A very specific spoiler please
June 20, 2014 5:40 PM   Subscribe

I am a show watcher wondering if a specific Game of Thrones fan theory has been confirmed in the books. I am hoping that the Maesters among us will deign to indulge me.

So, R+L=J.

I read A Game of Thrones (the first book) and then started watching the show, I haven't read any later books. At some point during that experience, I came up with the theory that Jon Snow is Lyanna Stark's son and that Rhaegar's "rape" of her may not have been so rapey after all. I feel like there is basis for this in the show in season 1 between Ned's daydream "Promise me...", Robert's righteous anger against the Targaryens (Robert was wrong about just about everything else ...why wouldn't he be wrong about this?), Ned ominously telling Jon: "the next time I see you, we'll talk about your mother", etc.

The first time I saw the equation: R+L=J, I knew exactly what it meant, and I assumed that other show watchers would too. But, I just mentioned it on a Fanfare thread, and my comment got deleted (I assume because someone thinks that it's a spoiler, even though I was just speculating). Because this theory is a basis for some of my other speculation about the show, I'd like to be able to talk about it in Show Only circles, but if it's more than just a hypothesis, I'd like to avoid spoiling others.

On the other hand, if it really is just speculation, I feel like there's no harm in discussing it with show watchers because it's based on common knowledge.

So, my question: Has it been absolutely confirmed in A Song of Ice and Fire that Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen? If possible, please answer with a simple "Yes" or "No". If it's been hinted at more than we've seen in the show, but not confirmed, please answer "No".

I know that there has been at least one previously, but I would like to avoid reading it because I don't want to spoil myself. If the right answer is: "the other thread is non-spoilery for show watchers beyond the yes or no that you're looking for so please read that", feel free to tell me that.
posted by sparklemotion to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not confirmed.
posted by Dashy at 5:44 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by pecanpies at 5:45 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

The other thread contains spoilers / references to things in the book that have not appeared in the show. Feel free to MeMail me if you want to ask/discuss anything.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:50 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

It has not been officially confirmed. The other thread you linked is not too spoilery if you are caught up to the end of this season, though it does discuss some POV thoughts and memories (Eddard's in particular) that haven't been depicted on the show.
posted by lovecrafty at 5:53 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is a pretty good roundup of book quotes and theories about Jon in the Jon Snow's Parents essay on Tower of the Hand. You can click that; you won't get spoiled on anything.

That site is great because you can set a cookie with how far you've read in the series, and it won't spoil you on anything you haven't gotten to. So you can look up character bios or house information without fear.

You won't actually be able to read any of the essay without having set your scope to at least the third book, but all of the quotes are pretty much speculation and nothing is really confirmed.
posted by bcwinters at 6:31 PM on June 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

No. And I'm obsessive on reading. If it were there, I'd know.
posted by corb at 6:32 PM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

No. I assume that'll come in book 7, if it's ever written.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:45 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not confirmed. Obviously true.
posted by Justinian at 7:27 PM on June 20, 2014 [8 favorites]

Neither confirmed nor denied, and thus, I agree, impossible for it to be a spoiler.
posted by tyllwin at 7:48 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's not a spoiler for the books; it is probably to be considered a spoiler for the show because the majority of the evidence has not appeared on HBO.
posted by Justinian at 7:57 PM on June 20, 2014 [5 favorites]

IMO this should totally be within the show-only speculation spoiler scope because I started wondering if R+L=J on my second watch of the first season, which was before I ever began to read the books much less the fan theories. The conversation between Ned and Robert in S01E02 is pretty damn suggestive even if you don't bring in any non-show evidence.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:48 PM on June 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Anyhow, if you end up rewriting your comment for the show-only thread, it's probably best if you cite the specific dialogue you're extrapolating from so that it's clear that your theorizing is based on show information and not a spoiler from the books. If you decide to do that, these episode transcripts are very handy.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:07 PM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Pretty sure Lyanna was several years dead by the time Jon was conceived, as Ned and Kat were already married.
posted by catatethebird at 8:57 AM on June 21, 2014

You really should go to Reddit for this. Lots of good info there.
posted by Neekee at 8:59 AM on June 21, 2014

Also, in the books it says Jon looks more like Ned that any of the other kids, implying that he IS his father. (Again, as Lyanna does not fit the timeline.)
posted by catatethebird at 9:00 AM on June 21, 2014

Pretty sure Lyanna was several years dead by the time Jon was conceived, as Ned and Kat were already married.

