Game of Thrones: Why What Gilly Said at the Citadel Really, Really Matters

Warning: This post contains spoilers from Sunday’s Game of Thrones.

In Sunday’s Game of Thrones, Sam might not have been interested in listening to Gilly’s observations about the Citadel’s history books, but a lot of viewers were riveted to her musings.

Before we explain why, here’s the crucial exchange from “Eastwatch”:

GILLY | What’s an annulment?
SAM | It’s when a man sets aside his lawful wife.
GILLY | [High Septon] Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for a Prince Rhaegar and remarried him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne. Is that a common thing in the south, or is —

And then Sam interrupts her to complain about his frustrations with the Archmaester & Co. Oh, hush up, Samwell! Because this is important.

You’ll remember last season, when Bran had the Tower of Joy vision that basically confirmed that Jon’s parents were Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark? Well even within that piece of information, a few questions remained. Chief among them: Were Rhaegar and Lyanna legally wed, making Jon a fully legitimate Targaryen heir? Or was something not-quite-kosher going on, meaning that he, indeed, was a bastard — just not Ned Stark’s bastard?

Gilly’s throwaway line seems to imply that Jon is, indeed, a full Targaryen. Huzzah!

If you need a quick refresher on the Targaryen family tree: Rhaegar was the oldest son of Mad King Aerys, which makes him Daenerys’ brother. He was married to Elia Martell, though that apparently got overthrown for his Lyanna dalliance/love/kidnapping/your guess is as good as ours.

It’s important to note that Rhaegar also was next in line for the Iron Throne… so if he had a living son… Yep: Jon is the true heir to the Iron Throne.

Mind blown? Drop a note below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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50 Comments
  1. N says:

    Question. Why isn’t Jons hair white?

  2. Craig Eisele says:

    What if Tyrion is also the Mad Kings Son given the history of mothers dying in Child birth and having seen Tyrion in the Dungeons with the 2 dragons when Dany was away to get them to eat. The mad king did love Tywins wife Johanna and could of had his child which is why Jamie was in the kings guard and Tywin hated Tyrion even more knowing Tyrion was the Mad Kings son AND Johanna died in child birth because of him. However I presume that Tyrion would be a bastard of the Mad King and would not have claim on the throne if I am correct.

    • I think if Tyrion is Dany’s half brother, and Jon’s half Uncle? (which I totally think he is) either way, Jon still is First to the Throne, he is the heir of the heir and not a bastard (his parents would be legally married). So it doesn’t really matter if he is a bastard or not.

      • jcp says:

        I think the Mad King raped Tywin’s wife. That makes Tyrion a Targaryen and they will ride the 3 dragons.

        • Welcome Back Gendry says:

          In the books it was told that King Aerys believed he had a right to take any woman in the land that he wanted to and that he coveted Tywin Lannister’s wife. Tywin’s wife would never have told Tywin if the King raped her because if Tywin tried to seek revenge on the King, Tywin would definitely be killed by the King’s Guard, regardless of his being the Hand of the King. So she would not have told him. Tywin always suspected that Tyrion wasn’t his son (which, of course,meant he never created such a “creature”), but had no proof so he kept Tyrion around and treated him like crap, never acknowledging the accomplishments of his son, to the point of even blaming Tyrion for Joffrey’s murder knowing full well Tyrion was innocent. Good riddance.

          I’d love it if Tyrion is Aerys son and that we end up seeing John, Tyrion and Dany riding the three dragons together in battle (kiss this, Night King!!) (HA) .. just as Aerys and his two sisters did before them.

          • Sherry - Busy Zen Life says:

            I think you’re on to something there – there is no way that Tywin ever could have known because he hated Tyrion as it is, so if he had known for sure that he was another man’s son he would have cast him out immediately.

      • A3rynSun76 says:

        I’m actually kinda confused by this Jon being the rightful heir. His father was never King. Rhaegar is regularly implied to have died before his father did. Which left the throne to Viserys. When he died Dany became the heir. Jon being trueborn doesn’t change that he got bypassed in the lines of succession. Not that it doesn’t give him a strong claim, it’s just hard to say it’s stronger than Dany’s. Especially with the whole Mother of Dragons thing.

        • AnnieM says:

          Well, using the Royal Family as a guide, I think the line of succession is usually the oldest child, then their children, that are first in line. Setting Viserys aside (since he died heir-less), that leaves Dany, who I’m pretty sure was born after Jon? Anyway, are there any UK readers here that can clarify how the line of succession works?

    • Craig Eisele says:

      the Mad King’ own Grand Maester Pycelle records should have gone to the Citadel and therein information that could prove Tyrion is in fact Aerys son with Johanna Lannister… we are seeing copious notes from all the Maesters that may be our source of this knowledge as well as what Gilly read tonight about Jon Snows Parentage being legit.

      Sam would have to request the Citadel to confirm what Gilly read anyway and in the search for information on White Walkers the Archmaester may even read Pycelle’s records while searching for info about Dragon Glass as a weapon. Unfortunately our theory of Tyrion being a Targarion rests on the competence of Pycelle as there may be no other way to confirm.

      With Jon Snow we had Ned Starks companion from the discovery of Jon Snow ( Howland Reed) is still alive and his daughter just went back last week after taking care of Bran for all this time. add this to Bran who may not be accepted as a seer for a while yet … but at least we know Jon’s parentage is solid and secure.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      The dragon-whisperer thing is the strongest evidence to me that Tyrion is really a Targaryen, especially after Jon’s close encounter with Drogon.

    • Nemo says:

      I can’t wait to see Jon and Tyrion ride the other two dragons.

    • Coco Lopez says:

      Mind blown. Absolutely.

    • Bit Too Harsh says:

      Tyrion is not a Targaryen IMO just based on some context clues (especially in the books). I think the reason Tywin hated him so much was not because he wasn’t his son but because he is the child most like him but he’s an imp, a monster. Tyrion got the smarts and the cunning that Tywin is known for. Tyrion the monster is also the only one left to carry the family legacy since Cersei is a woman and Jaime is a member of the Kings Guard.

      • luvprue2 says:

        I agree. I think that the reason why Tywin hate Tyrion is because Tyrion is his true son, and he was born (according to Cersei) a monster. I think Jamie and Cersei are the mad kings kids. Joanna might have been the mad kings mistress, or he had first right with her ( re: whatever it’s called when your master/king get to have sex with your wife before you do. Roosevelt Bolton did that, and that was how Ramsey was born) . The mad king probably slept with Joanna, and she had Jamie and Cersei with him. That would explain the 8 years between having Jamie and Cersei and giving birth to Tyrion. 8 years is a long time between the first born and last born. Especially in a time period where birth control was very limited. Plus it been rumored that on the night of Jaehaerys’s coronation, Aerys took the maidenhead of Lady Joanna Lannister, who had come to court for the celebrations.

        While a lot of people believe Tyrion to be the mad kings son because of his father hatred of him, and his fascination with dragons. However there is equal subtle hints that point to Jamie being the mad kings son.

        Jamie has blonde hair and good looks. Targaryen are known for their hair and good looks.
        Jamie a great swordsman – Targaryen are also known to be warriors/great swordsman
        King Aerys often referred to Jamie as soon (subtle hint)
        Jamie and Cersei incestuous relationship
        Jamie aunt tells Jamie that he’s not Tywin’s son.

        I think Jamie will turn out to be a targaryen.

  3. jcp says:

    Jon is not interested of conquering the iron throne. My guess is Daenerys will rule in the South and Jon will rule in the North. But this is GoT so it won’t happen lol

    • Craig Eisele says:

      what needs to be established later is what happens to the Iron Islands and the Greyjoys and will anyone go back and rule Essos which are still ruled by Dany. Cersei will die by Jamie’s hand I believe but what about Jamie and will Sam Tarley be given his ancestral lands to be warden of for a Targarian ruler?

    • maggie says:

      Jon isn’t interested in ruling, and is only interested in the well being of the people. That’s why he would be the better choice for ruler. He’s not power-mad, and sees power simply as the way to make things better for all.

      • ninergrl6 says:

        He even made a comment to that effect a couple eps ago. Dany said that people love what they’re good at, but Jon responded that that wasn’t necessarily true. He’s the most benevolent, level-headed option to rule and doesn’t really want the job, even though he’s proven time and again that he’s more than capable, and now he’s confirmed to be legitimate.

  4. kat0711 says:

    Ahhh that explains why the dragon was friendly with Jon

  5. kat0711 says:

    Ahhh so that explains why the dragon was friendly with Jon!

