When it comes to Game of Thrones, no one within its vast universe has been burdened with keeping a greater truth than Ned Stark. The late, great leader of House Stark took one enormous secret to his grave, the identity of Jon Snow’s real parents.
Until his death, Ned (Sean Bean) had led the world to believe that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was his illegitimate son with an unnamed woman. In the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, fans’ long-held speculations were finally confirmed when it was revealed that Jon Snow is not, in fact, Ned Stark’s son. This revelation has led to countless questions about Jon Snow, and the secrets surrounding his biological parents. Listed below are the top seven questions, Game of Thrones Season 7 will hopefully be able to answer, in that regard.
Season 7 Question #1: Why didn’t Ned tell Catelyn the truth?
By claiming Jon was his illegitimate son, Ned drove a permanent wedge between himself and his wife. He also subjected Jon to years of never-ending scorn from his resentful stepmother. So why didn’t Ned privately pull Catelyn aside, and tell her the truth? Is it because he could not trust her to keep it a secret? Or was he concerned about what she would do with the knowledge?
Season 7 Question #2: Why did Ned not make any arrangements for Jon Snow to learn the truth about his parents?
When faced with his imprisonment, and possible execution, Game of Thrones never showed Ned devising any backup plan to alert his nephew of his true parentage, such as writing a letter with the information. Nor did Ned show any concern that his long-kept secret would never come to light.
Ned worked to put Stannis Baratheon on the Iron Throne instead, all the while knowing that no member of House Baratheon is the rightful claimant to the Iron Throne. In fact, it is highly likely Ned had been raising the true heir the entire time, his very own nephew: Jon Snow.
Season 7 Question #3: Why did Ned want to deny his own nephew his birthright?
In Game of Thrones Season 1, Ned’s treatment of Jon does not mirror that of a man who wholeheartedly loved the son of his beloved sister. Ned protected Jon from getting killed by Robert, and not much else. In Season 1, he does not bother trying to prevent Jon from joining the Night’s Watch. Nor does he open any alternative doors to his nephew.
By encouraging Jon to “take the black,” Ned does make one thing certain: Jon cannot claim the throne. According to the Night’s Watch oath, Jon cannot claim his birthright if he is a member. By swearing his fealty to the Watch, Ned knows his nephew cannot pursue his birthright. Is that what Ned wanted, or had no choice to prevent?
Season 7 Question #4: Did Ned not think Jon was worthy of the Iron Throne?
Assuming that Jon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, Ned knew this, and said nothing, all the while supporting the Baratheons’ false claim to the Iron Throne. When Ned leaves Jon at the Wall, he has no reason to believe Jon is unworthy of his birthright. So why does he support the Baratheons instead?
Season 7 Question #5: Did Ned know the circumstances of Jon’s birth?
In Game of Thrones‘ Season 6 finale, a young Ned is introduced to baby Jon Snow, presumably as the son of his sister, Lyanna. Lyanna whispers something to Ned before she dies, and none of it seems to clarify the circumstances surrounding Jon’s conception. If Lyanna somehow communicated that Jon is the product of a consensual love affair outside of marriage or the product of a rape, Jon is still illegitimate.
If she whispered she had secretly entered into a plural marriage, which the Targaryens had historically practiced and legally recognized, Jon is a legitimate son of House Targaryen, and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Given that Ned worked so diligently to keep the truth surrounding Jon Snow’s parentage a secret, an obvious question surfaces. Was Ned covering up a truth that bares no real consequence? Did Lyanna confirm Jon’s illegitimacy?
It would explain why Ned does not say anything about Jon’s paternity. While Jon Snow’s true paternity changes everything Jon knows about himself on a personal level, it might not necessarily change his proximity to the Iron Throne. In the world of Game of Thrones, being the illegitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen would not make much of a difference to Jon’s claim. At the time, Ned had no way of knowing Jon would eventually surmount that notion.
Season 7 Question #6: Was Lyanna, Rhaegar’s lover, or his captive?
Ned may, or may not, have known the truth; however Game of Thrones needs to give fans the answer, once and for all. Will they get it in Season 7? Here is hoping.
Season 7 Question #7: Are Game of Thrones fans in for a major Season 7 shock?
Ned’s ambivalence to his nephew and overall lack of interest in him might be indicative that Jon is not related to Ned at all. As the Inquisitr previously postulated; Jon Snow might not be the secret son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Rather he might be the secretly smuggled son of Rhaegar and his wife, Elia Martell, the presumed dead Aegon Targaryen. You can read more about that Game of Thrones theory here.
That theory does have to contend with HBO seeming to confirm Jon Snow’s parentage in an infographic posted on their Making of Game of Thrones website. One thing curiously missing from that infographic is a crown above Jon’s picture. According to the guide, the crown represents a character’s relation to the royal family. That crown does appear above Daenerys. Does this hint Jon is not Rhaegar’s legitimate son, after all? Only Season 7 can tell us for sure.
As fans anxiously await Game of Thrones Season 7, it is with hope that at least some of the questions surrounding Jon Snow, and the secrets around his biological parents, will finally be answered. Find out if they are when Game of Thrones Season 7, premieres this summer on HBO.
[Featured Image by HBO]