Will Daenerys Turn Evil on 'Game of Thrones? Let's Dig Deep Into This Theory

There are some Game of Thrones fan theories that suggest Daenerys, regardless of whether she takes the Iron Throne or not, ultimately ends up evil. There are two main theories out there about how it all could go wrong, so let's break them down.

Cg artwork, Digital compositing, World, Fictional character,
(Image credit: HBO)

Game of Thrones spoilers for season 8 thus far. What I'm about to talk about is not terribly popular, and I'm sorry in advance for everyone who's a Daenerys Targaryen fan. There are some very strong Game of Thrones fan theories that suggest Dany, regardless of whether she takes the Iron Throne or not, ultimately ends up evil in the show. This would be exceptionally tragic, given how hard Dany has worked to free herself from the history of her crazy family and the (many seasons of boring) effort to rule wisely, instead of just with fire. There are two main theories out there about how it all could go wrong, so let's break em down.

The first is that Dany will end up being the real villain of season 8—a Mad Queen of sorts. Thanks to a Reddit theory (it's always Reddit with the theories), Dany talks a big game but never actually backs it up with different actions. In part, the theory reads thus:

Our MarieClaire.com fellow, Ineye Komonibo, has already done a deep dive into why Dany isn't fit to be Queen Dany, and I agree with her, #sorrynotsorry. To echo that article—Dany's sense of entitlement coming into Winterfell is not cute, Sam Tarly makes a very excellent point to Jon/Aegon that Dany would never give up her throne for family, Dany, uh, executed the entire Tarly male line except for Sam (mad props to everyone's acting in that scene, though), and she also made kind of a veiled threat that she'd kill Sansa if she doesn't bend the knee?? What's great about the show is that actually doesn't feel out of character for Dany. She's hardworking and fair, liberating and strong, but she's also stubborn af and kind of arrogant. So if this theory is true, the showrunners and writer George R.R. Martin have already laid significant groundwork for the big twist.

In its most extreme form, this theory suggest that Dany just full-on channels her dad. Lots and lots of burning to ensue. Umm, no thank you?

The second theory is that Dany will become the Night Queen (a legendary figure of lore—like the Night King, but female, you get it):

Okay, so this one's a bit more speculative, because this would be an enormous break from character. Like, do we really think she'd give up the throne and literally everything she's fought for? And, I get it, her dragons are her babies. But she already lost Viserion and that didn't make her lose her mind or start behaving erratically. However. The crazy in her family is strong. And she is inteeeeeeense about those creatures. So, it's not unheard of. And again, what a bummer that would be.

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Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.