Fans of Game of Thrones were only privy to a version of Robert Baratheon who was obsessed with wine and prostitutes, but in his prime, the former king of Westeros was a battle-hardened warrior and brilliant strategist. He was so brilliant, in fact, that he constructed Daenerys’s winning battle strategy six seasons before she needed it, way back in Season 1.
Redditor self.gameofthrones noted how in Season 1 Episode 5, Cersei and Robert Baratheon discussed the possibility of a foreign invasion with a Targaryen at the head of a Dothraki horde. The scene took place shortly after Dany’s marriage to Khal Drogo, and Robert was afraid that they wouldn’t be able to fend off such an invasion.
At the time, he was more worried about Viserys than he was Daenerys.
“Let’s say Viserys Targaryen lands with 40,000 Dothraki screamers at his back. We hole up in our castles. A wise move. Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field. They leave us in our castles. They go from town to town, looting and burning, killing every man who can’t hide behind a stone wall, stealing all our crops and livestock, enslaving all our women and children. How long do the people of the Seven Kingdoms stand behind their absentee king, their cowardly king hiding behind high walls? When do the people decide that Viserys Targaryen is the rightful monarch after all?”
When Cersei points out that they outnumber the Dothraki troops, Robert dramatically points out that one real army united in a singular purpose is more effective than five times that many soldiers fighting halfheartedly. This is a sentiment recently echoed by Tyrion Lannister when he narrated the Unsullied as they took Casterly Rock.
Daenerys could take King’s Landing right now in Season 7 if she really wanted to, but as she and Jon have pointed out, doing so would require the use of her dragons, and it would cost the lives of many innocent people. These are the people she’ll need the support of if she does become queen of Westeros. That’s why she initially hesitated to use the Unsullied or the Dothraki to invade Westeros, feeding into the kind of xenophobia that led the likes of Randyll Tarly to betray House Tyrell.
But if the latest preview for Episode 4 is any indication, then Daenerys is getting a bit desperate in the war.
“All my allies are gone,” she says in the above preview. “I’m losing.” As the Lannisters solidify an alliance with the Iron Bank of Braavos, the Queen of Dragons says, “Enough with the clever plans.”
With Euron foiling her plans at every turn, Daenerys might have no choice but to unleash her dragons and that Dothraki horde after all.
Game of Thrones Season 7 continues with “The Spoils of War” on HBO this Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern.