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Jon Snow's real name is Joramun Targaryen


Mzuka
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Joramun Targaryen

Like most people, I do not believe that the show’s revelation of Jon’s real name – Aegon Targaryen - is canon to the books. While the name is a weighty and storied one it is relatively common in-world: five crowned kings have borne it, and two more uncrowned ones. I’m anticipating something a little more unique.

So, what then?

First and foremost, there is the possibility that Lyanna and Rhaegar had not already planned a name for their child, and that in the time between his departure and Jon’s birth she did not think of one, or maybe died before telling Ned. While this is possible, it seems unlikely even in real life: in a fantasy story, it seems implausibly boring. I’m going to assume that GRRM will have chosen name for this character, and that it will be symbolically or narratively significant.

Most of the options commonly put forward don’t work for me either; the most popular ones I’ve seen about are Jaehaerys and Aemon; the former because he was a great king, the latter due to his connection to Jon within the story. While these could both work, they don’t quite have the thematic and narrative ties one would expect from this mystery.

The same is true of the name ‘Daeron’, another popular choice. The first Daeron (the Young Dragon) was one of Jon’s heroes and shares certain parallels with him. They are both young Targaryen warriors and leaders (and they both die young). While this name has some power, again this reveal – to me – wouldn’t have quite the impact I’d hope for.

Still, I think the four options we’ve looked at share characteristics that we can use to judge the ‘power’ and likelihood of a name:

1)    The name is famous

2)    The name belonged to kings

3)    The name is tied to Jon’s lineage

So, why ‘Joramun’? To start with, Joramun is a famous King-beyond-the-Wall who we hear about from several characters. The name ticks all but the third box, with a caveat. Though he himself is not explicitly tied to Jon’s lineage, we have an in-world myth – told to Jon – about a King-beyond-the-Wall who impregnated a Stark kings’ daughter.

This forms a symbolic tie between the Kings-beyond-the-Wall and the Stark line. In addition, one of the few things we know about Joramun is that he allied with the then King of Winter against the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Further to satisfying most of the criteria, ‘Joramun’ as a name is possessed of certain qualities other candidates do not:

1)    Rarity

All our other names (Aegon/Aemon/Jaehaerys/Daeron) have been repeated both within the Targaryen line outside of it. In the story itself, there are Freys bearing some of these names as well as a supposed Targaryen. Having Jon’s true name turn out to be one of these would be underwhelming. By contrast, we meet no character in the story with the name Joramun, nor do we know of any other historical figure with the name, which is quite odd for such a legendary figure.

2)    The nickname fits (like a glove on his sword hand)

While it’s not always the case, in Westeros as in our world the shortened version of people’s names has some connection to the full name:

Cat/Catelyn, Jon/Jonothor, Sam/Samwell, Dany/Daenerys, Arstan/Barristan, Ned/Eddard, Ned/Edric

I chose the last two to illustrate that there can be more than one elongated version of the name in Westeros. Arstan is not an officially shortened name but rather an identity the character assumes: what is important is that GRRM chose the name.

Like all the other names on the list, the nickname is mostly made from the pieces of the full name. ‘Ned’ is something of a rarity in that it contains a new letter. All this is to say, the shortening of the name ‘Joramun’ to ‘Jon’ is very believable.

3)    The King-beyond-the-Wall

We first hear of Joramun in A Clash of Kings, in – you guessed it – a Jon chapter. Mormont talks about him as they discuss Mance. And where is Jon, the potentially rightful king of Westoros when he hears this? Beyond the Wall. The next few mentions of Joramun are also with Jon and beyond the Wall, as he travels with the wildlings and learns their plans. Which leads us to…

4)    The Horn of Winter

Quote

“Aye, and long before them came the Horned Lord and the brother kings Gendel and Gorne, and in ancient days Joramun, who blew the Horn of Winter and woke giants from the earth.”

 - A Clash of Kings, George R R Martin

The Horn of Winter, also known as the Horn of Joramun, is a mythical object that can bring down the wall and wake giants from the earth – which may or may not be the same thing.

We learn in A Storm of Swords that the wildlings searched all over for it to no avail. We learn all of this through Jon’s POV, and we see the fake Horn too. The fandom is convinced the real Horn of Jormaun is at Oldtown with Sam, having been found by none other than Jon Snow at the Fist. He is also one of the top picks for most likely to sound the Horn – even by those who don’t yet think his true name is Joramun – as his entire arc has been about fighting the others and alerting the sleeping realm.

Jon is a Sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch, meaning he has vowed to be the “horn that wakes the sleepers.” How fitting if his name is Joramun and, like his namesake, Jon sounds the Horn of Winter to wake the sleepers.

