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Sly Wren

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

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2 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

All fair--and how much the evidence I posit actually will end up having told us about Lyanna--no way to know until we get the next books. So, speculate is what we all must do. :cheers:

Well, I must say it is a pleasure to be able to speculate w/ such fine and well-versed posters, even if we disagree more often than not. :cheers:

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4 hours ago, SirArthur said:

I wanted to add 2 observations:

1. While Loras gives Sansa an unromatic flower, Sansa's reaction to him still shows some excitement:[snip]To be honest, she seems to be hyped about the attention given to her. 

Yup! Sansa's a romantic--until her "beloved" slaughters her household and murders her father.

And we have very little info on Lyanna's actual ideas--but we do have one: her take on Robert. The young teen Lyanna does not sugarcoat Robert's flaws, but clearly sees where they will lead in her future marriage. And this seems to be around (shortly before or after) Harrenhal.

Whereas Sansa, at the time Loras gives her that rose, is happily glossing over Joffrey's sociopathic violence in the Riverlands. She only stops and acts more like Lyanna after Ned's death. So, seems like there's a chance Lyanna would have been less dreamy and more clear-eyed than her younger niece.

4 hours ago, SirArthur said:

2. RLJ is not the secret answer in the pattern, as some people pointed out. RLJ is not a direct theory, it is put together between Jon and Lyanna and Lyanna and Rhaegar. It has no real Jon Rhaegar connection. There are actually 2 secrets within each other:

2.1. the first pattern is there when it comes to Lyanna as Jon's mother, we get some false mothers but can figure out Lyanna.

2.2. However, Rhaegar is not the pattern solution after having Lyanna as the answer. At this point, our first suggestion as father is Ned, while Rhaegar is directly the second suggestion, put into the mind of the reader through Robert's rape accusation. The question is Ned or Rhaegar and the pattern answer is someone else. 

Yup! The potential false dilemma is "love or rape"--R+L, not RLJ.

If my theory on that is right, the false dilemma leads us to assume RLJ, vs. looking for other options about Lyanna's lover.

On 2.2--I think I'm misreading what you wrote--Any chance you'd clarify for my muddled brain?

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4 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

On 2.2--I think I'm misreading what you wrote--Any chance you'd clarify for my muddled brain?

Speaking of muddled brains... I think I’ve read the whole thread but I could be wrong. Where are you on Jon’s parents? Lyanna and Dayne?

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31 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

amonMaybe--but we see both Arya and Sansa getting some info, even with Arya in disguise and on the run.

Seems like we're being shown that the news really could have gotten to Lyanna.

And it seems telling to me that Rhaegar does nothing to counter or even denounce his father: Rhaegar wanted this war, like he and Tywin wanted/used the Defiance of Duskendale. Rhaegar is willing to sacrifice people to gain his objective. Not nearly so coldly as we see with Stannis, but Rhaegar wants this war.

That seems like a hard fact to hide, given that Aerys was known for burning people before Brandon and Rickard. If she only hears he that killed them, seems unlikely the "burned" part wouldn't occur to her. Though, like Cat, she may be in the dark about the strangling part.

All fair--and how much the evidence I posit actually will end up having told us about Lyanna--no way to know until we get the next books. So, speculate is what we all must do. :cheers:

Well, in addition, if Rheagar was as popular amongst the lords and smallfolks as the books lead us to think he was and Aerys was absolutely a madman, certainly after the murders of the Starks, Rheagar failed to use the option of removing his father or marginalized his power (for peace). He sort of eludes to this when Jaime remembers that last time he saw him alive when he commanded Jaime to protect his family (the mention of roads/paths not taken)

Rheagar failed not because he tried to stop his father's unjust war but because he supported it, fought for it and lost. 

Edited by A Ghost of Someone

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3 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

The question is did Rhaegar love Lyanna or did Rhaegar rape Lyanna? I agree that this is set up as a false dilemma, and that the answer is neither, but the question matters in that set up. Rhaegar neither loved nor raped Lyanna, therefore the motive was something else.

Personally, I think Rhaegar acted out of duty to the realm. Dany once asked Barristan if Rhaegar married Elia out of love or duty, and this form of parallel explanation is common in the series. And Jon is all about his duty to the realm, which is very neat thematically.

On Rhaegar, I can absolutely agree. We are told Ned thinks both Stannis and Rhaegar are unlikely to frequent brothels. That both are "dutiful." And then we get Renly's take on Stannis and babies:

"If truth be told, I ofttimes wonder how Stannis ever got that ugly daughter of his. He goes to his marriage bed like a man marching to a battlefield, with a grim look in his eyes and a determination to do his duty." Game, Eddard VI

If, and it's still clearly only an "if," Rhaegar was similarly "dutiful," could see him as seeing getting his third head as purely duty.

3 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I'm not so sure that this question relates to Lyanna though.

Yes--she really seems to want love and fidelity. If Rhaegar's motive was the above, seems like he wouldn't be giving her what she wants. And Arya won't fully give into either the brotherhood without banners or the Faceless Men because she wants what she wants.

3 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

However, we can reason that if she was not raped, then there must have been some level of consent on her behalf.

Yes--I think it very unlikely that Rhaegar raped her--for a bunch of reasons.

3 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Clutching the wreath of roses as she died strongly suggests to me that it was love or at least infatuation.

But we are specifically shown how she potentially loves flowers via Arya. And we are not told she has the wreath. Just that she loved what she loved--like Arya. Given that, if she's clutching the roses just because she loves them, not because of who gave them to her, Martin has set that up for us right from the start.

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17 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

But why assume this, when we keep being shown all the stuff I showed in the OP? and that we know Martin likes to mess with us re: what characters think is right? Why assume that we should absolutely accept that Rhaegar either loved or raped Lyanna? 

I was talking hypothetically. R+L=J would be the solution to the "Wylla or Ashara" misdirection, so if Rhaegar isn't really Jon's father, then we would have a misdirection within a misdirection. While this would be a pretty complex mystery, you also have to wonder where the dramatic payoff would come from. I'm not sure adding a flurry of backstory about the Daynes right before (or after) the reveal would feel satisfying to the average reader. 

17 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

If you mean something else--any chance you'd be willing to elaborate?

I mean what do we get from following Rhegar's backstory? What is the payoff for all the little clues we've been getting about this character? Why is he considered so central to Lyanna's disappearance? Is he just a red herring?

And if you're going to say "Dany is Rhaegar's daughter", what would the story gain from that? She would still be the Targaryen heir (with even less competition, if Jon is a Stark-Dayne). Aegon would still be related to her if he's real, and he would still have a better claim. And we would need an ass-pull explanation for who her mother is.

I dunno, I'm not a fan of twists for the sake of twists. :closedeyes:

On 1/13/2019 at 7:39 PM, Sly Wren said:

Right--but so far, we aren't shown Stark maids doing this with Rhaegar like people.

Like I said, as interesting as your observations are, I don't buy into this meta-narrative about the Stark maids.

Ultimately, I like character-driven, realistic stories, and this theory inevitably reduces the characters to their lowest common denominator. It ignores a great deal about the specific situations that lead each of them of them to love, trust and doubt for the sake of... giving us hints about a background character's story and executing a twist that doesn't isn't even thematically necessary?

I won't go into details because other posters have already done it to some extent, but for everything that your "maids" think and do, I can find solid, organic, independent reasons in their stories. Reasons that rarely have anything to do with them being Starks or maids. I can't imagine those same reasons applying to Lyanna, and even so I would prefer her to be her own unique character, with quirks that would allow her to make different choices than Arya, even though we are meant to believe they are in many ways alike.

