This story contains spoilers from Game of Thrones season 7, episode 6, “Beyond the Wall”…
It finally happened: Daenerys Targaryen lost one of her priceless children. The death of Viserion the dragon was the unexpectedly steep cost of Jon Snow’s mission to bring a wight south as proof of the Army of the Dead. Taken down by a spear hurled by the Night King himself, the twist proved that Mother of Dragons’ children are not as invulnerable as they usually seem. Potentially even worse is that the Night King then resurrected the dragon’s body to join his force, giving his undead army a powerful new weapon.
“It’s a heartbreak,” star Emila Clarke tells EW. “Not only losing it but having that being given to the other side.”
For Daenerys, the death of Viserion makes defeating the Army of the Dead all the more crucial, Clarke notes. “My dragon could not have died for nothing, so this is now so important,” she says. “For the first time, you’re starting to see her defenses broken.”
The actress admits she found it amusing, however, that of all the dragons to “join” the Night King’s team, it’s the one Dany named after her devious brother Viserys that was converted. “Of course it’s the rotten egg, of course you’d turn,” she quips.
Yet this moment of vulnerability shouldn’t let viewers forget that Daenerys has been making some rather brutal choices lately — such as her decision to roast the Tarlys that has Tyrion so concerned that she could eventually become as dangerous as her Mad King father.
“The biggest question this season for Dany is what side of the coin she’s on,” Clarke says. “The unequivocal nature in choosing to be this aggressive is something you haven’t seen before. She’s practiced patience and has this savior-like quality, but now it’s game on.”
RELATED: Hear the latest from EW’s Game of Thrones Weekly podcast
More Beyond the Wall coverage:
— Thoros of Myr actor on leaving the show
— Our deep-dive recap
— HBO’s season finale preview reveals an epic reuni0n will happen
— Our podcast (new episode Monday) where we’ll talk about what it was like on set for that polar bear fight
— HBO’s season 7 finale preview reveals epic reunion scene
— Alan Taylor on that intense frozen lake battle
— Sophie Turner and more explain that Arya tension
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO.