manchester_babe

Is R+L=J canon in the books?

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ASoIaF was intended to be a trilogy so George highlighted R+L=J throughout book 1, he only started bringing it down a notch in the later books. 

So unless it turns out Jon is actually Arthur Dayne's son, the chances of R+L=J being canon is pretty high. The real question is how many people are going to believe it because if it wasn't for Ned's chapters I doubt most of us would.

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4 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

Or the last book. I would rather bet on a very late reveal. Even if we have plenty of evidences Jon is the promised prince in the next book. I like the idea of having an insane amount of evidences. And still people saying "maybe not." At some point, any other alternative is plain absurdity or bad story.

It would be pretty hilarious if ADoS ends up being delayed forever because "I know what I wanted to reveal for Jon's parentage, but I can't make it work in the story with the hints I left in AGoT. It's like a new Meereenese Knot". Then it really won't be canon…

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53 minutes ago, Pikachu101 said:

ASoIaF was intended to be a trilogy so George highlighted R+L=J throughout book 1, he only started bringing it down a notch in the later books.

He rather put red herrings in the later books, like the Fisherman's daughter. IMO because R+L=J was believed by too many people.

9 minutes ago, falcotron said:

It would be pretty hilarious if ADoS ends up being delayed forever because "I know what I wanted to reveal for Jon's parentage, but I can't make it work in the story with the hints I left in AGoT. It's like a new Meereenese Knot". Then it really won't be canon…

But I've no doubt GRRM doesn't try to change his story. I don't think it's what is delaying the remaining books.

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37 minutes ago, BalerionTheCat said:

But I've no doubt GRRM doesn't try to change his story. I don't think it's what is delaying the remaining books.

No, the point is the exact opposite. What would hold him up is trying not to change his story, refusing to change it even though he can't figure out how to make it work as he'd planned.

That's what delayed the last two books. He knew how he wanted Dany's Essos story to end, but it was difficult to make that work given the way he left things in ASoS. If he'd been willing to change his story and let Dany and everyone else in Essos go wherever was easiest (which probably would have ruined the epic, so it's a good thing he wasn't willing), there would have been no Meereenese Knot.

Of course it's hard to imagine the R+L=J reveal being nearly as thorny a problem. Which is why it's the foundation of a joke about canon, rather than of a serious discussion.

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7 hours ago, Wolf's Bane said:

Oh no.  It is not canon in the books.  It is possible but only one of many other possibilities.  There is Brandon + Lyanna, Ned + Ashara, Mance + Lyanna, etc.

Other than Ned + Ashara (which I don't believe anyway, I think the "Stark" was Brandon) the other two are just random names thrown together. There's nothing in the books suggesting that either Brandon or Mance slept with Lyanna. Mance! Can you show me something in George's words that even hints at this?

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9 hours ago, Wolf's Bane said:

Oh no.  It is not canon in the books.  It is possible but only one of many other possibilities.  There is Brandon + Lyanna, Ned + Ashara, Mance + Lyanna, etc.

And there are few hints in the text for your so called many other possibilities. Ned and Ashara are paired together by rumors in WF, Cersei and Edric Dayne but the evidence and timeline for Jon being their son does not hold on scrutiny.  Besides, there's no reason for Ned to keep Jon's mum's identity a secret from Cat if it was Ashara.  

I'm always amazed at the preposterous theories that people put forward, such as, Mance and Lyanna or Brandon and Lyanna being Jon's parents with no textual basis. People just throw random names together with no analysis of the text just to be different.

To the OP if you want to read the textual hints for R+L=J, the pinned thread on this topic is now on its 164 iteration and has been debated endlessly and is still the best explanation for Jon's parentage. 

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4 hours ago, falcotron said:

No, the point is the exact opposite. What would hold him up is trying not to change his story, refusing to change it even though he can't figure out how to make it work as he'd planned.

That's what delayed the last two books. He knew how he wanted Dany's Essos story to end, but it was difficult to make that work given the way he left things in ASoS. If he'd been willing to change his story and let Dany and everyone else in Essos go wherever was easiest (which probably would have ruined the epic, so it's a good thing he wasn't willing), there would have been no Meereenese Knot.

