Instigator / Pro
Daenerys destroying Kings Landing and burning civilians was not true to how she would actually behave
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Contender / Con
In episode 5, season 8 of Game of Thrones Daenerys sets her dragon upon innocents running in the streets, effectively committing a mass extermination and destroying the whole city. This is objectively not true to her character, and this was done because the show-runners wanted it rather than due to natural and coherent plot development.
George RR Martin writes stories in an unconventional way, he sets up the setting, invents some main characters, and then lets the story unfold according to causality. That is not to say he isn't still making things up as he goes along, but what makes his writing style special is that he never forces things to happen based solely on what he or his readers want, he tries to make his fiction realistic in the sense that it acts like a living breathing world where things are never too random or too predictable.
D&D (Dan and Dave) clearly cannot write like George. They literally made Dany do something she would never do just because they are overly focused on shocking plot twists. They are trying to be George and subvert expectations in the way that he is famous for (Killing Ned, the Red Wedding etc.) but they are totally failing when it comes to the execution of it, which George always does strictly because that is what the STORY is telling him to do, not because he is trying to strong-arm the flow of events in the direction he thinks is the most cool.
Daenerys once locked away and chained her dragons because one innocent child was killed by Drogon, now she is burning entire cities full of civilians, knowing they are not to blame for anything she is going through and with her entire career as ruler being about uplifting the downtrodden prior to this. She had literally no reason to start murdering peasants other than pure "mad queen" plot twist porn.
It is my argument that the actions of Daenerys Targaryen in the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones is in fact true to her character and consistent with her past actions. For the purposes of my argument, I will reference strictly the television material, not the book material, since the events of season eight episode five is as of yet a show-only plot. Let's explore her past actions:
- In season one episode six, Daenerys watches without remorse as her Dorthraki Husband, Khal Drogo, murders her own brother by dumping a pot of molten gold on his cranium even when he (Viserys) pleads to her to have her husband spare his life. Even when prompted to look away, Daenerys does not, remarking only after her brother's death, "He was no dragon; fire cannot kill a dragon."
- In season one episode 10, Daenerys has Mirri Maz Duur burned alive at her husband's funeral pyre. Granted, Maz Duur was responsible for her husband's catatonia and her son's being stillborn, but she states in the episode that she would hear Maz Duur scream, and has no other desire but to take her life.
- In season two episode four, when the council of 13, charged with the governance of Qarth, initially refused to allow her and her Dortharki hoard into their city, she states even when cautioned not to, "Thirteen! When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me! We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground! Turn us away, and we will burn you first!" The Spice King, one of the thirteen, remarks "Ah, you are a true Targaryen." It's important to note that Daenerys in this situation cannot justify how the thirteen have "wronged her." Dorthraki hoards are quite notorious for sacking, pillaging, murdering and raping. It's quite prudent (and expected) that the governors of Qarth would turn her hoard away. Nevertheless, she still makes the threat.
- In season two episode 10, she has Xaro Xhaon Daxos, the council member who vouched for her locked in his chamber along with Doreah, a member of her hoard, to suffocate and/or starve to death. Granted Daxos did help Pyat Pree capture her dragons, and Doreah did murder Irri, but the point of my mentioning this is that her body count is not about justice, but revenge.
- In season three episode four, she has her dragon, Drogon, burn master Kraznys mo Nakloz after agreeing to trade said dragon to him for his unsullied army. Granted he was a slave owner who bred castrated soldiers, but she did break faith and murder him nonetheless.
- In season four episode four, she has the master crucified. Even when Barristan Selmy, a member of her queensguard prompted her to show mercy to them, she responded "I will answer injustice with justice." It was clear that her "justice" was just revenge.
- In season four episode six, she meets with Hizdar no Loraq in the Mereenese pyramid, where the exchange goes as such:
- Hizdar no Loraq: my father, one Mereen's most respected and beloved citizens, oversaw the restoration and maintenance of its greatest landmark--this pyramid included.
- Daenerys Targaryen: For that he has my gratitude. I should be honored to meet him.
