The Writing On the Wall: The Dragon Divided

Daenerys Jon Varys Missandei Tyrion Spoils of War

Valar Morghulis!

This weekly column analyzes a particular scene or two from each episode that highlight the importance of writing within storytelling. The scenes will be discussed at length and analyzed with character and overall narrative beats for the television show and the books when appropriate.


A telling piece of writing in “The Spoils Of War” is when Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is looking out at her dragons flying beyond the shores of Dragonstone. It is a moment that is likely to be forgotten in the wake of fan-favorite sequences such as Arya’s (Maisie Williams) delightful sparring with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) in Winterfell and Drogon roasting thousands of Lannister soldiers like chunks of meat. The writing of that moment nevertheless stuck in my mind as a critical encapsulation of the primary struggle Daenerys has faced as a character.

A primary writing motif on Game Of Thrones is an understanding that we as individuals often face significant internal conflicts as we try and come to an understanding of who we really are. Daenerys was raised as an object, the key to unlocking the secret door to the Iron Throne for Viserys (Harry Lloyd). Viserys proved himself to be utterly incompetent and a new destiny opened up at Daenerys’s feet. The assassination attempt in the markets solidified her desire to latch onto that destiny and become the dragon her brother could never be.

The demise of Khal Drogo (Jason Mamoa) set her back but the birth of her dragons gave her a new lease on her journey to reclaiming the Iron Throne. Having traversed the treacherous Red Waste, she arrived in the great city of Qarth. The greatest city that ever was or would ever be, however, proved to be little more than a poisonous trap. Nevertheless, she garnered enough gold to buy a ship that would take her and her remaining khalasar to the slave city of Astapor.

Daenerys in Astapor

In Astapor, Daenerys uttered her most infamous “Dracarys” and proceeded to slaughter the Astapori aristocracy and take the Unsullied. Her forces defeated the Yunkish and then in Meereen, she faced her greatest challenge yet. Daenerys had enough wherewithal to comprehend that unlike her brother Viserys, she did not wholesale believe that commoners across Westeros were praying for her safe return. She believed, on the welcome advice of Jorah (Iain Glen) and Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney), that she had to offer the people of Westeros something before they could ever turn around and support her. She had to become more worthy than Robert (Mark Addy). In other words, she had a responsibility to learn before she could claim the right to rule.

Daenerys has always been defined by the delineation of responsibilities. She has felt a responsibility towards Meereen but a part of her, whether she wanted to acknowledge it or not, understood that the more she attached herself towards this city she had conquered, the farther she would be driven from her mission of conquering Westeros. Drogon’s rescue of her in Daznak’s Pit and her burning of the temple in Vaes Dothrak served as critical junctures for her to embrace her Targaryen heritage but that in and of itself came with its own set of responsibilities.

When Daenerys arrives on the shores of Dragonstone, she is accompanied by the baggage of the crimes her father had committed. “The daughter of the Mad King cannot be trusted” is a line Cersei (Lena Headey) used to great effect in swaying Westerosi nobles to her side but it is also a note that Daenerys has mentally confronted ever since she realized who the Mad King was. Every move of hers has that understanding echoing quietly in the background. Whether or not that is specifically said out loud, the writing and Emilia Clarke’s performance makes it quite clear that that sullied family history is weighing heavily on her mind.

702 - Dragonstone - Dany, Tyrion, Missandei, Grey Worm, Varys, Yara, Theon, Olenna, Ellaria 1

If Daenerys had wanted to, she could have taken her armada, her three grown dragons, and her armies to sack King’s Landing. The city would have fallen and the only question would have been in regards to just how quickly the city would surrender. Cersei would likely have been executed and the lion’s banner would have been replaced by the three-headed dragon. In the show’s timeline with the pacing of this season, this would have happened by the end of the second episode. It is indeed what Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan), Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), and Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) argued in favor of. Yet that is not the case.

Daenerys is acutely aware that she wants to avoid becoming the Mad King. There are certain moments where she has gone in that direction, but there has always been a purpose behind those actions. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with her methods in those specific circumstances, they are not the marker of someone who does not have an acute grasp of their mental faculties. When Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) insists that she does not want to be Queen of the Ashes but instead wants to prove herself to be better than Cersei, she agrees to his strategy. She wants to win the game of thrones, but she does not want to do so by doubling down on the sordid history her father had so unashamedly left behind.

As Daenerys is standing upon that beach, she is reeling from the latest setbacks to her campaign. The news that while the Unsullied had taken Casterly Rock, they had been boxed in by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) does not go over well. The additional loss of Highgarden does little to assuage her fury. She knows that at that specific juncture, she is losing the war and if she does not act now, then there was nothing left for her campaign.

A significant amount of criticism has been made against Daenerys being hungry for power and succumbing to pride. To a certain degree, that is true, but that criticism in many ways misses the point of how the writers have consistently shed light upon the dichotomy of her character arc. She wants power but not just for the sake of it. She is prideful but not blindly so to the point where she is ignorant of her own faults. The writing for Daenerys consistently portends to her understanding of the responsibilities that leadership brings. She does not aways fulfill those responsibilities well, but the degree to which she is aware of them sets her significantly apart from a plethora of characters in power who did and do not (especially the men).

