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7 hours ago, SFDanny said:

@Lord Varys

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.

We also have many examples of broken betrothals not leading to any notable upheavals. I.e. Cregan Stark and Rhaena Targaryen, Tion Lannister and Jeyne Marbrand, Jahaerys and Celia Tully, Shaera and Luthor Tyrell, Daeron and Olenna  Redwyne, Brynden Tully and the Redwyne girl, etc. There are even cases of First Men Kings setting aside actual wives (and disinheriting mutual legitimate children?) in order to marry new brides, which didn't result in any revolts.  Brandon was not "the Starks" either, but one firebrand of a Stark with notoriously poor impulse control.  

I grant you The Laughing Storm, but there may have been aggravating circumstances there. Like, he could have been particularly offended that his daughter had been snubbed in favor of a commoner, whom, from his PoV, Duncan could have easily kept as a mistress without going back on his obligations. Or it may have been the culmination of escalating series of disagreements between TLS and Aegon V.

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On 04/07/2016 at 7:23 AM, SFDanny said:

Sorry, but having been otherwise occupied for the last month and a half, it may be I've missed many important things on these boards as I haven't yet had the opportunity to catch up. This, however caught my eye, Rippounet. I don't think we know the KG had been staying at the ToJ for some time before Jon was born. We just know they end up there. I think it's entirely reasonable to assume Rhaegar gives the tower its name because he spends time there and finds joy in the time he was there, but how long each of the KG stay at the tower after he leaves seems to be an open question. Others have advanced the idea that Hightower might have been sent to the Free Cities on a mission, or something else, but we - as far as I know - have no evidence to support where they were during this time. Your conclusion that they are initially there obeying Rhaegar's orders seems sound, but we don't know what those orders were.

True, if we question all our assumptions, it may be that the KG were not actually staying at the ToJ. It could be that they had business in Dorne for instance. One would think that Hightower especially had better things to do (perhaps after finding Rhaegar he had been on a mission to convince the Prince of Dorne to send more troops north for instance).
On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that Whent and Dayne did not stay with Rhaegar until he left for KL and the Trident. It seems they had been together ever since Rhaegar left Dragonstone at the start of 292. They seemed to be loyal to him, apparently were there when he "took" Lyanna, and thus likely were entrusted with her when he had to leave.

Which all means that perhaps there is no mystery. Perhaps Whent and Dayne were simply following the request of their friend the Prince, and perhaps Hightower just happened to be there before heading back north.

The alternative seems to be, of course, that one way or the other, either Rhaegar or Hightower -or both- expected Lyanna's child to be a boy and -perhaps even- tPtwP. We know Rhaegar had made the mistake of thinking it was Aegon ; as so many people assume, he might have understood his mistake after falling for Lyanna "ice" Stark. Hightower, on the other hand, might have realized the truth when finding a pregnant Lyanna (assuming Gerold was into prophecies, like other Hightowers).
In other words, because we kind of know -now- that it's unlikely the KG fought Ned to protect the "king" it's still possible they protected tPtwP under orders from Rhaegar -but willingly.
Anyway, it's the first "obvious" idea that comes through my mind...

On 04/07/2016 at 7:23 AM, SFDanny said:

The bold is added by me for emphasis. Note there is nothing about the reliability of the dream.

True. Martin only suggests the dream is not literal. I always thought it meant that the conversation we have did not really happen.

On 04/07/2016 at 7:23 AM, SFDanny said:

Dreams can reflect a deeper reality than just the recording of events. As such, I think the minimum we can take from Ned's dream sequence is that it reflects Important questions Ned is still dreaming about fourteen years later. It reflects Ned's reality. He is still concerned with why the KG were at the Tower instead of where he says in his dream he thought to find them. The KG's answers, at the least, reflect the reality of Ned's thinking on their motives all those years later. It tells the reader that there is an important mystery wrapped up in the answers to why the men where there and why they died to prevent Ned getting to the tower. How much of the dream conversation actually takes place is open to question, but Ned believes the responses to be true, if not literally true and understandable to him, as he still struggles with the events that led him to fight and kill the three men at the cost of the lives of five of his closest companions.

I'd written something similar a year or two ago. That perhaps the dream means that even after all these years, Ned does not, in fact, know why the KG were there and fought him and is still full of regret and doubt.
Apparently Ned did not expect them to be guarding Lyanna... Which could simply mean that he didn't expect Rhaegar to actually care for her.
Or perhaps there's a deeper meaning that Ned is still looking for after all these years.

Speaking of deeper meaning... It suddenly occurs to me that perhaps Dawn was not supposed to go back to Starfall... If the KG wanted to protect tPtwP, maybe the Daynes also wanted him to wield their ancestral sword. Also, amusingly, we don't know where it is now iirc.

On 04/07/2016 at 7:23 AM, SFDanny said:

So what does it tell us? I think it tells us Ned knew all the information contained in the conversation, and considered it known to the KG. Whether it really was known to them is open to question, of course. I think there is good reason outside the dream conversation to support the KG knowing the information in the dream and likely more, but that is another post. I think it also tells us how Ned thinks of the three men. He sees them as honorable men who died tragically doing their duty. What exactly was the nature of that duty is the real question.

Always enjoy your ideas, Rippounet.

Thanks. I like your perspective on the dream. I've seen too many people forget that the conversation isn't supposed to have taken place exactly that way (including two men who really should know better).

23 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

At times I'm really baffled by the degree how sacrosanct certain ideas have become and to what lengths you can go to immunize yourself against new ideas or even against new information from the books. The prime example for that is the whole revelation about Viserys being Aerys' new heir. That shatters a long held conviction about the fever dream and you can only hold on to that 'certainty' with implausible ad hoc explanations like 'The knights knew about the Sack and the fact that Viserys and Rhaella were sent to Dragonstone but not that King Aerys had named Viserys his new heir (and thus also Prince of Dragonstone)'.

 

 

I totally agree. It's surprising to see so much reluctance to accept new information.
Which has lead me to wonder... How deliberate was giving this info in tWoIaF exactly? Surely George -and Elio- must have realized that Aerys naming Viserys heir changed something for the story... ?

 

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13 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

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?

Well, it is just interesting. I want to understand what drove the people when they did the stuff they did. And Lyanna is a very bad position to actually have a good reason to think that Robert would kill her child. She sits in a tower, has at best only gotten information via hearsay, and Robert did not actually murder somebody with his own hands or even command such a thing. If she was afraid of him she has, in my opinion, have a better reason than just rumors and hearsay about what has transpired in KL (if she had information about that at all).

And I don't think Robert was no threat to Jon Snow. But I do think he could, by and far, actually only have been a real threat to Jon Snow if there was a Rhaegar-Lyanna marriage and he had known about it - which most likely means it would have to have been revealed at one point.

Oh, and I don't think the Starks were a threat to anybody's child. Above I just talked to SFDanny about the implications of the original broken marriage contract. If there was no 'real abduction' then Lord Robert was actually wronged by Lyanna because she did not deliver her part of the deal. Just as Robb wronged the House Frey when he decided to marry Jeyne Westerling rather than a Frey daughter.

This is important because if the argument that Robert considered Lyanna his property even at a time when they were only betrothed (which I think he had no right to do yet) and that he would have extended his wrath to her, too, and not just to Rhaegar. Not to mention that there is the idea that Robert actually loved Lyanna. That is very evident at his very arrival at Winterfell.

The idea doesn't resonate well with the rape and abduction story, and one should assume that Eddard Stark wouldn't have allowed his best friend to actually harm/hurt or punish his beloved sister. It is actually much better to assume that both Ned and Robert fell for the 'abduction/forced marriage' explanation rather than just pretending this was the case and Lyanna had no feelings for Rhaegar.

It is interesting to wonder what Ned's thoughts on the Lyanna-Rhaegar relationship/marriage were. Was he opposed to it prior to the execution of Rickard and Brandon? When did he learn/realize what was going on? And what did he think was the future of his sister in all that? She conveniently died but that wasn't a given when the rebellion began.

I guess Ned never realized that Rhaegar and Aerys were at odds with each other and that he could actually have allied with Rhaegar against his father.

I don't like stupid arguments like 'Robert would have definitely killed Lyanna's son by Rhaegar no matter the circumstances' or 'it was or paramount importance that on one ever found out that Rhaegar and Lyanna's marriage' or 'Ned had no good cover story for his bastard' (that one we are not discussing right now, though).

6 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

I totally agree. It's surprising to see so much reluctance to accept new information.
Which has lead me to wonder... How deliberate was giving this info in tWoIaF exactly? Surely George -and Elio- must have realized that Aerys naming Viserys heir changed something for the story... ?

Ran has actually been asked about that on the boards and commented on it, making it clear that this wasn't a mistake by either George or Yandel. And you can be reasonably sure that Ran and Linda's went 'What???' when they first read that little casual tidbit, subsequently inquiring whether this was truly the case and no error on Yandel's or George's part.

He was going on information he had, and Aerys II did name Prince Viserys his new heir which is a thing a king can do (there are also reason in Westeros to disinherit somebody as Randyll Tarly points out to Sam, so there is no reason to assume that you always have to stick to your eldest son as as your heir - certainly not, one assumes, if he is a criminal, totally unfit to rule, or a lackwit).

