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Armand Gargalen

What is wrong with Daenrys´ character

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Hi all, 

I have been having gripes with the way the show has recently portrayed Daenerys´ character and I think this reached really low point this last episode. After some debating in this forum and at home, I think I have sorted out my thoughts regarding this issue, and I would like to expose them.

To start with, I must admit I consider myself a book, not show follower. I started reading the series almost 20 years ago and I am still fascinated by them. I have always loved Daenerys´ character, who became my favorite since the beginning. So I will start with my view of her from the books and then will proceed to analyze how she has been portrayed in the show.

I find Daenerys´arch in the book fascinating. She has been shown from the beginning to be a kind, sensitive person, who displays honest and sincere concern for the welfare or other people, not just people she knows, but also random strangers. At the same time, she has been kind of "brainwashed" by her brother about Targaryen  right to rule the Seven Kingdoms, which she never questioned and challenged.

It was her kind heart what drove her to liberate the slaves at Astapor and later Yunkai and Mereen. It was also what made her decide to stay at Mereen and try to rule, thus becoming a Mother of the People, not just Mother of Dragons. 

Sadly, and partly because of her trusting, kind nature, she has suffered serious betrayals and disappointments along the way. These experiences have hardened her, and made her make some ruthless decisions, chiefly among them crucifying the slavers´relatives after taking Mereen. All the while, she has been conflicted between her desire to become a merciful ruler at Slaver Bay and her desire to obtain the Iron Throne. 

Her arch reached a climax at the end of ADWD, with the poisoning attempt and the remaining slaver cities breaking the peace and attacking Mereen. Last time we saw her, at the Dothraki Sea, she seemed to have made the choice to embrace her Targaryen/Dragon side, and I am really looking forward to see how this pans out, specially once she finds out another Targaryen claimant is on, or about to be on the Iron Throne. So, IMHO, GRRM has made an excellent job of telling a story about how sometimes people with genuine good intentions can make disastrous decisions, specially when they resort to violence as a mean to make things happen the way they think things should happen.

Now, let´s move on to Show Dany, specially during this last season. The showrunners have tried hard to keep the image of Dany as a kind person with sincere concerns for others. We can see it in the way she is nice to Missandei and all her other followers, respectful with the KiTN and his entourage, and how she even gave common soldiers a choice after winning a battle. Albeit in a vague an imprecise way, her "breaking the wheel" rhetoric also seem to align with this side of her character. And in a nonsensical form a logical point of view, she also displays kindness when she decides not to use her dragons against civilians.

They have also tried hard to present her as a ruthless, hardened person, who does not hesitate to burn those she perceives as her enemies, mainly the slavers and, in this last episode, the Tarlys. They have also kept her belief that she is the rightful queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and that nothing will stop her from obtaining what she perceives as her legitimate birthright.

So, if they have the right ingredients, what is it missing? I think the answer to the question is the conflict between them.  It is known that GRRM famously said "the only thing worthy writing about is the conflict of the heart", and this is something we get really well in the book POV´s. We can get inside Daenerys´head and see her struggle when trying to decide what is right and what is wrong .Her conflict regarding the reopening of the fighting pits is a prime example.  

This internal struggle seemed to have completely vanished from the show version of her. In order to make her look kind, ruthless and entitled, all at the same time and without a shadow of a doubt, the showrunners are forced into contriving convoluted and ridiculous war strategies which have the convenient additional benefit of keeping Lena Hadey´s character on screen when she should have been killed or exiled at Episode 2 maximum.  They also make her display what seems to be an split personality when dealing with Jon, Tyrion, Varys and some other characters; she is all nice and supportive one second, then she just suddenly says something along the lines of : "but bend the knee" or "if you betray me, I will feed you to the dragons". 

I will also use an scene from this episode to showcase my point. We have Daenerys freshly arrived from Field of Fire 2.0, where she has seen her dragon roasting hundreds of people, including the father and brother of Jon´s best mate (she has no means to know that, I know, but we, as spectators, do, so it can still be strong emotional material). She has a conversation with Jon, at which she displays no emotion or conflict whatsoever. Instead she just delivers one of her "to help people you have to be strong"  speeches, like there are no other ways to help people... And are we supposed to buy that Jon can see through that attitude and perceive the true kindness of her heart?

Would it not have been much more powerful if we saw a Daenerys who is trying to hide her tears for the horrors she just witnessed and committed because she has to be a strong ruler who can no display weakness in public, only to be surprised by Jon? That would really show she is a real human being with a conflicted heart, someone another decent human being could fall in love with.

