Game of THrones Jon Snow Targaryen Parents Finale

Game of Thrones Finale: Jon Snow's Parentage Explained

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!

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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  1. Robert1977 says:

    Are they building to some connection between Tyrion, Calesi and Jon? That all three of them are related. It felt very brotherly the way Tyrion and Calesi were talking. Just not sure what the connection is.

    • irishrose4583 says:

      there is a theory floating out there that Tyrion is the son of the mad king which would explain why tywin hated him so much. the wiki eve has a quote that says “King Aerys II Targaryen stated that Tyrion was a punishment for Tywin’s arrogance” which could give credence to the fact that he punished tywin by fathering a child with his wife and making him raise him as his own son. again a theory…but i so love the Tyrion/Dany relationship and how they seem to balance each other that I want them to be siblings!

      • J says:

        I hope Tyrion is not the son of Aerys. That would add nothing to the story. The more poetic storyline would be if Jamie & Cersei were the children of Aerys & Joanna and Tyrion was Tywin’s only true born son.

        • Amy says:

          Judging by the mad way in which Cersei just burned King’s Landing, I would say Aerys’s children were the twins.

        • Eva says:

          On the other hand, Tyrion being a Targaryen would make him the third dragon rider, next to Dany and Jon. How’s that for poetic justice?

          • Terra says:

            Tyrion did have a way with the dragons in the dungeon…

          • cornersss says:

            “On the other hand, Tyrion being a Targaryen would make him the third dragon rider, next to Dany and Jon. ”

            And remember the dragons didnt eat tyrion when he released their chains.

        • irishrose4583 says:

          i like that one too!

          • irishrose4583 says:

            to clarify i meant the theory that tyrion was the only actual son and the twins were the mad kings

        • DL says:

          It would make him the third dragon-rider. Right now the only other candidates are a possible impostor in the books, or potentially Bran warging. It actually makes a ton of story sense, as it unites the three major families of the series — Stark, Targaryen, and Lannister — beneath one banner.

      • cornersss says:

        ” Tyrion was a punishment for Tywin’s arrogance” which could give credence to the fact that he punished tywin by fathering a child with his wife and making him raise him as his own son.”

        but doesnt cersi blame tyrion for their mothers death during birth? I think tywin did also before he took a crossbow

    • addie says:

      I got somethingelse entirely like Tyrion wanted to hit that. Can you blame him the queen has her charms

      • Amy says:

        It was word by word – and sight by sight – how Jaime not-told Brienne how much he cared about her. Tyrion is taken with Daenerys, the only question is whether or not she could also grow fond of him.

    • cmmorgan32 says:

      It’s certainly possible. It depends on whether or not the writers want to go that route. They could adapt the Aegon VI storyline from the books and make it part of Tyrion’s arc for next season.

    • My guess, and that’s all it is really, is that they are building a relationship amongst the three, just in a slightly different way: we have three dragons, and so far only one, well let’s call it s pilot. So I’m thinking that eventually the three of them will be flying dragons against the White Walkers. Then again, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

  2. Joey says:

    Even though he is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, he still has no claim to either Winterfell or the Iron Throne, because he’s a bastard nonetheless.

    • Jason says:

      It’s actually not known whether he’s a bastard because it is possible that Rhaegar and Lyanna married in secret. The known story is that Lyanna was raped by Rhaegar, but as we know the “known” story and reality are not the same. It’s entirely possible that Rhaegar and Lyanna married in secret.

      • Ina Hark says:

        Wasn’t Rhaegar already married?

        • Ann Marie says:

          I thought Targaryen princes and kings were allowed to have more than one wife?

          • Joey says:

            While I’m not super familiar on the entire Targaryen family, if you just look at the royal line, only Aegon I and Maegor I (the first and third kings) had been married to more than one woman at the same time.
            But, let’s not pretend that D&D are trying to adapt ASoIaF anymore. It’s a crack fic at best.

