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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Game of Thrones (2011) - The Strongest Character in HBO's TV Fantasy


If you have followed Game of Thrones, you will know how difficult it is for characters to survive through the seasons and come out unhurt. Many great characters, who have seemed invincible initially, are seen to fall at the most unexpected moments. 

So you will agree when I say that Daenarys Targaryen, the only woman warrior in the series, is the strongest character ever to have survived the madness of the Game of Thrones, and emerged victorious in the whole process, without selling her soul to the devil.

Background of Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys is the last surviving member of the House Targaryen, the "dragon" family who reigned on the Iron Throne in Westeros, until her father Aegon Targaryen, also known as the Mad King, gets betrayed and killed by the Hand of the King and the throne is usurped by Robert Barantheon who becomes the king. Her mother and brother flees to a distant city, where she is born during a heavy storm, earning her the name "Daenerys Stormborn".

Her brother Viserys considers himself the true heir to the Iron Throne and sells her as a bride to the great Khal Drogo, the leader of the Dothraki tribe, in the hope of getting his army of barbarian men to win back the throne of Westeros. However, he becomes too impatient for his own good and threatens to kill his own sister, angering the khal and bringing upon himself a punishment he deserves.

Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen - you need to please Khal Drogo, my little sister, so that I can have my army.

Khaleesa of the Dothraki Tribe

Though initially miserable at being bartered off to the Dothrakis, Khal Drogo and Daenerys grow to love each other and she is able to win the affection and respect of the Dothraki tribe, until Drogo dies due to a poisoned wound inflicted by a traitor. 

Khal Drogo and Daenerys
Deserted by most of her Khalasar tribe members after the Khal's death, Daenerys walks into the flames incinerating her husband, but emerges from the ashes the next morning, completely unscathed by the fire, with 3 little dragons hatched from their eggs by her side. Thus she comes to be known as the Unscathed and the Mother of Dragons.

The Unscathed, the Mother of Dragons

Conquest of the Slaver's Bay

Here on starts her journey of conquests - Qarth, Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen.

Throughout the series, we see the journey of a timid young girl who initially resigns to her fate after getting married off to Khal Drogo, and how she transforms into the gritty warrior woman who goes on to conquer 4 different kingdoms, command a huge army of the Unsullied, and have her very own dragons within a span of 3 years.

Qarth

She marches to the rich city of Qarth where one of the powerful leaders named Xaro proposes marriage to her and promises to provide her with unlimited wealth and shipping fleets to help her win back Westeros. However, sensing that something is not right, she refuses after which her tribe-men are killed by unknown assailants and she is imprisoned in the House of the Undying

Xaro and Daenerys
Taking the help of her baby dragons, she is able to kill the warlock and free herself. She avenges Xaro's treachery by throwing him and her betraying hand-maiden into the dark empty vault in which Xaro had once promised her unlimited wealth.

Dracarys - burn them all, my beloved dragons!!

Astapor

Triumphing over Qarth, she and her people sail to Astapor, where she trades one of her dragons in return for 8000 Unsullied slave soldiers, castrated at childhood and trained for unconditional obedience and combat skills. 

Sailing towards Astapor
She frees the slave soldiers and orders them to kill all the masters who have chained them their entire lives, thus earning the name Breaker of Chains. Her dragons set most of Astapor on fire, as she and her 8000 men strong Unsullied soldiers continue on their journey.

A dragon is not a slave

Yunkai

Her third conquest is Yunkai where she is able to buy the services of the sell-swords company known as the Second Sons. Here, she meets Daario Naharis, a Second Son warrior who is given the contract to kill her but instead vows loyalty to her, after betraying and killing his own superiors. Daenerys is later shown to share intimate relations with Daario Naharis, who plays an important role in her latter victories.

I am Daario Naharis. My loyalty, my sword and my heart is yours.

Meereen

The final conquest by Daenerys was the rich kingdom of Meereen where she once again frees all the slaves and ends the reign of slavery. Residing as the Queen of Meereen, it is here that she meets Tyrion Lannister, the betrayed dwarf and second heir of the Lannister family, who pledges to help her win back the Iron Throne of Westeros from the Lannisters.

The Sons of Harpy - we are masked and we kill all those against slavery.

Her Best Friends

Jorah Mormont - The Spy Who Loved Her

Out of the few well-wishers Daenerys has, Jorah Mormont is the only man who constantly stands by her side despite all odds. Banished from Westeros for slave trading, he is appointed by Lord Varys, the King's head of spies, to spy on her. Jorah grows to love her intensely and becomes fiercely protective of her. 
  • He saves her from getting poisoned by a wine seller sent by King Robert Barantheon.
  • It is he who cautions her to not fall for the witch's promise of blood magic reviving her injured husband Khal Drogo, an advise which she chooses to ignore, leading to dire consequences.
  • Jorah sees through Xaro's ulterior motive and convinces her to not accept Xaro's marriage proposal.
Jorah - the spy who turned protector
While Daenerys's exact feelings for Jorah is not very clear, her deep affections for him are evident when she refuses to send him for a duel battle in Meereen, saying she simply cannot risk him getting hurt, while she has no hesitation in sending Daario Naharis. She calls Jorah her best friend and her most trusted advisor. Though Daenerys never admits any feelings for Jorah, some of her gestures show a hidden love for him, something that she chose to deny even to herself.

Danaerys and Jorah - the ones who never become lovers
Unfortunately, Jorah's initial role as a spy gets exposed when the royal pardon he had received for offering his services as a spy falls into the hands of Daenerys. Enraged and hurt, she banishes him from Meereen instead of executing him. Jorah, however, tries to find win her trust back by kidnapping Tyrion Lannister and presenting her enemy's heir to her.

Daenerys who is still hurting from Jorah's betrayal, remains unmoved and exiles him once again. Not giving up on her, the unrelenting Jorah makes his way back to Meereen's fighting pit as a slave warrior, where he once again saves Daenerys's life when she gets attacked by the Sons of the Harpy, a clan of anonymous masked killers revolting against abolition of slavery.

The other characters worthy of mention are Ser Barristan Selmy, the ex-Lord Commander of Kingsguard for her father, King Aegon Targaryen, who became one of her trusted advisers, along with Missandei, a female-slave freed by Daenerys in Astapor, who went on to become her trusted hand-maid and confidante. Then of course, there is Daario Naharis, her pledged warrior and lover.

Ser Barristan, Daenerys, Jorah Mormont and Missandei - the queen and her loyal friends

Her Best Quote

When Daenarys warns Missandei that accompanying her will only bring uncertainty, risk and daner to her life, Missandei quotes the common High Valyrian saying "valar morghulis" meaning "all men must die". Daenarys replies - "Yes, all men must die. But we are not men".

Season 5 ends with Daenerys mounting one her her dragons for the first time and flying off into the skies. They land in an unknown valley where she gets surrounded by hundreds of riding horsemen. Meanwhile, Jorah and Daario Naharis, both in love with Daenerys, finally make peace and decide to unite for a common purpose of tracking down their queen.

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