Game Of Thrones Season 7 is the season of fan service, as the show has passed the books and every episode so far has contained at least one major event or revelation. Game Of Thrones Season 7, Episode 5, "Eastwatch," was no exception, and the show just confirmed a major theory that fans have been speculating about for literally decades.
The revelation came during a deceptively inconspicuous scene between Sam and Gilly, before they bailed on Sam’s training at the Citadel like high school drop-out thieves in the night. Gilly reveals to Sam that she’s been reading the records of a High Septon Maynard–a character who’s never come up in the books, by the way–and lets slip some information that Sam finds totally inconsequential: That Prince Rhaegar Targaryen apparently got his first marriage annulled and took the hand of another.
"Maynard says here that he issued an annullment for Prince Rhaegar and re-married him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne," Gilly says, to utter indifference from good old Samwell Tarly.
Here’s why that matters: It means that Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, Daenerys’s older brother, had his marriage to Elia Martell annulled and married Lyanna Stark. That means Jon isn’t a bastard at all, but a true Targaryan. How’s Jon Targaryen sound to y’all?
Game of Thrones previously established pretty clearly that Jon is Lyanna’s son, not Ned Stark’s. At the end of Season 6, Bran watched Lyanna, his aunt, hand a baby to his father, Ned. Fans who were paying attention easily picked up on the fact that Lyanna was (allegedly!) kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen, and that the baby is likely his.
Littlefinger told Sansa in season 6 that Rhaegar raped Lyanna, which fans were rightly skeptical of. And book readers have for years suspected that Rhaegar may have married the wolf girl in secret. We’ve combed through clues from the books and other sources, from interviews with author George R.R. Martin himself to passages from the official Westeros encyclopedia, The World of Ice and Fire. But it’s always been just a theory.
In the show there have been countless clues hinting at Jon’s real parentage, many subtle, others less so–like the fact Jon in this episode was able to pet Dany’s biggest dragon, Drogon, like it’s a docile puppy. But so far even the most dedicated decipherers have been unable to find concrete proof that Jon’s not a bastard. Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 5 just changed that.
Fans are likely very happy now, in retrospect, that Shireen Baratheon taught Gilly the Wildling how to read.