As we enter the ten-week run-up to Game of Thrones season 7, there comes a time to reflect on the characters we know and love — or in some cases, hate. How have these characters’ lives changed since they first appeared on our screens? What lessons have they learned? Most importantly, which character’s story has the greatest potential for comedy? These are the hard questions that haunt a small portion of our waking moments, and so we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy a super-serious* recap of one character’s journey, every week.
Following our summary of Jon Snow’s tumultuous life story, we visit his aunt (and potential future ally/enemy), Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Titles and Breaker of Hearts. Sorry, Daario.
Name: Daenerys Targaryen
Occupation: Soccer Mom, Monarch, White Savior
Nicknames: Oh, jeez, there are too many. Do I have to list them all now? I have plans for August.
Current Status: Alive
Kingdom: Currently: Bay of Dragons (formerly Slaver’s Bay). If you ask her: Anywhere she damn well pleases.
Relationship Status: Widowed.
Significant Other: Khal Drogo (husband, deceased), Hizdahar zo Loraq (fiancé, deceased), Daario Naharis (lover, dumped on his ass)
Likely Catchphrase: “I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.”
Unlikely Catchphrase: “But you can just call me Dany, I don’t want to make a thing out of it.”
Mother: Rhaella Targaryen (deceased, also technically her aunt)
Father: Aerys Targaryen aka The Mad King (deceased, also technically her uncle)
Siblings: Rhaegar Targaryen (deceased) and Viserys Targaryen (deceased) (also technically her cousins?!)
Aunts/Uncles: Aerys Targaryen aka The Mad King (yuck) and Rhaella Targaryen (again, yuck)
Nieces/Nephews: Rhaenys Targaryen (deceased), Aegon Targaryen (deceased) and precious cinnamon roll Jon Snow
Grandparents: Jaehaerys Targaryen (deceased) and Shaera Targaryen (deceased)
Children: Her three dragons, Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, baby Rhaego (desceased)
Pets: Daario Naharis
Current Allies: Tyrion Lannister, Missandei, Yara Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy, Jorah Mormont, Olenna Tyrell, Ellaria Sand, Varys, Illyrio Mopatis, the Unsullied (including Grey Worm), the Second Sons, the Dothraki and the cities of Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen
Current Enemies: Cersei Lannister, slavers everywhere, whatever is left of Qarth
It’s Complicated: Jorah Mormont
Personal kill list: Khal Drogo, Mirri Maz Duur, Pyat Pree, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Doreah, Kraznys mo Nakloz, Mossador (via Daario), Khal Moro and a bunch of other khals, countless slave masters and their soldiers, one ship
Preferred Weapon: Fire, dragons, condescension
- Walked into a bonfire and hatched three dragons from dead eggs, whist remaining un-barbecued.
- Defied book canon by keeping her hair following the above.
- Defeated Pyat Pree in the House of the Undying and rescued her stolen dragons.
- Overthrew the slave city of Astapor and acquired its entire Unsullied army.
- Overthrew the slave city of Yunkai and acquired the services of the Second Sons.
- Overthrew the slave city of Meereen.
- Ruled over Slaver’s Bay as queen for a number of years and successfully ended the slave trade.
- Succeeded in learning to control her dragons.
- Destroyed the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen.
- Assumed control of numerous Dothraki factions.
- Successfully overthrew the slavers in their attack on Meereen.
- Recognized that Tyrion Lannister is a BAMF.
- Brokered an alliance with House Greyjoy.
- Ate a horse’s heart without projectile vomiting.
- Fluent in the Common Tongue, High Valyrian and Dothraki.
- Mary-Sue ability to make men everywhere fall in love with her.
- Knowing smiles.
- Conquering lands.
- Baring her teeth when angry.
- Parenting (debatable).
- Aviation via dragon.
- Complex hairstyling.
- Excellent posture.
- Righteous speeches.
- Moral absolutism.
- Standing very still on ships.
