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The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread, Part II


Werthead

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In this context, "overruling" Rhaegar would have meant leaving Lyanna and her unborn child and traveling to King's Landing while the Prince went to war. They would disobey his orders because they knew what? That Jaime would turn on the mad Aerys and kill him? Or they knew Tywin was going to seize the chance to pay Aerys back for his insults and betray the King? Or that they knew Rhaegar would lose at the Trident? Looking back, perhaps they should have risked all and done just that, but it is not outrageous to expect the three Kingsguard to do just what they did - trust in their Prince, trust in Jaime and the defenses of King's Landing, and trust that Tywin would not betray his King. Much has to be risked in war, but this doesn't seem to be that great of a chance, except in hindsight.

They would overrule Rhaegar because the king was in danger. Rhaegar's victory was not certain because no battle is certain. Ser Gerold knew of the threat that Robert posed. He knew that Rhaegar's victory was not certain and that if Rhaegar lost then Aerys would quickly follow him because by the time they found out it would be too late. He also knew that Lord Tywin Lannister was sitting at home and as far as he knew going to be of no help. Lyanna however was in no danger and her whereabouts basically unknown. That Ser Gerold left the welfare of his king to chance speaks very poorly of him and his brothers who meekly accepted being sidelined when such an enormous threat to the king was present.

Now, we have been debating the actions of the Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy for quite a while now, but that is not the only reason to believe Rhaegar and Lyanna were married. Another very good reason would seem to be the character of the two themselves. Do we really think Lyanna's love for Rhaegar means she would accept the role of mistress and bastardy for her children? She is a proud young woman who, if we believe Jojen's story stood up against bullies. She refuses to accept the dictates of her father and older brother to marry a man she doesn't love. Do you think she would not demand marriage and recognition as well as love? I think she would.

Lyanna was a child and perhaps she was like Sansa with her romantic notions. Who knows. All I can say is that if she went willingly with Rhaegar then she deserved her fate.

Rhaegar is likewise describe as a noble man who not only wouldn't frequent brothels, but also commands the respect and loyalty of all around him. Why would he treat Lyanna as something less than his first wife? I don't think it is in his character to do so, especially with a woman he not only loves, but also sees as helping him fulfill his prophecy. I just don't see it.

Rhaegar is a man of iron will who does nothing without purpose. Idle fancies and romantic notions would not sway him from his mission to see the prophecy fulfilled. I think Robert's greatest moment was driving his spike through Rhaegar's black heart.

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SFDanny, as Enquerand said, Robert's rebellion was the biggest threat Aerys had ever faced. It didn't require foresight of Rhaegar's loss and Tywin's betrayal to know that Aerys was in the most danger he had ever been in.

It has nothing to do with the KG having to predict events or not having time to save Aerys. They had the time BEFORE The Trident to know that Aerys was in the most danger he'd ever been in and that they should do everything in their power to protect him.

Yet these three KG abandoned their primary duty to follow Rhaegar's orders.

This is BEFORE the change in events that you mention should have changed the KG's duty.

So even before the change in events, these three KG are not fulfilling their primary duty.

Why then, AFTER the change in events, would they suddenly decide to fulfill their primary duty?

ETA: This is not apples and oranges. This is apples and apples. The king (Aerys) faced the biggest threat of his life, the KG guarded the TOJ. The king (Viserys) faced the biggest threat of his life, the KG guarded the TOJ.

Sorry to be repeating the gist of Snake's argument, but nothing you have said so far has quashed this argument.

On a different note, I don't think these 3 KG were bludging, or failed in their duty. I think they were doing something much more important than defending Aerys (and later, Viserys). However I think it was of great importance to GRRM and his story, not for Rhaegar :). I seriously doubt GRRM has put as much thought into it as we have, and when asked why they were defending a bastard instead of the heir, he'll just say they were fulfilling Rhaegar's orders.

In reality, the 3 KG were there because GRRM felt it important they be there. Jon is one of his main characters, the central mystery in the series, and he needed protecting by the three best swords in Westeros!

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It didn't require foresight of Rhaegar's loss and Tywin's betrayal to know that Aerys was in the most danger he had ever been in.

Not that it changes the arguement, but one could argue that the Defiance of Duskendale was a greater threat. But it's a judgement call, and unimportant to the discussion at hand.

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SFDanny, as Enquerand said, Robert's rebellion was the biggest threat Aerys had ever faced. It didn't require foresight of Rhaegar's loss and Tywin's betrayal to know that Aerys was in the most danger he had ever been in.

It has nothing to do with the KG having to predict events or not having time to save Aerys. They had the time BEFORE The Trident to know that Aerys was in the most danger he'd ever been in and that they should do everything in their power to protect him.

Yet these three KG abandoned their primary duty to follow Rhaegar's orders.

This is BEFORE the change in events that you mention should have changed the KG's duty.

So even before the change in events, these three KG are not fulfilling their primary duty.

Why then, AFTER the change in events, would they suddenly decide to fulfill their primary duty?

ETA: This is not apples and oranges. This is apples and apples. The king (Aerys) faced the biggest threat of his life, the KG guarded the TOJ. The king (Viserys) faced the biggest threat of his life, the KG guarded the TOJ.

Sorry to be repeating the gist of Snake's argument, but nothing you have said so far has quashed this argument.

