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Would you prefer if Rhaegar won?

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Rhaegar certainly had a privileged position but family life with Aerys in the dragon pit of the Red Keep must have been pretty horrendous even before Duskendale and the pressures on Rhaegar from a young age would have been tremendous (especially with one dead sibling after another). In contrast, Robert enjoyed a pretty carefree existence up until the death of his parents and had real support and guidance from two father figures in his formative years.

I don't think privilege prevent people from being unhappy but Robert, as king, did have the agency to do a lot of what he wanted and was pretty good at avoiding the boring aspects of kinging.

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In an ideal world, Rhaegar would pledge to dispose his father and in turn pardon all the rebels.  Not sure if he could or would do that.

Probably not as that would be the smart decision.

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Probably not as that would be the smart decision.

It would have been a suicidal thing for House Targaryen to do, but it would have been very smart for the rebels' side to accept such folly from the crown prince.

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That simple, huh? You know, for a series that gets praised for its greyness, its fans are very often black and white in their thinking.

Yes, but look at why its considered immoral: because the church says so. Not because it's emotionally damaging to your partner, as it would if you were in a (monogamous) romantic relationship.

I'm still not saying infidelity is right, though - it comes with a shitload of baggage, even when it's expected, as it is in Westeros (for the lords, anyway) - but I'm not going to condemn a person who gives into it ONCE, after a lifetime of miserable dutifulness.

Trust a Targaryen fanboy to think cheating is okay when their favorite characters are doing it. 

"a lifetime of miserable dutifulness"

'Princess Elia was a good woman, Your Grace. She was kind and clever, with a gentle heart and a sweet wit. I know the prince was very fond of her'

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Rhaegar certainly had a privileged position but family life with Aerys in the dragon pit of the Red Keep must have been pretty horrendous even before Duskendale and the pressures on Rhaegar from a young age would have been tremendous (especially with one dead sibling after another). In contrast, Robert enjoyed a pretty carefree existence up until the death of his parents and had real support and guidance from two father figures in his formative years.

I don't think privilege prevent people from being unhappy but Robert, as king, did have the agency to do a lot of what he wanted and was pretty good at avoiding the boring aspects of kinging.

As someone who, as a child. had ridden more than once in the backseat of a car with a mentally-ill family member in a fit while on the other side, my mom tried to restrain her, I can agree Rhaegar's life was most likely not all this great with Aerys around. Then again, I'd love to be able to pull a Rhaegar: scurry off (after knowingly incensing her) and hide from anyone who could tell me that things were going very wrong in the aftermath, for her and everyone around. And be sympathized with because I had it so hard and I was entitled to this escape, even when leaving defenseless family with her when she had shown agression to them. All of my family will love it. But it isn't the way it works for people with a mentally ill family member and I see no reason why it should be so for Rhaegar. Taking care of such people sucks. That's just how it is.

IMO, Robert didn't have it in himself to be truly happy, king or not. In our lives, we all have to assume some kind of responsibility and the word itself seems enough to me to send jolly Bob into a fit of depression. I give it to him, he could have been less unhappy had things in his life happened in another way. But that's it. Whine-whine how hard it is to be king? He's great at it! Give up his crown? I don't think so.

 

ETA: It isn't the way how it works for responsible people with a mentally ill family member. It works for many others. It worked for Rhaegar.

Edited by Anath

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Anath, I'm sorry if I blundered into an area that's personally distressing for you. Of course you're right that my lack of experience of dealing with a mentally ill person probably makes me too easy going on Rhaegar - although I don't think it's unreasonable to point out that his life had it's difficulties as well as it's privilege. For whatever reason, Martin does seem to be depicting Rhaegar as underestimating how close to breaking point his father was.

Perhaps it's the frustrated defence lawyer in me, but I'd like to know more about the details and motivations surrounding the 'abduction' before making a definitive judgement of Rhaegar (and Lyanna).

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Everything. He lived his whole life, putting aside personal wants and enjoyment for his duties. Lyanna was the exception to the trend.

Lol no he did not. He went to Summerhall, the place he loved best, all the time. He played his harp, which he loved more than his lance, all the time, and played the songs that he'd composed while in Summerhall. He trained to be a warrior, something I might add that he should have been doing already if he were any other noble as that was neglected, but nowhere does it say that he stopped learning or reading books like he loved to. His best friends were the men who he met through training to be a warrior.

