It’s Time to Admit Daenerys Targaryen Was a Terrible Feminist
People are freaking about the Game of Thrones and finale – and probably because everyone halfway expected for Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen to live happily ever after raising dragon babies. The show ended with shocking scenes of betrayal and disappointment – much to think about rather than to entertain. Such is the point in literature, not so much mainstream television.
Ever since season 2 or 3, I felt Daenerys Targaryen was giving feminism a bad name with her gradual descent into demagoguery and fascism. I despised her ever since she made the decision to cage her dragons at the words of her advisors. It took most everyone else several seasons to see the pattern and discern what Daenerys’ primary motivations were.
- She was horribly mistreated in the beginning and over time all she learned was vengeance and fear. In her maturity, all she truly learned was the entitlement she had to make people that she didn’t like
- She “freed slaves” as a political strategy, turning her prisoners into her army consolidating power – not because she actually had empathy for people. She only had
lovefor people who were unconditionally loyal to her.
- Her aims of freeing the whole world were obviously foreshadowings of perpetual war, much like American Democracy has done over 200 years. Worse yet, this would be a fascist state where she would make moral judgments and expect undying loyalty from her subjects.
- Most of her wise decisions resulted from the advice of others – her own instincts were guided by gullibility and blind rage – a Targaryen family trait. She never exhibited any true qualities of leadership. She trusted others too much and then killed them when it was obvious they were using her.
- She never displayed any real sense of feminist pride. Her power was based on dragon fear, sexuality and by keeping her allies close to her – allies who mostly betrayed her because they knew she was easily manipulated.
I felt bad for her. She was a tragic character, every bit as much as Joffrey, Cersei, Tommen and Jaime. But in terms of egalitarian power, I felt Arya was a much better portrayal of feminism – no surprise she decided at the end not to be led by rage or vengeance (the final scene with her and the Hound was beautifully written) but to become a pioneer westward.
I don’t think the series finale of Game of Thrones was perfect, (the Bram revelation was a bit reaching, surprisingly sentimental for such a realist like George R. R. Martin. Still, it was nice to see a physically-challenged character become so revered in mainstream cinema.
Nevertheless, each character pursued their own self-chosen path to their detriment or betterment.
Daenerys was a fantastic character and the idea that Jon Snow would murder her rather than repeating the same Ned Stark mistake at the beginning of the show (which the show certainly foreshadowed to throw us off) WAS in character.
Jon Snow was a mostly gullible leader too. He knew it. He believed the words of his friends and advisors and never knew if he was making the right decision or not. Neither do we, really, except that it was a safe bet Daenerys would become a dictator if she were allowed to continue – a descendent of the Mad King. Jon Snow’s weakness was his strength, that he was willing to walk away from such maddening power.
People are freaking about the Game of Thrones and finale – and probably because everyone halfway expected for Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen to live happily ever after raising dragon babies. The show ended with shocking scenes of betrayal and disappointment – much to think about rather than to entertain. Such is the point in…