One of the more awkward moments in the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere happened after Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow rode atop Dany’s two surviving dragons. The burgeoning couple decided to make out near a picturesque waterfall, and the two giant monsters just stared in the same way that pets do when their owners engage in some PDA. Beyond the obvious truth that Jon is actually a Targaryen and therefore worthy of riding a dragon, he may also have a much deeper connection to his new mount in this sequence. It might even explain why the dragon almost looked like it was smiling.
The dragon that Jon rode was his father … or at least it might be his reincarnation.
Daenerys named her three dragons after three important male figures in her life. The black dragon she rides the most is named Drogon after her husband Khal Drogo. The gold dragon with red-orange wings the Night Kind killed and resurrected was Viserion, named after her brother Viserys, who died in Season 1.
The green and bronze dragon with yellow-orange wings Jon rode is Rhaegal, named after Rhaegar Targaryen, Dany’s deceased older brother — and Jon’s father. So if it looks like Jon squirmed like his parents just caught him making out in the basement, that’s because it’s sort of true. At least, according to the Game of Thrones sound designer’s head-canon.
In an interview, Game of Thrones sound designer Paula Fairfield spoke about how she develops the unique characterizations of each dragon and how she personally considers each of the three dragons a reincarnation of the person they’re named after.
“My story of Drogon is he’s the reincarnation of Khal Drogo, [Dany’s] hot husband from Season 1,” Fairfield said on Vanity Fair’s Still Watching podcast. “That relationship I always have in mind when choosing Drogon’s [sound] palette.”
Her holistic and non-canon theory does seemingly apply to all three dragons, and even if it’s just metaphorical, it makes the most sense that of all the dragons, it’s Rhaegal that Jon winds up riding. The spirit of his real father is with him, even if he didn’t know it yet when he went for the dragon ride.
Now that Jon finally knows his true identity, it should make the next ride even more emotional.
Game of Thrones Season 8 airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9 p.m. Eastern.