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Is Daenerys Repeating Her Brother's Mistakes On Game Of Thrones This Season?

If Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen wants respect, she needs to earn it

Daenerys Targaryen has gotten herself into a bit of a mess on Game of Thrones. And let me be clear: She did do this to herself.

The most recent episode of Game of Thrones, titled "Oathbreaker," saw Daenerys being brought before the dosh khaleen in the holy city of Vaes Dothrak. As seen in Season 1, the dosh khaleen are a group of widowed khaleesis who serve as seers, foretelling the future and interpreting omens for the Dothraki people. Dany was stripped of her clothing and redressed in traditional Dothraki garb, and despite rattling off her many titles -- "Queen of Meereen, breaker of chains, first of her name, Mother of Dragons, etc." -- the crones' leader, the widow of Khal Sovo, was less than impressed.

Instead, she informed Dany that not only did she break the Dothraki rules by not immediately joining the dosh khaleen after Khal Drogo's death, but that being allowed to stay with the crones is her best-case scenario because now she has to stand trial for her actions. OK, so maybe Daenerys did break the rules by not directly reporting to dosh khaleen, but the Khaleesi did have bigger things to deal with, like three baby dragons.

It's been interesting to watch Daenerys treat the Dorthraki with such disdain this season. Her marriage to Khal Drogo was a turning point for her. As she adapted to the Dothraki ways, life in the khalasar allowed her independence from her abusive and manipulative brother Viserys, and she emerged from the experience stronger, more confident, and a total badass. (Again, she also emerged the mother of three baby dragons.)

Flash forward to Season 6, and Dany's confidence is beginning to border on arrogance. Yes, the entire Dothraki culture has been built on centuries of patriarchal bullshit, but no one knows that better than Daenerys -- and I don't see why she doesn't use that to her advantage. Instead, Daenerys is acting like her brother Viserys in Season 1: entitled, indifferent, and totally indignant toward the Dothraki.

Viserys didn't care about the Dothraki or their customs; to him, they were a means to an end. In exchange for his sister, Drogo promised him 10,000 men to help him reclaim the Iron Throne. Since his adolescent days in the free cities, Viserys dreamed of taking back the throne. He would have done anything for it. However, Viserys wasn't a leader. He was nothing more than an unhinged young man looking to avenge his family. He was a false God. He played the game poorly, with disrespect and disregard for the Dothraki, and for that, he paid the ultimate price.

But Daenerys has always been different. She was born to lead, born to free cities from the shackles that bind them. She just doesn't know how to rule. It's her foremost flaw as character, and frankly, it's beginning to get old.

Dany thought that by freeing the Unsullied in Essos and storming into Meereen to put the kibosh on slavery that she was helping people. And she was -- to a certain extent. As Daenerys went on liberating Astapor and then Meereen, she grew more confident in her role as liberator and Western enlightener of the East, but the way she went about it, without regard for culture and customs, was naive and misguided. Dany's disregard for Meereen's culture is what got her into a war with Slaver's Bay, and now she's doing the same with the Dothraki.

It seems inevitable that Daenerys will get the dosh khaleen to fall in line. It was practically foreshadowed in George R.R. Martin's A Clash of Kings. She may even walk out of Vaes Dothrak with a Dothraki army. (Who am I kidding? Of course she will.) But if Daenerys wants to lead the Dothraki into Slaver's Bay and march forth into King's Landing, she needs to prove herself as a ruler -- and a ruler can't just demand the respect of her subjects.

Or else she's no better than her brother.