Game of Thrones season 6 episode 3: How the Tower of Joy could reveal who Jon Snow's parents really are
** Spoilers for Game of Thrones season six episode two **
In episode two, the moment we’ve all been waiting for finally happened: Jon Snow was resurrected by Melisandre. For a long time, most fans have thought the Stark child was meant for greater things (could he be Azor Ahai?) and season six has so far proven this to be true.
Attention has now turned to episode three, titled “Oathbreaker”, with one moment from the episode’s preview piquing fans' interest.
At around the 22-second mark, we see Bran and the Three-Eyed-Raven in a flashback. They are witnessing Targaryen knights fight a man many presume to be a young Ned Stark. Fans are speculating heavily that this will be part of the infamous “Tower of Joy” sequence from the A Song of Ice and Fire books.
So, what happens at the Tower of Joy? A brief explanation: long before Tommen Baratheon sat on the thrown, Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King, did. His son, Rhaegar Targaryen, was married to Elia Martell.
Rhaegar, however, wasn’t a faithful man and ran off with Ned's sister, Lyanna Stark (who we saw in episode two riding a white horse). At the time, she was bequeathed to Robert Baratheon, who unsurprisingly wasn’t happy his soon-to-be wife had run off with the Targaryen prince.
Instead of sitting back, Robert rebelled (hence Robert’s rebellion), overthrowing the Mad King and taking King’s Landing for himself. Eventually, Ned found out where his sister was located, at a place called The Tower of Joy (named by Rhaegar, of course).
Ned led his men to the tower, defeating the three Targaryens who defended it, finding Lyanna locked away and dying. As she perished in his arms, she whispered something to Ned, asking him to promise something.
Only two men survived that day, Ned and the trusted Howland Reed, and neither spoke openly about what happened. Therefore, no-one knows what Lyanna made Ned promise, but fans think they have it figured out.
It is believed that Lyanna made Ned promise to adopt her and Rhaegar’s baby. As you may have guessed, that baby is likely to be Jon Snow, thus making him a Targaryen and a Stark (fire meeting ice).
This is popularly known as 'R + L = J' and if “Oathbreaker” does show the full events of the Tower of Joy, this theory may finally be made a reality. It is, however, unlikely this much information will be given away so early on: if Ned does emerge from the tower with an infant, this may very well be Elia Martell’s child; there’s no guarantee it will be straight forward.
Update: In episode three, Ned made it to the Tower of Joy. Find out what happened and what it means for R+L=J here.
Still, there’s a fair bit of evidence to back it up. Most obvious is that, as we know from Sean Bean’s tenure as the Stark Lord, Ned always remained faithful to his vows. Surely, he would never break the sacred oath of marriage and cheat on his wife, as he claims to have done.
It makes more sense that he made a promise to Lyanna not to reveal Jon’s true parentage to anyone, thus lying to his wife about fathering Jon Snow.
Hopefully, all will be revealed soon. Thanks to the plot description of episode five, it actually looks more likely the big reveal will happen at the season’s midway point, rather than in episode three.
Meanwhile, fans have translated Melisandre’s prayer that brought back Jon Snow, offering further insight into that climatic moment.
Independent News Service