Ladies and gentlemen, I have an idea. It's quite flimsy, based on very little evidence, but who knows? Maybe it will turn out to be right.
There's not much we know about Mance Rayder. He was raised at the Wall, supposedly born of Wildlings. I think I remember someone saying his father was a Crow. We don't know how old he was when the rangers found him. We don't know who his father was, or who his mother was. We know he was raised by the Night's Watch and was one of their best. He was injured and his cloak was mended by the woman who tended to his hurts, mended with scarlet silk from Asshai. When he returned to the Watch he was ordered to give up the cloak and refused. Thus he began a life as a Wilding, the bane of the Night's Watch, and started on the road to becoming King Beyond the Wall.
I know there are those out there who think Mance is actually Rhaegar. I say they are wrong. But I can see where the idea comes from. The red and black cloak for one thing, the musical ability, the fighting prowess and leadership ability. Mance can be very Targ-like at times. The education he has isn't an issue because Aemon was there to teach him if he wanted to learn. Mance doesn't really quite fit in with the Wildings, but he never quite fit in with the Night's Watch either. I propose a new possibility...
Mance Rayder is the son or grandson (great-grandson, etc) of Brynden Rivers Targaryen aka Bloodraven.
Bloodraven was not only a member of the Night's Watch, he was Lord Commander for a time. No one knows for certain when he disappeared, but he went up there with his nephew Aemon. He's been missing a long time, certainly long enough to father a child before branching out into greenseer territory.
What evidence do I have other than Bloodraven being up there at the right time, and Mance's Targ-like tendencies? I have an entire one textual hint. Mance's cloak is described in these terms "smoke and scarlet." Or maybe it's "scarlet and smoke." In The Mystery Knight Bloodraven's cloak is described as "smoke and scarlet" or "scarlet and smoke." I don't have the books in my hands right now or I'd check to see which way it goes.
No other evidence. This is pure gut-feeling territory. It is, however, far more textually supported than my "Mance is Rhaegar's Twin" idea, which is so far out there I don't even bother to call it a theory.
By the way, I don't think Mance would be even vaguely aware of his having Targ blood. The only way he would know is if Dalla or Aemon told him. I don't know enough about Dalla to know if she could tell something like that, or would tell him if she did figure it out. Aemon could certainly have put the pieces together, but whether he would have told Mance is hard to say.
Please share your thoughts. If I'm completely mixed up on this, I do want to know. And if I'm not, well hey, I may be on to something.
Edited by Lady Blizzardborn, 03 June 2014 - 05:05 PM.