The "R+L=J," or "Stargaryen" Game of Thrones fan theory is getting more attention than usual this season already. Not only does Jon Snow's resurrection prove that he may have too much of a destiny to stay dead, but what looks like a Tower of Joy flashback is coming on Game of Thrones this Sunday. This scene from the books is a key part of the theory that Jon Snow is a Targaryen, and actually getting to see it could make a huge difference.
I have to say that this scene that Bran and the Raven witness might not even be the "Tower of Joy" from A Song Of Ice And Fire at all. This is fan speculation and fervor at its most intense. We don't know for sure. The official HBO description for Sunday's episode "Oathbreaker" only says that Bran trains with the Three-Eyed Raven." It doesn't mention his specific vision. This could be any other moment from the war that started this whole Game of Thrones mess.
Why is it important for Bran to see this? I'm not entirely sure. At the moment, there isn't a whole lot that Bran or Jon could use with the knowledge that he has Targaryen blood... unless it could be used as a rallying cry. Remember how everyone used to tell Daenerys that the people in Westeros were praying for her return? I hope that it has something to do with poor bored Meera Reed, whose father Howland is one of the only Tower of Joy survivors.
Here's what happened in a dragon egg shell: House Targaryen ruled Westeros for as long as anyone can remember. Rhaegar Targaryen, husband of Elia Martell, ran off with Ned's sister Lyanna Stark, who was at the time engaged to Robert Baratheon. This started a rebellion — which a lot of houses got on board with because meanwhile, King Aerys Targaryen was crazy and needed to go — especially after murdering Brandon and Rickard Stark, who arrived at King's Landing in search of Lyanna, without a trial. After that, it was on!
At the end of the war, Ned Stark located his sister at the Tower of Joy (named by Rhaegar) and lead a group of men to rescue her. The group, which included Howland, defeated the members of the Kingsguard who stood outside the Tower. However, Lyanna was already dying inside, and Ned made her a mysterious promise just before she passed.
Since the promo for next week shows what looks to be a young Ned and some knights in Targaryen armor, it looks like this is the scene we are getting. Book fans don't know the cause of Lyanna's death or what the promise was, and since Ned returned from the war with baby Jon, the R+L=J theory arose. So, the expectation is that in this flashback, we will see Ned enter the Tower and emerge with an infant.
Here's the thing, though — as far as we know, Rhaegar was not there. So this flashback might not prove anything. There might not be a baby. There might be a baby who does not belong to Lyanna. What if Ned's sister just happens to be holding Elia Martell's son, who turns out to be Jon, and she just wasn't down with infanticide? Someone in Westeros has to be morally above killing a baby, right? There are a lot of possibilities, and I think that just because R+L=J is a popular Game of Thrones theory, nobody should bank on the Tower of Joy proving anything.
Images: Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO; Giphy