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J. Stargaryen

R+L=J v.85

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Reference guide

The Tower of the Hand has an excellent analysis of this theory:
Jon Snow's Parents

And Westeros' Citadel also provides a summary:
Jon Snow's Parents

A Wiki of Ice and Fire:
Jon Snow Theories


Frequently Asked Questions:

How can Jon be a Targaryen if he has a burned hand?
Targaryens are not immune to fire. Aerion Brightflame died drinking wildfire. Aegon V and his son Duncan are thought to have died in a fire-related event at Summerhall. Rhaenyra was eaten by Aegon II's dragon, presumably roasted by fire before the dragon took a bite. Viserys died when he was crowned with molten gold. Dany suffered burns from the fire pit incident at the end of A Dance with Dragons. Finally, the author has stated outright that Targaryens are not immune to fire. Jon's burned hand does not mean he is ineligible to be part Targaryen. For more information about the myth of Targaryen fire immunity, see this thread.

How can Jon be a Targ if he doesn't have silver hair and purple eyes?
Not all Targaryens had the typical Valyrian look. Alysanne had blue eyes. Baelor Breakspear and his son(s) had the Dornish look. Some of the Great Bastards did not have typical Valyrian features. Jon's own half-sister Rhaenys had her mother's Dornish look.

If Jon isn't Ned's son, then why does he look so much like him?
Much is made over the fact that Arya looks like Lyanna, and Jon looks like Arya. Ned and Lyanna shared similar looks.

How can Jon be half-Targ if he has a direwolf?
Ned's trueborn children are half Stark and half Tully. Being half Tully didn't prevent them from having a direwolf so there is no reason to think being half Targaryen would prevent Jon from having a direwolf. If Lyanna is his mother, then he's still half Stark. Furthermore, there is already a character who is half Targaryen and half blood of the First Men and was a skinchanger: Bloodraven.

Since Rhaegar was already married, wouldn't Jon still be a bastard?
The evidence that Jon is legitimate is that Targaryens have a history of polygamous marriages which makes it a possibility that Rhaegar had two wives. Three Kingsguards were present at the Tower of Joy when Ned arrived. Even after Ned said that Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon were dead and Viserys had fled to Dragonstone, the Kingsguard opted to stay at the Tower of Joy stating they were obeying their Kingsguard vow. The heart of a Kingsguard's vow is to protect the king. With Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon dead, the new king would have been Viserys, unless Lyanna's child was legitimate making him the new king of the Targaryen dynasty.
For a comprehensive analysis of Jon's legitimacy, see the detailed explanations in the two linked articles.

But polygamy hadn't been practiced in centuries, is it still even legal?
The practice was never made illegal and there may have been some less prominent examples after Maegor, as stated in this SSM. Furthermore, Jorah suggests it to Dany as a viable option.

Weren't the Kingsguard at Tower of Joy on the basis of an order from Aerys, to guard Lyanna as a hostage?
Aerys was sane enough to realize how taking someone hostage works even at the end of the Rebellion, and he would hardly miss the opportunity to bring Ned and Robert in line any time after the situation started to look really serious.
Furthermore, regardless of on whose order the Kingsguard might have stayed at Tower of Joy, they would still be in dereliction of their duty to guard the new king.

This theory is too obvious and too many people believe it to be fact. How can it be true?
The theory is not obvious to the majority of readers. Some will get it on first read, most will not. Keep in mind that readers who go to online fan forums, such as this one, represent a very small minority of the A Song of Ice and Fire readership. Also, A Game of Thrones has been out since 1996. That's more than 17 years of readers being able to piece together this mystery.

Why doesn't Ned ever think about Lyanna being Jon's mother?
Ned doesn't think about anyone as being his mother. He says the name 'Wylla' to Robert, but does not actively think that Wylla is the mother. He also doesn't think of Jon as his son. There are numerous mysteries in the series, and Jon's parentage is one of those. If Ned thought about Jon being Lyanna's son, it would not be a mystery.

Why should we care who Jon's parents are? Will Jon care? Who cares if he's legitimate?
Once one accepts that the evidence is conclusive and that Jon's parents are Rhaegar and Lyanna and that he is most probably legitimate, these become the important questions.

Previous editions:

Please click on the spoiler below to reveal links to all previous editions of this thread.

