Daenerys Targaryen

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Daenerys Targaryen
A Song of Ice and Fire character
Daenerys Targaryen with Dragon-Emilia Clarke.jpg
First appearance Novel:
A Game of Thrones (1996)
"Winter Is Coming" (2011)
Video game:
"The Sword in the Darkness" (2015)
Created by George R. R. Martin
Portrayed by Emilia Clarke
Game of Thrones
  • Dany
  • Daenerys Stormborn
  • Mother of Dragons
  • Breaker of Chains
  • The Unburnt
  • Mhysa
  • Daenerys of House Targaryen
  • Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and of the First Men
  • Queen of Meereen
  • Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea
Family House Targaryen
Spouse(s) Khal Drogo
Hizdahr zo Loraq
Children Rhaego (son)
Kingdom The Crownlands

Daenerys Targaryen is a fictional character in the series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones. In the novels she is a prominent point of view character. Emilia Clarke portrays her in the television series.

In 2013, Clarke received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in the TV series.[1]

Character description[edit]

Daenerys Targaryen is the daughter of King Aerys II Targaryen and is one of the last survivors of House Targaryen.[2][3] She serves as the third-person narrator of thirty-one chapters throughout A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Dance with Dragons. She is the only monarch or claimant of such given point of view chapters in the novels.[4] Thirteen years before the events of the series, she was born in the midst of a storm, earning her the nickname 'Stormborn'. Shortly thereafter, Daenerys and her brother Viserys fled to Braavos. They spent the following years wandering the Free Cities.[2]


Emilia Clarke, in reflection of the character's evolution in the television series, stated: "Throughout the season she’s had an insane transformation from someone who barely even spoke and timidly did everything her brother said into a mother of dragons and a queen of armies and a killer of slave masters. She’s a very Joan of Arc-style character."[5]


A blue, scale-covered dress worn by Daenerys in the TV series Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones[edit]

In A Game of Thrones (1996), Daenerys is forced to marry Khal Drogo, a Dothraki warlord, in exchange for Drogo providing an army to her brother Viserys Targaryen.[2] At that time, Daenerys befriends Jorah Mormont, an exiled Westerosi knight and is given three petrified dragon eggs as a wedding gift. Though initially terrified of Drogo, Daenaerys grows to love him and begins to take to Dothraki customs, finding strength for the first time. After Drogo kills Viserys for threatening his wife, Daenerys sees herself as the heir to the Targaryen dynasty, and responsible for reclaiming the throne for her family. Shortly thereafter Drogo is wounded in a fight, and the cut festers. Drogo's warriors abandon him shortly after. Daenerys recruits a witch to save Drogo, but the witch betrays her, killing Daenerys' unborn child and leaving Drogo in a catatonic state. Daenerys does not want her husband to suffer any longer and smothers Drogo. She climbs on top of Drogo's funeral pyre with her three dragon eggs, and awakes unharmed with three hatched dragons.

A Clash of Kings[edit]

Leading the remnants of Drogo's khalasar through the Red Waste, Daenerys arrives in the city of Qarth. There she begins appealing to the numerous powerful merchants and rulers of the city for aid in reclaiming the Iron Throne, though she meets little success. She eventually accepts an invitation from a group of warlocks to discover her future. At their tower, Daenerys sees several visions and learns that the Warlocks intend to keep her prisoner, but she escapes and burns the tower with her dragons. Before departing, she is nearly assassinated but is saved by Arstan Whitebeard, who arrives with three ships as a gift.

A Storm of Swords[edit]

Seeking an army, she sails to Astapor in Slaver's Bay to purchase an army of 'Unsullied' slave soldiers, in exchange for a dragon; but betrays the slavers and uses the Unsullied to sack the city. She later conquers the city of Yunkai, and gains the service of Daario Naharis who commands a large mercenary company. As she marches on the Meereen, she learns that one of her companions is actually Barristan Selmy, a knight of Robert the Usurper's Kingsguard, and that Jorah had previously spied on her. Disgusted, she sends the pair on a suicide mission to capture Meereen. When the mission is successful, Barristan asks to be forgiven for his deception, but Jorah refuses to ask forgiveness so she exiles him. Unwilling to abandon the slaves she freed back into bondage, Dany decides to stay in Meereen.

