Damsel in Distress

Jon was born a bastard and remains a bastard.

471 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

This question can be reduced to the question whether the children of a second (or third, fourth, etc.) wife in a monogamous society where only kings ever succeeded in having more than one wife (even back in the First Men days, as far as we know) would ever be considered legitimate by the people and authorities of Westeros.

I think there are more than a few hints that this wouldn't be the case.

And there is one powerful hint suggesting the exact opposite:

“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”
“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell. “But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”
“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.
“We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.

There are your hypothetical people confronted with a hypothetical problem, with their reaction interpolated from history on one hand, and on another - three specific knights of the Kingsguard willing to fight to the death protecting John Doe (yet to be named Jon Snow). And not only that, but - what's crucial - considering that something to be proud about, and fulfillment of their KG vows.

But I guess hypothetical and interpolated should trump real and actually observed. ;)

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37 minutes ago, Ygrain said:

It's not like we aren't beaten over our heads with "incest is a big no no" every couple of pages, so in this respect, polygamy is completely redundant. Not to mention the conspicuous lack of negative comments towards polygamy.

 

Which power struggles are you talking about? In the series proper, the Faith does as the Targs say and officiates their incestuous marriages, even though incest is considered abominable in the eyes of gods and men. 

Besides, it is incorrect to claim that the Targs stopped practicisng polygamy because it became a problem - it was never a widespread custom to begin with (unlike incest). When Aegon married both his sister, it was considered an unusual move even back then.

 

And how exactly is all this cool stuff related to a PoV character and the main story arc?

Kinda funny that something similar seems to be coming right now.

History perhaps not, but GRRM likes his parallels. A melancholic guy whom few really knew, marrying one woman for duty and the other for love, creating three dragon heads... sounds familiar? 

 

 

Catelyn herself say that custom demanded that Ned stepped in Brandon's place (not to mention that "had just died" was a couple of months ago), and there is zero indication in Ned's PoV that he ever resented Cat for doing her duty.

And that's why he never pays a single thought to Ashara?

And this random babe looks like a Stark because...?

And where exactly in Ned's PoV do you find any basis for deliberately demeaning his wife?

Hey I never said it was a good theory just one of the possible non R+L=J I liked the best. 

Well this is 14 years later maybe Ned has soften up on his feelings for Catelyn? Maybe he pushed aside his feelings for Ashara from guilt and does't think about her much. Just like he doesn't think about who's Jon's true mother is at all. 

Just because it was custom doesn't mean he was happy about it at the time.

Well IF Jon was Ned's he would have demeaned Cat when he slept with another woman at the start of their marriage. 

You got me on the looks. Some people look a lot alike who aren't even related at all though? It would be a wild coincidence. Like I said though I believe in R+L=J. However the thought of Ned bringing in a random boy and claiming him as his bastard does kind of appeal to my sense of humor.

 

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1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

1) It's not like we aren't beaten over our heads with "incest is a big no no" every couple of pages, so in this respect, polygamy is completely redundant. Not to mention the conspicuous lack of negative comments towards polygamy.

2) Which power struggles are you talking about? In the series proper, the Faith does as the Targs say and officiates their incestuous marriages, even though incest is considered abominable in the eyes of gods and men. 

3) Besides, it is incorrect to claim that the Targs stopped practicisng polygamy because it became a problem - it was never a widespread custom to begin with (unlike incest). When Aegon married both his sister, it was considered an unusual move even back then.

4)And how exactly is all this cool stuff related to a PoV character and the main story arc?

5) Kinda funny that something similar seems to be coming right now.

6) History perhaps not, but GRRM likes his parallels. A melancholic guy whom few really knew, marrying one woman for duty and the other for love, creating three dragon heads... sounds familiar?

1) Negative "comment" towards polygamy was huge Faith rebellion which was brewing in Aenys' and broke in Maegor's reign. If you have a national-wide uprising because of polygamy (and incest), I'd put it in negative reaction. Other than that, it's not that polygamy is not shunned in Westeros, it's that it's almost never even mentioned given how the only kings that were practicing it both died 250 years ago.

2) I meant this: Targs brought their own culture when they invaded Westeros, culture alien in many ways to values that Faith preached. Naturally Targ and Faith culture clashed, and polygamy was one of the main cards in that battle (along with e.g. incest or dragons). I find it significant how pre-Faith-uprising 2/3 kings practiced polygamy, and none after. In truth, I consider it a part of the deal between Targs and Faith: ok, we'll keep incest and dragons and get you not to promise any more problems for us; and OTOH we'll give up polygamy, refrain from prosecuting you and solemnly swear to protect you.

3) Ditto 2). And besides, unusual would probably mean more frequently than none in 250 years (after Maegor).

4) You're putting cart before the horse here. Polygamy is not (yet) part of the main story arc, no more than water magic is - in fact, the story is progressing well without it. Now, we're (myself included) assuming that it will enter the story at some point - but for now it's outside of story with no more significance to it than water magic or Tarbecks. And if GRRM chooses so, he can easily wrap up whole R+L storyline without them getting married.

5) not for a generation, I hope :P

6) and the one creating the kingdom and the other having a part in destroying it. Nice parallel, kudos, but this comparison goes deeper than that. In essence, it's an old love triangle, where A chooses between duty for B or love for C (just without "marrying the C" part). It's so universal and archetipical that there are bound to be multitude of examples on the same theme (Brandon-Barbrey-Catelyn ; Mycel Redfort-Mya; Stone-Bronze Yohn's daughter, Robb-Jeyne-Frey girl...)

And even with the parallels you mentioned, Aegon and Rhaegar had their differences - Rhaegar married at least partially for prophecy, Awgon didn't, Rhaegar's kids were supposed to be 3 head, while Aegon and sisters themselves were the heads etc. Can't "Aegon married twice and Rhaegar didn't" be just more difference in the same vein? It can.

