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Bael's Bastard

Lyanna, and Brandon, were traveling with Lord Rickard's wedding party when Rhaegar allegedly abducted Lyanna

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One of the mysteries of the period between the Harrenhal Tourney in late 281 AC, and the execution of Lord Rickard Stark and his heir Brandon in 282 AC, surrounds Prince Rhaegar Targaryen's alleged abduction of Lyanna Stark "Not ten leagues from Harrenhal" (TWOIAF: The Fall of the Dragons - The Year of the False Spring).

Among the questions that come to my mind are: What was Lyanna doing within ten leagues of Harrenhal in 282 AC, months after the Harrenhal Tourney in late 281 AC? Was she allegedly abducted while staying at a particular location, or was she in the midst of traveling from one place to another? How were Rhaegar and his small party able to allegedly abduct Lyanna? Who, if anyone, was with Lyanna when she was allegedly abducted? Was she alone? Was she with only a couple or few companions or guards?

Some suggest that Lyanna had remained at Harrenhal with House Whent after the conclusion of the tournament, and that she was still staying at Harrenhal at the time she was allegedly abducted by Rhaegar. I don't dismiss this as a possibility. But I favor the possibility that Lyanna was traveling south from Winterfell as part of Lord Rickard's wedding party, and her alleged abduction occurred as the wedding party made its way to Riverrun for the wedding of Brandon to Catelyn Tully.

And I think we are provided with a glimpse of how Lyanna could have possibly been abducted, despite traveling in a party with no less than two hundreds of Lord Rickard's best men, in the very first book of A Song of Ice and Fire, in A Game of Thrones: Sansa I, with Eddard III perhaps being informative as well.

Before I get to AGOT: Sansa I, and the possibility that Lyanna was traveling with Lord Rickard's wedding party, I would like to start with Lord Rickard's wedding party, and some quotes that I believe are helpful in establishing that:

- Brandon left Riverrun to link up with Lord Rickard's wedding party for the last leg of their journey to Riverrun
- Brandon had successfully linked up with Lord Rickard's wedding party, likely somewhere just north or just south of the Trident
- Brandon was on his way back to Riverrun with Lord Rickard's wedding party at the time that Lyanna was abducted
 

Bran felt all cold inside. "She lost her wolf," he said, weakly, remembering the day when four of his father's guardsmen had returned from the south with Lady's bones. Summer and Grey Wind and Shaggydog had begun to howl before they crossed the drawbridge, in voices drawn and desolate. Beneath the shadow of the First Keep was an ancient lichyard, its headstones spotted with pale lichen, where the old Kings of Winter had laid their faithful servants. It was there they buried Lady, while her brothers stalked between the graves like restless shadows. She had gone south, and only her bones had returned.

Their grandfather, old Lord Rickard, had gone as well, with his son Brandon who was Father's brother, and two hundred of his best men. None had ever returned. And Father had gone south, with Arya and Sansa, and Jory and Hullen and Fat Tom and the rest, and later Mother and Ser Rodrik had gone, and they hadn't come back either. And now Robb meant to go. Not to King's Landing and not to swear fealty, but to Riverrun, with a sword in his hand. And if their lord father were truly a prisoner, that could mean his death for a certainty. It frightened Bran more than he could say.

- AGOT: Bran VI

Brandon Stark had bid her wait as well. "I shall not be long, my lady," he had vowed. "We will be wed on my return." Yet when the day came at last, it was his brother Eddard who stood beside her in the sept.

- ACOK: Catelyn X

When the date of their wedding is announced some years afterward, Petyr - who has fallen in love with Catelyn - challenges Brandon for her hand and is grievously wounded. He might have even been killed had Catelyn not begged Brandon beforehand to spare Petyr's life. Still, Petyr is sent away from Riverrun, while Brandon departs to join his father's wedding party, coming down from the north. But when Brandon hears of Rhaegar's abduction of Lyanna on his way back, he abandons Catelyn, racing to King's Landing.

- A World of Ice and Fire App

"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.

- ACOK: Catelyn VII

Catelyn's quotes tell us that Brandon had left Riverrun with the promise that he would not be long, that they would wed on his return, and that he was already on his way back to Riverrun, from whatever he had left to do, when he heard about Rhaegar's alleged abduction of Lyanna. The AWOIAF App tells us that Brandon had left Riverrun to join Lord Rickard's wedding party coming down from the North. Bran's quote tells us that Lord Rickard had gone south with two hundred of his best men.

All together, this indicates that Brandon had successfully joined up with his father's wedding party, and that they were on their way to Riverrun together when Lyanna was allegedly abducted. That Lyanna was allegedly abducted "Not ten leagues from Harrenhal" at approximately the same time that Brandon had just traveled from Riverrun, joined up with Lord Rickard's wedding party making its way down from the North, and was on his way back to Riverrun, gives us good reason to consider the possibility that Lyanna was traveling with the same party.

But how could Lyanna have possibly been abducted while she was traveling with a party that included her father Lord Rickard, two hundred of his best men, her brother Brandon, and Brandon's companions, including Elbert Arryn, heir to Lord Jon Arryn?

