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Joe Blackfyre

The True Identity of Jaqen H'ghar (Possible Series-level SPOILERS)

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Jaqen H'ghar = Rhaegar Theory (or JH=R)




Now I know this is a highly provocative header so please bear with me and read my reasons carefully before you post a reply quickly just to flame me. This is not meant as an attack on anyone or meant to mock long-term posters' powers of deduction, just a spare offering of thoughts which is meant to provide a new look at something we have all taken for granted. If I am proven wrong, I will laugh as loud and as long at myself as everyone else. But I don't think I will be proven wrong, and series 6 is less than a year away, book 6 maybe shorter... We shall see. On with the theory.



George R.R. Martin is a big fantasy fan as well as an author, and we can spot many references to other fantasy stories.


For example Tyrion Lannister is a reference to the last king of Narnia in The Last Battle who is called Tirian. In that story there are also a lot of cynical dwarfs. This combined with the Lannister name and animal representing Aslan is more than just a simple ref to Narnia, it is like a dialogue or debate with other fantasy worlds and authors. A similar thing can be found with Bloodraven and Bittersteel in the history of Westeros. (Bloodraven is the old Brynden in the cave who teaches Bran). They are both meant to represent Elric (from Michael Moorcock) and Conan (from Robert E. Howard) respectively. Both are sword and sorcery heroes, but one (Elric) is a wizard who loses a kingdom and the other (Conan) is a wizard-killer who gains a kingdom.



Still not convinced, need more examples? Let's use clear folklore/historical examples. Beric and Thoros and The BWB symbolise Robin Hood and his Merry Men, the Red Wedding symbolises the Black Dinner, the Wall is Hadrian's Wall, the Ironborn are Vikings, Aegon "the Conqueror" is William the Conqueror and so on. Also worth noting would be author's names like House Peake, House Vance, Archmaester Rigney and so on. Martin will provide his own take on the works of authors past as well as raise awareness of others to his audience who they may not learn of otherwise. His aim is clearly to write the largest ever fantasy, one which it will be almost impossible to ever beat due to it's broad influences and tropes and anti-tropes. So the tropes in this fantasy have as much place as the anti-tropes, in fact you could say they are more important to be in the series, as when they are presented to the reader Martin can cross-examine them and provide us with a modern version of an old idea.



With all this in mind we come to who does Rhaegar symbolise and why.



Everyone throughout the story (except Robert who is shown to act like a drunk idiot) says heaps of praise about Rhaegar. He is continually presented a good king/missed opportunity, and that’s before you get to the hypothetical R+L=J theory. We are built up a picture of Rhaegar to make us as readers think “good guys always lose/are unrealistic/get killed by stronger or crueller fighters”. It’s the same way we are convinced to sympathise with House Stark.



Now Martin continually brings up the image of Aragorn as one of the things in LOTR (Lord of the Rings) as one the things he takes issue with regarding Tolkien. He mentions it several times across the internet in different ways. Usually it amounts to the following:



“So Aragorn ruled wisely. What does that mean, ruled wisely? What was his tax policy? Did he hunt down and kill all the orcs, even the young baby orcs?”



It is clear that this is a topic which interests Martin and he has the opportunity to actually explore this further in his own fantasy world. He has to first have a fantasy king to examine their decisions in detail. You might think he has already done this with Stannis, Robb and Daenerys being on the surface ‘good guys making difficult decisions’ (and although not a ‘king’ Jon’s decisions have been looked at in the same way.) But none of these characters fit the rightful king trope to the same degree as Aragorn does. They are not introduced to us as being perfect fairy-tale rulers so the criticism will not be as pointed. Also as Martin has built up Rhaegar and as he is an author who dislikes perfect heroes, he will most likely find a way to tarnish or reveal fractures in that perfect image. But Rhaegar needs to be alive for that to happen in the clearest way.



Put simply, Aragorn is fantasy’s version of “the best and kind king” and Rhaegar is probably Martin’s version/homage/subversion of Aragorn.



