At the tourney at Harrenhal in the year of the false spring, Rhaegar won the jousting contest. But instead of crowning his own wife Elia the queen of love and beauty, he crowned Lyanna.

It seems that Lyanna did not truly love Robert, and Rhaegar was not the evil man who Robert made him out to be.

In this two quotes:

Yet sometimes Dany would picture it the way it had been...Her brother Rhaegar battling the Usurper in the bloody waters of the Trident and dying for the woman he loved...

GoT, pg. 30

Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman’s name...

CoK, pg. 706

GRRM avoids using the word ‘Elia’ and instead uses ‘the woman’ or ‘the woman he loved’ suggesting that it could be someone besides Elia... Lyanna, perhaps?

When Eddard went to the Tower of Joy to save Lyanna, there were three men of the Kingsguard (Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Gerold Hightower, and Ser Oswell Whent). This is curious since, as far as the reader knows, there is no royal blood present at the Tower of Joy, just Lyanna. Then why are they there, instead of with Viserys or Daenerys? (Rhaegar and Aerys are dead by this time.)

And all those "Promise me, Ned" around the books... Seems to be something deeper that just being buried in Winterfel...

  • The quote about the dying prince can coincidentally also be about Prince Lewyn Martell of Rhaegar's kingsguard who also died at the Trident. He had a paramour (as mentioned in AFFC). – TLP Mar 11 '13 at 0:07
  • He did not, however, have a ruby-encrusted armour, as far as we know, and Rhaegar did. – Theoriok Oct 24 '13 at 13:56

This is a very commonly discussed topic on the forums. Tower of the hand has a pretty good rundown about Jon Snow's parentage.

There's another one here at westeros.org

It's worth noting the only person who holds any grudge against Rhaegar is Robert who is obviously biased. Eddard certainly doesn't hate Rhaegar so it seems he didn't rape Lyanna.

Lyanna is mentioned to have loved the winter rose and it's a laurel of these Rhaegar leaves in her lap. This is suggestive in itself. Also, Dany in the house of the undying sees a vision in which a blue rose grows out of the wall. This is almost certainly Jon Snow.

I would conclude that Lyanna and Rhaegar are the most likely parents as of yet. Of course George could always write it to be something else but at this time the evidence is overwhelming.

If you want to see some very detailed arguments about this I'd point you to the R+J=L series (42 threads!) here.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.