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Sly Wren

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

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10 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

I forgot to add: like Lyanna and Ygritte, Alys also has traits of Arya and Sansa but Jon doesn't think of the latter, when he really should. Alys wants to dance and flirt with him, and she's called Winter's Lady (all Lady references should be flagged in Jon's chapters because of her direwolf). 

:agree:Absolutely. And even perhaps ties into the fact that Jon's one distinct memory of Sansa in Dance is of Sansa "brushing out Lady's coat and singing." 

10 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

The only time he thinks of Sansa in terms of traits is when he sees the ice enchantment, but then Gilly enters and asks for protection and he feels like the moment is ruined. She's basically in the same situation Alys is in, but Jon rebuffs her. I think this is the start of his Bael arc. Some women he'll deceive, others he'll protect.

Interesting. He does lack one of Bael's key traits: the vengeance and getting back at an enemy. Especially using the enemy's child to get back at the father. . . 

But the deceit and the stealing: he's doing it in part for the opposite reason Bael does: to protect. So, Jon's and anti-Bael? Maybe??

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2 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Nor does the idea that the KG knights intentionally lost to him explain the non-KG he had to go through in order to become champion, including her brother Brandon and Yohn Royce. He could not have "ensured" he would win the tourney without getting his non-KG opponents to intentionally lose to him as well.

Right--but it would give him a much better chance of winning if those he had influence over would throw to him. Not a guarantee--but a much better chance of winning.

Rhaegar was good--but if he wanted to give himself the best chance, for whatever reason, cheating would help. And would tie in with Selmy's statement on being a "better knight." 

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32 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

2. I agree that Lyanna could have fantasized about Rhaegar--but we have that one clear statement on Robert. She sees that he loves her. She doesn't deny he'll continue to love her, but she won't gloss over his faults. That's a skill Sansa only gains after aging and trauma. Lyanna already had that before seeing Rhaegar. Seems like she's unlikely to be Sansa-like in that respect.

Sorry, where is this going? Are you saying Sansa was stupid and Arya was smart like Lyanna? Maybe you could clarify because I dont think that's what you intend to say.

32 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

If Lyanna was the Knight, I agree that she embraced the tourney actively, kinda like Arya. But as for the Sansa take on the rose--we still have Lyanna's lack of romanticism before Harrenhal. And we have Arya's take on flowers. Really seems like Martin gives us those for a reason.

I disagree about this idea of lack of romanticization. Lyanna is like Arya in that she was romanticizing adventure and swordplay. All 3 Stark girls experienced the consequences of illusions about adventure, swordplay, knighthood, and courtly love. Embracing the tourney is a dangerous move, just like Arya playing swords with Mycha. What if she was found out? The victimization and abuse Brienne faces for being a lady knight is the system biting back. Did she draw the attention of the prince from her scheme? It's unclear, but I cant imagine that she would escape some kind of consequence--because Arya did at Darry. 

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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On 1/13/2019 at 2:43 AM, Sly Wren said:

Right--and we have clues that Rhaegar didn't touch Lyanna and that someone else could be the father of her child. We gets clues that Dany could be Rhaegar's child in Game, too.

Hi! First of all, I'd like to say that you analysis is wonderful, despite the fact that I do not agree with. As someone has already said under these circumstances I would also read any theory - 7 years is a long time. For the last few years I've been more a reader than a participant of this forum, but your post caught me and it was interesting to read. Sorry, if somebody has already asked you this already, I have managed to read only 5 pages so far.

I would like to address the sentence in bold: There was a time I also thought that Dany could be Rhaegar's child, but there are no clues or proof whatsoever. Moreover, there are bulletproof evidence of the contrary, such as the timeline: Dany was born after Rhaegar, Ashara, Lyanna and Arthur were dead, Rhaella was with Viserys and Willem Darry when she gave birth to Daenerys, thus, they definitely should know who bore her. What clues are you referring? Maybe I've missed something in Game...

Additionally, there is one thing that has been addressed a lot in such discussions and you also mentioned it few times, but in different context: the presence of 3 Kingsguards at the TOJ. The problem is why would they be there at all? If even Rhaegar ordered them to stay there, they should have left immediately after they heard about Ned even asks them about that at the TOJ. If Lyanna's child was fathered by any other person than Rhaegar, then it makes no sense. Do not forget that we are talking about real legendary and honourable knights Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Oswell Whent, and Ser Gerold Hightower. Let's assume, for example, that Arthur is the father...Why would Whent and Hightower stay to protect Lyanna (mind you, to protect her even from her dearest brother). There is a possibility that they decided to meet their end (because they have failed to do their duty with the other royal family members) by fulfilling the last Rhaegar's will - to protect Lyanna, but somehow I doubt that. Hightower was the Lord Commader, I doubt that he would leave his resposibility and duty so easily. Anyway, why would that be such an important issue to protect Lyanna? 

 

Edited by Gala

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22 minutes ago, The Snowfyre Chorus said:

Well, it may or may not prove correct, in the end.  But in point of fact, the theory did originate from an attempt to explain the text.

Most theories are going to attempt to explain something in the text, but that is not the same as something in the text supporting a theory.

1 hour ago, The Snowfyre Chorus said:

Specifically: the theory hinges on this curious reflection by Selmy in the chapter “The Kingbreaker,” from ADWD:

And of course, that reflection follows closely on Selmy’s observation that plots, ploys, lies, and “secrets within secrets” remind him of that Harrenhal tourney:

Clearly, Selmy’s remembers the Harrenhal tourney as an event colored by deceptions, secrets, hidden plans and agendas. (Which is remarkable, given that one expects his attention would have been rather focused on certain events and tasks.)

Regardless... ultimately, the question that led to the theory — the theory being that Selmy (at a minimum) threw the final tilt at Harrenhal - boiled down to this:  

What does Selmy mean when he reflects that he could have been a “better knight” on that day?

The answer to that question has little to do with Rhaegar... and everything to do with the character of Barristan Selmy. It can be deduced by rereading Selmy’s POV chapters in Dance, along with dialogue in various Danaerys POV chapters since Storm

I acknowledge that Selmy's "if I had been a better knight" could conceivably refer to some aspect of knighthood other than skill at jousting, but I don't think it or the context it occurs in indicate that it does. On its own, with no indication anywhere that Barristan took a dive for Rhaegar, it really seems like a huge stretch to interpret this to mean that Barristan intentionally lost to Rhaegar. It has quite a bit to do with Rhaegar, because that is who he failed to defeat. 

I am not suggesting that Rhaegar didn't have the power to command KG to lose to him, or that the KG wouldn't have obeyed if he had. I just don't see any evidence that occurred in this case. And as Rhaegar had clearly demonstrated in the past that he was capable of both defeating and losing to Selmy and Dayne, without evidence, I see no reason to believe that Rhaegar's contests with Barristan and Arthur were fixed.

