Jon Snow is Game of Thrones’ epitome of the selfless hero. From the very beginning, when it was his dream to join the Night’s Watch and protect Westeros from harm Beyond the Wall, to the very latest episode, he has always been willing to put himself in grave danger for the good of the many.
Some may call it stupidity, other would say it’s bravery, but Jon has always believed his true calling to be as a ranger. He may have left the Night’s Watch, but that doesn’t mean he has left its purpose behind too.
He even quotes part of his vows – “We are the shield that guards the realms of men” – to Beric, as they discuss why the Lord of Light brought them back, and what their purpose might be in this great game, this fight against the dead.
And in ‘Beyond the Wall’, he is essentially ready to sacrifice his life for the safety of Daenerys, her remaining dragons, and the men who join him beyond the Wall.
Instead of running back to jump on Drogon’s back with everyone else, potentially giving the Night King time to spear Daenerys’ largest dragon, he tells her to leave, and decides to try and fight his way towards the leader of the Army of the Dead – to try and end the war once and for all.
It is both a reckless and selfless act, but it turns out there may be a deeper reason why Jon didn’t decide to try and ride Drogon to safety – one that goes beyond his honour, and one which he almost certainly doesn’t even realise himself.
It relates to something Daenerys says in A Dance of Dragons, picked up on Reddit by no_conspicuity – and the meaning behind it is very exciting – further proof that Jon is destined to ride Rhaegal – Dany’s other remaining dragon.
In the book, Daenerys is quoted as saying: “All I know of dragons is what my brother told me when I was a girl, and some I read in books, but it is said that even Aegon the Conqueror never dared mount Vhagar or Meraxes, nor did his sisters ride Balerion the Black Dread. Dragons live longer than men, some for hundreds of years, so Balerion had other riders after Aegon died ... but no rider ever flew two dragons.”
This is why Daenerys only rides Drogon, and suggests that if Jon has jumped aboard Drogon’s back, he would then be unable to ride Rhaegal – th dragon who is named after his real father and Daenerys’ brother, Rhaegar Targaryen.
Jon obviously didn’t know this himself – how could he? There could have been something in his subconscious that told him not to ride Drogon, but more likely, this is just a coincidence borne out of Jon’s selfless behaviour – he saw the Night King standing there, saw an opportunity to end the war, and tried to take it.
Admittedly, he did not get very far.
Thankfully, Benjen showed up and saved the day instead – probably on the orders of Bran. Benjen has already been shown to have a connection with the Three-Eyed Raven, as he was summoned to help Bran and Meera after Hodor’s heroics last season. Benjen showing up in this episode could well be a sign that Bran is getting more adept at controlling his new powers.
To be honest, we’re all going to be disappointed if Jon doesn’t ride a dragon now. It has to happen, doesn’t it? I doubt we’ll get to see it this season though, with there own being one episode left (welp). We’re not ready for this to end.