Daenerys Targaryen’s sudden transformation into the final villain on Game of Thrones was a definite shock, but looking back at the series, all the evidence was actually there. Here is a season-by-season breakdown with some general evidence at the end.
“Winter Is Coming” (S1E1)
-Viserys warns Daenerys not to “wake the dragon” when she says she doesn’t want to marry Khal Drogo, indicating his Targaryen rage can be triggered.
-Daenerys is mesmerized by the dragon eggs gifted to her by Illyrio Mopatis.
-Jorah Mormont gives Daenerys books about the history of Westeros, which surely includes the ruthlessness of her family.
“The Kingsroad” (S1E2)
-Dothraki handmaidens tell Daenerys all the legends they have heard about dragons.
“Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things” (S1E4)
-Daenerys instinctively hits Viserys back after he hits her, and she warns him, “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.” He is shocked at her boldness.
“A Golden Crown” (S1E6)
-The Dothraki claim Dany’s son will be a conqueror after she eats the stallion’s heart.
-Daenerys coldly watches as Viserys is burned to death when Drogo pours molten gold over his head, and she tells Jorah: “He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.”
“You Win Or You Die” (S1E7)
-After a merchant attempts to poison Daenerys (on King Robert’s orders), Khal Drogo promises to wage war against the men of Westeros and claim the Iron Throne.
“Fire and Blood” (S1E10)
-Daenerys finds out her child was born dead and deformed, as Mirri Maz Dur used his life to keep Drogo alive. The witch admits to tricking Dany despite the fact that she saved her from the Dothraki raping her (though others had already raped her before being saved).
-Daenerys orders that Mirri Maz Dur is burned alive for tricking her into trading her child’s life for Drogo’s (as an unmoving mute). Dany says she will hear the witch scream, and when Maz Dur claims she won’t hear her scream, the young Tagaryen confidently insists: “I will.”
-Daenerys steps out of the fire with three baby dragons.
“The Night Lands” (S2E2)
-Daenerys swears revenge for the Dothraki that murdered Rakharo after his head is sent back with his horse.
“Garden of Bones” (S2E4)
-When she and her khalasar are denied entrance into Qarth, Dany tells the Thirteen, “When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground!”
“The Ghost of Harrenhal” (S2E5)
-Daenerys explains to Xaro that the Iron Throne is hers by right and he’s not as ambitious as her. He disagrees, offering a marriage proposal and promising her the Seven Kingdoms by using what’s behind his vault to buy horses and ships. When Dany tells Jorah about it, she questions his motivations for saying it’s a bad idea, but he tells her, “The allies we need are in Westeros.”
“The Old Gods and the New” (S2E6)
-Daenerys tells the Spice King her “dreams come true” when talking about retaking the Iron Throne, and she gets angry when he denies her request for ships: “I will take what is mine, with fire and blood. I will take it!”
-At the end of the episode when her dragons are gone, Dany reverts to being scared and desperate.
“A Man Without Honor” (S2E7)
-Dany is quick to question loyalties when Jorah returns after hearing the dragons were stolen, skeptically asking the Westerosi knight, “Is it you I should trust?”
“Valar Morghulis” (S2E10)
-Daenerys has a vision in the House of the Undying, which begins with a destroyed Throne Room that’s covered in snow—including snow on the Iron Throne. Then, before touching the Throne, Dany goes outside to a vision of the Wall and sees a Dothraki tent with Khal Drogo and their baby (both alive and happy) inside, but leaves when she hears her dragons.
-After getting her dragons back by burning Pyat Pree, Dany goes to Xaro’s house and finds him in bed with Doreah. As punishment for their betrayal, Danaerys leave them both to die in Xaro’s empty vault.
“Walk of Punishment” (S3E3)
-Daenerys reminds Jorah and Barristan Selmy that Rhaegar “was not the last dragon.”
-Later when negotiating with Kraznys for the Unsullied, Dany offers a dragon without consulting Jorah and Barristan, which causes them to immediately question her. Afterwards, the Mother of Dragons chastises them for doing so in public.
“And Now His Watch is Ended” (S3E4)
-While justified, Daenerys commands the Unsullied to kill the slavers and has Drogon burn Kraznys alive.
The Bear and the Maiden Fair” (S3E7)
-Daenerys tells Razdal mo Eraz that Yunkai must immediately free their slaves, promising to show them “no mercy” if they refuse.
