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Ygrain

R+L=J v.165

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Reference guide

 

The R+L=J theory claims Jon Snow most probably is the son of crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna Stark.

 

The Tower of the Hand has an excellent analysis of this theory:

Jon Snow's Parents

 

And Westeros' Citadel also provides a summary:

Jon Snow's Parents

 

A Wiki of Ice and Fire:

Jon Snow Theories

 

Radio Westeros podcast:

A Dragon, a Wolf and a Rose

 

Kingmonkey's essay:

R+L=J

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

How can Jon be a Targaryen if ordinary fire burned his hand?

Targaryens are not immune to fire. It's a myth that has been refuted by a list of Targaryens being burned. Danaerys 'the unburnt' was indeed unscathed when she hatched the dragon eggs, but that has not stopped her being burned on other occasions. See this thread on Targaryen fire immunity.

 

Don't all Targaryens have hallmark Valryian silver-golden hair and purple eyes?

Not all of them: Valarr and Queen Alysanne had blue eyes. Bittersteel, who like Jon was half first men blood, had brown hair. Baelor Breakspear and his son(s) and Jon's own half-sister Rhaenys had the Dornish look (dark hair, black eyes, olive skin). Rhaenyra Targaryen's three sons all had brown hair and brown eyes even though both their parents had light silver-gold hair.

Had Jon Valyrian features, it would give his parentage away: "He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn, guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son." Tyrion got the bit about the mother wrong, though: his mother was the Stark.

 

If Jon isn't Ned's son, then why does he look so much like him?

Jon looks very like Arya, and Arya looks very like Lyanna. Jon is Ned's nephew, and Lyanna and Ned looked similar.

 

Ned is too honourable to lie. If he says Jon is his son, doesn't that mean he must be?

Ned tells Arya that sometimes lies can be honourable. His final words, a confession of his guilt, are a lie to protect Sansa. While a lie can be honourable, cheating on his wife isn't, so Ned's famed honour points to Jon not being his son.

 

How can Jon be half-Targaryen and have a direwolf?

He's also half Stark, through Lyanna. Ned's trueborn children are half Tully and that doesn't stop them having direwolves.

 

Why doesn't Ned ever think about Lyanna being Jon's mother?

Ned doesn't think about anyone being Jon's mother. If he did, there would be no mystery. He names 'Wylla' to Robert, but we do not see him thinking of Wylla being Jon's mother.

There's a hidden hint at who Jon's mother might be: In chapter 4, Eddard's internal monologue goes "Lyanna ... Ned had loved her with all his heart." and in chapter 6, Catelyn thinks "Whoever Jon's mother had been, Ned must have loved her fiercely".

 

Why would Ned not at least tell Catelyn?

We don't have a list of what Ned promised to Lyanna, but know he takes his promises seriously. Maybe he promised not to tell anyone. In Chapter 45, Ned is uncertain what Cat would do if it came to Jon's life over that of her own children. If Catelyn knew that Jon was Rhaegar's son, she might feel that keeping him at Winterfell presented a serious risk to her own children. Ultimately, Catelyn did not need to know, so maybe Ned simply chose to be on the safe side.

 

Doesn't Ned refer to Robb and Jon as "my sons in the very first chapter?

In speech, not in thought. Ned is keeping Jon's parentage secret. He never thinks of Jon as his son: In Chapter 45, Ned thinks of his children "Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon and explicitly excludes Jon from the list. ADwD Chapter 34 has Bran's vision of younger Ned in the Winterfell godswood: "...let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them," he prayed, "and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive..." which not make sense if they are brothers.

 

Since Rhaegar was already married, wouldn't Jon still be a bastard?

He might, or might not. There was a tradition of polygamy among Targaryens in the past, so the possibility that Rhaegar and Lyanna married is not easily ruled out. A pro-legitimacy argument is this: The presence of the three kingsguards at the Tower of Joy is best explained if they were defending the heir to the throne, which Jon would only be if he was legitimate.

 

Can we be certain polygamy is not illegal?

Aegon I and Maegor I practised polygamy. In Westeros, unlike a constitutional monarchy, royals are not subject to the law. So if there ever was a law against it, it did not apply to the Targaryens: In Chapter 33 it says "like their dragons the Targaryens answered to neither gods nor men". Examples demonstrate that it was considered an option for Targaryens: Aegon IV and Daemon Blackfyre may have considered it for Daemon, Jorah Mormont suggested it to Daenerys as a viable option, and she said the same about Quentyn Martell.

George R.R. Martin says in this SSM: "If you have a dragon, you can have as many wives as you want". There is alsothis SSM predating the worldbook.

On Polygamy essay by Ygrain with additions by Rhaenys_Targaryen

 

Weren't the Kingsguard at Tower of Joy on the basis of an order from Aerys, to guard Lyanna as a hostage?

If so, why would they have apparently made no effort to use this leverage against Robert and Ned? Some argue their Kingsguard vows would have taken precedence and still have required them to leave the Tower to protect Viserys when he became heir -- unless there was another that took precedence [Jon]. Others think they were guarding Lyanna as a hostage at the Tower of Joy. Some say that makes little sense: She would better be kept hostage at King's Landing, and wouldn't require kingsguards to guard her. The mere presence of three kingsguards implies something more important: guarding members of the royal family or maybe the heir.

Frequently suggested readings: At the tower of joy by MtnLion and support of the toj analysis by Ygrain

 

Isn't there an SSM that says the 3 Kingsguard were following Rhaegar's orders though?

The SSM you may be thinking of is probably this: The King's Guards don't get to make up their own orders. They serve the king, they protect the king and the royal family, but they're also bound to obey their orders, and if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order, they would do that. They can't say, "No we don't like that order, we'll do something else."

We know from Barristan, protecting the king is the first and most important of all kingsguard duties. Jamie suggests some other KG to stay with the king when he wants to leave for the Trident and we also learn of a ritual that is performed when all KG meet and the king is guarded by someone who is not from the order.

"Protect vs Obey" is an ongoing subject of debate that is unlikely to be settled until we know more. Either viewpoint is compatible with R+L=J.

 

Wouldn't Viserys take precedence anyway? Rhaegar died without becoming king, and doesn't the world book call Viserys, not Aegon, Aerys' new heir?

No, in the case of an eldest son dying before the king dies, a grandson comes before a younger son. Even in the case the grandson is yet unborn at the time of death, he would succeed (heir apparent vs. heir presumptive). The world book is written with a Lannister bias (it may be propaganda to undermine Dornish support for the Targaryens) and in hindsightby maesters who have never learned all of what we know from Ned's dreams and memories. If it still turns out to be true... see the next answer.

 

Are matters of succession just as clear as presented here?

Succession quarrels are a part of medieval power play and even a very clear inheritance could well be contested. So maybe in King's Landing things did happen as the world book says. Rhaegar and Aerys may have been at odds over the succession. Rhaegar told Jaime before leaving for the Trident that he intended to call a council, and The Great Councils of the past have dealt with matters of succession. Who would have accepted such a change is a question worth asking.

 

Ned is dead. Who's going to tell anyone about it?

Bloodraven and Bran may have learned of it through the weirwood network. Benjen might know. Checkov's CrannogmanHowland Reed is the sole survivor of the encounter at the Tower of Joy, and George R.R. Martin has stated he has not yet appeared because he knows too much about the central mystery of the book. "They had found him [Ned] still holding her [Lyanna's] body" tells that there also was someone else besides Howland to find Ned.

 

Why is this important? What impact can it have on the story?

The careful way the mystery of Jon's parentage was created is reason to believe it's important. What impact it will have on the rest of the series is still unknown.

 

This theory is too obvious and too many people believe it to be fact. How can it be true?

It is not so obvious to the majority of readers. Some will get it on their first read, but most will not. Readers who go to online fan forums, such as this, still represent a very small minority of the readership. Also, A Game of Thrones has been out since 1996. That's more than 18 years of readers being able to piece together this mystery. Crowd-sourced internet-based mystery solving like this inevitably make solved mysteries seem more obvious in hindsight.

 

George R.R. Martin is a "breaker of tropes, there can be no hidden prince, it's simply too cliché.

In order to break a trope it needs to be installed in the first place. It is yet unknown what will happen to Jon in the future. Being the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar does not imply the fairy-tale style happy ending associated with the hidden prince trope.

 

Is there a list of all R+L=J clues that have been found?

There is a list of R+L=J hints, clues and foreshadowing compiled by sj4iy.

 

Since this theory has been refined so well, will Martin change the outcome of the story to surprise his fans?

He has stated that he won't change the outcome of the story just because some people have put together all the clues and solved the puzzle.

 

A thread for discussing strengths and weaknesses of the theory that Jon Snow's parents are Rhaegar and Lyanna.

