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Elessar

Casually smashing a theory to pieces....

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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.

I definitely think there is a case to be made that Rhaegar intended to work with lords to remove his father from power, and that Harrenhal was indeed a part of that as Varys put in Aerys' ear. I wouldn't even be surprised if Tywin was one of Rhaegar's key allies behind the scenes on that one. Interestingly, the Great Council of 101 was held at Harrenhal.

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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.

The Faith has no authority to question a marriage performed under another religion. Lyanna was of the Old Gods. Are you suggesting that none of the marriages performed in the North under the traditions of the Old Gods are accepted in the rest of Westeros? That those people are not considered to be married by followers of the Faith? I doubt that to be true.

Of course, Rhaegar was risking that some people might try to argue that his marriage to Lyanna was not legitimate. Further, if they found a traveling Septon to perform the ceremony, it would be a marriage. There is no rule that a marriage is only valid if approved by King or Faith.

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.

I think it is pretty obvious that TPTWP prophecy was part of the reasons for Rhaegar's actions--he needed the third head. But either way, when two people run off, they usually have some idea of the circumstances under which they will come back. What were Rhaegar's and Lyanna's thoughts in terms of what they expected to happen to allow them to come out of hiding? Or were they going to stay in hiding forever?

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The Faith has no authority to question a marriage performed under another religion. Lyanna was of the Old Gods. Are you suggesting that none of the marriages performed in the North under the traditions of the Old Gods are accepted in the rest of Westeros? That those people are not considered to be married by followers of the Faith? I doubt that to be true.

Of course, Rhaegar was risking that some people might try to argue that his marriage to Lyanna was not legitimate. Further, if they found a traveling Septon to perform the ceremony, it would be a marriage. There is no rule that a marriage is only valid if approved by King or Faith.

We ain't talking about Joe Shmoe getting married, we are talking about a royal polygamous marriage.

If this marriage might produce an heir or at least someone who could be added to the royal line of succession then it's my understanding that it has to be legitimized by the King or the Faith especially because it's a polygamous marriage. Of course marriages by the Old Gods are considered "legal" but no one in the royal family was married in this religion. Isn't the Faith the official religion of the crown? Don't they or a least the King have a say in which married would be considered legitimate if it is at all related to the royal succession? Given the Faiths beliefs in polygamy why would such a marriage be considered legitimate? Furthermore, where do you get this traveling Septon business? Why would a Septon marry Rhaegar when he knew that he was already a married man? Or are you saying the suppose Septon didn't know who Rhaegar was or that he was married.

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I think it is pretty obvious that TPTWP prophecy was part of the reasons for Rhaegar's actions--he needed the third head. But either way, when two people run off, they usually have some idea of the circumstances under which they will come back. What were Rhaegar's and Lyanna's thoughts in terms of what they expected to happen to allow them to come out of hiding? Or were they going to stay in hiding forever?

What you consider obvious may or may not actually be what actually happened. It is certainly a possible interpretation of Rhaegar's words in Dany's HOTU vision. But what he actually meant or had in mind is not explicit.

People do not always plan out or consider all of the possible consequences of what they are doing before they do it, whether one person or two people together. Rhaegar definitely seems like the sort to have a plan, and I don't think it can be ruled out that he did.

But I am not convinced that his actions at and after the Harrenhall tourney were definitely based on or related to TPTWP, or any plan he had. I used to lean toward that, but that was based on what may have been a misconception, that everything Rhaegar did was based on TPTWP.

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We ain't talking about Joe Shmoe getting married, we are talking about a royal polygamous marriage.

If this marriage might produce an heir or at least someone who could be added to the royal line of succession then it's my understanding that it has to be legitimized by the King or the Faith especially because it's a polygamous marriage. Of course marriages by the Old Gods are considered "legal" but no one in the royal family was married in this religion. Isn't the Faith the official religion of the crown? Don't they or a least the King have a say in which married would be considered legitimate if it is at all related to the royal succession? Given the Faiths beliefs in polygamy why would such a marriage be considered legitimate? Furthermore, where do you get this traveling Septon business? Why would a Septon marry Rhaegar when he knew that he was already a married man? Or are you saying the suppose Septon didn't know who Rhaegar was or that he was married.

