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R+L=J v.151

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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.

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)

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 v.125" (thread one hundred twenty five)

"R+L=J v.126" (thread one hundred twenty six)
 
"R+L=J v.127" (thread one hundred twenty seven)
 
"R+L=J v.128" (thread one hundred twenty eight)
 
"R+L=J v.129" (thread one hundred twenty nine)
 
"R+L=J v. 130" (thread one hundred thirty)
 
"R+L=J v.131" (thread one hundred thirty one)
 
"R+L=J v.132" (thread one hundred thirty two)


"R+L=J v.133" (thread one hundred thirty three)
 
"R+L=J v.134" (thread one hundred thirty four)
 
"R+L=J v.135" (thread one hundred thirty five)
 
"R+L=J v.136" (thread one hundred thirty six)
 
"R+L=J v.137" (thread one hundred thirty seven)
 
"R+L=J v.138"(thread one hundred thirty eight)
 
"R+L=J v.139" (thread one hundred thirty nine)
 
"R+L=J v.140" (thread one hundred forty)
 
"R+L=J v.141" (thread one hundred forty one)
 
"R+L=J v.142(thread one hundred forty two)
 
"R+L=J v.143" (thread one hundred forty three)
 
"R+L=J v. 144" (thread one hundred forty four)
 
"R+L=J v.145" (thread one hundred forty five)
 
"R+L=J v.146" (thread one hundred forty six)
 
"R+L=J v. 147" (thread one hundred forty seven)
 
"R+L=J v. 148" (thread one hundred forty eight)
 
"R+L=J v.149"(thread one hundred forty nine)
[/spoiler]

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@Avalatis, from the previous thread:

Of what you remember of Barristan and the shift from Robert to Joffery, Barristan seemed to form up immediately around Joffery who was not crowned. I believe (though my memory maybe wrong on this) that Barristan read the will and still sided with his new King Joffery.

Does Barristan's actions give us a clue of at least what Hightower's actions/reasons were?

Yes, Barristan read the letter, which stated 'until Robert's heir' came of age. As far as Barristan knew, that was Joffrey, who, as Roberts heir, was now King.

Barristan can definitely give us insight into the KG vows and how being a KG works, and might even, up to a point, be able to give us insights into Hightowers actions..

As Ned thought to himself, Barristan was honor-bound to defend and protect the boy he believed to be his King, and would not abandon him easily. That could be a first clue, I think..

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@Avalatis, from the previous thread:
Yes, Barristan read the letter, which stated 'until Robert's heir' came of age. As far as Barristan knew, that was Joffrey, who, as Roberts heir, was now King.

Barristan can definitely give us insight into the KG vows and how being a KG works, and might even, up to a point, be able to give us insights into Hightowers actions..

As Ned thought to himself, Barristan was honor-bound to defend and protect the boy he believed to be his King, and would not abandon him easily. That could be a first clue, I think..

At a minimum, Barristan's behavior clarifies that the KG have duties to the heir after death of the King, even before coronation. In the past, I recall some arguing that even if Jon is heir, he has not yet become King and therefore the 3 KG would not have a duty yet to him. The behavior of Barristan -- before Joffrey is crowned -- suggests otherwise.

 

Of course, as a separate matter, we still have the issue of whether Aerys really did name Viserys as the new heir after the death of Rhaegar (I know there is a statement suggesting as much in WOIAF, but I am not 100% convinced it actually happened, although I acknowledge it might have), and if so, whether news of this information got to the KG. In that last thread, it was suggested by The Twinslayer that because the naming of the new heir occurred before the deaths of Aegon and Rhaenys, the KG could not know about those deaths unless they also know about the naming of the new heir. I completely disagree. As suggested by Corbon, there are reasons why words of the deaths of the royals, including the children, might be sent far and wide while the news of the naming of the new heir might not be broadcast as widely. In particular, given that news of the deaths almost certainly would come for the winning side of the war, they have reason to broadcast that the Targs are all dead -- they have no reason to make any mention of Aerys naming Viserys as the heir, given that the information is completely irrelevant (both because the winners don't consider Viserys as the legit heir -- they coronated Robert -- and because they believe the other contender -- Aegon -- to be dead).

