**Spoilers for Game of Thrones season eight, episode four “The Last of the Starks” below**
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) meet again.
The latest episode of Game of Thrones saw Daenerys lose multiple loyal subjects, with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) being beheaded by The Mountain and Rhaegal, the dragon, being murdered by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk). Daenerys also burnt Ser Jorah’s (Iain Glen) body, while both Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) have begun questioning their loyalty to Khaleesi.
That leaves only Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), a small group of Unsullied, and a besotted Jon Snow as her unwavering supporters.
All this death and distrust has led fans to believe Daenerys may quickly fall into madness and become the Mad Queen.
Ever since fans learnt that Daenerys was the daughter of Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King, they have speculated that she may one day follow in his footsteps. The showrunners have teased this potentiality since season six, when Daenerys gradually stopped talking about freeing slaves and instead decided to focus on taking the Iron Throne.
The writers are no longer just floating the idea, but now having characters brazenly discuss Daenerys’s mindset. During the episode “The Last of the Starks”, both Tyrion and Varys question her sanity. That discussion took place before Missandei was killed; a shocking moment that saw Daenerys seething.
Missandei’s last word – “Dracarys” – teases Daenerys becoming the Mad Queen. Her father, Aerys, attempting to burn down King’s Landing after being driven mad. “Dracarys” is the high Valyrian word for Dragonfire, and is used by Daenerys as an instruction for Drogon to wreak havoc on their enemies. Could Daenerys be about to turn King’s Landing to ash?
Daenerys previously told Tyrion she has no desire to be the Queen of Ashes, though this seems to be her destiny. And as pointed out by Vanity Fair, Emilia Clarke has previously teased that the final season may change people’s perception of the character.
“[It] f**ked me up,” she said before the season eight premiere. ”I think if I knew there was another season maybe it wouldn’t have f**ked me up in the same way but knowing that is going to be a lasting flavour in someone’s mouth of what [Daenerys] is. It just puts more weight on it. It becomes harder to separate you from the role when you’ve been with it for so long.”
Could that “lasting flavour” be that Daenerys is actually a villain, rather than hero?
One last hint: during the celebratory feast at Winterfell, Daenerys wears a completely red costume for the first time. We have previously seen her wearing outfits with only bits of red. She has seemingly accepted the Targaryen house’s colours as her own.
Of course, we know Cersei really is a Mad Queen, and some fans have questioned whether the showrunners would really have the show’s finale be Mad Queen versus Mad Queen.
Game of Thrones loves to subvert expectations (such as Arya Stark killing the Night King), so they could once again flip everything on its head once more.
“The Last of the Starks” was described as “an oddly structured and not hugely satisfying episode” by The Independent‘s critic. The fourth episode of the show’s final season also saw Daenerys (Clarke) suffer some devastating losses after arriving in King’s Landing to face Cersei Lannister (Headey).
You can watch the intense new trailer for the penultimate episode of the show here. Click through the below gallery to see our extensive ranking of every character in the series – from worst to best – is below.
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