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GRRM Already Told Us the Tower of Joy Backstory: Wrong Joy, No Hiding, and Fight Elsewhere.

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GRRM Already Told Us the Tower of Joy Backstory:

Wrong Joy, No Hiding, and Fight Elsewhere.

Very Short Version:

1. Much time and effort has gone into examining Ned’s dream and memories about the 3 Kingsguard at the tower of joy.

2. But we have more than the dream to go on. Martin shows at least three scenes/incidents in his works that show the tower of joy’s context: Baelish’s tower, the brotherhood without banners vs. the Hound, and Ser Duncan at Standfast.

3. The incidents strongly suggest that:

  • The tower was a short stop en route to another castle. No one “hid out” in the tower.
  • The tower was a “tower of joy” for a woman other than the Stark maid—a woman presumed to have fallen from a white tower, grieving a lost love and a lost child.
  • The stolen Stark maid was never the Kingsguard’s primary mission.
  • Later, the Kingsguard (like Ser Duncan) left the place they were actually guarding went to fight a ritualized fight against a superior force at a pre-arranged locale. The tower of joy was that pre-arranged locale.

4. The incidents in the books are too on point to ignore. If this theory is right, Martin isn’t making us speculate about what happened before and during the tower of joy fight—he’s already shown us what happened throughout his works. “Keep reading,” indeed.

Shout Outs:

@Lady Darry first pointed out the “tower” conversation in The Sworn Sword.

@Lady Dyanna first convinced me to look at Lysa for info on Ashara and Lyanna.

@Black Crow's “Ronin” theory first introduced me to the idea that this was a prearranged fight. https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/146590-heresy-199-once-upon-a-time-in-the-west/&do=findComment&comment=7947520

Part I: Bael-ish’s tower: Stark maids get no joy and don’t stay long.

1. The most overt echo of the tower of joy arguably occurs when Bael-ish (obvious Bael reference) takes Sansa (a stolen Stark maid) to his run-down tower.

2. Martin chooses to add this in—he could have chosen any other locale for them to go to. Or just go straight to the Eyrie. But Martin chooses an unnamed, run-down tower.

3. Baelish gives his unnamed, run-down tower, a nickname: the Drearfort.

“And there it stands, miserable as it is. My ancestral home. It has no name, I fear. A great lord's seat ought to have a name, wouldn't you agree? Winterfell, the Eyrie, Riverrun, those are castles. Lord of Harrenhal now, that has a sweet ring to it, but what was I before? Lord of Sheepshit and Master of the Drearfort? It lacks a certain something.” [snip]

“But not here," [Sansa] said, dismayed. "It looks so . . .”

". . . small and bleak and mean? It's all that, and less. The Fingers are a lovely place, if you happen to be a stone. But have no fear, we shan't stay more than a fortnight. I expect your aunt is already riding to meet us.” He smiled. “The Lady Lysa and I are to be wed.” Storm, Sansa VI

4. It was said that Rhaegar named the run-down tower (small, bleak, and mean enough for Ned to pull it down) the “tower of joy” (Game, Eddard X)—a fact we learn long before Bael-ish and Sansa’s short stay at the Drearfort.

5. So why does it matter? Note a few key points:

  • Sansa is only a part of Baelish’s plot. She’s not the one he weds and/or beds.
  • Instead, the tower is a “tower of joy” for another woman entirely—Lysa—hoping to create a longed-for baby.
    • Lady Lysa and Lord Petyr had the third-story bedchamber to themselves, but the tower was small . . . and true to her word, her aunt screamed. It had begun to rain outside, driving the feasters into the hall one floor below, so they heard most every word. "Petyr," her aunt moaned. "Oh, Petyr, Petyr, sweet Petyr, oh oh oh. There, Petyr, there. That's where you belong." Lady Lysa's singer launched into a bawdy version of "Milady's Supper," but even his singing and playing could not drown out Lysa's cries. "Make me a baby, Petyr," she screamed, "make me another sweet little baby. Oh, Petyr, my precious, my precious, PEEEEEETYR!" Her last shriek was so loud that it set the dogs to barking. Storm, Sansa VI
  • Thus, the Stark maid witnesses another woman’s “joy” with Bael-ish, getting no joy herself. If anything, it’s a tower of annoyance and peril for the stolen Stark maid.
  • The purpose of the tower trip is NOT to hide in the tower—it’s to get their stories straight and prepare Sansa’s disguise and alias.
  • Instead, the Stark maid hides in plain sight at a comfy, isolated castle: the Eyrie.
    • Lysa's apartments opened over a small garden, a circle of dirt and grass planted with blue flowers and ringed on all sides by tall white towers. (Game, Catelyn VII).
  • White towers and blue flowers (roses or otherwise) are rarely mentioned in the novels. And the only other known standing castle with white towers? Starfall, with its Palestone Sword, isolated on an island in a river in a Red Mountains valley.
  • Lysa’s tower of joy leads to misery: after a fight with the man she loves, concerning (among other things) a lost child and a plot to disrupt the Westerosi power structure, Lysa falls from a white stone tower—and a false story is told about it. The other woman reported to have died via white stone tower? Ashara Dayne.
    • [H]e sang about some stupid lady throwing herself off some stupid tower because her stupid prince was dead. Feast, Cat of the Canals.

6. Bottom line: No way on earth did Martin include these details for nothing. Really seems like he’s telling us what did and did not happen at the tower of joy before Ned’s fight. And where the Stark maid was actually located—perhaps even showing Ashara’s role.

Part II: What about the 3 Kingsguard’s confrontation with Ned, the Usurper’s dog? The Stark maid is NOT their mission. The knights loyal to a fallen king have another mission entirely.

1. The 3 Kingsguard remain loyal to their oaths when confronted by Ned, a Usurper’s dog.

2. But exactly what is their mission? They don’t say. But Martin shows us a group of knights loyal to a fallen king: the brotherhood without banners.

“We are brothers here,” Thoros of Myr declared. “Holy brothers, sworn to the realm, to our god, and to each other.”

“The brotherhood without banners.” Tom Sevenstrings plucked a string. “The knights of the hollow hill.”

“Knights?” Clegane made the word a sneer. “Dondarrion's a knight, but the rest of you are the sorriest lot of outlaws and broken men I've ever seen. I shit better men than you.”

“Any knight can make a knight,” said the scarecrow that was Beric Dondarrion, “and every man you see before you has felt a sword upon his shoulder. We are the forgotten fellowship.” [snip]

“Robert is the king of the worms now. Is that why you're down in the earth, to keep his court for him?”

“The king is dead,” the scarecrow knight admitted, “but we are still king's men, though the royal banner we bore was lost at the Mummer's Ford when your brother's butchers fell upon us.” He touched his breast with a fist. “Robert is slain, but his realm remains. And we defend her.” (Storm, Arya VI)

3. Note the language from the confrontation: it echoes Ned’s dream.

  • The Hound (a Usurper’s dog) mocks their loyalty to Worm King Robert.
  • But Beric, Thoros, and Tom still believe in their mission, no matter how hopeless it seems. They will protect the country as best they can, even though their ruler is dead and they lost their royal banner at a battle at a river—a battle to quell violent upstarts threatening the peace and the “rightful” king’s power.

