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Elessar

Casually smashing a theory to pieces....

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One note on this needing dragon blood to ride a dragon: at least for the purposes of ASOIAF, it is effectively irrelevant. I defer to the experts on whether it's necessary or not - based on Martin's comments on the Targaryen's being the only dragonlords to escape Valyria it would seem this is correct. But once you consider the Targaryen dynasty lasted nearly 300 years, and they lived on Dragonstone for, what, a little over 100 years prior, Martin has complete artistic discretion (or more accurately has given himself the freedom) in regards to who may be a dragonrider. Let's just say 400 years is a very large sample size, and if he's so inclined, it wouldn't take much effort to tangentially endow any character with the "right" drop of dragon blood.


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What confirms that dragons are much harder to tame than dogs are a number of things:

1. We know from TPatQ and ADwD that a dragonrider can only bond with one dragon. He can only choose or ride another dragon if his dragon has died. That's not true for dogs.

2. As far as we know, only the Valyrians came up with the dragon-bonding and dragon-taming thing. If it is so easy, why the hell did no other civilization in Martinworld tame dragons to use them as weapons in war?

3. Why the hell did other common people not bond with riderless Targaryen dragons (i.e. the three wild dragons and Vermithor, Silverwing, and Seasmoke) prior to the Dance? Why did some Dragonpit guardsman feeding the dragons never try and claim a riderless dragon for himself? Surely this would have happened (and worked) if it had been that easy...

4. Ran himself confirmed more or less explicit that according to his knowledge all known dragonriders had at least a drop of dragonlord blood. It must be the right drop, though, meaning not every person with dragonlord blood can necessarily become a dragonrider, but as far as we know a person without dragonlord has pretty much no chance at all.

But we don't really know yet if this has anything to do with a lasting blood spell the original Valyrians cast (i.e. whether the Valyrians truly have actual 'dragon blood') or if there is some more mundane explanation for this. My personal take on this is that it is very difficult to imagine that magic has nothing to do with the whole dragon-bonding process...

I was more addressing the idea that dragons take longer to train than dogs, really. And anyway, dogs are plentiful in the seven Kingdoms and people have interaction with them and understand them, not so with dragons. This could be a secret that the Targs possess, or it could be that they kept all the others away from the dragons and told the dragon feeders that if they even thought of taking one that they would not live long and do it in pain.

As far as the Targ monopoly on them, well, it's dangerous training a dragon, to be sure. It's been demonstrated far and wide that dragons will burn you and eat you. Doesn't mean that it takes a long time or a set number of days longer than that of a dog, in fact, i'm certain that Martin wouldn't account for how long it takes to train a dog as compared to a dragon unless it were at least tangentially related to the plot. I can see someone asking about it at a show. I bet he would just say that a wizard did it.

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That is possible, but GRRM is a pretty cagey fellow. He has been good about not revealing things he doesn't want revealed yet. However, if Tyrion is not a Targ, then he probably wouldn't even bother hiding those clues. Thinking about it, you make a great point. So we could find out if Tyrion =/= Targ, but probably not the reverse.

Exactly. In fact Elio mentions George "casually smashing a theory to pieces". Not the reverse.

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However, I wouldn't expect to see the Tyrion=Targ revealed. If Tyrion is a Targ, then it must have some significance to the plot and I don't think GRRM would give that away in this book. If Tyrion is not a Targ, then why would GRRM even bother to correct this mistaken impression? For me, the proof of whether Tyrion is or is not Targ will be if GRRM reaches the end of the books and never mentions it. In other words, if any particular theory is not verified by the end of the series than it was wrong. Does that make sense?

Is GRRM familiar with the A+J=T?

The only way that this theory can be disproven in this particular book, which focuses on genealogies and historicam events of Houses, is if it is mentioned that Joanna for at least 9 months before Tyrion was born, was far away from Aerys. Barristan tells Dany about kitchen gossip, whispers of washer women and stableboys.

I strongly doubt that that kind of gossip will be included in the book.

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Is GRRM familiar with the A+J=T?

