If you’d blinked, you could’ve missed it
Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5, “Eastwatch”
Game of Thrones season 7, episode 5, had a massive reveal for fans, but it wasn’t brought to you by dragons, or by Cersei’s insane battle tactics. Instead, it comes when Samwell Tarly is sitting frustrated in his library, and his partner Gilly starts practicing her reading on a book of records by the High Septon Maynard. “What’s an annulment?” she asks Sam. Her line of questioning starts out innocently enough, and then she mentions a Prince “Ragger” who had a secret ceremony in Dorne, where he set aside his lawful wife and married someone else. Sam interrupts Gilly to go off on another frustrated-about-work rant before the audience can learn any more. Poor Gilly, everyone who has friends who love their work-rants can relate to you trying to get a word in edgewise.
“Prince Ragger” is likely Jon Snow’s secret true father, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, and it can be assumed that he secretly married Jon’s mother, Lyanna Stark. R+L=J is confirmed yet again, but now, it looks like Jon may have been conceived under legally binding marital oaths. This would make Jon Snow the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, and probably the prince who was promised in the prophecy Melisandre believes in. It gives him a better claim to the throne than Daenerys Targaryen, who is Rhaegar’s younger sister, and also, weirdly, Jon’s aunt. Any legitimate child of Rhaegar, who was the crown prince and heir after the Mad King, would have a better claim than Daenerys.
This also explains why during Robert’s Rebellion, Rhaegar’s Kingsguard was stationed outside the Tower of Joy, guarding Lyanna, who was pregnant with Jon. As his legal wife, she might have been higher on the Kingsguard priority list, though it also might simply be true that he loved her more than his first wife and the two children he had with her. Both of those children, Rhaenys and Aegon, were killed by Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane during Robert’s Rebellion, so while they might have had legitimate claims to the throne even after the annulment (presuming it wasn’t on the basis of non-consummation or unfaithfulness), they’re no longer an issue.
This episode hinted at these connections in another scene as well. Jon bravely touches Daenerys’ snarling dragon Drogon, making him the only other person besides Daenerys and Tyrion to successfully do so on camera. Even Dany looks on in awe and trepidation at Jon’s courage. If she were ever to sic her dragons on Jon, perhaps he could withstand the heat and gain the title of the Unburnt as well. But there’s no telling for sure — Targaryens certainly aren’t all fireproof and heat-proof, given how Daenerys’ brother died. For the moment, it’s just worth knowing that Jon’s claim on the throne just become one step more legitimate — and that the information was revealed in an offhanded, low-key way, such that no one actually in the scene understood its significance or is planning on doing anything about it. It’s yet another reveal aimed strictly at the fans watching the series and tracking people’s claims on the Iron Throne — and probably screaming in frustration as the characters miss the clues the viewers are obsessing over.
Check out some images from S7