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King Benjen II

The Curious Case of The Dragon Prince and The Winter Rose 4

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Welcome to the 4th iteration of The Curious Case of The Dragon Prince and The Winter Rose

Our subject this time is the Mance Rayder is Rhaegar Targaryen theory. Hopefully with 20 pages we will be able to get it fully fleshed out :)

Is everybody in?

Is everybody in?

Is everybody in?

The ceremony is about to begin.

The Infamous Cremation Quote:

"Q: Who recovered Rhaegar's corpse (if anyone did it) and where was he buried (if he was buried)?

GRRM: Rhaegar was cremated, as is traditional for fallen Targaryens. This has been fun, but time is passing and I have another long day tomorrow, and so I´m going to need to wind this up. Three more questions, and let´s close."

As you can see GRRM didn't answer the question of who recovered Rhaegar's corpse and instead stated Rhaegar was cremated (not something that confirms death in ASOIAF) and then directed attention away from any possible follow up by stating he will only answer 3 more questions.

They had come together at the ford of the Trident while the battle crashed around them, Robert with his warhammer and his great antlered helm, the Targaryen prince armored all in black. On his breastplate was the three-headed dragon of his House, wrought all in rubies that flashed like fire in the sunlight. The waters of the Trident ran red around the hooves of their destriers as they circled and clashed, again and again, until at last a crushing blow from Roberts hammer stove in the dragon and the chest beneath it. When Ned had finally come on the scene, Rhaegar lay dead in the stream, while men of both armies scrabbled in the swirling waters for rubies knocked free of his armor. In my dreams, I kill him every night, Robert admitted. A thousand deaths will still be less than he deserves.

I ask you what would you do in Robert's position? Would you be satisfied caving the chest in or continue to rain blows in rage? It certainly is clear to me Robert still hated Rhaegar 14 years later.

In regards to the idea Rhaegar/Fake Rhaegar wore a glamour:

That interested Ser Hyle. Rhaegars rubies?

It may be. Who can say? The battle was long leagues from here, but the river is tireless and patient. Six have been found. We are all waiting for the seventh.

There is still one missing ruby that belonged to Rhaegar's armor. It is possible that one ruby remained attached to the armor and held a glamour in place when the rest of the rubies scattered.

MANCE:

Mance Rayder wears Targaryen colors. A black cloak with three strips of red silk. Interesting choice of colors and number of red strips. Matches perfect to Targ colors and number of dragons on their sigil.

He plays and sings songs from the North and South. Is it significant that a man supposedly raised his whole life on the Wall would know these songs?

Mance possesses leadership skills you wouldn't expect from a Wildling born Crow. He sweet talked, sung and fought every Wildling leader into submission and united all of the Wildlings. This speaks to what Barristan has described as the Prince's ability to excel at anything he set out to do. A former Crow uniting the Free Folk is no simple task.

He went to Winterfell twice to see Jon (and king Robert, but it is interesting he does not harbour any resentment towards the king whose Wall he intends to attack).

How did he convince Mel to protect him when we are well aware how desperate she is to sacrifice someone with king's blood?

Mance is educated. He addresses his wife as my lady. He knows about the Horn of Winter. Hardly something one can expect from a Wildling bastard turned Crow turned King Beyond The Wall.

RHAEGAR:

Rhaegar never seemed to care about glory. Barristan says he was all about duty and he was "single-minded", so to completely shift gears from his prophetic quest to take on an extremely-pissed-off Robert Baratheon in one on one mortal combat. Especially in heavy armor in a river, doesn't quite seem like the prudent and intelligent Rhaegar that we've been hearing about this whole time.

Also, Rhaegar never wanted to rule per se. He was an artist and a philospher first. RT had to have a higher purpose than the Iron Throne.

IMPLICATIONS:

If Mance is Rhaegar he would've likely found help and guidance from his great-uncle Aemon. It is interesting that the last dying wish of Aemon Targaryan was to hold Mance's son. Why? If MR=RT it makes sense. Otherwise, it's non-sensical. I suspect even Ned Stark knew about this ploy, because he said to Cat that the North has nothing to fear when it comes to Mance Rayder. Ned was not stupid, nor arrogant. Any King Beyond The Wall is a major threat, unless he is your ally.

Rhaegar is dead as in no longer being known under this name, nor being the crown Prince. But he continued his quest. And that would be fitting with Ned telling Jon to go to the NW, even though he himself would never go there.