4. Result? A ritual fight at an isolated location. And the Usurper’s dog wins.

5. Where does the Stark maid fit in?

  • Arya—Lyanna’s look-alike-niece—is right there—but she’s NOT their mission. She’s a witness and a potentially useful hostage.
  • They don’t steal Arya nor does she seek them out—they get her by accident. They won’t let her go without a payoff to help their cause—but she’s not their mission.
  • No one weds or beds Arya. That’s never the point of keeping her. And as with Sansa, Arya does not hide in a tower. She hides under aliases and disguises.

6. Martin did not have to include this scene to make his plot work. He chose to show how knights loyal to a fallen ruler remain faithful to their mission—with a Stark maid in tow. 

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

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Part III: Then why fight at the tower if no one’s in it? Because, like Dunk, the 3 Kingsguard likely went to a prearranged location to confront a superior foe. The tower of joy was that prearranged location.

1. Ser Duncan and his story are chock full of Dayne imagery—Dunk’s sigil is a falling star. It’s a clear reference to Arthur Dayne and Dawn—the last things Ned sees in his dream before beginning his fateful fight with Arthur and Co.

2. After symbolically tying Dunk to Dayne in The Hedge Knight, Martin gives us an interesting scene in The Sworn Sword: Dunk is sworn to Ser Eustace Osgrey who owns a holdfast/tower called Standfast. Osgrey’s enemy has a superior force and will soon attack.

3. Dunk tells Ser Bennis that it’s stupid to hole up inside the tower and try to fight off a superior force. And he agrees that it’s stupid to fight such a force outside the tower, too.

Ser Bennis looked at his soldiers, his mouth running red with sourleaf. Can't hold the hill with so few spears. Got to be the tower. We all hole up inside.” He nodded at the door. “Only one way in. Haul up them wooden steps, and there's no way they can reach us.”

“Until they build some steps of their own. They might bring ropes and grapnels, too, and swarm down on you through the roof. Unless they just stand back with their crossbows and fill you full of quarrels while you're trying to hold the door.” The Sworn Sword.

4. Instead, Dunk decides that the best way to defend the man he’s sworn to defend is to leave the place he wants to defend and meet the enemy elsewhere.

“Ser?” Egg stood beside him. “Ser, if we mean to go, we'd best be gone, in case the Widow comes.”

The boy was right. If we linger, we'll be trapped here. The Sworn Sword

5. Result? Dunk meets the enemy at a neutral location and eventually fights a ritualized battle to settle a score. He even ends up fighting in a river.

6. So, for a Dayne-like knight, fighting a superior force inside or outside a tower that you want to defend is stupid—leave the ground you’re defending and fight at a neutral location.

7. Why did Martin include this after establishing Dunk’s symbolic tie to Arthur Dayne in Hedge Knight? Martin wrote Sworn Sword knowing full well what many fans thought about the tower of joy fight. For example: the SSM many reference is from 2002. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Concerning_the_Tower_of_Joy

Martin first published Sworn Sword in 2003. Very unlikely this is an accident—he knew.

8. THUS: there’s a whopping good chance that Dayne and the Kingsguard left the place they were defending and confronted a superior force at a neutral location. Just like Dunk—because fighting a superior force inside or outside the tower you’re defending is stupid.

Part IV: Wrapping Up: Narrative precedent is worth noting.

1. The three scenes/plot points listed above all have clear ties to Ned’s tower dream.

2. Sansa and Arya, stolen Stark maids, are NOT the primary missions of their captors.

3. Stark maids don’t hole up and hide in isolated towers with funny names—and they find no “joy” there. They hide in plain sight under aliases.

4. Arthur Dayne-like fighters (Dunk and Beric both have lots of Dayne imagery) fight ritual fights to defend their missions—which don’t include Stark maids.

5. And the Dayne-like Dunk does NOT fight in or at the actual tower/place he wants to defend. He goes to a neutral location. Fighting in or around such towers is stupid.

6. Given all this, there’s a really good chance Martin’s been giving us information about the tower fight throughout the books, not just making us guess.

7. If so, it’s unlikely that anyone was in the tower of joy during that fight. Or that the Kingsguard fought to the death over a Stark maid. Something else is up. “Keep reading.”

THE END

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Ok, Sly Wren, but wouldn't you agree ritualized knightly combat, and fights to rescue damsels held in towers are the stuff of so many different scenes within the novels and histories, and not to mention the stuff of novels and histories from so many different authors dating back to Gilgamesh and Homeric cycles that working within these themes doesn't signal a particular outcome?

I would note a few things in my immediate response regarding the Tower of Joy combat. First, Ned, Howland, and maybe others use the stones of the tower to build the cairns for the dead from his battle with Hightower, Dayne, and Whent. This is not a part of his dream, but of Ned's waking thoughts. Do you suppose he carried those stones far from the tower's location to build these cairns? If so, why and how would he do such a thing?

Quote

"Jory and the others ..."

"I gave them over to the silent sisters, to be sent north to Winterfell. Jory would want to lie beside his grandfather."

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." (AGoT 448) bold emphasis added

I don't know how much clearer Martin can be than Ned's own private and waking thoughts confirming that the combat was before the Tower of Joy as it was recalled also in his dream.

Quote

They were seven, facing three. In the dream as it had been in life. Yet these were no ordinary three. They waited before the round tower, the red mountains of Dorne at their backs, their white cloaks blowing in the wind. and these were no shadows; their faces burned clear, even now. Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, had a sad smile on his lips. The hilt of the greatsword Dawn poked up over his right shoulder. Ser Oswell Whent was on one knee, sharpening his blade with a whetstone. Across his white enameled helm, the black bat of his House spread its wings. Between them stood fierce old Ser Gerold Hightower, the White Bull, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. (AGoT 445-446) bold emphasis added

It is all to the good to show the well worn motifs Martin is using here, inspired by many others like it. It is also good to show that Martin doesn't just use them in this one instance but in many others throughout the series and histories, but that doesn't make them identical or mandate a specific pattern holds for each instance and can be used to tell us what "really happened." For instance, that Martin writes two very different scenes with two very different women crying out from a tower doesn't make the one predictive of the other.

Edited by SFDanny

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6 hours ago, Blooddragon said:

I enjoyed reading this a lot and I'm about to put some thought into it. 

:cheers:

3 hours ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

I love this, but are you then suggesting that Rhaegar+Asharra=baby?

I think that is a real possibility--and I think the baby in question would be Dany.

There's a fair amount of indirect evidence that Dany could be Rhaegar's daughter, a few hints that she's Ashara's, and a lot of evidence that something's wrong with Dany's backstory.

If so (and I fully acknowledge this is an if), that means the KG are guarding Ashara, while Lyanna is a hostage--like Jon, Arya, and Sansa are all hostages, not love interests or spouses of Rhaegar figures.

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42 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

Ok, Sly Wren, but wouldn't you agree ritualized knightly combat, and fights to rescue damsels held in towers are the stuff of so many different scenes within the novels and histories, and not to mention the stuff of novels and histories from so many different authors dating back to Gilgamesh and Homeric cycles that working within these themes doesn't signal a particular outcome?

Absolutely.