 

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

@Lady Blizzardborn

Rhaegar would never have gotten such a dispensation without the permission of the king. And Aerys II was in no mood to grant his son such a request. Even Viserys I didn't grant Daemon something like that, and Viserys loved Daemon. Aerys, on the other hand, distrusted Rhaegar and feared the man was plotting depose and/or kill him.

We know from Ran that the High Septon essentially became the puppet of the Targaryen kings after Jaehaerys I made his deal with the Faith. The chance that a High Septon before the High Sparrow could do anything as major as permitting the Prince of Dragonstone a second wife without a permission from the king are very low indeed.

Also keep in mind that Aerys II had a spare in Viserys. House Targaryen did not necessarily need heirs from Rhaegar, even though Rhaegar himself might have wanted sons.

While it was customary for the king to approve such things, there's nothing we've seen that requires a king to sign off on something like that.

Jaehaerys I and a few generations after him had dragons. By the time we get to Aerys on the throne there have been no dragons for over 100 years.

The HS may well have known Aerys was crazy and that Rhaegar was going to depose him, therefore doing Rhae Rhae a favor in advance of his becoming king would have been a very shrewd move on the part of the HS. No recent history HS prior to the High Sparrow was known for being pious and rule-following above all.

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Posted (edited)

There's also the question of how much the royalty answer to public approval. The Targaryens evidently believed the answer to be "not at all": but, crucially, Robert's Rebellion proved otherwise, otherwise the execution of Rickard and Brandon Stark with no fair trial would have given no grounds for rebellion.

Therefore, even if Rhaegar Targaryen declared himself married to Lyanna Stark - with or without his father's approval - it would have needed *public recognition* that the marriage had taken place: and to do that he would have had to, equally publicly, declare Elia to no longer be his wife.

Evidently divorce, although rare, can and does happen: Renly was trying to persuade Robert to divorce Cersei and marry Margaery (assumably this would have retained the legitimacy of Cersei's children, the world assuming they are Robert and Cersei's, but allowed for the possibility of formal disinheritance in favour of a child sired on Margaery, in other words leaving Joffrey nothing but the surname - and possibly Storm's End, as proof of recognising him as legitimate but disinherited from the regal sucession.) So Rhaegar could have quite legally divorced Elia, but retaining the legitimacy of his children by her, and married Lyanna legally, allowing any children by her to be legitimate. And he could even have done so in King's Landing should he wish to do so, rather than disappear and carry on a completely clandestine affair in a secret location while the nation went to war in his absence and he was not present to command the troops he should have been commanding until belatedly arriving in time for his first and last battle at the Trident.

And he did not do so.

Therefore Jon was born a royal bastard, and remains one, although he has been brought up to believe he is the non-royal bastard of Eddard Stark and another unspecified woman - all that is known is that he has completely denied the possibility of it being Ashara Dayne, but this is the most gossiped-about possibility nevertheless: the Sisterton / White Harbor belief, in the idea that Ned Stark sired a son on a fisherman's daughter, cannot be true because it dates back to the wrong year, *before* Ned Stark married Catelyn Tully, and would make Jon a year older than he is - moreover, his mother's name would not be a secret worth concealing in that case. The only women whose identities Ned Stark might conceal even at the risk of his own dishonour, would be Ashara Dayne - whom he denies - and Lyanna Stark, which would positively identify Jon's father as Rhaegar while still leaving Jon a bastard.

So why did he order three Kingsguards to remain behind to protect Jon - although without a host of men-at-arms, so they could be beaten by Ned and his mere seven men (when Ned could have, alternatively, brought a whole army of hundreds or thousands down)? Either he intended to *legitimize* the child of his marriage to Lyanna - which actually seems unlikely to me, since I honestly believe Rhaegar did not expect a son, but a second daughter, whose legitimacy would not have been necessary for the business of naming her Visenya, marrying both her and his legitimate daughter Rhaenys to Aegon, and recreating the original triumvirate: or he had reason to believe that his third child, of either sex, would play some future role of importance as a *hero* - regardless of royal birth, status or legitimacy - but must live in order to play that role, because without a hero when the realm needs it, the realm itself will die, he believed?

Edited by JLE

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1 hour ago, Ferocious Veldt Roarer said:

And there is one powerful hint suggesting the exact opposite:

“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”
“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell. “But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”
“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.
“We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.

There are your hypothetical people confronted with a hypothetical problem, with their reaction interpolated from history on one hand, and on another - three specific knights of the Kingsguard willing to fight to the death protecting John Doe (yet to be named Jon Snow). And not only that, but - what's crucial - considering that something to be proud about, and fulfillment of their KG vows.

But I guess hypothetical and interpolated should trump real and actually observed. ;)

That essentially means nothing in the eyes of the public, nobility or smallfolk alike. We know from Ser Barristan Selmy himself that the Kingsguard has protected royal mistresses and bastards in the past. And the Kingsguard of Aegon II provides as with very good evidence that orders given to them (to protect the royal children instead of the royal person himself) supersede whatever commitment they might feel to protect the king. If they were given the order to protect Lyanna and/or her (unborn) child by somebody whose authority they accepted (that this is the case is confirmed by the fact that they were, in fact, at the tower and neither with Rhaegar nor Aerys) then they can very well die upholding their holy Kingsguard vows even if they don't actually die for the king. A Kingsguard dying protecting the son or grandson of a king (be he legitimate or illegitimate) is certainly dying fulfilling his vow and doing his duty. For instance, any Kingsguard dying defending Visenya, Aenys, or Maegor during the First Dornish War is dying doing his duty unless King Aegon had decreed that only his royal person is to be protected by the Kingsguard. Just as Rickard Thorne and Willis Fell would have died doing their duty if they had died defending Maelor (which Thorne actually did) and Jaehaera against their enemies even if King Aegon II would have been found and killed by his enemies. Because those knights were given the duty to protect the royal children rather than the king himself.

