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Jon Snow Nothing

Rhaegar and Lyanna - love or abduction? Or neither? 3 parts

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I know I am not the first to come up with this theory, or theories. I read about it a long time ago and the more I think about it, the more I believe in it.
So, I would like to share some thoughts regarding my favorite character's parents and their actions and intentions. Yes, I am obsessed with Rhaegar and Lyanna motivations and why Jon Snow was conceived. There was a time I wanted Jon to have a very similar parallel story to Daenerys, and his father raping his mother would fit like a glove. After a bit of thought though, I began having huge doubts about what was written in the books and what was indeed true. And when reading about theories I became obsessed :)
First of all, please forgive my English, it’s never been good and since I began re-reading the books in my native language, it got worse. Also, forgive me if I don't make quotes very well, among other mistakes, it's the very first time I try to put some of my thoughts together without being on a haste, and trying to be as impartial as I can ... I also apologyse if this is the millionth time you read a thread like this, but I just need to read opinions of book readers, and since I watched the show recently, my "obsession" returned.
It's very long, I didn't know where to post this, so sorry for the inconvenience, and maybe it is against the forum rules to post such a long thread, I don't know... :-/ I hope it's alright.

So, first I would like to analyze the options we have for the “disappearance” of R and L.
1) The very first option, the one Robert Baratheon believed and, later, was reinforced by Bran Stark while visiting WF crypts:
Lyanna was kidnapped and raped by Rhaegar.
So this is the first and, probably, the most accepted theory in Westeros, especially after Lyanna's father and brother were killed by Rhaegar's father, the Mad King.
I had some issues with this assumption while reading the books, even though for a time I liked it, as I said above (Dany being also conceived by rape). After reading about Rhaegar by so many POV, especially Jaime's and Cersei's, and connecting the story as a whole it sounded almost impossible that Rhaegar would to such a thing: why?
So my first point against raping is "why would he do it"?
* Westeros had a reason for it, and it was lust, nothing more, nothing less. After all, she was named The Queen of Love and Beauty by Rhaegar, even though his wife, Princess Elia of House Martell, was present. Since the Targaryens were famous for being "mad", this might have never surprised many people.
Problems:
Rhaegar was seen as a very reasonable person, not showing any sight of madness until the "kidnappping". He was not only reasonable, but loved... Loved not only by the people, but by the Lords as well. There is a theory that the very tourney where he made his first mistake, naming Lyanna QoLaB, was a way to gather all the important Lords in order to decide how to depose King Aerys, who was getting worse and worse.
Some think that Rhaegar was obsessed with prophecy. I doubt it. At the moment of the crowning he believed he was TPTWP, convinced by Maester Aemon and by something he read when he was in his early teens. I would say he was obsessed in deposing his father and assuming the throne, to stop the insane acts of his father.
So, it should be a very strong reason to make Rhaegar suddenly kidnap and rape a young girl, not only from a noble house, but from a house that the Realm could not lose.
Robert tells Ned that "... a man forgets that your part is as big as the other six combined" - GOT - Chapter 4
So kidnapping Lyanna was indeed a very wrong thing to do, especially if done by the prince that was, well, maybe not the promised one, but very promising: almost everyone wanted Rhaegar as King, and these people believed he would be a good King, unlike his father.
The reasons:
- Lyanna was beautiful (but not the most beautiful) and Rhaegar simply got mad all of a sudden and decided he wanted her, she was near him, we don't know exactly he was but near enough to notice her, get her "at swordpoint" and disappear.
- Lyanna was his ice to his fire, he suddenly realized, or someone made him think about it, maybe a wood's witch, that she was the one that would give him his promised prince.
- Ned told Arya that both Brandon and Lyanna died because of their "wolf's blood", Lyanna seeking justice for Howland Reed, becoming TKotLT and Rhaegar discovering and falling for her.
- Rhaegar needed a third child because the dragon must have three heads and thought Lyanna was the perfect vessel to this third child. Elia was barren after Aegon's birth.

These four reasons are the only reasonable options out there, there are more ("he was mad like his fathers", "he was warged by the Three-Eyed Crow" and so on).

