“So many men have tried to kill me I don’t remember all their names.” So said Daenerys Targaryen in the third episode of the seventh season of Game of Thrones, during her introduction to Jon Snow.
And this is true- over the course of Game of Thrones’ run, a whole lot of people have tried to hurt the silver-haired aspirant to the Iron Throne – and none, of course, have succeeded. Having access to dragons and multiple standing armies- while also possessing total immunity to fire- tends to help in that regard.
As Game of Thrones heads into its final season, will Dany stay as unkillable as she always has? Possibly – everything we’ve ever seen from Game of Thrones indicates that Daenerys, and her series-length quest for the throne, will be very important to the series’ endgame.
But what if she doesn’t make it that far? There were some subtle hints in Season 7 that Daenerys will not only die in the final season, but die in a very specific way. Throughout Season 7, Dany’s allies warn her, specifically, about how much danger she’s in of dying from a flying arrow.
In that same third episode, when Dany argues that she should bring her dragons after Euron Greyjoy’s ships, Missandei argues against her queen putting herself in such danger, because “it only takes one arrow,” meaning just one fateful strike could put an end to Daenerys’ aspirations for the throne, not to mention her life.
No such arrow strikes Dany during the fourth episode’s “Loot Train” battle, although one of her dragons, Drogon, is hit by an arrow from Qyburn’s crossbow. A lot of Game of Thrones analysts, at the time, interpreted that line as foreshadowing that a dragon would die. This, of course, came to pass, though Viserion’s death north of the Wall ended up coming via an ice javelin, not an arrow.
In the sixth episode, “Beyond the Wall,” during a Dany/Tyrion discussion prior to the King’s Landing meeting, when the two are discussing who might succeed her on the Iron Throne, Tyrion references the Loot Train battle in stating that “I saw hundreds of arrows fly toward you when you fought on the Blackwater Rush, and I saw hundreds of arrows miss. But any one of them could have found your heart and ended you.” Tyrion, who killed his own father with a crossbow, knows what he’s talking about.
And in the season’s seventh and final episode, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” the subject comes up again, also during a Dragonstone strategy session about how exactly they should proceed North for the battle with the White Walkers. Jorah Mormont suggests that the Mother of Dragons “fly to Winterfell,” on her dragon, because she might find herself in danger were she to travel on land, through the generally anti- Targaryen North.
The reason for this? “All it takes is one angry man with a crossbow,” Jorah says. “He’ll see your silver hair on the Kingsroad and know that one well-placed bolt will make him a hero, the man who killed the conqueror.” This plan, however, is rejected by Jon Snow, in favor of the entire team sailing together, and the queen agrees, paving the way for Dany and Jon’s fateful coupling on board that ship later in the episode.
Notice that all three of these references are specifically to a crossbow and arrow, always in the singular, and never to swords, daggers, poisons or any other known weapon or method of assassination in the Game of Thrones universe. These three separate references to Daenerys needing to avoid meeting her end via a single arrow don’t seem like a coincidence, and do sound an awful lot like foreshadowing something that may very well happen in Season 8. And as shocking as this would be, it at least makes some plot sense.
Killing off Dany, even if it’s later in the season, would help solve the plot dichotomy that has Dany and her nephew/lover, Jon Snow, both having a claim to the Iron Throne. From what we know of Jon as a character, he doesn’t seem the type to usurp the throne from Daenerys, whom he has already declared his queen, even if his birthright says he has the right to the throne. But assuming the leadership of the seven kingdoms, reluctantly, following his beloved’s death? That’s more of a Jon Snow-like move. And speaking of Jon Snow, Daenerys wouldn’t be the first lover of his to die via arrow; Ygritte, of course, did as well.
Game of Thrones shocked the world- or at least, the non-books-reading portion of it– with the killing off of good guy and nominal protagonist Ned Stark in the penultimate episode of Season 1. Perhaps the only trick the show has up its sleeve, of that magnitude, would be the death of Daenerys Targaryen.
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