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R + L = J v. 126


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Reference guide

The R+L=J theory claims Jon Snow most probably is the son of crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna Stark.

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

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

A Wiki of Ice and Fire:
Jon Snow Theories

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can Jon be a Targaryen if ordinary fire burned his hand?

Targaryens are not immune to fire. It's a myth that has been refuted by a list of Targaryens being burned. Danaerys 'the unburnt' was indeed unscathed when she hatched the dragon eggs, but that has not stopped her being burned on other occasions. See this thread on Targaryen fire immunity.

Don't all Targaryens have hallmark Valryian silver-golden hair and purple eyes?

Not all of them: Valarr and Queen Alysanne had blue eyes. Bittersteel, who like Jon was half first men blood, had brown hair. Baelor Breakspear and his son(s) and Jon's own half-sister Rhaenys had the Dornish look (dark hair, black eyes, olive skin). Rhaenyra Targaryen's three sons all had brown hair and brown eyes even though both their parents had light silver-gold hair.
Had Jon Valyrian features, it would give his parentage away: "He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn, guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son." Tyrion got the bit about the mother wrong, though: his mother was the Stark.

If Jon isn't Ned's son, then why does he look so much like him?

Jon looks very like Arya, and Arya looks very like Lyanna. Jon is Ned's nephew, and Lyanna and Ned looked similar.

Ned is too honourable to lie. If he says Jon is his son, doesn't that mean he must be?

Ned tells Arya that sometimes lies can be honourable. His final words, a confession of his guilt, are a lie to protect Sansa. While a lie can be honourable, cheating on his wife isn't, so Ned's famed honour points to Jon not being his son.

How can Jon be half-Targaryen and have a direwolf?

He's also half Stark, through Lyanna. Ned's trueborn children are half Tully and that doesn't stop them having direwolves.

Why doesn't Ned ever think about Lyanna being Jon's mother?
Ned doesn't think about anyone being Jon's mother. If he did, there would be no mystery. He names 'Wylla' to Robert, but we do not see him thinking of Wylla being Jon's mother.

There's a hidden hint at who Jon's mother might be: In chapter 4, Eddard's internal monologue goes "Lyanna ... Ned had loved her with all his heart." and in chapter 6, Catelyn thinks "Whoever Jon's mother had been, Ned must have loved her fiercely".

Why would Ned not at least tell Catelyn?

We don't have a list of what Ned promised to Lyanna, but know he takes his promises seriously. Maybe he promised not to tell anyone. In Chapter 45, Ned is uncertain what Cat would do if it came to Jon's life over that of her own children. If Catelyn knew that Jon was Rhaegar's son, she might feel that keeping him at Winterfell presented a serious risk to her own children. Ultimately, Catelyn did not need to know, so maybe Ned simply chose to be on the safe side.

Doesn't Ned refer to Robb and Jon as "my sons“ in the very first chapter?

In speech, not in thought. Ned is keeping Jon's parentage secret. He never thinks of Jon as his son: In Chapter 45, Ned thinks of his children "Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon“ and explicitly excludes Jon from the list. ADwD Chapter 34 has Bran's vision of younger Ned in the Winterfell godswood: "...let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them," he prayed, "and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive..." which not make sense if they are brothers.

Since Rhaegar was already married, wouldn't Jon still be a bastard?

He might, or might not. There was a tradition of polygamy among Targaryens in the past, so the possibility that Rhaegar and Lyanna married is not easily ruled out. A pro-legitimacy argument is this: The presence of the three kingsguards at the Tower of Joy is best explained if they were defending the heir to the throne, which Jon would only be if he was legitimate.

Can we be certain polygamy is not illegal?

Aegon I and Maegor I practised polygamy. In Westeros, unlike a constitutional monarchy, royals are not subject to the law. So if there ever was a law against it, it did not apply to the Targaryens: In Chapter 33 it says "like their dragons the Targaryens answered to neither gods nor men". Examples demonstrate that it was considered an option for Targaryens: Aegon IV and Daemon Blackfyre may have considered it for Daemon, Jorah Mormont suggested it to Daenerys as a viable option, and she said the same about Quentyn Martell.
George R.R. Martin says in this SSM: "If you have a dragon, you can have as many wives as you want". There is also this SSM predating the worldbook.

