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Stark Maids Don’t Love Rhaegar/Bael Figures: A Meta-Critical Show vs. Tell

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Stark Maids Don’t Love Rhaegar/Bael Figures:

A Meta-Critical Show vs. Tell

Very Short Version:

  • When GRRM revealed that Lysa and Baelish murdered Jon Arryn, he proved that he actively misdirects readers with “known facts” and false dilemmas.
  • At the start, GRRM presents 2 other dilemmas: we’re told, “Rhaegar loved Lyanna or raped her” and, “Ned is Jon’s father via Ashara Dayne or another woman.”
  • Given Arryn’s murder, we should be wary of what we’re told about those dilemmas.
  • Instead, GRRM shows us 3 Stark maids and how they react to Rhaegar figures, with clear results: Lyanna-related Stark maids do not love Rhaegar/Bael figures.
  • GRRM isn’t making us guess—he’s been showing us info about Lyanna all along via the Stolen Stark Maids: Arya, Sansa, and Jon.
  • Given what GRRM shows, we should be skeptical of tales characters tell about Rhaegar and Lyanna’s relationship. It was likely neither love nor rape—no sex at all.

Shout Outs:

Disclaimer: I do not assume that any of the posters listed above agree with the following interpretations.

 

Part I: The Pitfalls of Martin’s Mysteries: Don’t assume “Occam’s razor.” Watch for false dilemmas.

1. Two common arguments in forum debates (I’ve used them myself) are:

  • “More of the novels’ overt evidence supports my idea over other ideas.”
  • “What’s the simplest explanation? Apply Occam’s razor.”

It’s good logic for science. And it holds up in some of Martin’s mysteries so far.

2. BUT: We know for a fact that GRRM doesn’t always work this way—with Jon Arryn’s death, most overt evidence points to the Lannisters. The truth is convoluted with less overt evidence—opposite of Occam’s razor.

3. How does GRRM misdirect us for 3 books? With a False_dilemma: Fever or Lannisters

  • Game, Cat I tells the first story—Arryn died of fever. Robert confirms it.
  • Then: problems with first story: Lysa says Arryn was murdered by “The Queen.”

4. Thus a dilemma: Fever or Lannisters. And GRRM builds evidence against Lannisters:

  • Jamie and Cersei throw Bran out the window. Then an assassin attacks Bran.
  • Ned retraces Arryn’s steps, finds the bastards, believes he’s found why Arryn was murdered: paternity of Cersei’s kids.
  • Cersei admits her kids’ paternity, then takes down Ned to protect her secret.
  • Cersei all but confesses to Robert’s murder to Tyrion in Clash.
  • Tyrion “figures out” Arryn’s murder and confronts Pycelle. Pycelle claims he served House Lannister by letting Arryn die. Tyrion probably still believes Cersei is guilty.

5. But Lysa’s Moon Door Confessional renders all of that moot. All true, but moot. The Lannisters were framed. “Lannisters or Fever” was a false dilemma.

6. Evidence of Baelish/Lysa’s guilt before confession is less overt/plentiful than Lannister evidence—thus easily dismissed. Baelish’s plot is also elaborate—not Occam’s razor.

7. BUT: the less overt evidence is the key, supporting an option outside the false dilemma.

8. So when considering Martin’s mysteries, we should avoid relying too much on “most overt evidence” or “Occam’s razor.” Instead, we should also consider narrative precedent.

Part II. Potential Case in Point: Rhaegar and Lyanna’s “Relationship.”

1. The first mention of Rhaegar: he died fighting for the woman he loved—presumably Lyanna. The “Tragic Love Story,” like Arryn’s fever, is the first story told.

2. Next chapter presents potential problems: Robert wants to kill Rhaegar for what he “did” to Lyanna. It’s the same basic move as Lysa’s “Lannister” letter.

3. Thus, a dilemma: “Love or rape”— and GRRM builds evidence to support it:

  • roses (crown and petals); bed of blood; Ned’s tower of joy dream; Harrenhal crowning; Dany’s Rhaegar vision; Bael Tale; Cersei’s and Kevan’s belief that Rhaegar wanted Lyanna for babies; the account from World of Ice and Fire.

4. Then Barristan reiterates the first story: “Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna, and thousands died for it.” (Dance, The Kingbreaker). Like “the Lannisters killed Arryn,” Rhaegar’s “relationship” with Lyanna now seems obvious—it’s a “Tragic Love Story.”

5. BUT: Jon Arryn’s “fever story” is false. And Ned is (literally) dead sure he’s right about Cersei. Readers clearly see the evidence. Tyrion “confirms” that Ned was right. But the “Lannister story” is wrong, too. A framing by Baelish and a false dilemma from GRRM.

