Has Daenerys been reading Machiavelli?Posted: June 26, 2013
The last series of Game of Thrones was dark and full of terrors, but nevertheless ended with a pleasant glimmer: the freedmen of Yunkai receiving Daenarys Targaryen as their “mhysa” – mother.
Studying the ancients, Niccolò Machiavelli concluded that the most effective guarantor of civic glory is the love of liberty. He denounces mercenaries in The Prince:
The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others contrary to your intentions; but if the captain is not skilful, you are ruined in the usual way.
Later, he writes:
I conclude, therefore, that no principality is secure without having its own forces; on the contrary, it is entirely dependent on good fortune, not having the valour which in adversity would defend it. And it has always been the opinion and judgment of wise men that nothing can be so uncertain or unstable as fame or power not founded on its own strength. And one’s own forces are those which are composed either of subjects, citizens, or dependants; all others are mercenaries or auxiliaries. And the way to take ready one’s own forces will be easily found if the rules suggested by me shall be reflected upon, and if one will consider how Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, and many republics and princes have armed and organized themselves, to which rules I entirely commit myself.
Only those with the steadfast love of their country will fight for it with true conviction. Consider, several centuries later (or before) how the best pretender in Game of Thrones has travelled from lonely sell-out wife to Daenarys the benevolent ruler of Yunkai. By freeing slaves. Turning her soldiers into citizens.
Machiavelli might be excused for having neglected the power of dragons and a pretty face but the point does, I think, stand.