Ygrain

R+L=J v.162

661 posts in this topic

On ‎8‎/‎5‎/‎2016 at 8:41 PM, ser charles candle said:

Bastard or not they would rally behind The last Dragon's son. If he is Rhaegars son, it would explain the Kingsguard's presence.

But, it would not explain why they stayed when there was another possible heir, unless Jon is not a bastard.  It also does not explain why Ned held the Kingsguard in such high regard, unless they were fulfilling their vow and dying for their king. 

Ned let Jon go north and spend time with the Night's Watch because he could not very well take Jon with him to King's Landing, where people may see the resemblance and start gossiping about it.  And, he could not leave Jon in Winterfell and be sure that there would be peace with Jon and Catelyn.  Jon did want to go to the Wall, and it was certainly an option that was worth exploring, following in Aemon's footsteps.  But, until Jon came of age, he was not going to join the Night's Watch, and that gave Ned some time. . . .

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1 hour ago, MtnLion said:

But, it would not explain why they stayed when there was another possible heir, unless Jon is not a bastard.  It also does not explain why Ned held the Kingsguard in such high regard, unless they were fulfilling their vow and dying for their king. 

Ned let Jon go north and spend time with the Night's Watch because he could not very well take Jon with him to King's Landing, where people may see the resemblance and start gossiping about it.  And, he could not leave Jon in Winterfell and be sure that there would be peace with Jon and Catelyn.  Jon did want to go to the Wall, and it was certainly an option that was worth exploring, following in Aemon's footsteps.  But, until Jon came of age, he was not going to join the Night's Watch, and that gave Ned some time. . . .

I'm of the opinion that the promises that Ned kept and failed to keep are two folds of the same coin, Jon.

Promise kept: to keep Jon safe and able to live a life worthy of a highborn, but not in the name.

Promise failed: to reveal to Jon his true origin when he's able to understand or when he wants to find out.

“...Your boy will be safe. I will find a wet nurse for him and he’ll be raised here at Castle Black Winterfell under my protection. He’ll learn to hunt and ride, to fight with sword and axe and bow. I’ll even see that he is taught to read and write.” Sam would like that. “And when he is old enough, he will learn the truth of who he is. He’ll be free to seek you out if that is what he wants.”

“They were as close as brothers, once.” Jon wondered if Joffrey would keep his father as the King’s Hand. It did not seem likely. That might mean Lord Eddard would return to Winterfell, and his sisters as well. He might even be allowed to visit them, with Lord Mormont’s permission. It would be good to see Arya’s grin again and to talk with his father. I will ask him about my mother, he resolved. I am a man now, it is past time he told me. Even if she was a whore, I don’t care, I want to know.

I'm of the opinion that Ned was conflicted with the second part of the promise from Lyanna... once Robert became king.  Ned break this promise to Lyanna because to give it true justice and honor is to open the door of treason against the current king, Robert or the true heir and king, Jon.  

That is why...

The thought of Jon filled Ned with a sense of shame, and a sorrow too deep for words. If only he could see the boy again, sit and talk with him …

**There is no need for Ned to feel "a sense of shame" and "sorrow too deep for words", he did an honorable thing to keep his sister's son alive and safe, unless... there was a second part of the promise to his sister, to which he failed to fulfill in his "living" life.

**Ned will fulfill it in spirit via Bran...

The mention of dreams reminded him. “I dreamed about the crow again last night. The one with three eyes. He flew into my bedchamber and told me to come with him, so I did. We went down to the crypts. Father was there, and we talked. He was sad.”
“And why was that?” Luwin peered through his tube.
It was something to do about Jon, I think.” The dream had been deeply disturbing, more so than any of the other crow dreams.

And a fellow RLJ fan here or on Reddit once said that Ned received the "king's justice" ultimately in the end.  He was beheaded because he was the "true" usurper against the Targaryen monarchy... by denying Jon his true birthright.

Edited by IceFire125

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1 hour ago, MtnLion said:

But, it would not explain why they stayed when there was another possible heir, unless Jon is not a bastard.  It also does not explain why Ned held the Kingsguard in such high regard, unless they were fulfilling their vow and dying for their king. 

