'Game of Thrones' Season 8: How Are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen Related?

How Are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen Related?
Kit Harrington and Emila Clarke appear in Game of Thrones. The show returns to HBO with the eighth and final season on April 14, 2019. Helen Sloane/HBO

The last time fans saw Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen together on the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale, the pair were gazing lovingly into each other's eyes as they made good on the attraction that seemingly began brewing from the first moment they met each other earlier in the season.

In the midst of their bedroom love fest, somewhere further North Jon's brother Bran Stark and loyal friend Samwell Tarly pieced together the true story of Jon's origin and realized that he actually was not the bastard son of Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark and some anonymous woman he'd met during the war, but rather the son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Eddard's sister Lyanna Stark, giving Jon a strong claim to being the true heir to the Iron Throne.

Of course, Jon doesn't have a clue. He'd been raised as Eddard's bastard boy (hence the Snow last name), but the linkage to Rhaegar makes it all the more understandable why Ned wouldn't tell Jon the truth about his parents before the young man went off to join the Night's Watch all those years ago on Season 1.

At the time of Jon's conception, Ned was a member of Robert Baratheon's rebellion against the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, the father of Rhaegar, who had secretly married and fathered a child with Lyanna.

Surly baby Jon—or Aegon Targaryen as his loving and married parents named him—would have been killed in the war if anyone knew about his true parentage, especially since it was believed Lyanna, who Robert was desperately in love with, had been kidnapped by Rhaegar instead of eloping with her silver-haired beau.

After all, the only Targaryens known to survive the war were Rhaegar's younger brother Viserys Targaryen and their baby sister, Daenerys, and elderly Maester Aemon, Rhaegar's great-great uncle who had once given up his opportunity to sit the Iron Throne in order to fulfill his obligation to serve with the Night's Watch at Castle Black.

The family dynamic is a particularly interesting (and, sorry, super gross) one for Jon, who was last seen on GoT consumating his relationship with Daenerys. Thus, not only do Jon and Daenerys each have solid argument for being the rightful heir to the kingdom, they are also very closely related. To put it bluntly, Jon and his Aunt Daenerys are sleeping together.

There's no guarantee when or if Jon and Daenerys will discover their relation on the eighth and final season of GoT. If they do, though, it won't necessarily mean the end of their incestuous relationship.

GOT is known for its love ties among family members. The Targaryen's claim to fame was mating among siblings and relatives—you know, to keep the white-haired bloodline pure. Not to mention, known lovers and twins Cersei and Jaime Lannister's boot-knocking resulted in three children (maybe four) between the siblings.

Where it could, perhaps, bring problems for Jon and Daenerys is in determining which of them will actually sit on the Iron Throne—that is if either of them even survives the Great War that's headed their way.

Under some traditional rules of succession, Jon would have the more solid claim, being the male son of King Aerys II's eldest child; much like England's Prince William would inherit the throne before any of his aunts or uncles. However, there are those who eschew such claims and believe that Daenerys, being a child of King Aerys II, is the rightful one to sit the Iron Throne.

Even if Jon does have the better claim, he may not take it. The brought-back-from-the-dead brooder has already bent the knee to Daenerys, First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. The odds of her being willing to give up her newfound power (not to mention massive following) seems unlikely, but the bloodlines don't lie.

Of course, the "Jon or Daenerys" debate overlooks the existence of Gendry, the blacksmith bastard son of the late King Robert Baratheon. Though a bastard, Gendry is a direct descendant of the man who successfully seized the throne, as opposed to being a child or grandchild of a king who had to be killed by his own guard in order to prevent him from further mass destruction.

Guess we'll all have to wait to see exactly what becomes of the relatives when Game of Thrones returns to HBO with the final season on April 14 at 9 p.m. ET.

'Game of Thrones' Season 8: How Are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen Related? | Culture