Well, AGOT: Sansa I opens up at the Inn at the Crossroads, as "the king's party, which had swollen to more than four hundred with the addition of her father's household and the freeriders who had joined them on the road" make their way from Winterfell to King's Landing. The Inn at the Crossroads is, of course, where Catelyn would later abduct Tyrion Lannister, and may very well be in the vicinity of, if not the place where, Rhaegar allegedly abducted Lyanna.

I believe the four hundred strong party of King Robert and Lord Eddard Stark, which included his daughters Arya and Sansa, who was recently betrothed to Robert's son and heir Joffrey, might very well be in some ways reminiscent of the two hundred or more strong party of Lord Rickard that was making its way down from Winterfell to Riverrun when Lyanna, who had long been betrothed to Robert, was allegedly abducted.

Outside, she stood for a moment amidst the shouts and curses and the creak of wooden wheels as the men broke down the tents and pavilions and loaded the wagons for another day's march. The inn was a sprawling three-story structure of pale stone, the biggest that Sansa had ever seen, but even so, it had accommodations for less than a third of the king's party, which had swollen to more than four hundred with the addition of her father's household and the freeriders who had joined them on the road.

She found Arya on the banks of the Trident, trying to hold Nymeria still while she brushed dried mud from her fur. The direwolf was not enjoying the process. Arya was wearing the same riding leathers she had worn yesterday and the day before.

"You better put on something pretty," Sansa told her. "Septa Mordane said so. We're traveling in the queen's wheelhouse with Princess Myrcella today."

"I'm not," Arya said, trying to brush a tangle out of Nymeria's matted grey fur. "Mycah and I are going to ride upstream and look for rubies at the ford."

"Rubies," Sansa said, lost. "What rubies?"

Arya gave her a look like she was so stupid. "Rhaegar's rubies. This is where King Robert killed him and won the crown."

Sansa regarded her scrawny little sister in disbelief. "You can't look for rubies, the princess is expecting us. The queen invited us both."

"I don't care," Arya said. "The wheelhouse doesn't even have windows, you can't see a thing."

"What could you want to see?" Sansa said, annoyed. She had been thrilled by the invitation, and her stupid sister was going to ruin everything, just as she'd feared. "It's all just fields and farms and holdfasts."

"It is not," Arya said stubbornly. "If you came with us sometimes, you'd see."

"I hate riding," Sansa said fervently. "All it does is get you soiled and dusty and sore."

Arya shrugged. "Hold still," she snapped at Nymeria, "I'm not hurting you." Then to Sansa she said, "When we were crossing the Neck, I counted thirty-six flowers I never saw before, and Mycah showed me a lizard-lion."

Sansa shuddered. They had been twelve days crossing the Neck, rumbling down a crooked causeway through an endless black bog, and she had hated every moment of it. The air had been damp and clammy, the causeway so narrow they could not even make proper camp at night, they had to stop right on the kingsroad. Dense thickets of half-drowned trees pressed close around them, branches dripping with curtains of pale fungus. Huge flowers bloomed in the mud and floated on pools of stagnant water, but if you were stupid enough to leave the causeway to pluck them, there were quicksands waiting to suck you down, and snakes watching from the trees, and lizard-lions floating half-submerged in the water, like black logs with eyes and teeth.

None of which stopped Arya, of course. One day she came back grinning her horsey grin, her hair all tangled and her clothes covered in mud, clutching a raggedy bunch of purple and green flowers for Father. Sansa kept hoping he would tell Arya to behave herself and act like the highborn lady she was supposed to be, but he never did, he only hugged her and thanked her for the flowers. That just made her worse.

Then it turned out the purple flowers were called poison kisses, and Arya got a rash on her arms. Sansa would have thought that might have taught her a lesson, but Arya laughed about it, and the next day she rubbed mud all over her arms like some ignorant bog woman just because her friend Mycah told her it would stop the itching. She had bruises on her arms and shoulders too, dark purple welts and faded green-and-yellow splotches, Sansa had seen them when her sister undressed for sleep. How she had gotten those only the seven gods knew.

Arya was still going on, brushing out Nymeria's tangles and chattering about things she'd seen on the trek south. "Last week we found this haunted watchtower, and the day before we chased a herd of wild horses. You should have seen them run when they caught a scent of Nymeria." The wolf wriggled in her grasp and Arya scolded her. "Stop that, I have to do the other side, you're all muddy."

"You're not supposed to leave the column," Sansa reminded her. "Father said so."

Arya shrugged. "I didn't go far. Anyway, Nymeria was with me the whole time. I don't always go off, either. Sometimes it's fun just to ride along with the wagons and talk to people."

Sansa knew all about the sorts of people Arya liked to talk to: squires and grooms and serving girls, old men and naked children, rough-spoken freeriders of uncertain birth. Arya would make friends with anybody. This Mycah was the worst; a butcher's boy, thirteen and wild, he slept in the meat wagon and smelled of the slaughtering block. Just the sight of him was enough to make Sansa feel sick, but Arya seemed to prefer his company to hers.

