Love is the bane of honour, the death of duty | The Dragonpit scene
This episode was the physical embodiment of this warning, now that I think about it. And yes! I’ve been repeatedly watching Jonerys scenes on near-loop since the episode came out because I’m in love and that killed my duty, so see, it works on multilevels 😂
When Aemon Targaryen had said this to Jon, I had thought it applied to Ygritte later, but it wasn’t it. Because with Ygritte, Jon always chose honor/duty, and though the choice wasn’t easy, he never sacrificed his duty for love (technically, he didn’t sacrifice honor for love too, he did it for duty). Of course, the lesson that Jon finally learned was that if anything can make someone forget their duty, it’s love, and no matter how honorable a man is, honor seems a small price to pay for the warmth of love. With Ygritte, though he came close, he never forgot his duty because as I’ve said numerous times, that wasn’t a choice. Be with Ygritte and let the entire Night’s Watch, countless innocents, his family and who knows who else just die? Come on, we all knew that was so not happening. But with Dany… Here is where it gets trickier and I loved how the episode set up the honor vs love clash we can expect next season.
So, the first scene (after Dany’s extra extra appearance 😂) is when Jon publicly pledges himself to Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen.
Oh wait, do you hear that? The sound of complete utter silence? That’s the sound of all the antis who were loudly clamouring about how Jon is playing Dany. And that whirring sound is their brains switching to a really high gear as they desperately try to ‘reach’ for a new explanation other than Jon being in love with Dany. Funny isn’t it, how one section of the antis is completely okay with butchering his character which is literally a symbol of honesty and honor and staying true to his word. Cersei’s deliberate ‘Ned Stark’s son’ was a reminder that Jon stands for not just honor in the narrative but duty, and unnecessary cruel treachery is by no means part of that code of honor and duty; but to part of the Jonsa Fandom what matters is that he shack up with Sansa even if it be the biggest OOC action ever for him, while the other section, of course, is happy to pile hate on him because he loves someone they don’t and are now loudly proclaiming how he isn’t even good enough for Sansa anymore. Like really? Dislike a ship all you want, but in this house, we do not tolerate any disrespect of the purest of all puppies Jon Snow, and we defend his honor and will continue to do so to best of our abilities.
So anyway this scene, Cersei makes a very reasonable offer in exchange for the truce, [and of course we now know that all she was trying to do was deal with her enemies one by one by dividing them (classic Cersei)], and listen no one, not one person, even considers that Jon will turn her down, not even Daenerys!
In that moment, everyone believed that they had succeeded and it was a done deal and let’s all pack up and go home. This scene simply smashed any theories of Jon playing Dany (like any reasonable person thought he was? 🙄) Why do I say that?
Every person, most notably on Team Dragonstone looked various states of surprised/shocked when he announced his allegiance to Daenerys, not just because it was a foolish thing to do, but because none of them were aware of it happening! Dany hadn’t informed any of them about what had happened between them on the boat, which is definitely odd because if the King in the North has submitted to you, shouldn’t you inform at least your Hand about it? But she didn’t do it. Why?
Because she did not take his submission seriously. Say what you will about Dany, but she knew that his swearing allegiance to her could stem in part from an overwhelming feeling of gratitude (and possibly the other overwhelming feeling of love? 😂) and she respected him enough to give him the chance to declare his submission to her in his own time and way, without pushing him into a corner where he would have no other option but to back her. She wanted his allegiance to come of his own free will, and that, ladies and gentlemen, made me love her like crazy. It was almost like giving him a way out, because she didn’t even tell Tyrion what had happened between them, and that’s interesting because it only emphasizes how much she trusts Jon and trusts that he will be true to his word.
