L + R = J

Kit Harington as Jon Snow

More Game of Thrones, but this time let’s focus on the books. As I said yesterday, my favorite character in the series is Jon Snow. In the fandom, the most hotly debated topic by a mile is Jon’s parentage.

In the first chapter of the first book we learn that he’s a bastard of Eddard Stark. Meaning he was born out of wedlock with a woman who isn’t Catelyn Stark, Ned’s wife. The interesting thing is that Eddard has steadfastly refused to reveal to anyone the identity of Jon’s mother. The enduring mystery has now lasted five epically long books, and fans have taken it upon themselves to put the scattered puzzle pieces together. And what they’ve come up with is brilliant.

If you’re just entering the GOT fandom (as I was about a little over two years ago) there are some things that you must know. One of them is R+L=J. I can remember the first time I read this ‘equation’. I was terribly confused and thought I was missing some sort of inside joke. So, I did my research and a couple of hours later my head exploded.

This is the most well researched and well thought out fan theory I have ever come across in any fandom. Its basis is a doozy; namely, that Eddard Stark is not in fact Jon’s biological father (wait, what?) Yep :) and from there the conspiracy grows to astronomical levels. This theory, at its core, is the classic story of the lost prince who is completely unaware of his identity and, having lived in obscurity his whole life, returns to the throne and restores honor and peace to a kingdom at war. You see, the ‘R’ in the equation is Rhaegar Targaryen, the heir to the Iron Throne, killed at the Trident by one Robert Baratheon. The ‘L’ is Lyanna Stark; Eddard’s younger sister who also died in the war under extremely suspicious circumstances.

While the theory is magnificently complex, there are a couple of places that do a superb dissection of all the evidence provided by GRRM in an incredibly in depth manner.

#1 The Citadel at westeros.org explores all the possible parental options for Jon not just Lyanna and Rhaegar;

#2 Tower of the Hand is probably my favorite source since it includes quotes directly from the series;

#3 For only those brave enough ~ the now 19 thread long epic discussion on the westeros.org forum (first post: May 2006…insane!)

Even though GRRM has been extremely tight lipped on anything having to do with Jon’s heritage, I have a funny feeling us fans are on the right track. The concept is too epic and fits too perfectly. Maybe I’m just biased because I think it’d be awesome for my favorite character to end up being the “savior” of the realm. But I usually trust my gut, and this time my gut says yes.

I believe that the evolution of this theory is evidence of the passion of this series’ fans. They truly love these books and this story, even though- and maybe because– it frustrates and challenges them so much. I know that when I heard this particular theory, my obsession kind of started.  I mean obviously I was a fan already (having read all four books (those out at the time) and eagerly anticipating the HBO adaptation) but reading what others had figured out catapulted me into crazy town. I was not one of the lucky ones who spotted it in the text, but that made the reveal much more shocking. I distinctly remember being rendered speechless, then getting embarrassingly giddy over the new revelation. The genius of GRRM has never been more apparent than through this theory and it is my wholehearted belief that this seemingly ludicrous speculation will be proven true.

And if it isn’t, well George, I hope your fans don’t know where you live…

One thought on “L + R = J

  1. Yeah bit of a spoiler there Pat, not very nice at all (though I’ve read the books and knew what the end scene was, but still, that’s a douhcey move).Anyway I liked it well enough, I think Addy is a great Robert and Bean suits the role of Ned a lot more than I thought he would. A few dodgy CG effects (Bran climbing) and the Dothraki side of things really was quite cheesy though I agree Viserys is characterised quite well. Tyrion’s accent didn’t bother me as much as I thought ti would and Fairly actually makes a good Catelyn.Should be a fun series where I really hope people who have not read the books get really into it.

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