I am saying first, that you are making assumptions that I don't think are confirmed by the text. Yes, royal marriages traditionally were approved by the King--who typically forced the HS to accept if there was an issue (like incest that the Faith also objected to but kept happening). I have seen nothing that says that a validly performed marriage is not a marriage if not approved by King or HS. We have examples of people getting married without permission (Rhaenyra to Daemon) and the marriage was a marriage even without approval of King or HS. I have heard of no evidence that the rules of what makes a royal marriage are more restrictive than any other marriage.

As to traveling Septon--people do all sorts of things for money, including marry an already married prince.

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What you consider obvious may or may not actually be what actually happened. It is certainly a possible interpretation of Rhaegar's words in Dany's HOTU vision. But what he actually meant or had in mind is not explicit.

People do not always plan out or consider all of the possible consequences of what they are doing before they do it, whether one person or two people together. Rhaegar definitely seems like the sort to have a plan, and I don't think it can be ruled out that he did.

But I am not convinced that his actions at and after the Harrenhall tourney were definitely based on or related to TPTWP, or any plan he had. I used to lean toward that, but that was based on what may have been a misconception, that everything Rhaegar did was based on TPTWP.

While I think it is clear that TPTWP prophecy is relevant to Rhaegar's actions--it really is not that relevant to the issue of the marriage. The evidence for marriage really is not that dependent on TPTWP issue. It is a factor--but only one factor. There are many other pieces of evidence even more compelling that suggest a marriage occurred--especially the actions of the 3 KG at ToJ.

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UL,



I don't have any problems with your assumption that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married, just with your reasons as to why they would have done it.



In my opinion, it is very unlikely that the old, easy-going 'The Targaryens once practiced polygamy, and therefore Rhaegar could have easily resurrected the custom and taken Lyanna as a second wife' does make all that much sense.



As to the acceptance of such a polygamous marriage, and the legitimacy/claim of child from such a union:



That's an entirely different matter, and I personally believe that Rhaegar would not have been able to convince his father, the Faith and the Realm to accept his second wife, and any children from that union, but considering how events played out, I cannot prove that.



However, I'm pretty sure that Jon Snow will not be able to gain any political support whatsoever from the fact that he is the offspring of the polygamous union of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.



1. It is polygamous, and thus highly unusual.



2. King Aerys II Targaryen never formally recognized Rhaegar's marriage to Lyanna, nor did he name a child from this union his heir. Instead, the child was raised as 'Jon Snow', and became a member of the Night's Watch.



3. The public does apparently not know that Prince Rhaegar was married to Lyanna Stark, making it all but impossible for their child to prove his heritage for certain. There will be enough people doubting his word, or the words of the few people still alive who know the truth.



4. The validity of the marriage in itself could be called into question if Rhaegar chose to marry in a fashion unusual for the members of the royal family, i.e. according to ancient Valyrian rites, or in front of a heart tree. That could (and would have been) interpreted (or misconstrued) as apostasy.



My personal opinion is that prophecy did not really figure all into Rhaegar's decision insofar as the choice of the woman was concerned. I think Rhaegar was in love with Lyanna since Harrenhal, and that's the reason why he chose her. The prophecy caused him to believe that he had to conceive another child, but it would be his feelings that caused him to choose Lyanna and not, say, 'some woman'.



Whatever Rhaegar and Lyanna did, it has written 'sudden, passionate, mad decision' written all over the place.



As to the relevancy to this thread:



'The Year of the False Spring' certainly should clarify a few things during the months leading up the Rebellion, but I'd not expect some deep insights or revelations about one of the core mysteries of the series. We have no reason to believe that Maester Yandel has any knowledge about Rhaegar's obsession with ancient prophecies, nor would it be likely that Yandel had access to the letters Rhaegar exchanged with Maester Aemon.


We should also consider the possibility that GRRM intends to reveal other important tidbits about Robert's Rebellion and the events leading up to it in the remaining volumes of the main series, not so much TWoIaF.



That said, I'd not be surprised at all if Jon Snow would only be mentioned once in the whole book - in the Stark family tree, as the bastard of Lord Eddard with an unknown woman.


