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Alexander Leonard

Why was Lyanna Stark willingly married to Rhaegar when he had not divorced Elia Martell?

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Both Cersei and Renly seem to believe that it is conceivable that Robert could try to put Cersei aside to wed someone else. What isn't clear is on what grounds, or by what method, they thought he could do so, or at least try to do so. It doesn't really seem that Cersei or Renly are basing their belief on the idea of Robert finding out or hearing accusations of Cersei's incest/infidelity.

"He betrayed one already, or have you forgotten?" the woman said. "Oh, I don't deny he's loyal to Robert, that's obvious. What happens when Robert dies and Joff takes the throne? And the sooner that comes to pass, the safer we'll all be. My husband grows more restless every day. Having Stark beside him will only make him worse. He's still in love with the sister, the insipid little dead sixteen-year-old. How long till he decides to put me aside for some new Lyanna?"

- AGOT: Bran II

"If he does not bestir himself soon, it may be too late," the stout man in the steel cap said. "This is no longer a game for two players, if ever it was. Stannis Baratheon and Lysa Arryn have fled beyond my reach, and the whispers say they are gathering swords around them. The Knight of Flowers writes Highgarden, urging his lord father to send his sister to court. The girl is a maid of fourteen, sweet and beautiful and tractable, and Lord Renly and Ser Loras intend that Robert should bed her, wed her, and make a new queen. Littlefinger … the gods only know what game Littlefinger is playing. Yet Lord Stark's the one who troubles my sleep. He has the bastard, he has the book, and soon enough he'll have the truth. And now his wife has abducted Tyrion Lannister, thanks to Littlefinger's meddling. Lord Tywin will take that for an outrage, and Jaime has a queer affection for the Imp. If the Lannisters move north, that will bring the Tullys in as well. Delay, you say. Make haste, I reply. Even the finest of jugglers cannot keep a hundred balls in the air forever."

- AGOT: Arya III

From Renly's comments in ACOK, it seems unlikely that Renly was even aware of Cersei's infidelities, or suspected that Cersei's children were not Robert's.

"Isn't that a sweet story, my lady?" Renly asked. "I was camped at Horn Hill when Lord Tarly received his letter, and I must say, it took my breath away." He smiled at his brother. "I had never suspected you were so clever, Stannis. Were it only true, you would indeed be Robert's heir."

- ACOK: Catelyn III

We have no reason to think Renly is lying here, as his proclaiming himself king clearly has nothing to do with him believing Joffrey to be illegitimate, or believing himself to properly be "next in line." He is explicit that he doesn't care about rights or claims or proper succession, and has himself proclaimed king despite both Robert's legal children and his elder brother Stannis being ahead of him in any proper line of succession.

So we can be reasonably certain that Stannis and Jon never let Renly in on their investigation into the paternity of Robert's children.

I don't recall any examples of divorces in ASOIAF. Annulment is inconceivable with the marriage clearly consummated, and, at least legally, producing heirs. I seem to recall someone forcing their wife to join the Silent Sisters, so perhaps that is a possibility. Not sure whether or not there are any requirements for a man to be able to pull this off, or any way for a man to do this against his wife's will. Even if he could, he would have to worry about what her family would do, which would obviously have to be considered in the case of a daughter of House Lannister.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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2 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:


SNIP I seem to recall someone forcing their wife to join the Silent Sisters, so perhaps that is a possibility. SNIP

Quentyn Ball, in order to get appointed to the KG.

 

Separately, the idea that a king could set aside a wife because she was deemed 'barren' is very likely in the society of Westeros. There needs to be, as they say, "an heir and a spare." Even thought Robert had heirs, he could make up something. Even more so, if Tywin had already passed away.

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21 minutes ago, corbon said:

We are talking literature, not a courtroom.

 

When evidence is referenced in literature they use it with more direct results. Otherwise, it is literally just conjecture even in literature. For anything you suggested to be considered evidence, you would have to show that it is in fact foreshadowing and not simply a set of coincidental red herrings.  Which is why even in literature you need more than just idle speculation about whether something is true or not. For example, in literature you could make the argument that any given narrator is unreliable, BUT to do so you would have to have at least one direct example of this in order to bring in other elements of that story to support it. In this case, the "evidence" supports a theory that doesn't have any direct evidence, meaning that any and/or all of the support could be a red herring rather than foreshadowing. 

