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The Important "Game Of Thrones" History You Need To Know

For everyone who is still a little confused about how Dany and Jon are related.

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As a lot of people know by now, Daenerys Targaryen is almost certainly the aunt of Jon Snow. But if you're still a little confused by the whole thing, this post is for you.

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Here's a refresher on the important backstory and how it connects to both Jon and Dany...

Aerys II was married to his sister, Rhaella*, with whom he had three kids: Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys.

*Yes, the Targaryens are huge fans of incest, believing it important to keep the bloodline "pure". It's why they look so ~unique~ and some of them have a tendency towards madness. They also practiced polygamy – Aegon the Conqueror, Daenerys's ancestor who invaded and united the Seven Kingdoms, married both his sisters. In the books, Daenerys grew up believing she'd marry Viserys.

Rhaegar was a lot older than his siblings (he actually died before Daenerys was born). He was married to Elia Martell, sister of Oberyn. Rhaegar and Elia had two kids: Rhaenys and Aegon.

Elia nearly died having Aegon, and subsequently could no longer have kids. Elia apparently loved Rhaegar, and in the books he's described as being "fond" of her.

Meanwhile, Lyanna Stark, sister of Ned, was betrothed to Robert Baratheon.

In the books, Lyanna doesn't seem particularly happy about the engagement, which was arranged between her father and Robert. She was aware that Robert had already fathered a bastard, and so she didn't believe he'd be faithful to her.

These characters collided at the Tourney of Harrenhal. This has been mentioned only briefly in the show, but here's what we know from the books: At Harrenhal, Howland Reed (father of Jojen and Meera) was bullied by some squires, and Lyanna Stark stood up for him, tended to his wounds, and took him to a feast.

At the feast, Rhaegar – who was a talented musician – played a beautiful, melancholy song that made Lyanna cry.

During the tournament, a mysterious knight, known as the Knight of the Laughing Tree, challenged and defeated the three knights whose squires had bullied Howland. Most people believe this knight was Lyanna in disguise.

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Aerys II was incredibly paranoid and believed the mystery knight was his enemy. He sent Rhaegar to find the knight, who had vanished. A popular theory is that Rhaegar actually discovered Lyanna and protected her identity – and perhaps fell in love with her.

Rhaegar ultimately won the tournament, and crowned Lyanna the "queen of love and beauty" instead of his wife, Elia. We saw Littlefinger talk about this incident on the show in Season 5.

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Many fans believe Rhaegar did this to honour Lyanna's heroic actions as the Knight of the Laughing Tree (and also maybe because he was falling for her hard). To the people at the tourney, it was a shocking act, not only because he snubbed his wife, but also because Lyanna was betrothed to Robert.

The following year, Rhaegar and Lyanna ran off together. There are a few options for how this went down.

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The ~official~ story – spread by Robert – is that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna, held her prisoner, and raped her.

But a lot of fans believe the pair were actually in love and ran away together (more on that in this post). Some think Aerys found out Lyanna was the Knight of the Laughing Tree, and Rhaegar hid her away to protect her. Others suggest that Rhaegar, who was obsessed with prophecy, believed he needed to have one more child ("the dragon has three heads"), and kidnapped/eloped with Lyanna in order to fulfil the prophecy, since his wife, Elia, could no longer have children.

Whatever the cause, the action was the same: Rhaegar and Lyanna disappeared together somewhere in Dorne, with Lyanna's family believing she'd been kidnapped.

Brandon Stark (Lyanna and Ned's older brother) rode to King's Landing and demanded Rhaegar's death. Aerys II accused Brandon of treason and arrested him. He then summoned Rickard Stark (Brandon, Ned, and Lyanna's father), who was arrested when he arrived in the capital.

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Both Stark men were executed in a brutal way in the throne room – an event that's been referenced a few times this season, including when Jon met Daenerys in Episode 3.

Aerys II then demanded the heads of Robert and Ned from Jon Arryn, the Lord of the Vale who the pair had lived with for some time (it was his death that Ned was investigating back in Season 1). Jon Arryn, Ned, and Robert all called their banners, and Robert's Rebellion began.

In order to forge alliances, Ned married Catelyn Tully (who had previously been betrothed to his brother Brandon), and Jon Arryn married Catelyn's sister, Lysa.

Ned and Catelyn were together only briefly after their marriage before he went off to fight in the war. But they conceived Robb in that short period of time.

Rhaegar injured Robert, but Robert dealt Rhaegar a fatal blow with his war hammer. It's said that Rhaegar died with Lyanna's name on his lips.

