One of the more intriguing Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire fan theories I’ve seen thrown around over the years is the idea that Daenerys Targaryen is going to have a nervous break down and become “the Mad Queen.”
I personally don’t know if it’s going to happen, since I suspect that on the HBO show the writers will have Cersei Lannister be “the Mad Queen” in season eight, but it’s interesting to contemplate. Dany means well and wants to break the wheel, free the slaves, etc., but House Targaryen has a tendency towards madness. Add in the fact that she’s flameproof, has dragons for children, often sees the world in black and white, and we’ve got a good catalyst for the possibility that Dany might have inherited her father’s madness and will burn Westeros to the ground.
For my fellow Game of Thrones nerds who haven’t heard about the “Dany is going to become a mad queen” theory, here’s the 15 reasons why she could become Aerys Targaryen 2.0.
15 Dany Was A Little Too Willing To Burn The Tarlys
Tyrion Lannister and many Game of Thrones fans were absolutely HORRIFIED when Daenerys Targaryen ordered that Randyll Tarly and his son Dickon should be burned alive by dragon fire. She wouldn’t even consider letting Randyll and Dickon serve as part of the Night’s Watch OR sit in a cell until they agreed to swear fealty to her. It was a disturbing order, but it’s even MORE disturbing when we know that Dany’s dad, Aerys II Targaryen, was dubbed “the Mad King,” all because he had a penchant for burning his enemies alive by using wildfire. That’s exactly how Rickard and Brandon Stark died in the throne room and fueled the Starks’ rage against the Targaryens.
It’s pretty scary knowing that Dany is well aware of her father’s murderous tendencies yet STILL burned the Tarlys alive.
14 The Targaryens Have A History Of Believing They Are Invulnerable
King Aegon V Targaryen began to dream of dragons and tried unsuccessfully to hatch dragon eggs at Summerhall. This lead to the death of the king, his eldest son, heir Ser Duncan the Small, and Ser Duncan the Tall — who was the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Aegon V most likely believed that that he would be immune to the fire and could hatch the dragon eggs by setting Summerhall on fire. Prince Aerion Targaryen also believed that he was a dragon in human form and he died after he drank wildfire. Apparently, he felt that the wildfire would help him shed his human skin and return him to his dragon body. Dany knows she is immune to fire (well, at least in the show), but if she gets too arrogant, it should push her over the edge and she could embrace her ancestors’ madness.
13 One Word: Summerhall
The Targaryen family’s dreams of hatching a dragon came to a bitter end when King Aegon V burned the entire place down. He probably thought he was going to walk out of there unharmed with a dragon clinging to him, but his stunt ended with his death, the death of his BFF, and his eldest son. Dany should heed his story, since Aegon V started out by wanting to help the smallfolk, but he realized that he couldn’t control the high lords of Westeros without dragons.
The tragedy at Summerhall was Aegon V’s desperate attempt to hatch the dragon egg he’d been given as a boy, so that he’d have a powerful weapon in order to terrify the lords of Westeros into submission. Dany has two other dragons, but she should be careful to not try and replace Viserion by trying to find yet another dragon egg and making it hatch. It might end badly for her.
12 Dany Is More Of A Conquerer Than Ruler
Aegon the Conqueror took his two sister-wives and their three dragons to Westeros where they took over the country by force, and burned all those who stood in their way. Daenerys aspires to be a just ruler that actually cares about the poor and less fortunate, but she is still a conqueror at heart. Throughout the past seven seasons, she kept telling anyone who would listen that “she’d take the Iron Throne with fire and blood.” Dany also wanted to take her three dragons and burn King’s Landing to the ground after Cersei Lannister ordered Euron Greyjoy to attack Dany’s ships.
Thankfully Dany listened to cooler heads (like Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow), but the fact that her first impulse was to burn her enemies to ash is just a wee bit disturbing.
