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R+L=J v 66

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Reference guide

The Tower of the Hand has an excellent analysis of this theory:
Jon Snow's Parents

And Westeros' Citadel also provides a summary:
Jon Snow's Parents

A Wiki of Ice and Fire:
Jon Snow Theories


Frequently Asked Questions:

How can Jon be a Targaryen if he has a burned hand?
Targaryens are not immune to fire. Aerion Brightflame died drinking wildfire. Aegon V and his son Duncan are thought to have died in a fire-related event at Summerhall. Rhaenyra was eaten by Aegon II's dragon, presumably roasted by fire before the dragon took a bite. Viserys died when he was crowned with molten gold. Dany suffered burns from the fire pit incident at the end of A Dance with Dragons. Finally, the author has stated outright that Targaryens are not immune to fire. Jon's burned hand does not mean he is ineligible to be part Targaryen. For more information about the myth of Targaryen fire immunity, see this thread.

How can Jon be a Targ if he doesn't have silver hair and purple eyes?
Not all Targaryens had the typical Valyrian look. Alysanne had blue eyes. Baelor Breakspear and his son(s) had the Dornish look. Some of the Great Bastards did not have typical Valyrian features. Jon's own half-sister Rhaenys had her mother's Dornish look.

If Jon isn't Ned's son, then why does he look so much like him?
Much is made over the fact that Arya looks like Lyanna, and Jon looks like Arya. Ned and Lyanna shared similar looks.

How can Jon be half-Targ if he has a direwolf?
Ned's trueborn children are half Stark and half Tully. Being half Tully didn't prevent them from having a direwolf so there is no reason to think being half Targaryen would prevent Jon from having a direwolf. If Lyanna is his mother, then he's still half Stark. Furthermore, there is already a character who is half Targaryen and half blood of the First Men and was a skinchanger: Bloodraven.

Since Rhaegar was already married, wouldn't Jon still be a bastard?
The evidence that Jon is legitimate is that Targaryens have a history of polygamous marriages which makes it a possibility that Rhaegar had two wives. Three Kingsguards were present at the Tower of Joy when Ned arrived. Even after Ned said that Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon were dead and Viserys had fled to Dragonstone, the Kingsguard opted to stay at the Tower of Joy stating they were obeying their Kingsguard vow. The heart of a Kingsguard's vow is to protect the king. With Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon dead, the new king would have been Viserys, unless Lyanna's child was legitimate making him the new king of the Targaryen dynasty.
For a comprehensive analysis of Jon's legitimacy, see the detailed explanations in the two linked articles.

But polygamy hadn't been practiced in centuries, is it still even legal?
The practice was never made illegal and there may have been some less prominent examples after Maegor, as stated in this SSM. Furthermore, Jorah suggests it to Dany as a viable option.

Weren't the Kingsguard at Tower of Joy on the basis of an order from Aerys, to guard Lyanna as a hostage?
Aerys was sane enough to realize how taking someone hostage works even at the end of the Rebellion, and he would hardly miss the opportunity to bring Ned and Robert in line any time after the situation started to look really serious.
Furthermore, regardless of on whose order the Kingsguard might have stayed at Tower of Joy, they would still be in dereliction of their duty to guard the new king.

This theory is too obvious and too many people believe it to be fact. How can it be true?
The theory is not obvious to the majority of readers. Some will get it on first read, most will not. Keep in mind that readers who go to online fan forums, such as this one, represent a very small minority of the A Song of Ice and Fire readership. Also, A Game of Thrones has been out since 1996. That's more than 17 years of readers being able to piece together this mystery.

Why doesn't Ned ever think about Lyanna being Jon's mother?
Ned doesn't think about anyone as being his mother. He says the name 'Wylla' to Robert, but does not actively think that Wylla is the mother. He also doesn't think of Jon as his son. There are numerous mysteries in the series, and Jon's parentage is one of those. If Ned thought about Jon being Lyanna's son, it would not be a mystery.

Why should we care who Jon's parents are? Will Jon care? Who cares if he's legitimate?
Once one accepts that the evidence is conclusive and that Jon's parents are Rhaegar and Lyanna and that he is most probably legitimate, these become the important questions.

