Seams

Baby swapping in Westeros

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Jon Snow is proud of his clever strategy of swapping Gilly/Craster's baby for Dalla/Mance's baby in order to protect the son of the "King Beyond The Wall", who might be targeted by Melisandre for one of her "king's blood" sacrifice rituals. Varys and/or Ilyrio claims that Rhaegar's infant son, Aegon, was switched with a low-born baby so that the Targaryen heir could be smuggled away from danger as Robert's Rebellion reached its bloody climax.

I suspect these are not the first or last instances of baby swapping done with the intention of hiding the identity of a baby who is at risk. It would not surprise me at all if high born women and/or the wet nurses and maids who surrounded them had methods of protecting children who might be threatened. GRRM has given us the fairytale creature called a grumkin who can grant wishes, "magic up" a sword or perpetrate a baby swap, and we know that fairy stories are one of the author's tools for foreshadowing or dropping hints about past mysteries:

Sansa could never understand how two sisters, born only two years apart, could be so different. It would have been easier if Arya had been a bastard, like their half brother Jon. She even looked like Jon, with the long face and brown hair of the Starks, and nothing of their lady mother in her face or her coloring. And Jon's mother had been common, or so people whispered. Once, when she was littler, Sansa had even asked Mother if perhaps there hadn't been some mistake. Perhaps the grumkins had stolen her real sister. But Mother had only laughed and said no, Arya was her daughter and Sansa's trueborn sister, blood of their blood. Sansa could not think why Mother would want to lie about it, so she supposed it had to be true.

(AGoT, Sansa I)

If the maids and ladies in waiting had created a network to spirit away highborn babies to a safe place, they would also want those babies to be raised in a way that was consistent with their noble birth and, presumably, a way for them to be restored to their true parents or titles at a time when the danger had passed. So the swapped babies would probably be sent to other noble houses where they could learn needlework or swordsmanship or other things a highborn person would need to know.

The immediate candidates I have in mind as possible swapped babies are the children born to King Aerys and Queen Rhaella between the birth of Rhaegar in 259 and Dany in 284. The stillbirths and deaths of five children were factors - if not the principal factor - that drove Aerys mad. The King thought the gods might have killed some of the babies because he suspected his wife had been unfaithful. But he got past that suspicion and then began to fear poison.

What if Rhaella and/or her supporters were also suspicious that someone was poisoning her babies? After the first couple of unexpected deaths, what if they took steps to hide the royal infant to keep the unknown assassins from targeting the babies? I suspect Rhaella would have been in on any deliberate swap, because the mother of the baby would presumably recognize if someone handed her the wrong infant for a maternal visit. I suppose the use of wet nurses might minimize a mother's contact with a young child, however, and it might even be possible to fool a birth mother who was not particularly attentive.

Perhaps you can guess my first candidate for a swapped Targaryen heir: Darkstar. The wiki says he was born between 270 and 274, which means he would be the right age for either Aegon (born 272) or Jaehaerys (born 274). I suspect I'm not the first person to have thought of this, so I apologize if this has already been discussed.

Because Gilly seems to be parallel in some ways to Lyanna, the known swap in Gilly's story leads me to wonder whether there was also a swap of babies involving Lyanna's child.

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It's occured to me that Young Griff might have been swapped out somehow.  This would include either Young Griff being Illyrio's son with Illyrio swapping Aegon for his son (even tricking Varys), or Young Griff being a Stark bastard with him being swapped out for Lyanna's babe in some way.

If the latter, the inverse is also possible with Jon (ironically?) being the Stark bastard and Young Griff being Lyanna's son; whomever gave Jon to Ned  (I'm assuming Ashara) told Ned that Jon was Lyanna's son thinking that Ned would put Jon on the throne.