Previous editions:

Please click on the spoiler below to reveal links to all previous editions of this thread

Spoiler

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (thread one)

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (thread two)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part III) (thread three)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part IV) (thread four)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part V) (thread five)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part VI) (thread six)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon Thread Part VII (thread seven)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part VIII (thread eight)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part IX (thread nine)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna =Jon Thread, Part X(thread ten)

The R+L=J thread, part XI (thread eleven)

The R+L=J thread, part XII (thread twelve)

R+L=J Part XXIII (thread thirteen)

R+L=J Part XXIV (thread fourteen)

R+L=J XXV (thread fifteen)

R+L=J v.16 (thread sixteen)

R+L=J v.17 (thread seventeen)

R+L=J v.18 (thread eighteen)

R+L=J v.19 (thread nineteen)

R+L=J v.20 (thread twenty)

R+L=J v.21 (thread twenty-one)

R+L=J v.22 (thread twenty-two)

R+L=J v.22a (thread twenty-two (a))

R+L=J v.23 (thread twenty-three)

R+L=J v.24 (thread twenty-four)

R+L=J v.25 (thread twenty-five)

R+L=J v.26 (thread twenty-six)

R+L=J v.27 (thread twenty-seven)

R+L=J v.28 (thread twenty-eight)

R+L=J v.29 (thread twenty-nine)

R+L=J v.30 (thread thirty)

R+L=J v.31 (thread thirty-one)

R+L=J v.32 (thread thirty-two)

R+L=J v.33 (thread thirty-three)

R+L=J v.34 (thread thirty-four)

R+L=J v.35 (thread thirty-five)

R+L=J v.36 (thread thirty-six)

R+L=J v.37 (thread thirty-seven)

R+L=J v.38 (thread thirty-eight)

R+L=J v.39 (thread thirty-nine)

"R+L=J v.40" (thread forty)

"R+L=J v.41" (thread forty-one)

"R+L=J v.42" (thread forty-two)

"R+L=J v.43" (thread forty-three)

"R+L=J v.44" (thread forty-four)

"R+L=J v.45" (thread forty-five)

"R+L=J v.46" (thread forty-six)

"R+L=J v.47" (thread forty-seven)

"R+L=J v.48" (thread forty-eight)

"R+L=J v.49" (thread forty-nine)

"R+L=J v.50" (thread fifty)

"R+L=J v.51" (thread fifty-one)

"R+L=J v.52" (thread fifty-two)

"R+L=J v.53" (thread fifty-three)

"R+L=J v.54" (thread fifty-four)

"R+L=J v.55" (thread fifty-five)

"R+L=J v.56" (thread fifty-six)

"R+L=J v.57" (thread fifty-seven)

"R+L=J v.58" (thread fifty-eight)

"R+L=J v.59" (thread fifty-nine)

"R+L=J v.60" (thread sixty)

"R+L=J v.61" (thread sixty-one)

"R+L=J v.62" (thread sixty-two)

"R+L=J v.63" (thread sixty-three)

"R+L=J v.64" (thread sixty-four)

"R+L=J v.65" (thread sixty-five)

"R+L=J v.66" (thread sixty-six)

"R+L=J v.67" (thread sixty-seven)

"R+L=J v.68" (thread sixty-eight)

"R+L=J v.69" (thread sixty-nine)

"R+L=J v.70" (thread seventy)

"R+L=J v.71" (thread seventy-one)

"R+L=J v.72" (thread seventy-two)

"R+L=J v.73" (thread seventy-three)

"R+L=J v.74" (thread seventy-four)

"R+L=J v.75" (thread seventy-five)

"R+L=J v.76" (thread seventy-six)

"R+L=J v.77" (thread seventy-seven)

"R+L=J v.78" (thread seventy-eight)

"R+L=J v.79" (thread seventy-nine)

"R+L=J v.80" (thread eighty)

"R+L=J v.81" (thread eighty-one)

"R+L=J v.82" (thread eighty-two)

"R+L=J v.83" (thread eighty-three)

"R+L=J v.84" (thread eighty-four)

"R+L=J v.85" (thread eighty-five)

"R+L=J v.86" (thread eighty-six)

"R+L=J v.87" (thread eighty-seven)

"R+L=J v.88" (thread eighty-eight)

"R+L=J v.89" (thread eighty-nine)

"R+L=J v.90" (thread ninety)

"R+L=J v.91" (thread ninety-one)

"R+L=J v.92" (thread ninety-two)

"R+L=J v.93" (thread ninety-three)

R+L=J v.94" (thread ninety-four)

"R+L=J v.95" (thread ninety-five)

"R+L=J v.96" (thread ninety-six)

"R+L=J v.97" (thread ninety-seven)

"R+L=J v.98" (thread ninety-eight)

"R+L=J v.99" (thread ninety-nine)

"R+L=J v.100" (thread one hundred)

"R+L=J v.101" (thread one hundred one)

"R+L=J v.102" (thread one hundred two)

"R+L=J v.103" (thread one hundred three)

"R+L=J v.104" (thread one hundred four)

"R+L=J v.105" (thread one hundred five)

"R+L=J v.106" (thread one hundred six)

"R+L=J v.107" (thread one hundred seven)

"R+L=J v.108" (thread one hundred eight)

"R+L=J v.109" (thread one hundred nine)

"R+L=J v.110" (thread one hundred ten)

"R+L=J v.111" (thread one hundred eleven)

"R+L=J v.112" (thread one hundred twelve)

R+L=J v.113" (thread one hundred thirteen)

"R+L=J v.114" (thread one hundred fourteen)

The "[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J" threads were used to openly discuss spoilers from TWoIaF at the time we needed to protect that information.

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.1"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.2"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.3"

"R+L=J v.115" (thread one hundred fifteen)

"R+L=J v.116" (thread one hundred sixteen)

"R+L=J v.117" (thread one hundred seventeen)

"R+L=J v.118" (thread one hundred eighteen)

"R+L=J v.119" (thread one hundred nineteen)

"R+L=J v.120" (thread one hundred twenty)

"R+L=J v.121" (thread one hundred twenty one)

"R+L=J v.122" (thread one hundred twenty two)

"R+L=J v.123" (thread one hundred twenty three)

"R+L=J v.124" (thread one hundred twenty four)

"R+L=J v.125" (thread one hundred twenty five)

"R+L=J v.126" (thread one hundred twenty six)

"R+L=J v.127" (thread one hundred twenty seven)

"R+L=J v.128" (thread one hundred twenty eight)

"R+L=J v.129" (thread one hundred twenty nine)

"R+L=J v.130" (thread one hundred thirty)

"R+L=J v.131" (thread one hundred thirty one)

"R+L=J v.132" (thread one hundred thirty two)

"R+L=J v.133" (thread one hundred thirty three)

"R+L=J v.134" (thread one hundred thirty four)

"R+L=J v.135" (thread one hundred thirty five)

R+L=J v.136" (thread one hundred thirty six)

"R+L=J v.137" (thread one hundred thirty seven)

"R+L=J v.138"(thread one hundred thirty eight)

"R+L=J v.139" (thread one hundred thirty nine)

"R+L=J v.140" (thread one hundred forty)

"R+L=J v.141" (thread one hundred forty one)

"R+L=J v.142(thread one hundred forty two)

"R+L=J v.143" (thread one hundred forty three)

"R+L=J v.144" (thread one hundred forty four)

"R+L=J v.145" (thread one hundred forty five)

"R+L=J v.146" (thread one hundred forty six)

"R+L=J v.147" (thread one hundred forty seven)

"R+L=J v.148" (thread one hundred forty eight)

"R+L=J v.149"(thread one hundred forty nine)

"R+L=J v.150" (thread one hundred fifty)

"R+L=J v.151" (thread one hundred fifty one)

"R+L=J v.152" (thread one hundred fifty two)

"R+L=J v.153" (thread one hundred fifty three)

"R+L=J v.154" (thread one hundred fifty four)

"R+L=J v.155" (thread one hundred fifty five)

"R+L=J v.156" (thread one hundred fifty six)

"R+L=J v.157" (thread one hundred fifty seven)

"R+L=J v.158" (thread one hundred fifty eight)

"R+L=J v.159" (thread one hundred fifty nine)

"R+L=J v.160" (thread one hundred sixty) 

"R+L=J v.161" (thread one hundred sixty one)

"R+L=J v.162" (thread one hundred sixty two)

"R+L=J v.163" (thread one hundred sixty three)

"R+L=J v.164" (thread one hundred sixty four)

 

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From the previous thread:

 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The implication is that Whent helped arrange the tourney of Harrenhal, knowing fully well that this was supposed to be an informal Great Council discussing what to do about Aerys' madness. That is treason. The Kingsguard does not only protect the king's person but also his crown. People plotting to limit or restrict the king's power - or outright depose him - are traitors. And thus Whent betrayed his king there, too. There is no way around that.

Sorry but this is not supported by the text. Aerys would certainly call it treason, but not all of the lords would. There is a huge difference between planning a coup and making legal arrangements to depose an unstable king.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The fact that Whent and Dayne stayed with a mere prince rather than abandon Rhaegar and his lover/second wive/whatever to return to KL and help their king to crush the rebels also shows their priorities.

