Game of Thrones' Daenerys Targaryen is an easy character to love. She’s a power leader, who makes speeches that could recruit pretty much anyone to her side of the war. She’s the Mother of Dragons. Like, she for real gave birth to dragons, so she has that going for her. Daenerys also goes around freeing slaves for funsies. In almost every situation, Daenerys has the moral high ground. Oh, and she wants to "break the wheel." On top of all of this, Daenerys (played by Emilia Clarke) is also one of the most beautiful women ever. So, I get it. It’s easy to love Daenerys Targaryen. But also, Daenerys Targaryen is kind of the worst.
It sounds like blasphemy to call Daenerys Targaryen "the worst" on a show that produced characters such as Joffrey Baratheon, Ramsay Bolton, and Walder Frey. But at least people didn't root for those characters. Daenerys Targaryen, on the other hand, can seemingly do whatever she wants and still gets labeled the "good guy" by the audience. The single most frustrating part about Daenerys Targaryen is that no matter what she does, audiences are still convinced she's the hero of the show. And yes, the narrative of the show paints her in a favorable light, but what if she's not the hero?
There have been some situations in which Daenerys' use of force and fire have maybe been a little too over the top. (Yes, I'm talking about goddamn Dickon. I will never forgive her.) There are also theories that Daenerys is going mad or has already gone mad. I don’t know if we’ll ever necessarily get a definitive answer to the state of Daenerys' health, but there are certainly moments in the show that highlight just how many eggs she's willing to crack to make an omelette. (Hint: it's a lot of eggs.)
Daenerys is gorgeous, has dragons, and could teach a class on inspirational speeches, but even all of that hasn't saved her from - at times - being the worst character on the show. Below are 15 times Daenerys was the worst.
15 When She Was Totally Cool With Khal Drogo Killing Her Brother
Viserys Targaryen, in case you may have forgotten about his royal douche-ness, was the weirdo big brother of Daenerys Targaryen, who pretty much sold her as a sex slave to Khal Drogo. On top of that, Viserys told Daenerys that he’d let every single Dothraki AND THEIR HORSES rape her, if it meant he’d get the Iron Throne. So… uh… not a great big brother. In fact, probably one of the worst brothers in Game of Thrones history.
Viserys went further and further off the deep end (yes, further than threatening horse rape) as he saw Daenerys gaining control of the Dothraki army. Because, you know how power-hungry psychopaths can be. Viserys was clearly insane and every person watching the show hated him. Still though, isn’t family still family? Shouldn’t you sit down your power-hungry brother, who is threatening to cut out your baby from your womb, and explain that he needs to reel it in? If you're Daenerys, then nope. Instead, Daenerys sat by while Khal Drogo poured molten gold over Viserys' head, murdering him in a brutal fashion.
From another point of view, one could even argue that Daenerys allowed Khal Drogo to kill Viserys, as it made her the last remaining Targaryen and thus, the rightful heir. Um, has Daenerys been playing us all along?
14 When She Bought The Unsullied Army
Since I just defended an awful man, I’ll go ahead and defend Kraznys mo Nakloz too, because why not? Also, that is what this whole article is about - seeing things from another point of view. In the narrative of the show, we’re being shown Daenerys from a favorable point of view, but there is definitely a different way to view the Mother of Dragons and it's not good. It's all really just about perspective, people.
In season three, Daenerys planned on expanding her army by buying the Unsullied. It's at this point that she meets Kraznys mo Nakloz, the owner of the Unsullied. And this dude was... well, he was SUPER evil. He was so evil that he cut off an Unsullied soldier's nipple just to show they don’t feel pain. Kraznys mo Nakloz also boasted about how the Unsullied showed no mercy. In fact, before completing training, he has a soldier kill a baby to prove he is merciless. KILL A BABY, GUYS. Kraznys was bad, to say the very least.
Kraznys mo Nakloz agrees to sell Daenerys the Unsullied army and Missandei in exchange for her largest dragon. I guess that's a fair trade? Well, as soon as Daenerys has the commanding token, making her in full command of the Unsullied army, the deal changes. Daenerys tells Kraznys that a dragon is not a slave. She then does what Daenerys does best and has Drogon burn Kraznys alive.
Um, Daenerys basically stole an army and burned a dude alive. Mind you, Kraznys mo Nakloz was an awful human being, but what a dirty trade on Dany’s part! Couldn’t she have just taken back the dragon and been like LOL, you got played? Burning him alive seems a little extra.
