Rhaegar: was Jon’s father the true hero of Game of Thrones?

Game of Thrones Season 7 finally confirmed
one of the biggest secrets in the series – the father of Jon Snow is Rhaegar Targaryen. Rhaegar died some fifteen years before the
main story, but he’s an important and mysterious character, connected to prophecy, and political
plots, with complex relationships with Lyanna Stark and Elia Martell. Rhaegar’s actions shape the course of the
story – with the fall of House Targaryen in Robert’s Rebellion, and the birth of
Jon Snow, to the fate of Westeros in its fight against darkness. So let’s work out who Rhaegar was, and what
he means for the future of Thrones. Before Tommen and Joffrey and Robert, the
King of Westeros was Aerys Targaryen. Prince Rhaegar was Aerys’ son and heir – and
he was the brother of Daenerys and Viserys. Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell – the
sister of Oberyn and Doran – and they had two young children, Rhaenys and Aegon. But one day, at a tournament at Harrenhal,
Rhaegar passed over his wife Elia and crowned Lyanna Stark – the sister of Ned Stark – as
Rhaegar’s “queen of love and beauty”, when Lyanna was promised to marry Robert Baratheon. So the Baratheons, Starks, and Martells were
mad about this, and the next year things got worse when Rhaegar ran off with Lyanna – and
Robert started a war to get her back . King Aerys was killed by Jaime Lannister. Daenerys and Viserys fled east. Elia Rhaenys and Aegon were killed by the
Mountain and Amory Lorch . Lyanna died giving birth to Jon Snow. And Rhaegar was killed in battle by Robert. The Targaryen dynasty, who had ruled Westeros
for hundreds of years, was over – Robert Baratheon became the new king. Fifteen years later, the first book begins
and it’s a mystery exactly what happened with Rhaegar and Lyanna. King Robert says that Rhaegar abducted and
raped Lyanna , but in Season 7 we learn that that’s a “lie” – and that Rhaegar
and Lyanna were in love . There’s this whole thing in the books hinting that Lyanna rode
in the Harrenhal tournament in disguise as a mystery knight, and Rhaegar was sent to
go find her – which was probably how they met. So they fell in love, secretly got married
, and ran away to this tower in Dorne to have sex all day until Rhaegar was forced to the
war with Robert – where he died “with Lyanna’s name on his lips” , while Lyanna
died in childbirth. It’s a tragic love story – but it’s
also something more complicated. Cause Rhaegar risked everything with Lyanna. He not only left his wife and children – he
started a war that destroyed his family and his kingdom and his life . And the reasons
behind this go deep into politics, and prophecy, and the fate of Westeros. When Rhaegar took Lyanna, he knew he was risking
conflict. Like, we’re told in the show that the war
was “built” on this “lie” that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna . But even if people knew
the truth that Lyanna loved Rhaegar, they’d still be mad. Cause this was not a society that let women
choose who they could love. Lyanna was a political tool that the Baratheons
and Starks were using to build a marriage alliance. By taking Lyanna, Rhaegar ruined those plans. He also insulted Dorne by rejecting his wife
Elia. So Rhaegar pissed off three of the most powerful
families in the realm which is never a good idea, but it was especially dangerous at that
time. The political situation was super delicate,
cause the king, Aerys Targaryen, was insane. By the time of the tourney at Harrenhal, it
was well known that Aerys was mad . He was violent and paranoid , obsessed with fire
, burning alive people he thought were his enemies . He was a terrible king, and lots
of powerful people wanted him gone. Tywin Lannister had beef with Aerys, and said
he’d prefer Rhaegar as king . And it’s hinted that the Baratheons, Starks, Arryns
and Tullys were forming an alliance against Aerys – marrying Lyanna was part of that
. And Rhaegar himself was apparently plotting against his father. We’re told that the whole Tourney of Harrenhal
began as a plot so Rhaegar could conspire with the great houses to force his dad into
retirement . So Rhaegar was playing the political game – he knew how dangerous things were,
and he was carefully scheming to work with the houses to peacefully replace the Mad King. Until he suddenly threw that all away by publicly
crowning Lyanna, insulting the very families who could have been allies against Aerys! Then by running off with Lyanna, he set off
the chain of events causing war. The Starks came angry to King’s Landing,
the Mad King killed those Starks, and demanded the heads of Robert and Ned. That was when the war began . And it doesn’t
seem to have much to do with the “lie” of an abduction. It was caused by the tension between King
Aerys and the great houses – which Rhaegar not only failed to fix, but made much worse
by taking Lyanna. Why did Rhaegar take such a terrible risk
at such a dangerous time? To understand why, we need to understand Rhaegar
– from the very beginning. We’re told that Rhaegar was good at everything
that he did . He was smart , and a great warrior , he played the harp, he was beautiful . He
was “Able … Determined, deliberate, dutiful [and] single-minded” . Jorah calls Rhaegar
“the last dragon” , and says he fought “valiantly”, “nobly” and “honourably”
