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The Problem with a Mad Queen

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5 hours ago, Anthony Pirtle said:

The whole "mad queen" narrative is vaguely (and perhaps less than vaguely) sexist. Daenerys has done awful things. Military Times wrote an amusing article that places her second only to Ramsay Bolton when it comes to committing what we, on modern planet Earth, would consider war crimes. However, none of them are out of the norm for the world she actually inhabits.

She's shown much more restraint than Tywin, who waged a scorched earth campaign on the smallfolk, but no one calls him "Mad Tywin." People called her execution-by-fire of the Tyrell boys a warning sign of her madness, but lots of people have killed over less. Show favorite Tyrion had a singer murdered to keep him quiet about the affair he was conducting with a prostitute he later strangled to death, but no one calls him "Mad Tyrion."

This holds no water. The "Mad Queen" title obviously comes from her relation to her father, who was called "mad" virtually every time the show brought him up. That's his defining characteristic. 

Danny's father, by the way, was a man. So was Joffrey, a "touched" sadist. And Viserys, as I described above. 

Oh, and need it be pointed out that there is an overabundance of Strong Female Characters on this show, and none but Danny are called mad except Cersei--who certainly has earned it--and Lysa Aryn, who probably was mentally ill. Yara, Marge, Olestra, Elaria, Sansa, even the Red Witch. Someone may have called her crazy at some point, but we were never led to believe she was. Just zealous and mistaken. 

I personally call Arya a psychopath. But only post -season 6 Arya. Before then, she was a real person. 

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11 minutes ago, darmody said:

This holds no water. The "Mad Queen" title obviously comes from her relation to her father, who was called "mad" virtually every time the show brought him up. That's his defining characteristic. 

Danny's father, by the way, was a man. So was Joffrey, a "touched" sadist. And Viserys, as I described above. 

Oh, and need it be pointed out that there is an overabundance of Strong Female Characters on this show, and none but Danny are called mad except Cersei--who certainly has earned it--and Lysa Aryn, who probably was mentally ill. Yara, Marge, Olestra, Elaria, Sansa, even the Red Witch. Someone may have called her crazy at some point, but we were never led to believe she was. Just zealous and mistaken. 

I personally call Arya a psychopath. But only post -season 6 Arya. Before then, she was a real person. 

That’s the whole problem. No one calls Joffrey crazy, even though he was. If Viserys has taken the throne, would people call him mad if he ruled poorly? 

We’re all sitting around waiting for Dany to go “mad” because her father was. 

And it’s worth noting that both Maege and Yara are viewed as oddities, as well as Dacey Mormont and Arya. They’re certainly considered outliers. 

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8 minutes ago, The_Spanish_Inquisition said:

That’s the whole problem. No one calls Joffrey crazy, even though he was. If Viserys has taken the throne, would people call him mad if he ruled poorly? 

We’re all sitting around waiting for Dany to go “mad” because her father was. 

And it’s worth noting that both Maege and Yara are viewed as oddities, as well as Dacey Mormont and Arya. They’re certainly considered outliers. 

That quote about gods flipping a coin when a Targaryen is born came from Cersei talking about Joffrey. She didn't call him mad, but her supposition was that maybe his personality was punishment for Cersei and Jaime's sins. So 

 

Those women you mention should be outliers, because Medieval combat is no place for women. I have to guess there's something magical about Brienne, for instance, because there's no reason to believe she can physically do what she does.

However, Marge, the Queen of Thorns, Cersei before they went nuts with her character, Sansa...these characters are more in line with female leaders in the time period. 

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7 hours ago, The_Spanish_Inquisition said:

I’m clearly in the minority here regarding dragon fire, which is fine. 

Dany needs to either shit or get off the pot. Either accept the standards and norms of the realm, or admit you want to change the standards and expect people to fall in line with your new standards, and then own it.  

She can’t have it both ways. She can either be worried people won’t like her because her dad burned people, or she can burn people when she feels it’s warranted and tell everyone else to get over it. 

 I agree with you in regards of the Tarlys, for what is worth. Not particularly about the dragon fire, executing them was an error no matter the execution method. 

