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Hakim Beavers
Hakim Beavers

[S2E2] The City's Not For Burning ((HOT))

While Daenerys and Barristan are confident that they can conquer Yunkai since that city only bred sex slaves, Jorah expresses his concerns that the city's defenders will not fight them on the battlefield but will rather strengthen their position behind the walls and utilize guerrilla tactics against her army. He also views the Yunkai campaign as a distraction from their main goal of taking Westeros. Daenerys is, however, adamant on freeing the slaves of Yunkai, who number in the hundreds of thousands.[28]

[S2E2] The City's Not for Burning

The following morning, Daenerys addressed the city's slaves with Missandei serving as her translator. During her speech, Daenerys told the slaves that it was their own choice to reach for their freedom. As a result, the liberated slaves revered Daenerys as their "mhysa", which translated as "mother" from the Old Ghiscari language. Daenerys mingled with the former slaves who regarded her as a "glimmer of hope" in an increasingly dark world.[31]

After they leave the cave, Tyrion and Varys deliver news of the Unsullied's incomplete victory at Casterly Rock and the fall of Highgarden. Enraged at the loss of her allies, Daenerys snaps at Tyrion, accusing him of devising soft plans to protect his family and impulsively suggests flying to the Red Keep and burning it to the ground. She then turns her attention to Jon and asks for his advice. He tells her that all her followers saw her accomplish the impossible and believe she can do so yet again. However, using the dragons to destroy the castles and cities of Westeros would make her no different than the ones she is trying to overthrow.[59]

Sometime later, Daenerys discusses Drogo, Jorah, Daario and Jon Snow with Tyrion. A concerned Daenerys says that they're heroes who all do stupid, brave things and die. Tyrion notes that all the men she's named have all fallen in love with her. Daenerys dismisses this about Jon, claiming that he is "too little" for her, but Tyrion thinks Jon has feelings for her. When Daenerys clarifies she knows Tyrion is brave, that's why she chose him as her Hand, they discuss Cersei and how to take King's Landing. Explaining fear is all Cersei has, Tyrion tells Daenerys that it made the Lannisters' power brittle. When Daenerys says Aegon got a long way with fear, Tyrion tells Daenerys she needs to be different from who came before her if she wishes to break the wheel. The negotiations with Cersei will be difficult and Tyrion cautions Daenerys that his sister will likely try to provoke her. He lightly admonishes her for losing her temper and burning Randyll and Dickon, but Daenerys says it was necessary. Tyrion believes Daenerys acted too hastily instead of exploring other options and giving the Tarlys time to think. He wants Daenerys to defeat her enemies, as he believes in the world she wants to build. The subject turns to her succession and he notes she told him she can't have children. Daenerys wants to set this discussion aside until after she wins the throne, and leaves.[61]

She arrives in time to save Jon and his party, burning countless wights and landing for them to climb up. The Night King, however, impales Viserion with an ice spear through the throat, killing him. Enraged, Jon sets his eyes on the Night King but as the monster reaches for another spear, he then shouts at Daenerys to leave. Reluctantly, she and the others flee just as the Night King throws another spear at Drogon, which misses, and they return to Eastwatch. Daenerys stands on the Wall with Jorah, who ushers her to leave, but stays, obviously concerned for Jon. When he returns on the horse of Benjen Stark, who sacrificed his life to save him, Daenerys is visibly elated and sees Jon's stab wounds for the first time when they remove Jon's frozen clothes, realizing the truth of what Davos said about him.[61]

They escape as the Night King hurls an ice spear at Drogon. When Jon is surrounded by newly risen wights, Daenerys saves him with Drogon, burning through wights and creating a path for Jon to rush into Winterfell to help Bran and stop the Night King. She urges Jon to go and after he runs to stop the Night King, wights climb onto Drogon, and Daenerys falls off while Drogon flies away. Daenerys takes hold of a discarded sword and slays a few wights who come her way or Jorah's. However, she is also protected by Jorah, who dies defending her, leaving Daenerys sobbing while Drogon wraps around them after the Army of the Dead falls.[65]

Tyrion consults with Daenerys, the latter of whom is now ordering Grey Worm and the Unsullied to sack King's Landing. Tyrion is strongly against it, saying that the citizens of the city are not Daenerys's enemy and are innocent. Daenerys counters that the slaves in Meereen turned against their masters and liberated themselves. Tyrion responds that the smallfolk are afraid of Cersei because Cersei will punish any rebellious acts. Daenerys says they are hostages in a tyrant's grip, and Tyrion begs her not to burn the city, or thousands of children will die. Daenerys counters that Cersei is using mercy as a weakness against them but Cersei is wrong, mercy is their strength - her mercy for the future generations of Westeros, not those in the present. In a last-ditch effort to get through to Daenerys, Tyrion bargains one last time: wait for the city to surrender and call off the attack when the people ring the city's bells, indicating the full, unconditional surrender of Cersei and her army. Reluctantly, Daenerys agrees. Before Tyrion leaves, she informs her Hand that Jaime was caught by her men trying to get past their lines. She warns him that the next time he fails her, it will be his very last.[67]