On 1/13/2019 at 7:39 PM, Sly Wren said:

As for Robert's seeing her as just a conquest. . . . what specifically are you seeing in the story that points to this?

He sleeps with so many women, but he never shows respect to any of them. And, most importantly, when he remembers Lyanna he focuses on her beauty, not on the less feminine things she liked (horse riding, fighting). He's also unhappy with the grave she chose for herself because he would have preferred something more "pure" and "romantic". This shows that, although he was fond of her looks, he completely ignored her personality, and the fact that he never actually got to sleep with her is probably the only reason he is still obsessed with her.

On 1/13/2019 at 7:39 PM, Sly Wren said:

Of course--but Lyanna's not equivocal in the one and only statement we have from her on the subject.

Could it be... dare I say... a misdirection?:D

It just so happens I noticed a post on reddit today about a little song Tom of Sevenstreams sings at Acorn Hall. In light of our Lyanna = KotLT discussion, it seems to give us a hint on how R+L might have played out:

Quote

 

My featherbed is deep and soft,
and there I'll lay you down,
I'll dress you all in yellow silk,
and on your head a crown.
For you shall be my lady love,
and I shall be your lord.
I'll always keep you warm and safe,
and guard you with my sword.
And how she smiled and how she laughed,
the maiden of the tree.
She spun away and said to him,
no featherbed for me.
I'll wear a gown of golden leaves,
and bind my hair with grass,
But you can be my forest love,
and me your forest lass.


 

 

On 1/13/2019 at 7:39 PM, Sly Wren said:

I do think we have solid evidence Rhaegar wanted the war--and that's a key reason why he didn't alert the Starks he had Lyanna--not too dissimilar to the brotherhood without banners.

Agreed. And kept Rhaegar from having a potential peace offering to the North: Lyanna, safe and sound.

It could be. But Rhaegar could no longer challenge his father after he got a hold of Ellia and his children. We don't know when and how this happened, but he was truly plotting against Aerys, you'd think he would have made sure they were out of his reach?

On 1/13/2019 at 7:39 PM, Sly Wren said:

Why? If Rhaegar took/held Lyanna and that's how Lyanna and Arthur fell for each other (not too far from Ygritte and Jon), we'd still know Rhaegar's role.

Two questions:

  • If Arthur was Lyanna's lover, why would he not try to talk things out with Ned and spare her the pain of losing one or both of them? He would have already broken his vows by being with her anyway.
  • If A+L=J, what's the catch? We're not really invested in Arthur as a character, and it would be random and inconsequential for Jon... not much different than N+A, really. If you're saying this would matter because of Dawn, that seems a bit contrived to me. At the end of the day the sword would just be a McGuffin.

And it still doesn't explain the point of the "Rhaegar loved Lyanna" legend. I mean, Littlefinger was actively trying to deceive other characters about Jon Arryn, that misdirection is not only for the readers, Was Rhaegar covering for a member of the King's Guard?

On 1/13/2019 at 7:39 PM, Sly Wren said:

If Jon's parentage is part of his role, it could have a massive impact on the plot.

I realize this is subjective, but I disagree here. I think his parentage works as a mystery if:

  • It matters for an organic reason (i.e. Jon's internal conflict over being the heir to the throne affects his relationship with other characters, or other characters' struggle with the information if they find out before him - Sansa and Dany are both good candidates)
  • It matters for the readers on a thematic level (i.e. he's the real heir but he never finds out, or he ironically gets a crown but not for this reason, subverting the "hidden prince" trope)
  • It matters for the reader because it fills in the backstory of some side characters we care about (such as Lyanna, Rhaegar, Ned, etc.)

Notice how in the two last cases, the character doesn't even necessarily need to find out.

If his parentage is solely a plot device that allows him to use a McGuffin (i.e. Jon can ride a dragon because he's a Targ, or Jon receives the sword Dawn because he's a Dayne, and Dawn is Lightbringer), then the mystery can easily feel contrived an fall flat... even if it sounds cool as a theory. Sure, it technically matters, the story tells us that it does, but the author could have achieved the same result in many other different ways without hurting the narrative.

 

In the end though, I understand why you would be fond of your theory (only George himself could disabuse me of my Exodus theory after all, end even then his story better be damn good, or I might still cling to the thought that my solution was better! :D), and I apologize if I was too harsh. It's very well thought out, but imho at some point you leave the rest of the text behind and focus everything on this mystery alone, skewing you results a bit. It would be interesting to see your initial misdirection identification technique applied to some other mysteries as well.

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30 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

But we are specifically shown how she potentially loves flowers via Arya. And we are not told she has the wreath. Just that she loved what she loved--like Arya. Given that, if she's clutching the roses just because she loves them, not because of who gave them to her, Martin has set that up for us right from the start.

I take your point. And I really liked your OP. Lots to think about.

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On 1/12/2019 at 2:27 PM, 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.

Got bored and wandered off midway through the second page, but a note here:
Rhaegar did have an easy way to find out about Lyanna as the KotLT.
He was instructed to find the KotLT by his father. He is an extremely intelligent man, who as a child awed the Maesters with his wits. All he has to do to uncover Lyanna is interview the three squires.
The KotLT told the three knights he defeated, publicly, to teach their squires honour, in lieu of the usual arms, armour and horse ransoms. What event has happened recently with those three squires together?

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4 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

But as for Lyanna: we're told and shown flat out that Sansa is "fulfilling" Lyanna's original marriage plan: joining houses Stark and Baratheon. That seems like it's worth our while to see how her plot line goes, even if her personality (at least at the start) seems so different from the little we are told/shown of Lyanna.

Yes but we quickly learn that Joffrey isn't really a Baratheon, so GRRM is giving us a little ironic foreshadowing here. I am also seeing quite a bit of hinting that Sansa isn't who she thinks she is. The betrothal arranged by Robert and Ned would actually sorta fulfill Tywin's goal of joining Lannisters and Targaryens, if my tinfoil Sansa theory is correct.

(Of course, GRRM does a lot around the idea of babies having more than one father - Lollys is raped by half a hundred men :(, Tyrion may be a chimera of Tywin and Aerys, Joffrey thinks he is Robert's son but he is really Jaime's son, Jon thinks he is Ned's son but he is probably someone else's son, etc. So I will also theorize, below, that Sansa is responsible for killing her father, Ned, just as Bael's son grew up to slay him in battle.)

4 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Interesting--so you are thinking that Bran's vision isn't going back in time even though the tree keeps shrinking?

I think GRRM shows us many echoes of the same archetypes. So there could have been hundreds or thousands of Jeyne / Ramsay parallels in the past or future. When GRRM shows us an event like that without attaching names to the characters or with names from legends (and he does this with dreams, visions, prophecies, myths, legends, "mummers" and various other forms) I think he is deliberately being coy and/or deliberately setting out the archetype without telling us that we are witnessing a single historical event.

For instance, when Meera tells the story of the little Crannogman at the feast and tournament, she doesn't use names. We assume we know who the wolfmaid is and who the wild wolf is. Why, then, doesn't GRRM just use the name Lyanna and Brandon? Because he is describing more than one event, I believe. I realized that, in Meera's story, you could substitute Brienne into the role we had all assumed was assigned to Ashara - "a maid with laughing purple eyes." Brienne fights three of the four people who fit the description of (presumed) Ashara's dance partners: a white sword, a red snake, and lord of griffins, and lastly with the quiet wolf . . . " Since we have seen Brienne fight with Jaime, Timeon and Red Ronnet Connington, this story may tell us that she will eventually do battle (or fight in a tourney) with someone from the Stark family.

