Lord Varys

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  1. Since amazon.com also says this is a thing what do you want it to be? Surely a new Dunk & Egg story would be great but it is much more likely we'll get another (abridged) version of Gyldayn's history (although I must say I really, really want to read a new Dunk & Egg story). If so, would you prefer the full version of 'The Sons of the Dragon' covering the reigns of both Aenys I and Maegor the Cruel or the end of the Dance (restoration and fall of Aegon II and rise of Aegon III) as well as the account on the Regency of Aegon III? The overall theme of the anthology could allow for both. The Faith Militant Uprising and Maegor's wars as well as the end and aftermath of the Dance seem to have been pretty bloody.
  2. Atlas of Ice and Fire

    I don't buy the idea yet that Aerion killed Haegon or that the Torwyn business took place during the Fourth Rebellion. The Third seems to be a major war, and if there was naval warfare involved and multiple battles to be fought it might make sense to assume that Bittersteel tried to get the Greyjoys on board. I don't think Dagon is long for this world in 211 AC. Somebody is going to put him down pretty soon, easily enough allowing Torwyn to be in charge in 219 AC. I also don't think House Yronwood stood with Daemon III. It seems more likely that some second sons of that house joined the Golden Company with a token force. Oh, that certainly makes sense considering that the battlefield involves a bridge and thus a river, the Wendwater. If Aegon V controlled the terrain and used it to his advantage he could easily have lured the enemy in a pretty big trap. Say, by destroying said bridge while the enemy was trying to cross it in large numbers, or by attacking the enemy from behind and driving them into the river. Egg is likely going to grow into a very competent battle commander. I don't think so. The plan seems to have been to land there, raise the banners, and draw Blackfyre loyalists to join their campaign, and then to march against KL, presumably. They waited some time and pretty much nobody came, while Aegon V called his banners. But still, the Golden Company would have been there, possibly with 10,000 professional soldiers, or even more. That is a force not easily dismissed, especially not after a six-year-winter which took quite a few lives in Westeros. We don't know how large Aegon V host was but he may have been forced to draw on quite a few regions (think of the contingent from the Westerlands) to assemble a large host.
  3. George's story in Book of Swords

    There is a lot of stuff we would all like to read. There is a reasonably good chance that the Dunk & Egg story at Winterfell will show us new aspects about the Starks. This would be a time when Winterfell was literally teeming with direwolves (especially all those she-wolves) and it would be quite interesting to see how mean, ambitious, and cruel they could be, unlike the mostly intact family Ned and Catelyn had.
  4. Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

    Some will, others will not. Some already did not. The idea is that Jon seeing Jaime as kingly was a hint to the original plan (as per the original outline) that Evil Jaime would be king. There are also hints that Joffrey and Robb would clash again later in life (the entire exchange in the practice yard is foreshadowing this). And then there are the hints that Tyrion will be king one day. Only very few people ever cite those. But 'Tyrion Lannister standing as tall as a king' is a very important scene. You are not really suggesting George is stealing from Star Wars, right? Luke Skywalker never became a king, anyway. Nor was he anybody's heir. Nope, if there is an Aragorn character in ASoIaF (which I actually doubt because Aragorn isn't much of a character) then it is Daenerys, not Jon. Jon is a nobody, and Aragorn is a powerful warrior and hero who essentially gives away his identity during his first meeting with the Hobbits (when he shows them the shards of Narsil). Just as Aragorn Dany is originally without an army, crown, or powerful weapons, but she knows who she is and what that means. The same is true for Aragorn. Neither of them has to prove their worth or their identity to anyone. The truth is in their blood, in their faces, and in their props (special swords; dragons). But it greatly reduces the probability that the 'Rhaegar's son' ploy is going to convince many people. If you don't see this you are blind. It has already been done in the books once already, when Littlefinger's men spreading the tale about Selyse beat Davos at some places. If the well is poisoned nobody will drink from it. And Aegon sure as hell is going to poison the 'There is a hidden son of Prince Rhaegar out there' well. That is why you most likely don't like the Aegon plot all that much, no? Because you know where this is, most likely, going to lead. That isn't the point. The point is that nobody thought that Hugh and Ulf (the former was actually a bastard, too) were hidden Targaryen princes just because they claimed some Targaryen dragons. People don't have to know about these historical figures to not do homage to Jon just because some people spread fancy tales about him and he ends up claiming a dragon (which I think he will). But there are so many strong hints that it will be Dany who leads an army against the Others. Back in AGoT where you say are so many hints foreshadowing the future. She has a dream fighting against men in ice armor at the Trident, equating herself with Rhaegar. That may be one of the most crucial prophetic dreams in the entire series. Jon Snow never has such prophetic dreams. Nor is he surrounded by and the obvious object of prophecy. Dany has already fulfilled all the prophecy surrounding the promised prince. She was born (and reborn) amidst smoke and salt (on Dragonstone and in the pyre), she woke dragons from stone (drawing them from the fire as Azor Ahai did with Lightbringer). She sacrificed three people she loved (Viserys, Rhaego, Drogo) for three ultimate lightbringing weapons. It can't be much clearer than that. I'd sing the Jon Snow song all day long if Jon had had a House of the Undying experience. If he had hatched a dragon egg. If he were constantly visited by some masked sorceress in his dreams. I'm not saying he is unimportant. I think he is one of the three dragon heads and I think there is actually no promised prince(ss) but three. There is not one savior and some companions, but three. And it is not going to work if they are not working together. Marwyn has warned the gang about prophecies. The huge mistake is going to be to look just for one savior (as the red priests were doing). You have to search for three. I don't think they are good enough to justify this narrative or the 'great superhero Jon'. It is actually nowhere prophesied that the reborn Azor Ahai (which is the promised prince character) is supposed to have a literal Lightbringer. The mythical hero has such a sword in the stories, and that's why Melisandre thought her Azor Ahai should have such a sword, too. But Benerro and Moqorro's reborn Azor Ahai (Daenerys) doesn't have a burning sword, nor does anything we know about the prophecy of the promised prince indicate that he is supposed to have magical sword. I'm very much of the opinion that Targaryen blood and Valyrian steel weapons will become important in the war against the Others. The short version is that Targaryen blood imbued with fire magic - through, say, a resurrection spell done with fire magic - is going to be able to literally ignite Valyrian steel weapons in the same way Beric Dondarrion could ignite common steel using his blood. I think Beric came back from the dead because he had a drop of dragonlord blood, and with Jon having much more Targaryen blood he might come back in a much better shape. But that doesn't mean that Jon is going to make himself some super special sword and naming it Lightbringer. That is just ridiculous. The Others won't be stopped because somebody waves a burning sword in their direction. But we can say that a person like Jon is more likely to die in a physical combat or a battle than Daenerys (who simply is no warrior). Dany can be assassinated, poisoned, fall off her dragon, go down with some ship, die by accident, etc. and in Jon's case we can add to all those possible ways of death also death in battle or single combat,. That is just a fact. The other aspect is that Jon might also be willing to sacrifice himself for/to save mankind. If there is a heroic kind of character willing to do that it is him - even more so, if his resurrection changes him considerably. And this is not the kind of Hollywood movie where the hero would survive such a sacrifice. Unless the dragons are all dying before the war against the Others we can reasonably sure they will play a role during that war. The original outline already essentially confirmed that. It would be very odd from a storytelling point of view if those growing dragons played no role in that war. I'm not saying they will decide it. I'm not even sure I think a huge battle is going to decide the war against the Others. But the dragons will play some part. Bran obviously landed on his feet/legs and back, resulting in him becoming a cripple. He should have been dead had he fallen on his head. Again, I never said Jon would be zombiefied in any real sense. It is just that I find every character who comes back from the dead qualifies as a weirdo undead creature. He can smell good all day long there would be still something fishy about such a character. If George had gone down the 'very bad injury' road he could easily enough have given us a version of the Victarion or Drogo story (a wound gone bad) or even something more conventional (him getting infected with a mortal illness). He could even have somebody poison him. Instead we get a pretty good ripoff of Caesar's assassination, with Bowen Marsh featuring as Brutus. While I agree that Jon may not have been dead when he closed his eyes in ADwD he was dying, and everything indicates that Marsh and his buddies had enough time to finish their work. I does? Where the dragons dance, people die? It is stretch that this means hundreds of thousands or even millions of people (and we would have to talk about such numbers to refer to significant portions of the population). I agree that there will be war but it is also effectively already confirmed that Daenerys will conquer Westeros. That was supposed to be the topic of the second book, A Dance with Dragons, in the original outline. So we can safely say that she will lead Westeros against the Others after her conquest of the continent, not somebody else. That she will survive this conquest of hers is also already confirmed because we know she will live until the very end of the series, alongside Jon, Tyrion, Bran, and Arya. Even if Dorne, the Reach, the Westerlands, the Crownlands, and the Stormlands lost two thirds of their population Dany is still likely to come with millions (or at least hundreds of thousands) of Dothraki to Westeros. The people of Westeros can die, it won't affect her power base all that much (even less so if she is also taking her freedmen, sellswords, reformed Ghiscari, etc. with her). The idea that Aegon, Euron, Cersei, Stannis, whoever else is going to play at war before Dany even comes to Westeros won't also continue to deplete the strength of the Riverlands, North, and Vale (not to mention the Vale and the Riverlands actually joining one of the new pretenders, most likely Aegon) also doesn't hold much water. The story has to continue, after all. Dany is not going to come to Westeros soon. And the Second Dance of the Dragons might also involve all of Westeros, just as the first one did. As for the North - they have to deal with Stannis, the Boltons and Freys, the Weeper's army, and the Others. They won't have the time to gather enough strength to even think of threatening anybody south of the Neck. Can you base that on anything besides your feelings? No, I say that his role and identity as a Targaryen prince is dependent on him being adopted into the Targaryen family by a Targaryen (either Dany or Aegon, I'm not insisting on Dany there - although I find her more likely). That would be necessary for him to be able to play the Targaryen card in the political arena. Jon certainly can become a hero independent of Dany (he already is) and people can even look to him as some sort of a great military leader and war hero, etc. But those are likely going to be only very few people - people who won't sway an entire continent to see anything more in him than some Stark bastard who did a good job at dealing with (imagined) demons. But, yeah, Dany really is central to the story. Jon, too, but Dany really looms a feet taller than anybody else insofar as 'prophetic importance' is concerned. I'm not making it so, I'm just seeing that. I believe this story doesn't have a clear-cut hero. It has an ensemble of heroes. The three core heroes who are the topic of prophecy are Dany, Jon, and Tyrion, but there are many more crucial heroic people like Bran, Brienne, Davos, possibly Jaime, Samwell, Sansa, etc. I don't think one should play Dany against Jon or vice versa. There is a reason that he is male and she is female. They will hook up. They are not enemies. And I think you know that there is a reason why the Targaryen incest marriage custom has been introduced to this series. One can wildly speculate how Jon is going to rule Daenerys as the manly man that he is, etc. but the thing is that Daenerys really is the head of House Targaryen, plain and simple. Aegon could challenge that claim because people will want to believe that he is Rhaegar's son - a son they knew actually existed (unlike Jon Snow, who would be a prince out of thin air, basically). But once he is dealt with she will decide who is a Targaryen and who isn't. And both Jon and Tyrion should (more or less) gladly accept her lead if that leads to them getting what they want in return (which in Jon's case is most likely going to be her assistance in the fight against the Others and a lot of good sex).
  5. Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

