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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Daenerys Targaryen - Hero or Villain?


When I was in sixth form, I did an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), which was a socratic-style Philosophical essay. Another person in my class did theirs on the Greek mythical figure Odysseus called it 'Odysseus: Hero or Villain'? I'm not largely familiar with The Odessey, having never read it, but I like the concept of looking at protagonists and deciphering which one they really are.

Needless to say, they are typically both. The 'anti-hero/heroine' trope is used to describe characters that are both, such as Catwoman or Tony Soprano. They are the protagonist of their tale, yet have dark qualities to them.

I love Daenerys; she is my Queen, my Khaleesi, my babe. I think she's one of the best women in Westeros, along with Arya Stark and Brienne of Tarth. But whilst she can be viewed as a feisty badass who climbs from zero to hero, she takes some pretty ruthless actions. Of course she has to; no one can take the Iron Throne by being miss sweetness-and-light. To survive in that world, you have to do some awful things.

Over the course of the series, Dany grows more and more cut-throat, burning a man and his son alive. She has a good heart, but she can also be cold. She locks up Xaro Xhoan Daxos with Dorean, leaving them both to die, when she could have simply banished them from the land or taken their things and left them without killing them. Yes, he was a traitor and did lie to her, but I felt leaving him to die in the treasure vault was a bit excessive. On the other hand, if he had lived he could have come back to declare vengeance on her after she took all his gold to buy a ship.

Then there is her extreme obsession for power. True, the Iron Throne is her birthright - sort of - but her megalomaniac attitude makes her oversee certain things as long as she can achieve her final vision. In Meereen, she killed 163 slave owners because they murdered innocent children, which shows her benevolence but also ruthlessness. It also brings that 'bad as each other' mentality - is she just as bad as the slave owners? After all, murder is murder, and not every single one of those owners would necessarily have murdered the children by their own hands or wanted them dead. A negative fault of her is that she has too absolutist a moral compass; saving Mirri Maz Dhur was right, but then because she betrayed Dany in her eyes, Dhur had to die. (Of course if she hadn't died Dany wouldn't be the Mother of Dragons).

Dany's power-hunger also has made her swoop down with her dragons and burn thousands, such as the Lannister army. Concurrently, she moved around Essos liberating the slaves from their owners, yet her good intentions ended up to little avail as those harsh systems became replaced by newer ones. I think this shows her naivety; you can just enter a foreign land and start to impose your own beliefs on it. Tyrion knows this; he is older and wiser than Dany, and probably one of the few people she can truly trust.

We have to remember she is very young; 13 at the start of the books and 16 at the start of the show; and has spent most of her life running away, being hunted down, and having other people plan her life for her. She was pushed into a forced marriage (except her husband turned out to be sweet and loving towards her - I hate that the show makes him look like a rapist), and ended up losing her beloved husband as well as her son.

I think Dany is the prime example of someone who suddenly aquires a lot of power and responsibility who then has it all go to their head. She is a victim of her circumstance, and she is also a Targaryen, meaning the 'mad King's genes' probably do run through her. I have a horrible feeling she is going to end up dead, if Jon Snow really is Azor Ahai and she is his Nissa. But maybe in the last season it will be for the best; perhaps she isn't level-headed enough to rule and will end up being as bloodthirsty and merciless as her dad. But I still love her for rising to the top out of ruins. I would class her as a morally ambiguous heroine.

Great article here: http://uk.businessinsider.com/game-of-thrones-evil-daenerys-theory-2016-5?r=US&IR=T

I am a person prone to obsession, exaggeration, taking things out of context and looking at things from extreme points of view. So it's no shock that this is my fifth post on GOT (and I only watched the series a few months ago and am now reading the books). Check out my others:

http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/12/mental-ilness-in-game-of-thrones.html

http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/10/game-of-thrones-and-religious-fanaticism.html

http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/12/what-game-of-thrones-says-about-humanity.html

http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/11/discussing-characters-on-game-of-thrones.html

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