Finally, Dany is home. Thanks to all the trailers and promotional material for Game of Thrones season 7, it’s clear that Daenerys Targaryen has finally made it to Westeros and is ready to get her Iron Throne back. In the meantime, however, she seems to have found a makeshift home where her ancestors once lived in Dragonstone, as evidenced by the title of the season’s first episode. But this castle hasn’t completely unoccupied in all that time— so who ruled Dragonstone before Daenerys on Game of Thrones?
Like most everything else in Westeros, Dragonstone has a complicated history. Long ago it was the ancestral home of House Targaryen, which they first settled just before a catastrophic disaster wiped out their birth nation of Valyria — and all the dragons with it. The Targaryens who lived on Dragonstone became the only mighty Valyrian family to survive, and also owned the only remaining dragons left in the world. A hundred years later, they used those dragons to conquer the seven kingdoms of Westeros; while King’s Landing became the new seat of power for the Targaryens, they kept Dragonstone as a sort of practice ground for the heir to the Iron Throne.
Of course, the war that ended the reign of the Targaryens changed everything. When Robert Baratheon usurped the throne of Aerys the Mad King, he also took control of Dragonstone and made it a part of the Baratheon family’s holdings. At the beginning of Game of Thrones, Stannis Baratheon was in control of Dragonstone, but left in Season 4 to go seek aid from the Night’s Watch.
Since his death, as well as the death of pretty much every single member of the Baratheon family, I believe the castle belongs to the Lannisters now — specifically, to Cersei. Women don’t usually inherit land in Westeros, and normally it would go to Stannis’ wife or daughter first, but they’re also both dead, as are all the other male heirs in Cersei’s family (remember, technically she’s a Baratheon by marriage), and all the male heirs in the Lannister family are unable to inherit (Jaime is a Kingsguard member and Tyrion has been banished).
It makes sense that Daenerys would choose to set up camp at Dragonstone before setting off to take over the Iron Throne; she herself was born there after her remaining family fled King’s Landing during Robert’s Rebellion. It’s also easily reachable from the Narrow Sea, and there are still plenty of Targaryen loyalists living in the area — and if the Lannisters do technically own it, I can’t imagine they’re keeping a very close eye in light of everything that’s happened to them. Actually, taking land from Cersei has probably got to be an added perk for both Dany and Tyrion, huh?
It will remain to be seen whether or not Daenerys goes ahead with her quest to take over the rest of the continent, but for now, at the very least, she’ll be in the first place the Targaryens ever settled in Westeros. She might not win the Game of Thrones, but at least she finally has a place of her own to rule.