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread” (thread one)

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread” (thread two)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part III)” (thread three)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part IV)” (thread four)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part V)” (thread five)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part VI)” (thread six)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon Thread Part VII” (thread seven)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part VIII” (thread eight)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part IX” (thread nine)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna =Jon Thread, Part X”(thread ten)

The R+L=J thread, part XI” (thread eleven)

The R+L=J thread, part XII” (thread twelve)

R+L=J Part XXIII” (thread thirteen)

R+L=J Part XXIV” (thread fourteen)

R+L=J XXV” (thread fifteen)

R+L=J v.16” (thread sixteen)

R+L=J v.17” (thread seventeen)

R+L=J v.18” (thread eighteen)

R+L=J v.19” (thread nineteen)

R+L=J v.20” (thread twenty)

R+L=J v.21” (thread twenty-one)

R+L=J v.22” (thread twenty-two)

R+L=J v.22a” (thread twenty-two (a))

R+L=J v.23” (thread twenty-three)

R+L=J v.24” (thread twenty-four)

R+L=J v.25” (thread twenty-five)

R+L=J v.26” (thread twenty-six)

R+L=J v.27” (thread twenty-seven)

R+L=J v.28” (thread twenty-eight)

R+L=J v.29” (thread twenty-nine)

R+L=J v.30” (thread thirty)

R+L=J v.31” (thread thirty-one)

R+L=J v.32” (thread thirty-two)

R+L=J #33” (thread thirty-three)

R+L=J v.34” (thread thirty-four)

R+L=J v.35” (thread thirty-five)

R+L=J v.36” (thread thirty-six)

R+L=J v.37” (thread thirty-seven)

R+L=J v.38” (thread thirty-eight)

R+L=J v.39” (thread thirty-nine)

"R+L=J v.40" (thread forty)

"R+L=J v. 41" (thread forty-one)

"R+L=J v.42" (thread forty-two)

"R+L=J v.43" (thread forty-three)

"R+L=J v.44" (thread forty-four)

"R+L=J v.45" (thread forty-five)

"R+L=J v.46" (thread forty-six)

"R+L=J v.47" (thread forty-seven)

"R+L=J v.48" (thread forty-eight)

"R+L=J v.49" (thread forty-nine)

"R+L=J v.50" (thread fifty)

"R+L=J v.51" (thread fifty-one)

"R+L=J v.52" (thread fifty-two)

"R+L=J v.53" (thread fifty-three)

"R+L=J v.54" (thread fifty=four)

"R+L=J v.55" (thread fifty-five)

"R+L=J v.56" (thread fifty-six)

"R+L=J v.57" (thread fifty-seven)

"R+L=J v 58" (thread fifty-eight)

"R+L=J v 59" (thread fifty-nine)

"R+L=J v 60" (thread sixty)

"R+L=J v 61" (thread sixty-one)

"R+L=J v 62" (thread sixty-two)

"R+L=J v 63" (thread sixty-three)

"R+L=J v 64" (thread sixty four)

"R+L=J v 65" (thread sixty five)

R+L=J v 66 (thread sixty-six)

"R+L=J v 67" (thread sixty-seven)

"R+L=J v 68" (thread sixty-eight)

"R+L=J v 69" (thread sixty-nine)

"R+L=J v 70" (thread seventy)
"R+L=J v 71" (thread seventy-one)

"R+L=J v 72" (thread seventy-two)

"R+L=J v 73" (thread seventy-three)

"R+L=J v 74" (thread seventy-four)

"R+L=J v 75" (thread seventy-five)

"R+L=J v 76" (thread seventy-six)

"R+L=J v.77" (thread seventy-seven)

"R+L=J v. 78" (thread seventy-eight)

"R+L=J v. 79" (thread seventy-nine)

"R+L=J v. 80" (thread eighty)

"R+L=J v. 81" (thread eighty-one)

"R+L=J v. 82" (thread eighty-two)

"R+L=J v. 83" (thread eighty-three)

"R+L=J v. 84" (thread eighty-four)

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Now, someone might want to pin this :-)

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Now, someone might want to pin this :-)

Yes please :)

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Thanks JS

Np. ;)

I'm always saying "blue rose sigil" for Jon, but perhaps he will go with one of the other options for his House banner, and instead use the blue rose as a personal device. Assuming he uses it all.

I suppose I'm still thinking about the prominent role Ser Loras played in linking the TotH and R+L=J, and how he employs his own personal device; three golden roses on a green background, denoting his status as a third son.

The three (as in, heads of the dragon) roses already provide enough of a connection to Jon that I'm not sure we need to extrapolate any further regarding a hypothetical blue rose emblem. Still, considering how GRRM uses Ser Loras at the TotH—he's covered in blue flowers, for starters—it's not out of the realm of possibility.

