Film Theory: Is Daenerys Going MAD? – Game of Thrones

Ha! Forget about dragons Westeros, because the biggest threat headed your way is me. *fire, screams of pain and terror* *Opening theme* Hello Internet, welcome to Film Theory where, just like a Lannister always pays his debts, a MatPat always delivers his theories. In the crazy, ever changing, world of Game of Thrones at least there are a few things you can always count on. Winter is always coming, The Targaryens always have great hair, and no one likes Dorne. seriously. *sounds of comments appearing* NOBODY likes Dorne. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about this series it’s that you can’t actually rely on anything. George R. R. Martin’s love of throwing fantasy tropes out the window like a young Bran Stark means that there is no assumption that you can count on. Which is why i’m so excited about this episode as I finally get to target the family that we all think we know, the Targaryens. In particular I’ve had my eye on the Mad King for a long time now and today we’re going to talk about just how mad he is. Quick warning though, a light sprinkling of spoilers ahead so I pray to the Old Gods that you’re all caught up. Now, season 6 of the series was the first we’ve gotten a look at the most famous Targaryen ancestor, Aerys the second, the Mad King himself. mmh, and what a looker he is. Now there are all kinds of theories going around about the Mad King and there are plenty of upcoming Film Theories about the fella. But today I’m less interested in history and more interested in whether history is going to repeat itself. Because for as excited as we all are for Westeros to get rekt by Dany and her armies, Dothraki hoards, ships and dragons the biggest twist in her story may yet be coming. and sadly, nothing Sir Friend-Zone does will be able to stop it. Nope. Dany may have a ticking bomb inside of her. Remember, the most famous family genes in the whole series, the Targaryens, i.e. the genes that let you walk through fire, talk to dragons, and make sure you always look a Pantene Pro-V model also tend to lead to rulers who are violent, deranged and just weird. According to Game of Thrones cannon Aerys the second was perfectly sane in his 20’s showing no signs he’d gotten the insane Targaryen gene only to develop his homicidal crazies a little bit later in life. after becoming King. So is it just a matter of time for Daenerys as well? Can science help us predict whether Dany is destined to follow in her fathers footsteps? I intend to find out. To figure it out, we need to take a look at the Targaryen family tree and boy is it a doozy! Now in this show I usually try to stick to the lore from the TV show only, since at this point the two have taken different story arcs. For this one we needed to call out the big guns to piece together Daenerys’ genetic situation and fully understand exactly what she’s inheriting. Which means the lesson of todays episode is the wonderful world of Inbreeding [Children cheer] and when I say ‘wonderful’ i mean pretty weird. like, research for this episode was very uncomfortable But to diagnose her likely-hood of becoming the Mad Queen of Westeros, we need to understand what happens when related individuals do the horizontal mambo and genetically why so many societies have rules against marrying into your own family other than the obvious creep factor which again is pretty darn high #love is love… most of the time. Now before Darwin and genetics, people did know that inbreeding produced kids that had physical and mental disabilities who tended to die younger or frankly didn’t survive at all. But the reasons behind that have to do with genetic science that came out in the 1800’s specifically, recessive genes and genetic mutation and basically, how many are lurking under the surface of our own genes everyday. So if you didn’t sleep through 7th grade science hopefully you know that every person in the world has two copies of all their genes one you inherit from your mum and the other from your dad. In textbooks you see them sitting together in these cute little pairs all nice and getting along But the story in your cells is a whole lot different. One of the biggest reasons we have two copies of genes from two parents is to cover up mutations and alternate forms of genes in the genome and what Mr Foster didn’t tell me in 7th grade science is that there are actually tons of these genetic mistakes inside all of us. So if Gene 1 from your dad doesn’t quite have its act together the one on the allele you got from your mum can cover its tracks making sure you still produce everything that you need like blood cells and bones and Kylie Jenner duck lips. Sometimes the traits these genes are for are just unimportant like handedness or the ability to taste certain bitter chemicals. But then there are other genes that you definitely want to have a backup for. Diseases like Sickle Cell Anaemia and Cystic Fibrosis are two of the most famous autosomal recessive diseases, but there are literally hundreds more most of which you don’t really hear too much about because they’re pretty darn rare and the reason