 

Here is what seems most likely in terms of information flow to ToJ. They are getting information from somewhere -- probably Starfall. News gets to Starfall from KL mostly through ravens and perhaps to some extent from people traveling from KL to Starfall. News that Rhaegar, Aerys, Elia, Aegon and Rhaenys are dead almost certainly would get to Starfall fairly quickly after the events occurred. That information would get to ToJ at the time of the next supply run. Would news of the naming of Viserys as heir ever get to Starfall -- not necessarily. The naming occurred in the middle of a war. Aerys had more pressing issues than to make a big announcement about naming a new heir. He also had reason not to broadcast it widely as it likely would upset Dorne -- who he already thought were turning against him. So while we cannot know for sure, it is quite logical that news of the naming of a new never would have gotten to Starfall at all. We certainly cannot assume that it would.

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Here is what seems most likely in terms of information flow to ToJ. They are getting information from somewhere -- probably Starfall. News gets to Starfall from KL mostly through ravens and perhaps to some extent from people traveling from KL to Starfall. News that Rhaegar, Aerys, Elia, Aegon and Rhaenys are dead almost certainly would get to Starfall fairly quickly after the events occurred. That information would get to ToJ at the time of the next supply run. Would news of the naming of Viserys as heir ever get to Starfall -- not necessarily. The naming occurred in the middle of a war. Aerys had more pressing issues than to make a big announcement about naming a new heir. He also had reason not to broadcast it widely as it likely would upset Dorne -- who he already thought were turning against him. So while we cannot know for sure, it is quite logical that news of the naming of a new never would have gotten to Starfall at all. We certainly cannot assume that it would.

 

I completely agree. I think it's very likely that Aerys named Viserys his heir privately--and only to a few people--and without any sort of official announcement. Therefore when news comes that Rhaegar, Aerys, and Aegon are all dead, their natural assumption is that the next Targaryen king is Rhaegar's legitimate son, not his brother because they (and everyone else) simply don't know that Aerys decided otherwise.  In the years following, when Yandel is writing his narrative, he somehow found out this little tidbit and recorded it (Pycelle, perhaps? Since Pycelle was with Aerys and the Mad King still trusted him, enough to open the gates of KL in the end).

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At a minimum, Barristan's behavior clarifies that the KG have duties to the heir after death of the King, even before coronation. In the past, I recall some arguing that even if Jon is heir, he has not yet become King and therefore the 3 KG would not have a duty yet to him. The behavior of Barristan -- before Joffrey is crowned -- suggests otherwise.

 
Agreed.

Of course, as a separate matter, we still have the issue of whether Aerys really did name Viserys as the new heir after the death of Rhaegar (I know there is a statement suggesting as much in WOIAF, but I am not 100% convinced it actually happened, although I acknowledge it might have), and if so, whether news of this information got to the KG. In that last thread, it was suggested by The Twinslayer that because the naming of the new heir occurred before the deaths of Aegon and Rhaenys, the KG could not know about those deaths unless they also know about the naming of the new heir. I completely disagree. As suggested by Corbon, there are reasons why words of the deaths of the royals, including the children, might be sent far and wide while the news of the naming of the new heir might not be broadcast as widely. In particular, given that news of the deaths almost certainly would come for the winning side of the war, they have reason to broadcast that the Targs are all dead -- they have no reason to make any mention of Aerys naming Viserys as the heir, given that the information is completely irrelevant (both because the winners don't consider Viserys as the legit heir -- they coronated Robert -- and because they believe the other contender -- Aegon -- to be dead).

Why would Yandel write that Viserys had been named heir if he had not been named heir? What purpose would that serve?

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Agreed.

Why would Yandel write that Viserys had been named heir if he had not been named heir? What purpose would that serve?