Why I think none of this is the real reason:
- Lyanna was beautiful, yes, she was brave - if she indeed was TKotLT and Rhaegar discovered it, he could be very much infatuated with her. It's a huge step though from being infatuated, and we don't even know if they indeed got to know each other enough, especially with all of her brothers surrounding her, to kidnap a girl and rape her after.
- The Stark people who were there to protect her seemed to think Rhaegar escaped to King's Landing. Brandon thought Rhaegar was there. Now, we all know King Aerys was mad, but we all know that he and his son were not in good terms. Would it be reasonable to think that Rhaegar would kidnap the daughter of Lord Stark and go to the Red Keep?
- Even if it was "love at first sight", and it was unrequited, would a Prince heir throw everything away, including his newborn baby, the one he thought was TPTWP, the possibility of deposing his father, among other things, for love?
- Rhaegar thought his son Aegon was TPTWP and that was confirmed by Maester Aemon. Before that, he believed he, Rhaegar, was the promised prince. Aegon was still a baby when the kidnapping ocurred and even if a witch or a sorcerer(ess) or someone with deep magic and prophecy knowledge convinced Rhaegar that Lyanna would give birth to the real promised prince, why would he act so suddenly? Why in the middle of a road, why in front of so many people? Just reminding that Lyanna was only betrothed to Rob Baratheon, she was not going get married at Riverrun.
- It makes little sense that a person like Rhaegar, admired by so many people, a sensitive person (musician who composed beautiful sad songs), a good person (loved by not only the Lords but by the common people also), would suddenly become crazy and act like a maniac.
- It was never mentioned on the books that the 3 heads of the Dragon must be siblings and Maester Aemon said "The dragon must have three heads"..."but I am too old and frail to be one of them." - A Feast for Crows, Samwell IV.

 

 

 

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So let's move to the other theory that it's somehow connected to the kidnapping/raping but with a twist:

2)

The second option is a mix of Lyanna and Rhaegar being in love and eloping, Lyanna being convinced by Rhaegar that she was going to give him the prince that was promised (ice and fire) or a mere "third head", and also that they eloped just because they were crazy in love with each other.

The reasons:
- Lyanna seemed to be very touched and even cried when Rhaegar, at the tournament, sang a sad song while playing his harp. She was not the kind of girl that would cry easily. Therefore, she was in love...
- Lyanna might have been discovered by Rhaegar as TKotLT and since then they developed a relationship. The fell in love...
- They somehow found a way to communicate with each other and thought that there would be no other opportunity for them to meet and elope together.
- It is linked with what Ned told Arya, that both Brandon and Lyanna died because of the wolf's blood, in this case Lyanna seeking justice for HR and becoming TKotLT made her meet Rhaegar and fall in love.
- Rhaegar needed a third child blah blah blah the dragon has three heads.

Why I think none of this is the real reason:

