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RumHam

R+L=J v. 102

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Quite. Ok, I'll go with that. Barristan was advancing backwards.

Boldly taking to his feet ("I never did!")

He beat a very bold retreat ("All lies!")

Boldest of the boooold, Ser Barristan ("I was advancing backwards!")

Yep, that works!

You omitted "Kingmonkey's statement also left off that Ned was riding a horse, that the tower was ruinous, that Howland once got a nasty splinter in his right toe that took ages to get out, and that the moon is not made of blue cheese (which, incidentally, isn't the same as saying the moon is made of some non-blue cheese, I assure you). These things are irrelevant, that's why I didn't say them. Ned's attitude to killing Lannister children etc. is equally irrelevant.

That would be so, but I thought you weren't into writing fiction? I never suggested he picked up a rumour that was going around. Look at what's implied by the fact that he took a small group of trusted friends rather than taking his army. That's what he'd do if he knew the secret (or at least some part of it), and wanted to keep it secret. He wouldn't need to try to keep the secret if it was a rumour that was going around, but he might if one of the few people in the know had told him. Ashara, perhaps.

OK, I understand where you're coming from. Ned says "You are no Tywin Lannister, to slaughter innocents" in direct response to Robert's "A knife, perhaps [as a wedding gift]. A good sharp one, and a bold man to wield it." Robert is planning to slaughter an innocent, and Ned is trying to persuade him that he is a better man than that, and that he shouldn't do it. If you want to call that lying, then yes, I'd say Ned was lying. Perhaps he was lying to himself, but I think the obvious thing to draw from it is that he's trying to shame (someone he considers) a good man who makes bad choices into doing the right thing.

As for your 13 years later point, true. That leaves us with the "I see no babes. Only dragonspawn" bit. Whilst this does not explicitly state that Ned considered Robert a threat to other Targaryen children, I think it would be very bizarre if he didn't. You are of course free to disagree with this, but we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

Quite. Ok, I'll go with that. Barristan was advancing backwards.

Barry rescued the king.... avenged his sworn brother... and ended the seige...

If you would like to draw a map or write a good paperback... then you can have barry fleeing... short of that you need some text to have barry fleeing

You omitted "Kingmonkey's statement also left off that Ned was riding a horse, that the tower was ruinous, that Howland once got a nasty splinter in his right toe that took ages to get out, and that the moon is not made of blue cheese (which, incidentally, isn't the same as saying the moon is made of some non-blue cheese, I assure you). These things are irrelevant, that's why I didn't say them. Ned's attitude to killing Lannister children etc. is equally irrelevant.

and adding Targaryen to Ned's opposition to the murder of innocents is irrelevant. Unless you intend to assert that it the innocent's names made a difference to Ned. If you do you left off the other named children that are also on Ned's list...

That would be so, but I thought you weren't into writing fiction?

I am not... asserting that Ned knew that what was in the tower was a secret before he got there is writing fiction... it is just doing so in a very lazy fashion... If you would like to write the fiction at least bother to write it... you made it up... please specify it so it at least makes sense.

I never suggested he picked up a rumour that was going around.

Right... you never spelled it out... but to make the assertion you need to.

Look at what's implied by the fact that he took a small group of trusted friends rather than taking his army. That's what he'd do if he knew the secret (or at least some part of it), and wanted to keep it secret.

It is also what he would do if he wanted to make more than 12 miles a day (not a fiction it is the pace of the armies given the duration of the war and the distances travelled)... check out Catelyn's chapter on the speed benefits of travelling with a small party.

He wouldn't need to try to keep the secret if it was a rumor that was going around, but he might if one of the few people in the know had told him. Ashara, perhaps

There we go... you specified the source of the secret... it is necessary. To assert that Ned's party was small because he must keep it a secret... you need to finish the story you started.

OK, I understand where you're coming from. Ned says "You are no Tywin Lannister, to slaughter innocents" in direct response to Robert's "A knife, perhaps [as a wedding gift]. A good sharp one, and a bold man to wield it." Robert is planning to slaughter an innocent, and Ned is trying to persuade him that he is a better man than that, and that he shouldn't do it.

fair enough assessment. Ned made a statement, if he believed it he was honest... if he did not it was a lie.

