ryan caldwell
May 9 · 8 min read

Daenerys Targaryen is a dragon.

The truth has been in plain view the entire time.
Just as Arya’s relationship with Death becomes clear in perspective…
Daenerys Targaryen is a dragon. An actual dragon.

Daenerys Stormborn, first of her name, came into the world during the greatest storm in the living memory of Westeros. A storm that wiped out the Targaryen fleet as Robert’s Rebellion ended her father and their family reign. A great ending seeding a great beginning.

“Only death can pay for life.”

The words of Mirri Maz Duur, the maegi who worked blood magic to ‘save’ Khal Drogo, illuminate. Ser Jorah, over a recovering Dany, tells her,
“The boy did not live… the child was —”
Mirri interjected, “Twisted. I pulled him out myself. He was scaled like a lizard. Blind, with leather wings, like the wings of a bat. When I touched him, his skin fell from his bones. Inside, he was full of graveworms.”
The sorceress interpreted this as part of the exchange she made with her magic, slaughtering a horse for the ritual, knowing not of the Khaleesi’s
true nature.
The ‘Stallion’ Who Mounts the World wasn’t going to bear a half-human…
She was always “the blood of the dragon.”

“Fire and Blood,” the Targaryen motto goes. They obsessed over bloodlines and interbreeding. The Targaryens were consumed with visions of dragons, some of them destroyed in attempts to fulfill their prophetic dreams of transformation.
While touring Lady Margaery around the Sept of Baelor, Joffrey Baratheon regaled,

“Over there in that urn, the ashes of Aerion Targaryen. Aerion Brightflame, they called him. He thought drinking wildfire would turn him into a dragon. He was wrong.”

“The Targaryens have always danced too close to madness. King Jaehaerys once told me that madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land.”
-Ser Barristan Selmy

Viserys threatened Daenerys, You don’t want to awaken the dragon,” believing himself it. A nod to the truth, taken for metaphor.
He met his end with her noting,

© Game Of Thrones / HBO

“He was no dragon.
Fire cannot kill a dragon.”
Fire can kill Targaryens, yes.
Yet, Dany is clearly something much more than her brother ever was. Ancient blood magic finally manifesting in a perfect storm…

Her father Aerys, the Mad King, was taken with visions and found endlessly chanting, “Burn them all.” Like his ancestors before, he believed himself the focus of them as a broken Jaime Lannister recounted to Brienne,

“You’ve heard of Wildfire? The Mad King was obsessed with it. He loved to watch people burn… Aerys saw traitors everywhere, so he had his pyromancer place caches of wildfire all over the city. Beneath the Sept of Baelor and the slums of Flea Bottom. Under houses, stables, taverns. Even beneath the Red Keep itself. Finally, the day of reckoning came. ‘Burn them all,’ he kept saying. ‘Burn them all.’ I don’t think he expected to die. He meant to burn with the rest of us and rise again, reborn as a dragon to turn his enemies to ash.”

Her story has always been about identity, her place in the world. Always the outsider, she found herself struggling with who she was. As an outsider with the Dothraki, a foreign ruler of Meereen, a stranger in Westeros.
Extensive proclamations of title, an armor of insecurity.
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains, the Mother of Dragons…

Tywin Lannister satisfyingly checked an obnoxious Joffrey with,
“Any man who must say ‘I am the King’ is no true king.”
Power comes not from the telling, but the showing. Truth on the other hand, truth is a teller.
The ever-refreshingly lucid Lady Olenna Tyrell told Daenerys straight,

© Game Of Thrones / HBO

“You’re a dragon. Be a dragon.” Literally. Delivered on a silver platter.

“The most heroic thing we can do now is look the truth in the face,” remarked Sansa, perceptively familiar with the machinations of unchecked power in the hands of the dangerously unbalanced.

With the Targaryen family history of instability, Dany’s personal battle has always been a question of her looming shadow. Her Jekyll/Hyde, her BruceBanner/Hulk. Without a support system, it’s all too easy to lose grip. When vengeance and anger enter the picture, forget about it. After killing her family and exiling her, Westeros will again take it all away. Daenerys will lose everything she has left: Two of her dragons, likely soon to be a third. The closest thing to family, Jorah and Missandei, gone. The rest of the Dothraki. The Unsullied. Her rightful claim to the throne. Varys. At some point, Tyrion, an enraging betrayal. There will be more merciless executions.
Without anyone to effectively check her worst impulses… she’ll snap.
She’ll honor Missandei’s final word and burn them all.

All of her genuine attempts of righteousness were forever reconciling with her true nature, and her true drive… taking whatever she wants. As dragons do.
Daenerys’ lasting successes were never the product of measured diplomacy, but rather the result of unrestrained conquering through bloodshed,
an iron fist of fear and horror.
Astapor - she took the Unsullied with Fire and Blood.
Vaes Dothrak - she killed the Khals, taking the Khalasar with Fire and Blood.
Meereen - when things went south, she finally brought the slavers to heel with Fire and Blood.
After being outmaneuvered by the Lannister army and the Iron Fleet, she went barreling in with… Fire and Blood.
She repeatedly lost, only to turn things around with uncompromising force.
Her luck will run out.