Yandel never states that Aerys named Viserys as the new heir. I agree that Aerys might have done so, I just am not 100% convinced. What WOIAF states is that Aerys sent the new heir to DS. Here is the relevant language from WOIAF:

 

"He sent his pregnant queen, Rhaella, and his younger son and new heir, Viserys, away to Dragonstone,"

 

WOIAF never explicitly states that Aerys formally named Viserys as the new heir. There are other possibilities as to why Yandel would make the above statement other than that Aerys made a formal declaration or naming of a new heir.Again (although, again, I am not saying it did not happen). I am suggesting that there are other possibilities given what we have been told -- and given that nowhere in any of the main books has anyone ever suggested that Aerys named Viserys as his heir.

 

For example, maybe Yandel is just confused about the order of succession. Or maybe Yandel is being careless -- Yandel knows that Viserys eventually became Aerys's heir because Aegon is killed -- and conflates the timing of when Viserys became the heir.

 

WOIAF is intentionally written from a point of view and from a person who does not have complete knowledge. So each statement must be examined in context for its level of reliability. For example, if Yandel stated that Aerys announced Viserys as his new heir and sent ravens to all parts of Westeros declaring his new heir -- the readers would have to accept that as fact. Yandel would not make up or be mistaken about something that in that context so many other people would know about. So if WOIAF wrote the passage that way, I would have no doubt that it happened that way. But instead the information is communicated in an off-hand way without any real explanation or specific context on how Viserys became the heir. So under those circumstances, the readers should consider other possibilities.

We just don't know for sure, and I think it is useful to point out that we should not assume with 100% certainty that Aerys named Viserys as his heir. He might have -- or maybe he did not. The one clue we have from WOIAF simply is too ambiguous and unreliable in its context to know for sure.

 

But much more important to the issue at hand, even if Aerys did name Viserys as the new heir, as I explained above, there are many reasons for why that information would never have gotten to the 3 KG at ToJ, even if they got information that happened later (like the deaths of the royals).
 

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Joffrey Baratheon was the eldest son and named and acknowledged heir of Robert Baratheon. Even after Stannis and Ned found out the truth the king never revoked Joff's status as his heir, and Eddard Stark never got the opportunity to formally proclaim Cersei's children bastards in the late king's name - which he was about to do when the Queen Dowager had him imprisoned.

 

Barristan Selmy believed Joffrey to be the true king but he was as of yet not honor-bound to follow him considering the fact that Joffrey had neither been formally crowned nor proclaimed king. He was expecting that to happen which is why he expressed the wish to join the new king, but it was up to the Hand and the Small Council to confirm and crown the new king. The situation after Robert's death very much resembles the situation at the dawn of the Dance when Ser Otto Hightower was in complete control of the Red Keep and the capital until Aegon II had actually been proclaimed and crowned.

 

From that whole thing we cannot infer who the knights at the tower might have considered to be the new king. Neither Prince Aegon nor Lyanna's son was Aerys' son, nor was any of them confirmed as the king's immediate heir. As Rhaegar's friends one expects that Dayne and Whent would have backed Rhaegar's blood (i.e. either Aegon or Lyanna's son) over Viserys - especially in light of the fact that they seem to have been part of a conspiracy against the king - but we cannot know that for certainty. Trying to save the Realm from a king's madness - and the monarch himself from his own madness as well as his family - is one thing, disregarding the explicit wishes of said monarch in case of his chosen heir's death (Rhaegar at the Trident) would be another. Aerys' preference for Viserys against Rhaegar and Rhaegar's children would have been widely known at court since Elia gave birth, and thus it makes not much sense to assume that the knights would have proclaimed a king or chosen a king for themselves in private without first gathering as much information about the late king's death and last wishes in regard to the succession.

 

This is especially true for Hightower if we assume he remained 'Aerys' man' until the end.

