UPDATE: Click Here for Jon Snow’s True Backstory & Real Name
Jon Snow's real name from Game of Thrones may have just been revealed. From the very start of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series in 1996, it was clear that there was more to Jon Snow, the supposed bastard son of Warden of the North Ned Stark, than met the eye. As the books continued, the predominant fan theory that emerged was R+L=J: that Jon was actually the son of Ned's sister, Lyanna, and secret lover Rhaegar Targaryen.
This was finally confirmed in a flashback-vision at the end of Game of Thrones Season 6 where Bran Stark (presumed to be Snow's half-brother, now revealed as his cousin) saw back to Jon's birth, where his mother dies and Ned promises to protect her son. However, we still have a long way to go until Jon takes up his royal mantle, although we do now know that when he does he won't be going by Jon Targaryen.
The new issue of Empire magazine (via Reddit) contains a feature on the upcoming Season 7, during which they confirm a long-suspected theory that Jon's birth name is actually Jaehaerys. You can read their full piece below:
"As we saw in the last episode of season six, Bran’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) psychic time-traveling “greensight” revealed the true nature of Jon’s birth heritage and his real name: Jaehaerys Targaryen. “Bran’s now in this precarious situation in which it’s just him and Meera [Ellie Kendrick], and he has all of this information that could change the entire story,” says Hempstead Wright. And it’s not just about Jon. “He knows about the origin of the White Walkers, too.”"
[UPDATE: The author of said Empire report, Dan Jolin, has now confirmed that his article is based on a well-known fan theory about Jon's real name and isn't actually official confirmation. The rest of this article has been left as it was originally published.]
This possibility has been circling with some strength since the finale of Season 6, with many suspecting that a dying Lyanna mouthed the word "Jaehaerys" to Ned, and now it's confirmed. That it's not come from the show may be an oversight, but could also indicate we're supposed to take it as a fact going into the new, shorter run of episodes.
In terms of impact on the show, it's more ceremonial that anything, serving as a signifying of Jon's true importance; it's a common Targaryen name, best known being used by the fourth and longest running King of the Seven Kingdoms, Jaehaerys I, 200 years before the events of the series. Of course, while Ned did honor his sister's wishes and took care of his nephew, he couldn't use her given name - at the time, the newly crowned King Robert Baratheon was hunting down all remaining Targaryens to make his rule official and Jaehaerys would stick out like a sore thumb - and so when posing the baby as his illegitimate son gave him a very removed, Northern variation.
How exactly the name will play into the ultimate reveal of Jon's parentage to the rest of Westeros - or whether the destiny-shirking hero will want to even take it up - is unclear, but that it's cited here suggests it will be important. One strongly-supported fan theory that may actually have been alluded to in the recent trailer is that a pre-emptive tomb in the Winterfell crypts will attest to the truth. Whatever the case, it's only becoming more and more evidentJaehaerys is the series most essential character.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO on July 16.
Source: Empire (via Reddit)
Update Source: Dan Jolin