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Tyrion1991

A failed tragedy

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The show, and presumably Martin, intended for this to be a downfall moment for Daenerys. A women obsessed with her quest for power and whose desire for vengeance destroyed everything. She became the monster.

This fails for a host of reasons:

Daenerys being mad is arbitrary. As stressed, Targaryen madness is inherited, so this means Dany has limited agency. Her actions dictated by an external factor. One of thrones strengths is that we can ask how we would have acted in the same situation. You can’t do that with a character who is mad because her father was mad. As such it’s easy to dismiss anything Dany does by shrugging your shoulders and going “well I am not a Targaryen, I wouldn’t burn the city”

People have been saying Dany would go mad for years. It’s not surprising. It’s just that the debate has really been about how cynical and nihilist GRRM is. Would Dany rise above the issue ala Rand from Wheel of Time or go cray cray because of arbitrary reasons dictated by the author.

The reasons stated of pursuit of power and vengeance are lauded, celebrated and put on a pedestal with other characters. The Starks want revenge on the Lannister’s and wanted to take back their lands and titles. They killed thousands of people doing this and certainly never had people brow beating over whether they were worthy or not. If the pursuit of power and vengeance is acceptable in some circumstances then that is a very weak assault on it. All that says is that Dany lacked strength of will and was weak. Which again, is arbitrary and decided by the writer.

What actually is the moral here? Like beyond cheap shock value I don’t see any merits to it or payoff. 

I am glad that D&D have shown me what GRRM intends with Dany and that he really does want her story to amount to nothing but a footnote in the Starks. Now I can wash my hands of them.

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In regards to the arbitrariness of it all, since this is a fictional story, any and all characters’ choices and consequences are arbitrarily dictated by their creator. If Dany’s ending had been written any differently, it would have been just as arbitrary as it currently stands.

Regarding the reason for her downfall, I think the original reason you mentioned is the most meaningful: her obsessive quest for power. Much more so than whether her father was mad. It is up for debate as to whether Dany truly is mad, or is just ruthlessly cruel. Whereas Aerys evidenced severe paranoia and auditory hallucinations, as far as we know Dany is not insane in this capacity. Yes she just went on a murderous rampage, but that could have been a cold and calculating decision she made, or an extreme fit of rage (the latter would most resemble madness). The point is, insanity/madness is not always a necessary reason for mass murder. Cersei blowing up the sept is an example of this. Although many of us may view her actions as “crazy,” she is not insane in the clinical sense. Narcissistic, ruthless, and selfish, yes, but not insane. When we view any characters’ actions as “crazy” or “insane” I think most of the time what we mean is that their actions were extreme, brutal, or just stupid, and that we could never fathom doing such a thing ourselves. So you can imagine yourself in these characters positions, but most of the time (at least for me) I come the conclusion that I would have done things differently, regardless of which character it is. As fictional characters, their personalities are more fixed and less nuanced than real people, often showcasing extreme examples of traits. So it is hard to envision oneself (again, at least for me) doing most of the things they do.

Dany’s pursuit of power and revenge has not always been shown or received in a negative light. In fact, I would argue it is what made people like her character so much in previous seasons. She started as a frightened, powerless young girl and developed into a powerful ruler to be reckoned with. The issue people are having with her pursuit of power now is the means by which she is going about it. Slaughtering civilians in a city that had surrendered would be viewed negatively no matter the perpetrator. The Lannisters (sacking KL) and Freys (Red Wedding) have committed similar atrocities on innocents and they are not looked upon favorably. You mentioned the Starks killing many people as well, but to my knowledge that was all done during active warfare. So it is the context of the killing, not who is responsible, that determines whether it is celebrated and viewed as acceptable or not. Similarly, how one goes about securing power and/or vengeance and who they target to achieve this is what determines its acceptability.

Personally, I like Dany’s tragic character arc, and I would not consider it a failed tragedy. Yes it was rushed in the show - perhaps if they had allotted more time to showcase her downfall it would have been received as more understandable. But I still think all the pieces are there. Dany spent so much of her early life powerless and living in fear, that when she finally got a taste of power, it began to consume her. I think she also started to enjoy inspiring fear in others (particularly through her dragons) because it made her feel even more powerful. Her hunger for power and developing penchant for inciting fear led her to forget the compassion and empathy that would have made her a great leader. By seeking to rule so single-mindedly, she ended up doing things that ultimately went against her original values of justice and compassion, and became a ruthless ruler. That seems like a well done tragic storyline to me.

