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Daenerys: Analysis of psychology and foreshadowing

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Ah yes and the Randyll and Dickon Tarly scene. How is that different from IS terrorists screaming at you „convert or die“? The answer is, fundamentally there is absolutely no difference at all. People should open their eyes. But I do not wonder why Dany had/has so many fanatic fans, we all have those psychopathic/sociophathic and narcissistic personality traits in us. Some more some less. And we admire those famous people „who live the dream“. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, Louis 14, Napoleon. And of course the more notorious ones like Ghengis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Stalin, Hitler. But they were a little bit „too much“. And in GOT terms Dany is now on the „too much“ side. 

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15 minutes ago, Arakan said:

I partly disagree especially regarding emotional stability. The stronger the narcissistic traits the more prone to instable behavior. Narcissistic rage is a powerful thing. And Dany like so many Targaryens has shown it plenty of times. 

The whole KL genocide smells of narcissistic rage albeit with a little delay. If you want you can call it snapping.

she lacks emphaty, she is entitled, she wants to be loved/admired, she has delusional phantasies of being the „chosen one“, she is envious, she has no self-reflection (she didn’t truly grow as a person at all). Narcissistic personality disorder confirmed 

she enjoys sadistic executions and in the end she doesn’t give a shit about what anyone things about her or what is right or wrong. She can do whatever she wants. Psychopathy/Sociopathy confirmed. 

A machiavellist she is not. For that she is way too emotional instable and maybe not smart enough, i.e. not self-reflective enough (which is the one true sign of true intelligence). 

She clearly is no Stalin. More Hitler. 

All that slave emancipating stuff is nothing more than window dressing. In the end she doesn’t give a shit about them, neither in the books nor show. That white savior stuff just feeds in her ego, classical narcissist. And don’t let her thought process fool anyone. Narcissists believe their own hype. 

It is a great observation that narcissist rage is not coherent with the results of standardized personality tests that involve emotional stability scale. However we must ask ourselves the methodological question: how the test is performed. It usually measures how often the patient expresses feelings of anxiety: worry, fear, anger, pain, envy, guilt, loneliness. Danny expresses them a lot lately. But psychopath does not seem to experience worry, guilt or loneliness. They sometimes report experiencing slight fear, pain or envy but they seek more stimuli here and they actually indulge in anger, unlike most people. Also they are unlike affective murderers who "snap", because affective murderer feels guilt over his anger and will repress it and regret it afterwards. But I don't believe that Dany was affective during her killing spree.

To prove that Dany is narcissist psychopath you'd have to show me that she enjoyed killing or torturing people and has no regrets. Viserys OK, but Dany?

Is lack of empathy exhibited by mourning loss of friends? Isn't desire to be loved/admired part of every human being? Don't we all get delusional or envious sometimes, especially when something extraordinary happens? And was it Dany who enjoyed and celebrated violence or the audience?

Also there is a kind of drive to accuse mass murderers of psychopathy although this is never proved and in cases where the murderer was under prior observation there was no such diagnosis.

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Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) from not eating for several days can cause:

Somebody should have bought her a Happy Meal before going into battle.

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16 minutes ago, TwiceBorn said:

It is a great observation that narcissist rage is not coherent with the results of standardized personality tests that involve emotional stability scale. However we must ask ourselves the methodological question: how the test is performed. It usually measures how often the patient expresses feelings of anxiety: worry, fear, anger, pain, envy, guilt, loneliness. Danny expresses them a lot lately. But psychopath does not seem to experience worry, guilt or loneliness. They sometimes report experiencing slight fear, pain or envy but they seek more stimuli here and they actually indulge in anger, unlike most people. Also they are unlike affective murderers who "snap", because affective murderer feels guilt over his anger and will repress it and regret it afterwards. But I don't believe that Dany was affective during her killing spree.

To prove that Dany is narcissist psychopath you'd have to show me that she enjoyed killing or torturing people and has no regrets. Viserys OK, but Dany?

Is lack of empathy exhibited by mourning loss of friends? Isn't desire to be loved/admired part of every human being? Don't we all get delusional or envious sometimes, especially when something extraordinary happens? And was it Dany who enjoyed and celebrated violence or the audience?

Also there is a kind of drive to accuse mass murderers of psychopathy although this is never proved and in cases where the murderer was under prior observation there was no such diagnosis.

