So GRRM just confirmed that one of the rumors about ASOIF are true. But what I don't understand is:

[Winds of Winter spoilers]

If Jon Snow is Lyanna's child with Rhaegar, why would his claim to the Iron Throne come before Aegon Targaryen VI?

Aegon is Rhaeger's real child born from the marriage bed with Elia, why would rumors think that Jon Snow has a better claim to the throne than Aegon? Jon regardless of mother is still baseborn?

  • can u add the link to the article where GRRM confirms R + L = J Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 4:25
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    It is not 100% confirmed but in speculation. vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/2014/08/…
    – Maggick
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 4:26
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    In the article GRRM says that a couple of people have theorized the ending. J = L + R isn't really an ending
    – ediblecode
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 11:44
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    @Martin Schroder Howland Reed is the only character who will be able to testify that J is the son of L + R. And Varys is the only one who knows the truth about A T VI, even he could be fooling Illyrio.
    – Maggick
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 13:46
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    Aegon is the mummer's dragon.... aka Fake Aegon... aka FAegon
    – Skooba
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 20:21

3 Answers 3


The theory is that Rhaegar and Lyanna married in secret, possibly with Septon Meribald officiating, and thereby making Jon legitimate.

Edited to add (spoiler for Game of Thrones season 7 episodes 5 & 7):

Following the revelation that (in the TV series) Rhaegar's marriage to Elia was annulled and he married Lyanna Stark, as discovered by Gillie and witnessed by Bran, this theory is looking pretty good.

Aegon the Conqueror set the precedent for Targaryens to be permitted polygamy as well as incest by marrying both of his sisters.

And the other (and widely held) theory is that Aegon is not really Aegon but a deception perpetrated by Varys and Illyrio. It would take both of these to make Jon the rightful heir, since it's pretty certain that Aegon was born before Jon.

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    Why Meribald? Is there some clue about that?
    – TLP
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 14:56
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    Merely because he was a wandering septon who would quite likely have been in the right place (Harrenhal) at the right time (after the tourney) to perform a secret wedding.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 15:16
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    Meribald was at Harrenhal? Is this mentioned anywhere? If so, you should add the quote, it will improve your question quite a lot.
    – TLP
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 17:58
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    Meribald ia a wandering Septon in the Riverlands, so while we have no evidence as to his whereabouts, Harrenhal would be within his general area of movement. But really, the answer to "Why Meribald" is that this is a work of fiction and so if an obscure Septon becomes very important later, it's going to be an obscure Septon who we've already met, and Meribald is thus the only candidate.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 5:22
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    Is there any reason Aegon couldn't die? It's not like Martin is afraid of killing off characters. I could imagine the proposed union taking place and J+D uniting to seat Aegon on the throne only for him to die in the process, making J the new king. Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 19:30

There are a few things working against Jon being recognised as the Heir Apparent to the Iron Throne:

Normal Rules of Succession

  • Aegon is older1, 2, therefore he is next-in-line3
  • Jon's parentage would have to be proven first
    • As would Aegon's, but he will have a much easier time doing that with Varys' help
  • Rhaegar and Lyanna's marriage will have to be proven first
  • Daenerys is believed to be the actual heir right now as she is Aerys' eldest child
    • No-one knows Jon is who we think he is, nor that Aegon is alive
  • The Targaryens are not even in possession of the Iron Throne
  • Jon is a member (Lord Commander no less) of the Night's Watch, for life!4
  • Jon's fate is yet unknown
    • Last we see or hear of him, he has been stabbed to death5
  • We do not know what Varys' motives are
    • He may well prefer to support Aegon's claim even after Jon's parentage is proven

If, and only if, Jon overcomes all of these obstacles, then he could be King, according to the normal rules of succession.

Right of Conquest

According to the Right of Conquest, Jon could just take the Throne, just as Aegon the Conqueror and Robert Baratheon did.

