{WARNING: BIG SPOILERS:  This article is meant as a reminder and refresher for those who have seen and/or read and/or can’t stop thinking about GAME OF THRONES.  You will likely be confused if you haven’t done.  But, read on friends!  All are welcome in these nerd halls!}




Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season fast approaches.  If you’re like me, you’ve obsessively analyzed the photos and the trailer.  You’ve done your rewatch.  You are anxiously awaiting the next chapter.  And, if you’re like me, you often go; “When exactly did that happen?  Was it before or after the other thing?”  Like, was Daenerys pregnant when wine guy tried to kill her?  Or was that later? 

Or, maybe you don’t have time to rewatch nearly 70 hours of television.  You have better, more important things to do!  We applaud you.  And, we may be able to help you refresh your memory for the war to come. 

It occurred to us at GGA, that whether you’ve obsessed over every GoT detail or not… it would be nice to have a map, if you will, of individual characters’ arcs over seven seasons.  

So, we present to you the first in our Game of Thrones character recap series.  Let’s follow Daenerys Stormborn (Emilia Clarke) through her arc over seven seasons of Game of Thrones, shall we?  


The first season is rough on Daenerys.  She starts the Song of Ice and Fire as a child.  The world has been a dangerous place for her all her life, and it’s not kind to her when we meet her.  She’s in exile and vulnerable.  But she doesn’t stay that way.  Here are the bullet points!

  • Daenerys’ only surviving family member (or so we think), Viserys (Harry Lloyd), her brother, is a coward and a monster.  He sells her to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) for a chance to take a Dothraki Khalasar to Westeros and win the Iron Throne.  Also, he’s gross and full of bad touch moments.  
  • Khal Drogo does a drive by on his horse to “approve” his new bride.  Daenerys is scared and confused. 
  • Gets a Dothraki wedding.  She’s gifted dragon eggs, which everyone just thinks are pretty rocks.  The Dothraki are a brutal people.  People die.  Women are raped.  
  • Gets raped by her new husband on their wedding night after he gives her a beautiful white horse.  Except for that horse, things are not going well.  
  • Learns to speak Dothraki and learns their ways.  Her servant girls are helpful with helping her heal from all the horse riding, and with the ways of sexual empowerment.  There are a lot of mixed messages.  Bottom line: Daenerys’ body belongs to her and she learns how to show it.  Drogo is into that. 
  • Gets pregnant immediately.  
  • Leans in to the Khaleesi thing.  She starts kicking horse and taking names.  But, she’s got this monster brother to contend with.  When he hits her one too many times, she stands up.  And, we get one of many killer lines from Daenerys: “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.” YES!
  • Eats horse heart… throws it up… eats THAT. Becomes Dothraki.  
  • Viserys is jealous and crazy and a whiny baby who wants his crown.  He pulls out a sword and points it at Daenerys’ pregnant belly in front of her giant Dothraki Khal husband.  Bad move.  He gets the golden crown he deserves.  He was no dragon.  “Fire cannot kill a dragon.”  
  • First assassination attempt: Wine guy.  Curtesy of King Robert’s (Mark Addy) plot and Jorah Mormont’s (Iain Glen) spying.  Jorah collects his blood pardon, but his better judgement gets a hold of him and he gets between Daenerys and the poisoned wine.  She is saved. 
  • Khal Drogo, in his best scene ever, takes care of the assassin and gives an epic speech about how he’s going to take Daenerys to Westeros and make her the biggest deal in the world.  She just watches it happen, but it’s awesome. 
  • They start on their way to conquering Westeros.  Rape and pillage, right?  Wrong.  Daenerys won’t have it.  She saves a number of “goat” women.  That makes the blood riders mad.  Drogo doesn’t care that much.  That results in a challenge.  Drogo disembowels the challenger, no problem, but he’s got a deep cut that Daenerys insists be tended to by Mirri Maaz Duur… a witch who poisons him.
  • Drogo falls off  his horse.  That’s it for the Dothraki.  Mirri will save him, but for a price that we think is the horse, but then Daenerys is in need of baby assistance… and the Khalasar is GONE.  So, in she goes to the blood magic hut that no one is supposed to go into.  
  • Baby dies. Drogo is “alive” but vegetative.  Things are so bad.  Blood magic is the worst. 
  • Mercy smothers Drogo.
  • Funeral pyre is set.  The dragon eggs are in there.  Why keep the wedding presents when the marriage is over?  Mirri Maas Duur is tied to the pyre.  She says she won’t scream.  She totally does.  Daenerys joins her husband as he is consumed by flames.  Bye bye. 
  • But wait! Morning comes and Daenerys emerges from the ashes with three baby dragons!  She is the unburnt.  The mother of dragons.  We know who the real dragon is. 