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When she wants to take her dragons to the Red Keep before she suffers another loss, it is not because she wants to sit her arse upon the Iron Throne before sunrise or add yet another possible moniker to her litany of titles. When she is advocating for that strategy, she has two specific thoughts relating to responsibility in her mind. The first is a feeling that she is responsible for her allies, which to a certain degree is true. In that vein, she feels that she cannot call herself a leader if she sits around an island and does not lift a finger to fight herself. The second is that she has a responsibility to fight alongside her army on the battlefield and not simply take the crown should it fall into her lap.

The writing in the specific shot where she is looking towards her dragons underlines her internal conflict beautifully. On one hand are her dragons, representing her Targaryen heritage and the Iron Throne she dreams to conquer. On the other hand are her advisors, optioning against taking her dragons to the Red Keep. Tyrion cautions against it and so does Jon (Kit Harington), who in spite of having made several leadership misses himself, has a point that Daenerys takes to heart. People followed her, he notes, because she made something people that was impossible happen. People continue to follow her because she might make other impossible things happen. In other words, people believe that she might be different.

Daenerys, in other words, is standing at a fork in the road. This is a game of thrones, there is a war, and she has to act decisively as another one of her allies had been attacked and destroyed. Staying put was simply not an option. She wants to take Tyrion’s advice in spite of her fury at his failures, she takes Jon’s words to heart, but a part of her acutely remembers Lady Olenna’s advice that she be a dragon. Instead of attacking the capital with her dragons, however, Daenerys takes the Dothraki and Drogon to attack the Lannister army in an open battle. When she finds herself standing at that fork in the road, she instead carves her own pathway forward. That, in essence, is Daenerys Targaryen and the writing in just that one, brief moment, was able to carry her tumultuous, conflicted history and bring it all together beautifully.

Valar Dohaeris,

Akash Of the Andals

63 responses

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    1. Lovely article! It bothers me when people try to undermine or streamline Dany’s character. Her arc is one of the more nuanced in my opinion.

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    2. This is a great analysis of Dany’s story arc and internal conflict. Thanks!

      Throughout her story she has been a conqueror and a savior. She may be faced with another dilemma soon – to choose between conquering Westeros or saving the realm?

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    3. Beautiful essay. It also harkens back exactly to what Missi told her in season 5 that she often will find a third path that no one saw.

      Will be curious though whether this will make any difference in overcoming how people see her as either her father’s daughter or fear she might become her father’s daughter.

      Before she becomes Queen she might have to abandon her conquest and save Westeros, another third path she finds.

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    4. This is a great synopsis of who Dany is and what she is facing. Her inner conflict has always been obvious and there is a storm brewing inside her and not just across Westeros. Thank you for this article…I find it spot on!

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    5. Sam:
      This is a great analysis of Dany’s story arc and internal conflict. Thanks!

      Throughout her story she has been a conqueror and a savior. She may be faced with another dilemma soon – to choose between conquering Westeros or saving the realm?

      To me, this is the crux of her arc. Many people assume I hate Dany because I’m constantly criticizing her. I don’t. I used to love Dany, and still mostly root for her. But she is incredibly flawed, and has done a few evil things. She is not an evil person, at the end of the day she does have a good heart, but her actions have not always been morally justifiable.

      This is the main point. She shouldn’t be glorified as some sort of saint. The Targaryen madness exists deep within her, the thirst for power is there, but so is the sense of right and wrong that her father and brother (Viserys) lacked.

      Her arc in Meereen demonstrated what Daario told her in Episode 6.06 : she wasn’t made to rule. She’s a conqueror. She tried to learn to rule, that was her entire motivation for staying in Slaver’s Bay, but ultimately, she failed at it.

      She reclaimed her identity as a Targaryen, and unleashed Fire and Blood on the Dothraki Khals, and then on the slavers, before departing, never to look back again.

      These aren’t the actions of someone whose destiny is to rule. She is good at war, at survival, at fighting.

      The question therefore becomes : will she use her power to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, through Fire and Blood, or will she use it to save the Seven Kingdoms, and prove herself a true Queen, even if she never sits the throne ?

      Many think she’ll do both, but I don’t think so. I think ultimately Dany will be a hero, she will contribute to saving Westeros, but she won’t sit the Iron Throne.

      She’ll do the right thing, proving that she is a good person, and she’ll move away from the bloody conquest she’s currently engaged in.

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    6. Does anyone really believe Dany will perish by the end of the series? I truly believe she’ll live. But I’ve always wanted to know other people’s opinions, particularly on this site where people are well versed in the Thrones-universe.

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    7. Don’t you think since Dany considers the dragons her children that when she was looking at them she is thinking of the possibility of losing one or more of her children in the battles ahead? She wants them safe but she knows she needs them to achieve her goal.

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    8. Edward,

      I also expect she’ll live. Jon (who’s living on borrowed time) is more likely to die than her, I think. There’s no way both will die. Bittersweet ending. 🙁

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    9. Sam,

      I agree! As much as I adore Dany I wouldn’t mind her dying if her death was glorious and fitting of her dynamic struggle throughout the the series. But I do think it is Jon who will die once his role in the battle of the others is finished. His revival has to have come with some sort of contingency. I don’t think the show would skip of something that important. I could easily see Dany going back to Mereen to govern the Bay of Dragon’s once she comes to realize that Westeros isn’t what she truly wants.

