Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 4.
And then there was one. Out of nowhere (seemingly, although we should have seen the Scorpion weapon coming), one of Daenarys's two remaining dragons, Rhaegal, is now dead. And it was a horribly brutal scene, too, with Dany totally blindsided and Euron Greyjoy smiling smugly—I think I might want him to die as much as Cersei at this point.
There seemed to be so much promise in season 1, with Dany giving birth to these three beautiful, initially fragile creatures that grew with her to become terrifyingly powerful forces. Like Dany herself, we felt like she (and they) represented something magical, something predestined. But it turns out all the signs were there that the dragons were going to meet a terrible fate.
The old Targaryen dragons got sick and died.
The reason why at the beginning of Game of Thrones everyone thinks dragons are dead forever is because the Targaryens' dragons were born smaller and sicker over time, ultimately dying out (it could also be seen as a metaphor for the Targaryens, who practiced inbreeding). The Targaryens were able to rule for a long, long time because of the strength of their dragons, and the loss of those weapons led to a loss of their power. The same thing is happening here—albeit in a much more condensed timeframe. Dany rose to power on the strength of her dragons, but they're dying out one by one.
Drogon's always been the most important.
Drogon had that telepathic connection with his "mother" to save Dany in season 5, during which she rode to safety on his back. I mean, think about it: The other two dragons ended up chained in a dungeon for a while, totally irrelevant to the plot, basically rotting away in the darkness until Dany called to them. (Also, this might just be me, but I can usually only tell Drogon apart because he's bigger.) So, not that the other two dragons weren't important, but—yea, narratively, they weren't as important except for Viserion as a zombie dragon.
The dragons have served their narrative purpose.
There's a theory that dragons have no place in the modern world. "They are too destructive and too indiscriminate—there cannot be any type of permanent, lasting peace so long as dragons exist as an obliterative force. Everyone seems to be aware of this, even Dany. Again, there's a reason she's never sacked King's Landing even though she's had multiple opportunities to do so." Heh, but you know she's about to reign fire down on the city now—even more reason that the ultimate tool of death might be too much for any one person to wield.
It looks like the loss is what will drive Dany mad.
Literally mad as in angry, but also as in the Mad Queen. She has spent nearly eight seasons trying to be a good, patient, kind ruler, so her descent back into tyranny would have to be connected to something huge. And the story delivered: Dany lost Jorah, Missandei, and Rhaegal in the span of a couple days or so. Now, she's lost most of the things keeping her sane and balanced. She's on the warpath and someone (maybe Jon) might have to take extreme measures to keep her in check.
At this point in the story, she still has Drogon. We don't see him in the preview for episode 5, but we see Euron Greyjoy looking up into the sky at something terrifying.
So we'll see. But, judging by what's happened, I think Dany's big scaly "child" isn't long for this world.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.