i REALLY don't understand the kind of audience who don't realize jon is a hostage right now. they took his boat and his weapons, but d/ny said he wasn't a prisoner so i guess he could just swim to shore and walk unarmed back to the north if he wanted to no big! and then there's the folks who think kneeling is the same thing as making an alliance like literally i don't understand how the big speech about perpetuity could have gone so far over their head like the stakes are high dudes
This will kinda cover a huge portion of my up-coming “Targ!Bowl vs Targ!Cest” - post, but who cares since you asked and I wanna talk about.
Though I absolutely understand you and your frustration I kinda do understand why some parts of the audience don’t realize all that, or at least not the severity of it.
I’m not even talking exclusively about the shippers who, to like anything from 50 -99%, don’t care what happens as long as their ships becomes canon, or the stans who will find a way to sugarcoat and excuse absolutely anything, anything I tell you, before admitting their fav has done some seriously terrible things or, dear god, “problematic” traits and storylines.
It also seems plausible to me that some parts of the more general, non-obsessive, “I don’t read the books” or “have a blog about it” kind of audience, have trouble to really grasp these issues. You wanna know why? D&D are half-assing it. Right now they are half-assing two narratives, instead of whole-assing one.
I propose the following theory:
Right now D&D are setting the stage for dark!Dany, while simultaneously selling her as Jon’s love-interest this season. Those two narratives are pretty much forced to hold the other one back, because Jon can’t fall for “ the villain”, while Dany can’t break bad out of the blue.
Leaving us with this incoherent mess, slightly ooc characters and actions that don’t influence the story in a “logical” way or even contradict each other.
Dany’s “transformation”, if you will, has to be properly foreshadowed, it has to be sufficiently hinted at from the moment she touches westerosi soil. The audience has to be able to look back and think “Oohh… I guess what she said there wasn’t alright. Should have seen that”.
But she also has to appear loveable enough to warrant any kind of affection Jon displays towards her. The audience’s reaction once dany does break bad should be “But why did Jon!? Well, I guess I didn’t think she was that bad back then neither.”
There you have it. That’s why her behaviour seems so appaling to some people, while others are still strong advocates for good!Dany and everyone in between doesn’t know what the fuck to think. That’s why you can make a strong case for both, or more precisely for neither.
This is apparent when you look at the fact that every “negative” characteristic she portrays is counter-attacked with one of two things:
- Someone else making a comment, implying the exact opposite.
- The narrative conveniently jumping to a new plot point, reducing the immediate emotional impact of what we just saw.
Here are some examples:
- Varys interrupting their dispute at it’s climax | Their first meeting didn’t go particularly smooth. They did not see eye to eye, they were not moving towards an understanding. Quite on the contrary, their interaction become more antagonist with every line of dialogue. It’s starts with both of them playing nice (in their own way), moves to Dany saying that Jon is breaking faith, Jon telling her that he doesn’t give a fuck about her birthright and ends with Dany outright accusing Jon of being in open rebellion (!!!). Where do you think that conversation was heading at? An intimate conversation about dead brothers? Dany has made her stance on Northern Independence clear, she see’s it as treason, I swear to all the gods, if Varys hadn’t walked in right then and there she would have explained what exactly the punishment for treason and oath breaking is. Try making a romance out of that. But conveniently enough Varys did come in at the perfect moment, dissolving all the tension into nothing, ending the scene on a half-baked Jon is her prisoner-but-not-really note.
- Tyrion telling Jon about Slaver’s Bay | I don’t know if you had noticed, but Dany left her undeniably good accomplishment of abolishing slavery out of her little speech. She exclusively focused on awful things that have happened to her and the two big achievements that make her so god-darn special: Bringing dragons back into this world and making the Dothraki cross the Narrow Sea. All her statements were about her, not about the good she has or could do in this world. I strongly believe this is to imply that her conquest is deep down rooted in selfish desires. Contrasting Jon, who embraces his role as king to protect and save his people. So of course, we need another character to swoop in and remind us of the good things she has done. Too make it more clear: Dany says that “faith in herself kept her going”, Tyrion reminds Jon that “she protects people from monsters”.
- Jon is a prisoner, but hey, he gets dragonglass | Jon was a “prisoner” prisoner for exactly five seconds, when he - rightfully - complained about it to Tyrion. It is establish that Jon wants to leave, but simply can’t, because Dany took his ship, thus making him her prisoner. If D&D had some balls they could have pursued this narrative, but instead wooossshhhhh we are jumping ahead to Jon being allowed to mine dragonglass. Now it doesn’t matter whether Jon is staying on dragonstone by his own free will or not. He needs that dragonglass, so of course he will stay to mine it. The audience was forced to contemplate Danys decision to lock him up for like a minute, before rendering the conflict obsolete. Begging the question why it was necessary to begin with, if not to show Dany doing some un-nice things to one of our protagonists.