- AGOT: Sansa I

"He speaks most eloquently with his sword, however," the queen said, "and his devotion to our realm is unquestioned." Then she smiled graciously and said, "Sansa, the good councillors and I must speak together until the king returns with your father. I fear we shall have to postpone your day with Myrcella. Please give your sweet sister my apologies. Joffrey, perhaps you would be so kind as to entertain our guest today."

"It would be my pleasure, Mother," Joffrey said very formally. He took her by the arm and led her away from the wheelhouse, and Sansa's spirits took flight. A whole day with her prince! She gazed at Joffrey worshipfully. He was so gallant, she thought. The way he had rescued her from Ser Ilyn and the Hound, why, it was almost like the songs, like the time Serwyn of the Mirror Shield saved the Princess Daeryssa from the giants, or Prince Aemon the Dragonknight championing Queen Naerys's honor against evil Ser Morgil's slanders.

The touch of Joffrey's hand on her sleeve made her heart beat faster. "What would you like to do?"

Be with you, Sansa thought, but she said, "Whatever you'd like to do, my prince."

Jofftey reflected a moment. "We could go riding."

"Oh, I love riding," Sansa said.

Joffrey glanced back at Lady, who was following at their heels. "Your wolf is liable to frighten the horses, and my dog seems to frighten you. Let us leave them both behind and set off on our own, what do you say?"

Sansa hesitated. "If you like," she said uncertainly. "I suppose I could tie Lady up." She did not quite understand, though. "I didn't know you had a dog . . . "

Joffrey laughed. "He's my mother's dog, in truth. She has set him to guard me, and so he does."

"You mean the Hound," she said. She wanted to hit herself for being so slow. Her prince would never love her if she seemed stupid. "Is it safe to leave him behind?"

Prince Joffrey looked annoyed that she would even ask. "Have no fear, lady. I am almost a man grown, and I don't fight with wood like your brothers. All I need is this." He drew his sword and showed it to her; a longsword adroitly shrunken to suit a boy of twelve, gleaming blue steel, castle-forged and double-edged, with a leather grip and a lion's-head pommel in gold. Sansa exclaimed over it admiringly, and Joffrey looked pleased. "I call it Lion's Tooth," he said.

And so they left her direwolf and his bodyguard behind them, while they ranged east along the north bank of the Trident with no company save Lion's Tooth.

It was a glorious day, a magical day. The air was warm and heavy with the scent of flowers, and the woods here had a gentle beauty that Sansa had never seen in the north. Prince Joffrey's mount was a blood bay courser, swift as the wind, and he rode it with reckless abandon, so fast that Sansa was hard-pressed to keep up on her mare. It was a day for adventures. They explored the caves by the riverbank, and tracked a shadowcat to its lair, and when they grew hungry, Joffrey found a holdfast by its smoke and told them to fetch food and wine for their prince and his lady. They dined on trout fresh from the river, and Sansa drank more wine than she had ever drunk before. "My father only lets us have one cup, and only at feasts," she confessed to her prince.

"My betrothed can drink as much as she wants," Joffrey said, refilling her cup.

They went more slowly after they had eaten. Joffrey sang for her as they rode, his voice high and sweet and pure. Sansa was a little dizzy from the wine. "Shouldn't we be starting back?" she asked.

"Soon," Joffrey said. "The battleground is right up ahead, where the river bends. That was where my father killed Rhaegar Targaryen, you know. He smashed in his chest, crunch, right through the armor." Joffrey swung an imaginary warhammer to show her how it was done. "Then my uncle Jaime killed old Aerys, and my father was king. What's that sound?"

Sansa heard it too, floating through the woods, a kind of wooden clattering, snack snack snack. "I don't know," she said. It made her nervous, though. "Joffrey, let's go back."

"I want to see what it is." Joffrey turned his horse in the direction of the sounds, and Sansa had no choice but to follow. The noises grew louder and more distinct, the clack of wood on wood, and as they grew closer they heard heavy breathing as well, and now and then a grunt.

"Someone's there," Sansa said anxiously. She found herself thinking of Lady, wishing the direwolf was with her.

"You're safe with me." Joffrey drew his Lion's Tooth from its sheath. The sound of steel on leather made her tremble. "This way," he said, riding through a stand of trees.

Beyond, in a clearing overlooking the river, they came upon a boy and a girl playing at knights. Their swords were wooden sticks, broom handles from the look of them, and they were rushing across the grass, swinging at each other lustily. The boy was years older, a head taller, and much stronger, and he was pressing the attack. The girl, a scrawny thing in soiled leathers, was dodging and managing to get her stick in the way of most of the boy's blows, but not all. When she tried to lunge at him, he caught her stick with his own, swept it aside, and slid his wood down hard on her fingers. She cried out and lost her weapon.

- AGOT: Sansa I

They've found her, my lord."

Ned rose quickly. "Our men or Lannister's?"

"It was Jory," his steward Vayon Poole replied. "She's not been harmed."

"Thank the gods," Ned said. His men had been searching for Arya for four days now, but the queen's men had been out hunting as well. "Where is she? Tell Jory to bring her here at once."