6. THUS: with Rhaegar and Lyanna, we should be wary of stories we’re told. Like “Arryn died of a fever or Lannister poison,” it’s very possible that “Rhaegar loved or raped Lyanna” will also be a false dilemma—with other options dismissed by readers.

III. Another Potential Case in Point: Jon’s Parentage via Ned.

1. Ashara Dayne is the first story told about Jon’s mother, via Catelyn. Cersei confirms it’s a well-known tale. As does Harwin. Ned Dayne’s account could support this, as could Barristan’s thoughts and Meera’s Laughing Tree tale. That first story is often told.

2. We’re told second stories, too—Wylla and the fisherman’s daughter.

3. We’re repeatedly told and shown how much Jon is like Ned in looks and temperament.

4. Clues that Ned isn’t Jon’s father are fewer, farther between, and never told—only shown/hinted at. If the clues hold true, Ned framed himself as Jon’s adulterous father—as Baelish framed the Lannisters. For different reasons, but still a framing to mask the truth.

5. Given how GRRM tricked us with Arryn, we should be wary of the stories we’ve been told about Jon’s parentage. We should seriously consider a third option altogether.

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

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Part IV: Did Lyanna love Rhaegar? Stark Maid Show vs. Tell.

1. The very first thing we’re told about Rhaegar is that Dany believes he loved Lyanna. Multiple characters reiterate this "Tragic Love Story."

2. But after telling us that characters believe the love story, GRRM shows three Stark maids clearly tied to Lyanna who deal with Rhaegar/Bael figures and their followers. No matter what characters believe, GRRM shows us so we can judge for ourselves.

  • Arya: Ned himself says she looks and acts like Lyanna. Harwin agrees.
  • Sansa: Different personality, but she’s meant to combine Baratheons and Starks, as Lyanna was supposed to.
    • “My Joff and your Sansa shall join our houses, as Lyanna and I might once have done.” Game, Eddard I.
    • And Ned remembers Lyanna’s pleas when Sansa pleads for Lady.
  • Jon: Text indirectly implies that he’s Lyanna’s son. And Ygritte calls him a “maid.”

3. So, how do Stark maids react to men with Rhaegar/Bael qualities? Not well—and not lovingly. Ned’s Stolen Stark Maids strongly undermine the openly stated R+L love story.

Part V: Arya is NOT interested in Targ/singer/prophecy/princeling romance

1. Arya hates Joff, the wannabe-Targ princeling. She calls him a liar and attacks him.

2. Instead, she likes Gendry, Robert’s bastard—not a prince, singer, or prophecy plotter.

3. Arya is also struck by Edric Dayne, Lord of Starfall—she’s struck by his manners and is extra polite to him. He’s not a plotting prince, either—he’s Beric’s squire: a warrior-follower. Lyanna’s look-alike niece likes Daynes and Baratheons, not wannabe Targs.

4. Then there are Lyanna’s and Arya’s reactions to sad songs.

  • At Harrenhal, Lyanna sniffles at Rhaegar’s sad song.
    • “The dragon prince sang a song so sad it made the wolf maid sniffle.” Storm, Bran II
  • In the same novel, Arya is also affected by a sad song—Tom Sevenstrings’ sad song. Tom openly brags about singing sad songs to seduce women.
    • [Husband] gave Tom a sour look. “You, I'd wager, with that harp o' yours, singing all them sad songs just to get poor Fern out of her smallclothes.
    • “If a song makes a maid want to slip off her clothes and feel the good warm sun kiss her skin, why, is that the singer's fault?” asked Tom. Storm, Arya II
  • But when Arya hears Tom’s sad song, she’s not seduced. She doesn’t even think about the singer. The song makes her homesick for her family, particularly Sansa.
    • [Tom] played for her, so soft and sad that Arya only heard snatches of the words, though the tune was half-familiar. Sansa would know it, I bet. Her sister had known all the songs, and she could [snip] sing so sweetly. Storm, Arya IV
  • Arya’s scene comes two chapters before Meera’s tale about Lyanna’s sniffles. GRRM shows how and why Lyanna’s look-alike niece reacts to a sad song right before Lyanna’s less detailed reaction. There’s a reason for this—and it’s NOT romance.

5. Dany’s vision (and other evidence) shows that Rhaegar wanted to fulfill a prophecy. Might Lyanna have become a true believer? If we go by Arya—no.

  • Arya ends up with two cults—brotherhood without banners and Faceless Men.
  • Arya is NOT pleased with the brotherhood’s ransom plan and runs away.
  • She seeks out the Faceless Men, but does NOT submit her identity—she keeps Needle. So far, Stark maids don’t join cults as true believers.