On a different note, I don't think these 3 KG were bludging, or failed in their duty. I think they were doing something much more important than defending Aerys (and later, Viserys). However I think it was of great importance to GRRM and his story, not for Rhaegar :). I seriously doubt GRRM has put as much thought into it as we have, and when asked why they were defending a bastard instead of the heir, he'll just say they were fulfilling Rhaegar's orders.

In reality, the 3 KG were there because GRRM felt it important they be there. Jon is one of his main characters, the central mystery in the series, and he needed protecting by the three best swords in Westeros!

Ok, way too much to deal with from the three of you in one post. Let me respond in reverse order, sorry if it takes a while.

Sarella, I agree that Robert's Rebellion was the biggest threat Aerys faced. That doesn't mean the decision by Rhaegar to put the Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy and the following of that order is an abrogation of the the oath by Ser Gerold, Ser Oswell, and Ser Arthur. Far from it. The gave their lives in keeping with that oath when they defend the child at the Tower of Joy. The only way to condemn them for their actions is to say they had to know that Rhaegar's plan wouldn't work, that their mission to safeguard the new prince would be superseded by the needs of Aegon and Aerys because Jaime would obvious betray his oath and the mad king would allow his enemies in the gates unmolested. It mandates hindsight as foresight.

You see, this approach of looking back as a reader and seeing the mistake a character has made is all wrong. It's fun to do, but it is wrong in analyzing the books. The important point is looking at the characters from inside the books and looking for their motivation - are they believable? are they consistent with what we know of the character? etc. - and looking for clues the author is giving us about the mysteries in the story he has woven for us. It's not important that Ned is an idiot to warn Cersei she must leave because he plans to tell Robert of her treason. It doesn't matter that he should have gone along with Renly's plan and seized the children. What matters is that Ned is fully realized as a character whose honor will not let him engage in the game of thrones in the same way Cersei and Littlefinger do. We believe in Ned's honor, even though it causes his downfall and the death of his friends and retainers. Is it honor taken to far? For most of us the answer would be yes, but it makes Ned who he is.

So too, are Rhaegar and the Kingsguard revealed as honorable men in their actions. They don't have to be the actions we as readers would have them make in order to change the outcome of the books the way we would wish. Instead of the knowledge provided by our hindsight, Rhaegar returns to take up the fight against the rebellion and in so doing we know he makes mistakes. What his actions tells us is, mistakes and all, that he is willing to put his own life on the line to save his father - even when he knows his father is mad and an unworthy king. He is revealed at the Trident as an honorable man who fights Robert to stop this war. Like Hector before him (in fact Rhaegar is a bit of both Paris and Hector) his honor isn't diminished by losing his life, rather it is enhanced.

Like Rhaegar, the Kingsguard, follow their Prince's orders and give their lives consistent with their oaths. In fact, as glowing examples of their oaths - all the characters in the books, from whichever side of the conflict they were on, speak of them in almost reverential terms. That is true regardless of the fact we can step outside the story and say, "Oh, they should have been here instead of there" and then they would have made a greater difference. Did they as characters follow through on what they should have done as the fulfillment of their character? The straightforward answer is a resounding "YES." What could be more noble and more keeping with their oaths than dying in combat to defend the infant king? And in so doing they confirm to us he is their king.

The only way one can believe the Kingsguard betrays Aerys is if you ask the characters to behave in ways they shouldn't (like ignoring Rhaegar's order and battle plan in favor of one determined by hindsight) or couldn't (such as teleporting to King's Landing when they realize that things have gone so badly at the Trident.) To construct an interpretation of these men which turns them into vain, prideful, oathbreakers is to turn the world of Westeros on it's head. It can be an interesting intellectual exercise, but it has nothing to do with the stories as we know them.

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They would overrule Rhaegar because the king was in danger. Rhaegar's victory was not certain because no battle is certain. Ser Gerold knew of the threat that Robert posed. He knew that Rhaegar's victory was not certain and that if Rhaegar lost then Aerys would quickly follow him because by the time they found out it would be too late. He also knew that Lord Tywin Lannister was sitting at home and as far as he knew going to be of no help. Lyanna however was in no danger and her whereabouts basically unknown. That Ser Gerold left the welfare of his king to chance speaks very poorly of him and his brothers who meekly accepted being sidelined when such an enormous threat to the king was present.

Rhaegar knows what kind of threat Robert's and Ned's forces present to the King as well. That is why he comes back and takes command. In so doing he makes a plan that has a good chance of success. It also has risks, risks that become realized as events unfold, but Rhaegar's strategy does not put Aerys at any greater danger than he already is. In fact, he knows that Robert's forces must be confronted and defeated once and for all, instead of letting the rebels gain strength. To do the same as his predecessors had done would have been the real endangering of his King. For Rhaegar, the decision to keep the three knights with Lyanna is of little consequence in his plans to defeat the rebels, but of great consequence to keeping her and her child safe. That is how he sees it, though with hindsight we can see he has made fatal errors.

Lyanna was a child and perhaps she was like Sansa with her romantic notions. Who knows. All I can say is that if she went willingly with Rhaegar then she deserved her fate.

Wow, were does the venom towards Lyanna come from? She deserved her fate? Really?

Regardless of your personal feelings towards her, she is described in the books as much more than a child. She is describe as a brave, kind soul who fights for those who are shunned and belittled. She isn't willing to settle for Robert when her love leads her to Rhaegar. She is, in short, a strong willed and proud woman who I've serious doubts would settle for the role of mistress and mother of bastard children.