I am going to say that Rhaegar is actually Jaqen H'ghar, in the same way that Aragorn disguised himself as Strider. A generic fantasy heroic leader (like Rand al'Thor from Wheel of Time or F'lar of the dragonrider of Pern) would usually have an apostrophe in their name prior to ASOIAF. I think with the alias of Jaqen H'ghar Martin is deliberately parodying this habit.



Note this parallel is also useful because both kings had multiple aliases. Aragorn had Estel, Thorongil, Strider, Dunadan and Elessar. If Rhaegar is Jaqen and using Faceless Men powers, he will definitely have used many different names as well.



In almost every single one of his appearances Rhaegar is described as melancholy and sad – noticeably in Cersei’s memory in Book 4, which is the same book where Jaqen kills the real Pate after saying something ‘sadly’.


There is also a background detail in the world about the Sorrowful Men, who kill their targets by whispering “I am so sorry” before the kill. When Arya is training with the kindly man in Book 4 in Braavos he continually uses the word ‘sad’. This is meant to input the link between sadness and assassins in our minds without yet joining that to the second link between sadness and Rhaegar. Therefore Rhaegar = sadness = assassins.



Similarities between Aragorn and Rhaegar/Jaqen/Pate.


Both had two love interests. Rhaegar had Elia and Lyanna, and Aragorn had Arwen and Eowyn. Note that the second love interest in both cases dresses up as a man.


Both have used or are in close proximity to “magic communication” devices. Rhaegar as Pate is near to Marwyn’s glass candle from Valyria and Aragorn takes possession of the glass ball “palantir” from Numenor. Both Valyria and Numenor are destroyed kingdoms (due to magical catastrophe) which had survivors who set up large kingdoms which each story takes place in.


Both are friends with a archer who is meant to be an audience favourite (Alleras for Rhaegar, Legolas for Aragorn. Even the names are very similar.)


Oldtown itself (where Rhaegar/Jaqen is as of Book 4) is a very similar city to Minas Tirith. Denethor is a lord who uses his own palantir at the top in his White Tower, Lord Hightower is rumoured to use spells at the top of the tower (and he may very likely have a glass candle in the Hightower). The maesters headquarters called the Citadel is very similar to the Houses of Healing where you can train to learn more about medicine and herbology.


Both receive suspicion from one of the main characters whose name is Sam (note: the two Sams in ASOIAF and LOTR are very similar to each other, being the ‘sweet’ dopey lovable character). This is literally the first reaction that each Sam has to each disguised king.



Also remember Rhaegar met Lyanna at the famous tourney in Harrenhal. Jaqen helped Arya (who is the spitting image of a young Lyanna) kill her enemies at Harrenhal as well. This would be a repeating of history of the kind that tends to happen with characters connected with Harrenhal. For example Littlefinger.



Rhaegar Littlefinger


Rhaegar did the tourney of Harrenhal. Littlefinger is now Lord Protector of Harrenhal.


Rhaegar’s first wife had birth troubles. Littlefinger’s first wife Lysa had a bad womb/birth troubles.


Rhaegar chose Lyanna as Queen of L&B Littlefinger says his Queen of L&B was Catelyn


Rhaegar (as Jaqen) meets Arya Littlefinger meets Sansa (who looks like Catelyn)


Rhaegar was challenged by Brandon Stark Littlefinger had a duel with Brandon Stark



Note this pattern would only make sense if Jaqen was Rhaegar. And this would tie in with Lucifer means Lightbringer's theories about astronomy (1 male thing and 2 female things spell disaster) and Preston Jacobs theories about Harrenhal being important in a symbolic way to both Rhaegar and Littlefinger.



Jaqen Hghar’s name itself is almost a sly hint. Hghar = rHaeGAR



And if you believe Rhaegar was cremated, then I suppose you also believe Davos was beheaded, Bran and Rickon were killed by Theon Greyjoy and Sandor died of his wounds. Characters have had fake-out death chapter endings, rogue warriors have been using glamours and masterminds have had shocking revelations for 5 books now, the plausibility of this shouldn't be an issue. We've already had one Targaryen reappear when assumed dead, explaining their survival by use of trickery (Aegon/Young Griff), why not another?