they’re rare is that most people have a backup set of genes that help them minimise the effects of these disorders. Notice though that I said ‘most’ If you don’t have a backup set of genes then boy-howdy you’re in trouble which brings us to Dany and her family history of inbreeding Inbreeding is actually really complicated and what we’re talking about here just scratches the surface. Studying inbreeding is basically about how many genes get recycled directly from generation to generation. To do that, population specialists use what is known as the coefficient of inbreeding. gah, its like they make coefficients for literally anything these days. Coefficient of when winter is coming. Coefficient of extraneous boob shots in Game of Thrones. But a coefficient of inbreeding measures how many identical copies of a gene they have because it came from the same ancestor. In other words, it helps us understand how much of Daenerys’ DNA is the exact same as the Mad Kings because it came directly from him and his inbreeding ancestors. This, in turn, ought to give us a good indication of whether we can expect Daenerys to follow in the footsteps of his, lets just say ‘less than sane’ ruling practices. Now, the equation for calculating the inbreeding coefficient for any person is… so.. right. Yeah, I’m gonna assume you don’t want me to walk through every variable on that one so instead lets use the power of Google to see what the inbreeding coefficient would be for the children of two siblings. Using Google, and some weird research into dairy cow breeding, we can find that the sibling pairings will will result in offspring that share 50% of their genes with their grandparents and have an inbreeding coefficient of 25% Meaning that they have a 25% chance of being effected by those nasty recessive gene diseases we talked about. And the numbers are all well and good but to put it in perspective lets look at a real world example first. King Tutankhamun, known by his peeps as King Tut, is one of the most famous cases of real world inbreeding since his parents were actually brother and sister. He’s portrayed in Egyptian mythology as this powerful sun god but in reality he was really tiny, likely sick his whole life, had a congenital clubfoot, couldn’t produce any living children, and died at age 19. Plus, he’s the only child from his parents, that we know, who actually survived. So what happened here? Well, his grandparents weren’t inbred. so first of a big pat on the back to those guys for finding love in all the right places [awkward, solo clapping] His parents though, not so much they were siblings, meaning that they already share 50% of the same DNA just by being closely related. now, they would have been fine if they had gone on to have kids with other people but they decided to keep it all in the family meaning that any kid they had would be inbred like, Really inbred. When they had King Tut it meant that he had a 25% inbreeding coefficient because he’s the product of two siblings versus say, a ZERO% coefficient if his parents weren’t actually related. It also means that he shares 50% of his genes with his grandparents where he normally would only share 25% of his genes with them under normal circumstances. As a result, his odds of getting any one of those rare genetic diseases is now as high as one in four. And across so many possible disorders chances are you’re going to end up with at least a few of the biggies. and thats the thing about the genetics of inbreeding its all about percent chances and playing the odds. Kind of like Vegas but with your genes Sure, you can definitely get lucky every once and a while if having a club foot and dying by 19 is considered lucky, but, statistically speaking, serious genetic mutations become common as soon as you get to a coefficient of inbreeding thats 10% or higher. So what does this mean for Daenerys? Well as you go through more and more generations of inbreeding the problems get worse and worse really fast and say what you will about the Targeryens but they were prolific inbreeders. A little examination of that massive family tree shows that you can go back 19 generations from Daenerys and 12 of them have sibling-sibling inbreeding involved. Talk about your brotherly love! actually don’t talk about that, its gross then again I’m still talking about it so.. Welcome to Film Theory ladies and gentlemen So ok, lets give her the absolute biggest benefit of the doubt and only go back three generations to the last time there was any ANY sort of out-breeding in the Targaryen line Aegon ‘The Unlikely’ Unlikely to survive based on the family’s incestuous history that is! ba-doom ching Aegon ‘The Unlikely’ managed to marry Black Betha a real, live non-Targaryen oh, but okay sure. now its a race thing? Seriously though, Black Betha’s just her name Now, Aegon the Unlikely also comes from inbreeding but by marrying Betha and outcrossing He effectively resets the Targaryen inbreeding coefficient to zero. According to the lore, Aegon didn’t believe in inbreeding but two of his kids fell in love and got married bringing their kids, including Mad King Aerys the second