Rhaegar is a man of iron will who does nothing without purpose. Idle fancies and romantic notions would not sway him from his mission to see the prophecy fulfilled. I think Robert's greatest moment was driving his spike through Rhaegar's black heart.

Wow again. The only person in the books that sees him in this light is Robert. I don't buy that idea that Rhaegar would want Lyanna as his mistress or his child to be a bastard when he also believes that he can marry more than one woman. It fits his character to do so.

Enguerrand, I'm going to respond to your post tomorrow. It's the longest and I want to look something up before I respond.

Thanks to all three of you. I'm enjoying this, I hope you are as well.

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The only way to condemn them for their actions is to say they had to know that Rhaegar's plan wouldn't work, that their mission to safeguard the new prince would be superseded by the needs of Aegon and Aerys because Jaime would obvious betray his oath and the mad king would allow his enemies in the gates unmolested. It mandates hindsight as foresight.

The only way one can believe the Kingsguard betrays Aerys is if you ask the characters to behave in ways they shouldn't (like ignoring Rhaegar's order and battle plan in favor of one determined by hindsight) or couldn't (such as teleporting to King's Landing when they realize that things have gone so badly at the Trident.) To construct an interpretation of these men which turns them into vain, prideful, oathbreakers is to turn the world of Westeros on it's head. It can be an interesting intellectual exercise, but it has nothing to do with the stories as we know them.

No, no, no! Did you even read my post? I argued that NO foresight was required for these 3 KG to know that they should be with Aerys. That is what I meant when I said the threat to Aerys was huge BEFORE The Trident. The threat was big enough BEFORE The Trident (therefore no hindsight required) to warrant staying with the king, not running off to guard third in line to the throne. I am NOT saying the KG should have known Rhaegar would lose, or that Tywin would betray Aerys. I am saying that those 3 KG should have been with Aerys the WHOLE TIME of the rebellion (even BEFORE The Trident). You are arguing that the only way they could have known that is with foresight, which is just restating the argument from your previous posts, which has been refuted.

Let's try a different angle. It requires good fortune for Aerys to remain safe during the biggest threat he's ever faced. It is the biggest threat he's ever faced, after all. From your point of view, these three KG had the foresight to know their king was safe, during the most dangerous period of time in his life. So they trust to the gods that Rhaegar wins at the trident and nobody takes King's Landing, and that Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon will all stay safe during the rebellion. And instead of guarding the king, prince1, or prince2, they run away to guard the third prince in line to the throne.

You are the one making the KG behave in ways they shouldn't. Like following Rhaegar's orders despite Aery's being in peril, but then not following Rhaegar's orders when Viserys was in peril.

The rest of your post, about honour and getting inside the books to analyze characters, I completely agree with. I have never argued that Hightower, Whent and Dayne were not honourable, or that guarding the TOJ was inconsistent with their characters. On the contrary, I believe they were all honourable to the very end and that their actions (following orders from Rhaegar that superceded guarding Aerys and Viserys) are consistent with their characters.

I just think Jon is a Targ bastard, not a Targ heir, and am arguing that the KG were there for another reason other than guarding their king. It is getting more and more removed from that, but that is what it boils down to.

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No, no, no! Did you even read my post? I argued that NO foresight was required for these 3 KG to know that they should be with Aerys. That is what I meant when I said the threat to Aerys was huge BEFORE The Trident. The threat was big enough BEFORE The Trident (therefore no hindsight required) to warrant staying with the king, not running off to guard third in line to the throne. I am NOT saying the KG should have known Rhaegar would lose, or that Tywin would betray Aerys. I am saying that those 3 KG should have been with Aerys the WHOLE TIME of the rebellion (even BEFORE The Trident). You are arguing that the only way they could have known that is with foresight, which is just restating the argument from your previous posts, which has been refuted.

Let's try a different angle. It requires good fortune for Aerys to remain safe during the biggest threat he's ever faced. It is the biggest threat he's ever faced, after all. From your point of view, these three KG had the foresight to know their king was safe, during the most dangerous period of time in his life. So they trust to the gods that Rhaegar wins at the trident and nobody takes King's Landing, and that Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon will all stay safe during the rebellion. And instead of guarding the king, prince1, or prince2, they run away to guard the third prince in line to the throne.

You are the one making the KG behave in ways they shouldn't. Like following Rhaegar's orders despite Aery's being in peril, but then not following Rhaegar's orders when Viserys was in peril.

The rest of your post, about honour and getting inside the books to analyze characters, I completely agree with. I have never argued that Hightower, Whent and Dayne were not honourable, or that guarding the TOJ was inconsistent with their characters. On the contrary, I believe they were all honourable to the very end and that their actions (following orders from Rhaegar that superceded guarding Aerys and Viserys) are consistent with their characters.

I just think Jon is a Targ bastard, not a Targ heir, and am arguing that the KG were there for another reason other than guarding their king. It is getting more and more removed from that, but that is what it boils down to.

I did read your post, Sarella. And, sorry, no one has refuted my points.

With regards to your last post, I'm disagreeing with you and say, yes, to take the position you do one has to believe the kingsguard had the foresight to not only see the threat before hand, but to see the dangers that ultimately led to the fall of King's Landing. In addition, I'm saying that you, and others, are using the hindsight of the position of the reader in place of what is reasonable and in character for the Kingsguard to do under the circumstances. Let me be clear.