Ned let Jon go north and spend time with the Night's Watch because he could not very well take Jon with him to King's Landing, where people may see the resemblance and start gossiping about it.  And, he could not leave Jon in Winterfell and be sure that there would be peace with Jon and Catelyn.  Jon did want to go to the Wall, and it was certainly an option that was worth exploring, following in Aemon's footsteps.  But, until Jon came of age, he was not going to join the Night's Watch, and that gave Ned some time. . . .

For me, Id say that the fact that the White Bull was there is the main indicator that Jon is no bastard. If they stayed there under ORDERS to protect Lyanna and the bastard he would have left looking for Vyserys after the news of the Trident. From Gerolds comment to Jamie about their vows, he wouldnt be there protecting a hostage or a bastard. That being said, it's still hard to ca it with the limited information we have.

I dont think he let Jon go to see the opportunity, he let him go to join the Watch.

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19 hours ago, MtnLion said:

But, it would not explain why they stayed when there was another possible heir, unless Jon is not a bastard.  It also does not explain why Ned held the Kingsguard in such high regard, unless they were fulfilling their vow and dying for their king. . . .

There are a few misconceptions and misunderstandings that lead to his notion. First, when it comes to the Kingsguard's vows, and specifically the protection of the king, it should be noted that the concept of the 'king's body' is not merely the king himself, bodily, but everything constituting and ensuring his rule. Among other things, this would also include the kings claim, which would naturally extend to his heirs, both apparent and heirs presumptive.

Second, although Jon is indeed a bastard, being born out of wedlock, he is still the natural son of both the heir apparent to the Iron Throne, and fourth in the line of succession of Winterfell; so especially during times when the Throne itself is threatened, as it was during Robert's Rebellion, a bastard son of a Prince could under very specific circumstances become an heir (or at least have a claim) to the Throne. Therefore, the White Knights would have been well within the purview of their vow in protect Rhaegar's natural son at a time of war. In other words, the presence of the three Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy does not entail Jon being trueborn.

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19 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

 In other words, the presence of the three Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy does not entail Jon being trueborn.

Their presence by itself, it does not. The presence of all the remaining loyal KG along with zero interest in the supposed "main" heir is a different kettle of fish.

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7 hours ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

In other words, the presence of the three Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy does not entail Jon being trueborn.

As Ygrain says, that all three remain and proudly announce that they are Kingsguard and have sworn an oath as the reason that they stand and fight to the death says all that needs to be said.  It might be worth reading the link to "at the tower of joy" in my signature.  "The kingsguard were once a wonder, a shining example to the world.  The greatest among them was Ser Arthur Dayne."  Why does Ned say this?  It is because they were true to their vows, as he knows, and many readers don't have a clear understanding of.  Reflected on Ned's feelings about Jaime.  (Quote is in the link.) 

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17 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Their presence by itself, it does not. The presence of all the remaining loyal KG along with zero interest in the supposed "main" heir is a different kettle of fish.

 

10 hours ago, MtnLion said:

As Ygrain says, that all three remain and proudly announce that they are Kingsguard and have sworn an oath as the reason that they stand and fight to the death says all that needs to be said.  It might be worth reading the link to "at the tower of joy" in my signature.  "The kingsguard were once a wonder, a shining example to the world.  The greatest among them was Ser Arthur Dayne."  Why does Ned say this?  It is because they were true to their vows, as he knows, and many readers don't have a clear understanding of.  Reflected on Ned's feelings about Jaime.  (Quote is in the link.) 

@MtnLion, as I argued previously, there is no contradiction here -- Hightower, Dayne and Whent would have been well within the purview of their vows protecting a bastard of the heir apparent to the Throne (since in the absence of living legitimate heirs, such a bastard would have a significant claim to the Throne if he were legitimised, thus making him a potential heir at the time of battle at the Tower of Joy). So far there has been no textual evidence which would compel me to believe otherwise.

