The Case Against Daenerys Targaryen

(Welcome to Debate of Thrones, where a panel of Citadel-trained experts explain why someone deserves, or doesn’t deserve, to sit on the Iron Throne. In this edition: Daenerys Targaryen looks like a savior, but she will destroy us all.)

The Mother of Dragons! The Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea! The Breaker of Chains! Yeah, okay, we get it. Even before her greatness graced us with her presence, we all heard the stories that came across the Narrow Sea of the last Targaryen. The common people in Slaver’s Bay call her Mhysa, she is the kind-hearted queen, the queen of the people, the mother to the motherless, with a strong army at her back, three dragons above her, and a noble mission statement. She would be the welcome choice to break the wheel and usher in thousands of years of peace and prosperity in Westeros, where the common people and the lords dined together in perfect harmony, and dogs and cats lived together, and the sun rises in the west and sets in the east and the mountains crumble in the wind.

We were promised a savior of the people and what we got was another incest-bred Targaryen dictator who would sooner sacrifice her people for her own political gain than actually do what is best for them. Yup, as it turns out, those stories from across the Narrow Sea were little more than the songs of Westeros propagating a high born leader for something impressive that they did that one time somewhere, while really thoroughly burying the lede. Don’t believe me? Let’s just break it down, and I swear by the end of it you will ready to throw yourself into the Seven Hells knowing that this is our great “alternative” to Cersei.

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Daenerys the Unfinished

Perhaps her most promising attribute, the antidote to years of Mad Kings, war kings, and Lannister bastards, is that she is allegedly a champion of the people. No one can deny the noble cause of taking down slavery, a vile custom already outlawed in Westeros. The silver-haired dragon marched from city to city setting fire to the bloated torturous masters of Slaver’s Bay and freeing the people that had suffered at their hands for so long. Bravo!

Unfortunately for everyone, that is where her song ends and we are led to believe that everyone in Slaver’s Bay lived happily ever after, and it became a just society never to be ruled by whips and chains again. Except that isn’t what really went down. Noble cause or not, Daenerys didn’t actually think anything through. And we mean anything. Like the unbearable child kings that we have had to suffer through, Daenerys understands only what she wants, but not actually how to properly get it.

I would have paid good money to watch her burn the sons’ of bitches of Astapor to the ground, and turn their own army of Unsullied against them. However, if I had been there to see it, I would also be jumping up and down and screaming as Daenerys marched away proud and victorious, just leaving behind a city literally on fire and in anarchy. How long after she left these cities in ruin were they simply retaken by slavers and the freed people that had stayed behind put back into chains? Because believe you me that is exactly what happened. You would think that even the most novice of leaders knows that you can’t leave a city on fire with nothing more than your hopes and dreams to protect it. I mean, which of our Seven Kingdoms are we willing to let her set on fire and abandon?

Daenerys the Uncompromising

“I’m Sorry, I Can’t Hear You Over My Dragons.” Okay, no, as far as my sources know, she didn’t actually say that, but seven hells, she might as well have for all of the knowledge, advice, and strategy that seems to fall on her deaf ears. Sure she has Tyrion Lannister as her Hand of the Queen, but our sources tell us that even he strongly advised her against sailing across the Narrow Sea after seeing the aftermath of her “conquered” cities in Slaver’s Bay. If the stories are true, he point blank asked her what it was like trying to rule without the rich, and her only response was that she was going to “break the wheel” of the high houses that is crushing the common people. Cool story, sis, but as one of those crushed common people of Westeros, can I just say thanks but no thanks?

We have a flawed political system for sure, but we do have a system, and a lot of us don’t actually hate the houses that govern our land. The Dornish have freedom of sexual expression and frown upon hurting children, the people of the North are so dedicated to the Starks that they keep bullying them into leadership positions that they don’t even want, and frankly I would give my right hand to have served under Lady Olena, may she rest. As far as we can tell, Daenerys’ only plan for ruling Westeros is that she is going to rule it. She is a conquerer and not a very good one at that, and if her time in Slaver’s Bay tells us anything it is that she has no plans for adhering to our traditions and listening to the lords of the land. The Iron Throne may be the top of the hierarchy, but what of the wardens and noble houses? Burning them to the ground might sound great to the people of Flea Bottom who have no love for the Red Keep, but aside from that, is she really just going to continue to ignore the political system, economy, and culture of our vast nation, like she did in Slaver’s Bay, and hope for a different result? Sounds a little like insanity to me.

