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  1. It doesn't quite add up for me because Robert Baratheon specifically asked Ned about Wylla (who he presumed to be Jon's mother). This happened in more than just the show. (@SFDanny will have to excuse me for mentioning the show inside their sacred bubble of General ASoIaF.). It seems more likely to me that he sent Wylla on her way to Winterfell while Ned distracted Robert with other affairs (such as Lyanna's bones and news of a bastard). Robert had no idea what she looked like: In conclusion, Ned must have run into Robert between Starfall and his trip to Winterfell. As you suggest, it may have been to inform him in person that Lyanna was dead by presenting him with Lyanna's bones. Whether this was in the Red Keep, at Storm's End, or out in the field somewhere we will probably never know. Much like how R+L=Rape became the official story because Robert won the war and said so, Robert declaring Jon Snow as Ned's bastard (we all know he had a big mouth) probably happened somewhere during this period of time.
  2. Right, it's certainly possible. It's mentiond Rhaegar traveled alone (even sans kingsguard) with a harp to Summerhall, and upon his return he played the (melancholic) tunes he composed on his high harp for the court. I feel like I completely derailed the topic on this harp theory that I don't even necessarily put a lot of stock in! My bad. I think the strongest (and simplest) possibility is that Lyanna was asking him to find a way to protect Jon from Robert. However, at least the harp theory gives the latter a run for its money by actually having some relevance and good quotes for context. The rule of Chekov's Gun suggests you don't mention objects (especially not several times across books) that will never have any importance in the plot. So, in my opinion, it'll be related to something in the future. Whether it's part of the "promise me" will be interesting to (finally) find out. I'm not sure if any other theories really can compare to these two at all in the end. Anyone know of any?
  3. Perhaps we overestimate Littlefinger's ability. We assume he intended to plant animosity between the Starks and Lannisters by getting Lysa to poison Jon Arryn. Maybe it was more than Jon Arryn cracking down on not only the parentage of Cersei's children; maybe he was catching on to Peyr's game. I think it is fascinating how Petyr managed to increase (at least superficially) the revenue of the crown tenfold yet still find a way to beggar the realm. Ponzi scheme comes to mind; he borrow money from person #1, then when he needs to pay some back he borrows money from person #2 to pay back #1; when #1 and #2 need their next payment, he borrows enough money from person #3 to pay them back, and on and on it goes. While Tyrion is not able to deduce very much for Petyr's books, he does notice that people he has labeled traitor or had executed were indebted to the crown. They were likely helping Petyr embezzle and he killed them to cover his tracks (similar to how he did Dontos). We also know from Jaime that Littlefinger had a large number of men on the payroll as jailers (gaolers?) while only a couple seemed to actually be employed. This could extend across the Red Keep and even King's Landing, including the goldcloaks. Who actually counts the city guard? So all Littlefinger had to do was buy off the captain (e.g., Janos Slynt) and he further diverts his increased revenue to seemingly necessary, legitimate expenses. I also suspect his investments often benefit his own establishments, and that he could be receiving a lot more money from investments that what he reports in his books and the coffers. I wish I could remember so I could link it, but someone in a thread pointed out that Littlefinger intentionally kept things on the edge so that they would always need him. When Robert demanded a tourney, or when some other necessary costs arose, he always managed to find the gold despite the level of their debt. So even if Jon Arryn had suspicions about Petyr, getting rid of him is probably easier said than done because it could prove to be even more disastrous. That's just my two cents. I believe there are some good essays about how LF slipped under the radar for so long. If I can remember where they are I'll post the links.