    Well, Jon is the only character in this series whose best friend is guy named Sam. Just saying. However, I never said that Jon and Frodo are basically the same characters. Just that Jon just has the ungrateful job of dealing with the others while other characters gain fame and glory in the real world. You will get such textual evidence in 'The Sons of the Dragon'. At least for Alys and Maegor. In Westeros the Faith defines what a marriage in the eyes of the Faith is. The Faith conducts marriages amongst the Andals, and the Targaryens do, too, since both Aenys and Maegor married Alyssa and Ceryse in septs. Your personal opinion about your polygamous marriage (or your own esoteric definition of a marriage) is irrelevant if the High Septon of the Faith does not recognize your marriage as a marriage. And while the Targaryens later disarmed the Faith there is no indication that the Faith ever changed its concept of marriage, including polygamy. A marriage is still between one man and one woman during the reigns of Robert and Joffrey. Now, nobody doubts that somebody could try to get away away with polygamy - what we doubt is that they would get away with it if they tried. The arguments from your side of the discussion sound pretty much ridiculous because you actually want us to take your view that people would have to share Rhaegar's mad view on marriage no matter what just because there were some obscure Targaryen precedents (and First Men kings precedents in the even more distant past) some centuries ago. If you ask yourself honestly about this you will realize that this is the same as if we would be marrying each other together, in addition to spouses we already have (I have none, but ignore that for a moment) citing some bible characters or medieval bigamists as 'precedents'. We could take that guy, for instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_I,_Landgrave_of_Hesse That isn't all that fanciful. My take on the whole Rhaegar-Lyanna thing is that it is a crucial mystery and one of the central events in the past that shaped the events that are, in turn, shaping the story. Now, George's usual method to unravel such mysteries is to constantly add more and more layers so that we get an ever more complete picture of what actually transpired. We basically get a new layer each book. That is not just the case with Rhaegar-Lyanna but also, say, Brandon Stark, Joanna Lannister (and Aerys), Jaime's checkered past, prophecy stuff, etc. A crucial problem I see the 'orthodox view' on the Rhaegar-Lyanna thing (as you can read in the posts of Ygrain or MtnLion) is that they fell prey to theories they developed without taking the big picture into acoount. Many of the theories . There is basically a consensus that Jon Snow is Rhaegar's son by Lyanna. Only fools (or people who want to have fun) doubt that. However, we have to admit that we don't have all the pieces of the puzzle as of yet. The way I try to build theories is not only to take all the information we have on a subject but also including the possibilities of new revelations into the whole thing. I ask myself where we still lack knowledge, where the blank spots in a theory are. Now, that doesn't work everywhere. Many people (myself included) saw Aegon coming, but not that he would invade Westeros without Dany and the dragons. I also did not see Jon's assassination coming, or the revelation that Barristan had the hots for Ashara, that she had a stillborn daughter (either by Ned or Brandon). I also have no idea what information exactly we are missing in the whole Rhaegar-Lyanna mystery. But I can point at the blank spots. 1. The whole prophecy angle. A long time people only looked at Aemon and Rhaegar for that but since ADwD and TWoIaF it is quite clear that Jaehaerys II, Aerys II, Rhaella, Rhaegar, and Viserys were all part of that thing, not just Aemon and Rhaegar. The Ghost of High Heart made the prophecy that prompted Jaehaerys to marry Aerys to Rhaella, meaning that their life was ruled even more by prophecy than Rhaegar's. Why is it that they tried to have more children as desperately as they did? Who was it who showed little Rhaegar the prophecy that apparently declared that he was this promised prince guy? Who was the first one to declared that Rhaegar was the promised prince because of the smoke of Harrenhal and the salt of the tears of survivors? Those are all very important questions whose answers most likely play a very crucial roles during the reign of Aerys II right up to Harrenhal. 2. Then there is, of course, Rhaegar's change of heart about himself, the comet, the birth of Aegon, his new belief about Aegon being the promised prince, Harrenhal, the political situation at court and the false (and correct) assumptions various factions were making etc. There are still a lot of blank spaces there, too. 3. The really important points are connected to Harrenhal and its aftermath. Since we don't know any details about Rhaegar and Lyanna at Harrenhal as well as about the aftermath, the eventual abduction, its aftermath, and the trials against the Starks my take on that is that you have to keep an open mind how details involving all those blank spots might look like. 4. The other important points are the aftermath of the whole thing. Why does Ned have to hide Jon the way he does? Would Robert really kill Ned's bastard nephew (and Lyanna's son)? Why can't he share the truth with Cat and Jon himself? That leads me to the assumption that the outbreak of the Rebellion wasn't just caused by the events we already know about - the abduction and the execution of the Starks and Aerys' command to Jon Arryn - but that the abduction was more than a simple abduction. Rhaegar might actually have taken Lyanna to marry her, following in the footsteps of Prince Duncan and his own grandparents, ignoring the fallout that would follow. What did follow was Aerys II denouncing Rhaegar as a traitor, calling for his head (which then resulted in Rhaegar and Lyanna's disappearance - for which we have as of yet no explanation whatsoever). Brandon and Rickard completely misjudged the situation, unwilling to believe that Aerys would think they were accomplices of Rhaegar (as Aerys also believed at Harrenhal) when they were going to KL to demand satisfaction from Rhaegar. Perhaps the abduction itself was also enough for Aerys to kill the Starks as traitors but I'm not sure about that. There is also no good reason to believe that a man like Rhaegar - if he intended to take Lyanna as a second wife - would not marry her publicly. A secret wedding somewhere in the wild would just complicate things. After all, what would he do if the world (the court and Faith) would simply choose not to believe his claim that he and Lyanna were married and that all witnesses Rhaegar may cite were people he bribed? It cannot have been enough for Rhaegar and Lyanna to be married in their hearts if the way they accomplished this would still make Lyanna publicly a whore. So my idea is that they went from Harrenhal to Maidenpool and had a wedding there. Afterwards they had to run away and hide, possibly even by ship, because Aerys was calling for their heads. He would only change his mind on that after he realized (around the time he exiled Merryweather) that he had been wrong the entire time, and that Rhaegar and the rebels were not in cahoots. In fact, it might even be that his fear of a Rhaegar-led rebellion was what triggered his command to kill Ned and Robert. Going after Ned is sort of understandable (he had just killed his father and brother) but targeting Robert, too, makes little sense. The man was just Lyanna's betrothed, not her husband nor any blood relation of hers. But if Aerys - in his paranoia - actually thought Rhaegar and the Starks were in the midst of a conspiracy against him and Lyanna was only the glue these men used to seal their alliances - rather than a girl at least two men were madly obsessed with on a romantic and/or sexual level - then it actually makes sense to assume that he might have believed Rhaegar, Robert, and Ned (as well as Rickard, Brandon, and their companions) would all make common cause against him.
  6. George's story in Book of Swords

