SPOILER WARNING: Whilst the majority of this article relates to theory, speculation and deduction, it contains a few potential spoilers relating to the events of all 5 currently available A Song of Ice and Fire books, and to Season 1 & Season 2 of the Game of Thrones TV Series. Where possible, I have omitted any spoiler-esque information unless I consider it essential to the articles subject matter.
Who is Jon Snow? Our initial introduction to the 14-year old Jon Snow is in the first chapter of A Game of Thrones as he accompanies the man that we the readers are led to believe is his father, Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark, to execute a deserter of the Nights Watch. As the apparent bastard child of the Lord of Winterfelll, Jon might well have lived a better life than 90% of the population of Westeros, but he has been made to feel something of an outsider by Neds wife Cateyln Stark, since his presence has proved to be a constant reminder of Ned's supposed infidelity. The alienation that Jon feels arising from his bastard-born status ultimately compels him to leave his half-siblings in Winterfell and join his Uncle Benjen on The Wall as a man of the Nights Watch. Before he leaves, Ned makes a promise to Jon that, due to the interference of the Lannisters, he is ultimately unable to keep: The next time we see each other well talk about your mother, I promise What Id like to discuss in this article are the hints to Jon Snows true parentage that are presented within the books (and to a lesser extent the TV series). I believe that its quite clear from the raft of clues that the text provides us with that Jon Snow is not in fact Neds son he is actually the son of Neds sister Lyanna Stark, and the previous Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (brother of Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen). Not convinced? You will be