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Medieval Scholar Calculates Daenerys' Chances Of Taking Westeros

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HBO
We all know what happens when Daenerys’ dragons enter the Game of Thrones. They completely wreck shit, is what happens. Another thing we all know is that her eventual plan is to take Westeros and place it back under Targaryen rule. But her chances of actually doing that seem unclear.

While the entire continent is in serious upheaval with the rise of the Faith Militant, the Lannister army is now no longer engaged in a siege, and the North is about to come under a consensus (read: Stark) reign for the first time in years. So there are obstacles. And the number and cohesion of Daenerys’ forces is unclear.

Thankfully, The Economist’s Carolyne Larrington is here to break down her chances. Their analysis is long and detailed, and full of recommendations and caveats. Larrington, a medieval English literature fellow at St John’s College, Oxford, who literally wrote the book on the medieval world of the show, has a great eye for details. For instance: The Dothraki and the Unsullied are kind of mortal enemies.

Larrington’s chief recommendations are extremely practical. She basically presents the whole paper as though she’s a real-life advisor to Daenerys. We’ll get to her analysis of Daenerys’ chances in a second. There are a lot, so we’ll cherry pick.

Larrington says Jorah Mormont needs to return and be put in charge of Dothraki liaisons, since he’s the only person other than Daenerys that speaks their language fluently. She should also try to train Missandei to speak to dragons and keep the Dothraki and Unsullied separate for fighting. Good advice.

Larrington also has recommendations for Daenerys’ soft power and plan to win the hearts and minds of Westeros. First, she recommends that Daenerys send Red Priestesses to Westeros to begin winning the populace over. Another one of her recommendations is extremely interesting:

“This ‘spokes on the wheel’ doctrine, while admirable in its ambition, may alienate pockets of the population who still pledge fealty to their old lords,” Larrington writes. “Daenerys should de-emphasise this in favour of a realpolitik-oriented promise of social justice for small-folk and the end of the tyrannical rule of the discredited Lannister-Baratheon-Tyrell coalition.”

Basically, let’s scoop up all the disaffected peasants but let the other ones think we’re still their friends.

So what are Daenerys’ chances, should she actually try the invasion?

“Thus a Targaryen victory, though by no means guaranteed, has, in our view a considerably better than 50% chance of success,” Larrington writes. “In terms of global stability, a resolution of the crisis of government currently affecting the whole continent of Westeros remains a priority objective.”

Better than half! We’ll take it. Such great drama. The rest of the article, which is worth a read, is here.

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