Jon Snow, by rights, should be sitting on the Iron Throne at the end of Game Of Thrones season 8. There are plenty of contenders to rule Westeros going into the final season: that Cersei's pregnancy proves the Valonqar prophecy wrong and she'll stay in power; that Tyrion will betray Daenerys to stand at his sister's side; that Daenerys will finally get the throne she's wanted since season 1. But the biggest, of course, is that Jon Snow, the bastard of Winterfell, will end the series as the King of the Seven Kingdoms.
Jon Snow as King has definitely gained in popularity since the Game of Thrones season 6 finale when it was confirmed that he actually has a legitimate claim to the throne (prior to this, fans simply wanted to see him as King because he's one of the few people in Westeros who is just a straight up good guy). It was revealed that Lyanna Stark, Ned's sister, hadn't been kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen at all, but had instead ran away with and married him; they were Jon's parents. Lyanna died after giving birth in the Tower of Joy, but was able to give her infant son (Aegon) to her brother to protect. He took the child home and raised him as his own bastard.
At the start of Game of Thrones season 8, Jon still doesn't know the truth about his parentage, but other people do - and if/when Jon discovers the truth, he could make a play for the Iron Throne himself. However, to do so, he may have to find a way to prove that he is, in fact, a Targaryen. Here's what he needs to do.
- This Page: How Jon Can Prove He's The Rightful King
- Page 2: Game of Thrones Isn't About Who Deserves The Throne
Proof Of Rheagar Targaryen And Lyanna Stark's Marriage
Throughout Game of Thrones, Jon has always struggled with being a bastard. He's not the only one, either - there's some serious stigma attached to it in Westeros, and the inability to inherit was one of the reasons that Jon decided to take the Black and join the Night's Watch. What else is a bastard son to do? However, it turns out that he isn't a bastard at all - and the proof of that is the record of marriage between Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and the annulment of Rhaegar's marriage to Elia.
This record currently exists in the journals of High Septon Maynard, which Gilly found while she and Sam were at the Citadel. Of course, at the time, Sam didn't think that the passage Gilly read was of any importance, but since returning to the North, he has learned from Bran exactly what it means. At the moment, it's not clear whether or not the diary containing this information was among the books that Sam stole when he left to return to Winterfell, but if it is, he has in his possession the only legal record that would prove Jon is a legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen.
Of course, it's equally possible that Sam did not bring this diary with him, and it's unlikely that the Maesters of the Citadel would rush to back him up on his claims. After all, Sam disobeyed orders to heal Jorah, and then stole from the Citadel and ran away. Gilly would be able to back up his claims of having seen the journal, but as usual, Gilly would no doubt be under-estimated as an untrustworthy wildling girl.
Testimony From Howland Reed And Bran Stark
Of course, even if Sam has the journal with him, and everyone believes that it tells the truth, that doesn't prove that Lyanna had a baby, nor that the baby grew up to become Jon Snow. All it proves is that there was a secret wedding and that Rhaegar's marriage to Elia was annulled. In order to fully make his claim, Jon would have to get some eyewitnesses to the battle at the Tower of Joy to confirm that Lyanna had a child, she named him Aegon and gave him to Ned Stark. Thankfully, there are two people still alive in Westeros who could back this up.
The first is Bran Stark, aka the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran saw the entire scene in a vision, so would be able to fully recount the battle at the Tower of Joy. However, Bran may not be someone that people are likely to believe. He is a Stark, but he was missing for a long time, presumed dead. Now, he's back with strange powers, visions, and tales of having been beyond the Wall with the Children of the Forest - it's easy to see how someone might be skeptical of his tales of a secret wedding and baby Targaryen who just happens to be his brother making a claim for the throne. It's likely that Bran will be believed in the North, where he has supporters and where people are significantly more superstitious and happy to believe in magic, but further South? Unlikely, although he may be able to prove his abilities in other ways to lend credence to his claim.
Someone who would be able to give a much more reliable (and widely believed) account of the events of the Tower of Joy would be Howland Reed, the only other survivor of the Tower of Joy. The father of Meera and Jojen hasn't appeared in Game of Thrones beyond Bran's vision and it's not quite clear what he's been up to, although he did send his children to Bran, so he's clearly still minorly active in world events. It's possible Howland - either of his own accord or with some prodding from Bran - could provide first-hand proof of Jon's true identity and claim to the Iron Throne.