Appearance and Character
See also: Images of Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys has the traditional purple eyes and silver-gold hair of the Targaryens. She is slender and very beautiful, but also possesses a certain toughness due to her relative life of hardship. She is an accomplished rider, but does not possess thoroughly-developed personal combat skills.
She is clever and cunning, resolute and determined, but inexperienced. A key weakness is that she is over-reliant on others for information. She believed Viserys' tales about their family due to a lack of alternate reference, and was quite unaware that her father was considered insane until Ser Barristan Selmy told her.
Another weakness is that Daenerys has never read any books about raising dragons, and is not sure how to develop her control over her dragons and discipline them effectively for wrongdoing. She is worried that as her dragons develop, she will not be able to control them, or use them to aid her invasion of Westeros as she plans.
Daenerys is the daughter of King Aerys II Targaryen, the last Targaryen king to actually sit in the Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms, and his sister-wife Rhaella. She was conceived during the last month of the War of the Usurper. Shortly after her conception, her mother and brother Viserys were sent to Dragonstone for safekeeping. Within weeks her father was dead and Robert Baratheon had claimed the throne with the support of most of the nobility.
Eight months passed whilst the Lords Stannis Baratheon and Paxter Redwyne prepared to assault the castle by sea. Rhaella gave birth to Daenerys during the greatest storm in the history of the island, a storm which smashed the remaining Targaryen fleet ships to kindling in the harbor. This left the chances of escape very remote. With Rhaella dead in childbirth, the castle garrison seized the two children, planning to sell them to the Baratheons for their lives. Instead, Ser Willem Darry and several other loyal retainers rescued the children and spirited them away to safety in the Free Cities.
Daenerys' early life was spent in exile. Ser Willem Darry took her and Viserys from city to city, always one step ahead of the Usurper's spies and assassins. He eventually found them a safe home in Braavos, where they lived for several years whilst Robert was unable to kill them without offending the most powerful of the Free Cities. Many times Daenerys thinks of the home she had there with a lemon tree and a red door, and longs for those days again. Viserys was kind to her and told her stories. He took her to the markets and bought her trinkets and sausages. Old and faithful Ser Darry died and the house servants stole their remaining money, forcing Viserys and Daenerys into exile once again. It was when the stress of their lives fell on Viserys' shoulders that he began to change. When they had to sell their mother's crown which was the last thing they had of her, he started losing his temper and blaming her for their mother's death. Targaryens intermarry and Daenerys had always assumed that she was to marry Viserys.
Eventually, Daenerys and Viserys were offered a safe home in Pentos by Magister Ilyrio Mopatis, who suggested that Viserys wed his sister Daenerys to a powerful warlord with the military power to affect an invasion of the Westerosi continent. Although Viserys had planned to wed his sister himself in the Targaryen tradition, he saw the merit in this plan. Khal Drogo, a Dothraki warlord with 40,000 riders at his command, was fascinated by the western girl from the sunset lands. He wanted a wife of royal blood and came to see her first at a party held at Ilyrio's manse. He agreed to the marriage in 298 AL. To celebrate the wedding, Ilyrio gave Daenerys three eggs, claiming they were ancient dragon eggs from the fabled eastern lands of Asshai, they were valuable, but he had made a fortune in horses by brokering this deal. At the same party, Daenerys first meets a Westerosi knight named Ser Jorah Mormont, who was exiled from the Seven Kingdoms and has joined her brother's retinue.
To Daenerys' surprise, she found Drogo to be an intelligent and even gentle man, despite his outstanding prowess in battle, and they fell in love.
Before sailing to Westeros, Drogo had to return to the Dothraki holy city of Vaes Dothrak to have the marriage approved by the holy women and to see what the omens were for an assault on the Seven Kingdoms. Viserys was unimpressed by the fact they had to travel several thousand miles eastwards rather than proceeding directly to Westeros. He became petulent and even unhinged as the months-long journey proceeded. As Daenerys became more confident in her role as a Khalessi, she stopped allowing Viserys to have power over her. Ser Jorah began advising her about leadership.
When Viserys tries to strike Daenerys her guard prevents him. They offer to kill Viserys, but Daenerys won't let them. When Viserys suicidally orders Ser Jorah to kill them all. Ser Jorah does not obey, effectively changing his fealty to Daenerys.
In Vaes Dothrak the holy city, she found a kind of peace with Khal Drogo and fell pregnant with his child. The crones of Vaes Dothrak prophecised he would be a great warrior, the Stallion Who Mounts the World who would unite the Dothraki and conquer all the lands of the known world. Daenerys proclaims that his name will be Rhaego. Later at a feast, Viserys draws a sword which is punishable by death in the holy city and demands that Drogo pay for Daenerys or return her. Viserys also threatens to cut the baby out of her body so Drogo could keep it. He demands his crown.
For these grievous insults and threats, Khal Drogo pours a cauldron of molten gold over Viserys' head to kill him. Whilst regretful, Daenerys understood the necessity of this: Viserys was mad, and would make a terrible king even if he had achieved his dream.
Daenerys now became the last of the Targaryen royal lineage and, in her eyes, the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. When an assassin sent by Robert Baratheon almost killed Daenerys and her unborn child, Khal Drogo flew into a mighty rage and decreed that Westeros would fall to his khalasar. Drogo's forces moved south towards Slaver's Bay in preparation for the voyage and invasion.
