The Khaleesi of Mental Problems – Daenerys Targaryen
From her beginnings as a submissive teenager abused and dominated by her elder brother to her endings of her fearlessly burning the city down on top of her dragon – Daenerys Targaryen is without a doubt one of the most iconic and complicated characters ever written and created.
We saw her being used as a bait by her brother in return to get the seven kingdoms, we saw her getting raped by her violent husband, we saw her falling in love and we saw her desperately trying to protect her husband. We also saw her walking into the fire and coming out alive with three baby dragons, we saw her conquer every obstacle that came her way with fire and blood and we saw her getting insecure even when she was the most powerful.
Daenerys was more than just a character that had immense character development with three dragons. She represented so much more – a cluster of mental problems that all boils down to her problematic childhood!
Table of Contents
1. Battered Woman Syndrome
She was on the run to save her life ever since she was a baby. Her parents along with the rest of her family were killed – and she had to stay away from her ‘home’ for as long as she had known. She only had her elder brother in the name of family – and he was definitely not ‘The Brother of the Year’. Since her childhood, she had heard of this fascinating future where her brother would conquer the seven kingdoms and she would get to go back home. This concept of getting back her ‘home’ legitimized every abuse, torture and/or dominance her brother submitted her to. She believes that it’s her life – and there is no escape. Even when she was married away to Khal Drogo, she realizes that she is being raped but doesn’t know how to fight back – portraying a weak and submissive woman. This violence and abuse exude a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder known as Battered Woman Syndrome.
2. Stockholm Syndrome
Daenerys was a bait given to the Dothrakis by her brother in return for an army. Even though they were married, Khal Drogo was more like her capturer (and rapist). One episode we see her crying as he is raping her and another episode, we see her in love with him. The writers were obviously trying to show that she turned the relationship around to a positive side. Everyone loved the Khal-Khaleesi relationship, but it was more like Stockholm Syndrome than romance. She fell in love with her rapist. She was afraid of him, and the only way she could live with him was to make him fall in love with her and vice-versa. She was never loved as a child. The only form of love she knows is the violent and abusive kind. Thus, when he converted from abusive to tender and romantic, she fell in love with him. This romance deeply signifies Stockholm Syndrome.
Related article: Peter Baelish- The Player Who Tamed His Ego
3. Borderline Personality Disorder
Daenerys is a complicated character. She is empathetic yet cruel. She is ambitious yet insecure. She is loving yet filled with hatred. Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others; includes self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships. You have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Daenerys fits perfectly into this definition!
She is capable of loving someone but keeps going for troubled men – and troubled relationships. Daenerys thinks in extremes, and one could say her childhood taught her to see everything as white or black, never grey. For her, people are either good or bad – nothing in between. One of the reasons she had so much trouble trusting people like Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow and Sansa Stark. They are all grey characters and did not follow her blindly. She has a great fear of abandonment that affects her sense of self.
It is heartbreaking that Daenerys has had such a troubled life. And it could be seen in her adulthood that the troubled childhood has affected her personality (and not in the most positive way).
4. Inferiority Complex
An inferiority complex consists of feelings of not measuring up to standards, a doubt and uncertainty about oneself, and a lack of self-esteem. The show and books try to show her as a true dragon – fearless and a leader. However, she is not confident. She has low self-esteem and she needs validation and adoration from her followers to reinstate her belief in herself. She has a high degree of Inferiority Complex.
Her Inferiority Complex can be clearly seen in the scene where they have defeated the army of the dead, and they are at the celebratory party. Everyone hails for Jon Snow and Arya Stark – and as the camera pans to a close-up of her face, we can see her self esteem deteriorating and her feeling inferior.
This Inferiority Complex can be boiled down to her relationship with her sibling in her childhood. She grew up to believe that her brothers were better than her. Whether black or white, she was told that they were better than her! Only after both of them died, she could show her superiority. She devoted her life to break the wheel and establish her superiority. However, she could not break the wheel of her own Inferiority Complex.
There’s no doubt that Daenerys is an iconic character – and one of the most layered one at that. However, she is also a great example of how a troubled childhood and cause you to have a cluster of mental problems throughout your life.