Last nights’ episode of Game of Thrones, titled the Oathbreaker, had a lot to cry about. Spoilers ahead.
Between the consequences of Jon’s resurrection, Dany’s arrival at Vaes Dothrak, and the youngest Starks’ deliverance right in the hands of Ramsey Bolton, there was more than enough tension to go around, but something that a lot of viewers were anticipating was the truth about the Tower of Joy.
It has been long speculated that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen (and as such is the true heir to the Iron Throne) and what Ned Stark saw in the Tower of Joy would have confirmed that. However, we didn’t get to see the inside of the tower, only Ned, and there was some surprising truth to be seen there.
Through Bran’s visions under the guide of the three-eyed-Raven, we were able to see the battle between Eddard “Ned” Stark and the Targaryen knight Arthur Dayne. The battle should have been one of epic proportions since readers of the book already know how great of a warrior Dayne was and how cunning Ned was to take him down. But as we saw, there was no way Ned could have or should have won that fight… At least not fairly.
As the four bannermen behind Roberts Rebellion engaged in battle with Dayne, I counted how many men were slain and when it came down to just Dayne and Stark, I was shocked. In the books, Howland Reed (Meera’s father) also survived and yet he was the first to be struck down, or so I thought. As Dayne and Stark battled for entrance to the tower, it seemed that Dayne had the upper hand and surely would have killed Stark if not for Reed’s miraculous comeback. Dayne was stabbed in the back by Reed (an act that lacks all honor and is uncharacteristic of the great Eddard Stark), and then he was finished off with a slice through the throat by Ned. And sure, in this instance it’s kill or be killed, but the Ned we knew never would have wanted it to happen that way.
This may seem like a typical twist like so many in the show (Including Ser Barristans’ death), but it’s much more than that. This whole event serves to smear the shinny and noble name of Eddark Stark whose brooding attitude, we now realize, is the result of all of his misdeeds.
It proves that despite what people are lead to believe, no one in the Game of Thrones is completely without blood on their hands, and there certainly aren’t any honorable men left especially among the Starks who have shown displays of dishonor time and time again (especially with Jons’ resignation as Commander of the Nights Watch). More than that, it proves that Ned has many secrets and this means that the secret behind Jon’s birth are simple. He may just be the bastard son produced with some wench, just like Catlyn speculated.
This simple battle calls to question every noble thing that Ned did and the truth behind them. If he lied about defeating Dayne on his own, then what else did he lie about?
And as if that wasn’t enough, two other things happen. Someone cries out, prompting Ned to go after Lyanna (a cry that almost sounded like that of a newborns), and Bran calls out to his father just as he’s about to enter the tower. Surprisingly Eddard actually pauses as if he can hear him and before Bran can respond, he is ripped from the vision by the three-eyed-Raven whose only response to his actions is: “If you stay too long, you will get lost.”
Like Bran, we are eager to get lost in the truth, but everything comes in time. There are still a lot of mysteries to uncover in the Game of Thrones, but in order to reveal them, Bran must first learn the truth about his own family and what he learns will change everything.