  6. Mark Molumby says:

    True… But the whole “True Heir” thing is the very reason everyone is killing everyone else lol. If you go back to Aegon Targaryen… He just flew in with his dragons and f*cked everyone up. He wasn’t the “Rightful Heir” to anything… So the whole rightful or true heir idea is just that – an idea. No one is more entitled to the position than anyone else. It’s used as an excuse for anyone to hold the throne. Robert Baratheon used the bloodline to stake his place on the throne as his grandmother was a Targaryen… Which he was clearly only using to legitimise his place on the throne… because he simultaneously tried to kill all the other Targaryens and wipe them out. I’d say that he knew (Spoiler Alert) that his fiancé actually ran away with Rhaegar… Even though he claimed that she was kidnapped and raped. This last episode suggests that she ran from Robert and that is why he hates the Targaryens (As well as because of the murderous mad king)
    Long story short. People use the idea of a true heir… Really though… The throne is taken and was always taken.

    • Sammy says:

      Yeah, who cares about the legitimate heir? Do you think anyone who follows Dany cares about that? It’s just to make Jon even more special, the true prince of the prophecies but like you said the throne is taken and she has the soldiers and dragons, legitimacy wouldn’t matter at all. Of course we all know that Dany and Jon will be together, fight the ice zombies and they’ll both rule.

  7. Jason says:

    I don’t think Jon would even want the throne, to be honest. Although it would be cool if he co-ruled with Dany.

  8. Beckers0505 says:

    Where does Danys brother we met at the beginning of the show that was killed by Drogo fit into this?!

  9. Avarus says:

    it makes him Danny’s nephew not brother. she was the child of the Mad King as was Rhaegar and since Jon is supposedly the child of her brother she is his Aunt not sister!

  10. revan86 says:

    I lost interest in Game of Thrones after season 4, but the show keeps getting rave reviews, especially season 6 and 7. Is it worth going back to it knowing I lost interest after season 4? Or is it still more or less the same show?

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Season 5 was kind of a snoozer for me save for a few scenes, but 6 is great, particularly the second half, and 7 has been PHENOMENAL. 6 and 7 have a lot of payoff for long-time viewers, and 7 is moving FAST. Major events happen every episode.

    • Dragongirlll says:

      Season 7 is awesome.

    • popo says:

      I did not watch until it had been on for 5 years. Then I binged watched the first 5 seasons and was ready for season 6. Now I am reading all the books (I am 2/3rds through the fourth books. While the over all story is the same, there are many differences.

  11. Cynthia says:

    Sam Tarly will kick himself when he finds out how important it is what Gilly had read! 😊

  12. Nicole says:

    This whole conversation went right over my husband and I’s head!!! We are going to have to rewatch this episode again tonight!

  13. Wtfdude1313 says:

    You put a spoiler tag yet the title that shows up on everyone’s feed is the spoiler in big bold text. Really?

  14. BCT says:

    Yes! Mind is blown!

  15. ? says:

    I have read every book and seen every episode of the show, and until last night, never did I anywhere encounter even a SUGGESTION that annulments were a thing that existed in Westeros. In fact I’m pretty certain that if annulments existed, a lot of history that happened would have happened differently. Sorry, but it just seems like a cheat. Married is clearly married in this world, forever, so if you want out of your marriage, you have to murder your spouse. Unless the marriage was never consummated in the first place. But Rhaegar had children with Elia. Anyway, Drogon’s going to end up breathing fire on Jon soon, from which he’ll emerge with the white hair and revealing him as a Targaryen. Then he and Dany are going to bang, because that’s what Targaryens do with each other, and then she won’t have to conquer the north and Jon won’t have to bend the knee because the unification of the kingdoms will be through marriage. The thing is, though, Dany has three dragons. So either there’s another Targaryen, or one of the dragons isn’t going to survive the coming war against the dead. I think it’s the latter . . .

    • luvprue2 says:

      King Henry VIII had his marriage to Katherine of Aragon annulled. However it wasn’t legitimate annulled since it was only recognize as annulled in England . He also had his marriage to Anne of Cleve annulled. So annulment did happen in that time.

      George r r Martin admit to borrowing some idea from history books. I think the
      Prince Rhaegar Targaryen getting his marriage to Elia Martel annulled so that he can secretly marry Lyanna Stark so that their kid won’t be born a bastard is straight from the history books. Henry VIII had his marriage annulled so that he can secretly married Anne Boleyn.

  16. luvprue2 says:

    So if it’s revealed that Jon is Lyanna, and Rhaegar’s true son, Dany might think Jon is a threat for the crown. Jon being a Targaryen changes things. Jon being legitimate changes everything.

  17. Emjai says:

    The “rebel” Lanister army, then . .. So Danni gets a replenishment force for the ones she lost last week .. Come on you DRAGONS!