Daenerys Targaryen stormed in as the Queen on the Iron Throne we all thought we deserved. Which is why her slow descent into “madness” shocked some and disappointed others. HBO’s prequel House of the Dragon may help to better understand the Mad Queen’s ending.
Set as the sequel to Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon plays into the downfall of the Targaryens, arguably the land’s most powerful house. Joining the cast for the Targaryen family are Paddy Considine as Viserys I, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra and Matt Smith as Daemon.
Daenerys’ claim to throne rose from the fact that it was snatched from her family through a rebellion based on lies.
But for someone who labels herself as the Liberator and the Breaker of Chains, the signs of Daenerys’s cruel tendencies have always been there, however wrapped with layers of being an underdog or the instances when she is indeed just.
Tyrion himself identifies this side to her and tries to keep it in check when acting as her Hand. This is particularly seen in The Battle of the Bastards, when Daenerys only steps back after Tyrion convinces her that her show of power would be better if there was no destruction involved.
Her ultimate plunge is, of course, when in The Bells (named so for emphasis), Daenerys chooses to ignore the surrendering sounds of the bells and rages hellfire onto King’s Landing’s innocent civilians and the Red Keep.
And while the signs have been present throughout Game of Thrones, it still nearly does not explain what one should blame this madness on.
Daenerys’ life is built on this vast, grand and dangerously powerful legacy of the Targaryens. A little bit of what makes Daenerys who she is, is sometimes supposedly tied to a ‘fate’ she can’t change.
Have a look at this excerpt of Barristan Selmy telling Daenerys more about her family’s history:
“But every child knows that the Targaryens have always danced too close to madness. Your father was not the first. King Jaehaerys once told me that madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land.”A Storm of Swords
Is this a sentiment that author George R R Martin thoroughly believes in? A sample chapter from the upcoming The Winds of Winter does give us a hint. Here’s a piece from Arianne Martell’s chapter that compares the Mad Queen to a predecessor of the same moniker:
“A hundred years ago, Daenerys Targaryen came to Dorne to make peace. Now another comes to make a war.”The Winds of Winter
Daenerys’ demise shows which side the coin fell on. It is also unfortunately the extreme fate that many of the Targaryens face, and we will see so in the sequel.
Perhaps the most fatal flaw of the Targaryens is their undying belief of being rightful rulers of the land. Daenerys’ stubborness in refusing to allow the North to have their own autonomy, is a parallel repeated from her ancestor Aegon II who will start a civil war in House of the Dragon.
Being the only surviving Targaryen to her knowledge (and ours, for the longest time) Daenerys’ journey, the last of her house, is incomparable to anyone else in Game of Thrones.
She carries with her the stories of her childhood, the fight against the maddening fate and the ambition of her future. We know how her story goes. But the House of the Dragon will truly tell us where she came from.
About House Of The Dragon
House of the Dragon is the prequel series to HBO’s blockbuster Game of Thrones based on George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood.
Set three hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will show Westeros under the Targaryen family’s rule before the dragons went extinct. It will follow the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war between siblings Aegon II and Rhaenyra, who fought for the throne after the death of their father, Viserys I.
Directed by Ryan Condall and Miguel Sapochnik, the show stars Paddy Considine as Viserys I Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Tom Glynn-Craney as Aegon II Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon, Eve Best as Rhaenys Velaryon, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole, and Graham McTavish.