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7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

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.

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.

For a fan of Daenerys you have a worse view of her than I, as one of her detractors, seem to have. You seem to think that she is far more callous, entitled, ambitious and obsessed with getting to rule Westeros than even I do. To be clear, I think she is all of the above, but due to the fact that she believes it is her right as the last Targaryen, after her noble brother Rhaegar and his noble children were killed.

You seem to believe that she has crossed the line where she believes that it is owed to her personally, rather than to her as a representative of her House. That she believes she is divinely chosen as an individual, rather than as the rightful representative of House Targaryen. If so, then she is even farther down the path of self obsession than even I believed.

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4 minutes ago, M_Tootles said:

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.

That's another story, here he finds out that his best friend and wife were betraying while he had his big project of saving the world with his children and his only reaction is to give them his blessing ? I really doubt so.

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Just now, Kal-L said:

That's another story, here he finds out that his best friend and wife were betraying while he had his big project of saving the world with his children and his only reaction is to give them his blessing ? I really doubt so.

Rhaegar was a complex, deep, melancholy and enigmatic character. Perhaps he had found new prophetic revelations in the interim, which made him realise he was on the wrong track with Elia all along, and that he had to unite Houses Targaryen and Stark to fulfill the Song of Ice and Fire.

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5 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

My apologies--I should have phrased it thusly: Ned believes that Robert's willingness to condone the murders of Rhaegar's children comes from vengeance and rage, not from political expedience. 

Even when Robert argues political expedience in the case of hypothetically killing Dany, Ned's thoughts tell us he doesn't buy it. Ned might think it off page, But on page, Ned always thinks Robert's willingness to condone/accept the murders of children and/or his willingness to kill children directly is driven by rage, vengeance, and wounded pride. That he can forgive a fight, but not that kind of betrayal and loss of his love.

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

As for the heirs, Ned never thinks that's the reason when thinking about how he must save the children. He ONLY thinks it's about the pride. You and @Lord Varys may well be right that Robert would be thinking of practicalities. But Ned himself always thinks it's about the emotion.

All fair. :cheers:

My key point is that we can't rule out other paternity for Jon based on why Ned might have feared for Jon's life.

Not yet.

Or from his children. Ned never thinks that protecting his rule/consolidating his reign was the motive for condoning the murder of the Targ kids, either. 

But the key point is what Ned thinks the motive was for Robert's willingness to condone their deaths. Ned says, "you are no Tywin Lannister" to stop him from ordering more deaths.

But Ned specifically thinks in this scene that the problem is Robert's rage. Not Robert's desire to protect his rule or the kingdom. Robert's rage and need for vengeance led him to condone the Targ kid murders. And Robert's rage, in Ned's mind, is driving his desire to kill Dany. Robert feeds Ned's mindset with the line about wanting to kill and every last Targaryen until they are as dead as their dragons and then Robert will piss on their graves.

No wonder Ned thinks, even after his line about Tywin, that Robert's need for vengeance has put him beyond Ned's words. He just ends with saying that Robert can't get at Dany, implying the point is moot. But he never changes his mind re: the source of Robert's danger to children of those he hates.

Wait--so are you arguing that until Ned sees Robert order Dany's death, Ned never believed Robert would order the deaths of children? If so, are you asserting that Ned never believed Jon would be in danger from Robert? If so, then what was Ned protecting Jon from with a lie? Or do you think Ned was lying for another reason?

The "once" in the quote seems fairly significant. We don't know where the shift happens. Could be in King's Landing. Could be way back when Robert condoned the Targ kids' death.

But at some point, Ned CLEARLY learned that Robert would happily condone the murders of children. And Ned knows he has to argue that Robert not murder Dany, either himself or with an order. Leaves off the first time because Robert's wrath is too far gone and he has the fall-back position of "you can't get at Dany." In that moment, the "you're not Tywin" rhetoric didn't work and Ned knows it. Long before he got to King's Landing. 

But when Ned presents the argument re: Tywin, he already knows Robert's wrath is a madness. And Ned clearly knows the argument didn't work--moves off of it. He knows he can't argue with Robert--his safety is in that Robert can't get at Dany.

So the question becomes, WHEN did Ned change his mind about Robert's willingness to order the murder of "woman and children." We know when Ned changed his mind about Robert's willingness to condone the murder of women and children. And that the rift between them was massive as a result. This was almost unforgivable for Ned--he was gobsmacked that Robert would do something so heinous and blames Robert's wrath and need for vengeance to get it.

So, really seems like both the "ordering" of murder and the "condoning" of murder from his friend are both worries for Ned, even before he gets to King's Landing. And Ned thinks that wrath and pride drive them.

If we get text parsing this, that Ned never believed Robert would order a death, only condone, until he gets to King's Landing, that would be interesting. But so far, I can't see how the books have parsed it that closely. The condoning enough out Ned in a cold rage.

Ned fears Roberth's wrath, not his sense of political expediency.

I have to make this brief since I have plans. You hit on condoning vs. ordering, re: Robert and the killing of children. Ned doesn't think Robert would order the murder of a child, but he knows he would condone it. Because he did exactly that when the Lannisters murdered Rhaegar's children, the dragonspawn. If Jon is Rhaegar's, this scenario could very well play out again. Even if Ned could persuade Robert to stand down because he doesn't think his friend is capable of such an act, he knows that the Lannisters are.

