With the Latest Trailer of Season 6 of Game of Thrones out, you may have overheard or read the term “Tower of Joy” being mentioned in both this trailer, and the First One released in March 2016. Now what IS this Tower of Joy most book readers keep mentioning and why is it so important for season 6 of the show? Well, ask no further, we’re here to give you a concise, SPOILER FREE rundown on when, how and where this (Very) important event occurred, and the consequences it may have on the show.
Where Is The Tower Of Joy
The Tower of Joy is located at the North of Dorne and South West to the Stormlands. It was named as such by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. It is yet to appear in Season 6 with the Castle of Zafra in Spain used as its filming location.
Ned Stark’s Dreams
In the first book “A Game Of Thrones”, Ned Stark has a dream while under the effects of Milk of the Poppy after being attacked by Jaime Lannister. In that dream, he remembers a confrontation between him and 6 of his men versus 3 Kingsguard, including Ser Arthur Dayne, one of the most skilled knight in the Seven Kingdoms. He remembers how they were 7 against 3, and in the end, only he and his bannerman Howland Reed (Jojen and Meera’s father) survived.
The Setting Of What Happened There
These events occured at the end of Robert’s Rebellion. We already covered these events here, but in a short recap: Prince Rhaegar Targaryen “kidnapped” Lyanna Stark who was betrothed to Robert Baratheon. Her brother and father Brandon and Rickard were killed by the Mad King Aerys after they seeked justice. That sparked a rebellion in which Robert killed Rhaegar, overthrew the Targaryen dynasty, and crowned himself King of the Seven Kingdoms.
Standoff At The Tower Of Joy
With the Targaryens gone, Ned Stark went to look for his sister Lyanna who was being kept at the Tower of Joy. When he, and 6 of his loyal bannermen arrived, 3 Kingsguard were protecting the Tower, including Ser Arthur Dayne, one of the deadliest knights in the realm at the time. Ned informed them that their king was dead, and that a new king had been put in place. The Kingsguard however, proclaimed their loyalty to the Targaryen.
How Did This Battle End?
Ned and his men were 7 against 3 loyal and fierce Kingsguard. They fought to the death. And in the end, only Ned and Howland Reed survived. After the battle, he went inside the tower where he could hear his sister calling him.
“Promise Me Ned”
In his dream, he remembers seeing his dying sister Lyanna in a “Bed Of Blood” asking him “Promise Me Ned”. This segment from the books has been the basis for the biggest theory with regards to the entire “A Song Of Ice And Fire” series and the HBO Show “Game Of Thrones”. What was that promise exactly?
R+L=J (Jon Snow’s Parentage)
The biggest secret that can be the center focal point of the entire story was that Lyanna’s “Bed of Blood” was a metaphor for her dying while giving birth to a child. That child (J) of hers (L) and Rhaegar (R), made out of passion, would be in danger should the new King Robert Baratheon be made awareof its existence, given his new found hatred for Targaryens.
The Promise Ned made to his sister was to raise the child while hiding his true identity; sacrificing his honor, pretending to have fathered a bastard during the war, all for the love he bore to his sister.
The theory can even go as far as saying Lyanna may have actually given birth to twins, with the other child being raised by Howland Reed: his “daughter” Meera (Who helped Bran Stark meet the Three Eyed Raven beyond the Wall)
Why Were There Three Kingsguard?
One of the strongest arguments for this theory is the very presence of Kingsguards at the Tower of Joy. Kingsguards’ duties are to protect the Royal Family at all times. Why weren’t they with Rhaegar in the Trident? Or in Kings Landing with Aerys? In no way shape or form, would knights of the Kingsguard, Ser Arthur Dayne especially, accept to protect the Prince’s Mistress or Paramour just for the sake of it. Their very presence indicate that they were protecting someone of Royal Decree…. Like another heir to Prince Rhaegar.
Why Is It Important For Season 6?
Both Trailers for Season 6 of the HBO series have revealed scenes where we see a Young Ned Stark fight a knight with a Targaryen sigil on his armour.
In this shot from the second trailer, we see the Three Eyed Raven in what looks like the setting of the Tower of Joy, most likely watching the battle through visions/flashbacks. It can be safely assumed that Bran is also witnessing the events unfold before his very eyes.
What To Expect…
Another set of leaked photos had surfaced a few months ago where it is clear that a fight sequence was being filmed at the Caslte of Zafra in Spain
YouTube User Robbie McDee has made an intriguing video compiling all the hints in the HBO series that could point to Jon Snow being the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. A Compilation of careful and clever foreshadowing within the show, should that battle finally reveal that mystery once and for all.
UPDATED FOR SEASON 6 – DO NOT GO TO THE NEXT (AND LAST) ENTRIES IF YOU ARE NOT UP TO DATE WITH SEASON 6 OF GAME OF THRONES – SPOILERS AWAY!!
The Battle In The HBO Show
As predicted earlier in this article, the events of the Tower of Joy were shown as one of Bran’s many flashbacks with the Three Eyed Raven. The HBO series decided to turn the 7 vs. 3 combat into a 6 vs. 2 one, with Howland Reed included, in the 3rd episode “Oathbreaker”.
Bran, and the viewers, got to witness a rather short, yet extensive fight between Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, and the Northerners at the end of Robert’s Rebellion.
However, when it came time for the Big Reveal, we heard the screams of a woman coming from the Tower, and Bran was brought back by the Three Eyed Raven to the cave when his curiosity got the best of him. Looks like Bran, and the viewers as well, are not yet ready for the potential big reveal at the top of that tower….
Jon Snow’s Heritage Confirmed
The Season 6 Finale FINALLY confirmed this theory: Ser Arthur Dayne was stationed at the Tower of Joy to protect Lyanna Stark, pregnant with Rhaegar Targaryen’s child while he went to fight the Rebellion. Once the Targaryens were all killed, Ned Stark headed to the Tower in order to free his sister and officially end what has started the rebellion to begin with. The Bed of Blood was indeed due to childbirth and the promise to Ned was for him to protect the child, for Robert would have had him killed, being half Targaryen.
Ned Stark’s sacrifice of his honor first started. To protect his nephew, he had him pass as a bastard he had fathered, something completely unlike his character, all for the love he bore to his sister.
SIDE NOTE: Ned Stark’s Last Words before being beheaded by Illyn Payne could have very well been “I Kept My Promise” among many other choices. This one seems the most honorable though.