Sometimes speculation pays off. While my previous posts produce a range of theories that vary in their likelihood of being part of the story, this post will look at a theory that practically made it in the canon of the story. The series Game of Thrones is based off of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and the fate of the show is still a mystery since the book series is incomplete. Because the author is still in the process of creating the plot, suggestions from fans have the potential to be influential. Martin might have actually incorporated a fan theory in the plot, and several other theories are possible as a result. While there are countless theories regarding the story’s characters and dynamics, this post will just focus on theories regarding Jon Snow.
Believability: In the beginning, Eddard (Ned) Stark introduces Jon Snow as his bastard son, but this seems incredibly unlikely for his character. Ned was once given the opportunity to claim the Iron Throne, a position few would hesitate to take. Despite the temptation, Ned refused to gain so much power and allowed his friend to become king; so, Ned is initially presented as a man who looks at a situation rationally as opposed to acting on whim. Later on in the first book, King Robert and the council discuss the assassination of Daenerys and her unborn child, but Ned is adamantly against the death of an innocent. He is clearly defined by his morale and rational, so the idea of him cheating on his wife for a night of passion would be completely out of character.
Ned usually refuses to mention most things that took place when he left for battle, and this lack of detail contributes to his confusing claim. We are only sure that Jon was born around Robert’s Rebellion, the war that took place after Prince Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped Lyanna Stark. She was kept in the Tower of Joy, and Ned managed to get through three guards to see his sister, but she died moments after they reunited.
The entire story is unclear, but this theory could easily explain the events that took place. Westeros knows that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna and that she had died just as Ned reached her. If, however, you pay attention to the interactions between Rhaegar and Lyanna throughout the story, they seemed to have been falling in love. Rhaegar already had a wife (who he still ignored in front of everyone just to give Lyanna roses); meanwhile, Lyanna was promised to Robert, so a kidnapping could be a cover for two lovers running away together. The tale is further complicated when Ned’s group fights off three guards to reach Lyanna in the Tower of Joy. With the Targaryens falling from power, there were few who would still fight for them; so, why would three guards be protecting Lyanna in the tower instead of protecting the remaining Targaryen family? When he finally reaches his sister, Ned claims that he found her in a pool of blood, and he made her a promise before she died. If Lyanna was pregnant with a Targaryen heir, it would explain why she was so heavily guarded. She could have lost all that blood in labor, and she probably knew she wouldn’t live to raise her child. The baby would have been in danger in a world against Targaryens, so Lyanna could have asked her brother to hide her child’s identity for the baby’s safety. Ned is unlikely to have a child from an affair; however, he is willing to lie to do what is right, and he is a man of his word.
But why would Ned feel so pressured to keep this secret even from Jon himself? King Robert was never above killing an innocent, and he obviously showed no remorse for the Targaryens, so the Targaryen child of his lost love wouldn’t stand a chance. Any remaining Targaryens had already fled from Westeros, so Jon was left with no family other than Ned. Because of these factors, Ned was more willing to tarnish his reputation than allow the murder of his own nephew. He even explains to Arya how lies are okay if they are done for the right reason, and what better reason than to keep a promise to his sister and prevent the death of an innocent?
“Nonetheless,” Ned said, “the murder of children… it would be vile… unspeakable…”
Even if he’s unaware of it, Jon’s lineage only makes him even more significant in the story. As a descendent of the Mad King, Jon wouldn’t be an outcast but an heir to the Iron Throne. While this right to the throne was revoked the second Jon joined the Night’s Watch, his death and resurrection later on releases Jon from his pledge; so, Jon could become the king. However, fans from Quora debate whether Jon or Daenerys has a more legitimate claim to the throne if the Targaryens even have a claim at all. Still, a mother from the house of Stark and a father from the house of Targaryen could also make Jon the song of ice and fire, which is a sign for the prince that was promised. At the very least, the burden of being the black sheep of his family would be lifted from his shoulders. Although we aren’t sure how this information is going to influence the course of the plot, Jon Snow is clearly an important character, and his lineage creates new implications for his role in upcoming events.
