But the moment he realizes his potential could be easy to miss because, you know, dragon battles and stuff. As a matter of fact, despite the episode leaking before Sunday, Dany’s Dothraki-slash-dragon attack on the Lannisters in “Game of Thrones” Episode 4, “The Spoils of War,” had fans losing their minds. And why not?
From the second the Dothraki surprised the Lannister army (chills) to when Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) charged a vulnerable Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) ― only to be saved a second later, seemingly by Bronn (Jerome Flynn), from Drogon’s stream of flames ― the episode was enough to make you say, “Aw, hells Snow!”
Amid all of that, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) had a quiet, yet profound, revelation after Dany offered to join his fight against the White Walkers.
Earlier in the episode, Snow shows Daenerys a cave of dragonglass and some ancient drawings on the walls, portraying the Children of the Forest and the First Men supposedly teaming up against the White Walkers. (Drawings he didn’t do himself, but ... really kind of look like he could’ve done himself.)
Dany says she’ll support him in his fight if he bends the knee, imploring him to do it for his people. She asks, “Isn’t their survival more important than your pride?”
In that moment, Jon finally realizes something.
Redditor xIdkTbhx notes that the Dany line is the exact same thing Jon said to Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) when trying to convince him to bend the knee for Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) in Season 5.
The Redditor points out that “Jon’s face immediately changes” when he realizes this.
In response to the line from Season 5, Mance said, “Fuck my pride. This isn’t about that.” The decision not to kneel led to Mance’s death, and now Jon understands why.
It’s not about pride. In the words of Davos (Liam Cunningham), Jon Snow is a “damn bastard.” Pride isn’t remotely what our dude is thinking about. This is about representing his northern people, not betraying their trust, and standing up (not kneeling) for what he believes in.
It’s not an easy decision either way.
Redditor xIdkTbhx explains:
Seeing Jon realize that the position he is in, is just like the position Mance was in, exhibits the development of Jon’s character so well.
In fact, Jon seems to be taking more than a few notes from the Mance Rayder playbook. Snow got the Wildlings and the North to fight together, he’s close to getting Dany’s support as well, and he’s doing it all by following Mance’s example: just keeping it real about everyone’s imminent demise.
Again, it’s like Davos said, if the living do not put aside their enmities and ban together, everyone’s going to die.
“And then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.”
Whatever the outcome, it’s nice to see Jon Snow finally be in the know.
“Game of Thrones” airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.