At the back-end of last week, HBO confirmed that the eighth season of hit fantasy series Game of Thrones would be its last, bringing to a close the story that has captured the hearts of fans all over the world.
Based on George R. R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, the show has woven many storylines intricately together and now even surpassed the books in terms of where it has got to plot-wise.
Now jumping even further ahead, with Martin straggling behind despite fans waiting for many years for a new book, the show will wrap things up within the next two and a half years. But who will rule over the Seven Kingdoms when all is said and done and take their seat on the Iron Throne? Today, we look at the case for Daenerys Targaryen…
Daenerys of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, The Unburnt, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.
Claim to the Iron Throne
She's the daughter of the Mad King, who was murdered by Jaime during the Robert Baratheon uprising, and the last (to this point) Targaryen family member to sit on the Throne.
She put in the work to learn how to speak Dothraki, understanding that the Dothraki people would never take her seriously unless she could speak in their native tongue. She realised that this would be a huge part of her attempts to claim the Iron Throne and has been putting her plan into action to take the Seven Kingdoms for some time now. Upon learning the language, she was married to Khal Drogo, thus becoming one of the most respected women the Dothraki have ever met. And, as we saw in season six, those who continue to turn their back on Daenerys will burn.
Disrespected all of her life by her brother Viserys, she was mentally, physically and sexually abused by the rotten white-haired boy. Unfortunately for him, when his sister married Drogo she stepped into a world of immense power, and Viserys' journey was brought to a swift end halfway through the show's first season.
Though she was left without a husband when the witch Mirri Maz Duur left him in a vegetative state, Daenerys proved that she wasn't about to let that bring her so far short-lived reign to an end. Instead, she took the three dragon eggs in her possession and walked into a burning fire, only to emerge naked moments later with her three new flying 'children'.
Moving on to Qarth, once again she found it hard for people to take her seriously, with merchant Xaro leaving her army depleted and her dragons missing after he betrayed her. Taking her revenge and eventually regaining her dragons, Daenerys locked both him and her treacherous handmaiden in an empty Qarth vault to rot.
Again she made a move to a different city, this time stepping into Astapor and Slaver's Bay hoping to gain control of the unsullied soldiers who served there. She recognised that her army wasn't even nearly large enough to step into Westeros just yet, so in going to purchase her soldiers she made a big decision - to hand over one of her dragons in exchange. What the slave trader Kraznys Mo Nakloz didn't bargain on however was that whilst he was insulting Daeny repeatedly in Valyrian, she could understand every work. She ordered the dragon she had just exchanged to burn him alive, before telling her new soldiers to kill their previous masters, and offering them freedom if it was something they desired.
Astapor was another city in which slaves were treated like dirt. Daenerys began to see herself as a woman of the people, sacking the city and acquiring the soldiers there, once again offering them their freedom after killing their former ruler. She burnt down Astapor, leaving nothing but dust in her wake.
Yunkai also housed many slaves, so Daenerys tried a different approach. Instead of immediately launching an attack, she met with the slave trader of the city and told him that if they freed all of their slaves there would have to be no sacking, death and violence. As is often the case in GoT however, there was a battle to be had, and Daenerys' army brought down vicious ruler Razdal and his men, before freeing the slaves of Yunkai.
Meereen was next on her list. She would once again go in and free the city of unwanted rulers. But this wasn't to be as easy a task as the ones that had come before. Whilst she at first did well to liberate the city, there was a revolt by a group known as the Sons of the Harpy. With Daenerys' decision to remain in Meereen for a while and rule, there was always going to be conflict and claims to the power she had. This wasn't just happening in this city though - those that she had defeated in the past had once again reared their ugly heads, so Daenerys simply instructed her followers to make sure they knew they could 'live in her new world or die in their old one'.
Ruling but later falling prey to being a prisoner of the Dothraki, who no longer saw her as a leader or someone in a position of power, Daenerys was initially forced to Vaes Dothrak, where all the widows of deceased Khals had to go and live out their days. Attempting to intimidate those who were treating her badly, Daeny once again wangled her way out of a tight spot, with the help of Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis. Proving she is truly 'The Unburnt', the khalasar that had once treated her terribly - or those members of it who didn't perish in the flames - bowed before their new queen.
At the end of season six, we saw Daenerys teamed with not only her current Dothraki and former slave followers along with Varys and Tyrion Lannister, but the arrival of new allies, such as Houses Martell, Tyrell and (some of) Greyjoy. Her movement to Westeros has finally begun.
She is often unwilling to hear out other people's points of view. For example, Jorah Mormont who has been incredibly loyal to her throughout her journey to Westeros, was banished from her company when she realised he was first sent to her as a spy.
She also left two of her dragons, Rhaegal and Viserion in catacombs after finding out her biggest dragon, Drogon, was becoming uncontrollable. Whilst this at the time may have been the smartest move for the Mother of Dragons, it was proved to be one of the worst ways she could have treated them. They even lashed out at her at one point upon hearing her voice in the catacombs.
Daenerys is also a woman with her father's blood. Known as the Mad King, he was a ruler that burned men alive with wildfire, cackling as he did so and murdering sons in front of their fathers, all to remain in control and prove exactly how powerful he was. Though Daenerys hasn't done anything close to that just yet, and Cersei Lannister is looking more to be the successor to the 'Mad' title, if Daenerys doesn't allow herself to be more open to other's ideas and points of view, she could be headed in the same direction.
Likelihood of winning the Iron Throne: Very high
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