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    This Is Why Dany's Plot On "Game Of Thrones" Is Making A Lot Of People Mad

    We need to talk about the khaleesi.

    In Season 8, Episode 5 of Game of Thrones, Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, one of the main characters – one of the main heroes – of the show went on a rampage with her dragons and her armies.

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    Despite the Lannister soldiers she had come to defeat surrendering, something inside Daenerys cracked. She torched King's Landing, likely killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the process. It's the fruition of what some fans have long called the Mad Queen theory – the idea that Daenerys' ultimate fate is in becoming exactly what she feared most. Her father's daughter; a tyrannical Targaryen, mad with power.

    This direction for Dany's character isn't entirely surprising. But it's left a lot of fans shocked and angered – mainly because of how it's played out.

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    More specifically, how this season (and the last season, to an extent) has completely rushed to this conclusion without satisfactorily portraying the decline of Daenerys' mental state.

    Even if you wanted to make the argument that Dany's sanity has been systematically declining (which is something we've been told more than shown in recent years), there's nothing in her past or recent behaviour to provide a logical reason for why she would suddenly turn on thousands of innocent people after the Lannisters had surrendered. It might be more understandable if she had flown straight to the Red Keep to attack Cersei directly, but her zig-zagging her way through King's Landing is frankly baffling.

    Daenerys has always fought to protect innocent lives. For all her bluster and her violence, she has at least always believed she was doing the right thing. There was no evidence this was the case in "The Bells" – rather, she was portrayed as acting out of fury, apparently seeking vengeance. But her target made no sense, unlike those that have come before.

    It's true that the signs of Dany's ruthlessness have always been there. But that does not equate to going mad or murdering thousands for no reason.

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    In the "Inside the Episode" after the show aired, the showrunners tried to argue that Dany's reaction to Viserys' death all the way back in Season 1 was a hint something wasn't quite right in her brain.

    the writers just used daenerys witnessing her abusive brother die as a sign of madness. i cannot make this shit up. #GameofThrones

    Here's the problem with that. Basically every single character has done violent, awful things and exhibited problematic reactions. Within the world of the show, those things aren't a sign that character is bad or mad.

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    For example, while much has been made of Dany's execution of the Tarlys, from her point of view, they were treasonous oathbreakers. They wouldn't obey her order to bend the knee.

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    I'm not defending the fact that she murdered them, of course – but it's worth pointing out that within the moral code Game of Thrones has established for its world, what Dany did was not "mad" or evil.

    Just look at the very first episode, in which we see Ned Stark execute a man for breaking an oath.

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    Later, Robb Stark not only willingly sent 2,000 men to be slaughtered at Whispering Wood, he also executed his men when they disobeyed his orders.

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    Jon Snow himself has executed many people, including a child, and Janos Slynt – you know, the guy whose crime was saying "no" to the job Jon assigned to him.

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    Arya Stark is, of course, one of the most accomplished killers on the show. She murdered Walder Frey's sons, baked them into a pie, made him eat it, then smiled as she slit his throat. Then she wore his face and poisoned the rest of his sons. She still got to be the "hero of Winterfell".

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    Even Sansa Stark – who the show keeps telling us is the smartest, most clear-headed character left – tortured and executed Ramsay Bolton and walked away from the grisly scene with a smile on her face.

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    To be clear – I love the Starks with my whole heart, and I cheered when a lot of the above deaths happened, because they felt like justice. That's how the show wanted me to feel.

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    My point is, I also cheered when Daenerys, for instance, killed slave masters and called that justice – because the show set it up that way too.

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    To suggest these scenes were indicators she would go "mad" raises the question of why the same isn't the case for other characters. And yes, she has Targaryen blood – but so does Jon, and nobody is questioning his sanity or fearing that he'll go on a murder rampage.

    Yes, Daenerys has talked about returning cities to dust and taking what is hers with "fire and blood" – but far less than the showrunners and some fans are now suggesting.

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    Meanwhile, those words were consistently belied by her actions – which, time and again, had her doing everything she could to protect and save innocent people.

    And Dany is far from the only character to make threatening speeches – Tyrion, who was horrified by the deaths in King's Landing in "The Bells", once expressed his desire to murder all the inhabitants himself.

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    It was right before he went on to actually murder his ex-girlfriend and father. Yet he is still a ~good guy~.

    As for all the foreshadowing about Dany's fate, well, as this Tumblr user points out, some hints along the way do not equate to an adequate (or remotely nuanced) narrative arc.

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    Two episodes ago, Daenerys was saving the North. Yes, she lost a lot in the intervening time – but throughout the series, she's suffered many heartbreaking losses, and every single time she's emerged stronger and triumphant.

    And while we're on the topic of foreshadowing – the show has foreshadowed a lot of things that never came to pass. Like Daenerys getting pregnant, or Jon Snow killing the Night King. Foreshadowing does not replace narrative development.

    All in all, the problem isn't necessarily in the concept of Dany as a Mad Queen – it's in the execution.

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    She may have been heading this way since the start, but in the past two seasons the writers have not done the work to show us Dany's internal conflict – especially how she went from trying to save thousands to actively killing them within the space of 1-2 episodes.

    Let the record show Emilia had to do this switch in one shot with no lines

    Game of Thrones has spent 7.5 seasons portraying Daenerys as a hero who cares about people, wants to do good, and has a "gentle heart".

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    Yes, she has always had a dark side. But so has every other character – and they're still existing in shades of grey. Even Cersei Lannister was more humanised in the last episode than Daenerys was.

    Rather than allowing Daenerys' plot to unfurl with time and space, showing us her unravelling mental state, the show opted to make it a "shocking" twist that felt unearned.

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    And that is what is such a letdown.

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    Need more Game of Thrones before next week's episode? Check out all our Game of Thrones coverage here.