Oh, Daenerys Targaryen. We’ve loved her since the day we first set eyes on her. It wasn’t just her dazzling beauty that captivated us. It was more than that. She also had great strength and power. The beauty certainly didn’t hurt. She became a drug for us and we became addicts. For the past 5+ years, we’ve devoured everything that we could find out about her character. Each episode, a little more of the curtain was pulled back, revealing more about goddess, feeding our addiction.
Even for those who have been rabid fans of the TV show, there is much more information on this Targaryen queen available. Some have kept away from information in the books, fearing spoilers for the show, but, now that the show has passed the books (or at least caught up to them), those fears have been all but erased. That being said, there is some information from the books in this list, so if you’re afraid to have your mind opened, then, by all means, run away. Otherwise, prepare to be fully introduced to Daenerys Targaryen.
Everyone wants to be an expert on everything Daenerys. We want that for you as well. We’ve scoured through all the information that’s available on this mysterious woman and have brought it here for you. Some of it is purely speculation. There are no spoilers, but there are some theories. As with all good theories, however, there is the risk of potential spoilers. But these can also mislead you and blind you from other readings as well, so be warned. We will say this. Once you’ve finished with this list, you’ll know as much about Daenerys as there is to know. Here are 15 things you didn’t know about GoT’s Daenerys Targaryen.
15. The Proper Pronunciation
When George RR Martin created the word, Khaleesi, he probably had a certain pronunciation in mind, but he never told anyone about it. When they went to make the show, they powers-that-be enlisted David J. Peterson to help craft the Dothraki and Valyrian languages. Unfortunately, one of the primary words he developed a pronunciation for, Khaleesi, was misused by everyone right away. The word was meant to be pronounced, “KHAH-lay-see” not “ka-LEE-see.” Peterson tried to make the change with the producers of the show early on but to no avail. As he tells it, “The producers decided they liked the other way better. They probably thought most people were pronouncing it that way anyway, which is true.”
14. A Disgusting Fake Heart
In the scene that has Daenerys eating a horse heart while the Dothraki all stand there and watch, she looks truly disgusted by what’s happening. As the actress, Emilia Clarke remembers it, that wasn’t acting at all. “It was disgusting!” she said. “They promised me that it would taste similar to a gummy bear and it definitely didn’t. It was kind of like … the best way to describe it is sort of a congealed jam kind of thing. On the outtakes, there will be me heaving into a bucket. It’s such a reflex, when you taste something that’s just so revolting, you kind of instantly just want to get rid of it. It’s safe to say that I didn’t eat lunch that day.”
13. Dany Might Just Go Insane
Even though we believe this theory less and less with each passing episode, there are still many tinfoil hat wearers out there who believe that madness is part of the Targaryen line and bound to Daenerys. Like her father, the Mad King, some fans believe that Daenerys will fall into madness as she tries to walk the line between a powerful ruler and a merciful one. One of the greatest attributes of Game of Thrones is that it shows just how difficult ruling is and how there are many layers to each character, not simply black and white or good and evil. So, whether she truly becomes mad or is simply perceived as mad, this fan theory warns you not to be surprised if Dany should lose some of her marbles along her way to the throne.
12. Her Purple Eyes
We know from the books that many of the Targaryens, those with the “blood of the dragon,” have purple eyes. In one passages in the text, when Barristan Selmy is reminiscing about Ashara Dayne, it is written, “He had only to close his eyes to see her, with her long dark hair tumbling about her shoulders and those haunting purple eyes. Daenerys has the same eyes.” From this, we can see that Daenerys was meant to have purple eyes. So why does she have blue eyes in the show? Well, the answer is because Emilia Clarke, the actress, has blue eyes and they tried purple contact lenses, but they didn’t work. Clarke found them to be uncomfortable and the showrunners found them to be a hindrance, saying that “actors act with their eyes, and [the lenses] really hurt the emotion.”