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1 hour ago, Bael's Bastard said:

I acknowledge that Selmy's "if I had been a better knight" could conceivably refer to some aspect of knighthood other than skill at jousting, but I don't think it or the context it occurs in indicate that it does.

Depends on which context you find it in, I suppose. It drew my attention when I read the chapter it appears in - and that chapter is rather pointedly specific about which “aspect of knighthood” Selmy uses to define the role.  

In the context of this fan forum however, I am not surprised by the argument you make.

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16 minutes ago, The Snowfyre Chorus said:

Depends on which context you find it in, I suppose. It drew my attention when I read the chapter it appears in - and that chapter is rather pointedly specific about which “aspect of knighthood” Selmy uses to define the role.  

In the context of this fan forum however, I am not surprised by the argument you make.

The context Selmy uses it in is his failure to defeat Rhaegar, no hint about it being a choice to lose to Rhaegar. No hint he thinks of his three fellow KG as lesser knights for losing to Rhaegar either, which would be odd if he only thought that of himself of they all took dives for Rhaegar. And IIRC Selmy twice tells Dany that Robert was a good knight, so the idea that he has something more profound in mind when he laments not having been "a better knight" than his inability to beat Rhaegar in their third known bout, seems like a stretch. It would be one thing if it had some other evidence indicating or hinting at that, but it doesn't.

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4 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Sorry, where is this going? Are you saying Sansa was stupid and Arya was smart like Lyanna? Maybe you could clarify because I dont think that's what you intend to say.

Oh! No--that's not my point at all. Sansa, even young Sansa, is clearly intelligent. And I think Sansa is headed for being able to influence Sweetrobin and the Royces to help her retake Winterfll--but that's for my oddball Sansa theory.

No--this isn't a question of intelligence. Sansa sees some things and has some skills Arya doesn't. Same with Arya--who envies some of Sansa's skills. 

Lyanna, at the time of her betrothal and around the time of Harrenhal, and figured out the dangers of romanticizing a lover--something we Sansa learn, too. But at the time of the Hand's Tourney, this isn't a skill Sansa has picked up yet. She's just 11 years old--and, as you say, she's chosen to romanticize courtly love.

But given that one quote we get from Ned--an admittedly limited sample--it seems like Lyanna did not romanticize courtly love. No matter hove much Robert loved her, he was going to be what he was.

4 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

I disagree about this idea of lack of romanticization. Lyanna is like Arya in that she was romanticizing adventure and swordplay. All 3 Stark girls experienced the consequences of illusions about adventure, swordplay, knighthood, and courtly love. Embracing the tourney is a dangerous move, just like Arya playing swords with Mycha. What if she was found out? The victimization and abuse Brienne faces for being a lady knight is the system biting back. Did she draw the attention of the prince from her scheme? It's unclear, but I cant imagine that she would escape some kind of consequence--because Arya did at Darry. 

I agree with this--though I'm not yet sold on Lyanna as the Knight, she clearly holds the ideals of protecting her father's man when she attacks the squires. The lordly ideals. Which is a type of romanticism, as you say. Same with the playing with sticks. 

She just doesn't seem to romanticize love in that scene with Ned. She seems awfully clear-eyed, given how young she is. I know plenty of women in their 30's not nearly so clear-eyed.

And I completely agree with your take on Brienne's and Arya's experiences pointing to potential consequences for Lyanna. My current take is that Lyanna would have potentially dealt with consequences for attacking the squires whether she was the Knight or not: regardless of who the Knight was, Lyanna may have been singled out for revenge against the Knight and/or his/her family. Especially since the three men defeated by the Knight were Tywin lackeys. 

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4 hours ago, Gala said:

Hi! First of all, I'd like to say that you analysis is wonderful, despite the fact that I do not agree with. As someone has already said under these circumstances I would also read any theory - 7 years is a long time. For the last few years I've been more a reader than a participant of this forum, but your post caught me and it was interesting to read. Sorry, if somebody has already asked you this already, I have managed to read only 5 pages so far.

Thanks! And no worries--reading an entire thread can be maddening.:cheers:

Quote

I would like to address the sentence in bold: There was a time I also thought that Dany could be Rhaegar's child, but there are no clues or proof whatsoever. Moreover, there are bulletproof evidence of the contrary, such as the timeline: Dany was born after Rhaegar, Ashara, Lyanna and Arthur were dead, Rhaella was with Viserys and Willem Darry when she gave birth to Daenerys, thus, they definitely should know who bore her. What clues are you referring? Maybe I've missed something in Game...

Agreed on all of this--except Ashara's definitely being dead. Martin himself leaves open that door in the SSM where he confirms her body was never found. Thus, the timeline is not bulletproof. Plus, we aren't given a date of Ashara's supposed death, near as I can remember--very happy to be corrected on this.

A lot of this is in my weird Oberyn, Oberon thread, building off of other posters' ideas: such as these two: 

Given all that, I will fully understand if you look at this rabbit hole and decide it's not worth your time. But in a nutshell: 

  • Rhaella clearly gave birth on Dragonstone and died--really, really think that happened, The baby was a girl--Dany. And Viserys and Rhaella's Dany were taken from Dragonstone together.
  • But: 80% of Rhaella's pregnancies before Dany resulted in children that didn't make it past their first year: only Rhaegar and Viserys lived past infancy. 
  • And the "Darry" in Dany's memory doesn't sound that much like a Master at Arms--he could be someone else. 
  • And there are a number of inconsistencies in Dany's backstory, starting from her first POV.
  • And Oberyn is clearly named after Oberon--the fairy who poisons people with potions and steals a changeling.
  • I think the current Dany was swapped out for Rhaella's child sometime after the poor kid died--probably before her first birthday. And the current Dany--with inconsistencies in her memory--is Rhaegar and Ashara's child.

Some of Dany's reactions, visions, phrasings--she's tied more closely to Rhaegar than to Viserys or Aerys. It's not remotely set in stone, but if this is where Martin is going, he's laid the groundwork.

Quote

Additionally, there is one thing that has been addressed a lot in such discussions and you also mentioned it few times, but in different context: the presence of 3 Kingsguards at the TOJ. The problem is why would they be there at all? If even Rhaegar ordered them to stay there, they should have left immediately after they heard about Ned even asks them about that at the TOJ. If Lyanna's child was fathered by any other person than Rhaegar, then it makes no sense. Do not forget that we are talking about real legendary and honourable knights Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Oswell Whent, and Ser Gerold Hightower. Let's assume, for example, that Arthur is the father...Why would Whent and Hightower stay to protect Lyanna (mind you, to protect her even from her dearest brother). There is a possibility that they decided to meet their end (because they have failed to do their duty with the other royal family members) by fulfilling the last Rhaegar's will - to protect Lyanna, but somehow I doubt that. Hightower was the Lord Commader, I doubt that he would leave his resposibility and duty so easily. Anyway, why would that be such an important issue to protect Lyanna? 

