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Why I dislike Daenerys


Basically…

…she has dragons.

Yes, that is the main reason. There are others – her idealism and impatience screaming “I am about to get disappointed and become a tyrant”, her dreaming about throne in Westeros while piling up responsibilities in Essos, her conquering a city and then leaving it with new government and absolutely no protection in an extremely hostile environment, her basing her decisions on her passions as opposed to reason, and of course her final vision in ADWD. And a lot of much less relevant stuff besides.

But the main reason is dragons.

A Song of Ice and Fire is a series about politics. And in the basis of politics is the concept of legitimacy – the idea that people have to accept a ruler in order for ruler to rule. That idea was enhanced in various ways – the divine right of kings being one such – but a real absolute monarchy remained impossible in pre-modern (read: pre-gunpowder) era, as no ruler had power directly at their fingertips.

In fact, many “autocratic regimes” of antiquity and middle ages were much less authoritarian than some democracies today. Rulers were reliant on their subject: regardless of whether the immediate concern were the magnates of England and Hungary, or the fickle and politically extremely active masses of Constantinople, all rulers knew that angering their subjects was not a good idea. Because if they did, they would lose their revenue and their armies, everything they had to have to remain in power – exactly at the time they were likely to receive a visit from maybe few or few dozen armies, with an angry mob or two thrown into the mix for a good measure.

But with dragons, the equation changes. Ruler’s power is no longer reliant on acceptance of his (or her) subjects. Instead, it lies between the jaws of a fire-breathing reptile. And issue here is, ruler does not even need to use a dragon for effect: everyone in Westeros still remembers Aegon’s Conquest and the Field of Fire. Dragons are remembered in Essos as well.

Daenerys is sometimes compared to Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, but in this case it is Aegon (Young Griff) who is a much more similar. Aragorn’s claim is based on his bloodline, his lineage, and his abilities as a leader and a commander – which are considerable. But he does not have the ability to force anyone to follow his claim. If they wanted to, everybody could have laughed him off. This may well have happened to Aegon when he met the Golden Company – but for quite some time, nobody can just ignore Daenerys or laugh her off. Ever since her dragons started breathing fire, in fact.

Contrast between Aegon VI and Daenerys, or Jon and Daenerys, is not just a contrast of upbringing, of circumstance. It is also a contrast of ideas of rulership – and not in the manner in which Varys presented it. Fact is, regardless of whether Aegon or Daenerys, or Jon or Daenerys, perform better as a ruler, Daenerys will always be an inferior choice to either one of them.

Because she has dragons.

P.S.

The only way to fix this would be to give Aegon and Jon both a dragon each. But even that would be a crippled solution at best, as it would only mean that no one ruler may rule unopposed but would still leave general populace at the mercy of people with fire-breathing reptiles.

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