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Daenerys: Analysis of psychology and foreshadowing

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Just now, Greenmonsterff said:

So, it wasn’t an allegory for climate change, but an allegory for mass shootings instead! I joke, I kid. Sorry. Couldn’t pass that one up.

If there was any political message, it was nuclear war and nuclear winter. The peasants dream of a summer that never ends, which in our world is considered A Very Bad Thing. 

We grew up hearing how nuclear winter would last years if not decades. All plant life would die from lack of sunlight and those who didn't die from radiation poisoning would die of starvation. 

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The “snap” was, in layman’s terms, simply a temper tantrum. I would not say that Daenerys has gone mad, as in schizophrenic.  I would say she has anger issues. She has been shown to suffer enormous loss in both lives and love. And after having completely decimated the enemy forces, decides she’s not done yet. She REALLY wants these MFs to pay. Is temporary insanity still a thing? I know we’ve got some amateur psychiatrists on here, maybe even some professionals. She lost her cool. She went fucking crazy, obviously, if only for an hour. Nobody would burn down hundreds of thousands of innocents after they had surrendered who was thinking clearly. But, maybe she will think differently when she calms down. Have none of you ever lost your temper before? Stubbed your toe and wanted to go Hulk on the world? Got cut off in traffic and wanted to choke some stranger and curse his entire family? This is irrational anger manifested. Perhaps a type of madness, but much different than hallucinations, both auditory and visual. She just happens to be sitting on the most destructive weapon in the world when she goes off. 

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Greenmonsterff said:

The “snap” was, in layman’s terms, simply a temper tantrum. I would not say that Daenerys has gone mad, as in schizophrenic.  I would say she has anger issues. She has been shown to suffer enormous loss in both lives and love. And after having completely decimated the enemy forces, decides she’s not done yet. She REALLY wants these MFs to pay. Is temporary insanity still a thing? I know we’ve got some amateur psychiatrists on here, maybe even some professionals. She lost her cool. She went fucking crazy, obviously, if only for an hour. Nobody would burn down hundreds of thousands of innocents after they had surrendered who was thinking clearly. But, maybe she will think differently when she calms down. Have none of you ever lost your temper before? Stubbed your toe and wanted to go Hulk on the world? Got cut off in traffic and wanted to choke some stranger and curse his entire family? This is irrational anger manifested. Perhaps a type of madness, but much different than hallucinations, both auditory and visual. She just happens to be sitting on the most destructive weapon in the world when she goes off. 

Sorry but a „temper tantrum“? I mean I get angry from time to time but don’t take a kitchen knife and stab someone because he/she really pissed me off. 

Sometimes I wonder (actually not) if people truly reflect what they are saying. 

To make it very clear: in psychological terms no one in the world goes „berserk“ out of nowhere without clear tendencies towards a personality disorder (and yes Dany is not psychotic, after all she CAN walk in fire). 

Edited by Arakan

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Arakan said:

Sorry but a „temper tantrum“? I mean I get angry from time to time but don’t take a kitchen knife and stab someone because he/she really pissed me off. 

Sometimes I wonder (actually not) if people truly reflect what they are saying. 

To make it very clear: in psychological terms no one in the world goes „berserk“ out of nowhere without clear tendencies towards a personality disorder (and yes Dany is not psychotic, after all she CAN walk in fire). 

Are you familiar with layman’s terms or are you one of this forum’s amateur or authentic psychiatrists? Lol. She lost her temper and killed people. OP called it a “snap.” People have been known to go into a rage and kill people, literally hundreds of times, probably more like thousands depending on how far back into history you want to go.

Edited by Greenmonsterff

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1 minute ago, Greenmonsterff said:

Are you familiar with layman’s terms or are you one of this forum’s amateur or authentic psychiatrists? Lol. She lost her temper and killed people. OP called it a “snap.” People have been known to go into a rage and kill people, literally hundreds of times, probably more like thousands depending on how far back into history you want to go.

I studied business engineering from 2002 to 2007. Then I studied again from 2014 until 2017. Psychology with focus on organizational psychology and business psychology. Now I am working as a business consultant for big and middle sized companies to prevent that people with pathological psychopathic and narcissistic tendencies go too far up the ladder. The economic damage they do is enormous. Business is great at the Moment. 

Keep in mind that there are 6 times more pathological psychopaths and narcissists in top management than in the average population. As I said business is great in the moment. 