And thank you for reminding me about your excellent post about the Tower of Joy; it summed up how the text contradicts @Ygrain in that (1) when the three Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy left King's Landing, the King and his family were left with one Kingsguard (Jamie) and a trusted Knight (Ser Willem Darry); and (2) it appears they seemed to have learnt about the fate of the King, his children and his grandchildren from Ned.

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12 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

 

@MtnLion, as I argued previously, there is no contradiction here -- Hightower, Dayne and Whent would have been well within the purview of their vows protecting a bastard of the heir apparent to the Throne (since in the absence of living legitimate heirs, such a bastard would have a significant claim to the Throne if he were legitimised, thus making him a potential heir at the time of battle at the Tower of Joy). So far there has been no textual evidence which would compel me to believe otherwise.

No. The gist of the KG vows is defend the king and give their life for his, if need be. The KG can guard bastards but it is not their purpose, as Barristan tells us. 

12 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

And thank you for reminding me about your excellent post about the Tower of Joy; it summed up how the text contradicts @Ygrain in that (1) when the three Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy left King's Landing, the King and his family were left with one Kingsguard (Jamie) and a trusted Knight (Ser Willem Darry); and (2) it appears they seemed to have learnt about the fate of the King, his children and his grandchildren from Ned.

I'm like 100% with MtnLion in our views and interpretation of the ToJ sequence, so I don't really see what you perception of contradiction is.

BTW, unless the dream sequence is very distanced from the actual conversation, the KG's responses show no surprise, no shock, no anything that would imply they hadn't known.

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10 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

 

@MtnLion, as I argued previously, there is no contradiction here -- Hightower, Dayne and Whent would have been well within the purview of their vows protecting a bastard of the heir apparent to the Throne (since in the absence of living legitimate heirs, such a bastard would have a significant claim to the Throne if he were legitimised, thus making him a potential heir at the time of battle at the Tower of Joy). So far there has been no textual evidence which would compel me to believe otherwise.

I totally disagree.

A bastard Jon needs to be legitimized by a legit Targaryen king, in the eyes of those 3KGs at the tower.  That legitimate Targaryen, to their knowledge, was at Dragonstone and it appears, they have that information already before Ned came to the tower.  Thus by them staying at the tower instead of sending at least one KG to go to the now heir of the Targaryen monarchy, since knowing that Aerys, Rhaegar and baby Aegon has died, spoke with heavy volume.

They stayed, and they pumped their chest filled with pride that they were there because of their vow and they are, at that moment, Kingsguard.  And in that tower was someone with a much higher claim to their Kingsguard vow to that of Viserys.  That is person is baby Jon, who is the "true heir" to the throne... in their eyes.

And it's through their eyes that we find focus to why Ned had to keep it a secret of Jon's true identity.

Because...

“...We had come late to Robert’s cause. It was necessary to demonstrate our loyalty. When I laid those bodies before the throne, no man could doubt that we had forsaken House Targaryen forever. And Robert’s relief was palpable. As stupid as he was, even he knew that Rhaegar’s children had to die if his throne was ever to be secure. Yet he saw himself as a hero, and heroes do not kill children.”

**The moment Ned reveals Jon or somehow Jon's origin was found out anyone loyal to the Baratheon/Lannister crown, it would be the end of Jon.  Ned will be forced to "demonstrate his loyalty", if not Ned, Catelyn will be forced to make that choice to hand over Jon in secret (as she did with Jaime behind Robb's back) when it comes to Jon or the "children of her body."

**The moment Jon is released and somehow ended up in a house or camp loyal to House Targaryen, it will spark a royal cry of banners to be called to claim his "rightful" place on the Iron Throne.  Again, Ned will choose, to join Jon (a Stark blood through Lyanna) and fight a civil war against the Baratheon/Lannister crown or giving Jon to be killed or sent away not knowing what has happened to him.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, IceFire125 said:

A bastard Jon needs to be legitimized by a legit Targaryen king,

Is this an exhaustive list of all available options to legitimise a bastard? Hardly. Bastardy is not a biological affliction -- it's a social status. It can be defined legally, of course, but is still just a matter of enough of the right people recognising one's legitimacy.

