This following contains story details from the Game of Thrones season 7 finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf” …
We suspected it was coming. We were nearly certain. So perhaps the biggest twist of the Game of Thrones season 7 finale was that there was no twist at all with respect to Jon Snow’s parentage: The details the series held back confirming were precisely what fans had figured all along. Jon Snow is not a Stark, nor even a bastard, but the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, who was legitimately married to Lyanna Stark. But now that Bran Stark and Samwell Tarly know this too and are preparing to tell Jon Snow, the reveal has massive implications for the show’s eighth and final season.
Let’s break this down: The reveal means Jon Snow has no business whatsoever being King in the North. But it means he has every right to sit on the Iron Throne. And it means Daenerys is not the true heir at all. And it means the man just had #BoatSex with his aunt.
It also means Jon Snow’s name isn’t actually Jon Snow. He’s Aegon Targaryen. Yes, we’re still getting used to that too. Let’s face it, he doesn’t exactly look like an Aegon (though we’re also not entirely sure what an Aegon looks like).
The name Aegon has a long history with the Targaryen dynasty. Jon Snow would actually be Aegon VI Targaryen (unless his brother, the doomed infant Aegon,* is also counted).
Jon (we’re going to keep using that name for now) and Daenerys will surely learn this news early next season. And it raises some big questions:
1. Will Daenerys accept Jon as legitimate? Will she throw aside her long-time goal and support Jon’s claim? (Emilia Clarke has strong feelings about this in our post-finale interview).
2. Does Jon want to be the king of Westeros? It doesn’t seem like something he’d aspire to be, but, then again, he spent his whole life believing he wasn’t entitled to anything at all. Might Jon, instead, continue to support Daenerys despite having the better claim? It seems most likely they’ll take a page from the Dragonpit summit and continue to focus on the problem at hand — defeating the Night King — with an eye toward figuring out who gets the throne later. It’s also very possible one or both will be killed before they have to make that final decision.
3. Will Dany and Jon halt their romance when they learn they’re related? Incest isn’t viewed with quite the same level of disgust and criminality in Westeros as in our own world — especially among Targaryens (Daenerys is the product of incest herself). But it’s still rather frowned upon and it’s hard to imagine these two characters being all that thrilled about it.
4. Will Dany get pregnant? Dany has long said she can’t have children, but her reasoning for this is tenuous (she believes she can’t after her child with Drogo was stillborn, the witch cursed her and she “birthed” three dragons instead). Could she be wrong? And could having a child keep Jon and Dany’s romance going if they otherwise would want to separate?
5. Who will rule House Stark and the North? This one seems easy: Sansa, who already has the backing of some of the lords. Also, selling the unification of the North and Dany’s team might be a bit easier if/when Jon — who the Stark bannerman like and respect — is revealed to be the Iron Throne heir. One figures they’d be more likely to rally behind a Northern-raised Stark ward with an Iron Throne claim than a “foreigner” like Daenerys.
6. How will Cersei react to all of this? Presumably, it won’t change her feelings one bit — they’re all traitors in her eyes. Even her own brothers.
7. And most pressing of all: How are we going to wait a year or even more for the final season?
More “The Dragon and the Wolf” coverage:
— Deep-dive recap
— Game of Thrones stars react to that huge Jon Snow reveal
— Game of Thrones actor on his shocking season 7 finale death
— Game of Thrones showrunners on the loss of Littlefinger (coming Monday)
— Game of Thrones podcast (finale episode coming Monday)
* Confusing matters is the fact that Rhaegar had another son named Aegon with his previous wife Elia Martell. The infant Aegon, their other child, and Elia were all killed by Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegan during Robert’s Rebellion. These were the deaths that Prince Oberyn Martell was set on avenging during his all-too-brief time at King’s Landing before he was killed during a trial by combat.