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The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part III)

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In order to continue the great debate about "R+L=J" I'm trying to start a new thread. I'm not sure how to get this to be in the sticky category, but if it takes a mod to move it there could one of you kindly do so?

My last post in the old thread asked the question "why the objection to a Rhaegar and Lyanna romance in these novels?" Sarella raised this in the the last thread and I'm at a lost to understand how this qualifies as something out of the norm for the series. We are inundated with romances in the books - Jon and Ygritte, Daenerys and Khal Drogo, Robb and Jeyne, Ned and Catelyn, Ned and Ashara, Tyrion and Tysha, Tyrion and Shae, Jaime and Cersei, Renly and Loras, Sam and Gilly, the story of Bael the Bard are just the examples that jump to mind - and they all have in common the fact that romance leads to death and destruction. It is a theme played over and over in the books, so I cannot understand the idea that Rhaegar and Lyanna being in love, and that love causing the terrible events of Robert's Rebellion as being out of place in the books. Rather, it fits like a hand in glove.

We also have had a long discussion about the meaning of the presence of the Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy. I've taken the position that the best and most obvious answer to that question is that Jon is born at the Tower and he is the rightful heir to the Targaryen throne (i.e. Rhaegar and Lyanna were married.) We can continue either of these discussions or branch off into any other aspect of the topic as people wish. I just hope this serves to start it all off again.

Here are the links to the first two threads on this topic:

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread, Post Your Arguments and Theories Right Here!

and

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread, Part II, Post Your Arguments and Theories Right Here! Again!

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Ok lets get this started again!!!

Firstly, im not too sure what you're on about with the objection to the R+L relationship. Do you mean the people of the board object to there being a relationship or that there is no official proof that there was a relationship? :unsure:

About the TOJ, I've thought that Lyanna was there as that was where Rhaegar thought her to be most safe, perhaps anonther of his favourite places when he was young. Protecting Lyanna are the Kingsgurad, having finally realised that Aerys is mad and that the best way they can serve the realm, is by protecting the King's heir's son so as the reign can continue incase of the worst case scenario(i.e Rhaeager and family all die). The Kingsgurad are some of the best fighters in the country and with Rhaegar convincing them to stay and protect his wife, he is offering the best help and protection he can give for the future to his son.

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My last post in the old thread asked the question "why the objection to a Rhaegar and Lyanna romance in these novels?" Sarella raised this in the the last thread and I'm at a lost to understand how this qualifies as something out of the norm for the series. We are inundated with romances in the books - Jon and Ygritte, Daenerys and Khal Drogo, Robb and Jeyne, Ned and Catelyn, Ned and Ashara, Tyrion and Tysha, Tyrion and Shae, Jaime and Cersei, Renly and Loras, Sam and Gilly, the story of Bael the Bard are just the examples that jump to mind - and they all have in common the fact that romance leads to death and destruction. It is a theme played over and over in the books, so I cannot understand the idea that Rhaegar and Lyanna being in love, and that love causing the terrible events of Robert's Rebellion as being out of place in the books. Rather, it fits like a hand in glove.

It also fits with GRRM's overall theme (across many of his works) of romance vs realism. The interplay and contrast of the two is GRRM's trademark, not just one or the other.

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My last post in the old thread asked the question "why the objection to a Rhaegar and Lyanna romance in these novels?" Sarella raised this in the the last thread and I'm at a lost to understand how this qualifies as something out of the norm for the series. We are inundated with romances in the books - Jon and Ygritte, Daenerys and Khal Drogo, Robb and Jeyne, Ned and Catelyn, Ned and Ashara, Tyrion and Tysha, Tyrion and Shae, Jaime and Cersei, Renly and Loras, Sam and Gilly, the story of Bael the Bard are just the examples that jump to mind - and they all have in common the fact that romance leads to death and destruction. It is a theme played over and over in the books, so I cannot understand the idea that Rhaegar and Lyanna being in love, and that love causing the terrible events of Robert's Rebellion as being out of place in the books. Rather, it fits like a hand in glove.

