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People's reaction to Dany turning Mad Queen says something about us as humans

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Just now, SeanF said:

The fact is that if she'd torched the Red Keep, at the start of Season 7, with three dragons, the war would have been over in 30 minutes, at the likely cost of casualties in the high hundreds or low thousands.  Job done.  Cersei is dead, Dany becomes Queen, and the inhabitants of Kings Landing can get on with their lives.

Tyrion and Varys deserved to be hanged for the advice they gave her.

 

Agree.  30 minutes tops, LOL.  Whatever goes on with book Dany when she arrives in Westeros that will, presumably, eventually create more parity with her forces and her enemies.....the show did an abysmal job of this.......turning everyone involved w/her into an absolute idiot, such idiots in fact that they had to retcon in more dialogue to remind viewers that Tyrion is supposed to be smart, after having him give 2 seasons of deadly wrong advice.  

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Techmaester said:

I still don't understand why we are supposed to care about the Kings Landing population? The basic premise is Dany is bad because she commits destruction on an enemy population during a setting where that already was routine?

TBH it didn't have have any effect on my view of her. Her post winning speech she gets a little more iffy but her actions in KL were consistent with total war as Cersi goaded her into. As pointed out the show tried to apply modern Western values on Dany but fails to do so on anyone else(even to the point of pulling in the ridiculous Hitler imagery). Lots of people still support her character, myself obviously included. If D&D wanted to make her evil so people no longer liked her they failed to do so.

The only way they could have pulled it off is if she did the same thing on an ally for a minor transgression, which they didn't do.

Problem is that it was unnecessary destruction. She could have just flown in and torched the Red Keep, yet she went on to torch the entire city first. Also: 1) the bells were supposed to signal surrender, and were ringing, but she continued on; that made it into a war crime, 2) there were her own troops in the city, and she killed or nearly killed dozens if not hundreds of them, if memory serves me.

And the fact that Cersei goaded Daenerys into killing spree doesn't remove blame from Daenerys. Also, it is not just modern Western values. Even old Christian (Byzantine) writers, strategists, generals etc. pointed out that war has to be ended as quickly as possible in order to limit suffering. If Daenerys had gone straight for the Red Keep after taking out ballistae, nobody - at least not me - would have had any issue with her blowing up the Red Keep. And if Wildfire blew up rest of the city, well, accidents happen; but seeing KL blown up could be used as what would finally push Daenerys into the "Mad Queen" territory, along with not trusting her advisors any longer. That would have been far better than what we got. But as it is, show!Daenerys is a mass-murdering tyrant.

Honestly, I remember Stannis getting lots of crap for much more sensible and less damaging actions; why is Daenerys so much more worth defending?

EDIT:

11 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Agree.  30 minutes tops, LOL.  Whatever goes on with book Dany when she arrives in Westeros that will, presumably, eventually create more parity with her forces and her enemies.....the show did an abysmal job of this.......turning everyone involved w/her into an absolute idiot, such idiots in fact that they had to retcon in more dialogue to remind viewers that Tyrion is supposed to be smart, after having him give 2 seasons of deadly wrong advice.  

Euron Greyjoy has dragonbinder horn, and there is - however small - possibility that Aegon is in fact Targaryen, or at least Blackfyre. So either one, or both, could take one of Daenerys' unbound dragons. But show removed both plotlines, and had to... well, I'll let the maester tell it.

Edited by Aldarion

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3 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

Problem is that it was unnecessary destruction. She could have just flown in and torched the Red Keep, yet she went on to torch the entire city first. Also: 1) the bells were supposed to signal surrender, and were ringing, but she continued on; that made it into a war crime, 2) there were her own troops in the city, and she killed or nearly killed dozens if not hundreds of them, if memory serves me.

And the fact that Cersei goaded Daenerys into killing spree doesn't remove blame from Daenerys. Also, it is not just modern Western values. Even old Christian (Byzantine) writers, strategists, generals etc. pointed out that war has to be ended as quickly as possible in order to limit suffering. If Daenerys had gone straight for the Red Keep after taking out ballistae, nobody - at least not me - would have had any issue with her blowing up the Red Keep. And if Wildfire blew up rest of the city, well, accidents happen; but seeing KL blown up could be used as what would finally push Daenerys into the "Mad Queen" territory, along with not trusting her advisors any longer. That would have been far better than what we got. But as it is, show!Daenerys is a mass-murdering tyrant.

