DANY'S TURN WAS EARNED ON THE SHOW

Love Bald Move. Smartest and most listen-able commentary out there.

But, guys, the reaction in the instant-take was... sensational, at best. It certainly didn't sound like the good-faith response from someone who actually committed to 'fan-bankruptcy.'  For all the bombastic rhetoric shelled at the D&Ds, it seems like the linchpin is the "earned-ness" of the moment Dany decided to lay waste to King's Landing.

After watching a second time, I'm inclined to argue that, the turn was not just earned, but sharply-constructed. This feels too long-winded for paragraph form, so here's my scorecard for the show not the books:

Throughout the series:
- since Visery's golden crown and Kahl Drogo's death (and maybe before): Dany has founded her identity around being the 'rightful' heir to the Iron Throne.
- her claim was only made possible by the death of Viserys. - she has shown little-to-no hesitation or remorse for absolute and fiery violence against anyone who would stand in her way to that goal. For all her apparent growth, this was demonstrated well through Season 7, most notably burning the Tarleys, justified or not.
- She develops as a leader and ruler, with many positive moments of growth and understanding, but every 'breaking of chains' or liberating of persecuted people could be considered a consequence of an effort to consolidate power.
- she builds her story of entitlement to others, and to herself
- she grows to distrust Tyrion.
- loses a 'child'
- critically, she falls in love with Jon.


This season:
- Revelation of R + L = J confronts and negates her claim to the throne.
- Jon would abdicate, but she witnesses, repeatedly, that in Westeros, the people are drawn to Jon, and would choose and follow him, given the choice. There is no shortage of scenes or dialogue between Varys and Tyrion to reinforce this. 
- impetuous decision-making during the Long Night
- loses majority of her military assets
- She loses most of her most loyal confidants
- Arya kills the Night King, confirming that Dany is not Azor Ahai (if she was ever aware of that)
- Dany continues to grow extremely insecure
- begs, begs Jon to not tell anyone that he is heir to the throne. The most vulnerable—pitiful, even—we've seen her on the show.
- loses her fleet
- lost another child/dragon
- Her best friend's head gets chopped off right in front of her by the person who represents everything that was taken from her. I can't be sure what the psychological effect of this would be on a person, but it seems... profoundly significant, despite our desensitization to violent deaths as show watchers. 

This episode:
- learns of betrayal by Jon, his family, Tyrion, and Varys.
- Varys, critically, sends out ravens with the news that Jon is the true heir to the throne. For the realm. 
- Varys stands by his commitment—and fear—to have done it for the realm, and is immediately torched by Dany for it.
- Dany makes a final plea for Jon's love, and is denied. Jon cannot.


Ok, so?
At this point, it's already over for Dany. She cannot and will not become the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. The instant Jon denies her, accepting that they will never marry—her last path to the throne—and knowing his stronger, true claim to the throne is already out, thanks to Varys, she knows he will be the King the people demand. The rightful ruler. If he were Viserys, or some similar kind of asshole, she could rationalize killing him. But he is not. He is a great leader, and she knows it, and critically, she loves him. 

The thing she's constructed her fundamental life's purpose around, this entire journey, is over. Not up on the ramparts. In this room. Her identity as a person is unraveled and destroyed.

As viewers, we might've looked at the castle as if it's the reward at the end of this journey, but in this moment—with The Bells ringing to signify that the people do have the power to choose their leader (the idea that Tyrion has basically embodied his entire tenure with her)—she already knows she will not have it. The people that betrayed her will. The man she can't be with will. And these people will be the ones that ensure it.

As far as the story being told, Jon's secret lineage is less about Jon: it's about putting Dany in the utterly tragic position that she can't burn the very last thing in her way.

We all knew that the revelation of R + L = J had to lead to an impossible outcome for someone. And this is what that looks like. 

We knew it. Were we hoping it would magically resolve some other way? 

I've never read the books, but I assume Spring really is just a dream.

So for me, the show put everything on screen they needed to destroy a person. And they did. 





[Also, calling bullshit on the notion that Jamie somehow 'went back' on his character development. His final humane act of compassion in a long journey of development was to be with the person he loved that needed him as the world she created finally crashed down on her. He fought for the living. He helped an outsider become fully actualized, and then he went to be with the person he loved most in the world when she was going to die, monstrous as she was. Selfless streak uninterrupted, IMO]



Frakkin TgguenotSimmi0505djcaudle01Dial888hisdudeness915KS123rhcoopbudesignsblue_sleeveand 6 others.
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Comments

  • Also, keep up the great work. Look forward to each new season you guys take on. Your coverage of the Leftovers got me hooked for life. 
    Murderbear
  • Natter CastNatter Cast San Francisco, CA
    edited May 14
    Except that if she had been pushed into choosing between burning innocents or withdrawing from battle and went with the path of mercy over wrath, there'd be just as strong a claim that that choice was set up in the story.

    It's not enough that she has character flaws. For us to accept this transition in her character, these flaws have to be triggered by something identifiable in the situation.

    We have seen nothing to suggest that Dany would kill people who have surrendered. We have seen a lot that suggests she's motivated by a desire to protect the vulnerable and enforce justice for crimes against humanity.

