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Sly Wren

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

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1 hour ago, Sly Wren said:

The feeling is mutual. :cheers:

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. 

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. 

:cheers: Thanks!

I'm not sure what you mean here.  Sure, Tywin was willing to risk Aerys's life at Duskendale.  But that was primarily because he was unwilling to let Lord Denys get away with taking Aerys hostage, not because he had any interest in Aerys's death.

And, as other have mentioned, Harrenhal was apparently an attempt to have a meeting of lords - probably to decide what to do about Aerys.  But by that time Aerys was a problem and clearly unfit for rule.  A regency was a possibility, and possibly a completely legal one.

I also see no reason to believe that Rhaegar was intent on a war.  And even less reason to believe that he kidnapped Lyanna with that purpose in mind.  Way too much had to happen for a war to occur.  And I don't think Rhaegar would have had any way of expecting the reactions of Brandon and Aerys, or Aerys's demand for the deaths of Ned and Robert - which was the actual spark for the war.

Edited by Nevets

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34 minutes ago, Nevets said:

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.

Yes--Sansa's personality before Ned's death was not like the snippet of info we have on Lyanna: she could see through Robert and made no attempt to rationalize his behavior. And she could do this long before severe trauma to her family.

Sansa was following some of Lyanna's barely known plot, but she was very unlike her aunt when it came to men--until after Ned died.

34 minutes ago, Nevets said:

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.

Agreed.

34 minutes ago, Nevets said:

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.

Yes--the evidence on Arthur is more symbolic and indirect. But the above is one of the reasons I though RLJ was the most likely option for a long while. 

But there are clues: Jon's longing for a greatsword that will give him a family name; Jon's "vision" of the Sword of the Morning; Ned's emotion about Arthur (shown to Bran) but not about the other KG at the tower; even the toj dream: Ned assigns emotion to Arthur, none of the other KG--and the last thing Ned sees before the fight is Arthur and his sword, at which point he hears Lyanna scream as he rushes in to fight Arthur; there's Ned's reaction to any talk of the Daynes and Starfall; the Daynes' odd respect for Ned; the stories at Starfall--why would they care? And we still don't know why Arthur and the Daynes keep showing up in every book--what is their significance?

The clues are there, but they are indirect. Will depend on how Martin intends to set up the answer: has he told us with no mystery who Lyanna's lover was? Or does he want to be more subtle? Won't know until we get that book.

34 minutes ago, Nevets said:

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.

We do have Stark maids being taken hostage throughout the novels: for politics, for ransom, for info. If Lyanna was taken for any of those reasons, Martin has laid groundwork for those being reason people take Starks hostage. 

34 minutes ago, Nevets said:

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.

True--though Cat seems to have wanted "not to know"--even when Jaime told her he'd tell her. There's a chance Cat engaged in willful blindness. But it's a fair point--Lyanna might have thought "Rope or axe", too. 

34 minutes ago, Nevets said:

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.

For characters who looked into it--yes. For the general public? not so much.

But yes--for readers, absolutely. Martin pushes us towards the Lannister poison. Like he pushes us towards the "love" scenario with R+L.

34 minutes ago, Nevets said:

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.

Agreed.

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1 hour ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

No, I don't think I'd go that far, either. There may be an SSM somewhere where the author mentions the notion (attributed to Mark Twain) that history doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme. He explores each iteration with some fresh twist, or combines two archetypes. Major elements are similar but each character's experience is unique. Musicians would call it variations on a theme, I think.

So each replay of an archetype contains a slight variation or, sometimes, a complete inversion - Baelor is celibate instead of fathering the heir (although Aegon IV apparently impregnates two of the three maidens Baelor had locked away); sometimes the father instead of the lover imprisons the maid (Doran and Arianne); sometimes the lovers go into a cave instead of a crypt (Jon Snow and Ygritte). In the latter example, the lovers don't have to hide. In fact, Mance believes Jon has given up the Night's Watch because Ygritte brags that Jon has had sex with her many times.

1 hour ago, Sly Wren said:

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?

I think it's not a coincidence that Ramsay and Jon are the only characters to share the bastard surname Snow.

Roose and Ramsay Bolton are described as having eyes like ice. Because of my wordplay obsession, I see a link between eyes and ice anyway, but the latter word is also an allusion to the Stark family sword. I can't use the Search of Ice and Fire website on this computer, but I think the Bolton eyes are described as grey at some point - or maybe I'm just making the connection between dirty ice and the color grey - which would be another way of saying that their eyes are like Stark eyes. It's possible that Roose thinks Ramsay's eyes are just like his own but Ramsay's eyes are, in fact, just like Stark eyes.

Ramsay also takes the title of Prince of Winterfell, which would rightfully be a Stark family title.

There's also something going on with Ramsay helping Theon kill the two sons of the miller and pretending that they are Bran and Rickon. In that case, miller's kids = fake Starks. Ramsay is the son of a miller's wife and he has clawed his way into the Lordship at Winterfell. So there would be a nice symmetry if miller's (wife's) kid = real Stark. But it could also be an echo of the other scenario (miller's wife's kid = Stark wannabe).

I know this is largely off-topic, though, and you have your hands full with this thread. I am not absolutely ironclad in the daddy-Brandon connection to Ramsay (although GRRM has said that Brandon might have fathered some bastards before he died). I just like it as a possible ironic twist on the messy events playing out at Winterfell.

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2 hours ago, lalt said:

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.

It's a very possible reading. Though if he's a son of Dorne and the North, he's ice and fire, too. 

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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. 

:agree:

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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.

But we do see some kind of odd sorrow about Arthur--Bran's little, but he notes that Ned gets sad talking about and singing Arthur's praises. Ned shows no such emotion about the other two KG, let alone Rhaegar. Why does Arthur merit this? Plus there's the Daynes' odd respect for Ned. Nowhere near enough to prove anything--but enough to ask questions.

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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.

Agreed--though there's the fear of Robert to deal with. And, if Arthur is Jon's father, Ned's not just protecting Jon, he's protecting the Daynes.

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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.

Yup. But it works for other father options, too.

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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

But it is info to fear getting out.

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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?

Do we see Ned fearing this? I'm having a brain freeze. . . any chance you have the reference? Not doubting you--am just in a brain fog.

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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.

Possible--though the one thing Ned broke with Robert on was the killing of the children of the man Robert thought had taken Lyanna from him. 

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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...

Yup. It's another layer of fear.

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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.

Yes on this--plus we also know that the Starks, Arryns, Tullys, and Baratheons we forming alliances by marriage. And the Starks didn't have a history of marrying outside the North--this was new. Rhaegar may (this is obviously theory) have been concerned about this. . . 

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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.

No--we have very good reason to believe he was up for Tywin's plan to let Aerys die at Duskendale. Plus, he stayed out of the war for a reason--like Tywin and even the Freys, he stayed out until he had to enter--I think he'd planned to come in when he wanted to and Aerys forced his hand. And when he came back, he did NOT bring Hightower the dedicated to guard Aerys. He left Aerys with 16 year old Jaime--terrified, traumatized, begging to go with Rhaegar Jaime--that's who Rhaegar chose. There's a case to be made Rhaegar wanted the protection around Aerys to be as unstable and bad as possible.

And that he knew what Tywin was planning--and thought Jaime would help Tywin, not Aerys. If so--Rhaegar kinda got it right.

2 hours ago, lalt said:

The question is what... for real and we're all making assumptions.

Yes--that's always the issue.

2 hours ago, lalt said:

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 :)

It is very tempting--and I think Baelish paid attention to what happened in Robert's Rebellion--he uses a few of Tywin's techniques.

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3 hours ago, Nevets said:

I'm not sure what you mean here.  Sure, Tywin was willing to risk Aerys's life at Duskendale.  But that was primarily because he was unwilling to let Lord Denys get away with taking Aerys hostage, not because he had any interest in Aerys's death.