While this theory is based off of claims as opposed to definitive proof, it is extremely possible. The maesters are known for serving lords and the king, and they are responsible for healing, reading and writing letters, educating the houses, advising their lords, counting the votes at meetings, and recording history. They are also meant to be politically neutral since they sacrifice their family names.
While they are generally trusted, Lady Dustin acknowledges that they are in a position with a lot of influence and control. By creating and reading letters, the maesters are in control of the flow of information, so they could manipulate any message they want. When they are advising the lords, they could actually be pushing their own personal agenda. The lords clearly trust the maesters with their secrets and plans, so they would have little reason to question if the maesters are manipulating them. Lady Dustin even goes as far as to say that the maesters were conspiring against the Mad King’s reign, so they could have been responsible for Robert’s Rebellion and the downfall of the Targaryen. Even if they are not the ones sitting on the throne, they could easily manipulate whoever is and the events that take place.
Some may argue that it’s a stretch for all the maesters to come together to control the fate of Westeros, but maesters have definitely influenced major events to fulfill their own personal agenda. Grand Maester Pycelle, for example, advised the Mad King to open the gates leading to Tywin’s army, which ultimately led to the downfall of the Targaryen. After an interrogation, we learn that all of Pycelle’s actions were actually driven by an allegiance to the house of Lannister. As mentioned above, maesters are supposed to abandon any allegiance to any family, but that doesn’t guarantee that a maester’s bias completely goes away. If one maester is capable of contributing to the downfall of a reign, imagine what they can accomplish if they all worked together for a common goal or against a common enemy.
That being said, the maesters have always shown a disdain towards magic and the Targaryens. Magic is unpredictable and dangerous, so the maesters might not be in favor of something that is difficult to control. The Targaryen have always been closely affiliated with magic, and with their dragons, they have been known to abuse their power and wreak havoc in the realm. If the maesters want to do what is best for the realm, they might believe the best way to ensure its safety is to rid the world of magic and Targaryens altogether.
Even though there is a maester for magic, Archmaester Marwyn only supports the possibility of this theory. When he interacts with Sam, Marwyn admits that the maesters were conspiring against magic and dragons and anything supernatural in the realm. He claims that the maesters are responsible for the extinction of dragons and that they are responsible for putting Aemon Targaryen on the wall when he could have become an archmaester. The first half of the claim seems far fetched since the dragons went extinct in the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war, but the maesters could have potentially instigated the civil war in the same way they supposedly instigated Robert’s Rebellion. The second half of the claim, however, seems very unlikely because Aemon claimed to have gone to the wall for his own personal reasons. Even if the maester seems to exaggerate some of his accusations, he is clearly paranoid enough to go seek Daenerys and help her, so that distrust had to have sprung from somewhere.
But what does this theory have to do with Jon Snow? If the maesters are working together to end magic and the Targaryens, this theory has influenced his past and possibly his future. If the maesters hadn’t initiated Robert’s Rebellion, a battle wouldn’t have been taking place when Jon was born. Rhaegar would have probably been there for the birth of his son, and while this might not have kept Lyanna from her fate, Jon would have at least been claimed by his father and raised as a Targaryen. This could have led to a more regal upbringing as opposed to living a life as the black sheep of the family. While the past cannot be changed, this theory might still play a role in Jon’s future. Fans on Science Fiction & Fantasy speculate that as a Stark alone, Jon could show magical qualities by warging himself into his direwolf Ghost. Aside from the possibility of transferring his consciousness into an animal’s body, Jon was resurrected with magic, and that could possibly strengthen his connection with it. To top it all off, Jon’s Targaryen roots will eventually be exposed, so all these factors combined make him a target if the maesters start noticing him. If they believe the best way to protect Westeros is to rid it of magic and Targaryens, then Jon might be eliminated as well.
