Game of Thrones served us up a truly brilliant episode this week. It may even be a top 10-level episode. We got to see Jon be reunited with Tyrion, and meet Daenerys for the first time, we saw Bran return to Winterfell, and were treated to one of the most badass ever death scenes thanks to Olenna Tyrell.
‘The Queen’s Justice’ was also packed full of easter eggs and posed a number of questions – the most important of which: why did Jon Snow refuse to kneel to Daenerys?
A lot of this is just common sense – obviously Jon does not know Daenerys yet, so pledging his undying loyalty to her wouldn’t be the smartest idea, especially if it means her ordering him and his forces to join her in the fight against Cersei rather than tackle the real enemy to the north.
However, not kneeling also put him in a very dangerous position. With no weapons and no boat, Jon is not far from a prisoner on Dragonstone, and if Dany had decided that Jon were in fact an enemy and a true rebel to her claim, then it could have cost him his life. Remember what happened to Ned when he refused to kneel for Joffrey?
However, there is also another, less obvious reason why Jon did not bend the knee – one that he might not have even consciously realised – and it harks back to Season 4, and something Tormund said to him after the Wildings fought the Night’s Watch at Castle Black.
Tormund told him: “You’ve spent too much time with us Jon Snow, you can never be a kneeler again,” and it looks like he might’ve been right.
Wildlings don’t bother with such traditions as bending the knee, and as we know, Jon has got pretty intimate with Wildlings in the past. He sympathises with them more than perhaps anyone else in the Seven Kingdoms (along with Sam), and its fair to assume that some of their behaviours might have rubbed off on him during his time north of The Wall.
It’s also nice to see Tormund proved right. He’s not always the sharpest tool in the shed, but obviously he knows his shit a little more than he sometimes lets on.
Speaking of Tormund, we’ve not seen him for a few episodes, and he’s heading in a very dangerous direction (north, obviously). I really hope this season doesn’t spell the end for him (and his beautiful ‘love affair’ with Brienne, of course).