I’ve been thinking a lot about the arguments that people use to support villain Dany theories and thinking why this argument always got under my skin and it suddenly struck me. Yes, this line stands true. We know in part, roles such as villains and heroes aren’t ubiquitous in some ways. Tyrion is considered a villain by the smallfolk and the Starks and while we know that he is no villain, most other people do not. The people within the text may not truly know who is the hero of the tale and who is not but the audience certainly will. We have a greater perspective than all the characters put together and therefore we know completely and absolutely who are the heroes. It’s very clear from the text who are the heroes. We know the Starks are heroes. We know that Tyrion if not one already will be a hero just as we know that Cersei, despite her history is not. Why, therefore, do we play obtuse when dealing with Dany’s character?
More so, does being a villain to a group of people therefore then make you a villain? You could easily argue that Sansa is a villain from this basis since she’s believed to have murdered Joffrey. She’s certainly a villain to Cersei at the very least but does this basis, therefore, transform her into a villain? No, we know that to be wrong because we know Sansa to be both kind and good. This is similar to Dany who we know to have a strong love for both justice and humanity, to the point that she pushed back her plans for a Westeros conquest in order to end the slavery within the different areas of Slavers Bay. Yes, Dany may be considered a villain to a wide range of people but considering that these people happily use slavery, are depicted as sexist, greedy and so on, should we even begin to consider this idea that Dany is somehow a villain for this.
Even more importantly and separate from this point, how does Dany becoming a villain even fit or belong to the narrative. What point does GRRM make with doing that to her? I know many people cite the fact that it offers shock value and that the series does not rely on tropes and therefore, makes sense. But, all the shocking moments we have seen were done for a reason. The Red Wedding and Ned’s death weren’t just depicted for shock value but to allow Arya and Bran and Jon and Sansa to take center stage and to lead the change that their predecessors had been so focused on achieving. Ned’s death itself is beyond tropey, we’ve seen it in Harry Potter and Kingsman and other huge series and narratives. The death of a mentor or parent is a massive aspect of many stories. Dany turning into a villain makes no narrative sense. What important message does it give if Dany is turned into a villain?
So much of his series is based on human perseverance and hope and doing good despite how difficult it is. Being good is hard. Having power and not falling into the same pit as Cersei and other villains we have seen, not allowing that power to corrupt is even more difficult.It is some of these themes that are so central to Dany’s character. What purpose would it, therefore, serve to make Dany a villain?
In addition, all the villains we have seen have been very flat and clearly evil, even Cersei is very clearly a villain. GRRM does not do gray with his major villains. We don’t even have the POV of most of the antagonists and yet we have been with Dany from the beginning. We’ve seen her character grow from a scared little girl to the Mother of Dragons and queen. Seen her grapple with morality and her idea of home and her identity. Seen her, very overtly separate herself from the Valyrians, her ancestors, use of slavery and continuously rejects Viserys way of ruling and dealing. Let’s not even begin to discuss how Dany is likely the figure within these prophecies and how she did the impossible and brought dragons back (which if you’re wondering is a very heroesque type of thing to do) or how the narrative continuously frames her as a hero.
If you still don’t believe me on this then how about on a practical level? The story is drawing closer to the battle against the Others in which it has been shown that Dany will play a part.
That night she dreamt that she was Rhaegar, riding to the Trident. But she was mounted on a dragon, not a horse. When she saw the Usurper’s rebel host across the river they were armored all in ice, but she bathed them in dragonfire and they melted away like dew and turned the Trident into a torrent.
It was a futile thought. He might as well wish for another thousand men, and maybe a dragon or three.
The story is moving away from the political war and onto the supernatural one in which Dany will establish herself fully as a hero and save the word.
Now, this isn’t to say that Dany hasn’t done a great many things that are both villainous or wrong or even that she doesn’t walk closer to the edge of darkness in comparison to our other heroes. Dany has and likely will do some more things that will be wrong but this in no way means that she will be a villain or that she should even be considered one