On Polygamy essay by Ygrain with additions by Rhaenys_Targaryen

Weren't the Kingsguard at Tower of Joy on the basis of an order from Aerys, to guard Lyanna as a hostage?

If so, why would they have apparently made no effort to use this leverage against Robert and Ned? Some argue their Kingsguard vows would have taken precedence and still have required them to leave the Tower to protect Viserys when he became heir -- unless there was another that took precedence [Jon]. Others think they were guarding Lyanna as a hostage at the Tower of Joy. Some say that makes little sense: She would better be kept hostage at King's Landing, and wouldn't require kingsguards to guard her. The mere presence of three kingsguards implies something more important: guarding members of the royal family or maybe the heir.
Frequently suggested readings: At the tower of joy by MtnLion and support of the toj analysis by Ygrain

Isn't there an SSM that says the 3 Kingsguard were following Rhaegar's orders though?

The SSM you may be thinking of is probably this: The King's Guards don't get to make up their own orders. They serve the king, they protect the king and the royal family, but they're also bound to obey their orders, and if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order, they would do that. They can't say, "No we don't like that order, we'll do something else."

We know from Barristan, protecting the king is the first and most important of all kingsguard duties. Jamie suggests some other KG to stay with the king when he wants to leave for the Trident and we also learn of a ritual that is performed when all KG meet and the king is guarded by someone who is not from the order.

"Protect vs Obey" is an ongoing subject of debate that is unlikely to be settled until we know more. Either viewpoint is compatible with R+L=J.

Wouldn't Viserys take precedence anyway? Rhaegar died without becoming king, and doesn't the world book call Viserys, not Aegon, Aerys' new heir?

No, in the case of an eldest son dying before the king dies, a grandson comes before a younger son. Even in the case the grandson is yet unborn at the time of death, he would succeed (heir apparent vs. heir presumptive). The world book is written with a Lannister bias (it may be propaganda to undermine Dornish support for the Targaryens) and in hindsight by maesters who have never learned all of what we know from Ned's dreams and memories. If it still turns out to be true... see the next answer.

Are matters of succession just as clear as presented here?

Succession quarrels are a part of medieval power play and even a very clear inheritance could well be contested. So maybe in King's Landing things did happen as the world book says. Rhaegar and Aerys may have been at odds over the succession. Rhaegar told Jaime before leaving for the Trident that he intended to call a council, and The Great Councils of the past have dealt with matters of succession. Who would have accepted such a change is a question worth asking.

Ned is dead. Who's going to tell anyone about it?

Bloodraven and Bran may have learned of it through the weirwood network. Benjen might know. Checkov's Crannogman Howland Reed is the sole survivor of the encounter at the Tower of Joy, and George R.R. Martin has stated he has not yet appeared because he knows too much about the central mystery of the book. "They had found him [Ned] still holding her [Lyanna's] body" tells that there also was someone else besides Howland to find Ned.

Why is this important? What impact can it have on the story?

The careful way the mystery of Jon's parentage was created is reason to believe it's important. What impact it will have on the rest of the series is still unknown.

This theory is too obvious and too many people believe it to be fact. How can it be true?

It is not so obvious to the majority of readers. Some will get it on their first read, but most will not. Readers who go to online fan forums, such as this, still represent a very small minority of the readership. Also, A Game of Thrones has been out since 1996. That's more than 18 years of readers being able to piece together this mystery. Crowd-sourced internet-based mystery solving like this inevitably make solved mysteries seem more obvious in hindsight.

George R.R. Martin is a "breaker of tropes“, there can be no hidden prince, it's simply too cliché.

In order to break a trope it needs to be installed in the first place. It is yet unknown what will happen to Jon in the future. Being the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar does not imply the fairy-tale style happy ending associated with the hidden prince trope.

Is there a list of all R+L=J clues that have been found?
There is a list of R+L=J hints, clues and foreshadowing compliled by sj4iy.