Do you have a source for this? Because I'm pretty sure this is wrong.

And of course he looks like Ned...he's his sister's (who I assume Ned looks like) son.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:12 AM on June 21, 2014

It's actually noted how much Jon looks like Arya, not Ned, and her resemblance to Lyanna was remarked upon.

Lyanna died towards the end of Robert's Rebellion, in the Tower of Joy, protected by three (!) Kingsguard. Plus, Rhaegar crowned her Queen of Love and Beauty at the Harrenhall tourney.

So: 1) she almost certainly wasn't raped, 2) the Targaryens had a history of multiple marriages, 3) Her son (Jon) was the third head of the dragon (Rhaegar already having two children with Elia of Dorne--see the hatred of Oberyn/Red Viper for the Mountain, who raped and killed Elia--Oberyn's sister-- and killed her children, plus the whole Targaryen thing about "The dragon has three heads"), 4) Why on earth would Rhaegar leave 3/7 of the people sworn to protect his life at all costs if there wasn't another royal child being born in the Tower of Joy?

It's all there in the books to piece together, there's just no actual confirmation, because it's supposed to be a Big Reveal later. Probably somehow involving Jon marrying Danaerys to stabilize the kingdoms.

Pretty sure Lyanna was several years dead by the time Jon was conceived, as Ned and Kat were already married.

No, she was not. She was a large chunk of the impetus behind Robert's rebellion: his head wanted Aerys the Mad King dead, his dong wanted Lyanna... even though she was in love with Rhaegar. She was very, very much alive when Jon was conceived; also look at references to how old he is and how long Robert had been sitting the Iron Throne.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:36 AM on June 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Also Robert's irrational hatred of Targaryens, because of his mistaken belief that Rhaegar raped Lyanna, the woman he loved/wanted to possess. Her feelings didn't matter one whit to Robert.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:37 AM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh! And remember Catelyn saying to Ned: "The last time you went away for war you came back with another woman's child." (paraphrased slightly I think). Lyanna was definitely alive during (most of) the war.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:40 AM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, catatethebird is plain ol' wrong about the timeline. We know that for an absolute fact.
posted by Justinian at 11:05 AM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pretty sure Lyanna was several years dead by the time Jon was conceived, as Ned and Kat were already married.

As others have said, this is plainly incorrect, for reason which are made clear in the books. A related point: all of the characters were aged up by a LOT of years on the show. In the books, Ned and Robert are only 35 during the events of the first book/first season of the show. Jaime/Cersei are 32, Tyrion is 24. Jon Snow and Robb Stark are both 15.
posted by lovecrafty at 3:20 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pretty sure Lyanna was several years dead by the time Jon was conceived

wrong wrong wrong the wrongest wrongness

Lyanna died at the END of Robert's rebellion, after the Sack of King's Landing.

Ned brought Jon Snow to Winterfell as an infant when he returned home from the war.

as Ned and Kat were already married.

Ned and Cat got married at the START of the war. That's why everyone found it so shocking that Ned Stark had a bastard, as Ned Stark was the type of man who would NEVER cheat on his wife. One of the main reasons Cat resented Jon Snow so much is that Jon represented Ned's purported infidelity to her while he was away fighting.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:28 PM on June 21, 2014

AFAIK everything I've said is within the first book.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:52 PM on June 21, 2014

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