Not really. Unless Aerys explicitely ordered that they were to return ASAP, Rhaegar had full authority to order them to stay behind. And even if such an order existed, Rhaegar still had the means to make them stay. See below.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Rhaegar wasn't the king. And Aerys II had another son and grandchildren at that. Rhaegar was expendable, basically. He wasn't the only heir the king had.

That is nonsense. If Rhaegar was expendable, Aerys wouldn't have needed him to return. It was war, Rhaegar was his only adult heir, and the only capable heir. As far as we know, it was Aerys who asked Rhaegar to come back and take command of the armies, not the other way round. That puts Rhaegar in a position when he can dictate conditions. If he makes the KG staying at ToJ a condition of his return, then they have no choice - the king needs him more than he needs them, or else he simply would have named Hightower the commander

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

it is even more unlikely that this man - a paragon of knightly virtues at that - would have stood with the Mad King against Rhaegar.

That he wouldn't, but Aerys' life wouldn't be threatened. The vows don't say "and keep him on the throne at any cost even when he is batshit crazy", either. I think Arthur Dayne was walking a very thin line - a sword edge - to abide by all his vows, both as a KG and as a knight, and that's why we repeatedly see him described as "sad", because such a thing is practically impossible.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And Hightower should have been pretty much on the same page as Whent and Dayne in the end. If he had still been Aerys' man at heart he wouldn't have agreed to remain at the tower. Rhaegar had no way to force the man to stay there.

See above.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And if Whent and Dayne were still Kingsguard in the end they would also have been honor-bound to obey their Lord Commander.

You mean, obey Lord Commander over the Crown Prince? That seems hardly plausible.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But we should not go as far as assuming that Whent, Dayne, and Hightower had just stood there, doing nothing, if Aerys II had commanded them - and other men around them - to seize Rhaegar and burn him alive. They all made their choice when they chose to obey Rhaegar rather than Aerys.

Well, that would certainly be one of the reasons why Rhaegar wouldn't want them back in KL, and he was certainly clever enough to catch Hightower into the letters of the vows to make him stay.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

it is just a dream, created by Ned's mind.

I always have to laugh, reading such claims. Dreams in literature are never "just dreams", and in ASOIAF, doubly so. The ToJ is a piece of highly skillful and highly deliberate writing, set up to convey certain information, and it must be information that Ned was either privy to or figured out. The answer to "why are you here, of all places", must have been a satisfactory one for his code of honour, or else he wouldn't consider the KG as a shining lesson to the world.

16 minutes ago, Ran said:

I feel like I keep being pulled out of discussing R+L=J for some reason.

Well, can you wonder? :-)

A bit more on track: do you still propose that by the time Ned arrived at ToJ, Jon had been removed to Starfall? Because the situation with the KG not being with him but dying as true KG would then parallel Aegon II's flight from KL. A KG on a fishing boat, if recognized, would inevitably give away that something fishy was going on, and the same would go for a KG at Starfall. Even their presence at ToJ is questioned in Ned's dream, after all.

BTW, has GRRM ever mentioned if Ned went to Starfall directly from ToJ? Or did he first return to KL to report Lyanna's death to Robert (and perhaps ostentatiously show that he had no baby with him)?

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When you need 165. threads and you still don't convince people into believing the most obvious theory there is, because it is like a ASoIaF tutorial, beginners guide.

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@Ran

It is certainly possible that Barristan isn't thinking about the same things Yandel is talking about in TWoIaF. But if he was - and that's what I'm assuming here - then this is significant. And it is not that we don't have it confirmed that Rhaegar wanted to have an informal Great Council at Harrenhal. He implicitly confirms that in Jaime's memory of his last conversation with Rhaegar.

That whole subplot about the two factions at court resembling the days before the Dance of the Dragons, etc. in TWoIaF is just broadening and expanding on hints George gave us in earlier books.

And the impression we are supposed to get is that some Kingsguard - Whent and Dayne, at least - were involved in that plotting, too. Prince Lewyn is another man of Rhaegar's - or was his man, until Harrenhal and the subsequent Lyanna affair.

As to the feudal contract:

I'm not denying that there is such a thing. But it is an informal and ill-defined thing. There is a spectrum of what lords can do to or demand of their lords until rebellion is justified. But we have no indication that there are any written or binding agreements. No clauses a king has to fulfill, duties he has to perform, etc. to deserve homage and submission. He certainly fulfills a function and has to work to preserve the peace, see to it that the Realm prospers, etc. But how he is to do that - and what lords and other subjects can demand of him - is nowhere defined. People are grumbling that King Aerys I and his sorcerer Hand aren't doing anything against the Ironborn raiders or the outlaws and bandits making the roads less secure than they were during the reign of the Good King - but there is no indication that this means Aerys I is no longer king, and the lords are now entitled to try to depose him in a rebellion, right?

Back when the Faith had still teeth the High Septon could denounce a monarch as a pretender and tyrant - as done to King Aenys - and then he was likely little more than an outlaw and a wild dog to be put down by the faithful, but Maegor's victory changed that.

I mean, when exactly is rebellion justified in this world? We honestly don't know. Maegor the Cruel and Aegon the Unworthy got away with a lot of crazy stuff. And Aerys II got away with a lot of stuff, too. Nobody was rebelling when he was executing Rickard and Brandon. And pretty much nobody seemed to care about Darklyns and Hollards. I'm not saying people who are personally threatened by a king have no right to oppose such a king - of course they have. But that's different from a broader rebellion or the actual deposition of a king. Do people have a right to rebel against a king when he is taking his revenge on people you have nothing to do with? Say, has the North a right to be concerned when the king favors them but terrorizes the Vale instead?

I'm with you on the complexity of the people and the way they see themselves and their duties. But that doesn't change the fact that the leeway a Kingsguard or brother of the Night's Watch has when he makes a decision is very narrow. That is how the author forces such people to make impossible decisions. It wouldn't be fun if it was easy. But there is usually an easy choice in the matter: Obey your superior. Obey the king. Do as you are told. Stay out of the whole thing. That's the easy choice. The one by the books. But not necessarily the correct choice.

Favoring/plotting with Rhaegar against the king is treason if you are a Kingsguard. But it might still be the right choice when the king is a madman. But that doesn't change the fact that it is treason - and would have lead/can lead to a traitor's death if you are caught.

Davos doesn't get away with what he does in the Edric affair because he did the right thing. He only saves his life because Stannis agrees that he did the right thing after he explained his reasoning. A king can be merciful and forgiving to his servants and sworn swords. He can even listen to reason. But he doesn't have to.

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Sorry but this is not supported by the text. Aerys would certainly call it treason, but not all of the lords would. There is a huge difference between planning a coup and making legal arrangements to depose an unstable king.

How do you know that? We have no precedent for an 'unstable king' ever being deposed in this world. Jaehaerys I, for instance, seems to have become senile and demented (either from grief or age) in his last years or months. Yet nobody was appointed as regent nor was Viserys I crowned and anointed king while the Old King slowly died under the care of Alicent Hightower. There are also no indications that the deposition of a king could ever be legal. As far as we know that's always illegal since a king is crowned king for life.

I'd agree with you that there should be regulations in a monarchy how to deal with mad or demented monarchs. But proper monarchies refuse to make such rules because it would restrict the power of the king.

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Not really. Unless Aerys explicitely ordered that they were to return ASAP, Rhaegar had full authority to order them to stay behind. And even if such an order existed, Rhaegar still had the means to make them stay. See below.

How do you know that? Prince Rhaegar is technically just daddy's eldest son. He has no part in the government of his royal father. He'll succeed him one day but until that he is just daddy's son. There is a chain of command and a royal government. The king commands the Kingsguard. The Hand (when speaking with the King's Voice) and the queen do, too, within the confines of the power given to them by the king. As does the Small Council. The royal princes have no right to interfere with the Kingsguard's business or the government of the Realm unless the king's involves them in matters of state. 

Rhaegar could have had similar power, but it would have fallen to the Kingsguard in question to decide whether they accept Rhaegar's authority or not.

Whent and Dayne were Rhaegar's buddies. They would most likely also have consented to guard his horse in the middle of nowhere if he felt that's what they were supposed to do. But Hightower was the Lord Commander. He could have easily objected to Rhaegar's command, especially if he had reason to believe that Rhaegar was plotting against the king. Or that the king would need his, Hightower's, counsel as quickly as possible. He could have feigned to obey Rhaegar's command, tricking him into returning to KL, and then just leaving Lyanna and returning to KL, too. He could even have decided on his own authority to hand the Stark woman over to some Dornishmen or other loyalists and then command his two sworn brothers - who were bound to obey him, as their lord commander - to accompany him to KL.

That he didn't do either of that shows he chose Rhaegar over Aerys. Just as Whent and Dayne did.

You also recall that Jaime Lannister - the Lord Commander of Tommen's Kingsguard - only agreed to lead Tommen's armies in the Riverlands after he had received a written order to that regard, signed and sealed by His Grace King Tommen himself. What indicates that in relation Rhaegar's authority over Hightower? If Jaime felt he could have defied the Queen Regent over the issue then Hightower certainly could have ignored an order given to him by a mere prince.

