Rhaenys, well, it seems that Ned hoped that Jon would somehow be accepted as a full member of House Stark by his family and especially his wife. The partial prayer Bran overhears in the godswood clearly suggests as much. In addition there is the fact that he seems to have promised Lyanna that he would take care of the child, no one else. I think he would stuck with that - and insisting on that could actually be a pretty good non-conspiracy theory explanation for Ashara's suicide. If Rhaegar/Lyanna or Lyanna/Arthur and the other knights had made arrangements to raise Rhaegar's child with the Daynes as Ashara's bastard (the stillborn daughter would have been hid from the world) then Ned talking away the surrogate child from Ashara this shortly after her own child had died might have been what drove her over the edge. Sure, for that Ashara's daughter could not have been conceived at Harrenhal, but we don't yet know that this was the case or where she was during the remainder of 281 AC or during the next year. I could easily see Ned having plans to send both Robb and Jon as wards to Jon Arryn just as he was sent in his childhood at the right age. What prevented that would have been the fact that Jon Arryn continuously served as Robert's Hand until his death as well as the fact that the Arryns actually never resided in the Vale in all this time. Even if Jon and Lysa had gotten a bunch of children early on in their marriage, and Lysa had subsequently permanently moved back into the Vale, Ned could not possibly have hoped/intended to foster Jon with Lysa.
UL, I'm not sure Ned is actually committing treason by hiding Jon Snow's true identity. As far as we know Robert Baratheon never proclaimed it treason that everyone who harbors a secret Targaryen prince is guilty of treason. This is not that big of a deal or that big a danger unless the wrong people learn about it and draw the wrong sort of conclusion. Rereading AGoT very closely right it really seems that his major motivation for hiding Jon is the Aegon/Rhaenys incident, and his fear that Robert might not prevent that. When he talks to Cat and Littlefinger in the brothel and thinks about Robert he connects the Lady affair, Aegon's crushed skull, Lyanna and Sansa pleading, and Robert turning away his gaze from him and from Aegon's corpse in his mind. I don't think Ned ever believed Robert would harm him or any of his children/relatives - he says as much to Catelyn with a very strong conviction (and Lyanna's son would be his nephew). But I think he believed that Tywin or Jaime could convince Robert to turn a blind eye to whatever they were doing - Ned and pretty much everyone else most likely believed Jaime had killed Aerys on Tywin's orders and had worked closely with him during the whole Sack affair. Remember, the whole Jon Snow idea would have come up before Ned and Robert reconciled when they grieved together for Lyanna. Had that happened earlier or had Robert executed Jaime for Aerys and Tywin for Aegon/Rhaenys (or at least Gregor and Lorch) Ned might very well told his friend the truth. We see how Ned can keep his secrets from his own family, therefore I see no reason why Jon Arryn shouldn't have been able to keep Ned's secrets from Robert. They were all three very close, and Jon was as much a second father to Ned as he was to Robert. Ned choosing 'Jon' as name for the boy suggests as much, and there could more to that than just an empty gesture. Robert feels responsible for the wellbeing of his namesake Robert Arryn, Ned may have decided to entrust Jon Arryn with Jon's security should ever happen anything to him - he could not possibly entrust such a thing to Catelyn.
You Lie, Dany's death would of course change a lot of things. For once, she is the living embodiment of this whole slave liberation movement. Without her, the Masters will restore the old world order - it may take some time, but in the end the slaves would wear their chains again. We see how strong an impact Dany's disappearance had on the morale of the (former) slaves in the later chapters of ADwD. Dany being dead for a certainty would have changed everything to the advantage of both the Yunkai'i and the old guard in Meereen. The Unsullied are only as good as their commander - and you really have to ask yourself what Barristan would do if Dany was dead for a certainty. I don't see him giving a damn about what happened to the people in Meereen. He would probably just leave, and the Unsullied would have to find a new master, somebody they could follow. They could pledge their allegiance to this or that guy in Meereen paying lip service to Dany's ideals and goals, but we don't even know whether they would even do that. They could also just decide to leave that stupid city. Grey Worm and the Unsullied only follow Barristan since they expect/believe their queen will return. It will be interesting to see how long that alliance last, how long any alliances among Dany's people can last, in her absence. Those people have all pretty much nothing in common besides Daenerys Targaryen. Had the whole world seen her die in a public place, her party would not long survived her. The mere hope that Dany may still live and return has brought Barristan two additional sellsword companies (the Windblown and the Second Sons) and it seems to be about to bring him the Volantene slaves, too. If Dany had died neither of those group would raise so much as a finger for him. My point about the Unsullied not being there in the Pit was actually supposed to underline that any Unsullied being there would easily have been able to interpret Hizdahr's and the Meereenese would-be dragonslayers behavior as treason or coming dreadfully close to treason.
