Kit Harington talks Starkbowl and Jon Snow’s parentage


After an extra three-odd months of waiting for the new season of Game of Thrones, we’re finally in the home stretch. But the press never sleeps—and neither, apparently, does the theory that Jon and Sansa will have a family throw-down in season 7.

Following Jon’s impromptu coronation as King in the North in the season 6 finale, speculation that a rift would grow between him and his presumed half-sister has been alive and well, and frankly overwhelming. Too overwhelming. Suspiciously overwhelming. Major players Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), and Aidan Gillen (Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish) have talked of little else, as all their characters have a part to play in the alleged Starkbowl. Recently, Gillen and Harington have had more to say on the subject—that is to say, more of much the same thing.

On Littlefinger’s continued quest for power, Gillen tells the Hollywood Reporter:

"It’s one of the reasons he’s been nurturing this relationship with Sansa Stark. Clever as he is, he knows that she’s the most appropriate person to align himself with right now. He also wants to use that relationship to observe Sansa and observe what’s happening around [Winterfell]—for instance, Jon. [He wants] to undermine her relationship with Jon. It’s the best position he can be in for now. Let’s see where that goes."

I wouldn’t necessarily agree that Littlefinger’s “best position” is one in which he tries to drive a wedge between two people who wield power that he himself can only covet. Jon is the King in the North and Sansa the Lady of Winterfell. As of now, they have the geographically largest of the Seven Kingdoms at their command.

Naturally, Petyr would want a slice of that pie, but what exactly makes him think he’s going to get it? He might have brought the Knights of the Vale to the Starks’ cause during the Battle of the Bastards, but he owed Sansa as much after selling her to the Boltons. And, you know, betraying her father, not to mention his constant attempts to get fresh with her mother and herself. The guy is “yikes” personified.

Methinks Petyr is getting a bit too confident about his powers of manipulation. The notion that Sansa will continue to trust him without reservation at this juncture would be a great disservice to her character. Between her “Only a fool would trust Littlefinger” and “Back then I only thought about what I wanted, never about what I had” in season 6, Sansa’s stance has been made clear, and she’s not standing with the likes of Petyr Baelish.

Meanwhile, Harington digs into his character’s relationship with Sansa this on IndieWire:

"I think Sansa twists [Jon] in a way that no one else can. She infuriates him, she speaks up at times when it’s more helpful for him for her to not speak up. Essentially he’s got a problem: He’s leader, and she’s testing him, and as a leader you can’t have someone question you. But when it’s your sister there’s not much you can do about that. What are you meant to do? Punish your sister or execute your sister? So she’s a real challenge for him and she knows that. I think she’s infuriating to him and she knows that. But she knows she’s cleverer than Jon, in many ways."

“What are you meant to do? Punish your sister or execute your sister?” Clearly, no; these are the Starks we’re talking about, not the Lannisters. So what dynamic can we expect from Jon and Sansa this year? Petty bickering? Disagreements regarding the North’s rule? In a nutshell: more arguments fueled by belligerent sexual tension?

Okay, maybe that’s not your cup of tea. Regardless, here’s what I imagine the hyped Starkbowl will ultimately boil down to:

  • Jon: “I’m gonna do this thing this way.”
  • Sansa: “No.”
    Jon: “What.”
    Sansa: “Do it this way instead.”
    Jon: “Why are you arguing with me?”
    Sansa: “Because you’re being stupid again.”
    Jon: “YOU’RE STUPID.”
    Sansa: “lmao okay, Commander Manbun.”
    Jon: *stalks off to brood handsomely somewhere with flattering lighting*

Maybe their interactions will be fraught with more worrisome tension, but somehow I doubt it. Especially when we consider that Harington goes on to explain Jon’s desire to be a Stark, and to be acknowledged as such:

"I think it’s very important for him to believe he’s a Stark. As much as he is a Snow, deep down he’s of the north and he’s of the Stark family. That’s hugely important to him that he’s part of that family and part of that history."

We see in the season 6 finale that Sansa gives Jon exactly what he wants in this regard, when she counters his “I’m not a Stark” with “You are to me.” So if Jon is as preoccupied with his family ties as Harington suggests, then his relationship with Sansa is, at its core, steadfast. Starkbowl is season 7’s big distraction. It’s “Dark Sansa” and “Jon Snow is dead” all over again.

Harington goes on to comment on another popular fan theory: Jon’s parentage. Season 6 appears to have confirmed that R plus L does indeed equal J, which states that Ned Stark’s assumed bastard is actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.

"It’s important to say at the moment that it looks clear that this fan theory is going to come true, but we don’t know that yet. We know Lyanna Stark is his mother, but we don’t know who his father is for sure yet. But when I read all of that, I was very excited by it. There’s obviously been this mystery for him for many seasons and many years. I love that he doesn’t know about it. We all know about it, but he’s completely in the dark about it. As far as he knows, he’s still the illegitimate child of Ned Stark and some southern woman somewhere. That’s all he thinks."

Please, god, tell me this doesn’t mean we’re meant to suffer through this season without the official reveal. Of course, it’s not as though Harington would be allowed to share that information no matter what. I’m still inclined to believe that Jon learns the truth of his parentage at some point this year, if only for my own sanity (and for the sake of the plot’s forward momentum).

I suppose we’ll have our answers soon enough. Or, at least, some of them. Maybe. Until then, you can find me popping a Valium for every fan theory that I—despite my better judgment—decide to research in the meantime.

Next: Confirmed: A long-absent character will return in Game of Thrones season 7

Also, we can’t let you go without dropping this Harington quote from the THR interview, where he calls Jon Snow “a bit of a psychopath.”

"I think happiness is a very strange term to associate with Jon. He has a very odd sense of what ‘happy’ is. It might not be everybody else’s ‘happy.’ I don’t know what happiness is for Jon. I actually think secretly deep down, he’s a bit of a psychopath, weirdly. He looks for violence. In a strange way, and I said this to [director Miguel Sapochnik] during ‘Battle of the Bastards,’ I think that in a weird way this could be Jon’s natural home, on this battlefield, where he comes to life. For all of his good, he’s a violent man."

He and other cast members qualify that with plenty of chatter about Jon’s better nature and abilities as a leader, but that’s some nice food for thought.