*Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead!*
When given the chance to spare the people of King's Landing, she burned the city to the ground instead, becoming the exact figure of tyranny and cruelty she claimed to be fighting against.
Many wondered, "Why would she do this after fighting so long for the good of the common people?"
Well, one fan on Reddit came up with an interesting possible explanation.
Reddit user J_Mrad first pointed out an oft-overlooked moment from the episode in question where it seems Varys, seeing that Daenerys would be an unstable, dangerous ruler, seems to be trying to poison her:
But why, J_Mrad asks, would Varys simply try to poison his queen, knowing all the blame would come straight back to him?
In his post, he writes:
"Straight up poisoning the queen would be a terrible idea. He knows how much Jon loves her and, though it would mean he will have to take the throne, it wouldn't end nicely for him after Jon figures out what he did.
A better plan would be to push Dany into madness early, letting it loose on King's Landing and showing everyone a Mad Queen, which is exactly what happened. How? Basilisk's blood."
Basilisk's blood is an obscure poison in the Song of Ice and Fire books that's been left out of the television show.
J_Mrad includes a description from the novels:
"It will give cooked meat a savory smell, but if eaten it produces violent madness, in beasts as well as men. A mouse will attack a lion after a taste of basilisk's blood. But to a man who loves his art, is not passion a form of madness? " ~ Oberyn Martell
J_Mrad believes this explanation of Dany's madness would make more sense than the turn we see onscreen:
"This would justify the sudden descent into madness she took in such a short time. It would also give Varys a more meaningful arc."
"1 - Varys would never do that to innocent people. 2 - The writers dont even know the Gendry's proper bastard name (Rivers/Waters), how the f*ck will they know about Basilisk's Blood?"
"If Varys did use Basilisk's blood to cause Dany's so called madness then it would also cause Dany to actually attack people -- i.e. running around literally attacking Jon or Tyrion or Greyworm. -- straight jacket madness.
Also I am not sure if Dany showed this "madness". Her decision was more of a rational choice -- rule by love, or rule by fear. When she found that she had no love from the people more-so from Jon then fear it is. I think this is more logical than perceived."
"All these theories are moot. There is no need to look so deeply into the script now thanks to D&D"
"This is probably the best theory I've read since GOT started. It actually fits, despite what we want to think about Varys. He's not a nice guy. He's the guy in the shadows who manipulates and waits for his prey to fall into his web....aka "the spider".
He manipulates children to do his dirty work, for pete's sake. A nice guy does NOT do that. Varys may well have been behind many of the people on the throne going crazy all along...creating mad violent rulers only for the sake of chaos and conflict being where he is best...pitting everyone against each other."
"Except they made a point of telling us she has NOT eaten anything, thus making this theory impossible."
People on Twitter had some feelings about the theory as well:
Could Game of Throne's greatest twist have been the one they never revealed?