SPOILERS for Game of Thrones season 8 ahead
A new Game of Thrones season 8 theory focuses on the true identity of Daenerys Targaryen. In the days leading up to the HBO series’ penultimate episode, various outlets are re-examining the character’s much-discussed connection to dragons.
In Game of Thrones, English actress Emilia Clarke has portrayed Daenerys Targaryen for the entire series run. The character is often presented as a heroic figure, one who overcomes multiples obstacles - both as a woman and misunderstood leader - to achieve power in Westeros. In Game of Thrones season 1, Daenerys Targaryen receives three dragon eggs; a symbolic gesture given her bloodline and the family’s history of riding dragons. Over the years, fans have speculated about Daenerys Targaryen’s fate, and whether she’ll ultimately reach the Iron Throne or have a legacy that’s similar to that of her father, King Aerys II Targaryen aka “The Mad King.”
Recently published articles on Medium and PopSugar have given momentum to a popular Reddit theory that Daenerys Targaryen is an actual dragon. In the Medium article, author Ryan Caldwell lays out an extensive argument about Daenerys Targaryen’s true destiny, using past character dialogue that suggests the character’s identity conflict is literally associated with being a dragon herself. While much of the article speculates about what could happen in Game of Thrones’ final two episodes, the theory's premise aligns with the character’s current dilemma and psychological trauma.
Meanwhile, PopSugar writer Karenna Meredith addresses the same concept in “If This Theory Is Correct, Daenerys's Fate Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight All Along.” In contrast to the Medium article, Meredith begins not with a theory, but with the facts from the last episode. She then cites the aforementioned Reddit theory that the evidence lies in Daenerys Targaryen’s costumes in Game of Thrones season 8, which include streaks of Blood Red - a contrast to costumes of the past.
In the Game of Thrones season 8 episode “The Last of the Starks,” Daenerys Targaryen pleads with Jon Snow to not reveal his true identity, and then loses the second of her three dragons, Rhaegal. At King’s Landing, Daenerys Targaryen confronts Cersei Lannister, who orders The Mountain to behead the Mother of Dragons' longtime ally Missandei. Thus far in Game of Thrones season 8, Daenerys Targaryen has struggled with her place in Winterfell, along with her relationship with the former King of Winterfell, Jon Snow. The dragon theory suggests that not only will Daenerys Targaryen snap, but that increased psychological trauma will ignite a physical mutation.
Clarke recently suggested that Game of Thrones’ penultimate episode will be “bigger” than the Battle of Winterfell. Based on Daenerys Targaryen’s facial expressions in “The Last of the Starks,” she seems ready to make a huge statement, one that will likely involve lots of fire. It's also worth noting that Game of Thrones' new opening credits sequence includes four dragons. If the aforementioned theories are correct, it may be Daenerys Targaryen - not Drogon - that literally burns down King’s Landing.