The seventh season of “Game of Thrones” has come under fire for a number of reasons, among them becoming predictable and not taking enough risks and delivering unbelievable timelines and plot devices. But there’s another trend that’s been happening this season that is worth noting, and that’s the shift away from sexual violence or sex as a transaction and toward the idea of sex as an act of love and creating family.
All of this points to how the series is building to a Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) romance and love scene, despite their blood relationship. This more recent emphasis on love and progeny is important as a sign of optimism and resilience in a time of war. This is also a season in which characters lost children: the Sands, the Tarlys, Deanerys with Viserion. It won’t be enough to just win the battle, but to survive it, move on, and rebuild by making new life. And it appears that Jon Snow might be the man to do it. But will he be a father with Daenerys?
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Here’s a look at the nine times this season was all about making love (and children) and not war this season, and how that foreshadows Jon’s destiny:
1. Grey Worm and Missandei Get Intimate
Even though Daenerys’ two most loyal followers can’t have children together, since Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) is a eunuch, they set the precedent this season for lovemaking with a tender scene between them. It should be noted that the series as a whole has had very few romantic love scenes over the past six years. Those were reserved for the show’s heroes: Daenerys with her husband Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) and Jon with his wildling lover Ygritte (Rose Leslie). “Game of Thrones” wants the viewers in the mood for love this year, dammit.
2. Jon’s Dragon Whisperer Moment
Although this moment is an indicator that Drogon may have recognized Jon’s secret Targeryen-ness, more importantly it’s also for a milestone in Jon and Dany’s relationship. The two really haven’t had a lot of time for traditional dating, what with a war going on. Instead, they’ve had to make do. Their meet-cute was Dany holding court in the Dragonstone throne room; their first date was looking at the Children of the Forest drawings inside the cave; their flirting was every time she insisted he bend the knee. And Jon petting Drogon is basically showing that he can get along with her kids, and that they like him back. Jon is good parenting material, got that?
3. Gilly’s Marriage Discovery
Sure, finding out that Rhaegar Targaryen had had an annulment and then a secret wedding, most likely to Jon’s mother Lyanna Stark, now gives Jon Snow a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. But it also reinforces the idea of having children from a loving union, whereas previously the story told was that Rhaegar had kidnapped and then raped Lyanna. Furthermore, being a member of House Targareyn, which has a dragon on its banner, means that any child of his would be considered a dragon.
4. Jaime Lannister Shows Paternal Pride
Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) tragically loves his twin sister beyond all reason, and Cersei (Lena Heady) loves him back, but isn’t above using his love to get her way. She’s always been painted as a mother who lovingly dotes on her children even though she’s not the best at raising them. Nevertheless, she is pregnant yet again with Jaime’s baby, and even though this has to end in tragedy, the look of love and pride in Jaime’s eyes is heartbreakingly sweet. The idea of a fresh start of fatherhood is tantalizing because that could mean a new life for all of them, but it would also ensure the Lannister reign for another generation.
5. Daenerys and Tyrion Discuss Succession
While waiting for Jon Snow to catch a wight, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) brings up who would be Daenerys’ successor since she believes she’s now barren. Although she doesn’t want to discuss the matter until she’s crowned, it’s a reminder that the noble world she lives in values offspring. Without a clear line of succession, this could plunge Westeros into chaos again if the crown is up for grabs. Kids are important!
6. Tormund Is Already Thinking of Children
While speaking to The Hound (Rory McCann), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) waxes poetic about Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and imagines what it would be like to have kids with her that would be “great big monsters” who would “conquer the world.” Even ginger wildlings are all about fatherhood and the next generation.
7. Jon Already Has a Legacy to Hand Down
During the trek beyond The Wall, Jon tries to give the Valyrian sword Longclaw back to Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) since that had belonged to his family. But since he was disowned by his own father for nefarious dealings, Jorah returns it to Jon, saying, “Give it to your children after you.”
8. Jon Understands the Depth of Daenerys’ Loss
As soon as Jon defrosts and wakes up after his plunge in the ice lake, his first words are, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I wish I could take it back. I wish we had never gone.” These words prove that he has empathy for Daenerys, who feels as any parent would after losing a child, even though he hasn’t had any children himself.
9. Daenerys Reveals Her Infertility to Jon
Dany wouldn’t have mentioned kids to Jon if she weren’t serious about him. That’s not just some random tidbit you drop when getting to know someone. That is “what are your intentions, sir?” type of stuff. And his intentions are honorable it seems since he accepts this condition. But just because she may not be able to give birth to children doesn’t mean they can’t have kids or a family, human or draconic.
Something to note: Even though Jon is secretly a Targareyn from his father’s side, Jon also is half Stark because his mother Lyanna is Ned Stark’s sister. Raised as and therefore is a Stark in word and deed, Jon has also probably turned out more like Ned than any of Ned’s own children who have lived. Both by nature and nurture, Jon is a Stark of Winterfell, and their sigil is a wolf.
Thus, the Season 7 finale episode title, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” could refer to Targaryen and Stark coming together with Dany and Jon, or his own parents, Rhaegar and Lyanna. Or it could refer to Jon himself, who is both dragon and wolf. All signs point to Jon Snow is on the fast track (maybe not quite as fast as speedster Gendry) to saving the kingdom during and after the war.
The “Game of Thrones” finale airs Sunday, Aug. 27 at 9 p.m. on HBO, and will run for an extended 79 minutes and 43 seconds.