The Game of Thrones series took the world by storm when it first aired in 2011. George RR Martin created a masterpiece when he wrote the books, and the team behind the series did an excellent job of bringing this world to life. Each season was based on a book from the series, and eventually, the source material ran out around season 5 or 6. Furthermore, George RR Martin no longer was involved in the show’s production, leading to the creators, David Benioff, and D. B. Weiss, taking over completely. And while they did a fantastic job for the first few seasons, the last two were absolutely atrocious. One thing they got right though, was the big reveal that Jon Snow was of Targaryen descent and ‘The Prince that was promised. This ultimately amounted to nothing, but many people were confused about why Jon Snow did not have white hair or purple eyes, despite his lineage. So, how does his hair colour impact the storyline overall?
Disclaimer: There are spoilers for the series and books discussed within this article.
A lot of Jon’s heritage is hinted at within the book series. The fact that he is a Targaryen is obvious throughout the narrative. However, the focus falls more on whether his mother, Lyanna Stark, willingly married and conceived Jon with Rhaegar Targaryen. In the show specifically, it is revealed that she was in love with Rhaegar, and he never kidnapped her; they instead eloped. This was alongside the reveal that Jon was their son, which heavily took the focus from the couple. But both these factors are essential when discussing Jon Snow’s lack of white/silver hair and purple eyes.
What does Jon Snow look like in the books?
In the books, Jon Snow is described as having brown hair and eyes “a grey so dark they appear black”. He has dark hair and brown eyes in the show, which probably threw fans for a loop when his lineage was revealed. However, the lighter hair and eyes do reveal some resemblance to the Targaryen’s Valerian traits. But it is not so apparent that readers could have guessed based on his appearance. This is also added to by his environment, as all the Starks have dark hair and eyes as they reside in the North. In addition, fans often forget that while yes, Jon is a Targaryen, his mother was still a Stark. With this in mind, it should not be so far-fetched that he does not have the silver hair or purple eyes that come along with the Targaryen bloodline.
This can easily be explained by genetics. Lyanna Stark has dark hair, while Rhaegar has silver hair. So, with hair colour specifically, it would be a matter of which parent passed on a dominant genetic trait. Without getting too caught up in the scientific explanation, when Jon was conceived and the parent’s chromosomes paired up to form a child, Jon could have ended up with either hair colour, but the dark hair trait was more dominant.
Now another important thing to note when it comes to the bloodline of the Targaryens is the consistent incest taking place. To keep their bloodlines ‘pure’, a brother would be betrothed to a sister, which is very prominent in The House of Dragon TV series and books. So their unnatural silver hair and purple eyes are likely a byproduct of incest and a repeat of the same gene being passed down.
Not only that, but a Targaryen conceiving a child with someone, not of the same bloodline often results in the child having the other parent’s traits. An example of this is Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey Velaryon. Their mother is a ‘pure-blooded’ Targaryen, but their father is not which results in them having dark hair. And although they are considered bastards, they share the same amount of Targaryen blood as Jon Snow, making them just as much a part of the bloodline as it does Jon. So overall, Jon’s hair colour does not matter at the end of the day, but his blood does.
How Would Jon Snow Having White Hair Impact The Big Reveal?
If you look at this from the viewpoint of the individual telling the story, then it would be illogical to make your plot twist obvious from the start. And again, in the books, this can easily be guessed from the start as there are many hints dropped. Furthermore, there were some significant changes between the books and the show. One such example is the fact that Rhaegar already had a son named Aegon with Elia Martell. It is not precisely as straightforward in the books because this could mean various things (perhaps Aegon IV is not actually a Targaryen?). This created a large gap and made the reveal in the show more obvious. It is safe to assume Jon Snow’s character is combined with Aegon IV’s character in the show to make the plot easier to follow.
Furthermore, where is the fun in straight out telling viewers about Jon’s heritage from the beginning? If he had white hair, purple eyes, or both, there would be no big reveal. His darker hair perfectly keeps him off the radar and makes it much harder for fans to guess what would happen. If he sported the Targaryen traits, there would have been no plotline to follow in the final season. Although, the reveal could have been handled better. The hostile response Daenerys has when she finds out he is her nephew is far-fetched. This is after considering how accepting she was of the fact that she would have to marry her brother, Viserys in the first season.
Overall, Jon Snow’s white hair would have given away the show’s secret. A lot of the plot within the first seasons and within the books point toward Jon sitting on the Iron Throne by the end of the story. It makes the most sense, considering the emphasis placed on his bloodline. But he ultimately gets sent beyond the wall. Initially, the show was set to have more seasons with a more fleshed-out story for all its characters, but this was a fault on the part of the show creators. Hopefully, much of this specific storyline can be redeemed in the upcoming spin-off series, Snow, which will focus on Jon Snow as the main character. And hopefully, all fans’ questions will be answered.