If there needs to be a moral to the story, it seems to be that power is poisonous. Seeking power will ultimately become an obsession, leading you to do terrible things in order to secure the power you worked and sacrificed for. You will forget yourself and any virtuous reasons you were seeking power in the first place. The only thing that matters is maintaining your precious position. This is what seems to have happened to many, if not all, power hungry characters on the show anyway. None of them end up ruling happily.

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I do like the tragic life of Daenerys Targaryen and whole Targaryen family. At this point i think she is The Song of Ice and Fire, but that dosen`t fit into the story. She spent all of her life to gather an army when she need none. It makes the whole story pointless, all characters are pointless for the story, Nigh King is pointless, Jon pointless and above all Brann. You can take out all others characters and let only Daenerys point of view to write a story. Now it looks like 2 separates stories which somehow converge in one presumably epic finale.

Why would you wanna see a prologue for this story when you already know The WW and Starks dosen`t matter. Why would you wanna read about Robert rebelion and whole R+L. I dont think this is Dunk&Egg adventure type.

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But she had won. She was, clearly, the most powerful person in the world. That does not explain punishing the people of Kings Landing. So it has nothing to do with any trite “power equals bad” moral. Which does not work if the other characters have power and have done ruthless things to achieve it.

Her means were sound. Using the dragon to burn away the defences of Kings Landing and the Iron Fleet was perfectly reasonable in a time of war. Look at what Rob Starks army did in the Riverlands and how arbitrary justice is. One of the Great Houses has a pit it drops its condemned down. This is not a kind world. Our first introduction to Ned Stark is him summarily executing a “deserter”. That’s a world away from massacring an entire city because you wanted to punish them to make them fear you.

 

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26 minutes ago, Tyrion1991 said:

But she had won. She was, clearly, the most powerful person in the world.

Was she? She conquered King's Landing and no one can tell whether any other Houses would bend the knee. Sansa for sure not.

All her power ist just her dragon. Without dragon no power. No love, no respect, no fear. All she has is this dragon. 

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A tragedy is defined as a story in which a character's weakness is never overcome and it leads to their destruction.  

Dany's quest for power and Jon's belief that honesty trumps all other concerns are the twin tragic flaws that led to the destruction of Kings Landing.  Because Jon telling his sisters meant that even though Dany had won the battle, she had also lost the war (to sit on the Iron Throne).

I'm sure Dany believed and hoped that Cersi would never surrender (Cersi's own tragic flaw, and the one that killed her because she didn't do it earlier) and that it would "force her hand" in destroying Kings Landing, providing the show of force necessary to get the other kingdoms in line behind her regardless of who the true heir to the throne was. 

But Cersi did finally surrender, forcing Dany to confront her tragic flaw head on.  Would she be willing to give up the throne for the betterment of all?  She wasn't, and so pushed on as if Cersi had never surrendered, showing the Kingdoms what happens when you defy her while also keeping their larders full in the winter due to not having to divert food to sustain the population of Kings Landing.

Regardless of whether Jon defeats Dany in the final episode, the tragic consequences of his decisions have already been felt, and I'm guessing he will exile himself because of it.

 

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I think what makes it even more tragic for the characters of Dany and Grey Worm is they didn't even extract revenge on the people they hated most.  I know Cleganebowl was gonna happen so I get that, but Grey Worm went through that character transformation and didn't even get the satisfaction of killing the Mountain.  That cheapens his turn.

Dany's turn is the worst.  She hates Cersei, the end of ep 4 really plays this up.  She stares her down and then........burns innocent people?? She didn't even get to see her die, and unlike Grey Worm's scenario, she had the opportunity. She didn't get revenge on the most heel character in the show. Which now makes her the biggest heel.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/14/2019 at 3:12 AM, Tyrion1991 said:

I am glad that D&D have shown me what GRRM intends with Dany and that he really does want her story to amount to nothing but a footnote in the Starks. Now I can wash my hands of them.

I.'m in the same boat. I knew GRRM way to wrap up a story.  His style to write is very appealing before he slap you in the face with a nihilist ending. But I wanted to believe that this saga can be something else, better than that and can achieve the greatness and finesse of Tolkinen's work. Especially after what GRRM has said about the end.  Satisfying and bittersweet. I liked the realism of the story and it's roots anchored  in the the medieval era, but in the end it's supposed to be a fantasy not a historical drama.
I finished reading the third book praying to the old  and the new gods that GRRM will not succumb to a cynical point of view about the  futility of the struggle to be a better person. I was wrong. In the end Daenerys lost her inner battle descending the spiral of tyranny and madness. Her struggle to not be like her father was futile. Jaime struggle to be an honorable person was futile, the wit of Tyrion was futile. Worst, Jon  character was built to destroy Daenerys and himself. The last Targaryens.  That was the  meaning behind Aegon Targaryen birth. To win the battle against  the army of the dead he could be just Jon Snow. I wouldn't be able to imagine  a more sadistic ending than that for Targaryens. 
Now I know that there's no point to finish the books. I don't care anymore.
So I don't blame D&D. I can understand why they wanted to end as soon as possible this bitter story. GoT is not their story is GRRM's story. 