„lol“

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I had been hoping for Mad Queen Dany for a few years now but in my opinion they went way too far way too fast.  Dany burning the women and children in King's Landing after the city's surrender is so far removed from anything she has done in the past that it's not even comparable.  We've seen that her sense of justice is detached and heavy handed, but she has always shown empathy for the downtrodden people helplessly caught in the middle.  If she had burned the Lannister army after they surrendered, or brought the Red keep down on top of Cersei's human shield, or unintentionally started the whole city on fire resulting in thousands of needless casualties it would've been in line with the flaws we've seen since season 1 and we could've still had the mad queen ending.

 

Instead she goes on a prolonged, relentless, and clearly intentional massacre of thousands of innocent bystanders AFTER she already won the battle.  Mad Queen Dany had the potential to be an incredible end to the series, but the execution was terrible.

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9 minutes ago, Bear42 said:

I had been hoping for Mad Queen Dany for a few years now but in my opinion they went way too far way too fast.  Dany burning the women and children in King's Landing after the city's surrender is so far removed from anything she has done in the past that it's not even comparable.  We've seen that her sense of justice is detached and heavy handed, but she has always shown empathy for the downtrodden people helplessly caught in the middle.  If she had burned the Lannister army after they surrendered, or brought the Red keep down on top of Cersei's human shield, or unintentionally started the whole city on fire resulting in thousands of needless casualties it would've been in line with the flaws we've seen since season 1 and we could've still had the mad queen ending.

 

Instead she goes on a prolonged, relentless, and clearly intentional massacre of thousands of innocent bystanders AFTER she already won the battle.  Mad Queen Dany had the potential to be an incredible end to the series, but the execution was terrible.

I couldn't agree more.

And there is another thing. I asked this question in another thread but nobody answered (the thread is about Bran). So perhaps, as this is a Dany thread, people here are more interested:

Since I watched ep 5, I keep wondering why on earth we never saw Dany´s face during the more than 20 minutes while she was burning KL and nearly everybody in it. You see her face when the bells ring. Yes. But never again afterwards.

Do you remember a movie - ANY kind of movie - where the main character fights an absolutely crucial battle - and the camera never ever, not for a split of a second, shows her/his face to the audience? Thus, you never know what the main character feels in this all decisive time: Is she triumphant? Is she without any emotions at all? Killing like a robot? Is she fighting her own doubts? Etc., etc.

When people fight for their lives: You see their faces on your screen. Even when a killer gets ready for his next shot: You see his face.

We are humans. We are interested in each other's faces because by watching them we usually get a lot of information. So from a storytelling point of view as well as from a cinematic point of view:

Isn't it absolutely strange and odd and extraordinary and weird:

Not to see Dany´s face even once or twice during the 20 most important minutes of her  life?!? And why didn't they show us?

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2 hours ago, Arakan said:

Sorry but a „temper tantrum“? I mean I get angry from time to time but don’t take a kitchen knife and stab someone because he/she really pissed me off. 

Sometimes I wonder (actually not) if people truly reflect what they are saying. 

To make it very clear: in psychological terms no one in the world goes „berserk“ out of nowhere without clear tendencies towards a personality disorder (and yes Dany is not psychotic, after all she CAN walk in fire). 

Did anyone examine scientifically the impacts and effects of morning sickness on a pregnant woman with superhuman abilities under terribly stressed conditions? Prenatal depression / hormonal turbulences, perhaps?  ;-) 

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I didn't read the complete thread , so I don't know if it was already mentioned (is there a 'search this thread' function?), but I just randomly happened upon this section in AGOT, Dany III:

Quote

"I pray for home too," she told him, believing it.

Ser Jorah laughed. "Look around you then, Khaleesi."

But it was not the plains Dany saw then. It was King's Landing and the great Red Keep that Aegon the Conqueror had built. It was Dragonstone where she had been born. In her mind's eye they burned with a thousand lights, a fire blazing in every window. In her mind's eye, all the doors were red.

 

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On 15 May 2019 at 3:39 PM, Bear42 said:

I had been hoping for Mad Queen Dany for a few years now but in my opinion they went way too far way too fast.  Dany burning the women and children in King's Landing after the city's surrender is so far removed from anything she has done in the past that it's not even comparable.  We've seen that her sense of justice is detached and heavy handed, but she has always shown empathy for the downtrodden people helplessly caught in the middle.  If she had burned the Lannister army after they surrendered, or brought the Red keep down on top of Cersei's human shield, or unintentionally started the whole city on fire resulting in thousands of needless casualties it would've been in line with the flaws we've seen since season 1 and we could've still had the mad queen ending.

