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Angel Eyes

Why Daenerys as the Mad Queen?

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Sometimes I wonder why D&D wanted Daenerys as the Mad Queen who burned down King's Landing for Season 8, since we already had a Mad Queen in play who ticked a bunch of the boxes who's named Cersei.

  • Paranoic? Check.
  • Incestuous with sibling? Check.
  • Liked to use wildfire? Check.
  • Alienated a number of the highest lords in the land? Check.

It would have been pretty consistent if we had Cersei be the Mad Queen and when Daenerys showed up with her dragon (or two), Cersei sets off the rest of the wildfire (dunno if Daenerys is immune), if they didn't want Daenerys on the Iron Throne.

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Being real, the signs of Dany's madness were always there. "Those who would harm you will die screaming" was a line as early as season 1. Jorah, Barristan and Tyrion routinely had to talk her out of questionable things, and didn't always succeed. 

Dany going Mad Queen isn't what irked at least me. It was more how it was done. Instead of having the Bells just trigger her somehow, have the Lannister army surrender and ring the bells. As Dany's army is moving into the city and disarming them, Cersei orders a final scorpion on the Red Keep to take a shot at Dany. This infuriates her and she burns a trail to the Red Keep and burns it. This act sets off Cersei's wildfire caches, which quickly spreads and burns down King's Landing. You get a despicable act, one that gets people questioning her, without completely marring the character. Evil in this show was supposed to be more gray and less black and white. 

This would've presented a more questionable and interesting scenario as people argue if it was Dany's fault or not even as she's talking about purging al those who resisted her in Westeros.

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1 hour ago, Lord Lannister said:

Being real, the signs of Dany's madness were always there. "Those who would harm you will die screaming" was a line as early as season 1. Jorah, Barristan and Tyrion routinely had to talk her out of questionable things, and didn't always succeed. 

Dany going Mad Queen isn't what irked at least me. It was more how it was done. Instead of having the Bells just trigger her somehow, have the Lannister army surrender and ring the bells. As Dany's army is moving into the city and disarming them, Cersei orders a final scorpion on the Red Keep to take a shot at Dany. This infuriates her and she burns a trail to the Red Keep and burns it. This act sets off Cersei's wildfire caches, which quickly spreads and burns down King's Landing. You get a despicable act, one that gets people questioning her, without completely marring the character. Evil in this show was supposed to be more gray and less black and white. 

This would've presented a more questionable and interesting scenario as people argue if it was Dany's fault or not even as she's talking about purging al those who resisted her in Westeros.

Is that any more mad than Tyrion saying "I wish I was the monster you say I am.  I wish I had poison for all of you"?

People make threats, under stress.  The problem with Daenerys's male advisers is that they so often gave her bad military advice.  Butchering the Wise Masters of Yunkai, once they broke the treaty, would have saved lives.  Hitting the Red Keep on arrival at Dragonstone, would have saved lives.

The scenario I would have preferred to Daenerys becoming an evil monster of pure evilness would be if her soldiers were bogged down in street fighting, which they might lose, and she unleashes dragon fire, killing enemy soldiers and civilians alike.  That keeps the decision to kill innocents a deliberate and conscious one on her part, while giving a plausible military reason for it.

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Cersei, Joffrey and Tywin were the best characters on the show. Why whitewash any of her actions? Thats where the good drama is (which I'm sure GRRM will write better). Sometimes people with too much power commit atrocities, in the name of feel good slogans.Writing mass murder rationally, like the actions of someone who has to make "difficult choices," undermines the message of abuse of power. Abuse of power and mass murder is irrational and never a "difficult choice." Also, Dany is a better corollary for the tyrant of the modern era--not Cersei. We have problems right now with strongmen/women feeling that they are justified to do anything they want, in the name of the people, even if it means punishing factions who dont support them. And thats what Dany did. She punished people for not supporting her, and did it in the people's name. When populism becomes tyranny...

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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On 2/17/2020 at 1:37 PM, SeanF said:

Is that any more mad than Tyrion saying "I wish I was the monster you say I am.  I wish I had poison for all of you"?

People make threats, under stress.  The problem with Daenerys's male advisers is that they so often gave her bad military advice.  Butchering the Wise Masters of Yunkai, once they broke the treaty, would have saved lives.  Hitting the Red Keep on arrival at Dragonstone, would have saved lives.

The scenario I would have preferred to Daenerys becoming an evil monster of pure evilness would be if her soldiers were bogged down in street fighting, which they might lose, and she unleashes dragon fire, killing enemy soldiers and civilians alike.  That keeps the decision to kill innocents a deliberate and conscious one on her part, while giving a plausible military reason for it.