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

That is nonsense. If Rhaegar was expendable, Aerys wouldn't have needed him to return.

Rhaegar is expendable in principle. He is just an heir. He isn't the king. The king is the king. And the king could have crushed this rebellion with or without the help of Rhaegar. And then Viserys, Aegon, or one of their sons or grandsons could have succeeded Aerys II after the man had died peacefully in his sleep at the age of eighty.

The fact that Aerys II wanted his son to return to court doesn't prove he needed him or depended on him. It just proves that he wanted him to return to court. We don't know his reasons for that decision as of yet. He may have believed he needed Rhaegar, but doesn't mean he did need Rhaegar.

There is no indication that anybody (or the development of the war) did push or force Aerys to search for Rhaegar. It may have been nothing more or less but the irrational love a madman had for his son that lead to Rhaegar's return to court. There is no indication whatsoever that only Rhaegar could have led the Targaryen armies, etc. whereas there is objective evidence that both Selmy and Hightower himself would have been much better suited for that task. They were experienced commanders and veterans from the War of the Ninepenny Kings. The crushed the Blackfyres. Rhaegar never fought in any wars nor did he kill a man in battle prior to the Trident. At least as far as we know. He was bad choice as a commander.

The idea to have him accompany the army and show his face was pretty good (Aerys also accompanied the men to the Stepstonesin 260 AC, most likely to inspire and support the Targaryen troops). But actually giving command to him may have been a grievous error, actually.

And Aerys didn't need Rhaegar's consent or support if he had decided to use him as a mere figurehead. He was his father and the king. And he had Elia, Aegon, and Rhaenys as hostages. Surely Rhaegar would have done anything in his power to save his wife and children from being burned alive, no?

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

It was war, Rhaegar was his only adult heir, and the only capable heir. As far as we know, it was Aerys who asked Rhaegar to come back and take command of the armies, not the other way round.

It was Aerys. But as I laid out above, that doesn't mean Aerys needed Rhaegar. Aerys just needed men who could command armies and win battles.

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

That puts Rhaegar in a position when he can dictate conditions. If he makes the KG staying at ToJ a condition of his return, then they have no choice - the king needs him more than he needs them, or else he simply would have named Hightower the commander.

Gerold Hightower found Rhaegar at that tower. We don't know how many men he had with him, but it is very unlikely he came alone. But even if he did - it is pretty clear that Hightower, Whent, and Dayne should have been able to overpower Rhaegar and drag him back to KL in chains if that's what Hightower had wanted to do. And they would have gotten support for doing that any loyalist castle in the Reach. Surely Whent and Dayne wouldn't have been able to stick to Rhaegar if Hightower had commanded them in the name of King Aerys to arrest Prince Rhaegar and help him deliver him to his royal father.

Rhaegar also had no army at his tower, no leeway to negotiate with the representative of his father. What could he have done if Hightower had insisted that he come with him?

The idea that Aerys instructed Hightower to inform Rhaegar that he was giving him command of the armies before Rhaegar had agreed to return makes little sense. He may not even have known that Aerys intended to do that. After all, it also makes no sense to assume that Aerys gave Rhaegar any authority over his armies before father and son had talked about what had transpired. Aerys was a very paranoid and suspicious man, right? Why would he trust the son he had suspected of treason the last time they saw each other?

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

That he wouldn't, but Aerys' life wouldn't be threatened. The vows don't say "and keep him on the throne at any cost even when he is batshit crazy", either. I think Arthur Dayne was walking a very thin line - a sword edge - to abide by all his vows, both as a KG and as a knight, and that's why we repeatedly see him described as "sad", because such a thing is practically impossible.

As per the dream-Hightower's words Aerys II would still sit the Iron Throne if dream Hightower and company had been at KL when Jaime killed Aerys. That means dream-Hightower wanted Aerys II not only be physically well but also in charge of his own kingdom and government as a proper king should be. If Rhaegar was king or regent - and Aerys confined to his quarters - he would sit the Iron Throne instead of his father, no?

That is the heart of the issue I'm raising here. If the man Hightower really cared about Aerys II remaining in power he would have never agreed to remain at the tower with Lyanna. He wouldn't have trusted Rhaegar with Aerys. And he would have never recognized Rhaegar's authority over him.

The man made a choice. And that choice involved sticking with Rhaegar even if that man turned against the king.

And, quite frankly, the idea that the Kingsguard vow allows you to depose the king for his own good or crap like that is insane. The day a Kingsguard tried shit like that would mark the end of the institution as such, since no king needs bodyguards who think they are the ones in charge, not the people they are supposed to protect and obey.

If Rhaegar would actually keep (or even reward) KGs helping him depose his father he would actually confirm and support treasonous behavior. It would set a precedent that betraying the king is okay for a Kingsguard. Just as pardoning Jaime set a precedent that killing the king is okay for a Kingsguard. Which is what ruined the reputation of the entire order.

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

You mean, obey Lord Commander over the Crown Prince? That seems hardly plausible.

See above. Rhaegar would have been gone. Why not dump Lyanna at Starfall, say? Or with some Dornishmen in the Prince's Pass? Or at some castle in the Reach? Or take her with them to KL? Surely it wasn't the top priority of the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard - or the Kingsguard in general - to ensure the protection of some mistress/wife of a prince. And Lyanna would have been safe at any of those places. Perhaps even safer than in the protection of the Kingsguard - who, in the end, could not protect her from her own brother.

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Well, that would certainly be one of the reasons why Rhaegar wouldn't want them back in KL, and he was certainly clever enough to catch Hightower into the letters of the vows to make him stay.

LOL, there is no textual evidence for any of that. Hightower's vow was to the king. The only way Hightower would have consented to stay at the tower and with Lyanna is if he himself made that choice. Rhaegar could not trick him to do that. He could essentially only convince him. And that's what he must have done.

If you don't have an army or guardsmen you can't force a knight to stay for months at some tower in the middle of nowhere. He could leave any day. You must convince him to do what you wants. And that entails - or rather presupposes - that the man you convince to do what you ask of him is open to your arguments, seriously considering them, and eventually persuaded by them.

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

I always have to laugh, reading such claims. Dreams in literature are never "just dreams", and in ASOIAF, doubly so. The ToJ is a piece of highly skillful and highly deliberate writing, set up to convey certain information, and it must be information that Ned was either privy to or figured out. The answer to "why are you here, of all places", must have been a satisfactory one for his code of honour, or else he wouldn't consider the KG as a shining lesson to the world.

There is no evidence that Ned considers the old, pre-Jaime Kingsguard as shining examples to the world because of Whent, Dayne, and Hightower. Ned knows the entire history of the Kingsguard order, including such names as Aemon the Dragonknight, Ryam Redwyne, and Duncan the Tall. The text never indicates he thinks the Kingsguard were great guys once because of the tower.

Aside from that, George himself has said we shouldn't take the fever dream at face value. Some stuff in there is accurate, some stuff likely isn't. It is still evidence for that overall Jon thing, but there is also a reason why this is presented as a dream and not a memory.

There are other memory flashbacks in the series, you know, and there is also a reason why they are presented as memories. Because those flashbacks are supposed to be seen as more accurate and reliable than the fever dream.

We had this dream debate a lot, but the bottom line is that even a casual study of dreams in ASoIaF show that George's uses them as often to conceal and obscure things as he uses them to reveal things. They are supposed to be open for interpretation. The best example for that kind of thing is the dream Dunk has in TSS. But, of course, also the many prophetic dreams various characters have - they are as helpful as they are harmful when they are used to correctly guess the future.

And you are falling in the same trap as Melisandre or Daemon II Blackfyre if you can think dreams and visions are the correct pathway to truth. They aren't. Especially not if you take them literally - which you very much do.

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Well, can you wonder? :-)

A bit more on track: do you still propose that by the time Ned arrived at ToJ, Jon had been removed to Starfall? Because the situation with the KG not being with him but dying as true KG would then parallel Aegon II's flight from KL. A KG on a fishing boat, if recognized, would inevitably give away that something fishy was going on, and the same would go for a KG at Starfall. Even their presence at ToJ is questioned in Ned's dream, after all.

Aegon II own presence on the fishing boat would have given him away had he been seen by anyone. And if Marston Waters could hide him, then he could have hidden a second man just as well. The idea that he was more safe without KG isn't very convincing. Fell and Thorne went with Jaehaera and Maelor because Larys Strong apparently felt the children of the king were more important than the king himself. He was sick and injured and had a very small chance to evade capture, anyway. The whole thing was a mad gamble. It was just luck that Rhaenyra didn't look for him on Dragonstone - and even more luck that Sunfyre joined him there. If the dragon hadn't come the man would have eventually been found and executed.

The life of Lyanna's child was definitely endangered and not protected by the Kingsguard protecting him. The best way to protect his life would have been to hand him over to some trusted peasants, where nobody would ever look for him. Or to give him to his uncle Ned without a fight.

