If only Daenerys had an MBA: Degrees for Game of Thrones characters

Winter scene

Fellow "Game of Thrones" devotees: Unlike the fallen men who walk the Wall, our watch has not ended. The fourth season of the hit HBO series is returning after months away. Teaser trailers have been released to whet the appetites of salivating fans eager to watch the machinations, intrigues and battles that are sure to engulf Westeros, the Summer Isles and all the lands in between.

The characters on the show are deliciously flawed, with their weaknesses on display for viewers to discuss and skewer. Many of the characters could use a little training in various areas, but unfortunately there is no University of Westeros or Winterfell Community College for them to enroll in.

But what if there were?

Below you will find 7 characters from the show who could use a degree in order to give them the skills they would need to succeed if Westeros were a real place.

Jon Snow - The Night's Watch

  • Why: Frustrated with being a bastard and not having a real chance to make a name for himself in Westeros, or be part of the line of succession in Winterfell, Jon joins the Night's Watch to be with his Uncle Benjen. Once at the Wall, Jon is dubbed "Lord Snow," and it isn't because his peers find him to be a natural leader oozing with charisma. Eventually Jon wins over his brothers in the Night's Watch, but the interpersonal skills that are taught in communications courses could have helped him when he first joined the Night's Watch. Or when he had to spy on the Free Folk following Mance Rayder. Also, as pointed out by Samwell Tarly, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont chose Jon as a personal steward, potentially to take command in the future. Knowing how to communicate with a disparate population could make leading so much easier. Although a few heaters for the men of the Night's Watch could also thaw their frosty demeanors.

Tyrion Lannister - Master of Coin

  • Why: A man of little stature (not to be confused with Littlefinger), Tyrion the Imp works his way up from being a scorned member of the Lannister family to the scorned Hand of the King! What a career arc! After suffering injuries in the Battle of the Blackwater, he is demoted from his position as Hand of the King to being the Master of Coin. This may be a good move, as the last few Hands did not get to retire to a villa in Water Gardens of Dorne. As brilliant as Tyrion is, he could use a little seasoning to be a successful Master of Coin. He is much better at spending gold than making it. (A Lannister always pays his debts, you know.) Earning a degree in finance could help Tyrion understand how to properly invest in the Arbor Gold wine his sister Cersei loves so much, or how to build a business that produces prosthetic limbs. Just being part of the richest family in Westeros does not mean you know how to work well with money.
  • Why: If you have to ask, you have not been paying attention to the Lannister family.

King Robert Baratheon - Former King of Westeros, Currently Worm-Food

  • Why: Oh, how the ladies swooned for Robert when he was a young man! Those muscles. That smile. The way he swings his warhammer! *Sigh* So dreamy. When he becomes king, however, Robert lets himself go. The former rebel with a cause can no longer fit into his armor, thanks to his gluttony. His thirst for all of the pleasures of food, drink and flesh lead to his downfall, as he tried to hunt a wild boar while inebriated and was gored to death. Perhaps if Robert had earned a degree in nutrition science he would have been a bit more weight-conscious. It might have saved him from an early death by boar tusk and led to an untimely death at the hands of a Sorrowful Man hired by a political enemy. One can dream.

Jorah Mormont - First Member of Daenerys Targaryen's Queensguard

  • Why: Jorah, Jorah, Jorah: lucky in battle, unlucky in love. Mormont's first wife cannot give him an heir and dies during her third miscarriage. His second wife is accustomed to a lifestyle that Jorah cannot give her on the less-than-resplendent Bear Island, and the attempt to do so drives him to spend his money like he is allergic to it. Even though he knows slaving to be against the laws of his lord, Eddard Stark, he participates anyway. This leads to Jorah running from the punishment and losing his wife to another man. If Mormont were better with his money he might never have needed to resort to selling people into slavery. A degree in accounting could have kept Jorah from financial ruin, or at the very least helped him live within his means as lord of Bear Island. Knowing the ins and outs of proper accounting could also help him procure ships for Daenerys, or at least the money to buy them. Maybe then she'd like him.
  • Minor: Bartending
  • Why: When you have a voice that sounds like whiskey over ice, mixology should be a skill you possess.

The Dothraki - Nomads and Warriors

  • Why: The perfect fighters, the Dothraki battle with a rapacious nature that makes them the scourge of the Free Cities. They take what they want and leave little behind if they encounter resistance. Cities are looked on with disdain, as the open air and a horse is all that a Dothraki needs to survive. Well, that and food of course, and this is where the Dothraki could use a little education. While they are able to frighten cities into giving them what they want, this also leads to unnecessary fights, death and destruction. Building a proper supply chain could save a lot of lives, both in the Dothraki contingent and in the Free Cities. This could free up more time for the horse lords to find the source of their fear of water, or watch women eat raw hearts or even worship the Great Stallion in the Sky a bit more.

Daenerys Targaryen - Mother of Dragons, Ruler of Meereen

  • Why: Dany has a lot of skills. She rides with the khalasar of her husband, Khal Drogo, without complaining of her saddle sores. She is able to eat a horse's heart in front of the dosh khaleen without retching. She survives the physical, mental and emotional abuse of her brother Viserys. She is even able to hatch dragons from petrified eggs she receives as a wedding present by sitting in a fire with them. How awesome is that? What is not awesome is her lack of leadership skills. Occasionally she exhibits the potential to be the queen she wishes to be, but often she is unable to make up her mind. She overstays her welcome in Qarth and is almost killed by a manticore. She also marches her army through the cities of Slaver's Bay, vacillating between wanting to head to Westeros and claim her throne and wanting to free every slave she can find. If Dany really wants to sit on the Iron Throne from which her ancestors ruled Westeros for thousands of years she will need to beef up her leadership skills. Earning an MBA could help her do that.
  • Why: Fire and blood, baby. Fire and blood.

Cersei Lannister - Queen Regent of Westeros

  • Why: Man, Cersei has it all. A loving twin brother, a father devoted to finding her a suitable husband, three beautiful children and a realm to rule over a realm to guide while her son Joffrey grows into his role as king. Her semi-charmed life is one that many would be jealous of and wish to claim as their own (Margaery Tyrell, we are collectively looking in your direction), so what exactly do you give the Queen Regent who has it all? A degree in political science! While Cersei marries and murders her way into power like any great politician, she is constantly outmaneuvered by her father, her brother Tyrion, and the aforementioned Margaery Tyrell. Plus the smallfolk of King's Landing have more hate and fear in their hearts for Cersei than love. They instead shower love on the "little queen." Taking a page from Frank Underwood and learning how to win friends and influence people -- or just rule without angering everyone -- could help save Cersei from going down as the worst ruler since … well, her husband.
  • Why: Knowing the Heimlich maneuver can save lives.

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