Edited by loverofcats

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I see her as a female version of Paul Muad-Dib.

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It's a great build up.  Sansa wants independent North.  Dany wants them to bend the knee.  Arya sets forth to kill the queen on behalf of Sansa.   Dany ratchets things up by show of force.  It's all coming to a crash, and Jon is in the midst of it.  The destruction of KL adds intensity.

Dany's tragedy is in her exile, strife, and most recently betrayals, rather than "going mad."  The tragedy is not in her fight for the throne -- for what is hers.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, loverofcats said:

I.'m in the same boat. I knew GRRM way to wrap up a story.  His style to write is very appealing before he slap you in the face with a nihilist ending. But I wanted to believe that this saga can be something else, better than that and can achieve the greatness and finesse of Tolkinen's work. Especially after what GRRM has said about the end.  Satisfying and bittersweet. I liked the realism of the story and it's roots anchored  in the the medieval era, but in the end it's supposed to be a fantasy not a historical drama.

Also in the same boat. I feel cheated about the end taking in mind, that I had read about the ending to be bittersweet and the fact that he was inspired by Tolkien's work. This could be an epic journey but ended up a tragedy for the play itself ?

I don't know what this is supposed to be. I don't know why we should gladly accept an end that after so many pages and episodes boils down to its all is nothing. It fells such an easy way to end everything because there is no need to deliver what it was promised to the audience. 

I've been following the show so many years and I've read the books on the perception that this would be epic and fantasy mixed with realism. If I had known the end I wouldn't have invested my time. Nothing interests me in nihilistic ends and pessimism. Especially when I feel that it deviates so much from what it promised to deliver in the first place. 

Edited by Nightwish

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Posted (edited)
On 5/14/2019 at 3:12 AM, Tyrion1991 said:

What actually is the moral here? Like beyond cheap shock value I don’t see any merits to it or payoff. 

I am glad that D&D have shown me what GRRM intends with Dany and that he really does want her story to amount to nothing but a footnote in the Starks. Now I can wash my hands of them.

I guess he wants to make her a tragic figure. It deeply saddens me to see this story moving from epic to tragedy and I am not sure that tragedy even pays off as Dany is not seen by many as a good hero going bad. Many fans and book readers consider her bad from the start.  So it doesn't even manages to deliver the tragedy since she is an ambiguous figure and doesn't even convince many into trusting her. 

Edited by Nightwish

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55 minutes ago, SeanF said:

I see her as a female version of Paul Muad-Dib.

I disagree completely. Paul was self-reflective. And Paul deconstructed himself. None of this in Dany. She believes her own hype. And this is the reason for her downfall. 

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8 minutes ago, Nightwish said:

Also in the same boat. I feel cheated about the end taking in mind, that I had read about the ending to be bittersweet and the fact that he was inspired by Tolkien's work. This could be an epic journey but ended up a tragedy for the play itself ?

I don't know what this is supposed to be. I don't know why we should gladly accept an end that after so many pages and episodes boils down to its all is nothing. It fells such an easy way to end everything because there is no need to delivered what it was promised to the audience. 

I've been following the show so many years and I've read the books on the perception that this would be epic and fantasy mixed with realism. If I had known the end I wouldn't have invested my time. Nothing interests me in nihilistic ends and pessimism. Especially when I feel that it deviates so much from what it promised to deliver in the first place. 

I disagree completely. GRRM teaches us a very important lesson. And if he finishes the books in this way they will become truly great. 

My thoughts about this:

The outcry across the Internet is huge. One of the most beloved, most admired characters of GOT and ASOIAF seemingly went „mad“. She butchered, for all of us to see, tens of thousands of women and children. Not out of „military necessity“, the enemy had already surrendered, but out of reasons which are discussed in other places here on this forum. For many this is a huge disservice for a beloved, “badass“ „feminist“ hero. For others like me this is just the logical culmination of the path she had taken since 2000, since the release of ASOS. Well, be it as it be. 

I have to thank GRRM for this very important deconstruction. And no one will convince me that GRRM won’t play this out in similar fashion in the books. There is no rational reason to assume that the KL genocide (yes we have to call it this) was a show invention. This is GRRM all along. 