I would agree that she has a very dominant narcissistic personality trait. Stronger than the psychopathic/sociopathic trait. She is absolutely not self-reflective and believes her own hype. She would never consider herself „bad“ of course. Therefore I said more Hitler than Stalin ;)  

Cercei in the TV show (not the books) on the other hand, yes she is a narcissist, but actually much less than a  superficial understanding of the term might led one to believe. She is actually quite self-aware, able to self-reflect. She simply doesn’t give a shit. She is a very functional psychopath and a functional machiavellist. Cercei in the books is completely different of course, total different psychology. Book Cercei is the least self-aware person in all of Westeros. 

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57 minutes ago, Arakan said:

Ah yes and the Randyll and Dickon Tarly scene. How is that different from IS terrorists screaming at you „convert or die“?

Come on now. "Swear fealty or die" what almost every winner a in civil war did to the high-ranked losers for most of human history (If they weren't slaughtering the losers without offering them such a chance). Were all of them crazy?

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, David Selig said:

Come on now. "Swear fealty or die" what almost every winner a in civil war did to the high-ranked losers for most of human history (If they weren't slaughtering the losers without offering them such a chance). Were all of them crazy?

Not all of them were „crazy“, i.e. psychotic. Psychotic rulers are quite short-lifed (maybe Caligula was psychotic who knows). But please give concrete examples and I can give concrete answers. Anyway I never said that Dany was „crazy“ or „mad“. A psychopath is not „crazy“ or „mad“. Common misunderstanding due to popular media. 

But I am well aware that you have been one of the most ardent Dany defenders on this forum for years and years. So I am well aware that a discussion with you will lead to nothing. Let’s just agree to disagree. 

Edited by Arakan

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1 hour ago, Arakan said:

Ah yes and the Randyll and Dickon Tarly scene. How is that different from IS terrorists screaming at you „convert or die“? The answer is, fundamentally there is absolutely no difference at all. People should open their eyes. But I do not wonder why Dany had/has so many fanatic fans, we all have those psychopathic/sociophathic and narcissistic personality traits in us. Some more some less. And we admire those famous people „who live the dream“. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, Louis 14, Napoleon. And of course the more notorious ones like Ghengis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Stalin, Hitler. But they were a little bit „too much“. And in GOT terms Dany is now on the „too much“ side. 

Swear fealty or die was Tarly's only real choice in the setting. He can't refuse to swear fealty to the new queen and continue to be a lord. Tarly was offered a choice to bend the knee. He refused. Tyrion gave him the option of the Wall. He rejected that. Death was the only real option left for him. Dickon then choosing to commit suicide rather than bend the knee wasn't really Dany's fault either. What's she supposed to say to that? "No I won't execute you despite your wishes I'll lock you in a dungeon until you agree to swear fealty?" 

If you wanted to cast that scene in a way that made Dany look cruel and unreasonable then you needed to have Randyll try to take back his words and go to the Wall after he realizes Dickon is being an idiot and is going to get himself killed only to have Dany refuse to reconsider (they made their choice) over Tyrion's protests. 

Of course this all circles back again to the huge, underlying problem in terms of Dany's war against Cersei as to why on earth the Tarlys (or anyone) are so invested in Usurper Queen Cersei to the extent they're willing to die rather than swear fealty to a legitimate claimant to the Iron Throne. 

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3 minutes ago, Arakan said:

But I am well aware that you have been one of the most ardent Dany defenders on this forum for years and years.

Not sure how you got that impression. I've never posted much about Dany since I am not particularly interested in her and her plotline.

5 minutes ago, Arakan said:

Not all of them were „crazy“, i.e. psychotic. But please give concrete examples and I can give concrete answers. Anyway I never said that Dany was „crazy“ or „mad“. A psychopath is not „crazy“ or „mad“. Common misunderstanding due to popular media. 

How are you able to diagnose historical figures?

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3 minutes ago, The One Who Kneels said:

Swear fealty or die was Tarly's only real choice in the setting. He can't refuse to swear fealty to the new queen and continue to be a lord. Tarly was offered a choice to bend the knee. He refused. Tyrion gave him the option of the Wall. He rejected that. Death was the only real option left for him. Dickon then choosing to commit suicide rather than bend the knee wasn't really Dany's fault either. What's she supposed to say to that? "No I won't execute you despite your wishes I'll lock you in a dungeon until you agree to swear fealty?" 

