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Feather Crystal

Maegor's Holdfast - The Real tower of joy

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Posted (edited)

We are introduced to Ned's fever dream after he is injured in a confrontation with Jaime and his men, when Ned and his men exit Chataya's brothel. The details of this attack show up in his fever dream, most notably his last lucid vision of the Red Keep walls turning red with blood before passing out. I have no doubt that some of Ned's men died at the tower of joy. What I do doubt is the location of the tower, and that Lyanna was there.

Ned's fever dream is a combination of multiple events. Some may have happened early on in the Rebellion, some happened afterward, and some occurred immediately prior to his injuries by Jaime. Add a little symbolism into the mix and you get the dream.

Ned does having waking moments where he's comparing the details of the "old" dream to real life, like losing the lives of five of his men. He repeatedly names Martyn Cassel, but the rest of his men may not have perished at the same location as Martyn as indicated by Ned's thoughts that he knew their faces as well as his own once, but the years leech at a man's memories: 
 



He dreamt an old dream, of three knights in white cloaks, and a tower long fallen, and Lyanna in her bed of blood. In the dream his friends rode with him, as they had in life. Proud Martyn Cassel, Jory’s father; faithful Theo Wull; Ethan Glover, who had been Brandon’s squire; Ser Mark Ryswell, soft of speech and gentle of heart; the crannogman, Howland Reed; Lord Dustin on his great red stallion. Ned had known their faces as well as he knew his own once, but the years leech at a man’s memories, even those he has vowed never to forget. In the dream they were only shadows, grey wraiths on horses made of mist.
 
 



Ned's fever dream ends with his sword fight with Arthur being interrupted by Lyanna's scream of "Eddard", and then he is awoken by Vayon Poole. The dream doesn't actually include any details about pulling the tower down, nor making the cairns. What I find extremely interesting is that no where in the text does anyone have any waking recollection where the tower of joy is located. We assume it's in Dorne in the red mountains, because that’s how Ned sees it in his dream, but remember his last waking thought was of the Red Keep's walls turning red with blood. Having the Red Keep turn red with blood is an obvious nod to the Sack of Kings Landing where there was a great slaughter of people who were tricked into opening the gates. 
 



It would have to be his grandfather, for Jory’s father was buried far to the south. Martyn Cassel had perished with the rest. Ned had pulled the tower down afterward, and used its bloody stones to build eight cairns upon the ridge. It was said that Rhaegar had named that place the tower of joy, but for Ned it was a bitter memory. They had been seven against three, yet only two had lived to ride away; Eddard Stark himself and the little crannogman, Howland Reed. He did not think it omened well that he should dream that dream again after so many years.
 
 



When Ned thinks of Martyn Cassel as being "buried far to the south" we are tempted to believe this means south of where Ned is currently sitting in Kings Landing, but the context is about where to bury Rory Cassel. Ned said Rory would want to be buried at Winterfell with his grandfather, because obviously is father is buried further south than Winterfell.

GRRM has written a magic trick - a slight of hand that persuades the reader to follow a misdirect. Magic tricks look implausible, but there are real hidden things going on in the background while our attention is diverted. 

It's not a dream that he's dreamed for awhile, so it is an "old" dream. He wonders if its a bad omen, so perhaps when he had the dream before - many years ago - was there a premonition that came true? Prophecy is open to interpretation until it happens, and then in retrospect you see how it applied to real life. 

The Red Keep's bloody walls appearing as the red mountains of Dorne is one such example. Ned's van arrived after the gates of Kings Landing were already open. The Lannisters were busy sacking the city, and it would have looked like a bloody slaughter. Follow this up with the murders of Elia, Aegon, and Rhaenys, and its understandable that Ned would rather not remember these unspeakable acts of violence, so in his dreams Elia and her children become the “tower of joy” in Dorne.

I think its important to note that the walls of the Red Keep were red with the blood of a slaughter, because the people of Kings Landing and the Red Keep were people who were tricked. It’s important, because it implies that the reason Ned's men were slaughtered was because they were also tricked.