Not to mention that we also know that Aegon IV and Aerys II both considered to disinherit both Prince Daeron and Prince Rhaegar. Thus it is pretty obvious that this was a thing. Especially in light of the recent precedents where younger lines prevailed over the elder (Aegon V vs. Prince Maegor; Jaehaerys II vs. Prince Duncan).

There are many hilarious to do away with the Yandel bit there: Yandel invented it (for no good reason); Yandel had better sources than anybody else we met in the series as of yet (never mind that the man never was to KL and is living in writing at the Citadel of Oldtown as per his own introduction); Yandel made a mistake (referring to Viserys as Aerys' heir at a point in time when that hadn't been the case yet); the whole new heir thing was semi-private matter only discussed behind close doors that thus could never have been known by the knights at the tower despite the fact that the dream knights know about the fact that Rhaella and Viserys were sent to Dragonstone).

And so on.

Not to mention that this fits in perfectly with the other things Yandel tells us about the relationship between Aerys and Dorne, and his suspicions that the Dornishmen betrayed Rhaegar at the Trident. The idea that Aerys II would then accept or name Aegon his heir (who was a hostage at this point) makes no sense at all. After all, such a move would have strengthened the Dornish position, perhaps even motivated Prince Doran to declare for a King Aegon VI.

In addition, there is the fact that Aerys thought about naming Viserys the heir instead of Rhaegar even before the Rebellion. Why the hell should Aerys possibly keep Rhaegar's bloodline on the Iron Throne if he had long since favored his younger son?

It just doesn't make any sense.

And I don't think that this new information actually changes anything for the story. It only affects the mind images of a very small percentage of people, those who have are unduly invested in their particular version of events they have created in their heads over the years.

I'm trying to tell people that you have to be prepared for new pieces and in the puzzle and prepare yourself for a broader revelation than what you can expect on the basis of the published books. People thinking that the already published books give you enough information to figure everything out are just wrong. It doesn't work for the past, and it doesn't work for the future. Nobody foresaw Aegon's invasion stealing Dany's thunder when we were discussing AFfC. And nobody ever thought that Barristan Selmy was in love with Ashara Dayne or that she had had a stillborn daughter before we read ADwD.

The mystery of Jon Snow's parentage have long been resolved. Nobody is really contesting that. But the narrative surrounding it is far from clear. And the best way to not get disappointed (or get yourself into a corner) is to admit/keep in mind that you don't have the full picture yet and that George can still add a lot of things to it, filling the glaring blank spaces on the portrait. If you put to much emphasis on certain little details and at the same time ignore the fact that there are a lot of blank spaces which could be filled with stuff you could not possibly have known (or never thought about) you are just wasting time, basically.

And that is nowhere more evident than in this over-interpretation of the fever dream and the unwillingness to concede or even address that this is a dream, and that there is a narrative reason for it being an (incomplete) fever dream rather than a conscious memory. Even those might be faulty after so many years but a dream doesn't even have the pretense to be historically accurate.

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5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, it is just interesting. I want to understand what drove the people when they did the stuff they did. And Lyanna is a very bad position to actually have a good reason to think that Robert would kill her child. She sits in a tower, has at best only gotten information via hearsay, and Robert did not actually murder somebody with his own hands or even command such a thing. If she was afraid of him she has, in my opinion, have a better reason than just rumors and hearsay about what has transpired in KL (if she had information about that at all).

And I don't think Robert was no threat to Jon Snow. But I do think he could, by and far, actually only have been a real threat to Jon Snow if there was a Rhaegar-Lyanna marriage and he had known about it - which most likely means it would have to have been revealed at one point.

Oh, and I don't think the Starks were a threat to anybody's child. Above I just talked to SFDanny about the implications of the original broken marriage contract. If there was no 'real abduction' then Lord Robert was actually wronged by Lyanna because she did not deliver her part of the deal. Just as Robb wronged the House Frey when he decided to marry Jeyne Westerling rather than a Frey daughter.

This is important because if the argument that Robert considered Lyanna his property even at a time when they were only betrothed (which I think he had no right to do yet) and that he would have extended his wrath to her, too, and not just to Rhaegar. Not to mention that there is the idea that Robert actually loved Lyanna. That is very evident at his very arrival at Winterfell.

The idea doesn't resonate well with the rape and abduction story, and one should assume that Eddard Stark wouldn't have allowed his best friend to actually harm/hurt or punish his beloved sister. It is actually much better to assume that both Ned and Robert fell for the 'abduction/forced marriage' explanation rather than just pretending this was the case and Lyanna had no feelings for Rhaegar.

It is interesting to wonder what Ned's thoughts on the Lyanna-Rhaegar relationship/marriage were. Was he opposed to it prior to the execution of Rickard and Brandon? When did he learn/realize what was going on? And what did he think was the future of his sister in all that? She conveniently died but that wasn't a given when the rebellion began.

I guess Ned never realized that Rhaegar and Aerys were at odds with each other and that he could actually have allied with Rhaegar against his father.

I don't like stupid arguments like 'Robert would have definitely killed Lyanna's son by Rhaegar no matter the circumstances' or 'it was or paramount importance that on one ever found out that Rhaegar and Lyanna's marriage' or 'Ned had no good cover story for his bastard' (that one we are not discussing right now, though).

Ran has actually been asked about that on the boards and commented on it, making it clear that this wasn't a mistake by either George or Yandel. And you can be reasonably sure that Ran and Linda's went 'What???' when they first read that little casual tidbit, subsequently inquiring whether this was truly the case and no error on Yandel's or George's part.

He was going on information he had, and Aerys II did name Prince Viserys his new heir which is a thing a king can do (there are also reason in Westeros to disinherit somebody as Randyll Tarly points out to Sam, so there is no reason to assume that you always have to stick to your eldest son as as your heir - certainly not, one assumes, if he is a criminal, totally unfit to rule, or a lackwit).

Not to mention that we also know that Aegon IV and Aerys II both considered to disinherit both Prince Daeron and Prince Rhaegar. Thus it is pretty obvious that this was a thing. Especially in light of the recent precedents where younger lines prevailed over the elder (Aegon V vs. Prince Maegor; Jaehaerys II vs. Prince Duncan).

There are many hilarious to do away with the Yandel bit there: Yandel invented it (for no good reason); Yandel had better sources than anybody else we met in the series as of yet (never mind that the man never was to KL and is living in writing at the Citadel of Oldtown as per his own introduction); Yandel made a mistake (referring to Viserys as Aerys' heir at a point in time when that hadn't been the case yet); the whole new heir thing was semi-private matter only discussed behind close doors that thus could never have been known by the knights at the tower despite the fact that the dream knights know about the fact that Rhaella and Viserys were sent to Dragonstone).

And so on.

Not to mention that this fits in perfectly with the other things Yandel tells us about the relationship between Aerys and Dorne, and his suspicions that the Dornishmen betrayed Rhaegar at the Trident. The idea that Aerys II would then accept or name Aegon his heir (who was a hostage at this point) makes no sense at all. After all, such a move would have strengthened the Dornish position, perhaps even motivated Prince Doran to declare for a King Aegon VI.

In addition, there is the fact that Aerys thought about naming Viserys the heir instead of Rhaegar even before the Rebellion. Why the hell should Aerys possibly keep Rhaegar's bloodline on the Iron Throne if he had long since favored his younger son?

It just doesn't make any sense.

And I don't think that this new information actually changes anything for the story. It only affects the mind images of a very small percentage of people, those who have are unduly invested in their particular version of events they have created in their heads over the years.

I'm trying to tell people that you have to be prepared for new pieces and in the puzzle and prepare yourself for a broader revelation than what you can expect on the basis of the published books. People thinking that the already published books give you enough information to figure everything out are just wrong. It doesn't work for the past, and it doesn't work for the future. Nobody foresaw Aegon's invasion stealing Dany's thunder when we were discussing AFfC. And nobody ever thought that Barristan Selmy was in love with Ashara Dayne or that she had had a stillborn daughter before we read ADwD.

The mystery of Jon Snow's parentage have long been resolved. Nobody is really contesting that. But the narrative surrounding it is far from clear. And the best way to not get disappointed (or get yourself into a corner) is to admit/keep in mind that you don't have the full picture yet and that George can still add a lot of things to it, filling the glaring blank spaces on the portrait. If you put to much emphasis on certain little details and at the same time ignore the fact that there are a lot of blank spaces which could be filled with stuff you could not possibly have known (or never thought about) you are just wasting time, basically.

And that is nowhere more evident than in this over-interpretation of the fever dream and the unwillingness to concede or even address that this is a dream, and that there is a narrative reason for it being an (incomplete) fever dream rather than a conscious memory. Even those might be faulty after so many years but a dream doesn't even have the pretense to be historically accurate.

I largely agree with all of that. However, this cuts both ways, I guess.

Examples of this would be that just like we never knew Barristan was in love with Ashara, so too we might not know that Arthur and Elia had a longstanding affair that resulted in two illegitimate offspring, which Aerys may have suspected, thus leading him to disinherit Aegon. Note that he never disinherited Rhaegar. This only took place after Rhaegar had died.

