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Julia H.

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  1. Julia H.

    Is Walder Frey the smartest man in Westeros?

    Yes, it is a virtue. It just doesn't make you that awesome a person as Walder is making himself out to be exclusively on account of having lots of kids. So should your sons advance themselves by killing their older brothers? What kind of father can accept this idea? (Roose Bolton can.) Not spending time with their children does not absolve parents of responsibility, quite on the contrary. Robert knew what kind of person Joffrey was growing up to be - if he tried to change those tendencies, he failed - and it happens. If he never tried, it's much worse, especially since Joffrey was going to be a king. Sure, there are problems that are innate and cannot be changed - call it genes or black magic. If Joff was born a psychopath, I agree that his character is not the result of upbringing. I said before that parents are not responsible for everything. I disagree that GRRM doesn't care about nurture though. There is nature and there is nurture. Both count. Not really. Joffrey is the firstborn son, de heir. Cersei pays a lot more attention to him then to his siblings, so, for all we know, Tommen and Myrcella may have been just lucky in this respect. But if you want to say that Cersei and Robert were more successful parents than Walder, so be it. Having one bad apple in the family is one thing. It can really be just bad luck. However, Walder's case is different. He has a large family where hatred and mistrust are the dominant emotions, and that's not just an accident. This atmosphere does not only affect the "bad apples", but the good ones as well. Intent matters. Motivation is important. Ned may have lost in the Game, but he is a successful parent in terms of creating a family whose members care for each other and he taught his children the right values. Off-topic, but in the aftermath of the Mycah incident, he couldn't just walk out putting an end to his daughter's engagement with the crown prince. The wedding wasn't imminent, he should have had plenty of time to tactfully convince Robert that the marriage of these two kids wasn't a good idea. Ned is the head of the family but not a tyrant. Unlike Walder, he respects his wife and knows that she feels hurt by Jon's presence with good reason. There are things that can be done on someone's order, and there are things that cannot. The fact is that Cat didn't do anything against Jon. It was the way she looked at him that made Jon feel unwelcome. It does not matter how hard Cat "tries" to treat Jon the same way as her own children, Jon will always feel that she does not love him, and that makes all the difference. In fact, that was exactly what happened. Cat didn't like Jon and Jon could feel it. It is impossible to pretend in a family. Hm... What exactly do we know his bastards got that Jon didn't? How do we know that his bastards never felt unwelcome by anyone in the family? It seems to me that most family members (bastards or trueborn) realized they were not wanted or liked and were even hated by a bunch of other members of the family. Well, Ned is not a modern father, but I see him as very caring. That looks like bad political strategy rather than parenting. Doran may well be another imperfect parent, but I still prefer his ways of parenting to Walder's. "Just one child" - please. This is not how a loving parent thinks. (It's a very Walder-like argument though.) Do you really think that Roslin is happy? She cried throughout the Red Wedding, so willing she was. She went to bed with a man who was just being betrayed and deprived of everything he had by her family. Then her husband was publicly humiliated and threatened with execution day by day by her family members. She found out she was expecting a baby, who, as heir to Riverrun, might indeed cause the eventual death of her husband. What did Walder do, as Head of House Frey, to make this marriage happy or just real? Did he order his descendants to treat Edmure as a family member? Walder didn't make Roslin happy. If Roslin and Edmure were reunited, it was only because of Jaime Lannister. But their general situation is still not a happy one - you cannot be happy while you are at the mercy of your enemies and a prisoner. If, despite the above, Roslin is happy, as you say, then it can only be because even this miserable existence is better than being Walder Frey's daughter in the Twins. Something must be missing here, but never mind. Walder apparently liked to be surrounded by his family members. He enjoyed bossing them around and having them compete for his favours.
  2. Julia H.

    Ramsay and Euron

    The quote says "may be". In these two cases I don't really see any. Ramsay has committed crimes that make it very unlikely that he can feel pity or compassion. Euron seems to be evil in a slightly subtler way, perhaps, but evil nevertheless.
  3. Julia H.

