Ned Stark and the Seven Point Narrative Structure

Originally published on reddit. See the discussion here.

Introduction

With the TV show bringing Eddard Stark back into viewers’ hearts and the Tower of Joy teetering on the edge of a reveal, it seems a good moment to reflect on the time readers traveled with Ned.

Ned Stark was GRRM’s letter to readers that no character is safe in ASOIAF. His death early in the series shocked readers, who believed that the man who seemed to be the main character could die before the story—his story—was truly finished.

Looking at Ned’s arc in terms of how his story was structured, we see that may not be the case after all. And if Ned’s storyline was a complete narrative arc, then that tells us something as readers about what we can expect from our other main characters.

The Seven Narrative Structure Points

Numerous schools of thought propose how a narrative ought to be structured, but many of them mirror each other. One of these incarnations uses the Seven Structure Points:

  1. Hook
  2. First Plot Point
  3. Pinch Point 1
  4. Mid-Point
  5. Pinch-Point 2
  6. Second Plot Point
  7. Resolution

Each of these points helps further Ned’s story along, while providing a problem for our main character, Ned, to overcome.


Hook

  • A story’s hook is as the name says: It’s intended to capture the reader’s attention, and get them interested to find out what happens next. This can be an unexpected event or twist.

For Ned’s storyline, our hook arrives through Robert’s visit, teased in the earlier Catelyn chapter. When Ned and Robert finally meet again after nine years, the text introduces Robert by emphasizing how much has changed:

Yet the huge man at the head of the column, flanked by two knights in the snow-white cloaks of the Kingsguard, seemed almost a stranger to Ned … until he vaulted off the back of his warhorse with a familiar roar, and crushed him in a bone-crunching hug. “Ned! Ah, but it is good to see that frozen face of yours.” The king looked him over top to bottom, and laughed. “You have not changed at all.”

 

Would that Ned had been able to say the same. Fifteen years past, when they had ridden forth to win a throne, the Lord of Storm’s End had been clean-shaven, clear-eyed, and muscled like a maiden’s fantasy. Six and a half feet tall, he towered over lesser men, and when he donned his armor and the great antlered helmet of his House, he became a veritable giant. He’d had a giant’s strength too, his weapon of choice a spiked iron warhammer that Ned could scarcely lift. In those days, the smell of leather and blood had clung to him like perfume.

 

Now it was perfume that clung to him like perfume, and he had a girth to match his height.… ….

 

Yet Robert was Ned’s king now, and not just a friend, so he said only, “Your Grace. Winterfell is yours.”

This emphasis on what has changed with Robert signals to the reader that things are also about to change for Ned. And as hooks usually go, we see this immediately when Ned and Robert go to the crypts:

Robert looked at him. “I think you do. If so, you are the only one, my old friend.” He smiled. “Lord Eddard Stark, I would name you the Hand of the King.”

The dilemma that makes this hook interesting for our main character, Ned, is that it is “the last thing in the world that he wanted.” The reader is left wondering what Ned will choose.


First Plot Point

  • The first plot point sets the story in motion for the main character. It sets up what the character will be doing for the rest of the story, and the reason why.

As we see, Ned feels reluctant to take his best friend’s offer and replace his surrogate father, Jon Arryn, as Robert’s Hand. His decision about this offer is his first plot point, which is, in fact, delivered through Catelyn’s chapter.

“My lady, tell me! What was this message?”

 

Catelyn stiffened in his grasp. “A warning,” she said softly. “If we have the wits to hear.”

 

His eyes searched her face. “Go on.”

 

“Lysa says Jon Arryn was murdered.” His fingers tightened on her arm. “By whom?”

 

“The Lannisters,” she told him. “The queen.

 

 

“Now we truly have no choice. You must be Robert’s Hand. You must go south with him and learn the truth.” (AGOT, Cat II)

Lysa’s letter changed the death of Jon Arryn and provided motivation for Ned’s entirely storyline.

Luwin plucked at his chain collar where it had chafed the soft skin of his throat. “The Hand of the King has great power, my lord. Power to find the truth of Lord Arryn’s death, to bring his killers to the king’s justice. Power to protect Lady Arryn and her son, if the worst be true.”

 

Ned glanced helplessly around the bedchamber. Catelyn’s heart went out to him, but she knew she could not take him in her arms just then. First the victory must be won, for her children’s sake. “You say you love Robert like a brother. Would you leave your brother surrounded by Lannisters?”

