Who is Jon Snow, Lady Lyanna, and RhaegarTargaryen?

Jon Snow

Image result for jon snow I’don’t care if he’s a bastard; Ned Stark’s blood runs through his veins. He’s my king, from this day until his last day!―Lady Lyanna Mormont

The Winds of Winter 22Young Ned Stark found his sister Lyanna dying after she gave birth to Rhaegar Targaryen’s last living child, whom Ned then passed off as his own bastard son, “Jon Snow”.

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Eighteen years before the War of the Five Kings, Rhaegar Targaryen allegedly abducted Lyanna Stark of Winterfell in a scandal that would lead to the outbreak of Robert’s Rebellion. Rhaegar would eventually return to fight in the war, but not before leaving Lyanna behind at the Tower of Joy, guarded by Lord CommanderGerold Hightower and Ser Arthur Dayne of the Kingsguard. Lord Eddard Stark, Lyanna’s brother, rode to war along with her betrothed, Robert Baratheon, to rescue his sister and avenge the deaths of their father and brother on the orders of Rhaegar’s father, Aerys II, the Mad King.Robert would ultimately kill Rhaegar at the Battle of the Trident, effectively ensuring their victory in the war. After the Sack of King’s Landing, Ned continued south in search of his sister, and ultimately found her at the Tower of Joy, in the Red Mountains at the border of Dorne. Ned and his companions engaged in a final fierce melee with the remaining Targaryen Kingsguard, that resulted in the deaths of all combatants save Ned himself and Howland Reed.After defeating the last of the Kingsguard, Ned rushed into the tower to save his sister – only to find Lyanna dying from childbirth, having just given birth to Rhaegar’s own son. Desperate to protect the life of her newborn child, a fading Lyanna pleaded with Ned to promise her that he would keep her son safe, and his true heritage hidden from Robert as he had been Rhaegar’s most bitter enemy. Furthermore, the boy’s existence was a potential threat to Robert’s claim to the Iron Throne after the deaths of Rhaegar’s other children, Rhaenys and Aegon, by his wife Elia Martell, who also perished, during the Sack of King’s Landing. In accordance with her last wish, Ned resolved to pass Lyanna’s son off as his own bastard and raise him in his home castle – a great blow to his honor as he knew that his decision would shame both himself and his lady wife, Catelyn Tully.Ned decided not to use his nephew’s birth name, which Lyanna revealed to him in her final moments – apparently because it was a Targaryen-style name which would have given away his real parentage. Instead, he chose to give the baby the name “Jon” after his great friend and mentor Jon Arryn, Lord of the Vale, whom he loved like a second father. The boy also grew up using the surname “Snow”, as is customary for acknowledged bastards in the North. In truth, it is unclear if “Jon” actually is a bastard at all. Rhaegar was already married to Elia at the time of the rebellion but the Targaryens have been known to enter into polygamous marriages in the past – leaving open the possibility that he might have used that precedent to wed Lyanna. On the other hand, it is also unknown if Lyanna eloped with Rhaegar or was in fact simply raped by him as King Robert claimed – though in this case, Rhaegar could have forced Lyanna to marry him

.Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 12.18.27 AMJon finds Ghost beside the pup’s dead mother.

He then reunites with Ghost before turning to Craster’s wives and offering them refuge at Castle Black. They decline, saying that after the abuse they took at other members of the Night’s Watch they can’t trust them and will go their own way. Before leaving, they set a torch to Craster’s Keep, burning it to the ground.S04E5 - Jon Snow & Ghost