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This is a very interesting theory and could be used to tie a few other theories together, but I don't want to muddy up this thread with trying to randomly connect theories.  A swap with Lyanna's baby (babies perhaps?) would be easier to find if we knew how recessive Stark genes are.  Looking at our best examples we have Ned, Jon, and Arya with traditional Stark looks but Robb, Sansa, and Bran took from the Tully side.  So from this we can presume that the Stark genes aren't as strong as say Baratheons where a whole lot of bastards looked like King Bob.

So, if R+L=J could there possibly have been a twin either identical or fraternal that might have been swept off?  I don't know. 

Could Jon truly be the Bastard of Ned Stark and just a red herring within the Lyanna saga? I can't wait to find out 

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I think we need to be careful about overdoing it here. Jon's baby swap lends legitimacy to Varys' baby swap story. But like hidden identities I don't think GRRM is going to have a lot of babies who have been swapped.

The idea of one of the Targaryen babies being taken away to safety works without a swap. As long as Aerys doesn't see the body or witness the cremation, they could pull it off without a stunt double baby.

2 hours ago, Winter prince said:

This is a very interesting theory and could be used to tie a few other theories together, but I don't want to muddy up this thread with trying to randomly connect theories.  A swap with Lyanna's baby (babies perhaps?) would be easier to find if we knew how recessive Stark genes are.  Looking at our best examples we have Ned, Jon, and Arya with traditional Stark looks but Robb, Sansa, and Bran took from the Tully side.  So from this we can presume that the Stark genes aren't as strong as say Baratheons where a whole lot of bastards looked like King Bob.

So, if R+L=J could there possibly have been a twin either identical or fraternal that might have been swept off?  I don't know. 

Could Jon truly be the Bastard of Ned Stark and just a red herring within the Lyanna saga? I can't wait to find out 

That depends on what genes they are being combined with. Ned is the product of two half-Stark parents. Stark genes could yield to Tully, but not to Blackwood, or not to Targaryen. Baratheon always overpowers Lannister, but not necessarily anybody else...in fact it's the Durrandon coloring that House Baratheon is famous for.

Yes. If there's a twin, Aegon is the most likely. Dany is technically possible but requires GRRM to have come really close to lying to fans, and he has never lied to the fans.

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Not to diminish the ideas put forth in the OP in any way shape or form.  Because there are so many external influences throughout the entire series it may just be possible Martin himself has purposely muddied the waters with the idea of baby swaps.  

However, who is Allyria Dayne, hell who is Edric Dayne as far as that goes?   They had no parents but somehow managed to keep a wet nurse for ever?  These missing/stillborn/early dead children of the Targs is a suspicious thing.   My buddy was musing right along these lines only a few months ago.   Certainly if Rhaella was smart and clever she could have her children hidden.  But why keep Viserys? I get Rhaegar and Dany, but not the middle child.  Where is Septa Lemore's child?  We have a lot of unsatisfactorily explained missing babies and teenagers in ASOIAF.  

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2 hours ago, Isobel Harper said:

It's occured to me that Young Griff might have been swapped out somehow.  This would include either Young Griff being Illyrio's son with Illyrio swapping Aegon for his son (even tricking Varys), or Young Griff being a Stark bastard with him being swapped out for Lyanna's babe in some way.

If the latter, the inverse is also possible with Jon (ironically?) being the Stark bastard and Young Griff being Lyanna's son; whomever gave Jon to Ned  (I'm assuming Ashara) told Ned that Jon was Lyanna's son thinking that Ned would put Jon on the throne.

Young Griff's story does seem like one of the areas where we haven't been told the full story, so it's possible to make some interesting guesses. I have been in the camp of "Yes, he's really Aegon" because he wore a floppy straw hat (as did Egg) when he was introduced to the reader. But that doesn't really tell us much about his genes.

I keep thinking there has to be an unexpected twist to Jon Snow's identity. I've tried to play out some wild scenarios in my mind, but I think GRRM is really going to pull a big surprise.

