Spoilers Alert!!!

Bran sees that Jon is the son of Lyanna at Tower of Joy.

However, People of the north won't just believe words.

Howland Reed was with Eddard at the tower, Eddard is dead, but Howland could be alive. Even if Howland Reed comes forth and tells Jon's true lineage. It will still be just words.

Why would the people believe the words of a child and an old man?

  • We also saw a midwife/servant in that tower.
    – LisaMM
    Jun 28, 2016 at 14:24
  • 11
    Historically, and in GoT, a claim of title is just something to hang your rhetorical hat on while the true decision is being made upon the field of battle. So how legitimate his claim may be is completely secondary to the fact of whether or not he can make one.
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 28, 2016 at 15:57
  • 3
    This is an era of no digital media and no formalized medical records. Anyone's claim of anything is pretty much based on someone's word, alone. But, yes, I can see people being skeptical of a claim based on a greenseer, mostly. Jun 28, 2016 at 16:03
  • What @Andrew said. Short of a blood test to disprove a certain parentage or an actual DNA test (and it would be a fairly big plot twist if they turned out to have those in GoT suddenly), there is no tangible way to prove anyone’s lineage or parentage. It will always be just words. That's how, even in our world, so many people can grow up without finding out they're adopted. Jun 29, 2016 at 5:33
  • Side note: Some die-hard fans read Lyanna's lips during that scene. Turns out Jon's real name is "Jaehaerys".
    – burcu
    Jul 1, 2016 at 6:39

4 Answers 4


Howland Reed is alive. He is the last survivor of the Tower of Joy and knows what transpired there. He has kept this a secret due to his loyalty and friendship with Eddard Stark.

But as you correctly note, cynical lords won't believe word of one man. Outside North it would be even more complicated because Reed is a Crannogman who are not viewed favorably in the South.

Besides, If Jon is a Targaryen and son of Prince of Dragonstone, Rhaegar Targaryen, that's a concern for whole realm, not just the North.

By law, (If Lyanna and Rhaegar married, which we do not know they did, see update below.), a grandson (Jon) by eldest son (Rhaegar) comes before a daughter (Daenerys) in succession for a King (Aerys II). If Jon is not a bastard, he is infact the rightful King of Westeros as heir of the mad King, not just North.

Even though there is no Polygamy in faith of the seven, Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel practiced it. Quoting GRRM:

[Questions concerning Targaryen polygamy.]

Maegor the Cruel has multiple wives, from lines outside his own, so there was and is precedent. However, the extent to which the Targaryen kings could defy convention, the Faith, and the opinions of the other lords decreased markedly after they no longer had dragons. If you have a dragon, you can have as many wives as you want, and people are less likely to object.

So Rhaegar could be married to both Elia and Lyanna simultaneously.

There is no tangible proof for Jon's parentage because only these people were present at the tower or knew about it or possibly knew about it:

  1. Eddard Stark (Dead)
  2. Howland Reed (Alive)
  3. Lyanna Stark (Dead)
  4. Arthur Dayne (Dead)
  5. Gerold Hightower (Dead)
  6. 4 unnamed Northmen (Dead)
  7. 2 unnamed Dornish girls (Fate unknown)
  8. Oswell Whent (Dead)
  9. Rhaegar Targaryen (Died at Trident before Tower of Joy Showdown)
  10. Elia Martell (Died at KL before ToJ showdown, She may not have known anything)

(One can argue that two other members of KG namely Prince Lewyn Martell and Ser Jonothor Darry may have known as well but it appears Prince Rhaegar did not confide in all the KG. Ser Barristan Selmy and Ser Jaime Lannister did not know about it despite being members of KG. In any case, Both Lewyn and Jonothor died as well)

Another thing, unrelated to the show but relevant to the books, is George has stated that Meera and Jojen Reed might know something about what transpired in the Tower of Joy.

Anyways, Since all other witnesses are dead, Even if the two girls are alive and add their voice to Reed's, that still won't be enough proof. Besides, Jon does not look like your typical Targaryen but that is the case with many of the half-Targaryens over the history e.g. Prince Baelor Breakspear, Prince Valar, Prince Daeron the drunken, Aegor Rivers etc.

Eddard had fabricated the story of fathering Jon on a common woman named Wylla. If she can be found, investigating her would also prove Jon is not son of Eddard Stark but her whereabouts and status is unknown in Show, while in Books she was a serving woman in Castle of Lord Dayne.

To prove his Targaryen blood, Jon will have to do something which only a Targaryen can do. That is, Riding a dragon. As it happens, Daenerys is on her way to Westeros with her Dragons. Drogon is claimed by Daenerys but Viserion and Rhaegel are up for the taking. If Jon manages to claim one of them, no one will be able to doubt his Dragon blood.

There is also the the possibility of Bran adding his voice to Reed's. The whole issue will come up only if Bran does that. Otherwise, Jon is now the White wolf for the realm, not the white Dragon. Bran is not just a boy, If he returns to inform the realm about this, he is the eldest surviving son of Lord Eddard Stark, thus rightful King in the North. Lords have given their allegiance to a bastard instead of a trueborn Stark female, but will they keep Jon as King when their trueborn male Stark liege lord returns? Would Jon want to keep the seat which is rightfully Bran's? I don't believe so. Apparently, as of Season 7, Bran doesn't want to take his rightful place and Jon remains King in the North.

