Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I will do what queens do

Last Sunday was the season finale of the fourth season of HBO's Game of Thrones, and if you've talked to me at all in the last year, you probably already know I'm addicted to the book series and to a lesser extent, the TV show. Even though I have my own fair share of grievances with certain aspects of this season's adaptations, I'm really going to miss staying up until two in the morning talking with friends about the things I both loved and loved to hate. (You can tell I have a really great relationship with this show, can't you?) (I'm only kind of joking.)

Because it's Wednesday and I'm still transitioning back into life after Game of Thrones, I figured now is as good of a time as any to talk about my Game of Thrones #WomanCrushWednesday. (Is this what you kids are calling it these days? I'm new to the Instagram hashtag game; I got my first ever smartphone less than a month ago and I still don't know what I'm doing.) I chose today's #wcw in particular because the dress in these screencaps is one of my favorite costumes on the entire show ;) (Look at this dress and then look me in the eye and tell me this isn't the sexiest dragon princess gown you've ever seen.)

On a more serious note, I've recently grown to love Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled princess poised to take back the throne that had once belonged to her father, because she is one of the most heroic characters in Game of Thrones. One of the many things I love about this series is how it continues to challenge me to see things differently; I mentioned in my post last year that:
I saw a quote not too long ago that really stuck with me: how can you hate someone once you understand them? and I realized that was exactly why I liked and admired so many of the characters of various morals and ambitions in this massive epic. After reading the narratives of so many different points of view, I saw that the characters that were introduced as the antagonists by one character were the protagonists to others. It was that kind of fluidity that made the series so compelling: maybe there aren't any true "good guys" or "bad guys" in the end; only people, understood and misunderstood by those around them.{more}
and while I still stand by my convictions that plenty of characters are introduced by unreliable narrators, I think it'd be wrong to say that this series lacks its share of heroes and villains. Daenerys is undoubtedly one of the most important heroines in Game of Thrones, and she will make good on her promise to rule as queens do.

I have a confession to make: I didn't like Dany when I first got into this series. Even though I normally love stories about characters who lose everything and manage to fight their way back to glory again, I hated how slow and messy her ascension to power was. My desire to see her succeed splendidly had overshadowed my appreciation of her character development, but as the fourth season of Game of Thrones began to highlight her struggle with becoming a worthy queen in the Slaver's Bay city of Meereen, I reevaluated: her mistakes are what make her human, and it's only through her failures that her triumphs are that much more poignant.

The thing about Dany that gets to me every time is that she's still just a teenage girl who's been forced to grow up too soon. She's such a fan favorite because we get to watch as she grows from being a timid girl sold into marrying a warlord almost twice her age to becoming a woman with confidence in her leadership; we want to root for the underdog because we see ourselves reflected in her, and when she succeeds we revel in her triumphs as well. But here's the thing that sets her apart from most of the heroic types we normally see in our favorite stories: she never had a choice in any of this.

Emilia Clarke, the actress who plays Daenerys on Game of Thrones, answers the question of why Dany wants to be queen perfectly:
I think that it’s something that she just can’t control, it’s something that it’s’s a destiny that she has and it’s kind of shocking to her that it’s ever going to be questioned, because it’s like "If I had a choice, I wouldn’t do this. I wouldn’t go after this...I don’t have a choice; it’s been thrust upon me." {source
She's bound by her sense of duty as the last person in a long line of Targaryens to fight to preserve her family's great legacy: her father and her splendid brother Rhaegar had been slain before she was born; her mother had died bringing her into the world; Ser Willem Darry had been taken by a wasting sickness when she was very young; her brother Viserys, Khal Drogo who was her sun-and-stars, even her unborn son—the gods had claimed them all (A Clash of Kings, George R. R. Martin). It's not fair that everyone in her life had been taken away from her at such a young age, and Dany has long accepted that she has but two options: either look back and mourn for the childhood she lost or keep going and be the queen she is destined to be.

It's because Dany knows firsthand how deeply unjust and unfair life can be that she fights so hard to for justice herself. She strives to be the kind of ruler who could provide everything she can give to her people, and while her heart is in the right place, it isn't enough. When she arrives at Slaver's Bay, Dany's intentions in emancipating the slaves are nothing but out of pure goodness; however, she soon discovers that the people she freed are no better off or happier than before. She becomes frustrated that she can't easily fix the injustice she sees in the world she so desperately wants to improve, and it's an important revelation to both her and to readers/watchers that ruling with good intentions isn't enough; being a queen means learning how to bear the weight of the crown and the responsibilities that come with making diplomatic and political mistakes.

Her sense of justice is one of the many reasons why we're so invested in seeing Daenerys succeed; we see the goodness and compassion inside her and hope that we can see that in our rulers and leaders too. Her weaknesses and flaws make her complicated and human, and at a time when the inevitable winter is coming, we need imperfect heroines to inspire our hope that humanity must triumph in the end.

Happy Wednesday everybody!

xoxo, vivian

Screencaps courtesy of Far Far Away and edited in Adobe Photoshop CS6 by yours truly


  1. Beautiful inspiration! She is so lovely and the dress on her is just perfect :*

  2. I still need to catch up on GoT! she also has killer style on the show ;)

  3. I keep hearing about Game of Thrones and how it's a new addiction. What is it about? Like I feel like I should check it out...
    xo Olivia

  4. Wow she looks stunning and I love that dress. I have just seen the first season and loved it. Yeah they aired the show so late (over here) that I couldn't watch it anymore :)

    xx Mira

  5. I haven't watched a single episode of Game of Thrones, but your post has me re-evaluating this decision! I may need to get into it this Summer! Right now my current and recent tv obsession is The Walking Dead. I had never watched an episode of it until a couple of weeks ago and I am not at the end of season 3.

    Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

  6. Seja bem vinda! ;)

    Ela é lindíssima!

    Ótima quinta!

    Beijo! ^^

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  8. Everyone keeps telling me to watch GOT so I may have to! Thanks for visiting my blog! I'd love to follow you on GFC and bloglovin, and I've done so! xxx

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  11. Love it!
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  14. Great post!
    Daenerys is amazingly beautiful!
    Sure we should follow each other! Following you now!