1. If Lyanna's child is not Rhaegar's, the 3 KG are not protecting her, they are holding her as a useful hostage. And yes, their staying with her after Aerys' fall makes little sense if that's all she is. In her state, she may not be moveable, but they wouldn't be called on maintain her as a hostage after Aerys' fall--I don't think.

2. No--if Lyanna's child wasn't Rhaegar's, the 3 KG are protecting another woman--in my opinion, that's Ashara, pregnant with Dany. We see roughly the same thing with other Stark Maids (Jon, Arya, and Sansa)--kept as useful hostages while their captors have other main missions.

3. Plus, I don't think anyone is in the tower at the time of the fight--at the time of the fight, the tower is just a meeting place. To draw Ned away from his full force for a parlay--the 3 KG can't beat Ned's full force. Once at the parlay, the 3 KG fight--and almost win.

Edited by Sly Wren

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32 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

But given that one quote we get from Ned--an admittedly limited sample--it seems like Lyanna did not romanticize courtly love. No matter hove much Robert loved her, he was going to be what he was.

Yeah sorry, this is a touchy subject, I'm on edge from have been in too many fandom fights: Sansa vs. Arya! Those are the worst.

I'm not sure if I buy the quote about Robert to conclude that Lyanna is clear-eyed and doesn't romanticize courtly love. What if she still wants it, but realizes Robert won't give it to her? That leaves her open to thinking that Rhaegar might be the "guy" who does. I'm just trying to pin down where her illusions could be in terms of Rhaegar. I think she has to have at least some. Maybe Rhaegar convinced her they would go on a grand adventure and played up those Arya illusions. Or maybe it was based in her desire for affection and attention from this singer (he's like the rock star who attracts women even if they know he's bad for them). Either way I think much like Jacaerys/Sara in Fire and Blood their dynamic will be steeped in rumor and open to interpretation.

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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10 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Thanks! And no worries--reading an entire thread can be maddening.:cheers:

Agreed on all of this--except Ashara's definitely being dead. Martin himself leaves open that door in the SSM where he confirms her body was never found. Thus, the timeline is not bulletproof. Plus, we aren't given a date of Ashara's supposed death, near as I can remember--very happy to be corrected on this.

A lot of this is in my weird Oberyn, Oberon thread, building off of other posters' ideas: such as these two: 

Given all that, I will fully understand if you look at this rabbit hole and decide it's not worth your time. But in a nutshell: 

  • Rhaella clearly gave birth on Dragonstone and died--really, really think that happened, The baby was a girl--Dany. And Viserys and Rhaella's Dany were taken from Dragonstone together.
  • But: 80% of Rhaella's pregnancies before Dany resulted in children that didn't make it past their first year: only Rhaegar and Viserys lived past infancy. 
  • And the "Darry" in Dany's memory doesn't sound that much like a Master at Arms--he could be someone else. 
  • And there are a number of inconsistencies in Dany's backstory, starting from her first POV.
  • And Oberyn is clearly named after Oberon--the fairy who poisons people with potions and steals a changeling.
  • I think the current Dany was swapped out for Rhaella's child sometime after the poor kid died--probably before her first birthday. And the current Dany--with inconsistencies in her memory--is Rhaegar and Ashara's child.

Some of Dany's reactions, visions, phrasings--she's tied more closely to Rhaegar than to Viserys or Aerys. It's not remotely set in stone, but if this is where Martin is going, he's laid the groundwork.

1. If Lyanna's child is not Rhaegar's, the 3 KG are not protecting her, they are holding her as a useful hostage. And yes, their staying with her after Aerys' fall makes little sense if that's all she is. In her state, she may not be moveable, but they wouldn't be called on maintain her as a hostage after Aerys' fall--I don't think.

2. No--if Lyanna's child wasn't Rhaegar's, the 3 KG are protecting another woman--in my opinion, that's Ashara, pregnant with Dany. We see roughly the same thing with other Stark Maids (Jon, Arya, and Sansa)--kept as useful hostages while their captors have other main missions.

3. Plus, I don't think anyone is in the tower at the time of the fight--at the time of the fight, the tower is just a meeting place. To draw Ned away from his full force for a parlay--the 3 KG can't beat Ned's full force. Once at the parlay, the 3 KG fight--and almost win.

 I am in the theory that Ashara is actually Lemore. It makes more sense (to me) than Ashara being a surrogate mother for Rhaegar's baby and Rhaella's baby swap theory. According to common knowledge Ashara "committed suicide" some time after Ned brought Dawn to Starfall. Do you think that means that she gave birth or just left Srarfall? if she gave birth, then Ashara's child is older than Rhaella's since Ashara "died" in 283 and Rhaella only conceived in 283. If you think that she left Starfall, then she should travel through half of the country and manage to get to Dragonstone before Stannis and before Rhaella gave birth. If you think that the child was swap some time after, don't you think Viserys would notice, especially if you suggest that Daenerys's memories of Darry and her childhood are about some place in Dorn (am I correct?!). If she remembers those things she could be at least 2-3 years old, so real Dany lived 2-3 years, then died and was swapped with this Dany and Viserys didn't notice? Personally, I think Allyria is Ashara's alive daughter and Ashara herself went to Essos to help and raise fAegon. Varys could help her with that, as a proof that Aegon is Rhaegar and Ellia's child: Connington as knight and lord from Westeros and from Rhaegar's side, Ashara as septa and nurse and from Ellia's side - both are close companions of Aegon's parents.

Also, before Dany Rhaella's children died, but she lived and this time Rhaella died, but her child lives.

As for Dany's reactions, visions and phrasing - it is normal, since she thinks of Rhaegar all the time, she is told about him all the time, she is told that he differs from Viserys, how honourable and good he was and she doesn't want to be like Viserys and thinks all the time that she wants to be like Rhaegar. Also vision about three heads is more related to the story than Dany herself.

As for 3 Kingsguards: holding a "useful hostage" when the war is lost and your queen and presumable the HEIR is without protection is not something the Lord Commander of the Kingsguards and true knights like Dayne and Whent would do. Especially if they are "drawing" Ned to someplace else from real Rhaegar child (from Ashara as you suggest), but Ned easily went to Starfall and gave Dawn back to Daynes. According to common knowledge Ashara was there and still alive. I mean there was no use/reason of drawing Ned anywhere since NOBODY in 7 Kingdoms knew or even suggested that Rhaegar had an affair with Ashara. The rumour was that Ned and Ashara had an affair, which I'm inclined to think is partially true, but Ashara was incredibly pretty girl and men like Brandon or Oberyn are more likely to flirt with her and have some romance than a quite and shy Ned (I love Ned and I personally think that Ashara liked him too, moreover, they were actually in love).

Edited by Gala

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@Sly Wren

I really like reading your theories and I am usually fascinated by the detective work that you do - even if I'm not convinced in the end.

