Bachelor of Arts
Rachel Willis, MA
Beth Savage, PhD
The release of the final episodes of Game of Thrones was met with uproar, particularly in response to David Benioff and Weiss’s ending for the beloved Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke. Her descent into madness has sparked controversy over whether she deserved this fate, with the unexplained slaughter of Kings Landing being yet another example of the showrunners rushing through the eighth and final season. Popular belief agrees either way that Dany’s downfall is attributed to the madness that runs through Targaryen bloodlines. I argue, however, that it is patriarchal impositions that lead to her demise. Jon Snow, as a male, is privileged in that his Targaryen roots enable him a claim to the throne, without any of the negative Targaryen associations being attached to him; society easily transfers the negative traits, such as being prone to madness, onto Daenerys, though, because women are already believed to harbor these characteristics. Despite the profuse evidence that counters Dany fitting into the stereotypes of Targaryens and women, society (both Westeros’s and ours) pushes her into them. Westeros and the show-runners frame Daenerys as yet another woman turned mad in order to justify her permanent removal from power.
Yauss, Barbara, "Daenerys Targaryen: Mad or Madly Ended? A Feminist Analysis of Her Downfall" (2020). Undergraduate Theses and Capstone Projects. 189.