We’ve been preparing for the tough goodbyes that will inevitably happen over the course of Game of Thrones season eight. With only six episodes comprising the season, lots of beloved characters still around and many game-changing battles yet to be fought, it’s only a matter of time before one (or many) of our favorites are killed off. With this in mind, we’re having a tough time admitting that a new Reddit theory which posits Jon Snow and Daenerys are going to kill each other actually makes sense but now might be the time to consider it.
According to a very detailed Reddit theory posted by u/nosefouratoo, GoT has set up Jon, Daenerys, Cersei and the Night King as the final four key characters who could logically rule Westeros, which fans have likely guessed at this point. However, as Nosefouratoo suggests, Cersei and the Night King are red herrings and will be killed off (another inevitability fan know about), leaving Jon and Daenerys to either unite and rule together or sacrifice one life so the other can rule. Nosefouratoo claims that GoT has been laying the groundwork for Jon and Daenerys to battle each other, not unite, and that one or both will die as they try to reclaim the Iron Throne.
A quick recap before we go into this theory: the season eight premiere confirmed that Jon is the true heir to the Iron Throne because he is the direct grandson of The Mad King, Aerys Targaryen II, and the son of Rhaegar Targaryen. For seven seasons, this has been a well-kept secret from basically everyone and Daenerys has lived and labored under the belief that she is the only living Targaryen with a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne since she is Aerys’s daughter. Now, Jon knows the truth about his lineage and Daenerys doesn’t, which will undoubtedly sow seeds of conflict between these two, who are blood relations that happen to be falling madly in love with one another. Oof.
Back to the theory! So, Nosefouratoo’s theory reminds us that GoT has always made it clear Daenerys understands she is prone to rash decisions and has killed people out of spite or made decisions to attack with little basis other than gut instinct. Those dangerous impulses have been somewhat curbed by Tyrion, her Hand, for the most part, but it’s something she regularly struggles with. As Nosefouratoo points out:
Right now, these two are two of Dany’s top advisors, but they have expressed genuine concerns about her leadership before. Tyrion and Varys spoke in worried tones about her possibly becoming more like her father after what happened with the Tarlys. Tyrion also brought up his concern to Dany’s face while Jon and Co. were beyond the wall last season. He was received with vitriol and implication from Dany that Tyrion was a traitor. In fact, almost every time Tyrion has questioned Dany in their entire time together, she has either implicitly or explicitly accused him of still being in cahoots with the Lannisters. Tyrion is aware of what Dany’s worst impulses are; he even brought them up to his mortal enemy Cersei.
This became evident during the season eight premiere when she confirmed to Sam Tarly that she was responsible for killing his father, Randyll Tarly, and his older brother, Dickon Tarly. It was a moment that reminded viewers that Daenerys frequently acts from an emotional place (a bit problematic given she’s a woman but it’s not inaccurate to say, either) and those emotions are rarely ones that benefit others or endear people to her. She has now alienated Sam as a friend, leading Sam to tell Jon the truth about his parentage and encourage Jon to fight for control of the Iron Throne, something Jon feels conflicted about because he’s a good boy who has bent the knee to Daenerys.
Nosefouratoo’s theory is long, so we’ll skip over some of his other supporting evidence (which make strong cases for other key characters like Arya, Sansa and dragons Drogon and Rhaegal supporting Jon’s claim to the throne and turning against Daenerys) but we want to focus on the part where they theorize how the revelation of Jon’s parentage will play out between Jon and Daenerys and how it will lead to an inevitable power struggle. They write:
How Dany reacts to Jon’s true heritage could be the death knell of their love and alliance. If she reacts with anger and calls him a traitor or something to that effect, this will prove everything he has been hearing from all of his loved ones to be true. He will pull away from her, and make a claim on the throne in an effort to save the realm from another monarch who puts power lust in front of all else. I think there may be some kind of inciting event during or right before the battle for Winterfell that will truly sour Jon against Dany enough to go to war or at least to redact his proclamation that she is his Queen. That piece I haven’t figured out yet, but I think it may be essential to the believability of Jon waging war against Dany. At that point, he will reluctantly become Aegon Targaryen in earnest, and military conflict between the two Targaryens may be on the horizon.
Because Jon is almost pathologically unable to tell a lie, we know he is going to have to tell Daenerys who he truly is at some point. Based on what we know about the way Daenerys handles awful truths revealed at the hands of men she trusts, we also know she’s going to be hella pissed when Jon tells her what’s up. So sure, we’ve been expecting some fallout between these two, but the more we think about it, the more we’re convinced that the surrounding tensions from Cersei and the Night King will likely amplify the emotions these two have about the awful truth of who has an actual claim to the Iron Throne.
In the end, it’s entirely possible that Jon kills Daenerys, Daenerys kills Jon or both die in pursuit of doing what they think is best for Westeros. We only have five episodes left in season eight, so it looks like we’ll have to keep tuning in every Sunday at 9/8c to see what happens.