Ned heads south to find the truth of Jon Arryn’s death, in hopes that his efforts would lead to the truth and justice for his surrogate father, as well as protection for Jon Arryn’s family. Upon seeing how his best friend has changed over the years, Ned also takes Robert’s offer as a way to protect the man who was raised to be like his brother, seeing Robert’s vulnerability.

As Ned navigates King’s Landing and learns more about the Lannisters’ secrets and Jon Arryn, finding the truth that Jon Arryn died for becomes the driving force behind his narrative.


First Pinch Point

  • Pinch points are intended to apply pressure to the main character and give a taste of what they are dealing with. The first pinch point helps characterize the villains’ capabilities for the audience.

When Ned resolves to go south to investigate, the audience already has an inkling that the Lannisters might be dangerous. The first pinch point in the story stretches across a couple of chapters. The first part of it is in a Bran chapter:

The man ignored her. He was very strong. He stood Bran up on the sill. “How old are you, boy?”

 

“Seven,” Bran said, shaking with relief. His fingers had dug deep gouges in the man’s forearm. He let go sheepishly.

 

The man looked over at the woman. “The things I do for love,” he said with loathing. He gave Bran a shove.

 

Screaming, Bran went backward out the window into empty air. There was nothing to grab on to. The courtyard rushed up to meet him. (AGOT, Bran II)

Knowing Bran, Ned understands that this probably wasn’t an accident. But because his mind—and driving force for the rest of the story—is made up, he is resolved in his decision to go to King’s Landing, even though Catelyn protests because everything is different. The Lannisters have shown that they are dangerous.

Ned’s honor compels him to keep his word to Robert, now that he has accepted the offer. Ned cannot refuse because to turn down a position he has already promised to take would be dishonorable.

The first pinch point finishes when Catelyn and Ned meet in King’s Landing.

She put a finger to his lips. “Let me tell it all, my love. It will go faster that way. Listen.” So he listened, and she told it all, from the fire in the library tower to Varys and the guardsmen and Littlefinger. And when she was done, Eddard Stark sat dazed beside the table, the dagger in his hand. Bran’s wolf had saved the boy’s life, he thought dully. What was it that Jon had said when they found the pups in the snow? Your children were meant to have these pups, my lord. And he had killed Sansa’s, and for what? Was it guilt he was feeling? Or fear? If the gods had sent these wolves, what folly had he done?

 

Painfully, Ned forced his thoughts back to the dagger and what it meant. “The Imp’s dagger,” he repeated. It made no sense. His hand curled around the smooth dragonbone hilt, and he slammed the blade into the table, felt it bite into the wood. It stood mocking him. “Why should Tyrion Lannister want Bran dead? The boy has never done him harm.”

 

“Do you Starks have nought but snow between your ears?” Littlefinger asked. “The Imp would never have acted alone.” (AGOT, Ned IV)

Though the pieces do not fit together perfectly regarding the dagger belonging to Tyrion, the audience at this point knows that the assassin was sent by the Lannisters, to finish what Jaime hadn’t seen through.

Both the audience and at this moment, importantly, Ned realize that the Lannisters are not only murderers but are vicious enough to go after a young boy to protect their secrets.


Midpoint

  • The midpoint acts as a crux for the story, where the main character turns from reacting to information to taking action.

At this point, the reader already knows the secret that the Lannisters are keeping because of the actions that led to the first pinch point. This knowledge becomes a point of anticipation for the reader, as we wait for Ned to discover the incest between the Lannister twins.

The midpoint of the story, then, is when Ned truly begins his investigation to find out what Jon Arryn knew. Now the his story is carried by the death of Jon Arryn and understanding why anyone would seek to murder his son.

This sequence of the story follows Ned to many places as he puts the pieces of the puzzle together. Why was Jon Arryn so interested in Robert’s bastards? Was it a coincidence that Ser Hugh of the Vale, who knew Jon Arryn’s actions, died during the Tourney of the Hand?

During his investigations, Varys reveals to Ned that the Lannisters had hoped Robert would die during the melee, which Ned dissuaded from joining. Ned asks Varys why Jon had been killed, to which Varys says, “Asking questions (AGOT, Ned VII).”

