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Aisling Franciosi on playing Lyanna Stark, what Lyanna whispered to Ned, and more

Lyanna, Ned Stark, and Jon Snow Official

Actress Aisling Franciosi appeared in only one scene in Game of Thrones Season 6*, but it was an important one. As Lyanna Stark, she popped up in “The Winds of Winter” in one of Bran’s trips into the past. We saw Lyanna on her deathbed, having just given birth to an infant boy who would grow up to become Jon Snow. Franciosi seemed pretty pleased with the small part she played.

The 23-year-old Irish actress sat down with Entertainment.ie shortly after “The Winds of Winter” aired to discuss the casting process, what Lyanna whispered to Ned in that tower, and where the character may go from here.

Before being cast as Lyanna, Franciosi had—horror of horrors—never seen Game of Thrones. “It had been on my list of things to watch but I hadn’t actually seen it yet,” she said. “And when I auditioned for the role, I was like ‘OK I’m going to start getting into it…’ Then I was binge watching episodes, like eight in a row.”

Casting an actress who had never seen the show may have appealed to HBO, as the company was very keen this year to keep spoilers and leaks to a minimum. In fact, HBO kept the identity of Franciosi’s role a secret from her for a long time. “They didn’t have the real names of anyone,” she said. “So I didn’t actually know I was playing Lyanna until I got the actual scene. Which was much closer to shooting time.” If HBO keeps going down this route, we expect them to seal the actors in an airtight room after they’ve shot their scenes for Season 7, and to not let them out until after all the episodes have aired.


Still, with Franciosi, the network needn’t have worried. She made sure not to tell anyone she was even involved with the show until after Season 6 was over. “You get wrapped up in things that you enjoy watching and to have someone in any way ruin it or spoil it can be pretty devastating so I was definitely not going to do it with something as big as [Game of Thrones].” That’s someone I’m sure HBO is happy to have our their side.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Franciosi will be back for Season 7, though. Those who have read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books can probably think of a couple more flashbacks that could feature Lyanna—the tournament at Harrenhal, for instance—but the actress says that nothing is certain.

I really don’t know. I haven’t heard anything yet so it depends on what they want to do going forward. I’m as much in the dark as everyone else on that one.

Young Ned Stark, Lyanna, and baby Jon Snow Official

Finally, Franciosi talked about what exactly Lyanna whispered to Ned right before the scene cut away. We didn’t hear precisely what she said, but we got the gist—right afterward, the show cut between the face of Lyanna’s baby boy and the face of the full-grown Jon Snow, confirming that the two were one and the same, so the whisper probably had something to do with that. Perhaps she told Ned that the baby’s father was Rhaegar Targaryen, or what she’d like him to be named.

Franciosi, exemplary worker that she is, doesn’t talk specifics, but she does reveal that something was said. She wasn’t just miming words so we would get the impression that Lyanna was telling Ned something of significance.

Yeah I did whisper an actual sentence. I don’t know what they’re going to do going forward and I don’t know what importance it has so I’m definitely not going to risk saying anything.

All we can do now is speculate, and see where this revelation goes in Game of Thrones Season 7.

*Young Lyanna Stark was played by Cordelia Hill in “Home”

79 Comments

  • They need 1 or 2 more flashbacks for certain. Personally, I think this is being dragged out to give GRRM time to finish the book. However, they still need to confirm his father, name, and give the world hard proof of his ancestry. They just can’t have Bran go around and let everyone know that a tree told him…

    • …and by confirm Jons father I obviously mean to the casual fan who isn’t going to have every episode memorized.

  • Upon watching the scene, multiple times, it appeared to me as though she said “his name is . . . .” and then a name I couldn’t decipher.

    • Jaehaerys.

      Jaehaerys I Targaryen was, acording to the books, one really good Targaryen king, who also had a connection to the night’s watch. That would be fitting to name the boy after him.

