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R+L=J v.161

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2 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

:agree:

He may have been protecting Jon from other things as well. And he may also be serving Lyanna's wishes--protecting Jon from other things she fears.

But the books focus a lot on telling us what Ned feared re: Robert. Robert's wrath.

Really, really seems like Ned feared Robert's wrath and vengeance and pride would drive him to kill or order the death of Lyanna's child.

Yeah sure he no doubt also considered the implications for Jon and for Westeros as a whole if someone tried to use Jon to rally the Targaryen cause again. And other such scenarios. But the core reason for the promise - back when he made it to Lyanna - was Robert's wrath.

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43 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

:agree:

He may have been protecting Jon from other things as well. And he may also be serving Lyanna's wishes--protecting Jon from other things she fears.

But the books focus a lot on telling us what Ned feared re: Robert. Robert's wrath.

Really, really seems like Ned feared Robert's wrath and vengeance and pride would drive him to kill or order the death of Lyanna's child.

Robert would think that Lyanna was forced to have a baby and Jon is a product of rape, to say the least

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10 minutes ago, Nami said:

Robert would think that Lyanna was forced to have a baby and Jon is a product of rape, to say the least

Agreed.

Though if Ned swore up and down that Lyanna loved the father of her child, I don't think that would have made Robert any less irate. It might arguably have made it worse if Santa Lyanna's Blue Rose nimbus got tainted in Robert's eyes. Robert would likely feel even more betrayed.

54 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

But the core reason for the promise - back when he made it to Lyanna - was Robert's wrath.

Amen.

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54 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

In any case, I am interested in the Viserys as Heir issue. I did not realize that it was only revealed in the World of Ice and Fire. I thought I had just forgotten the original reference somewhere in A Game Of Thrones.

There are subtle hints in that direction throughout the books but pretty much nobody picked them up prior to TWoIaF. We were all operating under the assumption that there were more or less clear-cut lines of succession to the various seats and so on. Which there are not, in reality. You have an heir presumptive or an heir apparent, and if he or she dies before you then there is a crisis of sorts that has to be resolved.

This is true even for minor lordships like Hornwood or Rosby - there would be a clear heir in both cases if there was a line of succession, and the Small Council would not have to discuss the succession of Rosby where six claimants apparently came forth.

That said, Aegon is only called Rhaegar's heir in the series if he is mentioned in a specific capacity. When Jaime thinks about crowning a king after the murder of Aerys II he first thinks about Prince Viserys and only then about Aegon, suggesting that he was aware that Viserys had been Aerys' chosen heir at this point.

Dany thinks she might have married Aegon since she was much closer in age to him than to Viserys and that he would have been king as the sixth Aegon if everything had gone well - which it didn't. I nobody is contesting the idea that Aegon would have eventually become king had Aerys lived and Rhaegar succeeded him as king at one point in the future.

54 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

But to me, if we accept that Viserys was Aerys's chosen heir, and we accept that the Kingsguard were aware of this, then it makes their presence at the Tower of Joy more significant. In supports the idea that they were aware of an added importance attached to Jon. I think they were likely convinced of the truthfulness of Rhaegar's prophetic vision, and bought into the idea that Jon would be some Saviour needed by Westeros in its hour of need.

You can suggest or assume something like that but my point is that you don't have to stress it. It is completely easy and fine to explain the whole thing without assuming anything like that (and the specialness of the savior child can actually be contrasted with the whole Kingsguard identity thing because it is not, in fact, the job of Kingsguard to protect the golden children of prophecy).

I think it is perfectly fine for three Kingsguard to actually protect the wife of a royal prince and her (unborn) child. TPatQ and TWoIaF showed us that Ser Willis Fell protected Princess Jaehaera during the Dance of the Dragons - presumably until its very end if he wasn't killed at some point - despite the fact that both Aegon II and Prince Daeron never got any Kingsguard protection. The same goes for little Prince Maelor (who was protected by Ser Rickard Thorne until they were both killed) but no Kingsguard accompanied Aegon II himself to Dragonstone. More importantly, Prince Aemond - then the Prince Regent and Protector of the Realm, the king in all but the name, wearing the crown of the Conqueror - also refused Kingsguard protection when he parted ways with Ser Criston Cole.

Thorne and Fell (and Cole, too) did their duty and followed their orders as they were given to them by their superiors (in Fell and Thorne's case it seems that it was actually Larys Strong who decided that they should protect the king's children rather than the king himself).

I don't see any reason why Hightower, Whent, and Dayne didn't do very much the same thing when they chose to stay with Lyanna rather than insist to follow Rhaegar or return with him to Aerys - which they certainly all could have done in theory.

The important thing there is the human element in those men. Basically, what they wanted to do and for what reason. Whent and Dayne were Rhaegar's friends, so it is easy to imagine that they did not want to leave him at first and then eventually relented and decided to go along with his wishes. Perhaps just because they were his friends, perhaps because they agreed that the pregnant Lyanna had to be protected from both the rebels and, perhaps, Aerys. Perhaps because they also believed in the same prophecy Rhaegar believed in.

Hightower could have become disgusted enough by Aerys' behavior to be happy to take any honorable Kingsguard duty that kept him out of the capital. Especially if he wasn't clear yet where he would stand or what he would do if Prince Rhaegar would decide to confine his royal father to Maegor's Holdfast and take over the rule of the Realm as Prince Regent.

But the thing is that we do not know anything about that. The fact that the knights were at the tower in itself doesn't prove anything. It is just an indication that a person connected to the royal family (and Lyanna alone might have been enough for that) was present.

