Forgot your password?
Or sign in with one of these services
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.
Angalin, November 6, 2012 in General (ASoIaF)
Have at it.
The Tower of the Hand has an excellent analysis of this theory:
Jon Snow's Parents
And Westeros' Citadel also provides a summary:
A Wiki of Ice and Fire:
Jon Snow Theories
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can Jon be a Targaryen if he has a burned hand?
Targaryens are not immune to fire. Aerion Brightflame died drinking wildfire. Aegon V and his son Duncan are thought to have died in a fire-related event at Summerhall. Rhaenyra was eaten by Aegon II's dragon, presumably roasted by fire before the dragon took a bite. Viserys died when he was crowned with molten gold. Dany suffered burns from the fire pit incident at the end of A Dance with Dragons. Finally, the author has stated outright that Targaryens are not immune to fire. Jon's burned hand does not mean he is ineligible to be part Targaryen. For more information about the myth of Targ fire immunity, see this thread.
How can Jon be a Targ if he doesn't have silver hair and purple eyes?
Not all Targaryens had the typical Valyrian look. Alysanne had blue eyes. Baelor Breakspear and his son(s) had the Dornish look. Many of the Great Bastards did not have Valyrian features. Jon's own half-sister Rhaenys had her mother's Dornish look.
If Jon isn't Ned's son, then why does he look so much like him?
Much is made over the fact that Arya looks like Lyanna, and Jon looks like Arya. Ned and Lyanna shared similar looks.
How can Jon be half-Targ if he has a direwolf?
Ned's trueborn children are half Stark and half Tully. Being half Tully didn't prevent them from having a direwolf so there is no reason to think being half Targaryen would prevent Jon from having a direwolf. If Lyanna is his mother, then he's still half Stark. Furthermore, there is already a character who is half Targaryen and half blood of the First Men and was a skinchanger: Bloodraven.
Since Rhaegar was already married, wouldn't Jon still be a bastard?
The evidence that Jon is probably the legitimate is that Targaryens have a history of polygamous marriages which makes it a possibility that Rhaegar had two wives. Three Kingsguards were present at the Tower of Joy when Ned arrived. Even after Ned said that Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon were dead and Viserys had fled to Dragonstone, the KG opted to stay at the TOJ stating they were obeying their Kingsguard vow. The heart of a KG vow is to protect the king. With Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon dead, the new king would have been Viserys, unless Lyanna's child was legitimate making him the new king of the Targaryen dynasty. For a comprehensive analysis of Jon's legitimacy, see the detailed explanations in the two linked articles.
This theory is too obvious and too many people believe it to be fact. How can it be true?
The theory is not obvious to the majority of readers. Some will get it on first read, most will not. Keep in mind that readers who go to online fan forums, such as this one, represent a very small minority of the ASOIAF readership. Also, A Game of Thrones has been out since 1996. That's more than 15 years of readers being able to piece together this mystery.
Why doesn't Ned ever think about Lyanna being Jon's mother?
Ned doesn't think about anyone being his mother. He says the name 'Wylla' to Robert, but does not actively think that Wylla is the mother. He also doesn't think of Jon as his son. There are numerous mysteries in the series, and Jon's parentage is one of those. If Ned thought about Jon being Lyanna's son, it would not be a mystery.
Why should we care who Jon's parents are? Will Jon care? Who cares if he's legitimate?
Once one accepts that the evidence is conclusive and that Jon's parents are Rhaegar and Lyanna and that he is most probably legitimate, these become the important questions.
Great post. I also think that the reason why this theory is so easy to discern is because the fact that it is written in 1996, when GRRM had no idea that years from now thousands of people would disect this on internet forums, which is why he says as much in almost every interview he does. The later books were written with this in mind. I'm sure if the series started in 2005 or so, it would have been better hidden, like theories started from books later in the series. For me though, it was a line in the HBO show that first sparked my interest in this theory. When Ned and Jon have their final encounter on the Kingsroad, Ned tells Jon, "You may not have my name, but you have my blood." I watched the show before reading the books, but as soon as I heard him say that, I thought, why did he say it like that? Why didn't he just call him his son? GRRM said that the HBO showrunners know some things about what happens in the books, so I think that's why he said it like that on screen. Then I read the first book after the season ended, and I was convinced.
When I started to formulate this theory in my head, I didn't realize there was forums with thousands of people on them discussing this already. I was so proud of myself, I thought, I wonder if anyone else has figured this out as well? And then I found sites like this and Tower Of The Hand, and I was like...OOOH!