before he “died” . Cersei, as a child, had a big crush on Rhaegar , and hoped to
marry him . Jon Connington also loves Rhaegar, his “silver prince” . And Rhaegar was
popular with the common people, who cheered him at tournaments . So, on the surface, Rhaegar
seems like a golden boy who everyone loved . [] But Barristan says that no one truly
knew Rhaegar . He had a private, secretive side . A melancholy, and “a sense … of
doom”, which was related to Rhaegar’s birth at Summerhall. [] Summerhall was a Targaryen “palace”
in the south . Rhaegar’s great-grandfather King Aegon the Fifth brought his family there
“to celebrate the impending birth” of Rhaegar . But Aegon also apparently tried
to perform a fiery magic ritual to hatch some dragon eggs , and the fire got out of control
and killed King Aegon and much of his family. [] It was during this tragedy at Summerhall,
“amongst the flames”, that Rhaella Targaryen gave birth to Rhaegar . “He was born in
grief … and that shadow hung over him all his days”. But it wasn’t just grief that haunted Rhaegar
– it was destiny. The Targaryens have always been guided by
visions and prophecy . The reason they survived the Doom and came to Westeros in the first
place was cause of the visions of Rhaegar’s ancestor, Daenys the Dreamer . We see Daeron
and Daemon Blackfyre having prophetic dreams in Dunk and Egg. And prophecy is the reason why Rhaegar was
born – his parents Aerys and Rhaella got married because a witch said that the prince
that was promised would be born of their line . The prince that was promised, or Azor Ahai,
is a hero prophesied to be reborn and save the world from darkness – which seems to
mean they’ll fight the white walkers. The prophecy’s vague and complex, and people
interpret it in different ways. Melisandre, for instance, thinks Stannis Baratheon
is Azor Ahai – which doesn’t work out – while others think Daenerys is the hero
. Rhaegar was also into this prophecy, and it guided him from a very young age. As a boy, Rhaegar wasn’t interested in playing
with other kids – he just wanted to read books. Until one day, Rhaegar read about Azor Ahai,
and came to believe that he was the prophesied hero. So young Rhaegar went to the master-at-arms,
and said he needed a sword – “It seems I must be a warrior”, he said . He talked
about this in letters with his great-granduncle Maester Aemon. Aemon agreed that Rhaegar was Azor Ahai, cause
according to prophecy, Azor Ahai will be reborn “amidst smoke and salt” . They thought
the smoke was from the fire that burned Summerhall when Rhaegar was born, and the salt was from
the tears that were shed there. So Rhaegar was convinced that he was Azor
Ahai, and since Azor Ahai’s described as a “warrior of fire” who will lead “the
fight against the dark” , Rhaegar trained and became a great fighter. From a young age, Rhaegar was willing to shape
his life around fulfilling the prophecy of Azor Ahai. But his beliefs about that prophecy later
changed. Aemon says Rhaegar came to believe that Azor
Ahai was not Rhaegar, but Rhaegar’s son, Aegon – the baby he had with Elia. Because the prophecy says that Azor Ahai will
be born “beneath a bleeding star” . And Rhaegar and Aemon thought that this star was
a comet that was seen the night Aegon was conceived . This connects to a vision that
Daenerys has in Book 2 – she sees her brother Rhaegar and his wife Elia with their baby
Aegon. Rhaegar says Aegon “is the prince that was
promised” , and “There must be one more … The dragon has three heads” . It’s
not clear how the heads of the dragon relate to the prophecy of Azor Ahai, but the heads
do connect to the symbolism of Rhaegar’s family, the Targaryens. Because their banner shows a dragon with three
heads, which represents the three siblings who led the house three hundred years ago
– Aegon, Rhaenys and Visenya . As Daenerys points out, these names connect to the names
of Rhaegar’s children Aegon and Rhaenys. So when Rhaegar says “There must be one
more”, it sounds like Rhaegar wants a third child called Visenya – to complete the set
of the dragon with three heads . But – there was problem. Rhaegar’s wife Elia was always “frail
and sickly” . And after giving birth to Aegon, she couldn’t bear any more children
. So if Rhaegar believed “There must be one more” – he’d need another woman
to produce his third child. And that is where Lyanna Stark comes in. It seems likely that part of the reason Rhaegar
ran off with Lyanna and fathered Jon Snow was that he wanted a third child to fit the
three heads of the dragon. If he was planning for a daughter called Visenya
to fit Aegon’s sisters – that didn’t work out. But he might have changed his mind about Aegon
and decided that this third child, Jon, would be Azor Ahai. Because Rhaegar says that Azor Ahai is connected
to something called the “song of ice and fire” – which happens to be the title
of the book series. Lyanna Stark of Winterfell is connected to
ice. And Rhaegar of the Targaryen dragonlords is
connected to fire. So a child of Lyanna and Rhaegar would be
a song – or a son – of ice and fire. There are many hints in the books that Jon
may be Azor Ahai. Melisandre prays “for a glimpse of Azor
Ahai”, and her god shows her Jon . There’s smoke and salt and a bloody star in the scene
where Jon dies. And Ned promised to protect Jon, making Jon