    If that is alll out the window now, we deserve to know why. Jon's claim on the throne isn't enough.
    DummyDoctor_NickElisaGanBloodyTacoGiovanniCretanBull
  • AnominalAnominal San Francisco Bay Area
    edited May 14
    I'm pretty sure with how blunt D&D are, the coin metaphor is their idea of a good reason and that's why the episode started with that. There doesn't have to be an actual reason, it's just how her coin landed. I believe that they believe because that phrase was introduced in the books that's all they need, they don't need to build in anything else. She's just crazy. All that long post that OP wrote, but the ultimate final straw is that she's just crazy.
    rkcrawfCretanBull
  • I'll be curious to how they show Dany in the last episode of the season.  I am in the boat that enjoyed the episode completely and have zero issues with how they portrayed Dany's turn to madness.  
    blue_sleeve
  • I think you're right. A great arc has characters working through a flaw that is either overcome or succumbed to through some sort of trial. 

    I think the show has made a clear precedent for Dany having the disposition for discarding lives that stand in her way to the throne. (but as a note: character progression itself is a denial of precedent, not a continuation of it)
    And in this situation, with Jon denying her, literally everyone in the city stands in her way. Not during the fight, but afterwards. The show has made it repeatedly clear that people in Westeros would likely favor Jon, for both his disposition, and more importantly, for his claim. And this all happens on the show. 

    The previous episode takes extra care to remind us of this clearly: She flew in and saved Tormund and the rest, and yet Tormund goes on and on about how Jon's the crazy leader who would climb on top of a dragon. That scene is really important. 

    The limit of what she's willing to concede... the throne itself, is tested, and she fails. If she takes the path of mercy, the fight ends, everyone finds out about Jon's claim, and they choose him to sit on the throne. But she has the WMD. That's her test. She succumbs to her profoundly internalized entitlement and sense of 'destiny', exacerbated by loneliness and desperation, and she hits the detonator. That's her arc. 

    I think a lot of us became fixated on the things we identified as "progress" along Dany's story and ignored the impetuousness, entitlement, and cruelty she continually demonstrated, because we wanted her to satisfy the hero's journey. Every piece of her decision may not have been in that episode, but it was all there on the show. 

    My feeling is that in this 6-episode season, it came fast, so feels unearned. And I will absolutely concede that it feels rushed. But if the last 3 seasons were watched in succession like one longer movie, without concern for the 60-80 minute sub-arcs with a week (or year) between them, it will read much straighter. 
    Dial888CeciliaM
  • edited May 14
    Not Being loved was never an issue for her. She dealt with that her entire rule back in esos. She was always considered an outsider so it didn’t really make any sense for her to care about that in Westeros. She ruled by force. Burning the entire city.... I’m not mad at it happening but it didn’t make any sense in how she got there
    AnominalElisaGanGiovanni
  • AnominalAnominal San Francisco Bay Area
    edited May 14
    I think you're right. A great arc has characters working through a flaw that is either overcome or succumbed to through some sort of trial. 

    I think the show has made a clear precedent for Dany having the disposition for discarding lives that stand in her way to the throne. (but as a note: character progression itself is a denial of precedent, not a continuation of it)
    And in this situation, with Jon denying her, literally everyone in the city stands in her way. Not during the fight, but afterwards. The show has made it repeatedly clear that people in Westeros would likely favor Jon, for both his disposition, and more importantly, for his claim. And this all happens on the show. 

    The previous episode takes extra care to remind us of this clearly: She flew in and saved Tormund and the rest, and yet Tormund goes on and on about how Jon's the crazy leader who would climb on top of a dragon. That scene is really important. 

    The limit of what she's willing to concede... the throne itself, is tested, and she fails. If she takes the path of mercy, the fight ends, everyone finds out about Jon's claim, and they choose him to sit on the throne. But she has the WMD. That's her test. She succumbs to her profoundly internalized entitlement and sense of 'destiny', exacerbated by loneliness and desperation, and she hits the detonator. That's her arc. 

    I almost agree with your post as much as I almost thought the episode was great. (But I think you're post is still a good post, whereas the episode really took a dive.)

    I don't disagree that the show clearly demonstrated that The North prefers Jon. Nothing about those with Cersei though. And you say she likes to destroy those who stand in her way, but she doesn't destroy Jon. If she actually killed Jon and then the city, that connects it all for me. She never once even looks for Jon after the battle begins. She doesn't once try to glance at him to see where he is during the battle. And very literally no one stands in her way because she's on a dragon and can fly over them. Literally there is nothing blocking her. No one during the battle even gives a hint they care at all about Jon, and in fact they all defy anything he does to try to stop anyone to the point that he had to slay a Northerner or let a woman get raped. That is what was literally shown in the show. A very clear demonstration that absolutely no one was listening to Jon. Varys denies Jon's denials for the throne, Dany rejects his rejection and pleas, and Grey Worm and the rest ignore his commands. Jon is shown dumbstruck at how powerless he actually is.

    If they just gave me that one small step, I'm totally on board. 
    ElisaBloodyTaco
  • Dial888Dial888 Ireland
    Love Bald Move. Smartest and most listen-able commentary out there.

    But, guys, the reaction in the instant-take was... sensational, at best. It certainly didn't sound like the good-faith response from someone who actually committed to 'fan-bankruptcy.'  For all the bombastic rhetoric shelled at the D&Ds, it seems like the linchpin is the "earned-ness" of the moment Dany decided to lay waste to King's Landing.