Sadly, this is the treatment many other characters in the show, specially female "empowered" characters (Arya, another book favourite of mine is a prime example), are receiving from the showrunners. I won´t delve on the reasons why they are doing this, much has been said about cheap thrill value, fan service and the lot.

I just think this is really sad, and the main reason the show has become a really poor adaptation of one of my favourite book series ever. Because the main ingredient of the recipe, the conflict of the heart, is missing. 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Armand Gargalen said:

Now, let´s move on to Show Dany, specially during this last season. The showrunners have tried hard to keep the image of Dany as a kind person with sincere concerns for others. We can see it in the way she is nice to Missandei and all her other followers, respectful with the KiTN and his entourage, and how she even gave common soldiers a choice after winning a battle. Albeit in a vague an imprecise way, her "breaking the wheel" rhetoric also seem to align with this side of her character. And in a nonsensical form a logical point of view, she also displays kindness when she decides not to use her dragons against civilians.

They have also tried hard to present her as a ruthless, hardened person, who does not hesitate to burn those she perceives as her enemies, mainly the slavers and, in this last episode, the Tarlys. They have also kept her belief that she is the rightful queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and that nothing will stop her from obtaining what she perceives as her legitimate birthright.

So, if they have the right ingredients, what is it missing? I think the answer to the question is the conflict between them.  It is known that GRRM famously said "the only thing worthy writing about is the conflict of the heart", and this is something we get really well in the book POV´s. We can get inside Daenerys´head and see her struggle when trying to decide what is right and what is wrong .Her conflict regarding the reopening of the fighting pits is a prime example.  

This internal struggle seemed to have completely vanished from the show version of her. In order to make her look kind, ruthless and entitled, all at the same time and without a shadow of a doubt, the showrunners are forced into contriving convoluted and ridiculous war strategies which have the convenient additional benefit of keeping Lena Hadey´s character on screen when she should have been killed or exiled at Episode 2 maximum.  They also make her display what seems to be an split personality when dealing with Jon, Tyrion, Varys and some other characters; she is all nice and supportive one second, then she just suddenly says something along the lines of : "but bend the knee" or "if you betray me, I will feed you to the dragons". 

 

I think you highlight the main problem within this part of your post. In the books, we get Daenerys' internal monologue, so we know exactly how she is thinking and feeling before, during and after everything she says or does. In the show, we are only getting her words, her expressions, her actions.

The split personality you mention is actually one way of showing her as a complex character. If she only treated these characters with one way each, we would think she is one dimensional. But with Jon, we have seen moments where she admires him, moments she seeks his advice, in episode 5 we even saw moments where she didn't want him to leave. Despite all the respect and potential romantic feelings she has for him, she is a Queen first and foremost. Just because she likes Jon doesn't mean she shouldn't ask him to bend his knee. She is a conflicted position when it comes to him. Stuck between wanting to show him respect and affection but also wanting him to show her respect, as Queen.

I don't believe the show is following how GRRM is going to deal with the Daenerys and Jon relationship, but to be fair, I think the show has handled it quite well, so far.

Her relationship with Tyrion is a strange one. It started well with her choosing him to be hand, presenting him with the badge, but since then, the relationship has weakened due to some faults of his own with poorly chosen military strikes. As these ill judged moves of Tyrion's has come against an enemy which is his own family, you can understand why Daenerys is now treating him a bit more coldly. She is wondering if beneath it all, there is still a bit of Lannister in Tyrion. But Kings/Queens and their Hands have notoriously had rocky relationships. Robert and Ned often disagreed on matters, as did Tywin and Aerys. No one should expect Daenerys and Tyrion to be any different. But despite all his blunders, she has kept him by her side. She hasn't cast him off. That's the human side of Daenerys. Would Aerys have kept Tyrion? Or even Robert?

19 hours ago, Armand Gargalen said:

I will also use an scene from this episode to showcase my point. We have Daenerys freshly arrived from Field of Fire 2.0, where she has seen her dragon roasting hundreds of people, including the father and brother of Jon´s best mate (she has no means to know that, I know, but we, as spectators, do, so it can still be strong emotional material). She has a conversation with Jon, at which she displays no emotion or conflict whatsoever. Instead she just delivers one of her "to help people you have to be strong"  speeches, like there are no other ways to help people... And are we supposed to buy that Jon can see through that attitude and perceive the true kindness of her heart?

