Game of Thrones fans, we need to talk about Daenerys
Game of Thrones was on last night. It was the penultimate episode ever. Before I go on, obviously, spoilers.
Don't come at me for writing about something which happened on TV last night, you've been warned and I've made my thoughts on spoilers very clear already.
So, this morning I woke up having not seen Game of Thrones for this week yet. I was out last night and had set aside time this morning to watch it. I tiptoed onto Twitter, fully prepared to have to dodge a flurry of potential spoilers. What I was met with was a raging fire the likes of which I would see again on my TV screen later that day.
In the past couple of weeks, hordes of Game of Thrones fans have turned on the show and begun tearing it down faster than Daenerys and Drogon did to King's Landing.
Only with less success, because they are sitting at a keyboard and she was atop a mythical fire-breathing monster.
And the real irony? What these fans are doing to the show is exactly what they are angry about characters in the show doing. A few weeks ago, Twitter was ringing with the sound of excited fans waiting to see their favourite show brought to it's conclusion, not unlike a certain platinum-haired Khaleesi (choosing that as a baby name hasn't aged well has it?) riding towards her expected destiny on the Iron Throne. Now, suddenly, after a few things did not go the way we wanted, people have started to vent their fury and burn the whole thing down.
I'll be the first to admit, when this season of Game of Thrones was announced I thought they had given themselves rather a lot to do. There were a lot of loose ends to tie up and character stories to resolve with about seven hours of TV time to do it.
But since the start, the outpouring of hate has been remarkable. Every Tuesday there seems to be about a hundred articles hating everything about the show. That's fine, they're entitled to their opinion, but I can't help but feel some of us are missing the point.
There has been lots of fury that prophecies aren't being fulfilled and characters are not being satisfactorily wrapped up. It would take too long to go into all of these. Let's briefly touch on two of the big ones - The Night King and the valonqar prophecy.
The valonqar prophecy stated that Cersei would marry a king and have children who would die. So far, so good. But in the books, the prophecy also stated that the valonqar (younger sibling) would wrap their hands around Cersei's throat and choke her after she has drowned in tears. First and foremost, remember this: that part was left out of the TV show. It didn't happen. So if you're expecting book things which aren't mentioned to show up on TV then you are fighting a losing battle. If you want to get technical, Jamie is Cersei's younger brother, she was trapped underground after crying a lot and his hands were on her throat. That is more than we were promised.
Ah, the Night King. Basically, we all wanted him to to Bran didn't we? We had created the possibility of this and we're angry it didn't happen. Ignoring the fact that explaining and resolving that would have taken far too long, it is slightly missing the point. The Night King was always a red herring, the story was never about him.
That, really, is the point here; we fans are doing what fans do and that is taking ownership of things we love and getting cross when it doesn't work out like we planned it.
Which brings us to Daenerys. I'm not going to get into a long argument here, but if you thought she was ever heading in any direction except fire-crazed Mad Queen then you were wrong. You've always been wrong.
Daenerys has never been made to look like a good ruler. Westeros has actually, for my money, only produced only good ruler across the last seven series. I'll let you guess who because it's a topic for another blog. (Hint: They never actually sat on the Iron Throne).
Was her switch to vengeful pyromaniac pretty swift? Yes, but there is limited TV time. Things happen faster on TV so we can get to the point, that's why we haven't spent three episodes watching an army defecate by the roadside as they march cross-country. But this is not a character arc being shockingly abandoned, it is being completed.
The story has always been heading for this conclusion. Don't believe me? Then look back at where we started. This story began with Ned Stark heading south with tales about how a Targaryen ruler had burned his family, it began with a Lannister Hand who had turned his back on a Targaryen ruler and a Lannister son who has killed a mad ruler. Now those strands are interwoven and those families are headed for another clash and the question is simple: Will history repeat itself? Can the current generation do better than their forefathers?
That is the question Game of Thrones has always been leading to. This is the moment it has always been leading to.