The only way that this theory can be disproven in this particular book, which focuses on genealogies and historicam events of Houses, is if it is mentioned that Joanna for at least 9 months before Tyrion was born, was far away from Aerys. Barristan tells Dany about kitchen gossip, whispers of washer women and stableboys.

I strongly doubt that that kind of gossip will be included in the book.

As I said in my earlier post, if GRRM has no clue he has given the impression to some readers that Tyrion might be a bastard and more specifically, Aerys' bastard, then he may indeed casually reveal information that shows that conclusion is impossible. However, the information would have to be incredibly specific in order to smash the theory. It would have to make it clear that Joanna and Aerys were no where near each other at the time of Tyrion's conception in order to end the debate.

Having said that I do hope the book puts to rest at least some of the controversies.

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I was more addressing the idea that dragons take longer to train than dogs, really. And anyway, dogs are plentiful in the seven Kingdoms and people have interaction with them and understand them, not so with dragons. This could be a secret that the Targs possess, or it could be that they kept all the others away from the dragons and told the dragon feeders that if they even thought of taking one that they would not live long and do it in pain.

So, when the Blacks called for riders, how is it that dragon feeders didn't come forward then? According to you, it should have been a complete slum-dunk for them to claim formerly ridden Targaryen dragons, whom they have been feeding and tending for years and decades. I mean, Nettles only fed a completely wild dragon for a few weeks!

Yet, none of the eventual "dragonseed" riders used to tend dragons previously. In fact, only one of them even lived in the same castle - Ulf the White.

And also, you'll note that Dany's dragons have no special connection to her handmaids, who used to feed and tend them (along with her) since the dragons were hatched. Quite a drastic contradiction to what some readers want to believe about Nettles.

Doesn't mean that it takes a long time or a set number of days longer than that of a dog, in fact, i'm certain that Martin wouldn't account for how long it takes to train a dog as compared to a dragon unless it were at least tangentially related to the plot.

Except that it is directly related to the plot. If anybody could easily tame a dragon at any time, using really basic methods to boot, then the whole world of ASOIAF had been carrying an idiot ball for millenia. The non-Valyrians, for not realizing that hey! Dragons are actually the easiest carnivores on the planet to tame. And the dragonlords for practicing incest for no reason.

It would also make it incredibly contrived for anybody other than Irri and Jiqui to claim the other 2 dragons. I mean, Jon? Who is Jon? When the handmaids have been feeding the dragons since they were born.

Re: A+J=T, we might learn if Aerys and Joanna had an opportunity to conceive Tyrion or not. Ditto A+T=J+C, etc.

It now also occurs to me that we also might learn a thing or to about Ashara Dayne and the man who "dishonored" her, but GRRM can't be unaware of the many theories swirling around her, can he?

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On dragons:



We have no reason to believe that dragons were tamed at all, really. Young Aenys Targaryen, for instance, certainly was too young weak to actively train his dragon when he was given to him at the age of 3/4.



Although dragonriding seems to be not exactly the same as skinchanging, we see something similar happening when the Stark children get their direwolf pups (Rickon, at least, is about the same age as Aenys when he gets Shaggy).



But if I'd have to guess something like skinchanging must go on unconsciously in the 'psychic link' between dragon and dragonrider. They are connected for life, and apparently the dragonrider can really force a dragon to fight another dragon he/she was previously close to (Caraxes/Vhagar). I don't think it would make sense to assume that dragons just attack each other for some reason because their riders direct them towards each other with their whips...


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On the dragon riding thing, I used to be on the fence about this. Now I think that a person needs at least a drop of dragonlord blood to even have a chance of bonding with a dragon. As for Dany's dragons, I think that the true origin of the eggs are important. If the eggs came from the Targaryen cache then I think that a drop of Targ blood specifically is required for someone to have any chance of bonding with those dragons as I am of the opinion that the Dragonlords used dragonhorns to tie dragons to a specific bloodline.