Also, if anyone out there knows how to pronounce "Kraznys mo Nakloz," please let me know.
13 Um, All The Entitlement (So Every Single Scene)
Daenerys Targaryen is, hands down, the most entitled character in the entire show. Even if you love Daenerys, you can't necessarily argue that point.
Sure, it’s fun to watch Daenerys ride around on a dragon and talk about taking back the Iron Throne, but also I'm over it. It's been the same old song since season one. And just in case you've missed the 928 times Daenerys has said it, she thinks she deserves the throne because her father – The Mad King – was overthrown. But, like, isn’t that what happens? Someone is overthrown and a new ruling order takes over? I mean, House Targaryen literally established their rule by overthrowing all other leaders. If Dany honors the Targaryen Conquest, why isn’t Robert’s Rebellion an overthrow also honored by Dany?
Oh, because voiding Robert Baratheon's rule benefits Daenerys. Got it. Girlfriend picks and chooses the overthrows she wants to acknowledge.
Though, Daenerys isn’t completely at fault here, as she's a product of the environment in which she was raised. Daenerys grew up in exile with Viserys to educate her. Viserys clearly had some very extreme ideas about the Targaryen’s claim to the throne, which he then instilled in Daenerys. So yes, Daenerys is a product of Viserys' insanity.
At the end of the day, I guess birthing three dragons along with having a debatable claim to the throne could make anyone as entitled as Daenerys but, at this point, I just roll my eyes every time she says the Iron Throne is hers. Like, yours and everyone else’s, girlfriend. Other than Daenerys, Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Gendry, and, of course, Jon Snow could all have a "claim" to the throne.
A claim to the throne literally means nothing and it's time Daenerys learned that.
12 When She Got Schooled In Qarth
Speaking of her claim to the throne being complete and utter bullsh*t, does anyone remember the time the Spice King schooled Daenerys in Qarth? It was awesome.
After arriving in Qarth and threatening her way into the city, Daenerys asks the Spice King for his ships. His response is pretty much, "Nah, I need them for my spices. Haven't you heard I'm the Spice King?" Daenerys keeps pressing him, at which point this conversation happens:
Daenerys: Whatever you grant me now will be repaid three times over when I retake the Iron Throne.
The Spice King: Retake? Did you once sit on the Iron Throne?
Daenerys: My father sat there, before he was murdered.
The Spice King: If you did not sit on it yourself, would it not be correct to say take the Iron Throne?
Daenerys: I didn’t come here to argue grammar.
Ah, and that’s the charm of Daenerys. She may be completely wrong in thinking the Iron Throne is hers by right, but she’ll deflect. And she also has dragons, so shut up.
11 Remember That Time She Nailed A Bunch Of People To Crosses?
At this point in the series, Daenerys let Khal Drogo murder her brother. Following the death of Khal Drogo, Daenerys burned and sacked Qarth, which by the way, is EXACTLY why they were hesitant to let in Daenerys and the Dothraki. From there, Daenerys went to Slaver’s Bay, where she served Kraznys mo Nakloz a raw deal, burned him alive, and took the Unsullied army. Daenerys really seems to be making friends, right? And I know that Game of Thrones isn’t about making friends, but burning down every person in your way is not the most diplomatic way of taking back the Iron Throne. In fact, I'd say it's literally the least diplomatic way.
In season four, Daenerys continued on her warpath of destruction - whoops, I mean plans to take over the Iron Throne. After taking over Meereen, Daenerys ordered all the 163 Great Masters to be nailed to a cross. This wasn't just for funsies, as the Great Masters had previously nailed slave children to crosses, which - I agree with Daenerys - is totally uncool. Daenerys claimed she was serving injustice justice. If that was her intent, maybe she should have researched the situation a little more before killing 163 men in this brutal fashion. Later, Daenerys is told by Hizdahr zo Loraq that his father, a Great Master she had nailed to a cross, was actually against nailing the slave children to crosses.
Um so, a Great Master was OPPOSED to nailing the slave children to stakes and, for that, he got nailed to a cross? Makes so much sense, Daenerys. Much justice.
