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.
“Ah, Arya. You have a wildness in you, child. ‘The wolf blood,’ my father used to call it. Lyanna had a touch of it, and my brother Brandon more than a touch. It brought them both to an early grave.” Arya heard sadness in his voice; he did not often speak of his father, or of the brother and sister who had died before she was born. “Lyanna might have carried a sword, if my lord father had allowed it. You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her.”
Mad King was obsessed with it. He loved to watch people burn, the way
their skin blackened and blistered and melted off their bones. He
burned lords he didn’t like. He burned Hands who disobeyed him. He
burned anyone who was against him. Before long, half the country was
against him. Aerys saw traitors everywhere. So he had his pyromancer
place caches of wildfire all over the city. Beneath the Sept of
Baelor and the slums of Flea Bottom. Under houses, stables, taverns.
Even beneath the Red Keep itself. Finally, the day of reckoning came.
Robert Baratheon marched on the capital after his victory at the
Trident. But my father arrived first with the whole Lannister army at
his back, promising to defend the city against the rebels. I knew my
father better than that. He’s never been one to pick the losing side.
I told the Mad King as much. I urged him to surrender peacefully. But
the king didn’t listen to me. He didn’t listen to Varys who tried to
warn him. But he did listen to Grand Maester Pycelle, that grey,
sunken cunt. “You can trust the Lannisters,” he said. “The
Lannisters have always been true friends of the crown.”
01. this is no mistake, no accident, when you think the final nail is in, think again, don’t be surprised, I will still rise / 02. all you have is your fire, and the place you need to reach - don’t you ever tame your demons, but always keep ‘em on a leash / 03. when the sins of my father weigh down in my soul, and the pain of my mother will not let me go, well, I know there can come fire from the sky to refine the purest of kings / 04. here I come, a firebird, don’t offer up your sorrow / 05. I’m the one they all praise, heaven and earth before a day, they created me to guide, to call, not a queen but an empress to rule them all / 06. I’m gonna fight 'em off, a seven nation army couldn’t hold me back / 07. just give me what I know is mine / 08. no matter what, you’ll never take that from me, my reign is as far as your eyes can see / 09. they’ll know my name after the storms are passing through