    That is true. And he also did not punish Maegor for the treatment of the rebels who took the Eyrie with Jonos (and then killed him to save their own necks). But I don't think that indicates any war-like nature in his character. It is rather a symptom of his general weakness that, while he would never command or do such things, he would also never punish people for doing such thing in his name if they were well-intentioned. I'm aware of that. But as I've said, I think that it is actually an inconsistency or an error. If George began his sidebar writing with the Conquest then he may already have had the First Dornish War in his mind when writing the account of the Conquest but not yet known how the situation between Dorne and the Iron Throne would continue during the reigns of Aenys, Maegor, Jaehaerys I, and Viserys I. That would have come later. And perhaps he realized that it would be too much to squeeze a real Dornish war into the reigns of Aegon's son. The first Vulture King conflict could easily qualify as some sort of Second Dornish War. But in general I think there is still a chance for George to add another Dornish War (although a much smaller and perhaps one that doesn't end the 'Eternal Peace') in 'Fire and Blood' set during the days of Maegor's Handship. Sure, that suggests some sort of conflict or war. But then, there is also the chance that this is some weirdo nickname like Prince Duncan naming Barristan 'the Bold' at the age of ten. Wasn't that 7,000 words? The entire thing having 17,000 words and TRP only be about 10,000? As of yet I'm just going with that being pirates. Bold pirates, perhaps, who had grown fat and powerful in the days before the Triarchy was formed. They may have intended to their domains to Tarth which is essentially so close to the Stepstones that it could easily enough be counted among them. The Vulture Kings could also have come later on in the history. Ran told me once that the Peake Uprising that killed Maekar was originally supposed to be another Vulture King episode. And perhaps those things are still somewhat connected - we have no idea what leads to the Peake rebellion.
  7. Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

    There are also videos of interviews where he discusses this question. For the record, I never wanted Jon to die. I find this a stupid plot development because I don't really like resurrections all that much. I like Catelyn returning since that made her vastly different (and also because I like revenge stories and horror stuff in general) but I don't like the idea that Jon is effectively dead only to come back hale and whole again. What would then be the point of his death? Why assassinate him at all if does not stay dead? We are in agreement that he will come back - he is a major character, and the whole second life of a skinchanger concept was introduced so that he could survive his own death - but there would be no plot reason for this if he just came back as the guy he was. He has to change. And since this is not some fairy-tale and George has recently made it clear that TWoW is going to be a very dark book, the darkest yet to come, I see no room for Jon Snow coming back 'harder and stronger'. After all, he is no follower of the Drowned God... Well, the story grew in the telling. Jaime also looked quite kingly in AGoT but he will never become king. Usually this hidden prince trope thing never has the hidden prince join some warrior-monk order or have him set up to face some sort of very powerful supernatural threat that might very well be too much for him to handle alone. If there is a Frodo-like character in this series it is Jon. He is the humble guy who takes on nearly impossible task. But Frodo was destroyed by his burden. He didn't die (because Tolkien was way too sentimental) but his life and happiness were destroyed. George is a little bit more radical than Tolkien in this regard. Well, my argument would be that Aegon definitely is (already) stealing whatever thunder Jon might have had he not joined the Night's Watch and right now revealed (with good evidence) who he was. People are only going to believe once that Rhaegar Targaryen's son was hidden somewhere, irregardless whether Aegon is real or fake (and even if he is fake it won't matter - not for the people who want to believe he is the real deal). Just as there is no way to prove that Jon is Rhaegar's son there is also no way to prove that Aegon is not Rhaegar's son. Especially not if he actually has Blackfyre blood and ends up mounting a dragon. Jon could also mount a dragon, sure, but Ulf, Hugh, and Nettles didn't suddenly become hidden Targaryen princes just because they became dragonriders, or did they? Ned Stark could have fathered Jon on some great-granddaughter of Aegon the Unworthy. A lot of unforeseen things happen in those books. Who would have foreseen that Joffrey would be killed by the Tyrells and Littlefinger when reading AGoT and ACoK? Who thought it would be the Freys and Boltons who would kill Robb? Who thought Robert would be killed by a boar and Viserys be crowned with molten gold? We all have reason to believe that there is a core group of character which will live until the final battle (not just the ones George mentioned in the original outline but also, I think, people like Sansa, Brienne, and Davos - and possibly even Asha, Arianne, and Jaime) but there are no good arguments allowing us to make an educated guess who might sit on the throne in the end or even survive the series. We can say some of the characters will survive but there surely will be major losses amongst the heroes, especially those who will shoulder the burden of the physical fight against the legions of the Others. I mean, Dany is likely to fly Drogon into battle, but Jon Snow is set up as an actual fighter. He will not just see his dragon (if he gets one) rain fire on the enemy but also lead his men into battle, personally. That gives him a much larger chance to actually die in such a battle. And George is repeatedly telling us that his characters die because they make mistakes. That's also the reason Jon was killed, by the way. I never said anything about mindless. I used the term 'undead' or 'zombie' colloquially to point out that Jon would be a creature who was revived (and possibly kept alive) by some form of magic. That is neither natural nor a state a person is likely to enjoy. Jon's body will most definitely be revealed to be dead meat in the next book. But he himself is only dead if you would also say that Varamyr is now dead. And he isn't. Not completely. He has begun his second life. That's what Jon is going to do, too. And if you live a second life then you aren't dead, right? Can you lay out how Jon commanding the forces of the living and the wiping out part is going to happen? Jon is stuck at the Wall. Nobody is going to buy any crazy stories about the Others or him being resurrected until it is too late. The North doesn't have the men to convince anyone of the threat of the Others nor is winter making it very likely that anybody would send any men up north. Only the Wall stands between the Others and Jon, and when it falls he will either die for good or retreat. Telling the guys down south then 'I tried to tell you...' is not going to make him their leader. I know that some people have heard about Jon Snow. He is the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. But people know a lot of names in this world. Oh, and by the way - Cersei planned to send assassins after him. That never happened. He wasn't exactly at the top of her list of priorities. Osney Kettleblack was supposed to take a contingent of men to the Wall after Margaery was dealt with. But as you know he is still stuck in the Great Sept of Baelor. I never said Jon has no chance to become king. He has. But not by his own merit or by virtue of his 'legitimate birth'. Jon Snow was a Stark bastard, the son of the Lord of Winterfell and brother to a self-styled King in the North. He was the chosen successor of Lord Commander Mormont, the youth he was grooming to one day succeed him. He was still somewhat young but it is no surprise that he became Lord Commander. Becoming king is a completely different thing, though. The men at the Watch either knew Jon, personally, or had heard of him (and what he had pulled off during the recent battles). And they knew what Mormont wanted for him. There is a longstanding tradition of Stark relatives holding high offices in the Watch. Sorry, that's not an argument. A story with magic and dragons does not have to follow a trivial and clich├ęd pattern. Perhaps Jon is also elected Pope by acclamation? Come on. There should be quite a few characters living to the very end of this series who could be better kings than Jon. A Great Council is called when the succession is unclear but we can be pretty clear that if the wars kill all the Targaryen descendants than whoever will be the most powerful guy left standing will take the throne by the right of 'I say so'. There is no reason to discuss this with anyone as if they were all best friends. They aren't, especially not after all those civil wars. I don't think anybody can steal Dany's thunder. She is riding the largest dragon in the world. And I'm pretty sure these two will hook up, anyway, so there is no potential for conflict there. That is how I see Jon could become king, after all (assuming I'm totally wrong about that resurrection transformation thing). He will enter Dany's circle, they will fight the Others together, and then they might even rule together. Somebody has to rebuild that world. However, if somebody has to die then Jon is the best candidate for that - because he already died once in ADwD, and may lose even more of his humanity along the way. Defeating the Others is not going to be easy. But perhaps his undead semen is going to quicken in Dany's womb. Who knows. Yeah, there is no great dissent there. I think the political plot of this story culminates in a Targaryen restoration of one sort or another. If Aegon is going to be taken from the board (in this or that fashion) then the center of that thing will be Daenerys, with Tyrion (as her half-brother) and Jon gather around her. They will be the three heads of the dragon leading the good guys against the Others (or 'the virtuous into battle', as Yandel said Hyrkoon the Hero did). Jon and Dany will hook and if Dany dies (which certainly is a possibility) then Jon could very well become king after her. In fact, they might all three become kings the same way Aegon and his sister-wives were a trinity of co-rulers. If both die then Tyrion could take over in their stead. But I honestly think the chances for Tyrion to die are much larger since the man has to pay for the murder of Shae and the way he treated Tysha. There are a lot of unresolved issues in his story. But still, the idea that we are getting a King Jon of the Smoking Wounds is still very odd to me. By the way, do those people resurrected by fire magic even die of natural causes? If not then Jon the Zombie could rule Westeros forever, not exactly a very promising idea... Never thought about that this way. Could very well be the case. I think it was always pretty evident that Dany and Jon will eventually hook up and be (sort of) happy, at least for a time. But if you consciously or unconsciously think a certain character is unworthy of your favorite then the reactions can be pretty mean. A lot of ideas are tossed around how Jon could become king without Dany's help or without ever being drawn into her circle. I don't think this makes any sense in light of the prophecies nor in light of threat the Others pose. The overwhelming theme of this story is that the people who should see the common enemy that is plotting to destroy them all are not seeing it. Unless a group of people are going to unite them in time they will all die. That's the overall plot.
  8. George's story in Book of Swords