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I’d call Daenerys’ season two a coming of age.  She’s learning her dragons, and how to be one.  She’s at the mercy of the elements and powerful men.  But, the lessons she’s learned from the Dothraki, coupled with her natural fire start to give her confidence.  

  • The Red Waste starts the season.  They’re in trouble.  Horses are dying, including her beautiful white horse… the last thing left from Drogo.  Her dragons won’t eat.  She only knows to give them meat.  She doesn’t know the secret is fire.  The secret is always fire.  At some point she figures that out and starts commanding ‘Dracarys’ so they roast their food.  
  • Sends three blood riders in three different directions to find cities, or people or people in cities. 
  • They’re starving.  They’ve stopped walking and are waiting while they die in the Waste.  One horse comes back with Rakharo’s head in a saddle bag.  That’s bad. 
  • Jhogo (Elyse Gabel) finds Qarth.  They go there.  
  • Arrives at Qarth.  Gates are closed.  They’re met with suspicion and they’re denied entry by one of the 13 that rule the city.  It’s a death sentence.  Then Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anozie) steps up, cuts his hand and make Daenerys his project.  
  • Enters Qarth.  It’s a party.
  • Blood riders want to steal the rich stuff.  She’s like no way, we’re guests here.  Plat Pree (Ian Hanmore) shows up all blue mouthed and creepy and invites her to the house of the Undying.  No thanks, crazy warlock. 
  • Weird mask lady gives a warning to Jorah, that Dany needs protecting.  Oh really?  
  • In a hurry to get to Westeros, Daenerys thinks the deal with the ‘richest man in Qarth’ is a pretty good one.  Jorah urges patience and caution.  She tries to make deals with the 13 but they’re all handsy and greedy.  
  • Dragon-napping!  Guards are dead.  Blood everywhere.  Irri (Amrita Acharia) is dead. That sucks, we liked her.  Doreah (Roxanne McKee) is gone.  Dragons are gone.  Jorah was out finding boats, so he was no help.  
  • Jorah goes to weird mask lady and she just tells him what he already knows.  Why is she there?  She’s doing nothing.  Foreshadow the greyscale.  Got it.  
  • Daenerys witnesses the slaughter of the 13… except Xaro Xhoan Daxos.  Hmm.  Pyat Pree has the dragons and she has to come to the House of the Undying to get them.
  • Disappears into a secret door at House of the Undying.  Has visions.  Iron Throne room, holes burned in the ceiling, snow falling in.  Awesome.  Drogo and baby are fine and happy and want her back.  It’s not real.  Move on. Follow the dragon sounds.
  • Finds dragons and Pyat Pree. Dracarys! She burns it all down!  First time she uses Dracarys in wrath to kill someone.  Not the last. 
  • Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Doreah are caught in bed.  It was all a plot to get dragons.  Oh, okay.  Well, blood riders… do your thing.  
  • Ransacking! And, the vault is empty… until Daenerys seals Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Doreah in it to die.  Cold.  And so good.  She’s coming into her power.  
  • Buys a ship to Astapor with the spoils from Qarth.  It is on. 

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Daenerys is her own force to be reckoned with for the first time in season three.  She’s started her conquest.  She’s powerful, and clever, cunning and full of wrath.  She also solidifies her mission.  She is here to free those who are enslaved, and rule free people who are loyal to her cause.  

