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SFDanny

R+L=J v.160

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Reference guide

 

The R+L=J theory claims Jon Snow most probably is the son of crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna Stark.

 

The Tower of the Hand has an excellent analysis of this theory:

Jon Snow's Parents

 

And Westeros' Citadel also provides a summary:

Jon Snow's Parents

 

A Wiki of Ice and Fire:

Jon Snow Theories

 

Radio Westeros podcast:

A Dragon, a Wolf and a Rose

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

How can Jon be a Targaryen if ordinary fire burned his hand?

Targaryens are not immune to fire. It's a myth that has been refuted by a list of Targaryens being burned. Danaerys 'the unburnt' was indeed unscathed when she hatched the dragon eggs, but that has not stopped her being burned on other occasions. See this thread on Targaryen fire immunity.

 

Don't all Targaryens have hallmark Valryian silver-golden hair and purple eyes?

Not all of them: Valarr and Queen Alysanne had blue eyes. Bittersteel, who like Jon was half first men blood, had brown hair. Baelor Breakspear and his son(s) and Jon's own half-sister Rhaenys had the Dornish look (dark hair, black eyes, olive skin). Rhaenyra Targaryen's three sons all had brown hair and brown eyes even though both their parents had light silver-gold hair.

Had Jon Valyrian features, it would give his parentage away: "He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn, guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son." Tyrion got the bit about the mother wrong, though: his mother was the Stark.

 

If Jon isn't Ned's son, then why does he look so much like him?

Jon looks very like Arya, and Arya looks very like Lyanna. Jon is Ned's nephew, and Lyanna and Ned looked similar.

 

Ned is too honourable to lie. If he says Jon is his son, doesn't that mean he must be?

Ned tells Arya that sometimes lies can be honourable. His final words, a confession of his guilt, are a lie to protect Sansa. While a lie can be honourable, cheating on his wife isn't, so Ned's famed honour points to Jon not being his son.

 

How can Jon be half-Targaryen and have a direwolf?

He's also half Stark, through Lyanna. Ned's trueborn children are half Tully and that doesn't stop them having direwolves.

 

Why doesn't Ned ever think about Lyanna being Jon's mother?

Ned doesn't think about anyone being Jon's mother. If he did, there would be no mystery. He names 'Wylla' to Robert, but we do not see him thinking of Wylla being Jon's mother.

There's a hidden hint at who Jon's mother might be: In chapter 4, Eddard's internal monologue goes "Lyanna ... Ned had loved her with all his heart." and in chapter 6, Catelyn thinks "Whoever Jon's mother had been, Ned must have loved her fiercely".

 

Why would Ned not at least tell Catelyn?

We don't have a list of what Ned promised to Lyanna, but know he takes his promises seriously. Maybe he promised not to tell anyone. In Chapter 45, Ned is uncertain what Cat would do if it came to Jon's life over that of her own children. If Catelyn knew that Jon was Rhaegar's son, she might feel that keeping him at Winterfell presented a serious risk to her own children. Ultimately, Catelyn did not need to know, so maybe Ned simply chose to be on the safe side.

 

Doesn't Ned refer to Robb and Jon as "my sons in the very first chapter?

In speech, not in thought. Ned is keeping Jon's parentage secret. He never thinks of Jon as his son: In Chapter 45, Ned thinks of his children "Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon and explicitly excludes Jon from the list. ADwD Chapter 34 has Bran's vision of younger Ned in the Winterfell godswood: "...let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them," he prayed, "and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive..." which not make sense if they are brothers.

 

Since Rhaegar was already married, wouldn't Jon still be a bastard?

He might, or might not. There was a tradition of polygamy among Targaryens in the past, so the possibility that Rhaegar and Lyanna married is not easily ruled out. A pro-legitimacy argument is this: The presence of the three kingsguards at the Tower of Joy is best explained if they were defending the heir to the throne, which Jon would only be if he was legitimate.

 

Can we be certain polygamy is not illegal?

Aegon I and Maegor I practised polygamy. In Westeros, unlike a constitutional monarchy, royals are not subject to the law. So if there ever was a law against it, it did not apply to the Targaryens: In Chapter 33 it says "like their dragons the Targaryens answered to neither gods nor men". Examples demonstrate that it was considered an option for Targaryens: Aegon IV and Daemon Blackfyre may have considered it for Daemon, Jorah Mormont suggested it to Daenerys as a viable option, and she said the same about Quentyn Martell.

George R.R. Martin says in this SSM: "If you have a dragon, you can have as many wives as you want". There is alsothis SSM predating the worldbook.

On Polygamy essay by Ygrain with additions by Rhaenys_Targaryen

 

Weren't the Kingsguard at Tower of Joy on the basis of an order from Aerys, to guard Lyanna as a hostage?

