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wolfmaid7

The Heresy essays: X+Y=J- Howland + Lyanna=Jon

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Its Tuesday and its time for another essay and as i said before feel free to  hop between the essays.I'll pause for 2 weeks before i post the 4th essay to give those who are partcipatng time to digest and comment on the first 3 essays posted.

A hearty welcome to all. This project will be discussing candidates for Jon's parentage. We have (8) theories in all, so feel free to discuss and debate what is presented in a friendly and respectful manner. There is no default theory here, each is being discussed on its own merit and content. Everyone starts at zero, so no deferring to another theory please.Keep to the essay that's presented.We will conclude the project with a reflections thread discussing where we are all at after the project in terms of our beliefs. Here’s to an honest, respectful and friendly discussion.

Howland + Lyanna

By Frey Family Reunion

From the land of the midnight sun

where ice blue roses grow

'long those roads of gold and silver snow

Howlin' wide or moanin low

So many roads I know

So many roads to ease my soul

-The Grateful Dead

The Knight of the Laughing Tree or how the May Queen first met her Green King

“This isn’t going to be one of those love stories, is it?” Bran asked suspiciously. “Hodor doesn’t like those so much.”

Despite Bran’s protestations, the Knight of the Laughing Tree is a love story. It’s just not the love story that most assume. 

The tale of the Knight of the Laughing Tree depicts a relationship between two people, a Northern “princess” with a touch of wolf-blood, and a curious lad, small of stature but someone who has mastered the magics of his people, and entered in a two year study on the mysterious Isle of Faces learning the magic of the Green Men.

In folklore and mythology, the Green Man is an ancient pagan god/hero/outsider, a man whose death and rebirth represent winter and spring. A variant of the Green Man is found in mythology and religion from dying and rising gods such as Attis, Osiris, Tammuz, Bran the blessed, and Jesus Christ. He’s found in pagan rituals celebrating the Corn Kings and the Spring Queens; The Lords of May and Maidens in the Bower. The archetype manifests in tales of Green jack, Robin Hood, Robin Goodfellow, Herne the Hunter, and Gawain and the Green Knight. His tale is sung in the Ballad of John Barleycorn, a version of the Corn King.

Martin often references Green Man folklore, sometimes subtly through the rangers Tom Barleycorn and Dywen with his oaken teeth, to the singer, Tom O’ Seven Streams, dressed in his raged greens and sometimes more overtly such as his Green Men on the Isle of Faces:

“Was he green?” In old Nan’s stories the guardians had dark green skin and leaves instead of hair. Sometimes they had antlers too, but Bran didn’t see how the mystery knight could have worn a helm if he had antlers.’

The Green Man is also still a feature in pagan May Day (in some places known as the Beltane festival) celebrations, along with his May Queen. Often the Green Man comes to the celebration as an outsider, someone who takes the May Queen as his bride, and their union represents Spring and Summer’s victory over winter. 

I think Martin is creating a type of May Day ritual with his Harrenhal tourney. It’s held during a false spring, and it entails the crowning of a Queen of Love and Beauty, which is Westeros version of the May Queen. Even the image of Rhaegar’s lance with the crown of roses on its tip is basically a May Pole held horizontally. And if we continue the symbolism, Howland Reed fresh off his stay from the Isle of Faces is our Green Man, the outsider coming uninvited into the May Day celebration. 

In the tale of TKOTLT, Martin even develops a basis for a relationship between his May Queen, Lyanna, and his Green Man, Howland Reed. Lyanna comes to Howland’s rescue when he is attacked by the three squires, she invites him into her family, and helps nurse him back to health. If she is indeed the Knight of the Laughing Tree, she even fights for his honor. Despite the fairly strong foundation for a possible romantic relationship between two people, the reader does not easily come to this conclusion. The reason for this is Martin has inverted our gender stereotypes with his tale. 

If Ser Stark rode to the rescue of Princess Reed and fought off her attackers, and took her into his family, and tended her wounds and fought for her honor at a tourney, the reader would have quickly come to the conclusion that there might be a romantic relationship between the two. Instead Martin diverts our attention by giving us a more traditional romantic fantasy hero in Rhaegar Targaryen. And despite the fact that he is a married man, with one child and another on his way, and despite the fact that there was no established relationship between the two characters, when Rhaegar wins the tourney and hands Lyanna the crown of winter roses out of the blue, we quickly pair up the two into a romantic relationship.

And the reader isn’t the only one who jumps to this conclusion. Martin has a number of his characters jump to the same conclusion, from Viserys to Barristan to Kevan Lannister, a number of persons who were not in Rhaegar’s inner circle assume that Rhaegar and Lyanna had a torrid love affair which resulted in Robert’s rebellion.

Interestingly, Jon Connington who was a member of Rhaegar’s inner circle, never once thinks about Lyanna and Rhaegar as a couple. He thinks back to his own relationship with Rhaegar, and he thinks back to Rhaegar’s relationship with Elia, but Lyanna who many assumed to be Rhaegar’s true love never crosses Connington’s mind.

But of course the reason many assumed there was a romantic relationship between the two, was the crown of blue winter roses, but before we discuss this, I first need to address the identity of the Knight of the Laughing Tree.

The Mystery Knight

The initial assumption is that Howland was the Knight of the Laughing Tree, but Martin gives us plenty of reason to doubt this:

His heart was torn, Crannogmen are smaller than most, but just as proud. The lad was no knight, no more than any of his people. We sit a boat more often than a horse, and our hands are made for oars, not lances. Much as he wished to have his vengeance, he feared he would only make a fool of himself and shame his people. But before he slept he knelt on the lakeshore, looking across the water to where the Isle of Faces would be, and said a prayer to the old gods of north and Neck…

So Martin casts doubt that Howland could have been the Knight of the Laughing Tree, mainly because Howland was probably not a very good rider.
But Martin tells us again and again that Lyanna was.

”You ride like a northman, milady,” Harwin said when he’d drawn them to a halt. “Your aunt was the same. Lady Lyanna.”

Brandon was fostered at Barrowton with old Lord Dustin, the father of the one I’d later wed, but he spent most of his time riding the Rills. He loved to ride. His little sister took after him in that. A pair of centaurs, those two.”

But still even being a good rider, should not have allowed Lyanna to have defeated three knights who were talented enough in jousting to have won their first round of the tourney. Recall even Harwin, Winterfell’s Master of Horses was defeated in the first round of the Hand’s tourney.

But it really does only come down to Howland and Lyanna, who would have had the motive to single out the three knights of the squires who attacked Howland, and to chastise said knights. So if it wasn’t Howland, then I think it had to be Lyanna. So this begs the question, how does a fourteen or fifteen year old girl defeat three seasoned knights in a joust? I think the tale itself may give us the answer:

” Whoever he [the KOTLT] was the old gods gave strength to his arm". 

In other words, Lyanna with the aid of the magic of the old gods, cheated. And the only one that we know of at the Harrenhal tourney associated with the Old Gods and with magic is Howland Reed. So I conclude that the Knight of the Laughing Tree was a collaboration between Howland with his magic and Lyanna with her riding. 

So when Aerys becomes disturbed by the presence of the Knight of the Laughing Tree and his mocking symbol, he sends Rhaegar Targaryen among others to try and uncover the Knight’s secret.

Many assume that Rhaegar discovers it was Lyanna and their relationship starts at this point. However, if what I suspect is true, then what Rhaegar could have discovered was a collaboration between Howland and Lyanna and perhaps also discovered a budding relationship between them as well. 

Which brings us to the million dollar question, what’s with the crown of blue winter roses?

The Crown of Blue Roses

It seems that the common assumption is that Rhaegar fell madly in love with the little tomboy and throwing caution to the wind procures a crown of blue winter roses, and crowns her in front of his father, his wife, and the lords of the realm.

But this scenario really doesn’t ring true for me. It certainly seems to go against Rhaegar’s nature, he was always a man that seemed more driven by duty, and prophecy then by emotion. Those around Rhaegar feared he was another Baelor the Blessed, a Targaryen king who went to great lengths not to be tempted by women. It also seems unusual that he would have chosen such a public forum to have made his intentions known. Why jeopardize his relationship with Elia whom he apparently believes is the mother of the Prince that was Promised? Why jeopardize his close relations with her Dornish contingent. Why antagonize Lyanna’s family? Why cast Aerys paranoid eye towards young Lyanna? Why make a romantic overture that is this public?

Perhaps the tale of the KOTLT gives us yet another clue. In the tale, Eddard is too shy to ask Ashara Dayne for a dance. So instead, his older, bolder brother Brandon asks Ashara for him. Is it possible that Rhaegar was giving Lyanna the crown on behalf of Howland? Was Rhaegar trying to facilitate Howland and Lyanna’s relationship? 

Why would he do this? Well it seems that there are two possible reasons. First as a purely cynical political ploy, Rhaegar could have seen fostering Lyanna and Howland’s relationship as a way to block the marriage alliance that Rickard Stark made with House Baratheon. 

Then we can’t discount the power that prophecy has in driving the narrative of our story. We know that Rhaegar seemed obsessed with prophecy, and believed that his son with Elia was the Prince that Was Promised. Did Rhaegar read or have a vision/prophecy which seemed fulfilled by a union between Lyanna and Howland? Do we know what made Howland leave the Isle of Faces and head towards Harrenhal in time to take part in the Whent’s (or Rhaegar’s) tourney? I’ll come back to this more at the end but is it possible that Rhaegar came to the realization that it was Lyanna and Howland’s union that would produce one of the three heads of his dragon?

Perhaps Rhaegar’s inner circle knew that Rhaegar was crowning Lyanna on behalf of Howland. This would explain why there is apparently no repercussions from Elia and her Dornish entourage (especially her brother) over Rhaegar’s actions. It would also explain why Connington never once thinks of Lyanna when he thinks about Rhaegar. 