This time let me start by saying that I agree that there must have been something more complicated going on than either a romantic love story or a story of lust and rape. I also agree that the Bael the Bard story and its variations in the current storylines offer us important clues regarding the Rhaegar - Lyanna story. However, the notion that all these variations are there primarily to serve our understanding of the Rhaegar - Lyanna story gives me pause. The potential conclusion that all these Bael variations are simply there to indicate that the story did not take place in the case of Lyanna and Rhaegar make the narrative seem perhaps unnecessarily convoluted. Maybe it is so, but I think we may also see these in-story Bael variations (including the Rhaegar - Lyanna story) as equally important stories on their own right, with the Bael story being the original (proto) story, warning us that whenever something or someone "Baelish" comes up in the main story, we should pay special attention. After all, the Rhaegar - Lyanna story, though an important mystery in itself, only serves the main story rather than being the ultimate narrative purpose.  

Regarding the misdirection, while the general idea is intriguing, I have problems on specific points.  

I have difficulty seeing Joffrey as a Rhaegar figure. I know he is a prince, but to connect him with Rhaegar on account of being a wannabe-Targaryen? To me, Joffrey is at best a wannabe-Baratheon (otherwise just a Lannister bastard), neither a singer, nor a knight / warrior, not even a leader. But if we just regard him as some sort of a prince, we still have the fact that Sansa both falls in love with him and rejects him (and he actually threatens to rape Sansa). I don’t see how this storyline could be viewed as a parallel Bael story offering an alternative to both the love story and the rape version in the case of Lyanna and Rhaegar. If I look for a parallel, then Joffrey parallels Robert. Sansa is betrothed to him (as Lyanna was to Robert) but (ultimately) finds him a revolting husband-to-be, and she eventually runs away (from Joffrey’s wedding!) with the “Baelish” figure (though at that point the formal betrothal is over, and Joffrey is just marrying another girl, the parallels are there).   

Littlefinger is definitely a Bael figure, and it is true that there is no romance between him and Sansa, still Petyr lusts after her, seeing her as a substitute for his first (and only) love. It may also be a Lyanna reference that Sansa was stolen from a wedding (though not her own). Sansa hopes that Petyr will take her home, but he doesn’t – that may also be part of the Rhaegar – Lyanna story (even if the motivations are not necessarily the same).

When Baelish steals Sansa, he also rescues her (albeit from a situation he helped to create), and I think it may as well be a clue that rescue played a part in the Rhaegar – Lyanna story, too. The idea that rescue may have played a part in the Rhaegar – Lyanna story is further supported by the Bael story as played by Osha and two Stark boys. Osha the clever wildling has stolen not a maiden but two children from “the Lord of Winterfell” (portrayed by Theon in this case) and has hidden them in the crypts. Why? To rescue them.

As for Marillion, I do not regard him as a separate Bael figure, only a singer figure at Littlefinger’s side to further underline Littlefinger’s “Baelish” qualities (if his name and his sigil aren’t enough).

Sansa also has her “white knight”, BTW, Sandor, who also comes close to raping her and who also tries to persuade her to run away with him, but Sansa refuses this offer. She has feelings for him, though.

All in all, the elements of the Bael story and the Lyanna – Rhaegar story are there (even the idea of a bastard child), but there has been a great deal of deconstruction. The “lord” is not a prince or a king, the singer is nothing romantic, and the “white knight” is not quite as white as one would think Arthur was. Who knows, that may also be a clue… I doubt, however, that the way Sansa’s story plays out corresponds exactly to how the story between Lyanna and Rhaegar played out, just as the original Bael the Bard story is not the same either. GRRM does not write exactly the same story several times, which would be rather boring, but he writes different versions of the same proto-story (which must be much more fun). What is more, the characters in question have their own storylines, their primary purpose is not to be clues for Lyanna’s story, which is another reason why they do not re-enact Lyanna’s story faithfully.

Sorry for the long post, but more is coming later... 

 

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@Sly Wren

Another thing I disagree with is that (if I understand you correctly) you don’t consider Ygritte a "real" Bael figure. She is as much a Bael figure as there is. She tells Jon the original story. She is a wildling. She claims to be a descendant of Bael (thus the descendant of a king, which is also what a prince is). She sings and she is also a warrior. In addition, she is a fire character, which makes a connection between her and Rhaegar. She “steals” her version of the “Stark-maiden”, Jon Snow, though she also claims to have been stolen by him. There is no child born of their union; instead, the bastard in their story is the stolen Stark – just like in the case of Baelish and Sansa (where Sansa, the stolen maiden, also plays the part of the bastard child). The Jon – Ygritte story comes very close to the Bael – Stark-maiden story, though the male and female roles are reversed. Of course, this version shows us romance, love, as well as enmity, as well as rescue.

There is no Kingsguard or “white knight” in the original Bael story, but if we need one in each of the more recent versions (as there is one in Sansa’s story), here we may look at Ghost – the white shadow who guards Jon Snow.   

I agree that Mance is also a Bael figure. Very much so. I don’t think Jon is the Stark-maiden opposite Mance’s Bael though. I think their story is closer to the story between Bael and his son – remember that Jon is not only the “Stark-maiden”, but also the “Bastard of Winterfell”? They fight on opposite sides and killing Mance is on Jon’s agenda several times – in the end he has only a fake-Mance killed, which perhaps suggests he will not be cursed as Bael’s son was.  

Mance’s “Stark-maiden” is Jeyne. (Not a maiden any longer, but Mance also only used to be a wildling king.) The former King-beyond-the-Wall goes to Winterfell disguised as a common singer to steal a “maiden” from yet another “Lord of Winterfell”. There is no love in this version, and the rapist this time is the “Lord of Winterfell” himself, but there is the element of rescue again. Is there a “white knight” in sight to guard the maiden? Theon perhaps?

There is another "Baelish" story that may contain clues which are shown rather than told: It’s war. Jon Snow, a black knight rather than a white one, is guarding the tent where a baby boy is born. The baby’s mother dies in childbirth. The father is captured in battle. The baby is later passed off as another man’s bastard, when, in fact, he is the trueborn son of the king/warrior /singer/ Bael figure, who loved his “wise queen”.  

 

Edited by Julia H.

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On 1/19/2019 at 8:30 PM, Sly Wren said:

I thought the Bael Tale had to be much older, too. But, as someone else has pointed out (even though I can't remember their name) some of Ygritte's tale's details strongly suggest it was after Aegon's Conquest--after Jaehaerys I: 

  • The fact that the Stark of Winterfell is "Lord" Stark, not King of Winter.
  • The fact that Bael skips down the Kingsroad--built by Jaehaerys I.

Now, that may just be Ygritte learning the tale wrong--but those sound like clues that Bael isn't as long ago as he seems to have been.  If so, that pregnant woman really could be the Bael Maid, even if the girl kissing the tall knight is Nan kissing Duncan.