Specifically, the one option that has been mentioned quite a bit in this and other threads, is the option of marriage. Of course, the most obvious notion is that a bastard's parents should be married before he is conceived; however, if a bastard's birth parents were to marry after birth, the bastard would be legitimised ex post factum.

43 minutes ago, IceFire125 said:

A bastard Jon needs to be legitimized by a legit Targaryen king, in the eyes of those 3KGs at the tower.  

That assertion is absolutely unfounded. There is no textual evidence, nor is it consistent with the proper concept of 'bastardy'.

43 minutes ago, IceFire125 said:

That legitimate Targaryen, to their knowledge, was at Dragonstone and it appears, they have that information already before Ned came to the tower.  Thus by them staying at the tower instead of sending at least one KG to go to the now heir of the Targaryen monarchy, since knowing that Aerys, Rhaegar and baby Aegon has died, spoke with heavy volume.

It is not unheard of that the Kingsguard would hand over the protection of the king's body to a knight not of their order (we even know that there is a rite for this). Therefore, to the best of their knowledge, Hightower, Dayne and Whent had left the protection of the king and his family to one member of the Kingsguard and one trusted knight. Thus, their presence at the Tower of Joy was not at the expense of any other duty they were sworn to perform.

As I argued before, the three Kingsguard's presence at the Tower of Joy was meaningful and indicative. However, since having royal blood in itself is a potential claim to the Throne -- which could become an actual claim under the right circumstances -- even royal bastards could be included under the purview of the Kingsguard's vow to protect the kings body; therefore, there is no basis to assume that their presence suggests anything beyond that Lyanna's child who they had been there to protect was of royal blood.

 

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27 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

Is this an exhaustive list of all available options to legitimise a bastard? Hardly. Bastardy is not a biological affliction -- it's a social status. It can be defined legally, of course, but is still just a matter of enough of the right people recognising one's legitimacy.

Funny, given the Westerosi prejudice against bastards, affliction might be just the right word.

As for a common consensus - no. A bastard is born out of wedlock, and the king's decree is the only thing that can amend the status. What the common consensus can decide is whether people mind someone being a bastard or not. Three KG =/= such a consensus.

 

27 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

Specifically, the one option that has been mentioned quite a bit in this and other threads, is the option of marriage. Of course, the most obvious notion is that a bastard's parents should be married before he is conceived; however, if a bastard's birth parents were to marry after birth, the bastard would be legitimised ex post factum.

In our particular case, the option is not available. Plus, the post-marriage legitimisation is not as clear-cut as you make it sound.

27 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

That assertion is absolutely unfounded. There is no textual evidence, nor is it consistent with the proper concept of 'bastardy'.

See above. Either marriage, or the king's decree. No other way around it.

27 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

It is not unheard of that the Kingsguard would hand over the protection of the king's body to a knight not of their order (we even know that there is a rite for this).

And we know that the said rite applied for the shortest time necessary, when the KG gathered to convene. Other than that, the only case of the KG not being with the king that we know of is when Aegon II was being smuggled out of KL under a heap of fish, in which case the KG presence would be a dead giveaway.

 

27 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

Therefore, to the best of their knowledge, Hightower, Dayne and Whent had left the protection of the king and his family to one member of the Kingsguard and one trusted knight. Thus, their presence at the Tower of Joy was not at the expense of any other duty they were sworn to perform.

Originally, it was not. However, after the Sack - or rather, once the KG learn of the Sack - that is no longer true. The other KG are either dead or defected, and the new Targ king has no KG with him.

27 minutes ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

As I argued before, the three Kingsguard's presence at the Tower of Joy was meaningful and indicative. However, since having royal blood in itself is a potential claim to the Throne -- which could become an actual claim under the right circumstances -- even royal bastards could be included under the purview of the Kingsguard's vow to protect the kings body; therefore, there is no basis to assume that their presence suggests anything beyond that Lyanna's child who they had been there to protect was of royal blood.