I believe Daenerys was completely wrong in executing Randyl Tarly. It was cruel, and also stupid. She had no right to give him that choice, not before getting her ass on the Iron Throne. She is no queen, just a claimant. She should have kept them both prisoners until she actually got the Throne. Basically, what Robert did with all the noblemen who fought in the Targaryen side during his rebellion, who had not died in battle. 

And the fact that she did that, just after that nice speech of breaking the wheel and "they've told you I came to murder you and orphan your children, that's not me, that's Cersei", was to highlight how she does not understand Westerosi's peoples and ways. All the people who actually bent the knee that day, did it out of fear, she didn't gain anybody's loyalty, even less love.

Not executing the Tarlys was actually the only good piece of advise Tyrion gave her since they arrived to Westeros.

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19 minutes ago, darmody said:

That quote about gods flipping a coin when a Targaryen is born came from Cersei talking about Joffrey. She didn't call him mad, but her supposition was that maybe his personality was punishment for Cersei and Jaime's sins. So 

 

Those women you mention should be outliers, because Medieval combat is no place for women. I have to guess there's something magical about Brienne, for instance, because there's no reason to believe she can physically do what she does.

However, Marge, the Queen of Thorns, Cersei before they went nuts with her character, Sansa...these characters are more in line with female leaders in the time period. 

I’m talking about the kind of broad, widespread kind of reputation someone gets for being crazy, as Aerys did. Not his mom talking to his dad, in a conversation less about Joffrey than it was about the two of them. 

I agree with you about the majority of the female characters being unusual. They’re still not called mad. 

Dany is a Targaryen female, and so she’s got the misfortune of being doubly susceptible to insanity, according to what we’re told. 

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8 minutes ago, LucyMormont said:

 I agree with you in regards of the Tarlys, for what is worth. Not particularly about the dragon fire, executing them was an error no matter the execution method. 

I believe Daenerys was completely wrong in executing Randyl Tarly. It was cruel, and also stupid. She had no right to give him that choice, not before getting her ass on the Iron Throne. She is no queen, just a claimant. She should have kept them both prisoners until she actually got the Throne. Basically, what Robert did with all the noblemen who fought in the Targaryen side during his rebellion, who had not died in battle. 

And the fact that she did that, just after that nice speech of breaking the wheel and "they've told you I came to murder you and orphan your children, that's not me, that's Cersei", was to highlight how she does not understand Westerosi's peoples and ways. All the people who actually bent the knee that day, did it out of fear, she didn't gain anybody's loyalty, even less love.

Not executing the Tarlys was actually the only good piece of advise Tyrion gave her since they arrived to Westeros.

By executing the Tarlys by dragon fire, she not only proved that the concern about her having dangerous echoes of her father might be true, but she also lost an excellent opportunity to take a pair of high-value prisoners and use them to bargain going forward. 

She made a mistake executing them on the spot, and an even bigger mistake using dragon fire. 

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3 hours ago, darmody said:

Viserys was more than weak. Definitely something was wrong with him.

Definitely something wrong with Joffrey, too. He killed a pregnant kitchen cat to get at its unborn kittens. Robert should have beaten him to a pulp for that.

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1 hour ago, CrypticWeirwood said:

Definitely something wrong with Joffrey, too. He killed a pregnant kitchen cat to get at its unborn kittens. Robert should have beaten him to a pulp for that.

That’s not conclusive at all. Many kids do questionable things to animals and then regret it later. Martin has described Joffrey as a ‘13 year old bully’ with an crown on his head. If he wasn’t enabled by Cersei he wouldn’t have been as bad.

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1 minute ago, Kaguya said:

That’s not conclusive at all. Many kids do questionable things to animals and then regret it later. Martin has described Joffrey as a ‘13 year old bully’ with an crown on his head. If he wasn’t enabled by Cersei he wouldn’t have been as bad.

“Many kids” do not torture and then kill animals just for the sport of it. That type of behavior is a well established sign of mental disturbance that will continue to manifest throughout life. It’s not normal. 

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14 hours ago, Anthony Pirtle said:

 People called her execution-by-fire of the Tyrell boys a warning sign of her madness, but lots of people have killed over less. Show favorite Tyrion had a singer murdered to keep him quiet about the affair he was conducting with a prostitute he later strangled to death, but no one calls him "Mad Tyrion."

