Here's Why Jon Snow Is the Heir to the Iron Throne, Not Daenerys

During the Season 8 premiere of 'Game of Thrones', Jon Snow discovered he was actually born Aegon Targaryen, Sixth of his name. Here's why he is the heir to the Iron Throne and not Daenerys.

Anna Quintana - Author

Apr. 16 2019, Updated 3:27 p.m. ET

why is jon snow heir
Source: HBO

There were plenty of hold-your-breath moments during the Season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones. From Jaime Lannister and Bran Stark's long-awaited reunion to the Sansa Stark and Daenerys Targaryen stare down, the final season of the HBO series is already gearing up to be the best ever.  

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However, nothing compares to Samwell Tarly telling his BFF Jon Snow what everyone knows — he is not the bastard son of Ned Stark, but rather Aegon Targaryen, the Sixth of his Name. You see, his real father is actually Rhaegar Targaryen, who married his mom, Lyanna Stark, before their deaths, making Jon (Aegon) the legitimate heir to the throne.

As expected, Jon was blindsided by the news, not just because he just realized his whole life has been a lie but because this means his queen (and lover), Daenerys Targaryen, is not the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms... and, you know, his aunt. 

So, why is Jon Snow the real heir to the throne? 

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Thanks to the investigative skills of Sam's girlfriend, Gilly, at the Citadel and Bran's three-eyed raven abilities, the myth surrounding Robert's Rebellion and his claim to the throne was shattered during Season 7. 

While it was always believed Ned's sister Lyanna — who was betrothed to Robert — was kidnapped and raped by Rhaegar Targaryen, it was revealed that Rhaegar and Lyanna were actually in love and secretly married before their deaths. 

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Ned discovered this truth when he reached the top of the "Tower of Joy," and his sister asked him to care for her newborn son. "If Robert finds out he’ll kill him. You know he will," Lyanna told Ned on the show. "You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned."

This means Jon aka Aegon Targaryen, the Sixth of his Name, is actually the son of the Mad King's firstborn son, giving him a better claim to the throne. It also helps that Jon is male (duh). 

lyanna stark jon snow
Source: HBO
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What else do we know about Jon's father, Rhaegar? 

Before running off with Lyanna Stark, Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell, the sister of Oberyn Martell (RIP). The couple also welcomed a son named Aegon together, but Jon's half-brother was killed along with his mother by The Mountain during the Sack of King's Landing. 

As to why Rhaegar would name both his sons Aegon, the books detailed Rhaegar's obsession with the Prince That Was Promised/Azor Ahai prophesy and his belief that he would be named Aegon. 

And in case you forgot, Rhaegar is also Daenerys' brother, making Jon Snow her nephew. 

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rhaegar targaryen
Source: HBO

Who is Aegon I Targaryen? 

Jon is named after the first Targaryen king of Westeros, who later became known as Aegon the Conqueror, the Unifier of the Seven Kingdoms. TBH, that's a pretty fitting namesake for Jon, who singlehandedly brought together the wildings and a majority of the Seven Kingdoms to fight against the Night King. 

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There was also Aegon V, known as "Egg" thanks to George R.R. Martin's prequel novel, Dunk and Egg, who was known as a  "wise and kindly" king, who ruled during a particularly harsh winter (again, very similar to Jon's current predicament). Aegon V's grandson, Aerys II, went on to become the "Mad King," aka Dany's father. 

If you want the full Targaryen family tree, click here

jon snow heir
Source: HBO

So, wait does this mean Jon Snow will sit on the Iron Throne? 

Not so fast. This is Game of Thrones, so anything is possible. Also, don't forget about Robert Baratheon's last-living son, Gendry, who also has a pretty legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. Some even say it's a better claim to the throne. 

All we do know is that Jon and Daenerys — who many fans are convinced is pregnant — are about to have a very awkward conversation. 

Watch Game of Thrones Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO. 

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