In the Game of Thrones series finale, Drogon took Daenerys' body and appeared to have flown to Valyria in order to leave her in her final resting place, but what if he took her to be resurrected instead? At first, fans were unclear about where Drogon ferried Dany off to, after first destroying the Iron Throne. Later when someone asks whether he’s been seen, Sam manages to get out, “He was last spotted flying east, toward Volant-" before Bronn cuts him off with, “The farther away, the better.” Bran dreamily opines that perhaps he can find him, and that’s the last we hear on the subject… forever. But considering Dany’s death and eventual resting place felt like a loose end, fans have naturally come up with their own conclusions about what Drogon’s intentions were. A particularly interesting theory gives Dany a much happier ending than she got on the show, or at least a more interesting afterlife - it posits that Drogon was indeed taking Dany to Volantis for the express purpose of delivering her to the Red Priests so she could be resurrected, like Jon Snow.
In the A Song of Ice and Fire books, the followers of R’hllor throw their support behind the Dragon Queen, as Jorah and Tyrion see when they visit Volantis on the way to Meereen. There are demonstrations in the streets courtesy of a high-profile priest named Benerro; the widow of the waterfront goes so far as to tell Jorah that the people of Volantis await the Dragon Queen and implores him to tell her to hurry. While nominally the Red Priests support Dany because they believe her to be Azor Ahai reborn, the widow reveals a more immediate reason - Volantis and the Red Priests are made up of many former slaves, and Dany’s mission clearly aligns with their values on an unprecedented scale. So much so that a former slave and now Red Priest named Moqorro also makes his way to Meereen in A Dance with Dragons intent on offering his considerably services to Dany once he arrives.
These events are lightly touched on in the show when Tyrion and Varys arrive in Volantis in season 5 and witness a Red Priestess preaching in the streets about Dany just as Benerro did, and when Kinvara, another Red Priestess, arrives in Meereen in season 6 to offer her services as Moqorro intended to in the books. Clearly the followers of the Lord of Light have invested in the Mother of Dragons in the books, and the show was aware of that relationship, despite not following up on it as thoroughly as fans might have liked. Ultimately, it’s that inconsistency between the way the show and the books treat Dany’s relationship with the followers of R’hllor that makes the theory intriguing and confounding at the same time.
Is It Even Possible?
Speaking strictly in terms of whether or not this could happen rather than interrogating the likelihood of it happening, it's possible that Drogon could’ve taken Dany to Volantis and that she could’ve been resurrected there. We know the Red Priests have mastered this particular magic, however inconsistently, and we know Drogon possesses uncanny knowledge and instincts regarding Dany’s safety, as well as the geography of Essos. He probably couldn’t make it to Volantis in one trip, but he could certainly get there in enough time for Dany’s body to still be intact enough for a resurrection to take place. If Kinvara is, in fact, in Volantis, she is the High Priestess of the order and probably willing to attempt a resurrection.
We can also say with reasonable certainty that there’s at least one fanatical Red Priest who’d be up for the task of trying, if only to gain a champion in the fight against slavery in Essos. The magic is difficult to perform, but if Dany still had some important role to play in the Lord of Light’s master plan (assuming he has one), it’s possible he would bestow his grace upon one of his servants who asked for the ability to bring Dany back - especially if she was indeed Azor Ahai, and her work wasn’t done yet. And beyond all of this, the idea that Drogon would bring his mother someplace in the hopes of bringing her back to life is consistent with the way Game of Thrones has characterized Drogon as Dany’s most loyal champion at the end of everything. There’s also something elegant and sweet about endowing one of the show’s most aggressive creatures with the childlike desire to bring his mother back to life after her death.
How Likely Is It As An End For Dany On The Show?
But once we actually start looking at Game of Thrones and the context of Dany’s death, the theory starts to look more and more like wishful thinking. For starters, the Red Priests on the show support Dany solely because of they believe she is Azor Ahai - Kinvara says as much, and when Melisandre meets Dany at Dragonstone and introduces Dany to the Azor Ahai theory, Missandei points out that the prophecy about the legendary hero’s return doesn’t specify the gender of the Prince That Was Promised. Melisandre’s far less certain of her predictions given her recent embarrassing experience with Stannis Baratheon. So instead of assuring Dany that the Dragon Queen is the focal point of the prophecy, she simply states that the other potential subject of the prophecy, Jon Snow, also has a significant role to play. And that’s largely where the show stops dealing with the Azor Ahai prophecy directly.
If the order somehow managed to get word that it was Arya who killed the Night King and that Dany had been assassinated without completing her mission, that might sway the Red Priests from believing in her. Or they could have simply looked at the defeat of the Night King and the avoidance of a second Long Night as evidence that the Prince Who Was Promised did arrive, did their job, and left again. But at the end of the day, Game of Thrones abandoned the role of the prophecy and the Lord of Light during season 8, choosing to make a more philosophical statement about Dany’s leadership and values instead. The idea that the showrunners intended Dany to be reborn, but chose not to show that or even foreshadow it, makes it highly unlikely that was their original intent when Drogon flew away. But in the context of the books, this theory is far from dead in the water, though the likelihood of it happening is hugely dependent on timing.
What About The Books?
