WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 7!House of the Dragon explains that inheriting Valyrian traits is seen as an important part of a Targaryen’s legitimacy, but Jon Snow’s lack of silver hair proves this isn’t entirely true. The dominance of genetic traits as evidence of illegitimacy has been a significant theme in Game of Thrones, with Ned’s research on the Baratheon traits exposing the true parentage of Joffrey Baratheon. House of the Dragon ties this into the legitimacy of Rhaenyra Targaryen’s sons with Laenor Velaryon, as her three boys failed to inherit the Valyrian traits of their parents. However, not every Targaryen has silver hair, which was incredibly convenient for hiding the true parentage of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.
Jon Snow doesn’t have Targaryen features because his Stark genes were so much stronger; as a half-Targaryen, it wasn’t guaranteed that he would inherit his father’s genes over his mother’s. The Targaryens’ Valyrian traits are quite dominant in House of the Dragon, but this is most likely due to the family’s incest. Game of Thrones suggests House Baratheon’s black hair is overpowering genetically, with Ned and Jon Arryn explaining that “the seed is strong.” This also appears to be the case for the Strongs in House of the Dragon, as Ser Harwin’s dark features overpowered Rhaenyra’s Valyrian traits in Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey. Northern houses also seem to carry dominant genes with their dark hair, which is why Jon’s Stark blood prevailed over his Targaryen genes. Despite not having silver hair, Jon Snow is no less of a Targaryen than Alicent and Viserys’ children in House of the Dragon, who are half-Hightower.
Why Jon Snow’s Targaryen Heritage Is So Important To HOTD & GOT
Jon Snow being the secret trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark is one of the most important developments in both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, with the prequel show further driving home how significant his heritage is. Jon is the descendant of two major Targaryens from House of the Dragon, which plays a role in Rhaenyra’s dedication to Aegon’s prophecy. Jon is the Prince That Was Promised seen in Aegon’s dream, who would unite the realm and stop the White Walkers in the North. It wasn’t specified that the Prince That Was Promised would have Valyrian traits and silver hair; what’s important in Jon’s destiny is that he has the blood of Aegon the Conqueror running through his veins.
House of the Dragon’s civil war is also ultimately caused by Viserys’ obsession with Aegon’s dream and ensuring the eventual birth of Jon Snow. The conflict surrounding Rhaenyra’s ascension is secretly underscored by the need for her blood to pass through the Iron Throne, whether that be her Targaryen heirs with black or silver hair. Rhaenyra’s bastard sons additionally set up the notion that some of the most important Targaryens in history will not look like Valyrians, as Jon Snow’s brown hair and perceived Stark bastardy was exactly what kept him alive until the moment he needed to fulfill Aegon’s dream.
Jon Snow Isn’t The Only Major Targaryen Without Silver Hair
While Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey don’t bear the Targaryen name in House of the Dragon, each of them shares the same amount of Targaryen blood as Jon Snow, with none exhibiting silver hair. Similarly, House of the Dragon’s Princess Rhaenys Targaryen was described as having black hair in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book, as her mother was a Baratheon. Even Daemon and Viserys’ mother Alyssa Targaryen was said to have dirty blonde hair without any silver. There are various Targaryen bastards in history who also have dark hair, such as Aegon IV Targaryen’s son Aegor Rivers. Baelor “Breakspear” Targaryen similarly inherited the black hair of his Dornish mother, with his son Valarr Targaryen also expressing this color. Closer to Game of Thrones’ timeline, Daeron Targaryen, the brother of Maester Aemon Targaryen, had sandy brown hair, while Rhaegar and Elia Martell’s daughter Rhaenys had dark hair.
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