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House of the Dragon is the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel based on George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood. Set approximately three centuries before the original, the new series will tell the story of the Dance of the Dragons — a brutal, bloody civil war among House Targaryen during the height of the family’s power.

Viewers will get the chance to see the ancestors of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) — and her father the Mad King — battle it out for the Iron Throne. Unlike Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon actually has completed source material with an ending that will give fans more insight into Targaryen history and the bloodline’s violent tendencies while, hopefully, not dividing the fan base.

House of the Dragon will tell the story of Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors as they battle for what she achieved in the final season of Game of Thrones — the Iron Throne
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen | HBO

The final seasons of Game of Thrones angered many fans by featuring Daenerys’ seemingly instantaneous descent into madness. As opposed to a slow descent that had affected many family members who came before her.

But, there were a few subtle hints in the earlier seasons — often presented as triumphant and heroic — that actually indicated her deadly character twist was coming. Here are eight moments when Daenerys Targaryen hinted she was just like her father, the Mad King.

8. Daenerys coldly watches her brother die

According to showrunner David Benioff, Dany’s long-simmering madness was first evident in the season one episode “A Gold Crown,”  when her brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) was killed by her husband, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa).

Dany didn’t protest or look away when Drogo took a pot of molten metal and poured it over Viserys’ head. “He was no dragon,” Dany declares. “Fire cannot kill a dragon.”

“I mean, he was a terrible brother, so I don’t think anyone out there was crying when Viserys died,” Benioff told Insider. “But there is something kind of chilling about the way that Dany has responded to the death of her enemies.”

7. Declaring she would ‘burn cities to the ground’

In the House of the Undying in season 2, Daenerys had a vision that fans assumed meant winter was coming to the south. In the vision, the Mother of Dragons saw herself walking through the Red Keep’s throne room. And when the ceiling broke open, white particles that appeared to be snow started falling.

But when Daenerys finally took King’s Landing and destroyed the buildings, those white particles are revealed not to be snow. But instead, it’s raining ash from the destruction of her dragon. The season 2 vision turned out to be a hint that she would become the “queen of the ashes.”

“When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground!” Daenerys declares.

6. Daenerys Targaryen never cared about guilt or innocence

Twice in season 4, Daenerys made it clear that she had no regard for individual guilt or innocence. On the road to Meereen, she finds 163 slave children crucified and decides to crucify 163 masters in retaliation — regardless of guilt.

Then, after Ser Barristan is killed by Sons of the Harpy, Dany burns alive three masters at her dragonpit despite all of them swearing they had nothing to do with the terror group. She did it to send a message, and didn’t care about their possible innocence.

5. No ordinary woman

When Daenerys tried to convince the wealthiest men in Qarth in season 2 to give her ships to sail to Westeros, her exchange with the skeptical Spice King was a big hint of her eventual dark turn.

She detailed her passionate belief that the Iron Throne was her “birthright,” and warned that she would do anything to take it. She was already convinced of her own power.

“I dreamt that if I carried those eggs into a great fire, they would hatch. When I stepped into the fire, my own people thought I was mad. But when the fire burnt out, I was unhurt,” she said. “Do you understand? I’m no ordinary woman. My dreams come true.”

4. Taking pleasure in killing her enemies

In season 6, Daenerys sets aflame the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen as punishment for taking her prisoner, threatening to rape her, and refusing her demands. 

She proceeds to burn every khal inside alive — and takes pleasure in doing so — while forcing the remaining Dothraki to promise that they’ll “kill my enemies in their iron suits and tear down their stone houses.”

3. Daenerys doesn’t tolerate betrayal

In the season 2 Game of Thrones finale, Daenerys discovers she’s been betrayed by ally Xaro Xhoan Daxos and handmaiden Doreah. What does she do to her former friends? She locks them inside of an empty vault and leaves them to die, without blinking an eye.

Daenerys actually voices her opinions on betrayal during a discussion with Varys. She asks him to tell her if she’s ever failing her people instead of conspiring against her behind her back. After he swears to do this, she tells him: “I swear this: If you ever betray me, I’ll burn you alive.”

2.  Telling Sam Tarly what she did to his brother and father

The execution of Sam Tarly’s brother and father was bad enough. But the way Daenerys delivered the news to Sam was even more shocking. After being given the choice of killing or imprisoning Lord Tarly and his son Dickon, Daenerys actually decides to execute them both.

She knew Sam was a kind, decent person. But when she informed him of his family’s death, she showed no sympathy and didn’t apologize. Her coldness and cruelty was even more evident.

1. Attacking King’s Landing ‘no matter the cost’

Daenerys became determined to attack King’s Landing after Euron killed her dragon and kidnapped Missandei, despite the fact that tens of thousands of innocents would die. 

“These are the people you came here to protect. I beg you, your grace, do not destroy the city you came here to save. Do not become what you have always struggled to defeat,” Varys warns.


‘House of the Dragon’ Will Feature 1 Weapon That Both Started and Ended Wars in ‘Game of Thrones’

Daenerys’ response was yet another hint that she was just like her father.

“I’m here to free the world from tyrants. That is my destiny. And I will serve it, no matter the cost,” she says. “They should know who to blame when the sky falls down upon them.”

All eight seasons of Game of Thrones are streaming on HBO Max. House of the Dragon premieres Sunday, August 21 on HBO.