Families in Game of Thrones are more than a little complicated, especially when you throw a secret love child into the mix.
In the Season 7 finale it was finally confirmed that Jon Snow isn’t actually Jon Snow, but Aegon Targaryen, the rightful heir to the Targaryen throne (sorry, Dany!).
But, er, how exactly does it all work? Here’s a short exploration into the Targaryen lineage.
Also known as the Mad King, Aerys was the last Targaryen to rule Westeros on the Iron Throne. Around 17 years before the first season of GoT, he was killed by Jaime Lannister during the civil war led by Robert Baratheon (called “Robert’s Rebellion”), which all kicked off because it was believed that Aerys’ son Rhaegar had kidnapped Robert’s intended wife Lyanna Stark and held her hostage.
The eldest son of Aerys Targaryen and the heir to the throne, he was married to Elia Martell of Dorne and they had two children, Rhaenys and Aegon. But he had that marriage annulled so he could wed Lyanna. Elia and the two heirs were later killed by The Mountain, and Rhaegar was killed by Robert.
The sister of Ned Stark, Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon but fell in love with Rhaegar instead. The pair wed in secret and Lyanna was kept in the Tower of Joy – but not against her will, as was widely believed. When Ned came to find her during Robert’s Rebellion, she was in labour and died in childbirth. But not before entrusting the baby – Aegon Targaryen, now Rhaegar’s only surviving heir – to Ned. This makes Aegon Targaryen (also known as Jon Snow) cousins with Arya, Sansa and Bran Stark.
The middle child of Aerys Targaryen – younger brother to Rhaegar, older brother to Daenerys, uncle to secret baby Aegon - was the rightful heir to the Targaryen throne until he died at the hands of the Dothraki, which we saw in Season 1.
The youngest surviving child of Aerys Targaryen after the deaths of her brothers Rhaegar and Viserys, Dany believes she is the rightful heir to the throne. But there is another living heir…
Also known as Jon Snow, the only surviving child of Rhaegar has the true claim to the throne. Even though his aunt Daenerys technically sits higher on the family tree as a child of King Aerys, Jon trumps her because he is male.