 

Instead she goes on a prolonged, relentless, and clearly intentional massacre of thousands of innocent bystanders AFTER she already won the battle.  Mad Queen Dany had the potential to be an incredible end to the series, but the execution was terrible.

They are not innocent bystanders to her.  They are rebels and traitors.  

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On 5/14/2019 at 8:27 PM, The One Who Kneels said:

There certainly is. Aerys tortures a father and son to death in a sick mockery of justice while Dany executes a father and son who willingly joined a murderous usurper in openly fighting against her after they refuse repeated offers of clemency. 

One of those is the actions of an insane, bloodthirsty monarch. One of them is not. Foreshadowing my ass. 

Not true. Aeries has the full right to punish people who challenged Targaryens ( from Egg & Dunk). Dany is more bloodthursty than Aeries. She killed more than 1 million people. 

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On 5/15/2019 at 2:31 PM, Greenmonsterff said:

People have been known to go into a rage and kill people, literally hundreds of times, probably more like thousands depending on how far back into history you want to go.

Damn i´ve just written the very same thing elsewhere in the forum. Too many threads around the same themes it is difficult to keep up.

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On 5/13/2019 at 7:46 PM, Kajjo said:

Please evaluate this psychology analysis for her snapping:

Her frustration and desperation are so believable, Why people don't see it?

She just somehow won the battle. The opponent surrenders. She realizes there is nothing to gain anyway. All she fought for her whole life for nothing. Emptiness. Void.

The people won't love her anyway. Jon won't consummate their mutual love. Nothing to hope for anymore. Her goal in life achieved, having conquered King's Landing and absolutely nothing gained. She simply is at the end of her arc. Won but void. Wound't you snap?

Daenerys is not mad in herself. She snapped. And having the tendency to snap in such situations is a feature of the Targaryen ancestry. It is believable for a Targaryen to freak out in such a desperation. Daenerys was not mad all the time. She snapped just now. 

Grey Worm snaps, too, out of grief and bitterness, and continues fighting. Daenerys snaps on the back of a dragon. That makes the difference.

This is a character that has really been through the wringer - and built herself up every single time. And lets for a moment entertain the notion that she has in the space of 2 episodes developed a psychological fragility totally at odds with the incredibly strong willed and robust character that we have been shown for 8 and a half seasons enduring all sorts of trauma and repeatedly experiencing immense loss. Even if she is suddenly really fragile it seems ludicrous that this break could plausibly be expected to find expression in what might be the greatest mass murder in Westerosi history. Again because we have 8 and a half seasons clearly establishing that Dany's own sufferings have given her an especially unusual degree of concern for the small folk and the notion of just rule with Westerosi characters crossing continents to serve her, the liberation of Slavers Bay, the new rules for the Iron Born, the sacrifice of much of her forces defending the realm against the NK - all of that just thrown out in an instant.

Absent something like a brain tumour ( and even then there are plenty of signs) People don't turn into genocidal maniacs even in the presence of a nervous breakdown. Catatonic depression, Crying jags, overwhelming melancholy, withdrawal are all signs of this sort of breakdown. The sort of madness that her father Aerys fell prey too was paranoid, delusionary, and by every account developed over a long period of time. Aerys was according to Jamie, muttering to himself and openly delighting in the infliction of suffering. For all Dany's ferocity when wronged or in a fight she has never been shown taking pleasure in inflicting suffering. And it's telling here that after she sets off in this episode we don't see her face again.

So i just can't see even a mad Dany expressing her madness by totally negating everything that she has stood for.

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19 minutes ago, Johan Wehtje said:

And lets for a moment entertain the notion that she has in the space of 2 episodes developed a psychological fragility

She did not. It was there all the time. I wouldn't call it fragility but a streak towards violence, destruction, vengeance -- fire and blood. That she was all the time.

20 minutes ago, Johan Wehtje said:

Even if she is suddenly really fragile

No "sudden". It was clearly show all the time that she tends to violence. Season 2 "will burn down cities", then after the Dosh Khaleesi her pep talk again "destroy". 