Bloodraven tells Bran that trees don't measure time in a linear way, so the shrinking of the tree may or may not correlate with the passage of time.

4 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Very fair--just thinking that Martin has given us 5 stolen Stark Maids in the series (near as I can tell)--the Bael Maid. Lyanna. Sansa and Arya. And Jon--notably called a "maid" by Ygritte. Seems like we should compare them. . . given that Lyanna's tale has so many holes.

Okay--this is just awesome. And I'm especially loving the idea of Baelor--what are you thinking re: the taking of Stark Maids? Bella seems a harder fit. 

But the sacrifice of a Stark on the steps of Baelor. . . that seems like it might fit a rough echo of what Baelish does. And even what Bael did . .

I think the Bael / Baelor / Baelish pattern goes beyond Stark Maids. Lyanna was one example of the Bael pattern, not the original archetype. So the maids don't necessarily have to be Stark maids.

Somewhere in this forum, I have read a good analysis comparing Arianne, the princess in the tower, with the sisters of Baelor in the Maidenvault. I think characters get taken down in crypts or taken up into towers in a number of ways - limiting ourselves to people of the Stark bloodline would eliminate many possible examples that echo this legend.

There are also some examples that might allude to the Bael legend without actually copying all of the details - Cersei is trapped in the dungeon of Baelor's Sept for a long time. When it is time for her to emerge, the septas shave off all of her hair - a step that seems to coincide with a rebirth in other character arcs. When she finishes her walk of shame and reaches the Red Keep, she is picked up in the arms of Robert Strong and she expresses a feeling of being like the baby Joffrey (iirc). So Cersei was imprisoned in the dungeon like the Stark maid (to borrow your term) but she also becomes the newborn baby that is born from that confinement.

Bella is born after Robert Baratheon is hidden in the town called Stoney Sept, recovering from his wounds. Barristan is searching diligently for him, but can't find him. So Robert might be the "Stark maid" in that scenario.

Ned's death on the steps of the sept (yes, I believe there is wordplay around steps / sept) is also a Bael echo. His death comes about because Sansa told Joff and Cersei that her father was secretly planning to leave King's Landing the next day. Varys tells Ned that Sansa will suffer unless he agrees to take the black. So here is Sansa again in the role of Bael's child, not in the role of the Stark Maid.

4 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Interesting--even with Roose's statement? If he was a Stark bastard, seems like Roose's victim/Ramsay's mother  would have taken him to the Starks. . .they have a better rep than Roose, I think.

Though it does leave open what I posited above: why take the baby to Roose, given the man's rep?

My thought on why the miller's wife targeted Roose is that she knew Brandon was dead and assumed she wouldn't get any support from the Starks at that point. Or she may have even tried the get some money from Winterfell and Catelyn just sent her away, not wanting a bastard child of Brandon to further threaten the inheritance she wanted for Robb and/or Bran. The miller's wife may also have resented Roose for raping her and this was her way of getting a measure of revenge. Or maybe the Dreadfort was an easier day's travel, which would be a factor if you are the widow of a poor tradesman.

Edited by Seams

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38 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

Yup! Sansa's a romantic--until her "beloved" slaughters her household and murders her father.

Wouldn't that show that Sansa is into Rhaegar type guys like Loras ? Joeffrey isn't that type. We could argue if Aerys burning Rickard would lead to Lyanna turning away. I don't want to go that deep. For me, Sansas relation with Loras shows me, that Sansa could very well also have a crush on Rhaegar. 

 

38 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

On 2.2--I think I'm misreading what you wrote--Any chance you'd clarify for my muddled brain?

While you talk about the relation state between Rhaegar and Lyanna, I talk about the question who Jon's father is. So far our options are limited. The book tells us Ned (without Lyanna). The only persons we know having some relationsship with Lyanna would be Robert and Rhaegar. From those two the first conclusion must be Rhaegar.

And your idea was, that GRRM gives us two options through the thoughts of characters and then picks a third option as educated answer. And while no one has proposed any solution to whom Jon's father actually is (as no character has proposed an answer besides Ned at all), the idea of rape over a longer period of time has been brought forward. 

There are some options, when it comes to Lyanna, Rhaegar being the only one publicly connected. So my idea is that Rhaegar can not be the father (within the idea that the only answer is not the final answer), as thre is no mystery about it. 

Now Rhaegar has also his love mystery, with the two public answers Elia (wife) and Lyanna (crown) presented. So there can be a third, hidden, person. That is my angle of thought on the core idea of the OP.

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1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Alrighty :-)

As I see it, while Arya does bear a strong resemblance to Lyanna, she is still very much her own person, and she is a child, while Lyanna already reached puberty when those fateful events started to unfold. Therefore, Arya can never be a 100% Lyanna proxy, and Lyanna exhibits traits that definitely don't fit with Arya (I sure as hell don't see Arya sniffing over a song, ever, puberty or not).

Agreed--which is why looking at specific instances seems wise.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

A case can be made that Lyanna's romantic side is more Sansa-like.

But we know almost nothing of Lyanna's romantic side. The one clear moment we get is her take on Robert. As a very young teen, she refuses to gloss over his faults, even if he loves her. And this moment seems to be near the time of Harrenhal--not too much before it.

Whereas at the moment Sansa gets a rose from a blue-flower covers rose boy, she is really glossing over/justifying Joffrey's sociopathic violence in the Riverlands. She doesn't embrace Lyanna's more clear-eyed stance until after her father is killed--but Lyanna is clear eyed well before her father is killed..

Seems like even though Sansa's plotline echoes some of Lyanna's from the start, Sansa doesn't get to "be" like Lyanna for a while . . . 

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

I think you are letting yourself be mislead by overgeneralisation. Generalise far enough, and you can build a connection between anything and everything. Whatever generic "flowers" might the current generation Stark Maids like, neither of them is associated with any specific kind, nor is there any specific importance.

But we are specifically told Lyanna was fond of flowers and then shown a Stark Maid's fondness for flowers and how it works. . .  we are not shown Lyanna's being romantic over flowers, nor told that she was. We are shown how Arya loves them. . . seems like that's specific--a specific interp of how Lyanna may have loved flowers.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Even the red rose that Sansa is so hyped about turns out to be nothing, and no witness of anything going on with her would ever make such connotations as Ned does with Lyanna and blue roses. There are whole levels of difference between these situations.

Right--potentially many levels. But the giving of that rose to a does not mean what such things usually mean. Seems like that's potentially telling. And Ned's association, Lyanna's love of flowers and the horror that one of her favorite flowers gets turned into: seems like the "love of flowers" should potentially inform how we interpret what went wrong here. If so. . . romance seems unlikely.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

I guess this goes down to personal preferences. I see nothing surprising about a lively, inquisitive girl picking wonderful new flowers, I would undoubtedly do the same. What I do find surprising, though, is that Arya's supposed love of flowers doesn't show anywhere else. I buy flowers, grow them at home and in the garden, take photos... I take it that Arya mostly doesn't have time for this, but I would expect more occurences if this was to play any important role.

Or--the fact that Martin takes the time to show us this about Arya (when he could have chosen any other Arya-trait to annoy Sansa) means he was showing us what he meant by "fond of flowers." He only tells us "fond of flowers" once, too. Really seems like the two incidents go together for readers.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

And it also tells us that she didn't hold any adverse feelings towards the person she got the flowers for, or else she would have dumped them in the chamberpot :-)

Or, that she didn't care what the person who gave them intended. She just liked them. Arya doesn't care that the flowers sting her. She laughs--and keeps exploring.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

One has to wonder, though, if every single detail that GRRM has included really constitutes a clue. It might, or not.

