Warning: This post contains spoilers for season seven of Game of Thrones.
Jon Snow remained adamant in his refusal to bend the knee to Daenerys Targaryen in Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. But by the end of their conversation in the caves of Dragonstone, it seemed as though her argument may have struck a chord with him.
“I will fight for you. I will fight for the North. When you bend the knee,” she told Jon, prompting him to insist that his people wouldn’t accept a southern ruler. “They will if their king does. They chose you to lead them. They chose you to protect them. Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?”
As some fans pointed out, this final question is word for word what Jon asked Mance Rayder before the King Beyond the Wall was put to death for refusing to bend the knee to Stannis Baratheon.
“Pride? F—k my pride. This isn’t about that,” Mance told him. They followed me because they respected me, because they believed in me. The moment I kneel for a southern king that’s all gone.”
Despite Mance’s best intentions, he still ended up dead, forcing Jon to take on the responsibility of attempting to rescue the Wildlings at Hardhome. It was there he witnessed firsthand how a king’s refusal to kneel can doom his people. This callback seems to indicate that Jon might agree to support Dany’s claim to the throne in exchange for her help defeating the army of the dead.
“Jon asked Mance to kneel for Stannis at Castle Black, so that his people can be saved. Mance says his people won’t follow him if he does. Jon asks the same line,” wrote Reddit user xIdkTbhx. “Such a great parallel. Seeing Jon realise that the position he is in, is just like the position Mance was in, exhibits the development of Jon’s character so well.”
Of course, if Jon just went ahead and married Daenerys, maybe he wouldn’t have to bend the knee at all.
“Eastwatch,” the fifth episode of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season, airs Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. on HBO.