In 54 days, Game of Thrones will finally return. And 35 days after that, Thrones will end. In less time than it seemingly took Littlefinger to zip around to every corner of Westeros, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will deliver a conclusion to the story George R.R. Martin first introduced 23 years ago—and in that precious time they’ll have to answer half a hundred pressing questions: Who will live? Who will die? Who will tell Jon he’s doing it with his aunt?
Separate from those series-shaping questions are countless smaller but still crucial details that the show may or may not explore in the final season. These are Thrones’ loose ends: the characters, places, events, prophecies, and more that the story has made audiences wonder about over the past seven seasons but the show has yet to wrap up. In the run-up to the final season’s April 14 premiere, we’ll be digging through these loose ends, looking at why they matter and how they could affect the endgame as we count down to Thrones’ long-awaited conclusion.
The Loose End
Can Dany have children? The books are clear that she cannot, but the show less so.
In “Baelor,” the penultimate episode of Season 1, the Lhazareen witch Mirri Maz Duur, at the behest of Daenerys, performed a blood rite on her husband Khal Drogo. The horselord was already near death, stricken by an infection, which Mirri may have caused, that took root in a wound he suffered defending Dany’s honor.
When Dany awoke, her child with Drogo, the future Stallion Who Would Mount the World, Rhaego, had been delivered stillborn and monstrous. “l pulled him out myself,” Mirri told Dany. “He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with leather wings like the wings of a bat. When l touched him the skin fell from his bones. Inside he was full of graveworms. I warned you that only death can pay for life.”
The blood magic, and Rhaego’s death, preserved Drogo’s life. But he languished in a vegetative state. Not dead, yet not truly alive. A sickly and hollow shadow of the once vibrant Khal. When Dany asked how long he would remain this way, Mirri said, “When the sun rises in the west, sets in the east. When the seas go dry. When the mountains blow in the wind like leaves.” This exchange is similar to the one that appears in the books with one crucial omission: “When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child.”
So when Tyrion says to Dany, “You say you can’t have children,” when the two are discussing governing philosophy on Dragonstone ahead of Season 7’s summit at the Dragonpit, the reasoning behind Dany’s belief is, for viewers, a bit opaque. Clearly Dany does not think she can conceive, an impression that numerous encounters with Daario Naharis seem to have proved true. But she was never explicitly told that was the case.
Why This Loose End Matters
Well, because the potential child of Daenerys Targaryen, last living kin of King Aerys II Targaryen and Queen Rhaella, and Aegon Targaryen, otherwise known as Jon Snow, the secret legitimate son of Crown Prince Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark, would be an immensely powerful symbol with an impeccable claim to the throne! Such a child would cement the succession of the renewed Targaryen dynasty and bring the promise of much-needed stability to the realm.
How Season 8 Could Address It
Well, let’s see, Dany could miss her period by a couple of days, suddenly develop (even more) luminous skin, and generally, you know, become obviously pregnant!
Before our heroes can rejoice, however, they should know that Targaryen pregnancies have a tendency to be hazardous for mother and child. Dany’s mother, Queen Rhaella, suffered through numerous miscarriages and stillbirths before successfully delivering Viserys later in life. The queen died giving birth to Dany.
Even couplings in which the mother is not a Targaryen can be troubled. Princess Elia Martell of Dorne, Prince Rhaegar’s first wife, bore him two children. She was bedridden for six months after giving birth to the first, and the second pregnancy nearly killed her. After that the Maesters informed her and Rhaegar that she shouldn’t have more children. Then Rhaegar pursued Lyanna Stark, who died giving birth to Jon. The mothers of both Jon and Dany died in childbirth; even without Mirri’s prophecy, pregnancy would be a mixed omen for the Mother of Dragons.
Even if Dany’s experience isn’t traumatic, it would be too dangerous for her and the realm for the Khaleesi to ride Drogon into battle while pregnant. Jon and her small council would likely insist that she remain safe behind the walls of some castle. This, obviously, would seriously weaken the war effort!
Dany’s possibly quickening womb is incredibly important to the show, to her relationship with Jon, to the battle against the Night King, and for the future of the kingdom of Westeros.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.