Bael is a legend, oral lore at that. If it really happened at all the timing would be hard to pinpoint. It could have been before or after Aegon's Conquest, it doesn't matter. You are not the first since Dance came out to wonder this and it isn't supported by the text, even before we received a more detailed family tree. So, no the pregnant woman cannot really be the Bael Maid. No matter when (or if) Bael lived it had to be before Old Nan arrived at Winterfell. The pregnant woman was likely one of The She-Wolves of Winterfell and we will get that story in the next Dunk and Egg installment, hopefully! :read:

I agree, Ygritte could have learned the story wrong or those details could be clues to the timeline. It's also cherry-picking to suit an idea that you don't need for your analysis. (It wouldn't change a thing to leave this vision out of the OP.) What about Lord Brandon the Daughterless? All it takes is a look at the family tree to see there is no Lord Brandon after Old Nan's arrival at Winterfell, or to see there are no daughters that fit the tale. Or tales about thirty years later (which would place it in Rickard's time) of a King Beyond the Wall marching an army south. We have heard of Raymun Redbeard and the Battle of Long Lake in 226, which is way to early and also the last known KBtW to bring an army south until Mance. I find these items more suggestive of the timing. 

On 1/19/2019 at 9:13 PM, Sly Wren said:

1. Agree on the order of events.

2. It does feel weird--especially since Jon has never heard it.

3. But it might explain why Jon and his siblings don't know it--it would

  • A. Not be a very positive tale in Winterfell. 
  • B. Be a very negative tale for Ned, Brandon, Lyanna, and Benjen's era. 

Might even fit with my theory of why the Starks react as they do to Rhaegar's crown while everyone else (according to the World Book) can't figure out the problem: for the Starks, that kind of gift was an attack. ETA: Because Ned and his siblings knew the story.

And, like the Laughing Tree story, Ned never told his kids the Bael Tale because it was painful.

But this is very speculative. Obviously.

It's beyond even crackpot if you agree with the order of events, and there is no reason to cling to this idea. I'm all for wild theories and I'll have fun with you :D (and your thoughts on Rhaegar's crown were very interesting) but the timeline does not work. There are many other great points from the OP to discuss and it all still fits the Bael theme without this and the vision really adds nothing.

I think the story of the mystery knight is more personal and easily kept quiet while you can't hide a recent wildling war from them or us. I also feel the details of Lyanna's story would be more painful for Ned than some "Bael Tale" from a generation or two before, they would still be from Stark blood after all. Besides the kids have info on Lyanna. "Robert was betrothed to marry her, but Prince Rhaegar carried her off and raped her," Bran explained. "Robert fought a war to win her back. He killed Rhaegar on the Trident with his hammer, but Lyanna died and he never got her back at all." I don't see how the "Bael Tale" would be more painful than kidnapping, rape, war and lost love. Not to mention what the Mad King did to Rickard and Brandon.

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On January 21, 2019 at 3:57 PM, Rose of Red Lake said:

Yeah sorry, this is a touchy subject, I'm on edge from have been in too many fandom fights: Sansa vs. Arya! Those are the worst.

Very sorry for the delay.

And yes--I don't understand those Arya/Sansa fights. 

On January 21, 2019 at 3:57 PM, Rose of Red Lake said:

I'm not sure if I buy the quote about Robert to conclude that Lyanna is clear-eyed and doesn't romanticize courtly love. What if she still wants it, but realizes Robert won't give it to her?

Oh--she still seems to want love--and faithful love. The "courtly" part, I'm not sure on. And the idea that just because a man loves her he will become what she needs--that kind of romanticism she seems to have rejected. But the idea of love--no, she still calls love, even the unideal love of Robert, "sweet."

On January 21, 2019 at 3:57 PM, Rose of Red Lake said:

That leaves her open to thinking that Rhaegar might be the "guy" who does. I'm just trying to pin down where her illusions could be in terms of Rhaegar. I think she has to have at least some. Maybe Rhaegar convinced her they would go on a grand adventure and played up those Arya illusions.

Yes--this is where I have trouble going. Partly it's prejudice--straight up. No point denying it.

But also--Arya seems big on "duty" and loyalty and all of that. Lyanna shows she shares at least some of that when she attacks the squires for Howland. Running off with a married man--hmmm--if she's at all like Arya, seems like she'd tell him stop "go home to your wife, stupid!"

On January 21, 2019 at 3:57 PM, Rose of Red Lake said:

Or maybe it was based in her desire for affection and attention from this singer (he's like the rock star who attracts women even if they know he's bad for them).

Maybe--but Martin takes the time to show us how Arya reacts to a sad song from a guy who sings (at times) for the express purpose of seducing women. Martin shows us that Arya is sad and emotional--but not about the singer. The song makes her think about her family.

He shows us this two chapters before Meera tells us Lyanna sniffled at a sad song. Right around the time she was getting ready to leave her family to marry Robert--couldn't have been that far off. Really seems like there's good reason to think Martin showed us both scenes . . . 

On January 21, 2019 at 3:57 PM, Rose of Red Lake said:

Either way I think much like Jacaerys/Sara in Fire and Blood their dynamic will be steeped in rumor and open to interpretation.

Well, clearly the people of Westeros have done just that. Usually with no real details. Which seems to suggest we are missing a big chunk.

And that, like Ned's "guilt," or Tyrion and Sansa's being Joffrey's murderers, or other tales, the people of Westeros are likely to be dead wrong about Rhaegar and Lyanna.

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On 1/21/2019 at 3:51 PM, Sly Wren said:

Agreed on all of this--except Ashara's definitely being dead. Martin himself leaves open that door in the SSM where he confirms her body was never found. Thus, the timeline is not bulletproof. Plus, we aren't given a date of Ashara's supposed death, near as I can remember--very happy to be corrected on this.

A lot of this is in my weird Oberyn, Oberon thread, building off of other posters' ideas: such as these two: 

Given all that, I will fully understand if you look at this rabbit hole and decide it's not worth your time. But in a nutshell: 

  • Rhaella clearly gave birth on Dragonstone and died--really, really think that happened, The baby was a girl--Dany. And Viserys and Rhaella's Dany were taken from Dragonstone together.
  • But: 80% of Rhaella's pregnancies before Dany resulted in children that didn't make it past their first year: only Rhaegar and Viserys lived past infancy. 
  • And the "Darry" in Dany's memory doesn't sound that much like a Master at Arms--he could be someone else. 
  • And there are a number of inconsistencies in Dany's backstory, starting from her first POV.
  • And Oberyn is clearly named after Oberon--the fairy who poisons people with potions and steals a changeling.
  • I think the current Dany was swapped out for Rhaella's child sometime after the poor kid died--probably before her first birthday. And the current Dany--with inconsistencies in her memory--is Rhaegar and Ashara's child.

