Daenerys Targaryen is a fictional character in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels, as well as the television adaptation, Game of Thrones, where she is portrayed by English actress Emilia Clarke. In the novels, she is a prominent point of view character. She is one of the most popular characters in the series, and The New York Times cites her as one of the author's finest creations.
Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Daenerys is one of the last two surviving members (along with her older brother, Viserys) of the House Targaryen, who, until fourteen years before the events of the first novel, had ruled Westeros from the Iron Throne for nearly three hundred years. She subsequently appeared in A Clash of Kings (1998) and A Storm of Swords (2000). Daenerys was one of a few prominent characters not included in 2005's A Feast for Crows, but returned in the next novel A Dance with Dragons (2011).
In the story, Daenerys is a young woman in her early teens living in Essos. Knowing no other life than one of exile, she remains dependent on her abusive older brother, Viserys. She is forced to marry Dothraki horselord Khal Drogo in exchange for an army for Viserys, who is to return to Westeros and recapture the Iron Throne. Her brother loses the ability to control her as Daenerys finds herself adapting to life with the khalasar and emerges as strong, confident and courageous. She becomes the heir of the Targaryen dynasty after her brother's murder and plans to reclaim the Iron Throne herself, seeing it as her birthright. A pregnant Daenerys loses her husband and child, but soon helps hatch three dragons from their eggs, which regard her as their mother, providing her with a tactical advantage and prestige. Over time, she struggles to maintain control of her dragons. She also acquires an army with which she conquers the cities of Yunkai, Astapor and Meereen, determined to end slavery and injustice there. Despite her strong moral compass, she is capable of dealing ruthlessly with her enemies, particularly the slave masters. She establishes herself as a powerful and relentless ruler.
Well-received by critics and fans alike, Clarke received Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Daenerys in the HBO series in 2013, 2015, and 2016. She has also earned many other nominations and accolades for her portrayal.