- Hizdar no Loraq: You have, your grace. You crucified him. I pray you'll never live to see a member of your family treated so cruelly.
- Daenerys Targaryen: Your father crucified innocent children.
- Hizdar no Loraq: My father spoke out against cruficifying those children. He decried it as a criminal act but was overruled. It is justice to answer one crime with another?
- Daenerys Targaryen: I'm sorry you no longer father, but my treatment of the masters was no crime. You'd be wise to remember that.
- This is very telling. This demonstrates that Daenerys murdered the masters indiscriminately, without so much as investigating their crimes. Furthermore, Hizdar's comment about hoping that she'd never live to watch a member of her family treated so cruelly is ironic given the previous occurrence with Viserys.
- In season five episode five, after Barristan Selmy's death, she gathers the leaders of the great families of Mereen and brings them to where she had kept her dragons. She had one of said masters proceed forward, where he would be burned and bifurcated by her dragons. She then states, "Who is innocent? Maybe all of you are; maybe none of you are. Maybe, I should let the dragons decide." Once again, this is very telling. This conveys that she is not sure of their guilt, and decides to murder them anyway. When she attempts to use the death of one head of family to intimidate the other, in this case Hizdar no Loraq, he defiantly states "All Men Must Die." This causes Daenerys to recoil and remark that she doesn't want her dragons overfed.
- In season six episode four, she murders the Khals, who hosted her, in a hut after tipping over the braziers. It's interesting to note that these Khals neither caused nor initiated any harm toward her. She murdered them because their religion demanded that she join the Dosh Khaleen. She murdered them in Vaes Dorthrak, a religious land where blood is not allowed to be spilled--a custom with which she was very familiar given that she was Khal Drogo's Khaleesi.
- In season six episode nine, she mounts one of her dragons (Drogon) and proceeds to burn the slave operated ships with the slaves on board in slavers bay. (It was made clear in this episode that the masters of Yunkai and Astapor were financing the Sons of the Harpy.) In this episode she does not give the slaves a chance to desert, but indiscriminately burn all of them alive.
- In season seven episode five, Daenerys has her dragon burn Lord Randyll Tarly and his son Dickon (Samwell Tarly's father and brother) alive because the former refused to bend the knee, and the latter refused to leave his father alone.
The events at Kings Landings is very consistent with her past actions. It would appear that the deaths of Jorah Mormont, and more recently the decapitation of her best friend, Missandei, served as the catalyst for her mounting Drogon, and burning the entire city--whether the citizens were innocent or not. As my examples above show, her acts of murder are fueled by her desire for revenge, and this has been true for her character since season one. She's has been killing innocent, or at the very least presumably innocent, people for a while now.
Your floor, Sparrow.
Literally every example you just gave is someone who deserved what they got. Are you seriously going to equate killing slavers and not caring when her horrible abusive brother gets killed after he threatened to carve her son out of her womb while poking her with a sword with burning thousands of children?
Give me one, single example in all of the series of her mercilessly and needlessly killing someone who didn't deserve it in all of GOT, the first time she did was when she killed Varys, and at that point she was no longer the same character and had been transformed into D&D's personal plot destroying mechanism. The only example you gave which was halfway reasonable was from season 5 episode 5 when she killed the heads of some noble families who all supported slavery and class based elitism. Deserving to die is the norm for men such as them, and if any one of them was a good person it would have been a rare fluke of probability.
I can say with absolute surety that if I was in her position, I would have done the same thing in 90% of cases, now here is an example of who Dany really is, and why she commits these seemingly "mad" killings of scumbags who deserve it.
Jorah Mormont: Taking this city will not bring you any closer to Westeros or the Iron Throne.
Daenerys Targaryen: How many slaves are there in Yunkai?
Jorah Mormont: 200,000, if not more.
Daenerys Targaryen: Then we have 200,000 reasons to take the city.From Game of Thrones – Season 3 Episode 7: ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’
Daenarys was a liberator, she truly did free people in Essos. she wasn't just murdering innocents and then making Orwellian speeches about liberation. She may have caused casualties at times purely out of necessity, but she was never the type of person who would needlessly kill slaves or civilians.