You have to ask yourself whether the knights would have behaved any differently had they protected only Lyanna or a still pregnant Lyanna or a Lyanna who had given birth to a girl. My take is that this would have changed nothing at all. And if you do assume it would have changed something you twist the character of those men from loyal friends/bodyguards into politicians and plotters which I don't think they were. At least not at this point (they certainly might have been plotters at court, though).

54 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Even if they just stayed there because Rhaegar commanded them to, as you say, they would still have had to choose to obey that order, despite Viserys being their named liege lord after Aerys's death. So the Kingsguard seems to have made a choice to pick Rhaegar's born or unborn (depending on when the Kingsguard arrived at the Tower) child over any other Targaryen, living or dead.

And that in itself is highly significant.

This is an interesting point. We have to remember that vows and oaths are personal matters between the person making a vow and the person receiving it. We also know that it is customary/obligatory to swear vows of fealty to each new king. It is also customary that the lords and other subjects of a king renew their oaths of fealty when a new king is crowned. After all, they don't serve an abstract Targaryen king, they do serve the very concrete persons of the various Aegons and so forth.

In that sense, the knights wouldn't be honor-bound to follow a new king just because the succession favored this one or that one. They would still be serving their late king (or prince) until such time as they choose to take or accept a new king as their king. And vice versa, a new king first has to accept the Kingsguard of his predecessor as his. Granted, this was mostly obligatory but one assumes that kings who had had major issues with their predecessors might not have been all that happy with their Kingsguards. Robert Baratheon chose to keep Barristan Selmy in his Kingsguard. He could have made an entirely new one or he could have decided to have none at all (and this was the prerogative of every Targaryen king before Robert).

We see this with Barristan who himself chooses the moment in which he decides to offer his service to Daenerys Targaryen.

If a king or prince a Kingsguard is following says to him 'Protect my wife and unborn child' then said guy might feel honor-bound to do this even after said king/prince has died and a new king rules in his place. Especially if he thinks the woman and the (unborn) child are still in (mortal) danger. They would not, in fact, act against their vows if they did such a thing.

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6 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

Agreed.

Though if Ned swore up and down that Lyanna loved the father of her child, I don't think that would have made Robert any less irate. It might arguably have made it worse if Santa Lyanna's Blue Rose nimbus got tainted in Robert's eyes. Robert would likely feel even more betrayed.

Amen.

I don't think he would even believe Ned. Robert was very much in deep denial over R+L to his death.
If Ned said Lyanna wanted Rhaegar, Robert would probably think Ned was saying that just to save Jon or whatever reason he would come up with. 

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@Sly Wren

I think our difference there is whether Robert's hatred/wrath/wounded pride also extended to Lyanna or not. I don't think we have enough information to decide that as of yet.

If you are right and Robert's wounded pride was the main cause for his Rhaegar hatred and Lyanna was included in that because she went along with the whole thing then there is a chance that even she was in danger from Robert at this point. And also any children of hers by Rhaegar, legitimate or illegitimate.

But we don't know that.

I do not particularly like Robert Baratheon as the person he is described (although I have to admit I do like the scenes in which he shows up because he can be fun) but I don't think he was at heart such a bad guy. Ned's trust in Robert is ultimately justified as he shows on his deathbed. It is entirely possible that the 'royal Robert' Cat feared when she urged Ned to accept his offer and the man Ned feared 'King Robert' had become never truly existed and was just shadow in their imagination.

I'm willing to give Robert the benefit of the doubt. I suggests there was a public marriage between Rhaegar and Lyanna so I think there is a chance that Robert could have known Lyanna was fine with it. Or he could have believed/convinced himself that she had been forced into the marriage. We just don't know.

In any case, if Robert truly loved Lyanna as a person (and I think he did) I doubt that his pride at that point would have been so wounded that he would have demanded her death or the death of her children by Rhaegar.

To discuss that we would have to have a deeper insight into Robert during the Rebellion and what he (and Ned!) thought about the whole thing at this point. Again, I think there is a very good chance that Ned, too, was very angry and full of hatred at this point.

It never comes up, but I think we can reasonably assume that Aerys wouldn't have left the throne room alive had he been in there with Ned Stark.

It is a strictly hypothetical discussion, but I think there would have been a decent enough chance that Ned would have raised Lyanna's bastard son as Lyanna's bastard son rather than disguising him as his own. But he chose to do that to protect Lyanna's legitimate son by Rhaegar. And considering that a secret marriage could have remained secret the idea is that they must have married in a public or half-public way (or Rhaegar must have announced his second marriage to the Realm at one point) to actually put Lyanna's son in a particular danger.

The fear Ned had for the life of the child after he parted ways with Robert at KL would have been that Robert might look the other way if it becomes known that Rhaegar had more legitimate children. Whether he was justified in that is another matter. We know that the friends reconciled when they both grieved for Lyanna so things might already have been less tense at this point.

But Ned would have still thought the bastard idea was the better way to go. Just in case.

And it might already have been in place by then. I think it is very likely that Ned left the child at Starfall and had Howland Reed and Wylla get it to Winterfell without ever mentioning his bastard to Robert at this point. The boy is supposed to be younger than Robb anyway, when he in fact most likely is not, so whatever tale Ned told Robert about his bastard later on might have been deliberately disconnected from anything involving Lyanna.

I mean, we know that the Starks remained down south until after Robb was born and Ned may even have stuck around for the eventual Robert-Cersei wedding. Catelyn later arrived without Ned at Winterfell but that could be because he traveled by ship from KL whereas Cat to a different route overland from Riverrun.