Part VI: Sansa gets fooled, but soon learns: no princelings, Targ-wannabes, plotters, or isolated towers. Only true knights are worthy.

1. Sansa falls for Targ-wannabe Joffrey. With Ned’s death, she sees Joff for what he is.

2. Still, Sansa believes in true knights—not Targ-like princelings or plotters.

3. As with Arya and Lyanna, we see Sansa’s reaction to singers.

  • Sansa loves listening to singers—until Marillion-the-pervert.
  • Right before Lysa’s death, Marillion calls the blue-dressed Sansa a “Roadside Rose” and says he’ll write a song for her. She is NOT impressed, let alone seduced.
  • NOTE: Sansa’s reaction to Marillion happens in the same book where we see both Arya’s reaction to Tom’s song and Lyanna’s sniffles over Rhaegar’s song.
  • So far, Storm is consistent: Ned’s Stark maids aren’t seduced by creepy singers.
  • After Lysa’s death, Marillion sings “such sad songs” (Feast, Sansa I). But though Sansa manages some pity for the condemned singer, she’s never attracted to him. The handsome singer’s sad songs don’t seduce the Stark maid.
  • THUS: it’s very possible that Lyanna’s sniffles had nothing to do with Rhaegar per se. Like Arya and Sansa, she was affected by the song, NOT the man.

4. Sansa ends up with Bael-ish, a clear reference to Bael. But Sansa doesn’t love this plotter. She’s angry when he doesn’t take her home—like Arya, she wants her family.

5. Then there’s Bael-ish’s tower—no “joy” for the Stark maid.

  • Bael-ish takes Sansa-the-stolen-Stark-maid to his isolated, unnamed, rundown tower that he has nicknamed The Drearfort (Storm, Sansa VI). (It was said that Rhaegar had named that place the tower of joy. Game, Eddard X.)
  • There, Baelish marries Lysa: the Drearfort is Lysa’s “tower of joy,” not Sansa’s. The Stark maid is the witness to “joy,” not a “participant.”
  • They don’t hide in the tower. They just get their stories straight, then move to a fortified castle (Eyrie) with the Stark maid in disguise—NOTE: Arya also hides under disguises/aliases. Not in isolated towers.
  • GRRM shows all of this for a reason re: Rhaegar’s tower of joy.

6. Baelish’s plots are political and personal, not prophetic. But Rhaegar likeiswe plotted to take over the realm. Sansa just wants to go home. So far, Stark maids aren’t interested in plotters’ plans—or their love affairs in isolated towers.

Part VII: Jon likes warriors and brotherhoods, not Targ-like rebels or cults.

1. Jon tries his best to be a good sworn brother. He chooses brotherhood over love.

2. Like Arya, when Jon-the-Maid falls in love, it’s with a warrior-follower, Ygritte. Not Rebel King Mance, with enough Rhaegar imagery to spawn “Mance=Rhaegar” theories.

  • I strongly doubt that Mance is Rhaegar. Instead, Mance’s red and black cloak, his Bael/Abel stuff, “The Dornishman’s Wife,” a charismatic leader raising rebellion—GRRM is showing how Stark-maid Jon reacts to a Rhaegar/Bael figure.
  • Result? Jon isn’t seduced by Mance in any sense, despite respecting him. The former Stark maid chooses oaths and family, not cults or rebellions.

3. Then there’s Stannis—a Targaryen descendent with a cult, plotting to be the rightful king by overthrowing unworthy “relatives,” and driven by prophecy to save the kingdom. Stannis strongly echoes Rhaegar.

4. Plus there’s the brothels: @Rufus Snow notes that Ned thinks both Rhaegar and Stannis were unlikely to frequent brothels, specifically as opposed to Robert. It’s the only personal judgment Ned makes about Rhaegar—and he applies it to Stannis.

  • “A brothel?” Ned said. “The Lord of the Eyrie and Hand of the King visited a brothel with Stannis Baratheon?” He shook his head, incredulous […]. Robert's lusts were the subject of ribald drinking songs throughout the realm, but Stannis was a different sort of man; a bare year younger than the king, yet utterly unlike him, stern, humorless, unforgiving, grim in his sense of duty. Game, Eddard VI
  • [Ned] wondered if Rhaegar had frequented brothels; somehow he thought not. Game, Eddard IX

5. Stannis echoes Rhaegar in multiple ways—and Jon-the-former-Stark-Maid rejects his cult of “rightful” kings and prophecies—the blood-sacrifice, the arrogant refusal to understand the people. Jon chooses his oaths over Stannis’ promise of Winterfell.