9 hours ago, Ygrain said:

BTW, has GRRM ever mentioned if Ned went to Starfall directly from ToJ? Or did he first return to KL to report Lyanna's death to Robert (and perhaps ostentatiously show that he had no baby with him)?

It sounds pretty stupid to even entertain the notion that Ned would have gone to KL before going to Starfall. Westeros is large, and travels are not a fun thing in and of themselves. Why would anyone take such a large detour in a medieval setting if he can prevent it?

If the child was at the tower, then he would have taken the child to Starfall immediately - and chances are pretty good that he never actually brought the child to KL. The wetnurse and the boy could have taken a ship there up to White Harbor. Ned running around with the child when he couldn't yet be sure people were buying his story would have been insanity. No way to prevent Robert from dashing the head of this dragonspawn against a wall with his own hands if the child had been physically there, right? And there is no indication that Robert ever saw Jon Snow prior to his arrival at Winterfell in AGoT.

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14 hours ago, Ygrain said:

A bit more on track: do you still propose that by the time Ned arrived at ToJ, Jon had been removed to Starfall? Because the situation with the KG not being with him but dying as true KG would then parallel Aegon II's flight from KL. A KG on a fishing boat, if recognized, would inevitably give away that something fishy was going on, and the same would go for a KG at Starfall. Even their presence at ToJ is questioned in Ned's dream, after all.

Interesting parallel. Yes, I still think the idea makes sense that Lyanna’s child was not there.

14 hours ago, Ygrain said:

BTW, has GRRM ever mentioned if Ned went to Starfall directly from ToJ? Or did he first return to KL to report Lyanna's death to Robert (and perhaps ostentatiously show that he had no baby with him)?

It feels to me that Robert’s understanding of the “Wylla” situation is very old, so Ned must have met him after Dorne. But before Starfall seems unlikely. That said, George has indicated the story of Ned’s eventual return home to the North is something that will be told and we’ll get a clearer timeline.

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2 hours ago, Ran said:

 

Interesting parallel. Yes, I still think the idea makes sense that Lyanna’s child was not there.

It feels to me that Robert’s understanding of the “Wylla” situation is very old, so Ned must have met him after Dorne. But before Starfall seems unlikely. That said, George has indicated the story of Ned’s eventual return home to the North is something that will be told and we’ll get a clearer timeline.

This is something i would really like to see haha as once you remove Jon from the Ashara equation, it only leaves a couple options to do with her. One obvious one is that she's just a red herring other than Ned had a thing for her at one point. 

Though this wouldn't answer the "Dishonoring of Harrenhal" mystery. I am curious your thoughts into that whole issue if your able to. This is one iv'e seen greatly debated with Eddard doing the dishonoring, to Brandon, to my favorite, Rhaegar. 

I would very much like to know how the end of Eddard trip went in the south. 

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2 hours ago, Ran said:

That said, George has indicated the story of Ned’s eventual return home to the North is something that will be told and we’ll get a clearer timeline.

Good to hear :-)

ETA:

Please, if you can remember: did GRRM state somewhere that Ashara was not in KL during the Rebellion/Sack? I seem to recall something along these lines but haven't been able to fish it out, except the notorious "not nailed to the floor of Starfall".

 

Edited by Ygrain

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That's the only quote I can recall from George on her whereabouts.

 

@AlaskanSandman

I'm firmly in the camp that Barristan is referring to Ashara and Brandon.

Edited by Ran

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17 minutes ago, Ran said:

That's the only quote I can recall from George on her whereabouts.

 

@AlaskanSandman

I'm firmly in the camp that Barristan is referring to Ashara and Brandon.

Oh im aware of that haha i saw your video about it. Unless your saying your privy to new knowledge? ;) So are you also on the Allyria Dayne boat too?

I kinda took Barbery's statement about Brandon to infer that he had been with her multiple times, and wasn't sleeping with every virgin he could find, and that upon being engaged to Cat, he broke things off with Barbery. Implying that Brandon was not actually a womanizer and was honorable to her and Cat. Cutting the chances down that he would low ball his little brother like that. Who Eddard clearly liked her. Though im not saying she was into him, untill she had been put off by some one else, Rhaegar. Turning to Eddard for one night. 

Edit- It's also based on a theory that Martin is using a cyclic story he's alluding to in the Myths about 3 siblings 

Edited by AlaskanSandman

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7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 We have no precedent for an 'unstable king' ever being deposed in this world.

It seems that Rhaegar wanted to establish one. Doesn't make it outright illegal.

 

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

How do you know that? Prince Rhaegar is technically just daddy's eldest son. He has no part in the government of his royal father. He'll succeed him one day but until that he is just daddy's son. There is a chain of command and a royal government. The king commands the Kingsguard. The Hand (when speaking with the King's Voice) and the queen do, too, within the confines of the power given to them by the king. As does the Small Council. The royal princes have no right to interfere with the Kingsguard's business or the government of the Realm unless the king's involves them in matters of state. 

Rhaegar could have had similar power, but it would have fallen to the Kingsguard in question to decide whether they accept Rhaegar's authority or not.

http://web.archive.org/web/20051103091500/nrctc.edu/fhq/vol1iss3/00103009.htm

The King's Guards don't get to make up their own orders. They serve the king, they protect the king and the royal family, but they're also bound to obey their orders, and if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order, they would do that. They can't say, "No we don't like that order, we'll do something else."

I'd think that in all your time on the forums, you have come across this one. It's linked right in the OP.

 

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 If Jaime felt he could have defied the Queen Regent over the issue then Hightower certainly could have ignored an order given to him by a mere prince.

You sure you want to parallel the guy who went by "obey, not judge", with the guy who killed his king?

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Rhaegar is expendable in principle. He is just an heir. He isn't the king. The king is the king. And the king could have crushed this rebellion with or without the help of Rhaegar.

Sorry but the mere fact that Aerys decided to put aside his suspicions about his son, summon him to KL and give him a position of power over the whole Targ army tells otherwise.

 

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no indication that anybody (or the development of the war) did push or force Aerys to search for Rhaegar.

I believe there is but I will be able to do the search only later.

 

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Gerold Hightower found Rhaegar at that tower. We don't know how many men he had with him, but it is very unlikely he came alone.

And since we haven't been told how he found it in the first place, it is just as likely that he didn't "find" it but was instructed where to go and to go alone. A theory against a theory.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Rhaegar also had no army at his tower, no leeway to negotiate with the representative of his father. What could he have done if Hightower had insisted that he come with him?

Do you think that Hightower would have put his hands on the prince of the blood unless directly ordered by Aerys to do so?

Plus, that nice little link above: Rhaegar orders Hightower around, not the other way round.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea that Aerys instructed Hightower to inform Rhaegar that he was giving him command of the armies before Rhaegar had agreed to return makes little sense. He may not even have known that Aerys intended to do that. After all, it also makes no sense to assume that Aerys gave Rhaegar any authority over his armies before father and son had talked about what had transpired. Aerys was a very paranoid and suspicious man, right? Why would he trust the son he had suspected of treason the last time they saw each other?

You're forgetting that some communication may have taken place.

As for the rest of your reasoning, it is based on an incorrect assumption in ignorance of what GRRM said about the KG following orders.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no evidence that Ned considers the old, pre-Jaime Kingsguard as shining examples to the world because of Whent, Dayne, and Hightower. Ned knows the entire history of the Kingsguard order, including such names as Aemon the Dragonknight, Ryam Redwyne, and Duncan the Tall. The text never indicates he thinks the Kingsguard were great guys once because of the tower.

And when asked who was the finest of them all, he names Arthur Dayne. So, at least in Ned's eyes, Arthur Dayne did nothing dishonorable.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Aside from that, George himself has said we shouldn't take the fever dream at face value. Some stuff in there is accurate, some stuff likely isn't. It is still evidence for that overall Jon thing, but there is also a reason why this is presented as a dream and not a memory.

I'm taking it neither at face value nor literally, and you certainly needn't educate me on the role of dreams as literary devices.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon II own presence on the fishing boat would have given him away had he been seen by anyone.

IIRC, he was hidden under a heap of fish. Unless people started poking into to heap, a search of the boat wouldn't have revealed him, and there would be no reason to start poking unless something very suspicious, like a KG, was found on board. As for hiding them both, perhaps the heap would be suspiciously big.

 

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The best way to protect his life would have been to hand him over to some trusted peasants, where nobody would ever look for him.

Which is why I believe Jon may have been

 

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Or to give him to his uncle Ned without a fight.

So that his honour compelled him to tell Robert? Or to rely on the other six men that they won't talk

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It sounds pretty stupid to even entertain the notion that Ned would have gone to KL before going to Starfall. Westeros is large, and travels are not a fun thing in and of themselves. Why would anyone take such a large detour in a medieval setting if he can prevent it?