  4. I was gonna play devil's advocate and say "Well, why should anyone believe Bran and what he sees in the weirnet? Pretty convenient for a Stark to name his bastard brother as a claimant to the throne." But instead, it kind of dawned me to question something more fundamental: What would Jon be able to accomplish by proving (not just learning about) his heritage that he wouldn't otherwise? Or, in other words, what's the point of proving his parentage? (The following are mostly rhetorical question, for the record.) Do we want him to find out so he can finally try to lay to rest the insecurities he has about being the primary taint on his father's honor? This is actually my reason; it's nothing fancy and probably the least exciting, but it is what it is. Will he not be able to fill the roles of the Prince that was Promised and/or Azor Ahai if he doesn't prove his parentage? This of course depends on if you think he will end up being either of those foretold people, but I would venture to say no. Do readers/theorists want him to be a/the king? Or, more importantly, would Jon want to be king? Do readers/theorists want him to be a dragonrider? If so, Wouldn't being a dragonrider be more proof of his heritage than a harp? Though perhaps they are complimentary. The harp could be evidence that there may be some merit to his argument, but proving to be a dragonrider would prove Valyrian/Targaryen blood. By any manipulation of the laws marriage, does proving R+L=J really change the fact that he's a bastard? and Is there anything for Daenerys to gain by legitimizing him? To the latter, he could still serve all the functions she may require of him without being a legitimate member of her dynasty. Anyways, the point of that list was just to highlight "Why does Jon need to prove his parentage anyways?" Pinpointing the why (which is entirely subjective to each reader at this point) is likely going to lead us to the how, because different people are going to require different levels of proof. Very true. I've always felt that there were some pretty big holes in the tale about R+L, especially from the Starks. The biggest one is how Benjen took the black once Ned returned to Winterfell after Robert's Rebellion. It almost seems like a show of penitence on his part; perhaps Benjen knowingly helped Lyanna run away with Rhaegar and felt guilty about how it caused the death of his brother, father, sister, and a good portion of the realm. Ned was likely going to be Brandon's right hand, much like Kevan was to Tywin. It )seems, at least) like a common role for the second-born sons, which is in tune with our own medieval history. Benjen should have been this to Ned, not only to help Ned but to create another branch of the family. We've seen how quickly five trueborn children can be wiped out... at least according to the public eye. I see your point a little bit. The biggest problem I have with saying that it would have been cumbersome is that Rhaegar apparently picked it up to play it. So, either he has more than one harp with silver strings, or the high harp doesn't refer to a huge harp like we (including me) have assumed. Unfortunately, going back to the text, the wording does not clear up the answer for us. Here are all the instances of Rhaegar and his silver-stringed harp being mentioned/observed/recalled from ACoK to ADwD, in order: "“There must be one more,” he said, though whether he was speaking to her or the woman in the bed she could not say. “The dragon has three heads.” He went to the window seat, picked up a harp, and ran his fingers lightly over its silvery strings." ACoK, (p.527; Daenerys) "Dany could not let it go. “His is the song of ice and fire, my brother said. I’m certain it was my brother. Not Viserys, Rhaegar. He had a harp with silver strings.” Ser Jorah’s frown deepened until his eyebrows came together. “Prince Rhaegar played such a harp,” he conceded." ACoK, (p. 660; Daenerys) "It was said that no man ever knew Prince Rhaegar, truly. I had the privilege of seeing him in tourney, though, and often heard him play his harp with its silver strings.” ASoS (p. 110; Daenerys) "Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best. He would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company. Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there. He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song. When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not but feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved.” ASoS (p. 587; Daenerys) "Many a night she had watched Prince Rhaegar in the hall, playing his silver-stringed harp with those long, elegant fingers of his." AFfC, (p. 404; Cersei) "By night the prince played his silver harp and made her weep. When she had been presented to him, Cersei had almost drowned in the depths of his sad purple eyes." AFfC, (p. 405; Cersei) "At the welcoming feast, the prince had taken up his silver-stringed harp and played for them. A song of love and doom, Jon Connington recalled, and every woman in the hall was weeping when he put down the harp." ADwD (p. 803; Jon Connington) You're welcome, thread. Someone let me know if I missed one but I used a kindle search for "harp." It's not a commonly used word, surprisingly. The point is, the use of the words harp and high harp are irregular. In the two quotes that indicate that Rhaegar played a lap harp with silver-strings, it is not referred to as a high harp. This may or may not be significant because even outside of these two instances his harp is not always referred to as a high harp. Some are gonna say they are all the same, portable harp. Others will say there are two different harps with silver strings, one big and one small. The less-than-clever will say there is even a third made purely of silver (thanks, Cersei... ). I'm inclined to believe they are all the same harp just because (1) we have no reason to believe there is more than one harp, and (2) there is no evidence that a high harp is different than a regular harp, especially when it comes to size. Like i said in an earlier post, up until today I assumed the high harp was the big, station harps you sit beside in order to play. In Westeros, perhaps "high harp" is just a fancy word for a normal harp, like saying pianoforte instead of piano.
