Game of Thrones: See how much the cast has changed since the first season

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Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, is another character who began the show as an awkward teenager. Though Clarke was in her mid-twenties when she began her role on Game of Thrones, Daenerys is younger and far more timid when her brother sells her off to the Dothraki in exchange for an army.

During the first season alone, Daenerys transforms from a young woman without much agency into a Khaleesi who isn’t afraid to take control of a situation. Even after she loses Viserys and Khal Drogo, Daenerys refuses to relinquish the power she’s gained. Instead, she takes it upon herself to pursue the Iron Throne—bringing three dragons to life in the process.

Following the first season, Daenerys travels from city to city, learning how to be a leader and growing bolder in her quest to claim the throne. She frees countless slaves from Slaver’s Bay, and she even convinces  the Dothraki to join her cause.

Episode 64 (season 7, episode 4), debut 8/6/17: Emilia Clarke.

photo courtesy of HBO

Of course, as Daenerys grows bolder, she also becomes increasingly ruthless. Making Tyrion one of her advisors, and eventually her Hand of the Queen, was one of her smarter moves, as he’s one of the characters capable of reigning in her temper. With Tyrion’s help, Daenerys also finally manages to make the journey to Westeros, driving her one step closer to claiming her throne.

In the most recent season of the show, Daenerys learns to balance her merciless approach to taking the throne with Tyrion’s insistence that they take control peacefully. She experiences failures after landing on the shores of Westeros, but she also makes allies—and thanks to Jon, she realizes that the fight for the throne may not be the most important thing there is.