Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen is perhaps the most captivating and persevering character in Game of Thrones.
Not only has her character become a powerful force to be reckoned with, but she has become that way by overcoming a plethora of enormous obstacles. She was abused as a child by her brother Viserys, later sold to a Dothraki horse lord as a pawn, and later was captured by a hoard of Dothraki, only to become the sole Khaleesi of Vaes Dothrak. We have truly seen her rise from next to nothing and become a majestic queen and mother of three ferocious dragons.
As the TV series is now in its penultimate season, we’ve recently witnessed her anticipated arrival in Westeros as well as the start of her conquest to retake the Seven Kingdoms. We know we’ve seen a lot of impressive things from the young silver-haired beauty, but there are definitely some things that the show has barely scratched the surface of!
Without further ado, here is our list of the 15 things you didn’t know about Daenerys Targaryen!
15. She Was Married Twice (In The Books)
We all remember Daenerys’ first marriage to the Dothraki horse lord, Khal Drogo. Arranged by her brother and Illyrio Mopatis, it was set up with the idea that Viserys could use the Dothraki to help him get his crown. We all remember how that worked out.
However, that was not the only marriage of the Dragon Queen. Non-book readers may be aware of the character Hizdahr zo Loraq, a nobleman in Meereen (who we meet in seasons 4 and 5), but may not be aware of the fact that in the books, Daenerys actually married him. While marriage between the two was discussed, it never actually happened in the show. In the books, the marriage is technically still valid by the end of A Dance With Dragons, only in jeopardy because of the fact that Ser Barristan Selmy throws him in prison for being in league with The Sons of The Harpy.
14. She Is Not The Last Targaryen
In the season 7 episode “The Queen’s Justice” we see Daenerys boldly proclaim to Jon Snow that she is the last Targaryen.
Ironically, of course, because little does she know (or does Jon know, for that matter) that she actually was telling that to the son of her brother, Rhaegar, and Lyanna Stark. This is also where one of the biggest alterations from the books and show takes place. While there are no implications yet (in the books) that Jon Snow is a Targaryen, there is another son of Rhaegar’s who had survived: young Aegon Targaryen. Protected from birth and raised by Lord Jon Cunnington, young Aegon Targaryen is a book character that is left out of the series entirely. Together Lord Cunnington and Aegon have their minds set on winning the loyalty of the Golden Company and revealing the young heir to Daenerys.
13. She Is Bald For A While In The Books
There are many physical features that are distinctive to House Targaryen, the main one being having long silver hair. That trademark silver hair was accurately depicted in both Daenerys and Viserys in the show. However, the Mother of Dragons didn’t always have her famous hairdo.
In the books there was actually a time where she was completely bald and had to regrow her hair. In the show, at the end of season 1 we see her enter the burning hut with the corpse of her dead husband and the three dragon eggs. She later emerges, completely naked and covered in ash, with her hair intact. This didn’t quite go down the same way in the books. In the book, she emerges with the dragons but her hair doesn’t survive the fire, leaving her completely bald.
12. Why She’s Called “Stormborn”
Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen didn’t receive her name because she was born on a gorgeous day. Most recently in season 7 episode 2 “Stormborn”, we see a raging storm surrounding Dragonstone and Daenerys and her small council inside discussing it. Tyrion says that she was born on a night like that one.
“All the hounds in King’s Landing howled through the night” added Varys.
Fans and people theorize the significance of the storm that occured the night of her birth. Some say it was the work of magic, to slow down the assassins sent to kill the newborn princess, while others say it foreshadows the difficult upbringing she would endure. Whatever the true reason, besides the basic fact that she was born during the worst storm on record, it added another title to her long list, “Stormborn”.
11. If She Conquers Westeros She Will Have Conquered The Whole World
The conquest of Daenerys has been a unique and fun journey to watch. While anticipation has been high for her to arrive in Westeros, she has taken a much harder road than other conquerors in Westerosian history by starting with the liberation of the East. Going from Qarth to Astapor, Yunkai, Meereen and Vaes Dothrak, she has conquered and liberated millions of people in the majority of the eastern continent, amassing a diverse group of subjects and army along the way.
While she didn’t bother to conquer the northeastern areas, she made her mark in the East and definitely changed the area completely. If she fulfills her wish of conquering the Seven Kingdoms she will have conquered most of the known world.
10. She Is Not The First Of Her Name
When we hear the royal introductions in the show we often her the phrase, “Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name”. While this is true in the sense that she is the first proclaimed queen with that name, she is not the first Daenerys from House Targaryen.
A hundred or so years before Robert’s Rebellion, Daemon Blackfyre rose up against the Iron Throne due to being denied a marriage to his half-sister, Princess Daenerys Targaryen. While they were both in love, the King decided to marry her to the ruler of Dorne to bring peace.
While it makes for a great addition to her long list of titles, it isn’t quite true. The other Dany was only a princess, but she was still named Daenerys Targaryen. And instead of starting a war, a war was started over her.
9. She Is The Sole Khaleesi Over All The Dothraki
At several points during the series, things began to look very bleak for Daenerys Targaryen. Despite all her setbacks, Daenerys has always managed to overcome them. Being kidnapped and taken to the Dosh Khaleen was one of the biggest setbacks she had, and she turned it into one of her biggest advantages instead.
After arriving there, she decided with all the Dothraki present, that it was time to show them who she really was, by burning down the hut with her and the other leaders inside, as the only person to emerge from the fire, unscathed. By doing this the entirety of the Dothraki saw the power she had and all dropped to their knees, swearing their loyalty to her forever, making her their only Khaleesi from then on out.