The only thing Rhaegar ever sacrificed was marrying Elia in an arranged marriage, and even then he actually liked her and wasn't upset with his marriage. He didn't love her, but he did like his wife, and she happened to give him the Prince that Was Promised. And it's not a sacrifice considering literally 99% of nobles, including his mother and father, did the exact same thing he did and married someone chosen for them. Nor was he even in love prior to the marriage like his mother was or tons of other nobles which would have made going through with the marriage to Elia difficult and testing his dutifulness.

Marrying Elia is the only duty he ever did. Everything else was his own choice. He never had a duty to "save" the realm, he just thought that he did. That's not duty, that's personal choice.

I really don't understand what I'm supposed to be so sorry that Rhaegar had to endure that warrants him getting a "pass" for having been so incredibly dutiful that he apparently needs one with Lyanna. He had an incredibly easy life and got everything he ever wanted and decided to do one more thing that he wanted to, just as he always had before.

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Wall Flower, if I was such a delicate little flower (pun intended), I should've better stayed away from such topics. This angle of the whole story just hits too close to home because GRRM describes it at is it, the denial included. In our case, my mom was the first one to notice that something was slighty off but of course, who was going to listen to the new wife/daughter-in-law? The problem is, denial is hard long before the person reaches Aerys' state. And everything indicates that Rhaegar had accepted it before Harrenhall, else he would not have presumably tried to do something about Aerys. Having a mentally ill family just makes your responsibility harder if you're a responsible person to start with. Lapses are inevitable along the way, but the Lyanna thing isn't something that can be excused with "But Rhaegar had it so hard, he's entitled to this little reprieve!" It's too great. As is taking the three KG with him to the Trident knowing that Aerys was the one everyone in the Red Keep obeyed, that there were only two KG who might put Elia and her children's needs before Aerys' and that both of them were far away. And that Aerys disliked Rhaenys and was suspicious of Dorne. At the time, Aerys was pliant to Rhaegar's will. Rhaegar could have sent his family away from the danger that his father was. He could have appointed a KG especially for Aegon who was presumably the future king if Rhaegar hadn't changed his mind. But he didn't.

I'm fine with changing my judgment when we know more. But for what has been revealed this far about Rhaegar's actions and not the content-lacking praise he gets from nostalgic people, his conduct and faring with literally everything are appalling. Details and motivations might explain why Rhaegar thought it was the better course of action, but I can't see a way they could be worked into making what he did a good course of action. Disappearing with Lyanna was bound to throw Aerys into a higher lever of paranoia; singing la-la-la, I can't hear you and you can't find me is hardly justifiable at any case. And leaving his family with Aerys is the height of either idiocy or lack of care. You don't do that when someone stronger than them and mentally ill has shown dislike for them. Period.

 

ETA: While I agree he only thought he had a duty to save the world, I think it probably stemmed from something Aerys and Rhaella might have planted in his head when he was young enough. Those two were forced to marry to presumably save the world. Makes sense to me that they'd try to explain to Rhaegar just how important their line would be. And for a very long time, Rhaegar was their line. It doesn't explain why he was so adamant that he was the great savior and if not he, Aegon and not a grandson from 17 generations later. To me, it doesn't excuse his actions. But it's a possible explanation.

Edited by Anath

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Trust a Targaryen fanboy to think cheating is okay when their favorite characters are doing it. 

"a lifetime of miserable dutifulness"

'Princess Elia was a good woman, Your Grace. She was kind and clever, with a gentle heart and a sweet wit. I know the prince was very fond of her'

Is that supposed to invalidate my opinion? Well, if I'm a fanboy, then your a hater. I guess that makes you just as irrational.

Lol no he did not. He went to Summerhall, the place he loved best, all the time. He played his harp, which he loved more than his lance, all the time, and played the songs that he'd composed while in Summerhall. He trained to be a warrior, something I might add that he should have been doing already if he were any other noble as that was neglected, but nowhere does it say that he stopped learning or reading books like he loved to. His best friends were the men who he met through training to be a warrior.

