OpEd - Opinion & Editorial, Randoms, TV

The Making of the Mad Queen

Last week was a long one and at the end of it, we were rewarded with the jaw-dropping premiere of HBO’s new Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon. I could not possibly be more floored! At the end of this post, you will see my thoughts about House S1E1. In honor of the premiere, we’re going to revisit Game of Thrones for one of the longest blog posts I’ve every written, clocking in at 14,670 words including quotes. lol Enjoy but be sure to have a coffee ready!

Since May 2019, the infamous ending of the HBO hit series Game of Thrones has been hotly debated. Most butthurt fanboys/fangirls are of the notion that Dany’s turn as the Mad Queen was completely out of left field and made no sense. I would argue that if you’d been paying attention and not cheering on a pretty blue-eyed psychopath, you’d find that the evidence was there from the start. I went back to that first episode and made notes for every single Dany scene in the show (believe it or not, it’s a lot less screen time than you’d think). This post is my proof that she was a crazy bitch from go.

Notes Before We Get Started

I would like to note that this has nothing to do with the books. I think one of the biggest problems is the fandom is looking at how the story played out and matching it up to how the story is playing out in the books. They’re two different animals, people. The showrunners were told by GRRM how his book series would end and according to GRRM, they went in a different direction. So, yes, if you’re comparing Dany of the books to Dany of the show, I’m sure the ending doesn’t make any sense. lol

The other common gripe is the way time moves in the GoT world. Again, it doesn’t move funky, you just weren’t paying attention. In the first episode, it’s explained that it takes about a month to travel the King’s Road from King’s Landing to Winterfell. Yet it only takes an episode to make the journey once we’re dropped into the story. This informs you right away that there are HUGE leaps of time between scenes and if you listen to the dialog, you’re always given tips as to how much time has passed. Between S1E1 and the series finale, years have passed and it’s not on a 1(season) :1(year) ratio. For example, at the end of S1E1, Brandon Stark is pushed from the tower and lands in a coma. By the end of the next episode, “more than a month” has gone by and he still hasn’t woken up (as mentioned by Catelyn Stark in conversation). If you want to know how much time has passed, shut your yap and listen to the dialog (that’s the talky stuff in between all the swords and boobs). The information is there through the whole show. 

This post will not address any plot holes or production mistakes. Okay, just one involving Varys. Other than that, we’re going to assume those mistakes are error, not intentional. The reason I point it out with the Varys situation is because it affects the Daenerys storyline and character development.

If you have not watched Game fo Thrones, this post is chock full o’ spoilers and will make no sense to you. Feel free to skip it. More bookish goodness is coming up on the blog in just a little bit!

Each season requires a bit of unpacking so get comfy. Let’s go!

SEASON ONE

Kickin’ It in Pentos and Dany’s Current Place in the World

I actually believe that this very first meeting is where everyone was steered wrong and I think it was intentional. This is where we first meet Dany. The scene is hot on the heels of a scene in which Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark are discussing “the Targaryen bitch across the Narrow Sea” and how Robert wants her dead, child or not. Right there, the writers set the stage for you to feel bad for Dany. You haven’t even met her yet but they let you believe that she’s this poor exiled royal who doesn’t have what it takes to be a threat because she was an infant when her family was overthrown. However, three minutes of convo with her bro, and we should know that this is simply not the case.  

As soon as you meet Daenerys Tagaryen, you’re given the information that A) she and her brother are relying on the kindness of strangers to keep them safe and B) the strangers aren’t kind at all, they’re making political moves. She’s a pawn. She’s a commodity to be traded to get what they all want: The Iron Throne and dominion over Westeros.

As soon as she appears in the frame, you notice that she’s melancholy. Not angry, not sad. She seems to give zero fucks about anything at all. You watch her face as her brother is preparing for her to meet the warlord he’s marrying her off to and it’s plain that she resents being treated like property. Regardless of his treatment of her, he spends every moment he’s talking to her babbling about endgame plans to rule the Seven Kingdoms as is his birthright. 

So let’s take stock for one moment before moving on. You’ve got a nutjob brother who has spent your seventeen years of life telling you that family is entitled to rule over everyone else. He and the people who would profit off of him being in power are your only sources of information. You’re told that not only was your family’s legacy stolen from you but it was ripped away by traitors who murdered your entire family taking what was rightfully theirs. If you’re told your entire life how righteous your family’s cause is and you have no other sources of information, why would you believe anything else? Okay, moving on.

Broseph (I know that’s not his name, shut up) tells her to get ready because her future husband is coming to meet her. And here is our first glimpse of the instability that leads to the birth of the Mad Queen. With no regard for her own safety and no outward curiosity about the dragon myths surrounding her family (“Fire cannot hurt a Dragon.”….she doesn’t seem to know or care about this at this point), she walks into a tub full of fresh boiling water and it doesn’t burn her. Outside of a few servants yelling about it being too hot for her, there is no attention drawn at this time to the fact that it didn’t burn her.

Cut to them standing on the steps of Illyrio’s palace awaiting the arrival of her betrothed. Up rides her warlord fiancé. In this scene, she doesn’t at all seem afraid of the warlord (I keep calling him that on purpose….). In fact. Viserys has to grab her arm to keep her from fearlessly marching right up to him. He stops her to explain the Dothraki ponytail custom to her: ponytails are only cut when a Dothraki loses a battle and Drogo’s ponytail almost touches the ground. Translation: You should be afraid of this man, know your place, woman. Rather than cow to him or take the normal role of lady with a deep respectful bow, she meets Drogo with her head held high. No curtsies or any of that bullshit. She meets his eye and doesn’t break her stare until he turns and rides away satisfied with his bride-to-be. 

You’re also given a glimpse of the extreme level of asskissery that’s feeding her brother’s delusions. Illyrio runs a line of BS telling Viserys that the common people sing songs of their family’s return. They don’t. As the viewer, you’ve already seen what the people of Westeros care about and it’s not the Targaryens or any other fancy family. 

After one last ditch effort telling him that she doesn’t want to be Drogo’s queen and that she wants to go home, Viserys explains that her pending nuptials are the means by which they will take back what is rightfully theirs. He tells her (paraphrasing) that an army could fuck her into the dirt and he couldn’t give any less of a shit if it means he gets his crown. 

In her next scene, Dany marries Khal Drogo making her his queen, or Khaleesi as the Dothraki call her. From the very opening of the wedding scene, it’s obvious that her unease isn’t so much about the people as it is about their way of life. She’s all fine until she glances around at the pit of roasting animal hearts or the pile of roasted animal carcasses waiting to be eaten. Their culture is tribal and violent and she’s had no exposure to anything like it prior. During the wedding, she meets Jorah Mormont and he’s an island she can cling to. Something familiar in a sea of strangers. This is where she is gifted with her three “petrified” dragon’s eggs. The narrative focus is much more heavily placed on how sad/scared she is of her wedding night.

In the second episode, we kick off her first scene with a return to the melancholy queen. Seriously. Her first frame, she’s literally pouting and refusing to eat because it’s yucky. Grow up. lol Jorah is her only voice of maturity. When she’s handed a piece of horse jerky to get her snack on, she’s grossed out and asks if there is anything else (there’s that sense of entitlement that has been ground into her for seventeen years). He reasons with her to make her understand the limited options and the fact that she won’t survive if she doesn’t eat. He should have said, “Bitch, look around. Do you see a fucking buffet anywhere???” but I digress.  

There is no polite way to say this. In the next scene, she’s getting railed from behind by her Khal, which anyone can tell you is an unpleasant experience if you’re not down for it. She’s openly weeping through the bumpy ride to Poundtown and then she’s just….not. It’s like she sees something in the fire. While you aren’t told flat out that she’s seeing a vision, she’s staring into the flame at her dragon eggs and for just a split second, you can hear the faint sounds of men screaming in agony. And she smirks. Like a psycho. The camera immediately cuts away and goes back to flame, then pans to a totally different scene for Tyrion’s story line before you even have time to process the magnitude of what just happened. 

