[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the third episode of the seventh season of Game of Thrones, "The Queen’s Justice.”]
The wait is finally over: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) are finally, officially on each other’s radar — and the two royal parties don’t necessarily like what they see in one another.
The King in the North and the Mother of Dragons finally collided at the start of “The Queen’s Justice,” the third episode of Game of Thrones‘ briskly paced seventh season. It was easily among the show’s all-time most anticipated scenes, as both Jon and Daenerys stand out as two of the story’s most recognizable heroes. From the very moment the scene was filmed, Thrones writers and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss knew they had struck more gold than what you would find in the mines of Casterly Rock (which, admittedly, isn’t a whole lot these days).
“The spine of the episode is their meeting,” says Weiss, in a behind-the-scenes featurette for the episode. “It was a thrilling and exciting thing to watch happening, even as we were shooting it. Once we realized that we’re kind of getting a charge just from seeing this happen on a set, which is a notoriously boring place, we had a sense that it would carry over to the finished version of the scene.”
In that finished version, Jon and Dany trade barbs back and forth, their eyes firmly set on very specific enemies — enemies that don’t exactly register on the other person’s radar.
“He’s a very strong-willed person,” Benioff says of how Jon views Daenerys. “He didn’t come down there to join her in the fight against Cersei. None of that matters at this point. All that matters is fighting the dead.”
What’s more, Jon has no idea what Dany has been through; all he has to go on is her word, and as author George R.R. Martin loves to write, “words are wind,” especially coming from someone whose father brutally murdered members of Jon’s own family once upon a time.
“He doesn’t have much insight into what she’s gone through,” says Weiss. “I think he sees a rich girl with a fancy name, sitting in a big chair with a fancy dress on, proclaiming herself the queen of the world. I don’t think he’s looking on her with as much respect as she has come to take as her due.”
For her part, Dany looks at Jon with an equal lack of appreciation for his experience, according to Weiss. “She looks at him and she thinks this is some unwashed barbarian from the North, and a bastard. His name is Jon Snow, and yet he’s calling himself king. If she knew what he had seen, she would be looking very, very differently at what he’s telling her,” he says. “But at this moment in time, she only sees someone who is trying to carve up a piece of her kingdom for himself. And if what this guy is saying is true, then it really is an issue, and she has her own very serious issues to deal with in the shape of the woman who is now sitting on the throne.”
There are some important notes to untangle from Weiss’ description of Daenerys’ thought process over the course of the scene. He mentions that Dany would look at Jon’s words of warning very differently if she had seen the Night King and the White Walkers for herself. Well, we certainly know that the Night King and the White Walkers are all too real, having seen their handiwork in “Hardhome,” “The Door” and more. Which means if and when Dany sees concrete proof of the enemies Jon warns about, there’s little question that she’ll respond in Jon’s favor… hopefully not too late to make an actual impact.
For what it’s worth, though… the person who brought dragons back into the world after years and years of assumed extinction can’t fathom the idea that White Walkers are anything more than myth and legend? Really? Even after he comes with a ringing endorsement from such a great judge of character as her Hand, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage)? It would be a stretch to call this the least plausible plot development in Game of Thrones so far, but it’s pushing some limits of reason for sure.
Watch the video below for the Game of Thrones cast’s preview of season seven’s battles.
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