Daenerys Says Dracarys: A Playlist for Daenerys Targaryen

Even though I didn’t watch much of this season of Game of Thrones, I tuned in for the finale, and watched the previous week’s episode in preparation. I won’t write an spoilers, but let’s just say there were some kick ass dragon moments and while show Dany isn’t always my favorite, I really like the whole girl-will-kill-you-with-fire vibe she has. Can you blame me?

So during a specific scene, I commented that if Dany had a playlist, it would include “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Then, I had the idea to open up Tidal and start putting together something about the length of a mix tape inspired by her character. And now I can share it with you on Tidal (and a version with one different song on Spotify).

1. Metric – Glass Ceiling

We kick it off with a song that directly references the barrier to success faced by women. Guess who’s going to shatter that? With dragons.

2. Ani DiFranco – Not a Pretty Girl

Dany basically doesn’t give a fuck if you want to save her. She is not a damsel in distress (looking at you, Jorah!). There’s also a tendency for folks not to take her seriously at first; they think she’s a naïve child with some angst: “Every time I say something they find hard to hear / They chalk it up to my anger and never to their own fear.” Thankfully, she’s found some decent advisors now, so she can blare this 90s feminist tune.

3. No Doubt – Just a Girl

Does this song even need an explanation? Thankfully Daenerys will never be a judge on The Voice, but she will rise up and prove that a chick with platinum blonde hair can get shit done. Imagine if Gwen Stefani had some dragons.

4. Meredith Brooks – Bitch

So if you’ve tried to date or fight or deal with Daenerys Targaryen, you’d probably agree that the chorus of this 90s song speaks to her as a person:

I’m a bitch, I’m a lover
I’m a child, I’m a mother [OF DRAGONS]
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between

Basically, don’t cross her. She has many sides, and all of them will kill you with dragonfire if you mistreat her.

5. Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl

Feminist revolution! Would Dany have been a Riot Grrrl? Maybe. I like to think this song is also on the “I <3 Daenerys” mix that Asha Greyjoy has obviously made by now.

6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

The song that inspired this whole insane playlist. Since I’ve started watching GoT, I’ve seen a lot of heads roll. Just ask the Starks about that.

7. Beyoncé – Sorry*

No one has ever cheated on Daenerys, and one could argue that she is quite the Becky herself, but she is incredibly unapologetic about giving the finger to people who try to cheat her or betray her. You might get locked in a vault, have your throat slashed, or just get burned to death by dragons. She ain’t sorry.

*On Spotify, this is replaced with Beyoncé’s “Run the World” because Lemonade isn’t on their platform at this time. It’s still pretty appropriate and could be a theme for a number of ladies kicking ass in GoT.

8. Hole – Asking For It

For all that is great about the empowerment of women on GoT, there is a lot of rape. It’s ridiculous that you can be the mother of dragons and men still think they can take advantage of you. It’s ridiculous that you can stage dive and men think that they can take advantage of you. It’s ridiculous that you can exist as a woman and men think that they can take advantage of you.

9. The Cure – Burn

If you have three dragons, you’re probably a little goth on the inside. This song, from The Crow soundtrack, speaks to Dany’s feelings about Khal Drogo after seeing him (and their son) in her vision at the House of the Undying. Plus it’s called “Burn.”

10. Coal Chamber – Sway

We don’t need no water, let the motherfucker burn. Burn, motherfucker, burn.

11. Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Fire

This 60s psychedelic rock song begins “I am the God of Hell Fire” and it made the playlist thanks to Preston & Steve. Sometimes, when you’re burning people alive with your dragons, you just need some organ music.

12. Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

Obviously we have to include something by Imagine Dragons on this mix because Daenerys Targaryen doesn’t have to imagine dragons—she is mother of them. Plus this song alludes to revolution and the apocalypse; we’re going to see some of both of those in the future, methinks.

13. The Cult – Fire Woman

Let’s be real, Jorah listens to this song in a dive bar while he has a shot and a beer. Dany’s playlist has it so she can have a little giggle over how weird that whole situation is.