My point about the above is the specificity: A stolen Stark maid and a Bael-ish at a run down, unnamed tower; knights sworn to a fallen ruler keeping to their mission, confronted by a Usurper's dog, with a Stark maid hostage; and a knight with Dayne imagery trying to defend a hopeless situation and arguing about the wisdom of doing so in a tower.

These seem less than just general situations in the novels. They seem specific.

45 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

I would note a few things in my immediate response regarding the Tower of Joy combat. First, Ned, Howland, and maybe others use the stones of the tower to build the cairns for the dead from his battle with Hightower, Dayne, and Whent. This is not a part of his dream, but of Ned's waking thoughts. Do you suppose he carried those stones far from the tower's location to build these cairns? If so, why and how would he do such a thing?

I don't know how much clearer Martin can be than Ned's own private and waking thoughts confirming that the combat was before the Tower of Joy as it was recalled also in his dream.

Okay--I completely screwed up explaining my point. Very sorry.

1. Without question, Ned fights the KG at the tower Rhaegar is said to have called the tower of joy.

2. My point--no one was in the tower at the time of the fight--it was used, at the time of the fight, simply as a meeting point in the Prince's Pass.

3. This fits with Baelish's tower clues: only stay with the Stark maid at the run-down tower for a very short time, then move her to an comfy castle with white stone towers.

4. And it fits with Dunk's incident--he knows he can't defeat the Widow. He knows he can't fight a superior force at the ground he wants to defend. So, he leaves that ground, goes to a prearranged location, parlays and fights. 

Dunk even tells Ser Bennis, whom the Widow is particularly angry with, to stay behind at Standfast. And that if Dunk isn't back by a certain time, Bennis should assume they are dead and run like hell for help.

51 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

It is all to the good to show the well worn motifs Martin is using here, inspired by many others like it. It is also good to show that Martin doesn't just use them in this one instance but in many others throughout the series and histories, but that doesn't make them identical or mandate a specific pattern holds for each instance and can be used to tell us what "really happened." For instance, that Martin writes two very different scenes with two very different women crying out from a tower doesn't make the one predictive of the other.

I fully agree--but these don't seem to be "well-worn" motifs in the novels. 

Taking a Stolen Stark Maid to a run-down tower--seems specific. Especially since Baelish could have taken her anywhere else--Martin did NOT have to choose that setting. Nor have Lysa marry Baelish there. Nor have everyone hear her cries during sex for a baby. Nor later die falling from a white stone tower. It really seems like it's there to make a point.

The convo between the brotherhood and the Hound with Arya there--again--that's specific. And, again, no need in the plot for it to go down that way.

And Martin's having Dunk, so clearly tied to Dayne symbolism, comment on the wisdom of fighting in a tower--he could have made his point about Dunk's worthiness, etc. in a lot of other ways.

He included that tower element knowing full well what fans thought about the tower of joy--it's less on point than Sansa's or Arya's parts, in my opinion, but it still seems worth considering.

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My question is: how dependent is your theory on the material gathered from ancillary source(s) (i.e. the Ser Duncan bits)? Would a reader would be more unlikely to come to the same conclusion(s) as you have from accessing only the ASOIAF series of novels?

I would strongly hope that GRRM wouldn't require reading of "outside materials" (so to speak) in order to fully understand his story in ASOIAF. I could be wrong, of course, but I just don't think he would do that.

Would you still advance this thesis if you had to leave out any non-ASOIAF material?

 

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1 hour ago, The Ned's Little Girl said:

My question is: how dependent is your theory on the material gathered from ancillary source(s) (i.e. the Ser Duncan bits)? Would a reader would be more unlikely to come to the same conclusion(s) as you have from accessing only the ASOIAF series of novels?

Well, if only focusing on the main novels, we still have Baelish's unnamed tower and all that happens there--only to leave the tower for a castle with white towers where a woman falls to her death. 

And we've got the brotherhood's clash with the Hound with Arya in tow.

Both of those scenes alone raise questions about whether anyone stayed in Rhaegar's tower, and for whom it was a joy, and what the KG's actual mission was.

Plus we've got Jon--another Stark maid who ends up hostage to a Rhaegar figure (Mance)--Jon's never Mance's focus there, either. 

So far in the novels, we've got Martin telling us that people in the novels believe Rhaegar took Lyanna--that she was his purpose.

But we also have him showing us three Stark maid hostages with either Rhaegar or KG figures--and the Stark maids are NOT the mission and who don't hide in towers.

Seems like there's good reason to at least ask why there's a difference between what we are told and what we are shown, no?

1 hour ago, The Ned's Little Girl said:

I would strongly hope that GRRM wouldn't require reading of "outside materials" (so to speak) in order to fully understand his story in ASOIAF. I could be wrong, of course, but I just don't think he would do that.

Fair enough--but the novellas don't seem that outside, do they? Martin wrote them as he wrote the novels.

And people also use the World Book to help support theories, no? 

1 hour ago, The Ned's Little Girl said:

Would you still advance this thesis if you had to leave out any non-ASOIAF material?

Yes--for a lot of reasons--most of which I listed in the first section in my answer to you.

Martin's got a disparity between what he tells us people in the novels believe and what actually happens when Stark maids get taken hostage. Why is there a disparity, especially when he gives us something like Baelish's tower and the brotherhood vs. the Hound? 

I do think that disparity in the novels is worth exploring. Martin himself tells us to "keep reading," no?

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@Sly Wren Some questions.

1.  Why are they fighting in the first place?  It is likely to get them all killed (in fact, 80% of the participants did die), so I doubt they would be fighting unless it was massively important to both sides.  In the main theory, the KG is presumably fighting for the boy they consider the rightful Targaryen claimant, and Ned is trying to rescue his sister and prevent her son from becoming said claimant.

2.  Where the hell is Lyanna?  And Jon?  If at Starfall, why are they fighting at the Tower of Joy.  It is a long ways from Starfall, and not on the most likely route to Starfall.

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2 hours ago, Nevets said:

@Sly Wren Some questions.

1.  Why are they fighting in the first place?  It is likely to get them all killed (in fact, 80% of the participants did die), so I doubt they would be fighting unless it was massively important to both sides.  In the main theory, the KG is presumably fighting for the boy they consider the rightful Targaryen claimant, and Ned is trying to rescue his sister and prevent her son from becoming said claimant.

1. @Black Crow argues that they are fighting rather than yielding--three Ronin.

2. But I think the KG have a mission other than the Stark maid. The brotherhood fight on despite Robert's death and losing their royal banner in a fight at a river. But the brotherhood without banners have a Stark maid right there--and she isn't their mission. Martin shows us 3 Stark maids (Jon, Sansa, and Arya) all taken hostage by either a Rhaegar figure or KG figures--and in none of the cases is the Stark maid the mission.

Really seems like that's something we should pay attention to. 

3. That said, if I had to put down money, I think the KG still have a mission, like the brotherhood without banners does. My current guess? Rhaegar did want a third child and his paramour is pregnant--that paramour being Ashara Dayne. Would fit with Sansa at Baelish's tower witnessing the joy of another woman. With Rhaegar's need for a child. With both Ashara and Lysa reportedly dying via white tower, mourning a lost love and a lost child.

4. If so, the KG would have great reason to fight ETA.--though I think that there's an excellent chance they don't think they will win, regardless of whom they are protecting. They have to know they are unlikely to win.