Of course it's hard to imagine the R+L=J reveal being nearly as thorny a problem. Which is why it's the foundation of a joke about canon, rather than of a serious discussion.

Yes, the R+L=J reveal and how important to the overall story this reveal is could now possibly be a thorny problem for GRRM to write. With all the hype, GRRM will have to write it in a manner that does not come across as cheesy and predictable. I believe Jon's identity and parentage are of tremendous significance to the story, which I think is confirmed by the oft quoted story of GRRM giving D&D the job after guessing Jon's mum correctly. But how does he keep the reader interested in this plot now that everyone and his/her mother has heard of it?

If the book was a trilogy (and had GRRM been a faster writer and there was no show) and Jon's parentage and central purpose to the story was revealed in the third book, it would have made the moment and importance of Jon more surprising and clever to the casual reader. GRRM would have been able to pull off the hidden prince trope in a manner that would have been unexpected and unsuspecting. Now that he's lost the element of surprise he will have to write the moment and its signifiance in a manner that is engaging to the reader. I'm sure he'll pull it off because, in spite of meandering ways, I still feel the man's a great storyteller. To me, the best moment of the R+L=J reveal, if done properly, would be the reaction from the likes of Varys, LF, Cersei, Jamie, Tyrion (if they are still alive) to know that the naive and stupid Ned Stark kept a secret so great that none of them had the slightest inkling. 

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31 minutes ago, teej6 said:

Yes, the R+L=J reveal and how important to the overall story this reveal is could now possibly be a thorny problem for GRRM to write. With all the hype, GRRM will have to write it in a manner that does not come across as cheesy and predictable. I believe Jon's identity and parentage are of tremendous significance to the story, which I think is confirmed by the oft quoted story of GRRM giving D&D the job after guessing Jon's mum correctly. But how does he keep the reader interested in this plot now that everyone and his/her mother has heard of it?

If the book was a trilogy (and had GRRM been a faster writer and there was no show) and Jon's parentage and central purpose to the story was revealed in the third book, it would have made the moment and importance of Jon more surprising and clever to the casual reader. GRRM would have been able to pull off the hidden prince trope in a manner that would have been unexpected and unsuspecting. Now that he's lost the element of surprise he will have to write the moment and its signifiance in a manner that is engaging to the reader. I'm sure he'll pull it off because, in spite of meandering ways, I still feel the man's a great storyteller. To me, the best moment of the R+L=J reveal, if done properly, would be the reaction from the likes of Varys, LF, Cersei, Jamie, Tyrion (if they are still alive) to know that the naive and stupid Ned Stark kept a secret so great that none of them had the slightest inkling. 

I agree with you that he's lost the chance to make the reveal to the reader an exciting surprise. But I'm not sure he ever intended to.

Look at his other hidden identity reveals—Bloodraven, Aemon, Barristan, Mance and the spearwives, etc. None of them are big shocking moments. Sometimes it was already obvious beforehand (will anyone be shocked if Alleras turns out to be Sarella?), sometimes the reveal itself is so subtle you can't be shocked by it, and sometimes there weren't any hidden clues and it's just presented as a simple fact rather than a revelation. The closest thing to a big twist shocker is Young Griff, and that's played more as a parody of the standard trope than a usage of it.

What all of them do, however, is provide a way for GRRM to give us some new insight into the characters, or at least into what's been happening. And that's part of the reason these books are better on the second read, rather than being "spoiled" because we know the surprise twists.

So, when we learn that R+L=J, I think it'll just be, "Yeah, and so what?" But when we see other characters learn the truth, that's where it'll be interesting. As you said, Cersei realizing Ned outplayed her will be fun, but that may be the least of it. Dany realizing that she doesn't have a birthright to the throne is probably going to be central to her character arc. And Melisandre will be interested in the prophecy angle, giving her the biggest thing to tragically misinterpret she's ever had. And so on.

That's why I think so many of the fan theories about secret identities are so silly. Would it be exciting to learn that Brandon+Lyanna=Jon, or Euron=Daario, or whatever? Not that much, no. Once you get past the momentary shock, what's the point? How would Jon, or Cersei, or Dany, or anyone else learning that Jon is really Brandon's son rather than Ned's lead to anything interesting?

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, falcotron said:

I agree with you that he's lost the chance to make the reveal to the reader an exciting surprise. But I'm not sure he ever intended to.

