Does The Latest Game Of Thrones Filming Location Mean We’ll See R + L = J Confirmed In Season 6?

It’s been a few weeks since the dramatic end of Game of Thrones season 5, however we at Tech Scorpion are still very much obsessing over it (only today we were discussing getting House Lannister and House Stark tattoos… Mine would be the Lannister lion – it’s OK, I’m an only child). This is, after all, the first break between seasons where we can’t even look to the A Song Of Ice And Fire books for information about the fates of the characters. Is Jon Snow alive or dead? Did Brienne really kill Stannis Baratheon? What will happen with Danaerys and the Dothraki horde? Is Arya blind now? Is Reek going to be regular Theon Greyjoy again now? Is Gendry still rowing?

So, with not much to go on, except for the fact we really hope Jon Snow will be resurrected by Melissandre in season 6, we pounce on any scrap of leaked information like… Well, Ser Pounce, I guess. The latest interesting piece of news is a choice of Game of Thrones season 6 filming. If it means what we hope it means, it could suggest that the most popular Game of Thrones fan theory of the series – the infamous ‘R + L = J’ theory, could just be confirmed in the coming season.

In case you hadn’t guessed from that, I’m going to talk a fair bit about ‘R + L = J’ in this article, so if you absolutely don’t want to know about it as a potential spoiler (while it is just a theory, it is one so popular many take it as fact), go and read some of our other lovely content instead, or watch Jon Snow interview Jon Snow here.

If you are interested, but don’t know the theory, this great R + L = J video explains it all really well, complete with supporting quotes from ASOIAF:

Tower of Joy

If you watched that video, or were already aware of the story behind the popular Game of Thrones R + L = J theory and its evidence, then you’ll know the significance of the Tower of Joy. This would be Jon Snow’s birthplace in Dorne, where Lyanna Stark died, Ned made his promise to her, and there was a battle which only Ned and comrade Howland Reed (who is the father of the kids Bran Stark was knocking about with when we last saw him in Game of Thrones season 4, and also the subject of many other fan theories, such as ‘Is Howland Reed the High Sparrow?’) survived (along with newborn baby Jon Snow).

The latest location where filming for season 6 is an old tower, called Castillo de Zafra, in Guadelajara, Spain. And here it is:


It looks very much like the descriptions of the Tower of Joy in George R.R.Martin’s books, doesn’t it?

Of course, the events at the Tower of Joy occurred when Jon Snow was a newborn baby, so anything seen here would have to be shown in a flashback, unless there is a reason for anybody to return there in a future scene. This could mean we get to see Ned Stark alive once more, discover what ‘Westeros’ Helen of Troy’ Lyanna Stark actually looked like, and find out more about this mysterious Howland Reed character as well as seeing the mystery of Jon Snow’s mother revealed. It would make one hell of a scene. As we saw with the opening scene of Game of Thrones season 5 where a young Cersei Lannister is given a prophecy, the team behind the HBO series are not averse to a flashback.

Is There Anywhere Else That Tower Could Be?

OK, so we very much want R + L = J  to be true, because the implications are cool. We also very much want it to be confirmed soon, so there is enough room left before the series ends for all of those implications to play out to their full potential (and so we can all speculate about something different). Also, a Tower of Joy flashback would be epic. But, with Game of Thrones, you can’t always get what you want, so it is worth looking at the possibility that Castillo de Zafra has been chosen as a location other than the Tower of Joy.

The other place that may become a scene of action in season 6, which would sort of look like that, would be Casterly Rock, home of the Lannisters. We don’t yet know, after all, what will become of Jaime when he returns to Kings Landing with Myrcella dead. With Cersei in her disturbed state following her walk of shame, king Tommen sulking because Margaery is in jail, and Tyrion long gone, Jaime may realise Casterly Rock is the safest place for him!

However, Casterly Rock is by the sea, and there is no sea anywhere near Castillo de Zafra. Also, Spain has typically been used for all scenes set in Dorne. Casterly Rock is not in Dorne, but the Tower of Joy is…

Other Evidence From Season 6 Filming News

Even before this location was revealed, there was already speculation that a Tower of Joy flashback scene may be on the cards for season 6 of Game of Thrones. Why? Because of one unnamed character that there was a casting call for.

This character was to appear in just one episode, and was a ‘legendary swordsman’ with a famous sword. Now, in terms of characters who fit the bill and who we haven’t seen yet, one name stands out – Arthur Dayne, who held the legendary Sword Of The Morning. He died at – you guessed it – the Tower of Joy. Ned Stark later returned his sword to his homeland. Now, if there is to be a character who is as famous and regarded a swordsman as Jaime Lannister (when he still had both his hands) or Ser Barristan Selmy, why wouldn’t he be important enough to be in more than one episode, unless he is a long dead character only seen in a flashback?

Of course, I don’t know if I find this evidence so compelling simply because I want it to be true, so please let me know what you all think in the comments!

Image by Alberto Ortiz de Zarate

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