  • Sails to Astapor.  The dragons are bigger.  “Not big enough.” She needs an army. 
  • Meets the master of the Unsullied.  He’s terrible and gross and thinks he can say whatever he wants in Valyrian.  Joke’s on him.  She understands every word.  But she’s not going to let on yet. 
  • Second assassination attempt: little girl warlock.  She’s got a scorpion in a ball and she’s not afraid to use it, but Sir Barristan (Ian McElhinney) is on the case.  He saves Daenerys, reveals who he is and begs her forgiveness and favor.   Answer: yes. 
  • Offers Master a dragon in return for all 8,000 Unsullied.  Jorah and Barristan protest.  Master wants the big one.  Done.  She takes Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) as a ‘gift’, because she recognizes the awesome.  Immediately frees her.  Then she gives Jorah and Barristan what-for for questioning her in public.  She is the bossest boss. 
  • The exchange.  The whip that commands the Unsullied is handed over.  Drogon is handed over.  Once the deal is done, she breaks out the Valeryian.  Boss.  She commands the Unsullied to kill the masters, spare the innocents.  Then, Dracarys!  Dragon burns his new master to ash.  THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SCENES IN THE SERIES.  
  • Frees the Unsullied.  “Will you fight for me as free men?”  Answer:  A resounding, weapon thumping yes. 
  • Next up: Yunkai.  The masters there try to bribe her to leave.  Take gold and ships and get out.  She makes an offer, too.  Free all slaves and I won’t kill you.  Nope.  Okay, then.  Get ready, Yunkai. 
  • She offers to hire the Second Sons.  They’re gross and terrible people, except the poet lover Daario Naharis (Ed Skrein).  He’s intrigued.  The Second Sons say they’ll sleep on the offer.  They don’t. 
  • Second sons plot to assassinate Daenerys.  Instead, Daario cuts off the other captains’ heads and delivers them to her newly bathed feet.  He swears all of the oaths to her.  She’s into it. 
  • Daario knows Yunkai’s weaknesses.  They go in the back door and the battle of Yunkai goes swimmingly because Daario knows his stuff.  Jorah is none too pleased at the affection she has for Daario.  
  • Freed slaves open the gates of Yunkai chanting “Mhysa”, and she’s in. 

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Daenerys starts season four in a much different place than ever before.  She’s confident and she’s on top.  She’s got her army, her dragons are growing, and her power is formidable.  But, she takes a turn in season four from conqueror, to ruler. 

  • Dragons are bigger than people for the first time.  Start with some nice dragon time by the sea.  That is, until they start fighting over a lamb carcass and it becomes clear about to cause some sh*@!
  • Daario (Ed Skrein) is a different Daario (Michiel Huisman).  He’s been recast.  Skrein bailed.  Bad move.  There are a couple of scenes that are clearly to establish that Daario is now swarthy and brunette.  Cool.  Let’s move on. 
  • Going to Meereen.  They are greeted by crucified children on the road.  Gruesome. But, Daenerys vows to look at each of their faces.  “Remove her collar before you bury her.”
  • Outside Meereen, a rider appears… or should I say aPEErs.  New Daario kills the peeing soldier and we can get on with it. 
  • Makes an awesome speech about how she is not to be messed with and catapults broken chains into the city.  So awesome. 
  • Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Unsullied sneak in under cover of darkness and arm Meereen’s slaves, who take matters into their own hands.  
  • The city is hers, and she means to settle the score.  She crucifies the masters, numbered as many as the children she passed on the way.  “I will answer injustice with justice.”  
  • She’s given info on Westeros.  Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is dead.  Westeros is in turmoil.  She could strike now.  But, Astapor and Yunkai have been reclaimed by the masters, and freed people enslaved again.  She decides to stay and reap what she sewed.  “I will do what queens do.  I will rule.”
  • Queen stuff is hard.  Goats are being dragon-torched. Hizdahr zo Loraq (Joel Fry) of the great families is always buzzing in her ear.  He wants to bury his father, the master that she killed.  Oops.  Yes.  Sorry. Next. 
  •  She wants to kill all of the slavers in Slavers Bay and tries to send Daario and Jorah to do it.  Jorah talks her into a softer approach.  Ultimatum.  That’s much better. 
  • Jorah’s pardon turns up in Sir Barristan’s hands.  That Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) is sewing discord.  But, the truth is the truth.  Jorah’s betrayal is revealed and Daenerys banishes him.  
  • Drogon kills a toddler.  She can’t take it.  She chains Viserion and Rhaegal.  Drogon is nowhere to be found. 

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Season five is all civil unrest in and around Meereen.  She is ruling, it’s going well, then it’s not… and it becomes very apparent that she is not where she belongs.  And, at the end of this season she fulfills her destiny as a dragon rider. 