-Daenerys ignores Barristan Selmy’s advice about showing mercy to the slavers, instead ordering 163 masters to be crucified in retribution for the dead children that endured the same fate.
“The Laws of Gods and Men” (S4E6)
-Hizdahr zo Loraq tells Dany that his father was one of the masters she had killed, but he was actually a respected citizen who spoke out against children being crucified. She maintains the actions were just, but relents when Hizdahr pleads for a proper burial.
-Daenerys sends Daario to execute all the masters in Yunkai without talking it over with her advisors, but Jorah is able to convince her to give them a choice. Dany sends Hizdahr with Daario and tells him to explain what happened in Meereen: “They can live in my new world or they can die in their old one.”
“The Mountain and the Viper” (S4E8)
-Daenerys is furious when she finds out Jorah was previously spying on her for Varys, telling him, “You betrayed me.” He is banished from her service and the city.
“The Wars to Come” (S5E1)
-Daario advises Daenerys to show strength by using her dragons.
“The House of Black and White” (S5E2)
-Barristan tells Dany about her father (the Mad King), revealing that he wasn’t always a cruel and “gave enemies the justice he thought they deserved… until the very end.”
“Sons of the Harpy” (S5E4)
-Barristan Selmy is killed in an alleyway fighting off the Sons of the Harpy with Grey Worm, leaving Daenerys with one less advisor and no real connection to Westeros.
“Kill the Boy” (S5E5)
-Daenerys rounds up the leaders of the great Meereenese families and brings them to the catacombs—where Rhaegal and Viserion are being kept. One of the former masters is burned and eaten alive, with Dany calmly watching and wondering aloud if her dragons should determine guilt.
“Book of the Stanger” (S6E4)
-Daenerys takes control of the Dothraki by burning all the khals alive and once again emerging from the flames unburnt.
“Blood of My Blood” (S6E6)
-Daario asks Daenerys what happens after she takes the Iron Throne, telling her, “You weren’t made to sit on a chair in a palace.”
-Dany gives a rousing speech to the Dothraki about sailing across the Narrow Sea and taking the Iron Throne.
“Battle of the Bastards” (S6E9)
-Tyrion compares Dany’s plan to crucify the masters and destroy their cities to her father’s plan to plant wildfire all around King’s Landing.
“The Winds of Winter” (S6E10)
-Daenerys coldly tells Daario that she won’t be coming with her to Westeros because he is a liability in her quest to take Iron Throne. She admits to Tyrion that she felt nothing when breaking the news to a man that cares for her.
-Daenerys promises to burn Varys alive if he betrays her like he did other rulers, but he pledges honesty with her.
-Olenna Tyrell gives Dany some advice after a meeting to discuss their war plan: “You’re a dragon. Be a dragon.”
“The Spoils of War” (S7E4)
-Daenerys wonders if Tyrion still has loyalties to his family after being told the plan to take Casterly Rock backfired because the Lannisters simply allowed it to happen and instead took Highgarden.
-Dany considers flyers her dragons to the Red Keep, but Jon Snow advises that using her dragons to “melt cities and burn castles” would make her more of the same as a ruler.
-After a single “Dracarys” command from Daenerys, Drogon lays waste to most of the Lannister forces with dragonfire.
-Dany tells the remaining Lannister soldiers that they can bend the knee or die. Randyll Tarly remains standing along with his son, Dickon, so they are sentenced to death. Tyrion pleads with Daenerys to reconsider, as she would basically be wiping out House Tarly, but she insists they have been given a choice. Both Tarly men are burnt alive.
-Alone, Tyrion and Varys hope that Dany won’t turn into her father.
“Beyond the Wall” (S7E6)
-Daenerys is angry with Tyrion when he brings up a succession plan for her, as it takes more than one lifetime to create change.
-Viserion is killed by the Night King’s spear.
“The Dragon and the Wolf” (S7E7)
-Daenerys shows her strength—perhaps as Daario previously suggested—by arriving late to the dragonpit meeting on top of Drogon.
-The North, including Sansa and perhaps following her lead, doesn’t fully embrace the Mother of Dragons.
-Daenerys tells Samwell Tarly that she executed his father and brother, which basically causes him to think she’s a psychopath. When Sam tells Jon the truth about his parents, he criticizes Dany and asks whether she would give up her crown like the former King in the North did.
“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (S8E2)
-Daenerys tries to create a bond with Sansa based on their love for Jon, but the conversation becomes cold when Lady Stark asks what will happen to the North after Dany takes the Iron Throne.
