Beyond The Wall

How a Crucial Season 2 Scene Connects to Dany's Fate on 'Game of Thrones'

daenerys house of the undying season 2
Can't touch this. | HBO
Can't touch this. | HBO
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Say this about Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragon(s): She went out on top. OK, not "on top" in the sense that she's "still alive" or "ruler of the Seven Kingdoms," but for a minute there she was the Queen with the most power in all the land. And bittersweet though it may have been, that was her goal all along. How many people can say they achieved their one goal in life? Not many! Especially on Game of Thrones

In the moments leading up to Jon's stunning betrayal of Dany -- which he obviously justifies as the right thing to do (how very Jon Snow of him) -- it looked like Dany might simply continue her descent into the Mad Queen narrative, and Thrones would wrap up its run in fittingly dark fashion. That's not how things went; if you were paying attention, or are particularly obsessive, or Googled a related subject in the past few days, you may recall that Daenerys' vision in the House of the Undying, which occurs in the last episode of Season 2, called "Valar Morghulis," foreshadows a doomed ending for the Dragon Queen. Here's how it all fits together.  

daenerys vision in the house of the undying
HBO

What was Dany's vision in the House of the Undying?

Back in Season 2, when Daenerys' three dragons were tiny little balls of CGI cuteness and not giant, goat-eating, civilian-burning nightmares, they figured in a scheme that saw Xaro Xhoan Daxos team up with the warlock Pyat Pree to stage a coup that installed Xaro as king of Quarth. Along the way, the two stole Dany's dragons and stashed them in the House of the Undying, home of the Quarth warlocks and a generally spooky, windowless place. 

Naturally, Dany decides to get her kids back, despite Ser Jorah's warnings that she'll probably have to take on a good deal of magic and sorcery if she hopes to succeed. "What about my magic?" Dany responds, and Jorah has no choice but to say, "Sure, right, you're magical too, you've got so much magic," before they head off into the den of warlocks. 

Dany begins to have a series of visions as she follows the screeching sound of her dragons. First, she walks into the Red Keep, except the roof has been destroyed, possibly burned, and it's snowing. She approaches the Iron Throne and nearly touches it before the noise calls her into another vision north of the Wall, in which she reunites with her husband, Khal Drogo, and their stillborn child. 

Some online communities have tried to argue that the substance falling in the throne room isn't snow, but ash -- unfortunately, this doesn't fit with what appears on screen (you can see water dripping off Dany's hand at one point), and both Emilia Clarke and and director Alan Taylor call the stuff snow. Plus, given what we know about how the show unfolded, it's unlikely that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss envisioned this particular scene as a direct reference to the series finale. 

The visuals of the finale clearly mirror the visuals of the House of the Undying, with white, snowy debris falling during every scene. When Daenerys approaches the Iron Throne, white ash falls around her, and this time she actually touches the seat. She clearly believes that this is the fulfillment of her destiny.

But hang on a second! What if "snow" isn't literal snow? Isn't there someone... important... named... Snow? There is: It's Jon Snow, duh. Snow in the throne room of the Red Keep, which has been destroyed? Dany almost seizes the throne in her vision, but stops just short? Somebody get out the yarn board, because it's all connected.

Are there other connections between Dany's death and the House of the Undying?

You bet there are. After Dany travels through her visions in "Valar Morghulis," Pyat Pree and his doubles show up and put her in chains. As she joins little Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal in fetters and has no one around to save her, things are looking dire. Pyat Pree explains that dragons are most effective when their mother is close, and that she's going to stay close for basically all of eternity, right where Pyat Pree can see her.

That's when she gives the fateful command: Dracarys. After coughing out a lil smoke ring, Drogon finds his big-boy breath and starts burning Pyat Pree alive, with Viserion and Drogon pitching in, too. It's the first time she's been able to use the dragons for deadly ends, and while in this instance it's necessary to save her life, we're given a glimpse of the power she'll possess when her kids are all grown up. And anyone who wields that much power is in danger of abusing it. 

The vision proved true in its sequence, too: Rather than seizing the Iron Throne, Dany goes to meet Khal Drogo and her unborn (human) child in the afterlife. It's the best anyone can hope for her now. 

Sure, when "Valar Morghulis" first aired, Benioff and Weiss had no idea how the show would end. But that makes it all the more likely that as they combed over events from previous seasons, they would look for inspiration in the only time Dany got close enough to the Iron Throne to touch it. Even if it was the function of a warlock's sorcery. 

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Anthony Schneck is an editor at Thrillist. Follow him @AnthonySchneck.