Martin has has made subtle references in ASOIAF to the Roman cult of Mithras. One of the initiations into this cult involves placing a wreath of flowers from the tip of a sword on to the shoulder of the initiate. For this reason, I ‘ve toyed with the idea that the public display of the crown of winter roses might have been an invitation into Rhaegar’s inner circle or perhaps a signal to his inner circle as to the part that Lyanna is to play in their song of ice and fire

The reader is also warned early on that a knight handing a maiden a special rose is not always a romantic gesture. The example of Ser Loras and Sansa comes to mind

To the other maidens he had given white roses, but the one he plucked for her was red. “Sweet lady,” he said, “no victory is half so beautiful as you.” Sansa took the flower timidly, struck dumb by his gallantry. His hair was a mass of lazy brown curls, his eyes like liquid gold. She inhaled the sweet fragrance of the rose and sat clutching it long after Ser Loras had ridden off.

When Sansa finally looked up, a man was standing over her, staring. He was short, with a pointed beard and a silver streak in his hair, almost as old as her father…He had grey-green eyes that did not smile when his mouth did…The man wore a heavy cloak with a fur collar, fastened with a silver mockingbird, and he had the effortless manner of a high lord, but she did not know him…

“Your mother was my queen of beauty once,” the man said quietly…”You have her hair.” His fingers brushed against her cheek as he stroked one auburn lock.

Perhaps there is a clue here. The knight gives a rose to our maiden in what superficially appears to be a romantic gesture. But the knight in reality has no romantic interest in the maiden. On the other hand, Littlefinger, who like Howland is short of stature and a bit of an outsider, is the one who truly desires the maiden.

Finally, Martin at least in my mind is testing the reader. Can the reader identify that the tale of The Knight of the Laughing Tree depicts an actual basis for a romantic relationship between two persons of similar age, and similar beliefs, despite the fact that Howland is not what we are accustomed to as a love interest in a fantasy tale. Or does the reader follow the stereotype of a fantasy romantic figure, and assume that Lyanna falls in love with Rhaegar despite the fact that he is already married, soon to be the father of a second child, and despite the fact that there appears to be no personal interactions between the two.

In other words, does the reader choose mud or fire?

"Mud would nourish you, where fire would only consume you, but fools and children and young girls would choose fire every time."

The Marriage of Lyanna and Howland Reed, the Second Pact

If Dany’s vision is at all correct, it appears that Rhaegar and Elia return to either King’s Landing or Dragonstone for the birth of Rhaegar’s son. This is the child that Rhaegar tells Elia is the Prince that was Promised and one of the three heads of the dragon. In the meantime, it’s not completely certain what happens to Lyanna, but my guess is she may have returned to the North. Regardless it doesn’t appear that Rhaegar and Lyanna would have been together to have formed a secret relationship.

But perhaps Howland and Lyanna did have the opportunity. 


And if Howland and Lyanna did continue a secret relationship, which developed into something more, then we have the perfect place where the two of them could have run away to elope, the Isle of Faces. If Lyanna did secretly elope it makes more sense that she would have married someone who was not already married to another. Especially since she already expressed her thoughts about Robert Baratheon’s famous womanizing. 


Symbolically it’s hard to beat a wedding between Lyanna and Howland in front of the Weirwoods on the Isle of Faces. Howland is a crannogman, and the crannogmen are a tiny people rumored to have been descended from the humans and the COTF (whether true or not). While Lyanna is a Stark, a family still strong in the blood and beliefs of the First Men. So a wedding or union (or pact) between the two in front of the same weirwoods that witnessed the pact between the First Men and the COTF would have a tremendous amount of symbolism. And conveniently the First Men do not require someone to officiate their weddings.

So when Eddard tells Arya that it was Lyanna’s wolf blood that led to her early death, I think he was referring to the fact that she ran off with Howland, eloped and became pregnant on the Isle of Faces.

So why does Brandon ride to King’s Landing to blame Rhaegar for kidnapping Lyanna? Like the reader, Brandon jumps to the same conclusions after Harrenhal and assumes that Rhaegar is responsible for her disappearance. I also think that the same maesters who are arranging the marriage alliances between Houses Stark, Tully, and Baratheon may be to blame as well. After all, if the maesters are working to form an alliance against House Targaryen (Aerys may be paranoid but that doesn’t mean he’s not right to be suspicious) then ultimately they need a spark to start the fire to rid the realm of House Targaryen. Lyanna’s disappearance may have been just the spark they needed. So perhaps the Maesters are to blame for convincing Brandon and Robert that Rhaegar had kidnapped Lyanna.

Now this doesn’t mean that I’m letting Rhaegar completely off the hook. While I don’t believe that he raped Lyanna, that doesn’t mean that he may not have been responsible for her abduction at some point. If Rhaegar had pegged Howland and Lyanna as being the parents of one of his “heads of the dragon” then my guess is that he and his cohorts were somehow keeping an eye on her after the Harrenhal tourney. So when Lyanna finally returned from the Isle of Faces, perhaps they did scoop her up to make sure they had possession of her unborn child. And perhaps this kidnapping did take place within ten leagues from Harrenhal (or to put it another way ten leages from the shores of the God’s eye).

This also solves one other issue that has been bothering me under the Rhaegar + Lyanna theory. If Rhaegar and Lyanna secretly eloped, why didn’t they come out of hiding when Brandon was imprisoned? Why allow the events to unfold as they did? Why do we never hear a peep from Rhaegar or Lyanna?

If Lyanna and Howland were secreted away on the Isle of Faces, it may be possible that Lyanna remained unaware of the crisis unfolding outside the mystical Isle. And when Lyanna does leave the Isle, before she has a chance to return to her family she is scooped up by Rhaegar or one of his companions as they attempt to bring certain prophecies to fruition. 

The Actual Location of Lyanna’s Death

There is common assumption is that Eddard and Howland found Lyanna at the tower of joy after they defeated the three kingsguards. Many posters have noted the similarity between the tower of joy and the Joyous Gard, Lancelot’s castle, where in some of the Arthurian tales, Lancelot and Guinevere run off to.

But the only thing that really places Lyanna’s death at the tower of joy and after Ned battles the kingsguards is Ned’s dream. Martin referred to it as a fevered dream and warned that not all of it might be literal. And that is a funny thing about dreams they tend to jumble chronology and have no geographic restraints. So let’s revisit our common assumption that Lyanna died at the tower of joy after Ned’s battle with the kingsguards.

For this theory to work, Lyanna is tucked away in a small tower perhaps for the entirety of Robert’s rebellion (a tower that took only two persons to disassemble). Presumably at least one servant or wet nurse is in attendance. And of course after the battle while Eddard and Howland bury the combatants where they were killed, he somehow is able to cart Lyanna’s body first to Starfall where he returns Arthur’s sword, and then presumably back to Winterfell. Not only does this seem a bit unwieldy, I would think that carrying your dead sister’s body around along with her newly born child, might cause some questions to be raised.

If Lyanna was in fact taken around the shores of the God’s Eye, and if Rhaegar or his companions needed to secrete Lyanna for a period of time, then she would have been brought to location not far from the God’s Eye and perhaps on boat to a castle in league with Rhaegar or one of his closest confidants. I think the most logical location is Maidenpool, the seat of House Mooton. Or perhaps in the neighboring town of Saltpans if in fact the Knight of Saltpans was one of House Mooton’s vassals.

The books have given us two towers in each location. And both towers interestingly enough, have the respective lords locked within. The current head of House Mooton is placed under house arrest, while the Knight of Saltpans has willingly locked himself in his tower to avoid the bloodshed that for some reason the brave companions unleashed upon his town. These two locations are more practical locations for someone to stay for an extended period of time, while pregnant, as opposed to an apparently tiny tower in the middle of a mountain pass.

Then there is the Quiet Isle which lay across the tidal flats from both towns. If Lyanna had fallen ill, or if there were complications with her pregnancy, this would have been the perfect place to have brought her. An isle populated with monks some who are known for their healing skills, who have also taken a vow of silence. These Brothers could also have seen to the preparation of Lyanna’s body, which would have allowed Eddard to have returned her to Winterfell, as opposed to the bodies of the Kingsguards and his companions at the tower of joy, who had to be buried where they died.

We are told of cottages on the isle specifically set aside for women visitors.

We have some modest cottages set aside for the women who visit us, be they noble ladies or common village girls,” said the Elder Brother. “They are not often used, but we keep them clean and dry…”

The Elder Brother had called them modest. That they were. They looked like beehives made of stone, low and rounded, windowless.

I think the description of the cottages as beehives could be a nod to one of Martin’s other works, a Song for Lya. In a song for Lya, Lya dies and her consciousness is joined with other aliens and humans in what is referred to as a mass/hive mind. If Lyanna was ultimately brought to this beehive like cottage on the Isle of Faces when she fell ill or when it was time for the birth of her children, then this is also the likely location of where she died and thus where Eddard finally found her.

And while the tower of joy could be a reference to Lancelot’s Joyous Garde, the Quiet Isle resembles another location in Guinevere abduction myths. In one of the earliest abduction scenarios, Guinevere is kidnapped by Melwas, “King of the Summery Country”, and held prisoner in his stronghold at Glastonbury. Like the Quiet Isle, Glastonbury is located on a salt water tidal flat, and when the tide is high the town basically becomes an island (or did before drainage canals were utilized). Also like the Quiet Isle, Glastonbury contains a prominent Abbey, and a rich history of religious lore. It is the alleged location where Joseph of Arimathea landed in Britain, and guarded the Holy Grail. Folklore also has tied Glastonbury to King Arthur’s Avalon, and as the final resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere.

So if Martin is referencing Arthurian folklore, the Quiet Isle is another possible parallel to the Guinevere abduction tales.

‘”I will,” Ned had promised her. That was his curse. Robert would swear undying love and forget them before evenfall, but Ned Stark kept his vows. He thought of the promises he’d made Lyanna as she lay dying,a nd the price he’d paid to keep them."

On first glance the reader may come to the conclusion that Ned promised Lyanna to take Jon and hide him from Robert Baratheon. That the price that was paid by Ned was to pretend he fathered a bastard, a stain upon his reputation. But once again this really doesn’t ring true to me.