2 hours ago, Winter prince said:

This is a very interesting theory and could be used to tie a few other theories together, but I don't want to muddy up this thread with trying to randomly connect theories.  A swap with Lyanna's baby (babies perhaps?) would be easier to find if we knew how recessive Stark genes are.  Looking at our best examples we have Ned, Jon, and Arya with traditional Stark looks but Robb, Sansa, and Bran took from the Tully side.  So from this we can presume that the Stark genes aren't as strong as say Baratheons where a whole lot of bastards looked like King Bob.

So, if R+L=J could there possibly have been a twin either identical or fraternal that might have been swept off?  I don't know. 

Could Jon truly be the Bastard of Ned Stark and just a red herring within the Lyanna saga? I can't wait to find out 

Twins, wards, changelings, milk brothers, bastards who turn up unexpectedly (= Ramsay) - there are lots of ways that GRRM is playing around with paternity and maternity and hidden children. I agree that it will be exciting to find out where and what the secrets are.

I have some suspicions about Catelyn's fidelity, to be honest. She says at one point that she and Ned had a difficult start to their marriage but they learned to love each other. I wonder what happened before she married Ned and/or before she fell in love with him. Her arc is similar in many ways to Cersei's arc, and we know that Cersei wasn't faithful to her husband. People explain Littlefinger's claim that he deflowered Catelyn by saying that he was confused the first night that Lysa seduced him. But he and Catelyn were in the same castle for a lot of nights - there may have been another seduction with the real Catelyn that we haven't yet seen. Of course, we also know that Catelyn was betrothed to Brandon Stark, and that he liked to deflower virgins.

There may be more than the strength of Tully genes to explain why Robb and Sansa don't look like Ned.

50 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

I think we need to be careful about overdoing it here. Jon's baby swap lends legitimacy to Varys' baby swap story. But like hidden identities I don't think GRRM is going to have a lot of babies who have been swapped.

The idea of one of the Targaryen babies being taken away to safety works without a swap. As long as Aerys doesn't see the body or witness the cremation, they could pull it off without a stunt double baby.

That depends on what genes they are being combined with. Ned is the product of two half-Stark parents. Stark genes could yield to Tully, but not to Blackwood, or not to Targaryen. Baratheon always overpowers Lannister, but not necessarily anybody else...in fact it's the Durrandon coloring that House Baratheon is famous for.

Yes. If there's a twin, Aegon is the most likely. Dany is technically possible but requires GRRM to have come really close to lying to fans, and he has never lied to the fans.

I agree that there won't be a lot of babies who have been swapped. One possibility is that the boy Dany believed to be her brother, Viserys, was actually a substitute, with the real Viserys sent off as a baby to a safe location. The people in on the secret thought that Viserys would be killed as an infant, but perhaps the departure for Dragonstone or some other disruption prevented the assassin from killing him as he had killed the other royal babies. So this changeling grew up thinking he was the last dragon, but he was really just a baby purchased from a brothel who was supposed to have died before his first birthday.

35 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

Not to diminish the ideas put forth in the OP in any way shape or form.  Because there are so many external influences throughout the entire series it may just be possible Martin himself has purposely muddied the waters with the idea of baby swaps.  

However, who is Allyria Dayne, hell who is Edric Dayne as far as that goes?   They had no parents but somehow managed to keep a wet nurse for ever?  These missing/stillborn/early dead children of the Targs is a suspicious thing.   My buddy was musing right along these lines only a few months ago.   Certainly if Rhaella was smart and clever she could have her children hidden.  But why keep Viserys? I get Rhaegar and Dany, but not the middle child.  Where is Septa Lemore's child?  We have a lot of unsatisfactorily explained missing babies and teenagers in ASOIAF.  

Purposely muddied is a possibility. If all the scenarios discussed in this forum came true, GRRM would not be able to finish the series in two books, for sure.

The Dayne connection really piques my interest in terms of possible hidden babies. The Edric "Ned" situation as the son of a deceased sibling and a milk brother of Jon Snow seems just a little too fishy. What's the rest of that story, as you say.

