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Predicting Daenerys' Fate In The Final Season Of Game Of Thrones

HBO's massive hit series Game of Thrones will air its final season in April of 2019, and over the course of six super-sized episodes, fans will finally get closure on all one of their favorite shows. The show has a ton of questions it needs to answer, and in particular, it needs to make sure its biggest characters get some sort of resolution for their long journeys over the course of seven seasons. Besides popular characters like Jon Snow, the Stark sisters, and Tyrion, one fan favorite is sure to have an explosive ending — Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).

Known as the Mother of Dragons (along with a number of other titles, including Khaleesi, Breaker of Chains, and the Unburnt), Daenerys is one of the most viable candidates to take the Iron Throne, between her royal lineage and her dragons, which were believed to be extinct until she produced three of them from some seemingly fossilized eggs. Daenerys has been on quite a journey throughout Thrones, and it's anyone's guess where she ends up at the end of season 8. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest predictions as to which fate might befall Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones' final season.

A betrayal

Over the course of the series, Daenerys has risen to power incredibly quickly, and now she might want to watch her back. Though this particular prophecy was omitted from the show, in the Song of Ice and Fire book series, Daenerys hears a prophecy about three times people will betray her — once for love, once for blood, and once for gold. Despite its absence from the show, sharp viewers will recognize that two out of the three have already taken place: Jorah Mormont, her beloved companion, betrayed her to King Robert for gold, and the witch Mirri Maz Duur killed her unborn child in order to save Drogo, betraying her for blood.

Keeping this prophecy in mind, there's just one betrayal left — one for love — and many believe Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) will be the one to stab her in the back over his love for his family. This theory has risen to prominence since the season 7 finale, during which Tyrion not only stressed the importance of lying to Jon Snow (Kit Harington), but seemed to side with his scheming sister Cersei (Lena Headey) during an important meeting. It's possible that Tyrion has already turned on Daenerys offscreen, and though he does have a stronger moral code than some other characters, it wouldn't be completely off-brand for the Lannisters to ultimately stick together.

The Prince(ss) that was Promised

The Azor Ahai theory, also known as the coming of the "Prince Who Was Promised," is a throughline for most of the speculation as to how the series will end, and concerns everyone from Jon Snow to Melisandre (Carice van Houten), the Red Priestess who has devoted most of her life to finding this mysterious figure. As the person who will wield the magical sword Lightbringer, this hero will be "reborn" as the only one who can fight "the Others," which seems to be a fairly clear reference to mysterious, ancient figures like White Walkers.

After Melisandre literally revived Jon Snow from the dead, it seems as if she believes with complete certainty that he is Azor Ahai, but there's another choice — Daenerys herself.

Thanks to the unique circumstances of her birth (she was born at Dragonstone, an ancient Targaryen stronghold, during a storm) and her own rebirth (on Drogo's funeral pyre, which hatched her dragon eggs), alongside the numerous battles she's fought that call to mind parts of the Azor Ahai legend, it's possible that Daenerys could be the mysterious hero. So what about the fact that Azor Ahai is referred to as the "prince" that was promised, rather than "princess?" Well, the word for "prince" in High Valyrian, the original language of the prophecy, is actually genderless, meaning that Daenerys may very well be the promised one.

A new Mad Queen

To fully understand Daenerys' story and lineage, fans have to understand the legend of her father, Aerys Targaryen, who was known as the "Mad King" and was overthrown by Robert Baratheon and the Lannisters during the war known as "Robert's Rebellion." Book readers might remember that Tywin Lannister, the conniving patriarch of the Lannister family, served as Aerys' Hand of the King for some time, including a period of time when Aerys was kidnapped and was never quite the same again. After a terrifying series of events that also involved the Stark family, Aerys, driven mad with fear and power and on the verge of losing his throne, ordered Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to torch most of King's Landing with wildfire, and Jaime killed him instead (earning him his eventual nickname, Kingslayer).

Daenerys' father's legacy has followed her throughout the show, and now, some viewers believe she might be following in her father's footsteps. Between her vindictive behavior, including burning men alive when they refuse to bend the knee to her, and those who knew her father warning about her extreme actions, it's very possible that Daenerys will become the Mad Queen sooner rather than later.