Previous editions:

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread” (thread one)

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread” (thread two)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part III)” (thread three)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part IV)” (thread four)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part V)” (thread five)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part VI)” (thread six)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon Thread Part VII” (thread seven)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part VIII” (thread eight)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part IX” (thread nine)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna =Jon Thread, Part X”(thread ten)

The R+L=J thread, part XI” (thread eleven)

The R+L=J thread, part XII” (thread twelve)

R+L=J Part XXIII” (thread thirteen)

R+L=J Part XXIV” (thread fourteen)

R+L=J XXV” (thread fifteen)

R+L=J v.16” (thread sixteen)

R+L=J v.17” (thread seventeen)

R+L=J v.18” (thread eighteen)

R+L=J v.19” (thread nineteen)

R+L=J v.20” (thread twenty)

R+L=J v.21” (thread twenty-one)

R+L=J v.22” (thread twenty-two)

R+L=J v.22a” (thread twenty-two (a))

R+L=J v.23” (thread twenty-three)

R+L=J v.24” (thread twenty-four)

R+L=J v.25” (thread twenty-five)

R+L=J v.26” (thread twenty-six)

R+L=J v.27” (thread twenty-seven)

R+L=J v.28” (thread twenty-eight)

R+L=J v.29” (thread twenty-nine)

R+L=J v.30” (thread thirty)

R+L=J v.31” (thread thirty-one)

R+L=J v.32” (thread thirty-two)

R+L=J #33” (thread thirty-three)

R+L=J v.34” (thread thirty-four)

R+L=J v.35” (thread thirty-five)

R+L=J v.36” (thread thirty-six)

R+L=J v.37” (thread thirty-seven)

R+L=J v.38” (thread thirty-eight)

R+L=J v.39” (thread thirty-nine)

"R+L=J v.40" (thread forty)


"R+L=J v. 41" (thread forty-one)

"R+L=J v.42" (thread forty-two)

"R+L=J v.43" (thread forty-three)

"R+L=J v.44" (thread forty-four)

"R+L=J v.45" (thread forty-five)

"R+L=J v.46" (thread forty-six)

"R+L=J v.47" (thread forty-seven)

"R+L=J v.48" (thread forty-eight)

"R+L=J v.49" (thread forty-nine)

"R+L=J v.50" (thread fifty)

"R+L=J v.51" (thread fifty-one)


"R+L=J v.52" (thread fifty-two)

"R+L=J v.53" (thread fifty-three)

"R+L=J v.54" (thread fifty=four)

"R+L=J v.55" (thread fifty-five)

"R+L=J v.56" (thread fifty-six)


"R+L=J v.57" (thread fifty-seven)

"R+L=J v 58" (thread fifty-eight)

"R+L=J v 59" (thread fifty-nine)

"R+L=J v 60" (thread sixty)

"R+L=J v 61" (thread sixty-one)

"R+L=J v 62" (thread sixty-two)

"R+L=J v 63" (thread sixty-three)

"R+L=J v 64" (thread sixty four)

"R+L=J v 65" (thread sixty five)

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Just sense I was on the GoT board? Weird...

It happens without warning sometimes ;)

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if this is true, who can convince the people of westeros that jon is truly the heir of rhaegar?
howland reed= no credibility

anybody reputable who can vouch for jon?

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if this is true, who can convince the people of westeros that jon is truly the heir of rhaegar?

howland reed= no credibility

anybody reputable who can vouch for jon?

This is one of the reasons some of us think that any claim Jon makes will be as a Stark, based on Robb's will.

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Well if you subscribe to the Arthur and Ashara Dayne are chilling in the swamps with Howland theory, Arthur would be the perfect person to stand witness.

Otherwise, ya, his claim will come as the ligetimized bastard of Ned Stark through Robb's will.

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Ashara Dayne knows, if she is still alive.



Also, the Hi8ghtowers might have some piece of info.



Lastly, I think Jaime might be able to figure it out, in which case he could vouchsafe for at least part of the story...


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Ashara Dayne knows, if she is still alive.

Also, the Hi8ghtowers might have some piece of info.

Lastly, I think Jaime might be able to figure it out, in which case he could vouchsafe for at least part of the story...

I had an idea that could be connected to this. That GRRM would reveal R+L=J during the story, but leave the question of Jon's legitimacy open ended, at least for a while.

Much like what takes place in this very thread almost daily, I could imagine an in-universe debate arising over the issue. If something like this happened, I could definitely see Jaime believing that Jon was legitimate, based at least partially on his experiences with his first LC, Ser Gerold Hightower.

“As for Lord Rickard, the steel of his breastplate turned cherry-red before the end, and his gold melted off his spurs and dripped down into the fire. I stood at the foot of the Iron Throne in my white armor and white cloak, filling my head with thoughts of Cersei. After, Gerold Hightower himself took me aside and said to me, ‘You swore a vow to guard the king, not to judge him.’ That was the White Bull, loyal to the end and a better man than me, all agree."
- ACoK, Catelyn VII (Jaime - Cat RR dungeon)

We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.
- AGoT, Eddard X (ToJ)

Lilly made this point here a few days ago, and I thought it was a potentially huge catch, tbh. We know exactly what LC Gerold Hightower is thinking when he says that KG "swore a vow."