a “prince” that was literally “promised”. So Jon – not Aegon or Rhaegar – may be
the true hero. It might have been Lyanna who realised this
in the end – maybe she named Jon Aegon in the show – “What better name” for the
prince that was promised? So it seems that in the end Rhaegar achieved
his goal – his actions with Lyanna led to the birth of Jon, who may be the hero who’ll
save the world. But does that really justify Rhaegar’s actions? Couldn’t he find a way to father Jon without
abandoning his family, and causing a war that killed thousands? How could he be certain that taking Lyanna
was the only way? Vague prophecy seems like a convenient excuse
for Rhaegar to do things that he probably wanted to do anyway – like ignoring difficult
political realities, running away from his problems, and shacking up with a teenager
– cause remember, Lyanna was just fifteen, in the books, while Rhaegar was a twenty-something
year old prince. You can imagine his pitch to her – like,
‘hey, I’m married, and you’re engaged, but if we don’t bang, the world will literally
end – and did I mention I play the harp?’. And he takes her away to this tower he calls
the “tower of joy”, and they sit around making prophecy babies for like a year, meanwhile
the world is burning. Are these really the actions of a hero trying
to save the world? Or was Rhaegar a selfish idiot who killed
thousands cause he was thinking with his dick? There is one theory that ties things together
in a way that could justify all of Rhaegar’s actions – including the war and the deaths. Cause part of the prophecy of Azor Ahai is
that the hero will have a “burning sword” called Lightbringer . In Book 2, we’re told
a story of how the original sword was forged. Apparently Azor Ahai tried three times. The first sword broke when he tempered it
in water. The second sword broke when he tempered it
by stabbing the heart of a lion. But the third sword he tempered by stabbing
the heart of his beloved wife. She cried with anguish and ecstasy and died,
but her strength went into the steel, and that is how the true Lightbringer was forged,
and the world was saved . Some readers have noticed that this story kinda mirrors the
story of Rhaegar. Like Azor Ahai, he tried three times to fulfil
prophecy. First, he believed that he himself was Azor
Ahai – but he ended up dying in the waters of the river Trident. Second, Rhaegar believed that his son Aegon
would be Azor Ahai – but Aegon was killed in the war by the men of the Lion of Lannister,
Tywin . The third and final time, Rhaegar made a child with his beloved wife, Lyanna. He plunged his “sword” into her – conceiving
Jon – and she died in childbirth. So the first sword, broke in water, is Rhaegar
. The second sword, broke with a lion, is Aegon. And the third sword, the true Lightbringer,
forged with death of a beloved wife – is Jon Snow – “the sword in the darkness
… the light that brings the dawn” . So while Jon is the weapon who’ll beat the
white walkers, the hero Azor Ahai, is Rhaegar – dead years before the story even starts. This theory suggests that each of these deaths
was necessary, predestined, to save the world. Lyanna needed to die in childbirth. Aegon needed to die in the war. And Rhaegar needed to die at the Trident. Maybe he knew. Maybe Rhaegar saw this stuff in dreams like
his Targaryen ancestors did, and he knew that his fate was to die and to cause the deaths
of everyone he loved. And that’s why he could never be happy,
never be known , or fully love, or explain himself to anyone – that was his melancholy,
his sense of doom . Maybe his is the song of ice and fire – and from the beginning,
he knew how it ends . That’s one theory anyway. There’s a lot we still don’t know – about
Rhaegar’s goals, the politics, prophecy, heads of the dragon – and about Lyanna and
Elia – like how did Elia feel about her husband running off with another woman? Was she in on the prophecy stuff? And how much did Lyanna know? Between Lyanna and Elia and Rhaegar’s mother
Rhaella there are a lot of women in this story whose only role’s to be pretty, give birth,
then die – we know almost nothing about them, so it’d be nice to learn some more
about their stories. What is clear is that Rhaegar and his legacy
are tied to the fate of Westeros, and we’ll keep seeing his influence until the end. Alt Shift X now has a website at altshiftx.tv. We made it with our sponsor Squarespace, which
is an amazingly quick and easy way to make a beautiful website. There’s no mucking around with HTML or XML,
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or a theory about how the Mountain is actually Podrick on Hot Pie’s shoulders – make
it happen using squarespace.com/altshiftx for 10% off your site. The link’s below. Thanks for watching. Lots of the ideas in this video are from the
Game of Thrones community online, so check out the posts and essays linked below. Thanks to the Patrons, including DylanGeekozoid,
Ksenia Kalinina, Thor Alexander Almelid, LeighaBlaze, FaeryQuiene, Espen Bjørk, Szymon Polok, Raine
De Prinse, David Oakland, and Blackclover. Cheers.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. I had a weird ass dream where Jon and Dany were with eachother in the middle a dragon first jon was fucking it then dany turned it around and got fucked by it and yeah they kept on fighting for it