If so, why would they have apparently made no effort to use this leverage against Robert and Ned? Some argue their Kingsguard vows would have taken precedence and still have required them to leave the Tower to protect Viserys when he became heir -- unless there was another that took precedence [Jon]. Others think they were guarding Lyanna as a hostage at the Tower of Joy. Some say that makes little sense: She would better be kept hostage at King's Landing, and wouldn't require kingsguards to guard her. The mere presence of three kingsguards implies something more important: guarding members of the royal family or maybe the heir.

Frequently suggested readings: At the tower of joy by MtnLion and support of the toj analysis by Ygrain

 

Isn't there an SSM that says the 3 Kingsguard were following Rhaegar's orders though?

The SSM you may be thinking of is probably this: The King's Guards don't get to make up their own orders. They serve the king, they protect the king and the royal family, but they're also bound to obey their orders, and if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order, they would do that. They can't say, "No we don't like that order, we'll do something else."

We know from Barristan, protecting the king is the first and most important of all kingsguard duties. Jamie suggests some other KG to stay with the king when he wants to leave for the Trident and we also learn of a ritual that is performed when all KG meet and the king is guarded by someone who is not from the order.

"Protect vs Obey" is an ongoing subject of debate that is unlikely to be settled until we know more. Either viewpoint is compatible with R+L=J.

 

Wouldn't Viserys take precedence anyway? Rhaegar died without becoming king, and doesn't the world book call Viserys, not Aegon, Aerys' new heir?

No, in the case of an eldest son dying before the king dies, a grandson comes before a younger son. Even in the case the grandson is yet unborn at the time of death, he would succeed (heir apparent vs. heir presumptive). The world book is written with a Lannister bias (it may be propaganda to undermine Dornish support for the Targaryens) and in hindsightby maesters who have never learned all of what we know from Ned's dreams and memories. If it still turns out to be true... see the next answer.

 

Are matters of succession just as clear as presented here?

Succession quarrels are a part of medieval power play and even a very clear inheritance could well be contested. So maybe in King's Landing things did happen as the world book says. Rhaegar and Aerys may have been at odds over the succession. Rhaegar told Jaime before leaving for the Trident that he intended to call a council, and The Great Councils of the past have dealt with matters of succession. Who would have accepted such a change is a question worth asking.

 

Ned is dead. Who's going to tell anyone about it?

Bloodraven and Bran may have learned of it through the weirwood network. Benjen might know. Checkov's CrannogmanHowland Reed is the sole survivor of the encounter at the Tower of Joy, and George R.R. Martin has stated he has not yet appeared because he knows too much about the central mystery of the book. "They had found him [Ned] still holding her [Lyanna's] body" tells that there also was someone else besides Howland to find Ned.

 

Why is this important? What impact can it have on the story?

The careful way the mystery of Jon's parentage was created is reason to believe it's important. What impact it will have on the rest of the series is still unknown.

 

This theory is too obvious and too many people believe it to be fact. How can it be true?

It is not so obvious to the majority of readers. Some will get it on their first read, but most will not. Readers who go to online fan forums, such as this, still represent a very small minority of the readership. Also, A Game of Thrones has been out since 1996. That's more than 18 years of readers being able to piece together this mystery. Crowd-sourced internet-based mystery solving like this inevitably make solved mysteries seem more obvious in hindsight.

 

George R.R. Martin is a "breaker of tropes, there can be no hidden prince, it's simply too cliché.

In order to break a trope it needs to be installed in the first place. It is yet unknown what will happen to Jon in the future. Being the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar does not imply the fairy-tale style happy ending associated with the hidden prince trope.

 

Is there a list of all R+L=J clues that have been found?

There is a list of R+L=J hints, clues and foreshadowing compiled by sj4iy.

 

Since this theory has been refined so well, will Martin change the outcome of the story to surprise his fans?

He has stated that he won't change the outcome of the story just because some people have put together all the clues and solved the puzzle.

 

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

Previous editions:

 

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

 

 

Spoiler

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (thread one)

yanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (thread two)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part III) (thread three)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part IV) (thread four)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part V) (thread five)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part VI) (thread six)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon Thread Part VII (thread seven)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part VIII (thread eight)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part IX (thread nine)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna =Jon Thread, Part X(thread ten)

The R+L=J thread, part XI (thread eleven)

The R+L=J thread, part XII (thread twelve)

R+L=J Part XXIII (thread thirteen)

R+L=J Part XXIV (thread fourteen)

R+L=J XXV (thread fifteen)

R+L=J v.16 (thread sixteen)

R+L=J v.17 (thread seventeen)

R+L=J v.18 (thread eighteen)

R+L=J v.19 (thread nineteen)