Not really. He cannot serve as Hand and at the same time grant half the Realm to himself. That wouldn't work regardless how powerful he thought he was. The day he tried something like that would be his last day.
The whole thing about rudeness in asking about bastards should be seen in context, of course. We are talking civilized people here, the nobility and elite of Westeros. They would not usually mention or confront their peers about their bastards, mistresses, or brothel visits during a formal dinner when the wife and children are present. But that doesn't mean that you don't pay creatures like Varys to dig up dirt you could use to ruin a rival or an enemy. Knowledge is power, after all. And that certainly includes knowledge about bastards and lovers/mistresses. Especially knowledge about them because, you know, many men might actually love their mistresses more than their actual wives/family. I've already cited the Shae affair as an example for that. If you play with the great lords you inevitably burn to ashes. But Robert is the king and Ned's friend, and he certainly doesn't care about courtesy and stuff. He just asks Ned about the mother of his bastard in AGoT. Giving Robert the name 'Wylla' clearly could help him track this woman down. Especially if he lets Varys do the job. Not to mention that Robert might actually have additional information from that early conversation about the mother of the bastard or might have sufficient information himself when exactly Ned must have met that woman if he, Robert, has never met her. If we can do this kind of math with the limited information we have then Robert could have done so much more with his firsthand information if he had been interested in finding that woman (which he could have done if he had mistrusted the 'Jon Snow story' or if somebody had fed him the idea that Ned Stark's bastard might not be his bastard - just as Jon Arryn was about to feed him the idea that his children weren't his children). Other thing: Has anybody ever considered that Ned might have told Jon Arryn the whole story of Lyanna's son? I mean, Jon Snow clearly seems to be named after him, and Jon Arryn was the only surviving father/mentor figure Ned ever had. He might have felt he needed advice in this whole thing. And then there is the fact that Jon Arryn apparently prevented Robert from sending professional assassins after Viserys and Daenerys. From a dynastic point of view that was stupid but it might have made more sense if Jon had known that 'Ned's bastard' - and thus Ned himself - was actually related to them. Not to mention that Ned might have felt he needed an ally at court - somebody who would calm down Robert should he ever find out, and somebody who would also keep an eye out and send him word should anyone at court ever (try to) uncover the truth.
The Yunkai'i wanted peace, too. At least Yurkhaz and Yezzan wanted peace. They were still alive at the time of Daznak's Pit, remember? The Yunkai'i only changed their mind in favor of attacking Meereen after Dany's disappearance because that provided them with an opportunity to show their greatness (especially all those self-important younger Yunkish magnates) as well as getting revenge for the death of Yurkhaz. They can lay that whole event at the feet of the Meereenese/Dany. The Unsullied only know what happened to Daenerys through hearsay, though. They weren't there in Pit and did not see what actually happened.
Lord-Too-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse, not in the specific context. Hizdahr doesn't even mention the theory/possibility that he might have been the target of the poisoning. Instead, he seems to get along with Barristan's theory that Dany was the target. Why would he do that? And why would he make such a blatant mistake as lie about his own food preferences when he actually praised the locusts as a tasty dish to Daenerys when he offered them to her. Sure, you can praise, say, a traditional dish you city or country is famous for all over the world, but if you, personally, don't like it or cannot it due to the health issues, you would also say that you have only heard yourself that this was supposed to be great. You yourself not liking it or not being able to eat couldn't vouch for the tastiness. Hizdahr does nothing of that sort. You Lie, I don't think killing Dany would have to lead to a war within in Meereen. Her disappearance certainly doesn't, and neither does Hizdahr ordering attacks on Drogon while Dany is conveniently rather near the dragon as well as all those spears. In fact, the Unsullied do not oppose Hizdahr's rise to power nor do they plot or act against him until Barristan stages his coup. We don't know how the poison would have affected Dany after she had eaten, say, 3-10 or so locusts. If it had looked as if she had died of some illness then nothing would have happened, just as nothing would have happened if they had successfully made Quentyn Martell the culprit. I guess I just don't see any reason to think that the Harpy gang has no good reason to murder Dany at this point. Hell, it might not even have been them but the Yunkai'i demanding it or arranging it because they wanted revenge for how Dany treated them after she had defeated Yunkai in the field. Hizdahr and Galazza might have been forced to go along with it, not considering it a good idea, because it was part of the price for the peace treaty. In light of the subtle way the Yunkai'i mocked Dany during the feast shortly before the games in the Pit I'd not be surprised one bit if the big thing the Yunkai'i had come to see there was Daenerys Targaryen collapse and die in front of their eyes. That could also explain why they used such a weird dish (the idea was made by some Yunkishman, and Hizdahr was nothing but the man who was supposed to execute the whole thing).
