She done did it. After years of wearing a blonde wig on Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke has dyed her hair Targaryen blonde for the very first time.
Now, pay very close attention to that Insta description, as it’s important. Clarke isn’t just thanking her hair people, she’s thanking the wig wizards who have made her (and all the other) wigs on this show.
This final thanks presumably means Clarke won’t be wearing a wig in season eight, which is significant: browsing through the other selfies she’s taken, we’ve noticed her hair hasn’t just turned blonde, it’s gone short.
Game of Thrones fans are constantly tracking the hair habits of their favourite actors, whether it’s analysing why Cersei’s kept her hair short, wondering if Sansa’s dye-job is a spoiler, or gawping at Varys with actual hair.
Okay, so those are frivolous examples, but when the show genuinely does weave plot-turns into hair-choices (remember how much Sansa’s style said about her character in season seven?), we can’t help but analyse. And there’s plenty to discuss here.
It’s entirely possible that we’ve fallen into a Throneshole of fan theory and wishful thinking – the withdrawal symptoms are hitting pretty hard now – but for the sake of argument, we’ll assume Clarke isn’t planning to put extensions in, because why go to all the faff of bleaching her hair if so? Why not just stick with the wigs?
SO. If Daenerys has got short hair in season 8, what’s the best theory for this drastic makeover? Well…
1. Dany goes evil
The haircut could be seen as evidence for a fan theory that’s been around for as long as the books.
Namely, that Dany’s going to go all ‘Mad King’ (sorry, ‘Mad Queen’) like the last Targaryen to rule Westeros, Aerys, who notably burned all of his subjects, something Dany wasn’t shy about doing last year.
But what does the hair have to do with Dany going bad? Well, coincidentally or not, Emilia’s shorter cut is closer to the length Aerys rocks in Bran’s flashback vision.
Come to think of it, it’s also basically the same length as the hair of her brother Viserys, who was also an evil idiot.
Is this a subtle hint to a big change for the character, one that’s been alluded to frequently on the show? Or is it a more specific plot point?
2. Cersei forces her to do the walk of shame
Cersei hates Dany with every fibre of her being. She sees her as a threat to everything she holds dear. If Dany does eventually make her way into King’s Landing, you can bet Cersei won’t be happy about it.
And what’s the worst possible punishment she could think of for an upstart queen? Why, the worst experience she’s ever been through, the walk of shame, shame, shame.
The Sparrows may be long gone, but their favourite punishment will have lingered long in Cersei’s memory, and a key part of the ritual of the walk of shame is getting your hair lopped off.
Could that be the fate of Dany’s locks? Or does the hair loss involve something a bit closer to home?
3. She gets attacked by her dragons
Now, bear with us on this one, because it contradicts everything you know about the show. Yes, in season one when Dany walked through the fire to birth her dragons, her clothes burned away but her hair was untouched, because she’s immune to fire, right?
Um, wrong. She actually kept her hair because the showrunners decided that while total nudity made sense for the telly version of the character, wearing a bald cap did not.
In George RR Martin’s books, both Dany’s clothes AND hair burn away when the dragons are born. Could the same book-faithful thing happen if they turn on her in season eight?
There’s an easy way to retcon season one so it happens that way in season eight – normal fire doesn’t harm Dany’s hair, but DRAGON fire does.
One of those dragons has a very good reason to be annoyed. Drogon’s cool, he’s clearly Dany’s favourite and has been fairly spoiled. Rhaegal, on the other hand, well, Rhaegal has plenty of problems to take up with his mother.
Locked away in a too-small space for most of season four (with brother Viserion), Rhaegal has been treated cruelly by Dany – a situation that’s never really been resolved. Possibly because at least Rhaegal had Viserion (who he probably bonded with in that pyramid) to share the burden.
Well, until his mother made the terrible decision to fly north of the wall to take on the Night King, leading directly to Viserion’s death.
Are dragons forgiving, or do they hold grudges? Clarke’s haircut could hold the answer.
But perhaps there’s a much simpler solution…
4. She decides to join the fight
Because Dany’s got dragons, we’ve never really seen her join the fray. She’s usually burning enemy soldiers from a distance, or running away from them on the back of one of her pets.
So, could the haircut signify that’s about to change? Most warriors prefer to keep their hair short so enemies can’t gain an advantage by grabbing at it – has Dany gone for a tactical chop, to give her more manoeuvrability on the battlefield?
Of course, there are warriors in Westeros who prefer to keep their hair long, warriors Dany is very close to. Perhaps their traditions are the key to understanding the dragon queen’s style change?
5. She loses a major fight
Dothraki warriors wear their hair LONG, braiding it as it grows. Plenty of people have compared Dany’s season seven braiding to her ex-sun and stars Khal Drogo’s hairdo, so it makes sense to wonder if Dany gets a cut for the same reasons he would.
Dothraki warriors only cut their hair after they’ve lost a battle: could it be the same for Dany?
6. It’s a symbol of leadership
Of course it could be a lot less complicated, it could simply be that Dany’s taking a leaf out of Cersei’s look-book and has decided that the Seven Kingdoms prefer a blonde leader with a trimmed barnet, and is acting accordingly.
Whatever the reason, we’ll find out when Game of Thrones returns – which gives us plenty of time to speculate further.