It is not the Lyanna and Rhaegar romance that I doubt, it is the marriage. I completely agree with the romance theme in the books. But look at all the couples you listed. How many married before the first time they slept together? Even Robb, one of the most honourable characters in the books, didn't. Not even Rhaegar's own son, Jon, married his girl before sex. Or at all, for that matter.

So a Lyanna and Rhaegar marriage would be inconsistent with GRRM's writing, where characters sleep with each other on the spare of the moment, and only marry if it is planned (Dany and Drogo, Ned and Cat) or if they are stupid honourable fools (Robb).

Whatever happened between Lyanna and Rhaegar happened quickly, and I find the following unlikely:

1. That Lyanna and Rhaegar thought getting married was important amidst all the excitement (and over, say, placating Aerys, Elia and Dorne).

2. That they decided it would be better to marry in secret, which would be stupid if Rhaegar really did intend for Lyanna to be recognized as his second wife.

3. That they found the right time, place, and people to do it. That includes witnesses who have kept quiet about it for 15 years, and have never doubted that Jon is Ned's bastard. Yes, Wylla could be one such witness, but I find that unlikely too, given she was Elia's handmaid, and lowborn. Jon Connington could also be one such witness, but as I've said, he will have plenty to say about the tourney at harrenhal, and him also revealing that Lyanna and Rhaegar were married would be overwhelming. It would be poor writing for GRRM to have one character, who we don't meet until the fifth book, suddenly reveal everything we ever wanted to know about the central mystery in the book.

Finally, another point with regard to the KG at the TOJ. If it is most likely that they were there guarding their king, why doesn't Ned come to the same conclusion? At the start of AGOT, when Ned and Robert are in the crypts, Robert complains that Lyanna was buried in the dark. Ned says "She was a Stark of Winterfell. This is her place." Ned thinks she was a Stark of Winterfell. Not a Targaryen. How can he think that, when he saw for himself the three KG at the TOJ, which (apparently) so clearly indicates his sister was Lyanna Targaryen?

ETA: the bit about Wylla and Jon Connigton.

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Ned says "She was a Stark of Winterfell. This is her place." Ned thinks she was a Stark of Winterfell. Not a Targaryen. How can he think that, when he saw for himself the three KG at the TOJ, which (apparently) so clearly indicates his sister was Lyanna Targaryen?

She was a Stark by blood. Doesn't Catelyn continue to think of herself as a Tully of Riverrun after 15 years of being a Stark by marriage? I'll see if I can track down an exact quote to that effect when I get the chance.

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She was a Stark by blood. Doesn't Catelyn continue to think of herself as a Tully of Riverrun after 15 years of being a Stark by marriage? I'll see if I can track down an exact quote to that effect when I get the chance.

I assumed that the Lady Starks were buried in the crypts and that Cat would be too. And that the Lady/Queen Targaryens were burned like all the Targaryens. But now you've got me thinking about it, I'm not sure why I assumed these things.

And I too recall Cat thinking of herself as a Tully of Riverrun, which doesn't really help my case, I suppose!

It also doesn't help that Ned sees the empty spots in the crypts and reflects that they are wating for him and his children. He doesn't mention his wife. And that he mentions seeing Rickard, Brandon and Lyanna, but not his mother. It could be just an oversight by GRRM, like not mentioning Bran at the feast at Winterfell. Not mentioning him doesn't mean he wasn't there. And GRRM certainly doesn't have any backstory for Ned's mother and doesn't seem to think she was important (going by his comments about her in SSM), which lends support to it being an oversight.

If Cat had died while Ned lived, I can't see him floating her into a river and burning her pyre. I can, however, see him burying her in the crypts at Winterfell and having a stone mason carve her likeness. But that is just my opinion with no evidence to support it.

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I cannot understand the idea that Rhaegar and Lyanna being in love, and that love causing the terrible events of Robert's Rebellion as being out of place in the books. Rather, it fits like a hand in glove.

Heh, well I don't know if I'm alone, but isn't it possible to be a R+L supporter without believing Jon is their son? I think they did run away together, and clearly it was the motivation behind the war yadda yadda, and I agree with your point about the book's themes and this particular relationship being central to that.

