The world of Game of Thrones grows ampler by the year. With the release of House of the Dragon and the impending debut of a new HBO show post-GoT following Jon Snow, it seems like the series is back in the spotlight, with the usual quality standards we came to expect from the shows’ earlier seasons.
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Even though we now have more names to track on the ever-expanding world of TV Westeros, the list pales in comparison to what fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series are used to. It makes perfect sense, however: no one expects a TV show to be as profound as an ongoing series of epic high fantasy books — that doesn’t translate well to live-action at all.
Time constraints had to limit Game of Thrones’ focus to only a handful of characters, while readers are now used to keeping entire maps tracking every name and lineage in Westeros and Essos. An event that’s only mentioned in the show — but one which plays a pivotal part in the books — is the killing of Aegon and Rhaenys Targaryen, and their mother, Elia Martell.
A mere baby, this act of unspeakable cruelty is seen as one of the gravest sins of House Lannister. However, in recent books, it has been revealed that one of the Targaryen children, Aegon, might have survived the brutal attack. In a clever plot, Varys changed the babes before the attack, keeping the “Last Targaryen” hidden for years.
In A Dance with Dragons, it seems as if Aegon has finally resurfaced, becoming a considerable threat to King’s Landing. In the books, Tommen is still King, and the news doesn’t sit well with him at all. Aegon Targaryen is branded a pretender, with many still doubting the fantastic stories surrounding his origins.
Whether or not the man who was introduced as “Young Griff” is a Targaryen remains to be seen, but it seems as if fans have come up with the perfect way to introduce this character into the Game of Thrones mythos — and it has to do with HBO’s Jon Snow spin-off series.
By the end of Game of Thrones, we learned that one of the most prominent book fan theories of all time was true — in the show, at least: Jon Snow is a trueborn Targaryen. This revelation set in motion the events that would conclude in the dragonfire massacre of King’s Landing, and put a strain on Jon and Dany’s budding love.
Jon being a Targaryen means a lot for the series. For once, he’s the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne, being Prince Rhaegar Targaryen’s only trueborn son. After all, as we learned in one of the Rhaegar flashbacks, the Prince had annulled his marriage with Elia Martell, making Aegon a “Blackfyre”.
Before we delve deeper into who are the Blackfyres, and the significance of the Blackfyre Rebellions, let’s look at some basic facts established by the Game of Thrones show:
1- Jon Snow is a Targaryen.
2- His real name is Aegon Targaryen.
3- He is the one true heir to the Iron Throne due to his lineage.
4- He killed the “last” of the Targaryens, Daenerys.
All of these facts would indicate that, if “Aegon” Targaryen, aka Young Griff, enters the series, he would become Jon’s deadliest enemy. Not only has this supposed bastard from the North stolen his heir as the ruler of Westeros, but he has also stolen his lineage and even his name. However, for all intents and purposes, Rhaegar picked Jon and Lyanna Stark as his legal family, leaving Young Griff as a mere pretender. It’s a harsh reality, but so is every aspect of life in Westeros.
The Targaryens have a well-documented history of familiar conflicts and bloody wars. For reference, just look at House of the Dragon. While Game of Thrones focuses on the drama that emerges from the brittle relationships between the Westerosi noble families, it’s even more shocking to see that the same relentless violence can happen inside said families.
Enter the Blackfyre Rebellions.
Targaryen vs. Blackfyre
Recently, some fans have theorized that the HBO Jon Snow show could be about the Sixth Blackfyre Rebellion. What does this mean to Jon and the rest of Westeros? War, that’s what it means.
The Rebellions were a series of uprisings initiated by Targaryen bastards who claimed their rights to the Iron Throne. The name comes from a sword made of Valyrian Steel — the blade that was used to legitimize the first Blackfyre.
House Blackfyre has since been considered extinct, with the Fifth and final Blackfyre Rebellion proving to be their doom. However, considering Young Griff’s circumstances, fans believe that the man might choose to call himself Aegon Blackfyre, rallying his forces against Bran the Broken.
Let’s not forget that Bran’s crowning was not met with universal acclaim. There are still some in King’s Landing who would have preferred a Baratheon sitting on the Iron Throne, or even someone from the other noble houses. The Starks, as much as we love them, were not as respected or beloved by the people of King’s Landing.
Bran would become Griff’s first target, that is a given. The worst part is that Griff, if he called himself Aegon Targaryen, could amass a considerable army made from houses who still remember the violent killing of Elia Martell. At the very least, he’d have what’s left of House Martell as his feet, and maybe even the remains of the Golden Company.
Since Jon moved up to the Wall once again at the end of Game of Thrones — even though there’s no longer a White Walker threat up there — the HBO Jon Snow series could be about Jon’s confrontation against the Targaryen usurper: a final battle to determine who is the rightful heir to the Targaryen name.
A sixth Blackfyre Rebellion sounds like the ideal backdrop to a show about bastards and Targaryens, making this fan theory a rather compelling one. It would also give fans more insight into the prophecy of “The Prince that was promised,” as both Jon and Griff were considered for this role in the books and in the show.
Without a release date in sight or even an official synopsis, it’s theories like these that keep the Game of Thrones fan world alive, and it’s great to see these characters — and their complex relationships — getting some love from the fan community once again.
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Tell us, what do you want to see in HBO’s Jon Snow spin-off show?