10 When Her Dragon Killed A 3-Year-Old Girl
Clearly, Daenerys hasn't had the pleasure of watching How to Train Your Dragon, y'know because her dragons were completely out of control at one point. Fortunately, it now seems, in season seven mind you, that her dragons are fairly controlled by her, as they spit fire on command. Though, it also doesn't seem like Daenerys actually did anything herself to train her dragons. It's like she just lucked out and they started listening to her one day. But back in season four, the dragons were not listening to Daenerys, or anyone for that matter.
In Meereen, Daenerys established an open forum, in which commoners could come to her with questions, comments, and concerns. At this point, a goat herder comes to Daenerys and tells her his entire flock was burned alive by her dragons. Totally roasted. To fix the problem, Daenerys offers to pay him three times the worth of the goats. Ah, what a rich person response. Your dragons killed some goats? Just throw some money on it... AND DON’T FIX THE PROBLEM.
So, of course, it gets worse. The next time a commoner comes to see Daenerys, he’s holding a charred bundle in his arms and it’s his little girl. Drogon roasted a 3-year-old girl, so that’s really cool. Way to, uh, train your dragons, Daenerys. Like I said, they may be behaving now, but girlfriend was not always in control of her beasts.
9 When She Flew Away On A Dragon, Because LOL
Even if they kill three-year-old girls from time to time, those dragons do come in handy, especially if you need to make a quick and flashy exit. Yep, remember that one time Daenerys flew away and left everyone behind? Because LOL.
During season five, Daenerys was doing a piss poor job of ruling Meereen. I say piss poor because the Son of the Harpy keep rebelling, which left the wonderful Ser Barristan Selmy dead. (GOD DAMN IT, DAENERYS. Can you literally do nothing right?) After reopening the fighting pits, Daenerys attends an event. It's at this point that the Sons of the Harpy attack again and kill a sh*t ton of people. It’s pretty bad, so much so that Daenerys grabs Missandei’s hand and accepts her fate. That’s until Drogon comes and roasts all the Sons of the Harpy. BOOM, ROASTED!
With everyone out of harm's way, Daenerys hops on Drogon and flies away. Yeah, I know everyone was safe at that point, but it was still weird when Daenerys hopped on Drogon and was like, “Bye guys, see you never.”
8 When She Killed All The Dothraki Leaders
Let’s do that fun thing where we look at a scene from a different perspective, shall we? In this case, we’ll do the scene in which Daenerys killed all the Dothraki leaders, because... just no. No, Daenerys.
When season six begins, Daenerys is apparently in trouble, because wives of deceased khals are supposed to all chill together forever or something. It’s part of their culture. There's actually an amazing scene in which Daenerys tries to explain to all the widows why she's special and they're just like, "Yeah, girl. We all thought we were special. Now, shut up."
For failing to obey this law, Dany’s fate will be decided by the khals. At the hearing, if you could call it that, the khals are Dothraki AF. By that I mean, they are very savage. The khals talk about raping Daenerys and letting horses rape her after. Also, flashback to Viserys! How many times is someone going to threaten Dany with horse rape?
At this point - y'know after the mention of horse rape - it’s revealed that Daenerys has locked the khals in this room, which she sets on fire. The Unburnt Queen stays in the room, as all the khals burn to death. It’s an amazing scene, in which it turns out the deck was fully stacked to Daenerys’ advantage the whole time.
Daenerys burns all the khals and takes the Dothraki army. Awesome, except it’s the least diplomatic thing ever. She literally murdered a room full of leaders to gain control. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Yes, they were horrible men talking about horse rape, but they were still leaders. That said, Daenerys is lucky the Dothraki worship strength and her "unburnt" status won them over, because other cultures would not take too kindly to someone murdering all the leaders. That's called a coup, Daenerys.
7 All The Times She's Conquered Land, Only To NOT Rule It
Of all the characters on the show, there are very few who have been in both Westeros and Essos, and Daenerys is one of them. Daenerys has not only been in Essos, but she's gone around Essos conquering city by city.
Particularly, Daenerys went to Qarth, where a bunch of people died before the Dothraki sacked the city. After that, Daenerys went to Slaver’s Bay, where she killed Kraznys mo Nakloz and took the Unsullied army. Next, there was Yunkai, where Team Daenerys brought down the soldiers and freed all the slaves. After that, Daenerys went to Meereen, where she, again, took over and freed all the slaves. That's pretty much her thing: taking over and freeing slaves. It’s a lot of the same. Now in season seven, Daenerys is in Westeros and not ruling all the places she took over in Essos at all. Like, I don't think Daenerys give a shit about Essos anymore. In fact, what is even happening in Essos? Does anyone know?