I'm certain at least Lyanna was smitten/in love/whatever. Then, later, SOMETHING happened to her to cause her to bleed to death in the ToJ. Sure birthing Jon fits, but so could other scenarios. Maybe she took a wound for R (now wouldn't that be romantic?)?

Rhaegar's feelings are less clear. It seems like his sole motivation is prophecy, and I think that his pursuing Lyanna was motivated mostly by that rather than romance persay. But that just makes the story even more bittersweet and compelling. :wideeyed:

We also have had a long discussion about the meaning of the presence of the Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy.

I grant that (R+L=) Jon being there would be a compelling reason. However, it is not strictly required. I think Rhaegar's belief that Lyanna was essential to his prophecy (and to saving the world) would have been enough of a reason for him to order the Kingsguard to protect her.

So why would the Kingsguard obey him? I've always found this a strange objection. They stay because they are loyal to and trust Rhaegar. For all we know he may even have told them that Lyanna's survival was essential to the salvation of Westeros and they would have believed him.

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Heh, well I don't know if I'm alone, but isn't it possible to be a R+L supporter without believing Jon is their son? I think they did run away together, and clearly it was the motivation behind the war yadda yadda, and I agree with your point about the book's themes and this particular relationship being central to that.

I'm certain at least Lyanna was smitten/in love/whatever. Then, later, SOMETHING happened to her to cause her to bleed to death in the ToJ. Sure birthing Jon fits, but so could other scenarios. Maybe she took a wound for R (now wouldn't that be romantic?)?

Rhaegar's feelings are less clear. It seems like his sole motivation is prophecy, and I think that his pursuing Lyanna was motivated mostly by that rather than romance persay. But that just makes the story even more bittersweet and compelling. :wideeyed:

You are not alone, and in a fantasy world all things are possible, but the question is what is probable. One problem with the idea of her taking a wound for Rhaegar is that he is long dead by the time Ned gets there, and we know of no other foe who stormed the Tower of Joy - or even knew of its existence. It seems unlikely.

I grant that (R+L=) Jon being there would be a compelling reason. However, it is not strictly required. I think Rhaegar's belief that Lyanna was essential to his prophecy (and to saving the world) would have been enough of a reason for him to order the Kingsguard to protect her.

So why would the Kingsguard obey him? I've always found this a strange objection. They stay because they are loyal to and trust Rhaegar. For all we know he may even have told them that Lyanna's survival was essential to the salvation of Westeros and they would have believed him.

The loyalty to and trusting of their crown prince does indeed explain their presence for the first part of their time at the Tower of Joy. The problem becomes what about after they learn of Rhaegar's death at the Trident, and later the death of Aerys and the deaths of Rhaegar's children at King's Landing? We know from their responses to Ned they found out these things. Their vows as members of the Kingsguard would seem to tell them they should be elsewhere than guarding a former mistress and possibly her bastard child. If as you suggest, and Sarella has suggested before you, the Kingsguard is convinced of the Rhaegar's version of the prophecy, why do they stay after Rhaegar is proven wrong in his belief when Aegon and Rhaenys are killed at King's Landing? Not only do they know Rhaegar was mistaken, but they know they have a new king in need of their protection. Your and Sarella's scenario doesn't seem to fit with the facts as we know them. The presence of a legitimate heir at the Tower of Joy does.

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You are not alone, and in a fantasy world all things are possible, but the question is what is probable. One problem with the idea of her taking a wound for Rhaegar is that he is long dead by the time Ned gets there, and we know of no other foe who stormed the Tower of Joy - or even knew of its existence. It seems unlikely.

I'm thinking somewhere enroute to ToJ they were ambushed and Lyanna took a light wound (arrow or something). Who attacked and why? I don't know. Just because we haven't heard about it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

why do they stay after Rhaegar is proven wrong in his belief when Aegon and Rhaenys are killed at King's Landing? Not only do they know Rhaegar was mistaken, but they know they have a new king in need of their protection. Your and Sarella's scenario doesn't seem to fit with the facts as we know them. The presence of a legitimate heir at the Tower of Joy does.

A couple possibilities.