The Assumed Vision in the Flames

From now on, I’m going to refer to this moment as TAVITF. They never come right out and say that’s what happened in this moment but she definitely saw something that took her from quite fucking miserable (see what I did there?) to almost giddily intrigued. The vision could have been just how to hatch the eggs (which she mentions having a vision of later on down the road, though she doesn’t say when she had the vision), OOOOOOOOR the vision could have been similar to the one Bran has of her riding atop Drogon burning King’s Landing to ash. If it’s the second option, then her moment at the King’s Landing gates with the surrender bells ringing all around her, when she chucks everything in the Fuck It bucket and burns the place anyway, this version of TAVITF theory would explain her choice. If she believes that burning King’s Landing to the ground is her actual destiny, why wouldn’t she do it??? She was literally given a vision of it happening, she has to follow through. Regardless of which version of TAVITF you think is correct, from this moment, she knows she needs a dragon to change her circumstances and (s)he who holds the dragons holds the power. Her family has proven that over thousands of years of history mentioned in the series. A history that she knows by heart thanks to her brother’s incessant babbling about becoming King.

We also know from later in the show that those who follow the Lord of Light see visions in the flames all the damn time, but as a new watcher to the show, this entire moment could so easily be missed or dismissed as irrelevant and it matters. OMG, it matters so much. It explains so much. From this moment on, Dany’s belief in her own entitlement to the Iron Throne is cranked up to 11 and simply keeps climbing for the remainder of the show. She may not be openly talking about it yet, but watch from here on out with the mindset that she’s already thinking Iron Throne, Iron Throne, IRON THRONE. Every single action/choice she makes to the very end makes sense. Okay, let’s go. 

Something has changed drastically with our girl. In the next scene. Dany’s no longer looking melancholy at all. There is  an urgent curiosity about her now and she’s asking questions about dragons. Remember, they’ve all been gone since she was a teeny bean. She’s never actually seen one, nor does she know anything about how to get one but the idea is clearly in her head at this point. Again with TAVITF, if the vision was like Bran’s where she just saw the endgame, the questions she’s asking make sense. She knows she needs a dragon but isn’t quite sure how to get one and needs to put the pieces together.

In this scene, her blistered hands are being tended to by the Dothraki slave equivalent of lady’s maids and she asks the three if anyone has ever seen a dragon. They inform her that they are all gone and she presses. “Everywhere? Even in the east?” They confirm and then one speaks up (Doreah; not Dothraki). She says a trader from Qarth once told her where dragons came from, saying:

“He told me the moon is an egg, Khaleesi. That once, there were two moons in the sky, but one wandered too close to the sun and it cracked from the heat. Out of it poured a thousand thousand dragons and they drank the sun’s fire.”

Doreah to Daenerys
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 1 Episode 2

Strip the beautiful storytelling away and you get a simple formula: dragon egg + fire = baby dragon. So, if TAVITF didn’t show her how to hatch them, this story is how she figured it out. That’s the first important bit from this scene. 

The second important bit is the quick culling of the group. The two Dothraki handmaids laugh the moon/dragon egg story off as nonsense because their way claims the moon as a goddess. Well, that doesn’t fit Dany’s needs at the moment so she dismisses them. This is the first (albeit small) step in Dany’s path to surrounding herself with only those who would further her desired narrative…you know, like a dictator does. 

This scene is also important because after she dismisses the two Dothraki lady’s maids, she and Doreah have a conversation in which Dany learns that the woman was sold to a brothel at the age of nine. She’s taken aback for, like, a second and then quickly turns it to her benefit asking Doreah to train her on how to be good at sex (again, paraphrasing). It’s not about romancing her warlord king, it’s about learning a skill so she can manipulate her warlord king. She has to break him like his people break horses, and the easiest way for a woman to get a man to do what she wants is sex. Plus, a baby would secure her place among the Dothraki. Having the tribe’s royal child is a good way to buy the people’s loyalty. 

Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen,
the First of Her Name, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea

In her first scene of episode three, we see that Dany is stacking up her skill sets. Using Jorah as a tutor of sorts, she’s learning the Dothraki beliefs, politics, and economics━the things she needs to be familiar with to know how to rule them. In her first flex of power over the Dothraki horde, she brings the entire Khalasar to a halt just so she can go wandering for a minute. Broseph flips his shit on her for daring to order him around and the Dothraki react loyal to their Khaleesi. She starts to see that the power has changed hands between the Targaryen siblings and in a show of mercy, Dany demands that he be left unharmed. 

Quick side note: the dragon queen never bothers to learn how to fight. Did anyone else find that odd??? She learns all these other skills, none of which really help her out as she relies on those around her most of the time. She can burn shit like a mofo once she has her dragons but any clue regarding knives or a sword might have saved her life in the end. Just sayin’… Moving on!

Dany is also learning the language by taking lessons from her lady’s maids and she’s pregnant. Okay, so I have to ask you all to step back and look at this situation from a broad strokes perspective. The Dothraki way is to raid villages and rape, kill, or claim whoever/whatever they want. Khal Drogo, admittedly hot AF, is a rapey, murderous, barbarian warlord and Daenerys Targaryen is his snugglebunny. Want proof? Read on.

In Dany’s final scene of episode three, she and the Khal are in a cuddly post-bone sesh haze and she tells him she thinks the baby is a boy. Then gazes at him all dumb and love drunk. See? Snugglebunny.  

By episode four, Dany is no longer afraid of her brother. She openly scolds him for referring to the Dothraki as savages. Her loyalty to him as family is the only thing keeping him safe. When he marches away bitching about his army, she glares at him like she wants to rip his head from his shoulders. At this point in the storyline, Dany is also now asking Jorah questions about the logistics of using the Dothraki to take Westeros, and whether or not it’s even a realistic venture once they get the Dothraki across the Narrow Sea. 

Viserys and Dany have a violent encounter where she gives him her final warning. She asserts her position as the Khaleesi of the Dothraki, not only by threatening to chop off his hands if he lays them on her again, but also by speaking of their laws in a way that shows she’s adopted them as her own. It’s no longer Viserys vs Daenerys. It’s now Viserys vs the Khaleesi and her people. 

In episode six, Dany realizes her own imperviousness to fire when she places one of her dragon eggs on a bed of burning coals to see if the heat would make it hatch. She snatches the egg back up out of the coals, and in a panicked effort to prevent Dany from burning her hands on the scalding hot egg, her lady’s maid burns her own. It should freak her out. At the very least, she should have been somewhat surprised to learn that she literally cant be burned. Not so much.

She’s learned to conduct herself as a queen. Vaes Dothrak is her chance to prove she’s a true match for her barbarian king. In a ceremony involving eating a horse’s heart, she proves herself to Khal as worthy of him. Up until this point, she was his property. Now she’s his equal and their child will be the stuff of legends. 

She makes one last offer for Viserys to shut his crazy down and he chooses violence. He threatens Daenerys and her baby. Watch her in this scene. Her rapey, murderous, barbarian warlord husband melts his gold medallion belt down and pours it over Viserys’s head giving him the golden crown he’s been demanding the entire time he’s been with them. Jorah tries to get Dany to look away before the pouring starts but she insists on watching. She is STRAIGHT ICE as Viserys screams his last and falls to the ground dead. Given that fire doesn’t hurt her, as far as she’s concerned, this is absolute confirmation of her destiny.

Daenerys to Jorah
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 1 Episode 6

Now that Viserys is dead, Dany has a renewed sense of her purpose. Her first scene in episode seven opens with her playfully trying to convince Khal Drogo to take the Seven Kingdoms (attempting to manipulate him into thinking it was his idea). As she is the sole remaining Targaryen (not really), she believes it to now be her birthright. 

She begins to grow impatient, oddly enough, for the same exact reason her brother was getting all demandy. Khal Drogo’s inaction and complete disinterest in making any moves toward sailing on Westeros. Now that she wants it for herself, she’s adopted the same urgency that plagues her brother. 

While walking through the marketplace, one of Robert Baratheon’s assassins makes an attempt to give her poisoned wine. Although she is burdened by the thought of constantly being hunted because of her last name, it’s the catalyst that Khal Drogo needs to finally make a move in the direction she wants. In a very impassioned speech, he promises to give their son the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms. He promises to rape their women and take their children as slaves, and Dany watches on all welled up with pride like it’s the most romantic thing she’s ever heard…  

When they leave Vaes Dothrak the next morning, the would-be assassin is tied to her horse by a rope leash, naked and stumbling. She seems perfectly fine with that.

Episode eight is fun. We get a glimpse of the Dothraki are up to their Dothraki hijinks. You know, with the raping and pillaging. 