Didn't he also condemn dozens of people to death for treason and hand them over  to Joff for elaborately cruel executions merely on Varys's say-so, without even attempting to give them a fair process or was it just in the books? Also, he killed thousands of people with wildfire, defending the claim of a king whom he knew to be illegitimate and terrible. Entirely out of sense of self-preservation and lust for power, I might add.

And no Westerosi ruler could afford to spare somebody who dissed them to their face, like Randyll did Dany - they would have been seen as weak and easy prey, dragons or no. Triply so for a woman. It was a mistake to use a dragon, though, since executions by burning would be associated with Aerys (and Stannis) in people's minds. 

And Varys? He makes zero sense in the show. He plotted to bring over Viserys with the Dothraki screamers in season 1, during the time of peace and plenty - did he think that it would be conducive to protecting innocents in any shape or form? Wasn't he also there when LF lied to Cat about the assassin's dagger and sparkled the Stark-Lannister clash? He supported Joffrey - ditto. He convinced Dany to come to Westeros knowing that she was a conqueror and also all the disadvantages that she would face being a woman and a daughter of the Mad King. Etc., etc. He has oceans of blood on his hands because he wantonly undermined rulers and sparkled civil wars and now we are supposed to think that his claims of caring about some innocent casualties are actually sincere?! If he was so worried about that, he should have proposed a covert ops solution from the start - or at any point, really. And Dany shouldn't have had a sudden amnesia about how she took Meeren.

 

8 hours ago, darmody said:

Oh, and need it be pointed out that there is an overabundance of Strong Female Characters on this show, and none but Danny are called mad except Cersei--who certainly has earned it--and Lysa Aryn, who probably was mentally ill.

These 3 are also the only 3 women who execrise direct power of a lord paramount/king either in their own right or as regents in the books. All 3 are/become madwomen. And yes, book Cersei is definitely mad. This has  very unfortunate implications.

 

Quote

Yara, Marge, Olestra, Elaria, Sansa, even the Red Witch. Someone may have called her crazy at some point, but we were never led to believe she was. Just zealous and mistaken.

In the show - how is Ellaria not a homicidal, sadistic maniac? She is not called mad, but she is certainly presented as such. Doesn't last long, either.

Marge only worked behind the scenes, manipulating men who were actually in power, Olenna was successful ditto as long as she could hide behind the men of her House and fell pretty much immediately after she gained direct control.

Yara _failed_ at gaining the Driftwood Crown, repeatedly lost to her uncle, started an Ironborn civil war that decimated them. They really have no reason to accept her as their ruler in the end - particularly not after Cersei and Dany prove all the prejudices against putting women in power right, but the show undoubtedly will throw this sop to the audience.

Sansa becomes lady paramount more or less after the dust is settled and they never show her as a credible leader. Jon remains the de-facto leader of the North and Sansa just advises and manipulates him.  And I am not saying that she should have become some bad-ass warrior, but she should have done something to inspire people to follow her. Worrying about supplies is well and good, but a steward could do it. Applying LF's lessons can be useful, but is also not it.

Neither Melisandre nor Arya are rulers or leaders.

Tywin, Jon Arryn, Ned, Robert, even Aerys etc. ruled for decades. Nearly all of the above women fall very quickly. About half of them are/become mad. 

Basically, it looks like this - men are capable of  holding power for long stretches of time, but women implode pretty much immediately after gaining it.

The whole "only people who don't want power could wield it well" schtick, in addition to obvious counter-example of Robert also pretty much precludes women from wielding it ever, because nobody in Westeros is going to _force_ power on a woman, like they keep doing with Jon, but on the contrary, would try to deny it to them even in the cases when it is their birthright, like when Jon was picked over Sansa by the northmen.

And the kicker is - no matter how well GRRM writes Dany's fall in the books, it would still look that way. He never should have had this overabundance of powerful madwomen in the series juxtaposed with almost complete absence of normal reigning queens/female paramounts in Westerosi history, bar Dorne, where it somehow works. He didn't have to do it that way - how many times have we heard "a daughter inherits if there are no sons" in the series, only for GRRM to reveal in the World Book and genealogies that this supposed law was almost never put into practice?