1) My impression is that ToJ == Middle of Nowhere. Rhaegar chose that location for a reason, so it would be out of the way. Since almost no one even knew they were there, how would news of the sacking get there? Clearly by the time Ned gets there, they've heard of Rhaegar's death, but I don't think it's clear that until he gets there (or shortly before) they know the entire royal family is scattered or dead.

2) Assuming they heard the news that Rhaegar died, I think that following the last dying wish of your liege lord would be a pretty compelling argument!!!

Your scenario is basically this:

Rhaegar: I will be back, Gods willing, but don't leave Lyanna NO MATTER WHAT! Protect her life above all else.

KG: *kneel* We will protect her as we would protect you. Godspeed.

KG: ...

(They hear Rhaegar's dead)

KG: Oh well I guess he's wrong, See ya!

That just doesn't work for me, sorry.

3) Even if they did the (I think unlikely) 2) above, It would be a LONG trip to get back to KL or Dragonstone. It's a matter of definitely helping someone important to the royal family by staying vs. perhaps maybe getting elsewhere in time to help others.

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I'm thinking somewhere enroute to ToJ they were ambushed and Lyanna took a light wound (arrow or something). Who attacked and why? I don't know. Just because we haven't heard about it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Of course it is possible, but we have no evidence to support it happening. We can come up with a thousand and one scenarios that could have happened, but if we are looking for something that fits with what we are told in the text then many possibilities are eliminated. We have no reason to believe Lyanna died of a arrow wound or any wound received in combat. In fact, we are lead to believe that the Tower of Joy is hidden away and Lyanna herself has been hidden from both friend and foe.

A couple possibilities.

1) My impression is that ToJ == Middle of Nowhere. Rhaegar chose that location for a reason, so it would be out of the way. Since almost no one even knew they were there, how would news of the sacking get there? Clearly by the time Ned gets there, they've heard of Rhaegar's death, but I don't think it's clear that until he gets there (or shortly before) they know the entire royal family is scattered or dead.

We don't know the timing of the information, but we do know the Kingsguard knew of the Sack of King's Landing. It's possible that timing or travel concerns explains why the Kingsguard is still at the Tower, but then why do they fight to the death to protect a former mistress of the crown prince and perhaps her bastard child. All of this when they should, as Ned says to them, be with Viserys at Dragonstone. Are we to believe that Ned would not allow them to leave if they gave up his sister? They have a vow to fulfill, and if that doesn't include a royal heir at the Tower of Joy it most certainly does mean they need to be at Dragonstone.

2) Assuming they heard the news that Rhaegar died, I think that following the last dying wish of your liege lord would be a pretty compelling argument!!!

Your scenario is basically this:

Rhaegar: I will be back, Gods willing, but don't leave Lyanna NO MATTER WHAT! Protect her life above all else.

KG: *kneel* We will protect her as we would protect you. Godspeed.

KG: ...

(They hear Rhaegar's dead)

KG: Oh well I guess he's wrong, See ya!

That just doesn't work for me, sorry.

3) Even if they did the (I think unlikely) 2) above, It would be a LONG trip to get back to KL or Dragonstone. It's a matter of definitely helping someone important to the royal family by staying vs. perhaps maybe getting elsewhere in time to help others.

What the scenario involves is thinking men who are dedicated to the fulfillment of their vows. Both of which seem to describe Hightower, Dayne, and Whent to a "t". When they hear Rhaegar is dead they have an obligation to their new commander and to Aerys. Yet they don't leave the Tower with or without Lyanna. It's quite possible that the events of King's Landing unfolded too fast and King's Landing was too far away for them to get there, but that does not change the fact that under the new conditions they have an obligation from their oaths to do so if possible. More importantly they have an obligation to Viserys after they are the only Kingsguard left and loyal to House Targaryen. They should try to get to him if they have no heir to guard. They could have tried to leave through still loyal Dorne and take ship to Dragonstone (the rebels have no naval forces to stop them.) And if the timing has not allowed them to prior to Ned's arrival, they could have turned over Lyanna in return for their safe passage to Dorne.

None of the above happens because, I'm convinced, they have someone they must protect at all costs, and in fulfillment of their oaths, at the Tower of Joy. The actions of the Kingsguard are, in fact, some of the best evidence we have that not only is "R+L = J" true, but that Jon is also the legitimate heir to the throne.