Raid the Village > Take the People >> Sell The People to Slavers for Gold >>> Buy Ships With the Gold >>>> Sail the Ships for Westeros to Take the Iron Throne

Dany seems bothered by all of it for twenty-six and a half seconds, at least. Upon seeing one of the bloodriders about to rape a woman, she orders that he be stopped. She claims that woman and a bunch of others as hers and orders that they not be harmed. Nothing about the hundreds of others that her husband and his men murdered and/or raped but whatever.

With Khal Drogo sick, Dany’s power over the Dothraki is slipping and she doesn’t like that one bit. Jorah tells her Khal will be dead within the night and she refuses to leave him even though it almost certainly means death for her and her son if she stays. Because she’s head over heels in love with the rapey, murderous, barbarian warlord king. 

She enlists the help of the woman she “saved” from the village raid and the woman uses blood magic. The magic robs the life of Dany’s son and what’s left of Khal Drogo is an empty shell. A living empty shell but empty nonetheless. Brokenhearted, Dany makes the choice to end his life and goes all in on the mythology of her family. 

Before climbing atop her husband’s funeral pyre, she vows to what remains of her Khalasar that those who would harm them will die screaming. She doesn’t promise to protect them, oh no no no no. She vows to bring the pain if anyone were to hurt them. What??? lol She sets fire to the pyre and takes a moment to enjoy the sight and sound of the witch burning to death before she joins her, Drogo, and the three petrified dragon eggs in the flames. By morning, there is no room left for doubt in Dany’s head. She is unburnt and her dragons live, proving the destiny she’s so sure of. 

Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name,
Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, The Unburnt, The Mother of Dragons

A tyrant is born in this moment and because it’s so beautiful to behold, the entire fandom just ignores that this is where she starts to genuinely believe the bullshit. As the next seasons play out, we will watch many others fall prey to the visions in the flames. It happens repeatedly throughout the show. The Lord of Light leads people wrong ALL THE TIME. Why are we ignoring that he probably did the same with Dany???

SEASON TWO

Season two opens with Dany and what’s left of her Dothraki horde wandering the Red Waste, a barren desert in Esos. 

One thing I would like to note is in this opening scene, out of frustration at their lack of water or food, she tells Jorah she swore to protect them. She didn’t. She swore to kill anyone who would harm them. That doesn’t mean they won’t get harmed, just that she’ll burn the offending party. lol  Anyway, back to the season. 

In an effort to save herself, her dragons, and what remains of her Dothraki people, she sends her three Bloodriders in different directions in search of people or water. The first horse returns with Rakharo’s head in the saddle bag and Jorah speculates he was probably killed by another Khal because Khalasars don’t normally follow a woman. This pisses her off but we see a rare moment where she is actually tender with one of her followers.

Irri, one of her Dothraki lady’s maids, is heartbroken over Rakharo’s death, reeling at the possibility that he won’t join his ancestors in the Night Lands (their version of the afterlife). Dany consoles her and it’s important because it’s one of the last times you see her act this…..sweet? For the most part, from here on out, she just keeps becoming harder and colder. There are a few exceptions, of course, but they are few. When she’s braiding Missandei’s hair and discussing Grey Worm’s junk (or lack thereof). When Irri and the Dothraki guard in Qarth are murdered (she’s visibly upset over Irri’s death). When the exiled Jorah appears before her in the fighting pit in Meereen. When Jorah returns to her again, this time infected with grayscale he contracted passing through Old Valyria while exiled. Pretty much every time Jorah comes back to her, she has a conflicted mushy moment. The moments where she seems soft in any way are all memorable because there aren’t that many.

By the fourth episode, another one of her Bloodriders, Kovarro returns with a fresh horse, water, and an invitation to receive her from The Thirteen, the leaders of a walled desert oasis city called Qarth. Upon arrival, she’s not greeted with the open welcoming arms she was fully expecting. Her temper and her bananas sense of entitlement almost get all of them turned away at the gates. They want proof that she really is the Mother of Dragons (by seeing the dragons) and she doesn’t think she should have to show them shit until her people are safe inside the city walls. 

Unimpressed, the mouthpiece for The Thirteen (the Spice King) turns to walk away, and you can almost see the steam begin billowing out of her ears. Jorah even goes to the point of opening his mouth, pleading with her to be careful. And like every infamous nub in that nearly straight up and down family tree of hers, she pops off with the threats and literally spells out exactly what she ends up doing to King’s Landing:

“Thirteen. When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground. Turn us away and we will burn you first.”

“Ahh, you are a true Targaryen. Only, as you said a moment ago, if we don’t let you into the city, you will all die. And so…” 

Daenerys and the Spice King
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 4

He turns to leave and the only reason she’s let into the city, Targaryen or not, is because Xaro Xhoan Daxos (another of The Thirteen) sees a political strategy in extending kindness. Once in the city, Dany seems to relax a bit but the Dothraki certainly don’t entirely trust it. Her lady’s maid Doreah is all about it though (originally from the city of Lys) and is clearly on the side of pushing her toward a life there rather than the nomadic existence she’s known since being purchased by Viserys. 

During a gathering in her honor, Dany has to put her foot down with some of the Dothraki to explain that they are not stealing anything from Qarth. After laying down the law, she’s walking with Jorah and comments on her brother’s theory that the only thing Dothraki knew how to do was steal things better men had built. Jorah retorts by saying they are also quite good at killing those better men. Pay attention to this moment. She smirks ever so slightly and says, “That’s not the kind of queen I’m going to be.” Yes, honey, it totally is.

While strolling through the palace with Xaro, he outs Jorah for being in love with her. When he asks her what she wants, without hesitation she tells him she wants to take the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms because they’re hers by right. This is the first (and not the last) time someone calls her a conqueror. She tries to retort by saying that the fortune he built (not really…spoilers lol) makes him no different. I think she’s fucking delusional to equate the two but whatever. She then asks what he wants and we find out his endgame is about marriage and using his amassed fortune to conquer the Seven Kingdoms together. Anyway…

Xaro uses the news that Robert Baratheon croaked to try to sway her decision and you can immediately see by the look on her face that it worked. Her impatience returns with all the gusto of a runaway freight train and Jorah has to beg her to see that sailing to Westeros with someone else’s money and a borrowed army is a mistake. He cautions that she would always be under the thumb of those she took favors from. She cools down a bit and he advises her to make her own way. Get one ship and sail to make allies in Westeros rather than buying an army. With her blessing (and a kind of unspoken order), he leaves her to find a ship. 

The reason I bothered summarizing this scene is because this is the first time that one comment from someone else caused Dany to immediately distrust a confidant. Xaro’s comment about Jorah being in love with her makes her completely distrust his motives for serving her and shit is awkward. She’s trying to friendzone his ass HARD when he disagrees with Xaro’s marriage/Westeros offer and she turns into an ice queen over it. Now, Jorah might have initially ended up by her side for shady reasons (which she doesn’t know about yet) but the second he saw her rise from the funeral pyre ashes with her baby dragons, he would die for her, no questions asked. She did a god-level trick in front of his eyes,  and whether he was in love with her or not, I have no doubt he would have served her. 

After she sends Jorah away, she goes with Xaro and approaches the Spice King to ask for his ships. She waxes poetic about being the Mother of Dragons and her dreams coming true. He’s not convinced and declines with a, “I’m sorry, little princess,” and turns to walk away, she’s back to the Targaryen-style threats:

“I am not your little princess. I am Daenerys Stormborn of the Blood of Old Valyria and I will take what is mine. With fire and blood, I will take it.”

Daenerys to the Spice King
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 8

And as if she wasn’t sounding cranky enough, she returns to Xaro’s palace to find her Dothraki guard murdered and her dragons missing. Xaro vows to help her find those responsible for the sake of his honor. Jorah returns as soon as he hears what happened and finds her spiraling out of grief and a fresh round of paranoia. She doesn’t want to trust anyone anymore, seemingly him included. He begs her to tell him how he can help and she snaps. 

“Find my dragons.”

Daenerys to Jorah
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 8

She confronts The Thirteen and begs for her dragons back. There, she learns that Xaro was in league with the warlocks and arranged the whole thing in exchange for the title of King of Qarth. The warlocks have the dragons at the House of the Undying and they taunt her into coming to get them. Jorah advises her that it’s a mistake but she’s not leaving without her dragons. 