5 hours ago, The_Spanish_Inquisition said:

“Many kids” do not torture and then kill animals just for the sport of it. That type of behavior is a well established sign of mental disturbance that will continue to manifest throughout life. It’s not normal. 


Sadly, it used to be depressingly common for boys to torture and kill cats even a few decades ago, leave alone in the middle ages. IIRC, there are quite a few examples of small background scenes featuring this in the work of Peter Breughel the Older. Not that I disagree with you in general.

Edited by Maia

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1 hour ago, Maia said:

Marge only worked behind the scenes, manipulating men who were actually in power, Olenna was successful ditto as long as she could hide behind the men of her House and fell pretty much immediately after she gained direct control.

Yara _failed_ at gaining the Driftwood Crown, repeatedly lost to her uncle, started an Ironborn civil war that decimated them. They really have no reason to accept her as their ruler in the end - particularly not after Cersei and Dany prove all the prejudices against putting women in power right, but the show undoubtedly will throw this sop to the audience.

Sansa becomes lady paramount more or less after the dust is settled and they never show her as a credible leader. Jon remains the de-facto leader of the North and Sansa just advises and manipulates him.  And I am not saying that she should have become some bad-ass warrior, but she should have done something to inspire people to follow her. Worrying about supplies is well and good, but a steward could do it. Applying LF's lessons can be useful, but is also not it.

Neither Melisandre nor Arya are rulers or leaders.

Tywin, Jon Arryn, Ned, Robert, even Aerys etc. ruled for decades. Nearly all of the above women fall very quickly. About half of them are/become mad. 

Basically, it looks like this - men are capable of  holding power for long stretches of time, but women implode pretty much immediately after gaining it.

Marge was Queen, and she had the king under virtually total control. 

Oleana failed, Yara failed, Sansa isn't written well, Cersei is evil...what are we talking about, here? I thought it was madmess, not failure of leadership. The only female character in power to actually be mad was Lysa Aryn. Cersei is treated like she's lost her mind at various points, but I'm pretty sure she's not supposed to be crazy. Just an eccentric villain. The rest of them are not ill at all. They simply rule for short periods? So what? 

How many male leaders have ruled for short periods on this show? It's a time of war and upheaval. Ned ruled over 20 years of peace between two terrible wars. Sansa became Lady of Winterfell in the middle of several overlapping wars. With male preference in line of succession, of course there will be more women ruling in more challenging environments with men dying more rapidly. 

For instance, Oleana had to lose both her son and her grandson to rule Highgarden. Sansa should be in charge of Winterfell. But she'd only be in that position because Ned, Robb, and Rickon were murdered and Bran was crippled. Yara required her father dying and Theon losing his manhood. Not to mention the other two brothers who died and Urine's absence. Cersei had to lose a husband and two sons, her father and brother (not dead but a fugitive), plus her uncle to be a halfway plausible candidate for queenship. Which she actually isn't, but whatever. 

At the end of season 6, only one and a half of the seven kingdoms was known to be ruled by men. Jon Snow, explicitly known on the show as an idiot, in the North, and Urine, an eccentric character of there ever was one controlling half the Iron Islands. The rest were ruled by womenz. Dorne, the Westerlands, the Reach, all women. Plus the North had Sansa, and let's face it she basically controls the Vale. We haven't heard from Robin in forever. Danny was in charge of much of Essos. 

Of all these women, one is a monster who's probably not mentally ill. One is under watch for signs of madness. The rest (Oleanna, Elaria, Yara, Sansa) showed no sign of craziness. 

 

Edited by darmody

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2 hours ago, Maia said:

These 3 are also the only 3 women who execrise direct power of a lord paramount/king either in their own right or as regents in the books. All 3 are/become madwomen. And yes, book Cersei is definitely mad. This has  very unfortunate implications.

Yeah, I remember from a few weeks ago an article on AVClub making the claim that Game of Thrones was a show about how men, as opposed to women, in power made bad decisions, and I wondered if we were watching the same program. 

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19 hours ago, darmody said:

No, it isn't. The Night's Watch has its own rules. He was a member of the order, he disobeyed a direct order and was executed legally. 

