‘Game of Thrones’ Fans: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I haven’t read the Game of Thrones series. I mean, I’ve religiously watched the television show, and I’ve written about everything from Daenerys Targaryen’s feminist role in the story, to things that I want to happen in the finales (more dragons, please!). But no, I haven’t had the chance to dig into the novels. For a non-reader of the series, I try to be as aware and well-informed as possible. So when I came across Jon Snow lineage spoilers, I was ALL about them! About a year ago, I ended up in some GoT k-hole, where a couple bloggers theorized about Jon Snow’s mother. [MASSIVE, CRAZY SPOILERS AHEAD!] The theory was that Jon Snow is actually Dany’s half-nephew. Ned Stark’s sister, Lyanna Stark, was “abducted” by Rhaegar Targaryen, and the two made a beautiful Stark-Targaryen baby.

That theory was essentially legitimized when Sean Bean, the actor who played Ned Stark, told Vulture:

“I’ve definitely got some unfinished business that needs to be resolved there. I’m obviously not Jon Snow’s dad. And you need that to be revealed at some point, don’t you? So Bran would kind of be the one having the flashback, and he would see Ned praying, right? And revealing those things? You never know what those guys are going to do with that. It’s got to be something special. But I’m into that. I certainly would be into that.”

This interview left a lot of us with our minds totally blown, and our theories somewhat confirmed (there’s also the chance that Bean is pulling our legs, but hey, it’s a chance we have to take). I mean, I think a good majority of us (both readers and show watchers) had our suspicions about Jon Snow all along. He’s far too important to have some random mom, and it always seemed out of character that Eddard would cheat on Catelyn. All of this evidence, in addition to the fact that Ned has always been very, very secretive and weird about the alleged affair, points to a huge plot twist.

This video, expertly explaining why R+L=J is important, also went viral a few days ago, coinciding with Bean’s interview:

A lot of commenters for the YouTube video and all the articles born from this explosion of GoT theories were reeling about Jon Snow’s royal blood, vocalizing their enthusiasm by proposing more evidence, or challenging the R+L=J formula with their own opinions. That kind of excitement is what I would expect from the GoT community , and what I enjoy as a fellow fan. I’m guessing that’s what George R.R. Martin would want for the magical realm he created. But I wouldn’t really expect fans to compare their loyalty to the loyalty of non-readers, and be jerks about it.

Some commenters have viciously suggested, “well if you READ the book, you would have already known all this,” or, “if you actually read the book, you would know Lyanna never loved Robert.” This isn’t the first time I’ve seen war break out between GoT fans, though.

This last winter, I wrote an article about the upcoming 4th season, where I discussed what I expected to happen in a very Me kind of way. That was apparently a mistake, because I received comments such as, “Since you clearly love the show so much. . .READ THE BOOKS! Books are so cool!” as well as someone who literally made a Facebook profile just so that they could list everything that would happen (like Joffrey and Ygritte’s death).

The fact is that people get very, very passionate and aggressive about GoT. The passion part, I understand. It’s an awesome series, both via HBO and in print. It’s also a very intricate story, and I think it’s so great that fans have formed communities so they can keep conversations going about the plot. The aggressiveness though? I’m kind of confused about it. As a diehard Harry Potter fan who read all the books twice, I never thought about ruining the ending for a non-reader. Or even scoffing at a non-reader. I thought that would be pretty disrespectful and unnecessary. There’s clearly some elitism going on that’s dividing GoT fans, and while I’ve been a victim of their “punishment” or whatever, I know others have as well. I think it’s time we called for a truce.

Ultimately, we ALL love Game of Thrones. So when spoilers happen to leak all over the Interwebz and cause a frenzy, there is no need for that frenzy to turn spiteful and negative. Sure, some of us have dedicated hours to reading the novels, but many of us haven’t. Does that make the latter less dedicated or superior fans? No way. But while you’re here, what do you guys think of R+L=K=J theory?

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