She tears off on a rescue mission and ends up trapped in their tower passing from one vision to the next. The first vision is the throne room at Kings Landing. But it’s not just that it’s that room. It’s that room after she’s burned King’s Landing in the final attack. The roof is all busted out and it’s snowing on the empty throne room, just as it is when she finally captures the Iron Throne. Just as she reaches for the arm on the throne, she hears her dragon babies crying for her and moves on. 

The next vision is of the blinding white of the snow north of the wall. In the distance, she sees a Dothraki hut. Inside, Khal Drogo and their son wait for her. This is another moment that is meant to lead you astray so let me dump some ice water on it. Her rapey, murderous, barbarian warlord sugar bear was waiting for his psychotic little snugglebunny. Yes, yes, they’re very romantic being all soulmatey and such. They both also murder people with not much thought about it. Moon of my life and yadda yadda yadda but murder, murder, murder, rapey murder, people. Anyway, she hears the dragon babies and is reminded that as much as she wishes her rapey, murderous, barbarian warlord sugar bear and their baby were real, they are not and she moves on. 

The visions are all meant to tempt her into staying without a fight but she ends up staying the course and they chain her up anyway. Fortunately, her dragons have finally figured out how to use their fire. 

Dragon Thinky Powers???

So I want to pause for one second and throw something out that is never outright addressed in the show but seems to happen multiple times in the show. I wonder if Dany has a psychic connection of sorts with her dragons. When she’s chained in the tower and they’re on the table next to her, she looks down at them, and as if they heard her thoughts, all three look up at her in unison. This comes up again in Merean so I will bring it up again shortly. Back to it! 

“Dracarys.”

Daenerys
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 10

They’re so adorable and murdery. Just like mommy!

Their fire is small but it does the job and she’s able to escape with all three babies. She returns to Xaro’s palace to bring the pain and finds Doreah snuggled up with him in his bed. She makes him open the vault, finds out he was full of shit the whole time, and locks him and Doreah in the big empty vault.

She punished the warlock by burning him alive, punished Xaro and Doreah by starving them to death, and seems as happy and lighthearted as she would be after a really good yoga class. Not a care in the world beyond robbing all of the fake gold in Qarth to buy ships. She walks away from the whole situation quite satisfied with herself. Not plagued with guilt over the lives she took. Simply content.

SEASON THREE

Dany now has her ship and seems to be seeing some real sense. Her first scene of the season opens on her saling to Astapor. Her dragons have grown into agile hunters but they’re not very big yet. She recognizes that they’re not going to be enough to sail for Westeros because they’re not growing fast enough. She says she needs an army. When Jorah suggests the Unsullied as an option, she reminds him that they’re a slave army, something she clearly isn’t okay with, which is HILARIOUS given how all Khalasars are built. Slavery was mostly fine when it was her hot hubby was doing it. 

The Unsullied

So, I love this entire sequence. Full stop. Dany meets Kraznys, one of the Good Masters of Astapor (a slave trader who sells Unsullied soldiers). I believe this moment is what solidified in her head that what she was doing was the right thing. He is a slimy prick, no two ways about it. He speaks Valyrian and assuming she does not, he brings a translator (also a slave). What homie doesn’t know is that High Valyrian is her first language. She understands every foul word coming out of his mouth, further proof to her that no one should be trusted. She and Jorah walk the docks in Astapor and discuss buying the Unsullied. While there, an assassination attempt is made on her life, courtesy of the warlocks. Again, more paranoia for the pile. 

The one silver lining to this moment is when she meets Ser Barristan Selmy, a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms who served as King’s Guard to her father. Recently shit canned by Joffrey, he sailed for Esos to find Dany and continue serving House Targaryen as her Queen’s Guard. He is who stops the assassination attempt, broadening the small circle of people she can confide in. He also gives her a connection to her family, which maybe wasn’t the greatest thing either. He paints a sweet picture of her family in conversation, which enhances her belief that her family was wrongfully overthrown. They do have one moment later where Ser Barristan tells her of the Mad King, correcting her assumption that the nickname was earned via the lies of their enemies. He tells her exactly what her father was and that the stories were not lies. This does nothing to slow her entitlement. 

Dany passes by the Walk of Punishment. They are slaves who have been whipped and crucified as a warning to others not to step out of line. When Dany returns to meet with Kraznys again, she tells him she wants to buy all of his Unsullied and offers one of her dragons in payment. He accepts and she demands his translator as part of the bargain. He agrees and Missandei leaves with her to retrieve Drogon for the deal.

The Danaerys that returns with her dragon for trade is cold as ice. Everything she has seen and heard while in Astapor makes her hate Kraznys. As soon as the deal is done, she turns and addresses the Unsullied in High Valyrian, revealing that she understood him all along. She orders her Unsullied to kill every master in Astapor and gives the dracarys command to fry Kraznys to ash. She is STONE as everything burns. 

Once the dust has settled, she addresses the Unsullied again telling them that they are free men and that they can leave and no harm will come to them. She then asks if they will fight for her and the entire Unsullied army follows her out of town. So, while this moment is killin’ it with the cool factor, step back from it and look at it from a broad strokes point of view. She came to a merchant, struck a deal, double crossed him proving her word is shit, and stole an army of eight thousand soldiers. The Unsullied believe in her because she freed them. Again, further feeding her belief that this quest she is on is good and right.

Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, First of Her Name, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Mother of Dragons and Breaker of Chains

Yunkai is next on her chopping block. They are a slave city just like Astapor was, except that that don’t trade in soldiers but labor and servants. She sends soldiers to inform the Wise Masters of Yunkai that she will receive them outside the city to accept their surrender. Through the meeting, she discovers that the Wise Masters aren’t protecting Yunkai alone, they’ve hired the Second Sons, an army of mercenary soldiers. 

Upon meeting with the three heads of the Second Sons, she catches the eye of Daario Naharis. He decides to behead his co-captains for the chance to get in Dany’s pants. He leads the way with Jorah and Grey Worm to sack the city in the middle of the night. By morning, she’s standing at the gates of the city waiting for the freed slaves to come out and they adore her for what she did. They literally worship her like a god, referring to her as mhysa, which translates to mother in their language. More proof to her that what she’s doing is good and right.

SEASON FOUR

She and her army are now riding for Meereen. Daario tries to stress to her the importance of learning about the land she’s conquering. On the road to Meereen, they encounter mile markers with crucified children leading the way to the slave city. She tells them to wait to take down each one so she can see the kids’ faces. Then orders that they be buried but to remove their slave collar first. 

They approach Meereen’s walls and the city is waiting and watching, both slaves and masters. She ignopres the masters and speaks directly to the slaves. She tells them of the slaves she freed in Astapor and Yunkai and then challenges them to take their own freedom. She’s has her army catapult barrels full of the slave collars they removed into the city’s pyramids. 

Dany decides at the opening of this episode that she’s not going to sail for Westeros yet. She wants to stay in Meereen and rule to keep those she’s freed from sliding back into chains. And this is where she goes wrong for a time because she’s absolutely fucking miserable ruling. She’s happy as hell when conquering but ruling bores the pants off this woman. Literally. She starts banging Daario not too far from now to pass the time.

By staying and ruling, Dany is also forced to witness the aftermath of her conquering of the city. The dragons are starting to get unruly as well. They are growing and they’re becoming more violent and wild in their adolescence. When she’s receiving supplicants at the great pyramid, she learns that Drogon has cooked a man’s goat. To make it right, she promises to repay him for his goats three fold and he leaves happy. Another who comes in is Hizdhar zo Loraq, the son of one of the noble families in the city. He tells her his father’s job was to restore and maintain the city’s landmarks, including the pyramid they’re standing in. When she says she’d be honored to meet him, Hizdhar informs her that she has. That he was one of the nobles she crucified. It’s the first time she’s really had to face what she’s done and she’s taken aback for a split second before her hackles go up and she gets defensive. Every interaction she has with Hizdhar from that point forward is contentious and it’s more than likely because he’s a reminder of the shitty, shitty things she has done in the name of freeing the people of Meereen.

The momentary glimpse of guilt is all for show. By morning, Daario is on the road to Yunkai with the Second Sons to retake the city from the masters who took it back and he has orders to execute every single one of them. Jorah counsels her against it and ends up changing her mind. Instead of an execution, she orders that they be given an ultimatum:

“Tell them they can live in my new world or die in their old one.”

