Sunday's Game of Thrones finale certainly threw a lot of curve balls! One such curve ball was the confirmation of the popular R+L=J fan theory.
If you have not seen the finale yet, stop reading!
Don't say we didn't warn you.
R+L=J is the running theory that Jon Snow is not the bastard son of Ned Stark, but actually the son of his sister, Lyanna, and Rhaegar Targaryen. While this would technically still make him a bastard (Rhaegar was married when he and Lyanna conceived) it may not count for much because of the Targaryen family history.
Thankfully, this theory does not make Jon's new status as King in the North any less legitimate. It also means he has a direct claim to the Iron Throne.
While the season finale did not directly prove this fan theory, speculation was put to rest when HBO released the above iconograph on its "Making Game of Thrones" website, confirming once and for all the identities of Jon Snow's real parents.
Miguel Sapochnik, the episode's director, would not give anything away, but did say "if you turn the sound right up and listen carefully it might just give you the answer you need...."
In all fairness, we did get this revelation third-hand, since Bran (now the Three-Eyed Raven) had a flashback to one of the key events during Robert's Rebellion at Dorne's Tower of Joy. He followed a young Ned Stark into the Tower's main room, where Lyanna was giving birth to a baby boy (Jon Snow).
Another fan theory claims Lyanna whispered, "His name is... [Jaehaerys]. If Robert finds out, he'll kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned. Promise me." This would fit with the Targaryen timeline, as it is the name of two previous Targaryen kings. It's also not too far a leap, since Jon "is pretty seamless shorthand" and fits with Ned's promise to keep his sister's child safe in Winterfell.
Since Jon technically died in the mutiny at Castle Black, he isn't a member of the Night's Watch anymore. This gives him plenty of time to be King in the North and be in the running for the Iron Throne. The question now is will he take it? We already saw Petyr Baelish profess his love for Sansa and say how he wants to see them on the Iron Throne together (completely out of left field, but not out of character), and Danny's ships are fully under way.
With only two seasons left, according to HBO, there isn't much time left to knock Cersei Lannister off her newly won Iron Throne. Will Sam be able to learn everything he needs at the Citadel in Oldtown? Will Daenerys' ships actually sail to the Western shore? Will Sansa use her newfound ruthlessness for the good of the North?
With all these questions still unanswered, we know as much as Jon Snow.