*This is the second in a series of catch-up articles we’re posting to help everyone be the best Game of Thrones fan they can be come Sunday.
Part One: The Wall Isn’t Just a Physical Barrier
What’s that Ben Franklin said about secrets? Three people can keep one if two are dead? That may apply to the identity of Jon’s parents in season seven. Season six finally confirmed what 99% of us already knew — Jon isn’t Ned’s son, but his nephew, the result of an (apparently consensual) affair between Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark and crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen. But Bran isn’t the only person with this knowledge — there are three other characters who could blow the lid off of this whole thing, and it’s possible it’s already happened.
You’ll recall Howland Reed was with Ned at the Tower of Joy in “Oathbreaker.” Meera’s father is actually responsible for Ned’s fabled victory against one of the most legendary swordsman in Westerosi history, Arthur Dayne, which no one knew until Bran played Peeping Tom. Point is, we know he can keep his mouth shut. We can safely say he never revealed the truth of Jon’s parentage to his own children (all Meera’s had to do literally for the past three seasons is drag Bran around the frozen North — she’d have brought it up by now if only out of sheer boredom), and he’s probably still alive. No mention has been made of his death, and his seat, Deepwood Motte, has a reputation for being largely impenetrable due to its boggy location. It could be he’s been chillin’ in the Motte this whole time, waiting for the right moment to re-emerge.
As for the other candidates, there were two of what appeared to be Dornish handmaidens attending to the dying Lyanna. One of them actually hands Ned Baby Jon as Lyanna reveals to her older brother what’s happened, so it’s safe to say they were wise to the situation. Now, it’s doubtful that the show would make these essentially featured extras lynchpins in Jon’s storyline, but it’s more doubtful that either Ned or Howland would’ve done anything more to ensure their secrecy than pay them or force them to swear oaths. TL;DR – these ladies could spring a leak or have already done so. For that matter, so could’ve Howland Reed, though whom he would tell and how remains in question. That said, at the end of the day, Bran had better hope somebody talked, or the revelation of Jon’s parentage could cause more problems than it’s worth.
While Jon would certainly be inclined to believe his now fully magical little brother, that doesn’t mean anyone else will. Pretenders to the Iron Throne are no stranger to Westeros — there were FIVE Blackfyre rebellions challenging the Targaryen dynasty, all centered around illegitimate Targaryens insisting they had valid claims to the Iron Throne. Frankly, the last thing Westeros needs is yet another claimant to the Iron Throne — especially one that’s predicated on astral projection. What Jon has to find to make any practical use of his parentage is some kind of corroboration.
If Howland Reed is, in fact, alive and planning to make an appearance, it’s highly unlikely that anyone would simply take his word and that of Bran’s that Jon is a lost Targaryen prince (damn, he’s dreamy). The two midwives wouldn’t be trusted, either — the only thing that would bear any weight is some kind of documentation of Jon’s birth and/or parentage. Thing is, that’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility, and here’s why. Fair warning, we’re wearing (very small) tinfoil hats right now, but bear with us.
Presumably, Sam and Gilly will spend much of the season at the Citadel where Sam will continue his training and if this still is to be believed, Gilly will be his study-buddy.
Obviously, it would be like watching paint dry if all Sam did was hit the books, so fans have speculated his time in Oldtown will result in some kind of monumental discovery. While many believe (and we do, too) that said discovery will be something related to the manufacture of Valyrian Steel or Dragonglass (two things the White Walkers are known to be vulnerable to) on a massive scale, it’s possible he could stumble upon something else, as well. The page Gilly is reading in the photo above speaks of neither weapon, but instead of the infamous Prince That Was Promised prophecy that Melisandre fervently believed referred to the late Stannis Baratheon:
It is also written that there are annals in Asshai of such a darkness, and of a hero who fought against it with a red sword. His deeds are said to have been performed before the rise of Valyria, in the earliest age when Old Ghis was first forming its empire. This legend has spread west from Asshai, and the followers of R’hllor claim that this hero was named Azor Ahai, and prophesy his return. In the Jade Compendium, Colloquo Votar recounts a curious legend from Yi Ti, which states that the sun hid its face from the earth for a lifetime, ashamed at something none could discover, and that disaster was averted only by the deeds of a woman with a monkey’s tail.
No word on the woman with a monkey’s tail, but it’s looking more and more like Jon is suiting up to be this prince everyone’s so excited about. If Gilly’s reading about it, it’s probably not a coincidence. We’re not going to speculate how any information regarding Jon’s birth got into the Citadel (it could be that Howland Reed decided a record should be made regardless of Ned’s feelings or maybe the two midwives told their tale and the story got around), but the facts remain that Jon’s parentage remains relatively useless knowledge until it can be somehow verified and there are presumably more people than just Bran around that could do it.
What do you think? Could knowledge of Jon’s scandalous genealogy have made it into the Citadel’s library or are we seriously reaching? Let us know in the comments!
Game of Thrones premieres THIS SUNDAY, June 16th at 9 pm on HBO. Check out the latest trailer below!