    Aenys didn't punish people for leading men into battle in his name, but he never led men into battle himself, nor did he ever begin a war. He contemplated convening a Great Council (whatever that would have been at that time) during the rebellions at the beginning of his reign. This was a man who wanted to talk everything through, even things you could not possible talk about. And he twice rejected the idea of dragon-based warfare, not just when Visenya urged him to use them to save the kingdom she and Aegon had conquered, but also at Riverrun early in his reign when Lord Tully urged him to use Quicksilver against Harren the Red. It seems that Rhaenys' death in Dorne left Aenys deeply traumatized and afraid that anyone flying to war on a dragon might never return. Now, it might be possible that Maegor got Aenys' permission for some Dornish campaign. But if so, then this must have been a minor skirmish that doesn't deserve the name Second Dornish War or else we would have heard something about that. Also keep in mind that Aenys would have been rather occupied with the overseeing and planning of the Red Keep, a project that continued through his reign. It would be very odd if a major war took place while this was done. Even Maegor did not go to war while he was overseeing the changes he had introduced into the plans, and was overseeing the completion of the castle. And thereafter the Dragonpit was begun, a project Maegor may not have been so invested, personally, but which most likely also demanded his attention and oversight. It could be interesting if a Second Dornish War turned out to be some aggression begun on Dornish soil - perhaps by the Second Vulture King - which led to a rather long conflict in the Marches and the Red Mountains without ever having the Iron Throne or Sunspear officially declaring war on each other. And it might be that Robar Baratheon as Jaehaerys I's first Hand might have had different opinions than his king on the Dornish question, not to mention that Jaehaerys I's own sons, especially Prince Aemon about whom we know essentially nothing, might have had the ambition to complete the conquest somehow. We also have reason to believe that Princess Rhaenys was an seasoned dragonrider with battle experience. She may have been on Tarth with her father when he was killed, but that sounds like a rather minor skirmish (dragons might have been there but I doubt Aemon was while riding his dragon) whereas some conflict with Dorne could easily enough have been a major conflict. And with Aemon being married to his half-aunt Jocelyn Baratheon and Rhaenys having a Baratheon mother, uncle, and grandfather, it would make sense that they would champion the causes of the Stormlords if they had trouble with the Dornishmen. We'll have to wait and see.
  9. The purpose of this thread is to lay out realistic expectations about plot developments in The Winds of Winter. How far can we the story expect to go? Focus is supposed to be more on the amount of plot than can be covered than the direction you think the story should (or is) going to go. There are certain uncontroversial plot elements we can reasonably expect to be covered in The Winds of Winter (e.g. the aftermath of Jon's assassination, the outcome and aftermath of the two battles that were moved to next book, the continuation of Prince Aegon's campaign, the meeting of Jaime and Catelyn Stark, etc.). It makes sense to discuss those here, especially in relation to the number of pages and chapters George might need to cover all those events. As a book The Winds of Winter should be closer to A Storm of Swords than A Dance of Dragons because we are supposed to meet all POV characters again in that book, unlike A Dance with Dragons (which lacked both Sansa and Samwell; although we also have to keep in mind that A Storm of Swords was lacking Theon as a POV character). A Feast for Crows and A Dance of Dragons greatly expanded the number of POVs so it is quite clear that The Winds of Winter should contain, on average, fewer chapters of each POV character than ASoS did. The same should go for plot as well, with the possible exception of POV characters who spend time together and continue to remain together, essentially having the same story. Such characters could possibly include Theon and Asha Greyjoy, Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth, Tyrion Lannister, Victarion Greyjoy and Barristan Selmy, Jon Snow and Melisandre of Asshai, and Arianne Martell and Jon Connington. However, there is no guarantee that these people will remain together for the entirety of TWoW, making it possible that the story of those apparent united characters isn't going to advance as far as one would assume because they part ways again. Another chance is that certain POV characters die, making it possible to tell the continuing story solely through the chapters of the 'survivor'. In general, though, the fact that much more POV characters will be crammed into the about 1,500 manuscript pages we can reasonably expect The Winds of Winter to cover even less plot than A Storm of Swords did. We know that George usually needs a lot of pages to cover battles, and we already have gotten sample chapters building up to and/or covering parts of the two battles that will open the next book. The Battle at the Wall and its aftermath in ASoS covered a lot of pages, just as the Battle of the Blackwater did in ACoK. The Winds of Winter will open on two major battles, with another violent conflict potentially brewing at the Wall, the prospect of another struggle for power in King's Landing, and the continuation (and eventual escalation) of Aegon's and Euron's campaigns in the Stormlands/Crownlands and the Reach. How much space are the battles we can (reasonably) foresee to occur early on in the book to going to take in pages and chapters? How many chapters do you expect for the main characters (Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister), the secondary characters who were given a lot of chapters in the last two books (Brienne of Tarth, Jaime Lannister, Cersei Lannister), and what about the children who should feature prominently but usually don't, at least not in the last two books (Arya Stark, Brandon Stark, Sansa Stark). How far are those stories going to progress - thinking about the cases where we can reasonably predict what's going to happen? For instance, is Daenerys going to leave Essos for Westeros in the next book? Or is she even going to arrive in Westeros in the next book? Will the Wall still stand at the end of TWoW? I don't see the story progressing very far. I think Daenerys might unite the Dothraki under her rule and start/conduct a campaign to punish her enemies in Essos with the help of the Dothraki (Qarth, most importantly, but also the Ghiscari cities still standing after the coming battles in Slaver's Bay). I could see Aegon's story in TWoW ending with his taking of KL and his formal coronation and installation as King Aegon VI, possibly also with his wedding to Arianne. I've great difficulty seeing the fall of the Wall in the next book because there was no buildup in that direction in ADwD. Could be that Bran's chapters are going to deliver in that department in the next book - if that's the case then the Wall could at least be attacked in the end of book.
  10. Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

    It is about resurrection. George has made it clear repeatedly that he did not like how Gandalf came back. If Jon comes back - which is very likely - he will be changed. He will have to pay a price for cheating death. I expect his spirit will be trapped in Ghost's body for too long, having severe effects on his mental faculties and his character, making him much more feral and wolfish (feeding on raw meat, no longer sleeping in a bed, enjoying to kill, pick one or all of those) than he was before, ending his stint as this hero character he was up to this point. He might still fight the good fight (i.e. against the Others) but he might become much more like Ramsay on that road than he is now. You don't shrug off being killed. Not in this world. Nor are you coming back wiser or more powerful. If anything, you come back reduced, broken, and twisted. Perhaps Jon will eventually put himself back together, recovering the person he was before his death, but if that's the case it is going to take time. And while I can see Jon still fighting the good fight in a sense I really don't see some zombie hero ever becoming a king. Pretty much everybody is seeing this, too. Which is why many people who really want Jon to be the great and ultimate hero who gets the crown in the end are so dead-set against the idea that he was actually killed. Because they, too, feel that the idea of some zombie king would be a little bit too much. Magic is supposed to make Jon hale and whole again, best before his body is going to die, no strings attached. But that's not going happen in this world. That would be like it is with Gandalf and Jesus.
  11. Tell Me About A Great Biography You've Read.