No--Tywin had been swallowing insults from Aerys for years. Enduring Aerys' growing paranoia and hostility. Then Aerys refused to marry Rhaegar to Cersei and refused to appoint Jaime as Rhaegar's squire. Appointed sons of Tywin's enemies instead--clearly goading Twyin.

Then, as @nanother noted elsewhere, Tywin seems to have goaded the Darklyns into rebellion and goaded Aerys into going to meet the Darklyns.  I wonder, too, if Tywin gave the Darklyns some assurances--like he gave to the Freys.

Then Tywin approved the plan to attack, despite the protest that it would kill Aerys. And Rhaegar was right there. In the room with Tywin. And did nothing to protest or stop it. 

This was a plot to get Aerys dead via other people's grievances. The same basic move Tywin used later with the Freys at the Red Wedding.

Quote

And, as other have mentioned, Harrenhal was apparently an attempt to have a meeting of lords - probably to decide what to do about Aerys.  But by that time Aerys was a problem and clearly unfit for rule.  A regency was a possibility, and possibly a completely legal one.

Possible--though there's no way on earth Rhaegar didn't know the history of Targs opposing each other. He wanted a confab. But he had to know that killing his father would be necessary at some point.

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I also see no reason to believe that Rhaegar was intent on a war.

To repeat what I said to @lalt,we have very good reason to believe Rhaegar was up for Tywin's plan to let Aerys die at Duskendale. A plan that looks like it was a fairly elaborate set up. 

Plus, Rhaegar stayed out of the war for a reason--like Tywin and even the Freys, he stayed out until he had to enter--I think he'd planned to come in when he wanted to and Aerys forced his hand.

And when Rhaegar did come back, he did NOT bring "Hightower the Dedicated" to guard Aerys. He left Aerys with 16 year old Jaime--terrified, traumatized, begging-to-go-with-Rhaegar Jaime--that's who Rhaegar chose. There's a case to be made Rhaegar wanted the protection around Aerys to be as unstable and bad as possible.

And that Rhaegar knew that Tywin was planning to take King's Landing--and thought Jaime would help Tywin, not Aerys. If so--Rhaegar kinda got it right.

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And even less reason to believe that he kidnapped Lyanna with that purpose in mind.

He doesn't have to had taken her from the outset--he could have found her and kept her--to keep the war going. Or a few other things I posit in the thread I linked earlier in this post.

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Way too much had to happen for a war to occur.  And I don't think Rhaegar would have had any way of expecting the reactions of Brandon and Aerys, or Aerys's demand for the deaths of Ned and Robert - which was the actual spark for the war.

But the country was really tense. And Rhaegar and/or Twyin did not have to predict everything. They just had to stir the pot, reassess, and stir again. As Tywin does with Robb and the Freys and Robb and the Westerlings. As Baelish does with Ned. They can't predict exactly what will happen, but the fact that word seems to have gotten to Brandon before it got to Rickard--sounds like there's a very good chance someone was trying to anger the Stark known to have the wildest nature. For maximum effect.

Edited by Sly Wren
Unclear pronoun referent and other clarifications.

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

No, I don't think I'd go that far, either. There may be an SSM somewhere where the author mentions the notion (attributed to Mark Twain) that history doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme. He explores each iteration with some fresh twist, or combines two archetypes. Major elements are similar but each character's experience is unique. Musicians would call it variations on a theme, I think.

So each replay of an archetype contains a slight variation or, sometimes, a complete inversion - Baelor is celibate instead of fathering the heir (although Aegon IV apparently impregnates two of the three maidens Baelor had locked away); sometimes the father instead of the lover imprisons the maid (Doran and Arianne); sometimes the lovers go into a cave instead of a crypt (Jon Snow and Ygritte). In the latter example, the lovers don't have to hide. In fact, Mance believes Jon has given up the Night's Watch because Ygritte brags that Jon has had sex with her many times.

I can buy a lot of this--I really struggle with the inversion readings of the text. But the rest? Yes.

1 hour ago, Seams said:

I think it's not a coincidence that Ramsay and Jon are the only characters to share the bastard surname Snow.

Roose and Ramsay Bolton are described as having eyes like ice. Because of my wordplay obsession, I see a link between eyes and ice anyway, but the latter word is also an allusion to the Stark family sword. I can't use the Search of Ice and Fire website on this computer, but I think the Bolton eyes are described as grey at some point - or maybe I'm just making the connection between dirty ice and the color grey - which would be another way of saying that their eyes are like Stark eyes. It's possible that Roose thinks Ramsay's eyes are just like his own but Ramsay's eyes are, in fact, just like Stark eyes.

Ramsay also takes the title of Prince of Winterfell, which would rightfully be a Stark family title.

Yes--I had thought this was tied to the Boltons "anti Stark" qualities. The fact that they have a long history of skin people instead of being actual skin changers, like the ancient and current Stark Wargs, etc. So taking the title, being the "Anti-Jon Snow"--seems like that would fit.

1 hour ago, Seams said:

There's also something going on with Ramsay helping Theon kill the two sons of the miller and pretending that they are Bran and Rickon. In that case, miller's kids = fake Starks. Ramsay is the son of a miller's wife and he has clawed his way into the Lordship at Winterfell. So there would be a nice symmetry if miller's (wife's) kid = real Stark. But it could also be an echo of the other scenario (miller's wife's kid = Stark wannabe).

Yes--nice symmetry either way. 

1 hour ago, Seams said:

I know this is largely off-topic, though, and you have your hands full with this thread. I am not absolutely ironclad in the daddy-Brandon connection to Ramsay (although GRRM has said that Brandon might have fathered some bastards before he died). I just like it as a possible ironic twist on the messy events playing out at Winterfell.

It would be a great twist. And no worries about off topic--my threads always turn into sandboxes. No idea how--but they always do. :cheers:

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10 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Agreed--which is one of the reasons I think Aerys was actively trying to find someone outside Westeros, not just a Valyrian.

I think I'm misreading what you wrote--do you mean that Steffon should have tried to find a bride so he could fulfill his own ambitions? If that's right, then: I think there's a good chance Steffon was helping Tywin prevent any marriage other than Cersei and Rhaegar. That's why he didn't find a bride.

But if you meant something else--my apologies for misreading you. Please correct me.

I really meant that Steffon finding a bride will make more sense for Southern ambitious but if Aerys juts wanted an Essosi bride why he would bother with sending Steffon to Essos? 

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18 hours ago, Nevets said:

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.

@Lady Gwynhyfvar had a good essay somewhere on her blog, presenting quite a convincing case for a parallel between Lancelot saving Guinevere from being burnt at the stake and bringing her to his castle Joyous Garde, and Rhaegar bringing Lyanna to ToJ to protect her from Aerys' wrath when he discovered her identity as KotLT (hint: Aerys would have wanted to give her to the flames). The abduction would actually be a rescue and love ensue only later. I don't recall, though, if or how she adressed the issue of Lyanna's wolf blood that led her to an early grave, which I always considered as a hint at her own active participation.

18 hours ago, lalt said:

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.

To play a bit of a devil's advocate: there might be a hint at something between the two men - there is Arthur Dayne's sad smile welcoming Ned, and Ned falling sad after he names Arthur as the finest knight ever who would have killed him if not for Howland (in response to Bran's enquiring about KG). Of course, the sadness (on both parts) can have other valid reasons, but it is there.

 

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20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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..

I think the difference is partly due to the age difference (Lyanna was a couple years closer to adulthood), partly due to Sansa's obsession with song characters. Joffrey was like one of them come true. If Lyanna didn't have such preconceptions, it would be easier for her to see through Robert.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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 . . . 

That's how the echoes work - only parts of the story bear resemblance.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

I think you are sticking to the general concept and overlook how the concept of flowers develops in connection with Lyanna: flowers - roses - blue roses - the laurel. A sort of a gradual reveal, and emphasis is not on flowers in general but blue roses in particular.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

WUT?! Where was this stated that Rhaegar planned Aerys' death?! Or that he was plannning something as early as Duskendale?! Harrenhal being a pretext for assembling the lords is more or less certain but how can you claim that he wanted to kill his father instead of deposing him, and that for a very valid reason?

