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R+L=J v. 125

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Reference guide

The R+L=J theory claims Jon Snow most probably is the son of crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna Stark.

The Tower of the Hand has an excellent analysis of this theory:
Jon Snow's Parents

And Westeros' Citadel also provides a summary:
Jon Snow's Parents

A Wiki of Ice and Fire:
Jon Snow Theories

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can Jon be a Targaryen if ordinary fire burned his hand?

Targaryens are not immune to fire. It's a myth that has been refuted by a list of Targaryens being burned. Danaerys 'the unburnt' was indeed unscathed when she hatched the dragon eggs, but that has not stopped her being burned on other occasions. See this thread on Targaryen fire immunity.

Don't all Targaryens have hallmark Valryian silver-golden hair and purple eyes?

Not all of them: Valarr and Queen Alysanne had blue eyes. Bittersteel, who like Jon was half first men blood, had brown hair. Baelor Breakspear and his son(s) and Jon's own half-sister Rhaenys had the Dornish look (dark hair, black eyes, olive skin). Rhaenyra Targaryen's three sons all had brown hair and brown eyes even though both their parents had light silver-gold hair.
Had Jon Valyrian features, it would give his parentage away: "He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn, guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son." Tyrion got the bit about the mother wrong, though: his mother was the Stark.

If Jon isn't Ned's son, then why does he look so much like him?

Jon looks very like Arya, and Arya looks very like Lyanna. Jon is Ned's nephew, and Lyanna and Ned looked similar.

Ned is too honourable to lie. If he says Jon is his son, doesn't that mean he must be?

Ned tells Arya that sometimes lies can be honourable. His final words, a confession of his guilt, are a lie to protect Sansa. While a lie can be honourable, cheating on his wife isn't, so Ned's famed honour points to Jon not being his son.


How can Jon be half-Targaryen and have a direwolf?

He's also half Stark, through Lyanna. Ned's trueborn children are half Tully and that doesn't stop them having direwolves.

Why doesn't Ned ever think about Lyanna being Jon's mother?
Ned doesn't think about anyone being Jon's mother. If he did, there would be no mystery. He names 'Wylla' to Robert, but we do not see him thinking of Wylla being Jon's mother.

There's a hidden hint at who Jon's mother might be: In chapter 4, Eddard's internal monologue goes "Lyanna ... Ned had loved her with all his heart." and in chapter 6, Catelyn thinks "Whoever Jon's mother had been, Ned must have loved her fiercely".

Why would Ned not at least tell Catelyn?

We don't have a list of what Ned promised to Lyanna, but know he takes his promises seriously. Maybe he promised not to tell anyone. In Chapter 45, Ned is uncertain what Cat would do if it came to Jon's life over that of her own children. If Catelyn knew that Jon was Rhaegar's son, she might feel that keeping him at Winterfell presented a serious risk to her own children. Ultimately, Catelyn did not need to know, so maybe Ned simply chose to be on the safe side.

Doesn't Ned refer to Robb and Jon as "my sons“ in the very first chapter?

In speech, not in thought. Ned is keeping Jon's parentage secret. He never thinks of Jon as his son: In Chapter 45, Ned thinks of his children "Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon“ and explicitly excludes Jon from the list. ADwD Chapter 34 has Bran's vision of younger Ned in the Winterfell godswood: "...let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them," he prayed, "and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive..." which not make sense if they are brothers.

Since Rhaegar was already married, wouldn't Jon still be a bastard?

He might, or might not. There was a tradition of polygamy among Targaryens in the past, so the possibility that Rhaegar and Lyanna married is not easily ruled out. A pro-legitimacy argument is this: The presence of the three kingsguards at the Tower of Joy is best explained if they were defending the heir to the throne, which Jon would only be if he was legitimate.

Can we be certain polygamy is not illegal?

Aegon I and Maegor I practised polygamy. In Westeros, unlike a constitutional monarchy, royals are not subject to the law. So if there ever was a law against it, it did not apply to the Targaryens: In Chapter 33 it says "like their dragons the Targaryens answered to neither gods nor men". Examples demonstrate that it was considered an option for Targaryens: Aegon IV and Daemon Blackfyre may have considered it for Daemon, Jorah Mormont suggested it to Daenerys as a viable option, and she said the same about Quentyn Martell.
George R.R. Martin says in this SSM: "If you have a dragon, you can have as many wives as you want". There is also this SSM predating the worldbook.

