Daenerys Targaryen, The Unburnt Mother Of Dragons, Dies After Going Full Mad Queen

Few saw this coming.
Illustration: Damon Dahlen/HuffPost; Photos: HBO/Getty Images

WESTEROS ― Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains and the Sipper of Lattes, died Sunday night. She was 20-something.

After “burning them all” to take her throne, Jon Snow ― her nephew, lover and true heir of the Seven Kingdoms ― just couldn’t forgive her for the horror she rained down on King’s Landing. He stabs her, and then her last-living dragon, Drogon, picks her up and flies away.

But first, Drogon burned the throne. Touché, our fire-breathing friend.

Although she ended up resembling her father, the Mad King Aerys II, toward the end of her life, Daenerys (also known as Dany) was generally a good-hearted woman whose goal was to be a just queen for the common people of Westeros.

“Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell ― they’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel,” Dany once told Tyrion Lannister. (This was, however, way before she scorched King’s Landing, burning her enemies and innocents alike.)

But back to Hero Daenerys: She was the only daughter and youngest child of Aerys and Rhaella Targaryen, who also had two sons, Rhaegar and Viserys. Rhaella died giving birth to Dany in Dragonstone, and Aerys and Rhaegar were killed during Robert’s Rebellion. After being exiled to the Free Cities, Dany grew up across the Narrow Sea with her brother Viserys.

When she came of age, Viserys arranged her marriage to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki. Although she was frightened at first, she eventually fell deeply in love with Drogo and became pregnant with their son. The couple turned against Viserys, with Drogo killing him by pouring molten gold over his head. Dany stoically watched the act unfold.

From there, she faced heartbreak. Drogo was wounded during a fight and treated by Mirri Maz Duur ― a witch set on using blood magic to save his life. As a result, Drogo’s stallion and unborn child were sacrificed, leaving him in a vegetative state. Knowing he would never recover, Dany ended Drogo’s misery and tied Mirri Maz Duur to his funeral pyre.

Dany then walked into the fire with her wedding present from Magister Illyrio: three stone dragon eggs. The next morning it was revealed that she lived through the blaze, and a trio of newly-hatched dragons emerged with her.

Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal were the first dragons to grace the world in over a century.

Dany with Khal Drogo at their wedding reception. She received three dragon eggs from Magister Illyrio.
Dany with Khal Drogo at their wedding reception. She received three dragon eggs from Magister Illyrio.
Helen Sloan/HBO

After proving she was the unburnt Mother of Dragons, Dany and her exhausted khalasar rode to Qarth, where they were met by a wealthy merchant Xaro. But as it turned out, Xaro and warlock Pyat Pree conspired against her while she was in the city, stealing her dragons and locking them in the House of the Undying. When Dany went to free her “children,” Pyat Pree threatened and shackled her. But this is Khaleesi ― she uttered the word “dracarys,” or dragonfire, and, sure enough, her dragons broke her chains and incinerated Pyat Pree. She then seized Xaro’s gold and jewels and locked him in an empty vault before taking his ships to Astapor to find an army.

At Slaver’s Bay, she met arrogant Master Kraznys mo Nakloz, who owned the Unsullied, an army of elite warrior-eunuchs. Daenerys offered to give him one of her dragons for his translator, Missandei, the leader of the Unsullied, Grey Worm, and 8,000 fighters, and he agreed. But she tricked him and decided to burn him alive, of course.

With a large army at her back, Dany and her advisors headed to Yunkai, another Slaver City, to free slaves from the Wise Masters. There, she met Daario Naharis, a member of the Second Sons who turned on his mercenary company to support her. With his help ― as well as her adviser Jorah’s and military captain Grey Worm’s ― she infiltrated the city and took over. She then went to the largest of the Slaver Cities, Meereen, to continue on her quest to break chains and abolish slavery.

Dany with the Unsullied.
Dany with the Unsullied.

Dany faced a ton of hardship as she ruled from the Great Pyramid in Meereen. She sent Jorah away after learning he was a former spy of Robert Baratheon’s, she and her army were attacked by a resistance movement called the Sons of the Harpy (who killed her adviser Ser Barristan Selmy) and she dealt with pressure from the Wise Masters who threatened her rule.

But it was during one of the matches at the fighting pits where Dany was reunited with Jorah, who brought her a gift: Tyrion Lannister.

After she realized how useful Tyrion would be, Dany decided to invite the intelligent imp to join her council and explained that her mission was to take back the throne from his sister, Cersei Lannister. Before she could continue her reign in Meereen, however, the Sons of the Harpy tried to kill her. Thankfully, she was rescued by Jorah and her dragon Drogon, who burned her enemies in the fighting pits and flew her off to safety.

Dany soon found herself alone, with the Dothraki. (And not the nice ones!) They took her to Vaes Dothrak, where she met many Khals who challenged her title. So, like any true Mother of Dragons would do, she scorched them and made it out of the fire, unscathed.

This “miracle” once again lead the remaining Dothraki riders to bow to her and join her army.

Daenerys named Tyrion Hand of the Queen (while Jorah was off curing his greyscale) and soon they ― as well as Missandei, Grey Worm and Varys the spymaster ― headed across the Narrow Sea on ships given to them by her allies, the Greyjoys, and landed at her birthplace, Dragonstone.

Jon Snow and Daenerys in chillier times.
Jon Snow and Daenerys in chillier times.

But as she settled into her plan to overthrow Cersei and take back the Iron Throne, the King in the North, Jon Snow, arrived to ask her to help him take out the true threat to Westeros: the Night King and his army of the dead.

“I will fight for the North,” she told Jon, “when you bend the knee.”

Everything got complicated, however, when she started to develop feelings for the King in the North. They decided to concoct a plan to capture one of the dead “wights,” as they’re called, and bring it to Cersei to show her that they must band together to defeat this villain before continuing to wage war with each other. But, during the mission beyond the Wall, Jon and his comrades were swarmed by the dead and Dany had to rescue them with help from her dragons, one of which was killed by the Night King.

Yes, sadly, Viserion turned into a wight dragon and ended up on the side of the dead.

Knowing what the Night King was capable of, Dany then went to King’s Landing with her advisers to try to convince Cersei to help them. After some back and forth, the Queen agreed to join the fight ― only to later admit she lied and all her men would remain in the capital. Nevertheless, Dany’s forces headed North, and she and Jon began a romantic relationship. Unfortunately for them, it turned out he was her nephew ― the son of her brother Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark, and the true heir to the Iron Throne.

That news had to be put on the back-burner, though, in order for the two of them to defeat the army of the dead, which they did with help from Arya Stark who stabbed the Night King with a Valryian steel dagger, in turn killing all his followers.

Despite the win, Dany had to say goodbye to Jorah, who died protecting her from an onslaught of wights. His death triggered something within her, which only got darker after Cersei’s army killed her dragon Rhaegal, and captured and executed her closest adviser, Missandei. Enraged, she attacked King’s Landing with Jon and her army, and the city surrendered. But Dany wasn’t done. In a bizarre fit of madness, she burned the city ― innocent children included ― to the ground.

Despite her turn to the dark side, Daenerys Targaryen will be missed by those who remember her true nature. Bran the Broken of House Stark now rules the Six Kingdoms, as the North is independent under Queen Sansa Stark.

Editor’s note: If it wasn’t already apparent, this is a slightly tongue-in-cheek farewell to a fictional character on “Game of Thrones.”

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