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    10. Edward:
      Does anyone really believe Dany will perish by the end of the series? I truly believe she’ll live. But I’ve always wanted to know other people’s opinions, particularly on this site where people are well versed in the Thrones-universe.

      I think she will die. The simple reason is that it would her arc, if I’m right about what it is.

      More importantly though, I really don’t think she will end up on the Iron Throne, and if she doesn’t end up on the Iron Throne, then I just don’t see a place for her in the world.

      I think she’ll die after having made a tremendous contribution to the fight against the White Walkers. She will have been a Queen who truly fought for the people, but she’ll never sit the throne.

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    11. Well written article. I think the writers may want us to think she’s going to turn bad/mad, but I don’t see it happening. Too many “good guys” have been brought to her side for her to turn against.

      I don’t think both her/dragons AND Jon can survive the end, though…

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    12. I don’t understand the notion that she has the Targ madness.

      Her arc is that she has to deal with that perception and fear but at the end of the day she does not have the paranoia of her father. She is Aegon the Conqueror with teats as Tyrion says in ADOD.

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    13. Markus Stark,

      I think it would be tragically poetic if after all of the bloodshed and battling she ends up disillusioned and abdicating the throne to Tyrion. I think that’d be a very interesting route to go. I don’t think she necessarily has to die in order to “complete” her character arc. But I’m completely in agreement that she won’t sit on any throne.

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    14. If you ask me, GRRM has done a far better job at portraying Dany and Jon. Alongside all the good, there is a cold ruthlessness-some of which make you question whether to root for the character. D&D have not done nearly as well at maintaining that dead-center grayness. Dany has got the short end of the stick.

      All I’ll say is if show!Jon-in his stint as Lord Commander of NW- was anything like his book version, the reception he currently gets from GoT fandom would be very different.

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    15. Edward:
      Sam,

      I agree! As much as I adore Dany I wouldn’t mind her dying if her death was glorious and fitting of her dynamic struggle throughout the the series. But I do think it is Jon who will die once his role in the battle of the others is finished. His revival has to have come with some sort of contingency. I don’t think the show would skip of something that important. I could easily see Dany going back to Mereen to govern the Bay of Dragon’s once she comes to realize that Westeros isn’t what she truly wants.

      Yes, also there may be no iron throne to sit on anymore by the end of the great war.

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    16. Markus Stark: I think she will die. The simple reason is that it would her arc, if I’m right about what it is.

      More importantly though, I really don’t think she will end up on the Iron Throne, and if she doesn’t end up on the Iron Throne, then I just don’t see a place for her in the world.

      I think she’ll die after having made a tremendous contribution to the fight against the White Walkers. She will have been a Queen who truly fought for the people, but she’ll never sit the throne.

      I agree with you about Dany. She wants the Iron Throne so badly that she’ll never truly get it (but she’ll end up making the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good somehow). As this article points out, the Iron Throne has been her primary (almost sole) mission ever since her brother was “crowned.” I don’t think the GoT saga really works out all that well in the end for those who are on a one track mission to satisfy their desires (especially for the “good” guys) or what they believe is their destiny.

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    17. Markus Stark:

      The question therefore becomes : will she use her power to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, through Fire and Blood, or will she use it to save the Seven Kingdoms, and prove herself a true Queen, even if she never sits the throne ?

      She has to do both. If I were to make a simple comparison, the Lannisters right now are like what the Boltons were to the North. A disease that needs to be eradicated, necessary evil done so that a new order can be established.

      The Living must unite if they are to stand a chance against the army of the dead. It fell to Jon to unite the North, it’ll be Dany that unites the rest of the realm.

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    18. House Monty:
      I don’t understand the notion that she has the Targ madness.

      Her arc is that she has to deal with that perception and fear but at the end of the day she does not have the paranoia of her father. She is Aegon the Conqueror with teats as Tyrion says in ADOD.

      I too don’t believe she’ll ultimately end up with the “madness.” However, I can explain why I personally think there are possible signs of it. She keeps on, especially recently, having to be reined in by her advisors (Tyrion, Jon, etc.) from going on an impulsive path of destruction that would harm/kill thousands of innocent people…people she claims she wants to help. She’s currently being kept in check by those around her, but there could easily come a point in time where either her advisors aren’t around to keep her thinking rationally or, perhaps, she gets so enraged that she simply ignores them next time.

      Lot’s of people are saying, well, she’s just a “conqueror.” She is, but she can’t only be that to be a great ruler. It’s the conqueror side that I think ultimately could lead to the madness surfacing (which, once again, isn’t where the show likely will go though). Next time something goes wrong maybe she takes Drogon and ends up actually killing thousands of commoners while trying to hurt Cersei. What if, in the process, she justifies that in her mind? Or worse, ends up feeling no remorse because the means justified the ends to her? That could easily lead to loss of empathy for the oppressed and that, to me, is the first step toward the Targ madness (and she’s obviously already predisposed to it).