He would need an army:

  • Band of Black Brothers
  • A huge number of displaced Free Folk settled in The Gift
  • Free Folk north of The Wall
  • Northmen still loyal to House Stark
  • Melisandre6 and her followers of The Lord of Light.
  • Targaryen loyalists still at large

1. Jon Snow, age calculation

2. Aegon VI Targaryen

3. Comprehensive Rules for Game of Thrones Lines of Succession

4. In an interview GRRM mentions:

The great council would have released Aemon from his maester's oath, so I suppose it would be possible. With an appropriate authority. http://web.archive.org/web/20001005212114/eventhorizon.com/sfzine/chats/transcripts/031899.html

5. If he dies and is revived, technically he has actually upheld his vow!

6. Tinfoil hats on for this section please. It is my belief that Jon is Azor Ahai reborn.

  • Mel alludes to it in aDWD:

Melisandre had practiced her art for years beyond count, and she had paid the price. There was no one, even in her order, who had her skill at seeing the secrets half-revealed and half-concealed within the sacred flames. Yet now she could not even seem to find her king. I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.
-A Song of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons, Chapter Thirty (Melisandre).
[emphasis mine]

  • Where does it state that a woman's claim comes before a man's to the Iron Throne? Wouldn't Aegon come before Dany because of gender?
    – Maggick
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 3:24
  • @Maggick It doesn't, what I'm saying is that she is believed to be, as she's the only one that people know is actually alive and real...
    – Möoz
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 3:36
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    ok, I just didn't think women could be heirs besides in Dorne
    – Maggick
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 3:42
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    The point about Daenerys doesn't affect Jon's claim in legal terms, because Rhaegar's children would all be ahead of her in the line of succession, in the same way as Prince William is ahead of Prince Andrew in the UK's line of succession.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 5:24
  • @MikeScott That's correct (if they can prove they are Rhaegar's)
    – Möoz
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 0:56

In determining who has the best claim on the iron throne by right of birth there are multiple factors involved.

If it's just between Jon and Aegon first it boils down to if Aegon is the Aegon (Rhaegar and Elia's Aegon) he claims to be (unlikely). Aegon would have the better claim. However there are serious doubt he's Rhaegar and Elia's Aegon and not another Aegon from a different branch of the family tree.

If we go for who has the overall best claim to the throne we have two major hic-ups in forming succession, The Dance with Dragons and the Blackfyre Rebellion.

Basically the Dance with Dragons left Westeros with a rule that female claims came only after male claims with regards to the throne. It is unclear, however, 1) how far through the family tree does it stretch is it son, son, daughter, brother, brother, sister, uncle, uncle, aunt, great uncle, great uncle, great aunt ect. or does it go son, son, brother, brother, uncle, uncle, great uncle, great uncle, daughter. Also then does it merely apply to female persons themselves or does it eliminate their children as well. (son, son, daughter's son, brother, brother, sister's son ect. or son, son, brother, brother, daughter's son)

Then there's untangling the succession of Aegon the Unworthy. Given he legitimized all his kids we don't know if the succession should have gone by birth order or if his trueborn son was actually his son (given Bloodraven put his support behind Daeron II I'm sure that Bloodraven probably had proof Daeron was the real deal).

Finally there's the issue that we don't know what happened to certain branches of the Targaryen line. Aerion Brightflame had an infant son who was passed over on account of a)being a baby and b)being the son of a mad targ prince. We don't know what happened to the son or any decendants. Aerion's elder brother had a "half-wit" daughter we don't know if she married or had children. We don't know about any female blackfyre lines or about any decendents of the prince of dragonflies.

  • Not a bad answer. Just remember that the (presumed) last Blackfyre was slewn by Barristan - Maelys the Monstrous. Duncan the Small (Prince of Dragonflies) gave up his crown for Jenny of oldstones...
    – Möoz
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 0:59
  • Hence why I specified "Female Blackfyres" and we don't necessarily know the exact legal phrasing of Duncan's disinheritance, he could have simply been moved behind all the decedents of his siblings. Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 1:31

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