I said it in part one and I’ll say it again: Daenerys Targaryen is the most important character on television. She’s so important that she earned a two-parter in our GAME OF THRONES character studies series. We talked about her growth as a character and evolution as a leader last time, and this time we’re recapping season seven (it was a whole year and a half ago, guys) and speculating wildly about what season eight might have in store.

Where We Left Daenerys

All of our disparate plotlines converge when Daenerys lands in Dragonstone. A storm rages, just like the night she was born. The storm rages within her ranks, too. Daenerys is wary of Varys’ allegiances. Varys says that he is loyal to the common people of Westeros, not any one monarch. In that role, he finds Daenerys the most worthy of his allegiance. Daenerys accepts this, on the condition that he tells her when she is going in the wrong direction, rather than just turning his back on her. It’s a very mature side that we haven’t really seen from Daenerys yet. It was also a decidedly non-Mad King decision. She’s grown from her experience as a leader, not just a conqueror.

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Home again, home again. Courtesy of HBO.

Melisandre arrives and drops the Prince That Was Promised line again. We’ll call this Prophecy B. Missandei reveals that in Valyrian, the word for “prince” is gender-neutral, so it may very well be Daenerys. Melisandre also says that Jon Snow will play a role in this prophecy. It feels really weird that Daenerys doesn’t know about Jon Snow, but it actually makes a lot of sense. She was intrigued by this young man who unified an army of nomads and divided houses. A man after her own heart. She invited Jon to Dragonstone to bend the knee, but Jon didn’t come to swear fealty. He came to ask for help in fighting the Night King. That doesn’t interest Daenerys that much.

She wants to rule Westeros, not fight an undead army. They find common ground, though, in the obstacles they have overcome to earn their power and trust from their people.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Daenerys’s armies are not faring much better. Her fleet was destroyed by Euron, the Unsullied were ambushed at Casterly Rock, and the Tyrell army was defeated at Highgarden. Her frustration comes out in court, threatening to just fly to King’s Landing and burn it to the ground. She turned to Jon for advice. He says that using her dragons alone to overthrow Westeros would make her no better than her rivals. Instead, she takes a dragon and a horde of Dothraki to attack the Lannister caravan. As is her method, she offers the survivors a choice: join her or die. All but two kneel, and those two are sentenced to death by Dragonfire without a second thought. She comes so close to exercising restraint in her form of justice, but she can’t quite seem to get there.

When they return to Dragonstone, Drogon approaches Jon and lets him touch him, which seems very important. Daenerys still refuses to help without his allegiance, since Cersei will win if Daenerys splits her attention. Tyrion offers a compromise: bring proof of the undead to Cersei so that she also has to join that fight. Jon agrees to lead an expedition to capture a White Walker to bring to King’s Landing.

Let’s just say the expedition does not go well and Daenerys has to bail Jon out with her dragons, putting her whole cause at risk by going north of the Wall. She saves Jon and his men but loses Viserion, her son, to the Night King. (But he does become a White Walker dragon, which is objectively cool as hell.)

Many Different Kinds of Alliances

All of the tensions about Jon having died before and Daenerys being infertile and all kinds of thoroughly unsexy things are really ramped up on the way to King’s Landing. Jon finally bends the knee, promising that the Northerners will see how good she is.

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Very platonic. Courtesy of HBO.

The captured wight suitably terrifies Cersei and she offers to back down while Jon and Daenerys fight the Night King — so long as Jon stays out of the coming war for the throne. Jon cannot tell a lie and blows the whole thing up by revealing his allegiance. Tyrion managed to salvage the arrangement, sort of. Cersei is lying, but they don’t know that. Daenerys sails to Winterfell with Jon, ostensibly so that she can enter in good graces, but Jorah suspects an ulterior motive. And since Jorah is always right, Jon comes to Daenerys’s chamber that night, while we find out that they are, in fact, aunt and nephew.

Where Will Season Eight Take Daenerys?

Daenerys’s trajectory has been very clear-cut since season one: she wants that throne. But the answer to whether or not she gets it can’t possibly be as simple as “yes” or “no.” Especially with the whole Night King war to fight, it feels almost childish to just discuss whether or not Daenerys will win the game of thrones. We all know we’re in for a whole lot more than that. Like Jon Snow, Daenerys is involved in several prophecies and fan theories that may or may not come to pass in season eight. So let’s go through some of the more off-beat ideas of what Daenerys might be in store for since in GAME OF THRONES world the more off-beat the more likely it is to actually happen. 

A Real Royal Baby

Unfortunately for feminism, much of Daenerys’s theorizing revolves around her potential childbearing. It has been distinctly discussed several times in season seven, so it has to be important. Back in season one, Daenerys was told that she couldn’t have children, which Jon reasonably pointed out isn’t that trustworthy of a diagnosis since it came from a woman who also killed her husband.  And now that our two main protagonists are hooking up, a Targaryen-Stark (or Targaryen-Targaryen-Stark, I guess) baby would have serious implications for the realm. The baby’s claim to the throne would be strong, to say the least. Then there’s the whole Prince That Was Promised thing.