Since this theory has been refined so well, will Martin change the outcome of the story to surprise his fans?

He has stated that he won't change the outcome of the story just because some people have put together all the clues and solved the puzzle.

Previous editions:

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

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread” (thread one)

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread” (thread two)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

R+L=J Part XXIII” (thread thirteen)

R+L=J Part XXIV” (thread fourteen)

R+L=J XXV” (thread fifteen)

R+L=J v.16” (thread sixteen)

R+L=J v.17” (thread seventeen)

R+L=J v.18” (thread eighteen)

R+L=J v.19” (thread nineteen)

R+L=J v.20” (thread twenty)

R+L=J v.21” (thread twenty-one)

R+L=J v.22” (thread twenty-two)

R+L=J v.22a” (thread twenty-two (a))

R+L=J v.23” (thread twenty-three)

R+L=J v.24” (thread twenty-four)

R+L=J v.25” (thread twenty-five)

R+L=J v.26” (thread twenty-six)

R+L=J v.27” (thread twenty-seven)

R+L=J v.28” (thread twenty-eight)

R+L=J v.29” (thread twenty-nine)

R+L=J v.30” (thread thirty)

R+L=J v.31” (thread thirty-one)

R+L=J v.32” (thread thirty-two)

R+L=J v.33” (thread thirty-three)

R+L=J v.34” (thread thirty-four)

R+L=J v.35” (thread thirty-five)

R+L=J v.36” (thread thirty-six)

R+L=J v.37” (thread thirty-seven)

R+L=J v.38” (thread thirty-eight)

R+L=J v.39” (thread thirty-nine)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"R+L=J v.70" (thread seventy)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"R+L=J v.85" (thread eighty-five)

"R+L=J v.86" (thread eighty-six)

"R+L=J v.87" (thread eighty-seven)

"R+L=J v.88" (thread eighty-eight)

"R+L=J v.89" (thread eighty-nine)

"R+L=J v.90" (thread ninety)

"R+L=J v.91" (thread ninety-one)

"R+L=J v.92" (thread ninety-two)

"R+L=J v.93" (thread ninety-three)

"R+L=J v.94" (thread ninety-four)

"R+L=J v.95" (thread ninety-five)

"R+L=J v.96" (thread ninety-six)

"R+L=J v.97" (thread ninety-seven)

"R+L=J v.98" (thread ninety-eight)

"R+L=J v.99" (thread ninety-nine)

"R+L=J v.100" (thread one hundred)

"R+L=J v.101" (thread one hundred one)

"R+L=J v.102" (thread one hundred two)

"R+L=J v.103" (thread one hundred three)

"R+L=J v.104" (thread one hundred four)

"R+L=J v.105" (thread one hundred five)

"R+L=J v.106" (thread one hundred six)

"R+L=J v.107" (thread one hundred seven)

"R+L=J v.108" (thread one hundred eight)

"R+L=J v.109" (thread one hundred nine)

"R+L=J v.110" (thread one hundred ten)

"R+L=J v.111" (thread one hundred eleven)

"R+L=J v.112" (thread one hundred twelve)

"R+L=J v.113" (thread one hundred thirteen)

"R+L=J v.114" (thread one hundred fourteen)

The "[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J" threads were used to openly discuss spoilers from TWoIaF at the time we needed to protect that information.

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.1"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.2"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.3"

"R+L=J v.115" (thread one hundred fifteen)

"R+L=J v.116" (thread one hundred sixteen)

"R+L=J v.117" (thread one hundred seventeen)

"R+L=J v.118" (thread one hundred eighteen)

"R+L=J v.119" (thread one hundred nineteen)

"R+L=J v.120" (thread one hundred twenty)

"R+L=J v.121" (thread one hundred twenty one)

"R+L=J v.122" (thread one hundred twenty two)

"R+L=J v.123" (thread one hundred twenty three)

"R+L=J v. 124" (thread one hundred twenty four)

R+L = J. 125 (thread one hundred twenty five)

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Oh, you know how people used to say First! when they were the first to respond to something, without furthering the argument in any way, shape, or form? Basically, that. But then I noticed you had actually posted besides the OP. But since you made the OP this time around, I said it shouldn't count.

