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As per the discussion between Tyrion and Daenerys in Season 5 Episode 8:

DAENERYS: Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell. They’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing the people on the ground.
TYRION: It’s a beautiful dream. Stopping the wheel. You’re not the first person to have dreamt it.

Who are the others Tyrion referring to. Who before Daenerys thought of stopping the wheel where famous houses rule/crush common people?

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    In my opinion, it is a rather weird sentiment. Vague, and hostile. It implies that she was to eradicate all the other houses, since that is the only way they will never challenge her throne. And Tyrion calls it "beautiful"? Script writers brainfart, IMO. – TLP Jun 8 '15 at 10:27
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    @TLP: it'd be beautiful for the people currently being crushed as the wheel turns. Despite being a noble himself, I easily see Tyrion as being world-weary enough to express a sentiment opposed to the idea that conflict between the houses should be the dominant force in Westeros :-) Anyway I think the line is somewhat ironic: whether it'd be beautiful in practice remains to be seen. – Steve Jessop Jun 8 '15 at 11:27
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    @TLP - Tyrion says "it's a beautiful dream". He didn't say it would be beautiful reality. All utopias are great on paper. In reality, they tend to be slightly more... dystopian. – Davor Jun 8 '15 at 11:39
  • Yes, like I said, it is vague enough to be explained in all sorts of ways. But most of all, it is aggression that is directed at no one and everyone, and for no apparent reason. – TLP Jun 8 '15 at 11:59
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    I don't think that STOPPING the wheel implies eradication of the other houses. I think that it just means that whomever is on top is able to prevent the other houses from ever being on top, probably by being so powerful, they can't be overthrown (which probably isn't actually possible over the long term, but I imagine every rules has dreamt of it). When she corrected him and said she wanted to BREAK the wheel, that's when I think she was implying that she would destroy the other houses. – Elezar Jun 9 '15 at 4:15
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The meaning I took from that was that pretty much every ruler wanted the wheel to stop, meaning their house is always on top. Since Daenerys referred to wheel as always moving with each house eventually ceding to the next house.

The Breaking of the wheel is a new idea she has come up with, instead of fighting her way to the top and eventually being overthrown she will burn it all to the ground (figuratively and maybe a little literally )and start over.

  • Your answer kind of makes sense. She is interested in breaking the wheel so that suffering of people can end while all others before her tried to stop the wheel so that they keep ruling forever. – HBhatia Jun 8 '15 at 9:44
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    @HBhatia She will not be able to do this lovey dovey thing you describe. She has tried and failed in Astapor and Yunkai. It ended very, very bad for the people there. – Cherubel Jun 8 '15 at 10:49
  • @Cherubel The question is - did she learn? Was it valuable experience, or just "those guys are irrational, let them rot"? As long as she learns while facing issues like these, she's going to get there. If not... many things can happen. – Luaan Jun 8 '15 at 11:00
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    @Luaan I dont she has learned it yet, and I think he only realistic chance of achieving something like her goal is listening to Tyrion. He knows what she wants is childish Idealism, but manybe he can temper it into something that make the world better ( I'm only on Book 2 so i'm basing this on show information ) – Rigas Jun 8 '15 at 11:16
  • @Rigas Yup, Tyrion will likely work great as a teacher in realism (or pessimism :)). But she's shown a lot of character development already, with and without advisors. Or maybe she'll just die in the next chapter / episode, who knows :D – Luaan Jun 8 '15 at 11:20
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The founder of the Targeryen Dynasty, Aegon the Conqueror.

Before him Westeros was ruled by Kings, not lords. He also had 3 dragons like Daenerys. He conquered all of the kingdoms in Westeros (minus Dorne) and made himself King of the entire continent.

From his wiki page (if you don’t know much about him):

Aegon I Targaryen, known as Aegon the Conqueror, is an unseen character in Game of Thrones. He died almost three hundred years before the time of the series, and is not expected to appear. Aegon I Targaryen conquered all of Westeros (with the exception of Dorne) with three great dragons, Balerion, Vhagar and Meraxes, and unified the realm under his rule, founding the Targaryen dynasty. He was married to both of his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. He is a direct ancestor of Daenerys Targaryen.

EDIT (in response to OP comment):

After the Conquest, Aegon ruled for thirty more years, apparently wisely and well.

Another passage:

He also knew that conquering Westeros had been the easy part and that the hard part would be maintaining the realm he had built. To ensure that his dream would not die, Aegon spent most of his time traveling the various Kingdoms on royal progresses to remind lords and smallfolk who ruled them and to make his presence familiar to them. He also refrained from trying to unite the Kingdoms under the same laws, instead allowing them to retain their old laws and he would judge crimes committed in these Kingdoms according to their customs.

It continues on and on about him. He was just, ruled failyr, was kind to the defeated, didn’t enforce his laws on the conquered, was friendly to the Faith of the Seven (even when that wasn’t his religion) etc. So if anything Dany is very much like her ancestor in many regards.

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    I know about Aegon but I am not sure whether he was generous to common folks, as per Daenerys she wants to stop the wheel where all these houses including Targeryen crush the people on the ground. – HBhatia Jun 8 '15 at 7:38
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Aegon V, the peasant king, dreamed about crushing the Great Houses. He wanted to get a Dragon to set through a complete Reform of the Realm. It ended with the Summerhall Tragedy.

Most inhabitants of Westeros are Smallfolks, unfree and far away from being able to rule themselves. The seven Great Houses could not be replaced by a modern Democracy, but maybe by an 1300 AD England-like Parliamentary System. And the Starks and the Martells should stay,

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First of all, what does stopping the wheel mean?

As I see it, the wheel is the continuous fight for power over the land and the people, amongst the different houses. This fits well with the metaphor.

So, to break the wheel is to lay the foundations for democracy, by breaking all the houses. Taking the Iron Throne is a means to this for Daenerys.

Back to the question.

I can't find any references to democracy in the books.

  • There are none. She means to take power by might as her ancestors did. We are yet to see her taming/riding the dragons in the tv show. once she acomplishes this she can almost singlehanded take over. – Cherubel Jun 8 '15 at 10:44
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    Why democracy, out of all things? Abolishing hierarchical leadership, sure. Getting rid of the other houses, sure. Maintaining firm control while leaving local autonomy intact, sure. But why democracy? Is there any indication she'd pick that course out of all the dozens available? – Luaan Jun 8 '15 at 11:02
  • @Luaan Well not so much is shown of the backstory on the show. In the books she tries to leave a governing council of learned people in charge. after her army leaves there is a "revolt" a bloodbath ensues and a "dictator" takes over. Similar thing happens in the second city she conqueres. As soon as she leaves the people in charge take over and bring back slavery. So in the books she is learning at a slow pace, but stil learning. – Cherubel Jun 8 '15 at 11:30
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    @Cherubel Well, that really smells more of meritocracy, bureaucracy, geniocracy, gerontocracy, oligarchy or many others, rather than democracy. Do not underestimate how silly democracy sounds to someone who's never experienced it (and many who have :D). The defining feature of democracy is exactly that people are not selected based on how "learned" or "smart" or "worthy" they are - they're selected based on the amount of votes they got from the voters (not even the whole populace - kids, women, slaves and many more were commonly excluded; even today, kids, prisoners and such are). – Luaan Jun 8 '15 at 12:16
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    @Cherubel SPOILER: We see exactly that in SE5E09, actually. – TylerH Jun 8 '15 at 15:15

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