I never met my mother. My father wouldn’t even tell me her name. I don’t know if she’s living or dead. I don’t know if she’s a noblewoman or a fisherman’s wife or a whore…
―Jon Snow to Samwell Tarly
I’m the watcher on The Wall.
―Jon Snow taking the black.
My father told me big men fall just as quick as little ones, if you put a sword through their hearts.
―Jon Snow to Tormund
With me, lads. Castle Black’s not falling tonight.
―Jon Snow during the battle for Castle Black.
I’m not asking you to forget your dead. I’ll never forget mine. I lost fifty brothers the night that Mance attacked the Wall. But I’m asking you to think about your children now. They’ll never have children of their own if we don’t band together. The Long Night is coming and the dead come with it. No clan can stop them. The Free Folk can’t stop them, the Night’s Watch can’t stop them and all the southern kings can’t stop them! Only together. All of us. And even then it may not be enough, but at least we give the fuckers a fight.―Jon Snow
Ramsay Bolton cannot be allowed to keep Winterfell, my lady. It is our duty to stop him, even more so because he holds our brother Rickon Stark his prisoner.
―Jon Snow to Lyanna Mormont
If I fall, don’t bring me back.
―Jon Snow to Melisandre
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Lyanna Stark

Lyanna Stark was the only daughter of Lord Rickard Stark and his wife, Lady Lyarra Stark. She had two older brothers, Brandon and Eddard, and one younger brother, Benjen. Her abduction by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was the event that ultimately triggered Robert’s Rebellion and led to the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty

Born at Winterfell, Lyanna was the only daughter of Lord Rickard Stark and Lady Lyarra Stark. She had two older brothers, Brandon and Eddard, and one younger brother, Benjen.Lyanna’s brother Eddard was fostered at the Eyrie by Lord Jon Arryn since the age of eight, where he befriended his fellow ward Robert Baratheon. Eddard brought Robert’s suit to Winterfell,and Rickard agreed to betroth his daughter to the young Lord of Storm’s End.However, that night Lyanna confided to Eddard that she believed Robert would never be able to keep to one bed. She had heard that Robert had an illegitimate daughter in the Vale, which Eddard could not deny. He attempted to persuade her that what Robert had done before their betrothal was insignificant and that he would love her, but Lyanna informed him that love could not change a man’s nature.Her alleged kidnapping by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen contributed to the outbreak of Robert’s Rebellion. She died near the very end of the rebellion, due to complications from giving birth to a baby boy, Jon Snow. Before she passed away, she begged Ned to promise her to keep her son safe out of fear that her betrothed Robert Baratheon would have him killed if he ever found out the truth that Jon’s father was Rhaegar, which led to Ned raising Jon as his bastard son

Lyanna StarkHis name is […] If Robert finds out, he’ll kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned. Promise me.―Lyanna’s final wish for her son, Jon Snow, to her brother Ned

Lyanna’s death was revealed to be from complications from giving birth to her son, Jon Snow, whose father is Rhaegar. Her death was witnessed by Ned and two handmaidens and most likely Howland Reed. Before her death, Lyanna asks Ned to promise to keep her son safe from Robert, who would have the child killed if he found out Rhaegar was the father. Ned complies with Lyanna’s wish and takes the infant to Winterfell. Fulfilling his promise, Ned says the boy is his bastard son, and named him Jon Snow. Few know the truth of Jon’s parentage; with Ned, Howland and the two handmaidens being the only individuals bearing the knowledge.


