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Rikard

Daenerys the Terrible?

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Posted (edited)

So, Daenerys was a maniacal killer, unfit to rule. Why, exactly? 

Varys tried to assassinate Daenerys before she burned King’s Landing. It was the revelation of Jon’s superior Targaryen claim to the throne that turned him against her, and the convenient fact that Jon was a man Varys could manipulate. Varys was always a Targaryen loyalist, urging King Aerys II to resist the Lannister army at the gates, an army which promptly sacked the city when it entered. Notably he did nothing to thwart the Mad King’s plan to incinerate his own people, and routinely risked the lives of his “little birds”. Hardly a compassionate, champion of the people.

But Daenerys did kill all those civilians, wasn’t that insane or evil? 

As far as I can tell there is no record of a monarch, dictator or military leader who was deposed for treating the enemy with gratuitous violence. The histories of the Roman Republic and Empire are replete with every form of violent succession. Leaders were routinely assassinated but never for killing too many Gauls, Germans, Celts, Carthaginians, Parthians, Sassanids, Jews or assorted rebels. Just the opposite, the greater the body count the greater the triumph; e.g., Scipio at Carthage, 146 BC; Titus at Jerusalem, 70 AD; and, Aurelian at Palmyra, 273 AD.  As Caesar wrote, "murum aries attigit" (the ram has touched the wall; meaning after the assault had begun there was no more negotiation, only destruction). Romans did prefer victories at little cost to themselves. Terror was good policy, cities were less likely to resist. Later examples of city carnage include Attila; the Crusaders at Jerusalem, 1099 AD and at Constantinople, 1204 AD; Genghis Kahn; Timur; and Ivan the Terrible at Novgorod, 1570 AD. The last example is instructive as Ivan was considered by many to be deranged. Yet, he died a natural death. 

And that hyperbolic victory speech to her soldiers? Daenerys well understood that their continued loyalty rested on the prospect of future conquests; Martin only knows what her true intent was. Bending the knee is what she expected of the seven kingdoms, what every monarch had demanded since Aegon I. How else could she keep the peace? Nothing surprising here.    

Which gets us back to GOT Season 8. If someone were to murder Daenerys, a dynastic challenge was reason enough. That was the motivation of all the players since Episode 1. It was the Game. The justification for killing the King or Queen was to make someone else King or Queen. A simple concept.

Killing the residents of an enemy capital whose ruler had rejected generous terms is war as usual. To claim otherwise is hypocrisy. Shock and awe anyone?   
 

Edited by Rikard
correction

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12 hours ago, Rikard said:

unfit to rule

Well, she is a better conqueror then ruler, that's for sure, as we have seen in Essos. 

But the point of Jon killing Daenerys is not about her being unfit, but her goals being incompatible with Jon's goals.

The Tyrion/Jon cell scene before Jon assassinates Daenerys shows clearly that Jon was not convinced by all the talk about the realm, but what really convinced him was Tyrion reminding him about his sisters. What the scene again, when Jon ist almost leaving Tyrion's cell.

Jon is forced to decide between his sisters (and probably a lot of fellow Northerners) and Daenerys. Daenerys very clearly threatened Winterfell and meant Sansa in particular. 

Jon kills Daenerys because he is afraid of what Daenerys will do to Winterfell, to Arya and Sansa and the whole North and he knows that Daenerys strategy of war will lad to thousands more deaths.

It's a personal decision. It's not about being unfit in general. 

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She literally says ''it was necessary'', so that's how she was going to rule, no mercy, only slaughter.

If she said she lost control and get mad at Cersei, Jon probably wouldn't kill her. He only did it because he was sure that Daenerys was going to keep killing and burning people with no limitation, since she believes it was ''necessary''.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Rikard said:

 

Killing the residents of an enemy capital whose ruler had rejected generous terms is war as usual. To claim otherwise is hypocrisy. Shock and awe anyone?   
 

While that is so (and initially, I was willing to accept this argument) there is almost always a rationale for burning cities.  Either, you want to induce other cities to surrender rapidly, or, you have to retreat, and want to deny your enemy an important economic centre, and population.

In this case, Dany was about to inherit the most valuable piece of real property in the world, with all of its taxpayers, and she destroyed it.  And, that doesn't make any sense, and is an example of poor plotting.   Daenerys deciding to execute Cersei in a spectacularly unpleasant manner, or killing prisoners, or sweeping the city for traitors are all things I can consider plausible.  But, none of those things would have come close to excusing Jon murdering her.  So, the show runners sought to portray her in the most unpleasant possible light.

