Game of Thrones is a show unlike any other in the history of television. With main characters dying off in almost every episode, the show is practically impossible to predict. Each shocking twist reveals what skills are not only necessary to survive the ongoing battles, but what it will take to win the Iron Throne. It turns out that despite their young age and minimal life experience, toddlers possess all the skills needed to conquer Westeros. The smartest contender for the Iron Throne might be the person who pays attention to how toddlers take on the world using these tools:
KNOWING HOW TO SAY NO
This underrated quality has lead to the death of many in Game of Thrones, but toddlers can show us how to effectively hold our ground when asked to do something we don’t want to do. The best example of this is Ned Stark who is asked to leave his job as King in the North to serve as Hand of the King to his friend, Robert Baratheon. Despite protests from his wife, he agrees to do it out of loyalty to Robert. The decision proves costly, as both Ned and Robert are killed by the Lannisters, causing the Starks’ to lose the North. If Ned were a toddler, he would have said no instead of caving to the pressure of his friendship.
If your toddler’s favorite word is “no” and you feel like you’re losing a sparring match instead of conversing, you’re right. A recent study in Child Development showed that 2 and 3-year-olds argue with their parents 20 to 25 times an hour! You may get exhausted just looking at those numbers, but there is an upside to all the showdowns. Kids this age are realizing that they can assert themselves and arguing is how they gain confidence in a world they feel powerless in.
Jon Snow has been through a lot in Game of Thrones. He was raised a bastard and then sent to the Wall to serve as a member of the Night’s Watch. That’s basically the worst job ever: you have to stand in the freezing cold for the rest of your life protecting the world from giants and the undead, and you aren’t even allowed to have a girlfriend. Later, he breaks the rules and gets a girlfriend, only to see her die in front of him during an epic battle with the Wildlings. Somehow he manages to survive all of that to become the leader of the Night’s Watch, only for his men to rebel against him and stab him to death. Miraculously, he comes back to life and leaves the Night’s Watch for good – something allegedly punishable by death – to lead an army to reclaim the North. Here, he almost dies again but gets bailed out at the last minute by soldiers sent by Sansa Stark.
What have we learned from Jon Snow? Failure has never stopped him and like a toddler on a mission, he keeps pushing forward against all odds.
Try as we might to keep kids out of harm’s way, they have a knack for finding it anyway. Strong-willed children can be highly intelligent and creative. They ask a lot of questions, which may come across as rebellion. Research has proven that children who break the rules often and defy the norms end up as high achievers in education and their chosen field of work, so it’s not all bad.
Tyrion Lannister’s negotiating skills may be his ticket to the Iron Throne. Despite the family tension, he manages to think strategically and maintains relationships with his sibling and other royal leaders. He acts with integrity and for the greater good of his people. Maybe he took advice from popular toddlers who understand that leaders who try to dominate others through aggression are often shunned, while those who are socially skilled become respected and admired.
By age 3 or 4, most children have developed the language skills to communicate what’s important to them. This means that you are no longer just a parent, but also a litigator. Power struggles become more frequent and are an unfortunate consequence of trying to rationalize with your preschooler about rules. The most effective tactic for winning these battles is sticking to your word. Don’t underestimate the power of empathy! When a child feels heard, she usually calms down. I would put all my money on any toddler fighting for the Iron Throne.
MOTIVATING THE MASSES
While she’s from a family that ruled for centuries, Daenerys Targaryen starts with nothing in Game of Thr By motivating the masses, she convinces thousands of people to join her based on her strength of personality alone. Daenerys’s journey has been rocky, but her ability to motivate and inspire entire cities has given her the resources she needs to reclaim Westeros for the Targaryens.
Like Daenerys, toddlers who are leaders care about their friends who follow them. Certain children, at a young age, have an unmistakable charisma and confidence that make them stand out among their peers, but leadership is based much more on their mastery of social skills. As toddlers mature, they learn that helping and caring for others are essential elements of popularity and that aggressive leading equals no followers. Like a popular toddler on the playground, Daenerys possesses the compassionate quality of a true leader making her a strong candidate for the Iron Throne.
The youngest and physically weakest of the Lannister siblings, Tyrion Lannister is perhaps the most likable character in the whole show. Often described as the ugliest man in Westeros, this imp has consistently found himself in situations where his life is on the line. From being imprisoned in the Vale to being attacked by the great warlord Stannis Baratheon, he has managed to rip victory from the claws of defeat time and again.
Tyrion is smart but he’s also incredibly resourceful. He has a talent for flipping what seems like a limitation into an advantage. That includes his own height, as it causes his opponents to underestimate him, which he takes advantage of.
Height isn’t the only thing Tyrion has in common with toddlers. Whether it’s overripe bananas, stale bread, used jars, or toilet paper rolls, young kids are very good at coming up with things to do with these objects that adults would throw away. They use them for crafts, turn them into toys, and even repurpose seemingly expired food. Resourceful toddlers are creative, and just like Tyrion, find ways to make the best of what they’ve got.
With all the skills necessary to conquer the Iron Throne, toddlers could very well be the best advisor a Game of Thrones contender could have. Despite their young age and small bodies, they have the mental strength and tenacity to get what they want. No one knows how Game of Thrones will end, but any player who proceeds like a toddler will no doubt be victorious!