Game Of Thrones: How Daenerys Became The Mad Queen (And Why The Hate Is Wrong)
8. Destiny & Fate
The one thing that everyone seems to be missing with Dany's arc in this final season is that it reflects the show's wider concerns with the weight of destiny and how certain characters are fated to end up a certain way.
It starts with the idea of Houses, clans and nationalities within the Seven Kingdoms adhering to certain tropes: Northmen are parochial, Free Folk are wild, Starks are honourable, Targaryens volatile, Lannisters duplicitous, Iron Born morally repugnant, Dothraki fearsome... It's not just a matter of stereotyping, it's apparently a genetic concern. And that adds to the fundamental value of kinship that particularly drives the Starks and the Lannisters.
Add to that the discussion of the cyclical nature of time in terms of the Three-Eyed Raven and you have the image of a Great Game destined to replay exactly the same way every time a cycle starts because every player is fated certain ways. Bran has seen it all before because it always happens the same way.
But such a lack of flexibility is also a problem, because some of those inherent destinies are dangerous. While a lot of characters are invested in following some sort of pre-ordained destiny, it's more important to think of the characters who actively seek to defy theirs (often at the same time). Jon doesn't want to become Ned - honourable but naive and killed for it (to be honest, he already has); Jaime doesn't want to live forever as the incestuous Kingslayer alone; Arya doesn't want to be "just a Lady"; Cersei doesn't want to live out Maggy the Frog's prophecy and Dany doesn't want to become the Mad King reborn.
All of those expectations way down on them and unfortunately, Jon, Jaime and Cersei have all sought to avoid those ominous fates that they've charged headlong into them. Dany living out the same horrors of her father's last days is no more than another stroke in the picture of the show's ideas of destiny as a prison.
NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far.
A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.