5. ETA: As for why Ned is fighting? He wants his sister back. And I'm guessing they may have thought the KG would yield--but they don't--Arthur dons his helm and unsheathes his sword. 

Quote

2.  Where the hell is Lyanna?  And Jon?  If at Starfall, why are they fighting at the Tower of Joy.  It is a long ways from Starfall, and not on the most likely route to Starfall.

1. I think Lyanna, like Sansa at the Eyrie, is at Starfall--the only other castle in Westeros known to have white towers (like the Eyrie). Where a woman also presumably falls to her death from a white tower, supposedly mourning a lost child and a lost love--as does Lysa.

2. And I think they are fighting at the tower out in the Prince's Pass because it is a neutral location, away from the ones they want to protect. It's what Dunk does when he's up against a superior force--meets a smaller force at a prearranged locale.

And we even have those mentions in the World Book of how the Stony Dornish often don't fight invaders from their castles. They either disappear or ride out to fight their enemies in the Prince's Pass. Arthur's Stony Dornish--may be following that, too.

One way or another--really seems like Martin may not be making us guess what happened around the tower fight--he's been giving us info throughout the books. The echoes of the tower at Baelish's tower and of the KG and the brotherhood--they seem far too on point.

Edited by Sly Wren
Left out part of the answer--and I can't spell.

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3 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Fair enough--but the novellas don't seem that outside, do they? Martin wrote them as he wrote the novels.

And people also use the World Book to help support theories, no? 

Yes, indeed - people do use the novellas and the World Book as support.... if they have read them (as I have not; I would guess they're not canon for a great many readers of ASOIAF). But they are "outside materials" by definition; they are not included ASOIAF, except for a few oblique references that don't impact the story.

So if there are important aspects of the story that depend rather heavily on events, etc. not written into ASOIAF itself, then Martin has done his readers quite a disservice, in my opinion. Any theory or interpretation should be able to stand on its own with just the ASOIAF novels. If materials other than ASOIAF itself are required to gain a full understanding of the story, then that would be a significant weakness or vulnerability of that theory. Just something to keep in mind, no?

But you don't believe that to be the case. So thank you for answering my question.

 

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2 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

<snip>

3. That said, if I had to put down money, I think the KG still have a mission, like the brotherhood without banners does. My current guess? Rhaegar did want a third child and his paramour is pregnant--that paramour being Ashara Dayne. Would fit with Sansa at Baelish's tower witnessing the joy of another woman. With Rhaegar's need for a child. With both Ashara and Lysa reportedly dying via white tower, mourning a lost love and a lost child.

<snip>

1. I think Lyanna, like Sansa at the Eyrie, is at Starfall--the only other castle in Westeros known to have white towers (like the Eyrie). Where a woman also presumably falls to her death from a white tower, supposedly mourning a lost child and a lost love--as does Lysa.

<snip>

Except Lysa didn't just "fall"; she didn't jump out the Moon Door because of a lost love, that's the story Sansa is told by Baelish to tell. Lysa was pushed out to her death.

Was Ashara maybe murdered and Lyanna a witness to it? Was it she (and someone else) who spread the tale that Ashara jumped out of the tower and killed herself to avoid justice?

Because when you think about Rhaegar taking Lyanna, Ashara's reaction may be similar to Lysa's: Rhaegar (Baelish) takes Lyanna (Sansa) with him for absolutely no reason to attend his weird thing (wedding) with Ashara (Lysa) at a tower in the middle of no where, but they then go to a castle where they stay. Ashara begins to suspect that her lover/husband is unfaithful to her and maybe she sees them be a little bit too affectionate with each other (Baelish kisses Sansa) and confronts Lyanna about it and things escalate and Ashara threatens Lyanna that she will throw her out of the tower. Someone then comes and comforts Ashara, but then decides to push her out of the tower to her death, with Lyanna as a witness.

If that is indeed so, who killed Ashara? I highly doubt Rhaegar was even present when this must've occurred and even if he was, I don't think hewould kill the woman who was pregnant with his child.

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1 hour ago, The Ned's Little Girl said:

Yes, indeed - people do use the novellas and the World Book as support.... if they have read them (as I have not; I would guess they're not canon for a great many readers of ASOIAF). But they are "outside materials" by definition; they are not included ASOIAF, except for a few oblique references that don't impact the story.

1. Don't blame you for not reading them--nowhere near as good as the novels.

2. I agree that they are not always directly impacting the novels--but they do seem informative at times. Even highly so--IE: we meet Bloodraven in the novellas, learn his character--before meeting him in the tree with Bran. So, not entirely outside--but I agree you can figure out the novels without them.

1 hour ago, The Ned's Little Girl said:

So if there are important aspects of the story that depend rather heavily on events, etc. not written into ASOIAF itself, then Martin has done his readers quite a disservice, in my opinion.

All fair--would you include SSMs in the category of "outside ASOIAF?"

1 hour ago, The Ned's Little Girl said:

Any theory or interpretation should be able to stand on its own with just the ASOIAF novels.

I can buy that. I'd argue that my interp of Sansa and Baelish at his tower and of Arya with the brotherhood and the Hound do stand on their own as being potential indicators of what happened with Lyanna.

Regardless of the potential implications of Dunk.

Or do you think my novel analysis is innately undermined because I also included Dunk?

1 hour ago, The Ned's Little Girl said:

If materials other than ASOIAF itself are required to gain a full understanding of the story, then that would be a significant weakness or vulnerability of that theory. Just something to keep in mind, no?

All fair. But I don't think the Dunk analysis is required to understand the story--just a potential addendum/pointer. If all I had was the fight over fighting in a tower--my whole point would be silly.

1 hour ago, The Ned's Little Girl said:

But you don't believe that to be the case.

Not sure if I "believe" it or not--I do agree that theories explaining the books should mostly use the books. But SSMs and other things written by Martin tied to the books seems pretty helpful, too.

1 hour ago, The Ned's Little Girl said:

So thank you for answering my question.

:cheers:

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On 9/6/2018 at 7:30 PM, Sly Wren said:

 

GRRM Already Told Us the Tower of Joy Backstory:

Wrong Joy, No Hiding, and Fight Elsewhere.

Very Short Version:

1. Much time and effort has gone into examining Ned’s dream and memories about the 3 Kingsguard at the tower of joy.

2. But we have more than the dream to go on. Martin shows at least three scenes/incidents in his works that show the tower of joy’s context: Baelish’s tower, the brotherhood without banners vs. the Hound, and Ser Duncan at Standfast.

3. The incidents strongly suggest that:

  • The tower was a short stop en route to another castle. No one “hid out” in the tower.
  • The tower was a “tower of joy” for a woman other than the Stark maid—a woman presumed to have fallen from a white tower, grieving a lost love and a lost child.
  • The stolen Stark maid was never the Kingsguard’s primary mission.
  • Later, the Kingsguard (like Ser Duncan) left the place they were actually guarding went to fight a ritualized fight against a superior force at a pre-arranged locale. The tower of joy was that pre-arranged locale.

4. The incidents in the books are too on point to ignore. If this theory is right, Martin isn’t making us speculate about what happened before and during the tower of joy fight—he’s already shown us what happened throughout his works. “Keep reading,” indeed.