Some of Dany's reactions, visions, phrasings--she's tied more closely to Rhaegar than to Viserys or Aerys. It's not remotely set in stone, but if this is where Martin is going, he's laid the groundwork.

My biggest problem with Dany being a substitute is that I can think of no reason for anybody to go to the trouble.  Given that she supposedly has memories from before the alleged switch,she would have to be at least 3-4 years old, maybe more.  Viserys will surely know, and at this time, a child of that age is more of a drain on resources than anything else - and Viserys doesn't have a lot to spare.  Frankly, if Dany dies, you cry, have a big fiery funeral, and move on.  She isn't that important.  As a girl, she is last in line for anything under Targaryen rules.

That is not to say that I don't wonder about some things.  There are inconsistencies, as you say. I think those inconsistencies are indicative for her and Viserys spending time in a place they weren't supposed to be, possibly with someone they weren't supposed to be with.   If they were in Dorne, which I think is quite possible, that would indicate a Dornish involvement with them much longer and more extensive than we have been led to believe.

On 1/21/2019 at 3:51 PM, Sly Wren said:

1. If Lyanna's child is not Rhaegar's, the 3 KG are not protecting her, they are holding her as a useful hostage. And yes, their staying with her after Aerys' fall makes little sense if that's all she is. In her state, she may not be moveable, but they wouldn't be called on maintain her as a hostage after Aerys' fall--I don't think.

2. No--if Lyanna's child wasn't Rhaegar's, the 3 KG are protecting another woman--in my opinion, that's Ashara, pregnant with Dany. We see roughly the same thing with other Stark Maids (Jon, Arya, and Sansa)--kept as useful hostages while their captors have other main missions.

3. Plus, I don't think anyone is in the tower at the time of the fight--at the time of the fight, the tower is just a meeting place. To draw Ned away from his full force for a parlay--the 3 KG can't beat Ned's full force. Once at the parlay, the 3 KG fight--and almost win.

We have no connection between Ashara adnd Rhaegar - none.  The only connection Rhaegar has with any woman other than his wife is Lyanna.  As for Ashara, there were no less than 4 men we know of who had an interest in her, or that she had an interest in - Brandon Stark, Eddard Stark, Barristan Selmy, and Howland Reed.  If Martin wanted to, he could very easily have added Rhaegar to the list.  Hell, even a brief conversation would do - we don't even have that!  Given Martin's penchant for dropping hints and clues, I don't think there was anything between Rhaegar and Ashara.

Wait, the ToJ is just a meeting place for a parley?  Are you suggesting that the uber-honorable KG knights attacked Ned's party at a parley?  That sound like the sort of thing even Walder Frey would shrink from doing.  I still remain convinced they were there because that was Lyanna's location, and Ned was tipped off to that fact.  (Whether it was Jon's location is another matter) 

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23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

@Sly Wren

I really like reading your theories and I am usually fascinated by the detective work that you do - even if I'm not convinced in the end.

:cheers: Thank you for always giving me a fair hearing, even when you have good reason to think I'm nuts.

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

 The potential conclusion that all these Bael variations are simply there to indicate that the story did not take place in the case of Lyanna and Rhaegar make the narrative seem perhaps unnecessarily convoluted. Maybe it is so, but I think we may also see these in-story Bael variations (including the Rhaegar - Lyanna story) as equally important stories on their own right, with the Bael story being the original (proto) story, warning us that whenever something or someone "Baelish" comes up in the main story, we should pay special attention.

I agree--and I apologize if I gave the impression that I thought otherwise. No, just like the characters and their experiences clearly are there to develop their own stories, the Bael/Rhaegr imagery has purposes, too.

Only point: Martin did not have to bring some of the imagery and incidents in to the characters lives--either Bael or Rhaegar-ish. As you say--when it comes up, we should pay attention.

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

After all, the Rhaegar - Lyanna story, though an important mystery in itself, only serves the main story rather than being the ultimate narrative purpose.  

Agreed.

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

I have difficulty seeing Joffrey as a Rhaegar figure. I know he is a prince, but to connect him with Rhaegar on account of being a wannabe-Targaryen? To me, Joffrey is at best a wannabe-Baratheon (otherwise just a Lannister bastard), neither a singer, nor a knight / warrior, not even a leader. But if we just regard him as some sort of a prince, we still have the fact that Sansa both falls in love with him and rejects him (and he actually threatens to rape Sansa). I don’t see how this storyline could be viewed as a parallel Bael story offering an alternative to both the love story and the rape version in the case of Lyanna and Rhaegar.

Joff is at best a rough echo--which is why I used the wannabe--his family seems to be wannabe Targs. He does hold a Stark maid hostage. And he clearly has entitlement issues--he wants to be an all powerful princeling, which is how I tried to describe him in the OP--not meaning to compare him to Bael. I agree he's not like Bael, other than the hostage. But. . . can he be a wannabe Baratheon if he thinks he is a Baratheon? 

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

If I look for a parallel, then Joffrey parallels Robert. Sansa is betrothed to him (as Lyanna was to Robert) but (ultimately) finds him a revolting husband-to-be, and she eventually runs away (from Joffrey’s wedding!) with the “Baelish” figure (though at that point the formal betrothal is over, and Joffrey is just marrying another girl, the parallels are there).  

Maybe--I struggle with this for a number of reason: Joff is not much like Robert. And Sansa is put off from the betrothal, so not running from that marriage--she runs from her marriage to Tyrion and the abuse of Joff. Running from the wannabe Targ family that killed her family--that's not Robert, that's the Targs as an echo.

Joff acts like the entitled, abusive, princeling. Not really what we are told about Robert. We maybe have hints of it with Rhaegar. . . but that would be really rough to say. The main thing for me with Joff is we see how a Lyanna-like Stark maid (Arya) reacts to entitled princelings. She attacks him. That seems telling.

And we see how another Stark Maid reacts when the man she thought she loved kills her family. That seems telling, too. Not "parallels"--rough bits of echoes. But they seem telling.

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Sansa hopes that Petyr will take her home, but he doesn’t – that may also be part of the Rhaegar – Lyanna story (even if the motivations are not necessarily the same).

Oh yes--we see this with Arya and the brotherhood without banners, too. She "ends up" with men who echo Rhaegar's KG in that scene with the Hound. And they hold her even though she's not their mission. And she is not happy with the way they intend to return her to her family. 

No--I think both the Sansa and Arya echoes here give us good reason to think Rhaegar found/ended up with Lyanna and then held onto her. And that she was not pleased and wanted to go home.

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

When Baelish steals Sansa, he also rescues her (albeit from a situation he helped to create), and I think it may as well be a clue that rescue played a part in the Rhaegar – Lyanna story, too. The idea that rescue may have played a part in the Rhaegar

Yes--we see that with Arya, too: recused by Yoren (a sworn brother) after running from trouble. And held, though protected, by the brotherhood, when she's run from trouble and is trying to get home on her own. I think Lyanna got attacked or was in trouble, ran like Arya, and got found by either by Rhaegar himself or (as I think is more likely) Rhaegar's KG: Arthur and Whent.