      And Jaehaerys begins with a J, which would party explain why Ned called him Jon.
      (The other reason would be to honor Jon Arryn.)

      • On the books Rheagar’s best friends name was Jon Connington.
        The Lord of Griffins Roost was devoted to Rheagar and its later revealed he was in love with him.
        He served as hand of the king until he failed to kill Robert Baratheon at the battle of the bells. He was exiled by the mad king and disapeared in disgrace. 16 years later he returns with Young Griff who is revealed to be a possibly Aegon Targaryan the son of Rhaegar.
        Ned claimed Jon Snow was named for Jon Arryn whom he respected obviously to give a reason in a culture where a childs name is reflective of family history and often follows tradition.
        Thats in the book however. Most likely they’ll keep the Jon Arryn e planation.

        • The thing is: the name Lyanna said to Ned was not Jon, it was by what lip readers said a Targaryen name (Jaehaeris, Aegon,…).
          So naming him Jon was not Rhaegar’s or Lyanne’s decision but Ned’s, who for obvious reasons didn’t want to go with the Targaryen name (that would be a dead giveaway who Jon actually is).

        • All due respect – Connington was Rhaegar’s friend, but Rhaegar’s best and “closest” friend was Ser Arthur Dayne the Sword of the Morning.

      • Why would Lyanna name him Jaeherys? I’d think, if it was any Targaryen name, it would maybe be Rhaegar. Further, the entire purpose of that scene is for Ned to keep the baby’s identity a secret, so no way in hell she tells Ned his name is a Targaryen name. I’m sure the show will have her name him before dying, but part of me thinks (in the books) that there is no reason to actually do so and That Ned named him.

        • I have to disagree. I think the simple explanation here is that Rhaegar told Lyanna/they decided together before Rhaegar left to march on Robert that the baby’s name will be Jaehaerys/Aegon/whatever. And secondly, the entire purpose of the scene is for Ned to initiate custody of Jon. Keeping the baby’s identity a secret is just part of that, but I don’t think that means his true name/parentage would be kept from Ned. I also don’t believe it’s a stretch to think that Lyanna told Ned his real name and who the father is before asking Ned to protect him. Ned is smart enough to know who “Jon” needs protection from, and that not calling him by his true name is the biggest component of that protection. I would imagine it’s important to Lyanna for Ned to know her baby’s true heritage so that Ned can tell Jon who he really is down the line when things are more “safe” and “stable,” if there is such a thing in Westeros.

          • Like.
            Spot on explanation. I agree it’s probably pretty safe to assume Rhaegar and Lyanna discussed what to name their child before he was born; cause that’s usually what parents do. Anything Targaryen, except for Maegor and Aegon, would make sense.

      • I caught Aegon as well don’t know where people are getting Jaehaerys from.

        • Just watching it again. Earplugs in. Sound way up. Best lip reading skills at the ready. She says …”Aegon..”

        • So he has his son named Aegon, when he already had a son named Aegon?? I don’t think he knew they were killed either.

          • Couldn’t edit it but yea, his son Aegon was allegedly murdered after Robert killed Rhaegar at the Ruby Ford, so think you guys heard something else.

        • Exactly!! I think it was also hinted in Dany’s vision in the books. She saw Rhaegar with a woman (which could be Elia OR Lyanna) and a baby Aegon and “his would be the song of ice and fire” said Rhaegar. I know it could have never happened cause Rhaegar was dead by the time Jon was born but Dany’s vision were supposed to contain also “What never happened.”, among others. So there… I think we’ll get a reason why Rhaegar would name both of his sons Aegon.