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    19. There is a possibility that both Dany and Jon die – if they have a child (or twins) that will inherit the rule over the seven kingdoms…Tyrion and Sansa can be joint-regents until the next generation grows up (and they are still technically married). Or else that job goes to to Gendry who is as far as we know, after Jon the person most closely related to Dany (something like a fifth-cousin because of the Targaryen blood of the Baratheons).
      However, the more interesting point about her claim to “break the wheel” and making her a really historic figure and not just another conqueror, is that she is supposed to bring about some permanent change in the way Westeros is governed. Considering historical parallels, most probably that would be setting up some permanent council (perhaps as part of the fight against the WW) of all the nobles and perhaps some popular representatives, to rule alongside the king – like medieval English parliaments which in the long run after centuries brought about constitutional government and democracy.

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    20. BranTheBlessed:
      All I’ll say is if show!Jon-in his stint as Lord Commander of NW- was anything like his book version, the reception he currently gets from GoT fandom would be very different.

      You mean worse? Because I prefer Book!Jon over Show!Jon, anytime. At least, in the books, he is a competent leader, we actually see him dealing with politics, strategy and stuff. And he gets shit done. Far better, than the excellent-swordmen-but not an intelligent-leader-Jon in the show.

      And I prefer Show!Dany over Book!Dany, though it’s hard to explain why. Probably because I kept falling asleep during her chapters – at least on screen she is enjoyable. And I really don’t understand where this Targ Madness is coming from. I don’t like her, but I don’t think she is mad, or that she will ever become mad at all. Releasing dragons on enemies is not a sign of madness. It might be cruel, or can be seen as a justifiable strategy in war, but it definitely won’t make her mad. Being cruel to enemies is not madness, especially in this world.

      When she starts seeing enemies where there are none, when she starts to mistrust even Missandei, Grey Worm, Jorah, and all the others who proved to be trustworthy, when she starts burning people for the fun of it, that’s the point when I’ll consider calling her mad. But she has shown no sign to go there. Even if she needs constant reminders that burning Kings Landing = evil. But she listens.

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    21. Nicely done, Ser Akash. Like life, the show is littered with ‘crossroads’ moments. But it is in especially the main characters and most in Jon and Dany, where these moments are a recognisable cascade into their final fates. What is to become of them.? Only the Bran knows, probably. But you picked the visual and narrative crystallisation of a key moment for Dany in Westeros. . J & D each exemplify GRRM’s stated intention to explore Faulkner’s crux of great writing: “the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself.”

      I give Dany a 50/50 chance of living. If one survives, it will probably be Jon and he might rule. But Dany has some ominous foreshadowing in books and show. Surely Mister “It will be bittersweet” Martin won’t allow them both to rule in a Ferdinand — Isabella arrangement. But by the gods, if she goes down, it will be in a blaze of glory. Oh wait…she would survive a blaze. Well, you get the idea.

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    22. Stark Raven' Rad,

      I just can’t imagine Jon living beyond the end of the show, considering he is a reanimated corpse at this point. I don’t think Martin would do that. I think he has a purpose to fulfill, and then he will return to being dead.

      I think Dany won’t make it as well.

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    23. BranTheBlessed: She has to do both. If I were to make a simple comparison, the Lannisters right now are like what the Boltons were to the North. A disease that needs to be eradicated, necessary evil done so that a new order can be established.

      The Living must unite if they are to stand a chance against the army of the dead. It fell to Jon to unite the North, it’ll be Dany that unites the rest of the realm.

      I don’t agree. Yes, the Lannisters will be removed from power, let’s just remember that two out of the three remaining Lannisters are protagonists.

      It’ll be Tyrion or Jaime who ultimately takes down Cersei, not Dany.

      As for uniting the Realm, I don’t see that as being in Dany’s arc. But we’ll find out soon enough.

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    24. Aszusz,

      As I said, some of the things book!Jon does-as Lord Commander-while necessary, are nonetheless cold and ruthless. Whereas show!Jon’s popularity IMO is because he’s shown as a sweet, gentle, caring, friendly person.

      Jon would probably be as divisive a character as Dany had they adopted his book personality.

      Separating a newborn and the mother, Shipping off Maester Aemon to die at sea, treating Sam and his friends with a cold and distant attitude etc

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    25. Markus Stark,

      Of course not you’re a stark fanboy. Nobody but Jon wins in Stark fanboy world.even though he isn’t never has been and never will be a Stark.

      Tamwell Sarly,

      None of this will happen. And the reigning in caused her to be on the brink of defeat. Using a dragon in war isn’t some horrible crime. You’ve probably never been within 1000 miles of a battle but I have. They are horrible. Dying in war stinks no matter if it’s because of a rifle round sword or fire bomb. She hasn’t done anything remotely mad unless of course you’re already predisposed to disliking her.

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    26. This was a beautiful, articulate analysis, it’s articles like this that help me get through the work day. I think Danny is a very interesting character as well, I am particularly interested in seeing whether or not she takes the prophecy to heart, because if she does she will start to realize how little importance kings landing really is.

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    27. I also think that she will die at the end. So many characters said that she will take the Iron Throne, which means that she will never take it. And I don’t see any reaaon for her not to take the Throne if she is alive at the end, which means she won’t be.

