WARNING: CONTAINS GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS
The final season of Game of Thrones is upon us, and as the saga continues the family trees are getting increasingly twisted.
In the first episode, Jon Snow found out that he’s actually related to Daenerys – who, of course, he’d just started a bit of a dalliance with in season seven.
While he initially believed he was the son of Ned Stark, last season Bran’s visions revealed Jon was instead the son of Lyanna.
But in the season eight opener, the plot thickened when it transpired his father was Rhaegar Targaryan, meaning the woman he’d been enjoying flirty dragon rides with was actually his aunt. Biiiiig error, Jonny Boy.
However, according to George R.R. Martin, the man behind the books that inspired the show, there was another incestuous relationship Snow was supposed to be tangled up in.
Arya Stark was originally going to realise she had feelings for Jon, who at the time she would have believed was her half-brother, even though we now know he’s her cousin.
When Martin was plotting the outline for the original book franchise (A Song of Ice and Fire) back in 1993, he described how Arya would have fallen for Jon after joining him on his journey to the Wall.
According to excerpts reported by Insider in 2017, the outline read: “Wounded by Lannister riders, they will seek refuge at the Wall, but the men of the Night’s Watch give up their families when they take the black, and Jon and Benjen will not be able to help, to Jon’s anguish.
“It will lead to a bitter estrangement between Jon and Bran. Arya will be more forgiving… until she realises, with terror, that she has fallen in love with Jon, who is not only her half-brother but a man of the Night’s Watch, sworn to celibacy.
“Their passion will continue to torment Jon and Arya throughout the trilogy, until the secret of Jon’s true parentage is finally revealed in the last book.”
In fact, that’s not all Martin had planned for young Arya’s romantic fate; he also planned for Tyrion Lannister to fall in love with the youngest daughter of the Stark clan.
Martin’s outline continued: “Exiled, Tyrion will change sides, making common cause with the surviving Starks to bring his brother down, and falling helplessly in love with Arya Stark while he’s at it.
“His passion is, alas, un-reciprocated, but no less intense for that, and it will lead to a deadly rivalry between Tyrion and Jon Snow.”
We’re happy to hear Jon and Arya’s bond remained platonic – though that has, of course, left space for him to inadvertently strike up a romance with another of his relatives. Awkward.