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butterbumps!

Let’s Change the Conversation: Remapping Dany

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But I'm not excusing her of her crimes. I'm saying that her massive failures as a ruler are a fait accompli, and let's move on.

This is the crux of my criticism of her character and her arc to date. To "move on" is to whitewash and possibly to ignore evidence that she's going to keep on trying to do what she's told us all along she wants to do, which is rule. At this point in the story, I don't think we can separate the process of conquest from her expectation of ruling thereafter. It's trying to look at the character as something she's not and to disregard two important issues: what she's told us about herself all throughout the series, and the problem of responsibility. It's much easier to sweep in, destroy, and walk away than it is to do the more important and meaningful things that follow, and to do them well.

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But there have been rebellions no? When we see the plaze of punishment, there are slaves who've hit back at their masters or disobeyed and so on.

They were ready to revolt and wanted to, but the powers that held them in check were too strong-which is where Dany comes in.

And Spartacus rebeled in Rome. That dosent mean ending slavery would endure in Rome.

Slavers bay economics cant work without slavery.

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And what makes so sure a “hammer”might not work? What makes you so sure a large blood bath is needed? What makes you so sure that a huge amount of destruction will lead to the type of progress you approve of.

Because the system is bound in violence,in the blood of hundreds of thousands of men,women and children, in millenia of bondage and enslavement. Yes, you could make gradual changes but personally, I believe that hwen you have such a bloodthirsty system in place, you cannot help but have change be bloody.

Y'all, while we're talking symbolism, fire doesn't just destroy, it also cauterises wounds and stops the bleeding.

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Well, for example, in the case of Jon and the Watch, reforming alone wasn't enough.

I am willing to look at the particular circumstance faced by a character before making a judgement. The fact that John may or may not have had to use harsh measures does not imply, I think, that it is ok for Dany to cause destruction recklessly or to cause destruction without sufficient purpose.

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I really like this way of thinking about Dany, and her role in the story. I think that looking at Dany this way is very helpful, because the question becomes not "should Dany rule Westeros" and "what is Dany's role in the story, and shaping the future?" A lot of my personal dislike of her as a character comes from her insistence that she was born to rule, Westeros specifically, when all evidence points to the contrary.

I'm not really sure that we can absolve her of what she's done, though, and I'm not a big fan of "for the greater good" type thinking.

For example, let's look at another agent of chaos and change: Petyr Baelish. We know he helped mastermind the events that caused the Wot5K and the Purple Wedding, both of which set the great noble houses against each other and caused widespread chaos in Westeros. As a self-made man and essential nobody, LF has a vested interest in upending the established order and putting himself at the center, much like Dany. Yet we can and do judge LF to be a piece of shit (as we should).

LF has less noble goals, that we know of, though I think it's important to keep in mind that Dany's goal in a Westeros is to go back to the Old Ways, and to reclaim an dynasty based on conquest, subjugation, and patriarchal familial inheritance. From this way of looking at Dany (as an agent of change), I do wonder what role she will play.

I've always had a hunch, perhaps an unfounded one, that the series may end with the destruction of feudalism (a kind of slavery in itself), and I think this interpretation of Dany may fit into that.

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In the context of Westeros we see that rulers don't even have to be mildly interested in the administrative or institutional side. That is precisely why there are stewards and Hands, or in modern corporate terms a Chief Operating Officer as well as a Chief Executive.

An issue that we saw in the slavers Bay story was that she didn't have a reliable institutional framework to actualise / implement / oversee her initiatives.

The shift from charismatic leadership to administrative is a common one, though not one that is generally found in fiction...

For Dany, leadership/rulership isn't just an occupation, it's her identity. She doesn't seem capable of separating the act of administration from her own person. You briefly mentioned Slaver's Bay and her tenure in Meereen, where she adamantly refuses to delegate responsibility for vital functions of government, despite having no idea how to run an effective government. It's also troubling to see that she has no commitment to learning or self-improvement.

She just doesn't seem like a good candidate for a successful ruler. She doesn't seem to realize the value of objective self-criticism, nor is she able to admit her weaknesses in a way that permits her to grow instead of to wallow in her failures.

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butterbumps!, on 12 Jan 2014 - 1:07 PM, said:

But I'm not excusing her of her crimes. I'm saying that her massive failures as a ruler are a fait accompli, and let's move on.

It was a noble effort bumps, but I think we all knew it wouldn't be long before this thread started turning into the same "Dany is to woooorrrrrrrrrrsssssssssttttttt" posts we've seen a million times before.

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Because the system is bound in violence,in the blood of hundreds of thousands of men,women and children, in millenia of bondage and enslavement. Yes, you could make gradual changes but personally, I believe that hwen you have such a bloodthirsty system in place, you cannot help but have change be bloody.

Y'all, while we're talking symbolism, fire doesn't just destroy, it also cauterises wounds and stops the bleeding.

And ice decreases blood flow and keeps things preserved. One of the biggest arguments about Jon being able to survive his wounds was that the cold would keep him from bleeding out. It's not an inaccurate guess.

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Because the system is bound in violence,in the blood of hundreds of thousands of men,women and children, in millenia of bondage and enslavement. Yes, you could make gradual changes but personally, I believe that hwen you have such a bloodthirsty system in place, you cannot help but have change be bloody.

Y'all, while we're talking symbolism, fire doesn't just destroy, it also cauterises wounds and stops the bleeding.

And you are confident that all those lives that you are willing to sacrifice, which includes women an children, will result in the system you approve of?

