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A Theory on Sphinxes and Heroes. Part II What Proof Have We


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This is the second part of a theory, (Part I), that includes Jon's father identity, how Lightbringer was forged (In Part III), and why the Others behave as they do (Part IV), among other things.

In this part I’ll talk about Jon’s dad.

AGoT’s prologue raises a very interesting question almost right at the beginning, what proof have we?

The only proof we have that things happened the way we think they happened is that Ned said so.

(Or a horrible interpretation of the story in a TV show)

The only 'evidence' we have is a fever dream, which clearly cannot be taken as an account of the events as they happened. But that dream hides the key to finding Jon's father and proving who he is.

There is a peculiarity of the Winterfell's Crypt and it is that it has pillars that go two by two until we find that, instead of the classic statue of the Lord, there are 3 statues together, Rickard, Brandon and Lyanna, something that clearly, is not normal.

To decipher Ned's dream, we must consider this detail, the 3 statues of the Starks are 3 “sphinxes”, so each Stark is at the same time three people, a KG of Ned's dream, a brother of the NW from the prologue and of course, one of the Starks depicted in the statue.

In Ned's dream, Rickard is at the same time Gared and Gerold; Brandon is Waymar and Arthur; Lyanna is Will and Oswell.

There are 3 elements in Ned’s dream: 3 knights, a round Tower, and Lyanna in her “bed of blood”.

The dream begins with Ned riding with his friends (they are shadows), curiously 6 friends, like the number of the NW vows and the number of Others in the prologue.

The access to the crypt of WF is at the foot of a tower, which like the one in the dream, is rounded.

The 3 NW brothers from the prologue have been riding for 9 days following the trail of 8 wildlings, 8 is the number of people who die in Ned's dream. The relevance of the number 9 is what I mentioned about the parallels between these 3 groups of 3 people and also 2 peculiarities, Jon swears his vows in a circle of 9 trees and the crown of the Winter Kings has 9 iron swords.

"They're dead.” says Gared in the prologue, “They shan't trouble us no more.” But Waymar insists, and asks Will to tell him all the details of what he saw. From that point on, the Prologue is divided into 3 parts:

  • The first, is a kind of introduction to Ned's dream in which all the dream’s red flags are marked, everything that doesn’t make any sense in his version of events, from Dustin's horse, to why 8 people ended up dead if things happened more or less as Ned tells them.

  • The second part begins with something like a ‘scene change’ in which the twilight deepens. That part tells us how the "long night" came for the dragons. I’ll talk about that in Part III

  • The third, the one we are interested in, begins when Ser Waymar "gained the ridge", that is, when he arrives at the scene where the 8 dead wildlings are supposed to be. On a ridge, is where Ned is supposed to have buried the 8 men that die in the dream.

The moment that Ned arrives at the Tower in the dream matches, as I said, with the moment that Waymar arrives on the scene and finds that there is no one there.


In the prologue, Waymar tells Will to climb a tree and "look for a fire." This is where Ned's dream and the prologue merge.

Ned sees the 3 KG and the description he makes is quite peculiar.

“Yet these were no ordinary three. (...). And these were no shadows; their faces burned clear, even now.”

These men faces "burn", as opposed to his friends, who are shadows, so basically, this dream is Ned "looking for a fire".

Let's see Ned's description of the 3 KG:

“Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, had a sad smile on his lips. The hilt of the greatsword Dawn poked up over his right shoulder. Ser Oswell Whent was on one knee, sharpening his blade with a whetstone. Across his white-enameled helm, the black bat of his House spread its wings. Between them stood fierce old Ser Gerold Hightower, the White Bull, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.”

The 3 KG are in the exact same position as the 3 Starks from the Crypt. In the description of each man, we find 2 vows from the NW, and that is hinted at by the double pillars of the crypt that surround the 3 statues.


