For many people, this question might sound like just a simple query. However, for die-hard Game of Thrones fans, the matter of why does Jon Snow (a Targaryen) have black hair is a matter of heated debate and countless theories. Why is someone’s hair colour so important in the world of Game of Thrones? Because it might be undisputable evidence of said individual’s heritage, and that’s something that Game of Thrones doesn’t take lightly.
RELATED: King Viserys’ Prophecy Will Be Fulfilled In The Jon Snow Series
In Jon Snow’s case, however, having black hair becomes a paradox. In the early seasons, the fact that Jon had black hair was meaningless to the plot: he was, after all, Ned Stark’s bastard son. However, once his true parents were revealed, it became increasingly difficult to answer why Jon Snow had black hair.
Jon’s ebony locks contradict what we know about genetics in Game of Thrones and real life. It is usually the case that the parent’s genes are dominant, which is why Ned Stark was so surprised to see that Robert Baratheon’s dark brown hair wasn’t passed on to any of his children, thus confirming Cersei and Jaime’s affair.
Since that’s the case with hair in Game of Thrones, why does Jon Snow have black hair when his father, Rhaegar Targaryen, had silver hair? Shouldn’t he have the same white-ish hair that defines all members of the Targaryen family? The answer might not be as straightforward as one might hope.
RELATED: Could Viserys Targaryen Be The White Walker With The Ice Spear?
First, we have to consider why all the Targaryens have the same silver hair. This family has always been known throughout Westeros for two things: dragons and incest. Why does Jon Snow have black hair? Because he isn’t a “pure-blood” Targaryen: his mother, Lyanna Stark, has the same dark auburn, almost pure black hair as his, thus explaining, more or less, why his hair isn’t Targaryen silver.
In House of the Dragon, we see an example of the Targaryen silver hair as a recessive trait in Rhaenyra’s children, who all have their father’s – Harwin Strongs – brown hair.
If we follow the A Song of Ice and Fire books, we’ll find that Jon Snow also has dark hair in the novels, although his hair is described as being dark brown rather than jet black as it is in the show.
From a genetic perspective, it seems like the reason why Jon Snow has black hair is that his father’s genes couldn’t beat the Stark ones. In the words of Jon Arryn: “the seed is strong.”
There’s also another possibility that could explain why does Jon Snow have black hair. Instead of focusing on genetics and some other real-life knowledge about genetic traits and whatnot, let’s focus on what A Song of Ice and Fire really is: a fantasy series.
RELATED: Game Of Thrones’ Night King Would Be Perfect For Mortal Kombat
This answer might even sound downright cynical, but one of the reasons why Jon Snow has black hair is that it is convenient for the plot. If a Stark bastard was seen running around Winterfell with a full head of silver hair, it would raise some serious concerns from anyone. Targaryens had been reviled for years following the Mad King’s rule, so anyone with even a speck of silver on their head could have been considered an enemy of the new king.
If he is a Targaryen, why does Jon Snow have black hair? The reason could be as simple as that being the way for George R.R. Martin to hide Jon’s heritage from the readers for just a while longer.