My thoughts about the people of Kings Landing being tricked brings to mind Theon's taking of Moat Cailin. Ramsay sent Theon to parley with the Ironborn holding the tower, offering food and safe passage if they surrender unarmed. The appearance that the Ironborn are even "holding" the tower is tenuous at best. Inside all the men are either diseased, starving, dying, or already dead. Their position is a magic trick - its the power of suggestion - a slight of hand. Theon convinces them to "surrender" and come out, but Ramsay's promises are also a trick, and he has the men killed and flayed with their bodies displayed along the causeway. All this "tricking" going on should be our clue that the tower of joy is also a big red trick! 

To reiterate why I think Ned's fever dream substitutes Dorne as being the location of the tower of joy is because Elia, Rhaenys, and Aegon are Dornish, and they were slaughtered in Maegor’s holdfast - the real tower of joy. Notice that GRRM doesn't capitalize the name in the text. If it was an actual tower in the Prince's Pass he'd capitalize it as The Tower of Joy - not the tower of joy.

King Maegor I was a cruel man who  craved violence, death, and absolute mastery over all he deemed his. His savagery in the field and his harshness toward defeated enemies was frequently remarked upon. He had six wives, with the last three known as the Black Brides. Isn't that interesting that Maegor and his six wives make seven in the tower, with three of them known as Black Brides? Also notable is how Maegor's physique is described as "bull-like". After construction of the tower was complete, he killed everyone who had labored on it. A real tower of joy indeed.

Quotes listed in the wiki about Maegor:
 



Maegor, the First of His Name, came to the throne after the sudden death of his brother, King Aenys, in the year 42 AC. He is better remembered as Maegor the Cruel, and it was a well-earned sobriquet, for no crueler king ever sat the Iron Throne. His reign began with blood and ended in blood as well.
—writings of Maester Yandel


What demon possessed him none could say. Even today, some give thanks that his tyranny was a short one, for who knows how many noble houses might have vanished forever simply to state his desire.
—writings of Maester Yandel

Aegon the Conqueror had commanded it built. His son Maegor the Cruel had seen it completed. Afterward he had taken the heads of every stonemason, woodworker, and builder who had labored on it. Only the blood of the dragon would ever know the secrets of the fortress the Dragonlords had built, he vowed.
—thoughts of Catelyn Stark

King Maegor wanted no rats in his own walls, if you take my meaning. He did require a means of secret egress, should he ever be trapped by his enemies, but that door does not connect with any other passages.
—Varys to Tyrion Lannister

What did she care what Maegor the Cruel had decreed three hundred years ago? Instead of taking the swords out of the hands of the faithful, he should have used them for his own ends.[23]
—thoughts of Cersei Lannister
 
 

What are the secrets of the fortress that only dragonlords know about? Varys seems to know some of it, and it is implied that it has to do with children. At least that was his confessed motivation for killing Kevan and Pycelle.

Maegor's Holdfast was also where Cersei took refuge with all the women of the Red Keep during the Battle of the Blackwater. It's a castle within a castle, complete with it's own moat and drawbridge. She enlisted Ser Illyn to guard the door, but his real purpose was so that he could execute the women instead of being subjected to the enemy if they breached the tower, and could do worse things to them like rape and torture before death. 

When Ned goes to see Robert in his bloody bed inside the royal apartments in Maegor's Holdfast - it's a replay of when Ned arrived during the Sack. There were three Kingsguard guarding Robert. Ser Boros Blount guarded the far end of the bridge. Ser Preston Greenfield stood at the bottom of the steps, and Ser Barristan Selmy waited at the door of the king’s bedchamber. Is it possible that while Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Armory Lorch were scaling the tower, that Hightower, Dayne, and Whent were in the same positions as Blount, Greenfield, and Selmy? 

King Aerys was holding Elia and her children hostage. If anyone commanded the Kingsguard to do anything it would have been to guard Elia and her children locked in the royal apartments of Maegor's Holdfast. Ned and his men had to cut through the Kingsguard in an effort to save Elia and her children before Gregor and Armory got to the top. The Kingsguard wouldn’t have simply stood down. They obviously knew the city was under attack, but they could not leave their positions. Being separated along the way to the apartments like Blount, Greenfield, and Selmy were, would have left them vulnerable to a group attack. If Arthur was the one outside the door of the royal apartments, then he would’ve fought Ned in single combat. Ned was still looking for Lyanna. He didn’t know who was in the tower, but if he believed Rhaegar had taken his sister, then he had to have assumed he’d find her inside. I suspect that Ned suffered post traumatic syndrome disorder from what he saw inside Maegor's holdfast after the Sack. The "tower long fallen" is his defeat of the Kingsguard guarding Maegor's Holdfast - a tower inside a castle - during the Sack. The city "fell" and so did the men protecting the tower. 