This would even mirror the Bael the Bard story even more. Jon setting out to unknowingly kill his father, twice.

If our assumption is true, Rhaegar is a leader who knows what is important and that's certainly not the Iron Throne. It is irrelevant who sits on it while the mankind is under threat.

If Rhaegar is Mance he was not planning to invade Westeros and conquer it with Wildlings. Mance led the Wildlings to the Wall because they wanted in where it was safe...away from the Others and the Wight Walkers. With the Wildlings on the south side of the Wall, there are fewer soldiers in the Other's army when the attack comes. Becoming King Beyond the Wall to prevent the creation of a massive host of Wildling Wights was a necessary part of fulfilling the prophecy that will save far more lives than were lost in Robert's Rebellion.

Rhaegar and Mance share the following attributes:

Same age, same height, same body size, same interest in music, same interest in prophecy, same apparently unique skill set, same favourite colors and most people think they are dead. The main difference is hair color and eye color. They seem equally proficient at fighting against Baratheon led armies.

Mance's blood is just as royal as Jon Snow's (per AFFC Chapter 5).

Mance takes the name Able, an anagram of Bael the Bard who impregnated the daughter of the Lord of Winterfell.

QUESTIONS:

How could Mance know all those Southron songs? How could he know a song of Dorne. How many Dornish have come north of the wall to tell him these songs?

How is it that all these wildlings see money in Jon Snow, why is the bastard of a dead man so valuable to wildlings? Why does Mance accept Jon only because he whines about being treated as a bastard ? How is it that Mance helps and forgives Jon all the time?

Mance risks torture to sing of tasting a Northmen's daughter:

He was still waiting for his porridge when Ramsay swept into the hall with his Bastards Boys, shouting for music. Abel rubbed the sleep from his eyes, took up his lute, and launched into The Dornishmans Wife, whilst one of his washerwomen beat time on her drum. The singer changed the words, though. Instead of tasting a Dornishmans wife, he sang of tasting a northmans daughter.

He could lose his tongue for that, Theon thought, as his bowl was being filled. He is only a singer. Lord Ramsay could flay the skin off both his hands, and no one would say a word. But Lord Bolton smiled at the lyric and Ramsay laughed aloud. Then others knew that it was safe to laugh as well. Yellow Dick found the song so funny that wine snorted out his nose.

Why did Mance make a point of singing of and telling Jon he has tasted the Dornishmen's Wife when they first meet?

...while a grey-haired man in a tattered cloak of black and red sat cross-legged on a pillow, playing a lute and singing: The Dornishmans wife was as fair as the sun, and her kisses were warmer than spring. But the Dornishmans blade was made of black steel, and its kiss was a terrible thing. Jon knew the song, though it was strange to hear it here, in a shaggy hide tent beyond the Wall, ten thousand leagues from the red mountains and warm winds of Dorne.

The Dornishmans wife would sing as she bathed, in a voice that was sweet as a peach, But the Dornishmans blade had a song of its own, and a bite sharp and cold as a leech

As he lay on the ground with the darkness around, and the taste of his blood on his tongue, His brothers knelt by him and prayed him a prayer, and he smiled and he laughed and he sung, Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishmans taken my life, But what does it matter, for all men must die, and Ive tasted the Dornishmans wife!

The singer rose to his feet. Im Mance Rayder, he said as he put aside the lute. And you are Ned Starks bastard, the Snow of Winterfell. Stunned, Jon stood speechless for a moment, before he recovered enough to say, How... how could you know... Thats a tale for later, said Mance Rayder. How did you like the song, lad? Well enough. Id heard it before. But what does it matter, for all men must die, the King-beyond-the-Wall said lightly, and Ive tasted the Dornishmans wife.

Especially with the knowledge that Mance later changes the lyrics to tasting a northmen's daughter, this scene feels like a Luke I am your father pronouncement. Only too subtle for Jon to notice.

POSSIBLE SCENARIO:

As there are differing opinions on the hows and whos that can be discussed in thread I will leave this last part simple. I believe it is in character for what we know of Rhaegar.

When he was young Rhaegar found info/prophecy in his books that forever changed his life. Because of it he decided to become a warrior. I believe he married Elia and wooed Lyanna for prophecy purposes. I believe he also learned of the real threat to the realm and for this purpose went became Mance Rayder and cleared the north of the Wall of Wildlings so there wouldn't be a massive undead army and then attacked the Wall strictly for the purpose of strengthening its defenses to repel the attack from the actual threat.