    Is Walder Frey the smartest man in Westeros?

    It's because there was every chance that Brandon would indeed have that keep to run. And I didn't mean independence as being a free-lance journalist, but being able to establish some sort of existence within your possibilities apart from waiting for your siblings to die (or maybe promoting their deaths). The castle wasn't crowded without a reason. Walder should have realized that with every new marriage he would be creating children he would have to give a future to - just feeding them wouldn't be enough. Robert is certainly responsible for Joffrey. The fact that he had been deceived by Cersei and that Cersei probably (consciously or subconsciously) helped to prevent any real bond forming between them complicates the picture, but Robert actually admits he feels responsible for what Joff has become. Aegon and Maegor - I guess a lot depends on how much black magic we believe went into creating Maegor's character, but in general, parents are responsible for what sort of children they bring up (obviously, I'm not talking about heritable diseases), and the more empowered they are, the bigger their responsibility is. "Out of the mouth of babes..." I think we both know why he didn't take Jon to court. We also know - from Catelyn - that he did far more for his bastard than was usual. It is true that he failed to reconcile Catelyn to the situation of Jon being in Winterfell, but Catelyn was a grown-up person, not someone Eddard was bringing up, her formative years long gone by the time they got married. Eddard couldn't be responsible for Catelyn's character in the way a parent is responsible for the character of the child he is bringing up. Thanks to Eddard, Jon received not only food and shelter but (despite Catelyn) parental, brotherly and sisterly love, education, character and a sense of loyalty to the Starks, bastard as he was. The path that he chose for himself may not have been easy but it was an honourable one and in accordance with respectable family traditions. Aaah... Still not my idea of a caring Dad. Not even in Westeros. Well, Walder didn't throw old men at his sons as possible husbands, so far I can agree. But let's see: Martell was working to make his daughter a queen. She was allowed to refuse every single old man she didn't like. Walder used his daughter as bait, marrying her off to a man they all knew would be a prisoner by the end of the "feast", allowing her to feel scared, terribly unhappy and probably even humiliated for being used as though she was a tool without feelings.
  4. Julia H.

    Is Walder Frey the smartest man in Westeros?

    Again, it is the state of the whole family he is responsible for. And it means mistrust, rivalry and hostility. That's what we are repeatedly told. Unfortunately, the good Freys may be tied up in the atmosphere of mistrust, rivalry and hostility just as much as the bad ones. I didn't say he was doing something good for the bad reasons. I said he was looking after his family members for the wrong reasons. Not in order to make them independent and successful human beings but for his own ends. A slave owner also looks after his slaves - but for the wrong reasons, because they are his. That is not a "good and right action". And Walder is responsible for what happens after his death if he has planted the seeds of what's going to happen. The Red Wedding will have long-term consequences, and Walder is responsible for them regardless whether he is dead or alive. Little Walder and Big Walder have some quite enlightening conversation in this respect. Well, Jon was also brought up the same way as Eddard's other children - he received the same education, lived in the same castle and he actually formed a bond of love with the trueborn sons. (And, of course, Ned's "shame" about Jon is a ruse to keep his identity secret.) Jon joined the NW at least partly out of ambition, and the only person who made him feel unwelcome at home was not Eddard but Catelyn, which hurt him especially because he didn't know anything about his own mother. Yet, his father remained as a role model and point of reference to him, and he has always been proud to be Eddard Stark's son and / or wanted to be worthy of his father. I doubt that any of the decent Freys will be especially proud of being Walder's descendants now.
  5. Julia H.

    Is Walder Frey the smartest man in Westeros?