And no, he doesn't sit out the war - Tywin never answers the summons but Rhaegar does. We don't even know if Rhaegar spent the time in isolation willingly, not to mention if there even was something that he could do at that time.

Did it ever occur to you that Lyanna may not have wanted him to become involved in the fight against her family, and since he couldn't really be expected to fight his own family, she at least convinced him to maintain neutrality?

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

Well... that's a reason I haven't heard yet. Only, I see zero proof that Rhaegar actually wanted a war, and if he did, he made a really shitty job making use of it.

You know, if he wanted this war, why the hell not use his huge popularity to squish the rebels, gain even more popularity by that, and then depose Aerys? Who would have opposed him? What sense does it make to let his side bleed out before he becomes involved?

 

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

This doesn't make sense, either - if Rhaegar defeats the Rebels, he doesn't need to appease them, he has an upper hand. If things go badly for the loyalists - and they did - why the hell not use her then to make them fall in line?

Really, sorry, but your argumentation seems to be drowning in theoretical concepts while missing out on practical issues.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

This is something I totally don't get. Where do you see Rhaegar willing to let people die to fulfill his plans? We don't know what those plans were, so we don't know if they were fulfilled and what he was willing to sacrifice.

What we do know, though, is that Rhaegar was carrying some burden that made him feel blue most of the time. So, if his plans really included letting people die, he definitely didn't seem fine with it. Which is what makes the difference between him and people like Baelish, who don't give a shit about who suffers as a consequence of his actions. 

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

No need to apologize, I was merely considering the logistics of a ship which, contrary to your opinion, is perhaps the only other solution that might work. I'd just think that towers don't sink in storms.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

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.

Oh, I certainly agree that we should be paying attention, I only think that you focus on insubstantial details and miss the larger picture. What is going on between Petyr and Lysa is a travesty of anything that a normal person would consider "joy", therefore, while one can draw interesting ideas from the scene, it definitely isn't what went on between Rhaegar and Lyanna.

BTW, Sansa is not stolen, she is rescued. She doesn't get taken where she would prefer but she took her chances and went willingly.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

And hints that Rhaegar is Dany's mother. 

Now that would be a real game changer! :D (sorry, couldn't resist, I know you meant father)

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

I have long posited that Arthur was his secret joy...

And yes, I do believe that Lyanna was his true joy (though I am not sure if she was really stolen). 

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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. 

Which, if Petyr-Lysa are supposed to be a parallel/echo/antithesis/whatever, it really doesn't matter as these things never work 100% :-)

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

How does it bear comparison when one incident led to haunting memories +14 years later, and the other never even got a honorable mention? That's like the "your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate" connection.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

Yeah but the difference is at which point of narrative we see these opinions. The conviction that Cersei is the culprit comes at the beginning of the narrative, and is gradually revealed to be incorrect. The love between Rhaegar and Lyanna is never mentioned at the beginning, can only be inferred. As the narrative develops, there are more explicit hints, and then you get a blatant statement, towards the finale. Remember what was said about GRRM's three-stage reveal structure?

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

Sorry but this seems rather superficial comparison, and the insistence on the Stark Maid unnecessarrily narrowing the view.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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. . .

Loras only needed the trick at the end because Gregor was such a monster of a man.

Loras as a parallel doesn't work, though, because he is described as exceptionally skilled and keen on particiating in tourneys. Jorah was neither and Rhaegar wasn't particularly interested. 

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

He might, but it doesn't fit with the accounts of him as being honourable. Plus, we see a much less skilled knight, Jorah, winning solely due to being inspired by Lynesse.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

And you know how that he did nothing? Or that he could have done anything in the first place? Or, as I suggested above, that Lyanna even wanted him to?

BTW, allow me to correct your interpretation of Arya kicking the dead guard - she is not angry because he failed but because he lied to her, he gave her a false sense of safety.

 

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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

Not really. If a young girl disappears with a man, people are bound to lean towards one or the other version and you need more information to make up your mind. Whereas, if you get a secret note accusing someone of murder, it is a safe bet that there is something going on. The contradiction fever-Lannisters never existed, the latter replaced the former the moment it appeared on the scene. Ned may not have been entirely convinced but the reader knows otherwise, and after Bran spies Jaime with Cersei at the old tower, there is not a shadow of doubt that the Lannisters do have a secret worth killing for. That is the real distraction, not the fever story.

20 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

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.

Not good enough for me, definitely. In fact, I think that the Stark Maid detracts from the argument as it is based on very generalised, and thus superficial, reading, slapping together elements which are either cherry-picked or which form only dubious associations. What I consider as its greatest sin is its very core -  creating this supposed Stark Maid paradigm and trying to fit all kinds of characters into the pattern ignores the fundament of good writing, and that is characterisation. Characters do what they do not to fit in some abstract pattern but to follow the natural course in which their character drives them. The author can expose them to certain situations intentionally built to remind of other situations but those are never meant as a 100% repetition. There will always be variation caused by differences in character as well as developing the explored theme because you don't want your story to go in an endless cycle of repetitions, you need your characters to make a difference.

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23 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

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?

Well, he apparently dispatched three of the most lethal kingsguard to protect Lyanna and her baby and then took another three to the Trident, leaving Elia and his other two children without any protection at all. Doesn't sound like the actions of a man who thinks his son is destined for great things anymore.

If both were the PtwPs or both sang the SoIaF, why give all protection to one and leave the other undefended?

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3 hours ago, Ygrain said:

I don't recall, though, if or how she adressed the issue of Lyanna's wolf blood that led her to an early grave, which I always considered as a hint at her own active participation.

@Ygrain

Regarding the quote in which Ned introduces the "wildness" that Lord Rickard called "the wolf blood":

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"Ah, Arya. You have a wildness in you, child. 'The wolf blood,' my father used to call it. Lyanna had a touch of it, and my brother Brandon more than a touch. It brought them both to an early grave." Arya heard sadness in his voice; he did not often speak of his father, or of the brother and sister who had died before she was born. "Lyanna might have carried a sword, if my lord father had allowed it. You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her." (AGOT: Arya II)

I think we have been given pretty straightforward and explicit answers not only about the general sort of "wildness" on the parts of Lyanna and Brandon that Lord Rickard might have called "the wolf blood," but about the particular examples that Ned might conceivably credit with having set them on the way to graves earlier than they otherwise might have.

In the case of Brandon, we have his decision to ride to King's Landing and into the Red Keep to accuse and threaten Rhaegar when he heard about Lyanna on his way back to Riverrun:

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"He was on his way to Riverrun when . . ." Strange, how telling it still made her throat grow tight, after all these years. ". . . when he heard about Lyanna, and went to King's Landing instead. It was a rash thing to do." She remembered how her own father had raged when the news had been brought to Riverrun. The gallant fool, was what he called Brandon.

Jaime poured the last half cup of wine. "He rode into the Red Keep with a few companions, shouting for Prince Rhaegar to come out and die. But Rhaegar wasn't there. Aerys sent his guards to arrest them all for plotting his son's murder. The others were lords' sons too, it seems to me."

"Ethan Glover was Brandon's squire," Catelyn said. "He was the only one to survive. The others were Jeffory Mallister, Kyle Royce, and Elbert Arryn, Jon Arryn's nephew and heir." It was queer how she still remembered the names, after so many years. "Aerys accused them of treason and summoned their fathers to court to answer the charge, with the sons as hostages. When they came, he had them murdered without trial. Fathers and sons both." (ACOK: Catelyn VII)

In the case of "the she-wolf" Lyanna, we have her decision to "roar" at, howl" at, and use a tourney sword to lay into the three squires she witnessed bullying Howland Reed during the opening of the Harrenhal Tourney, and, most likely, her subsequent decision to enter the lists as a mystery knight and challenge the knights the squires served:

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"Sometimes the knights are the monsters, Bran. The little crannogman was walking across the field, enjoying the warm spring day and harming none, when he was set upon by three squires. They were none older than fifteen, yet even so they were bigger than him, all three. This was their world, as they saw it, and he had no right to be there. They snatched away his spear and knocked him to the ground, cursing him for a frogeater."