*I had a PM request to credit posters who contributed as this OP is largely an amalgamation of posts by those that did the leg work. I mostly am credited with putting it all together and adding a small amount of my own stuff.

Credits: Modesty Lannister, Viking, Metopheles and (I believe) Feather Crystal

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As a co-creator of this theory, I have to add (at this early stage of the discussion) that hair colour is not the real difference. Mance Rayder is middle aged and his hair is grey with streaks of brown. Rhaegar's hair is silver blond. It looks odd on a young man, but on a middle aged man, it resembles grey. So, all MR=RT has to do is not wash his hair much. Dirty silver blond hair looks like grey hair with brown streaks (of mud, dirt and all other things you can rub in). The problem are the eyes.


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The watch is made up of people from diffent areas of westros so him knowing songs from other places is not that odd. Also how do you get by the fact that he grew up at the wall? Guess I am asking is when the switch happened and how? There are a few things that make them alike though so I can see that part of it.


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The watch is made up of people from diffent areas of westros so him knowing songs from other places is not that odd. Also how do you get by the fact that he grew up at the wall? Guess I am asking is when the switch happened and how? There are a few things that make them alike though so I can see that part of it.

So far, there are two schools of thought.

1. MR was invented by RT and maester Aemon way before the Trident, maybe even before Harraenhall as a vehicle for RTs plan to devote himself to the prophecy and avoid the Iron Throne. RT went to the Wall instead to the Trident.

2. RT was at the Trident, got wounded and was healed by the silent brothers. Realising his family was dead he went to maester Aemon, the only family that was left to him.

I subscribe to the former, because I believe RT sorted out his priorities in the early stage of his life. I don't say he never wanted the Iron Thone, I'd say he realised the Throne was irrelevant in the situation of invasion of the Others. Remember the quote related to Dany - you must go south to go north? The same applies to RT - he had to go north and face the real threat to 7 kingdoms, become a true king by his own merit and not by blood (MRs words) in order to one day (if he survives) go south and take his rightful throne that no one can deny him. As for the coverup story on the Wall, I think the story changed over time. If he arrived to the Wall before the Trident, RT would still be alive in the eyes of the NWs and it would be easy to join them in disguise, because no one would make the connection. Then he was sent away from Castle Black. As we know, life expectancy on the Wall is not high, so after couple of years, there would be less and less people who would remember his actual arrival, so the story can change. The latest version, that he was raised on the Wall, was told to Jon by QH. However, in order for his coverup to work, RT must have had more acomplices than maester Aemon. The true question, in my view, is what are their identities. There are people on this forum who think that RT did not go to the wall alone, but with some of his closest friends. That could make sense and would be comparable with Bran and his quest beyond the Wall. So, if we compare the two, we would have RT/Bran, Jojen/Maester Aemon, Meera/Ashara Dayne???, Hordor/Arthur Dayne??? I know this is pure speculation. At this stage, I do not share that belief.

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(of mud, dirt and all other things you can rub in).

The problem are the eyes.

hair : As we saw with show Jaime.

eyes : well I had brown green eyes, now they are golden with green, but from afar and in dim light they look brown. Only close up or if they light gets in they shine golden and green.

Besides Aegon (fake or not) had his hair dyed to make the eye colour look different. And Rhaegar had indigo eyes. Now up beyond where the light may be dimmer and with other hair colour and, in a tent, with no bright light, it may seem brown. Just as Aegon's blue eyes looked black in dim light. Plus : If we assume he is still glamoured, eye colour changes.

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The watch is made up of people from diffent areas of westros so him knowing songs from other places is not that odd. Also how do you get by the fact that he grew up at the wall? Guess I am asking is when the switch happened and how? There are a few things that make them alike though so I can see that part of it.

Only Qhorin and Aemon are on the Wall when Mance was there. Jeor Mormont became LC after Mance deserted. Alliser Thorne came to the Wall after the rebellion. So the people that give us info haven't really known Mance. Qhorin definitely knew all about Mance. He knew that he is Rhaegar and that Jon is his son. This is why he chose him to join him, because Jon was only a steward and this would make no sense. Aemon...well Aemon was his relative. So there is a lie made to conceal this. Even if Qhorin did not intend to help Rhaegar conceal his identity, he may have seen potential in letting a person you know become the King beyond. Like a secret agent thing. He would unite the wildlings and stop them from stupidly attacking the wall and instead help and work together to stop the Others.