R+L=J v.20 (thread twenty)

R+L=J v.21 (thread twenty-one)

R+L=J v.22 (thread twenty-two)

R+L=J v.22a (thread twenty-two (a))

R+L=J v.23 (thread twenty-three)

R+L=J v.24 (thread twenty-four)

R+L=J v.25 (thread twenty-five)

R+L=J v.26 (thread twenty-six)

R+L=J v.27 (thread twenty-seven)

R+L=J v.28 (thread twenty-eight)

R+L=J v.29 (thread twenty-nine)

R+L=J v.30 (thread thirty)

R+L=J v.31 (thread thirty-one)

R+L=J v.32 (thread thirty-two)

R+L=J v.33 (thread thirty-three)

R+L=J v.34 (thread thirty-four)

R+L=J v.35 (thread thirty-five)

R+L=J v.36 (thread thirty-six)

R+L=J v.37 (thread thirty-seven)

R+L=J v.38 (thread thirty-eight)

R+L=J v.39 (thread thirty-nine)

"R+L=J v.40" (thread forty)

"R+L=J v.41" (thread forty-one)

"R+L=J v.42" (thread forty-two)

"R+L=J v.43" (thread forty-three)

"R+L=J v.44" (thread forty-four)

"R+L=J v.45" (thread forty-five)

"R+L=J v.46" (thread forty-six)

"R+L=J v.47" (thread forty-seven)

"R+L=J v.48" (thread forty-eight)

"R+L=J v.49" (thread forty-nine)

"R+L=J v.50" (thread fifty)

"R+L=J v.51" (thread fifty-one)

"R+L=J v.52" (thread fifty-two)

"R+L=J v.53" (thread fifty-three)

"R+L=J v.54" (thread fifty-four)

"R+L=J v.55" (thread fifty-five)

"R+L=J v.56" (thread fifty-six)

"R+L=J v.57" (thread fifty-seven)

"R+L=J v.58" (thread fifty-eight)

"R+L=J v.59" (thread fifty-nine)

"R+L=J v.60" (thread sixty)

"R+L=J v.61" (thread sixty-one)

"R+L=J v.62" (thread sixty-two)

"R+L=J v.63" (thread sixty-three)

"R+L=J v.64" (thread sixty-four)

"R+L=J v.65" (thread sixty-five)

"R+L=J v.66" (thread sixty-six)

"R+L=J v.67" (thread sixty-seven)

"R+L=J v.68" (thread sixty-eight)

"R+L=J v.69" (thread sixty-nine)

"R+L=J v.70" (thread seventy)

"R+L=J v.71" (thread seventy-one)

"R+L=J v.72" (thread seventy-two)

"R+L=J v.73" (thread seventy-three)

"R+L=J v.74" (thread seventy-four)

"R+L=J v.75" (thread seventy-five)

"R+L=J v.76" (thread seventy-six)

"R+L=J v.77" (thread seventy-seven)

"R+L=J v.78" (thread seventy-eight)

"R+L=J v.79" (thread seventy-nine)

"R+L=J v.80" (thread eighty)

"R+L=J v.81" (thread eighty-one)

"R+L=J v.82" (thread eighty-two)

"R+L=J v.83" (thread eighty-three)

"R+L=J v.84" (thread eighty-four)

"R+L=J v.85" (thread eighty-five)

"R+L=J v.86" (thread eighty-six)

"R+L=J v.87" (thread eighty-seven)

"R+L=J v.88" (thread eighty-eight)

"R+L=J v.89" (thread eighty-nine)

"R+L=J v.90" (thread ninety)

"R+L=J v.91" (thread ninety-one)

"R+L=J v.92" (thread ninety-two)

"R+L=J v.93" (thread ninety-three)

R+L=J v.94" (thread ninety-four)

"R+L=J v.95" (thread ninety-five)

"R+L=J v.96" (thread ninety-six)

"R+L=J v.97" (thread ninety-seven)

"R+L=J v.98" (thread ninety-eight)

"R+L=J v.99" (thread ninety-nine)

"R+L=J v.100" (thread one hundred)

"R+L=J v.101" (thread one hundred one)

"R+L=J v.102" (thread one hundred two)

"R+L=J v.103" (thread one hundred three)

"R+L=J v.104" (thread one hundred four)

"R+L=J v.105" (thread one hundred five)

"R+L=J v.106" (thread one hundred six)

"R+L=J v.107" (thread one hundred seven)

"R+L=J v.108" (thread one hundred eight)

"R+L=J v.109" (thread one hundred nine)

"R+L=J v.110" (thread one hundred ten)

"R+L=J v.111" (thread one hundred eleven)

"R+L=J v.112" (thread one hundred twelve)

R+L=J v.113" (thread one hundred thirteen)

"R+L=J v.114" (thread one hundred fourteen)

The "[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J" threads were used to openly discuss spoilers from TWoIaF at the time we needed to protect that information.