Edited by SeanF

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Rikard said:

So, Daenerys was a maniacal killer, unfit to rule. Why, exactly? 

Varys tried to assassinate Daenerys before she burned King’s Landing. It was the revelation of Jon’s superior Targaryen claim to the throne that turned him against her, and the convenient fact that Jon was a man Varys could manipulate. Varys was always a Targaryen loyalist, urging King Aerys II to resist the Lannister army at the gates, an army which promptly sacked the city when it entered. Notably he did nothing to thwart the Mad King’s plan to incinerate his own people, and routinely risked the lives of his “little birds”. Hardly a compassionate, champion of the people.

But Daenerys did kill all those civilians, wasn’t that insane or evil? 

As far as I can tell there is no record of a monarch, dictator or military leader who was deposed for treating the enemy with gratuitous violence. The histories of the Roman Republic and Empire are replete with every form of violent succession. Leaders were routinely assassinated but never for killing too many Gauls, Germans, Celts, Carthaginians, Parthians, Sassanids, Jews or assorted rebels. Just the opposite, the greater the body count the greater the triumph; e.g., Scipio at Carthage, 146 BC; Titus at Jerusalem, 70 AD; and, Aurelian at Palmyra, 273 AD.  As Caesar wrote, "murum aries attigit" (when the ram touches the wall; meaning after the assault had begun there was no more negotiation, only destruction). Romans did prefer victories at little cost to themselves. Terror was good policy, cities were less likely to resist. Later examples of city carnage include Attila; the Crusaders at Jerusalem, 1099 AD and at Constantinople, 1204 AD; Genghis Kahn; Timur; and Ivan the Terrible at Novgorod, 1570 AD. The last example is instructive as Ivan was considered by many to be deranged. Yet, he died a natural death. 

And that hyperbolic victory speech to her soldiers? Daenerys well understood that their continued loyalty rested on the prospect of future conquests; Martin only knows what her true intent was. Bending the knee is what she expected of the seven kingdoms, what every monarch had demanded since Aegon I. How else could she keep the peace? Nothing surprising here.    

Which gets us back to GOT Season 8. If someone were to murder Daenerys, a dynastic challenge was reason enough. That was the motivation of all the players since Episode 1. It was the Game. The justification for killing the King or Queen was to make someone else King or Queen. A simple concept.

Killing the residents of an enemy capital whose ruler had rejected generous terms is war as usual. To claim otherwise is hypocrisy. Shock and awe anyone?   
 

She murdered hundreds of thousand civilians that she claims is their rightful ruler, if she really was there wouldn't be need for such mass destruction and  rule of terror.

It is her capital she destroyed and her subject she slaughtered, Targaryens built Kings Landing, Red Keep, Iron Throne , if anything it can be Compared as Roman general destroying Rome with army of foreign mercenaries and troops from far provinces.

Anyone can be killed, though tyrants are often powerful rulers fallout happens sometimes after their deaths when their heirs fight among-st themselves or are incapable.

Some who ruled by terror did in fact pay with their lives, Robespierre comes to mind, some leaders were assassinated while they were in power before their conquests can finish, Caesar, Philip II, Attila, Murad I even Alexander's death is suspicious.

Edited by Eltharion21

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I think a lot of us know that the last two episodes were absurd and they did their best to attempt to make the viewers be OK with Jon knifing his gf/aunt/queen when they kissed but it failed pretty hard which is why everyone is mad. 

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Could the past season have been better with a few more episodes? Sure.

But the only people truly unhappy with the ending appear to be Daeny fans.

In regards to the OP, leaders who massacre their own people are rarely remembered with much favour.

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On 5/28/2019 at 10:05 AM, Techmaester said:

I think a lot of us know that the last two episodes were absurd and they did their best to attempt to make the viewers be OK with Jon knifing his gf/aunt/queen when they kissed but it failed pretty hard which is why everyone is mad. 

There's just something about murdering your lover when she's open and trusting. Can't get by that.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/27/2019 at 10:14 PM, Rikard said:

Killing the residents of an enemy capital whose ruler had rejected generous terms is war as usual. To claim otherwise is hypocrisy. Shock and awe anyone?

Except the city had surrendered. There was no need to burn it down.

Edited by Apoplexy

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2 hours ago, Apoplexy said:

Except the city had surrendered. There was no need to burn it down.

If you don't punish cities that resist then everyone will - why is that hard to understand? If they can say at any point "ok I give up" and get treated the same then everyone would fight.