However, if Jon is Arthur's son there is no motive for the Lannisters to murder him. Further, as we discussed earlier, it would be politically foolish. Which someone like Tywin would realize.

So, would Robert order the murder of Arthur and Lyanna's son? Ned didn't think Robert would order the murder of a child, until he did. But, might Robert condone the murder of Arthur and Lyanna's son? Maybe. But the Lannisters had specific motives for murdering Rhaegar's children. Tywin is ruthless but practical. He's no Ramsay. What would be his motive for ordering the murder of the bastard child of Arthur and Lyanna?

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@Sly Wren

I think we have to keep in mind that Lyanna was merely Robert's betrothed, not his wife. Whatever dagger Cersei might have plunged into him would have hurt him much deeper considering he was at that point a rather entitled king and not just a young lord who liked to have fun.

Vice versa Robert's behavior while he was a youth. I doubt he would have never had affairs had he married Lyanna but I'm pretty sure he would have been much more discreet and had tried not to hurt or humiliate her in public. Robert definitely loved Lyanna while he never had any love for Cersei.

The fact that Robert and Lyanna were only betrothed when the whole Rhaegar thing happened is also a strong hint that Robert wouldn't have had any right to be as wroth as he had a right to be when his wife treated him in such a fashion as Cersei treated him. There are quantitative and qualitative differences.

In fact, honor-wise the Starks were actually the party wronged by Rhaegar the most, not Robert - because he abducted their minor daughter and (forcefully?) married her. If Lyanna acted of her own accord then Robert was the wronged party not so much by Rhaegar but by Lyanna and House Stark, and he should have demanded recompense for the broken marriage contract from them, not Rhaegar. And perhaps we did. We'll have to see how the details play out. If Robert suspected that Lyanna was in love with Rhaegar he may have originally wondered/asked whether Rickard actually allowed Lyanna to be 'abducted'. If not, then he never believed something like that, presumably.

By the way:

Is Ned's hatred for Aerys all that hefty? I don't remember any passage where he actually states something like that. Which is odd. Oh, and I just thought that Ned would have wanted to kill Aerys had they ever been alone together. I'm in total agreement that Ned most likely would have wanted to do it properly. But I don't think they would have done it in a trial. A king cannot be tried because that would set a precedent to limit his power. They most likely would have just slain him.

19 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

For a fan of Daenerys you have a worse view of her than I, as one of her detractors, seem to have. You seem to think that she is far more callous, entitled, ambitious and obsessed with getting to rule Westeros than even I do. To be clear, I think she is all of the above, but due to the fact that she believes it is her right as the last Targaryen, after her noble brother Rhaegar and his noble children were killed.

I'd not describe myself as a Dany fan. I like the whole specialness around her character but not so much the character herself. But I find her less shallow as Jon Snow. I really didn't like him in ADwD for his focus on the whole swordplay thing (not exactly the top priority for a man who wants to command people rather than fight people personally) instead of actually gathering knowledge about the Others or trying to actually become a decent politician.

I'm operating under the assumption that you have to keep wearing the purple if don it. Meaning that Dany literally cannot turn back after she has proclaimed herself to be the Queen of Westeros (which she has done a long time ago). You win or you die. That is the game of thrones. Not to mention that she now leading a movement she cannot possibly convince to not see her as their savior. It is on the verge of becoming something like the Fremen crusade in the Dune series. You cannot control something like that once you have started. You have to go along with it.

19 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

You seem to believe that she has crossed the line where she believes that it is owed to her personally, rather than to her as a representative of her House. That she believes she is divinely chosen as an individual, rather than as the rightful representative of House Targaryen. If so, then she is even farther down the path of self obsession than even I believed.

She is personally special, not as a representative of House Targaryen. The prophecies all concern her, personally. That is destiny/fate/whatever. You have to complain to George about that. I didn't write the House of the Undying.

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9 minutes ago, J. Stargaryen said:

I have to make this brief since I have plans. You hit on condoning vs. ordering, re: Robert and the killing of children. Ned doesn't think Robert would order the murder of a child, but he knows he would condone it. Because he did exactly that when the Lannisters murdered Rhaegar's children, the dragonspawn. If Jon is Rhaegar's, this scenario could very well play out again. Even if Ned could persuade Robert to stand down because he doesn't think his friend is capable of such an act, he knows that the Lannisters are.

However, if Jon is Arthur's son there is no motive for the Lannisters to murder him. Further, as we discussed earlier, it would be politically foolish. Which someone like Tywin would realize.

So, would Robert order the murder of Arthur and Lyanna's son? Ned didn't think Robert would order the murder of a child, until he did. But, might Robert condone the murder of Arthur and Lyanna's son? Maybe. But the Lannisters had specific motives for murdering Rhaegar's children. Tywin is ruthless but practical. He's no Ramsay. What would be his motive for ordering the murder of the bastard child of Arthur and Lyanna?

Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was a TARGARYEN who have the right (male) to marry more then one wife. If he did not take her by force and married her their children would be legit. Married before a Septon or a Tree or both. -_-

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3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

@Sly Wren

I think we have to keep in mind that Lyanna was merely Robert's betrothed, not his wife. Whatever dagger Cersei might have plunged into him would have hurt him much deeper considering he was at that point a rather entitled king and not just a young lord who liked to have fun.