It’s apparent that a high lord fathering and even fostering a bastard isn’t really a big deal in Westeros. Even Catelyn has to admit that it’s not unusual during wartime for a husband to father a bastard. She’s just pissed that he brought the bastard back to his House. Yet even that isn’t really unusual. A number of bastards can be found throughout the Houses in Westeros. Robert Baratheon even teases Eddard about his apparent shame at fathering a bastard. 

And the other problem is that Eddard really doesn’t pay a price for pretending that Jon is his son. No one thinks any less of him, and while his wife isn’t happy about it, she doesn’t take it out on Eddard, she takes it out on Jon. Otherwise Ned and Catelyn’s relationship appears perfectly fine. Now Jon pays a bit of a price, but Eddard does not.

Then we have Ned’s thoughts about keeping his vows. Once again the knee jerk reaction is that Ned is referring to Catelyn and how in reality he kept his marriage vows to her and did not father a bastard. But let us not forget, Catelyn may not have been Eddard’s first love.

Eddard may very well have formed a relationship with Ashara Dayne after the events of Harrenhal, well before Brandon’s death, and his agreement to take Brandon’s place to secure the services of House Tully. Perhaps Ned made some vows to the first (and dare I say real) love of his life, Ashara Dayne. So let’s think back to the rebellion and think about the biggest price that Eddard may have had to pay.

If indeed, Ashara Dayne was the real love of Eddard’s life, then the biggest price that Eddard paid, was that for some reason, Eddard had to confront her brother Arthur Dayne, and kill him at the tower of joy. So if Eddard thought back to the promises (not just one promise mind you) he made to Lyanna and the price that he paid to keep them, then my guess is these promises were what led Eddard to the tower of joy and forced his hand in killing the three kingsguards, one of whom was the brother to his true love.

So if Lyanna was not imprisoned at the tower of joy, what was happening there that forced Eddard and his company to kill the three kingsguards?

Well let’s start with trying to figure out why Rhaegar called it the tower of joy. Once again the obvious reaction is to think that the tower of joy is his secret love shack with Lyanna Stark. But we are actually told what the normally melancholy Rhaegar truly loved:

‘”Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best. He would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company. Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there. He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song. When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not but feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved.”
 

Remember that part in bold, because I’m going to come back to this before the end.

So Rhaegar’s true love was Summerhall, and he even appeared to have a psychic connection with the place.

So perhaps the tower of joy was to be Rhaegar’s attempt at another Summerhall. And if Summerhall was an attempt to hatch dragons, we have to ask ourselves, how are dragons hatched? We have one prophecy that seems to imply that the hatching of dragons involves certain human sacrifices:

“Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the son, so both die kings.”
 

And there were blood sacrifices aplenty in the events that led up to the birth of Dany’s dragons.

So what exactly was Rhaegar planning at the tower of joy? Did it involve certain sacrifices at the tower, that Rhaegar and perhaps Aerys had ordered the Kingsguards to help carry out? 

Even the conversation between Rhaegar and Elia which Dany viewed at the House of the Undying may have a dark undertone.

“Will you make a song for him?” the woman asked.

“He has a song,” the man replied. He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.”
 
 

While this conversation seems fairly innocuous, when you look through the books it becomes apparent that when a song is made for a person it is almost always to memoralize them after their death. So was Elia anticipating that Rhaegar would outlive their son, to be able to make a song for him?

Was Eddard’s promise to Lyanna an oath to find and rescue her child (children?), an oath that ultimately forced him to slay the brother of his true love, Ashara Dayne? Perhaps this is the true price that Eddard paid to fulfill his promises to Lyanna. (However, I do think that there was another promise, a promise broken that Eddard seems only to dwell on in his dreams and subconscious, a promise that seems to fill Eddard with horror. My guess is the true extent of this is much darker than I’m guessing).

You know, I asked him about who Jon Snow’s real parents were, and he told me. I can’t say who, but I can tell you that it involves a bit of a Luke Skywalker situation.



-Alfie Allen
 

This quote caused quite the stir, and of course those convinced that Jon’s father is Rhaegar assume that this somehow makes Rhaegar the Darth Vader figure. But I have a different take. Don’t forget that Luke had two surprises in store for him. First was the revelation of his father, but the second surprise was that Leia was his twin sister separated from him at birth.
And if my theory is correct, and Howland is Jon’s father, then Jon may have a twin sister that he’s been separated from, namely, Meera Reed.

George Lucas stole the idea of twins separated at birth along with much else from an opera by Richard Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen, often referred to as the Ring Cycle. Wagner’s opera begins with a dwarf, Alberich, who spies three women (water nymphys) bathing at the Rhine river. I think that Martin references this in his tale of the Maiden Pool, where Florian spies Jonquil and her fellow maids bathing in the pool at Maidenpool.

Later in the tale we learn the tale of Siegmund who had been separated from his twin sister, Sieglinde at birth. In the opera, Siegmund meets up with her at her house during a rainstorm.

Turning to ASOS, during another storm, Jon and Meera almost come together at the Queenscrown tower, when Jon is still with the wildlings and Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor are hiding in the tower. The tale is told between Bran’s POV chapter and Jon’s POV chapter and it begins with this line:

The tower stood upon an island, its twin reflected on the still blue waters.
 

Between the two chapters, Jon comes to the shore of the lake with Ygritte, while Meera is in the tower. Thus Meera’s twin is standing across the waters of the lake.

Then there is the mysterious iron great helm that Meera brings with her on her first visit to Winterfell. It doesn’t go with her bronze scale, and she never wears it, only uses it once as a pot. So why is she carrying it, and why does she bring it to Winterfell? My guess is the Great Helm was the helmet worn by Lyanna Stark during the Harrenhal tourney, and Meera has kept it perhaps as an heirloom from the mother that she never met.

Bran even once comments that Meera reminds him of his sister Arya, and Arya in turn reminds Eddard of his sister Lyanna.
So of course the big question is why would Howland and Eddard have separated the two children? Why wouldn’t Howland have kept both his children? 

I wish I had a good answer. But Martin has on at least two occasions given us scenarios where two children had to be separated. The first scenario occurs when Luwin tells Osha to keep Brandon and Rickard separate. The idea being that since both children are being hunted it would be harder to capture both if they are kept separate from each other.

The other scenario dealt with Jon’s decision to send Mance’s child from Castle Black, and keep Gilly’s son behind. And of course the reason that Mance’s son was sent away was Jon’s feat that Melisandre may try to sacrifice him for his “King’s blood”.


When Robb decides to keep his mother and wife at separate locations, he reasons that a man should not keep all of his treasures in one purse.

So my guess is that Ned and Howland feared that whatever reason or ritual that Rhaegar and his inner circle wanted Lyanna’s children for, it was best that they be kept separated for their own safety. Howland would raise Meera as his, since she have more closely appeared as a cronnogman, and Eddard would raise Jon, since he took after his mother in appearance.


Finally, what’s so special about Howland Reed (get ready for some serious crackpotting)

I meant to go into more depth for this last part, but this damned essay is already too long. So I’m going

to cut straight to the chase. What’s so special about Howland Reed? Why is it significant that he is Jon’s father?

Remember at the beginning, my discussion of the Green Man? He is a figure symbolizing death and rebirth. In ASOIAF, it appears that those individuals possessing King’s blood make for a potent sacrifice in magical rituals. The Green Man is basically that, a sacrifice to help bring an end to winter and a return of Spring. So if Jon Snow is to play the part of a Green Man (or a Corn King) then my guess is his destiny is to be sacrificed to help bring about an end to a never ending winter. 

So there must be something special about Jon’s bloodlines. My guess is that his bloodline is a joining together of many of the mystical king’s bloodlines in Westeros.

I think that Howland Reed possessed bloodlines from House Targaryen, House Blackwood, House Dayne, Nymeria, and House Gardner. While Lyanna possesses the various Norther bloodlines that can currently be found in House Stark. So their child would have had king’s blood from both the North and South of Westeros. 

The reason that I think that Howland Reed possesses these bloodlines, is that Howland Reed is the child of Duncan the Small and Jenny of Oldstones. And my main suspicion comes from this quote in the Hedge Knight:

He sat naked under the elm while he dried, enjoying the warmth of the spring air on his skin as he watched a dragonfly moving lazily among the reeds. Why would they name it a dragonfly? He wondered. It looks nothing like a dragon.
 

I think the tale of Dunk and Egg is going to ultimately be the tale of the birth of Howland Reed. If I had to guess Jenny of Oldstones is from the Neck, who like Howland, takes a journey into the South where she meets up with Duncan the Small. Jenny claims descent from First Men kings of old. My guess is this includes at least the Marsh Kings, but perhaps other kings as well. The fact that Jenny is known for the flowers in her hair, may mean she claims descent from the female line of House Gardner, the kings and queens who were known for their flowery crowns. 

While Duncan the Small claims not only the Targaryen bloodlines but also the many special bloodlines of the Houses that intermarried with House Targaryen. 

We know for certain that two people died at Summerhall, Aegon V and his eldest son, Duncan the Small. We also know that Summerhall’s purpose was the hatching of dragons.

“Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the son, so both die kings.”
 

And think back to Barristan’s quote about Rhaegar Targaryen. He sung of the death of kings (plural)

So while Duncan the small may have abdicated the crown, according to prophecy he may still have been the younger king who needed to perish to hatch the wake the dragon.

My guess is that Jenny of Oldstones, like her albino companion, the Ghost of High Heart (sound familiar), may have survived the disaster and fled perhaps pregnant with the child of Duncan the Small. And I believe that this child is Howland Reed. 

So if Jon is Howland’s son, he is in fact a king of sorts. He is a king that is not recognized through law or conquest but may be recognized through prophecy, as the only son of the only son of the eldest son of King Aegon V. I think Jon is the Corn King, the one who is to be sacrificed to help end the Long Night:

Free,” the raven muttered. “Corn. King.”
 
There were three men came out of the West

Their fortunes for to try.

And these three men made a solemn vow,

John Barleycorn should die

They ploughed him in the earth so deep,

With clods upon his head.