If you want to call that lying,

I did not call it anything... A person that makes statements that they believe are false is a liar regardless of what I want to call it.... if i wanted to call it a unicorn... it would be a lying unicorn.

then yes, I'd say Ned was lying. Perhaps he was lying to himself,

Ned made the statement tp Robert.... not himself

but I think the obvious thing to draw from it is that he's trying to shame (someone he considers) a good man who makes bad choices into doing the right thing.

is that you saying that Ned considers someone Ned believes slaughters innocents is a good man who makes bad choices.

I agree Ned thought Robert was a good man.... I agree because it is in the text

"I thought you were a better man than this Robert. I thought we had made a nobler king,"--Ned aGoT page 343.

This is about what Ned thought... not about was he right.

For the assertion that Ned was hiding a Targaryen baby from Robert to be true... Ned's statements must be knowingly false... lies.

As for your 13 years later point, true. That leaves us with the "I see no babes. Only dragonspawn" bit. Whilst this does not explicitly state that Ned considered Robert a threat to other Targaryen children, I think it would be very bizarre if he didn't. You are of course free to disagree with this, but we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

I do not agree or disagree...

I have text where Ned states thought Robert was a better man.... I have a fan assertion that this statement was knowingly false.

To support the assertion the fan points to his own assessments of Robert's character and the danger Robert posed.

Whilst this does not explicitly state that Ned considered Robert a threat to other Targaryen children

It explicitly states that Ned did not think Robert was a threat to innocents....

The whole Targ hating Robert and Ned trying to protect his nephew has been around for a while.... it is nothing new. It is just not very well thought out.

You do know that if R plus L equals J.... Ned was the last blood relative the baby had. A promise to give the baby a home and a family... would actually cover a whole lot more than a promise to protect a child from a threat Ned stated he did not believe existed. In fact, the that would cover what Ned actually did and was concerned about.

Ned's belief that he needed to protect Jon from Robert... is a fabrication intended to support "Jon is the king."

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I think it's too "fairy tale" to believe that Westeros will accept a known bastard as King because of Arthurian parallels. Even with "divine" ordinance, I still don't see Jon ascending any throne without the birth right to back it up. Now, I don't think he would take the throne just BECAUSE of his birth right, either...but I think both would be necessary if Jon ends up as king (big if there, too).

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"I was with her when she died." Ned reminded the king. "She wanted to come home, to rest beside Brandon and father." He could still hear her at times. Promise me, she had cried in that room that smelled of blood and roses. Promise me, Ned. The fever had taken her strength and her voice had been as faint as a whisper, but when he had given his word, the fear had gone out of his sister's eyes. Ned remembered the way she had smiled then, how tightly her fingers had clutched his as she gave up her hold on life, the rose petals spilling from her palm dead and black. After that he remembered nothing. They found him still holding her body. Howland Reed, had taken her hand from his, Ned could recall none of it. "I bring her flowers when I can," he said. "Lyanna was... fond of flowers."--aGoT page 40

A storm of rose petals blew across the blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eyes of death.--aGoT page 410

Ned remembered the moment when all the smiles died. When Prince Rhaegar Targaryen urged his horse past his own wife, the Dornish Princess Elia Martell to lay the queen of beauty's laurel in Lyanna's lap. He could see it still: a crown of winter roses blue as frost.
Ned's Stark's hand reached out to grasp the flowery crown, but beneath the pale blue petals, thorns lay hidden. He felt them clawing at his skin sharp and cruel, saw the slow trickle of blood run down his fingers, and woke trembling in the dark
.--aGoT page 608

Promise me Ned, his sister had whispered from her bed of blood. She had loved the scent of winter roses.--aGoT page 608.

Corpses lined the benches below..

But there were others, faces he had never known in life..
a slim sad, girl who wore a crown of pale blue roses and a white dress spattered with gore could only be Lyanna
.--aCoK page 731

Above are the passages citing roses in connection to Lyanna... all involve blood

All --but one that is tied to Lyanna's death with "promise me" from a bed of blood- mention die dead or death...