Shout Outs:

@Lady Darry first pointed out the “tower” conversation in The Sworn Sword.

@Lady Dyanna first convinced me to look at Lysa for info on Ashara and Lyanna.

@Black Crow's “Ronin” theory first introduced me to the idea that this was a prearranged fight. https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/146590-heresy-199-once-upon-a-time-in-the-west/&do=findComment&comment=7947520

Part I: Bael-ish’s tower: Stark maids get no joy and don’t stay long.

1. The most overt echo of the tower of joy arguably occurs when Bael-ish (obvious Bael reference) takes Sansa (a stolen Stark maid) to his run-down tower.

2. Martin chooses to add this in—he could have chosen any other locale for them to go to. Or just go straight to the Eyrie. But Martin chooses an unnamed, run-down tower.

3. Baelish gives his unnamed, run-down tower, a nickname: the Drearfort.

“And there it stands, miserable as it is. My ancestral home. It has no name, I fear. A great lord's seat ought to have a name, wouldn't you agree? Winterfell, the Eyrie, Riverrun, those are castles. Lord of Harrenhal now, that has a sweet ring to it, but what was I before? Lord of Sheepshit and Master of the Drearfort? It lacks a certain something.” [snip]

“But not here," [Sansa] said, dismayed. "It looks so . . .”

". . . small and bleak and mean? It's all that, and less. The Fingers are a lovely place, if you happen to be a stone. But have no fear, we shan't stay more than a fortnight. I expect your aunt is already riding to meet us.” He smiled. “The Lady Lysa and I are to be wed.” Storm, Sansa VI

4. It was said that Rhaegar named the run-down tower (small, bleak, and mean enough for Ned to pull it down) the “tower of joy” (Game, Eddard X)—a fact we learn long before Bael-ish and Sansa’s short stay at the Drearfort.

5. So why does it matter? Note a few key points:

  • Sansa is only a part of Baelish’s plot. She’s not the one he weds and/or beds.
  • Instead, the tower is a “tower of joy” for another woman entirely—Lysa—hoping to create a longed-for baby.
    • Lady Lysa and Lord Petyr had the third-story bedchamber to themselves, but the tower was small . . . and true to her word, her aunt screamed. It had begun to rain outside, driving the feasters into the hall one floor below, so they heard most every word. "Petyr," her aunt moaned. "Oh, Petyr, Petyr, sweet Petyr, oh oh oh. There, Petyr, there. That's where you belong." Lady Lysa's singer launched into a bawdy version of "Milady's Supper," but even his singing and playing could not drown out Lysa's cries. "Make me a baby, Petyr," she screamed, "make me another sweet little baby. Oh, Petyr, my precious, my precious, PEEEEEETYR!" Her last shriek was so loud that it set the dogs to barking. Storm, Sansa VI
  • Thus, the Stark maid witnesses another woman’s “joy” with Bael-ish, getting no joy herself. If anything, it’s a tower of annoyance and peril for the stolen Stark maid.
  • The purpose of the tower trip is NOT to hide in the tower—it’s to get their stories straight and prepare Sansa’s disguise and alias.
  • Instead, the Stark maid hides in plain sight at a comfy, isolated castle: the Eyrie.
    • Lysa's apartments opened over a small garden, a circle of dirt and grass planted with blue flowers and ringed on all sides by tall white towers. (Game, Catelyn VII).
  • White towers and blue flowers (roses or otherwise) are rarely mentioned in the novels. And the only other known standing castle with white towers? Starfall, with its Palestone Sword, isolated on an island in a river in a Red Mountains valley.
  • Lysa’s tower of joy leads to misery: after a fight with the man she loves, concerning (among other things) a lost child and a plot to disrupt the Westerosi power structure, Lysa falls from a white stone tower—and a false story is told about it. The other woman reported to have died via white stone tower? Ashara Dayne.
    • [H]e sang about some stupid lady throwing herself off some stupid tower because her stupid prince was dead. Feast, Cat of the Canals.

6. Bottom line: No way on earth did Martin include these details for nothing. Really seems like he’s telling us what did and did not happen at the tower of joy before Ned’s fight. And where the Stark maid was actually located—perhaps even showing Ashara’s role.

Part II: What about the 3 Kingsguard’s confrontation with Ned, the Usurper’s dog? The Stark maid is NOT their mission. The knights loyal to a fallen king have another mission entirely.

1. The 3 Kingsguard remain loyal to their oaths when confronted by Ned, a Usurper’s dog.

2. But exactly what is their mission? They don’t say. But Martin shows us a group of knights loyal to a fallen king: the brotherhood without banners.

“We are brothers here,” Thoros of Myr declared. “Holy brothers, sworn to the realm, to our god, and to each other.”

“The brotherhood without banners.” Tom Sevenstrings plucked a string. “The knights of the hollow hill.”

“Knights?” Clegane made the word a sneer. “Dondarrion's a knight, but the rest of you are the sorriest lot of outlaws and broken men I've ever seen. I shit better men than you.”

“Any knight can make a knight,” said the scarecrow that was Beric Dondarrion, “and every man you see before you has felt a sword upon his shoulder. We are the forgotten fellowship.” [snip]

“Robert is the king of the worms now. Is that why you're down in the earth, to keep his court for him?”

“The king is dead,” the scarecrow knight admitted, “but we are still king's men, though the royal banner we bore was lost at the Mummer's Ford when your brother's butchers fell upon us.” He touched his breast with a fist. “Robert is slain, but his realm remains. And we defend her.” (Storm, Arya VI)

3. Note the language from the confrontation: it echoes Ned’s dream.

  • The Hound (a Usurper’s dog) mocks their loyalty to Worm King Robert.
  • But Beric, Thoros, and Tom still believe in their mission, no matter how hopeless it seems. They will protect the country as best they can, even though their ruler is dead and they lost their royal banner at a battle at a river—a battle to quell violent upstarts threatening the peace and the “rightful” king’s power.

4. Result? A ritual fight at an isolated location. And the Usurper’s dog wins.

5. Where does the Stark maid fit in?

  • Arya—Lyanna’s look-alike-niece—is right there—but she’s NOT their mission. She’s a witness and a potentially useful hostage.
  • They don’t steal Arya nor does she seek them out—they get her by accident. They won’t let her go without a payoff to help their cause—but she’s not their mission.
  • No one weds or beds Arya. That’s never the point of keeping her. And as with Sansa, Arya does not hide in a tower. She hides under aliases and disguises.

6. Martin did not have to include this scene to make his plot work. He chose to show how knights loyal to a fallen ruler remain faithful to their mission—with a Stark maid in tow. 

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

 

 

On 9/6/2018 at 7:36 PM, Sly Wren said:

 

Part III: Then why fight at the tower if no one’s in it? Because, like Dunk, the 3 Kingsguard likely went to a prearranged location to confront a superior foe. The tower of joy was that prearranged location.

1. Ser Duncan and his story are chock full of Dayne imagery—Dunk’s sigil is a falling star. It’s a clear reference to Arthur Dayne and Dawn—the last things Ned sees in his dream before beginning his fateful fight with Arthur and Co.

