Tatiana Maslany (via nicolerichiest)
I think people are getting confused about intent when they talk about the Targaryens.
The maddest of the Targaryens weren’t only crazy, they weren’t only poor rulers, they actually enjoyed causing pain to others. Aerys abused Rhaella sexually - not because she was a threat or an enemy, but because he wanted to hurt her. Viserys abused Dany even though she was the only family he had, even though he loved her, because that was the only way he could vent his frustration.
Can we compare the results of their actions to others? Certainly. Aerys was a bad king, for example, and so was Robert Baratheon. But Robert was a bad king because he was selfish, lazy, quick to anger, and just simply not the right person for the job. He wasn’t ever cruel in the way that Aerys was. Both kings hurt Westeros, yes, but only one did so out of sheer cruelty.
Aerys’ actions were completely, unnecessarily violent. For example, look at the way he murdered Rickard and Brandon Stark: Brandon choked himself to death trying to rescue his father who was being cooked alive in his armor. Robert would have beheaded his enemies, he wouldn’t have tortured them. There’s a difference in motivation behind those two things that I think some of fandom is missing.
That’s especially clear when it comes to comparing Dany and Viserys. Is Dany inept sometimes? Yes. Naive? Certainly. Should everyone like her and want her to rule Westeros? No way. But she does genuinely care for her people and wants what’s best for them. Viserys cares for no one as much as he cares about winning the Iron Throne - even Daenerys. One of his first lines in both the show and the book is him stating that he would let tens of thousands of men and their horses rape his sister in order to get his crown. Dany can’t even bring herself to pass by Yunkai and Meereen without rescuing the slaves within their walls, even though it delays her journey to Westeros. See the difference?
In the end, if two Targaryens cause the deaths of thousands, whether their intents were similar or not doesn’t make a difference, at least not to the people of Westeros/Essos. Innocents are still dead, end of story.
But when we’re out-of-universe, talking about who likes/dislikes which character and why, and why these characters do the things they do, I think it’s useful to understand that deliberate cruelty and naivete (or arrogance, or self-obsession, or whatever else people criticize Daenerys for) are flaws that are on a completely different scale.