If you wanted to cast that scene in a way that made Dany look cruel and unreasonable then you needed to have Randyll try to take back his words and go to the Wall after he realizes Dickon is being an idiot and is going to get himself killed only to have Dany refuse to reconsider (they made their choice) over Tyrion's protests. 

Of course this all circles back again to the huge, underlying problem in terms of Dany's war against Cersei as to why on earth the Tarlys (or anyone) are so invested in Usurper Queen Cersei to the extent they're willing to die rather than swear fealty to a legitimate claimant to the Iron Throne. 

The battle was minutes over. Minutes. Anyway you can rationalize that scene all you want. I know the power of cognitive dissonance. 

Dany behaved like all fanatics behave, convert or die. Prisoners are not taken. Time to think is not given. Convert or die. Now  

 

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, David Selig said:

Not sure how you got that impression. I've never posted much about Dany since I am not particularly interested in her and her plotline.

How are you able to diagnose historical figures?

Actually no one truly is in a proper clinical sense. But of course there are indications as long as the sources are objective. This is the main problem. Objective historical sources. 

Edited by Arakan

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I'm not that keen on amateur psychology, but I expect that someone in Dany's position would have considerable mental health issues.  She's the product of two generations of incest; she was horribly abused by her brother; she spent years on the run;. She was sold to a warlord and repeatedly raped;. She survived numerous attempts to kill her.  

Before she got the chance to turn the tables, obtain weapons of appalling power and thousands of adoring followers.  

But, I don't think that mental illness explains what she did at Kings Landing.  She was furious at her losses, at the betrayals, at the lack of recognition for what she did in the North, and for the deliberate murder of her friend at the parley.

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6 minutes ago, David Selig said:

Come on now. "Swear fealty or die" what almost every winner a in civil war did to the high-ranked losers for most of human history (If they weren't slaughtering the losers without offering them such a chance). Were all of them crazy?

Not usually. Because everyone knew how much is such fealty worth while the conflict rages. It was far more usual to either execute them outright, or hold them for ransom. Such things would be done after the war, if prisoners were taken - and often in such case the punishment would be exile. It is even a tactical thing: If you demonstrate your enemy there is no escape, they will fight harder. And the justification - "I will not enslave people" as a response to suggestion to lock them up and use them as leverage / give them time to think - is hollow if the alternative is death. 

Dany's biggest thing with Tarlys was not whether it was legal/justified or not. It is the form. She did exactly what her father did - and in his favourite form. It was worse than a crime, it was a mistake. It demonstrated all the nice talk abour not being Aerys II was just talk. Perhaps she is not getting a hard-on from burning people alive, but she seems to be totally oblivious to how is such punishment seen. Though... I guess not. She burns her perceived enemies. When she has to execute her ally - the former slave - he gets a swift beheading.

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2 minutes ago, SeanF said:

I'm not that keen on amateur psychology, but I expect that someone in Dany's position would have considerable mental health issues.  She's the product of two generations of incest; she was horribly abused by her brother; she spent years on the run;. She was sold to a warlord and repeatedly raped;. She survived numerous attempts to kill her.  

Before she got the chance to turn the tables, obtain weapons of appalling power and thousands of adoring followers.  

But, I don't think that mental illness explains what she did at Kings Landing.  She was furious at her losses, at the betrayals, at the lack of recognition for what she did in the North, and for the deliberate murder of her friend at the parley.

The reasons you state would make sense if she did focus on the Red Keep. But she didn’t, she burned and butchered presumably tens of thousands of women and children. After she won. After the city surrendered. There is no rationale for this. You never shit were you want to eat. Penalizing cities in order to teach a lesson is a military strategy, yes. But this doesn’t apply in this scenario in a rational way. It made „sense“ for the Mongols to massacre Bagdad in 1258. It didn’t make sense for the Crusaders to butcher Jerusalem in 1099. That was driven by fanatic delusion or mass psychosis or whatever. But it made no rational sense. The same way butchering the civilians in KL made no sense. You don’t shit where you eat. 