 

One would assume that they would have considered it their duty to protect any princes in their care with their lives, but making a king of their own would be a little too much for the whole serving role of the KG. Kingmaker Criston Cole was a highly unusual and controversial figure, not something the KG looked up to as an exemplary KG. Crowing or proclaiming a new king would inevitably endanger his life, which would be contrary to the whole protecting thing. Pretty much everyone (Perkin the Flea, Bittersteel, Stannis) can crown or proclaim a king, but you usually don't do such a thing lightly.

 

The idea that Yandel gives us only inside information there makes little sense - he delivers this little piece of information in a very casual manner, mentioning Viserys as Aerys' new heir in passing. This suggests to me that this was well-known and essentially uncontroversial information rather than something that would be considered to be unheard of or special secret information. Yandel is old enough to remember first hand whether Viserys was actually made the new heir to the Iron Throne by his father before his death, and thus one would expect him to mention any confusion in regards to the succession at this point if he only stumbled upon the Viserys thing during his research for the book - say, something like 'While a majority of the loyalist lords considered Prince Aegon to be the next in line to the Iron Throne certain accounts from court at this time suggest that Aerys II had named Prince Viserys his new heir after he received word of Rhaegar's death at the Trident.'

Considering that Yandel doesn't discuss this strongly suggest that pretty much no one had a problem with the fact that Aegon was passed over - making it clear that this was a well-known fact. Whether everyone in the Targaryen camp approved of that royal decision is another matter - one can assume that the Dornishmen did not - but pretty much everybody would have preferred a boy to an infant.

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One would assume that they would have considered it their duty to protect any princes in their care with their lives, but making a king of their own would be a little too much for the whole serving role of the KG. Kingmaker Criston Cole was a highly unusual and controversial figure, not something the KG looked up to as an exemplary KG. Crowing or proclaiming a new king would inevitably endanger his life, which would be contrary to the whole protecting thing. Pretty much everyone (Perkin the Flea, Bittersteel, Stannis) can crown or proclaim a king, but you usually don't do such a thing lightly.

 

I can meet half-way.  So you admit that Jon was born of royal blood?  :)

 

We can agree to disagree about Gerold's actions.  I believe if he was finding the easy and compromising solution, he would leave that tower and search for Viserys, if he didn't hear about him going to Dragonstone.  And no one will blame that he left his duty.  

 

But Gerold stayed and not only that, he was vehemently proud of his stance.  There was no doubt in his eyes who had claimed his vow in that tower, a person worthy enough, the heir to the throne.

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The idea that Yandel gives us only inside information there makes little sense - he delivers this little piece of information in a very casual manner, mentioning Viserys as Aerys' new heir in passing. This suggests to me that this was well-known and essentially uncontroversial information rather than something that would be considered to be unheard of or special secret information. Yandel is old enough to remember first hand whether Viserys was actually made the new heir to the Iron Throne by his father before his death, and thus one would expect him to mention any confusion in regards to the succession at this point if he only stumbled upon the Viserys thing during his research for the book - say, something like 'While a majority of the loyalist lords considered Prince Aegon to be the next in line to the Iron Throne certain accounts from court at this time suggest that Aerys II had named Prince Viserys his new heir after he received word of Rhaegar's death at the Trident.'

 

Considering that Yandel doesn't discuss this strongly suggest that pretty much no one had a problem with the fact that Aegon was passed over - making it clear that this was a well-known fact. Whether everyone in the Targaryen camp approved of that royal decision is another matter - one can assume that the Dornishmen did not - but pretty much everybody would have preferred a boy to an infant.

:agree:

Especially with the bolded. Seems like after the defeat at the Trident, Aerys would want to make sure (or try to make sure) people trusted the succession. Believed that the Targaryens were in power and set and all was still working out. Making clear who his heir was would be a good start.

 

Don't know for sure who he told about what or what the 3 KG at the tower knew or when--but they do seem to know about a number of events. Knowing the succession seems likely as well. 

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IceFire125,

 

I'm pretty sure that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, yes.