The only thing Rhaegar ever sacrificed was marrying Elia in an arranged marriage, and even then he actually liked her and wasn't upset with his marriage. He didn't love her, but he did like his wife, and she happened to give him the Prince that Was Promised. And it's not a sacrifice considering literally 99% of nobles, including his mother and father, did the exact same thing he did and married someone chosen for them. Nor was he even in love prior to the marriage like his mother was or tons of other nobles which would have made going through with the marriage to Elia difficult and testing his dutifulness.

Marrying Elia is the only duty he ever did. Everything else was his own choice. He never had a duty to "save" the realm, he just thought that he did. That's not duty, that's personal choice.

I really don't understand what I'm supposed to be so sorry that Rhaegar had to endure that warrants him getting a "pass" for having been so incredibly dutiful that he apparently needs one with Lyanna. He had an incredibly easy life and got everything he ever wanted and decided to do one more thing that he wanted to, just as he always had before.

So he suffered the live of a high lord, just as Robert, with the little adddd mistake of causing a civil war that dethroned his whole family. It happens.

So what if the other nobles have to bear arranged marriages? I'm sympathetic towards them, too, and don't blame any of them for having extramarital affairs (which a lot of them do). It's supremely unfair to have to stick by a partner you didn't chose to be with, even if they aren't horrible.

And so what if Rhaegar got to keep reading and playing his harp? He only got to do so because they didn't conflict with his duties. When it came to his own wants vs. duty, though, Lyanna was the only time time he put aside duty.

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Is that supposed to invalidate my opinion? Well, if I'm a fanboy, then your a hater. I guess that makes you just as irrational.

So what if the other nobles have to bear arranged marriages? I'm sympathetic towards them, too, and don't blame any of them for having extramarital affairs (which a lot of them do). It's supremely unfair to have to stick by a partner you didn't chose to be with, even if they aren't horrible.

And so what if Rhaegar got to keep reading and playing his harp? He only got to do so because they didn't conflict with his duties. When it came to his own wants vs. duty, though, Lyanna was the only time time he put aside duty.

interestingly even in Middle Ages or in the book universe or in the modern world where still many people do arranged marriages do feel it is not a good thing to cheat. 

By the way, it is not certain that rhaegar eloped with lyanna more for duty or for love. 

You said he put aside duty for lyanna. 

It is in fact likely that he ran away with lyanna due to duty. 

The best proof is that he left after he knew his wife can not have the third child. 

About arranged marriage, 

By your logic since they do not have chance to marry the one they want, then it is perfectly fine to cheat. If I remember correctly, live marriage only appears in a couple of hundred years, but we did not see people enjoy cheating over thousands of years.

By your logic, it is fine to cheat even today if you do not love your spouse any more.  

Let us say, you do not like this job, you have to take it for money, you hate this boring job, is it ok for you to ruin your duty and work for another boss secretly? 

Edited by purple-eyes

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Rhaegar's victory would probably be better for the realm, as I believe he'd be a more capable king than Robert and he'd keep Littlefinger and Varys and maybe even Tywin away from (too much) power. So if I lived in Westeros, I'd want Rhaegar to win. But the story we'd have wouldn't be as exciting as it is now. There probably wouldn't be a a war of the 5 kings, Jon wouldn't go to the Wall, Dany wouldn't be an important character and there wouldn't be any dragons. So as a reader I like it the way it is.

What about you? 

 

Agreed.Although as in nearly every civil war the supporters of the losing side don't go away quietly so Rhaegar would still have to quell the realm no easy feat.

Edited by Vic Sage

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interestingly even in Middle Ages or in the book universe or in the modern world where still many people do arranged marriages do feel it is not a good thing to cheat. 

By the way, it is not certain that rhaegar eloped with lyanna more for duty or for love. 

You said he put aside duty for lyanna. 

It is in fact likely that he ran away with lyanna due to duty. 

The best proof is that he left after he knew his wife can not have the third child. 

About arranged marriage, 

By your logic since they do not have chance to marry the one they want, then it is perfectly fine to cheat. If I remember correctly, live marriage only appears in a couple of hundred years, but we did not see people enjoy cheating over thousands of years.

By your logic, it is fine to cheat even today if you do not love your spouse any more.  