-When Theon returns to Winterfell, he doesn’t even really address Dany, instead asking Sansa if he can fight for the North; the Mother of Dragons is clearly affected by the love directed towards Sansa.
-Jon tells Daenerys the truth about who he really is, and she is taken aback: “If it were true, it would make you the last male heir of House Targaryen.”
“The Long Night” (S8E3)
-After the Dothraki are mostly killed by the Army of the Dead, Daenerys abandons the plan to wait for the Night King and takes flight on Drogon.
-Jorah Mormont fights by Dany’s side until his last breath, and he dies in her arms before he can get out a final word.
“The Last of the Starks” (S8E4)
-At a feast following the Battle of Winterfell, Daenerys is clearly upset about how much the North loves Jon, but not her. Tormand calls him “a king,” and Varys notices she is unhappy.
-Dany begs Jon not to tell anyone about his true parentage, particularly Sansa and Arya.
-Jon allows Bran to tell Sansa and Arya the truth about him as long as they keep it a secret. The next day, Sansa tells Tyrion, who eventually tells Varys.
-Rhaegal is struck by three “Scorpion” bolts and killed when the Iron Fleet unexpectedly attacks on the way to Dragonstone. Missandei is captured.
-Varys and Tyrion are able to convince a furious Daenerys to meet with Cersei in one last bid for peace. Afterwards, the two advisors discuss whether Jon is a better fit for the throne, but Tyrion insists he in loyal to Dany, while Varys seems to suggest he will do what’s best for the realm—including eliminating their queen if need be.
-A parley on the edge of King’s Landing between Daenerys and Cersei begins, with Missandei standing in chains with the Mountain behind her. Tyrion and Qyburn negotiate, but it’s clear it won’t go anywhere. Tyrion walks by him and implores Cersei to think of her child. It doesn’t work, as Cersei asks Missandei if she has any last words. After looking at Grey Worm and then Dany, Missandei gives out a powerful “Dracarys.”
-Daenerys watches her friend and advisor beheaded by the Mountain and walks away with intense rage on her face.
“The Bells” (S8E5)
-Daenerys hasn’t eaten for two days following the deaths of Rhaegal and Missandei.
-Varys writes a letter about Jon being the true heir to the Iron Throne, and he greets Jon when he arrives at Dragonstone in an attempt to convince him that he should be King. It doesn’t work.
-Tyrion tells Daenrys that she’s been betrayed, and he needs to correct her when she names Jon instead of Varys. However, she accurately explains how Jon told Sansa, who told Tyrion, who told Varys.
-That night, Grey Worm puts Varys in chains and escorts him to the beaches where Dany, Jon, and Tyrion are waiting. The Mother of Dragons coldly sentences him to death by dragonfire.
-After explaining how the people in Westeros don’t love her, a distraught Dany is then denied by Jon. Because love isn’t there, she opts for fear.
-Tyrion needs to convince Daenerys to spare the city if the bells ring to signal the Lannister’s surrender. She agrees, but tells Tyrion that Jaime was captured trying to get back to King’s Landing, and the next mistake the Hand makes will be his last.
-Riding Drogon, Daenerys obliterates the Iron Fleet, Golden Company, and the Scorpion weapons on the battlements of King’s Landing. It’s clear the war has easily been won, but it wasn’t satisfying for Dany, who wants blood for the deaths of Rhaegal and Missandei.
-Daenerys, feeling alone after multiple betrayals and seeing several children/friends/advisors die, makes good on her claim to rule with fear, ignoring the bells signaling surrender to destroy what’s left of the Lannister army—and, in the process, thousands of innocent lives.
Other General Evidence
-Across the world at Castle Black, Maester Aemon (the Mad King’s brother) warns: “A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.”
-Cersei Lannister foreshadows Daenerys potentially going mad by saying, “Every time a Targaryen is born the gods flip a coin.” That quote was used in the “Previously on” preview for Episode 8.05.
-While Daenerys routinely needs convincing to not be too ruthless (sometimes listening and sometimes not), Jon Snow is much more calculating with his Targaryen rage. The best example is the beheading of Janos Slynt, as he showed a slight hesitation before carrying out one of his first acts as Lord Commander. Another example is Jon not beating Ramsay Bolton to death because he knew it was a kill that Sansa deserved. Overall, Jon is much more likely to find non-violent ways to make things work, such as naming Alliser Thorne First Ranger in an attempt to make an ally out of him.