  1. Arthur, the sword of the morning. I am the sword in the darkness

  2. Ser Oswell, the black bat. I am the watcher on the walls

  3. Stood fierce Ser Gerlold. The fire that burns against the cold

  4. Dawn pocked over his right shoulder. The light that brings the dawn

  5. Sharpening his blade*. The horn that wakes the sleepers

  6. The white bull. The shield that guards the realms of men

*In Part I I talked about the flower from Bael's song, and the link with Lyanna's crowning where Rhaegar puts the flowers on Lyanna's lap, where the swords go in the WF statues. I said that the flower in the song is a "horn", is Bael screaming "I took her". This idea will be clearer later.

In the dream, Ned tells the guards a number of things, and the key to understanding what the dream is really about is that for everything Ned says, there is an exact correspondence to something that happens in the prologue.


Waymar arrives to the ridge: "Down below, the lordling called out suddenly, "Who goes there?" Will heard uncertainty in the challenge.”

This happens in Ned’s dream:

"I looked for you on the Trident," Ned said to them.

"We were not there," Ser Gerold answered.

"Woe to the Usurper if we had been," said Ser Oswell.


The only one that doesn't answers is Arthur Dayne.


While this happens in the prologue:


“The Others made no sound.

Will saw movement from the corner of his eye. Pale shapes gliding through the wood. He turned his head, glimpsed a white shadow in the darkness. (...) Perhaps it had only been a bird, a reflection on the snow, some trick of the moonlight. What had he seen, after all?”

Arthur is supposed to be wearing white like any KG, and that's exactly what Will sees, a white figure. When he wants to warn Waymar, "the words seemed to freeze" which is a reference to the snow and Arthur's white cloak. Will thinks that maybe it was a bird, a reflection in the snow, and in fact, the KG is a reflection of the NW, the "crows".


Ned's dream continues:

"When King's Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were."

"Far away," Ser Gerold said, "or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells."

In the prologue Waymar also wonders:

"Will, where are you?" Ser Waymar called up. "Can you see anything?" He was turning in a slow circle, suddenly wary, his sword in hand. He must have felt them, as Will felt them. There was nothing to see.”


The false brother is Brandon who, as I will show in the next part, didn’t die in KL, that's why “there was nothing to see” in KL, Rickard was burned and Brandon wasn’t there.


Next question from Ned:

"I came down on Storm's End to lift the siege," Ned told them, (...) I was certain you would be among them."

This time, the only one who responds, and very coldly, is Ser Arthur: “Our knees do not bend easily

Waymar is starting to feel very cold.

“Answer me! Why is it so cold?"

It was cold*.* Shivering, Will clung more tightly to his perch”.


I said when talking about the NW vows and the parallels with the KG position in the dream that the "horn" corresponds to the image of Oswell (Lyanna) on his knees sharpening his blade. The "horn" in the dream is of course Lyanna screaming: Eddard! But the thing is that Oswell is kneeling, so it seems that Lyanna kneeled easily. Clearly, there's something more here, and we'll see what it is in Part IV.


In the prologue, Waymar fights with an Other, and despite all his bravery, he loses miserably basically because he faces a far superior (and cruel) swordsman.

In Ned's dream, there is one last dialogue that is also quite cruel.

Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.

“But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”

“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.

We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.

What Oswell (Lyanna) says, is what Ned told Lyanna about Robert when she found out that he had a bastard, and Ned tried to assure her that once he got married he was going to behave differently.

In the prologue, Will says that before joining the NW he was a poacher, and during the attack he behaves like one.

What Gerold (Rickard) says about the KG, in Ned's mind of course, is related to two things that Ned thought in the crypt when Robert went to Winterfell.

The first is that “all swords” failed Rickard (I’ll discuss this in Part IV) and the second, is that “darkness” was Lyanna’s place:

"Ah, damn it, Ned, did you have to bury her in a place like this?" His voice was hoarse with remembered grief. "She deserved more than darkness …"

"She was a Stark of Winterfell," Ned said quietly. "This is her place."


Lyanna’s statue is not a tribute, it’s a punishment. Lyanna and Brandon are Rickard's “Kingsguard”, they are sentinels who, as in the NW legend, are fulfilling in death what they failed, according to Ned, to do while living.