On Polygamy essay by Ygrain with additions by Rhaenys_Targaryen

Weren't the Kingsguard at Tower of Joy on the basis of an order from Aerys, to guard Lyanna as a hostage?

If so, why would they have apparently made no effort to use this leverage against Robert and Ned? Some argue their Kingsguard vows would have taken precedence and still have required them to leave the Tower to protect Viserys when he became heir -- unless there was another that took precedence [Jon]. Others think they were guarding Lyanna as a hostage at the Tower of Joy. Some say that makes little sense: She would better be kept hostage at King's Landing, and wouldn't require kingsguards to guard her. The mere presence of three kingsguards implies something more important: guarding members of the royal family or maybe the heir.
Frequently suggested readings: At the tower of joy by MtnLion and support of the toj analysis by Ygrain

Isn't there an SSM that says the 3 Kingsguard were following Rhaegar's orders though?

The SSM you may be thinking of is probably this: The King's Guards don't get to make up their own orders. They serve the king, they protect the king and the royal family, but they're also bound to obey their orders, and if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order, they would do that. They can't say, "No we don't like that order, we'll do something else."

We know from Barristan, protecting the king is the first and most important of all kingsguard duties. Jamie suggests some other KG to stay with the king when he wants to leave for the Trident and we also learn of a ritual that is performed when all KG meet and the king is guarded by someone who is not from the order.

"Protect vs Obey" is an ongoing subject of debate that is unlikely to be settled until we know more. Either viewpoint is compatible with R+L=J.

Wouldn't Viserys take precedence anyway? Rhaegar died without becoming king, and doesn't the world book call Viserys, not Aegon, Aerys' new heir?

No, in the case of an eldest son dying before the king dies, a grandson comes before a younger son. Even in the case the grandson is yet unborn at the time of death, he would succeed (heir apparent vs. heir presumptive). The world book is written with a Lannister bias (it may be propaganda to undermine Dornish support for the Targaryens) and in hindsight by maesters who have never learned all of what we know from Ned's dreams and memories. If it still turns out to be true... see the next answer.

Are matters of succession just as clear as presented here?

Succession quarrels are a part of medieval power play and even a very clear inheritance could well be contested. So maybe in King's Landing things did happen as the world book says. Rhaegar and Aerys may have been at odds over the succession. Rhaegar told Jaime before leaving for the Trident that he intended to call a council, and The Great Councils of the past have dealt with matters of succession. Who would have accepted such a change is a question worth asking.

Ned is dead. Who's going to tell anyone about it?

Bloodraven and Bran may have learned of it through the weirwood network. Benjen might know. Checkov's Crannogman Howland Reed is the sole survivor of the encounter at the Tower of Joy, and George R.R. Martin has stated he has not yet appeared because he knows too much about the central mystery of the book. "They had found him [Ned] still holding her [Lyanna's] body" tells that there also was someone else besides Howland to find Ned.

Why is this important? What impact can it have on the story?

The careful way the mystery of Jon's parentage was created is reason to believe it's important. What impact it will have on the rest of the series is still unknown.

This theory is too obvious and too many people believe it to be fact. How can it be true?

It is not so obvious to the majority of readers. Some will get it on their first read, but most will not. Readers who go to online fan forums, such as this, still represent a very small minority of the readership. Also, A Game of Thrones has been out since 1996. That's more than 18 years of readers being able to piece together this mystery. Crowd-sourced internet-based mystery solving like this inevitably make solved mysteries seem more obvious in hindsight.

George R.R. Martin is a "breaker of tropes“, there can be no hidden prince, it's simply too cliché.

In order to break a trope it needs to be installed in the first place. It is yet unknown what will happen to Jon in the future. Being the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar does not imply the fairy-tale style happy ending associated with the hidden prince trope.

Is there a list of all R+L=J clues that have been found?
There is a list of R+L=J hints, clues and foreshadowing compliled by sj4iy.

Since this theory has been refined so well, will Martin change the outcome of the story to surprise his fans?

He has stated that he won't change the outcome of the story just because some people have put together all the clues and solved the puzzle.


Previous editions:

Please click on the spoiler below to reveal links to all previous editions of this thread.

