When Daenerys dropped a cold-blooded assessment of Jon Snow in the middle of “Beyond the Wall,” I thought any chance for a potential romance was over. “He’s too little for me,” is not anything a potential suitor wants to hear, and Khaleesi’s metaphorical left swipe sounded like she’d moved past Jon as a romantic partner.
And yet there they were, holding hands at the end of the episode, looking closer than they’d ever been. Perhaps some of this was due to Jon finally “bending the knee” and accepting Daenerys as his queen, but there was definitely a flicker of love in the air. How else do you explain her rushing to Jon’s aid as he fought off wights in the North?
Before the show ends, Game of Thrones fans have an important question to answer: are you for or against the Jon and Dany romance? With help from two of our writers, we give you both sides of the debate, though you’ll have to make your decision on your own.
The shivers you get after seeing Dany and Jon holding hands. ♥ pic.twitter.com/sJksTe3Jo6
— A.C. Lloren (@alfcaroevan) August 21, 2017
Yes, the fate of Westeros depends on it.
OK, look. I know it’s sickening to think about an aunt hooking up with her nephew, especially if you look at it through a contemporary or even personal lens. But why would you do that? Stop torturing yourself; this isn’t about you or your extended family. Hear me out: not only would Jon and Dany be fucking hot together—you know you’re thinking it, too—they’d be the best chance Westeros has for a stable future.
They’re two of the strongest, most impassioned leaders on the show. And they happen to both want the best for humanity, as it pertains to the Seven Kingdoms. Jon has gone on crusade after crusade, on behalf of not only his house, but the houses of his allies and the Night’s Watch, literally putting his life on the line. And he’s been brought from the dead back to help push that agenda forward. What better way to do that than by sitting next to Dany on the Iron Throne?
Speaking of Dany, in the past few episodes of this season, Daenerys has proven she can’t rule alone. She’s barely heeding the advice of Tyrion, her personal advisor, and she’s making rash decisions on impulse. The most consequential of these actions led to the death of one of her “children” in “Beyond the Wall.” And it happened because of her growing attachment and affection for Jon. She picked up and flew across the Seven Kingdoms because her boy needed her. That act alone contains multitudes, but especially when it comes to assessing her personal stakes and priorities.
By no means is Game of Thrones a romcom or anything near it. But much of the show is propelled by love: the creation of it, the loss of it, and the sustaining of it. Both Jon and Dany have found love, made love, and lost it. And neither of them has been close to sustaining a serious relationship since.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the other incestuous courtship darkening the show: Jaime and Cersei Lannister. By all means, their relationship is disgusting and unhealthy, but it’s been made that way for different reasons than Jon and Dany’s potential relationship. For one, the Lannisters have obviously known from day one what the deal was. Jon and Dany, on the other hand, are still unaware of their relation (which has still yet to be confirmed, by the way). The Lannisters fuck each others’ brains out to spite the world, and they’re not afraid to burn it down to eliminate anyone who speaks against them. Dany and Jon are two strangers who both want the absolute best for all living beings in Westeros, and know how to keep their personal desires in check.
In the most recent episode, Jon and Dany connect in a way they haven’t before. When Jon wakes up after escaping the White Walkers, he finds Daenerys at his side, and they share a tender moment. They hold hands for a bit, before Dany pulls away. But there’s no denying the eye-gazing and heart-pattering that took place during those few moments. Jon acknowledges Dany’s status as true Khaleesi of the Seven Kingdoms, and Dany pledges to help Jon fight against the White Walkers. They’re finally, officially committed to one another’s missions, and I just don’t see this much action going down without some side action going down too, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down.
“I don’t think either one of them really knew exactly how powerful their feelings were towards each other until these moments,” showrunner David Benioff said about Jon and Dany in a behind-the-scenes clip breaking down the latest episode. “Just the notion of falling for someone, that involves weakness. That’s not something a queen does, but she feels that happening. And he feels it happening for her.”
In conclusion: Jon and Dany are falling in love. There’s nothing we can do now except sit, watch, reserve judgment, and enjoy the passions of the Targaryens. —Kiana Fitzgerald
No, because it will destroy them both. (Also, incest is gross.)
I can’t believe we’re even having this discussion. Maybe the relationship between Cersei and Jamie Lannister polluted everyone’s minds, but my tolerance for incest has always been and remains at absolute zero. But I have a bigger reason for opposing the relationship between Jon and Daenerys, aside from it being gross: I think they’re bad for one another if they get too close. And before you dismiss that claim, just hear me out.
During “Beyond the Wall,” Daenerys has a critical conversation about the future of the realm with Tyrion. The meat of the discussion is about a need to plan for the long-term, to anticipate how she’ll set up Westeros for prosperity over generations, not just during her lifetime. She bristles at this idea, accusing Tyrion’s focus on the long-term contributing to the short-term losses she has suffered so far.
Despite these clear warnings, Daenerys still rushes to the aid of Jon Snow when she finds out he’s in danger, against the wishes of her closest advisor. Though it would have doomed Jon and his band of merry men, it would have been a decision that allowed her to keep all three dragons (one of which she would lose in the battle north of the Wall) safe from danger. Her affection for Jon plays at least some part in the loss of one of her “children,” and one of her greatest war assets to boot. Should she come up short in a power play against the Lannister family, her inability to resist helping Jon—and a failure to convince him not to go in the first place—could loom large.
If the focus is on what’s good for the kingdom and “breaking the wheel” of power in Westeros, there’s also more value in the two retaining their distance while teaming up to save the realm. In a future where Daenerys and Jon get hitched, ignorant of their family ties, they’re simply perpetuating the cycle that has haunted Westeros for centuries. Bloodlines and marriage determining who rules is the reason we’re here to begin with, and continuing that cycle would make Daenerys just like any other ruler.
They have an opportunity to break away from that, positioning themselves as two unlikely allies whose goals are aligned on one important topic: the best way forward for all of humanity. While it’s ultimately more important that they make the best decisions possible, intertwining romance could give off the impression that they’re only paying lip service to that goal.
Maybe your average peon of Westeros is less concerned with those things than I am, but the future of the world is at stake here! And plus, even if I could get on board with the incest—which again, yuck—I can’t in good conscience have my man Jon set up with a woman who has already expressed size concerns pre-relationship. Find you a woman who loves you for you, Jon, and not somebody who has to be convinced you’re her type. —Kyle Neubeck