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The three Kingsguard were loyal to Rhaegar, not Aerys.

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Any theory putting forth such an idea has to also explain why the hell Howland Reed has shown no interest whatsoever in Jon Snow up to this point.

 

 

How do you know he hasn't? The crannogmen never leave their bogs and crannogs, but that doesn't mean they are incapable of learning about the outside world. He knew that Brandon was someone special and needed help. Jon was with Ned for many years, and then left for the wall. What would Howland have been able to do for him?

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It is very likely that Howland got very important information on the Others and the ancient past of Westeros on the Isle of Faces, but information relating to the promised prince prophecy? Hardly very likely.

Call it what you will, the PwtP, the Last Hero, AA . . . The point is that he has learned the true story behind the Song of Ice and Fire and how to make the person who will sing it.

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Neither is it very likely that this fan theory of 'the Song of Ice and Fire' being a person rather than a series of important events connected to a person has any merit in the minds of the characters. If the promised prince were to be born from a union of ice (Starks) and fire (Targaryens) then there would have been many such unions in the past, at least from the point on the Targaryens were actively trying create the promised prince (which they did at least since the days of Aegon V). Aerys II would have looked for a Stark bride for his son and heir, not some Volantene noblewoman or a Dornish princess.

Rhaegar says "his is the song of ice and fire." So the SoIaF is not a person, but it seems that the person who sings it is. As far as I know, this is the only time anyone has ever mentioned the song of ice and fire, so it is very likely that nobody knows what this combination will do, in terms of blood magic, nor that Starks are necessarily the Ice component. Recall that after the HotU, Dany asked Jorah what the song of ice and fire is and Jorah says he has never heard of it.

Before Jon, of course, the only time a Targ-Stark union was proposed was right after the DoD, but it never came to fruition. Maybe the Green Men had a hand in stopping that? Explaining to either Cregan or Aegon that the time was not yet right?

One other caveat: the only other time the phrase "ice and fire" appears in the text are in the oaths that Meera and Jojen Reed swear to Brandon:

To Winterfell we pledge the faith of Greywater. Hearth and heart and harvest, we yield up to you, my lord. Our swords and spears and arrows are yours to command. Grant mercy to our weak, help to our helpless, and justice to all, and we shall never fail you.

I swear it by earth and water

I swear it by bronze and iron.

We swear it by ice and fire.

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On 1/18/2019 at 11:04 PM, John Suburbs said:

How do you know he hasn't? The crannogmen never leave their bogs and crannogs, but that doesn't mean they are incapable of learning about the outside world. He knew that Brandon was someone special and needed help. Jon was with Ned for many years, and then left for the wall. What would Howland have been able to do for him?

Telling him who he is and what his destiny is, for instance. Telling Eddard Stark, so that he tell the boy the truth and prepare him for his destiny instead of allowing him to waste his life believing he is a bastard of no significance. I mean, frankly, if Howland knew Jon's destiny since he was on the Isle of Faces, why didn't he, Howland Reed, take on Lyanna's son as a ward to raise him in the Neck and prepare him for his future mission?

'Jon' would have been even more out of sight in the Neck. The fact that Ned insisted to bring up his bastard at Winterfell indicates he had no clue that this boy was supposed to be special in any way.

Also, Howland could have sent his children to Jon Snow rather than Brandon Stark - or having Bran and his children actually search for Jon Snow at the Wall or beyond it. Find other ways to send messages to Jon, etc.

By the way: Howland didn't know anything about Bran. Jojen did. He had the green dreams and he told his father what he had to do, and then Howland gave his consent and let Jojen and Meera go. This was not done at Howland's instigation, indicating that the man doesn't know all that much.

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Call it what you will, the PwtP, the Last Hero, AA . . . The point is that he has learned the true story behind the Song of Ice and Fire and how to make the person who will sing it.

That is what I'd like to see evidence for. At that point all we have is you assuming Howland learned anything about that on the Isle of Faces and I say it doesn't look like he did. He would have reacted differently if he had had such knowledge.

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Rhaegar says "his is the song of ice and fire." So the SoIaF is not a person, but it seems that the person who sings it is. As far as I know, this is the only time anyone has ever mentioned the song of ice and fire, so it is very likely that nobody knows what this combination will do, in terms of blood magic, nor that Starks are necessarily the Ice component. Recall that after the HotU, Dany asked Jorah what the song of ice and fire is and Jorah says he has never heard of it.

Yeah, but this is not *really* a literal song, is it? The song is the title of the series, and ice and fire are prevalent in many literal and metaphorical ways in this series of novels. This is not all about the Song of Ice and Fire that is likely going to be the fight against the Others - which is the big climax of the series.

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Before Jon, of course, the only time a Targ-Stark union was proposed was right after the DoD, but it never came to fruition. Maybe the Green Men had a hand in stopping that? Explaining to either Cregan or Aegon that the time was not yet right?