I wonder about both Septa Lemore's child and about Septa Mordane at Winterfell (even though we never see her stretch marks).

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Dany thinks Viserys and Rhaegar are nearly identical. If her vision of Rhaegar was accurate to his true appearance, it makes a Viserys swap unlikely.

ACOK Daenerys IV: Viserys, was her first thought the next time she paused, but a second glance told her otherwise. The man had her brother's hair, but he was taller, and his eyes were a dark indigo rather than lilac. "Aegon," he said to a woman nursing a newborn babe in a great wooden bed. "What better name for a king?"

ACOK Daenerys V: 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."

Rhaegar's eyes are described elsewhere as purple rather than indigo, which is odd. Maybe continuity error?

AFFC Cersei V: When she had been presented to him, Cersei had almost drowned in the depths of his sad purple eyes.

 

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Posted (edited)

On 3/8/2017 at 6:46 PM, Lollygag said:

Dany thinks Viserys and Rhaegar are nearly identical. If her vision of Rhaegar was accurate to his true appearance, it makes a Viserys swap unlikely.

ACOK Daenerys IV: Viserys, was her first thought the next time she paused, but a second glance told her otherwise. The man had her brother's hair, but he was taller, and his eyes were a dark indigo rather than lilac. "Aegon," he said to a woman nursing a newborn babe in a great wooden bed. "What better name for a king?"

ACOK Daenerys V: 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."

Rhaegar's eyes are described elsewhere as purple rather than indigo, which is odd. Maybe continuity error?

AFFC Cersei V: When she had been presented to him, Cersei had almost drowned in the depths of his sad purple eyes.

Good point - I forgot about that basis for comparison. So the missing brothers Aegon and Jaehaerys would still be my most likely changeling candidates, but they would have to have the Targ features.

Edited by Seams

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9 hours ago, Seams said:

Jon Snow is proud of his clever strategy of swapping Gilly/Craster's baby for Dalla/Mance's baby in order to protect the son of the "King Beyond The Wall", who might be targeted by Melisandre for one of her "king's blood" sacrifice rituals. Varys and/or Ilyrio claims that Rhaegar's infant son, Aegon, was switched with a low-born baby so that the Targaryen heir could be smuggled away from danger as Robert's Rebellion reached its bloody climax.

I suspect these are not the first or last instances of baby swapping done with the intention of hiding the identity of a baby who is at risk. It would not surprise me at all if high born women and/or the wet nurses and maids who surrounded them had methods of protecting children who might be threatened. GRRM has given us the fairytale creature called a grumkin who can grant wishes, "magic up" a sword or perpetrate a baby swap, and we know that fairy stories are one of the author's tools for foreshadowing or dropping hints about past mysteries:

Sansa could never understand how two sisters, born only two years apart, could be so different. It would have been easier if Arya had been a bastard, like their half brother Jon. She even looked like Jon, with the long face and brown hair of the Starks, and nothing of their lady mother in her face or her coloring. And Jon's mother had been common, or so people whispered. Once, when she was littler, Sansa had even asked Mother if perhaps there hadn't been some mistake. Perhaps the grumkins had stolen her real sister. But Mother had only laughed and said no, Arya was her daughter and Sansa's trueborn sister, blood of their blood. Sansa could not think why Mother would want to lie about it, so she supposed it had to be true.

(AGoT, Sansa I)

If the maids and ladies in waiting had created a network to spirit away highborn babies to a safe place, they would also want those babies to be raised in a way that was consistent with their noble birth and, presumably, a way for them to be restored to their true parents or titles at a time when the danger had passed. So the swapped babies would probably be sent to other noble houses where they could learn needlework or swordsmanship or other things a highborn person would need to know.

