Whatever Happens, Daenerys Always Pulls At The Heartstrings On 'Game Of Thrones'

I do not often agree with Daenerys “Stormborn” Targaryen. She makes rash choices and seethes with a venom that is not often becoming of a ruler. That said, she is one of the “Game of Thrones” characters, I always feel for. In a single glance, Emilia Clarke’s dynamic performance often gives way to the pathos lying beneath Daenerys’ stormy exterior.

Clarke has long-been “Game of Thrones'” not-so-secret weapon. She finds the edges in an often blunt character. Throughout her eight seasons crafting her characterization, Emilia Clarke has carved out the emotional caverns that make Daenerys an iconic figure. In Clarke’s poised hands, Daenerys is more than an aspiring queen. She is a person.


Daenerys can be calm and cutthroat, vibrant and emotional. For all of her bluster, she is in many ways a young woman desperate to realize a dream. Daenerys thinks she is righting a wrong done to her family. Even though, her father was a mad man, who could only be stopped by the measures Jaime Lannister (rightfully) took.

Daenerys says that she wants to bring an end to tyrants and yet, her father was one of the worst ones to ever rule Westeros. It is that push and pull, that makes her so complicated.

She is a wannabe queen and an avenging daughter of a father not worthy of any revenging. Daenerys is Arya with loads of personal ambition, a misguided grudge, and a miraculous happening to her name.

Her family is not on the throne for a reason. One that is so horrific that if Daenerys bothered to dig beneath the surface of her spite, she could see the other side to what was done. If she were a Stark, she would understand why House Targaryen does not belong on the Iron Throne.

Mild spoilers for “Game of Thrones” Season 8, Episode 4 are discussed below. Specifically, nothing from the last 35 minutes is revealed.

As Daenerys celebrated with humanity in what was for her, still a strange place in Episode 4 (“The Last of the Starks”), Emilia Clarke found that aching balance. Daenerys was in a room filled with those who knew her identity and yet, she was all alone. Caught up in no one's conversation.

Clarke let Daenerys’ hurt echo throughout her face without a word. She was like a little girl at her own birthday party, who no one was paying attention too. It cut her, and it showed.

It is that ongoing sense of alienation that I think drives Daenerys to sit on the Iron Throne. Following this logic, her motive is to replace celebrity-style adoration for genuine love.

If she believes that is the solution to her emotional solitude, I think she is sadly mistaken. It would be applying a band-aid to a knife wound. Daenerys’ emotional scars run deep. They are what make her strive to be as powerful as she is and in turn, just as vulnerable.


While I do not want her to be the victor of the Iron Throne, it tugged at my heartstrings to see her so lonely. She often moves me in a way few of the other characters manage.

Among the most heartbreaking things to see on “Game of Thrones” is a sad Daenerys. No matter how frustrating she can be on paper, it is in moments such as those that you grieve for her most.

Daenerys is not a bad person. Or at least, she does not intend to be one. A lot of the time she does the right thing for the wrong reason and vice versa. She is not trying to be a villain in the story, but she has personality flaws that make her potential to become one – high.

As many people fear her as they care for her. She rules with an iron fist, and while that seems a fitting accessory for the throne, it can be a bad look when worn long-term.

I hope that Daenerys can survive the finale. I had hoped that she would get out of her own way. That she would realize, Jon is the better person to rule. He will not suffer tyrants, but he would never become one to stop them.

If she cares about people as much as she says, that truth would be evident to her, and she would support Jon’s claim. Daenerys' ego is keeping her from seeing it. Jon is not just the true heir.

He is the right person to rule. Not solely because of his birthright, rather because of who he is as a leader. A role that he can do without having to scare people into submission to think of him as one.

Daenerys’ desperate plea for Jon to not share his secret identity with his sisters did not get heeded. What that will mean for her and Jon’s relationship remains to be seen.

You can bet her reaction to learning that his true identity is out in the universe will be heartbreaking. If she learns that minds are already contemplating her overthrow it could be horrifying.

New episodes in the final season of “Game of Thrones” air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

[Featured Image by Helen Sloan/HBO]

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