Here’s whether Daenerys loves Drogo really:
In both the books and the TV show, it seems pretty clear that Daenerys really does love Drogo.
At the very least, she seems to love him deeply from her own perspective.
She demonstrates this several times in the story, especially after he dies and she willingly walks into his funeral pyre as a show of devotion.
So if you want to learn all about whether Dany really loves Drogo from both the books and TV show perspectives, then this article is for you.
Let’s dig right in!
Does Daenerys Really Love Drogo? (2 Mediums)
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you probably already have your own opinion on this.
If you only watched the show a little or casually glanced at the books, you might be less invested.
Regardless, it was a cultural phenomenon at one point, so you might be curious.
Does Daenerys really love Drogo?
I think the answer is yes.
But there’s a lot to unpack before I can prove that to you.
Before I really get into the details, let’s cover the spoiler warning.
The explanations below cover details regarding the Game of Thrones storyline.
I’ll be explaining both the TV series and the books, so either way, you’re facing spoilers if you aren’t caught up on one of the most popular franchises ever.
For the most part, everything I’m going to discuss takes place in A Game of Thrones (the first book in the series) and the first season of the TV show, Game of Thrones.
At this point in the story, the TV show closely mirrors the events of the books, but there are some discrepancies.
The ultimate point here is that you are facing some serious spoilers, so you have been warned.
#1 In the Books
Since the books were the source material for the TV show, let’s start with George R. R. Martin’s writing.
Here’s a quick recap of what happened.
Dany (short for Daenerys) is sold as a bride to Khal Drogo.
Her brother actually arranges the marriage, and in return for his sister, he is promised a powerful army.
Dany weds Drogo, and they are together for some time.
Later in the book, Drogo is wounded and gets sick.
He eventually dies from the sickness.
Dany enlists the powers of a witch to try to bring him back.
It goes awry.
Dany euthanizes Drogo.
There is then a funeral for Drogo where his body is burned, and Dany walks into the fire.
Ultimately, she is unhurt by the fire, and her dragons hatch.
It’s the end of the first book and caps what you might call a love story within the book series.
So, through all of that, did Dany really love Drogo?
In fact, it’s easy to say yes because the narration in the book makes that abundantly clear.
Dany is not in love with Drogo from the very beginning.
For the most part, she fears him.
But, over time, they establish something of a relationship (Drogo comes from a tribe with pretty brutal customs), and eventually, she truly believes that she loves him.
This is exemplified when she finds out that she is pregnant.
She’s absolutely thrilled to bear his child and they seem to grow closer as a result.
When Drogo dies, Dany is completely distraught and desperate.
It’s why she turns to sorcery to bring him back.
And, when he comes back as a brain-dead shell of a man, her love for him and who he was is why she feels the need to put him out of his misery.
When she walks into Drogo’s funeral pyre, it’s an expected custom for the Dothraki, and Dany goes through with it out of a sense of devotion to her husband.
At that point, she’s already convinced that she won’t actually burn, but from her perspective, walking into the fire is an important act of symbolism.
#2 In the TV Show
In the books, we know that Dany for sure loves Drogo because books can say these things directly.
In the TV show, it’s not as perfectly clear.
Her character does claim to love Drogo at different points but based on how things go by the end of the TV series, it’s safe to say that we can’t always take Dany at her word.
Despite that, it’s still reasonable to say that Dany does in fact love Drogo.
The journey is a little different, as Drogo is much more brutal in the show than he was in the books—especially in the early parts of their relationship.
But, by the time Dany is pregnant, she’s thoroughly thrilled to carry Drogo’s child.
When Drogo dies, she’s just as distraught in this medium, and she goes through the same emotions.
In fact, it’s safe to say that Dany’s actions—driven by her love of Drogo—set into motion one of the major plotlines in the whole show.
Dany ends up where she does by the end because of what she does in the face of Drogo’s death.
Their destinies are intertwined from the beginning of the story, and it’s not at all unreasonable to think that Dany grew to love Drogo during their time together.
Why Does Daenerys Love Drogo? (2 Perspectives)
Some of this might sound romanticized, and to some fans of the series, suggesting that Dany could ever be in love with Drogo might sound abhorrent.
After all, their relationship does not begin with flowers and chocolates.
Drogo is a brutal leader of a brutal tribe, and his wife is not spared any of the customs or treatment.
Dany clearly fears Drogo at the beginning, in both the books and the show, and one could suggest that their early physical relationship is not exactly consensual (I’m trying to use soft language here).
This leads to an inevitable question.
Why does she love him?
Is it just Stockholm syndrome, or is there something else involved?
The answer varies depending on whether we focus on the books or the show.
However, there are some compelling reasons for her love that are right in line with her character.