Now to the main point, the proof that Arthur, not Rhaegar, is definitely, and beyond a doubt, Jon's father.


I said before that to the vow “the light that brings the dawn”, corresponds Arthur’s image of the “sword of the morning” with Dawn pocking “over his right shoulder”.

When, after the duel, Will dares to come down from the tree and goes to check Waymar's body, he thinks something that inevitably made me think of Jon: “Lying dead like that, you saw how young he was. A boy. "

But the interesting thing happens later. Will thinks “the broken sword would be his proof” and this happens:

“Will rose. Ser Waymar Royce stood over him.

His fine clothes were a tatter, his face a ruin. A shard from his sword transfixed the blind white pupil of his left eye*.”*

In the dream, Arthur has the sword pointed in a right to left direction, that's why the hilt pokes over his right shoulder, Waymar has a piece of sword sticking out of his left eye.

The "broken sword" in Waymar's left eye is the proof that Arthur Dayne is Jon's father.


What proof have we? Waymar, our first proof asks, and he answers.


The second proof is Ghost, the third is that the “broken sword” Bran Stark names his wolf Summer after seeing the “face” of winter in his comatose dream.


"He must have crawled away from the others," Jon said.

Or been driven away," their father said, looking at the sixth pup. His fur was white, where the rest of the litter was grey. His eyes were as red as the blood of the ragged man who had died that morning. Bran thought it curious that this pup alone would have opened his eyes while the others were still blind.”

Ghost is white like Arthur's white cloak and with eyes as red as the mountains of Dorne that Ned sees in the dream behind the round tower. Ghost 'appears' on Winterfell when they go out to execute Gared, the one guarding the horses during the duel. The she-wolf crossed the Wall using the Black Gate that Gared opened, he had been 40 years in the Watch, surely, he knew the Gate.


Waymar's death was planned and executed to send Jon a gift.


"The gift of a sword, even a sword as fine as Longclaw, did not make him a Mormont. Nor was he Aemon Targaryen." Jon IX - AGoT

Of course not, you innocent bastard.


B. The sword in the darkness


I don't have all the details of how things happened obviously, but there are a few things we can infer, I'll talk about most of them in the next part.

"Dead men sing no songs" says Will in the prologue, but the song Mance sings when he meets Jon, "The Dornishman’s Wife" suggests that the Dornishman had a story to tell.

There are some interesting clues that point to the importance of Arthur in the story. Most of them are in parts III and IV.

Waymar is a very clear parallel of Arthur (and actually of all the heroes in this story that failed), the first thing Will mentions of the fallen hero is his smile, Ned also remembers Arthur's smile in the first place. Waymar's sword is a "splendid weapon", the Dayne's is supposed to be the best sword in Westeros.

The NW sends a group to find Waymar, Benjen's, from that group 2 "people" return, Othor and Flowers (frozen corpses).

Those corpses are the ones that rise in the middle of the night. Everyone thinks that Othor's intention is to kill Mormont, but the room where Jon finds the ranger, is the one where the sword was. The sword that Jon wins as a reward and that it was “forgotten”, as Arthur. The sword is obviously not Dawn, but it is a "splendid weapon".

But there is another detail, Jon goes north being the living image of a WF statue, (and the Last Hero very image), with "a sword, a horse, a dog" and as the Daynes of legend, following a star (the comet).

The first person Jon meets beyond the Wall is Craster, the closest thing to a Targaryen you can find, and Jon's rejection explains in part how Arthur Dayne ended up being a Stark, as I’ll (hopefully) prove in part III.

This is the moment that Jon meets his father, unlike what Bael song says, he recognized him immediately:

Jon knew Qhorin Halfhand the instant he saw him, though they had never met. The big ranger was half a legend in the Watch; a man of slow words and swift action, tall and straight as a spear, long-limbed and solemn. Unlike his men, he was clean-shaven. His hair fell from beneath his helm in a heavy braid touched with hoarfrost, and the blacks he wore were so faded they might have been greys. (...)Since that day, the wildlings beyond the Wall had known no foe more implacable.” Jon V - ACoK

Qhorin's description is basically that of a direwolf, he even dresses in gray. Qhorin, who even has grey eyes, could be any Stark, with the detail of being "tall and straight as a spear", like a dornish spear.