That’s the thing about Daenerys: She’s much better at conquering than she is at actually ruling.
6 Also, She's Awful At Understanding Other Cultures
Daenerys takes over a city by force and then fails to understand the culture whatsoever. Oh, and this is a mistake that repeats itself over and over again.
First there was the Dothraki culture, which, to her credit, Daenerys did her best to learn. Remember when she ate that stallion heart? Girlfriend was game. And yeah, the Dothraki have a savage culture, in which they have weird traditions about eating stallion hearts. They also take great pleasure in pillaging and raping. It’s just what they do.
While Daenerys benefits from the Dothraki's savage culture in battle, she refuses to accept their savage culture in other aspects. In season one, the Dothraki looted a town to raise money for the ships Daenerys would need to take the Iron Throne. So y'know, they’re helping Daenerys by looting this town. When Daenerys then sees the women of said town being raped - because that's what the Dothraki do - she puts an end to that. At which point, one of Drogo’s riders challenges him to a duel, because he disagrees with changing their ways for Daenerys. It’s during this duel that Drogo gets the injury that ends his life. Um, basically Daenerys is to blame for Khal Drogo’s death, y’all.
Also, I’m not saying the Dothraki should be raping and pillaging. That’s totally not cool. But Daenerys should learn that all cultures have certain traditions that define them and to change aspects of a culture, you must so tactfully.
Likewise, Daenerys ended slavery in Meereen, which is another bad thing. Shortly after ending slavery, an old man literally begged Daenerys to be a slave again. Daenerys was the most confused Daenerys had ever been, so the old man explained that without slavery, he had no way to make a living. Ending slavery is usually a good thing, but not when you have no new economic system to implement, leaving slaves to even worse living conditions.
So yes, slavery and rape are bad things. These shouldn’t be part of any cultures, but you can't just abolish things - even bad things - without planning how to do so strategically. In acting only from her moral code, Daenerys fails to see the bigger picture when it comes to culture.
5 When She Got Off Drogon In The Middle Of Battle
There are very few of the female characters on the show who know anything about actual battle, besides maybe Brienne of Tarth. That said, you don’t see Cersei Lannister, Sansa Stark, or any other female character charging into battle, mostly because they know how little they know about battle. Daenerys, on the other hand, went into battle, because of course she did.
In Dany's defense, she went into battle to ride Drogon and bring the heat, so to speak. The whole riding Drogon into battle made for an insanely epic action sequence, but also there were many eye roll moments. First of all, it blows Dany's goddamn mind that they've found a way to harm Drogon. Which yes, it is shocking since her dragons have been pretty much invincible. But also, you should be prepared for this stuff, right? Daenerys should have already been two steps ahead of this and thinking of a way to protect her dragons. Thinking two steps ahead is what you do before going into battle, no? (By the way, Daenerys didn't learn from this lesson and it got one of her dragons killed. Way to be, Daenerys.)
After Drogon is injured, Daenerys lands him literally in the middle of battle, gets off Drogon, and pulls out the arrow. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, DAENERYS? Drogon flies about a million miles per hour. Fly him just a teeny, tiny bit away from the fighting and tend to him there. Do not land your dragon in the middle of battle and dismount.
At this point, Jaime Lannister saw an opening, y'know because Daenerys was just standing around the battlefield and not wearing any armor whatsoever. Jaime grabbed a weapon and charged towards Daenerys, which gets a big HELL YEAH from me. Honestly, Daenerys kind of deserved to die in this moment, as she was lacking any strategy, making several fatal battlefield mistakes. But Daenerys lived for the same reason she always lives: her dragons.
4 When She Torched The Tarly Line
After Daenerys nearly got herself killed in battle, she came out on the winning side. I mean, duh. She had Drogon AND the Dothraki. It wasn't even a fair fight. That said, she had captured quite a few soldiers who had fought for House Lannister, one of whom was my newest boyfriend Dickon Tarly.
Daenerys gave all her captives a choice: bend the knee or die. Once they saw Drogon, most guys bent the knee so very hard. The Tarly men, however, did not bend the knee. Since the Tarleys are from a legit house in honorable standing, Daenerys could have used them to wager with Cersei. Okay, it's unlikely Cersei would have cared about the Tarly men, but Daenerys still didn't have to do what she did, which is BURN THEM ALIVE. Daenerys, did you even see Dickon's jawline? Come on!