It's a big clue for the audience imo, and I think it could be a big clue for Jaime as well.

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Ashara Dayne knows, if she is still alive.

Also, the Hi8ghtowers might have some piece of info.

Lastly, I think Jaime might be able to figure it out, in which case he could vouchsafe for at least part of the story...

I'm thinking Jon Connington might have a bit of a doubt if he ever gets to meet Jon. Same with Barristan Selmy.

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It's a big clue for the audience imo, and I think it could be a big clue for Jaime as well.

Provided that he somehow learns/figures out that the KG were up-to-date with the latest events, as the White Bull being in negligence of his sworn duty would be absolutely inconceivable for Jaime and he would inevitably start to wonder how this was possible.

- Should I think it ominous that we are starting this thread with ToJ? :D

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Much like what takes place in this very thread almost daily, I could imagine an in-universe debate arising over the issue. If something like this happened, I could definitely see Jaime believing that Jon was legitimate, based at least partially on his experiences with his first LC, Ser Gerold Hightower.

I would love this, the internet ASOIAF and book ASOIAF coalescing...

Lilly made this point here a few days ago, and I thought it was a potentially huge catch, tbh. We know exactly what LC Gerold Hightower is thinking when he says that KG "swore a vow."

It's a big clue for the audience imo, and I think it could be a big clue for Jaime as well.

:agree: Its a pretty awesome catch.

ETA grammar

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Rhaegar married Elia in the sight of the Seven, so he could also have married Lyanna in the sight of the Old Gods. The best place for a secret wedding ceremony for them could be the Isle of Faces. If that happened, Jon would be a legitimate child, and he would have a claim for the Iron Throne.


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Provided that he somehow learns/figures out that the KG were up-to-date with the latest events, as the White Bull being in negligence of his sworn duty would be absolutely inconceivable for Jaime and he would inevitably start to wonder how this was possible.

- Should I think it ominous that we are starting this thread with ToJ? :D

I'm not sure how much information Jaime would be privy to in this hypothetical scenario. Whatever else he might come to know, he is well acquainted with the LC's sense of duty. In the event that R+L=J becomes known but the question arises – legit or not? – I could see Jaime working out in his own mind that R&L were married. He knew LC Hightower was a dutiful man, and that his primary duty was to protect the king. Jaime will extrapolate from there once he finds out that R+L=J.

The more I think about it, the more I think it makes sense that we could find out R+L=J before we know for sure whether he was married or not, or; that is exactly what is supposed to happen in-universe. Maybe the audience will be told all of it, but the characters will be left to decide for themselves what to believe. In either case, I think Jaime would be able to work out that Jon is legit.

Aside from the verbal connection between the ToJ and RR dungeon scenes that Lilly pointed out, it occurs to me that Jaime is describing a fiery Stark to Cat when he relays the story of Rickard's death, which might be a subtle way of reinforcing R+L=J. Similar to ice dragon, but flipping that concept around.

If the above is true, I wonder if there isn't other foreshadowing in that scene; a crazy Targaryen (Dany) trying to burn a Stark (Jon, Rickon?), while a Brandon Stark struggles to save him. Hopefully this Brandon would succeed where the last failed.

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I'm not sure how much information Jaime would be privy to in this hypothetical scenario. Whatever else he might come to know, he is well acquainted with the LC's sense of duty. In the event that R+L=J becomes known but the question arises – legit or not? – I could see Jaime working out in his own mind that R&L were married. He knew LC Hightower was a dutiful man, and that his primary duty was to protect the king. Jaime will extrapolate from there once he finds out that R+L=J.

The more I think about it, the more I think it makes sense that we could find out R+L=J before we know for sure whether he was married or not, or; that is exactly what is supposed to happen in-universe. Maybe the audience will be told all of it, but the characters will be left to decide for themselves what to believe. In either case, I think Jaime would be able to work out that Jon is legit.

So far, I suppose that Jaime is not privy to anything concerning ToJ but I wonder very much what his thoughts on the three KG's absence might have been. He seems embittered towards Hightower and I would like to know why - because he was a paragon of honour while Jaime soiled his, or because he disagrees with Hightower's concept of honour and duty and thinks that he is getting the flak for doing the right thing. or because he thinks the Hightower himself abandoned his duty before the end?

