It might seem limiting to view Daenerys Targaryen’s role in Game of Thrones Seasons 7 and 8 only through the lens of whom she’ll bed next, but it’s crucial to how the long-running story will end.
This Targaryen’s a pioneering warrior queen, and her personal life is political. She recognizes this when she tells the title-less Daario Naharis to hit the road and let her ascend to power.
The success or failure of her Westeros takeover this season will depend on her armies, yes, and her personal conviction as a leader, but she’ll be hard-pressed to convince the old fashioned (and now traumatized!) masses around King’s Landing to accept her as a single queen. Whomever she commits to publicly will affect public opinion of her across the Seven Kingdoms. We’ve learned that one of Dany’s chief weaknesses is relying too heavily on being trusted, adored, treasured, and honored loyally by her people and her advisors. We’ve seen her sexuality grow from the unnecessary rape scene in which her first husband, Khal Drogo, took her virginity — it’s worth pointing out that George R.R. Martin’s original novels depicted this scene as consensual and loving — to her casual affair with Daario. She’s no longer exploring her options as a 20-something would, and is more likely to choose her next partner with a political lens.
There are the seven most interesting prospective options for Dany’s partner in Seasons 7 and 8. We weigh the likelihood of each pairing happening, examine what their union would do for Dany politically, and decide whether she could ultimately be satisfied, both sexually and emotionally, with each of them.
7. Jorah Mormont
Jorah is currently trying to cure himself of greyscale, the mystical disease that’s killing him, but he’s in slightly better graces with Dany than he was when she banished him. Iain Glen said back in 2016 that his ideal death for Jorah is a heart attack while making love to Dany, which seems like a pitiful end for a laughably stepped-on character.
As far as political prowess, Jorah belongs to the once-important Bear Island clan, sworn to the Starks in the North. Of course, according to Martin lore, Jorah was ex-communicated. If anything, this guy’s got too many burned bridges behind him to really help Dany secure her position, although it’d be difficult to find someone less devoted to her personally. We know, despite the above photo, that Jorah doesn’t do it for Dany on a sexual level either, which means Jorah’s only boast is the fact that he wouldn’t screw her over again.
Final score: 2 out of 5 of Varys’s little birds. She can do better, but she could also do worse.
6. Gendry Baratheon
If Gendry’s true patronage is revealed in Season 7 or 8 — he’s one of the late Robert Baratheon’s many, many bastard sons born while Cersei was avoiding sex with Robert — he’ll be a contender for the Iron Throne, as the last remaining Baratheon whose claim overrides even Cersei’s. Dany would probably enjoy Gendry’s pragmatism, which he earned living on the street, but he’d likely find her luxurious ways strange and annoying.
This isn’t an in-universe concern, but Dany marrying Gendry would disappoint legions of fans who have hoped for several seasons to watch Arya reunite with Gendry, both of them now older, weathered, and ready to consider the other as a possible partner.
Final score: 3 out of 6 seasons spent rowing a goddamn boat to nowhere. The only thing he’s got going for him is his royal blood, and we don’t even know if that’ll become public.
Unlike many of the people on this list, Missandei’s sexual interest in Dany is actually canon. Dany and Missandei (and Dany’s other handmaidens) share sensual nights together while they’re on the road. Dany never really expresses a romantic interest in the girls she surrounds herself with, instead using them as human sex toys, but you get the point. Dany, according to George R.R. Martin, is open to at least sharing her bed with Missandei.
Missandei is also one of the few remaining characters who has stood by Dany and survived her quest to Westeros, so Dany can’t do better as far as finding a loyal spouse. A former slave, Missandei is originally from Naath, an island in the Summer Sea, an area once popular with ships from Slaver’s Bay. Word of Dany’s liberation of Slaver’s Bay (referred to among TV critics as her “white savior” storyline) has undoubtedly spread back to Missandei’s hometown, and one of their own co-ruling as Queen would secure the islands under Dany’s rule. However, she’s arguably got that area on lock anyway, so Missandei doesn’t offer too much politically.