A Sansa chapter sandwiched between two Eddard chapters gives the answer:

Arya made a face. “Not if Joffrey’s his father,” she said. “He’s a liar and a craven and anyhow he’s a stag, not a lion.”

 

Sansa felt tears in her eyes. “He is not! He’s not the least bit like that old drunken king,” she screamed at her sister, forgetting herself in her grief.

 

Father looked at her strangely. “Gods,” he swore softly, “out of the mouth of babes …” He shouted for Septa Mordane. To the girls he said, “I am looking for a fast trading galley to take you home. These days, the sea is safer than the kingsroad. You will sail as soon as I can find a proper ship, with Septa Mordane and a complement of guards … and yes, with Syrio Forel, if he agrees to enter my service. But say nothing of this. It’s better if no one knows of our plans. We’ll talk again tomorrow.” (AGOT, Ned XII)

At this point, we see that Ned go on the defensive by telling his daughters to go home to Winterfell. At the discussion, Sansa’s words also provide him the answer to the mystery of what Jon Arryn found: Robert’s trueborn children aren’t his children at all.

Immediately the next chapter after this revelation, Ned takes action by confronting Cersei.

Cersei looked at him defiantly. “My brother is worth a hundred of your friend.”

 

“Your brother?” Ned said. “Or your lover?”

 

“Both.” She did not flinch from the truth. “Since we were children together. And why not? The Targaryens wed brother to sister for three hundred years, to keep the bloodlines pure. And Jaime and I are more than brother and sister. We are one person in two bodies. We shared a womb together. He came into this world holding my foot, our old maester said. When he is in me, I feel … whole.” The ghost of a smile flitted over her lips.

 

 

“All three are Jaime’s,” he said. It was not a question. (AGOT, Ned XII)

Cersei’s confession closes the second part (first plot point to mid-point) of Ned’s story by providing a solution to the mystery of what Jon Arryn died for.


Second Pinch Point

  • Like the first pinch point, the second pinch point applies pressure to the main character. Rather than introducing the villain, it provides conflict by making it seem as though the main character’s plans have gone awry and as though the villain has a chance of winning.

After Cersei’s confession, Ned warns her that he is giving her family time to leave the city, but that he must also tell Robert the truth of the matter.

“For a start,” said Ned, “I do not kill children. You would do well to listen, my lady. I shall say this only once. When the king returns from his hunt, I intend to lay the truth before him. You must be gone by then. You and your children, all three, and not to Casterly Rock. If I were you, I should take ship for the Free Cities, or even farther, to the Summer Isles or the Port of Ibben. As far as the winds blow.” (AGOT, Ned XII)

Because Ned does not want to harm Cersei’s children, he gives her a chance to leave before actually taking action and alerting Robert. His past experiences with Robert have shown that when slighted, Robert is willing to harm and kill innocent children.

Unfortunately, things do not go as planned. Cersei buckles down, bolstered by Robert’s fatal injury.

Before Ned can reveal the truth to Robert, he must play the dutiful best friend and Hand of the King, writing out Robert’s last wishes. And rather than let his best friend die with anger in his heart, Ned withholds the truth.

Robert’s death, as we learn, was no accident. We know from Varys that the Lannisters had plans to dispose of him before. With the help of Lancel, some strongwine and years of languidness, Robert was in no form to face down this boar.

Ned ends up one step behind the Lannisters again.


Second Plot Point

  • The second plot point begins the march towards the resolution. The main character has all the information they need to finally address the problem or villain.

Ned has already taken first steps by changing the wording on Robert’s will.

Soon after, Ned is faced with decisions of what sort of action he will take. Renly advises him to take the royal heirs as hostage, to strike and seize power for himself right now.

With his honor, though, Ned refuses this offer and instead goes to Littlefinger to cash in the loyalty Littlefinger supposedly bears Ned through his wife.

As he waits, Ned makes other moves, such as writing Stannis to inform him that Ned has declared him the heir to the Iron Throne.

When Littlefinger arrives, he provides Ned with another course of action, as Renly did. He advises Ned to make peace with the Lannisters and put Joffrey on the throne.

However, as with Renly, Ned’s honor and adherence to the truth causes him to turn down that course of action as well. But because it would mean giving the Lannisters power, Ned is even more reluctant to choose it, for the sake of Jon Arryn, supposedly killed by the Lannisters because of their false heirs, and for Bran, who nearly died for learning the same secret.