6. Jon does like Ygritte’s singing. But he’s attracted to her before she sings. And she’s not a Rhaegar figure—Mance is. Stannis is. But Ygritte is a warrior-follower.

7. THUS: So far, Stark maids don’t fall for plotters, showy singers, cultists, rebels, and/or wannabe kings. They fall for warrior-followers and bastards—and idealize true knights.

CONTINUED IN JUST ONE MORE POST

Edited by Sly Wren
Format Mistakes

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Part VIII: But what about the Bael Tale? Caveats ain’t there for nothin’.

1. Many point to Bael’s Blue Rose as evidence that Rhaegar and Lyanna loved each other.

2. But Ygritte’s caveat should give us great pause:

  • “The maid loved Bael so dearly she bore him a son, the song says . . . though if truth be told, all the maids love Bael in them songs he wrote. Be that as it may, what's certain is that Bael left the child in payment for the rose he'd plucked unasked, and that the boy grew to be the next Lord Stark.” Clash, Jon VI
  • This is the only caveat Ygritte puts on the tale. At all. That merits attention.
  • The Bael Tale claims a love story (like R+L) that may be dead wrong. Stonesnake may be right to call Bael “a murderer, robber, and raper.” Clash, Jon VI

3. The tale’s dark ending undermines romance, focusing on kinslaying horrors, not love:

  • “Aye,” she said, “but the gods hate kinslayers, even when they kill unknowing. When Lord Stark returned from the battle and his mother saw Bael's head upon his spear, she threw herself from a tower in her grief.” Clash, Jon IV

4. Then there’s Bran’s vision:

  • [A] woman heavy with child emerged naked and dripping from the black pool, knelt before the tree, and begged the old gods for a son who would avenge her. Dance, Bran III
  • We don’t yet know who this woman is. But the only story we have of a pregnant Stark who might want revenge is the Bael Tale. If this is the Bael Maid, we have good reason to question Bael’s love story.

5. THUS: of the 5 Stolen Stark Maids in the series, the only example telling us that a Stark maid loved a Rhaegar/Bael figure has a caveats. All other shown Stark maids do not love Bael/Targ figures, rebel leaders, cultists, or creepy, seductive singers.

Part IX: What about the rose crown? Stark maids love flowers. Even when they sting.

1. Many argue that since Lyanna loved blue roses, Rhaegar’s rose crown points to love.

2. At the start, we’re told that, "Lyanna was … fond of flowers." Game, Eddard I.

3. Shortly after telling us this, GRRM shows how Arya, Lyanna’s look-alike niece, is “fond of flowers”—and it isn’t romance. It’s adventure, exploration, and gifts for family.

"When we were crossing the Neck, I counted thirty-six flowers I never saw before, and Mycah showed me a lizard-lion."

Sansa shuddered. They had been twelve days crossing the Neck […], and she had hated every moment of it. […] Huge flowers bloomed in the mud and floated on pools of stagnant water, but if you were stupid enough to leave the causeway to pluck them, there were quicksands […], and lizard-lions floating half-submerged in the water, like black logs with eyes and teeth.

None of which stopped Arya, of course. One day she came back grinning her horsey grin, her hair all tangled and her clothes covered in mud, clutching a raggedy bunch of purple and green flowers for Father. Sansa kept hoping he would tell Arya to behave herself and act like the highborn lady she was supposed to be, but he never did, he only hugged her and thanked her for the flowers. That just made her worse. Game, Sansa I

4. Arya still loves flowers even when they are “poison” that stings.

Then it turned out the purple flowers were called poison kisses, and Arya got a rash on her arms. Sansa would have thought that might have taught her a lesson, but Arya laughed about it. Game, Sansa I

5. GRRM shows this in the same novel where blue-flower-covered Loras give Sansa an unromantic rose at a tourney—in the novel with Ned’s memory of Lyanna’s bloody crown.

6. THUS: If Lyanna was like Arya, she loved blue roses regardless of Rhaegar’s actions.

Part X: Wrapping Up

1. Lysa’s Moon Door Confessional proves that GRRM likes to mess with and misdirect us.

2. GRRM shows us that we should be wary of stories/mysteries his characters accept.

3. He then shows us three Lyanna-connected Stark maids and their reaction to Rhaegar/Bael figures, plus other reasons to doubt what we’ve been told.

4. Why does GRRM show all this when multiple characters believe the oft told R+L love story? We don’t know yet. But given Arryn’s murder reveal, these Stark maids’ reactions should make us question the R+L stories we’ve been told vs. what we’ve been shown.

THE END

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There was obviously sex, as R+L=J.