    Oh, no, not for that! LOL. It's not about "not being perfect people". No one is. But as the head of the family with practically absolute power (within the walls of his house), he is responsible for the state in which his family is, and that's much worse than just "not being perfect people". Far from ideal. Sorry, I still don't think what he does for his family is for the right reasons. And (discounting war, Red Wedding and LS now) when he is dead, most of those Freys will be kicked out of the Twins (if not killed) by other Freys, and I guess many of them will have a hard time figuring out how to find a decent means of living after being brought up in the viper's nest.
  6. Julia H.

    Is Walder Frey the smartest man in Westeros?

    Even if we discount the Red Wedding, I wouldn't like to be one of Walder Frey's family members. That castle is a nest of vipers, and what I have actually seen of Walder is very far away from my idea of a caring father / grandfather etc. (even within the ASOIAF context). But each to his own.
  7. Julia H.

    Is Walder Frey the smartest man in Westeros?

    His power is mainly due to the geographical position of his castle, for which he must thank one of his ancestors. But he has looked after his inheritance all right - he was certainly clever enough to do that. I followed your link, and it led me to a description of Loras Tyrell (as seen by Cat). Loras is the only character described with this word in the main series. Go figure! (To be fair, in TWOIAF, Tywin is described as intelligent by Yandel.) Walder may not have been the mastermind behind the Red Wedding. But, as the lord of the castle, he had to orchestrate it and preside over it. Sure he could have died before he committed his worst action, but he didn't, and now his character (I don't know about his past decades, but his character definitely) is defined to a large extent by that fact - precisely because of the enormity of the atrocity even by Westerosi standards. ASOIAF is fiction, not real life, and the author shows us whatever he considers relevant for the story. We can imagine all sorts of other things in Walder's past that he could be defined by, the fact remains that in the actual book, he is the one who orchestrated the Red Wedding - and that is what the reader learns about him first and foremost. If, in the coming books, Walder shows great remorse about the mass killings, about the breaking of guest right or at least about what he did to his own daughter, I will reconsider my judgement of him. It means he has been cunning enough to avoid answering the call of his overlord or to choose sides before the winner was known and get away with it. That does not make him especially intelligent, only cunning. Besides, we don't know how often he actually did that - or do we? - but the more often you play these tricks in that society, the more luck you need to really get away with it. Once or twice you can be "late" for battle, but after the fifth time, the trick is bound to become suspicious. Anyway, he didn't stay out of the War of the Five Kings. In fact, he was quite eager to sell himself for material advantage. It makes one think that his earlier caution may have been due to the circumstance that simply no one offered him the right price... He is certainly not the only hedonist in the series. And, of course, a nonagenarian hedonist is in many ways different from a hedonist of thirty something. Walder may have groomed an heir, but he had lots of other offspring, and he didn't succeed in creating a real, united family, where the family members could depend upon each other. The continuation of the quote above is this: But Stevron had died whilst campaigning with the Young Wolf in the west—"of waiting, no doubt," Lame Lothar had quipped when the raven brought them the news—and his sons and grandsons were a different sort of Frey. Stevron's son Ser Ryman stood to inherit now; a thick-witted, stubborn, greedy man. And after Ryman came his own sons, Edwyn and Black Walder, who were even worse. "Fortunately," Lame Lothar once said, "they hate each other even more than they hate us." That is also part of old Walder's legacy - hatred in the family - a rather poor achievement. Even Merrett can see this although he is not at all smart and was brought up in an environment where Walder's word was law and it wasn't customary to question what the head of the family did or said. If Walder was such a dedicated family man, he would have seen to it that his children and grandchildren grew up in an environment of mutual respect and love. In these matters, upbringing is key. I'm afraid that grooming Stevron may have meant (in the distant past, of course) quite literally pounding things into his head (as Merrett put it, with a rather telling choice of word). No surprise that Stevron could not pass on a legacy of love and respect and unity even to his own sons. He allows them to live in the castle. He takes pride in having lots of offspring, and bastards are further proof of his virility. I think he also enjoys having power over his family, and the more of them there are