Vice versa Robert's behavior while he was a youth. I doubt he would have never had affairs had he married Lyanna but I'm pretty sure he would have been much more discreet and had tried not to hurt or humiliate her in public. Robert definitely loved Lyanna while he never had any love for Cersei.

The fact that Robert and Lyanna were only betrothed when the whole Rhaegar thing happened is also a strong hint that Robert wouldn't have had any right to be as wroth as he had a right to be when his wife treated him in such a fashion as Cersei treated him. There are quantitative and qualitative differences.

In fact, honor-wise the Starks were actually the party wronged by Rhaegar the most, not Robert - because he abducted their minor daughter and (forcefully?) married her. If Lyanna acted of her own accord then Robert was the wronged party not so much by Rhaegar but by Lyanna and House Stark, and he should have demanded recompense for the broken marriage contract from them, not Rhaegar. And perhaps we did. We'll have to see how the details play out. If Robert suspected that Lyanna was in love with Rhaegar he may have originally wondered/asked whether Rickard actually allowed Lyanna to be 'abducted'. If not, then he never believed something like that, presumably.

By the way:

Is Ned's hatred for Aerys all that hefty? I don't remember any passage where he actually states something like that. Which is odd. Oh, and I just thought that Ned would have wanted to kill Aerys had they ever been alone together. I'm in total agreement that Ned most likely would have wanted to do it properly. But I don't think they would have done it in a trial. A king cannot be tried because that would set a precedent to limit his power. They most likely would have just slain him.

I'd not describe myself as a Dany fan. I like the whole specialness around her character but not so much the character herself. But I find her less shallow as Jon Snow. I really didn't like him in ADwD for his focus on the whole swordplay thing (not exactly the top priority for a man who wants to command people rather than fight people personally) instead of actually gathering knowledge about the Others or trying to actually become a decent politician.

I'm operating under the assumption that you have to keep wearing the purple if don it. Meaning that Dany literally cannot turn back after she has proclaimed herself to be the Queen of Westeros (which she has done a long time ago). You win or you die. That is the game of thrones. Not to mention that she now leading a movement she cannot possibly convince to not see her as their savior. It is on the verge of becoming something like the Fremen crusade in the Dune series. You cannot control something like that once you have started. You have to go along with it.

She is personally special, not as a representative of House Targaryen. The prophecies all concern her, personally. That is destiny/fate/whatever. You have to complain to George about that. I didn't write the House of the Undying.

Well, if you believe in the double bluff approach, then Stannis was the first falsely proclaimed Azor Ahai, Daenerys was the second (proclaimed both by Benerro and by Maester Aemon, if I recall), with the final, true saviour only to be proclaimed once Jon has been reborn and his true identity revealed.

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5 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Well, if you believe in the double bluff approach, then Stannis was the first falsely proclaimed Azor Ahai, Daenerys was the second (proclaimed both by Benerro and by Maester Aemon, if I recall), with the final, true saviour only to be proclaimed once Jon has been reborn and his true identity revealed.

Yet, Jon continues to deny it...

“He is not dead. Stannis is the Lord’s chosen, destined to lead the fight against the dark. I have seen it in the flames, read of it in ancient prophecy. When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone. Dragonstone is the place of smoke and salt.”
Jon had heard all this before.

Your fires have been known to lie.”
“I have made mistakes, I have admitted as much, but—”
“A grey girl on a dying horse. Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born in smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady.

And we know for GRRM that when someone continues to deny it...

So you know? That’s the way prophecies come true in unexpected ways. The more you try to avoid them, the more you are making them true, and I make a little fun with that. 

http://www.adriasnews.com/2012/10/george-r-r-martin-interview.html?spref=tw

Jon has been denying his royal blood and a promised prince, ever since the beginning... yet GRRM is making it ever true.

 

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1 minute ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Well, if you believe in the double bluff approach, then Stannis was the first falsely proclaimed Azor Ahai, Daenerys was the second (proclaimed both by Benerro and by Maester Aemon, if I recall), with the final, true saviour only to be proclaimed once Jon has been reborn and his true identity revealed.

And Dany is heralded as the special guy who woke the dragons from stone, dreams about fighting the Others in her prophetic dreams (which we know she has, too), and gets a very special treatment in the House of the Undying.

Jon gets literally nothing by comparison. That doesn't mean he is unimportant, of course, I actually think the real clue of this whole thing is that there isn't just one savior (and that looking for one savior is the worst thing you can possibly do) but three. The three dragon heads. Tyrion, Dany, and Jon Snow.

And whatever martial parts this savior trinity is going to go through will most definitely be done by Jon Snow. He is the only guy of the three who can hope to fight. But the central element clearly is Daenerys. She is the one who brought back the dragons. She is the one has the means to fight the Others and she is the one who is going to learn about the prophecy stuff.

Among the central POVs there won't be any fake heroes, red herrings, or failures. That would be stupid. Only a bad writer would invest thousands of pages in a heroic character foreshadowing a lot of stuff about her and then pulling off the rug under her. George includes twists and turns but he doesn't do that. Especially because Jon Snow could never ascend to the same level of 'magical specialness' that Dany had already reached in AGoT.