None of those characters used are good stand-ins for Rhaegar. He's obviously not a Joff, and when Ned stops to randomly wonder if Rhaegar visited brothels and answers himself in the negative, that's GRRM going out of his way to tell us Rhaegar was not one of these womaniser singers or princelings.

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2 hours ago, DominusNovus said:

Arya is not a good data point at all, as she's entirely prepubescent.

But. . . Martin puts a LOT of effort into showing us, repeatedly, that Arya is like Lyanna: appearance, love of flowers, riding, sword envy.

Right down to seeing through people--Lyanna's take on Robert is fairly astute for a young teenager. Arya, too, is good at taking the measure of people--better than Sansa, who is older.

Using Arya as a data point seems very intentional on Martin's part, regardless of her age. And prepubescent girls are fully capable of fancying boys.

2 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

There was obviously sex, as R+L=J.

And Ned obviously cheated on Cat, since he's clearly Jon's father.

And Cersei obviously poisoned Arryn, since she had huge motive and he's dead.

Readers have assumed a lot of stuff about the novels--doesn't mean we are right.

R+L is clearly a dilemma: love or rape. GRRM's other dilemmas--Cersei or fever and Ned+Ashara or another woman--so far, those dilemmas look to be false ones. With 3rd options altogether.

We should be ready for "love or rape" to be false, too. Which would mean the conclusions we draw from the dilemma (RLJ) will be misinterpretations on our part.

2 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

None of those characters used are good stand-ins for Rhaegar.

But they have clear ties to him--especially Mance and Stannis.

Quote

He's obviously not a Joff,

Right--Joff is the wannabe, Rhaegar is the real deal.

But Rhaegar clearly had entitlement issues. And was willing to go along with Tywin's plot to kill Aerys to gain the crown. Rhaegar's no innocent.

Quote

and when Ned stops to randomly wonder if Rhaegar visited brothels and answers himself in the negative, that's GRRM going out of his way to tell us Rhaegar was not one of these womaniser singers or princelings.

That is one common way to see it. And likely to be part of the point. But no reason to think that's innately the only conclusion we are to draw from Ned's judgment.

Stannis is not one to frequent brothels, either. And Stannis, like Rhaegar, is a Targ descendent, driven by prophecy, with a cult, a wife who can't have more children, and a woman with whom he seems to be romantically involved. Stannis echoes Rhaegar in multiple ways. ETA: Stannis, like Rhaegar, is also looking to depose unworthy "relatives" to fulfill a prophecy. 

And Martin shows us how Jon-the-Stark-Maid reacts to both Stannis and Mance--we should pay attention to those reactions. And to why both Mance and Stannis hold a Stark Maid "hostage"--it ain't love. 

Martin took time setting up the Mance and Stannis similarities to Rhaegar--seems like we should pay attention.

Edited by Sly Wren
I can't spell.

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I think the way you dissect the set-up for George's mysteries is fascinating, but then you go and fall into the same trap you are trying to warn us about. You focus so much on your comparisons (which are far from perfect to begin with) that you brush over the subtext in other places. Apply your own reasoning to the crown of winter roses: Why did Rhaegar give it to Lyanna instead of Ellia, and how does that frame their relationship?

There are several attempts to misdirect here, and you embrace all of them:

  • That Lyanna is fond of roses and we should look at the blue crown primarily through this lens
  • That Rhaegar gave it to her as a sign of love or a means of seduction
  • That it had something to do with beauty
  • That the sad song was somehow connected
  • That Ellia Martell was just a jilted wife in all of this
  • That their relationship would have become sexual solely based on this event

All these are (probably) meant to mask the fact that she wasn't given the crown for the traditional reasons, but as a sign of acknowledgement and respect for her bravery in avenging Howland Reed. Lyanna was unable to appear again as the Knight of the Laughing Tree because Aerys had gone crazy and wanted that mystery figure found and arrested. This was Rhaegar's way of telling her "you're the real winner of this tourney, and I know it" without blatantly tipping off his father... And that kind of gesture would have been appealing to the Arya/Lyanna archetype.

I also believe that Ellia herself was the one who informed Rhaegar about this and instructed him to do it, because in a sense that crown was also hers to give. And Rhaegar wouldn't have had an easy way of knowing Lyanna was the KotLT, unless we assume their relationship was already ongoing. Ellia, however, had a link to the Stark group via her companion Ashara Dayne, who Meera's story doesn't fail to mention.

Lyanna and Rhaegar probably didn't immediately fall in love at this point, they only grew to respect each other. The "abduction" happened months later, and we don't know what was the reason, We also don't know where Lyanna, Rhaegar and Ellia were at the beginning of the Rebellion, when Jon would have been conceived (if R+L=J). They could have had a nice menage a trois going on for a while on Dragonstone for a while for all we know.

