Many fans were not convinced by Daenerys’ rather abrupt descent into full-on maniacal zealot and city-burning baddie. The Night King was pretty scary but he was simply doing what he was created to do by the Children of the Forest. Cersei was magnificently monstrous but she was a product of her upbringing and the frustrations of being trapped by her gender. Ultimately, there was one thing much worse, and it is yet another idea George RR Martin pretty much lifted from Lord of the Rings. This is the true message of Game of Thrones and this is why Daenerys was never going to end up on top in Martin’s morality play.
Numerous fans have drawn the parallels between stoic Jon Snow and bumbling Samwell Tarly or stoic Frodo and bumbling Samwise Gamgee. But Jon is also the hidden heir to a great dynasty Aegon, who echoes Aragorn in more than just name.
The similarities go on but ultimately rest on the greatest one of all.
The most evil thing in all of Westeros and beyond is actually the Iron Throne, which is the Song of Ice and Fire version of the One Ring. This is why it has to be destroyed, melted by Drogon in a blatant parallel to the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.
Furthermore, it is not just what they represent, it is the way each character relates to them which determines their ultimate fate. Daenerys had to die in the end because of the way she saw the Iron Throne and what she was prepared to do to win it.
Everything rests on free will and choice.
The minute Daenerys declares “I will take what is mine, with fire and blood!” her doom is already in play. In fact, it was in play all along, rooted in her belief in her right to rule. When she takes the Iron Throne with force and bloodshed, her fate is sealed.
Compare this with Galadriel, when Frodo offers her the ring: “In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!”
This could be a description of Daenerys, except the elf resists: “I pass the test”, she said. “I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.”
Daenerys does not and so she loses herself and, ultimately, her life.
Jon Snow’s constant denial of the throne and his birthright is what saves him.
This is seen over and over in Lord of the Rings. Boromir seeks to seize the One Ring to help him become a great leader, powerful enough to save his people and put the world right – just like Daenerys. And so he dies.
His brother Faramir resists: “I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs.”
In his Letters, Tolkien wrote: “It was part of the essential deceit of the Ring to fill minds with imaginations of supreme power. But this the Great (Galadriel, Elrond and the Council of the Wise) had well considered and had rejected.”
Daenerys’ mind has always been filled with her quest for supreme power. Whatever she intended to do with it, however good her intentions, did not matter. The pursuit of power was her doom.
In the Hobbit, Bilbo takes the ring but it is how he did it which allows him to live so long with the ring and not be corrupted. Gandalf tells Frodo: “It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.”
Frodo starts out well, telling Gandalf: “‘I must keep the Ring and guard it, at least for the present, whatever it may do to me.’ ‘Whatever it may do, it will be slow, slow to evil if you keep it with that purpose,’ said Gandalf.”
But when he finally claims it for his own at Mount Doom he should have died. It was only Gollum’s even greater corruption which tipped the situation and Frodo was granted Mercy by the Gods and survived.
Daenerys could see no way to do what she believed it was her destiny to do without the Iron Throne.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and in Westeros and Middle Earth it guarantees your death.
Published at Wed, 12 Jun 2019 18:38:00 +0000