Final score: 3 out of 5 metaphorical broken chains. Missandei would be a fun lover and loyal wife to Dany, but she’s not really an advantageous partner to the Throne.
4. Yara Greyjoy
Yara’s chemistry with Dany came out of left field in Season 5 when HBO’s drama went off the rails, ignoring book canon, and had the two meet. They had some saucy banter, and Yara outright hit on Queen Dany. That part wasn’t in the original script, but actress Gemma Whelan, who has told the press in recent years that she considers Yara “pansexual,” added in some come-ons off the cuff.
Yara is the first person on this list likely to satisfy Dany sexually who also boasts an important advantage for the Targaryen queen: She’s fighting against Euron for control of the Iron Islands, and Dany has promised Yara and her brother Theon that they can have their sovereign islands if they aid her in sacking King’s Landing. Marrying Yara would only solidify that bond further, though in this case, Yara might be the one hestitant. After all, Dany has thought of nothing but taking King’s Landing back since she was a child, and Yara self-identifies as the seafaring type. She’s not likely to give up ruling, and living in, the Iron Islands just for some pretty blonde.
Final score: 3 out of Theon’s 10 fingers. Advantageous, borne out of sexual chemistry and mutual respect, but not likely to work based on geography. They could possibly set up a long distance relationship and send steamy letters by raven, though.
3. Daario Naharis
Oh Daario, whose name unsubtly rhymes with lothario. Though he told Dany again and again that he didn’t care if she married someone else, so long as he got to have sex with her regularly, Dany left him in the Bay of Dragons. The thing is, Daario’s only job is to maintain Dany’s rule while she’s away, and if she were to take the Iron Throne in Season 8, her regime might be so powerful that he could take a break.
Daario has that sexy charm that nearly knocks Dany off her course for power, but she’s gotten older and wiser since they parted. The only reason she’d marry Daario at this point is to make a power play, telling her (hopefully) adoring followers that she deserves to marry for lust and not for political reasons.
Final score: 3 out of 5 Westerosi contraceptives, because it’s never clear what Daario and Dany used.
2. Her dragons / heed no man (nor woman)
Dany faces two huge character moments in Season 7 and 8: She’ll either win the Throne or fail, and she’ll either wrap up a storyline for another character romantically, or stand alone. Since HBO has been promoting Game of Thrones with Emilia Clarke’s face and sexuality for years, it’s doubtful that they’d discontinue her storyline’s momentum by giving her sole control of the Seven Kingdoms. Game of Thrones is a story jam-packed with complex characters, and to give the ultimate prize to a single character, unlinked to any other, seems almost like a waste of narrative real estate.
However, if one considers how Dany’s romantic and sexual needs have developed over time, choosing to be alone, or with her dragons, actually sounds organic to her character. She experienced first love with Khal, experimented with an older man’s loyalty by letting Jorah hang around her, and found her sexual awakening with Daario, ignoring and fighting off lots of creepy men along the way. There’s a peace to a character like Dany choosing to avoid men altogether in the end.
Final score: 4 out of 5 dragons, though there are only 3.
1. Jon Snow (Stark-Targaryen)
There they are: Game of Thrones’s neatly tied-up and satisfying end-game. In one corner, Dany, the mistreated and defiant daughter of the Targaryens, hungry to reclaim her family’s former honor and rule justly. In the other, Jon, long treated like a bastard and a pariah, soon to realize that he’s the son of a Targaryen man and a Stark woman, therefore solidifying the full claim to the North and South of Westeros.
The only problems with this pairing are ones that could be solved in fascinating ways in Seasons 7 and 8. First, the characters haven’t met, but that’s easy to resolve. Second, Jon doesn’t know his lineage, but we ought to see that reveal unfold soon. Finally, it would take a great deal of love, trust, and political discourse for Dany to share the throne with someone whose claim to it technically means more than hers. Jon is a Stark-Targaryen, the fan-favorite male character to her fan-favorite female, might just be the guy to wear her down.
Final score: 5 out of 5 games of throne, because you either win or you marry your nephew.