SomethingLikeALawyer, when you say that Daenerys doesn't deserve to survive or succeed, what exactly are you talking about? Her behaviour so far in books, or something else? Thanks (:
grottoofregrets: What has Daenerys done that’s so terrible that you say that she doesn’t deserve to survive or succeed, and even hope that she dies?
lesmotsincompris: I second the question about Daenerys. I don’t want to see her sitting the Iron Thrones, but why you think she doesn’t deserve to succeed or survive?
Alright, I know since I said it, I was going to have to elaborate on it. So here it is, why I don’t like Daenerys, why I don’t think she’s a good queen, and why I wouldn’t want her to rule Westeros. I’ll warn you already that a lot of this bases on my own value system, so you might (and many of you probably won’t) agree with some or all of my rationale. So anyway, here we go:
Daenerys does not value her word, nor does she see her obligations as binding. This is disastrous for any political leader, but especially for one looking to rule under feudalism. Under feudalism, the feudal contract and the vassal-overlord relationship are key, and both must be abided by. Daenerys proved at Astapor that she is willing to enter into bargains that she has no intent of fulfilling, when she dealt with Kraznys. She identifies the Dothraki as her people, accepts and acts with the power of a khaleesi (even authorizing Viserys’s execution), yet as soon as the position requires her to do something she does not desire, she abandons the responsibility most handily. As a potential feudal vassal, this would concern me. Feudalism’s basic premise is that your forsake autonomy in exchange for protection. If Daenerys does not see her oaths to me as binding, how am I to rest easy if I am under attack and require her to fulfill her end of the bargain? If she enters into arrangements in deliberate bad faith, how am I to feel comfortable that she has any intent of honoring them? Will she take my troops to fight her wars and not defend my lands? Will she take my taxes but snatch up holdings in my fief to please some other vassal? If I am not a vassal, but a foreign power, this still looms large. Will she abide by peace or economic treaties? Is she receiving me in her court to discuss matters of diplomacy only to execute me? There’s always an uncertainty when dealing with an arbitrary ruler that erodes faith in the monarch, and that is something I strongly condemn in leaders of government.
Daenerys confuses justice with vengeance, which is something that I’ve talked about at length in this tumblr ask. She approaches justice completely arbitrarily, rendering verdicts out of a desire to satisfy the self rather than uphold a unified form of law. We see this when she crucifies the 163 Great Masters without finding out who was responsible for the crime, not even a cursory examination. Her inner thoughts are revealed in this chapter, and we see her weak rationalization. Crimes have to be punished, so she thinks, but she already confesses that her reason for doing that was to make her feel better for being unable to protect the 163 children crucified along the wayposts. This is wrong. The offices of government, especially in the execution of justice, aren’t vectors to satisfy the ego of the person in charge. Crime and punishment is a serious thing, and it cannot be treated as a bandage for wounded pride. Daenerys is deliberately misusing her office and duties for self-gratification. We finally see this at the end of A Dance With Dragons, where Daenerys fully embraces the mantra that dragons plant no trees. She does not desire to bring stability, peace, or growth either to Westeros or to Meereen. She wants to hurt the people who made her powerless. She wants to kill the ones who shattered her ego, by forcing her to compromise, by evicting her family from Westeros, one and all. It’s that cycle of vengeance I’ve talked about all over again. She’s lost any high-minded concept she may have had. She wants her opponents to suffer so she can feel like the glorious queen she imagines herself to be.
Daenerys confuses her office as a queen with herself as a person. This is evidenced most clearly when she deals with the wineseller and his daughters. She authorizes torture for information, which is barbaric on its own, but for the time period, I can’t criticize it as much as I would. Torture for information important to the state was a standard practice, as we see with Tyland Lannister and the position of the Lord Confessor. As disgusting at that practice is (not to mention that empirical research indicates that torture simply doesn’t yield accurate data, which Martin hints at numerous times throughout the novel series), the characters of the setting understand it as a standard practice of government. What I can criticize, however, is that she authorizes torture because she finds out that Rylona Rhee, a harpist she was particularly fond of and a leader of a former-slave committee. She is not acting in respects to the murder, nor is she acting out of doing so because the victim was an agent of the state (the Unsullied are actors of the state, and she refused to authorize the Shavepate’s torture when she learned there were Unsullied among the victims). She only authorizes the torture because she personally knew the victim. Impartiality is a key component of justice, and if a judge cannot be impartial, I cannot have faith in justice. We see this also when she judges Jorah and Barristan for collaborating with Robert’s court. She considers both equally guilty of the same crime, but she pardons Barristan and exiles Jorah not because of their crimes, but because she felt Jorah was not contrite enough. Had she judged Jorah’s crime more severely, because his information led to her attempted assassination, that would be one thing, but we clearly see in her chapters that she was angry that he did not immediately beg for forgiveness. She sees the state as the extension of herself and cannot separate the two, thus her judgment must always be called into question. I cannot have faith in the judgment of the monarch if I can reasonably expect her to judge differently based on her own personal investment in the case. Corruption of the court is the reason why King Jaehaerys I abolished the Faith’s right to conduct trials, and Daenerys’s judgment is equally corrupt and impure. Even Henry VIII, bloody-handed tyrant that he was, said he was not above the law. Dany, however, views her personal desires and opinions as superior to the law, and I cannot respect nor swear fealty to a monarch who does such a thing.
Daenerys is a petty, arbitrary tyrant exemplifying some of the worst traits a monarch can have. She views monarchy primarily as a sense of self-gratification, that only her own desires matter (damn what anyone else thinks), and that’s what’s good for her ego is good for the state. She abandons her obligations when they inconvenience her, and now justifies further destruction of the innocent and guilty alike because the throne belongs to her. There’s no high-minded concept here, just: “I deserve to be queen.” The notion that there are limits to a king’s power, the notion that a king who violates his lordly obligations and the social contract is no true king, all of the faults that Robert’s Rebellion addressed, go away under a Targaryen restoration spearheaded by Daenerys. In their place, Daenerys leaves the idea that the state exists wholly with the selfish whims of an absolute monarch, one who believes that guilt and innocence are secondary to feeling powerful and dominating all dissenters, and one who believes that lordly obligations are second to personal satisfaction. Daenerys’s ascension means that Robert’s Rebellion was wrong, that the Targaryens are answerable to no man or justice. Westeros needs a monarch who will treat the position with the gravity and honor that the position deserves, and respect the heavy burden that it requires. All of the people who labored to make Westeros a better government, Jaehaerys I, Good Queen Alysanne, Septon Barth, Viserys II, Aegon V, Jon Arryn, Eddard Stark, Davos Seaworth, all of them, deserve to have their efforts pay off.
Thanks for the question Grotto, Compris, and all of the Anons who were waiting patiently for an answer to this.
SomethingLikeALawyer, Hand of the King