Then these three men they did conclude

John Barleycorn was dead.

There he lay sleeping in the ground

Till rain from the sky did fall;

Then Barleycorn sprang a green blade

And proved liars of them all.
 
Expand


Ultimately the Song of Ice and Fire, isn’t about a legal claim to House Targaryen, and a hidden prince who will one day be rewarded the Iron Throne. This is a tale about seasons, about a never ending night and the dream of a spring to follow it. Jon Snow is a modern day retelling of John Barleycorn, the Corn King, whose death and sacrifice will be needed to see an end to a Long Winter.
So if Lyanna was not imprisoned at the tower of joy, what was happening there that forced Eddard and his company to kill the three kingsguards?

Well let’s start with trying to figure out why Rhaegar called it the tower of joy. Once again the obvious reaction is to think that the tower of joy is his secret love shack with Lyanna Stark. But we are actually told what the normally melancholy Rhaegar truly loved:
 

‘”Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best. He would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company. Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there. He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song. When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not but feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved.”
 

Remember that part in bold, because I’m going to come back to this before the end.

So Rhaegar’s true love was Summerhall, and he even appeared to have a psychic connection with the place.

So perhaps the tower of joy was to be Rhaegar’s attempt at another Summerhall. And if Summerhall was an attempt to hatch dragons, we have to ask ourselves, how are dragons hatched? We have one prophecy that seems to imply that the hatching of dragons involves certain human sacrifices:

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Howland + Lyanna

By Frey Family Reunion

Despite the fairly strong foundation for a possible romantic relationship between two people, the reader does not easily come to this conclusion. The reason for this is Martin has inverted our gender stereotypes with his tale. 

The reason for this is that Martin gives us a bunch of other romantic relationship clues in this tale that are stronger and more clear than the one you allude too (but not necessarily any more correct).

We have the shy wolf dancing with the purple eyed maid, and we have the She-Wolf sniffling at the dragon prince's song (and reacting when teased about it).


And the reader isn’t the only one who jumps to this conclusion. Martin has a number of his characters jump to the same conclusion, from Viserys to Barristan to Kevan Lannister, a number of persons who were not in Rhaegar’s inner circle assume that Rhaegar and Lyanna had a torrid love affair which resulted in Robert’s rebellion.

But these are not conclusions founded upon events at Harrenhal - none of those characters know Lyanna was KotLT. Those conclusions are founded upon Rhaegar 'kidnapping' Lyanna, which sparked off a series of events culminating in Robert's Rebellion.

Interestingly, Jon Connington who was a member of Rhaegar’s inner circle, never once thinks about Lyanna and Rhaegar as a couple. He thinks back to his own relationship with Rhaegar, and he thinks back to Rhaegar’s relationship with Elia, but Lyanna who many assumed to be Rhaegar’s true love never crosses Connington’s mind.

Jon Connington was not one of Rhaegar's inner circle.

He had known Jon Connington, slightly—a proud youth, the most headstrong of the gaggle of young lordlings who had gathered around Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, competing for his royal favor. Arrogant, but able and energetic. That, and his skill at arms, was why Mad King Aerys had named him Hand.

He was a squire alongside, and then to, Rhaegar. But squires are not always, or even often, part of a leader's inner circle, particularly ones described as Connington is - proud, headstrong, arrogant, competing for favour. Consider for example Rhaegar's other squire, Richard Lonmouth, who is observed by in the KotLT story in a drinking duel with Robert Baratheon.

Note also that when Rhaegar went off with his companions in the travels that resulted in Lyanna's abduction, Connington had no part, and was still in KL months later when Aerys dismissed Merryweather.

 

 

But still even being a good rider, should not have allowed Lyanna to have defeated three knights who were talented enough in jousting to have won their first round of the tourney. Recall even Harwin, Winterfell’s Master of Horses was defeated in the first round of the Hand’s tourney.

Note that Harrenhal was a challenge format, so the three kings defeated by the KotLT can have picked their targets and chosen the weakest 'champion' of 5 - the initial champions of course being chosen 100% by relationship, not skill. This is hugely different to the KL tourney, where Harwin was drawn against a KotKG, one of the kingdoms elite level warriors.

Having said that, I agree that the three knights could not have been incompetent. But the odds that Lyanna can defeat them are, in literary terms, not particularly low, given she is set up with the skills and temperament necessary and could need as little as a single pass of 10-15 seconds or less of mostly horsemanship to defeat each one.
I consider the odds that those particular three no-name immemorial nobodies were simultaneously 3/5 champions at the same time and that that time was right at the end of the day when KotLT need face no challengers and can slip away unnoticed, to be astronomically greater than that a highly talented young woman who probably played regularly at riding rings could possibly defeat three mediocre temporary champions who are so ordinary their names are not even known.
But, literary needs, eh.


But it really does only come down to Howland and Lyanna, who would have had the motive to single out the three knights of the squires who attacked Howland, and to chastise said knights. So if it wasn’t Howland, then I think it had to be Lyanna. So this begs the question, how does a fourteen or fifteen year old girl defeat three seasoned knights in a joust? I think the tale itself may give us the answer:

Or that the wider tales gives us the answer, detailing Lyanna's wild and free spirited nature, superlative horse skills, love of fighting and the in-world 'fact' (from an expert, Jaime no less) that jousting is 75% horsemanship.
 

In other words, Lyanna with the aid of the magic of the old gods, cheated. And the only one that we know of at the Harrenhal tourney associated with the Old Gods and with magic is Howland Reed. So I conclude that the Knight of the Laughing Tree was a collaboration between Howland with his magic and Lyanna with her riding. 

I don't believe Howland has any magic. Not 'magic' magic at least. He's explicitly not a greenseer and the 'magics of his peoples' are all described as natural descriptions of typical swamp-dweller's skills that seem 'magical' to outsiders.
He's good at breathing mud (think Arnie in Predator), moving swiftly through treetops and seemingly impenetrable foliage (running on leaves), and finding solid trails through swamp where foreigners find only killing, sucking, bog (change earth to water and water to earth). He can learn much through tracking and weather/swamp lore (talk to trees) and understands the currents and movements of the floating islands that Greywater Watch is built upon (make castles appear and disappear).

There is no need for any collaboration for Lyanna to be KotLT. Nor is there any real evidence that there would be any tangible benefits in such a collaboration.

Which brings us to the million dollar question, what’s with the crown of blue winter roses?

They are roses probably rare enough to be suitable for a garland for whoever the QoLaB is named by whoever wins the joust. That is all. It is a coincidence for literary reasons that they are Lyanna's favourite flowers and she is named.

In other words, does the reader choose mud or fire?

Note that explicitly, in your own quote, young girls always choose fire, not mud.
So its not a good look for your theory for you to be trying to tell us that this suggests the young girl Lyanna chose mud (the Crannogman).

 

Now this doesn’t mean that I’m letting Rhaegar completely off the hook. While I don’t believe that he raped Lyanna, that doesn’t mean that he may not have been responsible for her abduction at some point. If Rhaegar had pegged Howland and Lyanna as being the parents of one of his “heads of the dragon” then my guess is that he and his cohorts were somehow keeping an eye on her after the Harrenhal tourney. So when Lyanna finally returned from the Isle of Faces, perhaps they did scoop her up to make sure they had possession of her unborn child. And perhaps this kidnapping did take place within ten leagues from Harrenhal (or to put it another way ten leages from the shores of the God’s eye).

Riiight. So the three heads of the dragon, don't have to have any connection at all to the dragon. Not princes (the Valyrian word for dragon is the same as prince (but genderless), and not even with any dragon ancestry. A First Man Stark and a CotF Reed will produce a dragon head between them....

:o

Ok, so I see later you invent a connection that gives the little crannogman every bit of super-special magic blood he needs. And you need. To invent, or it all falls apart.

And yep, Rhaegar is fully conversant with this secret ancestry and when he tells Elia that there must be one more, he's not thinking he needs to have a another kid, no, he's thinking of an obscure swamp-kid with an invented ancestry who is going to supply this third head of the dragon and Rhaegar will steal it to make sure its raised right....
 


This also solves one other issue that has been bothering me under the Rhaegar + Lyanna theory. If Rhaegar and Lyanna secretly eloped, why didn’t they come out of hiding when Brandon was imprisoned? Why allow the events to unfold as they did? Why do we never hear a peep from Rhaegar or Lyanna?

Because they are travelling/hiding and out of contact with the immediate world. They don't have smart phones to get the latest news, or teleport machines to instantly return to KL and sort it all out. Ravens only take news to selected locations, and they are avoiding people and places that can lead the king or the Starks/Baratheons to them.

This seriously is not remotely a reasonable 'issue'.

If Lyanna and Howland were secreted away on the Isle of Faces, it may be possible that Lyanna remained unaware of the crisis unfolding outside the mystical Isle. And when Lyanna does leave the Isle, before she has a chance to return to her family she is scooped up by Rhaegar or one of his companions as they attempt to bring certain prophecies to fruition.

So you do grasp the issue, you just won't apply it unless it suits you?

If they are secreted away anywhere, or on traveling in secret to anywhere, they won't be aware of a crisis developing in KL.

The Actual Location of Lyanna’s Death

There is common assumption is that Eddard and Howland found Lyanna at the tower of joy after they defeated the three kingsguards. Many posters have noted the similarity between the tower of joy and the Joyous Gard, Lancelot’s castle, where in some of the Arthurian tales, Lancelot and Guinevere run off to.

But the only thing that really places Lyanna’s death at the tower of joy and after Ned battles the kingsguards is Ned’s dream. Martin referred to it as a fevered dream and warned that not all of it might be literal. And that is a funny thing about dreams they tend to jumble chronology and have no geographic restraints. So let’s revisit our common assumption that Lyanna died at the tower of joy after Ned’s battle with the kingsguards.

Nope. Lyanna's death is no part of the fever dream. The only part Lyanna plays in that dream is one of the few not-literal fever parts - she screams Ned's name "Eddard", but its clearly not her at all. Its Vayon Poole in real life calling Ned to wakefulness - Lyanna called Ned "Ned" and Vayon Pool is literally calling "Lord Eddard" at his door.

