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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Daenerys Targaryen and Elizabeth I

From Dany's point of view, Daario is perfect for her at this particular point in her life. Setting aside his seductive looks and the overt physical attraction between them, he is in fact an extremely nonaggressive man. He is aggressive in battle but not at all interested in politics or power. His sexual pursuit of her is completely devoid of any political ambition. He doesn't want anything more than sex from her. Can we say the same for any man around Dany? No one except the Queensguard Barristan.

A young woman in the position of power in a patriarchal society is sitting on a barrel of dynamite. The subplot of Dany in Meereen, if we put aside the hot-button slavery thing, is clearly modeled on Elizabeth I. (It's so obvious that I have not recognized it until now.)

Let's not forget the motif of ASOIAF: Why would this person do that person's bidding? Why would anyone obey another person? When it comes down to it, Daenerys Targaryen is no more than a 13-year-old girl with three dragons she can't even control and eight thousand unsullied soldiers. Why would anyone do her bidding? Because her dragons would roast you if you run away? Why would anyone listen to and obey her? Because she can pay you gold and gems? Dany is surrounded by men, all of whom think they can do this job better than she. The only thing standing between them and her throne (a mere slab of stone) is her dragons and the tenuous bloodline that isn't worth much nowadays. Even if they let her sit there, a man can gain real power and rule through her via marriage.

Obviously, that was why a lot of men wanted to marry Elizabeth and she played the virgin game brilliantly to keep herself in power. It didn't matter who she married. Any man she would have married --- no matter how loyal and devoted and submissive he appeared --- would instantly become a threat to her, simply by the fact that he is a man and she is a woman and everyone would obey him more readily.

Anyone sitting on the throne is at risk, especially when love and sentiment and sex are mixed into the business. Even for men. Some Chinese emperors were known to execute their concubines as soon as they gave birth to a son, because they feared that the mothers would grab too much power through their sons, as history had warned with examples.

Queens are inevitably even more vulnerable to the influence and control of their lovers and husbands. This is extremely dangerous. This is why Daario is perfect, while Jorah Mormont bad news from the start (Robert Dudley anyone?). Most readers don't seem to understand this issue, including the TV screenwriters, and interpret these relationships through the rosy lense of "luuuurrve." This is naive. Kings and Queens do not stay in power because they trust people around them who just happen to be completely loyal at heart and madly in love with them. When it's about a king, people at least vaguely realize that power and politics are at play. When the story is about a girl queen, all they can think about is "Who loves her more?"

(Oh and BTW I am totally turned on by that thing Daario does with his dagger. The TV Daarios are completely missing the point.)

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