Evidence suggests that Jon Snow is not the bastard son of Eddard Stark but the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Fan theories also suggest that Jon is a legitimate son because many believe that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married in secret.
I think this theory needs some context. Prince Rhaegar Targaryen is the son of Mad King Aerys II Targaryen and is married to Elia Martell of Dorne. Lyanna Stark is the sister of Eddard, Benjen and Brandon Stark and the only daughter of Rickard Stark. The theoretical hypothesis is that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna. The more likely theory is that Lyanna ran away with Rhaegar. Brandon finds out and rides to Kings Landing to demand to Aerys that Rhaegar give his sister back. Aerys has Brandon locked up and demands that Lord Rickard Stark come to Kings Landing to answer for the actions of his son. Aerys accuses Rickard of treason. Rickard demands a trial by combat. Aerys names fire as his champion and burns Rickard alive while Brandon watches. Brandon is killed at the same time as his father because he was chained at the neck with a sword just out of his reach. He was pushing his body out so far that he was choking. Aerys had purposely put the sword out Brandon’s reach. As Brandon pushed his body chain grew tighter and tighter until he died of suffocation.
Eddard has heard of the death of his father and brother at the hands of Aerys. Rhaegar has kidnapped his sister, Lyanna. Eddard calls the Stark banners, sends word to Robert Baratheon and Jon Arryn, uniting the armies of The North, Storms End and The Vale. Brandon was betrothed to Lady Catelyn Tully of Riverrun. The reigning Lord Of Riverrun was Lord Hoster Tully. Eddard needed the Tully army so he agreed to marry Lady Catelyn Tully in his brother’s place when the war was done. Robert was betrothed to Lyanna. These events spurred the renowned conflict known as Robert’s Rebellion which lasted just short of a year.
Rhaegar was at the Tower Of Joy with Lyanna at the start of the war but then went to lead the Targaryen armies against the rebellion when called. In the end Rhaegar was killed by Robert at the Battle Of The Trident. When the war was done, Eddard plus six others went to the tower to find Lyanna and bring her home to Winterfell. At the tower, they were opposed by three of the Kings Guard. They fought it out and there were two survivors. The survivors were Eddard and his friend Howland Reed. You may recognize the name Reed from the show. Howland’s heirs are Jojen & Meera who are travelling with Bran & Hodor beyond the Wall to find the Three Eyed Raven. Ned and Howland Reed went up the stairs in the tower to find Lyanna in ‘a bed of blood.’ This is a heavy implication of childbirth. There, in the tower Lyanna makes Ned keep her promise. “Promise Me, Ned.” So, the promise being that in order to keep Jon safe, Ned was to claim him as his bastard son. The Lannisters entered the fold when they knew the Targaryens had no chance of victory. In order to show Robert that they were loyal Tywin had Rhaegar’s offspring killed by Ser Gregor Clegane (The Mountain). Before doing so, The Mountain raped Elia and then split her in half with his sword.
Fans of the show will remember Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne. He travelled to Kings Landing, not only for the royal wedding but also to get retribution for his sister and her children. We all know how that turned out.
It seems enormously out of character for Ned to have fathered a bastard. The Starks are an honor-bound family. They probably were the most honorable house in the realm. Ned in the first novel “I dishonored myself and I dishonored Catelyn in the sight of gods and men” Ned takes his vows very seriously and isn’t the type to be tempted by brothels and whorehouses like Robert. In A Game Of Thrones another quote comes to the forefront.
“Robert would swear undying love and forget them before evenfall but Ned Stark kept his vows. He thought of the promises he made to Lyanna as she lay dying and the price he paid to keep them”.
A Game Of Thrones
Robert was a sociopath when it came to women. He saw them as his trophies. He’d gloat about how many women he had sex with. In A Clash Of Kings, he gloats to his brother Renly about ‘Making The Eight’. This is having sex with one woman from each of the Seven Kingdoms and Dorne. Ned also refers to Jon as “he’s my blood and that is all you need to know”. He says this to his wife, Catelyn. Furthermore, in the first season of the show, Ned rides with Jon as he is going to The Wall and he says to him “you may not have my name but you have my blood.” He never explicitly refers to Jon as his son. He even lists his children. “Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon”. This isn’t a random listing. This is in order of birth from the eldest child to the youngest child.
Jon is said to look like Arya and Arya to look like Lyanna. Arya is said to be the wild one as was Lyanna. She wasn’t how ladies should have been. She knew how to use a sword and would ride out regularly. Another quote is “(Eddard) had lived his lies for fourteen years”. Jon is fourteen years old at the start of A Game Of Thrones. He is a constant reminder of Ned’s lie. There is no escaping it.
In George R.R Martin’s Westeros, there is no such thing as coincidence. Everything happens for a reason. His attention to minute detail is unparalleled by any author.
There is a reason why Ned never told Catelyn. “Some secrets are safer kept hidden. Some secrets are too dangerous to share, even with those you love and trust.” Lying is not an honorable trait but he sacrifices this to keep his word to his sister. One could say that his wife being a Tully has had an influence on him in this context. The words of House Tully are ‘Family, Duty, Honor.” Family comes first, then doing what you have to do and then your honor. In order to protect his family he discarded his honor.
