I am convinced that Dany’s total war attack on King’s Landing was not an act of madness but a necessary strategy. I believe her murder on the otherhand was a conspiracy concocted by Sansa, Arya, Bran and Tyrion to use Jon Snow to murder Dany giving the throne to Bran and the North to Sansa.
Dany’s refusal to accept the surrender of King’s Landing was not an act of madness.
Dany having learned from her experiences with previous occupations of cities, understood that occupying a city is more difficult than taking the city through force.
Cersai’s approach to defend the city by using its citizens as human sheilds was an act of “madness” and one Dany has to surmise will be the approach other cities she intends on ruling will take in the future.
With two dragons killed, leaving her with Drogon, a small force of Dotraki and Unsullied, her war powers have diminished exponentially. If she were to lose Drogon, her main threat, this would leave her vulnerable and as a consequence she would no longer be a threat.
By continuing her attack on King’s Landing after the city surrendered while seen as an act of madness, one could argue that by doing so it would send a message to other kingdoms that using their people as human shields would not work as a strategy.
This would allow Dany to keep Drogon safe from being killed, and give her an opportunity to act diplomatically under the threat of war and total destruction if other kingdom’s did not remain loyal to her.
On to Jon Snow and his motivations to murder his Queen. Up until his conversation with his sister Arya on the steps of the recently destroyed Red Keep, and Lord Tyron while imprisoned for treason, Jon remains loyal to Dany–up until the point that he believes his family, the Starks are in danger.
However, one has to understand that Jon himself informed Sansa and Arya of his true lineage after being asked not to by Dany. Even so, Snow made his sister’s swear to keep his lineage secret, maintaining his desire to remain loyal to Dany despite his being the rightful heir to the throne.
It is here where I believe Sansa saw a moment to take advantage of this information by using the lessons she learned from Little Finger and Cersai.
One has to argue that Sansa learned to become a master of manipulation from Little Finger and Cersai. After escaping Winterfell where she had been held captive by her masochist husband Ramsay Bolton and arrived at the Wall she was obviously upset when her ideas were dismissed. When Snow gathered forces to attack and retake Winterfell, Sansa advised against Snow’s strategy and again was ignored.
Snow, in the Battle of the Bastards was losing and was essentially doomed until he was rescued by Sansa’s quick thinking by bringing in reinforcements from the Vale. Sansa was the true hero of the Battle of the Bastards and even so, Snow was named the King of the North.
Regardless of their familial relationship and love for Jon, he like Dany was an outsider to the Stark family. When Jon left Winterfell to meet with Dany to obtain dragonglass and her forces, Sansa ordered the execution of Little Finger and displayed that the student had become the teacher. However, Little Finger had been correct in assuming that Sansa did not like being overlooked while her “Bastard” brother took all the credit, and he needed to be eliminated. In this moment it also brought Bran, Sansa, and Arya closer as a family as all three stood in judgment against Little Finger.
Although Sansa disliked Jon having bent the knee to Dany she realized with the threat of the Night King looming cooperating with Dany was necessary. After the Night King was killed, Sansa again was ignored when she advised Dany to allow the troops to rest before attacking King’s Landing. Again, Sansa, was correct and Dany ended up losing more troops, her best friend and another dragon.
As this was happening, Sansa learned of Jon’s true heritage and against Jon’s request to never tell she sought out Tyrion. I believe it was at this time Sansa teamed up with Tyrion to plan a conspiracy to kill Dany. I believe Arya was sent along to King’s Landing as a back up plan to kill Dany if Jon did not complete the mission.
In other words, whether or not Dany had accepted the surrender of King’s Landing when the bells rang or not she was going to be murdered and her murder was orchestrated by Sansa Stark and Bran, and they used Arya and Tyrion as co-conspirators to turn Jon against Dany, and had Jon failed to be convinced to turn against and kill Dany, Arya would have killed Jon, used his face to gain access to Dany and murder her.