I am trying to get love and roses..

I do get lyanna loving the scent of winter roses tied to Dany's vision in the house of the undying...

She (Lyanna) had loved the scent of winter roses.--aGoT page 608.

a blue flower grew in a chink in a wall of ice and filled the air with sweetness.--aCoK page 627

Overall... roses are not pleasant...

"No it happened that the winter roses had come into bloom, and no flower is so rare nor precious So the Stark sent to his glass gardens and commanded the most beautiful of the winter roses be plucked for the singer's payment...."aCoK pag 674

We know how that turned out... not happily ever after.

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I think it's too "fairy tale" to believe that Westeros will accept a known bastard as King because of Arthurian parallels. Even with "divine" ordinance, I still don't see Jon ascending any throne without the birth right to back it up. Now, I don't think he would take the throne just BECAUSE of his birth right, either...but I think both would be necessary if Jon ends up as king (big if there, too).

I have to respectfully disagree. I think it'd actually much more "fairy tale" if he was a legitimate prince in hiding as a bastard.

As for him needing a provable birthright to eventually become a king (and I agree with you, it's not certain he will end up taking a throne), I don't know that it will be as big of an issue by the end of the series. Social structures and hierarchies often shift and become less important and rigid during times of great upheaval. Ability rather than birth becomes paramount.

With the chaos and destruction that Westeros will face, who knows what their world and society will ultimately end up looking like? The iron throne may no longer exist, new kingdoms and boundaries could be created and Jon could end up king of a region where his birth is of no consequence (such as King Beyond the Wall) but his proven leadership abilities are. His royal blood then would be a delicious irony rather than an imperative.

Or you're right, he could be legitimate :)

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes down.

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and adding Targaryen to Ned's opposition to the murder of innocents is irrelevant. Unless you intend to assert that it the innocent's names made a difference to Ned. If you do you left off the other named children that are also on Ned's list...

Ok, I think I understand the issue here. Ned had just had an argument with Robert about the morals of killing children, which Robert had justified because they were Targaryens. From this I conclude that Ned might be concerned that Robert would consider the killing of Targaryen children justified. That's why Targaryen was relevant, and Lannister etc. was not. As you don't think that Ned believed Robert was in favour of Targaryen children being killed any more than other children being killed, I see why you didn't get the link. Well there it is, I hope that explains it. I said Targaryen children because I was talking about Targaryen children.

I am not... asserting that Ned knew that what was in the tower was a secret before he got there is writing fiction...

Not assertion, speculation. Not fiction, reading between the lines. This whole thread is about speculation.

Ned's belief that he needed to protect Jon from Robert... is a fabrication intended to support "Jon is the king."

Not a fabrication, speculation. Not intended to support "Jon is the King" -- it would be just as applicable in a scenario where Jon is a bastard, or if R+L=notJ. It's drawn from a reading of the text. No, not the literal words on the page, what those words mean. Subtext. Reading between the lines.

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Sketchy to say the least. Arthur's dad Uther got Merlin to transform him into the likeness* of the duke of Tintagel so he could sneakily have his wicked way with Gorlois' wife. He later killed the duke and married his wife, just to make it up to her. That's been pretty much standard since Geoffrey of Monmouth, the earliest complete account we have.

No doubt Ygrain can say more about this, as she's named after the lady in question.

I authorized Mary Stewart's novelization of the event. Other than than, 'No comment'. :P

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I authorized Mary Stewart's novelization of the event. Other than than, 'No comment'. :P

So you didn't authorize Excalibur then Ygrain?

That's good.

My mother forbid me from watching that version of 'the event' when I was ten and would quickly turn the TV off whenever it came on cable :P

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I think it's too "fairy tale" to believe that Westeros will accept a known bastard as King because of Arthurian parallels. Even with "divine" ordinance, I still don't see Jon ascending any throne without the birth right to back it up. Now, I don't think he would take the throne just BECAUSE of his birth right, either...but I think both would be necessary if Jon ends up as king (big if there, too).

I have to respectfully disagree. I think it'd actually much more "fairy tale" if he was a legitimate prince in hiding as a bastard.

