Warning: Major spoilers about episode 7, "Beyond The Wall."
On last night's episode of Game of Thrones, we saw Jon Snow (Kit Harington) gingerly hold Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) hand as he comforts her through the loss of her dragon Viserion. Through her tears, she explains that "the dragons are my children. They're the only children I'll ever have. Do you understand?" Jon nods, but it's uncertain if he understands exactly what Dany means. Thanks to a witch's curse, the Mother of Dragons will only be able to have dragon children, never a living child of her own.
The curse comes from season 1 of the show. You may recall that Dany's husband, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), was injured by Mago (Ivailo Dimitrov), another Dothraki bloodrider, when he challenged Dany's authority as Khaleesi. He digs his arakh deep in Khal Drogo's chest, but that doesn't stop Dany's sun-and-stars from from ripping his tongue out.
The wound begins to fester, and Dany realizes that it is causing Drogo to fall ill. In desperation, she turns to the maegi Mirri Maz Duur (Mia Soteriou) — however, Mirri Maz Duur double-crosses Dany, and uses her unborn child Rhaego as sacrifice for a ritual meant to bring Drogo back to life. Instead, Drogo is rendered into a vegetative state.
Dany is inconsolable after losing both her husband and her son. She asks the maegi if she will be able to bear another child, and Mirri Maz Duur prophetically replies, "when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, when the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves, when your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child."
Since A Game of Thrones was first published in 1996, this prophecy has been dissected into a million pieces. Some believe it to be literal: Dany must travel to the west (Westeros?) and then back to the east (Essos, where she's originally from?), back to the Dothraki sea, and to a blowing mountain (maybe the snow-covered mountains beyond the Wall?), and only then will she be able to have a child. There's a whole host of interpretations of locations that she must travel to, including Asshai, an ancient city at the end of the known world that is said to exist in shadows, and is where Melisandre learned to create the shadow babies.
Some (like myself), believe that this is just a very facetious way of saying "no, you will never have children." Not every prophecy is meant to be fulfilled, some are meant to influence the way the characters think of themselves and their lives, and are realised in symbolic or metaphorical ways. Daenerys wants to be a mother, but her goals in this part of her life are much more concrete: She wants to reclaim the Iron Throne. Only then, and she said in "Beyond The Wall", will she consider her successor.
Of course, if the Azor Azhai theory proves correct, Jon Snow will need to kill his love Dany in order to fight the White Walkers (or Dany may need to kill Jon), so they may never have children at all. We've long been promised a "bittersweet" ending from George R.R. Martin, and if we know him, it will be another heartbreaking ending. This are no happy endings on this show.
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