I suspect that just reading the title of this blog post is enough to provoke some extreme reactions and, with that in mind, all I ask is that you hear me out. As a fan of the show, I’ve grown from loving Daenerys in season one to becoming wary of her in season seven. Actually, I think wary is too weak of a word…I feel a little bit as if I am watching someone teeter on the brink of madness. And I’m about to tell you why.
Firstly, Daenerys Targaryen’s obsession with the Iron Throne.
We’ve spent seven seasons watching Daenerys amass an army for the sole purpose of conquering Westeros. Don’t worry, I have not forgotten that she remained in Meereen to learn how to rule and that she delayed multiple times because she wanted to make sure slavery was eradicated in the cities she had captured. However, she has always been very, very firm in her belief that she is the rightful Queen of Westeros and I don’t think this is a good thing.
With Daenerys, it has always been submit or die. When people have insulted her, disobeyed her, or stood in her way; the Targaryen has made certain they don’t last long. While, admittedly, this has given us some of the best scenes of the show – Daenerys burning the slavers and freeing the slaves was epic— it poses a problem when this uncompromising attitude seems all she is capable of. When Jon Snow came to Dragonstone, Daenerys was (and still is) more focused on him ‘bending the knee’ than making him an actual ally. He has no reason to trust her. This has always been her way; when someone doubts her, she is very quick to remind them that she is a Targaryen and, therefore, should rule. Though her allies, Tyrion and Missandei for example, see her as a beacon of hope and a ruler they chose to follow, this doesn’t always match up with the reality. In the preview for episode five, Daenerys is seen talking to, what I presume, are the surviving Lannister soldiers from the previous episode.
She’s not here to kill them but if they refuse to follow her they will die? I’m not sure that’s a choice.
Yes, it is a war. Yes, in war there are casualties. Yes, in war people die and sometimes a leader has to be brutal to win. I’m not disputing that. What I am trying to point out is that her obsession with ruling is isolating her, alienating her from possible allies, and her uncompromising belief that she is the rightful Queen is turning into a liability. We all saw how she reacted when Jon Snow refused to bend the knee to her. It wounded her pride. She’s going to have to deal with a lot of people that don’t see her as their Queen and she’s going to have to learn how to prove herself to them.
Not by burning them all. Not by threatening them or bullying them…but by making them trust her.
I see her teetering on the edge of madness because, if this trait continues to rule her decisions, if she continues to become more and more obsessed, she is going to kill everyone who so much as doubts her claim.
Right, onto reason number two.
Daenerys is extremely arrogant.
This sort of goes hand in hand with the first reason. She is very certain that she will win and, as we saw in the first few episodes of this season, it cost her. I’d hoped a reminder that she wasn’t invincible would temper her arrogance a little but I don’t think it has. Daenerys always thinks that she is right; to the point where she will ignore the advice of her advisers. Last episode saw her taking Drogon into battle and, yes it was awesome, but it was against the advice she was given. The gamble paid off, Daenerys won, but she can’t keep relying on her dragons to burn everyone and win the war for her. There won’t be anyone left for her to rule.
The pattern for Daenerys’s arrogance can be traced back through earlier seasons. An example that comes to mind is from season three, episode eight, where Missandei corrects her pronunciation of Dothraki. She doesn’t seem too pleased to hear her pronunciation is not as good as she thought. Now, I am not saying that Daenerys single minded determination, her belief in herself and her ability to straighten her back and refuse to give up, is always a bad thing. Like with her desire to rule, a little arrogance can serve a person well. It can also get a character killed. Or, it can render them unable to deal with criticism or defeat. I’m seeing that happen with Daenerys.
She is a woman who believes that what she says, should be law, for no other reason than the fact that she said it, and she has three dragons that she can use to burn anyone who disagrees with that statement. Do I think she’ll become like her father, the Mad King, or like Robert Baratheon? Perhaps. Robert may not have gone around burning people but his belief that all Targaryen’s should die let him ignore the brutal murders of Elia Martell and her children and almost killed Daenerys herself. I think Daenerys also possesses that same arrogant belief— her justice is the only justice that matters and she rarely allows herself to be dissuaded once she has set her mind to something.
One last reason and then I’m done, I promise. This one is a bit of a wildcard so it might seem a little strange.
Jon Snow is another Targaryen.
This might seem a bit of a weird reason. Why would Jon being a Targaryen mean that Daenerys could go mad? Wouldn’t she be happy to have another family member? Possibly. She might be overjoyed at not being the last of her family, at being able to rediscover something that she had thought lost, and the Jon Targaryen reveal might turn out to be incredibly touching and sweet. I’m not denying the possibility of this being that case. In fact, that is my preferred outcome. I want them to be allies. Still, Game of Thrones enjoys messing with us. And they could really mess with us here.
Jon’s claim to the throne is stronger than hers.
There. I said it. Now that’s not me picking favourites or choosing Jon because he’s a man. It’s how inheritance works. The throne passes from eldest son to eldest son; from the Mad King to Rhaegar Targaryen and then to Jon as the only surviving child of the crown prince. Daenerys, as the third child of King Aerys Targaryen , would always come after her elder brothers and any children they might have had. Yes, Jon Snow is a bastard, but he is also King in the North. He has the support of the Northern Lords and, as someone born and raised in Westeros, could prove a more relatable King than Daenerys is a Queen. He’s proven again and again that a bastard can still be a threat.
Yes, I’m suggesting Daenerys might want to kill him if she finds out.
So much of her drive, so much of her justification, has been that she was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Her arrogance, her obsession with the Iron Throne; they both culminate into this simple fact. Daenerys believes, unreservedly, that she is the only person with a true claim to the throne. Jon’s very existence challenges that whole belief— her raison d’être if you will. Even if she doesn’t want to kill him, she will definitely want to neutralise him, and this could easily turn nasty. Would neutralising a potential threat make her mad? No, but killing her last family member because she believes that throne is hers and hers alone might just be the last step to her turning into her father.
Right. That’s the last reason out of the way.
Now I’m not saying that all of this is going to happen. What I’m saying is that Daenerys could become the Mad Queen. I’m not disputing that she also has good traits, she has proven herself compassionate and kind, if a little naive at times. However, she is still incredibly dangerous and would make a terrifying enemy if she did go dark. Still, if all goes well, Daenerys will temper her more dangerous traits and become a better ruler. I know she has the potential to do some real good in Westeros.
So, I hope you all enjoyed reading!! Please feel free to comment with your own thoughts! I’d love to know what you think. Just, no blasting me with dragon fire ok?