    Richard Ellmann's biography of Oscar Wilde springs to mind. I also enjoyed S.T. Joshi's biography of H.P. Lovecraft. But you have to like Lovecraft to read that. Robin Lane Fox's take on Alexander the Great (the inspiration for Stone's movie) is also pretty good although I've not gotten through that one yet. This biography of Emperor Caligula is also a very good read, showing the man behind the monster (or rather the shrewd politician behind the madman).
  12. Atlas of Ice and Fire

    I'm pretty sure Bittersteel was not stupid enough to land in some backwater vale, forcing him to march his army across some rather large mountains. However, we really have to ask ourselves what they were thinking when they were landing there of all places.
  13. Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

    Let's just cut thing down again and discuss the legal points that are often brought up in such discussion. There is George's long SSM on succession laws which essentially already laid out what TWoIaF then added a lot of details, namely that such customs and laws were deliberately (left) vague so that the kings and lords could twist them to suit their own goals and ends when a contested situation arose. A law tradition that is ruled by precedent does never make clauses that have a solution for every possible scenario that comes up. Instead, you take a historical event, and declare that it is a precedent that is relevant in your specific situation. In this polygamy question we have a lot of obstacles to overcome. 1. Who has any interest to risk his honor and standing in an attempt to establish Jon Snow, a former Lord Commander of the Night's Watch (and an oathbreaker if he ever lays a claim to anything but the Wall), as the trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen? Which powerful interest group would for what reason even consider such a move? And if you look at the series as it is right now what dramatic changes in the mindsets of many people have to happen over the course of the future books to make such a setting even remotely plausible? The word 'plot convenience' (or rather 'contrivance') cannot even begin to answer that. The probability for that to happen would be about the same as Gendry becoming king. 2. How likely is it that citing the precedents set by some kings who died centuries ago should convince anyone? Truly, who cares about legal prattle like that? Emmon Frey also has a piece of paper signed and stamped by His Grace King Tommen that makes him Lord of Riverrun, yet somehow nobody is giving a fig about that. Why is that? Why is it that nobody believed Stannis' little story about Cersei? The answer is simple: People do only what they want, not necessarily what is right. Nobody likes Stannis, so nobody wants him as king. Jon Snow clearly is not as unpopular as Stannis but his situation is a lot worse. Pretty much nobody south of the Neck even knows or cares that he even exists. How on earth should anybody ever support the claim of such a person? Want to believe that he is Rhaegar Targaryen's son? Jon played twice a crucial role in saving the Night's Watch and the Wall from the wildlings. But literally nobody cares about that (outside the North). He could continue to do some heroics at the Wall but the people south of the Neck have their own problems, and are unlikely to even care (let alone believe) the weirdo stories about this Bastard of Winterfell chap that trickle down south. News don't spread exactly quickly in this world. Tywin died in ASoS and it took quite some time in AFfC and ADwD for this news to travel around. Beric and Catelyn were resurrected from the dead (multiple times) and only very few people care about those stories. If Jon returns from the dead people will simply not believe that he ever died. End of it. Just as Tywin and his guys never believed that Beric Dondarrion really died (or that the men claiming to be him simply were impostors) The Northmen might make him Lord of Winterfell (or even choose him to be their king, although I don't think that's going to happen) but only if he was and remains a Stark. But Rhaegar Targaryen's son is not a Stark and sure as hell has no better claim to Winterfell than Rickon, Sansa, or Arya Stark. If Jon Snow accepted this Targaryen ancestry story of his he would lose more than he could gain. 3. We see in our discussion here how unbelievable and problematic the 'Jon Snow is the true king' view is. And in a realistic setting like the series George is writing, where the political interests and ambitions and biases of people actually figure into the equation, it is essentially impossible that a majority of the people actually fall for the hidden prince story and play along with it as if they were reenacting some bad fairy-tale. Especially since that is actually Aegon's story. He is going to do all that what some people thing Jon should do. He will be the hidden son of Rhaegar, the prince risen from obscurity to take his grandfather's throne. He will win the love and the cheers and the support of all the Targaryen loyalists in the Realm. And he will even fight the evil foreign invader Daenerys, likely to lose that battle. Jon Snow does play no part in that story. The plot has him glued to the Wall or the North where he can continue to do his duty (whatever that will be after the resurrection), trying to defend the Realm against the Others. That should use up all the meager resources he has left. I get it that many people felt Jon should have a different story, a story that has little and less to do with the Wall and whatever he has to do there. But that is not the story George is writing. Jon Snow is not the hidden prince, Aegon is. And even if he is fake and Jon is real then this is still not going to make a difference in Jon's story. He may be a real prince who has been fucked by the people in his life who simply lied to him to keep him safe. Yet in the end it might still be advantageous that it turned out this way because Jon is where he needs to be to fight the important fight. But this is not the kind of series where you are rewarded for this kind of thing. Especially not if you become Mr. Undead throughout the story. I say it again, Jesus and Gandalf did not return from the dead to stay. And neither will Jon. Even Victarion of the Smoking Arm is not long for this world - especially not in a prominent position. And we likely all agree that Ser Robert Strong, Qyburn, or Euron are not going to be a part of the 'sweet part' of the bittersweet ending.
  14. Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

    Another attempt. Read the Bible chapters on Jacob's, David's, and Solomon's many wives. Now think about our own marriage concepts which (usually) are strictly monogamous. A history book written in our day and age would also the wives of those legendary figures also 'wives'. Because that's what they were seen as and presented at the time. But this does not mean that everybody saw them this way. The High Septon is on record denouncing Alys Harroway as 'this whore of Harroway'. From the point of view of the Faith Maegor was never married to that woman, and we also know that Maegor's many marriages continued to provide the people with reasons to rebel against him. And he was eventually overthrown. We have to wait and see how popular his other wives were, and who addressed them as such. But we should have a much clearer picture on that in October. @The Twinslayer has cited the marriage vow of the Faith of the Andals as it is given in those books. They make it crystal clear that a marriage is between one man and one woman and demands faithfulness between the spouses. There are no clauses that allow you to replace your wife if she displeases you or add another to make your sex life more interesting. Aegon married on Dragonstone, probably the Valyrian way. Maegor's second wedding was done this way, too, and we have no clue how he married Tyanna and the black brides but my gut feeling is that forcing a septon to say some words (and forcing three women who may hate you to marry you) is not exactly considered to be a proper and valid marriage. I'm sorry, but then your definition of a marriage is completely at odds with the common definitions of that term. It is a social construct that is defined as a public event. That is why there usually are always many witnesses present at a wedding and the whole thing is ideally a huge feast. If you check historical marriage customs you will find that this is usually the case. The Targaryens aren't Andals. At least not Aegon and his sons and grandchildren. The later generations were more andalized but they still continued the incest thing and were proud of their Valyrian ancestry and traditions. We know that the Andals (aside from mythical characters like Hugor of the Hill back in Andalos before the Faith was established) were strictly monogamous because there are no examples for Andal kings in Westeros who took more than one wife. Ancient First Men kings did (we have Garland II Gardener and the bastard Durrandon king Ronard Storm as examples). I'd not be surprised if there were also some Stark and Lannister kings with more than one wife, especially in the earlier days. If the Andals had had no issue with polygamy then Westeros would never have become a strictly monogamous society. But we learn that marriages that are enforced against a person's will are considered to be invalid. We have no reason not to believe that Aegon took both his sisters to wife in the same ceremony. Even if he had married Visenya first, it is quite clear that Rhaenys was his favorite wife and sister. In a harem the man usually decides who the highest ranking wife is, not some hierarchy among the women. The man grants or withholds favors. The women just take what they can get. And Rhaenys got pretty much everything while Visenya was getting nothing. Perhaps Elia and Lyanna would also have been best friends and would have gladly had a threesome with Rhaegar? That is all possible but not very likely. It is much more likely that Lyanna would have been jealous of Elia's children once she had her own and that Elia would have hated both Lyanna (for stealing Rhaegar away from her) as well as Rhaegar himself (for humiliating her publicly by essentially discarding her as a wife). We are talking about a medieval aristocratic world here where public perception is everything. Rhaegar essentially destroyed Elia's public image and standing as well as the honor of House Martell by taking another wife. Even running away with Lyanna would have been a huge stain on Elia's honor. You are aware that all smiles died when he gave that crown to Lyanna instead of Elia, right? Oh, come on now, that is really grasping at straws. Westeros is not a very tolerant culture. I already said it, insofar as the marriages rites and customs were loosely equivalent to those in Westeros such unions would be accepted. The Targaryen loyalists most likely would accept a son of Daenerys by Khal Drogo, especially if they came with 100,000 Dothraki. But they could get problems if Drogo was one of those khals who had multiple wives (some do) or if Drogo shared Dany with his bloodriders. That would not be the proper way to treat a queen. As long as Larra and Viserys entered into a monogamous marriage things should have been fine there, too. They could even have been married by some septon, we don't know. Nobody had any reason to question the validity of their marriage. In the Dany-Hizdahr case many people in Westeros might simply do because they would not want to be ruled by a foreign Ghiscari slaver. But Larra Rogare was apparently one of the most beautiful women of her generation.
  15. R+L=J speculation from frigging 1998!