As for the theory being smashed, I see that there is going to be a chapter entitled "The Year of the False Spring". There may be info on the tourney at Harrenhal. Perhaps the theory in question is Lyanna being the KotLT.


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On the dragon riding thing, I used to be on the fence about this. Now I think that a person needs at least a drop of dragonlord blood to even have a chance of bonding with a dragon. As for Dany's dragons, I think that the true origin of the eggs are important. If the eggs came from the Targaryen cache then I think that a drop of Targ blood specifically is required for someone to have any chance of bonding with those dragons as I am of the opinion that the Dragonlords used dragonhorns to tie dragons to a specific bloodline.

As for the theory being smashed, I see that there is going to be a chapter entitled "The Year of the False Spring". There may be info on the tourney at Harrenhal. Perhaps the theory in question is Lyanna being the KotLT.

That would certainly mix things up around here. A lot of the R+L=J theories are based on that assumption.

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Speaking of R+L=J, the Worldbook could smash the theory that Jon is/could be legitimate. I mean, TPaTQ, TRP and "Sons of the Dragon" reading between them have already indicated that:

Unlike what we have thought previously, Targaryen polygamy was never truly accepted by The Seven Kingdoms. And even the marriage of the original threesome was not as harmonious as assumed, and led to massive problems in the end.

A mere prince was not at liberty to set his wife aside. Viz: Daemon and his "Bronze Bitch".

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Speaking of R+L=J, the Worldbook could smash the theory that Jon is/could be legitimate. I mean, TPaTQ, TRP and "Sons of the Dragon" reading between them have already indicated that:

Unlike what we have thought previously, Targaryen polygamy was never truly accepted by The Seven Kingdoms. And even the marriage of the original threesome was not as harmonious as assumed, and led to massive problems in the end.

A mere prince was not at liberty to set his wife aside. Viz: Daemon and his "Bronze Bitch".

Here is a good breakdown showing how polygamy wasn't really ever truly accepted by the Faith:

TWOIAF

The thing about Targaryen polygamy is that it was unusual when Aegon the Conqueror did it:

It had long been the custom amongst the dragonlords of Valyria to wed brother to sister, to keep the bloodlines pure, but Aegon took both his sisters to bride. By tradition, he was expected to wed only his older sister, Visenya; the inclusion of Rhaenys as a second wife was unusual though not without precedent.

The World of Ice and Fire

Note polygamy is a sin to the Faith of the Seven (as is incest). The practice was only tolerated because the Targaryens had dragons:

…the extent to which the Targaryen kings could defy convention, the Faith, and the opinions of the other lords decreased markedly after they no longer had dragons. If you have a dragon, you can have as many wives as you want, and people are less likely to object.

GRRM

Aegon’s son Maegor was the next Targaryen polygamist, and the last as far as we’re aware. His polygamy was not approved by the Faith nor by his brother, King Aenys:

With [Aenys’s wife] Alyssa birthing six children, Maegor abandoned his wife and wed Alys Harroway. This was polygamous and shocked the kingdoms, Faith and everyone else – akin to incest. Aenys ordered him to give up his wife, fearing the Faith’s reaction, but Maegor chose five years of exile in Pentos instead.

reading of TWOIAF

And then later, the Faith Militant Uprising occurred during his reign because of his continuing polygamy:

The Faith Militant remained Maegor’s bitterest enemy for all of his reign, and he remained theirs. […] Maegor’s wars against them were further compounded by his many marriages, as he strove to produce an heir.

— The World of Ice and Fire

So. There had not been a Targaryen king or prince with more than one wife at the same time since the legendarily hated Maegor the Cruel, over 200 years before. Therefore, when people say there’s precedent for Rhaegar marrying Lyanna while still remaining married to Elia — they should also keep in mind that this precedent is considered really really bad and has been known to start wars.