#1 In the Books
Once again, we’re starting with the books.
Now, it’s safe to say that any reasons I give for Dany’s feelings in the TV show can also apply to the books, but the development of their relationship is significantly different.
Dany is 13 in the books when she marries Drogo (don’t blame me, I didn’t write it).
As such, he’s actually a lot softer with her than is portrayed in the TV show where she’s a little older (still only 16).
Because of this, the transition from Dany being obviously scared to finding common ground with Drogo is a little more natural and easier to follow.
With a little time, Dany is able to see how Drogo cares for her and how he is able to express that while still living up to the expectations of his tribe.
You don’t have to agree with her assessment, but the narration makes it clear that this is how Dany sees things.
Drogo is her husband. He is faithful to her and does protect her.
He does elevate her position in the tribe, and all of these things are deliberate.
If we wanted to, we could boil all of this down to a central theme.
I would argue that Dany comes to love Drogo because it is with him that she finds a sense of acceptance.
She and her brother were persecuted as children.
She was far too young to understand why when she was driven from her home and chased by people who wanted to kill her.
Her brother had to beg for food and money to feed them both, and she grew up rough.
Even though her brother did take care of her, he was wildly abusive, and when he had the chance to sell her for power, he did so without hesitation.
Dany did not know love or acceptance at any point.
Even if Drogo’s acceptance was foreign and wild to her, as she came to understand him better, she found that she had a real place with him.
He would not sell her or betray her.
Additionally, she had an elevated position among the Dothraki people.
While it was a patriarchal society, Dany surely saw comforts that were not afforded to any average woman around her.
The other Dothraki worked hard to teach her the customs and help her genuinely become one of them.
So, she found acceptance, and that probably felt a lot like love.
#2 In the TV Show
It’s possible that Dany came to love Drogo in the TV show because she felt accepted, but it seems like a less important reason.
As I said before, she was 16 when she married Drogo in the show, and so her marriage was a little less formative to her transition into adulthood.
By the time TV Dany marries Drogo, she already has some clear ideas about how the world works.
It seems that her feelings for him are tied a lot more to her feelings for herself.
As Dany learns to see herself in a better light, she grows fonder of Drogo.
Destiny and Legacy
The book series isn’t finished, so we don’t know how Dany turns out at the end in George R. R. Martin’s version, but we do know the ending of the TV show.
Dany was ultimately a power-driven, ruthless human being.
Her last days made clear that she believed in her own destiny and greatness, and ruling was her birthright.
This might sound weird, but part of why she loved Drogo was because he helped her come to this state of mind.
Growing up desperate, she never dreamed of her own greatness.
She assumed she would see her brother rise to power.
But, when Drogo killed Dany’s brother, she realized that it was never his destiny to rule.
It was hers.
The realization is slow and gradual, but it really is her relationship with Drogo that convinces her she can be more than just a pawn and a slave.
Whether or not you think it’s reasonable for her to credit Drogo with all of this, it’s how things happened from her perspective.
After Drogo dies, Dany decides that she will rule the Dothraki, and eventually the continent.
All of that starts with her marriage, and she loves Drogo for helping her find the sense of destiny and legacy that would eventually drive her to greatness.
Also, she’s a little crazy from the start, so you can factor that in if you like.
This ties in with her sense of destiny.
Dany comes to the conclusion that she is destined to rule, but there’s more under the surface.
With the Dothraki, she learns and experiences a lot of new things.
She learns how to connect and communicate with her brutal husband, and his treatment of her eventually softens as a result.
She finds it empowering.
Needless to say, the crazy journey she experiences while married to Drogo is filled with personal growth.
As she finds her sense of acceptance and her drive to destiny, her self-confidence also grows.
It seems natural that she associates that growth with her husband and their relationship.
If not for that marriage, she might never have come to feel these feelings or grow in the ways that she did.
It makes sense.
Part of the reason she loves Drogo so much is that she cannot separate him from the new version of herself that she has also come to love.
Arguably, you could distill it all down to power.
Dany has a lot of moments in the show where she shows maturity, wisdom, strategy, and more.
She’s not a flat character, and it’s not fair to say that everything she does is for the sake of power.
But, she was effectively raised by a brother who did everything for power.
She had a rough childhood because of power.
She was sold to Drogo for power.
Her sense of power was core to her being and everything she believed about the world.
Dany’s marriage to Drogo gave her power.
Even after her brother’s death, it was clear that she could convince Drogo to try to conquer Westeros, which was her brother’s original goal.
Drogo rules one of the most powerful military forces in the world, and Dany learns to influence him.
He is a source of power, and she loves power.
Therefore, she loved Drogo as a consequence.
In my opinion, this is only part of the whole story, and she probably did have softer feelings of love too, but this is definitely part of the equation.