  • Sons of the Harpy make their first kill.  White Rat, while paying for a cuddle. 
  • Hizdahr zo Loraq wants to open the fighting pits in return for loss of slavery in slavers bay.  She thinks that’s the stupidest idea she’s ever heard. 
  • Tries to visit her dragons in the dungeon.  She misses them, and she’s not herself when they’re tied up.  But they’re bigger and badder, and they don’t really recognize mommy. 
  • Son of the Harpy is caught, questioned.  There’s much discussion about what to do with him.  Finds out great families of Meereen are funding the Sons of the Harpy.  Barristan gives her a speech about the Mad King and her fiery nature.  She vows not to execute the killer without a fair trial. 
  • Never gets to hold a trial.  Mossador, former slave and queen’s counsel, takes matters into his own hands and makes an example of the SOH.  Daenerys executes him for murder, because that’s the law.  She’s tough but fair, right?  Freed slaves are not happy at the execution of one of their own.  They creepy hiss and start a riot.  She flees.
  • Safe in the pyramid, things are quiet.  Too quiet.  Drogon comes by the very top of the pyramid for a friendly visit, and then ghosts her again.  Dammit Drogon.
  • Sons of the Harpy launch full attack on the city and the Unsullied guarding it.  Sir Barristan gets killed in alley battle. Grey Worm is severely injured, but he makes it. 
  • She rounds up three heads of the great families and brings them down to the dragons in the dungeon.  Feeds one to Viserion and Rhaegal for lunch, then she proposes to Hizdahr zo Loraq that they make a political alliance in the form of marriage, or else.  Boss.
  • Finally opens fighting pits.  Just so happens that Jorah and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) have been taken as slaves and sent to fight in said pits.  Cool.  Jorah slaughters everyone to win her favor.  No go.  She’s about to send him away, when in walks Tyrion to sweeten the deal.  Tyrion can stay.  Jorah not so much.
  • After much talking, wine and a few threats, she decides to keep Tyrion as an advisor.  “I’m not going to stop the wheel.  I’m going to break the wheel.”
  • Jorah sells himself back into slavery so he can fight in the great pit and really get her back this time. 
  • Fourth assassination attempt: the great pit massacre.  Jorah destroys everyone in the fight, obviously, because he is all man.  But, just as he finishes the last opponent, he hurls a spear toward Daenerys and skewers a Son of the Harpy about to strike.  There are Sons of the Harpy everywhere and they kill everyone, including Hizdahr zo Loraq.  
  • She’s trapped in the center of the great pit.  She’s got Jorah and Daario, Tyrion, Missandei (who’s no help) and some Unsullied, but it looks like the end.  Enter Drogon.  Do you think Drogon doesn’t know when she’s in trouble?  He does.  He comes in and starts f@#8*ing everyone up.  But, he’s taking a lot of spears and she needs to get him out of there before he dies trying to defend her.  So… let’s ride! They disappear over the horizon.  Yes yes yes. 
  • She’s gone. Meereen will be ruled by Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm.  Jorah and Daario go looking.
  • She’s spent too much time waiting with Drogo while he refuses to move.  He’s healing and staying put.  She walks out.  
  • Khalasar finds her before her friends do.  She drops her ring in the great grass sea.  Boom.  

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Season six has some great stuff for Daenerys, but they focus a lot on the North in that season, so we don’t see her as much.  What we do see… is fire. 

  • Gets brought to Khal Moro (Joe Naufahu).  He’s not cool.  She’s meat to him and he treats her as such until she reveals that she’s Drogo’s widow.  Oh, well then.  She needs to go to Vaes Dothrak and join the Khal widows in the Dosh Khaleen.
  • Widows of the Dosh Khaleen are helpful… sort of.  They are welcoming… sort of.  They don’t want her to die, so that’s nice.  She may anyway.  All of the Khals and their Khalasars have come for some big conference, and they’ll decide her fate.  Oh, will they? Cute. 
  • Daario and Jorah track her to Vaes Dothrak.  You’re not supposed to carry weapons or shed blood inside the city.  Hmm.  Oops.  They kill a guy with a rock.  
  • She’s trying to work an angle to get on the good side of another young widow.  They go to the ladies’ together, like you do.  Jorah and Daario show up to try to rescue her.  She’s got a better idea.
  • The Khals bring her in to tell her what to do.  She insults them all, tells them they can’t lead the Dothraki but she can.  They threaten vile things.  That’s fine.  She does some bare-handed fire tipping and burns them all in their own hut.  Great scene.  She is fearless.
  • The Khalasar gather to witness the fire, and she emerges from the flames like the dragon she is.  They are all in.  She’s got another army.  
  • Jorah has proven his loyalty, but she can’t let him back in.  That’s okay.  He has greyscale.  That’s bad.  She orders him to go get cured.  Good luck with that.  
  • Takes her new Khalasar and Drogon back to Meereen, which is under siege.  She just flies to the top of the pyramid and makes a surprise entrance.  No big deal. 
  • Negotiation with the masters of Slavers Bay.  This is the scene that kicks off The Battle of the Bastards episode.  She’s talking surrender, Drogon drops down off the top of the pyramid in the distance.  “We’re here to discuss your surrender.  Not mine.”  BOSS.  She takes all of the ships she doesn’t burn.  One master is left to tell the tale.  All of Slavers Bay is hers again.  So. Good.
  • Theon (Alfie Allen) and Yara (Gemma Whelan) come to join forces.  “We are not our fathers.”  She agrees to an alliance if they stay in the Iron Islands and stop raiding.  Agreed.  Queens.  
  • Names Tyrion Hand of the Queen.  Sails to Westeros.  