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On 5/28/2019 at 5:24 AM, Kajjo said:

The Tyrion/Jon cell scene before Jon assassinates Daenerys shows clearly that Jon was not convinced by all the talk about the realm, but what really convinced him was Tyrion reminding him about his sisters. What the scene again, when Jon ist almost leaving Tyrion's cell.

Jon is forced to decide between his sisters (and probably a lot of fellow Northerners) and Daenerys. Daenerys very clearly threatened Winterfell and meant Sansa in particular. 

 

You’re right that none of Tyrion’s arguments could convince Jon until that parting shot about his sisters. Incest, succession, insanity, and war aims proved insufficient to break Jon’s oath to Daenerys. Tyrion had a very personal interest in the outcome as he was a condemned man and only her death would save his life. Too bad if Jon died in the attempt. He did finally get through to Jon by suggesting Sansa and Arya would be threatened by Dany’s plans to establish a Pax Targaryen. Tyrion was really reaching with this one and Jon gullible to take it seriously. So long as Jon was Warden of the North, Sansa could not revolt; while he would be well positioned to shield Sansa from Dany’s demands. He had merely to be nice to her. Dany had praised Arya’s heroism and reached out to Sansa at Winterfell. The Starks could be difficult but she’d rather have them as subjects than enemies. Arya, as we found out, was eager to leave Westeros altogether. Jon could not see that Tyrion had played him and far from saving Sansa had actually endangered her.

Tyrion masterfully manipulated the Great Council, proposing Bran as the clear compromise candidate for King. Tyrion could expect to be rewarded. The lords supported Bran knowing he had no bannermen of his own, no power base, was indifferent to worldly affairs and easily persuaded. Sansa demonstrated just how easily persuaded he was by seceding with no discussion and with Bran’s blessing. Blinded by the prospect of becoming a queen, Sansa failed to see that an independent North would be easy prey for rivals on every side. Ironmen, Wildlings, and invaders from Essos would probe and plunder a weak kingdom of extinct Houses, few surviving warriors and a depleted population. There would be no help from the other lords (who would likely join in the free for all), King Bran (You are a good woman), Tyrion (You're on your own),  Brienne (So much paper work), and Jon (Can't break another oath). No one would fear or help Queen Sansa. Her realm had no prospects.    

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21 minutes ago, Techmaester said:

If you don't punish cities that resist then everyone will - why is that hard to understand? If they can say at any point "ok I give up" and get treated the same then everyone would fight.

"Joffrey, when your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you." - Tywin Lannister

When Tywin Lannister thinks you're being over the top, perhaps you're being over the top.

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27 minutes ago, Techmaester said:

If you don't punish cities that resist then everyone will - why is that hard to understand? If they can say at any point "ok I give up" and get treated the same then everyone would fight.

Exactly. Murum aries attigit (the ram has touched the wall) was Roman military policy for centuries, and other cultures understood and employed it themselves until modern times. Also discipline typically collapsed once your troops broke into a city and began looting, and raping. There was that scene of Jon killing one of his own soldiers. It was Dany torching the city that restored obedience.

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33 minutes ago, Techmaester said:

If you don't punish cities that resist then everyone will - why is that hard to understand? If they can say at any point "ok I give up" and get treated the same then everyone would fight.

Punishment doesn't have to be burning civilians alive. That's just plain cruel. A middle ground is possible.

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1 minute ago, Rikard said:

Also discipline typically collapsed once your troops broke into a city and began looting, and raping. There was that scene of Jon killing one of his own soldiers. 

So in your opinion once looting began, the solution is burn the whole place down and kill everyone?

2 minutes ago, Rikard said:

. It was Dany torching the city that restored obedience.

I wouldn't call being obliterated as merely 'restoring obedience'.

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On 5/28/2019 at 9:14 AM, Eltharion21 said:

She murdered hundreds of thousand civilians that she claims is their rightful ruler, if she really was there wouldn't be need for such mass destruction and  rule of terror. . . Some who ruled by terror did in fact pay with their lives, Robespierre comes to mind, some leaders were assassinated while they were in power before their conquests can finish, Caesar, Philip II, Attila, Murad I even Alexander's death is suspicious.