21 minutes ago, Johan Wehtje said:

Dany's own sufferings have given her an especially unusual degree of concern for the small folk

Which might be really a narcisstic thing to "care" so much... she mostly cares for those who bend the knee to her. 

22 minutes ago, Johan Wehtje said:

eople don't turn into genocidal maniacs even in the presence of a nervous breakdown

How do you explain all the rampage shooting in US schools and the like?

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23 minutes ago, Kajjo said:

She did not. It was there all the time. I wouldn't call it fragility but a streak towards violence, destruction, vengeance -- fire and blood. That she was all the time.

No "sudden". It was clearly show all the time that she tends to violence. Season 2 "will burn down cities", then after the Dosh Khaleesi her pep talk again "destroy". 

Which might be really a narcisstic thing to "care" so much... she mostly cares for those who bend the knee to her. 

How do you explain all the rampage shooting in US schools and the like?

And, why do conquerors do what they do?  Sometimes, a massacre may be a cold-blooded decision to break all further resistance.  Or it may be an act of rage on the part of someone whose army has suffered, and who has lost people who are dear to her.

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44 minutes ago, Kajjo said:

She did not. It was there all the time. I wouldn't call it fragility but a streak towards violence, destruction, vengeance -- fire and blood. That she was all the time.

No "sudden". It was clearly show all the time that she tends to violence. Season 2 "will burn down cities", then after the Dosh Khaleesi her pep talk again "destroy". 

Which might be really a narcisstic thing to "care" so much... she mostly cares for those who bend the knee to her. 

How do you explain all the rampage shooting in US schools and the like?

Fire and Blood are the Targeryen house words, and in the world in which she lives a streak of ferocity is pretty much mandatory for any serious contender for power and hardly a sign of psychological frailty or mental problems. In fact I am finding it hard to think of a single character who hasn't had to act pretty ruthlessly to either survive or further their interests. And we don't all think they are displaying incipient madness.  Varys has, by his own admission, frequently had to do the unspeakable, but what the likely fate of the magician who had castrated him was just savage vengeance.

Tyrion was ruthless as hand, strangled Shay and murdered his father. Arya has killed hundreds and become a stone cold assassin able to cut a mans throat without blinking or make another mans children into a pie and then serve it to him. Sansa relished having Ramsey eaten by his own hounds. I don't think we are meant to question the sanity of any of these characters, so why is Dany, whose violence has generally been unleashed in the clear cause of Justice get saddled with the idea that her fairly measured violent acts are harbingers of madness. Let's not forget that some of the smartest and most honourable characters in the show world Semly, Varys, Tyrion, Missandei, Greyworm, Jorah Mormont, Jon Snow (Aegon)- all believed in her, and none have ever said or done anything to hint that she was psychologically frail until this episode and the last one. 

And I really don't think her empathy is plausibly simple narcicism - her relations with Misandei and her handmaidens, with Tyrion and Greyworm and Jorah and Semly were all portrayed as warm and respectful on both sides.

As for school shootings I partly blame guns, but in so far as there are psychological issues the most common profile is the disaffected male, often with longstanding indicators of psychopathy or conditions of complete lack of affect and social disconnection. There remain some rampages which are inexplicable (eg Las Vegas) or come pretty much out of the blue in someone with few pre indicators - but for the most part the Shooters are people that gave plenty of signs of deep seated issues. What we saw of Dany over 8 seasons was not remotely like the profile of school shooters.

And just to be clear I don't have a problem with the idea that Dany might break bad - in fact I think it was fairly clear that she was moving along a path where she would end up being the foreign Tyrant at war with the Starks  asserting the rights and customs of old Westeros. But she didn't have to break mad to break bad and the two are not the same thing.

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8 hours ago, SeanF said:

And, why do conquerors do what they do?  Sometimes, a massacre may be a cold-blooded decision to break all further resistance.  Or it may be an act of rage on the part of someone whose army has suffered, and who has lost people who are dear to her.

Right. So what?

Daenerys' reaction might be part a decision of "let it be fear" and over-doing it might be freaking out.

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7 hours ago, Johan Wehtje said:

Arya has killed hundreds

Did she?!

7 hours ago, Johan Wehtje said:

I don't think we are meant to question the sanity of any of these characters

Right.

7 hours ago, Johan Wehtje said:

her relations with Misandei and her handmaidens,

The one she locked into a vault to die?!

7 hours ago, Johan Wehtje said:

But she didn't have to break mad to break bad and the two are not the same thing.

