A leaked page from an upcoming issue of Empire Magazine may have spilled the beans about Jon Snow’s birth name. If true, it would confirm a major fan theory and raise eyebrows about one of the series’ biggest prophecies.
Update: Empire contributing editor Dan Jolin tweeted that the name reveal wasn’t confirmed by the cast or crew, and is based on the fan theory discussed in the article. In other words, we know as much as Jon Snow right now.
A post on Reddit has shared a reported preview from the upcoming issue of Empire, describing Bran’s recent adventures north of the Wall and what information he could be bringing to Jon Snow upon the hopeful Stark family reunion. This includes a major secret— which, as it turns out, is Jon Snow’s real name (though, since it’s not officially from HBO, it isn’t confirmed). Here’s the page description:
As we saw in the last episode of season 6, Bran’s psychic time-traveling ‘green sight’ revealed the true nature of Jon’s birth heritage and his real name: Jaehaerys Targaryen. “Bran’s now in this precarious situation in which it’s just him and Meera, and he has all of this information that could change the entire story,” said [Bran actor] Isaac Hempstead Wright. And it’s not just about Jon. “He knows all about the White Walkers too.”
If this article is correct, it means Jon Snow’s real name is Jaehaerys Targaryen. This would confirm a fan theory that Claire Williams (under the name sparkledavisjr) first circulated last year after Jon Snow’s parentage was revealed in season six, when Lyanna Stark whispered what’s believed to be Jon Snow’s true name to Ned Stark upon her death.
Jaehaerys I, also known as “the Old King,” was the longest reigning Targaryen monarch in Westerosi history, sitting on the throne for 55 years. He’s revered for his wisdom, compassion, and intelligence, including healing a violent divide between the monarchy and the Faith Militant— a group that, you might recall, resurged recently.
As pointed out on Reddit, it would make sense for Lyanna Stark to name her son after the guy (if you go with the theory that she was in love with Rhaegar Targaryen, as opposed to a kidnapping victim). He’s considered one of the most-beloved Targaryen rulers in history. Plus, Jaehaerys was a dragonrider. It’s believed the Jon Snow will help fulfill the “dragon has three heads” prophecy, along with Daenerys and Tyrion. If you needed any further hint that Jon Snow is destined to become one of those dragonriders, this is it.
But it’s not just a cool name. There’s something much bigger going on here, and it’s linked to the prophecy about the Prince That Was Promised. Jaehaerys II, the second holder of the name (and Rhaegar’s grandfather), is the king who first received the prophecy, with a witch telling him the prince would be born of his bloodline. It was that very prophecy that prompted Rhaegar to pursue Lyanna in the first place, in order to fulfill the prophecy.
I still believe the Daenerys Targaryen is Azor Ahai, the warrior prophecy that’s starkly similar to the Prince That Was Promised. But it has been argued that those prophecies are about two different people, which could mean that Dany is the resurrection of Azor Ahai and Jon Snow is the PTWP. In any case, this possible birth name gives us a lot to hypothesize about Jon Snow’s destiny and his possible rise to the Iron Throne. Winter is too far away. Game of Thrones returns July 16.
Clarification: I mistakenly combined the stories of the two Jaehaerys kings. Thanks so much to Commander Spicer for pointing this out.