That wasn't *really* a Stark-Targaryen union since Jacaerys Velaryon wasn't a Targaryen as such. He was a Velaryon. He was still of Targaryen blood and all, but if we count him as a Targaryen then Lyanna-Robert were also a Stark-Targaryen union.

But I really don't think that there is any metaphysical importance/magic to a Targaryen-Stark union. Why shouldn't there have been one such earlier? It would have been just a marriage.

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One other caveat: the only other time the phrase "ice and fire" appears in the text are in the oaths that Meera and Jojen Reed swear to Brandon:

To Winterfell we pledge the faith of Greywater. Hearth and heart and harvest, we yield up to you, my lord. Our swords and spears and arrows are yours to command. Grant mercy to our weak, help to our helpless, and justice to all, and we shall never fail you.

I swear it by earth and water

I swear it by bronze and iron.

We swear it by ice and fire.

Sure, but what is that supposed to tell us? It is an ancient vow invoking various natural things. There is no mentioning of a song there.

Edited by Lord Varys

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Hasn't @Ran chimed in on the "when did the Battle of Ashford happen" issue?

(It still makes no sense for it to have happened AFTER the Battle of the Bells.)

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23 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is very likely that Howland got very important information on the Others and the ancient past of Westeros on the Isle of Faces, but information relating to the promised prince prophecy? Hardly very likely. 

I'm not so sure. The prophecy that the promised prince would come from that specific Targaryen line came from a woods witch who is connected to sad songs. The song of ice and fire element that Rhaegar mentioned may well have come from her too.

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21 hours ago, Ser Leftwich said:

Hasn't @Ran chimed in on the "when did the Battle of Ashford happen" issue?

(It still makes no sense for it to have happened AFTER the Battle of the Bells.)

So, the _intent_ of that passage is that Ashford is being mentioned out of chronology, explaining part of the developments that had happened earlier. But I admit, it's not clear as written, and I can definitely understand the confusion. It was much clearer in our original draft, where everything was done chronologically, Ashford placed before the Battle of the Bells, but then we were having space issues and the edit was, sadly, somewhat heavy-handed to get it to fit. Had we had more time, we would have revised and polished a bit more to try and keep it all in order.

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3 minutes ago, Ran said:

So, the _intent_ of that passage is that Ashford is being mentioned out of chronology, explaining part of the developments that had happened earlier. But I admit, it's not clear as written, and I can definitely understand the confusion. It was much clearer in our original draft, where everything was done chronologically, Ashford placed before the Battle of the Bells, but then we were having space issues and the edit was, sadly, somewhat heavy-handed to get it to fit. Had we had more time, we would have revised and polished a bit more to try and keep it all in order.

OK, so any suggestion that Ashford happened after the BotB, is utterly wrong. Period.

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On 1/18/2019 at 11:20 AM, three-eyed monkey said:

Yeah I agree with this. Sorry, I was just confused about the point that @SirArthurwas making about regency. What I should have said was - if anyone saw Rhaella as regent then it may have been the remaining loyalists on Dragonstone, but I fail to see how there is no getting around her?

Because I don't understand the situation. Like at all. I guess it gets too complicated with all the bouncing between a valid claim for baby king, the persons who can make baby king valid (legitimate)  and the rest of his mother's family and his father`s family. 

It's like he has to be baby king surpassing Aerys wish for Viserys to be the heir while at the same time having Aerys (as head of the family and as king) legitimation for Rhaegar to even marry a second time. It's totally fucked up and reads more like a hack lawyer attempt. And that is even before someone has to appoint a guardian for baby king. The only way is for Lyanna to declare herself regent (in another state of war against her family) and then pass that to the KG. 

At this point Queen Rhaella at dragonstone has the royal fleet, the ancestral home and a king, while baby king has 3 soldiers with no ties to the family under the theoretical command of Aerys who commanded Viserys to be the heir. Hurray. It's fucked up beyond all repair and the only way out of this is hack law logic where Aerys cannot change the heir while the KG can change the chain of command. 

That or a rebellion among the KG. 

 

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17 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I'm not so sure. The prophecy that the promised prince would come from that specific Targaryen line came from a woods witch who is connected to sad songs. The song of ice and fire element that Rhaegar mentioned may well have come from her too.

If that were the case, then this prophecy should have been made when the woods witch made her prophecy to Jaehaerys II during the reign of Aegon V, no? Rhaegar thinks his son by Elia Martell is the promised prince whose song is the song of ice and fire, meaning that he had that information at least at this point.

That, in turn, means chances are not that bad that the information had already been there when the marriage of Prince Rhaegar was arranged - as there is no indication that either Aerys II or Rhaegar met/interacted with/asked the Ghost of High Heart anything about the prophecy in the years between the betrothal of Rhaegar to Elia and the birth of Rhaegar's son Aegon.

