The finale to Game of Thrones series six confirmed what fans have long-suspected: Jon Snow is not the bastard of Ned Stark, but is actually the son of his sister Lyanna and her lover Rhaegar Targaryen. But was the reveal hiding another secret? Namely, Jon Snow’s actual name.
The scene, which took place during one of Bran’s flashbacks, sees Ned find his sister at the Tower of Joy. Dying from childbirth, Lyanna whispers something seemingly inaudible into Ned’s ear before saying, “if Robert finds out he’ll kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned. Promise me.” Ned is then handed a baby – a baby that then cuts to Jon Snow.
We say ‘seemingly inaudible’ because one Redditor thinks that they have figured it out. “Lyanna starts by whispering ‘His name is,’ and then what follows appears to be a three syllable word that appears to start with a J,” writes sparkledavisjr. “I’m not a great lip-reader, but I’m fairly certain what she says is Jaehaerys.”
If you watch the clip above you can definitely make you “His name is”, but why Jaehaerys? Well, sparkledavisir has pretty solid, well-informed reasoning.
Jaehaerys I was the 4th Targaryen king to sit the Iron Throne. He was known as ‘the Wise,’ ‘the Conciliator,’ and ‘the Old King.’ His long rule was prosperous and he was aided by his sister-wife Alysanne, who convinced Jaehaerys to expand the Night’s Watch and granted them the land now known as the New Gift.
Jaehaerys II was Jon’s great-grandfather. His reign was short due to his ill-health (only three years), but still a good one. Jaehaerys restored stability to the realm, ended the Blackfyre threat during the war of the Ninepenny kings, and improved relations with the major houses who were unhappy during his father’s rule (Aegon V — Egg, the brother of Maester Aemon).
If Lyanna was in love with Rhaegar (as seems likely), it makes sense for their son to have a Targaryen traditional name like his siblings Aegon and Rhaenys. Jaehaerys would be a good pick as the name isn’t associated with any real negative connotations, like Aerys, Maegor, etc.
Given that Jaehaerys is very obviously a Targaryen name, it’s a no-brainer that Ned would re-name him Jon for his own safety – lest the child got some unwanted attention from Robert Baratheon. But why Jon? In a reply to sparkledavisr’s post, redditor /u/XYZ-Wing points out that Jon was likely named after Ned’s friend and father figure Jon Arryn, whose death in the very first episode would go on to have huge implications.
Jaehaerys Targaryen. It’s certainly going to take a bit of getting used to.