Honestly, I remember Stannis getting lots of crap for much more sensible and less damaging actions; why is Daenerys so much more worth defending?

What they wrote and what they did were two different things, I can dig up a long list of conquers commint near total destruction on various cities whos rulers acted like Cersi. War crimes are a mostly modern concept.

Bad needs to be weighed against good. Stannis IIRC didn't do anything good. Dany still averages into the good territory.

 

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I never idolized Dany and was actually looking forward to seeing her character take a dark turn as I thought it would be interesting, but the way they did it was so clumsy that I'm not surprised the audience reacted the way they did. If you're going to pull off a character turn like that you really need to handle it delicately; you can't treat it like you're playing a prank on the audience and then be surprised when they feel cheated.

I'm also not surprised that the cast members are trying to deflect criticism from D+D by blaming the negative reception on the audience "not liking how the story went" or whatever. It's the messy execution that the audience is reacting to, but of course, you'd expect the cast and crew members to back and defend their showrunners.

By the way, The Last Jedi apologists used the same trick of "you just don't like it cause it didn't go the way you wanted". That's probably the stock staple defence that studio marketing departments are gonna use now to deflect from clumsy writing. 

ALL THAT SAID THOUGH, I do agree that audience members are blinkered when it comes to characters they like, or rather that they are easily manipulated by how storytellers frame their narrative. That's been evident since season 1, where Khal Drogo became extremely popular with audiences despite being responsible for mass slaughter and rape. You could even say the same of Arya, whose cooking of Freys into pies and mass murder of the entire Frey house was cheered by fans when it happened yet is actually pretty disturbing when you think about it.

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3 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

Problem is that it was unnecessary destruction. She could have just flown in and torched the Red Keep, yet she went on to torch the entire city first. Also: 1) the bells were supposed to signal surrender, and were ringing, but she continued on; that made it into a war crime, 2) there were her own troops in the city, and she killed or nearly killed dozens if not hundreds of them, if memory serves me.

And the fact that Cersei goaded Daenerys into killing spree doesn't remove blame from Daenerys. Also, it is not just modern Western values. Even old Christian (Byzantine) writers, strategists, generals etc. pointed out that war has to be ended as quickly as possible in order to limit suffering. If Daenerys had gone straight for the Red Keep after taking out ballistae, nobody - at least not me - would have had any issue with her blowing up the Red Keep. And if Wildfire blew up rest of the city, well, accidents happen; but seeing KL blown up could be used as what would finally push Daenerys into the "Mad Queen" territory, along with not trusting her advisors any longer. That would have been far better than what we got. But as it is, show!Daenerys is a mass-murdering tyrant.

Honestly, I remember Stannis getting lots of crap for much more sensible and less damaging actions; why is Daenerys so much more worth defending?

Because when Stannis, who started out already as an 'unlikable' character, crossed the line of public expectation of acceptability, people still had a chance to root for someone else. 

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21 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Agree.  30 minutes tops, LOL.  Whatever goes on with book Dany when she arrives in Westeros that will, presumably, eventually create more parity with her forces and her enemies.....the show did an abysmal job of this.......turning everyone involved w/her into an absolute idiot, such idiots in fact that they had to retcon in more dialogue to remind viewers that Tyrion is supposed to be smart, after having him give 2 seasons of deadly wrong advice.  

Like Muliokov, addressing the Duma, she was entitled to ask the pair of them:

"Is this treachery or incompetence?"

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Like Muliokov, addressing the Duma, she was entitled to ask the pair of them:

"Is this treachery or incompetence?"

Right?  But, I mean, they cast Euron.  Why not give him a meatier part?  For that matter, why not give him the dragon horn?  A better Euron would also have given Cersei something to do beyond stare out the window for 2 seasons.  She and Euron and Qyborn could at least have done something mildly more interesting.