  2. imagine Melisandre asking R'hllor a sight of Azor Ahai, and he shows her Jon
    "what kind of Stannis is this?"

  3. In the end these two were just plain selfish! No actual great reasoning other then choosing their own wants that would lead to a war, the deaths of many including their family they willingly abandoned!

  4. First time I read The Game if Thrones, I legit thought Rhaegar was an asshole and had raped Lyanna and kidnapped her.
    Safe to say as I read the other books and watched the show and theory videos, my brain was blown apart lmao

  5. What really surprised me about the GoT TV series is that there's no mention at all of the survival of Aegon Targaryen (Rhaegar's and Elia Martell's son and true heir to the iron throne, even more so than Jon).
    For those of you who haven't read the books, he was actually never killed by the mountain, and was instead saved by Varys and Ilyrio Mopatis, who plotted to give the iron throne back to the Targaryens.

    By the end of the books he has started to conquer the east cost of westeros, and plans to take Storm's End.
    I think he is definately one of the three heads of the dragon, and if he doesn't die (which i hope he doesn't) an ally for Daenerys and Jon against the Night King.

  6. All these theories ppl make up, and GRRM could just come up and say, “nah, rhaegar was horny and wanted a girl with firm tits”

  7. Rhaegar was the biggest villain as his irresponsible actions led to the deaths of the Stark lord and his heir, the death of his wife and children, and eventually his father along with thousands of others. Why would he be obsessed with Azhor Hai, a myth from 8000 years ago about White Walkers/Others who hadn't showed up for all that time. The Targaryens were Johnny-come-latelys to Westeros. As it turned out in the show, it would have been better had Jon either died or never been born because he is the one who helped deliver a dragon to the Night King to get him across the Wall.

  8. INDEEPGEEK does an amazing series in R&L. You should check it out. It’s superlative, and I think you’d enjoy the philosophical analysis.

    I enjoyed this video immensely. Thank you for posting it.

  9. Idk much about this kind of stuff but isn’t there enough evidence like this to claim that Drogon is Azor Ahai or lightbringer?

  10. Azor Ahai should have tried tempering Lightbringer in hot oil after a few normalizing cycles. Not to sure why he jumped immediately from water to live animals.

