In the game of thrones, you win, you die, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Here’s one character’s journey from the beginning to the end of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Daenerys Targaryen sought to free the world from cruelty and tyranny, but ended up turning into the very problem she sought to change. Eventually, she paid the price for it. Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons...is no more.
After eight seasons, Daenerys finally crossed the Narrow Sea and took the Seven Kingdoms. But right as she was to claim her seat on the Iron Throne and make plans to conquer the world, Jon Snow put an end to her journey. It was a tragic and violent end to Game of Thrones’ most controversial anti-hero.
If you thought that turn on Game of Thrones felt rushed, surprising, or like it came out of nowhere...you haven’t been paying attention.
Daenerys got her start in Essos, where her brother, Viserys, treated her like a bargaining chip. But she quickly grew to believe he wasn’t destined to rule the Seven Kingdoms: She was. For the longest time, Daenerys truly thought she was the rightful queen. She was, after all, the last heir in a long line of Targaryen rulers who’d first come to Westeros after the Doom of Valyria. However, as she learned from Viserys, destiny and ambition aren’t enough. She’d have to put in the work. Which she did, even if it was sometimes unsuccessful…or horrifying.
First, she gained the support of the Dothraki, eventually murdering their leadership and becoming their high Khaleesi. She also liberated several slave cities across Essos, bringing freedom to millions of people and changing the continent forever. Did she always make the right decisions? No. Meereen ended up being a disaster, she quickly lost most of her allies in Westeros, and her solution to just about everything was “set it on fire.” But still, it worked.
The real test came when she learned that the man she loved, Jon Snow, was actually Aegon Targaryen—her nephew, and the rightful ruler of Westeros. She tried to get him to keep it a secret, so she could continue to rule, but he refused. Instead of taking this lying down, Daenerys took action by taking over.
By the end of the series, Daenerys had become a conqueror and a tyrant, and it seemed the only way to stop her was to killer her. Then, to prevent another War of the Kings, the lords of Westeros chose to elect their next ruler. If you really think about it, Daenerys fulfilled the promise she made all those years ago...
Daenerys Targaryen broke the wheel.