At no point in his POV chapters did Ned refer to Jon in his thoughts as his son, but he does with the children he had with Cat. The only thing I don't get is why no one like Varys is able to figure this out, considering the time frame and what went on at the time. Rhaegar had to have servants with her in The Tower Of Joy, but Varys had no knowledge of this, which is why he had been speaking against him to his father since the year of the false spring. His attempts to infiltrate his inner circle failed time after time, so he must have assumed he was being kept out for a reason.
Apple Martini said:
Perhaps someone told Brandon she was kidnapped. He had to have known who she was with because he knew to go to King's Landing and he correctly knew that Rhaegar was involved. The obvious questions are, who told him that and what was their motive for doing so?
My guess would be Varys (I'm assuming he is a Blackfyre loyalist of course). Who else is known for trying to create instability for the Crown in Westeros? And considering how likely it was he was turning Aerys against Rhaegar, adding a few more players to his game makes perfect sense.
That's a pretty damn good summary Dr. Pepper
I second that, damn good summery.
So was Wylla in on it, do you think?
Thank, y'all. Must admit, I'm not the only author of the summary. It was a group effort in an earlier R+L=J thread and I just happened to be online when the newest thread was made. Might be helpful for future R+L=J threads if it gets put up early in each thread. No need to give credits, because I've already forgotten everyone who contributed to it. Add and subtract at will.
Great post. I also think that the reason why this theory is so easy to discern is because the fact that it is written in 1996, when GRRM had no idea that years from now thousands of people would disect this on internet forums, which is why he says as much in almost every interview he does.
I think without internet forums, this theory probably wouldn't have seemed as widespread, but I think it still would have been widely known and would have spread via conventions, book clubs, and word of mouth for the casual reader. It mostly has to do with the nearly two decades between book one and now. Most casual readers probably don't finish the book and go seeking out this information online. I definitely don't internet research 90% of the books I read or shows I watch. I read them, watch them, maybe make a mark on my goodreads list or something to let me know I've read or watched and that's it.
I second that, damn good summery.So was Wylla in on it, do you think?
I think it highly likely that Wylla, at least a Wylla, was Jon's wetnurse. Howland and Ned certainly weren't providing milk and I don't think they had a goat with them. Someone was also likely Lyanna's midwife.
Apple Martini said:My guess would be Varys (I'm assuming he is a Blackfyre loyalist of course). Who else is known for trying to create instability for the Crown in Westeros? And considering how likely it was he was turning Aerys against Rhaegar, adding a few more players to his game makes perfect sense.
I would guess not. I think it is likely Varys is in King's Landing and has no access to Brandon even if he would want to give him the information. Brandon is on his way to Riverrun when he hears the news. My guess is that Rhaegar takes Lyanna "at sword point" from her Stark family guards (no daughter of a High Lord is going to be traveling without some protection from house loyalists) and they are the ones who find Brandon and tell him of the "kidnapping."
Let me just add to those who are new here, my contention has been for a quite some time that Brandon knows already that Lyanna both has feelings for Rhaegar (he was at Harrenhal with her and it would be hard for anyone in the family not to know about the events there) and her antipathy for the impending marriage to Robert (we know that Ned knows, but I can't believe Lyanna would have been silent around her father or her elder brother about her objections.) Brandon's reaction is more likely, in my opinion, based on his anger both towards his sister refusing to do her "family duty" by marrying Robert (as he is doing by marrying Catelyn) and by the blow this deals to Rickard's plans - a blow he blames both his sister and Rhaegar for. It is, as has been pointed out many times, important that when Rhaegar rides to King's Landing he doesn't call out for his sister to be freed, but yells for Rhaegar to "come out and die." Brandon wants revenge, first and foremost, not his sister's freedom from a "kidnapper." He knows Lyanna went willingly - all the Starks know. They don't need a letter to tell them so. Regardless, it is still a huge violation of a High Lord's prerogative to arrange the marriage's of his children for Lyanna and Rhaegar to do what they do even if it doesn't start out as an elopement of the two of them, but rather an escape from the Stark/Baratheon marriage alliance. We know it is done (the Blackfish, Tyrion, etc.) but it is not without consequences. In Brandon's case he thinks the consequences are best sorted out through a duel to the death.
