In the last episode of season 6 we see what is clearly..

The truth about Jon's parentage, being the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.

Without getting into the "why" and "if" about this, (It is already covered in many other questions on this site)

Would Jon Snow still be a bastard if people knew who his parents are?

Just to be clear, i am not asking if he has a claim to the Iron Throne or not.

  • 1
    This is not opinion based. If the answer is "We don't know yet, because [facts]", that's a valid answer, not an opinion. Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 9:17
  • 2
    @user568458 fair enough, detracted the VTC.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 9:18
  • 1
    @Vahx Targaryens aren't really known for polygamy. Only two of them showed polygamy, Aegon I and Maegor I. Aegon got away with it without any objects cus conquest but Maegor was exiled by his brother Aenys for that.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 14:48
  • 3
    I think you may have misunderstood the meaning of the word "bastard". It refers to a child born out of wedlock, not a child whose parents are not both known. As for the question being opinion based, I agree that it is not.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 17:04
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    Possible duplicate of If J = L + R, why would his claim to the throne come before this Targaryen?
    – Möoz
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 22:51

2 Answers 2


People knowing who Jon's parents are does not mean anything for his bastard status. One is born a bastard if he is born out of wedlock, regardless to who the parents were.

Him being son of Lyanna and Rhaegar does not prove that they had married as well because Rhaegar was already married to Elia Martell and traditionally Westeros is a strictly monogamous region by faith and culture. Being a bastard of a Prince does not mean that someone becomes legitimate child. There are plenty of examples of Bastards sired by Targaryen Princes and Monarchs e.g. Daemon Blackfyre, Aegor Bittersteel, Brynden Bloodraven etc.

It is however entirely possible that Rhaegar may have married Lyanna following the precedent of Aegon the Conqeuror who had two wives. King Maegor also had multiple wives. 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.

Simple answer is, from Season Finale, we do not know if they had married or not. Thus we cannot say if Jon would remain a bastard or not.

UPDATE: In Season 7, it is revealed that Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia annulled and married someone else. That someone else can only be Lyanna, making Jon a legitimate Child. So it is all but confirmed in the show that Jon is now a trueborn Targaryen.

From S07E05:

Gilly: What does "annulment" mean?

Sam: It's when a man sets aside his lawful wife.

Gilly: Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for a Prince "Ragger" and remarried him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne. Is that a common thing in the south or--?

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    @TheMathemagician There is no assumption that they were married. It is explicitly mentioned as a possibility, in which case Jon won't be a bastard. Targaryens have practiced polygamy in the past, don't see why it would be out of the question. There is no proof for lack of a marriage either. It is just unknown.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 10:19
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    @TheMathemagician I do not see where do I deny that Jon is a bastard? I don't know what's making you think that. And people do Question marriages of people with Dragons, e.g. King Aenys faced opposition from High Septon when he tried to marry his son to his daughter. Prince Maegor's marriages were opposed by High Septon and he was exiled from the realm for polygamy. They both had dragons. What are you even trying to prove here? Jon is possibly a bastard, It is also possible he may not be a bastard. What's so wrong with this?
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 10:38
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    @TheMathemagician If you have any solid proof that Jon is indeed a bastard, I would be happy to withdraw the statement that points to possibility that he may not be a bastard. If you don't, why is it so hard for you to admit that he may not be a bastard?
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 10:40
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit That would be the logical inference from Robert would kill him, you know he will thing she said to Ned. There can be no plausible reason for Robert to kill Lyanna's son unless he was a Targaryen, I suppose. Why kill the infant if he is not blood of your rival and a possible threat to your throne?
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 12:23
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    @Aegon: beta.theladbible.com/entertainment/… If this counts as canon then problem solved :D Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 23:39

As of S7E5 it appears that

Rhaegar had an annulment.

As was read by Gilly to Sam. However, the full passage was cut off.

[Gilly] What does ann-ull-ment mean?
[Sam] It's when a men sets aside his lawful wife.
[Gilly] Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for a Prince "Ragger" and remarried him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne. Is that a common thing....
[Sam] Begins ranting about other things

So while we do not 100% know for sure if

It was Lyanna Stark that was the "someone else at the same time"... but who else would fit the bill of "a secret ceremony in Dorne"...

This would make Jon

a legitimate Targaryen based on most customs in Westeros.

  • Well, not necessarily. Just because he <spoiler> his <spoiler> to Elia, doesn't make Jon <spoiler>, Rhaegar would have to have married <spoiler> first. (I'm convinced they would 'reveal' this soon, but as of now, it's not true).
    – Möoz
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 2:40
  • While this does appear to be true, it ignores the fact that OP is ignoring whether or not he has a claim, and is focused on whether or not his definition of a bastard is based on people knowing about his parentage.
    – phantom42
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 2:51
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    This answer is incomplete: the annals Gilly was reading from also noted that the annulment immediately preceded a secret marriage ceremony to a new bride of Rhaegar's in Dorne. The Tower of Joy, where Ned found Lyanna, was in Dorne. The presence of the Kingsguard, whose job it is to protect the royal family, at the Tower was in itself proof that Jon was considered by Rhaegar to be legitimate, not a bastard. The annals Gilly found are simply proof that's accessible without relying on Bran's visions.
    – Kevin Troy
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 4:07
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    @phantom42 Correct, which is why I did not mention anything about his claim. A bastard is a bastard if the parents were not married. We now have evidence they were.
    – Skooba
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 12:56
  • @skooba my point is that, just because Rhaegar & Elia's marriage was annulled, doesn't mean that Jon is legitimate. Rhaegar & Lyanna being married is what makes him legitimate....
    – Kevin Troy
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 15:03

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