The other 'fake saviors' are Aegon (the cloth dragon) and whoever/whatever is going to be the stone beast.

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21 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And Dany is heralded as the special guy who woke the dragons from stone, dreams about fighting the Others in her prophetic dreams (which we know she has, too), and gets a very special treatment in the House of the Undying.

Jon gets literally nothing by comparison. That doesn't mean he is unimportant, of course, I actually think the real clue of this whole thing is that there isn't just one savior (and that looking for one savior is the worst thing you can possibly do) but three. The three dragon heads. Tyrion, Dany, and Jon Snow.

And whatever martial parts this savior trinity is going to go through will most definitely be done by Jon Snow. He is the only guy of the three who can hope to fight. But the central element clearly is Daenerys. She is the one who brought back the dragons. She is the one has the means to fight the Others and she is the one who is going to learn about the prophecy stuff.

Among the central POVs there won't be any fake heroes, red herrings, or failures. That would be stupid. Only a bad writer would invest thousands of pages in a heroic character foreshadowing a lot of stuff about her and then pulling off the rug under her. George includes twists and turns but he doesn't do that. Especially because Jon Snow could never ascend to the same level of 'magical specialness' that Dany had already reached in AGoT.

The other 'fake saviors' are Aegon (the cloth dragon) and whoever/whatever is going to be the stone beast.

Well how could you possibly know that? I would argue that a premature reveal is almost as bad as no reveal whatsoever. Daenerys shot her magical load with the birth of the Dragons. There was hardly any buildup to it. A single book. In any other story it would absolutely scream red herring. The smoke and salt of Dragonstone is too obvious. The dragons from stone eggs utterly apparent. The red comet when the dragons were hatched there for all to see.

Maester Aemon's open declaration that Daenerys is the Prince who was Promised is so early in the series. With the central mystery surrounding this theme, with the immense effort Martin went to to spread the clues about Jon so subtly and carefully, without a single overt revelation in the books to date, surely it must make you worry just a tad that you have been set up by the Book 1 magical display heralding Daenerys as the promised one?

In my view, Daenerys is Jon's John the Baptist. Preparing the way for his arrival. Setting the scene, building the foundation for his ascension. She is putting all the tools in place for him to take his place.

Coming back to the bolded section. Martin has always said that the magical aspects of the story are going to increase steadily over the course of the series. Jon is about to enter that part of his story. He is going to die and come back again. The boy will die and the man (Azor Ahai) will be born. Amidst salt and smoke no doubt.

What will happen when Daenerys meets him for the first time atop Drogon's back, and Drogon kneels down in front of Jon in a fashion unprecedented in 5000 years of Valyrian dragonmastery? When a dragon - despite being mastered by a previous rider (Daenerys) - defers to a new master?

What special properties does the union of Stark and Targaryen bring to the table that so fascinated Rhaegar that he risked a civil war to bring it about? I can go on and on.

To conclude, Daenerys is not a red herring, I accept that. She is very important. But she is not the centre. She is one of the other two heads of the Dragon. Jon is the central head. Everything has been building up to his big reveal.

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49 minutes ago, HallowedMarcus said:

Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was a TARGARYEN who have the right (male) to marry more then one wife. If he did not take her by force and married her their children would be legit. Married before a Septon or a Tree or both. -_-

Exactly, and that would be a potential problem for the Baratheon-Lannister claim to the IT. Which would provide motive for the Lannisters to kill the baby, and for Robert to condone it.

Unless they adopted a Meatloafian approach to the murder of Rhaegar's children. :P

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@Free Northman Reborn

Who said ever anything that the identity of the central dragon head, the Mother of Dragons, ever was supposed to be a mystery?

I never got that idea. This is not a religious detective novel where we are supposed to figure out who the savior is. We are not going to play 'Would the real Jesus please rise up?'

We are following heroes on their paths to greatness, to the point in time where they are doing their real heroics. And those people are Dany, Tyrion, and Jon Snow. That was clear from the start.

The idea to invent a mystery where there is none makes no sense. It is not Maester Aemon or Benerro who revealed that Daenerys was the promised princess (in the aspect of waking dragons from stone) it was the author himself when Daenerys Stormborn did that thing in AGoT.

I mean what kind of fantasy novel would reinvent a real 'miraculous event' (according to the author) as a red herring and replace it with something else. This series is actually telling a story, it is not about the signs and portents hinting at that story, it is about the story. And correctly guessing what this or that prophecy meant doesn't mean you understood the story.

And what's that about Dany shooting her magical load with the birth of the dragons? What about the House of the Undying and the prophecies which were all exclusively about her and what she is going to do/go through? What about the Undying's interest in her and their desire to live off her special life force/destiny rather than some other guy's? What about her prophetic dream in ASoS about fighting against ice demons? What about her magical/mystical hallucinations in ADwD getting her back on track? What about Quaithe's interest in her? What about the very name of her dragon - Drogon, after her first love - and her special bond with him?

That is supposed to be all for nothing?

I'd be willing to consider that if you could give me actual hints in that direction. The books are full of prophecies and visions and prophetic dreams and other sorts of foreshadowing. If you give me a line which suggests that Dany is John the Baptist to Jon's Jesus then I'm willing to consider that. But there is nothing of this sort I'm aware of.