The immediate candidates I have in mind as possible swapped babies are the children born to King Aerys and Queen Rhaella between the birth of Rhaegar in 259 and Dany in 284. The stillbirths and deaths of five children were factors - if not the principal factor - that drove Aerys mad. The King thought the gods might have killed some of the babies because he suspected his wife had been unfaithful. But he got past that suspicion and then began to fear poison.

What if Rhaella and/or her supporters were also suspicious that someone was poisoning her babies? After the first couple of unexpected deaths, what if they took steps to hide the royal infant to keep the unknown assassins from targeting the babies? I suspect Rhaella would have been in on any deliberate swap, because the mother of the baby would presumably recognize if someone handed her the wrong infant for a maternal visit. I suppose the use of wet nurses might minimize a mother's contact with a young child, however, and it might even be possible to fool a birth mother who was not particularly attentive.

Perhaps you can guess my first candidate for a swapped Targaryen heir: Darkstar. The wiki says he was born between 270 and 274, which means he would be the right age for either Aegon (born 272) or Jaehaerys (born 274). I suspect I'm not the first person to have thought of this, so I apologize if this has already been discussed.

Because Gilly seems to be parallel in some ways to Lyanna, the known swap in Gilly's story leads me to wonder whether there was also a swap of babies involving Lyanna's child.

Darkstar as Jaerherys has been something I have been mulling over since the release of the World Book. All the other kids who died or were stillborn are all grouped up then Jaeherys gets like three paragraphs. Ages fit, has the look, and the attitude.

Also he was apparently poisoned by one of Aery's lovers. Darkstar was weaned on venom. Martin is being coy with us again.

Also I think Rhaelle smuggling her baby to the Princess of Dorne and getting it appear to be poisoned seems plausible to me. After all the result was Aerys penance and he stops taking lovers after that. Then a few years later we get Viserys after Aerys became less of an arse.

Also would explain a great deal about Doran's plans if he had a Targaryen hidden away in the mountains of Dorne.

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It's pretty clear that Sansa was swapped in, to replace one of Ned's. Likewise Robb, Bran and Rickon. Only Arya is a legitimate Stark. (Jon Snow is Stark on his mother's side.) Because of the strong Tully looks that Sansa, Robb, Bran and Rickon have, it's clear that these were actually Lysa's children. She had them shipped up to Winterfell and told Jon Arryn that the babies had all died. (It probably isn't hard to pick up a dead baby for a few coins in Flea Alley.) Catelyn had only one actual pregnancy, Arya. She was glad to cover for her beloved sister.

Lysa then kept the worst of her brood, little Robert, to give her husband the illusion she had provided him with an heir and knowing the child was so weak that he'd probably never reach adulthood to take power on his own. This would leave Lysa in control as Regent, and permit her to eventually romance the Man of Her Dreams.

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Posted (edited)

Double post...

Edited by Lord Wraith
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11 hours ago, Seams said:

Jon Snow is proud of his clever strategy of swapping Gilly/Craster's baby for Dalla/Mance's baby in order to protect the son of the "King Beyond The Wall", who might be targeted by Melisandre for one of her "king's blood" sacrifice rituals.

I believe there's a level of irony here: the real prize is Gilly's baby because it has Craster's "black blood" (which is short hand for Hoare ancestry) concentrated due to multi-generational inbreeding. "King's blood" because power resides where men believe it resides: you don't need a real King as long as people believe it's a king burning (which is why Rattleshirt glamoured to look like Mance is a viable alternative.) King's blood as actually an aspect of shadowbinding, not blood magic.

Blood magic is the understanding of bloodlines and the psychic/magical powers therein. So from a blood magic perspective, it's Gilly's baby that's relevant.

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9 hours ago, Seams said:

I have some suspicions about Catelyn's fidelity, to be honest. She says at one point that she and Ned had a difficult start to their marriage but they learned to love each other. I wonder what happened before she married Ned and/or before she fell in love with him. Her arc is similar in many ways to Cersei's arc, and we know that Cersei wasn't faithful to her husband. People explain Littlefinger's claim that he deflowered Catelyn by saying that he was confused the first night that Lysa seduced him. But he and Catelyn were in the same castle for a lot of nights - there may have been another seduction with the real Catelyn that we haven't yet seen. Of course, we also know that Catelyn was betrothed to Brandon Stark, and that he liked to deflower virgins.

