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Game of Thrones has come a long way since Season 1, and most of the original characters who are still alive in Season 6 barely resemble their younger selves. The latest episode was a perfect reminder of just much Daenerys Targaryen has changed over the years with regard to the Dothraki. Instead of allowing the assembled khals to decide which dismal fate awaited her, Dany turned the meeting into a reckoning by burning them all alive. She awesomely walked out of the flames naked but very much alive, leading an awed Dothraki horde to bow before her. According to actress Emilia Clarke, the scene was a long time coming for her character.
The idea of what she does in Vaes Dothrak. It’s something she’s been thinking of the entirety of Season 6. But it’s only when she sees Jorah and Daario that she knows she can actually go through this because there will be someone on the other side.
Emilia Clarke’s reveal that Dany has had this plan in the works for a while makes a lot of sense. Dany’s arc over the first four episodes of Season 6 saw her thrust into a very dangerous situation in which her only real advantage was a knowledge of Dothraki customs, but she never seemed to truly panic once she got her bearings. Her idea to set aside her Meereenese queen mantle and channel her inner khaleesi goes a long way to explain why she seemed to be biding her time. She wasn’t waiting for rescue; she was gathering allies to choose the opportune moment.
The tent in which Dany burned the khals alive was the perfect setting for her to make a big damn Targaryen move. It was the same place where her brother Viserys died after molten gold was poured on his head. Fire cannot kill a dragon, and fire did not kill Daenerys. Who needs clothes when there are tens of thousands of non-believers to be recruited?
Interestingly, Dany’s conflagration of the khals was actually the first time that Emilia Clarke went entirely nude since Season 3 of Game of Thrones. She’s spoken out in the past about the importance of nude scenes actually contributing something other than bare skin to a plot. Dany walking naked and unafraid out to greet a horde of Dothraki may well be the most powerful nude scene in the history of Game of Thrones.
Personally, I’m pretty psyched about where the show is going next with Dany. She’s been separated from the rest of the story of Game of Thrones for most of the show, and the addition of a Dothraki horde to her army could mean that she’ll be moving toward Westeros sooner rather than later. Dany has always been more compelling as a khaleesi on the move than a queen on the throne, and the rest of the season may well see a lot of progress.
To catch more of Emilia Clarke being badass as Daenerys Targaryen, tune in to Game of Thrones on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. To see what you’ll be able to watch once Season 6 of Thrones comes to an end, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.