Lyanna's death scene comes in a wakeful, clear, non-poppy affected memory when Ned and Robert are down in the crypts together visiting her statue. There we learn that her voice was faint as a whisper, a fever had taken her strength, she was in a room smelling of blood and roses, she extracted promises from him and there fear went out of her eyes when he gave them, how her fingers clutched him tightly as she died and dead, black rose petals fell from her hands. We learn that the little crannogman, Howland Reed, found him (alongside along with at least one more unknown person) still bowed over her dead body and took her (dead) hand from his.

Its only Ned's description of the dream (an old dream, not  a poppy soaked one that we can't trust, but a repeated one that clearly has great meaning) that connects three white cloaks, a tower long fallen and Lyanna in a bed of blood. Since there is no part of Lyanna in the actual dream, thats not something we can dismiss as due to fever or poppy. Lyanna in a bed of blood is clearly connected by Ned, without influence of poppy or fever, with 3 white cloaks and a tower long fallen.
He dreamt an old dream, of three knights in white cloaks, and a tower long fallen, and Lyanna in her bed of blood.

Her actual death scene isn't even related to dreams at all.


For this theory to work, Lyanna is tucked away in a small tower perhaps for the entirety of Robert’s rebellion (a tower that took only two persons to disassemble). Presumably at least one servant or wet nurse is in attendance. And of course after the battle while Eddard and Howland bury the combatants where they were killed, he somehow is able to cart Lyanna’s body first to Starfall where he returns Arthur’s sword, and then presumably back to Winterfell. Not only does this seem a bit unwieldy, I would think that carrying your dead sister’s body around along with her newly born child, might cause some questions to be raised.

Two men, probably at least one servant or wetnurse, and almost certainly at least 11+ horses. Not that hard to pull down a decrepit old watchtower with a dozen or so horses to work with.
And nothing says he carted her body around, only her bones. Which amongst the baggage of Ned, Howland, Wylla (wetnurse, probably), Ned's dead friends, baby Jon and a dozen or so horses, is very remarkable.

The books have given us two towers in each location. And both towers interestingly enough, have the respective lords locked within. The current head of House Mooton is placed under house arrest, while the Knight of Saltpans has willingly locked himself in his tower to avoid the bloodshed that for some reason the brave companions unleashed upon his town. These two locations are more practical locations for someone to stay for an extended period of time, while pregnant, as opposed to an apparently tiny tower in the middle of a mountain pass.

But not very secret. Quite difficult to hide from the king and the rebels while staying in someone elses occupied tower in the middle of busy areas.

 

So what exactly was Rhaegar planning at the tower of joy? Did it involve certain sacrifices at the tower, that Rhaegar and perhaps Aerys had ordered the Kingsguards to help carry out? 

Since Rhaegar and Aerys both died, any speculative sacrificial  plans become irrelevant.

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I can't imagine Lyanna falling in love with the crannogman.  He's the least likely father of the baby.  But I can see Lyanna falling for Rhaegar, Mance Rayder, and her own brother Brandon. 

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The tale of the Knight of the Laughing Tree depicts a relationship between two people, a Northern “princess” with a touch of wolf-blood, and a curious lad, small of stature but someone who has mastered the magics of his people, and entered in a two year study on the mysterious Isle of Faces learning the magic of the Green Men.

In folklore and mythology, the Green Man is an ancient pagan god/hero/outsider, a man whose death and rebirth represent winter and spring. A variant of the Green Man is found in mythology and religion from dying and rising gods such as Attis, Osiris, Tammuz, Bran the blessed, and Jesus Christ. He’s found in pagan rituals celebrating the Corn Kings and the Spring Queens; The Lords of May and Maidens in the Bower. The archetype manifests in tales of Green jack, Robin Hood, Robin Goodfellow, Herne the Hunter, and Gawain and the Green Knight. His tale is sung in the Ballad of John Barleycorn, a version of the Corn King.

Martin often references Green Man folklore, sometimes subtly through the rangers Tom Barleycorn and Dywen with his oaken teeth, to the singer, Tom O’ Seven Streams, dressed in his raged greens and sometimes more overtly such as his Green Men on the Isle of Faces:

The Green Man is also still a feature in pagan May Day (in some places known as the Beltane festival) celebrations, along with his May Queen. Often the Green Man comes to the celebration as an outsider, someone who takes the May Queen as his bride, and their union represents Spring and Summer’s victory over winter. 

I think Martin is creating a type of May Day ritual with his Harrenhal tourney. It’s held during a false spring, and it entails the crowning of a Queen of Love and Beauty, which is Westeros version of the May Queen. Even the image of Rhaegar’s lance with the crown of roses on its tip is basically a May Pole held horizontally. And if we continue the symbolism, Howland Reed fresh off his stay from the Isle of Faces is our Green Man, the outsider coming uninvited into the May Day celebration. 

In the tale of TKOTLT, Martin even develops a basis for a relationship between his May Queen, Lyanna, and his Green Man, Howland Reed. Lyanna comes to Howland’s rescue when he is attacked by the three squires, she invites him into her family, and helps nurse him back to health. If she is indeed the Knight of the Laughing Tree, she even fights for his honor. Despite the fairly strong foundation for a possible romantic relationship between two people, the reader does not easily come to this conclusion. The reason for this is Martin has inverted our gender stereotypes with his tale. 

1. The Dead quote--perfection.

2. The above is hands down the strongest part of the argument. Because the imagery of the May Queen and the Green Man at a spring festival just does work. Period. And I feel stupid for missing it.

3. Am wondering, however, if the question of whether or not Howland and Lyanna had a child might be tied to the fact that this was a false spring. A May Queen and Green Man union that did not produce a summer. Or a child. Might that explain why some of the later parts of the argument (did they disappear together, etc) are a bit harder to make out?

I mean, we even get the bonfires--only later--via Aerys' "I can burn away the winter" project.

4. I am not sold on Lyanna as the Knight of the Laughing Tree. But if she is, your interp would make a lot of sense. And might tie into the Reeds' surprise that Bran hasn't heard this story of magic and power of the old gods. They repeat the story almost like a parable ("a certain crannogman went down to a tournament"). If Lyanna and Howland did this with magic, might increase the reasons why Meera and Jojen really think Bran should have heard the story. 

 What’s so special about Howland Reed? Why is it significant that he is Jon’s father?

Remember at the beginning, my discussion of the Green Man? He is a figure symbolizing death and rebirth. In ASOIAF, it appears that those individuals possessing King’s blood make for a potent sacrifice in magical rituals. The Green Man is basically that, a sacrifice to help bring an end to winter and a return of Spring. So if Jon Snow is to play the part of a Green Man (or a Corn King) then my guess is his destiny is to be sacrificed to help bring about an end to a never ending winter. 

Given the Green Man imagery, the idea that Howland might give rise to the sacrifice that brings Spring makes a lot of sense. But the meeting with Lyanna produced only a false spring. So, might not another of Howland's children be the impending sacrifice?

 

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I think Martin is creating a type of May Day ritual with his Harrenhal tourney. It’s held during a false spring, and it entails the crowning of a Queen of Love and Beauty, which is Westeros version of the May Queen. Even the image of Rhaegar’s lance with the crown of roses on its tip is basically a May Pole held horizontally. And if we continue the symbolism, Howland Reed fresh off his stay from the Isle of Faces is our Green Man, the outsider coming uninvited into the May Day celebration. 

In the tale of TKOTLT, Martin even develops a basis for a relationship between his May Queen, Lyanna, and his Green Man, Howland Reed. Lyanna comes to Howland’s rescue when he is attacked by the three squires, she invites him into her family, and helps nurse him back to health. If she is indeed the Knight of the Laughing Tree, she even fights for his honor. Despite the fairly strong foundation for a possible romantic relationship between two people, the reader does not easily come to this conclusion. The reason for this is Martin has inverted our gender stereotypes with his tale. 

If Ser Stark rode to the rescue of Princess Reed and fought off her attackers, and took her into his family, and tended her wounds and fought for her honor at a tourney, the reader would have quickly come to the conclusion that there might be a romantic relationship between the two. Instead Martin diverts our attention by giving us a more traditional romantic fantasy hero in Rhaegar Targaryen. And despite the fact that he is a married man, with one child and another on his way, and despite the fact that there was no established relationship between the two characters, when Rhaegar wins the tourney and hands Lyanna the crown of winter roses out of the blue, we quickly pair up the two into a romantic relationship.

And the reader isn’t the only one who jumps to this conclusion. Martin has a number of his characters jump to the same conclusion, from Viserys to Barristan to Kevan Lannister, a number of persons who were not in Rhaegar’s inner circle assume that Rhaegar and Lyanna had a torrid love affair which resulted in Robert’s rebellion.

Interestingly, Jon Connington who was a member of Rhaegar’s inner circle, never once thinks about Lyanna and Rhaegar as a couple. He thinks back to his own relationship with Rhaegar, and he thinks back to Rhaegar’s relationship with Elia, but Lyanna who many assumed to be Rhaegar’s true love never crosses Connington’s mind.

But of course the reason many assumed there was a romantic relationship between the two, was the crown of blue winter roses, but before we discuss this, I first need to address the identity of the Knight of the Laughing Tree.

The Mystery Knight

In other words, Lyanna with the aid of the magic of the old gods, cheated. And the only one that we know of at the Harrenhal tourney associated with the Old Gods and with magic is Howland Reed. So I conclude that the Knight of the Laughing Tree was a collaboration between Howland with his magic and Lyanna with her riding. 

So when Aerys becomes disturbed by the presence of the Knight of the Laughing Tree and his mocking symbol, he sends Rhaegar Targaryen among others to try and uncover the Knight’s secret.

Many assume that Rhaegar discovers it was Lyanna and their relationship starts at this point. However, if what I suspect is true, then what Rhaegar could have discovered was a collaboration between Howland and Lyanna and perhaps also discovered a budding relationship between them as well. 