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[snip]

I think that many of us who believe Rhaegar and Lyanna were married have been well aware of this evidence against polygamy being accepted in Westeros. But that is the point. If polygamy were easily accepted, Rhaegar and Lyanna would not have had to go off into hiding. My personal theory (not mine alone or necessarily original to me--just not necessarily endorsed by all who believe they were married) is that the reason R&L went into hiding principally was the issue of polygamy. I believe Rhaegar thought he had to have a third child to be the third head and Elia could have no more children. I believe he thought being married was important for the child to truly be a "dragon" (I am not sure he is correct--but I think he believed it to be the case). I think he knew all the history you cite about the prior polygamy--the problems it caused and the issue of lack of wide acceptance. Again, if polygamy were easy, there would be no need for a secret marriage or to hide at ToJ. He would have just gone off and gotten marred and brought Lyanna back to KL as his polygamous wife. But Rhaegar knew it would be a problem to be the first Targ to have more than one wife in over 200 years.

I think the ultimate plan was to get married and stay in hiding until the third head of the dragon was born (i.e., Jon). After that birth, Rhaegar would bring Lyanna and the child back to KL and present them as wife and child. I think he thought under those circumstances, everyone, including Aerys, would relent and begrudgingly accept the marriage (like incest is accepted but not really approved). A variation of this theory (and I am not sure I am completely convinced) is that Rhaegar thought he could call a GC to bring down Aerys and become King and as King Rhaegar would not need anyone's approval or acceptance of his marriage to Lyanna. The problem I see with that theory, however, is that the polygamous marriage itself might make it difficult to get the GC on Rhaegar's side to overthrow Aerys. Either way, Rhaegar was in hiding because he was waiting for the right time to reveal the polygamous marriage because he knew it was not easily accepted.

Bottom line--I think all the evidence that it would be quite difficult for Rhaegar to get away with a polygamous marriage is support for the marriage having occurred and not an argument against the marriage because it better explains the reason why R&L went into hiding for so long. Otherwise, what was the plan? Why were they hiding? What were they waiting for--they could not be planning to hide forever?

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I used to think so too, but there is a lot of evidence that incest had been accepted for Targaryens to such a degree that septons performed the marriages and children were considered legitimate.

Whereas it becomes ever more clear that polygamy never was, even though nobody went out of their way to call Aegon's sons bastards and Aenys's accession wasn't initially disputed. Maegor's polygamous marriages were never considered legitimate, it seems, and It appears that there has not been any precedent since.

Given all that, even if Rhaegar did try to pull something in that vein and it somehow comes to light - and there was no reason why he'd think that it could succeed, Jon still won't be considered legitimate. I used to think that there was strong historical precedent, but it seems that there wasn't, after all.

I guess that Rhaegar and Lyanna hid waiting for the child to be conceived/born, and, I presume that neither of them wanted for Rhaegar to fight against the Starks, not if it could be avoided somehow. But it turned out, that it couldn't be.

So, yea, if the World book doesn't show us any widely accepted example of Targaryen polygamy _after_ Aegon the Conqueror, that would demolish the theory that Jon could/would be considered a trueborn Targaryen by the virtue of his birth alone, at some point.

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I used to think so too, but there is a lot of evidence that incest had been accepted for Targaryens to such a degree that septons performed the marriages and children were considered legitimate.

Whereas it becomes ever more clear that polygamy never was, even though nobody went out of their way to call Aegon's sons bastards and Aenys's accession wasn't initially disputed. Maegor's polygamous marriages were never considered legitimate, it seems, and It appears that there has not been any precedent since.

Given all that, even if Rhaegar did try to pull something in that vein and it somehow comes to light - and there was no reason why he'd think that it could succeed, Jon still won't be considered legitimate. I used to think that there was strong historical precedent, but it seems that there wasn't, after all.

I guess that Rhaegar and Lyanna hid waiting for the child to be conceived/born, and, I presume that neither of them wanted for Rhaegar to fight against the Starks, not if it could be avoided somehow. But it turned out, that it couldn't be.

So, yea, if the World book doesn't show us any widely accepted example of Targaryen polygamy _after_ Aegon the Conqueror, that would demolish the theory that Jon could/would be considered a trueborn Targaryen by the virtue of his birth alone, at some point.