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Robert needed time to recover from his wounds, so he asked Ned to lead his army to King's Landing.

Meanwhile, Aerys II sent his wife, Rhaella (who was pregnant with Daenerys), and Viserys to Dragonstone for their own safety, but he refused to let Rhaegar's wife Elia or her children leave King's Landing.

Until this point, the Lannisters had stayed out of the fight. When Tywin appeared at the gates of King's Landing with his army, declaring his loyalty to Aerys II, the Mad King let him in. The Lannister army proceeded to sack the city.

Aerys II ordered Jaime Lannister, who was part of his kingsguard, to bring him Tywin's head. He also ordered the wildfire he'd had stored around the city to be set alight. To save the lives of thousands – and his own father – Jaime killed the Mad King.

Meanwhile, the Mountain*, fighting for the Lannisters, killed Rhaegar and Elia's children, and raped and killed Elia.

*In the books, Amory Lorch kills one of the children, but that hasn't been mentioned in the show.

Ned arrived in the city to find it sacked by the Lannisters, and Jaime sitting on the Iron Throne, having killed his king. When Robert arrived later, he and Ned had a huge argument over the deaths of Elia and the Targaryen children. Robert was pleased about it, but Ned was disgusted, and left the capital.

Ned ended up in Dorne with some companions (amongst them, Howland Reed), where he came across some knights of the Targaryen kingsguard, including Ser Arthur Dayne, at what Rhaegar had dubbed the Tower of Joy.

We saw this in one of Bran's visions on Season 6 of the show. It's significant that at this point, Aerys II and Rhaegar were dead, yet the Targaryen kingsguard were still guarding something. That something being Rhaegar's last remaining child – our boy Jon Snow.

While many believe Jon is still a bastard, because Rhaegar was already married before he kidnapped/ran away with Lyanna, there are two popular theories that suggest ways Jon could be legitimate. The first is that Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia annulled and then married Lyanna (EDIT: THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED – see update below), meaning Jon would be the next heir to the Targaryen throne. The other theory is that Rhaegar remained married to Elia but also married Lyanna, continuing his ancestors' practice of polygamy. Once again, this would still give Jon the strongest claim to the throne.

As we know, Ned and his companions fought the kingsguard, and killed them. Howland was injured, but survived. Ned entered the tower to find Lyanna – who had been missing the whole Rebellion – dying after having given birth to baby Jon.

We don't know Jon's real name yet, but there's a good chance it's very Targaryen (Ned named him Jon after Jon Arryn). Before her death, Lyanna asked Ned to protect her baby, because Robert would want him dead – something that would have stood out all the more in Ned's mind after having witnessed Robert's pleased reaction to the deaths of Rhaegar's other children.

Ned returned home to Winterfell and presented Jon as his bastard son to protect him. Catelyn, who had given birth to Robb in the meantime, was not impressed (to put it mildly).

Robert was crowned king in King's Landing, while at Dragonstone, Rhaella had already declared the young Viserys king, since all the other Targaryens were dead (to her knowledge). Later, during a great storm that destroyed the Targaryen fleet, Rhaella gave birth to Daenerys before dying herself.

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While some at Dragonstone planned to sell Viserys and Daenerys to Robert Baratheon, a few men loyal to the Targaryens smuggled the pair to Braavos, and the rest, as they say, is history.

So there you have it! Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen (NOT Robert Baratheon, as some people think – seriously, the timeline doesn't add up). Which makes Daenerys his aunt, even though she's a little younger than him.

What does that mean for their relationship?

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As it stands, neither of them know they're related. They seem to already be somewhat attracted to each other, and they definitely want to be allies. The chances that they will get together – whether that be a marriage alliance, or simply an alliance ~with benefits~ – seem pretty high.

When they find out the truth – likely through Bran, but also potentially from Howland Reed (although that seems less likely now Meera has left) – it could either drive them apart or bring them closer together. If it turns out Jon is a legitimate heir, Daenerys could see him as a threat – or an even stronger ally. On a personal level, they could be grossed out by the whole incest thing (especially Jon). Daenerys, given her family's history and beliefs, probably won't be as bothered. In fact, it may even be a point in Jon's favour for her.

UPDATE

Season 7, Episode 5 confirmed that Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia annulled, and secretly married Lyanna. Meaning JON IS LEGITIMAGE. OMG!

Read more about it here.

To read about all the clues about Jon's parentage we've seen in the show, check out this post.

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