Game of Thrones has a history of leaving fans with a lot to talk about, and season 6 was no different. The finale episode solved the biggest mystery of all time, that of Jon Snow‘s lineage, and the R+L=J theory was finally confirmed, letting us rest easy knowing that Jon is Rhaegar and Lyanna‘s son. But what exactly happened before Ned went into the Tower of Joy to meet Lyanna is still a bit of a mystery. In Bran’s vision, we saw Ned meeting the great sword fighter Arthur Dayne, whom Ned had to fight before he met his sister. Why the fighting had to happen in the first place is something that fans have been wondering for a while; after all, Ned was only there to get Lyanna.
A Redditor posted a theory that seems to explain what might have happened during the fight scene and why it had to occur anyway. The theory looks quite acceptable when you think about it. Here’s what the Redditor began with:
A few things about the Tower of Joy scene puzzled me:
-Why is there any fighting at all? Ned is Lyanna’s brother and can be trusted with her and her baby.
-Before fighting, Arthur Dayne tells Ned, “Good luck in the wars to come,” a strange thing to say to someone you are about to fight to the death with.
-When only Dayne and Ned are left, Dayne could easily kill Ned at any time (as the Three Eyed Raven said, he wasn’t just better than Ned, but far better) – why delay?
The Redditor thinks that maybe Rhaegar Targaryen had something to do with it since he wanted his child to be protected.
Arthur Dayne’s commands were to leave Ned, and only Ned, alive
The reason is simple: Rhaegar knew that Ned could be trusted with Lyanna and her baby, but also that the identity of the baby must be kept a secret. Ned can keep a secret, but if 5 other men see Ned come down out of the tower with a baby, the secret is much more likely to get out eventually. The best course of action is for Ned to return North alone, with no one else seeing where the baby came from.
If true, then regarding the three puzzling points above,
-Fighting is necessary because Dayne can’t just tell Ned, “Your men need to die in order for an important secret to be kept.” Even after seeing Lyanna and promising her to keep the baby safe, Ned wouldn’t have his men murdered – it’s not in his nature. Therefore Dayne must kill them.
-Dayne knows Ned will survive the battle, since he won’t kill him. Ned’s life was never in peril. But Dayne doesn’t know if he himself will survive (he’s amazing, but you never know for sure). So he takes the opportunity to wish Ned luck, since he and Rhaegar honestly do hope he succeeds.
-I’m less sure of why Dayne keeps fighting after only Ned is left. I would guess that Dayne is trying to prove to Ned that he could easily kill him, for example, by disarming him and then sparing his life (which is harder than killing him and takes more time). Then Ned would believe what he tells him about his orders from Rhaegar, after which Dayne would “vanish”, leaving Ned with Lyanna and the baby.
-Instead, Howland Reed wasn’t actually dead, and he surprised Dayne, leading to his death. But Rhaegar’s plan still worked, since Ned promised Lyanna to keep the baby safe, as expected, and while another person knew the secret, Reed could in fact be trusted with it.
Most fans on Reddit did agree with this theory, but some thought that Rhaegar was just trying to protect his heir and so he sent Arthur Dayne for it. What do you think Arthur Dayne’s purpose of being at the Tower of Joy was? Tell us in the comments.