Although I agree with the general gist of your post, it's not at all true that my post was mere rhetoric; it is daenerys who convinces khal drogo to set on a plan to conquer westeros; that's not a khal drogo idea: it's hers. And he isn't convinced until the failed assassination attempt. The idea that she is somehow above him and sees him as an impulsive hothead is not really apparent either.I understand Daenerys always had the potential to go apeshit and be the ultimate villain of the story. The problem, as so many people are pointing out, is the execution. A lot of the things on your list are mere rhetoric: who cares if she threatens to burn cities to the ground if she never actually did it? The first season example is particularly unconvincing: "the Stallion Who Mounts the World" was a pure Khal Drogo idea, and as time went on, Dany seemed to understand that Drogo was an impulsive hothead who never would have made a decent ruler, even if she still cherished his memory. The people she actually kills were, at least arguably, guilty of terrible crimes themselves. Still, these examples do lay the groundwork for the possibility of her going overboard someday. The problem is the counterexamples were always presented much more thoroughly as more indicative of her character: the trial for her ex-slave advisor whose execution caused a riot, locking up her dragons for the death of a single shepherd girl, the warm moments between her and Barristan Selmy when he reminisces about what a kindly man Rhaegar was (that last clearly reflected when Jon mentions he does not enjoy killing -- you can practically see her fall for him in that moment).
I think Martin's goal -- and I haven't read the books, so grain of salt and all -- was to depict the creation of a fantasy villain from relatively innocent beginnings to a tragic, crushing fall from grace. That's super interesting and could have been heartbreaking if done correctly. But the show put so much focus on Daenerys's sympathetic side, and cast her actions in such a righteous light (or at least in a gray area), that the decision to indiscriminately massacre the largest city in Westeros (it's fucking burnt flat! the death toll might well be in the hundreds of thousands) really does seem against her character -- as if she's learned nothing from what she's gone through in the last eight seasons. Which, really, seems to be the problem with most of the characters in the final act. Everyone is regressing to our initial impression of them.
What's missing, I think, is a scene or preferably a series of scenes where Dany reflects on her attempts to be a just ruler and how it never really worked out -- all she got was revolution and civil unrest, slowly coming to dismiss the successes she had and rationalizing that even those would never happen in Westeros because the people didn't accept her. The arc of her story after finally arriving in Westeros was just fuckup after fuckup, but every bit of it seemed to be due to the bad advice of her councilors rather than the methods she employed in Essos not working. It could have become something absolutely chilling if she drew the conclusion that slaves are worth saving but free people are not, since in their freedom they make the wrong choices (i.e., not loving Daenerys Targaryen).
All of this needed more episodes than they allotted. That'll be the ultimate conclusion, most likely: Game of Thrones failed because they tried to wrap it up too soon and too hastily.
Slavery is not a terrible crime in Essos (at least slaver's bay), it's not even a crime at all and for her to impose it as such, is a radical idea. It goes against the whole social order. It is far more radical than burning the Tarly's because they refuse to bend the knee; killing houses is not that uncommon in the world of game of thrones. Opposing slavery is normal in Braavos and westeros (it's what got Jorah banished), but not in slaver's bay.
It's as almost as radical as enacting gay marriage in saudi arabia, or abolishing it in the west.
Many people saw a just revenge from Daenerys when she suddenly spoke valyrian and burned the slave masters; I saw people who should not have tried to trade with her and put her to the death. Similar with Qarth, where the social order was upset by her arrival. She broke her trade agreement when she had been received as a guest. Rudely perhaps, but there is some comparison to the red wedding even there.
After that I found it hard to like her. What if Missandei or the unsullied had chosen to not follow her, when they were given the choice? What if the dothraki hadn't? We don't really see people defecting from her. In a conversation between Jon and Missandei, she is adament that she would receive a ship and be allowed to leave. But we don't really know if that is true.
Now that I think about it, there's an interesting parallel between Robb Stark and Daenerys Stormborn. After all, his campaign truly went into the shitter after one of his followers, the karstarks, killed an enemy that was imprisoned and he executed the follower for it, dealing irreparable damage to his forces. Daenerys too executed one of the slaves, who killed a master who was already caught and lost the support of the lowerclass:
I agree that she is highlighted in a sympathetic light and the sentimental element in her music themes are part of that; but I also think that's the women are wonderful effect, where in general people are more forgiving of what women do and more likely to root for them.
As for the earlier point about all the people being wrong about her; Barristan Selmy was barely there long enough to really form a strong opinion on her, Jorah was already someone with poor life judgement (slaving in westeros for his wife; falling in love with the person he's supposed to spy on; going through valyria). Jorah's devotion, though he says it's because she's good.
The part that made sure that Daenerys could never really be good is her ambition; an ambition similar to Tywin, Littlefinger and Margeary (who had a part in setting up Renly against Stannis, against the line of succession).
The elements of Daenerys ambitious side were always there, not in the least in her dealings in the east. Another example is when she arrogantly took the gifts offered to her in trade for her leaving for westeros and then armed their slaves and used them to cause insurrection. I know that in modernity people view these things as noble, particularly for its comparison to Lincoln and abolishing of slavery, but I don't believe that abolishing slavery is either her or Lincoln's motive: if you are ambitious you have to find someone disaffected to be your foot soldier. The change of social order is a tool more than a goal. In the end her goal was always to "break the wheel", which is essentially just her usurpations to become the person that divine authority derives from.
How the hell do they make blue hair and gold-tipped mustache look almost alright? Artists man, fucking magicians.Book Dany is a thirsty 16 year old who fell in love with a pirate with a neon blue beard. It makes a lot more sense when she goes ham on people because that's what you'd expect from a hormonal 16 year old who learned everything she knows about how to rule from her brother Viserys.