          • I agree. Dany also interacted with Khal Drogo in her visions. Rhaegar believed in the prophecy of Ice and Fire. If the Targaryns are Fire and the Starks Ice, then a child of Elia of Dorne and Rhaegar would not be the one. We are not privy as to how that baby was named. Perhaps Rhaegar thought a child of Dornish ancestry would be the one, but found he was mistaken after the birth/naming. Realizing the error, perhaps the arranged marriage, and possibly hate or resentment towards each other, a marriage of family duty, Elia could have named the baby herself. Was Rhaegar present for the birth and naming? If an infant Aegon had his head bashed by the mountain at the end of Roberts Rebellion, then Rhaegar was possibly already gone with Lyanna when Elia gave birth. The vision Dany saw of her brother would be the “what could have been”, much like her vision of her own dark haired child that would never be.

            (Side thought: Though Dany was not aware of the Fire/Ice prophecy, did Viserys know?)

  • Time to finish the book !!!!
    Which book ??

    Good grief, by the time he completes his books we’ll all half one leg in the coffin

    • I think we’ll all be too old to remember why we wanted him to finish the book. Perhaps he has forgotten the ending? Come on, George, some of us are already in our 50’s on up. We need answers!!!!

  • Well, I try not to get too disappointed. Dan and david actually meant it to be unheardable.

    • Kind sir or ma’am, have you ever seen or heard the word “unheardable” used in the English language? If your using Google translate, alas it has failed you. If English is your first language, then the Seven have mercy on your soul

      • *you’re *
        If you’re going to criticize someone’s post, be sure to proofread, and make sure yours is correct! ☺

  • I’ve been impressed for a few weeks with how much Robert Aramayo looks like he could truly be a young Sean Bean (or Neal Patrick Harris, for that matter…), but after clicking on the link for the original Aisling Franciosi article, it’s pretty uncanny how closely she and Maisie Williams resemble one another– given that the books reiterate time and again how Arya favors Lyanna, the GOT casting team really knocked this one out of the ball park as well!

    Fingers crossed for a Tourney at Harrenhall flashback, and an introduction to Howland Reed before the show runs its course!!

    • It would be nice if some magazine did a photo shoot of Aisling Franciosi with Maisie Williams, to emphasize how much they look alike.

    • That’s a good point on Howland Reed. He is the only living person that could confirm what happened at the Tower of Joy.

  • I agree with Steve. I heard his name is, cut away to Brans face, then ” Robert will kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me Ned. Promise me.”

  • No, no water. Listen to me, Ned. His name is Jaehaerys. If Robert finds out, he’ll kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned. Promise me.

  • A possible scenerio:
    “Take him to Starfall where he will be safe. Promise me”. – Lyanna.
    Ned takes baby Jon and Dawn to Starfall where Ashara kills herself because grieving the loss of her loved brother Arthur. The Danes, from the loss of both Arthur and Ashara, ask Ned to keep Dawn and give it to Jon when he is older. It’s in Lyannas crypt. Maybe Dawn will become Lightbringer once in Jons hands, from the prophesy Rhaegar read about Azor Ahai and the true origin of Dawn. Hopefully Samwell also finds and reads this same prophesy.
    Thanks to Ned killing Arthur, keeping Dawn and Jon together became more complicated. Arthur and Rhaegar were best friends killed by another pair of best friends at around the same time. Ned was fulfilling the plans of Lyanna and Rhaegar the best he could and we all know Ned was a man of honor above all else.

      • I think so too. All that talk about Ned placing Dawn at the foot of the bed and it being the ‘born under a bleeding star’ part of the prophecy is off beam.

    • Two story points augment this scenerio: the Danes are the oldest house of all, at 10,000 years. A good place for trusting an unusual ancient mythical sword. The second is that no one has been worthy to weild Dawn since Arthur died. Probably because the person most worthy at that time was an infant, and Dawn is no longer at Starfall or has been replaced with a forgery.

      • I think there is still much to learn about the Daynes. I enjoy reading the theorycrafting regarding Arthur & Ashara. In regards to Ashara, it is possible for her to be alive since her body was never found, and the theorycrafting I read placed her with Faegon.

