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

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10 hours ago, SeanF said:

It's easy to laugh at people who called their children Khaleesi

It sure is, and well-deserved, too. Too bad for the kids though, but lots of kids have parents that do way worse by them than a silly name, so in the grand scheme of things, they'll be okay.

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5 hours ago, Lollygag said:

So Jon would have been a better guy if he had let Dany burn alive the rest of Westeros and then the world? 

Jon prevents Dany from doing this and notice all of those swords in the chair that would have been Dany's seat of power go up in flames? Azor Ahai. 

First of all there is no evidence that Dany planned to "burn the world". She offered KL the chance to surrender and they turned her down and beheaded her best friend to boot. There is no evidence to suggest anything other than if the next city surrendered without a fight then she would spare them.

Secondly her motivation was to break the wheel not burn everyone. This was never fleshed out in the show (because she cannot remain a grey character after all), but this seemed likely to mean ending feudalism.

Thirdly Jon could have tried to talk with her to try and tone it down a bit, he was after all the man she supposedly loved after all. She had listened to advisors she trusted before (she no longer trusted Tyrion) and as her husband there is every chance he could have restrained her wilder impulses. This wasn't attempted and instead he just stabs her.

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13 hours ago, NewJeffCT said:

My problem on the show was that it seems like too big of a jump from the Khaleesi with a gentle heart to the avenging queen torching King's Landing killings tens of thousands. 

I think the books have had some hints at it, but it seemed more sudden on the show.

this is a nutshell - she wasn't my fav but she was just wrecked in 2 episodes despite years of khalessi ness.  I felt for her story arc.

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Posted (edited)

It's pretty sad to see how many people seem to think the reaction is because of some desire for a flawless heroine. I can only speak for myself, but I think it's quite the contrary. I had always hoped for the Jon-vs.-Dany ending, but wanted it to be one of the moral ambiguity appropriate to ASOIAF. I very much hoped to see Dany as an eventually "villainous" (from the perspective of the Westerosi) foreign invader and tyrant, and in fact these darker aspects of her character are what made the character interesting to me in the first place (without them she would have been just a boring and inhuman Hollywood princess). My favourite scene in the last season was the Battle of the Goldroad, which was moral ambiguity done right - Dany didn't do anything she hadn't done before in Essos, but because the show let us experience it from a sympathetic perspective (Dickon, Jaime and Bronn) it acquired new nuances. When Jaime charged the dragon I was rooting for both sides simultaneously, and that is a great narrative achievement comparable to the Blackwater between Tyrion and Stannis.

As has been rightly pointed out in this thread, in-universe this moral ambiguity still exists: sacking a city which repeatedly refused to surrender is cruel but not unheard of, Tyrion only convinces Jon by bringing up the alleged threat to his sisters, and Jon is anything but hailed as a liberator following the deed. But across the Fourth Wall all ambiguity has needlessly been shattered by exaggerating Dany's propensity for violence beyond anything remotely reasonable within her character as presented before. Even between episodes 5 and 6 there was no continuity. In 5 she "snapped" and went mad due to Targaryen genetics; in 6 it was all presented as an end-justifies-means question, without making clear what end exactly burning all the people she wished to liberate would serve. This not only cleared Dany, but also Jon of any real interest as a character. When Jon went to murder Dany, I couldn't root for either of them - not for Dany because the show had demonised her through its incongruous characterisation, and not for Jon because it had made it too easy for him. The narrative so clearly pushed me to take a side here, and one side only, that it ruined the possibility for real tragedy.

 

Edited by Isewein

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To put it more simply, if they were able to tell the story properly, then they wouldn't need her to fly back to Dragonstone between episodes to change into all black, wash the smoke off her face, fly back to KL and have the whole 'dragon wings unfold on either side of her kitsch scene while walking to address her troops.

