For the first time in its six seasons, HBO’s beloved Game of Thrones is charting unknown territory and moving ahead of author George R.R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire. The series’ most pressing question remains its most basic: Who will win the Game of Thrones?
The young King Tommen Lannister currently presides over the Iron Throne, but if Cersei’s children — all three of whom are products of incest with brother Jaime and prophesized for death — continue dropping like flies, the throne will be vacant once again. And that’s not to mention the heightened strength of the High Sparrow. And that doesn’t take into account the fact that everyone and their mother is plotting for the throne.
One of those mothers is none other than the Mother of Dragons, a dark horse and fan favorite since Game of Thrones’ debut season in 2011. With each new alliance and spurt of her dragons’ growth, it’s become increasingly clear that Daenerys Targaryen may well be destined for the throne. Of course there are obstacles aplenty in her taking King’s Landing, but when the smoke clears, we believe she’ll be the last one standing. In light of the season six premiere, we’ve broken down five reasons why.
Counterarguments to this point could be debated till we’re red in the face: she was exiled when Robert Baratheon usurped the throne; she’s theoretically not the only living Targaryen; and so on. But considering how the Baratheons came to power in the first place, it is Dany’s rightful throne by birth after her father King Aerys’ death at the hands of “King Slayer” Jaime Lannister. Much has happened between Dany’s Stormborn birth on Dragonstone and now, but when broken down to the nuts and bolts of the situation, the Iron Throne is hers to take.
Yes, season five didn’t end all too well for our heroine, but all things considered, she’s probably going to reunite with Ser Jorah Mormont, Daario Naharis, and what appears to be her newest adviser: Tyrion Lannister, whom Jorah captured in hopes of forgiveness after betraying Dany earlier in the series. Jorah and Daario have formidable skills on the battlefield and in the war room, sure, but Tyrion is the man that will win her King’s Landing. He’s already proven to be a military mastermind when it comes to protecting the land from Stannis Baratheon’s fleet, and now he has the motive to join Dany’s forces.
The end of season five brought us up to date with Daenerys Targaryen’s current point in the novels—and it’s a sticky situation. After escaping a Sons of the Harpy ambush at Mereen—while astride Drogon, no less—she’s stranded in the desert and surrounded by Dothraki, her former allies and her people by marriage. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but we’d like to see her regain their trust and respect as Khaleesi before persuading them to join her army of Unsullied, eight thousand strong.
Despite raising dragons, she’s actually the most human character in Game of Thrones. Her arc has taken her from overcoming her oppressive brother Viserys to ruling her Dothraki tribe alongside Khal Drogo, freeing slaves across Slaver’s Bay, ruling as their queen, and setting her sights on King’s Landing. She’s become more powerful and more independent with each season — and that includes learning to be open to negotiation and evenhanded as a ruler. Season six shouldn’t prove any different. As Jorah once said, she has a good heart and will not only be respected and feared as a leader, but also loved. “Centuries come and go without a person like that coming into the world.”
Daenerys Targaryen is the first dragon rider in nearly two centuries. Simply put: not one of her enemies can compete with that. We’d like to see Tyrion successfully free her two captured dragons from their catacomb chambers and save her from the Dothraki (if she’s not able to persuade herself free before then). Then once reunited, not only would the Mother of Dragons and her “children” prove an indomitable force in taking the Iron Throne, they’d also be an essential force in defeating the threats beyond the Wall. The White Walkers are growing in number and ransacking the country. It’s only a matter of time before they reach King’s Landing, and even the most powerful military wouldn’t be able to hold them off forever. But what can defeat them? Dragons. Daenerys is the only prospective ruler who can save the Game of Thrones world as we know it.
Follow Benjamin Lindsay on Twitter: @thebenlindsay