As for Lyanna fearing Robert's wrath. I honestly don't find this to be a brainteaser. It seems pretty clear that Robert was the most vocal leader of the Rebellion, to the extent that it was called Robert's Rebellion after all. I am sure his hatred for the Targaeryens was well known by the time Rhaegar left for the Trident. If the cause of the Rebels was to overthrow the Targaryen line, then it doesn't take a rocket scientist to start worrying about the future of any Targaryen children still alive after a Rebel victory. The mystery as to Lyanna's motivation to secrecy really need not stretch further than that.

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Of course I agree with everything you wrote... Except perhaps this titbit:

28 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And I don't think that this new information actually changes anything for the story. It only affects the mind images of a very small percentage of people, those who have are unduly invested in their particular version of events they have created in their heads over the years.

It might actually -very slightly- change the story if for some reason some protagonists like (F)Aegon or Dany have to support their claim to the IT with "legalistic" arguments. Generally speaking, if the laws of succession are ever discussed in-story (not just on the internet), this new piece of information could have an impact on the conclusion.

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9 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, it is just interesting. I want to understand what drove the people when they did the stuff they did. And Lyanna is a very bad position to actually have a good reason to think that Robert would kill her child. She sits in a tower, has at best only gotten information via hearsay, and Robert did not actually murder somebody with his own hands or even command such a thing. If she was afraid of him she has, in my opinion, have a better reason than just rumors and hearsay about what has transpired in KL (if she had information about that at all).

And I don't think Robert was no threat to Jon Snow. But I do think he could, by and far, actually only have been a real threat to Jon Snow if there was a Rhaegar-Lyanna marriage and he had known about it - which most likely means it would have to have been revealed at one point.

Oh, and I don't think the Starks were a threat to anybody's child. Above I just talked to SFDanny about the implications of the original broken marriage contract. If there was no 'real abduction' then Lord Robert was actually wronged by Lyanna because she did not deliver her part of the deal. Just as Robb wronged the House Frey when he decided to marry Jeyne Westerling rather than a Frey daughter.

This is important because if the argument that Robert considered Lyanna his property even at a time when they were only betrothed (which I think he had no right to do yet) and that he would have extended his wrath to her, too, and not just to Rhaegar. Not to mention that there is the idea that Robert actually loved Lyanna. That is very evident at his very arrival at Winterfell.

The idea doesn't resonate well with the rape and abduction story, and one should assume that Eddard Stark wouldn't have allowed his best friend to actually harm/hurt or punish his beloved sister. It is actually much better to assume that both Ned and Robert fell for the 'abduction/forced marriage' explanation rather than just pretending this was the case and Lyanna had no feelings for Rhaegar.

It is interesting to wonder what Ned's thoughts on the Lyanna-Rhaegar relationship/marriage were. Was he opposed to it prior to the execution of Rickard and Brandon? When did he learn/realize what was going on? And what did he think was the future of his sister in all that? She conveniently died but that wasn't a given when the rebellion began.

I guess Ned never realized that Rhaegar and Aerys were at odds with each other and that he could actually have allied with Rhaegar against his father.

I don't like stupid arguments like 'Robert would have definitely killed Lyanna's son by Rhaegar no matter the circumstances' or 'it was or paramount importance that on one ever found out that Rhaegar and Lyanna's marriage' or 'Ned had no good cover story for his bastard' (that one we are not discussing right now, though).

Ran has actually been asked about that on the boards and commented on it, making it clear that this wasn't a mistake by either George or Yandel. And you can be reasonably sure that Ran and Linda's went 'What???' when they first read that little casual tidbit, subsequently inquiring whether this was truly the case and no error on Yandel's or George's part.

He was going on information he had, and Aerys II did name Prince Viserys his new heir which is a thing a king can do (there are also reason in Westeros to disinherit somebody as Randyll Tarly points out to Sam, so there is no reason to assume that you always have to stick to your eldest son as as your heir - certainly not, one assumes, if he is a criminal, totally unfit to rule, or a lackwit).

Not to mention that we also know that Aegon IV and Aerys II both considered to disinherit both Prince Daeron and Prince Rhaegar. Thus it is pretty obvious that this was a thing. Especially in light of the recent precedents where younger lines prevailed over the elder (Aegon V vs. Prince Maegor; Jaehaerys II vs. Prince Duncan).

There are many hilarious to do away with the Yandel bit there: Yandel invented it (for no good reason); Yandel had better sources than anybody else we met in the series as of yet (never mind that the man never was to KL and is living in writing at the Citadel of Oldtown as per his own introduction); Yandel made a mistake (referring to Viserys as Aerys' heir at a point in time when that hadn't been the case yet); the whole new heir thing was semi-private matter only discussed behind close doors that thus could never have been known by the knights at the tower despite the fact that the dream knights know about the fact that Rhaella and Viserys were sent to Dragonstone).

And so on.

Not to mention that this fits in perfectly with the other things Yandel tells us about the relationship between Aerys and Dorne, and his suspicions that the Dornishmen betrayed Rhaegar at the Trident. The idea that Aerys II would then accept or name Aegon his heir (who was a hostage at this point) makes no sense at all. After all, such a move would have strengthened the Dornish position, perhaps even motivated Prince Doran to declare for a King Aegon VI.

In addition, there is the fact that Aerys thought about naming Viserys the heir instead of Rhaegar even before the Rebellion. Why the hell should Aerys possibly keep Rhaegar's bloodline on the Iron Throne if he had long since favored his younger son?

It just doesn't make any sense.

And I don't think that this new information actually changes anything for the story. It only affects the mind images of a very small percentage of people, those who have are unduly invested in their particular version of events they have created in their heads over the years.

I'm trying to tell people that you have to be prepared for new pieces and in the puzzle and prepare yourself for a broader revelation than what you can expect on the basis of the published books. People thinking that the already published books give you enough information to figure everything out are just wrong. It doesn't work for the past, and it doesn't work for the future. Nobody foresaw Aegon's invasion stealing Dany's thunder when we were discussing AFfC. And nobody ever thought that Barristan Selmy was in love with Ashara Dayne or that she had had a stillborn daughter before we read ADwD.

The mystery of Jon Snow's parentage have long been resolved. Nobody is really contesting that. But the narrative surrounding it is far from clear. And the best way to not get disappointed (or get yourself into a corner) is to admit/keep in mind that you don't have the full picture yet and that George can still add a lot of things to it, filling the glaring blank spaces on the portrait. If you put to much emphasis on certain little details and at the same time ignore the fact that there are a lot of blank spaces which could be filled with stuff you could not possibly have known (or never thought about) you are just wasting time, basically.

And that is nowhere more evident than in this over-interpretation of the fever dream and the unwillingness to concede or even address that this is a dream, and that there is a narrative reason for it being an (incomplete) fever dream rather than a conscious memory. Even those might be faulty after so many years but a dream doesn't even have the pretense to be historically accurate.

I don't pretend to have the expertise to address all your points. I fully accept that additional information is likely to give us quite a different view of the events of rebellion, with many details and motivations being currently obscure.

However, the presence of the three Kingsguard (including the Lord Commander) at the TOJ is still a circumstance that doesn't have an easy explanation, especially when their apparent boy king, Viserys, was in such a dire situation. The idea that they are just following last orders doesn't seem enough to me in the circumstances. The suggestion that they may have viewed baby Jon as their king (or at least a frontrunner for the position) is an attempt to resolve contradictions and gaps in the narrative.

I agree that Lyanna might have had only hearsay info on the sack and the royal murders but that may have tended to implicate Robert more - since it may not have been clear what his level of responsibility was. Additionally, if the TOJ was only receiving hearsay info after the fact, I'm not clear how you can be sure that the three Kingsguard were kept up to date with royal proclamations on the inheritance issued in the two week period between the Trident and Sack. Either that or Aerys made the mistake of starting off the proclamation with 'I Aerys, being of sound mind...', severely diminishing its legal validity.

Pure speculation but I tend to wonder if Aegon was specifically disinherited by Aerys and whether that may play a part when it comes to someone bearing his name who is currently pursuing a claim to the Iron throne. Maybe Pycelle was removed, at least partially, because he was aware of inconvenient proclamations made by Aerys during the mad fortnight.

We don't know for sure what Robert would have done but we do know that his best friend never felt able to trust him with the secret of Jon's existence.

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36 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I largely agree with all of that. However, this cuts both ways, I guess.

Examples of this would be that just like we never knew Barristan was in love with Ashara, so too we might not know that Arthur and Elia had a longstanding affair that resulted in two illegitimate offspring, which Aerys may have suspected, thus leading him to disinherit Aegon. Note that he never disinherited Rhaegar. This only took place after Rhaegar had died.

In principle I agree with that but the Selmy thing is actually a minor plot detail without much significance (at least apparently - it might turn out that Selmy's interest in Ashara means he knows other important things about the Daynes). After all, it was a secret passion and nothing ever came of it.

The Elia-Arthur scenario would be much different, involving an actual relationship. If such a thing existed TWoIaF would have provided George with the means to prepare the way for that by mentioning in passing that young Ser Arthur was fostered at Sunspear or squired with Prince Lewyn before the man joined the Kingsguard. Thus he could have been close to a young Elia.