A struggle for the Throne

One of the most explosive revelations of Thrones' seventh season was the reveal that Jon Snow's name isn't Jon Snow at all — it's Aegon Targaryen, and he's not Ned Stark's lowborn bastard, but a member of the most royal family in all of Westeros. Born to a dying Lyanna Stark (Ned's sister and an intended bride to King Robert), the man audiences know as Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, the former rightful heir to the Iron Throne and Daenerys' brother. Since Jon and Daenerys got, well, a little too close in the season 7 finale, it remains to be seen how the two will react to the fact that they're actually aunt and nephew.

As the only living child of Rhaegar, who was actually Daenerys' older brother, Jon is now the person in Westeros with the strongest claim to the Iron Throne. This is likely to cause a rift between him and Daenerys, even beyond the fact that they're related, as Daenerys spent most of the seventh season insisting that Jon bend the knee to her and recognize her as the rightful future queen of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms. In the end, it's extraordinarily possible that Jon will best Daenerys in the quest for the Throne, as his right to the seat of power is all but indisputable.

A new generation

As if Jon and Daenerys' newfound relationship wasn't studded with enough landmines, the two of them have no idea that they're even related — in fact, nobody close to them does, since the only two to make this discovery yet (Sam Tarly and Bran Stark, the show's resident history buffs, so to speak) haven't had any contact with Jon or any of the rest of their kin.

Daenerys, for her part, has been insistent time and again that she is unable to bear children, thanks to a run-in with a vengeful witch in season 1 (when she was, briefly, pregnant with Khal Drogo's child), and though Jorah and Tyrion have questioned her beliefs time and time again, she instead treats her dragons as her children. Naturally, this makes things tricky for a shrewd statesman like Tyrion, who understands that Daenerys will need a human heir to succeed her once she takes the throne, but in terms of the line of succession, it also means that any child produced by Jon and Daenerys will actually rank above Khaleesi in line for the Iron Throne. Though this is just the first of many possible issues (the Targaryens are known for incest, though many believe it ruined their bloodline, and Jon would hate to bear a child with that stigma over its head), it's still very possible that Daenerys will end up pregnant in the show's final season.

Another secret relative?

The reveal that Jon Snow was actually a Targaryen ended up confirming a long-held fan theory referred to as "R+L=J" (Rhaegar Targaryen plus Lyanna Stark equals Jon Snow), and according to a few other fan theories floating around since the books were released in 1996, Daenerys might have more secret relatives in Westeros, meaning her claim to the throne will placed at risk even more than it already has been by Jon's true parentage. One such theory posits that Tyrion isn't a full Lannister, but a Targaryen, and that his mother was involved in some way with Daenerys' father Aerys, making them half-siblings. Between Tyrion's father Tywin repeatedly insisting that Tyrion is "no son of his" to Tyrion's obvious ease around dragons, many fans have wondered whether the Half-Man himself might be the third head of the dragon.

Though Peter Dinklage himself seems to have soundly debunked this theory, leading many fans to believe it's dead in the water, let's not forget that Kit Harington had to spend about a year between seasons lying about the fate of Jon Snow, so it's best not to take any Thrones actors (all of whom are sworn to utmost secrecy) at their word.

A heel turn

Ever since audiences met Daenerys Targaryen, they've been prepared to accept her as one of the show's heroes, and it makes sense, as she's always seemed like the virtuous young queen who overcame a number of obstacles — including taking down her vicious older brother and freeing most of the slaves in the Seven Kingdoms — while still attracting followers and acolytes with her strong message of spreading freedom and justice throughout Westeros and beyond. It's hard not to root for Khaleesi, who's responsible for some of the biggest fist-pumping moments in the entire series, but viewers may have to reconcile her more destructive tendencies as the show concludes its run.

Perhaps Daenerys' biggest downfall is her quick judgment and relatively uninformed decision-making skills, which lead her to either jump into battle or a new situation without considering the consequences — after freeing entire hordes of slaves, she ultimately realized that dismantling the entire system so quickly caused even more problems. In season 7 in particular, her reasoning becomes more villainous, especially multiple scenes where she holds knee-jerk executions for those who have wronged her. Much like Walter White, Daenerys began the show in an incredibly sympathetic position, but may yet turn out to be the show's most evil character.