Danny, on the other hand, is a queen in her own mind but not legally. He has surrendered and is her prisoner. He would at least have the right to trial by combat, I think, if not a real trial for treason. Summarily executing him was outside the bounds of Westerosi law, I should think. 

You could say the same thing about Ramsay.

Ramsay was the Lord of Winterfell and the Warden of the North, titles and powers derived from the Iron Throne.

Are Sansa and Jon wrong for felling Ramsay and retaking Winterfell? To the Iron Throne? Yes.

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Randyll Tarly deserved the execution, he literally said he would never obey Dany and her rule, which makes him very dangerous considering that he is a skilled commander from a wealthy house, in these circumtances they usually go to Wall, but then Randyll denied that too, so there was no other choice but an execution.

You can say that she shouldn't burn him, beheading was another choice. But execution was necessary, just like it was necessary for Ramsay. But then again, that's how Targaryen fights, if you say burning is too harsh, that's how Dany won the battle by using dragon fire, or her ancestors did before her. 

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23 hours ago, The_Spanish_Inquisition said:

“Many kids” do not torture and then kill animals just for the sport of it. That type of behavior is a well established sign of mental disturbance that will continue to manifest throughout life. It’s not normal. 

no it isnt. 

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On May 10, 2019 at 1:16 PM, MinscS2 said:

Wow...
You've gravely misinterpreted that scene. She most certainly doesn't burn the nobles because for "the fun of it", nor does she marry Hizdarh because she get's turned on by seeing people burn. 

1) She executes a random nobleman because Barristan, her confidant and adviser has just got butchered in the streets by the Sons of the Harpy. She's angry, sad and completely fed up with the Sons of the Harpy and the lack of progress her Unsullied and the Second Sons have with rooting them out. 
So she basically tries the "scare into submission"-approach. She executes one random noble and tells the rest that she doesn't care if they're innocent regarding supporting the Sons of the Harpy or not. They will get their shit together and make sure that whatever support they give the Sons stop, and that if they want to keep their heads they will help her root them out. 

2) The scene with Hizdahr is the complete opposite of what she just did, and is most certainly not because she's turned on. This scene is all about her realizing that what she just did to the nobles was a mistake. It was cruel and wrong and it's not who she is, and that the "scare into submission"-approach won't work.
So instead she marries a nobleman of Mereen in a peaceful attempt to try and make the mereneese like her, by essentially making her "one of them" and as such make the killings by the Sons of the Harpy stop. The only reason why she picks Hizdarh is because of convenience; he's right there, on his knee's, and he's the one nobleman in Mereen she's the most acquainted with. She does not like him however, and is most certainly not turned on by him. (She's still banging Daario at this point.) 
It's basically a political marriage which she does out of necessity and because it's the "right" thing to do - not because she wants to. 

Ultimately however, we learn that it doesn't help either, because the Sons return and even kill Hizdarh at a later point.
It was always a "damned if you do, damned if you don't"-scenario for her.

Well, I would say it is now possible that you are the one that misinterpreted those scenes. It should be very obvious that the show is making Danaerys the bad one for a long time. This is not the books which is why I hardly ever watched the show because they are wrong. 

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Seriously. Before this Dany never killed an innocent person. She killed those who were cruel themselves and/or acted against her. I ask you - what else did Tywin do? What did Littlefinger do? What did Ramsay do? And what - wtf - did Cersei do??? Cersei actually blew up the equivalent of the Peter‘s Dome with the Pope in it and hundreds if not a few thousand ppl. Her own damn people. She tortured and murdered ruthlessly. So how the hell should Danys behaviour before the Bells be so extraordinarily outstanding cruel and mad compared to these villains‘ doings? It does not. Dany was forceful but not even close to the ruthlessness and sadistic doings of the rest. And now she just got nuts and threw everything out of the window. Fine. But do not give me the crap that she showed signs of this before. Because there were others who did way more.

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She murdered some Masters without a trial. She burned alive a group of Khals. Granted, neither of them could be considered "innocent" exactly, but neither did they outright provoke her. Even earlier, she was essentially happy when Drogo declared that he will slaughter people in Westeros. I mean, she smiled at this:

"I will kill the men in iron suits, and tear down their stone houses. I will rape their women, take their children as slaves, and bring their broken gods back to Vaes Dothrak."