Ned chooses to trust Littlefinger, though, and tells Petyr his plans:

“Renly has thirty men in his personal guard, the rest even fewer. It is not enough, even if I could be certain that all of them will choose to give me their allegiance. I must have the gold cloaks. The City Watch is two thousand strong, sworn to defend the castle, the city, and the king’s peace.”

 

“Ah, but when the queen proclaims one king and the Hand another, whose peace do they protect?” Lord Petyr flicked at the dagger with his finger, setting it spinning in place. Round and round it went, wobbling as it turned. When at last it slowed to a stop, the blade pointed at Littlefinger. “Why, there’s your answer,” he said, smiling. “They follow the man who pays them.” He leaned back and looked Ned full in the face, his grey-green eyes bright with mockery. “You wear your honor like a suit of armor, Stark. You think it keeps you safe, but all it does is weigh you down and make it hard for you to move. Look at you now. You know why you summoned me here. You know what you want to ask me to do. You know it has to be done … but it’s not honorable, so the words stick in your throat.” (AGOT, Ned XIII)

The next turn of events, though, is where GRRM starts to play with the structure of this narrative.

First, Ned learns that Renly has fled the city, which leaves Ned with less manpower than he had hoped for in seizing the throne.

Next, Joffrey is declared king immediately, before Ned has had a chance to make his move. Then, Cersei rips up Robert’s will, stating that it is no longer the king’s words and does nothing to protect Ned.

Finally, as Ned takes action and makes a show of arms with the Gold Cloaks, we come to the middle of fourth part of Ned’s story.

As his men died around him, Littlefinger slid Ned’s dagger from its sheath and shoved it up under his chin. His smile was apologetic. “I did warn you not to trust me, you know.”

The story plays with our expectations here, but adheres to the structure nonetheless. We expect the main character’s plan to go through—but instead it fell apart, and Ned sits in prison awaiting his sentence.


Resolution

  • The ending of the story serves to wrap up the character arc—the development—of the main character. It shows how the conflict of the story has changed the character from the beginning of the story to where they are now.

Though earlier chapters hinted at it,we begin to see where Ned’s conflict and story is driving him during that Midpoint discussion with Cersei:

“My son Bran …”

 

To her credit, Cersei did not look away. “He saw us. You love your children, do you not?”

 

Robert had asked him the very same question, the morning of the melee. He gave her the same answer. “With all my heart.”

 

“No less do I love mine.”

 

Ned thought, If it came to that, the life of some child I did not know, against Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon, what would I do? (AGOT, Ned XII)

We see that this question is contrasted with Ned’s characterization throughout the story—both by his own admission and that of other character’s—when Cersei attempts to seduce Ned:

Be kind to me, Ned. I swear to you, you shall never regret it.”

 

“Did you make the same offer to Jon Arryn?”

 

She slapped him. “I shall wear that as a badge of honor,” Ned said dryly.

 

Honor,” she spat. “How dare you play the noble lord with me! What do you take me for? You’ve a bastard of your own, I’ve seen him. Who was the mother, I wonder? Some Dornish peasant you raped while her holdfast burned? A whore? Or was it the grieving sister, the Lady Ashara? She threw herself into the sea, I’m told. Why was that? For the brother you slew, or the child you stole? Tell me, my honorable Lord Eddard, how are you any different from Robert, or me, or Jaime?”

 

“For a start,” said Ned, “I do not kill children.”

From the first moment the reader is introduced to Ned, honor is what characterizes him. He lectures his sons on how an honorable man would swing the sword when he makes a death sentence.

Honor is what compels him to continue to follow Robert, even when all the signs show that the Lannisters are too dangerous to confront.

And it’s what causes him to turn down Littlefinger’s final offer to put Joffrey on the throne, along with justice for his family.

We see this conflict play out when Varys comes to speak with Ned about Ned’s imprisonment:

“So what is your answer, Lord Eddard? Give me your word that you’ll tell the queen what she wants to hear when she comes calling.”

 

“If I did, my word would be as hollow as an empty suit of armor. My life is not so precious to me as that.”

 

“Pity.” The eunuch stood. “And your daughter’s life, my lord? How precious is that?