It's a fun theory, it may even be right, but you can't pretend that something is evidence when it lacks support. It's a beautiful castle built on sand. 

As far as the mechanism of putting a wife aside, there are undoubtedly other means. The silent sisters as pointed out by Bael, the right of might (Renly doesn't care at all about the law or divine right), not to mention historical examples or just straight up ignoring the church. The problem is, as far as I know, there are no examples of divorce ever being a thing in Westeros. We've seen a lot of examples within ASOIAF and the extended works, surely there would be a side note about it if it was a thing in this world/society. Admittedly I have not read Fire and Blood, so if there's an example in there I apologize.

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37 minutes ago, True.Edged said:

When evidence is referenced in literature they use it with more direct results. Otherwise, it is literally just conjecture even in literature. For anything you suggested to be considered evidence, you would have to show that it is in fact foreshadowing and not simply a set of coincidental red herrings.  Which is why even in literature you need more than just idle speculation about whether something is true or not. For example, in literature you could make the argument that any given narrator is unreliable, BUT to do so you would have to have at least one direct example of this in order to bring in other elements of that story to support it. In this case, the "evidence" supports a theory that doesn't have any direct evidence, meaning that any and/or all of the support could be a red herring rather than foreshadowing. 

Err, we are trying to ascertain the truth, not provable facts. "Evidence" in this context includes behaviour, internal thought patterns, dreams and circumstantial or indirectly connected facts. 

37 minutes ago, True.Edged said:


It's a fun theory, it may even be right, but you can't pretend that something is evidence when it lacks support. It's a beautiful castle built on sand. 

Frankly, I'll take the 'sand' of many multiple supporting data points (=evidence), such as Lyanna being found with Rhaegar's guards and the man sent to find him, the sweet smelling rose in the ice wall, him naming her QoLaB and giving her a crown of roses, her holding dead roses as she died, the 'there must be one more', Ned clearly excluding Jon from his children and thinking of Rhaegar, and many others over the 'stone' of Lady Merryweather seeing Tyrion drop something in Joffrey's wine, or Sansa remembering the unkiss.

You are free to quibble about what constitutes 'evidence' or not.

37 minutes ago, True.Edged said:


As far as the mechanism of putting a wife aside, there are undoubtedly other means. The silent sisters as pointed out by Bael, the right of might (Renly doesn't care at all about the law or divine right), not to mention historical examples or just straight up ignoring the church. The problem is, as far as I know, there are no examples of divorce ever being a thing in Westeros. We've seen a lot of examples within ASOIAF and the extended works, surely there would be a side note about it if it was a thing in this world/society. Admittedly I have not read Fire and Blood, so if there's an example in there I apologize.

Indeed. And I agree with Bael. But just because we haven't seen "divorce" doesn't mean some form of it doesn't exist in Westeros. By your standards, you have no evidence it doesn't exist, let alone proof, just a lack of evidence for it. By my standards the lack of existing cases is evidence against it, but not proof.
But, even sending Cersei to the Silent Sisters must include some form of divorce, whether that actual word is used or not. Otherwise, even with his wife in the Silent Sisters, the man is still married and can't marry again. If the analogy to our own nuns applies (not sure that it does), the wife has the problem of being married to both man and god...
I don't think there is any indication that Renly (and Cersei, as Bael pointed out) believed Robert would have Cersei murdered in order to replace her. Therefore there must be some option to 'end' the marriage - an equivalent of divorce - in order for Robert to be able to marry again.. 

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2 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

We have no reason to think Renly is lying here, as his proclaiming himself king clearly has nothing to do with him believing Joffrey to be illegitimate, or believing himself to properly be "next in line." He is explicit that he doesn't care about rights or claims or proper succession, and has himself proclaimed king despite both Robert's legal children and his elder brother Stannis being ahead of him in any proper line of succession.

