Game of Thrones is about to head into its penultimate episode this season, which, as longtime viewers know, means it’s time to prepare for the worst.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones’ seventh season.]
In a preview for the next episode, seen above, Jon Snow and his band of grumpy men have ventured out beyond the Wall. They have their minds set on fighting the army of undead marching toward them. Jon only has a few people with him and, even with additional help from the Wildlings, it’s not enough to take on an entire army.
Jon Snow may be a talented fighter, but even he isn’t fierce enough to take on an entire army of terrifying, undead White Walkers. It all comes down to how they escape — and trust us, most of them will. It’s unlikely that Gendry, Jorah and Jon will all be killed off in the episode — even more unlikely considering the former two just made their return.
The most popular theory behind the escape is dragons, because of course it is, but here’s how people got to that conclusion.
In a trailer for the seventh season released by HBO back in June, a great fire can be seen spreading across the plains of the snowy land.
Before we continue down this theoretical road, let’s address the obvious discrepancies. That fire could very well be the result of torches carried by the Wildlings. It’s hard to tell if people are looking up — as one would if a dragon were present — or if they’re looking around. This may just be natural wreckage that accompanies war.
Still, enough has happened in the past few episodes to warrant some scaly speculation. We’ve already seen what the dragons can do, thanks to an incredible performance from Drogon and Daenerys. We know that the dragons have the capability to swoop in and burn any enemy that stands in its wake. All it would take is one of the dragons to swoop in and unleash a storm of fire, and Jon would be back in the game with a fighting chance. There’s no reason to believe that the dragons couldn’t deliver an extraordinary amount of damage if they were instructed to do so from their mother.
This is what leads to one of the the more interesting questions: What if the dragons weren’t instructed to go help Jon, but did so anyway?
The Targaryen acknowledgment
In the most recent episode, Jon shared a very intriguing moment with Drogon. Not only did Drogon land in front of Jon when Daenerys returned from Casterly Rock, but Drogon also allowed Jon to pet him.
The display of affection caught Daenerys off-guard. While Daenerys isn’t aware that Jon is her nephew, Drogon seems to be sure of the royal blood coursing through Jon’s veins. The dragon respects Jon, and in return, Jon respects Drogon.
There’s a connection between the two, giving plenty of reason to believe that Drogon or any of Daenerys’ other dragons would be there in a second if Jon were in desperate need of help.
But Daenerys could help out
Of course, let’s not ignore the distinct possibility that Daenerys isn’t done with Jon just yet and would send dragons to ensure he was safe. After all, the past few episodes have been chockfull of these longing, fan fiction-worthy stares between the two.
Again, it’s important to remember that Jon and Daenerys have no idea that they’re related. They don’t share the same platinum blonde hair, and Jon still believes he’s an illegitimate member of the Stark family. As far as they know, they’re still practically strangers to one another.
The fun part of being a Game of Thrones fan is how much speculation the show allows for. Theories run rampant, and most of the time, they don’t come true. But with the dragons fully grown and Jon on the path to learning his true parentage, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a second rider on the backs of dragons.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.