Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8.
Jon Snow learned a shocking piece of news on the first episode of Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season: Sam and Bran told the Jon that he is not a Stark, but the grandson of the Mad King Aerys, and heir to the Iron Throne. Unfortunately, that means he’s also the nephew of Daenerys Targaryen, his current lover.
This revelation was a long time coming: The two protagonists finally met last season, and their initial interaction was icy at best. But isn’t that how all storybook romances begin? Elizabeth and Darcy, Harry and Sally, Han and Leia; seething anger melts away into desperate affection.
So, yes, after they watched one of Daenerys’ dragons become an ice zombie together and battled from their lives, the two fell for each other (and into bed). After all, who else can Daenerys ride a dragon with?
Now that Jon knows Daenerys is his aunt, it’s unclear whether the two will stay together. Jon may be perturbed, but that sort of incest is pretty normal in the world of Thrones. And in retrospect, Game of Thrones has been setting up a romance between the show’s two main protagonists for a long time.
Daenerys and Jon have very similar backstories. The creators have even drawn some subtle parallels between the two throughout the show. They seem fated to be together, even if they don’t wind up getting a happy ending. Here are all the reasons we should be shipping Daenerys and Jon — despite the obvious ick factor.
1. They are “ice” and “fire”
Let’s get the obvious reason out of the way first: Book readers had long theorized that the title of George R.R. Martin’s epic upon which Game of Thrones is based, A Song of Ice and Fire, is a nod to the eventual union of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.
A Northern son living on the Wall who battles White Walkers, Jon is the physical embodiment of ice. In a more literal sense, he was resurrected after his body turned cold. Daenerys obviously commands fire-breathing dragons. She also survived walking into Drogo’s funeral pyre.
Melisandre confirmed the theory that each represents their own element when she said in this week’s episode, “I have joined ice and fire.” That said, Melisandre has made mistakes before. Jon could also possibly represent both ice and fire himself: His mother was Northerner Lyanna Stark, his father (almost certainly) Rhaegar Targaryen.
2. They both lost their first loves in tragic ways
Even their love lives have some eerie similarities.
Both Dany and Jon fell for people that the Westerosi might think of as savages. Both earned the respect of the Dothraki and Wildlings respectively, in part because the romantic relationship forced them to develop empathy for these peoples. Both leveraged that mutual respect into important alliances.
Both accidentally caused the death of their loved ones. Daenerys enlisted a witch to use blood magic on Drogo, which put him in a catatonic state. Daenerys had to smother her husband in order to put him out of his misery. Meanwhile, Jon’s “betrayal” of the Wildlings resulted in a fight between the Wildlings and Northerners that led to Ygritte’s death.
Both watched their lovers die in their arms. Both avenged the death of their lovers by punishing those who were responsible: Daenerys burned the witch and Jon condemned Olly to hang.
3. They’re both perceived as gods for defying death
Both characters have evaded death and are worshipped for doing so. Daenerys emerged from fire unburnt. Jon was resurrected by Melisandre after being stabbed in the heart. Daenerys’ feat earned her the respect and loyalty of the Dothraki. Tormund told Jon that the Wildlings think of him as a god.
In both resurrection scenes, the camera shoots the naked star from behind, showing their back as they unexpectedly emerge from the pyre and rise from the slab, respectively.
4. They both fulfill that “chosen one” prophecy
In a previous episode, Melisandre declared Jon Snow to be the Prince Who Was Promised — a savior in the religion of R’hllor who is the reincarnation of the legendary hero Azor Ahai, who once brought about the end of the Long Night. Signals of the hero’s return include a person being “born of smoke and salt” and a “bleeding” star, like a meteor.
Of course, Missandei recently pointed out that the phrase actually translates to “the Prince or Princess Who was Promised.” For reasons you can read about here, both Jon and Daenerys could potentially fulfill the prophecy. Some fans, however, think that their offspring would be the true savior.
5. The blue rose
As Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair points out, a major motif in the book that has been largely left out of the show is a blue rose. In the books, Rhaegar Targaryen gave Lyanna Stark a blue rose in front of the nobleman in Westeros, signaling their possible affection for each other.
Daenerys later sees a blue rose in a wall of ice during a vision in the House of the Undying, which fans interpret to represent Jon Snow. While the rose is missing from Dany’s vision in the show, she does see what appears to be the Wall. Either way, Daenerys’ vision connects her fate in some way to that of Jon.
6. People rally around them
Each has earned his or her own rabid following in part because of their somewhat democratic beliefs. Daenerys frees slaves, and Jon unites the North and the Wildlings. As Cersei pointed out in Sunday’s episode, Daenerys fancies herself more a revolutionary than a monarch. That’s perhaps even more true of Jon, a reluctant ruler who nevertheless gave Wildlings their due — and their own castle to guard.
Again, the show’s creators craft two similar moments for the two characters: Compare the moment when the slaves lift Daenerys chanting “Mhysa” after she frees them with the time when all the Northerners cheer, “King in the North!” for Jon.
7. They were both treated terribly by their siblings
Both Daenerys and Jon are treated terribly by their siblings in the first season of the show. As Daenerys reminded the audience in Sunday night’s episode, she was traded like chattel by her opportunistic brother Viserys. Jon, meanwhile, was picked on by certain siblings (cough, Sansa, cough) for being a “bastard.”
8. They both lost two brothers
Jon and Daenerys’ first bonding moment comes when the two talk about how they both lost two brothers: Robb and Rickon for Jon and Viserys and Rhaegar for Dany. In both cases, the loss of these siblings put Jon and Daenerys in unexpected positions of power. Still, both had to prove that they deserved to sit on their respective thrones.
9. Their BBFs Jorah and Sam totally hit it off
Samwell Tarly just saved Jorah Mormont’s life. Maybe this isn’t the best reason for Daenerys and Jon to marry, but their wedding would allow Sam and Jorah to reunite.
The evening would probably be a difficult one for Jorah, who continues to carry a flame for the Mother of Dragons, but Sam could soothe him with some readings from those old scrolls.
10. This. Picture. Right. Here.
To be fair, this picture — also spotted by Robinson of Vanity Fair — is not a promotional photo for the show, but reportedly the brainchild of a photographer who shot actors Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke for Rolling Stone back in 2012. Still Harington and Clarke are clearly fanning the flames of a rumored romance between Jon and Daenerys with this kiss. (There’s also this rom com-worthy shot they took for Entertainment Weekly in 2013.)
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Write to Eliana Dockterman at firstname.lastname@example.org