Game of Thrones: Emilia Clarke defends Dany's reaction to Jon's parentage
Now it was Daenerys’ turn to get some devastating news in the dimly lit cavernous crypts of Winterfell.
In the second episode of season 8 of Game of Thrones, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” Jon Snow (Kit Harington) revealed his parentage to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) while standing by the statue of his mother, Lyanna Stark.
Since discovering he’s the secret son of Prince Rhaegar and the true Iron Throne heir in the season 8 premiere, Jon has mostly been upset that he’s rather closely related to the woman he loves and that he’s not actually Ned Stark’s son. But Dany quickly focused on one aspect of the news in particular: That Jon has a better claim to rule Westeros, and her reaction appeared to surprise and disturb him (“If it were true, it would make you the last male heir of House Targaryen,” she said. “You’d have a claim to the Iron Throne”). (And, in fact, a better claim).
Clarke spoke up for Dany’s response, noting that — from her character’s perspective — instantly focusing on to threat to her claim to rule the Seven Kingdoms rather than how it impacts her relationship with Jon makes total sense given her personal and family history.
“The related thing, to her, is so normal,” Clarke explains to EW. “She could have easily married her brother. It’s not a thing. It’s a thing for Jon, but let’s just forget about that. The main thing is we’re up for the same promotion and I’ve been working for it for my entire existence.”
Literally, Clarke notes, from the moment Daenerys was born reclaiming her inheritance has been her focus, and now she’s closer than she’s ever been to obtaining it.
“This is my whole existence,” Clarke emphasized. “Since birth! Dany literally was brought into this world going: RUN! These f—ers [in Westeros] have f—ed everything up. Now it’s, ‘You’re our only hope.’ There’s so much she’s taken on in her duty in life to rectify. There’s so much she’s seen and witnessed and been through and lost and suffered and hurt to get here… and Jon doesn’t even want it!”
The episode’s writer, Bryan Cogman, says in our interview breaking down episode 2’s biggest moments that Clarke and Harington both nailed this “very difficult” scene.
“What really upsets Jon is that he’s a blood relative to the woman he’s in love with,” Cogman says. “Jon is taken aback when essentially the first thing she says is acknowledging that he has a claim to the Iron Throne. Kit and Emilia play it beautifully. It’s a very difficult scene to pull off; so much has to go on behind the eyes.”
Of course, any further discussion of their romance or the future of Westeros leadership was then interrupted by a horn announcing that the Army of the Dead is now at the gates of Winterfell, and the greatest battle in the show’s history is about to commence. Fans are now left with a cliffhanger moment until next week’s super-sized 80-minute episode.
Last week, EW spoke to Harington about his reaction to getting the news in the premiere. “That’s the thing I love about Jon, his purity,” Harington says. “He doesn’t f—ing want [the Iron Throne]. He doesn’t want that f—ing information. He doesn’t want to know. He has no ambition for the throne. He’s never wanted that. The end of the world might be coming soon but at least he’s in love with somebody and knows who he is, and then comes this sledgehammer.… If Jon could go back in time and say: ‘Whatever you’re about to say, don’t tell me,’ he would. He’d happily be in ignorance.”
- More Game of Thrones season 8, episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” coverage:
— Maisie Williams discusses her surprise Gendry scene: ‘At first, I thought it was a prank…’
- — Game of Thrones writer breaks down all the big moments from season 8, episode 2
- — Game of Thrones reveals big battle trailer for season 8, episode 3
- — Game of Thrones releases ‘Jenny of Oldstones’ song performed by Florence + the Machine
- — Deep-dive recap for ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’
Game of Thrones
HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'