Note: This article contains spoilers from Game of Thrones, up to and including Season 8, Episode 5, which aired on May 12th, 2019.
While Daenerys Targaryen’s full descent into being the “Mad Queen” came to fruition in the last episode of Game of Thrones, this was not a sudden transformation. Daenerys’ transformation has been alluded to from early on in the show, and her violent ambitions for Westeros should have unnerved conservatives from the beginning.
There has always been something revolutionary about Daenerys Targaryen: the “breaker of chains,” asserting her destiny to “break the wheel” of various other families ruling, the constant proclamations and promises that rule under her would be different. This, of course, isn’t a disqualification— her previous failed leadership, overly-ambitious goals, and repeatedly demonstrated brutality, however, do.
Daenerys’ deteriorating mental state and fall into “Mad Queen” status has been looming large over the show from her earliest days, albeit in less morally reprehensible ways. Upon negotiating a deal with Kranznys mo Nakloz in Astapor to buy the Unsullied in season 3, she backed out of the agreement, and burned Nakloz alive. This set a precedent that was just the first of many to come: give Daenerys what she demands, burn those who stand in her way, and eliminate those she doesn’t like— even if she had already reached a deal with them.
A similar theme was front and center in Meereen, where she repeatedly botched her rule over the city. While credit is absolutely due to her for liberating the slaves upon arrival, the way she did inevitably led to enormous instability within the city. Rather than simply banning slavery, she extended the ban to the city’s fighting pits— which she later retracted, under pressure from the city’s residents— and, more brutally, ordered the crucifixion of slave owners. She did all of this despite her advisor, Ser Barristan Selmy, pleading with her to show mercy, which would have resulted in both the liberation of the slaves and a more stable government in the city. Yet, her brutality led her to ignore her advisors, and led to her bloody conflict with the Sons of the Harpy.
Daenerys’ claim that her destiny is to overthrow the system— “breaking the wheel,” as she puts it— is strikingly familiar when compared with the left-wing revolutionaries of the 20th century. The system should not be reformed— it must be overthrown, violently. If only she could rule, things would be different. Even if they don’t know it yet, the people will be better off. She knows what’s best for them. She alone can fix it.
These movements always end the same, tragic way: the death of countless innocent civilians, who inevitably get caught between the revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries. Reading some of Daenerys’ quotes on her goals of overturning the system, you can almost hear the fated words from East Germany on their repressive government’s tactics: should the people not have faith in the government, would it not be easier to dissolve them and elect another?
It should come to nobody’s surprise, then, that Senator Elizabeth Warren declared her whole-hearted support for Daenerys Targaryen in a lengthy article, published just a few weeks ago. Despite the growing concern about her mental state, Warren sides with Daenerys because of her revolutionary aspirations. She rightly credits the Queen with liberating slaves, but her central motivation for supporting Daenerys lies in breaking the current system, and of course, opposing the Iron Bank.
No great fan of Cersei Lannister myself, I do sympathize with the Dragon Queen’s desire to improve the world for its inhabitants. However, Daenerys has proved herself to be either unwilling or unable to achieve this. In so doing, she has sunk much deeper into a level of brutality that not even the Lannisters would have engaged in. Remember, it was Jamie Lannister who betrayed the Mad King— Daenerys’ father— when he was plotting to destroy King’s Landing. In a way, it’s fitting that Jamie died when the Mad King’s daughter destroyed the city he risked everything to save.
With the Lannisters eliminated, Daenerys is effectively Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Her coronation must be stopped at all costs— foreshadowing of Arya’s potential role in the series finale next week could be what saves us all. Should she be prevented from taking the throne, John Snow would be able to exert his claim to the Iron Throne as heir.
While John would make an infinitely better ruler than Daenerys, she has consistently been able to manipulate him far too easily because of his feelings for her. This is a serious character flaw, and one that could come back to bite him as King should another woman with conflicting interests catch his attention. Furthermore, his genuine surprise that Daenerys would burn the city after it had surrendered shows that he dangerously underestimated her brutality.
Sansa Stark, on the other hand, has consistently been right about a plethora of issues, ranging from Daenerys’ instability to the dangers of heading South immediately after the Battle of Winterfell. She has come a long way from being the reserved “little dove” she was in earlier seasons. This transformation is perhaps best depicted both in her decision to set starving dogs on Ramsey Bolton, as well as her ability to see through Little Finger’s plot to divide her from her sister Arya. She didn’t acquire these skills easily. After losing her father, the path to where she stands today was long and miserable.
She didn’t have fire-breathing dragons to capture entire armies to fight for her— she had to forge alliances herself. Sansa’s ability to strategize, maintain composure in tense situations, as well as having many allies in the North make her objectively the best potential ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Unlike the Lannisters, Sansa would attempt reforms of the system to result in improving the people’s lives— albeit in a way that doesn’t result in the equivalent of genocide.
It remains uncertain who will end up on the Iron Throne on Sunday. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: the prospect of Daenerys Targaryen’s reign is something that every conservative should hope never happens.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.