Strategy is the name of the game in season seven.  Which is the right one?  Is she too impulsive or are her instincts to be followed.  She learns the answer, but at a cost.  

  • Arrives at Dragonstone.  Finally, she’s home.  “Shall we begin?”
  • Milesandre (Carice van Houten) shows up, having been banished from the North for burning the princess Shireen (Kerry Danielle Ingram) alive.   She convinces Daenerys that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) needs to be a part of the conversation. 
  • Invites Jon Snow to Dragonstone… to bend the knee.  
  • She and her allies in Westeros (Queen of Thorns (Diana Rigg), Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), Varys (Conleth Hill), and the Greyjoys) as well as her regular crew all debate a course of action.  The Westerosi think that they should hit King’s Landing with their full force.  Tyrion has convinced her that she doesn’t want to be Queen of the ashes, so she holds back.  Decides to use Tyrion’s sneak-around plan.  The Queen of Thorns says it best “Be a dragon.” 
  • Jon Snow shows up to warn of the enemy to the North.  She doesn’t buy it.  Tyrion does.  Jon won’t bend the knee, so she keeps him.  He isn’t a prisoner… yet. 
  • Sneak-around doesn’t work. Greyjoys and Sand Snakes get captured.  That’s bad. 
  • Allows Jon Snow to mine dragon glass, just to throw him a bone while he’s not prisoner. 
  • She wants to burn Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) out of the ocean.  Her advisors won’t let her go. She will not be a dragon this time.
  • Unsullied take Casterly Rock, as part of the plan.  Euron Greyjoy burns their boats and traps them there.  Not a part of the plan.  She should have been a dragon.
  • Now she will be a dragon.  She takes Drogon and the Dothraki hoard to the Reach to destroy the Lannisters.  She does.  They’ve never seen anything like anything she’s got.  
  • Giant crossbow hits Drogon.  Thanks, Bron (Jerome Flynn).  But, it’s only bad enough to cause a brief landing and a near miss with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).
  • Burns Sam’s (John Bradley) family when she maybe doesn’t need to.  Tyrion does not approve. 
  • Comes back to Dragonstone, where Drogon and Jon become friends.  That’s cool.  She’s into it. 
  • Jorah comes back cured.  Thanks, Sam.
  • Jon leaves to bring a wight back for Cersei (Lena Headey).  He takes the most awesome ranging party ever. 
  • Tyrion is worried about her impulsivity.  Then she decides to board a dragon and go beyond the wall to save Jon.  She’s a dragon. 
  • Arrives just in time to save the survivors and see the extent of the army of the dead.  Except Viserion goes down, and Jon doesn’t make it onto Drogon in time (He can’t ride a dragon yet! His destiny is to ride Rhaegal!).  She flies away without him and gets everyone else out safely.  
  • Waits for Jon at the wall.  He finally shows up. 
  • They sail for King’s Landing with their wight in a box.  Jon is half dead and half naked.  He bends the knee from bed.  She’s into that. 
  • Makes a show of power and very fashionably late entrance to the summit.  Things are icy between Queens.  They show Cersei the walker.  She’s got an offer but Jon won’t lie and go along.  That’s annoying.  Tyrion brokers a peace.  Mmm hmm.  Sure, Cersei.  
  • Hooks up with Jon in his fur blanket cabin on the way home, while Sam and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) talk about how she’s his aunt.  Hot.  No, gross. 

Stay tuned for more Game of Thrones character recaps! 

Game of Thrones season 8 premieres April 14th on HBO!!! 

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