Yes, people make threats all the time in the heat of the moment. Making them and carrying them out are two different things. Tyrion didn't actually poison the entire population of King's Landing for example. (Though in the novels he did some questionable things to put it mildly) I selected that quote as it was one of her earlier quotes with a "kill them all" mentality, showing her impulse to do that always seems to be there.

I'm not sure why you felt the need to point out Dany's advisors were male, and you can argue the merits of their advice I suppose. Fact of the matter is, Dany did round up people based on their class rather than any crime committed and crucified them. She later did the same thing, but fed one of them to her dragons and terrifyingly threatened them. She even admitted then she didn't know if they were innocent or not. But she didn't care, she acted. That's not a heroic action to me, and "saving lives" is a flimsy justification most tyrants use to justify their brutality. Her brutality towards the Mereenese nobles didn't seem to even slow down the Harpies for example. Dany wanted to burn the cities of Slavers Bay to the ground before Tyrion talked her out of it. That always seems to be her go to in the heat of the moment, lashing back with literal fire and blood. Generally speaking, committing mass murder is a bad thing. Regardless if you're doing it with an army, at a wedding or with dragonfire.

The King's Landing scenario you presented would be interesting though. It would be a gray area that wouldn't just have her "burning them all" for funsies. You could have Jon and Tyrion arguing if she needed to do that or not since her army was already inside the city and that's the traditional winning condition in sieges.

Dany definitely had good intentions, but her methodology leaves a lot to be desired. In Dany's case I think half the time the shadow she chases is the one she's casting, which is what made her a complicated character. The show really did her a disservice by just having her go nuts and slaughter everyone. 

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6 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

Yes, people make threats all the time in the heat of the moment. Making them and carrying them out are two different things. Tyrion didn't actually poison the entire population of King's Landing for example. (Though in the novels he did some questionable things to put it mildly) I selected that quote as it was one of her earlier quotes with a "kill them all" mentality, showing her impulse to do that always seems to be there.

I'm not sure why you felt the need to point out Dany's advisors were male, and you can argue the merits of their advice I suppose. Fact of the matter is, Dany did round up people based on their class rather than any crime committed and crucified them. She later did the same thing, but fed one of them to her dragons and terrifyingly threatened them. She even admitted then she didn't know if they were innocent or not. But she didn't care, she acted. That's not a heroic action to me, and "saving lives" is a flimsy justification most tyrants use to justify their brutality. Her brutality towards the Mereenese nobles didn't seem to even slow down the Harpies for example. Dany wanted to burn the cities of Slavers Bay to the ground before Tyrion talked her out of it. That always seems to be her go to in the heat of the moment, lashing back with literal fire and blood. Generally speaking, committing mass murder is a bad thing. Regardless if you're doing it with an army, at a wedding or with dragonfire.

The King's Landing scenario you presented would be interesting though. It would be a gray area that wouldn't just have her "burning them all" for funsies. You could have Jon and Tyrion arguing if she needed to do that or not since her army was already inside the city and that's the traditional winning condition in sieges.

Dany definitely had good intentions, but her methodology leaves a lot to be desired. In Dany's case I think half the time the shadow she chases is the one she's casting, which is what made her a complicated character. The show really did her a disservice by just having her go nuts and slaughter everyone. 

We would probably be several centuries away from the idea that individuals get a trial with legal representation, in this world. (Such trial as we see are farcical).  Treating elite adult males as being responsible for the actions of their governments and their class is probably about as fair as anyone is likely to be.  I don't really buy into the argument that there would be plenty of upper class Meereenese who are guiltless.

As to military matters, there's no point in waging war half-heartedly.  IMHO, Tyrion was criminally incompetent in the advice he gave her.  My point about "male advisors" is that Olenna, Ellaria, and Yara gave her pretty sound military advice.  Hitting the Red Keep is what any military commander would do in any era.

Edited by SeanF

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On 2/17/2020 at 12:37 PM, SeanF said:

Is that any more mad than Tyrion saying "I wish I was the monster you say I am.  I wish I had poison for all of you"?

People make threats, under stress.  The problem with Daenerys's male advisers is that they so often gave her bad military advice.  Butchering the Wise Masters of Yunkai, once they broke the treaty, would have saved lives.  Hitting the Red Keep on arrival at Dragonstone, would have saved lives.

