The Debate: Is Daenerys Targaryen the Hero or the Villain of Game of Thrones

“Madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land.”

-Spoilers for the latest episode of Game of Thrones

A lot has changed in just a few short episodes of season seven of Game of Thrones, the most notable being Daenerys Targaryen’s return to Westeros in a hail of dragon fire and crushed skulls. But the closer Dany gets to the Iron Throne, the more we’re reminded of what happened last time a Targaryen was on the throne…

*Quick update for anyone that forgot what happened the last time a Targaryen was on the throne* 

Prior to the first episode of Game of Thrones, there was a Targaryen dynasty in which they interbred so badly that they were all solidly a little bonkers. Aerys ll Targaryen (Danerys, Viserys and Rhaegar’s dad) ended up burning people at whim including a few Starks and ended up being stabbed in the back by Jamie Lannister



You burn like ten people and they call you mad…

So does the apple fall far from the tree? Let’s look at it from both sides….

Daenerys Targaryen the Hero 


  • Convinced the Dothraki to follow her when Khal Drogo died
  • Fireproof
  • People’s Queen
  • Literally hatched dragons thousands of years after their extinction
  • Liberated Slaver’s Bay
  • Convinced the Unsullied to follow her
  • Lead the Khalsar across the sea
  • Stayed to enforce her no-slavery policy
  • Has defined aspirations to be a fair and just leader, isn’t just in it for the power

Daenerys Targaryen the hero started with her own mythology, the exiled princess from the former ruling family, the overarching story from season one was her exploration from victim to leader, she’s been working towards the Iron Throne for years so her goals got shrouded by the overarching channels of power.

Daenerys Targaryen the Villain 


  • Burnt alotta people without impunity
  • Made deals which were primarily to get what she wanted (e.g. the healer she made a deal with to get Khal Drogo)
  • Is a big fan of burning those who don’t bend the knee
  • Reopened the fighting pits
  • Not supported by a lot of Westeros

You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain 

As a show and a book series, Game of Thrones has put a lot of effort into subverting the typical tropes of the fantasy genre. Golden Haired Knights and Queens are in incest relationships, the valiant prince is a psychopath and the fair maiden is the most powerful player in the game. Daenerys Targaryen’s journey might end with another trope subversion

Saving grace? 


Is Westeros favourite Wino, the one that’s going to save Dany from her absolute madness? The two have been on opposing paths since the beginning, Tyrion came from the most powerful family in Westeros and ended up with nothing but his own power to lead the way Dany started with nothing but worked her way up through her own virtues.

As absolute power corrupts absolutely, Tyrion could be Dany’s saving grace assuming she listens to his advice, as the story of Game of Thrones doesn’t neccessarily end with who sits on the Iron Throne…




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