Spoilers forward for “Winterfell,” episode 1 of Recreation of Thrones, season 8.
Within the premiere of Recreation of Thrones’ season 8, the viewers lastly bought the payoff from a secret followers have questioned about for years, which was confirmed in season 7: Jon Snow isn’t illegitimate, he’s the descendant of a Targaryen king, and the true inheritor to the Iron Throne of Westeros. (That’s when you low cost the Baratheons’ takeover of the throne, and the Lannisters’ subsequent rule.) Though final season, Sam and Bran pieced collectively the reality about Jon’s dad and mom, Jon himself has had no clue, and has been inadvertently partaking in incest by sleeping with Daenerys Targaryen, his aunt.
Whereas it was extraordinarily satisfying to listen to Sam inform Jon the reality about his heritage, Jon’s instant response to that fact raises some questions. His first response is to reject his proper to rule, saying he gave up being a king when he bent the knee. As the great, law-abiding citizen he has at all times been, Jon considers it treason to assume something totally different.
Sam’s response to that’s pretty epic: “It’s the reality. You gave up your crown to save lots of your individuals. Would she do the identical?” This revelation comes simply after Sam tells Jon that Daenerys executed Sam’s father Randyll Tarly and brother Dickon Tarly for not bending the knee. She lacked the mercy Jon has displayed a number of occasions previously, when he was put within the place of deciding whether or not to execute individuals, or spare them. And Jon apparently had no concept Daenerys was able to such ruthlessness.
Jon should now resolve whether or not he ought to proceed to obey Daenerys, or announce his heritage and have his individuals observe him as king and potential inheritor to the Iron Throne. Quite a lot of his choice might boil down as to whether he thinks Daenerys can be a worthy ruler, and whether or not she can be selfless sufficient to sacrifice for her individuals, or whether or not she values energy above all. In an eight-season present, Jon has spent lower than a full season with Daenerys, and he’s missed quite a lot of her most dramatic and critical selections — murdering the Khals of the Dothraki, crucifying slavers, and burning a witch to loss of life for betraying her, simply to call just a few.
So what does Jon even find out about Daenerys? Earlier than he sailed to satisfy her in Dragonstone in season 7, he held court docket in Winterfell to debate his plans. Throughout this dialogue, it’s made clear that Jon, like most of Westeros, is nicely conscious of the poor status the Targaryens share — significantly Daenerys’ father Aerys II Targaryen, aka The Mad King, who practically burned down the Seven Kingdoms earlier than he was stopped. Nonetheless, when Jon meets Daenerys, he primarily sees the great in her, saying, “You might’ve stormed King’s Touchdown… However you didn’t, which implies on the very least, you’re higher than Cersei.” That’s a low bar Jon is setting for Daenerys, contemplating Cersei’s many merciless acts all through the present, together with blowing up the Sept of Baelor in season 6, killing lots of.
The showrunners did foreshadow in season 7 that Jon may finally have to name Daenerys’ character into query — and that she may be extra bloodthirsty than he thought. She kills the Tarlys in season 7, by having Drogon burn them to a crisp, in an emotional scene that has Tyrion pleading together with her each step of the best way to indicate mercy. When she returns to Dragonstone, Jon remarks, “You weren’t gone lengthy.” Daenerys says, with an air of satisfaction, “I’ve fewer enemies in the present day than I did yesterday.” Her phrases vaguely hassle Jon, however he doesn’t actually know what she means till Sam tells him on this episode.
Season 7 marked a take a look at of wills the place Daenerys and Jon initially approached one another with out a lot belief. They slowly grew to admire one another’s braveness and honor. However at this level within the story, whereas sequences like their waterfall interlude are pushing the romance of their connection, there’s nonetheless a lot they don’t know and haven’t confronted about one another. Sam’s newest revelations are certain to have a major influence on Jon’s selections going ahead. In some methods, it will be handy for Jon to reject Daenerys’ rule, given the stress he’s beneath from the lords of the North. They don’t need her round both, and their numerous sophisticated histories with Home Stark have left his alliances shaky sufficient with out the query of an outsider demanding his subservience. Alternatively, as he identified, he by no means needed to be King within the North, not to mention King of Westeros.
However he’s additionally at all times proven that obligation comes earlier than his personal wishes. Which is why he has to resolve how you can stability his obligation to the Seven Kingdoms with the obligation he owes her, each as a loyal bannerman and a lover. It’s a query price posing to the viewers as nicely: in any case we’ve seen of Dany, would she be a good, simply, and smart queen? Jon’s preliminary reply appears pretty much as good as any: a minimum of she’s higher than Cersei. However now that Jon may be up for potential ruler, possibly Westeros lastly has an excellent higher candidate to think about.