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R+L=J v147

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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

Radio Westeros podcast:
A Dragon, a Wolf and a Rose

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 compiled 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.

A thread for discussing strengths and weaknesses of the theory that Jon Snow's parents are Rhaegar and Lyanna.

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

Spoiler
Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (thread one)

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So, where do we go from here? Someone wanted to build the cause for Arthur Dayne being the father?


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Yes? Please to meet!

Exscuse: I want ask opinions of Blue Rose Crown of Lady Lyanna. For me, I see as proof of love Rhegar has his Lady Lyanna. Rhegar cannot love his Queen Elia. Elia too sick for Rhaegar, Rhaegar has need still for Promised Prince Elia can no more give him sons.

Rhaegar looses his Queen with Lady Lyanna. She is his fair Icing Queen Stark in North with roses blue. When Rhaegar seen his Lyanna beauty, he gift her his crown rose blue with lance.

Lyanna tearfully happy. After Harrenhal Tourney they married. Rhaegar knowed this Lyanna was love for he, bring blue roses to tourney. He knowed because prophecys and scrolls.

It might get confusing hearing your name so often, Shiny. Someone always feels compelled to comment to a new RLJ thread with a comment that basically says "there's a new RLJ thread" for people who have just found the new RLJ thread.

A quick word. Rhaegar sure doesn't seem like a very nice guy to ditch his wife and the mother of his young children. Add in that Elia was sick/sickly, and that's even more messed up.

Is that the kind of guy Lyanna had been saving herself for?

Eddard IX AGOT:

"Robert will never keep to one bed," Lyanna had told him at Winterfell, on the night long ago when their father had promised her hand to the young Lord of Storm's End. "I hear he has gotten a child on some girl in the Vale." Ned had held the babe in his arms; he could scarcely deny her, nor would he lie to his sister, but he had assured her that what Robert did before their betrothal was of no matter, that he was a good man and true who would love her with all his heart. Lyanna had only smiled. "Love is sweet, dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man's nature."

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So, where do we go from here? Someone wanted to build the cause for Arthur Dayne being the father?

I found no trace leading in that direction in the books. Maybe anyone else did?

eta: (unrelated to above)

@Lucifer means Lightbringer:

I found your reply in the previous thread very compelling, well done!

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So, where do we go from here? Someone wanted to build the cause for Arthur Dayne being the father?

Build a cause? No. But a case can be made. ;)

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"Bastards are not allowed to damage young princes," he said. "Any bruises they take in the practice yard must come from trueborn swords."



"Kings are a rare sight in the north."


Robert snorted. "More likely they were hiding under the snow. Snow, Ned!"



How can any alternative theory other than Rhaegar being the father of Jon explain above quotes or countless others in A King in Hiding threads?


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"Bastards are not allowed to damage young princes," he said. "Any bruises they take in the practice yard must come from trueborn swords."

"Kings are a rare sight in the north."

Robert snorted. "More likely they were hiding under the snow. Snow, Ned!"

How can any alternative theory other than Rhaegar being the father of Jon explain above quotes or countless others in A King in Hiding threads?

Easy.

First of all Jon was wrong and Robert was right. Joffrey is a bastard. And the Kings of Winter are hiding under the snow (Winterfell's Crypts).

I see from your avatar that we share an affinity for Night's King. He is the king in hiding. And he's calling his banners:

Three days ride from Winterfell, however, the farmland gave way to dense wood, and the kingsroad grew lonely. The flint hills rose higher and wilder with each passing mile, until by the fifth day they had turned into mountains, cold blue-grey giants with jagged promontories and snow on their shoulders. When the wind blew from the north, long plumes of ice crystals flew from the high peaks like banners.

Be ye warned. The Ice Spiders are coming. "Gods save us, boy, you're not blind and you're not stupid. When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits the Iron Throne?" :devil:

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Easy.



First of all Jon was wrong and Robert was right. Joffrey is a bastard. And the Kings of Winter are hiding under the snow (Winterfell's Crypts).



