- In the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, the fan theories about Daenerys Targaryen becoming the Mad Queen seem to have been resolved.
- The episode may seem shocking, but there have been clues since the beginning of the series that things might end up this way.
- Here's a look back at the moments that led up to the theory.
This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, episode 5, "The Bells."
We are officially one episode away from the end of Game of Thrones and things have gotten very, very real. In true Game of Thrones fashion, this week's penultimate episode was a true doozy, full of moments that almost didn't seem like they could actually be happening. Every one of those moments, in one way or another, comes back to one character: Daenerys Targaryen.
Fans have been speculating that Dany would go full Mad Queen for a while now and with just one episode left to go, that fan theory appears to be very much confirmed. Here are all of the moments that prove Daenerys has become the Mad Queen—and all the moments that foreshadowed it long before we got to this point.
When she snaps at her evil brother, Viserys, in Season 1, episode 4.
Daenerys Targaryen might start out as a pretty timid young girl, but that all changes very quickly. In fact, from pretty much the first moment she gets a taste of power, as the Khaleesi of the Dothraki, Dany finds her voice and that voice says, "DO NOT CROSS ME."
Or, for a more direct quote: The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands."
For the record, that's Daenerys' threat to her brother, Viserys, who is, admittedly, the worst, but still. Early on, Dany shows that if you cross her, she will retaliate with swift and decisive violence.
When Khal Drogo kills Viserys, in Season 1, and she is eerily calm about it.
Not only is Dany not all that impacted by Viserys' death, she insists on watching it happen.
When she vows a painful death to anyone who defies her at the end of Season 1.
After Mirri Maz Duur kills Khal Drogo and Daenerys' unborn son, she loses it for the first time and throws around her lineage as a dragon (and, subtextually, as a leader prone to madness) in a threat to anyone who would even consider defying her.
When she marches on Qarth at the beginning of Season 2 and threatens to "burn cities to the ground."
One of Dany's first stops when she starts traveling around Essos, liberating slaves and raising armies, is Qarth. When Daenerys and her army is stopped at the city's gates and denied entry, her Mad Queen temper flares up and she basically foreshadows her eventual character arc:
"When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground."
When the merchants in Qarth won't give her ships, she announces she will take what she believes is hers with "fire and blood."
She hasn't been shy about what her methods were going to be. FWIW, that merchant pointed out how few allies she had in Westeros and Dany just did not listen.
When she feeds one of her enemies in Meereen to her dragons.
In Season 5, when Dany's forces are attacked in Meereen, she brings the leaders of the city's great families to her Dragon lair and begins her streak of letting her children burn her enemies alive.
When she decides to burn the Khals to death in Season 6.
When the Dothraki aren't totally on her side, Daenerys decides the best solution is to burn their leaders to death—which is a trend for her. Not only does this take out people who defy her, but it also earns her the loyalty of the remaining Dothraki, who are understandably impressed by her invincibility to fire.
When she burns the Tarly men to death in Season 7.
In Season 7, we see Dany execute the Tarlys for their refusal to bend the knee. Once again, her execution method of choice is dragon fire.
And that brings us to Season 8 and Daenerys' real descent into Mad Queen territory. All season, Game of Thrones has been hinting at Daenerys' declining mental state. She feels isolated and unloved by her people. She's worried that they want to follow Jon Snow and not her. She's very annoyed that Sansa won't bend the knee. There's a lot that's worrying her. And then, there's all the loss. By the end of episode 4, she's lost two of her dragons (who she very much considers her children) and her best friend and most loyal follower, Missandei—whose final word is "Dracarys," no less.
This brings us to episode 5, in which Dany just gives up on being anything but the Mad Queen, perfectly mirroring the behavior that earned her father his reputation as the Mad King. Here's the proof.
The Mad King started out as wise, generous and fair.
Check. Daenerys definitely spent years earning our love by being a crusader for underdogs everywhere.
The Mad King then started to become more and more erratic and violent.
Check. See everything above.
The Mad King became paranoid and distrustful, particularly of his Hand.
Check. Dany issued a final warning to her Hand, Tyrion, in this episode and promised that the next time he fails her will be the last time he fails her. Bonus: The Hand of the Mad King was Tywin Lannister, so there's even a nice symmetry to who the Mad Targaryens can't seem to trust.
The Mad King threatened to burn King's Landing to the ground.
Remember when Cersei blew up the Sept of Baelor during Season 6 using stores of Wildfire under the city? Those stores were left over from the Mad King's plot to destroy the city—something he planned to do until he was killed by Jaime Lannister. Daenerys took her dad's plan one step further this week and actually did burn down the capital she was trying to reclaim. And no, it wasn't just in defense—Dany doesn't really start her burn it all down rampage until after the Lannister army has surrendered to her. So...check.
She's officially made good on all of her promises but in the worst possible way.
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.