Would it not have been much more powerful if we saw a Daenerys who is trying to hide her tears for the horrors she just witnessed and committed because she has to be a strong ruler who can no display weakness in public, only to be surprised by Jon? That would really show she is a real human being with a conflicted heart, someone another decent human being could fall in love with.

You make a good point that it may have been better for Jon to see her in a more vulnerable state after what she has done. I can only speculate that Daenerys would probably not want to show that kind of emotion in front of Jon, as she may believe it would be a sign of weakness, After all, her intention is for Jon to bend the knee, and appearing strong may encourage him. She also did listen to his advice. She bent his words slightly and bent the rules, but she used her dragons against an army in a battle, which isn't as bad as when she suggested to use them to take King's Landing, potentially killing innocents in the process.

She does not know this, of course, but Jon once beheaded Janos Slynt for refusing an order. Daenerys burnt Randyll and Dickon Tarly for refusing to bend the knee. Jon and Daenerys are not that unalike when you look closely enough at them.

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This is a tough one, because I see your point but I also see the show running a logical arc.If you remember last season when she made Tyrion Hand of the Queen, she had just broken things off with Daario.  She said she "felt nothing".  As her character progresses through those stages of emotion and maturity, they are showing an evolution of her behavior.  She had no remorse for burning the Khals in Vaes Dothrak, but no one questioned it.  Is it less meaningful to kill men in that way than it was to kill the Tarleys in their defiance?  She didn't cry for them, and she didn't cry for the slavers attacking Mereen...would it be logical for her to cry for the Lannisters, who had just slaughtered her allies the Tyrells?  

We sometimes project our feelings and expectation upon those we admire without considering their own perspective.  Those men had just killed her allies, killed Olenna, raided everything of value from The Reach and left the few survivors with nothing to support an illegitimate Queen Cersei who had just recently murdered a huge group of people in the Sept of Baelor.  And Cersei murdered them because she gave power to a sycophant in order to eliminate the "rightful" queen. These are terrible people in her eyes.  The Sons of the Harpy were terrible people.  The Masters were terrible people.  She didn't shed tears for any of them.  

We expect it because to us the Lannisters and Tarleys are not abstract like the others.  That is not true from Dany's perspective.  We care about Jaime and Bronn and (to a lesser degree) Dickon ...we didn't care about the Masters or the Khals or the Harpies.  We saw the personal side of the Lannister army with Arya on the road earlier this season.  We didn't see the personal side of the Master's armies...does that mean they were all terrible people?

I served 22 years in the military, five tours in hostile environments...I can tell you without any doubt, conflict hardens you.  It has to, or it will break you (sometimes it breaks you anyway).  She has become who she is based on how the things she experienced along the way hardened her, shaped her.  We see the only thing softening her at this point are Jorah and Jon.  

So why?  We want her to soften.  What we have been shown is supposed to make us want that to happen, for her to show feeling again.  If she is able to achieve that through Jon, it makes that development something the viewers want.  The conflict of the heart for Dany is occurring as we speak.  Her heart has always desired the Iron Throne, but her heart is pushing her north.  Toward Jon and his need for her.  She has to choose a path...if it is south will she continue to harden (and break)?  If it is north, will she soften and feel once again.

At least that's how I interpret it.  She is deeply conflicted.

 

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4 hours ago, JordanJH1993 said:

She does not know this, of course, but Jon once beheaded Janos Slynt for refusing an order. Daenerys burnt Randyll and Dickon Tarly for refusing to bend the knee. Jon and Daenerys are not that unalike when you look closely enough at them.

The only difference is that Jon swang his sword by himself, thus, taking responsibility for his action (Janos actually deserved that, since Jon was chosen Lord Commander, Janos' Commander). Dany, on the other hand, used Drogon and Tarlys were her prisoners, not her lawful subjects, who sworn to obey her. I would say killing Dickon was idiotic at least. Drogon was used solely to cast fear and not to inspire people.

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2 minutes ago, Gala said:

The only difference is that Jon swang his sword by himself, thus, taking responsibility for his action (Janos actually deserved that, since Jon was chosen Lord Commander, Janos' Commander). Dany, on the other hand, used Drogon and Tarlys were her prisoners, not her lawful subjects, who sworn to obey her. I would say killing Dickon was idiotic at least. Drogon was used solely to cast fear and not to inspire people.