(1) - When Rhaegar returns and takes command, presumably with the consent of his father, he gives the orders. He gives the orders to change the tactics of the war and go forth and fight Robert's army. He gives the orders on the location of his forces, including the decision to have Jaime stay with Aerys, and the decision to have the three Kingsguard stay with Lyanna at the Tower of Joy. All of this is his plan to safeguard his father and the heirs to the Targaryen throne. There is no reason to believe the Kingsguard or anyone else would disregard those orders, even if they had concerns about them. It is disingenuous to accuse the Kingsguard of not doing their duty by following those orders. The orders are not outrageous in any manner. They do not, in and of themselves, place the King in jeopardy. Quite the contrary, following his orders is exactly what is in character and what we should expect the Kingsguard and everyone else to do. It is only looking at it from the outside that we can construct the idea that Hightower should have disobeyed Rhaegar and went to King's Landing because he should have known that Rhaegar's defenses would be insufficient. There is no indication they thought so, and there is no indication that anyone would think of disobeying Rhaegar in any of this. Not while he is alive.

(2) - After Rhaegar dies at the Trident, the Kingsguard should reevaluate their situation - at least to get new orders from the King or his new commander. If they had the time to get to Aerys, it might well have made sense to do so, except they can't get there in time. It's not physically possible given how far away they are and how quickly the city falls. It again makes no sense to accuse them of not fulfilling their oaths because they can't do the impossible. If the Lannisters don't betray Aerys, and if Jaime doesn't kill Aerys, then it is very possible that the city can hold out behind their walls while new forces are brought up to fight the besiegers (seemingly Rhaegar's fallback plan.) That could have possibly included some of the knights at the TOJ, but all of that is moot because Aerys invites the Lannisters in.

(3) - After the Sack of King's Landing, the Kingsguard should again reevaluate their situation. They have a new responsibility to a new King, whether Viserys or Jon is the heir. I have submitted that the fact they stay at the Tower of Joy tells us volumes about where these men thought their duty lay. I still do, and I haven't read a good argument against it. Instead I keep reading ideas about battle plans that should have been, and the supposed violation of oaths and deficits of character in the Kingsguard that aren't supported by the text.

That is my position as clear as I can state it.

Now, let me respond to some of the specifics in this post. I don't ask you to believe the Kingsguard knew Aerys would be safe. Or that they make the decision to guard "Prince3" over anyone else during this period. They are part of a plan to safeguard all the Targaryens. It happens their part is with Lyanna, as ordered by Rhaegar. It is the task of other members of the Kingsguard to be with Rhaegar and with Aerys and Elia and her children. No trust in the gods is necessary, but military discipline and following their oaths in order to fulfill their part of the plan is.

With regard to why the Kingsguard doesn't go to aid Aerys, I've explained my position in point #2. With regard to why they don't go to Viserys, my position is that they aren't supposed to, based on their oaths - because staying with Lyanna and child is the fulfillment of their oaths. All of that is perfectly within character and understandable with how the events unfold.

Lastly, you haven't dealt with point #3. If Jon is a bastard, explain why those assumptions are not correct. Should the Kingsguard ignore the new situation and not go to Viserys when it seems time and circumstance would indicate they could? How does following orders from a dead Prince after the situation completely changes comport with their oath to defend their King? What is the other reason that keeps them at the Tower of Joy in contradiction to an oath that would have them in Dragonstone if Viserys is King?

Sarella, on another note, I'm trying to express myself clearly, and if I don't I apologize. What I'm not trying to do is make this personal. I like reading your posts, even when I disagree with them.

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No see this is where we disagree. The Kingsguard duty is to the king and to keep him safe. Everyone else be damned.

Now aren’t you overstating the case a tad? :) It’s quite clear that they are responsible for the security of the entire royal family. The issue is what would happen if they have to make choice, I think most people would agree that the king should take precedence.

Now if Aerys told them to stop being such worrywarts, and stay at TOJ and relax, that is what they would do. It would be out of their hands. They obey the king they do not judge him and all that. The thing is that Rhaegar isn’t the king and can’t compel their blind obedience IMO.

They most certainly did abandon Aerys. They're not supposed to care how big an army the king has nor how weak his opponent, they're supposed to either be with him or be fighting his enemies, not sitting in some far away tower soaking up the sun.

They are also supposed to do his bidding. It was the king that detached them into Rhaegar’s service. It’s about how you view their duty. Clearly it’s their duty to obey Rheager, but surely there must be a limit. I assume few believe they would kill the king if he ordered them. Would they stand aside while he killed the king?

Would they obey a command that puts the king in jeopardy?

Would they obey a command when they know it’s execution would go against the king’s wishes?

To me, the spirit of the vows is sincerely acting in what they believe is the king’s best interest, unless he explicitly order them otherwise.

But even this would have limits. Lets say the king intend to commit suicide and order them to stand aside. Will the kingsguard obey the king, or protect him even against himself?

But in this case I don’t think it matter. Rhaegar wasn't an idiot and Ser Artur was his best friend. I can’t see him pulling rank on them on this issue if they fundamentally disagreed on were their responsibilties lay. Whatever they were doing was something they agreed merited the relative exposure of the king.

And where was their solemn oath with regards to Aerys? What orders could possibly force them to sit out the war and not be there when their king needed them?

My take is that they were going after an objective that they sincerely believed increased the chances Aerys and his family’s chances of long-term survival, something that Rhaegar also ordered them to do.