        I was so proud of myself when I put 2 & 2 together with Dawn bringing light to the world. I’m easily entertained & impressed by myself lol🙃. Anyhow, I can’t wait to learn more about the famous sword

        • When Barriston looked into Deanerys eyes he was always reminded of his true crush Ashara Dayne. It was rumored Ashara had a still borne daughter shortly before she jumped. Ned had also danced with Ashara at the tournament. Deanerys is the only daughter of the Mad King and his sister Rhaella. Rhaegar spent a lot of time with Arthur and Ashara. The Daynes look like the best key to unraveling the mysteries of both Jon and Deanerys parentage, plus Dawn (or Lightbringer).

          • I like the theory that Asharas “stillborn” daughter was Meera Reed, since Howland Reed likely accompanied Ned to Starfall to deliver Jon and Dawn, better than Ashara Dayne being Deanerys mother. Jon and Meera are the same age. Two best friends raising the children of two enemies who are also best friends seems poetic.

          • The most interesting scenario concerning Asharas “still borne” daughter would be in making Ned Meeras father. It would make her Brans half sister, giving us another Stark at Winterfell. Ned just couldn’t bring 2 bastards home to Winterfell. Catelyn would have killed him.

        • Jaime was knighted by Arthur Dayne using Dawn. The sword was so sharp that the weight of it cut thru the fabric and cut Jaime. Serious foreshadowing.

    • Which sword was Dawn? The one in the right hand or the left? Maybe Jon will combo the two into a super sword. :D

      • Arthur sat Dawn down because it’s a two handed sword. He used two other lighter swords to better fight multiple assailants.

          • It clearly shows Dawn in the foreground seconds before he unsheathes the other two. The editing could be a little deceptive, but Ned does pick a sword off the ground to kill Arthur in the end. It looks like Dawn fell to the ground because it can be seen laying there during much of the battle. I stopped the footage at the same moment you have but can’t make the hilt out.

        • He doesn’t unsheath a different sword with his right hand, he pulls it outta the ground…
          http://45.media.tumblr.com/78e401586de0b7142408cfdd627c090c/tumblr_o5mptt7o4m1ul9ajgo3_r1_500.gif
          I agree the show got the sword Dawn ALL wrong as it should be a two-handed greatsword, but the show creators decided the best way to make Dayne look superhuman was to have him dual-wield. Dawn + regular sword… [They got the idea from a video (fake or not) of Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nunchuks]
          http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qHe6vhexm6g

          • Watch the video of the fight again. Dayne pulls Dawn out of the ground with his right hand and unsheaths his other sword with his left. Dawn stays in his right hand throughout the fight. There is only one sword in the fight with a hilt that shape. Even though you can’t make out the logo, you can make out the shape several times during the fight. After Reed stabs Dayne and he goes to his knees, Dayne drops Dawn from his right hand. Ned Stark watches the sword as it falls, bends and picks it up. Dawn is the sword that Ned uses to kill Dayne.

          • You are right! I was distracted by the sword laying next to the combatants and how quickly Arthur positioned himself next to Dawn in that sequence.

  • I can’t wait for the theory of “Jaeharys” to be confirmed as wrong.

    Come up with your own theories people. They didn’t even remotely come close to revealing Jaeharys.

  • I remember reading on WIC that the Show changed the early kings and their names. Im not sure if Jaeharys is still a part of the linneage in the show. So the speculation may be pointless.

  • Why would Rhaegar name his second son Aegon? He already had a son named Aegon, who was still alive at the time. Doesn’t make any sense.

    • Exactly! I have been thinking the same thing. Jahaerys makes the most sense but his name could also be Aemon which when lip reading might look similar to Aegon.

  • In truth, I have little faith for Jon’s bloodline. Regardless of if he is the son of Rhaegar or Robert

    (not much evidence for this one, might be Robert will kill Jon because he can’t trust he is not a Targaryen, when it’s actually his. Dark hair instead of white)

    or whatever… He is still regarded as Stark at best. The worth of a crippled boy really does not count as evidence.