But Jon learned that from Ned, 'the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword'. Even King Robert had his own executioner. Daenerys' justice is delivered by fire rather than a sword, it seems. Janos refused an order, I am sure there was a more worthy punishment than death.

Both acts, Jon beheading Janos and Daenerys burning Randyll and Dickon were wrong, that's the point I was getting at. Jon would not be in the best position to judge Daenerys for what she did to the Randyll and Dickon.

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On 8/17/2017 at 3:33 PM, Armand Gargalen said:

(...) including the father and brother of Jon´s best mate (she has no means to know that, I know, but we, as spectators, do, so it can still be strong emotional material). (...)

The father that threatened him and told him to get the black unless he wanted to be killed in an accident in the forest?

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13 minutes ago, Gala said:

The only difference is that Jon swang his sword by himself, thus, taking responsibility for his action (Janos actually deserved that, since Jon was chosen Lord Commander, Janos' Commander). Dany, on the other hand, used Drogon and Tarlys were her prisoners, not her lawful subjects, who sworn to obey her. I would say killing Dickon was idiotic at least. Drogon was used solely to cast fear and not to inspire people.

Death by dragon was a good deal less painful then Dany trying to chop their heads off with a longsword.

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A major difference between the Tarlys and some of the others is they were prisoners who had surrendered to her.  That were not fighting her.  They should have been treated as prisoners until the end of the war.  At which point, she could pass judgement on them, assuming she won the war.

Robb executed one of his my loyal bannermen for trying to execute his prisoners (and somewhat succeeding).  If Dany had decided to simply judge Tarly and execute him for treason, that would a dicey move (he did surrender), but reasonable since he had turned on her.  Forcing his men at sword point... err dragon mouth... to fight for her is slavery.  No different than all the slavers do in Essos.

 

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59 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

But Jon learned that from Ned, 'the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword'. Even King Robert had his own executioner. Daenerys' justice is delivered by fire rather than a sword, it seems. Janos refused an order, I am sure there was a more worthy punishment than death.

Both acts, Jon beheading Janos and Daenerys burning Randyll and Dickon were wrong, that's the point I was getting at. Jon would not be in the best position to judge Daenerys for what she did to the Randyll and Dickon.

Of course, he learned that from Ned, he is half-Stark after all and they follow the Old Way.
Janos disobeyed an order in public few times, he opposed an order in a military institution. If I am not mistaken, half of the NW actualy assist the execution (even Thorn did not interfere), so probably by their laws that was a lawful act. I doubt anyone would be glad to have their life depending on such a man like Slynt.

Randyll was a prisoner. He didn't owe Dany anything, he didn't swore to her. Also, I really think she should have listen Tyrion about Dickon at least. That would be wiser, but she decided otherwise.

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3 hours ago, SeanF said:

Death by dragon was a good deal less painful then Dany trying to chop their heads off with a longsword.

As if Dany follows the Old Way or even has a slightest idea what it is. People were executed on her orders before. She only used Drogon to demonstrate her power as a dragon. To spread fear for her own personal power - no one else can order Drogon. So any dothraki could chop the head by one swing of a sword - a clean death. It is better than burning alive. She chose another approach - to spread fear and she also feels really powerful when she gives an order to Drogon - it is quite obvious.

 

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The adaptation does suffer without her internal thoughts, especially because she's such an introverted and isolated character. I've noticed one of the biggest differences is, in the books, Dany projects a much tougher version of herself to others because she needs to appear confident as a leader and commander, whereas the show plays it straight. One reason for this is the writing/directing, but the actress' lack of range is also to blame.

The thing I can't quite figure out is if they meant to make her seem so petulent or not. The show often has Dany demand things like a brat, where book!Dany would understand what a waste of time that is when she's not in a position of power.

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The most important point to remember is that many of the characters on the show only share names with those in the books.  HBO's writers made up their own characters.  Case in point, they ruined Stannis and got rid of him early to make room for Jon.

Slaver's Bay in the books is a work in progress.  Dismantling the horrible system of slavery and those evil people whose wealth and social status are so heavily dependent upon it has never been done before.  Taking it down is the right thing to do.  But the masters will resist and it's that resistance that's causing problems.  Cooperate, give up slaving and there will be no trouble.  They chose to resist.  The fault is on them, not Daenerys.

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9 hours ago, JordanJH1993 said:

I think you highlight the main problem within this part of your post. In the books, we get Daenerys' internal monologue, so we know exactly how she is thinking and feeling before, during and after everything she says or does. In the show, we are only getting her words, her expressions, her actions.