There may be more than the strength of Tully genes to explain why Robb and Sansa don't look like Ned.

Interesting suggestion ! I don't buy for the present, because we have Catelyn's PoV and GRRM would have let some clues about such a thing, but I think there is something like that in the past/origins of the Stark of Winterfell. In one word, I'm now really wondering if the direwolf Stark was a truly heir of an old "king of the North", or if the trueborn wasn't the man sacrified to the Winterfell's weirwood (the one I think reputed as a bastard) by a woman with white hairs - old king's wife.  

That makes me think to another possibility (a "bonus possibility") that could be suggested with the vision of the pregnant woman emerging from a Winterfell's lake begging the gods to give her a son to avenge her : in my hypothesis of an "origins scenario", a maiden was fist promised/married to the king (the eldest son of the old king), but with the death of this king, she was forced to marry the 3rd son, as the heir of his brother (the 2nd son couldn't inherit for some reason like : renouncement like Aemon did in Egg's favor/as "bird character" he was too weak/he was crippled like Bran/he had disappear to become a greenseer/other parallelism with known situation ^^). BUT, this maid was in love with a 4th character : the bastard (maybe not in love : maybe she was raped). And she was pregnant from this bastard. 

We are all paying strong attention to the first part of Bael's tale (the Stark maid hidden in the crypts, the baby bastard as only heir), but personnaly I was always wondering what was the signification of the end of the story : the war between father and son, and the father's and mother's death. Yes, this is a reference to Oedipus story, but why ? why here if not to explain that "wildlings" and Stark are same blood (my thought about the Stark coming from the North and no from the South is slowly but surely growing as a conviction ^_^)

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16 hours ago, Seams said:

Purposely muddied is a possibility. If all the scenarios discussed in this forum came true, GRRM would not be able to finish the series in two books, for sure.

The Dayne connection really piques my interest in terms of possible hidden babies. The Edric "Ned" situation as the son of a deceased sibling and a milk brother of Jon Snow seems just a little too fishy. What's the rest of that story, as you say.

I wonder about both Septa Lemore's child and about Septa Mordane at Winterfell (even though we never see her stretch marks).

Ah Seams, you always manage to put a well baited hook out.  Here are a few more:  All Davos' sons--do we know the real score on the men who went down during the Blackwater Battle?  Davos survived...Selyse's pickled babies.   What happened to Rhaego's body?   

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12 hours ago, Lord Wraith said:

Darkstar as Jaerherys has been something I have been mulling over since the release of the World Book. All the other kids who died or were stillborn are all grouped up then Jaeherys gets like three paragraphs. Ages fit, has the look, and the attitude.

Also he was apparently poisoned by one of Aery's lovers. Darkstar was weaned on venom. Martin is being coy with us again.

Also I think Rhaelle smuggling her baby to the Princess of Dorne and getting it appear to be poisoned seems plausible to me. After all the result was Aerys penance and he stops taking lovers after that. Then a few years later we get Viserys after Aerys became less of an arse.

Also would explain a great deal about Doran's plans if he had a Targaryen hidden away in the mountains of Dorne.

Aha! I guess I better try to re-read the World book. I often forget how useful that can be. That "weaned on venom" clue is a great one.

If Jaehaerys lived, he would have precedence over Dany, but not over Rhaegar's son, Aegon. So Doran wanting Arianne to marry Aegon would make sense. But why did he promise her to Viserys, if he knew Jaehaerys was alive (and pretending to be Darkstar)? Maybe there was already another betrothal behind the scenes for Jaehaerys, brokered by someone other than Doran Martell.