The idea with a dragon egg at Winterfell is that it has already hatched, back during the burning of Winterfell at the end of ACoK. Summer saw that weird winged snake-like thing that might have been a dragon (or nothing at all). Sure, the hatchling would be a little smaller than Dany's dragons, but not all that much. Keep in mind that many people were killed and burned during Ramsay's slaughter, and conveniently we know that dragons feed on cooked/burned meet. The idea would be that this dragon gorged himself on some of the corpses until it it grew large enough to take wing and fly away. Considering that the North is as scarcely populated as it is it might have gone unnoticed to this day. And who knows - perhaps dragon feasting on human flesh grow a lot quicker and larger than dragons feasting on other other animal meat? The 'dragon at Winterfell' theory goes a long way back, and my eyebrows really went up when I read that about Vermax's eggs. There never was any reason to assume that a dragon egg actually was at Winterfell (aside from the far-fetched idea that one of the five dragons Jaehaerys I took with him to Winterfell left an egg there for some unknown reason) but George really fanned those flames with the whole Jace-Vermax story there. Of the missing dragons I think there is a not-so-bad chance that the Cannibal will show up in the main series eventually. George has introduced this huge black dragon who feeds on dragons yet he made no impact during the Dance or at a different point in history. That is very strange. You don't have to be very smart to realize that the Cannibal would have been an ideal and very nasty opponent to Dany's growing dragons if there ever was a second Dance of the Dance (which is supposed to come in the near future). And what is supposed to have happened to that dragon? He disappeared at the end of the Dance. Where did he go? If he had been claimed by someone, historians would know because that person would have sure as hell tried to take the Iron Throne. If he had been killed by dragonslayer, that person - or the persons knowing about his attempt - would have bragged about it. There is a small chance that the Cannibal's lair in the Dragonmount collapsed and crushed him, but that's a very remote possibility. Grey Ghost's lair was unknown on Dragonstone, but the lairs of both Sheepstealer and the Cannibal were known, and therefore people would eventually have figured out what had happened. Just as his carcass would have been found if he had died of old age or something like that. My guess is that he might still be on Dragonstone, in hibernation or suspended animation or something like that, eventually be woken up by something (or someone). The problem with the Green Men during the Dance is that they did not seem to do anything to prevent the bloodshed - a bloodshed that nearly extinguished the dragons as well as the Targaryen bloodline. I really can't see Addam Velaryon speaking to living legends (the Green Men) and then just continuing with the Dance and dying at Tumbleton.
ML, you are raising a non-issue here. It doesn't matter whether Ned told Robert that Wylla was Jon's mother verbatim, or whether he merely tricked him into believing that without actually saying. The result is the same: Robert Baratheon believes that Eddard Stark told him the name of the mother of his bastard son. It will do Ned no good at all to claim that he did not do so or try to wiggle his way out of this whole deception by gleefully pointing out that he never actually lied to Robert. Robert is the king. If he remembers it a certain way, your memory or opinion on the matter doesn't count at all. Therefore the whole approach on this whole thing is faulty. Ned is not somehow in a better position if he didn't lie directly to Robert on this whole issue - especially in light of the fact that he did lie to him about an awful lot of other things, most notably the whole 'this boy is my bastard' thing.
