Jon Snow is Robert Baratheon’s son, the oldest of his bastards, and rival heir to the Iron Throne. King Jon Snow.
At least, that’s what we think. Last night, after a few rounds of delicious bourbon cup-shots, and a few unsuccessful goes at Halo 4’s CTF (I hate playing neutral flag on Exile!), we thirteen fanboys at UTF’s Parisian headquarters found ourselves discussing Jon Snow’s lineage, a favorite topic in our hallowed geeky halls. We usually vacillate between a handful of opinions: sometimes we’re convinced he’s Targaryen, at other times a regular old Stark, our office dimwit is certain Snow is member to the Children of the Forest. But last night, our good friend Nate Dao, a visiting web scribe, suggested a different geneology, that Jon Snow is actually Robert Baratheon’s son.
Suggesting Jon Snow isn’t actually Ned Stark’s bastard kiddo isn’t really such a big deal. A large faction of fandom already believes that Snow is the offspring of Rhaegar Targaryen, oldest son of the Mad King, and Lyanna Stark, Ned Stark’s sister. If you remember, Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna, taking her to parts unknown and prompting Robert’s Rebellion. During that time, before Rhaegar’s defeat and death at the hands of Robert Baratheon, a few fanboys believe that Rhaegar knocked up Lyanna. The child gestated throughout the rebellion, and when Ned Stark finally discovered his sister’s whereabouts, he found her in a pool of blood, smack dab in the middle of child birth… at least, that’s what some folks believe.
In the books, author George R. R. Martin remains deliberately cryptic about Lyanna’s death. He simply describes her in bed, surrounded by blood, demanding that her brother “Promise me, Ned”. That certainly sounds like death during childbirth, and perhaps Lyanna forced her brother to raise her baby as one of his own, so that the revenge-hungry hordes of Westeros didn’t murder him for his Targaryen heritage. But is that really the parentage of Jon Snow?
That’s a bit too much of a cliche for Martin, isn’t it? After all, the gray bearded writer values his ability to shock readers above all else, and allowing Jon Snow to be the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna is a little lame. Predictable, even.
You know what would be a real shocker? If Robert Baratheon was Jon Snow’s father. The deceased king has a prolific list of bastard sons and we’ve already established that his facial features dominate the phenotypes of his offspring. Also, George R. R. Martin’s made a habit of illustrating both Lyanna and Ned’s disapproval of Robert’s whoring ways. Neither Stark values the Baratheon as a dutiful suitor, and in that way he’s the ideal candidate for Jon Snow’s pappy, since Martin loves to surprise us. A habit which lends itself to this next point… Robert and Lyanna boned before marriage. While the Stark lady prided herself on chastity, it’s very likely that she and Robert bumped uglies before their planned wedding date. Lyanna undoubtedly favored high morals, but I’m sure she yielded to Robert, because certain aspects of his character reconciled her discontent with his worse habits. As well, during Robert Baratheon’s eventually wedding night with Cerise Lannister, he whispered “Lyanna” into Cerise’s ear. Saying the wrong name during sex is usually a habit built on repetition, not out of unfulfilled lust. At least, that’s what my 7th grade best friend’s chain smoking aunt told me.
The only problem with this theory is timing. Robert’s Rebellion supposedly lasted for a bit more than a year, and if Lyanna remained in Rhaegar’s custody throughout this entire time, then she would’ve conceived Jon Snow with Robert 13 months before the child’s birth. A bit long of a development cycle, but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief. Hell, the seasons on Westeros are so absolutely misshapen, that we’ve no reliable way to determine ‘our version’ of 9 mos.