"Were they Walders?" It sounded like something Little Walder Frey might have done.

"None offered a name, but he marked their faces well so he could revenge himself upon them later. They shoved him down every time he tried to rise, and kicked him when he curled up on the ground. But then they heard a roar. 'That's my father's man you're kicking,' howled the she-wolf."

"A wolf on four legs, or two?"

"Two," said Meera. "The she-wolf laid into the squires with a tourney sword, scattering them all. The crannogman was bruised and bloodied, so she took him back to her lair to clean his cuts and bind them up with linen. There he met her pack brothers: the wild wolf who led them, the quiet wolf beside him, and the pup who was youngest of the four.

"That evening there was to be a feast in Harrenhal, to mark the opening of the tourney, and the she-wolf insisted that the lad attend. He was of high birth, with as much a right to a place on the bench as any other man. She was not easy to refuse, this wolf maid, so he let the young pup find him garb suitable to a king's feast, and went up to the great castle.

"Under Harren's roof he ate and drank with the wolves, and many of their sworn swords besides, barrowdown men and moose and bears and mermen. The dragon prince sang a song so sad it made the wolf maid sniffle, but when her pup brother teased her for crying she poured wine over his head. A black brother spoke, asking the knights to join the Night's Watch. The storm lord drank down the knight of skulls and kisses in a wine-cup war. The crannogman saw a maid with laughing purple eyes dance with a white sword, a red snake, and the lord of griffins, and lastly with the quiet wolf . . . but only after the wild wolf spoke to her on behalf of a brother too shy to leave his bench.

"Amidst all this merriment, the little crannogman spied the three squires who'd attacked him. One served a pitchfork knight, one a porcupine, while the last attended a knight with two towers on his surcoat, a sigil all crannogmen know well."

"The Freys," said Bran. "The Freys of the Crossing."

"Then, as now," she agreed. "The wolf maid saw them too, and pointed them out to her brothers. 'I could find you a horse, and some armor that might fit,' the pup offered. The little crannogman thanked him, but gave no answer. His heart was torn. Crannogmen are smaller than most, but just as proud. The lad was no knight, no more than any of his people. We sit a boat more often than a horse, and our hands are made for oars, not lances. Much as he wished to have his vengeance, he feared he would only make a fool of himself and shame his people. The quiet wolf had offered the little crannogman a place in his tent that night, but before he slept he knelt on the lakeshore, looking across the water to where the Isle of Faces would be, and said a prayer to the old gods of north and Neck . . ."

"You never heard this tale from your father?" asked Jojen.

"It was Old Nan who told the stories. Meera, go on, you can't stop there."

Hodor must have felt the same. "Hodor," he said, and then, "Hodor hodor hodor hodor."

"Well," said Meera, "if you would hear the rest . . ."

"Yes. Tell it."

"Five days of jousting were planned," she said. "There was a great seven-sided mêlée as well, and archery and axe-throwing, a horse race and tourney of singers . . ."

"Never mind about all that." Bran squirmed impatiently in his basket on Hodor's back. "Tell about the jousting."

"As my prince commands. The daughter of the castle was the queen of love and beauty, with four brothers and an uncle to defend her, but all four sons of Harrenhal were defeated on the first day. Their conquerors reigned briefly as champions, until they were vanquished in turn. As it happened, the end of the first day saw the porcupine knight win a place among the champions, and on the morning of the second day the pitchfork knight and the knight of the two towers were victorious as well. But late on the afternoon of that second day, as the shadows grew long, a mystery knight appeared in the lists."

Bran nodded sagely. Mystery knights would oft appear at tourneys, with helms concealing their faces, and shields that were either blank or bore some strange device. Sometimes they were famous champions in disguise. The Dragonknight once won a tourney as the Knight of Tears, so he could name his sister the queen of love and beauty in place of the king's mistress. And Barristan the Bold twice donned a mystery knight's armor, the first time when he was only ten. "It was the little crannogman, I bet."

"No one knew," said Meera, "but the mystery knight was short of stature, and clad in ill-fitting armor made up of bits and pieces. The device upon his shield was a heart tree of the old gods, a white weirwood with a laughing red face."

"Maybe he came from the Isle of Faces," said Bran. "Was he green?" In Old Nan's stories, the guardians had dark green skin and leaves instead of hair. Sometimes they had antlers too, but Bran didn't see how the mystery knight could have worn a helm if he had antlers. "I bet the old gods sent him."

"Perhaps they did. The mystery knight dipped his lance before the king and rode to the end of the lists, where the five champions had their pavilions. You know the three he challenged."

"The porcupine knight, the pitchfork knight, and the knight of the twin towers." Bran had heard enough stories to know that. "He was the little crannogman, I told you."

"Whoever he was, the old gods gave strength to his arm. The porcupine knight fell first, then the pitchfork knight, and lastly the knight of the two towers. None were well loved, so the common folk cheered lustily for the Knight of the Laughing Tree, as the new champion soon was called. When his fallen foes sought to ransom horse and armor, the Knight of the Laughing Tree spoke in a booming voice through his helm, saying, 'Teach your squires honor, that shall be ransom enough.' Once the defeated knights chastised their squires sharply, their horses and armor were returned. And so the little crannogman's prayer was answered . . . by the green men, or the old gods, or the children of the forest, who can say?"

It was a good story, Bran decided after thinking about it a moment or two. "Then what happened? Did the Knight of the Laughing Tree win the tourney and marry a princess?"

"No," said Meera. "That night at the great castle, the storm lord and the knight of skulls and kisses each swore they would unmask him, and the king himself urged men to challenge him, declaring that the face behind that helm was no friend of his. But the next morning, when the heralds blew their trumpets and the king took his seat, only two champions appeared. The Knight of the Laughing Tree had vanished. The king was wroth, and even sent his son the dragon prince to seek the man, but all they ever found was his painted shield, hanging abandoned in a tree. It was the dragon prince who won that tourney in the end."

"Oh." Bran thought about the tale awhile. "That was a good story. But it should have been the three bad knights who hurt him, not their squires. Then the little crannogman could have killed them all. The part about the ransoms was stupid. And the mystery knight should win the tourney, defeating every challenger, and name the wolf maid the queen of love and beauty."

"She was," said Meera, "but that's a sadder story."

"Are you certain you never heard this tale before, Bran?" asked Jojen. "Your lord father never told it to you?"

Bran shook his head. The day was growing old by then, and long shadows were creeping down the mountainsides to send black fingers through the pines. If the little crannogman could visit the Isle of Faces, maybe I could too. All the tales agreed that the green men had strange magic powers. Maybe they could help him walk again, even turn him into a knight. They turned the little crannogman into a knight, even if it was only for a day, he thought. A day would be enough. (ASOS: Bran II)

That is not to say that their decisions absolve those who might have possibly threatened, harmed, or killed them, only that these "lone wolf" decisions led them onto paths that soon ended with their deaths, when they might otherwise have lived longer.

As for less explicit possible hints at the sort of "wildness" in Lyanna that Lord Rickard might have called "the wolf blood," Ned first introduces us to that "wildness" that Lord Rickard used to call "wolf blood" in AGOT: Arya II.

AGOT: Arya II is the first Arya chapter after the events of AGOT: Sansa I and AGOT: Eddard III, chapters which I think might give us some hints about Lyanna in general, as well as Lyanna during the journey of Lord Rickard and his party south from Wintferfell on the way to Riverrun for Brandon's wedding to Catelyn, which I think it most likely she was with when she was abducted.