Considering a significant portion of the readership makes this rather obvious (and somewhat ham-fisted) connection of ice-Stark and fire-Targaryen (with Jon Snow being either 'very super special' because he is this song of ice and fire in the flesh, or because his parentage causes him to have that song) it is completely implausible that the people being obsessed with the prophecy never made that connection.

The fact that a Targaryen-Stark marriage was never a priority to the Targaryens strongly implies this interpretation is pretty much a dead end.

The magical bloodline bringing forth the promised prince is the Targaryen bloodline, apparently, they are the ones who wait for a prince who has been promised, not any other family/house.

5 hours ago, SirArthur said:

Because I don't understand the situation. Like at all. I guess it gets too complicated with all the bouncing between a valid claim for baby king, the persons who can make baby king valid (legitimate)  and the rest of his mother's family and his father`s family. 

There is no chance that the child born to Rhaegar and Lyanna was seen as 'a/the rightful king' by anyone, nor is there any chance that his mother and three bodyguards in the middle of nowhere were setting up 'a regency government' for a boy who wasn't a king.

Like in the real (medieval) world there are no fixed rules how a regency for a minor or incapacitated king works. If the heir is a minor then usually the dying monarch leaves a will appointing a regent or regency government, but that is not necessarily followed - the regency is settled after the death of the monarch, and with the monarch dead his voice/opinion on the matter is irrelevant.

We see this countless times in the real world and in Westerosi history. Robert wanted Ned to serve as regent for his minor son, but Cersei seized the regency.

Before you set up a regency government you first have to have a king, though. Which means a coronation/anointing or at least a proclamation of the heir/claimant/pretender you want to see on the throne.

This is best evident in how Prince Aegon is seen right now by his own followers. He is still a prince, not King Aegon VI. Connington and the other members of the gang don't give each other fancy titles on the Shy Maid, Connington was the the Lord Regent of young King Aegon until the boy celebrated his sixteenth nameday, etc.

Until such a time as Aegon is crowned king he will remain a mere prince, despite the fact that he and his gang think he has the best claim to the Iron Throne. And only when he is king and sits on the throne, etc. will he have a proper government.

Also, in Westerosi history we see that a proper regency government is only set up when a king is actually installed - not before. This is most evident in the case of Aegon III where the regency council of seven regents and the Hand and the Protector of the Realm are only named after Aegon III is crowned and anointed king. Jaehaerys I also only becomes a proper king in his Oldtown coronation and while it is clear that his mother is going to serve as his regent and Lord Rogar as Protector of the Realm and Hand and he names a Lord Commander of the Kingsguard before his coronation, the proper regency government is only set up after the Oldtown coronation.

In that sense, Lyanna was at best the dying guardian of her child, whereas the KG at the tower could have sworn their personal loyalty to the newborn prince (assuming there was a proper marriage and they accepted its validity). Them doing that would not make him king.

In fact, it is a completely ridiculous assumption that they would proclaim a newborn infant king in the middle of nowhere or do him homage as king at a moment when the war has been lost and the Targaryen dynasty has been pretty much deposed (Dragonstone excluded at this point).

This would only endanger the life of the child - 'to crown her is to kill her', as both Illyrio and Tyrion understand when Myrcella is discussed. If the KG at the tower cared about the life of Lyanna's child - which we assume - they would not proclaim it king. Even if they thought the child had the best claim they would wait for the right moment to press that claim - like Connington and company do with Prince Aegon.

But chances are not that great that anyone there thought Lyanna's infant child had the best claim. He was born in the middle of nowhere, after the death of his princely father and possibly even after the death of King Aerys II. The hope for the future of House Targaryen lay with Viserys III - still a child, but much older than Lyanna's child (or the other children allegedly killed in KL), and thus much more likely to draw people to his banners. 

Even if there had been a peaceful succession and the choice had been between Rhaegar's infant son and Viserys most of the court and Realm would have favored Viserys because his ascension would have meant a shorter regency and thus more stability.

Finally, we also have more than ample evidence that the Kingsguard played no deciding role when the succession was in doubt or questioned. Nobody ever asked them for their opinion who should sit the throne. They just did as they were told. And when they actually showed some initiative - like Criston Cole or the two morons who thought that Jaehaerys I would reward their treason - then they paid very dearly for presuming to think for themselves.

Thus it would be completely out of character for the three KG with Lyanna to actually presume to make a king in the middle of nowhere, especially since no member of the royal family or King Aerys II's government was with them.

We see during the Dance that even great lords are reluctant to proclaim kings - after the news of the death of Prince Aemond reach the Greens at Tumbleton they do not crown Daeron the Daring their king, nor do they declare him Prince of Dragonstone - because they do not know whether Aegon II is alive or dead.