The split personality you mention is actually one way of showing her as a complex character. If she only treated these characters with one way each, we would think she is one dimensional. But with Jon, we have seen moments where she admires him, moments she seeks his advice, in episode 5 we even saw moments where she didn't want him to leave. Despite all the respect and potential romantic feelings she has for him, she is a Queen first and foremost. Just because she likes Jon doesn't mean she shouldn't ask him to bend his knee. She is a conflicted position when it comes to him. Stuck between wanting to show him respect and affection but also wanting him to show her respect, as Queen.

I don't believe the show is following how GRRM is going to deal with the Daenerys and Jon relationship, but to be fair, I think the show has handled it quite well, so far.

Audiovisual media has quite efficient ways of portraying the characters´ internal conflict. Granted, these ways are quite different from book ways,  and that´s why adapting books to cinema or TV (or viceversa) is always challenging.

I don´t think characters displaying split personality and inconsistent behaviour, as the show is currently doing, is enough. Conflicting emotions and desires are usually ever present, people do not switch between them as the plot demands. People suffering from conflicting emotions and desires are forced into tough choices, and they pay for them. Not sometimes. Always.

But in the show, specially when it comes to Dany or Arya, showrunners want fan favourites to get it all. Is Dany conflicted between obtaining the Iron Throne and not wanting to use her dragons against civilians? No problem, she can use them against Lannister soldiers and pig headed Tarly without any remorse and barely any consequence (apart from Tyrion temper tantrums). In the meantime, and just for this to happen, any logical approach to strategy is discarded.

So, I completely disagree with the last quoted paragraph. I believe the show has done a terrible job regarding these two characters and their relationship.

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14 minutes ago, cade said:

I agree with some of your criticisms to a degree, but rather than use the books to judge the show, I try to use them to complement it, to fill in a lot of the gaps in Dany's story on the show. At this point I can't fully separate it from the books, so I'm not even qualified to talk strictly about show-Dany, but I do acknowledge the show relative to the books has long been lacking in showing her inner conflict and vulnerability. There have still been examples of it, just not nearly enough, but imo it's not because she's been written out of character. It's because D&D love showing her in queen mode and rarely put her in situations where she'd let her guard down. 

The key thing you mentioned is that "she has to be a strong ruler who can display no weakness in public." Particularly as a young woman in a deeply misogynistic world. And she doesn't just have to act this way in public, but with almost everyone to some degree, because with the possible exception of Missandei (and even that is dubious because we almost never see personal scenes between them), she's had no one in her life that she's close to and completely trusts since learning of Jorah's betrayal. (Tyrion was getting there but D&D cutting his IQ in half to keep Cersei alive has rightly made Dany doubt him.)

It would've felt off to me if, at that point, she'd displayed the kind of vulnerability you wanted her to show with Jon. I don't even think she felt that badly about what she did. She gave a subdued 'dracarys' and acknowledged that the strength she had to show was terrible, but she also felt it was necessary, and she was absolutely right that if they want to help people on a large scale, they can only do so from a position of strength. . That doesn't justify what she did, but imo it was true to who she is. If we ever get a 6th book, I'll be shocked if GRRM doesn't have her do something even worse.

As for her threat to Varys, it was that he'd be burned alive, not fed to dragons, and that was 100% in-character, book or show, after the hell he conspired to put her through, and then trying to have her and her child assassinated. But is there any acknowledgment of this incredible mercy she's shown to Varys? No, none whatsoever that I've seen. Only criticism for threatening to have him burned alive if he betrays her. We saw this same dynamic play out after the leniency she showed to a vast majority of the slave masters and these recently captured soldiers. Her detractors focus almost exclusively on her cruelty to a small minority of her enemies and ignore her mercy and all the compromises she continues to make for peace at great risk to herself. This duality has been playing out for years and has been clear evidence of inner conflict. 

You acknowledged that she was brainwashed from childhood with Targaryen propaganda, so I'm not sure why you think it's out of character for her to be demanding that people bend the knee. After Viserys died, all the weight of that responsibility to her family fell to her, and then she was further driven to reclaim Westeros when King Robert tried to assassinate her and Rhaego. Then Jorah and Barristan were telling her to take back the Seven Kingdoms and even abandon hundreds of thousands of slaves to do so. Tyrion told Jon to bend the knee, too, and gets no criticism for it despite having actually known him and having a lot more reason to believe in the White Walker threat. When Dany said she'd give the Iron Islands independence, Tyrion didn't seem to like it.