The beauty of this story is that George actually includes all those hints who foreshadow the future. He could just keep that stuff out entirely. It is just stuff for the readers to speculate about (because in most cases the characters don't recognize much of that, anyway). Thus there would actually be no reason for him to keep Jon's super special destiny a secret - say, by hinting that Dany is just preparing the way for some mysterious true hero. It doesn't have to be visibly Jon Snow, just some mysterious unidentifiable dude (say, like Euron's shadow-woman in Aeron's recent dream).

The idea that is just going to disappear into thin air makes no sense at all. Especially not since the plot already introduced two other dragons - dragons which were conveniently lacking in the original outline.

And then I've to ask what the hell Jon Snow would then do after he has been revealed as the special super hero which he could not have done without that super status? Or what Dany couldn't have done. I mean, both Dany and Jon most likely would ride Drogon, right? What would change in regards to Jon Snow if suddenly the world recognized him as the great savior guy. Couldn't he do the same stuff without being recognized as such?

The idea to interpret Jon's resurrection as a rebirth doesn't sound right to me. The prophecy of the promised prince talks about a prince born amidst smoke and salt, not reborn there. The R'hllorians herald that guy as Azor Ahai reborn but that isn't part of the prophecy. The prophecy itself doesn't include a rebirth at all. It is about a special birth.

Again, Dany has all the magical bullets in her hand.

1. She is born on Dragonstone, traditionally the place of smoke and salt. A hint in that direction is even in TWoIaF (when Dragonstone is described as Aegon's favorite place).

2. The bleeding star heralded her coming into her role as the savior when she

3. Literally woke dragons from stone. And if you want to insist on rebirth stuff then Dany certainly was 'reborn' in a figurative and perhaps even in a literally sense when she entered and later left that pyre.

Jon Snow, on the other hand, was apparently born in some tower, far away from both smoke and salt. The bleeding star had literally nothing to do with him. And he has not woken a dragon from stone nor gotten particularly close some stone from which he could wake a dragon.

I mean, if this was some sort of mystery story then it could be fun to revert everything and have the magical girl be the fake and the average dude the special guy who fulfilled weirdo prophecies a much more mundane way.

But unless another bleeding star shows up and Jon Snow wakes some another bunch of literal dragons from literal stone I see no reason why the hell anybody inside and outside of Westeros should ever consider him the special guy. Even if he was. How would George sell us the idea that Jon is special when he has given us all the Dany stuff?

Just because Jon successfully steals a dragon or messes with them doesn't prove anything. And neither does his Targaryen heritage. Euron and Bran might be able to steal dragons, too, but that doesn't make them (necessarily) the subjects of prophecies or heroes.

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

@SFDanny

I think the focus on the fever dream interpretation should be Ned's view of the entire matter. It is his mind that constructs the whole thing, after all. What that means in detail will perhaps be revealed in due time.

But for some reason I think Lyanna screaming 'Eddard' is a much more important piece in this puzzle than the whole conversation part we got. I always thought this had something to do with the birth of the child.

Well, I think they are all clues to the reader to sort out the same puzzle. The conversation between Ned and the Kingsguard places the encounter in time and place, and tells us that Ned questions and is still bothered by why they are there and not in the other places he thought to find them. Then we have Lyanna's scream which is the first clue to why the men fight. My point is, however, even if we look at the dream as not reflecting the actual encounter word for word, step by step, it still gives us very important information on Ned's state of mind and the things that continue to haunt his dreams. It is not just the deaths of his sister, and all the combatants who died, but the why of the fight that still troubles him fourteen years after the events.

I think the answer is in recollection of the fear he sees in Lyanna's eyes as he holds her dying body. He has to promise something his sister fears he won't promise. That cannot be just taking her bones back to Winterfell. No, it means there is some reason Lyanna believes her beloved, honorable brother will not do as she asks. Hiding her and Rhaegar's child from Robert's wrath is the most likely answer, but whatever it is it has to be a challenge to Ned's loyalties or she would not fear his response. 

It is also the answer, I think, to why Ned and his companions must fight with the Kingsguard. The trio too fear Ned's response. They must believe Ned's loyalty lies with Robert and not his sister. If it had just been that Ned had liberated his sister from her imprisonment, then she would not fear Ned's response to her plea to "Promise me." It would be rather some relief to die free from captivity with her dead enemies and captors around her. Not fear of what Ned would or would not do. Lyanna's dying request tells us both Lyanna and the Kingsguard have reason behind their fears.

If we look at Ned's role in the rebellion, his close friendship with Robert, Robert's role in killing Rhaegar, and the deaths of Elia and her children, then we have a good answer to why Lyanna and the Kingsguard fear Ned. The Kingsguard cannot trust him, and Lyanna cannot until she hears her brother's promise. All of which speaks to the likelihood of what the Kingsguard and Lyanna know of events preceding the encounter at the tower.

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A couple free moments, so I wanted to address something quickly.

13 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Wait--so are you arguing that until Ned sees Robert order Dany's death, Ned never believed Robert would order the deaths of children? If so, are you asserting that Ned never believed Jon would be in danger from Robert? If so, then what was Ned protecting Jon from with a lie? Or do you think Ned was lying for another reason?

What is there to argue? Those are Ned's thoughts. The very basis of your argument.