- After the crowning of Lyanna, and even before it, all the Starks must been protecting her. I think it is not very plausible that Lyanna had the time and opportunity to exchange more than a few words with Rhaegar. Enough for him to admire her, yes, and understand her reasons, therefore he lied to his father, but not enough time for both to fall in love and plan an elopement.
- Getting moved by a song, especially a girl like Lyanna, was indeed very suspicious. In my opinion, though, not enough to change a character so much. She was mature enough to understand who Robert Baratheon was and that he would never change. A motherless girl who was raised among brothers, who fought with her younger brother Benjen secretly, a girl much like Arya, who probably wouldn't want to be a "proper lady" and marry someone she didn't love or respect would never elope with a married man. Unless she had reasons for it. I could not find any reasons on the books.
- Again, Rhaegar had just become a father again, with baby Aegon, shortly before the "elopement". Would he leave everything behind to elope with a girl of fifteen? These actions somehow would contradict a lot of things told by others about Rhaegar.
- How would Lyanna and Rhaegar communicate? Remember she was crowned at the tourney and nobody was happy with it. So we have to believe afterwards they kept an eye on Lyanna. It was the year of the false spring so we assume she returned to Winterfell and stayed there.
- The "third child" theory is just a theory based on the names of Elia and Rhaegar: Rhaenys and Aegon. Rhaenys was born at a time when Rhaegar was certain he was the promised prince. The fact that "the dragon must have three heads" was never connected with siblings. If he, Rhaegar, thought he could be TPTWP for so long, even though he was an only child for so long, and only began to think of his own son as the prince when remembering that there was a comet in the sky when he was conceived (and born at Dragonstone, probably), makes the theory of the "third child" very weak. Another fact is that the coincidence of their firstborn being a girl named Rhaenys is only a coincidence, and if he was indeed planning three siblings he would have named his daughter Visenya.
- Again, It was never mentioned on the books that the 3 heads of the Dragon must be siblings and Maester Aemon said he could be one if he were not so old.
- If they wanted to elope, there was no need of doing it in front of so many people and no need for taking her "at swordpoint". If they could communicate and plan to elope together, they could have done it without notice and when discovered they would be much far away. The whole "swordpoint", if fake, would only attract people to them. It was much easier to just disappear, run away, at night, while people were sleeping, was it not?
- Were they really the kind of people, both of them, to elope without thinking about the consequences?

 

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3)
There was an "abduction", not an elopement, but it was caused by Aerys, who discovered Lyanna was TKoTLT and declared her a traitor and either ordered his men - or his men and his son - to bring her to him to "justice". The whole "trial by combat" using fire as champion for the King was planned to be used with Lyanna, a much easier target than one of her brothers.

Well, this is the theory I endorse and here are the reasons, some of them are weak because we have so little knowledge of what really happened between those two:

ASOIAF is not a love story and it has many nuances. The whole point, the first spark of Robert's rebelion was not Lyanna going with Rhaegar but the great Tourney of Harrenhal. Even Barristan thinks that had he won, things would be different. What would change if Lyanna were not crowned? Would people think that Rhaegar did not kidnap her if she were not crowned? Or something else? Who else was at this tourney, and was not supposed to be there? Aerys II Targaryen. Who should have been there and was not? Lord Rickard Stark.
This is, imho, the strongest point to this theory: Ned tells Arya that it was "the wolf's blood" that led them to an early death. Brandon, it so obvious what he meant regarding his brother. What about Lyanna? Some people like to think that being the TKoTLT attracted Rhaegar attention to her, and to some extent it migh have been the case, but not enough to cause her death. The fact that Aerys declared the knight a "traitor".
Aerys was paranoid and the fact that the treason was commited by a Stark let him to think of the Starks as traitors, all of them. This is the reason he demanded Ned's head - and Lyanna's betrothed.
House Stark, until then, only married among other North houses, this was the first time when two marriages were arranged with houses of the South, and Aerys might have considered Rickard giving his second oldest son, Eddard, to be a ward at the Eyrie, to be guided by Jon Arryn, who had no heir, to be another "move" to become stronger.
The North, as Robert points to Ned in the beginning of the book, is almost as big as all the other six kingdoms together. Lord Stark began to ally with Southeners, and in Aerys II mind this would be very suspicious.
Aerys was already suspicious at the tourney, he was not supposed to go but changed his mind suddenly. So he was very aware that this tourney was somehow a reunion of the main Lords with his son in order to depose him. One Lord though, was not there, even though all his children were. We know now why, Winterfell must always have a Stark, but Aerys might have thought this absence a bit weird.
So here comes why both the crowning of Lyanna, that Selmy regrets, and the fact that "the wolf's blood" was responsible for Lyanna's early death.
The crowning: if Rhaegar was indeed intending to kidnap or elope with Lyanna the last thing he should have done was give her the crown of roses. It made the whole realm believe the fact that she was kidnapped, and worse, it made Brandon Stark lose his mind and go confront the King at the Red Keep. Selmy might or might not know the truth but the fact that Lyanna was crowned might have put Brandon in a more "wolfy" mood.
Lyanna was an easy target, at least Aerys would have thought, and the perfect person to bring the elusive Lord Stark from the North to confront the King.
So, in this theory, even though, obviously, both Rhaegar and Lyanna were smitten with each other, they did not decided suddenly to run away and Rhaegar did not kidnap Lyanna because he needed another heir. These other theories contradict everything that was written about these characters on the book.
So either Rhaegar disobeyed his father's orders and took Lyanna away from him or he discovered his father's orders and rescued her. This would explain:
- Why it was done "at swordpoint". King's men and Stark men really fought with each other.
- Why people think it was an abduction.
- Why Brandon Stark thought it was an abduction, and since the King's men returned to King's Landing, he thought Rhaegar was at the Red Keep.
- Explains why even if Lyanna was not TKotLT, but planned the whole thing, her "wolf's blood" was responsible for early death. I think she was part of a combo, and I think Rhaegar discovered it, but it was more the complications that her idea led to then the fact that she was the mysterious knight.
- Explains why Rhaegar could not come back for a time, he was a traitor in his father's eyes.
- May explain how Rhaegar and Lyanna could have been married, or maybe get a "legitimization" for their son, a trade between father and son, so Rhaegar would fight for his father, but kept Hightower with Lyanna. Aerys needed Rhaegar and Rhaegar asked for a pardon and a legitimization in order to leed the Targaryen army against Robert's. It even explains why Rhaegar joined the war so late, they were running away from the King.
- Finally, explains why two good people, reasonable people, at least the little bit we know from others show us they were, would stay together after all those tragedies.

