Spoilers for Game Of Thrones season 8 ahead. Read at your own risk.
Season 8 has been really rough for Daenarys. She seems to be getting screwed over by both allies and enemies, and just keeps getting battered.
First, she found out that her lover Jon is also her nephew and now rival to the throne. Then in The Long Night, she lost her oldest and closest friend Ser Jorah. As if she wasn’t already traumatised from that, she also lost another child/dragon, and her other best friend in The Last Of The Starks, all in the span of an hour. And at first she was sad – but now she’s just pissed.
And for good reason too. She’s lost almost an entire army of Dothraki’s, which have been her army since day one, to defend people that don’t want her. She’s at a tactical disadvantage, and all the cards are being held by her enemy Cersei. She keeps losing this goddamn war after winning for years, and she’s in a foreign land with an adviser that keeps failing her.
I’m actually not the biggest fan of Daenarys. I think she’s arrogant and demanding, and hasn’t earned the loyalty and respect that she expects from everyone. But I don’t think she’s evil, which is what the latest episode seems to be implying through its themes.
The Last Of The Starks was a big episode for Daenarys’ character, because it showed her dealing with rejection and loss. She sits during the post-war celebrations and looks around at her peers celebrating. Everyone is having a good time, except her. Even among her subjects, she is an outsider. It’s pretty sad, especially since she’s dealing with the loss of Jorah alone.
Afterwards, she tries to get it on with Jon but he pushes her away. I mean, that’s understandable because she’s his aunt and everything, but it reiterates her feelings of loneliness and isolation. When she pleads with Jon to lie about their relationship, the begging isn’t sad or romantic – she looks a bit unhinged and it’s straight up uncomfortable. Her change of tone from asking Jon, to ordering him not to share their secret, introduces a narrative of her being a villain – the audience sees her as getting in the way of his family and being selfish.
Dany fights with Sansa about sending troops to Kings Landing, and it’s pretty clear the writers are putting her up as selfish again. She lacks compassion and is putting her need to rule before the safety and care of her people. Plus, her attitude toward Sansa instantly makes us dislike her.
Just in case people didn’t pick up these subtle hints, we straight up hear the three smartest characters – Sansa, Tyrion and Varys all say that Daenarys is bad for the throne and that Jon should be King. We’re supposed to respect the political opinions and affiliations of these guys because they’ve survived made their way to the top throughout the whole show. They’re the most politically strategic, and their position is worthy advice. So, if these three think Daenarys has potential to go rogue, we are supposed to believe them.
Fast forward to Daenarys losing her shit after Rhaegal and Missendai die, and the close up of her flaring nostrils as she tries to contain her rage, and we have the image of the Mad Queen.
The problem with this though, is that it’s not really fair. Daenarys has been wary of her father’s rep for ages, and she’s always been conscious of how that looks for her. It just seems out of character. We know she’s emotionally volatile, but she is still a fair leader, and she can usually be reigned in by her advisers. Tyrion’s consist failures are probably going to mean she won’t listen to him anymore, and then she’ll probably go rogue as everyone tries to undermine and usurp her.
I don’t blame her for going mad if she does. She’s risking and losing everything for people that aren’t even loyal to her, and are deserting her at the slightest doubt. And, if that wasn’t enough, the guy they’re flocking to is meant to love her. Poor Dany.
Image Sources: HBO, GIPHY