How will HOTD fix Game of Thrones’ Daenerys’ controversial episode? When the final season of Game of Thrones aired in May of 2019, many were shocked and dissatisfied by the show’s hurried pace, abandoned character storylines, and mediocre shocks… but one of the series’ significant turns proved to be the most contentious of all.
Even as she journeyed to reclaim her inheritance as a Targaryen, audiences supported Daenerys Targaryen as she sought to reclaim Westeros’ formidable Iron Thrones. For all her blood and devastation, it is clear that Daenerys leaves behind a trail that seems to be for justice and righteousness at first glance. However, when it comes to “The Bells,” Daenerys takes an exceedingly dark turn.
Emme D’Arcy’s portrayal of Rhaerys Targaryen in HOTD may aid in resolving a Game of Thrones plot point involving Daenerys Targaryen. This book, set in a Westeros that is very different from what we see in Game of Thrones, starts some 200 years before the events shown in the HBO series. Similar to how Game of Thrones will be compared to its prequel, HOTD has the potential to modify the program itself, bringing fresh light on events, places, and so on.
It’s especially true for the Targaryens, whose tale will be told in much more detail in House of the Dragon. In Game of Thrones, there were never more than two Targaryens in a moment. With the help of House of the Dragon, we may learn a lot more about the Targaryen family and Daenerys herself, which will help us better understand her actions and motives.
One portion of Rhaenyra’s tale reminds me of the highly contentious turn Daenerys took in “The Bells” from Season 8 of Game of Thrones. Her character was questioned for how drastically it shifted in that episode, especially without any explanation or justification. She followed through on her pledge to take what she felt was rightly hers by blood and fire.
There are some parallels between Daenerys and Rhaenyra despite the House of the Dragon trailer making them more comparable. Still, it’s straightforward to represent the former as the latter’s counterpart in this scenario. For most of Dany’s story, the Iron Throne belongs to her family, and both Dany and Jon are driven by a desire for power, supported by dragons and vast armies. Both would stop at nothing to obtain the position they believe is rightfully theirs. As a result, they make some horrible, and sometimes disastrous, judgments because they believe they have the right to govern.
Neither Daenerys nor Rhaenyra had high objectives when they came to Westeros and conquered King’s Landing, yet they left it in a worse shape than when they arrived. It’s important to note that this is part of Rhaenyra’s HOTD tale from the beginning, so it’s not a new development. Having established the civil war between the Houses of Targaryen, the show’s focus will shift to showing how devoted and merciless she is to retaining the Iron Throne and protecting her family at all costs.
As a replacement for Daenerys, this tale has the potential to succeed where Daenerys’ story failed. Despite Rhaenyra’s growing cruelty, viewers can see the reasons for her actions, unlike Daenerys in “The Bells” of Game of Thrones. Rhaenyra isn’t a remarkable ruler, but viewers can watch that ultimately play out.
It’s worth noting that for both Dany and Rhaenyra, gaining control of King’s Landing marks a turning point in their stories: Dany dies shortly after, while for Rhaenyra, it takes more time, but once she does, the smallfolk turn against her and she faces the harsh realities of authority.
As a result of all of this, we’ll have more context for Daenerys’s and Game of Thrones’ ending; we’ll know what happens when someone is denied their birthright and has the equivalent of nuclear weapons at their disposal, and we’ll know how someone who was once seen as a power for good can become so twisted.
It’s essential to evaluate Rhaenyra on her own merits. Still, she will serve as an intriguing contrast point to Daenerys, who is probably a better or at least greater ethical person, yet pursues the same path. Even if “The Bells” should have done a better job of showing Daenerys’ thinking process in her journey to destroying King’s Landing, Rhaenyra gives us a better understanding of how she came to this conclusion.