In the HBO series Game of Thrones, major character Daenerys Targaryen is faced with determining what role control has in leadership throughout her attempt to claim the title of queen of the Seven Kingdoms. According to the Information Measurement Theory, leadership through control is an ineffective approach. It results in high-risk situations and inefficient leaders who cannot produce the desired results from those they are attempting to influence. In her journey towards Westeros, Daenerys travels through many cities outside of the Seven Kingdoms where the rulers lead strictly through control. In these cities, there exist elite ruling classes that force all other citizens into slavery. While this form of controlling leadership functions for a time by shaping an obedient, subservient class who follows the commands of the elite, this type of leadership begins to fail upon the arrival of Daenerys.

A once stable situation becomes extremely risky for the elite class when the enslaved people of these cities turn on their masters. In capturing these cities and helping to free these slaves from control, Daenerys gains their loyalty. As their newly chosen queen, she practices the best value process through her form of leadership. For example, after purchasing the slave-soldiers known as the Unsullied from a slave master, Daenerys frees these individuals. Rather than forcing these soldiers to do the cruel and unfortunate acts they have been trained to do, she gives them the freedom of choice. Ultimately, they choose to follow her and fight for her. When a former slave comes to her begging to be placed back in the home of his master where he looked after and taught the master’s children, Daenerys allows him the choice to do so. After allowing him to place himself in the role he felt most suited for, this character pledges devotion to Daenerys and is able to serve as a productive member of society by contributing his skills as a teacher to the children he once served as a slave.


It is clear from her approach to these enslaved people that she understands the importance of leading rather than managing. She does not control, influence, or expect the enslaved people to follow her or accept her as queen. Instead, by freeing them and returning to them their own personal sense of control, they choose to follow her as their leader. She then utilizes her understanding of who everyone is and helps them find where they fit the best under her leadership.

However, we do not yet know if her approach will grant her the wish of ruling from the Iron Throne.

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