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UnViserion

The Mad King Commanded Rhaegar to Kidnap Lyanna - *Alternative Theory*

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Hey all,

 

I’ve seen some alternative theories regarding why Rhaegar abducted Lyanna sprouting up lately. I’ve also noted that many users credit the prince for 1) plunging the realm into war, 2) abandoning his wife and children, and 3) being stupid enough to allow his name to be associated with her disappearance. Rather than post such a sizeable response in one of those threads, I decided it would be better to make a thread of my own. Hope you find it interesting.

 

**The Mad King commanded Rhaegar to personally kidnap Lyanna (to be discussed further down)**

 

The theory cannot be put into context without looking at the political climate of Westeros as Aerys would see it.

 

Aerys' madness and paranoia were well documented, and Rhaegar was not spared from his suspicion. The Mad King's court was filled with lickspittles who benefitted greatly from his rule and were not eager for the day the crowned prince rose to power. We know from The World of Ice and Fire that they planted doubts in his mind about Rhaegar's loyalty, and is believed to be one of the reasons why Aerys attended the Tourney at Harrenhal. I am aware that there are many users here who dismiss the idea that the other kingdoms were planning rebellion, that’s ok. For the theory to work, we need only look at the pending betrothals of the great houses and the political climate of Westeros through Aerys' eyes.

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Betrothals: The North, The Riverlands, & The Stormlands

The North: 2 pending betrothals to Southron regions-- The Riverlands and the Stormlands

The Riverlands: Set to become united in marriage to the North through Brandon Stark and Catelyn Tully

The Stormlands: Also set to become united in marriage to the North through Robert Baratheon and Lyanna Stark

 

This represents a huge shift in collective power and loyalty. A coordinated secession effort (or attempt to seat Rhaegar on the Iron Throne) between these 3 would be difficult to quell in it’s own right, and that’s before considering the allegiance of the following Kingdoms..

 

Political Climate: The Westerlands, The Vale, & The Iron Islands (as Aerys sees it)

The Westerlands: Heavy resentment towards the crown. Aerys was always suspicious of Tywin and even considered having him executed on trumped up charges of treason (per The World of Ice and Fire). He robbed Tywin of his heir and worked to undermine him for years. He does not trust House Lannister, they are no friends of the Crown. Granted, Tywin would by hesitant to openly declare for Rhaegar or Westerland independence for fear of Jaime’s life, but he would surely prefer either of those options over continued subordination to Aerys. That much isn’t really arguable IMO.

The Vale: Seat of Jon Arryn, who is currently fostering Lyanna Stark's betrothed Robert Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End, and her brother Ned Stark of Winterfell.  In Aerys mind, if Jon Arryn is in bed with anybody it isn't the Iron Throne. The Eryie was conquered by Visenya and her dragon. Without them, the Iron Throne poses very little threat militarily. No one’s getting past the Bloody Gate.

The Iron Islands: Mostly irrelevant, but there's no reason to believe Aerys or anybody else in Westeros trusted them at all. Past and present events in the series confirm that a healthy distrust of the Iron Islands is always the wisest policy. I doubt someone as paranoid as Aerys viewed them as friends, and even if they did rally to his side (about 0.87% chance) they would mostly be non-factors. Sure they could wreak some havoc, but aiding the king in exchange for reward is not the Ironborn way. Remember, Balon turned down Robbs offer.. which would have made him a King again. They’ll pay the iron price for their crown or have none at all.

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Now if you're Aerys, surrounded by sycophants who 1) don't want Rhaegar to assume control by force or 2) an overthrow of the Targaryen dynasty by the other Kingdoms, what do you tell him? THIS WHOLE THING IS LITTERED WITH RED FLAGS! (Which it kinda is)

 

It is well documented that Aerys had no aversion to using his royal power to insult or destroy his foes. 3 quick examples include:

 

-Robbing Tywin of Jaime and leaving him with a malformed dwarf for an heir (spite)

-Obliterating House Darklyn and House Hollard (treason)

-Imprisoning and later killing Brandon and Rickard Stark (“treason”)

 

Now that we’ve taken a brief look at the political climate of Westeros as Aerys sees it, let’s go back to the alternative theory as to why Rhaegar would abduct Lyanna at Aerys command.

