Since the pilot episode of Game of Thrones, when Ned Stark told his bastard son Jon Snow that they’d talk about his mom next time they saw each other (which, spoiler alert, never happens), we knew the issue surrounding Jon’s parentage was going to be a bit of a roller coaster. Despite the many hints along the way, it wasn’t until Season 6 finale when Jon’s mother (and real father) were confirmed to be Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen during Bran’s Tower of Joy vision.
Since then, fans have been speculating about Jon’s real name is, because it couldn’t just be “Jon.” Ned named Jon after his close friend, Jon Arryn, but one Reddit user believes he knows Jon’s real birth name.
After the Tower of Joy scene, Reddit user sparkledavisjr thought Lyanna whispered the name “Jaehaerys” to Ned, which until this point has been one of the leading theories. So much so, that Empire Magazine even printed the name as Jon’s REAL name, and set forth a million more fan theories.
And now, after Gilly’s revelation that Rhaegar was granted an annulment with Elia Martell and married another woman (Lyanna), it seems that sparkledavisjr has a new theory for Jon Snow’s real name: Aegon.
Wait, we know this name, so pay attention because this is where things get a little tricky.
Before marrying Lyanna, Rhaegar and his first wife Elia had two children, Rhaenys and Aegon Targaryen. Elia nearly died giving birth to Aegon but survived, although she couldn’t have any more children and according to Ser Barriston Selmy — as pointed out by sparklesdavisjr — Elia’s health was rather delicate. Elia’s health/inability to have more children, coupled with the events at the tournament at Harrenhal led Rhaegar to fall in love with (or at least decide he wanted to marry) Lyanna. However, an annulment is a *pretty* big deal, even in GoT and it seems it would have taken a lot for Rhaegar to be granted one.
As sparklesdavisjr points out, an annulment essentially means the marriage never happened in the first place, meaning Rhaegar’s annulment was a complete erasure of his marriage to Elia — and that includes his two children, Rhaenys and Aegon. Essentially this would render Rhaenys and Aegon bastards.
So why reuse the name Aegon for his new son with Lyanna?
It’s an important name in the Targaryen family. Numerous notable Targaryen men were named Aegon, and in A Clash of Kings, Rhaegar allegedly told Elia, “Aegon. What better name for a king?” It’s been well documented that Rhaegar was also obsessed with the prophecy of The Prince That Was Promised, and believed that he needed a third child, which Elia obviously couldn’t give him. Sparklesdavisjr also believes, that an event (maybe Harrenhal) led Rhaegar to believe that he was wrong about his initial The Prince That Was Promised theory, and decided to focus instead on “ice and fire,” subsequently dumped his first family for a new one with Lyanna. Knowing that he wanted the name Aegon for his son, the king, and The Prince That Was Promised, Rhaegar and Lyanna decided to give this already-in-use name to their new son.
With this in mind, it seems highly likely that our beloved Jon Snow is *actually* Aegon Targaryen.
Naturally, Jon, knows nothing about this. He still believes himself to be the bastard of Ned Stark and some random woman. Bran, aka the Three-Eyed Raven, is still the only person who knows who Jon’s parents are, while Gilly seems to be in possession of an important diary of High Septon Maynard, which documented Rhaegar’s annulment to Elia and marriage to Lyanna.
Jon is currently on a death mission beyond of The Wall so he doesn’t seem to be in a position to learn his true parentage. Plus, we have a feeling he might not take the news *super* well. My bet is that he’ll learn his true parentage and name, come to appreciate it but live out the remainder of his days as Jon.