Jon Snow has been declared King in the North, but that doesn’t mean all the Northern houses will accept a so-called bastard’s claim to Winterfell and its surrounding lands.
For Jon Snow to truly rule the North and Winterfell without opposition, he must first be legitimized as a Stark. Unfortunately for Jon, this isn’t an easy feat to accomplish.
Only a king or queen has the power to legitimize a bastard, a notable past example of this being when King Tommen legitimized Ramsay Bolton at Roose Bolton’s request. Stannis Baratheon once offered to legitimize Jon in return for his aid, but because of that stubborn, stubborn Stark honor, Jon declined his offer. Both Tommen and Stannis are now dead, so as it currently stands, only two people in the realms have the power to legitimize Jon: Cersei and Daenerys.
But don’t hold your breath.
Based on the Lannister’s tumultuous and bloody history with the Starks, it is highly unlikely that Mad Queen Cersei will be legitimizing Jon Snow anytime soon. And as for Daenerys, the woman with a million titles believes that the entirety of Westeros is hers by birthright, so she has no reason to legitimize a man that she will surely view as a political rival.
So short of a full blown political revolution, is there any hope that Jon Snow will be legitimized as Jon Stark/Targaryen?
As it turns out, he may already be legitimized.
In A Storm of Swords, the then King in the North, Robb Stark, makes it known to Catelyn Stark that he wants Jon Snow to succeed him as King in the North and Lord of Winterfell should he perish. Although Catelyn was very vocal against this plan, Robb remained adamant in his decision, declaring that he will legitimize Jon Snow and make him a proper Stark. Robb was killed during the Red Wedding shortly after this conversation, so we don’t know if he went through with this plan and drafted a royal decree.
If he did, then there’s a good chance that a mysterious Stark ally may hold the key to legitimizing Jon Snow: Howland Reed.
As fans of the HBO series and book series will remember, Howland Reed is the Lord of Greywater Watch and a fierce Stark ally. It was Howland Reed who (in the HBO series) saved Ned Stark from Ser Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy. Howland kept the events of that day secret, therefore helping to protect Jon Snow from certain death at the hands of Robert Baratheon. If ever there was an ally the Starks could entrust sensitive intel to, it’s Howland Reed.
Howland is also the father of Meera Reed, and now that his daughter and Bran are heading back over the wall, the elusive Greywater Watch is sure to be a key stop before Bran heads to Winterfell to reunite with his remaining siblings.
Oh the copious amounts of information that mysterious man must know!
All will hopefully be revealed when Game of Thrones returns next summer, or when The Winds of Winter is finally released later this year. Let’s hope for the latter.
Do you think Robb Stark successfully legitimized Jon? Let us know in the comments!