Within the fantasy world of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen is undeniably one of the most compelling and powerful characters in the entire fictional history of the GoT universe. Daenerys has seemingly made miracles happen, has almost single-handedly brought magic back into a world where mysticism seemed to be on death's door and has conquered nearly the entire known world with three dragons and a dream of what she could make into reality.
But like any character, Daenerys is one that experiences highs and lows. And because she operates in such extremes, they were typically very high highs and very low lows. Daenerys could be an absolute strategic and political genius, but she could also be denser and more stubborn than stone. So here are five times that Daenerys Targaryen was an actual genius, along with five times that the mother of dragons really wasn't very smart.
10 Genius: Rediscovering Dragons
Daenerys clearly rediscovered and reintroduced dragons into the world more by accident than by design, but it would certainly appear that she had an inkling of what she might be capable of long before she stepped into that funeral pyre with the dragon eggs.
The dragon eggs appeared to call to her from the moment she laid eyes on them, and the very fact that she brought the eggs into the fire with her, instead of just going in by herself, would seem to indicate that her intention may not have been to sacrifice herself in the fire and join her husband in death.
9 Idiot: Acting Before Thinking
Daenerys is a girl with big ideas and a lot of powerful means by which she can make those ideas happen, however she doesn't go into most situations very delicately or thoughtfully. At her heart, she clearly believes that her dragons will win any fight no matter the circumstance, and generally, she's right.
But the bigger issue here is that while she does always come up the victor, she doesn't need to win so violently or create so much collateral damage with her victories. If she actually took a moment to consider what she was doing before doing it, the world would likely be a safer and better place for it.
8 Genius: Recognizing That Her Enemies Were A Threat
Queen Daenerys wants to be a benevolent ruler and she wants intelligent and powerful people to rule at her side. Or rather, she wants them to rule just below her. However, something that Daenerys does seem to be quite keenly aware of is when particular people aren't on her side and when they pose a threat to her rule.
Granted Sansa Stark didn't do much to hide her disdain for Daenerys but regardless she seemed to understand that Sansa's rebellion against her rule was a threat to her control over the North. And she seems to have similarly good instincts when it comes to many of the other people in Westeros that she can or can't trust.
7 Idiot: Underestimating Her Enemies
One of Daenerys' fatal flaws as a character is that she so fervently believes that she is all-powerful and can't be defeated. Daenerys doesn't hesitate to eliminate whatever enemies that she faces, but she's not necessarily doing it because she sincerely believes that they pose any kind of threat to her rule, it's more that she just wants anyone who isn't willing to get in line to be ripped off the face of the earth.
She's a character with a very strong god complex, and if she had kept in touch with the fact that she was all too human then she likely wouldn't have died.
6 Genius: Killing The Khals
Daenerys has undeniably held more firepower than nearly any other character in the history of the Game of Thrones world, and as a result of her massive power, she has gifted the GoT audience with some of the most thrilling and badass moments in the history of the series.
One of her most iconic moments was when she was "taken prisoner" by the Dothraki. When the Khals are debating what to do with Daenerys and whether or not she is even worthy of being relegated to the Dosh Khaleen, she reveals that she is only here to kill them and prove herself as the only one worthy of leading the Dothraki.
5 Idiot: Expecting Dragons To Trump Everything
Dragons are clearly and unequivocally one of the most powerful forces in the entire world, and Daenerys understandably believed that they were the one and only key to conquering Westeros. And on one level she was right, but on another level she let her arrogance get ahead of her common sense and she didn't learn the lessons of the Targaryens that came before her.
Daenerys' greatest loss in battle was absolutely when the Night King killed Viserion and she essentially handed her most dangerous enemy the most powerful weapon he could ever use, and if she hadn't assumed that dragons were an indestructible force she never would have lost one in the first place.
4 Genius: Betraying Master Kraznys
Although Daenerys' power has only progressively grown since she came into her own and realized that the world could be hers for the taking if she would only take it, she has oftentimes had to resort to some very sneaky and clever ways of gaining what she needs in order to make herself a force to be reckoned with.
One of her most brilliant moves was undoubtedly when she offered Master Kraznys one of her dragons in exchange for an army. Of course, she never intended on giving one away and used the dragons as well as her army to kill all of the slavers and convince the army to fight for her voluntarily.
3 Idiot: Burning King's Landing
It shouldn't have been very surprising that Daenerys would burn King's Landing because she ultimately has always been her father's daughter and has always loved to burn stuff to the ground. However, going literally scorched earth was one of her worst instincts in the history of her conquering career.
The people of King's Landing had surrendered, and she could have convinced them of her benevolence if she had even given that a chance. But because she thought the people would never love her, she was satisfied to at least have them fear her, but ultimately she sacrificed all of her ideals because she couldn't control her temper.
2 Genius: Conquering The Entire World
Being the mother of dragons certainly got Daenerys Targaryen pretty far in the world, but the reality of the situation is that if she hadn't been clever enough to do it then she wouldn't have gotten even half as far as she did in the world.
If she had played her cards wrong she could have been killed many times, long before she actually did die, and her ability to learn and adapt to the places and people she was conquering made her into the kind of conqueror that made Aegon Targaryen and his sisters look like small-minded wannabes.
1 Idiot: Assuming That The World Wants Her As Their Ruler
There used to be a saying that when a Targaryen is born the gods flip a coin, on one side there is madness and the other is greatness. But it seems that both sides of this coin exist within Daenerys Targaryen.
She was undeniably brilliant and accomplished more than any of her predecessors, but she also had fatal flaws that quite literally proved fatal in the end.
Something that Daenerys never seemed to quite understand is that while she saw herself as the merciful queen meant to heal the world, plenty of people just didn't want her to rule them. It's a simple notion, but something that she proved herself incapable of understanding.