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Warning: Season 3 spoilers

In the season 3 episode, And Now His Watch is Ended, the wealthy slave-trader Kraznys mo Nakloz trades 8,000 Unsullied warriors to Daenerys in exchange for her largest dragon, Drogon.

Daenerys betrays the transaction and instead orders her new soldiers to execute Kraznys and sack the city.

This is possible because Kraznys gives Daenerys a special scourge (whip) which indicates ownership of the Unsullied. Since the Unsullied follow the orders of their master without question, they kill Kraznys as per Daenerys' instructions.

Was Kraznys naive to not foresee this outcome?

  • Daenerys is not from Essos and is unfamiliar
  • Daenerys actions are unpredictable and he would have no reason to trust her
  • Everyone would have heard about the events at Qarth
  • She has announced that her intentions are conquest
  • Trading a dragon for 8,000 soldiers is seen as an unwise trade; an experienced trader should see this as suspicious

Why wouldn't Kraznys train the Unsullied to "always obey your master, but don't kill me or ever destroy Astapor"?

Why didn't he get someone else to make the transaction so that he could be safe? Perhaps perform the transaction outside of the city?

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Kraznys mo Nakloz was not expecting what Dany did
The Unsullied are a mercenary company which has existed for ~400 years[1]. Since then, they have been captured, trained, sold, repeat. There has not been a single account of the Slavers being rudely betrayed by a buyer.

Kraznys mo Nakloz was an overly-confident idiot
As you can hear in his dialogue with Dany, Kraznys constantly makes rude remarks towards Dany, showing how arrogant he is. He also constantly remarks about how special his Unsullied are.

Kraznys mo Nakloz thought Dany was going to Westeros
Ah, didn't we all?

She makes sure that she mentions her quest to win back her ancestral seat, The Iron Throne, and reclaim her right as Queen of Westeros.

Daenerys Targaryen's many titles

src: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/8d/ce/d4/8dced4ed0646ee3bf5a538763405681e.jpg

Kraznys mo Nakloz was surrounded by his mates
If you recall, the deal went down in broad daylight, in the center of Astapor, in front of many witnesses; including several other Good Masters. There was no reason to think that something as drastic as what happened would take place, then and there.

Kraznys mo Nakloz had watched "How to Train Your Dragon"
He may have had in his head that as soon as he gets this dragon, it's his and he's ready to use him as he pleases. He went dragon-crazy and blind as a bat and lost all logic and ability to look past his desire to own this rare and magnificent beast.

"This stupid little whore of a girl can control these dragons; why can't I?"

To answer your specific questions:

  1. Daenerys is not from Essos and is unfamiliar

    Dany has actually spent the majority (pretty much the entirety) of her life in Essos[3]. Everybody in Essos knows of the Targaryens, and know that the last Targaryens are doing whatever they can to get their home back.

  2. Daenerys actions are unpredictable and he would have no reason to trust her

    Up until this point she had been very "well behaved"; calling him "good master" and respecting his rules (and bearing his insults from within). Also, given that she is unpredictable, Kraznys could not have predicted that she would do anything like this.

  3. Everyone would have heard about the events at Qarth

    The events of Qarth did not weigh-in on Kraznys' deal, since at this point, they both had something they could offer each other.

  4. She has announced that her intentions are conquest

    Yes, conquest of Westeros. Not the disposition and abolition of slavery in Essos.

  5. Trading a dragon for 8,000 soldiers is seen as an unwise trade; an experienced trader should see this as suspicious

    He's not as wise as he may seem. History shows that Dragons can dispose of entire armies[4]; but at this point much of what happened regarding dragons were as much of a myth as Grumkins and Snarks, especially way out here in the heart of Essos. Kraznys doesn't seem like the most historically versed person in the world.

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    Another really important part of this is he had no idea she could speak Valyrian and could understand all of his insults. Whilst she may have killed him anyway, that certainly spurred things on. – Andrew Martin Feb 11 '16 at 10:05
  • Unsullied are trained slaves for sale, not a mercenary company as stated in your opening paragraph – m1gp0z Dec 18 '18 at 16:55
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Möoz's answer is great, I just want to look at this one part in a little more detail:

Trading a dragon for 8,000 soldiers is seen as an unwise trade; an experienced trader should see this as suspicious

It's a believable trade, especially with someone who seems desperate or naive. If this had been a real trade, it'd be a classic example of the economic principle of diminishing marginal utility. The difference in utility between owning one car and owning zero is bigger than between owning three cars and owning two. Same with dragons and armies.

One dragon is, objectively, worth much more than 8,000 troops. But this curious foreigner is a wannabe conqueror, not a trader: their value to her is based on the utility of the dragons and troops for her immediate plans, not their market value:

  • Dany has three dragons:

    • Losing one, Dany goes from being able to easily crush any standing army and swiftly burn any city, to being able to fairly easily crush any standing army and burn any city fairly quickly. Her loss, in terms of marginal utility, is relatively small - she loses much less utility than the objective value of one dragon.
    • Gaining one, Kraznys goes from being a regular slave trader, to a slave trader who can crush most standing armies and burn most cities to the ground. His gain, in terms of marginal utility, is huge (assuming he can control the dragon... which he does assume)
  • Dany is a would-be conqueror with no army:

    • Gaining 8,000 troops is of greater value to her than it is to a typical Unsullied customer, who would normally be buying Unsullied to bolster an existing army and as a precaution against attack. The marginal utility, to her, is higher than the troops' objective market value, and it's perfectly believable that it has more marginal utility than a third dragon. 2 dragons and 8,000 troops is a more effective conquering force than 3 dragons, but no troops to actually secure the fire-ravaged cities.
    • Losing 8,000 unsullied is only a temporary stock problem to Kraznys, who can create them: for him, they effectively grow on trees. He's gaining something priceless to him but expendable to her, for something essential to her but expendable to him.

He could very easily convince himself that it's a mutually beneficial deal: what Dany gains is of similar if not greater value to her in terms of utility than what she loses, while what he gains is priceless.

He'd be laughing all the way to the bank (probably to burn it down with his dragon then take all its gold), because he objectively got the upper hand in terms of market value, but he can see that Dany got what she desperately needed without losing so much in terms of immediate utility.


Kraznys also thinks she has nothing else of value to trade, and is desperate.

If he was negotiating with another gnarled, experienced trader, he might expect them to say something like "We both know that a dragon is worth many times more than 8,000 troops. Add 10 ships, a tonne of gold, 200 casks of wine...", even though they don't need gold and wine, purely because they can. They've already secured what they need, but they'd be able to see they have the opportunity to demand more because, for Kraznys, it'd clearly be worth it to become the only trader in Essos with a freakin' dragon.

But he thinks Dany's naïve and foolish, so he's not surprised when she's happy to settle for a deal where she gets what she needs and no more.

In fact, given her clear desperation and lack of non-dragon resources, he would probably be able to hardball her out of such a barter even if she tried. I imagine a dialog like this:

"A tonne of gold, 200 casks of wine...? I say no. What are you going to do, buy Unsullied elsewhere? You are no conqueror with no army."

"Then I'll keep all three dragons!"

"Without a dragon, I'm still ruler of Astapor and one of the richest traders in Essos. Without an army, what are you? Not a conqueror or queen. Are you happy to be merely Dany the dragon tamer? I know a circus you could join"

"Oh, bollocks. Fine, okay, no gold or wine. But I'm taking your translator!"

  • Now I want to see Dany saying, "Oh, bollocks." – Ghotir Aug 14 '17 at 21:01

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