    After watching a second time, I'm inclined to argue that, the turn was not just earned, but sharply-constructed. This feels too long-winded for paragraph form, so here's my scorecard for the show not the books:

    Throughout the series:
    - since Visery's golden crown and Kahl Drogo's death (and maybe before): Dany has founded her identity around being the 'rightful' heir to the Iron Throne.
    - her claim was only made possible by the death of Viserys. - she has shown little-to-no hesitation or remorse for absolute and fiery violence against anyone who would stand in her way to that goal. For all her apparent growth, this was demonstrated well through Season 7, most notably burning the Tarleys, justified or not.
    - She develops as a leader and ruler, with many positive moments of growth and understanding, but every 'breaking of chains' or liberating of persecuted people could be considered a consequence of an effort to consolidate power.
    - she builds her story of entitlement to others, and to herself
    - she grows to distrust Tyrion.
    - loses a 'child'
    - critically, she falls in love with Jon.


    This season:
    - Revelation of R + L = J confronts and negates her claim to the throne.
    - Jon would abdicate, but she witnesses, repeatedly, that in Westeros, the people are drawn to Jon, and would choose and follow him, given the choice. There is no shortage of scenes or dialogue between Varys and Tyrion to reinforce this. 
    - impetuous decision-making during the Long Night
    - loses majority of her military assets
    - She loses most of her most loyal confidants
    - Arya kills the Night King, confirming that Dany is not Azor Ahai (if she was ever aware of that)
    - Dany continues to grow extremely insecure
    - begs, begs Jon to not tell anyone that he is heir to the throne. The most vulnerable—pitiful, even—we've seen her on the show.
    - loses her fleet
    - lost another child/dragon
    - Her best friend's head gets chopped off right in front of her by the person who represents everything that was taken from her. I can't be sure what the psychological effect of this would be on a person, but it seems... profoundly significant, despite our desensitization to violent deaths as show watchers. 

    This episode:
    - learns of betrayal by Jon, his family, Tyrion, and Varys.
    - Varys, critically, sends out ravens with the news that Jon is the true heir to the throne. For the realm. 
    - Varys stands by his commitment—and fear—to have done it for the realm, and is immediately torched by Dany for it.
    - Dany makes a final plea for Jon's love, and is denied. Jon cannot.


    Ok, so?
    At this point, it's already over for Dany. She cannot and will not become the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. The instant Jon denies her, accepting that they will never marry—her last path to the throne—and knowing his stronger, true claim to the throne is already out, thanks to Varys, she knows he will be the King the people demand. The rightful ruler. If he were Viserys, or some similar kind of asshole, she could rationalize killing him. But he is not. He is a great leader, and she knows it, and critically, she loves him. 

    The thing she's constructed her fundamental life's purpose around, this entire journey, is over. Not up on the ramparts. In this room. Her identity as a person is unraveled and destroyed.

    As viewers, we might've looked at the castle as if it's the reward at the end of this journey, but in this moment—with The Bells ringing to signify that the people do have the power to choose their leader (the idea that Tyrion has basically embodied his entire tenure with her)—she already knows she will not have it. The people that betrayed her will. The man she can't be with will. And these people will be the ones that ensure it.

    As far as the story being told, Jon's secret lineage is less about Jon: it's about putting Dany in the utterly tragic position that she can't burn the very last thing in her way.

    We all knew that the revelation of R + L = J had to lead to an impossible outcome for someone. And this is what that looks like. 

    We knew it. Were we hoping it would magically resolve some other way? 

    I've never read the books, but I assume Spring really is just a dream.

    So for me, the show put everything on screen they needed to destroy a person. And they did. 





    [Also, calling bullshit on the notion that Jamie somehow 'went back' on his character development. His final humane act of compassion in a long journey of development was to be with the person he loved that needed him as the world she created finally crashed down on her. He fought for the living. He helped an outsider become fully actualized, and then he went to be with the person he loved most in the world when she was going to die, monstrous as she was. Selfless streak uninterrupted, IMO]



    I agree completely. Also, the knowledge that not only has she lost a loyal friend/subject/acolyte/confidante right in front of her eyes while she stood powerlessly by had to rankle. Missandei's final moments were spent publicly in Chains. Her final words demanded fire. Greyworm throws her collar into the fire and Dany watches intently. 
    Time and time again she has shown that she doesn't know how to deal with people who do not fawn all over her.
    In the moment of the bells Emilia Clarke has all of this unresolved grief, loss and rejection written large all over her face. She snaps. Fuck them all. Let it be fear. 
    Thought they did a great job making her look like her dad too. 

    rhcoopblue_sleeveSanguinePenguin
  • Not Being loved was never an issue for her. She dealt with that her entire rule back in esos. She was always considered an outsider so it didn’t really make any sense for her to care about that in Westeros. She ruled by force. Burning the entire city.... I’m not mad at it happening but it didn’t make any sense in how she got there
    I am still wrestling with this. I don’t want to be in the position of 100% defending the turn, bc if the idea was that her need to balance the scales wasn’t fulfilled when the bells rang, I don’t think the show sold it well. She also went crazy. She also decided rule by fear. That all sounds convoluted. 

    Since we’ve seen Dany on screen, she has been someone that has received huge amounts of attention. She’s been pursued relentlessly. Drogo, Jorah, Ducksauce, both Dario and Duhrio, Hizar, etc. But if Jon’s rejection is a contributing reason for shitty excuse for her to go crazy. And her people haven’t always loved her. 