As for him needing a provable birthright to eventually become a king (and I agree with you, it's not certain he will end up taking a throne), I don't know that it will be as big of an issue by the end of the series. Social structures and hierarchies often shift and become less important and rigid during times of great upheaval. Ability rather than birth becomes paramount.

With the chaos and destruction that Westeros will face, who knows what their world and society will ultimately end up looking like? The iron throne may no longer exist, new kingdoms and boundaries could be created and Jon could end up king of a region where his birth is of no consequence (such as King Beyond the Wall) but his proven leadership abilities are. His royal blood then would be a delicious irony rather than an imperative.

Or you're right, he could be legitimate :)

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes down.

Honestly, they're both sort of fairy tale. I don't think there is a way Jon gets out (at least not too far) from a trope, be it the prince in hiding or the bastard who would be king.

(unless Jon becomes the Great Other and brings eternal winter to Planetos)

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Ok, I think I understand the issue here. Ned had just had an argument with Robert about the morals of killing children, which Robert had justified because they were Targaryens. From this I conclude that Ned might be concerned that Robert would consider the killing of Targaryen children justified. That's why Targaryen was relevant, and Lannister etc. was not. As you don't think that Ned believed Robert was in favour of Targaryen children being killed any more than other children being killed, I see why you didn't get the link. Well there it is, I hope that explains it. I said Targaryen children because I was talking about Targaryen children.

Not assertion, speculation. Not fiction, reading between the lines. This whole thread is about speculation.

Not a fabrication, speculation. Not intended to support "Jon is the King" -- it would be just as applicable in a scenario where Jon is a bastard, or if R+L=notJ. It's drawn from a reading of the text. No, not the literal words on the page, what those words mean. Subtext. Reading between the lines.

Ok, I think I understand the issue here. Ned had just had an argument with Robert about the morals of killing children, which Robert had justified because they were Targaryens. From this I conclude that Ned might be concerned that Robert would consider the killing of Targaryen children justified. That's why Targaryen was relevant, and Lannister etc. was not. As you don't think that Ned believed Robert was in favour of Targaryen children being killed any more than other children being killed, I see why you didn't get the link. Well there it is, I hope that explains it. I said Targaryen children because I was talking about Targaryen children.

Robert did not see children or innocents only Targaryen dragonspawn. Ned did not see Targaryen... only the children or innocents.

Targaryen was very relevant to Robert...

Ned was opposed to Robert killing Targaryen children... that is completely accurate and pretty specific.... in general Ned was opposed to the killing of children

Not assertion, speculation. Not fiction, reading between the lines. This whole thread is about speculation.

The speculation that Ned knew that what was in the tower should be kept a secret... requires another speculation on how he got that knowledge...

By the by...

"No" Catelyn said, "A large party attracts unwelcome attention I would not have the Lannisters know I am coming."--aGoT

"Two riders can move as fast as one, and a good deal faster than a long column burdened by wagons and wheel houses..."--aGoT page 132.

Speed and surprise are two reasons for not having a large party... If is not between the lines though... it is the lines. I don't mind reading between the lines when a space exists. I just try to use the lines to fill the gaps as much as possible.

Not a fabrication, speculation.

Ned's belief in Robert's danger to the Targaryen children contradicts Ned's statements.

The danger Robert poses to Targaryens is overblown.... Robert killed one Targaryen in single combat, 13 years later he ordered another killed... and cancelled the order. He also talked about killing Targaryens.

Calling Robert a danger and a Targ killer can't be done based on evidence, (Though Tywin rarely talked of killing killing Targaryens and denied doing it. His son killed 1 Targaryen and his men killed 2 others) Robert 1 Tywin 3..

Not to unfairly represent the argument... Robert's fear for his throne is often inserted. Though this is contradicted by Robert`s statements.

Not intended to support "Jon is the King"

The secret hidden prince trope requires an enemy...to hide from... The fabrication gives that enemy,

-- it would be just as applicable in a scenario where Jon is a bastard, or if R+L=notJ.

The invention does not add to bastard Jon,

The invention does not add to non RLJ

It's drawn from a reading of the text. No, not the literal words on the page, what those words mean. Subtext. Reading between the lines.

