Game of Thrones’ calm before the storm episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” gave its characters a lot to mull over beyond their own mortality on the eve of the Battle of Winterfell. As the white walkers marched on the Stark stronghold, plenty of plot was boiling behind its walls — including some that changed everything for Queen Daenerys Targaryen.
**SPOILERS: Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2 follow**
Speaking to EW, actress Emilia Clarke spoke about the heart-to-heart between Dany and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) that was full of incest, threatening looks, and claims to the Iron Throne. Dany found out she’d been sleeping with her nephew, as Jon is actually a Targaryen — and the last male heir of the Targaryens at that. “The related thing, to her, is so normal,” Clarke said. “She could have easily married her brother. It’s not a thing. It’s a thing for Jon, but let’s just forget about that. The main thing is we’re up for the same promotion and I’ve been working for it for my entire existence.”
Ok, yes, Game of Thrones is a show that’s inciting incident (Jaime Lannister pushing Bran Stark out a window) is directly tied to incest. If there was a show where this was going to be fine, it would be Game of Thrones, but Dany’s focus on lineage should perhaps put fear into fans’ hearts.
“This is my whole existence,” Clarke said. “Since birth! Dany literally was brought into this world going: RUN! These f—ers [in Westeros] have f—ed everything up. Now it’s, ‘You’re our only hope.’ There’s so much she’s taken on in her duty in life to rectify. There’s so much she’s seen and witnessed and been through and lost and suffered and hurt to get here … and Jon doesn’t even want it!” Jon definitely doesn’t want it. He doesn’t want any power (King in the North, head of the Night’s Watch, etc) that’s been foisted upon him, and it might soon be a deadly trait if he gets in Dany’s way.
EW also spoke with episode writer (and co-executive producer) Bryan Cogman about this “love letter to the characters” and its highly-anticipated reveal. “In the crypt, Jon is taken aback when essentially the first thing she says is acknowledging that he has a claim to the Iron Throne,” Cogman said. “And Jon’s immediate concern is the fact that that’s her immediate concern.”
Even when the actors are at this top form, Cogman admits, “it’s a very difficult scene to pull off; so much has to go on behind the eyes.” Much of that unspoken quality has already led to tons of speculation. “But then the horn blasts and the Army of the Dead are at the gates,” Cogman said. Incest has to be tabled for the undead. That’s something that could only be written about Game of Thrones.
Fans will find out more when Game of Thrones fights The Night King on April 28.