By Katherine J Igoe published
Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8. Daenerys Targaryen is about to do what she's been talking about for juuuust about the whole series. From the episode 4 trailer, fans have been able to deduce that she's headed back to Dragonstone, an ideal location from which to—you guessed it—try and take down the Mad Queen Cersei Lannister once and for all. She's still got two dragons (I really thought Rhaegal was dead after he dumped Jon into the snow and then kind of disappeared, but you can see both dragons flying in the trailer), a bunch of ships, soldiers who are kind of exhausted but still ready to fight, and the absolutely singleminded determination to rip Cersei out "root and stem." But cleverly, it looks like the creators are teasing a conflict that Dany clearly hasn't thought about, and is going to cause her some huge problems.
That problem comes from the friends she thinks she has but in fact does not. The first is Sansa: You see her looking terribly worried as the dragons fly overhead, and you also see a scene in which Dany looks like she's leaving Winterfell in a horrible mood. So the Starks, despite having literally fought beside Dany to defeat the super-scary dead guy who wanted to kill them all, are still not Team Dany. (Honestly, that's kind of disappointing, but I guess it's in keeping with the way the North behaves.) There's also the fact that incest isn't a super big deal to Dany, but judging by Jon Snow/Aegon's face, it, uh, kind of isn't his favorite thing. So her boyfriend might not be her boyfriend anymore.
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The other part of the problem is that Dany has been losing allies and loyal soldiers, as originally pointed out by A Cast of Kings podcaster Joanna Robinson. The Dothraki were almost entirely annihilated—which I hope the show spends some time with, because other fans have correctly pointed out the enormous loss of life and cultural heritage that it represents. Sir Jorah is dead (RIP) and we know he followed her unquestioningly—perhaps the only one, aside from Missandei and Greyworm. Greyworm: I'm pretty sure we'll find out in this episode, but how many of the Unsullied are left, really, since they were at the front lines? (Same note as with the Dothraki—I hope this isn't glossed over.) Missandei: How much power does she really have to help? Plus there's this absolutely bananas theory that she might be a Faceless Man who'll kill Dany (this would be the wooooorst).
Tyrion and Varys: Well, I don't fault either of them for trying to bring harmony to the realm, but that is their true allegiance, not one particular ruler. They did talk quietly about Dany's slightly alarming people-burning tendencies in the last season, and I'm betting that's going to come back as important. Plus, Tyrion with that hand-kiss to Sansa in the crypts is striking up, if not a romance, at least a rapport with the wary and cautious Stark.
Given that Dany is just, so, confident in episode 4 (and the fact that we have an episode 5 and 6) tells me that she might be overestimating her own abilities. And she is not going to take it well when she realizes. Could Dany lose it all? Or worse, could we be replacing one Mad Queen with another Mad Queen?
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributing editor at Marie Claire online who covers celebrity, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle—from “The Bachelor” to Everlane to Meghan Markle. She also edits the Couples + Money series, so she’s always looking for volunteers at email@example.com. Igoe: “I go to the store,” not “Her huge ego".
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