Warning: This article contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, The Queens Justice.
After seven seasons of waitingand growing expectations from fansJon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen finally met face-to-face, giving us one of the more layered political encounters than weve seen for some time.
Sure,Game of Thrones has always been about political intrigueas much as its been about powerby violence. And although both Jon and Dany were never meant to play it considering their respective familial circumstances, here they both stand: the Mother of Dragons and the King in the North, finally parlaying with one another. They both came into the meeting wanting something completely different out of it, and while Jon probably has a bigger personal victory than Dany so far, theyre far from done with each other.
A knee goes unbent as we get a major Westerosi history lesson
Dany wants Jon to bend the knee. He wont, but hes not interested in the Iron Throne like Dany is. Naturally, this causes a lot of tension between them both.
Jon uses Your Grace when addressing Daenerys, but she refuses to return the gesture, instead going with a simple My Lord. Immediately the meeting is getting off the wrong foot, and the apparent disrespect, which stems fromJon not immediately pledging his allegiance to Dany, drives a stake into any sort of alliance they could forge.
As Dany reminds Jon, the last true King in the North was Torrhen Stark, who bent the knee to her ancestor Aegon the Conquererto save the lives of his people; she doesnt recognize Robb Starks claim at all, who goes unmentioned for most of the episode. In return, Aegon allowed Torrhen to become Warden of the North. Jon doesnt acquiesce when Dany offers him the same deal. For the most part, save the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryens and Starks have coexisted peacefully, at least until Roberts Rebellion.
Danys father, King Aerys II Targaryen (better known as the Mad King),murdered Jons grandfather and uncle, Rickard and Brandon Stark, with fire. Brandons death in the books played out a bit differently, but it was still at the orders of Aerys. Jons presumed father Ned helped Robert Baratheon overthrow the Targaryens and ultimately put Robert on the throne. Dany even speculatedthat Ned Stark had a hand in some of the attempts on her life. But as they both conclude, they are both not their fathers. But as a gesture, Dany goes on to ask for forgiveness for what her father did to Jons family.
Whats even more interesting in this conversation is what goes unsaid. Though its not clear that Tyrion Lannister is awarethough Varys definitely isNed Stark stepped down as Robert Baratheons Hand of the King rather than take part in a plot to assassinate Dany while she was pregnant with her and Khal Drogos child. And although both Dany and Jon had much to say about what their fathers did, they said nothing about the roles other family members had to play. Danys oldest brother Rhaegar Targaryen took Lyanna Stark, which helped lead to Roberts Rebellion; Rhaegar went unmentioned until Dany told Jon later that she named two of her dragons, Rhaegal and Viserion, after her dead brothers.
And its an important connection to note, given that Rhaegar and Lyanna are Jons true parents, which would make Dany Jons aunt. As of right now neither of them are aware of it, but Bran Stark is, and he’s now atWinterfell waiting forJon’s return.
Ive brought ice and fire together
Ive done my part, she said to Varys. Ive brought ice and fire together.
The Prince That Was Promised goes almost entirely unmentioned throughout the entire episode, except for a few hints in conversation between Varys and Melisandre. She saw that both Jon and Dany have a role to play before the end, but so does she, and while Melisandre will soon depart for Volantis, she plans to return to Westeros once more before she dies.
On the surface, ice and fire are simply referring to the meeting of House Stark (ice) and House Targaryen (fire). But, for those versed in prophecy, its another nod at one weve seen get a lot of attention this season already.
The players in Game of Thrones have often talked about the game, but the name of the book series on which its based is namechecked far less frequently. Here Melisandre alludes to it, though she stops short of citing the song of ice and fire. In the books, the song is part of the Prince That Was Promised prophecy, which Rhaegar mentioned shortly after the birth of his son Aegon.
Does this mean that Jon and Dany coming together will be the song? Its unclear, especially given their first impressions of each other. However, it wouldnt be the first time ice and fire collided given Jons parentage. Danys and Jons ancestors once made a Pact of Ice and Fire during the Dance of the Dragons, which was an agreement that promised a Targaryen princess would marry into the Stark line. It never came to pass during the Dance (and might not be a thing in the show), but its possible that Jon and Dany could, however inadvertently, one day fulfill the promises their ancestors once agreed upon.
Of two bastards, White Walkers, and a knife in the heart
Dany, for obvious reasons, doesnt really believe Jon when he says that White Walkers are coming for them all. But in the end she allows Jon to mine the dragonglass at Dragonstone, which she didnt even know resided in her new home until Jon told her, because at least itll keep him busy from plotting against her.
Thats in large part because of Tyrion, who can speak for Jon and his honor. They last crossed paths in season 1, but they still have affection for one another, something lacking in many parts of Westeros these days. Without Tyrion at Danys side, Jons plea for help mightve been dead on arrival, but Tyrion knows Jon is telling the truth. He hasnt seen the things Jon has, but despite words of wisdom from all of Jons advisors to not travel to Dragonstoneeven Tyrion wouldve advised against itJon is there to ask Dany for help anyway.
Id very much like to believe that Jon Snow is wrong, Tyrion said. But a wise man once said that you should never believe a thing simply because you want to believe it.
And while Tyrion might chalk it up to their flights of fancy, Dany definitely picked up on Ser Davos Seaworth revealing that Jon took a knife in the heart for his people. For now, Jon is keeping the fact that he died and was brought backto lifeclose to him, and for good reason. Its not really something you can bring up casually, even if it would help his cause. Its also not really a simple slip, and Dany won’t forget it easily.
As long as the wights and White Walkers are around, they’re Jons sole focus. Any long-term plans for his rule as King in the North once theyre defeated are unclear. (Would he be content staying in the North, or would he eventually make a pull for the throne?) Soon, hell have to decide what side hes on, possibly as early as the next episode if the previews are of any indication.
Jon and Dany’sfirst major encounter was one for the ages. Their next one will be even more vital.
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