11. Her Missing Nephew
In the books, it’s revealed that Dany has a nephew, he’s going by the name Griff or Young Griff. In the show, he is non-existent. So, what’s up? When we first meet Griff in the text, he claims that he is Aegon Targaryen, nephew to Daenerys Targaryen (the son of her brother Rhaegar). You’ll remember that the story says that the Mountain bashed in Rhaegar’s baby boy’s head when the Mad King was killed. This is how everyone remembers it. Yet, in the latest book, A Dance with Dragons, we hear that that version of the story might not be true. This also means that the claim that Dany is the last Targaryen isn’t true either. Or is it? Since he hasn’t shown up in the TV show yet, we can assume one of two things. Either Griff is a fraud and his claim is all a lie. Or, the show just doesn’t want to introduce a new character at this point. Who knows which one is more likely.
10. The Original Daenerys: Tamzin Merchant
When the pilot episode was shot for Game of Thrones and was shopped around, the actress playing Daenerys Targaryen wasn’t Emilia Clarke. It was an actress by the name of Tamzin Merchant. Merchant is probably best known for playing Georgiana Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Catherine Howard in The Tudors, but it seems that she just missed out on superstardom. It’s unclear why Merchant was switched out for Clarke, but we can say that we’re happy the change was made. Sure, we don’t how well Merchant would have done in the role, but we do how well Clarke has done. It’s safe to say that not many could have done it any better and Clarke’s beauty is something to behold each week, so we always have something to look forward to.
9. The Meereenese Knot
Much of the plot in the book A Dance with Dragons and season five and six of the show, particularly as it relates to Daenerys in Meereen, was a juggling act that was caused by the convergence of several different plotlines, an entanglement that author George RR Martin calls the Meereenese Knot. That’s not to say that all of Dany’s story in Meereen was a waste of time, but there was quite a bit of filler added in to ensure that all the different plotlines met at the right time. As Martin explains it, “All of these things were balls I had thrown up into the air, and they’re all linked and chronologically entwined… There’s a Dany scene in the book which is actually one of the oldest chapters in the book that goes back almost ten years now… that chapter was supposed to be the first Daenerys chapter in the book. Then it became the second chapter, and then the third chapter, and it kept getting pushed back as I inserted more things into it.” Part of the frustration that fans have with Martin’s work is that he continuously expands the story when people are begging for him to start curtailing it and bringing it home. Let’s hope that the show continues to do this for him.
8. The Theory of Tyrion Targaryen
This is a theory that has been around for a long time and continues to pick up steam, though, as it becomes more obvious, it also becomes more and more like a red herring. Either way, the theory suggests that Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King, bedded Tyrion’s mother Joanna on the night of her wedding to Tywin. This would explain why Tywin had such a deep hatred for Tyrion and why he claimed that Tyrion, “was no son of mine” after Tyrion shot him with a crossbow. There are many connections that help connect Tyrion to Dany as well, from both of their mothers dying during childbirth and his affinity for dragons. Still, this one is being laid on pretty thick in the show lately, so there’s a good chance that, while Tyrion may hope he is a Targaryen, a realization that would give his life some more meaning, he really is just the dwarf son of a hateful family. Hard news to take but true to the Martin’s style.
7. What Dany Wears Under Her Dress
Though it’s a detail that goes unseen in almost every shot, it’s said that Daenerys is always hiding a little secret underneath her long beautiful dresses. The costume designer, Michele Clapton, tells us that underneath every gown, Daenerys is wearing trousers and boots. This is more about setting the idea in Dany’s psyche that she can’t ever get too comfortable in one place, a remnant of her nomadic-type roots, than it is about style. “There’s always a fear in her that she will have to leave so it gives her the freedom to always escape and run,” Clapton said. “If she had silly shoes on she’d lose all her strength.”