Let us say, you do not like this job, you have to take it for money, you hate this boring job, is it ok for you to ruin your duty and work for another boss secretly? 

You've yet to convince me why "do not cheat" is a moral absolute. When you're in a marriage of duty, who are you hurting by starting a relationship with another person? It's not like you chose to agree to never be with someone else, like in a modern relationship, so it's not a betrayal of any kind. At most, you've wounded your partner's pride.

As to your analogy, yes, it is fine to take another job if you hate your current one - people do it all the time. You presumably took the job, agreeing to the conditions of employment, of your own free will, and have the option of quitting, though, so I don't see what this has to do with arranged marriages.

I have no idea what you mean by "live marriages", but yes, people have been taking extramarital partners for thousands of years. I imagine it was pretty enjoyable, or people would stop doing it. Not that simply enjoying something, or not, has any bearing on morality, of course.

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You've yet to convince me why "do not cheat" is a moral absolute. When you're in a marriage of duty, who are you hurting by starting a relationship with another person? It's not like you chose to agree to never be with someone else, like in a modern relationship, so it's not a betrayal of any kind. At most, you've wounded your partner's pride.

As to your analogy, yes, it is fine to take another job if you hate your current one - people do it all the time. You presumably took the job, agreeing to the conditions of employment, of your own free will, and have the option of quitting, though, so I don't see what this has to do with arranged marriages.

I have no idea what you mean by "live marriages", but yes, people have been taking extramarital partners for thousands of years. I imagine it was pretty enjoyable, or people would stop doing it. Not that simply enjoying something, or not, has any bearing on morality, of course.

that was love marriage. My iPad automatically adjusted that and I had a problem to fix it because the window can not show everything. 

But anyway, about the job, surely you can quit and move to a job you like. Just like rhaegar can certainly try to set aside his wife and then do whatever with lyanna. Then this is morally correct. 

But if you are in the job, even you hate this job, you should not secretly work for another company. Which is like the cheating within marriage. 

I would like to mention that marriage did not appear for love or passion. It appeared as an social and economical unit to let the human beings grow and continue: for example, man and woman work together to raise their common child thus human beings can be passed. This is the basic function. That is why thousands of years arranged marriages worked fine and love based marriages only appeared in much later time. Even nowadays, people still prefer to marry somebody with more money and higher social status, not because rich people have more true love, but they can have a better life. 

To be able to fulfil this function in Middle Ages, marriage is like a strong contract. Thus needs faithfulness and responsibility. So those who cheated were thought as improper, because it damages the basis of marriage bonding, hurt the benefits of both sides and cause instability. 

What you said, it is your natural right to cheat during an arranged marriage, is not correct for that time. Robert was called whoremonger king. Aegon was called unworthy.   Their behavior was disliked although they were certainly in arranged loveless marriage. Why did ned feel ashamed by having bastard at home? He had an arranged marriage for sure. Why was cersei punished for her affairs even after Robert died? Why Aerys did a shame walk and swore to be faithful to his loveless wife? 

You may feel it is totally fine to cheat if in an arranged marriage, but people in westeros certainly disagree with you. That is how marriage worked in that time. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can not edit, display is not complete. 

Like robb, he decided to marry a frey girl, so frey gave him army and fought for him. 

However, he abandoned this due to his true love, then this is not good and even himself knew this is wrong. 

Why? Because this marriage is associated with the benefits of both sides, you do not have freedom to follow your heart and destroy it. 

He can choose to refuse the marriage of frey, try to work out by himself, then pursue his love marriage, nobody can blame him. 

But he can not enjoy the benefits of arranged marriage and abandon it due to his "true love" at the same time. 

You accept this marriage, you also accept responsibilies. 

So you do not have right to marry for your true love. 

 

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Is that supposed to invalidate my opinion? Well, if I'm a fanboy, then your a hater. I guess that makes you just as irrational.

I wouldn't wear this avatar if I hated House Targaryen. Believe it or not you don't have to wholeheartedly support every decision and apologize for their every failing to like a family. 

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I don't really get the big problem with cheating. I see only one problem: that men could do it openly and women might get the walk of shame. But that's just how it is. Elia would have to suck it if that was the only thing Rhaegar did.