    He would have to be legitimate by a Targaryen, as a Targaryen. Aegon has not appeared, and I doubt Daenerys will create someone who has a better claim than hers.

    He is King of the North, but I don’t see him stretching to become King of Westeros… Maybe Northern Men are forgiving of his blood status, but to the South, I believe he remains a Bastard.

    Maybe I am Cynical but I believe that Game of Thrones might end bittersweet in the South. But the North, the North might just fall…

  • He could still be Dayne. The new sword of the Morning. That would be something.

    Like Rhaegar taking Lyanna for Arthur….wired, but something like this went on in Tristan and Isolde.

    • This means Deanerys is no longer Jons aunt. A Dayne / Stark child parented by the greatest sword fighter ever would explain Jons propensity for it. Starfall is also a very respected house and the Daynes a respected noble family.

  • Aisling Franciosi definitely resembles Maisie Williams in many of her photos when you google her name. Especially when she was younger.

  • don’t understand the failure to acknowledge Jon is Rhaegars son, as the GOT infographic on the main site already confirms it.

  • I thought she said his name is jiggy jiggy Slim Shady. I don’t read lips very well.

  • I see several people mentioning lip reading. But did anyone competent actually read lips during this scene? It should be easy to confirm what exactly she said right?

  • She whispered “I hope the hack writers on this show provide proper context for this revelation, so that unsullied viewers don’t think that either you or Robert are Jon’s father!”.

  • Can people PLEASE get with the program that Jon is Rhaegar’s son?
    I mean what’s it going to take for people to stop saying it’s Robert… no it’s Dayne… no it’s Ned…

    What does HBO need to do in order for people to stop living in denial?..

  • I’ll be honest the casting missed the mark with Lyanna imo. Too much of a plain jane. If I was Robert I’d have no desire to pass up cersei for this poo-butt. She should’ve been hotter imo, yes even while giving birth. They always have dany dolled up no matter what she’s doing

    • I would tend to agree. But unlike Cersei, Lyanna isn’t best known for her looks. I think Rhaegar fell fer her due to her sense of Justice at the Tourney at Harrenhal. I really do hope for a Harenhal flashback.

    • Poo-butt?!?? Ha!! Cersei may have been a poo-butt at the time too and then you know puberty took over

    • God of Talks from his Ass!!!!

      Excuse me asshole!!! Lyanna was dying in child birth!!! Who the hell are you to say she wasn’t beautiful!!! Screw you!!! Until you give birth STFU!!! I hate asses like you !!! You probably beat women!!!

      Say one dam word to me I dare you!!!

    • “Plaine Jane”, you must be blind, or just being an a** to be different, so d*mn what they have Dany dolled up no matter what she’s doing, Lyanna was DYING, pea brain.

  • I like the theory of Dawn being in the crypts waiting for him but what about Longclaw? After Jon lost his sword to Craster, Mormont told him to never lose it again and Jon has had it by his side

    • The Mormonts repeatedly saved the Starks and Deanerys. Lyanna is the one suggesting that Jon be King in the North, it was their shield and 62 good men that protected Jon, it was their family sword that saved him from the Other at Hardhome. That family and their sword are vital elements in the overall story of a Song of Ice and Fire. Not by mistake.

      • It would have been a great gift near the end of Winds of Winter. She deserves to have it back for the 8 or 10 men she lost.

  • I know I’m going to get a lot of hate for this but I don’t think she’s pretty enough to play Lyanna. She’s pretty but in a very plain way she’s not remarkable or exotically beautiful, she’s pretty. But than again, if they felt they had to match her to Arya I get it, but than if they’re going to make her beauty one of her defining characteristics and say that Arya looks like her why don’t they do the same for Arya’s character and cast a gorgeous actress to play Arya? Who again, is pretty but not pretty enough to be called the most beautiful woman in Westeros or be the kind of girl you leave your wife for,”kidnap” and start a war over.