Daenerys Stormborn and Colonialism: Is Dany a coloniser?
Daenerys is not a colonialist and I will have to scream it from the rooftops at the rate this fandom seems to misunderstand colonialism.
I have already made a detailed post about it, citing examples from history, and comparing colonisation with multicultural conquests, here.
Let me clarify further: Most (sane) fans agree that Daenerys isn’t an outright racist, but tends to think that she acts like a colonialist. (Mostly because she is white.) However, there is a difference between multiculturalism and colonialism.Colonialism tends to follow a pattern: genocide – slavery – exploitation of natural resources – oppression of marginalized. While individual countries have differing experiences, every colonised country have experienced at least one or more of the above.
Let’s have a look at these:
I like this meta. But I also disagree with it in part. I’ll explain:
One of the most interesting aspects of Daenerys’ character is where she stands on the ideological spectrum. It’s important to analyze because it tells you what kind of rule one will have, and she’s P R E T T Y dead-set on conquering like every other city she comes across and now Westeros. But it’s hard to say with any certainty where her political standing is exactly; GRRM and D&D deliberately don’t represent her and her ideology in a way that fits any definitions as we know them. Instead her character draws on various types of political theory, and yes, that includes colonialism. I believe you’re right in saying she’s not a colonist and trying to represent her as such greatly confuses people’s definitions of the subject. As you pointed out, colonialism is much more deliberately violent. However, that’s NOT to say she doesn’t draw from certain aspects of it. She just doesn’t draw on all.
Daenerys does have a lot of progressive inclinations, yes, but think of the Son’s of the Harpy.
The SOH are many things, and they had a myriad of issues they were rebelling against, but at its heart (*i’m over simplifying but you’ll understand why in a second*) it is a grassroots resistance due to their disfavor and discontent towards her and her council (of mostly white dudes; not all but m o s t l y). Her entire Mereen arc is a tangible depiction of the whole “white people who think they mean well” phenomena in conjunction with a population struggling to re-establish/assert their agency in often problematic ways. Historically, you can draw parallels from this to when the British attempted to outlaw the practice of sati (wife burning) in India, which despite being a part of a broader ‘liberal’ ideology, and seemingly the “right” thing to do, was in reality a decision marred by anti-colonial tensions and polluted by the colonial power relationship.
I think you outlined the argument regarding multiculturalism and the aspects she draws from it very well, so I’ll move on to another ideology.
Despite her “break the wheel” talk, her political world view also draws from monarchism.
Here my understanding is simple; MULTIPLE times in both show-verse and book-verse, Daenerys reaffirms that in a moral sense the Targaryen right to succeed to the Iron Throne. In other words, monarchism. For someone wanting to break the wheel she definitely believes vehemently in her place on it, and oft relies on said belief or uses it to justify her ambitions. So yeah, anyways, she definitely puts merit in hereditary succession.
With both aspects of colonialism and monarchism implied, one can probably make a case for despotism.
Despotism is an interesting political theory for it can mean or encompass a lot of things. I think a lot of people confuse her despotic tendencies with authoritative ones, and for good reason. In its classical definition despotism is the rule of a single entity with absolute power. Take this with a grain of salt, however, because while it predominantly suggest the authority of a single person, historically it has also been used to describe the authority of a specific group or council of persons. An example of both circumstances in which this term has been used would be the old Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and their absolute authority and power, as well as the nobility in Byzantine courts. Personally, this is what i see Daenerys predominantly drawing from. She has a council, true, whose voices are often heard, and occasionally hears from representatives of the people, but she oft chooses to disregard this information (about 50/50 really). Either way, in the end hers is the final word, both in essos and meereen and everywhere else she rules.
According to the great eighteenth century political philosopher Montesquieu, where absolute monarchy and despotism differ is that when it comes to monarchy a single person governs with absolute power but is in effect bound by fixed and established laws, whereas a despot governs by his or her own will and caprice. Forget right or wrong for a minute when it comes to Slaver’s Bay; were there laws against killing the slave masters/people? Need I remind vengeance is a motivation not a justification. And in the words of Brooklyn Nine Nine officer Jake Peralta, “Cool motive. Still murder.”
Would they’ve been entitled to a trial? Was there a different form of punishment (perhaps beheading or enslavement or jail) that would’ve been decreed? Crucifying could be viewed as particularly cruel (and should be). Would such institutions even matter against daenerys and her dragons? Probably not.
Despotism can often imply tyrannical rule; It can mean tyranny (or dominance through threat of punishment and violence) (Kneel or die anyone????), absolutism, or dictatorship (a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator, not confined by constitution, laws, or opposition, etc. - but is often more militaristic and strict when compared to despotism). I’ve seen both non-valid and valid arguments for all three, but again, Daenerys is a complicated character, she has problematic tendencies but a “good heart” and she doesn’t fit the stereotypes of all three perfectly either - only draws from certain aspects of them.