Why not spend a couple hours brainstorming ways that things could organically go wrong for Dany without having everyone reject the most obvious solution of rolling up with your massive armies and dragons and telling them to send the traitorous, brother fucking, king killing, queen killing, sept blowing up nut in the Red Keep out and amnesty for everyone else??  Surely, even a fucking natural disaster would have been a better solution than Varys and Dany and Tyrion and Grey Worm and Missy and Yara refusing  this most obvious, guaranteed to win maneuver and then choosing almost a half dozen more stupid strategies that keep failing???  Oy.  So bad. 

Edited by Cas Stark

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1 minute ago, Cas Stark said:

Right?  But, I mean, they cast Euron.  Why not give him a meatier part?  For that matter, why not give him the dragon horn?  A better Euron would also have given Cersei something to do beyond stare out the window for 2 seasons.  She and Euron and Qyborn could at least have done something mildly more interesting.

Why not spend a couple hours brainstorming ways that things could organically go wrong for Dany without having everyone reject the most obvious solution of rolling up with your massive armies and dragons and telling them to send the traitorous, brother fucking, king killing, queen killing, sept blowing up nut in the Red Keep out and amnesty for everyone else??  Surely, even a fucking natural disaster would have been a better solution than Varys and Dany and Tyrion refusing  this most obvious, guaranteed to win maneuver and then choosing almost a half dozen more stupid strategies that keep failing???  Oy.  So bad. 

When you roll up outside Kings Landing with three fire-breathing dragons, it's going to take Cersei's soldiers five minutes to decide that presenting Dany her head on a spike is the course of wisdom.

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1 minute ago, SeanF said:

When you roll up outside Kings Landing with three fire-breathing dragons, it's going to take Cersei's soldiers five minutes to decide that presenting Dany her head on a spike is the course of wisdom.

Yep. Instead of going around wasting time while she manipulates the narrative and the 'foreign whore' spiel gains whatever traction it might still need after all of Bobby B's reign. 

Also, did Olenna Tyrell suddenly loose her touch?

Why did she leave KL without a single family member that might continue her line should shit go south?

The Tarlys jumped on that so fast...

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35 minutes ago, Techmaester said:

What they wrote and what they did were two different things, I can dig up a long list of conquers commint near total destruction on various cities whos rulers acted like Cersi. War crimes are a mostly modern concept.

Bad needs to be weighed against good. Stannis IIRC didn't do anything good. Dany still averages into the good territory.

 

As I said, it is about what can be done and what needs to be done. Dany could have flown over the city and blown up the Red Keep and Red Keep alone. That is not an option that ground-bound army has.

Stannis didn't do anything good? In the backstory, he did a lot of good. Even in the series itself, he defended the Wall against the Wildlings. Not sure whether him ordering his castellan at Dragonsone to dig up obsidian for the Night's Watch was included into TV show or not.

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What good Stannis did:

Quote

And Stannis has realized that he's going about this all wrong, that he's been trying to become king to save the realm, when he should have been saving the realm to become king. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

As I said, it is about what can be done and what needs to be done. Dany could have flown over the city and blown up the Red Keep and Red Keep alone. That is not an option that ground-bound army has.

Stannis didn't do anything good? In the backstory, he did a lot of good. Even in the series itself, he defended the Wall against the Wildlings. Not sure whether him ordering his castellan at Dragonsone to dig up obsidian for the Night's Watch was included into TV show or not.

I don't agree, Stannis had no real social or political goals, a grand ideology. He didn't free slaves or kill the unjust. What he did was acted at every step to become King for the sake of it without a purpose. Dany consistently acted in a way which advanced her moral philosophy independent of if every act was perfectly moral and she was mostly successful. Thus as a whole she was good independent of if destroying kings landing to the extent she did was needed or not. I don't consider that act to be the defining aspect of her character and to look at it like that would put many conquers and rulers in a bad light.

The only way to truly show her as evil would be to establish her rule and then show what she does afterwards. If she burned down her allies kingdom, I would have agreed but at this point all we got is her unrestrained violence towards a mortal enemy who is themselves consistently shown as evil. It's simply not enough to make many people switch their opinion on her and it's why so many people are repulsed by the ending.  

