Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryn are the true parents of Jon Stark. This was a long believed theory better known as R+L=J, and it captivated the GOT audience until it was more or less confirmed by the television show. It had long been my feeling that sufficient evidence for R+L=J existed in the novels. Enough to all but put that theory to bed as truth. It’s not Jon Starks parents that concern me however, it is the Imp’s.
I’m here to talk about the less popular theory: the MK+JL=I theory. Ok that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so well. Let me rephrase: The Mad King, probably by force or coercion, had sex with Lady Joanna Lannister, and thus fathered the Imp on her. This would make Tyrion a half brother to the Mother of Dragons, and a Dragon in his own right.
First let me say, I have no idea if the show will go down this path. All of my evidence of this theory comes from the books. The showed has cared very little about certain details that lend great support for my theory.
It’s not exactly “my” theory. I did come up with it independently years ago, but after some internet research I was not at all surprised to see how many people felt the same way I did. If you do a google search in 2017 there are about 900 articles on it. I have yet to see one truly make a convincing argument, most just posit the theory. So why do so many people feel this way, and why would someone watching the show have no clue? I feel the need to lay out all the evidence. It’s starts with Tyrion’s appearance.
Peter Dinklage is great in GOT, but Peter Dinklage looks nothing like Tyrion as he is described in the books. The first description of Tyrion comes from Jon Snow’s first POV chapter when the King has come to Winterfell:
“Then he saw the other one, waddling along half-hidden by his brother’s side. Tyrion Lannister, the youngest of Lord Tywin’s brood and by far the ugliest. All that the God’s had given to Cersei and Jamie, they had denied Tyrion. He was a dwarf, half his brother’s height, struggling to keep pace on stunted legs. His head was too large for his body, with a brute’s squashed in face beneath a swollen shelf of brow. One green eye and one black peered out from under a lank fall of hair so blond it seemed white. Jon watched him with fascination”
If you go back and watch the first episode of GOT, you can see they did a half-hearted attempt at an accurate appearance. That is to say they kinda dyed his hair blond for one episode. Please imagine if you will the book version of the Imp, with his one green and one black eye, and most importantly his hair that’s “so blonde it seemed white.” With this image in mind we will delve deeper into the theory.
We need to talk about appearance and how it relates to family traits in the ASOIAF series. GRRM places a huge emphasis on appearances relation to heritage. A quote from Illyrio about Dany in her first POV chapter:
“Look at her. That silver-gold hair, those purple eyes…she is the blood of old Valyria, no doubt, no doubt.”
I am putting fourth the proposition that Tyrion’s hair bears a much closer resemblance to the traditional colorings of houses with blood ties to old Valyria. Houses like Targaryen, Dayne and Velaryon, than that of house Lannister. I am also putting fourth the proposition that Tyrion’s black eye is not black at all but in fact very dark purple. Why does he have pale hair and a purple eye? His dad is the Mad King.
Now I know what you might be thinking right now. You think making his black eye into a purple eye is a bit convenient. Except there is very real precedence for confusing a black eye with purple. It comes from AFFC, the fourth installment of ASOIAF. Arianne Martel is in Dorne with Myrcella Lannister, and she is in the presence of a knight named Gerold Dayne, better known as Darkstar. House Dayne is also a family with Valyrian roots and they bear the same physical characteristics as Targaryens:
Darkstar by Mathia Arkoniel ©
He is highborn enough to make a worthy consort, she thought. Father would question my good sense, but our children would be as beautiful as dragonlords. If there was a handsomer man in Dorne, she did not know him. Ser Gerold had an aquiline nose, high cheekbones, a strong jaw. He kept his face clean shaven, but his this hair fell to his collar like a silver glacier divided by a streak of midnight black. His eyes seemed black as he sat outlined against the dying sun, sharpening his steel, but she had looked at them from a closer vantage and she knew they were purple. Dark Purple. Dark and Angry.
The physical characteristics that link Tyrion to House Targaryen are undeniable. He still has a green eye though, and green eyes are a Lannister trait. If Lord Tywin isn’t his father then why the green eye? This is a question you might be asking right now, and I’m glad you did. Let’s talk about Lady Joanna, mother to Cersei, Jamie and Tyrion. She didn’t marry into the Lannister family. She was already a Lannister, she was Lord Tywin’s first cousin. This is very important and why Tyrion despite being a Targaryen is also still a Lannister, and therefore bears Targaryen traits in both personality and physicality.