So, sorry again if this have been post too many times and sorry for the mistakes, but I would love to read some reasonable thoughts about this theory again, at this time when we are still waiting for the sixth book and the show is spoiling so many things and everyone is talking about it, it seems it's impossible to avoid spoilers and discuss the books.

 

 

 

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Another option: They had a wilding wedding.

Rhaegar was obsessed with prophecy (one of the few things we know about him,) and discovered either through his scrolls or the Green men (via Howland) that the original Last Hero had been a Stark that followed the Old Ways. In order to sire the Last Hero Reborn, Rhaegar tried to duplicate the circumstances of the birth of original Last Hero, including the pre-Andal wedding traditions that are still preserved beyond the Wall.

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On 20/07/2017 at 8:00 AM, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

Another option: They had a wilding wedding.

Rhaegar was obsessed with prophecy (one of the few things we know about him,) and discovered either through his scrolls or the Green men (via Howland) that the original Last Hero had been a Stark that followed the Old Ways. In order to sire the Last Hero Reborn, Rhaegar tried to duplicate the circumstances of the birth of original Last Hero, including the pre-Andal wedding traditions that are still preserved beyond the Wall.

Sorry, only saw your reply today! Everytime I come here my computer behaves wierdly, as if there is a virus or something. Last time it was not working, the forum.

I don't think Rhaegar was obsessed with prophecy more than Aemon or other Targaryens that had dreams regarding this prophecy. Martin mentions Rhaegar and prophecy a lot of tims because Maester Aemon, who was indeed very obsessed with the prophecy, thought Rhaegar was the prince that was promised. The vision we have through his sister, Daenerys, is a red herring concerning the three heads - the theory of siblings is a red herring from Martin. We read on Samwell Tarly's chapters that Maester Aemon thinks he was too old and blind, regretting he could not be one of the heads. So Aemon and Rhaegar knew that heads meant mentors, not siblings.

From the world book we can see that Rhaegar was more ocuppied with deposing his father than with the prince, and maybe now that he no longer thinks he is the promised prince, he can focus even more on deposing Aerys.

Your idea of Rhaegar finding some scrolls via Green men is fine... In the books his great uncle says Rhaegar was persuaded that his son was the prince, because of a comet. This son was his son with Elia, conceived (not born, but conceived) under a bleeding star. So, still, it doesn't make sense that he suddenly changes his mind.

Unless he finds out Aegon is not his son...

 

 

 

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Whether the 15 year old Lyanna willingly went with Rhaegar does not change that it was still an abduction. Edmure was not free to come and go as he pleased before he was 16 so Lyanna, as a female in pretty sexist world, is not going to either. 

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