This season of Game of Thrones has been an odd one. HBO has loudly proclaimed far and wide that its fantasy series is now the most popular in the world, and—despite leak after leak—the network has continued to announce each drop of new information with much pomp and circumstance. From the reveal of the Season 7 premiere date (which had fans and impatient journalists literally watching ice melt on Facebook) to a very special announcement of the finale title, HBO has maintained a sense of occasion even for information as seemingly minor as episode titles. At first, the newly announced Season 7 finale title—“The Dragon and the Wolf,” which presumably refers to to our love-struck heroes Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow—seems as expected. But is there another meaning hiding behind the obvious?
Before we get there, let’s take a moment to appreciate how close we are to unlocking all the major mysteries of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. According to a new interview with Business Insider, way back during the filming of Season 1 in 2010, Martin revealed to director Alan Taylor that Jon and Daenerys were the most important characters in the story. Taylor recalls: “The show wasn’t a big deal yet, and we weren’t being very secretive because nobody cared yet, and [Martin] just sort of mentioned in passing, ‘Oh, well, it’s all about Dany and Jon Snow.’ And at the time I thought, ‘Really? I thought it was about Sean Bean and Robb Stark?’”
This is an expected revelation for everyone now—and, really, book readers had already figured out by then who the “fire” and “ice” in the series title referred to. But it would have been a potential bombshell for show-watchers at the time, so kudos to Taylor for keeping it under his hat. So, should we consider this Season 7 title essentially a remix of A Song of Ice and Fire?
Speaking of which, the title could easily have a third and more exciting meaning. Jon Snow’s mother, Lyanna, was revealed via flashback to Bran in last season’s finale. But despite the fact that actors from the show have referred to Rhaegar as Jon’s father, the show itself has yet to reveal this fact. Gilly read about Prince “Raggar’s” annulment and re-marriage (to Lyanna) down in Oldtown earlier this season—but is that really the last we’ll hear of it this year? “The Dragon and the Wolf” could very well refer to another pair of young lovers: Rhaegar and Lyanna.
Months and months back, long before any leaks started circulating, overly-inquisitive fans of the show believed they had put together who would be playing Jon’s tall, handsome, blonde dad in a potential Season 7 flashback. Some pieces of evidence included the fact that Aisling Franciosi, who plays Lyanna, started following that actor on Twitter when the show was in production last September. His name is Wilf Scolding, and he looks like this.
Not a bad mach for younger Targaryen brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd):
“The Dragon and the Wolf” will be the longest episode in Game of Thrones history—81 minutes, to be precise—and will feature a large-scale meeting between almost the entire cast. What else does it have in store? Tune in on Sunday, August 27 to find out.
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