I see from your avatar that we share an affinity for Night's King. He is the king in hiding. And he's calling his banners:



Three days ride from Winterfell, however, the farmland gave way to dense wood, and the kingsroad grew lonely. The flint hills rose higher and wilder with each passing mile, until by the fifth day they had turned into mountains, cold blue-grey giants with jagged promontories and snow on their shoulders. When the wind blew from the north, long plumes of ice crystals flew from the high peaks like banners.



Be ye warned. The Ice Spiders are coming. "Gods save us, boy, you're not blind and you're not stupid. When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits the Iron Throne?" :devil:





Since Joffrey is a bastard, there must be a prince he is not allowed to hurt. Robb was not a prince at the time being and Joff was indeed allowed to hurt Robb in the practice yard.



Kings of Winter are hiding under the stones (of Winterfell's Crypts).


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While Jon is most likely Rhaegar's son, Jon was not born royalty, trueborn child of Rhaegar or not. Robert usurped Aerys and succeeded him, many weeks before Jon was before. The royal family of the Seven Kingdoms were the Baratheons at the time of Jon's birth, not the Targaryens. The Kingsguard even admit that the Targaryens are no longer royalty by calling Robert the Usurper. The Targaryens weren't royalty again until Rhaelle crowned Viserys on Dragonstone. Jon is of royalty through his princely father. He is not himself royalty.

Those quotes also seem to be rather contradictory... how can Jon be both a prince and a king?

George said that Jon was born around the time of the Sack which means he was certainly royalty when he was conceived. Depending on the exact date of his birth, he might have been born while Aerys was alive but that does not matter much.

If Jon was crowned after the death of Aerys, he can be both a prince and a king.

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What does Jon's conception date have to do with anything? If Robert was sitting the throne before Jon's birth, Jon is not royalty. Seeing as everything points to Robert already being king by the time of Jon's birth Jon cannot be royalty. You don't get to be royalty, if your family is no longer royalty. The Baratheons were the royalty, not the Targaryens. Jon is just a noble at that point, same as any other Targaryen (as they still held Dragonstone). He is of royalty through his father, but he is not royalty himself. His family's royal status was gone.

Your second point doesn't make any sense. If you're a king, you're not a prince. You can't be both, unless you're talking about two different nations (king of one, prince of the other). If Jon was crowned, then he's a king and the quote should be saying that bastards can't hurt kings. It doesn't say that so it doesn't fit

Prince can be used as a catchall term for royalty, including kings.

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@Sorahb from http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/132132-rlj-v146/?p=7161007




if Rhaegar returned immediately after the Battle of the Bells, then he's not Jon's father as that's an impossible pregnancy.



The magic word is “if”. On one hand is what we do know, that Lyanna hadn’t seen Robert for more than a year seeing how Brandon died in 281 and Jon was born in 283, and on the other we have “if”



We don't know though when exactly Rhaegar returned, but the timeline by no means makes it certain that Rhaegar is the father of Lyanna's child. All it makes certain is that Lyanna is the mother of her child. Rhaegar could very well just be as excluded as being a possibility as Robert, Howland, or whoever if he wasn't by her side 9 months before the Tower of Joy as he'd already returned to King's Landing.



So who do you suppose that is Jon’s father?






Is Jon a Martell?




According to some people he is half Martell since he is Elia's son.


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That out of the way, I was just pointing out that we don't actually know that Rhaegar is possible as Jon's father, as we don't know when he returned other than it was after the Battle of the Bells. Maybe it's just me, but I felt that you made it seem like the timeline eliminated everybody but left it clear that Rhaegar is an option.

It does make it impossible.

We know from this e-mail that Jon’s birth is 8-9 months prior to Daenerys’s, and that Daenerys is born almost precisely 9 months after the death of Rhaegar and the Sack of King’s Landing (I: 25). This would place Jon’s birth within one month, give or take, of the Sack.

Also seeing how BoB was the one before the Trident means at least to me that the time between the two battles was less than 9 months hence Rhaegar would fit as Jon's father.

Elia's son by who? :S

Rhaegar. Jon is either Elia's Aegon or a third child. But he looks like Ned's younger clone because Lyanna was a powerful illusionist or because he lived somewhere were there wasn't so much so he *lost* the Martells colourings.

