You can probably start crossing out a few of those characters…

(Clearly there are potential spoilers ahead for Game Of Thrones)

Like that one aunt that constantly messages the family about her latest addition on, Game Of Thrones fans are also deeply invested in the assorted lineage of characters. In particular, there have been many discussions and theories surrounding Jon Snow, who is purported to be the bastard son of Ned Stark. The most prominent theory is the “R+L=J” theory which suggests that Jon is the product of Ned’s sister, Lyanna, and her one-time captor/possible suitor, Rhaegar Targaryen. YouTube user Alt Shift X has created a very thorough video that explains all of the various family lines along with the many passages of text from various books in A Song Of Ice And Fire that support this reading.


Proving that George R.R. Martin’s series is more than just exploded heads and unfortunate weddings, the theory rests on multiple allusions to Lyanna’s death in the Tower Of Joy combined with how noble and honorbound Ned Stark was. Alt Shift X goes on to discuss what the implications will be to any claims on the throne if the theory is true, as well as what it could mean for the other characters. One interesting aspect of the “R+L=J” theory is how little its components have been used in the HBO adaptation. There is very little spoken about Lyanna in the series, and many of the book excerpts in the video didn’t make it to the screen (though one could make a drinking game of Kit Harrington saying “my father”). But perhaps showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have simply chosen other ways to tip their hand to the theory: In Daenerys’ vision on the show, instead of a blue flower growing in a chink of a wall of ice, she is greeted by snow falling upon the Iron Throne. Or maybe this is all misdirection before revealing Ser Pounce’s rightful claim on the throne (though probably not).