AGOT: Sansa I is set at the Inn at the Crossroads near the Trident, as the four hundred men of King Robert's party, Lord Eddard's household, and the freeriders who had joined them on the road, are making their way south from Winterfell to King's Landing. Sansa finds Arya on the banks of the Trident, where she tells Sansa that she and Mycah are going to ride upstream to look for Rhaegar's rubies at the ford.

We learn that, during the more than two weeks riding from Winterfell to the Inn at the Crossroads, a much-younger-than-Lyanna Arya and teenage Mycah have been regularly leaving the column and riding off on their own adventures, including seeing a lizard lion, finding a haunted watchtower, chasing a herd of wild horses, and doing as they please without close supervision.

Later in the chapter, Sansa and Joffrey go riding off on their own on a day of adventure, exploring caves by the Trident riverbank, tracking a shadowcat to its lair, finding a holdfast and eating food and drinking wine there, and dining on trout fresh from the river, before traveling to the battleground where the river bends, the place where Robert killed Rhaegar.

That was where they found Arya and Mycah playing at knights using wooden sticks, broom handles from the look of them, not much different than Bran's vision of an Arya-aged Lyanna dueling with her younger brother Benjen using branches, perhaps a good four or five years before she beat down the three teenage squires using a wooden tourney sword at Harrenhal.

Though I think we should always be careful about seeing one for one parallels between two situations with possible similarities. I think Arya and Sansa in AGOT: Sansa I might give us some ideas about Lyanna, were she traveling as part of Lord Rickard's party on their way south, and how she might have found herself away from the main column with little to no supervision, and only one, or a few, if any, companions.

Going back to AGOT: Arya II, this chapter begins with the first time the Starks and their men have supped together since recently arriving in King's Landing, and she is pissed at the Stark men, who let Cersei get away with killing Lady, and the Hound with killing Mycah. Arya runs to the Tower of the Hand, eluding Fat Tom who is guarding the tower, and locks herself in her room.

There, as she cries, she takes out her sword Needle from hiding, and thinks of Mycah, and blames herself for having ever asked him to play at swords with her.

Ned knocks on the door and Arya opens it for him, at which point he notices Arya's sword Needle, and asks whose sword it is. This is the context in which Ned brings up Lyanna, the "wildness" and "the wolf blood," how Lyanna might have carried a sword, had her father allowed it, and how Arya reminds him of Lyanna, before hiring Syrio to train her with the sword.

Quote

Arya crossed the room and lifted the crossbar. Father was alone. He seemed more sad than angry. That made Arya feel even worse. "May I come in?" Arya nodded, then dropped her eyes, ashamed. Father closed the door. "Whose sword is that?"

"Mine." Arya had almost forgotten Needle, in her hand.

"Give it to me."

Reluctantly Arya surrendered her sword, wondering if she would ever hold it again. Her father turned it in the light, examining both sides of the blade. He tested the point with his thumb. "A bravo's blade," he said. "Yet it seems to me that I know this maker's mark. This is Mikken's work."

Arya could not lie to him. She lowered her eyes.

Lord Eddard Stark sighed. "My nine-year-old daughter is being armed from my own forge, and I know nothing of it. The Hand of the King is expected to rule the Seven Kingdoms, yet it seems I cannot even rule my own household. How is it that you come to own a sword, Arya? Where did you get this?"

Arya chewed her lip and said nothing. She would not betray Jon, not even to their father.

After a while, Father said, "I don't suppose it matters, truly." He looked down gravely at the sword in his hands. "This is no toy for children, least of all for a girl. What would Septa Mordane say if she knew you were playing with swords?"

"I wasn't playing," Arya insisted. "I hate Septa Mordane."

"That's enough." Her father's voice was curt and hard. "The septa is doing no more than is her duty, though gods know you have made it a struggle for the poor woman. Your mother and I have charged her with the impossible task of making you a lady."

"I don't want to be a lady!" Arya flared.

"I ought to snap this toy across my knee here and now, and put an end to this nonsense."

"Needle wouldn't break," Arya said defiantly, but her voice betrayed her words.

"It has a name, does it?" Her father sighed. "Ah, Arya. You have a wildness in you, child. ‘The wolf blood,' my father used to call it. Lyanna had a touch of it, and my brother Brandon more than a touch. It brought them both to an early grave." Arya heard sadness in his voice; he did not often speak of his father, or of the brother and sister who had died before she was born. "Lyanna might have carried a sword, if my lord father had allowed it. You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her."

"Lyanna was beautiful," Arya said, startled. Everybody said so. It was not a thing that was ever said of Arya.

"She was," Eddard Stark agreed, "beautiful, and willful, and dead before her time." He lifted the sword, held it out between them. "Arya, what did you think to do with this . . . Needle? Who did you hope to skewer? Your sister? Septa Mordane? Do you know the first thing about sword fighting?"

All she could think of was the lesson Jon had given her. "Stick them with the pointy end," she blurted out.

Her father snorted back laughter. "That is the essence of it, I suppose."

Arya desperately wanted to explain, to make him see. "I was trying to learn, but . . . " Her eyes filled with tears. "I asked Mycah to practice with me." The grief came on her all at once. She turned away, shaking. "I asked him," she cried. "It was my fault, it was me . . . "

Suddenly her father's arms were around her. He held her gently as she turned to him and sobbed against his chest. "No, sweet one," he murmured. "Grieve for your friend, but never blame yourself. You did not kill the butcher's boy. That murder lies at the Hound's door, him and the cruel woman he serves."

"I hate them," Arya confided, red-faced, sniffling. "The Hound and the queen and the king and Prince Joffrey. I hate all of them. Joffrey lied, it wasn't the way he said. I hate Sansa too. She did remember, she just lied so Joffrey would like her."

"We all lie," her father said. "Or did you truly think I'd believe that Nymeria ran off?"

Arya blushed guiltily. "Jory promised not to tell."

"Jory kept his word," her father said with a smile. "There are some things I do not need to be told. Even a blind man could see that wolf would never have left you willingly."

"We had to throw rocks," she said miserably. "I told her to run, to go be free, that I didn't want her anymore. There were other wolves for her to play with, we heard them howling, and Jory said the woods were full of game, so she'd have deer to hunt. Only she kept following, and finally we had to throw rocks. I hit her twice. She whined and looked at me and I felt so 'shamed, but it was right, wasn't it? The queen would have killed her."

"It was right," her father said. "And even the lie was . . . not without honor." He'd put Needle aside when he went to Arya to embrace her. Now he took the blade up again and walked to the window, where he stood for a moment, looking out across the courtyard. When he turned back, his eyes were thoughtful. He seated himself on the window seat, Needle across his lap. "Arya, sit down. I need to try and explain some things to you."

She perched anxiously on the edge of her bed. "You are too young to be burdened with all my cares," he told her, "but you are also a Stark of Winterfell. You know our words."

"Winter is coming," Arya whispered.

"The hard cruel times," her father said. "We tasted them on the Trident, child, and when Bran fell. You were born in the long summer, sweet one, you've never known anything else, but now the winter is truly coming. Remember the sigil of our House, Arya."

"The direwolf," she said, thinking of Nymeria. She hugged her knees against her chest, suddenly afraid.

"Let me tell you something about wolves, child. When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. Summer is the time for squabbles. In winter, we must protect one another, keep each other warm, share our strengths. So if you must hate, Arya, hate those who would truly do us harm. Septa Mordane is a good woman, and Sansa . . . Sansa is your sister. You may be as different as the sun and the moon, but the same blood flows through both your hearts. You need her, as she needs you . . . and I need both of you, gods help me."

He sounded so tired that it made Arya sad. "I don't hate Sansa," she told him. "Not truly." It was only half a lie.

"I do not mean to frighten you, but neither will I lie to you. We have come to a dark dangerous place, child. This is not Winterfell. We have enemies who mean us ill. We cannot fight a war among ourselves. This willfulness of yours, the running off, the angry words, the disobedience . . . at home, these were only the summer games of a child. Here and now, with winter soon upon us, that is a different matter. It is time to begin growing up."