I think there is precedent for the Lannisters murdering Rhaegar's children, and Ragin' Robert condoning it. I think it's possible that the combination of Ned and Jon Arryn could have persuaded Robert to spare baby Jon. Possible. For example, keep in mind that Jon Arryn was able to counsel Robert to spare Viserys and Daenerys. However, the Lannisters have murdered Rhaegar's children before, in order to further Tywin's own political agenda. While Robert may be driven more by rage than political considerations, Tywin Lannister is not. Rhaegar's son could become a player in the game of thrones, Arthur's could not.

ETA for clarity: It's possible Jon Arryn and Ned could have convinced Robert to spare (R+L=)Jon, were it not for Tywin Lannister.

13 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

The "once" in the quote seems fairly significant. We don't know where the shift happens. Could be in King's Landing. Could be way back when Robert condoned the Targ kids' death.

I think the text is pretty clear on when the shift happens, because Ned only thinks this after Robert officially gives the order to assassinate Dany and her unborn child. Plus, we know Robert didn't give the order to have Rhaegar's children murdered, so I don't see how it could have anything to do with the Sack of KL.

13 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

But at some point, Ned CLEARLY learned that Robert would happily condone the murders of children. And Ned knows he has to argue that Robert not murder Dany, either himself or with an order. Leaves off the first time because Robert's wrath is too far gone and he has the fall-back position of "you can't get at Dany." In that moment, the "you're not Tywin" rhetoric didn't work and Ned knows it. Long before he got to King's Landing. 

Condoning :: Ordering : I'm glad they're dead :: Go kill them.

Ned also knows that Robert did not give the order to kill her. He discussed it with his chief counselor. Does Robert want to kill Viserys and Dany? Yes. He hates Targaryens. But he has shown a willingness to listen to counsel on the matter. Robert only ordered the assassinations years later, once he became convinced she posed a threat.

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1 hour ago, J. Stargaryen said:

ETA for clarity: It's possible Jon Arryn and Ned could have convinced Robert to spare (R+L=)Jon, were it not for Tywin Lannister.

And it would not stop with the Lannisters.

Remember that Varys was whispering into Aerys' ear about Rhaegar wanting to dethrone him.  Varys has since swear fealty to the new king, Robert.  And if we take into account and consider the plans he set forth with Illyrio for fAegon, I don't think he would gladly accept Jon as the potential to derail his plans.

For all he cares, Jon is still a threat to his plans to place fAegon on the throne, even if he believes Ned would not want that for Jon.  Knowing Varys, he would want to make sure Jon does not have any support (loyal Targ supporters that love Rhaegar--thus sympathize with his children--fAegon & Jon) and the risk that Littlefinger might use Jon as a pawn (opposite of his plan with fAegon), would be likely.

And knowing Catelyn, any threat from the Lannisters, Varys or Littlefinger would make her give up Jon in a heartbeat when it comes to the children from her body being threatened.

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9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Sorry, LV, meant to reply to your post, but for some reason having problems getting to a space outside the

quote box where I can enter my own text.

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@Lord Varys

Quote

"I think we have to keep in mind that Lyanna was merely Robert's betrothed, not his wife. Whatever dagger Cersei might have plunged into him would have hurt him much deeper considering he was at that point a rather entitled king and not just a young lord who liked to have fun.

Vice versa Robert's behavior while he was a youth. I doubt he would have never had affairs had he married Lyanna but I'm pretty sure he would have been much more discreet and had tried not to hurt or humiliate her in public. Robert definitely loved Lyanna while he never had any love for Cersei.

The fact that Robert and Lyanna were only betrothed when the whole Rhaegar thing happened is also a strong hint that Robert wouldn't have had any right to be as wroth as he had a right to be when his wife treated him in such a fashion as Cersei treated him. There are quantitative and qualitative differences.

In fact, honor-wise the Starks were actually the party wronged by Rhaegar the most, not Robert - because he abducted their minor daughter and (forcefully?) married her. If Lyanna acted of her own accord then Robert was the wronged party not so much by Rhaegar but by Lyanna and House Stark, and he should have demanded recompense for the broken marriage contract from them, not Rhaegar. And perhaps we did. We'll have to see how the details play out. If Robert suspected that Lyanna was in love with Rhaegar he may have originally wondered/asked whether Rickard actually allowed Lyanna to be 'abducted'. If not, then he never believed something like that, presumably."

I'm sorry I don't get this idea that Lyanna was "merely" his betrothed. The Baratheon's have a family history of declaring war with the crown over broken betrothals. Ser Duncan fought a duel with the Laughing Storm, if I remember correctly, and it took another betrothal to stop the Stormlands from fighting an actual war. Brandon goes to King's Landing and challenges the Crown Prince to "come out and die" so the Starks hardly thought of it as a "mere betrothal." And we see the bloody reaction of the Freys to the breaking of a betrothal. There is nothing "merely" about this. People are murdered, realms torn asunder, and families torn apart by broken betrothals. The idea that Robert was just going to accept Lyanna being taken away by Rhaegar is absurd both in the context of the history we know and the character we see in the story. Perhaps the Redwynes just have to accept a broken betrothal on the part of House Tully, but Robert is a High Lord himself and he isn't so easily mollified. 