With good writing, we would already have known clearly she had crossed the Rubicon for all the Westerosi at that point, instead we were confused if she had  just gone temporarily mad, or if what she had done was completely out of context that made her worse than Tywin (who exterminated two noble houses down to the children, sacked and pillaged KL, and later the Riverlands), even a Joffrey/Cersei with Dragons. Some of Tyrion's dialogue tries to make that point to some extent, that the scale of her devastation was/(or had the potential for) something on a different level but I don't think  that exposition by itself swayed the show watchers. The reactions seem to be based on the gruesome visuals, or the readers/watchers focused on evidence of her violence from Essos (directed against oppressors, but sometimes a little bit indiscriminately)

Basically, the show runners had to work backwards from the end point they wanted to achieve and in 1.5 seasons tried to throw various things at a character they had been happy to build into a strong (if flawed) heroine taking on the slaving class in Essos.

1. They got her to torch noble prisoners

2. They got her to do the idiotic smirk routine to show contempt to Westerosi smallfolk (sullen Northeners who fought against her family less than 20 years ago, if she had gone to Dorne or the Reach it should have been completely different)

3. They got her to get wound up by Sandra Snark

4. They got her to go megalomaniac upon hearing R+L=J. It's a pity R+L=J was used this way, but this was probably more convincing than the other stuff

5. A bit of paranoia from above

6. Grief-driven anger, but still restrained at first

7. She goes postal - and stated as such by the showrunners in Inside the Episode

8. She suddenly becomes a fascist dictator, something she could have done in Mereen, but didn't. Why now? Not saying she couldn't have drawn the wrong conclusion from her attempts to make peace in Mereen, but that evolution is not shown, could have been attempted with some meaningful dialogue.

8. She shows no remorse in private with Jon for having gone postal "It was necessary". Hmmm covering up the lapse, or genuinely don't care anymore? Or even 100% intentional hatred of Westerosi? If the latter two, we want to see why she doesn't care about children and women any more. Never got to see the evolution from saviour to pure megalomaniac who does not care until the first signs in E4.

9. And finally the showrunners appear again retconning everything that happened before and twisting the story, "She let her brother (who himself was trying to kill her) be killed, so she's bad"

If you told the story well, you don't retconning.

You don't need to explain what happened in Inside the Epidode.

And you don't need to throw so many different things at the character to see what sticks.

You just suck as show runners/writers period.

Looking forward to George's tale. I'm sure that's going to be a fascinating tragic story arc.

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Ser Hedge said:

To put it more simply, if they were able to tell the story properly, then they wouldn't need her to fly back to Dragonstone between episodes to change into all black, wash the smoke off her face, fly back to KL and have the whole 'dragon wings unfold on either side of her kitsch scene while walking to address her troops.

She didn't change her clothes between episode 5 and episode 6

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48 minutes ago, beeeeeen said:

She didn't change her clothes between episode 5 and episode 6

I'm not an expert, but looked different between the shot in E5 when the bells go off (there were some red bits, I remember wondering if she was finally wearing Targaryen colours, those were missing in the Nürnberg speech), anyway, whatever, doesn't make any difference, still a dumpster fire of an attempt to tell a coherent story.

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1 hour ago, beeeeeen said:

She didn't change her clothes between episode 5 and episode 6

That's what happens when your personal stylist/hair dresser is beheaded… :leer:

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I remember talking with people who were show watchers only about the possibility that Dany was going end up taking a more villainous route when Seasons 5 and 6 were going on - I tried to point out that the show was hinting at ever so slightly what is much more pronounced in the books - that Dany has a struggle between her “gentle heart” side and her “fire and blood” side.  Most people who were show watchers only were like, huh, wow, I hadn’t caught that - that’s very interesting.  I sort of thought that because the show runners weren’t bringing that out as much, maybe GRRM was writing the story of Dany struggling with her dark side, only to have her eventually emerge victorious over that dark side (although, perhaps at a great cost that would leave her unable to be thought of as a great leader).  I figured that was why the show runners decided not to spend as much time bringing out Dany’s inner conflict.  Now I know, the reason they didn’t do that was for pure shock value.  They didn’t think about the story they were telling, just that they wanted everyone to be shocked.    

