Warning – Spoilers for Game of Thrones ahead. Obviously.
“Promise me, Ned. Promise me.” With these words at the end of season six’s Game of Thrones finale, Lyanna Stark essentially confirmed the theory that everyone already knew was true: “R+L = J.” In other words, “Rhaegar Targaryen + Lyanna Stark = Jon Snow.” The show never actually confirmed that Rhaegar was the father, but, judging from the circumstances, it seems fairly obvious to make that assumption.
HBO does not want you to even have to assume. In a new infographic on their “Making Game of Thrones” blog, it is spelled out bold and clear: Rhaegar and Lyanna are Jon’s parents. The complex web can be difficult to follow, but that connection is clear as day. Jon has the blood of the dragon running in his veins, as well as that of House Stark. Ice and fire, combined in a single person. It’s a confirmation of a theory that has literally been around for decades, as the first novel was published in 1996.
So what does this mean for the storyline? Jon is still most likely a bastard either way, as Rhaegar was married to a Martell, so Jon was born of an affair. Although it’s possible Rhaegar was married to two women at once. However, Jon’s crowning as the new “King in the North” and Daenerys’s impending arrival in Westeros could go one of two ways. If the two find out they are related, will they join forces? Or will it cause a power struggle within the family? Jon’s depleted force would have no chance against Dany’s massive army, so it is likely that he would need to fall in line behind the dragon queen. Both leaders are practical and are surrounded by good advisors, so it seems likely that they would join forces, consolidate their power, and prepare to battle the Night’s King. But, as Game of Thrones loves to hammer home, characters do not always make the smartest decisions.
Did the show make it obvious enough that Rhaegar was Jon’s father? Does this confirm it, or is it more misdirection (“Everyone, seriously, Jon Snow is dead for real.”) from the creators of Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments below.