We do have reason to think Renly is lying. He & Stannis are competing for the loyalty of the same bannermen. If they are deciding based on legitimacy, Renly clearly has no basis for a claim above Stannis. So his best option is to deny that either are legitimate heirs and it's a simple matter of might makes right, with Renly having more swords. In the absence of Stannis, it would be in Renly's interest to deny the legitimacy of Robert's supposed children. He slights the notion of Joffrey being illegitimate to slight Stannis, and additionally jokes about Patchface cuckolding him. The Lannisters reply similarly to Stannis' accusations, with Cersei even suggesting they accuse Selyse of committing incest.

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7 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

We do have reason to think Renly is lying. He & Stannis are competing for the loyalty of the same bannermen. If they are deciding based on legitimacy, Renly clearly has no basis for a claim above Stannis. So his best option is to deny that either are legitimate heirs and it's a simple matter of might makes right, with Renly having more swords. In the absence of Stannis, it would be in Renly's interest to deny the legitimacy of Robert's supposed children. He slights the notion of Joffrey being illegitimate to slight Stannis, and additionally jokes about Patchface cuckolding him. The Lannisters reply similarly to Stannis' accusations, with Cersei even suggesting they accuse Selyse of committing incest.

Renly usurping his generally unpopular heathen brother is going to be less controversial than usurping his legitimate niece and Nephews. 

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21 hours ago, Jova Snow said:

There are zero evidence R&L ever talked to each other during the HH tourney. There is no reason for L to have romantic feelings of R to elope with him. There is canonically ZERO evidence the two married or even had a child. So everyone and their mothers know R raped L thousands of times and Ned returned home from Dorne with corpse of his sister and a baby and NO ONE IN WESTEROS put 2+2 together? Yeah.... There is no divorce in Westeros especially when the royal couple had two healthy children one of them being the heir of crown prince. Both vision R and weirwood R is connected to his wife Elia and their children. So no, Lujietna "bury me with my father and brother" Stark didn't willingly married Reggity. 

 

Since you love to point out all the stuff that, in your opinion, is not canon, you might want to remember that the bolded is NEVER EVER mentioned in the canon, either. It is NEVER stated that Ned brought Lyanna's bones along with a baby, therefore it is a reasonable assumption that he might have sent one or the other separately and thus pull wool over everyone's eyes-

Furthermore: how many people knew where Ned found Lyanna? How many people knew that he brought Jon from Dorne? Since we have a contradicting story from Lord Borrell, the Dornish connection is apparently not known all around Westeros.

18 hours ago, corbon said:

Ahh, so that explains Renly's plan to get Cersei replaced by Margery...

Cersei definitely has a reason to feel threatened as the twincest would be a valid reason for her to be set aside. It would be interesting to ask GRRM what Renly and Loras were planning to do - I suspect a bit of an Anne Boleyn scenario. Prior Anne, divorce was not possible, either. Plus, there is the historical parallel of Elizabeth Woodville who was accused of incest with her brother Lord Rivers to delegitimize her children by Edward IV. A mix of these scenarios is not out of the realm of possibility, IMHO.

 

 

As for the OP's question: deflowering and impregnating a noble maiden outside marriage is dishonorable. Polygamous marriage, even if of dubious validity, is still better than being just a concubine.  

As for Lyanna's hypocrisy: from her point of view, there's one hell of a difference. Robert would sleep around all the time, while Rhaegar would stick to one bed - hers.  Because he never loved Elia and Elia couldn't, and shouldn't, have more children, there is zero incentive for Rhaegar to ever have sex with her again. And if they were married, it wouldn't even be cheating on Elia, she and Lyanna would be sharing. 

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13 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

We do have reason to think Renly is lying. He & Stannis are competing for the loyalty of the same bannermen. If they are deciding based on legitimacy, Renly clearly has no basis for a claim above Stannis. So his best option is to deny that either are legitimate heirs and it's a simple matter of might makes right, with Renly having more swords. In the absence of Stannis, it would be in Renly's interest to deny the legitimacy of Robert's supposed children. He slights the notion of Joffrey being illegitimate to slight Stannis, and additionally jokes about Patchface cuckolding him. The Lannisters reply similarly to Stannis' accusations, with Cersei even suggesting they accuse Selyse of committing incest.