Your opinion always counts. Just not for "First" when you post the OP.

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OK, I'm gonna do it!

TWOIAF states that Aerys named Viserys his heir. Discuss.

Rules of engagement first. I'm not convinced by this. When I first heard this was in the book I don't really know what to think about it. It did seem a little out of the blue, but it's there in the book and we shouldn't just dismiss it because we don't like it. Those of you familiar with my posting know I'm pretty much the doubt everything that isn't canon and be extremely suspicious of that too type. Right now I'm questioning whether it's so easy to dismiss this, primarily to get a nice debate going rather than trying to persuade anyone of anything. So I'm playing devil's advocate here. I will admit that as I started looking for clues, I've found my opinion shifting more towards accepting that may well have happened. My +3 aluminium foil deflector beanie is on, so let the brickbats fly.

I'm gonna do this in three parts, so that it doesn't get too tangled up. One important point to note in this discussion: the Kingsguard vow. I'm coming to that in part three in a fair bit of depth, so please let's approach the issues one at a time. Simply saying "they were at the ToJ to protect the king so no" isn't going to get the debate very far. I'm trying to cover all the ground.

First part is the simple stuff. Is it credible, ToJ issue excepted for later analysis, that Viserys might have been named heir? Is there reason in the text to suspect it might have been?

The Viserys Problem: Part 1, King Aegon VI.

The worldbook states that Viserys was made the heir to the throne. This may be false information, but we really don't have evidence that it is. One common reason given why it must be false is that Viserys and Dany don't mention it. This is rather dubious: the result of this change would mean that Viserys' claim to the throne advanced by a matter of minutes. He was seven at the time, and would have heard of the death of Aerys and Aegon as a kid with little understanding of politics. It's possible he might have been told that he had been advanced to being heir to the throne a couple of weeks before he was told that he was king, but would that really seem important to him – or even remembered – 15 years later?

Even if he did remember it, would it be something to boast of? His claim to be rightful heir to the Targaryen claim is undisputed; how would the fact he was named heir help that claim in the slightest? Would he really want to highlight the fact that he was not born to the throne, but rather had to rely on other people being disinherited? It is possible that he would want to boast about it because he was directly named rather than getting there because the people who came before him died. It's at least as possible that his sense of entitlement and the rightness of his kingship would make it seem like an entirely irrelevant or even embarrassing detail, and that he was king by manifest destiny, nod a mad King's whim.

Let's take a look at the situation surrounding Aegon.

"The castle is ours, ser, and the city," Roland Crakehall told him, which was half true. Targaryen loyalists were still dying on the serpentine steps and in the armory, Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch were scaling the walls of Maegor's Holdfast, and Ned Stark was leading his northmen through the King's Gate even then, but Crakehall could not have known that. He had not seemed surprised to find Aerys slain; Jaime had been Lord Tywin's son long before he had been named to the Kingsguard.

"Tell them the Mad King is dead," he commanded. "Spare all those who yield and hold them captive."

"Shall I proclaim a new king as well?" Crakehall asked, and Jaime read the question plain: Shall it be your father, or Robert Baratheon, or do you mean to try to make a new dragonking? He thought for a moment of the boy Viserys, fled to Dragonstone, and of Rhaegar's infant son Aegon, still in Maegor's with his mother. A new Targaryen king, and my father as Hand. How the wolves will howl, and the storm lord choke with rage. For a moment he was tempted, until he glanced down again at the body on the floor, in its spreading pool of blood. His blood is in both of them, he thought. "Proclaim who you bloody well like," he told Crakehall. Then he climbed the Iron Throne and seated himself with his sword across his knees, to see who would come to claim the kingdom. As it happened, it had been Eddard Stark.

Aerys died before Aegon. If Aegon was at that time the heir, then why is it that he is never described as Aegon VI? Why is Jaime considered a kingslayer, but nobody ever describes Gregor Clegane as a kingslayer? Kingslaying is anathema in Westeros; even when the king involved was the one who murdered his father and his brother and who he was leading a rebellion against, Ned was disgusted by Jaime's actions. This seems like a significant omission.