Look at his other hidden identity reveals—Bloodraven, Aemon, Barristan, Mance and the spearwives, etc. None of them are big shocking moments. Sometimes it was already obvious beforehand (will anyone be shocked if Alleras turns out to be Sarella?), sometimes the reveal itself is so subtle you can't be shocked by it, and sometimes there weren't any hidden clues and it's just presented as a simple fact rather than a revelation. The closest thing to a big twist shocker is Young Griff, and that's played more as a parody of the standard trope than a usage of it.

What all of them do, however, is provide a way for GRRM to give us some new insight into the characters, or at least into what's been happening. And that's part of the reason these books are better on the second read, rather than being "spoiled" because we know the surprise twists.

So, when we learn that R+L=J, I think it'll just be, "Yeah, and so what?" But when we see other characters learn the truth, that's where it'll be interesting. As you said, Cersei realizing Ned outplayed her will be fun, but that may be the least of it. Dany realizing that she doesn't have a birthright to the throne is probably going to be central to her character arc. And Melisandre will be interested in the prophecy angle, giving her the biggest thing to tragically misinterpret she's ever had. And so on.

That's why I think so many of the fan theories about secret identities are so silly. Would it be exciting to learn that Brandon+Lyanna=Jon, or Euron=Daario, or whatever? Not that much, no. Once you get past the momentary shock, what's the point? How would Jon, or Cersei, or Dany, or anyone else learning that Jon is really Brandon's son rather than Ned's lead to anything interesting?

Yeah, you're right. The shock and twist element in the story is overblown. GRRM, in a way, wants his readers to pick up on the hints and piece it together. But from this interview, it also appears that he wants to have twists in the story albeit developed organically within the story. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/game-of-thrones/11027457/George-RR-Martin-women-beg-me-to-write-more-sex-scenes-for-Game-of-Thrones.html

Quote

I’ve wrestled with the issue of fan speculation online, because I do want to surprise my readers... I hate predictable fiction as a reader, I don’t want to write predictable fiction. I want to surprise and delight my reader and take them in directions they didn’t see coming.

So, some level of surprise to his readers is important to him but he doesn't want the surprise to be totally random and done for solely shock and awe purposes. I feel he wants the readers to be invested in it and when the reveal happens, to be fully able to connect the dots. Though, I fully agree with you that most of the lesser mysteries (if you can call it that) in the books, when revealed, are not played out as some big shocking moment.

And yes, the number of secret identity theories that have been espoused by readers is mind boggling and really silly. It's like everyone in the story isn't really who he/she is thought to be. As you say, there's no point in the story to Jon being anyone else's child other than Rhaegar and Lyanna's. The secrecy element in Jon being anyone else's child doesn't make any sense.

I also feel that GRRM, as he does not plot out the stories of secondary characters before hand, has at times, retconned certain characters. Jamie's redemption arc, to me, is an example of GRRM changing the character arc well after AGOT. IMO, there's very little that's sympathetic about Jamie in AGOT. Similarly, the young Griff storyline, I always felt was an after thought on GRRM's part. He may have wanted to pull it out if necessary early on and that's why he had the dead child be unrecognizable and Dany see the cloth dragon in her HOTU vision, but the way and when the character appears in the story appears a bit contrived.

To me, it feels like GRRM has trouble ending his storylines. The ones he planned out from the get go he seems to have no trouble finding closure but for some of the others he can't seem to find a satisfactory conclusion. Stannis in the books will be one to watch. Obviously he didn't tell the jokers of the TV show how he means to conclude Stannis arc and that's why they botched it up. 

Edited by teej6

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10 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

He rather put red herrings in the later books, like the Fisherman's daughter. IMO because R+L=J was believed by too many people.

Yeah I don't think he realised how many readers would put two and two together, too late for red herrings now there's only two books left and R+L=J is still the most popular theory amongst fans. 

10 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

But I've no doubt GRRM doesn't try to change his story. I don't think it's what is delaying the remaining books.

You never know, he might decide Jon's real father was Arthur all along :P

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14 hours ago, falcotron said:

No, the point is the exact opposite. What would hold him up is trying not to change his story, refusing to change it even though he can't figure out how to make it work as he'd planned.

