Whether its Bran Built the Wall or the ever unlikely, but still popular Cleganebowl (get hype!), Game of Thrones is a show dominated by fan theories. Yet there’s only one to rule them all: R+L=J, the secret formula that holds the answer to Jon Snow’s true parentage. It’s a fan theory so persuasive and enduring that many have long accepted it as fact – and last night’s series six finale finally confirmed that they were right.
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The theory is essentially this: Jon Snow is not a bastard. Instead, he is the son of Ned Starks’s sister Lyanna and her lover Rhaegar Targaryen – and, therefore, the true heir to the iron throne.
In the books, and TV show, we’re lead to believe that Rhaegar was a monster, one who kidnapped, raped and ultimately killed Lyanna; who, at the time, was the betrothed of Robert Baratheon. R+L=J says different, suggesting that Rhaegar and Lyanna were actually in love, and ran away together before conceiving a child – Jon.
Ned, having tracked down Lyanna, finds her dying from childbirth. And it’s here that she asks him to protect Jon – to keep him away from Robert, who has sworn to kill all heirs to the Targaryen throne. The thinking is that Ned Stark is such an honourable man that would spend his life in disgrace – even lying to wife – to do the honourable thing.
And that’s pretty much how it played out. Through Bran’s flashback, we see a young Ned fight his way through to the Tower of Joy, only to find Lyanna in bed, soaked in blood. Dying, she whispers something into Ned’s ear – presumably that she had a baby with Rhaegar – before saying, “if Robert finds out he’ll kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned. Promise me.” Ned is then handed a baby – a baby that then cuts to… Jon Snow!
As you can imagine, fans were pretty fine about it.
But what does this mean now? With the scene having taken place just before Jon Snow is declared King in the North, are we to assume that this is the start of Snow’s claim to the throne? And what does that mean for Daenerys? Will this revelation eventually lead to them fighting each other, or will it be like in my fan fiction where they team up to take on the White Walkers with DRAGON FIRE.
As always, we’ll just have to wait and find out.