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.1"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.2"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.3"

"R+L=J v.115" (thread one hundred fifteen)

"R+L=J v.116" (thread one hundred sixteen)

"R+L=J v.117" (thread one hundred seventeen)

"R+L=J v.118" (thread one hundred eighteen)

"R+L=J v.119" (thread one hundred nineteen)

"R+L=J v.120" (thread one hundred twenty)

"R+L=J v.121" (thread one hundred twenty one)

"R+L=J v.122" (thread one hundred twenty two)

"R+L=J v.123" (thread one hundred twenty three)

"R+L=J v.124" (thread one hundred twenty four)

"R+L=J v.125" (thread one hundred twenty five)

"R+L=J v.126" (thread one hundred twenty six)

"R+L=J v.127" (thread one hundred twenty seven)

"R+L=J v.128" (thread one hundred twenty eight)

"R+L=J v.129" (thread one hundred twenty nine)

"R+L=J v. 130" (thread one hundred thirty)

"R+L=J v.131" (thread one hundred thirty one)

"R+L=J v.132" (thread one hundred thirty two)

"R+L=J v.133" (thread one hundred thirty three)

"R+L=J v.134" (thread one hundred thirty four)

"R+L=J v.135" (thread one hundred thirty five)

R+L=J v.136" (thread one hundred thirty six)

"R+L=J v.137" (thread one hundred thirty seven)

"R+L=J v.138"(thread one hundred thirty eight)

"R+L=J v.139" (thread one hundred thirty nine)

"R+L=J v.140" (thread one hundred forty)

"R+L=J v.141" (thread one hundred forty one)

"R+L=J v.142(thread one hundred forty two)

"R+L=J v.143" (thread one hundred forty three)

"R+L=J v. 144" (thread one hundred forty four)

"R+L=J v.145" (thread one hundred forty five)

"R+L=J v.146" (thread one hundred forty six)

"R+L=J v. 147" (thread one hundred forty seven)

"R+L=J v. 148" (thread one hundred forty eight)

"R+L=J v.149"(thread one hundred forty nine)

"R+L=J v.150" (thread one hundred fifty)

"R+L=J v.151" (thread one hundred fifty one)

"R+L=J v.152" (thread one hundred fifty two)

"R+L=J v.153" (thread one hundred fifty three)

"R+L=J v.154" (thread one hundred fifty four)

"R+L=J v.155" (thread one hundred fifty five)

"R+L=J v.156" (thread one hundred fifty six)

"R+L=J v.157" (thread one hundred fifty seven)

"R+L=J v.158" (thread one hundred fifty eight)

"R+L=J v. 159" (thread one hundred fifty nine)

 

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On 2/20/2016 at 8:42 PM, TheSnowInWinterfell said:

I read in the last thread that this one should actually be v.160

 

Yeah, it's not a big deal but there were versions 158 and 159 already on the old forum. 

Edit: fixed link

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3 minutes ago, RumHam said:

Yeah, it's not a big deal but there were versions 158 and 159 already on the old forum. 

Edit: that link to version 158 for some reason redirects to a totally different thread. I've no idea why. 

Yeah it doesn't matter to me, just repeating what i saw. Im new to this, but am trying to get as involved as I can in the limited time I have...

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56 minutes ago, RumHam said:

Yeah, it's not a big deal but there were versions 158 and 159 already on the old forum. 

Edit: fixed link

Well, hopefully, at a minimum, SF Danny will add links to those prior versions to the OP so that they don't get lost to posterity. Re-naming the thread to v. 160 (I assume this is still possible in the new format) also probably would be a good idea.

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3 hours ago, UnmaskedLurker said:

Well, hopefully, at a minimum, SF Danny will add links to those prior versions to the OP so that they don't get lost to posterity. Re-naming the thread to v. 160 (I assume this is still possible in the new format) also probably would be a good idea.

Done. Hope that fixes the numbering problems and has the right links. If not, let me know and I will fix them again.

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1 minute ago, SFDanny said:

Done. Hope that fixes the numbering problems and has the right links. If not, let me know and I will fix them again.

Really, the point was made originally by RumHam in the last version (v. 157) -- I was just chiming in with additional thoughts. But as far as I can tell, the new links you added appear to be correct. Thanks.

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I'm pretty sure that everyone knows the R+ L = J theory. But what if the "R" wasn't meant for Rhaegar but it was meant for Robert Baratheon? Is it at all possible that Jon isn't Jon Targaryen but rather Jon Baratheon? I mean this would be a crazy plot twist and that's what we've come to expect of GRRM.