    That is what made the story interesting as a fantasy series. But the world itself is just ugly, unjust, and appalling to any civilized person. And, quite frankly, the real middle ages were usually better than what George has come up with, especially with the sharing of power of the commoners. Nobody would want to live in such a world, and at the end of the story we should at least get some sort of positive vision for the future. The world they are rebuilding should not reward people like Littlefinger, Gregor, Roose, Ramsay, etc. and the methods they are using. Whether this will then be fully realized is another matter. And you have to keep in mind that the heroes essentially are the good, kind-hearted people. People like Ned (who risked everything to save the children of his sworn enemy and gave his life to save his daughter(s)), Davos, Brienne, Catelyn, Sansa, Samwell stand out as characters. There certainly won't be a revolution, but I think the power of the aristocracy might be broken for good. The continuous wars are weakening them as a class, and the Others will cull the people even further. If the people leading the war against the Others remain in charge of things after the end of the fighting they can rebuild a centralist absolute monarchy with a strong royal bureaucracy and perhaps even a standing army. Then things could be very different. It would, of course, still depend very much on the person of the king. But the people would no longer be the pawns and playthings of this or that lord. In medieval times the lords always were the greatest enemies of the common people, not the king. The kings used the popular support they got from the commoners to cull the power of their lords.
  16. R+L=J speculation from frigging 1998!

    Well, George's tales grow in the telling. And if you hear him say it all his characters are his children, so if you want to savor the entirety of the story you have to take it all. 'The Hedge Knight' began as this prequel thing for the Silverberg Legends anthology but by the second and third story it clearly has gotten a life of its own that really has a relevance in relation to the main story. It is not just some sort of easter egg. In fact, it might be that Dunk & Egg are actually more crucial to the entire political aspect of the story than anything our guys are doing. Those stories discuss what it means to be a knight, a lord, a king, and ask the question what such people should do. With Egg becoming the champion on the smallfolk when he becomes we sort of get a glimpse what the correct answer is. And I'd not surprised at all if whoever ends up in charge of the Realm will be Aegon V's heir not only in biological sense but also insofar as he or she will revive his agenda. This world has to change so that the life of the commoners are better. The rights, privileges, and petty squabbles of the lords don't matter.
  17. R+L=J speculation from frigging 1998!

    Only one of those stories features the Targaryens prominently. Egg is just a little boy. They cover a lot of the major themes of the series and have their very own feeling, which is at times much better than the tone of the actual series. And with the whole Bloodraven thing one should really have read TSS and TMK before one even opens ADwD. Else the whole feeling one gets when one realizes who the three-eyed crow is isn't the same. Those stories have become an integral part of the series since that was revealed. But I guess I now know why you think this story is about the Starks. You just ignore all the other aspects of it. But it is about the world and all the characters George has created, not just the ones through which we got our first glimpse on the world. I second that. And the book with the great illustrations is far too great not to be read!
  18. R+L=J speculation from frigging 1998!

    That was supposed to be a self parody. And I was mostly speaking of the past.
  19. R+L=J speculation from frigging 1998!

    What the fuck? If you still haven't read them sit down and do so! The point being that the Blackfyre angle wasn't never really that interesting. People wanted to know whether that the Aegon we were expecting to come would be real or fake. Who he was if he was fake wasn't all that important. Now the interesting thing is that he might be Illyrio's son. That adds a lot of potential for conflict and twists to the story, but how exactly such an Aegon would be related to his Targaryen cousins is only interesting for people who are obsessed with family trees.
  20. Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

    I was talking whether Maegor and the Realm saw Maegor's wives as his queens. There is a difference there. Royal harems usually have a hierarchy. The king or emperor keeping them has one principal wife, the queen or the empress, and then a lot of secondary wives who are barely more than concubines. The idea that all of Maegor's wives were equal makes little sense. Ceryse was discarded after Alys. Alys and Tyanna were close to each other at one point (Tyanna was allegedly not just Maegor's lover in Pentos but also Alys' lover) but Tyanna was a bastard and a former courtesan. Maegor did marry her but we don't know whether anyone considered her a queen. She was ever farther beneath him than Jenny of Oldstones was beneath Prince Duncan. Still, Maegor gave Tyanna a lot of power. Maegor's queen during his first years would thus have been Alys. After he death Tyanna may have stepped into her place since Maegor had only one wife for three years. Of the black brides Elinor and Jeyne are clearly little more than concubines, tools Maegor used to finally father an heir. Only Rhaena was well-bred enough to be his queen, not to mention that this match would have helped him to secure a throne that was already beginning to slip away. Had he fathered a son on Rhaena his legacy would have been secured. That isn't the point. The point is that marriage as defined by the Faith of the Andals is a union between one woman and one man. Not one man and multiple women. Insofar as other religions and cultures are monogamous the Faith is accepting them, too, explaining why nobody says anything about monogamous tree marriages or monogamous Seven Cities or Dothraki marriages. However, if some Northman had a polygamous tree marriage only the first marriage would be seen as valid by the Faith, just as it is today in our western societies with bigamist and polygamists. Also note that the Faith and the people of Westeros in general don't accept the Ironborn difference between rock and salt marriages. You can only have one wife, any you wives you may take again are nothing but mistresses. In general, the marriage concepts between the Andals and the First Men are pretty similar, so there is no great confusion there. But if some foreign polygamist would try to settle in Maidenpool or Stoney Sept he most likely would quickly learn that the people there don't suffer that kind of thing in their town. We don't why it happened the way it did. It could even be that Melisandre suggested the whole thing and then Jon asked her to perform the rites. We just jump ahead in time there without ever learning how things moved in that direction. That means nothing. There is precedent for a lot of things. That doesn't mean people have to accept it. A precedent like polygamy has to be enforced by somebody with real power. It is not something people can't object to if you find some distant ancestors who (sort of) got away with it, if you interpret things the way you want. And Rhaegar failed with his polygamy thing if he really did marry Lyanna. He was killed and his child doesn't even know who he his father is. This is were you err. Marriage is a social convention, nothing more. It is the public declaration that two people belong together (or rather that a woman now belongs to a man) and that any child that woman gives birth to is the man's seed. That's it. If there is no public declaration then there is no marriage. If you marry in secret then you haven't married at all. That is why people who do this usually eventually have to reveal that they have married in secret because if they did not then any children of that union would be, in fact, illegitimate. Because legitimacy and illegitimacy are social constructs, too. Other people decide whether a child is a bastard or not on the basis whether it has been born in wedlock or not. And if they don't know that there was (allegedly) a marriage a child becomes a bastard by default. No, there might have been marriage ceremony but that doesn't mean that people would have accepted it because it went against the custom and the very concept of Andal marriage. The Andals do not recognize polygamous unions as valid. Just because something goes through a ceremony doesn't make it so. Ramsay did, too, but since Lady Hornwood most likely was forced to go through the motions that was a farce, too. Just as Sansa's marriage to Tyrion was. Now, people ignore the fact that those matches were invalid but they don't have to. And in Rhaegar's a lot of very important people - from Aerys II and the High Septon down to the Starks, Baratheons, and Martells - had a lot of good reason to not accept such a marriage. Sure, but nothing indicates anybody considered the child of Lyanna the king. And even if the three knights at the tower did think he was or should be king (which I don't think they did) that means nothing. Jon would then be as much a king as Trystane Truefyre and Gaemon Palehair were. Edward V was never crowned and there was some legal pretext used to declare him and his younger brother a bastard. Essentially because Edward IV had essentially already been married to another when he married Elizabeth Woodville. Aerys II's heir upon his death was Viserys III, not some boy he never knew existed. An heir, too, is declared and chosen. Lyanna's son might have been born after Rhaegar's and Aerys' death, making it even less likely that he could ever be their heir. Lords seem to have basically the same views on marriages as the common people. Polygamy may be still practiced in Lys but it is not practiced in Westeros. So what? This doesn't mean that the world and the Faith must share and approve of Rhaegar's egoistic desires. They clearly did not. That is a very unlikely scenario for the following simple reason: Jon cannot prove that he is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, just as Stannis could not prove that Cersei's children weren't Robert's. Did anybody flock to Stannis' banner after he told his little slanderous tale about his sister-in-law? No. Jon Snow does not look like Rhaegar's son, and as it happens Rhaegar's true son, Prince Aegon, has just returned to Westeros, intending to claim his grandfather's throne. Do you think anybody in Westeros would be as gullible as to believe the ridiculous stories that Rhaegar had two sons who were hidden so that Robert Baratheon would not kill them? People opposing Aegon will have Daenerys as an alternative. They don't need Jon Snow. And Jon Snow has no interest in the Iron Throne nor any chance to use the men who might follow him as a Stark, not a Targaryen (the Northmen) to lay claim to the Iron Throne. They just fought a war against the Iron Throne and are not likely to now make common cause with Targaryen loyalists in the South. As far as I know there are still many Mormon sects in the US who still practice polygamy. Of course behind closed doors and all, but they still do it. That is not what happened with Aegon and his sister-wives, though. Visenya thought that her son, the younger son, should inherit, and eventually ensured it. Lyanna would also have had the interests of her children at heart, and not those of her stepchildren. Those would have been nothing but obstacles to her ambitions, just as Rhaenyra and her sons were obstacles to Alicent and Otto's plans. We know from the example of Queen Naerys that a wife is expected to have sex with her lord husband whenever he pleases (as is still the case in most religious interpretations of marriage). Aegon IV did so, and eventually killed his wife in the process of it. And most likely enjoyed doing that. Rhaegar may not have been as fucked up but it may have been better if he had to. If Elia had died in childbirth he could have taken another wife without causing a major scandal. Well, this actually indicates that Dany does not think all types of marriages are considered binding. And the Green Grace agrees with her there. She made it clear that the barbaric marriage rites of the Faith would not be accepted by the gods of Ghis. Just as, presumably, rites done by the dosh khaleen or the graces of Slaver's Bay would not be accepted by the Seven of Westeros. Which would mean that from the point of view of Westeros Dany was essentially not married. Neither to Drogo nor to this Hizdahr chap. And can thus take a consort in Westeros. She may take more than one, though. She has dragons. She can try.
  21. R+L=J speculation from frigging 1998!