The scenario I would have preferred to Daenerys becoming an evil monster of pure evilness would be if her soldiers were bogged down in street fighting, which they might lose, and she unleashes dragon fire, killing enemy soldiers and civilians alike.  That keeps the decision to kill innocents a deliberate and conscious one on her part, while giving a plausible military reason for it.

Yes because unlike Tyrion, Dany was going from city to city building up a body count wherever she went. 
 

Tyrion was being unfairly treated and lashed out with threats. Dany was on the verge of accomplishing everything and she slaughtered a city and threatened to continue that. We already saw her destroy all the leaders of Slavers Bay, saw her kill the Khals, ruin King’s Landing. Why wouldn’t she go to Qarth where she had a vendetta against some warlocks and a few rich guys who wouldn’t help her? Why wouldn’t she go to Asshai? 
 

That said, the answer to the OP is likely just that they did a bad job of adapting the outline GRRM gave them 

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36 minutes ago, lancerman said:

Yes because unlike Tyrion, Dany was going from city to city building up a body count wherever she went. 
 

Tyrion was being unfairly treated and lashed out with threats. Dany was on the verge of accomplishing everything and she slaughtered a city and threatened to continue that. We already saw her destroy all the leaders of Slavers Bay, saw her kill the Khals, ruin King’s Landing. Why wouldn’t she go to Qarth where she had a vendetta against some warlocks and a few rich guys who wouldn’t help her? Why wouldn’t she go to Asshai? 
 

That said, the answer to the OP is likely just that they did a bad job of adapting the outline GRRM gave them 

You make it sound as if killing slave dealers, child murderers, and people who were debating raping, selling, or imprisoning her, is a bad thing.

Not in my book.

Edited by SeanF

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On 2/20/2020 at 2:35 PM, SeanF said:

You make it sound as if killing slave dealers, child murderers, and people who were debating raping, selling, or imprisoning her, is a bad thing.

Not in my book.

 

Honestly, I find it notable in the books that none of Dany's advisors ever object to her killing of the Good Masters.

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16 hours ago, Minsc said:

Honestly, I find it notable in the books that none of Dany's advisors ever object to her killing of the Good Masters.

Nobody would in this world.  Her advisors are either Westerosi, who loathe slavery.  Or ex-slaves, who loathe slavery.

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On 2/22/2020 at 9:35 AM, Minsc said:

Honestly, I find it notable in the books that none of Dany's advisors ever object to her killing of the Good Masters.

Because her advisors are sycophants who cheer her along until they'll realize they're idiots. Barristan had more balls in the show to know that group executions at random might not be "justice." It still doesn't change the fact that Dany is a threat to Westeros just like the Others. GRRM wrote the scene where Joffrey is concerned about Dany and Twyin dismisses him. It's a scene, right out of his interview when he describes Europe ignoring the rising Nazi threat. 

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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On 2/20/2020 at 3:17 PM, lancerman said:

Yes because unlike Tyrion, Dany was going from city to city building up a body count wherever she went. 
 

Tyrion was being unfairly treated and lashed out with threats. Dany was on the verge of accomplishing everything and she slaughtered a city and threatened to continue that. We already saw her destroy all the leaders of Slavers Bay, saw her kill the Khals, ruin King’s Landing. Why wouldn’t she go to Qarth where she had a vendetta against some warlocks and a few rich guys who wouldn’t help her? Why wouldn’t she go to Asshai? 
 

That said, the answer to the OP is likely just that they did a bad job of adapting the outline GRRM gave them 

Well, Tyrion has built up a body count. Right now he stands at five definite kills.

  • A Hill Tribesman: beaten to death with a shield
  • The Baratheon battering ram commander: leg cut off and head sliced open
  • Shae: strangled
  • Tywin Lannister: shot
  • A Son of the Harpy: stabbed in the back

The ambiguous kills are a trio of wights seen in the crypts at the end of "The Long Night"; it's possible that Sansa may have shared credit or Arya took them out when she dusted the Night King.

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On 2/25/2020 at 6:21 PM, Angel Eyes said:

Well, Tyrion has built up a body count. Right now he stands at five definite kills.

  • A Hill Tribesman: beaten to death with a shield
  • The Baratheon battering ram commander: leg cut off and head sliced open
  • Shae: strangled
  • Tywin Lannister: shot
  • A Son of the Harpy: stabbed in the back

The ambiguous kills are a trio of wights seen in the crypts at the end of "The Long Night"; it's possible that Sansa may have shared credit or Arya took them out when she dusted the Night King.