We still don't know whether E5 was more a consequence of decision ("let it be fear") or freaking out. Both is possible and personally I tend to a mixture of both.

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3 hours ago, Kajjo said:

Did she?!

Right.

The one she locked into a vault to die?!

We still don't know whether E5 was more a consequence of decision ("let it be fear") or freaking out. Both is possible and personally I tend to a mixture of both.

Well she wiped out the entire Frey Family and the scene showed a Dining hall full of people, I estimate more than a hundred. The killing of Meryn Trant was also very bloody and prolonged and has Arya exulting in the kill. And that doesn't foreshadow Arya going mad.

The Handmaiden Dany locked in the vault not only betrayed her, but got her other handmaiden killed. Point is the world of GOT is a violent one where the distinction between vengeance and justice is very blurred and there are legions of examples of  both heroes and villains killing or ordering deaths without any suggestion that we should see foreshadowing of mental problems.

In Dany's case we had 8 seasons of character development showing someone exposed repeatedly to great trauma, loss and stress displaying enormous resilience. And that character was suddenly replaced with someone who can't cope and has had a breakdown that has made her genocidal.

And the fact you can't tell why Dany did what she did just highlights the problem of the poor writing - whether a new policy  of terror or madness or both it remains the fact that a character developed over 8 seasons was suddenly replaced by a very different one in the course of one episode.  

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Posted (edited)

FWIW, here is my own attempt at understanding the state of mind
that caused Daenerys Targaryen to destroy King’s Landing.  I'll begin
with these words from her to Jon Snow in _GOT_ Season 8, Episode 5:

I don't have love here. I only have fear….Alright then, Let it be fear."

What does Daenerys mean by this? Consider this infamous quote from
Chapter 17 of Niccolo Machiavelli’s _The Prince_ (which almost
certainly inspired these words):

“...It is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to
make way. For generally speaking, one can say the following about
men: they are ungrateful, inconsistent, feigners and dissimulators,
avoiders of danger, eager for gain, and whilst it profits them they
are all yours. They will offer you their blood, their property, their life
and their offspring when your need for them is remote. But when
your needs are pressing, they turn away. The prince who depends
entirely on their words perishes when he finds he has not taken any
other precautions….Men are less worried about harming somebody
who makes himself loved than someone who makes himself feared,
for love is held by a chain of obligation which, since men are bad, is
broken at every opportunity for personal gain. Fear, on the other
hand, is maintained by a dread of punishment which will never
desert you.

It has been said that Daenerys wanton, cruel destruction was
irrational -- an act of madness. Machiavelli’s words indicate that
there is a stern political logic to such acts, at least for tyrants who
perceive themselves incapable of winning, and maintaining, the
affections of their subjects -- which Daenerys has admitted herself
as being.

The extremity of Daenerys destructiveness has been criticized by
many GOT fans as out of character and, therefore, “unearned”. This
perception ignores another bit of penetratingly grim, yet pithy,
political wisdom, here offered by the 19th century English historian
Lord Acton in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887:

...absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Acton’s observation is especially apt in the context of this fantasy:
Daenerys controls absolute power -- in the form of Drogon, her
sole remaining dragon. And she controls this power absolutely --
the beast is totally responsive to her will, unmediated by the usual
chains of command upon which tyrants must rely to have their will
translated into appalling deeds.

Consequently, given that she regards Love as unavailable, and
knows she has a total mastery over Fear (in the form of her dragon),
is it at all surprising that such absolute power would corrupt her
absolutely, and that the destruction of King’s Landing would be the
consequence?

Well that’s what happened.

As for the notion that rationality exists to control emotion, these
words from the 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume
(from his _Treatise on Human Nature_ published in 1738) should be
considered:

"Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can
never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.
"

If I have understood him correctly, Hume seems to be saying here
that we were motivated by our emotions, and that our rationality
only serves to allow us to try (?) to order and then translate those
emotions into (perhaps) effective action. When our emotions are
temperate, our actions will likely be so as well.

But such is not the case for Daenerys. She feels alone and unloved.
Such passions cause her to make a slave of the ruthless
Machiavellian political utilitarianism of Fear, and to use her dragon
as an instrument of this logic against King's Landing.

All this is not only "in character" for her. It is the character of
anyone subject to such passions, and having the mind, and then 
the absolute power, to express them.

Edited by John Burke

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