In Westeros, usually, bastards' surnames depend on the land where they were born. For example, Robert Baratheon's bastards are Edric Storm and Mya Stone. So, why is Jon's surname Snow?

There are a lot of in-universe and out-universe theories

and even on-screen confirmation of Rhaegar+Lyanna

but all of them says that Jon was born outside of the North.

Update: Proof of why Jon was not born in the North; Robb is a little bit older than Jon. Ned married Catelyn in Riverrun, conceived Robb and went South to fight in Robert's rebellion. There, in just a couple of months, somebody (maybe Ned, maybe not) conceived and then a woman gave birth to Jon.

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    No source but would be a lot to do with Ned taking him home and naming him as such
    – user001
    Jun 28, 2016 at 13:45
  • He was raised in the North, by Northerners. Where he was born isn't that important, plus it was probably meant to be a secret.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jun 28, 2016 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


Remember, Ned is claiming that Jon is his own child. While he was physically born outside of the North, he was brought to live in the North by a Northman. It has more to do with who the bastard was born to and where they live then where they are actually born.

Explanation of Bastard Naming:

Each of the nine constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms have bastard surnames decreed by custom, not law. Bastards with a high-born parent are given these surnames to hold them apart from their fathers' houses. The parents may give a bastard a different surname if they wish, e.g. Tyrion Tanner. Bastards with no known relation to a noble house have no surname, like other smallfolk.

Examples of bastard naming:

The surname a bastard received appears to be connected to the location the child is raised, though this is not a consistent rule. Because of this, bastards who are half-siblings might have different surnames. For example, King Robert I Baratheon's eldest bastard, born in the Vale, is called Mya Stone, while his bastard from the Stormlands (fathered on a noblewoman from the Reach) is called Edric Storm. However, whilst Aegor Rivers was raised at Stone Hedge in the Riverlands, his half-brother Brynden, was also called Rivers, despite having lived at least the first few years of his life with his mother at King's Landing in the Crownlands.

Update for Season 7, Episode 7:

Bran states to Sam that Jon was never a Snow at all, that bastards born in Dorne are called Sand. How much of this is just Bran's opinion is not really known

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    Besides which, disguising the boy's origin was pretty much the goal of claiming him as a bastard in the first place. As such, he might have lied about where, exactly, the boy was born, as well... I mean, which would divert suspicion more? "I coincidentally found him in the place where Rhaegar died!" or "I had an affair with a Northern girl, and on the way home from the campaign she presented me with a bastard." Jun 28, 2016 at 14:05
  • Never noticed Mya Stone and Edric Storm surnaming. Maybe, it is due to the fact that Edric Storm is an acknowledged bastard while Mya Stone is not.
    – user65648
    Jun 28, 2016 at 14:09
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    @C.Koca I might be misremembering, but I thought Mya had met Robert. Now I'm second guessing myself :) I'll need to take a look at that chapter again at some point.
    – kuhl
    Jun 28, 2016 at 14:45
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    Mya Stone vs Gendry: "He’s not taking responsibility, but everyone knows. So why wouldn’t she be a Stone? Everyone knows she’s the daughter of a king. This isn’t like Gendry where he’s 100% clueless and never met his father (nor does Robert know of him to our knowledge.)"
    – BCdotWEB
    Jun 28, 2016 at 15:06
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    BCDotWeb is correct. While Robert never acknowledged any bastard except Edric Storm, he was very fond of his first born daughter Mya. He used to spend a lot of time with her when she was a kid. He even wanted to bring her to the court in KL but backed down after Cersei's threats against her. Everyone in Vale knows that Mya is a noble bastard. Thus she gets the name stone without official recognition from her father. No one except three men knew Gendry's father so he does not get a noble bastard surname.
    – Aegon
    Jun 28, 2016 at 17:33

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