A much bigger body count than that.  There were the men blown up with wildfire and the people who suffered when he armed the hill tribesmen.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

A much bigger body count than that.  There were the men blown up with wildfire and the people who suffered when he armed the hill tribesmen.

I limited myself to direct kills, including controlling a wild animal like a dragon; in the wildfire case those would be Bronn’s kills. Bronn actually stands at 4th in direct kills throughout the show at 246. Daenerys stands at 1st with upwards of 1700, Jon has 442, Arya has 400. 

Edited by Angel Eyes

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On 2/20/2020 at 9:35 PM, SeanF said:

You make it sound as if killing slave dealers, child murderers, and people who were debating raping, selling, or imprisoning her, is a bad thing.

Not in my book.

Unless it's a slaver, slave trader, rapist or child murderer Dany cares about, in which case they get the honor of being remembered as heroes by her as per her conversation with Tyrion about Drogo, Daario "fuck Meereen and its people" and Jorah. Or child killers such as Ellaria and the Sand Snakes who murdered two innocent children, one of them their own kin, making them usurpers. Or Theon and Yara. Child murder is a defensible sin in those cases. It's almost like Dany has a history of black and white thinking which reared its ugly head once again when the commoners refused to worship her. 

Dany ended up being the Mad Queen because that's how it's going to go in the books. And while the show spent way too much time whitewashing her, she was still portrayed as a person who constantly needed to be talked down from committing atrocities e.g. her pledge to burn down the entire cities of Astapor and Yunkai after she was to crucify every master, regardless of which among them actually waged war against her. She literally had someone tell her to chill every season. Additionally, throughout eight seasons of the show, Dany only gave one man a quick and merciful death. Everyone else was dragged behind her horse, burned alive, crucified, locked in a vault or fed to her dragons. Not even show!Cersei could beat that record of cruelty.

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16 hours ago, WolfOfWinter said:

Unless it's a slaver, slave trader, rapist or child murderer Dany cares about, in which case they get the honor of being remembered as heroes by her as per her conversation with Tyrion about Drogo, Daario "fuck Meereen and its people" and Jorah. Or child killers such as Ellaria and the Sand Snakes who murdered two innocent children, one of them their own kin, making them usurpers. Or Theon and Yara. Child murder is a defensible sin in those cases. It's almost like Dany has a history of black and white thinking which reared its ugly head once again when the commoners refused to worship her. 

Dany ended up being the Mad Queen because that's how it's going to go in the books. And while the show spent way too much time whitewashing her, she was still portrayed as a person who constantly needed to be talked down from committing atrocities e.g. her pledge to burn down the entire cities of Astapor and Yunkai after she was to crucify every master, regardless of which among them actually waged war against her. She literally had someone tell her to chill every season. Additionally, throughout eight seasons of the show, Dany only gave one man a quick and merciful death. Everyone else was dragged behind her horse, burned alive, crucified, locked in a vault or fed to her dragons. Not even show!Cersei could beat that record of cruelty.

Dany also made alliances with people who were willing to behead teenagers, cannibalise an entire village, hang 12 year olds, murder their father, destroy people with wildfire,  hang thieves, feed a man to dogs, feed a man his sons in a pie, poison an entire family, gouge out eyes, hang women who "lay with lions" etc. Etc.  That's politics in this world.  Let's not pretend that your favoured characters have clean hands.  

Death by Drogon does not seem more inhumane than beheading, and certainly preferable to hanging, poison, dismemberment etc.  Debating different methods of capital punishment is splitting hairs.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with violence being used in order to liberate people from slavery, punish people who crucify children, sell her poisoned wine, or who plan to rape her.  That is far outweighed by the freeing of hundreds of thousands of people.  Shall we just agree to differ?

Edited by SeanF

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The signs of madness in Dany were no more obvious than signs of Arya going mad and massacring people, in my view.

I think they made her mad queen for the same reason they make any writing decision; to pull the rug out from under the audience and create another shock moment.

They built her up and built her up as the savior type figure, using camera angles and heroic music specifically to do this; then they turned her mad and were like "ha! bet you didnt see this coming1". It's no different from what they did with the Robb-Talisa romance.

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Dany can’t tell the difference between violence for liberation and violence for her own self interest. Not surprised she committed the worst atrocity in the series. Everywhere  dragons go people die (did readers think that Teora’s line meant Dany would never intentionally kill innocents?). Hers is a story about corruption of power and there’s nothing you can do to change it.

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People would be much happier with a totally cynical Daenerys, who ruthlessly burned and plundered Slavers Bay, as Tywin Lannister would.  That would be badass.

What grates is using violence against injustice.  

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