1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

There is absolutely no doubt that Martin's plot mechanism for Ned's secrecy is that Ned wanted to protect Jon from being murdered by Robert.

Zero doubt about that. The justification for Ned's promise to Lyanna, and the secret that cost him so dearly with Catelyn, was to protect Jon's life against Robert's rage. Playing with words around that is not achieving anything. That's the plot justification for the whole affair.

Not necessarily by Robert directly or on his command. But with Robert looking the other way when other people (the Lannisters) killed the child in his name. If he knew the child was Rhaegar's legitimate son or considered him as such.

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2 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

And if he found out that Santa Lyanna of the Blue Rose Crown cuckolded him?

We are told explicitly what Ned thinks he would do in such a case. 

Quote

"For a start,' said Ned, 'I don't kill children. You would do well to listen, my lady. I shall say this only once. When the king returns from his hunt, I intend to lay the truth before him. You must be gone by then. You and your children, all three, and not to Casterly Rock. If I were you, I would take ship for the Free Cities, or even farther, to the Summer Isles or the Port of Ibsen. As far as the winds blow.'"

"Exile," she said. "A bitter cup to drink from."

"'A sweeter cup than your father served Rhaegar's children,' Ned said, 'and kinder than you deserve. Your father and your brothers would do well to go with you. Lord Tywin's gold will buy you comfort and hire swords to keep you safe. You shall need them. I promise you, no matter where you flee, Robert's wrath will follow you, to the back of beyond if need be.'" (AGoT407) bold emphasis added.

The idea that Robert's rage and sense of betrayal would be less if Lyanna chose Rhaegar over him is totally out of character with the Robert we know. The Robert who dreams of killing Rhaegar every night and still wants to murder any Targaryen he can get his hands on fourteen years after Rhaegar's death and fifteen after Rhaegar "kidnapped" Lyanna.

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23 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

We are told explicitly what Ned thinks he would do in such a case...

It's a good point, but not final. Robert already hated Cersei, after years of marriage. And she betrayed him to the last degree by pretending Jaime's children were Robert's heirs.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

@Sly Wren

I think our difference there is whether Robert's hatred/wrath/wounded pride also extended to Lyanna or not. I don't think we have enough information to decide that as of yet.

If you are right and Robert's wounded pride was the main cause for his Rhaegar hatred and Lyanna was included in that because she went along with the whole thing then there is a chance that even she was in danger from Robert at this point. And also any children of hers by Rhaegar, legitimate or illegitimate.

But we don't know that.

I do not particularly like Robert Baratheon as the person he is described (although I have to admit I do like the scenes in which he shows up because he can be fun) but I don't think he was at heart such a bad guy. Ned's trust in Robert is ultimately justified as he shows on his deathbed. It is entirely possible that the 'royal Robert' Cat feared when she urged Ned to accept his offer and the man Ned feared 'King Robert' had become never truly existed and was just shadow in their imagination.

I'm willing to give Robert the benefit of the doubt. I suggests there was a public marriage between Rhaegar and Lyanna so I think there is a chance that Robert could have known Lyanna was fine with it. Or he could have believed/convinced himself that she had been forced into the marriage. We just don't know.

In any case, if Robert truly loved Lyanna as a person (and I think he did) I doubt that his pride at that point would have been so wounded that he would have demanded her death or the death of her children by Rhaegar.

To discuss that we would have to have a deeper insight into Robert during the Rebellion and what he (and Ned!) thought about the whole thing at this point. Again, I think there is a very good chance that Ned, too, was very angry and full of hatred at this point.

It never comes up, but I think we can reasonably assume that Aerys wouldn't have left the throne room alive had he been in there with Ned Stark.

It is a strictly hypothetical discussion, but I think there would have been a decent enough chance that Ned would have raised Lyanna's bastard son as Lyanna's bastard son rather than disguising him as his own. But he chose to do that to protect Lyanna's legitimate son by Rhaegar. And considering that a secret marriage could have remained secret the idea is that they must have married in a public or half-public way (or Rhaegar must have announced his second marriage to the Realm at one point) to actually put Lyanna's son in a particular danger.

The fear Ned had for the life of the child after he parted ways with Robert at KL would have been that Robert might look the other way if it becomes known that Rhaegar had more legitimate children. Whether he was justified in that is another matter. We know that the friends reconciled when they both grieved for Lyanna so things might already have been less tense at this point.

But Ned would have still thought the bastard idea was the better way to go. Just in case.

And it might already have been in place by then. I think it is very likely that Ned left the child at Starfall and had Howland Reed and Wylla get it to Winterfell without ever mentioning his bastard to Robert at this point. The boy is supposed to be younger than Robb anyway, when he in fact most likely is not, so whatever tale Ned told Robert about his bastard later on might have been deliberately disconnected from anything involving Lyanna.

I mean, we know that the Starks remained down south until after Robb was born and Ned may even have stuck around for the eventual Robert-Cersei wedding. Catelyn later arrived without Ned at Winterfell but that could be because he traveled by ship from KL whereas Cat to a different route overland from Riverrun.

Not necessarily by Robert directly or on his command. But with Robert looking the other way when other people (the Lannisters) killed the child in his name. If he knew the child was Rhaegar's legitimate son or considered him as such.

Just a couple of points.

1. Regarding the last bit, you ignore Robert's direct statements in Game of Thrones. He explicitly states to Ned that Rhaegar must have raped Lyanna hundreds of times. It is clear that Robert had no idea that Lyanna might have been married to Rhaegar.