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**The Mad King commanded Rhaegar to personally kidnap Lyanna**

 

If you’re Aerys and suspect Rhaegar is plotting to usurp your throne, how do you undermine him politically and draw out your enemies? One way would be to have him abduct Lyanna, and make sure his name was connected to her disappearance. It drives a wedge between the Prince and his supposed allies, and after what transpired at Harrenhal it’s an easy sell.

 

But something doesn’t add up. Why would Rhaegar, a man typically remembered as noble, honorable and dutiful, commit absolute political suicide like this? After all, Aerys is in poor health. He barely eats, doesn’t takes care of himself, and if Rhaegar has it his way (hypothetically, of course) will soon be removed from power anyway. Then he’d be King and could make whatever preparations he wanted for the Long Night. It strains credulity to believe that a man as respected and intelligent as Rhaegar would throw everything away on a desperate whim, be it prophecy or (heaven forbid!) love. It simply doesn’t seem consistent with what the majority of characters have to say about him. IMO, obsession with the prophecy alone isn’t enough to explain it, and ‘true love’ is an even weaker explanation (more on that later).

 

Now the question is: how could Aerys possibly force him to do this? Simple— he holds his family hostage, with a promise they’ll face a traitor’s death if he does not comply. Aerys already had another heir in Viserys. If he discovered (or strongly believed) that Rhaegar was conspiring to remove him from power, textual evidence suggests he would view the Prince and his family as traitors all and not hesitate to extinguish them. That’s what he did to the Darklyns, the Hollards, and attempted to do with the Starks. Whether or not he would go that far with his own grandchildren is debatable, but I think it is telling that he gave an order to obliterate all of Kings Landing with wildfire while they were still in the city.

 

Additionally, why did Aerys execute Brandon and Rickard Stark? Madness explains some of it (maybe most), but does it explain all of it? Keep in mind, executing them for being justly outraged at Lyanna’s abduction does little to endear Rhaegar to the future rebels. From that point on, Rhaegar becomes an accomplice in their minds, an entitled prince who can do whatever he wants without repercussion. It undermines the prince just as much as himself. Aerys’ next act is to call for the heads of Ned and Robert. Why didn’t he call for Jon Arryn’s? Because he didn’t have to. Either Jon would panic in the sudden wake of Brandon and Rickards deaths and submit, or he’d prove himself the traitor that he was (in Aerys’ mind). As we well know, the Lord of the Vale called his banners. It’s worth noting Jon wasn’t going to champion Rhaegar by that point. As far as he was concerned, Lyanna’s abduction is what instigated the whole charade.. and Robert obviously wouldn’t have been a fan. In compliance with the theory (again, from Aerys’ perspective), this forces Jon to play his hand 1) earlier than expected and 2) without Rickard (and several Northern lords who also perished in Kings Landing) to rally/lead the North.

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Next, does the theory fit the narrative? R + L = J is one of the best supported theories in the book, but we know so little about why it happened. GRRM loves his tragic characters, to have something or someone portrayed as one thing only to have the initial narrative prove false.

 

Some common fan conclusions regarding Rhaegar are:

“Rheagar’s obsession with the prophecy led him to abduct Lyanna and sparked the war”

“He abandoned his wife and children to bang a 14 year old”

“He abandoned his wife and children because he loved Lyanna”

“He’s a selfish idiot”

 

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I completely respect that. But remember, we’re talking about one of the most pivotal events in the entire series— the mystery that was Lyanna Stark’s disappearance. In my opinion, any of the above would be painfully shallow in comparison to the intricate, complex plots and events we’ve been treated to thus far. I’d even go as far as to say they are unbefitting a story as epic in scope and magnitude as A Song of Ice and Fire. I can’t possibly prove that this is not the lasting impression GRRM means to leave us with regarding Rhaegar, but it feels very general, simplified, and vague. **NOTE: I’m not calling those who’ve reached these conclusions shallow. I’m saying in comparison to the complexity of the rest of the story, this feels inconsistent and weak in terms of overall plot. With that said, GRRM is still the man even if I'm 100% wrong here. 

 

The whole abduction just doesn’t make sense. We know the who, we know the what, we don’t know the why. The text offers some character explanations, but they are often conflicting and largely unreliable/biased. Below are some character & broad text conclusions:

 

Robert Baratheon: Rhaegar lusted after her, then abducted and raped her.

Barristan Selmy: Rhaegar loved his lady Lyanna, and thousands died for it

Viserys Targaryen: The dragon takes what it wants 

Cersei Lannister: Insinutaes that he was bored with his wife, wouldn’t have looked twice at the “wolf-girl” if they’d been wed

Ned Stark: Doesn’t talk about it

Prophecy: There is strong evidence that The Prince That Was Promised prophecy was a significant factor. There is also some evidence that Rhaegar got it right. 

