Surprised that Jon Snow is destined to be king in ‘Game of Thrones’? Don’t be: the clues were there from the beginning.
If prior hints weren’t enough for you, last night’s season finale of Game of Thrones Season 7 hammered home the confirmation that Jon Snow was not only the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, but that his birth wasn’t by illicit means, making him the rightful heir to the Iron Throne — his claim better than even Daenerys Targaryen’s.
Although getting the green light on this long-conferred theory is exciting, there’s also plenty fun to be had in looking back at all the myriad instances where Jon’s destiny was teased; Reddit user ShmedStark put together the following list, quoting from both the show and its source material, George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga:
“Why aren’t you down in the yard?” Arya asked him.
He gave her a half smile. “Bastards are not allowed to damage young princes,” he said. “Any bruises they take in the practice yard must come from trueborn swords.” (Arya I, AGOT)
Jon says that the reason he’s not down in the yard with Joffrey and Tommen is because “Bastards are not allowed to damage young princes.” The irony is that Joffrey and Tommen are actually bastards who were raised as trueborn princes, which makes Jon the trueborn prince who was raised as a bastard.
“My father had no time for books.” Joffrey shoved the tome across the table. “If you read less, Uncle Imp, perhaps Lady Sansa would have a baby in her belly by now.” He laughed . . . and when the king laughs, the court laughs with him. (Sansa IV, ASOS 59)
And then a few chapters later:
He laughed, and Pyp and Owen and half a dozen more laughed with him.
Jon laughed, laughed like a drunk or a madman, and his men laughed with him. (Jon VIII, ASOS 64)
Jon (the king) laughs, and his men (the equivalent of his court) laugh with him. Also note that Jon laughs like “a drunk or a madman,” and the previous two kings of Westeros were a drunk (Robert) and a madman (Aerys):
Barristan Selmy could not dispute the truth of that. He had spent the best part of his own life obeying the commands of drunkards and madmen. (The Queen’s Hand, ADWD)
TYWIN: You’ve served as a glorified bodyguard for two kings, one a madman, the other a drunk. (S1E7)
3) Craster meeting Jon for the first time:
“Who’s this one now?” Craster said before Jon could go. “He has the look of a Stark.”
“My steward and squire, Jon Snow.”
“A bastard, is it?” Craster looked Jon up and down. “Man wants to bed a woman, seems like he ought to take her to wife. That’s what I do.” He shooed Jon off with a wave. “Well, run and do your service, bastard, and see that axe is good and sharp now, I’ve no use for dull steel.” (Jon III, ACOK)
4) Gilly talking to Jon:
Her breath frosted the air in small nervous puffs. “They say the king gives justice and protects the weak.” She started to climb off the rock, awkwardly, but the ice had made it slippery and her foot went out from under her. Jon caught her before she could fall, and helped her safely down. The woman knelt on the icy ground. “M’lord, I beg you–” (Jon III, ACOK)
Gilly says the king protects the weak, and then Jon catches her before she can fall, protecting the weak. Gilly then kneels before him, and not for the last time:
When Gilly entered, she went at once to her knees. Jon came around the table and drew her to her feet. “You don’t need to take a knee for me. That’s just for kings.” (Jon II, ADWD)
It was a good story, Bran decided after thinking about it a moment or two. “Then what happened? Did the Knight of the Laughing Tree win the tourney and marry a princess?”
“No,” said Meera. “That night at the great castle, the storm lord and the knight of skulls and kisses each swore they would unmask him, and the king himself urged men to challenge him, declaring that the face behind that helm was no friend of his. But the next morning, when the heralds blew their trumpets and the king took his seat, only two champions appeared. The Knight of the Laughing Tree had vanished. The king was wroth, and even sent his son the dragon prince to seek the man, but all they ever found was his painted shield, hanging abandoned in a tree. It was the dragon prince who won that tourney in the end.” (Bran II, ASOS)
Bran almost had it right. He just got it the wrong way round: The Knight of the Laughing Tree didn’t win the tourney and marry a princess; The prince won the tourney and married the Knight of the Laughing Tree (Lyanna).