Daenerys
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 4 Episode 7

When Ser Barristan discovers Jorah’s spying and the pardon that had been granted by Robert Baratheon. He gives Jorah the courtesy of a heads up that he’s going to tell Daenerys. When she confronts him, she’s right back to ice with him and this time she banishes him, but not before telling him that if he’s not gone by daybreak, she’ll have him executed. This is one more incident to contribute to her growing paranoia of those around her. 

Daenerys receives supplicants again and it goes about as well as last time we saw this happen. First up is an elderly former slave who wishes to return to his master because he feels there is no place for him in the new world. Then she gets another report of an accidental killing by Drogon but instead of livestock, this time it’s a little girl. Horrified by the revelation, she locks two of the dragons in the catacombs beneath the great pyramid. 

SEASON FIVE

Daario and Hizdhar return from their trip to Yunkai and they feel it was a success. The masters want her to reopen the fighting pits and she’s adamant that she doesn’t want them. Meereen is having the same problem Yunkai had with the former masters rising up. The Sons of the Harpy is a group of just such folks and they are murdering people left and right. When her Unsullied soldiers capture one, she’s out for blood, and Ser Barristan counsels her to exercise restraint. 

“The mad king gave his enemies the justice he thought they deserved. and each time it made him feel powerful and right.”

Ser Barristan Selmy
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 2

Hearing this sways her to give the captured Son of the Harpy a fair trial. However, one of her loyal Meereenese freed slaves takes the law into his own hands and murders the prisoner. To stay fair to the law, she executes the freed slave for murder and finds out how quickly the conquered will turn. She may have freed them from their chains, but in the moment, she betrayed them just like the masters. In an instant, she is no longer beloved by the people. They throw rocks at her as the soldiers rush her back to the great pyramid. 

Remember the Dragon Thinky Powers?

Here is another moment that I believe we may have seen an example of this. Following the execution of the Meereenese freed slave, Dany is trying to balance of upholding fair law with being adored and it’s not working. She’s upset that she had to execute someone for killing a man she wanted dead anyway and she orders her advisors to leave her alone in her chambers. The moment she’s alone, Drogon arrives on the roof after not having been seen for weeks. It was almost as if he could feel her emotional state. See? Dragon thinky powers.

When the Sons of the Harpy strike again, Grey Worm is badly injured and Ser Barristan is killed. Though she hadn’t known him long, he was the last living link she had to her family. She reacts to his death by rounding up the leaders of all the great houses in Meereen and brings them down to the catacombs where she makes them watch as her dragons barbeque and snack on one of them. And how does she react? You guessed it. Ice in her veins. 

In an effort to ease the unrest in Meereen, Dany makes the decision to marry Hizdhar. She also agrees to reopen the fighting pits for free men only.

Breaking the Wheel

There is an important conversation that happens between Daenerys and Tyrion in the eighth episode of this season. He’s running through the realities of what she’s facing with her quest to conquer Westeros and her response, again, plainly lays out exactly what she did to King’s Landing. And if Jon Snow hadn’t killed her when he did, she would have completed her vision.

Daenerys: I fought so that no child born into Slaver’s Bay would ever know what it meant to be bought or sold. I will continue that fight here and beyond. But this is not my home. 

Tyrion: When you get back to your home, who supports you?

Daenerys: The common people.

Tyrion: Let’s be generous and assume that’s going to happen. Here is Slaver’s Bay, you had the support of the common people and only the common people. What was that like? Ruling without the rich? House Targaryen is gone. Not a single person who shares your blood is alive to support you. The Starks are gone as well. Our two terrible fathers saw to that. The remaining members of House Lannister will never back you. Not ever. Stannis Baratheon won’t back you either. His entire claim to the throne rests on the illegitimacy of yours. That leaves the Tyrells. Not impossible. Not enough.”

Daenerys: Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell. They’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins crushing those on the ground. 

Tyrion: It’s a beautiful dream. Stopping the wheel. You’re not the first person who’s ever dreamt it. 

Daenerys: I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel. 

Daenerys and Tyrion
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 8

Ladies and germs, there it is. Her intention was never to “free” the common people of Westeros by bringing the corrupt Houses to justice. No, just like in Astapor and Yunkai and Meereen, her plan is to wipe the great houses from the map so they can never rule again. King’s Landing was the first step. That was the end of House Lannister. And when she gives her big Hitleresque speech on the steps of the ruins, she spells out plans to repeat the process from Winterfell to Dorne. Her words, not mine. Still think her choice to burn the city was out of left field?? She repeatedly told us exactly what she had planned. Moving on. 

The big return to the fighting pits puts Dany face to face with Jorah again and the Sons of the Harpy launch a full scale attack. However, from the number of gold masks in the audience, the Sons are made up of far more than just the Meereenese noble house masters. 

Dragon Thinky Powers ACTIVATE! Dany and her people are surrounded and it looks like they are rat fucked. She takes Missandei’s hand, closes her eyes, tilts her head to the sky, and Drogon comes tearing out of nowhere slinging fire left and right. Dany climbs aboard and for the first time, they fly off together, leaving the rest of her people with the mess. Unfortunately for Dany, travel by dragon is new to her, she and the dragon have been away from each other for a while, and she can’t get him to obey and take her back to Meereen. She’s stranded in the middle of nowhere.

SEASON SIX

While waiting for Drogon to cooperate again, she wanders away from the cliff side he’s been nesting on and she’s taken by a Dothraki horde as a slave and brought to their Khal. Upon learning that she’s another Khal’s widow, he tells her that she belongs in the Temple of the Dosh Khalene with the other widows at Vaes Dothrak (this is the same place she ate the horse heart).

This is another sequence that is incredible to watch. She is brought before all of the Khals where they are to decide what to do with her. With the aid of Jorah and Daario locking them inside the temple, she burns the Khals to death. She doesn’t just burn them alive, she stands there and smirks watching them run screaming. 

She emerges from the temple unburnt. Instead of just a smattering of Dothraki, the entirety of the Dothraki population is there for the Khala Vezhven gathering and they all witness her emerge from the flames unharmed. In their eyes, she is a goddess and they all bow down, Daario and Jorah included. She’s now the Khaleesi over the greatest Khalasar the world has ever seen, just as she said she would be. Once again, solidifying her belief that what she’s doing is good and right.

The next morning, Dany is trying to decide what to do with Jorah. This is one of her few mushy gushy moments. Upon learning of his grayscale, she sends him away again with the order to find a cure. It’s an act of generosity. Rather than spending his final days in despair, they’ll be spent hopeful searching for a cure so he can return to his queen’s service. It’s kind of sweet. 

On the return to Meereen, Drogon reappears in the distance and she rides her horse alone toward him. When she returns, she does so riding her dragon and gives a big speech in which she says that Khals usually choose three bloodriders to ride with him into battle. But she’s a Khaleesi and she chooses them all. It’s very inspirational and beautiful. Also a little terrifying. lol 

By the ninth episode of this season, Dany has returned to Meereen to find that the former slave masters have all teamed up and are attacking the city. And her immediate reaction is to rain down fire and blood.

Daenerys: Good. Shall we begin?

Tyrion: Do we have a plan?

Daenerys: I will crucify the masters, I will set their fleets afire, kill every last one of their soldiers, and return their cities to the dirt. That is my plan. (She pauses.) You don’t approve?

Tyrion: You once told me you knew what your father was. Did you know his plans for King’s Landing when the Lannister armies were at his gates? Probably not. Well,  he told my brother and Jamie told me. He had caches of wildfire hidden under the Red Keep, the Guild Halls, the Sept of Balor, all the major thoroughfares. He would have burned every one of his citizens, the loyal ones and traitors. every man, woman, and child. That’s why Jamie killed him.

Daenerys: This is entirely different.

Tyrion: You’re talking about destroying cities. It’s not entirely different. I’d like to suggest an alternate approach.

Ser Barristan Selmy
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 9

What results is Dany gives the slavers the opportunity to surrender (which they scoff off) and so she takes her three dragons and burns one of their ships into the sea.

Of the three masters who showed to negotiate, Grey Worm murders two and leaves the third to spread the story of what happened. They lay claims to the ships, adding to what she needs to get her Unsullied and the Dothraki across the Narrow Sea.