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Np. ;)

I'm always saying "blue rose sigil" for Jon, but perhaps he will go with one of the other options for his House banner, and instead use the blue rose as a personal device. Assuming he uses it all.

I suppose I'm still thinking about the prominent role Ser Loras played in linking the TotH and R+L=J, and how he employs his own personal device; three golden roses on a green background, denoting his status as a third son.

The three (as in, heads of the dragon) roses already provides enough of a connection to Jon that I'm not sure we need to extrapolate any further regarding a hypothetical blue rose emblem. Still, considering how GRRM uses Ser Loras at the TotHhe's covered in blue flowers, for startersit's not out of the realm of possibility.

Maybe his royal seal?

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Why should we care ? Why should Jon care ? It's not like he is some street urchin running wild in the streets or a slave . For what we know he is well adjusted , has people who truly loves him and he loves . All of that changes with the knowledge that Rhaegar and Lyanna is his parents. Arya stops being his little sister perhaps people want to see Arya cry .While Jon now becomes an un-person not a Stark not a Targaryen with the chance of insanity in his future.


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Why should we care ? Why should Jon care ? It's not like he is some street urchin running wild in the streets or a slave . For what we know he is well adjusted , has people who truly loves him and he loves . All of that changes with the knowledge that Rhaegar and Lyanna is his parents. Arya stops being his little sister perhaps people want to see Arya cry .While Jon now becomes an un-person not a Stark not a Targaryen with the chance of insanity in his future.

Well i think we should care because it's a Song of Ice and Fire and Jon is clearly the embodiment of that idea. Jon will care because he has never known his mother or his true heritage and that will matter to him, if only because it proves that he's the guy to fight for the Dawn. No matter how many swords they give him, though, Ned was his father and Arya is his sister--as is Sansa. Bran, Robb and Rickon are still his brothers. Jon will always be their family and they'll always be his. He doesn't become an unperson, he becomes a fully realized person with an identity instead of just someone without a name, which is what bastards are. They have no name so they take "snow" "rivers" "sand" "stone" ect.

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Jon Snow doesn't associate himself with a blue rose, so there's no need for him to put it on a sigil, definitely not when you can have something as cool as a dragon or direwolf, or a combo of them on it.



Great that his mommy and daddy had a rose-thing between them, but that doesn't mean he's going to cry himself a river when they tell him.



Perhaps King's Landing will get some details like a blue rose on the windows like the show, but that might be the extend. He's never shown an interest in flowers, nor is he Loras Tyrell.


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Jon Snow doesn't associate himself with a blue rose, so there's no need for him to put it on a sigil, definitely not when you can have something as cool as a dragon or direwolf, or a combo of them on it.

Great that his mommy and daddy had a rose-thing between them, but that doesn't mean he's going to cry himself a river when they tell him.

Perhaps King's Landing will get some details like a blue rose on the windows like the show, but that might be the extend. He's never shown an interest in flowers, nor is he Loras Tyrell.

Not presently, no. Because he has no idea that he's the son of R&L.

The Tourney at Harrenhal was said to be the greatest in living memory. So I'd assume that Rhaegar's crowning of Lyanna is a fairly well known tale across the 7K. Jon Snow flying a blue rose on his banners would make quite a powerful statement about his identity, imo; I am the son of R&L.

Of course he's not Loras Tyrell, but GRRM used the Knight of Flowers to convey allusions to R+L=J. Link.

Why is Ser Loras decorated in blue flowers (real, sapphire) during the TotH? Why isn't he wearing Tyrell green and gold? GRRM made a choice to use those colors on that character. Why?

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Not presently, no. Because he has no idea that he's the son of R&L.

The Tourney at Harrenhal was said to be the greatest in living memory. So I'd assume that Rhaegar's crowning of Lyanna is a fairly well known tale across the 7K. Jon Snow flying a blue rose on his banners would make quite a powerful statement about his identity, imo; I am the son of R&L.

Of course he's not Loras Tyrell, but GRRM gave the Knight of Flowers a starring role in a couple of sections with significant allusions to R+L=J. Link.

Jon doesn't but the book associate him with the blue rose, outside of L and R and Harrenhal. In tHoU, Dany sees a blue rose in a wall of ice. (*cough* Jon *cough*) So even crazy warlocks know what is up. I think once Jon knows who he is and the full story of R and L, he will see the rose as a good symbol.

