Game of Thrones Theories: Who will betray Daenerys?

Helen Sloan – HBO. Acquired via HBO PR.

Game of Thrones could be setting Daenerys up for a big betrayal by a close ally. We take a deep dive into the possibilities of who it could be and why.

Game of Thrones has never made it easy for any of its characters but Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) arrival in Westeros in particular has gone from bad to worse with each increasing move by Cersei (Lena Headey) all while the threat of the Army of the Dead marches ever nearer. Despite that, Dany is still clinging to pomp and circumstance about being named Queen of Everything because she lacks any kind of foresight and is really just coming across as a entitled brat.

Questions regarding exactly what kind of character she is within the larger Game of Thrones narrative have been the source of numerous discussions and speculation. I’m particularly fond of the “Dany is a villain” theory, which I have mentioned often because she usually does something that makes me suspicious of her poor judgment more than I previously had thought I could be. Also, she’s crazy and she comes from crazy stock and like she should definitely not hook-up with Jon because if she is by some chance fertile again pure Targaryen babies are just a seriously terrible idea. But I digress.

It also put fans of hers in an interesting position about what they believe about good versus evil and creates an incredibly meta experience for the character and viewer. And it’s increasingly interesting to speculate what will finally drive her supporters to see who she really is. Or will they find that she is worthy of blind-loyalty like the kind Jorah (Iain Glen) illustrates so well?

Cersei (Lena Headey) has found herself in equally compromising positions (both literally and figuratively). I for one was sure that after that look from Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) he would abandon his sister for using wildfire. But that hasn’t happened…yet…And with Jaime’s fate up in the air it’s sort of a mystery what’s next. Similarly, they have us believing that Jaime will never leave his sister’s side but he could resurface as a changed man.

Regardless, Cersei’s fate is sealed by her prophecy. We know she will die, we have a general idea of who will kill her and while there are plenty of twists that could occur before we get there Queen Cersei is operating on a very specific, very linear trajectory and it’s only a matter of time before we get to the big scene – not that I’m eager to see that happen, I find Cersei increasingly fascinating and actively look forward to her scenes to the point that there will be an irreplaceable space when she does eventually die.

Dany, however, has plenty of story left to tell and the choices she has been making are putting her in a less than ideal strategic situation. Sure she has dragons but they’re clearly causing some mixed feelings for multiple members of her party and she was quick to anger with Varys (Conleth Hill) back in episode two as a sort of test of his loyalty (or possible lack of it).

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen – Photo: HBO Acquired via HBO PR Rep

It’s pretty much an undeniable fact that Dany will find herself betrayed by someone close to her. Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) gave some pretty crappy advice about not listening to Tyrion – whom is her Hand. And sadly, Dany seems to be listening more to her than anyone else lately for better or worse. She even asked Jon’s (Kit Harington) opinion and went and did the exact opposite.

What’s interesting is that her choice and actions clearly didn’t sit well with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) who witnessed her savagery. He also found himself conflicted watching the Lannister Army be picked apart by Drogon and the Dothraki. But Tyrion is used to the violence of war. He understands the fact that someone will eventually gain the upper-hand (though it was pretty one-sided from the start once the battle began). He’s witnessed the carnage and been in the middle of the fray himself – it’s how he got his scars. So it wasn’t the sounds of war waging that seemed to shake him. It was his conviction that perhaps he hasn’t actually been a good judge of Dany’s character. And that’s clearly something that comes up in this week’s episode “Eastwatch” (S7E5). But Tyrion isn’t the only potential character who could betray Dany.

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Looking at Tyrion and Varys as the two most obvious choices is easy. And one (or both) will likely decide to quietly but proactively move to Jon’s side since The King in the North is clearly more in line with their own moral standards. There are others who could betray The Mother of Dragons. We saw Jorah (Iain Glen) work against Dany early on, and while we know he would never do such a thing again, it is possible that someone else will.

Jorah’s betrayal and subsequent banishment weren’t a surprise to us. We knew he was working for King Robert while simultaneously falling in love with Dany. He ended up saving her life back in season one but it was only a matter of time before Dany discovered the truth. Even now in season seven there are plenty of characters whose motives we’re still not entirely sure of.

Photo: HBO Acquired via HBO PR Rep

Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) seems to have his own self-interests at heart but he’s a direct threat to Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Jon. It goes without saying that Varys has made some deals in the hopes of putting the right person on the Throne. And the man who has been nicknamed the Spider, didn’t get there by being forthright and transparent. Both men have always been impossible to read and their choices only make the fight against the White Walkers in the north and the fight for the Throne in the south increasingly dangerous.