Well, if the Green Men are up to something, they obviously aren't doing whatever they do out in the open. Considering that they seem to stay on their isle, effectively doing nothing. For instance, a Green Man showing up at Robert's court prior to his death could have made a difference in regards whether those creatures from fairy-tales aren't real. If such a guy had warned people about the Others things might have been different - even more if such a Green Man had showed up at Winterfell before Ned decided to go south. If we go with the assumption that the Green Men are enemies of the Others - which I'd do - and if they are sort of preparing things for the new big war with them, then not trying to prevent that the Targaryens killed most of their dragons during the Dance doesn't make much sense to me. Twenty dragons (possibly even thirty or forty by the time of the series) would sure as hell being a huge asset in the war against the Others. Perhaps they are sort of preparing a trap for the Others, tricking them into attacking by making it appear they could win because the dragons are all dead and stuff. But that would be a really subtle and convoluted plan. Saving dragon eggs for later would be a risky move in any case considering that a hatchling or young dragon certainly wouldn't be much of a match for the Others. The size Drogon is now I'd not wager in his favor if he is confronting the Others full force. I'm also not so sure the Green Men or the Children would be particularly interest in human royalty or nobility. They might be interested in certain bloodlines due to their magical potential but whether those people are born on the right or the wrong side of the blanket wouldn't matter to them at all.
Avalatis, I'd prefer it very much if nobody ever mentions the show ever again in this thread because I've no intention to watch the next season unless I've read TWoW first. And no, I did not see the new show poster yet, and I don't plan to do so. You can stay away from this kind of stuff if you are an iron-willed eunuch with a decade-spanning plan for world domination like I am ;-). UL, I really thing the whole thing hinges on 'irrelevancy' insofar as Ned not wanting to lie directly to Robert. Robert will believe - as anyone else will who is fed an indirect lie - that the person he talked to actually told him the stuff he thinks he told him. Ned being smug on Robert, saying 'It is not my fault that you moron did not realize that we were talking about two different women there' if Robert had found out the truth about Jon Snow. That would not, well, deescalate the situation all that well. It is quite clear that Ned wants Robert to believe that this Wylla woman was Jon Snow's mother since he reinforces that thought again in AGoT. While Robert may have forgotten or confused things over the years Ned most certainly would still know perfectly well about what they were talking, and could therefore have corrected Robert's mistake that Wylla/the woman they once talked about wasn't the mother but merely the wetnurse. Instead the conversation ends with Robert still believing Wylla was the mother of Jon Snow, and Ned actually repeated that name to him then and there rather than giving him another to confuse him some more. And it is of course a necessary condition that the Wylla woman can be Jon Snow's mother in whatever story/scenario (birth date, conception date. etc.) Ned has set up for his alternative series of events. Assuming Wylla could not have possibly been with Ned at the time of the alleged conception and/or her being a sort of prominent person whose movements would be known makes it very unlikely that Ned would ever have mentioned her name to anyone let allowed other people to reach the conclusion that she was Jon's mother - especially not is she knew (first hand or second hand) the truth about Jon Snow as well as Rhaegar and Lyanna). That way she wouldn't have been part of a cover story but rather a loose end to be tied via and unfortunate accident. If people had believed the mother of Ned Stark's bastard was a woman who could not possibly have been that mother then Ned could just as well tell everybody the truth. In that sense I'd say that the fact that Ned ever mentions her name at all is a sign that he feel reasonably confident about doing so and has no trouble dragging her into all that. I'll not go into to much speculation about who Wylla was, but considering that she seems to be trusted by Ned Stark I'd not be surprised if it turned out that she is a woman with a connection to him rather than Lyanna-Rhaegar or the Daynes. But then, he could only have decided to trust her after he met her. The question why the hell the Daynes would trust Ned and vice versa or why the hell Edric's parents seemingly named him after Eddard Stark and/or allowed that he is called by the nickname 'Ned' is still unanswered. One would think that if a guy was directly responsible/involved in the death of two of your beloved family members (Arthur and Ashara) you would not exactly be on all that good terms with those families. Hell, we don't even know what Edric wanted to talk to Ned about. He never met him, and he obviously doesn't know the truth about Jon, yet there is apparently another, less problematic connection between the Daynes and Ned Stark. Could be stuff about Ashara, but then Edric never met her, either, so this is really strange.
