The Twinslayer Posted January 12, 2017 Share Posted January 12, 2017 Here is some food for thought. The title "Queen of Love and Beauty" is used in almost all of the books to describe a woman honored at the end of a tournament by the winner of the joust. But when Ned describes the moment when Rhaegar crowned Lyanna, he leaves out the "Love" (and the capital letters) and says that Lyanna was simply crowned the "queen of beauty." Does this tell us anything significant about the Rhaegar/Lyanna relationship? Some background: the earliest use of "Queen of Love and Beauty" is in The Hedge Knight, when Lord Ashford crowns his daughter at the beginning of the tournament with the expectation that the champions will choose a new Queen of Love and Beauty at the end. The second is in ACOK when we learn that Ser Jorah crowned Lynesse Hightower Queen of Love and Beauty, asked for her hand, and married her. Cersei recalls being crowned Queen of Love and Beauty by Jaime, Prince Aemon the Dragonknight crowned Queen Naerys whom he loved but could not marry, and Barristan wishes he had crowned Ashara at the Harrenhal tournament, thinking that she would have returned his love. In other words, when it refers to the title bestowed by a tournament champion, there is often a marriage or (when marriage is not possible), reciprocated love. In contrast, the title "queen of beauty" is used only twice in the books. The first use is by Littlefinger when he tells Sansa: "Your mother was my queen of beauty once." There, we know that Littlefinger had an unhealthy obsession with Catelyn and that she did not reciprocate his "love." The other time "queen of beauty" is used is in Ned Stark's description of the "moment all the smiles died." "Ned remembered the moment when all the smiles died, when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen urged his horse past his own wife, the Dornish princess Elia Martell, to lay the queen of beauty's laurel in Lyanna's lap. He could see it still: a crown of winter roses, blue as frost. Ned Stark reached out his hand to grasp the flowery crown, but beneath the pale blue petals the thorns lay hidden. He felt them clawing at his skin, sharp and cruel, saw the slow trickle of blood run down his fingers, and woke, trembling in the dark." So is this perhaps a clue to the nature of the Rhaegar/Lyanna relationship? That it was like the Littlefinger/Catelyn relationship -- a man with an unhealthy obsession and the lady who rejected him? Interestingly enough, Viserys appears to have told a different story to Dany: she thinks Rhaegar crowned Lyanna queen of love and beauty: "But that was the tourney when he crowned Lyanna Stark as queen of love and beauty!" said Dany. "Princess Elia was there, his wife, and yet my brother gave the crown to the Stark girl, and later stole her away from her betrothed. How could he do that?" Of course, Ned was there when it happened and he was the last person to speak with Lyanna before she died, so Ned is probably more reliable on this. The only other person who was there when it happened and who talks about it was Barristan Selmy, and he thinks Lyanna was crowned Queen of Love and Beauty. But he was lying in the mud at the time, having just been unhorsed by Rhaegar, and there is nothing to suggest that he ever saw Lyanna again after that day. Finally, anyone witnessing the scene would use the normal term for this crowning -- Queen of Love and Beauty -- because that it what it is always called. Thus, Ned's use of a different phrase -- and the fact that the difference is the omission of the word "love" -- is a way of catching the reader's attention. So perhaps this is a clue that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna against her will. Or at least, a clue that that is what Ned believed after speaking with her on her deathbed. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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