A Dance with Dragons[edit]

Throughout A Dance with Dragons (2011), Daenerys struggles to maintain order in the city in the face of growing unrest as well as the chaos she left behind in the other cities she conquered. Furthermore, Yunkai has rebelled and is gathering forces to besiege Meereen. When Drogon is accused of homicide, she is forced to chain her dragons Rhaegal and Viserion, but Drogon escapes. Her advisers suggest she marry Hizdahr zo Loraq to bring peace, and she agrees to the marriage if he can bring peace for ninety days. During those ninety days, she takes Daario as a lover. Hizdahr successfully negotiates an end to the violence, so Daenerys marries him. At her wedding feast, the blood and noise of the fighting pits attracts Drogon, who is immediately attacked; Daenerys rescues her dragon by riding off with him. After several days in Drogon's lair, she falls ill and begins to hallucinate, and is later found by Khal Jhaqo, formerly a captain of her Khalasar who betrayed her former husband. Her fate is unknown.

Family tree of House Targaryen[edit]

TV series casting[edit]

The role was originally played by Tamzin Merchant in the pilot, but the first episode was re-shot with Emilia Clarke.[6]


Emilia Clarke, relatively unknown before her performances in Game of Thrones.[7]

The Boston Globe called the Daenerys scenes "mesmerizing" and praised Clarke's performance as the character, stating that "Clarke doesn't have a lot of emotional variety to work with as Daenerys, aside from fierce determination, and yet she is riveting."[8] The Daily Beast referred to Daenerys as the "closest thing the series has to a protagonist".[9]

Kate Arthur of the website BuzzFeed criticized the character's story line in the television show's second season, stating that she was too "weak-seeming". Arthur, however, praised the character's "purpose coupled with humanity and even some humor" during the third season, opining that Clarke was "eating the screen alive as a result".[10] Nate Hopper of Esquire magazine, when speaking of the television series, argued that the character did not face enough conflict, characterizing her conquering of cities as "cut and dry", stating that "She needs to be emancipated from her own easy, comfortable, mundane victory."[11]

Rolling Stone ranked Daenerys Targaryen at No. 1 on a list of "Top 40 Game of Thrones Characters", calling her story a "non-stop confrontation with complex ideas about sex, war, gender, race, politics and morality".[7] The website Mashable recognized her as one of the five most popular characters on the series.[12]


  1. ^ "Emmy Nominees Full List: Breaking Bad, Homeland, Downton Abbey Dominate 2013 Awards". The Huffington Post. July 18, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3: Daenerys I.
  3. ^ A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  4. ^ "Caught in a Robb Romance". Rolling Stone. 
  5. ^ "Emmys 2013: 'Thrones' star Emilia Clarke reacts -- in Dothraki?". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ "George R. R. Martin talks 'Game of Thrones' as the HBO show's 'Daenerys' departs". Chicago Tribune. April 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Top 40 'Game of Thrones' Characters, Ranked". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. March 31, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ Gilbert, Matthew (March 28, 2013). "Fantasy gets real on ‘Game of Thrones’". The Boston Globe. John W. Henry. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ Romano, Andrew (April 2, 2014). "Will Season 4 Make ‘Game of Thrones’ the Best Fantasy Show Ever?". The Daily Beast. The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ Arthur, Kate (April 18, 2013). "9 Ways "Game Of Thrones" Is Actually Feminist". BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed Inc. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  11. ^ Hopper, Nate (June 10, 2013). "Queen of Drag-Ons". Esquire. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ Erickson, Christine (June 12, 2014). "Ranking the Most Popular Characters in 'Game of Thrones'". Mashable. Mashable.com. Retrieved September 24, 2014. 

External links[edit]