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread” (thread one)

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread” (thread two)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part III)” (thread three)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part IV)” (thread four)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part V)” (thread five)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part VI)” (thread six)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon Thread Part VII” (thread seven)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part VIII” (thread eight)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part IX” (thread nine)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna =Jon Thread, Part X”(thread ten)

The R+L=J thread, part XI” (thread eleven)

The R+L=J thread, part XII” (thread twelve)

R+L=J Part XXIII” (thread thirteen)

R+L=J Part XXIV” (thread fourteen)

R+L=J XXV” (thread fifteen)

R+L=J v.16” (thread sixteen)

R+L=J v.17” (thread seventeen)

R+L=J v.18” (thread eighteen)

R+L=J v.19” (thread nineteen)

R+L=J v.20” (thread twenty)

R+L=J v.21” (thread twenty-one)

R+L=J v.22” (thread twenty-two)

R+L=J v.22a” (thread twenty-two (a))

R+L=J v.23” (thread twenty-three)

R+L=J v.24” (thread twenty-four)

R+L=J v.25” (thread twenty-five)

R+L=J v.26” (thread twenty-six)

R+L=J v.27” (thread twenty-seven)

R+L=J v.28” (thread twenty-eight)

R+L=J v.29” (thread twenty-nine)

R+L=J v.30” (thread thirty)

R+L=J v.31” (thread thirty-one)

R+L=J v.32” (thread thirty-two)

R+L=J v.33” (thread thirty-three)

R+L=J v.34” (thread thirty-four)

R+L=J v.35” (thread thirty-five)

R+L=J v.36” (thread thirty-six)

R+L=J v.37” (thread thirty-seven)

R+L=J v.38” (thread thirty-eight)

R+L=J v.39” (thread thirty-nine)

"
R+L=J v.40" (thread forty)

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R+L=J v.41" (thread forty-one)

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R+L=J v.42" (thread forty-two)

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R+L=J v.43" (thread forty-three)

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R+L=J v.44" (thread forty-four)

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R+L=J v.45" (thread forty-five)

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R+L=J v.46" (thread forty-six)

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R+L=J v.47" (thread forty-seven)

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R+L=J v.48" (thread forty-eight)

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R+L=J v.49" (thread forty-nine)

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R+L=J v.50" (thread fifty)

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R+L=J v.51" (thread fifty-one)

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R+L=J v.52" (thread fifty-two)

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R+L=J v.53" (thread fifty-three)

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R+L=J v.54" (thread fifty-four)

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R+L=J v.55" (thread fifty-five)

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R+L=J v.56" (thread fifty-six)

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R+L=J v.57" (thread fifty-seven)

"R+L=J v.58" (thread fifty-eight)

"R+L=J v.59" (thread fifty-nine)

"R+L=J v.60" (thread sixty)

"R+L=J v.61" (thread sixty-one)

"R+L=J v.62" (thread sixty-two)

"R+L=J v.63" (thread sixty-three)

"R+L=J v.64" (thread sixty-four)

"R+L=J v.65" (thread sixty-five)

"R+L=J v.66" (thread sixty-six)

"R+L=J v.67" (thread sixty-seven)

"R+L=J v.68" (thread sixty-eight)

"R+L=J v.69" (thread sixty-nine)

"R+L=J v.70" (thread seventy)

"R+L=J v.71" (thread seventy-one)

"R+L=J v.72" (thread seventy-two)

"R+L=J v.73" (thread seventy-three)

"R+L=J v.74" (thread seventy-four)

"R+L=J v.75" (thread seventy-five)

"R+L=J v.76" (thread seventy-six)

"R+L=J v.77" (thread seventy-seven)

"R+L=J v.78" (thread seventy-eight)

"R+L=J v.79" (thread seventy-nine)

"R+L=J v.80" (thread eighty)

"R+L=J v.81" (thread eighty-one)

"R+L=J v.82" (thread eighty-two)

"R+L=J v.83" (thread eighty-three)

"R+L=J v.84" (thread eighty-four)

"R+L=J v.85" (thread eighty-five)

"R+L=J v.86" (thread eighty-six)

"R+L=J v.87" (thread eighty-seven)

"R+L=J v.88" (thread eighty-eight)

"R+L=J v.89" (thread eighty-nine)

"R+L=J v.90" (thread ninety)

"R+L=J v.91" (thread ninety-one)

"R+L=J v.92" (thread ninety-two)

"R+L=J v.93" (thread ninety-three)

"R+L=J v.94" (thread ninety-four)

"R+L=J v.95" (thread ninety-five)

"R+L=J v.96" (thread ninety-six)

"R+L=J v.97" (thread ninety-seven)

"R+L=J v.98" (thread ninety-eight)