Which brings us to the million dollar question, what’s with the crown of blue winter roses?

Perhaps there is a clue here. The knight gives a rose to our maiden in what superficially appears to be a romantic gesture. But the knight in reality has no romantic interest in the maiden. On the other hand, Littlefinger, who like Howland is short of stature and a bit of an outsider, is the one who truly desires the maiden.

Finally, Martin at least in my mind is testing the reader. Can the reader identify that the tale of The Knight of the Laughing Tree depicts an actual basis for a romantic relationship between two persons of similar age, and similar beliefs, despite the fact that Howland is not what we are accustomed to as a love interest in a fantasy tale. Or does the reader follow the stereotype of a fantasy romantic figure, and assume that Lyanna falls in love with Rhaegar despite the fact that he is already married, soon to be the father of a second child, and despite the fact that there appears to be no personal interactions between the two.

In other words, does the reader choose mud or fire?

The Marriage of Lyanna and Howland Reed, the Second Pact

If Dany’s vision is at all correct, it appears that Rhaegar and Elia return to either King’s Landing or Dragonstone for the birth of Rhaegar’s son. This is the child that Rhaegar tells Elia is the Prince that was Promised and one of the three heads of the dragon. In the meantime, it’s not completely certain what happens to Lyanna, but my guess is she may have returned to the North. Regardless it doesn’t appear that Rhaegar and Lyanna would have been together to have formed a secret relationship.

But perhaps Howland and Lyanna did have the opportunity. 


And if Howland and Lyanna did continue a secret relationship, which developed into something more, then we have the perfect place where the two of them could have run away to elope, the Isle of Faces. If Lyanna did secretly elope it makes more sense that she would have married someone who was not already married to another. Especially since she already expressed her thoughts about Robert Baratheon’s famous womanizing. 


Symbolically it’s hard to beat a wedding between Lyanna and Howland in front of the Weirwoods on the Isle of Faces. Howland is a crannogman, and the crannogmen are a tiny people rumored to have been descended from the humans and the COTF (whether true or not). While Lyanna is a Stark, a family still strong in the blood and beliefs of the First Men. So a wedding or union (or pact) between the two in front of the same weirwoods that witnessed the pact between the First Men and the COTF would have a tremendous amount of symbolism. And conveniently the First Men do not require someone to officiate their weddings.

So when Eddard tells Arya that it was Lyanna’s wolf blood that led to her early death, I think he was referring to the fact that she ran off with Howland, eloped and became pregnant on the Isle of Faces.

So why does Brandon ride to King’s Landing to blame Rhaegar for kidnapping Lyanna? Like the reader, Brandon jumps to the same conclusions after Harrenhal and assumes that Rhaegar is responsible for her disappearance. I also think that the same maesters who are arranging the marriage alliances between Houses Stark, Tully, and Baratheon may be to blame as well. After all, if the maesters are working to form an alliance against House Targaryen (Aerys may be paranoid but that doesn’t mean he’s not right to be suspicious) then ultimately they need a spark to start the fire to rid the realm of House Targaryen. Lyanna’s disappearance may have been just the spark they needed. So perhaps the Maesters are to blame for convincing Brandon and Robert that Rhaegar had kidnapped Lyanna.

Now this doesn’t mean that I’m letting Rhaegar completely off the hook. While I don’t believe that he raped Lyanna, that doesn’t mean that he may not have been responsible for her abduction at some point. If Rhaegar had pegged Howland and Lyanna as being the parents of one of his “heads of the dragon” then my guess is that he and his cohorts were somehow keeping an eye on her after the Harrenhal tourney. So when Lyanna finally returned from the Isle of Faces, perhaps they did scoop her up to make sure they had possession of her unborn child. And perhaps this kidnapping did take place within ten leagues from Harrenhal (or to put it another way ten leages from the shores of the God’s eye).

This also solves one other issue that has been bothering me under the Rhaegar + Lyanna theory. If Rhaegar and Lyanna secretly eloped, why didn’t they come out of hiding when Brandon was imprisoned? Why allow the events to unfold as they did? Why do we never hear a peep from Rhaegar or Lyanna?

If Lyanna and Howland were secreted away on the Isle of Faces, it may be possible that Lyanna remained unaware of the crisis unfolding outside the mystical Isle. And when Lyanna does leave the Isle, before she has a chance to return to her family she is scooped up by Rhaegar or one of his companions as they attempt to bring certain prophecies to fruition. 

The Actual Location of Lyanna’s Death

There is common assumption is that Eddard and Howland found Lyanna at the tower of joy after they defeated the three kingsguards. Many posters have noted the similarity between the tower of joy and the Joyous Gard, Lancelot’s castle, where in some of the Arthurian tales, Lancelot and Guinevere run off to.

But the only thing that really places Lyanna’s death at the tower of joy and after Ned battles the kingsguards is Ned’s dream. Martin referred to it as a fevered dream and warned that not all of it might be literal. And that is a funny thing about dreams they tend to jumble chronology and have no geographic restraints. So let’s revisit our common assumption that Lyanna died at the tower of joy after Ned’s battle with the kingsguards.

For this theory to work, Lyanna is tucked away in a small tower perhaps for the entirety of Robert’s rebellion (a tower that took only two persons to disassemble). Presumably at least one servant or wet nurse is in attendance. And of course after the battle while Eddard and Howland bury the combatants where they were killed, he somehow is able to cart Lyanna’s body first to Starfall where he returns Arthur’s sword, and then presumably back to Winterfell. Not only does this seem a bit unwieldy, I would think that carrying your dead sister’s body around along with her newly born child, might cause some questions to be raised.

If Lyanna was in fact taken around the shores of the God’s Eye, and if Rhaegar or his companions needed to secrete Lyanna for a period of time, then she would have been brought to location not far from the God’s Eye and perhaps on boat to a castle in league with Rhaegar or one of his closest confidants. I think the most logical location is Maidenpool, the seat of House Mooton. Or perhaps in the neighboring town of Saltpans if in fact the Knight of Saltpans was one of House Mooton’s vassals.

The books have given us two towers in each location. And both towers interestingly enough, have the respective lords locked within. The current head of House Mooton is placed under house arrest, while the Knight of Saltpans has willingly locked himself in his tower to avoid the bloodshed that for some reason the brave companions unleashed upon his town. These two locations are more practical locations for someone to stay for an extended period of time, while pregnant, as opposed to an apparently tiny tower in the middle of a mountain pass.

Then there is the Quiet Isle which lay across the tidal flats from both towns. If Lyanna had fallen ill, or if there were complications with her pregnancy, this would have been the perfect place to have brought her. An isle populated with monks some who are known for their healing skills, who have also taken a vow of silence. These Brothers could also have seen to the preparation of Lyanna’s body, which would have allowed Eddard to have returned her to Winterfell, as opposed to the bodies of the Kingsguards and his companions at the tower of joy, who had to be buried where they died.

We are told of cottages on the isle specifically set aside for women visitors.

I think the description of the cottages as beehives could be a nod to one of Martin’s other works, a Song for Lya. In a song for Lya, Lya dies and her consciousness is joined with other aliens and humans in what is referred to as a mass/hive mind. If Lyanna was ultimately brought to this beehive like cottage on the Isle of Faces when she fell ill or when it was time for the birth of her children, then this is also the likely location of where she died and thus where Eddard finally found her.

And while the tower of joy could be a reference to Lancelot’s Joyous Garde, the Quiet Isle resembles another location in Guinevere abduction myths. In one of the earliest abduction scenarios, Guinevere is kidnapped by Melwas, “King of the Summery Country”, and held prisoner in his stronghold at Glastonbury. Like the Quiet Isle, Glastonbury is located on a salt water tidal flat, and when the tide is high the town basically becomes an island (or did before drainage canals were utilized). Also like the Quiet Isle, Glastonbury contains a prominent Abbey, and a rich history of religious lore. It is the alleged location where Joseph of Arimathea landed in Britain, and guarded the Holy Grail. Folklore also has tied Glastonbury to King Arthur’s Avalon, and as the final resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere.

So if Martin is referencing Arthurian folklore, the Quiet Isle is another possible parallel to the Guinevere abduction tales.

On first glance the reader may come to the conclusion that Ned promised Lyanna to take Jon and hide him from Robert Baratheon. That the price that was paid by Ned was to pretend he fathered a bastard, a stain upon his reputation. But once again this really doesn’t ring true to me.

It’s apparent that a high lord fathering and even fostering a bastard isn’t really a big deal in Westeros. Even Catelyn has to admit that it’s not unusual during wartime for a husband to father a bastard. She’s just pissed that he brought the bastard back to his House. Yet even that isn’t really unusual. A number of bastards can be found throughout the Houses in Westeros. Robert Baratheon even teases Eddard about his apparent shame at fathering a bastard. 

And the other problem is that Eddard really doesn’t pay a price for pretending that Jon is his son. No one thinks any less of him, and while his wife isn’t happy about it, she doesn’t take it out on Eddard, she takes it out on Jon. Otherwise Ned and Catelyn’s relationship appears perfectly fine. Now Jon pays a bit of a price, but Eddard does not.

Then we have Ned’s thoughts about keeping his vows. Once again the knee jerk reaction is that Ned is referring to Catelyn and how in reality he kept his marriage vows to her and did not father a bastard. But let us not forget, Catelyn may not have been Eddard’s first love.

Eddard may very well have formed a relationship with Ashara Dayne after the events of Harrenhal, well before Brandon’s death, and his agreement to take Brandon’s place to secure the services of House Tully. Perhaps Ned made some vows to the first (and dare I say real) love of his life, Ashara Dayne. So let’s think back to the rebellion and think about the biggest price that Eddard may have had to pay.

If indeed, Ashara Dayne was the real love of Eddard’s life, then the biggest price that Eddard paid, was that for some reason, Eddard had to confront her brother Arthur Dayne, and kill him at the tower of joy. So if Eddard thought back to the promises (not just one promise mind you) he made to Lyanna and the price that he paid to keep them, then my guess is these promises were what led Eddard to the tower of joy and forced his hand in killing the three kingsguards, one of whom was the brother to his true love.