An extremely fair point--it's one of the reasons I posted so I could see other people's takes.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

My two cents are that Arya's instance most likely doesn't mean a thing, and Sansa's rose is part of her arc that life is not a song. - Which, however, doesn't mean that it is supposed to give a clue about Lyanna. Sansa was not the only girl that was gifted a rose that day, so drawing a parallel with Lyanna's crowning is not exactly valid. No smiles died after Sansa was given the rose, did they? Basically no-one except Sansa gave a damn.

On Arya: if so, then why choose one of the very, very few details we have on Lyanna to be the trait that annoys Sansa, when Martin could have chosen any other thing? That choice seems deliberate.

And I agree that Sansa's rose is part of her arc--but given that we are told that she's coming south to do as Lyanna did, seems like her experience at a tourney should at least be considered as telling us about Lyanna. And on the smiles--a very fair point. Makes me think again that something was really wrong with Rhaegar's gift. Sansa is betrothed to a prince, not just a high lord. And no one bats an eye. . . odd.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Gross overgeneralisation. Rhaegar was an heir to the kingdom, by all accounts a dutiful and honorable person, acting in the best interest of the realm (as he saw it). Baelish is a devious schemer with an inferiority complex, acting solely for his own benefit and with complete disregard for those harmed by his actions. He was abusing Lysa's infatuation to get himself power - what power did Rhaegar get from whatever was going on with Lyanna?

But Rhaegar is a plotter and clearly willing to let people get hurt to get what he thinks is right. He seems to act out of duty a prophecy--very unlike Baelish, as you say. But he's been plotting at least since Duskendale, along with Tywin, to kill Aerys and get on the throne. He was plotting at Harrenhal. And he sits out the war for a reason--just like Tywin.

As for what he gets from Lyanna: he gets a war to get rid of his father--just as he and Tywin tried to use Duskendale to get rid of Aerys. And we see how Mance, the brotherhood, and even the Hound use Stark hostages to help them get what they want: when the war is done and Aerys dead, Rhaegar will need a way to appease the north. maybe he took Lyanna on purpose. Maybe he ended up with her by accident--like Mance and the brotherhood. But there are ways he can use her. Very different from what Baelish wants--but still a plot.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

You are doing exactly the same what you criticised above in using the Arya-Lyanna similarities. Some things are similar, others are not, therefore no parallel conclusion about the Rhaegar-Lyanna dynamics can be made without further textual support (and here I mean facts, not meta)

And if we didn't know Rhaegar was a plotter and willing to let people die to fulfill his plans, I'd agree. But we know Rhaegar.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Don't have the time to re-read the chapters but I would presume that nobody wants to spend more time on a ship than strictly necessary (wasn't Sansa seasick?).

As to why a tower and not a different type of building: such a tower is the most basic defence structure.

Oh--no. Sorry. I clearly didn't explain my point well. My point: Martin could have used many other locales to achieve the out of the way needs you described earlier.

He chooses a rundown tower with a pet name. The tower with a pet name is one of the very, very few details we have about Lyanna's locale and life after her disappearance. And Martin chose that locale for Sansa, the stolen Stark maid.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Honestly, this is mind-boggling. ToJ and Dreafort work as parallels only on a very general level and there are tons of major differences (for some, see above).

Of course--but as I said above: that tower that can be torn down with hands and has a pet name--it's one of the only clear details we have about Lyanna's locale. Martin gives Sansa a similar locale. We should pay attention to what happens there.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Yet, you act as if they were somehow bound to be 100% parallels where it fits your Stark Maid paradigm (while the existence of such a paradigm itself is highly dubious as all the Stark Maids and "Maids" are vastly different, in vastly different situations).

Very fair--I've been trying to keep it tied to specific instances--but no way there's no chance I'll over do it. Still, that tower really seems like a marker.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Where is any kind of textual support that your bolded assumption works? Which other woman is Rhaegar associated with? Ashara? That one is being associated with the Stark(s) - and no, being a handmaid to Elia and a sister of Rhaegar's BF does not constitute association, just like there is no association between Robb and poor Jeyne Poole.

I do think it's likely to be Ashara--she's part of the inner circle, we don't know why she matters yet, there's hints that she's Dany's mother. And hints that Rhaegar is Dany's mother. But the hints are just that--hints.

As for the bolded: readers assume that "Rhaegar called the place the tower of joy" means it was one for him and Lyanna--the stolen Stark Maid.

With the Drearfort, we a clearly shown how that tower becomes a blissful spot with the Stark maid there--but with the Stark maid not participating. 

Proof that Rhaegar and Lyanna weren't the lovers in the Prince's Pass? No. But a clear way such a thing could happen and still involve Lyanna? Yes. And Martin did not have to put this in. 

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

The only similarities between Rhaegar and Stannis I see is being honorable and believeing they are AA. Rhaegar, however, didn't have a fake flaming sword, and figured out he had been wrong in his interpretation. 

The above is pretty big, though--driven by the same prophecy with with they both set up a bit of a cultic mindset. And they are both Targ descendants. And are seen as very dutiful. And the weird brothel mentions. And Dragonstone. There's enough there to make Jon's reactions to Stannis worth looking at.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

It's as close to a laurel as a tent to a skyscraper, so I'd be highly cautious to draw any conclusions from that. Sansa convinces herself that her rose is special but it is not, it is just one of several (many). It's no specific symbol, given at no specific circumstances. It doesn't bear comparison. 

But the incident does bear comparison, given the context or Sansa's coming south to fulfill Lyanna's role. The Rose doesn't end up meaning anything to Ned--Loras isn't stealing Sansa.

But a reward at a tourney to the niece "fulfilling" Lyanna's original role--that's worth paying attention to.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Sansa's experience was different because she wasn't given a laurel in the first place.

But she is singled out---just not for the reason she thinks. Not for a traditional reason.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

What I am comparing is the way both Jorah and Rhaegar were unstoppable in one particular tourney which they won. Jorah's motivation and inspiration are known, Rhaegar's are not. We do have other characters' statements, though, that he loved Lyanna, which would support the parallel. No-one ever claimed or speculated that Loras loved Sansa.

 Right--but Loras was unstoppable, too--by cheating. And he's the one gifting roses, while covered in blue flowers, to Lyanna's niece.

And yes, we have statements that characters believe Rhaegar loved Lyanna--and we see that Ned and Tyrion are dead sure Cersei killed Arryn. The statements can't be taken at face value--not yet, at least.

Assuming that Rhaegar is paralleling Jorah off the statements seems less compelling than comparing Rhaegar to Loras--he gives something to a Stark Maid. And is covered with blue flowers. Loras. . . that seems like a more specific marker than Jorah. One that doesn't require character interp--we can just see them markers for ourselves.

2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

I highly doubt that he had such an arrangement with Brandon, of all people. 

Plus, it's not like Rhaegar hadn't won tourneys before.

Yes--the cheating is not at all a certainty. Did not mean to imply it was. But given Barristan's thoughts--it is possible. And Loras's trick is only noted at the end, right? Doesn't seem like it made a difference with everyone. . .

Rhaegar didn't need to convince everyone he fought--he did have skill. But if he wanted to be certain, influencing those he knew he could influence, that would not guarantee a win, but would make it much more likely.

2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Again, taking the parallels too far. Rhaegar wasn't the one ordering the death of Lyanna's father.