As I think of it, we don't even need Jaime to figure out - all we need is him musing angrily that the fabulous White Bull foreswore his oath by stucking to Rhaegar's order instead of going to Viserys :P

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So far, I suppose that Jaime is not privy to anything concerning ToJ but I wonder very much what his thoughts on the three KG's absence might have been. He seems embittered towards Hightower and I would like to know why - because he was a paragon of honour while Jaime soiled his, or because he disagrees with Hightower's concept of honour and duty and thinks that he is getting the flak for doing the right thing. or because he thinks the Hightower himself abandoned his duty before the end?

As I think of it, we don't even need Jaime to figure out - all we need is him musing angrily that the fabulous White Bull foreswore his oath by stucking to Rhaegar's order instead of going to Viserys :P

Okay, but my point is that I think Jaime would come to the opposite conclusion about Ser Gerold's actions. :D

I think Jaime is unhappy that Hightower's sense of honor is held in such high esteem, while his is not worth a bucket of shit.

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Okay, but my point is that I think Jaime would come to the opposite conclusion about Ser Gerold's actions. :D

I'm not ruling his out at all - I just think that the bitterness might vent in seeking flaws with Hightower, and for our purposes, both positive and negative assessment would work if the clue is clearly stated.

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Baristan Selmy was too a member of the kingsguard. Maybe he'll get to that conclusion first and tell it to Daenerys. After all he was with Rhaegar and Jaime was with the mad king.

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If polygamy was still legal (although not frequently practised) for the Targs then why all this cloak & dagger stuff? Why didnt Rhaegar just marry Lyanna? Also, if Lyanna went with him willingly why not inform your own family about this especially since GRRM keeps emphasizing how high the Starks place things like honour & family & stuff? A lot of bloodshed could have been prevented. Maybe Ned could have convinced Robert to forget Lyanna entirely.




And if polygamy was illegal, well the same question about Lyanna. Didnt she think it would bring dishonour on her & her family if she ran off with Rhaegar? Also, the fact that her children will be bastards.


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If polygamy was still legal (although not frequently practised) for the Targs then why all this cloak & dagger stuff? Why didnt Rhaegar just marry Lyanna? Also, if Lyanna went with him willingly why not inform your own family about this especially since GRRM keeps emphasizing how high the Starks place things like honour & family & stuff? A lot of bloodshed could have been prevented. Maybe Ned could have convinced Robert to forget Lyanna entirely.

And if polygamy was illegal, well the same question about Lyanna. Didnt she think it would bring dishonour on her & her family if she ran off with Rhaegar? Also, the fact that her children will be bastards.

It has never been stated anywhere, neither in books nor in SSMs, that polygamy was illegal. To the contrary, GRRM made a vague statement about "having to make up some later instances" when asked about polygamy, without referring to any strict point beyond which polygamy was no longer allowed; this is in concord with Jorah's suggestion to Dany that she should take more than one spouse.

As for Rhaegar's action: he wouldn't be able to act without Aerys' permission, which, due to Aerys' mistrust (and perhaps even jealousy at Rhaegar's popularity as well as the fact that Aerys himself was not allowed to marry for love), was unlikely to be granted. Hence, Rhaegar perhaps thought it easier to ask forgiveness than permission, like many RL couples.

It is not stated that Lyanna didn't inform her family in any way; we do not know what exactly she or Rhaegar did or didn't. In fact, we do not even know what the Starks thought; from Jaime's sketchy recollection of Brandon's act, we know only that he seemed more intent on killing Rhaegar than on Lyanna's wellbeing as he doesn't mention her at all. We also know that the trigger for the rebellion was not the "abduction" itself but Aerys' mad response and bloodlust.

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Darn, I have the TOJ on my clipboard, ready to paste. Well, I'm going to paste it anyway, because no R+L thread is complete without it. First though, many people focus only on Rhaegar, some mention Lyanna in passing, but seem to discard any notion that she was a real lady of a prominent house, or had any scruples. We know that she had scruples, and disliked Robert because he had none. We also know that she sparred with the future first ranger, making a point that she could defend herself.

So, why did they go to the tower, and hide? Lyanna was betrothed to Robert. Aerys may have put his seal to the betrothal, and Rhaegar and Lyanna are both defying him if he did. They are also defying Rickard and Robert. If they wed it could be put aside, but if there was a child putting it aside would be far more difficult. So, they hid until the child was born. Better to ask for forgiveness than to ask permission.