© Game Of Thrones / HBO

Increasingly reckless, feeling isolated and enraged, Daenerys will mount Drogon and do some serious damage to King’s Landing and the Iron Fleet. She’ll terrify and murder innocent people, roasting the Red Keep.
It’ll be ugly, turning all eyes against her, just as Cersei planned. Just as Dany’s advisors feared. Jon will begin to actually focus on what he’s refused to admit about the woman he loves. She won’t heed his attempts to reign it in.
He’ll finally have the answer to that piercing question of priorities that Samwell haunted him with,
“You gave up your crown to save your people. Would she do the same?”

After a brutal fight and sieging, Cersei, having repeatedly proven herself a shrewd tactician, will dramatically bring Daenerys down. No dragon to contend with and victory within her grasp, Cersei will bring the entire affair to its knees, a worthy opponent.

In the Thrones fashion of poetic justice killings - Olenna with poison, Eddard beheaded, Ramsey’s hounds - and the viciously angry crowds crying for it,
Cersei will victoriously march Daenerys out to be burned at the stake.
Just like Dany burned the sorceress on Drogo’s funeral pyre.
Twice she’s survived fire…
But never that supposedly magical and mysterious substance, wildfire.
Cersei will have heard the stories so her forces will be at the ready to launch a thousand arrows into the Unburnt.
Fiercely indignant, Daenerys will roast…
And a smug Cersei will have won.

“Only death can pay for life.”

— Then,
In a still growing and brilliant green firestorm, born… Daenerys, the Targaryen her ancestors dreamed of, that her father envisioned being, will be
reborn as a dragon to turn enemies to ash.”
The Daughter of Death, true to name.
Breaking the chains of her human form, her chrysalis, she’ll spread her wings and transform into the Largest. Dragon. Ever. Seen.
No weapons, no armies, will stand a chance against her. She’ll demolish everything in her path. Burn the entire city. Madness. End times.
Pure Fire and Blood.

Not the falling snow of winter, but the ash of this carnage was descending in her vision at the House of Undying. A ruined throne room of her own making, within her reach, when a dragon cries out…

Amongst the continued chaos and devastation, probable surprise caches of wildfire in King’s Landing set alight, people running for their lives,
Jon will know what he has to do.
No longer afraid to stand and challenge a dragon, he will yell out to her.

Slamming down in front of him in a massive quake, he’ll give her pause.
The recognition in her eyes. The scent of his dragon blood.
A painful moment of understanding.
She’ll be too far gone, though.
A vicious whirlwind of a roar blasting him to the ground.
Jon will do what heroes do… finally…
Slay the dragon.

© Game Of Thrones / HBO

With Valyrian steel and perhaps help from the Three Eyed Raven…
Aegon will break his Queen, his last Targaryen relation, and his heart.
A sword plunged into the heart of love, forged in a breast of dragon fire… Lightbringer.
Wielded by a dragon tempered with the blood of winter.

To honor his original oath, to guard the realms of men…
Like the only father he ever knew, he’ll have to sacrifice one integrity to keep another. A complicated compromise, slaying your sworn crown.
Beyond loyalty, beyond feelings, beyond self.

Seemingly forgotten, will the wheel have been broken? If not, will a promised prince with no desire to rule, turn it sideways into a table with iron seats?
Or walk away from it all, his watch ended…

© Game Of Thrones / HBO


A Song of Fire and Ice.
Winter was coming.
Fire was coming.
Both to destroy.
Spirals and sigils spinning in.
Different threats, posing varied perceptions of peril.


First was the classically existential evil; detached, cold, and meaningless…
but an unambiguous adversary coming to end everyone.
The other, that no one sees until it’s too late, the blindspot…
is the fire within.
It’s the personal, the passionate, the unbridled stallion that requires reflection… questions of what it means to be human, the costs of winning. Invested and life-giving, fire germinates and inspires - begs to be embraced.
Yet left unchecked, it will grow out of control and tragically consume.
Extinguishing a blaze makes it no less beautiful to behold,
demanding appreciation.

But a song needs balance, harmony.

© Game Of Thrones / HBO

Jenny of Oldstones

“Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade. “Faster,” they cried, “faster, faster.” She raced, her feet melting the stone wherever they touched. “Faster!” the ghosts cried as one, and she screamed and threw herself forward. A great knife of pain ripped down her back, and she felt her skin tear open and smelled the stench of burning blood and saw the shadow of wings. And Daenerys Targaryen flew.” (AGOT Daenerys IX)

  • shout out to Sandor Clegane, may he find peace and forgiveness.

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