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Mild spoilers for the newest Game of Thrones episode (season 7 episode 2) ahead.

After the war council meeting on Dragonstone, Olenna Tyrell speaks to the would-be-queen afterward and has this to say (in paraphrase, because I don't have the script):

"Your Hand is a clever man. I've known a great deal of clever men... and outlived them all. Do you want to know how? I ignored them. You are a dragon-- be a dragon."

So her advice, in a nutshell, is "ignore the clever plans and do whatever you want, because girl power, am I right?" This seems like a singularly terrible idea for many reasons.

We all know Lady Olenna is a smart cookie. Is there any reason to think Danaerys's best tactic would be to snub the advice of her Hand?

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    This is nothing about Gender. A Dragon is neither male nor female in ASOIAF. "You are a Dragon" means you are a Targaryen, a Royal, A descendant of Aegon I. So be a Dragon and assert control, even if it means ignoring the counsel of your advisors. A terrible advice tbh, Monarchs must listen to their advisors. – Aegon Jul 24 '17 at 13:31
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    Not to mention, Olenna holds a grudge against Lannisters and Tyrion is a Lannister. In Westeros, blood feuds last for long time e.g. one between Martells and Tyrells or the one between Brackens and Blackwoods. Lannisters killed Tyrells at KL after all. So naturally she mistrusts Tyrion and might be seeking to supplant him as one of the most influential members of Daenerys' court. Haven't Watched the episode so don't know if Tyrion somehow offended Lady Tyrell or gave her a reason to mistrust him, or struck her as rather pushy when it comes to counsels – Aegon Jul 24 '17 at 13:33
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    I have removed the books tag as this event is show-only. Books are lagging far behind. – Aegon Jul 24 '17 at 13:36
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    "So be a Dragon and assert control, even if it means ignoring the counsel of your advisors." Except don't ignore this very piece of advise coming from me (Lady Olenna). Just ignore everyone else's advice. :-) – RobertF Jul 24 '17 at 14:19
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    "Ignore all the advice anyone gives you. Except for that. And that. And that..." – PlutoThePlanet Jul 24 '17 at 14:20
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On face value, leaving aside Olenna's agendas, the basic idea is: don't try to be too clever, because clever plans never go as planned. You've got power, use it.

There's an important detail missing from your quote: before she said about being a dragon, she said something like, "Most lords are sheep". Then she said Dany is a dragon in contrast with the sheep. It's the old idea that is a theme throughout the show that power resides where people believe it resides - her spin on it is, if you want to herd the sheep, you don't come up with some terribly clever experimental sheep influencing system, you just assert yourself over the sheep.

If you want lords to fall in line, and you have dragons plus a fearsome army, don't attempt some clever but delicate plan which will fall apart if some unforeseen problem emerges (like, to give a purely hypothetical example, if one of your fleets is intercepted and set on fire by a strong naval ally you didn't realise your enemies had).

Just get on with asserting yourself the old fashioned way by terrifying them with your three dragons.


Of course she also has an interest in reducing Dany's trust in her rival advisors. She saw Tyrion as a fool ever since he begged her to pay for the royal wedding, she never trusted Varys, and dislikes the Dornish who are traditionally Tyrell enemies. I think we don't know her views on the Iron Islanders (beyond liking the phrase "We do not sow") but given her general attitude they're probably unrepeatable.

She doesn't want these other oafs with their foolish plans getting in the way of her revenge. At this point, with her entire family dead, she just wants to watch the world burn.


To give a little more context to her contempt for the clever men she outlived, think of a few:

  • Her "oafish" son, who thought he was clever with his timely allegiance with the Lannisters, which worked for a time then backfired because (as Olenna had feared) he couldn't control it through all the unforeseen twists and turns
  • Loras and Renly, who had a clever plan for seizing the throne, which failed because of unforeseen events they couldn't respond to
  • Tywin, who cleverly dominated Westeros for decades, but in doing so stacked up enemies, even in his own family, who eventually killed him in unforeseen circumstances
  • Her late husband, who she talks about as a symbol of all the many foolish oafs she is always despairing of, who was so busy observing the movements of birds while hunting he didn't see the cliff edge he galloped over

Olenna's schemes, in contrast, tend to be pretty blunt and therefore less fragile in the face of the unexpected. Just buy influence with grain, wealth and marriages instead of fighting or scheming for it. Just get on and poison the guy who's a problem, letting someone else sort the details and someone else take the blame. Just burn the bloody queen who killed your family.

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    You could also argue that in goading Daenerys into naked aggression (say by assaulting King's Landing), Olenna may figure there's a good chance both Cersei and Daenerys would suffer high casualties, perhaps including some of Daenerys's dragons. Which would suit Olenna just fine. – RobertF Jul 24 '17 at 16:45
  • Good answer. I haven't thought about it enough to make it an answer in itself (so I'll leave just a comment), but I also wondered if the juxtaposition of sheep and dragon in Olenna's advice is a throwback to earlier scenes in the show/books where Dany's dragons are shown to have been killing domesticated sheep in the nearby countryside. So it brings back those vivid memories of charred carcasses - why mess about with convoluted plans when you can just burn the enemy to a crisp? – The Giant of Lannister Jul 25 '17 at 13:05
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My impression is that Lady Olenna was not advising Daenerys to ignore all counsel from clever advisors and do whatever you please.

Rather, she subtly suggested ignoring the advice of men and take a piece of advice from a clever woman (namely Lady Olenna) who has seen "clever" men come and go during her life.

  • This is already established in the question. You have simply repeated it in other words. I don't see how your attempt provides any form of answer to the question. ""ignore the clever plans and do whatever you want, because girl power, am I right?: – Edlothiad Jul 24 '17 at 13:52
  • No - the OP's thought is that Lady Olenna is telling Daenerys to follow her own path and do as you please. My response is Lady Olenna is telling Daenerys to follow Lady Olenna's advice. – RobertF Jul 24 '17 at 14:03
  • But that's not at all what she says. She says "You're a dragon. Be a dragon" Olenna is a rose... There is also no evidence in your post. Speculation based on evidence is acceptable. But his answer seems to be purely "I think this". Still a -1 from me, my apologies. – Edlothiad Jul 24 '17 at 14:09
  • @Edlothiad It's all speculation & reading between the lines at this point in Season 7. We don't know exactly what is meant by "You're a dragon. Be a dragon." Be bold? Destroy King's Landing? I'm addressing Olenna's comments on ignoring clever men. – RobertF Jul 24 '17 at 14:16
  • I don't think it's purely speculation. Considering you can base it off previous seasons and Olenna's reaction to various situations and opinions of different characters. – Edlothiad Jul 24 '17 at 14:20

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