As previously mentioned, the Red Priests' support for Dany has far greater implications in the books. We’ve yet to see Moqorro actually make it to Meereen, but if his characterization as a very accurate reader of the flames is any indication, he’s bound to be of some significance in Dany’s story. Whether or not that significance will manifest in a resurrection for her remains to be seen. At the very least, we can surmise that the Azor Ahai theory and the political relationship the Red Priests seek with Dany will get far more attention, so it’s likely her interests will intersect with their magic in some fashion, if only to serve as a juxtaposition with Stannis’ doomed blind faith in Melisandre. As for a resurrection, it’s timing that plays a key role in whether or not such a thing makes sense in the books.
An idealistic interpretation could see events play out similarly on the show - Dany and Jon fall in love, work together to defeat the Night King, but eventually Dany becomes the tyrant she swore to protect others from, and Jon (or someone) kills her before she takes the throne. But instead of Game of Thrones ending with Drogon flying off to who knows where with her body, perhaps there’s an epilogue that sees Drogon bring Dany to Volantis, where she’s brought back to life and takes a second chance to stay in Essos and work on building a better world there, or just flying off with Drogon to start a new life without responsibilities she never asked for.
But such an ending flies in the fact of Dany’s characterization (and others who’ve been resurrected) in a few different ways - if she were brought back to life, it feels unlikely she’d take her death as a lesson learned and abandon her cause while she still had the most powerful pet in the known world. It makes far more sense that she’d simply renew her mission undeterred. As disappointing as it ultimately was, Dany’s thirst for vengeance was so strong it clouded her judgement; it’s doubtful her murder would temper that instinct. Conceiving Dany’s resurrection as a happy ending for the Dragon Queen if she follows the same fate as her show counterpart, requires a willful ignorance of her character and how said resurrections have worked in the past in Martin’s work.
But if we change the timing of the resurrection, the idea of it happening at all becomes a little more palatable. If Dany is killed with a significant part of her story left to be told - not unlike Jon Snow - someone getting her to a Red Priest via Drogon or not and in Volantis or not could make sense. If she’s prematurely assassinated and the Red Priests still believe her to be Azor Ahai, it’s likely they would try and bring her back. But that idea becomes redundant if we take into account Jon Snow’s probable arc in The Winds of Winter. It seems highly likely that he’ll be brought back to life by Melisandre as he was in the show, and it also seems likely he’ll take Stannis’ place in her mind as Azor Ahai once that happens. The idea that Dany would have such a parallel journey be it at the end of her story or at some other point feels unnecessary to the point of impossibility.
Finally, the A Song of Ice and Fire books have yet to establish if Drogon is smart enough to carry out such a mission. It would require no small amount of magical thinking to imbue Drogon with the political or even practical awareness of the Red Priests to justify the idea that he could deliver Dany there in the event of her death. Drogon definitely has a bond with his mother, but it’s a stretch to give him credit for knowing where to take her, even if he was guided by the Lord of Light - a deity that hasn’t ever been associated with dragons in the books or the show.
Some Parts Make Sense (But Only Some)
The idea of Drogon carrying off Dany to be brought back to life by Red Priests has considerable issues, but there are elements of the theory that hold water if we adjust them a little bit. In the context of Game of Thrones, it makes sense that Drogon would’ve carried her off to a place of significance - imbuing him with enough intelligence to make that place Volantis, specifically to the Red Priests, seems highly unlikely, but Volantis isn’t far from Valyria. Thematically, that destination makes far more sense.
It’s believable in a fantasy context that Drogon would’ve been drawn to Valyria given its position as the birthplace of dragons and the people who would eventually learn to master them. From a spiritual standpoint, there’s a beautiful symmetry in the last dragon bringing the last Targaryen to their mutual homeland as a final resting place. The show even associates Drogon with Valyria in season 5 when he’s seen by Jorah and Tyrion flying above as they row through the eerie ruins. The idea of an enterprising Red Priest hearing the news of Dany’s death, seeing Drogon fly above, and following them in the hopes of bringing her back to life is still fan fiction given the finality of Game of Thrones’ ending, but even as fan fiction, it makes more sense than Drogon knowing to get Daney to a Red Priest.
As for the books, it’s possible the Red Priests become a considerable part of Dany’s entourage before she goes to Westeros and move to bring her back if and when she’s killed there. Or perhaps one of their lieutenants attempts to get her to Volantis via Drogon in a last-ditch attempt to save her if she’s killed before the end of the Long Night and there’s still a chance she’s Azor Ahai. But in both Game of Thrones and the books, the idea of Dany being resurrected after her death still doesn’t make enough sense for us to believe it’s going to happen in any form. Not only would it be the fourth resurrection in a series that tried hard to be as judicious as possible with its magic, it would fly in the face of the finality of Dany’s death and the narrative implications therein.
An interpretation of Martin positioning Dany as protagonist is that he did so in order to spell out how easily power can corrupt even the most heroic and well-intentioned people. It’s a theme we see throughout fantasy, not the least of which is one of Martin’s biggest influences, Lord of the Rings. Dany’s death in Game of Thrones was meant to be tragically symbolic of that idea and her resurrection - even the possibility of it - undermines one of the most important narrative arcs in the story. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what context we couch it in, this theory isn’t much more than wishful thinking.