Why Is It So Important That Jon Snow Rode a Dragon in Season 8?

Culture

Warning: Spoilers ahead for episode 1, season 8 of Game of Thrones.

A loooooooootttttt of stuff happened in Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones. Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow arrived at Winterfell. Daenerys and Sansa Stark met each other for the first time (and it didn’t go super well). Perhaps most importantly, Jon found out who he really is: the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, making him the heir to the Iron Throne. No big deal! Very cool!

That last part is relevant because of what happened next: Jon also rode a freaking dragon. Why is that important, apart from being extremely rad? Well, dragons are traditionally associated with Targaryens (hence Dany being able to hatch, tame, and ride them). Now that we know Jon is a Targaryen too (just call him Aegon), this was yet another confirmation of his heritage. GoT showrunner D.B. Weiss pointed this out in the afte-rshow special.

But it also helps fill in the gaps about another theory that fans have long been puzzling over. In George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, Dany has a vision in the House of the Undying of her brother Rhaegar (you know, Jon’s dad) saying “The dragon has three heads.”

This could mean anything—for instance, Dany started off with three dragons, and it could be as simple as meaning that three dragons were destined to be born and raised by a Targaryen. But some think there’s more to it: some theorize that it’s about the fact that there might be three surviving Targaryens (apart from Dany and Jon, it’s not obvious who the other might be), while others think that the phrase refers to the actual riders of the three dragons.

If this is the case, obviously, Dany herself is one of these “heads.” At the end of last season, one of the most heartbreaking events was Viserion becoming an ice dragon, and he’s now the steed of the Night King. And now there’s Jon. It looks very much like he’ll be one of these riders, too, since he rode Rhaegal in Sunday’s season premiere. That’s significant for more reasons than you think; that dragon is named after Rhaegar Targaryen…who just happens to be Jon’s father. I’m not crying, you are!

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