When Daenerys Targaryen left her home in Pentos over 50 "Game of Thrones" episodes ago, she was a meek mouse. Now she's the mighty Queen of Dragons, striving to bring all of Essos -- and perhaps one day Westeros -- to its knees. Her fiery destruction of Vaes Dothrak is just the latest of her most dramatic moments across the water.
Daenerys began as the timid little sister of the insane Viserys Targaryen, but by episode 4 she wasn't going to take her brother's abuse lying down anymore. "The next time you raise a hand to me," she declared, "will be the last time you have hands!"
One of the queasiest moments in 'GoT' history, to be sure. Still, eating a stallion's heart taught Daenerys to embrace the world of which she's now a part, and to do what's necessary to earn the respect of others.
With faith in her bloodline and herself, Daenerys walked into Drogo's funeral pyre and gave birth to her three dragons. George R.R. Martin said that this was a one-time magical moment in the books, but that doesn't seem to be the case on the TV series.
Through much of season two, Daenerys' dragons were helpless creatures who needed their mother for protection. Pyat Pree thought that a woman and three little reptiles would be an easy capture. Then his robes caught fire.
Daenerys possesses the kindness of her brother Rheagar, but also her father's penchant for destruction and trickery. She uses the greed of Astapor's slavers against them, promising them one of her dragons in exchange for their armies. Of course, she neglected to tell them that dragons aren't slaves.
Dany continued to use her dragons' nature as a loophole to protect herself. When talks with the Yunkai slavers went south, one of them threatened to destroy her. Daenerys responded by noting that while she agreed to peaceful negotiations, her dragons did not. Cue intimidating snarls and roars.
This is one of the more controversial moments in "Game of Thrones" history, as some argue that the sight of Dany crowdsurfing on liberated Yunkai slaves is the "white savior" trope at its most egregious. Later seasons have observed a course correction, so this scene now feels more like a moment of relief in a series filled with tragedy.
This might be the coolest example of psychological warfare "Game of Thrones" has ever cooked up. In a move meant to terrify the slavers and bring hope to the enslaved, Daenerys ordered that barrels with some intriguing contents be launched at Meereen. What was inside? Broken slave collars.
Rape and nudity are commonplace for women on "Game of Thrones," so it's refreshing to see Dany flip the script a bit. She knows Daario has the hots for her, and while her heart belongs to Drogo alone, she's willing to indulge his desires to keep his loyalty. It's good to be the queen.
Daenerys' bold promises have become the target of jokes among some "GoT" fans, but her accurate observations on the nature of the game of thrones and her vow to end it are still brilliant bits of writing. Let's hope she can keep that promise.
Daenerys had no dragons, armies, or Queensguard to protect her, yet on her own she took down every single Dothraki khal in one fiery swoop. Whether or not showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss took creative liberties with her fire powers, this is still the coolest ending Daenerys has ever brought to a "Game of Thrones" episode.