Edited by Techmaester

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13 minutes ago, Techmaester said:

I don't agree, Stannis had no real social or political goals, a grand ideology. He didn't free slaves or kill the unjust. What he did was acted at every step to become King for the sake of it without a purpose. Dany consistently acted in a way which advanced her moral philosophy independent of if every act was perfectly moral and she was mostly successful. Thus as a whole she was good independent of if destroying kings landing to the extent she did was needed or not. I don't consider that act to be the defining aspect of her character and to look at it like that would put many conquers and rulers in a bad light.

The only way to truly show her as evil would be to establish her rule and then show what she does afterwards. If she burned down her allies kingdom, I would have agreed but at this point all we got is her unrestrained violence towards a mortal enemy who is themselves consistently shown as evil. It's simply not enough to make many people switch their opinion on her and it's why so many people are repulsed by the ending.  

1) There are no slaves in Westeros. And Stannis himself, at least going by books, treated his people - including peasants - rather well. He wanted to become a king because it was his duty, he did want to end various injustices (nobody of importance in King's Landing wanted him to become a king because they knew he would have had them executed because of various abuses of power and other crap they did), and he did what he could to defend the realm once an external threat appeared. Same as what Daenerys did, in fact, except her motivation was apparently a lot more... personal.

2) Daenerys was an idealist and revolutionary, and see where that got her. And no, she did not consistently act in a way which advanced her moral philosophy. She consistently acted in a way which helped herself, and then justified it through her moral philosophy. Maybe she believed it, maybe she didn't, but she was the main benefactory of her own political philosophy. Same like Stannis seeking the Iron Throne; but unlike her, he at least had experience in ruling.

3) Stannis wanted to become a king because he was the rightful king of Westeros, as far as he was aware. Same as Daenerys wanting to become Queen of Westeros.

4) Within time constraints of the show, her speech about "liberating" people was quite good at establishing her as evil. And unrestrained violence is, in itself, evil; it may be justified sometimes, but it is still evil. And I have already agreed that they did not handle transition to "Mad Queen Daenerys" well; what I do not agree with is the view that there were absolutely no indications of her going mad/evil earlier in the show.

You should apply same standards to Stannis and Daenerys both.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

1) There are no slaves in Westeros. And Stannis himself, at least going by books, treated his people - including peasants - rather well. He wanted to become a king because it was his duty, he did want to end various injustices (nobody of importance in King's Landing wanted him to become a king because they knew he would have had them executed because of various abuses of power and other crap they did), and he did what he could to defend the realm once an external threat appeared. Same as what Daenerys did, in fact, except her motivation was apparently a lot more... personal.

2) Daenerys was an idealist and revolutionary, and see where that got her. And no, she did not consistently act in a way which advanced her moral philosophy. She consistently acted in a way which helped herself, and then justified it through her moral philosophy. Maybe she believed it, maybe she didn't, but she was the main benefactory of her own political philosophy. Same like Stannis seeking the Iron Throne; but unlike her, he at least had experience in ruling.

3) Stannis wanted to become a king because he was the rightful king of Westeros, as far as he was aware. Same as Daenerys wanting to become Queen of Westeros.

4) Within time constraints of the show, her speech about "liberating" people was quite good at establishing her as evil. And unrestrained violence is, in itself, evil; it may be justified sometimes, but it is still evil. And I have already agreed that they did not handle transition to "Mad Queen Daenerys" well; what I do not agree with is the view that there were absolutely no indications of her going mad/evil earlier in the show.

You should apply same standards to Stannis and Daenerys both.

 

I never said Stannis was evil, he just wasn't good like Dany was. At any point Dany could have taken her unsullied and dothraki armies and moved into Westeros, not bothering to fight the various slaving kingdoms or allowing them to continue under her rule. But she didn't because her ideals dictated to her to fight, conquer and transform society into one which was good. She could have left Jon to die or taken Kings Landing immediately instead of being led around by Jon and her advisors but didn't because she thought it was the right thing to do.

The only "mad queen" we got was a girl high on success after conquering a city responsible for betrayal and the death of her closest friends. It was ridiculous to take her speech as reflecting what would for sure happen(and honestly it was a desperate attempt by D&D to make a Dany = Hitler = Bad connection to justify killing her). There was no track record of an evil person, even in the destruction of kings landing. We needed to see her rule in westeros before we could make a judgment. If she ruled the way she did in Esso I would say she would be good, not perfect but good.  