"I will," Arya vowed. She had never loved him so much as she did in that instant. "I can be strong too. I can be as strong as Robb."

He held Needle out to her, hilt first. "Here."

She looked at the sword with wonder in her eyes. For a moment she was afraid to touch it, afraid that if she reached for it it would be snatched away again, but then her father said, "Go on, it's yours," and she took it in her hand.

"I can keep it?" she said. "For true?"

"For true." He smiled. "If I took it away, no doubt I'd find a morningstar hidden under your pillow within the fortnight. Try not to stab your sister, whatever the provocation."

"I won't. I promise." Arya clutched Needle tightly to her chest as her father took his leave.

The next morning, as they broke their fast, she apologized to Septa Mordane and asked for her pardon. The septa peered at her suspiciously, but Father nodded.

Three days later, at midday, her father's steward Vayon Poole sent Arya to the Small Hall. The trestle tables had been dismantled and the benches shoved against the walls. The hall seemed empty, until an unfamiliar voice said, "You are late, boy." A slight man with a bald head and a great beak of a nose stepped out of the shadows, holding a pair of slender wooden swords. "Tomorrow you will be here at midday." He had an accent, the lilt of the Free Cities, Braavos perhaps, or Myr.

"Who are you?" Arya asked.

"I am your dancing master." He tossed her one of the wooden blades. She grabbed for it, missed, and heard it clatter to the floor. "Tomorrow you will catch it. Now pick it up."

It was not just a stick, but a true wooden sword complete with grip and guard and pommel. Arya picked it up and clutched it nervously with both hands, holding it out in front of her. It was heavier than it looked, much heavier than Needle.

The bald man clicked his teeth together. "That is not the way, boy. This is not a greatsword that is needing two hands to swing it. You will take the blade in one hand."

"It's too heavy," Arya said.

"It is heavy as it needs to be to make you strong, and for the balancing. A hollow inside is filled with lead, just so. One hand now is all that is needing."

Arya took her right hand off the grip and wiped her sweaty palm on her pants. She held the sword in her left hand. He seemed to approve. "The left is good. All is reversed, it will make your enemies more awkward. Now you are standing wrong. Turn your body sideface, yes, so. You are skinny as the shaft of a spear, do you know. That is good too, the target is smaller. Now the grip. Let me see." He moved closer and peered at her hand, prying her fingers apart, rearranging them. "Just so, yes. Do not squeeze it so tight, no, the grip must be deft, delicate."

"What if I drop it?" Arya said.

"The steel must be part of your arm," the bald man told her. "Can you drop part of your arm? No. Nine years Syrio Forel was first sword to the Sealord of Braavos, he knows these things. Listen to him, boy."

It was the third time he had called her "boy." "I'm a girl," Arya objected.

"Boy, girl," Syrio Forel said. "You are a sword, that is all." He clicked his teeth together. "Just so, that is the grip. You are not holding a battle-axe, you are holding a—"

"—needle," Arya finished for him, fiercely.

"Just so. Now we will begin the dance. Remember, child, this is not the iron dance of Westeros we are learning, the knight's dance, hacking and hammering, no. This is the bravo's dance, the water dance, swift and sudden. All men are made of water, do you know this? When you pierce them, the water leaks out and they die." He took a step backward, raised his own wooden blade. "Now you will try to strike me."

Arya tried to strike him. She tried for four hours, until every muscle in her body was sore and aching, while Syrio Forel clicked his teeth together and told her what to do.

The next day their real work began. (AGOT: Arya II)

I think there is a lot of potential in these chapters and in these paragraphs, to help us begin to understand Lyanna and what might have occurred in the early 280s AC.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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11 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Well, he apparently dispatched three of the most lethal kingsguard to protect Lyanna and her baby

How have you reached this conclusion? 

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21 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Yes--the evidence on Arthur is more symbolic and indirect. But the above is one of the reasons I though RLJ was the most likely option for a long while. 

But there are clues: Jon's longing for a greatsword that will give him a family name; Jon's "vision" of the Sword of the Morning; Ned's emotion about Arthur (shown to Bran) but not about the other KG at the tower; even the toj dream: Ned assigns emotion to Arthur, none of the other KG--and the last thing Ned sees before the fight is Arthur and his sword, at which point he hears Lyanna scream as he rushes in to fight Arthur; there's Ned's reaction to any talk of the Daynes and Starfall; the Daynes' odd respect for Ned; the stories at Starfall--why would they care? And we still don't know why Arthur and the Daynes keep showing up in every book--what is their significance?

The clues are there, but they are indirect. Will depend on how Martin intends to set up the answer: has he told us with no mystery who Lyanna's lover was? Or does he want to be more subtle? Won't know until we get that book.

Ned's reaction towards Arthur's death could lead some credence to the stories about Ned and Ashara being in love, and perhaps even lovers.  If he killed the brother of the woman he loved, he could naturally be upset about it, even years later.  Plus, her brother's death is widely cited as a proximate cause of her suicide shortly after (whether the suicide was real or not is a subject I won't get into).

As to the respect they hold for Ned, that could be accounted for by the fact that he returned Arthur's sword, Dawn.  We have seen others keep the swords of those they defeated, so this is a real gesture that would lead to respect for the man who did it.

I too think that Dawn and the Daynes are important to the story.  But not because they have any connection to Lyanna or Jon.

 

I have serious doubts about your contention that Rhaegar wanted war, and used Lyanna to deliberately start one.  This is at odds with what we know about him, and I can't imagine that he would be as highly regarded if there was even an inkling he did that.   And his actions can be easily understood as those of a man who knew that his father, the king, was unfit, but was unsure as to exactly what to do about it.

 

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17 hours ago, Jova Snow said:

I really meant that Steffon finding a bride will make more sense for Southern ambitious but if Aerys juts wanted an Essosi bride why he would bother with sending Steffon to Essos? 

AH! Okay. My best guess? The World Book notes how paranoid Aerys is at the point. I think he sent Steffon because Steffon was a really old friend--he wanted someone he could trust.

But that's a guess.

4 hours ago, Ygrain said:

@Lady Gwynhyfvar had a good essay somewhere on her blog, presenting quite a convincing case for a parallel between Lancelot saving Guinevere from being burnt at the stake and bringing her to his castle Joyous Garde, and Rhaegar bringing Lyanna to ToJ to protect her from Aerys' wrath when he discovered her identity as KotLT (hint: Aerys would have wanted to give her to the flames). The abduction would actually be a rescue and love ensue only later.

Problem: we don't have any evidence that Rhaegar tended to behave this way. We have stories that the small folk loved him, but I couldn't find talk of his overt concern for them--please correct me if you've found what I could not.

Rhaegar focuses on his general mission, his books, his prophecy, his role. A lot like Stannis.

Arthur's the one noted for caring for the small folk, attending to their need to win them over and stop the Kingswood Brotherhood. A bit more like Davos, who specifically reminds Stannis that he must fight for the realm and not the throne. Would make more sense, given the very, very little we know, for Arthur to be the rescuer, if such a scenario were the case. Hypothetically.

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I don't recall, though, if or how she adressed the issue of Lyanna's wolf blood that led her to an early grave, which I always considered as a hint at her own active participation.

Agreed--one way or another, Lyanna clearly contributed to the mess.

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To play a bit of a devil's advocate: there might be a hint at something between the two men - there is Arthur Dayne's sad smile welcoming Ned, and Ned falling sad after he names Arthur as the finest knight ever who would have killed him if not for Howland (in response to Bran's enquiring about KG). Of course, the sadness (on both parts) can have other valid reasons, but it is there.

Agreed--and agreed on the bolded: we have nowhere near enough to pin down exactly what Ned's reaction means. Still plenty of other potentials possible.

Edited by Sly Wren

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7 hours ago, Ygrain said:

I think the difference is partly due to the age difference (Lyanna was a couple years closer to adulthood), partly due to Sansa's obsession with song characters. Joffrey was like one of them come true. If Lyanna didn't have such preconceptions, it would be easier for her to see through Robert. 