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And I too recall Cat thinking of herself as a Tully of Riverrun, which doesn't really help my case, I suppose!

Ok, then I won't dig it up after all if you remember it too. I was thinking that it could be in virtually any of her chapters with no helpful clue to locate it. Whew!

It also doesn't help that Ned sees the empty spots in the crypts and reflects that they are wating for him and his children. He doesn't mention his wife. And that he mentions seeing Rickard, Brandon and Lyanna, but not his mother.

I actually thought that it was really only the Lords who were supposed to be interred in the crypts, but after checking that section it might be that all the Starks are buried there, but only the lords get statues.

"And there's my grandfather, Lord Rickard, who was beheaded by Mad King Aerys. His daughter Lyanna and his son Brandon are in the tombs beside him. Not me, another Brandon, my father's brother. They're not supposed to have statues, that's only for the lords and the kings, but my father loved them so much he had them done."

There's a licheyard outside the First Keep where loyal servants of the family get buried, but that doesn't sound like any of the junior members of house Stark would be with them. And I just noticed something interesting in that quote of Bran's; he thinks Aerys beheaded his grandfather which is completely false. That puts his subsequent comment about Rhaegar raping Lyanna in perspective, I think. Either Ned didn't tell Bran anything about what happened back then (and he just picked up the street gossip versions) or Ned deliberately told him false. Or it's an error or retcon, conceivably...I'm not sure if Rickard's burning is minimally mentioned earlier in aGoT, but I think so. It seems like an unreliable narrator situation to me.

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It is not the Lyanna and Rhaegar romance that I doubt, it is the marriage. I completely agree with the romance theme in the books. But look at all the couples you listed. How many married before the first time they slept together? Even Robb, one of the most honourable characters in the books, didn't. Not even Rhaegar's own son, Jon, married his girl before sex. Or at all, for that matter.

You don't buy a car before a test drive do you? :stunned:

A friend of mine's mother used to say " They won't buy the cow if they already are getting the milk" :smileysex::rolleyes:

Lusty people do lusty things, just look at the wildlings!

I can't wait until George decides to bless us all with the next 2 books( hopefully at the same time) and gives us the truth as to what or WHO Jon really is.

I do believe that R+L=J , BUT some peoples bubbles will certainly be broken once George reveals the truth..........hopefully there won't be too much gloating by those people who are correct AND those who are decidedly wrong can eat a small dose of crow and admit their faults :smoking::rolleyes:

hehehe

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It is not the Lyanna and Rhaegar romance that I doubt, it is the marriage. I completely agree with the romance theme in the books. But look at all the couples you listed. How many married before the first time they slept together? Even Robb, one of the most honourable characters in the books, didn't. Not even Rhaegar's own son, Jon, married his girl before sex. Or at all, for that matter.

Sorry, if I mischaracterized your point, but I assumed your old post was against the idea of a Rhaegar and Lyanna romance. Glad to see it isn't a blanket objection to romance, but rather one limited to Rhaegar and Lyanna's wedding.

So a Lyanna and Rhaegar marriage would be inconsistent with GRRM's writing, where characters sleep with each other on the spare of the moment, and only marry if it is planned (Dany and Drogo, Ned and Cat) or if they are stupid honourable fools (Robb).

Let's not mix up our positions anymore than they have been. I've never taken a position on when Rhaegar and Lyanna have sex. I have stated I think Lyanna's comments about Robert's "nature" tend to show Lyanna isn't likely to settle for being a mistress or for having her child be a bastard. That doesn't mean she wouldn't have sex with Rhaegar before they are married. Only that she would want to be married to the Prince. I see no indication that Rhaegar would refuse this, or even not prefer to wed Lyanna over having her as his mistress. You're going to have to show something more than you've done to support the idea such a marriage is "inconsistent with GRRM's writing."

Whatever happened between Lyanna and Rhaegar happened quickly, and I find the following unlikely:

1. That Lyanna and Rhaegar thought getting married was important amidst all the excitement (and over, say, placating Aerys, Elia and Dorne).

2. That they decided it would be better to marry in secret, which would be stupid if Rhaegar really did intend for Lyanna to be recognized as his second wife.

