Is Game of Thrones Really Setting up the Battle of the Mad Queens?
This post contains frank discussion of several plot points from Season 8, Episode 4 of Game of Thrones “The Last of the Starks.” If youre not all caught up, or would prefer not to be spoiled, now is the time to leave. Seriously: this is your last chance, and you wont have another so, get out while the getting is good.
Game of Thrones book readers have long speculated that the story might be leading to “The Mad Queen Daenerys”—in which the Targaryen ruler follows in the footsteps of her father, the Mad King Aerys, and does something so reckless and violent it ends her rule. There are still two episodes left to determine Daeneryss fate, but the show itself is now explicitly floating the theory, with Varys and Tyrion holding a debate about Daeneryss sanity near the end of this weeks episode.
There is no doubt, given the look that flashed across the Danys face when Missandeis body tumbled from the walls of Kings Landing, that this is one angry queen. Im not sure we can blame her after all the things shes lost. But is she “mad?” Well soon find out— and though shes yet to announce a repeat of her fathers plan to burn Kings Landing to ash, Missandeis final words— “Dracarys”—sure seem like foreshadowing. The difference between a Mad Queen and Mad King, of course, is gender— particularly with Daenerys now facing off against one very clearly Mad Queen in Cersei. Fans of Daenerys in the books have long pushed back against the Mad Queen theory, calling out the mere concept as a misogynistic reaction to a woman in power. But with Daenerys and Cersei facing off, and poor humble Jon Snow proposed by Varys as the only “reasonable” (and the only male) candidate for the throne, the optics are already bad. Game of Thrones has always loved defying audience expectations of who the villain and who the hero is—are they laying a similar path for Daenerys? Are we only supposed to think she's headed to a destructive place?
Speaking with Vanity Fair last spring, Emilia Clarke said Season 8 “fucked me up. I think if I knew there was another season maybe it wouldnt have fucked me up in the same way but knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someones mouth of what [Daenerys] is. It just puts more weight on it. It becomes harder to separate you from the role when youve been with it for so long.” Was that a clue that Daenerys might break bad? The show itself isnt doing anything to calm those fears and Clarke has said over and over and over again that Daeneryss ending troubled her.
But if Daenerys is making the transition in this episode from sad queen to mad queen, it will be a path the writers seeded in for some time. Weve seen Daenerys give several big speeches over the course of the show. But back in Essos when she spoke about breaking wheels and chains it was all couched in the interest of freeing the enslaved of Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen while toppling their rulers. Starting in Season 6 with the recruitment of the Dothraki, though, her rhetoric became all about what she wanted. For the first time the show laid Daeneryss bloodthirsty qualities on thick without the protective shield of altruism. She will take what is hers, she promised Daario and, like many Targaryens before her, shell do it with fire and blood. She didnt even promise her new bloodriders a better life, she just promised to work them harder than any khalasar has ever been worked. As we learned in last weeks episode, that meant leading them to their deaths.
In the books, Daenerys constantly fears that she will turn out like her father, the Mad King Aerys. Shes expressed a few of the same concerns on the show as well, saying early last season she had no intention of becoming the Queen of Ashes. And in this episode we see her handling massive challenges—being stripped of almost her entire support system and watching Jon celebrated for the dragon-riding and leadership skills shes possessed for years— with some highly relatable frustration. “Thats why we all agreed to follow him. Thats the kind of man he is,” Tormund roars. “He keeps fighting. He climbs on a fucking dragon and fought. What kind of person climbs on a Read More – Source