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This article contains Game of Thrones speculation and spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire.
Several filming locations in Spain have been confirmed for shooting scenes for the next season, including the Natural Park of the Bardenas, Castillo de Santa Florentina, and Castillo de Zafra. Until there’s more information released, the most fans can do is look at them and try to guess what parts of Westeros they’ll be portraying, but in the case of Castillo de Zafra, its unique structure is fueling speculation that we’ll see a scene next season that has yet to play out in A Song of Ice and Fire.
Here is Castillo de Zafra from the side.
Although it is described as a round tower near the Red Mountains of Dorne, many believe that the castle will be used as the Tower of Joy. The near-coincidence of the structure didn’t go by unnoticed by fans.
I hope the rumours about Tower of Joy flashbacks for GoT are true.
— Zoë (@zoedinning) July 14, 2015
So what is the Tower of Joy? It’s not the where, but rather what happened there that makes it so crucial to R+L=J, in which Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark are Jon’s parents.
When Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna (or she went willingly, depending on which version you believe) about 18 years before the series of events in Game of Thrones began, he took her to the Tower of Joy. It’s located within Dorne’s borders, and belonging to a kingdom loyal to the Targaryens during Robert’s Rebellion since Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell.
Sometime after the Rebellion had ended and Rhaegar died at the hands of Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark led six men (including Howland Reed, Jojen and Meera’s father) to the Tower of Joy where Lyanna was being kept. They met three members of the Kingsguard—Ser Gerold Hightower, Ser Arthur Dayne, and Ser Oswell Whent. Although Rhaegar was dead, they refused to disobey his orders and a battle began. Only Ned and Howland made it out alive, and Ned discovered a feverish Lyanna in a “bed of blood.” She made Ned promise her something before she died, something that haunted him until he too died. Those who support R+L=J believe that Lyanna was laying in a pool of her own blood from childbirth and made him promise to raise Jon as one of his own sons.
The theory of showing the Tower of Joy on-screen is further fueled by the description of Legendary Fighter on one of the leaked casting lists for season 6. A man in his 30s or 40s, this man is described as being “a paragon of knighthood.” People believe that the casting is potentially referring to Ser Arthur Dayne, who Ned says is the finest knight he ever saw.
Game of Thrones didn’t show a flashback until Maggy the Frog’s prophecy at the beginning of season 5, but with a recent casting confirmation, the show has a way to tell that regardless of Jon’s fate: Bran.
The young Stark sat out of season 5 after reaching the Three-Eyed Raven at the Weirwood Tree north of the Wall, but Isaac Hempstead-Wright, the actor who portrays him in the show, confirmed that he would be back for season 6. The showrunners essentially said as much last year, preferring to leave Bran on his own for a bit and then see what happens when they return to him.
“I can’t say a lot but I am back this season, and it’s going to get particularly interesting with Bran,” he told the Irish Examiner. “He has some interesting visions,” he teased.
He still has some story left in A Dance With Dragons where he learns to see into the past, present, and future through weirwood trees. He sees Ned as a younger man in the books, a different leaked casting list suggests we might see Ned as a boy, and it might not be that far off the mark to suggest showing the very scene that can make or break the biggest fan theory in the show.
But that’s not the only possible location it could show. A smaller portion of the fandom believes it could be Casterly Rock, home to the Lannisters. With all of the big players in that family in King’s Landing (or heading there) aside from Tyrion, that may be less likely—along with a lack of water nearby.
Either way, we’ll know it when we see it.
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Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.