    Since 2000, I'd guess. When the Blackfyres were introduced. But nobody besides you really cares about the Blackfyres. The important question always was whether Aegon would be a fake or not (and that was always connected to the question whether Varys and Illyrio are true Targaryen loyalists or not). Nobody really cares who Aegon actually was if he is a fake.
  22. R+L=J speculation from frigging 1998!

    That goes back to the publication of ACoK. The cloth dragon is pretty obvious, as is the fact that Rhaegar thought his son Aegon was very special. You don't need Daemon Blackfyre for any of that. Perhaps some people even wondered about the Aegon boy since AGoT but back then we had no reason to believe the boy may have survived.
  23. George's story in Book of Swords

    What we know about Aenys' overall personality is that he was desperately trying not to displease anyone with any of his actions. He did not want to punish people or wage wars. Else he would have reacted quite differently when the Faith Militant and many lords of the Realm rose in rebellion against the Targaryen rule. I mean, when the Poor Fellows attacked him in his bedchamber he fled the city, and when Visenya urged him to mount his dragon and bathe Oldtown and the Starry Sept in fire or give her leave to do it, he refused and did nothing. That is not the kind of a guy who would break a peace his father had forged. He was in contact with Princess Deria during the Vulture King crisis and she assured him (which he believed) that Dorne and the Martells had no hand in all this. I'm pretty sure he would have been afraid to displease her by invading Dorne. And again - I know 'The Sons of the Dragon' up until Aenys I's death. Nothing indicates he made any attempt to conquer Dorne. If something isn't there it is just not there, irregardless whether we think it should be there. It could be that George was skipping that and covers what Maegor did during his Handship only later on in the story, or he ends up adding stuff to this later for 'Fire and Blood' but as of yet I think this is a major inconsistency.
  24. Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

    Maegor did not get away with polygamy. The Realm rose against him and deposed him. And just as our history books recount the stories of kings and people with more than one wife we don't consider those marriages valid from our point of view. It might be the same with the people in Westeros. History certainly counts Anne Boleyn as a wife of Henry VIII and a Queen of England but from a Catholic viewpoint (the only one that counts from their viewpoint) she was nothing but a mistress and her daughter Elizabeth II a bastard with no claim to the English throne. And whether all of Maegor's wives were actually styled queen is open to debate. Ceryse was never a queen because Maegor left he before he usurped the throne. Alys was a queen. Tyanna is nowhere styled queen as far as I recall, and Elinor Costayne and Jeyne Westerling seem way too lowborn to be queens. Rhaena could have been a queen since her daughter Aerea was named Maegor's heir. How do you know that everybody in Westeros accepts every type of marriage? Maegor had to have this travesty of a secret wedding because no septon was willing to marry him to Alys. There is no indication that the Faith likes or even acknowledges marriages officiated by anybody besides a septon. Those tree marriages are a thing of the North. Andals don't do this kind of thing, and there would be a reason why nobody in the south marries in this fashion. Even Ned had to marry Catelyn in the Andal way. How do you know that all marriages have the same rules. Some First Men kings had multiple wives. Those unions might not be define as one husband and one wife. The marriage vows of the Faith as very explicit in that regard. Melisandre officiating at Sigorn and Alys' wedding is likely done because Cellador refused to do it, not to mention that neither Alys nor Sigorn were followers of the Seven (while Sigorn might actually have taken R'hllor as his god, we don't know). We actually know that Davos considers some of Salladhor Saan's wives as mistresses, suggesting that he doesn't share your view that you can be properly married to more than one wife.
  25. Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