- Varys and the whole “burn someone alive” issue | This isn’t limited to her interactions with Jon. I am going to talk about Dany threatening to burn Varys alive, very much, very soon. Right now, all I want to say is that it is not a good omen. It’s one of the clearest indication so far that Dany will embrace her “inner dragon” and cause some serious destruction when doing so. Dragons plant no trees. But all the not-so-great undertones of her interaction with Varys are forgotten in the next scene when she embraces Melisandre with open arms saying “we decided to pardon all those who served the wrong king.” Sucking all the dark implications of threatening someone to BURN HIM ALIVE right out of the audience’s mind. Emphasizing that part where she pardons former “traitors”. If that scene would have cut away from Dany right after “her promise”, without reminding ous of her “forgiving” side, that little comment would have left a way more bitter taste in your mouth than it did.
- I don’t wanna spoil anything from episode 4, (next paragraph contains very minor spoilers!)
let’s just say that Dany demanding that Jon bends the knee, is met with another character stating that “Dany was chosen by her people”. Supposedly trying to establish a parallel that doesn’t hold any water in her current situation in westeros, anyway. But again, it is taking the sentiment expressed by Danys actions and words (a chosen king should kneel to her, whom his people didn’t choose) and twists it to paint Dany in a better light (she too was chosen by her people). It doesn’t make any sense when you think about it, but it fabricates enough emotional connections, for the audience to soften their view on Danys opinion on northern independence.
Do you see what I mean? I have a couple other examples, but some of them are from episode 4 and I’m going to go into this in my upcoming post anyway. The unobservant and/or biased show watcher simply has no time to properly process all this in one go. I’ve watched each episodes several times, am pretty obsessed with this whole thing and even I took some time before noticing a pattern.
Most people will just stick to that component of the narrative which is coherent with what they already know: that Dany is one of the good guys, a hero of this story. All her questionable actions are either dismissed or boiled down to “well, it turned out okay in the end”. As sloppy as the individual narratives seem to be (neither dark!Dany, nor, let’s call her hero!Dany are well developed, they overlap, contradict each other, etc.), they did a fantastic job at keeping the audience in the dark about it. Why?
Because for one reason or another she has to fuck Jon. Why that is, can only really be judged once we seen the whole of season 7, probably season 8, but I do have a couple of ideas why:
- It happens in the books and D&D shouldn’t have cut the episode count. Maybe Jon and Dany hook up and/or develop feelings for each other before she breaks bad in the books as well. But since we only have 10 episodes where that could happen and dark!Dany and targ!bowl also has to happen at one point, those two storylines overlap. It isn’t too far-fetched that something will happen in the books as well, since Jon unknowingly committing “incest”, while being tormented about falsely-assumed incest is just too … fucked up, not to have crossed grrm’s mind.
- It’s a red herring to throw the audience of Targ!bowl and Jonsa. Yes, I do belong to the people who are pretty very much certain that Jonsa will be endgame. I also belong to the people who are pretty very much certain that targ!bowl will happen one way or another. Believe me or not, I believed that Jon and Dany would rather fight than fuck once she comes to westeros, way before I ever thought about Jon and Sansa being a thing. So it’s not because I’m a salty shipper. So what else do I have to say? It’s a red herring, they are throwing us off the rails, to make Jonsa and Targ!Bowl extra-super-duper-surprising in season 8. And probably a bit rushed as well. Great. Just what I wanted. At least Jonsa was properly set up in season 6 and they mention each other every episode. Coincidence?
- They want to have a sex-scene with Kit and Emilia. D&D are trash. They have sexualized countless other encounters on the show, single-handedly coined the term “sexposition”, I do believe they could write in a Jon x Dany sex-story just because. You can call that fanservice if you like. I’m not going to stop you.
- Maybe they thought Jon and Dany having “a history” would make targ!bowl more engaging. Could be.
Either way, I personally feel a bit exhausted by this decision. Not because it “threatens” my ship, it doesn’t imo and not because I’m so opposed to the idea of Jon and Dany hooking up or even having a love-affair. It’s because the screenwriting is sloppy. It’s because they are messing up Danys characterization and maybe Jon’s as well. It’s because both Dany and Jon contradict themselves and the development of their relationship simply suffers by Dany being set on the path to the dark side, without any character on screen noticing it (at least yet. I have this feeling that Tyrion will seriously start to doubt all this very soon.)
I know this got way too long again, but giving unwanted, unnecessarily long answers is my forte after all.
I’m still holding my fingers crossed for Jonny playing Dany, all I can do is wait and pray. Let’s see how the rest of the season / series progresses, but for now I’m going to leave you with some wisdom from Ron Swanson, D&D should have taken to heart IMO: