Jon Snow's True Birth Name Revealed, Plus A Book Update From George R.R. Martin

Season six of HBO's mega-hit fantasy series Game of Thrones finally answered a question that fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels had been speculating about for years: the identity of Jon Snow's true parents. But a popular publication may have just confirmed something else that's been the subject of speculation for years: Jon Snow's real name. Plus, Martin gives another update about his long-awaited sixth Ice and Fire book, The Winds of Winter.

Let's tackle the Jon Snow stuff first. Spoilers ahead for season six of GOT, but that season's tenth episode revealed that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is not actually the bastard son of Ned Stark, but is in fact the son of Ned's sister Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, which means Jon is Dany's nephew. But is Jon his real name?

On the show, a dying Lyanna whispers something into Ned's ear after giving birth to Jon, and though HBO didn't provide subtitles for that comment, some lip readers have taken to the internet and claimed she said the word "Jaehaerys." Now, a Reddit post with a leaked page from next month's Empire Magazine seems to confirm that name:

As we saw in the last episode of season 6, Bran's psychic time-traveling 'green sight' revealed the true nature of Jon's birth heritage and his real name: Jaehaerys Targaryen. "Bran's now in this precarious situation in which it's just him and Meera, and he has all of this information that could change the entire story," said [Bran actor] Isaac Hempstead Wright. And it's not just about Jon. "He knows all about the White Walkers too."

To be clear, that name is still unofficial because HBO and Martin himself haven't confirmed it to be true...yet. This could simply be a case of an Empire writer jumping the gun and confusing a fan theory as fact. But if it is true, the name Jaehaerys could be another sign that Jon is the legendary Prince That Was Promised, a figure in an ancient prophesy who is supposed to "deliver the world from darkness." We'll have to see how this all plays out.

Meanwhile, Martin took to the comments section of his website to address a fan's complaint that Martin is updating fans more about his Wild Cards series than the next Song of Ice and Fire book The Winds of Winter, which he's been agonizing to finish for years. He's pretty blunt here:

I do post about Ice & Fire and GAME OF THRONES whenever there is actual news to report. Do you really want or need weekly [Winds of Winter] posts all saying, "Still working on it, not done yet?" I know some writers make posts like, "Wrote three pages today," but that's never been my way. And when I tried doing posts like that, back when I was working on DANCE WITH DRAGONS, that just seemed to make people angry as well.

You say, "Give us something," but it seems to me I have... a number of sample chapters have been posted on my website, and I've read more of them at cons. It's never enough. Okay, fair 'nuff, the only thing I can give that will satisfy is the finished book, and that's what I'm trying to deliver.

At this point, I've made peace with the idea that Martin might never actually finish his acclaimed book series. The longer we wait for Winds, the less likely it seems that he'll ever complete the tale in print. But hey, at least he's given us some of the best fantasy writing of all time to pore over again while we wait.