There are three possibilites I can think of:

1. Omission.
2. Abeyance.
3. Succession

Omission: Nobody referring to him as king for an hour or mentioning a regnal number is a pretty believable omission. It's more of a problem that nobody ever calls Gregor a kingslayer, including Oberyn. It's not an impossible omission of course, but frankly it's a bigger omission than Viserys never referring to being named heir. Jamie never lives down being called kingslayer even by people who don't hate him; Oberyn loathes Gregor with a passion and spends a whole scene cursing him without once calling him a kingslayer.

Abeyance: The tradition of transference of kingship is not clear. In the quote above, Crakehall asked Jaime if he should name a king. Does a successor take over immediately, or is there an interregnal period until the successor is named by the competent authority? If the former, then at this moment either Viserys is king, or Aegon is. As conquerors, the question of naming a new king is still relevant, but the question of why Aegon is never called a king is difficult. If the latter case, then there is currently no king, and the 3KG cannot simply assume Jon's kingship.

Succession: Viserys succeeding Aerys solves this question entirely. Consider Jaime's thoughts: he first thinks of Viserys, then of Aegon. This may hint that he considered Viserys to be the default Dragonking option, and Aegon an alternative. Why the alternatives? "His blood is in both of them, he thought." Jaime is thinking here about Targaryen madness. If Aegon is the heir, why would Jaime think of Viserys at all, let alone first? On the other hand if Viserys was named heir, this makes more sense: Jaime thinks of naming Aegon instead, because he is the choice of Rhaegar, Tywin's childhood friend, rather than the choice of Aerys, the crazed tyrant Jamie has just killed. He then follows this thought with the mention of blood: Aegon might not be the son of the mad king, but he's still a Targ with the bad blood.

Conclusion: Viserys being heir actually fits the text rather well. It is possible that at the time of the encounter at the ToJ, the 3KG would have considered the kingdom to be in an interregnal period. In that situation, even if we accept the necessity of the 3KG going to the side of the king, until a proclamation is made and someone crowned, they are not obligated to go to the side of one potential claimant over another. Proclaiming the new king is not their job, and indeed one that Jaime specifically eschews, possible even an intentional parallel to what was going on in the heads of the 3KG. That's just one scenario though.

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OK, I'm gonna do it!

TWOIAF states that Aerys named Viserys his heir. Discuss.

Correction: TWOIAF does not say that Aerys named Viserys his heir. It simply states that after Rhaegar died, Viserys was Aerys' "new heir."

This is an important distinction. I don't think it was necessary for Aerys to name Viserys the "new heir." I think it happened automatically.

Remember: we aren't talking about Rhaegar's heir. Rhaegar is dead. We are talking about Aerys' heir.

This is because under some systems, e.g. real life Norman law (think William/Aegon the Conqueror), the younger son of a king comes before the king's grandson from a dead older son.

In this SSM:


GRRM refers to this as the question of "precedence" (the senior line) versus "proximity" (who is closest, generationally, to the king).

In the world book, in the discussion of the Great Council of 101, it is referred to as the question of "primogeniture" versus "proximity." There, the candidate with "proximity" prevailed over the candidate who had primogeniture on his side. Per the wiki:

"Primogeniture favored Laenor, as his mother, Princess Rhaenys, was the daughter of Prince Aemon, who had been the eldest living son of King Jaehaerys. Yet proximity favored Viserys."

Viserys became king.

We also know that, during the Great Council of 233, the major contenders to succeed King Maekar were Prince Maegor (Maekar's grandson by his elder son, Aerion) and Egg (Maekar's youngest son). Egg got it.

After Rhaegar died at the Trident, Aeyrs had two potential heirs. One was his grandson by Rhaegar, Aegon. The other was Aerys' son, Viserys. Based on past precedent, the son, Viserys had a stronger claim than any grandson by Rhaegar.

Thus, I say Viserys was the "new heir" not because Aerys issued some sort of decree, but because Aerys' son came before Aerys' grandson.

Otherwise, I agree with your analysis.

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New thread... shiny!

So what are we talking about this thread?