We’ve also seen characters like Lady Olenna push her own agenda (though it’s worth mentioning Littlefinger helped a lot) and betray the Lannisters. And up until “The Queen’s Justice” (S7E3) it seemed just as likely that she might eventually do the same to Dany. She wasn’t there out of love for The Mother of Dragons (which is interesting since Dany practically demands it of everyone else), she was there purely for revenge.

But with all these characters who keep us guessing, we’ve known from the start that they have other motives and what those motives are. Still, Game of Thrones is not without its surprises and it stands to reason that there are plenty of “players” who have yet to make themselves known. Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) is an excellent example.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei, and Kit Harington as Jon Snow – Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO via HBO Media Relations

This season has focused on her a bit more than ever. She’s loyal to Dany from what we’ve seen and there’s no real reason we’ve been given for her not to be. But she comes from a strange land and it’s also just as likely that she’s some kind of spy. It sounds crazy but it’s also extremely plausible.

There’s the Faceless Men who are out there among regular people being No One and saying things like “Valar Morghulis.” We still don’t understand the specifics of the magic involved. And there are several people from Dany’s past that would want to follow her to Westeros. Quaithe comes to mind, she even says “I am no one” in that strange conversation with Jorah. And we never did see her face but she is instrumental in returning Dany’s dragons to her.

Dany has received a number of mysterious prophecies. GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire has a much more specific prophecy Quaithe tells Dany. It’s a combination of directions (which leads to the “If I look back I am lost” mantra from Dany) and allusions to the future. Though much of that prophecy has not come true (like Quentyn Martell was left out of the show completely but he gets roasted by a dragon and it’s significant to one of the lines). Mostly, it’s a popular part of the series to speculate about because there’s a widely accepted belief that it signifies the return of Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa).

But there is a prophecy that wasn’t included in the show that Dany received in the House of the Undying. It’s significant because we have seen parts of it come true in the show. The prophecy states:

“… three treasons will you know . . . once for blood and once for gold and once for love…”

A Clash of Kings, Daenerys IV

So now the questions we’re left with are who committed the first two treasons? Where does that leave the third? And how does Missandei fit into all of this?

If we look back at everything that has happened to Dany, Mirri Maz Duur fits for the blood treason. She tricked Dany and murdered her unborn son and Khal Drogo. The second is also easily explained as Jorah’s treason. He betrayed his Queen for gold because he just wanted to go home.

This leaves the love treason up for grabs and there are two likely candidates. Tyrion, makes sense as the obvious choice. When Jaime is discovered to be alive (fight me) Dany will surely want him dead – For one thing he murdered her father and for another he attempted to kill her. We saw Tyrion worrying about Jaime at the end of “The Spoils of War” (S7E4). The brothers have always had a significant bond and Jaime helped his brother escape after he lost the Trial by Combat, so Tyrion totally owes him one.

However, according to a widely circulating Reddit Thread some super sleuth-y fans have noticed that Missandei also fits the bill for the love treason. Considering the care and attention that was taken to show Missandei and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) take their relationship to the next level, while many fans were ecstatic over the scene (and even I found the ship compelling when Grey Worm told her she was his weakness because his feelings for her and her wellbeing taught him fear), overall it seemed unnecessary. Though sex scenes in Game of Thrones have rarely been necessary (I actively miss using sexposition but I’m glad we’ve moved past the constant objectification so I’ll take it as a win and giggle at the term fondly). Still, with so few hours left of the show, it felt like a misuse of screen time.

Unless, it’s serving a larger purpose! Grey Worm is currently stationed at Casterly Rock. And with Cersei’s debt to the Iron Bank paid (the gold from Highgarden did make it safely to King’s Landing before Drogon and Dany arrived) and Jaime presumed dead, the reigning queen will want revenge on Dany for killing him. The best way to do that is to take hostages. Dany won’t be able to bring her dragons to King’s Landing because she’ll risk losing Grey Worm (and the Throne).

So will Tyrion choose family over revenge in the end? Or will Dany go after Cersei and sacrifice Grey Worm? He and the Unsullied would see it as an honorable death. But this could be what pushes Messandei to betray her queen. Whoever is the final betrayer likely won’t live very long but perhaps, there’s a larger point to these treasons in revealing exactly the kind of character Dany is.

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And be sure to check out all the great GoT content we’ll be rolling out weekly! Who do you think will betray Dany? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments!