead or imprisoned. I don’t know if the show is going to bother with supply chain management, but Dany doesn’t seem set up to wage a prolonged war.
Dany is not a long-term planner. She’s handed most of those duties off to her Small Council, but occasionally gets herself in big trouble by doing dumb things like locking two of her dragons up below a pyramid or sending a mission on foot to scout an army of the undead instead of taking a quick flight. Passion and cunning are often inversely related, and that relationship is on full display with Dany.
The opportunity to fly into a battle and set fire to enormous swaths of soldiers and siege engines is a pretty great one. She probably needs some more practice defending Drogon’s vulnerable spots against wild inventions like big crossbows, but their impact at the
Loot Train Battle Battle of the Goldroad was undeniable.
Dany probably has the most formidable army in the world at this point. No one likes rooting for the favorite, and if the smaller groups grow resentful of her perch, they may try to knock her off. Just look at what happened in Meereen.
Dany’s dragons have proven surprisingly vulnerable, and now there’s an enemy dragon with its own rider. There was no way to practice dragon-to-dragon combat, but the breadth of the Night King’s powers may give him a leg up in such a situation. Drogon is still by far the biggest of the dragons, but the reanimated Viserion will certainly burn away some more of the Targaryen army’s advantages before the outcome is decided.
Return on Investment
Dany combines disconcertingly quick and violent decisions with a demonstrated willingness to heed her advisors and make the right decisions. She could follow through on her plans to break the wheel, end slavery as a practice, and establish a new societal order in Westeros. But if the little satisfaction we’ve seen on her face when burning former Masters or current Tarlys is an indication of things to come, we might end up right where the story started: a Targaryen monarch with an affinity for fire setting off a rebellion. ROI: big variance, but I think Dany could manage an overall +5% on average.
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