If you’re a smart author, like I believe GRRM to be, and you’re writing a character like Tyrion, a secret Targaryen, then you’re gonna want to leave little clues to the reader. You will also want to leave those clues very early on, so that the hint of truth was always there from the beginning.
An excerpt from about four pages into Tyrion’s very first POV chapter:
Tyrion had a morbid fascination with dragons. When he had first come to King’s Landing for his sister’s wedding to Robert Baratheon, he had made a point to seek out the dragon skulls that had hung on the walls of Targaryen’s throne room..he found the skulls in a dank cellar where they had been stored.
He had thought to find them impressive, perhaps even frightening He had not thought to find them beautiful.
Later in the chapter a conversation with Jon Snow:
“What are you reading about?” he asked.
“Dragons,” Tyrion told him.
“What good is that? There are no more dragons,” the boy said with the easy certainty of youth.
“So they say,” Tyrion replied. “Sad, isn’t it? When I was your age, I used to dream of having a dragon of my own.”
“You did?” the boy said suspiciously. Perhaps he thought Tyrion was making fun of him.”Oh, yes. Even a stunted, twisted, ugly little boy can look down over the world when he’s seated on a dragon’s back.”Tyrion pushed the bearskin aside and climbed to his feet. “I used to start fires in the bowels of Casterly Rock and stare at the flames for hours, pretending they were dragonfire. Sometimes I’d imagine my father burning. At other times, my sister.”
Is this something GRRM brings up but doesn’t revisit? Nope. An excerpt from Tyrion’s second POV chapter in ADWD:
If I drink enough fire wine, he told himself, perhaps I’ll dream of dragons.
When he was still a lonely child in the depths of Casterly Rock, he oft rode dragons through the nights, pretending he was some lost Targaryen princeling, or a Valyrian dragonlord soaring high o’er fields and mountains.
Once, when his uncles asked him what gift he wanted for his nameday, he begged them for a dragon.”It wouldn’t need to be a big one. It could be little, like I am.” His uncle Gerion thought that was the funniest thing he had ever heard, but his uncle Tygett said, “The last dragon died a century ago, lad.” That had seemed so monstrously unfair that the boy had cried himself to sleep that night.
We have some good evidence here but to make a baby two people have to have sex, or so I’m told. We know that Tywin had sex with Joanna but did the Mad King? Let us first ask the question did the Mad King want Joanna? Ser Barristan Selmy provides an answer in ADWD during one of Dany’s POV Chapters:
“And my father? Was there some woman he loved better than his queen?”Ser Barristan shifted in the saddle. “Not … not loved. Mayhaps wanted is a better word, but … it was only kitchen gossip, the whispers of washerwomen and stableboys …”
“I want to know. I never knew my father. I want to know everything about him. The good and … the rest.””As you command.” The white knight chose his words with care. “Prince Aerys … as a youth, he was taken with a certain lady of Casterly Rock, a cousin of Tywin Lannister. When she and Tywin wed, your father drank too much wine at the wedding feast and was heard to say that it was a great pity that the lord’s right to the first night had been abolished. A drunken jape, no more, but Tywin Lannister was not a man to forget such words, or the … the liberties your father took during the bedding.” His face reddened. “I have said too much, Your Grace. I—”
Here is the first real clue that the Mad King lusted after Tyrion’s mother. An eye witness to the King’s confession of wanting Lady Joanna. For a while this was the only real evidence that the Mad King lusted after Lady Joanna, that was until GRRM dropped A World of Ice and Fire. The book reads like a history book written by a maester, but it gives a very detailed account of the Reign of the Mad King, who closest friend and Hand of the King was Lord Tywin. This book broke the theory wide open because it gave a detailed account of the Mad King’s desire of Joanna.
The following is a timeline made from information given in A World of Ice and Fire:
259 – Joanna Lannister is a lady-in-waiting to the future queen and the mad king’s wife/sister, Princess Rhaella.
262 – Aerys II, later known as the Mad King assumes power at age 18 after the death of his father. Makes young Ser Tywin hand at age 20.
263 – Tywin Marries lady Joanna, his young cousin.
263-264? – Lady Joanna is dismissed from the Queen’s service. She returns to Casterly Rock.