whose existence entirely depends on him the better for his ego. We see how he treats his family members, and he quite visibly finds pleasure in humiliating them. It is also quite probable that Walder manipulates his various family members by using the rivalry and enmity between them. I don't watch the TV show, so whatever. As for book Freys being Puritans... The Tyrells, Lannisters and Baratheons are high lords / royal family, it is not surprising that they have much more luxury than the Freys. Besides, I don't think Walder's hedonism extends to cover similar tendencies in his whole family. I think Lord Walder has all his creature comforts and the rest of the family should be thankful to have food and whatever he deigns to give them. Dowries and ransoms and bribes... that's probably the standard expenditure of Heads of Houses in Westeros. Hardly unique (provided that there is money to spend, of course). If you say so... His wives died at a fast rate though, while Walder was thriving, and when we see how he treats the current one, we can easily tell that her status is not that of a respected lady of a noble House. She is being used and she is terrified, and we can guess what she can expect after Walder's death. (I know, Ramsay is worse, but that doesn't make Walder a caring husband.) But that's it, they didn't manage to pass on any "ideals" to their family members. Merrett knows that after Walder is gone, Freys will be killing Freys, and he probably will not have a place in the family home any longer. (And maybe he also suspects that being a Frey outside the Twins will not be the best position in this world either.) Of course, Walder's regime is preferable to that, but it does not mean it is good. Merrett simply does not know better. Unfortunately, that is how he is depicted. The very first time we meet him, he boasts: "I'll match you son for son, and I'll still have eighteen when yours are all dead." And: "I'll match him son for son, and I'll still have nineteen and a half left when all of his are dead!" Why does the writer give these words (two very similar statements in the same scene) into this character's mouth the very first time we meet him? He is talking about the death of sons and how he will still have enough left. That's not a man who appreciates his sons for their individual worth or personal qualities. He boasts about their numbers. He regards the size of his family as a valuable asset, so, of course, he gathers and keeps them around himself. But he does use them as pawns - just ask Roslin. She is definitely used as a pawn and sacrificed to carry out the Red Wedding. And she is not a distant relation but Walder's own daughter. Her story clearly shows that Walder does not shrink from using his family members as pawns. Also, with the Red Wedding, Walder has forfeited the reputation of his House as a decent family. Basically, he is going to leave behind a family whose various members hate each other and are likely to start killing each other at the first opportunity, and a family no one (who has a choice) will dare or want to ally with or marry into. (And not because every single Frey is evil, by the way.) There is every chance that breaking guest right and kinslaying will be the two characteristics the Freys will be associated with, and Walder is responsible for it. A spectacular failure for a supposedly intelligent and family-centred lord.
  8. Jorah may have been willing to do "anything" for Lynesse, but he was obviously more willing to do certain things than certain other things. He was more willing to sell poachers to slavers than sell the family's ancestral sword. Selling the poachers didn't cost him anything, while selling the sword would have meant giving up something of value that was his. He also hoped to keep the slave business a secret. The sword going missing would have been noticed by the family sooner or later. In time, he might have got to the place where he would have been willing to sell the sword as well, but it was all over before that could have happened. To be fair, he left behind the sword when he fled Bear Island, which may indeed have been due to a sense of family honour. Another possibility is that he did not have the time (or the presence of mind to remember) to take the sword. To the OP: I agree with the others above. Lynesse was the youngest daughter, and although her family was an ancient one, her father wasn't a high lord. If we really want to look for ulterior motives, well, it is just possible that Lynesse had had an affair with someone who didn't marry her, and there may have been rumours, so her best chance was to marry someone who knew nothing about local gossip and would take her far away from her home. If it was so, Jorah was the ideal candidate. Of course, this is only speculation, it is just as possible that she indeed had a crush on the exotic northern bear - as far as I can remember, Jorah won the tourney(?) after all. Also, knowing her personality a bit more than Jorah did, her father may have been just happy to marry her off.
  9. Julia H.

    Is Walder Frey the smartest man in Westeros?