Or you could take Daemon Blackfyre as an example. I'd not be surprised one bit if the boy had Kingsguard protection during the late reign of his royal father, Aegon IV (if only to vex and humiliate the Dragonknight). A Kingsguard charged with serving Daemon as his sworn shield would have to give his life for his as long as Daemon was his charge irregardless whether the life of the Prince of Dragonstone, the queen, or the king himself were in danger, too. 

The fever dream knights never explain why they are at the tower nor on whose authority they are acting. If I were Ser Arthur Dayne I might be determined to die for my best friend's son irregardless whether that child is a bastard or a royal child, even more so if I were afraid for that boy's life. And the same might be the case for the other knights involved. Even more so, of course, if that was actually the command they were following at that time.

But even if those men actually believe Lyanna's son was a royal prince - their opinion is irrelevant. It is not up to them to interpret the laws and customs of the Realm (who by that time were already in the hands of Robert Baratheon) in a binding way to everybody else.

Westeros won't rally around Jon Snow just because some people purport some rumor about him - just as Westeros did not rally around Stannis Baratheon (a man people actually knew for a fact to be Steffon Baratheon's son by Cassana Estermont and the younger brother of King Robert) when he spread some rumors about Queen Cersei and her twin brother.

As to polygamy:

There was never a Targaryen polygamy. There are precedents for royal polygamy in Westeros, namely the First Men kings Garland II 'the Bridegroom' Gardener (who had multiple wives he set aside in favor of his new Hightower wife) and Ronard 'the Bastard' Storm (who allegedly had twenty-three wives).

Among the Targaryen kings there were only two kings who had multiple wives, Aegon I and Maegor the Cruel. Aegon I married his two sister-wives before he conquered Westeros (and presumably in a ceremony not conducted by the Faith). Maegor took a second wife during the reign of his elder brother Aenys but he was actually discarding his first wife whom he considered barren. He was trying to set Ceryse aside in favor of Alys, essentially pushing for a divorce. It didn't work. The man was exiled along with Alys, and it is crystal clear that neither the king nor the Faith would have accepted any children of Alys' as legitimate (if she had any).

Now, once Maegor became he forced Westeros with fire and blood to suffer the women he called his wives as his spouses and queens but he was eventually overthrown and died without issue. No Targaryen king ever tried to go down Maegor's path again, nor did any prince ever try to do so.

Nobody doubts Rhaegar could conduct some sort of mock marriage ceremony. But just as Sansa taking another husband while Tyrion is alive could later be contested by him the entire Realm could simply refuse to acknowledge that a second wife Rhaegar might have taken was anything but mistress (and any children from that union anything but bastards).

Now, if Rhaegar had been king he would have been the ultimate authority. He could have tried to legitimize such a bigamist union. But most likely even a Targaryen king would have been unable to do so. Without dragons to enforce such a radical (and ridiculous) thing he most likely would have simply been overthrown. And even dragons are no guarantee. Just look what befell Maegor.

12 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

While it was customary for the king to approve such things, there's nothing we've seen that requires a king to sign off on something like that.

We have Ran's word that this was the case, though (and he has his stuff from George). Prince Daemon did not petition His High Holiness the High Septon (who then still resided in Oldtown, far away from the Iron Throne and thus technically somewhat more independent than in the later days), he did petition his royal brother.

12 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Jaehaerys I and a few generations after him had dragons. By the time we get to Aerys on the throne there have been no dragons for over 100 years.

That apparently didn't affect or change the power dynamic between the High Septon and the Iron Throne. The control of the throne over the Faith might even have become greater when the High Septon moved to KL during the reign of Baelor I.

12 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

The HS may well have known Aerys was crazy and that Rhaegar was going to depose him, therefore doing Rhae Rhae a favor in advance of his becoming king would have been a very shrewd move on the part of the HS. No recent history HS prior to the High Sparrow was known for being pious and rule-following above all.

Nothing indicates that this was the case. Prince Rhaegar resided on Dragonstone, far away from the Great Sept, whereas we have pretty strong evidence that the High Septon was rather close to Aerys II considering that the man publicly humbled himself in front of the Seven and the city and did a walk repentance through the city. We have no indication whatsoever that Rhaegar ever did anything to win the favor of the High Septon or the Faith.

Even if the High Septon had granted Rhaegar some dispensation without the leave of the king such a dispensation wouldn't have been worth anything without the king's permission. The king decides who is a member of the royal family. not some prince or the High Septon. If Aerys II had declared that Lyanna was unworthy to wed into the royal family or had declared her and/or Rhaegar traitors then her offspring would have never had any claim to anything.

We see this with the children Daemon and Laena have in exile. They were nothing while Viserys I had not yet formally accepted them into the royal family.

5 minutes ago, JLE said:

Evidently divorce, although rare, can and does happen: Renly was trying to persuade Robert to divorce Cersei and marry Margaery (assumably this would have retained the legitimacy of Cersei's children, the world assuming they are Robert and Cersei's, but allowed for the possibility of formal disinheritance in favour of a child sired on Margaery, in other words leaving Joffrey nothing but the surname - and possibly Storm's End, as proof of recognising him as legitimate but disinherited from the regal sucession.) So Rhaegar could have divorced Elia, retaining the legitimacy of his children by her, and married Lyanna legally, allowing any children by her to be legitimate.

We don't really know what 'setting aside a wife' actually means. It might be the same as an annulment but kings apparently can that simply by declaring that they are setting aside a wife. There is no inquiry done by the Faith nor does the king have to bother himself with petitions to the High Septon. Other people have to go through some sort of inquiry/investigation.