Also, a bigger point, I think you seriously overplay the whole "this or that has to be publicly announced" angle. Rhaegar could have married Lyanna on the Isle of Faces in front of some weirwoods and Septon Meribald, and it would have been legitimate. And he may have made it known to only certain prominent companions of his, like the Kingsguard and a few other important people. This constant refrain about the need for public announcements, heirs presumptive and apparent etc. is all too legalistic for the primitive society that Westeros is. I think Martin's story is going to be closer to the Arthurian "boy pulls a sword from a stone and thus is revealed as the secret heir" principle.

I don't think an overly legalistic approach is the route Martin is strictly adhering to in his tale. Certainly no one mentions even once that there was any hint of a marriage between Lyanna and Rhaegar. I don't think that could plausibly have been kept a secret just for plot purposes despite ample point of views from the likes of Catelyn, Tyrion, Cersei, Jaime, Barristan, Daenerys and the like, all people who should have known about such a marriage if it was "publicly announced" as you suggest.

2. Regarding Viserys. Well, if we agree that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married, and we agree that Aegon is dead, then whether Viserys was named heir or not is irrelevant, as Jon is then the last remaining male Targaryen heir, and his claim precedes that of Daenerys. Because as I have argued to you before, there is not a single instance of Viserys proclaiming Daenerys his heir, thus his line died with him, and the succession reverts back to Aerys's heirs, of which Rhaegar was the oldest son, and Jon is the oldest remaining son of his.

So Viserys's status becomes immaterial to the story.

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31 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I think Martin's story is going to be closer to the Arthurian "boy pulls a sword from a stone and thus is revealed as the secret heir" principle.

Just as a black winged bird landed on Jon's shoulder, leading to the NW brothers electing him as Lord Commander; there will be another black winged bird, much bigger in size that this time, Jon will mount his shoulder, leading to the lords of Westeros electing Jon as king.

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12 hours ago, M_Tootles said:

Whoa, really? Why do you view a woman who sleeps with someone she wants to after entering an arranged marriage as an "adulterous bitch".

FWIW, I think it's possible Rhaegar gave Arthur and Elia his blessing.
 

I wouldn't go this far, especially if Rhaegar expected Aegon to be the Prince that was promised.

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24 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

there is not a single instance of Viserys proclaiming Daenerys his heir, thus his line died with him, and the succession reverts back to Aerys's heirs, of which Rhaegar was the oldest son, and Jon is the oldest remaining son of his.

So Viserys's status becomes immaterial to the story.

There is actually
“Viserys of the House Targaryen, the Third of his Name,” he called in a high, sweet voice, “King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. His sister, Daenerys Stormborn, Princess of Dragonstone"
Dany didn't give herself the title so clearly it was Viserys's doing, he had named her his heir

 

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@SFDanny

The Cersei betrayal is completely different league of betrayal/wounded pride, though. I mean, we know that Victarion Greyjoy beat his wife to death after Euron seduced her to wash away the stain on his honor. The green land customs aren't that savage but a queen cuckolding the king with her own brother most certainly deserves to die in Westeros. As does her brother.

And while Ned is mostly a nice guy and all one has to ask oneself what Ned would have done/been forced to do if Catelyn had betrayed him with Edmure or Benjen the same way Cersei betrayed Robert. I don't see her getting out of that whole thing in one piece. Especially because Ned would have to look strong and fierce in front of his lords. The Northmen are ferocious dogs. If Ned had pardoned Cat in such a scenario a man like Roose Bolton would have soon cut his throat.

The children are a separate issue. Usually the murder of innocent women and children is a hideous crime, even in Westeros. The murder of Elia and the children attests to that.

27 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Just a couple of points.

1. Regarding the last bit, you ignore Robert's direct statements in Game of Thrones. He explicitly states to Ned that Rhaegar must have raped Lyanna hundreds of times. It is clear that Robert had no idea that Lyanna might have been married to Rhaegar.

This is not contradictory to a forced marriage. If Rhaegar married Lyanna against her will (as Robert seems to believe or want to believe) then any intercourse they had would have been rape.

27 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Also, a bigger point, I think you seriously overplay the whole "this or that has to be publicly announced" angle. Rhaegar could have married Lyanna on the Isle of Faces in front of some weirwoods and Septon Meribald, and it would have been legitimate. And he may have made it known to only certain prominent companions of his, like the Kingsguard and a few other important people. This constant refrain about the need for public announcements, heirs presumptive and apparent etc. is all too legalistic for the primitive society that Westeros is. I think Martin's story is going to be closer to the Arthurian "boy pulls a sword from a stone and thus is revealed as the secret heir" principle.

My point is that if Rhaegar and Lyanna's marriage was unknown then there was no or at least no good reason to think that Lyanna's child was in danger. If there was no public marriage and nobody suspected that there was a secret marriage then everybody knowing/suspecting/figuring out that Jon Snow was Lyanna's son would have thought him to her bastard son.

A secret marriage with only a bunch of (now dead) witnesses is effectively the same as no marriage at all. At least when all witnesses/people knowing about it are agreement to pretend it never happened.

And by the way - the Isle of Faces is probably the worst idea ever for the marriage to take place. That is a legendary place where visitors actually aren't all that welcome. If Rhaegar and Lyanna wanted to marry they had no reason to do so in secret, nor had Rhaegar any reason to keep quiet about it. Especially not after he had become the Targaryen general.

Jon Snow can still come out as some sort of secret prince trope guy. But that isn't the point. The point is how the story went when nobody intended that the child of Rhaegar and Lyanna become a hidden prince.