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Guys there is no point in treating show Dany as a coherent character. She is not written as such. Paralleling that nonsense with the character in the books is the same as citing show Littlefinger as evidence that the guy is actually an utter moron or citing book Littlefinger as evidence that show Littlefinger must make sense after all, because we know that Littlefinger is smart.

Whatever happened in the show didn't happen in the books and something as stupid as the recent show episode simply cannot happen in the books.

I lay out my thoughts on the matter below:

There are a lot of internal issues with this kind of scenario in the books.

For one, King's Landing would never suffer resistance against a Targaryen pretender against another Targaryen pretender, most especially not Cersei. They would drag her out of the Red Keep and stone her to death if she tried to pull what the TV Cersei pulled.

Which means this scenario can only happen in the books, I think, if the guy in the Red Keep were Aegon at that time - but that's in and of itself a rather unlikely scenario considering that it would mean he rather than Euron would prevail until the very end of the series - which is actually pretty unlikely, not to mention the rather obvious hints in 'The Forsaken' that Euron will mount the Iron Throne at one point.

Doing everything it takes to destroy Euron is most likely not going to be a particular or problematic scenario even if it resulted in the complete physical destruction of KL.

Destroying Aegon during a Second Dance before the War for the Dawn might happen, but an escalation there is not likely going to happen because Daenerys suddenly becomes a dialed-up version of her father for no reason. It would also mean that this scenario would not happen before the War for the Dawn which would then completely change book Dany's arc in relation to the show travesty.

The problem with this childish interpretations of her overall mindset as 'feeling rejected/not loved' is actually something I literally cannot see happening. She doesn't have a delusions that the Westerosi will love her because she is their rightful queen. She recalls that her brother believed nonsense like that and she dismissed it herself. She also acquired her own people in Essos - her khalasar, her freedmen, eventually the other Dothraki and whoever is going to join her in the future. It is literally unthinkable that she would despair because some savages at the end of the world don't love her.

Westeros is not her only option. It never was. Sure, once she destroys all the Ghiscari cities there won't be a chance to return to Meereen. But she could always rule the Dothraki from Vaes Dothrak if so she chose, and she could most likely also rebuild the Valyrian Freehold by setting herself up as the first Volantene dragonlord (with slavery gone, of course). She also has never been to Westeros, and is not likely to feel particularly at home there. It is certainly possible that she will be disappointed about the savage people there and also the land and its primitive feudal culture, etc., but there is essentially no chance that any of that this would have much of an impact on her.

In that sense, the entire emotional arc for Daenerys in the show in the last two seasons or so is just nonsense.

This doesn't mean she cannot make herself being hated or feared by the Westerosi, but there is literally no way imaginable where she could ever appear to be worse than either Cersei or Euron (or a lot of other characters who are on dark paths).

There is also the nonsensical scenario of using Drogon as a weapon of mass destruction. Chances are very low that those dragons will ever grow to the size of Aegon's dragons in just a couple of books, and only dragons of that size could ever become a proper danger to a city the size of KL. But even they could most likely not burn down a city in the middle of winter - keep in mind it was already snowing in KL back in ADwD. A KL baked in and covered by vast amounts of frozen water is not going burn when dragons attack it - and whatever wildfire may still be stashed there is actually stored in the deep cellars of the city which are never going to be touched by the fire.

What one can see of the scenario in the books is a brutal sack. A sack commanded by Daenerys. But I doubt that's going to affect KL - a city built by the Targaryens populated by people loving the Targaryens (not to mention full of secret tunnels and means of infiltration, meaning it should be easy to take such a city without much bloodshed) - but rather Lannisport. The West is not spent, and if Euron and Cersei were to team up the troops of West could come to haunt Daenerys in later books. If she ever got to that place one could see her eradicating everything connected to that bloodline. She might even decide to put all the Lannisters down the way her father dealt with the Darklyns and Hollards - certainly a cruel thing, but hardly without precedent and actually rather fitting if one recalls what Tywin did to the Reynes and Tarbecks. This is a world where collective punishment is actually quite common.

And I most definitely to hold the position that even wanton acts of great cruelty in war are not likely to affect the thinking of these people to a high degree. Winter has not even started yet and 'Catelyn' and her thugs are already worse than animals. And they are not done with their work yet. Jaime might be forced to stand there and watch while 'Catelyn' has Genna hanged with her entrails hanging out and her corpse being fed to Nymeria's wolves.

