Winter has come. The season finale of HBO's Game of Thrones featured a number of highly anticipated plot twists — addressing a longstanding question that not only confirmed a popular fan theory, but also giving new meaning to the book series title, A Song of Ice and Fire.
(Editor's note: spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones.)
Bran's vision in the finale revealed that Jon Snow was never Ned Stark's bastard, as Ned has always claimed, but is actually the lovechild of Ned's sister Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen. This makes him both a Targaryen and a Stark, the respective families associated with "fire" and "ice," thus giving him a strong claim to the Iron Throne.
Now hailed as King of the North, Jon Snow is quite the eligible bachelor for any politically minded Westeros woman. But there's one woman that fans are eager to see Snow with next season: the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenarys Targaryen, who, weirdly, also happens to be Snow's aunt.
Fans have long been shipping Jon and Dany, even though the pairing is considered controversial by some: Many fans believe such a relationship would be too cliche and reduce the story to a classic fairytale archetype. Also, that the notion that she is represented by fire and he by ice is overly simplistic, implying instead that the series title refers to the secret of the blood in Jon's veins. Yet other fans hold firm to the theory that the dragon whisperer will end up with the resurrected warrior, arguing that such a pairing would subvert, rather than fulfill, genre expectations.
Throughout previous seasons, the show has hinted at the Jon/Dany dichotomy, often using contrasting color schemes to represent the characters: Jon's scenes are gloomily lit and framed by snow and shadows, while Dany is often shot bathed in warm, fiery colors. While the two characters have yet to meet, both are seen as harbingers of justice in their respective communities.
The two characters also share values that could be described as feminist. While the Mother of Dragons is one of the show's most obviously empowered female characters Jon has his own track record of fighting for female equality. It was Jon who gave Arya her sword "Needle" and encouraged her fighting spirit. He's in touch with his emotions (hence the "sad Jon Snow" meme) and is also one of the few male Game of Thrones characters to prioritize his female partner's sexual pleasure over his own, as evidenced by his sex scenes with Ygritte.
Jon isn't a perfect supporter of women by a long shot. For example, he still has a lot to learn about trusting Sansa's military advice, which he overlooked when they conquered Winterfell together before the season finale. But he's one of the more sympathetic male characters in the Game of Thrones universe, plus we already know he has a taste for strong warrior women (pun intended).
But there is just one little snag to the Jon/Daenarys pairing. As we now know, Jon has Targaryen blood, which would make any relationship between the two incestuous. Yet incest taboos haven't stopped other members of Westeros royalty. Both the Targaryen and Lannister family trees are riddled with in-family couplings, a topic the series confronts head-on as one of the less romantic stays of royal politics. And the show's fans appear to have no problem with such taboos when it comes to a potential Jon/Daenarys relationship.
Yet perhaps the strongest argument for a Jon/Dany partnership is that it would be one of the few examples of a mutually supportive relationship on Game of Thrones.
In past seasons, Dany has only been involved with men who have either had much more power (Khal Drogo), or much less power (Daario). Meanwhile, Jon was solely involved with Ygritte, who, while strong and independent, was a Wildling who existed on the margins of society, thus inherently skewing the power balance toward him. However, a Dany/Jon pairing would provide one of the show's few examples of a fundamentally politically equitable relationship, not to mention that it would continue the series' new, and very welcome theme, of giving women more autonomy.
In the season six finale, Dany breaks up with her lover by bluntly saying she will seek an alliance through marriage to secure her throne once she's conquered Westeros. We've already seen the Mother of Dragons suffer through two previous political marriages, one that ended in curses and death and the other that ended in betrayal. Both men were slain as a direct or indirect result of their penchant for violence and domination.
In order for the third marriage to stick, Dany will need a partner focused on supporting her rather than one who seeks her hand as a form of political leverage. As someone who is selfless, honor-bound and loves to fight alongside strong women, Jon fits that description. Whether platonic or romantic, their meeting would encapsulate the feminist themes this last season highlighted: long live the queens of Westeros.