I really like this possibility, and I like that there is additional work to be done to sort out all the motives and details.

11 hours ago, zandru said:

It's pretty clear that Sansa was swapped in, to replace one of Ned's. Likewise Robb, Bran and Rickon. Only Arya is a legitimate Stark. (Jon Snow is Stark on his mother's side.) Because of the strong Tully looks that Sansa, Robb, Bran and Rickon have, it's clear that these were actually Lysa's children. She had them shipped up to Winterfell and told Jon Arryn that the babies had all died. (It probably isn't hard to pick up a dead baby for a few coins in Flea Alley.) Catelyn had only one actual pregnancy, Arya. She was glad to cover for her beloved sister.

Lysa then kept the worst of her brood, little Robert, to give her husband the illusion she had provided him with an heir and knowing the child was so weak that he'd probably never reach adulthood to take power on his own. This would leave Lysa in control as Regent, and permit her to eventually romance the Man of Her Dreams.

Wow! This seems pretty wild, to me. Catelyn would have to fake four pregnancies and Lysa would have to hide four babies, sending them all the way from King's Landing to Winterfell.

Lysa seems devoted to Robert / Sweet Robin, and very protective, so it's hard to believe that she expects or wants him to die.

But you never know. Could be the next shocking plot twist that none of us see coming.

10 hours ago, Damon_Tor said:

I believe there's a level of irony here: the real prize is Gilly's baby because it has Craster's "black blood" (which is short hand for Hoare ancestry) concentrated due to multi-generational inbreeding. "King's blood" because power resides where men believe it resides: you don't need a real King as long as people believe it's a king burning (which is why Rattleshirt glamoured to look like Mance is a viable alternative.) King's blood as actually an aspect of shadowbinding, not blood magic.

Blood magic is the understanding of bloodlines and the psychic/magical powers therein. So from a blood magic perspective, it's Gilly's baby that's relevant.

Yes! Irony! I share your suspicion, but for a different reason.

I think Gilly's baby really does have "king's blood," because Craster is a Stark descendant (with a name that changed a bit, like Karstark). I suspect that the Starks had a split similar to the Targaryen / Blackfyre split, and one branch became Kings of Winter while the other became Kings in the North. So I think the death of Craster makes Gilly's baby the new King of Winter, with blood more magical than the blood of Mance's baby. And the fact that Bran Stark crossed the Black Gate beyond the Wall just as Gilly's baby crossed south of the wall is also significant, I think.

But I like your theory, too. That Whent / Hoare stuff seems to be percolating in the background and will turn out to be significant later, even if GRRM doesn't spell it all out for us.

7 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

Interesting suggestion ! I don't buy for the present, because we have Catelyn's PoV and GRRM would have let some clues about such a thing, but I think there is something like that in the past/origins of the Stark of Winterfell. In one word, I'm now really wondering if the direwolf Stark was a truly heir of an old "king of the North", or if the trueborn wasn't the man sacrified to the Winterfell's weirwood (the one I think reputed as a bastard) by a woman with white hairs - old king's wife.  

That makes me think to another possibility (a "bonus possibility") that could be suggested with the vision of the pregnant woman emerging from a Winterfell's lake begging the gods to give her a son to avenge her : in my hypothesis of an "origins scenario", a maiden was fist promised/married to the king (the eldest son of the old king), but with the death of this king, she was forced to marry the 3rd son, as the heir of his brother (the 2nd son couldn't inherit for some reason like : renouncement like Aemon did in Egg's favor/as "bird character" he was too weak/he was crippled like Bran/he had disappear to become a greenseer/other parallelism with known situation ^^). BUT, this maid was in love with a 4th character : the bastard (maybe not in love : maybe she was raped). And she was pregnant from this bastard. 

