With the highly anticipated House of the Dragon premiering on August 21, fans will be treated to various Targaryen characters who can continue the legacy House Targaryen created on-screen with Daenerys in Game of Thrones. The young Mother of Dragons turned Mad Queen was a standout in the series, with so many crucial episodes that may be worth watching before the upcoming prequel.
From episodes that further her relationship and storyline with her dragons to huge steps in her journey toward reclaiming her throne, there are a handful of important Daenerys episodes in Game of Thrones every Targaryen fan should watch. More importantly, these episodes may reference the Targaryen dynasty as a whole, which will be vital to understanding the historical lore in House of the Dragon.
10 ‘Winter Is Coming’ (S1.E1)
There is no better episode to watch before House of the Dragon than the Game of Thrones pilot episode. It is a great first outing that helps set the scene for House Targaryen at that time, introducing a then-young and innocent Daenerys Targaryen. For Daenerys specifically, this episode gets the audience sympathizing with and rooting for her character as she is forced into marrying Khal Drogo (a crucial step in her journey) orchestrated by her insufferable older brother and not-so-good Targaryen character Viserys.
Many will see how Daenerys has grown since this episode, starting as a quiet and shy girl who will soon find her voice after enduring these hardships and finding her strength soon after. Seeing part of the journey of how the Targaryens go from the power of the Iron Throne to exile across the sea will be an interesting element of House of the Dragon.
9 ‘A Golden Crown’ (S1.E6)
Daenerys has many turning points in her story, and this is one of the earliest as she undergoes a ritual that would proclaim her and Drogo’s son, the Khal to unite the lands. It also sees her stand idly by as her brother is killed. Khal Drogo’s killing Viserys with a crown of molten gold is one of the show’s most satisfying deaths, and Daenerys letting it happen truly established how little faith she had in him as a potential ruler.
Whereas Daenerys initially couldn’t talk back against her vile brother, this episode showed that she was no longer afraid and courageously stood up against him. This Targaryen dynamic between family members was fun to watch in the early episodes of season 1, and it may not be the last fans witness the tension between Targaryen households. The House of the Dragon trailer hinted that these kinds of relationships will deliver on a lot of blood and intrigue, especially as the central storyline in the upcoming series.
8 ‘Fire And Blood’ (S1.E10)
‘Fire And Blood’ may well be the most important Daenerys episode, as she not only lost Drogo, but she became the Mother of Dragons and gained a following that would eventually help her rule Westeros. This episode will be crucial for watching House of the Dragon, as the first dragons in generations are born, with the prequel exploring a time when they roamed Westeros freely before becoming extinct.
Daenerys blood sacrifice of Mirri Maz Duur gave her children and set her well on her way to being a leader throughout the land before conquering Westeros. Without her dragons and these events, she likely would have never launched her conquest for the throne, yet history repeats itself as another Targaryen fights to claim the Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms.
7 ‘And Now His Watch Has Ended’ (S3.E4)
Season 2 was a notoriously boring time for Daenerys storywise. Still, things picked up again in season 3, and in this episode, she showcased her unique bond with her dragons and her potential brilliance as a ruler of the people.
This episode is vital for Daenerys as she showcases her often underrated intelligence by outsmarting Kraznys and subsequently takes control of the Unsullied (who would be essential in taking the Iron Throne), killing their masters, and retaining her dragons. That bond with her dragons is also super important, as their unwavering loyalty to her is on full display here. This will likely be crucial to House of the Dragon as the series will introduce a greater array of dragons and illustrate their relationship as a key part of retaining their sovereign power for so long.
6 ‘The Dance Of Dragons’ (S5.E9)
Daenerys’ time in Meereen may have been pretty shambolic, filled with death and poor decisions, but one crucial piece of Daenerys’ story came out of it all: her riding her fully grown, colossally-sized dragon for the first time.
Again on full display is the dragon’s never-ending loyalty and willingness to protect Daenerys, as well as their trust in her. Their bond is so fantastic to watch unfold, and seeing silver-haired Targaryens flying around Westeros in House of the Dragon will bring fans back to this awesome moment that really paved the way.
5 ‘Book Of The Stranger’ (S6.E4)
Daenerys’ conflict with the Khals reaches its climax in ‘Book of the Stranger,” as she once again proves herself unbroken, unburnt, and unable to be bent to anyone’s will no matter their strength or numbers.
Defying the Khal’s plans and capture of her, Daenerys kills them all and, in the process, walks through fire – again showcasing that dragon blood runs through the Targaryen veins – regains her three beloved dragons and proves herself to the Dothraki as a capable leader. From this point on, it is all steam ahead to Westeros, where House Targaryen would reach the highest of heights to being pretty much eradicated.
4 ‘The Winds Of Winter’ (S6.E10)
In terms of the Targaryen lineage, ‘The Winds of Winter’ is crucial as the R + L = J theory is confirmed, and a new Targaryen is revealed to audiences. On top of that, it is a great Daenerys episode, continuing on from her badassery in ‘The Battle of the Bastards.’
The episode is one of the best in Game of Thrones and sees Daenerys gather her forces together and proclaim Tyrion Lannister as Hand of the Queen, a historic moment between houses. They then set course for Westeros, some twenty-plus years after the death of her father and the end of the Targaryen dynasty, making it historically important. This scene replicates a similar conquest undertaken by her ancestors hundreds of years before her, particularly Aegon the Conqueror, and details of the Targaryen conquest could be mentioned in House of the Dragon.
3 ‘Dragonstone’ (S7.E1)
Many Game Of Thrones fans spent seasons wondering when Daenerys would actually reach Westeros, and that finally came in the episode ‘Dragonstone,’ where she touches the sand and asks “Shall we begin?” That alone is enough to make this one of the best/most important Daenerys Targaryen episodes, as she returns to the land she and her family were forced to flee from years ago.
Given that Dragonstone is the Targaryen ancestral home, House of the Dragon could likely feature this location, making this episode an important event in Targaryen history for more than just Daenerys’ personal journey.
2 ‘The Spoils Of War’ (S7.E4)
There are numerous essential episodes and moments for Daenerys throughout season 7 as she meets Jon Snow and begins building up to her eventual taking of the Iron Throne. But, ‘Spoils of War’ may well be her best overall episode of the season, as she goes into her first battle since arriving in Westeros and demonstrates her military might with her formidable army and dragons.
What makes this so crucial for Daenerys is how much her power is on display. Even when the odds seem initially stacked against her, she is capable of using her dragons to remind everyone why she is the favorite to rip the Iron Throne from Cersei’s clutches. Fans get crucial glimpses of the upcoming Mad Queen, see the dragon-bond in full effect, and see the creatures’ potential to cause utter destruction, an aspect of House of the Dragon fans are hotly anticipating.
1 ‘The Bells’ (S8.E5)
Arguably low in quality but high in importance, ‘The Bells’ is the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones and the episode in which Daenerys transforms into the Mad Queen, following in her father’s footsteps. Daenerys arrives at Kings Landing and destroys the Iron Fleet before burning Kings Landing to a crisp and overthrowing Queen Cersei Lannister. There were pieces of foreshadowing to this throughout the series, but it did all feel rushed and ultimately anticlimactic for the character’s journey.
Nevertheless, its importance cannot be understated as it acted as the catalyst for Daenerys’ death, the destruction of the Iron Throne, and Bran becoming King, all while killing off Cersei and many, many lives in Kings Landing. Seeing Daenerys fall so far from grace is heartbreaking. Still, it does help fans to expect anything from every Targaryen in House of the Dragon, especially if they do not already know their individual stories.