(Warning - the following contains massive SPOILERS for the end of Game of Thrones' fifth season, as well as potentially huge ones for the future of both the show and the novels on which it's based. As Taylor Swift might have sagely said to Jon Snow, had she been at Castle Black last season: "Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya"...)
So. Jon Snow.
Whether you loved him for his chiseled good looks and moody charisma, or loved to hate him for his endless existential crises and terrible leadership decisions, there's a pretty good chance that the final scene of Game of Thrones' fifth season hit you like a Wildling's hammer.
After all, the cry went up on social media: "Jon Snow can't be dead".
Not only is he seemingly far too important to the future of Westeros (whether that's in the form of keeping the White Walkers out, or taking some sort of swift and bloody revenge on multiple Lannisters, Freys and Boltons) but there's also that widely accepted fan theory to think about. Y'see:
R+L = J Surely Means That Jon Snow Must Still Be Alive
Moviepilot's own Stephen Adamson has already broken down exactly what the fan favorite R+L = J theory could mean for Jon Snow right here, but the gist of it is this:
Jon Snow isn't - so the theory goes - actually Ned Stark's son. Instead, he's the child of Ned's sister Lyanna, and Rhaegar Targaryen. When Ned Stark rode to the Tower of Joy, and 'rescued' his sister from Rhaegar, he found her with child, and rather than revealing that his nephew was a junior Targaryen, chose to sacrifice his own honor and claim that the boy was his.
Which, if true, makes Jon Snow Daenerys' nephew (and thus a potential dragon-rider, heir to the throne and kinky Targaryen-incest-husband).
If that's the case, though, then presumably Jon can't actually be dead - as he would surely be too important to the story's future development to be killed off now. His death, presumably, is simply a plot device to get him out of his Night's Watch vows. Right? RIGHT?
Well, perhaps, but that being said:
It's Also Possible That Jon Snow Is Very, Very Dead
And, just to be clear, I don't mean Princess Bride-style 'mostly dead,' or 'the Red Woman can still resurrect him and he'll be alive again dead.' I mean dead, once and for all.
There's Something More to the R+L = J Theory
Specifically, it isn't necessarily the R+L = J theory at all. Instead, it might just be the R+L = J+M theory.
And the identity of that bonus M?
Yup, that's right. According to an increasingly popular theory making its way around the Internet:
Meera Reed Might Be Jon Snow's Twin Sister
Y'see, there's nothing in the R+L = J theory that suggests Lyanna and Rhaegar only had one child - which leaves open the distinct possibility that if the theory is true, there could be two junior Targaryens running around Westeros.
What's more, Alfie 'Theon Greyjoy' Allen has previously revealed that George R.R. Martin has revealed to him that Jon Snow's true parentage is "a bit of a Luke Skywalker situation."
Or, in other words, it could quite possibly involve secret twins (who made out that one time to make everyone feel awkward when re-watching Empire Strikes Back).
How Would That Work, Though?
Well, y'see, Ned Stark wasn't the only survivor of the assault on the Tower of Joy. Though pretty much everyone else involved in the battle died, Ned's great friend Howland Reed not only survived, but headed home to a daughter who's pretty much the exact same age as Jon Snow.
The theory, then, is essentially this:
Ned and Howland found a dying Lyanna in the Tower of Joy, clutching her newborn twins. Not wanting anyone to know about the children's parentage, each took one home, and claimed them as their own kid. While Ned Stark's high profile meant he had to proclaim Jon Snow as his own, Howland Reed - a relatively lowly lord - may well have been able to convince the world that she was his legitimate offspring, and thus was able to give her his name.
But Why Does That Mean That Jon Snow Is Dead?
Well, y'see, if there's another mysterious hidden Targaryen lying around - one who just happens to have close ties to a Stark - then the story might not actually need Jon all that much after all.
Instead of being the glorious hero we all assumed he would be, Jon would become a tragic figure - much like Robb and Ned Stark - who could so easily have ruled the North (and perhaps all of Westeros) had his pesky sense of honor not gotten in the way.
Meera could then take on the tricky job of surviving whatever's set to come in the next few books/seasons, including presumably finding a way to stem the White Walker tide, and then team up with Daenerys as a founding member of a new, female-centric dynasty of Westerosi rulers (who aren't complete assholes).
Which, while it would seriously suck for Jon, would actually be a pretty cool twist...
What do you reckon, though?