Well, folks, the beginning of the end is finally upon us. Game of Thrones started Season 8, the final season, last night, and there were several big moments. Possibly the biggest of those momentous occasions, though, was the scene that saw Jon Snow finally find out that he's actually heir to the Iron Throne, Aegon Targaryen, a.k.a. his current girlfriend's nephew. While it may be a couple of episodes yet before we see Jon have a real freakout, not to mention see what happens when Dany finds out, this particular moment was one that fans have been waiting for (unofficially) for years, especially once the theory about Jon's true parents was revealed on the show, which was roughly two years ago now.
I figure there are two main reasons why we didn't get a major bout of crying, screaming and /or hair pulling when Jon was told that he's actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. First off, Jon (and everyone else, for that matter) has spent his whole life thinking he was the bastard son of Ned Stark, so it would, naturally, take some time to really ingest the fact that that was a lie and that the truth was far stranger than he'd thought. Secondly, well, it's all about Jon's good friend Samwell Tarly, isn't it? After Sam's little powwow with Bran "I'm not his brother" Stark, he headed right into the Winterfell crypt and spilled the beans to Jon. Sam was calm, he was clear and he gave Jon all the necessary information about his true heritage.
And, regardless about how fans may have thought the long awaited moment went down, John Bradley, who plays Sam, believes that having his character deliver the parental bombshell was the best option. Here's what he had to say:
If Jon is gonna find out that key piece of information, he'd rather hear it from Sam than anybody else because he knows that Sam is the person who will be doing it for the right reasons and he's not got an agenda. He's not trying to cause trouble. He's just telling him because he feels he needs to know.
In general, most fans would probably agree that John Bradley's words about Sam are true. Ever since the two met early in their tenures at the Night's Watch, they've been friends who have been unfailingly on each other's sides and done the best to help each other through the many wild trials and tribulations that have come their way. And, Sam does still have Jon's best interest at heart...but, there is that whole thing about Dany offing Sam's people.
Right before that powwow with Bran that I mentioned earlier, Sam had his face buried in a bunch of books when Dany and Ser Jorah came in to thank him for saving Jorah's life. This conversation started off quite lovely, but turned sour when Dany had to reveal to Sam that his brother (by all accounts a good guy) and his father (not such a good guy) had both declined to bend the knee and accept her as queen, so she put them to death. Sam was unhappy to hear about his dad, probably because he was still holding out hope that he could mend fences with the stubborn old bastard at some point, but he was handling it. Then, of course, she had to tell him about his brother, which was not happy news for Sam at all.
So, armed with this unfortunate information, Sam went to Jon and told him the truth, rubbing in the fact that Jon willingly gave up his title of King Of The North because he thought joining forces with Dany and pledging himself and the North to her would be the only way to save them from The Night King and his army of undead, asking Jon if he thought Dany would be willing to do the same thing once she finds out he has a closer tie to the throne than her.
And, Sam also mentioned that Dany killed his brother and father, instead of showing a little leniency, which Jon has been willing to do many times when people wouldn't accept his leadership, probably in another effort to prove that Jon would be a better king than Dany would be as queen so that he decides to try to take the Iron Throne for himself. Even though, you know, Jon has repeatedly shunned leadership at every turn, only to have it thrust upon him again and again. So, we know that Sam was more than a little pissed at Dany by the time he spoke to Jon, but that doesn't take away the fact that he and Bran had already agreed that Jon needed to know who he really is.
Added to all this is the horrible, terrible, icky, no good fact that Jon and Dany seem to have fallen into actual love with each other, and have, well, had some unfortunately hot sexytimes for an aunt and her nephew. We haven't seen Jon have a meltdown about that fact just yet, but there's no way it wasn't on his mind when Sam told him he's really a Targaryen. And, this is another reason why Bradley thinks it was best to have Sam break the news to him. As he told Entertainment Tonight:
So as far as Jon goes, if he has to hear you've been doing... you'd rather have your loyal and honest best friend tell you.
Yeah, if you had to have someone tell you that you've actually been doing your aunt, wouldn't you want a really good friend to update you on that situation? You know, so you could take some time to vomit and cry without public humiliation and all the staring, and then quietly go break up with your father's little sister once you've composed yourself? Sounds like a solid plan to me.
We'll see how all this Targaryen business, as well as all the other messed up things on Game of Thrones, will shake out as the final season continues every Sunday on HBO at 9 p.m. EST.