And we ALL should be thankful to him because he teaches us a very important lesson. A lesson humankind so often forgets. Don’t be blended by „great“ leaders. Don’t be blended by their supposed grandiosity, by their rhetoric of being the „chosen one“, by their supposed „strength“. 

I sympathize with the feelings of many Dany fans. I really do. They are confronted with a massive massive cognitive dissonance. This is hurtful. But only when we reach our own limits and grow beyond them we really learn. 

We are all fascinated (at least) by those „grand leaders“, often we admire them, even love them. And we try our best to ignore their dark sides, their psychopathic and sociopathic and narcissistic personality traits. Their fanatism. The list is long. From Alexander „the Great“ to Charles“lemagne“ to Ghengis Khan to Napoleon to Hitler to Stalin. Not all of them are admired, at least not openly, but even this is not a given. Stalin gets more and more rehabilitated and even Hitler still has millions upon millions of admirers in all parts of the world, for their own reasons. 

Leaders like Trump (admired by millions of Americans) or Putin (who is admired by millions of Germans) show us that even in the „information age“ we are not immune to falling into the traps. Charisma is a dangerous dangerous thing. 

And therefore, once again, thank you GRRM for holding the mirror right in our faces and confronting us with our own dark desires. 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Arakan said:

I disagree completely. GRRM teaches us a very important lesson. And if he finishes the books in this way they will become truly great. 

My thoughts about this:

The outcry across the Internet is huge. One of the most beloved, most admired characters of GOT and ASOIAF seemingly went „mad“. She butchered, for all of us to see, tens of thousands of women and children. Not out of „military necessity“, the enemy had already surrendered, but out of reasons which are discussed in other places here on this forum. For many this is a huge disservice for a beloved, “badass“ „feminist“ hero. For others like me this is just the logical culmination of the path she had taken since 2000, since the release of ASOS. Well, be it as it be. 

I have to thank GRRM for this very important deconstruction. And no one will convince me that GRRM won’t play this out in similar fashion in the books. There is no rational reason to assume that the KL genocide (yes we have to call it this) was a show invention. This is GRRM all along. 

And we ALL should be thankful to him because he teaches us a very important lesson. A lesson humankind so often forgets. Don’t be blended by „great“ leaders. Don’t be blended by their supposed grandiosity, by their rhetoric of being the „chosen one“, by their supposed „strength“. 

I sympathize with the feelings of many Dany fans. I really do. They are confronted with a massive massive cognitive dissonance. This is hurtful. But only when we reach our own limits and grow beyond them we really learn. 

We are all fascinated (at least) by those „grand leaders“, often we admire them, even love them. And we try our best to ignore their dark sides, their psychopathic and sociopathic and narcissistic personality traits. Their fanatism. The list is long. From Alexander „the Great“ to Charles“lemagne“ to Ghengis Khan to Napoleon to Hitler to Stalin. Not all of them are admired, at least not openly, but even this is not a given. Stalin gets more and more rehabilitated and even Hitler still has millions upon millions of admirers in all parts of the world, for their own reasons. 

Leaders like Trump (admired by millions of Americans) or Putin (who is admired by millions of Germans) show us that even in the „information age“ we are not immune to falling into the traps. Charisma is a dangerous dangerous thing. 

And therefore, once again, thank you GRRM for holding the mirror right in our faces and confronting us with our own dark desires. 

You don’t see that this whole “moral” lesson you speak of and glorify Martin for ( and I certainly agree this will be in the books) it’s so repetitive as a pattern within the story itself that if you just detach yourself from all the characters you are like "ok they all go down because they seek power"? 

Pretty much all characters have the same path in different ways. Perhaps we are stupid not seeing this coming but this pretty much meaningless end for so many characters, not just Dany. As I said before I am not up to nihilism values. I wish I knew it so I could stop sooner. And I rest my case. 

Edited by Nightwish

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17 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

She was, clearly, the most powerful person in the world.

Power resides where men believe it resides. There is no power over others without belief, in the context of the GoTs/AsoIaF universe and arguably human will in general - although applied force can trump belief, the individual its applied to will never be engaging in action of their own accord.

Dany was crying before she started burning civilians - she was lost. For all the physical power (and force) she had she felt powerless.

Think about this - 'let he who passes the sentence swing the sword' vs 'Dracarys' which means more? Which standard are others more likely to be proud following?

Now consider 'Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons' vs 'Jon Snow'. One is trying to prove to the world that you matter the other is just mattering. She wants to rule the 7 Kingdoms and he doesn't, even though he may deserve to more than her.

Without debating who achieved more in their story and who was more inspirational to those that followed them, overall - I think Dany realized that people in Westeros were never going to honor and respect her like they did Jon. She realized people would never believe in her in the same way. This made her feel powerless inside and turned her bad.

