Yes, she’s technically the Mother of Dragons, but Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen is also the mother of braids. Throughout the show’s epic eight season run, actress Emilia Clarke has traded her naturally brunette tresses for Khaleesi’s luscious (and lengthy!) icy blonde locks, and, in the process, she’s rocked some pretty spectacular plaits.
If you’ve noticed Dany’s ‘dos have undergone a bit of an evolution over the years, your eagle — ahem, dragon — eyes do not deceive you. Like so many things in Westeros, her hairstyles actually have quite a bit of significance and offer a great deal of insight into her past.
As Buzzfeed reported, Khaleesi’s strong braid game is actually indicative of her literal strength on the battlefield. Fans of the show know the Dothraki tradition of adorning their plaits after victories and cutting them off in defeat as a symbol of their shame, which would explain why Daenerys’ wondrous weaves have multiplied as the show has progressed.
The Mother Dragons notably gained braids after the liberation of Slaver’s Bay in season three and triumph over the Lannister army in season seven, but it’s not just the intricacy of the plaits that represents her ferocity — it’s her hair length as well.
Since Dothraki cut off their braids after losses, those with less success would theoretically have shorter hair. But Khaleesi’s platinum mane has only lengthened over time, much in the way her late husband, Khal Drogo, (who never lost a battle) had mile-long locks.
With the premiere of the eighth and final season officially out in the world, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of Daenerys’ best plaits because, no matter who ends up on the throne, she will always be the queen of badass braids. Keep scrolling to see our favorites!