 

Leaving the tower and searching for Viserys would not be an option if the knights were bound to stay at the tower/with Lyanna by a royal or princely command they felt obliged to obey (i.e. stuff commanded to them by either Aerys or Rhaegar, although most likely Rhaegar).

 

During the Dance of the Dragons Lord Larys Strong assigned Willis Fell and Rickard Thorne of the Kingsguard to Princess Jaehaera and Prince Maelor, respectively, while King Aegon II himself was bereft of Kingsguard protection. This confirms that KG were not always obliged to consider protecting the king their first and foremost duty. If Rhaegar felt that those three men should guard this specific tower and/or this specific woman then they would have been honor-bound to obey (or felt honor-bound to obey) even if they thought that was a stupid idea. And they chose to stay at the tower while there was no prince of the blood there - back before Lyanna had been given birth - at a time when it was quite clear that the crowned and anointed King of Westeros could have needed their swords as well as the counsel of the Lord Commander (who had a seat on the Small Council).

 

Sly Wren,

 

purity of blood would also always be in favor of Viserys rather than Aegon (who was half-Martell). It is pretty obvious that Aerys II was very elitist in regards to the whole Valyrian blood thing (searching for a Valyrian bride for Rhaegar) not to mention that he came to distrust and resent the Dornishmen as well as actually despising Rhaegar's children (confirmed for Rhaenys).

 

Not to mention that Trident made it effectively impossible for Aerys to name Rhaegar his heir. In his mind, the Dornish had betrayed Rhaegar during the battle. Naming Aegon heir would actually reward the Martells for their treason and help them toppling Aerys II as Aegon, the Prince of Dragonstone, could easily become King Aegon VI Targaryen in the eyes of the world. A Dornish betrayal suggests some sort of alliance between Robert and Lewyn/Doran, and that could easily mean that Robert and the rebels were now content continue the fight in the name of Aegon VI rather than in the name of Robert I.

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At a minimum, Barristan's behavior clarifies that the KG have duties to the heir after death of the King, even before coronation. In the past, I recall some arguing that even if Jon is heir, he has not yet become King and therefore the 3 KG would not have a duty yet to him. The behavior of Barristan -- before Joffrey is crowned -- suggests otherwise.

 

Of course, as a separate matter, we still have the issue of whether Aerys really did name Viserys as the new heir after the death of Rhaegar (I know there is a statement suggesting as much in WOIAF, but I am not 100% convinced it actually happened, although I acknowledge it might have), and if so, whether news of this information got to the KG. In that last thread, it was suggested by The Twinslayer that because the naming of the new heir occurred before the deaths of Aegon and Rhaenys, the KG could not know about those deaths unless they also know about the naming of the new heir. I completely disagree. As suggested by Corbon, there are reasons why words of the deaths of the royals, including the children, might be sent far and wide while the news of the naming of the new heir might not be broadcast as widely. In particular, given that news of the deaths almost certainly would come for the winning side of the war, they have reason to broadcast that the Targs are all dead -- they have no reason to make any mention of Aerys naming Viserys as the heir, given that the information is completely irrelevant (both because the winners don't consider Viserys as the legit heir -- they coronated Robert -- and because they believe the other contender -- Aegon -- to be dead).

 

Here is what seems most likely in terms of information flow to ToJ. They are getting information from somewhere -- probably Starfall. News gets to Starfall from KL mostly through ravens and perhaps to some extent from people traveling from KL to Starfall. News that Rhaegar, Aerys, Elia, Aegon and Rhaenys are dead almost certainly would get to Starfall fairly quickly after the events occurred. That information would get to ToJ at the time of the next supply run. Would news of the naming of Viserys as heir ever get to Starfall -- not necessarily. The naming occurred in the middle of a war. Aerys had more pressing issues than to make a big announcement about naming a new heir. He also had reason not to broadcast it widely as it likely would upset Dorne -- who he already thought were turning against him. So while we cannot know for sure, it is quite logical that news of the naming of a new never would have gotten to Starfall at all. We certainly cannot assume that it would.

