‘Game Of Thrones’ Spoilers: Is Jon Snow Really Ned’s Son?

Game of Thrones fans haven’t gotten any more leaked episodes, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill for spoilers regarding what’s to come in the remaining six episodes of Season 5. Across GoT forums, Game of Thrones fans are buzzing about the possible lineage of one of the major characters, and have put together supporting evidence for why things may not be quite what they seem in the family tree of the house of Stark. This has been dubbed the “R + L = J” theory, as reported by IB Times, and book and TV spoilers follow.

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) has been known as the bastard son of Ned Stark (Sean Bean), but he may not be Ned’s bastard child after all. No, Game of Thrones fans aren’t alleging Jon was born of Lady Stark (Michelle Fairley) or at least not the Lady Stark married to Ned. The theory that has gained ground among Game of Thrones fans is that Jon Snow is actually a son of Ned Stark’s sister Lyanna, who presumably ran away with Rhaegar Targaryen before her death and had a child with him. The theory portrays Ned taking in Jon as a promise to his dying sister, vowing to raise her son as his own and protect his identity by claiming he was the father, despite the personal shame and humiliation it would bring on him and his own wife.

If one explores this Game of Thrones theory, it follows that any child of the Targaryen clan would be in danger from the former King Robert Baratheon and the Lannisters as a potential heir to the Iron Throne. Game of Thrones fans have come up with several pieces of “evidence” supporting this idea.

First and foremost, the general belief is that Ned Stark was far too honorable of a man to have cheated on his wife and fathered a child out of wedlock. In fact, Ned kept his word and his honor to a fault and to his detriment. It seems a far stretch to many Game of Thrones fans he would dishonor himself and his wife this way. This is confirmed in the GoT books when he finds his dying sister in a “bed of blood,” which some Game of Thrones fans surmise was childbirth, and he made a promise to her on her deathbed.

“Robert (Baratheon) would swear undying love and forget them before evenfall, but Ned Stark kept his vows. He thought of the promises he made to Lyanna as she lay dying, and the price he paid to keep them.”

Another interesting piece of evidence is Ned’s refusal to kill Targaryen children, even when King Robert Baratheon orders him to slay Dany and her unborn child. In the books, Ned also refused to kill any Targaryen children during the taking of King’s Landing. Game of Thrones fan site The Citadel also supports the R + L = J theory with a detailed timeline study of who could have been Jon Snow’s parents.

If the R + L = J theory holds true, then none of those vying for the Iron Throne may be the true heir, as a child of Rhaegar Targaryen would be the next in line to have been king before the Baratheons and then the Lannisters got their hands on it. Do you think the theory makes sense? And if so, do you think Game of Thrones might ultimately surprise us in the end with a king we weren’t expecting?

[Photo courtesy HBO PR]