Punishment of the wine seller was beyond justice, it was vengeance, it was torture.

Fact that their targets in early seasons had been invariably guilty doesn't mean she did not have capacity, and even penchant, for cruelty.

When she arrived at Quarth, she acts entitled (though maybe she truly was, not sure on rules of conduct in that area). Once refused, she threatened that "When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me, and destroy those who had wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground. Turn us away, and we will burn you first."

And then: "I will take what is mine. With fire and blood, I will take it."

She also killed Doreah, handmaiden who had enabled her marriage to Drogo to be successful, Now, Doreah apparently did betray her, so death sentence was logical reaction; but the manner in which it was carried out - basically burying her alive - was unnecessarily cruel. And all of that was done without a trial. When Stannis believed Davos had betrayed him, he still allowed Davos to speak in his own defence; Daenerys rarely if ever allowed those she deemed guilty to defend themselves.

After conquering Mereen, Daenerys crucified 163 masters. There was no trial, no established guilt; just random selection. Just like everything above, it was vengeance disguised as justice. And we later learn that some of those 163 were innocent. She did this despite Jorah Mormont's advice to the contrary.

Later she said "They can live in my new world or they can die in their old one." So basically, "submit or die". Selmy later warned her that the Mad King "gave his enemies the justice he thought they deserved", and every time it made him feel "powerful and right". At this point, he could have been just as well describing Daenerys herself. She also apparently enjoys watching her enemies burn, such as when she feeds slave masters to her dragons. She threatened Hizdrahr with burning Meereen to the ground.

Now, her burning of khals was a justified self-defence. But notice that she takes pleasure from the act:

Notice at 4:00 that she is smiling. She enjoys watching her enemies burn.

In episode 6x6, she speaks to her khalasar. "Will you kill my enemies in their iron suits and tear down their stone houses?" 

This is clear sign that she has set herself on the "Fire and Blood" path. She is after conquest, and she is after vengeance.

Later on, she threatened to crucify the maesters, and return their cities to dirt (that is, burn them all). And when Tyrion warned her of what she was doing, that she was becoming similar to the Mad King, she just dismissed his advice.

She outright told Varys "If you every betray me, I will burn you alive". Varys did betray her, but only after she betrayed her own people.

Daenerys burned Tarlys alive as an intimidation tactic. You can say that they deserved to die, and even burning them for intimidation may be considered acceptable approach to reduce casualties in long term, it was still cruel. Traditional and responsible way of execution would be by beheading.

Dany also showed little emotion when she delivered news to Sam. Now, on its own, it doesn't mean much; some people simply don't express emotion much, or simply don't feel emotions very strongly. But later, when she was with Sansa, she was all smiles. This implies that she had been manipulating people - including viewers - all along. If idea that she had been falsifying emotions is true, it would make her into a high-functioning sociopath. She has also maintained respect for her father and brother.

Her expression of jealousy towards Jon parallels how Viserys expressed jelaousy towards her in season 1. And lastly, she developed serious messianic complex: "I'm here to free the world from tyrants. That is my destiny. And I will serve it, no matter the cost,"

 

 

This goes into little more detail:

https://www.businessinsider.com/game-of-thrones-daenerys-mad-queen-foreshadowing-2019-5

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On 5/19/2019 at 9:40 PM, rayarts said:

Seriously. Before this Dany never killed an innocent person. She killed those who were cruel themselves and/or acted against her. I ask you - what else did Tywin do? What did Littlefinger do? What did Ramsay do? And what - wtf - did Cersei do??? Cersei actually blew up the equivalent of the Peter‘s Dome with the Pope in it and hundreds if not a few thousand ppl. Her own damn people. She tortured and murdered ruthlessly. So how the hell should Danys behaviour before the Bells be so extraordinarily outstanding cruel and mad compared to these villains‘ doings? It does not. Dany was forceful but not even close to the ruthlessness and sadistic doings of the rest. And now she just got nuts and threw everything out of the window. Fine. But do not give me the crap that she showed signs of this before. Because there were others who did way more.

Burning prisoners alive while she could actually behead them by using the Unsullied or Dothraki?

This is where Varys and Tyrion started to lose their faith in her, after she burned Randyll Tarly and his son alive.

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