Many people have made assertions and declarations what the KG at the tower may or must have known when Ned arrived there - but even if we were to grant all that (which I'm not doing - they may have had rumors and reports that Rhaegar and Aerys II were dead, but they should not have had good news about the fate of Rhaenys and Aegon) then it is still very, very unlikely that they would have proclaimed a king without first consulting with the Queen Dowager and her son Viserys on Dragonstone. Doing that would have weakened House Targaryen even further - not to mention that they may have known that Viserys III was the chosen and anointed heir of Aerys II, anyway, making it a completely moot point to consider the proclamation of another king.

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On 1/16/2019 at 9:45 AM, Lord Varys said:

You raise an important point above. On a metal-level it is far more interesting why Ned has this (recurrent) fever dream than what its actual contents are. Dreams are always more about the dreamer and the dreamer's hopes, fears, demons, guilt, expectations, etc. than they are about facts -

Thank you and sorry if I reply only now. Busy week, however...

On 1/16/2019 at 9:45 AM, Lord Varys said:

In that sense the ritualistic/ceremonial exchange of questions and answers in Ned's dream dances around the Jon Snow issue without ever getting to the bottom of it - that would/may have come in later elements of the dream that were cut because Ned is woken too early and the dream is thus interrupted. It is about how Ned perceives and deals with the entire situation around his sister and Rhaegar and their child and what he did to save/conceal the boy's identity.

 

That was the starting point I was trying to make. The dream - from a narrative prospective - is not there to give us information about the state of minds of those knights, but about Ned's one, in that moment and thereafter.

On 1/16/2019 at 9:45 AM, Lord Varys said:

The dream is a very important piece to the Jon Snow insofar as he has Ned introduce us to the fact that those three Kingsguard were with Lyanna when she died - and the questions Ned asks in the dream may in fact be little or nothing more than an echo of Ned's own thought process helping him to figure out what was going on. It may have been bugging him that Dayne, Whent, and Hightower were not at the Trident, at KL, at Storm's End, or on Dragonstone.

But it is not necessarily something that is important in relation to legal issues. Far to the contrary, actually.

And we don't really have to invoke a line of succession there. The three Kingsguard stayed with a pregnant Lyanna because either Rhaegar or Aerys II or both asked/commanded them to do so. That's pretty much all there is to this. Kingsguard are assigned to (extended) members of the royal families all the time, and have even been assigned to royal mistresses or bastards, so their presence at the tower tells us literally nothing about the status of Lyanna - whether she was married to Rhaegar or whether she was a mere mistress - nor the status of the child - whether it was a trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen or a mere bastard.

There is a reason why George had Barristan Selmy mention the fact that Kingsguard can be assigned to protect pretty much anyone.

Let me clarify this: it's not that I take the legal aspect of the issue (or the so call chain of command) as something less "flexible" than you do. Quite the contrary. I am saying that special times and threats require special measures.

And in a very special time as a rebellion not only against the actual king, but against his all family/dinasty, his kingship... these special measures cannot be to protect the actual king... only. The physical person of the man who sits on the throne in that specific moment.

You have to protect the chance itself that he may have an heir to follow him on that throne, sooner or later. 

So, sure it helps our argument  knowing that in ordinary times Kingsguard sometimes were assigned to protect royal mistresses and bastards. But in a time of a civil war like that - again: vs an entire dinasty, not only vs a specific king - even more so, I'd say. 
I say - contrary to many perhaps - that is not surprising just because of the civil war that all the 7 KG were not inside the Red Keep to protect Aerys. But divided and assigned to the protection of every piece of that chain. A potential rearguard included. A rearguard in a time like that is particularly important indeed. 

So, Rhaegar had an army and 3 KG knights with him. Among them an hero like sir Barristar and prince Martell...

Aerys was in the safest places among them all, with Jamie serving as a KG but also as an hostage vs the Lannister's army. Elia and her children too: they serve as hostages vs Rhaegar and prince Martell. And we know how and why they died....
Viserys had not KG with him, but still he was sent into an insland, the seat of House Targaryen, sourronded by the see and far away from the front. 

The question is why in a time like that, 3 KG men - among whom there were the lord commander and the best knight of the time -  were assigned to the ToJ. 

I believe that is because another Targaryen was about to be born. And bastard or not doesn't matter, because if there's a time when a bastard's claim may be particularly effective, that is when a dinisty is about to die and the contetex of Robert Rebellion is exactly one of that kind.