2. After symbolically tying Dunk to Dayne in The Hedge Knight, Martin gives us an interesting scene in The Sworn Sword: Dunk is sworn to Ser Eustace Osgrey who owns a holdfast/tower called Standfast. Osgrey’s enemy has a superior force and will soon attack.

3. Dunk tells Ser Bennis that it’s stupid to hole up inside the tower and try to fight off a superior force. And he agrees that it’s stupid to fight such a force outside the tower, too.

Ser Bennis looked at his soldiers, his mouth running red with sourleaf. Can't hold the hill with so few spears. Got to be the tower. We all hole up inside.” He nodded at the door. “Only one way in. Haul up them wooden steps, and there's no way they can reach us.”

“Until they build some steps of their own. They might bring ropes and grapnels, too, and swarm down on you through the roof. Unless they just stand back with their crossbows and fill you full of quarrels while you're trying to hold the door.” The Sworn Sword.

4. Instead, Dunk decides that the best way to defend the man he’s sworn to defend is to leave the place he wants to defend and meet the enemy elsewhere.

“Ser?” Egg stood beside him. “Ser, if we mean to go, we'd best be gone, in case the Widow comes.”

The boy was right. If we linger, we'll be trapped here. The Sworn Sword

5. Result? Dunk meets the enemy at a neutral location and eventually fights a ritualized battle to settle a score. He even ends up fighting in a river.

6. So, for a Dayne-like knight, fighting a superior force inside or outside a tower that you want to defend is stupid—leave the ground you’re defending and fight at a neutral location.

7. Why did Martin include this after establishing Dunk’s symbolic tie to Arthur Dayne in Hedge Knight? Martin wrote Sworn Sword knowing full well what many fans thought about the tower of joy fight. For example: the SSM many reference is from 2002. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Concerning_the_Tower_of_Joy

Martin first published Sworn Sword in 2003. Very unlikely this is an accident—he knew.

8. THUS: there’s a whopping good chance that Dayne and the Kingsguard left the place they were defending and confronted a superior force at a neutral location. Just like Dunk—because fighting a superior force inside or outside the tower you’re defending is stupid.

Part IV: Wrapping Up: Narrative precedent is worth noting.

1. The three scenes/plot points listed above all have clear ties to Ned’s tower dream.

2. Sansa and Arya, stolen Stark maids, are NOT the primary missions of their captors.

3. Stark maids don’t hole up and hide in isolated towers with funny names—and they find no “joy” there. They hide in plain sight under aliases.

4. Arthur Dayne-like fighters (Dunk and Beric both have lots of Dayne imagery) fight ritual fights to defend their missions—which don’t include Stark maids.

5. And the Dayne-like Dunk does NOT fight in or at the actual tower/place he wants to defend. He goes to a neutral location. Fighting in or around such towers is stupid.

6. Given all this, there’s a really good chance Martin’s been giving us information about the tower fight throughout the books, not just making us guess.

7. If so, it’s unlikely that anyone was in the tower of joy during that fight. Or that the Kingsguard fought to the death over a Stark maid. Something else is up. “Keep reading.”

THE END

 

This is a lot to take in.  I will have to take the time to give your ideas a fair analysis.  I am intrigued.  

8 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

:cheers:

I think that is a real possibility--and I think the baby in question would be Dany.

There's a fair amount of indirect evidence that Dany could be Rhaegar's daughter, a few hints that she's Ashara's, and a lot of evidence that something's wrong with Dany's backstory.

If so (and I fully acknowledge this is an if), that means the KG are guarding Ashara, while Lyanna is a hostage--like Jon, Arya, and Sansa are all hostages, not love interests or spouses of Rhaegar figures.

Aegon is the more likely baby.  Dany was yet to be born.  

I have always thought Lyanna ran away from home and Rhaegar was only giving her shelter because he had motives of his own.  He stymied Rickard Stark's Southron Ambitions.  This is similar to what the Tyrells did with Sansa.  They had their own motives when they used Sansa against Joffrey.  Rhaegar was hiding Lyanna to thwart Robert and Rickard from building their alliance against the Targaryens.  A pregnant Lyanna could never be used as the glue to hold southron ambitions together.  My guess is Arthur slept with Lyanna.  Arthur was breaking his vows of celibacy in order to protect King Aerys.  A soiled Lyanna Stark could never become a part of Rickard's plotting.  Given what we know of Lyanna, she is not the kind who would appreciate being used by her father.  An agreement was made between Rhaegar, Lyanna, and Arthur.  Lyanna gets to avoid Robert, Arthur gets to save King Aerys, and Rhaegar gets to save the Targaryen family.  

Ashara's reaction to the news is not typical for a sister mourning a brother's death.  It is the reaction of a lover mourning her man's death.  If Rhaegar and Ashara were lovers, it would help explain his behavior at the tourney.  His wife was there.  His lover was there.  Who to give the crown of roses to?  A third person.  In his case, the girl who masqueraded as the knight of the laughing tree, the real winner of the tourney.  

I would also like to add the similarity to the agreement between the Starks and the Freys.  Arya was to be used to help bond the two houses together.  The Starks broke their side of the agreement in both cases.  Lyanna ran away.  Robb broke his promise and got Arya off the table.  Ned was able to hide the truth.  He protected his family honor and spared Robert's feelings.  He has a pattern of sparing Robert from pain.  

Edited by Aline de Gavrillac

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41 minutes ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

Except Lysa didn't just "fall"; she didn't jump out the Moon Door because of a lost love, that's the story Sansa is told by Baelish to tell. Lysa was pushed out to her death.

Was Ashara maybe murdered and Lyanna a witness to it? Was it she (and someone else) who spread the tale that Ashara jumped out of the tower and killed herself to avoid justice?

I've had this convo with @Lady Dyanna, too--not sure we ever figured this out.

Full disclosure: my current interp is prejudiced by the fact that I think Ashara is likely alive. And that the echoes of Ashara and Lysa's deaths are "echoes"--not tight parallels. But those are obviously theories and may be clouding my judgment.

That said--I do wonder how much Lyanna witnessed--that wonder included if Rhaegar is the father of Lyanna's child or if anyone else is. 

As for the idea that Ashara's potential murderer lied--okay, that is an angle I hadn't thought of. 

41 minutes ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

Because when you think about Rhaegar taking Lyanna, Ashara's reaction may be similar to Lysa's: Rhaegar (Baelish) takes Lyanna (Sansa) with him for absolutely no reason to attend his weird thing (wedding) with Ashara (Lysa) at a tower in the middle of no where, but they then go to a castle where they stay. Ashara begins to suspect that her lover/husband is unfaithful to her and maybe she sees them be a little bit too affectionate with each other (Baelish kisses Sansa) and confronts Lyanna about it and things escalate and Ashara threatens Lyanna that she will throw her out of the tower. Someone then comes and comforts Ashara, but then decides to push her out of the tower to her death, with Lyanna as a witness.

I've wondered stuff along these lines, too. I've even wondered if Ashara had been in love with Rhaegar for a long while--like Lysa has with Baelish. Possibly even jealous that he married Elia.

Even wondered if Rhaegar was the one who dishonored Ashara at Harrenhal. . . .