    Dany has had a cold violent streak in her since S1. But she’s also always defended disadvantaged people. For us to accept this heel turn, we have to accept something caused the former to outweigh the latter. The show gives us:
    1. The death of her closest family and friends
    2. A decision to rule by fear bc the people won’t love her
    3. Genetic madness due to incest
    4. Jon’s rejection/betrayal plus the betrayal of Tyrion, Varys, and Sansa
    5. “You’re not you when your hungry” 

    Maybe the problem is the show is giving us all these reasons, instead of building on one or two reasons. 
    Doctor_NickAnominal
  • hisdudeness915hisdudeness915 Atlanta, Ga
    Except that if she had been pushed into choosing between burning innocents or withdrawing from battle and went with the path of mercy over wrath, there'd be just as strong a claim that that choice was set up in the story.

    It's not enough that she has character flaws. For us to accept this transition in her character, these flaws have to be triggered by something identifiable in the situation.

    We have seen nothing to suggest that Dany would kill people who have surrendered. We have seen a lot that suggests she's motivated by a desire to protect the vulnerable and enforce justice for crimes against humanity.

    If that is alll out the window now, we deserve to know why. Jon's claim on the throne isn't enough.
    I just don’t understand this. I see it as the inevitable escalation of everything her character has been about since day one.  She literally said that “mercy would not be my weakness anymore” so in that moment with the bells ringing, she’s probably replaying everything in her mind and decides “fuck all these people” And it was a bad decision. Which characters do sometimes in fantasy television shows. 
    rkcrawfrhcoopMarciSanguinePenguin
  • Love Bald Move. Smartest and most listen-able commentary out there.

    But, guys, the reaction in the instant-take was... sensational, at best. It certainly didn't sound like the good-faith response from someone who actually committed to 'fan-bankruptcy.'  For all the bombastic rhetoric shelled at the D&Ds, it seems like the linchpin is the "earned-ness" of the moment Dany decided to lay waste to King's Landing.

    After watching a second time, I'm inclined to argue that, the turn was not just earned, but sharply-constructed. This feels too long-winded for paragraph form, so here's my scorecard for the show not the books:

    Throughout the series:
    - since Visery's golden crown and Kahl Drogo's death (and maybe before): Dany has founded her identity around being the 'rightful' heir to the Iron Throne.
    - her claim was only made possible by the death of Viserys. - she has shown little-to-no hesitation or remorse for absolute and fiery violence against anyone who would stand in her way to that goal. For all her apparent growth, this was demonstrated well through Season 7, most notably burning the Tarleys, justified or not.
    - She develops as a leader and ruler, with many positive moments of growth and understanding, but every 'breaking of chains' or liberating of persecuted people could be considered a consequence of an effort to consolidate power.
    - she builds her story of entitlement to others, and to herself
    - she grows to distrust Tyrion.
    - loses a 'child'
    - critically, she falls in love with Jon.


    This season:
    - Revelation of R + L = J confronts and negates her claim to the throne.
    - Jon would abdicate, but she witnesses, repeatedly, that in Westeros, the people are drawn to Jon, and would choose and follow him, given the choice. There is no shortage of scenes or dialogue between Varys and Tyrion to reinforce this. 
    - impetuous decision-making during the Long Night
    - loses majority of her military assets
    - She loses most of her most loyal confidants
    - Arya kills the Night King, confirming that Dany is not Azor Ahai (if she was ever aware of that)
    - Dany continues to grow extremely insecure
    - begs, begs Jon to not tell anyone that he is heir to the throne. The most vulnerable—pitiful, even—we've seen her on the show.
    - loses her fleet
    - lost another child/dragon
    - Her best friend's head gets chopped off right in front of her by the person who represents everything that was taken from her. I can't be sure what the psychological effect of this would be on a person, but it seems... profoundly significant, despite our desensitization to violent deaths as show watchers. 

    This episode:
    - learns of betrayal by Jon, his family, Tyrion, and Varys.
    - Varys, critically, sends out ravens with the news that Jon is the true heir to the throne. For the realm. 
    - Varys stands by his commitment—and fear—to have done it for the realm, and is immediately torched by Dany for it.
    - Dany makes a final plea for Jon's love, and is denied. Jon cannot.


    Ok, so?
    At this point, it's already over for Dany. She cannot and will not become the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. The instant Jon denies her, accepting that they will never marry—her last path to the throne—and knowing his stronger, true claim to the throne is already out, thanks to Varys, she knows he will be the King the people demand. The rightful ruler. If he were Viserys, or some similar kind of asshole, she could rationalize killing him. But he is not. He is a great leader, and she knows it, and critically, she loves him. 

    The thing she's constructed her fundamental life's purpose around, this entire journey, is over. Not up on the ramparts. In this room. Her identity as a person is unraveled and destroyed.

    As viewers, we might've looked at the castle as if it's the reward at the end of this journey, but in this moment—with The Bells ringing to signify that the people do have the power to choose their leader (the idea that Tyrion has basically embodied his entire tenure with her)—she already knows she will not have it. The people that betrayed her will. The man she can't be with will. And these people will be the ones that ensure it.

    As far as the story being told, Jon's secret lineage is less about Jon: it's about putting Dany in the utterly tragic position that she can't burn the very last thing in her way.