Could Lyanna actually have been kidnapped? Or even raped by Robert and then ran off with Rhaegar?

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31 minutes ago, ammarrizvi8 said:

I'm pretty sure that everyone knows the R+ L = J theory. But what if the "R" wasn't meant for Rhaegar but it was meant for Robert Baratheon? Is it at all possible that Jon isn't Jon Targaryen but rather Jon Baratheon? I mean this would be a crazy plot twist and that's what we've come to expect of GRRM.

Could Lyanna actually have been kidnapped? Or even raped by Robert and then ran off with Rhaegar?

No it makes no sense and why do people keep trying to put a Baratheon claim on Jon? That idiot is not Jon's parent.

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15 hours ago, The Wolves said:

No it makes no sense and why do people keep trying to put a Baratheon claim on Jon? That idiot is not Jon's parent.

 

15 hours ago, The Wolves said:

crazy plot twist

Unfortunately, there is definitely no room for this.  Bob and Ned were in the Eyrie before the war started.  We know where they went and when, while Lyanna was with Rhaegar, and Jon was conceived after the start of the war.  

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5 minutes ago, MtnLion said:

 

Unfortunately, there is definitely no room for this.  Bob and Ned were in the Eyrie before the war started.  We know where they went and when, while Lyanna was with Rhaegar, and Jon was conceived after the start of the war.  

What happened to the sig-link to your original ToJ analysis? From time to time, I count on that link to help refresh my recollection on the analysis. It helps when people make idiotic arguments, and I have to re-think through all the reasons it makes no sense.

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6 hours ago, UnmaskedLurker said:

What happened to the sig-link to your original ToJ analysis? From time to time, I count on that link to help refresh my recollection on the analysis. It helps when people make idiotic arguments, and I have to re-think through all the reasons it makes no sense.

Can't find the original posting.  I can rebuild it with what I have . . . Just being lazy.  ;)

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Ned's recurring dream, the implication being that even though it is currently a fever dream, he has had it at other times that are not related to his health.  It is recurring and holds deep meaning for Ned.  It must make sense to Ned, with the meanings are understood by Ned.  It is a source of grief for Ned.  He killed three of the finest knights he had ever known, one of them Ned says was the best of all, Ser Arthur Dayne. 

Ned and his friends arrive at the tower, as they had in life.  This dream is based upon real events.  This actually occurred, and though the dialog is likely paraphrased it still makes a connection in Ned's memory.  He vividly remembers the three Kingsguard, though. The conversation is not nonsense, it contains a message that must have a deep meaning for Ned. 

The only vow that we can be sure that Ned knows is the vow that Kingsguard take before receiving their white cloak.  Jaime and others tell us that it is to protect and defend the king, dying for him, if need be.  There are also some ancillary promises, but the first priority is given as protection and defense of the crown, all other promises descend from that. 

"I looked for you on the Trident,” Ned said to them.
Ned knew about Prince Lewyn Martell and Ser Jonothor Darry dying at the Trident.  He knew about Ser Barristan Selmy slaying twelve of his and Robert’s friends before being wounded so severely that he may have died without Robert sending his own maester to tend to Selmy’s wounds.  He knew that Ser Jaime Lannister had been in the Red Keep during the battle.  He expected to see these three at the Trident, too. 

“We were not there,” Ser Gerold answered.
From the app we know that Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Oswell Whent are with Prince Rhaegar when Lyanna enters the company of the prince.  There is no surprise about events on the Trident expressed by any of these three.  Evidently they are aware of the battle, and the outcome. 

“Woe to the Usurper if we had been,” said Ser Oswell.
This states that Robert is considered an usurper by these Kingsguard, or at least by Ser Oswell Whent.  He does use the term "we" and implies that Robert could not have won the battle at the Trident if these three had been present at the battle.  They know that Robert has been crowned and taken the throne as an usurper.  This also tells us that they know of an heir that is still living that has a better claim than Robert, thus Robert is an usurper. 

“When King's Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were.”
Ned relays that King's Landing has fallen and King Aerys is dead by Jaime’s hand.  Ned knows that the primary duty of the Kingsguard is to protect and defend the king.  He wonders why it is that these three Kingsguard were not with King Aerys when King’s Landing fell. 

“Far away,” Ser Gerold said, “or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells.”
Ser Gerold Hightower condemns Jaime as a Oathbreaker, and implies that he or one of these others would certainly kill Jaime rather than let him slay the king if they had been present.  Ser Gerold is expressing his support for King Aerys.  He also relays that when Jaime slew Aerys that none of the three had been in a position to react, they were too far away.  There is no surprise in the response that would indicate that this was new information to the Kingsguard. 

