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In "The Queen's Justice", the third episode of the seventh season of Game of Thrones (S07E03), Jon Snow, King in the North meets with Daenerys Targaryen, "Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne etc."

Towards the end of this scene, Daenerys says that she is the "rightful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms" and that by Jon Snow declaring himself "King in the North" he is in open rebellion.

However... Jon Snow, and the North, isn't in open rebellion against Daenerys, but against the Iron Throne as it currently stands, which is held by Queen Cersei Lannister (of House Baratheon). I would expect that Jon Snow knows this (though his reaction to her words may say otherwise). In fact, Daenerys is currently a foreign invader, whose only earned titles are Essosi (her Westerosi titles are hereditary and debatable, not for discussion here). Jon Snow holds no fealty to Daenerys and therefor has no obligation to support her cause.

It is true that Torrhen Stark bent the knee to Aegon Targaryen, however this oath was broken around 24 (I think) years ago when House Stark joined House Baratheon in a rebellion against Targaryen rule -- I don't imagine that this oath could be considered intact when it was never reformed after the rebellion.

Based on this, my question (based on much internal deliberation) is: Should a Westerosi house that broke an oath of fealty with another Westerosi house be expected to continue to support said house when demanded by a descendant of the latter, particularly when said descendant holds no Westerosi titles?

I understand that is a tightly defined question, please let me know if I should break it up a little more. Given that the question calls for information from history and established lore, information from the Books, TV Shows and GRRM himself should all be applicable.

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    Thanks @Aegon for correcting my spelling of Torrhen Stark - who better would know that then yourself! – Kallum Tanton Aug 2 '17 at 10:46
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    " whose only earned titles ", please? :) – Federico Aug 2 '17 at 11:09
  • Is Cersei really of House Baratheon? – Eric Duminil Aug 3 '17 at 18:27
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You are taking it too literally. This is Dany's POV, not a legal POV. Nor is there a Supreme court of Westeros to issue a ruling on this matter. This is completely subjective to the person who is talking.

She said it because as far as she and Targaryen loyalists are concerned, she is in fact the only rightful claimant to the throne and real Queen of Westeros as scion of Aegon the Conqueror and only living child of the last Targaryen monarch, Aerys II Targaryen.

When she says that Jon is in open rebellion, she is correct in that as well. She has come to take back the seven Kingdoms and accept fealty of the Lords. If a Certain Lord refuses to give his fealty and proclaims himself independent King of one of the seven Kingdoms, he is in open rebellion against the throne which is rightfully Dany's as far as she is concerned.

Vows are perpetual but nobody holds to them anyways. When Robert Baratheon, Eddard Stark, Hoster Tully, Quellon Greyjoy, Tywin Lannister and Jon Arryn rose to oust King Aerys II, they were breaking their faith and their oaths. Stannis Baratheon remembers that choice too well, as he puts it, "My Brother? Or My King? A Hard choice". There was a possibility that Rebels would only kill Aerys and plant Prince Viserys or Aegon Rhaegarsen as new King but that possibility was crushed by Tywin Lannister who cleared the way for Robert to take the throne as Great Grandson of King Aegon V.

The Baratheon dynasty took the throne due to descent from Targaryens, the only ones who had a claim to the throne. All rebels accepted them as Kings because of that and because Robert had a badass warhammer.

As far as Targaryens were concerned, Baratheons were still usurpers and so are their heirs and successors. That's Daenerys' legal stance. She is going to take seven Kingdoms, which means all the seven Kingdoms. If she makes an exception for Jon, other Lords will demand the same. So she will demand fealty of Jon Snow. Monarchs have no friends, only subjects and enemies. If Jon isn't a subject, he is an enemy.

Daenerys is no foreigner though, do few years abroad make one a foreigner? If that's so, Oberyn Martell is also a foreigner given his exile in Essos. And why stop at that? All Targaryens are foreigners who came from Valyria. All Andals are foreigners who came from Andalos. All First men are foreigners who came from Essos. All Rhoynar are foreigners who came from Rhoyne delta. Only ones who are natives to Westeros are Children of the Forest and Giants.

And Daenerys holds Westerosi Titles. She is the Lady of Dragonstone, which is the same title which Rhaenyra Targaryen held two centuries ago when she fought against her brother King Aegon II for Iron Throne. The same title which Aegon the Conqueror held three centuries ago when he set out on forging the Iron throne.

On the other hand, Jon never swore an oath to a Targaryen. All Stark Lords, including Eddard Stark were sworn to obey King Aerys II, his heirs and successors, but Jon has never taken that vow. That's just like First Greyjoy rebellion. When defeated Balon Greyjoy was brought to Robert Baratheon, Balon looked him in the eye and said "You may call me a traitor and take my head, but no Greyjoy ever swore an oath to a Baratheon". Robert laughed and said "Then swear one to me now, or lose that head of yours". Balon was correct that while he had sworn to obey Targaryens, he never swore an oath to Robert. Robert acknowledged that and let him renew his fealty to the throne. That's precisely what Daenerys is asking, bend the knee and renew the pledge.

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    Thanks for the very well explained answer @Aegon, the POV point answers my questions for the most part, and the reference the Balon was the historic icing on the cake I was looking for. – Kallum Tanton Aug 2 '17 at 11:10
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    “Only ones who are natives to Westeros are Children of the Forest, Giants and White Walkers.” — Weren’t the White Walkers made by the Children of the Forest, by stabbing a man with dragonglass? (At least as far as the TV show is concerned.) And thus, arguably, not native? – Paul D. Waite Aug 2 '17 at 17:22
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    If there is a Westrosi SCOTUS, Drogon would probably considered the chief "justice." – PoloHoleSet Nov 8 '17 at 15:05
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    @PoloHoleSet Does that make Viserion just ice? ;) – T.J.L. Feb 28 '18 at 18:50
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    @T.J.L. Related ;-) – Rand al'Thor Oct 6 '18 at 13:49
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Aegon has a very complete answer, but I think we're making this way too complicated.

The specific claims:

  • Daenerys: I am the queen of the Seven Kingdoms. All of them.

  • Jon: I am King of Kingdom #7 (the North).

Obviously, they both can't be monarch of the North, so by Jon being declared as King of the North, he is disputing her claim to be Queen of the North, which, if she is the rightful queen, makes him in rebellion against her (but not vice versa because her claim considers all Seven Kingdoms to be part of a greater kingdom, while his claim only looks at the North as an independent entity).

This is specifically laid out in their later conversation, when Daenerys grants him access to the dragonglass on the island:

Daenerys: You know I'm not going to let Cersei stay on the Iron Throne.

Jon: I never expected that you would.

Daenerys: And I haven't changed my mind about which kingdoms belong to that throne.

Jon: I haven't either.

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