Game of Thrones gave viewers the answer to a very important, much-talked-about question during last night’s season finale.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones’ season seven finale.]
Last night’s episode confirmed that Jon Snow was not Jon’s real name. He’s not a Snow and he’s not even a Sand, as Bran thought he might be. Jon’s real name is Aegon Targaryen, and he’s the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
A name is never just a name in Game of Thrones, and Jon’s proper birth name is no exception. If Aegon Targaryen sounds at all familiar, remember that Aegon the Conqueror was the first Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. He constructed the Iron Throne from the swords of his enemies, and united the bitter armies of Westeros. Aegon was a powerful figure — feared, but not tyrannical like the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. He was just, with a vision of what Westeros could look like if people stopped squabbling and worked toward a better future.
In many ways, Jon is just like Aegon. He chose to stand behind Daenerys because he believed in her vision for a united kingdom. He’s an honest man (as seen in his admirable albeit moronic conversation with Cersei last night), and puts justice above all else. He’s even ready to engage in some extracurricular incest! But that’s not all he has in common with his namesake.
Carrying the name Aegon Targaryen comes with history, as seen above, but it’s also rife with destiny. There’s an element of foreshadowing packed into the name that we can uncover from author George R.R. Martin’s various books and letters.
Here’s the most important detail — Jon “Aegon Targaryen” Snow is not Rhaegar’s first son of that name. In Game of Thrones’ third season, we learn that Rhaegar — Daenerys’ late older brother — and his wife, Elia Martell, had two children. They were murdered by Gregor Clegane (otherwise known as the Mountain), but they were named Aegon and Rhaenys.
So why would Rhaegar want to name two of his legitimate children Aegon? To understand the importance behind the decision, remember that a name is never just a a name in Game of Thrones. Rhaegar believed in prophecies and wanted to ensure they came true. One particular prophecy, as understood by Rhaegar, told of needing three children to become three different dragon riders. Rhaegar was the type of man who would do anything to ensure that those prophecies came true. Naming his son after Aegon, the king who conquered all of the lands and brought divided kingdoms together, was a fortuitous sign.
“He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire,” Rhaegar told a woman, who we assumed to be Lyanna Stark, in A Clash of Kings.
As Aegon Targaryen, Jon presents a great threat to Daenerys. He is the heir to the Iron Throne, and he would fulfill the prophecy that Rhaegar believed in. Everything that Daenerys has been working toward over the past few seasons is about to be whisked away because of a vision Bran had. The Targaryen prince and the Targaryen queen are on their way to Winterfell before heading even further North to fight the White Walkers — and a resurrected Viserion — but this may drive a wedge in their newfound relationship.
This realization and prophecy will forever change what Daenerys, Jon and Tyrion had planned for the future.