I don't think Aegon III and his sisters would even have known about those dragons around the time Cregan came south in 131 AC since nobody would have informed them on what had transpired at Winterfell with Jace in detail. Mushroom is only writing (or rather: dictating) his Testimony decades later, after his own retirement as court jester. But it is evident that Mushroom is still in service of the Targaryens when Aegon III comes of age in 136 AC. In that sense it is very unlikely that Aegon III and Viserys even knew about those dragon eggs in Winterfell - and without the Starks having Targaryen blood they wouldn't have had a reason to even care if they had known. Cregan Stark apparently reaped a lot of rewards for his support of Rhaenyra and Aegon III, most likely other favors the Iron Throne could grant besides a Targaryen bride, for instance gold, coin, tax exceptions on certain goods, more independence from the oversight of the Crown officials, etc. As to the Green Men: I just don't see a good reason why Addam Velaryon should hang out with them. But I've a rather elaborate theory about Prince Daemon joining them if he survived the Battle Above the Gods Eye. The man chose the site for his fight with Aemond (Harrenhal), he lured Vhagar above the lake, and he clearly knew that he was intending to jump on Vhagar's back to deal with Aemond personally. Considering that it doesn't seem likely he joined Nettles up in the Mountains of the Moon (no reports about the fire witch and her dragon residing there with some old guy) I'm much more inclined to believe that he washed up on the Isle of Faces/deliberately swan there if he survived the fall into the lake. Considering that the Green Men either are immortal or at least have a very long lifespan (considering that there are no reports of them ever leaving the island to recruit new people). If that's the case then Prince Daemon could actually pop up in the main series as a Green Man - which wouldn't be as cheesy as it sounds on second glance considering that George has already sort of confirmed that the Isle of Faces and the Green Men will come to the fore/show up at one point - and why not have the character introducing them a (sort of) familiar face rather than some new and unknown sorcerer dude. He pretty much did the same thing with the three-eyed crow and Bloodraven. If Addam Velaryon really visited the island - and I guess all people might have as evidence for that would be him and Seasmoke hanging out in the neighborhood, being seen circling the Gods Eye or even landing on the isle - this could very well be connected to Prince Daemon's survival. But then the knowledge about that might very well have died with him at Tumbleton.
Cutting things to the chase Corbon's case is not entirely based on the text. It is based on the text in combination with certain assumptions and speculations. The text does not give us Ned's original conversation(s) with Robert about Jon Snow's mother, nor does the conversation in AGoT only allows Corbon's interpretation that Ned only led Robert to believe that Wylla/the wetnurse was Jon's mother. In fact, there is not even textual evidence that they ever talked about Jon Snow's wetnurse or that Robert even believes the woman he thinks is Jon Snow's mother - a woman that supposedly is known under the name 'Wylla', as Ned repeatedly told Robert - ever was the boy's wetnurse. We don't even have textual evidence that Wylla ever was Jon Snow's wetnurse. Edric Dayne's story merely identifies Wylla as Jon Snow's mother and Edric Dayne's wetnurse, making them milkbrothers. All we can reasonably say is that Edric Dayne believes that Wylla breastfed Jon Snow at least once (else his belief that he was Jon's milkbrother would be false). In light of the fact that there is also no textual evidence that Wylla was ever in Winterfell or at KL I really don't see any reason to buy into all that speculation. The argument that Ned behaves does X at that particular time and in that similar situation doesn't also not necessitate that he would have done X in another comparable situation. Just because I usually don't like to talk about sexual fantasies doesn't mean I never talk about them (i.e. Ned certainly could have wanted to talk to Robert about Jon Snow's mother/been more open to Robert's question during those earlier conversation(s)). Who Wylla was, where she went, what she did, and what Ned's plans were to obscure Jon Snow's parentage is a completely different topic. That is the field of speculation and informed guesses. In that field my basic premise is that I find it unconvincing to assume that Ned would spin a web of lies (he really thinks about lies in the whole context of whatever it is he lied about) without actually doing everything in his power to ensure that those lies would actually serve their purpose (i.e. protecting Lyanna's child). Just acknowledging a motherless child as his bastard son is, at best, half of the story. And merely hoping that Robert, Tywin, and Jaime (it really seems as if the Aegon atrocity is what motivated Ned into hide Jon's true identity) wouldn't figure out the truth would only be half of the story and completely stupid on his part. The lies part of this whole thing is actually the interesting thing since stating that Jon Snow is his bastard would just constitute one lie. Not to mention that this is a lie he doesn't repeat all that often, regularly phrasing it in a way where he doesn't actually say that Jon is a bastard or his son. If we go with assuming Ned only omitted the problematic parts of what happened at the tower ('Lyanna died of a fever' omitting what caused it) or at Starfall rather than telling actual lies it is rather difficult to guess at what those lies might have been. Therefore I assert that Ned had a more detailed cover story in place which he was prepared to talk about should it be necessary. Whether he actually talked about it in detail I do not know, but I certainly consider it very likely. Giving away Wylla's name - which he does in AGoT rather than inventing some name - would be one crucial detail of that cover story. People at Starfall complicit in the whole charade might have been told detailed aspects neither they nor Ned ever talked about. Edric Dayne certainly knew stuff Ned Stark would not have wanted him to know if there was no cover story in place. Think what might have happened if Ned had realized that Edric Dayne was Beric Dondarrion's squire and had come with him to KL. Conveniently Edric was too shy to talk to Ned in AGoT - if he had done, Ned's POV chapters certainly would have reflected that in a most interesting manner. And somehow I'm pretty sure Beric would never have been sent to arrest the Mountain.