No--but he does nothing. And we see Arya's fury at people who do nothing. She even kicks one of her father's dead guards, angry that he failed--the guy died, and Arya's still mad. Sansa's perspective breaks out of her "justifying everything Joffrey does" state when Ned dies. We have evidence Lyanna never did that--she never justified Robert. Her reactions may have been more like Arya's.

2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Also, one more thought about your OP: the mystery of Jon Arryn's murder is presented differently from R+L. With the murder, we have one initial story and are gradually presented with contradicting details till the reveal. 

Wait--do you mean one take on who the murderer was? If so, yes. But I meant, was it Fever or Lannisters. . . . Contradicting stories.

2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

With R+L, we are presented with two contradicting stories, love and rape. The love version comes first, but it is presented in Dany's PoV as a part of highly embellished, romanticised telling of events which are, at best, second or third hand narrative. In Ned's PoV, we are then introduced to the ugly, realistic version of one who was in the medias res, which makes us completely discard Dany's version as completely unreliable. Yet, this seemingly realistic version later develops subtle contradictions, and as the series proceed, it is the love angle that keeps receiving support till the blatant "Rhaegar loved his lady Lyanna". It is a different type of misleading that the Jon Arryn case. 

Very good points--there are other differences, too--which is one reason why I don't think my "false dilemma" argument can stand on its own.

It's why I combined it with the "Stark maid" analysis.

But even that combo could easily still not be good enough.

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6 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

And your idea was, that GRRM gives us two options through the thoughts of characters and then picks a third option as educated answer. And while no one has proposed any solution to whom Jon's father actually is (as no character has proposed an answer besides Ned at all), the idea of rape over a longer period of time has been brought forward.  

Not every mystery in the series is set up as a dilemma though. Rhaegar loved Lyanna is presented in direct opposition to Rhaegar raped Lyanna. This is a dilemma and you can choose one or the other. However, the OP is saying that it is a false dilemma, meaning there is a third option that has not been put forward by an in-world character.

The mystery of Jon's mother is another false dilemma. We are told it is Wylla, Ashara, the fisherman's daughter. No one in-world ever mentions Lyanna, that has to be worked out using clues.

The mystery of Jon's father is not a dilemma, however, because no one in-world ever suspects or mentions anyone but Ned as Jon's father.

GRRM does not let in-world characters solve mysteries until the reveal because he wants the reader to find the clues and solve it themselves as this is technique is widely recognized as more rewarding for the reader. This is a rule of thumb that stands up throughout the series. This is the reason why I agree with the OP about Rhaegar: love or rape? being a false dilemma, the love and rape stories are spoon-fed to the reader, meaning they come explicitly from in-world characters.

 

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2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Starks are still followers of the old gods, and I would hardly consider the Green Men a "cult." They are an ancient order, on par with the maesters, so their words should carry some weight with the Starks. And should the GM have given Howland some token or proof of their words . . .

Agreed--and the Green Men seem to have the potential to be another kind of life, like the children, too.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

And while your theory about how current Stark women respond to singers, prophecies, etc. is impressive, it is by no means conclusive, agreed?

Absolutely.

2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

The father is not the son, the aunt is not the niece. Lyanna could very well have been one to get carried away with portents about the end of civilization unless action is taken now. And with Rhaegar already wrapped up in books and prophecy, he could very well be swayed by this -- particularly since there must be some reason why he suddenly seems to have decided that his son by Elia will no longer sing the Song of Ice and Fire.

Absolutely. The basic premise of the "look at the stolen Stark maids" approach is that I don't think Martin put in specific moments/scenes/traits for no reason: the tower, the love of flowers, the reaction to a sad song, etc. They are moments where the current Stark maids echo Lyanna--I think that's there to give us info. But I could easily be wrong. And, even if I'm right, I could easily be reading it wrong.

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2 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

Well, I must say it is a pleasure to be able to speculate w/ such fine and well-versed posters, even if we disagree more often than not. :cheers:

The feeling is mutual. :cheers:

1 hour ago, A Ghost of Someone said:

Well, in addition, if Rheagar was as popular amongst the lords and smallfolks as the books lead us to think he was and Aerys was absolutely a madman, certainly after the murders of the Starks, Rheagar failed to use the option of removing his father or marginalized his power (for peace). He sort of eludes to this when Jaime remembers that last time he saw him alive when he commanded Jaime to protect his family (the mention of roads/paths not taken)

True--though he was willing to get Aerys killed at Duskendale. He went along with Tywin's plan. So, Rhaegar was willing to remove his father--but he seems, like Tywin, to have wanted to have others do it. Thus, like Tywin, keeping the onus off of himself. Or, to have other take Aerys down, too, in cahoots with Rhaegar--which seems to be the point of Harrenhal, before Aerys party crashed.

I've wondered if the "roads not taken" was a reference to openly opposing Aerys--though that's just a guess. 

1 hour ago, A Ghost of Someone said:

Rheagar failed not because he tried to stop his father's unjust war but because he supported it, fought for it and lost. 

Or, Rhaegar failed because instead of being able to sit the war out the whole time and let others take out his father, Aerys used the nuclear option of threatening Rhaegar's family--forcing Rhaegar to fight a fight he may not have wanted. 

1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I take your point. And I really liked your OP. Lots to think about.

:cheers: Thanks!

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3 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

And with Rhaegar already wrapped up in books and prophecy, he could very well be swayed by this -- particularly since there must be some reason why he suddenly seems to have decided that his son by Elia will no longer sing the Song of Ice and Fire.

What evidence do we have to suggest that Rhaegar ever came to believe that Aegon was not the Prince that was Promised?  Or that his song was not the song of ice or fire?  Why would the Song only be attributable to one person?

Edited by Frey family reunion

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1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

I was talking hypothetically. R+L=J would be the solution to the "Wylla or Ashara" misdirection, so if Rhaegar isn't really Jon's father, then we would have a misdirection within a misdirection. While this would be a pretty complex mystery, you also have to wonder where the dramatic payoff would come from. I'm not sure adding a flurry of backstory about the Daynes right before (or after) the reveal would feel satisfying to the average reader. 

Very fair--though, we all done so much theorizing at this point, and have so many expectations, that "satisfying to the reader" may end up being a highly subjective thing.

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

I mean what do we get from following Rhegar's backstory? What is the payoff for all the little clues we've been getting about this character? Why is he considered so central to Lyanna's disappearance? Is he just a red herring?

Oh--no. I don't think he's a red herring. He clearly played a huge role. And he is central to Lyanna's disappearance, whether he's Jon's father or not. As for the clues to his character, they clearly point to his wanting a third child and believing in his prophecy.

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

And if you're going to say "Dany is Rhaegar's daughter", what would the story gain from that? She would still be the Targaryen heir (with even less competition, if Jon is a Stark-Dayne). Aegon would still be related to her if he's real, and he would still have a better claim. And we would need an ass-pull explanation for who her mother is.

It may explain why she can wake the dragons. And as for the throne, I one of those that thinks the fight for the throne is the wrong fight--everyone's doing that when they should be looking to deal with the Others and the Long Night. So, the "claim to the throne" thing--I think it's unlikely to matter much in the end--though it will matter to Dany in the moment if she kills Aegon and then finds out he's her brother.

As for the mother, we have a hint via Barristan: he says Dany looks like she could be Ashara's daughter. And Dany seeing herself in Rhaegar's armor; hearing that Rhaegar was the last dragon, but dreaming of herself being called that; calling herself the dragon's daughter; being drawn to Rhaegar and really not to Aerys--not iron-clad by any means. But there, if that's where Martin is going.