All I'm wondering is why you think it's not strange that these three not be with Aerys when he's facing the greatest threat of his reign and that's fine but that it so incomprehensible that they would do the same with regards to Viserys?

Because Viserys haven’t tasked them with anything else? The Kingsguard guards the king that is their default purpose. Taking the desperate situation into account, it more then reasonable to assume that this is new king’s most earnest desire as well.

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I haven't read every post in this thread, which appears to cover everything from curing warts to whether the Stones were better with Jones, Taylor, or Wood........but have followed the last couple of pages (or the gist of that discussion anyway) and have a question regarding the KG's motivation & duty (or lack thereof):

It appears that Rhaegar was basically planning to usurp his father's throne. Isn't it possible that the KG knew that the only hope for the kingdom under Targ rule was to hitch their wagons to Rhaegar? How far does one follow a madman at the expense of the greater good (which, in their opinions, would be Rhaegar taking the throne)? As honorable as they were, is it impossible that they could break their sworn oaths (to protect Aerys) in the better interest of the kingdom if they thought Aerys was leading them all to ruin?

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Rhaegar apparently wasn’t planning to usurp the throne. By his final conversation with Jaime he was planning to call the Great Council after the war probably to remove his father from power but not necessary to dethrone him. But in any case such an action would be perfectly legal and could not be called usurpation. So KG would do nothing with Rhaegar’s plans.

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Rhaegar apparently wasn’t planning to usurp the throne. By his final conversation with Jaime he was planning to call the Great Council after the war probably to remove his father from power but not necessary to dethrone him. But in any case such an action would be perfectly legal and could not be called usurpation. So KG would do nothing with Rhaegar’s plans.

Semantics aside, he was planning to remove Pops from power. We can dress it up anyway we want to, but that's presumably what Rhaegar was planning. Now, the KG knowing that and knowing that Aerys was a nutjob, I don't see the big problem with them "breaking their oaths" & taking Rhaegar's side - he was the future of the dynasty.

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EXACTLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rheagar was about to take over after the battle due to Aerys madness. The Kingsguard were following the orders of their king,( as they saw it) by staying at the TOJ :smoking:

All will be revealed, have no fear.................we just have to wait 10 yrs and debate all thing from our ideas!

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And the faction that won the war would win her too, unless her custodian chose to kill her, which seems rather unlikely. That’s why her security measures aren’t that important.

I agree that Lyanna’s safety is not likely in danger from Ned or Robert. That doesn’t mean her wishes will be honored by them. Or that other forces might not wish her harm. And most importantly, it doesn’t mean her child would be safe in the hands of Ned and Robert. Those are good reasons for Rhaegar to place her safety in the hands of men he trusts absolutely. You may disagree with his decision, and think they should be placed in other duty, but Rhaegar’s decision is fitting for his character and for his concerns.

At that time Lyanna seemed resolved to marry Robert despite his vices, as duty demanded. No one forced her. If events have turned out as we assume, this is just isn’t the case. Given how Ned treats the rest of his family, there is nothing that suggests that Ned would have sent her to Robert against her will. And once again, why would Robert be interested in Rhaegar’s leavings? Lyanna has disgraced him thoroughly, To continue to court her would make him a laughingstock plain and simple.

At least one member of Lyanna’s family placed his family’s honor over her wishes - Brandon. And I highly doubt he rode to King’s Landing to demand his sister back without his father’s backing - in sentiment, if not in endorsement of his tactics. Do we know that Ned took her side over that of his father and brother? It doesn’t seem so, as Ned never disputes Robert’s version of Rhaegar as the kidnapper and raper, even when he privately thinks highly of the man. Lyanna expressed her reservations about the match with Robert to Ned, and she makes the decision to leave with Rhaegar, how much clearer can her wishes be?

No it doesn’t. It only make sense if these guys are the only ones he can trust in the whole wide world(which really strange given his popularity and status) and the threat to Lyanna is imminent(which we have no indications of).

Remember that Rhaegar is both described as intelligent and dutiful, misusing the commander of the kingsguard in this fashion when he has a war to win that will decide the fate of his entire dynasty just beggars belief.

Your characterization of Rhaegar’s orders for Hightower as misuse is just that - your characterization. It doesn’t fit with what we are told Rhaegar’s concerns to be. We are told he is a man who believes in his children’s destiny as the “three heads of the dragon.†He views the fulfillment of this prophecy as critical for his family and for the realm. Given those things, and his love for his wife and concerns for their baby, his orders make sense to him. That’s what is important.

Lets run this through. The loyalists forces as suffered as series of serious defeats, they are on the defensive. Rhaegar is recalled and sent change the situation. He has the advantage of number but morale is pretty low and the troops inexperienced, there is an obvious real possibility that he could be defeated, like the forces that have met the rebels before.

If he is defeated/killed it’s practically inevitable that large part of the loyalists will try to make peace with the rebels. Even with Prince Lewyn’s army their resources to offer a credible resistance are dwindling rapidly, the risk that someone would try to kill or betray Aerys to the rebels increases dramatically.