Contrary to what usually happens, with women wearing their husbands colors, Arthur became a Stark. In fact, in the "sphinx" that the statues of WF represent, the wolf, is Arthur Dayne. We’ll see the other two parts in Part III.

I'm not going to go into Qhorin's story with Jon because, as much as I like it (though it breaks my heart), it would drag things out too long. Some remarkable things: Qhorin mentions a wedding, Jon "awakens" his connection with Ghost while sleeping with Qhorin, and the night before meeting him, Jon hears the "song" of a wolf and thinks it is a sad and lonely song. Like Arthur, the wolf who was "driven away".

I’m only going to briefly talk about the mission that Qhorin entrusts to Jon and that begins with a “hear me” as if it were the announcement of a horn:

“Then hear me. If we are taken, you will go over to them*,* as the wildling girl you captured once urged you. They may demand that you cut your cloak to ribbons, that you swear them an oath on your father’s grave, that you curse your brothers and your Lord Commander. You must not balk, whatever is asked of you. Do as they bid you . . . but in your heart, remember who and what you are**.** Ride with them, eat with them, fight with them, for as long as it takes. And watch.” ”

Arthur was the “sword of the morning” and that, I think, meant a lot more than just being a great swordsman.

Rhaegar, as Waymar in the prologue, was looking for something, and during that search, Dayne, who was his "constant companion" saw more than he could tolerate, the same thing happened to Jon, he 'watched' until he received the pink letter, that was his limit, same as Arthur's.

Wymar tells Will "tell me again what you saw, all the details" hinting at Rhaegar's fascination with prophecies and visions.

At some point, like Will, Arthur decided it was time to stop just watching.

In the next part, I'll talk about Rhaegar’s downfall, Brandon Stark, and Lightbringer.

Thanks a lot for reading this second part of the theory! It get’s better, I promise.

Sorry for any grammar or spelling mistakes, but English is not my first language.


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as much as I appreciate how you put together all these, how enjoyable reading it was and how much I'm curious to read the rest of your theory, I don't think it'll be this way in the series. simply because all the proof you brought are parallels and foreshadowing that  are just too difficult for average readers to see; yet they would have worked if there was more to it related to actual written story ( not just the signs) and character motivations. 

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2 hours ago, EggBlue said:

as much as I appreciate how you put together all these, how enjoyable reading it was and how much I'm curious to read the rest of your theory, I don't think it'll be this way in the series. simply because all the proof you brought are parallels and foreshadowing that  are just too difficult for average readers to see; yet they would have worked if there was more to it related to actual written story ( not just the signs) and character motivations. 

Hi! thanks so much for your comment, there are more parallels coming up that I believe will prove what I'm trying to explain. As for 'Qhorin', when you read the chapters where Jon and him are beyond the wall, there's plenty of hints that he's Arthur and that he has a special interest in Jon, that makes you wonder. 

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Ancient art have human-animal hybrids.  Egyptian art is a good example. George Martin was drawing from these examples.  The only real sphinx is the one studying at the Citadel.  The sphinx is a product of human imagination and artistic expression.  The Valyrians experimented with hybridization but the subjects must have died with the doom.  

Edited by James Fenimore Cooper XXII
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4 hours ago, James Fenimore Cooper XXII said:

Ancient art have human-animal hybrids.  Egyptian art is a good example. George Martin was drawing from these examples.  The only real sphinx is the one studying at the Citadel.  The sphinx is a product of human imagination and artistic expression.  The Valyrians experimented with hybridization but the subjects must have died with the doom.  

Hi! thanks for your comment, actually I think that the sphinxes you mention, the ones at the Citadel represent the Lannister twins, they are opposites, man and woman, have the same 'human face', same 'lion' body and the wings represent their incestuous practice. I had to left the Lannisters relegated until part V unfortunately.

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