If Dany is to prevail for so much as five seconds in Westeros she has to sink to that level.

Keep in mind that she is horrified by the idea to pull a Red Wedding-like stunt in Meereen. People make much fuzz about the fact that 'dragons don't plant trees' but Dany just wanted to rest for a while, she wanted to enjoy being a young woman and she wanted to be a good queen to people she freed and conquered. She seems to have realized that her soft approach in Meereen was wrong, but that's not the same as starting to butcher innocents for no reason. Not even remotely the same. This phrase is about Dany's desire to linger, to not go to Westeros, to not follow whatever her destiny is - and she nearly got herself killed for that mistake.

I mean, if you look at her actions in ADwD Dany is, at times, even weaker than her ancestor King Aenys. Some child died and she decides to imprison her dragons. Her city is threatened and she decided to not use her dragons in war. People all but show her open defiance, laugh in her face, ridicule her with that cake, and she just laughs with them, doing nothing. She even publicly admits that her hostages are not truly hostages because she could never kill innocent children. In that world this is the way into an early grave, not to respect or power.

And if it turned out that the show didn't botch the chronology - which I actually think it did - and this thing actually takes place after the Long Night then all the people who burned there are not innocents. They are traitors to life itself because they forced the good guys fighting for mankind to fight alone. And that's true for basically everybody in KL because this isn't exactly a modern police state or anything where people cannot do anything with some tyrant's permission. Jaime had the opportunity to leave and go north, and everybody else could have done the same.

All that makes it abundantly clear that this entire plot line was, for the most part, just an invention of the show. As is, most likely, the final resolution.

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4 minutes ago, Arakan said:

But it made no rational sense. The same way butchering the civilians in KL made no sense. You don’t shit where you eat. 

I guess she just decided she'd prefer burning their their hearts and minds rather than winning them. :o

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8 minutes ago, Arakan said:

The reasons you state would make sense if she did focus on the Red Keep. But she didn’t, she burned and butchered presumably tens of thousands of women and children. After she won. After the city surrendered. There is no rationale for this. You never shit were you want to eat. Penalizing cities in order to teach a lesson is a military strategy, yes. But this doesn’t apply in this scenario in a rational way. It made „sense“ for the Mongols to massacre Bagdad in 1258. It didn’t make sense for the Crusaders to butcher Jerusalem in 1099. That was driven by fanatic delusion or mass psychosis or whatever. But it made no rational sense. The same way butchering the civilians in KL made no sense. You don’t shit where you eat. 

People have often sacked cities they subsequently resided in or used as centres of power.

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25 minutes ago, Arakan said:

The battle was minutes over. Minutes. Anyway you can rationalize that scene all you want. I know the power of cognitive dissonance. 

Dany behaved like all fanatics behave, convert or die. Prisoners are not taken. Time to think is not given. Convert or die. Now  

 

There's nothing to rationalize. Tarly wasn't minding his own business when Dany rolled in and demanded he bend the knee or die. He's a Westerosi lord who took sides against her in a civil war. When his army gets smashed and he is captured he has three simple options: bend the knee (and this option doesn't have to be offered at all), take the black or die. He rejected the first two and got the third. 

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1 minute ago, SeanF said:

People have often sacked cities they subsequently resided in or used as centres of power.

Yes they have. The crusaders also resided in Jerusalem after the massacre. Doesn’t change the fact that there was no rationale, not even a medieval one, to do what they did. 

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6 minutes ago, The One Who Kneels said:

There's nothing to rationalize. Tarly wasn't minding his own business when Dany rolled in and demanded he bend the knee or die. He's a Westerosi lord who took sides against her in a civil war. When his army gets smashed and he is captured he has three simple options: bend the knee (and this option doesn't have to be offered at all), take the black or die. He rejected the first two and got the third. 

Cool. 

So you are agreeing that Dany is no better than all those „evil“ Westerosi war mongerers like Tywin or Roose Bolton? Thank you for making my point. 

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I always knew she would be a Mad Queen. The show did it in a rushed, simplistic way that didn’t feel as earned as I expected her eventual descent in the books (that we will likely never could) would but it still rang true to the character that I have known for years. On page and off screen, it made sense to me. 

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