This is just common sense, yet according to you Hightower chose to take no precautions whatsover and place himself in a situation where he cannot respond to a any change in the threat level of the king. This only make sense to me if he wants the king dead. (some people have actually suggested that this is the reason the kingsguard is at TOJ so the king can be killed without them violating their oath)

This is what I wanted to look up. I don’t think your characterization of the state of things as Rhaegar takes up his command is accurate. I believe, and I’m trying to find the quote in SSM about it, that the situation is better described as a stalemate in which both sides have won victories and had losses. The real danger for the Crown is that they have been unable to stamp out the rebellion, and so Ned and Robert forces have grown and parts of Westeros are under their control instead of the King's. Aerys is in no immediate danger. The situation is not close to disaster for the Targaryens until both Rhaegar is killed and Aerys welcomes the Lannisters into King’s Landing. Rhaegar’s allocation of forces, including Hightower is not outrageous in the least. And I submit again, it is Rhaegar’s decision, not Ser Gerold’s.

edit: Ahh ... here it is:

Why did mighty lords of Mace Tyrell and Paxter Redwyne's calibre waste their time and efforts in besieging an untested young lord with (apparently) only a few thousand men (and those weakened more and more of hunger to boot)? Meanwhile their overlord were losing the war?

The Targaryens had lost a number of battles (and had also won some), but they weren't really losing the war until the Trident and the Sack of King's Landing. And then it was lost. And sieges were a crucial part of medieval warfare. Storm's End was not geographically strategic, but it was the base of Robert's power, as important to House Baratheon as Winterfell was to the Starks. If it had fallen, Robert would have lost his home and his lands... and two of his brothers would have been hostages in enemy hands. All important chips. Also the fall of Storm's End might have convinced many of the storm lords supporting him that the time had come to bend the knee. So the castle was hardly unimportant.

Tyrell had a sizeable host, but some of his strength was with Rhaegar, certainly. Rhaegar actually outnumbered Robert on the Trident, although Robert's troops were more battle-tested. I haven't gone into the whole history of the fighting, but there was a good deal more to it than just two armies meeting on the Trident. There were a number of earlier battles, sieges, escapes, ambushes, duels, and forays, and fighting in places as farflung as the Vale and the Dornish Marches.

emphasis added

Of note is also the last sentence, particularly the reference to fighting in the "Dornish Marches." Perhaps the Tower of Joy wasn't quite that far from the fighting as we believe?

No you are not, you are speculating into what he meant. He says that his presence and abilities would have kept Aerys alive and ruling. Which either suggests that he believes himself a demigod of war or that the defence of King’s Landing was inadequately handled.

You offered the speculations that Hightower meant that he could have stopped the king from making catastrophic misjudgements . Yet as we know (and Gerold better then any) this is manifestly not the case. Also not opening up the gates for Tywin is hardly enough to preserve Aerys reign.

My conclusion is that he means that the defence forces under his superior leadership would have routed the Lannisters and taken the fight to the rebels somehow.

For the latter part of this, I’ve responded to it in my post to Sarella, but to the first - he is talking, first and foremost, about Jaime’s betrayal of his King. He is also talking about preventing the disaster of letting the Lannisters and Ned into the city. To take it a step further and say he is commenting on the quality of the rest of King’s Landing’s defenders or the quality of Rhaegar’s plan, just isn’t supported by the text.

It does among men of honor. As it is, on the face of it, they come across as pitiful losers with empty boasts.

Sorry, we are just going to have to disagree on this. I don’t see how one can expect the Kingsguard to unburden themselves of their doubts and fears about their failings to foes they are about to go into combat with moments later. It’s a great scene in the comedy, the Princess Bride, when Westley and Inigo Montoya do so, but it doesn’t fit here.

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You may disagree with his decision, and think they should be placed in other duty, but Rhaegar’s decision is fitting for his character and for his concerns.

Yes I disagree. Nothing we know about the situation suggests that this kind overkill was necessary. If secrecy was an issue sending the Lord commander there would just bring it to attention. People would surely wonder were he was. Furthermore, TOJ doesn’t seem like a particularly well kept secret in the first place. All in all, it just seems like a senseless waste of leadership ability. And Rhaegar’s character is actually rather enigmatic, unless you know something I don’t, we really only speculating about his designs.

At least one member of Lyanna’s family placed his family’s honor over her wishes - Brandon. And I highly doubt he rode to King’s Landing to demand his sister back without his father’s backing - in sentiment, if not in endorsement of his tactics.

Strange, my understanding has always been that Brandon thought Rhaegar abducted her and came to her rescue as a big brother. From what we know about Lyanna, she doesn’t seem like the kind of women that simply would run away with the prince as his mistress, disgracing herself and her family. The concept of bigamy and it’s eventual worth in they eyes of Westeros society isn’t addressed. Furthermore it seems like Lyanna and Brandon was rather close, So were you get that Brandon tried to stand in the way of her wishes I don’t know.

Do we know that Ned took her side over that of his father and brother?

I don’t recall any Stark opposing Lyanna on anything. She was indulged and admired.

Lyanna expressed her reservations about the match with Robert to Ned, and she makes the decision to leave with Rhaegar, how much clearer can her wishes be?

A very great deal clearer. From what we know, she was resolved to go through with the marriage. Nothing indicates that she has told her family anything to the contrary. Then suddenly, a lady mindful of her family and her duties simply disappear. Is it strange that her family can’t anticipate that she, without any explanation, has eloped with Rhaegar to become his second wife?

Moreover, Lyanna and Rhaegar must know that this behaviour cannot lead to anything but serious bloodshed. But apparently getting her family and it’s bannermen killed doesn’t stand in the way for Lyanna’s desires. (And just as peculiar, Rhaegar completly dissappear, refraining to stave of the hell he knows must break loose.)