Spoken by Lyanna
Benjen Stark: “Will you get out of here? We’re sparring.
Lyanna Stark: “Who are you going to spar with when Ned goes off to the Eyrie?
— Lyanna Stark and Benjen Stark.
Lyanna Stark: “Benjen always raises his chin when he’s about to charge.
Hodor: “And lowers it when he’s going to dodge, m’lady.
— Lyanna Stark and Hodor.
Lyanna Stark: “I want to be brave.
Eddard Stark: “Shh. You are.
Lyanna Stark: “I’m not. I don’t want to die.
— Lyanna to her brother Ned Stark.
Spoken about Lyanna
We were meant to rule together. If your sister had lived, we would have been bound by blood.
―Robert Baratheon to Ned Stark about his sister Lyanna.
Robert Baratheon: “Did you have to bury her in a place like this? She should be on a hill somewhere with the sun and the clouds above her.
Eddard Stark: “She was my sister. This is where she belongs.
Robert Baratheon: “She belonged with me.
— Robert and Ned at Lyanna’s tomb.
Jon Snow: “Is my mother alive? Does she know about me? Where I am, where I’m going? Does she care?
Eddard Stark: “The next time we see each other, we’ll talk about your mother. Hmm? I promise.
— Jon Snow asks Ned about his mother, unaware that she is his “aunt” Lyanna.
I never met my mother. My father wouldn’t even tell me her name. I don’t know if she’s a noblewoman or a fisherman’s wife or a whore…
―Jon Snow about Lyanna.
Do you want to know the horrible truth? I can’t even remember what she looked like. I only know she was the one thing I ever wanted. Someone took her away from me, and Seven Kingdoms couldn’t fill the hole she left behind.
―Robert Baratheon to Cersei Lannister about Lyanna.
And that night, he crawled on top of me, stinking of wine, and did what he did – what little he could do – and whispered in my ear, ‘Lyanna.’ Your sister was a corpse, and I was a living girl, and he loved her more than me.
―Cersei Lannister recounts how Robert Baratheon drunkedly called her Lyanna when they consummated their marriage.
Your traitor father teach you that!? Or was it your whore mother!?
―Qhorin to Jon Snow, unknowingly talking about Lyanna.
Elia loved Rhaegar. She obeyed him. And he chose to steal away Lyanna Stark, a pale Northern girl whose veins ran with ice, like all her people.
―Oberyn Martell
I’d condemned this poor, innocent child to a horrible death…all because I was jealous of his mother. A woman he didn’t even know.
―Catelyn Stark unknowingly talking about Lyanna.
Petyr Baelish: “Your aunt Lyanna.
Sansa Stark: “Father never talked about her. But sometimes I’d find him down here lighting the candles. He’d say she was beautiful.
Petyr Baelish: “I saw her once. I was a boy living with your mother’s family. Lord Whent had a great tourney at Harrenhal. Everyone was there. The Mad King, your father, Robert Baratheon. And Lyanna…she was already promised to Robert. You can imagine what it was like for me, a boy from nowhere with nothing to his name, watching these legendary men tilting at the lists. The last two riders were Barristan Selmy and Rhaegar Targaryen. When Rhaegar won, everyone cheered for their prince. I remember the girls laughing when he took off his helmet and saw that silver hair. How handsome he was. Until he rode right past his wife, Elia Martell, and all the smiles died. I had never seen so many people. He rode past his wife and he lay a crown of winter roses in Lyanna’s lap. Blue with frost. How many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?
Sansa Stark: “Yes, he chose her. And then he kidnapped her and raped her.
— Littlefinger and Sansa Stark discuss Lyanna.

Rhaegar Targaryen

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He was the eldest son and heir of King Aerys II Targaryen, holding the title of Prince of Dragonstone. Rhaegar was the older brother of Viserys and Daenerys, though Daenerys was born after he died. He was known to have won the affections of many, most notably Cersei Lannister. He was the last great champion of House Targaryenbefore his sister rose to power.He was the eldest son and heir of King Aerys II Targaryen, holding the title of Prince of Dragonstone. Rhaegar was the older brother of Viserys and Daenerys, though Daenerys was born after he died. He was known to have won the affections of many, most notably Cersei Lannister. He was the last great champion of House Targaryenbefore his sister rose to power.Rhaegar was blamed for starting Robert’s Rebellion by abducting Lyanna Stark – though his reasons for taking her remain unknown – and he was killed by Robert Baratheon, Lyanna’s betrothed, at the climax of the war. Rhaegar was the husband of Elia Martell and the father of her two children, Aegon and Rhaenys. In addition, he was the biological father of Jon Snow by LyannaPrince Rhaegar Targaryen was the eldest son and heir to the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, by his sister/wife Queen Rhaella Targaryen. Tywin Lannister desired for his daughter Cersei to marry Rhaegar, but King Aerys II insulted Tywin by indicating that such a match would be beneath Rhaegar. Instead, Rhaegar was married to his distant cousin.Princess Elia Martell of Dorne, with whom he had a daughter named Rhaenys and then a son named Aegon. In spite of Elia’s love and loyalty to him, Rhaegar abducted Lyanna Stark of Winterfell for unknown reasons.