 

 

Actually for a king who now finds himself without his firstborn Crown Prince, naming an heir would have been the MOST important thing. Particularly in the middle of the war where there is already Targaryen blood in the water. And choosing a boy prince over an infant prince where all the babes relatives and uncles would be positioning themselves around the new crown prince would make Aerys place more precarious.

At least he controls Viserys.

 

Some of the worst wars and strife were over succession crisis and infant kings.

When Richard III lost his only child and heir, it was seen as Gods retribution and condemnation of his "usurpation" of his brothers children and weakened his rule. When Henry VII, who defeated Richard lost his heir, Arthur, he had Henry. (VIII) named in a VERY public way, his next heir, where all the nobles swore fealty to him.

 

Aegon:

 

If Aerys suspected the Dornish of betrayal, that would be another reason he would disinherit Aegon, or the other scenario, Aerys disinherited Rhaegar and thus his line. There is no reason why Aerys calling Rhaegar back to fight, and later declaring him a traitor posthumously are mutually exclusive. If Rhaegar had won, then all well and good for Rhaegar , but he didn't, so Aerys can do as he likes with no checks and balances.

He can declare Rhaegar under the evil influences of others who caused his sons love for him to turn. That was pretty much the justification Edward VI used when he condemned his own brother, the Duke of Clarence to death in a vat of malmsey wine.

 

As for the Dornish, they really aren't nearly as powerful as other Houses, and have more to lose without the good graces of Westeros.

 

Finally, if word of the deaths of Aegon and his sister had reached the KG, the next obvious question would be, "who is heir?" I would be quite surprised, given the knowledge they would have to have about Targaryen history, that they wouldn't know Viserys had been named heir.

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Finally, if word of the deaths of Aegon and his sister had reached the KG, the next obvious question would be, "who is heir?" I would be quite surprised, given the knowledge they would have to have about Targaryen history, that they wouldn't know Viserys had been named heir.


Unless the naming of Viserys as heir went against the normal line of succession in which case the question becomes whether the KG were aware of this change in succession. I don't think they were.

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@Carbon from previous thread

 

The KG and ToJ had definitely heard some news, though its not entirely clear how much news. The first exchange Ned merely says that he looked for them 'at the Trident' and they show they completely understand the reference by their reply.

 

Barristan's actions might give some insight, but they also might not. Barristan himself considers he has made mistakes (relating to these actions) in the past.

 

Sorry I should have clarified. "The news" is specific to the announcement that Aerys declared Viserys his new heir after Rhaegar died. There have been previous debates about this. SFDanny was of the position that it was highly likely that the 3 KG knew "the news". But as SFDanny doesn't respond to any of my posts I suspect I've been blocked/ignored if there is such a feature on this forum.

 

As for making mistakes that is clearly true. When he goes to Dany he pretty much confesses to such.

 

As for Barristan's actions I thought it was more clear cut because I remembered the show's version more so than the book's. The Khal Who Rode West gave this quote last thread:

 

 

Ned produced Roberts letter. Lord Varys, be so kind as to show this to my lady of Lannister.
The eunuch carried the letter to Cersei. The queen glanced at the words. Protector of the Realm, she read. Is this meant to be your shield, my lord? A piece of paper? She ripped the letter in half, ripped the halves in quarters, and let the pieces flutter to the floor.
Those were the kings words, Ser Barristan said, shocked.
We have a new king now, Cersei Lannister replied. Lord Eddard, when last we spoke, you gave me some counsel. Allow me to return the courtesy. Bend the knee, my lord. Bend the knee and swear fealty to my son, and we shall allow you to step down as Hand and live out your days in the grey waste you call home.
Would that I could, Ned said grimly. If she was so determined to force the issue here and now, she left him no choice. Your son has no claim to the throne he sits. Lord Stannis is Roberts true heir.
Liar! Joffrey screamed, his face reddening.
Mother, what does he mean? Princess Myrcella asked the queen plaintively. Isnt Joff the king now?
You condemn yourself with your own mouth, Lord Stark, said Cersei Lannister. Ser Barristan, seize this traitor.
The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard hesitated. In the blink of an eye he was surrounded by Stark guardsmen, bare steel in their mailed fists.

