Game of Thrones has been trying very hard this season to forge — some may say force — a romantic connection between Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), two people viewers know to be nephew and aunt, though they themselves are currently unaware. Unfortunately for Game of Thrones, the accelerated pace of the show's shortened seventh season has done little to support this twisted love story.
Ice and fire first met in the third episode of the season, "The Queen's Justice," and have shared only a handful of scenes together in the episodes since. There doesn't appear to be much of a real spark between the two — Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and the Hound (Rory McCann) had more chemistry this week than Jon and Dany have had all season — but series creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss are as committed to Jon and Daenerys' ill-advised pairing as Euron is to his favorite eyeliner, and Sunday's episode "Beyond the Wall" doubled down on it by heavily hinting the two may eventually have children together.
A child born to Jon and Daenerys would potentially solve the pesky problem of an eventual successor that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) was worried about this week — we're still holding out for a democratic Westeros ourselves — but to understand why this foreshadowing could be a major moment for Daenerys individually, we must revisit something that happened to her years and years ago.
When Dany's husband Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) was wounded and the vengeful witch Mirri Maz Duur offered to heal him, Daenerys' unborn son Rhaego became the blood price to save Drogo. He was stillborn, while Drogo was left in a vegetative state. When Daenerys asked when Drogo would be as he once was, the witch told her: "When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before."
The series left out the part about Daenerys' womb quickening, but this prophecy is why Daenerys told a recuperating Jon her dragons were her children while mourning Viserion's untimely death at the hands of the Night King. "They're the only children I'll ever have," she said. "Do you understand?"
What is important here is that Daenerys believes she will never bear human children — and she's certainly had sex since Drogo's death and not yet borne a child, so it may very well be true that she cannot bring a human life into this world. But Daenerys' words this week were also a confession to a potential partner, who up until very, very recently — like until Jorah (Iain Glen) brought up Jon's legacy earlier in the episode — never even thought seriously about having children of his own.
Early on during the show's run, Jon shared with Sam (John Bradley) his concerns surrounding having children of his own with regards to the possibility of bringing another bastard into the world. Thanks to Gilly's (Hannah Murray) dedication to reading seemingly mundane journal entries, we now know that Jon is not a bastard: his father Rhaegar Targaryan — Daenerys' brother — secretly annulled his marriage to his first wife so he could wed another. All signs point to this woman being Jon's mother, Lyanna Stark, which would not only make Jon legitimate, but also give him a stronger claim to the Iron Throne.
Of course, Jon would have to care about ruling the Seven Kingdoms for that to matter much. Shortly after Daenerys' confession about being infertile in "Beyond the Wall," Jon metaphorically bent the knee — he was wounded and lying down at the time — and pledged his loyalty to Daenerys after admitting his trip north of the Wall may not have been the brightest idea in the world. As Tormund not so subtly hinted to Jon, there are more important things than pride, and Jon knows that the only way to defeat the White Walkers and their army of the dead is to have the living work together.
But should Jon and Daenerys have a child during all this "working" together, it would be a child born of incest, which could cause significant problems for the two. Seeing what Cersei (Lena Headey) went through to protect her children with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), we can only imagine the political issues that would arise from the birth of a Targaryen child born of incest. But then again, this would be a child born of ice and fire, something the series has never seen before.
Still, Game of Thrones doesn't seem too concerned about the deeper character narratives the series focused on during its first six seasons, so maybe it is possible we'll just skip right over the awkward moments regarding this problematic union and (potential) pregnancy and go straight for Jon teaching the youngster how to ride a dragon and brood at the same time. Given how quickly Dany arrived north of the Wall this week, we're pretty sure anything can happen.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.