Warning: This article is dark and full of Game of Thrones season eight spoilers.
As Game of Thrones wrapped up on Sunday night and left fans feeling some major feelings about the way things shook out, it was hard to deny that the future looked bright for many of the surviving characters. But as life returns to normal in Westeros after many a hard-won battle, one big question remains: what happens to House Targaryen and its living members now? Did we just witness the end of an era in Westeros?
The GoT series finale made it feel pretty clear that the end of the Targaryen line was nigh from the season eight premiere was back in April. Daenerys was on a collision course with destruction in her pursuit to “free” (ironic in this context because Dany favored killing people to freeing them) Westeros from Cersei’s tyrannical rule. As we got closer to the end, stopping Dany from becoming just another ill-advised tyrant seemed inevitable. Meanwhile, Jon struggled with the knowledge that he was actually Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Even as he tried to accept it and assure Dany he didn’t want to lay claim to the throne, the truth of who he really was seemed more like a burden than a weight off his shoulders. It almost felt like he didn’t want to acknowledge it by the end of the series.
Now, Dany is dead and Jon has returned to the Wall as member of the Night’s Watch. Both outcomes ensure that a Targaryen will never give birth to a future generation of Targaryens ever again. That reason is obvious in Dany’s case because, well, dead folks can’t procreate. In Jon’s case, as a member of the Night’s Watch, he is forbidden to marry or have children. It’s a cruel aspect of serving your country, but them’s the rules. Jon has always seemed comfortable and imbued with a sense of purpose while serving in the Night’s Watch, so even though he can’t have kids, it still feels like a win because he can lead others — on his own terms. If fans are correct, Jon could leave the Night’s Watch and join the Free Folk beyond the Wall, allowing him to have kids. But that’s not a guarantee.
Some food for thought: Gendry of House Baratheon — a house begun by a Targaryen bastard centuries ago — could incorporate Targaryen traditions into his newly re-formed house if he wanted to, but we doubt that’s a priority.
As far as GoT is concerned, the age of House Targaryen is over.