    We all knew that the revelation of R + L = J had to lead to an impossible outcome for someone. And this is what that looks like. 

    We knew it. Were we hoping it would magically resolve some other way? 

    I've never read the books, but I assume Spring really is just a dream.

    So for me, the show put everything on screen they needed to destroy a person. And they did. 





    [Also, calling bullshit on the notion that Jamie somehow 'went back' on his character development. His final humane act of compassion in a long journey of development was to be with the person he loved that needed him as the world she created finally crashed down on her. He fought for the living. He helped an outsider become fully actualized, and then he went to be with the person he loved most in the world when she was going to die, monstrous as she was. Selfless streak uninterrupted, IMO]



    Could not agree more @HartParkridge! I felt Daenery's break was very earned considering everything she's been through. I mean, people have gone postal over losing a job. How does anyone stay in their right mind after everything she's been through? I was part of a 6-person viewing party during the 1st-watch and we all really enjoyed this episode! I was actually kind of shocked to hear how divisive this episode is for people. To that, I think Ramsey said it best, "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." But everyone is entitled to their own opinion. As for me, I will be roasting S'mores this Sunday in celebration of more Targaryen carnage!
    deal khaleesi GIF
    SanguinePenguinMurderbear

  • I especially like this passage:

    " What is it about negative reviews that threatens your enjoyment of a thing? I can tell you with certainty that no positive review of a thing I dislike has ever made me feel insecure about my own opinion. I’ve found those takes interesting and worth thinking about, and it’s even happened before that my own opinion was swayed by different reads and analyses. It’s okay to change your mind about something after reading something that disagrees with you. It’s okay to not change your mind and continue believing what you believe."


    HartParkridgeken haleAnominalGiovanni
  • Nah. Dany never killed women and children cowering in fear. Nothing you’ve bulleted justifies that character development. 
    AnominalElisaBloodyTacoGiovanni

  • I especially like this passage:

    " What is it about negative reviews that threatens your enjoyment of a thing? I can tell you with certainty that no positive review of a thing I dislike has ever made me feel insecure about my own opinion. I’ve found those takes interesting and worth thinking about, and it’s even happened before that my own opinion was swayed by different reads and analyses. It’s okay to change your mind about something after reading something that disagrees with you. It’s okay to not change your mind and continue believing what you believe."


    I don't know. There are some good points in here, but I think it conflates contrarianism with critical reaction. Having a negative reaction to something is a lot different than just being smug about not engaging with it. So it seems like she's arguing two different things.

    I would never begrudge someone not being interested in Game of Thrones. Even as one of the biggest shows ever it's a pretty niche genre. But the fact that people rag on something they're ignorant of is confusing to me, and I understand why it's frustrating for fans.

    That said, the fact that there seems to be a need to react to any criticism is pretty on point. I don't see many people being dragged for simply saying they liked what they saw. 
    ken hale
  • Dial888Dial888 Ireland

    I especially like this passage:

    " What is it about negative reviews that threatens your enjoyment of a thing? I can tell you with certainty that no positive review of a thing I dislike has ever made me feel insecure about my own opinion. I’ve found those takes interesting and worth thinking about, and it’s even happened before that my own opinion was swayed by different reads and analyses. It’s okay to change your mind about something after reading something that disagrees with you. It’s okay to not change your mind and continue believing what you believe."


    Aristotle: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
    ken hale
  • mwspiakmwspiak Upstate NY
    I don’t think there’s a right or wrong take to this and I don’t think Jim and Aron we’re wrong on the instant take. 

    Im a Jon guy but I love Danys character. For me I just felt punched in the gut with the decision she made last episode. I do think they earned it and I thought this was a possibility based on what they showed. 

    My wife loves Danys character. For her this past episode was a betrayal of the character she knows and I think she right to. If Danys your favorite character then how can you NOT feel that way? 

    I think the biggest problem is that after season 6 or whenever it was the double D’s decided “we’re done in 13 episodes”. I think the rushed nature is why some people are dissatisfied with what felt like a WWF heel-turn for Danys character. 

    If your a Jon fan like me you still have hope going into the finale. Dany fans don’t have that now.

    Lets all just give our fellow fans (Jim and Aron included) time to process what they saw. I wasn’t sure if I liked the finale of the leftovers until I looked back 6 months later and thought to myself “that was perfect”. 
    HartParkridgeGiovanni
  • All the ChickensAll the Chickens Birmingham, AL
    Saying that "Dany never did {enter specific horrible thing} before, so it makes no sense for her to to it now" is not a good argument, IMO.

    Genocidal maniacs aren't genocidal maniacs until they commit that first act of genocide. Before that, it's a lead up of smaller bad things until they commit their most heinous acts that they are remembered for. Same with Dany. She has done many bad things in the past, even to presumably innocent people who did not deserve it. And once her mind was really broken down by all of the trauma from loss and betrayal, those smaller bad things were amped up to this atrocity.

    SanguinePenguinhisdudeness915blue_sleevedjcaudle01
  • All the ChickensAll the Chickens Birmingham, AL
    And of course it's going to be better in the books when she's going through stages of madness (it's happening). In the books, you have the luxury of hear every horrible and beautiful poetic thought that a character has in their moments of greatness and grief. That's just a basic different between books and a visual medium.

