Alright George RR Martin fans, if you haven’t read all the books and don’t like having your life ruined, don’t read this!
We’re talking about who Jon’s parents are here. In a pretty much says it all improper use of Werner Herzog’s feelings on the universe, to get to the bottom of who Jon’s parents are is a quest involving “not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder.”
(Now, SERIOUSLY, everything after the jump is Spoiler-City, and is also written taking for-granted that you’ve read all 5 of the ASOIF novels, because I don’t play much catch-up…)
This entire article is being written because Vulture posted an interview with Alfie Allen, the actor who plays Theon Greyjoy on HBO’s TV adaptation of Game Of Thrones. Alfie is asked a question about talking to GRRM and he replies,
You know, I asked him about who Jon Snow’s real parents were, and he told me. I can’t say who, but I can tell you that it involves a bit of a Luke Skywalker situation. It will all come to fruition eventually. The whole thing with all the fight over proper succession is partly inspired by the War of the Roses in the late 1400s, and back then, to ensure pedigree, the monarchies were kind of inbred. It’s definitely fucked up, but it definitely happened back then, so that’s why there’s incest with the Targaryen line. It’s toned down, though.
Before I get into theorizing the BIG DEAL that is contained in that bit of information, let’s talk about what we have been specifically told in the text (WE BEEN TOLD), and then discuss the BID DEAL stuff that we are guessing (BAD IDEAS THAT MIGHT BE RIGHT).
WE BEEN TOLD (I’m putting stuff in here that has anything to do with explaining my crackpot theories and I am not putting textual references because I don’t have time right now, but I’m 90% sure all this is precisely correct. And also, seriously, if anyone actually reads this and wants to talk about it and put in where all this crap happens in the comments section, I’d think you were really swell):
Eddard Ned Neddard Stark is Jon’s dad or at the very least, he went away to war and came back with a baby he claimed to have fathered. Catelyn hates Jon because of this fact. Jon is a sad-sack because Cat hates him and he should be hated for being a lousy, stinkin’ bastard. Ned tells Jon when they see each other for the last time (unbeknownst to them) that he’ll tell Jon who his mom is the next time they see each other. Ned gets into a fight somewhere in there with Cat about who Jon’s mom is, potentially, and demands she never bring it up again. Ned also made some promise to his sister Lyanna as she lay dying, just before the war ended, and he returned with some bastard baby Jon Snow.
Jojen Reed tells Bran some story about who Jon’s mom is, and that their dad, Howland Reed knows everything about seemingly everything. Howland Reed was the only guy to walk away from battle where Lyanna died, other than Ned Stark. The same battle where Ned made that promise to Lyanna that he wouldn’t tell anyone about.
Rhaegar Targaryean was a quiet kid who read something in a book and decided to become a warrior, and then believed a child he fathered would become ‘the prince who was promised.’ Rhaegar also proclaimed Lyanna Stark to be the hottest mamachita in the seven kingdoms, despite the fact that he had a lady.
Cold Hands, the zombie(?) dude who helps Sam, Gilly, and then Bran, Hodor, Jojen (JOJEN), and Meera, has been dead for a while and can’t cross the wall from the North to the South side.
Mance Rayder crossed the wall a buncha times over the years and has been to Winterfell. Mance recognized Jon Snow when he went to Winterfell during Robert’s visit in Game Of Thrones.
The King-Beyond-The-Wall has knocked up Stark women over the years and therefore made unknown “royal” babies here and there.
BAD IDEAS THAT MIGHT BE RIGHT:
So according to Alfie, we’re in for a Luke Skywalker moment and then he begins to discuss incest and royal lines being kept pure. All this could have many meanings. If we take it most literally it would mean at some point in the books someone will turn to Jon Snow (who must not be dead, in order for this to happen, as Alfie claims “it will all come to fruition eventually”) and say, “Ned Stark never told you what happened to your father.” Jon will inevitably reply, “Uhh, he was my father.” And mystery man will say “No, I am your father.”
So who could mystery man be?
People (me, too) love the Rhaegar & Lyanna are Jon’s parents story cause it completely makes sense that Ned would bring back his sister’s child (who is the offspring of UTTER ROYALTY being a child of an old-timey royal Stark family and the currently reigning blonde Targaryean lines) and lie to everyone in order to both protect the child and the secret. But in order for the big reveal to take place, Rheagar has to still be alive. Which means he could be Cold Hands, a sad-ish (he is described as quiet and somehow sad-ish, isn’t he?) dead man or, more unlikely, a character we’ve not yet met.
Possibility two: Mance Rayder is Jon’s dad. He never does harm the kid, despite countless instances where he should either box his ears and/or kill him outright. He admits to going over the wall a bunch. There’s a precedent set where Kings-Beyond-The-Wall boff ladies and leave babies in their wake. And also, he is kind of the ultimate bad guy (Darth Vader) in a theoretically legitimate sense that would screw up Jon’s head more than any other feasible possibility. There’s no Lannister that could have slept with Lyanna, other than Jamie, and he admits to only ever having slept with Cersei.
The other possibility for this to play out in a Luke Skywalker-esque fashion, albeit, slightly less-dramatically, is that Jon Snow does not actually meet his father, but just that Howland Reed, who has to show up… eventually… (for Christ-sakes, right?), who knows EVERYTHING, will meet Jon and tell him that, in fact, no, Ned was not your dad and that so-and-so is. And again, Jon won’t be dead, cause he can’t be in order for this “to come to fruition eventually.”
And still that so-and-so will almost surely have to be Rhaegar, because really, that Mance Rayder bit seems to far-fetched / hair-brained given all the Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Snow evidence in the books. And then that could mean Jon is ‘the prince who was promised’ and if you believe the Azhor Azhai and t.p.w.w.p. are the same guy, it would make sense why when Melisandre looks into the fire all she sees is “Snow,” and why Rhaegar’s son Aegon was able to die, assuming you don’t believe that Jon Connington is actually trucking around with the real Aegon. Which I don’t, cause that’s silly.
Or maybe Jon is dead and he’ll meet Cold Hands Rhaegar in the place where royalty are brought back to life to be cold-handed but still able to talk and what not, and then he’ll find out the truth there and then this will make Jon into the blue-eyed man with no shadow (does that mean dead or literally no shadow, or figuratively no shadow, like Stannis’s shadow babies are leaving him shadowless) who raises the the red flaming sword up on top of the wall that Dany saw while in the House of the Undying.
A stray parting thought: Alfie goes straight from Luke to incest. I sure hope Lyanna + Ned ≠ Jon Snow…
Who knows if any of this will turn out to be true? Words are wind. ASOIF is great.
(Thanks to Money Hands for help with some of this junk. It’s all his fault, anyway.)