A song of fire... and fire

Throughout the show, audiences have always known that the Targaryen and Lannister families have opposed each other since Robert's Rebellion, and that trend isn't likely to end any time soon. From the time King Robert Baratheon, essentially a Lannister pawn (especially considering he was married to Cersei), threatened to kill Daenerys and her unborn child, fans have been expecting an epic showdown between the two high-born families.

They may just get their wish in season 8, as some leaked photos seem to show King's Landing, the capital of Westeros, potentially in a state of mass destruction — since season 2, Dubrovnik, which sits at the southern point of Croatia, has stood in for the glamorous city, but upon seeing recreations of it at the Thrones studios in Belfast, many fans have deduced that the show had to rebuild King's Landing in order to burn it to the ground. Daenerys' arrival in King's Landing has long been foreshadowed, and ever since her epic battle against Jaime Lannister in season 7, which nearly resulted in him successfully assassinating the foreign queen, viewers have clamored for the final showdown between these two storied families — perhaps season 8 will bring it.

An early exit

Near the end of the seventh season, audiences were delighted to see many of their favorite characters finally end up in the same place, as everyone from Daenerys to Cersei to Jon Snow found themselves at a mass meeting at King's Landing's Dragon Pit. A historic spot where the Targaryens once kept their massive brood of dragons, the site played host to several different warring factions as they attempted to form some sort of truce in order to defeat the White Walkers and put their squabbling over the Iron Throne aside temporarily.

Eagle-eyed fans who live near any of Game of Thrones' varied filming locations, which range from Dubrovnik to the northern coast of Spain to the northern Irish city of Belfast, noticed that while nearly every single other character of note appeared for filming, Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys, did not, giving many viewers a solid reason to expect that the character may have already died. Though this may seem speculative at best, there are plenty of signs beyond the minutiae of shooting schedule that Khaleesi may not make it, and fans would do well to remember that in Game of Thrones, no character will ever truly be safe, and Daenerys may be numbered among the fallen by the time the show ends.

A new marriage

Daenerys began the series as a young woman whose brother married her off to a powerful Dothraki warlord, Khal Drogo, essentially being sold into marriage so that the Targaryen family could find their way back to Westeros — but ever since her husband's death, Daenerys has shown no real interest in remarrying, essentially relying on herself to stage her grand return to the Seven Kingdoms as well as taking occasional lovers (like Daario Naharis, a formidable warrior who backs Daenerys' claim to the throne).

However, an alliance through marriage may prove useful as Daenerys continues on her quest for the Iron Throne, and there are any number of potentially viable suitors who could help Daenerys secure the ultimate seat of power. Of course, after their budding romance took center stage last season, many might believe that Jon Snow and Daenerys will ultimately tie the knot; that being said, even in Westeros, an incestuous royal marriage would likely be widely frowned upon. One theory puts forth the idea that Daenerys will end up marrying Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), one of her most faithful companions, but that the marriage will end in tragedy and death (as so many marriages on Game of Thrones do). If Daenerys does choose to marry in one final bid for power, her choice of spouse may prove to be her most important decision in the entire show, and it remains to be seen whether it will end in success or ruin.

No new friends

The eighth season premiere finally brought Daenerys to Winterfell, exciting fans who were eager for her to meet other characters like Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), but they may have been disappointed by the results. As Daenerys rides into Winterfell alongside Jon Snow, she's met with plenty of disapproving looks from the Northerners, who Jon warns may not trust her right away. Those all pale in comparison to the superbly disdainful reception she gets from Sansa, now the Lady of Winterfell. 

Sansa, unimpressed by Daenerys' enormous army and two dragons, has some pretty logical concerns about how to feed said enormous army and two dragons when Winterfell's food supply is already getting pretty scarce, and both Sansa and Arya keep referring to Daenerys as a "Targaryen queen," making it clear that they don't trust her name or her title just yet.

Between the formidable Stark sisters (who have been known to get their way before) and the rest of the Northerners (including the feisty Lyanna Mormont, who is incensed that Jon, her chosen king, has apparently given up his title), it's very possible that Daenerys will face permanent opposition in the North, especially once they find out how she treats those who refuse to bend the knee (see: the Tarly family). Considering that "the North remembers," it's not out of the question that not only will the North not accept their new queen, but they'll actively turn against her in the end.