Brienne, where are you? Bring my girls back to me, Brienne. Bring them back safe. // She had promised Lady Catelyn that she would bring back her daughters, and no promise was as solemn as one sworn to the dead.
If I had to pick a character who was the most difficult to talk about in this series, it would probably be Daenerys Targaryen. The intersection of every single conflict and perspective–in world and modern–about her is one that is almost impossible to address without sidelining one element of it.
That her arc relies intensely white saviorism; depictions of the Dothraki are laden with racist tropes; her experience in Slaver’s Bay harkens to (but does not perfectly mirror) white conquest in the 19th century. This pairs uncomfortably with the fact that she is 13-16 years old (I’m focusing predominantly on book!Daenerys in this–if you are here for show!Daenerys proceed with that in mind), a child sold into sex slavery, a rape victim, and someone who believes firmly and acts upon the belief that any society that relies upon slavery is not society. As a woman in Martin’s historically inaccurate misogynistic world, she confronts challenges that are designed by the creator of the series to confront her womanhood; as a Targaryen/Valyrian/Westerosi far from her home and without the resources of that home, she is left with little choice but to look forward.
Before even touching on the content of A Song of Ice and Fire, a point that causes trouble, right out of the gate, is where do “problems” with Daenerys arise? When, for example, does responsibility lie with a character, and when with the architect of her story? Add into that–when does the responsibility lie with neither character, nor creator, but with instead the fans who are discussing the media in question?
All this is not to absolve Daenerys of whatever sins exist within her storyline. There are choices that the character makes that are reprehensible and for which the ultimate responsibility does lie with her; however it is also to say that many of the things that Daenerys is loathed for are decisions that lie instead at Martin’s feet.
I am sorry, if I tread on anybody’s toes with this rant, but as a historian Daenerys’ absolute ignorance regarding history really bugs me. I don’t even know if this is an Anti-Daenerys post. If you use historical precedents they should fit, and her understanding of history and the dynamics which result from history are close to non-existent. And I’m talking about the history of Westeros here.
1. Torrhen, the king who knelt: That was not an alliance; Torrhen decided to kneel because he wanted to prevent a ‘field of fire’ for the North and thought that kneeling would save his people. That was not an alliance, but simple subjugation out of necessity. Imagine telling the French about the great time of the German - French alliance of 1940… I doubt that would make any French favour the alliance you suggest!
2. This so-called 'alliance’ of Starks and Targaryens was not directed against any enemy and it did not result in peace. The Targaryen rule after Aegon saw succession crisis several times.
3. The last King in the North was ROBB Stark and he wanted independence. Very clever move to brush that aside - in front of the man who happens to be not only the successor elected to further ensure independence, but also ROBB’s brother. Imagine telling the Scots to abolish their regional parliament and then everything will be just 'great’ again?
4. 'If the crimes of my father do not define me, neither do the crimes of your father define you.’ - That would have been a basis for a new start, not : Don’t judge me by my father’s actions, but your father was a 'traitor’. (When it was Aerys who practically drove Ned into rebellion, for Ned it was a decision of rebellion or death). Tit for tat. If I’m not to be judged by my ancestors neither are you. And I’m all for not judging people by their ancestors’ crimes.
5. And the last has bugged me since season 3: The Valyrians were the greatest slavers of all time. It doesn’t make sense to try to abolish slavery and be proud of the blood of Valyria. Now, if she would cite as her motivation that she wants to redeem the crimes of her ancestors, but she doesn’t. It’s really like someone who is descended from a confederate general who decides to work against the discrimination of poc, and who still has her ancestor’s pictures all over the house. Wouldn’t that be strange somehow, to say the least?
Sorry for this rant. By this time I don’t even know, if this hypocrisy and inconsistency is intentional on the writers’ part. Do they want us to realise that? Do they want us to see Dany as as a shallow, stupid person who speaks as her whim takes her? Do they want us to see her as somebody who tries to get attention by speaking seemingly grand speeches that nevertheless make no sense in the framework of Westeros’ history and probably won’t serve to get her allies if these supposed allies think for even a moment? Or do they just want her to say 'cool’ lines and everything falls into line for her? The last option would mean that everybody who talks with Dany automatically loses his or her ability to think. On the other hand perhaps Dany is not the only one who doesn’t know her history. Although in the last episode the Northern Bannermen were very much aware of history…
Poor Tyrion, next time he should just invent a person from history to back up his council and his witticisms. Dany probably couldn’t tell the difference.
Brienne’s big blue eyes were full of hurt as Balon Swann and a dozen gold cloaks led her away. You ought to be blowing me kisses, wench, he wanted to tell her. Why must they misunderstand every bloody thing he did? Aerys. It all grows from Aerys. Jaime turned his back on the wench and strode across the yard. ”