And why not the one who is not only central to the plot of the war preceeding ASOIAF, but whose birth will be the culmination of the Dunk and Egg stories? IMO that would help give the final Dunk/Egg story more meaning, more reason to be written, and more impact perhaps on the main storyline. Remember both Rhaegar in his youth and Maester Aemon believed that he was the Prince that was Promised, until he found out a star shot over the sky when Prince Aegon was born. What if their first guess was right...



I think that Rhaegar surviving isn't just a twist to shock the audience. It's a dramatic necessity to unite Westeros against the Others. Martin isn't going to have the Others win and humanity become extinct/leave Westeros the continent. Nor will he be so predictable to have the Others defeated by simple hidden means (like Frodo and the Ring) that avoids the need for people to unite. I don't think anyone in Westeros can unite the warring families and smallfolk of all ages except Rhaegar. Not even Dany or Young Griff, and certainly not Jon Snow (at this moment). Only Rhaegar would command the respect, connections, skills, strategy and charisma to lead the defense of Westeros in the Second Long Night.



I have looked through the text of the first few books and found some more lines that indicate that Rhaegar surviving was always in Martin's plan. I will be posting these over this next week, but it may not be instantly as work is getting busy at the moment.



[Edit: I have put some very good evidence in this link here.]



Now let rip. :lol:


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First off, I don't think Robert is the only character to talk smack about Rhaegar in the series (pretty much anyone with the surname "Stark").



Secondly, how exactly are you explaining away the thousands of people that saw him die at the Ruby Ford? Robert didn't finish him off? He was spirited away by Varys? Was that secretly not Rhaegar at the Trident?



I do like the whole H'ghar=Rhaegar thing, even if you are an "h" short, although I'm not buying the theory, really. When would Rhaegar have had time to train with the FM? And I'm still not quite clear if Littlefinger is actually involved in this, or you're just suggesting his character arc as evidence. Top-notch tinfoil, though.


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very nice theory and i do appreciate hard work put in (details,connections etc)


but:


G.RR.M. style of writing is such that leaves so much space for speculation (in the lack of better example: like puzzle with multiple answers) that combined with all well known sources (books,history,myths,legends) he drew "inspiration" from, makes almost all theories here work on some level.



so Question we face here time after time:is it all intentional or just side-effect...?



ps


since you have such analytical mind, if you have time read "Scandinavian mythology" book (youtube has some open source Abooks,if you can't find it in your country) i think you'll be surprised (as i was) how much "inspiration" grrm has taken from it (jaime's hand,skin-changing to wolfs,giants etc) and i think you will be able to construct more good theories using same method as you did for Rh=Jh (for example "jaime being Azor Ahai is the most obvious one)

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Joe Blackfyre, I like this theory. Brilliant work. I always had a feeling Rhaegar was alive too when I first read ASOIAF. Could never link him to anyone myself, nor did the links I found online make sense. Not saying I adhere to this theory yet, but I like it.

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That's a very well thought theory, kudos for you. If book quotes are provided, I'll be sold.



PS: I always thought Jaqen was with the Iron Bank, being arrested on purpose to hopefully be led to Tywin. No evidence, but I like the idea.


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I like the idea , but i think Rhaegar is dead. Would be pretty awesome it if was true though.

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Interesting. But I don't get it when you say "Note this pattern would only make sense if Jaqen was Rhaegar" when you're comparing Rhaegar and Petyr.


