“What do dragons eat anyway?” Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) asks no one in particular in the “Game of Thrones” Season 8 premiere.
“Whatever they want,” Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) quips back so coldly it’d make the Night King shiver.
Unfortunately, Khaleesi’s fire response could come back to bite her when you realize that her last dragon, Drogon, may have turned Emilia into his own personal Clark(e) Bar.
Yes, ever since the “Game of Thrones” finale, there’s been one lingering, morbid question:
Did Drogon eat Dany?
In the final episode of the HBO fantasy series, Daenerys is dead on the ground as her killer, lover and nephew, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), looms over her. Drogon then enters the throne room all like, “Hey, guys. What’s going on — oh my God, Mom!”
The shock of Dany’s death is a lot for a dragon to take. He nudges her body in vain, reminiscent of Simba pawing at a lifeless Mufasa. Then, in a fit of despair, Drogon spits fire at the Iron Throne, melting it down to metal mush. He grasps his mom in his claws and flies away.
Some speculate that Drogon took Dany to Valyria, the ancestral home of House Targaryen. There’s also a theory that he’s going to Volantis to get Dany resurrected by a Red Priestess. The last we hear about Drogon in the show, he was heading east, so either could be the case.
Nevertheless, the possibility remains that Drogon, who’s been malnourished throughout Season 8, turned his mama into the First of her Nom, Nom, Nom.
But could it actually happen?
“Might he eat her? Possibly, yes,” Dr. Carolyn Rando, a forensic anthropologist at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, told HuffPost. “I don’t think we can discount that he was going off to eat her.”
However, as a fan of the show, Rando has a more optimistic outlook and doesn’t think Drogon is making a Khaleesi kabob.
“It seems like the dragons in the show have some sort of semblance of understanding of human behavior a little bit. And so they see her as a parent. So it was a grief type of thing,” said Rando, explaining her theory.
A poignant example from the show, where pets actually did eat their owner, may also support the case that Drogon didn’t consume Dany.
Following the Battle of the Bastards in Season 6, Sansa feeds Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) to his own dogs, but these dogs were starving, isolated and trained to kill in hostile conditions.
Dany’s dragons were raised with love and even considered her their birth mother.
“At the birth, it was the first thing they saw. The first thing they would have seen was her. So I think that imprinting is really strong. And if you look at animal studies in zoos, where they’re trying to raise animals to go back into the wild, they’ll use puppets and things that look like the animal that they are so that they don’t imprint on people. So I think it’s probably down to really strong imprinting. This is my parent, and I need to protect them.”
Still, regardless of whether your pet loves you, it could still turn you into lunch.
Rando wouldn’t call it “common” for pets to eat their dead owners but said it “probably happens more than we think.”
“When you look at the case studies, it’s very specific conditions,” Rando said. “So someone lived alone, not a lot of friends came by the house, they died of natural causes, the pets couldn’t get out of the house. There’s no food in the house. Those types of things.”
According to Rando, dogs and cats are most often the owner-eating culprits, though there was one case involving a “free range hamster” that used its owner’s skin and nails to make a nest.
So what makes a hamster suddenly have the urge to redecorate? Hunger and the owner’s social isolation can both contribute to pets becoming people eaters.
“There’s one case where they consumed the entire body of their owner, which is not very common,” Rando said. “What it looks like when you look at the house and the pictures is that they ate as much of the dog food in the other room as possible first, and then eventually went on.”
Distress is also a factor. In one particular case, a man took his own life while in the same room as his dog. Even though the victim was found after 45 minutes, his face already had “extensive postmortem animal bite marks,” according to the case study.
Rando explained that this may have started with the dog trying to make sure its owner was OK, since when dogs greet people they often go for the face.
“So it tends to lick, and there’s a lot of blood and then eating might happen, but more out of just stress or something like that.”
It’s not necessarily always feeding behaviors, but rather “attention getting behaviors,” such as licking or pawing, that can lead to biting.
Interestingly, those behaviors seem eerily similar to the circumstances in which Drogon finds Dany.
The final season of “Game of Thrones” went from all men must die to all dragons must diet.
In the Season 8 premiere, it’s revealed that the dragons aren’t eating well because they don’t like the North. And though it could be argued that reptile metabolism slows down in the cold, leading them to need less nourishment overall, the show makes it clear the lack of appetite is a concern for Dany and the North is ill-equipped to keep up with dragon nutrition.
In addition, Drogon just spent a significant amount of time burning King’s Landing to the ground on his mother’s orders. Our guy is likely a very hungry boy.
As previously mentioned, he also nudges Dany when he finds her, much like the attention-getting behaviors in pets that could lead to them biting at a dead owner’s face. As far as social isolation, the show established that Dany doesn’t have a ton of friends at this point.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) said in Season 6 that dragons were intelligent. “More intelligent than men, according to some maesters,” he added.
Following Daenerys’ death, Drogon melted down the Iron Throne, perhaps displaying that intelligence, knowing on some level that the Throne’s corrupting power was the true cause of her pain. (You know, besides that knife Jon Snow put in her heart.)
That being said, if hamsters are even gnawing on the bodies of their owners, the possibility that Dany went from a Targaryen to Drogon’s tartare is still on the table.
“Yes. I think that’s fair. And I think we can’t discount it,” Rando said. “But maybe it’s me just being wishful thinking that he wouldn’t actually eat her.”
But if Drogon was really hungry, Rando has one suggestion.
“If you’re going to eat somebody, you eat Jon. He’s right there.”