Love: Some evidence, but I don’t think R & L spent enough time together prior to her abduction  for ‘love’ to be the primary explanation. Assuming Lyanna was the KotLT (strong evidence), Rhaegar probably would have admired her for it. But I think it’s a pretty big reach to believe he would simply “fall in love with her” on that account.

 

Note the character-based conclusions are highly self serving except for Ned's. Robert was avenging his lost love. Barristan views Rhaegar very favorably, so he thinks that he must have loved her. Love can be a noble thing at face value. Viserys thinks the Targaryens are superior and can do whatever they want. Cersei thinks incredibly highly of herself. And Ned finds the whole thing too painful to discuss.

 

The entire series is riddled with tragedy, and there is a strong precedent for things not being as they seem.  Keeping that in mind, ask yourself-- which of the following fits the narrative best?

 

Love, Prophecy, or Politics?

 

Considering how GRRM typically avoids fantasy tropes, I find politics to be the most compelling explanation. And the tragic irony is there as well. First Rhaegar can be categorized as the fall guy who selfishly put prophecy or love over the best interests of the realm, abandoning his wife and two children to horrible fates. Then, it turns out he was forced into playing the game to protect his family, and still couldn’t save them. Of course, having a child with Lyanna most certainly doesn’t fall under the category of “doing everything he could to protect his family,” but he was still human. It leaves the imperfect watermark that GRRM loves to write into his characters.

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One final ramble regarding the rebellion and then I’ll conclude. Rhaegar doesn’t need to be tied to this hypothetical rebellion, and the rebellion itself doesn’t even need to have existed in the mind of anyone but the Mad King. Any of the above is still possible. After Tywin resigned as Hand, who was left to placate his paranoia and advocate reason? Considering that Aerys was burning those he deemed as traitors and the pending betrothals represent a realignment of power and loyalty— who would? Maybe the Kingdoms were considering declaring their independence again, maybe they weren’t. If you ask me, the Targaryens were able to remain in power because they had dragons to answer objections. Without them, what reason do most of the other Kingdoms have to remain united? The Targaryens, in their attempts to “keep the bloodlines pure,” didn’t marry into most of the other houses. As a result, they never shook off the label of foreigners who conquered simply because they could. In addition, the Tragedy at Summerhall left their numbers at a historic low. The Targaryen dynasty was forged through Fire and Blood, and the subsequent in-house wars and unworthy monarchs caused the realm to bleed further. With Tywin’s resignation, governance fell to the Mad King and his court of flatterers. There is a reason the Targaryen’s tried for a hundred+ years to bring back the dragons—they knew that Westeros would not remain subordinate forever on prestige alone. They ruled Westeros for roughly 300 years, but that was preceded by thousands of years of independence. That’s not nearly enough time to shake off the foreigner label. Without dragons to enforce their rule, it was only a matter of time before talks of rebelling began. Whether or not the betrothals between the North, Riverlands and Stormlands were really just innocent marriage pacts or the first step towards rebellion, they were still an undeniable threat. 

 

I apologize for the length and thank you for reading. I don’t pretend to be an expert on all things Westeros and could be way off base regarding all of this. There isn’t enough solid evidence to confirm the theory, I’m just trying to cast doubt on the idea that his motives were based purely out of self-interest. It’s just another plausible, alternative explanation as to why Rhaegar abducted Lyanna, and I think my guess is as good as anybody else’s based on the information (or lack thereof) we have at this time. Hell-- maybe Rhaegar and Aerys both agreed that they could not risk allowing the betrothals to go through and he did act selfishly to preserve his future inheritance. You could take the premise of this theory and spin it many different ways, good or bad for the players involved. I'm just taking this moment to play devil's advocate for Rhaegar, since many popular conclusions cast him in a negative light. Also, I think Rhaegar's a great character. You might have noticed.

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Let me know what you think, civil criticism is more than welcome  B)
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So the best way to destabilize the growing faction is to cause a major inurgence related to the Crown Prince and then deal with it with fire, literally. I guess that  plan backfired somewhat.

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...

 

I like everything that you wrote, IMHO it is very compelling and pretty much possible (and it is kind of clever from the "mad" king). I would like to add just one more idea: the logical conclusion of your theory is that the father of Jon in not Rheagar ...