  11. I read the books i seen the show i watched every george rr martin interview and D &D interviews ,i listend to everything about the topic from fans to creators i have never heard or read a definitive word were rhaegar is jon father …like nowhere …we get hints to lyana and rhaegar story we get visions seen by bran in the show and all the cluess on the topic but nowhere by nothing either written or shown on tv were anybody but bran say this …Sam finds out about marriage annulment bran see them getting married but again nothing showes rhaegar is the father …i mean im not saying he is not i just find it funny how everybody just accepted it as truth when george rr martin always says dont trust in the stories ..and the 3 eyed raven ? Well nan said in the beginning of the show "dont trust crows they all liars" she said that to bran …it could all be metaphorically like George saying to us dont belive nothing if you havent lived it if you havent experienced it..storys get warped misinterpretated…dont know is to obvious like if you read the books and watch tv show i knew this would be before even finishing 3 book..apsolutely no suprise when the show implied this…but im not sold 100 percent maybe 70 percent …

  12. Moral of the story? Lyanna got some of that bomb ass pu**y!! Seriously, sparks must have shot out of her ass lmao.

  13. Rhaegar died in episode 6 and he was a complete idiot. Somehow I find it hard to take this title serious.

  14. hopefully in the prequels we see more of the targaryen house. They are the most fascinating and powerful house in Westeros, shame we only saw viserys and daenerys in the show

  15. Yeah right. Rhaegar left his original wife and two kids, marry another girl to conceive his third child that meant absolutely nothing in the end. JON AND HIS SIBLINGS (RHAENYS AND AEGON) DESERVED BETTER!! DAMN IT HBO! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO EXILE JON TO THE WALL??

    Still so disappointed grrr.

  16. if you think is confusing, don't worry. NOTHING OF THIS MATTERS!!! in season 8 they all decided to give up on the very premise of the show. there will be no games, no more :))


    That's what you call messed up peeps.

  18. Well now everything's shit, atleast in the show. Hopefully it's not the real story and George has something planned for us

  19. Well at least now we know none of this matters, the show was ruin and ended with no deeper meaning or explanation about anything!

  20. I've always picture Rhaegar with the face and voice of Kurt Cobain. The sadness, the music talent, the face features…

  21. hmmm… 12;58 this reminds me of Jon Snow stabbing Daenerys. I still think that the story has more to go. GoT final chapter. Ofcourse it's the final chapter of Game of THRONES since the throne was destroyed by Drogon but it doesn't means the story is ended. May be something bigger is waiting for Jon Snow. That's why Azor Ahai a.k.a Jon is still alive. And maybe the knife he stabbed her with will be his weapon lightbringer to kill the final enemy?

  22. DandD can go fuck themselves. Only reason for Rhaegar and Lyanna's "love" is just to shock the audience.

  23. the prince that was promised drove the darkness away by plunging his sword in to the nazi thug, breaking the iron wheel at last. Women were liberated to be. Queen of the North, Kingsgurd.and freedom loving death defing explorers. well done

  24. the prince that was promised drove the darkness away by plunging his sword in to the nazi thug, breaking the iron wheel at last. Women were liberated to be. Queen of the North, Kingsgurd.and freedom loving death defing explorers. well done

  25. I really hope the book series ends differently than the TV series. Daenerys deserved so much better.

  26. I know this never happend but you were saying he plunged his sword into lyanna aka his duck sooo his dick is light bringer

  27. So everyone wanted king Aerys dead someone finally killed him and everyone calles him kingslayer in a bad way

  28. man, he had it all…and even had the support of the other great houses to overthrow his crazy, murderous dad. Threw it all away for another woman that was already engaged. That affair brought about war and chaos for the next 50 years.

  29. No, he cheated on his wife and ran away with another betrothed woman and it ended his family’s dynasty and ended in his death and the death of his ex wife, all of his kids, and his new wife.

    He’s a huge douche and caused everything that happened because he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants and he wasn’t as good of a fighter as Robert.

    Rhaegar is the cause of everything, because he was a terrible man when it really mattered.

  30. If he wanted another daughter I think he picked Lyanna because Vinsenya was warrior and fighter like Lyanna so if he wanted a another female I can see that being a reason

  31. Rhaegar is probably one of the most interesting characters in the entire show that we only see through a vision for a few seconds. I'd really like to see the story of Roberts rebellion and the events leading up to it play out in a prequel series

  32. The prince that was promised was Jon Snow, and the imminent darkness he was supposed to destroy weren’t the White Walkers, it was the Mad Queen

  33. Show only. In the books his parents will be Ned and Ashara. Too much foreshadowing for anything else to be the case. N+A=J

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