Keep in mind what I said in round one, when Drogon killed a single child (the daughter of a Miranese goatherd) Daenarys locked her dragons away and all but dyed her hair black and started cutting. Are you telling me that same person would murder thousands of men, women and children and feel no remorse? If the showrunners are going to go there the least they could do is create an actual reason for it, instead they had miss "free everyone from oppression and can't stand to see a single dead child" transform into miss "murder every child in sight and be proud of it" just because Jon wouldn't give her the D, her friend got killed by one particular evil cunt which has nothing to do with the children she burned, and because a few very specific people, none of which are the children she burnt, were disloyal to her.
If I was Daenarys, I would have killed all the people she did before season 7, and if Daenarys was Jon Snow (Or even just herself as George wrote her to be) she would have stabbed herself just as he did for murdering thousands of innocent people.
Literally every example you just gave is someone who deserved what they got.
No one deserves murder. And not every example informed "just deserts." In every example I offered, I explained the context and her mindset, so how can you say "literally every example..."?
Are you seriously going to equate killing slavers and not caring when her horrible abusive brother gets killed after he threatened to carve her son out of her womb while poking her with a sword with burning thousands of children?
I don't equate; I analyze her actions and decisions. It doesn't matter whom she murders; it matters only that she murdered. As for Viserys' threat, he clearly didn't intend to carve out her son from her womb. While he was poking her belly with his sword, he stated, "I want you back." He was clearly upset because Khal Drogo wasn't holding up his end of the bargain when Viserys traded his sister for Drogo's dorthraki hoard. Not to mention, Viserys was intoxicated (in vino veritas.)
Give me one, single example in all of the series of her mercilessly and needlessly killing someone who didn't deserve it in all of GOT,
I gave you quite a few; did you not read my examples? I even referenced the season and episode numbers.
the first time she did was when she killed Varys
Didn't Varys try to kill her? Operating on your rationale, wouldn't that justify his "deserving" to die? And no, as my examples clearly demonstrate, that wasn't her first time.
The only example you gave which was halfway reasonable was from season 5 episode 5 when she killed the heads of some noble families who all supported slavery and class based elitism.
It's not "halfway" reasonable. It's reasonable because it operates on a consistent logic. She murders at whim, typically based on her desire for revenge. It was never about justice. Otherwise, she would have heeded the advice of her councilors who counseled mercy.
Deserving to die is the norm for men such as them, and if any one of them was a good person it would have been a rare fluke of probability.
And what is the norm for a monarch who presses a claim for conquest based on her name alone, as Jon Snow aptly put it in season seven episode 3? Slavery is terrible, but subjugating seven kingdoms to one's rule by threat of three dragons and an army isn't?
now here is an example of who Dany really is, and why she commits these seemingly "mad" killings of scumbags who deserve it.Jorah Mormont: Taking this city will not bring you any closer to Westeros or the Iron Throne.Daenerys Targaryen: How many slaves are there in Yunkai?Jorah Mormont: 200,000, if not more.Daenerys Targaryen: Then we have 200,000 reasons to take the city.From Game of Thrones – Season 3 Episode 7: ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’
I remember that episode. And the two aren't mutually exclusive. She could have liberated, and she could have murdered. Unfortunately for your argument, there are more examples consistent with the latter than with the former. And since we're discussing that which is "true to her character," you haven't provided sufficient information that the events of just one episode (at best, a few episodes) informs her true character more than that which has spanned over a dozen episodes.
She may have caused casualties at times purely out of necessity, but she was never the type of person who would needlessly kill slaves or civilians.
She murdered slave soldiers while mounted on Drogon's back in season six episode nine, titled, "Battle of the Bastards." Grey Worm in that same episode gives the slave soldiers guarding the masters from Yunkai and Astapor the option to desert their post, and they do. Daenerys didn't give the slave soldiers operating the ships the same options. She just had Drogon indiscriminately burn them.
