In the third episode of Game of Thrones Season 7, Jon Snow finally met Daenerys Targaryen. Unbeknownst to either of them, she’s his aunt — but the story made several hidden references to this fact.
When Jon initially arrives at Dragonstone, Tyrion comes to greet him. As they walk to the castle, Tyrion cheerfully tells him that Stark men don’t fare well when they travel south. “I’m not a Stark,” Jon says. In his mind, he’s referring to his bastard “Snow” identity, since he has no idea that Rhaegar Targaryen is his real father — but Daenerys’s dragons then immediately fly overhead, as if on cue. If they could speak, they might as well have been saying, “Greetings, long lost son of Rhaegar Targaryen!”
Later, in Dragonstone’s throne room, Jon has a tense meeting with Daenerys. As Davos tries to talk Jon up with some hype, he tells Dany that Jon became the King in the North and rallied up a wilding army because they “believed” in Jon. Previously, Rhaegar Targaryen has been described as inspiring followers because men believed in him.
Then, in “The Queen’s Justice,” Jon and Daenerys finally bond on a cliff. Daenerys tells Jon about naming two of her dragons for her dead brothers Viserys and Rhaegar.
After, she seems less rigid and dismissive about Jon’s story about White Walkers; Jon comments that she’s been talking to Tyrion, who is good at talking. “We all enjoy what we’re good at,” says Daenerys. “I don’t,” says Jon, referring to his battlefield prowess.
You know who else was skilled on the battlefield but didn’t enjoy it? His dad.
Rhaegar Targaryen has always occupied Hamlet’s role of the ghost in the story — though he’s dead, he has an outsized influence on Game of Thrones. But he’s never been invoked so much as he is in “The Queen’s Justice,” and it’s only a matter of time before Jon finds out the truth.
Game of Thrones Season 7 is currently airing on Sunday nights on HBO.