After the Mad King had both Lyanna’s father Rickard and oldest brother Brandonbrutally executed because the latter brazenly rode to the capital, demanding Rhaegar release Lyanna, her other brother, Eddard Stark, and her betrothed, Robert Baratheon, joined forces with several other houses to overthrow the Targaryen dynasty.This war became known as the War of the Usurper or Robert’s Rebellion. After initially remaining away from the fighting in Dorne, Rhaegar was summoned to lead the Royalist forces in what would be the Battle of the Trident. Before he left Dorne however, he ordered Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Gerold Hightower to remain at the Tower of Joy to protect Lyanna, who at the time was expecting his child. During the Battle, Rhaegar was killed in single combat with Lyanna’s betrothed Robert Baratheon in the midst of a spectacular duel.Rhaegar was struck down with a massive blow from Robert’s warhammer, which scattered the rubies encrusted in Rhaegar’s armor under the water. That location was named the “Ruby Ford” thereafter.


Rhaegar lies dead in the Ruby Ford.


Bran Stark learns through a vision that his “half-brother”, Jon Snow, is actually Rhaegar’s son by his aunt Lyanna, and that his father Ned passed him off as his bastard son in order to protect him from Robert, who would have surely killed him if he ever found out.


In my dreams, I kill him every night.
―Robert Baratheon shows his undying hatred of Rhaegar.
Your brother Rhaegar was the last dragon.
―Jorah Mormont to Daenerys Targaryen
When your brother Rhaegar led his army into battle at the Trident, men died for him because they believed in him, because they loved him. I fought beside the last dragon on that day, your Grace. I bled beside him.
―Ser Barristan Selmy to Daenerys
Daenerys Targaryen: “Did you know him well, Ser Barristan?
Barristan Selmy: “I did, your Grace. Finest man I ever met.
Daenerys Targaryen: “I wish I had known him, but he was not the last dragon.
— Rhaegar Targaryen remembered.
Petyr Baelish: “The last two riders were Barristan Selmy and Rhaegar Targaryen. When Rhaegar won, everyone cheered for their prince. I remember the girls laughing when he took off his helmet and saw that silver hair. How handsome he was. Until he rode right past his wife Elia Martell, and all the smiles died. I’ve never seen so many people so quiet. He rode past his wife and he lay a crown of winter roses in Lyanna’s lap. Blue with frost. How many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?
Sansa Stark: “Yes he chose her. And then he kidnapped her and raped her.
— Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark discuss Rhaegar.
Barristan Selmy: “Viserys never told you?
Daenerys Targaryen: “He told me Rhaegar was good at killing people.
Barristan Selmy: “Rhaegar never liked killing. He loved singing.
— Ser Barristan recounts his time with Rhaegar.


There is a prophecy about the Prince that was Promised which was retold to Rhaegar’s great-grandfather Aegon V Targaryen (Maester Aemon’s younger brother). It was foretold that The Prince that was Promised should come from the line of the mad king Aerys II.

The prophecy led to the Tragedy at Summerhall (the Targaryen’s summer retreat) where a great fire broke out resulting in the death of Aegon V and his heir. Rhaegar was born on the day of the tragedy, and grew up with a certain fascination for the ruins. He often spent time alone in Summerhall, writing sad songs.

As a young boy Rhaegar was bookish to a fault. Rhaegar was fairly popular with the smallfolk during his life and is remembered as a tragic heroic figure by friends and foes alike.

Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably. And Rhaegar died.

– Ser Jorah Mormont

It was said Rhaegar loved his harp more then he loved his lance. It is said that one day he found something in his scrolls which made him decide to be a knight.

As a young boy, the Prince of Dragonstone was bookish to a fault. He was reading so early that men said Queen Rhaella must have swallowed some books and a candle whilst he was in her womb.  Rhaegar took no interest in the play of other children. The maesters were awed by his wits, but his father’s knights would jest sourly that Baelor the Blessed had been born again. Until one day Prince Rhaegar found something in his scrolls that changed him. No one knows what it might have been,  only that the boy suddenly appeared early one morning in the yard as  the knights were donning their steel. He walked up to Ser Willem Darry, the master-at-arms, and said, ‘I will require a sword and armor. It seems I must be a warrior.’