When Tywin is murdered, the Tower of the Hand is reduced to a shell by Jaime and his men looking for Tyrion. Cersei later commands the tower be burned down, because she cannot stand to look at it, and has her pyromancers place 50 pots of wildfire inside the tower to burn it down. Cersei's feelings about the Tower of the Hand - the not being able to look at it - are a reflection about how Ned feels about Maegor's Holdfast, aka the tower of joy. 

Catelyn's abduction of Tyrion is the parallel to Lyanna's abduction. Jaime reducing the Tower of the Hand to a shell looking for Tyrion would be the parallel to Ned tearing down a tower looking for Lyanna. If Ned and his men had to fight the Kingsguard at Maegor's Holdfast to get inside only to find a raped and dead Elia, a raped and dead Rhaenys, and an infant with a crushed skull - think of how frantically he would have searched the tower for Lyanna! Is it any wonder then that the memories were so bitter that Ned condensed the things he could not bear to look at into a metaphor? He figuratively tore that tower down in his search, and he lost some good men in the attack, which explains how he "built" eight cairns with the bloody stones. Eight people died, and who's to say that Ned isn't including Elia, Rhaenys, and Aegon in the count? I think there's some wiggle room for some of his men to die in other places, such as the Battle of the Bells and at the Trident. He remembers he and Howland riding away, but they were riding away from Kings Landing after his fight with Robert over Elia and her children, and not from some tower in a mountain pass. 

Did he find Lyanna in Maegor's Holdfast? Right now I'm leaning towards "no", because when Jaime searched the Tower of the Hand for Tyrion, he was already long gone, however recall that Tyrion was smuggled out in a wine barrel on a ship. I think this might be a parallel to how Lyanna's corpse may have been transferred home - pickled or salted in a barrel - which if you think about it seems to refer to Craster's kippers - the red herring - which is an old Heresy discussion regarding Craster's sons and whether or not they were sacrificed to the Others by leaving them out in the freezing cold, which in turn should arise our suspicions that Aerys may have been sacrificing children under Maegor's Holdfast, burning them alive with fire in an attempt to hatch dragons.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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46 minutes ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

Considering what GRRM says about not taking fever dreams literally - this is a fun read. IDK though. I like the parallels you have drawn. 

Thank you for reading! I hope we get confirmation and/or explanations for a lot of the mysteries surrounding the kidnapping. Lets cross all our fingers and toes that Winds will be out soon!

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Interesting perspective. As a reader we must take the fever dream with a grain of salt thanks to Martin saying not to take them literal. I do think the tower of joy is a separate completely separate place then Maegor’s Holdfast but who knows what’s truly built underneath it or the red keep for that matter. Varys stays winning 

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18 hours ago, Bloodraven's Spider said:

Interesting perspective. As a reader we must take the fever dream with a grain of salt thanks to Martin saying not to take them literal. I do think the tower of joy is a separate completely separate place then Maegor’s Holdfast but who knows what’s truly built underneath it or the red keep for that matter. Varys stays winning 

Thanks for reading!

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Posted (edited)
On ‎8‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 4:34 PM, Feather Crystal said:

Did he find Lyanna in Maegor's Holdfast? Right now I'm leaning towards "no"

 

On ‎8‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 4:34 PM, Feather Crystal said:

I think this might be a parallel to how Lyanna's corpse may have been transferred home

Where was Lyanna or where did Ned find her corpse?

Edited by Baela Underleaf

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55 minutes ago, Baela Underleaf said:

 

Where was Lyanna or where did Ned find her corpse?

