Spoilers ahead for “Winterfell,” episode 1 of Game of Thrones, season 8. In the premiere of Game of Thrones’ season 8, the audience finally got the payoff from a secret fans have wondered about for years, which was confirmed in season 7: Jon Snow isn’t illegitimate, he’s the descendant of a Targaryen king, and the true heir to the Iron Throne of Westeros.
(That’s if you discount the Baratheons’ takeover of the throne, and the Lannisters’ subsequent rule.) Although last season, Sam and Bran pieced together the truth about Jon’s parents, Jon himself has had no clue, and has been inadvertently engaging in incest by sleeping with Daenerys Targaryen, his aunt. While it was extremely satisfying to hear Sam tell Jon the truth about his heritage, Jon’s immediate response to that truth raises some questions.
His first reaction is to reject his right to rule, saying he gave up being a king when he bent the knee. As the good, law-abiding citizen he has always been, Jon considers it treason to think anything different. Sam’s response to that is fairly epic: “It’s the truth.
You gave up your crown to save your people. Would she do the same?” This revelation comes just after Sam tells Jon that Daenerys executed Sam’s father Randyll Tarly and brother Dickon Tarly for not bending the knee. She lacked the mercy Jon has displayed several times in the past, when he was put in the position of deciding whether to execute people, or spare them.
And Jon apparently had no idea Daenerys was capable of such ruthlessness.