As the hypothesis and speculation of past now begin to take flesh and become reality, I've been seeing more and more people talk about or mention things! More specifically, our very own Jon Snow's much mysterious parentage. A lot of people seem to be a little (or even quite a bit) confused about the whole thing regarding who his real parents are and what took place in the past. Even if you are pretty solid on it, this post might benefit you as I'll go into some detail. So here's the whole story:

This is Rhaegar Targaryen
This is Rhaegar Targaryen
Kinda looks like Liam Hemsworth here, don't ya think?
Rhaegar Targaryen, Son of the 'Mad King' Aerys. Brother of Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen. He was a pretty cool guy. Unlike his father, Rhaegar had a usually cool head and was an all together very competent person. He was an excellent singer and loved his harp . Rhaegar was quiet and prone to melancholy. He buried his nose in books for the first part of his life before taking up the sword and becoming a very successful knight, although he always loved his harp more than the sword. It's often lamented about that Rhaegar should have been king, which would have come to pass if not for Robert's Rebellion.

This is Lyanna Stark 

The sister of Eddard Stark. Lyanna was a true Stark. Wolfs blood ran through her veins. She had the beauty of Sansa and the will and resilience of Arya. She was 'half horse' meaning she was a great rider, but that's a theory and a story for another time :). Basically she was a total badass. Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon who was infatuated with her and would claim to his dying day that she was the only thing he had wanted in the world. Lyanna had more reservations. She confessed to Ned that she knew Robert would never stick to one bed. It was already rumored that he had a bastard child in the Vale. 
Tourney at Harrenhall
Tourney at Harrenhall

You know what a tourney is. This was a big one. A huge one. The greatest tourney of its time. Basically everyone who was anyone was there. Including Rhaegar and Lyanna of course. The tourney competition lasted seven days and featured a whole host of competitors including a mystery knight, but all eventually fell and Rhaegar took home the grand prize. And there in front of the seven kingdoms, in front of his wife Elia Martell, in front of Robert Baratheon, he declared Lyanna Stark the queen of love and beauty. This was a huge scandal. Like if Jennifer Lawrence released a sex tape with Tom Cruise or something. A year later he 'kidnapped' her and they disappeared together. This kicked off Robert's Rebellion after a series of gruesome events including the murder of Ned/Lyanna's father and brother at the hands of the mad king.

Battle of the Trident
Battle of the Trident

The battle that ultimately decided the success or failure of Robert's Rebellion. Robert was becoming an unstoppable force and Aerys quickly realized he must be dealt with. Robert was marching south along the kingsroad right toward Kings Landing. He also had the combined forces of the Baratheons, Starks, Tullys, and Arryns. He was a serious threat. Rhaegar was recalled to lead the royal army against Robert. He left three of his kingsguard at the Tower of Joy, where he was 'keeping' Lyanna, to protect her. The royal army met up with the Dornish army on their way to the Trident. The rebel army and the royal army ended up meeting face to face at the crossing of the trident which would later become known as the ruby ford. 

There Robert and Rhaegar fought. Robert wielding his mighty hammer and Rhaegar his sword. A fight for the ages. It ended when Robert struck Rhaegar so hard it crumpled his breastplate. Rhaegar fell, the rubies from his armor flying free and falling into the river. They say Rhaegar's rubies sill float down the trident. That pass became known as the ruby ford. The war was decided. Robert would win. Aerys commanded Jamie Lannister to 'burn them all', who in return put a blade through his back. 

The Tower of Joy

Named that by Rhaegar himself, the Tower of Joy was located right on the edge of Dorne. After the war, Ned learned that Lyanna was there and he took six companions and rode for it. Upon arriving he found the three kingsguard Rhaegar had left behind. 
“I looked for you on the Trident,” Ned said to them.

“We were not there,” Ser Gerold answered.

“Woe to the Usurper if we had been,” said Ser Oswell.

“When King's Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were.”

“Far away,” Ser Gerold said, “or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells.”


 “The Kingsguard does not flee.”

“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.

“We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.

Ned’s wraiths moved up beside him, with shadow swords in hand. They were seven against three.

“And now it begins,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.

“No,” Ned said with sadness in his voice. “Now it ends.”

The only two to survive the following battle are Ned and Howland Reed, father of Meera and Jojen Reed (Bran's companions). Ned climbed the tower and found Lyanna dying in a pool of blood. She only cared about one thing. 

"Promise me, Ned" 

Ned still hears that promise ringing in his head days before he is executed. Ned comes back north with only the body of his sister and a newly born baby he claims is his bastard. 

The Prince that was Promised
The Prince that was Promised

Ned carries back Jon Snow after his dealings in the south and raises him as his own son. 20 years ago after the release of "A Game of Thrones' a theory is born. A simple equation. R + L = J. Rhaegar Targaryen + Lyanna Stark = Jon Snow. Rhaegar didn't kidnap Lyanna, she ran away with him. She didn't die to a wound inflicted by him, but rather from childbirth. She knew Jon would never be safe from Robert. A trueborn son of Rhaegar would be mercilessly dealt with. As we've seen before with the deaths of Rhaegar's other children with Elia Martell at the Mountains hands. 

"Elia Martell, Princess of Dorne, you raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children." - Oberyn Martell

To keep Jon from the same fate, Lyanna made Ned promise he would protect Jon. That meant lying and ruining his honorable reputation by saying he'd fathered a bastard. And now you're caught up. Ned is gone. Lyanna and Rhaegar are gone. The only person who now knows who Jon really is is Howland Reed and now Bran. It's up to you to guess what that means and what will happen. But it's now confirmed that Jon is a Targaryen. That also makes Daenerys his aunt. 

Thanks for reading! I love these books/show and their history. I'm a history buff of real life and fiction, so this kind of stuff is my favorite. This world is so rich and filled to the brim with history. If this gets any interest I may make some posts on some other things. Possibly on the real life events that inspired some of the book/show events. 

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