Therefore, regardless the kind of relashionship between Rhaeger and his father, the king and the crown prince (both of them) should have ordered the KG to do exactly that and that is what the KG should have done, not matter who they loved/trusted/admired most. Because once that kind of Rebellion begins, the problem is not who's better between Rhaegar and Aerys anymore. I'll put a spoiler tag on the bottom - sorry but I am having problems with the formatting - to take a comparison with Theon chapter from TWT

Before that and back to Ned's questions, the point - I believe - is not if he asked those questions for real, if those words were spoken or not. But that in those moments, meeting the lord commander of the KG and the sword of the morning there, he suddenly realized what was really going on. That Lyanna was giving birth to a Targaryen, bastard or not. And/or that - years later - he's thinking that he should have understood at least at that point. But one thing is for sure: no matter when he understood/learnt the truth, prior or after that meeting/fight, that truth had an impact on him, on his life. A huge one. Because he chose to hide not only Jon's identity, but someone with a more or less strong claim to the iron throne. And the dream reflects his
reasoning, anxiety, his sense of guilt, doubts, etc...

Stannis: "I want you gone before midday, ser. Lord Bolton could be on us any moment, and it is imperative that the banker return to Braavos. You shall accompany him across the narrow sea."
Massey: "If there is to be a battle, my place is here with you."
"Your place is where I say it is. I have five hundred swords as good as you, or better, but you have a pleasing manner and a glib tongue, and those will be of more use to me at Braavos then here. [...] "In Braavos you may hear that I am dead. It may even be true. You shall find my sellswords nonetheless."
The knight hesitated. "Your Grace, if you are dead —"
" —you will avenge my death, and seat my daughter on the Iron Throne. Or die in the attempt."
Ser Justin put one hand on his sword hilt. "On my honor as a knight, you have my word." 

Edited by lalt

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12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

If that were the case, then this prophecy should have been made when the woods witch made her prophecy to Jaehaerys II during the reign of Aegon V, no? Rhaegar thinks his son by Elia Martell is the promised prince whose song is the song of ice and fire, meaning that he had that information at least at this point.

Agreed.

But the question was, did Howland Reed know of the prophecy of a promised prince? My point was that if the woods witch knew then I think it is very plausible that Howland Reed knew, particularly in light of spending a winter on the Isle of Faces and meeting the Green Men.

The prince that was promised is associated with the war for the dawn. The Green Men are associated with the coming of spring. The Isle of Faces has weirwoods which brings Bloodraven into the equation. Howland is present during the KotLT. He's present at the ToJ. I think his connection to the ice and fire theme is far stronger to the game of thrones theme.

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15 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I think his connection to the ice and fire theme is far stronger to the game of thrones theme.

I mean his children literally swear an oath by ice and fire. 

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13 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Agreed.

But the question was, did Howland Reed know of the prophecy of a promised prince? My point was that if the woods witch knew then I think it is very plausible that Howland Reed knew, particularly in light of spending a winter on the Isle of Faces and meeting the Green Men.

At this point no connection between the Ghost of High Heart and the Green Men has been established. Why should we assume Howland must have known things she knew/prophesied?

13 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

The prince that was promised is associated with the war for the dawn. The Green Men are associated with the coming of spring. The Isle of Faces has weirwoods which brings Bloodraven into the equation. Howland is present during the KotLT. He's present at the ToJ. I think his connection to the ice and fire theme is far stronger to the game of thrones theme.

It is noteworthy, though, that Brandon Stark and the Reeds do not, in fact, go to Greywater Watch to get special knowledge from Howland nor do they continue from there to the Isle of Faces. They go beyond the Wall.

It may be that Bloodraven is in magical contact with the Green Men via the weirwoods, but if that's the case this has yet to be established. Nothing we know indicates that such a connection influenced the decisions of the people in the main series at this point.

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On 1/20/2019 at 12:25 AM, SirArthur said:

Because I don't understand the situation. Like at all. I guess it gets too complicated with all the bouncing between a valid claim for baby king, the persons who can make baby king valid (legitimate)  and the rest of his mother's family and his father`s family. 

It's like he has to be baby king surpassing Aerys wish for Viserys to be the heir while at the same time having Aerys (as head of the family and as king) legitimation for Rhaegar to even marry a second time. It's totally fucked up and reads more like a hack lawyer attempt. And that is even before someone has to appoint a guardian for baby king. The only way is for Lyanna to declare herself regent (in another state of war against her family) and then pass that to the KG. 

At this point Queen Rhaella at dragonstone has the royal fleet, the ancestral home and a king, while baby king has 3 soldiers with no ties to the family under the theoretical command of Aerys who commanded Viserys to be the heir. Hurray. It's fucked up beyond all repair and the only way out of this is hack law logic where Aerys cannot change the heir while the KG can change the chain of command. 

That or a rebellion among the KG. 

