Caution: Spoilers for Game of Thrones ahead.
I talk a big game about wanting the women of Game of Thrones to step on me, shove me off a castle wall, roast me with a dragon. But I also have the energy of that girl from Mean Girls, the one who "doesn't even go here" but still wants everyone to be friends—I’m very tender! Which is why last night, on the second to last episode of Game of Thrones, I did not like seeing Daenerys Targaryen take a turn for the worse and step into her true power as the Mad Queen.
It was a destiny many GoT have fans prophesied, yet people were still shocked by it. I was not. Daenerys was always bound to become the Mad Queen. The only thing that surprised me was how much I hated watching it happen. I'm not alone:
Since the first season, Dany was a "good guy," the one leader of Westeros who wanted to bring peace and positive change to the realm. However, she has also shown an extremely brutal side of herself—from eating a stallion’s heart, to siccing her dragons on Randyll Tarly and his son, to burning the leaders of Meereen.
With that past in mind, I’m not sure why so many people were stunned that Dany decided to decimate King’s Landing despite their surrender. She's always been one of the most powerful characters on Game of Thrones.
But as much as I want her to utter the word “Dracarys” at me and feel the wrath of her dragonfire as my skin melts off, it hurts to watch this development. Maybe that's because we've watched a person who was supposed to represent all that’s good in the world become radicalized by those who have wronged her. We root for the "Golden Boy" character in great epics—the morally sound Wonder Woman, “the chosen one” like Harry Potter. These characters are plagued by their own darkness or lured into evil by their nemesis, but they always end up doing the right thing in the end. Daenerys was supposed to be that Golden Girl. Until she wasn't.
I thought that would be an interesting arc. I thought I’d enjoy watching her become the Mad Queen and screaming “yes bitch” at the TV every time Drogon’s wings clapped at her haters. But with all the devastating, terrible things going on in the real world right now, actually seeing my favorite female character become the person we’re supposed to hate felt like the opposite of a fantasy.
Then again, I think Dany should have complexities. I stan Cersei in all her depravity. I’m obsessed with Arya and her bloodlust. All of us are both good and bad, and I'm not particularly interested in a female character who’s perfect. A woman who hasn’t made mistakes.
With that in mind, I think what plagued me the most about Daenerys’ downfall wasn’t that her eight-season character arc set her up for greatness, only for her to come crumbling down with the walls of King’s Landing. Maybe it was my fear that Jon Snow will take the Iron Throne. Screw—and I cannot stress this enough—that.
The women of Game of Thrones are the northern star of this show. Arya, Sansa, Cersei, and Daenerys have all been through more and overcome more than Jon Snow could ever imagine. The women on this show persist. They endure. They grow stronger despite their wicked circumstances. And despite it all, with one episode left in the series, I worry that a man who is weaker emotionally—and, let's be real, weaker as a warrior—than many of his female counterparts will take the Throne and helm Westeros. Snow represents, to me, all the ways in which male mediocrity is often heralded over female greatness.
So if this show ends with Snow on the Throne instead of warrior princess Arya, the durable Sansa, or even the Mad Queen herself, this entire thing was a waste of my goddamn time. I think that’s really what hurts the most about watching Daenerys becoming the Mad Queen: I couldn’t even enjoy the twist, because my stomach churns thinking about what could come next: a man bun swooping in to “save the day.”
Jill Gutowitz is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles.
Originally Appeared on Glamour