Believability: While Melisandre believes her prophecy refers to Stannis Baratheon as the Azor Ahai, he doesn’t quite fit the description. Azor Ahai is born under a red star amidst salt and smoke, and he is supposed to wake dragons out of stone. His dragon will have three heads, and he will be a descendant of Aerys and Rhaella Targaryen. He is also meant to have a burning sword named Lightbringer, which might come at the cost of a sacrifice. Furthermore, George R. R. Martin often insinuates that Azor Ahai is also the prince that was promised (and there is no reason to believe otherwise); so, Azor Ahai would also be the song of ice and fire.
Stannis manages to meet some of these requirements, but he ultimately falls short. Melisandre names him Azor Ahai when the red comet passes, and the ceremony takes place amidst salt (from the ocean) and smoke (from the burning gods). Stannis pulls out a burning sword from one of the burning gods, and Melisandre names it Lightbringer. While he definitely covers the first three parts of the prophecy, the sword may not live up to the prophecy’s standards. Both Jon and Aemon believe the sword is lacking in power, and the prophecy doesn’t require the weapon to be a literal sword. While Stannis has Targaryen blood, he has no relation to Aerys and Rhaella. In A Storm of Swords, Melisandre tries to make Stannis sacrifice Edric Storm to awaken dragons, but Edric manages to escape. This, along with his lack of affiliation with a song of ice and fire, disqualifies Stannis as the Azor Ahai.
Jon Snow, however, has the potential to be the hero that ends the eternal winter. In the chapter where Jon is stabbed, smoke comes out of his wounds, Bowen Marsh is shedding tears (salt), and Ser Patrek’s heraldry, decorated with a star, is covered in blood. These details are all emphasized along with a reminder of a promised prince, which seems to be a little more than a coincidence. If R + L = J, then Jon would be a descendant of Aerys and Rhaella Targaryen, and he would also be the song of ice (Stark) and fire (Targaryen). While his sword doesn’t have the potential to be Lightbringer, he does have a dream where he yields a red sword against the others and kills the woman he loves, and dreams are never simply dreams in this story. He also lacks any access to dragons, but this could change in the future when he discovers his Targaryen heritage. Even if he hasn’t fulfilled every aspect of the prophecy yet, Jon has already encountered the Others and even managed to destroy one, and the leader of the white walkers stared at Jon as though he were someone significant.
While Jon seems like an ideal candidate, he is not the only character that could fulfill the prophecy. Both Aemon and Benerro believe Daenerys, the daughter of Aerys and Rhaella, could be Azor Ahai. The original prophecy refers to this hero as a dragon, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a man or a woman; the word is gender neutral. She was born on Dragonstone, which is an island in the narrow sea (salt), and she was “reborn” on Drogo’s burning funeral pyre (smoke). The red comet first appeared on the morning after the funeral, and the death of her husband and unborn child led to the awakening of three dragons (which can also represent the three headed dragon). While she has no physical sword, some speculate that her dragons’ fire could represent Lightbringer. The only prerequisite she fails to meet is an affiliation with a song of ice and fire.
While Daenerys appears to be another candidate for the prophecy, a different interpretation allows both these characters to play a role in ending the winter. Some fans speculate the three headed dragon refers to three characters working together to defeat the Others, and they believe the best candidates for this theory would be Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister. An UPROXX video makes a convincing argument that Tyrion is actually the son of the Mad King, so this theory, along with his backstory and his attitude towards dragons, could make him a potential Azor Ahai. At the very least, fans from Reddit believe he could unite Jon and Daenerys and become the third head of the dragon. While there is no way to tell how the Others will be defeated, Jon Snow, along with Daenerys and Tyrion, are foreshadowed to be significant for the end.
The series still has a long way to go, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens to Jon Snow. If, however, you want to keep looking for a new way to watch memorable stories, keep an eye out for my post on Matrix Fan Theories!