 

I think we really have to consider how much special/dangerous the context was at that time. 
And even tho Aerys surely didn't want to die, even tho he probably believed that he wouldn't died, he took some measures as he shoud have done.
From this pov  (I agree with @Lord Varys on that) choosing Viserys as his heir, was a right choice. He was the oldest (beside Rhaegar). And in those kind of circumstances, that matters. Still, the scenario of Viserys becoming king - form Aerys's pov, when he took that decision - was a scenario of caos.

No matter who Viserys's regent may have been, if he had come to the throne, that would/could have occured after Aerys's death, most likely while Robert's rebellion was still going on. And Viseys was not only still a kid, but a kid with not heir. Therefore he would have been a particularly weak king in a particularly difficult situation.
If so... protecting Lyanna's child, was very, very, important for the sake of house Targaryen.


The new born - in fact - would have been another  heir and like I said, bastard or not, made little difference by then:  in that context (of an house that could be erased pretty soon), the priority is the surviving itself of that house. And a new born would have been another chance for house Targaryen to survive.  Why to waste it? Why to renounce to that chance?


So to me, it's not that the 3 KG had to proclaim King Jon in the middle of nowhere and with little support behind them. I believe they sworn to protect him. That they were given of this order for these reasons.

In addition, we should keep in mind that when the order was given no one knew who would have - possibly - find Lyanna, the child and those 3. It could have been Robert.
Or Ned could have been so outraged to kill his nephew. We - the readers - we know that Ned would have never done that. But characters in-universe at the time the order was given didn't know it and/or couldn't have been sure of Ned's reaction.


That said, we still miss crucial information. Above all: how old was the baby and/or how much Lyanna's illness changed the plan, if it did.
 
Because for instance, maybe the order was to protect Lyanna at the ToJ until the child's birth and then to move mother and babe elsewhere. To hand over them in a safe place and to people of trust. 
A plan that failed not just because Ned showed up, but because she delivered her son few hours (if not moments) before her brother arrived or a few days prior but then she was unable to move.
Something like this - I guess - would also explain why at war over, the 3 KG chose to fight in the first place.
Because in all honesty, that is another big issue.

Ned wasn't sent into a mission to deal with every Tagaryen's loyalist left. He was looking for his sister.
A new king seated the Iron Throne and the KG had the chance to bend the knee to Robert (like sir Barristan did) or not. I admit it's not out of the real of possibilities (and pretty consistent with what we know of those 3 men) that Hightower, Dayne and Whent weren't willing to bend the knee to someone that from their pov may have been an usurper.
It's a personal choice in a dramatic moment.
And if that was they case they could have chosen to fight for their own honor and surviving.
However, if there wasn't something else pretty important, they had not reason to not hand over Lyanna.

What I mean is that if the order to stay at the ToJ  hadn't been given to them because she was pregnant of Rhaegar's child, if she was there as an hostage period - as some suggest - whatever political value of her as an hostage had died together with Aerys and Rhaegar. There was not deel to be made, at that point in history. And to obey to such an order was pointless. And dishonorable I would say. Fighting because you don't want to bend the knee is honorable, but different than fighting to keep faith to the pointless order of holding someone (a woman) as an hostage when there's not deal to be made and half of the parties that should make that deal are dead or in exile.
Whereas if the order had to do with the protection of Rhaegar's child and the hand over of said child to someone of Targaryen's (not Stark's or rebels) trust, then that's another thing for the reasons stated above.

And maybe, they had to fight just because Ned wasn't willingly to let his nephew go and being raised as a Targaryen. Legitimate or not, secret or not à la young Griff (fake or not), waiting for his turn/chance had it ever come and in danger meanwhile.
That would have targeted Ned's nephew, not matter what. 
And I can see Ned choosing to not loose his nephew, after having loose his father, his brother and his sister. To not outrage Robert for the safety of the rest of family as well. To end the Rebellion there and then. "This is how it ends" - I believe - may hint exactly to this.
Or that is the way that the story makes more sense to me.

EDIT: And the dream itself, it that specific moment of Ned's life makes even more sense, to me.
Because if the dream reflects Ned's state of mind when he had that dream, more than the exact things said and done long time ago, then that is the moment when Ned is questioning his choice as he probably never did before: was that choice the right one? or was it pointless to kill those brave/honorable men, to lie, to make her wife suffer, to not make Jon knowing the truth, etc... if years after the reality Ned is facing is not only so disgusting but so dangerous for all his family, regardless?

Edited by lalt

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

At this point no connection between the Ghost of High Heart and the Green Men has been established. Why should we assume Howland must have known things she knew/prophesied?

I'm not saying he knew what she prophesied exactly, more that he may have been exposed to the same source of knowledge as her. The promised prince is connected to the war for the dawn. Dawn is synonymous with spring in this context. Green Men are symbolic of spring. So there is an obvious thematic link between a promised prince and the Green Men, regardless of whether it's been established directly in the text yet or not.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is noteworthy, though, that Brandon Stark and the Reeds do not, in fact, go to Greywater Watch to get special knowledge from Howland nor do they continue from there to the Isle of Faces. They go beyond the Wall.