The only reason for an annulment we know of is an unconsummated marriage. Maegor seems to be of the opinion that a barren wife also gives him the right to set aside a wife (although Ceryse's uncle, the High Septon, was unwilling to accept this). Aerys I's Small Council also considered setting aside Queen Aelinor, not on the grounds of an unconsummated marriage but rather because the king may dislike her. 

But there certainly must be other pretext of doing this - adultery on the wife's part, barrenness most likely, a forced marriage, etc.

The interesting question we have as of yet no answer to is what would happen to the children of such a union if the wive was set aside. Would they become bastards by default? Or could the husband keep them as his legitimate children even if the marriage no longer existed? That would be very important in Rhaegar's case.

I'm more inclined that setting Elia aside would have led to her children losing their royal status, making it exceedingly unlikely that Rhaegar would have ever taking that route.

We can also be reasonably sure that Renly intended that Cersei being set aside would result in her children losing their royal status as well.

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

@Lady Blizzardborn

Rhaegar would never have gotten such a dispensation without the permission of the king. And Aerys II was in no mood to grant his son such a request. Even Viserys I didn't grant Daemon something like that, and Viserys loved Daemon. Aerys, on the other hand, distrusted Rhaegar and feared the man was plotting depose and/or kill him.

We know from Ran that the High Septon essentially became the puppet of the Targaryen kings after Jaehaerys I made his deal with the Faith. The chance that a High Septon before the High Sparrow could do anything as major as permitting the Prince of Dragonstone a second wife without a permission from the king are very low indeed.

Also keep in mind that Aerys II had a spare in Viserys. House Targaryen did not necessarily need heirs from Rhaegar, even though Rhaegar himself might have wanted sons.

Prince Viserys was more than a spare.  King Aerys II made Viserys his heir and thereby passed over Rhaegar's children.  The succession passed to Prince Viserys. 

So getting back to Damsel's statement.  Yeah Jon was born a bastard and he remains a bastard.  I don't care for Jon but the question is interesting.  Not that it will matter in the end whether he's bastard or not.  Jon's role is to defend the north against the WW and die in the process. 

 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

<snip

We have Ran's word that this was the case, though (and he has his stuff from George). Prince Daemon did not petition His High Holiness the High Septon (who then still resided in Oldtown, far away from the Iron Throne and thus technically somewhat more independent than in the later days), he did petition his royal brother.

That apparently didn't affect or change the power dynamic between the High Septon and the Iron Throne. The control of the throne over the Faith might even have become greater when the High Septon moved to KL during the reign of Baelor I.

Nothing indicates that this was the case. Prince Rhaegar resided on Dragonstone, far away from the Great Sept, whereas we have pretty strong evidence that the High Septon was rather close to Aerys II considering that the man publicly humbled himself in front of the Seven and the city and did a walk repentance through the city. We have no indication whatsoever that Rhaegar ever did anything to win the favor of the High Septon or the Faith.

 

We have Ran's word about the situation between the Faith and the Targs who had dragons. 

Daemon had the option of petitioning the king because the king at the time was not crazy. That's a major difference. The king still would have had to get the High Septon to agree, which makes the king an intermediary, not the final authority.

For the most part, no. But we're talking about a dynamic set during the reign of one of the best kings Westeros had. Until Aerys things weren't too bad, the only big hiccup in the middle being Aegon the Skank. Aerys was getting to be on par with Maegor the Cruel, and the High Septon at the time might have been happy to go behind the king's back on behalf of the future king.

Nothing indicates that it wasn't either. You're really not good at seeing more than one side of an issue.

He lived on Dragonstone, he wasn't imprisoned there. He was most certainly not on Dragonstone when he ran off with Lyanna. Seems it would make a lot of sense that he might go to King's Landing between Dragonstone and the Riverlands.

That's not evidence of the High Septon and Aerys being close. That's evidence of Aerys suddenly having an attack of conscience which sadly may have been a symptom of his madness. If we had text that said the High Septon constantly deplored Aerys' promiscuous ways and counselled the king to be faithful to his wife, finally convincing him to do a walk of penance, then your argument would make sense. 

If we did, there'd be no mystery. That's a no-brainer.

I actually have no problem with Jon being a bastard. I just don't like it when people use bad arguments against something that is possible (no matter how unlikely).

13 minutes ago, Texas Hold Em said:

Prince Viserys was more than a spare.  King Aerys II made Viserys his heir and thereby passed over Rhaegar's children.  The succession passed to Prince Viserys. 

So getting back to Damsel's statement.  Yeah Jon was born a bastard and he remains a bastard.  I don't care for Jon but the question is interesting.  Not that it will matter in the end whether he's bastard or not.  Jon's role is to defend the north against the WW and die in the process. 

 

We're talking about events that might have taken place before he made that decision though. And Viserys is actually a major argument FOR Rhaegar getting a second wife. If at any point Aegon ticked him off he could name his younger son his heir. And since Rhae Rhae wasn't crazy, that decision might even have been legally binding.

The whole point of the spare is to take the heir's place if necessary. That was Viserys' job description from the day he turned three and wasn't dead.

Edited by Lady Blizzardborn

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

That essentially means nothing in the eyes of the public, nobility or smallfolk alike.

I'm not saying their presence would be proof for people in Westeros. I'm saying that their presence is proof of the existence of some powerful argument that would convince the White Bull, the Sword of the Morning, and the Whent Schmuck Without Cool Nickname, of Jon Snow's legitimacy.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

We know from Ser Barristan Selmy himself that the Kingsguard has protected royal mistresses and bastards in the past. And the Kingsguard of Aegon II provides as with very good evidence that orders given to them (to protect the royal children instead of the royal person himself) supersede whatever commitment they might feel to protect the king.

Had their attitude been "We're just following shitty orders, hey, what can you do", you'd have a point here. They, however, were immensely proud of what they were doing, and the ToJ was right where they were supposed to be. And didn't spare a single white cloak to protect Viserys. The king with absolutely no protection from the Kingsguard, and you're saying that the three at the ToJ would consider it as the only proper state of affairs?