Great post. I also think that the reason why this theory is so easy to discern is because the fact that it is written in 1996, when GRRM had no idea that years from now thousands of people would disect this on internet forums, which is why he says as much in almost every interview he does. The later books were written with this in mind. I'm sure if the series started in 2005 or so, it would have been better hidden, like theories started from books later in the series. For me though, it was a line in the HBO show that first sparked my interest in this theory. When Ned and Jon have their final encounter on the Kingsroad, Ned tells Jon, "You may not have my name, but you have my blood." I watched the show before reading the books, but as soon as I heard him say that, I thought, why did he say it like that? Why didn't he just call him his son? GRRM said that the HBO showrunners know some things about what happens in the books, so I think that's why he said it like that on screen. Then I read the first book after the season ended, and I was convinced.When I started to formulate this theory in my head, I didn't realize there was forums with thousands of people on them discussing this already. I was so proud of myself, I thought, I wonder if anyone else has figured this out as well? And then I found sites like this and Tower Of The Hand, and I was like...OOOH!At no point in his POV chapters did Ned refer to Jon in his thoughts as his son, but he does with the children he had with Cat. The only thing I don't get is why no one like Varys is able to figure this out, considering the time frame and what went on at the time. Rhaegar had to have servants with her in The Tower Of Joy, but Varys had no knowledge of this, which is why he had been speaking against him to his father since the year of the false spring. His attempts to infiltrate his inner circle failed time after time, so he must have assumed he was being kept out for a reason.
I recall when I read the first book there was something that tugged at me when Dany saw the blue rose on the Wall in her vision. It seemed so out of place, and made me go hmmmmm, lol.
Most think the blue rose is a symbol for Jon being at the wall. Blue Rose is mentioned when Lyanna is brought up. It is thought that he now is the blue rose, and another hint of Jon being Lyanna's son.
IMO Benjen either helped Lyanna run away, or hid the truth about her and Rheagar from the rest of the Starks.
I remain not completely convinced on this one. Sure you're right all the evidence given against it (Jon's hand burnt, Stark looks and has a dire wolf) doesn't say R+L=J doesn't work but there are other options. A few alternative theories are:-
Theory 1 - R+L = no one. In this case they didn't have any children and Jon is just Ned's kid. A few points on this one why were the Kings guard there? Well the Kings guard ultimately answers to the King and we all know Aerys didn't trust Rhaegar completely. This makes Lyanna very important in that she's the sister & betrothed of the rebellions 2 prinicipal leaders and the lover of his own untrustworthy (in his eyes) son. So the kings guard are there more as guards and insurance against Rhaegar turning against him. They kill Lyanna after the failure at the Trident on the orders of Aerys, who was hardly unafraid to act out pointless killing and vengence.
Theory 2 R+L= Someone else. Other candidates include Aurane Waters (Cersei thinks he looks like Rhaegar though this isn't that strange with House Velaryon and the age is wrong), Darkstar (has the right looks and the hint of insanity not incompatible with being a Targ. Age may be wrong but his age is never confirmed.) and Aegon (fled with Ashara Dayne/Septa Lamore). Again this would mean Jon is just Ned's bastard.
The argument that Ned always thinks of Jon as his blood rather than his son could easily be explained by Westeros' attitudes towards bastards. If you look at other prominent bastards like Aurane Waters and Ramsay Snow nee Bolton they are always refered to as the bastard never son. Son seems to be a far more formal recognition OK and this could well be reflected in an honourable guy like Ned's thoughts.
The blue rose seen by Dany in the house of the undying equally is something seen as prophesy (if that) which as Mel says can easily be misread so could mean something else (though it is a very strong hint).
My main issue with the whole R+L=J theory is Ned heading to Starfall. It seems strange to me that given this huge secret and responsibility that he's been given his first thing to do is not just head to Starfall but stop off and hand out with a bunch of other people who then spot and remember that he has a baby at that point. Thus opening up the possibility of the secret getting out. If he wanted to he could have just headed straight off to the North to hide the kid away and leave Howland Reed to pass on his regards to Ashara. OK he needs milk for the baby but can easily have picked up a goat or something to milk for the journey. So why do it and why involve Ashara & Wylla into the scheme (even if they weren't completely aware of the details)?
To expand out on the R+L=Aegon theory (which I hold as the most likely after R+L=J) my idea for the series of events would be this. Ned goes to ToJ finds Lyanna dying after childbirth blah blah blah so far so R+L=J. OK so Ned rides off to Starfall with the baby. The baby has clear Targ qualities and so he knows he can't pass him off as his own neither can Ned really disappear. He convinces Ashara to take the child and flee to Essos, a much safer continent. Which she agrees to and 'jumps' from the tower. Once there she gets in touch with/is found by Illyrio and through him Varys. She sells the story of the baby switch to them. After all she was Elia's maid and in a position to do so. Varys and Illyrio do the rest and Ashara becomes Septa Lemore. (quick question at any point does Varys personally claim he made the switch? I mean does he actually say I switched the baby? I really don't know)
OK a few points to clear up on this one. Surely the real Aegon would have been older, after all he was an infant when he was killed. Absolutely buts lets not forget 'Aegon' is supposed to be about 17 but when Tyrion meets young Griff he pegs him at 14 or 15 about the same age he pegs Jon Snow at when he meets him.