    I don't begrudge the show for the Red Wedding not being quite as good as the books, because I realize that they cannot literally be inside of Catelyn's brain during the Red Wedding, like she's fucking Kevin Arnold in the Wonder Years.
    SanguinePenguin
  • Not Being loved was never an issue for her. She dealt with that her entire rule back in esos. She was always considered an outsider so it didn’t really make any sense for her to care about that in Westeros. She ruled by force. Burning the entire city.... I’m not mad at it happening but it didn’t make any sense in how she got there
    Yeah, I think to Dany, Jon's denial was as much about her not having the ability to marry him as the last peaceful option to be queen, as much as it was about love.

    In the scene where he told her about R+L, her reaction was about her claim instead of what it meant about them being together (to Jon's clear consternation), and when Jon told her he needed to tell his family, she begged out of preservation of her own claim. 

    Then in E5, her line about 'there is no love for me here. So let it be fear,' is her resignation that all of her options for a loving, supportive path to the throne are exhausted, and to be queen, the people will have to be more afraid of her than they are of Jon. 

    I really think this the most informing moment of her character climax towards raw violence as her solution, more than any moment the next day while riding on Drogon.
    SanguinePenguinrkcrawf
  • LordByLordBy Utah
    Love Bald Move. Smartest and most listen-able commentary out there.

    But, guys, the reaction in the instant-take was... sensational, at best. It certainly didn't sound like the good-faith response from someone who actually committed to 'fan-bankruptcy.'  For all the bombastic rhetoric shelled at the D&Ds, it seems like the linchpin is the "earned-ness" of the moment Dany decided to lay waste to King's Landing.

    After watching a second time, I'm inclined to argue that, the turn was not just earned, but sharply-constructed. This feels too long-winded for paragraph form, so here's my scorecard for the show not the books:

    Throughout the series:
    - since Visery's golden crown and Kahl Drogo's death (and maybe before): Dany has founded her identity around being the 'rightful' heir to the Iron Throne.
    - her claim was only made possible by the death of Viserys. - she has shown little-to-no hesitation or remorse for absolute and fiery violence against anyone who would stand in her way to that goal. For all her apparent growth, this was demonstrated well through Season 7, most notably burning the Tarleys, justified or not.
    - She develops as a leader and ruler, with many positive moments of growth and understanding, but every 'breaking of chains' or liberating of persecuted people could be considered a consequence of an effort to consolidate power.
    - she builds her story of entitlement to others, and to herself
    - she grows to distrust Tyrion.
    - loses a 'child'
    - critically, she falls in love with Jon.


    This season:
    - Revelation of R + L = J confronts and negates her claim to the throne.
    - Jon would abdicate, but she witnesses, repeatedly, that in Westeros, the people are drawn to Jon, and would choose and follow him, given the choice. There is no shortage of scenes or dialogue between Varys and Tyrion to reinforce this. 
    - impetuous decision-making during the Long Night
    - loses majority of her military assets
    - She loses most of her most loyal confidants
    - Arya kills the Night King, confirming that Dany is not Azor Ahai (if she was ever aware of that)
    - Dany continues to grow extremely insecure
    - begs, begs Jon to not tell anyone that he is heir to the throne. The most vulnerable—pitiful, even—we've seen her on the show.
    - loses her fleet
    - lost another child/dragon
    - Her best friend's head gets chopped off right in front of her by the person who represents everything that was taken from her. I can't be sure what the psychological effect of this would be on a person, but it seems... profoundly significant, despite our desensitization to violent deaths as show watchers. 

    This episode:
    - learns of betrayal by Jon, his family, Tyrion, and Varys.
    - Varys, critically, sends out ravens with the news that Jon is the true heir to the throne. For the realm. 
    - Varys stands by his commitment—and fear—to have done it for the realm, and is immediately torched by Dany for it.
    - Dany makes a final plea for Jon's love, and is denied. Jon cannot.


    Ok, so?
    At this point, it's already over for Dany. She cannot and will not become the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. The instant Jon denies her, accepting that they will never marry—her last path to the throne—and knowing his stronger, true claim to the throne is already out, thanks to Varys, she knows he will be the King the people demand. The rightful ruler. If he were Viserys, or some similar kind of asshole, she could rationalize killing him. But he is not. He is a great leader, and she knows it, and critically, she loves him. 

    The thing she's constructed her fundamental life's purpose around, this entire journey, is over. Not up on the ramparts. In this room. Her identity as a person is unraveled and destroyed.

    As viewers, we might've looked at the castle as if it's the reward at the end of this journey, but in this moment—with The Bells ringing to signify that the people do have the power to choose their leader (the idea that Tyrion has basically embodied his entire tenure with her)—she already knows she will not have it. The people that betrayed her will. The man she can't be with will. And these people will be the ones that ensure it.

    As far as the story being told, Jon's secret lineage is less about Jon: it's about putting Dany in the utterly tragic position that she can't burn the very last thing in her way.

    We all knew that the revelation of R + L = J had to lead to an impossible outcome for someone. And this is what that looks like. 

    We knew it. Were we hoping it would magically resolve some other way? 

    I've never read the books, but I assume Spring really is just a dream.

    So for me, the show put everything on screen they needed to destroy a person. And they did. 