    The smartest? Lord Walder is a cunning old man and he knows how to organize a bloodbath, but that doesn't make him the smartest man in Westeros. The reason why he has so many children and grandchildren is that he is a hedonist, whose main interest is seeking pleasure. One of the results is a huge family, and he pretends that it is something to be proud of, while at the same time, he regards his family members (sons, daughters, grandchildren, wives) as assets that he can use (and sacrifice) as he pleases, without caring about the individual fate or feelings of any of them. Sure, he wants the advancement of his House, but that's mainly because it is his House, not because he is interested in the future of his family members after he is gone. Being as old as he is now, he probaly has only short-term goals, and the Red Wedding saved him from the Lannisters' revenge and satisfied his personal thirst for vengeance. Never mind what he did to his whole family in the long run or that he achieved it all by playing a cruel game with the fate of a girl of his own blood. I don't think Walder thinks of anything but his own pleasure, vanity and convenience, and, sure enough, he is quite successful at satisfying those goals. But they are lowly and simple goals, therefore pursuing them does not require special intelligence, only a comfortable position in life, a certain cunning and plenty of ruthlessness. So no, nothing indicates that Walder Frey would be especially smart by any standards, much less the smartest one.
  10. Both Mormont and Jon Snow warned the realm and asked for help. We know they did even if we don't get the exact details (like precisely how many ravens were sent out and what happened to each of them and how many times the message was resent) - but there is no reason why the writer should write extra pages on (storywise) irrelevant details. We also find out the reaction of some of the addressed persons but not all of them. For all we know, there might have been answers from some places saying "thanks, we'll see what we can do" - it does not matter. What we can be sure of is that the writer shows us what is important with regard to sending out the messages and with regard to the reactions. We are told that messages were sent out regarding both the wildling attacks and the reappearance of the Others, and we know that the Night's Watch was pretty much left alone by the rest of the realm (except for the action Stannis eventually took). The reactions we are informed of are those of neglect, ridicule and hostility (let the North bleed). This is what the writer has shown us as relevant. Sure, there must have been ravens that never reached their destinations, but we are told pretty clearly that this wasn't the only or even the (storywise) main reason why the warning went mostly unanswered. The writer also makes sure that this general non-action should not be surprising for a number of reasons. Yes, the realm is torn apart by war - whether you are still fighting or have already lost a huge part of your armed forces, you have good reason to regard the fight up in the far North as not your (immediate) problem (yes, you might be deluding yourself, but doesn't that happen?). Also, we are shown early on that the Night's Watch lost its importance in the realm a long time ago, and it is currently seen by most as a penal colony where inmates watch out for groups of wildlings raiding the frontier area (a rather local problem). As for the Others, not even Northmen believe in their existence, as Ned's words show us early on. If no one reacts to the wildling threat, then what are the chances that the same people will react when they receive the news of some bedside tale creatures turning up North of the Wall? For most lords south of the Wall, the problems of the Night's Watch are local, "far away" and (when it comes to the Others) ridiculous or non-existent problems, especially when compared to their own immediate and already very tangible concerns. What is more, anyone who regards the Northerners as a bunch of rebels or enemies will only be all too happy to hear that something unpleasant is going on in the far end of the North - your enemy's enemy is your friend. (They simply do not understand the threat against all humanity.) The above also partly explains why those near the far North did not react to the (for them real) wildling threat even. The Umbers and other lords were involved in Robb's war. As for the clans, they may have thought it was the NW's duty to defend the Wall, and perhaps they simply fortified their own homes (for which they needed men), hoping that their neighbours will send the necessary men to the NW anyway. Maybe that's their routine reaction to the news of wildling raids... unless perhaps it is the Lord of Winterfell who calls them into battle. They did march with Stannis - but only after the wildling threat had been removed and they had been personally invited by a king. Robb was clearly preoccupied with his war. Even if he received Mormont's letter, he (like others) may have decided that the War in the South was a more urgent problem. But the raven that went to Riverrun must have been addressed to Lord Tully, so the news may never have reached Robb. It may have reached Edmure, who obviously didn't want Robb to turn his attention (and army) away from the South because of some local problem in the far North. Any ravens that went to Winterfell were received by Maester Luwin. He should have sent the letters on to Robb or told about them to Bran. Given what Osha had told Bran, I think Bran would have reflected on this piece of news in his POV, so he probably didn't receive it. If Maester Luwin sent the news on to Robb, that was, of course, further delay, and further risk (for the ravens), and it might have been simply too late by the time Mormont's letter to Robb reached Riverrun (if it did). Besides, we know that Maester Luwin did not believe in magical creatures such as the CotF or the Others, so while he must have regarded the news on a wildling attack as rather important, he may not have paid the same attention to any warning about the reappearance of the Others. Later, the Boltons were also rather busy in other ways, and whatever message they received from Lord Commander Jon Snow, it was a message from "the last living son" of Eddard Stark and the last living brother of Robb Stark, from someone who could potentially still tell the difference between Arya Stark and Jeyne Poole. Any mortal danger that Jon Snow had to face was good for them, so it is not surprising that they did not hurry to help the NW out. We are given plenty of explicit and implicit reasons why the issued warnings remained unheeded, while there is neither indication, nor plot necessity that the LC of the NW was not warning the realm diligently enough.
  11. Julia H.

