(Warning - the following contains potential GIANT, HULKING SPOILERS for Game of Thrones' sixth season. As a Westeros-based Taylor Swift might have told Jon Snow after Season 5: "Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya...")
Now, Season 6 of Game of Thrones might well still be the best part of a year away from hitting our screens, but that doesn't mean that speculation about what we'll see when it eventually arrives isn't already well underway. What's more, the latest murmurings to emerge from the show's set might just tell us something pretty darned huge about a beloved character. Specifically, it very much seems as though...
THAT Jon Snow-Related Mystery Is About to Be Solved
(Note: this is where those aforementioned SPOILERS really kick in...)
Now, to be clear, we're not talking about the mystery of Jon Snow's death, and his widely anticipated return in Season 6 - seeing as Kit Harington, who plays Snow, has by this point pretty much confirmed that he will, in fact, be back.
Instead, the mystery in question is the one of Snow's parentage - one that has long been debated by fans of both the show and the book series that preceded it. The most popular theory, as things stand, is that Jon Snow is indeed a Stark - but not Ned's son. Instead, he's the child of Ned's sister, Lyanna Stark, and Rhaegar Targayen, Daenerys' brother and heir to the Iron Throne before Robert Baratheon's successful rebellion. It's a theory better known as R+L=J, and it's all but accepted as canon at this point, despite never having been confirmed by the novels' author George R.R. Martin.
From the looks of what's currently filming on the Game of Thrones set, though...
We're Finally Set to See R+L=J Become a Reality
Y'see, the R+L=J theory largely hinges on a place named the Tower of Joy - a tall, castle-like building in Dorne in which Rhaegar and Lyanna hid after (depending on who you ask) he either kidnapped her or stole her heart. It was there, after the successful end of Robert's Rebellion, that Ned Stark and a group of allies faced off against three senior members of the King's Guard, aiming to return Lyanna to her betrothed Robert Baratheon.
Almost everyone present died, leaving only Ned Stark and his close friend Howland Reed standing - but they were still too late to save Lyanna, who Ned found in a "bed of blood." A bed which, R+L=J argues, was bloody as a result of her having given birth to a son, Jon, and died in the process.
All of Which, It Seems, We're Set to See in Season 6
Or, at least, that's what the latest rumors to emerge from the set suggest.
Y'see, the show has recently been filming an extended sequence at the Castillo de Zafra in Spain, a location which very much looks set to stand-in for the Tower of Joy...
...and which, the latest rumors to emerge from the (typically very reliable) Watchers on the Wall suggest, has recently welcomed two unnamed actresses to the set - one of whom seems certain to be Lyanna. With Lyanna, and presumably the rest of the notorious event's key participants, present and accounted for, it seems likely that we're finally set to see R+L=J comprehensively proven...or debunked.
The Really, Really Intriguing Part, Though?
It sounds as though Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran Stark has also been spotted on the Castillo de Zafra set despite his character being still very much north of the Wall in the show, which is both a long, long way from Dorne, and a couple of decades after the events we seem set to see at the Tower of Joy.
Which is...a little odd, when you think about it.
Or, at least, it would be if Bran didn't have his 'greensight' visions - or the potential ability to see into the past via them. His presence on the Spanish set, then, would seem to suggest that those not only will we see the Tower of Joy through a vision, rather than a flashback, but that we'll actually see Bran as a physical part of the moment he's witnessing - in this case, his father's assault on the Tower of Joy.
Which, in Turn, Means R+L=J Almost Certainly WON'T Be Debunked
After all, why would Bran be witness to the events at the Tower of Joy unless they are, in some way, vital to the show's main plot? With Jon Snow's parentage and the Stark family's bloodline being a central part of the narrative, it seems incredibly unlikely that Bran would bear witness to such bloody events for no particular reason, and similarly implausible that there would be a reason other than R+L=J.
Which, in turn, means that not only would someone who's actually alive (and not the as yet unseen and exceptionally discreet Howland Reed) know the truth about Jon, but also that should Jon - as expected - survive all of that stabbing, he'd arguably have one of the strongest claims to the Iron Throne in all of Westeros, being the son of the original Targaryen heir and a leading Stark. He would, in fact, have a stronger claim than Daenerys - being the next male heir in a society that prioritizes male succession to the throne.
All he has to do now? Not actually be dead...