5)    The Night’s King

Quote

 

“For thirteen years they had ruled, Night’s King and his corpse queen, till finally the Stark of Winterfell and Joramun of the wildlings had joined to free the Watch from bondage."

 

A Storm of Swords

The only time we get any information about Joramun through a POV that is not Jon’s is in a Bran chapter from A Storm of Swords. It is here that we hear the tale of thirteenth Lord Commander, the Night’s King, and his Other bride. The King of Winter and the King-beyond-the-Wall had to ally to defeat the Night’s King and Queen. Joramun is the only character we hear of blowing the Horn of Winter, though we are never told when – only that he blew the horn and “woke giants from the earth”.

We know that he might have broken his strength against the Wall, but who was he fighting? Given that we are told nothing of any attempts to invade Westeros, my assumption is that he sounded the Horn in the only battle we do know of him fighting in. Could another Joramun be required to stop the Long Night, one with the blood of the Kings of Winter in his veins? That would have that narrative and thematic weight we’ve been looking for.

6)    Ice & Fire

Quote

“He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.” - Rhaegar Targaryen

A Clash of Kings, George R R Martin

Most of us agree that there is no character that embodies this theme more than Jon: he is a Stark and a Targaryen, a child of ice and fire – that duality is key to his character and the story. One of my main issues with the popular options is that they completely omit this aspect of Jon’s character.  Aegon, Jaehaerys, Daeron, Aemon – they are all Fire, no Ice.

This is something of a trope with Targaryens: other than Duncan, almost every Targaryen has had a Valyrian given name. But there has never been a Targaryen with Stark blood until Jon Snow. So why shouldn’t Jon be an exception to this naming convention, as he is for so many things? Joramun Targaryen, Ice and Fire.

7)    Lyanna & Rhaegar

I’ll close by bringing this back to the parents who named him; is this a name they would have chosen? Given the quote from Rhaegar above, I think the symbolism would have appealed to him. It seems likely that the idea the Song of Ice and Fire may have led him to choose Lyanna in the first place, and the reveal of Aegon’s Prophecy in HotD adds credence to this. But since Rhaegar was away at the time of Jon’s birth it really comes down to Lyanna; would she have thought of this name?

As a daughter of Winterfell, she would have known of Joramun. We know Rhaegar was obsessed with prophecy and well-read, but what about her? Going into it would take far too long so I will instead refer you to this playlist on the YouTube channel In Deep Geek:

The videos on Rhaegar and Lyanna analyse and explain in detail why it is likely that Rhaegar shared his plans and beliefs with Lyanna, prophecy and all. Given that she carried his child, its not hard to imagine that she bought into it. In their discussion, I can easily imagine her telling the tale of the Horn of Winter and the King who blew it, as well as the Night’s King.

Bookish, intelligent Rhaegar would no doubt have looked into it – if he was not already aware – and perhaps he may have asked some of the questions us in the fandom do: Why would a King-beyond-the-Wall have a horn that could bring down the Wall? If he did indeed blow it, why is the Wall still standing? Why wouldn’t he have led his people south?

Who knows, maybe Rhaegar even got some answers. Maybe they led him to believe it was his son who was fated to sound the Horn of Winter once more and wake the sleepers. And maybe, because of this, Lyanna and Rhaegar chose to name their son Joramun Targaryen.

Edited by Mzuka
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And they chose an obscure First Man name that we saw no use whether beyond the wall or Westeros and belonged to a wildling king because…?

1 hour ago, Rondo said:

Jon Snow is simply Jon Snow.  I don't think he is in any way related to the Targaryens.

While I agree he is too sane to be your average Targaryen but that’s probably because it was the calm wolf that nurtured him.

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On 11/28/2022 at 3:23 PM, Corvo the Crow said:


And they chose an obscure First Man name that we saw no use whether beyond the wall or Westeros and belonged to a wildling king because…?

While I agree he is too sane to be your average Targaryen but that’s probably because it was the calm wolf that nurtured him.

Oh if that wasn't clear, it's because I think Joramun was a Stark (maybe a Snow, but he definitely had Stark blood). Gonna edit the Joramun bit of my post to reflect that.

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13 hours ago, Mzuka said:

Oh if that wasn't clear, it's because I think Joramun was a Stark (maybe a Snow, but he definitely had Stark blood). Gonna edit the Joramun bit of my post to reflect that.

And short of a weirwood tapping, Lyanna/Rhaegar knows this how?

Edited by Corvo the Crow
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I hadn't really put much thought about Jon's Targ name, but now that you bring it up--a standard Aegon or Daeron would be lame.  I also never noticed the obvious Jon Snow/John Doe allusion.  At any rate, I'm down with Joramun.  Through grasping a bit, it would give a reason why it is "Jon" and not "John," although I suppose there aren't any JoHns in the story anyway.

