The best Daenerys episodes to prep for House of the Dragon

The three-plus-year drought of Game of Thrones-related content is finally coming to a close, as HBO’s prequel series House of the Dragon is set to premiere toward the end of August. It will chronicle the beginning of the end of the Targaryen dynasty in Westeros, leading both the family and the dragons they brought to become endangered.

Emilia Clarke’s portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones undoubtedly made her and her character a fantasy icon alongside the likes of Jon Snow and, despite a controversial close to the show, had one of the most engrossing character arcs. From the birth of her three draconic sons to her explosive arrival in Westeros, these are some of the best Daenerys-themed episodes worth revisiting before House of the Dragon‘s premiere.

Winter is Coming (season 1, episode 1)

daenerys looking on somberly in game of thrones' series premiere.

The series premiere of Game of Thrones was a fairly raw opening on all accounts. Winter is Coming set the stage for how gripping and relentless this dark-fantasy epic would be. It introduces all the key players — at the time — and starts to set them up on the gritty playing board.

That goes for Daenerys’ story opening in Essos, alongside her sadistic brother Viserys Targaryen and their exiled companion Jorah Mormont. It’s a powerful episode that begins with her being unwillingly sold to the Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo. Even if her story here is hard to stomach at times, it sets up the cruelty of the world and how Daenerys would come to navigate it throughout the series.

A Golden Crown (season 1, episode 6)

dany with blood on her mouth in game of thrones.

By the time of A Golden Crownit becomes satisfying to see Daenerys progressively learn to turn her grim situation into a source and position of strength. The season continues to tease the character’s greater purpose with the supposedly petrified dragon eggs, and just as satisfying as her growth in this episode is Viserys’ continually waning power, petty frustration, and ultimate demise.

The sight of Daenerys eating a horse’s heart is equal parts grotesque and strangely empowering, with the once-scorned wife winning over a whole room’s worth of a barbaric warrior tribe’s members. The perfect close comes as she stands up to her cruel brother and Jason Mamoa’s imposing Khal Drogo gives Viserys the “golden crown” he so craved.

Fire and Blood (season 1, episode 10)

daenerys emerging from the ashes with baby drogon on her shoulder.

Daenerys and the rest of the Khalasar tribe are in increasingly dire straits following Drogo’s vegetative state, with the maegi unable to bring him back through dark magic. After mercy-killing Drogo, she walks into the scorching pyre that she used to send off her late husband and kill the maegi that put him in this state.

Fire and Blood was a perfect way to close Game of Thrones‘ first season, and, especially after episode 9 with Ned Stark’s death, showed that this series doesn’t play it safe. Seeing Daenerys rise out of the pyre’s ashes the following morning with her three baby dragons in tow is undoubtedly one of her most iconic moments of the entire series and gave a glimpse to her growing power that would fully develop in later seasons.

And Now His Watch Is Ended (season 3, episode 4)

a stern daenerys with an explosion of drogon's fire in the background.

Season 2 of Game of Thrones saw Daenerys stumble more often than not as she was still growing into her leadership role, but season 3 brought another one of her most powerful moments during And Now His Watch Is Ended. The episode sees her negotiate with a slave trader and ruler of Astapor for his Unsullied army, with the trader insu