  5. I don't think any harp whatsoever would prove anything about Jon's heritage, which is my main criticism about the theory in general. A harp in Lyanna's tomb wouldn't be out of place to those who believed that she ran away with Rhaegar out of love. People are buried with sentimental objects all the time, and this practice can be traced all the way back to caveman times. It would be no doubt odd to find it in her tomb to others because of the official Stark position on the nature of her relationship with Rhaegar (i.e., rape). Perhaps it will just help further another part of the plot; gifting Rhaegar's harp to Daenerys when she arrives in Westeros would probably be very pleasing to her. Ser Barristan would be able to identify it on sight judging by the detail of the stories he told. But, that loops us back around to why so much foreshadowing in hinting (assuming it's true) has gone into this relatively ambiguous harp being in the Stark crypts... Another question that springs to my mind now would be "are we sure that the high harp is what we think it is?" I always assumed it meant the large harps but not because of the name; I took "high" to imply sophistication or prestige rather than an indicator of height. However, a larger harp would have more room for strings and thus more notes to work with. That would make it more complex of an instrument and thus "sophisticated." But, it remains that we could be making an assumption about what a high harp actually is in the context of the story. I'm not very knowledgeable about instruments in general, but I've been pretty involved in the fantasy genre for a long time. A large harp stationed in a throne room is a fairly common element/trope of fantasy... usually with an elegant woman or lady playing it. The smaller, portable harps are associated with bards (all variations; magic, fighters, magic fighters, or merely musicians), which I think is the archetype Rhaegar has always triggered in my mind. He of course made a successful effort in shifting from an intellectual into a warrior, but it's fairly clear he preferred the harp over the sword. They're used so irregularly that it's hard to really know anything about them. Not to mention they don't speak so can't tell us! It seems the only reliable place for Silent Sisters is in King's Landing. Otherwise, we don't know (1) where they're trained, (2) where/how they live after they're trained, (3) how they are funded when tending to bodies and transporting them, and (4) if they are distributed across the realm like maesters, septons, and septas. Specific to the latter point, their work seems impractical for only one person to do so they'd have to be distributed in pairs or groups. It could be that they are all stationed in KL and when things like wars are happening they send out groups of Silent Sisters to attend to the highborn dead, but otherwise travel back to KL. What we do know is that they are part of the Faith, so it could be argued either way whether Ned would want to enroll their services. We could say he would have welcomed the assistance, or we could say that as a follower of the Old Gods he found the Silent Sisters unsettling. The boon of using the Silent Sisters to assist is that if they saw something they shouldn't have they wouldn't tell anyone, but that doesn't prove he did use them. But (lots of buts this post ) this also raises the question of how he prepared Lyanna's corpse for traveling, as we assume he didn't just let her rot the entire way. Usually Silent Sisters are in charge of corpse preparation in the south, but we don't have a clear idea of the customs of the north. Ned could have been assisted by the Daynes in that regard, but that's just a guess; no proof and no idea if there would even be Silent Sisters nearby. And... we could be operating under the assumption that Ned did indeed inter Lyanna's bones in the crypts. He built cairns at the Tower of Joy, he could have buried her at the Tower and transported the harp in her "coffin" (or whatever Westerosi use). However, I think the wording often implies she is at rest next to her father and brother... As a side note, how did Ned get his hands on Rickard and Brandon's bones? It actually seems a little odd that Aerys II didn't have them thrown out into the ocean or something like that. Aerys II perverted the trial by combat tradition of the Faith, I doubt he would be remiss to defile the corpse of an enemy like the Freys did. This always cracks me up about Ned Stark's "black of hair" and "golden hair" logic. Yeah, The Princess and the Queen is such a good story. So many badass Targaryens (who I typically am not partial to), especially the women. I was rooting for Rhaenyra when I read it and had no idea how the Dance of the Dragons resolved. When granny Rhaenys is ambushed by King Aegon II and his brother I always get chills at her response: "Princess Rhaenys made no attempt to flee. With a glad cry and a crack of her whip, she turned Meleys toward the foe."
