Winds Of Winter News: The Tower Of Joy Will Be The Series’ Pivotal Moment

George R.R. Martin will continue to work on his A Song of Ice And Fire saga at his own pace. HBO's Game of Thrones reaching the end before hime won't speed up his creative process.

Winds of Winter devotees watch out: Game of Thrones season 6 isn’t out yet, and already it’s starting to spoil things from the next book in the series. Of course, Winds isn’t out yet either, but the new Game of Thrones trailer is chock full of Winds spoilers. Among them is a possible hint at a Ned Stark flashback… amid other hints that the secrets of the Tower of Joy will be revealed in the new season, and probably in the next book. And that’s big news, because the revelation of what happened at the Tower of Joy is nothing short of the pivotal moment in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Winds Of Winter Spoilers: Why The Tower Of Joy Matters

In case you don’t know, here’s what happened at the Tower of Joy, a Targaryen safehold in the Dornish mountains: In the last days of Robert’s Rebellion, Ned Stark, Howland Reed and five other rebel knights reached the tower, which they found guarded by three members of the Kingsguard—including Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. Ned and co. killed the Kingsguard, barely—only Ned and Howland survived—and inside, Ned found his sister Lyanna Stark , dying in “a bed of blood.” She extracted a promise from Ned. Her last words were “Promise me, Ned.” We don’t know what he promised, nor why three members of the Kingsguard were at a tower containing zero members of the royal family.

But for years, the operating theory has been that Lyanna died giving birth to Jon Snow—her son with Rhaegar Targaryen. There’s loads of evidence behind this theory… it’s not just armchair speculation. And if it’s true, the revelation of this tale carries epochal consequences.

A Song of Ice and Fire, five books in, is still mostly a story about politics, warring families and war itself. That was always its nature, and what set it apart from Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time and the many books those series inspired. But A Song of Ice and Fire always had the seeds of epic fantasy planted within it, from the very prologue of Game of Thrones. The Others have always been there, in the distance. And the dragons, and the prophecies. Sooner or later, fire must meet ice.

The revelation of the secrets of the Tower of Joy is the beginning of the end of the political fantasy, the moment when epic fantasy starts to take over. Don’t get me wrong—Thrones will surely still be political. But as Jon Snow comes into his own, as he is physically resurrected and metaphorically transformed from a bastard Stark to a bastard Targaryen and the possible savior of the world, those political trappings will become subservient to the greater quest against the Others. We’ll stop asking questions like “Will the Starks get their revenge,” and start asking ones like “Will the Starks getting their revenge jeopardize the fragile coalition against the Others?” The existential threat—and Jon Snow, seemingly one of the three cornerstones of the defense against that threat—will supersede all other matters.

At least, that’s how it would work in a more traditional fantasy series than A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s hard to say whether GRRM will follow the same route exactly, but that’s the path he’s foretold for us. The war with the Others is coming. Only Daenerys and the dragon’s other two heads can stop it. And the blood of the dragon flows in Jon Snow, and possibly the spirit of the savior. Only once that is revealed does the epic fantasy that will end A Song of Ice and Fire truly begin.

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