This will be a refresher course for hungry Game of Thrones fans and a general briefing for the less-rabid, but equally devoted, Thronesers eager for the show's return to HBO on April 24. Any type of fan knows Game of Thrones is a layered production on a number of levels—most head-bashingly in terms of narrative.
**Spoiler Alert: The rest of this article will ruin major plot points and character reveals. It's intended for readers who know the books and/or TV series.**
Author George R.R. Martin's tendency to never play favorites with his characters makes everyone expendable. Part of the fun of the show is uncovering its secrets and predicting what might happen... Even things not involving your favorite character's prospective gruesome death. It's almost impossible, and that's one of a thousand reasons Game of Thrones is so great.
The show's rabid fans have responded to Martin's unpredictable plots by doing what comes naturally: They try to predict them. The following is a quick breakdown of the top three Game of Thrones fan theories as we head into season six. Which do you believe in? All of them? Me too.
Jon Snow is Alive
When we last saw the Bastard he was bleeding out at the Wall, stabbed like Caesar by the treacherous brothers of the Night's Watch.
Evidence? This teaser poster for season six seems to confirm Snow will be back in some way. So how does a mortal recover from dozens of stab wounds? Look to the Red Priestess. Melisandre learned the Lord of Light can resurrect the dead in season three and she's now at Castle Black, having left Stannis. Will she simply let Jon die? Not likely, given her previous interest in him. Plus, resurrection is a major theme of the show (White Walkers, Beric Dondarrion, The Mountain). Jon coming back to life to battle a literal army of the dead fits nicely.
There's also the possibility Snow is an untrained warg, like his brother Bran (and maybe Arya), and is able to enter his direwolf Ghost's body, or another animal's, before dying. But Jon's never done this before and it seems unlikely given the amount of time Bran needed to master it. Plus, how would he get back into his own lifeless body? Wouldn't it just get stiff and gross?
There's also a third, even more improbable, but no less drool-inducing, theory that wonders if Jon might be resurrected White Walker-style and turned into a zombie. I'm sure The Night's King could find use for Longclaw.
Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon (R + L = J )
This "proof" is well-known by Thrones fans as the least insane of where the series' narrative will go from here and the truth of Jon Snow's lineage. It guesses that Snow was never the bastard son of Eddard Stark, but a secret offspring of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, Ned's sister. If true, it would mean Jon is Daenerys' nephew and possibly a rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Evidence? First of all, why is a bastard one of the main characters of the series? It makes sense there's more to Snow's history than the show suggests... Just in a general sense. Also, the fact Ned Stark came home with a bastard is hard to believe given his honor. It seems more likely that same honor made him promise his dying sister he'd keep her secret Targaryen son safe. In the book, A Game of Thrones, her last words to him, lying in a "bed of blood," are "Promise me, Ned." But we never learn the promise. Stark later talks about "living his lies for 14 years." Guess how old Jon is at that time? Here are some Ned Stark quotes from the first book that can be interpreted a few ways:
-"He thought of the promises he made to Lyanna as she lay dying, and the price he'd paid to keep them."
-"He is my blood, and that is all you need to know." (In reference to Jon, whom he never calls "son.")
-"Some secrets are safer kept hidden. Some secrets are too dangerous to share." [A Game of Thrones]
There's also the blue winter rose, and Stark resigns the Hand of the King in season one over the King's desire to kill Daenerys, Jon's aunt. Maybe Ned was protecting Dany the same way he protected Jon all those years. If Jon is both a Targaryen and a Stark, he's fire and ice personified. Could Jon Snow be "The Prince that was Promised?" It would certainly fit the title of the book series: A Song of Ice and Fire (the Prince's song). It would also point towards an alliance between Jon and Daenerys which, admit it, is what we all want to see. She just learned to ride Drogon. Don't her two other dragons need riders as well? Jon can take the one named for his father, Rhaegal, and who could ride Viserion? If only the third main character were a Targaryen as well...
Aerys + Joanna = Tyrion (A + J = T)
The third-most popular Game of Thrones theory as we head into season six is another question of true lineage. It suggests Daenerys may not only have a nephew, but a brother as well. Yes, A + J = T would mean Tyrion Lannister is another secret Targaryen, the son of an affair between Aerys the Mad King and Tywin's wife, Joanna.
Evidence? Martin establishes in the book that Aerys found Joanna attractive so it's not a leap to speculate he may have raped and impregnated her. It's the Game of Thrones way! Also, Jaime Lannister earns his "Kingslayer" nickname when he refuses Aerys' order to kill Tywin. What if Aerys wasn't as crazy as everyone thought and had motive to kill Tywin? Forget it, Jake. It's Westeros.
Smaller-scale—Tyrion dreams about dragons in the book, a Targaryen trait:
"That night Tyrion Lannister dreamed of a battle that turned the hills of Westeros as red as blood. He was in the midst of it, dealing death with an axe as big as he was, fighting side by side with Barristan the Bold and Bittersteel as dragons wheeled across the sky above them." [A Dance with Dragons]
The theory also helps explain why Tywin always hated Tyrion. Those "I can't prove you're not mine" and "You're no son of mine" father to son moments suddenly make more sense. And it explains why the dwarf was never in line to inherit Casterly Rock. Plus there's this: Martin describes Tyrion's hair as "so blonde it seemed white" in the first book. White like Targaryen hair? Perhaps. Tyrion also has black strands of hair and different colored eyes (green and black) suggesting vastly different bloodlines. Plus, there was the promotional poster from last year (above) that certainly predicts Tyrion meeting Daenerys and seeing dragons for the first time. But it seems to mean much more doesn't it?
If you'd like to catch up on Game of Thrones, you can purchase Season Five on DigitalHD right now before the official Blu-ray release on March 15.