So. I wrote the majority of this immediately after the Game of Thrones season two finale aired, but it took me a while to get around to editing and posting it. Here we go, though. I’ve been thinking about this a lot more lately, and I think it’s time. And I’m posting it today, in the spirit of what I’ve done with True Blood weeks. Since, well. Whedon reasons.
I have seen/read a fair amount of meta on the subject of Doreah’s (Roxanne McKee) fate. I am not willing to immediately jump to the conclusion that Doreah was bad!! and did bad things!! that required her to be punished. But I am not necessarily willing to jump to the DAENERYS (Emilia Clarke) YOU BITCH conclusion either. I recognize this feeling that this situation makes me feel; it’s the “oh, god, (friend)ships sinking in real time” feeling. And I think that in order to explain my feelings on this, I am going to have to bring another completely unrelated thing into the discussion: Bennett (Summer Glau) and Caroline (Eliza Dushku).
No seriously, hear me out. I don’t know if my opinion is a proper read, but this is how I see things me personally due to my own biases and whatnot. The Daenerys(/)(-)Doreah issue is exactly the same as the Bennett(/)(-)Caroline issue. I mean, there are obviously a lot of differences. But the very basic structure is there.
- Two young women meet. (The circumstances of said meetings are entirely different.) Not a lot of detail is given about the relationship, and it’s never said that they’re more than friends, but, y’know, they could be. (This is where I point out that yes, I have come around to the belief that Bennett had a thing for Caroline, I’m fuzzy on details but there were feelings at least, and I ship Dany/Doreah like burning, still; in fact, it’s probably gotten more intense. But a lot of the components of the whole situation are just as relevant were the relationships completely platonic friendships. With a lot of subtext.)
- One of the women is clearly better at relationships of any nature than the other. (This is where I explain that I am hugely biased, because I cannot help but equate Dany to Bennett in this situation. Yes, she is more like Caroline in that she Has A Goal That Must Be Met. But in terms of interpersonal dynamics, she is Bennett all the way. Baby girl does not know how to people very well, though she probably has more inherent skill for it than Bennett.) The more experienced woman is the sort who sort of makes anything she says sound accidentally flirtatious; the less experienced woman is, well, less experienced. There is much that goes down between them that could be read into. (And given the circumstances of their lives, as per the above, I fully equate the Dany/Doreah practicesex to the Bennett/Caroline hairtime. Different actions, similar vibes. It was very possibly just friends helping each other out, but it also so wasn’t.)
- Something terrible happens to the less experienced woman (the ceiling on Bennie’s arm, Dany’s dragons being taken). This brings out a decidedly different side of her. (Bennie was sort of cute awkward girl, then it was all [insert detached genius here]; Dany has fierced out before, but she definitely lost even more trust in people after this.) The other woman is suddenly not there (Caroline to the L.A. house, Doreah… well, somehow to Xaro’s, which they didn’t explain too well, I acknowledge this particular failing in the story).
- Some time passes (years or I-don’t-even-know-what-the-Game-of-Thrones-timeline-looks-like-exactly) and then suddenly, they’re face-to-face again. Bennett perceived the instance as being one of Caroline betraying her all along and was just letting it sink in and fill her with a lot of simmering rage because cute and awkward though she can be and that tendency never disappears she is also not, by nature, easily forgiving; Daenerys believed Doreah dead like, oh, all of her other subjects were and then when faced with evidence to the contrary, the simmering rage appeared suddenly because sweet and patient and good though she can be, she is also, by nature, prone to outbursts.
- Then the rage kicks in. Nothing sucks worse than betrayal. Particularly betrayal by one of your closest relationships (friends or more than or however it shades out, there is no arguing that Caroline was Bennett’s only close person and that Doreah was basically Daenerys’ only close person except for Jorah which is a whole other thing). Is it right and completely justified for Bennett to torture and attempt to secondhand-kill Caroline-who-is-Echo? Probably not. Is it right and completely justified for Daenerys to shut Doreah in a vault to slowly die? Probably not. I don’t absolve them for these decisions. They were definitely rash decisions and probably not great ones overall. I don’t absolve them, but I sort of kind of understand a tiny bit maybe. Betrayal, no matter how real or perceived it is, sucks seriously hard. And betrayal makes people about as rash as anything.
This was a season where no, Daenerys didn’t get to do a lot. I’ve read things accusing her of “just screaming about her dragons” all the time or something like that. I just read the second of the books, where she had even less to do. I think this season was one about Dany learning about expectations vs. reality, though. Season one was Dany learning that yes, she was the blood of the dragon, and she had power. Season two was Dany learning that no, having that power isn’t inherently everything. The events, though similar, are shaded very differently: since Dany is the primary character and Doreah the supporting one, it’s written to be seen perhaps more from her perspective, but since Caroline was the primary character and Bennett the supporting one, there are people who jumped all over Bennett for being crazy. I’ve talked about that before.
It’s not a right or wrong situation. I have a really hard time taking sides in situations like this, where, even if people acted in ways that weren’t good, I can try to see everyone’s side. Bennett thought she was betrayed, and that sucks. Dany was probably betrayed, at least somewhat, and that sucks. Bennett tried to hurt her betrayer, and that sucks. Dany did hurt her betrayer, and that sucks. Caroline and Doreah were not innocent in the situations, but Bennett and Dany were not a hundred percent justified. And due to the Bennett and Caroline situation being shown in flashbacks, I didn’t have the opportunity to hope madly that things would turn out okay at the last minute that I did with Dany and Doreah (I’ll admit that I desperately wanted Dany to just be dragging Doreah along to the vault to show her what she was going to do to Xaro and then she was going to talk angrily with her or something) but I also own that man, it makes me sad that Dollhouse ended when it did and felt compelled to kill Bennie off in the process, because there are all sorts of emotional reactions to things that I can imagine in the future of Game of Thrones. I say imagine, because they probably aren’t going to waste canonical time on Dany regretting her decision (I know some people who didn’t find it actually significant at all; I remember exclaiming “oh no, I’m so sad!” when it happened, and these people went “so?” There were also other comments, but they were problematic on other levels). But both of these situations kick my heart in the ass.
–your fangirl heroine.