For me, it wasn’t shocking, it just left me with only one bitter/ nihilistic explanation - Dany experienced a psychotic break.  It is the only way to make sense of her actions in the show IMO.  Moreover, the show runners indicate that it has to do with her genetic lineage.  So, one of the main characters of the show has all these ups and downs and incredible moments over 7 season, only to have a psychotic break at the end that was predetermined by her genetic lineage.  It is as nihilistic a story as if the Night King had simply won and killed everyone.   

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On 5/21/2019 at 4:22 AM, A man doesn't have a name said:

I see people complaining about poor character development, or unforeseen corruption of Daenerys, but I honestly feel like people are mad because of how humans are. We pick our favourite heroes and turn a blind eye to everything they do from the moment they become our heroes. We leave them unchecked or justify their actions on the basis of a greater purpose that they are trying to achieve.

I literally saw people trying to justify the burning of King's Landing in order to spare their heroin from moral judgement. That's the danger of idolizing someone for whatever reason. You grant the person the status of immaculate hero and from that moment the person becomes unaccountable. It happened to many dictators in history. A tyrant is seldom born a tyrant. They win people's hearts and then go rogue as people support them unconditionally.

I have observed that people who didn't idolize Daenerys from season 1 could clearly see how she was slowly becoming obsessed with power and gave up support to her by season 7,  as she failed to display lenience and to rule with wisdom.

I don't know. I'd like to hear people's opinion on that. Although I feel like Dany's fans are so passionate that this might attract some angry comments.

That is precisely how I see it. Daenerys is a well-liked character, so her flaws are overlooked, while on the other hand some characters (e.g. Stannis) are being accused of being monsters for doing, frankly, quite reasonable things.

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10 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

That is precisely how I see it. Daenerys is a well-liked character, so her flaws are overlooked, while on the other hand some characters (e.g. Stannis) are being accused of being monsters for doing, frankly, quite reasonable things.

Perceived sexual attractiveness may also factor into it.

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1 minute ago, Gendelsdottir said:

Perceived sexual attractiveness may also factor into it.

Well, that is one of more important reasons why she is so well-liked.

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3 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

To put it more simply, if they were able to tell the story properly, then they wouldn't need her to fly back to Dragonstone between episodes to change into all black, wash the smoke off her face, fly back to KL and have the whole 'dragon wings unfold on either side of her kitsch scene while walking to address her troops.

With good writing, we would already have known clearly she had crossed the Rubicon for all the Westerosi at that point, instead we were confused if she had  just gone temporarily mad, or if what she had done was completely out of context that made her worse than Tywin (who exterminated two noble houses down to the children, sacked and pillaged KL, and later the Riverlands), even a Joffrey/Cersei with Dragons. Some of Tyrion's dialogue tries to make that point to some extent, that the scale of her devastation was/(or had the potential for) something on a different level but I don't think  that exposition by itself swayed the show watchers. The reactions seem to be based on the gruesome visuals, or the readers/watchers focused on evidence of her violence from Essos (directed against oppressors, but sometimes a little bit indiscriminately)

Basically, the show runners had to work backwards from the end point they wanted to achieve and in 1.5 seasons tried to throw various things at a character they had been happy to build into a strong (if flawed) heroine taking on the slaving class in Essos.

1. They got her to torch noble prisoners

2. They got her to do the idiotic smirk routine to show contempt to Westerosi smallfolk (sullen Northeners who fought against her family less than 20 years ago, if she had gone to Dorne or the Reach it should have been completely different)

3. They got her to get wound up by Sandra Snark

4. They got her to go megalomaniac upon hearing R+L=J. It's a pity R+L=J was used this way, but this was probably more convincing than the other stuff

5. A bit of paranoia from above

6. Grief-driven anger, but still restrained at first

7. She goes postal - and stated as such by the showrunners in Inside the Episode

8. She suddenly becomes a fascist dictator, something she could have done in Mereen, but didn't. Why now? Not saying she couldn't have drawn the wrong conclusion from her attempts to make peace in Mereen, but that evolution is not shown, could have been attempted with some meaningful dialogue.