Instead we have this strong friendship between Rhaegar and Arthur to deal with. A friendship that can only have been grown out of them being close at KL long before Elia ever came to court. We have no idea how old Ser Arthur was when he died or when exactly he joined the KG but the friendship thing there suggests that they must have known each other for quite awhile. Thus Arthur cannot have come to KL only when Elia was betrothed to Rhaegar.

And, again, we have the long times of Elia's sickness after the birth of Rhaenys and her infertility after the birth of Aegon. One assumes that Arthur wouldn't have wanted to kill Elia by impregnating her if he loved her. But Rhaegar wanted sons. So if Arthur truly had loved Elia he may have actually done anything in her power to not get her pregnant (from either Rhaegar or himself if he couldn't help but to fuck her).

In addition, if you think Aerys' suspicions about the illegitimacy of Rhaegar's children had anything to do with him naming Viserys his heir why the hell didn't he actually communicate that to the Realm? He was the king he could accuse and claim whatever the hell he wanted to without needing any (good) evidence to back it up.

More importantly, this whole thing must then be a complete and utter secret because Jon Connington definitely thinks Prince Aegon was Prince Rhaegar's son.

36 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As for Lyanna fearing Robert's wrath. I honestly don't find this to be a brainteaser. It seems pretty clear that Robert was the most vocal leader of the Rebellion, to the extent that it was called Robert's Rebellion after all. I am sure his hatred for the Targaeryens was well known by the time Rhaegar left for the Trident. If the cause of the Rebels was to overthrow the Targaryen line, then it doesn't take a rocket scientist to start worrying about the future of any Targaryen children still alive after a Rebel victory. The mystery as to Lyanna's motivation to secrecy really need not stretch further than that.

Sure. But we are talking a medieval setting here and Robert cursing the Targaryens in the Riverlands in a rebel castle is not going to be heard in the tower of joy. And we actually do know that murdering women and children wasn't the rule. Not even in internecine warfare:

- Rhaenyra Targaryen did not execute either Alicent or Helaena despite the fact that both had been complicit in the conspiracy against her.

- Vice versa, even Aegon II didn't execute Aegon the Younger after he had captured him (according to Ran he and Alicent wanted to, but Corlys Velaryon forced them to bury that idea).

- the pretender king Gaemon Palehair - a little boy - was also pardoned and raised in the king's household (first Aegon II and then Aegon III).

- Later on there is also no hint that better claimants like Prince Maegor or Princess Vaella suffered the same fate as the unfortunate Aenys Blackfyre.

Granted, children were also killed during the Dance (Blood & Cheese; the death of Prince Maelor) but those were not officially sanctioned and commanded atrocities.

The consensus in Westeros really is that you don't murder( royal) women in children. Just remember how disgusted Asha is by Theon's murder of Bran and Rickon.

True, all that doesn't mean that Lyanna didn't fear for the safety of her child. All I'm saying is that it is interesting to ask how and why she came to fear whom.

33 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Of course I agree with everything you wrote... Except perhaps this titbit:

It might actually -very slightly- change the story if for some reason some protagonists like (F)Aegon or Dany have to support their claim to the IT with "legalistic" arguments. Generally speaking, if the laws of succession are ever discussed in-story (not just on the internet), this new piece of information could have an impact on the conclusion.

Sure. That is actually my point in a posting farther above. I can see Dany arguing that her father choosing Viserys as his heir rather than Aegon means that both Aegon and Jon Snow now are out of the succession since she is the chosen heir of the last crowned Targaryen king, Viserys III.

But my point was more that new information doesn't change the story as it is in George's mind/concept. He just reveals different pieces of information overtime but he has to have rather thorough notes what happened at which point in the overall back story to not get confused himself. He may not have had such detailed outlines when he began writing the series but he certainly would have made such notes when the story got more and more complex.

Sure, it is still a work in progress and all but a lot of details have been fixed. TWoIaF made clear of that. The whole story of Elia's betrothal, marriage, and the birth of her children is testament to the fact that he really sat down and meticulously planned when events took place.

In George's mind Viserys may always have been the final heir of Aerys II. He just chose to reveal that tidbit of information in TWoIaF.

38 minutes ago, Wall Flower said:

However, the presence of the three Kingsguard (including the Lord Commander) at the TOJ is still a circumstance that doesn't have an easy explanation, especially when their apparent boy king, Viserys, was in such a dire situation. The idea that they are just following last orders doesn't seem enough to me in the circumstances. The suggestion that they may have viewed baby Jon as their king (or at least a frontrunner for the position) is an attempt to resolve contradictions and gaps in the narrative.

That is certainly a possibility. But it is not a necessary condition/assumption to make sense of things. I never said they would never have thought that a child of Rhaegar and Lyanna born in wedlock had no claim to the Iron Throne.

My point is that the boy in the tower wasn't the (rightful) king when Ned arrived there. At best he was a royal prince with a good claim to the Iron Throne.

And I also think that the men had better things to do than to swear allegiance to a new king of their own making. The life of the boy was in danger, after all. And it may have been too late for that, anyway. If they had information on Viserys on Dragonstone and that he had been named heir by Aerys and crowned by his mother then Jon Snow might have been born, quite literally, too late to challenge that.

As loyal members of Aerys' Kingsguard it is pretty ridiculous to assume they would have pitched Targaryen against Targaryen in the middle of civil war the Targaryens had just lost.

Not to mention the fact that kings are crowned/anointed/proclaimed and not jump into existence because the previous monarch died. I cited above the fact that Prince Aegon is still just only styled 'Prince Aegon' despite the fact that his uncle Viserys III died quite some time ago. Nobody sees him as a king of yet, not even his truest friends. So what is the basis for the idea that the knights at the tower thought Lyanna's son was 'the king'?

38 minutes ago, Wall Flower said:

I agree that Lyanna might have had only hearsay info on the sack and the royal murders but that may have tended to implicate Robert more - since it may not have been clear what his level of responsibility was. Additionally, if the TOJ was only receiving hearsay info after the fact, I'm not clear how you can be sure that the three Kingsguard were kept up to date with royal proclamations on the inheritance issued in the two week period between the Trident and Sack. Either that or Aerys made the mistake of starting off the proclamation with 'I Aerys, being of sound mind...', severely diminishing its legal validity.

Well, the point of the other side here is usually that the guys at the tower were very well informed about pretty much everything despite the convenient fact they don't want them to know (Viserys being the new heir).

This was discussed to death already. The fact is, for instance, that it is a huge stretch to assume the tower received good information about the Sack because Robert and Tywin both did not proudly announce and proclaim they had just murdered Aerys and killed/raped Elia along with the children. We know that especially the murder of the children was hushed up, and the corpses were only shown to Robert and the other rebel leaders present in the throne room.

The idea that good and reliable information about things like that would travel to a tower in the middle of nowhere very quickly is a stretch - especially considering that ravens wouldn't fly there nor would the guy in charge of the ravens in KL (Pycelle) not exactly want to inform any Targaryen loyalists what had transpired.

The Trident is different because we know that news of that was spread by ravens. And we also know that Ned left for Storm's End and the tower immediately after Robert had decided not to punish Jaime and Tywin. So the knowledge didn't had all that much time to spread all that quickly before Ned got there. Not to mention that rumors spreading from village to village would distort everything as is shown by the rumors George includes occasionally in the novels.

The people at the tower could actually not be sure that Aerys was dead. That could be a false rumor, too. And they most certainly could not know for a certainty that Rhaegar's children were dead (after all, as it turns out Aegon might still be alive).

38 minutes ago, Wall Flower said:

Pure speculation but I tend to wonder if Aegon was specifically disinherited by Aerys and whether that may play a part when it comes to someone bearing his name who is currently pursuing a claim to the Iron throne. Maybe Pycelle was removed, at least partially, because he was aware of inconvenient proclamations made by Aerys during the mad fortnight.

Considering that Yandel casually mentions the fact that Viserys was the new heir I doubt that Aegon was disinherited for a specific or important reason.

It does not matter now. Aegon comes to conquer Westeros on the basis of the legal claim he still retains as Rhaegar Targaryen's son. Swords will decide whether that's true and whether he can become king or not.

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17 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

In principle I agree with that but the Selmy thing is actually a minor plot detail without much significance (at least apparently - it might turn out that Selmy's interest in Ashara means he knows other important things about the Daynes). After all, it was a secret passion and nothing ever came of it.

The Elia-Arthur scenario would be much different, involving an actual relationship. If such a thing existed TWoIaF would have provided George with the means to prepare the way for that by mentioning in passing that young Ser Arthur was fostered at Sunspear or squired with Prince Lewyn before the man joined the Kingsguard. Thus he could have been close to a young Elia.

Instead we have this strong friendship between Rhaegar and Arthur to deal with. A friendship that can only have been grown out of them being close at KL long before Elia ever came to court. We have no idea how old Ser Arthur was when he died or when exactly he joined the KG but the friendship thing there suggests that they must have known each other for quite awhile. Thus Arthur cannot have come to KL only when Elia was betrothed to Rhaegar.

And, again, we have the long times of Elia's sickness after the birth of Rhaenys and her infertility after the birth of Aegon. One assumes that Arthur wouldn't have wanted to kill Elia by impregnating her if he loved her. But Rhaegar wanted sons. So if Arthur truly had loved Elia he may have actually done anything in her power to not get her pregnant (from either Rhaegar or himself if he couldn't help but to fuck her).

