Thursday, September 29, 2022

This Targaryen Family Tree Reveals Jon Snow’s Parents — And Sets Up HBO’s House of the Dragon

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Editor’s Note, August 19, 2022: This piece was first published in 2016 and updated after the season seven finale of Game of Thrones. click here to read how the Targaryen family tree compares to HBO’s new prequel series House of the Dragon.

In Game of Thronesseason seven, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen finally fulfilled their slow-burning passion—though the confirmation of the “R+L=J” equation surrounding Jon’s parentage in the season six finale makes their love an incestuous aunt and cousin love.

The finale also revealed that Jon Snow’s real name is Aegon Targaryen – a twist that may have confused readers of the books. Game of Thrones is based on, because that’s also the name of Jon’s long-dead half-brother. At least we know this half brother existed in the show’s universe, because Oberyn Martell was famous against the mountain partly to avenge his death and the death of his sister. However, it is not clear whether his name was still Aegon.

Confused? That is understandable. To know why Lyanna Stark wanted to name her son Aegon with her dying breath, you may need a refresher on the immense Targaryen dynasty – the family that ruled all of Westeros for three centuries. And if you’re having trouble remembering the role the original Aegon, Jon’s namesake, played in this litany of names, you’re in luck: an enterprising fan artist has drawn the entire House Targaryen family tree, and the results are as instructive as they are beautiful .

The work of DeviantArtist user Maryon B. is a beautiful shot about the complicated, once-mighty dynasty of the Targaryens which is also a handy reminder of where Jon Snow fits into it all (click here for the full version):

Maryon is a 28-year-old French freelance artist and video game developer currently living in Helsinki. She is also a die hard Game of Thrones fan, which might explain why she illustrated the entire lineage of House Targaryen (home of one Daenerys, Mother of Dragons) from George RR Martin’s A song of ice and fire series of novels — although, as she says in her description of the project on DeviantArt“I DON’T EVEN LIKE HOME TARGARYEN WHY DID I DO THIS[?]”

“I actually started the Tree out of spite because all of their descriptions (and fan representations) make them look the same — beautiful, silver-haired and purple eyes,” she told cafemadrid via email in 2016, after showing the tree for it. first, “and it frustrated me to see them as elf clones.”

Maryon’s frustration is understandable. The Targaryens are much more than beautiful blondes with big pets, and their intricate dynasty has huge implications for the present and future of Westeros.

The name “Aegon” evokes the men who united all of Westeros – until Jon Snow’s father accidentally helped destroy the Empire

Not shown in this photo: Rhaegar’s other marriage to Lyanna Stark and the new Aegon (aka Jon Snow).

As Game of Thrones fans have heard time and again that the mighty Targaryen family united the Seven Kingdoms. This is mainly due to the first Aegon Targaryen, known as Aegon the Conqueror. Several other Aegons followed, including the wise and kind Aegon V, better known to his fans as Martin’s “Egg” Dunk and egg prequel novellas.

But although Egg stabilized and ruled the country over a harsh winter, the end of his reign wasn’t exactly a high point in your career. And unfortunately for Westeros, Aegon V’s grandson was the “Mad King,” Aerys II, better known as Daenerys’ late father.

Aerys’ son, Rhaegar Targaryen – brother of Daenerys, the Crown Prince and heir to the throne, who we now also know as Jon Snow’s father – fell in love with Lyanna Stark, Ned Stark’s sister, even though he was already married. with Elijah Martel. Another complication: Lyanna was already engaged to Robert Baratheon.

Game of Thrones season seven revealed crucial new context for this backstory: we now know that Rhaegar had secretly dissolved his marriage to Elijah so that he could marry Lyanna Stark sometime before his death and the birth of their son. But Robert believed (or wanted to believe) that Rhaegar had kidnapped and raped Lyanna – and the resulting conflict culminated in a gruesome end to the peace between the families, when the mad king burned Lyanna’s father, Rickard Stark, alive while her brother Brandon watched. This led to a rebellion known as Robert’s Rebellion, in which the Baratheons joined House Stark to fight and eventually overthrow the Targaryens.

During Robert’s Rebellion, Robert defeated Rhaegar in battle. After Rhaegar’s death, Robert’s terrifying henchman Gregor Clegane murdered Rhaegar’s wife – or, as we now know, his former wife – Elijah Martell, and Rhaegar’s two young children, Aegon and Rhaenys. The season seven finale revealed that Lyanna told Ned Stark shortly after that her child, Rhaegar’s last remaining son, was also named Aegon.

Will Jon Snow live up to the reputation of Aegon the Conqueror and Aegon V? Given all the violence and conflict that led to his birth, we can only hope.

If you think this part of the Targaryen heritage is confusing, wait until you see the whole lineage

Targaryen’s full family tree contains over 100 characters and spans 16 generations of completely fictional history.

Here’s a look at just one character from this broad tapestry: the second Rhaenys Targaryen. Known in the annals of Westeros history as the “queen who never was,” Rhaenys was a dragon rider whose claim to the throne was passed in favor of her brother. She married Corlys Velaryon and died at age 52 during a fight on Dragonback:

Rhaenys Targaryen
poly-m / DeviantArt

Rhaenys’ great-grandmother was Alyssa Velaryon, who joined the Targaryen dynasty by marrying Aenys I, a politically shrewd man who ascended the throne amid great turmoil. They had six children before Aenys was killed and Alyssa was taken hostage by her husband’s half-brother, Maegor. (And from there things get For real complicated.)

“Dead Targs, dead Targs everywhere.”
poly-m / DeviantArt

Further down the family tree, there’s House Blackfyre, an illegitimate house sanctioned by the lust-ridden King Aegon Targaryen IV, widely regarded as the worst king ever. His decision to legitimize all the bastard children he fathered with his many mistresses – announced from his deathbed – sparked a five-generation struggle for the throne known as the Blackfyre Rebellions.

House Blackfyre
poly-m / DeviantArt

Maryon says she came to Martin Song of Ice and Fire novels and related writing during the long hiatus between seasons two and three of Game of Thrones. She started the Targaryen family tree project more or less by accident after drawing Baelor Breakspear and Maekar, characters who feature prominently in Tales of Dunk and EggMartin’s aforementioned collection of related novellas set in the Song of Ice and Fire universe. Naturally, the project gained momentum:

[I]I didn’t get interested in their ancestors, so I worked from there. At first, I never thought I’d do the whole bunch, but when I realized I was already half way through just making Maekar’s offspring, I admitted, “While I’m at it, I might as well do the do the rest…”

Maryon says the project turned out to be “a very challenging artistic exercise, to keep coming up with facial diversity while retaining the same ‘silver hair-purple eyes’ features and some genetic similarities.”

“I had to get inspired and study the faces of real people, so I’ve learned a lot since I started.”

Above all, a look at the full family tree reveals how often and how strategically the Targaryens secured the future of their line by marrying other powerful families like the Martells, the Baratheons and the Velaryons, just as many figures in real world history have done. And when Maryon was done, she said she was going to love the Targaryens more than when she started:

“[I]In the end, I appreciated House Targaryen much more, as I now share a personal story with each of them, and I would recommend to anyone who Game of Thrones to be curious about them because they have a lot of stories to tell.”

You can see these and many more fragments from the Targaryen family tree, as well as others Game of Thrones portraits, on Maryon’s DeviantArt Page. She is stated: that she hopes to eventually produce a printed version of the full family tree, but in the meantime she has a few more complicated ones Game of Thrones projects, including a collection from Major Arcana Tarot cards.

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