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

I dunno, I'm not a fan of twists for the sake of twists. :closedeyes:

Neither am I--though Martin isn't above the cheap reveal. Lysa's confession at the moon door was. . . not good. So, we know he's not completely above the Agatha Christie type reveal.

 

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

Ultimately, I like character-driven, realistic stories, and this theory inevitably reduces the characters to their lowest common denominator. It ignores a great deal about the specific situations that lead each of them of them to love, trust and doubt for the sake of... giving us hints about a background character's story and executing a twist that doesn't isn't even thematically necessary?

I won't go into details because other posters have already done it to some extent, but for everything that your "maids" think and do, I can find solid, organic, independent reasons in their stories.

Absolutely. My apologies if I implied what happens to them is only there for the "markers" to the past--it is clearly part of their character development and story.

But Martin repeatedly shows that in his world, the history comes back and, if not repeats, echoes. Given that we have the very, very few things we know about Lyanna show up in bits and pieces in the Stark Maids' stories, too, seems like we should look at that.

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

I can't imagine those same reasons applying to Lyanna, and even so I would prefer her to be her own unique character, with quirks that would allow her to make different choices than Arya, even though we are meant to believe they are in many ways alike.

Agreed. But: Martin hasn't told us much about her character. Readers guess a lot--which is fun. But is he just going to reveal stuff at the end, kaboom? Or has he been giving us bits of info, hints as we go? I think it's the latter.

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:
Spoiler

He sleeps with so many women, but he never shows respect to any of them. And, most importantly, when he remembers Lyanna he focuses on her beauty, not on the less feminine things she liked (horse riding, fighting). He's also unhappy with the grave she chose for herself because he would have preferred something more "pure" and "romantic". This shows that, although he was fond of her looks, he completely ignored her personality, and the fact that he never actually got to sleep with her is probably the only reason he is still obsessed with her.

 

Yes, I agree with this. I do think he also hyper-idealized her, too. 

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

Could it be... dare I say... a misdirection?:D

It just so happens I noticed a post on reddit today about a little song Tom of Sevenstreams sings at Acorn Hall. In light of our Lyanna = KotLT discussion, it seems to give us a hint on how R+L might have played out:

HA! I've grappled with The Maiden of the Tree song, too. But I have a hard time seeing Rhaegar following that life--no books.:read:

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

It could be. But Rhaegar could no longer challenge his father after he got a hold of Ellia and his children. We don't know when and how this happened, but he was truly plotting against Aerys, you'd think he would have made sure they were out of his reach?

I do think Aerys boxed Rhaegar in--and I'm thinking that may be because Rhaegar underestimated his father. Thought he'd kill others, not his own heirs. But I do think Rhaegar should have taken better care of his family. And I wonder if, assuming fAegon is real, that swapping out Aegon was the only move Rhaegar made "just in case," and thought that would be enough.

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

Two questions:

  • If Arthur was Lyanna's lover, why would he not try to talk things out with Ned and spare her the pain of losing one or both of them? He would have already broken his vows by being with her anyway.

Because Lyanna was Rhaegar's hostage--like Jon is Mance's, while in love with Ygritte. And Arya is held by the brotherhood. Arthur fell for his leader's hostage, like Ygritte fell for Jon. And Lyanna, a wild northern girl,  fell for the sworn brother/enemy, as Ygritte fell for Jon. And Arthur, the sworn brother, fell for the wild northern girl, as Jon fell for Ygritte. But Lyanna's still a hostage--just as Jon can't leave Mance until his mission is done.

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:
  • If A+L=J, what's the catch? We're not really invested in Arthur as a character, and it would be random and inconsequential for Jon... not much different than N+A, really. If you're saying this would matter because of Dawn, that seems a bit contrived to me. At the end of the day the sword would just be a McGuffin.

I do think it is because of Dawn and the battle for the dawn and the long night and all of that--goes back to the Dawn days. And Arthur and his family keep showing up--we don't know why. Maybe it's all a McGuffin. But Martin's said we'll learn more about the Daynes. And I think they and their sword don't date back to the long night for nothing. 

1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

And it still doesn't explain the point of the "Rhaegar loved Lyanna" legend. I mean, Littlefinger was actively trying to deceive other characters about Jon Arryn, that misdirection is not only for the readers, Was Rhaegar covering for a member of the King's Guard?

Oh--no. I think Rhaegar may have been framed, too. Blamed to start the war--I think that's why Brandon went haring off to King's Landing: he got a pink letter that Rhaegar had raped and possibly killed his sister. That would explain why Brandon acts before Rickard: he was told a lie to incense him and stir things up. After Rhaegar was dead, the lie just stayed. 

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I realize this is subjective, but I disagree here. I think his parentage works as a mystery if:

  • It matters for an organic reason (i.e. Jon's internal conflict over being the heir to the throne affects his relationship with other characters, or other characters' struggle with the information if they find out before him - Sansa and Dany are both good candidates)

Or, as a sworn brother and Stark, his desire to save his family and fulfill his oaths to protect all people? Via being Sword of the Morning?

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:
  • It matters for the reader because it fills in the backstory of some side characters we care about (such as Lyanna, Rhaegar, Ned, etc.)

But it would fill in Lyanna's story--and possibly even Rhaegar's--if Arthur was the father. And explain Ned's sadness over Arthur, etc.

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Notice how in the two last cases, the character doesn't even necessarily need to find out.

If his parentage is solely a plot device that allows him to use a McGuffin (i.e. Jon can ride a dragon because he's a Targ, or Jon receives the sword Dawn because he's a Dayne, and Dawn is Lightbringer), then the mystery can easily feel contrived an fall flat... even if it sounds cool as a theory. Sure, it technically matters, the story tells us that it does, but the author could have achieved the same result in many other different ways without hurting the narrative.

Agreed--if Dawn is a mcguffin. I think that it only works with a "true" Sword of the Morning--whatever that means. The Daynes have this history of only letting a worthy one weird it. No idea what "worthy" means to them, yet. But we know it ain't Darkstar. So, I think Dawn will only help if wielded by the right person--making it a bit less of a mcguffin.

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

In the end though, I understand why you would be fond of your theory (only George himself could disabuse me of my Exodus theory after all, end even then his story better be damn good, or I might still cling to the thought that my solution was better! :D), and I apologize if I was too harsh.

Not remotely too harsh--all thoughtful, engaging, and in good humor. :cheers:

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

it's very well thought out, but imho at some point you leave the rest of the text behind and focus everything on this mystery alone, skewing you results a bit. It would be interesting to see your initial misdirection identification technique applied to some other mysteries as well.

All fair.:cheers:

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

Yes but we quickly learn that Joffrey isn't really a Baratheon, so GRRM is giving us a little ironic foreshadowing here. I am also seeing quite a bit of hinting that Sansa isn't who she thinks she is. The betrothal arranged by Robert and Ned would actually sorta fulfill Tywin's goal of joining Lannisters and Targaryens, if my tinfoil Sansa theory is correct.

I am intrigued! Only just skimmed it and will now have to read in detail.

1 hour ago, Seams said:

So I will also theorize, below, that Sansa is responsible for killing her father, Ned, just as Bael's son grew up to slay him in battle.

Nice catch! There's a number of nice twists on it--but yes, that works!

1 hour ago, Seams said:

I think GRRM shows us many echoes of the same archetypes. So there could have been hundreds or thousands of Jeyne / Ramsay parallels in the past or future. When GRRM shows us an event like that without attaching names to the characters or with names from legends (and he does this with dreams, visions, prophecies, myths, legends, "mummers" and various other forms) I think he is deliberately being coy and/or deliberately setting out the archetype without telling us that we are witnessing a single historical event.

