Of course, we’re talking about Games of Thrones here.
We want to look at that all-important issue of what makes a great leader – the people who are appointed to advise the leader!
We asked some of the best authors to pick a new small council for the new king of Westeros.
Iain Grant (comedy writer and co-author of Exit the Dragon)
If Davos isn’t available to be on my small council (and I wouldn’t want him as my Master of Ships anyway – he’d be much better as my chief diplomat and Master of Avuncular Wisdom.) then I would appoint Yara Greyjoy to my council. For one thing, she’s a slippery character and I’d really want to have her where I could see her. Secondly, those Iron Islanders clearly have some magical gift for ship-stuff. I’d have them chasing Arya to the New World and bringing back potatoes and tobacco and wotnot to Westeros.
Justin Lee Anderson (author of comedy fantasy Carpet Diem)
Assuming we fill the same positions as those filled by Tyrion at the end, two are easy, two are hard.
Master of Coin: Tycho Nestoris. Dude has run the Iron Bank, he can surely run a country. If Tycho won’t take the pay cut, then Tyrion, who isn’t Hand and is the last living Lannister seems like the obvious choice.
Master of ships: Yara Greyjoy. Might also help get her onside with the new king, assuming she’s still pissed off about Jon killing Dany.
Grand Maester: I suppose it has to be Ebrose, doesn’t it? Can you make an Archmaester come to King’s Landing and be the Grand Maester? He’s just finished a recent history of the kingdom and managed to completely leave out poor Tyrion, so I suppose having him on the Small Council is a good way of making sure my name makes it into the next book! Plus, who doesn’t love Jim Broadbent?
Head of the Kingsguard: This one’s tough. Brienne is the obvious choice. All the other good options are dead. Podrick’s apparently legendary skills as a ‘swordsman’ notwithstanding, he doesn’t have the experience. Jon, regardless of his banishment, is a tactical idiot, as we’ve seen in Battle of the Bastards and the Battle of Winterfell. Once you think about it, there’s really only one major character left alive that you’d maybe want, and he’s just been made lord of Storm’s End! So, for a completely out of the box choice: arise Ser Tormund Giantsbane! Small Council meetings would certainly be interesting…
Jacey Bedford (author of the Psi-Tech series and the Rowankind series)
Gendry knows the common people and he learns fast. He’s strong, but even tempered and practical. I’d put him in charge of rebuilding the city. Illyrio Mopatis was working with Varys and seemed to have similar aims. He might be worth calling up to be master of coin. Perhaps Podrick would also be a sensible choice. A female council member would be good, but not Yara Greyjoy, she’s too short-tempered. Possibly Gilly, she’s brighter than she seemed at first and she’s got a healthy helping of commonsense.
Anna Stephens (author of the Godblind trilogy – Bloodchild, is available to pre-order now)
Yara Greyjoy. Ruthless but loyal – if you can win her loyalty – as Master of Ships. The Iron Fleet was sunk, so promising her another could be enough to get her on board (pun intended). Arya Stark as Master of War. Obviously. Tormund Giantsbane in the new position of Master of Stories, because he has so many (don’t ‘Bran Stark’ me – I mean fun stories). Jon Snow as Master of Trade, because despite all this ‘he’s a beautiful idiot’ nonsense that people like to spout, I would argue he isn’t. He wasn’t a war-leader tactically, but he was a leader in many ways. He was liked and trusted personally as a man; he was loyal and honest (good for trade negotiations) and at his heart, everything he did was for others, not himself. He joined the Night’s Watch to protect the realms of men. He accepted the title of king in the north because it was pressed upon him and then he willingly gave up that title in order to gain the assistance the north needed to survive. Not many characters would have done that. You can count on him to put others ahead of himself, so trade delegations couldn’t bribe him.
David Watkins (author of the werewolf novel Original’s Return)
Gendry as Master of Laws. He would be naïve enough to be easily manipulated into making and enforcing laws that benefitted my own position as Hand.
RE McLean (author of the Multiverse Investigations books)
Arya’s horse, mainly because it’s sulking that it didn’t get the role in the final episode that it expected. And to keep it company, Ghost the dire wolf plus the indefatigable Tormund. Anyone who can survive being attacked by the Army of the Dead four times without anyone seeing how he did it clearly has a sneakiness that would be useful in the small council.
Steve McHugh (author of urban fantasy series, The Hellequin Chronicles and The Avalon Chronicles.)
Ayra Stark. Not to any particular post. Just to stand behind me and smile every time I had to have meetings with other lords and ladies. Or anyone I wanted to do something. I think that would pretty much for the job.
Good help is hard to find in Exit the Dragon, the latest book from Heide Goody and Iain Grant in which the wizard, Newport Pagnell, and the city’s privy council have to work out how to rebuild the capital once the dragon and the dragon queen have gone.