Up to that 25% inbreeding coefficient. As a result, it would be incredibly unlikely that either Aerys or his sister would live long enough to grow up and they would almost certainly have no chance of having viable kids. An issue known as Inbreeding Depression. No, thats not the feeling you get when your sister starts having feelings for your first cousin. Thats actually when most populations become sterile after one or two generations of close inbreeding because their DNA is simply too damaged to even create a baby. But most importantly to us, the risk of Aerys having Alzheimer’s and Dementia, diseases that specifically show up later in life, happen at much higher rates in inbred populations. More recessive genes mean more genes associated Dementia and Alzheimers get turned on leading to the diseases showing up more often and more severely. It also shows up earlier in life because inbreeding causes the body to literally age faster since its DNA is too fragile and literally more likely to just break apart. If you need a real life example, just look at Maria of Portugal in the 1700’s whos life has some pretty bizarre similarities to our favourite mad king. The product of royal inbreeding, she started off as a strong, decisive ruler early in life until she started having delirious episodes and developing dementia. Her condition got worse after the death of her husband and son and she lived the rest of her life in her own mind. Those around her reported constantly hearing her paranoid shrieking and screaming. As she was going mad, her kingdom was taken over and the whole Portuguese royal family at the time was forced to flee across the ocean to Brazil in 1801. Historically, she’s been refered to as the Mad Queen. So what are Daenerys’ odds of sharing the same fate as her father and Maria of Portugal? How do I put this lightly? Really REALLY freaking high! Preposterously high! Daenerys has 75% of her genes in common with Viserys and her father Aerys the second Seventy-five percent! That means that she’s incredibly likely to share the exact same fate as him. When we hear Tyrion tell her she’s starting to sound a lot like her father “You once told me you knew what your father was” “Did you know his plans for Kings Landing when” “the Lannister armies were at his gates?” -“This is entirely different” “You’re talking about destroying cities, it’s not entirely different” It’s because she literally is her father three fourths of her, is her father Physically, mentally, genetically her fate is pretty well sealed Man, it brings new meaning to the idea of ‘Daddy’s little girl’ Now if you carry this out to its logical conclusion it also has some serious implications for her position as Queen. The reason her first son died before he was born? We think it was magic We assume it was magic But the much more likely explanation is that she’s too inbred to produce a living heir. Based on genetics its practically impossible for her to have a living offspring. and forget about marrying her. Even if she makes it back to Westeros and reclaims the Iron Throne for her family statistically its almost impossible that she could extend her own family tree. There is literally no point in her becoming Queen because there’s so little chance that there there will be anyone there to take it on after her. well i guess there’s always Cersei. But if all this seems a bit extreme if applying science to Game of Thrones seems a bit absurd, you don’t have to take my word for it. Instead, take George R. R. Martin’s word. In the epilogue of A Dance With Dragons Mace Tyrell declares that Daenerys is quote: “As mad as her father” Just a throw away line? or foreshadowing at whats to come once Daenerys takes over Westeros? We’ll have to wait and see. Until then though, remember Its just a theory. A FILM THEORY Aaand… CUT Well, time to embarrass myself If you go way back to the earliest videos on the Game Theorist channel then you’ll see that i used to do myself a bit of singing back in the day. “Is that a wish for..” I was so cute and young then Well in honour of this Game of Thrones theory I partnered up with one of the best musicians on YouTube a man by the name of Peter Hollens and got to work out with him as Bran Stark in his rendition of the Game of Thrones theme song. So please, do me a favour and click here to rock out with me to one of the catchiest opening theme songs to a TV show EVER He got me this really awesome costume and everything I felt SO legit Fair warning, you’ll have it caught in your head the rest of the afternoon. Or if you’d like another Game of Thrones theory check out this one with my prediction on how Ser Jorah will be the hero of Westeros Seriously, the guy’s still kicking around he has a big role to play in the events next season For all you DHMIS fans, don’t worry just need a little more time in the edit. that one’s coming out next week. For all you Doctor Who fans meanwhile… you might be waiting just a little bit longer So pass the time by listening to the Game of Thrones theme song over and over again Click there! [A capella Game of Thrones Theme]


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