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And Spartacus rebeled in Rome. That dosent mean ending slavery would endure in Rome.

Slavers bay economics cant work without slavery.

Then Slaver's Bay will fall and it's people will move to more fertile lands or become nomads or find some other way to survive.

Surely you're not saying that a culture that exists solely by treating kidnapped people as chattel is worth saving? Even Rome had the concept of freed slaves and social mobility.

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And you are confident that all those lives that you are willing to sacrifice, which includes women an children, will result in the system you approve of?

It might. But it certainly won't if you don't fight, see?

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This is the crux of my criticism of her character and her arc to date. To "move on" is to whitewash and possibly to ignore evidence that she's going to keep on trying to do what she's told us all along she wants to do, which is rule. At this point in the story, I don't think we can separate the process of conquest from her expectation of ruling thereafter. It's trying to look at the character as something she's not and to disregard two important issues: what she's told us about herself all throughout the series, and the problem of responsibility. It's much easier to sweep in, destroy, and walk away than it is to do the more important and meaningful things that follow, and to do them well.

Sevumar, no, it is not to whitewash.

It's a plea to stop proving what doesn't need to be proved-- that she catalyzed massive social upheaval to an objectively repulsive system, while also committing a string of atrocities and failing as an administrator (and adjacently, being destroyed by the imposition of order on herself).

As in, let's move past that since these are just accomplished facts.

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It might. But it certainly won't if you don't fight, see?

I'm not comfortable placing a high value on someone like Dany simply because she possesses a high capacity for destruction and because she is willing to give lip service to ideals we find attractive when they serve her ends.

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Then Slaver's Bay will fall and it's people will move to more fertile lands or become nomads or find some other way to survive.

Surely you're not saying that a culture that exists solely by treating kidnapped people as chattel is worth saving? Even Rome had the concept of freed slaves and social mobility.

Based on what reasoning? There exists a robust market in Essos for slaves. Other than Dany's idealism, it doesn't make a lot of logical sense that without, you know, like some type of political set of actions to outlaw slavery, as well as an economic plan to replace it, that even if she burns Slaver's Bay to the ground that slavery itself will not reappear elsewhere because there is a market for it and it's legal in several other cities.

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Sevumar, no, it is not to whitewash.

It's a plea to stop proving what doesn't need to be proved-- that she catalyzed massive social upheaval to an objectively repulsive system, while also committing a string of atrocities and failing as an administrator (and adjacently, being destroyed by the imposition of order on herself).

As in, let's move past that since these are just accomplished facts.

I will translate this for DanCrappers:

It is evident enough that Dany is a failure as a ruler/administrator that it no longer really needs to be argued. Taking this abject failure as a given, let's switch gears to see what other role Dany might play aside from being a ruler, which she's shown she can't do. Maybe her real purpose is just to burn shit down and be chaotic while other people do the administering.

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I'm not comfortable placing a high value on someone like Dany simply because she possesses a high capacity for destruction and because she is willing to give lip service to ideals we find attractive when they serve her ends.

I'm not asking anyone to value her in some positive sense. I'm inviting anyone so inclined to look at her from a different perspective so that we can perhaps appreciate her role in the story without stumbling on trying to prove what's almost beside the point.

ETA: Thank you Apple

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As in, let's move past that since these are just accomplished facts.

These things are still relevant, as they shed light on her motives, her likely courses of action, and her values. They very much inform her future as a character and her role in the story. I don't see that framing Dany's actions in a narrow way that excuses her from responsibility for what follows in her wake does anything useful for the character or for the analysis of the story. When some posters try to do this for other characters, they are rightly called out for it. So why is Dany different?

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I'm not asking anyone to value her in some positive sense. I'm inviting anyone so inclined to look at her from a different perspective so that we can perhaps appreciate her role in the story without stumbling on trying to prove what's almost beside the point.

And appreciating her role in the story =/= appreciating her as a person or character or hero or whatever, I hasten to add.

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Then Slaver's Bay will fall and it's people will move to more fertile lands or become nomads or find some other way to survive.

Surely you're not saying that a culture that exists solely by treating kidnapped people as chattel is worth saving? Even Rome had the concept of freed slaves and social mobility.

Im saying that ending slavery need some evolving conditions Slaver Bay is far from having. She is just forcing with dragons an unsullied changes that cant work nor endure. Thats why Astapor went back to it as soon as she is gone (with now the former slaves as masters) and why people is selling themselves in Mereen.

She is not a good catalyst. She cant read the reallity, and just forcing a bloody change that has no way of sustain after she is gone.

You cant just wipe out Mereen, New Ghis, Astapor, Qarth, Mereen etc from the map. Even Valyrians understood this.

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I will translate this for DanCrappers:

It is evident enough that Dany is a failure as a ruler/administrator that it no longer really needs to be argued. Taking this abject failure as a given, let's switch gears to see what other role Dany might play aside from being a ruler, which she's shown she can't do. Maybe her real purpose is just to burn shit down and be chaotic while other people do the administering.

This doesn't really become a viable option until we see that the character herself is primed and ready to accept this scenario. It requires an awakening that Dany has managed to avoid to this point in the story. I've long said she'd be better off realizing that she has a part to play in the war against the Others and that the best end for Westeros would be her quiet retirement to Dragonstone following the war, assuming she survives.

The Dany of the end of Dance doesn't understand that a monarch has a duty to serve people alongside the privilege of rulership, and that sometimes the greatest service is to realize that she's not equipped to handle being a queen.

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