Well friends, while you were distracted by the return of a certain long-lost character, you missed the BIGGEST truth bomb to grace our ears in a bit. If you haven’t seen “Eastwatch,” the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, evacuate the Sept of Baelor ASAP because I’m about to drop a wildfire explosion of spoilers on you.
It’s safe to say that a *lot* happened during Sunday’s Game of Thrones. Some people got torched, Gendry returned (!!!), and Cersei surprised Jaime (and us) with a little pregnancy announcement.
But somehow, that’s not the biggest thing that happened. In the most casual of huge bombshells, we learned more about Jon Snow’s dad Rhaegar Targaryen.
In the Citadel (where Sam mopes, cures people of greyscale, and studies to become a maester), Gilly isn’t just sitting around twiddling her thumbs, she’s reading as well — and from the diary of one High Septon Maynard. While Gilly reads some of the “fun facts” that the former Septon wrote down, she inquires about annulments. While asking Sam about them, she reads aloud that some dude named “Ragger” got an annulment and married someone in a secret ceremony in Dorne — but then Sam cuts her off because he doesn’t have time for her questions and NEEDS TO BROOD.
Does the story of this “Ragger” sound familiar to you?
Well that’s because it should. It’s been widely speculated that Rhaegar Targaryen got an annulment from his first wife, Elia Martell (Oberyn’s sister), and married Lyanna Stark in a secret ceremony in Dorne. As Robert’s Rebellion raged, Rhaegar fought and died. Meanwhile, Lyanna gave birth to a baby in the Tower of Joy in Dorne, conveniently just as her brother, Ned, arrived. Before she died, Lyanna gave the baby to Ned, and you know the rest.
Ever since the Tower of Joy scene that confirmed R=L=J — aka Ned Stark *wasn’t* the biological father of Jon Snow and his parents were really Lyanna and Rhaegar — fans have been wondering whether Lyanna and Rhaegar were married at the time of Jon’s birth, which is important because…bastards.
Like us, you’re probably freaking out because this revelation is a pretty big deal. It’s a giant piece of the Song of Ice and Fire puzzle starring Sam in the face. However, instead of paying attention to what Gilly is saying for a hot second, he disregards it (which is actually annoying for many reasons). The information that Jon isn’t a bastard, but is a legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen, is going to have MAJOR repercussions on the show.
But it also begs this question over one of the most important events in Westeros history: Did Rhaegar really kidnap Lyanna or did she run off with him?
Remember, the perception of the events is that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna, causing Robert’s rebellion (as Robert Baratheon was betrothed to Lyanna). But thanks to book readers and the many tidbits of information dropped on the show — including Ser Barristan’s description of Rhaegar as a kind person who hated killing — it’s been implied that the legend isn’t quite as it seems. We also know that Rhaegar seemed to be obsessed with a prophecy of, “the dragon has three heads.” He seemed to believe that his kids, specifically, were fulfilled the prophecy and since he only had two children with Elia, he needed a new wife to have a third child with. True love or not, this is the Westerosi definition of “it’s complicated.”
While all of this is a HUGE deal, let’s not forget that Sam totally ignores Gilly, so we’re practically back to square one — for the moment. Being a Free Folk, Gilly isn’t expected to know who Prince Rhaegar was; but for Sam, who grew up in Westeros, this should definitely ring a bell for him. Now that the show has confirmed the marriage between Lyanna and Rhaegar on-screen, it’s bound to come up again and hopefully soon.
We’ve been dying for Bran and Jon to get in a room and chat about this paternity nonsense but seems we’re going to need a conference room because Sam, Gilly, and little Sam can get in on this.