What could be in Lyanna's tomb? I like the wedding cloak. A dragon egg is a nice touch, too. Even Rhagar's harp. But, what if there is a Targaryen seal ring? OOoo. I like that.

"I looked for you on the Trident,” Ned said to them.

Ned expected the majority of the Kingsguard to be present at the major battle. We know that three of them were present, and only Ser Barristan (barely) survived.

“We were not there,” Ser Gerold answered.

Ser Arthur Dayne and Oswell Whent are with Rhaegar when Lyanna enters the company of the prince. The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard answers this, so none of previous comment can be directed at Arthur or Oswell directly, and Gerold is accepting responsibility for their actions. There is no surprise about events on the Trident expressed by Gerold or Oswell in the next line.

“Woe to the Usurper if we had been,” said Ser Oswell.

This states that Robert is considered a usurper by these Kingsguard, or at least by Oswell. He does use the term "we" and implies that Robert could not have won the battle if these three had been allowed to enter into it.

“When King's Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were.”

Ned relays that King's Landing has fallen and Aerys is dead. Again, Ned expresses his surprise to not see these three Kingsguard doing their duty of protecting and defending the king.

“Far away,” Ser Gerold said, “or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells.”

The Lord Commander says that their duties were elsewhere, too far away to do anything about the events Ned is relating. He condemns Jaime as a Oathbreaker, and implies that he or one of these others would certainly kill Jaime rather than let him slay the king. This reaffirms their loyalty to the Targaryen dynasty.

“I came down on Storm's End to lift the siege,” Ned told them, and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them.”

Ned tells them that all remaining forces surrendered to him, and pledged fealty to Robert and Ned. He expected to find the last of the Kingsguard with these forces, but again was surprised to note that they were not. This is an invitation for the Kingsguard to surrender to him.

“Our knees do not bend easily,” said Ser Arthur Dayne.

Arthur speaks for the group, and says that they will not surrender.

“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”

This being placed here is important because Ned is now changing his offer. He sees that they will not surrender, but he does not want to fight them, he holds these knights in high regard, even years later. He offers them a chance to leave peacefully and do their duty by guarding the heir to the Targaryen dynasty, or so he thinks.

“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.

Ser Willem is a brother to Ser Jonothor Darry of the Kingsguard, and known well to these members of the Kingsguard.

“But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”

The Lord Commander correctly states that Viserys does not have a Kingsguard with him. He also says that the Kingsguard would not flee from their duty, to guard the king. On the night that news of the Trident arrived at King's Landing Aerys ordered that Rhaella and Viserys be taken to Dragonstone for their safety, as it appeared that King's Landing would be under siege shortly. Jaime was the only Kingsguard, and his duty was with the king, so Willem was drafted to protect the royal family members. If the Red Keep falls, and Aerys dies then Viserys was safe as long as he could stay alive on Dragonstone. The majority of the fighting men had gone with Rhaegar, and mustering enough men to defend the city or just the Red Keep may be difficult. The Kingsguard are stating that they would not flee King's Landing, as their duty was to protect and defend the king, and they would stay to fulfill their vow.

“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.

Arthur reiterates that the Kingsguard would not have chosen to leave King's Landing to protect the royal family, over doing their duty to protect and defend the king (then). This lends some credance to the curse of Jaime, earlier. But, the meaning of now has a great deal more weight to it. Not only do they point out their vow, later, but this line also says that they are guarding a king at this location, and they are unwilling to take Ned's offer to leave this king and flee to Dragonstone in relative safety to guard another heir.

“We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.

Now, we should be certain that there is a king present, the Lord Commander has decided that all three would remain to protect the king. Several things contribute to this conclusion:

• The White Bull, as Ser Gerold is known, is quite the stickler when it comes to the comport of Kingsguard duties.
• Ser Gerold does not have a friendship with Rhaegar that would favor this decision.
• Ser Gerold has already stated that he would slay Jaime to protect Aerys.
• Ser Gerold still has a responsibility to see to the safety of the king, and keeping Arthur and Oswell with him only protects the king if the king is present at the tower.

Ned’s wraiths moved up beside him, with shadow swords in hand. They were seven against three.

“And now it begins,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.

The final, or most important battle of the Targaryen dynasty. The mindset of the Kingsguard is that they will win the battle, and keep the secret at the tower safe until they can move to safety. Arthur is confident in the outcome.

“No,” Ned said with sadness in his voice. “Now it ends.”

Ned knows the outcome, and he regrets that he had to kill the three finest knights in the kingdom. There is no blame for participating in taking Lyanna, which argues that Lyanna was never dishonored, but more likely freely participated.

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