So if Lyanna was not imprisoned at the tower of joy, what was happening there that forced Eddard and his company to kill the three kingsguards?

Well let’s start with trying to figure out why Rhaegar called it the tower of joy. Once again the obvious reaction is to think that the tower of joy is his secret love shack with Lyanna Stark. But we are actually told what the normally melancholy Rhaegar truly loved:

‘”Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best. He would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company. Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there. He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song. When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not but feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved.”
 

Remember that part in bold, because I’m going to come back to this before the end.

So Rhaegar’s true love was Summerhall, and he even appeared to have a psychic connection with the place.

So perhaps the tower of joy was to be Rhaegar’s attempt at another Summerhall. And if Summerhall was an attempt to hatch dragons, we have to ask ourselves, how are dragons hatched? We have one prophecy that seems to imply that the hatching of dragons involves certain human sacrifices:

“Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the son, so both die kings.”
 

And there were blood sacrifices aplenty in the events that led up to the birth of Dany’s dragons.

So what exactly was Rhaegar planning at the tower of joy? Did it involve certain sacrifices at the tower, that Rhaegar and perhaps Aerys had ordered the Kingsguards to help carry out? 

Even the conversation between Rhaegar and Elia which Dany viewed at the House of the Undying may have a dark undertone.

“Will you make a song for him?” the woman asked.

“He has a song,” the man replied. He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.”
 
 

While this conversation seems fairly innocuous, when you look through the books it becomes apparent that when a song is made for a person it is almost always to memoralize them after their death. So was Elia anticipating that Rhaegar would outlive their son, to be able to make a song for him?

Was Eddard’s promise to Lyanna an oath to find and rescue her child (children?), an oath that ultimately forced him to slay the brother of his true love, Ashara Dayne? Perhaps this is the true price that Eddard paid to fulfill his promises to Lyanna. (However, I do think that there was another promise, a promise broken that Eddard seems only to dwell on in his dreams and subconscious, a promise that seems to fill Eddard with horror. My guess is the true extent of this is much darker than I’m guessing).

You know, I asked him about who Jon Snow’s real parents were, and he told me. I can’t say who, but I can tell you that it involves a bit of a Luke Skywalker situation.



-Alfie Allen
 

This quote caused quite the stir, and of course those convinced that Jon’s father is Rhaegar assume that this somehow makes Rhaegar the Darth Vader figure. But I have a different take. Don’t forget that Luke had two surprises in store for him. First was the revelation of his father, but the second surprise was that Leia was his twin sister separated from him at birth.
And if my theory is correct, and Howland is Jon’s father, then Jon may have a twin sister that he’s been separated from, namely, Meera Reed.

George Lucas stole the idea of twins separated at birth along with much else from an opera by Richard Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen, often referred to as the Ring Cycle. Wagner’s opera begins with a dwarf, Alberich, who spies three women (water nymphys) bathing at the Rhine river. I think that Martin references this in his tale of the Maiden Pool, where Florian spies Jonquil and her fellow maids bathing in the pool at Maidenpool.

Later in the tale we learn the tale of Siegmund who had been separated from his twin sister, Sieglinde at birth. In the opera, Siegmund meets up with her at her house during a rainstorm.

Turning to ASOS, during another storm, Jon and Meera almost come together at the Queenscrown tower, when Jon is still with the wildlings and Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor are hiding in the tower. The tale is told between Bran’s POV chapter and Jon’s POV chapter and it begins with this line:

The tower stood upon an island, its twin reflected on the still blue waters.
 

Between the two chapters, Jon comes to the shore of the lake with Ygritte, while Meera is in the tower. Thus Meera’s twin is standing across the waters of the lake.

Then there is the mysterious iron great helm that Meera brings with her on her first visit to Winterfell. It doesn’t go with her bronze scale, and she never wears it, only uses it once as a pot. So why is she carrying it, and why does she bring it to Winterfell? My guess is the Great Helm was the helmet worn by Lyanna Stark during the Harrenhal tourney, and Meera has kept it perhaps as an heirloom from the mother that she never met.

Bran even once comments that Meera reminds him of his sister Arya, and Arya in turn reminds Eddard of his sister Lyanna.
So of course the big question is why would Howland and Eddard have separated the two children? Why wouldn’t Howland have kept both his children? 

I wish I had a good answer. But Martin has on at least two occasions given us scenarios where two children had to be separated. The first scenario occurs when Luwin tells Osha to keep Brandon and Rickard separate. The idea being that since both children are being hunted it would be harder to capture both if they are kept separate from each other.

The other scenario dealt with Jon’s decision to send Mance’s child from Castle Black, and keep Gilly’s son behind. And of course the reason that Mance’s son was sent away was Jon’s feat that Melisandre may try to sacrifice him for his “King’s blood”.


When Robb decides to keep his mother and wife at separate locations, he reasons that a man should not keep all of his treasures in one purse.

So my guess is that Ned and Howland feared that whatever reason or ritual that Rhaegar and his inner circle wanted Lyanna’s children for, it was best that they be kept separated for their own safety. Howland would raise Meera as his, since she have more closely appeared as a cronnogman, and Eddard would raise Jon, since he took after his mother in appearance.


Finally, what’s so special about Howland Reed (get ready for some serious crackpotting)

I meant to go into more depth for this last part, but this damned essay is already too long. So I’m going

to cut straight to the chase. What’s so special about Howland Reed? Why is it significant that he is Jon’s father?

Remember at the beginning, my discussion of the Green Man? He is a figure symbolizing death and rebirth. In ASOIAF, it appears that those individuals possessing King’s blood make for a potent sacrifice in magical rituals. The Green Man is basically that, a sacrifice to help bring an end to winter and a return of Spring. So if Jon Snow is to play the part of a Green Man (or a Corn King) then my guess is his destiny is to be sacrificed to help bring about an end to a never ending winter. 

So there must be something special about Jon’s bloodlines. My guess is that his bloodline is a joining together of many of the mystical king’s bloodlines in Westeros.

I think that Howland Reed possessed bloodlines from House Targaryen, House Blackwood, House Dayne, Nymeria, and House Gardner. While Lyanna possesses the various Norther bloodlines that can currently be found in House Stark. So their child would have had king’s blood from both the North and South of Westeros. 

The reason that I think that Howland Reed possesses these bloodlines, is that Howland Reed is the child of Duncan the Small and Jenny of Oldstones. And my main suspicion comes from this quote in the Hedge Knight:

He sat naked under the elm while he dried, enjoying the warmth of the spring air on his skin as he watched a dragonfly moving lazily among the reeds. Why would they name it a dragonfly? He wondered. It looks nothing like a dragon.
 

I think the tale of Dunk and Egg is going to ultimately be the tale of the birth of Howland Reed. If I had to guess Jenny of Oldstones is from the Neck, who like Howland, takes a journey into the South where she meets up with Duncan the Small. Jenny claims descent from First Men kings of old. My guess is this includes at least the Marsh Kings, but perhaps other kings as well. The fact that Jenny is known for the flowers in her hair, may mean she claims descent from the female line of House Gardner, the kings and queens who were known for their flowery crowns. 

While Duncan the Small claims not only the Targaryen bloodlines but also the many special bloodlines of the Houses that intermarried with House Targaryen. 

We know for certain that two people died at Summerhall, Aegon V and his eldest son, Duncan the Small. We also know that Summerhall’s purpose was the hatching of dragons.

“Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the son, so both die kings.”
 

And think back to Barristan’s quote about Rhaegar Targaryen. He sung of the death of kings (plural)

So while Duncan the small may have abdicated the crown, according to prophecy he may still have been the younger king who needed to perish to hatch the wake the dragon.

My guess is that Jenny of Oldstones, like her albino companion, the Ghost of High Heart (sound familiar), may have survived the disaster and fled perhaps pregnant with the child of Duncan the Small. And I believe that this child is Howland Reed. 

So if Jon is Howland’s son, he is in fact a king of sorts. He is a king that is not recognized through law or conquest but may be recognized through prophecy, as the only son of the only son of the eldest son of King Aegon V. I think Jon is the Corn King, the one who is to be sacrificed to help end the Long Night:

Free,” the raven muttered. “Corn. King.”
 
There were three men came out of the West

Their fortunes for to try.

And these three men made a solemn vow,

John Barleycorn should die

They ploughed him in the earth so deep,

With clods upon his head.

Then these three men they did conclude

John Barleycorn was dead.

There he lay sleeping in the ground

Till rain from the sky did fall;

Then Barleycorn sprang a green blade

And proved liars of them all.
 
Expand


Ultimately the Song of Ice and Fire, isn’t about a legal claim to House Targaryen, and a hidden prince who will one day be rewarded the Iron Throne. This is a tale about seasons, about a never ending night and the dream of a spring to follow it. Jon Snow is a modern day retelling of John Barleycorn, the Corn King, whose death and sacrifice will be needed to see an end to a Long Winter.
So if Lyanna was not imprisoned at the tower of joy, what was happening there that forced Eddard and his company to kill the three kingsguards?

Well let’s start with trying to figure out why Rhaegar called it the tower of joy. Once again the obvious reaction is to think that the tower of joy is his secret love shack with Lyanna Stark. But we are actually told what the normally melancholy Rhaegar truly loved:
 

‘”Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best. He would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company. Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there. He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song. When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not but feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved.”
 

Remember that part in bold, because I’m going to come back to this before the end.

So Rhaegar’s true love was Summerhall, and he even appeared to have a psychic connection with the place.

So perhaps the tower of joy was to be Rhaegar’s attempt at another Summerhall. And if Summerhall was an attempt to hatch dragons, we have to ask ourselves, how are dragons hatched? We have one prophecy that seems to imply that the hatching of dragons involves certain human sacrifices:

I love the connection with the tourney and the Beltane ritual.I think your spot on with GRRM renacting that.I disagree though with the Green man as an outsider,he is part of an archetype that represents one of the central figures at Beltane.So don't know if having studied with the Green men on the isle means that he falls in the arch.