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Lyanna story is further supported by the Bael story as played by Osha and two Stark boys. Osha the clever wildling has stolen not a maiden but two children from “the Lord of Winterfell” (portrayed by Theon in this case) and has hidden them in the crypts. Why? To rescue them.

Nice! I had not thought of this angle! I usually think of the Stolen Stark Maid motif as being held somewhat against their will. But this might work. . . 

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

As for Marillion, I do not regard him as a separate Bael figure, only a singer figure at Littlefinger’s side to further underline Littlefinger’s “Baelish” qualities (if his name and his sigil aren’t enough).

But he shows a Stark Maid's reactions: he's a handsome singer. Sansa's all in blue. And he calls her a Roadside Rose. . . that's not nothing. All in the same book where we see both Arya and Lyanna's reactions to handsome singers of sad songs. . .  

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Sansa also has her “white knight”, BTW, Sandor, who also comes close to raping her and who also tries to persuade her to run away with him, but Sansa refuses this offer. She has feelings for him, though.

Yes--this play more into my thoughts about the role of sworn brothers in the world of Stolen Stark Maids. . . which would send you down a rabbit hole you would probably think is a waste of your time. . . 

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

All in all, the elements of the Bael story and the Lyanna – Rhaegar story are there (even the idea of a bastard child), but there has been a great deal of deconstruction.

:agree: rough echoes. Images and moments. Not a clear timeline, but mages and moments and markers.

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

GRRM does not write exactly the same story several times, which would be rather boring, but he writes different versions of the same proto-story (which must be much more fun). What is more, the characters in question have their own storylines, their primary purpose is not to be clues for Lyanna’s story, which is another reason why they do not re-enact Lyanna’s story faithfully.

:agree:

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Sorry for the long post, but more is coming later..

No apologies. Ever--we may not agree on some things, but your analysis is always solid. :cheers:

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23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

@Sly Wren

Another thing I disagree with is that (if I understand you correctly) you don’t consider Ygritte a "real" Bael figure. She is as much a Bael figure as there is. She tells Jon the original story. She is a wildling. She claims to be a descendant of Bael (thus the descendant of a king, which is also what a prince is). She sings and she is also a warrior. In addition, she is a fire character, which makes a connection between her and Rhaegar. She “steals” her version of the “Stark-maiden”, Jon Snow, though she also claims to have been stolen by him. There is no child born of their union; instead, the bastard in their story is the stolen Stark – just like in the case of Baelish and Sansa (where Sansa, the stolen maiden, also plays the part of the bastard child). The Jon – Ygritte story comes very close to the Bael – Stark-maiden story, though the male and female roles are reversed. Of course, this version shows us romance, love, as well as enmity, as well as rescue.

Ah! Apparently I did not handle this well in the OP--my apologies. We may disagree on how much Ygritte is Bael-ish. But we do agree that she has Bael elements.

With Ygritte and Mance, Jon ends up with two Bael figures. But when Ygritte takes Jon to Mance, she takes the position of the warrior-follower: she's giving up her "hostage" to Mance. Mance is now running that part of the show.

Ygritte's take on the stealing is now romantic--and she puts it on Jon: this varies quite a bit from Bael. Almost seems like what Sansa might do to the Bael Tale. . .

But Mance: the man who would be king; the red and black cloak; the sneaking into Winterfell; using the info he got at the feast to "turn" Jon and/or make himself believe that Jon had turned; the Dornishman's Wife; impersonating Abel; leading a rebellion against the Watch he'd sworn oaths to; doing all ostensibly to save the kingdom: Martin stuffed Mance with Rhaegar and Bael imagery. 

The personalities may be quite different (Mance doesn't seem all that bookish), but once Ygritte and Jon are "working" for Mance, Mance is the one holding the Stolen Stark Maid. And would be doing so whether Ygritte loved Jon or not. If Jon crosses Mance or his purpose, he's dead. And Ygritte is Mance's warrior-follower.

At that point, Jon and Ygritte seem to move into another echo pattern for me--if that phrase makes any sense at all:

  • Stark Maid falling for Warrior Follower, not the rebel leader or wannabe king.
  • Sworn brother breaks his vows, falling for a wild northern girl, who is ostensibly the enemy
  • Wild northern girl falls for a sworn brother, sworn to the enemy

That configuration does not fit Rhaegar well--but it would fit very well if Arthur were Lyanna's lover. Dorne (heat/fire) loves North (ice/cold).

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

I agree that Mance is also a Bael figure. Very much so. I don’t think Jon is the Stark-maiden opposite Mance’s Bael though.

Even though he's the one holding and using the Stark Maid for his political purpose? Mance calls the shots as soon as his followers bring Jon to him.

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

I think their story is closer to the story between Bael and his son – remember that Jon is not only the “Stark-maiden”, but also the “Bastard of Winterfell”? They fight on opposite sides and killing Mance is on Jon’s agenda several times – in the end he has only a fake-Mance killed, which perhaps suggests he will not be cursed as Bael’s son was.

Very interesting . . . I can buy this. 

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Mance’s “Stark-maiden” is Jeyne. (Not a maiden any longer, but Mance also only used to be a wildling king.) The former King-beyond-the-Wall goes to Winterfell disguised as a common singer to steal a “maiden” from yet another “Lord of Winterfell”. There is no love in this version, and the rapist this time is the “Lord of Winterfell” himself, but there is the element of rescue again. Is there a “white knight” in sight to guard the maiden? Theon perhaps?

Agreed--and Mance is doing it partly in cahoots with Jon (though I think Mance may have had an ulterior motive once he got his hands on "Arya"--she might be good leverage against Jon. . . . ). Mance plays the Bael role with Jon multiple times: stealing into Winterfell and noting Jon, holding Jon (after wanting a Stark Maid at least since Game); and then "Arya."

23 hours ago, Julia H. said:

There is another "Baelish" story that may contain clues which are shown rather than told: It’s war. Jon Snow, a black knight rather than a white one, is guarding the tent where a baby boy is born. The baby’s mother dies in childbirth. The father is captured in battle. The baby is later passed off as another man’s bastard, when, in fact, he is the trueborn son of the king/warrior /singer/ Bael figure, who loved his “wise queen”.  

Yup. And I think Jon's role in that is worth noting: defender. Makes me think again that Jon is echoing his father, another sworn brother. 

