The Mad Queen: Daenerys Targaryen's Madness Essay
Just to make sure that all those about to read this article are aware I will be touching down on several season of Game of Thrones, so there will be a few spoils mingled about. Continue reading at your own risk.
As many know Game of Thrones aired it’s final season back in April and there were plenty of mixed reviews on all that happened. As a huge fan of the series I do believe that the final season could have been done with a little less hast in the matter, but what’s done is done. All in all, in my opinion, the season was pretty well done. From the epic three episodes of tension leading to the battle between the dead and the living to the last three returning to the basic theme of the show which is the fight for the iron throne. I believe, despite how rushed it all felt, that it was executed very well.
Yes, I did feel a bit cheated with the whole Jon Snow story arc being built up then deflated by the end of it all. However, setting that aside it was a good season. We all have to admit that the end was a definite win for House Stark that was long since owed after all the pain and torment every last one of them went through.
Now, the story arc I notice a lot of people have issues with is the turn Daenerys makes as she gets ever closer to her dream. Many people argued that her becoming the Mad Queen made no sense in the end, and I have to admit that at first I was pretty shocked in seeing her do all that she did in those final episodes. However, as I watched some of the earlier seasons I began to focus in on her character development.
In the previous seasons before the grand finale of the eighth there are plenty of situations that, as I watched with a new vision of Daenerys in mind, began to make more sense to her outcome. As a character she does many things that are very questionable even by other characters witnessing her actions around her. She shows a ruthlessness from the start that is constantly being simmered down by her advisors. Plus, we can’t forget how many heavy reference are made throughout the series about Targaryen madness in the creators constant attempt to remind us of Daenerys’ family history.
The biggest hint that could have been thrown our way was the fact that Daenerys has very violent impulses. These violent impulse are scattered here and there within all the seasons of the show.
Remember that Daenerys’ original plan was to burn all of Kings Landing down and to take the Iron Throne with violence not peace. She was advised against doing that to save the lives of innocent people. This wasn’t the first time either. There were other seasons where she expressed the deep desire to kill all her enemies and burn their cities to the ground. Not surprising, then, that she decided to take that route in the end.
Another great eye opening scene is the cold reaction you get from Daenerys in the very first season to the death of her brother. Despite all his abuse and his horrid behavior toward her this was still her brother, yet when he died she seemed eerily calm and very unfazed by it. That was the first time we, as viewers, get to see that glimpse of possible madness from her.
Now, there are many great things that Daenerys did as well along her journey to return home, and these awesome feats seem to be the standing force behind everyone who dislikes her Mad Queen outcome. As I began to really pay attention, however, I became increasingly aware of all the bloodshed and violence Daenerys brought on just to get what she wanted.
These are things a lot of people seemed to forget as the eighth season played out. She is very quick to turn on friends and former allies if she feels they have wronged her, and isn’t afraid to immediately punish them. She does this several times throughout the series, so it’s no surprise when she does it in the eighth season.
Now, another thing that many people tend to forget is the mass crucifixion that went on in her conquest of the city of Meereen. She had slave masters chosen at random whether they were guilty of cruelty or not and then nailed them up despite being advised to be merciful. We even find out later that some of those very masters had fought against the cities cruel traditions, yet they were still sentenced to this terrible fate.
Daenerys is also rather fond of burning people alive which, in a sense, is reasonable being that her dragons are the root of her power in the show. There are many scenes throughout the later half of the series where other characters speak out about the horrifying image of the burning that haunts them, but Daenerys is very unaffected by this. It alnost seems, at certain points, that she reveled in burning people alive which is another sign of her dark nature. Hell, she didn’t even use her dragons to kill all the Khals in the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen.
So, in the end I think season eight went with an already increasingly tense path as far as Daenerys goes. She was already showing signs of her fall into madness as the seasons progressed and it took a few extra stressful situations to finally push her into becoming the Mad Queen.
We’ve seen all sorts of characters fall in love with Daenerys and even shared that love for her while she used that pretty face to fool us all. This is someone who cared little for the innocent lives of cities she planned to burn to ash and more on her bloody victories. In the end she did exactly as he father had wanted. She burned them all.