A Song of Ice and Fire Fan Theory: R+L=J

So to kill time for the next ten months, I'll post a few articles about the book world of "Game of Thrones", known as "A Song of Ice and Fire". I figure I'll do a new fan theory each week until I run out of them or people lose interest, then go from there.

These rundowns may have book spoilers in them, so read at your own risk. It'll mostly be speculation, though.



First up, we have probably the most popular and credible theory out there: Jon Snow's true parentage. The theory proposes that Ned Stark is not Jon's father, and he is actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.

Evidence for R+L=J:

  • The event that ignited Robert's Rebellion was when Rhaegar allegedly kidnapped Lyanna and went to the Tower of Joy together. It is believed he impregnated her there, either through rape or consensual sex.
  • When Ned, Howland Reed and five other companions arrived at the Tower at the end of the Rebellion to get Lyanna, they are met by three members of the Kingsguard, including Lord Commander Gerold Hightower. Why would the Kingsguard have any members stationed there, unless they were ordered to protect Rhaegar's unborn heir?
  • After the battle, Ned finds Lyanna in a pool of blood, one which could be caused by childbirth. Lyanna also made Ned swear to keep an unknown secret. Perhaps the secret of the potential heir to the throne?
  • Of the Stark children, the boys and Sansa are said to resemble the Tullys, while Arya takes after Lyanna. Jon is said to look much like Arya, and therefore Lyanna.
  • Ned never explicitly calls Jon "my son". It's always "you are a Stark" or "you have my blood".
  • In one of Daenerys' visions in the House of the Undying, she see a blue rose growing out of a wall of ice. Blue roses were Lyanna's favorite flowers, and the vision could point to Jon being stationed at the Wall.

However, there is only one person who can confirm this theory: Howland Reed. Now the only survivor of the Tower of Joy, Howland is perhaps the only hope of finding out the truth. Alternatively, Bran could use his weirwood vision to maybe see a moment in time that confirms it.

Evidence against R+L=J:

  • There are a few characters who claim to have knowledge of Jon's mother, and none of those characters claim Lyanna.
  • Both Cersei and Catelyn believe that Ashara Dayne was Jon's mother. It's proposed that either Ned or Brandon Stark got her pregnant at the Tourney at Harrenhal, and she killed herself in shame over birthing a bastard.
  • Ned himself claims that a woman named Wylla was the mother. He refused to discuss the matter further, however. Wylla was Jon's wet nurse and was brought to Winterfell following the Rebellion. Also, Ned silenced rumors around the castle regarding Ashara Dayne.
  • Finally, Lord Godric Borrell of Sweetsister told Davos that a fisherman's daughter was the mother. Her father transported Ned to the North during the Rebellion, and died during the journey. Ned left the daughter with a bastard and some silver for their trouble. Probably the weakest of the theories.

Well, there you have it. Personally, I'm a big fan of this theory and hope it's true. It would legitimize Jon and he could possibly be the true heir, especially if the events of Dance get him out of the Night's Watch.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.