Warning; This post will contain spoilers for Game of Thrones season six.
In the season six finale, Game of Thrones confirmed the longest-running fan theory from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, when it was revealed that Ned Stark was not actually Jon Snow’s father, but that Jon was instead the son of Lyanna Stark, his sister. While the episode didn’t reveal who the father was, HBO did fairly quickly afterwards, confirming Jon to be the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen.
The secret was revealed when Bran Stark finally went back in time again and finished watching his father’s visit to the Tower of Joy, and it seems like the number of people aware of the secret was kept small, very small. They included Ned Stark obviously, and Howland Reed, the only other surviving member from Ned’s group who went to save Lyanna, and was a close friend and confidant to the Stark family members.
However, reddit user sakhini theorizes that another character may have been aware of Jon’s parentage as well – Maester Aemon Targaryen, who was not only instrumental in Samwell Tarly’s life, but also was the person who convinced Jon to say with the Night’s Watch, even after Ned was beheaded and Robb was planning to march on King’s Landing.
Sakhini uses some very interesting comparisons between Aemon’s speech to Jon in the episode and the final Tower of Joy scene recently, and either Aemon knew who Jon’s parents actually were, or this is just some brilliant foreshadowing on David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ part.
Similar to the season finale’s twin pillar visualizations, this is some brilliant direction and writing from the showrunners. I don’t really know for sure how Aemon would exactly be aware of Jon’s true parentage, if I’m being completely honest, so I’m not as sure that he knew about Lyanna and Rhaegar’s child. It’s possible, but I’m leaning more towards this just being yet another example of the brilliance behind Game of Thrones‘ long form storytelling techniques, which doesn’t make this any less incredible to see.
It is very interesting that the subject of Ned was what brought Aemon to this speech though. It could also explain why the Maester took such a liking to Jon so quickly as well, and even helped to ensure that he took over The Night’s Watch. It’s an endless web of theories and conspiracies, but for the next ten months or so until the season seven premiere, it’s one that I am more than happy to fall into in the meantime.
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