I’m mainly going off of how Tyrion escaped the black cells. Varys helped smuggle him out in a wine barrel. Jaime didn’t know where he went, whereas it’s the opposite with Ned. While it’s not described how or where he found her, he does have memories of holding her hand while she died, and that she extracted promises. It is possible he found her in the black cells after his argument with Robert over the deaths of Elia and her children, because it is said they didn’t reconcile until after they shared grief over her death. Ned could have packed her corpse salted in a barrel as a means of preservation for the long trip home.

But I still have doubts about when she died. It is possible she died early on in the Rebellion, and that would explain how Robert could have avenged her death at the Trident.

I have a nagging suspicion that she was found at Storms End, that she had been smuggled out of King’s Landing, and brought there in a barrel. Then Ned would have found her after lifting the seige, but If that’s the case, then Stannis should know about it. 

I’m still undecided about where she was found.

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10 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

he does have memories of holding her hand while she died, and that she extracted promises

i forgot about that, thank you for replying :)

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On 8/7/2018 at 2:34 PM, Feather Crystal said:

Notice that GRRM doesn't capitalize the name in the text. If it was an actual tower in the Prince's Pass he'd capitalize it as The Tower of Joy - not the tower of joy.

Still reading but you had me at hello, jk haha

Quote

It was said that Rhaegar had named that place the tower of joy, but for Ned it was a bitter memory. 

Definitely caught my eye with that nice little notice. Im going to keep reading, let my mind bake, and ill get back at you :)

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Still reading but you had me at hello, jk haha

Definitely caught my eye with that nice little notice. Im going to keep reading, let my mind bake, and ill get back at you :)

I believe it's a nickname for a very bad place, like "that's a real tower of joy all right". 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Baela Underleaf said:

i forgot about that, thank you for replying :)

You are most welcome! 

I am still on the fence, but starting to tip towards the black cells. I don't think I covered this here, but I have written about the Lollys and her sister Falyse before as a parallel of Ashara and Lyanna in the Heresy threads and elsewhere. 

It's my opinion that GRRM wanted us to view Ashara and Lyanna as being almost like sisters. Certainly Sansa and Arya are the current parallel of those two, but lets get back to my main point. Lollys was raped by several men and didn't know which one fathered her child. Ashara "danced" with several men at the Harrenhal Tourney and the reader doesn't know who "dishonored" her. Through Barristan's words we suspect Ashara got pregnant at Harrenhal, and turned to a Stark for help.

Lollys's sister is missing. No one knows where she went except Cersei, because Cersei has her locked down in the black cells. I might also point out that Falyse looks like it could be pronounced as False-ey. Perhaps we're to subliminally think of Falyse as Lolly's "false" sister?

If a pregnant Lollys is a parallel to a pregnant Ashara at court with no one knowing who the father is, then the "false" sister is down in the black cells, therefore Lyanna was imprisoned down in the black cells just like Falyse is now. And....who put her there? Cersei.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I believe it's a nickname for a very bad place, like "that's a real tower of joy all right". 

Well a couple things. All approached from a neutral perspective. 

I like to collect idea's and keep them in my noggin. Like Lyanna birthing in the crypts of Winterfell, the tower of joy, or now your lovely Maegor's Holdfast, along with a nagging suspicion i have of Queen's Crown tower. (Which bridges with idea of Lyanna birthing in the North and Benjen having had some knowledge possibly, knowledge he maybe shared with some of his new brothers, like Qhorin or Jeor.)

Though, backing up, i have had suspicions long ago about Aerys not having raped Rhaella, but of raping Ashara Dayne. Via that hidden passage. 

So im honestly still stewing on your idea of Maegor's holdfast being the Tower of Joy and having farther reaching implications than just Lyanna, but also Ashara.   

Edit- That line though about the Kings Guard being "far away" sticks at me

Edited by AlaskanSandman

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Well a couple things. All approached from a neutral perspective. 

I like to collect idea's and keep them in my noggin. Like Lyanna birthing in the crypts of Winterfell, the tower of joy, or now your lovely Maegor's Holdfast, along with a nagging suspicion i have of Queen's Crown tower. (Which bridges with idea of Lyanna birthing in the North and Benjen having had some knowledge possibly, knowledge he maybe shared with some of his new brothers, like Qhorin or Jeor.)

Though, backing up, i have had suspicions long ago about Aerys not having raped Rhaella, but of raping Ashara Dayne. Via that hidden passage. 

