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GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “Sons of the Harpy” (S5, E4)

GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “Sons of the Harpy” (S5, E4)

Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.

Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.


Season 5, Episode 4: “High Sparrow”

Original Air Date: May 3rd, 2015
Director: Mark Mylod
Written by: Dave Hill

The revelation that Jon Snow‘s real parents are Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen wasn’t surprising–the importance of his character, combined with the ample amount of circumstantial evidence pointing towards the truth, made it the most popular fan theory, with good reason. However, on a series re-watch, the many clues about his true parentage stand out for a very different reason–one that may indicate the new King in the North’s secret might not be as well hidden as we think.


As far as we know, only a handful of people in Westeros know about Jon Snow’s birth: Howland Reed, who was there; Bran Stark who saw it in a vision; and the women who helped deliver the baby. But in the fourth episode of season five, “Sons of the Harpy,” two smart, informed characters both question Jon Snow and the events surrounding his birth.

The first comes from Stannis, when he and his wife Selyse are discussing the new Lord Commander. She says he admires him, and when Stannis confirms that, Selyse derisively describes him as a “bastard by some tavern slut.”


Stannis, who knew Ned Stark and knew how honorable he was, isn’t sure he agrees with that popular belief: “Perhaps, but that wasn’t Ned Stark’s way.” It’s a short, quick line, and the topic is immediately dropped. But it’s telling that someone close to the events of Jon’s birth, and someone who understood the man Ned Stark was, doubts the validity of Jon being Ned’s bastard.

Later in the episode, in the crypts of Winterfell in front of Lyanna’s tomb, Baelish tells Sansa about the infamous Tourney of Harrenhaal (you can read all about that in the link below), where Rhaegar named Lyanna the Queen of Love and Beauty instead of his wife, an act that set Robert’s Rebellion in motion.

Additional Reading: Why Rhaegar Targaryen Fell In Love With Lyanna Stark

In response to Littlefinger’s story, Sansa says, “Yes, he chose her–and then he kidnapped her and raped her.” Baelish then gives her a curious, knowing look, one that indicates that commonly told story isn’t true either.


So we have two very different characters, with two very different perspectives, who were both witnesses to what happened, both doubting the stories that surround Lyanna, Rhaegar, Ned, and Jon. And now we know Stannis and Baelish were completely correct to do so.

Jon did come into the world right after the end of Robert’s Rebellion, which truly ended with the death of Lyanna Stark at the Tower of Joy. Also, the events surrounding her “kidnapping” from Rhaegar never added up. Even if Stannis never put those pieces of the puzzle together, he knew the truth didn’t make sense. This can be compared to how Baelish knows Lyanna Stark, the indomitable She-Wolf, was unlikely to be taken against her will.


If those two could see through the stories, is it too much to think that someone else could too? And if so, what does that mean for Jon Snow and his future?

Even if many of the people involved with Robert’s Rebellion are dead, Varys, a man whose life is learning secrets, had a front row seat to all of it. We know his predilection towards House Targaryen (forget Daenerys–he was the only one who pleaded with the Mad King not to let Tywin’s forces to enter the city the day he died). Could he prove to be Jon Snow’s greatest and most secret ally, and a way to connect Jon with his aunt Daenerys?

And what about the many noble houses and lords that fought on both sides in the war? Surely there are many other smart, informed people in Westeros who have the same questions Stannis and Baelish did. Might they see Jon as the true heir to the throne and a way to unite a fractured country ravaged by ongoing civil wars?


Of course, for as many people that might see Jon as a possible ruler, there would surely be just as many that would see him as their greatest enemy. If Cersei, or even Jaime, were to learn the truth about Jon, he would become an even greater threat to House Lannister. Even Daenerys herself, who rose from nothing to the height of a conqueror and is sailing to claim the Iron Throne, might feel threatened by a male heir.

Plus, the uncertainty of how Sansa feels about Jon getting credit for retaking the North, when she believes she was the one who saved the day with the Knights of the Vale, means even within Winterfell he might have an enemy from someone he views as his greatest natural ally.


Then there’s Baelish, whose ambition is already threatened by the King in the North. If he already knows the truth about who Jon is, or figures it out, he won’t hesitate to eliminate Jon immediately.

Jon Snow doesn’t know the truth about his parents yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s quite the secret we think it is, and it’s a secret that poses as many dangers as it does promises. The son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen would be a powerful figure, and people in power don’t often survive long in this world.

But what do you think? How many others might know the truth about Jon? And what could that mean for him going forward? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Images: HBO

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