Game of Thrones Finale: Jon Snow's Parentage Explained

Game of THrones Jon Snow Targaryen Parents Finale

Amid the explosions and throat-slittings and suicides of Sunday’s Game of Thrones finale, a long-simmering storyline had its glorious resolution. And if you’re a little confused about the whole thing, don’t worry: Like Daenerys’ dragons swooping over the Ironborne fleet, we’ve got you.

Disclaimer: If you are a Game of Thrones diehard who knows the books and series like the back of your Hand of the King, we salute you and adore you, but this post is not for you.

Bran’s vision near the end of the episode took him back to a scene we’d witnessed in Episode 3 of this season: Young Ned Stark, having just defeated some Targaryen guards outside of the Tower of Joy, hears a woman’s cry and runs up the stairs to where his sister, Lyanna, has just given birth to a son.

As we recently outlined during a breakdown of popular plot theories, Lyanna was supposed to marry Robert Baratheon — you remember, Cersei’s not-so-dearly-departed husband from the beginning of the series — until Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped her, raped her and stuck her in that tower. Her baby, it stands to reason, is therefore the son of Rhaegar; Robert’s hatred for all Targaryens is likely the reason a dying Lyanna made her brother promise something very important. We didn’t hear the entire, whispered conversation, but her plea that “If Robert finds out, he’ll kill him. You know he will” came across very clear.

So the “R+L=J” idea proves true: Jon Snow is not Ned’s bastard, even though that’s who he thinks he is and who the world thinks he is. Instead, he has honest-to-goodness Stark and Targaryen blood in his veins, which means he’s related to Daenerys, has a viable claim to the Iron Throne and may even be able to do cool stuff with dragons and fire.

Does that clear things up? What other questions do you have coming out of the finale? Hit the comments!

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