He went on to become a highly skilled and capable fighter, always distinguishing himself well at tournaments.

Rhaegar married the Dornish princess Elia Martell, with whom he had two children: a daughter, Rhaenys, and then a son, Aegon. Aegon’s birth nearly killed Elia, and rendered her unable to bear any more children.

Over time his father Aerys became more and more paranoid. Rhaegar was initially reluctant to believe that his father was incapable to rule, but in the end, even he saw that this was true.

Soon after this, the Tourney of Harrenhal was held. In attendance were the Starks, Lannisters, Tullys, Arryns, the Kingsguard and Rhaegar. A wildly discussed theory is that this would be an opportunity for them to plan a coup and have Rhaegar declared as regent until his father’s death. However Aerys made a surprise appearance, which threw a roadblock in the scheme.

Rhaegar had meant to call a Great Council after the battle (Robert’s rebellion) was over.

When  the battle’s done I mean to call a council. Changes will be made. I  meant to do it long ago, but … well, it does no good to speak of roads  not taken. We shall talk when I return.

Rhaegar to Jaime

Lyanna’s “abduction”

  • It all started at the Tourney of Harrenhal, where Rhaegar was victorious. Traditionally the victor in a tournament may select any woman present and name her the Queen of Love and Beauty, crowning her with a wreath of flowers and dedicating his victory to  her. He often chooses a woman he loves or intends to court. Rhaegar passed over his wife Elia and crowned Lyanna as the Queen of Love and Beauty.

Ned  remembered the moment when all the smiles died, when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen urged his horse past his own wife, the Dornish princess Elia Martell, to lay the queen of beauty’s laurel in Lyanna’s lap. He could see it still: a crown of winter roses, blue as frost.


  • The circumstances of Rhaegar’s taking of Lyanna remain unknown. Brandon Stark saw it as an abduction, and Robert imagined that Rhaegar was raping Lyanna while he kept her prisoner.  However, in Daenerys’ chapters, it is repeatedly said that Rhaegar died for the woman he loved.
  • Rhaegar was taken with the “Prince that was Promised” prophecy. He initially believed that he was tPtwP, but later thought that his son Aegon was the one.
  • After Rhaegar’s death at the Trident and the sacking of King’s Landing, Ned rode south looking for Lyanna. He found her at the Tower of Joy in Dorne where, on Rhaegar’s command, she was being guarded by three knights of the Kingsguard (why?). Ned defeated the knights but found Lyanna dying in a “bed of blood”. She made her brother give a promise, the content of which remains unknown, as Ned apparently never shared Lyanna’s secret with anyone.


Promise me, she had cried, in a room that smelled of blood and roses. Promise me, Ned.

Many little hints scattered throughout the books seems to suggest that Lyanna willingly ran away with Rhaegar.

Firstly, Ned refers to her as “wolf-blooded”- headstrong, willful, courageous and hot tempered. Arya often reminds him of Lyanna, both in appearance and personality. It’s a bit hard to imagine her being carried off on a whim by Rhaegar.

It’s very telling that Robert is the only person who we hear speak badly of Rhaegar.  Other characters who freely admit that Aerys and Viserys Targaryen are mad or cruel often speak well of Rhaegar. Ned Stark doesn’t seem to hate Rhaegar at all. He resents the Lannisters far more than he resents Rhaegar, and I think  even noble Ned would think some vile things about the man who raped his  sister.

The dragon prince sang a song so sad it made the wolf maid sniffle, but when her pup brother teased her for crying she poured wine over his head.
– The story of The Knight of the Laughing Tree

This might be interpreted as an indication that Lyanna (the wolf maid) might have been smitten with Rhaegar (the dragon prince).

The old knight hesitated. “Princess Elia was a good woman, Your Grace. She was kind and clever, with a gentle heart and a sweet wit. I know the prince was very fond of her.
Fond, thought Dany. The word spoke volumes.


Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna and thousands died for it.
– Barristan Selmy


Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman’s name.