With the last season of Game of Thrones finally finished, there are quite a lot of things that I wanted to talk about that are just too much for a twitter thread. So I decided that I wanted to write a discussion post with all my thoughts on not just the final season, but the comparison to the books as well as touch on all the drama happening regarding this final season as well. Right now, I want to start with a discussion of Daenerys Targaryen, and I may break off to do discussions on other characters since I have a LOT to say about Dany!
*Note: I started writing this right after the last episode aired, and finished it up quite recently, so please keep that in mind!
First thing first:
I just want to be able to get all my thoughts out there and talk with other people about their opinions! And of course, this post will contain a TON of spoilers for the final season. Any discussion in the comments please keep it courteous, everyone has their own opinions!
I think the elephant in the room so to speak, is Dany as the “Mad Queen”. I am all for her going rogue and following in her father’s footsteps, but I had a few issues with the way it was done, and a few things I really liked about the way they portrayed it. Let’s start with the good. Dany going mad has always been there in the decisions she’s made throughout her journey to the Iron Throne, from burning all the Khals to burning the Masters. She has shown time and time again that she is willing to do what she needs to do to win back her throne.
She has always had morals. She burned the Masters because slavery is wrong and she wanted to end the cycle that kills so many. She burned the Khals because it was her or them. Every time she has done something like this, she has had very good reasons backing her. She even had good reasons to burn the Tarlys, as they were her prisoners and refused to bend the knee. No ruler would allow a powerful enemy go free, so it made sense that she would show them no mercy.
When she finally goes “mad”, she still has those morals in place. Just before she dies, she says that she wants to free everyone in the world from tyranny. She wants the right thing, but her methods have become something that she is not. When I saw Dany mention breaking the wheel to Jon in her final moments, I immediately thought to myself that THIS was what they should’ve played up more in the final season. If we look at what she did with Slaver’s Bay, as far as we know she DID break the wheel and left them better off (as far as slavery goes, that is) than they were when she found it, which plays into her whole character arc. Which is why burning Kings Landing seemed so out of character for her.
That leads me to the things I don’t like about her transformation into a mad queen. The first really big thing I don’t like is using the term mad queen. She isn’t insane, she hasn’t reached that level that her father was at. She is one of the few powerful women left in the show, and by saying that she has gone mad lessens the tragic course of her life. She’s not mad, she’s grieving her friends, her family, and wants to do what she thinks is best for everyone and wants to do it for those she lost.
The first time we really see her showing signs of “madness” (which is actually grief from losing so many close to her) is when she loses Rhaegal and Missandei, and of course the way they showed it was by showing her without her hair and makeup done. To me, this was a slap in the face to women, implying that women who don’t look their best on any given day are wild and crazy, and maybe this is me reading into it too much, but I didn’t think just using her appearance in ONE SCENE shows that she is going mad. Does it show she’s grieving? HELL YES. Does that mean that she cannot make rational decisions? NO. So why use that in their argument for her going “mad”?
And that brings me to burning Kings Landing. We know that burning things (and people) aren’t anything new to Dany, but she like I mentioned earlier, she has always done it for the good of her people and to save them. Burning Kings Landing didn’t hurt Cersei any as she didn’t truly care about the people. Dany was the one who had always cared about the people and to say that she is getting revenge on Cersei by destroying an entire city just didn’t make any sense. Why would someone who has always gone out of her way to protect those who are powerless suddenly kill hundreds of thousands of innocents?
Now, I think this turn could be believable if more time had been dedicated to her downfall. In my opinion, the final season was way too rushed. Game of Thrones has shown itself to be a slow, intricate show where it can take entire seasons for a plot line to really start moving. I mean, look how long it took Dany to get to Westeros! Dany burning Kings Landing, Jamie going back to Cersei only to die with her, and Bran as king (which is a whole other can of worms) could’ve been made so much more believable if only more time were spent on showing us these characters arcs changing instead of just kinda throwing it all at us and just saying here you go, now we are done with it!
I could also go on and on about the supposed reason for the final two seasons being short, which is that people believe that because Dan and David had started working on Star Wars during the final season, they couldn’t devote the time to GOT to give it a proper finish. And HBO really really wanted GOT to run a good 10 seasons before ending, but D&D were insistent that it only be 7 seasons long, and ended up agreeing to an eighth season. Now, I don’t know if any of this is actually true, since most of it is coming from the internet (and you can’t trust everything you read on the internet, Karen!) But if even a fraction of that is true, it could explain why the final season felt like it was missing so much!
TL;DR – Dany’s character arc could’ve been so much more believable if they had taken more time to really dive deep into her spiraling out of control. I liked her reasoning of making the world a better place by ending tyranny, but it should’ve been expanded more in the final season!