If keeping Jon safe and secret demanded it, he would,

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

If the child was at the tower, then he would have taken the child to Starfall immediately - and chances are pretty good that he never actually brought the child to KL. The wetnurse and the boy could have taken a ship there up to White Harbor. Ned running around with the child when he couldn't yet be sure people were buying his story would have been insanity. No way to prevent Robert from dashing the head of this dragonspawn against a wall with his own hands if the child had been physically there, right? And there is no indication that Robert ever saw Jon Snow prior to his arrival at Winterfell in AGoT.

If you take a look at my previous post, you will see that I never proposed bringing Jon the vipers' nest of KL.

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32 minutes ago, Ran said:

That's the only quote I can recall from George on her whereabouts.

Then there is some misconception circulating around the forums, for quite some time :-( Perhaps under the impression that Ashara's pregnancy would have resulted in having to leave the court in disgrace?

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41 minutes ago, Ran said:

That's the only quote I can recall from George on her whereabouts.

 

@AlaskanSandman

I'm firmly in the camp that Barristan is referring to Ashara and Brandon.

I feel like Ashara loosing her virginity to Brandon in what sounds like it was in secret, aside from Baristan possibly suspecting. So, shouldn't Ashara just be able to pass this off for "Horse riding", as Cersei alludes to? Provided there was no child. So unless the "dishonor" is simply in Baristan's mind and not an actual reality? Further any child from the two would be a bastard who would need a royal decree to remove that taint no? Plus this child would have to be born at least a year before her death no? Which the accounts make it seem like her "miscarriage" was closer to the time frame of her death.

 Further, Barristan makes it seem like, by way of even mentioning it. That if he had won and unhorsed Rhaegar, then Ashara's dishonor could have been prevented. Brandon also lost already, so the two most "attractive-alpha" characters are Baristan and Rhaegar, with Rhaegar winning.

This and many more reason's like the chance of Ashara being Rhaegar's paramour and possible surrogate mother for a third child, has led me and others to believe that he was going to crown her, untill he met Lyanna due to Howlands meddling. So the "dishonor" would be being set aside for a "new" paramour.

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1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Please, if you can remember: did GRRM state somewhere that Ashara was not in KL during the Rebellion/Sack? I seem to recall something along these lines but haven't been able to fish it out, except the notorious "not nailed to the floor of Starfall".

Ashara is rather unlikely to have been in KL when her pregnancy became known. As the example of Joanna Lannister shows, Queen Rhaella did not approve of there being sluts among her ladies, and Ashara would, in the end, have been a lady of the queen if she had been at court in KL.

Now, she could have been on Dragonstone with Elia and the children, but one assumes she removed herself back home to have the child. And once Elia went to KL (on Aerys' command or for whatever reason) during the Rebellion Ashara would most likely have not been welcome as Elia's companion by the queen.

But the quote about Ashara not being nailed to Starfall is a direct response to the question as to how Ashara and Ned could have hooked up after Harrenhal. If that ever happened - and we don't know that it did - it wouldn't have happened in KL.

4 hours ago, Ran said:

It feels to me that Robert’s understanding of the “Wylla” situation is very old, so Ned must have met him after Dorne. But before Starfall seems unlikely. That said, George has indicated the story of Ned’s eventual return home to the North is something that will be told and we’ll get a clearer timeline.

What we can say already is that Ned must have spent a considerable amount of time down in the south - Storm's End, the tower, Starfall, KL - since he had not yet returned to Cat until after Robb was born. Considering Yandel's claim that the Lannister marriage was essentially Robert's first official act as king chances are not that bad that Ned remained at court and attended Robert's wedding, no? They also spent considerable time re-bonding in their shared grief over Lyanna's passing.

The distance between Winterfell and KL is vast. These two were friends, once, and became friends again after the war. One assumes they spent more than the usual fortnight together. Robert may have even tried to convince Ned to stay in the capital and help him rule. Not as Hand but a member of his Small Council.

If the impression we get that Cat and Robb went without Ned to Winterfell, then chances are that Ned eventually took a ship in KL rather than go overland whereas Catelyn and Robb went by the Kingsroad.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

I'm firmly in the camp that Barristan is referring to Ashara and Brandon.

The main justification for that is the lack of bitterness Barristan feels for Ned, no? Working under the assumption that such a bitterness would have been there if Ned had been the father of the stillborn daughter.

I'm undecided on that matter, but I must admit that Ned and Ashara having a stillborn child together would make for a much better story. Ned is a more important character than Brandon, and he deserves to have a true love and marriage plans of his own before Rhaegar and Lyanna effectively destroyed the plans he may have had for his life, forcing him to marry Catelyn instead. Something that turned out fine, too, but perhaps Eddard Stark once dreamed of living with a violet-eyed woman in a castle by the sea, knowing that the North was in the capable hands of his big brother Brandon. We don't know yet.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

It seems that Rhaegar wanted to establish one. Doesn't make it outright illegal.

Sure, it does. Because the king is the king. And the king is not to be deposed by his own heir. Not to mention that without the approval of the king there could not really be a real Great Council, making whatever decisions the king allows such a body to make.

The first Great Council is convened by King Jaehaerys I, the second one by Grand Maester Munkun (acting in the name of King Aegon III, whose and Hand and sole remaining regent Munkun was at the time), and the third by the Hand Brynden Rivers, speaking with the voice of the late King Maekar.

There is no indication that Prince Rhaegar had any authority to convene a Great Council - which is why he arranged the tourney as a front. The men involved in that knew they were committing or contemplating treason. Else they would have acted in the open as honest men would.

In addition, there is the fact that a son deposing his father is pretty much unheard of in this society. While many lords may have shared Rhaegar's concern over his father's mental state, that's not the same as assisting the man in moving against him. A lord supporting a son and heir against his father and king would set a very bad precedent for all their sons.

And if think about as shitty and weak a lord as Tytos Lannister then it is even very evident there that this man, strangely enough, ruled his family. He arranged marriages for his younger brother and daughter, and he was never deposed by Tywin even after the man taken matters in his own hands during the Reyne/Tarbeck crisis. In fact, Lord Tytos seems to have enjoyed himself pretty thoroughly later on when Tywin had departed for KL as Hand, allowing himself to be ruled by his last mistress.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

http://web.archive.org/web/20051103091500/nrctc.edu/fhq/vol1iss3/00103009.htm

The King's Guards don't get to make up their own orders. They serve the king, they protect the king and the royal family, but they're also bound to obey their orders, and if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order, they would do that. They can't say, "No we don't like that order, we'll do something else."

I'd think that in all your time on the forums, you have come across this one. It's linked right in the OP.

I know that quote, but it speaks hypothetically. George says 'if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order...' not that he actually did. George didn't confirm anything there, did he? And the even broader context of the question is the mystery as to why the knights at the tower stood and fought Ned and company rather than protecting the remaining members of the royal family.

If you take the answer about the hypothetical order seriously there, off goes your theory that the knights were there and protected Jon because they thought he was 'the king'. They did so because of the hypothetical order Prince Rhaegar had given them.

But this SSM goes back a long time. And George off-hand remarks are not canon. It is a very odd thing to just suppose that the Kingsguard (including their Lord Commander) can be given orders by Prince Rhaegar without an explanation as to why this is supposed to be the case. We learn from Barristan Selmy in ADwD that the king sets up his Kingsguard, and regulates who gets KG protection and who doesn't. We also know that not all royal princes can give orders to the Kingsguard. Rhaegar certainly had KG protection throughout his life, but that doesn't mean he has any authority over them in all matters.

There has to be reason as to why Whent, Dayne, and Hightower chose to follow any orders given them to Rhaegar rather than, you know, disobey them. It isn't surprising that Whent and Dayne stood with their buddy, but Hightower must have been given a good reason to do so. And the best guess still is that he was pretty much disillusioned about Mad Aerys at the time he reached the tower, and rather glad that Rhaegar was giving him an excuse not to return to KL to watch the Mad King continue to burn traitors and rape his sister-wife. If Hightower was a 'good man' we should hope he felt that way and did not enjoy watching and serving Aerys. But that also entails he was no longer Aerys' man at heart.

But if this was the case then his dream remark that Aerys would still sit the Iron Throne if he had been in KL during the Sack is very odd. If Rhaegar had had his way Aerys would no longer sit the Iron Throne after the Trident. He made that clear to Jaime. And that was in Jonothor Darry's presence. Apparently even he (and perhaps Selmy, too) were favoring Rhaegar over Aerys at that point. If Rhaegar had won at the Trident and these two men had survived the battle, they (and Jaime, too) might not only have stood aside but also have helped Rhaegar to confine Aerys to his quarters.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

You sure you want to parallel the guy who went by "obey, not judge", with the guy who killed his king?

Sure, since Jaime seems to be pretty loyal to King Tommen in AFfC. At least in the former half of the novel. Later on he wants him to tell the truth about his parentage.