 

It looks like he did not know the contents of the letter. He also didn't act against Ned completely, well there was hesitation so he didn't really have a chance to. If  he had known the full contents of the letter: Ned being Regent and Lord Protector Cercei would have had zero power in that throne room during that exchange. Joffery (the heir) was not fit to be King yet based on the command of the previous King Robert. Which means all judgements were to be deferred to Ned who was chosen for the task.

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@Kingmonkey previous thread

 

 

Right, but Viserys was still alive. Barristan chose not to remain faithful to the Targs.

 

The only living Targaryen who could rule was Viserys which I believe it is hinted many saw the same madness in him that Aerys had. But yeah he decided that the Targaryens were done (as they were King's of nothing). I think it's a bit harsh to say he wasn't faithful to the Targs where he fought on the Trident and was critically wounded from the battle. He gave everything for his liege, accepting defeat is kind of natural.

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The short lifespan in the middle ages as well as the constant warfare made it also quite imperative to name an heir who had already come of age. Another good example would be the succession of the early Plantagenets - while he was still alive and well Richard I favored his nephew Arthur (the son of his younger brother Geoffrey) as his heir, but on his deathbed he decided to name his youngest brother John heir who was old enough to rule in his own name and (supposedly) strong enough to defend the borders of his realm.

 

Knowing who the anointed or legal heir of the king is doesn't make that one king. At least not in the ultimate sense that he is recognized as such by everyone. It is possible that the knights at the tower swore an oath of fealty to Lyanna's son as their king but this is actually highly unlikely for multiple reasons.

 

(1) There was no need to do that since they were already honor-bound to defend him as a prince of the blood (or part of the command which kept them at the tower/with Lyanna).

 

(2) It would only cause them problems if the king had named another heir (Viserys III) and if that heir should prevail (the KG would then have to break the oath they had sworn to Lyanna's son to return into the service of King Viserys III).

 

(3) Swearing an oath of fealty to an infant would be neither binding nor valid since the child could not reasonably be expect to accept it (it is only conceivable if there was some sort of guarding speaking for the child).

 

(4) The knights would have been aware of the dangers the Targaryens were in right now. Proclaiming a prince king would only complicate things in general and draw attention to themselves - we see how part of the Aegon plan is not proclaiming the boy king until the time is right.

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snip

 

Barristan's actions seem a bit more murky. You do seem to be projecting stuff on to him. He clearly had a Kingsguard already with Joffery and there is no reason to think he hadn't been with Joffery previous to the small council meeting. But if Barristan did not know the content of letter, his actions aren't as clear cut as I originally thought.

 

As for your inconsistencies with Hightower I think that acts as evidence. But we've had that debate many times before and we just go in circles.

 

 

Considering that Yandel doesn't discuss this strongly suggest that pretty much no one had a problem with the fact that Aegon was passed over - making it clear that this was a well-known fact. Whether everyone in the Targaryen camp approved of that royal decision is another matter - one can assume that the Dornishmen did not - but pretty much everybody would have preferred a boy to an infant.

 

First Aerys was not portrayed as very logical by any character. I doubt that if he had named Viserys heir it was because of that reason. And when you're losing a war a boy is no better than a toddler (I think Aegon was too old to be qualified an infant).

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Avalatis,

 

the point with Barristan is that he knew Joffrey was Robert's chosen heir - while the king himself or the Hand had not revoked that status by publicly proclaiming that he was indeed a bastard born out of treachery he had every right assuming that Joffrey would be the next king. But even then, until the new king was crowned and proclaimed all the legal power was in the hands of the Hand, and Barristan deferred to Ned in that capacity. Joff's youth would have made a Regency necessary in any case, and King Robert had named Ned Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm - which would have put all the regal power in Ned's hands until Joff came of age.