In order to raise the money to hire ships and finance the invasion, the dothraki need to go on raids to aquire loot and slaves, which can be sold for funds. Daenerys is horrified by the brutality of this. Women are raped and children murdered, but she is told that this is the way of war. Unfortunately, during the raid on the Lhazareen territories, Drogo took a wound and Daenerys asks him to let a local healer treat him. Daenerys had claimed this woman and saved her life, but she had been raped, her temple desecrated, her people killed and enslaved. Instead of healing, she infects his wound so it festers and Drogo cannot ride a horse, which is unthinkable for a Khal. His command of the khalasar was threatened. Daenerys, unaware that of what the woman had done, then begged her, the maegi named Mirri Maz Duur, for aid to save her husband, but Maz Duur betrayed her again, taking the life of her unborn child Rhaego Targaryen and leaving Drogo alive but only as a drooling husk. Drogo's khalasar splintered, leaving Daenerys and only a few retainers behind.
Daenerys erected a funeral pyre for Drogo's body, and also had Maz Duur bound to it and her three dragon eggs placed upon it. The fire was started and Daenerys, to the horror of her followers, stepped into the flames. Once the flames had died down, Maz Duur and Drogo's body had been consumed, but Daenerys was unharmed. The eggs had been shattered, and three infant dragons had hatched from them. Daenerys named them Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal. Her Dothraki followers named her Khaleesi and vowed to follow her to the ends of the earth, and she named Ser Jorah Mormont as the first of her Queensguard.
Daenerys led her retinue south and east into the desolation known as the Red Wastes. This vast desert was harsh and unforgiving, and many of Daenerys' followers died, including her maid Doreah who contracted a wasting sickness. Before they are wiped out they reached the ancient deserted city of Vaes Tolorro, known as the City of Bones. Here they found wells that were clean enough to drink from and fruit trees, and they were able to recuperate. Daenerys' scouts found that they were not far from the great eastern city of Qarth on the Jade Sea. Three emissaries from Qarth come to invite her to the city. They include the masked woman Quaithe, the warlock Pyat Pree, and the trader Xaro Xhoan Daxos.
Daenerys travelled to Qarth with her followers. Her dragons were the wonder of the city and Daenerys hoped to win the use of a fleet of ships to return to the Free Cities, so she might begin plotting her return to Westeros. However, the merchant lords of the city consider Daenerys and her dragons an amusement, and weren't interested in helping her take Westeros; not seeing the profit for them. The Warlocks of Qarth have seen their power returning with the return of dragons and intend to find a way of keeping her and her dragons in the city.
Xaro Xhoan Daxos is pale skinned and wears jewels on his nose. He invites Daenerys to be a guest at his manse and repeatedly asks her to marry him. She realizes that he does not physically desire her and that he only wants her dragons. The custom of Qarth is that after marriage each one has the right to ask one thing of the other. Eventually he tires of her refusals and politely tells her to leave his manse.
Daenerys is told to come to the House of the Undying to seek counsel from the warlocks, as their visions would reveal her future, but instead of aiding her they try to imprison her there. Fortunately, she has brought Drogon with her, and he sets fire on the ancient undead warlocks and burns the place to the ground.
Pyat Pree the warlock who had brought her is furious and vows revenge. Luckily, Magister Ilyrio had despatched three ships to find her with one of his finest warriors Strong Belwas, a mighty warrior-eunuch, and his Squire Arstan Whitebeard of Westeros. They are to escort her back to Pentos. Daenerys however never does what is expected. She decides to take the ships to slaver's Bay to buy herself an army.
On the way back to the west coast, Daenerys' ships passed close to Slaver's Bay. Realising she needed a larger army if she was to return to Westeros, she decided to travel to Astapor to purchase an army there of the Unsullied, the finest warriors in all the world, eunuchs trained from childhood to obey without question. In Astapor she found a sickening society based on the exploitation of slaves. Against the advice of everyone, Daenerys agrees to give her three ships, their cargos, and even her largest dragon, Drogon, to the slavers, but in exchange she wants every one of the Unsullied, even those still in training. Once the transaction is complete and she takes posssession of her army, ordering in her mother tongue of valyrian [ "dovagedys" (unsullied), naegon mebatas (forward march) , kaeletis (halt!), Zaldrizes buzdari iskos daor" ( , a dragon is not a slave.) "drakarys" (dragonfire) ] she then orders Drogon, who is on a leash being held by one of the slavers to attack. Her dragons kill the slaver-lords and her army of Unsullied free every slave in the city. Daenerys puts a council of freedmen in power.
She then marched north and east to Yunkai and besieged the city, threatening to destroy it unless they released their slaves. That done, she led her vast train of followers (now numbering in the tens of thousands) to Meereen, which held out against her.
Outside Meereen she learned that Jorah Mormont had sent reports on her activities to Varys, King Robert's spymaster, and also that Arstan Whitebeard was actually Ser Barristan Selmy, of Aerys II and Robert's Kingsguard, in disguise. Furious, she gave them a mission to prove their newly-proclaimed loyalty. They would go into Meereen via the sewers and open the gates. Despite the extreme danger, they succeeded and Meereen fell to her. After the conquest, Jorah refused to beg for mercy and Daenerys was forced to exile him.
With the news that Astapor had fallen into infighting and ruin behind her, Daenerys decided to remain in Meereen and rule the city rather than departing immediately for Westeros. She realised she had little experience of rulership and command, skills that would be needed in the invasion of Westeros. This decision was not popular with some of her followers, who would have preferred an immediate return to Westeros, but Daenerys was determined to remain, and rule.