  6. You caught me. She's secretly my favorite character. In all seriousness, I've dedicated plenty of other posts in this thread discussing other characters, both positive and negative. I guess those were not of interest to you. In the end, no one requires you to read or respond to any of them. Instead of criticizing me as a person you could spend the same amount of energy criticizing my arguments or simply just ignoring them. Opinions are exchanged in an opinion thread, whether they are to your taste or not.
  7. Doh! Master evil plan foiled again! The problem with saying they both freed slaves is that freeing them was not really Abe's original intention as a president. I don't claim to be a scholar of history (and especially not the Civil War) in its entirety; I approach history in regards to people, culture, beliefs, etc. rather than troop numbers, battles, tactics or whatever else. However, Lincoln is a particularly fascinating person to me. Reading his letters and speeches, it's abundantly clear how much he hated the institution of slavery on moral grounds but took a political stance that opposed its expansion. His objective as president was to save the union, not to free slaves (even though he found the practice abhorrent). This is probably quoted way too much, but at least I'm not using it out of context: So yes, Daenerys and Lincoln both freed slaves but the reason why is so completely different it's silly to me it's silly to compare. Daenerys did it because she was personally opposed (and probably projecting her own feelings onto them) and Lincoln did it because it was the only way he could preserve the Union. It may not seem like an important difference to some, but the difference in their motivation is the difference between an irresponsible and responsible leader. This essay is interesting, thanks for sharing. However, the majority of the parallels provided are heavily skewed towards American Reconstruction and very little about events prior to and during the Civil War. My stance was that I was opposed to comparing Daenerys to the Union during the Civil War, especially in terms of motivation and methods. Casting the north as the saviors of the oppressed is comparable to the south recasting themselves as the victims of "Northern aggression." Both have a truth to them when you cover one eye and squint the other, but otherwise they are glossing over important realities. Like I said in the previous post: The war was about slavery, but neither side gave a shit about the slaves. The common north citizen wasn't looking down and thinking "Oh, those poor, wretched slaves. Free Slaves!" but rather "I don't want to compete with southern plantations in our new western territories. Stop the expansion of slavery!" As much as I dislike Daenerys as a person and a leader, she obviously gives a shit about the slaves.
  8. Haha so true, so true. Even being a dragonrider doesn't prove anyone to be a legitimate Targaryen, as we found out from the seeds during the Dance of the Dragons. The season 7 leak where just makes me laugh hysterically at how flimsy of a plot point it is. What does a document actually prove? The only way to prove anything in Westeros is with an army. It makes me surprised how forgiving I was of Ned's "proof" that Cersei's children were no Robert's. Not to mention his spontaneous deduction that they must be Jamie's without really letting us know how he arrived at that. All he deduced was that Baratheon seed is strong when paired up with Lannister, nothing else. Cersei could have been having bastards with anyone. It also reminds me of Rhaenyra's children with her (likely gay) husband Laenor. They were both silver-haired but all of Rhaenyra's children were brunette. Hmmm... seems suspicious for two obvious reasons.