The story behind Daenerys Targaryen’s birth is one that anyone can relate to. We’ve all been there — you’re queen of a nation, married to your insane brother and sitting pretty in a beautiful palace, when suddenly a group of powerful people rebel against your family because your horny son couldn’t keep it in his pants. Frustrating, right? Spare a thought for Rhaella Targaryen, who had to endure all of this Jerry Springer drama whilst deep in the throes of pregnancy. Nothing makes an uprising worse than morning sickness. Nothing.
Anyway, the story: Rhaella’s son Prince Rhaegar was in love with Lyanna Stark so he ran off with her. This angered a lot of people, particularly Lyanna’s fiancé, Robert Baratheon. But it was Rhaella’s husband Aerys who really got the whole thing going. Shortly after Lyanna’s disappearance, her eldest brother Brandon Stark traveled to King’s Landing to confront Rhaegar, and was promptly arrested for his insubordination. At this point, Aerys was already well-known for being several cards short of a full deck so I don’t know what Brandon was expecting, but whatever, we can’t all be intelligent.
Anyway, Aerys didn’t take kindly to threats against his family, so he ordered Brandon’s father, Rickard Stark, to come to the capital and answer for his son’s crimes. Rickard promptly came, and Aerys cooked him alive in his own armor while his son was killed by a complicated strangulation device — this is the point where we leave Jerry Springer territory and arrive in an Eli Roth movie. Aerys was messed up, you guys.
Not satisfied with the atrocities he had already committed, Aerys ordered Lord Jon Arryn of the Vale to send Robert Baratheon and his best buddy, Ned Stark, to the Red Keep to meet their equally horrendous deaths. Lord Arryn refused, and raised his banners against the crown. Westeros was officially at war.
Eventually, Rhaegar left his love nest down in Dorne to join his father’s forces and was killed by an angry, sexually frustrated Robert. Right about then, Aerys shipped his pregnant wife and youngest son, Viserys, off to Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of House Targaryen. Eventually, Aerys was killed by Jaime Lannister and Robert Baratheon took the Iron Throne, assuming control of all of Westeros. By the time Rhaella gave birth to her last child and only daughter — during the worst storm in all recorded history, no less — House Targaryen had officially lost the war, the throne, and their status as social media influencers.
Exhausted, Rhaella quit the planet, leaving Viserys and baby Daenerys orphaned. They were hastily squirreled out of Dragonstone by Targaryen loyalists and grew up in the Free Cities of Essos, where they traveled around aimlessly for years, evading assassination attempts and sleeping on couches. It was the least fun vacation ever.
As Viserys grew, he became an entitled brat with an inferiority complex and an absurdly long neck. He frequently abused his little sister, physically and mentally, and cared only about returning to Westeros and retaking his father’s throne, so young Dany didn’t exactly grow up in a healthy, nurturing environment. At some point after she bloomed into womanhood, she and her brother settled in Pentos as guests of a wealthy merchant named Illyrio Mopatis. Here, Dany spent her time posing poignantly on the balcony and taking hot baths, her only pleasures in life.
Viserys decided to sell Daenerys into a marriage with the leader of a huge Dothraki hoard in exchange for an army, as he was impatient to overthrow Robert Baratheon. Viserys was also impatient to bang his sister because he was very committed to the Targaryen tradition of incest, and because he was a total creep. Dany soon met her husband-to-be, Khal Drogo, who took one look at her and decided he was thirsty for a flat white.
Their wedding took place shortly afterwards, although without a tasteful champagne reception at the Hilton. All of the guests were fighting and having sex with each other, which admittedly can happen at normal weddings, too. Some of the guests were brutally murdered, which doesn’t usually happen at normal weddings. Among Dany’s wedding gifts was an ornate box containing three petrified dragon eggs, because dragons used to be all the rage with Targaryens before they made like the dodo. “I thought these would look nice on your mantle,” said Illyrio, while Viserys fumed with jealousy.
After the wedding, Daenerys and Drogo’s khalasar undertook the long journey to Vaes Dothrak, accompanied by Viserys and Jorah Mormont, an exiled Westerosi knight. During their journey, Dany and Drogo fell genuinely in love, and Daenerys slowly started to become popular among her new people. Viserys was furious, especially after Daenerys fell pregnant and a prophecy proclaimed that her unborn son was the second coming of Schwarzenegger. When he wasn’t invited to Drogo’s latest rager, he got mad and crashed, threatening Daenerys with a sword and demanding that Drogo help him take the Iron Throne.