8. She Is Unable To Have More Children
After Daenerys turned to the witch Mirri Maz Duur to help Khal Drogo recover from his wounds, she was told about the stillbirth of her child Rhaego. While it ended up being the work of dark blood magic that killed the baby (and eventually Drogo), there was more harm done to Daenerys as well. Before being burned for revenge, the witch gave Daenerys a prophecy:
“When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” said Mirri Maz Duur. “When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.” – A Song Of Ice And Fire
This tells us that Daenerys is indeed barren and most likely cannot have any more children, although perhaps the witch is mistaken and she can still become pregnant.
7. Her Allies Consist Of Survivors And Exiles Of Fallen Houses And Regencies
One of the most interesting aspects of Daenerys Targaryen’s forces is who it is comprised of. Former slaves make up the majority of her armies but when it comes to her advisors and small council, it is made up of exiles and turncloaks.
Look at Ser Jorah, an exile of Robert Baratheon’s Westeros, or Tyrion Lannister, who now serves as Hand to the Queen and is the brother of the current ruler of Westeros. Varys is another great example. He originally served the Mad King, then King Robert and even Joffrey Baratheon up until his death. Her ragtag team resembles a soup kitchen of runaways whose only wish to rid the world of the evils that have plagued it since the Mad King. It definitely adds to the realism of the show, being that they are all merely survivors trying to make the world a better place.
6. Her Mother Is The Mad King’s Sister-Wife
Another practice that was common in the history of House Targaryen was incestual marriage. This custom was still practiced up to the reign of the Mad King who, in fact, married his sister, Rhaella Targaryen. Rhaella was the mother of Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys. In the books, Jaime Lannister even recalls being on guard for the Mad King as he went into his chambers at night and raped his sister-wife.
The Targaryens used this practice to keep their bloodline pure, continuing the true ‘Blood of The Dragon’ through the ages. While incest seems to be a commonly accepting thing in Westeros (case in point the Lannisters), it has usually been contained to House Targaryen. It isn’t encouraged, for the most part (the Lannisters talk extensively of how people will talk, especially in the recent season). Now, would anyone *really* be surprised Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen end up together this season? I wonder what her views on incest are?
5. Emilia Clarke Was Not The First Pick To Be Daenerys
Emilia Clarke has definitely made a name for herself by taking on the large role of Daenerys Targaryen. Portraying the young queen with a rare beauty, along with a fierce personality, it’s hard to imagine putting any other face on the Mother of Dragons.
To many people’s surprise, however, Emilia Clarke was not the first choice to play Daenerys, and in the original pilot episode she was actually portrayed by Tamzin Merchant. While no official reason was given for Merchant’s departure from Thrones, she wasn’t the only one to not make it back after they reshot the pilot. She was one of five actors that ended up being replaced. It seems to have been on good terms since George R.R. Martin has said that he continues to support the actress in her endeavors.
4. Her Eyes Are Supposed To Be Purple
Another distinct Targaryen trait, besides silver hair, is purple eyes. Similar to how the White Walkers have intense blue eyes, the Targaryens were famous for having very intense purple irises. It was said to be an indicator of the individual having the “Blood of The Dragon”. This also ties into their tradition of incest, trying to preserve the physical trait that is said to go back to the bloodlines of Valyia.
We can see a faint purple in the eyes of Daenerys in the beginning of the show, but the producers said they removed that effect because it made Emilia Clarke uncomfortable and it took away from the emotion that was portrayed through the eyes, which was essential, in their opinion.
3. She Has “Mad King” Type Tendencies
There are popular fan theories circling the internet that all revolve around the idea that Daenerys might end up being the main antagonist in the show, mostly due to her quick tempered nature and rash decision making. While this is unlikely, it is definitely easy to understand why people may think that. She has a good heart and has done many great deeds such as liberating cities and freeing slaves, but she has also done some questionable things to her enemies.
From crucifying the Masters in Meereen to killing the Tarly’s with dragon fire, she does show signs of the same cold brutality that her father was known for. Who knows, it would make sense that having the ‘Blood of The Dragon’ might be the reason she has a shorter fuse.
2. Why She Is Called “The Unburnt”
One of the first interesting things we are shown in the show is Daenerys entering a boiling hot bath, seemingly unaffected by the heat. Later in the series, we see that it wasn’t just a one-time thing when she emerges from a burning hut, completely unscathed. She does that even on two separate occasions, each time earning the loyalty of all those who are present.
This is all the evidence fans need to deduce that she is truly the ‘Blood of the Dragon’ and possibly immune to heat, even though George R.R. Martin has stated she isn’t but the show seems to have made that change. While her brother Varys didn’t have this power, it isn’t completely unheard of. It was common among ancient Targaryens to have the same ‘heat tolerance’.
1. She Was Abused By Her Brother
Daenerys Targaryen is not the same person in season 7 that she was in the beginning of the show. In the pilot episode, we see a timid, scared young girl who does exactly as her older brother tells her. We see many instances in season 1 where it’s obvious he had been abusive to her throughout her upbringing, most commonly when he asks her, “You don’t want to wake the dragon, do you?” A phrase which he undoubtedly coined for when he gets angry and lashes out at her.
However, despite her harsh childhood, we see that she has made the best of her unfortunate situation. Daenerys is a strong and fierce character, who refuses to play the victim. With every episode in the series, we see her take new steps into becoming more queen-like and less like the young, naive girl that we were first introduced to.
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