Jon “bending the knee” was a stupid as fuck decision that should come back to bite him in the ass-
Look, I love Jon Snow. He’s one of my favorite character on Game of Thrones, but I will criticize any character from any show, no matter how much I love them, when they deserve it, and he definitely deserves it right now.
So here’s the thing. Jon doesn’t have any actual claim (by birthright) to be King in the North that he’s aware of. Yes, he is legitimate and his mother was a Stark, but he’s unaware of that. He is King because his people chose him, partially because they believe his father to be Ned Stark, partially because of his actions at the wall and north of the wall, partially because his brother, the last King in the North, supported Northern Independence, and that’s important. It’s important because Jon is an elected King. He is not claiming a title out of birthright, he doesn’t know he has any, and as such, he can be replaced. He was chosen because the Northerners believed he would truly listen and act in the interest of the North and what the people of the North want. What they want is not a Targaryen Queen who flew across the ocean to take back a legacy she believes is hers. They want a Northerner. They’re tired of Southern Kings (and Queens). And they chose Jon. But because they chose Jon, they could take it away. Jon is not untouchable.
Unlike Daenerys (who has advisors and armies but currently no nobility) he has people he needs to please. He has people he needs to listen to. His armies are comprised of his bannermen’s forces. He can’t just go around ignoring all their wishes and expect them to fight for him. They follow him because they believe he will do what’s best for the North and because they want Northern Independence, just like they did under Robb. If he fails them in that, he could be replaced, they have Sansa right there, a legitimate Stark heir.
So, while I would not like it, I could understand Jon finally eventually bending the knee from sheer desperation at a critical time because otherwise his people will be immediately wiped out, but I cannot respect his choice to bend the knee when he was no longer being asked to. That was just fucking dumb. He still needs the support of his Northern Lords. If he wants to have this debate with them after the white walkers are dealt with, if he wants step down as King, whatever. But right now, he needs their support and he needs Dany’s help and he had both and then he threw one away. And honestly, I’m pissed as hell at him for it.
Here’s another thing, because I’ve seen people saying that it wouldn’t be “fair” if Dany agreed to help the North and Jon didn’t give her something in return. So let me very clear- Jon doesn’t owe Dany shit for agreeing to help. Jon isn’t just trying to save the North, he’s trying to save everyone, when he asks for Dany’s help he’s not asking for it in order for him to gain power or status or anything, he’s asking for her help to literally save all of Westeros because he doesn’t want everyone to die. She’s not doing him some sort of favor by helping out. She’s literally agreeing to help save the lives of (in her mind) her own fucking subjects. Sure, she could sit back and let the North be wiped out first, but it would only be a matter of time before she’d have to face the white walkers anyway if she wants to rule Westeros. And Daenerys, if she truly believes she is the rightful ruler and this is her land and her people should want to help him regardless of how Jon & the North feels about her because it’s her people she’s saving. She shouldn’t have to be sweet talked into protecting and saving her own subjects. Because, if she thinks she is the rightful Queen, that’s what the people are, all of them, whether or not they have yet to recognize her as so.
And on that topic, it should not be up to a people to prove their humanity and worthiness of life to their ruler (or potential ruler) in order to be protected, it should be up to a ruler to prove their intentions and worthiness as a leader. Honestly, if Dany wants to be Queen and she wants to be different, then she should be proving herself to the people, not the other way around. Why should literally any of them want a Queen whose father was a tyrant and madman who enjoyed torturing people? No sane person would want his daughter on the throne without some proof that she legitimately does want to protect and help them, not just rule them. I understand Dany not wanting to help when she didn’t believe, or fully understand, the scope of what they were dealing with in the white walkers, but now that she’s seen them, of course she should help regardless of who is or isn’t calling her Queen and Jon should not in any way feel obligated to then call her Queen because she’s doing what a Queen should do in her position. Anyway, this isn’t Dany coming to support Jon against some small threat to just the North and him repaying her by acknowledging her as Queen, this is Dany agreeing to try to help stop a massive threat from wiping out the continent she wants to rule, it’s absolutely in her interests as someone who wants to be Queen to do this, even if Jon and the North weren’t involved. So, long story short, Jon doesn’t and shouldn’t owe Dany one single thing for joining the campaign against the white walkers and it was a stupid decision to bend the knee to Dany and one that I cannot respect him for making.