Game of Thrones fans are still wrestling with their grief over Jon Snow, and a new fan theory has them thinking about the character’s origin and legacy. This post is going to dive deep to explain the new theory, so bear with me and beware of SPOILERS.
The new theory extends the fan favorite R+L=J theory into R+L=J+M. What does all that mean? Let’s start with that first equation, with apologies to fans already in the know.
“R+L=J” is the long-running theory that Jon Snow is not Ned Stark’s bastard, but the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. As the story goes, Ned found Lyanna on her death bed at the Tower of Joy following Robert’s Rebellion. Lyanna forced a solemn promise out of Ned before she finally , one that George R.R. Martin has yet to reveal.
Fans theorize that Lyanna’s death bed was also her labor bed, and that she made Ned promise to take care of her newborn son. Born of Lyanna’s union with Rhaegar Targaryen, her son would be the true heir to the Iron Throne. Knowing that King Robert was blinded by rage when it came to anyone with Targaryen blood, let alone one borne from the abduction of the woman he loved, Ned decided to hide Jon’s true parentage, sacrificing a portion of the honor he held so dear by claiming that the baby was his own. Ned never revealed Jon’s true lineage to him because he feared for the boy’s life.
Knowing that taking the black would absolve Jon of any claim to the throne, Ned planned to tell Jon the truth when they next met after parting ways in A Game of Thrones/Season 1. Unfortunately, the secret died with Ned when he was executed in King’s Landing.
Well, almost. There was one other person with Ned when he entered the Tower of Joy, and that’s where the “M” in the second equation comes into play. Howland Reed, lord of the crannogmen of the Neck, was by Ned’s side when he entered the Tower. Howland is now the only person alive who knows what Ned promised his sister. The new theory presented on Reddit also posits that this is where Howland first met his daughter, Meera Reed.
Reddit user ghostchief believes that the opening scene of Game of Thrones Season 6 will be a flashback to the Tower of Joy. In this sceen, we will learn what Ned promised Lyanna and see Jon given over to Ned. The new twist is that ghostchief expects we’ll also see Jon’s twin sister, Meera, given into the custody of Howland.
This theory seems to be backed up by certain dates. While Jon looks a bit older than Meera on Game of Thrones, the books have them as the same age. Both Jon and Meera were born in 283 AC, according to The World of Ice and Fire, which just happens to be the same year as Ned and Howland’s trip to the Tower of Joy and Lyanna’s death.
However, there are some significant holes in this theory. The theory seems to have gained some steam because Ellie Kendrick, the actress who plays Meera on Game of Thrones, bears a passing resemblance Jon Snow actor Kit Harrington. An intentional move by the showrunners?
Admittedly, it’s not hard to believe that Kendrick may have taken the role of Arya Stark in an alternate universe, but the actress resembling Snow is most likely coincidental since it is not backed up by her description from the books. To borrow the paraphrasing of Martin’s words from A Wiki of Ice and Fire, Meera is described as short and slim “as is typical of the crannogmen.” That her physical features match what is expected of her people suggests that she is indeed Howland’s biological daughter.
Perhaps more damning is that Howland has never claimed that Meera is anyone else’s but his and his wife’s, Jyana. The mysterious lineage angle works with Jon Snow because he is a bastard and no one except Ned knew who his real mother was. If Howland came back from the war with an infant daughter and tried to pass it off as trueborn, even though Jyana had shown no signs of pregnancy previously, someone would surely have noticed. Yet, no story or rumor of Meera’s illegitimacy has ever been mentioned, and rumors and stories tend to get around in Weteros.
Lastly, this is literally the same backstory and Luke and Leia's from Star Wars.
So no, we’re not buying this one, but we’re sure to see a few more fringe theories like this by the time Game of Thrones Season 6 premieres in 2016.