    Jon Snow's Real Name

    Sorry, I didn't mean you personally, just general "you". I'm really sorry if I sounded that way.
  12. Julia H.

    Jon Snow's Real Name

    I do think / hope if any other name comes up in connection with Jon, it will be for a good reason - as I said before, reasons of symbolism seem to be the best reasons that I can think of. And he definitely has his own name - Jon Snow. It is part of his destiny, and I can't really see him change it to any fancy name (Stark perhaps, but nothing else). That's where we disagree. Certain circumstances must be met, but we have no reason to think they were not going to be met. Lyanna's baby could be a prince despite the existence of Elia and her children, and for all we know, Lyanna may have had a strong reason to expect just that. Neither do we know anything that would preclude such steps being taken or at least being planned. The Kingsguard being left with Lyanna is a possible hint that Rhaegar considered Lyanna and her child parts of his family. We were talking about Lyanna's possible expectations - it is well within the possibilities, it is even probable that Lyanna expected her child with Rhaegar to be a royal prince / princess. Not the crown prince but a prince or a princess. I think this whole thread is based on that premise. There is nothing to discuss here if you disagree with R+L=J. That's fine with me.
  13. Julia H.

    Jon Snow's Real Name

    I do wonder whether the education of girls included history. Regardless though, there is no reason why Lyanna couldn't have heard of several Targaryens. If she was educated, however, then she must have known why this name had special importance in the family. Be as it may, it wouldn't be a surprising choice if someone was just looking for a really impressive Targaryen name, and that is basically what I wanted to say when you wondered why not some other Targaryen name out of so many. Now, the existence of the other Aegon is obviously a problem, I agree with that, but J. Stargaryen's theory provides a possible solution for just that problem and suggests a scenario in which this name is more likely than just any random Targaryen name. I do think it's a possibility. (I, personally, prefer the symbolism of another Targaryen name for Jon, but I see nothing impossible in the suggested Aegon scenario, and storywise this name has more symbolism value than most random Targaryen names.) You said that due to the existence of Elia and her kids "Lyanna had no reason to believe her baby would ever be a prince" but now you seem to agree that it was possible if Rhaegar was going to take certain steps. We cannot rule out that Rhaegar was going to take steps, so Lyanna may well have had a good reason to expect that her child would be a legitimate part of the royal family and a prince / princess. We don't have information on Rhaegar's plans (except that he was planning "changes" and the strong probability that he was going to set aside the Mad King and become king himself); therefore we can hardly rule out the possibility that Lyanna expected him to take the necessary steps to include her child as a legitimate member of the royal family.
  14. Julia H.