Keep in mind what I said in round one, when Drogon killed a single child (the daughter of a Miranese goatherd) Daenarys locked her dragons away and all but dyed her hair black and started cutting. Are you telling me that same person would murder thousands of men, women and children and feel no remorse?
But she has killed without remorse. Your issue is clearly whom she killed without remorse.
If the showrunners are going to go there the least they could do is create an actual reason for it, instead they had miss "free everyone from oppression and can't stand to see a single dead child" transform into miss "murder every child in sight and be proud of it"
She didn't free anyone from "oppression"; she was still a monarch who sought conquest; she, at best, offered the "lesser" of two evils.
just because Jon wouldn't give her the D, her friend got killed by one particular evil cunt which has nothing to do with the children she burned, and because a few very specific people, none of which are the children she burnt, were disloyal to her.
Dan and Dave's execution of season eight's plot was terrible (season 6-8 was pretty terrible.) But if the topic over which we debate was plot execution, you would clearly win. But we're not. We're arguing over that which is true is Daenery's character. And as poorly executed the plot for season 8 was, her killing innocents is consistent with her past actions; therefore, it's true to character.
and if Daenarys was Jon Snow (Or even just herself as George wrote her to be) she would have stabbed herself just as he did for murdering thousands of innocent people.
But she isn't Jon Snow, and she didn't stab herself.
My opponent has forfeited the final round. I will continue with my closing argument.
- My opponent has made the argument that Daenerys's actions in the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones is inconsistent with her character. This is not the case. As I've demonstrated, her murderous tendencies go as far back as season one. Over the span of eight seasons, she has callously watched as her own brother is murdered by her husband, burned Mirri Maz Duur alive, threatened the council of Thirteen (Qarth) when refused entrance, locked Doreah and Xaro Xhaon Daxos in a vault to suffocate and/or starve, burned and crucified slave masters, murdered innocent Meereenese nobles, mudered Khals who had not harmed her, and killed Lords and their heirs who wouldn't submit to her. Clearly, her burning down Kings Landing in the second to last episode is consistent with her past actions; therefore, said actions are consistent with her characte
- My opponent is clearly projecting by measuring Daenerys actions against that which he "would do
- My opponent doesn't have a problem with her being a murderer. He has a problem with whom she has murdered.
Thank you to my opponent; thank you to the onlooking readers; vote well.
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Conduct for the forfeit.
This debate boils down to whether the previous examples of killings by Daenerys constitute enough that what was done in kings landinf was merely an extension. There was not a lot of time spent explaining the general background of what happened prior to kings landing to motivating Daenerys, but I think con does enough regardless.
The issue con presents is that Daenerys was vicious, often revenge driven and didn’t consider collateral. The example of the father slaver crucified and her reaction spelt that out to me.
Pros defence was really that all these people deserved it so aren’t the same. The issue as con points out is that Daenerys seemed less driven by justice than by revenge - the issue at Qaarth council, and threats to burn cities to the ground ties into this fairly well.
The only real argument of note was chaining her dragon for killing an innocent girl. Cons argument that she has killed without remorse was a key point here; this wins out and paints the picture that Dani is Generally good, but gets into fits of revenge.
Given this, con manages to paint a pattern of vicious behaviour by Danerys, and contrasts this behaviour (such as with Greyworm). While the reaction was extreme and not a great execution of story, con does enough to show this is broadly within her character and has been building over multiple series.
Arguments to con.
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Really thought this would be a troll debate about how she doesn't exist... Nice surprise.
Pro does a nice opening, but falls flat after that. He overall makes a good case for the writing not being as good, but fails to show her as someone who would choose the path of peace when given the chance.
Con uses a long list of her actions, to suggest her underlying growing madness the whole time, plus her consistent use of terrorism to get her way. Most telling was her insistence that she can do no wrong, and that in her hands crucifying a political activist could not be considered a crime. This is classic virtue ethics.
Where pro could have won was reminding us of her liking her own loyalists, and in the episode in question intentionally murdering countless of them as they stormed the city.
Conduct for forfeiture.