We are told he is a man who believes in his children’s destiny as the “three heads of the dragon.†He views the fulfillment of this prophecy as critical for his family and for the realm.

Then he shouldn’t detach his generals for babysitting.

The Targaryens had lost a number of battles (and had also won some), but they weren't really losing the war until the Trident and the Sack of King's Landing.

So? Have I said otherwise? Here is Jaime’s take of the situation:

He floated in heat, in memory. “After dancing griffins lost the Battle of the Bells, Aerys exiled him.†Why am I telling this absurd ugly child? “He had finally realized that Robert was no mere outlaw lord to be crushed at whim, but the greatest threat House Targaryen had faced since Daemon Blackfyre. The king reminded Lewyn Martell gracelessly that he held Elia and sent him to take command of the ten thousand Domishmen coming up the kingsroad. Jon Darry and Barristan Selmy rode to Stoney Sept to rally what they could of griffins’ men, and Prince Rhaegar returned from the south and persuaded his father to swallow his pride and summon my father. But no raven returned from Casterly Rock, and that made the king even more afraid. He saw traitors everywhere, and Varys was always there to point out any he might have missed.

That under these circumstances place themselves in a situation were they couldn’t respond to a change in the strategic situation for a non-vital objective, is simply absurd, if they are the least bit mindful of the king’s life.

And I submit again, it is Rhaegar’s decision, not Ser Gerold’s.

IMO it’s Ser Gerold’s duty to judge whether Rhaegar’s command reflect the king wishes. Given Aerys great fear, it seems highly unlikely he would have consented to this deployment.

If Rhaegar wants to put them in such a situation he have to give them an extremely good reason to expose the king. My belief, is that he did.

He is also talking about preventing the disaster of letting the Lannisters and Ned into the city. To take it a step further and say he is commenting on the quality of the rest of King’s Landing’s defenders or the quality of Rhaegar’s plan, just isn’t supported by the text.

Then how do you suggest he believe would vanquish the rebels? If the King’s Landing defence forces were well led and gave a good accounting of themselves, the only explanation left is that Ser Gerold believes that he and his brothers are such supreme warriors that they can overcome thousands of rebels by themselves.

It’s a great scene in the comedy, the Princess Bride, when Westley and Inigo Montoya do so, but it doesn’t fit here.

Admitting that things hasn’t gone according plan and accepting your disgrace with dignity doesn’t sound like comedy too me. And were it so it would have been very fitting.

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SFDanny, sorry - I did get a bit frustrated yesterday. It seems like you're not getting my point, which is likely because I am not expressing it clearly enough. So I'll try to be clearer.

The heart of the argument is that you think Jon=heir, and I think Jon=bastard. And in order to argue these points, we are using the presence of the KG at the TOJ.

You say KG at TOJ means Jon=heir. I say that KG at TOJ doesn't mean Jon=heir.

Support for your argument is the presence of the KG AFTER The Trident and the sack of KL. They had a king to go to, but stood guard at the TOJ instead.

Support for my argument is the presence of the KG BEFORE The Trident and the sack of KL. They had a king to go to, but stood guard at the TOJ instead.

Now, you say that my argument is inferior because Jaime was in KL defending Aerys (and the city guard), but Willem Darry, who isn't a white cloak (and was on his lonesome), was guarding Viserys. I agree a little bit, but would like to point out that at these times Aerys wasn't safe, but Viserys was (and lived to be a man grown). But that DOES require the benefit of hindsight, so I withdraw it as an argument.

What I have said, however, is that Aery's safety was as ambiguous as Visery's safety, yet the KG went to the TOJ instead of staying in KL with Aerys, just as they stayed at the TOJ instead of going to Viserys.

To that you say that it would require foresight to know that Aerys was in enough danger to warrant disobeying Rhaegar. I disagree, considering this was the biggest threat Aerys (and Aegon and Rhaenys) had ever faced and this was known to the KG BEFORE they left for the TOJ, before The Trident, and before the sack. I do not see how you can't understand that this did not require foresight on the part of the KG, and is not based on my own hindsight, but instead on what the KG themselves knew at the time.But we have reached an impasse there.

So debating the Jon=heir/bastard point using the KG presence at the TOJ isn't going to go anywhere. You think the only reason they would stay there is if Jon=heir. I think the reason they were there in the first place, and the reason they remained, was more important than personally guarding Aerys and Viserys. They left Aerys in what they thought were good hands, and left Viserys in what they thought were good hands, to fulfill this important duty.

Note that I do not think the KG did the wrong thing or shirked their duty at any stage. I think they did the right thing by leaving Aerys in danger, and the right thing by leaving Viserys in danger, to fulfill the orders Rhaegar gave them.

I think Rhaegar convinced them of the importance of the prophesy, how Aegon was the PWWP and destined to save the realm in the war for dawn, and that he must have two siblings to make up three heads of the dragon. When they left to guard the TOJ, Lyanna was still pregnant, and could have been carrying a girl, for all they knew. So even if Lyanna and Rhaegar were married, the KG left in the first place not to guard Prince3 (because they didn't know it would be a boy), but to guard the third head of the dragon, whether it be male or female.

As it turns out they were very successful in that mission, although it didn't turn out like Rhaegar thought. These 3 gave their lives for Dany's third head of the dragon, not Aegon's third head :).