I mean, what on earth is the point of the office of the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard if that guy cannot decide pretty much on his own terms how to arrange the protection of the king? That's his job description. The king can give him orders, but if he was under the impression that the orders given to him by the queen, the Hand, or some council member actually endanger the life of the king - or don't make sense, etc. - it obviously is his duty to second-guess such orders. But he can't do that when they are coming from the king. Else Jaime could have decided to ignore the orders given to him by both Cersei and Tommen. Jaime did not actually believe he should leave Tommen alone with Cersei when he is sent to the Riverlands.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Sorry but the mere fact that Aerys decided to put aside his suspicions about his son, summon him to KL and give him a position of power over the whole Targ army tells otherwise.

Not in and of itself. We don't know why Aerys overcame his suspicions. That is an important piece of the puzzle we are still missing at that point. There goes no clear and direct line from 'Aerys and Rhaegar's people are building factions that are reminiscent of the prelude to the Dance' to 'Aerys couldn't find Prince Rhaegar and thus made Rhaegar's buddy Jon Connington Hand instead'.

Something must have happened that convinced Aerys Rhaegar and Connington weren't (potential) traitors but men he could trust.

A very good explanation for this is the assumption that Rickard and Brandon (and also Ned and Robert) had to die because Aerys saw them all as Rhaegar's co-conspirators in the wake of the Lyanna affair. The crowning at Harrenhal was the first 'proof' of a conspiracy between Rhaegar and the Starks, and the abduction (and its aftermath, if there was a marriage Aerys learned about) was the ultimate confirmation of this 'conspiracy'. And therefore not only Rickard and Brandon but Ned and Robert had to die, too.

The whole thing is very reminiscent of Rhaenyra's overreaction in the wake of First Tumbleton. The Two Betrayers are the proof of the Rhaegar-Stark conspiracy and Addam Velaryon and Nettles are Robert and Ned, respectively. The order to Lord Mooton to execute Nettles and send Daemon back to court is pretty much identical with the order Aerys sent to Jon Arryn. And the outcome is pretty much identical in both cases, too. The Mootons and Arryns both rise in rebellion.

But the fact Rhaegar and Lyanna never showed up at the head of the rebel armies - with Robert also pretty convincingly calling for Rhaegar's head as much as Aerys' - might have given Aerys pause, finally convincing him (perhaps with the help of men like Connington and Myles Mooton, who may only have returned to court during the Rebellion, having been with Rhaegar and Lyanna before) that his son wasn't a traitor.

But it is still a long way from there to actually giving Rhaegar command.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

I believe there is but I will be able to do the search only later.

If there is, it would be rather obscure evidence. But as I lay out above, it is certainly possible - likely, even - that Mooton and Connington did their best to convince Aerys that Rhaegar was not, in fact, in league with the rebels.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

And since we haven't been told how he found it in the first place, it is just as likely that he didn't "find" it but was instructed where to go and to go alone. A theory against a theory.

A theory out of thin air against common sense - which implies that a man of the standing and rank of Ser Gerold Hightower of the Kingsguard does not travel alone. Especially not during war time and when he doesn't really know whether he is going to find resistance on the way.

Nobody but the king could have 'instructed' Hightower to go to Rhaegar alone.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Do you think that Hightower would have put his hands on the prince of the blood unless directly ordered by Aerys to do so?

If Aerys had given Rhaegar orders to return his son to court he could have done so, yes. Especially if he had made it clear he wanted him very badly back at court. Nobody ignores a royal summons, not even a prince. And the people the king sends to you if he summons you are not only there to politely invite you.

You can also compare that to the other part of Rhaenyra's order to Lord Mooton. Kill the girl, and send my consort back to me because I have need of him. Let's assume Daemon hadn't been in the mood of returning to Rhaenyra after Mooton had actually killed Nettles - which is very, very, very likely. How should have Mooton proceeded in that scenario? By asking Daemon politely to return to court? Or by seizing and chaining the man and delivering him into the hands of his loving wife so that she can talk (or slap) some sense into him?

One assumes she wanted him to do the latter...

And that's likely also what Aerys expected Ser Gerold to do. You don't send the Kingsguard to politely talk to someone.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Plus, that nice little link above: Rhaegar orders Hightower around, not the other way round.

Well, in this context this argument makes even less sense. Let's assume I'm a king and I send a messenger to you to summon you to court. Does it make sense that you have the authority to not only ignore my messenger but also order him around now? Why would anyone use such a person as a messenger?

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

You're forgetting that some communication may have taken place.

Between Aerys and Rhaegar? We have no reason to believe that such communication did place - and even if it did, it would have been letters. You can much better lie in letters than in direct communication, not to mention that fathers and sons better reconcile and show their affection for each other, etc. when they see each other face to face - which Rhaegar and Aerys eventually did in KL. If they reached an understanding it would have happened then - not via letter.

But in any case - if Hightower didn't have to search for Rhaegar it is very odd that Aerys would have sent that men. There were a lot of loyalist Reach lords in the area of the tower. Why not command some of them via letter to assemble a small host and fetch Rhaegar back without wasting the time of the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for the whole thing? There is likely a reason why Hightower was sent, and not somebody else.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

As for the rest of your reasoning, it is based on an incorrect assumption in ignorance of what GRRM said about the KG following orders.

Not really. Even if we assume that Rhaegar did give Hightower that hypothetical order - that doesn't mean or confirm that Rhaegar already authority over the royal armies at that point. That would have been something only Aerys himself would have given Rhaegar after his return to court.

And chances are not that bad that this was actually formalized in some way. Rhaegar wasn't the Hand - who, eerily enough, didn't command the king's armies - so the only other job Rhaegar may have gotten would be Protector of the Realm. But that's not really necessary. If the king says you are the supreme general now that's what you are. And being the Heir Apparent likely also helps with that.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

And when asked who was the finest of them all, he names Arthur Dayne. So, at least in Ned's eyes, Arthur Dayne did nothing dishonorable.

I never said he did. But you routinely ignore the fact that Ned singles out explicitly Ser Arthur Dayne. There is something this man did that makes him better than all the others, and we simply don't know what that is yet. He could have just as well have said that the finest of them all were Ser Oswell Whent, Ser Gerold Hightower, and Ser Arthur Dayne. But he never said that.

And the context matters there, too. Bran asks his father about knighthood not the Kingsguard. And Ser Arthur Dayne is described as the finest knight Ned ever know, not as the finest Kingsguard. The epitome of chivalric and knightly values isn't a man who dies for his king or prince - be he an infant or a madman - it is someone who actually behaves like a knight should do.

Quote

Something his father had told him once when he was little came back to him suddenly. He had asked Lord Eddard if the Kingsguard were truly the finest knights in the Seven Kingdoms. “No longer,” he answered, “but once they were a marvel, a shining lesson to the world.”
“Was there one who was best of all?”
The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed.” Father had gotten sad then, and he would say no more. Bran wished he had asked him what he meant.

Now that I reread it again, it isn't even clear what exactly Ned means by 'finest knight' here. Bran asks who was the 'best of all', presumably asking who fought the best, not necessarily about their moral qualities (little Bran doesn't care all that much about that - after all, knights are all good men, right?).

Perhaps 'finest knight' really only refers to the best knight Ned saw fighting. And that could mean that Ser Arthur was the guy who was really best at the tower.

After all, there is little indication that Ned knew or interacted much with Ser Arthur Dayne prior to their meeting there.

Ashara is the only connection we know these two men may have had. And if there is more to that connection we presently know then Arthur Dayne and Eddard Stark may have a history of their own. But as of yet there is no evidence for that.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

I'm taking it neither at face value nor literally, and you certainly needn't educate me on the role of dreams as literary devices.

Apparently I have, if you insist to make as much of the dream as you do. It is a piece in the puzzle, a very important piece at that. But it isn't the whole picture, and was never intended as such.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

IIRC, he was hidden under a heap of fish. Unless people started poking into to heap, a search of the boat wouldn't have revealed him, and there would be no reason to start poking unless something very suspicious, like a KG, was found on board. As for hiding them both, perhaps the heap would be suspiciously big.

There was no search or anything at that point. Aegon II and his children got out of the city before Rhaenyra's forces had taken the Red Keep. Aegon II was hidden so that witnesses did not recognize the man. The king is usually a pretty well-known person in his own capital city, right. And a man with Valyrian features and as disfiguring and conspicuous injuries as Aegon II would be a memorable sight even to people who, for some strange reason, don't recognize him on sight. If Rhaenyra's people later ask about Aegon II people seeing him would remember him, and be able to point them in the right direction.

We can also assume that Waters steered the fishing boat directly to the house Aegon II was kept thereafter. Dragonstone is an island, and said house could have been near to the waterside. If they had been forced to move the man through a harbor or a village he would most definitely have been recognized, and with Rhaenyra the new queen and Sunfyre still far away he would have been seized and either be sent back to KL for an execution or killed on the spot.

A Kingsguard can disguise himself much better. Just remove the armor and show the face that's usually hidden beneath a helmet.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

So that his honour compelled him to tell Robert? Or to rely on the other six men that they won't talk.