No, they definitely couldn't. The way you try to interpret the KG vows here basically equals protecting the king with protecting any relative that might succeed him, and that is simply not true. The KG primary duty, as Barristan informs us, is to protect the king. The protection can be extended to other family members, from whom the KG also take orders, but the king's protection takes precedence over everything and everyone. And at the time of the ToJ showdown, the three KG are in dereliction of their primary duty, unless a person with a better claim than Viserys is right there at ToJ.

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We know that Kingsguard have protected royal bastards in the past. Barristan Selmy tells us as much in ADwD. I don't think Jon Snow is a royal bastard but he very well could have been. The presence of the Kingsguard doesn't change that.

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First off, thanks for this discussion, it's much appreciated and enjoyed.

5 hours ago, Ygrain said:

No. The gist of the KG vows is defend the king and give their life for his, if need be. The KG can guard bastards but it is not their purpose, as Barristan tells us. 

If we follow your line of reasoning, it would follow that the three Kingsguard had no business at the Tower of Joy whatsoever. Unless, of course, they were ordered to be there by the king, or the prince. But if that were true, then once again, their presence at the Tower of Joy had no special meaning beyond following royal orders -- and it would definitely not suggest that Jon was not Rhaegar's bastard.

5 hours ago, Ygrain said:

I'm like 100% with MtnLion in our views and interpretation of the ToJ sequence, so I don't really see what you perception of contradiction is.

The contradiction would be with respect to your "[seemingly] zero interest" comment. They had left the king guarded with one of their own.

5 hours ago, Ygrain said:

BTW, unless the dream sequence is very distanced from the actual conversation, the KG's responses show no surprise, no shock, no anything that would imply they hadn't known.

If I recall the dream sequence, it was hardly very descriptive, and was barely more than dialogue. If I recall correctly, there were no more than two mentions of emotion about that scene, and one of them was Ned's. So we surely cannot say that they showed "no surprise, no shock, no anything", etc.

3 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Funny, given the Westerosi prejudice against bastards, affliction might be just the right word.

As for a common consensus - no. A bastard is born out of wedlock, and the king's decree is the only thing that can amend the status. What the common consensus can decide is whether people mind someone being a bastard or not. Three KG =/= such a consensus.

In our particular case, the option is not available. Plus, the post-marriage legitimisation is not as clear-cut as you make it sound.

See above. Either marriage, or the king's decree. No other way around it.

I think you're slowly gravitating toward my position. Basically, although you have just about all your facts straight, there is a slight anachronism in the assumption that the-law-is-the-law. It's not. The king is the embodiment of the law (it's "the king's peace" and "the kings justice", not the state's law and the states' justice). On the other hand, the king and his claim are only valid so long as he can hold on to his throne. In this vein, it totally agree that legitimisation is never clear-cut; that is why there is not absolute authority to determine questions of succession, and any such decision to legitimise a bastard is always as valid as the ability to enforce it. (And the same could be said for marriage, for instance.) I think the most telling piece of evidence pertaining to the succession to the Targaryen claim is given in one of Jamie's chapters in AFFC, where Jamie recalls Rhaegar revealing his intention to call a council once the Rebellion in put down.

3 hours ago, Ygrain said:

No, they definitely couldn't. The way you try to interpret the KG vows here basically equals protecting the king with protecting any relative that might succeed him, and that is simply not true. The KG primary duty, as Barristan informs us, is to protect the king. The protection can be extended to other family members, from whom the KG also take orders, but the king's protection takes precedence over everything and everyone. And at the time of the ToJ showdown, the three KG are in dereliction of their primary duty, unless a person with a better claim than Viserys is right there at ToJ.

So the Kingsguard don't protect any heir to the throne, but they do make considerations of succession when it comes to decided whether or not to guard the Tower of Joy? You make quite a bit of assumptions here about what the three Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy had known or had not known by the time Ned showed up, which are heavily reliant on questionable chronology, and have no support in the text.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We know that Kingsguard have protected royal bastards in the past. Barristan Selmy tells us as much in ADwD. I don't think Jon Snow is a royal bastard but he very well could have been. The presence of the Kingsguard doesn't change that.

