Warning: Spoilers are coming. Only read this post if you're caught up on the "Game of Thrones" series and the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books.
Does "Game of Thrones" fan favorite Jon Snow have a secret sibling?
A new fan theory going around the Internet this week claims that not only is Jon Snow definitely the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, but that the former lord commander of the Night's Watch has a twin sister somewhere in Westeros.
Redditor ghostchief posited the theory in a Tuesday post about a fictional scene for Season 6 (the post has since been deleted, but hundreds of comments remain). One rumor that's been going around lately is that Season 6 will finally reveal who Jon Snow's parents truly are. A post on fan blog Watchers of the Wall said there was a casting call for a character that sounded a lot like Arthur Dayne -- a great swordsman and friend of Rhaegar Targaryen who was killed in the Tower of Joy, the tower where Lyanna Stark died and Ned Stark supposedly promised he'd look after her son, Jon Snow.
Such casting, if correct, makes it seem like "Game of Thrones" will include a flashback to the Tower of Joy, finally revealing once and for all what went on in the tower and, possibly, who Jon Snow's parents really are.
Ghostchief's theory imagines that flashback playing out as follows, as captured by the Huffington Post:
The dialogue swells and clarifies to [Lyanna's] voice, "Promise me, Ned."
Her eyes slowly close.
Ned begins to sob.
He raises his head to sound another high pitch noise coming from the foot of the bed.
A baby girl.
Who is this girl?
While ghostchief's vision for Season 6 reveals an alleged twin sister for Jon Snow, ghostchief stops short of suggesting who the twin is. However, the comments on ghostchief's post and a few others in the "Game of Thrones" subreddit have a few ideas for who this mysterious girl might be.
Some seem to suggest that the girl is none other than Daenerys Targaryen herself. In fact, ghostchief told CNET's Crave blog that he too thinks Jon's sister would be Dany, adding that the idea that Jon and Dany are aunt and nephew really rubs him the wrong way.
"I think it would be more poetic to have twins battling each other or the other twins (Lannisters)," ghostchief told CNET in a Reddit message. "I feel like Cersei and Dany/Jaime and Jon have some pretty similar qualities and might all share similar fates. C + D being power thirsty and hinting at going mad/ J + J having done unpopular things for the betterment of the realm."
Sadly, that theory is quickly proved untrue in the books. Daenerys is called Stormborn because she was born in Dragonstone while a raging storm -- the greatest storm in the history of Westeros -- howled outside. Plus, based on various references in the book, Daenerys was born in 284 AC, a full year after Jon and Meera, so Dany is almost definitely not Jon Snow's sister.
The far more plausible theory is that Jon's sister is none other than Meera Reed, who just happens to be traveling North with Jon's brother/cousin Bran Stark. The theory is R+L=J+M, or Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon + Meera, a play on the widely believed R+L=J theory about Jon Snow's parentage.
How viable is this theory?
The R+L=J+M theory is more than a bit of a stretch, though it's at least somewhat plausible. According to the official wiki page, A Wiki of Ice and Fire, both Jon Snow and Meera Reed were born in the year 283 AC, and Meera's father, Howland Reed, was with Ned Stark in the Tower of Joy in, you guessed it, 283 AC.
Of course, while Jon Snow's features more closely resemble those of Lyanna than the Tully features shared by Robb, Sansa, Rickon and Bran (it's said that Arya looks more like Lyanna as well), Meera Reed's looks are more in line with those of the Reeds than those of the Starks or Targaryens. The book series describes Meera as having long brown hair and green eyes, and though the brown hair could be indicative of Stark lineage (most Northerners have dark/brown hair), the green eyes are neither a Stark nor a Targaryen feature.
In a 2012 interview with Vulture, Alfie Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy on "Game of Thrones" revealed that George R.R. Martin told him who Jon Snow's parents really are, and that it "involves a bit of a Luke Skywalker situation." That could lend a bit of credibility to the secret twin sister rumor, or it could just mean that Jon's father isn't who he thought he was (i.e., not Ned Stark).
Frankly, it probably isn't true that Meera is Jon Snow's sister, but it's definitely not the craziest fan theory we've heard in the "Game of Thrones" universe. And the evidence -- being born in the same year, Meera's dad being with Ned Stark in the tower when Ned allegedly took in Jon Snow as his own son while his sister lay dying -- makes it at least somewhat plausible.
That is, if Jon Snow does in fact have a twin sister, which he probably doesn't. Though it would certainly be an unexpected twist in the story.
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What would it mean if it were true?
Presuming Jon Snow is really dead-dead and not the "just kidding, we're totally going to resurrect him next season as a plot twist" kind of dead, it could mean Meera has a more significant role to play in the series to come.
After all, we still have the theory of Tyrion being a secret Targaryen at play, and when coupled with the idea that the "dragon has three heads," it could be that Meera (or a resurrected Jon Snow) will join Daenerys and Tyrion and ride on the backs of dragons to retake King's Landing from the Lannisters.
Though it could just as easily mean nothing, as this is the "Game of Thrones" and there are all sorts of plot twists and sudden deaths that throw even the most credible of fan theories into the dust.
Like the rest of the people in the worlds of Westeros and Essos, we'll just have to wait for either Season 6 of the HBO show in Spring 2016 or the next book in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series -- "The Winds of Winter," which is slated to be released sometime in early 2016 -- to find out.