What That Big Jon Snow Reveal Means For Everyone On Game Of Thrones

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Friends, Romans, Westerosi countrymen, Jon Snow is not a bastard. Let me repeat, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is not a bastard. This Game Of Thrones news is wild, even for the sanctimonious "book readers," myself included, who believe they already know everything there is to know about the world of Thrones. This massively world-changing tidbit of information cannot be found on a single page of the Song Of Ice And Fire tomes. Instead, this reveal is hiding in an in-depth manuscript penned by the long-dead High Septon Maynard, who recorded everything from his bowel movements to the clandestine annulments and marriages of Westeros’ leading royals, as latest episode "Eastwatch" proved.
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In the season 7 installment, unsung hero Gilly (Hannah Murray) is reading parts of High Septon Maynard’s book to an annoyed Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), and unknowingly stumbles upon the absolute biggest secret of Game Of Thrones. "Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for a 'Prince Ragger,'" the young wildling woman explains. "And remarried him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne."
Fans quickly realized "Ragger" is actually the late Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, who is all but confirmed to be Jon Snow's biological father during season 6 finale "The Winds Of Winter." Rhaegar was accused of holding Jon's biological mother Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi) against her will in the Tower Of Joy, which is located in Dorne, during Robert's Rebellion. Septon Maynard's text proves the prince actually divorced his first wife Elia Martell and married Lyanna in the aforementioned southern kingdom, making Jon Snow the newlywed's trueborn son. Up until now, it was believed Jon was actually the duo's bastard, since it seemed he was born while Rhaegar was still technically married to Elia, the sister of Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal).
The reveal of Jon's true lineage and status among Westeros' noble families has wide-ranging effects on all the political intrigue currently plaguing the continent. Ahead, find out what Jon's royal legitimacy means for his aunt Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), his "half-sister"-slash-cousin Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), and more. Does Westeros have a very serious new contender for King Of The Seven Kingdoms?
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Daenerys Targaryen

Of course, this parentage news is huge for Jon, but it’s also just as big for his biological aunt Daenerys, if not even bigger. The dragon queen’s entire platform — other than her Bernie Sanders-eque plan to "break the wheel" of inequality — is the fact the Iron Throne is rightfully hers since her two older brothers are now dead, as are her "trueborn" nieces and nephews, Aegon and Rhaenys Targaryen. In fact, Daenerys is so convinced Westeros is her birthright, she’s willing to take it with fire and blood if necessary, as proven by the fiery execution of Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) and Dickon Tarly (Tom Hopper, gone too soon, R.I.P.), who would not bend the knee.

But, the reveal Jon was born through the legal and legitimate marriage of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark proves Jon is actually the next in line for the throne (and Daenerys isn't the last Targaryen, as she believes). Westeros as a whole follows traditional primogeniture, meaning the first born son has the right to the throne, and then his next trueborn son is entitled to the throne over other member of the family, including any aunts who may be older than him or have dragons. So, with Rhaegar dead, and his son Aegon dead as well, Jon is hypothetically the next Targaryen heir, over Daenerys. If we were talking about Dorne, which follows equal primogeniture instead, this would be an entirely different conversation.

Technically, this means Dany is actually the usurper in this situation. That couldn’t be worse for the would-be queen, since we all know just how much she hates usurpers.
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Sansa Stark

While the rule of primogeniture directly obstructs Dany’s claim to the throne, the opposite is true for Sansa, who very clearly wants to be Queen In The North over her so-called "half-brother." If Jon is outed as Lyanna and Rhaegar’s son, that means he has a secondary right to rule the North, behind Sansa. That is because Ned Stark (Sean Bean), and subsequently his children, are the heirs to House Stark, then Lyanna and any children she may have, like Jon.

Yes, the lords of the North were able to ignore the fact Jon is a bastard, but at least he was the bastard of the much-revered Ned Stark. Now, he would be Rhaegar Targaryen’s trueborn son, making him deeply unappealing to northern nobility, who are generally suspicious of any and all "Southerners."

