Dragons in Winterfell

Who doesn’t love a good Game of Thrones theory?

With season six over, season seven delayed and “The Winds of Winter” still on the way, crazy theories about what’s to come on Game of Thrones are all we have. And the good thing about this one is we don’t need much tin toil at all.

Let’s just dive in. Spoilers ahead for everything covered on the show and in the books.


There’s a rumor in Westeros that there are dragons beneath Winterfell. One of the many revelations from “The World of Ice and Fire” mega-book was that a dwarf fool who served the Targaryen dynasty named Mushroom claimed the dragon Vermax laid eggs in Winterfell’s crypts. When might this dragon even have had the time to do so? When Prince Jacaerys Velaryon was treating with Cregan Stark to form the Pact of Ice and Fire.

That’s right, during The Dance of Dragons, Queen Rhaenyra formed an alliance with House Stark (foreshadowing much?). No one believed Mushroom’s tale about the dragon eggs beneath Winterfell because people didn’t think he was very smart. On the other hand, those people that did talk to him tended to be more loose-tongued because of his perceived lack of intelligence.

So it’s possible there are actually a clutch of eggs beneath Winterfell. The great thing about this world George R.R. Martin has developed is that there is no omniscient overseer. We only know as much as the characters.

If there are dragon eggs under Winterfell, they’re not going to be unearthed and they’re not going to hatch. But there is a metaphorical dragon under Winterfell, and it’s Rhaegar Targaryen…

No, just kidding.

But it’s totally possible there’s something that belonged to him down there, and it would be just as significant.

The most tantalizing (and most likely) possibility, as Redditor “cantuse” proposes, is that Rhaegar’s harp is hidden in Lyanna Stark’s tomb in Winterfell’s crypts. Cantuse suggests Rhaegar made a calculated decision to leave his harp at the Tower of Joy when he left a pregnant Lyanna there to go to war against Robert Baratheon. The reasoning?

  1. Rhaegar had no use for his harp in battle, and there was also the chance of it being lost or falling into the hands of his enemies.
  2. He thought he’d return to the ToJ.
  3. He knew he might not return to the ToJ, and left his famous harp behind as proof of his love for Lyanna. After all, he posted the three best Kingsguard knights outside the ToJ to ensure her survival. Rhaegar just couldn’t predict childbirth would be what killed Lyanna.

Even with the Game of Thrones TV show showing us what went down at the ToJ, we STILL don’t know everything Lyanna told her brother as she lay dying. If George R.R. Martin makes this reveal in “The Winds of Winter,” it’s possible (even likely?) it will go down a bit differently. Either way, what if Lyanna also made Ned promise to hide Rhaegar’s harp?

It’s possible, cantuse points out, that one of Lyanna’s dying wishes (in addition to the safety of her son) was that he be given one of his father’s most prized possessions. The harp represents Rhaegar’s true nature and burying it with Lyanna under Winterfell is evidence of their love.

Lyanna and Rhaegar supposedly fell in love at the Tourney at Harrenhal. If the Knight of the Laughing Tree theory is to be believed, Lyanna rode in the tourney’s joust as a mystery knight with a made-up sigil and beat three squires who were earlier picking on a young Howland Reed (the only man alive who was at the ToJ for Jon Snow’s birth). Miffed that the mystery knight wouldn’t reveal his identity, the Mad King told his son, Rhaegar, to find him and bring him forward.

When Rhaegar discovered the knight was actually Lyanna, he was smitten. We also know that at a feast during the tourney, Rhaegar played a song that made Lyanna weep. After the love connection formed, Rhaegar put the pieces together and realized the offspring he produced with Lyanna could be the Prince that was Promised (A Song of Ice and Fire).

Back to the harp.

This would actually be the PERFECT way for Jon to discover his true parentage. Sure, Bran could share what he saw in his vision, or Howland Reed could tell him the truth, but the only way for the revelation to have its full effect is for Jon to discover it on his own. Which brings us to the crypts of Winterfell.

Now that he’s retaken the castle on the show (and will presumably do so in the books, eventually) Jon can meander around the crypts beneath Winterfell. In the books, Jon has recurring nightmares about wandering around the crypts. In Jon IV AGOT, he tells Sam he always walks deeper into the crypts but wakes up just when the crypts are so dark and so scary that he panics.

Since Jon has such an obvious connection to the crypts, it would be criminal not to send him down there at some point. Cantuse suggests Jon will find the harp in Lyanna’s tomb.

There’s an alternate possibility. Jon dreams of going deep into the crypts and he always wakes up when he’s gotten so far that he’s gripped by fear. As he’s carrying out his dream, he will get to the point where he would usually wake up. Instead, he will keep going and discover a tomb meant for him. In it will be Rhaegar’s harp. But that’s only of the two parents. Alongside the harp will be the crown of winter roses Rhaegar laid on Lyanna’s lap at the Tourney at Harrenhal when he crowned her Queen of Love and Beauty.

How’s that for endless love?

Ned would have known that his friend Robert Baratheon and several family members would be frequent visitors at Lyanna’s tomb. If Ned really wanted to hide a Targaryen relic under Winterfell, it’s reasonable he would’ve done so where no one would ever look: in a tomb no one knew existed.

As a bastard, Jon doesn’t get a tomb of his own under Winterfell, so Ned would’ve had to have one made for Jon in secret. Another aspect of Jon’s dream is the statues of the Kings of Winter watch him as he passes them. Jon can see the stone Stark Kings’ eyes follow him as they tell him he doesn’t belong, which could imply he was in fact given a place.

Conclusion: Jon is the dragon beneath Winterfell. An old harp and/or some fossilized dragon eggs do not exactly constitute for a living dragon. It is when Jon learns his true parentage that a dragon will actually reside in Winterfell.