27 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I don't think an overly legalistic approach is the route Martin is strictly adhering to in his tale. Certainly no one mentions even once that there was any hint of a marriage between Lyanna and Rhaegar. I don't think that could plausibly have been kept a secret just for plot purposes despite ample point of views from the likes of Catelyn, Tyrion, Cersei, Jaime, Barristan, Daenerys and the like, all people who should have known about such a marriage if it was "publicly announced" as you suggest.

Nobody ever thinks or talks directly about the relationship between Rhaegar and Lyanna. We have the Robert's rape comment, Dany's memories of the version of the tale Viserys told her suggesting that Rhaegar loved Lyanna. But we have no idea yet about Lyanna's feelings for Rhaegar nor do we have any understanding about the nature of their relationship.

Despite the fact that a lot of POVs must either know more about that (Jon Connington, Barristan, Jaime) or at least have heard rumors or have their own suspicions (Cersei, Tyrion, Arianne, hell even Brienne and Davos could know stuff) we never read anything about them thinking or talking about. Not to mention all those non-POVs that know or suspect even more.

The absence of memories/thoughts/conversation on this topic is not necessarily evidence that no such memories/thoughts exist or that such conversation don't take place because nobody knows anything.

The Rhaegar-Lyanna affair did not take in some sort of parallel dimension bubble and only Howland Reed, Wylla, and other chosen people can know anything about that. Many other people might know stuff, too, but George decided to not bring it up because this whole thing is supposed to be mystery.

27 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

2. Regarding Viserys. Well, if we agree that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married, and we agree that Aegon is dead, then whether Viserys was named heir or not is irrelevant, as Jon is then the last remaining male Targaryen heir, and his claim precedes that of Daenerys. Because as I have argued to you before, there is not a single instance of Viserys proclaiming Daenerys his heir, thus his line died with him, and the succession reverts back to Aerys's heirs, of which Rhaegar was the oldest son, and Jon is the oldest remaining son of his.

So Viserys's status becomes immaterial to the story.

Well, this isn't about claims at all. It is about the question why exactly the knights at the tower were/remained at the tower. It has actually nothing to do with the validity of claims made later.

But Daenerys Stormborn actually was the chosen and anointed heiress of King Viserys III Targaryen. She is styled Princess of Dragonstone in AGoT on multiple occasions while her brother was still alive, and this wouldn't have been done if Viserys hadn't named and wouldn't officially consider Daenerys his heiress. I mean, he is right there when this is done and doesn't object to that at all.

Sure, Dany was never actually the Princess of Dragonstone in the sense that she held the castle and the island, but the importance of the title is that it is the title of the heir to the Iron Throne of Westeros. Which for all intents and purposes was Daenerys Targaryen in the mind of Viserys III and his supporters.

I and others have argued that Dany will eventually challenge Aegon's claim to the Iron Throne on that basis if she is not (only) attacking him on the basis that he is an impostor. Her royal father, Aerys II, passed over Aegon as heir to the throne in favor of Viserys. Viserys III was crowned king and subsequently named Princess Daenerys his heir. In that sense it does not matter whether Aegon lived or died because even if he hadn't been presumed dead he would still not have been the true heir and rightful successor of Aerys II. That was Viserys.

Aegon certainly should play the gender card and dismiss Dany's claim because she is female. But Dany could counter such arguments as I've outlined above. All this legal prattle is interesting on a certain level, especially if the factions are actually going to try to avoid a war in the beginning.

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25 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

@SFDanny

The Cersei betrayal is completely different league of betrayal/wounded pride, though. I mean, we know that Victarion Greyjoy beat his wife to death after Euron seduced her to wash away the stain on his honor. The green land customs aren't that savage but a queen cuckolding the king with her own brother most certainly deserves to die in Westeros. As does her brother.

And while Ned is mostly a nice guy and all one has to ask oneself what Ned would have done/been forced to do if Catelyn had betrayed him with Edmure or Benjen the same way Cersei betrayed Robert. I don't see her getting out of that whole thing in one piece. Especially because Ned would have to look strong and fierce in front of his lords. The Northmen are ferocious dogs. If Ned had pardoned Cat in such a scenario a man like Roose Bolton would have soon cut his throat.

The children are a separate issue. Usually the murder of innocent women and children is a hideous crime, even in Westeros. The murder of Elia and the children attests to that.

This is not contradictory to a forced marriage. If Rhaegar married Lyanna against her will (as Robert seems to believe or want to believe) then any intercourse they had would have been rape.

My point is that if Rhaegar and Lyanna's marriage was unknown then there was no or at least no good reason to think that Lyanna's child was in danger. If there was no public marriage and nobody suspected that there was a secret marriage then everybody knowing/suspecting/figuring out that Jon Snow was Lyanna's son would have thought him to her bastard son.

A secret marriage with only a bunch of (now dead) witnesses is effectively the same as no marriage at all. At least when all witnesses/people knowing about it are agreement to pretend it never happened.

And by the way - the Isle of Faces is probably the worst idea ever for the marriage to take place. That is a legendary place where visitors actually aren't all that welcome. If Rhaegar and Lyanna wanted to marry they had no reason to do so in secret, nor had Rhaegar any reason to keep quiet about it. Especially not after he had become the Targaryen general.

Jon Snow can still come out as some sort of secret prince trope guy. But that isn't the point. The point is how the story went when nobody intended that the child of Rhaegar and Lyanna become a hidden prince.