  9. I don't think transporting the harp would really be all that difficult. This is not to say I'm a proponent of this harp-in-crypt theory, but it's not unreasonable. It's not a stretch to think people would be preoccupied gawking at the honorable Ned Stark's bastard baby than at anything else being transported to Winterfell. We can assume he had some kind of means of transport as I doubt he carried Lyanna's bones in his pocket. We can infer from Daenerys' vision in the House of the Undying that the harp wasn't as large as you might think: I think the biggest hole in the theory is how a harp would ever prove Jon's parentage. I can see the harp having some kind of sentimental value, or perhaps it is somehow more than it seems and Mance Raydar may get his hands on it. Who knows. I just like that the theory is succinct and not too far out there (a rarity these days). Thanks for the link! I think we can assume it was a lap harp judging by those sizes. Everything else looks too impractical to pick up and play (obviously). To be honest, up until this moment, I thought the high harp (specifically) was a woman's instrument. But apparently we have just as many men mentioned as being proficient enough to play (pluck?) it.
  10. It's obviously a tinfoil theory, but there is a fairly large group of people that believe Howland Reed is the High Septon. I don't remember the maids at all. By many accounts, we know Ashara Dayne was at Starfall when Ned returned Dawn to the family. In ASoS, Ned Dayne tells Arya that Wylla was wetnurse to him and Jon Snow. It's all heresay, but it's what we have to go on. Allyria Dayne (Ashara's sister) then tells Ned that Ashara threw herself from a tower because Ned broke her heart when he left Starfall. People in Westeros either assume that "broke her heart" means that he broke off their love affair or that she had a child by him (Jon) and Eddard took him to Winterfell. It seems like Wylla was recruited by Eddard to nurse the baby while they traveled to the other side of the country. However, if you saw Eddard traveling the country with Wylla and a baby, you would pretty much assume that he fathered it on her. That's probably exactly what he hoped people would think. Assuming he did have feelings for her, it would also explain why Ned was so uncharacteristically upset when Catelyn confronted him about Ashara being Jon's father. At the time we take it to mean that Ashara was the mother, but with more and more information we can come to different conclusions. Because so many people mention Ashara is having lost a baby, some people theorize that Ned did indeed father a bastard on her. The general idea is that they were in love since Harrenhal, got involved and would likely marry, and then there was a change in plans when Brandon Stark was murdered. Primary evidence of this would be that House Dayne doesn't seem to bear the Starks any ill will even though Eddard killed Ser Arthur Dayne. Parents pass down their prejudices to their children, so you'd expect Ned Dayne to not be so polite to Arya is his family was holding a grudge. Those that propose Ashara Dayne is still alive believe she fled with her child (instead of it dying) and that she's disguised as a character we've already met (Quaithe and Septa Lemore are the two biggest). Anyways, now would be the time to mention how fascinating it is that so many threads of the plot all tie back to the Tower of Joy. A couple of tiny details are all that's needed and then so much of the plot would be revealed to us. I went off on a huge tangent, so I apologize. I just find this particular area of the plot so interesting (as most people do, I think). It'll be nice to see what theories actually have some truth to them.
  11. I was cringing when I saw this was about the Civil War and told myself: just read it but don't respond. I just wanted to say that I'm impressed that everyone is having a civilized/respectuful and informed conversation (minus one poster) about this topic. I would have to disagree with this. Daenerys' purposes have little in common with those of the American Civil War outside of the fact they are both focused or revolved around slavery. The why is in stark (pun?) contrast, however. I know you only said you could make a much better case for Daenerys, but I figured someone else is gonna discuss this so may as well be me. Depending on who you ask, Daenerys is either conquering Slaver's Bay in order to liberate slaves or something else (no need to get into that). So, in essence, she began an altruistic war. What I mean by that is a war whose aggressor is motivated by selfless reasons; personal gain is not the primary motivation. When you get into the nuances of the Civil War it make both sides far from altruistic. Both sides are not something a modern American can be proud of when it comes down to it, but we can be proud that it finally led to the abolishment of slavery. A history professor at a HBU once told me: Slavery was the focus of the Civil War, but neither side gave a shit about the slaves. Warning: If anyone compares Daenerys to Abe Lincoln I'll have to harm a kitten.
