In all of George R.R. Martin's saga A Song of Ice and Fire, on which HBO's Game of Thrones is based, one mystery has been long debated but never solved: what exactly happened at the Tower of Joy?
This impressive fan comic doesn't give us the answer — but it does brilliantly recreate one of the book's most talked about scenes.
First, a little Game of Thrones history. The scene depicted below by artist Urukki Saki is one of the key flashbacks presented in Martin's book series, in which a younger Eddard Stark and a band of warriors journey to the secluded Tower of Joy to rescue Ned's sister Lyanna, who had supposedly been kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Lyanna's disappearance would ignite Robert's Rebellion, eventually leading to the destruction of the Targarygen dynasty and the murder of the mad king Aerys by Jaime Lannister.
When Eddard and company arrive at the tower, they find three of King Aerys' loyal Kingsguard prepared to defend the tower with their lives, for reasons unknown. Why are the Kingsguard here, and not with their king? By the time Eddard arrives to confront them, the war is already over. Why don't they surrender?
Though six men accompanied Eddard to face the three defenders of the Tower of Joy, only Ned and his friend Howland Reed survived the encounter with the legendary knights. Once inside the tower, Ned finds his sister dying from unknown causes. Check out one of the pages from the comic below, but be sure to check out Saki's page for the full thing.
It's all one giant mystery that some fans think they have figured out — but aside from Game of Thrones showrunners and Martin himself, nobody knows for certain what happened.
That is part of what makes the scene so powerful. It comes to Ned in a dream, with Lyanna's last words, "promise me, Ned," haunting his thoughts. We don't know what promise Ned made — or even how Lyanna died. Before we can find out, Ned is executed.
The comic captures the dreamlike state in which Ned remembers that fateful day wonderfully. Each page has an ethereal feel to it that adds to the Tower of Joy's now mythical status. If the show ever decides to adapt the Tower of Joy to the small-screen, HBO will be hard-pressed to top this comic.