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    28. Hursta1:
      Markus Stark,

      Of course not you’re a stark fanboy.Nobody but Jon wins in Stark fanboy world.even though he isn’t never has been and never will be a Stark.

      Tamwell Sarly,

      None of this will happen.And the reigning in caused her to be on the brink of defeat.Usinga dragon in war isn’t some horrible crime.You’ve probably never been within 1000 miles of a battle but I have.They are horrible.Dying in war stinks no matter if it’s because of a rifle round sword or fire bomb.She hasn’t done anything remotely mad unless of course you’re already predisposed to disliking her.

      What makes you think I’m a Stark fanboy ? Seems like you think anyone who criticizes your beloved Dany must be a fanboy of some other character and a Dany hater.

      I’m neither. I would not be satisfied if Jon ends up on the Iron Throne any more than I would be if Dany did.

      Jon’s mother is a Stark, so he is half Stark, just like he would be if he were Ned’s son.
      But that’s not relevant to my point anyway.

      Dany hasn’t done anything mad ? I beg to differ. Crucifying 163 people chosen at random is mad. Feeding an innocent man to her dragons (see episode 5.05) is mad. Enjoying the burning of the Dothraki Khals is mad. Telling Varys she’ll burn him alive if he betrays her is mad. She clearly has some of the Targaryen madness and sadism in her.

      Burning people alive, crucifying people, feeding them to dragons, etc… She can be vicious and cruel, and she enjoys it. Dany is constantly smiling with an evil glint in her eyes when she does this stuff. Same glint she had in her eyes when she threatened Varys.

      She’s no saint. Overcoming this aspect of her personality and becoming the good person she once was is necessary for her arc to feel right to me.

      Conquering Westeros was Viserys’ dream, and ever since she adopted it, she’s become more like him, and less like the girl we knew in Season 1.

      I don’t think she’ll ever be a “villain”, but she’s definitely a grey character.

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    29. House Monty,

      I totally agree. The show made no sign that she is mad. Inexperienced, yes, impulsive, yes, angry and vengeful at those who wanted to harm her, yes. But mad? This is just a convenient and oversimplistic reaction of the Daenerys haters. Just because her father was mad doesn’t mean she is too…

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    30. Markus Stark,

      I am sorry but what is mad according to you it doesn’t mean that is mad in the context of GoT world. We can’t judge madness in the GoT saga with todays measures of madness. Dany falls in the category of rulers that use the same methods as her enemies do in order to punish them. Hers is a reaction to a certain behaviour and mentality, a brutal one but not mad. You have to check what madness means.

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    31. If the Iron Throne survives, the person sitting on it at the end will not be someone who planned on sitting on it. It might be Jon, who really doesn’t want it, and who would find it incredibly burdensome, but more probably it will be someone else.

      If this story is about anything, it’s about people not getting what they want, or else, if they get what they thought they wanted, the reality is an unpleasant shock.

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    32. Hursta1: Tamwell Sarly,

      None of this will happen. And the reigning in caused her to be on the brink of defeat. Using a dragon in war isn’t some horrible crime. You’ve probably never been within 1000 miles of a battle but I have. They are horrible. Dying in war stinks no matter if it’s because of a rifle round sword or fire bomb. She hasn’t done anything remotely mad unless of course you’re already predisposed to disliking her.

      Using a dragon in war is not a horrible crime, and I never said it was. It’s extremely clear what I was saying in my explanation – that Dany has come quite close several times to using her Dragon to kill thousands of innocent people (not just her enemies and their soldiers). And, once again, if she ends up actually doing that, then she’s crossed a line that from which she’ll likely not be able to return. That’s a possible first/huge step toward a form of the Targ madness.

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    33. Tamwell Sarly,

      She used Drogon alone 2 times at the pit when she was under attack and in the last episode when she attacked enemies. She used her dragons 3 times. The Dracarys moment, V&R to scare the masters and when she was under attack by the Yunkai fleet. What are your several times she was close to kill innocents with Drogon? The only real innocents were killed by the dragons own will and then she was forced to imprison them in the catacombs….

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    34. Thank you for commenting and engaging with the piece, everyone! That makes writing these pieces that much more rewarding. 🙂

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    35. Akash of the Andals,

      Glad that you did this piece, Akash! I haven’t commented because I’m only now catching up with it. A good analysis, I think – well done.
      Danaerys does display ‘the human heart in conflict with itself’ in both books and show – probably more in the former because we’ve more access to her thoughts there. She is interesting because of her difficult background and the choices she now has to make, and she is a good example of the tensions GRRM sets up in the books, as one of his key protagonists.

      Would comment more, but the site is acting up and being rather slow to load anything!