11 She's Willing To Kill Thousands In Order To Gain The Throne
Dany’s conqueror tendencies are even more disturbing since it means that thousands of smallfolk will die horribly. By burning the food that the Lannister army was sending to King’s Landing, it means that the poor folks who live in the shadow of the Red Keep are probably going to starve during the winter. For someone who keeps saying that she wants to break the wheel, forcing people to starve in order to win the Iron Throne isn’t exactly a compassionate move. Plus, I’m sure Cersei Lannister made DAMN sure to tell the smallfolk that it was Daenerys Targaryen that burned all of their food stores so as soon as winter hits and they’re hungry AF, they will probably blame the Dragon Queen. Yeah, that's not exactly a good start for someone who claims they want to help the poor and less fortunate.
10 Dany Demanded Absolute Authority To The Defeated Lannisters
It was creepy AF when Dany demanded that the defeated Lannister soldiers either bend the knee and join her, or get burned alive via dragon fire like Randyll Tarly and Dickon Tarly. Someone needs to toss her a history book depicting the life of Julius Caesar. That dude always liked to boast about how he had a policy of clemency and pardoned his enemies, but the very same people he pardoned still feared and hated him. Ultimately it cost Julius Caesar his life because Brutus and his pals were afraid that he was going to become dictator for life; so they decided to brutally murder him.
Yes, Daenerys has dragons and the Unsullied, but they can’t protect her all of the time. What happens when a group of disgruntled Lannister soldiers decides to hatch a plot to bring down the tyrant Dragon Queen? It won’t end well for Dany.
9 There's A Good Chance Genetics Will Doom Her
Daenerys Targaryen is one of my hands-down favorite characters, but the poor woman got the short end of the stick when it comes to genetics. The majority of her family members were definitely a few fries short of a Happy Meal and Dany inherited the tendency for madness.
At the end of A Dance With Dragons when she’s lost in the wilderness, she starts hallucinating a dead Viserys talking to her. With anyone else, I would have chalked those visions up to hallucinating due to near-starvation, but it’s a troubling sign given Dany’s family history. I mean, one dude tried hatching dragon eggs by burning down Sumerhall and another guy THOUGHT he was a dragon in human form. Just WTF? Since Westeros doesn’t exactly have therapists, it’s not a good sign that Dany’s starting to see visions and hear voices.
8 She's Obsessed With The Prophecy From The House Of The Undying
In A Clash of Kings, Daenerys has a vision when she visits the House of the Undying. She sees a vision of her older brother Rhaegar naming his son Aegon and claiming that he’s going to be the “Prince That Was Promised.” The Undying also told her that “three fires must you light: one for life, one for death and one to love. Three mounts must you ride: one to bed, one to dread and one to love. Three treasons will you know: once for blood, once for gold and once for love.” Dany becomes OBSESSED with these prophecies and we all know a Targaryen becoming obsessed with premonitions that may or may not ever come to pass is NOT a good thing. It’s partly what led to the tragedy of Summerhall, and it’s why Dany’s mom, Rhaella, was married off to freakin’ Aerys II. It was foretold that the "Prince That Was Promised" would come from their line.
7 Dany's Threatening Her Advisors Out Of Paranoia
In Game of Thrones season seven, it’s increasingly clear that Dany is starting to distrust both Tyrion Lannister and Varys the Spider. There was definitely more than a hint of paranoia when she told Varys that if he ever betrayed her, she’d burn him alive. I get being a bit mistrustful of him, especially after he admitted that he betrayed the former rulers because he felt that they didn’t give a sh*t about the common folk, but COME ON. Threatening to pull an Aerys II isn’t exactly going to reassure the dude that she ISN’T as batsh*t crazy as most of her family was. In fact, that would probably freak him the f*** out and force him to plot against her. That wasn't exactly Dany's brightest moment.