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This theory would make some sense and explain some bits, though might also contradict others.



It would surely cast a very different light to Rhaegar (leaving for the war) saying to Jaime "When I come back, things will be very different in the realm".




All in all, I'm a bit dubious, but that's a very interesting theory.



That said, if it is correct, then I have no doubt at all that Ned knew - and Lyanna. This would explain the "promises" (plural) - Ned had to promise not to tell anyone about Jon's identity, including to Jon himself, but odds are that he also promised to send him to the Wall or find a way to let him meet Mance when Jon's old enough.


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As I've said elsewhere... I'd like this to be a viable theory. I'm not necessarily convinced it can be, and I sort of thought we'd already covered it. That said, if there's anything new to be said for it (that wasn't already discussed in the last iteration of this thread)... then I'm all ears. Otherwise, I hope we won't spend 20 pages on it. The last time we tried MR=RT, the conversation deteriorated rather quickly...


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This theory would make some sense and explain some bits, though might also contradict others.

It would surely cast a very different light to Rhaegar (leaving for the war) saying to Jaime "When I come back, things will be very different in the realm".

That quote gives me headaches. As it is the only real danger to the theory. Except if Rhaegar and his double went to the Red Keep and only there the swap was done. The double went to the trident with at least one real glamour or mummer's make up to look like Rhaegar and real Rhaegar spoke to Jaime and then, well something. Had one glamour at least (wait for the seventh) and kept hidden for a time, then moved to the Wall.

But from all theories, this is the most plausible one and the most promising one. Gives such a huge twist to the story. And would be the final stroke to make the rebellion a "mummer's farce" as it was a total failure. None of the heirs were killed.

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"Perhaps, instead of the hell where they have been consigned, the proponents of the notion that Mance is Rhaegar should be given some sort of special place in purgatory." -- Bran Vras

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That quote gives me headaches. As it is the only real danger to the theory. Except if Rhaegar and his double went to the Red Keep and only there the swap was done. The double went to the trident with at least one real glamour or mummer's make up to look like Rhaegar and real Rhaegar spoke to Jaime and then, well something. Had one glamour at least (wait for the seventh) and kept hidden for a time, then moved to the Wall.

But from all theories, this is the most plausible one and the most promising one. Gives such a huge twist to the story. And would be the final stroke to make the rebellion a "mummer's farce" as it was a total failure. None of the heirs were killed.

This quote makes sense if one looks at it as a long-term promise.

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This quote makes sense if one looks at it as a long-term promise.

No no no, I meant that it shows that Rhaegar went to the Red Keep before the trident^^ That gives me headaches. Because this could crush the whole theory.

The other thing fits perfectly, only that he apparently was in KL beforehand.. But yeah, he could have swapped there.

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No no no, I meant that it shows that Rhaegar went to the Red Keep before the trident^^ That gives me headaches. Because this could crush the whole theory.

The other thing fits perfectly, only that he apparently was in KL beforehand.. But yeah, he could have swapped there.

Why would it crush the whole theory? The books tell us that Aerys summoned RT to the capital. Unlike other people, I think that the presence of three members of the KG at the ToJ means that Aerys took Lyanna hostage as he did with Elia and her kids in order to ensure RT's cooperation re RR. RT apparently cooperates and leaves for the Trident. I do not think he ever went there. Someone else did and the big question is who, because that would be a willing self-sacrifice for the Crown Prince. All ideas are welcome. I think RT went straight for the Wall. I also think at least one out of three members of KG at the ToJ was working for Rhaegar and knew his plan (Ser Arthur Dayne). I also think RT never thought anything would happen to Elia and the kids after he "died" on the Trident. In that respect, his conversation with Jaime is significant because he mentions Jaime's effective status of a hostage, which was supposed to ensure Tywin's neutrality. That's where RT's plan went wrong. Also, I think Ned Stark knew about the plan for he went straight for the ToJ to look for his sister. Why didn't Brandon and his father do that in the first place? The period between Harrenhall tourney, Lyanna's "abduction" and Battle of the Trident is crucial and many questions are still open. I would appreciate all suggestions.

