Margaery Tyrell, considered one of the strongest characters in the political scheme of things in the Game of Thrones, is one of the many fan favourites for various reasons. One of them is that she is the only player who has been able to trump Cercei Lannister in the whole series. Cercei is feared by everyone because of her mean and shrewd thinking and the use of her political prowess to turn things to her terms. However, this does not hold true for the princess of Highgarden. Margaery is one of the few players in the Game of Thrones who plays the game hard but also has a soft heart when required. The brilliance of Margaery is that she uses friendliness as a tool to scale the heights of power and become the Queen.
What in her journey proves that she is a Master Politician?
The Initial Journey
She started her journey by being just another princess in one of the Great Houses of the Realm. Upon the death of King Robert Baratheon and rumours about the legitimacy of his heirs, political rebellions start across the country of Westeros. Margaery is asked to marry Renly Baratheon, the youngest brother of the Late King but she very well knows that it is more of a political alliance than a marriage. Though many of you may suggest that Margaery was just a pawn in the hands of Lady Olenna Tyrell, her grandmother, this is not quite true as you will get to know in this article. Yes, she did get help from her grandmother but she is equally politically strong by herself. Thus, Margaery said yes to the marriage because she knew that Renly, with his army of 30,000 men (which was much more than Stannis’s army of 5,000 and the Lannister army of 20,000) had great chances of making it to the top. She also knows that Renly is homosexual and that he is in a relationship with her own brother, Loras Tyrell. This just shows how politically astute she is as she is ready to accept this development while ignoring her own desires.
Her Lucky Break
Upon the death of Renly Baratheon under suspicious circumstances, she has the presence of mind to leave with her brother Loras before Stannis plunders their camps and kills them. She gets help from another one of the master politicians in the series, Petyr Baelish or ‘Littlefinger, to reach her castle in Highgarden’. Littlefinger plays a crucial role in Margaery’s role, as he devices the plan that could bring Margaery closer to the mantle of ‘The Queen’. The Tyrells now side the Lannisters and help them win the Battle of Blackwater. As a return of the favour, King Joffrey Baratheon is asked to marry Margaery, who gets a step closer to her dream.
Margaery and Olenna both ask Sansa Stark to understand Joffrey’s psyche, but Sansa refuses to say anything bad about him. However, both the Tyrell women know that this is far from true. Margaery, through her interactions with the young King, quickly understands that he is a sadist. This is where she displays her political prowess. She makes sure that she does not follow the path of poor Sansa and is able to create a bond with Joffrey by acting as though his weapons scared her. Margaery used her friendly nature not only to be in the good books of her King but also of the people or the common folk of the kingdom. She goes out in the streets and orphanages, interacting with commoners and garnering love from them. All these developments irked the real woman in power, Cercei Lannister.
The one incident that shows how Margaery and Olenna’s political gameplay trumps that of others is how they were able to plan the murder of King Joffrey Baratheon and get away Scott free. Margaery made sure that she killed the person that could hurt her in the future. Furthermore, this move shattered Margaery’s direct rival Cercei to the core, making it a masterstroke that changed the flow of the show forever.
The Final Strike
Upon the death of the cruel Joffrey, she turns her focus to the next heir of the throne, Tommen Baratheon, the younger brother of Joffrey. She woos young Tommen and wins his heart with ease, staying a step ahead of Cercei even now. She marries Tommen, her third marriage, and manages to rule the kingdom with Tommen as her puppet. She hammers the final nail in the coffin by asking The Faith to arrest Cercei for the crime of adultery with her cousin Lancel Lannister (now a member of The Faith). Cercei accepts the crime. She even suffers through the punishment of the ‘Walk of Attonement’ during which she walks naked through the streets. Margaery won all the battles with Cercei until now using her beauty and incisive political mind. However, this is when things started to go downhill for the new Queen.
Her only slip-up
Everyone will agree with the fact that the only slip-up Margaery had during her game was to underestimate the evilness of Cercei Lannister. She never would have thought of what happened to her in the end. Cercei managed to get The Faith to arrest Loras Tyrell for sleeping with other men as well as Margaery for lying to The Faith about it.
This was a difficult time for Margaery, and she let her emotions get the best of her, which led to her lie to save her brother. This was probably the first mistake she made. Margaery manages to stay strong even after the immense emotional and physical torture she has to deal with during her imprisonment. She maintains a strong façade and plays the long game with the High Sparrow, probably a dangerous path to take. She gives a parchment that had the symbol of a ‘Rose’, their house’s sign, to Olenna indicating that she was still loyal to the family and has not been completely brainwashed by The Faith. However, during their hearing at the Great Sept of Baelor, she meets her end as Cercei blows up the whole Sept using wildfire and thereby ending her two arch nemesis, Margaery and The Faith.
Given the fact that Margaery managed to trump Cercei in every political move and forced her to take extreme actions to end her rule, Margaery truly was one of the top master politicians to play the Game of Thrones.