Fresh of the murder of their father at the hands of their uncle, Theon and Yara Greyjoy arrive in Meereen in hopes of striking an alliance with Danaerys to take the Iron Islands back. They have one hundred ships (giving them what they need to sail west) and the men to sail them. They also ask for their independence from the Seven Kingdoms with Yara to sit on the throne as queen. Dany agrees to all of it under the terms that they abandon the pirate’s life. No more raping and pillaging. Yara agrees and they shake on it. Dany isn’t really one for sharing (anything let alone kingdoms) so she knows that if Yara steps out of line at any point, she and her dragons could make the Greyjoys vanish. Ultimately, this bargain really just gets Dany what she wants and she doesn’t have to give up shit.

With her first Westerosi alliance struck, Dany is ready to move into action and makes the choice to leave Daario and the Second Sons behind to keep the peace in Meereen while they choose new leaders. He’s broken-hearted. After she says goodbye, she admits to Tyrion that she thought she cared for Daario but she felt nothing. Only impatience. There’s more of that cold indifference we’ve been talking about this entire time. 

Side Note: This has nothing to do with her crazy but no matter how many times I watch the scene between Daenerys and Tyrion when she names him Hand of the Queen, I cry through it every damn time. He’s pledging his allegiance to a psychopath because he believes her to be serving the greater good, I get that, but the moment is SO FRIKKIN SWEET! lol

Plus, that’s a great dress. I love that her wardrobe has shifted to black. With the exception of the floofy coat she wears up north and a few other random outfits, she’s basically dressed like a bad guy for the rest of the show. You know, just in case we all needed more clues. lol

The season six series finale ends with some crazy drops. Jon Snow is actually Lyanna Stark’s child, not Ned’s. Cersei fucking BLEW EVERYONE UP WITH WILDFIRE so she’s Queen of the Seven Kingdoms now. And the final scene is Daenerys’s fleet with black and red dragon banners and the Greyjoy ships all sailing for Westeros with the three dragons flying overhead. It’s really pretty and also scary as shit. lol 

SEASON SEVEN

Dany’s return to the screen in the season premier has her arriving on the shores of her family’s Westerosi home, Dragonstone. This is another visually impressive scene of Dany’s. After the journey she’s just made, they get into her castle, into the throne room, into the war room, and she’s ready to go now. 

“Shall we begin.”

Daenerys
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 1

Listen, lady. You need to take a bath, a nap, and you’re being followed by thousands of people who probably want to settle in and grab a bite. You know? Jeez.

So the next episode opens with a crazy storm raging over the sea and Dany’s small council in the Dragonstone war room. Knowing that he is the one who arranged the wine merchant assassin who tried to kill her in the marketplace, why would she ever allow him into her service? I get that Tyrion vouched for him or whatever but from all appearances, this moment is their first conversation and he’s been acting on her behalf since she was a prisoner of the Dothraki. And he was on one of the ships so he sailed from Meereen to Dragonstone and this conversation didn’t happen before now? That feels like maybe a writing opps. Like this particular piece of dialog was supposed to happen in Meereen and they forgot. lol  It makes no sense that she wouldn’t have this conversation with him the first time they crossed paths. Through the whole show, she immediately dresses down anyone who had any tie whatsoever to the night the Mad King was overthrown but for Varys, his father’s spymaster and the guy who tried to have her killed, gets a pass until Westeros. I find that very hard to believe.

And the conversation is insanely intense. In that moment, you don’t know if she will be reasonable or order him dead right there. She makes him promise that if he ever feels that she’s failing the people of Westeros, he will tell her to her face instead of conspiring behind her back. He swears it and then she promises to burn him alive if he ever betrays her. Spoilers, bitch.

Melisandre visits Dragonstone. She tells Dany that she believes she has a part to play in a prophecy regarding an unknown enemy to the north: The prince or princess who was promised will bring the dawn.

She advises Dany to summon the King in the North, Jon Snow. Daenerys reluctantly agrees but says the invitation needs to be for him to bend the knee. His family is one of the spokes in the wheel she wants to break so badly, after all.

Next up is a strategy meeting with Yara Greyjoy, Olenna Tyrell, and Ellaria Sand. They all want blood in the form of a brute force attack on King’s Landing, like, yesterday. However, Tyrion presents a different plan in which the Dornish and Tyrell armies lay siege to King’s Landing while the Unsullied sack Casterly Rock. They all agree and part ways to do their part.

Jon arrives at Dragonstone to meet with Dany and ask permission to mine the dragon glass from her island. He has no intention of bending the knee. She wastes no time demanding it either. He tells her about the Night King, the White Walkers, and the threat to all of them but all she can focus on is getting him to bend the knee:

I was born at Dragonstone. Not that I can remember it. We fled before Robert’s assassins could find us. Robert was your father’s best friend, no? I wonder if your father knew his best friend sent assassins to murder a baby girl in her crib. Not that it matters now, of course. I spent my life in foreign lands. So many men have tried to kill me, I don’t remember all their names. I have been sold like a broodmare. I’ve been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing, through all those years in exile? Faith. Not in any god, not in myths and legends. In myself. In Daenerys Targaryen. The world hadn’t seen a dragon in centuries, until my children were born. The Dothraki hadn’t crossed the sea, any sea. They did for me. I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms, and I will.

Daenerys
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 2

After a brief and convincing conversation with Tyrion, Daenerys agrees to allow Jon to mine the dragon glass even though he will not bend the knee. Tyrion’s argument is that the alliance is worth the sacrifice of something she was unaware was even there, and it just might go a long way to getting him to bend the knee.

I want to stop for one second and veer away (sort of but not really) to what’s happening with her soldiers at this point. Euron Greyjoy has attacks and killed or captured the people from Yara’s fleet. The Unsullied sacked Casterly Rock only to find it bone empty. The Targaryen fleets in the sea comes under attack while the soldiers are invading an empty castle. And while all of that is going on, Jamie Lannister is sacking Highgarden (Olenna Tyrell’s pad). He finds her in her chambers and they talk before he offers her the merciful death of a poison that would put her to sleep. She brings up Cersei. Take a look at the conversation but image they’re other different people talking about Daenerys Targaryen:

Olenna: I did unspeakable things to protect my family. Or watched them being done on my orders. I never lost a night’s sleep over them. They were necessary. And whatever I imagined necessary for the safety of House Tyrell, I did. But your sister has done things I wasn’t capable of imagining. That was my prize mistake: a failure of imagination. She’s a monster, you do know that.

Jamie: To you, I’m sure. To others as well. But after we’ve won and there’s no one left to oppose us, and people are living peacefully in a world she built, do you really think they’ll wring their hands over the way she built it?

Jamie Lannister and Olenna Tyrell
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 3

What Jamie says is essentially Dany’s entire philosophy. Cersei and Daenerys are not so different…

Okay, in the next episode, Jon shows Dany where they are about to mine before they touch it. On the wall is a cave drawing of the Children, the First Men, and the White Walkers. In that scene, they assume it’s because they’ve fought together before.

After last night’s episode of House of the Dragon, now we know it’s more likely documentation of a vision. In House of the Dragon, we learn that Aegon the Dragon, the Targaryen ancestor who conquered Westeros, did so because had a vision of the Night King and his armies ending the entire world unless there was a Targaryen on the Iron Throne to stop it. The family passed the vision down from king to king in secret.

The cave drawing as proof of the Night King is what convinces Dany to fight to Jon but only if he bends the knee. She still wont let go of that.

When Dany learns of the Casterly Rock SNAFU, we get a glimpse of the paranoia brewing under the surface. She turns it into an accusation of sabotage against Tyrion:

Tyrion: Call Grey Worm and the Unsullied back. We still have enough ships to carry the Dothraki to the mainland. Commit to the blockade of King’s Landing. We have a plan. It’s still the right plan.

Daenerys: The right plan? Your strategy has lost us Dorne, the Iron Islands, and the Reach.

Tyrion: If I have underestimated our enemies━

Daenerys: Our enemies? Your family, you mean. Perhaps you don’t want to hurt them after all.

Daenerys and Tyrion
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 4

Pissed off that she was outsmarted by Cersei, Daenerys takes off in a fury with a horde of Dothraki and Drogon and they decimate the Lannister supply train moving from Highgarden to King’s Landing.