Absolutely--she's a lot less romantic and idealistic in that moment than we see Sansa be at her tourney. 

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That's how the echoes work - only parts of the story bear resemblance.

Right--but given that we have a bit of actual evidence on Lyanna, seems like that would take precedence.

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I think you are sticking to the general concept and overlook how the concept of flowers develops in connection with Lyanna: flowers - roses - blue roses - the laurel. A sort of a gradual reveal, and emphasis is not on flowers in general but blue roses in particular.

Fair enough--though exactly what those roses mean in that gradual reveal is still open to interpretation.

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WUT?! Where was this stated that Rhaegar planned Aerys' death?! Or that he was plannning something as early as Duskendale?! Harrenhal being a pretext for assembling the lords is more or less certain but how can you claim that he wanted to kill his father instead of deposing him, and that for a very valid reason?

Not stated that Rhaegar wanted Aerys dead to become king himself. But shown in the World Book:

Most of the small council were with the Hand outside Duskendale at this juncture, and several of them argued against Lord Tywin's plan on the grounds that such an attack would almost certainly goad Lord Darklyn into putting King Aerys to death. "He may or he may not," Tywin Lannister reportedly replied, "but if he does, we have a better king right here." Whereupon he raised a hand to indicate Prince Rhaegar. 

 

Scholars have debated ever since as to Lord Tywin's intent. Did he believe Lord Darklyn would back down? Or was he, in truth, willing, and perhaps even eager, to see Aerys die so that Prince Rhaegar might take the Iron Throne? World Book: The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II

It seems very, very unlikely that Tywin would say something that provocative in front of the small council without knowing that Rhaegar would go along with him. Very likely, they'd discussed this before meeting with the council. No, one way or another, Rhaegar is going along with Tywin's plan to kill Aerys via the Darklyns.

How early in the plan Rhaegar was brought in, we aren't told or shown. And Tywin did start early--he seems to have goaded the Darklyns into rebellion and goaded Aerys into going to talk with the Darklyns. I think there's a decent chance, given what we see at the Red Wedding, that Tywin gave the Darklyns "assurances" to goad them into taking Aerys. But wherever in the scenario Rhaegar became aware, he went along. To become king.

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And no, he doesn't sit out the war - Tywin never answers the summons but Rhaegar does. We don't even know if Rhaegar spent the time in isolation willingly, not to mention if there even was something that he could do at that time.

Rhaegar only came back at the end. And we don't know if that was because he wanted to or got arm twisted into it. ETA: or if he had a crisis of conscience: I've started wondering if Rhaegar had a "Stannis" moment, like when Stannis gets persuaded to change tactics because Davos tells him he must fight for the realm, not the throne. Rhaegar had Arthur--the guy who defended the small folk. Maybe (it's clearly hypothetical) maybe Arthur did what Davos did . . .

But one way or another, Rhaegar sat out the very vast majority of that war. As you say, we don't know for sure why, but given that he came back when sent for, and seems to have chosen who stayed behind--seems like Rhaegar had autonomy. 

As for what to do: he was a beloved, charismatic leader and fighter. Those come in handy when fighting wars. Especially since Aerys was none of that.

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Did it ever occur to you that Lyanna may not have wanted him to become involved in the fight against her family, and since he couldn't really be expected to fight his own family, she at least convinced him to maintain neutrality?

Okay--are you thinking of some specific clue in the story of this that I'm missing? 

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Well... that's a reason I haven't heard yet. Only, I see zero proof that Rhaegar actually wanted a war, and if he did, he made a really shitty job making use of it.

Depends on what he wanted from it--if, as with Duskendale, he wanted Aerys deposed by others, he got damn close.

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You know, if he wanted this war, why the hell not use his huge popularity to squish the rebels, gain even more popularity by that, and then depose Aerys? Who would have opposed him? What sense does it make to let his side bleed out before he becomes involved?

Deposing Aerys himself splits the Targ loyalty--we're told a few times in the World Book that plenty are still loyal to Aerys. 

And I'm with you on the bleeding: letting the county bleed was senseless one way or the other: unless he thought that war would serve him. 

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This doesn't make sense, either - if Rhaegar defeats the Rebels, he doesn't need to appease them, he has an upper hand. If things go badly for the loyalists - and they did - why the hell not use her then to make them fall in line?

But it's easier to make rebels fall in line if he has something to appease them with, not to mention a potential cover story and ability to blame his father. And as for the loyalists--he does come back to help them then: but holds onto his hostage.

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This is something I totally don't get. Where do you see Rhaegar willing to let people die to fulfill his plans? We don't know what those plans were, so we don't know if they were fulfilled and what he was willing to sacrifice.

We know he was willing at Duskendale. And we know he was willing with the Rebellion. As for his plans, yes: we only have traces of those. But we do know he meant to take the throne and to fulfill the three-headed dragon cult thing. In all that, we see even more of his comparison to Stannis.

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What we do know, though, is that Rhaegar was carrying some burden that made him feel blue most of the time. So, if his plans really included letting people die, he definitely didn't seem fine with it.

Not sure I'm following you here--are you assuming he wasn't innately melancholy and serious from the time he was a child? He seems to have been like that through his entire life. . . so, why assume the above? Is there something specific you are thinking of?

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Which is what makes the difference between him and people like Baelish, who don't give a shit about who suffers as a consequence of his actions. 

Agreed--if anything, he seems more like Stannis. 

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Oh, I certainly agree that we should be paying attention, I only think that you focus on insubstantial details and miss the larger picture. What is going on between Petyr and Lysa is a travesty of anything that a normal person would consider "joy", therefore, while one can draw interesting ideas from the scene, it definitely isn't what went on between Rhaegar and Lyanna.

All fair--it's just we have so bloody few details. And I do think that's not what went on with Rhaegar and Lyanna--I don't think she was his lover. But I doubt Rhaegar was like that with any lover.

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BTW, Sansa is not stolen, she is rescued. She doesn't get taken where she would prefer but she took her chances and went willingly.

Yes--I used to put "stolen" in quotes meaning "kept against wishes" and a bunch of other things. But I thought I was starting to look pretentious. And point well taken--it's one of the scenarios I've wondered about for Lyanna--did she get into a bind and ask the wrong people for help?

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Now that would be a real game changer! :D (sorry, couldn't resist, I know you meant father)

HA! Whoops! I am the world's sloppiest typist.:dunce: Though it might explain why Rhaegar was so drop dead pretty. :D

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Which, if Petyr-Lysa are supposed to be a parallel/echo/antithesis/whatever, it really doesn't matter as these things never work 100% :-)

Agreed--but we do see it.

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How does it bear comparison when one incident led to haunting memories +14 years later, and the other never even got a honorable mention? That's like the "your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate" connection.

It bears comparison because it's with a Stark maid--Lyanna's niece. And from a man with a rose sigil covered in blue flowers. We have very, very little info on what was up with that crowning, but we do know that those things were there in a way. It thus fits better than the Jorah incident.

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The love between Rhaegar and Lyanna is never mentioned at the beginning, can only be inferred.As the narrative develops, there are more explicit hints, and then you get a blatant statement, towards the finale. Remember what was said about GRRM's three-stage reveal structure?

As Cersei's motive for killing Arryn is only inferred and then slowly revealed to Ned.

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Sorry but this seems rather superficial comparison, and the insistence on the Stark Maid unnecessarrily narrowing the view.

But we have almost nothing else to go on. . . ETA: the question keeps coming up for me: is Martin just leaving us hanging to guess? Or is he giving us info as we go? I really think it's the latter and that's why he gives us markers. . . . But he may be leaving us completely in the dark.

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Loras only needed the trick at the end because Gregor was such a monster of a man.

Loras as a parallel doesn't work, though, because he is described as exceptionally skilled and keen on particiating in tourneys. Jorah was neither and Rhaegar wasn't particularly interested. 