So who's Jon Snow then? Jon Snow is Ned's bastard by the fisherman's daughter. During the war the fisherman's daughter has used her bag of silver to relocate herself off the poor/cold islands she's on to oh my god what a coincidence Starfall. As she's just had a kid she's ideal to be hired as a wet nurse to R+L. Her name Wylla. Hence when Ned gets there he spots Wylla and she gives him his actual son who is Jon. So Ned is telling the truth to Robert when he says that's the name of Jon's mother.
Another point wouldn't Varys (who's a bit smart) have worked out Ashara's lie about the switch? Possible but if you follow the lines that Varys always wanted to restart the Targ line on the throne he knows that people more will more readily accept a son by Rhaegar and Elia than a possible bastard by a Stark. For example would Jon Connington accept an R+L baby? probably. Would Dany? possibly. Would Viserys? Not on your life. Varys original plan had each of them acting together 'Aegon' brings the Golden Company, Dany the Dothraki, Viserys brings Dorne. OK the plan gets a bit messed up but there you go.
It would also go somewhat towards why Varys wanted to save Ned's life so much. Follow this Varys clearly wants chaos in Westeros, keeping the North in the War by having Ned killed would aid his plan. However he tries to convince Ned to save his own life in the black cells. Why would he do this? Well at some point he would have revealed Aegon's true parentage to Ned. Ned (and by extension the North) become far more accepting of his nephew on the throne, who would also be the legitimate king satisfying Ned's honour.
So why doesn't Ned just say 'Jon's Mum is called Wylla'? Well that just leads onto more questions from Catelyn, Jon or whoever where Ned could get tripped up or forced into an outright lie. Easier for the whole thing just to keep quiet about the whole thing.
Also if you look at the email that GRRM sends in the link to the Citadel at the top of this page you note that he says that we should remember that Ashara was Elia's maid for a while. Strange thing to bring up when asked about Jon's age. It also explains why Ned rode to Starfall, he needs an accomplish and Ashara is both friendly towards him and the Targs so makes the ideal choice in a land where a Stark is going to have few friends.
OK this could be seen to be a bit of a stretch (possible understatement there) but I've yet to come across anything that definitely rules it out. Of course there is little in these books that's ever confirmed or completely ruled out so that's not saying it's the case just an alternative possibility of what's happened.
Oh and as a P.S. I don't completely rule out the possibility that Jon and Aegon are twins of R+L. Seperated at birth to help keep them safe (very Luke & Leia) one taking after the Starks, the other Targs, Both then combine with Dany to be the 3 heads of the dragon.
This misses the point entirely. The question isn't why the Kingsguard were sent to the ToJ. The question is why they stayed even after Aerys, Aegon, and Rhaegar died, and Viserys, who was supposedly their new king, was in danger and without Kingsguard protection.
In addition, if their goal was truly to kill Lyanna, then they failed miserably, because she was still alive when Ned found her. Surely men as skilled at arms as these ought to have been able to kill her quickly and with one blow, yes? Furthermore, I doubt that Ned would think so positively of Arthur Dayne if he participated in the murder if his own sister.
Ned actually does refer to Jon as a son in the first chapter of AGOT, so your argument doesn't really work here.
In addition, the actual quote that you're referring to starts with Cersei asking Ned if he loves his children, not sons. It's hard to argue that Ned would only think of his trueborn children when prompted in this case, because: 1) Cersei's question makes no distinction between trueborn and bastard children. Indeed, how could she, when her whole point is that she does everything out of love for her own children, who are themselves bastards? 2) the point of Cersei's question is to prompt Ned to think about what he might do out of love for his children. There's no point in leaving Jon out of such a hypothetical just because he's a bastard, unless Ned didn't love him as much as his other children, which I think is hard to argue.
Wylla may very well have been at the ToJ, in which case she'd know the details. And Ashara's family were Targaryen loyalists, so it makes sense to stop and confer with them over what was to be done with Jon.
