Jon Snow Is Just Who We Thought He Was

Say hi to your second-favorite Targaryen
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Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards.
Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards. HBO

Jon Snow is exactly who we thought he was: a Targaryen. A screencap from a new issue of Empire Magazine (posted to Reddit) gives us his name. Everyone say hi to Jaehaerys Targaryen.

The full caption reads:

“Bran’s sitting on a huge secret. As we saw in the last episode of Season 6, Bran’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) psychic time-travelling ‘greensight’ revealed the true nature of Jon’s birth heritage and his real name: Jaehaerys Targaryen. ‘Bran’s now in this precarious situation in which it’s just him and Meera (Ellie Kendrick), and he has all of this information that could change the entire story,’ says Hempstead Wright. And it’s not just about Jon. ‘He knows about the origin of the White Walkers, too.’”

This isn’t really much of a spoiler, other than the Jaehaerys bit. But The Empire piece does obscure just how little we learned at the end of Season 6. Most importantly, we had never before heard that name.

At the end of Game of Thrones Season 6, Bran uses his greensight to witness his father, Eddard Stark, fight his way to the top of the Tower of Joy. It’s an event that’s been shrouded in mystery since the beginning of Game of Thrones, with the truth still yet to be unveiled in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, on which Game of Thrones is based. There Eddard finds his sister, Lyanna Stark, dying after giving birth, presumably to her son with Rhaegar Targaryen. She makes Eddard promise to keep the baby safe, presumably from the wrath of Robert Baratheon, whose successful rebellion against the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, secures his place on the Iron Throne (at least until he dies in Game of Thrones Season 1 during a boar hunt).

So Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, making him Daenerys Targaryen’s nephew. But even though we saw the moment of his birth, Game of Thrones continued to withhold a bunch of information from us, presumably for Season 7 reveals. What is Jon Snow’s real name? Did Rhaegar kidnap Lyanna or were they in love and eloped?

Now we know the answer to one of those questions. He’s Jaehaerys and a Targaryen, not a Stark. And only a nephew to Eddard, rather than a bastard son.

All of this has long been assumed by A Song of Ice and Fire readers, based on close readings of the book. George R.R. Martin even asked Game of Thrones writers and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss who they thought Jon Snow’s mother was before the show went into production. It seems they answered right.

But we didn’t have that Jaehaerys, so I guess that’s something. Jaehaerys is an old-ass name among the Targaryens. Jaehaerys I was the longest reigning Targaryen in the history of Westeros. But it’s more likely that Jon is named after Jaehaerys II Targaryen, his great-grandfather (and Daenerys’ grandfather).

While this new information doesn’t reveal much about what Jon Snow will get up to in Game of Thrones Season 7, it continues to fit with the long-running assumption that Snow will be one of the prophesied “three heads” of the dragon, riding into battle alongside Daenerys. Who knows, they might even get marrieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed. Ooh.

Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres on HBO July 16.

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