Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) meeting in Game Of Thrones has been seven seasons in the making, but the writers don't want us to forget the past. They delivered a stark (no pun intended) reminder of that during Daenerys' speech to Jon after he refused to bend the knee in Sunday night's episode of the HBO series. In response to his refusal, the Khaleesi tells Jon that she grew strong thanks to the hardships she faced in life and, for the first time, she mentioned a particular trauma the show had yet to address: her rape.
"I spent my life in foreign lands," she says in the scene. "So many men have tried to kill me, I don't remember all their names. I have been sold like a brood mare, I've been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled, do you know what kept me standing though all those years in exile? Faith...in myself."
The rape she's referencing occurred during her relationship with Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). After he died, their love story was hailed as a great romance, but it's important to remember that its origins couldn't be more opposite. Daenerys was deposited into this marriage to secure an alliance, and was raped nightly by the Khal long before they ever learned the same language or developed any kind of friendship. Just because they were married doesn't mean their sex was consensual, and just because they eventually fell in love doesn't negate the trauma she endured at the start.
Daenerys' rape is something you could argue the writers had glossed over up until this point, so this reference is an unfortunate reminder of just how much she had to go through in her rise to the throne. Luckily, she's made it clear she's no longer standing for any bullshit, so Jon Snow — and everyone else — should take note.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).