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Compelling for some, perhaps, but the KG/TOJ having anything to do with a marriage is another thing that is an interpretation and debatable. It may turn out to have been an indication of marriage, or it may not.


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I am saying first, that you are making assumptions that I don't think are confirmed by the text. Yes, royal marriages traditionally were approved by the King--who typically forced the HS to accept if there was an issue (like incest that the Faith also objected to but kept happening). I have seen nothing that says that a validly performed marriage is not a marriage if not approved by King or HS. We have examples of people getting married without permission (Rhaenyra to Daemon) and the marriage was a marriage even without approval of King or HS. I have heard of no evidence that the rules of what makes a royal marriage are more restrictive than any other marriage.

As to traveling Septon--people do all sorts of things for money, including marry an already married prince.

We'll up-thread we saw the example of the Faith Militant action against Maegor for trying to have a polygamous marriage so I think there is precedent for the Faith or the King needing to legitimizing a royal wedding that is outside the norms and the accepted religious practices What I'm getting at is that the Faith would oppose a polygamous marriage and the king who has to legitimize a polygamous also opposes or never recognize it makes the legality of the marriage questionable at best. This is even more important considering that it could effect or interfere with the royal succession.

Bottom line there are very few people in current Westeros who would ever consider that marriage legitimate because it was never legitimize in the first place by either the Faith or the king. It's a royal polygamous marriage, it needs special permission. Whatever witnesses there are won't really matter. Considering Jon legitimate is not in the interest of most lords (perhaps only the North) and so therefore he would not be recognize as the legal heir to House Targaryen.

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LV--



It seems that you believe that I think that Jon being the legitimate child of R&L means that Jon will get political support to be king based on that fact. Some people might believe that will happen that way--but I don't. If he becomes king in the end (and I am not sure he will), being the son of Rhaegar will only be a small part of the reason (although it will provide the "fig leaf" for those who want to support him, as supporting a bastard would be more difficult)--the main reason will be that he will have led the Battle for the Dawn and saved humanity--and all the other known contenders likely will be dead. And by the way, my theory is not dependent in any way on whether Rhaegar would have been successful in getting his marriage accepted--only whether Rhaegar would have thought he could do it (he might have been quite naive).



I think the main way in which the marriage could matter is the understanding to Jon that in fact his parents risked everything to be together and wanted him very much--that they bucked society by running off and having a marriage that they knew would cause political problems because they wanted to be together so much. I think that revelation is why the marriage matters. Not because it will make Jon King. Now, the fact that Jon will then come to believe that he is the legitimate heir to the Targ throne also is not irrelevant. But again, it is relevant mostly because it might matter to how Jon sees himself--not because it will make him king.



BB--



I am not suggesting everyone is convinced by the KG/ToJ exchange. I just mean that to me it serves as stronger evidence of marriage than Rhaegar's obsession with TPTWP. Although I consider both evidence.


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Whatever the theory may be, the use of the words "casually smashing a theory to pieces" implies to me that the evidence in the book against the theory is definitive and as such renders the theory impossible. IMO, I don't think that the theory in question will have anything to do with R+L= J. I mentioned the identity of the KotLT upthread but even if the book debunks the theory of this being Lyanna, that does not "smash the theory to pieces" by any stretch of the imagination. Similarly if the book shows that there were no polygamous Targ marriages after Maegor, that in no way "smashes to pieces" the possibility of R+L= (legitimate) J.


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In regards to how or why Rhaegar took Lyanna, I think the situation will prove to be quite different than we think now. I don't believe that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna, Ned's attitude towards Rhaegar is too chill for that. Rhaegar and Lyanna may have run away together, since Ned said Lyanna's impetuousness got her killed. However, I suspect that something else was going on and the love that grew between Rhaegar and Lyanna occurred after Lyanna was originally taken. What I suspect is that there was some reason to suspect Rickard Stark of plotting treason and Lyanna was taken as a hostage against Rickard, something along the lines of what Jaime was doing in the Riverlands after the Wot5K. The reason I suspect this is how long it took for the war to actually start after Lyanna was "kidnapped". I'm not sure what part of any of this would be smashed after the book comes out though.