"I am sorry, my lord," Poole told him. "The guards on the gate were Lannister men, and they informed the queen when Jory brought her in. She's being taken directly before the king . . . "

"Damn that woman!" Ned said, striding to the door. "Find Sansa and bring her to the audience chamber. Her voice may be needed." He descended the tower steps in a red rage. He had led searches himself for the first three days, and had scarcely slept an hour since Arya had disappeared. This morning he had been so heartsick and weary he could scarcely stand, but now his fury was on him, filling him with strength.

Men called out to him as he crossed the castle yard, but Ned ignored them in his haste. He would have run, but he was still the King's Hand, and a Hand must keep his dignity. He was aware of the eyes that followed him, of the muttered voices wondering what he would do.

The castle was a modest holding a half day's ride south of the Trident. The royal party had made themselves the uninvited guests of its lord, Ser Raymun Darry, while the hunt for Arya and the butcher's boy was conducted on both sides of the river. They were not welcome visitors. Ser Raymun lived under the king's peace, but his family had fought beneath Rhaegar's dragon banners at the Trident, and his three older brothers had died there, a truth neither Robert nor Ser Raymun had forgotten. With king's men, Darry men, Lannister men, and Stark men all crammed into a castle far too small for them, tensions burned hot and heavy.

- AGOT: Eddard III

I think these quotes about nine year old Arya and eleven year old Sansa in AGOT: Sansa I (and AGOT: Eddard III) demonstrate to us just how easily a fourteen-to-sixteen year old Lyanna could have been on her own, or with just a couple or few companions or guards, when Rhaegar and his party came upon her, even if she had been traveling with a party of Lord Rickard and hundreds of people.

In AGOT: Sansa I, Sansa leaves the Inn at the Crossroads, where less than a third of King Robert's party of more than four hundred are able to be accommodated, and goes looking for Arya, all on her own except for Lady.

Sansa, who is off on her own, finds Arya on the banks of the Trident, where she is off on her own except for Nymeria. It is also made clear that Arya has been riding off with Mycah throughout the journey south from Winterfell, despite being told by Ned not to leave the column.

Despite her best attempts to get Arya to return with her, Sansa returns to the Inn, all on her own except for Lady, to find that the small council had sent an honor guard including Ser Barristan Selmy and Lord Renly Baratheon to escort them the rest of the way to King's Landing.

After Cersei postpones the planned ride in the wheelhouse, twelve year old Joffrey and eleven year old Sansa then ride off on their own "east along the north bank of the Trident with no company save Lion's Tooth... They explored the caves by the riverbank, and tracked a shadowcat to its lair, and when they grew hungry, Joffrey found a holdfast by its smoke and told them to fetch food and wine for their prince and his lady. They dined on trout fresh from the river, and Sansa drank more wine than she had ever drunk before."

In fact, all on their own, Joffrey and Sansa ride all the way from the Inn at the Crosseoads to the battleground where Robert killed Rhaegar. Which is where they find Arya and Mycah, all on their own, playing at knights with wooden sticks, not unlike Bran's vision of an approximately nine year old Lyanna and her younger brother Benjen dueling with broken branches.

Here we can see how freely Arya and Sansa were able to move in and out of the larger traveling party at times, even after Ned had told Arya that she wasn't supposed to leave the column.

And though I am not saying that these quotes are a direct parallel for Lord Rickard's wedding party, I think they very likely give us some indications of who Lyanna was traveling with when she when she was allegedly abducted by Rhaegar, and how she could have possibly been abducted when she was traveling as part of such a large party.

Just as I believe that the chapters detailing Catelyn's abduction of Tyrion likely give us some indication of what led Brandon to believe Rhaegar would be at the Red Keep.

 

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The only problem I see is that to get anywhere near Harrenhal, Rik/Bran/Lyn would not have crossed at the Twins to take the short route to Riverrun -- and I'm sure they could easily afford the toll -- but would travel all the way south to the crossing at the Trident, and then rather than simply following the River road straight to RR from there they choose instead follow the backroads even further south to within 10 leagues of HH before heading north and west.

But having said that, Martin has also said that the maps in the books are about as accurate as real maps of the middle ages, so the relative distances might be off. But there is still no plausible reason why the wedding party would not have crossed at the Twins to shave off a hundred leagues or more from their trip.

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10 leagues from Harrenhal is actually a pretty long distance between Harrenhal and wherever the abduction happened. 34 miles isn't exactly next door to the castle.

What I'm gathering from your post, though, is that Brandon who may have been traveling with both his father and his sister when she went missing may have taken it upon himself to ride to King's Landing and do what he did. Catelyn's thoughts on the matter is that he took it upon himself to go to King's Landing and confront Rhaegar.

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Yeah, it doesn't really add up that if Brandon left Riverrun to catch up with Lord Rickard's host coming to Riverrun, neither party would have to go anywhere near Harrenhall.

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@Bael's Bastard my main argument against this idea is not that Lyanna could not have separated herself from Rickard's party, but that if Brandon is traveling with his father why does he go off on his own to the Red Keep and challenge Rhaegar? Are we to believe Rickard is approving of Brandon's actions as a "gallant fool"? I highly doubt it. If Brandon's party hears of Lyanna's abduction on his way to Riverrun and he then runs off with his incredibly stupid challenge then we have to accept either he wasn't within Lord Stark's control or Lord Stark approved of his plan. I have to believe the former.