She burns countless soldiers alive and takes the rest prisoner. They can live in my new world or die in their old one. She tells the captured soldiers to bend the knee or die. As a result, she ends House Tarly by burning the father and son to death.

Tyrion tries to get her to consider another way and she informs him that she’s not taking prisoners. Another spoke down. We’ll talk about this and her response when she’s confronted about it later.

When confronted with the reality of the army of the dead, Dany agrees to let Jon Snow go north to retrieve a wight. She also agrees to let Tyrion sneak into King’s Landing to meet with Jamie in secret. They’re hoping that seeing the wight will sway Cersei to agree to a cease fire while they collectively deal with the Night King, but there is no sense in going north if Cersei won’t agree to the meeting in the first place. This is another one of those moments that helped stoke the fire of Dany’s distrust when it comes to Tyrion and his family. The conversation isn’t in front of her and she’s already established that she doesn’t trust the relationship. 

To complicate matters further, Dany is now crushing HARD on Jon Snow, the chosen king in what amounts to a kingdom in rebellion should she take the Iron Throne. She obviously wants to trust him but at this point, aside from Jorah, Grey Worm, and Missandei, I don’t believe she fully trusts anyone anymore.

She and Tyrion have a very telling conversation in which he tries to make her see the importance of naming a successor. Both to continue her vision after she’s broken the wheel and in the event of her untimely death. She immediately snaps, gets angry and defensive, and then turns it on him, making it about the possibility of him conspiring with the Lannisters:

Daenerys: You’ve been thinking about my death quite a bit, haven’t you? Is this one of the items you discussed with your brother in King’s Landing? 

Tyrion: I’m trying to serve you by planning for the long term.

Daenerys: Perhaps if you planned for the short term, we wouldn’t have lost Dorne and Highgarden. We will discuss the succession after I wear the crown. 

Daenerys and Tyrion
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 6

At this point, what trust she has left in him is fading, it seems as both a friend and advisor. Against Tyrion’s advice, Dany rides north with her dragons to save the group who’d gone to retrieve a wight and ends up losing one of them to the Night King. When they show Cersei the wight and Tyrion has to have a one-on-one with her to convince her, as soon as he returns alive, I doubt she ever really trusted him again.

On the return trip north, Jon and Dany get pelvic on the boat. As the viewer, you’re treated to a voiceover from Bran witnessing a vision in which he learns that Jon was never a bastard and that he is in fact Aegon Targaryen, the true heir to the Iron Throne. So as Dany and Jon are horizontal, you’re learning that they are aunt and nephew. Uh oh.

SEASON EIGHT

The final season premiere opens with Dany’s army marching north with Job by her side and her dragons flying overhead. She was warned that the people from the north are different and not very accepting of outsiders but I don’t think she was ready for just how icy her welcome would be. Sansa openly dislikes her without a word out of her mouth, Arya isn’t there to greet them at all, and Bran could give two shits about niceties. His only concern is the Night King, the dragon he now has, and the fact that the dead are now marching south of the wall.

Remember when I said I would bring up Dany ending House Tarly again? Well, this is it. Ser Jorah and Dany go to the Winterfell library to pay Sam a visit. The intention is to thank him for saving Ser Jorah’s life from the grayscale when no one else would bother trying. She asks if there is anything she can give him in return for his kindness. He asks for a pardon because while visiting his family home, he borrowed his family sword and he borrowed some books from the Citadel. In the course of this conversation, she makes the connection that his last name is Tarly and tells him what happened to his brother and father when she decimated the Lannister supply train. 

She brought his house to a screeching halt in one poof of dragon’s fire. But because she doesn’t often face the people who are affected by her warpath, there is little thought given to the families those men left behind. Sam’s mother and sister didn’t vanish just because his father and brother did and yet at no point does she even ask if there is any next of kin. She so often disassociates herself from the consequences of her actions. In her mind, I’m sure it doesn’t matter. She is certain that what she’s doing is good and right. When the world is a better place, the common people will be too busy worshiping at her feet to be upset about her methods. Cersei anyone?

Episode two opens with Jamie’s arrival at Winterfell. He’s alone because, SHOCKER, Cersei lied, so Dany takes the opportunity to put him on public display to answer for the crime of overthrowing her father. I get that the way Jamie killed her father seemed shitty but over the course of the previous seven seasons, we learned that the reason Jamie turned on hjs King was because the man had rigged the entire city to burn by wildfire. Tyrion has also told her about it prior to this, and Ser Barristan Selmy told her as well. So the scene opens with her saying: 

“My brother use to tell me a bedtime story about the man who murdered our father. Who stabbed him in the back and cut his throat. Who sat down and watched as his blood poured onto the floor. He told me other stories as well, about all the things we would do to that man once we took back the seven kingdoms and had him in our grasp.” 

Daenerys to Jamie Lannister
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 2

Also, Jon now knows who he is and can’t bring himself to face Dany. When they convene the meeting, he darts out of the room without another word. Sansa was the first big voice to speak up in support of Jamie staying so she’s no friend. Dany is starting to look very isolated in the north and it only gets worse as things progress. 

Pissed off at the embarrassment of having her wishes thwarted and the news that Cersei’s armies would not be joining them as promised, she takes it out on Tyrion because why the fuck not? 

Daenerys: Either you knew Cersei was lying and let me believe otherwise, or you didn’t know at all, which makes either a traitor or a fool. 

Tyrion: I was a fool. 

Daenerys: Not for the first time. Cersei still sits on the throne. If you can’t help me take it back, I’ll find another hand who can. 

Daenerys and Tyrion
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 2

Jorah counsels her to forgive Tyrion for his mistakes because he believes that Tyrion’s mind is worth having on her side. He also advises her to mend whatever is broken between Sansa and her. However, that’s much easier said than done. Sansa, like every other northerner under the protection of House Stark, she doesn’t want to bend the knee to anyone ever again either. And Sansa is a smart cookie. She sees through Dany’s diplomatic bullshit smile and fuzzy compliments meant to flatter women with far less brains than our Stark girls. And our girl Sansa isn’t buying what the dragon lady is selling:

Sansa: What happens afterwards? We defeat the dead. We destroy Cersei. What happens then?

Daenerys: I take the Iron Throne.

Sansa: What about the north? It was taken from us and we took it back. And we said we’d never bow to anyone else again. What about the north?

Sansa and Daenerys
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 2

And that moment is the end of any chance for a friendship between Sansa and Dany. lol Dany takes it about as well as being kicked right in her bathing suit parts.

Jon finally reveals his true identity to Dany, telling her the story of Rhaegar and Lyanna’s secret marriage. And she reacts about as well as expected. Lol There is no concern about boffing her nephew, only about his VALID claim over the Iron Throne. Before the conversation can continue, the horns blow signaling the arrival of the Night King.

And The Long Night rages on. 

I’m not going to do some weird blow-by-blow of the big battle with the Night King. Instead, I will simply summarize it by saying Jorah died. That leaves Grey Worm and Missandei for trusted confidants now. With thousands of soldiers at her back, she has two people she can talk to. She grows more isolated, more paranoid. After so much back and forth, him proving his dedication time and time again, to have Jorah die and not be by her side to the very end is a tough blow for her. However, I’m glad he didn’t live to see what she did in King’s Landing. As such a diehard man of honor, I think that would have shattered his heart into a million pieces. 

After they’ve said their goodbyes and burned the pyres, the remaining living in Winterfell have a bit of a party and Dany takes the moment to make some moves. She toasts to Arya’s victory over the Night King and plucks Gendry out of the crowd and declares him Gendry Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End.

Coming from nothing as a bastard, this is a hefty step up for him, meant to ensure his loyalty when it was needed. However, for someone who wanted to break the wheel so badly, the bitch just put a spoke back in. And Sansa didn’t miss a beat of what happened.

There is a scene where we see Varys watching Dany as the party carries on around her. She tries to force smiles bit sits there isolated.

She sees how everyone adores Jon and no one seems to even notice she’s there. Except Varys. He’s caught every shift in her expression. She glares suspiciously at Tyrion laughing with Jamie. Then she glares at the circle of people around Jon. She doesn’t have a connection with anyone in that hall and she gets up to leave feeling very out of place.