Nobody ever thinks or talks directly about the relationship between Rhaegar and Lyanna. We have the Robert's rape comment, Dany's memories of the version of the tale Viserys told her suggesting that Rhaegar loved Lyanna. But we have no idea yet about Lyanna's feelings for Rhaegar nor do we have any understanding about the nature of their relationship.

Despite the fact that a lot of POVs must either know more about that (Jon Connington, Barristan, Jaime) or at least have heard rumors or have their own suspicions (Cersei, Tyrion, Arianne, hell even Brienne and Davos could know stuff) we never read anything about them thinking or talking about. Not to mention all those non-POVs that know or suspect even more.

The absence of memories/thoughts/conversation on this topic is not necessarily evidence that no such memories/thoughts exist or that such conversation don't take place because nobody knows anything.

The Rhaegar-Lyanna affair did not take in some sort of parallel dimension bubble and only Howland Reed, Wylla, and other chosen people can know anything about that. Many other people might know stuff, too, but George decided to not bring it up because this whole thing is supposed to be mystery.

Well, this isn't about claims at all. It is about the question why exactly the knights at the tower were/remained at the tower. It has actually nothing to do with the validity of claims made later.

But Daenerys Stormborn actually was the chosen and anointed heiress of King Viserys III Targaryen. She is styled Princess of Dragonstone in AGoT on multiple occasions while her brother was still alive, and this wouldn't have been done if Viserys hadn't named and wouldn't officially consider Daenerys his heiress. I mean, he is right there when this is done and doesn't object to that at all.

Sure, Dany was never actually the Princess of Dragonstone in the sense that she held the castle and the island, but the importance of the title is that it is the title of the heir to the Iron Throne of Westeros. Which for all intents and purposes was Daenerys Targaryen in the mind of Viserys III and his supporters.

I and others have argued that Dany will eventually challenge Aegon's claim to the Iron Throne on that basis if she is not (only) attacking him on the basis that he is an impostor. Her royal father, Aerys II, passed over Aegon as heir to the throne in favor of Viserys. Viserys III was crowned king and subsequently named Princess Daenerys his heir. In that sense it does not matter whether Aegon lived or died because even if he hadn't been presumed dead he would still not have been the true heir and rightful successor of Aerys II. That was Viserys.

Aegon certainly should play the gender card and dismiss Dany's claim because she is female. But Dany could counter such arguments as I've outlined above. All this legal prattle is interesting on a certain level, especially if the factions are actually going to try to avoid a war in the beginning.

Firstly, just because Rhaegar and Lyanna married in secret at the time does not mean that they intended to keep it a secret forever. Rhaegar no doubt believed that he was destined to win the War and raise the prophecied savior. He likely intended to announce the marriage and his new heir at a more opportune time.

Regarding Aegon. I would be very disappointed in Daenerys if she actually challenges the claim  of Aegon, the son of her beloved brother Rhaegar who everyone including herself worships as the last true Dragon, on the basis of her being the heir of Viserys, who she herself acknowledges was not nearly as worthy as Rhaegar. The whole basis of Quaithe's prophecy is that she will challenge the "Mummer's Dragon". Meaning a false dragon. Meaning a false Aegon.

Unless Daenerys is incredibly far down the rabbit hole of self delusion and self aggrandizement to the point of thinking herself more worthy than even her brother Rhaegar was, I hardly doubt that she will weasel her way to a claim based on some legalistic techniciality about being Viserys's heir if she truly believes Aegon is Rhaegar's true son.

Instead, it will be doubt about Aegon's true identity that will drive her to challenge him. Challenging Rhaegar's trueborn heir will just go against the entire mental narrative that Daenerys has constructed about House Targaryen to date.

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30 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Firstly, just because Rhaegar and Lyanna married in secret at the time does not mean that they intended to keep it a secret forever. Rhaegar no doubt believed that he was destined to win the War and raise the prophecied savior. He likely intended to announce the marriage and his new heir at a more opportune time.

Well, there is no good reason for Rhaegar to wait. He was back at court and he was commanding the Targaryen army. Clearly people including his parents wanted to know where he had been and what he had done. If they didn't know that already. I mean, even Dany knows that Rhaegar loved his Lyanna. How could she know that if people didn't tell Viserys - and who could have told Viserys if not his mother. Who would have known that from Rhaegar.

What new heir are you talking about there? Lyanna's child? There is no indication that he/she was supposed to replace Aegon as Rhaegar's heir. Not to mention that this would have been difficult as hell, effectively causing another war with Dorne defending Aegon's rights.

30 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Regarding Aegon. I would be very disappointed in Daenerys if she actually challenges the claim  of Aegon, the son of her beloved brother Rhaegar who everyone including herself worships as the last true Dragon, on the basis of her being the heir of Viserys, who she herself acknowledges was not nearly as worthy as Rhaegar. The whole basis of Quaithe's prophecy is that she will challenge the "Mummer's Dragon". Meaning a false dragon. Meaning a false Aegon.

Sure, but is that going to be enough? Dany is not going to get rock solid evidence out of thin air that Aegon isn't Rhaegar's son. Even Stannis had no proof yet still denounced his nephews and niece as bastards. That in itself may not be enough - not to mention that we have no clue when and how Dany will learn or reach the conclusion that Aegon might not be her brother's son.

But who he is is academical anyway. Dany is a conqueror like her famous ancestor. She won't give a damn about the better claim. She is the daughter of kings and has conquered cities already. The idea that she would suddenly give up her claim or change her mind because there is somebody who claims he is her dead nephew makes no sense. The same goes for Jon Snow should he ever claim the Iron Throne against her. Yet another nephew, this time one who looks nothing like her late brother and who supposedly was born in secret? Right, and next they are going to sell her some old man as Jaehaerys II who actually never died...