On countless occasions, Ned opposes the killing of Targaryen children. At a small council meeting the topic of Daenerys Targaryen comes up in conversation. The council votes to have her assassinated and Ned disagrees resulting in him leaving the pin of the King’s Hand on the table. He walks off in annoyance. By doing this he endangers his own life by disobeying Robert. Another example is when is opposed to the killing of Elia Martell and her children at the sack of Kings Landing by the Lannisters. He sees the killing of children dishonorable. His disagreement of murdering children is a major reflection of his protection of Jon. He is keeping his promise to his sister.
Now back to the events of the Tower Of Joy. Why are there three members of the Kings Guard at the Tower Of Joy? I would have thought that they should be protecting the heirs to the throne, Daenerys & Viserys. They are the siblings of the now dead Rhaegar Targaryen. That is an epic questionable notion. They are guarding the unborn heir to the throne, Jon Snow or Jon Targaryen.
In the House Of The Undying, Dany has a vision of “a blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness.” This is in A Clash Of Kings. Blue winter roses are a frequent connotation of Lyanna Stark. Winter is the season related to The North. The words of House Stark are “Winter Is Coming.” There are no coincidences in A Song Of Ice & Fire and at the well-known Tourney Of Harrenhal, Rhaegar named Lyanna as the Queen Of Love & Beauty by giving her a crown of blue, winter roses. What made this worse was that he was married to Elia Of Dorne. Most people would have named their wife as the named title. In A Game Of Thrones, a storm of winter roses is featured in Ned’s dream about Lyanna. In the crypts of Winterfell, there is a wreat of blue winter roses by her place. This heavily suggests that something related to Lyanna is at The Wall meaning Jon.
Jon is special, being part Stark and part Targaryen hence the title of the whole series being ‘A Song Of Ice & Fire. Ice resembles Stark and The North whilst Targaryen resembles fire, dragons and House Targaryen thus their words being ‘Fire & Blood’. In A Dance With Dragons, Jon is beginning to show traits of a warg. Jon has personified the title.
Stark blood has connotations of warging. He begins to have wolf dreams. Are they dreams or is he inside the head of his direwolf, Ghost? Maybe he is inside the head of Ghost but not in control of his abilities. This is common among Starks. Rickon has instances of foresight whilst asleep at the same time as Bran. They both see their father’s execution occuring and Arya has dreams of Nymeria in the Riverlands. Or is she inside the head of Nymeria? An empathy link made between Stark and wolf on a massive scale. The direwolf is the sigil of House Stark so why couldn’t this be true?
Jon is probably the most important character in the whole series. Many think he could one of the three heads of the dragon, Azor Ahai or The Prince That Was Promised. Jon being the son of Prince Rhaeger gives him a better a claim to the Iron Throne than Daenerys Targaryen. This is assuming that Rhaegar & Lyanna were married in secret. This is polygamy but Targaryens have been known to do this. They wed brother and sister so being married to two different women at the same time is subtle in comparison.
Jon swore a vow:
“Night gathers and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realm of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Nights Watch for this night and nights to come.”
The Nights Watch Vows
He is bound to the Nights Watch. At the end of A Dance With Dragons, he is stabbed until he is on the brink of death. At this time Melisandre is on the Wall but Stannis is marching south to Winterfell to fight the Boltons. Melisandre is a servant of R’hllor. Jon could die and then be resurrected by R’hllor through Melisandre. Connotations of R’hllor are Red God, fire and burning. Fire is a connotation of Targareyns and dragons. If Jon is resurrected he is no longer bound to The Nights Watch and can claim Winterfell as Jon Targaryen. He is of both ice and fire, Stark & Targaryen, so he can rally the Stark bannermen in his name. Robb named Jon as his heir before he died much to the dismay of his mother, Lady Catelyn Stark.
Even if he is a the legitimate son of Rhaegar & Lyanna, how could he prove his parentage? I believe there are only three ways. The first is that he finds Bran and he uses his abilities by placing his hand on a Weirwood tree by delving into the past. The second way is to find and ask Howland Reed at Greywater Watch. Finally, the third is Melisandre looking into the flames. Two of them are by use of magic or magical properties but realm despises magic so if it proved true will it have any credibility due to the methods that were used to find this evidence?
I don’t think Jon will want the throne but when he finds out his true parentage I believe his opinions will change that. He will see it as his duty to bring peace to the realm. He follows the same rules of honor, code and justice as Eddard and Robb did. Finding out his true parentage will change him because he has lived a life of rejection and humiliation of being a bastard in a major household. He has felt that he was a persistent scourge on Winterfell. What’s more, Catelyn hated him for being born.
In conclusion, I believe that Jon is of Lyanna & Rhaegar. It makes no sense that he really is Ned’s bastard. All the evidence collated suggests that he is half Stark and half Targaryen. By definition, he is the Song Of Ice & Fire.