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4 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Stannis is not one to frequent brothels, either. And Stannis, like Rhaegar, is a Targ descendent, driven by prophecy, with a cult, a wife who can't have more children, and a woman with whom he seems to be romantically involved. Stannis echoes Rhaegar in multiple ways. ETA: Stannis, like Rhaegar, is also looking to depose unworthy "relatives" to fulfill a prophecy.

Yep.  and what conflict confronts Stannis? 

Quote

“I am a small man,” Davos admitted, “so tell me why you need this boy Edric Storm to wake your great stone dragon, my lady.” He was determined to say the boy’s name as often as he could.

Only death can pay for life, my lord. A great gift requires a great sacrifice.”

“Where is the greatness in a baseborn child?”

He has kings’ blood in his veins...”

Quote

“Edric—” he started.

“—is one boy! He may be the best boy who ever drew breath and it would not matter. My duty is to the realm.” His hand swept across the Painted Table. “How many boys dwell in Westeros? How many girls? How many men, how many women? The darkness will devour them all, she says. The night that never ends. She talks of prophecies … a hero reborn in the sea, living dragons hatched from dead stone … she speaks of signs and swears they point to me. I never asked for this, no more than I asked to be king. Yet dare I disregard her?” He ground his teeth. “We do not choose our destinies. Yet we must … we must do our duty, no? Great or small, we must do our duty. Melisandre swears that she has seen me in her flames, facing the dark with Lightbringer raised on high. Lightbringer!” Stannis gave a derisive snort. “It glimmers prettily, I’ll grant you, but on the Blackwater this magic sword served me no better than any common steel. A dragon would have turned that battle. Aegon once stood here as I do, looking down on this table. Do you think we would name him Aegon the Conqueror today if he had not had dragons?”

What was Rhaegar’s obsession?

Quote

Dany turned back to the squire. “I know little of Rhaegar. Only the tales Viserys told, and he was a little boy when our brother died. What was he truly like?” The old man considered a moment. “Able. That above all. Determined, deliberate, dutiful, single-minded.

Quote

This talk of a stone dragon … madness, I tell you, sheer madness. Did we learn nothing from Aerion Brightfire, from the nine mages, from the alchemists? Did we learn nothing from Summerhall? No good has ever come from these dreams of dragons,

Quote

“It was the shadow of Summerhall that haunted him, was it not?”

“Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best.

Quote

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

 

Edited by Frey family reunion

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7 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Huge flowers bloomed in the mud and floated on pools of stagnant water, but if you were stupid enough to leave the causeway to pluck them

Heh, a bit of a nod to Hans Christian Anderson’s The Marsh King’s Daughter, I think.

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SlyWren - I like some aspects of what I believe you are proposing/supporting but I can't clarify which pieces I am all totally for and or those that I can't iterate my exact feelings about. 
I have had a few beers and won't make much more sense soon.
Thanks for this post I will re-read it agin tomorrow!
... i see Frey family reunion has already replied as I type this ...
ARRR!

 

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5 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

R+L=J is set in stone and everything else is just white noise nonsense.

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I don't have to say anything to the stark maid discussion at this moment, I just wanted to point out, that the pattern can also be observed with the Catspawn mystery.

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Couldn't R+L=J still be a thing without love or rape? I don't think anyone or anything, besides the show, is implying that R+L was some perfect love story. 

Lyanna could of been so against marrying Robert Baratheon that she went along with the first man to show her affection. Then when Lyanna eventually finds out about her father and brothers death, Rhaegar wont let her leave because she's pregnant. 

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6 hours ago, Jova Snow said:

Great post at @Sly Wren do you think Arthur and Lyanna is a possibility? 

Yes great post @Sly Wren.

And... yes. I have the same question about Arthur and Lyanna. And that comes from someone like me who always believed in R+L=J.

That said, I have another question.

Or to say it better, I cannot help but think (now) that maybe... Ashara parallels Lysa.

Could it be that whatever happened between her and Ned at Starfall (after the ToJ, not at Harrenal) that led to her suicide, once revealed it’s going to serve the same narrative purpose of the “confession” made by Lysa before her death?

I must confess I always had the feeling that real reason as to why Ned didn’t like to speak/hear about Ashara is not “love”, but resentment towards her. Or at least that this is a chance we should contemplate.

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3 hours ago, King Aegon I Targaryen said:

Couldn't R+L=J still be a thing without love or rape? I don't think anyone or anything, besides the show, is implying that R+L was some perfect love story. 