We'd like to see a closer look at

  • what Patchface has got to say about R+L=J and what role Patchface will play in the events to come
  • the mention of Viserys as Aerys' new heir in TWoIaF

as some of the topics in the new R+L=J thread.


I like Benjen.

...and Benjen.

OK, I'm gonna do it!

TWOIAF states that Aerys named Viserys his heir. Discuss.


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In this SSM:


GRRM refers to this as the question of "precedence" (the senior line) versus "proximity" (who is closest, generationally, to the king).

You make a fair point about the vagaries of inheritance, but I think it acts against your argument that it happened automatically.

From that SSM: "The medieval world was governed by men, not by laws. You could even make a case that the lords preferred the laws to be vague and contradictory, since that gave them more power. In a tangle like the Hornwood case, ultimately the lord would decide... and if some of the more powerful claimants did not like the decision, it might come down to force of arms." I think this is a really important point to take away for understanding ASOIAF: legal right is secondary to power. Renly by no possible stretch came before Stannis, yet he was the one who was able to wield the power -- or so it seemed at first. Where the situation is not entirely obvious, such as where there is a conflict between primogeniture and proximity -- those in power benefit from the vagaries by being able to chose as suits them.

"Ultimately the lord would decide" surely applies to Aerys in this case.

The example of the Great Councils is interesting, but not entirely parallel. In the first case it was not so much primogeniture vs. proximity, but a question of whether primogeniture applied through the female line. Arguably, by dismissing Laenor's claim to primogeniture on the basis of his descent through the female line, it reinforces the primacy of primogeniture.

In the second, we have a closer parallel -- but following primogeniture would have put a 1 year old baby on the throne, and one who's father had been the most barking mad of all Targaryens. In other words, in both these cases there was a specific reason to bypass primogeniture, and most importantly, in both cases, a decision had to be made to do so.

If we look to these precedents, I think they suggest to us not that proximity is the rule, but that whatever the law may be, it is subject to the whim of the rulers. In a case like this, where the succession isn't 100% clear cut, it's going to be about what the king decides, even if what he decides is to go with the suggestion his maesters tell him is indeed the regulation choice.

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Well not much response to part 1 yet, so I might as well jump to part 2 of TWOIAF states that Aerys named Viserys his heir. Discuss.

Having made an argument that Viserys being named heir does at least fit the text, it's time to go ahead and prove that it fits the situation too. In other words, we need to know why Aerys would have done it. Sure, mad. Mad people do things that don't make sense. But that's not good enough. Without a proper reasoning for the decision, we're better off with Pycelle making it up. So, with a quick notice to refer back to my rules of engagement , let the brickbats commence.

The Viserys Problem part 2: The Dornish Connection

It's important for the credibility of the Viserys option that it isn't out of the blue. We need to answer why Aerys may have done this. It's well known that Aerys and Rhaegar were at odds with each other, though it's hard to be sure how much. The problem seems to have started with the Defiance at Duskendale, when Aerys suspected Tywin of planning his death to seat Rhaegar on the throne. The Tourney at Harrenhal, some said, was arranged to give Rhaegar a venue to hatch his schemes against the throne.

The idea of Aerys naming Viserys his heir was not new:

Indeed, certain of the king’s men had even gone so far as to suggest that Aerys should disinherit his “disloyal” son, and name his younger brother heir to the Iron Throne in his stead. Prince Viserys was but seven years of age, and his eventual ascension would certainly mean a regency, wherein they themselves would rule as regents.

Following the Trident, many of those King's Men were no longer on the scene, and Rhaegar himself was no longer around, so why would this idea come back?

When Prince Rhaegar and his new wife chose to take up residence on Dragonstone instead of the Red Keep, rumours flew thick and fast across the Seven Kingdoms. Some claimed that the crown prince was planning to depose his father and seize the Iron Throne for himself, whilst others said that King Aerys meant to disinherit Rhaegar and name Viserys heir in his place. Nor did the birth of King Aerys’s first grandchild, a girl named Rhaenys, born on Dragonstone in 280 AC, do aught to reconcile father and son. When Prince Rhaegar returned to the Red Keep to present his daughter to his own mother and father, Queen Rhaella embraced the babe warmly, but King Aerys refused to touch or hold the child and complained that she “smells Dornish.”

