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Game of Thrones season 7, episode 3: What we learned from the episode’s most important meeting

The moment we’ve been waiting for is here

Helen Sloan/HBO

If it feels like we’ve been waiting an excruciating amount of time for Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow to meet, that’s because we have.

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7, episode 3.]

As fans of the show, seeing Daenerys and Jon to finally cross paths has been something we’ve desired almost since the first season. Following Bran’s vision of the Tower of Joy last season, which confirmed that Jon Snow was the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, the inevitable meeting has been something we’ve been aching for.

This moment represents the coming together of two Targaryens, two people with seemingly equal claims to the Iron Throne. These are two stubborn, headstrong leaders who want nothing more than justice for their people and acknowledgment of their stature. While Jon’s priorities lie in ensuring the North will be able to hold its ground against the White Walkers when they eventually breach the Wall, Dany wants to use Jon and his army at Winterfell to help her evict Cersei from the Iron Throne.

In the lead-up to Dany and Jon finally getting to see each other face to face, we’ve learned quite a bit about our two Targaryens. But the most interesting revelation surrounds the candidacy for Azor Ahai: the Lord of Light, as regarded by those who practice the R'hllor faith. It is said that Azor Ahai — who, we just learned last episode, can be either a man or a woman — will be able to recreate the great sword Lightbringer and awaken the dragons.

Either of these two Targaryens could very well be Azor Ahai. With Dany asking Jon to bend the knee and help her fight Cersei — something Jon seems unlikely to do — the question is how their upcoming relationship will play out. Will they be allies or hate one another? Will Dany help Jon craft weapons using the dragonglass found beneath Dragonstone to stop the White Walkers? Will Jon actually bend the knee and help Dany take down Cersei and the rest of the Lannisters once and for all?

That’s all up in the air, but here’s everything we did learn from their first encounter this episode.

“I’m not a Stark”

The meeting begins with Tyrion and Missandei welcoming Jon and Ser Davos on the shores of Dragonstone, asking the two to hand their weapons over to the Dothraki soldiers who have accompanied them to greet their visitors from the North.

It’s immediately contentious. Dany refers to Jon as “my lord,” instead of “your grace,” and asks him to bend the knee. She gives him a history lesson, and tells him that if he pledges his loyalty — and forces — to her, that she’ll make him the Warden of the North. Daenerys tells Jon that there was never a more peaceful time than when the Targaryens were sitting on the Iron Throne and the Starks were Wardens of the North.

Jon refuses to do so, claiming that he is not beholden to his ancestors’ past oaths just like she shouldn’t be judged on the actions of her father, the Mad King. Instead, Jon asks Daenerys to help him with the army of the dead, which is very much real. In return, he will help her destroy Cersei in as peaceful a way as possible, sparing the lives of innocent men, women and children. As Jon points out, there’s no reason that Daenerys can’t take on Cersei now — except for the innocent people who would be caught in the crossfire.

It then becomes a debate over what is most important: defeating the army of White Walkers that sits threateningly to the north, or the war with Cersei Lannister to the south?

“The lords of the north put their faith in me to lead them, and I will continue to do so,” Jon tells Daenerys, arguing that he doesn’t need to bow down before a self-proclaimed queen.

It’s a stalemate; neither Dany nor Jon is willing to budge on their position. Just as things are starting to get intense — she continues to demand his loyalty, and he refuses again — Varys walks in and informs Dany of Euron Greyjoy’s devastating attack, Only then does she relent, allowing Davos and Jon to rest and wash up after their long travels. When Jon asks if they’ve become prisoners of the Targaryen queen, Daenerys turns back and answers, “Not yet.”

Although we didn’t learn much from this scene, it included more than enough winks and nods from the writers to get the point across: Jon Snow is a Targaryen, and that is going to screw everything up. Dany proclaims that she’s the last Targaryen, while Jon insists he’s not a Stark. He isn’t bound by his ancestors’ pledges, as he tells Daenerys, and only she can lay claim to the Iron Throne.

Neither Jon nor Dany are aware of his true lineage at this point — that information rests with Bran — but the scene goes out of its way to ensure we’re aware that they are, in fact, related.

Their conversation also includes many references to destiny, and the inevitability of family lineage. This is important for a number of reasons, but points back to the prophecy and Azor Ahai, the Lord of Light. One of these two is destined to be Azor Ahai, and as religious beliefs are tested — alongside past conceptions of biological laws (remember, Jon Snow returned from the dead!) — the Azor Ahai prophecy becomes even more important.

This isn’t the end of their conversation, though. Convinced by Tyrion to give each other another shot, Dany and Jon reconsider their situations. While both refuse to back down on their positions, Dany does allow Jon to mine for dragonglass, allowing the King in the North to collect as much material as he needs, using her men and tools to do so.

“So you believe me, then, about the Army in the North?” Snow asks eagerly.

“You better get to work, Jon Snow,” Daenerys answers evenly.

This may not seem like much, but it is a start. By allowing Jon to focus on his mission — the entire reason he ventured south in the first place — she gives the King in the North a reason to believe in her and her own mission. Now that she is helping him to stop the White Walkers, even by just providing the materials to make weapons, Jon Snow has to return the favor.

This is the outcome that both Tyrion and Daenerys were hoping for. Jon is practically an ally at this point — a man who is much more open to the idea of joining Dany on her mission to take on Cersei Lannister for the Iron Throne. Knowing how stubborn Jon Snow is now, a man who refuses to bend the knee, this is the best possible outcome that Daenerys could have hoped for.

One of the most important details from this episode regarding Dany and Jon doesn’t take place in Dragonstone — it’s in Winterfell. Bran has returned home and has informed Sansa that he’s the Three-Eyed Raven. He can see all, and as we know, he is the only person who knows the truth about Jon’s parental lineage.

With Jon working to secure as much dragonglass as possible — and being in a rush to get home to help defend Winterfell from the impending White Walkers — Bran’s reunion with his older brother gets closer. It’s only a matter of time before Bran tells Jon everything he knows, and the tables begin to turn for the King in the North.

The true Game of Thrones is almost here.

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