Even Vale lord Yohn Royce (Rupert Vansittart), who is technically from the South, is fearful of a Targaryen sitting on any throne. In season 7’s "Stormborn" he announces, "A Targaryen cannot be trusted." A trueborn Stark who listens to her lords’ concerns, on the other hand….
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Jon Snow

After seven seasons of watching Jon try to behave as the most honorable man in all of Westeros, it's likely he won't even want to act upon his status as the rightful Targaryen heir. Instead, he would probably want to simply return to his home castle of Winterfell to act as King In The North. Yet, if Daenerys begins to rely to heavily on her "Fire And Blood" mantra, it's possible Jon would feel obligated to counter her brutal actions with his dragon-free military tactics. This would put him in direct odds with his aunt.

However, if the news of Jon's lineage gets out to Westeros as a whole, it's also feasible to imagine Sansa claiming Winterfell for herself, which would be her right at this point.

Either way, it's likely Jon would have huge issues with the two most important women in his life. But, at least, Rhaeger and Lyanna's son would finally be able to move on from the lifetime inferiority complex Westeros has forced upon up Jon over his supposed bastard status.
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Cersei Lannister

Cersei (Lena Headey) has been able to unite the certain lords of Westeros against Daenerys for a few reasons: the khaleesi is a foreign-raised ruler with no tangible knowledge of Westeros, she has a foreign army behind her filled with let’s say, unconventional, soldiers, and her father was the Mad King, a man so terrible, his own sworn sword had to murder him in the throne room. All of these details make Dany sound like an unstable, dangerous outsider bent on ruining the Westerosi way of life, as Lord Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) mentions before being burnt to a crisp in "Eastwatch."

Yet, Cersei wouldn’t have nearly the same amount of ammunition against a man like Jon, a true Northerner who was raised by one of the greatest houses in the entire continent, unites two of the greatest bloodlines Westeros’ history, and has lead entire (Westerosi) armies into battle. If Jon also manages to protect the continent from the White Walker invasion, he will also be the person who saved the entire realm from the clutches of Death By Night King. Plus, he hasn’t destroyed a single noble house by fire, whether we’re talking about the wild kind or the dragon kind.

On top of all of this, Jon's true father Prince Rhaegar was also seemingly beloved in Westeros before he "kidnapped" — cough, eloped with, cough — Lyanna Stark. Although Rhaegar was quite talented on the battlefield, the prince preferred singing, playing musical instruments, and reading to "killing," as Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) tells Daenerys in season 5’s “Sons Of The Harpy.” During the episode, the former Kingsguard commander reveals the prince would even dress up as a commoner in King's Landing to sing as a minstrel, oftentimes giving away any money he made during performances to actual minstrels or an orphanage in the poor neighborhood of Flea Bottom. Cersei can’t exactly make this royal's son out to be a mad man’s progeny.

It’s extremely possible the people of Westeros would much rather someone with Jon’s lineage sitting upon the Iron Throne over Cersei, who has no blood ties to her regency and managed to pull off something so monstrous even the Mad King couldn’t do it.
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Gendry (Joe Dempsie)

As social media noted, the actual Baratheon bastard and the so-called Stark "bastard" became immediate best friends, nodding back to their "father’s" war-winning friendship. Yet, Ned Stark isn’t Jon’s father, Rhaegar Targaryen is. This immediately makes Gendry’s "Eastwatch" statement, “Our fathers trusted each other,” deeply, deeply untrue. Their fathers were actually mortal enemies whose feud ended with Gendry’s dad literally murdering Jon’s dad. This fact alone could make the brand new friendship awkward, to say the least.

When it comes to politics, things get even more tense. While Gendry is the last living son of King Robert, he isn’t considered “legitimate” in the eyes of the law due to his status as a bastard. Jon on the other hand, is a trueborn Targaryen prince, the last living male heir to Westeros’s greatest royal dynasty. And, the Baratheon lineage isn't doing so well these days. In these terms, Jon hypothetically can be seen to have a much better claim to the Iron Throne than his new pal. Thankfully for people who are fans of Ned And Robert 2.0, it’s doubtful either man truly wants to rule over all of Westeros.
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The Dragons

Jon has the blood of the dragon flowing through his veins. Drogon, for his part, recognizes this and is a huge fan of Jon. Since Drogon is definitely the most temperamental dragon out of his siblings, it’s extremely likely the much-more-chill Viserion and Rhaegal would also love their cousin.

Yes, Jon technically has dragons for cousins — since Dany considers the magical creatures her "children" — and I won’t hear anything else.
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