I'm liking this in general, though I do think it could get unwieldy if he goes too far with it. Almost seems to fit somewhat with @WeaselPie's idea of all the Brandons being one person. So are you saying they are always all the archetypes and never specific? Not sure I can go that far.

1 hour ago, Seams said:

Bloodraven tells Bran that trees don't measure time in a linear way the way, so the shrinking of the tree may or may not correlate with the passage of time.

True--but the shrinking seems like a marker. Trees may not measure time linearly, but they do grow up--seems like the shrinking is a marker for the reader and for Bran.

1 hour ago, Seams said:
Spoiler

 

I think the Bael / Baelor / Baelish pattern goes beyond Stark Maids. Lyanna was one example of the Bael pattern, not the original archetype. So the maids don't necessarily have to be Stark maids.

Somewhere in this forum, I have read a good analysis comparing Arianne, the princess in the tower, with the sisters of Baelor in the Maidenvault. I think characters get taken down in crypts or taken up into towers in a number of ways - limiting ourselves to people of the Stark bloodline would eliminate many possible examples that echo this legend.

There are also some examples that might allude to the Bael legend without actually copying all of the details - Cersei is trapped in the dungeon of Baelor's Sept for a long time. When it is time for her to emerge, the septas shave off all of her hair - a step that seems to coincide with a rebirth in other character arcs. When she finishes her walk of shame and reaches the Red Keep, she is picked up in the arms of Robert Strong and she expresses a feeling of being like the baby Joffrey (iirc). So Cersei was imprisoned in the dungeon like the Stark maid (to borrow your term) but she also becomes the newborn baby that is born from that confinement.

Bella is born after Robert Baratheon is hidden in the town called Stoney Sept, recovering from his wounds. Barristan is searching diligently for him, but can't find him. So Robert might be the "Stark maid" in that scenario.

Ned's death on the steps of the sept (yes, I believe there is wordplay around steps / sept) is also a Bael echo. His death comes about because Sansa told Joff and Cersei that her father was secretly planning to leave King's Landing the next day. Varys tells Ned that Sansa will suffer unless he agrees to take the black. So here is Sansa again in the role of Bael's child, not in the role of the Stark Maid.

 

 

Well done! Need to let this percolate--especially the Arianne stuff. But I'm liking the implications.

2 hours ago, Seams said:

My thought on why the miller's wife targeted Roose is that she knew Brandon was dead and assumed she wouldn't get any support from the Starks at that point. Or she may have even tried the get some money from Winterfell and Catelyn just sent her away, not wanting a bastard child of Brandon to further threaten the inheritance she wanted for Robb and/or Bran. The miller's wife may also have resented Roose for raping her and this was her way of getting a measure of revenge. Or maybe the Dreadfort was an easier day's travel, which would be a factor if you are the widow of a poor tradesman.

All fair--also just realized, she may dislike the kid and not care what happens to him. Other than speculation, what are you seeing in Ramsay that makes him Stark-like? I see him as Other-like. And his hunt seems a version of the hunt Old Nan describes the Others doing. Is that how he's Stark like?

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1 hour ago, SirArthur said:

Wouldn't that show that Sansa is into Rhaegar type guys like Loras ? Joeffrey isn't that type. We could argue if Aerys burning Rickard would lead to Lyanna turning away. I don't want to go that deep. For me, Sansas relation with Loras shows me, that Sansa could very well also have a crush on Rhaegar. 

Sansa, yes. I struggle with Lyanna, though, still. We see how much further along she is than Sansa at understanding men when we hear her thoughts on Robert. But if it was just a crush. . . .Arya certainly notes when men are pretty. So, yes--I could see that. 

1 hour ago, SirArthur said:

While you talk about the relation state between Rhaegar and Lyanna, I talk about the question who Jon's father is. So far our options are limited. The book tells us Ned (without Lyanna). The only persons we know having some relationsship with Lyanna would be Robert and Rhaegar. From those two the first conclusion must be Rhaegar.

And your idea was, that GRRM gives us two options through the thoughts of characters and then picks a third option as educated answer. And while no one has proposed any solution to whom Jon's father actually is (as no character has proposed an answer besides Ned at all), the idea of rape over a longer period of time has been brought forward. 

There are some options, when it comes to Lyanna, Rhaegar being the only one publicly connected. So my idea is that Rhaegar can not be the father (within the idea that the only answer is not the final answer), as thre is no mystery about it. 

Now Rhaegar has also his love mystery, with the two public answers Elia (wife) and Lyanna (crown) presented. So there can be a third, hidden, person. That is my angle of thought on the core idea of the OP.

Yes--you push the logic/meta idea farther than I dared to. But my brain did go there.

There really is not much mystery to love or rape--just details. Like Fever or Lannisters--Ned thinks it's about the details (motive, means, etc.). But it's a 3rd option altogether. Same with Ned as Jon's father.

But if that move really holds, yes--it can't be Rhaegar.

That said: I'm aware enough of my own idiocy to fear phrasing my argument that definitively--but I do think it's likely.

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22 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Yes--though that's potentially covered by the true love scenario. However, what we are repeatedly shown about the stolen Stark maids keeps pushing against Lyanna's loving Rhaegar. Martin keeps bringing up something specific about Lyanna--and then showing it with Sansa or Arya. That is evidence. Different from the Arryn evidence. But it's there. 

I would like to point out that Sansa was confronted by Joffrey - a crown prince who was good-looking and charming - just like Rhaegar on the surface, minus the harp - and fell for him hard.  In fact, she caused a great deal of trouble to stay with him when her father tried to end the engagement.  It was only after he showed his true colors - for the second time! - by executing her father after promising mercy that she eventually turned against him.

22 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Well played, ser! A very good point. Still, Jon helps defeat Mance and even thinks he's helped kill him. He listened and adapted  some of Mance's message--without joining the "cult."

Jon's not going to let the wildlings across the Wall armed and uncontrolled - he's not that devoted - or stupid.  But he still lets a large number across, much to the consternation of those around him.  And the only reason he helped try to kill him was to put him out of his agony.  He had vociferously opposed Stannis's decision to execute him.  While he may not have totally joined the "cult" as you put it, he was still quite sympathetic.

22 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Without dragging you through my bizarre "Dawn" blindness, would only say this: Robert hates Rhaegar because he thinks Rhaegar stole Lyanna. That's why he kills Rhaegar in his dreams every night.

Ned fears Robert's anger--calls it a madness. And there's no reason to think Robert would be any less incensed at any other man--Rhaegar, Arthur, Stable Boy #4. 

And Robert transfers that anger to Rhaegar's relatives--if Arthur were the father, the Daynes might also be in Robert's crosshairs. It's not just protecting Jon and the Starks--it could be anyone the father is related to.

Maybe Ned's overreacting. Maybe Lyanna overreacted. But given what we've seen of Ned's thoughts about Robert, seems like he really fears Robert's obsessive anger.

Another problem with Arthur Dayne:  we have been no connection between the two.  None, except for his presence at the scene.  If this were real life, I would consider him as a candidate simply because he had access to her.  However, this isn't real life, it is a work of fiction.  And Martin is quite good at sprinkling clues to his mysteries through the series.  And I haven't seen anything about Arthur.

By the way, I am perfectly willing to consider alternate theories as to why she was taken in the first place: to protect her from Aerys, for example, or because she had seen something she shouldn't have.  But I haven't seen anything convincing along those lines.