 

A chill pierced Ned’s heart. “My daughter …” (AGOT, Ned XV)

We see that Ned has been able to do what he has done—and land himself in his current position in prison—because what matters to him is his honor. He will not give Cersei and his Varys his word that he will say the lies they want to hear. He will not lie to them nor the realm. Ned’s adherence to his honor and the truth is more precious to him than his own life.

Varys, though, changes the stakes, by throwing Sansa’s life into the question.

No,” Ned pleaded, his voice cracking. “Varys, gods have mercy, do as you like with me, but leave my daughter out of your schemes. Sansa’s no more than a child.”

 

“Rhaenys was a child too. Prince Rhaegar’s daughter. A precious little thing, younger than your girls. She had a small black kitten she called Balerion, did you know? I always wondered what happened to him. Rhaenys liked to pretend he was the true Balerion, the Black Dread of old, but I imagine the Lannisters taught her the difference between a kitten and a dragon quick enough, the day they broke down her door.”

Again, Ned saying that Sansa is but a child and the argument Varys makes is bolstered by the evidence that was brought up in the first pinch point of Ned’s story. Even though Ned wants to keep Sansa safe and do the right thing, he knows that the threat to Sansa’s life isn’t empty.

The threat is as real as both attempts made on Bran’s life, with the first leaving him crippled.

Varys closes Ned’s final chapter by bringing the conflict of Ned’s character arc to the foreground:

“And spare a thought for this as well: The next visitor who calls on you could bring you bread and cheese and the milk of the poppy for your pain … or he could bring you Sansa’s head.

 

“The choice, my dear lord Hand, is entirely yours.”

Ned now has to choose between his two desires, because his life isn’t actually on the line at this moment: Honor or protecting his family, his daughter. Is his daughter’s life worth more than an ideal he values over his own life?

Just as Ned’s character was first introduced to the reader through the eyes of his child, so his choice is delivered through the eyes of another of his children:

Her father raised his voice and began again. “I am Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Hand of the King,” he said more loudly, his voice carrying across the plaza, “and I come before you to confess my treason in the sight of gods and men.

 

 

“I betrayed the faith of my king and the trust of my friend, Robert,” he shouted. “I swore to defend and protect his children, yet before his blood was cold, I plotted to depose and murder his son and seize the throne for myself. Let the High Septon and Baelor the Beloved and the Seven bear witness to the truth of what I say: Joffrey Baratheon is the one true heir to the Iron Throne, and by the grace of all the gods, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.” (AGOT, Arya V)

With that, we come to a close on Ned’s storyline. His character has made a complete arc from being characterized as honorable to making the more holistic choice of putting his daughter’s life above honor—far above his own life.

And it ends up that Ned’s life along with his words as hollow as empty armor end up being the price that Ned pays to secure Sansa’s survival.


Beyond Eddard Stark

As we see, even though the main character died long before the resolution of the entire book series, Ned’s storyline was complete and followed a fully developed character arc.

Many readers, though, take Ned’s death to mean that characters like Jon can die at anytime—and stay dead.

Recent events on the television show have shown this is not necessarily the case, but looking at another narrative structure can give us better understanding as to why that is.

We won’t dive too deep into this, because many other readers have unpacked it, but Jon’s story very closely follows a narrative structure called the monomyth or “The Hero’s Journey.”The Star Wars movies are famously cited as an example of this.

Briefly, here’s a description of what each part is and how Jon’s story plays out:

