All eyes will be on HBO Sunday night as Game of Thrones returns for its final season, with a few of those eyes devoted to each of the major characters preparing for their final battles in season 8.
At the top of the list is Daenerys Targaryen, better known as "Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains" to fans of the show.
She spent most of the early seasons living out her own story in exile away from the War of the Five Kings, building her army, birthing dragons, gaining allies, and freeing those left in bondage. She's also spent some time romancing plenty of different names from all around Essos and Westeros.
All of this was part of her efforts to return to Westeros, sit upon the Iron Throne, and take back what had rightfully belonged to her family before Robert Baratheon's rebellion. Across six seasons, fans got to know "Khaleesi" and see her go from frightened exile to future queen. But what can we expect in season 8? Below you can read through everything from the past season that got us to the present.
Spoilers for Game of Thrones seasons 7 and 8 ahead.
By the end of season 6, Daenerys had finally built up a force and proceeded to invade Westeros. After forming an alliance with Yara and Theon Greyjoy, saving Meereen one last time from the siege of its former Masters, and cementing her role as leader of the Dothraki, she sets sail for Westeros where the last season kicked off.
What we saw from there was a short taste of what had been promised by the six previous seasons. Daenerys' army starts its push to conquer the remaining Lannister forces, with only a few missteps due to the interference of Euron Greyjoy's fleet giving the Mother of Dragons pause.
This soon went away when she led the Dothraki horde against the Lannisters following their decimation of House Tyrell and the death of Oleanna Tyrell. Riding on the back of her dragon, Drogon, Daenerys wipes out most of the Lannister forces, destroys their bounty from the attack on House Tyrell.
While it would seem that her war was coming to an end in short order, her meeting with Jon Snow at around the same time and listening to his warnings about the invasion of White Walkers from the North. She is initially hesitant of joining alongside the Stark leader, but agrees to help defend Westeros from the undead army after some discussion and an expedition into the bowels of the Targaryen home Dragonstone. She also wants Snow to bend the knee and throw his support behind her ascension to the throne.
These revelations shift her goals from control of Westeros — at least for the moment — to the defense of the living against the Night King and White Walkers.
From here, Jon and Daenerys team to persuade Cersei and the forces at King's Landing to join them in the fight against the White Walkers. A foolish mission north to obtain an undead soldier to convince the current Queen of Westeros is successful but ends in the death of one of her dragons, Viserion. That leaves Daenerys with two dragons on her side, Drogon and Rhaegal, while the deceased becomes the mount for the Night King as the conclusion of the season.
Despite their efforts, Cersei only chooses to aid them on the surface and plans to betray them. Unaware of this, Daenerys and Jon Snow soon give in to their romantic feelings that had been teased all season, make love, celebrate Snow's decision to "bend the knee" to the Mother of Dragons as the future queen of the land.
The big shocker here and the hanging thread we'll be looking to be answered in the final season is Snow's identity as the daughter of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. That makes him a hidden relative of Daenerys who we discover was born Aegon Targaryen near the end of the rebellion that ended their rule and kicked off the main story of the series.1comments
That is where we are with Emilia Clarke's now-iconic character ahead of the premiere. Tune in to see how her character's story wraps up and if she lives to see the very end.
Game of Thrones premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.