But Rhaegar was interested in the purpose of the Harrenhal tourney in the first place. It got mucked up with Aerys. But Rhaegar still had that objective.

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He might, but it doesn't fit with the accounts of him as being honourable. Plus, we see a much less skilled knight, Jorah, winning solely due to being inspired by Lynesse.

And we see a much more skilled knight cheating. And we see Barristan describe losing to Rhaegar as Unknightly--which is weird. There's nothing unknightly about losing a fair fight.

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And you know how that he did nothing? Or that he could have done anything in the first place? Or, as I suggested above, that Lyanna even wanted him to?

So far, we've got no evidence he did anything--no message, no futile begging. Nothing. 

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BTW, allow me to correct your interpretation of Arya kicking the dead guard - she is not angry because he failed but because he lied to her, he gave her a false sense of safety.

Ah! Fair point. I should have looked it up and not run on memory.

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Not really. If a young girl disappears with a man, people are bound to lean towards one or the other version and you need more information to make up your mind. Whereas, if you get a secret note accusing someone of murder, it is a safe bet that there is something going on. The contradiction fever-Lannisters never existed, the latter replaced the former the moment it appeared on the scene. Ned may not have been entirely convinced but the reader knows otherwise, and after Bran spies Jaime with Cersei at the old tower, there is not a shadow of doubt that the Lannisters do have a secret worth killing for. That is the real distraction, not the fever story.

Yes--Martin presents it and then quickly pushes us against the first alternative, though it takes characters longer to get there. And both readers and characters get it wrong.

With R+L, we are pushed less obviously towards the "love" option--shown much, much less--but we are pushed. And then told very clearly that the characters who express opinions on the subject choose the love option. Whether readers and characters are as wrong as with Arryn's death--that's still gotta be a possibility.

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Not good enough for me, definitely. In fact, I think that the Stark Maid detracts from the argument as it is based on very generalised, and thus superficial, reading, slapping together elements which are either cherry-picked or which form only dubious associations. What I consider as its greatest sin is its very core -  creating this supposed Stark Maid paradigm and trying to fit all kinds of characters into the pattern ignores the fundament of good writing, and that is characterisation. Characters do what they do not to fit in some abstract pattern but to follow the natural course in which their character drives them. The author can expose them to certain situations intentionally built to remind of other situations but those are never meant as a 100% repetition. There will always be variation caused by differences in character as well as developing the explored theme because you don't want your story to go in an endless cycle of repetitions, you need your characters to make a difference.

Completely fair. You've more than given me a fair hearing. :cheers:

On the first bolded--but, the ones I compare are Lyanna-related Stark maids.

On the second bolded: I fully agree. And I never intended otherwise: the story works for the characters themselves. AND the markers give us info on the past. That's the premise. My apologies if I've messed that up.

Edited by Sly Wren
I can't spell. Or do grammar good.

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1 hour ago, Nevets said:

Ned's reaction towards Arthur's death could lead some credence to the stories about Ned and Ashara being in love, and perhaps even lovers.  If he killed the brother of the woman he loved, he could naturally be upset about it, even years later.  Plus, her brother's death is widely cited as a proximate cause of her suicide shortly after (whether the suicide was real or not is a subject I won't get into).

A fair point--that could work. I really doubt Ned and Ashara were lovers, even though I want Ned to be Jon's father. But yes--that is possible.

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As to the respect they hold for Ned, that could be accounted for by the fact that he returned Arthur's sword, Dawn.  We have seen others keep the swords of those they defeated, so this is a real gesture that would lead to respect for the man who did it.

Yes--but we've also seen other houses hold grudges for their dead or injured family members, regardless of how they were hurt or killed. Barbrey's still mad enough to refuse to bury Ned's bones. ETA: Ned only led the party that got Barbrey's husband killed. Whereas Ned and Howland actively killed (it seems) Arthur, the Daynes' literal chosen son.

And the Daynes don't just respect Ned. They nickname their heir after him--Martin named Edric Dayne in the Game Appendix--two whole books before Edric appeared. He names no other Martell bannermen by name--only Edric. And then draws a circle around his nickname for readers--that was intentional.

And Edric, Lord of Starfall, thinks it's noteworthy that he's milk brothers with the Bastard of Winterfell--it's an odd thing to think. Maybe the Daynes are just really weird. But so far, their take on Ned seems a bit to warm for just "he returned the sword."

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I too think that Dawn and the Daynes are important to the story.  But not because they have any connection to Lyanna or Jon.

Even though Jon sees the Sword of the Morning and we're told Starfall remembers him being there?

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I have serious doubts about your contention that Rhaegar wanted war, and used Lyanna to deliberately start one.  This is at odds with what we know about him,

No--the World Book shows clearly that he was down for Tywin's plan to kill Aerys via the Darklyns' Defiance. 

I do think Tywin was the driving force behind starting the war using Lyanna, and that there's a good chance Rhaegar only found out about it after the fact--and then went along. But it does fit what we see of him in the World Book.

And even what we see in Jaime's POV: Rhaegar knows Jaime is completely freaked out. Jaime is not remotely equipped to deal with this mess--anyone can see that. Rhaegar could take Jaime with him. He could leave Darry or Barristan behind to help Jaime--true loyalists with plenty of experience. Instead, Rheagar leaves the most unstable and ill-equipped Kingsguard possible to protect Aerys. Even if Rhaegar was sure he'd win--that strongly suggests he didn't want Aerys well  protected. 

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and I can't imagine that he would be as highly regarded if there was even an inkling he did that.

Unless everyone doesn't know he did this--Tywin is suspected with the Darklyns, not Rhaegar. Even though there's no way Tywin would have said what he did if not sure Rhaegar would go along. People seem willing to assume Rhaegar isn't much of a plotter--it's understandable with a force like Tywin to draw attention. But we're shown evidence that Rhaegar was a plotter, too.

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And his actions can be easily understood as those of a man who knew that his father, the king, was unfit, but was unsure as to exactly what to do about it.

He was sure with the Darklyns: let others kill Daddy and claim the throne himself.

Edited by Sly Wren
I can't spell.

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1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

Well, he apparently dispatched three of the most lethal kingsguard to protect Lyanna and her baby and then took another three to the Trident, leaving Elia and his other two children without any protection at all. Doesn't sound like the actions of a man who thinks his son is destined for great things anymore.

1. We don't know the KG were protecting Lyanna and her baby.

2. We do know there's a possibility Aegon was saved--I do wonder if Rhaegar knew. .. .If this was a plan with Varys, just in case. . . but that's clearly speculation.

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On January 14, 2019 at 1:23 PM, kissdbyfire said:

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?

Apparently muddled brains are catching--I missed this.

I do think Lyanna and Arthur are the most likely. I would prefer Ned was somehow the father--but I think it's likely to be Arthur and Lyanna.

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2 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

How have you reached this conclusion? 

Who else would want three kingsguard standing watch over pregnant Lyanna while the crown is under threat?

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48 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

1. We don't know the KG were protecting Lyanna and her baby.

2. We do know there's a possibility Aegon was saved--I do wonder if Rhaegar knew. .. .If this was a plan with Varys, just in case. . . but that's clearly speculation.

Really? Way out there in the middle of nowhere while their king and their prince are fighting for their lives. What were they doing there?

Save his son and leave his wife and daughter for the slaughter? Does that sound like Rhaegar to you?

49 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

Apparently muddled brains are catching--I missed this.

I do think Lyanna and Arthur are the most likely. I would prefer Ned was somehow the father--but I think it's likely to be Arthur and Lyanna.

Why would Jon have to be kept secret from the world if he was a Dayne? Why would either Rhaegar or Aerys think he is in need of this much protection out in the middle of nowhere. Why would Whent and Hightower choose to be here instead of protecting either their prince or their king as they are sworn to do? And what possible relevance could a Stark-Dayne baby have in the denouement? 

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