“I am the blood of the dragon. I must be strong. I must have fire in my eyes when I face them, not tears.”—Daenerys Targaryen in George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords.
Daenerys Targaryen is one of the most intriguing and beloved characters in Game of Thrones—or, SPOILER ALERT, at least she was until the final handful of episodes of the TV series (it remains to be seen how they will differ from the final books). When we first meet her she is being emotionally and physically abused by her brother Viserys.
Daenerys is then quickly married off to the apparent barbarian Khal Drogo. She goes on to gracefully navigate her role in the Dothraki, become the Mother of Dragons, and play the game tirelessly in order to form a fierce army, gather a cadre of trusted (and not-so-trusted) advisors, help to defeat the Night Walkers, and overtake all of the Seven Kingdoms.
Here are 42 facts about Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons (that’s a mouthful).
Daenerys was born in the ancient seat of Dragonstone amidst a vast and powerful storm. The storm destroyed all the ships in her family’s fleet and terrorized those people who survived. This why she occasionally refers to herself as Daenerys Stormborn.
2. An Orphan
Her claim to the Iron Throne comes through her father, the “Mad King” Aerys II Targaryen. Targaryen ascended to the throne but was overthrown in a coup led by Robert Baratheon before Daenerys was born. Her mother Rhaella was both the sister and wife of the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen. She then fled to Dragonstone with her son, Viserys, after the death of her eldest, Rhaegar. The queen died giving birth to Daenerys.
3. I Am the God of Hellfire!
As the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen descended further into madness, he began to become obsessed with fire, specifically “wildfire,” a napalm-like substance, for its similarities to dragon flames. Aerys would execute people by burning them alive, to the point where he became sexually aroused by the sight of men burning.
If you think we’re joking, Aerys raped his wife, Rhaella (supposedly conceiving Daenerys Targaryen) during Robert’s Rebellion after he’d burned a member of his council alive.
4. Famous Last Words
Speaking of Aerys’ fire obsession, his final words of “Burn them all!” were meant as an order to his advisors to set off barrels of wildfire which he’d ordered placed all around King’s Landing. When the forces of Tywin Lannister took control of King’s Landing and started looting, Aerys prepared to destroy the city and everyone in it in a blaze of fire.
Jaime Lannister, who had urged the king to surrender, took matters in his own hands and murdered the pyromancer and Aerys before the orders could be carried out.
5. Child Prodigy
Although she has a long list of accomplishments to her name, Daenerys is very young. In the books, she is only 13 years old when she is first sold to Khal Drogo. In the television series, she is aged up slightly, to 15 years old.
6. Not the First of Her Name
Though she frequently refers to herself as the “First of her Name,” she actually isn’t. The first of her name, Princess Daenerys Targaryen, was the daughter of King Aegon IV and his wife (and sister) Naerys. The Lannisters aren’t the only freaky folk in the Seven Kingdoms!
7. Guest of Honor
Author George R.R Martin actually showed up to Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding in the show—but only in the original pilot, where key characters such as Catelyn Stark were played by different actresses.
In the books, Daenerys’s faithful servant Missandei is only 10. Granted, she’s a pretty self-possessed 10-year-old, but she’s 10 nonetheless.
9. Not the Last, Either
Throughout the series and through much of the books, Daenerys believes herself to be the last of the line, as her brother told her that they were the only members of their family to survive Robert’s Rebellion. But she has another relative: Jon Snow, who was believed to be the bastard son of Ned Stark, but is, in fact, the son of Lyanna Stark (Ned’s sister) and Rhaegar Targaryen (Daenerys’ older brother).
Shortly after the Daenerys and Drogo wedding was filmed, a storm hit the filming location and carried most of the props off to sea. Maybe we can say it foreshadowed the Dothraki crossing the sea?
11. Family Ties
Daenerys may have another living nephew. In the books, Griff, or Young Griff, claims he is Aegon Targaryen, the son of Daenerys’ brother Rhaegar. The Mountain allegedly bashed baby Aegon’s head against a wall during Robert’s Rebellion—but perhaps not? However, Griff is never mentioned in the TV series.
Daenerys takes the title Khaleesi when she is forced to marry Khal Drogo. Among the Dothraki, a khalasar is a troupe of warriors, lead by a Khal. The wife of a Khal is given the title of Khaleesi.
13. Speaking in Tongues
Numerous languages are spoken in the Seven Kingdoms, and Daenerys speaks several. She can communicate in Common Tongue, Dothraki, High Valyrian, Low Valyrian, and Ghiscari (largely a language spoken by slaves—apropos for the Breaker of Chains).
14. Things Are Heating Up
Daenerys boasts an unusual tolerance for heat. She prefers her baths scalding hot, and she emerged unscathed when she burned down a hut full of Dothraki leaders. Interestingly, George R.R. Martin insists that while Daenerys may have a high tolerance for fire, she is not entirely immune to it.
15. Mother of Dragons
Although Daenerys doesn’t give birth to dragons in the traditional sense, she did bring them back into the world after they were thought to be extinct. Daenerys walked through Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre with three dragon eggs and emerged unscathed with living infant dragons on her shoulder.
16. Half Dragon
When Khal Drogo was gravely injured, Daenerys forced the witch Mirri Maz Duur to use blood magic to save his life. However, there was a price for this magic: to save Drogo’s life, someone else would have to die. That someone proved to be Drogo and Daenerys’ unborn child Rhaego. In the Game of Thrones book, her servants describe the stillborn child as having scales, a tail, and the look of a monster—much like a dragon.
17. Family Matters
After this incident, Daenerys didn’t believe that she could have more children. The witch Mirri Maz Duur claimed Daenerys would only bear a living child “when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” and “when the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves.”
18. Breaker of Chains
Daenerys boasts an astounding number of titles to her name, including the “Breaker of Chains.” She earned this moniker when she liberated Slaver’s Bay and freed the slaves in the cities of Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen. For the record, her full title currently is, “Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.”
19. Breaker of Hearts
Daenerys has taken many lovers and had even more admirers in her journey towards the Iron Throne, including Drogo, Jorah, Dario, and Jon Snow. As Daenerys says, each of these men “all try to outdo each other…to do the stupidest, bravest thing” in order to impress her. One could argue that Jon Snow’s final moments with Daenerys fit into that mold.
20. Playing Favourites
Daenerys only ever rides her largest dragon, Drogon. She appears to have less control over her other two dragons, Rhaegal and Viserion, and they occasionally snap at her. For now, Drogon seems to be her favorite child.
21. The Bald Truth
In the novels, Daenerys loses all her hair when she walks into Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre. She slowly regrows her silver hair over the course of the books. The TV series, either for ease or aesthetics, kept her trademark long, white hair throughout filming.
22. Illyrio Mopatis
You may not remember Illyrio Mopatis by name, but without him, the Game of Thrones story line wouldn’t be the same. He is a Merchant Prince who cuts a lot of business deals—including the arranged marriage behind Khal Drogo and Daenerys. If it wasn’t for Illyrio’s ruthless deals, Daenerys wouldn’t be a Khaleesi.