(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 10)
We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Amidst the abundance of loose ends being tied up in an explosive finale to Season 6, one popular fan theory was finally enveloped, gorged in red wax and sealed with the authentic stamp of approval: R + L = J is the real deal!
Or is it?
Game of Thrones is a show renowned for its ability to keep audiences dizzy from spinning in circles. As much as it is unusual for a big reveal to come completely out of the blue (this theory was first suggested ages ago), sometimes silence can speak a thousand words.
Just Who Is Jon Snow's Father?
The finale returned — through the eyes of a warging Bran — to a youthful Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy, and the true ancestry of Jon Snow was finally revealed. Drenched in her own blood and on the verge of death following childbirth, Lyanna Stark asked her brother to keep a promise — the promise to raise Jon Snow as his own son and avoid the murderous wrath of Robert Baratheon.
Those who had advocated the R + L = J theory would've punched the air in delighted satisfaction (presumably). While the L (Lyanna) and the J (Jon Snow) have now been proven in this biological equation, the skeptics among us would be quick to point out that the confirmation of R (Rhaegar Targaryen) was left in the balance; we conveniently didn't hear what Lyanna said to Rob when she whispered in his ear.
A Mad Theory That All Is Not What It Seems
Could this be because, well, fans called this ages ago? Or, could it mean Rhaegar isn't actually Snow's father? While improbably, some theories now suggest that the father could in fact be Aerys Targaryen, also known as the Mad King. Aerys is the only other eligible Targaryen male that would've had access to Lyanna while she was held captive, so a process of elimination suggests if anyone else is the father, it'll be him.
Although improbable, there is a link between Aerys and Lyanna. The uprising against the Targaryens (known as Robert's Rebellion) was the result of King Aerys executing Lord Rickard Stark and Brandon Stark, who travelled to King's Landing to ask for punishment of Rhaegar for kidnapping Lyanna.
A Song Of Ice And Fire
Either way, we now know Jon Snow has Targaryen blood, making him the true personification of the Song of Ice (Stark) and Fire (Targaryen). On the flipside, Daenerys is now on her way to Westeros, looking for love and looking for leadership of the Seven Kingdoms. With Snow appearing as an eligible bachelor, will the truth spill out before any prospective meeting?
After all, you couldn't have a Queen who copulated with her brother, could you? Oh, wait...