I basically disagree with almost everything you have stated here. The evidence is that Maegor agreed to go into a 5-year exile as a result of the polygamy--implying that after the five years, he could come back and the polygamous marriage would be accepted. So I do not agree that there is evidence that Maegor's marriages were never considered legitimate. They upset the Faith--yes--but they were real marriages. Also, as a "back-up" I believe that R&L married using the "Old Gods" method in front of a weirwoods tree, which has no "rules" and there is evidence of other polygamous marriages using this method of marriage (Craster and Oldfather). No one claims these "Old Gods" marriages were not real marriages. So the marriage to Lyanna might cause issues for Rhaegar, but no one would be able to say they were not married. Even if there are no additional polygamous marriages among the Targs after Maegor--it will in no way "demolish" the theory that Jon's parents were married.

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We can be pretty sure that polygamy was effectively dead for the Targaryens after Maegor. We already know all the queens of Targaryen dragon era - Rhaenys/Visenya, Alyssa, Alys Harroway, Rhaena Targaryen, Jeyne Westerling, and a bunch of others, Alysanne Targaryen, Aemma Arryn/Alicent Hightower, Daemon Targaryen, and Helaena Targaryen.



No monarch from Jaehaerys to Aegon III practiced polygamy, and neither did any of the others as far as we know. The only other chance for polygamy would be if some of Jaehaerys' sons dared to follow that custom, but I'd be very surprised if that was the case. The idea that some obscure nephews of the main line were allowed to practice polygamy when Prince Daemon was not, is ridiculous.



UL,



well, your assessment of Rhaegar's motivation hinges on certain very problematic presuppositions, namely the belief that Rhaegar would be as stupid (or as dreamy) as to believe that Realm and court would just happily accept Rhaegar's second wife if he could not only show off his new wife but also another royal prince(ss).



On what line of textual evidence do you base such a presupposition?



How the hell would Rickard/Brandon, Robert, and Prince Doran feel not humiliated, wronged, and betrayed by this cause of action? If Brandon had not gone to KL, there may not have been a Rebellion, but we could be pretty sure that Lyanna and Rhaegar showing up with their child would give pretty much the same people pretty much the same reason to rebel as in the scenario that actually occurred.



In addition, there is the problem of the Aerys-Rhaegar situation which, in turn, could easily lead into another sort of crisis entirely.



But considering the unspecified bad relations between Aerys and Rhaegar it is very unlikely indeed that Rhaegar would have found support for his polygamous marriage in KL at all.



It was obviously a taboo, although not completely unheard of, and thus a lot of the more pious lords and knights would have turned away from Rhaegar considering that he did not only take a second wife but also a Northern girl who did not follow the Faith of the Andals. Aerys and his followers, in turn, could have used this match just as easily to disinherit and destroy Rhaegar, drawing on the precedent of Prince Duncan Targaryen whose marriage to Jenny of Oldstones also led to his abdication (although Egg certainly did not destroy or banish his son, Aerys could easily have done such a thing).



I do not doubt that Rhaegar (and perhaps Lyanna, too) may have had reasons for their actions, but in my opinion they cannot have reached to conclusions you draw if they really thought the thing through politically.


There motivations would be dominated by romantic and perhaps obscure prophecy-related motives, not things they did really think through.



We should also keep in mind that Rhaegar must have been aware of the betrothals Egg's sons broke. We don't know yet which houses were involved, but if the Starks, Baratheons, or Martells were involved back then, he should have been aware of the consequences that occurred back then, and should then, in turn, have known what would happen if he run off with the daughter of a great lord who was already betrothed to another great lord.



The idea that Aenys or anyone at court did accept Maegor's marriage to Alys Harroway is also not the case. Yes, he had to choose between exile and Alys, and he chose Alys, but this does not mean that Aenys or anyone else would have recognized the validity of that marriage after Maegor's return in five years. The fact that Aenys had Septon Murmison try to make Ceryse fertile after Maegor left, strongly suggests that he wanted his brother to continue his marriage to his one and only legal wife.