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I like everything that you wrote, IMHO it is very compelling and pretty much possible (and it is kind of clever from the "mad" king). I would like to add just one more idea: the logical conclusion of your theory is that the father of Jon in not Rheagar ...

 

Not exactly. Though a few of the scenarios resulting in R+L=J could add some rather disturbing dynamics to their coupling since it would be a captor/captive relationship on face value at least.

 

There's no reason to believe they couldn't have fallen for eachother in some way while on the road. IF (big if, no direct evidence)  Rhaegar was acting on the King's command to protect his family, she could have sympathized with him. I think each of them had qualities that the other would be drawn to. In this scenario, neither of them would have wanted to be there and they are both victims to a certain degree.

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Weren't Elia and the children at Dragonstone at the time of Rhaegar's disappearance? How did Aerys plan to harm them? Was the garrison at DS loyal to Aerys over Rhaegar?

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Weren't Elia and the children at Dragonstone at the time of Rhaegar's disappearance? How did Aerys plan to harm them? Was the garrison at DS loyal to Aerys over Rhaegar?

 

Considering nearly all of my theory is completely unverifiable conjecture at this point anyways, I might as well pile on some more ;)

 

The theory has to account for the fact that Barristan never even considers this in his POV, so I'd say it would have to be kept fairly secret. Aerys would not have sent a raven detailing his plan to Rhaegar, he would have just summoned him to court (assuming the prince had been on Dragonstone with his family). I would argue that the garrison owes it's fealty to Rhaegar, but he derives his power from being the prince, which is a title directly subordinate to the king. If the king orders them to be moved to Kings Landing, they go to Kings Landing. Also, after war broke out he could have had them moved there under the guise of Kings Landing being a safer place from them. Or he could gracelessly do so to hold Dorne hostage. He is the Targaryen king after all, and Dragonstone is a Targaryen seat.  

 

Great question though. I would assume the garrison at Dragonstone owes its fealty to the King over the Prince, since he's that's where Rhaegar derives his authority and privilege. Additionally, they'd have no reason to assume that Aerys had malicious intent.  

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I'm highly doubtful of this.

 

Crackpot meter at 70%.

 

Can you at least drop it to 66% to give me credit for the inexcusable amount of time and effort I put into it? :crying:

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Can you at least drop it to 66% to give me credit for the inexcusable amount of time and effort I put into it? :crying:

 

Don't mistake me. I think that it's an excellent theory, and if the GOT were a real world, I would think it more likely than Rhaegar simply kidnapping Lyanna out of love.

 

However, I simply think that, as GRRM said, they're just words in the books. You really can't read that far into them.

 

Secondly, the storyline has changed much since the beginning.

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Don't mistake me. I think that it's an excellent theory, and if the GOT were a real world, I would think it more likely than Rhaegar simply kidnapping Lyanna out of love.

 

However, I simply think that, as GRRM said, they're just words in the books. You really can't read that far into them.

 

Secondly, the storyline has changed much since the beginning.

 

Good points, especially that last part. However, you could argue that since he originally planned for the series to be much shorter, we're missing a lot of political intrigue from the beginning that could be important later.

...Then again, since it is common knowledge that he is telling a drastically different story than originally intended, much of the theory could be rendered irrelevant.

I hear ya

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Good points, especially that last part. However, you could argue that since he originally planned for the series to be much shorter, we're missing a lot of political intrigue from the beginning that could be important later.

...Then again, since it is common knowledge that he is telling a drastically different story than originally intended, much of the theory could be rendered irrelevant.

I hear ya

 

 

I mean originally, Jon's parentage only mattered to the extent that he could bang Arya without guilt...

 

Considering the time lineof the original story, that would've meant a 19 year old Jon banging a 12 year old arya...

 

not sure that would've been good :P

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I'm pretty certain Lyanna was kidnapped for political reasons. But I think it's more likely Rhaegar was protecting Lyanna from Aerys, and that Aerys only took Rhaegar's family hostage at some point during the war. We know Elia and her children were used as hostages to ensure the Dornish's loyalty after the rebels started winning, so it's only reasonable to assume that at that point it was also used to get Rhaegar to come back (by sending Hightower) and lead the loyalist army to the Trident.