Lyanna could of been so against marrying Robert Baratheon that she went along with the first man to show her affection. Then when Lyanna eventually finds out about her father and brothers death, Rhaegar wont let her leave because she's pregnant. 

Maybe, but at some point of course, we start drawing a fairly fine line between love and rape, almost too fine not to have to concede that Robert was correct.  If Rhaegar seduced a 14 or 15 year old girl, and then held her against her will, until she gave birth we’re pretty much at the rape scenario.

But I do think that there are a number of facts that even die hard anti RLJ’ers like myself have to concede somewhat.  Rhaegar certainly took an interest in Lyanna at Harrenhal.  Of course that doesn’t mean he took a romantic interest in her.  

I’m inclined to dismiss anything Rhaegar did at Harrenhal as a political manuver because it would be so clumsy and ill-conceived that it almost paints Rhaegar as a buffoon.

I’m leaning towards the idea that if there was a seduction of Lyanna, that began at Harrenhal, it was a seduction with an idea, of a prophecy.  I think the seduction was the Song of Ice and Fire.  In other words, I think Harrenhal may have been the first manaveur to bring Lyanna into Rhaegar’s inner circle, his cult.  

Eddard does seem to lay at least part of the blame of Lyanna’s fate on her own wildness, her “wolf-blood”.  

What better way to convince a Winterfell girl into joining your cause than convincing her that your cause is to stop the Long Night, and to win the Battle for the Dawn?

So I do think that Rhaegar’s interest in Lyanna may have involved a future child that she could bear, but I’m not convinced at all that he thought that he had to be the father...

Edited by Frey family reunion

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1 hour ago, lalt said:

Yes great post @Sly Wren.

And... yes. I have the same question about Arthur and Lyanna. And that comes from someone like me who always believed in R+L=J.

That said, I have another question.

Or to say it better, I cannot help but think (now) that maybe... Ashara parallels Lysa.

Could it be that whatever happened between her and Ned at Starfall (after the ToJ, not at Harrenal) that led to her suicide, once revealed it’s going to serve the same narrative purpose of the “confession” made by Lysa before her death?

I must confess I always had the feeling that real reason as to why Ned didn’t like to speak/hear about Ashara is not “love”, but resentment towards her. Or at least that this is a chance we should contemplate.

I always thought Lyanna was the mother but couldn't see R as a father so I am eager to learn what @Sly Wren thinks about ALJ lol 

About Ashara - well I am a big fan of her and really love Ned and Ashara as a pairing - my very biased opinion would be that Ned doesn't want Jon to know about Ashara is because of the various rumors about them, like how he caused Ashara's death, stole Jon from her or the fact she may have a stillborn daughter. What if Jon learned about Ashara and hated Ned for causing his mother's death or that her sister died and Ned just didn't care? Ned didn't do anything to stop rumors about Jon's mother being a commoner and we know Fisherman's daughter rumors were heard by Stannis, but he did made sure Ashara's name was forgotten. I can't see a reason why Ned would resent her especially with Allyria Dayne thinking they were in love and Ned Dayne want to talk about with Ned Stark during the tourney - if Daynes didn't resent Ned for killing Arthur and Ashara then Ned has no reason to be bitter towards Ashara. 

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13 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I think the way you dissect the set-up for George's mysteries is fascinating, but then you go and fall into the same trap you are trying to warn us about. You focus so much on your comparisons (which are far from perfect to begin with) that you brush over the subtext in other places. Apply your own reasoning to the crown of winter roses: Why did Rhaegar give it to Lyanna instead of Ellia, and how does that frame their relationship?

There are several attempts to misdirect here, and you embrace all of them:

  • That Lyanna is fond of roses and we should look at the blue crown primarily through this lens
  • That Rhaegar gave it to her as a sign of love or a means of seduction
  • That it had something to do with beauty
  • That the sad song was somehow connected
  • That Ellia Martell was just a jilted wife in all of this
  • That their relationship would have become sexual solely based on this event

All these are (probably) meant to mask the fact that she wasn't given the crown for the traditional reasons, but as a sign of acknowledgement and respect for her bravery in avenging Howland Reed.

1. :cheers:

2. I agree that all of the above are masks.

3. But giving Lyanna the crown in the context you assert is still an act of respect/admiration. Still at least somewhat traditional.

4. Instead, in the same novel where we find out about Lyanna's crowning, we see Sansa given a rose somewhat randomly--my best current guess as to why Loras does it is to curry favor with the new Hand of the King.

And in the Bael Tale, that rose is left as a clear "I'm screwing you by screwing your daughter!" 