I cannot agree.

Ser Barry once offered Dany to work as cook. Assume she agreed - what do you think he'd do after her death: serve her heir (let's say she has a heir), or keep peeling turnips?

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7 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

We're talking about events that might have taken place before he made that decision though. And Viserys is actually a major argument FOR Rhaegar getting a second wife. If at any point Aegon ticked him off he could name his younger son his heir. And since Rhae Rhae wasn't crazy, that decision might even have been legally binding.

The whole point of the spare is to take the heir's place if necessary. That was Viserys' job description from the day he turned three and wasn't dead.

Let's look at it from the king's point of view.  King Aerys would never think of letting a Stark boy anywhere near the line of succession.  Besides, Rhaegar already had a spare.  He had Aegon, a healthy baby boy. 

Even Rhaegar would not see the need for another spare.  He already had Aegon.  No matter what Rhaegar felt about Viserys, he already had Aegon. 

King Aerys II was approving of Viserys.  It's not likely that he would look for a spare.  There is a passage from TWOIAF that confirms Aerys passed the line of succession to Viserys.  His actions in King's Landing lend credibility to this.

 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Nobody doubts Rhaegar could conduct some sort of mock marriage ceremony. But just as Sansa taking another husband while Tyrion is alive could later be contested by him the entire Realm could simply refuse to acknowledge that a second wife Rhaegar might have taken was anything but mistress (and any children from that union anything but bastards).

Too true.  Rhaegar's mock ceremony won't hold water in the legal sense.

 

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Just now, Texas Hold Em said:

Let's look at it from the king's point of view.  King Aerys would never think of letting a Stark boy anywhere near the line of succession.  Besides, Rhaegar already had a spare.  He had Aegon, a healthy baby boy. 

Even Rhaegar would not see the need for another spare.  He already had Aegon.  No matter what Rhaegar felt about Viserys, he already had Aegon. 

King Aerys II was approving of Viserys.  It's not likely that he would look for a spare.  There is a passage from TWOIAF that confirms Aerys passed the line of succession to Viserys.  His actions in King's Landing lend credibility to this

He wouldn't be a Stark boy. He'd be a Targaryen boy. And it might fulfill the requirements of the Pact of Ice and Fire. Gender-bent, but still. That's one more promise the Targs wouldn't need to worry about in the future.

Aegon was not a spare to Rhaegar. He was a spare to Aerys. Not the same thing. 

Aerys hardly spent any time with Viserys (who was seven years old). His mother saw to that. It was her way of trying to protect her baby boy from his crazy father.

And once again, we're talking about what may have happened BEFORE Aerys named Viserys his heir.

Rhaegar also wanted a third child because of the prophecy. The dragon must have three heads. If the HS believed in the prophecy he would have been more concerned about preventing the end of the world than whatever Aerys might want.

 

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45 minutes ago, Texas Hold Em said:

Prince Viserys was more than a spare.  King Aerys II made Viserys his heir and thereby passed over Rhaegar's children.  The succession passed to Prince Viserys. 

Only after Rhaegar's death, though. Around the time of Harrenhal and shortly thereafter there was only a deep pre-Dance-like distrust between Rhaegar and Aerys (and their followers) but nothing had happened yet. Aerys was considering and being pushed by his cronies to disinherit Rhaegar but as far as we know he didn't do anything.

I think he might have done something, eventually, though, after news about the Lyanna abduction (and a marriage between these two if Rhaegar dared doing it) reached court because for Aerys this would have been confirmation that his eldest son was indeed a traitor, plotting with the Starks to overthrow him. And that then led to Rhaegar and Lyanna disappearing and the execution of Rickard, Brandon, and their companions.

Later on Aerys might have realized he was wrong about Rhaegar (at least the Stark-Rhaegar-plot-idea) and apologized to him. That seems to be a pattern in his mad personality. He also tried to make amends after he tortured and executed the midwives of Prince Jaehaerys and his mistress and her entire family.

32 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

We have Ran's word about the situation between the Faith and the Targs who had dragons. 

And no reason to assume that it ever changed. The High Septon is still under the thumb of the Baratheon kings until the High Sparrow rises to power.

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Daemon had the option of petitioning the king because the king at the time was not crazy. That's a major difference. The king still would have had to get the High Septon to agree, which makes the king an intermediary, not the final authority.

Aerys might have been crazy but he was still the king and in charge of the Realm. He was no comatose nor was their a Regency established.

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For the most part, no. But we're talking about a dynamic set during the reign of one of the best kings Westeros had. Until Aerys things weren't too bad, the only big hiccup in the middle being Aegon the Skank. Aerys was getting to be on par with Maegor the Cruel, and the High Septon at the time might have been happy to go behind the king's back on behalf of the future king.

That is way too much baseless speculation for my taste. Remember, we have no reason to assume that Rhaegar even cared for such a dispensation. After all, we don't even know he knew he would take Lyanna after he left Dragonstone and began his journey with his companions. 

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Nothing indicates that it wasn't either. You're really not good at seeing more than one side of an issue.

He lived on Dragonstone, he wasn't imprisoned there. He was most certainly not on Dragonstone when he ran off with Lyanna. Seems it would make a lot of sense that he might go to King's Landing between Dragonstone and the Riverlands.

The idea that Rhaegar could do anything in KL without Varys knowing about it is very far-fetched. Aerys would have learned about Rhaegar's talk with the High Septon.

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That's not evidence of the High Septon and Aerys being close. That's evidence of Aerys suddenly having an attack of conscience which sadly may have been a symptom of his madness. If we had text that said the High Septon constantly deplored Aerys' promiscuous ways and counselled the king to be faithful to his wife, finally convincing him to do a walk of penance, then your argument would make sense. 