But first things first: can Daenerys actually have kids?

Disclaimer: I Am Not a Doctor

Daenerys’s supposed infertility is based on a prophecy from the witch that killed Khal Drogo. It was part of a roundabout way of saying that Drogo would never come out of his coma. What’s not clear is if Daenerys is actually infertile or if it was part of the witch’s “death for life” thing. 

That is certainly a death. Courtesy of HBO.

Let’s assume it’s the latter. For Daenerys to bear a child, she’d supposedly have to lose a child. Well, that has essentially happened. She lost Viserion. That death could pay for the life of a new child. Especially given the reptilian nature of her stillborn child, perhaps the death of a dragon would be even more fitting for the future life in her womb. Alternatively, the death of one of this hypothetical child’s parents could count as payment. Daenerys didn’t die in the fire that birthed her dragons, but she was reborn. And Jon Snow very much did die. The witch didn’t say that death had to be permanent to bring about life. In short, there’s a whole lot of death flying around that could pay for the creation of a new Targaryen life.

Let’s Start With Prophecy B

Melisandre, a great proponent of the Prince That Was Promised theory, first named him as Stannis, then Jon, and now Daenerys. So her record isn’t great, but with that many mentions, it has to be important in season eight. A quick primer on TPTWP: In the GoT-verse, some believe that Azor Ahai, who saved the world from darkness, will be reborn. This person is the Prince That Was Promised. The first Azor Ahai forged a sword, Lightbringer, but to charge its full powers, he had to drive it through the heart of his wife. TPTWP will fill Lightbringer from the fire and use it to again defeat the god of darkness.

There are a few criteria that TPTWP must meet:

  1. They’ll be reborn amidst salt and smoke
  2. A bleeding star will signal their coming
  3. They’ll wield a fiery weapon
  4. They’ll (most likely) have to sacrifice a loved one to create the weapon
  5. They’ll wake up the stone dragons
  6. They’ll have the blood of dragons

When it comes to Daenerys, these are almost too accurate. She was born at Dragonstone, an island (salt water) of volcanoes (smoke). When she was reborn in the fire, a comet soared overhead (bleeding star). Her weapons are her dragons (fiery). She sacrificed Drogo to hatch the dragons. She woke the dragons from the stones. And she is a Targaryen (the dragon family).

This shot was included for a reason, even if it was six seasons in advance. Courtesy of HBO.

But nothing in GAME OF THRONES fits into categories this neatly. That’s why we love it so much — we never really know what will happen. So who are our alternates? Melisandre said that Jon will have a role in all this, so what if it’s the child of Jon and Daenerys? Now that’s something.

A Bit of Fitting a Square Peg Into a Round Hole

Those bullet points are metaphorical enough that they could mean just about anything. In fact, it’s usually more likely in GAME OF THRONES that it’s the sort of sideways interpretation that comes true. Nothing is ever just what it means. So a Jon-Daenerys baby could hold up to those points. It would certainly have dragon blood and as a Targaryen could “wield” the dragons and wake them from dormancy. There could be another comet or something of the like. And it could definitely be born on Dragonstone like its mother.

But what about that sacrifice? Some think that Jon will kill Daenerys, his true love, to forge a Lightbringer, like the original Azor Ahai. That would be a sacrifice for the child, as well. Or, as with many Targaryen women, Daenerys could die in childbirth, thus sacrificing herself for this ultimate weapon to be born. To me, that would feel like a cop-out, since Daenerys has survived so much worse just to die in such a routine way. But it’s possible.

Back to Prophecy A

Way back in season one, a Dothraki prophecy foretold that Daenerys’s child would be the Stallion Who Mounts the World and would unite the Dothraki. Daenerys has already kind of done that by taking over at Vaes Dothrak, so she is certainly setting her child up for success. Whether this prophecy was applied only to the children of Daenerys and Drogo is unclear. That one clearly didn’t come true, so it’s possible that it applies in some sort of perpetuity.

It seems unlikely to me that both the Prince That Was Promised and the Stallion Who Mounts the World would both eventually come to save/conquer the world and that they would be different people. That’s too messy for a final season. More likely is that they are the same person, and since Stallion has to be Daenerys’s child, they both are Daenerys’s child. The child will save the world from darkness and lead the Dothraki to their destiny.

An Unsubstantiated and Non-Prophetic Daenerys Theory

There’s a more baseless theory about Daenerys becoming the Night Queen. She was impervious to the fire and, presumably, her body couldn’t be burned, so she would make a great candidate for a White Walker. There’d be some sentimental gain to it, too, since she’d reunite with Viserion and finally get to rule as a true queen. There isn’t much — if any — evidence to support this theory, but it’s certainly creative. It would also completely change the trajectory of the show, which is the kind of wild nonsense that I am expecting to happen in season eight.

What do you think will happen to Daenerys Targaryen? Will she live? Will she die? Will she sit on the Iron Throne as a White Walker? Let us know in the comments!

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