In between Cersei's descent into full-blown, glorious, throne-snatching insanity, Arya getting stabby with Walder Frey, and Samwell Tarly, uhh, discovering some books, the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale found the time to check in with Bran north of the Wall.
While Season 6 has generally moved at lightning speed, it's easy to forget we almost discovered what happened in the Tower of Joy back in Episode 3, "Oathbreaker," before showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss hit pause on Bran's visions and made us wait it out. But with "The Winds of Winter" came the answers.
Or at least, some of the answers. While Lyanna gave her newborn to Ned and made him promise with her dying breath to protect the boy, she did not confirm the identity of the father, leading some to speculate that the Mad King Aerys could be Jon's father, which would in turn make Jon the brother, rather than the nephew, of Daenerys. In essence, the "R" of R+L=J was left deliberately ambiguous.
But if you were daring to dream of some insane plot twist in Season 7, the good folks at HBO just shut that possibility down in a very final way. Check out this infographic posted on MakingGameofThrones.com, which confirms once and for all that Rhaegar Targryen is indeed Jon Snow's father.
For an infographic-loving geek like myself who loves to observe how murderous and incestuous the Targs were, this is basically the best thing to happen since a very devoted Game of Thrones fan made a gorgeous visual Targaryen family tree.
The black lines with an arrow signpost a parent-child relationship, clearly indicating that Rhaegar fathered Jon, Rhaenys and Aegon. That begs the question of why Benioff and Weiss made the call not to have Lyanna confirm the father in "The Winds of Winter," but perhaps the knowledge that he was a Targaryen (an analysis of the words whispered by Lyanna suggests she named the baby "Aerys") was all Ned needed to keep the secret and protect the child from Robert.
And, really, it shouldn't be a surprise that there's no big twist in the cards here, as Game of Thrones has clearly moved away from the idea of shock story developments in favor of bringing things full circle as the Starks take back the North and Winter finally descends.
For Jon Snow, with the threat of the White Walkers looming, the immediate future currently poses a far greater threat than the secrets of his past. Will the reveal of his parentage change his priorities?
Who'll be first to discover Jon Snow's Targaryen DNA?