Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:56 AM
While Danaerys may use cruel methods from time to time to combat or punish what she sees as injustice, it's absolutely ridiculous to say she would make a worse ruler of the Seven Kingdoms than Joffrey: Joffrey was a spoiled, psychotic brat with zero political acumen, whose idea of ruling was absolute tyranny. Dany, on the other hand, has shown herself to take action for the good of others: particularly, for those who are less fortunate than herself. Eventhough she doesn't always take the right actions, she definitely demonstrates concern for the people that she's trying to rule - a quality that neither Viserys, Joffrey, Cersei, Balon, Euron or arguably even Renly seem to possess. No one was forcing Dany to try and end slavery. She even stayed behind in Meereen to take charge of the situation and learn how to become a better ruler - again, most kings or queens in this series wouldn't give a flying fuck.
Honestly, I still believe much of this Dany backlash to be the result of frustration with her arc in Slaver's Bay, rather than an actual, honest appraisal of her actions. No one seemed to complain when Dany stole the Unsullied and started beating down all opposition in Slaver's Bay, eventhough it had nothing to do with her goal to take back the Iron Throne. Only now, when the going gets tough and we start to see the real challenges of changing a cultural practice that is deeply embedded in a society, does Dany start to get flak. I'm willing to bet that, had Dany just burned all the slavers with dragonfire and magically ended slavery without any difficulties before moving onto Westeros, no one would condemn her actions: she would be hailed as a righteous liberator, who takes a stand against injustice and would make a good, responsible ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. If, however, she'd left for Westeros immediately and we later heard that Slaver's Bay crashed and burned, she would be called a careless moron who clearly can't think 5 seconds ahead.
It's interesting just how difficult George R.R. Martin makes it for us to judge her character: is it one's actions that truly matter and whether or not they're succesful? Or is it the intention behind one's efforts that determines who someone truly is?
But despite being a fan of Danaerys, I highly doubt her story will end with her sitting on the Iron Throne, having gloriously defeated the Others, brought peace to the Seven Kingdoms, solved every issue and beloved by all. Quite the contrary, in fact. Since it's all but confirmed that there will be a second Dance of the Dragons between Danaerys and 'Aegon', I believe Dany will come out the victor and briefly sit the Iron Throne. However, her reign will not be wholeheartedly accepted: 'Aegon', despite probably being a fake, will likely be seen as Rhaegar's great son who brought order and stability back to Westeros after the imminent collapse of the Lannister/Tyrell regime; Dany, on the other hand, will be a crazy usurper with terrifying dragons, who stole the throne from her nephew, who torched a Prince of Dorne, bringing an army of strange eunuchs, foreign mercenaries, Dothraki and Ironborn to Westeros. All while being advised by that horrible, deformed, king-slaying, kin-slaying dwarf. If on top of all this, Dany embraces the Red Faith to gain the support of the Red Priests to end slavery in Essos, well... Danaerys will have lost the Iron Throne before she even took it.
And most likely, the horrible irony of all this will be that Dany had nothing but the best of intentions. I'm very certain that GRRM has been setting Daenerys up as the antagonist from the very beginning, in order to explore our perception of evil. In real life, there are no clear heroes and villains. The tragedy will be that Dany will go down in history as a monster, despite doing what she believed to be right. Good and evil very much depend on our perception and rather than using the cliché evil overlord (as in so many works of fiction), GRRM is using Danaerys to drive this home.