All that said--another prejudice of mine is rearing its head: I struggle to see Lyanna's being attracted to Rhaegar--the Stark maids in the story connected to Lyanna (Arya, Sansa, and Jon) aren't attracted to Rhaegar figures.

And I struggle to see Rhaegar as "taking" Lyanna--so far, the Stark Maids tend to end up hostages by . . . accident. Like Jon does. And Arya. And kind of Sansa.

All that said--might Ashara be jealous even of the accidental hostage? Very possible.

41 minutes ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

If that is indeed so, who killed Ashara? I highly doubt Rhaegar was even present when this must've occurred and even if he was, I don't think hewould kill the woman who was pregnant with his child.

Agreed--if Ashara is dead, really doubt Rhaegar killed her. 

I'm about to get very, very hypothetical and speculative--fair warning: 

If (and I fully acknowledge this is an if) Ashara is the one pregnant with Rhaegar's child, I could see her being VERY distraught about his leaving her to go back to King's Landing and the war.

Perhaps that is the echo of the fight between Lysa and Baelish--only this time Rhaegar dies and Ashara's death may or may not have happened.

End of speculation--bottom line: I fully agree that if all this speculation is true, Rhaegar didn't kill Ashara.

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2 minutes ago, Aline de Gavrillac said:

Aegon is the more likely baby.  Dany was yet to be born.  

AHH! I hadn't thought of this angle at all--and it could work well.

I'm only positing Dany because I'm currently of the opinion (liable to change at any moment) that Ashara and Rhaegar are Dany's parents and that Ashara was pregnant.

But I'm kinda liking the idea that they had Aegon with them already. . . very interesting.

5 minutes ago, Aline de Gavrillac said:

I have always thought Lyanna ran away from home and Rhaegar was only giving her shelter because he had motives of his own.  He stymied Rickard Stark's Southron Ambitions.  This is similar to what the Tyrells did with Sansa.  They had their own motives when they used Sansa against Joffrey.  Rhaegar was hiding Lyanna to thwart Robert and Rickard from building their alliance against the Targaryens.

I could see that--does fit with Sansa's storyline.

Though I do think that Arya's reactions to being held hostage and her storyline might also tell us about how Lyanna ended up with Rhaegar.

But I agree that Rhaegar had reasons for holding onto Lyanna that had nothing to do with sex.

5 minutes ago, Aline de Gavrillac said:

A pregnant Lyanna could never be used as the glue to hold southron ambitions together. 

:agree:

5 minutes ago, Aline de Gavrillac said:

My guess is Arthur slept with Lyanna.  Arthur was breaking his vows of celibacy in order to protect King Aerys.  A soiled Lyanna Stark could never become a part of Rickard's plotting.  Given what we know of Lyanna, she is not the kind who would appreciate being used by her father.  An agreement was made between Rhaegar, Lyanna, and Arthur.  Lyanna gets to avoid Robert, Arthur gets to save King Aerys, and Rhaegar gets to save the Targaryen family.  

Struggling with the bolded--we get shown a few very good sworn brothers seduced into breaking their vows: Arys Oakheart and Jon Snow being the two most notable.

And we see powerful girls seducing men--Ygritte, the wild northern girl, for example.

But good knights seducing girls for the express purpose of soiling them???? Can you think of a precedent? And why Ned might still respect Arthur? Or are you thinking Lyanna lied to Ned about Arthur? Something else I'm not seeing?

10 minutes ago, Aline de Gavrillac said:

Ashara's reaction to the news is not typical for a sister mourning a brother's death.  It is the reaction of a lover mourning her man's death.  If Rhaegar and Ashara were lovers, it would help explain his behavior at the tourney.  His wife was there.  His lover was there.  Who to give the crown of roses to?  A third person.  In his case, the girl who masqueraded as the knight of the laughing tree, the real winner of the tourney.  

:agree:

And her reaction fits Arya's odd line in Feast about a stupid lady throwing herself from a stupid tower because her stupid prince was dead.

And I'd rather love it if Rhaegar gave the roses to Lyanna to avoid a confrontation--that would end up being truly fabulous irony.

It would blow a hole in some of my theories--but I'm thinking it's worth it. I really like this idea!

Yes--Rhaegar giving the roses without knowing what's up--am wondering if it even is hinted at by Loras' giving the rose to Sansa. It means nothing to him--at all. Sansa misinterprets.

That said--what do you make of why Brandon reacts as he does? 

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2 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

Struggling with the bolded--we get shown a few very good sworn brothers seduced into breaking their vows: Arys Oakheart and Jon Snow being the two most notable.

And we see powerful girls seducing men--Ygritte, the wild northern girl, for example.

But good knights seducing girls for the express purpose of soiling them???? Can you think of a precedent? And why Ned might still respect Arthur? Or are you thinking Lyanna lied to Ned about Arthur? Something else I'm not seeing?

Sex being used as a political tool.  It doesn't fit what we know of Arthur.  Unless he fell in love with her.  And Lyanna to him.  Part of my thinking has to do with the sword, Dawn.  Somebody will wield that sword and it seems like Jon Snow is it.  But he would have to be a Dayne in order to earn the blade.  Jon soiled himself with Ygritte in order to win the trust of Mance Rayder.  Arthur perhaps soiled his own honor for his king.

3 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

And her reaction fits Arya's odd line in Feast about a stupid lady throwing herself from a stupid tower because her stupid prince was dead.

And I'd rather love it if Rhaegar gave the roses to Lyanna to avoid a confrontation--that would end up being truly fabulous irony.

It would blow a hole in some of my theories--but I'm thinking it's worth it. I really like this idea!

Yes--Rhaegar giving the roses without knowing what's up--am wondering if it even is hinted at by Loras' giving the rose to Sansa. It means nothing to him--at all. Sansa misinterprets.

That said--what do you make of why Brandon reacts as he does?

Brandon + Lyanna = Jon?  :D  

Seriously, Brandon probably knew full well what happened.  Lyanna was crucial to pull off their conspiracy.  No Lyanna = No blood bond between Stark and Baratheon = southron ambitions falls on its face in failure.  

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It's an interesting theory.  I want to list some possibilities.

