There are a lot of great theories telling us that Eddard Stark couldn't be the father of Jon Snow, like this one:

What evidence is there supporting an alternative parentage for Jon Snow?

But, who could tell the truth about him, who knows this (that is still alive) that could confirm these theories?


5 Answers 5


The other two answers list the people who are alive and could possibly have knowledge of Jon's parentage. I.e.

  • Howland Reed
  • Barristan "the bold" Selmy

And (ADWD spoilers)

- Jon Connington
- Septa Lemore aka Ashara Dayne

Also to be included in the list is of course Howland Reed's children, Jojen and Meera. They did in fact come close to the topic of Rhaegar and Lyanna when they told Bran of the story of the Knight of the Laughing Tree. So close, in fact, that I half expected they were about to reveal something to Bran.

However, there is another option, stemming from the prophecy that Daenerys got in the House of the Undying:

Her silver was trotting through the grass, to a darkling stream beneath a sea of stars. A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright on his dead face, gray lips smiling sadly. A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness...mother of dragons...bride of death..

The blue rose is no doubt a reference to Lyanna, as she was notably fond of such. The wall of ice is of course The Wall. And the context in which this is mentioned is "bride of death", where the first mentioned "husband" is presumably Drogo and the second presumably Victarion. It is fairly reasonable to assume that the third one refers to Jon, since he is presumably Rhaegar and Lyanna's son, and a Targaryen by blood (viable husband), at the Wall, and as of ADWD also (spoiler)

dead (bride of death)

So, while it is not clear exactly how it will happen, it seems this prophecy indicates that Daenerys will meet Jon at the Wall and his parentage will be revealed somehow. All this is, of course, pure guesswork.

There is also the option which will be completely covered by spoiler tags, since it mainly takes place in ADWD:

Bran is now a greenseer and an apprentice of Bloodraven. He has already seen Ned Stark with (presumably) Jon and Robb, praying before the heart tree "Let them grow up as brothers". I think it is probably very likely that Bran will look deeper into history there and find out the truth about Jon.

Bloodraven himself will also have a lot of knowledge about house Stark, as he has been watching them for years. And it is not unlikely that he will have paid close attention to the events surrounding Rhaegar and Lyanna.

Also, it is likely (or perhaps only possible) that Coldhands is in fact Benjen Stark, who might have knowledge of Jon's parentage.

I think it is interesting to note, however, that (ADWD spoiler)

...GRRM drops quite a few hints that Jon is actually the son of Ned Stark and a fisherman's daughter. Firstly, it is mentioned in a Davos chapter by the Lord of Sisterton regarding Ned Stark and a fisherman's daughter that "he left her with a bastard in her belly and a bag of silver" (paraphrasing). Secondly, Stannis says "You haggle like a crone with a codfish, Lord Snow. Did Ned Stark father you on some fishwife?" And Jon himself thinks something like "Perhaps he did, at that"

Although a possibility, I am more inclined to think this is a red herring, however.

  • WoW, you are killing me with intrigue, I have to finish the book right away.
    – eLRuLL
    Feb 4, 2013 at 14:40
  • 3
    It took me only a couple of days to read ADWD. :) Although I have re-read it quite a few times. If you want intrigue, however, take a look at the Dunk & Egg stories and meet Bloodraven in person. Those novels are filled with references to and appearances by historical people of Westeros.
    – TLP
    Feb 4, 2013 at 15:29
  • 6
    heh, red herring, nice one Oct 16, 2014 at 12:17
  • 1
    I know that you answered this question a long time ago, but I thought you should update it with respect to one point: GRRM has confirmed in an editor's version of the ADWD manuscript that Coldhands is in fact NOT Benjen Stark. May 28, 2015 at 22:04
  • 1
    @NoseKnowsAll Yes, I googled it as well. It's a nice tidbit, but it is hardly a quote from GRRM, more like unconfirmed rumour. Even if it was true when it was written, he might change his mind later. As long as its not official, I don't think it should be in the answer.
    – TLP
    May 29, 2015 at 15:38

Howland Reed, the Lord of Greywater Watch, is the only survivor of the party that accompanied Ned Stark to the Tower of Joy where Lyanna died. It is to be presumed that he knows the truth about what happened.

  • In the current story, is he close to Jon, or someone who could tell him? The thing i want to clarify is Who will eventually tell the truth to Jon (assumptions of course).
    – eLRuLL
    Feb 3, 2013 at 23:52
  • 4
    It's dangerous to assume that Martin has already told us everything that there is to know; he's quite capable of pulling a surprise and I'd expect - if theories are correct - that any eventual relevation would come from such an angle.
    – user8719
    Feb 4, 2013 at 1:11
  • 1
    While reading the book, i haven't noticed the character of Howland Reed, but only when his children appear to help Bran. I was thinking that maybe they could be the key to reveal these secrets.
    – eLRuLL
    Feb 4, 2013 at 13:12

One of the people who can shed some light of the events surrounding Jon's birth is Ser Barristan Selmy. For example he was present at the tourney at Harrenhall, where Rhaegar named Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty. He also might know details of what happened to Ashara Dayne.

And, of course, there is Varis, who knows everything.

"A Dance with Dragons" spoiler:

Another person who might know something is Jon Connington. There is also a theory that Septa Lemore might be Ashara Dayne. If that is the case, she would also know a lot about the events in question.

  • WoW, a lot of information here, i need to finish A Dance with Dragons then to have more ideas.
    – eLRuLL
    Feb 3, 2013 at 23:53

There are theories that Lem Lemoncloak from the Brotherhood Without Banners is actually Richard Lonmouth in disguise.

  • Richard Lonmouth was one of Rhaegar's squires and closest friends.
  • He was present at the Tourney at Harrenhal.
  • Richard's "death" is almost explicitly left out of the text.
  • Lem is one of the only enigmatic characters from the BWB, in that we know almost nothing about him.
  • Lem's cloak almost matches in description to Richard's

Why does this matter?


In Chapter 9 of A Dance With Dragons:

“Ned Stark was here?”

“At the dawn of Robert’s Rebellion. The Mad King had sent to the Eyrie for Stark’s head, but Jon Arryn sent him back defiance. Gulltown stayed loyal to the throne, though. To get home and call his banners, Stark had to cross the mountains to the Fingers and find a fisherman to carry him across the Bite. A storm caught them on the way. The fisherman drowned, but his daughter got Stark to the Sisters before the boat went down. They say he left her with a bag of silver and a bastard in her belly. Jon Snow, she named him, after Arryn.”

  • This doesn't answer the question of who might be revealing the truth, does it? Jul 8, 2015 at 8:05

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