3. That they found the right time, place, and people to do it. That includes witnesses who have kept quiet about it for 15 years, and have never doubted that Jon is Ned's bastard. Yes, Wylla could be one such witness, but I find that unlikely too, given she was Elia's handmaid, and lowborn. Jon Connington could also be one such witness, but as I've said, he will have plenty to say about the tourney at harrenhal, and him also revealing that Lyanna and Rhaegar were married would be overwhelming. It would be poor writing for GRRM to have one character, who we don't meet until the fifth book, suddenly reveal everything we ever wanted to know about the central mystery in the book.

First, where do you get that Wylla is Elia's handmaid? Ashara was her handmaid and she is most definitely not lowborn. Wylla is only known to be Jon's wet nurse while he was in Starfall, and her origins are very cloudy to say the least.

Next, Lyanna is in hiding with Rhaegar for months and months, so finding the time to be married is not a problem if they wish to do so. Why they should choose to go into hiding is rather self-evident. They have a crazy King who has no reason to want his son to marry Lyanna, they have a first wife's family that has every reason to want to stop the wedding and stop any future non-Dornish claimants to the throne from being born, and they have a rather pissed off Storm Lord along with Lyanna's family who want Lyanna to marry Robert. All of which makes for powerful reason for secrecy.

I'm unconcerned about Martin's writing style leading to some unartful unraveling of this mystery in one clumsy disclosure. He is giving us hint after hint, and little bits of information along the way to keep us interested and guessing. I'm sure he will continue to do so with multiple characters in future novels. As we have discussed in the past, not only Lord Connington and Wylla, but also Howland Reed and others will likely gives us part of the solution. I expect at some point that Jon and perhaps others will be seeking out everyone who can shed some light on what happened, or throw us a few red herrings to entertain and mystify us along the way.

Finally, another point with regard to the KG at the TOJ. If it is most likely that they were there guarding their king, why doesn't Ned come to the same conclusion? At the start of AGOT, when Ned and Robert are in the crypts, Robert complains that Lyanna was buried in the dark. Ned says "She was a Stark of Winterfell. This is her place." Ned thinks she was a Stark of Winterfell. Not a Targaryen. How can he think that, when he saw for himself the three KG at the TOJ, which (apparently) so clearly indicates his sister was Lyanna Targaryen?

ETA: the bit about Wylla and Jon Connigton.

I think Other-in-law answered this.

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If it is most likely that they were there guarding their king, why doesn't Ned come to the same conclusion?

Because it IS farfetched that Rhaegar has married another woman in secret? Ned is clearly stumped, he lists all the options he could see them take and they give him their cryptic one-liners in response, Then Dayne ends it with. “and know it begins†leaving Ned to worry about other things.

So why would the Kingsguard obey him? I've always found this a strange objection. They stay because they are loyal to and trust Rhaegar. For all we know he may even have told them that Lyanna's survival was essential to the salvation of Westeros and they would have believed him.

I suppose Rhaegar convinced them to break their kingsguard vows for the sake of the future of mankind. But why do they take so much pride in their kingsguard vows then?

Rhaegar chose that location for a reason, so it would be out of the way. Since almost no one even knew they were there, how would news of the sacking get there? Clearly by the time Ned gets there, they've heard of Rhaegar's death, but I don't think it's clear that until he gets there (or shortly before) they know the entire royal family is scattered or dead.

My best explanation is that Rhaegar assigned them to a quest relating to the prophecy (The “far away†comment), that they didn’t get to the TOJ until after the sack of King’s Landing. (But knew of Lyannas marriage and pregnancy before they left) That would explain why they are on top of things.

Assuming they heard the news that Rhaegar died, I think that following the last dying wish of your liege lord would be a pretty compelling argument!!!

Except that Rhaegar never was their liege lord.

Even if they did the (I think unlikely) 2) above, It would be a LONG trip to get back to KL or Dragonstone. It's a matter of definitely helping someone important to the royal family by staying vs. perhaps maybe getting elsewhere in time to help others.

If Rhaella, Viserys and Daenerys are killed there is no royal family to help or perform any services for.