Dany turns up in Jon’s room after the feast and tries to manipulate him with sex. When he stops her, the whole conversation turns sour. She ends up begging him not to tell anyone else who he is and asks that he swear Bran and Sam to secrecy. When he says that he has to tell Sansa and Arya, she gets piiiiiiiiiiiiiiissed. In an effort to prove himself to her, he backs her ridiculous plan to head right back out to march on King’s Landing. On the return to Dragonstone to await the arrival of the northern armies, Dany is ambushed by Euron Greyjoy’s fleet. Another dragon down and Missandei is captured by Lannister forces. 

When he meets with her remaining advisors to game plan out what to do, she and Grey Worm want blood. Varys, per the promise he made to her, tells her he thinks she’s making a mistake because tens of thousands of people will die if she takes King’s Landing with a brute force attack. For half a second, you think she will respond with some kind of reason. Not so much:

“Do you believe we’re here for a reason, Lord Varys? I’m here to free the world from tyrants. That is my destiny, and I will serve it no matter the cost.”

Daenerys to Varys
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 4

Then, as she’s walking away:

Tyrion: It could be a fortnight before Jon and the allied armies make it to King’s Landing. In the meantime, demand Cersei’s surrender. Offer her her life in exchange for the throne. (She shakes her head.) If there’s a chance to avoid the coming slaughter, we should make the effort.

Daenerys: Speaking to Cersei will not prevent a slaughter, but perhaps it’s good the people see that Daenerys Stormborn made every effort to avoid bloodshed and Cersei Lannister refused. They should know who to blame when the sky falls down upon them.  

Danerys and Tyrion
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 4

RIGHT THERE! She says flat out that regardless of how the conversation goes, it wont prevent the slaughter. She’s not listening to Varys or Tyrion advice either. What’s the point of having an advisor if you’re not interested in hearing anything they have to say? When they’re only there for appearances, that’s when. Lol 

The next scene takes place outside the King’s Landing gates. Cersei has Missandei, and even after Tyrion pleads with her to surrender for the sake of her child, she tells Missandei that it’s time for last words.

“Dracarys.”

Missandei
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 4

She’s executed there in front of them and Dany walks away and judging by the look on her face, I suspect her mind is already made up regarding the fate of King’s Landing. And now, it’s not just about serving his queen for Grey Worm. It’s personal. Cersei just took away the only woman he’s ever loved. 

After the loss of Missandei, Dany falls apart, and on top of that, the paranoia is in full swing now. Word about Jon’s identity is in too many hands now. 

Jon told Sansa.

Sansa told Tyrion.

Tyrion told Varys.

Varys told whoever his letters end up getting sent to. 

In her eyes, it’s all betrayal. She already knows how everything went by the time he brings it to her because it’s exactly what she predicted would happen. She knows Jon is beloved and that’s not something she has in Westeros outside of her Unsullied and Dothraki. He’s a threat because of far more than just his actual blood right. She can’t take her anger out on Jon so Varys gets the execution. He’s the greater threat in that moment because he’s not afraid enough to keep his mouth shut. Plus there is the whole factor of him being absolutely correct about Dany and what she plans to do. King’s Landing will be ash by midday and he got burned for seeing it coming. Since their first landing on Dragonstone together, she’d been looking for a reason to follow through on her promise to  burn him alive and she did it.

Additionally, Sansa’s knowledge of his lineage and her willingness to spread the information puts Winterfell squarely at the top of Dany’s shit list when she’s done with King’s Landing. The victory speech is below. Fact check me. Lol She even starts the propaganda right away, telling Jon that Sansa killed Varys as much as she did by spreading the information. 

The next day, the attack is launched on King’s landing. Literally everyone but the Unsullied and the Dothraki are unsure about being there. Things build up to this intense standoff at the Lannister line and then it’s the infamous scene with the surrender bells. The bells are rining all over the city. Jon, Tyrion, and Cersei all relax in relief. This is the moment that all the butthurt fanboys and fangirls have a problem with. They say it doesn’t make sense. I say it made perfect sense. I argue that this moment was entirely predictable from episode one, and that was even if she hadn’t lost two dragons and her bestie. If you paid attention to everything she did and everything she said, she didn’t even try to hide it. 

She’s been through so much and come so far.

She’s fueled by the rage and grief of loss and the absolute certainty that she is right.

She’s so close and she knows it’s what she was born to do.

It’s her destiny to change the world.

Because of this war, two of her dragons and her most trusted confidant have been taken from her.

She will not be robbed of her destiny, as well.

Not by Cersei or the people of King’s Landing, all of whom are a part of her corrupt system.

Missandei’s last word echoes thought her mind.

“Dracarys”

Fuck the surrender bells.

She will stop at nothing to complete her vision and BREAK THE GAWDDAMN WHEEL.

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s a great scene but she’s a murdery psychopath. Once there is nothing left to speak of but ashes and ruins, we declare victory for this battle. But the war, ahhhh, she is not over. Pay close attention to the plans going forward:

Directly following this speech, she admonishes Tyrion for freeing his imprisoned brother the night before and informs him that he committed treason. Regardless of what he said after that, he was likely destined to burn right there. Daenerys Targaryen doesn’t take prisoners and she doesn’t make exceptions. We’ve spent eight seasons watching her prove that over and over. After her soldiers escort Tyrion away, Jon turns around to find her coldly glaring at him.

Jon: What are you doing here?

Arya: I came to kill Cersei. Your queen got there first. 

Jon: She’s everyone’s queen now.

Arya: Try telling Sansa.

Jon: Wait for me outside the city gates. I’ll come find you.

Arya: Jon, she knows who you are. Who you really are. You’ll always be a threat to her. And I know a killer when I see one.

Jon and Arya
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 6

Jon joins Dany in the throne room following a conversation with Tyrion about doing what needs to be done to stop her. And we all know how that ends. 

One last Dragon Thinky Powers note!

As soon as Daenerys is dead, the dragon comes to investigate. He knows without even being there that something bad has happened to her.  My hope is that the new show will help confirm more details about the dragon thinky powers as well!

And so ends the reign of Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, The Unburnt and Mother of Dragons, the Breaker of Chains, the Mad Queen.

What a fuckin’ ride! Fans may not have loved the ending but they cant say it was unexpected. It was all there, spelled out in plain English (or Dothraki or High Valyrian). It may require a little reading between the lines but the truth of what she was could be found from her very first episode.

Now….House of the Dragon

My Thoughts: OMFG, I’M IN LOVE! RED FLAGS BE DAMNED! I watched the House of the Dragon premiere as it ran and it was amazing! It’s all the love of Game of Thrones but in a time when everything was richer and bigger. The Iron Throne is more reminiscent of the Targaryen dynasty’s conquering days. There are a lot more swords of fallen enemies. King’s Landing doesn’t feel like the dangerous place it does in Thrones. With Thrones, we know right away that even in the Red Keep, King’s Landing is not a safe place to spend time. In House of the Dragon, the Red Keep really feels more like a royal family’s home. Like Winterfell is to the Starks. The whole atmosphere is more opulent. We’re not dealing with the remainder of a once great kingdom. It is that great kingdom.

My only exposure to the actor Matt Smith was as the eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who and as Prince Philip on The Crown. Neither performance prepared me for just how terrifying that man is capable of coming across. His character Daemon Targaryen is a man to be feared. He’s violent but not impulsive. Every decision is calculated. We see him convert the City Watch to a goon squad and went on a brutal spree to clear up the city. When confronted about said brutalities, he explained with a well-thought argument for why it was necessary. If we can turn a blind eye to eight seasons of Daenerys acting like a tyrant with because I demand it explanations, I think we can agree that his reasoning was sound. lol I cannot wait to see where his character goes. I suspect he is going to be the character we all love when we shouldn’t. lol

Princess Rhaenyra seems like she will be a fun character. She’s a little rebellious but also believes in the whole Targaryen schtick. I cant get a read on her. She seems to have a romantic thing going with her lady’s maid but I swear, she also seems very flirty with her uncle, something that is commonplace with the Targaryen dynasty at that time.

It’s not Game of Thrones but that’s okay. It’s not meant to be Thrones. It seems like it is going to be just as good and I will be watching every Sunday night. For those who would be interested, I’ll be posting about the episodes each week right after they air. Spoiler discussion in the comments will be welcome!

I’d love to know your thoughts on the Mad Queen and/or House of the Dragon! Please feel free to comment! I’ll be posting about tonight’s premier sometime tomorrow. Be sure to return and tell me what you thought!

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