In 13 days, Game of Thrones will finally return. And 35 days after that, Thrones will end. In less time than it seemingly takes 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 has yet to satisfyingly 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 the days to Thrones’ long-awaited conclusion.
The Loose End
Poor Daario Naharis. While Daenerys and her crew finally ventured west at the end of Season 6, the Mother of Dragons made Daario and his Second Sons stay behind to keep the peace in Meereen, Yunkai, and Astapor. Can you imagine still having to deal with Sons of the Harpy when all your friends are in Westeros where the real action is?
As Dany explained, Daario had to stay behind not only because of his role as a commander, but because he was Dany’s lover, and Dany needed to keep her romantic options open when arriving in Westeros. Marriage is the surest way to form alliances in the Thrones universe, so the Khaleesi couldn’t afford to have a smouldering sellsword standing over her shoulder as she negotiated pacts that could ensure her path to the Iron Throne. Daario pleaded with his queen:
Daario: You need to lure the noble houses to the table? Are you a queen or fish bait?
Dany: I can’t bring a lover to Westeros.
Daario: A king wouldn’t think twice about it.
Dany: So that’s what you want? To be my mistress?
Daario: I’m not proud. I don’t care what perfumed aristocrat sits beside you in the throne room. I don’t want a crown. I want you. I love you. I make you happy—you know I do. Bring me with you. Let me fight for you.
Unmoved, Dany dumps him with all the grace of a high schooler breaking up with their significant other before heading off to college. Daario hasn’t been seen since.
So what’s Daario been up to? And—as an accomplished fighter, leader of a formidable sellsword company, and Dany’s ex-lover—could he play a role in Season 8?
Why This Loose End Matters
Daario and the Second Sons could be a valuable asset in the war against the White Walkers, and they could also go toe-to-toe with another sellsword army, Cersei’s Golden Company (some speculated that Daario could turn on Dany and lead the Golden Company, but the casting of Harry Strickland has made that type of heel turn unlikely). Daario, the Tyroshi sellsword leader, may be one of the best fighters left in the Thrones universe; he knows a wide variety of fighting styles from a lifetime spent in the pits, and he proved as much when he cut down Meereen’s champion in Season 4. There’s no doubt that he could be of use in Westeros. But as Dany’s former lover, Daario could bring much more than a little extra firepower for the story’s heroes.
Daario is already well accustomed to being in a love triangle involving Daenerys (“she’s in a good mood”), played the mistress role when Dany was engaged to Hizdahr zo Loraq, and some of his best scenes come when he and Jorah Mormont travel to Vaes Dothrak to rescue Dany. The two banter on their way there, but when Jorah accidentally reveals his greyscale, they share a touching moment, as Daario believes his one-time rival is doomed.
If Daario were to come to Westeros, that dynamic would be multiplied. With Jon and Tyrion now in the mix, and Jorah healed and still alive, that love triangle would be a love pentagon. Or maybe a love star. At any rate, Jon, Jorah, Daario, and Tyrion could all exchange awkward glances as they compete for the dragon queen’s affection. If a few more people (Yara, come back!) fall under Dany’s spell, we’d soon have The Bachelorette: Westeros Edition.
Don’t sleep on Daario’s chances of getting the final rose. He is one of the few characters who Daenerys has shown organic chemistry with. Jorah was always a mentor to her, Tyrion is her hand, and most of her interactions with Jon have been stiff and formal (with one notable exception). Daario could actually make Dany smile and laugh, and their interactions are one of the only highlights from Dany’s time in Meereen. His pickup lines may be corny, but no one can deny that Daario has game.
Daario could help our heroes in their war while adding an interesting wrinkle to the relationships at play in the final season. There’s almost no reason for him not to return.
How Season 8 Could Address It
In one of Daario and Dany’s first scenes together, Daario—back when he was played by Ed Skrein—says he is “the simplest man you’ll ever meet. I only do what I want to do.” He’s just broken into Daenerys’s tent outside Yunkai, delivering to her the heads of the other two leaders of the Second Sons. He wants to join Dany’s cause and elaborates on exactly the sort of person he is:
Daenerys: Why would I trust a man who murders his comrades?
Daario: They ordered me to murder you. I told them I preferred not to. They told me I had no choice. I told them, “I am Daario Naharis. I always have a choice.”
He reiterates this sentiment in Season 5 when he tells Daenerys that “everyone has a choice” and implores Dany to marry him. She declines, and, a season later, when Dany commands Daario to stay behind—something Daario definitely does not want to do—he obeys. What happened to always having a choice? What happened to Daario doing only what he wants?
This seems simple: Daario could decide that he doesn’t want to deal with Meereen anymore and sail across the Narrow Sea to rejoin his queen in Westeros. It wouldn’t please Daenerys to know that the Bay of Dragons is open to being overrun again, but she may need to accept Daario back in any case—surely she must realize by now that the Second Sons will be more useful in Westeros than in Essos.
So is a return likely? In November, Michiel Huisman, the actor who plays Daario, said he is “not allowed to say” whether his character will return for Season 8, and there is virtually no other casting news that hints one way or the other. But Daario once told Dany, “My sword is yours. My life is yours. My heart is yours.” Hopefully in Season 8, they’ll all be hers—in Westeros.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.