Who is Jon Snow’s Parent?

Game of Thrones is back into full-swing.  Oh how this fandom lives for 10 Sundays out of the year.

One of the most widely discussed debates are theories as to Jon Snow’s parentage. If you need a recap, Jon Snow is Ned Stark’s bastard who goes to the wall and takes the black in book/season one. He has never learned the identity of his mother and there have been numerous suggestions that point to this being purposeful. Eventually, Martin (the author) will release the truth and it will have effects that reverberate across Westeros, and quite likely, beyond. In the mean-time, it is one of the best things to debate with fellow GoT aficionados, and something that can be done without too many spoilers, because no one really knows.

A very popular theory is that Jon is the son of Ned’s sister Lyanna (who died before the books began) and Rhaegar Targaryen. The most common version of this theory is that even though Rheagar was married to the sister of the Red Viper of Dorne, he and Lyanna fell in love and conceived a child, who was born just before she was murdered by the Mad King.

There are other theories abounding, but since I’m not caught up on the series and try to avoid spoilers, I’m not going to look them all up for you.  Go search google.

I believe that Jon Snow is not Ned Stark’s son.  Perhaps it is wishful thinking on my part because Ned was so honourable and beloved as we knew him and no one wants to speak ill of the beheaded. But at the time that he is alleged to have conceived this illegitimate son, he was a much younger man and I’ll admit he may have been a little more wild and less responsible back then.

But there are three main reasons why I still don’t think he is Jon’s father. Firstly, the real identity of Jon’s mother is a huge deal. I suspect that it is one of the key pivotal plot points that in retrospect, we will realize the entire series is based around unraveling. You thought you were reading an epic fantastical saga? Wrong. You were reading a mystery. George Martin likes to reveal these little, surprising, vastly important threads way later, like (********* spoiler alert *********) revealing that it was Lysa Arryn, under the direction of Littlefinger aka Lord Petyr Baelish, who killed her husband John Arryn, Hand of the King before Ned Stark.  Those two essentially set off this whole War of Five Kings and started tugging on the thread that destroyed the Stark family.

I believe that the truth of whoever sired/birthed Jon Snow will have similar implications and importance as the truth of who killed John Arryn. Interviews with Martin and the show creators David and Dan have suggested that we at least know of the identity of Jon’s mother by the fourth book, even if we don’t realize it.  Dead or alive, she has been named. How can we be sure? When David and Dan read the books and met with Martin to convince him to let them and HBO turn it into this mega-hit, the first question he reportedly asked them is, Who is Jon Snow’s mother? If she hasn’t been written in somehow, given a moniker or something with which to identify her, you can’t answer the question.

So I don’t think that Ned Stark is Jon’s father. Great, now we have to guess the identity of both his parents?! I firmly believe that Jon is son of (former) King Robert Baratheon. Why? His hair. In discovering that Joffrey et al are the result of incest between Cersei and Jamie Lannister, we discover that every Baratheon has been black of hair since the beginning of record-keeping. This isn’t too much of a stretch. Ned and Robert were around each other at the time of conception, making it easy to pass off a bastard as belonging to the other. And Robert certainly had dozens of bastards. But I will further this theory and suggest that Jon is the only legitimate son of King Robert and Queen Cersei.

There are two points in the first book/season where they talk about the birth of Robert and Cersei’s first child, who is NOT Joffrey. They had a legitimate heir together, who was a beautiful little baby black of hair. And then he died, and so did any love between, dooming the future of the Kingdom. Cersei talks about how when her baby died she cried and Robert held her and they took the bundle away and she never saw him again. I don’t think he died. I have no idea how Ned Stark came to be in possession of this little baby, whether it was Robert’s will or he had no idea, but I think that the baby is Jon. His age fits the timeline. And it places him in the position of the only legitimate heir to the throne, before his Uncle Stannis and the rest of Robert’s bastards, some of whom, like Gendry, I’m pretty sure are older than Jon.

Thirdly, it feels like Jon has been primed for an important position and I hope, that after a series of mad, drunk, evil kings, Martin will leave the Seven Kingdoms with a strong and honourable ruler post-books. Jon is a prime candidate, although Daenerys and Tyrion would also make could rulers, IMHO. Ned Stark raised a well-educated, strong, good man and his experiences as a Man of the Black Watch have only furthered his character. He is learning to play the political game in ways his Ned couldn’t. I can foresee him becoming King in the distant future. He will be a wiser King than any of his predecessors, that’s for sure.

Now, I’m going to remind you that I have only read to the end of the third book so far, so maybe my theories won’t make much sense to someone who is caught up, but I ran them past a friend who is finished book five and she didn’t say, ‘hold on to that post til you catch up’, so I’m sticking to my theory for now.

What are your thoughts?


Published by Hannah

Former library clerk, current full-time teacher and employee. I love books and make no promises as to a posting schedule.

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