Alright, Game of Thrones, fans. This one is serious. As in a spoiler — but not just any kind of spoiler. This is the sort of hypothetical spoiler that, should you want to remain blissfully unaware, will completely change how you look at Game of Thrones if you haven’t read the books or done a lot of speculative thinking as to everyone’s favorite bastard of know-nothingness, Jon Snow. If you don’t want to potentially have your brain melted and/or life ruined by this worst-kept-secret/speculative fan theory of a spoiler, then run away. Now. You have been warned so do not — I repeat: DO NOT! — come whining to us when the whole thing is ruined, mmkay?
Good. Now that we’ve got that nonsense out of the way: let’s talk about Jon Snow and his parentage. As many fans have long speculated, the Stark bastard cannot call Neddiekins his real daddio — and was confirmed in A Song of Ice and Fire‘s fifth installment, A Dance With Dragons (which will play a huge part in the series’ fifth season). During one of Bran’s many visions, he comes across his father Ned praying, who then reveals to Bran that he is not, in fact, Jon Snow’s father. So while Jon Snow is still a bastard, he’s no bastard of Ned Stark’s — not that anyone really, truly thought that of the most honorable man in the Realm. Right? (OK so maybe that’s just us book readers.)
And now actor Sean Bean has confirmed as much during an interview with Vulture, no doubt ruffling a few feathers over in George R.R. Martin, David Benioff, and D.B. Weiss’ collective cap: “I’ve definitely got some unfinished business that needs to be resolved there. I’m obviously not Jon Snow’s dad,” Bean said. “And you need that to be revealed at some point, don’t you? So Bran would kind of be the one having the flashback, and he would see Ned praying, right? And revealing those things? You never know what those guys are going to do with that. It’s got to be something special. But I’m into that. I certainly would be into that. Print that! Give them a nudge. [Laughs.] Hopefully I’ll get a call soon.”
This all, of course, points to a very long-held and seemingly legit fan theory as to who, exactly, Jon Snow’s real parents are: Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. If you’ll recall back in the first book, Ned Stark mentions a “promise” that he kept to his sister Lyanna as she was lying near-death in a pool of blood. You see Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon but she was “kidnapped” by Rhaegar (who was married to Elia Martell hence all of last season’s Oberyn doings), inciting Robert’s Rebellion.
Now an alternative theory to this is that Lyanna was not kidnapped but rather she ran away with Rhaegar because they were in love, and she was carrying his baby (whom we all know as: Jon Snow!). Most of this is supported by tinier details: Ned’s honor obsession, the particular guards left at the Tower of Joy that Lyanna was hidden in being some of Rhaegar’s closest and best friends, the roses Ned remembers smelling in the room (her favorite flower), and of course when Rhaegar named Lyanna instead of his wife the “Queen of Love and Beauty” after a tournament win of his. All of this points not to Robert’s narrative of events, but another entirely. One that resulted in a wee prince being born.
And, well, Robert wouldn’t have liked that. Since he overthrew the Targaryens, the now-dead king had sort of a thing for killing off Targaryen children — so would it really surprise anyone that Lyanna would beg Ned to keep the baby’s true identity a secret? He, on more than one occasion, recalls that moment and ruminated on “the price he’d pay” to have kept his promise to Lyanna all these years. And, seriously, it would have to be one HELL of a secret for Ned Stark to forsake his honor and pretend he stepped out on his wife, eh?
So — what do you all think? Are Lyanna and Rhaegar Jon Snow’s parents? Should Sean Bean return to Game of Thrones to reveal that fact? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.