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I found no trace leading in that direction in the books. Maybe anyone else did?

eta: (unrelated to above)

@Lucifer means Lightbringer:

I found your reply in the previous thread very compelling, well done!

Cool man, I'm working on getting the whole thing together. I am more certain that I know the nature of the original LB than I am certain that Ned's sword specifically was LB... but I cannot seem to escape that conclusion. I have tried. I've told myself, "Dave, they haven't hid freaking LIGHTBRINGER under everyone's noses for 8,000 years, that just can't be... maw... couldn't be.." but there it is. The way Ned's sword acts during the reforging and coloring process has several anomalies. Anyway... working on that one. Cheers.

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The way Ned's sword acts during the reforging and coloring process has several anomalies. Anyway... working on that one. Cheers.

Yeah, that caught my attention, as well. I wonder if the fact that the sword was made into two may foreshadow that we might get two heroes instead of one.

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Yes, I could see that - I actually think there will be several people all doing Azor Ahai things to some extent, but Jon and Dany do seem like parallels in many ways.

What's interesting is the way Oathkeeper is described on two separate occasions: "waves of blood and night." That's the red and black patterning they are describing. But then Melisandre sees a "black and bloody tide" in her vision in ADWD, which is the same vision that she seas "only Snow" when looking for AA. A the black and bloody ride is actually "a thing;" my most recent essay is following the trail of that particular bit of symbolism, and it's quite important.

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"Bastards are not allowed to damage young princes," he said. "Any bruises they take in the practice yard must come from trueborn swords."

"Kings are a rare sight in the north."

Robert snorted. "More likely they were hiding under the snow. Snow, Ned!"

How can any alternative theory other than Rhaegar being the father of Jon explain above quotes or countless others in A King in Hiding threads?

Prince Joffrey... Later king Joffrey must not be bruised by the sword of Jon, the bastard of Winterfell...

To imply or state any different requires the speaker know of the twincest and Jon was a prince. (Even if RLJ is true and Jon is legitimate, Jon was never a prince. He was a king at birth.)

We do not need a theory to explain it... we need context,

Robert--Where are all your people?

"Likely they are too shy to come out." Ned jested...

"Kings are a rare sight in the north."

Robert snorted. "More likely they were hiding under the snow. Snow, Ned!"

People, is the antecedent of "they." "Kings" is not....

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So, where do we go from here? Someone wanted to build the cause for Arthur Dayne being the father?

And anyone who does is going to have to start with explaining why Hightower would willingly fight alongside Dayne, after he had broken so many of those precious KG oaths.

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And anyone who does is going to have to start with explaining why Hightower would willingly fight alongside Dayne, after he had broken so many of those precious KG oaths.

Not judging Aerys burning of Rickard and strangulation.... is the sole basis for the assertion that the kingsguard oath is precious to Hightower.

If fighting alongside Arthur the breaker of kingsguard oaths involved judging Aerys, Hightower would not have done it.

That is not a huge roadblock... not even a speed bump.

Hightower willingly fought Aerys's enemy alongside Arthur. Arthur happened not to take the "father no children" part of the kingsguard vow as a guideline rather than a rule.

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Not judging Aerys burning of Rickard and strangulation.... is the sole basis for the assertion that the kingsguard oath is precious to Hightower.

If fighting alongside Arthur the breaker of kingsguard oaths involved judging Aerys, Hightower would not have done it.

That is not a huge roadblock... not even a speed bump.

Hightower willingly fought Aerys's enemy alongside Arthur. Arthur happened not to take the "father no children" part of the kingsguard vow as a guideline rather than a rule.

There is a HUGE difference: Aerys is the King. Arthur is not. Fighting for Aerys and not judging the KING shows how seriously Hightower took his vows as a member of the KG. Arthur, if Jon's father, was a KG oathbreaker having abandoned his king, sleeping with a woman, and fathering a child, all while the King in question lost his realm. Hightower wouldn't have fought alongside that level of oathbreaking.

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I'd like to add that, whatever the official story concerning Hightower was, Jaime Lannister remembers Hightower in the following way many years later



That was the White Bull, loyal to the end and a better man than me, all agree


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