Edited by Techmaester

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Posted (edited)

Dany talks about her vision for stopping wheels that roll over both the rich and the poor--just as she rolls over the rich and the poor. The soldiers were both highborn and low in that little group of frightened prisoners she rounded up. Randomly executing people as a group based on social status is what tyrants have done from Pol Pot to Stalin. Demagogues and tyrants often use strategic misnaming which involves accusing the opposition of doing exactly what you’re doing. Historians who analyzed Hitler's rise to power noted how he did this with the Jews, he shifted his own flaws to the out-group. He united people based on a common enemy and he told the people that only he could do it. Hitler thought he would make Germany great again too, promising a symbolic rebirth of nation. Dany has been doing the same thing. Anyone who studies people's movements knows that there is no single heroic messiah who saves the people, the people save themselves. GRRM uses race-coding to describe the Targaryens and the show also uses this visual imagery, probably because Martin told them to do it. She even makes a call back to her "stone houses" speech from S6 when she rallied the Dothraki. The director of that episode compared her to Hitler even then. I think people were just fooled.

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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"We" have been very willing to not see the signs with Dany.  

Book and show Dany were both abused by her brother.  The book is fairly explicit that this was sexual abuse.  

Dany was sold into slavery (marriage) at a young age - extremely young in the books into a culture she could not even speak the language.   The abuse continues and its noted she was treated like a dog by her husband.  By the way bonding with her husband started only when she was given the concept of being more openly sexually aggressive.  Dany goes on to develop Stockholm Syndrome (or a loving arranged marriage if you want).  

Dany shows mercy to some witch.  A mercy that is repaid to her by said witch intentionally poisoning her husband under the guise of medical care and IIRC her unborn child

Dany walks into a funeral pyre, intent on killing herself, and emerges with power (dragons).  

Dany refuses her "rightful" place joining the widows of past Khals (I forget the name of it) 

We cheered for Dany because we knew her from innocence (as much as was left by the time we met her) and failed to see the signs that pointed to mental instability:  family history, abuse, an abnormal interest in fire, an acceptance of the violence around her, an incredible sense of righteousness of action - not just in not caring that her abusive brother was killed but in attempting to save the witch who ultimately killed her husband.   The signs were there but we liked innocent Dany

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On 5/23/2019 at 5:55 PM, Lollygag said:

Dany is clearly being compared to Hitler. GRRM said the Others are ice and Dany/dragons are fire. They've explicitly said that Dany is the fire equivalent of ice, the threat they didn't realize they needed to face which is just as bad as the WWs. Did you notice that Dany's ash looks like the Others' snow? There's a reason for that. 

This is pretty much what doesn't work for people - Dany and her dragons becoming an existential threat to humanity.

Valyria had dragons for hundreds of years and they built an Empire like Rome but no one was quaking at the prospect of an existential threat to humanity.

The Targaryens conquered Westeros but Aegon wooed the Citadel and the Faith as much as he burned enemies on The Field of Fire or at Harrenhall and ushered in a 300 year dynasty.  No one shuddered at an existential threat to humanity: they lived, sometimes in peace, sometimes at war, sometimes under good rulers, sometimes under bad ones, just as any other time in human history.

So it is a huge leap to make the Valyrian descendant and Targaryen heir into an existential threat to humanity and a direct threat to the entirety of Westeros.  Particularly when you've spent ages building this person up as a liberator and protector who wants to use power for justice, "mysha" to her liberated slaves.  Particularly when she is prepared to take her dragons and armies to face a genuine existential threat to humanity posed by the armies of the undead.  And particularly when there is already a real power hungry despotic tyrant on the Iron Throne who won't do any of those things (Cersei).  Dany suddenly becomes all these things that she opposes and the transformation is a massive disconnect that is poorly dealt with and unsatisfying to a lot of people.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, the trees have eyes said:

This is pretty much what doesn't work for people - Dany and her dragons becoming an existential threat to humanity.

Valyria had dragons for hundreds of years and they built an Empire like Rome but no one was quaking at the prospect of an existential threat to humanity. 