    Jon Snow's Real Name

    I guess Aegon is the first name most people in Westeros think of when they have to recall a typical Targaryen name. The less they know about Targaryen history, the more likely it is that they will think of Aegon and only Aegon. (More precisely, there is also the name of the current king, but he wasn't the kind of person you'd want to name your child after.) The existence of Elia and Rhaegar's other children doesn't mean that Lyanna's baby will not be a prince if she and Rhaegar are married and Rhaegar intends to make his second marriage generally accepted and his child with Lyanna legitimate. In this case, Lyanna's son will definitely be a prince, just not the crown prince, but a royal prince nevertheless. (Even a bastard son can be legitimized and thus made a prince.) It didn't happen that way, of course, I only want to point out that the mere existence of Elia and her children does not prevent Lyanna's child from being a prince or a princess.
  15. Julia H.

    Jon Snow's Real Name

    I find this topic very interesting and I also find myself sympathizing / agreeing with several opinions here. First of all, I totally understand why someone would say his "real" name is Jon Snow (maybe Jon Stark) and nothing else. This is the name he identifies with, and I also find it hard to imagine that he might start calling himself by another name whatever should happen. That, however, does not preclude other ways of Jon being associated with another name. Since we know that Jon was named by Ned, the question what he would have been called by his biological parents is absolutely valid. We may not agree on whether we should consider that name his "real" name or not, but that's really up to anyone's personal understanding of what "real" means in this context. Obviously, there is no solid evidence either way, but that doesn't mean we cannot like a beautifully built up and workable theory. The idea that Jon's biological parents chose or at least were considering a name for him is rather probable. That's what parents normally do. What they agreed on and whether Lyanna made some changes to the original decision (for example, in the scenario where Rhaegar had expected a girl and hadn't thought of a boy's name at all) and whether Lyanna told that name to Ned in the first place (even if she didn't tell him, it doesn't mean she didn't think of one) are open questions. I can imagine that Rhaegar ever only considered a female name, so Lyanna had to make her own decision when Jon was born (her decision being obviously overruled by Ned), but I can also believe that Rhaegar may have thought of both a boy's and a girl's name just in case - coming up with two names for a child is not the height of foresight, nor does it require too much effort, after all. My guess is that if that "original" name ever actually comes up in the story, it will be mainly for symbolic reasons - or maybe to make it easier for Jon to think of what his destiny might have been if it had been in accordance with what a different name might indicate, or maybe to make it easier for the author to write (perhaps in a nice, poetic way) about his feelings. For the above reasons, I confess I'm mainly interested in the symbolic values of the discussed theories or proposed names. I find great symbolic value in the Aegon theory - seven rubies, seven Aegons to go with the Seven Kingdoms and so on, also the parallel Maester Aemon drew between Egg and Jon (and other parallels that can be drawn between the two of them). The idea that Lyanna named the child after a recently killed sibling by a different mother was a bit shocking at first but, after considering that it would happen in the context of Rhaegar's recent death as well and that she, grieving and bereft, may have decided to do this in honour of Rhaegar's only choice of a male name, albeit it had been for another child, I find such a decision considerably more understandable (by Westerosi standards at least). In that situation, I don't think Lyanna would necessarily have given much thought to the question whether naming the child after a dead sibling would correspond to the Targaryen (or even Westerosi) traditions or not (it would be different if there was a specific taboo against it), I think it would have to be a highly emotional decision in this case. Now, after giving the child this name or any other Targaryen name, would Lyanna ask Ned to actually call her child by that name? Not necessarily, not if she was begging him to save the child's life (and not to make him somehow, eventually, a Targaryen king, which I regard as much less likely). She may or may not have mentioned the baby's name (also depending on how much time she had and how much communication took place between them), but she could tell Ned the name simply by referring to her baby by that name or she could