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Jon Snow has been through a lot. That’s a hefty understatement for a man who died, came back to life, and nearly died again during the greatest battle in Game of Thrones history.
Believe it or not, though, Jon’s biggest moment yet is still on the way.
After surviving “Battle of the Bastards,” and after reclaiming the North, Lord Snow’s journey is far from over. The sixth season finale, called “The Winds of Winter,” stands ready to deliver on one of the great promises surrounding Kit Harington’s heroic character: the identity of his mysterious mother. The likeliest answer comes courtesy of a long-standing theory developed by readers of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin’s novel series on which Thrones is based, one already heavily hinted at throughout season six.
The theory goes that Jon is not Eddard Stark’s son, but his nephew, and that his true mother is Ned’s sister Lyanna. What’s more, his father is Rhaegar Targaryen, the silver-haired prince who incited Robert’s Rebellion by abducting Lyanna. Except according to the theory, there was no abduction at all; Rhaegar and Lyanna ran away together, their forbidden romance causing a civil war that nearly ended House Targaryen’s line and greatly altered Westeros‘ political landscape.
There’s so much textual support for the theory in the books that most fans accept it as truth at this point. Indeed, the show has done its part in setting up the big reveal. In “Oathbreaker,” Jon’s first episode back from the dead, Bran Stark travels back in time to witness a young version of Ned Stark fighting it out with the Targaryen Kingsguard outside the Tower of Joy, where Lyanna is being held. The sequence ends right as Ned runs into the Tower, where Lyanna dies from mysterious causes. Fans of the theory believe Lyanna dies giving birth to Jon, with three famous last words: “Promise me, Ned.” The promise involves raising Jon as his own, and keeping his Targaryen lineage secret from those who would want her baby harmed.
Bran’s vision quest stands at the heart of season six, heavily focused not just on the Tower of Joy, but House Stark history writ large. With only one more episode to go before the season ends, Bran might be in a place to put two and two together (or R plus L, as it were) and learn the truth behind his half-brother’s background.
What’s more, if Jon himself uncovers the truth about his Targaryen father, it comes at an interesting time, right after reclaiming Winterfell for House Stark. Will Jon serve as the new Warden of the North, or will the job go to Sansa Stark, Eddard’s true-born child? If it’s a contentious issue, the truth behind Jon’s family history could settle the debate in Sansa’s favor.
In any event, the identity of Jon’s mother remains one of the biggest reveals of the series still on the table — and if that secret’s ever coming out, there’s no better time than the finale, right before Thrones begins its long hiatus. As happened last year, expect Jon Snow to once again be at the heart of a lot of offseason chatter, hopefully for less heartbreaking reasons.
Watch the video below for more finale predictions.
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