  12. Maybe this takes the fun out of the discussion, but I thought I'd share a link. It's larger in scope than your initial questions, but it covers them all and provides ample textual evidence to back it all up. Here's a summary of the firs three (of four) parts (I bolded the more pertinent topics): Part 1: The Five Forts and Asshai are absolutely massive and ancient. Whichever civilization built them had its core territory encompassing both regions. The old base of the Hightower and the Five Forts are fused stone structures only capable of being built by a civilization with dragons. The only known civilization that could have built all three is the Great Empire of the Dawn. Part 2: The Great Empire of the Dawn is the most ancient civilization in the world and was founded by the Gemstone Emperors and based in Asshai. These Asshai'i were dragon riders before Valyria and taught them their arts. Dany sees these ancient emperors in her dreams and they look like Valyrians. But the Great Empire of the Dawn was cut down by the terrors of the Long Night and the lands of Asshai have never recovered. Part 3: The chaos and destruction of the Long Night led to a diaspora out of Asshai. The Valyrians may have been founded by Asshai'i who became the ruling dragon riders of the Freehold. The founders of House Dayne may have been Asshai'i adventurers following a meteor under orders from the Bloodstone Emperor. Asshai'i may have also founded House Hightower and stayed behind to guard the realm. And all three groups are tied together through their appearance which matches the Gemstone Emperors Dany sees in her dream. Enjoy!
  13. Is interesting enough to you* It's dangerous territory to presume to speak for everyone. Daenerys is a divisive character, to put it mildly. You can see evidence of that throughout this thread. I personally couldn't read a book focused on her without rolling my eyes so much they fall out. All the "male gaze" already embedded in her chapters is beyond gratuitous.
  14. I've always believed she made Ned promise to (1) raise and take care of him, and (2) don't let Robert know he is Rhaegar's son or he'll kill him. However, I recently read a decently convincing theory hypothesizing how Jon is going to discover and/or prove his identity. Using the "dragon from stone" prophecy, they theorized that Rhaegar's distinct silver-stringed harp we read about (at least once per book) is going to be found in Lyanna's tomb or somewhere else in the crypts. It's not exactly a new theory, but may be interesting to you since it provides a lot of textual evidence. Even if you don't buy it, you could see what someone else has quoted and analyzed to draw their conclusions as a starting point for making your own. I thought the "promise me" section of the theory was fairly convincing. We can probably assume that even if she hasn't asked that Ned would have taken Jon in and raised him anyways. So, the promise is then theorized to be her making him promise to preserve Jon's heritage (harp), which Ned would probably not want to do as the Targaryens have taken so much from him already.
  15. I was pretty proud of it at the time. That would be because her chapters don't intersect with other POV characters until ADwD. Her story is self-contained. They could be their own little novella on the side. I would say Eddard's story sold the first book. A neo-noir detective story where the mystery is solved by the detective dies before justice can be served. I discussed in another thread that a spin-off series of (satirical) novellas about the (mis)adventures of Baelor the Blessed would probably sell. Imagine a deadpan snarker (Stannis-esque) as his Hand and it basically sells itself. I find pretty much all Free Folk dull except for Tormund. Har! I've just read a huge chunk of A Storm of Swords and I've had to put up with the flood of "you know nothin', Jon Snow" and "I'm a free woman." As Tywin might say: a woman that has to say she's free is not true free woman. Har!