Fans have been waiting for nearly 10 years — and it finally happened: the biggest family secret on “Game of Thrones” has been revealed in the Season 8 premiere.
Ned Stark (Sean Bean) told Jon Snow “The next time I see you, we’ll talk about your mother” in the show’s second episode, which aired in 2011— and of course they never saw each other again.
Spoilers ahead for the “Game of Thrones” Season 8 premiere.
The truth is out at last: in the Season 8 premiere, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) found out about his real parents. But the way it went down probably isn’t what anyone expected. It links Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon’s friend Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) in a surprising way.
In the first episode of the final season, Sam finds Jon in the Winterfell crypts and drops the bomb: his real mother was Ned Stark’s sister Lyanna, while his real father was not Ned but Rhaegar Targaryen (Dany’s older brother who died before the events of the show).
This puts Jon ahead of Dany in the line of succession to the Iron Throne, and it makes it a huge political problem that he’s relinquished his title and bent the knee to her.
Now, it’s not shocking that Sam told Jon this news. He’s Jon’s trusted friend, and he’s also one of the only people who knows the truth about his heritage. It was practically a given this is how it would play out. It is, however, surprising that Sam tells him not just out of the goodness of his heart, but as a highly emotional reaction. An act of lashing out, even.
In case you forgot, back in Season 7, Dany executed Sam’s father and brother (for failing to bend the knee to her). Sam wasn’t close with his family — recall that before Season 7, the Tarly gang made a brief appearance in Season 6, when Sam and Gilly paid them an awkward visit. Both Sam’s father and brother sneered at Sam for his less than traditionally masculine pursuits, like his love of reading over fighting. But even though they didn’t get along, they were still Sam’s family. So he’s not okay with Dany executing them.
That’s what pushes Sam to tell Jon the truth about his heritage — anger and sadness at Dany’s violent act, and a feeling that she shouldn’t be the one in charge.
Going into Season 8, everyone thought there would be a rivalry between Dany and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). And while it’s true that Sansa is (rightfully!) wary of Dany, nobody could have predicted the most pressing conflict would be coming from goofy mild-mannered Sam Tarly.
Dany might now take the path of Robb Stark (Richard Madden) — of dooming herself with one seemingly minor act that comes back to bite her.
Jon’s old friend Sam is pitted against his new lover (and aunt) Dany, which puts Jon in the middle of a very uncomfortable situation. The episode makes it ambiguous which direction he’ll go in. He’s shocked and upset by Sam’s revelation and it’s not clear that he believes him. So he’ll have to chose between Sam and Dany. Anything could happen from here.
“Game of Thrones” final season airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9 pm.