 

However, I see a huge problem with how Rhaegar the Great went with it. Did he really need to humiliate his wife at Harrehnall because poor dear was soooo deserving of a little respite in a life of "miserable dutifulness"? Even if it was because he wanted to acknowledge Lyanna for standing for someone humiliated. By the way, if the crowning was this romantic turn on for noble Lyanna, I'd say it places her in the same category as Robert, Littlefinger and basically everyone we meet and who Ned Stark had a good opinion of. She stood for the humiliated one but someone being humiliated for all the world to see is so romantic because it's for her! Anyway, Rhaegar didn't need to make it so public. And if he needed his precious Lyanna so much, he could have gone about it more discreetly and most importantly, not in a way that put his existing children in danger from Aerys now and a few years down the road from Lyanna's offspring. That, I would have had no problem with. Then again, we don't even know when the Aegon conversation took place. Generally, it's accepted that it happened when Rhaegar already knew he wouldn't get a third child from Elia. It's even used to "show" that Elia understood, accepted and encouraged him. But it might have been before the maesters told him this grave piece of news. He might have been contemplating the danger for Elia v. the promosed prince. And when he got to know there would be no third head, he might have well decided that the three heads would be Lyanna's children. In fact, his actions speak more of that possibility than anything else.

 

By the way, Selmy says Rhaegar didn't have it in himself to be happy. It wasn't duties that did it to him. He simply didn't have it. But anyway, even if it had been duties who were the great obstacle in his path, it still didn't give the right to go about his escape the way he did. It's the way that makes him unworthy in my eyes, not the fact that he wanted something and took it.

Edited by Anath

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There are two things we need to clarify here: 

1. Many people cheat. But this does not mean people think cheating is good and correct. most of them people do it in a more secret way to protect their reputation and children born from these unions were called bastards thus were not recognized. When a king publicly cheat, people think this is a scandal, not a brave and heroic action for true love. Why did rhaegar need to elope and hide? If it is so good right, he should do it in public. 

2. Did rhaegar cheat for true love? GRRM went as far as to tell us Elia can not have the third child. Then after that, rhaegar eloped. If Elia can provide a third child, apparently he would not do what he did. He may have love in lyanna. But that is not enough or worthy for him to take action, until he lost the possibility to get a third child from his wife. And his love in lyanna did not stop him from going back to fight rebellion (including her brother ned) either. If he was so mad in love, he should have stayed in TOJ to accompany Lyanna, not leaving her in that broken tower with only three bodyguards. Lyanna probably would not happy to see him back to fight with Ned either. Rhaegar did not even try to negotiate or contact ned. He only brought a 40000 men army to fight with them. Do you think he gave an special order to his army that they must let the rebellion leader Ned Stark alive? Highly unlikely. 

 

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I woudn't have minded Rhaegar having a mistress if 1) it wasn't done in such a public and humiliating fashion for Elia and 2) it wasn't Lyanna Stark. Come on man, Rhaegar is to be future King. He needs to have better sense than that. Pick some tavern wench, or girl from minor nobility. Not someone whose children will potentially threaten your wife's and not someone who's about to marry one of your LPs.

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And so what if Rhaegar got to keep reading and playing his harp? He only got to do so because they didn't conflict with his duties. When it came to his own wants vs. duty, though, Lyanna was the only time time he put aside duty.

Lyanna is a major fuck up though, and I don't see the hardship of his duty in particular compared to other lords, so I don't think it is enough to compensate for what he did.

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 Lyanna's also the daughter of a LP herself, which is super significant. Not sure that they'd seen anything like these marriages between regions happening before in their contemporary history. 

I don't think this happened, but one cynical way of interpreting R+L is that the prince decided at Harrenhal that he was going to impose himself upon the neat little anti-Targaryen marital alliance happening between FOUR regions (and five had Jamie + Lysa worked out after all).

No. There would've been an uneasy peace for a while, but the next time a random hedge witch would come to court with a prophecy about the end of the world, Rhaegar would enter panic mode again and kidnap another girl. 

:rolleyes: It's been a couple of months since I've been on these boards. I see that we're still collectively engaged in all kinds of hyperbole where Rhaegar Targaryen is concerned...

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