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3 hours ago, Elaena Targaryen said:

Bael is a legend, oral lore at that. If it really happened at all the timing would be hard to pinpoint. It could have been before or after Aegon's Conquest, it doesn't matter. You are not the first since Dance came out to wonder this and it isn't supported by the text, even before we received a more detailed family tree. So, no the pregnant woman cannot really be the Bael Maid. No matter when (or if) Bael lived it had to be before Old Nan arrived at Winterfell. The pregnant woman was likely one of The She-Wolves of Winterfell and we will get that story in the next Dunk and Egg installment, hopefully! :read:

1. Agree on the "hopefully."

2. But something is wrong with the Bael Tale and how Jon doesn't know it: Nan tells those kids everything. All kinds of tales. The fact that the Night's King was a Stark and "mayhaps his name was Brandon." The only time I could find where Bran says Nan wouldn't tell him something was how "Whoresbane" got his name. 

So, Nan tells everything--why not either the Laughing Tree story or the Bael Tale? Something is off--and Martin draws a circle around the fact that Bran doesn't know Laughing Tree and Jon doesn't know Bael--has the Reeds ask Bran repeatedly. And has Jon rack his brain for what history he knows.

Something is up.

3 hours ago, Elaena Targaryen said:

I agree, Ygritte could have learned the story wrong or those details could be clues to the timeline. It's also cherry-picking to suit an idea that you don't need for your analysis. (It wouldn't change a thing to leave this vision out of the OP.) What about Lord Brandon the Daughterless? All it takes is a look at the family tree to see there is no Lord Brandon after Old Nan's arrival at Winterfell, or to see there are no daughters that fit the tale. Or tales about thirty years later (which would place it in Rickard's time) of a King Beyond the Wall marching an army south. We have heard of Raymun Redbeard and the Battle of Long Lake in 226, which is way to early and also the last known KBtW to bring an army south until Mance. I find these items more suggestive of the timing. 

1. I agree it's not necessary for my analysis. And that it's an "if"--I tried to stress that by bolding and italicizing that "if."

2. But look at how Bran portrays Nan's storytelling on when she came to Winterfell and who "her" Brandon was--why the ambiguity on her arrival? This woman keeps all kinds of details in her brain. Tells all kinds of stories, real and imagined. But on this she varies.

Maybe it's nothing, but Martin spends some time showing how consistent Nan is in all her tales (at least according to the kids) and then shows she doesn't tell her own history consistently, varying who her Brandon was--"her" Brandon could have been an older brother, a younger brother, or an uncle to Lord Rickard. That's a lot of potential variance--over a generation. If she's so clear on other details, why is this muddled? Perhaps she is muddling on purpose. Or muddling because she's actively not telling the whole story. Something may really be off with the timeline.

3 hours ago, Elaena Targaryen said:

It's beyond even crackpot if you agree with the order of events, and there is no reason to cling to this idea. I'm all for wild theories and I'll have fun with you :D (and your thoughts on Rhaegar's crown were very interesting) but the timeline does not work. There are many other great points from the OP to discuss and it all still fits the Bael theme without this and the vision really adds nothing.

All fair--I just think the vision, the gaps in Stark History (shown by Jon and Bran) and the muddling of Nan's history seem to point to something being wrong with the timeline. In history recent enough to involve Nan. I even have an insane crackpot in my brain about Raymun and Bael based on Mance--but I will spare you that rabbit hole. 

3 hours ago, Elaena Targaryen said:

I think the story of the mystery knight is more personal and easily kept quiet while you can't hide a recent wildling war from them or us. I also feel the details of Lyanna's story would be more painful for Ned than some "Bael Tale" from a generation or two before, they would still be from Stark blood after all. Besides the kids have info on Lyanna. "Robert was betrothed to marry her, but Prince Rhaegar carried her off and raped her," Bran explained. "Robert fought a war to win her back. He killed Rhaegar on the Trident with his hammer, but Lyanna died and he never got her back at all." I don't see how the "Bael Tale" would be more painful than kidnapping, rape, war and lost love. Not to mention what the Mad King did to Rickard and Brandon.

Agreed on the Knight of the Laughing Tree Tale: though Nan is more than happy to tell all sorts of unhappy tales about family and everyone else to her charges.

And on the bolded: that kinda makes my point: why, if Nan tells everything else (other than the story of Whoresbane) is the Bael Tale excluded??? It's a great story. Might even fit in with the tales she's told them about how dangerous wildlings are. But nothing . . . something's up.

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41 minutes ago, Nevets said:

My biggest problem with Dany being a substitute is that I can think of no reason for anybody to go to the trouble.  Given that she supposedly has memories from before the alleged switch,she would have to be at least 3-4 years old, maybe more.  Viserys will surely know, and at this time, a child of that age is more of a drain on resources than anything else - and Viserys doesn't have a lot to spare.  Frankly, if Dany dies, you cry, have a big fiery funeral, and move on.  She isn't that important.  As a girl, she is last in line for anything under Targaryen rules.

She is potentially useful for a marriage pact--to help get Viserys support. Which is exactly how she's used. So, not about the emotional need for her, but the potential practical need for a second Targ.

41 minutes ago, Nevets said:

That is not to say that I don't wonder about some things.  There are inconsistencies, as you say. I think those inconsistencies are indicative for her and Viserys spending time in a place they weren't supposed to be, possibly with someone they weren't supposed to be with.   If they were in Dorne, which I think is quite possible, that would indicate a Dornish involvement with them much longer and more extensive than we have been led to believe.

:agree:

41 minutes ago, Nevets said:

We have no connection between Ashara adnd Rhaegar - none.  The only connection Rhaegar has with any woman other than his wife is Lyanna.  As for Ashara, there were no less than 4 men we know of who had an interest in her, or that she had an interest in - Brandon Stark, Eddard Stark, Barristan Selmy, and Howland Reed.  If Martin wanted to, he could very easily have added Rhaegar to the list.  Hell, even a brief conversation would do - we don't even have that!  Given Martin's penchant for dropping hints and clues, I don't think there was anything between Rhaegar and Ashara.

All fair--but Ashara would have been there with Elia and Rhaegar for pretty much all of it. She's in the inner circle. So, she is connected. And Martin shows us an inner circle of believers in prophecy: Stannis, Selyse, and Mel. They don't bring in outsiders for lovers and plots: they stick with those they can trust. The Stark Maid in that scenario is former maid, Jon. And he is not interested in their cult.

If Rhaegar did want that third head (as I think is very clear he did), would make sense to go with someone he knew he could trust. . . 

41 minutes ago, Nevets said:

Wait, the ToJ is just a meeting place for a parley?  Are you suggesting that the uber-honorable KG knights attacked Ned's party at a parley?  That sound like the sort of thing even Walder Frey would shrink from doing.  I still remain convinced they were there because that was Lyanna's location, and Ned was tipped off to that fact.  (Whether it was Jon's location is another matter) 

One way or another, the Uber-Honorable knights attack without any attempt at resolving this issue. And make the first move. Ned taunts them, but does not attack. 

If they are trying to ward off Robert's army--buy themselves time, etc.--fighting off the smaller force could buy them a little bit of time until they can flee elsewhere.

But I do think Ned was told where to go.

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