This doesn't work. Ned tells Robert that he fathered Jon while married to Catelyn. Yet according to Lord Godric's story, Ned got the fisherman's daughter pregnant before he ever met Catelyn. There's really no reason for Ned to lie about such a thing (unless, of course, R+L=J), so we can pretty safely dismiss the fisherman's daughter story as false.
Re-read the chapter in AGOT in which Arya overhears the conversation between Varys and Illyrio. Illyrio complains that Westeros is sliding into chaos too quickly for their purposes, and implores Varys to slow things down. This explains perfectly why Varys tried to save Ned from execution.
Also if you look at the email that GRRM sends in the link to the Citadel at the top of this page you note that he says that we should remember that Ashara was Elia's maid for a while. Strange thing to bring up when asked about Jon's age.
He mentioned Ashara Dayne because the question mentioned Ashara Dayne.
This misses the point entirely. The question isn't why the Kingsguard were sent to the ToJ. The question is why they stayed even after Aerys, Aegon, and Rhaegar died, and Viserys, who was supposedly their new king, was in danger and without Kingsguard protection.In addition, if their goal was truly to kill Lyanna, then they failed miserably, because she was still alive when Ned found her. Surely men as skilled at arms as these ought to have been able to kill her quickly and with one blow, yes? Furthermore, I doubt that Ned would think so positively of Arthur Dayne if he participated in the murder if his own sister.
OK the point being that (if this theory is correct and to be honest it's not one I actually believe myself) Aerys ordered them to stay there and kill Lyanna should anyone come and get her. They'd follow it as they were ordered to by the King and the King's guard follow the King's orders first and foremost. Though yeah it completely falls down in regards to how they bodged the job and the respect shown to Arthur Dayne. Plus there is a bit in there somewhere about how Ned remembers the smell of sickness there which wouldn't have happened if they just killed her.
Which would point more towards R+L=J being wrong
Fair point. Wylla may well have been there already for some reason. However talking to Ashara and taking her into his confidence is adding to the risk of someone finding out. It would still be safer adding no one else into the circle. Plus what happens to Wylla:
I fully admit that what you say may well work. My whole point on this thing is that I accept R+L=J is the most likely hinted at explanation I'm just not fully convinced and willing to sign up to it as gospel just yet.
Err but you accept Jon was conceived a few months into the rebellion (if you concede R+L=J) this is about the same time Ned would be passing through the islands. Give or take a few months which is acceptable to create a little bit of questioning around it yet believable.
Agreed. Quite possibly a reason. My hypothesis would simply be an addition to this. Again I concede that your's is a perfectly acceptable reasoning behind it
OK Ashara is mentioned in the email. However she is mentioned in very small passing way
'I will spare you the rest of my speculations about the date of Jon's birth, since their only real conclusion is that Catelyn seems a little thick when she thinks that Ned fathered Jon as he returned 'Dawn' to Ashara Dayne.'
GRRM's response goes way more into detail than this kind of passing reference merits. Talk of how she moved about, after all they have horses and boats in Dorne etc. imply nay tell you she wasn't just hanging round Starfall waiting for the rebellion to run its course. Christ it could mean She visited Ned part way through the rebellion to rekindle their dalliance of Harrenhal. Hey Ned's pretty fertile if you go by Robb's conception. Again I don't truly follow or believe this. He also clearly means there to be a point to Ashara being Elia's lady companion. This has reference to Jon's parentage as he brings it up in the email.
To state it again it's not that I don't accept that R+L=J works, it does. It's just I'm open to other possibilities and am not completely convinced by it. Proving that arguments against don't follow through (a la burnt hand, dire wolf and looks etc.) doesn't prove its true.
Bear Island Bruiser: I'd like to pose the Apple Martini test question. If Jon is just the bastard son of Ned Stark and some noble or common woman, then why is it so necessary to keep the identity of the mother super secret, especially from Cat, his wife? If Ned keeps it secret to protect the honor of the mother (silly idea, considering Ashara is dead and there are already rumors about her being the mother and a commoner wouldn't be dishonored by mothering the bastard of a High Lord), then why doesn't he just make up a name? Why not just go with his Robert stand-by of "Someone named Wylla"? Why is Robert the only person Ned will offer the name to if the mother is just some fisherman's daughter?
@Bear Island: to your blue roses point, it can't refer to anything else. It just can't. That is 100% referring to Lyanna and Rhaegar.
LOL can you imagine how funny a novella would be of Ned, Howland, a baby Jon and a goat riding along the kingsroad hahaha idk why that picture just makes me laugh really hard.