          • John says:

            Not really because the last time it happened was 300 years ago and westeros with its faith does not allow more than one wife. The last time it happened was because well the Targ had the dragons to back them up. No one dared to challenge them. Rhaegar doesn’t have dragon did he?

    • addie says:

      Yeah if that was the case why did Jeffrey have all of Roberts Bayard children killed in Kingslanding. Not because they were a threat??

  3. Ina Hark says:

    For someone descended from those platinum blond Targaryens, Jon’s hair is awfully dark. I guess he takes after Uncle Benjen’s Stark ancestors.

    • J says:

      Many Targaryen’s are not born with the Valyrian features of silver or silver/gold hair with purple eyes. It seems to be a recessive trait that is mostly only found when Targaryens marry each other.

    • Cortney Willis says:

      Lyanna had quite dark hair. Dark is usually dominant in the gene pool (both for hair and eye color). That’s part of why the Targaryans practiced incestuous inbreeding. “To keep the blood of old Valyria pure” or something.

      • T.M. says:

        Yeah the dark hair is dominant. That is how you could tell Robert wasn’t the daddy for Cersei’s children.

    • Anthony F says:

      I was considering that as well, especially with “The seed is strong” note on Robert Baratheon. Plus if you consider the sections of the book where Robert is described as a womanizer during and after battle I was hoping if Robert and Lyanna were together before she was kidnapped. To be fair I’m not sure why Robert would have killed his son, except in regards to his being a bastard. Thinking back to Robert’s comments to Ned during the tourney on the baby in Littlefinger’s brothel it’s possible he would have wanted the child dead to protect his “honor”.

  4. addie says:

    So im assuming that Bran can cross the wall without undoing it’s magic since Benjen claims the dead cannot pass. I had sincere worry that his being marked by the nights king is what would get the white walkers across since it undid the magic in the cave. Im still worried ??? Hmm. But mostly for the lesser significance of making sure Bran is able to relay this newly discovered information to Jon Wolf Dragon. Lol. I wonder how Jon will take this information. Anyway still alot of things to be worried about. Sansa for example. Is she a ride to die Stark and loyal to her brother or does she find the idea of putting her then would be treasonous behind on The Iron Throne alongside Little Finger. Who may i say i have always hated more then any other character yes even Ramsey. Let’s not forget this whole situation was his fault from the very beginning. TALK ABOUT SALTY LOSER. i don’t like him and his plotting anywhere near my Jon Wolf Dragon. Be gone demon be gone in the name of the old gods and new. So yeah im rooting for Jon and Dany to marry. Still a bit of incest but im willing to overlook that. AUNT and Nephew vs. TWINS. Lets just go for it you know. I wonder if Jon has spacial fire resisting powers like Dany. And thank goodness he didn’t inherit the white hair like the Targaryens because that would have totally given the lie away im sure Ned would have agreed.

    • vita says:

      yes i was thinking same – imagine if Jon has dragon powers too? Maybe that is how he really same back from the dead somehow, and not thanks to the Red Woman.

    • Jim says:

      Jon has a burned hand in the books from the Night Watch’s first encounter with the white walkers, so at the very least he isn’t fireproof.

      • sterling says:

        Technically in the book Dany isn’t fire proof either.

        • John says:

          True but they somehow made Dany fireproof in the show. Something different from the books. If they want to make Jon ride a dragon? fine with me but please don’t make it happen all of sudden. Dany had to go through 6 bloody seasons to bond properly with the dragons and Jon somehow can ride/control a dragon in 2 seasons?? No freaking way. That’s making him too god-like in GOT. Too conventional and GRMM is not known for that.

          • Angel says:

            Danny is fireproof in the book. Remember how the dragon eggs hatched? She took them into the fire with her.

  5. katii says:

    Ok so if Tyrion has Targaryen blood this might explain why they didn’t harm him when he freed them. Now that he’s Hand of the Queen, maybe his wish for getting a dragon will come true! He’ll get the littlest one! And burn Cersi with it! and Jon has Targaryen blood so he’s going to get the other one!

