If you're a Game of Thrones superfan, you've probably come across the phrase L+R=J once or twice before – or more. As one of the biggest unsolved mysteries from the series A Song of Ice and Fire, the secrets within the Tower of Joy are unknown to show watchers and book readers alike. Season 6 of Game of Thrones has finally begun to tease what exactly is in the tower, but they're taking the reveal real slow. Many fans believe the Tower of Joy is where Jon Snow was born and that it holds the key to his parentage. Is Jon Snow in the Tower of Joy?
Maybe. The theory that Lyanna Stark + Rhaegar Targaryen = Jon is so widely accepted as gospel truth that it's hard to imagine any other outcome. From the books, fans know that Ned Stark found his sister Lyanna dying in the tower; on the show, viewers have heard a woman screaming from within its walls. The theory that she was dying delivering Jon is pretty compelling and the evidence could very well prove it.
But what if it's not true? The show drawing out the mystery could be the writers' way of putting off the inevitable just to drive fans crazy. But what if there's some kind of twist no one saw coming?
Despite a surfeit of evidence, there's a lot that's unconfirmed. Even if Lyanna is in the tower, maybe she's dying for reasons unrelated to childbirth. There isn't any solid information about how long she'd been there or how she was living; assumptions aside, who knows what might have happened to Lyanna in the tower? Maybe the promise she extracted from Ned before her death had nothing to do with secret love children at all; perhaps she just wanted him to conceal whatever it was that happened to her.
The Tower of Joy is visited in Season 6, Episode 3 by Bran Stark and the Three-Eyed Raven, who watch the events at the tower play out just like audiences at home do. Bran, as thirsty for knowledge as the rest of the viewers, calls out to the younger version of his father. The surprising thing is that Ned actually seems to hear him – unlike all those times I've shrieked at a television show. The fact that Bran might be able to interact with the past in his visions is huge. Could he cause some sort of butterfly ripple effect that changes everything in the present?
The show likely wouldn't have made a point of it if it wasn't going to come up again at a later date, and linking Bran's effect on the past to the Tower of Joy might end up being an important connection. Perhaps there will be some unexpected twist that no one saw coming. Game of Thrones is a show that loves a shocking moment, after all. Many fans assume that Bran will be the one to discover the secret of Jon's real parents, but it's possible Bran will have a more active role in messing with the past. What that could be remains to be seen.
Maybe the twist is just that baby Jon isn't in the tower at all – there's really no evidence that there's any baby there, let alone one that grows up to be Jon Snow. Fans could have been chasing one big red herring for years. Can you imagine the Twitter meltdowns? It might be worth it just for that.