In preparation for the all day Game of Thrones (GoT) marathons, let’s look at the leadership styles of three main contenders for the Iron Throne. We’re going based on the current standings as of the end of season 7. The Night King also won’t be included here. He doesn’t really care about the Iron Throne. He just wants to create a zombie kingdom.
***Spoiler alert – if you’re not caught up as of the end of season 7, pause here, binge-watch, then continue.***
Daenerys Targaryen (Stormborn) – Mother of Dragons, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms
A Servant Leader
Daenerys Targaryen has experienced the most growth over the course of the 7 seasons. She started as a young girl who escaped Westeros to become a Khaleesi and mother of dragons. After the death of her husband, she freed slave cities and empowered others to claim their own freedom. Daenerys then led her massive armies across the narrow sea to claim the Iron Throne.
Her actions display many qualities of Servant Leadership. The main quality of this leadership style is wanting to serve others and putting people first.
One of her first actions was to free the Unsullied, who were enslaved warriors, and gave them the choice to fight for her. All of her actions were in an effort to make a better life for the people she served. Daenerys frequently walks among her people to show solidarity with them. Even locked her beloved dragons in catacombs after one burnt a small child to death. She will do anything to protect her people, even if it means chaining her own children underground.
Jon Snow – King of the North
An Authentic Leader
Jon Snow began GoT as just the illegitimate son of Ed Stark who joined the Night’s Watch. In a short amount of time, he fights white walkers, builds an alliance with the Free Folk, and becomes the leader of the Nights Watch. Oh, and he’s brought back from the dead.
After all this, he leaves the Nights Watch and heads south to his childhood home, Winterfell. He is then named as King of the North and continues his efforts to prepare for the Night King.
In every instance, Jon Snow was not asked to be a leader, it was always thrust upon him. Authentic leadership is about being true to oneself and being self-aware enough to recognize both strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, authentic leaders are mission-driven and passionate about meeting the goal.
Because Jon Snow is authentically himself, people gravitate to his leadership. He never denies his illegitimate birth and has never claimed to be a Stark. He is always dedicated to the cause of protecting the North, even to the point where he’ll die for what is right.
Cersei Lannister – Queen on the Iron Throne
An Autocratic Leader
Probably the most hated (and feared) person in the GoT world. Cersei Lannister will do anything to hold the Iron Throne. Her story started as the wife of King Robert Baratheon and the Queen of Westeros. Cersei was ruthless when it came to ensuring her family’s seat on the Iron Throne, but held some reserve because of her children. Now that all three are dead and she resides on the throne, she is not holding back.
The identifying factor of autocratic leadership is control. The person rarely takes advice or guidance from others and will do whatever he or she believes to be appropriate.
Cersei’s actions and decisions are driven by what she wants and believes to be in her own best interest. In fear of losing her power, she blew up the Great Sept of Baelor to eliminate her enemies. It gave her the Iron Throne and she never established an advisory council. She won’t even listen to reason Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen when a white walker is put in front of her.
Which leader are you rooting for? We’re just hoping that whichever person holds the Iron Throne has the sense to take the Night King seriously.
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