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The huge clue that hints at where Drogon took Daenerys

Contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8

The last season of Game of Thrones solved a fair amount of mysteries and tied up several major storylines in just six installments, but the finale still left viewers with a significant cliffhanger: where did Drogon take Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) after she met her devastating end? 

Spoiler alert, but after Jon Snow (Kit Harington) came to accept the possibility that Dany could continue taking what he felt was hers with fire and blood, just as she did King's Landing, he pledged his undying loyalty to her in the ash-covered Throne Room, then stabbed her through the chest as they embraced. The last of Daenerys' three dragons, Drogon, nudged his mother's dead body before burning down the Iron Throne, scooping her up with his hind foot, and flying off to a location seemingly unknown. 

In actuality, though, it isn't entirely unknown. There's a huge clue that teases where Drogon flew to. 

Toward the end of the episode, after Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is crowned the King of the Six Kingdoms and the Protector of the Realm following Daenerys' death and the North's separation from the other kingdoms as its own independent territory, the new Small Council sits down for a meeting. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), the Hand of the King to Bran, promises that a Master of Whisperers and a Master of War will be appointed in the coming weeks — but Bran is, understandably, a little more concerned with the whereabouts of Drogon for the time being. 

"And Drogon? Any word?" he asks. The newly minted Grand Maester Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) responds, "He was last spotting flying easts, toward Volan–." Ser Bronn of the Blackwater (Jerome Flynn) cuts Sam off before he can get his final word out: "Volantis."

And there's our clue. It seems that Drogon is making his way to Volantis, one of the Nine Free Cities on the southwestern shore of Essos. But what would Drogon want to do in Volantis, and why would he take Daenerys' dead body there? 

The answer might lay in the fact that Essos is the place where Dany and her brother Viserys fled to after Robert's Rebellion and the murder of their father, Aerys "the Mad King" Targaryen, at the hands of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). And remember all that talk of Daenerys coming from "the blood of Old Valyria"? Valyria was once the capital of the Targaryen pseudo-empire the Valyrian Freehold that spanned across most of — you guessed it — Essos. The city fell during the Doom of Valyria, but is still considered the ancestral home of House Targaryen. 

The Targaryens have direct connections with the city of Volantis as well, in that their status as "unbroken" progeny from Old Valyria allowed them to reside within the Black Walls of the city. After their father was dethroned and slaughtered, Daenerys and Viserys could no longer safely stay in King's Landing and had few options for a new home. As they were "wandering from place to place," the two Targaryens "spent some time in Volantis."

All this considered, it's entirely within the realm of reality to theorize that Drogon is flying in the direction of Volantis because he wants to return Daenerys to her motherland. He may not be soaring directly into the city, but it's apparent he's headed toward Essos, the continent from which Dany descends. She isn't a Westerosi, despite being the daughter of the former King of Westeros, and time and again mentioned that she only knew fear in the country. To have her die in Westeros is heartbreaking enough; to have her body remain there, in the place where both she and her father were murdered, is even worse. 

Many Game of Thrones fans are convinced that Drogon will touch down in Essos, lay Daenerys to rest so that she may sleep in eternal peace, and then go dormant. Samwell actor John Bradley, on the other hand, believes Drogon has a darker motivation in flying east of Westeros: he might take his grief over losing his brothers and his mother out on the people of Essos.  

"[Drogon] is probably going to get up to his adventures. Presumably, he's still fueled by grief and the bitterness of that," he told Esquire. "And I think that if you can think of it as there's still a dragon out there that's fueled by anger and fueled by grief and still's got a sense of bitterness, then nobody is going to quite sleep easy in their beds."

Other Thrones enthusiasts have come up with wilder theories about why Drogon is flying east toward Volantis. 

Some argue that Drogon is taking Daenerys to the mystical port city of Asshai in southeast Essos. Asshai and the mountainous peninsula it rests along, the Shadow Lands, are believed to be the place in which dragons were first spotted. Similarly, the dragon eggs that Illyrio Mopatis gifted Daenerys on the first season of Game of Thrones are thought to have come from the Shadow Lands. 

And let's not forget the chilling riddle Qaithe, the masked shadowbinder from Asshai, once told Daenerys in the books upon which Game of Thrones is based: "To go north, you must journey south, to reach the west you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow." This could mean that to enter some kind of afterlife, to go forward, Daenerys must go back to her roots in Essos. To rest in peace, she must go through the literal shadow in the Shadow Lands. 

Another theory that's gaining traction suggests that Drogon is taking Daenerys to Volantis to be resurrected. Many believe that Drogon will deliver Dany to the doorstep of Kinvara, a high-ranking Red Priestess and a leader in the faith of the Lord of Light. Portrayed by Ania Bukstein, Kinvara appeared on the sixth season of Game of Thrones and expressed confidence in Daenerys, vowing that she was destined for greatness. At the Great Pyramid of Meereen, Kinvara told Tyrion and Varys (Conleth Hill), "Daenerys Stormborn is the one who was promised. From the fire she was reborn to remake the world ... Daenerys has been sent to lead the people against the darkness in this war and in the great war still to come."

Now, it can be argued that the "great war" Kinvara spoke of was the battle against the Night King and his Army of Dead and the subsequent fight for the Iron Throne. All that has been cleared away, with Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) killing the frosty villains and, you know, everything that happened with Daenerys that led to Bran assuming the kingship. But a great number of Thrones fans feel certain that things aren't over yet and that Kinvara will bring Dany back to life to fulfill the prophecy. The idea goes that Kinvara shares the same ability of resurrection as her fellow Red Priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten) did, and once she hears that Drogon has brought Daenerys to Volantis, she will revive the Mother of Dragons and allow her a second chance to "remake the world." 

A few others have put a different spin on what would happen to Dany post-potential-resurrection, believing that she'll live out a humble life with Drogon in Essos "at the house with the red door and the lemon tree" — the place in Braavos that was closest thing to a home Daenerys ever had as a child. 

These theories are certainly fun to think about, but it's unlikely that Game of Thrones fans will ever learn exactly where Drogon took Daenerys, why he chose that location, or what will happen to the fallen wannabe queen and her last living dragon. The series is done and dusted, and will apparently remain a closed book forevermore. As HBO president of programming Casey Bloys explained after the Thrones series finale, "I want to leave it as it's own work of art ... I think it's best to try the prequels in other areas of [A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin's] massive universe — just feels like the right thing to do, let the show stand on its own."

Let's hope that if Drogon really does land somewhere in Essos, he takes mercy on its people.