So im honestly still stewing on your idea of Maegor's holdfast being the Tower of Joy and having farther reaching implications than just Lyanna, but also Ashara.   

Edit- That line though about the Kings Guard being "far away" sticks at me

I wouldn't put too much importance on what the Kings Guard said in Ned's fever dream. Dreams are not literal. If you've read the Dunk and Egg novellas, Dunk has a dream very similar to Ned's, but when he wakes he later thinks: 

Quote

His head was pounding, and he could not forget the dream he dreamed the night before. It never happened that way, he tried to tell himself. It wasn’t like that. Chestnut had died on the long dry ride to Vaith, that part was true. He and Egg rode double until Egg’s brother gave them Maester. The rest of it, though…

Circling back around to the many "miscarriages" of Rhaella - it has been suggested by Pretty Pig that these children were actually sacrificed in the lower level of Maegor's Holdfast - sacrificially burned in attempts to hatch dragon eggs. They already had an heir and a spare, so the rest were disposable.

Regarding Ashara - if it's confirmed that "dishonored" means she got pregnant at Harrenhal, it may have been the reason why the daughter of a great House was a handmaiden. She was an unwed mother and either didn't know or wouldn't reveal the father of her child, so she had to take a position below her rank. You might think being Elia's handmaiden would be an honor, but why pass the opportunity of marrying her off to another great house to bind two houses together? She had shamed her family and no one would have her. She was already pregnant when she arrived at court, not that that should stop Aerys from raping her - he could have - but he couldn't impregnate an already pregnant maid.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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On 8/7/2018 at 5:34 PM, Feather Crystal said:

When Ned goes to see Robert in his bloody bed inside the royal apartments in Maegor's Holdfast - it's a replay of when Ned arrived during the Sack. There were three Kingsguard guarding Robert. Ser Boros Blount guarded the far end of the bridge. Ser Preston Greenfield stood at the bottom of the steps, and Ser Barristan Selmy waited at the door of the king’s bedchamber. Is it possible that while Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Armory Lorch were scaling the tower, that Hightower, Dayne, and Whent were in the same positions as Blount, Greenfield, and Selmy? 

This is dynamite!

I think Robert is in the role of Lyanna, though. He is in the bed of blood. He asks Ned to make him a promise - to write out the directions for running the kingdom (Ned will be Regent)  "until my son Joffrey does come of age . . . "

"Robert . . . " Joffrey is not your son, he wanted to say, but the words would not come. The agony was written too plainly across Robert's face; he could  not hurt him more. So Ned bent his head and wrote, but where the king had said "my son Joffrey," he scrawled "my heir" instead. The deceit made him feel soiled. The Lies we tell for love, he thought. May the gods forgive me.

"... Eat the bastard. Don't care if you choke on him. Promise me, Ned."

"I promise." Promise me, Ned, Lyanna's voice echoed.

... "I will give Lyanna your love, Ned. Take care of my children for me."

The words twisted in Ned's belly like a knife. For a moment he was at a loss. He could not bring himself to lie. Then he remembered the bastards: little Barra at her mother's breast, Mya in the Vale, Gendry at his forge, and all the others. "I shall . . . guard your children as if they were my own," he said slowly.

(AGoT, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII)

In addition to Ned secretly undermining Robert's words about Joffrey (although Robert seems to endorse some of Ned's thinking with his "eat the bastard" command perhaps foreshadowing Joffrey's wedding feast), all kinds of discussion follows about Ned helping Robert's son and preventing the assassination attempt on Daenerys, as well as Ned's hope that the queen (Cersei, not Elia, although I think the parallel is clear) has gone far away with her children.

Since this scene makes it clear that Ned squirmed out of honoring Robert's intentions (for reasons he felt were sound), GRRM implies that Ned did the same thing with his promise to Lyanna. Lyanna asked him to do something and Ned rationalized how he would do something other than what Lyanna requested, then appeared to agree to her request.

But the comparison of Robert's three guards - Blount, Greenfield and Selmy - with the three guards from the fever dream - Whent, Hightower and Dayne - really gives us something to work with in terms of symbolism and understanding the parallels between the situations.