That doesn't hold up.

Renly demonstrates no hint of suspicion that Joffrey isn't Robert's son when he advises Ned to get Joffrey away from Cersei, and take him in hand, because "the man who holds the king holds the kingdom" (AGOT: Eddard XIII), and that is consistent with his response to Stannis's claims in ACOK.

Renly has no reason to dispute Stannis's accusation, as his whole operation disregards rights and claims. He had already been proclaimed king, and had amassed by far the largest army in Westeros, despite both Joffrey and Stannis being ahead of him in any proper line of succession. He had tens of thousands of Reach and Stormlands men. Stannis has his paltry lot of Dragonstone bannermen.

Renly has no reason to lie about suspecting Joffrey to be illegitimate, and we have no reason to think he suspected Joffrey to be illegitimate.

He was content to support a Joffrey that was under the control of the Small Council, but once it was clear he would be controlled by the Lannisters, Renly had no problem being proclaimed king. Joffrey's legitimacy doesn't seem to factor in one way or the other.

"He was old, yes, but a good man still. I hope he has not come to harm. The Lannisters are great fools." They climbed a few more steps. "On the night of Robert's death, I offered your husband a hundred swords and urged him to take Joffrey into his power. Had he listened, he would be regent today, and there would have been no need for me to claim the throne."

- ACOK: Catelyn II

"Do I?" Renly shrugged. "So be it. Stannis was never the most cherished of brothers, I confess. Do you suppose this tale of his is true? If Joffrey is the Kingslayer's get—"

"—your brother is the lawful heir."

"While he lives," Renly admitted. "Though it's a fool's law, wouldn't you agree? Why the oldest son, and not the best-fitted? The crown will suit me, as it never suited Robert and would not suit Stannis. I have it in me to be a great king, strong yet generous, clever, just, diligent, loyal to my friends and terrible to my enemies, yet capable of forgiveness, patient—"

- ACOK: Catelyn III

Renly seems open to the possibility that Stannis's tale is true, but it seems clear that he had no knowledge or known suspicion of the claim before receiving the letter Stannis wrote in the Prologue of ACOK, after Renly had already accepted a crown.

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On 2/6/2019 at 12:34 PM, Alexander Leonard said:

That's very unlikely. Your theory is incompatible with Lyanna's personality.

Would Lyanna not be impressed with Rhaegar's martial prowess by winning the joust? 

Did she not weep openly when Rhaegar sang his sad song? 

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22 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Renly usurping his generally unpopular heathen brother is going to be less controversial than usurping his legitimate niece and Nephews. 

That reminds me: Renly makes some jokes about Stannis' connection to R'hllor, suggesting he was motivated by Melisandre's attractiveness, but doesn't seem to treat it as a disqualifier for the throne. His public piety seems limited to "praying" with Loras.

14 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:


Renly has no reason to dispute Stannis's accusation, as his whole operation disregards rights and claims. He had already been proclaimed king, and had amassed by far the largest army in Westeros, despite both Joffrey and Stannis being ahead of him in any proper line of succession. He had tens of thousands of Reach and Stormlands men. Stannis has his paltry lot of Dragonstone bannermen.

Disputing Stannis' accusation means not granting him a claim to legitimacy. It's precisely because that's Renly's weakest ground that he doesn't want to grant Stannis' claim.

15 hours ago, Ygrain said:

As for Lyanna's hypocrisy: from her point of view, there's one hell of a difference. Robert would sleep around all the time, while Rhaegar would stick to one bed - hers.  Because he never loved Elia and Elia couldn't, and shouldn't, have more children, there is zero incentive for Rhaegar to ever have sex with her again. And if they were married, it wouldn't even be cheating on Elia, she and Lyanna would be sharing. 

Rhaegar isn't "staying to one bed" if he has a wife with two children, one of them born very recently. How credible is a married man telling his teenage mistress that he's in a loveless & sexless marriage right after that? To compare with Robert, Lyanna knew that he knocked up a common girl before he was ever betrothed & 16 at the oldest.

