WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR GAME OF THRONES THROUGH ‘BEYOND THE WALL’ INSIDE.
Despite having plot holes big enough to ride Drogon through, the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones’ seventh season still managed to shock audiences the world over in the final moments. With the look of boredom most people reserve for filling up their gas tank or making morning coffee, the Night King casually dropped Dany’s dragon Viserion. In retrospect, we all should’ve seen it coming. Game of Thrones was dropping some pretty major hints that not everyone was going to make it out of the Lands Beyond Winter. Tyrion reminding Dany that all it takes is one arrow to strike true, Dany saying heroes just get themselves (or others) killed, the zombie bear (zombear) appearing to establish the Night King can also bring animals other than horses back from the dead. The red flags were everywhere.
But all hope is not lost.
For decades, fans of George R.R. Martin’s novels have tried to guess where the author was going. Some fan theories — such as Jon’s true parentage — have turned out to be true. In reaction to that, a lot of other theories became trapped in amber with fans assuming these moments would also come to pass. One of the the most prominent is the in-universe prophecy that sparked everything: The dragon has three heads. Rhaegar Targaryen believed the prophecy meant he must have three children in order to save the world. With the hatching of three dragons, it was simple to infer that by the end of the series, each living Targaryen would be a dragonrider, bonding with Daenerys’ children. But with a single ice lance, the Night King shattered that theory. Except perhaps he didn’t. Perhaps he merely rearranged the board.
If you’ve been following the fan theories about the “three-headed dragon” you’ll know the favored suspects as the last three remaining Targaryens are Dany, Jon, and Tyrion. Why Tyrion? Check this out if you need the background, but long story short he could be the product of the Mad King’s obsession with Tywin’s wife, Joanna. Determining who would get which dragon then became a matching game. Jon would get Rhaegal because the dragon was named after his father while Tyrion would get Viserion as that dragon was the color of Lannister gold. But now that theory is out the window. And, quite frankly, it’s a very George R.R. Martin twist, as the author loves to lampshade high fantasy tropes.
So how can all hope not be lost? Jon Targaryen is also a Stark. The Stark children, save for Sansa perhaps, are wargs. The show hasn’t spent much time dwelling on it, but Bran is not the only one of his siblings with the power to inhabit the bodies of animals. Jon has warged into Ghost before, and prior to the reveal of how he returned to the living, there were theories that Jon would inhabit Ghost’s body until he could be made whole again. If the King In The North can mind-control creatures and his Targaryen blood gives him a special bond with dragons, then what’s to stop Jon from wresting control of Viserion away from the Night’s King? Why wouldn’t the King In The North ride a dragon that spews, not fire, but ice, especially since it would dovetail so nicely with the other “fire and ice” parallels in this Song of Ice and Fire?