As we creep closer to the series finale of Game of Thrones, there are still plenty of ends that need tying, especially the pesky question of who will live and who will die when it all comes to an end. One character we're keeping a close eye on? The Dragon Queen herself, Daenerys Targaryen. The Breaker of Chains' reign may be over before it even begins, and her demise may not be in the hands of her most obvious enemy, Cersei Lannister, but rather a Northerner who has a way of killing people who seem unstoppable.
Since Daenerys first steps foot in Westeros, there have been several signs that she is going down a path that she has no way of turning back from. While Cersei definitely takes the crown of "Mad Queen," the deaths of Daenerys's second child and her closest friend have broken a piece of the Targaryen that tempered her darker tendencies. On foreign soil and surrounded by allies who don't hold the same affection for her as those from Essos do, Daenerys is obviously lost. All she has is her anger, and the best way she knows how to utilize that is to rain down on her enemies with "fire and blood." No episode quite captures that notion more than season eight's fifth episode, "The Bells."
From any perspective, Daenerys's compulsion to react to things with anger and fire makes her dangerous, and it doesn't bode well for her reign as queen. It's that sense of danger that leads to the people around her thinking of her as a Mad Queen, and it's definitely why the Stark women don't trust her even before they meet her. After learning the truth about Jon's parents in "The Last of the Starks," both Sansa and Arya make some big decisions. Sansa tells Tyrion about Jon's parentage, knowing that Tyrion will be unable to keep it from Varys and that the information will shake the foundations of Daenerys's support.
On the other hand, Arya leaves Winterfell by horse, traveling with the Hound toward the South. As she confirms in "The Bells," Arya is traveling to King's Landing to kill Cersei since she's still a main priority on Arya's kill list. They arrive just before the Lannister soldiers close the gates, joining the surge of people let into the Red Keep to serve as a deterrent should Daenerys decide to seige the Red Keep.
When they finally reach their destination the Hound convinces Arya to turn back and find safety. "You wanna be like me? You come with me, you die here," he says to her, urging her to let go of her desire for revenge and go back home. Arya takes Sandor's words to heart and begins the arduous task of trying to find safety as the people of King's Landing scramble to escape Daenery's fiery wrath. As she runs through the city, dodging falling debris and Drogon's flames, Arya is a firsthand witness to the massive destruction the Dragon Queen is wreaking on innocent people. She attempts to save a mother and her daughter, paying the woman for saving her earlier in the episode, but the two are soon consumed by flames, and Arya herself suffers massive injuries when she's thrown by an explosion.
In the end, Arya manages to survive the destruction of the Red Keep, coming across a blood-smeared white horse that she mounts to get away from the ash-covered rubble. In the preview for the final episode of the series, the young Stark is seen watching as Daenerys's forces gather before their queen with the still-burning remains of King's Landing behind them. The look on her face is particularly foreboding and it's obvious that Arya does not plan to make nice with the Targaryen anytime soon.
Whereas Sansa plays the political angle, sowing seeds of uncertainty and discord among Danerys's council, it's more likely that Arya will be the one to put an end to Daenerys's succession. The big question is really how she will do the deed, especially since Daenerys will definitely be on guard for any such attempts after being betrayed too many times. Perhaps we'll see another use of Arya's supernatural abilities, leading to a final betrayal against Daenerys.
The only downside to this is that Arya's actions could get her killed or lead to an estrangement between her and Jon that can never be healed. A sad but small price to pay for saving the kingdom from the wrath of the Dragon Queen.