Deleting lines that do not fit.... adding lines that do not exist...to reach a foregone conclusion is not drawing..reading between the lines.. meaning.. or subtext..

Addition and subtraction are tools for argument... not analysis... an analysis is not afraid of lines that do not fit... or searching for a way to make lines that do...It does not want to prove something or support it... analysis is looking for the truth.. it does not try to create it.

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So you didn't authorize Excalibur then Ygrain?

That's good.

My mother forbid me from watching that version of 'the event' when I was ten and would quickly turn the TV off whenever it came on cable :P

DEFINITELY not. I was a duchess back then, not a strip dancer, and I sure don't fancy a guy in a metal suit in intimate moments. Just saying.

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Ned was opposed to Robert killing Targaryen children... that is completely accurate and pretty specific.... in general Ned was opposed to the killing of children

I agree entirely. Excellent! Let's move on.

By the by...

"No" Catelyn said, "A large party attracts unwelcome attention I would not have the Lannisters know I am coming."--aGoT

"Two riders can move as fast as one, and a good deal faster than a long column burdened by wagons and wheel houses..."--aGoT page 132.

Speed and surprise are two reasons for not having a large party... If is not between the lines though... it is the lines. I don't mind reading between the lines when a space exists. I just try to use the lines to fill the gaps as much as possible.

Your "speed and surprise" idea is certainly an entirely valid hypothesis, but until we're told why, we can only speculate which hypothesis is better.

"Two riders can move as fast as one" -- so four can ride as fast as two, and eight as fast as four... so long as you don't have so many men they slow each other down by crowding the route, or have baggage trains, not a problem. Ned could have taken a dozen or so just as easily though, and that would have put him in a stronger position. What's more, we can notice that he only brought his own men -- if he was taking a small force for speed, why wouldn't he pick the best fighters available to him? With Robert nursing his wounds back in KL, he'd have had the best part of the rebel army to choose from. It seems reasonable to assume he picked those men because they were his own (and not even his own best fighters), and he trusted them most.

Then we have to wonder how Ned found the tower. It is reasonable to speculate that someone told him. There is another possibility, which is that Ned only had the vaguest idea where to look, set many small groups of men scouring the area and it was his group who happened to find the tower. However that requires a big coincidence, and leaves us asking why he didn't seek reinforcements from his nearby men.

The speculation (absolutely agreed, speculation) that Ned knew in advance where the tower was and that there was a reason to bring only men he could trust to keep secret what took place when he went there is the best fit for the evidence we have, at least that I can think of or have heard. It explains everything and omits nothing, as far as I can see (I may be wrong, I don't claim omniscience). The speed and surprise speculation leaves unanswered questions. Thus I prefer the "secrets" hypothesis to the "speed and surprise" hypothesis, though I accept both are possible.

-- it would be just as applicable in a scenario where Jon is a bastard, or if R+L=notJ.

The invention does not add to bastard Jon,

The invention does not add to non RLJ

If you believe, as I do, that the text makes it very clear that Ned considered Robert a threat to targaryen children, then it works with both these.

Unmarried R+L=J means bastard Jon. Son of Rhaegar, therefore a threat to Robert's reign. Not as much of a threat as a legitimate son certainly, but not to be ignored: see Daemon Blackfyre for how well that goes. Robert doesn't want a potential Jon Longclaw challenging for the throne.

RL=notJ is exactly the same as RL=J as far as this works out. If Robert is a threat to the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, he is a threat whether the son is Jon Snow or Hot Pie.

Has R+L=HP been done yet? I'm sure it must have been. Ok, R+L=Mormont's raven. What? No, look, this totally works. No, wait, hear me out! Mormont was one of Ned's bannermen in the rebellion. Probably missed a trip to the ToJ with him by a whisker. Close to the Starks once, even has a niece named Lyanna. Shortly after returning from the Rebellion, he mysteriously abdicated and went to the wall -- the perfect place to hide Rhaegar and Lyanna's son -- where he just happens to be accompanied by a mysteriously noble and intelligent Raven. Or... should I say Rhaeven? Rhaeven Targaryen?

