'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Will Grapple With Consequences of Targaryen Incest on the Iron Throne

Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, joined by Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke, spoke with TV Insider about the final season of the HBO fantasy epic. While there's plenty of action in store ("The scope of this season definitely exceeds anything we've attempted before," Weiss said), including the largest battle yet seen on television, the cast and creators put a particular focus on the tussle for the Iron Throne, including the likely consequences of Targaryen incest.

A montage of upcoming footage for HBO shows which debuted during the 2019 Golden Globes included a shot from the premiere episode of Game of Thrones Season 8, as Sansa Stark greets the newly arrived Daenerys Targaryen. "Winterfell is yours, your grace," she says. But that might not be the case for long, thanks to a secret revealed at the end of Game of Thrones Season 7: Jon Snow is a Targaryen and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

As fans have long suspected, Snow is not the bastard son of Eddard Stark, but instead the child of his sister, Lyanna Stark, who eloped with Daenerys' older brother, Rhaegar Targaryen, an event which precipitated Robert's Rebellion and the fall of the Targaryen dynasty. That makes Jon Snow, or Aegon Targaryen, as he was named at birth, Daenerys' nephew. This doesn't necessarily have to complicate their romantic life—the Targaryens have long practiced incest—but it does complicate Daenerys' claim to the Iron Throne, which will be a major theme of the series' final six episodes.

"From a dramatic standpoint, it makes things interesting," Weiss said. "Because the story is no longer about who Jon's parents are. It's about what happens when Jon finds out."

Whether Snow stays loyal to Daenerys or decides to pursue the Iron Throne for himself could be one of the most important turns in the history of Game of Thrones. But whatever he chooses, Harington is certain his character won't waffle or deceive.

"Jon is someone who plays by the book. He cannot lie," Harington told TV Insider. "Finding out about Dany would be very hard for him."

Would knowledge of his true lineage compel Snow to renounce his subservience to Daenerys? Is it possible the Mother of Dragons would submit, giving up her claim to her nephew-lover? Clarke doesn't feel Dany would be quick to simply submit to the new order.

"Daenerys's lifelong dream has been to avenge her family and claim her rightful seat on the Iron Throne," Clarke told TV Insider. "She truly loves Jon. Were she to find out about his title, it would cut deep."

Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its final season in April.

'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Will Grapple With Consequences of Targaryen Incest on the Iron Throne | Culture