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interesting, well there is definitely something to pate..... why a faceless man at the citadel...... past that we only have so much info on faceless men abilities, with the recent completion of game of thrones season 5, and the arya scene where she is poisoned by the faces...... who knows maybe it never was rhaegar at the trident..... but a confidant or standin... but Robert still took over the kingdom, and let it go to hell..... let tywin off the hook and the freys....... and thus destroyed westeros........ kind of a high cost just to get targs back in power, or some such goal.... as far as minas tirith and oldtown......... I cant see that at all, tough to compare anyone to Aragorn, who had what 80 years to come to terms with his station and reality, totally selfless, and willing to sacrifice anything or brave whatever need be...... so make rhaegar the counterpoint, but he isn't even close really, ..... though I do find the end of master aemon fascinating, he was so tuned in....... he was understanding so much, and its possible that rhaegar has come to some deeper understanding.....


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Sorry, I don't think this is very likely. I don't think using analogies from other fantasy stories is a strong argument, and apart from the name similarity, that seems your only real argument?



And you say...





I think that Rhaegar surviving isn't just a twist to shock the audience. It's a dramatic necessity to unite Westeros against the Others.





How does Rhaegar being alive even help unite Westeros? Even if people believed him, why would people want to follow him? And if his intention was to unite Westeros why has he been mucking around with the faceless men for the last 30 odd years? I think if GRRM had intended Jaqen to be Rhaegar he would have dropped some clues in the writing.



You say you have other pieces of text from the books to support your argument. I think you needed to present them now because I didn't find this very compelling.


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Jaqen H'ghar = Rhaegar Theory (or JH=R)

Now I know this is a highly provocative header so please bear with me and read my reasons carefully before you post a reply quickly just to flame me. This is not meant as an attack on anyone or meant to mock long-term posters' powers of deduction, just a spare offering of thoughts which is meant to provide a new look at something we have all taken for granted. If I am proven wrong, I will laugh as loud and as long at myself as everyone else. But I don't think I will be proven wrong, and series 6 is less than a year away, book 6 maybe shorter... We shall see. On with the theory.

George R.R. Martin is a big fantasy fan as well as an author, and we can spot many references to other fantasy stories.

For example Tyrion Lannister is a reference to the last king of Narnia in The Last Battle who is called Tirian. In that story there are also a lot of cynical dwarfs. This combined with the Lannister name and animal representing Aslan is more than just a simple ref to Narnia, it is like a dialogue or debate with other fantasy worlds and authors. A similar thing can be found with Bloodraven and Bittersteel in the history of Westeros. (Bloodraven is the old Brynden in the cave who teaches Bran). They are both meant to represent Elric (from Michael Moorcock) and Conan (from Robert E. Howard) respectively. Both are sword and sorcery heroes, but one (Elric) is a wizard who loses a kingdom and the other (Conan) is a wizard-killer who gains a kingdom.

Still not convinced, need more examples? Let's use clear folklore/historical examples. Beric and Thoros and The BWB symbolise Robin Hood and his Merry Men, the Red Wedding symbolises the Black Dinner, the Wall is Hadrian's Wall, the Ironborn are Vikings, Aegon "the Conqueror" is William the Conqueror and so on. Also worth noting would be author's names like House Peake, House Vance, Archmaester Rigney and so on. Martin will provide his own take on the works of authors past as well as raise awareness of others to his audience who they may not learn of otherwise. His aim is clearly to write the largest ever fantasy, one which it will be almost impossible to ever beat due to it's broad influences and tropes and anti-tropes. So the tropes in this fantasy have as much place as the anti-tropes, in fact you could say they are more important to be in the series, as when they are presented to the reader Martin can cross-examine them and provide us with a modern version of an old idea.

With all this in mind we come to who does Rhaegar symbolise and why.

Everyone throughout the story (except Robert who is shown to act like a drunk idiot) says heaps of praise about Rhaegar. He is continually presented a good king/missed opportunity, and that’s before you get to the hypothetical R+L=J theory. We are built up a picture of Rhaegar to make us as readers think “good guys always lose/are unrealistic/get killed by stronger or crueller fighters”. It’s the same way we are convinced to sympathise with House Stark.

