Welp, “The Dragon and the Wolf” just confirmed everyone’s new OTP: Jonerys is here to stay and we got some #boatsex on Game of Thrones to prove it. In the midst of an already jam-packed finale, the show achieved romantic heights not seen since Jon and Ygritte made out on top of the Wall (RIP Wall. RIP Ygritte.). But Ice and Fire merging wasn’t just fan service to a seemingly far-fetched ship. A romance between Jon Snow née Aegon Targaryen and Daenerys has wide-ranging implications for the rest of the series. And for those of you still in the “Squick, they’re related!” camp, it’s time to lay down your swords — this pairing isn’t as off-the-wall as you might think.
It’s been widely documented in the series, the novels and in George R. R. Martin’s supplementary material, that Valyrian culture was A-OK with intermarrying relatives to keep bloodlines pure. The Targaryens were Westeros’ initial Valyrian conquerors, and their dragons ensured that despite the prudishness of the Faith of the Seven, they could continue the tradition of incestuous marriage as long as they pleased.
That said, marrying siblings to siblings eventually presents its own problems (see: insanity, obsession with fire), and incestuous marriage died out a little while before the Targaryens did, only to come back into use right about now. But we’d still be surprised if the show treated their intermarrying with the same attitude American culture would — while Dany and Jon will certainly face some friction when the truth of Jon’s parentage is made public, if Jaime and Cersei are still trying to “co-rule” publicly, the optics are going to be pretty manageable.
Also, despite decently valid complaints that a pairing between these two characters was a cheap ratings grab, the show’s actually grounded their compatibility for a long time. They share a combination of experiences few, if any, others do, and they’re very much alike. Both led lonely, abusive childhoods, and they’ve both overcome outrageous odds not only to stay alive, but to accomplish impossible goals. In addition, they’ve each grown into rulers who fight for the greater good in the face of their personal interests. In “The Queen’s Justice,” Tyrion points out their similarities to Jon and sums up why the Dragon Queen and the King in the North are well-suited to each other:
“She protects people from monsters, just as you do. It’s why she came here.”
All this common ground paired with deeply effective performances from Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke, the two falling in love (or at the very least, lust) might feel rushed, but it certainly doesn’t feel forced.
But don’t let all this romance fool you into thinking Jon and Dany are gonna trip the light fantastic into the sunset. That WOULD be forced. Given what we’ve just learned, Jon and Dany might love each other, but it’s also just become clear that his claim to the Iron Throne trumps hers. Given that her rule of the Seven Kingdoms has been Dany’s primary goal since season one, Jon’s new identity could throw a serious wrench into their new relationship.
There’s also the fact that the North isn’t likely to embrace Dany the way everyone else has, despite the promise Jon made to her in “Beyond the Wall,” that his people would come to see her as he had. There’s also the fact that Jon’s bent the knee to a foreign queen, and that’s just the latest in a few decisions he’s made that his people don’t agree with, despite choosing him as their leader.
The most recent King in the North (also chosen by the Northern lords) cut a similar path. Robb Stark followed his heart in his leadership and his marriage, and he paid for it — dearly. Talisa was the last in a long line of decisions deeply disapproved of by the many of the same vassals that have just sworn allegiance to Jon. So deeply it inspired an enterprising few to commit the most brutal massacre this show has ever seen. Granted, there aren’t any treacherous Boltons left to plot against Jon, and it’s worth noting that Talisa didn’t come with
three two dragons and a mess of soldiers. The Northern lords could look at Daenerys as a tide that raises all ships, their prejudices be damned. But the similarities between Robb’s journey and Jon’s are impossible to ignore, and thus the foreshadowing.
Finally, even if Jon and Dany defeat the odds once again to remain united, if either of them wants to rule, the line of succession is something they must seriously consider if the new world Daenerys is so committed to is to last. Tyrion broached this awkward subject to his detriment in “Beyond the Wall.” It was appropriate timing — Dany’s spent most of this season getting her batting average screwed up by Cersei, so if ever there was time to discuss an heir, it was then. The conversation didn’t go very well due to the fact that Dany is infertile, at least in terms of human children. But there’s actually a decent chance Dany isn’t as infertile as she thinks.
While not as explicitly stated in the show as it was in the books, it’s generally accepted knowledge that when Dany was tricked into trading her unborn baby’s life for Drogo’s by Mirri Maz Duur, part of the process involved destroying her ability to have any other children. That said, it’s not like Mirri Maz Duur was an all-powerful magi, and it’s not like she would’ve told Dany if the condition would eventually reverse itself. Also, an implication of the Wall’s collapse and the impending Long Night is that Westeros is in the company of more magic than it’s seen in centuries. It wouldn’t surprise us at all if somewhere in the mystical battle still to be fought in Season 8, there wasn’t one more miracle in store for this incredibly resilient pair.
We only have to wait two years to find out — see you all in 2019!
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