Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones & Negotiations: It Could Have Changed Everything

The Game of Thrones series we’ve watched for 8 years has ended, and not everyone is happy about how it was wrapped up. Many people (including the writer of these lines) feel that the ending was rushed, the character arcs that were built for seasons – destroyed for no reason, and we are left with an empty space where the love of all those characters and the series itself used to be.

Negotiation Fails All Over

If you were paying attention, you have probably noticed that negotiations (or dialogues in general) weren’t very strong in the last season of Game of Thrones. In fact, in the last several episodes, characters missed out on several great opportunities to negotiate important deals – for no apparent reason. Today, we’ll go over all the things that could have been different if Game of Thrones characters knew how to negotiate in English…

1.    Sansa & Daenerys: The Independence of the North

Ok, so Sansa doesn’t really like Daenerys – we all knew that from moment one. Consequently, Daenerys isn’t a great fan of Sansa, either. However, in episode two, there was a great moment where they were on the verge of an agreement but failed to see eye to eye. This was one of the first pointers to Daenerys of the kind of threat Sansa can be. Also, in retrospective, we can now also say that Sansa was the first one to see through Daenerys.

Negotiations are almost always about compromising, and neither of these ladies seemed capable of doing that. However, if they were, many things could have ended differently.

Expression to describe this failure

To go back to square one: to return to the beginning

                Example: Daenerys and Sansa couldn’t agree, so their relationship went back to square one.

Expressions that could have been used

To reach consensus: to agree on a matter you initially disagreed upon

                Example: Daenerys and Sansa reached a consensus about the independence of the North.

An offer one can’t refuse: an extremely attractive offer

                Example: Daenerys gave Sansa an offer she couldn’t refuse: she would allow the North to be independent if Jon marries Daenerys and rules with her.

2.    Arya & Gendry: The (Unsuccessful) Proposal

Let’s be honest: we were all rooting for Arya and Gendry to end up together. And even though Arya became kind of… weird… since they last met, the chemistry was still there, and it was more than obvious. Also, who would be better for our little girl than Gendry Baratheon, whose first action after being named a lord wasn’t to get drunk, but to ask her to marry him. Just imagine how different everything could have been if he just had better negotiation skills.

Instead of just letting her convince him that “she is not a lady”, Gendry could have made a convincing speech and showed his real feelings for her. She wouldn’t have been able to say “no” then, trust us.

Expression to describe this failure

To put one’s cards on the table: to be honest about one’s intentions.

                Example: Gendry put his cards on the table, but was still rejected by Arya.

Expressions that could have been used

To stand one’s ground: to insist on one’s position, refuse to back down

                Example: Although at first Arya rejected Gendry, he stood his ground and explained why their marriage is the best option for everyone.

To sweeten the deal: to add something to an offer

                Example: When he saw Arya’s hesitance to marry him, Gendry sweetened the deal. Arya couldn’t refuse the offer when he promised they would travel north of the North together.

3.    Tyrion & Cersei: Missandei’s Death

Although he was a master of negotiation, manipulation, and speaking in general in the previous seasons of Game of Thrones, Tyrion seems to have lost his wits in the final one. Not only did he trust his sister when she promised to bring her troops north, but he also failed in his attempt of convincing her to surrender. And that’s not all, either – his failure resulted in Missandei’s death and, consequently, the rise of the Mad Queen Daenerys.

Whether he was tired, demotivated, or too scared, Tyrion failed at the one thing he used to do best. Whether he was focusing on the wrong thing or using wrong language, the fact is that all was lost after this failed negotiation.

Expression to describe this failure

To bring nothing to the table: to not have anything of interest to offer to the other side

Example: Tyrion didn’t really bring anything to the table, so Cersei just killed Missandei.

Expressions that could have been used

Common ground: shared interests or beliefs

                Example: Tyrion managed to find the common ground with Cersei, and everyone lived happily ever after.

Meet halfway: compromise

                Example: Cersei agreed to meet Tyrion halfway and allow Daenerys to rule the Seven Kingdoms in exchange for letting her and Jamie live in peace with their future children.

4.    Jon Snow & Daenerys: The Faith of Westeros

After going into the Mad Queen mode, there was hardly anything that could stop Daenerys from continuing down the path that she thought was right. However, if there was anyone who would be able to change her mind, that person was Jon Snow. Unfortunately, he didn’t even try. He just promised her his eternal loyalty… and then stabbed her in the heart. And even though we all probably sensed that this was going to go down, we can hardly be happy about it.

Just imagine how different it all could have been if he was capable of saying more than four words (which is probably his season maximum). When we say four words, we mean “You are my queen.”

Expressions to describe this failure

To throw someone a curve: to deceive or mislead someone

                Example: Jon Snow threw Dany a curve when he said that she would always be his queen.

Expressions that could have been used

To talk someone into/out of something: to convince someone to do/not to do something

                Example: With his loving words, Jon snow was able to talk Daenerys into stopping the war and leading the Seven Kingdoms the way she always wanted.

At stake: something that can be gained or lost

                Example: Once Jon explained how many innocent lives were at stake, Daenerys finally understood that the war needs to end.

To Sum Up…

Although we will always love (the first seven seasons) of Game of Thrones, nobody can deny that there were some horrible mistakes in it – and we are not only referring to the coffee cup and the water bottle. Now we can see that negotiation is really the key to solving most issues with anyone – and that even the faiths of entire countries and millions of people can depend on it.

Not sure how to negotiate in English? Sign up for our Business English course and we can promise you’ll do better than Game of Thrones characters in Season 8!

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