Jon Snow knows everything.
In the season 8 premiere, the Game of Thrones fan-favorite was finally told his true parentage. The news is a devastating truth that impacts Jon’s sense of identity, his relationship with his late father, his present romance with Daenerys and, almost certainly, his future. Jon’s friend Samwell Tarley broke the news in the crypts of Winterfell that his parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, making Jon “Aegon Targaryen” Snow the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Oh, and this also means Jon’s lover is his aunt.
It’s admittedly a lot to take in. Kit Harington tells EW that this revelation is “the most upsetting thing in the world” to his character. “If Jon could go back in time and say: ‘Whatever you’re about to say, don’t tell me,’ he would,” Harington says. “He’d happily be in ignorance.”
In most respects, Jon’s reaction is pretty much what you’d expect — except, perhaps, a bit angrier.
“He’s not hard to predict, Jon, he doesn’t do many unexpected things,” Harington says. “You mark the particularly tricky scenes that you’re going have to concentrate on and this was one. He finds out such a massive piece of information. Not only does he find out who his mother is but also that he’s related to the person he’s in love with. It’s hard for any actor to play. It’s not a two-hour movie but eight seasons of playing a character who’s finding out.”
Harington notes Jon is pretty enraged by this news and struggling to contain himself. “The key to it is the audience already knows,” he says. “So it’s not a shock to them. With Jon, it’s about what he says, ‘You’re telling me my father lied to me? My father, the most honorable man I’ve known my entire life, you’re saying that?’ For that moment, Samwell is nothing to him. Jon would disown this friend and beat him up if he was trying to lie to him about this. He’s quite threatening: You’re telling me this, you better be f—king right, and if you’re trying to play me — that was the way to play that scene I think. I hope it was.”
As for his Iron Throne claim (why Jon has a better claim than Daenerys, explained), that’s something Jon is firmly not interested in. “That’s the thing I love about Jon, his purity,” Harington says. “He doesn’t f—king want it. He doesn’t want that f—king 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.”
John Bradley, who plays Samwell, gave some insights into filming the pivotal scene as well. “Jon feels Sam is muddying the name of one to the most noble people he’s ever known and that his entire life is built on a lie,” Bradley says. “You know The Beatles White Album? Just toward the end is ‘Revolution 9,’ which is a very sinister soundscape. The inclusion of that on the album makes you doubt what you’ve heard before it, makes the rest sound darker and more dire. You thought you had an angle on the album but that track means nothing you’ve heard before can be trusted. With Jon, he can review his entire life backwards and see everything completely different and in sinister terms even if [withholding his parentage] was done for the right reasons. Everything he’s done seems to have been compromised.”
“He didn’t take it well,” Bradley added, “But coming from anybody other than Sam, he would have taken it worse.”
— Game of Thrones season 8 premiere deep-dive recap
— Lena Headey on her reluctance to have Cersei sleep with Euron.
— Nikolaj Coster-Waldau reveals what Jaime Lannister thought when he saw Bran
— Season 8, episode 2 promo and new credits