We have no reason to assume Rhaegar ever interacted with the High Septon, though, aside from him officiating during his wedding in the Great Sept. A fact that makes it even more unlikely the High Septon would ever grant Rhaegar a second wife unless being actually forced by the king. An heir is more or less nothing, even more an heir who is mistrusted by his royal father who might actually decide to burn him alive the next day.

I'm reasonably confident that Rhaegar and Lyanna had some sort of wedding. But that doesn't make their child a trueborn child in the eyes of the world. It might if Rhaegar had been king (and not dead) by the time Jon was born. But he wasn't.

22 minutes ago, Ferocious Veldt Roarer said:

I'm not saying their presence would be proof for people in Westeros. I'm saying that their presence is proof of the existence of some powerful argument that would convince the White Bull, the Sword of the Morning, and the Whent Schmuck Without Cool Nickname, of Jon Snow's legitimacy.

But they never discuss the boy's legitimacy. They are stating that they are true to their vows. Still, despite their king and prince being dead. The Kingsguard does not flee, the Kingsguard does, most likely, also not yield when being threatened by their (late) kings enemies. They hold their ground and fight, irregardless how bad the odds are.

And that's only if we take the fever dream conversation at face value (which I do not since George himself has cast doubts on it). There are hints there about Rhaegar and Lyanna and Jon being their child but not that the boy was considered either a prince or (even) the rightful king (as some people have argued in the past).

22 minutes ago, Ferocious Veldt Roarer said:

Had their attitude been "We're just following shitty orders, hey, what can you do", you'd have a point here. They, however, were immensely proud of what they were doing, and the ToJ was right where they were supposed to be. And didn't spare a single white cloak to protect Viserys. The king with absolutely no protection from the Kingsguard, and you're saying that the three at the ToJ would consider it as the only proper state of affairs?

I don't see any reason to believe that the knights at the tower were under any obligation to send one of their own to Dragonstone to protect King Viserys III and the Queen Dowager if such an action would have gone against orders they received and followed previously. They stayed with Lyanna for months after Rhaegar left, never sending one of their own to Aerys II. Why would they do so after they learned that the new Targaryen king was on Dragonstone? Especially if they considered/intended to go there as quickly as they could after the child was able to leave the tower or Lyanna had recovered (honestly, we don't even know whether the child or Lyanna was the one they were protecting - since they were there because of Rhaegar Lyanna and not their unborn child may have been their top priority).

22 minutes ago, Ferocious Veldt Roarer said:

I cannot agree.

Ser Barry once offered Dany to work as cook. Assume she agreed - what do you think he'd do after her death: serve her heir (let's say she has a heir), or keep peeling turnips?

That idea cuts both ways. Selmy is Dany's Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Yet when she disappears he does not do anything in his power to get her Kingsguard protection (as supposedly the knights at the tower should have done with Viserys III on Dragonstone); instead he tries to protect her city and imprisons her king consort.

I see nothing dishonorable for a Kingsguard in dying for a prince's bastard/mistress he has sworn and/or been charged with to protect. Even more so if Rhaegar actually convinced the men at the tower that his child by Lyanna would be super special prophecy-wise.

26 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Rhaegar also wanted a third child because of the prophecy. The dragon must have three heads. If the HS believed in the prophecy he would have been more concerned about preventing the end of the world than whatever Aerys might want.

According to Ser Kevan, Rhaegar wanted 'sons'. He could have pretty accurate information on that from Tywin who would have interacted with Rhaegar a lot until 281 AC.

We don't know who the three dragon heads were supposed to be. We know Aegon was one of those in Rhaegar's mind, and it is quite likely that the child by Lyanna was supposed to be the third. But was the second (or first) dragon head Rhaenys or Viserys? I'm more inclined to believe that Rhaegar believed those special Targaryens all had to be male.

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I'm not sure it is important Jon is legitimate or bastard. He is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna. Of Ice and Fire. Likely he has the Song of Ice and Fire, whatever it means. The wildlings believe to be the son of a king does not make of you a king, or at least the right leader. This makes sense to me. And Viserys was one blatant example.

I absolutely don't care if Jon is legitimate or bastard.

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14 hours ago, Damsel in Distress said:

My verdict?  Jon is a bastard

Unless he isn't. But for all practical purposes, he has grown up as and lived his life as a bastard, so even if he technically isn't, he is a bastard at the core of who he is, and that will never change 

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You got to admit the Kingsguard was pretty smug about protecting their dead princess' mistress and his bastard.Bragging about the vow they swore that basically kept them out of the biggest war Westeros had seen in a hundred years.

"The Kingsguard does not flee" "Then or now" They didn't fight either and most of the royals they score to protect died. Including the one in the tower they were guarding.

Makes you want to reevaluate the great Kingsguard of Aerys II that Jamie is always gushing over.

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Posted (edited)

This is not a hard question.

At this point in the book series neither Jon nor anyone has an idea about his mother. He has been presented to the reader and the world as a bastard. And everyone in the book indeed see and treat him as one. Lets call this "default status".

In order for said status to change, hard evidence not open to interpretation needs to be given. Said evidence also need to meet and explain why said parents were married. You can´t just say that they were because you think so - you actually need to prove it. And no, where the kingsguards are are NOT hard evidence, since it is very much open to interpretation (which this thread and other threads have done ALOT of). At best - they are supporting noise.

The main point here is that in order for Jon to be something but a bastard, 1. The default status need to be changed by evidence. 2. Until said evidence shows up he will be defined by said default status. And this forum have a tendency out of Jon bias to simply ignore this logical chain of work just because they want to. For me, that is a sign of low intelligence - your feelings have no logical value for anyone but yourself and should have zero convincing-power in a discussion since people do feel different. If you need to feel the same way and hold the same biases in order to "get" an argument, then you are not presenting arguments anymore, you are presenting a cult. 