And Jon, oh Jon! 💖😍 If Daenerys has come far from her first meeting, he has too. If this same offer had been made before he met Dany, he would obviously have accepted it because his priority was the White Walker threat, the Northern independence and the staying as far as possible from Southern politics. This offer was literally everything he had wanted at the beginning, all neatly wrapped up and handed to him on a platter, which is why everyone expected him to accept it. Because there is no reason to refuse! Right? Right?? Now I kept saying all along that Jon wasn’t playing Dany, he couldn’t possibly be doing that because his actions are not that of a player. And no moment more strongly proves my point than this one. The ‘undercover lover’ theory could have worked if Jon had agreed to the truce. He wouldn’t even have needed to justify it to Dany or anyone else, and if he did, all he had to say was that of course he’s still loyal to her, but she doesn’t need the North as much as she needs a truce with Cersei, and she would have agreed. Like seriously, it was such a neat solution. Jon would have gotten everything he wanted without having to give anything in return, Dany wouldn’t have doubted Jon’s loyalty and would have still helped him defeat the Night King without assuming that he’s fallen in love with her (which is what she’s probably been trying to convince herself about anyway after the intense hand holding, that it was a spur of the moment thing and ’Jon Snow isn’t actually in love me and the longing stares were just him being hopeful for a successful military alliance!‘😂), and of course, the antis would have had a field day because if Jon was truly in love with Daenerys, then why didn’t he publicly stand up for her in the pit? And what did our precious puppy decide to do? What he does best! Make a stand because it is the honorable thing to do, and also because there is no way he’s not going to help Daenerys take down Cersei at a time when she will need all the help she can get! It’s honor born out of love! And my Jonerys heart has never danced such a gig as it did in that moment. Because in this scene, Jon not only does the honorable thing, but he also reveals that his feelings for Dany go beyond political alliances, or the crass 'use her for her dragons’ theory.
And this scene was yet another iconic moment in their relationship, when Dany - whose sole focus was winning the Iron Throne - is now giving much more importance to Jon’s original goal, and Jon - whose sole focus was defeating the White Walkers - is now giving more importance to Dany’s original goal. The dynamic is so beautiful because they haven’t just fallen in love with each other, no, they have come to understand the other’s viewpoint, they have come to know, respect and admire the other person and value their goals and give them the importance they deserve. Because if defeating the White Walkers is important to save humanity, so is defeating Cersei, who has shown time and again that all she truly cares about is her immediate family, completely disregarding the realm, unlike both Jon and Dany. Their relationship is so complex, so balanced, so beautiful. It’s not just as simple as ’ice and fire’ by any means. And this scene brought out their relationship dynamic extremely well.
So this tiny sliver of a moment between Cersei’s offer and Jon’s rejection gave me intense Jonerys feels because Dany’s trust in Jon is so unwaveringly strong that she expected, wanted even, him to agree to Cersei’s condition. Which is a glorious way to show how far she’s come from her initial stance of ’bend the knee’. Dany has realized the importance of the Northern threat and when she pledged to destroy the Night King in return for nothing, she meant it. How do I know that? Because she was willing to let Jon remain neutral ’for the greater good’. See, this is why I love Dany. The White Walkers are a threat to the entire realm, and Dany is dedicating all her forces towards their destruction, that is after losing already having lost a dragon. She could have gone the Cersei way of letting the world burn as long as it didn’t affect her, but she didn’t. [A lot of antis make her sound like a tyrant and I’m just so done, but that’s another post. This one is strictly 💖Jonerys💖]. She is actively contributing and asking for nothing in return. Cersei, on the other hand, is only being asked to not make Daenerys fight on two fronts. Dany could very well have demanded Jon Snow’s help in return later, and it would only have been fair. But she didn’t. Even knowing that after fighting the White Walkers, her forces will be heavily depleted and facing Cersei will be more difficult, Dany still does not expect/want Jon to help her. If that isn’t reason enough for Jon to support her, I don’t know what is. Antis claiming that she’s an entitled selfish supremist??? Antis claiming that Jon has zero reason to like/admire her??? When she’s thinking exactly the way Jon wanted her to, realizing the importance of the White Walkers threat and not demanding anything in return. My Jonerys heart melted at this scene! 😭💖
And of course, Dany’s face was priceless!
She was so torn between ’oh you idiot, now you’ve done it’ and ’my God, I love this man’. The perfect mixture of exasperation and admiration was so perfectly pulled off! Because of course she had wanted him to agree, that was the logical thing to do. But then he didn’t, and her face is like.. Yeah, no wonder I love him. Because this is part of who Jon Snow is, and part of the reason we adore him so much. Lies and deceit don’t come easy to him, this man doesn’t lie unless he absolutely has to, unless he has no other choice, and even then it’s not easy, and that makes him the hero we all love.
Another thing I found super interesting about this scene is Jon’s choice of words, but that’ll be a whole other post.
Also, I love how their ‘together’ness is echoed in everything. They will defeat the White Walker ‘together’ and then fight to overthrow Cersei ‘together’.
*jonerys feels intensify*