The Game of Thrones seventh season finale finally revealed Jon Snow’s true name and that he may be something even more than just the King in the North.
Warning: Spoilers for the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale episode “The Dragon and the Wolf” follow.
Game of Thrones has slowly been revealing the true history of Jon Snow, once believed to be no one more than Ned Stark’s bastard, the result of an uncharacteristic lapse in Ned’s famous, steadfast honor while he was off fighting in Robert’s Rebellion.
It turns out that story was entirely a fabrication, right down to Jon’s name, which is actually Aegon Targaryen.
Previous episodes of Game of Thrones revealed, through Bran Stark’s
In the season seven, Samwell Tarly arrived at Winterfell and had a revealing conversation with Bran about Jon.
However, during Sam’s studies at the Citadel, he discovered the journals of a High Septon who had annulled Rhaegar’s marriage to Elia Martell. With this knowledge in hand,
Bran then dug deeper, returning to the Tower of Joy and the moment when Lyanna died and passed Jon into Ned Stark’s arms. Bran then heard the words that have been a mystery in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels for years, Lyanna’s final words and request to her brother. Lyanna tells Ned that the child’s name is Aegon Targaryen and asks that he protect him.
This request is why Ned claimed that Jon was his own bastard and gave him a fake name. Robert Baratheon was so enraged at the Targaryens for Rhaegar’s supposed abduction and rape of Lyanna that he wanted all Targaryens dead. He had the Mountain kill Elia Martell and her children and hunted down anyone with Targaryen blood. Viserys Targaryen and his newborn sister, Daenerys, only escaped Robert’s wrath by fleeing into exile in Essos.
Knowing his friend’s rage, Ned chose to hide Jon’s true heritage to keep him safe. In the first season of Game of Thrones, when Ned rode south to King’s Landing to become Robert’s new Hand of the King and Jon rode north to the Wall to join the Night’s Watch, Ned promised when he and Jon parted that he’d reveal the truth about Jon’s mother the next time they met. Once Jon took the black he would no longer have a claim on any lands or possessions, let alone the Iron Throne. Ned likely presumed that then, once Jon was no longer a threat to Robert’s claim to the throne, it would be safe to reveal the truth of who he really is.
The name Aegon Targaryen is a significant one. Aegon I Targaryen is also known as Aegon the Conqueror. He was the first king of the Targaryen line and he was the first to unite the Seven Kingdoms. This name may prove prophetic as Jon is now poised to unite the Seven Kingdoms, or what is left of them, against a common enemy in the Night King and his undead army.
Eight other Targaryens have also been named Aegon. One is Jon’s half-brother, the son of Rhaegar and Elia who was murdered by the Mountain. Should Rhaegar’s first son named Aegon had lived to rule Westeros he would have been King Aegon VI Targaryen, which could also become Jon’s new name and title since he now has a stronger claim to the Iron Throne than his aunt and lover Daenerys.