We are all paying strong attention to the first part of Bael's tale (the Stark maid hidden in the crypts, the baby bastard as only heir), but personnaly I was always wondering what was the signification of the end of the story : the war between father and son, and the father's and mother's death. Yes, this is a reference to Oedipus story, but why ? why here if not to explain that "wildlings" and Stark are same blood (my thought about the Stark coming from the North and no from the South is slowly but surely growing as a conviction ^_^)

I had forgotten about the pregnant woman coming out of the spring. That has to be significant, and could represent an origin or give us a hint about Catelyn or some other Stark-related character. (Probably Stark-related, although I suppose it could be someone else. Maybe the miller's wife who was Ramsay's mother?)

I agree with your idea that wildlings and Starks are the same blood, or related, anyway. The Starks may have special blood because of all the old northern kings they defeated (and whose daughters they married) but I agree that there is a common origin for the Starks and the Free Folk, and I think we will learn about it when we learn more about Hard Home.

1 hour ago, Curled Finger said:

Ah Seams, you always manage to put a well baited hook out.  Here are a few more:  All Davos' sons--do we know the real score on the men who went down during the Blackwater Battle?  Davos survived...Selyse's pickled babies.   What happened to Rhaego's body?   

Nice! More fiendish possibilities to ponder. I want to see a spin-off series called "A Song of Selyse's Pickled Babies." Chuckie comes to Westeros.

Here's one more wild idea, and it came from a comment I saw long ago on a thread here, so I can't take credit: As Aemon died, he skinchanged into Mance's baby (who was traveling with Gilly and Sam). His own body was preserved in a barrel of rum (I think) aboard the Cinnamon Wind, that Marwyn is now going to take to Essos. Will Marwyn do something with Aemon's body and/or with Mance's baby to "bring back" Aemon? Not really a baby swap, per se, but it might be related. Marwyn and Mirri Mazz Duur were colleagues, as we know, and Mirri performed the "only death can pay for life" ritual for Dany. Whose death might be involved in successfully reviving Aemon? I would guess the deserter Dareon, the singer who was killed by Arya. Singers and deserters are both high-risk categories in Westeros. And Dareon was supposed to be raising money to pay for the voyage to Old Town. So, ironically, his death might have paid for a "voyage" (round trip) for Aemon.

But that may be a topic for another thread.

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Maybe GRRM was switched at birth and he really isn't who he thinks he is. :ph34r:

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Posted (edited)

3 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Maybe GRRM was switched at birth and he really isn't who he thinks he is. :ph34r:

You may be onto something. The trueborn GRRM that was promised would've published Winds by now. :P

Edited by Lord Lannister

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20 hours ago, zandru said:

It's pretty clear that Sansa was swapped in, to replace one of Ned's. Likewise Robb, Bran and Rickon. Only Arya is a legitimate Stark. (Jon Snow is Stark on his mother's side.) Because of the strong Tully looks that Sansa, Robb, Bran and Rickon have, it's clear that these were actually Lysa's children. She had them shipped up to Winterfell and told Jon Arryn that the babies had all died. (It probably isn't hard to pick up a dead baby for a few coins in Flea Alley.) Catelyn had only one actual pregnancy, Arya. She was glad to cover for her beloved sister.

Lysa then kept the worst of her brood, little Robert, to give her husband the illusion she had provided him with an heir and knowing the child was so weak that he'd probably never reach adulthood to take power on his own. This would leave Lysa in control as Regent, and permit her to eventually romance the Man of Her Dreams.

Please tell me you're not serious.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Maybe GRRM was switched at birth and he really isn't who he thinks he is. :ph34r:

Maybe he wasn't switched at birth and he really is who he thinks he is -- that is the whole problem!

It's clear GRRM didn't really gel with his biological father, hence the need in his fantasy wish fulfilment to create myriads of alternate genetic paternities.

P.S.  That's why I think making Tyrion a Targ -- and not Tywin's genuine son -- is a cop-out.

Edited by ravenous reader

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@Seams maybe we can hammer out the Darkstar is Jaeherys via PM or another thread.

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