I agree with @Lord Varys on this one. I believe that, R+L=J being true, most likely Rhaegar and Lyanna were not married (at least not formally), and so Jon was certainly a bastard. However, after re-reading the books, it seems to me that Rhaegar indeed had some sort of grand scheme in motion, as he confess to Jamie that he meant to call a council. My guess is that Rhaegar meant to depose his father peacefully, by having the council legitimise his and Lyanna's marriage, and ipso facto his son's claim, in order to consolidate an alliance with House Stark which would bring the North closer to the Iron Throne. Somehow, this has to tie in to the prophecies of The Prince That was Promised and Azor Ahai -- perhaps Rhaegar believed that his heirs would be the heroes who lead a united Seven Kingdoms against the White Walkers to prevent a second Long Night.

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1 minute ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

I agree with @Lord Varys on this one. I believe that, R+L=J being true, most likely Rhaegar and Lyanna were not married (at least not formally), and so Jon was certainly a bastard. However, after re-reading the books, it seems to me that Rhaegar indeed had some sort of grand scheme in motion, as he confess to Jamie that he meant to call a council. My guess is that Rhaegar meant to depose his father peacefully, by having the council legitimise his and Lyanna's marriage, and ipso facto his son's claim, in order to consolidate an alliance with House Stark which would bring the North closer to the Iron Throne. Somehow, this has to tie in to the prophecies of The Prince That was Promised and Azor Ahai -- perhaps Rhaegar believed that his heirs would be the heroes who lead a united Seven Kingdoms against the White Walkers to prevent a second Long Night.

Rhaegar's 'grand scheme' was to use the tourney at Harrenhal as the setting for a covert or informal Great Council where the madness of his royal father should have been discussed, either resulting in a forced abdication or a Regency (most likely with Rhaegar himself as Prince Regent). However, since Aerys himself attended the tourney nothing came of that.

Later on Rhaegar apparently intended to deal with his father in a different manner after he had defeated the rebels. But we have no idea how he intended to pull that off (Aerys actually had Rhaegar's wife and two elder children as hostages at this point).

Arguments based on the fever dream sequence are problematic, especially if you want to deduce duties and intentions of the Kingsguard at the tower from it. That makes little sense because we see everything filtered through Ned's dream mind in that dream of his rather than the actual events filtered through a conscious mind as is usually done when the people are awake.

The usual take that all three knights stayed at the tower doesn't prove anything in regards to the child in the tower, either, because the three knights seem to have abandoned Rhaegar and Aerys - then the king - in the past when they commanded them to stay at the tower. That is especially striking when Rhaegar himself leaves the tower without KG protection to return to KL.

The idea that one of them had to consider to go to Dragonstone to attend and protect Viserys III makes no sense whatsoever. First Viserys III could name his own Kingsguard, second they had no idea whether Aerys named new Kingsguard after the deaths of Prince Lewyn and Jonothor Darry at the Trident and whether one of those speculative replacement knights accompanied Viserys and Rhaella to Dragonstone.

If you get a special mission like those three Kingsguard clearly did get with Lyanna and her unborn child you most certainly do not change that mission on your own for no good reason. Especially not if you only have three men protecting Lyanna and the child and would reduce that to two or even one when splitting up at this point.

This whole line of argumentation is just stupid. It creates and miraculously resolves a non-existing problem.

The important question is why the hell the Kingsguard agreed to stay with Lyanna in the first place, not why the hell they were still with her when Ned arrived there.

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44 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The important question is why the hell the Kingsguard agreed to stay with Lyanna in the first place, not why the hell they were still with her when Ned arrived there.

That question goes hand-in-hand with the question of why Rhaegar left the Tower of Joy, alone, in the first place? And a related question too: how did Ned find the Tower of Joy in the first place?