“I came down on Storm's End to lift the siege,” Ned told them, and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them.”
Ned tells them that all remaining forces surrendered to him, and pledged fealty to Robert and Ned.  He expected to find the last of the Kingsguard with these forces, but again was surprised to note that they were not.  This is an invitation for these Kingsguard to surrender to him. 

“Our knees do not bend easily,” said Ser Arthur Dayne.
Ser Arthur Dayne speaks for the group, and says that they will not surrender.  Of note, when Ned approaches the tower Ser Oswell Whent is on his knee.  That fact and this line can amount to a subtle clue that the Kingsguard have already bent their knees to someone at the tower, before Ned arrives.  It is most likely not Lyanna that they would bend their knees to, and we can only assume that Jon is legitmate, later. 

“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”
Ned has offered the Kingsguard the option of surrendering to him, which they rejected.  This line is disjointed in the timeline because Ned is changing his tactic, to allow the Kingsguard to retreat in lieu of surrender.  He holds the Kingsguard, especially these three in high regard, even years later.  He called them a shining example to the rest of the world.  In an attempt to find some talking point that would lead to a peaceful solution, Ned tells them that their queen and prince have fled to Dragonstone without Kingsguard protection.  This is an opening for the Kingsguard to discuss a tactical withdrawal.  It is within Ned’s capabilities, as second in command, to provide safe passage.  It would be in his, his friend’s and the Kingsguard’s best interests to allow them to go to Dragontsone to carry out their duties there. 

“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.
Ser Willem Darry is a brother to Ser Jonothor Darry of the Kingsguard, and known well to these members of the Kingsguard. They are admitting that they know that "Prince" Viserys is without a Kingsguard.  They have ignored the insult of labeling Viserys as a prince, when he should be considered the king. 

“But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”
On the night that news of the Trident arrived at King's Landing Aerys ordered that Rhaella and Viserys be taken to Dragonstone for their safety, as it appeared that King's Landing would shortly be under siege. Jaime was the only Kingsguard in King's Landing so Ser Willem Darry was drafted to protect the royal family members, while Jaime remained with King Aerys, Elia, and her children.

The Lord Commander recognizes that Ser Willem Darry is not Kingsguard, thus the queen and prince Viserys are not currently under Kingsguard protection.  Taken together with Ned’s statement, it is easy to see that Ser Gerold Hightower sees leaving King Aerys' side at King’s Landing as fleeing from his duty, even if it was to protect Queen Rhaella and Prince Viserys.

If the Red Keep falls, and Aerys dies then Viserys was safe as long as he could stay alive on Dragonstone.  The majority of the fighting men had gone with Rhaegar, and mustering enough men to defend the city or just the Red Keep may be difficult.  Without a Kingsguard to protect them Darry, Viserys and Daenerys are nearly captured and turned over to Robert.  They manage to escape just before Dragonstone surrenders. 

“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.
Arthur reiterates that the Kingsguard would have chosen to stay in King's Landing over fleeing with Rhaella and Viserys.   The primary duty of the Kingsguard is to protect and defend the king, they would choose to stay with King Aerys (then) as Rhaella and Viserys flee King's Landing.  It appears that these three Kingsguard have decided that they have an obligation, by their vow, to stay to protect and defend someone at the tower (now). 

 “We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.
The Lord Commander is citing the Kingsguard’s vow as the reason that they must stay.  He has decided that all three would remain, and we must presume that the reason is to protect the king.  Several things contribute to this conclusion:

  • The White Bull, as Ser Gerold is known, is quite the stickler when it comes to the comport of Kingsguard duties. 
  • Ser Gerold does not have a friendship with Rhaegar that would favor this decision. 
  • Ser Gerold has already stated that he would slay Jaime to protect Aerys. 
  • Ser Gerold’s decision to keep Arthur and Oswell with him only protects the king (the primary purpose of the Kingsguard) if the king is present at the tower. 

Ned knows that these men were honoring their Kingsguard vow.  There is no other vow that Ned is ever aware of.  He thinks of these three as the epitome of honor and skill.  A shining example for the world. 

We have Ned's interpretation of the Kingsguard's vow:  His sword helped taint the throne you sit on, Ned thought, but did not permit the words to pass his lips.  "He swore a vow to protect his king's life with his own.  Then he opened that king's throat with a sword."

Reading these three statements, with Ned's understanding we have: The Kingsguard does not flee (from its duty to protect King Aerys) then or (from its duty to protect Jon) now, because (explained) we swore a vow to protect our king's life with our own; puts things in a very clear light.