6. Her Original Story
Although it’s been changed numerous times, you might be interested to learn what the original plan was for Dany and The Game of Thrones. Initially, Martin planned this story as a trilogy (A Game of Thrones, A Dance with Dragons and Winds of Winters). The first book played out as expected, coinciding with the first season of the TV show. The second season/book was meant to focus on Daenerys. In a letter to his agent, Martin wrote of this second book, “a young dragon will give Daenerys the power to bend the Dothraki to her will. Then she begins to plan for her invasion of the Seven Kingdoms.” Then, by the third book, Daenerys was to be in Westeros fighting the White Walkers with her dragons alongside the Night’s Watch. So, if you had any doubts of what Daenerys would be doing in the end, this should help point you in the right direction.
5. The Three-Eyed Raven Could Be Family
Keeping track of all the twisting family trees can be really difficult in Game of Thrones. It’s especially tough once you start dealing with people and generations who should be long dead. Though the show has chosen not to deal with it, there is a theory from the books that the three-eyed raven, the old man in the tree played by Max Von Sydow in the show, is actually Brynden “Bloodraven” Rivers (this all stems from the three-eyed raven saying that his name was Brynden). While this may not mean anything to you or even to the grand scheme of things, Brynden “Bloodraven” Rivers was a bastard son to a Targaryen. He was said to have gone north with his nephew, Aemon Targaryen, many years ago. You’ll remember Maester Aemon as the blind old man of the Night’s Watch. Aemon is Dany’s great-uncle, which makes the three-eyed raven Daenerys’s great-great-uncle.
4. Melisandre Could Be Family Too
This one is a bit more theoretical, but it’s an interesting possibility nonetheless. It’s also connected to the theory of the three-eyed raven as a Targaryen. In the legend, Brynden “Bloodraven” River’s sister was also his love and mistress. Her name was Shiera Seastar, and she too was a bastard child of the Targaryen line. It is not known what happened to her but she was said to be a sorceress. When we learned that the red sorceress, Melisandre, was much older than she appeared, the theory that Melisandre might be Seastar (or maybe Seastar’s child) became a little more plausible. This would make Melisandre Dany’s great-aunt or great-great-aunt.
3. Thar Be Ice Dragons… Maybe
One of the most beautiful things about the fantastical world of Game of Thrones is that almost everything you hear, no matter how far-fetched is potentially true. The people of Westeros didn’t believe in the White Walkers, the giants or even dragons. They were old stories that were passed down as morality tales and legends. Old Nan, the caretaker of the Stark children often told these tales to the kids. But, we all know that these stories were true. As many of Nan’s stories have come true, people have gone back and looked at everything we’ve heard her say, and there is one that many of us skimmed over and never thought twice about but maybe we should give it another glance. In a passage in the books, Jon Snow describes the weather at the wall as, “cold as the breath of the ice dragon in the tales Old Nan had told when Jon was a boy.” Now imagine that: fire dragons vs. ice dragons
2. Daenerys Is NOT Immune To Fire
One of the things both the readers and the viewers of Game of Thrones have long believed, even if they never even knew they believed it, was that Daenerys was immune to fire. We believed maybe it was a trait passed down through the Targaryen line, or maybe that Daenerys was the chosen one. Really, we didn’t know why she was immune to fire just that she was immune. Turns out, that’s not true. When asked how Dany got this immunity, the author, George RR Martin, cleared the air. “It gives me a chance to clear up a common misconception. TARGARYENS ARE NOT IMMUNE TO FIRE! The birth of Dany’s dragons was unique, magical, wonderous, a miracle. She is called The Unburnt because she walked into the flames and lived. But her brother sure as hell wasn’t immune to that molten gold.”
1. Dany vs. Azor Ahai
In the Azor Ahai prophecy, told both in the TV show and the books, a legendary hero will bring forth the burning sword called Lightbringer. There are many reasons why we believe that Jon Snow is the foreseen hero, mainly because Melisandre keeps telling us that he is, especially once Stannis fell. The story tells that Jon Snow’s sword will need to be turned into the hero’s sword, Lightbringer. How will this happen? Well, the legendary Azor Ahai created his by plunging it through the heart of his loved one. In one of the theories, the loved one that must be killed is Daenerys, the living embodiment of fire. This would satisfy the prophecy: “In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.”