Warning: This post will contain spoilers for the Game of Thrones season six finale.
This past Sunday’s season six finale of Game of Thrones was packed to the brim with shocks and surprises. Maybe one of the less surprising, but no less satisfying moments as well, came when it was confirmed that Jon Snow was not actually the bastard of Ned Stark, but actually his sister Lyanna’s son, whom he promised to protect immediately before his sister’s death in the Tower of Joy. While the show itself didn’t specify who his father was, it’s commonly assumed by many, taking into account the story’s timeline and Lyanna’s affair with Rhaegar Targaryen, that he is the son of both Lyanna (a Stark) and Rhaegar (a Targaryen).
Now it might be a bit before the show actually confirms Rhaegar to be Jon’s dad, though it’s practically common knowledge at this point that he is, but one keen reddit user may have unearthed the missing portion of Lyanna’s line to Ned before her death, the one moment in the show that we can’t hear what she’s whispering in his ear. Though make sure to take all of this with a large grain of salt for the time being.
Reddit User Sparkedavisjr claims that, after having watched the Tower of Joy scene “about fifty times” that when Lyanna whispers Jon’s name into Ned’s ear, she doesn’t say Jon, but instead says Jaehaerys. The name, which may not be familiar to non-book readers, is a reference to both Jaehaerys Targaryen, who was the fourth Targaryen to hold the Iron Throne, and Jaehaerys II, the latter of whom was actually the father of Rhaegar’s father, Aerys Targaryen II (The Mad King).
Jaehaerys I was nicknamed “The Conciliator” or “The Wise” during his reign, while Jaehaerys II’s reign only lasted three years due to his sickly nature, which was the last good reign of the Targaryens over Westeros. It would make sense for Rhaegar and Lyanna to not only name Jon after Rhaegar’s grandfather though because of his good reputation, but also because Jaehaerys II was the first Targaryen to be told of the prophecy about the prince that was promised from the woods witch brought in by Jenny of Oldstones. The prophecy was actually the reason that Jaehaerys forced Aerys II to marry his sister, Rhaella, because it was prophesied that the prince would come from his bloodline.
At first Rhaegar, who was obsessed with the prophecy himself, believed that he would be the Prince that was Promised, before realizing that it would be his son instead, leading him to “kidnap” Lyanna and have a baby with her, after his wife Elia Martell, could not have a third baby. After all, “the dragon needs three heads,” Rhaegar told her.
So while it not only makes sense for Rhaegar and Lyanna to name their son Jaehaerys, it also makes sense that Ned would keep Jon’s original birth name secret, since Jaehaerys is synonymous with the Targaryen name and someone would have likely pieced the connection together. So while we can assume once and for all that Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, making him the Prince that was Promised and making his song, the song of ice and fire, it’ll be interesting to see if his name is actually Jaehaerys or not.
At this point though, I don’t really care. I’m just happy that we can finally theorize beyond Jon’s parentage now. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones season seven does not currently have a release date, and will probably come for fans about as quickly as Dany’s journey to Westeros has been.
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