If anything is certain in Game of Thrones, it's that nothing is ever certain. Favorite characters are gone in an instant, which was our first clue that Daenerys Stormborn, the First of Her Name, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons, wouldn't make it to the Iron Throne after all.
Despite the supposed madness that inflicted the heroine near the end of the show, ruining baby names for Americans over the last few years, Dany has inspired us more often than she's terrified us, often giving us the heroine that we've always wanted in a medieval drama. Still, we can't deny that there were also times she chilled us to the bone.
10 Inspired: Became A Teen Khaleesi
Being traded to a khal for power proved to be a terrifying fate for young Daenerys, who was only 14 in the book. She quickly learned how to manage not only her husband, but her people, asking her handmaidens for advice and adapting to the Dothraki ways in order to survive. She proved her mettle during these days as she learned her first lessons on leadership and being a queen.
Not many people could eat a horse's heart in order to be looked upon as a khaleesi but young Daenerys Targaryen certainly did. And after she condemned Mirri for her husband's demise, she entered the flames with him without an ounce of fear.
9 Chilled: Toasting Sam's Family
Several of Daenerys' actions pointed toward her not being quite the queen everyone had hoped she'd be, but the first major red flag was when she took out Samwell Tarly's brother and father in season seven. After she defeated the Lannister soldiers, she continued to just keep burning those who refused to bend the knee to her, including the Tarlys.
This is actually common behavior for a conquering king when someone refuses to surrender after a battle has clearly been won, but it still chilled audiences simply because Dany didn't hesitate to take them out. Knowing who they were and that they weren't "bad guys" makes it much more brutal: after all, why would a "good guy" take out other "good guys"? In truth, that's just the way of war, but in a TV drama, it's definitely disturbing.
8 Inspired: Demanded That The Assaults Stop
As soon as Daenerys felt as if she had a bit of clout with her husband, Khal Drogo, she used it to get him to stop his men from using women as spoils of war, much to the fury of the Dothraki who considered it their right after conquering people. As was pointed out to Dany, it was too little too late for the women she tried to save, but this little teenager putting in such a request, particularly with such a deft political hand, was inspiring to watch.
It wasn't the only time she would stand up to a khal, either. When threatened by all of the khals in the dosh khaleen, she simply set it ablaze, earning her the loyalty of the Dothraki people.
7 Chilled: Tortured Slave Masters
It's one thing to set people free and imprison or even execute the fascists who held them prisoner in the first place, but Dany wasn't satisfied with those methods. In all fairness, she didn't always have a choice, such as when it came to freeing the Unsullied at Slaver's Bay, but in many instances, once she had the power she could have easily been a less gruesome queen.
Daenerys wanted displayed tortured bodies to be reminders of what would happen to any who attempted a coup against her or to defy her, and even though the cities already had precedents of the same policy, she really should have been better than that as a benevolent ruler. After the brutal life she's already led, is it any wonder, though? It's almost all she knew.
6 Inspired: Faith In Herself
The downfall of the Mother of Dragons was especially disappointing for fans who looked to her as representation of a woman in power in a predominantly male genre. She was one of the women we hoped would win all along, and her faith in herself was one of the many things that inspired us.
Upon meeting Jon Snow, Daenerys said, "I spent my life in foreign lands, so many men have tried to kill me I don't remember all their names. I have been sold like a brood mare, I have been shamed and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing during all those years of exile? Faith. Not in any gods, not in myths and legends, in myself. In Daenerys Targaryen."
5 Chilled: She's Fine Being Jon's Aunt
Dany and Jon were destined to be together, even if HBO and George R.R. Martin decided that it wouldn't be for long. Even so, the fact that they were close blood relatives should have at least given Dany pause as it did Jon, but she seemed rather unperturbed by the news.
After seasons of watching incestuous twins wreck Westeros (and not-wreck it, depending on the episode and arc), it certainly made her appear more villainous as a result. Of course, this only pointed toward her family's tradition of keeping their bloodline "pure," serving as another sign of her supposed madness.
4 Inspired: She Kept Her Cool Around Kraznys
Not many of us would be able to stand by and listen to someone like Kraznys made terrible comments about us in a language he didn't know we understood, but Daenerys did it with the kind of diplomacy that we don't even see today. When she finally revealed that she could speak Valyrian and understood him perfectly, it gave everyone in the room goosebumps.
Sure, she roasted him with Drogon before unleashing the Unsullied upon their own slave masters, but that was how war worked in that time period. Dany often made decisions men who were later known as "The Great" made only to be vilified for them later.
3 Chilled: Refused To Listen To Reason
If you make Tyrion Lannister your official Hand, it's less because he drinks and more because he knows things. So when he assures you that your decisions aren't going to work, it's best to at least think about his advice before launching into another poor decision.
To be fair, Tyrion's advice isn't always sound, and he can also be headstrong at times. He did slay the woman he supposedly loved, which everyone seems to forget, among other things. But as a ruler, Dany should have been prepared to be more diplomatic, especially since she's shown that she is perfectly capable of the skill in the past.
2 Inspired: Brought Freedom To Thousands
There are so many inspiring moments in Daenery's short (or long, depending on if Drogon gets her to Volantis) life, from her becoming the Mother of Dragons, unscathed in the fire, to the moment she stood up for herself against her evil brother, threatening to cut of his hands if he ever touched her again. The most inspirational thing she's done, of course, is to bring freedom to thousands, if not millions, of people.
From Astapor to Yunkai to Meereen, Dany leaves a wake of sacked governments and free people behind her. She doesn't always know how to deal with all of these new subjects, but her tactics are often quite inspiring for a teen queen.
1 Chilled: Toasted King's Landing
After a city surrenders, it's simply common courtesy to stop taking out its citizens. To torch the people after they've already surrendered is behavior on par with the Red Wedding, yet Daenerys doesn't stop. Even though she feels as if she's been betrayed and lost everyone she loves at this point, this isn't a show of power, but of weakness. It's also indicative of the kind of ruler King's Landing could expect if Dany had taken the throne before Jon took her down.
Again, when women in Game of Thrones use the same tactics men have used for centuries, they are judged more harshly. In fact, the evil men of the series commit much worse heinous acts to make us despise them, since the kind of behavior that Cersei and Daenerys exhibit are commonplace for male rulers throughout history. Could she have still made a good queen? It's possible, but choosing to destroy helpless citizens after the city had surrendered remains one of her most brutal moments.