I don't think Howland has special knowledge beyond what he knows about the ToJ. Howland sent his kids to Bran after Jojen dreamed of the winged wolf in chains, and they end up with Bloodraven. They might not have gone directly to the Isle of Faces but they did go somewhere Bran can access the Isle of Faces, with a little help from his mentor. Again, this part of the story is central to the wider ice and fire theme.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It may be that Bloodraven is in magical contact with the Green Men via the weirwoods, but if that's the case this has yet to be established. Nothing we know indicates that such a connection influenced the decisions of the people in the main series at this point.

We know Bloodraven has used his powers to influence people and events. He is hooked-up to the weirwoods. There are weirwoods on the Isle of Faces. Howland Reed went to the Isle of Faces. There is certainly room for Howland to be influenced by the dawn agenda, whether it stems from Bloodraven or the Green Men. Otherwise Howland's journey there seems rather pointless, and I don't think that will prove to be the case. From a story-telling point of view, I just can't see Howland Reed's connection to the KotLT, ToJ, and Isle of Faces as being purely coincidental.

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On ‎1‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 5:23 PM, Lord Varys said:

Telling him who he is and what his destiny is, for instance. Telling Eddard Stark, so that he tell the boy the truth and prepare him for his destiny instead of allowing him to waste his life believing he is a bastard of no significance. I mean, frankly, if Howland knew Jon's destiny since he was on the Isle of Faces, why didn't he, Howland Reed, take on Lyanna's son as a ward to raise him in the Neck and prepare him for his future mission?

'Jon' would have been even more out of sight in the Neck. The fact that Ned insisted to bring up his bastard at Winterfell indicates he had no clue that this boy was supposed to be special in any way.

One's destiny is one's destiny regardless of whether one knows it ahead of time or not. In fact, Jon would more likely fulfill his destiny if he does not know it growing up, which would put an awful lot of pressure on a little boy.

Ned may know all about Jon, or he may not. Lyanna may have sworn Howland to secrecy, or they mutually agreed that no one but them and Rhaegar know what this is all about.

Jon is more likely to learn proper warcraft and the ways of the world at Winterfell than at Greywater Watch. Brought up as a crannogman and trained with net and spear, Jon would be next-to-useless outside the Neck.

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Also, Howland could have sent his children to Jon Snow rather than Brandon Stark - or having Bran and his children actually search for Jon Snow at the Wall or beyond it. Find other ways to send messages to Jon, etc.

By the way: Howland didn't know anything about Bran. Jojen did. He had the green dreams and he told his father what he had to do, and then Howland gave his consent and let Jojen and Meera go. This was not done at Howland's instigation, indicating that the man doesn't know all that much.

Bran needed the escort to the 3EC, not Jon. If they had brought Bran to Jon, he never would have made it to the 3EC.

Jojen is the greenseer, not Howland. So yes, Jojen told Howland what he saw in his dream, and that was to bring Bran to the 3EC. None of this had anything to do with Jon.

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That is what I'd like to see evidence for. At that point all we have is you assuming Howland learned anything about that on the Isle of Faces and I say it doesn't look like he did. He would have reacted differently if he had had such knowledge.

Of course I'm assuming. If it was stated clearly and unequivocally in the book then there would be no need to even discuss it. He spent a good two years on the IoF. What could he have possibly been doing all this time if not discussing lore with the Green Men? And what lore would be more important than that which involves the coming threat to all mankind?

Why do you assume that this knowledge would then cause Howland to become the chief instigator of all the subsequent events and ultimate protector of Jon? There are other people, kin to Jon, who are far more capable of protecting him than he, and as I said, if Jon's destiny is set, then there is nothing that Howland, or anyone, can do to change that.

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Yeah, but this is not *really* a literal song, is it? The song is the title of the series, and ice and fire are prevalent in many literal and metaphorical ways in this series of novels. This is not all about the Song of Ice and Fire that is likely going to be the fight against the Others - which is the big climax of the series.

It's whatever True Tongue word that most closely translates to "song" in the common tongue. The children are "those who sing the song of earth" and they do literally sing this song:

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Sometimes the sound of song would drift up from someplace far below.

. . .

And they did sing. They sang in the True Tongue, so Bran could not understand the words, but their voices were as pure as winter air.

I imagine there are, or were, other ancient races who sang the song of the seas, the wind, ice, fire . . . 

If I had my guess, the song is everything that comprises the being of the singers: history, culture, beliefs, memories . . . And those who learn to sing these songs in their totality can use them to do all kinds of amazing things, like shatter land masses and control rings of volcanoes.