I think you are probably right. Lyanna died in Maegor's Holdfast. It never made sense to me that Ned would leave King's Landing and ride to an obscure location in Dorne. Others have indicated that such a tower as is described in the Prince's Pass would never have the space for a woman giving birth along with three guards. It's possible that people fleeing with a pregnant woman would have to take shelter in such a place on short notice, but it doesn't fit with Ned's description of Lyanna's circumstances when she died. Rhaegar naming it the Tower of Joy also doesn't fit - it's no one's idea of a honeymoon suite. But Rhaegar renaming Maegor's Holdfast, recasting it as a place of joy where his third heir was born, might make more sense. It is no longer a creepy torture chamber for him but the place where a prophecy is fulfilled.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Seams said:

This is dynamite!

I think Robert is in the role of Lyanna, though. He is in the bed of blood. He asks Ned to make him a promise - to write out the directions for running the kingdom (Ned will be Regent)  "until my son Joffrey does come of age . . . "

"Robert . . . " Joffrey is not your son, he wanted to say, but the words would not come. The agony was written too plainly across Robert's face; he could  not hurt him more. So Ned bent his head and wrote, but where the king had said "my son Joffrey," he scrawled "my heir" instead. The deceit made him feel soiled. The Lies we tell for love, he thought. May the gods forgive me.

"... Eat the bastard. Don't care if you choke on him. Promise me, Ned."

"I promise." Promise me, Ned, Lyanna's voice echoed.

... "I will give Lyanna your love, Ned. Take care of my children for me."

The words twisted in Ned's belly like a knife. For a moment he was at a loss. He could not bring himself to lie. Then he remembered the bastards: little Barra at her mother's breast, Mya in the Vale, Gendry at his forge, and all the others. "I shall . . . guard your children as if they were my own," he said slowly.

(AGoT, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII)

In addition to Ned secretly undermining Robert's words about Joffrey (although Robert seems to endorse some of Ned's thinking with his "eat the bastard" command perhaps foreshadowing Joffrey's wedding feast), all kinds of discussion follows about Ned helping Robert's son and preventing the assassination attempt on Daenerys, as well as Ned's hope that the queen (Cersei, not Elia, although I think the parallel is clear) has gone far away with her children.

Since this scene makes it clear that Ned squirmed out of honoring Robert's intentions (for reasons he felt were sound), GRRM implies that Ned did the same thing with his promise to Lyanna. Lyanna asked him to do something and Ned rationalized how he would do something other than what Lyanna requested, then appeared to agree to her request.

But the comparison of Robert's three guards - Blount, Greenfield and Selmy - with the three guards from the fever dream - Whent, Hightower and Dayne - really gives us something to work with in terms of symbolism and understanding the parallels between the situations.

I think you are probably right. Lyanna died in Maegor's Holdfast. It never made sense to me that Ned would leave King's Landing and ride to an obscure location in Dorne. Others have indicated that such a tower as is described in the Prince's Pass would never have the space for a woman giving birth along with three guards. It's possible that people fleeing with a pregnant woman would have to take shelter in such a place on short notice, but it doesn't fit with Ned's description of Lyanna's circumstances when she died. Rhaegar naming it the Tower of Joy also doesn't fit - it's no one's idea of a honeymoon suite. But Rhaegar renaming Maegor's Holdfast, recasting it as a place of joy where his third heir was born, might make more sense. It is no longer a creepy torture chamber for him but the place where a prophecy is fulfilled.

Thank you for commenting on my thread! My intention was to focus on Maegor's holdfast as being the tower of joy. I stopped short of going into speculations as to whether or not Lyanna gave birth, etc, because I feared people may pounce on that discussion and leave the intended topic in the dust! So, hopefully contributors don't stray too far from what you've pointed out - but I won't disallow it either.

I think you missed my meaning as to why Rhaegar called it the "tower of joy". It was more of sarcastic remark or commentary on the true nature of the tower, and how horrible a place it truly was. If that is the case and Rhaegar informed Ned of it, that may explain Ned's words to Robert about why they went to war: to save children. This may have been the rallying call when Rhaegar was trying to gather support for a coup at Harrenhal, and explains his final words to Jaime that things would be different when he returned. 