As I've said before, I think it more likely that Lyanna and Brandon are with Ned and Robert in the Vale after the tourney and it is during Lyanna's travels to Riverrun from the Vale for the wedding that the encounter with Rhaegar, Dayne, and Whent takes place. The trio's swords are pointed at Lyanna's guards and escort to Riverrun. One, at least, of which is dispatched to get the news to Rickard's 200 - known to be on their way to Riverrun - and runs into Brandon's party instead.

We know Rhaegar is traveling the Riverlands for some unknown reason - I believe he is looking for the Ghost of High Heart to get her guidance on the meaning of the "dragon has three heads" prophecy in the wake of being told Elia can not have any more children - and we have a chance meeting between Rhaegar and Lyanna.

I also believe it likely that the Stark and Baratheon response to Rhaegar's crowning of Lyanna is to have moved the weddings of Brandon and Catelyn AND between Robert and Lyanna up in time. They do so in defiance of Rhaegar's act and in defiance of Aerys's action against the Jaime- Lysa match. The Lyanna we are told about seems to want nothing to do with a marriage to Robert, and is likely resistant of her father's plans for using her in his schemes. If I read Lyanna right, then it seems likely she confronts Rhaegar with his declaration at Harrenhal and demands he help her escape her marriage. Once she is in Riverrun with her father, his 200 men, the Tullys and their men, then she likely to would be forced into accepting the wedding. There is little time and no path for negotiation, and they do the only thing possible without putting their fate in Aerys's hands and runaway to hide and hope to let the anger of the Starks and Baratheons die down.

None of which makes your theory wrong. I just like mine better.

Edited by SFDanny

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Good analysis, except for the part where you elevate the App with the information in the texts.  Especially since the App contradicts the initial Bran quote, which indicates that Brandon left with Rickard from Winterfell.

I’ll repeat this once again, George did not write the App.  If the App contradicts the books we need to throw the info from the App out.  If the App contains information not found in the books then we need to discount the App, until the information is confirmed in something George actually wrote.

Having said that, I agree with the basic premise, that Brandon and Lyanna were with the wedding party headed towards Riverrun when Lyanna disappeared.  This probably explains why Brandon and his groomsmen (I presume?) were able to get the jump on everybody and head to King’s Landing before anyone had a chance to react.  

The one part that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, however, were the number of Valesmen in Brandon’s party of seven.  One would think that if he were headed straight from Winterfell, everyone in his  group would have been Northmen.  

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14 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Good analysis, except for the part where you elevate the App with the information in the texts.  Especially since the App contradicts the initial Bran quote, which indicates that Brandon left with Rickard from Winterfell.

I’ll repeat this once again, George did not write the App.  If the App contradicts the books we need to throw the info from the App out.  If the App contains information not found in the books then we need to discount the App, until the information is confirmed in something George actually wrote.

Having said that, I agree with the basic premise, that Brandon and Lyanna were with the wedding party headed towards Riverrun when Lyanna disappeared.  This probably explains why Brandon and his groomsmen (I presume?) were able to get the jump on everybody and head to King’s Landing before anyone had a chance to react.  

The one part that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, however, were the number of Valesmen in Brandon’s party of seven.  One would think that if he were headed straight from Winterfell, everyone in his  group would have been Northmen.  

Leaving aside an old argument about the app, let me address the other points. First, Brandon having left with his father from Winterfell doesn't mean he travelled with him to Riverrun. We know Brandon is in places during this period without Lord Rickard and his 200 men. He fights a duel with Littlefinger. He is on the road to Riverrun when he receives the word of Lyanna's abduction. And he and his companions (seven? no, I think five including Brandon) ride to King's Landing without Rickard and his men. So, even if we accept Bran's second hand account of Brandon leaving Winterfell with Rickard we have evidence that he did not stay with the party. We have no evidence Lyanna was ever with Rickard on his travels south. It is curious that Bran leaves out her name and Ned's from his story. We are left to figure out just where these family members were and when after Harrenhal and before the  abduction.

I agree with you the inclusion of Elbert Arryn, Kyle Royce, and even Jeffory Mallister in Brandon's party is an important clue. It could be that it shows their origins from the Vale. I think it does, but I also think it shows an even more important thing than where they are traveling from - the men's relationship to Brandon. I agree these are likely at least a part of the groom's wedding party, but more than that they are close men to Brandon himself. After all, all of them go on an extremely dangerous trip to the Red Keep as part of Brandon's challenge to the Crown Prince of the Realm. I don't think they are just men included as groomsmen because of their families, but rather because of the nature of their relationship to Brandon. They are his closest friends. But even more than that, I think what we are seeing, as first proposed by Steffen Stasse over at the Tower of the Hand, are foster brothers. Young men raised and trained together with Brandon. They are, I think, the equivalent of Robert to Ned when we are talking about  Brandon. Likely taken into a foster relationship about the same time Ned goes to the Vale. They are men who follow Brandon's lead unto death. Deaths, I can't but believe their father's must have thought as foolish as Hoster thought of Brandon's. All trained to fight alongside of Brandon by Lady Dustin's famous hero of the War of the Sevenpenny Kings.

