WARNING: spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones yada yada yada
If you’re an ASOIAF mega-nut or one of the more active followers of the hit fantasy adaptation, then you’ll probably know about that little theory R+L=J. If for some reason you’re still reading and don’t want to be spoiled for both the books and the show, then get the hell outta here!
Ever since A Game of Thrones was released in 1996, fans have been interested in Jon Snow – or rather, who his parents are. The official story is that he’s Ned Stark’s bastard from when he was down south fighting in Robert’s Rebellion, however that’s always seemed kinda hokey. Throughout the first book Ned frequently remembers visiting his sister Lyanna on her deathbed at the Tower of Joy, with the line “promise me, Ned” constantly ringing through his mind. Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon and abducted by Rhaegar Targaryen which is the reason this whole revolution started in the first place. She was found lying on a bed of blood guarded by the best of the Kingsguard, which is strange since their priority would be to protect the rightful heir – Viserys – rather than a highborn Northerner who may have been raped by the prince. Unless, that is, they were guarding the rightful heir.
The theory suggests that Jon Snow is actually the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, making him a Targaryen. The family have also been known to practice polygamy – i.e. multiple wives/husbands – in the past, so it’s possible that he was wedded to Lyanna at the same time as Elia Martell which would make him the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne before Daenerys. This would solve the riddle of Ned’s honour, as it’s so out-of-character for him to sire a bastard. It also fulfils a bunch of prophecy/magical stuff which repeatedly comes up in the books and the show, so if you want to read more about it then all you need to do is a quick Google search, but take my word for it that there’s so much evidence pointing to it being true that most fans have accepted it as canon.
Now onto the news.
This is apparently the Tower of Joy in Game of Thrones Season 6. My inner fanboy just exploded.
The report comes from Los Siete Reinos, a Spanish fansite that has been pretty on point regarding the production there, via Watchers on the Wall, who have also been very on point and have added a little more info to the story. It’s the Castillo de Zafra in Campillo de Dueñas (which has been rumoured to be the Tower for a while), and looks pretty much exactly how it’s described and how fans envisioned it. This place is important because it’s where Lyanna was, where the fight between Ned Stark, Howland Reed (Meera and Jojen Reed’s dad), Arthur Dayne and more of the Kingsguard/Northern party took place, and where only those first two guys made it out alive. Dayne is perhaps the most legendary and greatest fighter to ever live so it’s pretty significant that Ned was the one to kill him – the how of all that is still a mystery, although it looks as if we’ll finally find out next year.
A while back, WotW leaked a casting call which contained info for a ‘Legendary Fighter’ who sounded a hell of a lot like Arthur Dayne.
A legendary swordsman and a paragon of knighthood. He carries a hugely famous sword on his back. We are looking for the best swordsman in Europe to play this part.
Please note that this character is a fighting legend and we will need a hugely impressive display of swordplay in very spectacular fight scenes.
1 week commencing 25th September
Playing age 30 – 45
The site has now gotten their mitts on an updated casting call which adds a little bit more information.
Male, 30-35 years old
This heroic handsome figure is a legendary sword fighter and we want someone who looks heroic and like a fierce and efficient experienced fighter. We need a muscular physique and heroic look. He really does have to have physical impact. The flamboyant aspects of the fighting will be taken over by a stunt fighter but we need someone who looks like they can take care of themselves.
Appears in one episode and has a couple of lines but the fight scene in which he appears is massive and memorable.
Shoot dates are week commencing 28th September in Northern Ireland
This would suggest one minor change to the fight which really isn’t a huge deal but will probably piss fans off anyway; if the actor is needed in Northern Ireland rather than Spain then it means the fight will be taking place inside the castle rather than outside it like in the books. I mean, I didn’t actually know it wasn’t inside until now, so it really isn’t a big deal.
What is a big deal is the fact this flashback is happening at all. The mystery of Jon’s mother has been long-running throughout Game of Thrones. In order to make the show, George R.R. Martin asked David Benioff and Dan Weiss who his mother is and they guessed correctly, and Littlefinger didn’t give that big Rhaegar/Lyanna info-dump last season for nothing. Out of all the things the show is going to spoil from the books, this really shouldn’t be counted amongst them since it’s so blindingly obvious if you think about it. There really is no reason to visit the Tower of Joy other than to find out Jon’s true parentage. Unless it turns out we were all wrong and Daenerys is Rhaegar’s daughter or something weird.
However, what I’m personally most excited about isn’t finally getting it confirmed that Jon is a Targaryen, or seeing Arthur Dayne in action – it’s seeing our old pal Ned again.
Everybody loves Ned Stark (hey, that would make a good spin-off…) and a ton of fans have been dying to see Sean Bean come back since his head got lopped off at the end of Season 1. News recently hit that we’ll be seeing him as a kid in a flashback, but that actor is thirteen years old, and Ned definitely wasn’t thirteen whilst leading a war. So, we’re most certainly gonna see Bean don the robes again, as well as lots of makeup and face-tech to make him look twenty years younger.
As a fan who really didn’t like Season 5, this news does have me really excited for the next season. R+L=J is something fans have wanted answers for for nineteen years, Sean Bean is great and the location looks spectacular – hopefully the sequence will end up being as awesome as how it’s described in the books. I do wonder how both of these flashbacks are going to be presented; will both be through Bran? Could Meera tell him the story that her father told her? We’ll have to wait and see.
Head back to Watchers on the Wall for some more info, including locations for Braavos and Oldtown! Game of Thrones Season 6, meanwhile, will be hitting next spring.