6 She's Seen As Some Sort Of Deity
Ever since Daenerys managed to hatch dragon eggs AND survive the flames from Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre, her khalasar acted like she was some sort of demi-goddess. Not that I can entirely blame them; hatching three dragon eggs AND managing to (sort of) tame them is pretty damn impressive. The sixth book hasn’t come out yet, but in the sixth season she burned the remaining Dothraki khals alive and her miraculous survival convinced the rest of the horde to follow her as their Khaleesi.
Let’s face it, absolute power corrupts, and all this hero worship (quite literally, I might add) could send Dany over the edge. Being so smug about her ability to be fireproof might be the catalyst that breaks her mind and makes her follow her father’s madness.
5 Dany Can Be Very Self-Righteous
I love Dany, but let’s face it — she can be very self-righteous. She took over Meereen even though she didn’t have much experience as a ruler and immediately expected the city to ditch age-old customs. I’m glad she freed the slaves, but she should have used some more positive reinforcement in order to pacify the masters instead of just being like “Well, I’m right, you’re wrong so you’re going to listen to me.” Perhaps if she wasn’t so self-righteous and tried to sweet-talk the masters, the Sons of the Harpy wouldn’t have created so much damn chaos by rebelling. That would have saved a LOT of lives in Meereen. I hope one of her advisors tosses her a copy of Don’t Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor so she learns how to train both dogs, her dragons, AND people.
4 She Was Hallucinating In The Fifth Book
In A Dance With Dragons, Drogon drops Dany off in the Dothraki sea after they escape from the dragon pit and the attack by the Sons of the Harpy. While she’s lost and alone in the high grass, Dany starts hallucinating and hearing voices. This is NOT a good sign, given her family’s tendencies for madness. One of the people she hears is her deceased older brother Viserys. He berates her for allowing her ex-husband Khal Drogo to kill him with “a crown of molten gold” and insisted that all he did was out of love. He also told her that if he’d been the one to hatch the dragon eggs, he would’ve taught the world about the meaning of the words of House Targaryen. That's not a good sign, especially since Dany is the Mother of Dragons and could easily destroy Westeros with her “children.”
3 Dany Is Too Ambitious For Her Own Good
I can’t exactly blame Daenerys for wanting to take back the Iron Throne after Robert Baratheon destroyed her entire family and took the kingdom for himself. That being said, she is SO single-minded about regaining the Iron Throne and it caused a lot of unnecessary grief. For example, take her stance with the White Walkers. She didn’t believe Jon Snow when he told them about the Night King and his army in the seventh season. Her stubbornness and focus on ONLY obtaining the Iron Throne lead to the death of poor Viserion AND Thoros of Myr. If she’d been willing to listen to Jon in the first place, maybe she wouldn’t have lost her dragon. Now Viserion is an undead wight in control of the Night King and he burned down the Wall in the season seven finale.
2 She Has No Problem Killing Those Who Stand In Her Way
Dany keeps going on about “wanting to break the wheel.” It’s a noble idea, but I don’t know how much she is going to go through with it. After all, this is the EXACT same woman who has ZERO qualms about killing her enemies, especially if they get in her way. She did say that everyone who disagrees with her taking back the Iron Throne can “either live in her world or die in the old one.” That’s terrifying when considering that she’s got DRAGONS and can easily burn down all of Westeros. Add in the fact that she’s willful AF, has no problems killing people who she feels are against her, and doesn’t always listen to her advisors, and we’ve got a potential recipe for disaster.
1 Dany Won The Dothraki Over With Promises Of Destroying Westeros
I was side-eying Dany SO DAMN HARD in Game of Thrones season six after she burned the Dothraki Khals alive and rallied the rest of the horde by basically telling them that they could kill as many men as they’d like, once they got to Westeros. I know she needs an army to help her retake the throne, but that’s a bit gross — especially given that her deceased husband, Khal Drogo, once promised that he’d help his wife take the Iron Throne and have his men kill the soldiers and sexually assault their women. Let’s face it, we KNOW the Dothraki are all about brutality and I don’t know if Dany could reign in their darker tendencies, especially in the heat of battle. But I guess we'll see.