You think he is trying to change the story? For Jon's father to be plain Ned, or someone else who can't match and can't provide any value to the story? No. He can't change the story to make a big reveal there. And I totally don't care. I would not waste my time on that. Anyway, I believe  there is plenty to reveal about the prophecy and the prince that are not in the show. GRRM has still plenty to reveal. Jon's parents are just the tip of the iceberg.

The interesting thing is what he said later in the same interview:

"So what do I do then? Do I change it! I wrestled with that issue and I came to the conclusion that changing it would be a disaster, because the clues were there.
"You can't do that, so I'm just going to go ahead.
"Some of my readers who don't read the boards, which thankfully there are hundreds of thousands of them, will still be surprised and other readers will say: 'see, I said that four years ago, I'm smarter than you guys'."

I don't know what is delaying GRRM now. But I would rather believe it is the continuation of the Meereen Knot. ADWD was just the beginning of it, Daenerys path to Fire and Blood.

4 hours ago, Pikachu101 said:

You never know, he might decide Jon's real father was Arthur all along :P

What is important is, "who someone is", not "who someone parents were".  But I've no worry about that. The prophecy demands a prince born of the line of Aerys and Rhaella, and with the song of Ice and Fire. It left no choice.

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It is not cannon, it might be possible but just because that's the most popular theory doesn't mean it is true. I do not believe in R+L=J and do not want it to be cannon, especially if Jon is going to be renamed Aegon. The show combined Young Griff with Jon and said R+L= Aegon. Since we know show Jon was previously combined by Stannis and Mance too we can say this is D&D's way to not to spoil the books. R+L is Aegon as in Young Griff not because Jon has another name and identity of Jon's mother is still a mystery for George to reveal. 

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3 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

You think he is trying to change the story? For Jon's father to be plain Ned, or someone else who can't match and can't provide any value to the story?

We can't assess the value to the story until we know what story GRRM wants to tell.

If GRRM wants to tell a story in which Jon is the hidden heir to the throne and will one day rule all Westeros -- a narrative cliche yoinked straight from all the eighties fantasy GRRM has repeatedly stated he loathes... then yes, R+L=J provides maximum value.

22 minutes ago, Jova Snow said:

I do not believe in R+L=J and do not want it to be cannon, especially if Jon is going to be renamed Aegon.

There seems small chance of this.  

A parent would have to be exceptionally grotesque to give a newborn the same name as another baby -- a baby with the same father -- who was recently murdered by having his brains smashed against a wall.

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

We can't assess the value to the story until we know what story GRRM wants to tell.

Of course. But we are spending our time here assessing what theory could be, and what value they could provide to the story. Have you something better than the grotesque alternatives we have so far? And since what? 11 years without anything new of interest.

It is not Jon is the hidden heir. I don't care. Again, what is important is, "who someone is", not "who someone parents were". What is important is, he is the hidden PtwP.

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On 9/30/2017 at 0:02 PM, Wolf's Bane said:

Oh no.  It is not canon in the books.  It is possible but only one of many other possibilities.  There is Brandon + Lyanna, Ned + Ashara, Mance + Lyanna, etc.

Wouldn't that be incest Brandon And Lyanna?

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4 minutes ago, manchester_babe said:

Wouldn't that be incest Brandon And Lyanna?

Yes, but there are many people on the boards who either hate the Starks/Jon and want to see them commit an abomination, and those that think who think the author put incest in the story as a "no big deal" issue, when in fact, he has never, ever done. It always comes with a price and negative affect in the long (or short) run. They want it to be a shock!

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9 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

You think he is trying to change the story?

Seriously? I say he's trying not to change the story, and you take it as the exact opposite? I don't know how to clarify this any further.

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On 9/30/2017 at 3:05 PM, Pikachu101 said:

ASoIaF was intended to be a trilogy so George highlighted R+L=J throughout book 1, he only started bringing it down a notch in the later books. 

So unless it turns out Jon is actually Arthur Dayne's son, the chances of R+L=J being canon is pretty high. The real question is how many people are going to believe it because if it wasn't for Ned's chapters I doubt most of us would.

He plants so many seeds. For it. 

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[MOD]

There currently 164 threads discussing this topic in the pinned sections.  Another one is unnecessary.

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