It is idly to speculate about the motivations of people whose motivations we don't know as of yet. We don't know why exactly they attacked Ned and his men. But chances are not that bad that Ned only traveled there with six companions precisely because he knew he could trust those men. The Lord of Winterfell is a powerful man, especially since he is also friends with Jon Arryn and allied by marriage to the Tullys of Riverrun.

You don't have to be very smart to conclude that the Lord of Winterfell has much better means and ways to ensure the safety of his nephew than three knights in the middle of nowhere can.

2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Then there is some misconception circulating around the forums, for quite some time :-( Perhaps under the impression that Ashara's pregnancy would have resulted in having to leave the court in disgrace?

See above. It is pretty likely she would have been forced to leave court if she was a lady at the Red Keep. On Dragonstone things may have been different with Elia, but if the queen had voiced her misgivings about a whore or slut being in service of her good-daughter on Dragonstone, it is not that likely that Ashara could have stayed there, either.

Queen Rhaella seems to have been not fond of people who thought with their cock or clitoris.

But even aside from that - the proper way to birth a bastard for a noble lady is to leave court and take an extended stay in the country or back home, to prevent a scandal or even conceal the entire pregnancy from people who don't have to know about it.

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21 hours ago, Ygrain said:

From the previous thread:

 

Sorry but this is not supported by the text. Aerys would certainly call it treason, but not all of the lords would. There is a huge difference between planning a coup and making legal arrangements to depose an unstable king.

Not really. Unless Aerys explicitely ordered that they were to return ASAP, Rhaegar had full authority to order them to stay behind. And even if such an order existed, Rhaegar still had the means to make them stay. See below.

That is nonsense. If Rhaegar was expendable, Aerys wouldn't have needed him to return. It was war, Rhaegar was his only adult heir, and the only capable heir. As far as we know, it was Aerys who asked Rhaegar to come back and take command of the armies, not the other way round. That puts Rhaegar in a position when he can dictate conditions. If he makes the KG staying at ToJ a condition of his return, then they have no choice - the king needs him more than he needs them, or else he simply would have named Hightower the commander

That he wouldn't, but Aerys' life wouldn't be threatened. The vows don't say "and keep him on the throne at any cost even when he is batshit crazy", either. I think Arthur Dayne was walking a very thin line - a sword edge - to abide by all his vows, both as a KG and as a knight, and that's why we repeatedly see him described as "sad", because such a thing is practically impossible.

See above.

You mean, obey Lord Commander over the Crown Prince? That seems hardly plausible.

Well, that would certainly be one of the reasons why Rhaegar wouldn't want them back in KL, and he was certainly clever enough to catch Hightower into the letters of the vows to make him stay.

I always have to laugh, reading such claims. Dreams in literature are never "just dreams", and in ASOIAF, doubly so. The ToJ is a piece of highly skillful and highly deliberate writing, set up to convey certain information, and it must be information that Ned was either privy to or figured out. The answer to "why are you here, of all places", must have been a satisfactory one for his code of honour, or else he wouldn't consider the KG as a shining lesson to the world.

Well, can you wonder? :-)

A bit more on track: do you still propose that by the time Ned arrived at ToJ, Jon had been removed to Starfall? Because the situation with the KG not being with him but dying as true KG would then parallel Aegon II's flight from KL. A KG on a fishing boat, if recognized, would inevitably give away that something fishy was going on, and the same would go for a KG at Starfall. Even their presence at ToJ is questioned in Ned's dream, after all.

BTW, has GRRM ever mentioned if Ned went to Starfall directly from ToJ? Or did he first return to KL to report Lyanna's death to Robert (and perhaps ostentatiously show that he had no baby with him)?

:lmao: I see what you did there. 

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3 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Then there is some misconception circulating around the forums, for quite some time :-( Perhaps under the impression that Ashara's pregnancy would have resulted in having to leave the court in disgrace?

I think the impression that she left King's Landing at some point might still derive in part from the SSM that says Ashara was not nailed down to the floor in Starfall, because George chose to qualify that Ashara was one of Elia's lady companions in KL in the first few years after her marriage to Rhaegar.

Quote

Ashara Dayne was not nailed to the floor in Starfall, as some of the fans who write me seem to assume. They have horses in Dorne too, you know. And boats (though not many of their own). As a matter of fact (a tiny tidbit from SOS), she was one of Princess Elia's lady companions in King's Landing, in the first few years after Elia married Rhaegar.

Selmy recalls her having been not long at court as of the Harrenhal tourney in late 281 AC. It is not clear when she left Elia's service. And we now know that Elia spent much of her marriage on Dragonstone, with very few times she can be said with certainty to have been in King's Landing.

- Elia was wed in King's Landing in 280 AC
- Elia took up residence on Dragonstone
- Elia gave birth to Rhaenys on Dragonstone in 280 AC, and was bedridden for half a year, so into 281 AC
- Elia and her young son Aegon were on Dragonstone at the coming of 282 AC
- Elia and her children were in King's Landing by the end of the Battle of the Bells, and remained there until their deaths during the sack

My guess is that if Ashara was still in Elia's service, whether in King's Landing or on Dragonstone, when Brandon and Rickard were killed, she probably didn't stick around much longer. But I wouldn't be surprised if she returned to Dorne not long after the Harrenhal tourney.
 

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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FWIW, I firmly believe Rhaegar had the right to command the Kingsguard, and that they followed his orders because that was within the scope of their vows.

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3 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

:lmao: I see what you did there. 

 Always happy to deliver :-)

2 hours ago, Ran said:

FWIW, I firmly believe Rhaegar had the right to command the Kingsguard, and that they followed his orders because that was within the scope of their vows.

Me too, because that's what GRRM said :-)

 

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

George says 'if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order...' not that he actually did. George didn't confirm anything there, did he?

And what do you propose that happened? That the guy who had authority to give orders, left without giving any orders and the KG stayed behind just because?

First you argue that Rhaegar didn't have the authority to give orders, and when I prove you wrong, you start claiming that we don't know if he gave any order. I really don't feel like continuing the discussion.

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6 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

I feel like Ashara loosing her virginity to Brandon in what sounds like it was in secret, aside from Baristan possibly suspecting. So, shouldn't Ashara just be able to pass this off for "Horse riding", as Cersei alludes to? Provided there was no child. So unless the "dishonor" is simply in Baristan's mind and not an actual reality? Further any child from the two would be a bastard who would need a royal decree to remove that taint no? Plus this child would have to be born at least a year before her death no? Which the accounts make it seem like her "miscarriage" was closer to the time frame of her death.

 Further, Barristan makes it seem like, by way of even mentioning it. That if he had won and unhorsed Rhaegar, then Ashara's dishonor could have been prevented. Brandon also lost already, so the two most "attractive-alpha" characters are Baristan and Rhaegar, with Rhaegar winning.

This and many more reason's like the chance of Ashara being Rhaegar's paramour and possible surrogate mother for a third child, has led me and others to believe that he was going to crown her, untill he met Lyanna due to Howlands meddling. So the "dishonor" would be being set aside for a "new" paramour.

9

The dishonour is known because Ashara is known to have been pregnant. If they'd had a shag and she had not fallen pregnant then the only way Barristan would know would be through court gossip. Still plausible but we know she had a pregnancy. Yes, a royal decree would be required. But we have no indicator that one was ever sought. The official line is the baby was stillborn. No baby means no need to legitimise it. If the pregnancy was conceived at Harrenhall as suspected then yes the baby would have been born over a year before the end of the rebellion, which seems to be the time when she killed herself. A stillbirth is not a miscarriage, a miscarriage is a pregnancy loss which occurs prior to 20 weeks, or in this pseudo-medieval world, I'd suggest that it would be deemed a stillbirth once the baby had quickened(mum can feel kicks) and the foetus is a recognisable child who is delivered following a recognisable labour.  My guess is her stillbirth happened at more or less full gestation so roughly 38-42 weeks.  Barristan is the only person who gives us any indication of when she topped herself in relation to the birth of her child and he gives is the vague and evasive "soon after". Catelyn and Cersei both consider her a candidate for Jon's mother but neither are in a position to know the time frame. Cat was never at Harrenhall nor at court and so has only the gossip that Ashara Dayne had a baby before her death. And that her husband had some sort of attraction to her at some point and came back from Dorne with a baby.  Cersei was at court and so likely knows exactly when Ashara conceived and gave birth but she has no reason at all to know how old Jon is precisely and does not strike me as attentive to anyone else's life or concerns other than her own.  She most likely heard Ned had a bastard and that Ashara's baby was fathered by a Stark. And put two and two together to make four. 

Barristan's thinking that if he had won he might have prevented her dishonour is not about Rhaegar winning it is about the notion that as a champion Barristan would be in the spotlight and felt he would have had a shot at her himself and he would never have had sex with her and left her pregnant. His honour wouldn't allow it. But alas he is of the KG so he is fooling himself anyway and he knows it. Think about the unlikely union of Lynesse Hightower and Jorah Mormont following his Tourney win. 

There is literally no evidence that Rhaegar and Ashara had any sort of sexual or romantic relationship. 

Edited by The Weirwoods Eyes

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