I'm not opposed to Lyanna giving birth in the black cells, because it would fit with the suspected child sacrifice going on down there as Pretty Pig had suggested (in another thread), but I will freely admit that I don't (currently) believe Lyanna gave birth at all - to any children. I believe she died of a festering wound to the gut like Robert did.

To play devil's advocate I could see a situation where Lyanna had given birth, but the child was dead or maybe even sacrificed like the others, and Ned lied to Lyanna and allowed her to believe it was still alive. This would also parallel Dany's loss of Rhaego and not seeing his dead body. That being said I do acknowledge that Robert's promises were written with the intention to be like Lyanna's, but in what way is the tricky part! You could say that Ned's thoughts about Joffrey not being Robert's son could be a clue to the reader that Jon (also) is not Lyanna's son.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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5 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

My intention was to focus on Maegor's holdfast as being the tower of joy. I stopped short of going into speculations as to whether or not Lyanna gave birth, etc, . . .

I'm not opposed to Lyanna giving birth in the black cells, because it would fit with the suspected child sacrifice going on down there as Pretty Pig had suggested (in another thread), but I will freely admit that I don't (currently) believe Lyanna gave birth at all - to any children. I believe she died of a festering wound to the gut like Robert did.

To play devil's advocate I could see a situation where Lyanna had given birth, but the child was dead or maybe even sacrificed like the others, and Ned lied to Lyanna and allowed her to believe it was still alive. This would also parallel Dany's loss of Rhaego and not seeing his dead body. That being said I do acknowledge that Robert's promises were written with the intention to be like Lyanna's, but in what way is the tricky part! You could say that Ned's thoughts about Joffrey not being Robert's son could be a clue to the reader that Jon (also) is not Lyanna's son.

Aha. Actually, I agree that we have not been given definitive proof that Lyanna died in childbirth, or that she had a baby at all. In addition to the possibility you provide here, I am open to the possibility that her role was to hide the baby of Ashara Dayne or of Elia Martell. The imagery around her of being a fighter very much affirms the possibility that someone stabbed her and she died of that wound. (I've long suspected that "Needle = Ned + Lyanna," so a "stick 'em with the pointy end" death would be appropriately ironic for her.) But I realize you don't want the discussion to focus on this.

I also believe that Maegor's Holdfast is the "board" for the Game of Thrones. So events that occur there are moves in the power plays among people who want to control the Iron Throne (and other thrones, if you assume GRRM is talking about multiple thrones when he chose that word for the book title). It would just make sense that Lyanna's denouement - whatever it might be - occurred there.

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I think you missed my meaning as to why Rhaegar called it the "tower of joy". It was more of sarcastic remark or commentary on the true nature of the tower, and how horrible a place it truly was. . . .

I did understand that you thought Rhaegar was being sarcastic when he gave this name to the tower in the Prince's Pass. I just don't see that as likely. Usually, GRRM attributes witty remarks or insults to fools or unnamed people. I suppose it's possible that Rhaegar had a humorous or sarcastic side that we didn't hear about, but this would be the only mention of that side of his personality, so far as I can recall.

I'm sure there is a deeper meaning to the Tower of Joy, though, whether or not the events there unfolded as Ned outlines them for us. But I haven't seen an interpretation that fully explains the term to my satisfaction. Maybe we will get more hints if we ever meet the natural Lannister cousin, Joy Hill. Of course, there is controversy about whether Joy Hill was betrothed to both House Westerling and House Frey - Sybelle Westerling may have misunderstood what Tywin meant when he promised "joy" for Reynald Westerling. So I may have a lot of company in trying to figure out what "joy" means.

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On 10/5/2018 at 5:10 PM, Seams said:

I also believe that Maegor's Holdfast is the "board" for the Game of Thrones. So events that occur there are moves in the power plays among people who want to control the Iron Throne (and other thrones, if you assume GRRM is talking about multiple thrones when he chose that word for the book title). It would just make sense that Lyanna's denouement - whatever it might be - occurred there.

I would be interested in reading about your expanded thoughts on how Maegor's Holdfast would be the "board" for the Game of Thrones. If you feel it's part of the game for the Iron Throne, how would it be incorporated? Are the kings or queens that live in it's apartments utilizing magic to hold onto power? What is the true history and usage of the hidden passages leading down to the secret rooms as well as the black cells?