8. She shows no remorse in private with Jon for having gone postal "It was necessary". Hmmm covering up the lapse, or genuinely don't care anymore? Or even 100% intentional hatred of Westerosi? If the latter two, we want to see why she doesn't care about children and women any more. Never got to see the evolution from saviour to pure megalomaniac who does not care until the first signs in E4.

9. And finally the showrunners appear again retconning everything that happened before and twisting the story, "She let her brother (who himself was trying to kill her) be killed, so she's bad"

If you told the story well, you don't retconning.

You don't need to explain what happened in Inside the Epidode.

And you don't need to throw so many different things at the character to see what sticks.

You just suck as show runners/writers period.

Looking forward to George's tale. I'm sure that's going to be a fascinating tragic story arc.

It would have been  easy - even with 13 episodes in Season 7 & 8, to show her do something unequivocally awful - say, ordering Dothraki to slaughter peasants in a district that is loyal to Cersei, which she might have justified as an act of war, but which would have given the Starks cause to worry about her, even as they need her aid.  In turn, that would have made it much easier to see where she was coming from at Kings Landing.

The Field of Fire doesn't lead directly to the mass murder of non-combatants, as those were soldiers.

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39 minutes ago, Lord Stackspear said:

For me, it wasn’t shocking, it just left me with only one bitter/ nihilistic explanation  

I agree, it left a very sour taste in the mouth. Another example is Jaime’s hard-earned redemption arc doing a complete reversal at the 11th hour and ending so pointlessly. Apart from the crude (and ultimately troubling) Love vs. Duty dynamic (e.g. Rhaegar, Ned, Jaime: Love (all die)… Jon: Duty (survives)), and however much they tried to awkwardly crowbar a “power corrupts” moral into Dany’s arc, the point seems to be… Shit happens, and a Police State under Bran’s Lidless Eye might stop Shit from happening

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On 5/21/2019 at 3:22 AM, A man doesn't have a name said:

I see people complaining about poor character development, or unforeseen corruption of Daenerys, but I honestly feel like people are mad because of how humans are. We pick our favourite heroes and turn a blind eye to everything they do from the moment they become our heroes. We leave them unchecked or justify their actions on the basis of a greater purpose that they are trying to achieve.

I literally saw people trying to justify the burning of King's Landing in order to spare their heroin from moral judgement. That's the danger of idolizing someone for whatever reason. You grant the person the status of immaculate hero and from that moment the person becomes unaccountable. It happened to many dictators in history. A tyrant is seldom born a tyrant. They win people's hearts and then go rogue as people support them unconditionally.

I have observed that people who didn't idolize Daenerys from season 1 could clearly see how she was slowly becoming obsessed with power and gave up support to her by season 7,  as she failed to display lenience and to rule with wisdom.

I don't know. I'd like to hear people's opinion on that. Although I feel like Dany's fans are so passionate that this might attract some angry comments.

 

It’s supposed to be a dark fantasy. Why should I hold Dany to the same standard as Nynaeve from Wheel of Time? Until she does something spectacularly beyond the pale like late season it’s not clear you should condemn her.

Just because there’s suggestion the character might have a flaw or go down a dark path does not mean it’s written in stone that they will. For example Rand going mad in Wheel of Time or Thomas in Magician. If it was always a certainty that Dany was crazy then there would be no sense of tragedy. I don’t think the intent was to vindicate the Stannis and Stark fanboys whose gloating is obscene. 

GRRM wanted to be the Alan Moore of fantasy and make pull a Watchman. Heroes are nazis and having power automatically makes you a bad person. It’s  a satire intended to berate the reader for liking comic books. Not to mention that it’s very cliche at this point and hasn’t succeeded in changing people’s attitudes to superheroes.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/21/2019 at 3:22 AM, A man doesn't have a name said:

I see people complaining about poor character development, or unforeseen corruption of Daenerys, but I honestly feel like people are mad because of how humans are. We pick our favourite heroes and turn a blind eye to everything they do from the moment they become our heroes. We leave them unchecked or justify their actions on the basis of a greater purpose that they are trying to achieve.