266 – Lady Joanna gives birth to twins Cersei and Jamie at Casterly Rock. When news reaches the Aerys he remarked “I have appeared to have married the wrong woman.” As his own wife had been plagued by miscarriages after the Birth of her first son Rhaegar. He then tells Lord Tywin to bring Cersei and Jamie to court when they are of an age and to bring their Lady mother because: “it’s been too long since I gazed upon that fair face.”
267 – Ser Tywin becomes Lord Tywin after the death of his father, he takes leave to return to Casterly Rock. King Aerys leaves his wife in King’s Landing and uproots his court to go with Tywin. For a year Westeros is ruled from Casterly Rock.
268 – King’s court comes back to King’s Landing and friendship between Aerys and Tywin is fraying.
272 – Great Tournament to celebrate the first 10 years of Aerys II reign. Lady Joanna brings Cersei and Jamie to King’s Landing to present them at court. Aerys (drunk) asks her if “giving suck to them ruined your breast’s which were so high and proud.” Joanna is humiliated and Tywin so upset he tries to resign as hand.
It is during this visit in 272 that I believe Aerys II took Joanna Lannister to bed, most likely through coercion. Aerys had been known to have many mistresses and he had long been jealous of Tywin. Tywin as Hand got credit for much of the rule. This was well deserved, but it angered the King. It’s not far fetched at all to think that a monarch drunk with power would take a woman he’s long been lusting after to bed by force. He became known as the Mad King for a reason, taking Joanna seems on brand to me.
273 – Joanna Lannister dies at Casterly Rock, giving birth to Tyrion.
275– The Mad King swears off all women other than his wife.
276– Vicerous Targaryen born to King Aerys and Queen Rhaella
I could probably rest my case right here and now. If this was a court of law I would do just that. This isn’t court and all my evidence is admissible. The rest of my evidence is very circumstantial and could be written off as coincidence. I believe that there are too many of these coincidences to ignore.
Dany, Jon, and Tyrion all had mothers who died giving them birth. Remember “The dragon must have 3 heads.” This is a coincidence that lines up very nicely with the theory in question.
Another Targaryen trait mentioned in the books is one of immunity. Targaryens don’t get sick. Dany is able to be around the bloodly flux in Mereen without getting sick and admits she’s never been sick. We see Tyrion in ADWD swallow the river infected with greyscale, does he get grayscale? No. You know who does? John Connington, who merely reached into the water to pull the dwarf out.
A Lannister always pays his debts. Let’s assume the theory is correct. That would mean that Jamie Lannister killed Tyrion’s true father when he slew the Mad King. When Tyrion kills Lord Tywin, he’s thinks he’s killing his father. He is actually killing Jamie’s father. The debt Tyrion owed Jamie unbeknownst to him, was inadvertently paid with the death of Lord Tywin.
“You are no son of mine” – These are Lord Tywin’s last words. What if he meant them literally? What if Tywin long suspected that Tyrion wasn’t his child. Perhaps that, and not the fact he killed his mother during childbirth, or because he is a dwarf, is the reason for his hatred. Let’s go back to when he first meets Jon Snow at Winterfell.
“All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes.”
“You are your mother’s trueborn son of Lannister.”
“Am I?” the dwarf replied, sardonic. “Do tell my lord father. My mother died birthing me, and he’s never been sure.”
This is pure conjecture but it makes logical sense. If Joanna was raped by Aerys she would have tried to terminate the pregnancy. Pretty logical right? In Westeros drinking moon tea is supposed to terminate the pregnancy, it’s like a morning after pill but it works for days after. What if she was too late in taking it? What if the tea only served to deform the baby without killing it? It might be an explanation for why Tyrion is malformed.
The kin slayer is cursed by gods and men. Tyrion even after slaying lord Tywin does not seemed cursed. Bad things happen to him, for sure but he cheats death on multiple occasions. He survives the fight with the stone men, he survives being captured as a slave, he survives though a miracle the fighting pits of Mereen. Where he was supposed to be torn apart by Lions. Dany having no clue of the dwarfs identity forbids the folly to take place. Let’s look at the symbolism there, Tyrion about to be devoured by Lions, is saved by a Dragon.
For now this is what I got, if more evidence comes to light or I remember something that slipped my mind, I’ll update. -A-Train out.