Everyone’s favourite platinum blonde was pegged by millions of watchers over the globe to be the winner of the Game of Thrones and while Season 8 had other ideas, Daenarys Targaryen is without a doubt the biggest come back story since Dwayne Johnson’s WWE to big budget films flip.
Not only was she a destitute, orphan and refugee, but she was a female member of the slaughtered ex royal family whom everyone hated and declared insane, so, you know, that’s pretty shit!
However, despite all of this though, the Mother of Dragons became the most powerful, rich and revered woman in all the Seven Kingdoms through her acute personal branding and ability to market herself, her lineage and her cause to turn even the most loyal (Ol’ Jon) to her aid.
So how did she do it?
1. Practice what you Preach
Besides the horrific chain of events in Season 8 Ep 5-6 which I choose to block out of all levels of my consciousness, Dany (almost) always practiced what she preached!
What drove her (besides the iron throne) was always the abolition of slavery, particularly in her Season 1 – 5 days. She travelled from city to city in Essos liberating slaves and saving those who had suffered from the same system of wealth and aristocracy she was born into and learned to live without. She sacrificed her life, her dragons, her armies and her quest for the iron throne a number of times to continue in pursuit of ‘breaking the wheel’.
She wasn’t just building a personal brand and reputation, she was living it.
2. Build yourself a team
This one started to become significant right back in Season 1 when Dany was first ‘Khaleesi’. However, the extent of her need for a team wasn’t shown until she conquered Mereen and as such met Tyrion Lannister, whom she named her hand.
Mereen was hard for Dany, presenting her with challenges as a ruler vs liberator. She struggled with the execution of the masters, the re-opening of the fighting pits and the sons of the Harpy to name a few. These political matters were all tender and complex, which required council beyond herself and her skill sets to be successfully navigated.
She surrounded herself with those she could trust and those who understood a common vision, all of who marketed her ‘band wagon’ perfectly (until Season 8).
3. Get in and do it
One of my favourite lines at the taking of Mereen is when Dany says
‘I will do what queens do. I will rule’
It perfectly sums up her commitment to her cause, showing her as a skilled ruler and diplomat and someone who will not shy away from a problem until it is fully resolved. Here again, she is living her brand and building scale!
Sure it delayed her from getting to the Iron Throne and required a lot of ‘politics’ to manoeuvre, but Dany got in and did it which solidified her strength to both her enemies and allies.
4. Remember where you’re from
No matter how hard Dany tried to be less like the Targaryens of the past, she never stopped trying to be or boldly showing that she was in fact, a Targaryen.
Even before the rise from the fire birth of her three dragons, Dany’s ties to her house and family were always on display in hair pins, dialogue and the fact she knew she could walk into that fire and come out swinging! From here on out, we hear the ‘I am Daenarys Stormborn of House Targaryen’ enough to make a drinking game out of it.
Dany never forgot who she was or where she was from and it was both of those things that made her the ultimate ‘new’ Targaryen.
5. Trust your gut
No matter how many advisors she had or how many times she was told not to do something, if she wanted to do it, she would – which was her down fall in the end, but its a great branding tool so who cares!
No episode screams this more than when Dany took the unsullied from the good master in Astapor after revealing she could speak Valerian all along, risking her dragon, her advisors and herself for the prank of a lifetime. It is one of the most ‘yesssssssssss’ moments from the entire show with Dany’s intelligence and self trust fortifying her as THE power house of the series.
So, not only can she ride dragons and be a boss liberator and activist for basic human rights, but Dany is the mother of marketing herself and crafter her personal brand which took her from destitution right up to the iron throne (almost)!