The eighth and final season of TV’s beloved global juggernaut Game of Thrones begins tonight on HBO at 9 p.m. ET, and with the last season being two years ago, it’s safe to say a lot has happened with one of our favorite characters, Jon Snow.
— Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead —
After spending his formative years raised in Winterfell as Lord Eddard Stark’s (Sean Bean) illegitimate son alongside his trueborn children with wife Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairly), Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is now declared King in the North at approximately 22 years old.
During Season 7 of the series in 2017, audiences last saw Jon getting ready to prepare his bannermen for the forthcoming conflict with the Night King (Vladimir Furdik), requesting all able-bodied men, women and children to combat train ahead of the war.
While in Winterfell, Jon receives a letter from Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), asking him to meet with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). However, Jon does not believe the time is right to leave his troops mid-battle. However, after receiving a raven from Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) at the Citadel that dragonglass, which is known to defeat White Walkers, can be found on Dragonstone, it is pure kismet for the King in the North.
Though his sister Sansa (Sophie Turner) believes the meet-up is a trap, Jon tells her he believes Tyrion and decides to leave her to watch over Winterfell as he travels to Dragonstone in an attempt to warn Daenerys Targaryen of the Night King’s forthcoming army and the hope of convincing her to let him mine the volcanic glass substance to use as weapons against the undead.
Soon after arriving to Dragonstone with Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) and a few troops, Jon is immediately greeted by Tyrion and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), both of whom are startled by their first glance at the three dragons. The two are then taken to become acquainted with Daenerys and break out into an argument about house faith after Jon refuses to bend the knee to her. Likening the fighting between the Great Houses to children squabbling, Jon reiterates how the Army of the Dead is their true enemy, despite Daenerys’ skepticism.
During both Jon and Daenerys’ cool down, the Dragon Queen is off to watch her dragons and is joined by Jon shortly after. During their conversation, Jon realizes that Tyrion has been petitioning her to overthrow his sister, Cersei Lannister with Dany sharing her determination to rid her of the throne. It is then that Dany allows Jon to mine the dragonglass and provides men and equipment in his efforts. When he asks if she believes in the Night King and White Walkers, she tells him to get to work.
Despite not submitting the North to her rule just yet, the two team up with Dany following Jon’s plans to capture a wight as proof of the danger coming and a way to bring together forces at King’s Landing to fight the Army of the Dead.
Jon enlists the help of Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), Gendry (Joe Dempsie), The Hound (Rory McCann), Jorah Mormont (Ian Glen) and more men to travel beyond The Wall to capture the wight and bring it back as proof. However, after a brutal, nail-biting battle with the Night King’s army on a frozen lake, Dany arrives with her three dragons in tow. However, with the Night King’s attention on acquiring her dragons for himself, he shoots down Viserion, killing the dragon dead.
With her two remaining dragons left, Jon sacrifices himself to hold off the wights so Dany could escape with the men who survived and her children, Drogon and Rhaegal. But just when it looks like Jon might die again, his Uncle Benjen arrives out of the snowy fields and sends him off to safety care of his horse.
When Jon is back with Dany on the boat, recovering from his injuries, the two share a tender moment and he tells her he will bend the knee to her, much to her surprise while calling her “my Queen.”
During the parlay at King’s Landing with Cersei, Jon shows off the wight to the Lannister clan, revealing he has also bent the knee to Queen Daenerys and the North’s loyalties are now pledged to House Targaryen.
The season ends with a steamy scene between Jon and Daenerys consummating their love as their ship rides to White Harbor as audiences learn from a vision via Jon’s brother, Three-Eyed-Raven, Brandon Stark that Rhaegar Targaryn (Dany’s brother) never raped Eddard’s sister’s Lyanna — instead, she ran off with him and bore his son, Aegon Targaryen.
The revelation makes “Jon Snow” not only legitimate, but the rightful heir to the Iron Throne — and Dany’s nephew.0comments
Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: Helen Sloane / HBO