George R.R. Martin Slyly Hinted About That Jon Snow Reveal Back In 2002

Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 6 immediately follow.

Game of Thrones season finales tend to be packed to the brim with important reveals and exciting business, but "The Winds of Winter" was more stuffed with important details than just about any other episode in the entire series thus far. Among the many, many enormous things that happened, we learned the truth about Jon Snow's parentage. And while this has been a long-discussed theory amongst book readers for many years, it seems like series author George R.R. Martin quietly hinted at it over a decade ago. You can never accuse this guy of not playing the long game.jon snow

The reveal I'm speaking of from the episode "The Winds of Winter" was that Jon Snow is not the bastard son of the noble Eddard Stark, but the offspring of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, a revelation the presents a number of fascinating problems (and solutions) for the future.

Reddit (via ScreenCrush) dug up an old interview with Martin, dated February 28, 2002, where he is questioned about the parentage of A Song of Ice and Fire's three most popular characters:

Since all of their mothers died, who gave Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister their names? Mothers can name a child before birth, or during, or after, even while they are dying. Dany was most like named by her mother, Tyrion by his father, Jon by Ned.

Even if we're reading a little too much into this, Martin's choice of words here is very canny. Daenerys was named by her mother, Tyrion by his father and Jon by...Ned. In casual conversation, that's not something you'd notice. In retrospect, it's the kind of thing that makes you go "You sly dog, you!" before offering to buy Mr. Martin a drink should you ever encounter him. Of course, the fact that he doesn't specifically mention Tywin's name when mentioning Tyrion's father should interest fans who are on board with another of the series' more batty theories.

Martin is known for embedding vital details and clues early in his novels, only for them to pay off far later. When Daenerys visits the House of the Undying in A Clash of Kings, she sees visions that strongly suggest the upcoming massacre of House Stark at the Red Wedding, an even that wouldn't occur until the next book, A Storm of Swords. One of Martin's more shocking long cons recently came into play during the most recent season of Game of Thrones, when it was revealed that Hodor's odd name and simpleminded mannerisms were the result of psychic time travel.

With Game of Thrones set to end relatively soon, we can surely expect more of Martin's dominoes to start tumbling. Whether or not he'll get to knock over more himself in his long-gestating sixth novel in the series remains unknown.