*Warning: This post contains wild speculation on Game of Thrones Season 7, so it could contain spoilers. Read on at your own risk*
R+L=J. It's a simple equation, yet one of the biggest talking points from an abundance of talking points in an explosive season of Game of Thrones. The reveal of Jon Snow's parentage — shown during Bran's warging session to the Tower of Joy — finally confirmed the popular theory that Rhaegar Targaryen is Jon's father.
But what happens next? The news that the recent resurrected King of the North has royalty in his DNA is sure to become an integral plot-line over the next two seasons, but we still have no idea how Bran will get the message to Jon, or whether Jon will find out at all, or even if we'll see more behind the mystery.
However, as promised in the above warning, we're here for wild speculation. It is that time of year after all; The Game of Thrones finale blues are slowly started to subside and thoughts turn to the next season and all the wondrous, debaucherous possibilities that could unfold in front of our very own eyes. With filming set to begin very soon, Watchers on the Wall have revealed casting calls for Season 7, and it could give us some insight to how the R+L=J mystery will unfold.
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Despite entering its penultimate season, there are a number of new characters we'll be introduced to next season (you can check out the full list here). But one in particular stands out: he's nicknamed "Young Lord", and here's the full description:
"Young Lord in his late 20’s. He’s a tall, handsome young lord, and the show is looking for a white actor who uses the RP accent. He’s scheduled to shoot in the week commencing September 20th."
So, let's break it down and see if the shoe fits the Prince of Dragonstone. The main criteria from the profile are age, appearance and filming schedule. How do they compare?
Age: Our Young Lord is in his late 20's. In the books, Rhaegar Targaryen was killed during Robert's Rebellion in the Battle of the Trident when he was 24-years-old. Considering how the characters in the TV show are generally a couple of years older than those in the books, Rhaegar could easily be portrayed in his late 20's.
Appearance: This is the real giveaway. Rhaegar was renowned for his aesthetically pleasing appearance, described in the books as tall and beautiful, with pale skin and indigo eyes. The fact the description explicitly states his height is as big a clue as we're likely to get. Also, the RP accent stands for "received pronunciation," and is used by noblemen in the show.
Filming Schedule: Considering Rhaegar is already dead, any involvement that he'll have in the show from now on will be in the form of flashbacks, which wouldn't take too long to film (think the equivalent of young Ned Stark in Season 6).
Interestingly, the events occurring when Bran wargs back and discovers the truth of R+L=J happen near the beginning of Robert's Rebellion. It's suggested in the book the Rhaegar spent the beginning of the war at the Tower of Joy, after he had kidnapped Lyanna Stark.
What Does This Mean For Season 7?
Let's say this is correct (I'm personally sold on the idea) how will things pan out? Well, this is where things get really interesting. Another description on the casting call is for "Warrior." Here's the profile:
"Warrior, in the 35 – 45 age range. The character is a tough-looking bruiser with the attack skills of a pit bull, and the actor needs to be great at fighting. He has a 'considerable' amount of dialogue as well. It’s described as an 'excellent part for a top-end actor.' Helpful clues in the description? We know it’s not a Dothraki character as the actor for the role is required to be white, and they’re asking for a neutral and non-posh English accent. This role is currently scheduled to shoot across October."
This criteria looks like a perfect fit for none other than Robert Baratheon, who at his peak was a fearsome warrior. The key points from the profile are the fact he is white, ruling out a Dothraki or someone else from Essos, but also has a non-posh English accent. For a quick recap:
Yep, that's a non-posh English accent if ever I heard one...
Anyway, if Robert is involved, it seems likely that we'll see flashbacks to Robert's Rebellion, a conflict so epic that it would make a good spin-off show in its own right. The war was started due to the Mad King Aerys executing Lord Rickard Stark and Brandon Stark, and reached its climax when House Baratheon overthrew House Targaryen to become the new rulers of the Seven Kingdoms.
The most interesting aspect is that it was Robert himself who killed Rhaegar during the Battle of Trident. While it'll make more beautifully choreographed television, Bran's warging will generally be for a great purpose, so we'd expect to see some revelation during the battle. This could tie events in with the R+L=J mystery.
As an interesting side-note, there doesn't appear to be a profile that would befit Howland Reed, the companion who was with Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy, and crucially the only other person who could possibly pass on the truth to Jon.
Does this mean a potential Robert's Rebellion flashback could reveal the identity of someone else who knows the truth?
Do you think the Young Lord is Rhaegar Targaryen?
(Source: Watchers On The Wall)