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I want to nit-pick a little here. We have the word of a woman who is obviously lying about other things about Brandon taking whatever he wanted. To me it could easily be a stretch. We do have a suspect that does take whatever he wants, whenever he wants, never looking back. Everyone seems to leave him out of their list of suspects for dishonoring Ashara. But, why don't we have Robert on the list?

Robert is not on the list because there is no known connection between him and Ashara. He's quite open about his liasons. He also doesn't take whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but finds willing women. He also doesn't fit the 'never looking back' model in terms of acknowledging Edric Storm and playing with little Mya Stone. If Ashara was disgraced due to RObert, everyone would know about it.

I wasn't saying that the rumours came from before the war. The rumors came after the war, but were partly (not mostly, but partly) based on a small event that occurred before the war.

For a rumour of love to start going around, two people would first need to meet...

And I'm, saying, what evidence is there that they were at all based on a dance at Harrenhal? There is no evidence that that dance was general knowledge. Nor is there any evidence of any greater involvement between Ned and Ashara than one dance - something she did with lots of other men too.

What is widely known is that they did meet, after the war, and that Ned Stark took an acknowledged bastard away from Starfall while Ashara Dayne committed suicide. That is more than enough evidence to put N+A=J together to people who know literally nothing else.

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Np. ;)

I'm always saying "blue rose sigil" for Jon, but perhaps he will go with one of the other options for his House banner, and instead use the blue rose as a personal device. Assuming he uses it all.

I suppose I'm still thinking about the prominent role Ser Loras played in linking the TotH and R+L=J, and how he employs his own personal device; three golden roses on a green background, denoting his status as a third son.

The three (as in, heads of the dragon) roses already provide enough of a connection to Jon that I'm not sure we need to extrapolate any further regarding a hypothetical blue rose emblem. Still, considering how GRRM uses Ser Loras at the TotH—he's covered in blue flowers, for starters—it's not out of the realm of possibility.

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/111598-rlj-v83/page-11

post 203

http://asoiaf.wester...poilers/page-20 post 388; 395; 397....

I saw that you responded to it, not sure we understood each other though...

Targaryen, Stark, Night's Watch brother; Tyrells.

"Jon Snow turned away. The last light of the sun had begun to fade. He watched the cracks along the Wall go from red to grey to black, from streaks of fire to rivers of black ice."

Jon III

This are the identities he has assumed to this point in the story. Born a Targ; made a Stark; then, a NW brother. The same sequence is noticed in Dany's chapter:

Three thick walls encircled Qarth, elaborately carved. The outer was red sandstone, thirty feet high and decorated with animals: snakes slithering, kites flying, fish swimming, intermingled with wolves of the red waste and striped zorses and monstrous elephants. The middle wall, forty feet high, was grey granite alive with scenes of war: the clash of sword and shield and spear, arrows in flight, heroes at battle and babes being butchered, pyres of the dead. The innermost wall was fifty feet of black marble, with carvings that made Dany blush until she told herself that she was being a fool.

Daenerys II, Clash

In Sansa's chapter, the colors appear in reverse order, with rose and gold right in their middle -- I take rose and gold to hint at the Tyrell sigil...

She threw back the shutters and shivered as gooseprickles rose along her arms. There were clouds massing in the eastern sky, pierced by shafts of sunlight. They look like two huge castles afloat in the morning sky. Sansa could see their walls of tumbled stone, their mighty keeps and barbicans. Wispy banners swirled from atop their towers and reached for the fast-fading stars. The sun was coming up behind them, and she watched them go from black to grey to a thousand shades of rose and gold and crimson. Soon the wind mushed them together, and there was only one castle where there had been two.

Sansa IV, Storm

During the Tourney of the Hand, the attention is on Loras and Sansa. A Tyrell, and Sansa. Rose and Gold; does imo, recall the Tyrell sigil; though I won't be upset if people disagree ;) The two castles becoming one = two houses joining, or two factions of the realm uniting....under Sansa's agency; her watchful gaze.

Sansa knows the Tyrells. She knows what sort of players they are. She knows (the whole world does) what they want. Margaery might be "unlucky" but, the Tyrells are a safe bet because the risk of an alliance with them can be measured. And Sansa is learning right know, where to place bets, thanks to Petry's lessons...as you said in R+L 83 iirc; the match makes some sense from a political perspective... one can expect Jon to have learned something from Robb's fate and to prefer a political match over a love match...