    It seems Rhaegar was pretty much already in charge by the time he rode to the Trident. He made the decisions which KG would accompany him, not Aerys or the Hand. That tells us pretty much. I doubt Rhaegar had any intention to depose his father, though. A regency with himself as Prince Regent would have worked just fine. That would have been much better than to set a precedent for the deposition of an anointed king (which would essentially threaten the very powerbase of the monarchy itself). But the rumors we have about the planned informal Great Council at Harrenhal talk about either a regency or a forced abdication. If you take the fever dream as evidence then at least one of them - Ser Gerold - gives ample evidence that he would have given his life to defend Aerys II. However, establishing a regency in the name of a indisposed king doesn't threaten his life. Aegon II was also confined to his bedchamber after he nearly died at Rook's Rest, resulting in Prince Aemond ruling the Realm in his stead. Rhaegar taking power in Aerys' name would not necessarily have meant or resulted in the death of the old man. In that sense at least some Kingsguard might have supported him in that, possibly even Hightower included. Although Darry and Selmy seem to have been Aerys' men. The polygamy thing may also be a hint towards one of the main characters of the series, Daenerys, taking more than one consort at the same time. The Lyanna thing is important background stuff but the things our actual protagonists are doing are much more important. If you think about it, that's pretty self-evident. Just ask yourself what the public at large would think if Joffrey and Sandor had disappeared for a year or so, abducting a girl in the process. People would have talked about that and the entire Realm would be full of rumors, with the court going essentially insane over this scandal. The idea that nobody asked, thought, or told rumors about Rhaegar and Lyanna is insane. Many might have not been based on facts but some few certainly would have either made the correct guesses or actually had good information to back them up. It is not just Ned finding the tower, it is also Ser Gerold Hightower finding Rhaegar earlier on. Some people knew or figured out where Rhaegar was, and presumably also what he was doing. Varys would be a key player in all that. We know Aerys was searching for Rhaegar when he exiled Merryweather (and possibly even before that). When he could not be found Connington was named Hand instead of Rhaegar. The person likely in charge of this search for Rhaegar would have been Varys. He would have searched the Realm for rumors and reports about sightings of Rhaegar and Lyanna, etc. And once they had some good information Aerys dispatched Hightower to bring him back. If Rhaegar married Lyanna then there is no good reason why he should do this in secret. A secret marriage would defeat any purpose such a marriage could have, especially after he actually abducted Lyanna. It could not be worse than that. And if it was a semi-public or public marriage then everybody would know the truth. As of yet no POV spoke or thought about that because the author does not want his characters to do so. However, just to clarify: The question whether there was a marriage or not is totally separate from the question whether that marriage is seen as valid by (a majority of) the people of Westeros, King Aerys II, the Faith, or the Starks and Martells. It also has no bearing on whether a child from that union is seen as a royal prince or has a (good) claim to the Iron Throne. You can - as I do - think it reasonably likely that there was such a marriage and still don't think that this makes Jon a prince, a king, or a person with a good claim to the Iron Throne (he would have some claim since even bastards have weak claims). Dany's source could also be Viserys, through Rhaella. It doesn't have to be Darry. Dany remembers Viserys to be her main source on 'their land'. We can be reasonably certain that Rhaegar loved Lyanna and admitted as much to his mother (or she correctly guessed that this was the case). And I'm pretty sure Rhaegar did not deny that he had taken Lyanna as a second wife upon his return to KL. Why would he do that? He is the Prince of Dragonstone, a man of such a high rank that lying about yourself and your deeds would be very unusual. Kings and princes have the privilege to do as they please, they don't have to justify their actions. Prince Duncan and Jaehaerys/Shaera also did not deny the love they felt and that they had taken the spouses they wanted to have. Barristan indicated that he did not have Rhaegar's confidence in ADwD. He wasn't as close to him as Oswell Whent who was involved in the Harrenhal plot. That doesn't make it very likely Rhaegar talked much with Selmy on the way to the Trident. But Selmy certainly would have had access to important information simply because he may have been on guard duty when Rhaegar spoke to Aerys and Rhaella or the council upon his return. Or he could have overheard these people talking about conversations they had with Rhaegar behind close doors. It is very unlikely that Selmy doesn't know a lot of stuff about the entire Lyanna complex. Considering Jon's feelings for Rhaegar it is very unlikely that he would have been able to suffer being present during Rhaegar's love wedding. He may even have left Rhaegar after it became clear that the man wanted to abduct Lyanna. That could help explain how it came to be that Aerys did not imprison or kill him - he was already back at KL before Rhaegar even abducted Lyanna. The best guesses are those companions were the men closest to Rhaegar which would be Arthur Dayne, Oswell Whent, Myles Mooton (Rhaegar former squire who died at Stoney Sept), Richard Lonmouth, and Jon Connington. Those are already five men. According to Yandel Lewyn Martell was also very close to Rhaegar before Harrenhal, but one assumes that the Lyanna scandal at Harrenhal changed that. Not to mention that Lewyn should have been more inclined to protect his niece and their children rather than accompanying Rhaegar's weirdo journey. That would leave the sixth men unaccounted for. Mooton and Connington would eventually have left Rhaegar. Connington perhaps once this Lyanna plan was made, and Mooton may have remained in Maidenpool if that was the place where Rhaegar and Lyanna wed (which is my best guess if there was a (semi-)public wedding, especially since it would provide them with the opportunity to flee by ship) only to then later join Connington's army. But Lonmouth could have stayed with Rhaegar the entire time, only to return with him to KL after Hightower found him. And then he would, of course, know exactly as much as Rhaegar himself does, making him a very crucial source information on the entire thing. If Lem Lemoncloak is indeed Richard Lonmouth then the man should better not die before somebody recognizes him and asks him some questions... If there was a wedding the truth would have come out. People may not talk as much about it because of Robert's obsession with Lyanna and the official story that she was forced into this and raped, etc. Jaime also must know or suspect some things. That's inevitable. That doesn't make any sense for a lot of reasons. 1. The Kingsguard had no right to do such a thing. 2. We have no reason to believe the men at the tower had any intention nor the opportunity to go to Dragonstone. If they were loyal to Rhaegar and his memory then neither of them would have been willing to leave Lyanna and the child. 3. If the knights had as good information on the events on the Trident and the Sack as the fever dream implies (which is questionable) then they would have known that the new king (irregardless whether any of Rhaegar's children yet lived) was Viserys III. The Kingsguard do not make kings. The king does. And Aerys II chose his own son Viserys, and not a son of Rhaegar's. 4. The example of Prince Aegon - the last Targaryen scion through the male line since the death of Viserys III - shows that people do not lightly proclaim and crown a king. Not even people who are fiercely loyal to the Targaryen cause. The idea that three knights in the middle of nowhere would proclaim and crown a king is utterly ridiculous. During the Dance the men in the Green army at Tumbleton could also have proclaimed Prince Daeron the Daring king since it was not clear whether Aegon II was still alive or not, and they eventually learned that Prince Aemond had been killed at the Gods Eye. Daeron was a boy of fifteen years, nearly a man grown, and he was still not proclaimed king by an entire army. Why on earth would the men protecting Lyanna and her child endanger them even more by declaring the child a king? Why would they drive a wedge between House Targaryen itself by doing this? Queen Rhaella had the new king on Dragonstone. Crowning Lyanna's son would put inevitably uncle against nephew, and literally nobody would stand with the infant in such a conflict. I have argued repeatedly that Ned must have not just given Robert a pretty good explanation as to what transpired down in the south but also the families of the men who died at his side, not to mention the families of the men he and his buddies killed. Gerold Hightower and Arthur Dayne weren't exactly nbodies - the Whents were in decline after the Rebellion, but if a man like Lord Leyton Hightower inquires about the fate of his uncle you better give a coherent explanation that makes sense. And the best lies are hidden beneath the truth or remain as close to the truth as possible. So it would be a pretty good way to actually admit that Lyanna had been pregnant and had died in childbirth. The only invention/lie would be to also claim (or imply) that the child died, too. If Ned played it right he would not even have been forced to say it, he could just have implied it, hiding behind his very real tears of grief. It is said that Ned and Robert reconciled over their shared grief for Lyanna, after all. Actually, that was one of my feared typos. I think Ned did everything in his power to keep the Lyanna story and his bastard story separate, never taking Jon with him to court but rather have him travel from Starfall to the North by ship. A good way to obscure things would also have been to make Lyanna's child by Rhaegar a girl resembling her father (if the story was about a child being stillborn or one dying shortly after the birth) as well as making Jon Snow younger than he actually is to make it unlikely/impossible for him to be Lyanna's child. There might be a reason why George included this talk about bastard growing much more quickly than legitimate children. This way an older Jon Snow could actually pass for a child Ned only fathered after his marriage to Catelyn rather late in the war (and even later if the story is that he met this Wylla woman only when he went down south after the Sack and not, say, in the Riverlands shortly before the Trident). And there are actually some hints that this 'bastard lore' is sort of true. Joffrey is actually a bastard without knowing it and taller than both Robb and Jon despite the fact that he is two years younger. Rhaenyra's three elder sons are strong enough to threaten and severely hurt Aemond despite the fact that he was ten and they vastly younger than he. Rhaenys and Visenya were not just both dragonriders they co-conquered Westeros with their brother-husband. It is not just Aegon the Conqueror it is also 'Rhaenys the Conqueress' and 'Visenya the Conqueress'. The conquered don't tell the conquered what they can and cannot do. But they can force them to accept their rules in the future and that's what Aegon did. He did not marry Rhaena to Maegor. Instead he married Maegor to Ceryse. He showed due deference to the Seven and the Faith, etc. Yeah, Dany is essentially Aegon 2.0 by the time she hatches the three dragons. Exactly, that's why the Faith did not recognize Maegor's second marriage to Alys. Maegor actually wanted an annulment/divorce. He wanted to replace his barren wife with a new one, hopefully fertile but since Ceryse was the niece of the High Septon he had no chance of getting an annulment, taking another one instead thinking he could get away with it. It didn't work as intended. Rhaegar's situation is even more complicated considering that Elia gave him two healthy children. There is no chance that he could have gotten out of that marriage. And as you are saying, the Faith does not allow you more than one wife. He would also have known that polygamy never came up to resolve the marital problems of the past Targaryens. Duncan and Jaehaerys could have taken two wives if this was a working scenario, as could have Daemon Blackfyre, Aegon the Unworthy, Rhaenyra, Daemon, whoever you want. But while Rhaegar may have known all that that's no guarantee that he did not try. If love and prophecy had driven him mad he may have been capable of anything. But as I've been saying already, if he really did marry Lyanna in some rite - forcing a septon, using a tree, etc. - this doesn't mean anybody in Westeros would consider such a union valid or the child from such a union anything but a bastard. There are precendents for polygamy in the US, too. But that doesn't mean all those polygamous marriages of those Mormon sects are accepted as valid by the state or the majority of the population. TWoIaF greatly expanded on that, though. Before that the Great Council there was just some sort of special occasion. Now we know that there were many instances where a king picked an heir and another where a vast majority of lords favored the scion of a younger branch over the claimant who had the right of primogeniture on his side. Anybody who says now that Lyanna's son is the rightful king basically doesn't know what he or she is talking about. There are no rightful kings in this world. Kings are made.