5. In the scenario you've given, Rhaegar still ends up in the river, fighting for the woman he loves. The exact first story GRRM tells us about Rhaegar. 

6. That is one of the key misdirects I am positing: the potential false dilemma: Rhaegar loved Lyanna or Raped her.

Like "Arryn died of fever or Lannisters"--it was neither: Arryn died of poison, but not via the Lannisters. 

I think there's a good chance it will be the same for Rhaegar and Lyanna: no love or rape ever. No sex at all.

13 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

 And that kind of gesture would have been appealing to the Arya/Lyanna archetype.

How so? Arya seems the type to stand up, throw the rose crown back at the prince, and say, "give it to your wife, stupid!" Especially when she saw her own family getting upset.

13 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I also believe that Ellia herself was the one who informed Rhaegar about this and instructed him to do it, because in a sense that crown was also hers to give. And Rhaegar wouldn't have had an easy way of knowing Lyanna was the KotLT, unless we assume their relationship was already ongoing. Ellia, however, had a link to the Stark group via her companion Ashara Dayne, who Meera's story doesn't fail to mention.

This would be a cool twist--could fit with the parallels we see between Stannis and Rhaegar: Selyse seems down with Stannis' "relationship" with Mel. And Selyse was the devotee of Mel first--introduced Mel to Stannis somewhat.

That said--I have a hard time seeing Lyanna as the "Mel" figure in that scenario. . . . 

13 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Lyanna and Rhaegar probably didn't immediately fall in love at this point, they only grew to respect each other. The "abduction" happened months later, and we don't know what was the reason, We also don't know where Lyanna, Rhaegar and Ellia were at the beginning of the Rebellion, when Jon would have been conceived (if R+L=J). They could have had a nice menage a trois going on for a while on Dragonstone for a while for all we know.

Right--it ends up with "Rhaegar died fighting over the woman he loved"--the exact first tale we are told.

Just like the false dilemma of "Lannisters or Fever"--the above fits the first tale. 

Plus, can you think of any hints in the story that Stark maids are like this? Jon, Arya, and Sansa all show us that Lyanna related Stark maids do not do this. They may respect some Rhaegar/Bael figures--Jon respects Stannis and Mance somewhat; Arya respects the brotherhood (and their 3 kingsguard echo) to a point.

But neither Jon nor Arya joins in the cause or menage a trois.. And they very definitely aren't interested in fully joining cults.

So far, seems like only the flat out evidence, the dilemma, tells us this is possible in the story. Occam's razor supports it somewhat, too.

All the indirect evidence--the echoes of Lyanna in Jon, Arya, and Sansa--point well away from this scenario.

Or are you seeing parallels/echoes that I'm missing?

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48 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

So I do think that Rhaegar’s interest in Lyanna may have involved a future child that she could bear, but I’m not convinced at all that he thought that he had to be the father...

That's an interesting interpretation. So do you actually believe:

  1. R+L=J
  2. ?+L=J
  3. Something completely different 

If Rhaegar believed in the Song of Ice and Fire, wouldn't that mean that the father of Lyanna's child had to either have Targaryen blood, or at the very least Valyrian blood? 

Then there's the whole "the dragon must have three heads" thing. Surely that means he meant to have a third child, either with Elia, which would likely result in her death, Lyanna, or some other woman. 

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10 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Yep.  and what conflict confronts Stannis? 

What was Rhaegar’s obsession?

Yup!

I've been worried about Shireen since that first prologue in Clash--the kid's being raised in a death cult!

I've wondered for a while if one of the ways Stannis and Rhaegar echo each other is Rhaegar's obsession over his prophecy and abandonment/neglect of Rhaenys lead to her death (that would assume that Aegon got saved). And that Stannis' similar obsession will lead to a neglect of Shireen that will get the kid killed.

But what I think you are implying in your post HAS to be on the table--that Rhaegar was willing to sacrifice a child for his cause--if I've misread you, let me know. But if that's where you are going--I may not like it, but it has to be on the table.

10 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Heh, a bit of a nod to Hans Christian Anderson’s The Marsh King’s Daughter, I think.

Very cool catch! Had not even thought in that direction! 

10 hours ago, Yaya said:

SlyWren - I like some aspects of what I believe you are proposing/supporting but I can't clarify which pieces I am all totally for and or those that I can't iterate my exact feelings about. 
I have had a few beers and won't make much more sense soon.
Thanks for this post I will re-read it agin tomorrow!

:cheers: Thanks! Jump on in any time, beers or no beers.

10 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

R+L=J is set in stone and everything else is just white noise nonsense.

And "The Lannisters or Fever killed Arryn" was set in stone--until the Moon Door Confessional. . . 

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