But they are also quite likely, other than Ethan Glover, to have been past their age of majority of sixteen and no longer fostered in the North, so a Vale start is quite likely as a starting point of Brandon's party's gathering.

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On 2/15/2019 at 3:36 PM, John Suburbs said:

The only problem I see is that to get anywhere near Harrenhal, Rik/Bran/Lyn would not have crossed at the Twins to take the short route to Riverrun -- and I'm sure they could easily afford the toll -- but would travel all the way south to the crossing at the Trident, and then rather than simply following the River road straight to RR from there they choose instead follow the backroads even further south to within 10 leagues of HH before heading north and west.

But having said that, Martin has also said that the maps in the books are about as accurate as real maps of the middle ages, so the relative distances might be off. But there is still no plausible reason why the wedding party would not have crossed at the Twins to shave off a hundred leagues or more from their trip.

@John Suburbs

You raise some good points.

It's true that the Kingsroad is not the only road between the North and Riverlands, and that the crossing at the Twins is the northernmost crossing of the Green Fork, and closest to Winterfell. I acknowledge that Lord Rickard Stark and his wedding party very well could have chosen to leave the Kingsroad soon after entering the Riverlands, in order to cross at the Twins.

But I am not yet ready to dismiss the possibility that Rickard and his wedding party might have continued down the Kingsroad they had likely already been traveling down when they reached the Riverlands. I have no "slam dunk" reason why he would have chosen to do so, and with as many gaps as we have in information, can only offer speculation.

It might be a shorter distance to Riverrun via the crossing at the Twins (though not sure by how much), but they were presumably already traveling on the Kingsroads when they reached the Riverlands, and the Kingsroad route also has the benefit of passing by the road in and out of the Vale, where the Starks had current and recent friendship, foster, and family ties.

Lord Jon Arryn, Lord Robert Baratheon, and Eddard Stark apparently returned to the Vale after the Harrenhal Tourney, and it seems likely that they would have attended the wedding of Brandon and Catelyn at Riverrun. Was the plan for them to join everyone at Riverrun? Was their plan to join Rickard's party on their way down? Was there some other plan?

I don't think it is necessary for Rickard's party to have been traveling south of the Riverroad for Lyanna to have been found and abducted south of the Riverroad. She could have been riding off from the main column as they traveled on the Riverroad, or she could have traveled off from one of the locations they had stopped at.

With so many gaps in our knowledge, there are still a lot of possibilities, and there is still a lot of room to speculate. We can speculate that something could have happened because there is space for it to have happened and nothing to contradict that it happened, and we can shoot down speculation because no mention has been made of it after five books.

For me, when I look at the data about Brandon, Lyanna, and Rickard from ASOIAF, TWOIAF, and AWOIAF App, it makes more sense to me that Lyanna was traveling with Rickard when Brandon left Riverrun to join Rickard's wedding party, than that Brandon, Lyanna, and Rickard were all independently in the Riverlands separately.

I don't dismiss the possibility that they were. But, for now, I prefer this theory.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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On 2/15/2019 at 3:50 PM, Alexis-something-Rose said:

10 leagues from Harrenhal is actually a pretty long distance between Harrenhal and wherever the abduction happened. 34 miles isn't exactly next door to the castle.

What I'm gathering from your post, though, is that Brandon who may have been traveling with both his father and his sister when she went missing may have taken it upon himself to ride to King's Landing and do what he did. Catelyn's thoughts on the matter is that he took it upon himself to go to King's Landing and confront Rhaegar.

@Alexis-something-Rose

The gist of the theory is that:

  • Lyanna was among the Starks, likely including Benjen, but not including Eddard, that returned to Winterfell after the Harrenhal Tourney.
     
  • Lyanna left Winterfell with Lord Rickard and his wedding party in order to attend Brandon's wedding at Riverrun.
     
  • Brandon may or may not have been among the Starks that returned to Winterfell after the Harrenhal Tourney.
     
  • Brandon may or may not have been among the Starks that left Winterfell with Lord Rickard and his wedding party.
     
  • Whatever the case, Brandon went to Riverrun at some point after the Harrenhal Tourney.
     
  • Brandon left Riverrun in order to join up with Rickard and his wedding party.
     
  • Brandon successfully joined up with Rickard and his wedding party.
     
  • Brandon, Rickard, and his wedding party were traveling together to Riverrun when Lyanna was abducted.
     
  • Brandon and his companions Ethan Glover, Jeffory Mallister, Kyle Royce, and Elbert Arryn rode off to King's Landing on their own when Brandon heard about Lyanna.

Bran's quote that "Their grandfather, old Lord Rickard, had gone as well, with his son Brandon who was Father's brother, and two hundred of his best men. None had ever returned." (AGOT: Bran VI) could indicate that Brandon returned to Winterfell after the Harrenhal Tourney, went south together with Rickard and two hundred of his best men, perhaps rode ahead to Riverrun on his own where he dueled Littlefinger, before joining back up with Rickard and his party for the last leg of their journey.