In Episode 5’s “The Game Revealed”, VFX Producer Steve Kullback says the destruction of King’s Landing was “heavily inspired” by the WWII bombing of Dresden. This warrants some examination. Dresden had a pre-war population of 642,000. By 1945 over 100,000 refugees had fled there. It was one of the few German cities largely untouched by the Allied bombing campaign. In 4 raids between 13-15 February 1945, 1249 British and American aircraft dropped more than 3900 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs on Dresden. The inner city was obliterated in a fire storm. An estimated 22,700 to 25,000 people died. It is still debated what if any military significance the city possessed. Churchill decried such bombings late in the war as “mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive”.  That is to say, terror is justified if there is some military advantage to be gained. Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris specified exactly how much justification was needed, “I do not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier”.

As formidable as Drogon is portrayed it is hardly credible that he could have surpassed in a single sortie the death toll of RAF Bomber Command and the 8th USAAF at Dresden. (Or Hiroshima for that matter, when one plane with a 12 man crew and one bomb killed as many as 146,000 military and civilians.) Benioff and Weiss may think it serves the plot for Tyrion to throw around absurd numbers, I expect Martin to craft a more plausible account.

Regarding the listed conquerors, none died because of any moral outrage over his siege tactics. Caesar was killed because he was ambitious, not for killing a million Gauls. Phillip, a jealous lover. Attila, domestic violence. Murad, perhaps at the hands of a Serbian suicide squad. Alexander? Any number of theories but none relate to his sack of Tyre.      

 

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Posted (edited)

The problem with 'the Bells' is that it does not portray the medieval way of thinking, which probably comes across as skewered morality to modern audiences. The stark reality of a city being sacked was brilliantly captured in 'Blackwater,' but in 'The Bells' we get a weird mix of gritty realism and Disney villainy. The nuance of Danaerys was thrown out the window...so what you get is Disney's Maleficent turning into the big, black dragon and the audience shocked by Danaerys' terrible evil. People now speak of Danaerys as if she's the spawn of Satan, no better than Putin or Bush during the Iraq war. Which she isn't, but the lack of 'humanity' was par the course of warfare back is. And as a matter of fact, civilian warfare is still standard practice even today...though you wouldn't know it by the egregiously heavy handed reactions people are having to Danaerys' sacking of Kings Landing.

Edited by Uilliam

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Apoplexy said:

Punishment doesn't have to be burning civilians alive. That's just plain cruel. A middle ground is possible.

I think it would be pretty effective at stopping future civilians from letting their leaders drag them into a war instead of relinquishing rule. I'm not saying it's the ideal action but there obviously needs to be severe consequences to prevent other rulers from pulling a Cersei. If I was Jon I would be pretty ambivalent to them burning considering the history. Like I wrote before I'm not sure why anyone cares - chivalrous war is a fantasy that didn't exist, are we going to turn on our protagonists because of collateral damage ignoring everything else she did?

Guess I am true believer. I don't think anyone could have thought she wouldn't need to commit a degree of mass violence to rule. I always knew she would and I was OK with it because I liked her and agreed with her ideals.  

Edited by Techmaester

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4 hours ago, Apoplexy said:

Except the city had surrendered. There was no need to burn it down.

A surrender must be accepted.  Even conceding that ringing bells constitutes unconditional surrender (I don't and neither did Tyrion at the Battle of the Blackwater) the defenders failed to immediately lay down their weapons. Apparently they hadn't gotten the word. Nor had Dany agreed to such an arrangement when Tyrion proposed it. Specifically the defenders were to ring the bells AND open the gates. The time to surrender is before the attack begins, not after the gates have been breached. Cersei's response to Dany's terms of surrender was to execute a hostage. That's usually considered pretty definitive. Cersei's orders to her soldiers were to fight to the end, buying time for her escape. What happened was entirely Cersei's responsibility. Razing a city which refuses terms has always been consistent with the laws and customs of war, even today when killing civilians is called collateral damage.        

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, cyberdirectorfreedom said:

"Joffrey, when your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you." - Tywin Lannister

When Tywin Lannister thinks you're being over the top, perhaps you're being over the top.

City attacks are a special case in warfare. On the battle field when things start going badly for your side, you might drop your banners, wave a white flag, kneel or throw down your arms and have a reasonable expectation of being spared. Of course your chances of a favorable outcome rise with the value of your ransom. City attacks are typically more costly in lives and time, things a general is always short of. Making the decision to defend a city as stark as possible by assuring its total destruction if it does resist tends to avoid sieges. Not following through on such a threat invites resistance. Also soldiers enjoy sacking cities; loot is often their only compensation. 

The point Tywin was making is to punish defiance and reward submission, when given at the appropriate time.

 

Edited by Rikard
grammar

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