Now Martin continually brings up the image of Aragorn as one of the things in LOTR (Lord of the Rings) as one the things he takes issue with regarding Tolkien. He mentions it several times across the internet in different ways. Usually it amounts to the following:

“So Aragorn ruled wisely. What does that mean, ruled wisely? What was his tax policy? Did he hunt down and kill all the orcs, even the young baby orcs?”

It is clear that this is a topic which interests Martin and he has the opportunity to actually explore this further in his own fantasy world. He has to first have a fantasy king to examine their decisions in detail. You might think he has already done this with Stannis, Robb and Daenerys being on the surface ‘good guys making difficult decisions’ (and although not a ‘king’ Jon’s decisions have been looked at in the same way.) But none of these characters fit the rightful king trope to the same degree as Aragorn does. They are not introduced to us as being perfect fairy-tale rulers so the criticism will not be as pointed. Also as Martin has built up Rhaegar and as he is an author who dislikes perfect heroes, he will most likely find a way to tarnish or reveal fractures in that perfect image. But Rhaegar needs to be alive for that to happen in the clearest way.

Put simply, Aragorn is fantasy’s version of “the best and kind king” and Rhaegar is probably Martin’s version/homage/subversion of Aragorn.

I am going to say that Rhaegar is actually Jaqen H'ghar, in the same way that Aragorn disguised himself as Strider. A generic fantasy heroic leader (like Rand al'Thor from Wheel of Time or F'lar of the dragonrider of Pern) would usually have an apostrophe in their name prior to ASOIAF. I think with the alias of Jaqen H'ghar Martin is deliberately parodying this habit.

Note this parallel is also useful because both kings had multiple aliases. Aragorn had Estel, Thorongil, Strider, Dunadan and Elessar. If Rhaegar is Jaqen and using Faceless Men powers, he will definitely have used many different names as well.

In almost every single one of his appearances Rhaegar is described as melancholy and sad – noticeably in Cersei’s memory in Book 4, which is the same book where Jaqen kills the real Pate after saying something ‘sadly’.

There is also a background detail in the world about the Sorrowful Men, who kill their targets by whispering “I am so sorry” before the kill. When Arya is training with the kindly man in Book 4 in Braavos he continually uses the word ‘sad’. This is meant to input the link between sadness and assassins in our minds without yet joining that to the second link between sadness and Rhaegar. Therefore Rhaegar = sadness = assassins.

Similarities between Aragorn and Rhaegar/Jaqen/Pate.

Both had two love interests. Rhaegar had Elia and Lyanna, and Aragorn had Arwen and Eowyn. Note that the second love interest in both cases dresses up as a man.

Both have used or are in close proximity to “magic communication” devices. Rhaegar as Pate is near to Marwyn’s glass candle from Valyria and Aragorn takes possession of the glass ball “palantir” from Numenor. Both Valyria and Numenor are destroyed kingdoms (due to magical catastrophe) which had survivors who set up large kingdoms which each story takes place in.

Both are friends with a archer who is meant to be an audience favourite (Alleras for Rhaegar, Legolas for Aragorn. Even the names are very similar.)

Oldtown itself (where Rhaegar/Jaqen is as of Book 4) is a very similar city to Minas Tirith. Denethor is a lord who uses his own palantir at the top in his White Tower, Lord Hightower is rumoured to use spells at the top of the tower (and he may very likely have a glass candle in the Hightower). The maesters headquarters called the Citadel is very similar to the Houses of Healing where you can train to learn more about medicine and herbology.

Both receive suspicion from one of the main characters whose name is Sam (note: the two Sams in ASOIAF and LOTR are very similar to each other, being the ‘sweet’ dopey lovable character). This is literally the first reaction that each Sam has to each disguised king.

Also remember Rhaegar met Lyanna at the famous tourney in Harrenhal. Jaqen helped Arya (who is the spitting image of a young Lyanna) kill her enemies at Harrenhal as well. This would be a repeating of history of the kind that tends to happen with characters connected with Harrenhal. For example Littlefinger.

Rhaegar Littlefinger

Rhaegar did the tourney of Harrenhal. Littlefinger is now Lord Protector of Harrenhal.