Yes, "bend the knee" is at odds with her desire to free and empower people, but she can't do that and cement that revolutionary change without using some authoritarian methods. This is exactly "the human heart in conflict with itself" that GRRM often talks about.

I think you missed my point. I am pretty sure she will do much worse in the books. Actually, one of the worse things she has done, IMHO, what is crucifying the slavers, is book material. 

The problem is not that she is not been show as vulnerable enough, either.  At least, if not vulnerable, the showrunners have made an effort to make her look compassionate and merciful. Actually, they have gone over the top and concocted ridiculous plots (the truce with an already defeated Cersei and the wight hunting expedition are a great example) just to show us what a good person she is.

The problem is that they show both sides in a split form; Dany is an entitled tyrant dragon rider one second, a compassionate vulnerable girl the next, but never both at the same time. Coming back  to the "dragon petting" scene,  it is hard for me to believe that any sensitive compassionate human being would be so detached and self assured after burning at least hundreds of people alive. And if they tried to convey any emotion in that scene, they failed miserably.

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On 8/17/2017 at 6:33 AM, Armand Gargalen said:

 

Would it not have been much more powerful if we saw a Daenerys who is trying to hide her tears for the horrors she just witnessed and committed because she has to be a strong ruler who can no display weakness in public, only to be surprised by Jon? That would really show she is a real human being with a conflicted heart, someone another decent human being could fall in love with.

 

 

A couple of things about Dany's "reactions"  (or lack thereof) come to mind:

1. Her dragons are her children (apparently the only she will ever be able to have) and Drogon is practically her soulmate. Did you see the look she gave Jon Snow when he called them beasts?  If this show has taught us one thing, its never under estimate a mother's love or wrath.  These soldiers unleashed the MF scorpion on her favorite child, and wounded him. If I were Dany, I'd burn every last one of them if I could, and I'm merely a Katleesi.  

2. Dany burning the enemy is not out of character with her show version, and she's well acquainted with the damage her children can cause. She chained R and V up for quite a while as she came to terms with the power. Knowing - and using- the power she has is not inconsistent with anything she's done at this point. In fact, using them as a  last resort is wholly consistent with her series long courses and choices of action. 

3. I'm pretty surprised that people are reacting so strongly to her alleged "ruthless". She went into battle with the best weapons at her disposal. I wonder if anyone would have batted an eye if Stannis had used Dragons in the same manner. These were soldiers- an army. I don't think her battle strategy is inconsistent with what a good general would do. 

4. I think D&D are relying on people knowing things and remembering past scenes/chapters to gloss over a lot in their hurry to finish this series in the next 8 episodes. We are used to seeing at least some lip service building up to difficult choices on this show, and we are not getting any of that this year. Dialogue and back story are non existent. 

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21 minutes ago, Katleesi said:

A couple of things about Dany's "reactions"  (or lack thereof) come to mind:

1. Her dragons are her children (apparently the only she will ever be able to have) and Drogon is practically her soulmate. Did you see the look she gave Jon Snow when he called them beasts?  If this show has taught us one thing, its never under estimate a mother's love or wrath.  These soldiers unleashed the MF scorpion on her favorite child, and wounded him. If I were Dany, I'd burn every last one of them if I could, and I'm merely a Katleesi.  

2. Dany burning the enemy is not out of character with her show version, and she's well acquainted with the damage her children can cause. She chained R and V up for quite a while as she came to terms with the power. Knowing - and using- the power she has is not inconsistent with anything she's done at this point. In fact, using them as a  last resort is wholly consistent with her series long courses and choices of action. 

3. I'm pretty surprised that people are reacting so strongly to her alleged "ruthless". She went into battle with the best weapons at her disposal. I wonder if anyone would have batted an eye if Stannis had used Dragons in the same manner. These were soldiers- an army. I don't think her battle strategy is inconsistent with what a good general would do. 

4. I think D&D are relying on people knowing things and remembering past scenes/chapters to gloss over a lot in their hurry to finish this series in the next 8 episodes. We are used to seeing at least some lip service building up to difficult choices on this show, and we are not getting any of that this year. Dialogue and back story are non existent. 

Going into battle with dragons would be expected (and it would be disappointing if she didn't).  Murdering prisoners of war is a different thing entirely, both in our modern ethos and apparently in her universe, seeing as Robb beheaded Karstarck for murdering POWs.

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