Hence, why I think this Loras/Sansa dynamic at the tourney and the second round of foreshadowing in Sansa's chapter; sort of indicates that Sansa might bring the Tyrells into the fold; on behalf of Jon...and in exchange probably of a crown.... the only problem I see really with this is Val, since there's some hinting at a future relationship there; but if she dies, all bets are off -- and the Tyrell match need not happen anytime soon...if it happens at all; a lot needs to occur first in any case...there's time enough for Jon to marry and be widowed imo...

EDIT: spelling and such

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Why should we care ? Why should Jon care ? It's not like he is some street urchin running wild in the streets or a slave . For what we know he is well adjusted , has people who truly loves him and he loves . All of that changes with the knowledge that Rhaegar and Lyanna is his parents. Arya stops being his little sister perhaps people want to see Arya cry .While Jon now becomes an un-person not a Stark not a Targaryen with the chance of insanity in his future.

Because it's important to the story and it's important to Jon? He's spent his entire life thinking that he was the shame of his family, that his father did something so terrible that he wouldn't even talk about it with him, or tell him who his mother was. He's also the embodiment of fire and ice, which just happens to be the title of the story.

I think it's important.

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Robert is not on the list because there is no known connection between him and Ashara. He's quite open about his liasons. He also doesn't take whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but finds willing women. He also doesn't fit the 'never looking back' model in terms of acknowledging Edric Storm and playing with little Mya Stone. If Ashara was disgraced due to RObert, everyone would know about it.

And I'm, saying, what evidence is there that they were at all based on a dance at Harrenhal? There is no evidence that that dance was general knowledge. Nor is there any evidence of any greater involvement between Ned and Ashara than one dance - something she did with lots of other men too.

What is widely known is that they did meet, after the war, and that Ned Stark took an acknowledged bastard away from Starfall while Ashara Dayne committed suicide. That is more than enough evidence to put N+A=J together to people who know literally nothing else.

Robert was present at the feast where Brandon asked Ashara to dance with Ned. Ned has a stronger connection with Ashara than Brandon or Robert. There must be some reason that women are attracted to Robert, is he that other than mud type? We know about Robert. We have a suggestion from an unreliable source that Brandon sowed some wild oats. Barristan does not suggest that Stark dishonored Ashara. On the other hand he does suggest that Ashara sought the aid of Stark, and wished that she had also sought his aid.

Borrowing from your second paragraph, the only thing that connects Brandon and Ned to Ashara is the dance. There is no evidence that Brandon did any more than request that Ashara dance with his shy younger brother.

I suggest a comparison with Barbrey's dialog with Theon against Catelyn's memories of the duel and afterwards. It seems to me that Brandon was intent on marrying Catelyn and that they had some spark between them. Not what Barbrey says at all.

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Not presently, no. Because he has no idea that he's the son of R&L.

The Tourney at Harrenhal was said to be the greatest in living memory. So I'd assume that Rhaegar's crowning of Lyanna is a fairly well known tale across the 7K. Jon Snow flying a blue rose on his banners would make quite a powerful statement about his identity, imo; I am the son of R&L.

Of course he's not Loras Tyrell, but GRRM used the Knight of Flowers to convey allusions to R+L=J. Link.

Why is Ser Loras decorated in blue flowers (real, sapphire) during the TotH? Why isn't he wearing Tyrell green and gold? GRRM made a choice to use those colors on that character. Why?

I've just been rereading book one, and not only do I think you're right that GRRM is using those colors as an allusion, I think Loras himself is doing it on purpose (i.e. it's both an authorial choice and the character's choice, if that makes any sense). Loras is trying to make Robert think of Lyanna. In my reread I ran across something I'd completely forgotten over the years: the Tyrells are trying to place Margaery under Robert's nose so he'll divorce Cersei for her. And they think she looks like Lyanna, but only because they don't really know what Lyanna looks like; when Renly shows her miniature to Eddard, it doesn't ring a bell at all. But they think there's a resemblance, and they want to rekindle those memories and then bring Margaery to court to draw the king's eye.

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It's interesting that from Sansa's POV, it's the reverse to Jon's POV in regards to the sun. That from her POV, the subtle hints goes of grey/black Jon (Stark/NW), to crimson Jon (Targaryen), while Jon's POV it goes him from Targaryen red to Stark/NW of grey/black.