So, right now - with what we have to work with, Jon is a bastard. This might change later, but for now that is what should be assumed.

Edited by Protagoras

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This story exactly shows how stupid the whole "bastard" idea is. Rhaegar and Lyanna most likely performed some marriage ritual prior conceiving Jon, and the precedent for second wife or the individual who has the power to recognize this marriage do not matter at all. The main reason is that Jon grew up his whole life as a bastard anyways, that is one important aspect of his character that will not change no matter what.

Secondly, of course, it is my opinion, but what I have noticed following his storyline, Jon's story is mirroring his true roots as a dragon, a Targaryen: he is a conqueror in his story. He is gradually gaining more and more power among men, and as Varys told us, "power resides where men believe it resides". As more and more men follow him, he will have more and more power, which will enable him to break many old rooted traditions and superstitions (something like "bastardy"). ESPECIALLY if Long Night arrives, you will see people accepting the "wildling way" of following "the man" and not "the heritage".

Jon rose to a prominent position at Night's Watch (Lord Commander) and earned at least respect of majority of wildlings that he fought against, I am pretty sure he will be resurrected, I mean, there is just so much evidence, and he will proceed to "conquer" the North and Winterfell as part of his Stark aspect of identity. Then the next phase as King in the North it will be his duty to protect his kingdom from the invasion of the Others. The defeat of the Others at Winterfell and their submission (with big help from Bran) will earn him a title of King of Winter, and we have various threads that discuss this topic: King of Winter is NOT the same title as King in the North.

The final stage of his story will be the complete submission of the South to his rule and House Stark after he learns the truth of his parentage ("Time for Wolves"), with a deciding battle at Blue Fork of the Trident that Dany has foreseen in her vision in the House of Undying. The Others and wights (controlled by Bran And as a conqueror, it will not matter whether Jon was born a bastard son of Rhaegar or not. Targaryen name, including Dany, will bear no significance whatsoever at that point.

I certainly expect Jon to die second time, and this time for good, but how I think it will happen is very sad to write about, it will involve Cersei (mirroring Tywin dealing with Robb Stark), and Arya giving the gift of mercy to her brother rather than watch him suffer ("stick them with the pointy end", exact words Jon recalls during his first death).

But of course, this is a very broad picture of what I expect from Jon's storyline.

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44 minutes ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

You got to admit the Kingsguard was pretty smug about protecting their dead princess' mistress and his bastard.Bragging about the vow they swore that basically kept them out of the biggest war Westeros had seen in a hundred years.

"The Kingsguard does not flee" "Then or now" They didn't fight either and most of the royals they score to protect died. Including the one in the tower they were guarding.

Makes you want to reevaluate the great Kingsguard of Aerys II that Jamie is always gushing over.

Very interesting point.  I'm not certain the heroic members of the Kingsguard were the men Jaime and Barristan think they were.  Barristan is an old man with regrets romanticizing pre-Robert past.  Jaime was a teenager in the kingsguard.  Both unreliable sources.  Its like athletes of different eras - whether or not Johnny Unitas or Joe Montana or Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever is really dependent on the era someone grew up with.  Jaime was too young to see the faults in some of the older members he idolized, Barristan too proud to admit his generation isn't the greatest.

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1 hour ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

You got to admit the Kingsguard was pretty smug about protecting their dead princess' mistress and his bastard.Bragging about the vow they swore that basically kept them out of the biggest war Westeros had seen in a hundred years.

"The Kingsguard does not flee" "Then or now" They didn't fight either and most of the royals they score to protect died. Including the one in the tower they were guarding.

Makes you want to reevaluate the great Kingsguard of Aerys II that Jamie is always gushing over.

Or what they did was more important than winning a war on the Trident. More important than keeping a mad man on the throne (anything would be better than that). More important than supporting the claim of that said mad man's worthless brat (how could they know that already?).

Maybe you need to re-evaluate the importance of what they were protecting? What if they knew the prophecy and its implication?

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@Protagoras

That sums it up pretty fine. Often enough people fail to discuss or entertain the details how this story might unfold and instead put all emphasis on the claim that it has to unfold.

Perhaps we can talk a little bit about the how here. Do you have a scenario in mind how Jon's status from Eddard Stark's bastard to Rhaegar Targaryen's bastard or even Rhaegar's son, a royal prince of House Targaryen, could change?

If leave the whole Others plot out of that to keep things somewhat simpler (although the real setting most likely is not going to be a simple as that) then I'd give the following criteria as starting point for this thing (also ignoring the effect the resurrection/whatever might have on his psyche - that is impossible to predict right now):

1. Jon Snow has to receive good information about his true parentage (that excludes things like prophetic visions and dreams and other dubious talk).

2. Jon Snow has to believe the person telling him about his true parents.

This is already a pretty big conundrum. Whom would Jon believe that he is Rhaegar's son by Lyanna? Bran, perhaps. Howland Reed is considerably less like since Jon has - for all we know - never met that man. Wylla or some Daynes seem to be too far away to ever end up in a position to talk to Jon Snow. If Bran talks to Jon, convinces him that he actually has accurate visions of the past (say, by telling Jon stuff about his own past only Jon would know), then Jon could believe what he says. While he might listen to the stories Howland might tell him I think his stories would be considerably less convincing. That leads us to the next point.

3. Jon Snow actually has to want to believe and accept that he is not, in fact, Eddard Stark's son but in fact Lyanna Stark's son by Rhaegar Targaryen.

That is going to be a hugely important point. Jon Snow's self image right now is that of Eddard Stark's bastard son. Eddard Stark is his father. He looks up to the man, tries to emulate him, tries to make him proud of his accomplishment. It was his love he wanted to win, the love of a father who would, once Jon had finally proven himself to be 'a true Stark' and proper son to be formally declared a true Stark.