Admittedly, I got a little lazy by the end of the playlist, but it was a fun exercise. I miss the art of the mix. We started with tapes, then CDs, then iTunes playlists—but now I can just stream whatever I want to hear or I listen to Sirius in my car. My fabulous friend Sara makes mix CDs still at Christmas, but I just haven’t felt the inspiration. So thanks, HBO. You finally did something well.*

*You did The Wire well. The only anger I have at that show is because it rips my heart out on the regular.

Heart Will Always Be Relevant

I read an article today about the Gilmore Girls revival Netflix is planning, and I took some issue with it. The author, Darlena Cunha, argues that society has changed in the past decade and our favorite Connecticut ladies might not fit in a 2015 world. Cunha admitted she didn’t finish the series; she also mentioned that it started while she was in college so she “grew out of it.” But her belief is that to succeed in today’s entertainment scene, Lorelai and Rory “would have to branch out from their small-scale feminism and represent a broader worldview.

I’ve never seen Lorelai and Rory as feminist icons. In fact, the more I watch the series, the more I see the flaws in their feminism. Is this bad? No. It’s human nature. Even feminists can have terrible boyfriends walk all over them—lord knows I have. For me, and for many others, the show is about growing pains, family relationships and a quirky small town. The most political moments were probably Paris and Rory trying to get people to sign a petition for political prisoners in Burma and Rory dreaming that Madeline Albright was her mom. Sure, Rory had the same Planned Parenthood sign hanging in her dorm room that I did, but abortion was never actually discussed.

There are several reasons fans of the show are excited about the potential reboot. First, Amy Sherman-Palladino left after season six and many of us like to pretend that season seven didn’t actually exist. The final season tied up some loose ends, and Rory went off to a job following Obama on the campaign trail—which turned out to be a good choice in May 2007. But some of the main relationships were never fully resolved, and Cunha is not necessarily interested in this closure.

Cunha states that she would watch the show for different reasons than most of the fanbase. Operating on the belief that Lorelai’s growth from maid to owner of the Dragonfly is some sort of early aughts feminist journey, she expresses concerns that Gilmore Girls will not be able to stand up to the cultural changes we’ve seen in the past eight years. Cunha says she wants the girls’ struggles to be more realistic; that she wants “to watch Lorelai and Rory take on the world as full-fledged adults who have sorted out their issues.

Asking for a change in the core of the show and saying it’s in the name of feminism is misleading. If we’re limited to four 90-minute episodes, confronting stark issues is not an option and the absence of trying will not affect the show’s relevance to its fanbase. It is not more or less feminist if the show fails to tackle real issues or acknowledge cultural hot topics. If Rory was still in college, could we examine rape culture? Possibly. However, shoehorning issues that don’t touch the Stars Hollow bubble into six hours of show would be a disservice.

What’s more, Lorelai and Rory are never going to be full-fledged adults. That’s one of the reasons we love them. Who ever truly grows up and feels they’ve got a handle on the world? When I rewatch Gilmore Girls on Netflix now, I see beautiful disasters. I recognize the self-sabotage in relationships. I notice the confidence issues that real women have to overcome. I’m disgusted by how terrible all of the men actually are when I think about it. Lorelai and Rory are just living their lives and dealing with the challenges they’re handed. If it wasn’t for the fabulous writing and the quirky story, their stories could be incredibly mundane.

Gilmore Girls worked because it existed as the story of a family and a town living in the world but not necessarily dealing with the world’s problems. Feminism was present in the broadest sense, represented by independent women but not exemplified by actions. References to George W. Bush where limited to Lorelai saying, “He’s stupid and his face is too tiny for his head and I just want to toss him out.” Money was never an issue because the grandparents had unlimited funds. This fictional world allows Lorelai and Rory to struggle with smaller, personal issues—straying from that model would make the show different and shatter the illusion. What use is relevance if it destroys the heart?