Warning: Spoilers for the latest episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 are discussed below.
Daenerys is now in possession of explosive knowledge. Jon Snow revealed his true heritage to her in the latest Game of Thrones episode, and The Mother of Dragons took it like a sucker punch. After suggesting that Sam and Bran had reason to make up the bombshell reveal that Jon is her legitimate nephew (and therefore ahead of her in the Targaryen line of succession), Jon stood his ground.
Jon was firm in asserting the veracity of his birthright, saying "It’s true, Dany, I know it is.” Daenerys was still not convinced. She told Jon that that “if” (emphasis on “if”) it was true, Jon would have a claim to the Iron Throne.
They did not have a chance to talk it over further before the horn alerting of the imminent invasion sounded. That unfortunate bit of timing led to one giant question. What is Daenerys going to do next after learning Jon’s true heritage? Let’s go through the possibilities.
Daenerys takes advantage of the Battle at Winterfell to take out Jon
The White Walkers invasion has provided Daenerys with a prime opportunity. If Jon Snow were to fall in battle, no one would question it. Daenerys could use the circumstances as the perfect cover to kill Jon and clear her way to the Iron Throne.
She has the motive, means, and will likely have the chance to make this choice. The question is whether she will. In the same Game of Thrones episode she learned the truth about Jon, Daenerys told Sansa that she loved him. Would she kill the man she loves to get the Iron Throne? Daenerys has a penchant for ruthlessness, so it is not out of the question.
I think she will probably be faced with having to make this decision. A moment where Daenerys will have to choose between love and power, if you will. Jon will undoubtedly end up in a life-or-death situation during the Night King’s attack on Winterfell. Will Daenerys see him struggle and decide not to help?
She could do it. If she does and Jon survives to tell the tale, it could make Jon want the Iron Throne after all. More on that later.
Daenerys concedes to Jon
Daenerys did tell Sansa that she loved Jon on Game of Thrones. If you take her at her word, she means it.
She already told Sansa how her “love” for Jon had shifted her temporary priorities from taking the throne to fighting “Jon’s war.” Spoiler alert: it is actually humanity’s war. That she refers to in a way that indicates it is a war that Jon is waging for his exclusive benefit or glory is telling. It is in her and everyone else's interest.
Let’s all assume that Daenerys actually loves Jon. As in, she loves him more than herself and what she wants. She knows that Jon is a good man. In terms of having a good-hearted ruler for the Seven Kingdoms, he would be a fitting king. She cannot morally justify fighting his claim on those grounds.
Maybe seeing Jon Snow courageously fight will make her realize that Jon is the better person to rule. Could she bend the knee to Jon when the episode is over? Assuming they survive. Jon did not physically bend the knee to Daenerys. He was bed-ridden after fighting to capture that Wight.
Not having Jon do that seems curious. Did Game of Thrones hold off on that visual because Daenerys will be the one to actually do it? That would be a moment. The question is if she does bend it, will she suggest something else while she is there?
Daenerys suggests a compromise
Daenerys agreeably going from spending her entire life trying to sit on the Iron Throne to losing her shot at it for good seems unlikely. If she acknowledges Jon Snow’s rightful superseding claim, which is a big “if,” she could aim for a compromise: marriage.
A Jon Snow/Daenerys marriage has already gotten bandied about in the final season. In the Season 8 premiere, Davos talked to Tyrion and Varys about it, suggesting that a marriage alliance would quell tensions between the North and Daenerys being their Queen. Sansa made it clear she will not accept Daenerys ruling the North when all is said and done. Could Daenerys marrying Jon get Sansa to agree to the North as part of the Seven Kingdoms?
Now, if Jon becomes king and Daenerys wants to still remain in proximity of the Iron Throne, she will want to marry Jon. Being Queen Consort of the Seven Kingdoms is not what she has been aiming to achieve. However, it is something.
On a power level, she would have the ear of the king. On a personal level, she would be able to spend her life with a good man. The thing is, Jon now knows they are related, something that seemingly grossed him out and not Daenerys. You can bet she would not be deterred by an incestuous marriage. She's awfully proud of her pure Targaryen heritage, after all. For Jon, it could be a deal breaker.
Daenerys fights Jon for the Iron Throne
Daenerys could choose to fight Jon outright for the throne. That whould make it clear to Jon that she is not the person he thought she was. The only thing possibly holding her back would be Tyrion, who she had a significant falling out with during the latest episode of Game of Thrones. They did seem to reconcile.
That Daenerys doesn't really understand that House Targaryen was pushed off the Iron Throne for a reason continues to annoy me. By the time of Robert's Rebellion, they were not good rulers. Her father was a madman, and Daenerys has given hints that she leans towards his way of thinking.
The question is whether Jon would actually want to pursue the Iron Throne, at all. Daenerys is uncomfortable with him having a claim. If he assures her that he does not want it, this may all come to nothing. Sam’s argument against Daenerys being queen seemed to impact Jon.
He has taken the power that has been put on him, but he has not sought it. If Daenerys survives the Battle at Winterfell, he will have to decide what to do. Will he lay claim to the Iron Throne and save humanity from a potentially mad queen? Or will he let Daenerys keep her claim, still believing she is as good as he thought?
Daenerys may not survive the episode, which would be shocking. Jon seems a more dependable bet at this point. How things do down in the battle could be a turning point for what both of them want afterward.
The only way to potentially unite the North behind a ruler of the Seven Kingdoms is arguably for Jon Snow to be king, even though his popularity points took a massive hit with him bending the knee to Daenerys. The North wants to maintain its independence, and Daenerys made it pretty clear to Sansa she will not go for that.
Is there a reason that came up ahead of the battle? Will Daenerys suggest Jon be the king to an independent North and give her the Iron Throne? Anything is possible at this moment in Game of Thrones history. By the end of the next episode, what Daenerys is going to do next should be more apparent. After all of the mayhem is over.
Find out what Daenerys ends up doing when Game of Thrones Season 8 continues airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.
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