One might say that Daenerys Targaryen is the most beloved character in Game of Thrones, or at worst right up there in the top three with Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister.
But if we pay attention to what she’s actually doing and saying in season 6, and if we look to history and to the direction her character is taking — it’s possible that she’s fast becoming the villain in the story.
Author George R.R. Martin has made a living from forcing us to empathize with characters we once despised, like Cersei and Jaime. It seems that he is now playing another trick on us, a reverse-trick if you will, making us lose our empathy for a character we got used to cheer for.
In season one Daenerys was the ultimate underdog, sold by her brother in exchange for an army, and then raped by a Dothraki warlord/husband. Just when she got comfortable among the Dothraki, Robert Baratheon, the King of the Seven Kingdoms, tried to have her assassinated because of the crimes of her family. Then her now loving warlord/husband died and she was left wandering in the desert. Even when she got an army and went on a noble quest to release people from slavery, there were always powerful and evil men that tried to prevent her from achieving what she knew was right. That’s some journey.
Add to that that she’s gorgeous and she has three magical dragons, who at first were little and defenseless.
But now these dragons are huge and dangerous — as is their mother Daenerys.
So it’s a good time to ask ourselves if she is really worth rooting for.
When she made that speech on top of her dragon, she basically promised her horde of Dothraki murderers and pillagers that if they follow her, they’ll get to murder and pillage Westeros. Unlike her former-slave army, The Unsullied, who will only act on orders without “extracurricular activity”, these cruel horse warriors rape and take slaves as spoils of war. They will attack cities and castles, raid villages and leave nothing but carnage in their wake.
Basically, Daenerys will fight against the very people she pretends she wants to rule, and in order to sit on the throne she will have to kill most, if not all, of the characters we love.
And all that because she feels she owns a land she’s never been to, with the sole justification for her political ambitions being that her daddy was king.
As Daario Naharis correctly pointed out to her, Daenerys is not made to sit on a chair, she’s a conqueror, not a ruler. And her character seems to be inspired mainly by one specific super-conqueror in history – Genghis Khan.
As Daenerys, Genghis Khan united all the tribes of nomad horse warriors, who live on plains and have been pillaging neighboring cities since the dawn of time.
Before Genghis Khan, the tribes were never united, but once they were – it was what allowed them to change their ways and launch fierce attacks on places that were once at a safe distance. They were unstoppable as they ravaged through Asia and spread death and misery. Nobody think that Genghis Khan was a good guy, so why should we consider Daenerys Khal as one?
And dragons are not good either. They are scary weapons of mass destruction with a mind of their own. On episode 9 three dragons incinerated an entire army. The people of Westeros will not cheer Daenerys as she flies over them on top of a monster, killing their families and burning their lands. They don’t need another highborn lord with fantasies of conquest. That is what Daenerys is promising them. Not freedom, liberty and dignity, but rather blood, sweat and tears. And fire, enough to burn them all.