Normally, when a betrothal is broken it had better be by the death of one of the parties, and even then if the deceased has a sibling of the appropriate sex and as yet unmarried, then they had better step up and take the dead's place. So we see in Ned's own history with Catelyn.

But with Robert and Lyanna that is only a part of his rage we see still seething a decade and a half later. Robert was obsessed with Lyanna. Obsessed as he never was with Cersei. Most likely this had something to do with her daring to resist his "charms." Once he had won the rights to her, however, he felt he owned her. Married or not. What we see of this obsession, through Ned's eyes, and Robert's continuing need for revenge against the Targaryens, defines him as a character. Yes, there are other parts. The drunken sot, the lecherous entitled lord, a generous victor in battle to non-Targaryens, a man who glories in combat, etc., but what drives him is pride and hatred for Rhaegar taking Lyanna. What Cersei does to him might have caused the same type of rage, but what happens with Lyanna defines him. There is no "merely" here.

 

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@SFDanny

About the tower:

I think the question from what and whom exactly Lyanna was afraid warrants a little bot of thought. There is a good chance she knew by then that Robert had killed Rhaegar, and they may also have had word about the Sack. But it is actually Ned who knew details about Robert's reaction (or rather: non-action) about the murder Elia, Rhaenys, and Aegon.

If Lyanna was actually afraid of Robert at this point then I think we should assume that there were aspects to this war that warranted such fear. And the same would go for the Kingsguard. Perhaps there were threats or announcements made early on in the war. I mean, Ned could have sent letters to KL early on during the war announcing that he wouldn't rest until Rhaegar and his entire family were dead, or something of this sort. Such a thing could then also explain why the hell Aerys eventually realized that Rhaegar wasn't a part of that rebellion.

I'm pretty sure the bastard idea was Ned's, by the way. Lyanna would just have asked Ned to protect her baby.

As to the betrothal:

Well, I should have been more precise because I actually was thinking about the Jenny crisis in all that.

If we take Duncan-Jenny and transfer it to Rhaegar-Lyanna Jenny is actually playing the role of Rhaegar and Lyanna is Prince Duncan. She was the one betrothed to another (Robert) but chose to run away/marry (if we assume this was consensual) another, Rhaegar.

The wronged party was Lyonel Baratheon's daughter and in Robert's case, Robert.

Prince Duncan wasn't the head of his house, just as Lyanna wasn't the head of House Stark. Brandon is (sort of) playing the role of Aegon V/the court who desperately tries to convince Duncan to give up Jenny and stick to contract that was made with House Baratheon. Only when that leads to nothing does Lord Lyonel crown himself a new Storm King and declare war on Aegon V (not Prince Duncan) because the king was not willing to give him what he wanted.

In that sense Robert's enemy in all that should have been House Stark because they were the people he had made his deal with. The Targaryens only become the enemy in an 'abduction and rape' scenario. If Lord Rickard had ever condoned the Rhaegar-Lyanna relationship/marriage then the Starks would have become Robert's enemies because it would have been they - not so much Rhaegar - who had spit on his honor.

Brandon is the one who tries to resolve the Jenny/Rhaegar problem. Had he actually gotten to Rhaegar and Lyanna he would have tried to free Lyanna again for Rhaegar or dissolve whatever bond there was between these two (by killing Rhaegar, if necessary).

The point I was trying to make is that an alliance between the Starks and the Baratheons is a very unlikely and strange result. It can only happen because Aerys continues to actually execute both Brandon and Rickard. If Rickard had reached an understanding with Aerys and Rhaegar and they had agreed to accept Rhaegar's marriage to Lyanna then there wouldn't have been an Baratheon-Stark alliances against the Targaryens. Quite the contrary, Rickard would most likely have helped Aerys and Rhaegar to crush any Baratheon rebellion.

The other point is that a broken marriage contract is certainly a major issue. But it is not by far in the same level of crime/insult as a queen consort cuckolding her own husband and having her twin brother and not the king fathering her three children. That is on an entirely different level of wickedness.

In that sense it is not the same to assume that Robert_298 killing Cersei/Jaime and his own legal children - perhaps even eradicating/attainting the entire line of the Lannisters of Casterly Rock in the process - over such an issue gives us a hint what Robert would have done to Lyanna and her (illegitimate) child by Rhaegar in 283 AC. Because these are not just different time periods but also different 'crimes' and different situations.

As to the Lyanna obsession:

Well, we have to wait and see whether there will be shed more light on that. I'm more inclined to believe that Robert was actually in love with the girl and sincerely believed she loved him in return. And who knows? Perhaps she had loved him, once. Or at least liked him. I'm not so sure that his 'obsession' had so much to do with the rebellion and the war. After all, back then his and Ned's life actually were in danger, and they were fighting for their very lives.

I'm actually more inclined to believe that Robert's obsession only began after Lyanna's death when he realized that he would now never have her and was stuck in loveless marriage, living a life he never actually wanted.

And unless we assume that Robert was completely misconstruing events in his head the official story seems to be that Lyanna Stark did not willing marry Prince Rhaegar (if we assume, as I do, that the marriage was/became public knowledge) but was in fact forced to do this by raping criminal (just as Sansa and 'Arya' were forced to marry Tyrion and Ramsay).

