Now that Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen have met at last in Game of Thrones Season 7, it’s almost inevitable that they’ll eventually bang. Even though their initial introduction was not all sunshine and roses, in the rule of television, if two hot young leads are in the same room for long enough, sex happens. And in the world of Game of Thrones, where twins Jaime and Cersei have the longest lasting romantic relationship, the fact that it would be incest — since Daenerys’s deceased brother Rhaegar is Jon’s real father — is a non-issue.
But if incest isn’t enough, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen shouldn’t bang for another reason: It would mean that Game of Thrones is not subverting traditional fantasy tropes.
Fans often cite Ned Stark’s death and the Red Wedding as two of the story’s most impactful events because they upend the story we think we’re watching. In traditional medieval-esque fantasy stories, good eventually triumphs over evil and chivalric knights save the day. But Game of Thrones, at its smartest, has always been a critique of these tropes.
Stalwart heroes die in the middle of their journeys. In the David and Goliath sub-plot of Oberyn versus The Mountain, Goliath wins. Handsome and respected chivalric knights are sister-banging Kingslayers (Jaime Lannister) or they’re secretly gay (Loras Tyrell). In fact, the two characters who have shown the most knightly chivalry are a maimed man whose favorite word is “cunt” (the Hound) and a misfit woman (Brienne) who is constantly disrespected by society.
Game of Thrones has not made such an enormous cultural impact simply because of its tits and dragons. It has caught on and spread like Wildfire because it engages the audience in a series of dialogues about the stories we all grow up with — knights and princesses and heroes — and it challenges them. It takes the familiar and spins it into something new.
But on the other hand, if Jon and Daenerys bang, that would hardly be critiquing or subverting these tropes, incest aside.
Jon and Daenerys are the two “outsider” characters with mystical importance who have been separately striving to prove themselves for the past six seasons. Both are shiny and pretty and surrounded by prophecies about their significance. Depending on who you ask, either or both of them is destined to save the world — and in general, both are honorable people striving to do the right thing.
They both even have Hero Hair.
If they came together romantically, then, that’s hardly upending convention. Now that Game of Thrones is off-book, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have shown a deeper inclination towards embracing these tropes than George R.R.Martin has. The Battle of The Bastards in Season 6, while technically astounding, was a simple conflict of Good Guys versus Bad Guys. It even included a convenient Deus ex Machina, in the form of the Knights of the Vale riding in to save Jon and his men.
If Jon and Daenerys bang, it will further indicate that post-Season 6, Game of Thrones is seeking to simply be traditional epic fantasy rather than seeking to have a dialogue with it.
And for a show that loves its smart conversations, that’s a damn shame.
Game of Thrones Season 7 is currently airing Sunday nights on HBO.