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    36. Markus Stark,

      Nothing you said is mad. Random people? You mean the animals that nailed children to crosses? Innocent? Someone was funding the Sons of the Harpy. Oh and fanboyism? You named yourself a Stark. War is hell. All war. There were so many messed up things that happened in Iraq that I either witnessed or had first hand accounts of that I quit paying attention to them and became numb to it. It bothers me now but I’m not mad and never have been and neither were the people doing these things. Most of the time it was mistakes made in the heat of the moment but there were guys that got caught up in it and did things I’m sure they regret. But that doesn’t make them mad. And who even says mad now anyhow. I know we’re talking about fictional characters but mental illness is a big problem where I’m from and it’s mostly due to the stigma people like to associate with having some kind of mental illness. Oh they’re mad or nuts or whatever lock them up forever. It’s not a good look. I’ve yet to see Dany exhibit any symptoms of any mental illness and definitely not paranoid schizophrenia or dissociative disorder like her father. For you to use those two examples that you did kinda demonstrates your bias. As stated above the slavers got a direct and proportional response for their crimes. And one financier of terrorism killed by any manner isn’t a symptom of some serious mental illness unless you consider everyone in the United States military since 911 to be “mad”. And with that I’m done ever again referring to anyone real or made up that suffers from a mental illness as mad.

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    37. Thank you, I love these character discussions.
      two key images for me make me think Dany isn’t meant for the throne and the question is if she accepts it or not.

      The first of course is the season one image of her walking through the Throne room that’s covered with ash or snow (and maybe the ambiguity is even a clue to something!!)

      The second is something no one has mentioned but I can’t get out of my mind, and that’s the image of Melisandra standing in between Dany and the throne in episode 2 of this season. I think that’s a deliberate message that the prophecy stands between Dany and her dream.

      I love Dany as an agent of vengeance and righting of wrongs, but Agree that as a ruler she’s not so great.

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    38. dothrakian raven:
      Tamwell Sarly,

      She used Drogon alone 2 times at the pit when she was under attack and in the last episode when she attacked enemies. She used her dragons 3 times. The Dracarys moment, V&R to scare the masters and when she was under attack by the Yunkai fleet. What are your several times she was close to kill innocents with Drogon? The only real innocents were killed by the dragons own will and then she was forced to imprison them in the catacombs….

      Most specifically I am referring to the multiple times Dany has wanted to roast the Red Keep and King’s Landing and in the process kill thousands of innocent commoners simply to take out her enemies. She’s been pulled back at least twice by Tyrion and once by Jon. Tyrion warned her a few times last season too.

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    39. Markus Stark:
      Dany hasn’t done anything mad ? I beg to differ. Crucifying 163 people chosen at random is mad. Feeding an innocent man to her dragons (see episode 5.05) is mad. Enjoying the burning of the Dothraki Khals is mad. Telling Varys she’ll burn him alive if he betrays her is mad. She clearly has some of the Targaryen madness and sadism in her.

      Burning people alive, crucifying people, feeding them to dragons, etc… She can be vicious and cruel, and she enjoys it. Dany is constantly smiling with an evil glint in her eyes when she does this stuff. Same glint she had in her eyes when she threatened Varys.

      I found myself agreeing with you again about Dany.
      The mass revenge against the masters being called justice was just insane. She made no attempts to verify whether they were all guilty or if any of them were against the children being crucified, like at least one of them was, probably a few. She has a puerile, Manicheist world view, and I thought meeting Hizdahr Zo Loraq would be a turning point for her, because she would see the world from a different point of view. Instead, she treated him with nothing but despise. The fact he was so sympathetic in the series, and in the end he was really trying to do what was best for his city, even if he was wrong sometimes, but was never taken seriously by anybody in Danny’s camp shocked me.
      That was the same mistake she did when she just fed a random master to her dragon because presumably one of them was guilty. That is a random execution and psychological torture against the others.
      About the dragons, I think the show made a pretty good job showing how brutal battles can be. The battle of the bastards was just harrowing. But it’s pretty difficult to watch frightened soldiers being burned alive, and I think most people would call that the worst way to die. I can understand her saying that the dragons are her best weapon or that they are the best way of winning the war, but she doesn’t seem disturbed by it in the least. I’m comparing to Jon being disturbed by the things he had to do while in charge, like hanging the traitors, including a child, and decapitating Janos Slynt. He takes no glee in it, and he doubts himself.
      That’s what Danny hasn’t done in the show. We don’t see her saying “I should have learnt a bit about the masters before deciding to crucify random ones”, or “why did I fed that random master to my dragons, am I really doing what’s good here?”, or look at men burning and wonder if the ends justify the means. The only time we see her question herself are by things her dragons did, or just tiny signs that she has doubts that rarely mention a specific event. Seeing a person unleashing hell without questioning themselves is quite disturbing.

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    40. Tamwell Sarly,

      Did she specifically say she wants to roast people with her dragons for the pleasure of it? I don’t remember it. If I understand well she is in war and war means casualties. Danny had previously warned her enemies in order to avoid mass destruction of innocent people. What Tyrion and Jon advised her was to find other ways less destructive ways to take the throne. Tyrion knows about the wildfire in KL and Jon about the great danger in the the north. She listened and punished the Lannisters for what they have done and sent a message to Cersei and KL. So she is acting balanced and does what is best for her interests and the general good. The way to madness is just a totally different state of mind…

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    41. The original Stargaryen,

      That’s because you’ve never seen it before. Well really it’s because you’re a Jon fanboy but people really hate being confronted with their bias. I also think it’s cute that you think the slavers we’re good people. There are people here in the US that believe the slavers in the south we’re good people and that African Americans are subhuman and need the benevolent white slavers. You guys honestly sound like Cersei. You know the person displaying symptoms of mental illness and actually burning innocents.