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3) Even if they did the (I think unlikely) 2) above, It would be a LONG trip to get back to KL or Dragonstone. It's a matter of definitely helping someone important to the royal family by staying vs. perhaps maybe getting elsewhere in time to help others.

But that's not the excuse they give. Let's look at it (yet) again:

"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," Sir Gerold pointed out. "The Kingsguard does not flee."

If there was no heir at the ToJ, why take so much pride in their position there? They'd just be hiding from battle rather than fleeing. They clearly still think they're honoring their Kingsguard vows, not just some promise made to Rhaegar. For them to in any legitamate manner hold their heads up high while invoking their status as Kingsguard, they need to be doing more to guard a king than just sitting with the mistress (and bastard?) of the late crown prince (not even king).

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We are inundated with romances in the books - Jon and Ygritte, Daenerys and Khal Drogo, Robb and Jeyne, Ned and Catelyn, Ned and Ashara, Tyrion and Tysha, Tyrion and Shae, Jaime and Cersei, Renly and Loras, Sam and Gilly, the story of Bael the Bard are just the examples that jump to mind -

Sure, examples of people falling for each other abound in the series. But none of those romances are What The Whole Series Is About. They're character development, or side plots at even the most ponderous. Rhaegar+Lyanna=TWOO WUV AN' WOMANCE gets elevated to the level of "whole story in ten words". And I think a lot of that is from people's refusal to allow that the nice and wonderful Rhaegar Targayen could have done something wrong and even vile.

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And I think a lot of that is from people's refusal to allow that the nice and wonderful Rhaegar Targayen could have done something wrong and even vile.

That's a very strange thing to think. After all, everyone starts out with the picture of wicked, vile Prince Rhaegar. The progression is from that to "Hey, maybe he was actually a pretty good guy after all..." , not the other way around. Seems to me that those who are convinced that Rhaegar was a monster are the ones who are unwilling to adapt their views to new information and let go of old ideas.

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Sure, examples of people falling for each other abound in the series. But none of those romances are What The Whole Series Is About. They're character development, or side plots at even the most ponderous. Rhaegar+Lyanna=TWOO WUV AN' WOMANCE gets elevated to the level of "whole story in ten words". And I think a lot of that is from people's refusal to allow that the nice and wonderful Rhaegar Targayen could have done something wrong and even vile.

Is the possible romance between Rhaegar and Lyanna "What The Whole Series Is About"? I think not. This is a part of a compelling back story but hardly what the series is about. The menace of the Others, the war for succession of Robert, and Daenerys' struggle to retake the throne seems to obviously be what we are preoccupied with in the series so far. We also maybe preoccupied with "R+L=J" on these boards as we try to dissect the mysteries embedded in the story, but that doesn't change the overall thread of the series.

What is curious is how the thought of romance being involved in any critical part of the books drives some to distraction and frustration instead of seeing themes of love and romance as an integral part of story. Did you ever consider, TSS, if "wuv" and "womance" makes you so uncomfortable, maybe you're reading the wrong books.

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Rhaegar isn't presented as a monster. Aerys is presented as the monster. Rhaegar is remembered by everyone as a noble person with one incongruous thing. Turning around and saying oh no, he didn't really kidnap her, that would be un-nice, takes away that one incongruous thing, and for what? Change for the sake of upending isn't good writing.

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And I just noticed something interesting in that quote of Bran's; he thinks Aerys beheaded his grandfather which is completely false. That puts his subsequent comment about Rhaegar raping Lyanna in perspective, I think. Either Ned didn't tell Bran anything about what happened back then (and he just picked up the street gossip versions) or Ned deliberately told him false. Or it's an error or retcon, conceivably...I'm not sure if Rickard's burning is minimally mentioned earlier in aGoT, but I think so. It seems like an unreliable narrator situation to me.

In one of the first chapters in AGOT (I'm guessing either Bran or Catelyn) it is mentioned that Aerys strangled Brandon in front of Rickard. It isn't exactly wrong, but it is by no means the full story! I'll be interested to find out if that was also Bran when I check tonight. I am inclined to agree that it (and the other Bran one you mentioned) is intentional unreliable narrator.

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