Who Is Jon Snow's Father on 'Game of Thrones'? Jon's Identity Explained

As we head into 'Game of Thrones' Season 8, here’s a refresher on Jon Snow’s ancestry.

Jon Snow’s true identity has always been a hot topic for debate among fans of Game of Thrones and the books it’s based on. In Season 7, the HBO series finally confirmed a long-running rumor about Jon’s true mother and father, but in the two years since, your memory might be a little hazy. So as we head into Game of Thrones Season 8, here’s a refresher on Jon Snow’s ancestry.

It’s been two long years since Game of Thrones was last on the air and eight years since it first premiered on HBO. So you might have forgotten a few important details since then. Who is Jon Snow’s actual father? What’s the Golden Company? And what did Cersei’s prophecy mean? Let Inverse be your guide to some of the biggest questions as we head into Game of Thrones Season 8.

Spoilers through Game of Thrones Season 7 below.

Who Is Jon Snow’s Father?

When we first met Jon Snow, he was believed to be the bastard son of Ned Stark and some unknown woman he met during Robert’s Rebellion. Ned raised him as one of the Stark siblings (though he was never truly accepted by Ned’s wife, Catelyn).

Then, in Season 7, the series finally confirmed that Jon isn’t Ned’s child at all. His true parents are Ned’s sister, Lyanna Stark, and Rhaegar Targaryen. Even worse, this detail was revealed at the same time we saw Jon and Daenerys Targaryen (his aunt) sleeping together for the first time.

Bran’s visions have played key roles in the confirmations of both Jon’s mother and father. First, Bran saw Lyanna Stark give birth to Jon Snow in the Season 6 finale. She told her brother, Ned, that he had to protect her son, and Ned did.

In the Season 7 finale, Bran spoke with Samwell Tarly about Jon’s heritage. Using his powers as the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran was able to see the past, including Jon’s parents’ past, and he was the only one who knew the truth.

“He’s the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and my aunt, Lyanna Stark,” Bran said. However, he still thought that Jon was a bastard.

Samwell cleared that up, revealing that at the Citadel, he’d learned that Rhaegar and Lyanna married in a secret ceremony. With his ability to see the past, Bran was able to confirm this.

“Robert’s Rebellion was built on a lie,” Bran said as he watched Rhaegar and Lyanna wed. “He loved her, and she loved him. … [Jon’s] never been a bastard. He’s the heir to the Iron Throne.”

Who Is Lyanna Stark

That’s Jon Snow’s mother who died after giving birth. She was also Ned Stark’s sister and aunt to the other Stark kids.

Lyanna was originally meant to marry Robert Baratheon, and when she was “kidnapped” by Rhaegar Targaryen, it set off Robert’s Rebellion, the war that concluded with the end of Targaryen rule in Winterfell. However, as we later learned, Lyanna wasn’t kidnapped. She loved Rhaegar and married him by choice.

Jon Snow's parents married in a secret ceremony on 'Game of Thrones'.


How Are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen Related?

Still confused on this point? Daenerys was the only daughter of Aerys II Targaryen (aka the Mad King). Jon is the son of Dany’s brother, Rhaegar, which means Dany is Jon’s aunt.

Who Is Aegon Targaryen?

That’s Jon’s official name, the one he was given by his actual parents. Jon Snow is a fake name given by Ned Stark as part of the cover story that Jon is Ned’s bastard child.

Are Ned Stark and Jon Snow related?

Yes, but not in the way we originally thought. Ned isn’t Jon’s dad. Instead, he’s Jon’s uncle since Lyanna is Ned’s little sister.

Why Does All of This Matter for Game of Thrones Season 8?

Before his death, Robert Baratheon had claimed that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna. Rhaegar was the last Prince of Dragonstone, the eldest son and heir to King Aerys II Targaryen and Dany’s brother until Robert killed him at the Battle of the Trident.

Of course, neither Jon nor his aunt/girlfriend Daenerys know that he’s really a Targaryen and the rightful heir to the throne. But with the two of them headed to Winterfell, where Bran Stark has been hanging out, it’s likely everything will be revealed soon.

Once that happens, it will be interesting to see how both of them react to the news. Will Jon accept his new title as a Targaryen? Will Dany recognize that Jon should actually lead Westeros rather than her? And will they stop hooking up since they’re related?

It’s tough to say for sure (except for that last one because incest doesn’t seem to be as big of a deal in Game of Thrones), but with the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, we’ll find out how all of this plays out very soon.

Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Related video: Game of Thrones Season 8 Official Teaser

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