Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen’s family tree is closely intertwined. But it can be hard to keep up with just how much their families intersect. Here’s a quick look at how they’re related, and how they’re both related to Rhaegar Targaryen.
Rhaegar is Daenerys’ Older Brother
Rhaegar is Daenerys’ older brother. He died before she was born, however, so she never got to meet him. He wasn’t the brother we saw in the earlier seasons who treated Daenerys terribly and was ultimately killed by Khal Drogo. That brother was Rhaegar’s younger brother, Viserys. Dany ultimately named two of her dragons after each of her brothers.
Rhaegar was long dead by the time Game of Thrones started. He is the oldest son of the Mad King Aerys. His mother is Rhaella Targaryen. Dany had always heard that Rhaegar was kindhearted, but it didn’t jive well with the story that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna Stark. However, as we have learned, that story was a lie. Rhaegar and Lyanna loved each other and were secretly married.
Barristan Selmy told Dany that Rhaegar used to disguise himself as a minstrel and play in King’s Landing. He usually gave the money he made to other minstrels or orphans. He said that despite Rhaegar’s history, he actually never liked killing and preferred singing.
Rhaegar was killed in “Robert’s Rebellion,” during a battle called the Battle of the Trident by Robert Baratheon, Lyanna Stark’s betrothed. Robert was king and sat on the Iron Throne when Game of Thrones first began, and he and Ned Stark were close friends. Robert is also the father of fan favorite Gendry.
Robert killed Rhaegar with a single blow from his warhammer. Rhaegar was wearing armor encrusted with rubies, and the rubies were scattered under the water. Shortly after his death, Jaime killed Rhaegar’s dad, The Mad King.
Daenerys Is Jon Snow’s Aunt & Rhaegar Is Jon’s Father
This means that Daenerys is Jon Snow’s aunt and Rhaegar is Jon’s father. Lyanna Stark is his mom.
Here’s Jon Snow’s family tree, as shared on Reddit:
Rhaegar took Lyanna to the Tower of Joy, where she gave birth to Jon. After Ned found her dying in the Tower, she gave Jon to Ned and he swore to protect his nephew. She told him that Rob would kill the baby if he knew. (Another hint of Jon’s parentage is that the King’s Guard was protecting Lyanna and her baby, and the guards only protect royalty.)
As disturbing as the aunt-nephew thing is, it’s not that strange for the Targaryen side of the family in the Game of Thrones universe. Targaryens tend to prefer marrying other Targaryens so they can preserve the bloodline. Their blood is thought to give them magic, such as the ability to ride dragons, so they typically try to stay pure. However, it’s rumored that this might be part of the reason Aerys went mad. (There’s another rumor that it has to do with Bran, which I personally prefer.)
Here’s a comprehensive family tree shared on Reddit of almost all the characters:
Dany was likely already clued into a possible familial relation with Jon after seeing him ride Rhaegal. The question now is whether Jon will want to claim the Iron Throne, since he has a stronger claim to it than she does. I personally don’t think he will, since he’s never wanted any of the titles thrust upon him.