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Just now, Wayward Sand Star said:

That question goes hand-in-hand with the question of why Rhaegar left the Tower of Joy, alone, in the first place? And a related question too: how did Ned find the Tower of Joy in the first place?

Both questions are as of yet without an answer.

However, we don't know whether Rhaegar left the tower completely alone. We know he began his journey as per TWoIaF with six companions. We don't know who they were but it wouldn't be far-fetched to assume that Dayne and Whent were with him from the start. Among the four others might have been Jon Connington, Rhaegar's former squire Myles Mooton (both of whom must have returned to KL at a later point since Connington became Hand and Mooton fought and died with Connington at Stoney Sept), and Rhaegar's other buddy, Richard Lonmouth. Some people have suggested Prince Lewyn might also have been with Rhaegar but I doubt that considering how Rhaegar had humiliated Elia at Harrenhal.

Now, since we don't know who the last guy might have been and considering that Lonmouth's whereabouts are as of yet completely unclear it would not surprise me one bit if Lonmouth and the other guy were with Rhaegar and Lyanna when Gerold Hightower found them and subsequently returned with them to KL.

Lonmouth is also a pretty good candidate to be Ned informant on the whereabouts of Lyanna, either directly or indirectly.

Although plenty of people at court could also have known where the hell Rhaegar had been assuming that Rhaegar talked about that after his return.

Some time ago I suggested that Ned ending up leading the rebel army to KL might have been partially motivated by his belief Lyanna was there and that he wanted to get to his sister first. If that's the case then Ned would only have learned where Lyanna was at KL. The idea that he learned that from people in Mace's party at Storm's End is very unlikely.

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1 hour ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

If we follow your line of reasoning, it would follow that the three Kingsguard had no business at the Tower of Joy whatsoever. Unless, of course, they were ordered to be there by the king, or the prince. But if that were true, then once again, their presence at the Tower of Joy had no special meaning beyond following royal orders -- and it would definitely not suggest that Jon was not Rhaegar's bastard.

No. I am just distinguishing between the time prior the Sack and aftewards. Prior, they could be simply following Rhaegar's orders and were perfectly justified in doing so, as there were four more KG who could guard Aerys (I don't think they were kept up-to-date with the distribution of their brethren but that hardly matters). Afterwards, there were no other KG left and it was up to the three of them to guard the king.

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The contradiction would be with respect to your "[seemingly] zero interest" comment. They had left the king guarded with one of their own.

After the Sack, there was no KG with the king. 

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If I recall the dream sequence, it was hardly very descriptive, and was barely more than dialogue. If I recall correctly, there were no more than two mentions of emotion about that scene, and one of them was Ned's. So we surely cannot say that they showed "no surprise, no shock, no anything", etc.

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

“We were not there,” Ser Gerold answered.

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

 

 

Now, imagine that you say "I looked for you at the Trident" to someone who doesn't know that there was a battle which the Rebels won. Do you think that the person's response will resemble that of Ser Gerold and Oswell? The way the KG respond indicates prior knowledge throughout the dialogue.

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Basically, although you have just about all your facts straight, there is a slight anachronism in the assumption that the-law-is-the-law. It's not. The king is the embodiment of the law (it's "the king's peace" and "the kings justice", not the state's law and the states' justice).

The law is the law. Unless the king interferes or some specific circumstances arise, the common law applies. And the same goes for the succession - the first son's son inherit before brother. 

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On the other hand, the king and his claim are only valid so long as he can hold on to his throne.

Uhm, no. The validity applies as long as the king has any followers. The KG call Robert "Usurper", hence they don't accept his authority and his claim and remain loyal to the Targaryens and their claims. Out of whom, Viserys is supposed to follow Aerys, but the KG's behaviour contradicts that.

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In this vein, it totally agree that legitimisation is never clear-cut; that is why there is not absolute authority to determine questions of succession,

There is the Grand council if succession is in doubt or there are valid reasons wh someone's claim should be jumped. Under normal circumstances, the above applies.

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and any such decision to legitimise a bastard is always as valid as the ability to enforce it. (And the same could be said for marriage, for instance.)