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(1) - When Rhaegar returns and takes command, presumably with the consent of his father, he gives the orders. He gives the orders to change the tactics of the war and go forth and fight Robert's army. He gives the orders on the location of his forces, including the decision to have Jaime stay with Aerys, and the decision to have the three Kingsguard stay with Lyanna at the Tower of Joy. All of this is his plan to safeguard his father and the heirs to the Targaryen throne. There is no reason to believe the Kingsguard or anyone else would disregard those orders, even if they had concerns about them. It is disingenuous to accuse the Kingsguard of not doing their duty by following those orders. The orders are not outrageous in any manner. They do not, in and of themselves, place the King in jeopardy. Quite the contrary, following his orders is exactly what is in character and what we should expect the Kingsguard and everyone else to do. It is only looking at it from the outside that we can construct the idea that Hightower should have disobeyed Rhaegar and went to King's Landing because he should have known that Rhaegar's defenses would be insufficient. There is no indication they thought so, and there is no indication that anyone would think of disobeying Rhaegar in any of this. Not while he is alive.

I have never said the three KG should have stayed with Aerys. All I have said is if you are going to insist that if Jon=bastard, then the three KG should have gone to Viserys, then to be consistent you must also insist that they should have stayed with Aerys before The Trident. I can see now that I didn't make that clear. I was trying to show how ridiculous it was to insist the KG go to Viserys by showing how ridiculous it would have been for them to stay with Aerys. But I can see how it came across that I was actually saying they should have stayed with Aerys.

(2) - After Rhaegar dies at the Trident, the Kingsguard should reevaluate their situation - at least to get new orders from the King or his new commander. If they had the time to get to Aerys, it might well have made sense to do so, except they can't get there in time. It's not physically possible given how far away they are and how quickly the city falls. It again makes no sense to accuse them of not fulfilling their oaths because they can't do the impossible. If the Lannisters don't betray Aerys, and if Jaime doesn't kill Aerys, then it is very possible that the city can hold out behind their walls while new forces are brought up to fight the besiegers (seemingly Rhaegar's fallback plan.) That could have possibly included some of the knights at the TOJ, but all of that is moot because Aerys invites the Lannisters in.

At no point have I argued that AFTER The Trident the KG should have even considered going to Aerys, or that they should have forseen Tywin's betrayal. I completely agree with you on this one.

(3) - After the Sack of King's Landing, the Kingsguard should again reevaluate their situation. They have a new responsibility to a new King, whether Viserys or Jon is the heir.

Yes, they do. But still, they have their responsibility to the third head of the dragon and the all important prophesy. I can see their thought processes: "Aegon is dead, does that mean Rhaegar was wrong about which of his sons was the PWWP? Should we stay with this child, Rhaegar's son, who may be the real one destined to save the world, and has no protection except us? Or should we go to Viserys who is safe with Willem Darry, a good man and true?"

I have submitted that the fact they stay at the Tower of Joy tells us volumes about where these men thought their duty lay. I still do, and I haven't read a good argument against it. Instead I keep reading ideas about battle plans that should have been, and the supposed violation of oaths and deficits of character in the Kingsguard that aren't supported by the text.

Then you are misreading what I am saying.

On a slightly different note, even if Jon is trueborn and was Prince3 at the time when Rhaegar deployed the KG, don't you think it unreasonable that one of their rank stayed to guard Aerys, Aegon and Rhaenys (king, prince2 and princess1), but three (and the LC himself, who would be of better use with Rhaegar) were sent to guard Prince3? That indicates to me that the reason those 3 were deployed in the first place was greater than guarding Prince3.

With regard to why the Kingsguard doesn't go to aid Aerys, I've explained my position in point #2.

Point #2 explains why they didn't go to Aerys AFTER The Trident, and is a point i've never debated. What you haven't explained properly is why they didn't stay with Aerys BEFORE the trident. As I've said, we've reached an impasse. If you are going to insist that if Viserys was king, the KG should have gone to him, then you must also insist that when Aerys was king, the KG should have stayed with him. Since you refuse to do this, your arguments are inconsistent.

Should the Kingsguard ignore the new situation and not go to Viserys when it seems time and circumstance would indicate they could? How does following orders from a dead Prince after the situation completely changes comport with their oath to defend their King? What is the other reason that keeps them at the Tower of Joy in contradiction to an oath that would have them in Dragonstone if Viserys is King?

Viserys was safe and what they were doing was more important than being at his side. In AFFC, When Tommen is safe, all the KG have a nice little meeting. Is it so unreasonable that when Viserys was safe, the KG continued fulfilling important orders from Rhaegar?

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Viserys was safe and what they were doing was more important than being at his side. In AFFC, When Tommen is safe, all the KG have a nice little meeting. Is it so unreasonable that when Viserys was safe, the KG continued fulfilling important orders from Rhaegar?

There's a significant difference between the two. Viserys is safe as a fugitive on the lam, fleeing for his life. Tommen is safe in the fullness of his power, safely ensconced in his castle surrounded by loyal men who hold him as their king.

Aerys' situation after the Trident is actually closer to Tommen's than Viserys' ever was. The wild card was Pycelle and Aerys' own madness. If they had not opened the gates to Tywin, Aerys would have been much safer. Moreover there's the lag time of news reaching the ToJ; by the time they hear about the Trident is it really feasible to beat the rebels back to KL to protect Aerys? Maybe, maybe not.

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