I literally saw people trying to justify the burning of King's Landing in order to spare their heroin from moral judgement. That's the danger of idolizing someone for whatever reason. You grant the person the status of immaculate hero and from that moment the person becomes unaccountable. It happened to many dictators in history. A tyrant is seldom born a tyrant. They win people's hearts and then go rogue as people support them unconditionally.

I have observed that people who didn't idolize Daenerys from season 1 could clearly see how she was slowly becoming obsessed with power and gave up support to her by season 7,  as she failed to display lenience and to rule with wisdom.

I don't know. I'd like to hear people's opinion on that. Although I feel like Dany's fans are so passionate that this might attract some angry comments.

I guess like how people defending the show are deliberately turning a blind eye to:

Ned Stark beheading a guy who just wanted to survive.

Robb Stark beheading an ally who killed hostages.

Sansa smirking while feeding her abuser to dogs and coldly staring as she has her sister slit the throat of her years-long abuser/benefactor.

Jon killing an ally to infiltrate the wildlings, beheading a man pleading for his life, and later hanging a twelve year old.

Arya smirking while slitting the throat of a paedophile, putting Freys into pies, feeding pies to their relative and smirking while slitting his throat, threatening to flay her sister's face, and threatening to kill multiple great lords of Westeros.

Either ruthlessness is a tacitly necessary feature of dealing with enemies/threats in the dark world of Westeros/Essos, or it's a sign you'll go coocoo for coco puffs after getting the surrender you want and playing death race with civilians (alternatively, being a decent person all the time but seeing your idol start playing the death race makes you score a perfect 10 javelin on a surrendering enemy). Which has been the more consistent portrayal of such violence?

Edited by Beardy the Wildling

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5 hours ago, Isewein said:

It's pretty sad to see how many people seem to think the reaction is because of some desire for a flawless heroine. I can only speak for myself, but I think it's quite the contrary. I had always hoped for the Jon-vs.-Dany ending, but wanted it to be one of the moral ambiguity appropriate to ASOIAF. I very much hoped to see Dany as an eventually "villainous" (from the perspective of the Westerosi) foreign invader and tyrant, and in fact these darker aspects of her character are what made the character interesting to me in the first place (without them she would have been just a boring and inhuman Hollywood princess). My favourite scene in the last season was the Battle of the Goldroad, which was moral ambiguity done right - Dany didn't do anything she hadn't done before in Essos, but because the show let us experience it from a sympathetic perspective (Dickon, Jaime and Bronn) it acquired new nuances. When Jaime charged the dragon I was rooting for both sides simultaneously, and that is a great narrative achievement comparable to the Blackwater between Tyrion and Stannis.

As has been rightly pointed out in this thread, in-universe this moral ambiguity still exists: sacking a city which repeatedly refused to surrender is cruel but not unheard of, Tyrion only convinces Jon by bringing up the alleged threat to his sisters, and Jon is anything but hailed as a liberator following the deed. But across the Fourth Wall all ambiguity has needlessly been shattered by exaggerating Dany's propensity for violence beyond anything remotely reasonable within her character as presented before. Even between episodes 5 and 6 there was no continuity. In 5 she "snapped" and went mad due to Targaryen genetics; in 6 it was all presented as an end-justifies-means question, without making clear what end exactly burning all the people she wished to liberate would serve. This not only cleared Dany, but also Jon of any real interest as a character. When Jon went to murder Dany, I couldn't root for either of them - not for Dany because the show had demonised her through its incongruous characterisation, and not for Jon because it had made it too easy for him. The narrative so clearly pushed me to take a side here, and one side only, that it ruined the possibility for real tragedy.

 

Nice post.

Re the bolded, absolutely. In episode 5 she "snapped" and "lost it." The creators themselves said that her rampage was an emotional reaction to seeing the Red Keep that was stolen from her family.

Yet in the next episode she's all cool and collected, gives no poots about what she did and seems to be calmly planning to do it over and over, and not at all out of emotion.

Total disconnect in a crucial plot element, and not for the first time, either.

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