Game of Thrones finally solved a frustrating mystery, that of Jon Snow‘s true parents, during the finale episode of season 6, and since then it has been easier to tolerate the wait until next year. After the R+L=J theory was confirmed, we know that there were a selected number of characters who knew that Jon’s true parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. This includes Howland Reed, Ned Stark, and now Bran whose vision this secret was revealed in.
However, what we believe might not be the entire truth. There is another character who could have known about Jon’s parentage since season 1, who even indicated the same during a conversation with Jon Snow. Maester Aemon, who had been a source of counsel for Jon during his time at the wall in season 1, had a conversation with him in the 9th episode when he learns about Ned’s imprisonment. Maester Aemon, who is a Targaryen himself, was Rhaegar’s uncle as we know, and it turns out he might just have known Jon’s secret since the start.
He had said the following to Jon when the latter was conflicted over what he should do after Ned’s imprisonment: “Love is the death of duty. If the day should ever come when your lord father was forced to choose between honor on the one hand and those he loves on the other, what would he do?…What is honor compared to a woman’s love? And what is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms? Or a brother’s smile?”
A Redditor drew a parallel between Maester Aemon’s words and the Tower of Joy scene, indicating that Ned’s choice was a forced one in honour of his love for Lyanna. Check out the parallel below:
Maestor Aemon was a wise man with more knowledge about the Targaryen family than anyone, so it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to find out that he knew about Jon’s true parentage.