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7 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That reminds me: Renly makes some jokes about Stannis' connection to R'hllor, suggesting he was motivated by Melisandre's attractiveness, but doesn't seem to treat it as a disqualifier for the throne. His public piety seems limited to "praying" with Loras.

Yeah Renly isn’t Baelor the blessed. In the eyes of the faithful he’s still going to be more preferable than guy burning their idiols for some red foreign witch’s god. 

10 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Disputing Stannis' accusation means not granting him a claim to legitimacy. It's precisely because that's Renly's weakest ground that he doesn't want to grant Stannis' claim.

Again he already plans to usurp the children of his brother. His followers won’t be more likely to  turn away just because Stannis may have a better claim. As Renly says it doesn’t matter if Stannis is telling the truth. And given Stannis’ inevitable demise in Renly’s eyes pretending to think Stannis is lying, would seem pointless.

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52 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Rhaegar isn't "staying to one bed" if he has a wife with two children, one of them born very recently. How credible is a married man telling his teenage mistress that he's in a loveless & sexless marriage right after that? To compare with Robert, Lyanna knew that he knocked up a common girl before he was ever betrothed & 16 at the oldest.

Lol, to you or me, this is the same old story all over, but to that teenage girl? 100% credible. Besides, Rhaegar is still a one-bed guy: we never hear about him sleeping around, so he probably stuck to Elia's bed. Now he's going to stick to Lyanna's bed. At no time, he was a man hopping from one bed to another and back again like Robert did, and would.

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I believe that Lyanna left willingly and most likely not because she was in love with Raeghar - at least at that time - but to escape from her marriage with Robert or something else.

That said, I must admit I believe there's room to speculate if by chance for the same reason as to why she didn't want to marry Robert,  she didn't want to marry Rhaeghar. Sure the prince wasn't a womanizer, like Robert, but he was still a married man.

But who knows... maybe things changed. Or maybe Lyanna believed that there was a difference between a married man - that wed someone for political reasons, not because he was in love with that woman - and a womanizer like Robert.

But truth to be told, what I really find hard to buy is the idea that the Martells may have been fine with Raeghar marring Lyanna. Even without divorcing Elia, in a bigam marriage.

That because no matter how open minded the Martells are, and Elia may have been, Elia and Rhaegar marriage was a political one.

But this is interpreted quite often in a wrong way I believe.

A political marriage surely means that "love" is not what matters and therefore jealosy may not play any part...
but still the point of that wedding is political. That from the Martells pov, was to put one of them on the Iron Throne (and it still is).

Elia and more importantly one of her children after Rhaegar.

Now, if that was what really mattered, Elia's and her children position was not the strongest one. 
Elia couldn't have more children and the two she had - at that moment in history - were a babe (Aegon) and a woman.

But if you married for political reason, you must take into consideration: 1st that a babe like Aegon - in a world like that - may die; 2nd - if so -  leaving only one... sister. A woman.

And although Rhaenys in the line of succession would have come before any  child Rhaegar might have had from Lyanna (or another lover / wife)... that's exactly how civil wars (aka dances of dragons) usually begin.

We've seen many female heirs being usurped by men.

Not to mention that Aegon may have survived childwood, but we've seen legitimized bastards and children of second wives trying to usurp claims to the throne and/or as heads of houses, anyhow. Because they could.

So, why the Martells in that moment in history, not knowing how many children (and how many boys and girls) Rhaegar and Lyanna could have had, would ever allowed them to marry?

So to me... the idea that Elia and her family had 0 problems with Rhaegar and Lyanna should be digged a little bit further.
Maybe they seem to not "hate" Rhaegar and Lyanna for some reason we don't know...  

Edited by lalt

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2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

At no time, he was a man hopping from one bed to another and back again like Robert did, and would.

Actually, at the time of Lyanna's complaints to Ned, Robert had done no such thing: he had slept with a woman when he wasn't betrothed, that's not "jumping from one bed to another and back again". And, if Lyanna went with Rhaegar willingly, she's indeed a raging hypocrite (which is quite normal for a lovestruck teenager).