So far in Daenerys’s quest for the throne, she has hardly had to convince anyone to follow her, at least not with any sort of political negotiation. The slaves she freed follow her out of gratitude and the Dothraki follow her because she proved her strength. Gaining support has come somewhat easily to her across the Narrow Sea, and perhaps she really would be better off staying there, because here in Westeros “bend the knee or die” doesn’t make you a great leader with people eager to follow you, it makes you a tyrant that leverages fear for power. House Tarly has already seen its lord and its first in line burnt to ash and rumor has it she was going to withhold aid to the North for the Great War if Jon Snow didn’t bend the knee. Do you get that? She was literally going to let the entire realm fall into the long unending night, rather than negotiate with the North. Granted, Cersei wasn’t even willing to do that much for the North, but when the only positive you have in your belt is that you are slightly better than Cersei, then we don’t want you.

Mhysa or Master?

A lot of the love for the young dragon queen isn’t because of her name or even the magic that surrounds her, but in her love for the people. Well, I sit here before you and ask, “where is the love?” While the Unsullied were tortured slaves that deserved a better life, the Dothraki were a tribe of fearsome warriors, steadfast in their traditions and way of life, and although some of their customs may seem questionable to us, they were content with their way of life. I say were, because not only did this woman of the people burn one of their sacred temples to the ground and all of the current Kahls with it, she took a grass worshipping people and herded them onto ships that they feared in order to win a throne in a country they care nothing about. The Dothraki are always going to follow the strongest leader, so her fire show in Vaes Dothrak would have been a fearsome thing to behold, but she essentially ripped these people from the land that they love and sent them to slaughter. Because of Daenerys, the people of her beloved first husband are all but extinct. They were used as pawns in her war path to the Iron Throne, and those that remain will probably never see the Great Grass Sea again.

Her disregard for the well-being of the common people doesn’t stop at the Dothraki. After the Battle of Winterfell, the dwindling forces of the army of the living are beaten, disheartened, and tired. Sure the fight was won, but not without heavy casualties. Instead of letting the brave men and women who fought to save the realm that she so desperately wants to rule rest and recover, she immediately wants to march them 1500 miles south to get her throne for her. Not only could we pick apart how terrible that strategy is from a battle stand point, it seems that the road to Daenerys’s throne is paved with the corpses of her freed men.

But lady, these are soldiers and warriors, battle is part of the job! Yeah, you might be right, but as she prepares to take the battle to King’s Landing, what is going to happen to the innocent men, women, and children living in the epicenter of where these two mad queens will clash? Prepare yourselves and make your peace with the old gods and the new, because this silver-haired queen of the common people is prepared to let “the sky fall down” upon the innocents of King’s Landing because it is her “destiny” to save the world from tyrants. Perhaps her deaf ears towards her council also keep her from hearing what she herself is becoming.

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No Claim, No Game

I feel like we have covered Daenerys’ titles of Khaleesi and Breaker of Chains, but if you still need convincing that she isn’t right for the job lets tackle another one of her infamous titles: Rightful Heir. As secrets leaked out of Winterfell and became information, it seems that no dragon or army could keep us from finding out that Daenerys of House Targaryen is actually second in line for the throne, behind her nephew/lover (yes, I said lover), Jon Snow, AKA the King in the North, AKA Aegon Targaryen. Basically, Daenerys’ entire goal, mission, and dream has been based on a lie. It isn’t her fault that she didn’t know, because no one did, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. This information is sure to send shockwaves through the country which could lead to multiple unfavorable outcomes.

As others have already brought Jon/Aegon’s lack of leadership skills to our attention, I don’t have to explain to you that although a marriage between the aunt and nephew couple might be advantageous politically, it still doesn’t spell peace for our nation. On the one hand, it doesn’t take a mind like Tyrion Lannister to know that Daenerys would be able to bend Jon to her will like a puppet, thus negating any of the tempering to her nature that he would be able to provide, but on the other, much scarier hand, knowing that the people of Westeros prefer Jon to her, knowing that as a married couple he would actually be the one on the Iron Throne, and knowing that her destiny would never become fully realized, Daenerys could quickly descend from egotistical conquerer to a paranoid Mad Queen, a true daughter of Aerys.

She is Not the Queen We Need

As the late Twin Lannister said, “A wise king knows what he knows and what he doesn’t.” The same applies to a queen. It is impossible to say if Daenerys knows what she doesn’t know, or just simply ignores it, but, like Cersei, her ability to know how to be a good leader is clouded by a lust for power resting atop a crumbling foundation of false claims. Daenerys might not be the worst monarch Westeros has ever seen, but she is definitely more of the same. Perhaps when it comes between being ruled by Cersei or Daenerys we should have just let the Night King win, at least it would have been a different kind of suffering.

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