I agree with you on a bit of bias if the gender roles were reversed and it had been Howland rescuing Lyanna fans would have made a romantic deal about it.That being said,the same thing with the roles switched is still the same thing.Not saying it couldn't happen its a fixture of Arthurian romance.If this is what its suppose to mirror then it works perfectly just with the gender swapped.

The part i marked out isn't neccessary to your case,but keep it in mind for another.

I'm not sure about the Howland helping Lyanna with magic to beat these guys.Did Howland have that type of juice,i may have missed that.I think Lya had the skill needed to do it.I don't think it a coincidence that GRRM had Jamie do that info dump about being a good horseman as a defining skill to be good at Jousting.A romance could happen without him being involved in that.

What i think this essay has going for it is contact and if you believe in that Arthurian style romance,oppurtunity for love to blossom.The hero(ine) falls in love with the victim of injustice.Are there signs of this,that's harder to determine.Meera and Ned is the only source of info we get about Howland's involvement.Via Ned's memory there doesn't seem to be anything in what Howland did or said that looked like he and Lya might have had a thing to the magnituide of  bearing a child.

I think you actually may be on to something with the sacrifice/Summerhall angle and i would have liked to have seen that as another essay.

 

 

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I like this theory, because it explains why Jon is so short!

 

Besides that he looks nothing like a crannog.  Jon is first men in appearance all the way through.  Me thinks his father is Brandon with Ashara Dayne. 

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lol. no offense but cannot picture too many people reading something of that length that they know is incorrect

 

cool fan fiction though

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Besides that he looks nothing like a crannog.  Jon is first men in appearance all the way through.  Me thinks his father is Brandon with Ashara Dayne. 

The issue of Jon looking like a Stark takes nothing away from any theory as long as it has a Stark as at least half the couple. GRRM has introduced a rudimentary version of genetics with differing levels of strength of genes, we know the Baratheon gene is the strongest, beyond that we know virtually nothing. The Stark gene is about as strong as the Tully gene, as of the 5 trueborn Starks 2 look like Starks and 3 look like Tullys, a sixth child would probably have looked Stark. If the Reed gene is a similar strength too then fraternal twins could easily look like one Stark and one Reed in Westeros genetics.

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I have know idea what sense this is suppose to make really,but a sad world we live in if the above is possible.

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The issue of Jon looking like a Stark takes nothing away from any theory as long as it has a Stark as at least half the couple. GRRM has introduced a rudimentary version of genetics with differing levels of strength of genes, we know the Baratheon gene is the strongest, beyond that we know virtually nothing. The Stark gene is about as strong as the Tully gene, as of the 5 trueborn Starks 2 look like Starks and 3 look like Tullys, a sixth child would probably have looked Stark. If the Reed gene is a similar strength too then fraternal twins could easily look like one Stark and one Reed in Westeros genetics.

Sure we can't rule the theory out.  I was kidding with R+L<>J.  More to the point, we can't rule out other theories because R+L=J is not even close to proven.  Other theories such as yours are worth exploring.  The Jon supporters aggressively try to tamp down any theory that isn't R+L=J, and it's just silly to do so. 

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Sure we can't rule the theory out.  I was kidding with R+L.  More to the point, we can't rule out other theories because R+L=J is not even close to proven.  Other theories such as yours are worth exploring.  The Jon supporters aggressively try to tamp down any theory that isn't R+L=J, and it's just silly to do so. 

This isn't my theory, I'm not sure I agree with it at all. I have an open mind, I'm not totally convinced on R+L=J so I'm still looking for alternatives, as a Lemongater I still think Dany's birth is involved somewhere in it too.

I just thought I'd pull up the fact that unless a theory doesn't include a Stark (or I've just realised a Baratheon is included) then his looks are irrelevant. He doesn't have any Targ, Dayne or Reed features so they are all ruled out by the same logic.

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This isn't my theory, I'm not sure I agree with it at all. I have an open mind, I'm not totally convinced on R+L=J so I'm still looking for alternatives, as a Lemongater I still think Dany's birth is involved somewhere in it too.

I just thought I'd pull up the fact that unless a theory doesn't include a Stark (or I've just realised a Baratheon is included) then his looks are irrelevant. He doesn't have any Targ, Dayne or Reed features so they are all ruled out by the same logic.

This isn't my theory, I'm not sure I agree with it at all. I have an open mind, I'm not totally convinced on R+L=J so I'm still looking for alternatives, as a Lemongater I still think Dany's birth is involved somewhere in it too.

I just thought I'd pull up the fact that unless a theory doesn't include a Stark (or I've just realised a Baratheon is included) then his looks are irrelevant. He doesn't have any Targ, Dayne or Reed features so they are all ruled out by the same logic.

You'll probably like the theory that the three Kingsguard were sacrificed to bring her to the world.  In short, their deaths brought Dany to life, whether at the Tower or at Dragonstone.  I tend to think it is clear Dany was born on Dragonstone, but distance is of no matter in magic.  The deaths of the three kingsguard woke the dragon from stone, which translates to waking a dragon from stone.  This is why the undying called her the child of three.  Three deaths paid for life.  

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To posters again in general,i know its hard to critique without wanting to get a little of one's belief in there,but please try.Can you all look at a work through its own merit objectively,nothing else and have a discussion.We will get so much out of it if we can separate our preconcieved notions and our beliefs from what is before us.Please respect the person that took the time out to do the essay by giving them honest and specific feedback.Critique on the essays own merit.

Looking forward to this thanks!!

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Interesting theory.  I respect how much work you put in to this.  I love the points you made about Ned and Ashara and I feel like the Ashara and Dayne family storyline is a darkhorse for a really important storyline.  I couldn't disagree more with H+L = J, but it's fun to discuss. I would have loved to have seen more counterpoint to your own theory in the essay.  Would you care to address the biggest holes in your theory?

  • Why would Rhaegar think the third head of his 'prophesized' dragon was a child born to two others, not himself?
  • Howland reflected on how he was not able to be the champion in the tournament and then prayed.  Could he have been praying for his own enhancement, not Lyanna's?

A thought on Dany's birth and potentially her princess-that-was-promised-ness:  She was born shortly after the sack of King's landing.  If two king's deaths were needed to wake the dragon, Her father and then subsequently young Aegon (if it was really Aegon) would fit that bill.  

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Since Crannogmen are First Men, and superficially look more like Starks than Targaryans, I'd think Howland being the father would make a lot more sense than a silver-haired, purple eyed tall guy.  Don't think his First Men appearance is a point against this theory, rather one for it. Do we even know what color Howland's eyes are?

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Interesting theory.  I respect how much work you put in to this.  I love the points you made about Ned and Ashara and I feel like the Ashara and Dayne family storyline is a darkhorse for a really important storyline.  I couldn't disagree more with H+L = J, but it's fun to discuss. I would have loved to have seen more counterpoint to your own theory in the essay.  Would you care to address the biggest holes in your theory?

  • Why would Rhaegar think the third head of his 'prophesized' dragon was a child born to two others, not himself?
  • Howland reflected on how he was not able to be the champion in the tournament and then prayed.  Could he have been praying for his own enhancement, not Lyanna's?

A thought on Dany's birth and potentially her princess-that-was-promised-ness:  She was born shortly after the sack of King's landing.  If two king's deaths were needed to wake the dragon, Her father and then subsequently young Aegon (if it was really Aegon) would fit that bill.  

I got these, they aren't exactly holes.

1.  Rhaegar appeared to go through multiple interpretations of the prophecy.  At first he thought he was some kind of chosen one, but this evolved into thinking he was to be the father of the chosen one - perhaps he uncovered a prophecy that the third head would have a First Men mother, ruling himself out.  Rhaegar had dragon dreams, which are not unlike green dreams - perhaps prophetic dreams were one of the signs of the father of the third head and he thought it was himself, until he found out about what a powerful magician the crannogman was and realized it was Howland, not himself.  Or not - the thing is, Rhaegar questioned the meaning of the prophecy and changed his interpretation at least once…maybe he truly thought it was himself when he gave the garland to Lyanna (interestingly mirroring somewhat how his mother was crowned by Bonifer Hasty, who could be his true father), and then when he investigated the laughing knight, he found out about Howland and his affair with Lyanna, and realized that was it.  If he was willing to change his mind from it being about him to being about his son, it's not that big a step to change it again.

2.  He could have been - or he could have just been praying for help in any form and got it.  It's not really a hole, just an alternate explanation.

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Interesting theory.  I respect how much work you put in to this.  I love the points you made about Ned and Ashara and I feel like the Ashara and Dayne family storyline is a darkhorse for a really important storyline.  I couldn't disagree more with H+L = J, but it's fun to discuss. I would have loved to have seen more counterpoint to your own theory in the essay.  Would you care to address the biggest holes in your theory?

  • Why would Rhaegar think the third head of his 'prophesized' dragon was a child born to two others, not himself?
  • Howland reflected on how he was not able to be the champion in the tournament and then prayed.  Could he have been praying for his own enhancement, not Lyanna's?

A thought on Dany's birth and potentially her princess-that-was-promised-ness:  She was born shortly after the sack of King's landing.  If two king's deaths were needed to wake the dragon, Her father and then subsequently young Aegon (if it was really Aegon) would fit that bill.  

1.Its never made clear or should i say there's some ambiguity about who Rhaegar thought the three were.We know for sure at one point he thought he was TPTWP the Dragon must have three heads yada yada.Which means there were two who would flag him.

Then he says its not him and that it was his son Aegon but it was "us" who somehow came to conclusion that what Rhaegar was doing was fathering the 3 heads himself.He could have been,and he may not have been.He could have been trying to put together 3 people with Dragon blood.

2.Who knows what he was praying for or if it mattered or not.

 

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A interesting read. Thanks to wolfmaid for posting it and Frey Family Reunion for the writing. I like the parallels on the corn king and arthurian myth but I don't think its a likely conclusion.

If Jon was Howland's son why didn't Howland keep him? 

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