Warning: BIG ol' Game of Thrones spoilers below! Stop reading now if you're not into Jon Snow-related secrets.
Every time I try to talk about Game of Thrones to someone who doesn't actually watch the show, their reaction is always inevitably something along the lines of, "Oh, that dragon show?" Despite all the political intrigue, backstabbing, badass empowering moments, and, uh, unsuspecting aunt sex, the HBO fantasy series is always overshadowed by Daenerys's three — sorry, two — dragons.
And, hey, I get it! Dragons are cool as f*ck. They roar! They breathe fire AND ice! They've inspired plenty of amazing theories! In fact, one of the most popular theories is commonly referred to as the "Three Heads of the Dragon." Fans of the series interpreted the prophecy in the House of Undying to mean that there must be three riders for Daenerys's three dragons before she can win back the Iron Throne — Daenerys, Tyrion, and Jon would each end up riding Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. In a jaw-dropping moment in the season eight premiere, part of that theory comes to pass: Jon Snow is able to successfully ride Rhaegal alongside his
aunt love, Daenerys.
So, how was he able to pull it off when no one else (save for Tyrion) has been able to even get close to them? And why is it important? Let's dive in.
How Is Jon Snow Able to Ride a Dragon?
There are so many incredible things about this development to consider, especially given how difficult it is to tame a dragon. If you're wondering why Rhaegal allows Jon to ride him in the first place, it's because the former King in the North has Targaryen blood flowing through his veins — his mother is Lyanna Stark and his father is Rhaegar Targaryen. (Something Sam finally fills Jon in about in the premiere, FYI.)
Way back when, the Targaryen family mastered the rare art of dragon-riding through a mix of sorcery and good old-fashioned practice. In Daenerys's case, she seems to be able to ride them without the use of magic; she's shown to have bonded with the creatures on an intense level (she's their mother, after all). Jon appears to have a similar bond with the dragons, who must be able to sense both his Targaryen blood and his relationship with their mother.
We previously got a glimpse of how the dragons would react to Jon climbing aboard in the season seven episode "Eastwatch," when Drogon allows him to get close and even stroke his scaly skin while on a cliff in Dragonstone. In the premiere, Jon not only gives Rhaegal a few pats, but also climbs up after Dany tells him to, and the pair fly off to a romantic, icy waterfall in nearby Winterfell. (Anyone else get Aladdin and Jasmine vibes during that scene? No? Just me?)
What Does This Mean For the "Three Heads of the Dragon" Theory?
Targaryen dragon riders were the first to be able to unite the seven kingdoms, which is why many hoped Dany's dragonfire would be able to save Westeros from the Night King's army. Will Jon be able to help her do this? After the premiere, it's looking like a big fat hell yes. It's also worth wondering if, since Viserion was turned into a zombie in season seven by the Night King, it means that Jon, Dany, and the Night King are now the three heads from the prophecy, rather than Jon, Dany, and Tyrion. Ever since the zombie dictator shot down Dany's baby with an ice spear and turned it into an ice-breathing, wall-destroying machine in season seven, the theory has essentially been null and void.
Regardless of whether the prophecy in the House of the Undying ever completely comes to fruition, somehow, Dany and Jon's chances of victory over the White Walker army are vastly increased with Drogon and Rhaegal now both equipped with riders who can handle them in battle. Apparently we'll get our answer in episode three when the Battle of Winterfell begins.