"R+L=J v.99" (thread ninety-nine)

"R+L=J v.100" (thread one hundred)

"R+L=J v.101" (thread one hundred one)

"R+L=J v.102" (thread one hundred two)

"R+L=J v.103" (thread one hundred three)

"R+L=J v.104" (thread one hundred four)

"R+L=J v.105" (thread one hundred five)

"R+L=J v.106" (thread one hundred six)

"R+L=J v.107" (thread one hundred seven)

"R+L=J v.108" (thread one hundred eight)

"R+L=J v.109" (thread one hundred nine)

"R+L=J v.110" (thread one hundred ten)

"R+L=J v.111" (thread one hundred eleven)

"R+L=J v.112" (thread one hundred twelve)

"R+L=J v.113" (thread one hundred thirteen)

"R+L=J v.114" (thread one hundred fourteen)

The "[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J" threads were used to openly discuss spoilers from TWoIaF at the time we needed to protect that information.

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.1"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.2"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.3"

"R+L=J v.115" (thread one hundred fifteen)

"R+L=J v.116" (thread one hundred sixteen)

"R+L=J v.117" (thread one hundred seventeen)

"R+L=J v.118" (thread one hundred eighteen)

"R+L=J v.119" (thread one hundred nineteen)

"R+L=J v.120" (thread one hundred twenty)

"R+L=J v.121" (thread one hundred twenty one)

"R+L=J v.122" (thread one hundred twenty two)

"R+L=J v.123" (thread one hundred twenty three)

"R+L=J v. 124" (thread one hundred twenty four)

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I was trying to sticky it but the board had a hiccup. Done now. You people are fast! ;)


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I was trying to sticky it but the board had a hiccup. Done now. You people are fast! ;)

The fastest mouse this side of the Mississippi.

To respond to mark from the end of the last thread, I think Benjen has to be in Winterfell. We have no indication of him being fostered anywhere else (and the Weirnet visions of Bran's suggest he grew up in Winterfell with Lyanna), and he is quite young at the start of the rebellion, so it's unlikely he's off elsewhere

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I was trying to sticky it but the board had a hiccup. Done now. You people are fast! ;)

As swift as the wind we post, and behind us blue roses cover the forum, posters without number, with LED keyboards shining in our hands like blades of razor grass. Fierce as a storm we posters be. All haters will tremble before us, and their mothers will weep tears of blood and rend their flesh in grief. The quotes from the books will sing our coming, and the Heresy posters with their applied suppostion will sing our names. The posters that were promised are writing, and we shall be the pin that mounts the general forum section.

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Some things to address from the last thread perhaps. Why would the Starks leave Lyanna at HH? Whent was Rhaegars man, and if he was working with the Whents I can't see them leaving her there, the Starks were pretty pissed.

The inn at the Crossroads has been proposed, but why would she be there? Where was her guard, she would not be alone and why would she not be with her family?

Could she have been at Darry? Ned stops there but we get no recollection, do we?

Lord Harrows Town or something to that effect? I tought it was a dump but do not recall if that is right.

I just can't imagine it would look good to Aerys if she stayed there or that the Starks would think this is a good idea.

Aegons birth? Rhaegar went missing 2 1/2 months after HH and eventually took Lyanna. Could this be connected to the time he saw JonCon at the Roost while returning from Dorne? Could he have gone to the Citadel as well being that far south?

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Could she have been at Darry? Ned stops there but we get no recollection, do we?

I think it's Darry where Rhaegar and his men met last, before one part of the group leaded to Dorne while the other one returned home. It could be that Lyanna and her escort were housed there on the way to B's wedding.

Ned doesn't remember anything because he probably doesn't know exactly where they met (how woudl he know? who could tell him?) and also, because very conveniently, it's the place where Arya goes missing. His mind was elsewhere.

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Ok, just re-read the chapter in which Ned, and the others are at Darrys, when they find Arya. Considering Martin's love for parallels, I think it was something like Rhaegar's friends left and he stays in Darry for a couple of days before going to Dorne. Then, Lyanna and her escort get in some sort of trouble, and they are taken to the Prince to settle it down. "Lady Stark causing trouble... again".

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I think it's Darry where Rhaegar and his men met last, before one part of the group leaded to Dorne while the other one returned home. It could be that Lyanna and her escort were housed there on the way to B's wedding.Ned doesn't remember anything because he probably doesn't know exactly where they met (how woudl he know? who could tell him?) and also, because very conveniently, it's the place where Arya goes missing. His mind was elsewhere.