In addition, if you think Aerys' suspicions about the illegitimacy of Rhaegar's children had anything to do with him naming Viserys his heir why the hell didn't he actually communicate that to the Realm? He was the king he could accuse and claim whatever the hell he wanted to without needing any (good) evidence to back it up.

More importantly, this whole thing must then be a complete and utter secret because Jon Connington definitely thinks Prince Aegon was Prince Rhaegar's son.

Sure. But we are talking a medieval setting here and Robert cursing the Targaryens in the Riverlands in a rebel castle is not going to be heard in the tower of joy. And we actually do know that murdering women and children wasn't the rule. Not even in internecine warfare:

- Rhaenyra Targaryen did not execute either Alicent or Helaena despite the fact that both had been complicit in the conspiracy against her.

- Vice versa, even Aegon II didn't execute Aegon the Younger after he had captured him (according to Ran he and Alicent wanted to, but Corlys Velaryon forced them to bury that idea).

- the pretender king Gaemon Palehair - a little boy - was also pardoned and raised in the king's household (first Aegon II and then Aegon III).

- Later on there is also no hint that better claimants like Prince Maegor or Princess Vaella suffered the same fate as the unfortunate Aenys Blackfyre.

Granted, children were also killed during the Dance (Blood & Cheese; the death of Prince Maelor) but those were not officially sanctioned and commanded atrocities.

The consensus in Westeros really is that you don't murder( royal) women in children. Just remember how disgusted Asha is by Theon's murder of Bran and Rickon.

True, all that doesn't mean that Lyanna didn't fear for the safety of her child. All I'm saying is that it is interesting to ask how and why she came to fear whom.

Sure. That is actually my point in a posting farther above. I can see Dany arguing that her father choosing Viserys as his heir rather than Aegon means that both Aegon and Jon Snow now are out of the succession since she is the chosen heir of the last crowned Targaryen king, Viserys III.

But my point was more that new information doesn't change the story as it is in George's mind/concept. He just reveals different pieces of information overtime but he has to have rather thorough notes what happened at which point in the overall back story to not get confused himself. He may not have had such detailed outlines when he began writing the series but he certainly would have made such notes when the story got more and more complex.

Sure, it is still a work in progress and all but a lot of details have been fixed. TWoIaF made clear of that. The whole story of Elia's betrothal, marriage, and the birth of her children is testament to the fact that he really sat down and meticulously planned when events took place.

In George's mind Viserys may always have been the final heir of Aerys II. He just chose to reveal that tidbit of information in TWoIaF.

That is certainly a possibility. But it is not a necessary condition/assumption to make sense of things. I never said they would never have thought that a child of Rhaegar and Lyanna born in wedlock had no claim to the Iron Throne.

My point is that the boy in the tower wasn't the (rightful) king when Ned arrived there. At best he was a royal prince with a good claim to the Iron Throne.

And I also think that the men had better things to do than to swear allegiance to a new king of their own making. The life of the boy was in danger, after all. And it may have been too late for that, anyway. If they had information on Viserys on Dragonstone and that he had been named heir by Aerys and crowned by his mother then Jon Snow might have been born, quite literally, too late to challenge that.

As loyal members of Aerys' Kingsguard it is pretty ridiculous to assume they would have pitched Targaryen against Targaryen in the middle of civil war the Targaryens had just lost.

Not to mention the fact that kings are crowned/anointed/proclaimed and not jump into existence because the previous monarch died. I cited above the fact that Prince Aegon is still just only styled 'Prince Aegon' despite the fact that his uncle Viserys III died quite some time ago. Nobody sees him as a king of yet, not even his truest friends. So what is the basis for the idea that the knights at the tower thought Lyanna's son was 'the king'?

Well, the point of the other side here is usually that the guys at the tower were very well informed about pretty much everything despite the convenient fact they don't want them to know (Viserys being the new heir).

This was discussed to death already. The fact is, for instance, that it is a huge stretch to assume the tower received good information about the Sack because Robert and Tywin both did not proudly announce and proclaim they had just murdered Aerys and killed/raped Elia along with the children. We know that especially the murder of the children was hushed up, and the corpses were only shown to Robert and the other rebel leaders present in the throne room.

The idea that good and reliable information about things like that would travel to a tower in the middle of nowhere very quickly is a stretch - especially considering that ravens wouldn't fly there nor would the guy in charge of the ravens in KL (Pycelle) not exactly want to inform any Targaryen loyalists what had transpired.

The Trident is different because we know that news of that was spread by ravens. And we also know that Ned left for Storm's End and the tower immediately after Robert had decided not to punish Jaime and Tywin. So the knowledge didn't had all that much time to spread all that quickly before Ned got there. Not to mention that rumors spreading from village to village would distort everything as is shown by the rumors George includes occasionally in the novels.

The people at the tower could actually not be sure that Aerys was dead. That could be a false rumor, too. And they most certainly could not know for a certainty that Rhaegar's children were dead (after all, as it turns out Aegon might still be alive).

Considering that Yandel casually mentions the fact that Viserys was the new heir I doubt that Aegon was disinherited for a specific or important reason.

It does not matter now. Aegon comes to conquer Westeros on the basis of the legal claim he still retains as Rhaegar Targaryen's son. Swords will decide whether that's true and whether he can become king or not.

My question is then simple:

What do you suggest as a possible alternative explanation for Lyanna's obsession with secrecy regarding Jon's identity? Since you feel it is a mystery worth deliberating on, I'm sure you must be able to come up with a suspected alternative to what has been communicated so clearly to us to date. If not a rational fear for Jon's safety, then what other possible reason could there be? One that I assume you believe important to the plot, else it really is debating about something inconsequential.

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6 hours ago, Maia said:

We also have many examples of broken betrothals not leading to any notable upheavals. I.e. Cregan Stark and Rhaena Targaryen, Tion Lannister and Jeyne Marbrand, Jahaerys and Celia Tully, Shaera and Luthor Tyrell, Daeron and Olenna  Redwyne, Brynden Tully and the Redwyne girl, etc. There are even cases of First Men Kings setting aside actual wives (and disinheriting mutual legitimate children?) in order to marry new brides, which didn't result in any revolts.  Brandon was not "the Starks" either, but one firebrand of a Stark with notoriously poor impulse control.  

I grant you The Laughing Storm, but there may have been aggravating circumstances there. Like, he could have been particularly offended that his daughter had been snubbed in favor of a commoner, whom, from his PoV, Duncan could have easily kept as a mistress without going back on his obligations. Or it may have been the culmination of escalating series of disagreements between TLS and Aegon V.

What could possibly be more "aggravating circumstances" than having your betrothed "kidnapped" by the Crown Prince? Or so Robert has convinced himself. The point being that it is abundantly clear through our information we get of Robert that this event is more than aggravating. It is his life's obsession. It is a "madness" that dominates his dreams and his waking life.

I agree every broken betrothal has its own particulars. Some, such as the Blackfish's betrothal to Bethany Redwyne are overtaken by other events (Robert's Rebellion.) Each has it own set of circumstances. None of them are no big deal. Lyanna's case shook the realm. It is also quite evident it rocked Robert to his core. Perhaps if Brandon's foolishness, and Aerys's madness had not intervened, others could have stopped the rebellion and and much bloodshed could have been avoided. I don't think Robert and Rhaegar could ever have sat safely in the same room, but theoretically there was a chance for the war to not have happened. It was always going to be much more than "merely a broken betrothal."

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7 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

My question is then simple:

What do you suggest as a possible alternative explanation for Lyanna's obsession with secrecy regarding Jon's identity? Since you feel it is a mystery worth deliberating on, I'm sure you must be able to come up with a suspected alternative to what has been communicated so clearly to us to date. If not a rational fear for Jon's safety, then what other possible reason could there be? One that I assume you believe important to the plot, else it really is debating about something inconsequential.

I think Lyanna was afraid, but what exactly she was afraid of isn't clear yet. If she feared specifically Robert then I'm somewhat puzzled on what basis she developed that fear. She had no contact with him during the war as far as we know and hardly the necessary information to conclude that he would definitely kill her son.

3 hours ago, SFDanny said:

What could possibly be more "aggravating circumstances" than having your betrothed "kidnapped" by the Crown Prince? Or so Robert has convinced himself. The point being that it is abundantly clear through our information we get of Robert that this event is more than aggravating. It is his life's obsession. It is a "madness" that dominates his dreams and his waking life.

That is the question. What exactly is our basis that Robert's 'madness' already existed back then. We don't even know if Ned's description of Robert and his madness refers to the man back during the Sack or the king Ned interacted with in-between occasionally. They haven't seen each other in a long while when they meet again but they might have spoken about Lyanna and Rhaegar and the war during one of their past encounters (say, during the campaign on the Iron Islands).

And it also has to be stressed that the Lyanna-Rhaegar incident was not, in fact, the outbreak of the Rebellion. It was the execution of the Starks and the call for the heads of Robert and Ned.

It is Aerys' stupidity that caused things to escalate the way it did. A sane king loathing his heir could have thrown Rhaegar to the dogs, accusing him of treason, polygamy, and rape, assisting the Starks and Robert in bringing him down. And perhaps he did even a version of that but went too far and accused Rickard and Brandon of being complicit in Rhaegar's 'conspiracy'.

