What the Hell Happened to Daenerys?
‘Game of Thrones’ has turned the most compassionate queen in Westeros into another tyrant
For years, Daenerys Stormborn, first of her name, mother of dragons, breaker of chains, and rightful queen of the seven kingdoms, has been the ruler we’ve been hoping would win the Iron Throne. Her goal has been to “break the wheel,” the cycle of oppression where the rich and powerful continually vie for rule, always at the expense of the common people. But now Daenerys is as ready to kill those common people in order to gain her throne as Cersei Lannister has been. It’s a shocking, heartbreaking change in one of Game of Thrones’ most beloved characters… and it’s also kind of perfect, too.
Daenerys’ transformation into someone cold and ruthless enough to kill innocent civilians in pursuit of Cersei at King’s Landing — as seen in last week’s episode, “The Last of the Starks” — has not only shocked the audience, but the characters on the show, too. Tyrion and Varys initially joined the Targaryen queen because of her compassion when she was the queen of Meereen, notably seen in her desire to free all the slaves in Essos. And while Daenerys occasionally got a little hot under the collar — as, say, when the slave traders she had put out of business launched an all-out attack on Meereen back in season six, and her instinct was literally to kill all of them and destroy their cities — she was also willing to listen to Tyrion, who reminded her that “kill ’em all” was also the policy of her father, the “Mad King” Aerys, which cost him (and, by proxy, Daenerys) the throne.
It clearly no longer matters to Daenerys who or how many people die, as long as Cersei is one of them.
For the past season and a half, Tyrion and Varys have spent a lot of time trying to convince Daenerys to show mercy — with less and less success. After last week’s episode, it seems no words can stop her. The multiple battles she’s already lost, the death of her dragon Rhaegal, and the murder of her friend Missandei will assuredly result in King’s Landing going up in flames. It clearly no longer matters to her who or how many people die, as long as Cersei is one of…