There is also the idea of enlightened absolutism (known also as benevolent despotism), a subset of standard despotism that rose to prominence in the eighteenth century. In this variation, absolute monarchs use their authority to institute a number of reforms in the political systems and societies of their countries often to the benefit of the people.
While contradictory, i believe both versions can exist, and we see this in Daenerys Targaryen. We see her impulsive decisions, her horrible handingly of the aftermath of her conquests despite trying to implement progressive policies in the process, her want to be perceived as good and just and right, and her idealistic and progressive ideas and ideals. Its part of the reason i find her so interesting.
Whether despotism is inhernetly good or bad is a grey area and definitely relies on on opinion. I personally believe it can be bad but isn’t alway terrible per say; however I dont think it is ever really “good” and is generally b a d for a despotic goverment or to have a ruler with despotic tendencies. However that is my personal opinion, and while I’d write more justifcation/argument for my belief I 1) dont have enough time or energy or effort - i only wrote this bc im bored and stuck in hospital lmao and 2) this was aimed to be a poltical analysis and a generally rational argument and once you get into good and bad it generally translates to whether Daenerys herself would be a good ruler or not and people get really passionate, combative, non-objective and straight up nasty, no matter which side you take (though i found since Daenerys is more popular and has a larger fan base there is more people unwilling to be critical towards her or straight up nasty even to someone like I who really likes her, and finds her a fascinating character, brings up valid critiques, and despite the fact that by not recognizing her flaws alongside her strengths, you’re taking away a lot of agency from her character) and anyways im not about that sooooooo maybe some other time? or not lol
******I might write more in either justification of my writing or to add more concrete examples for my aforementioned outlooks, from the book and show, or i may write another meta on how she can be compared to other political ideologies not mentioned above. Anyways, just my two cents~~
testing out the app !!
So… I started my weightloss journey???
And I’ve lost over 22 pounds? On my own, with diet and some exercises here and there??? The heck??? (I still have to lose 44 pounds more, but we’re getting there)
Oke, so I’m hitting the gym like, next week. Imma contact a trainer and start right away. And y'know, I’m pretty sure they’re gonna ask me about my goals and all that… So, I’m gonna write that shit down, but I also found some reference pictures just in case.
CROPPED THE PHOTOS TO BE THE SAME SHAPE!
… Is it bad that I can’t pick a gender? Like, I am a girl, she/her, but you know… My bisexuality makes me wanna do the do with these people but also BE these people.
Only thing that sucks is that I’m 5'5… Y'all imagine my short ass walking around looking hella ripped.
Being a top and being short af sucks… But it’s also great, ‘cause you’re like a small gift box, full of surprises. 🌠
HOW COULD I FORGET MY BABY JON
The day I’m close to looking having Jon’s abbs, Imma be happy enough to die.
WELP YA KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS BOIS, LETS BRING BACK THE OC HETALIA ASKBLOGS FUN ONCE AGAIN :D
I had a few thoughts.
I might end up putting Kayli’s DA verse on some sort of hold (extremely selective interactions only, and most likely only with people I’ve interacted with before) to have more freedom to explore other things as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I love DA a lot, and I love exploring Kayli’s character. But it’s been over 6 years since I first made her and I’m starting to feel a bit of a detachment from DA itself. Not sure if it’s the lack of content at play here or something else.
But, at the end of the day I want to explore some different concepts and I’d rather do it with Kayli since she’s been here for so long and I can safely say she’s the one and only character who survived for so long in my brain.
Omg yes 🥺🥺
i’m just gonna say it: riverdale did character development better and more believable than they do lmao
Hello everyone, sorry for the absence! I have not been very healthy these weeks, plus uni exams make everything harder haha. But holidays are around the corner so i’m just eager for all the stuff i will be able to release then! :D Stay tuned and take care ^^
The devs nine days before Halloween: Btw Diavolo’s birthday is on October 31st ! :)
Writers and artists who did not know about this and now have to plan something: Now wait a damn minute-
all but two memes are in my drafts.
i mean. fair point!! most fanworks do exist as like. fans “fixing” problems in canon and whatnot!
but! it does not explain reed900??
one of them literally appears for like. 8 seconds and has NO personality. and one IS the personification of cop violence?
like. there WAS no content for them to begin with. reed900 is solely fan based. and because of that, it’s almost entirely fetishist and inherently fucking toxic.
i’d possibly understand more if they DID have like. canon interactions or someshit. but rk900 exists only in one ending, has no dialogue and no personality and reed is just there to be a dick. david cage’s shitty writing CAN’T justify this shitty ship because it doesn’t exist MSDLKFSDFFD
me: i’m going to work on bthb!
me: makes an organized list of prompts before getting distracted by memes
the thrill of posting a fic SECONDS before the character its for birthday ends
oh nonnie i’ve lost count of the amount of men that have disappointed me and i’m not even talking about little things i’m talking about the really fucked up shit sbsndusksis and you are absolutely right his reaction really should be the norm and i really wish it was
ON YOUR LEFT!
*anime tiddies bouncing intensifies*