The best solution on 'Game of Thrones' is for Daenerys to adopt Jon Snow
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The best solution on ‘Game of Thrones’ is for Daenerys to adopt Jon Snow


Warning: This post has spoilers for all of the episodes and books of Game of Thrones.

Jon and Daenerys have a problem. Multiple problems actually. 

Specifically, we have a Queen with a succession problem and a stated desire to “break the wheel,” and a leader of men with a legitimacy problem who’s related to the woman he loves, and they’re both about to become aware of that fact. 

So, what’s an ambitious royal with dragons for children to do? Simple. Adopt an heir: Jon.

The show’s been pushing a Jon-Daenerys pairing really hard this season, to put it mildly, and fans have been discussing what their aunt-nephew relationship means for their budding romance. 

Targaryens are famous for incestuous relationships and also for the high odds of madness in the resulting offspring. Daenerys’ father was known as the Mad King, and Dany has expressed concern that she has a touch of madness as well. Tyrion and Varys have also discussed the possibility behind her back, like the loyal subjects they are. 

Jaime and Cersei justified their incestuous relationship by using the Targaryens as an example, and certainly Daenerys’ belief that she can’t bear children would make her and Jon’s relationship not as big of a deal. 

You guys are going to regret the thoughts you're having right now.

You guys are going to regret the thoughts you’re having right now.

Image: HBO

That being said, it could also be emotionally traumatic for both Jon and Daenerys to get together in light of this new knowledge. Both have the hallmarks of tragic figures who will sacrifice themselves for the good of the realm. Daenerys’ people call her “Mhysa” or “mother” and she’s repeatedly said their welfare is her chief concern. Safe to say her narrative arc has had some serious shades of Christ-like imagery. 

Jon didn’t grow up in a family where incest was accepted, so it could be a hard taboo for him to embrace. He’s has also mentioned concern for his future children because he’s a bastard and wouldn’t want to burden them with it. As the legitimate son of Rhaegar — which we know he is, thanks to Gilly’s casual truth bomb — he’s actually a prince. But so far he doesn’t know that and only time will tell if he learns the whole truth.

George R.R. Martin’s sprawling narrative universe has sometimes looked at the thematic implications of imperfect information and the consequences of choices. Hell, Robert’s Rebellion started because two groups of people had incomplete information. So I could see a version of events whereby Jon knows who his parents are, but not that they were married. Which would still leave him functionally a bastard.

Now that Jon has sworn allegiance to Daenerys, he’s going to have to sell the North on their new sovereign. If they weren’t related, the most obvious solution would be for her to marry Jon and make him King, but for all Dany’s talk of needing to keep her options open for an advantageous marriage, I don’t think her heart’s in it. 

Tyrion’s already brought up the need for Daenerys to choose a successor, rightly pointing out that all her followers are screwed without one, as she’s the only thing holding them together. If she can’t birth any new children, naming Jon as her successor legitimizes him as a Targaryen and ensures the continuation of her line. Jon’s no longer a bastard, and he doesn’t have to challenge his aunt, or sleep with her. Then he’s another type of prince who was promised: He helps break the wheel and ushers in a new and better society, probably with Tyrion at the helm.

Jon-as-heir would also leave open the loophole of Danerys dying in some heroic act to defeat the Night King, allowing her revolution to live on through Jon. 

Come on GoT, surprise us

Overall, we can’t say that this is a solution we’d take to Vegas, but it’s certainly one that’s fun to consider.

This season of Game of Thrones has felt a little boring, as if we’re rushing toward a conclusion we all know is coming. In the case of Jon and Daenerys’ romantic pairing, there’s been a consistent party line that it’s going to happen and always has been.

Which is also why it would be delightfully masochistic for the show to pull the rug out from under us at the last moment. Weiss and Benioff, if you’re reading this, go out with a final twist of the knife.

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August 25, 2017
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