If that's the case then I have a lot of difficulty actually wanting to kill a child from that union. Especially not if Lyanna had lived and had later married him. I mean, he wanted her back, and if she had just been a helpless victim in all that (which very well could have been the case) then she and a child that resulted from all those rapes would have been blameless.

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22 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

@SFDanny

About the tower:

I think the question from what and whom exactly Lyanna was afraid warrants a little bot of thought. There is a good chance she knew by then that Robert had killed Rhaegar, and they may also have had word about the Sack. But it is actually Ned who knew details about Robert's reaction (or rather: non-action) about the murder Elia, Rhaenys, and Aegon.

If Lyanna was actually afraid of Robert at this point then I think we should assume that there were aspects to this war that warranted such fear. And the same would go for the Kingsguard. Perhaps there were threats or announcements made early on in the war. I mean, Ned could have sent letters to KL early on during the war announcing that he wouldn't rest until Rhaegar and his entire family were dead, or something of this sort. Such a thing could then also explain why the hell Aerys eventually realized that Rhaegar wasn't a part of that rebellion.

I'm pretty sure the bastard idea was Ned's, by the way. Lyanna would just have asked Ned to protect her baby.

As to the betrothal:

Well, I should have been more precise because I actually was thinking about the Jenny crisis in all that.

If we take Duncan-Jenny and transfer it to Rhaegar-Lyanna Jenny is actually playing the role of Rhaegar and Lyanna is Prince Duncan. She was the one betrothed to another (Robert) but chose to run away/marry (if we assume this was consensual) another, Rhaegar.

The wronged party was Lyonel Baratheon's daughter and in Robert's case, Robert.

Prince Duncan wasn't the head of his house, just as Lyanna wasn't the head of House Stark. Brandon is (sort of) playing the role of Aegon V/the court who desperately tries to convince Duncan to give up Jenny and stick to contract that was made with House Baratheon. Only when that leads to nothing does Lord Lyonel crown himself a new Storm King and declare war on Aegon V (not Prince Duncan) because the king was not willing to give him what he wanted.

In that sense Robert's enemy in all that should have been House Stark because they were the people he had made his deal with. The Targaryens only become the enemy in an 'abduction and rape' scenario. If Lord Rickard had ever condoned the Rhaegar-Lyanna relationship/marriage then the Starks would have become Robert's enemies because it would have been they - not so much Rhaegar - who had spit on his honor.

Brandon is the one who tries to resolve the Jenny/Rhaegar problem. Had he actually gotten to Rhaegar and Lyanna he would have tried to free Lyanna again for Rhaegar or dissolve whatever bond there was between these two (by killing Rhaegar, if necessary).

The point I was trying to make is that an alliance between the Starks and the Baratheons is a very unlikely and strange result. It can only happen because Aerys continues to actually execute both Brandon and Rickard. If Rickard had reached an understanding with Aerys and Rhaegar and they had agreed to accept Rhaegar's marriage to Lyanna then there wouldn't have been an Baratheon-Stark alliances against the Targaryens. Quite the contrary, Rickard would most likely have helped Aerys and Rhaegar to crush any Baratheon rebellion.

The other point is that a broken marriage contract is certainly a major issue. But it is not by far in the same level of crime/insult as a queen consort cuckolding her own husband and having her twin brother and not the king fathering her three children. That is on an entirely different level of wickedness.

In that sense it is not the same to assume that Robert_298 killing Cersei/Jaime and his own legal children - perhaps even eradicating/attainting the entire line of the Lannisters of Casterly Rock in the process - over such an issue gives us a hint what Robert would have done to Lyanna and her (illegitimate) child by Rhaegar in 283 AC. Because these are not just different time periods but also different 'crimes' and different situations.

As to the Lyanna obsession:

Well, we have to wait and see whether there will be shed more light on that. I'm more inclined to believe that Robert was actually in love with the girl and sincerely believed she loved him in return. And who knows? Perhaps she had loved him, once. Or at least liked him. I'm not so sure that his 'obsession' had so much to do with the rebellion and the war. After all, back then his and Ned's life actually were in danger, and they were fighting for their very lives.

I'm actually more inclined to believe that Robert's obsession only began after Lyanna's death when he realized that he would now never have her and was stuck in loveless marriage, living a life he never actually wanted.

And unless we assume that Robert was completely misconstruing events in his head the official story seems to be that Lyanna Stark did not willing marry Prince Rhaegar (if we assume, as I do, that the marriage was/became public knowledge) but was in fact forced to do this by raping criminal (just as Sansa and 'Arya' were forced to marry Tyrion and Ramsay).

If that's the case then I have a lot of difficulty actually wanting to kill a child from that union. Especially not if Lyanna had lived and had later married him. I mean, he wanted her back, and if she had just been a helpless victim in all that (which very well could have been the case) then she and a child that resulted from all those rapes would have been blameless.

I'm not actually sure what the point of this seemingly non-important distinction is that you are trying to establish.

Why do you feel the need to question that Lyanna believed Robert would kill Jon? What is the point of trying to cast doubt on that? Maybe I missed an earlier part of the argument, but what does this achieve? You seem to be trying to cast the Starks as the primary threat to Lyanna's child here. Am I reading you right? And if that is what you are trying to sketch, then my question is why? What difference does it make?

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