Being Eddard Stark's son is a core part of Jon Snow's identity, and we can all imagine that he is not going to like that being taken away from him. After all, Eddard Stark was a good and honorable man and the only father Jon Snow ever knew. So I think we all can agree that Jon Snow himself won't be all that keen to hear some story about his true parents, and that many great heroes died so he could be raised as the bastard son of his own uncle. If I put myself in Jon's shoes for a moment imagining some friend of my father's (whom I had never met) would show up and tell me that I wasn't my father's son but instead his nephew, etc. I'd not like that story all that much.

Jon is not going to interpret the truth about his parentage as act of liberation. Tyrion might. Everything is better than being Tywin Lannister's son, even being Aerys Targaryen's bastard (especially if that comes with a dragon) but I'm not sure it is so great to lose Eddard Stark as a father only to see him replaced by a man who is long dead and actually rode to war against the man you thought was your father.

Irregardless how Jon learns the truth I don't think he is likely to act quickly on that 'revelation'. His first impulse might even be to ignore this story entirely.

The only thing I think that could convince him to accept this whole thing as the truth is if the Targaryens are about to become or already have become important in his life. Say, through something Aegon is doing or because Dany has already arrived in Westeros. He might have to send envoys to them to ask for help in the fight against the Others or may have received such envoys from them.

If we assume Jon finally gets around to see himself as Lyanna's son (and not Ned's) then we have the next point:

4. Something has to happen so that Jon and House Targaryen form some sort of connection.

Where Jon is right now (at the Wall/in the North) there are basically no or only very few Targaryen loyalists. Nobody who might actually care that he is Rhaegar Targaryen's son (regardless whether trueborn or bastard). If the North has a royal house right now it's name is Stark (or Baratheon if Stannis lives and is accepted as king by a majority of the Northmen), and that's not going to change soon.

If Jon is ever tempted to take on Robb's mantle as king or succeed him as Lord of Winterfell (which would be really tiresome because he rejected that whole thing so often already) then the truth about him merely being a Stark (bastard) through the female line is not going to help with that. The claims of Sansa, Arya (and of course Rickon) would easily supersede that.

One imagines that the only thing over which there could be any sort of connection between Jon and 'the Targaryen camp' (Aegon's people - Dorne, the Golden Company, various other houses declaring for Aegon - and Dany's people - whoever she brings with her) could be formed would be the threat of the Others (in that sense this whole thing figures into this whole topic, after all) because there is no way, NO POSSIBLE WAY, that a single man in Westeros is going to believe that Jon is Rhaegar's son and thus an 'important person politically' if he doesn't figure somehow in a much larger picture. The people in the North are way too weak to ever become political players in the South ever again in this series, and even if they did they are not very likely to play the 'Jon Snow is a Targaryen' card against other Targaryen pretenders whose identity is either clear or much more convincing than somebody's word that Jon is a Targaryen.

Thus we have

5. The something mentioned in (4.) is most likely some sort for another head of the dragon, ally in the fight against the Others, third dragonrider, whatever.

The Targaryen faction - either Aegon's or Dany's, more likely the latter - must receive good information on the possible existence of a true (or another) son of Rhaegar's (possibly due to interaction with some Daynes and further magical prophecy events). This will then lead to some sort of meeting/alliance/union that results in Jon being adopted into House Targaryen, either by being recognized as Rhaegar's trueborn son (if the Targaryen doing this believes in Rhaegar's second marriage) and a royal prince or by being formally legitimized as a Targaryen (the latter could be done in either case to placate people who challenge the validity of a bigamist marriage).

Without (5.) there isn't any chance for Jon to become accepted by anyone as a Targaryen.

From there he could even sit the throne (for time), either as Dany's heir (if she dies) or as her prince consort and co-ruler (at her side/in her absence). I'm more inclined that he will not survive the series (due to the whole resurrection thing - not liking undead kings) but he could still sit the Iron Throne for a short time before the final battle against the Others.

The idea many people are tossing around that there might be some Great Council in the end choosing him seems very strange to me. The story is structured in such a way that there won't be need of such an anticlimactic moment at the very end. It is more likely that Jon would end up in a position of supreme leadership at Dany's side during the final battles and thus simply continuing her work should she die untimely. He is not likely going to be the hidden prince who is handed the kingdom by some people who finally realized who he is and feel now obliged to give him his due because he has proven his worth.

That's the childish dream Jon had when he was young. The one that had Ned recognize his worth and make him a true Stark. This story is not going to make such dreams come true. If Jon wants the kingdom he will have to take it. And the only way I could see him doing that is through Daenerys. Anything else is not going to work.

11 minutes ago, BalerionTheCat said:

Or what they did was more important than winning a war on the Trident. More important than keeping a mad man on the throne (anything would be better than that). More important than supporting the claim of that said mad man's worthless brat (how could they know that already?).

Maybe you need to re-evaluate the importance of what they were protecting? What if they knew the prophecy and its implication?

The fact that the knights stayed with Lyanna (even while her child was not yet born and with no guarantee that she would live to give birth to it or give birth to a living child) is already ample evidence that those men did not really care all that much about the Kingsguard duty of protecting the king. Else they would have protected the king.

But if you acknowledge this then the whole Kingsguard vow part of their motivation essentially disappears. But then, a man like Ser Arthur Dayne was praised by Ned as a great knight, not exactly a great Kingsguard.

Rhaegar's beliefs in prophecy are likely to be a motivation there. However, those wouldn't be actually very good motivations. I mean, Rhaegar was wrong so many times before and interpreted prophecy really isn't something that should be more important than your vows. However, it is just as likely their vows as mere knights also played an important role there. Protect the innocent from harm. Lyanna and her child were both innocent and the men might have had reason to believe than delivering them into Ned's hands might be dangerous.

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