specifically tell the name to Ned so Ned could tell it to her child one day - even if she understood that, for the time being at least, her child couldn't, in reality, be called by a Targaryen name. (We don't know how well she realized - especially before Ned's appearance - that the Targaryen era had ended for good, that her child's identity would probably have to be hidden for the rest of his life, not just temporarily.) So Ned gave a name to the baby because he either didn't know what name Lyanna (and Rhaegar) had had in mind or knew that name but considered it totally unsuitable in the given situation. That means, if Lyanna was thinking of a Northern name, she failed to mention it to Ned - unless perhaps the name was Brandon, which Ned might have also wanted to change out of consideration for Cat. (Having your husband's bastard in the house is difficult enough to put up with, it would have seemed rather unnecessarily cruel to name that bastard child after her - recently killed - first love, especially when that name is also the quintessential male name in your husband's family, which your own firstborn son didn't get.) I confess, I don't find much symbolic value in having another, "secret" Northern name for Jon, so I don't think it's likely that he will ever be associated with another Northern name. Unless... unless perhaps he gets associated with Brandon Snow, who wanted to kill a dragon... But forgive me for an especially active imagination today. This is by no means a theory. The real drawbacks I see for the Aegon theory have nothing to do with probability or feasibility, but with further symbolic associations. To start with, seven Aegon Targaryens may sound impressive, but I still think there are already too many of them. Weirdly, the name Jon Snow is much more unique. More importantly, Aegon is most of all the Dragon for me, the Conqueror. Jon may be his descendant, but I still find it difficult to associate him with conquest - he is a protector, first and foremost, the sword and the shield to protect people, not some conqueror, in fact, the very opposite of a conqueror, in my opinion. He did have Daeron I as his hero early on, but I think he got past that ideal in ADwD and realized that his mission and even his values were different. It was Robb who eventually emulated the Young Dragon - and I don't think either Daeron I or Aegon I would be the right kind of role model for Jon. True, Aegon I united the different kingdoms, but at what cost and with what purpose? After the Conqueror, there were three Aegons who just wouldn't add anything to Jon's arc by symbolic association, in my opinion. Aegon V is the only Aegon who has redeemed the name in my eyes, and he is the Aegon to have the most parallels with Jon, that is true... Am I right in thinking that there haven't been many Aegons since the Conqueror who were given that name without being expected to become a king? Aegon V was one like that, which is quite interesting in this context... Then there is (F)Aegon ... I don't know. The name is far too used, I guess, far to heavy with symbolism. Then again, since it's a really big name in-world, it could be quite dramatic if Jon had the opportunity to refuse this name - either publicly or just in his own thoughts. Having said all that, I will also say that I find Aemon just as likely and the symbolic associations more appealing in this case than in the case of Aegon. If Rhaegar still considered a male name (just in case), Aemon would be a likely choice, as he would want his second son to help his firstborn son (TPTWP) and there is a sort of tradition of having an Aemon by the side of an Aegon. What is more, he himself apparently held Maester Aemon in great regard. Symbolically speaking, we know that there have been two important Aemons in ASOIAF history and lore. One of them is Maester Aemon (OK, not really a historical figure yet), who went to the Wall and is associated with ice (the Wall) and wisdom. The other is the Dragonknight, who became Lord Commander (albeit not of the Night's Watch) and is associated with fire (Dragonknight) and courage. Both of them are protector figures rather than conquerors, and the personal qualities they are associated with are the very qualities Jon Snow prays for: "Give me the wisdom to know what must be done and the courage to do it." I quite like the idea of Jon Snow being - symbolically - the "Ice-and-Fire Aemon". It is also a fact that he actually says this on the pages of the book: "I'm Prince Aemon the Dragonknight," Jon would call out... In AGoT, when he leaves Castle Black to join his brother, he thinks he is not Aemon Targaryen, so he won't make the same choice as Maester Aemon did, but eventually he does make the same choice, so could it be that he is more of an "Aemon Targaryen" than he would think?
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