And the question also has to be asked whether Rickard Stark actually would actually have preferred Robert Baratheon or Rhaegar Targaryen as his son-in-law if he had had a choice? If those southron ambitions are true then Rickard might have been perfectly happy to dissolve Lyanna's betrothal and give Rhaegar and Lyanna his blessing. In such a setting House Baratheon would have stood alone at least against the Starks and Rhaegar (although of course Aerys could have sided with Robert on the whole matter).

This Baratheon-Stark axis could only develop because Mad Aerys killed Lord Rickard and his heir. Rickard and Brandon were not necessarily friends or natural allies of Robert's.

It is quite clear that the driving force of the Rebellion for Robert was the Lyanna issue but for Ned was it the execution of his father and brother, and for Jon Arryn the royal command to kill Ned and Robert. One really wonders what would have happen if only Rhaegar-Lyanna had happened but not the Stark execution. It could have very well been the beginning of the end of Ned's friendship with Robert.

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36 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I think Lyanna was afraid, but what exactly she was afraid of isn't clear yet. If she feared specifically Robert then I'm somewhat puzzled on what basis she developed that fear. She had no contact with him during the war as far as we know and hardly the necessary information to conclude that he would definitely kill her son.

That is the question. What exactly is our basis that Robert's 'madness' already existed back then. We don't even know if Ned's description of Robert and his madness refers to the man back during the Sack or the king Ned interacted with in-between occasionally. They haven't seen each other in a long while when they meet again but they might have spoken about Lyanna and Rhaegar and the war during one of their past encounters (say, during the campaign on the Iron Islands).

And it also has to be stressed that the Lyanna-Rhaegar incident was not, in fact, the outbreak of the Rebellion. It was the execution of the Starks and the call for the heads of Robert and Ned.

 

I don't get your point of view re Lyanna. Even the possibility that her child might be at risk from Robert would be enough to make her fearful - she's not going to be lying there doing a thorough risk assessment. This is particularly the case if she is aware that Robert has personally killed Rhaegar, that he has declared himself king and that Rhaegar's other children have been murdered. She could certainly make an educated guess as to what affect sexual jealousy and betrayal (if she went willingly) would have on a man with Robert's temperament.

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8 minutes ago, Wall Flower said:

I don't get your point of view re Lyanna. Even the possibility that her child might be at risk from Robert would be enough to make her fearful - she's not going to be lying there doing a thorough risk assessment. This is particularly the case if she is aware that Robert has personally killed Rhaegar, that he has declared himself king and that Rhaegar's other children have been murdered. She could certainly make an educated guess as to what affect sexual jealousy and betrayal (if she went willingly) would have on a man with Robert's temperament.

Yeah, if she knew all that it makes sense. I'm just not sure she knew all that. And we have to keep in mind that we still don't know why the hell she stayed back at the tower instead of accompanying Rhaegar back to KL and to try to help resolve the situation with Robert/Ned without further bloodshed.

Didn't she know that Rhaegar was as prepared to kill Robert and Ned as they were prepared to kill Rhaegar? And if she knew that, what were her thoughts on that?

My guess is actually that she may not have remained behind of her own free will. The Lyanna we got to know in the books doesn't seem to be the type to lay her fate and the fate of her loved ones in the hands of others.

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Yeah, if she knew all that it makes sense. I'm just not sure she knew all that. And we have to keep in mind that we still don't know why the hell she stayed back at the tower instead of accompanying Rhaegar back to KL and to try to help resolve the situation with Robert/Ned without further bloodshed.

Didn't she know that Rhaegar was as prepared to kill Robert and Ned as they were prepared to kill Rhaegar? And if she knew that, what were her thoughts on that?

My guess is actually that she may not have remained behind of her own free will. The Lyanna we got to know in the books doesn't seem to be the type to lay her fate and the fate of her loved ones in the hands of others.

I think maybe by the time Lyanna heard of her father and her brother's death, the war already started and there was no way back. 

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Yeah, if she knew all that it makes sense. I'm just not sure she knew all that. And we have to keep in mind that we still don't know why the hell she stayed back at the tower instead of accompanying Rhaegar back to KL and to try to help resolve the situation with Robert/Ned without further bloodshed.

Didn't she know that Rhaegar was as prepared to kill Robert and Ned as they were prepared to kill Rhaegar? And if she knew that, what were her thoughts on that?

My guess is actually that she may not have remained behind of her own free will. The Lyanna we got to know in the books doesn't seem to be the type to lay her fate and the fate of her loved ones in the hands of others.

Scenario:

Her and Rhaegar's plan did not have the approval of Aerys. Rhaegar led a faction that was going to supplant Aerys, which in his mind would eventually result in the Prince who was Promised being his heir. This logically assumes that he realised that Aegon was not this Prince at some point AFTER the words he spoke in Dany's vision.

Rhaegar and Lyanna's plan required that she give birth to Jon, and therefore she had to be kept at a place of safety. This also assumes that Lyanna and the 3 Kingsguard fully bought into his prophetic vision.

For all we know Aerys made personal threats against Rhaegar and/or Lyanna, necessitating that Rhaegar keep her away from King's Landing.

All of the above are plausible motivations for their actions.

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13 hours ago, SFDanny said:

What could possibly be more "aggravating circumstances" than having your betrothed "kidnapped" by the Crown Prince? Or so Robert has convinced himself. The point being that it is abundantly clear through our information we get of Robert that this event is more than aggravating. It is his life's obsession. It is a "madness" that dominates his dreams and his waking life.

 

Since I think that the kidnapping narrative was fabricated - either by Brandon in a stupid attempt to protect Stark "honor", by Lyanna's escort trying to cover their failure to keep track of her (see Daeron the Drunken's lies about Dunk kidnapping Egg), or maliciously by Brandon's and/or Rhaegar's enemies, I fail to see how R&L could have anticipated the fallout. As to Robert's "madness" - would it still be existent/prevalent if he had never become king, never married Cersei, etc., but had a chance to live a life more to his liking?

 

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Didn't she know that Rhaegar was as prepared to kill Robert and Ned as they were prepared to kill Rhaegar? And if she knew that, what were her thoughts on that?

 

We don't know that Rhaegar was prepared to kill Ned, actually. Or vice-versa, even. After all, Ned hasn't been around while Robert and Rhaegar were fighting at the Trident. When he finally came on the scene, the prince was already dead.

In fact, I think it quite likely that Rhaegar hid for so long specifically because he wanted to avoid having to fight Ned. And that Aerys had Elia and their children brought over from Dragonstone where we now know they had lived when Rhaegar set out on a mission that resulted in him getting together with Lyanna,  specifically to pressure his son into returning and taking command, as well blackmailing the Dornish.

 

Quote

My guess is actually that she may not have remained behind of her own free will. The Lyanna we got to know in the books doesn't seem to be the type to lay her fate and the fate of her loved ones in the hands of others.

 

If she was late into a difficult pregnancy, she wouldn't have had a choice in the matter. Not only would it have been insanely risky to move her, but she couldn't have traveled quickly enough to make a difference.

 

24 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

 Rhaegar led a faction that was going to supplant Aerys, which in his mind would eventually result in the Prince who was Promised being his heir.

Why? Nowhere does it say that TPP has to be king. But we have heard from 2 sources that "3 head has the dragon". Why endanger this necessary tri-unity by screwing around with succession?

 

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Yeah, if she knew all that it makes sense. I'm just not sure she knew all that. And we have to keep in mind that we still don't know why the hell she stayed back at the tower instead of accompanying Rhaegar back to KL and to try to help resolve the situation with Robert/Ned without further bloodshed.

It's all speculation, but I think we have enough hints to say that Aerys prevented that. Even if the Mad King wasn't the reason Rhaegar abducted Lyanna in the first place, the very special relationship that the both of them had most likely prevented some sort of diplomatic solution between the Crown and the rebels.

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7 hours ago, Quyen Thuy Tran said:

I think maybe by the time Lyanna heard of her father and her brother's death, the war already started and there was no way back. 

Wars can be ended, though. I mean, what if Aerys had died of a heart attack shortly after the beginning of the war? Then it would have been King Rhaegar I and Queen Lyanna vs. the rebels, right?

The point is that both Lyanna and Ned had lost members of their family and they certainly had nothing to gain from a continued war.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Scenario:

Her and Rhaegar's plan did not have the approval of Aerys. Rhaegar led a faction that was going to supplant Aerys, which in his mind would eventually result in the Prince who was Promised being his heir. This logically assumes that he realised that Aegon was not this Prince at some point AFTER the words he spoke in Dany's vision.

Rhaegar and Lyanna's plan required that she give birth to Jon, and therefore she had to be kept at a place of safety. This also assumes that Lyanna and the 3 Kingsguard fully bought into his prophetic vision.

For all we know Aerys made personal threats against Rhaegar and/or Lyanna, necessitating that Rhaegar keep her away from King's Landing.

All of the above are plausible motivations for their actions.

As @Maia has already stated that adds an unnecessary layer to the whole thing. We know that Rhaegar wanted more children even after Elia could no longer bear children in the wake of Aegon's birth, so he needed a new mother for those children anyway.