Daenerys destroys the gate and its walls that the Golden Company guards, killing many of the sellswords from the debris that falls upon them. This allows the Dothraki, Unsullied, the Northern and the Vale armies to destroy the remaining sellsword contingent and charge into the city. Overwhelmed, the Lannister soldiers and civilians surrender, ringing the city's bells. However, Daenerys, consumed by grief and anger, instead goes on a rampage, using Drogon to burn King's Landing. The dragonfire also sets off the wildfire caches placed around the city by her father, the Mad King, years ago, leaving the city in ashes. At the same time, her armies, taking their lead from Daenerys, proceed to run riot through the city, killing any Lannister soldiers and civilians they can get their hands on.[67]

Initially, Daenerys did not exhibit the "Targaryen madness" that plagued many of her ancestors, including her father and, to a lesser extent, her brother Viserys. Like most Targaryens, she could be ruthless to her perceived enemies, but while Viserys was cruel and demanding to his servants and even his benefactors, Daenerys reciprocated the loyalty of those who followed her with gratitude and compassion, especially towards her inner circle of friends and her dragons. On the other hand, insanity was often a late-onset condition in the Targaryens, and it didn't always manifest in obvious ways: One could argue that certain of Daenerys's actions, such as her crucifixion of 163 slave masters in Meereen and her burning the men of House Tarly with dragonfire, were telltale signs of Targaryen madness, but even these are not as simple as they appear: In the former case, she felt she was avenging the deaths of 163 innocent slave children that the masters had crucified in order to intimidate her, thus there was a well-intentioned, if brutal, motive behind the act. In the latter case, the men of House Tarly were in open rebellion against her and had refused her offer of bending the knee, thus making the distinction different from inflicting punishment for its own sake.

During the Battle of King's Landing, Daenerys finally snapped - burning the inhabitants alive even though the city had surrendered to her - and by all appearances seemed to have gone mad. However, this may not have been the actual "Targaryen madness" that prompted her father to attempt a similar action: It is equally possible that her actions were motivated or even triggered by the extreme anger and grief over her recent losses, most of which were caused in some way by the Lannisters. Also, it should be noted that the Targaryen Madness, historically, does not always equate to "insanity" as we might understand it. In fact, of all the Targaryens who ruled as kings, the only one who could truly be called "insane" in the contemporary sense was Aerys II; Daenerys's father heard voices in his head and lost all touch with reality. Daenerys displayed no such symptoms, and after her destructive rampage, she seemed perfectly lucid when speaking to Jon in the ruins of the Red Keep. Madness takes many forms, including true psychopathy, which seems to have emerged in Daenerys. Though her actions may be justifiable, that does not make them right, or proof of a sound mind. Her ancestor Maegor, it could be argued, was justified in taking a similarly harsh hand in dealing with the rebellious Faith Militant, but his cruelty was objectively excessive and, as his successor, Jaehaerys I, proved, not the only solution to the problem.

In the books, Daenerys does not appear to be "fireproof." Martin has stated that her ability to survive Drogo's funeral pyre was a special circumstance, a blood magic ritual involving "fire and blood" - only life can pay for a life, so burning Mirri Maz Duur in the funeral pyre was enough to awaken the life in the dormant dragon eggs. Under normal circumstances, Daenerys is no more immune to fire than any other human. Her brother Viserys once claimed in the novels that Targaryens were a race above other men, immune to both fire and illness - this was blatantly wrong, given that multiple Targaryens in the past are well-known for having burned to death, and many have succumbed to common illnesses over the years (including greyscale). Viserys's comment just highlights how little he knew about Targaryen history (or anything else). It does appear that Targaryens seem to have a slightly higher heat tolerance than average, though: at Illyrio's mansion Daenerys takes a bath in near-scalding hot water, despite the protests of her maidservant, but in the novels, she thinks to herself how pleasant the heat feels (this also happened in the first episode of the TV series). Still, this is nothing outside the normal human range - i.e. any more than centuries of history have shaped the Dornish to be more comfortable in the dry desert heat, or shaped the wildlings to be more accustomed to a cold climate. In fact, when Daenerys rides Drogon out of the Great Pit of Meereen, she is stated to have burns and blisters on her hands from the flames. 041b061a72


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