[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Game of Thrones finale. Read at your own risk!]
Game of Thrones fans are mad about a lot of things: all of Season 8, Dany's character development, Jon's final career path, all the unanswered questions, the (mediocre) patriarchy, and everything having to do with Bran, just to name a few. However, one thing that happened in the finale that went like it should was the death of Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
Dany's final moments saw her claim that she would "free" everyone in every land her dragon could fly to and try to convince her nephew-lover Jon Snow (Kit Harington) they could rule the world together (and it should be said that Clarke was putting in work for her inevitable Emmy nomination). However, Dany torching King's Landing in the penultimate episode of the series told Jon everything he needed to know about his allegedly benevolent queen. The people would be free so long as they followed her will, which is a really slippery slope to a dictatorship and not the vibe everyone was going for when they decided to support Dany for the Iron Throne. So Jon, finally deciding to prove he's not completely useless when it matters, stabbed his love in the chest and let her die in the throne room of the Red Keep before she could kill any more innocent people. That was the right call.
As Jon said earlier in the episode, there was no way to explain what Dany did, let alone defend it. After massacring the innocent people of King's Landing, there was no way the survivors could allow her to sit on the Iron Throne and still sleep soundly at night. Once Dany became the Mad Queen, she had to die. The fact that it was Jon who killed her was also fitting; Jon has long been the moral center of the show and it was only right for him to be the one to ensure the safety of the rest of Westeros, especially since Arya (Maisie Williams) took care of the Night King for everyone earlier in the season. As for Dany, having the person closest to her be her downfall only cemented the parallel to her father, the Mad King, who was killed by Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the person he trusted most to protect him.
An intimate farewell, with Drogon arriving to mourn his dead mother before taking her to places unknown, was a much more fitting way to honor Dany's character than having Jon or Tyrion stage a coup and execute her in front of a mob. Her death needed to be as heartbreaking for the audience as it was the for the people who loved her but felt aghast at her turn to the dark side. In the end, she was taken to her final resting place by her child and that is how it should be.
However, here's the but — because of course there's a but. Dany's death was the right move and done in the right way, but the journey to that pivotal moment left much to be desired. As acknowledged after the penultimate episode, the signs that Dany would follow the same path as her father were there all along, but Game of Thrones flew past earning her mental snap. Death was the only answer to what the series did to her, but it was difficult to feel the full loss of her potential because it evaporated so quickly in the previous episode. Of all the things Game of Thrones should have given time to develop, Dany's descent into madness was the most integral to the show's conclusion. The rushed timeline for revealing her mental state sucked a good portion of the emotion out of her death, which should have been the most meaningful of the entire series.
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons got the ending she deserved, but her path to getting there was sorely lacking.
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