 

I completely agree that the usual explanations (love/prophecy/lust) are painfully shallow to say the least. And I like to quote butterbumps! on this:

If we were to hear an account of the Wot5K 15 years after the fact, without the POV structure, detail and info-dumps, in the fashion of bits and pieces we hear of Robert's Rebellion, we'd think Ned was just instigating matters due to a Lannister grudge and that Stannis was being opportunistic.  We wouldn't have confirmation of Joff's bastardy, and we'd start filling in the blanks with explanations of vengeance, irrationality and opportunism too.  Ned and Stannis in particular would come across as very different characters.  We'd also have absolutely no idea that Varys, LF and Pycelle were working behind the scenes to instigate the events, which would make everyone seem like irrational lunatics.   I think reflecting on this, we should exercise caution in assuming that the actions of those in Robert's Rebellion are exactly as they seem in the rumors we read 15 years after the fact.  Further, keeping an open mind about the actions of the shadow players, like Varys and Pycelle, is probably prudent, given how we saw the Wot5K unfold as a byproduct of shadowy information manipulations.

 

So yes, in a nutshell, I think your overall take on this is correct, though I disagree with your specific theory. Obviously, there's more to this kidnapping than meets the eye. Not only is it likely that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna for essentially political reasons, but thinking about the role of "shadow players" can bring very interesting thoughts. When Robert's Rebellion started, a civil war had been in the making for years already. The Starks, Baratheons and Tullys were forming a powerful alliance with the support of the Arryns. Tywin Lannister was tired of Aerys's shit. The Mad King was suspicious of his heir. Said heir may have been scheming to depose his faher at Harrenhal. Varys was already around and probably had an agenda of his own. The Maesters may have been secretly working against magic, and possibly Targaryens (see: DoD) all along. A war was likely ; the only question was what the different sides would be. Who's to say some people did not engineer Robert's Rebellion? Given what we know of the Wot5k, it's prudent to assume that most of what we know of the rebellion is rubbish. People tend to focus on the R+L aspect because they like Jon as a character, but Lyanna's abduction just happened to be the trigger for a chain of events which could have happened anyway. In fact, what's odd about Robert's Rebellion is that without Lyanna's abduction, one might have expected Rhaegar to end up on the throne eventually. He seemed to be a pretty competent guy, was liked by Tywin and supported by the Dornish ; had he been able to secure the support of the Stark-Baratheon-Tully-Arryn lot he would have been safe on the throne. On the other hand, even if it had been unsuccessful, Robert's Rebellion would have been a disaster for the Targaryen dynasty, by making a huge dent in the royal authority. So maybe, maybe, someone made sure, as you said, that Rhaegar would have to abduct Lyanna, thus threatening Targaryen rule.

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I mean originally, Jon's parentage only mattered to the extent that he could bang Arya without guilt...
 
Considering the time lineof the original story, that would've meant a 19 year old Jon banging a 12 year old arya...
 
not sure that would've been good :P

Why not. His 21 year old father courted his 13 year old mother.
And his 23 year old father banged his 15 year old mother.
And we have so many people crying that this is a Romeo and Juliet romantic love story.

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I'm pretty certain Lyanna was kidnapped for political reasons. But I think it's more likely Rhaegar was protecting Lyanna from Aerys, and that Aerys only took Rhaegar's family hostage at some point during the war. We know Elia and her children were used as hostages to ensure the Dornish's loyalty after the rebels started winning, so it's only reasonable to assume that at that point it was also used to get Rhaegar to come back (by sending Hightower) and lead the loyalist army to the Trident.

 

I completely agree that the usual explanations (love/prophecy/lust) are painfully shallow to say the least. And I like to quote butterbumps! on this:

 

So yes, in a nutshell, I think your overall take on this is correct, though I disagree with your specific theory. Obviously, there's more to this kidnapping than meets the eye. Not only is it likely that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna for essentially political reasons, but thinking about the role of "shadow players" can bring very interesting thoughts. When Robert's Rebellion started, a civil war had been in the making for years already. The Starks, Baratheons and Tullys were forming a powerful alliance with the support of the Arryns. Tywin Lannister was tired of Aerys's shit. The Mad King was suspicious of his heir. Said heir may have been scheming to depose his faher at Harrenhal. Varys was already around and probably had an agenda of his own. The Maesters may have been secretly working against magic, and possibly Targaryens (see: DoD) all along. A war was likely ; the only question was what the different sides would be. Who's to say some people did not engineer Robert's Rebellion? Given what we know of the Wot5k, it's prudent to assume that most of what we know of the rebellion is rubbish. People tend to focus on the R+L aspect because they like Jon as a character, but Lyanna's abduction just happened to be the trigger for a chain of events which could have happened anyway. In fact, what's odd about Robert's Rebellion is that without Lyanna's abduction, one might have expected Rhaegar to end up on the throne eventually. He seemed to be a pretty competent guy, was liked by Tywin and supported by the Dornish ; had he been able to secure the support of the Stark-Baratheon-Tully-Arryn lot he would have been safe on the throne. On the other hand, even if it had been unsuccessful, Robert's Rebellion would have been a disaster for the Targaryen dynasty, by making a huge dent in the royal authority. So maybe, maybe, someone made sure, as you said, that Rhaegar would have to abduct Lyanna, thus threatening Targaryen rule.