  1. Your explanation for why the fight happened and why it happened at that location is good.  I want to give another theory and see what you think.  The fight happened because the war never ended for the Kingsguard.  The surrender of the Tyrells meant nothing to their way of understanding their vows.  Here was the enemy of their king.  It's their job to fight the enemy.  To avenge their Aerys because their service didn't end with the death of their king.   Making peace with the enemy of their king is not an option.   A man of honor like Ned Stark would understand this and even respect them for it.
  2. Ned doesn't have any hate for Rhaegar because the man didn't touch his sister.  There was a passage in the book from Ned or maybe Jaime where the pov character didn't think Rhaegar was the kind of man to visit a brothel.  That should be a clue to us that Rhaegar was faithful to his wife.  A man who fools around is the kind who would go to a brothel.  
  3. Ned's promise to Lyanna.  Nothing more than to take care of her son, whoever his father might be.  She was unmarried and broke her engagement to Robert.  Ned took on the dishonor to keep her reputation pure.  Ned, the dutiful brother who handled the messes left by Brandon and Lyanna.  
  4. Who was born at the tower of joy?  I don't think it was Daenerys.  She has to be Targaryen on both sides.  Remember the woods witch? Her prophecy says a future child has to come from the union of Targaryen to another Targaryen.  I believe that is the meaning of having to come from the line of Aerys AND Rhaella.  It's not enough for the child to be a Targaryen.  Aerys could have married any woman and their child would have been a legitimate Targaryen.  But the instructions were specific.  The line had to be pure.  Rhaegar and Viserys are dead.  So that only leaves Daenerys.  She is the special child.  Special to a Targaryen means having to do with dragons.
  5. Who got Lyanna pregnant?  I like the suggestion above mine.  Ser Arthur Dayne.  Do we think a character that had less than one page is going to be the sword of the morning?  It's not Ned Dayne.  
  6. I don't think Aegon was born at the tower of joy in this theory.  Because of my #2, he is either the real thing or some impostor who is not related to Rhaegar.  
  7. Daenerys is the child of Aerys and Rhaella, born on Dragonstone 9 months after the fight at the tower of joy.
  8. Lyanna's child was born at the tower of joy and that child is Jon (Sand) Dayne.  But to protect the honors of his sister and that of his brave opponent, Ned chose to take on the dishonor on himself.  
  9. Ashara killed herself because Ned dumped her for Catelyn.  Ned needed to tell her in person.  He returned the sword.  This is where he hired Wylla the maid.  
  10. Brandon took advantage of Ashara at Harrenhal.  I believe the daughter is alive.  Ashara's story mirror that of Barbrey Dustin.  They were both smitten with Brandon.  They lost him but Ned came along in their lives.  Ned was taken away from them because he had to marry Catelyn.  What's the consolation prize?  The sword for Ashara.  The red stallion for Barbrey.  Both brought by Ned.  Ned could have taken the sword for himself by right of victory.  But he didn't.  He gave it back to the family instead of keeping the trophy.
  11. Lyanna and Robb made promises to win over an ally.  They both break that promise.  The Baratheons required payment in advance.  The Freys took Robb at his word before taking payment.  Robert's friendship with Ned and Brandon may weather the storm of Lyanna's broken promise but Stannis is not going to take that kind of betrayal easily.  Ned had every reason to let the lie stand, the lie that Lyanna was kidnapped.  Stannis will not forgive this insult.  Just think how badly it would make the Starks look if word ever got out that the daughter they went to war to rescue actually ran away of her own free will.  It's a scandal.  
Edited by The First Bloodrider

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13 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

My point about the above is the specificity: A stolen Stark maid and a Bael-ish at a run down, unnamed tower; knights sworn to a fallen ruler keeping to their mission, confronted by a Usurper's dog, with a Stark maid hostage; and a knight with Dayne imagery trying to defend a hopeless situation and arguing about the wisdom of doing so in a tower.

We have a original Bael-ish figure in Bael the Bard, yet he doesn't take the Stark maid to a run down unnamed tower. He takes his lovely maiden to the secret ways under Winterfell itself and hides with her, and leaving her with child. Should we ignore this story because it doesn't fit the outcome you want? Isn't Martin telegraphing through this old tale Lyanna's story? No, I don't think he is, but he does leave us with some clues to where the story might go. Including the importance of those hidden ways underground. Bael's Stark maiden is not Lyanna. No matter how much they both love winter roses. And Sansa's story is not Lyanna's even if they both have rundown towers in them.

Nor is Dunk a Ser Arthur figure, although they have some similarities. Ser Arthur is the quintessential noble knight. He is the best swordsmen and the greatest fighter of his age. Ser Arthur is born into his title, Sword of the Morning, as well as earning it. Ser Duncan the Tall is none of these things. At least as we know him in the novellas we have to this point. He is a bastard child of the slums who believes to his core in the principles of knighthood as he was taught them by a hedge knight. There are vitally important similarities between the two, but they are not the same. In a effort to find things that link them, don't take away what makes them unique. The most important similarity is in their deaths. Both die protecting innocents, but not just any innocents. They die protecting children of prophecy - father and son. Unless we go with your story in which we rob them of this thing in common.

13 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Okay--I completely screwed up explaining my point. Very sorry.

Not a problem. I often do that.

13 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

1. Without question, Ned fights the KG at the tower Rhaegar is said to have called the tower of joy.

We agree on this point.

13 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

2. My point--no one was in the tower at the time of the fight--it was used, at the time of the fight, simply as a meeting point in the Prince's Pass.

All evidence to the contrary. I don't need to rehash old arguments, but the evidence points to Lyanna being there, and dying there in Ned's arms, as well as at least one other unknown soul who, along with Howland Reed, finds Ned with Lyanna's lifeless body. 

Quote

He dreamt an old dream, of three knights in white cloaks, and a tower long fallen, and Lyanna in her bed of blood. (AGoT 445) bold emphasis added

Let me just say, with all respect to @Black Crow I don't agree with the premise.

13 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

3. This fits with Baelish's tower clues: only stay with the Stark maid at the run-down tower for a very short time, then move her to an comfy castle with white stone towers.

 If Lyanna is at Starfall, which we have no evidence for, why do the people of Starfall think Wylla is Jon's mom? Or does Lyanna not die in childbirth? What then are her promises she extracts from Ned on her deathbed? Why is it that Jon shows up first in rumor as Wylla's child in Starfall, and then as Ashara's child when Ned leaves Starfall?

Of course the similarities stop between Lyanna and Sansa when they leave their rundown towers. Sansa hasn't died in the Eyrie. Nor have we any duels schedule for Baelish's lonely tower.

14 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

4. And it fits with Dunk's incident--he knows he can't defeat the Widow. He knows he can't fight a superior force at the ground he wants to defend. So, he leaves that ground, goes to a prearranged location, parlays and fights. 

Dunk even tells Ser Bennis, whom the Widow is particularly angry with, to stay behind at Standfast. And that if Dunk isn't back by a certain time, Bennis should assume they are dead and run like hell for help.

I think you miss the large differences in the two fights. Dunk knows he faces overwhelming odds against him and uses the challenge to a duel as a way of giving his side a chance. He does so at great personal risk, but it is the only way they can survive. Hightower, Dayne, and Whent, choose to abandon the tower's defenses that would give them a great advantage over Ned's seven for other reasons. Either they believe in the honor of the duel over that of killing enemies as the try to breach the tower walls thereby sacrificing their tactical advantage, or they have a reason to need the conflict over quickly, such as a dying woman and her newborn son inside the tower. 

By the way, when is there a Lyanna figure in Dunk's tower? The Red Widow is never there in the story.

14 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Taking a Stolen Stark Maid to a run-down tower--seems specific. Especially since Baelish could have taken her anywhere else--Martin did NOT have to choose that setting. Nor have Lysa marry Baelish there. Nor have everyone hear her cries during sex for a baby. Nor later die falling from a white stone tower. It really seems like it's there to make a point.

And that point is both the poverty of Petyr's origins, and the reality of Lysa's obsession with Petyr. It is the explanation of both of their critical backstories. Littlefinger always trying to scheme his way out of his humble background's limitations, and Lysa's reason for killing Jon Arryn and lying to her sister to start Littlefinger's war and save his ass. Not a hidden explanation of Lyanna's history.

I'll leave it there, Sly Wren. Some thoughts on the subject written too late at night for me. Good night.

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