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DEFINITELY not. I was a duchess back then, not a strip dancer, and I sure don't fancy a guy in a metal suit in intimate moments. Just saying.

That's right! I forgot about that sexy dance your namesake did to get Uther all hot and bothered :leer:

And yes, sex with a man while he's still partially armored looked very uncomfortable and quite possibly dangerous, not my idea of a good time either :ack:

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Ok, I think I understand the issue here. Ned had just had an argument with Robert about the morals of killing children, which Robert had justified because they were Targaryens. From this I conclude that Ned might be concerned that Robert would consider the killing of Targaryen children justified. That's why Targaryen was relevant, and Lannister etc. was not. As you don't think that Ned believed Robert was in favour of Targaryen children being killed any more than other children being killed, I see why you didn't get the link. Well there it is, I hope that explains it. I said Targaryen children because I was talking about Targaryen children.

Not assertion, speculation. Not fiction, reading between the lines. This whole thread is about speculation.

Not a fabrication, speculation. Not intended to support "Jon is the King" -- it would be just as applicable in a scenario where Jon is a bastard, or if R+L=notJ. It's drawn from a reading of the text. No, not the literal words on the page, what those words mean. Subtext. Reading between the lines.

Ned thought Robert would kill the Lannister children.IIRC he said something about no one being able to stop Robert's rage at knowing he was made a fool of in front of the entire realm.

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Why didn't Rhaegar hook up with either Cercei or Ashara or even Lysa ,because if he had the realm wouldn't burn.

Ashara was Arthur's sister.

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I agree entirely. Excellent! Let's move on.

Your "speed and surprise" idea is certainly an entirely valid hypothesis, but until we're told why, we can only speculate which hypothesis is better.

"Two riders can move as fast as one" -- so four can ride as fast as two, and eight as fast as four... so long as you don't have so many men they slow each other down by crowding the route, or have baggage trains, not a problem. Ned could have taken a dozen or so just as easily though, and that would have put him in a stronger position. What's more, we can notice that he only brought his own men -- if he was taking a small force for speed, why wouldn't he pick the best fighters available to him? With Robert nursing his wounds back in KL, he'd have had the best part of the rebel army to choose from. It seems reasonable to assume he picked those men because they were his own (and not even his own best fighters), and he trusted them most.

Then we have to wonder how Ned found the tower. It is reasonable to speculate that someone told him. There is another possibility, which is that Ned only had the vaguest idea where to look, set many small groups of men scouring the area and it was his group who happened to find the tower. However that requires a big coincidence, and leaves us asking why he didn't seek reinforcements from his nearby men.

The speculation (absolutely agreed, speculation) that Ned knew in advance where the tower was and that there was a reason to bring only men he could trust to keep secret what took place when he went there is the best fit for the evidence we have, at least that I can think of or have heard. It explains everything and omits nothing, as far as I can see (I may be wrong, I don't claim omniscience). The speed and surprise speculation leaves unanswered questions. Thus I prefer the "secrets" hypothesis to the "speed and surprise" hypothesis, though I accept both are possible.

If you believe, as I do, that the text makes it very clear that Ned considered Robert a threat to targaryen children, then it works with both these.

Unmarried R+L=J means bastard Jon. Son of Rhaegar, therefore a threat to Robert's reign. Not as much of a threat as a legitimate son certainly, but not to be ignored: see Daemon Blackfyre for how well that goes. Robert doesn't want a potential Jon Longclaw challenging for the throne.

RL=notJ is exactly the same as RL=J as far as this works out. If Robert is a threat to the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, he is a threat whether the son is Jon Snow or Hot Pie.

Has R+L=HP been done yet? I'm sure it must have been. Ok, R+L=Mormont's raven. What? No, look, this totally works. No, wait, hear me out! Mormont was one of Ned's bannermen in the rebellion. Probably missed a trip to the ToJ with him by a whisker. Close to the Starks once, even has a niece named Lyanna. Shortly after returning from the Rebellion, he mysteriously abdicated and went to the wall -- the perfect place to hide Rhaegar and Lyanna's son -- where he just happens to be accompanied by a mysteriously noble and intelligent Raven. Or... should I say Rhaeven? Rhaeven Targaryen?

