For the last six seasons, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen have toiled on opposite sides of the world. While Jon has discovered a hidden darkness in the lands north of the Wall, Daenerys has accumulated followers, soldiers, and dragons in her quest to reclaim the Iron Throne.
In tonight’s episode, Jon and Daenerys, arguably the two main characters of Game of Thrones, will meet for the first time. Will sparks fly between the King of the North and the Queen of Dragons? Or will their divergent goals lead to conflict?
While we wait to see how Jon and Dany’s first meeting goes, let’s take a look back at how this season led up to tonight’s meeting, as well as what we should expect from tonight’s episode:
The Targaryen Conquest
It took Daenerys six seasons to finally reach the Seven Kingdoms, the land ruled by her family for centuries. While the Targaryen dynasty was quite unpopular after Robert’s Rebellion (a war started because of Jon Snow’s true parents Lyanna Stark and Dany’s uncle Rheagar,) subsequent wars and conflicts between the major houses have caused many to welcome a potential invasion by Daenerys and her armies.
As of this season, two of the Seven Kingdoms have openly sided with Dany. The Kingdoms of Dorne and the Reach are in open rebellion against the Iron Throne and have sided with Daenerys in her quest to unseat Cersei Lannister.
However, two kingdoms might not be enough for Daenerys, especially as the Lannisters still have a large army and the Iron Fleet of the Greyjoys on their side. That’s why Tyrion Lannister suggested that Dany reach out to Jon Snow, as the Starks hate Cersei Lannister as much as anyone.
Three Dead Lannisters
While Dany wants to take over the Seven Kingdoms to fulfill her birthright, much of Westeros’s turmoil can be traced back to Cersei Lannister and her conflict with the Martells and Tyrells, a conflict that has already claimed the lives of all three of Cersei’s children.
The issues between the Lannisters, the Martells, and the Tyrells date back several seasons. Joffrey Baratheon married Margaery Tyrell, but was secretly poisoned by Olenna Tyrell when Olenna found out about Joffrey’s gleeful cruelty and abuse to Sansa Stark and others.
Cersei blamed her brother Tyrion for Joffrey’s death and helped to rig the resultant trial. However, Oberyn Martell agreed to represent Tyrion in a trial of combat, largely for the opportunity to avenge his sister’s death at the hands of Cersei’s champion Gregor Clegane. Oberyn died in that trial, leading to his family (specifically his paramour Ellaria Sand and his daughters the Sand Snakes) to vow revenge.
Ellaria and the Sand Snakes got their first taste of revenge when Ellaria poisoned Cersei’s daughter Myrcella as she departed Dorne with her fiancee Trystane Martell. Jamie watched his daughter Myrcella helplessly as she succumbed to a poison administered when Ellaria kissed her goodbye.
After Joffrey’s death, Cersei’s youngest son Tommen became King of the Seven Kingdoms. He married Margaery and seemed to genuinely love her, siding with her several times over her mother Cersei. When Margaery and the High Sparrowoutmanuevered Cersei and forced her to submit to a humiliating “trial by the faith,” Cersei got her revenge by blowing up the Sept of Baelor with Margaery, the High Sparrow, and several other Tyrells inside.
While Cersei got her revenge, she sacrificed her youngest son to do it. Tommen committed suicide at the end of last season after realizing what had happened, and Olenna Tyrell vowed open revenge against Cersei for the death of her entire family.
The Night’s King
While the rest of the Seven Kingdom is consumed with in-fighting, Jon Snow has seen bigger problems on the horizon. After reuniting with his sister Sansa and freeing the North from the rule of the Boltons, Jon has tried to prepare the North from the upcoming invasion of the Night’s King, the leader of the deadly and dangerous White Walkers.
For the last six seasons, we’ve seen the White Walkers gather an army of the dead in preparation for their invasion of Westeros. Jon has seen that army firsthand and knows that all of Westeros is doomed if they don’t get some major weaponry on their side.
Only three things can kill the White Walkers and their wights: fire, dragonglass, and Valyrian steel. While Valyrian steel is rare, Dany’s current base of Dragonstone sits on top of a mountain of dragonglass, hence the reason for Jon’s upcoming visit.
The Starks Come Home
After being scattered to the wind several seasons ago, the Starks are set to reunite soon at Winterfell. Sansa was left in charge of Winterfell by Jon Snow, although she might still be under the influence of Petyr Baelish, who has fallen in love with her due to her resemblance to her mother Catelyn Stark.
Meanwhile, Bran finally made it south of the wall after becoming the new Three-Eyed Raven. Bran can commune with weirwood trees to see into the past and knows that he might be the only one who can stop the Night’s King with his unique abilities.
Finally, Arya made the surprising decision to return home after seemingly abandoning her quest for revenge against Cersei Lannister. After killing the Freys for their role in the Red Wedding, Arya discovered from her friend Hot Pie that Jon Snow was alive and had retaken Winterfell, leading her to immediately head for the North.
But the question remains, will any of the three Stark siblings recognize each other after their vastly different and trying experiences? Or will blood truly be thicker than water?
Euron Comes a Calling
The Lannisters’ trump card is Euron Greyjoy, the maniacial and crazy leader of the Iron Islands. Euron wants Cersei’s hand in marriage and promised “gifts” to prove his worth to the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Euron began his attack last week with a surprise attack on Daenerys’s fleet, which was led by his niece and nephew Yara and Theon. After capturing Yara and Ellaria Sand and killing two Sand Snakes, he’ll now return to King’s Landing to see if those prizes are enough to win the favor of Cersei.
The Greyjoy fleet was supposed to be a major part of Daenerys’s plan to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. With more of Daenerys’s forces on the way to Casterly Rock to attack the Lannister forces there, will she gain the upper hand on Cersei? Or will we see the Lannisters outwit Daenerys once again?