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Game of Thrones Season 8 Theory Says Daenerys Targaryen Will Be the Villain
Daenerys Targaryen’s path toward her seat as the rightful queen of Westeros has been paved with a lot of fuck-ups. Most recently, in a telling Season Seven moment, Dany literally burned alive two prisoners of war—and the last of a great house—because they refused to bend the knee to her. This naturally brought to mind the not-so-distant memory of her father, the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, who was known for burning alive anyone who disagreed with him.
Although she’s often positioned as the righteous, moral leader, some of Danys’s actions prove otherwise. And this is an important thing to notice about Dany in context of Game of Thrones as a whole. There are very few, if any, wholly good characters. Even our heroes make mistakes, some of the most beloved characters on this show began the series as murderers or worse.
And, one new Game of Thrones theory on Reddit, explains how that outlook must expand to the final season of this show as well.
Both the show and the book series seek to portray a fantasy setting in realistic terms, clearly displaying the grim aspects of medieval life, the brutality of warfare, and the grey morality of its characters. That’s why I don’t think that either the Night King (a supernatural entity with absolutely no characterization) or Cersei (a comically evil despot) will be the big bads. Both characters are too easy to root against, and having a clear conflict between good and evil doesn’t seem in line with what we have seen from the first seven seasons.
Love it or hate it, this is the greater position Game of Thrones takes about good and evil. It’s not always clear, and it’s not always as easy as we’re used to in fantasy stories. Since Game of Thrones has proven that repeatedly throughout this series, fans should be prepared for Dany to be the ultimate proof that there’s a fine line between good and evil.
Daenerys Targaryen will end as the big bad, because she would be an interesting, and dangerous villain. She is extremely powerful, possessing the largest army as well as dragons. She is sympathetic, having been abused and hunted her whole life, punished for the sins of her family, yet still being generous to those closest to her. And she has great moral arguments, seeking to abolish slavery, end the chaos in Westeros, stop the Dothraki and the Ironborn from raiding and raping, and become a queen in a world dominated by men.
Even if you look at some of Dany’s best contributions to the world, all of them have been done for her own personal gain. Nothing Dany has done has been a selfless act. Dany freed the Unsullied to get an army, she freed the slaves in Meereen so she could take the city—two of her greatest acts have been in pursuit of power, and not for making the world a better place.
Morally, Daenerys is undoubtedly a hero, but from an ethical standpoint, she is completely bankrupt. At the end of the day, she won’t be changing the political situation in Westeros (Jon: “You’re just more of the same.”), since her rule would not be one of laws, but one of her own personal discretion. Time and again, she has shown that the only crime she punishes is disloyalty. She uses brutal methods to enforce her worldview, and she has a messianic complex about her own actions, such as when she is appalled that the witch isn’t grateful to her for stopping the Dothraki from raping her a fourth time. She wants to abolish slavery, yet she commands an army of slavers, and her closest ally was banished for slavery. When Daario murders his allies and betrays his clients, she accepts his companionship because he schmoozes her. She doesn’t want to be blamed for her father’s crimes, but she demands that allegiances to her family are recognized. She burns prisoners alive for refusing to fight alongside foreign invaders against their countrymen.
Yet, despite her missteps, Dany still believes that she is not only the rightful ruler of Westeros, but the best person for the job. Even when she’s burning prisoners of war alive, she believes she’s doing the right thing. And such power and self-delusion can make for a pretty dangerous leader. Consider, for example, Cersei’s propaganda against Dany, when she describes the Mother of Dragons as someone who has already waged war across another continent, leaving a trail of bodies. She’s not wrong—it’s just a matter of perspective. So when, and if, Dany does “break the wheel” and sit on the Iron Throne, would she be any different from Cersei or the Mad King, himself?
The “Wheel” that Daenerys refers to doesn’t arise just from the moral failings of Westerosi leaders; it arises from a political system where ultimate power is vested in individuals, and not the rule of law. Daenerys is just more of the same, believing her way is the only way, refusing to compromise, and slaughtering dissidents, only she has dragons and a moral banner to rally armies behind. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and ultimate power will ultimately corrupt Daenerys. Setting her up as the final villain would be a much more moving, and fitting, ending to the show, instead of having the power couple team up to kill the zombie army and the comic villain.
Given everything we’ve watch unfold over the course of seven seasons, this is a possibility Game of Thrones fans should be prepared for. It’s just as likely as the Night King winning and humanity being destroyed.