**SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT KEEP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE FINALE OF SERIES FIVE!**
Ever since the final episode of Game of Thrones series five aired last month, fans have speculated about whether Jon Snow will reappear. Kit Harington and the showrunners have assured us the Stark bastard has breathed his last, but you know us – ever eager to hold on to a smidgeon of hope. The latest whisper comes courtesy of a list of season six filming locations that includes Spain’s 12th century Castillo de Zafra in Guadalajara.
Why is this relevant? Well, eagle-eyed fans have noticed that the added location fits the description of the Tower of Joy in George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones books. That’s the tower where Ned Stark (played by Sean Bean in the series) and Howland Reed found Lyanna Stark – Ned’s sister – who was being held captive by Rhaegar Targaryen.
Ned and Howland fought their way through Rhaegar’s guard to rescue Lyanna – but something unknown went wrong and Lyanna died in mysterious circumstances. And this is where the fan theories come in…
The most popular Game of Thrones theory is that Jon Snow isn’t actually the bastard son of Ned Stark but the lovechild of Lyanna and Rhaegar, with Ned lying to protect him from enemies in accordance with his sister’s dying wish. Tellingly, according to the source novels, her last words to him were “Promise me, Ned…”
A casting call for the series supports this theory as one of the character descriptions sounds an awful lot like a young Sean Bean (the green eyes and northern accent were a giveaway) and another matches the description of Arthur Dayne, a famous member of Rhaegar’s Kingsguard.
The theory is known as R+L=J, and makes a certain sense given Ned’s honourable nature – would he really have cheated on his wife? It could even explain Jon’s fiery temper – and gives hope to fans who want to see Lord Snow in series six.
After all, the series wouldn’t be investigating the backstory of a character who was done for, right? That would be cruel – and if we know one thing about the Game of Thrones showrunners, it’s that they put the fans’ feelings above everything else.
Yes, those lovely, lovely showrunners.
Game of Thrones will return next year