Or perhaps Bran is generalizing, and Brandon went south for the Harrenhal Tourney never to return to the North after that, while Rickard and two hundred of his best men went south months later for Brandon's wedding never to return to the North.

But whether Brandon ever returned North, or remained in the Riverlands, isn't pertinent to my theory. My theory is more concerned with whether Brandon had successfully joined up with Rickard and his party when he heard about Lyanna's abduction, and whether Lyanna had been traveling with Rickard and his party when she was abducted.

I think that this theory presents one of the more plausible explanations for why Lyanna was in the Riverlands, not ten leagues from Harrenhal, when she was allegedly abducted.

And I think the cited chapters from AGOT about Arya and Sansa demonstrate how a teenage Lyanna could have plausibly been traveling with a large party of armed men, yet been caught quite a distance from the main column, when she was abducted.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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On 2/15/2019 at 4:38 PM, Igziabeher said:

Yeah, it doesn't really add up that if Brandon left Riverrun to catch up with Lord Rickard's host coming to Riverrun, neither party would have to go anywhere near Harrenhall.

@Igziabeher

That it is possible to travel from Winterfell to Riverrun via the crossing of the Green Fork at the Twins does not mean that it is the route Lord Rickard and his party used. I acknowledge it's a possibility that can't be ruled out, but the possibility that they used the Kingsroad-Riverroad route cannot be ruled out either. We can be relatively certain they were already using the Kingsroad to travel from Winterfell into the Riverlands. If their primary motivation was getting to Riverrun as soon as possible, perhaps that would favor them paying the toll to cross at the Twins. Otherwise, the Kingsroad is one of the primary roads in Westeros, one on which they can be more easily joined by friends and allies from both Riverlands and Vale before crossing the Red Fork of the Trident.

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3 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

I don't dismiss the possibility that they were. But, for now, I prefer this theory.

You bet. To each their own theory, I always say. :cheers: I've seen far too many fools on this board :bang: trying to disprove a negative.

I guess my only other question is why this would matter to the story going forward. So Lyanna was with the wedding party when she was taken rather than riding alone. And?

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On 2/16/2019 at 7:53 PM, SFDanny said:

@Bael's Bastard my main argument against this idea is not that Lyanna could not have separated herself from Rickard's party, but that if Brandon is traveling with his father why does he go off on his own to the Red Keep and challenge Rhaegar? Are we to believe Rickard is approving of Brandon's actions as a "gallant fool"? I highly doubt it. If Brandon's party hears of Lyanna's abduction on his way to Riverrun and he then runs off with his incredibly stupid challenge then we have to accept either he wasn't within Lord Stark's control or Lord Stark approved of his plan. I have to believe the former.

@SFDanny

No, I don't believe that Brandon and his companions had, or would have received, Lord Rickard's approval to ride to King's Landing to raise the issue on their own. Nor do I think that Rickard would have automatically been able to control Brandon and his companions just because they were traveling with his party.

  • Brandon could have found out before Rickard did, and ridden off before even trying to get his approval.
     
  • Brandon could have found out before Rickard did, but been unable to convince him to act immediately.
     
  • Brandon could have found out from Rickard, but been unable to convince him to act immediately.
     
  • Brandon could have found out as Rickard was finding out, but been unable to convince him to act immediately.

Rickard's party could have been encamped, and Rickard could have been sleeping when Brandon heard about Lyanna, as Ned was in the barrowlands, when Robert woke him up, and they rode miles south of the main camp, where Robert informed him that he had learned that Daenerys had wed Khal Drogo. Or Rickard could have been off hunting, as Ned and Robert were after stopping at the Inn at the Crossroads, when Arya and Mycah rode off on their own, and Sansa and Joffrey rode off on their own, and all the trouble that followed went down.

Rickard's party could have also been traveling, and Brandon and his companions could have been riding near Rickard, or they could have been riding somewhere else along the main column, or they could have been riding well ahead of the main column, or well behind the main column.

There are no shortage of possibilities in which Brandon and Lyanna could have been traveling with Rickard's party at the time that Lyanna was allegedly abducted, and in which Rickard neither had the ability to prevent Lyanna from being abducted, nor the ability to prevent Brandon and his companions from riding off on their own.

On 2/16/2019 at 7:53 PM, SFDanny said:

As I've said before, I think it more likely that Lyanna and Brandon are with Ned and Robert in the Vale after the tourney and it is during Lyanna's travels to Riverrun from the Vale for the wedding that the encounter with Rhaegar, Dayne, and Whent takes place. The trio's swords are pointed at Lyanna's guards and escort to Riverrun. One, at least, of which is dispatched to get the news to Rickard's 200 - known to be on their way to Riverrun - and runs into Brandon's party instead.

I can't rule out the possibility with certainty, but it seems unlikely to me, since there is as of yet nothing placing Brandon or Lyanna in the Vale at that time, or at any time.