We don't know anything about Maegor's later marriages, but as king he surely could have forced pretty much everyone into accepting what he did. However, considering the fact that he had apparently no children with any of his wives, his marriages make a rather poor case for 'consummated polygamy', don't you think?



One could even make a case that the Faith never considered Aegon I a polygamist in the strict sense, since he did only have a son with Visenya after Rhaenys had already died. Yes, he was married with both his sisters for a rather long time, but still...


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LV--



I believe you and I have had a variation of this debate in the past. And you know I have nothing but respect for you. And while I agree that the politics could have been difficult for Rhaegar, I don't think I have ever heard from you or anyone else how things are necessarily better if they don't get married. There are three theoretical possibilities (assuming R+L=J is taken as a given). The "accepted view" that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna and raped her. I think we both can discount this version. Ned could not possibly have the feelings toward Rhaegar that Ned expresses if Ned believed that to be the case. So we are left with two alternatives (unless you can come up with another I have not considered), either my scenario (or some variation) is correct and they got married or R&L went off together without the plans of marriage and they just expected to have sex and maybe or maybe not have a child (certainly Rhaegar must have wanted his "third head" either way), and then what?



So if they did not get married, what was the plan? Were they going to stay hidden forever? Was Lyanna going to come back as Rhaegar's mistress? Would Lyanna being Rhaegar's mistress make RIckard, Brandon and Robert less angry than if R&L got married? I have spent a lot of "words" explaining my own theory, but I think I have fallen short on asking people on the other side to give their theory. How does it work? What was the plan that is better than R&L getting married and worrying about the acceptance of the polygamy later (especially if Elia was on board with the plan--as I suspect she was)? How is going off together, hiding at ToJ and NOT getting married a better plan?



I have so many other questions for the doubters, but in the interest of time, I will leave it at that for the time being.


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So if they did not get married, what was the plan?

The plan? To get the third head of the dragon. At least that was Rhaegar's. Not so sure what Lyanna'a plan was and if she had one. They don't need to be married to have a child. Furthermore, Rhaegar wanted to implement some changes after he defeated his unruly cousin. A lot of people think he was grasping for the crown. Then (if needed for some reason) he could've legitimize Jon. Maybe they were married, maybe they weren't. I think it doesn't matter.

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The plan? To get the third head of the dragon. At least that was Rhaegar's. Not so sure what Lyanna'a plan was and if she had one. They don't need to be married to have a child. Furthermore, Rhaegar wanted to implement some changes after he defeated his unruly cousin. A lot of people think he was grasping for the crown. Then (if needed for some reason) he could've legitimize Jon. Maybe they were married, maybe they weren't. I think it doesn't matter.

So why hide at ToJ? What were they waiting for to come back?

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Wait, what are you guys trying to figure out?



Whether they got married or whether Jon is legitimate? Because I think those are two different things. They could have gotten married by the Old God or whatever but I don't believe that makes their marriage legitimate in the eyes of the Faith. Isn't the Faith the official religion of the crown? Wouldn't they have to be the ones who'd have to legitimize the marriage? Wouldn't they be the ones to legitimize the child (i.e. Jon)?



I'm not trying to pock holes in any theory, I'm just genuinely curious about how would their marriage and or Jon be considered legitimate without the approval of the King or the Faith.


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I am not convinced Rhaegar and Lyanna had much of a plan, or really thought it through too far.



When I first read the series I had the impression that pretty much everything Rhaegar did after a certain point was guided by his interest and belief in TPTWP prophecy. A number of the glimpses we get of him in conversations or visions indicate his serious interest and belief in TPTWP prophecy, and its connection to his own life (whether himself or his son). So surely, I thought, whatever he did with Lyanna was guided by his interest and belief in TPTWP.



But I am not sure if this will really turn out to be the case. I think it is possible his actions with Lyanna were a departure from all that.



I still think it is possible it was all part of his TPTWP interest/belief. I won't be at all surprised if that turns out to be the case. But I don't think it is inevitable.


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