1. We don't know. I think it may be possible, especially if it should turn out that George thinks Jon Snow - or any other Targaryen-blooded person in the North (Stannis, Shireen) - needs a dragon much sooner than Dany and her gang can realistically reach Westeros and the Wall. If Vermax laid any eggs then Jace may have decided to interpret this whole thing as a divine sign that Cregan would indeed marry a Targaryen girl, leaving the eggs there so that one day their children might become dragonriders, too. 2. The Pact of Ice and Fire is nothing but a fancy name for the pact between House Stark and the Blacks brokered by Jacaerys Velaryon and Cregan Stark. Its purpose was that the Starks fight for Rhaenyra during the Dance of the Dragons (which they eventually did). 3. Because he either chose to spurn his Targaryen bride in favor of Alysanne Blackwood with whom he fell in love with after they met or because events played out in a way that his Targaryen bride (possibly Rhaena Targaryen) was already married or betrothed to Corwyn Corbray). The Starks were not exactly racing to the aid of Rhaenyra, and she may have decided to make other plans for her stepdaughters in the wake of Jace's death. I'd favor the former idea considering that Cregan could have claimed his Targaryen bride during his short term as Hand. He seems to have ruled supreme in KL during that short time. And at least Baela Targaryen most likely wasn't yet married at this time. 4. If he truly did such a thing, I've no idea why. If it had anything to do with the grand scale of things it obviously led to nothing important since Addam died shortly thereafter during the Second Battle of Tumbleton - a battle he most likely wouldn't have fought in if he had more pressing matters to think about (like saving the world).
Well, we don't know how big a role Cole played behind the scenes to keep Otto Hightower and Alicent focused on the 'Aegon II plan' during the last decade or so of Viserys' reign. It could turn out that his hatred of Rhaenyra and her family played an equal or an even bigger part in the whole game than Hightower ambition. We should not forget that Cole sat on the Small Council for decades, and was most certainly supporting Alicent's pleas that Viserys I recall Ser Otto as Hand in the wake of Lord Lyonel's death. Rhaenyra being the object of courtly love in a non-sexual way makes little sense for Cole in light of the fact that he met her as a young girl, and that she is described as precocious at the age of seven already. You would have to be really a weird kind of man to be not very physically drawn to one of the most beautiful and powerful young women of the whole Realm. Not to mention that Cole himself is described as very handsome, too, the most adored man at court by all the ladies at court (Rhaenyra included). The idea that he didn't have his share of affairs prior to joining the KG as well as thereafter doesn't make any sense to me. This is the party-and-feast court of Viserys I we are talking about. There would have been great parties and tourneys every turn of the mood, and the best knight of the Realm would always have been in the midst of it all. The idea that any sane man (i.e. in this context any man whose mind is not poisoned by specific anti-sex and anti-woman ideas) would actually came to hate a woman who actually admitted to him that she was physically attracted to him and wanted to have an affair with him doesn't make any sense to me. Cole wasn't raised as a member of the Society of St. Pius X nor did he grow up to be priest or a monk strictly focused on the divine image of the Virgin Mother Mary. He wasn't even a septon - and even those don't share the really weird view of femininity that is prone in die-hard Christianity (the Faith actually includes the female aspects into the seven aspects of god unlike Christianity where the deity is exclusively male, and the only ideal woman - Mary - is a mother while remaining a maiden, a concept that doesn't make any sense at all). It makes sense that Cole was too proud to be nothing more than Rhaenyra's official paramour and the father of her children (which Ser Harwin seems to have become). He would have interpreted that as her not loving him enough to run away with him to marry him in exile. But anyone who actually condemns another person for actually being in love with you and wanting some sort of physical relationship is very twisted in my opinion. And we really have no reason to believe that Cole had such a personality. Besides from Mushroom's one claim about him being as chaste as an old septa - which is a very strange phrase of words anyway. I don't think Mushroom believed that septas were particularly chaste...