 

Love this post. It's realistic, on point, and thought provoking.

 

And of course, the absence of a "straw man argument" is refreshing to say the least :cheers:

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I did not quite get all your points. But there is no political move which needs him to have sex with lyanna and generate a kid and name that broken tower as " tower of joy" (such a straightforward name).

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I apologize for the length and thank you for reading. I don’t pretend to be an expert on all things Westeros and could be way off base regarding all of this. There isn’t enough solid evidence to confirm the theory, I’m just trying to cast doubt on the idea that his motives were based purely out of self-interest. It’s just another plausible, alternative explanation as to why Rhaegar abducted Lyanna, and I think my guess is as good as anybody else’s based on the information (or lack thereof) we have at this time. Hell-- maybe Rhaegar and Aerys both agreed that they could not risk allowing the betrothals to go through and he did act selfishly to preserve his future inheritance. You could take the premise of this theory and spin it many different ways, good or bad for the players involved. I'm just taking this moment to play devil's advocate for Rhaegar, since many popular conclusions cast him in a negative light. Also, I think Rhaegar's a great character. You might have noticed.

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The idea that Aerys ordered Rhaegar to take Lyanna seems plausible to me.

 

And you do have sort of a precedent in-text with Bael the Bard--a King who wanted to teach an arrogant Lord Stark a lesson by stealing his daughter. Given that those blue roses are stuck to Lyanna like glue, seems like the idea that she was taken to teach her family a lesson has to be on the table. And Aerys seems more likely to want that vs. Rhaegar, since we have evidence he was trying to resolve the tension in the realm.

 

The Bael the Bard story says the Stark maid fell in love with Bael--Stockholm syndrome, maybe? Lyanna seems strong-willed based on the little we have. But even strong-willed people fall into stupid love in Martinlandia.

 

So, bottom-line: this doesn't seem like crackpot to me. You're right about the lack of direct evidence. But given the Bael story and the political situation you outlined in your OP--seems like an option to keep on the table of consideration.

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I did not quite get all your points. But there is no political move which needs him to have sex with lyanna and generate a kid and name that broken tower as " tower of joy" (such a straightforward name).

 

This is true-- but I did note that getting Lyanna with child couldn't possibly by classified as an act done to protect his family. In theory it hurts his family because 1) he's cheating on his wife and 2) it brings another potential heir into the fold. I'm sure you are aware of that, just wanted you to be aware that I am also aware ;)

 

I think under the right circumstances (which we don't know), it could have been an imperfect, human moment by Rhaegar. By the same light, it's also possible that he raped her and she conceived, I'll concede that. Again, we just don't know. I believe the former fits the narrative better then the latter, but at this point it is impossible to determine with certainty.

 

The idea that Aerys ordered Rhaegar to take Lyanna seems plausible to me.

 

And you do have sort of a precedent in-text with Bael the Bard--a King who wanted to teach an arrogant Lord Stark a lesson by stealing his daughter. Given that those blue roses are stuck to Lyanna like glue, seems like the idea that she was taken to teach her family a lesson has to be on the table. And Aerys seems more likely to want that vs. Rhaegar, since we have evidence he was trying to resolve the tension in the realm.

 

The Bael the Bard story says the Stark maid fell in love with Bael--Stockholm syndrome, maybe? Lyanna seems strong-willed based on the little we have. But even strong-willed people fall into stupid love in Martinlandia.

 

So, bottom-line: this doesn't seem like crackpot to me. You're right about the lack of direct evidence. But given the Bael story and the political situation you outlined in your OP--seems like an option to keep on the table of consideration.

 

:crying:

 

These are tears of joy

 

:cheers:
 

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