Daenerys Targaryen quickly became the frontrunner for who fans wanted to see on the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones. She was a powerful, intelligent, and heroic leader who seemed like she would be a great ruler. However, the show’s finale subverted that wish by turning Daenerys down a villainous path.
As shocking as it was and as much as fans felt it was a cheap bit of character development, there were plenty of signs that showed Daenerys had a darker side all along. Looking at some of her quotes throughout Game of Thrones, perhaps it is not so surprising where Daenerys ended up.
10 Taking What She Wants
“With Fire And Blood, I Will Take It.”
It is interesting how some of the earlier moments of Daenerys get recontextualized after the audience knows her ultimate fate. There were times when she was a young, underestimated woman and she would stand up for herself with powerful speeches about all the great things she would do.
But while her promise of taking what is hers with “fire and blood” seemed badass at the time, it turns out she meant that very literally. Seeing her butcher the people of King’s Landing and burn down the city was not what most fans were expecting when she first started talking like this.
9 Breaking Her Opposers
“And What Happens To Things That Don’t Bend?”
When Daenerys was traveling around to the various slave cities and freeing the people, it was very easy to cheer for her. It also helped that all of the enemies she came across were vile and arrogant, so it was a lot of fun seeing her defeat them.
As she comes to Yunkai, her advisors tell her the people of the city are proud and will not bend so she suggests they will break instead. It hints that Daenerys only sees people as followers or people she needs to kill.
8 Destroying The System
“I’m Not Going To Stop The Wheel. I’m Going To Break The Wheel.”
After meeting Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys accepts him into her inner circle where he can help advise her about Westeros once she eventually goes there. She uses the metaphor of a wheel to point out the never-ending houses of Westeros fighting to be on top and rolling over everything in their path.
Tyrion tells Daenerys she is not the first person to attempt to stop this wheel, but she insists she will break it. At first glance, it is another badass line showing Daenerys’ confidence, but she is really talking about going into Westeros and tearing down all the great houses.
7 Watching Her Brother Die
“He Was No Dragon. Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon.”
Viserys Targaryen was one of the most despicable characters on Game of Thrones and it was mostly due to his horrific treatment of Daenerys. It was very satisfying to see her break away from his control and see him for the pathetic man he really was.
When he threatened Daenerys in front of Khal Drogo, Viserys ensured his own death with his bad decisions. However, as cruel as he was, Daenerys’ emotionless reaction to seeing her brother killed and her insistence that he was not a true dragon hinted there might be something dark within her.
6 Live Or Die
“They Can Live In My New World, Or They Can Die In Their Old One.”
It was interesting how the show made viewers love and cheer for Daenerys when she took on straight-forward villains only to have her harsh and violent philosophies take new meaning when the people she looked the conquer were other characters fans liked.
As Daenerys gains more power and realizes she can defeat just about anyone, her sense of compromise is lost. Had she not died, it is likely it wouldn’t have taken her long to see people like Sansa Stark as an enemy who could either follow her or die.
5 Punishing Varys
“I Swear This: If You Ever Betray Me, I’ll Burn You Alive.”
Daenerys has had a lot of loyal followers in her team throughout her journey. There were some whom she loved, like Jorah and Missandei, and then there were others who just had to pray they stayed on her good side.
Despite Varys helping get Daenerys to Westeros, when they first meet, she immediately starts questioning his loyalty. While it is not unreasonable for a ruler to expect complete loyalty, threatening to burn her followers alive is not a great way to inspire people. It is made even darker as she eventually carries out that promise.
4 A Promise To Tyrion
“The Next Time You Fail Me Will Be The Last Time You Fail Me.”
Though Tyrion was originally one of the most brilliant strategists on the show, he lost all that talent for some reason once he joined Daenerys’ team. He made one poor decision after another which all proved damaging for her campaign for the Iron Throne.
Once again, it isn’t unreasonable that Daenerys would demand competency from her people. But her increasingly aggressive behavior has her threatening the life of her last remaining advisor. It’s no wonder Daenerys didn’t have many friends left by the end of the series.
3 Choosing Fear
“I Don’t Have Love Here. I Only Have Fear.”
While Daenerys’ villainous turn might have been foreshadowed throughout the series, it ultimately failed because the show didn’t give her enough reason to become so murderous. However, this quote offers a brief insight.
After being seen as a savior in Essos, Daenerys comes to Westeros where she is seen as an invader. She tells Jon Snow that she doesn’t have the love of the people and only has their fear which leads her to believe that is what she must use to win.
2 Asking For HelpWith A Threat
“Turn Us Away And We Will Burn You First.”
It didn’t take long for Daenerys to go from the quiet young woman who was used by those around her to a confident queen. However, sometimes that confidence would lead to her getting carried away with herself.
After wandering in the desert in desperate need of sanctuary, she and her followers hope to be welcomed into Qarth. After briefly being polite about it, Daenerys unleashes her anger by threatening to burn the whole city down if they don’t help her. In the end, Daenerys is lucky she found help there at all.
1 A Dark Promise
“And I Swear To You, That Those Who Would Harm You Will Die Screaming.”
It is true that Daenerys suffered a great deal before finding herself in a position of power. She had been abused by those close to her, betrayed by others, and ended up losing her husband and child. It is not entirely unreasonable that she is so angry.
However, her idea of making the world a better place and rising to power is always closely tied to making her enemies suffer in terrible ways. As that list of enemies grows, it is clear just how deadly Daenerys is willing to get.