3 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

That seems like a hard fact to hide, given that Aerys was known for burning people before Brandon and Rickard. If she only hears he that killed them, seems unlikely the "burned" part wouldn't occur to her. Though, like Cat, she may be in the dark about the strangling part.

Catelyn was in the dark about the burning as well.  Given that she was Brandon's betrothed at the time and then Ned's wife, if she didn't know, I doubt it was widely known.

By the way, you mentioned somewhere that the dichotomy in the Arryn story was fever v. Lannisters.  I would disagree.  I don't think anybody - in world or readers - took seriously the idea that Arryn died a natural death.  That he was poisoned was essentially a given. The Lannisters were logical suspects.  However, there were clues that the Lannisters, Cersei in particular, weren't actually involved.  those clues tended to be overlooked or ignored.

 

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On 1/13/2019 at 5:03 PM, Sly Wren said:

Fair enough--but we might be wrong on that assumption. Martin has said that the song of ice and fire is what future generations in his world will call this period. So, could be Starks and Targs. Could be the time when Westeros got hit by two past threats at once: Others and Dragons. 

And we have reason to doubt the wisdom of prophecy chasing in the novels--Targs could be right that they are saviors. But so far, they could really, really be wrong.

As for the "knight's blood"--we're told the Last Hero and/or Brandon the Builder won with the help of the Children. And the only thing we know the children did was teach Brandon a language--seems like there's a decent chance "blood" isn't the key point--willingness to learn and fight would be better points. The whole "blood" thing really might be the characters getting it wrong.

Or it could be... because of Jon Stark-Targaryen. The son of ice and fire, the hero that brought back the Dawn into the real of men. Or because x thing.

Brandon the Builder and the Last Hero, sure. But what about Azhor Ah Ahi? And the forging of Lightbriger? 

However, I am 100% sure that characters in universe are taking wrong magic and prophecies. That's part of the fun. But that is not equal to say that there's not magic in that world. That prophecies won't turn out to be correct, somehow. And that blood has not magical power in that world. Or that blood won't play a part in the endgame. 

Blood as a magical tool and blood in the sense of lineage too. The question is how.

On 1/13/2019 at 5:03 PM, Sly Wren said:

But if ALJ, Ned and Howland killed Jon's father. Killed Lyanna's beloved--unknowingly, but they did it. That seems like the sort of thing that would fill a man like Ned with shame. And that he wouldn't want to tell.

 And if Jon is Lyanna's son by anyone other that Robert, Jon's a bomb, ready to set off Robert's fury.

If Ned killed Jon's father, he should have felt remorse. More than that, perhaps. What we know, however, is that he respected and admired Arthur Dayne. But remorse? That kind of remorse one should feel knowing that he killed his nephiew's father? I haven't see a hint of that. Honestly. In addition, I don't sse why not sharing that feeling with Cat.

I don't see why Ned should have prefered to make his wife believe that he had another woman, instead of telling her that he felt guilty because he killed the child's father. No matter how much Ned's pride and sense of honor was hurted, if so, still that was not something that may have hurted, offended.... her. That was not breaking their vows. And I bet Cat would have preferred that. That she would have offered comprehension and support to her husband, if the problem was that, if he felt responsible, guilty, because of that. I also bet she would have loved - not hated - Jon.

On 1/13/2019 at 5:03 PM, Sly Wren said:

All fair--would only note that Martin makes a point of showing Robert's obsessive anger towards the man he thinks took Lyanna from him. That Robert kills that man in his dreams every night. That anger frightens Ned--and that anger seems like a good reason to keep quiet

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The point I was trying to make was: Rhaegar as Jon's father is an info that Cat in a moment of desperation may sell. Fearing that, Ned kept the secret with his wife too.

Arthur Deyne as Jon's father is an info that has 0 value.

However - I agree - Robert would have been the only one in Westeros interested in that, to the point of wishing to kill Jon (even if he is Arthur's son).

But why Ned should fear Cat selling Jon's life to Robert? 

Robert is a friend of Ned. Almost a brother. Whatever problem between them can be solved in a more or less satisfying way for both parties, but without any need of selling Jon's life.
Only something particularly huge, important can break that relationship between Robert and the Starks - like I don't know... the North proclaming the indipendece. But if so, if the problem is of such a magnitude, between Robert and the Stark, so much so that suddenly, they're enemies, it can't be solved in any case.

Not even by selling Jon's life. Why in a scenario like that King Robert should agree into not pursing, executing or sending to the Wall a rebel in exchange of Jon's life, when he may have the rebel pursed, executed or sent to the wall and then kill Jon regardless, if someone tells him that he's not Ned's son?

Whereas if Jon is a Targaryen, bastard or not, he has a claim. And that changes it all, for everybody playing the game. From Robert, to Tywin, to Baelish, Stannis, the Tyrell that married into the Crown, Viserys until he was alive, his sister Daenerys if she's a mad woman ready to get rid of his nephew to take one day the throne, etc...

On 1/13/2019 at 5:03 PM, Sly Wren said:

Maybe--but we don't have this yet in the books. We do have Sansa and Loras. And we know Rhaegar had very specific plans at Harrenhal. Seems like there's a good case to make that we should consider the rose had something to do with his plans to depose his father--however tangentially/

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The fact that he was trying to depose his father, and that she was set to marry one of the lords he needed the support of to do what he wanted to do, it's exactly why I always felt that something is wrong with the story. That it wasn't about love, lust of marriage, not even a political one, at that point. Wrong choice, regardless.

On 1/13/2019 at 5:03 PM, Sly Wren said:

This is assuming a lot--especially since we see Lyanna's faithfulness to the North and the North's dislike of dragons. And since we see her family's reaction to the crowning. And no other interaction with Rhaegar. 

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That's "interpretation" from my part, sure, about facts we know very little about. Things that I find probable, given some meta-contenent. The same meta-content that makes you assume quite a lot about Lyanna. And...

On 1/13/2019 at 5:03 PM, Sly Wren said:

This is assuming a lot about Rhaegar. We know he was interested in prophecy and a singer. Not Jon. We know he was willing to let the country burn. Not Jon. We know he was willing to depose his father. Not Jon. So far, we have reason to think Rhaegar and Jon were not all that much alike .  ..

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Rhaegar. He surely was interested in prophecy and singing. But willingly to let the country burning? We only know that he tried to organize a meeting - that was the purpose of the tourney - with the main lords of the country. Most likely to organize later on a council, to depose his father the Mad King and taking his place. Given the state of realm, the state of king Aerys, etc.. that was a peacefull try in the interest of the country as a whole. Then something happened. The question is what... for real and we're all making assumptions. About the other plot (regardless Rhaeger's attempt) of the Arryn-Stark-Tully-Baratheon alliace too. If there was.

As for Jon, I was comparing two specific and "possible" situations. That of a woman escaping from a marriage she doesn't want and asking for "protection". The situations, not the personalaties.

On 1/13/2019 at 5:03 PM, Sly Wren said:

Agreed--though I don't think Baelish had the wherewithal at that point in his life. I do, however, think he learned some of his later moves by watching Tywin.

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I guess he learned quite a lot from Jon Arryn too. A character I wish to know more about ;) That said... I just find interesting  that shortly after his brutal fight with Brandon Stark, LF was probably moving from Riverrun to the Vale. Not so much far away from Harrenal where Lyanna apparently disappeared and that, like I said, the first effect of the news "Rhaegar kidnapped her" was Brandon going to KL to die.

But that's surely assuming too much :)

 

Edited by lalt

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