In less than a week, HBO will air the second-to-last ever season finale of Game of Thrones. While the quality has arguably taken a hit since leaving behind George R.R. Martin’s source material, the show remains a cultural phenomenon. Every detail is parsed over by hundreds, it not thousands, of fans every week. Episode titles are no exception. So when HBO announced the final episode of this season will be titled “The Dragon and the Wolf” it didn’t take long to pick up what the series is putting down. On multiple levels.
When Game of Thrones is at its best, the episode titles hold layers of meaning. For example, in “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” the title is literal the words of House Martell but also applies to Sansa’s strength of will in the face of marriage to Ramsay Bolton, Arya’s determination to finish her training, and the High Sparrow’s morals. “Mother’s Mercy” is part of the Westerosi religion but is applicable to Cersei’s sacrifice to return to Tommen, Ellaria’s revenge on Marcella, and even Stannis’ ultimate fate after the death of his daughter. Even as far back as the first season, “A Golden Crown” refers to the death of Viserys and Ned Stark de facto ruling the Seven Kingdoms for King Robert. “The Dragon and the Wolf” follows in that grand tradition, as there are at least three possible meanings hidden within.
1) Daenerys is the dragon and Jon is the wolf
This is the most obvious interpretation of the text, as it also the most literal. Dany has dragons and is descended from the Valyrian dragonlords. Jon is a Stark, whose House sigil is a direwolf (oh, and Jon allegedly still has a direwolf, though Ghost is living up to his name this season). With Jon bending the knee to Daenerys at the end of “Beyond the Wall” and the two of them practically eye-sexing each other every time they’re in the same room, it makes sense we’re headed for more than a political alliance between the houses of ice and fire. Even though Dany made sure to let Jon know she’s barren, one can imagine a scenario where adding more Targaryen DNA to the equation could cancel out whatever curse Mirri Maz Duur place on Dany back in the first season.