Warning: Spoilers for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones season 8 ahead.
Based on the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “The Last of the Starks,” Daenerys Targaryen is nearly as vulnerable as she was when the series began: Since season 8 began, she lost Jorah Mormont in the Battle of Winterfell; had her dragon, Rhaegal, killed by Euron Greyjoy in an ambush as they flew back to Dragonstone; saw her best friend and most trusted advisor Missandei executed by the Mountain; and found out that the man she's in love with, Jon Snow, is no bastard of the North, but a secret Targaryen with a claim to the Iron Throne who has the love and support of many—neither of which is being shown to Daenerys, despite the great cost she paid to come fight alongside Jon and the North in the Great War.
Daenerys realizes that if she wants to come out on top in what she called "the last war," she's going to have to make some smart choices as well as a few allies—and quickly. And she has seemingly already started doing so in "The Last of the Starks," when she legitimized Gendry Baratheon and named him the Lord of Storm’s End. When Tyrion tells Dany that the Lord of Storm’s End would be forever loyal to her now, she replies, “You’re not the only one who’s clever.”
As TIME points out, the Mother of Dragons could have had a strategic alliance through marriage in mind: If she had heard whispers about Arya and Gendry's tryst, she might have hoped that a match would help her bridge the gap between herself and Jon’s sisters. But if that was the plan, it clearly flew out the window when Arya rejected Gendry’s marriage proposal.
But TIME also points out that there could be another way Gendry could be useful to Daenerys. He has definitely proved to be a great blacksmith, constructing many dragonglass weapons used in the Battle of Winterfell (including one wielded by Arya to take down numerous wights)—which has fans theorizing that Gendry could make armor for Dany’s last dragon, Drogon, to protect him from Cersei’s dragon-killing crossbows.
"Euron’s giant crossbow proved surprisingly powerful in Cersei’s fight against Daenerys,” TIME writes. “The best way to protect Drogon from a similar fate might be some sort of armor or weapon that Gendry constructs."
Dragon armor might seem a bit random, but art from George R.R. Martin's The World of Ice and Fire has an image of Aegon riding an armored-up Balerion the Black Dread, so it seems that within the world of Westeros, there is some precedent. And based on the look on Euron Greyjoy's face in the trailer for next week's episode, something unexpected is coming.