The Targaryens conquered Westeros but Aegon wooed the Citadel and the Faith as much as he burned enemies on The Field of Fire or at Harrenhall and ushered in a 300 year dynasty.  No one shuddered at an existential threat to humanity: they lived, sometimes in peace, sometimes at war, sometimes under good rulers, sometimes under bad ones, just as any other time in human history.

So it is a huge leap to make the Valyrian descendant and Targaryen heir into an existential threat to humanity and a direct threat to the entirety of Westeros.  Particularly when you've spent ages building this person up as a liberator and protector who wants to use power for justice, "mysha" to her liberated slaves.  Particularly when she is prepared to take her dragons and armies to face a genuine existential threat to humanity posed by the armies of the undead.  And particularly when there is already a real power hungry despotic tyrant on the Iron Throne who won't do any of those things (Cersei).  Dany suddenly becomes all these things that she opposes and the transformation is a massive disconnect that is poorly dealt with and unsatisfying to a lot of people.

I agree with your idea and the reasons for them. These would have to be addressed in the books, and if it's going in that particular direction, I don't doubt it would be.

My take is the that Ice is heartlessness and Fire is unrestrained and consuming passion so I have to imagine that it might connect to Dany going to extremes and messing with whatever caused the Doom of Valyria as that's really the only instance of fire being on par with the potential scale of the Others. Perhaps Icarus flying too close to the sun except everyone would get burned. I'm guessing D&D just decided on this to keep it simple (lazy) and not go into anything like that but they screwed it up. 

Edited by Lollygag

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1 hour ago, Techmaester said:

 

I never said Stannis was evil, he just wasn't good like Dany was. At any point Dany could have taken her unsullied and dothraki armies and moved into Westeros, not bothering to fight the various slaving kingdoms or allowing them to continue under her rule. But she didn't because her ideals dictated to her to fight, conquer and transform society into one which was good. She could have left Jon to die or taken Kings Landing immediately instead of being led around by Jon and her advisors but didn't because she thought it was the right thing to do.

 The only "mad queen" we got was a girl high on success after conquering a city responsible for betrayal and the death of her closest friends. It was ridiculous to take her speech as reflecting what would for sure happen(and honestly it was a desperate attempt by D&D to make a Dany = Hitler = Bad connection to justify killing her). There was no track record of an evil person, even in the destruction of kings landing. We needed to see her rule in westeros before we could make a judgment. If she ruled the way she did in Esso I would say she would be good, not perfect but good.  

Fact that Dany wasn't evil early on doesn't mean she didn't have potential for evil, or that she didn't become evil later on. As I see it, in Essos, she was living out her own personal fantasy: she was liberator, breaker of chains etc. But she got disappointed in that, and left for Westeros to fulfill her "destiny" as "liberator" of Westeros. But she never received a warm welcome she expected. And you have completely missed the point I was making, too: she benefited from fulfilling her fantasy, but she eventually convinced herself that she was doing it for the good of all. That is why she stayed in Essos. And seeds of her eventually turning evil had been planted as far back as Season 1 (burning Mirri Maz Duur as vengeance).

Her speech was reflecting her mindset at the time. Her actions were reflecting her mindset at the time. People change, and good person can easily become evil due to experiences. I have no issue with Dany becoming a Hitler; what I do have issue with is the way in which it was executed. And I just can't see how destruction of King's Landing could be justified. Northern troops and her own forces were already in the city; she was burning civilians and even her own allies. Those are actions of either a madwoman or an evil person, seeing how she could have just burned the Red Keep and be done with it.

There are possible rational reasons for her decision to burn the city (see here), but all are based on her securing power for herself. And just as importantly, she always had propensity for needless cruelty. There was a guy she locked up to suffocate alive (Xaro Xhoan Daxos), she ordered massacre of every slave master and noble in Astapor (not that they didn't deserve it, but there was no judicial procedure, no trial); she would have butchered a Harpy's Son without a trial had Barristan not intervened; she did kill Tarlys without a trial. Dany always had propensity for madness and cruelty, it was just that she used to listen to her advisors; and as far as major problems go, she did not resolve one of them without use of fire. When she screwed up in Essos, she ran away to Westeros; I hate to imagine what she would have made of Westeros had she actually gotten to rule. And she believed that Westeros would accept her as a saviour; but when that did not happen, it was a major blow.

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