Features and Columns · TV

Game of Thrones: The Big Season 7 Reveal Creates The Big Season 8 Question

There’s a lot going on between ‘The Dragon and the Wolf.’
Jon Snow Real Name Aegon Targaryen
By  · Published on August 27th, 2017

There’s a lot going on between ‘The Dragon and the Wolf.’

It’s been mere minutes since Game of Thrones ended its seventh season, and there are a number of questions that we’re left with. In the coming days, the internet writ-large will attempt to answer them as we begin The Long Offseason. But as we look back at the 81-minute exposition-a-thon that was ‘The Dragon and The Wolf,’ there’s one huge question created by this story’s biggest reveal.

But it’s a big spoiler, so we’ll do a spoiler warning first. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, turn back for now.

Jon Snow isn’t Jon Snow, nor is he Jon Sand. As Bran and Sam discover in their fireside chat, Jon is really the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, who were married in secret before having their son in a tower in Dorne. The boy’s name was Aegon Targaryen and by right, he is the heir to the Iron Throne.

But… Ole’ Aegon Targaryen is currently on a boat having sexy time with, unbeknownst to him, his Aunt Dany.

The big reveal of season 7 is what will create the big question of season 8 (or at least, the beginning of season 8): how will the news of Jon’s true name and lineage change things?

The first person for whom this might change things is Daenerys, who is currently testing the witch Mirri Maz Dur’s prophecy that she’ll never again be able to have children. The show wasn’t subtle about the fact that Jon and Daenerys have fallen in love before they get cozy. This isn’t going to be some tryst — it’s perhaps the central, formative love story that will end The Great War.

So will Daenerys have second thoughts when she finds out that Jon is really her secret nephew Aegon? My guess is that even though Dany is a reformer, hell-bent on creating a better world than her Targaryen ancestors and the usurpers that followed, she might be okay with keeping this one part of their legacy. For centuries, Targaryens wed brother and sister to keep their line pure. They are, after all, the blood of Old Valyria. Which, as Dany talks about with Jon in the Dragon Pit, made the Targs a sort of magical people to those they conquered in Westeros. The Valyrian people were a magical people who, until The Doom, were an advanced society of hot blondes who rode dragons to their local bodega and loved science. If Daenerys aspires to bring the old blood back into the world, she’s going to need to do more nephew-loving.

And it’s possible that the whole of Westeros doesn’t care, either. For starters, they allowed the Targaryens to rule for hundreds of years. And don’t forget, Dany and Jon have the dragons, the armies, and the Dragonglass necessary to ensure that everyone in Westeros doesn’t end up screeching ice zombie.

What will be interesting to see is whether or not the show will try to play up some drama between Dany and Jon and their respective camps. Listening to Dan Weiss talk about it in the Inside the Episode featurette, he mentioned that the truth about Jon will likely complicate things for Daenerys. But should they? Logically, no. At this point, the only thing that really matters is defeating The Night King and his army. But we’re talking about a show that spent an entire season sowing conflict between Sansa and Arya for reasons that are still not entirely clear (other than manipulating the audience).

It will also be interesting to see how quickly this information is revealed to the larger base of characters, how it tests loyalties, and whether or not anyone believes (or cares about) it. There is, after all, a giant army of the dead currently marching within several hundred miles of Winterfell, where everyone else is headed.

More to come as we continue to dissect this dense finale throughout the week…

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)