Why are we discussing GOT today? Business of course! What lessons can we take away from this hit drama?
There are a ton of reasons to love HBO’s #GameofThrones: my personal favorites are John Snow & his direwolf Ghost, Dragons, Tyrion Lannister, Cersei Lannister (because she’s literally the face of human evil)- just to name a few. However, none make a more compelling character than Daenerys Targaryen.
Not only did she rise from being a wife sold to the leader of a nomadic warrior group, to being the leader of said group and a mass of men who gladly laid down their life to serve in her army, but she's the also the mother to three DRAGONS. If you need more proof that this girl is incredible, you might want to read on!
Daenerys’ evolution from the shy and weak girl she is in the beginning of the series, into the strong, leader she proved herself to be at the close of season six has been one of the most empowering to watch on the show, mainly because of all the feminist undertones woven into her story. The whole feminism ideology as we think of it today may not exist yet in her time, but Daenerys pioneers the basic ideas in the movement without even knowing it. For example:
- Just because she's a woman, she won't stand for being anything less than her husband's equal. In a line that's now become infamous from the series, Daenerys specifies that she is not a queen, but instead a khaleesi, which is the Dothraki title for wife of the khal. Khaleesi, it is explained to her, can either be used to describe a woman allowed to ride alongside the khal, or to describe a woman who is worth less than the khal's horse, because the Dothraki may all share the khaleesi, but they'd never share the khal's horse. It would seem that 'queen' would be a preferable term if you're trying to lead a group of people and demand their respect, but Dany knows this, and she doesn't care. She wants them to call her khaleesi, — if she's the one using the title and becoming someone the Dothraki people respect, she's effectively changing its connotation and making it into a symbolism of power, not weakness. You can hear respect in a person's tone of voice, in their nonverbal communication, and in the words they use to address you. You see the degree of their respect in how often they ask your opinion, keep you in the loop, and delegate meaningful assignments to you. But what is respect really? And, how is respect demonstrated in business?
- Treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness.
- Collaborate on ideas to change or improve work. Give credit where credit is due.
- Listen to what others have to say before expressing your viewpoint. Never speak over, butt in, or cut off another person.
- She knows “Woman” may be greatest thing you can call someone. Trying to insult Dany? You're going to have to come up with something a lot better than the term "woman”, because "insults" like that aren't even worth her time. She is quoted as saying, “Woman, is that meant to insult me?” She knows what she is and you could not use a word that she considers empowering to demean her. Empowerment in business involves understanding your company's objectives and having faith in your contributions to them. "Empowerment is the knowledge that your team trusts you to deliver results, to share feedback openly and contribute to the big-picture goal."
- What I love about Daenerys most is: Not only is she smart, but she understands people. During her ongoing quest to acquire an army and enough ships to travel to King's Landing so she can take back The Iron Throne, Dany encounters many male rulers who she knows will underestimate her ability as a leader just because she's a woman. Without fail, Dany uses this information to her advantage, and manages to acquire a ton of gold, an army and ships to take her to King's Landing — in the span of maybe a couple of months. Anyone who tries to belittle her just because she's a woman gets to learn a serious lesson about who she is, and occasionally the wrath of her dragons. Now, if only we all had dragons to do the same for us in our daily lives. In business, you may encounter a time where you are underestimated. You get to determine if you will use it to your benefit or detriment. Being underestimated can be a powerful thing in business.
- Above all, she speaks out about what she wants, and doesn't care for what others might label her as for it. Why not? The men in Westeros do it and Daenerys demands the same respect they have, and has no problem demanding it even in a world that sees women as weak little "birds." Dany is no little girl — she is a khaleesi, Mother of Dragons, and you will regard her as such! You must learn to advocate for yourself because you cannot expect other do so on your behalf. You must go after what you desire most, and make it known. If you don’t ask, the answer is always NO.
So, there you have it; Daenerys the feminist? You decide! Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.