Rhaegar’s first wife had birth troubles. Littlefinger’s first wife Lysa had a bad womb/birth troubles.

Rhaegar chose Lyanna as Queen of L&B Littlefinger says his Queen of L&B was Catelyn

Rhaegar (as Jaqen) meets Arya Littlefinger meets Sansa (who looks like Catelyn)

Rhaegar was challenged by Brandon Stark Littlefinger had a duel with Brandon Stark

Note this pattern would only make sense if Jaqen was Rhaegar. And this would tie in with Lucifer means Lightbringer's theories about astronomy (1 male thing and 2 female things spell disaster) and Preston Jacobs theories about Harrenhal being important in a symbolic way to both Rhaegar and Littlefinger.

Jaqen Hghar’s name itself is almost a sly hint. Hghar = rHaeGAR

And if you believe Rhaegar was cremated, then I suppose you also believe Davos was beheaded, Bran and Rickon were killed by Theon Greyjoy and Sandor died of his wounds. Characters have had fake-out death chapter endings, rogue warriors have been using glamours and masterminds have had shocking revelations for 5 books now, the plausibility of this shouldn't be an issue. We've already had one Targaryen reappear when assumed dead, explaining their survival by use of trickery (Aegon/Young Griff), why not another?

And why not the one who is not only central to the plot of the war preceeding ASOIAF, but whose birth will be the culmination of the Dunk and Egg stories? IMO that would help give the final Dunk/Egg story more meaning, more reason to be written, and more impact perhaps on the main storyline. Remember both Rhaegar in his youth and Maester Aemon believed that he was the Prince that was Promised, until he found out a star shot over the sky when Prince Aegon was born. What if their first guess was right...

I think that Rhaegar surviving isn't just a twist to shock the audience. It's a dramatic necessity to unite Westeros against the Others. Martin isn't going to have the Others win and humanity become extinct/leave Westeros the continent. Nor will he be so predictable to have the Others defeated by simple hidden means (like Frodo and the Ring) that avoids the need for people to unite. I don't think anyone in Westeros can unite the warring families and smallfolk of all ages except Rhaegar. Not even Dany or Young Griff, and certainly not Jon Snow (at this moment). Only Rhaegar would command the respect, connections, skills, strategy and charisma to lead the defense of Westeros in the Second Long Night.

I have looked through the text of the first few books and found some more lines that indicate that Rhaegar surviving was always in Martin's plan. I will be posting these over this next week, but it may not be instantly as work is getting busy at the moment.

Now let rip. :lol:

You are confusing references and homages to symbols. And Rhaegar is dead

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Sigh another crackpot theory.Everyone knows Rhaegar is Benjen Stark who is Daario.Rhaegar wanted to practice that sweet Targ incest so he fake kidnapped Lyanna who never existed as Rhaegar was her to kick start a war.Which led to him having sex with Dany and not having to pay child support.

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I always figured that Rhaegar actually won on the trident, and stole Robert's face/identity. However, when he found out that Lyanna was dead, he fell into despair and really let himself go.


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As much as I would like this theory, I really think Rhaegar is dead.



Him being Mance/Jaqen/anyone else would ruin the notion of 'good guys die in GRRM's realm.


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Dozens of people saw Robert Cave Rhaeghar's chest in with his warhammer.



He dead homie.


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So now Jaqen H'ghar is Rhaegar?



The true identity of Jaqen H'ghar is Jaqen H'ghar. A dead man whose face is taken by a Faceless Man. So is died anyway.


Rhaegar was destroyed by Robert. He would be a terrible king. Better be dead,



Deal with it. Don't turn everybody into Targaryen.


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It would explain the interest in Arya as an echo of his beloved Lyanna as well as his interest in dragon related stuff and his desire to penetrate the citadel. But other than that. Also sort of explains why he was initially wiling to be taken to the Wall, something someone of Jaqen's abilities can easily have avoided. But beyond that I don't see much to ground the theory.


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