  • The Call to Adventure: Self-explanatory. This is where the hero sets out on his journey. For Jon, this comes in the form of joining the Night’s Watch, where he is promised adventure and the ability to show his worth as a person.
  • Refusal of the Call: This is when a hero may first refuse the adventure. When the North rides to free Ned, Jon almost deserts the Night’s Watch to help his family fight to free Ned.
  • Supernatural Aid: This isn’t always necessarily supernatural, but it usually refers to a guide who will help the hero on their journey, presenting the hero with gifts to help on his quest. Jeor Mormont takes Jon under his wing as his steward, and rewards Jon’s bravery against the wights by giving him the precious and magical Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw.
  • Crossing the Threshold: The hero crosses the line into the world of adventure, truly beginning the journey. Jon literally crosses the Wall into the unknown as part of a ranging to find his Uncle Benjen.
  • Belly of the Whale: This is when the hero shows a willingness to undergo changes. First, Jon is open to separating from the rest of the group to join Qhorin’s crew, where he is tested on if he has what it takes to do his duty as a brother of the Night’s Watch by seeing if he can kill Ygritte.
  • The Road of Trials: The hero is tested, which begins his metamorphosis. Jon’s choice to have mercy on Ygritte leads to him having to go undercover with the Wildlings.
  • The Meeting with the Goddess: The hero experiences love. Jon falls in love with Ygritte.
  • Woman as Temptress: This part isn’t necessarily always about a woman, but more of signifies another temptation to get the hero to abandon his quest. For Jon, this is two-fold: Ygritte beseeches him to run away with her, so that they can live together in peace. The next comes when Jon is forced to make a choice of whether to kill the old man at Queenscrown—even if he feels it is wrong because the man is innocent. But Jon resists both these temptations, running away from the Wildlings when he has the choice to go alert the Night’s Watch.
  • Atonement with the Father: In many stories, this is a centerpoint and again, doesn’t necessarily have to do with a father, just as woman as temptress isn’t always about a woman. It is a time when the hero is able to grasp the power to make change happen. When Jon is at this step, though, the man that he sees as his father, Ned, plays a prominent role. Stannis gives Jon the choice to assume the position that Ned held: Lord of Winterfell. Jon is tempted, and wrestles with it. Instead, he becomes Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch as a reward for his role in the battle with the Wildlings.
  • Apotheosis: In some stories, this is a low point for the hero, where it looks as though things are hopeless, but gives the hero a brief respite. In others, such as the story of Christ or Osiris or Persephone, it is a literal death or a visit to the land of the dead. As we all know from the last few years and the television show, Jon was stabbed and died.
  • The Ultimate Boon: This is when the hero achieves or receives something that was important to the quest. Campbell talks about this as an elixir of life, not meaning resurrection so much as it means receiving something about them that makes them miraculous. Jon has not yet gotten to this part of the story.
  • Refusal of the Return: Having found enlightenment while in apotheosis, the hero is reluctant to return to the real world. You may recognize this from stories like the Odyssey, where Odysseus stays on Calypso’s island for an extended amount of time. Jon has not yet gotten to this part of the story.
  • The Magic Flight: The hero must return to the other world where his quest is, while holding the power of the magic boon he received.Jon has not yet gotten to this part of the story.
  • Rescue from Without: In order to finish his quest and get back to where he needs to be, the hero may need some help. Jon has not yet gotten to this part of the story, *although** it can be argued that it has happened in the television show.*
  • The Crossing of the Return Threshold: The hero retains the boon and wisdom from his time in the other world, and can use it to help on his journey. Jon has not yet gotten to this part of the story.
  • Master of Two Worlds: The hero has become competent and able to carry out the quest, able to navigate problems in all the different sectors of the hero’s life. Jon has not yet gotten to this part of the story.
  • Freedom to Live: The hero has become the champion, and has earned the ability to just enjoy things as they come. Jon has not yet gotten to this part of the story.

Now, we already know from the show that Jon is resurrected. Understanding that Ned’s storyline was a completed arc means that we can anticipate Jon also returning to finish the rest of the hero’s journey.

It’s worth noting that Campbell points out that not all of these parts will necessarily always happen in the exact same order, and that not all parts are necessary for the hero’s journey, which helps explain the placement of this plot point if Jon’s resurrection acts as the Crossing of the Return Threshold in the TV show.

But as we can see, Jon’s storyline so closely follows the rest of The Hero’s Journey that it’s likely he’ll reach the other steps as well.

With the introduction of the Tower of Joy in the television show, and a cliffhanger as to what Ned will find, we are likely at the cusp of The Ultimate Boon for Jon.

For years, people have speculated on Jon’s parentage. Some have even asserted that perhaps Jon really is just Ned’s child. But following the monomyth, it’s important to see that whatever Jon’s parentage is, when it’s revealed it will be a boon, it will be something that makes him miraculous.

All this is to say that it’s likely that the next step after Jon’s resurrection—or in the books, maybe even before, since we have the flexibility of exploring more of the supernatural side—is learning Jon’s parentage. This makes it likely, as well, that Jon’s parentage is something unexpected but powerful, lending credence to the idea that Rhaegar and Lyanna were his parents. Rhaegar being Jon’s father puts him in a powerful position to contest the throne—which would help in Jon’s goals of uniting people to fight the Others.

As for how all the rest of it falls, we don’t have enough clues, but following the monomyth can guide our thinking and theorizing.

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