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Yeah I don't think this is likely to have anything to do with R+L=J.

Considering how many theories there are out there I doubt we will be able to nail down which beforehand (not to say nobody will correctly guess it).

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UL,



I know that you don't believe that. But I really think that Rhaegar would have been unrealistically naive to assume that he could just return to court, continuing business as usual (which was, apparently, plotting to depose his own father) after he just gone through with a thing the Targaryens did not practice since Maegor the Cruel (as far as we know).



I don't think Rhaegar was a political genius, but I also don't think he was that stupid.


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Lord Varys,

I think Rhaegar was in love with Lyanna since Harrenhal, and that's the reason why he chose her. The prophecy caused him to believe that he had to conceive another child, but it would be his feelings that caused him to

choose Lyanna and not, say, 'some woman'...Whatever Rhaegar and Lyanna did, it has written 'sudden, passionate, mad decision' written all over the place.

You. You good you.

:D

(but there are people who'll retort with a "he chose Lyanna because she's from North - he's fire, she's ice!" you know that, right? :D Go slap them with some rationale!)

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LV--



OK--I thought post #87 seemed like a clear statement that you thought that I was arguing that Jon had to be legitimate so that he could be accepted easily as king. I denied that assertion in post #90. Then in post #94, you state that you know I don't believe that. So I am somewhat confused on what point you were trying to make in post #87 regarding Jon being crowned based on being the legit son of Rhaegar.



Also in post #87, you state that you don't have a problem with the notion that R&L were married--just my rationale for why I think they were married. But then in post #94 you state that Rhaegar could not possibly have been naive enough to think he could get away with having a polygamous marriage accepted in court, which to me suggests that you do not believe they were married.



So what is your position? Could they have gotten married? If so, under what circumstances? And if so, what was the plan? If not to return to court after the birth of the baby, then what? Do you think they were planning to live at ToJ the rest of their lives? Do you think they were going to escape to Essos and live out their lives there?



I think we know that Rhaegar had at least some consideration for the prophecy and thought his three children would be the three heads. So how was he going to bring the three children together to train together to be the three heads?



You are pretty clear about what you don't think happened--but I am not clear on what you think probably did happen. Do you think they were married? What was Rhaegar's plan?


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Fair enough.



I'd say Rhaegar and Lyanna were either following Prince Duncan's footsteps, i.e. running away and abandoning politics and plotting for good an all (that would explain why Rhaegar did not care about the Rebellion). In the end, Rhaegar may only have come back because Ser Gerold found him and forced him to take up responsibility again.



If that's the case, then they may just have married because they did not intend to come back.



And perhaps Rhaegar was as naive as you think. Aegon's birth really must have done something to him, changed his focus from dealing with Aerys to the fulfillment of prophecy.



I just have real trouble with the idea that he did think anything through. Lyanna (and thus Rhaegar) must have known how Robert and her family would react, and Rhaegar himself would have been perfectly aware of the relationship between himself and his father. If Brandon had not 'saved Rhaegar' by threating him in KL, Aerys could easily have used Robert's and Rickard's complaints to completely destroy Rhaegar.



I really have to admit I don't have a full picture of what happened.


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I think one of the key factors that we don't have enough information about is exactly the nature of the relationship between Aerys and Rhaegar. While some people assert that they were totally on the "outs" and Aerys would love to have an excuse to punish or banish Rhaegar--maybe that is not true at all. Of course, we are pretty sure that Aerys did not really trust anyone. But just because Viserys was a "spare" heir, does not mean that Rhaegar was not pretty sure that Aerys would only go so far in trying to punish Rhaegar.



Running off together and abandoning politics has a few problems. First, if they were going somewhere for good, it could not be ToJ. So why not just go to the end point (Essos, maybe). Why hold up in ToJ unless they were waiting there until it was time to reveal themselves. I am not sure I can come up with any other good reason to go to ToJ. More important, he needs to raise all three children together. How does he get his hands on his first two children (the other heads of the dragon), to train them, if he has run off with Lyanna. It just seems completely incompatible with his objective to try to fulfill the prophecy by raising the three heads to be trained as warriors to win the Battle for the Dawn.