  6. NolaNola says:

    Was R+L=J written somewhere?
    Great FINALE’ 👏👏

  7. Matthew says:

    I firmly believe Tyron is Dani and jons brother. He definitely has targ blood in him which the dragons recognized when he went to free them. Everyone else they snap at or burn but he was able to walk right up and unhinge them with no harm. To me this proves his blood. Jon will also be able to commune with the dragons which will likely be a huge moment for the show as it will likely occur during a battle where Dani will find her advantage suddenly a moot point. They will be the three riders in the war against the nights King. Representing all three major families we have followed the Starks , the lannisters, and the targ all at once.

    I still say that the stark crest looks more dragon like than wolf like given the shape of the head and the scales.

    • Victoria says:

      While Tyrion could turn out to be Dany’s brother (Like you said, there has to be a reason he could touch the dragon) but he wouldn’t be Jon’s brother as Jon is Dany’s nephew and would be Tyrion’s as well if the theory you mentioned is true.

  8. Unless Rhaegar married Lyanna in secret, Jon still has no viable claim to the throne as he is still a bastard.

    • sterling says:

      At one point the Targarians legitimized their bastards. Also they did in fact practice poly marriages
      (some of them did anyway) so I believe the reason Lyanna was hidden away was to protect Rhaegar’s heir.

      • John says:

        Yea but that was hundreds of years ago. We don’t know if they’re still doing it now. What’s more there is no witness left except Bran who i don’t think Dany will believe. At first.

  9. Michelle says:

    Hopefully we’ll get more flashbacks of Lyanna and Rhaegar leading up to the Tower to show what many of us book readers presume to be true: that Lyanna wasnt raped by Rhaegar, and that he didnt kidnapp her. They fell in love and she ran away to be with him.

    I would love to see Roberts Rebellion as a prequel to the show. SO much material, and things to fill in. We can see Robert, Ned, Lyanna, Rhaegar, etc and then see the Tower of Joy from beginning to when Ned comes up the stairs.

  10. Amanda says:

    I’m stI’ll holding out hope that you all are wrong and Jon is a Barathleon….she was promised to Robert, he’d loved her forever, maybe he got some prior to her kidnapping and she went into the tower pregnant….making Jon Rheager’s son writes the plot into a hole. But making him a Barthleon and he still has a viable claim on the throne and if he and Dany marries, that union would unite all three houses. I don’t think they stressed that all of Robert’s bastard children and Cersi’s son that died had dark curly hair for nothing…..

    • Lyndsey says:

      Lyanna was with Rhaegar for an entire year. It’s physically impossible for him to be Robert’s son. Besides, if he was, why would Lyanna have been so worried Robert would kill him if he found out about Jon? Given his obsessive love for her, I’m sure he would have cherished the son they made together.

      The emphasis on the hair color in season one was solely to reveal that Robert was not the father of Cersei’s children. Otherwise, no one would have been the wiser.

    • Pete says:

      If he is Roberts son why would Lyanna be afraid that Robert would kill him?

  11. incognito says:

    I’m giddy :) Loved the finale. Looking forward to seeing where they take our 2 heirs… giddy i tell ya, GIDDY

  12. George H. says:

    I wouldn’t jump to conclusions that Jon Snow is a Targaryen. After all, we didn’t hear what she whispered into Ned’s ear.

  13. Sabrina says:

    I just don’t remember what episode, if you could be specific that they talked about Ned’s sister being raped and taken by Rhaegar and who spoke about it.

  14. Ron says:

    No, NOTHING has been “cleared up” The show DID NOT reveal that Jon is Rhaegar’s son. Lyanna’s probably but not Rhaegar’s. You folks are jumping the gun. Yes she said “Robert will kill him” but that’s the ONLY thing we were ALLOWED to hear by the writers and Director. What ELSE did she say? Secondly, Lyanna has brown hair, the Targaryeans all have very, VERY blond hair and Jon has black hair or possibly very dark brown. Jon could be Stannis, Benjen, Ned or even Robert’s kid. He is NOT Rhaegar’s son.

