House Targaryen (or: who's going to tell Dany and Jon what's up?)
Why draw us close to incest after spending a whole scene reminding us that Daenerys can’t have children? Is it supposed to make us feel better about the upcoming nasty bumping? Are we supposed to triple down on the "dragons are her children" narrative the Khaleesi herself pushed just last week? Or are we getting subtle hints that if she were to get pregnant it wouldn’t be just a baby, it’d be some sort of miracle baby since her womb was cursed with the blood magic of her son with Khal Drogo? Game of Thrones may not be driven by the A Song of Ice and Fire source material anymore, but it is still smart enough to only show the necessary scenes, so we shouldn’t dismiss that Tyrion had to bring up her line of succession.
The twist: Daenerys doesn't need to have a child to continue the Targaryen bloodline. In theory, Jon Snow is actually the one with the legitimate Targaryen claim to the Throne, and as far as we know, is still capable of fathering a son. If there was going to be tension between Daenerys and Jon, it would be that -- although that possibility might be fizzling out now that we’ve seen the two make googly eyes at each other while mourning a dragon-child. Perhaps Dany was actually a little freaked out by seeing Jon’s scars and realizing just how much she’s met her magic-match mere weeks earlier (a timeline Sansa confirms this week). It’s unlikely, but there’s nothing stopping a convenient conflict between characters that should be on the same side (see House Stark).
There have been signs all season that the finale could have some official Targaryen bombshell. Sam and Gilly, with knowledge of Rhaegar's annulment, are on the move; Bran, knowing what happened at the Tower of Joy, is in Winterfell; and,most interestingly, we have that dagger at Winterfell that appeared in a book about how Targaryens decorated their blades with dragonglass. Foreshadowing clues are mounting that we get some House Targaryen news in the finale.
Here’s what could happen, ranked from the most likely to the most far-fetched.
- We get to see a flashback pertaining to Jon Snow’s parents and his adoption by Ned
- We finally get to see Rhaegar Targaryen on screen
- Two characters discuss Jon Snow’s parentage (not in flashback)
- We learn Jon Snow’s Targaryen name.
- We see the Catspaw Dagger in the flashback
- Someone straight up tells Jon Snow he’s a Targaryen
I can think of a few batshit insane possibilities, like a flashback revealing that the Catspaw Dagger was a gift to Lyanna from Rhaegar and it’s actually a reformed Dark Sister… but those above items seem like the most likely events to occur in next week’s finale or beyond. It would be very convenient for someone to tell Jon Snow, but it would require more travel, as Jon’s on his way South to the King's Landing dragonpit and everyone who knows a piece about his origins is heading elsewhere.
Hopefully whatever we learn about House Targaryen is just the beginning of the unraveling of the mysteries that have served as the basis for the series since the very beginning. It’s possible that next season only spends a fraction of its runtime on the "great war to come" and instead spends the majority of the plot sorting out the argument Tyrion brings up in this episode: what replaces the broken wheel?