Ned’s wraiths moved up beside him, with shadow swords in hand. They were seven against three. 
GRRM has confirmed that with equal equipment Ser Barristan Selmy and Ser Arthur Dayne are a close match, with Dawn in hand Ser Arthur is superior.  Ser Barristan single-handedly rescued King Aerys from captivity at Duskendale.  Ser Jaime Lannister expresses his awe at the defeat of the Kingswood Brotherhood and the Smiling Knight, who was slain by Ser Arthur.  In the screenplay Jaime slays a dozen men before being subdued at the battle of the Whispering Woods.  Barristan killed a dozen men at the Trident before being too wounded to continue.  Kingsguard practice daily among themselves. 

One of the seven is a crannogman, not known for fighting skill.  Another is Ethan Glover, recently released from the Black Cells, and likely weak as well as just being Brandon's squire.  It seems that even facing the odds that they do, the Kingsguard should prevail.  Something odd happened, and I really look forward to GRRM telling us about it. 

“And now it begins,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.
The most important (first) battle of the Jon Targaryen dynasty.  The mindset of the Kingsguard is that they will win the battle, and keep the secret at the tower safe until they can move to safety.  There is nothing here that would indicate any fatalism on the part of Arthur.  It suggests that Arthur expects to win, though we know with hindsight that they did not, and that at least Ned and Howland are aware of the secret. 

“No,” Ned said with sadness in his voice. “Now it ends.”
Ned knows the outcome, and he regrets that he had to kill the three finest knights in the kingdom, even years later.  If Lyanna had been kidnapped or mistreated while they were present Ned would not have that favorable view of these men.  These three Kingsguard are undoubtedly living up to their "vow to guard the king", in Hightower's own words, to gain Ned's greatest respect.  As fate has it, because these men were so honorable, on both sides of this meeting, they were fated to fight to the bitter end, for honor’s sake. 

Spoiler

We also have the text of the white book about Ser Gerold Hightower from the screenplay.  Dispatched by King Areys to locate the crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen in the wake of Robert Baratheon's rebellion.  Died in the Red Mountains of Dorne alongside his sworn brothers, Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Oswell Whent.  After refusing to bow to the new King, Robert Baratheon, all three were defeated by a small force led by Eddard Stark of Winterfell.

 

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32 minutes ago, MtnLion said:

Can't find the original posting.  I can rebuild it with what I have . . . Just being lazy.  ;)

Is this what you're looking for? 

edit: uuh, that seems to have attempted an embed thing. here's a normal link

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After Selhorys, he had found it difficult to put the same trust in Haldon as previously. He let the dwarf beguile him with that glib tongue of his. Let him wander off into a whorehouse alone while he lingered like a mooncalf in the square. The brothel keeper had insisted that the little man had been carried off at swordpoint, but Griff was still not sure he believed that. The Imp was clever enough to have conspired in his own escape. This drunken captor that the whores spoke of could have been some henchman in his hire. (The Lost Lord, ADWD)

When Jon Connington heard that Tyrion had been carried off at swordpoint, he speculated that Tyrion conspired in his own escape, but the truth was that he had been abducted against his will. Lyanna is also said to have been carried off at swordpoint:

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If he loved you, he would come and carry you off at swordpoint, as Rhaegar carried off his northern girl, the girl in her insisted, but the queen knew that was folly. (Daenerys VII, ADWD)

The official story is that Lyanna was abducted against her will, but the truth may be that she conspired in her own escape, inversely paralleling the Tyrion scenario.

The only other reference to someone being carried off at swordpoint is the following:

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"Good," King Stannis said, "for the surest way to seal a new alliance is with a marriage. I mean to wed my Lord of Winterfell to this wildling princess."

Perhaps Jon had ridden with the free folk too long; he could not help but laugh. "Your Grace," he said, "captive or no, if you think you can just give Val to me, I fear you have a deal to learn about wildling women. Whoever weds her had best be prepared to climb in her tower window and carry her off at swordpoint . . ." (Jon XI, ASOS)

Another possible clue that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married. The passage continues:

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"Whoever?" Stannis gave him a measuring look. "Does this mean you will not wed the girl? I warn you, she is part of the price you must pay, if you want your father's name and your father's castle. This match is necessary, to help assure the loyalty of our new subjects. Are you refusing me, Jon Snow?"

This reasoning could apply equally well to a marriage between Jon and Dany in the future.

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"Jon? Jon? Do we know anyone named Jon, Grenn?"

"He means the Lord Commander."

"Ohhh. The Great Lord Snow. To be sure. Why do you want to see him? He can't even wiggle his ears." Pyp wiggled his, to show he could. They were large ears, and red from cold. "He's Lord Snow for true now, too bloody highborn for the likes of us." (Samwell I, AFFC)

If R+L=J, Jon is more highborn than they know.

In Jon IV, ADWD, Jon goes to inspect the stores with Dolorous Edd, Bowen Marsh, and Wick Whittlestick, and the following exchange takes place:

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"If we had sufficient coin, we could buy food from the south and bring it in by ship," the Lord Steward said.

