Fire and Bloody Mary: Daenerys Targaryen as Mary Tudor

Fire and blood. Two terrifying images that are extremely evocative of both Daenerys Targaryen and Mary Tudor. Regarding Daenerys, the connection is obvious for “Fire and blood” are literally her family words. The link to Mary Tudor is likewise clear even on a surface level as Mary Tudor’s posthumous sobriquet “Bloody Mary” was given to her by the Protestants she persecuted during her time on England’s throne.

For Dany, her family words are made flesh in the form of the dragons that she creates from the funeral pyre of her dead husband (whom she suffocated with a pillow to spare him a life that she regards as worth than death) and Mirri Maz Duur (whom she sacrificed as punishment for the retribution Mirri Maz Duur inflicted on her and Khal Drogo). Just as Dany was willing to sacrifice a woman to the flames in a perversion of justice that more resembles vengeance, so too was Mary Tudor prepared to burn those she perceived as heretics at the stake for the crime of not being Catholic. Dany was determined to bring back the dragons that had made her family so powerful, while Mary was resolved to restore Catholicism to England after King Henry VIII’s reign in which he split from the Catholic Church in order to divorce Mary’s mother, Queen Catherine of Aragon, and marry Anne Boleyn. Both Dany and Mary were prepared to offer bloody, fiery sacrifices to achieve their objectives.


It is a fair observation that Dany only burned one victim (who had personally wronged her) alive in the fire, while many estimates of the death toll of Mary’s enforcement of her heresy laws suggest that she burned over three hundred people in her fight to bring England back to Catholicism. However, while Dany shows restraint at the funeral pyre, she displays a fanaticism reminiscent of Mary’s when she orders her recently purchased Unsullied to put all the slave masters in Astapor to the sword, and, even more graphically, later on when she crucifies 163 slavers as revenge for slave children they crucified on their march to Mereen. Although both women feel that their causes are noble, there is no denying that their methods are brutal. Dany’s death toll may, like Mary’s, already exceed three hundred.

In addition to the blood on their hands, Dany and Mary share some other defining features, including the fact that each of them experienced disgrace and exile early in their lives. Mary’s childhood was shaped when her father, Henry VIII, cast aside her mother, declared her illegitimate, and exiled Mary to a castle away from her mother. Just as Mary suffered the fall from dishonor, Dany was born as her mother fled the kingdom as their dynasty was usurped in Robert’s Rebellion. Much as Mary felt wronged by her mother being divorced and herself being declared illegitimate, Dany was raised to resent the fact that her family’s realm was, in her view, stolen by Robert and his supporters.

Apart from the bitterness exile breed in these women, they also are both linked to madness. Madness, like silver hair and purple eyes, seems to be a Targaryen trait, so much so that characters note that when a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin and the world watches to see if the new Targaryen ends up crazy.


Mary, like a Targaryen, was rumored to be insane partially because of a phantom pregnancy in 1555, where a special birthing chamber, a nursery with a beautifully carved cradle, and cards for royalty throughout Europe were prepared with only the date of birth and gender to be filled in. Yet the baby was never born and after several months in the birthing chamber, Mary emerged in defeat, prompting much speculation, ranging from remarks that Mary’s pregnancy (in the words of a Venetian ambassador) were more likely to “end in wind than anything else” to rumors that Mary had miscarried. The association of Mary with a potential miscarriage and madness may tie her again to Dany, who seems to have experienced a miscarriage near the end of Dance with Dragons, and whom Mirri Maz Durr tells will see her beloved Drogo again “when your womb quickens again and you bear a living child.” In other words, probably never.

My prediction for Dany would be a further descent into madness (perhaps associated with her inability to bear a living child), a continued tendency to slaughter those she deems as worthy of punishment (maybe wielding her dragons as a fiery judgment against Westeros if she ever reaches there to fight for the Iron Throne), and generally a persistent connection to fire and blood. Since Mary assumed the throne after beheading the Nine Day Queen, Lady Jane Grey, I wonder if Dany will be the one to overthrow Cersei,but, just as Mary did not have a particularly long reign, I predict that Dany’s reign will be short and likely bloody. Just as Mary brought fire and blood to England, Dany will bring fire and blood to Westeros, but I do not think that she will bring back the Targaryen dynasty.


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