And the point of that is confirmed to be to create another dragon head. Aegon as the promised prince was considered to be one of them, who the other already existing was is unclear. I don't think it was Princess Rhaenys because she was female (and Aemon's sudden epiphany that women could also be the subjects of the prophecy would be more spectacular if nobody ever thought before that women could be either the promised prince or the other dragon heads) so the other head would be either Viserys or Rhaegar himself (if we assume he just jumped to the conclusion that the comet in the night of Aegon's conception plus him being male was enough to destroy the prevalent idea that he was the promised prince).

We have to keep in mind that the Targaryens considered themselves to be the subjects of this very special prophecy at least since the days of Jaehaerys II. He forced Aerys and Rhaella into a marriage so that they could produce the promised prince as the Ghost of High Heart had foretold they would. The prophecy is ambiguous, of course, since it is only clear that the promised prince must be of the line of Aerys and Rhaella. Rhaegar was the primary candidate because of the symbolism surrounding his birth (Summerhall) and presumably in part also because his grandfather Jaehaerys wanted to believe that he was the special guy to make sense of the tragedy of Summerhall.

Aerys and Rhaella needed to produce more heirs for the throne but if the version of the prophecy they and their father had read (and presumably all Targaryen kings since Aerys I) also spoke of/alluded to those dragon heads Rhaegar mentioned then additional pressure would have been on them to produce those dragon heads (especially if they were interpreted as the siblings/close kin of the promised prince (which is how Rhaegar seems to interpret them later on).

But it is also quite clear that the Ghost's prophecy does not restrict the line that will produce the promised prince to Rhaegar - once Aerys and Rhaella had another living son Viserys also had become a candidate to be either the promised prince, one of the dragon heads, or the Targaryen to finally produce the promised prince. And the same is later still also true for Daenerys, of course.

3 hours ago, Maia said:

We don't know that Rhaegar was prepared to kill Ned, actually. Or vice-versa, even. After all, Ned hasn't been around while Robert and Rhaegar were fighting at the Trident. When he finally came on the scene, the prince was already dead.

Well, I was speaking somewhat figuratively. Rhaegar must certainly have been prepared to accept Ned's death in battle or perhaps even his execution if he would not bend the knee again. And I don't think we can doubt that Rhaegar would have been willing to attack and defend himself against Ned had the battle brought these two together the way it did bring Rhaegar and Robert together.

Quote

In fact, I think it quite likely that Rhaegar hid for so long specifically because he wanted to avoid having to fight Ned. And that Aerys had Elia and their children brought over from Dragonstone where we now know they had lived when Rhaegar set out on a mission that resulted in him getting together with Lyanna,  specifically to pressure his son into returning and taking command, as well blackmailing the Dornish.

Hm. That would mean that Ned meant anything to Rhaegar, personally, which I don't think was the case. I certainly could see him being reluctant to kill Lyanna's brother but he eventually fought in his father's name against the rebels anyway.

The question is: Was Lyanna fine with all that? Was she on board with him returning (and deferring) to his mad father who had cruelly and pointlessly executed her brother and father? I don't see that happening.

And I also have difficulties imagining that Aerys actually blackmailed Rhaegar into helping him. If he threatened him with the life of his other wife and children (among them the promised prince) then Aerys had very effective leverage over Rhaegar and the idea that he would have been able to just depose his father after the war was won (or confine him to his apartments) without Aerys being able to make good of his threat and murder Elia, Rhaenys, and Aegon makes little sense to me.

Rhaegar seems quite confident when he talks to Jaime about the changes he wants to implement. And more importantly - the text suggests that Rhaegar is sort of in charge already and could technically take Jaime with him to the Trident as he did take Lewyn, Selmy, and Darry.

Considering that Aerys is still very much in charge of his city, naming his own Hands, and can enact a pretty ambitious wildfire scheme I have difficulty seeing that Rhaegar put his father back into place and sort of established an informal Regency already. I think it is more likely that father and son sort of reconciled, with Aerys coming to the conclusion that Rhaegar had actually been a loyal son all along (when in fact he had been conspiring against him prior to Harrenhal) because the rebels were all quite convincingly calling for his head, too.

I imagine this as something like Viserys reaching the dead wrong conclusion when Drogo finally promises him his crown.

Aerys feeling the need to work with Rhaegar of all people in this crisis is also strange and possibly a hint in that direction. Yes, Rhaegar was the Prince of Dragonstone and a popular guy, unlike his father. But he was no experienced (and bloodied) battle commander and general. As far as we know the Trident was Rhaegar's first and only battle, and he lost it.

But Aerys had experienced generals and veterans among his own Kingsguard. Gerold Hightower won the War of the Ninepenny Kings for Jaehaerys II and Barristan Selmy slew Maelys the Monstrous in that same war. If you look at events from that perspective both Hightower and Selmy might have been much better commanders of the Targaryen army. But it seems that he wanted to work with his son.

Quote

If she was late into a difficult pregnancy, she wouldn't have had a choice in the matter. Not only would it have been insanely risky to move her, but she couldn't have traveled quickly enough to make a difference.

That doesn't work timeline-wise. Months passed between Rhaegar leaving the tower and the Trident. The child certainly hadn't necessarily been conceived in the night before Rhaegar left, but Lyanna cannot have been in the final stages of her pregnancy when Rhaegar left her. At least if we don't assume that a lot of time passed between the birth of the child and Lyanna's death (which seems to be rather unlikely).

Lyanna certainly must have been in a shape at this point which would have allowed her to travel. And if she feared Aerys in the entire matter then Oswell Whent could easily enough have escorted Lyanna to Harrenhal to stay there with the Whents while Rhaegar talked to his father. Afterwards she could then help negotiate a truce or at least attempt to do so.

I mean, her trying to put the rape story to rest (in whatever version it was circulating around at this time) could only have helped Rhaegar's cause and reputation. The story of heroic Robert Baratheon fighting for the woman he loved is still pretty prevalent in Baratheon circles and would certainly have not lived this long if Lyanna had made it clear to the Realm that she loved Rhaegar Targaryen and had married him of her own free will.

I could see that the Lyanna-Rhaegar story is actually more complex than we might assume as of yet:

1. A passionate romance at Harrenhal which was possibly even ended by Lyanna because she wanted to do her duty and marry Robert.

2. Rhaegar struggling to get over it, getting confirmation that Aegon was the promised prince when he was born male. The blow of Elia being barren now causing him to reconsider everything.

3. More research wherever he went after that, possibly another prophecy from the Ghost that his third child would indeed be the third dragon head (in a Tyrion-Dany-Jon constellation, not the constellation Rhaegar himself imagined).

4. The abduction of Lyanna (which I think could have been genuine as such). Lyanna being (positively) surprised and relieved after the fact that she can now be with Rhaegar.

5. After the initial joys of true love and happiness they quickly sober up when they realize that Aerys is not happy with that at all, demanding their heads because of treason, conspiracy, and polygamy. They disappear from sight and are still somewhat happy to have each other. But Lyanna is of course very sad and angry when she gets the news of Brandon and Rickard.

6. This could be a turning point. I'd imagine Lyanna wanted to topple Aerys and get back at him at this point - and if Rhaegar then decided to not go along with this but rather chose his father over his new wife things might have deteriorated even more.

7. Rhaegar then actually imprisons Lyanna in that tower and commands the knights to guard her for her own safety while he goes off dealing with the rebels. Lyanna is angry and all and her feelings are conflicted but once the news about Rhaegar's death arrives she is broken and sad because she realizes that she truly loved him (which could explain why she was clutching her winter rose crown when she died).

The final thing would actually be a nice mirror image of Robert on his deathbed where he also let go of his hatred and was happy to see his beloved in the afterlife. It could easily enough have been the same with Lyanna and Rhaegar.

1 hour ago, Rippounet said:

It's all speculation, but I think we have enough hints to say that Aerys prevented that. Even if the Mad King wasn't the reason Rhaegar abducted Lyanna in the first place, the very special relationship that the both of them had most likely prevented some sort of diplomatic solution between the Crown and the rebels.

The thing is, if Rhaegar had wanted it he most likely would have been able to create a separate peace at least with Ned with Lyanna's help. And they certainly could also have forged an alliance against Aerys to depose him and get justice for the murdered Starks. They would have to cut Robert out of the deal, of course, but Robert - while the figurehead of the movement - wasn't exactly the man with the most troops.

And as I've said above the marriage alliances among the rebels involved the Houses Stark, Tully, and Arryn, but not Baratheon. Sure, Robert may have had too much sway over the men and all, but the interesting thing is that no such attempt was (apparently) made. And that is very odd, actually.

This is another unknown layer of the whole mystery. Because of the Jon Snow mystery our picture of the relationship between Rhaegar and Lyanna has to remain vague until such time as the truth is revealed. The idea that she will turn out to have been just a pliable young pregnant girl is not very likely if you ask me. Not with all those Arya parallels and the strength of character and personality she actually demonstrated at Harrenhal (which very likely might have been what draw Rhaegar to Lyanna in the first place).

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16 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The thing is, if Rhaegar had wanted it he most likely would have been able to create a separate peace at least with Ned with Lyanna's help. And they certainly could also have forged an alliance against Aerys to depose him and get justice for the murdered Starks. They would have to cut Robert out of the deal, of course, but Robert - while the figurehead of the movement - wasn't exactly the man with the most troops.