30 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Unless Daenerys is incredibly far down the rabbit hole of self delusion and self aggrandizement to the point of thinking herself more worthy than even her brother Rhaegar was, I hardly doubt that she will weasel her way to a claim based on some legalistic techniciality about being Viserys's heir if she truly believes Aegon is Rhaegar's true son.

We'll have to wait and see whether she believes that. But she wouldn't give up her claim just because Rhaegar's son showed up. Regardless who he was. You don't crown yourself and then step down again. If you do that you don't live all that long in such a world.

30 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Instead, it will be doubt about Aegon's true identity that will drive her to challenge him. Challenging Rhaegar's trueborn heir will just go against the entire mental narrative that Daenerys has constructed about House Targaryen to date.

And what narrative is that? 

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8 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, there is no good reason for Rhaegar to wait. He was back at court and he was commanding the Targaryen army. Clearly people including his parents wanted to know where he had been and what he had done. If they didn't know that already. I mean, even Dany knows that Rhaegar loved his Lyanna. How could she know that if people didn't tell Viserys - and who could have told Viserys if not his mother. Who would have known that from Rhaegar.

What new heir are you talking about there? Lyanna's child? There is no indication that he/she was supposed to replace Aegon as Rhaegar's heir. Not to mention that this would have been difficult as hell, effectively causing another war with Dorne defending Aegon's rights.

Sure, but is that going to be enough? Dany is not going to get rock solid evidence out of thin air that Aegon isn't Rhaegar's son. Even Stannis had no proof yet still denounced his nephews and niece as bastards. That in itself may not be enough - not to mention that we have no clue when and how Dany will learn or reach the conclusion that Aegon might not be her brother's son.

But who he is is academical anyway. Dany is a conqueror like her famous ancestor. She won't give a damn about the better claim. She is the daughter of kings and has conquered cities already. The idea that she would suddenly give up her claim or change her mind because there is somebody who claims he is her dead nephew makes no sense. The same goes for Jon Snow should he ever claim the Iron Throne against her. Yet another nephew, this time one who looks nothing like her late brother and who supposedly was born in secret? Right, and next they are going to sell her some old man as Jaehaerys II who actually never died...

We'll have to wait and see whether she believes that. But she wouldn't give up her claim just because Rhaegar's son showed up. Regardless who he was. You don't crown yourself and then step down again. If you do that you don't live all that long in such a world.

And what narrative is that? 

I don't believe that Daenerys would overthrow Rhaegar's true son Aegon, if she had proof that he was who he claimed. Conqueror or not, she would then submit to him. The reason that she will challenge and overthrow Aegon, will be because she does not believe him to be who he says he is. And Tyrion is likely going to play a role in convincing her of that, given that he already had his doubts back on the riverboat.

And I don't understand your question about whether that will be enough. Enough for what? Must you be reminded again that there is no court of law, where the weight of evidence is assessed and a verdict announced. You yourself stated that she is a conqueror with the means to take the Throne. All that is required is that she believes him to be fake. She does not have to dispute his rule using a competing claim based on Viserys being more legitimate than Rhaegar. She merely has to denounce his claim as fake and use her dragons and Dothraki to do the rest.

 

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1 hour ago, Kal-L said:

I wouldn't go this far, especially if Rhaegar expected Aegon to be the Prince that was promised.

That's the hangup. Did he really? There's a narrative to be adduced, though: he finds out the kids aren't his and that's what makes him realize where he REALLY needs to be sewing his seed. The blessing is after the fact. The cuckolding frees him up to go after Lyanna.

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3 hours ago, Nami said:

I don't think he would even believe Ned. Robert was very much in deep denial over R+L to his death.
If Ned said Lyanna wanted Rhaegar, Robert would probably think Ned was saying that just to save Jon or whatever reason he would come up with. 

Very likely.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

@Sly Wren

I think our difference there is whether Robert's hatred/wrath/wounded pride also extended to Lyanna or not. I don't think we have enough information to decide that as of yet.

If you are right and Robert's wounded pride was the main cause for his Rhaegar hatred and Lyanna was included in that because she went along with the whole thing then there is a chance that even she was in danger from Robert at this point. And also any children of hers by Rhaegar, legitimate or illegitimate.

But we don't know that.

I completely agree that we likely don't know exactly what Robert would do.

But I think Martin's made it pretty clear what Ned thinks Robert might do. Or at least what Ned fears Robert might do. 

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I do not particularly like Robert Baratheon as the person he is described (although I have to admit I do like the scenes in which he shows up because he can be fun) but I don't think he was at heart such a bad guy. Ned's trust in Robert is ultimately justified as he shows on his deathbed. It is entirely possible that the 'royal Robert' Cat feared when she urged Ned to accept his offer and the man Ned feared 'King Robert' had become never truly existed and was just shadow in their imagination.

I agree that Robert seems like a pretty decent guy. And that Ned loved him. And that Robert came to his senses on his deathbed.

But when Ned sees Robert again, when they are talking about Dany, it's clear that the murders of Elia and her children and Robert's reaction to those murders are still very fresh in Ned's mind. And Ned has NOT accepted it as "okay." 

Ned calls it a madness in his thoughts--that seems to be his copied mechanism: calling Robert's behavior a madness. But he notes that Robert's madness re: Rhaegar is still present. 