Varys death was hand delivered to Dany by Tyrion, although it was Tyrion who had learned of Snow’s true heritage and informed Varys. Sansa and Tyrion used this to their advantage. They knew Varys would act on this information. They also knew how Dany would respond to Varys treasonous act. By turning in Varys this would show Dany that Tyrion was loyal to his Queen, while covering up it was he and Sansa working against her. They also knew this would help turn Jon against her if he felt Sansa’s life were in danger for having informed Tyrion of Jon’s true heritage.
Another lesson Sansa had learned from Cersai was to allow others to do the fighting while she waited in the wings to take control when the fighting was over. Without Drogon, had the forces outside of King’s landing had breeched the walls and fought their way through to the Red Keep, it would have again cost Dany losses she could not afford.
However, without Drogon, one could argue that the battle between the Dothraki, Unsullied, and Northmen, against the Gold Company and the Lannister forces would have been a protracted battle and it’s possible Dany’s forces would have been forced to retreat the same as Stannis Baratheon’s forces.
Dany again was a used as a means to an end leaving the Starks on the throne. It did not matter that Dany murdered innocent civilians, it mattered that Dany took down King’s Landing and without her and Drogon, it may have been impossible for the Starks and their northern bannerman to take down Cersai.
In my opinion, Dany wasn’t murdered or vilified by her actions at King’s Landings, but was the victim of a conspiracy because she was seen as an outsider and she was conspired against by the Starks to use Jon Snow to murder her, and give them two thrones. This was a lesson the Starks have learned over the last 7 seasons, that to win the Game of Thrones one has to win or die, and to win means to not be masters of war or combat but be smarter than those that oppose them. The remaining pack that survived had become powerful. Sansa had become a Queen, having learned from two of the best players in the GOT, Arya an assassin, and Bran the Three-Eyed Raven. In order to survive Dany had to go, and who better to than Jon Snow to carry it out, by turning him against Dany.
This conspiracy theory suggests why it is Arya does not take the white horse and leave King’s Landing and instead stays around lurking, sneaking up on Jon and warning him that she knows a killer when she sees one.
It explains why Tyrion turns on Varys, his trusted friend, to show to Dany that Tyrion remained a trusted friend to Dany who was isolating herself and watching her loyal friends die as she sought the Iron Throne.
This may also explain why Jon was sent back to the Wall, when there was no need for a Wall. In order to complete their objective, it wasn’t the Unsullied that needed justice, because they were leaving King’s Landing and the nobles could have knowing Jon was the rightful heir to the throne voted him to be the King, or could have at least waited for the Unsullied to leave and let Jon return to Winterfell at least. But to sentence him to the Night’s Watch was the final phase, to get Jon to renounce all claims to the throne and allow Sansa to take the North and Bran the six kingdoms where his first act was to make Tyrion his hand. It was a ruse to suggest his being the hand as punishment, it was reward for his part he played in the conspiracy to turn against Dany and support the Starks.
If one remembers, it was Tyrion, unchallenged who immediatly when called upon by the Lords and Ladies to make his case to be the new King that could have made the case for Jon Snow, but instead without hesitation made a passionate speech for Bran. And when Bran was asked if he would be willing to take on the responsibility responded, “Why else would I be here.” Meaning he too was part of the conspiracy all along and once made King, he could grant independence to the North allowing Sansa to rule the North.
Throughout the show, its been said of Jon Snow that “he knew nothing.” Just as Dany was a threat to the Starks, they saw Jon as an outsider too, and for Sansa, Tyrion, Bran and Arya to take total control it was necessary to turn Jon against Dany, murder her, then once they took control of the North and the six kingdoms, send Jon back to the Wall.
This takes us back to the origins of GOT, when a plot to kill Dany was planned by King Robert, and to be carried out by Ned who refused. With Mormont gone, Dany had lost the one person who stood in the way of a successful assassination attempt.
Sansa learned from the mistakes her father made, lessons she learned from her time at King’s Landing, the lessons she learned from Little Finger, and Cersai. It is my belief that Sansa is the winner of the Game of Thrones by conspiring with Tyrion, Bran and Arya to see the Starks survive and avenge the North and the deaths of their family.