    • 19thpersonality says:

      The show definitely insinuates that Jon is Lyanna’s son. Also, Arya (very dark brown hair) is often likened to Lyanna looks and personality-wise, and the show also says that of Ned’s children, only Arya and Jon appear true north-born. The Targaryen looks are recessive, meaning they only show Targaryen + Targaryen, which is why they practiced inbreeding, like someone else commented, “to keep the blood pure”. So it’s completely possible that Rhaegar can be Jon’s dad, especially if she’s been kidnapped/secretly married to him for a year. Also, notice the secretly part – there was no one else around to pork except for the people keeping/protecting Lyanna for a year, and I’m pretty sure Arthur Dayne and his mates wouldn’t do that to Rhaegar. If I’m not mistaken, the other guy who survived the face off between Ned and Dayne (on Ned’s side) is still bunkered down somewhere in Westeros and is the only one alive who knows what went down in the Tower of Joy. Apart from Bran now.

      TL;DR: Jon is Lyanna’s son confirmed. Rhaegar is suspect number one. And correct me if I’m wrong, but there is someone else apart from Bran who knows.

    • Keia says:

      Jon IS Rhaegar’s son!

      It has been confirmed by the SHOW on their official website “Makinggameofthrones” with a infograph identifying Lyanna AND Rhaegar as Jon’s parents.

  15. Sandee says:

    Does Tyrion have a better claim to the Iron Throne than Cersei? He is the male heir if Jaime can t rule.

  16. Smitty says:

    **Young Ned Stark, having just defeated some Targaryen guards outside of the Tower of Joy** Targaryen Guards??? That was Ser Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning, the greatest knight to ever live according to Ned Stark. Not only the Greatest Knight but also the best of the Kings Guard. Those were not some paid house guards FFS. As to the connection between Dany and Jon, she’s his Aunt on his true fathers side. Rhaegar Targaryen. He’s a Stark on his mothers side. Lyanna Stark. The storyline will be that his bloodlines despite being a bastard will knit the North to Dany, possibly with him marrying Dany. Of course she’d have to legitimize him first assuming they don’t count King Robb’s legitimization of him.

  17. Don B says:

    Quick Question – I have yet to see any Proof that R is J’s father. Obviously L is his Mother and he was Neds Nephew, but other than assuming it is R because he Kidnapped her and either raped or courted her they have not given any confirmation of his being the father from what I can tell. Yet every article is saying it is iron clad. What am I Missing. Couldnt Lyanna have been pregnant when she was kidnapped, and Jon be a Baratheon-Stark. Couldn’t it have been any other Man theoretically? It would seem very GRRMish to twist things yet again if they arent confirmed, but again maybe i am missing the ironclad proof about who the father is.

  18. DigificWriter says:

    Jon might not be Ned’s bastard, but he’s still A bastard, since Lyanna and Rhaegar were not married, and there’s a good chance that his name ought to have been Jon SAND rather than Jon SNOW.

  19. Alezka says:

    Am I the only one thinking Jon might be Aerys’ son? I’m not sure why, but I just kind off got that idea at some point.

  20. Pat Davey says:

    I have a question. Why didn’t Ned Stark tell his wife (at least) the truth about the child he brought home.
    Kat treated Jon really badly even years later when he was trying to say goodbye forever to Bran when he was leaving for Castle Black. This was all because she thought he was her husband’s bastard. Their lives would have been very different if she had known the truth.

  21. I have a question. I’ve been reading a lot of theories about Jon’s future being a Targaryen. Some say he will have powers like Dany with the dragons but that can’t be true because Jon snow was burned killing the white Walker to save the lord commander. So is it possible that Danny will take the throne?

  22. LiljillybeAn says:

    Not Rhaegar Targaryean…. Stannis Baratheon!

  23. Mike1990 says:

    Unless im missing something, didnt Ned call Lyanna his sister? If that child is Jon then doesnt that make him an incest born bastard?

    So Jon is either the legit son of a Targaryen by rape or the incest born bastard to Ned and his sister?

  24. Calvin says:

    could jon marry the mother of dragons?