So, at least in Ned's mind, he does not trust Robert to do the right thing re: the relatives of the man who took Lyanna away. Ned loves Robert. Thinks well of Robert for the most part. But he has not forgotten or forgiven what happened to Elia and her children. Has not gotten over Jaime's not being sent to the Wall.

Robert many be a better man than even Ned thinks him. As you say, Robert comes through in the end. But in Ned's mind, the madness re: Rhaegar is still somewhat there. The years have not quenched Robert's need for revenge. So, Ned doesn't trust him re: Rhaegar's relatives/the relatives of the man who took Lyanna away. For Ned, Robert's wrath is not about politics. It's about the madness of emotion.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

In any case, if Robert truly loved Lyanna as a person (and I think he did) I doubt that his pride at that point would have been so wounded that he would have demanded her death or the death of her children by Rhaegar.

Perhaps. Or "the knife thrust to the soul" might be even worse if it came from the woman he idealized and loved. 

As for loving Lyanna "as a person"--that's hard to measure. Robert idealizes her a lot now. Not sure how he was before. But he seems to have no qualms about cheating on her--seems to embrace that social custom with gusto. 

But if the question is why Ned lied, again, the key point is what Ned thinks. And Ned really focuses on Robert's "madness."

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

To discuss that we would have to have a deeper insight into Robert during the Rebellion and what he (and Ned!) thought about the whole thing at this point. Again, I think there is a very good chance that Ned, too, was very angry and full of hatred at this point.

I agree--Ned's hatred for Aerys is hefty.

Quote

It never comes up, but I think we can reasonably assume that Aerys wouldn't have left the throne room alive had he been in there with Ned Stark.

Possible. Though I can really see Ned's insisting on the decorum of holding Aerys until Robert came. Insisting on the decorum of a public execution--the ritual and finality of it. 

Quote

It is a strictly hypothetical discussion, but I think there would have been a decent enough chance that Ned would have raised Lyanna's bastard son as Lyanna's bastard son rather than disguising him as his own. But he chose to do that to protect Lyanna's legitimate son by Rhaegar. And considering that a secret marriage could have remained secret the idea is that they must have married in a public or half-public way (or Rhaegar must have announced his second marriage to the Realm at one point) to actually put Lyanna's son in a particular danger.

The fear Ned had for the life of the child after he parted ways with Robert at KL would have been that Robert might look the other way if it becomes known that Rhaegar had more legitimate children. Whether he was justified in that is another matter. We know that the friends reconciled when they both grieved for Lyanna so things might already have been less tense at this point.

This is, as you say, hypothetical. And I thus have no way of supporting or undermining it with text.

What we do have in text are Ned's thoughts on Robert's madness, all these years later. And that madness is at Rhaegar, the man who stole Robert's beloved. Ned's thoughts never take into account Robert's reign, "legitimate" children or any of the rest of it. Just killing "children" and "women." No politics, no rights to the crown--even after all of these years, Ned still sees Robert's hatred as a madness. 

And Ned doesn't think that madness has lessened. He loves Robert, but he has not changed his mind on Robert's madness re: Rhaegar. And Ned seems very unlikely to trust the life of ANY child to a man prone to such madness, let alone the child of Ned's dear departed sister.

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1 minute ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I don't believe that Daenerys would overthrow Rhaegar's true son Aegon, if she had proof that he was who he claimed. Conqueror or not, she would then submit to him.

Why should she? Can't she take the dragons as a divine sign that she is true Queen. The one chosen by fate and the gods to rule? Anybody else pales in comparison to the Unburnt and the Mother of Dragons. Remember, Daemon II Blackfyre quite correctly thought that bookish Aerys and his hated bastard Hand would have to go if he actually hatched a dragon egg. Because that would be seen as a sign that he was the rightful king.

That's how dragons were interpreted historically. As signs that their riders (or hatchers, if you will) were true princes and kings.

1 minute ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The reason that she will challenge and overthrow Aegon, will be because she does not believe him to be who he says he is. And Tyrion is likely going to play a role in convincing her of that, given that he already had his doubts back on the riverboat.

Well, she could still marry him at this time, impostor or not. That would be easy road. We'll have to wait and see how and if that doesn't happen. But I guess she claiming that Aegon is an impostor when Arianne and Jon Connington contradict her might not exactly sound very convincing to anybody.

1 minute ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

And I don't understand your question about whether that will be enough. Enough for what? Must you be reminded again that there is no court of law, where the weight of evidence is assessed and a verdict announced. You yourself stated that she is a conqueror with the means to take the Throne. All that is required is that she believes him to be fake. She does not have to dispute his rule based on a competing claim based on Viserys being more legitimate than Rhaegar. She merely has to denounce his claim as fake and use her dragons and Dothraki to do the rest.

Well, perhaps that was phrased stupidly. I meant whether the prophecy of the Mummer's Dragon will convince Dany that Aegon is an impostor. Why exactly should she believe that? And even if somebody tells a story how this could be - why should she believe it in the beginning.

And, of course, why should she like the idea that some dead relatives (or completely unknown relatives) suddenly showing up should affect the goals she has set herself in life? Only one person can sit on that stupid chair, and the chances that she doesn't want to be that person are very slim, regardless who gets in her way in the process.

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3 hours ago, SFDanny said:

We are told explicitly what Ned thinks he would do in such a case. 

The idea that Robert's rage and sense of betrayal would be less if Lyanna chose Rhaegar over him is totally out of character with the Robert we know. The Robert who dreams of killing Rhaegar every night and still wants to murder any Targaryen he can get his hands on fourteen years after Rhaegar's death and fifteen after Rhaegar "kidnapped" Lyanna.

:agree: YUP!!!

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