Edited by Geddus

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4 hours ago, Geddus said:

Actually, at the time of Lyanna's complaints to Ned, Robert had done no such thing: he had slept with a woman when he wasn't betrothed, that's not "jumping from one bed to another and back again". And, if Lyanna went with Rhaegar willingly, she's indeed a raging hypocrite (which is quite normal for a lovestruck teenager).

If you look back at most post, I said "as Robert would", not "as Robert did". The part about jumping from one bed to another and back again adressed the pattern of Lyanna's future marriage to Robert. The pattern of Robert's behaviour at the time of Lyanna's  complaint was merely jumping from one bed to another aka sleeping around, which doesn't really give one much hope about the pattern stopping just because you said some words.

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1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

If you look back at most post, I said "as Robert would", not "as Robert did". The part about jumping from one bed to another and back again adressed the pattern of Lyanna's future marriage to Robert. The pattern of Robert's behaviour at the time of Lyanna's  complaint was merely jumping from one bed to another aka sleeping around, which doesn't really give one much hope about the pattern stopping just because you said some words.

And really, whether or not Robert was already jumping from one bed to another, or whether he would have continued jumping from one bed to another, the fact is, it was Lyanna's belief that this was not only his nature, but that not even love would change this about him. Lyanna is not an all seeing objective observer of the past, the present, and the future, but the biased central character of her own life, like all other characters are in theirs. Whether or not Lyanna's assessment was accurate, we can be certain that she believed this assessment, and if we are discussing what she would or wouldn't do, we must consider how she viewed things.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

If you look back at most post, I said "as Robert would", not "as Robert did". The part about jumping from one bed to another and back again adressed the pattern of Lyanna's future marriage to Robert. The pattern of Robert's behaviour at the time of Lyanna's  complaint was merely jumping from one bed to another aka sleeping around, which doesn't really give one much hope about the pattern stopping just because you said some words.

Well no, you said "like Robert did, and would". My point was that Robert, at that point, did not - and one relationship while unattached doesn't constitute a pattern.

@Bael's Bastard I agree, that was indeed Lyanna's belief, I'm not arguing that (especially because she was right). But if all it took for her to form such an opinion was Robert having sex with one woman before their betrothal, then her judgement towards a married man, with children, who tries to sleep around should have been even more severe.

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In addition to not knowing whether or not they were married we do not know if she would have wanted to marry him. Based upon the evidence we currently have, what Robert Baratheon believed to be true COULD be true.

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On 2/5/2019 at 12:49 PM, Euron III Greyjoy said:

For starters we don't know that Rhaegar and Lyanna where married, it might've been a case of Rhaegar legitimizing Jon once he was King. 

I think Lyanna did go with Rhaegar willingly, but once she found out about her father and brother's deaths she wanted to leave, but Rhaegar wouldn't let her. 

No, I don't think Rhaegar was going to divorce Elia. Aegon the Conqueror took two wives, and Maegor the Cruel took six. Of course that was also during the time when the Targaryens had dragons, so it might've been harder. 

YESSSS 100%. I feel the bold point is often overlooked by everyone. Just because someone goes willingly doesn't mean they stayed willingly. If Rhaegar and Lyanna were so happy and in love that Lyanna truly wanted to be in the TOJ the whole time, why have 3 armed guards outside the door so that no one could leave/enter? 

Lyanna was in my mind manipulated/groomed/seduced by this older more powerful man and when she realized what had happened it was too late.  

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On 2/5/2019 at 12:49 PM, Euron III Greyjoy said:

For starters we don't know that Rhaegar and Lyanna where married, it might've been a case of Rhaegar legitimizing Jon once he was King. 

I think Lyanna did go with Rhaegar willingly, but once she found out about her father and brother's deaths she wanted to leave, but Rhaegar wouldn't let her. 

I'm not sure if Rhaegar would of been able to legitimize Jon since he was only the crown prince for his whole life, since Aerys died after him.

I do agree with the notion of Rhaegar and Lyanna's affair turned into a kidnapping situation though. For the most part Rhaegar is portrayed as this dreamy poetic prince charming which probably means that Martin is going to subvert our expectations. This whole idea of cutting contact with your loved ones and running away with a highly charismatic and powerful individual fixated on prophesy seems to be cultlike in nature.

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