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    42. Nice write-up.

      GRRM has often stated that he does not like the classic fantasy ending where the hero and heroine marry, and live happily ever after, ruling their kingdom benevolently, in a kingdom of plenty, ever after. Because of this, I have come to believe that there wont
      be a Jon and Dany.

      I think Jon will die while saving westeros from the NK and the undead.

      I think Dany will be on the Iron throne. I think she will rule as a queen regnant – I dont think her story arc would have her ending up a queen consort.

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    43. dothrakian raven:
      Tamwell Sarly,

      Did she specifically say she wants to roast people with her dragons for the pleasure of it? I don’t remember it. If I understand well she is in war and war means casualties. Danny had previously warned her enemies in order to avoid mass destruction of innocent people. What Tyrion and Jon advised her was to find other ways less destructive ways to take the throne. Tyrion knows about the wildfire in KL and Jon about the great danger in the the north. She listened and punished the Lannisters for what they have done and sent a message to Cersei and KL. So she is acting balanced and does what is best for her interests and the general good. The way to madness is just a totally different state of mind…

      She doesn’t have to specifically say she wants to roast innocent commoners – she already is fully aware that she will if she attacks KL in the manner she’s so close to doing. It’s been wash, rinse, repeat with Dany for quite some time. She wanted to utterly destroy Astapor and Yunkai last season (everyone in those cities) yet Tyrion had to talk her down. She’s wanted to melt half of KL multiple times this season and yet Tyrion and even Jon have had to talk her down. She is fully aware that any of those actions would take out a considerable amount of innocent, folks…people she claims to care about. And each time she’s about to go do it, she’s got to be reluctantly talked down.

      Yes, there are casualties in war. I’m not saying she and her armies shouldn’t try to inflict them on her enemies. But taking actions that also inflict mass casualties on bystanders who are not her enemy – who are actually people she wants to rule – is a step toward possible madness in my book.

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    44. Tamwell Sarly,

      Only one queen has actually “burned them all” when it comes to the innocents of Kings Landing. That’s the queen Dany is fighting to defeat. But somehow she is the one who has lost control and needs to tread carefully. No if Dany honestly cared about the people of Westeros she would remove Cersei as quickly as possible to spare them anymore death and destruction her rule will bring. Dany is now Robert in that she is on a mission to remove an unfit and dangerous ruler. She has always planned to use dragons to that end.

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    45. I doubt it will be Dany on the throne. Multiple cast members have stated that the theme/moral of the story is ” those that seek out power are the least deserving of it” which at this point is Dany and Cersei. So far, Dany ruling is a mixed bag and I don’t care for her complete self-absorbed attitude. Think back to the Tyrion/Jorah scene when Tyrion asks. Ok, so she takes over Westeros? Then what? A place she doesn’t know at all. I have yet to hear what Dany wants to do in regards to ruling except “break the wheel” (no explanation what that means), “it’s my birthright” and “bend the knee” because of it. I don’t hate Dany, but it’s hard to support entitlement attitude due to position or birthright.

      The Olena scene could be taken two ways. 1) be yourself. who you are 2) Olenna wanted revenge to what happened to her family.

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    46. Tamwell Sarly,

      Well try to find a balance in your Dany hate book. A war without casualties is not a war. People in KL cheer for Euron and support Cercei. So there is no way Dany can conquer KL without dealing with this pyblic support to her enemies. People of KL chose a side and Dany has three dragons at hand and not an olive branch. This is a brutal phantasy world and peace comes with a cost. But. If you have ever read contemporary history you would have noticed that the same rules apply. Would you call Truman a madman for giving the ok for the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagashaki? Get over your Dany hate and as I said update your madness definition next time you shuffle your books…

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    47. Hursta1:
      Tamwell Sarly,

      Only one queen has actually “burned them all” when it comes to the innocents of Kings Landing.That’s the queen Dany is fighting to defeat.But somehow she is the one who has lost control and needs to tread carefully.No if Dany honestly cared about the people of Westeros she would remove Cersei as quickly as possible to spare them anymore death and destruction her rule will bring.Dany is now Robert in that she is on a mission to remove an unfit and dangerous ruler.She has always planned to use dragons to that end.

      I never said Dany “is the one who has lost control and needs to tread carefully.” I mean, where did you get that? I’ve said she has come close several times. Honestly, what does Cersei have to do with Dany possible exhibiting a glimpse of the first step toward maybe, potentially having a slight chance of carrying the Targ madness deep down in her somewhere? Let me ask you this, would you agree Cersei is “mad”? After all, as you say, she “has actually “burned them all” when it comes to the innocents of Kings Landing.” So, Cersei killed maybe several hundred innocents when taking out her enemies and most everyone would agree she’s evil and is bordering on psychosis if not already there. If Dany proceeds to burn half of KL to kill her enemies like she keeps wanting to do, wouldn’t that make her on par with Cersei? That’s not a good place to be.

