Filming of "Game of Thrones" season 6 is well underway. Thanks to the obsessive sleuthing of the fandom and some sneaky paparazzi work by enterprising locals, we already know a lot about what's in store (including the fact that Jon Snow almost certainly did not stay dead). But we haven't seen any footage from the set -- until now.
On Tuesday, Spanish fan site Los Siete Reinos posted a covertly shot video showing what seems to be a sword fight outside the Tower of Joy. The video looks like it was taken on a cellphone, a long distance from the set at the 900-year-old Castillo de Zafra, so you can't make out much. But there's clearly man-to-man fighting going on. Take a look:
Los Siete Reinos -- Spanish for "The Seven Kingdoms" -- posted still photos from the same sequence. They, too, are blurry and shot from afar. But the lack of detail didn't stop "Game of Thrones" fan site Winter is Coming from speculating that the characters fighting are Ned Stark and Arthur Dayne, and that the woman in white standing near them is Ned's sister Lyanna.
Fans have suspected for some time that season 6 would include the Tower of Joy sequence. Casting calls for the show included a posting for a character called Legendary Fighter, who many believe is Ser Arthur Dayne, a famed Dornish member of King Aerys's Kingsguard. The casting call said the character "carries a hugely famous sword on his back." In "A Song Of Ice And Fire," the book series upon which "Game of Thrones" is based, Dayne wields a sword called Dawn, which was forged, likely from a meteorite, thousands of years ago before the events of the series.
The Emmy-winning fifth season of "Game of Thrones" brought the show's plot nearly to the end of the events depicted in the books George R.R. Martin has published thus far, so even diehard readers are in the dark about much of what will take place in season 6.
But the fight at the Tower of Joy is an exception. We got some of the story -- or at least Ned Stark's memory of it many years later -- in the first book, A Game of Thrones.
The story goes that near the end of Robert's Rebellion, Ned Stark and six of his companions rode to the castle in the Red Mountains of Dorne, where Prince Rhaegar Targaryen had taken Lyanna Stark after "abducting" her. Rhaegar had named the castle "The Tower of Joy." When Stark et al. arrived, they encountered three members of the Kingsguard -- Dayne, Ser Oswald Whent and Lord Commander Gerold Hightower -- guarding the entrance.
A brutal fight ensued. Even though the knights of the Kingsguard were outnumbered, they managed to kill five of Stark's party. Ned Stark later said that Dayne would have killed him, too, had his old friend Howland Reed -- father of Bran's traveling companions Jojen and Meera Reed -- not saved his life. When Stark and Reed entered the tower, they found Lyanna dying in a "bed of blood."
Here's where things get really interesting. Before Lyanna died, she made Stark promise something. He never revealed what. But fans think that it concerned Jon Snow -- who, the theory goes, was actually the child she had with Rhaegar. The bed was bloody, by this thinking, because Lyanna had just given birth. She made her brother promise to claim that Jon was his own son to keep him safe.
There's a bit more evidence for the R+L=J theory scattered throughout the books. But it all ultimately rests on the Tower of Joy sequence. Which is assumedly why "Game of Thrones" creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss chose to film the sequence for the next season. It could be their way of confirming, once and for all, the theory that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna.
It's still not clear how the sequence will fit into the show. Season 5 began with the first flashback of the series -- a childhood memory of Cersei Lannister's. But everyone present at the fight is dead by the time season 6 starts -- except Howland Reed. Many fans believe that Reed -- who hasn't yet made an appearance in the books -- will reveal what transpired, and therefore Jon's parentage, at some point in the last two books.
Maybe that's what will happen in the show, too. But casting info makes it clear that this isn't the only flashback we'll see in season 6. So the prevailing theory instead is that Bran Stark will use his mysterious and growing powers to look back in time, and that the fight at the Tower of Joy will be seen through his mind's eye.
The strongest evidence of this theory? Isaac Hempstead-Wright, the actor who plays Bran, was allegedly spotted at the Castillo de Zafra this week. At this point in the series, Bran is in a cave north of the Wall, thousands of miles from Dorne, so there's basically no way he's going to travel to the Tower of Joy in person.
The bottom line? Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna. And we're finally going to get confirmation this spring.
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