This "smells Dornish" reference is an interesting one. Yandel has little to say of Aegon, so we don't know if Aerys thought he smelled Dornish too – we know he looked more Targaryen than Rhaenys did, though. What exactly was Aerys' problem with Dorne? There's a line about the division between Aerys and Rhaegar that might tell us.

Prince Rhaegar’s support came from the younger men at court, including Lord Jon Connington, Ser Myles Mooton of Maidenpool, and Ser Richard Lonmouth. The Dornishmen who had come to court with the Princess Elia were in the prince’s confidence as well, particularly Prince Lewyn Martell, Elia’s uncle and a Sworn Brother of the Kingsguard.

So we know that there was a Dornish faction at court that were solidly in Rhaegar's camp. The birth of Rhaenys, looking more like her Dornish mother Elia than his own son Rhaegar, may have played on his paranoia about the Dornish connection, explaining that "smells Dornish" comment. Later we learn that at the muster for the Trident:

Prince Lewyn took command of the Dornish troop sent by his nephew, the Prince Doran, but it is said that he did so only after threats from the Mad King, who feared that the Dornishmen looked to betray him.

So after the battle of the Trident, what would Aerys be thinking about that might lead to him disinheriting Aegon when Rhaegar – and Lewyn – were dead? Let's look back to that point about the King's men encouraging Aerys to appoint Viserys as his heir so that they could benefit from a regency. In poor health, with potential successors 1 and 7 years old, a regency still looked likely. If the heir was Aegon, who would be a likely regent?

Let's take a closer look at the infamous "new heir" passage in context:

When the news reached the Red Keep, it was said that Aerys cursed the Dornish, certain that Lewyn had betrayed Rhaegar. He sent his pregnant queen, Rhaella, and his younger son and new heir, Viserys, away to Dragonstone, but Princess Elia was forced to remain in King’s Landing with Rhaegar’s children as a hostage against Dorne.

Aerys' response to events is to act against the Dornish, who he believes are plotting against him. It is in the context of this action against the Dornish that we hear of Viserys being his "new heir". If Aegon remained heir, then Aerys' death would grant considerable power to this Dornish faction. In both the case of Joffery and Viserys on Dragonstone, their mothers acted as regents. In the case of Aerys dying while Aegon was still heir, Elia would be in a very strong position to claim the regency.

Conclusion: The purpose of keeping Elia and Aegon in King's Landing while sending Viserys and Rhaella to Dragonstone was a political move intended to keep Dornish ambitions under control. Aegon's position as heir gave Dorne a very strong hand. By naming Viserys his heir, Aerys would have seriously undermined the Dornish position – which is exactly what he is trying to do. In terms of his political manoeuvring, not making Viserys his "new heir" would be a rather major oversight.

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Aren't these GC examples outliers that have very special circumstances that more or less prove the rule: the son inherits after the father? If Viserys really was Aerys's heir then it was because Aerys made some sort of decree, not because of precedence, especially when the most recent presedence is father-son.

Aegon V -- Jaehaerys II --

Aerys II --Rhaegar



I'll say more in the morning but it is 1:15 am here and I should try to sleep.

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Aerys died before Aegon. If Aegon was at that time the heir, then why is it that he is never described as Aegon VI? Why is Jaime considered a kingslayer, but nobody ever describes Gregor Clegane as a kingslayer? Kingslaying is anathema in Westeros; even when the king involved was the one who murdered his father and his brother and who he was leading a rebellion against, Ned was disgusted by Jaime's actions. This seems like a significant omission.

Jaime is known as (the) Kingslayer because he was Aerys's sworn shield, hence the taboo. For example, take this passage from TWoIaF:

Yet in one thing, Lord Stark would not be dissuaded: the betrayers and poisoners of King Aegon II must pay the price. To kill a cruel and unjust king in lawful battle was one thing. But foul murder, and the use of poison, was a betrayal against the very gods who had anointed him. - Aegon III

Everything else looks good, though.

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