In the episode Beyond the Wall, Dany and Tyrion had a lengthly conversation about successors. And Tyrion said to Dany:

You say you can't have children.

But there are other ways of choosing a successor.

The Night's Watch has one method, The Iron born folk, although many flaws have another.

Why did he think it was so important to remind Dany of this now? What are the methods he is talking about exactly besides having children?

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    i'm not totally convinced tyrion meant to have this conversation. dany brought the topic up. for tyrion it was only one aspect of a broader discussion on how to ensure her vision endures. the more immediate aspect was controlling her temper so that she did not become part of the wheel while alive. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 18:35
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    Well they're also talking about meeting Cersei in person in King's Landing, which seems like a really likely way to get killed.
    – Dronz
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 21:00

5 Answers 5


The two examples Tyrion cites:

  • The Nights Watch - They choose by popular vote on those who wants to be the next leader.
  • The Ironborne - (not 100% on this) They choose via a Moot on those who want to be a leader.

Essentially Tyrion is saying you can't have children but you could either pick a successor or let the people decide.

As to why he thinks it's important, he explains that:

Your Grace, I saw hundreds of arrows fly towards you when you fought on Blackwater Rush, and I saw hundred of arrows miss. But any one of them could have found your heart.

Essentially if you keep flying into danger at some point danger will come your way. Without a successor in place this whole thing will have been for nothing.

As @MikeScott mentions in a comment:

He may also be trying to suggest to Dany that it's irresponsible of her to put herself in danger, since in fact there is no potential successor who can control her dragons (as far as anyone knows at this point), regardless of how they are chosen. And without the dragons, the whole enterprise will immediately collapse.

Tyrion never outright states it but it is certainly implied though I don't think it is his main reason for bringing it up.

As @Kepotx says in a comment:

Also, if she win, but die without successor, that mean no queen, and new war for the throne. This fact is not in her favour if she want to bring lot of people on her side.

If she is to gain more support having an available successor will help. However, it doesn't seem to be common knowledge that Dany can't have children, and it's even debatable if she can or not, so this might not be the main motive behind Tyrion's comment.

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    I think you missed the other important part of what Tyrion said in the episode: The world Dany wants to build likely won't be built in a single lifetime. She needs to ensure she has a successor who shares her vision. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 14:30
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    He may also be trying to suggest to Dany that it's irresponsible of her to put herself in danger, since in fact there is no potential successor who can control her dragons (as far as anyone knows at this point), regardless of how they are chosen. And without the dragons, the whole enterprise will immediately collapse.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 14:31
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    I would also like to debunk the misconception that medieval kingdoms = primogeniture hereditary system. Lots of Kingdom used different kind of elective monarchy : the best example that comes to my mind is the Holy Roman Empire, but France under the Capetians had also an elective system. In both case, the system declined when the first son of the king was systematically elected. Other Kingdoms such as Italians maritime republics where also often based on election, like the Doge ov Venice. In fact, lot of european state where, at least during a certain time, elective monarchy
    – Kepotx
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 14:53
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    @ArnaudD. I think the arrow comment is more to imply all the dangers that have come your way not just that one incident but yes that probably did as well. Though by Tyrion's commentary as it is happening he certainly didn't expect Jaime to be successful.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 15:09
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    I would add that Tyrion likely has some major concerns not just related to succession wars. If Dany dies with no clear heir, then you have a vengeful Dothraki horde and a headless Unsullied army running about, along with 3 uncontrolled dragons. Having a clear line of succession at least mitigates 2 of those concerns. As we saw in S7E5, the Dothraki might very well be able to ravage and destroy Westeros.
    – Ethan
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 21:43

Tyrion is addressing both the immediate and future need for a successor. In the short term, if she is going to expose herself by using and riding the dragons, there needs to be a clear successor to take up the reins should she die, otherwise everything falls apart.

In the long term, it's important for the people to know that there is a stable line of succession, whether it be by birthright, or some other means. Imagine that Dany does win the Iron Throne. Great, right?

But what happens when Dany dies? Presumably, she's not immortal. When Dany shuffles off this mortal coil without a successor, we're right back to where we are now! Various parties will be trying to scheme or force their way into power.

Look to real life history for examples of what happens when the line of succession is weak, or unclear. Entire empires built by strong, charismatic individuals have been crippled or destroyed on their death because of this. Look at the empires of Alexander, or Genghis. Tyrion is advising Dany to avoid that fate.

At present, he's speaking to her about the short term ramifications, but you can bet he's thinking very hard about the long term as well.

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    He'll be thinking long term yes, as he states himself, but it doesn't appear to be common knowledge of Dany not being able to have children. And she answers the long term herself We will talk about the succession when I wear the crown.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 14:44
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    @TheLethalCoder She doesn't "answer the long term", she just avoids having a conversation she doesn't want to have. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 15:24
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    @AnthonyGrist I'd argue her answer to the long term is not to think about it until we need to. Either way I think we both think the same i.e. she doesn't want to talk about it then and now. As to her reasons behind that it's either she doesn't see the point (as I think) or doesn't want to/avoiding it (as you think).
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 15:26
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    @TheLethalCoder Her answer to the long term doesn't work because there's also a short term need, and they require having the same conversation (i.e. the time when they need to think about it is now). Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 15:43
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    @AnthonyGrist I think her point is if she dies they lose anyway so whats the point in answering about the short term.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 15:52

In story, it's because she's risking everything by placing herself in danger, as others have suggested, so I won't labour the point on that.

Dramatically, however, it's to foreshadow the events that followed, lending the later events a hint of cosmic irony.

Indeed, by doing as she did,1

she appears to have greatly increased the risks everyone faces by losing a dragon to the night king -- and the situation could have been far worse; Drogon might easily have been hit and she could have been killed --

in hindsight lending Tyrion's words some prophetic weight.

1. (the spoiler is pretty major, don't say you weren't warned)


He saw Daenerys fighting. So he believed that she might die. Once she dies, every thing will go in vain. And that's why he didn't want her to go beyond the wall. Besides, Daenerys can't be a mother, her dragons are her only sons. So Tyrion thinks that she has to choose a successor.

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    Then the successor seems evident to me. All hail King Drogon, first of his name !
    – Kepotx
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 17:18
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    @Kepotx: barbecuer of goats and children, breaker of really really big crossbows sometimes, cousin of that bloke from the Hobbit movies, piercer of the Fourth Wall. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 17:48

Even beyond the obvious facts that, herself being from a family of feudal rulers (re-)conquering a feudal realm, where succession is always massively important (which others have already touched upon), at this point it's also a simple military matter that would be just as important today.

You are fighting a war, it is absolutely paramount that there is always a quick and if possible simple answer to the question of "who is in command?", if there isn't you can watch your forces crumble in disarray and confusion. So far, this hasn't been a big problem, Dany has never been in a position of immediate danger during the battles that her armies have fought, but with her riding Drogon into battle, that has changed, so the question of "if something happens to you, who is in command?" becomes vital.

Especially considering that Tyrion has seen a lot of people in command die or get taken out during the last years, and he has seen the chaos that often follows, so it's only naturally for him to try and make sure things remain as stable as possible if something were to happen to Dany.

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