However for Dany's POV clues regarding the colors associated with Jon, it's more of a character (wall) that we might see in/of him in the future when she finally meets him. In the outside Jon will be a Targaryen, but in the inside, he's a brother of the NW, a Stark, and duty bound of protecting the realm from the Others. Yet, descriptively, Jon looks nothing like a Targaryen, which really throw us, readers, out of whack, something GRRM likes to do. :)




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I've just been rereading book one, and not only do I think you're right that GRRM is using those colors as an allusion, I think Loras himself is doing it on purpose (i.e. it's both an authorial choice and the character's choice, if that makes any sense). Loras is trying to make Robert think of Lyanna. In my reread I ran across something I'd completely forgotten over the years: the Tyrells are trying to place Margaery under Robert's nose so he'll divorce Cersei for her. And they think she looks like Lyanna, but only because they don't really know what Lyanna looks like; when Renly shows her miniature to Eddard, it doesn't ring a bell at all. But they think there's a resemblance, and they want to rekindle those memories and then bring Margaery to court to draw the king's eye.

Interesting idea. I wouldn't completely put it past the Tyrells. Tiny blue forget-me-nots. :)

It's interesting that from Sansa's POV, it's the reverse to Jon's POV in regards to the sun. That from her POV, the subtle hints goes of grey/black Jon (Stark/NW), to crimson Jon (Targaryen), while Jon's POV it goes him from Targaryen red to Stark/NW of grey/black.

However for Dany's POV clues regarding the colors associated with Jon, it's more of a character (wall) that we might see in/of him in the future when she finally meets him. In the outside Jon will be a Targaryen, but in the inside, he's a brother of the NW, a Stark, and duty bound of protecting the realm from the Others. Yet, descriptively, Jon looks nothing like a Targaryen, which really throw us, readers, out of whack, something GRRM likes to do. :)

Jon's true identity has gone from Targ to Stark to NW. From Sansa's POV, Jon's identity will seem to have gone from Stark to NW to Targaryen. It's a matter of POV, which fits so well with the structure of the series. Nice.

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Robert was present at the feast where Brandon asked Ashara to dance with Ned.

So was most of the upper class of Westeros. Thats not a connection between Robert and Ashara. We have zero clues, not even red herrings, of a Robert-Ashara connection, which answers your question why he is not considered.

Ned has a stronger connection with Ashara than Brandon or Robert.

Does he? Well, stronger than Robert, sure.

There must be some reason that women are attracted to Robert, is he that other than mud type?

He's an extremely rich and powerful Lord and 'muscled like a maidens dream', and great fun.

But nearly all his liasons are with commoners, mostly whores and tavern girls and the like. Its not hard to figure out what the attraction is for them. We only have one known noble liason from him and everyone knows about that one. Typically Robert, its a 'scene'.

We know about Robert. We have a suggestion from an unreliable source that Brandon sowed some wild oats. Barristan does not suggest that Stark dishonored Ashara. On the other hand he does suggest that Ashara sought the aid of Stark, and wished that she had also sought his aid.

I don't hold to the level of unreliability you claim. While there are reasons why some of Lady Dustin's claims might be ... distorted.... those reasons don't hold to her memories of Brandon.

I did not suggest that Barristan said a Stark dishonoured Ashara, so you can put that straw man away please. But she did look to a Stark, and there's no point looking to a Stark if Robert dishonoured her. The Stark's have no power over the Lord of Storm's End. The looking to a Stark suggests, but does not prove, that a Stark, or someone in Stark poweror influence, dishonoured her.

Borrowing from your second paragraph, the only thing that connects Brandon and Ned to Ashara is the dance. There is no evidence that Brandon did any more than request that Ashara dance with his shy younger brother.

Indeed there isn't. But someone dishonoured her. She is noted with connections to two Starks, a Martell, a Connington, and a KG (probably her brother). The Connington is out (gay and in love with Rhaegar), the KG is very unlikely (honour, vows, Barristan and brother Arthur being the most likely KG). The Martell is a possibility but has not the character to dump her afterwards - he takes care of his own even though his morality is perhaps a little different - and has no further connection with her noted. She looks to a Stark afterward.

Those are the clues we have.

When we add to them character (Ned and Brandon), history (Brandon), and top it off with attractiveness for a popular party girl...

I suggest a comparison with Barbrey's dialog with Theon against Catelyn's memories of the duel and afterwards. It seems to me that Brandon was intent on marrying Catelyn and that they had some spark between them. Not what Barbrey says at all.

I never noted any spark between Catelyn and Brandon.

He was intent on marrying Catelyn because that was his job and to do anything less would be lessening who he was.

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