The Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones saw many of Westeros' major players finally meeting face-to-face, and that ending left viewers with plenty of hype for the eighth and final season of the HBO series. It's the long-awaited reveal of Rhaegar and Lyanna's son's name that has readers diving back into George R.R. Martin's novels however, because everyone's looking for clues about Aegon Targaryen from the Game of Thrones books.
Spoiler warning: Major spoilers about the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale to follow. If you don't want the episode's biggest reveal spoiled for you, I suggest reading something else.
In the seventh episode of Game of Thrones Season 7, titled "The Dragon and the Wolf," Daenerys Targaryen and her closest allies finally make it to King's Landing, armed with a captive White Walker that they hope will convince Cersei Lannister to call a winter-long truce. Afterward, as Jon Snow sails north with Daenerys, the action cuts to show Samwell Tarly making his way to Winterfell, where he finally swaps information with the Three-Eyed Raven, formerly known as Bran Stark.
Because he's now the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran can see pretty much anything that has ever happened, or that is happening right now. Bran knows that Jon was not his father's bastard son, but the child of his late aunt, Lyanna Stark, and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the Mad King's eldest son and Daenerys' older brother. But when he tells Sam that Jon's name should really be "Jon Sand" — because he was born in Dorne, and Dornish bastards are called Sand — we find out what Bran hasn't seen yet.
As a Maester-in-training, Sam had access to a lot of ancient lore, including a successful remedy for Greyscale. Thanks to Gilly, Sam has discovered a passage in Maester Maynard's private journal detailing how Prince Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia Martell annulled so that he could marry Lyanna in Dorne. The old Maester even recorded the name of the newlyweds' child: Aegon Targaryen.
Here's what we know about Aegon Targaryen from the Game of Thrones books.
1His Parents Sparked A Revolution To Bring Him Into The World
Before Rhaegar and Lyanna married, they were both involved in serious relationships with other people. Rhaegar had married and fathered two children with Oberyn Martell's sister Elia, and Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon. When she eloped with Rhaegar, the Starks and their allies interpreted their absconding as kidnapping, and so began Robert's Rebellion: the year-long campaign to destroy the Targaryens.
2He Is The True Heir To The Iron Throne
After Robert killed Rhaegar in battle, the Mad King — presumably knowing that his son had annulled his union with his first wife and remarried — declared his other trueborn son, Viserys, as the heir to the Iron Throne. As we all know, Viserys was a despicable person who would have been just as awful a king as his father was, and Daenerys did not hesitate to stake her claim on Westeros once he was out of the picture. But as the — probably — only living son of Prince Rhaegar, Jon/Aegon would be first in line for the Iron Throne before his aunt, queen, and now lover, Daenerys. Whether or not he will want the throne is a matter to be resolved next season.
3He's Not The First Aegon Targaryen To Live In Westeros
All in all, there have been five Targaryen kings named Aegon, the last of which was Aegon V, Jon/Aegon's great-great-grandfather. The most celebrated of them, though, was Aegon I, also known as Aegon the Conqueror, who united the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros from the back of the dragon Balerion. But when it comes to Jon/Aegon, things get a bit more complicated...
4He Might Not Be The Only Living Aegon Targaryen
OK, so this one only goes for the books, because there has been absolutely zero evidence that HBO's Game of Thrones will pursue this plotline, but there might actually be two Aegon Targaryens alive right now, each of whom is the son of Prince Rhaegar. Confused? Don't be.
Rhaegar and Elia's firstborn son was also named Aegon, and would have become King Aegon VI Targaryen, had he inherited the Iron Throne from his father. But little baby Aegon was killed during Robert's Rebellion, along with his mother and sister, by the Mountain. Or was he?
In the books, a man named Young Griff claims to be Aegon Targaryen, the son of Rhaegar and Elia. He's supported in this by Varys, who says he swapped the real baby Targaryen out for a commoner's child, who later died at the hands of the Mountain. Whether or not Young Griff is actually Rhaegar's son remains to be seen, but if he is, then Jon Snow isn't the only Aegon Targaryen alive in Westeros.
5So Wait A Minute ... Rhaegar Targaryen Had Two Sons Named Aegon?
Yes, he did. Here's the thing, Prince Rhaegar was a sucker for a good prophecy. He grew up believing that he was Azor Ahai, the Prince Who Was Promised, and destined to defend Westeros from the White Walkers. Later, Rhaegar decided that his son was the actual prince of prophecy.
He also believed that there needed to be three Targaryen children, one for each head of their house's dragon crest. After Elia gave birth to little Aegon, Rhaegar told her that there must be another child. But she was not healthy enough to have another baby, which may have led the prophecy-obsessed Rhaegar's eyes and heart to wander north. For whatever the reason, Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia terminated, wed Lyanna, and through his second wife had his third child, who was also named Aegon Targaryen.
But wait, there's more! Jon/Aegon was born at the end of Robert's Rebellion, after Rhaegar, Elia, and their children were already dead. It's possible that Lyanna knew her husband and his other family had been killed, and named her son Aegon in tribute to the Targaryen prince's firstborn son.
6So Is Jon/Aegon The Prince Who Was Promised?
That's ... difficult to say. The prophecy about Azor Ahai's return reads:
There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.
There are a lot of fan theories about who the Prince Who Was Promised really is, with Jon and Daenerys as popular contenders. (As Missandei revealed this season, the High Valyrian word that is normally translated as "prince" has no gender.) But it's possible that Rhaegar's original belief was right all along: that he was Azor Ahai, and Jon/Aegon is the famed weapon called Lightbringer, which will drive out the White Walkers.