Targaryen family tree explained – who are Jon Snow's real parents and how is he related to the ‘Mad King’? | The Sun

EVER since George RR Martin’s first book back in 1996, fans have speculated that Jon Snow may not actually be Ned Stark’s son.

The mystery was finally solved as Jon discovered his true heritage in the first episode of season eight of Game of Thrones. Here's everything you need to know.

Who was the 'Mad King' Aerys Targaryen and why was he overthrown?

Aerys Targaryen is the "Mad King" who was overthrown by Robert Baratheon in a civil war that took place around 17 years before the first book or episode of Game of Thrones.

He was the last Targaryen to sit on the Iron Throne after three centuries of rule by the family.

His rule was benevolent at first but the Mad King is legendarily cruel.

During his reign he became increasingly paranoid and murderous, using wildfire to burn his enemies alive because there were no dragons in Westeros then.

Although the Mad King's cruelty is now legend, this is not what caused Robert Baratheon to lead a rebellion against him.

In fact the rebellion started because Aerys's son and heir, Prince Rhaegar, "abducted" Ned Stark's sister Lyanna, leading Houses Stark and Baratheon to rebel.

They were later joined by other houses and won a decisive victory over House Targaryen.

The decisive moment in the war saw Aerys's own hand Tywin Lannister join the rebellion against him.

Jaime Lannister got his "Kingslayer" nickname when he put his sword through the king he had sworn to protect as a Kingsguard.

Since the Mad King was overthrown there's been very little stability in the seven kingdoms as myriad dynasties vie for power – from the Lannisters, to the Baratheon brothers, to his own descendants.

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How is Jon Snow a Targaryen and is he the heir to the Iron Throne?

The story goes that years before the events of Game of Thrones take place, Ned Stark discovered that his sister Lyanna hadn't been kidnapped and raped by Rhaegar at all.

A flashback in season seven by Three-Eyed Raven, Bran, confirmed that the pair had actually been in love and they secretly got married.

Jon was conceived by the married couple and Lyanna gave birth to him after Robert launched his rebellion.

Ned made a promise to dying sister Lyanna that he would protect the baby she'd had with recently murdered Rhaegar.

The siblings both knew that if ruling King Robert knew of the existence of an heir to the Targaryen throne, then he would be executed without hesitation.

Ned took in young Aegon as his own, renaming him as Jon Snow, to protect him.

The revelation leads Jon to discover that his girlfriend Daenerys is actually his aunt.

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Who are the other Targaryens?

The Targaryens are a dragonlord family with the sigil of a three-headed dragon breathing flames.

The Targaryen dynasty interbred to keep their bloodline pure and make their powers more potent.

Daenerys's mother Rhaella Targaryen was also her father's sister, while her brother Viserys once commented that had Daenerys been older she would likely have been betrothed to Rhaegar.

The interbreeding also had the unfortunate side-effect of accentuating the madness that ran in the family – as Cersei Lannister pointed out, half of the Targaryens went mad.

After Robert Baratheon usurped the Iron Throne and vowed to destroy House Targaryen there weren't many descendants left.

King Aerys was killed by Kingslayer Jaime Lannister after being betrayed. His wife Rhaella was murdered as well.

Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, heir to the Mad King who "abducted" Lyanna Stark and started the war, was killed by Robert in battle.

His wife Elia Martell and children Rhaenys and Aegon were killed by The Mountain, Gregor Clegane.

Game of Thrones viewers have met Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen on-screen. They are the Mad King's children, and siblings to the dead Prince Rhaegar.

Aemon Targaryen became the Maester to the Night's Watch, and was not involved in the civil war as he was at Castle Black.

He was uncle to Aerys and great uncle to Daenerys before dying peacefully at The Wall.

He spent time with Jon but there is no way he could have known that they were related, sadly.

After Viserys was murdered by the Dothraki, Daenerys was left the last surviving Targaryen – before the truth about Jon was revealed.

Was the Night King a Targaryen?

Many fans believe the Night King’s symbol shares uncanny similarities to that of House of Targaryen’s crest.

At the end of the opening episode of season eight, a dead Ned Umber was tacked to the wall surrounded by a spiral made of human hands and arms that look like the crest when set alight.

Then in season seven, Jon shows Daenerys the carvings on the walls of the caves beneath Dragonstone that were inscribed there by the Children of the Forest.

And once again, the familiar symbol was seen near the drawings of the White Walkers.

As we all know, the Night King has a dragon in his army now and fans think this is another clue because the show's creators once claimed that "only a Targaryen can ride a dragon".

Plus in the Battle of Winterfell, we discovered that he can't be killed by dragon fire either.

But realistically, the Night King probably isn't a Targaryen in any way because he was created from one of the first men.

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In fact, the Targaryen's family line wasn't thought to be anywhere near that area at that time in Game of Thrones history.

The White Walkers were created a whole 6,000 years before the Targaryen conquest of Westoros!

 

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