I'm not trying to suggest the show did a great job of showing this, just that, as poorly written as it is, I could still follow why Dany wasn't powerful - because she didn't feel powerful.

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Just now, Nightwish said:

You don’t see that this whole “moral” lesson you speak of and glorify Martin for ( and I certainly agree this will be in the books) it’s so repetitive as a pattern within the story itself? 

Pretty much all characters have the same path in the same way. Perhaps we are stupid not seeing this coming but this pretty much meaningless for so many characters. As I said before I am not up to nihilism values. I wish I knew it so I could stop sooner. And I rest my case. 

But it’s not about nihilism at all. It’s about learning and growing. It’s about open your eyes. It’s the total opposite of nihilism. 

In order to achieve his goal, he had to give Dany some symphatic traits. Otherwise it would never have worked. 

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41 minutes ago, Arakan said:

I disagree completely. GRRM teaches us a very important lesson. And if he finishes the books in this way they will become truly great. 

My thoughts about this:

The outcry across the Internet is huge. One of the most beloved, most admired characters of GOT and ASOIAF seemingly went „mad“. She butchered, for all of us to see, tens of thousands of women and children. Not out of „military necessity“, the enemy had already surrendered, but out of reasons which are discussed in other places here on this forum. For many this is a huge disservice for a beloved, “badass“ „feminist“ hero. For others like me this is just the logical culmination of the path she had taken since 2000, since the release of ASOS. Well, be it as it be. 

I have to thank GRRM for this very important deconstruction. And no one will convince me that GRRM won’t play this out in similar fashion in the books. There is no rational reason to assume that the KL genocide (yes we have to call it this) was a show invention. This is GRRM all along. 

And we ALL should be thankful to him because he teaches us a very important lesson. A lesson humankind so often forgets. Don’t be blended by „great“ leaders. Don’t be blended by their supposed grandiosity, by their rhetoric of being the „chosen one“, by their supposed „strength“. 

I sympathize with the feelings of many Dany fans. I really do. They are confronted with a massive massive cognitive dissonance. This is hurtful. But only when we reach our own limits and grow beyond them we really learn. 

We are all fascinated (at least) by those „grand leaders“, often we admire them, even love them. And we try our best to ignore their dark sides, their psychopathic and sociopathic and narcissistic personality traits. Their fanatism. The list is long. From Alexander „the Great“ to Charles“lemagne“ to Ghengis Khan to Napoleon to Hitler to Stalin. Not all of them are admired, at least not openly, but even this is not a given. Stalin gets more and more rehabilitated and even Hitler still has millions upon millions of admirers in all parts of the world, for their own reasons. 

Leaders like Trump (admired by millions of Americans) or Putin (who is admired by millions of Germans) show us that even in the „information age“ we are not immune to falling into the traps. Charisma is a dangerous dangerous thing. 

And therefore, once again, thank you GRRM for holding the mirror right in our faces and confronting us with our own dark desires. 

It's not a bad take - but Trump is far too divisive to lumped with those other leaders and Putin admired by Germans? I think the author just threw them in at the end to try and feel more relevant but it kind of brings the whole point down.

Also, the information age is a dangerous, dangerous thing :D

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41 minutes ago, Arakan said:

And we ALL should be thankful to him because he teaches us a very important lesson. A lesson humankind so often forgets. Don’t be blended by „great“ leaders. Don’t be blended by their supposed grandiosity, by their rhetoric of being the „chosen one“, by their supposed „strength“. 


If he wanted to send us this message he could write a historical drama. What is the  meaning of the Others? What is the meaning of the dragons? And then this message it's so repetitive. Aerys, Robert, Joffrey and many previous Targaryens Kings and  even the kings of the Seven Kingdoms. I understand, with a few exceptions they all were bad kings. Enough!

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27 minutes ago, Arakan said:

But it’s not about nihilism at all. It’s about learning and growing. It’s about open your eyes. It’s the total opposite of nihilism. 

In order to achieve his goal, he had to give Dany some symphatic traits. Otherwise it would never have worked. 

 

No it isn’t. GRRM tried to do what Watchman for superheroes did with High Fantasy.

Satire is too prerogative and easy to dismiss as cynicism. Of course Dr Manhattans power makes him distant to humanity rather than superman. Of course, the common people of Westeros don’t think Dany is amazing because shes the beautiful fireproof queen with dragons like in Essos. These are contrivances of the writers to support cynical statements on the nature of power and humanity. They are trite and subjective; relying heavily upon circumstances they can dictate.

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