In Dany’s defense, she did give them a choice to bend the knee or die. That said though, couldn’t she have just beheaded them? Y'know a quick and easy death, instead of burning them alive? Acting against Tyrion Lannister's advice, Daenerys killed off what is presumed to be Tarly family line, though we all know that Samwell Tarly went rogue and married Gilly. Ending a major family line via fire is not a good look for anyone, especially Daenerys Targaryen. Any smaller houses that had pledged allegiance to House Tarly will not be down with her torching the Tarlys.
And again, did Daenerys even SEE Dickon Tarly? Way to take that away from Westeros, Daenerys. I shall never forgive you.
3 Literally Every Single Time She Uses Her Dragons
I’ll admit I enjoy the dragon scenes. Pretty much anyone who likes being entertained would enjoy the dragon scenes, am I right? They are some of the highest quality action sequences in television history. However, this is one of the reasons Daenerys sucks so hard.
The thing is, I’m glad Daenerys birthed dragons and brought these scaly, fire-breathing creatures into the world of Game of Thrones. It’s a total game-changer and fun to watch. However, it’s not strategic in the least. There is absolutely no great skill behind literally just using your dragons to solve every single problem you've ever had. And that's exactly what Daenerys does. The dragons solve all her problems.
Of course, the dragons play into Dany's entitlement. Not only does she think she’s the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, but she also has three full-grown dragons to which she gave birth. I get why she has that level of arrogance, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. It's the same reason why I enjoy all the dragon scenes, but hate that Daenerys always uses her dragons.
2 When She (Unsuccessfully) Tried To Own Jon Snow
In season seven, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow finally (!!!) met. It was, like, a really big deal. People had been anticipating this meeting for seasons, mostly because they want the two beautiful characters to hook up. (Come on Jon Snow, bang your Aunt Dany already!) That said, their meeting was… rough. And it only further proved how much Daenerys sucks.
The first conversation between Daenerys and Jon consisted of Daenerys insisting Jon bend the knee to her, over and over and over again. Like, it's honestly amazing how many times Daenerys can repeat herself and make it sound like a new sentence. This was all while Jon Snow tried to warn Daenerys about the White Walkers and impending doom. Jon Snow is clearly thinking big picture, while Daenerys still has her eyes on the prize, aka the Iron Throne.
White Walkers aside though, Daenerys showed absolutely no diplomacy in dealing with Jon Snow. Yes, an unwavering sense of being the one, true ruler is what one must have to take the Iron Throne, but she could have given an inch, right? She wanted Jon Snow to bend the knee, yet offered him nothing in return. There was no discussion to be had with Daenerys.
And also, Daenerys is a little presumptuous to march into Westeros and demand everyone to bend the knee. She’s literally never even lived in Westeros before, you guys! All the eye rolls ever.
1 Pretty Much Everything With Jorah Mormont
This final point may not be as much Daenerys' fault as it is the fault of the writing, but it's still annoying, so here we go.
Daenerys basically makes men fall head over heels for her, which I get it. She’s gorgeous and also the Mother of Dragons. Who wouldn’t love her? Though, it’s getting old. Khal Drogo didn’t seem to love anyone or anything. Dude was a savage. And yet, he fell in love with Daenerys. Daario Naharis fell in love with Daenerys. Though he hasn’t said it yet, Jon Snow is totally in love with Daenerys. Hell, there are even times in which it feels like Tyrion Lannister may be harboring a little crush on Daenerys. This is all on top of Jorah Mormont, who has been in love with Daenerys since season one.
I may not take issue with men constantly falling for Daenerys if this wasn't a world in which beautiful, amazing, powerful women are treated like garbage all the time. Robert Baratheon was married to Cersei Lannister, who, regardless how you feel about her as a person, is gorgeous. And yet, he preferred the company of prostitutes. Sansa Stark was traded like livestock throughout the series, never once finding a suitor who was interested in her. Margaery Tyrell also faced a loveless marriage, though that was because Renly was gay. That said, Daenerys seems to collect men who worship her, and yet no other female character is given an inkling of this level of worship. While it’s more of a problem in the narrative of the show rather than Daenerys’ character, it’s still annoying. Also, Jorah Mormont deserves so much better, y'all.
So if Daenerys Targaryen sucks so bad, who should you root for? Um, Gendry. Obviously.