Yeah but I think Darry moves away from Riverrun and towards KL, she would be going in the wrong direction. But it's hard to tell with Martin and logistics. But then why would she leave just ahead of Brandon, or her father? Trying to figure out if she was fostered in the Riverlands outside of HH. If so Darry seems an odd place with Riverrun on hand and Cat there to help teach Lyanna about the south and court and all that stuff.

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Ok, just re-read the chapter in which Ned, and the others are at Darrys, when they find Arya. Considering Martin's love for parallels, I think it was something like Rhaegar's friends left and he stays in Darry for a couple of days before going to Dorne. Then, Lyanna and her escort get in some sort of trouble, and they are taken to the Prince to settle it down. "Lady Stark causing trouble... again".

Maybe she struck a Prince?

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I think it's Darry where Rhaegar and his men met last, before one part of the group leaded to Dorne while the other one returned home. It could be that Lyanna and her escort were housed there on the way to B's wedding.

Ned doesn't remember anything because he probably doesn't know exactly where they met (how woudl he know? who could tell him?) and also, because very conveniently, it's the place where Arya goes missing. His mind was elsewhere.

Would the group have split then? It could be that they were outriders to make sure there is no trouble ahead, no trouble following behind. Maybe to make/find accommodations that are non-threatening and secretive.

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Wishes from the end of the last thread:



We'd like to see a closer look at


  • the implications of "Kill the boy and let the man be born."
  • how the the emergence of (f)Aegon will effect Jon
  • implore where Rhaegar might have been headed around new year's when he left newborn baby Aegon for an errand that came to an end, as we know, with him "running away" with Lyanna Stark

as some of the topics in the new R+L=J thread.


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or Lem/Lonmouth. Again.(actually, Arya would be the "again").

Why hit Lem when you can slug Rhaegar? I think Ned would know if she was taken from Darry, World book gives us a pretty explicit number of 30 miles from HH. It's just I think 30 miles from HH is moving away from Riverrun but I am not sure and I can't figure on why they would leave her at HH or why she was away from her family if she was coming from the north.

Also I wonder why she didn't have any friends, she is the daughter of the Warden of the North. I can understand no Sansa like friends, but thought maybe a Mormont, seems like Lyanna would of liked them and one of them is named Lyanna. Maybe she had a friend among them who fostered at Winterfell. Or maybe she had both but nothing is ever mentioned. Which is kind of annoying, there is so little about her. No traces of her, ust some recollections by Ned. Not much from Cat or anyone else.

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The fastest mouse this side of the Mississippi.

To respond to mark from the end of the last thread, I think Benjen has to be in Winterfell. We have no indication of him being fostered anywhere else (and the Weirnet visions of Bran's suggest he grew up in Winterfell with Lyanna), and he is quite young at the start of the rebellion, so it's unlikely he's off elsewhere

Yeah we have no indication of where Benjen was when Lyanna was abducted. I think he just stayed in Winterfell for everything to be the Stark there (as we know he served that purpose for the Rebellion). But I'm wondering about Lyanna.

As I suggested in the last thread, she could have been in Riverrun with Brandon or with Ned and Robert in the Vale. If she was with Brandon, I could see her going to Harrenhal to get the Whents for Cats marriage. If she was in the Vale, I could see her making her way to Riverrun to attend Brandons marriage and running into Rhaegar on the way. Ned and Robert didn't seem to be going to Brandon's marriage as they were in the Vale when Brandon rode on KL so perhaps Lyanna left them to see the wedding. 10 miles from Harrenhal is a big Web, but if she's coming from Riverrun or the Vale, it fits

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As to Ben Stark and the recently analyzed Alys Karstark, I think Benjen might be the pappy. Just before the Northern armies returned home Benjen and Lady Karstark made a lonely connection at Winterfell, and Alys is much closer to the current Stark family than she knows. The Starks have another line of kin and Benjen does have a bastard after all. When/If Jon finds out, this may change his perception of a few things.

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Shiny!






As to Ben Stark and the recently analyzed Alys Karstark, I think Benjen might be the pappy. Just before the Northern armies returned home Benjen and Lady Karstark made a lonely connection at Winterfell, and Alys is much closer to the current Stark family than she knows. The Starks have another line of kin and Benjen does have a bastard after all. When/If Jon finds out, this may change his perception of a few things.





Benjen has a bastard? Or do you mean Brandon?


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