So maybe Rhaegar was naive--or maybe he was shrewd. Maybe he knew Aerys better than you think he did. Maybe he understood that if he just came back with Lyanna, Aerys would put tremendous pressure to annul the marriage, but if a baby was already born, then Aerys was more likely to relent. Maybe as unstable as Aerys might have been, maybe Rhaegar understood his father better than you think (of course, he is a fiction character--so I mean that maybe GRRM wrote Rhaegar to have understood Aerys better than you think). As to Brandon/Rickard/Robert, as crown prince, I don't think Rhaegar cared what they thought.



Bottom line, if we believe Rhaegar intended to raise his three children as the three heads of the dragon, running off in secret forever does not work (unless he had a plan to "kidnap" the others later--but even then, it is much harder to train without the benefits of living at court), and does not explain why they hid at ToJ rather than go to end point. If we believe they were eventually going to come back, getting married makes more sense than making Lyanna a mistress (women from noble houses do not agree to live as mistresses--although admittedly they do not agree to live as second wives either, which is why I think Elia had to be part of the overall plan and in agreement with it). Based on the evidence with have, every alternative we can consider has some holes in it, but Rhaegar and Lyanna getting married and planning to return to KL with the baby seems to have the fewest holes.


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Unmasked Lurker,

Rhaegar and Lyanna may have gone through motions of marriage. In fact, I am almost sure that they did exchange some sort of pledges/vows in front of a weirwood heart-tree, and that Bran is going to see it in TWoW.

But from all the snippets of new information from the latest novellas and readings, it wouldn't make Jon any less a bastard. Because, unless the WOIAF book shows otherwise, it seems fairly clear that polygamy has never been accepted as lawful in Westeros, though Targaryen incest eventually was. It would be erroneous to claim that Rhaegar could expect to ram it through once he became king, even, because Maegor never really managed and spent his whole reign fighting a civil war as a result of his attempt to do so. And he had Balerion.

_Westerosi_ followers of the Old Gods (the only ones who count), also don't accept polygamy. In Westeros marriage is between one man and one woman, and Rhaegar was already married.

Personally, I too have always believed and argued that Jon is a true-born son of Rhaegar, but with this new information it just doesn't seem to be the case, bar some more successful precedents from WOIAF.

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Unmasked Lurker,

Rhaegar and Lyanna may have gone through motions of marriage. In fact, I am almost sure that they did exchange some sort of pledges/vows in front of a weirwood heart-tree, and that Bran is going to see it in TWoW.

But from all the snippets of new information from the latest novellas and readings, it wouldn't make Jon any less a bastard. Because, unless the WOIAF book shows otherwise, it seems fairly clear that polygamy has never been accepted as lawful in Westeros, though Targaryen incest eventually was. It would be erroneous to claim that Rhaegar could expect to ram it through once he became king, even, because Maegor never really managed and spent his whole reign fighting a civil war as a result of his attempt to do so. And he had Balerion.

_Westerosi_ followers of the Old Gods (the only ones who count), also don't accept polygamy. In Westeros marriage is between one man and one woman, and Rhaegar was already married.

Personally, I too have always believed and argued that Jon is a true-born son of Rhaegar, but with this new information it just doesn't seem to be the case, bar some more successful precedents from WOIAF.

I just disagree with your reading of this new "evidence." What we have is evidence that polygamy was not commonly practiced and was not generally "accepted" but we have no evidence that the polygamous marriages are not recognized as marriages. I read the expert that was released about Maegor's exile. People clearly have different interpretations, but my interpretation is that Maegor had a choice between having his second marriage annulled or a five-year exile. He chose the exile. To me, that clearly indicates that the second marriage was a marriage--and recognized by everyone as such. If it was just a "ceremony" and not really a marriage, then it would not be such a problem for everyone else.

And the followers of the Old Gods that "matter" don't practice polygamy, but they never question that the marriages of people like Craster and Oldfather are valid. In fact, they are critical of Craster's incest but have no complaints about his polygamy and never claim his additional marriages are not really marriages, despite both the incest and the polygamy. Lack of practice is not the same as lack of recognition.

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