Why Did Jon Snow Have to Kill Daenerys in the 'Game of Thrones' Finale?

In Game of Thrones' series finale, Jon Snow was forced to kill Daenerys Targaryen after she became the Mad Queen. In the show's penultimate episode, Daenerys used her dragon, Drogon, to slaughter hundred of innocent people in King's Landing after Cersei Lannister's army surrendered.

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(Image credit: HBO)

Why did Daenerys become the Mad Queen?Why did Jon Snow have to kill Daenerys Targaryen?Could Daenerys have been redeemed after burning King's Landing?Would Daenerys have made a good queen?

This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones' series finale. 

After eight years, Game of Thrones (opens in new tab) has finally come to an end. It's not the ending that a lot fans were hoping for (opens in new tab), but it's the ending we have (unless HBO gives in to that petition (opens in new tab) and rewrites the final season, which seems incredibly unlikely). In one of the saddest but most inevitable moments in the finale, Jon Snow took out Daenerys Targaryen after her descent into Mad Queen (opens in new tab) territory in the penultimate episode. Here's what you need to know about why Jon killed Dany in the Game of Thrones finale. 

Why did Daenerys become the Mad Queen?

A lot went into Dany's ultimate downfall into Mad Queen territory, but a couple of events really pushed her over the edge. The most glaring was the murder of her BFF, Missandei, but a more subtle moment might have had an even more damning effect, psychologically. After the Battle of Winterfell, she makes a big show of legitimizing Gendry, only to sit back and watch Jon get praised and to see her gesture largely overlooked. This is the moment that cements for her that Jon will always be a huge threat. He's a threat to her rule without his blood claim and with it? It's enough to drive a woman mad.

Why did Jon Snow have to kill Daenerys Targaryen?

The short answer is: Because Tyrion said so.

The longer answer: Because she went mad and killed everyone in King's Landing and showed no sign that she was going to stop killing people. And because it was objectively the right thing to do.

Like the Stark he at least half is, Jon did the hard but right thing and kill Daenerys. He hugged her, told her she would always be his queen, and then stabbed her.

Could Daenerys have been redeemed after burning King's Landing?

Jon did try to give Dany one last chance to prove to him that she didn't need to be taken out in a permanent way. Before he gives her a final hug and stabs her to death, Jon asks Dany to pardon Tyrion, who she has sentenced to death for treason. She refuses and justifies her lack of mercy by saying it's necessary to build the perfect world she knows she can build. Jon realizes that Daenerys isn't going to back down and she'll just keep slaughtering innocents to build her "perfect" world.

Would Daenerys have made a good queen?

This one is easy: No, she would not. In the end, Daenerys was who she's always been—a captivating and inspiring leader with a misguided vision of the future and a tendency to get there with fire and blood.

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Kayleigh Roberts
Kayleigh Roberts

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.