Your "speed and surprise" idea is certainly an entirely valid hypothesis, but until we're told why, we can only speculate which hypothesis is better.

It was really Catelyn's idea...I have very few of my own.

"Two riders can move as fast as one" -- so four can ride as fast as two, and eight as fast as four... so long as you don't have so many men they slow each other down by crowding the route, or have baggage trains, not a problem. Ned could have taken a dozen or so just as easily though, and that would have put him in a stronger position.

I was unable to find a line where the number of people becomes a liability to speed or draws unwanted attention.

What's more, we can notice that he only brought his own men --

Seven Northmen confirmed.

if he was taking a small force for speed, why wouldn't he pick the best fighters available to him?

The fighting abilities of the 7 were not cited....

Howland was noted as brave strong and smart in aSoS chapter 24

With Robert nursing his wounds back in KL, he'd have had the best part of the rebel army to chooinse from.

The best part of the army was from the North....

It seems reasonable to assume he picked those men because they were his own

This is not an assumption... there is a list of Names on aGoT 409 there is an appendix that confirms all were sworn to house Stark

(and not even his own best fighters),and he trusted them most.

This is an assumption... its reasonableness was much more apparent when coupled with the fact that they were all northmen..

Then we have to wonder how Ned found the tower.

If we have to wonder... then let us... the map has the pass listed as 50 miles wide... Chapter 39 has the tower as being torn down by Ned. Large pass and a small tower.

It is reasonable to speculate that someone told him.

It is more reasonable to assert that Ned knew of the tower's location than to assert he ran into it at random.

There is another possibility, which is that Ned only had the vaguest idea where to look, set many small groups of men scouring the area and it was his group who happened to find the tower. However that requires a big coincidence, and leaves us asking why he didn't seek reinforcements from his nearby men.

There are many possibilities...

However all should take the following in to account.

Catelyn heard her maids repeating tales they had heard from the lips of her husband's soldiers, They whispered of Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of Morning deadliest of the seven knights of Aerys's kingsguard, and how their young lord had slain him in single combat. And they told how afterward he had carried Ser Arthur's sword back to the beautiful young sister who awaited him in a castle called Starfall on the shores of the Summer Sea.--aGoT page 62

The speculation (absolutely agreed, speculation) that Ned knew in advance where the tower was and that there was a reason to bring only men he could trust to keep secret what took place when he went there is the best fit for the evidence we have, at least that I can think of or have heard. It explains everything and omits nothing, as far as I can see (I may be wrong, I don't claim omniscience).

Check the above passage citing Ned's soldiers knowledge of the events at the tower. It does hurt the case for secrecy.

The speed and surprise speculation leaves unanswered questions.

Speed and surprise... was not speculation... it was a text provided that relates to the situation in question.

Thus I prefer the "secrets" hypothesis to the "speed and surprise" hypothesis, though I accept both are possible.

After confirming Ned's soldier's knowledge of the battle at the tower, you may wish to reconsider your preferences.

The speed and surprise was not a hypothesis... it was a text based response to the question you posed.... Why did Ned take only a small party.

If you believe, as I do, that the text makes it very clear that Ned considered Robert a threat to targaryen children, then it works with both these.

It is a belief because no text backs it and text does contradict it.

Unmarried R+L=J means bastard Jon. Son of Rhaegar, therefore a threat to Robert's reign. Not as much of a threat as a legitimate son certainly, but not to be ignored: see Daemon Blackfyre for how well that goes. Robert doesn't want a potential Jon Longclaw challenging for the throne.

RL=notJ is exactly the same as RL=J as far as this works out. If Robert is a threat to the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, he is a threat whether the son is Jon Snow or Hot Pie.

Yes these work with a Ned believing Robert is a baby killer and Robert being a baby killer.... however neither are supported by the inventions.

Has R+L=HP been done yet? I'm sure it must have been.Ok, R+L=Mormont's raven. What?

R+L=HP or Mormont's raven are infinitely superior to Ned believing Robert is a baby killer and Robert being a baby killer--- as we do not have statements against it.

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