I'm not so sure about that. Ned was young and his friendship with Robert might have made him rather uncomprimising. And there was no reason for Rhaegar to trust Ned anyway (he wouldn't have known him as we do, to Rhaegar he was just a younger Stark).

I believe you're right to say that Rhaegar had a shot at negotiating a separate peace with the Starks. But for me this ended with Rickard's death. The only Stark that was reliable and had the means to negotiate was the one who, conveniently, was killed by Aerys.
So I suppose Rhaegar could have tried to contact Rickard shortly after abducting Lyanna... And maybe he did! Ned wasn't with his father at the time after all.
But after Rickard and Brandon's death, I think Rhaegar was on his own, and forced to side with daddy. I think neither Robert nor Ned were ready to listen anymore. And the war had already started...

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Wars can be ended, though. I mean, what if Aerys had died of heart attack shortly after the beginning of the war? Then it would have been King Rhaegar I and Queen Lyanna vs. the rebels, right?

The point is that both Lyanna and Ned had lost members of their family and they certainly had nothing to gain from a continued war.

As @Maia has already stated that adds an unnecessary layer to the whole thing. We know that Rhaegar wanted more children even after Elia could no longer bear children in the wake of Aegon's birth, so he needed a new mother for those children anyway.

And the point of that is confirmed to be to create another dragon head. Aegon as the promised prince was considered to be one of them, who the other already existing was is unclear. I don't think it was Princess Rhaenys because she was female (and Aemon's sudden epiphany that women could also be the subjects of the prophecy would be more spectacular if nobody ever thought before that women could be either the promised prince or the other dragon heads) so the other head would be either Viserys or Rhaegar himself (if we assume he just jumped to the conclusion that the comet in the night of Aegon's conception plus him being male was enough to destroy the prevalent idea that he was the promised prince).

We have to keep in mind that the Targaryens considered themselves to be the subjects of this very special prophecy at least since the days of Jaehaerys II. He forced Aerys and Rhaella into a marriage so that they could produce the promised prince as the Ghost of High Heart had foretold they would. The prophecy is ambiguous, of course, since it is only clear that the promised prince must be of the line of Aerys and Rhaella. Rhaegar was the primary candidate because of the symbolism surrounding his birth (Summerhall) and presumably in part also because his grandfather Jaehaerys wanted to believe that he was the special guy to make sense of the tragedy of Summerhall.

Aerys and Rhaella needed to produce more heirs for the throne but if the version of the prophecy they and their father had read (and presumably all Targaryen kings since Aerys I) also spoke of/alluded to those dragon heads Rhaegar mentioned then additional pressure would have been on them to produce those dragon heads (especially if they were interpreted as the siblings/close kin of the promised prince (which is how Rhaegar seems to interpret them later on).

But it is also quite clear that the Ghost's prophecy does not restrict the line that will produce the promised prince to Rhaegar - once Aerys and Rhaella had another living son Viserys also had become a candidate to be either the promised prince, one of the dragon heads, or the Targaryen to finally produce the promised prince. And the same is later still also true for Daenerys, of course.

Well, I was speaking somewhat figuratively. Rhaegar must certainly have been prepared to accept Ned's death in battle or perhaps even his execution if he would not bend the knee again. And I don't think we can doubt that Rhaegar would have been willing to attack and defend himself against Ned had the battle brought these two together the way it did bring Rhaegar and Robert together.

Hm. That would mean that Ned meant anything to Rhaegar, personally, which I don't think was the case. I certainly could see him being reluctant to kill Lyanna's brother but he eventually fought in his father's name against the rebels anyway.

The question is: Was Lyanna fine with all that? Was she on board with him returning (and deferring) to his mad father who had cruelly and pointlessly executed her brother and father? I don't see that happening.

And I also have difficulties imagining that Aerys actually blackmailed Rhaegar into helping him. If he threatened him with the life of his other wife and children (among them the promised prince) then Aerys had very effective leverage over Rhaegar and the idea that he would have been able to just depose his father after the war was won (or confine him to his apartments) without Aerys being able to make good of his threat and murder Elia, Rhaenys, and Aegon makes little sense to me.

Rhaegar seems quite confident when he talks to Jaime about the changes he wants to implement. And more importantly - the text suggests that Rhaegar is sort of in charge already and could technically take Jaime with him to the Trident as he did take Lewyn, Selmy, and Darry.

Considering that Aerys is still very much in charge of his city, naming his own Hands, and can enact a pretty ambitious wildfire scheme I have difficulty Rhaegar put his father back into place and sort of established an informal Regency already. I think it is more likely that father and son sort of reconciled, with Aerys coming to the conclusion that Rhaegar had actually been a loyal son all along (when in fact he had been conspiring against him prior to Harrenhal) because the rebels were all quite convincingly calling for his head, too.

I imagine this as something like Viserys reaching the dead wrong conclusion when Drogo finally promises him his crown.

Aerys feeling the need to work with Rhaegar of all people in this crisis is also strange and possibly a hint in that direction. Yes, Rhaegar was the Prince of Dragonstone and a popular guy, unlike his father. But he was no experienced (and bloodied) battle commander and general. As far as we know the Trident was Rhaegar's first and only battle, and he lost it.

But Aerys had experienced generals and veterans among his own Kingsguard. Gerold Hightower won the War of the Ninepenny Kings for Jaehaerys II and Barristan Selmy slew Maelys the Monstrous in that same war. If you look at events from that perspective both Hightower and Selmy might have been much better commanders of the Targaryen army. But it seems that he wanted to work with his son.

That doesn't work timeline-wise. Months passed between Rhaegar leaving the tower and the Trident. The child certainly hadn't necessarily been conceived in the night before Rhaegar left, but Lyanna also cannot have been in the final stages of her pregnancy when Rhaegar left her. At least not if we don't assume that a lot of time passed between the birth of the child and Lyanna's death (which seems to be rather unlikely).

Lyanna certainly must have been in a shape at this point which would have allowed her to travel. And if the feared Aerys in the entire matter then Oswell Whent could easily enough have escorted Lyanna to Harrenhal to stay there with the Whents while Rhaegar talked to his father. Afterwards she could then help negotiate a truce or at least attempt to do so.

I mean, her trying to put the rape story to rest (in whatever version it was circulating around at this time) could only have helped Rhaegar's cause and reputation. The story of heroic Robert Baratheon fighting for the woman he loved is still pretty prevalent in Baratheon circles and would certainly have not lived this long if Lyanna had made it clear to the Realm that she loved Rhaegar Targaryen and had married him of her own free will.

I could see that the Lyanna-Rhaegar story is actually more complex than we might assume as of yet:

1. A passionate romance at Harrenhal which was possibly even ended by Lyanna because she wanted to do her duty and marry Robert.

2. Rhaegar struggling getting over it, getting confirmation that Aegon was the promised prince when he was born male. The blow of Elia being barren now causing him to reconsider everything.

3. More research wherever he went after that, possibly another prophecy from the Ghost that his third child would indeed be the third dragon head (in a Tyrion-Dany-Jon constellation, not the constellation Rhaegar himself imagined).

4. The abduction of Lyanna (which I think could have been genuine as such). Lyanna being (positively) surprised and relieved after the fact that she can now be with Rhaegar.

5. After the initial joys of true love and happiness they quickly sober up when they realize that Aerys is not happy with that at all, demanding their heads because of treason, conspiracy, and polygamy. They disappear from sight and are still somewhat happy to have each other. But Lyanna is of course very sad and angry after learning about Brandon and Rickard.

6. This could be turning point. I'd imagine Lyanna wanted to topple Aerys and get back at him at this point - and if Rhaegar then decided to not go along with this but rather chose his father over his new wife things might have deteriorated even more.

7. Rhaegar then actually imprisons Lyanna in that tower and commands to guard her for her own safety while he goes off dealing with the rebels. Lyanna is angry and all and her feelings are conflicted but once the news about Rhaegar's death arrives she is broken and very sad because she truly loved (which could explain why she was clutching her winter rose crown when she died).

The final thing would actually be a nice mirror image of Robert on his deathbed where he also let go of his hatred and was happy to see his beloved in the afterlife. It could easily enough have been the same with Lyanna and Rhaegar.

The thing is, if Rhaegar had wanted it he most likely would have been able to create a separate peace at least with Ned with Lyanna's help. And they certainly could also have forged an alliance against Aerys to depose him and get justice for the murdered Starks. They would have to cut Robert out of the deal, of course, but Robert - while the figurehead of the movement - wasn't exactly the man with the most troops.

And as I've said above the marriage alliances among the rebels involved the Houses Stark, Tully, and Arryn, but not Baratheon. Sure, Robert may have had too much sway over the men and all, but the interesting thing is that no such attempt was (apparently) made. And that is very odd, actually.

This is another unknown layer of the whole mystery. Because of the Jon Snow mystery our picture of the relationship between Rhaegar and Lyanna has to remain vague until such time as the truth is revealed. The idea that she will turn out to have been just a pliable young pregnant girl is not very likely if you ask me. Not with all those Arya parallels and the strength of character and personality she actually demonstrated at Harrenhal (which very likely might have been what draw Rhaegar to Lyanna in the first place).

 

Interesting assessment, this very well could've been the case for Rhaegar and Lyanna 

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