TL;DR No there is no other proof of Jon's parentage except Reed's word.

UPDATE: As of Season 7 Episode 5, it has been confirmed that Rhaegar's marriage to Elia was anulled and he married another which can be no one other than Lyanna. That makes Jon a legitimate Targaryen and therefore the rightful owner of the Iron Throne of Aegon the Conqueror. The records of the High Septon can be produced as evidence for Lyanna's marriage to Rhaegar but that still won't prove Jon is their child.

  • 5
    Did Jon lose his claim to the throne when he took The Black? If so, would fulfilling his vows (his watch was ended) somehow restore that claim? Seems like an unprecedented situation in many ways. Jun 28, 2016 at 12:34
  • 4
    @ToddWilcox Those who will believe that his watch has ended will also believe that he once again has a claim. It was his vows that stopped him from claiming or holding lands. Now that vows are done, there is no reason to think he no longer has a claim. Plus if he is a bastard of Rhaegar, he has no claim at all. Jaime has also been released from his vows as KG thus stands to inherit Westerlands from Cersei.
    – Aegon
    Jun 28, 2016 at 12:39
  • 4
    @yinzanat Not necessarily. Robb Stark probably issued a decree legitimising Jon before his death, and if it was phrased "Jon Snow is the legitimate son of his father" and not "Jon Snow is the legitimate son of Eddard Stark" then it may accidentally legitimise him as a Targaryen.
    – Mike Scott
    Jun 28, 2016 at 13:07
  • 2
    @MikeScott Yes but that would be books only scenario. In show, Robb never issued such an edict IIRC.
    – Aegon
    Jun 28, 2016 at 13:47
  • 6
    Sam being at the Maester's Tower and Library could really come into play here.
    – user001
    Jun 28, 2016 at 13:56

As of Season 7, Episode 5, Eastwatch the ways of being proven are adding up (as you have duly noted yourself).

  1. Howland Reed, being present at the Tower of Joy has first account of what transpired. The proof is that he is well respected noble lord and has no reason to lie about such things as he was on the opposing side of the Targaryen's during the rebellion.
  2. Brandon Stark has "green-seer" vision in which he has ascertained this information. The proof is a bit harder here as magic is going to be looked on with a certain degree of skepticism. However, if Bran can prove he knows other things (e.g. "Chaos is a ladder) that he would no other way of knowing, people may tend to believe him.
  3. High Septon Maynard issued an annulment of Prince Rhaegar's marriage. While we do not 100% know, yet, that this means he married Lyanna Stark, all arrows point in the right direction. This is crucial as it wasn't just any old Septon, but The High Septon! This lends the religious authority to have Jon be a legitimate Targaryen. Even though the Sept of Baelor was destroyed, the Faith of the Seven is still the dominate religion in Westeros. Cersei may not want to hear it, but many lords and common folk will take the record seriously.
  4. Jon being "dragon sensitive". I think we saw some this in S7E5 as well, when Daenerys returns to Dragonstone and Jon reaches out to Drogon. This is more speculative than the rest at this point, but seems like it will pan out. It is generally accepted that you need the blood of Old Valyria (i.e. Targaryen) to have this affinity with dragons.

All of this combined would likely convince enough of the lords of Westeros to ultimately believe in Jon's claim... and if not Jon's side has dragons...


I think that in season 7 or 8 Jon will display some dragon ability (what else is there besides partial/occasional fire immunity?) which will remove all doubt that he is a Targaryen.

My bet is that the dragons will show some kind of kinship with him, treat him like family.

  • 7
    Seems unlikely that he will do so in season 6, which has just finished.
    – Mike Scott
    Jun 28, 2016 at 12:31
  • 3
    go go timetravel Bran @MikeScott /s
    – Dan
    Jun 28, 2016 at 12:50
  • 3
    Except I believe we have seen Jon is not immune to fire. In season 1 his hand is burned while fighting a wight at Castle Black.
    – Virusbomb
    Jun 28, 2016 at 15:18
  • Especially if it's Bran, warging a dragon. Jun 28, 2016 at 16:05
  • 3
    Targaryens are not immune to fire. This has been said many times, including by GRRM. It used to be said that Dany's survival on Drogo's pyre was a one-off, but I guess now it's a two-off.
    – Mike Scott
    Jun 28, 2016 at 18:35

I just realized after reading your question that she also mentions that "Robert will kill him if he finds out". Considering that, at this time the Baratheons were fighting against the Targaryens, does this mean they just revealed his Targaryen blood line? Didn't even think about that until just now!

Edit: Thanks for the recommendation to the commenter below, and yes technically there is now tangible evidence, if you accept Game of Thrones twitter as physical evidence:


Game of thrones Twitter "confirms" Jon's targaryen heritage

Another result from Siri reads

To know the history, you'll need to do the math: R+L=J

Hope this will help answer the question at least in an overall sense, for the TV show, for the books, we may never know … until George finishes the books that is.

  • 3
    You might want to change your answer to a comment, as it doesn't answer the question.
    – JS Lavertu
    Jun 28, 2016 at 21:23
  • Thanks, I edited it with some new info from the GoT twitter that was tweeted out recently.
    – Adam Pine
    Jun 29, 2016 at 18:13

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