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Dany the Madonna vs. Cersei the Whore

If you’re up to date with GoT on HBO then you’ll recall last weeks episode in which Daenerys rides around on Drogon burning everything and everyone in kings landing. The episode shocked a legion of fans who then felt compelled to petition HBO to re-do the final season citing “incompetent writers” as the cause for this sudden change in Daenerys character.

But is it a sudden change? Or has Dany been a villainess all along? We’re so used to measuring and comparing the roles of women in literature and television in terms of Madonnas and whores (see also crazy bitches). The parallels between Cersei, aka the whore and Daenerys, aka the Madonna, were lost on most viewers. Perhaps intentionally, as we are expected to determine the worth of these women differently based on things like age and sexuality, from the get-go.

There are other factors at play in this narrative, that influence our perceptions of these characters from the beginning and they are best explained in this video. It’s a bit long and is essentially an annoying advertisement, but it goes over the ways I which these two characters have been mirror reflections of each other all along and is worth watching if you’re interested.

If you’re not interested in watching the video, then please recall how both of these characters have always used their proximity to power in order to be self-serving and ruthless. Dany always resorts to burning her enemies while simultaneously hiding behind her supposed divine right to do so.

Daenerys admittedly has more redeeming qualities than Cersei (at least before she sacks kings landing). Plus, she has several enduring nicknames and glorious monikers as well as dragons and other magical qualities which all lent to her goddess-like image.

Danearys is a come up story as well, she is much easier for viewers to empathize with as she is younger and we see more of her young life play out. But Cersei is no stranger to adversity; however, she has been chipping away at the patriarchy that governed her since before her first marriage.

Ultimately, it’s not just the shows framework for these characters that makes us view them as inherently different but our societal framework, i.e. women who fuck their brothers by choice are whores/villains (even before they demand the execution of an innocent child) and women who walk through fire unburnt are worthy of worship.

Additionally, most viewers didn’t begin to accept that Daenerys was turning into a villain until they watched her become angry at her nephew because he no longer wished to copulate with her, having discovered the truth about his parentage.

Honestly though, if you didn’t know Daenerys was a villain by the time she executed the Tarly’s you’re not a very good judge of character.

Now Cersei and Dany are both complete whores/villains and Jon, Arya, and Sansa are the standard by which we measure one’s ability to lead with honor and courage.

[P.S. It’s also worth mentioning that both of these actresses have played Sarah Connor.]

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