It may surprise you to learn that pointing a sword at the belly of a khal’s pregnant wife is not a good idea. Drogo quickly turned Viserys’ head into a Christmas bauble. Nobody mourned his passing because he had nothing going for him but his long, long neck. Soon afterwards, a merchant tried to kill Dany with poisoned wine, which is a lesson to you all about drinking whilst pregnant. Jorah rescued her and quit his sneaky side-job of reporting her movements to Robert Baratheon.
Enraged by the assassination attempt, Drogo swore to Dany that he would take his khalasar across the Narrow Sea and win the Iron Throne for her, but this ambition was cut short when he deliberately walked into an opponent’s arakh during a fight. WHO DOES THIS?! Of all the dumb, irresponsible…anyway. Dany recruited the help of the priestess Mirri Maz Duur to heal Drogo but, quite frankly, karma intervened, and his wound got worse. Dany agreed to let Mirri use dark magic to save him but things got weird and her baby was inadvertently sacrificed. Drogo, meanwhile, was reduced to a mere shell of a person, so Daenerys smothered him with a pillow. As Game of Thrones deaths go, this one felt like a gentle hug from a teddy bear.
At Drogo’s funeral, Dany hosted an impromptu barbecue and put herself on the menu, alongside Mirri Maz Duur and her three dragon eggs. Only Mirri was eaten. Miraculously, Daenerys survived and her eggs hatched, bringing three baby dragons into the world. Jorah and what remained of her khalasar understandably lost their shit.
Following an action-packed and fascinating first season for Daenerys, she and her people crossed the Red Waste to Qarth, where we were treated to an entire season of boredom. It was in Qarth where Daenerys discovered her talent for baring her teeth in anger. So that was nice.
A wealthy merchant named Xaro Xhoan Daxos accepted Daenerys into Qarth and housed her for the duration of her visit. He proposed to her repeatedly and tried to impress her with a big door. Dany also came across the warlock Pyat Pree, who tried to impress her at a party with some David Blaine trickery. But Dany cared not for big doors or amateur magicians — all she wanted was a fleet of ships to take her to Westeros, but she was refused at every corner. Meanwhile, Jorah received a mysterious warning from a woman wearing a BDSM fetish mask, and became worried.
When Dany’s dragons were stolen and it was revealed that Xaro Xhoan BigDoor and David Blaine were in cahoots against her, Dany went searching for them in the House of the Undying, where she burned David Blaine to death. She then locked Xaro behind his big door and stole all of his possessions. Oh, and she had some really interesting visions, but never mentioned them again. Not once have they been referred to by her or any of her people. What the…?
After spending two seasons talking about how she was desperate to go to Westeros and retake the Iron Throne, Dany finally hopped on a ship and traveled to… Slaver’s Bay. Thus began one of Dany’s most awesome seasons. She took the slave cities of Astapor and Yunkai using a combination of ingenuity and dragons. During her adventures, she took Barristan Selmy into her service, met the translator Missandei and assumed control of the Unsullied. She then moved on to Wester…haha, joke.
Daenerys also came into contact with the Second Sons, a band of sellswords lead by three generals: Mero, Prendahl na Ghezn and Daario Naharis. Burned because Dany rejected his subtle advances, Mero decided that she needed to die. Daario Naharis was selected for the task, but his boner for Dany was too great, and he killed his mates instead. He turned up while Dany was taking a bath and swore his eternal devotion to her. That’s a bit extreme considering they’d only met a few hours earlier, but there’s only ten episodes in a season, so we don’t have hours to devote to this nonsense.
Daario and Jorah immediately began to engage in a dick-waving contest which would last for the next few seasons.
Fresh off her victories in Astapor and Yunkai, Daenerys took Meereen, the most powerful city in Slaver’s Bay, and freed all of the enslaved people who lived there. With her objective complete, she finally decided to travel to Westeros!
Hahaha, no. Of course she didn’t.
