Can someone explain this to me? Because I've seen this brought up and I've never understood it.
In the TV show, Dany locks up Xaro and Doreah, feeds her enemies to her dragons, executes her own loyalist, forces Hizdahr to marry her and kills his "innocent" father. She needs Tyrion to tell her not to kill Jorah for spying on her.
None of these happen in the books. Instead in the books, Dany is ineffective because she's not ruthless enough. On Selmy's advice, she practices the Westeros method of keeping highborn children as hostages (Theon) but she's made friends with all of them and can't bring herself to harm them. She is personally treating plague victims in the middle of a siege, manages to maintain a frenemy relationship with Xaro, has managed to keep all her Dothraki inner circle (except Doreah who died of starvation in the Red Waste) alive. She was willing to forgive Jorah until he made it impossible by not apologizing and trying to "Nice Guy" her. (Jorah in the books isn't gallant Iain Glen but a pervert old enough to be her grandfather.)
And that's not even talking about how animated and lively book!Dany is. The show pretty much dropped this after season 1. Book!Dany isn't stately or aloof. She laughs, plays, jokes around. (It helps that unlike the show that killed off all the POCs, all her Dothraki friends are still alive.) Selmy found it hard to believe she was Daenerys Targaryen because he was expecting someone more regal (exact words). She's intelligent and a strategist. The show gives all Dany's ideas and thoughts to the (white) men around her to articulate. Needless to say, Dany threatening Qarth - a stupid ridiculous arc - never happened in the books.
And if that's too much to go over, compare her first ride between books and TV. In the TV show, she's under attack and Drogon sweeps in to save her. In the books, (after an incident where Dany saved Tyrion without him realizing it), Drogon is the one who's lured in by bloodshed and starts attacking people... Dany vaults over the barricade to put herself between him and his victim and whips an angry dragon (he's mad that she tried to chain him up) until he backs down. She rides away with him because he's being circled around to be killed. As someone on Tumblr described it: that was a straight up superhero moment for Dany and the TV show turned it into a damsel being rescued.
So yeah, when people say that the books write Dany as less sympathetic and the TV show play up her hero side... I've gotta to ask and excuse my French but what the heck are they reading?