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    48. dothrakian raven:
      Tamwell Sarly,

      Well try to find a balance in your Dany hate book. A war without casualties is not a war. People in KL cheer for Euron and support Cercei. So there is no way Dany can conquer KL without dealing with this pyblic support to her enemies. People of KL chose a side and Dany has three dragons at hand and not an olive branch. This is a brutal phantasy world and peace comes with a cost. But. If you have ever read contemporary history you would have noticed that the same rules apply. Would you call Truman a madman for giving the ok for the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagashaki? Get over your Dany hate and as I said update your madness definition next time you shuffle your books…

      Lol. I don’t hate Dany – at all. She’s probably my 3rd favorite character in the show, but that’s irrelevant. From the beginning, I’ve merely been pointing out my own personal thoughts on perhaps how the signs of going mad could be, but not most likely aren’t surfacing. I just personally think that the path she’s on isn’t a good one. But, yes, thanks for turning to a I have a “hate book” for Dany as your last stand in this back and forth. It clearly shows you have nothing left to stand on or contribute.

      By the way, the people of KL support Cersei so Dany can kill them all argument is the lamest anyone has presented thus far. Dany wants to help the poor and oppressed, and most of the residents of KL fit this bill. They are not her enemies. Just two seasons ago these same folks threw trash, feces, spit, etc. at Cersei on her walk of atonement. They don’t have allegiance to anyone…their only aspiration is to survive and not miserably suffer along the way. These are the EXACT folks Dany wants to empower with her reign. How can she do that if she burns them all to a crisp?

      And don’t even try bring WWII examples into this – totally 100% not relevant. We are discussing a make believe world where an aspiring young woman wants to win control of the throne and “break the wheel” in order to be the most amazing ruler Westeros has ever seen. That has absolutely nothing do to with any of the historical pretext or outcome of WWII. Good grief.

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    49. The Mad King was mad because he thought immolating all of King’s Landing would actually turn him into a dragon. It’s the disconnect between perception and reality which signifies madness.

      Much of real warfare in our real world over the past century has been about immolating cities from the air, and the persons who planned and executed those immolations were not considered “mad” by their contemporaries, and they are not considered “mad” now — although, like Dany crucifying the Masters, the wisdom and morality of their actions has been questioned.

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    50. HelloThere:
      Stark Raven’ Rad,

      I just can’t imagine Jon living beyond the end of the show, considering he is a reanimated corpse at this point.I don’t think Martin would do that.I think he has a purpose to fulfill, and then he will return to being dead.

      I think Dany won’t make it as well.

      There’s nothing to suggest he’s just a ‘reanimated corpse’. He’s alive. The wights are reanimated corpses. They don’t feel, they don’t breathe, eat, bleed or heal. Jon does all of those things. People are making this assumption based on something GRRM says, but we don’t even know what happens in the books, and it’s very likely the show is different in that regard. So I don’t see Jon as living on borrowed time. He may very well die, but he would die in battle. There’s nothing indicating that he’s being kept alive by magic in the first place.

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    51. sj4iy: o I don’t see Jon as living on borrowed time. He may very well die, but he would die in battle. There’s nothing indicating that he’s being kept alive by magic in the first place.

      I definitely agree. People can say Mel brought him back, but even in the “real” world there are many documented instances where people “died” and came back with no explanation whatsoever. However, it is a route the show/books could take, but I hope not.

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    52. Tamwell Sarly,

      History is always relevant especially when we know that GRRM got most of his inspiration in writing pivotal moments in Asoiaf from history. The show has made it clear that Danny is not mad. She is untrained, stubborn, impulsive, vindictive, egoistic but she has been all this because she is a ruler to be, and it was part of her training. She also showed compassion, she was just, she tried to restrain her dragons, she showed mercy, she was generous etc. What I am trying to tell you is that madness is not something that one just has it in the backside of one’s mind like a candy in a pocket. It is about a complex mental disorder, it is also a process, something that develops within a context. I don’t think that D&D want to make Dany a study case of madness, she is fire in the asoiaf context and they use the fire’s features to unravel her character as much as they use ice to depict Jon. Her father was mad indeed, delusional, a clinical case I suppose, and everybody around her has tried to use this fact as a way to bridle her dragon side. But in no way to signify a possible descend in madness. This is the case of Cersei. I think this is very clear. Now the fact that people criticised her as descending to madness because she attacked Lannister soldiers who had just slaughtered and looted her allies and the fact that people regard her intentions to attack KL as a sign of targaryen madness is beyond me.

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    53. A very well written piece. Dany is a grey character torn between her cravings for power and a more ‘good’ side that wants to do well for the people, this ultimately in my opinion will be her downfall but it’s nice to see her internal conflicts so well portrayed on screen.

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    54. Edward,

      I suspect Dany will die because I just cannot see her bending the knee to Jon or the two of them ruling together. She doesn’t really have the backing of anyone in Westeros either unless she can win them over in defeating the white walkers.

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    55. HelloThere:
      Stark Raven’ Rad,

      I just can’t imagine Jon living beyond the end of the show, considering he is a reanimated corpse at this point.I don’t think Martin would do that.I think he has a purpose to fulfill, and then he will return to being dead.

      I think Dany won’t make it as well.

      So the legit heir to the throne, the secret prince will die before realising this? Not sure I buy this. GRRM seems to be setting up Dany as the one to claim the throne only to switch it with Jon late on.

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