There has been a theory amongst Game of Thrones fans about Jon Snow’s heritage. They believe that Jon Snow’s real parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, which would make Ned Stark his uncle, not his father. I agree with this theory based on the facts and clues that the books and the show provide. To begin with, one must understand Rhaegar Targaryen’s relationship with Ned Stark’s sister Lyanna.
Before the events of the books and show, Lyanna was abducted by Rhaegar, which was one of the catalysts that started Robert’s Rebellion. Then Rhaegar has three members of the Kingsguard, including their Lord Commander, watch over Lyanna at the Tower of Joy in Dorne.
The Kingsguard are sworn to protect the royal family so why would they guard a woman who is not of royal blood? The most obvious possibility is that Rhaegar secretly married Lyanna and impregnated her with an heir. If this is the case, then those three Kingsguard were posted there to guard their prince’s child, Jon. This would make Jon Snow Daenerys Targaryen’s nephew and only known living relative!
When Ned Stark and his bannermen went to rescue Lyanna, she was on the verge of death for currently unknown reasons. Based on the theory, it is possible Lyanna died of childbirth. This would explain what Lyanna meant when she said, “Promise me, Ned” when she spoke to her brother before she died. Her dying wish may have been for Ned Stark to take care of her son.
If this is the case, then Ned Stark may have made everyone believe that Jon was his bastard son in order to protect him from Robert Baratheon and the Lannisters. Since Robert Baratheon was obsessively in love with Lyanna, he would have tried to kill Jon and everyone else who got in his way. As for the Lannisters, Ned was probably thinking they would kill him like their bannermen did to Rhaegar’s other children.
The only other person besides Ned Stark who would know the truth about Jon’s heritage is Howland Reed. If he were to step forward and confess what really happened at the Tower of Joy, then it is possible that Jon Snow may have a claim to the Iron Throne now that his death freed him of his oath to the Night’s Watch. This claim would also be bolstered by the knowledge of the past, present, and future that Bran Stark acquired from the three-eyed raven.
Hopefully, the show will shed some light on this theory since the books are falling behind schedule. Either way, I hope this theory is correct and Jon cleanses the world in fire and blood as winter comes!