    [Also, calling bullshit on the notion that Jamie somehow 'went back' on his character development. His final humane act of compassion in a long journey of development was to be with the person he loved that needed him as the world she created finally crashed down on her. He fought for the living. He helped an outsider become fully actualized, and then he went to be with the person he loved most in the world when she was going to die, monstrous as she was. Selfless streak uninterrupted, IMO]



    While I disagree with your premise that enough of this was shown on the screen over enough time for folks like me to feel the turn was adequately contextualized, I think you or several folks like you should have been in the writing room for the last 2 seasons.

    A little more work recently on the Missandei/Danny relationship, a little more work on the Jon/Danny relationship and why it suddenly became cold, a little more work on her feeling the betrayal of the Westerosi, all would have helped me to get there so much.

    Also, critically, did Varys send ravens and was she aware of that? I don’t recall them showing that he actually did get any out, or that she was aware. That would have helped me a lot along with a brief Danny reaction to the news. If they did show it, I missed it, so it must have been terribly brief.
    HartParkridge
  • ken hale said:
    Nah. Dany never killed women and children cowering in fear. Nothing you’ve bulleted justifies that character development. 
    This is definitely worse than anything her character's done before. 

    My basic argument above is that at this point, the show established that Dany's fundamental sense of self over 7 seasons (as the rightful heir and claimant to the throne) was stripped away. In my opinion, the destruction of personal identity and denial of personal destiny is as profound character transition as there comes.

    This is how a character 'snaps,' and the result is that whatever restrained her from violence previously was shed in this transition, leaving her changed, and, to your point, able to commit something more heinous than the previous, hopeful, restrained Dany ever would have. 


    SanguinePenguinblue_sleeve
  • mwspiak said:
    I don’t think there’s a right or wrong take to this and I don’t think Jim and Aron we’re wrong on the instant take. 

    /snip

    Lets all just give our fellow fans (Jim and Aron included) time to process what they saw. I wasn’t sure if I liked the finale of the leftovers until I looked back 6 months later and thought to myself “that was perfect”. 
    I was really surprised with how negative (and angry) Jim and Aron were on the instant take. It seemed out of character relative to the show and their complaints over the past season. It was like just this last episode sent them into their hate-walking-dead frame of mind for the series and producers. I kept telling myself "they'll be more calm and less negative after a re-watch." I guess we'll see in a couple of hours. As for the original OP's theory, it works for me. Maybe she didn't EARN the turn, but it certainly wasn't a surprise given her short temper, her family heritage, the looks on her face after the last few episodes, and of course her history as described by the OP. I've got plenty of issues with the "battle of the bells", but her going "mad queen" is far from the largest of them.
    SanguinePenguin
  • AnominalAnominal San Francisco Bay Area
    edited May 14
    Not Being loved was never an issue for her. She dealt with that her entire rule back in esos. She was always considered an outsider so it didn’t really make any sense for her to care about that in Westeros. She ruled by force. Burning the entire city.... I’m not mad at it happening but it didn’t make any sense in how she got there
    Yeah, I think to Dany, Jon's denial was as much about her not having the ability to marry him as the last peaceful option to be queen, as much as it was about love.

    In the scene where he told her about R+L, her reaction was about her claim instead of what it meant about them being together (to Jon's clear consternation), and when Jon told her he needed to tell his family, she begged out of preservation of her own claim. 

    Then in E5, her line about 'there is no love for me here. So let it be fear,' is her resignation that all of her options for a loving, supportive path to the throne are exhausted, and to be queen, the people will have to be more afraid of her than they are of Jon. 

    I really think this the most informing moment of her character climax towards raw violence as her solution, more than any moment the next day while riding on Drogon.
    I think a part of the problem is that D&D have some fundamental misunderstandings about stuff so they're trying to communicate things that don't make sense. The biggest and most obvious one is that Jon has the bigger claim because he's Raegar's child while Dany is only Raegar's sibling. Succession gets passed down to the child first, and yet they made Varys of all people claim it was because he has a penis. Jon and Dany aren't siblings, and the Everyone but Dornish part of the succession rules has no meaning one way or another in this situation.

    D&D miss simple things like that and present things that are wrong as if it's fact. But now it's Canon that Varys supported Jon because he thought Jon had the better claim because he was a guy and not because of the order of succession. The conclusion makes sense, but not the route he took to get to the conclusion.

    A similar thing is happening to a lot of people here with Dany. There are quite a lot of people that are fine with the ultimate destination that Dany reached, but there is a key piece missing or was presented wrong (in their/my view) by D&D. The conversation is making perfect sense, we sense the mood and read the body language, and then D&D has metaphorical Varys saying the one line that halts everything the moment before Dany decides to burn everything. 
    TravisGiovanniken hale
  • Not Being loved was never an issue for her. She dealt with that her entire rule back in esos. She was always considered an outsider so it didn’t really make any sense for her to care about that in Westeros. She ruled by force. Burning the entire city.... I’m not mad at it happening but it didn’t make any sense in how she got there
    Yeah, I don't know what show people were watching if they think she was ever a beloved ruler.   Mereen, the only city she tried to actually rule, turned on her instantly, and not just the former masters.  That prostitute that murdered two Unsullied wasn't a noblewoman, nor were the people tagging Mhysa is a Master on the walls.  Everyone hated her.  She got set up for assassination in the fighting pits, Drogon saved her but she somehow restrained herself from burning the city.  Then she fucks off for half a season and when she returns she burns one blockading slave ship and gives the rest mercy.