[…]

"We can always hunt if need be," Wick Whittlestick put in. "There's still game in the woods."

"And wildlings, and darker things," said Marsh. "I would not send out hunters, my lord. I would not."

In the very next chapter, Tyrion V, a very similar conversation occurs aboard the Shy Maid:

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"Nothing any sane man would want to eat grows in these fogs. Thrice each year the triarchs of Volantis send a galley upriver with provisions, but the mercy ships are oft late and sometimes bring more mouths than food."

Young Griff said, "There must be fish in the river."

"I would not eat any fish taken from these waters," said Ysilla. "I would not."

In both instances, someone mentions sending food by ship, a second person suggests gathering food from the surroundings instead (game in the woods vs. fish in the river), and a third person disagrees with that idea due to the potential danger, phrasing their statement almost the exact same way:

Bowen to Jon: “I would not send out hunters, my lord. I would not.”

Ysilla to Young Griff: “I would not eat any fish taken from these waters. I would not.”

This parallel between these two storylines could allude to Jon being a secret son of Rhaegar's like Young Griff, who is revealed to be Aegon Targaryen later in that same chapter. (Whether Young Griff is actually Rhaegar’s son or not, that is the role he is fulfilling in the story at the moment.)

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And the black-and-white knight, Lord Gawen Swann, challenged the black prince with the white guardian. (The Hedge Knight)

This description of Valarr Targaryen fits Jon Snow quite well too, assuming RLJ. Jon is a prince who dresses all in black and he is protected by a white guardian in the form of Ghost, his albino direwolf. There are a couple other similarities between Valarr and Jon. Valarr is the grandson of King Daeron II and son of Baelor Breakspear, Prince of Dragonstone. Jon is the grandson of King Aerys II and son of Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone. They are also both one of the few Targaryens to have brown hair (although Valarr has a silver-gold streak in his).

There are a number of similarities between Baelor and Rhaegar as well (which reinforces the parallel between Valarr and Jon). As the eldest son and heir of the king, they both held the title Prince of Dragonstone (mentioned above). Baelor was named after Baelor the Blessed; when Rhaegar was young his father’s knights jested that he was Baelor the Blessed born again. They were both puissant warriors and were said to be all that could be wanted in an heir. During Dunk’s trial of seven, Baelor wore black armor (with a three-headed dragon crest on his helm) and rode a black stallion; at the Battle of the Trident, Rhaegar wore black armor (with a three-headed dragon on his breastplate) and Dany had a dream where he was mounted on a black stallion. Baelor died due to a blow to his head (where the three-headed dragon was) from his brother Maekar’s mace; Rhaegar died due to a blow to his chest (where the three-headed dragon was) from his cousin Robert’s warhammer (Maekar and Robert would both go on to become king). Valarr said that Baelor had it in him to be a great king; Barristan, who served three kings, thinks that Rhaegar would have been a finer king than any of them. Baelor was cremated in Ashford Castle on the bank of the river Cockleswent, so perhaps Rhaegar was cremated somewhere along the bank of the river Trident.

I can’t find it now, but I think I remember reading a theory on here that Jon would wear Rhaegar’s armor in the future. I’m not exactly sure how that could happen, but Baelor and Valarr wearing the same armor would support that idea.

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"You swung the mace, m'lord, but it was for me Prince Baelor died. So I killed him too, as much as you."

"Yes," the prince admitted. "You'll hear them whisper as well. The king is old. When he dies, Valarr will climb the Iron Throne in place of his father. Each time a battle is lost or a crop fails, the fools will say, 'Baelor would not have let it happen, but the hedge knight killed him.' "

Valarr died in the Great Spring Sickness before that could happen, but given the parallels above, this may foreshadow Jon climbing the throne in Rhaegar’s place instead.

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VERY NICE!!! excellent post, shmedricko!! 

are you by any chance... schmendrick of R+L=Lightbringer??? 

sort of a similar style in posting, that's all.. if you're not, no worries, if you are... still waiting for your next big update ^_^

1 hour ago, Shmedricko said:

This description of Valarr Targaryen fits Jon Snow quite well too, assuming RLJ. Jon is a prince who dresses all in black and he is protected by a white guardian in the form of Ghost, his albino direwolf. There are a couple other similarities between Valarr and Jon. Valarr is the grandson of King Daeron II and son of Baelor Breakspear, Prince of Dragonstone. Jon is the grandson of King Aerys II and son of Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone. They are also both one of the few Targaryens to have brown hair (although Valarr has a silver-gold streak in his).

GRRM may add that little streak in Jon's "reborn/resurrected" hair look :P

 

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Ah, a new thread.... I wondered how long the old would run.

Glad to see you all.

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