Any textual support for legitimisation other than by a king's decree? 

Not really sure what you mean here about marriages.

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I think the most telling piece of evidence pertaining to the succession to the Targaryen claim is given in one of Jamie's chapters in AFFC, where Jamie recalls Rhaegar revealing his intention to call a council once the Rebellion in put down.

And in what way is it telling? Rhaegar meant to succeed his father during his life, which is normally not done, and instead of arranging his father an accident or staging a coup he wanted to go about it legally. 

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So the Kingsguard don't protect any heir to the throne, but they do make considerations of succession when it comes to decided whether or not to guard the Tower of Joy?

I have no idea what you are trying to say here because I don't see how it relates to anything I said.

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You make quite a bit of assumptions here about what the three Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy had known or had not known by the time Ned showed up, which are heavily reliant on questionable chronology, and have no support in the text.

See above.

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I agree with @Lord Varys on this one. I believe that, R+L=J being true, most likely Rhaegar and Lyanna were not married (at least not formally), and so Jon was certainly a bastard. However, after re-reading the books, it seems to me that Rhaegar indeed had some sort of grand scheme in motion, as he confess to Jamie that he meant to call a council. My guess is that Rhaegar meant to depose his father peacefully, by having the council legitimise his and Lyanna's marriage, and ipso facto his son's claim, in order to consolidate an alliance with House Stark which would bring the North closer to the Iron Throne. Somehow, this has to tie in to the prophecies of The Prince That was Promised and Azor Ahai -- perhaps Rhaegar believed that his heirs would be the heroes who lead a united Seven Kingdoms against the White Walkers to prevent a second Long Night.

Pray, how do you depose a king by having your marriage acknowledged? 

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4 hours ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

I believe that, R+L=J being true, most likely Rhaegar and Lyanna were not married (at least not formally), and so Jon was certainly a bastard

What in Rhaegar's personality leads you to believe that he would not marry?

What in Lyanna's personality leads you to believe that:

  1. She would not marry?
  2. Would birth a bastard?

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3 hours ago, Wayward Sand Star said:

That question goes hand-in-hand with the question of why Rhaegar left the Tower of Joy, alone, in the first place? And a related question too: how did Ned find the Tower of Joy in the first place?

It is not logical for Rhaegar to travel from the tower back to King's Landing, through enemy territory, alone.  This leads to the idea that Whent and Dayne accompanied Rhagar at least far enough to see that he arrived safely, perhaps into the care of a Kingsguard that was in the field, or to the city gates.  Rhaegar had reason to ensure that neither Kingsguard could be summoned by the king, and it is logical that he sends them back to the tower.  Hightower was stuck at the tower, by Lyanna, since she (if married) deserved Kingsguard protection.  (I believe that they were married, and nothing, absolutely nothing solid can be produced that refutes that.  Everything we know about those two, their personalities, suggest that they married.)  Rhaegar may have given Whent and Dayne direction to arrive back at the tower on a specific day, ensuring that Hightower remained through the birth, too.  Once we have a legitimate male child at the tower, the dream dialog makes utter sense.  An illegitimate child does not make the dialog sensible. 

Edited by MtnLion

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On 8/9/2016 at 8:27 AM, Ygrain said:

Their presence by itself, it does not. The presence of all the remaining loyal KG along with zero interest in the supposed "main" heir is a different kettle of fish.

I think that is especially true when it comes to Hightower. I think the information we have to work with implies that Dayne and Whent were in on Rhaegar's plans, and had integral roles to play in carrying them out. Not only do they appear to have been in Rhaegar's small inner circle of half a dozen friends and confidants, but they seem to have been his most trusted men within that small group. I think they probably felt they were helping their prince do what was best for their king and his house, but I think Hightower would have seen it as pretty black and white. While I could see Dayne and Whent sticking around after Rhaegar, Aerys, and Aegon were dead to fulfill whatever they'd worked out with Rhaegar, I don't see Hightower sticking around once Rhaegar, Aerys, and Aegon are dead if he doesn't view Jon as the heir or king.

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