How 'Game of Thrones' Season 8, Episode 3 Sets Up Dany as the Final Villain

Just moments after Daenerys Targaryen learned that her lover was actually her nephew on Game of Thrones, the Great Battle of Winterfell began. By the end of the fight, despite pulling off an unlikely victory, the Mother of Dragons was in a worse position than ever as we head into the final episodes of GoT season 8.

It genuinely seems like Game of Thrones is primed to transform Dany into a Mad Queen just like her father. Here’s how Season 8, Episode 3 set up Daenerys Targaryen’s downfall.

Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3 (and possibly the entire season) ahead.

First, a quick recap of the Great Battle of Winterfell from Dany’s perspective: Her two surviving dragons were gravely wounded, her armies were almost entirely depleted (the Dothraki no longer exist), and her longtime ally Jorah Mormont is dead. In short, there’s never been a worse time to be the Mother of Dragons, and things may get even more dire in Episode 4.

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To make matters worse, Dany’s remaining allies and advisors might not stick around much longer. Who’s left? Grey Worm, Missandei, Tyrion, Varys, and Jon Snow. Can any of them really be trusted to stick by Daenerys’ side? As Game of Thrones expert Joanna Robinson recently pointed out on the podcast A Cast of Kings, Season 8 has done a pretty ruthless job of stripping away Dany’s entire support system.

Daenerys Targaryen mourns Jorah at the Great Battle of Winterfell
Daenerys Targaryen mourns Jorah at the Great Battle of Winterfell

Varys and Tyrion Lannister might currently be on Team Dany, but these two are notorious for their shifting allegiances. In a private conversation they shared in Season 7, the characters vocalized concerns about Dany’s temperament, comparing her to her father, the Mad King. Tyrion also seems to be striking up a flirtation with Sansa (or at least a friendship), which would put even more strain on his allegiance to Dany.

Meanwhile, Grey Worm is the only military general that Dany has left, and even he has one foot out the door as he makes plans with Missandei to retire on a beach as far away from Winterfell as possible.

As for Jon Snow, he seems to still be devoted to Dany, but the revelation that he’s actually a Targaryen and heir to the Iron Throne is sure to throw a wrench in all of that.

If Jon and Dany break up, the King in the North still has tons of allies and a big family to support him (he’s even bonded with one of her dragons). Daenerys has almost nobody and virtually no army — I bet she’s really wishing she hadn’t commanded Daario and the Second Sons to stay behind in Meereen right now.

So what’s next for Daenerys Targaryen? Could we be heading into a Mad Queen scenario?

Game of Thrones Daenerys Season 8
Daenerys Targaryen at the high table in Winterfell during 'Game of Thrones' Season 8.

Daenerys proved herself a bit too ruthless and headstrong in Season 7 when she roasted Randyll and Dickon Tarly for refusing to bend the knee. Meanwhile, Tyrion claims he can temper her wrath, but we haven’t really seen that in practice. Dany’s love for Jon Snow has also softened her demeanor a little bit in Season 8, but now that his big secret is out, she might be more driven than ever to prove herself to be the one rightful ruler of Westeros. With a huge portion of her power, resources, and allies gone, just how desperate will Daenerys be in the remaining three episodes?

“We’ll rip her out, root and stem,” Daenerys says of Cersei Lannister in the teaser trailer for Episode 4. If Dany’s making one thing clear, it’s that she’s really angry. She’s also running a bit short on allies.

Anyone in Dany’s position right now would be justly furious. Yes, they all pulled off a seemingly impossible victory against the Night King, but Daenerys will come away from this experience angry with Jon over his claim to the Iron Throne and perhaps even angrier that she lost her best friend, Jorah. We’re led to believe that her father, the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, was driven to wrathful insanity in part because of all the incest in the family’s bloodline. Could the same kind of madness be taking hold of Dany?

Narratively speaking, Game of Thrones seems to be heading in that direction. Not only does Jon Snow have a more legitimate claim to the Iron Throne, but the fact that he doesn’t want to rule makes him even more worthy in our minds. Unless these two reconcile their differences and wind up married, Daenerys might become the final — and greatest — enemy in Westeros. After they defeat Cersei Lannister, of course.

Game of Thrones Season 8 airs on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Media via HBO