(MAJOR SPOILERS for 'Game of Thrones'! If you have somehow managed to avoid spoiling the show for this long then kudos to you. However, if you watched the Season 6 finale, please continue.)
That was explosive. This season of Game of Thrones was packed full of awesome twists, gruesome death, and sweet, sweet revenge. We also finally got confirmation of a theory that's been gaining steam for the past few seasons. That's right. I'm talking about...
The theory that Jon Snow isn't actually a Snow or a bastard of Ned Stark at all, but the offspring of Lyanna Stark/Rhegar Targaryen. It's a theory that has been floating around since George R.R. Martin published the first installment of the Song of Fire and Ice all the way back in 1996. Two decades later, this well thought out fan theory finally came true, although some fans proposed another theory after the conclusion of Season 6 of the hit HBO show: Jon's real dad isn't Rhaegar. However, as this super cool infographic confirms, Jon is indeed the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark (and perhaps even the 'Prince Who Was Promised', but that's another theory).
The infographic created by HBO helps all of us remember the rather complicated relationships going on in the world of Game of Thrones. It also reminds us of one very important alliance, an alliance that I don't think we've seen the last of:
House Reed/House Stark
House Reed and House Stark have been allies for a very long time. Howland Reed was one of the few people Ned trusted with helping him free his sister from the Tower of Joy. Besides Ned, Lord Reed was the only survivor of that fateful day, which means he knows a secret that now only one of two people in the entire world know: Jon Snow is actually Jon Targaryen (though still a bastard, so he's Jon Sand). Bran only knows about this lineage due to his warging ways, but Howland Reed was actually there and there's no way Lord Eddard Stark could have talked his way out of that one after going into the tower empty-handed and coming out with a baby.
What does this mean for season 7?
Now that Jon has been declared King in the North and Bran knows the truth, many fans believe we'll see Bran make the trek back to Winterfell to tell his half-brother (er...cousin) about this parentage. However, how many of those bannermen will believe the word of a young boy who wasn't even alive yet at the time of Jon's conception? This is where Howland comes in. If my theory is correct, Howland will come out of hiding with his crannogmen to confirm the fact that Jon is of Stark and Targaryen blood. I believe that Howland will align himself with the Stark forces to combat the coming winter and the dreaded White Walkers.
Why would he do that?
House Reed has a long history with the Starks. Lord Reed fought in Robert's Rebellion alongside Ned Stark. He saved Ned's life by stabbing Arthur Dayne in the back just in the nick of time. He was there when Ned discovered his sister dying in a pool of blood. He was there when Ned decided to claim that Jon was his own son even though he knew it meant throwing away his honor. He was there when the son of the heir to the throne was born. And he never said anything. Lord Reed has kept this secret quiet for all these years. As far as he knows, he is the only person alive to know the truth. Presumably he is willing to take the secret to his deathbed, but if Bran makes it to Winterfell, Lord Reed would no longer have to keep the secret. All of that proves that Lord Reed is loyal to House Stark. His friendship and loyalty are highly admirable and showcase what a good man Howland is.
Furthermore, the heirs to House Reed, Jojen and Meera, helped Bran Stark on his path to become the Three-Eyed Raven, with Jojen even dying in the process. There's also the theory that Meera and Jon are twins, which would make sense if Howland took one of the two children Lyanna had, giving him even more of a reason to align with Jon.
If you remember, the crannogmen were also going to help Robb Stark through their dangerous swamps to get back into the North and take back Winterfell before Robb was betrayed by the Freys and Boltons. House Reed despises House Frey and our favorite girl with no name just tore down that mighty House. The Reeds are perhaps the greatest ally to House Stark and nobody even realizes it. Now that time has come again, I predict they will come out of hiding to once again take their place by the side of House Stark.
What would this mean for Jon Snow?
His army would gain some of the most renowned warriors in all the land. The crannogmen are shrouded in mystery. They are known as talented hunters and warriors that are skilled with an array of weapons including nets, spears, bronze knives, and leather shields. They are also believed to have intermarried with the Children of the Forest, which makes perfect sense as it's Meera Reed who has been tasked with being Bran's guide, companion, and protector. We now know that the Children of the Forest are responsible for the creation of the forest, so perhaps it is possible that the people of the swamp know some tricks from their close relationship with the Children of the Forest that will help the people of the North stand against the coming threat. The crannogmen just might play a vital role in defeating the White Walkers. Many of the swamp people are greenseers, like Jojen, and have been rumored to have other mystical powers as well. Having these people on Jon's side in the coming war will give him a huge hand up against the White Walkers.
House Reed Will Join the War
Howland Reed has managed to stay out of the majority of the major wars that have plagued Westeros (unless of course you subscribe to the theory he's secretly the High Sparrow, who just got blown to pieces), but the time has come for him to come out of hiding. If my theory is correct, we'll see Howland Reed come out of his swamp with his crannogmen in tow to swear fealty to the new King in the North. The Reeds have always been good friends to the Starks and now in their time of greatest need, Howland Reed will come out of the Neck to defeat the White Walkers, an ace up Jon's sleeve that he doesn't even know he has. With the addition of Houses Reed, Feen, Peat, Boggs, Cray, Quagg, Greengood, and Blackmyre (all crannogmen), the King in the North might just see a huge boost in his numbers. Nothing will be able to stand in the way of the King in the North after this!