In fact, it makes me think that Mance DID find the Horn of Winter...and it was Jon himself.  In the end, Jon got the wildlings through the wall, without actually destroying it for the Walkers to waltz through.

Being something symbolic makes a lot more sense to me--the magic we've seen in world thus far hasn't been of the thousand mile ice wall crushing magnitude.  Imagine this tale being retold a thousand years in the future (or past) though, and the actual horn Jon found becomes the horn that brought down the wall that saved the wildlings.

Now, what sorts of symbolic "giants" has Jon awakened.

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There's a lot of threads about Jon's real name, and though I've only posted in one of those threads, my thoughts are always the same.  His real name is Jon, and I do believe that he is Rhaegar and Lyanna's son.

Maybe a better question is: what name did Rhaegar pick out for his child?  The answer would be Visenya, because he was so convinced that his children were the Conquerors born again that he fully believed they would be born girl, boy, girl just like them.  He was probably so certain that he didn't even consider the possibility that his last child could be a boy, but if he did consider it, his son's name would be the male equivalent of Visenya: Viserys.

I'm sure Lyanna agreed with his naming choice... before Rhaegar died, and before his first two prophecy children died.  Any faith she might have had in Rhaegar's prophecies died with them.  "Promise me, Ned.  No one can know he is a Targaryen.  NO ONE!  His name is Targaryen McTargaryen!!!!" is a conversation that never happened.

Either Lyanna named her son after Rhaegar's good friend Jon Connington, or she died before naming him and Ned named him after his alternate father figure Jon Arryn.

I also think fans put too much value in names in this story.  What do Aegons I, II, III, IV, V all have in common?  Next to nothing, other than their names.  Jon's secret heritage as Rhaegar and Lyanna's son is very important.  His name isn't.

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On 12/5/2022 at 1:52 PM, Corvo the Crow said:

And short of a weirwood tapping, Lyanna/Rhaegar knows this how?

The same way we do, through deduction. To be honest, Lyanna and Rhaegar don't need to think Joramun is a Stark to name their son that. If they believe their child is the prince that was promised, the one who will end the Long Night and be the 'horn that wakes the sleepers' they could name him that purely on its symbolic relevance.

Firstly, Joramun's tale is not at all obscure as several characters throughout the story mention him. All northern children - particularly the Starks - know the names of most of the Kings beyond the Wall, and Joramun was the first so you can bet he's famous. Lyanna would know about him and the story of the Horn of Winter and Night's King.

Rhaegar was aware of the song of ice and fire prophecy and constantly researching it throughout his life. Without a doubt he will have heard of Joramun blowing the Horn of Winter (he was in communication with Aemon about all of this who has mentioned it - and it seems a common Westerosi legend). Obviously a legend about a magic Horn of Winter that was blown to fight cold undead beings would seem relevant to Rhaegar in the context of his prophecy.

The symbolism of the name is what really gets me, as GRRM loves his symbolism. From a writerly and thematic perspective it ties together very well. The Starks were called the Kings of Winter.  Who is the only King - and person - to blow the Horn of Winter? Joramun. I think the King who blew the Horn of Winter is as likely to earn the name King of Winter as anyone (part of the reason I think Joramun was a Stark.

Who finds the Horn of Joramun/Winter in the books? Jon (aka Joramun). More accurately, it's Jon's wolf - Ghost. Or you could say, Joramun's Ghost. And if the original Joramun was indeed a Stark - or a Snow with Stark blood - then there is an echo of the original battle against Night's King. In that battle, King Joramun allied with Brandon the Breaker of House Stark to smash the Night's King.

Now let's say he actually was a Stark/Snow - he ,might have been Brandon's brother (the same as Night's King). So if Jon Snow's true name is Joramun then we have another Joramun blowing the horn to wake the sleepers, and joining with his brother Brandon of House Stark to fight the Others - instead of Brandon the Breaker it is Brandon the Broken.

This all takes place so far in the past - allegedly thirteen Lord Commanders in, so we're talking thousands of years - that it's easy to believe these details got obfuscated. The Wall might not even have been up, as pieces of this story sound so akin to the Long Night. We are told Joramun was the first King-Beyond-the-Wall, but maybe he was the first King to go beyond the Wall. We never do get a clear understanding of why there are humans beyond the Wall that was built to guard the realms of men.

 

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On 12/9/2022 at 5:39 AM, Tyrosh Lannister said:

The North hate the wildlings. They have always been enemies. (Unless you count their alliance against the nights king)

Lyanna wouldn't have named him after the leader of her people's enemy 

And who was that alliance with?

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