'Game of Thrones': Will Jon and Dany Stay Together? Why Sansa May Be the Deciding Factor

After having their romantic dragon-flight getaway in the Season 8 premiere, Jon seems to be avoiding Dany after learning they're actually blood relatives. But will Khaleesi and the former King in the North continue their relationship? The answer may depend on the advice Jon gets from his know-it-all sister (cousin?) Sansa Stark.

Sansa couldn't have seemed less impressed by Daenerys in last week's episode. When Jon introduces them, Dany greets Sansa by complementing her home and beauty with a warm smile, which Sansa does not return. Instead, Sansa looks Dany up and down, and if she envies that amazing white fur coat the Breaker of Chains is sporting, you'd never know it. Later, as Jon explains his reasons for bending the knee to the always salty Northern lords, Sansa throws a few steely glares and barbed comments Dany's way. She responds in kind.

will jon and dany stay together game of thrones
After having their romantic dragon-flight getaway in the Season 8 premiere, Jon’s a bit rattled to learn his new girlfriend is actually a blood relation. HBO / Helen Sloan

In this week's episode, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," Dany and Sansa talk one-on-one for the first time, in the Winterfell library.

"We both know what it means to rule people who aren't inclined to accept a woman's rule. And we've both done a damn good job of it," Dany tells her. She goes on to reassure Sansa that she loves Jon. But that's not Sansa's main concern.

"What about the North? It was taken from us. We took it back. We swore we'd never let anyone take it again," Sansa insists, the cordial tone between them gone as quickly as it came. They're interrupted by Maester Wolkan and the arrival of Theon Greyjoy.

Love her or hate her, it's impossible to deny Sansa's become much tougher and more pragmatic over the course of the series. (How many times have we heard her fret over the grain supplies since the Battle of the Bastards?) She's gone from being a naive girl dreaming of knights on white horses to a resolute, pragmatic leader who can hold her own against someone who conquered a continent.

In many respects, with her wry one-liners and tight smiles, Season 8 Sansa is a lot like Cersei Lannister was in the show's early seasons: shrewd and commanding, always keeping her cards close to her chest. And we know that while Sansa hates Cersei with a fiery passion, she also couldn't help but admire her. Bottom line: if Sansa thinks Dany is a useful ally who can help protect House Stark and the North as a whole, she'll likely urge Jon to get over his squeamishness about his family ties to Dany for the greater good. As much as Jon complains about Sansa, he trusts her counsel. So does Arya. If Sansa objects to a marriage between Jon and Dany, it's unlikely it will happen. In any event, it's clear Sansa will put what's best for the North ahead of what's best for Jon.

Granted, a lot depends on what happens next week, and who survives the impending White Walker assault on Winterfell. In the episode's final moments, Jon tells Dany about his secret parentage, revealing that her older brother Rhaegar was his true father. While it's widely known in the GOT fandom and lore that the Targaryens are more nonchalant about incest than most, Dany's plainly horrified by this news. She doesn't want to believe it, and it's not clear if she's more dismayed that she's no longer the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, or that she's been getting busy with her own nephew. We'll likely have to wait a few weeks to see if Jon and Dany's romance will endure, but if it's going to happen, any union between them will need Sansa's approval.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.