Game of Thrones: Jon Snow, Daenerys, and The Balance of Ice and Fire

Let’s pour a little ice over that fire.
By  · Published on August 10th, 2017

Let’s pour a little ice over that fire.

This article contains spoilers up to the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.

When it was teased earlier in this season of Game of Thrones that Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow were going to meet and possibly ally with each other, fans did not know what to expect. Would they get along? Would they fight? Would they fall in love? And by the look of things so far, it seems like it will be all of the above. Although they are technically aunt and nephew, let’s be honest, we’re still shipping them as a couple anyway.

At least that seems to be Benioff and Weiss’ intent. In the “Inside the Episode” explanation of the cave scene from Sunday’s episode, they stressed the importance of Dany and Jon’s budding chemistry. The fire light, the closeness, and both of them slowly inching closer to each other all made for a very romantic setting, even if that’s not really the way the scene played out in the end.

Now that they have met, however, and shared such an intimately close and vulnerable moment together, their chemistry is undeniable. But it’s definitely not all about the romance.

Relayed by Melisandre last week, Jon and Dany are indeed ice and fire, which means that together, they complete each other. At least in terms of putting together A Song of Ice and Fire. For six years, we have watched them fill their roles as possible candidates for “the prince who was promised,” but we have also seen them make mistakes that highlight their imperfections as rulers as well.

In spite of Jon’s true parentage, he is very much Ned Stark through and through and is just as susceptible to being a victim of his own humility as poor Ned ever was. Hence why he took a knife to the heart at the end of season 5. And Daenerys on the other hand must constantly fight off her own temptations to give into her Targaryen lineage and burn everything in sight, which is a desire almost near impossible to deny when you’ve got three dragons, inflammable qualities, and consistent reassurances that it is your destiny alone to take back your family’s throne. Some of her blunders in Meeren are evidence of this ongoing battle within herself. But overall, their intent has always been good.

So what are two young, powerful, and determined yet imperfect individuals with a prophetic destiny to do other than combine forces?

Being on the same page, for one, would be a good start. This Vanity Fair piece by Joanna Robinson explains Jon and Dany’s initial complicated reactions toward each other in more depth based on Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke’s perspectives.

All in all, Jon and Dany both seem to have stubborn, one-track minds, but with good reason. Arguably, Jon’s is the more noble sounding goal since it involves saving their world from white walkers, but bending the knee is just as important from Dany’s perspective. While it may sound petty and childish to frustrated show watchers who just want Daenerys to give in and compromise, she really can’t let her guard down too much. And can we blame her? Let’s not forget Qarth, the masters in Essos, her own brother, and yes, sweet Jorah whose deception (albeit short lived) was one of the biggest blows to her more innocent and trusting attributes. Even Tyrion as of late has given her a bit of reason to doubt his trustworthiness based on his most recent strategic failings. So Dany’s past dealing with men in places of power in terms of reliability has not had the best track record, and if we took away anything from Dany’s speech to Jon last week it’s that she really only completely has faith in herself. Therefore, how is she supposed to just put her trust into some northerner without him giving her some sign that he won’t discount her later? Not such a simple decision to make, even if those brooding eyes and gorgeous locks are involved.

But patience with these two is key. After all, six years of patience (in terms of the show because I know book readers have been waiting much, much longer) is what made this first meeting between them feel so sweet in the first place, even if it kind of got off to a rough start. At the very least though, it felt rewarding. A Jon and Dany alliance, romantic or otherwise, is probably the closest thing to “feel good” we will ever get from Game of Thrones and here is why.

The two of them together create a perfect balance. Ice and fire, in this case, complement each other, rather than cancel each other out. Jon needs Dany’s more rash characteristics, just as Dany needs Jon’s more thoughtful qualities if either of them is ever going to advance in the world of Westeros.

Take for example when Jon brought all of the Wildlings back to the wall. Perhaps then Jon needed a little more fire in him to fully stand up to Alliser Thorne and the others who vehemently disagreed with his decision. A little skepticism on Jon’s part would have helped him to foresee their rebellion. But like Ned, Jon does the right thing and is unable to see that not everyone is as honorable as he is.

As for Daenerys, definitely more of a cooling off period was needed when she brought the nobles of Meeren into the dragons’ dungeon after the death of Ser Barristan Selmy. In that moment, she let herself be controlled by rage and power, rather than calculated political thought. In doing so, she invoked more of her father Aerys, rather than the just queen we know she wants to be.

So both could use a little more rationality over all in their decision-making processes, just in different ways. This is not to say, however, that they are insufficient on their own. Both have also made very suitable and intelligent choices at times. Daenerys’ conquering of Astapor was clever and Jon’s acceptance of the Wildings (even though the approach got him killed) was necessary.

Therefore, it’s clear that they’re both meant to work together in some form or another, and that they both have large weights on their shoulders. In the most recent episode, “The Spoils of War” we saw Dany begin to trust Jon’s level-headed judgment and Jon begin to recognize Dany’s “good heart”, so it is obvious that both are beginning to see in each other what they admire most. 

We can argue that they are destined to be together because of their similarities. This piece from Time magazine breaks down all of the various connections between the two. Both are rulers who have been pushed aside, had their fair share of hardships, been reborn, made the decision to fight for the good of the people rather than themselves, and have been chosen by others as their leader. The show really likes to emphasize all of those aspects. And aside from this, who else would better understand you than your counterpart in a world-altering prophecy? Fulfilling a destiny can be a lonely job. So romantically, their similarities may attract them to each other, but more than even this I would say their differences are really the most important to their political alliance at the very least. While on their own they both have strength and power, when working alone, neither really think their decisions all the way through. However, both have proved willing to listen to counsel and guidance, and maybe once they truly begin working together, ice and fire will do so much more than just melt.

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