Spoilers ahead for the first episode of season eight of ‘Game of Thrones.’
On Sunday, the entire nerd world crowded around their TVs and computers for the first installment of the final season HBO’s fantasy juggernaut, Game of Thrones. As expected, the beginning of the end was a hard-charging affair of boobs, violence, and cutthroat politics. Amid all the chaos of impending doom, however, one of the series’ most beloved heroes, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), found time to snag some private moments with the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
When the time came to make his move, how did Jon Snow respond? By going to his favorite play in the Night’s Watch handbook: Get ‘em to an ice cave to lock down that lovin’.
All the way back in season 3, Jon Snow was just a never-dead virgin leading a captive wildling named Ygritte (Harrington’s real-life wife, Rose Leslie) across the frozen tundra of the North. He, a fresh-faced whelp confused about his loyalties; she, a hardened veteran beginning to feel something akin to puppy love; both people caught on opposite sides of a very dumb, but intense conflict.
Though the relationship between Ygritte and Snow had certainly thawed before they stumbled upon their little frozen oasis, it’s in the ice cave that their relationship really becomes solidified. It’s the first time in Snow’s life that someone suggests he could just give up the fight and try to be happy.
It’s a testament to Jon’s innocence that he seems to consider taking Ygritte up on her offer. Too bad about that little twit with the bow and arrow. Ah well, the Lord of Light works in mysterious ways.
Fast forward to last night’s episode, while Jon and his aunt — yeah, Dany is his aunt, folks, deal with it — are out on a trip to relieve some of the ennui afflicting Daenerys’ dragons. After a suitably impressive CGI flight path, Jon brings his dragon down in a secluded spot. Where, you ask?
Right outside a damn ice cave. (Head to minute 36:42 of last night’s episode for a clear shot at it over Daenerys’ shoulder.) Sure, Jon and Dany have already, ahem, cemented their relationship before this moment, just as Jon and Ygritte had all-but-declared their love for one another before they stumbled on a honeymoon suite with a naturally-occurring hot tub. Ice caves aren’t just about sex for Jon Snow, though, they’re about sealing the deal.
As soon as Dany touches down and gazes at the landscape, she offers a riff Ygritte’s prior words. “We could live here a thousand years,” she says, without ever being found. Here is a woman who almost runs the world, playfully joking with Jon Snow about throwing it all away to shack up in a frigid-ass cave. Of course, she’s proposing to a different kind of Jon Snow; this is a man wholly dedicated to his cause. Perhaps that’s why he can only retort to her romantic overture with a weak joke.
At this point, Jon Snow is a man who can’t even consider for a single moment that he might be able to pursue his own desires. Last night’s encounter with Dany wasn’t proof of the couple’s love, it was evidence of how far removed Jon has become from the fresh-faced kid hoping to prove himself among the Night’s Watch.
Still, though, he did go in for the kiss at the end, because you don’t bring a girl to an ice cave just to throw away a golden opportunity.