‘Game of Thrones’ Fan Theory of the Week: Jaime Is Dany’s Old Man

Kim Taylor-Foster
TV Fantasy
TV Fantasy Game of Thrones HBO

Since Game of Thrones began, fans have been discussing their (seemingly) outlandish ideas around what might transpire. So much so that it feels as though there aren’t any new theories any more. But one that’s resurfaced this past week is the notion that Jaime Lannister – yes, he who has been in love with his sister this whole time and who has been undergoing a redemption arc since meeting ‘big woman’ Brienne of Tarth – could be Daenerys’s real father. NOT Aerys, the Mad King. Whose footsteps some fans are worried she’s following in…

Enough already: Daenerys's parentage is being called into question again.

Fandom Game of Thrones community member Khaleesi Emeline drew attention to the theory, saying, “Okay, this might be one hell of a weird fan theory … but it might reveal some plot twist: a theory just popped up, and you might not totally believe this theory… could Dany be the daughter of Rhaella Targaryen and Jaime Lannister?”

Rhaella was (reluctantly) married to Aerys, her own brother, who we know as the Mad King and who was killed by Jaime before the events of the series begin. As far as we’ve been made aware in the show, Daenerys is their legitimate child.

But fellow community member Beatissima reckons there’s some mileage in the theory, explaining, “…it was Jaime Lannister’s job [as a member of the Kingsguard] to guard the door while Aerys raped his sister-wife Rhaella. Jaime expressed how much it troubled him to overhear the abuse [to] her and not be able to do anything to stop it. What if Jaime and Rhaella were secret lovers? She would have been much older than him, but still. What if the real reason Jaime killed Aerys was to protect Rhaella and their unborn child? And what if the real reason Jaime suddenly bolted from Brienne of Tarth was not to go to Cersei, but to go to Daenerys upon hearing she was in danger?”

Faithful Jaime?

The theory was posted a few years back on Reddit. User UltrAstronaut pointed out that Dany was born nine months after fleeing King’s Landing, and with Aerys preoccupied with the rebellion, he likely wasn’t having sex with Rhaella – and probably didn’t even know she was pregnant.

“It is also known Rhaella was actually in love with the low born knight Ser Bonifer [Hasty] and despised her marriage to Aerys,” said UltrAstronaut. Meaning that she was potentially open to sexual partners she found more sympathetic than her husband – Jaime being one.

But wait, says the Fandom GoT community’s AlmostAllice: “Jaime bragged to Cat that he had only had sex with one woman: Cersei, so he was [making the point that he was] more faithful than poor dead Ned, so no.”

Of course, he’d say that to wind Catelyn up though, right? Others are convinced, however, that Jaime is telling the truth when it comes to sexual partners.

Anjalimishra21 says firmly, “Oh God no. Even in the books, Jaime had coitus with just Cersei.”

But as Beatissima points out, “It certainly wouldn’t be the only time Jaime had to conceal truths about his sex life. If he had ever been unfaithful to Cersei, let alone had children by someone other than Cersei, he’d definitely want to be sure she never found out.”

It also wouldn’t be the first time Jaime was calculating, deceitful or downright vile — while he’s currently in the throes of redemption, Jaime is/has been the kind of person who’d push a child from the window of a tower to cover his tracks.

Let’s Talk About Sex

Game of Thrones, when it comes to both the show and the books, is all about sex – whether illicit love affairs, hook-ups, paid-for liaisons, or rape. It’s overrun with bastards, and it wouldn’t make sense to think that Jon is the only offspring to discover his surprising true parentage late in the game. ICYMI, the Stark bastard isn’t a bastard at all, in fact, but born in wedlock as the legitimate child of Rhaegar Targaryen (Dany’s dead big bro) and Lyanna Stark (dead Ned’s dead sister). Giving Jon – real name Aegon Targaryen — a strong claim to the Iron Throne.

Cersei and Jaime Lannister Game of Thrones
There's doubt about the parentage of Jaime and Cersei, too.

There have been question marks over so many of the characters’ true heritage, and as such, there have probably been more theories around who’s really related to who and what the implications are than anything else. Past connections between characters have been hinted at within the lore, such as in this case, that have caused fans to put two and two together and, in some instances, come up with 69.

It’s interesting to note that another paternity query has been raised over Jaime and Cersei, with some fans postulating that the twins’ mother (Joanna) and Aerys, who was infatuated with her, got it on, resulting in their conception. It’s not groundless speculation – within the books, there are rumours that the two had secretly coupled up. Indeed, George RR Martin likes to plant seeds. If this were true, and Dany were to be revealed as Jaime’s daughter, it would mean both are products of Targaryen-Lannister unions. Which would put a whole new spin on both history and current affairs.

Monarchy Sucks

There’s even speculation that Rhaegar Targaryen – Dany’s elder brother and Jon’s father – isn’t the offspring of Aerys, with him instead being the suspected son of Rhaella’s one true love, Ser Bonifer. This would also call Jon’s claim to the throne into question.

And let’s not even get into Gendry, who some fans think could actually be the legitimate child of Robert Baratheon and Cersei. Whoops, we went there. Dany herself has been connected to multiple alternate fathers in fan theories – from Rhaegar (potentially making her Jon’s half-sister rather than aunt) to Brandon Stark, to dear old Ned. Indeed, all may not be as it seems when it comes to who conceived who in Game of Thrones. And it could be the key to what the saga is actually all about. Namely, that monarchies suck and that inherited titles are bulls—. Could we actually see Dany’s vision in the House of the Undying come true?

SpoonyMist48 thinks so: “I keep thinking back to the House of the Undying where the throne room is caved in and snow everywhere. I’ve truly never believed there will be a throne left when all is done.”

As for the effects on Dany should this theory come to pass… finding out she doesn’t have a claim to the throne would mean she’d have to face the fact that all her efforts would have been for naught. Her dreams, shattered. She would potentially be free to love Jon, but if the events of the past couple of episodes are anything to go by, that affair is already done. She feels betrayed by him, and it’s quite clear he’s a bit grossed out by the idea of incest. Jon doesn’t love her the way she loves him and that ship, sadly for Dany, has sailed.

This may well drive her mad, and be the impetus for her going full Aerys and burning them all, fulfilling a destiny many fans saw coming to Daenerys. The irony being, of course, that the Mad King wasn’t her father at all.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.