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Why would it crush the whole theory? The books tell us that Aerys summoned RT to the capital. Unlike other people, I think that the presence of three members of the KG at the ToJ means that Aerys took Lyanna hostage as he did with Elia and her kids in order to ensure RT's cooperation re RR. RT apparently cooperates and leaves for the Trident. I do not think he ever went there. Someone else did and the big question is who, because that would be a willing self-sacrifice for the Crown Prince. All ideas are welcome. I think RT went straight for the Wall. I also think at least one out of three members of KG at the ToJ was working for Rhaegar and knew his plan (Ser Arthur Dayne). I also think RT never thought anything would happen to Elia and the kids after he "died" on the Trident. In that respect, his conversation with Jaime is significant because he mentions Jaime's effective status of a hostage, which was supposed to ensure Tywin's neutrality. That's where RT's plan went wrong

Agree with that. You are right. Somehow this Mance Rhaegar theory has the ability to seal its own cracks, unlike other theories.

Though I don't understand what you mean with Ned knowing it straight away ?

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I don't understand what you mean with Ned knowing it straight away ?

Well, Ned Stark was late for the Battle of the Trident. Why? Wasn't it supposed to be the great showdown between Rhaegar and Robert? And Robert's best friend is late? Why? No explanation in the books that I saw (do correct me if I'm wrong, these books are immense). So, if RT was heading for the Wall and NS knew about his plan and was a part of it, RT had to meet up with him to tell him Lyanna has been taken hostage by the KG. Several sources tell us NS's forces were moving fast from one battlefield to the next. And yet they were late for the main battle? Only a meeting with RT that delayed them could explain that. Furthermore, judging from the text and NS's rage when he entered KL, his task was to gather all RT's women and children and relocate them. He failed in both cases. Only JS remained. Note that NS never had a bad though or word about RT. Not even when RB kept ranting about how RT repeatedly raped Lyanna. Ned remained silent. Why doesn't he join in condemning that vile Crown Prince? Later, after visiting LF's brothel, Ned reflects on how it would be highly unlikely to meet RT in one. Such thoughts about the archenemy. It led me to reflect on the whole RR, which I now consider nothing more than a mummer's farce with the ultimate goal of deposing Aerys, but giving RT freedom to pursue his guest at the same time. I suspect RT wanted John Arryn to become protector of the realm until he returned or little Aegon's maturity. Tywin Lannister was a rogue player who destroyed the whole plan by sacking KL. I don't have any idea what TL would have done had he known about RT's plan. I have some theories though, but that would mean going off the tangent of this thread.

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Well, Ned Stark[....]

Well put together. I don't think there is evidence for this in the books, though neither to disprove it. And it seems possible.

Few minutes back I watched "The Prince's Tale" from Harry Potter, about Snape's secret love for Lily and Harry...there was never any mention in the books, but then only by this one chapter it made all plausible and fitting. I hope we soon get the same thing with Rhaegar.

But one thing, again : Why not tell Robert ? Why not make him go to the Tower? I think that Ned may have known that Lyanna never loved Robert and wanted to prevent him from being her saviour, the one she would have to marry as "thanks".

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Well, Ned Stark was late for the Battle of the Trident. Why? Wasn't it supposed to be the great showdown between Rhaegar and Robert? And Robert's best friend is late? Why? No explanation in the books that I saw (do correct me if I'm wrong, these books are immense)...

No evidence for this at all I'm afraid. The text only refers to Ned eventually coming to the scene of the fight between Bob and Rhaegar. Presumably until the battle was over he'd been commanding one of the wings rather than just being a spare sword at Bob's side.

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Why not tell Robert ? Why not make him go to the Tower? I think that Ned may have known that Lyanna never loved Robert and wanted to prevent him from being her saviour, the one she would have to marry as "thanks".

That's the proof that NS was in RT's inner circle. RB was a useful tool of rebellion against king Aerys, but not privy to the plan behind it. When KL part of the plan collapsed by Tywin's sack, RB became king by kin since there were no Targs left alive or in the country. So, RB, in my view, became king by accident and serendipity.

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No evidence for this at all I'm afraid. The text only refers to Ned eventually coming to the scene of the fight between Bob and Rhaegar. Presumably until the battle was over he'd been commanding one of the wings rather than just being a spare sword at Bob's side.

As presumably as my assumption. The fact is that NS was late for the main battle and no one asks him for an explanation.

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That's the proof that NS was in RT's inner circle.

But since when exactly?

I would still think Ned only got into Rhaegar's motives after the Tower. Through a note or Lyanna or himself. Not before. Why make a battle if you already know where the hostage is? Why make a rebellion to replace a single person you dine with every evening? Rhaegar could have simply had Varys poison Aerys. No one would question his death. He was old.

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