    To say she snapped completely because the small folk didn't love her is, I understand, what the show wants you to buy into.  I don't.  It's a pretty drastic departure of character.  Dany burning a bunch of surrendering soldiers?  That's earned.  That's in character.  Dany burning a bunch of babies.  That's "shocking."  That's writing for the social media reaction, not being true to the character.
    AshleyGiovannirkcrawf
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited May 14
    Yeah, I’m gonna say you generally have a lot more warning of someone’s indiscriminate genocidal tendencies than being somewhat harsh in putting down challenges to their rule.

    Saying that "Dany never did {enter specific horrible thing} before, so it makes no sense for her to to it now" is not a good argument, IMO.

    Genocidal maniacs aren't genocidal maniacs until they commit that first act of genocide. Before that, it's a lead up of smaller bad things until they commit their most heinous acts that they are remembered for. Same with Dany. She has done many bad things in the past, even to presumably innocent people who did not deserve it. And once her mind was really broken down by all of the trauma from loss and betrayal, those smaller bad things were amped up to this atrocity.


     
    Giovanni
  • Originally wrote a long rant. I don't wanna be banned though so I'll just say I disagree but you're free to your opinion. 
    HartParkridgeken hale
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited May 14
    If they had more time:  Dany destroys the Red Keep and executes the surrendered nobles found in King’s Landing and isn’t very gentle. 

    Rather fear inducing, not as much of a character leap. People and politicians

    Then even after she shows mercy to the common folk, areas of King’s Landing and Westeros continue to be truculent towards her - now she starts eliminating people and exterminating resistant population centers as examples. 

    That’s better to me thank flipping the switch on instant atrocity after everyone surrenders. 
    Giovanni
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited May 14
    I think what happened with Dany was earned (perhaps expedited, but set up at least) and could have made sense, but it was executed poorly. Really, all they truly needed to do was articulate what she was thinking during the shot of her face before she started in on the massacre. I do agree that, though it was the extreme outcome, they did set the table effectively enough for her to do what she did, but clearly (as evidenced by the amount of controversy) they didn't articulate her propulsion well enough. Dave Chen said it well enough on this week's cast of kings. All they really needed to do was place that overlay of audio clips from the "previously on" (or something to that effect) onto her face in the moment where she was deciding to do it and it would have made a ton more sense. They needed that thing if they were going to take it that far and have her kill EVERYBODY. That's the thing with this season though. Too many things un-articulated. Too many things rushed.  

    Like I said in a different thread. I came to understanding for Dany getting there, but it required a 20 minute conversation with my wife about the nature of rage to do it. Emilia Clark did her part (and did it incredibly well), but they didn't sell the moment for the result. You can call it holding the audience's hand, but look at the outcome. This was not the desired effect, having the moment be this polarizing. I get that there is a percentage of the fan base that was just going to hate this, but in a larger view I just think did a terrible job of articulating the moment. 
    ken hale
  • AshleyAshley Atlanta, GA

    I especially like this passage:

    " What is it about negative reviews that threatens your enjoyment of a thing? I can tell you with certainty that no positive review of a thing I dislike has ever made me feel insecure about my own opinion. I’ve found those takes interesting and worth thinking about, and it’s even happened before that my own opinion was swayed by different reads and analyses. It’s okay to change your mind about something after reading something that disagrees with you. It’s okay to not change your mind and continue believing what you believe."


    One of the critics I follow on Twitter (wish I could recall who) said something on this topic a few weeks ago that stuck with me, and I think much of the response comes down to this: "Liking something makes you vulnerable. Disliking something doesn't." 

    I haven't enjoyed these last three episodes, and it kind of sucks, but I take it pretty lightly. I laugh at the jokes and keep it moving. But for the people that have enjoyed them and are still invested in the end of this show, I can see why certain responses would feel like a buzzkill. That said, it's so easy to disengage with content you don't like. Turn off the podcast. Get off of Reddit. There are enough fans of this show that we can probably all find someone who agrees with us.

    FlukesHartParkridgebbordGiovanniDoubleA_Ron
  • Travis said:
    I think what happened with Dany was earned (perhaps expedited, but set up at least) and could have made sense, but it was executed poorly. Really, all they truly needed to do was articulate what she was thinking during the shot of her face before she started in on the massacre. I do agree that, though it was the extreme outcome, they did set the table effectively enough for her to do what she did, but clearly (as evidenced by the amount of controversy) they didn't articulate her propulsion well enough. Dave Chen said it well enough on this week's cast of kings. All they really needed to do was place that overlay of audio clips from the "previously on" (or something to that effect) onto her face in the moment where she was deciding to do it and it would have made a ton more sense. They needed that thing if they were going to take it that far and have her kill EVERYBODY. That's the thing with this season though. Too many things un-articulated. Too many things rushed.  

    Like I said in a different thread. I came to understanding for Dany getting there, but it required a 20 minute conversation with my wife about the nature of rage to do it. Emilia Clark did her part (and did it incredibly well), but they didn't sell the moment for the result. You can call it holding the audience's hand, but look at the outcome. This was not the desired effect, having the moment be this polarizing. I get that there is a percentage of the fan base that was just going to hate this, but in a larger view I just think did a terrible job of articulating the moment. 
    I think had they simply muted the bells ringing but shown that the bell was being rung while playing the "previously on" audio clip during the scene she was perched on the rooftop, that it would have gone a long ways in terms of fans buying into her turn to chaos and destruction.
    Travis
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