Ever since Bran Stark discovered the game-changing information that Jon Snow’s real parents are Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen in Game of Thrones Season 6, the obvious follow-up question is “who else knows?” A new photo from Season 7 suggests that Littlefinger might.
In the picture, which is from the second episode of Season 7, “Stormborn,” Littlefinger and Jon are in the Winterfell crypts with the statue of Lyanna Stark. Jon looks unhappy — shocking — while Littlefinger is smirking as if he just said “by the way, that’s actually your mother. Surprise!”
Littlefinger knowing the truth is actually a fairly popular theory among Thrones fans, and it’s not out of the question it’s true. Sure, in Season 5 he weirdly didn’t know about Ramsay Bolton’s reputation — but throughout the story he’s known just about everything else. In Season 6’s “The Winds of Winter,” he made a comment to Sansa about Jon being a “bastard from the south.” While “south” could refer to King’s Landing just as easily as Dorne, his comment seemed pointed.
In Season 5, he took Sansa to visit the statue of her aunt in the crypts. When she parroted the party line about how Rhaegar Targaryen abducted and raped Lyanna Stark, Baelish smirked as if he knew that wasn’t the real story.
So it’s plausible that he knows, but how?
The innocuous answer is that he simply put two and two together the way so many fans did. If the internet guessed Jon Snow’s real parents, it stands to reason that Littlefinger did, too.
The nefarious answer is Howland Reed. As Bran Stark’s greensight revealed in Season 6, Reed was with Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy. He stabbed legendary swordsman Arthur Dayne in the back to help Ned.
Reed has yet to appear in the story’s current timeline, which could suggest that the show is waiting for the right time to dramatically unveil him. But it could also suggest that he died at some point, unbeknownst to his daughter Meera. After all, if he was loyal enough to Ned to kill Arthur Dayne dishonorably, he wouldn’t reveal the information about Jon without a fight.
The wet nurse who was in the tower with Lyanna is another possibility, but since she was loyal to the Daynes, it’s unlikely that she was susceptible to Baelish’s bribes without a fight. The show could also go in a different direction from the books for simplicity’s sake and make her someone who is susceptible to bribery.
If Baelish does know Jon’s true parents, that means he hasn’t been entirely upfront with Sansa. At the end of Season 6, he told Sansa he wants the Iron Throne with her as his queen. In the first episode of Season 7, when Brienne asks why Baelish is still at Winterfell, Sansa implies that it’s because he wants her. While this is true, if Baelish knows Jon is a Targaryen, he could be playing a long game Sansa doesn’t know about yet.
Game of Thrones Season 7 is currently airing Sunday nights on HBO.