Daario Naharis was so determined to win her heart that he changed his entire appearance to appeal to her tastes. That kind of dedication is hard to find, ladies. He and Dany finally did the no-pants dance, and in doing so became the pairing we all weren’t waiting for. Afterwards, he wasted no time in subtly hinting to Jorah that he had won the dick-waving contest. Jorah made sad eyes at Daenerys, which grew even sadder when she discovered that he’d been spying on her for Robert Baratheon and exiled him from the city. He left on horseback, making sad eyes at the ground.
Meanwhile, Dany’s favorite child, Drogon, went through his rebellious teenager phase and started killing sheep like there was no tomorrow. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he burned a little girl to death and immediately ran away from home, fearing the confiscation of his personal electronics. “This is all your fault!” said Daenerys to her two other dragons, Not Drogon 1 and Not Drogon 2, who didn’t have a clue what she was talking about because they’d been playing Overwatch in their bedrooms the whole time. She subsequently grounded them for their brother’s misbehavior.
As Daenerys struggled to find her niche as a ruler, Meereen fell under threat from the Sons of the Harpy, who were mad at her for ending slavery. They killed Barristan Selmy, injured Grey Worm, and wore stupidly elaborate masks. Drogon returned momentarily, but only to taunt Dany for being a crappy mother.
Meanwhile, Jorah Mormont ran into Tyrion Lannister in Volantis and kidnapped him as a present for Dany. They were captured by slavers, but sold as fighters when Daenerys agreed to re-open the fighting pits of Meereen. As luck would have it, they ran into Dany during one of the qualifying rounds for Meereenese Wrestlemania, and were taken to Dany’s pyramid for questioning. There, Dany asked Tyrion for advice on dealing with Jorah, whom she had promised to kill if he ever returned to Meereen. “He’s my bro,” said Tyrion, sticking up for his former-kidnapper and new friend. “Get rid of him.” Jorah’s sad eyes returned.
Tyrion, however, fared better with Dany and landed himself a cushy job as her new advisor. They attended the fight at the Great Pit together to cement their new friendship. To nobody’s surprise, Jorah was there. Inspired by Twu Luv, he destroyed his opponents and killed a Son of the Harpy who managed to sneak up behind Dany despite the fact that her personal security consisted of an army of Unsullied. All of a sudden, there were Sons of the Harpy everywhere. How did they sneak those masks into the arena? Seriously, Dany’s security detail is the worst.
The Sons of the Harpy managed to outnumber and overwhelm Dany’s army and guards, and it soon became apparent that nobody was going to survive. Faced with her own mortality, Daenerys took the hand of her beloved Missandei. “It’s alright,” she said. “If we die, we’ll die together, as sisters and best friends forever.”
Suddenly, Drogon turned up and started burning Harpy-spawn, having surmised that saving his mother’s life would exonerate him of the earlier child murder. “You’re on your own, loser,” Daenerys said to Missandei, and took off on his back. She was later captured by the Dothraki and Drogon failed to come to her rescue. He’d done enough chores for one day.
Daenerys was brought before a khal named Diet Drogo, who she out-smack-talked into extreme confusion. He decided to bring her back to Vaes Dothrak and force her to live in the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen with the other widowed khaleesis, because a woman without a husband doesn’t have any other purpose. Neat.
In the meantime, Daario and Jorah eventually halted their dick-waving contest for long enough to find Daenerys in Vaes Dothrak, only to discover that they were totally obsolete because she’d already figured out a plan. She set the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen alight during a meeting of assorted khals and emerged unburnt once again. She also didn’t suffer from smoke inhalation, which is a whole other thing we’ll need to examine. The Dothraki agreed to follow her because they were too scared to suggest otherwise. She also forgave Jorah, and proved their friendship true by sending him away for a third time in as many seasons.
When she returned to Meereen, she and Tyrion Lannister worked together to rid the city of the Sons of the Harpy and the invading slavers once and for all. She then dumped Daario Naharis. “It’s not you,” she promised him. “It’s me, and the fact that I think it’s definitely you.” Then, finally, she decided to go to Westeros. I’m not joking this time. She really did.
*not serious at all