I do believe there are several games going on - not just the one for the Iron Throne, but one that the Children of the Forest are playing, and one that the Citadel is playing.

A smaller, physical game is called Cyvasse, the rules of which we only get bits and pieces, but since it incorporates dragons I am guessing it includes humans that have comped nature/magic for their own usage. We know Tyrion is a gifted player, and Trystane and Myrcella play a lot.

We know the Cyvasse players raise a screen so that their opponent cannot see how they lay their pieces out on a geographic playing field, sort of like Battleship, but unlike Battleship once everything is in place the screen is removed. The players can place themselves anywhere on the board, and "mountains" are a known choice. There are also ten known pieces: rabble, spearmen, crossbowman, light horse, heavy horse, trebuchet, catapult, dragon, elephant, and king. The dragon is the most powerful piece, yet it's the king that must be protected from being killed. The other pieces can be multiples, because a player having multiple elephants was noted in the text. The playing pieces are only one of two opposing colors like chess and checkers have, for example ivory and onyx, while the squares on the board can be multi-colored like jade, carnelian, and lapis lazuli. There are a few movements mentioned as well, for example we know dragons can remove elephants, and trebuchets and catapults can remove dragons.

Interestingly, Cyvasse originated in Valyria, an empire built by dragonlords. Mysteriously all of the infamous swords of the houses of Westeros are of Valyrian steel that were forged in Valyria and brought to Westeros, with the exceptions of Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail which are two swords forged from Ice.

IMO the wheel of time or ouroboros is the Children of the Forest's Cyvasse game. Instead of a flat playing board it is in the shape of a wheel. If you've watched the mummer's version the opening sequence seems to nod at this existence. Notice how the land appears concave as if inside a great wheel, and a great flying eye or lens takes turns zooming in on various houses. Even the artwork for the name of the show has four great houses visible: dragon, lion, stag, and direwolf arranged on the outside edge of the wheel. I suspect the Wall is the screen in the Cyvasse game, and that every time the screen is lifted the game starts over. Of course the Wall is an ever present and physical object, but the wards and spells woven into it are invisible. It's those invisible threads that are manipulated in order to begin a new game. The threadbare rug that Daenerys saw in the House of Black and White represents the condition of the wards and spells woven into the Wall, and that is how magic escaped.

 

On 10/5/2018 at 5:10 PM, Seams said:

I did understand that you thought Rhaegar was being sarcastic when he gave this name to the tower in the Prince's Pass.

I understand that the majority of readers accept that the tower of joy is in the Prince's Pass, but this thread debates the merits of the location. Why should we believe that it's actually located in Dorne? It's only mentioned once in the books by Ned in his thoughts, and it's not capitalized, and more importantly he doesn't use the nickname while dreaming. The only reference to the tower of joy comes when he decides to send Rory's remains to Winterfell to be buried next to his grandfather. His thoughts are that Rory would be buried next to his grandfather, since his father was buried far to the south (of Winterfell). I am asserting that since the context is where Rory will be buried rather than where Ned was currently sitting, that "far to the south" is in reference to an area south of Winterfell and not south of Kings Landing.

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3 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I would be interested in reading about your expanded thoughts on how Maegor's Holdfast would be the "board" for the Game of Thrones.

In the following thread, @Springwatch suggested that the serpentine steps in the Red Keep were the location where the Game of Thrones was played out. Starting with that idea, we worked out an idea of "Chutes and Ladders" (in Europe, this game is apparently known as "Snakes and Ladders"). A lot of symbolic pieces seemed to fall into place when we examined the Red Keep and Maegor's Holdfast as the metaphorical playing field for Chutes and Ladders. I think Lollys refusing to go into the Queen's ballroom (or whatever it is called) until Sansa invites her is a significant clue; Cersei rejecting Pycelle and then immediately crossing the drawbridge with Qyburn is another clue. I imagine the burning of the Tower of the Hand, rebuilt by Mace Tyrell, is another important shift in how the game will be played.

Of course, I am also intrigued by the potential anagram in  "Maegor's Holdfast = Game of . . . "

 

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