“And here he has remained, while his brother and his brother’s son and his son each reigned and died in turn, until Jaime Lannister put an end to the line of the Dragonkings.”
“King,” croaked the raven. The bird flapped across the solar to land on Mormont’s shoulder. “King,” it said again, strutting back and forth.
“He likes that word,” Jon said, smiling.
“An easy word to say. An easy word to like.”
“King,” the bird said again.
“I think he means for you to have a crown, my lord.”
“The realm has three kings already, and that’s two too many for my liking.” Mormont stroked the raven under the beak with a finger, but all the while his eyes never left Jon Snow.
It made him feel odd. (Jon I, ACOK)
The line of the Dragonkings isn’t over after all.
He rose and dressed in darkness, as Mormont’s raven muttered across the room. “Corn,” the bird said, and, “King,” and, “Snow, Jon Snow, Jon Snow.” That was queer. The bird had never said his full name before, as best Jon could recall. (Jon XII, ADWD)
“The Lady Melisandre tells us that sometimes R’hllor permits his faithful servants to glimpse the future in flames. It seemed to me as I watched the fire this morning that I was looking at a dozen beautiful dancers, maidens garbed in yellow silk spinning and swirling before a great king. I think it was a true vision, ser. A glimpse of the glory that awaits His Grace after we take King’s Landing and the throne that is his by rights.” (Davos I, ACOK)
Ser Axell Florent was referring to Stannis here (although you can’t tell that from this passage alone, which conveniently uses male pronouns), but later in ACOK almost the exact same imagery appears in front of Jon while he is tending a fire, indicating that he is actually the “great king” to whom the throne belongs:
Jon went to cut more branches, snapping each one in two before tossing it into the flames. The tree had been dead a long time, but it seemed to live again in the fire, as fiery dancers woke within each stick of wood to whirl and spin in their glowing gowns of yellow, red, and orange. (Jon VIII, ACOK)
And when Jon first starts this fire, Qhorin says that it’s “As shy as a maid on her wedding night,” which further connects this to Axell’s vision, where the dancers are specifically described as maidens.
“Her duty.” The word felt cold upon her tongue. “You saw my brother Rhaegar wed. Tell me, did he wed for love or duty?”
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. I could become fond of Hizdahr zo Loraq, in time. Perhaps. (Daenerys IV, ADWD)
The answer to Dany’s question is: Both. Rhaegar wed Elia for duty, but Lyanna for love.
9) In the books it’s clear that Jon will warg into Ghost for a second life after his stabbing:
He had known what Snow was the moment he saw that great white direwolf stalking silent at his side. One skinchanger can always sense another. Mance should have let me take the direwolf. There would be a second life worthy of a king. He could have done it, he did not doubt. The gift was strong in Snow, but the youth was untaught, still fighting his nature when he should have gloried in it. (Prologue, ADWD)
10) Jon is called a “black bastard” multiple times by other characters:
As the last strains of “The Dornishman’s Wife” faded, the bald earless man glanced up from his map and scowled ferociously at Rattleshirt and Ygritte, with Jon between them. “What’s this?” he said. “A crow?”
“The black bastard what gutted Orell,” said Rattleshirt, “and a bloody warg as well.” (Jon I, ASOS)
But they were all dead now, even Arya, everyone but her half-brother, Jon. Some nights she heard talk of him, in the taverns and brothels of the Ragman’s Harbor. The Black Bastard of the Wall, one man had called him. (The Blind Girl, ADWD)
The wildling pulled off the band from his left arm and tossed it at Jon, then did the same with its twin upon his right. “Your first payment. Had those from my father and him from his. Now they’re yours, you thieving black bastard.” (Jon XI, ADWD)
One by one Arya had chased them down and snatched them up and brought them proudly to Syrio Forel … all but this one, this one-eared black devil of a tomcat. “That’s the real king of this castle right there,” one of the gold cloaks had told her. “Older than sin and twice as mean. One time, the king was feasting the queen’s father, and that black bastard hopped up on the table and snatched a roast quail right out of Lord Tywin’s fingers. Robert laughed so hard he like to burst. You stay away from that one, child.” (Arya III, AGOT)
And “that black bastard” is “the real king of this castle.”