In other words, the "song" is the underlying element of magic. It's the Force.

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That wasn't *really* a Stark-Targaryen union since Jacaerys Velaryon wasn't a Targaryen as such. He was a Velaryon. He was still of Targaryen blood and all, but if we count him as a Targaryen then Lyanna-Robert were also a Stark-Targaryen union.

But I really don't think that there is any metaphysical importance/magic to a Targaryen-Stark union. Why shouldn't there have been one such earlier? It would have been just a marriage.

 Jace was a direct, first-born descendent of a Targaryan -- first-born son to the first-born child of King Viserys Targaryen. The pact would have married his first-born daughter to the first-born son and heir to Cregan. I doubt very much that last names count when it comes to blood magic, or else Edric Storm would be useless to Melisandre.

Lyanna and Robert may also have produce an Ice-Fire baby, but it never happened so we'll never know. Mayhaps this was why the Green Men sent Howland to the tourney; to warn her against the marriage with Robert. Being the wolf-blooded child that she was, however, she decided to do so anyway with a Targaryen crown prince.

Blood magic is a central element to the story, and the Targaryens are "blood of the dragon" whose forefathers supposedly descended from actual dragons. The Starks, meanwhile, were Kings of Winter and might, just might, have a touch of Other blood in their veins (but that's another theory). So I find it unusual that anyone would think that a fantasy series entitled "A Song of Ice and Fire" would think that there is not only no song in the story but no ice or fire magic either.

As far as I can tell, there has been never been a Targ-Stark union in the history of the realm, not even a distant one. Yes, Jace and Sara Snow, whom Gyldane is pretty sure never happened, nor that Sara even existed; and such a thing would be woefully out-of-character for Jace. And it doesn't appear to have produce a child in any event.

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Sure, but what is that supposed to tell us? It is an ancient vow invoking various natural things. There is no mentioning of a song there.

No, but it's odd that the only other mention of "ice and fire" comes from the Reeds. It must be important to them if they use it to re-swear their allegiance to Winterfell. And it seems to be the most important element of the oath because they say it together. There are all sorts of various natural things they could swear by, but they happen to pick ice and fire -- two things that have no known connection to House Reed.

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On ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 4:14 PM, Ran said:

So, the _intent_ of that passage is that Ashford is being mentioned out of chronology, explaining part of the developments that had happened earlier. But I admit, it's not clear as written, and I can definitely understand the confusion. It was much clearer in our original draft, where everything was done chronologically, Ashford placed before the Battle of the Bells, but then we were having space issues and the edit was, sadly, somewhat heavy-handed to get it to fit. Had we had more time, we would have revised and polished a bit more to try and keep it all in order.

Thanks Ran. That helps. But I still say it makes more sense for the BoB to happen after the wedding, since this would give Robert and Ned something to do with there 40k-man army than to fight little skirmishes for nine months rather than march on KL and put an end to it before the royalists can get their act together.

Do you think this will be clarified in F&B II?

 

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Catelyn explicitly places the weddings as after the Battle of the Bells, however, noting that Denys Arryn's death at the battle would have motivated Lord Arryn's agreement to marry a sullied Tully bride because she had proven fertile. I suspect we mostly lack a good picture of the months after the Battle of the Bells.

Edited by Ran

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10 hours ago, lalt said:

 

What I mean is that if the order to stay at the ToJ  hadn't been given to them because she was pregnant of Rhaegar's child, if she was there as an hostage period - as some suggest - whatever political value of her as an hostage had died together with Aerys and Rhaegar. There was not deel to be made, at that point in history. And to obey to such an order was pointless.

We will never get to an agreement over this. This is like 2 trains racing at each other. You have the backwards train, trying to explain why 3 KG are at the ToJ. You have no seats for Aegon or Rhaenys and interpret the command given before the Trident in a  "meta" way, because Aegon was still around and Lyanna could have been transported to a safer place in the Reach. Your train is going straight for baby king station, there is no Aegon station. There the 3 KG leave the train.

I ride the forward train, where bastards have no seats and Gendry has no protection from 3 KG, just because he is the oldest of Robert's bastards. My seats are for the likes of Stannis, Renly and Edric Storm. In this case Rhaegar, Viserys, Aegon, Rheanys, Rhaella. If baby king wants to join my train, he has to use another station. I have no clue why there are 3 KG at the ToJ, I just know that they exited my train at another station.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Ran said:

Catelyn explicitly places the weddings as after the Battle of the Bells, however, noting that Denys Arryn's death at the battle would have motivated Lord Arryn's agreement to marry a sullied Tully bride because she had proven fertile. I suspect we mostly lack a good picture of the months after the Battle of the Bells.

We had a discussion over this over at heresy and Cat points out that Arryn needed an heir. Although he had an heir, the son of the heir that fell at Bells.

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