This year’s Game of Thrones was full of shocking and exciting moments, but perhaps none were more so than the reveal that Jon Snow is not in fact the bastard son of Ned Stark, but instead the offspring of deceased Targaryen Prince Rhaegar and Ned’s sister Lyanna (as later confirmed by HBO).
It remains to be seen how this revelation (still unknown to Jon) will affect the new King in the North next season, but at the moment many fans are basking in the glow of a prediction well made, with this theory about Jon’s parentage (nicknamed R+L=J) a popular one among Game of Thrones readers and watchers for decades.
However, it now turns out that we may be patting ourselves on the back about our deductive powers a little too quickly – because it looks like source book series author George RR Martin might have hinted at his grand twist 14 years ago.
Way back in 2002 the author was answering questions about his novel series in a special fan mail Q and A, and one fan wrote to him:
“Since all of their mothers died, who gave Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister their names?”
“Mothers can name a child before birth, or during, or after, even while they are dying. Dany was most likely named by her mother, Tyrion by his father, Jon by Ned.”
Of course, we now know that Jon in fact was named by his mother – and it’s likely that his true name is Jaehaerys – but as many redditors have since realised, Martin could actually have been giving a coded clue that Ned Stark wasn’t Jon’s real father by specifically using Ned’s name instead of just saying he was Jon’s dad (as he did for Rhaella Targaryen and Tywin Lannister).
As DeadHopesAndDreams explains: “If anyone doesn’t get it, ‘Dany was most likely named by her mother, Tyrion by his Father, Jon by Ned’ Rather than saying Tyrion and Jon by their fathers, Ned was named as if he wasn’t the father. Slightly subtle.”
So there you have it: George RR Martin is the coolest customer in human (and Westerosi) history. Though what this tease means for the theories about Tyrion’s Targaryen heritage is anyone’s guess…
Game of Thrones will continue next year