 

The Kingsguard would have been bound to obey Ned as much as any other royal official.

 

Whether Barristan would actually have believed stories about Cersei's children is another matter. Say, Robert proclaims it on his deathbed, or Ned successfully imprisons Cersei and her children and tells the truth to the Realm in a public court session - this doesn't mean that the KG decides dying Robert or evil Ned Stark are right. Perhaps they believed baseless rumors evil men told about gracious Queen Cersei? Or they simply don't want to serve under King Stannis and thus choose to believe that Cersei's children were fathered by Robert.

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At least he controls Viserys.

 

Which would be the main reason he would ever name Viserys his heir. He didn't trust the Dornish and didn't feel he could trust Elia and her children. But he had complete control over Viserys. I seriously doubt he had the clarity of thought to decide that a boy would be better than a toddler.

 

 

Finally, if word of the deaths of Aegon and his sister had reached the KG, the next obvious question would be, "who is heir?" I would be quite surprised, given the knowledge they would have to have about Targaryen history, that they wouldn't know Viserys had been named heir.

 

Viserys was 3rd in line for the throne before Jon was born. The line of succession doesn't need the King to write up a graph, though he can. There are rules of birth and order, which the King can go around and name the next heir if he so chooses. The Kingsguard will know that Jon comes before Viserys in the *natural* line of succession. So without a formal declaration stating otherwise they wouldn't just assume Viserys was the new heir as he was 4th in line.

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Avalatis,

 

the point with Barristan is that he knew Joffrey was Robert's chosen heir - while the king himself or the Hand had not revoked that status by publicly proclaiming that he was indeed a bastard born out of treachery he had every right assuming that Joffrey would be the next king. But even then, until the new king was crowned and proclaimed all the legal power was in the hands of the Hand, and Barristan deferred to Ned in that capacity. Joff's youth would have made a Regency necessary in any case, and King Robert had named Ned Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm - which would have put all the regal power in Ned's hands until Joff came of age.

 

The Kingsguard would have been bound to obey Ned as much as any other royal official.

 

Whether Barristan would actually have believed stories about Cersei's children is another matter. Say, Robert proclaims it on his deathbed, or Ned successfully imprisons Cersei and her children and tells the truth to the Realm in a public court session - this doesn't mean that the KG decides dying Robert or evil Ned Stark are right. Perhaps they believed baseless rumors evil men told about gracious Queen Cersei? Or they simply don't want to serve under King Stannis and thus choose to believe that Cersei's children were fathered by Robert.

 

I agree. I thought it was clear cut because I thought (which was wrong) that Barristan knew the contents of the letter (the show messing with my memory of the books) yet acted against Ned anyways on the side of Joffery. This did not happen. Had it happened this way we would have saw that they were bound to obey Ned yet chose to act against him for their new King (thus ignoring the orders of their previous King).

 

Instead Barristan only caught a tidbit of it (Lord Protector) and also was given no opportunity to act against Ned (as he hesitated). So the scene doesn't actually give a clear answer to the Obey aspect of the debate as I thought.

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He sent his pregnant queen, Rhaella, and his younger son and new heir, Viserys, away to Dragonstone.

 

This does not mean:

  • Aerys disowned Rhaegar
  • Aerys disowned Aegon
  • Aerys made a new proclamation for Viserys as heir
  • Aerys disseminated his proclamation
  • It was well known that Viserys had been named to preceed Aegon in line to the throne
  • That any Kingsguard knew about a change

This can mean:

  • Viserys is the only living Targaryen heir to the throne that Aerys holds after the war
  • Aerys did not make any changes to his heirs
  • Yandel is not very good at chronology, like GRRM

There is no reason to assume that any in-world characters know what the readers know.  There is good reason to question what we, as readers, know as well.  After all a hand with some shortened fingers had been hung on the gate at White Harbor.  It sure seemed as though Davos had been executed. 

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