Major spoiler alert! If you haven't watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones, turn back now.
In the latest episode of Game of Thrones, "The Last of the Starks," we see Daenerys Targaryen pushed to the brink of her limits. She just found out her lover is her nephew and that he has a better claim to the throne. She witnessed the death of Ser Jorah, who was one of her most trusted advisors. Then, she sees the beheading of her best friend and closest confidante, Missandei, but not before losing one of her children, Rhaegal, to Euron Greyjoy's dragon-killing arrows. The last we see of Dany, she is fuming, and radiating with rage. This leads many Game of Thrones fans to wonder: Will Daenerys turn into her father (King Aerys II Targaryen) and become the Mad Queen?
Season 8 is already positioning Daenerys to seem unworthy of the Iron Throne
If the last seven seasons lauded Dany as a natural leader with true potential for the Iron Throne, Season 8 has done nothing but unravel all that she's worked for, and that's a shame. Dany has proven time and time again that she believes in a peaceful realm, one without tyrants, corruption, or slavery. She liberated the slaves in Slaver's Bay, won over the Dothraki, as well as the Unsullied, who all pledge allegiance to her and lovingly accept her as their queen. But as soon as she stepped foot in Westeros, she realized that not everyone would want to bow down to her.
The people of Winterfell are skeptical of her and her dragons, and they don't trust her leadership—after all, it's not like everyone is privy to everything she accomplished beyond Westeros. Plus, people just don't trust Targaryens after what happened with King Aerys—they believe that all Targaryens are susceptible to going mad, due to the family's inbreeding (more on King Aerys later).
Besides the Northerners' distrust of her, the showrunners have practically gone out of their way to portray Daenerys as short-tempered, impulsive, and constantly threatened this season. Case in point, Daenerys completely ignores Sansa's advice to let the soldiers rest and heal before they march into war again, this time with Cersei's well-rounded army and resources. She also basically has a tantrum when Jon tries to convince her that he doesn't want the throne, and tries to convince him to never tell a soul about his parentage, not even his sisters (well, his cousins). The show has pivoted her character so intensely, that even Varys and Tyrion (more so Varys) have started to doubt her mental state and qualifications for leadership. Is this the character trajectory George R.R. Martin planned for Dany? Or is it just lazy writing? Regardless, Dany has lost her cool, and for now, we have to go with it.
Dany's family history points to her inheriting her father's traits
King Aerys II, Daenerys's father, ruled as a benevolent leader until he became increasingly paranoid, and eventually went mad. He hid wildfire throughout King's Landing (some of which we see Cersei use to blow up the Great Sept of Baelor a few seasons ago) and eventually wanted to "burn them all" (aka, all the people in King's Landing). Jaime, who served in King Aerys' Kingsguard, tells Brienne back when they're captured in Season 3, "He burned anyone who was against him. Before long, half the country was against him. Aerys saw traitors everywhere. So he had his pyromancers place caches of wildfire all over the city." Jaime ended up killing him before he could light the city on fire, which earned him the nickname "Kingslayer." Dany has been warned by her council over and over to not repeat her father's mistakes. For the most part, she hasn't gone overboard with her temper or her dragons. But she's also slipped a few times.
For instance, when she burned the Tarlys alive for not bending the knee
Back in Season 7, Dany had her dragons ruthlessly roast Sam's dad and brother for not bending the knee. Could she have maybe let them go with a stern warning instead? Maybe. In Episode 1 of Season 8, when Sam learns about what she did to his family, he understands what she's capable of, and that she'll do just about anything for power and control. (To be fair, she did give them a choice—and they were allies with the Lannisters, after all.)
Other less dramatic moments, such as her flare-ups with Tyrion (she constantly blames him whenever anything goes wrong, nearly firing him as her Hand) and constantly telling her council that it's her "destiny" to sit on the Iron Throne, that wanting to be ruler is all she's ever know or wanted, show that she's not exactly mild-tempered. It does make us wonder: If she were a man, would this behavior seem so alarming?
Cersei even knows what Dany might be capable of
Cersei is very aware of what happened with the Mad King and that his daughter may have inherited his temperament. That's why she constantly calls her the "Dragon Queen" (which Sansa does also, by the way), and also why she put all of King Landing's civilians in the Red Keep, knowing that Dany would have to go through them in order to get to her. In fact, Cersei is totally betting on Daenerys to barbecue a bunch of innocent people in order to get her throne—and that would ultimately be her downfall, not Cersei's army. Dany would be exactly like her father, and nobody wants that for a ruler.
Missandei's last words were "dracarys"
"Dracarys" means "dragonfire" in Valyrian. So, Missandei basically told Dany to "burn them all." Judging by the look on Daenerys's face, that's probably what she wants to do. And it's also what the show wants us to think.
Emilia Clarke even told Vanity Fair that she was shocked with how the series ends Dany's storyline
Clarke tells Vanity Fair that Season 8, "f*cked me up. I think if I knew there was another season maybe it wouldn’t have f*cked me up in the same way but knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someone’s mouth of what [Daenerys] is. It just puts more weight on it. It becomes harder to separate you from the role when you’ve been with it for so long.”
Does that mean Clarke knows about Dany's demise?
Maybe. But that would be pretty weird to reveal something so huge for that character's arc.
Ultimately, we know for a fact that Game of Thrones will not end happily. Show creator David Benioff has even stated that not everyone would like the ending. Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow, says he's "maybe not happy, but very satisfied" with the ending. Does that mean Dany becomes the Mad Queen and kills everyone, including Jon Snow? Does Cersei stay queen? Or does Dany just light the entire world on fire and call it a day? There are only two more episodes left, and we'll just have to keep watching to find out.
Game of Thrones airs on HBO at 9 p.m. EST every Sunday.
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