While my theory is admittedly speculative, Brandon and Lyanna are explicitly stated, and Rickard and his party implied, to have been in the Riverlands at the time that Lyanna was allegedly abducted.

While it's not impossible that they were all in the Riverlands separately - Brandon is definitely indicated to have originally been in the Riverlands separately - I think this supplies a more plausible explanation for how Lyanna came to be in the Riverlands.

Aside from nothing as of yet placing Lyanna or Brandon in the Vale at that or any time, what is Lyanna doing traveling to Riverrun without Brandon, Ned, Robert, or Jon when she is allegedly abducted if she had just been with them in the Vale?

On 2/16/2019 at 7:53 PM, SFDanny said:

We know Rhaegar is traveling the Riverlands for some unknown reason - I believe he is looking for the Ghost of High Heart to get her guidance on the meaning of the "dragon has three heads" prophecy in the wake of being told Elia can not have any more children - and we have a chance meeting between Rhaegar and Lyanna.

Perhaps.

On 2/16/2019 at 7:53 PM, SFDanny said:

I also believe it likely that the Stark and Baratheon response to Rhaegar's crowning of Lyanna is to have moved the weddings of Brandon and Catelyn AND between Robert and Lyanna up in time. They do so in defiance of Rhaegar's act and in defiance of Aerys's action against the Jaime- Lysa match. The Lyanna we are told about seems to want nothing to do with a marriage to Robert, and is likely resistant of her father's plans for using her in his schemes. If I read Lyanna right, then it seems likely she confronts Rhaegar with his declaration at Harrenhal and demands he help her escape her marriage. Once she is in Riverrun with her father, his 200 men, the Tullys and their men, then she likely to would be forced into accepting the wedding. There is little time and no path for negotiation, and they do the only thing possible without putting their fate in Aerys's hands and runaway to hide and hope to let the anger of the Starks and Baratheons die down.

Though I disagree with your theory about the ambitions of Rickard, Robert, and other great lords, I think it's entirely possible that Lyanna and Robert were to wed soon at the time she was abducted, whether or not their wedding had been moved. As far as the rest here, I don't strongly agree or disagree. We have Lyanna's own words about what she thought about Robert, and his nature, and her belief that he would never change. What, if anything, she was willing to do to avoid that, I am not sure. I tend to lean towards the idea that Rhaegar intentionally went looking for Lyanna, knowing of a threat to her by his father, but whether or not that is the case, it isn't really pertinent to where Lyanna had been staying after the tourney, or where she was staying/who she was traveling with when she was allegedly abducted.

Anyways, as always, I enjoyed reading and responding to your post. :cheers:

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On 2/17/2019 at 2:15 PM, Frey family reunion said:

Good analysis, except for the part where you elevate the App with the information in the texts.  Especially since the App contradicts the initial Bran quote, which indicates that Brandon left with Rickard from Winterfell.

I’ll repeat this once again, George did not write the App.  If the App contradicts the books we need to throw the info from the App out.  If the App contains information not found in the books then we need to discount the App, until the information is confirmed in something George actually wrote.

Having said that, I agree with the basic premise, that Brandon and Lyanna were with the wedding party headed towards Riverrun when Lyanna disappeared.  This probably explains why Brandon and his groomsmen (I presume?) were able to get the jump on everybody and head to King’s Landing before anyone had a chance to react.  

The one part that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, however, were the number of Valesmen in Brandon’s party of seven.  One would think that if he were headed straight from Winterfell, everyone in his  group would have been Northmen.  

@Frey family reunion

I'm not interesting in getting into a debate about the App, which is comprised of information that was mostly written for TWOIAF, or came from a long Q&A with GRRM. You are free to disregard it, but I don't, and I'm not going to for the sake of discussion.

The App doesn't contradict Bran's quote any more than Catelyn's quotes about Brandon do.

We thus far have nothing placing Brandon back in the North at any time after the Harrenhal Tourney, which Benjen was down south in attendance for, and which Rickard was up North during.

So it would seem that Rickard came south after Brandon, and Bran is generalizing, or Brandon returned North, only to go back south with Rickard, then seemingly go on ahead of Rickard to Riverrun, then leave Riverrun to run some errand, then be on his way back to Riverrun, all before Rickard has arrived at Riverrun.

Brandon was accompanied by his squire from the North, a companion from the Riverlands, and two companions from the Vale. Some have suggested that they all fostered together at Barrowtown. Seems possible that some or all were fostered together, or at least close by.

Brandon and his companions could have all remained in the Riverlands after Harrenhal, or if Brandon returned North first, he could have hooked up with his companions on the way back down, or when he joined up with Rickard.

I'm not dogmatic on all the details. I think there are a lot of possibilities within the general theory that Lyanna was traveling with Rickard's party, and Brandon had joined up with and was traveling with Rickard's party, when Lyanna was abducted.

Either or both Brandon and Lyanna returned North after Harrenhal, or Brandon went to Riverrun after Harrenhal, or Lyanna went to the Vale afterwards, or some combinations of these, or some other explanation for where they were or what they did after Harrenhal, I think Lyanna was with Rickard's party, and Brandon had left Riverrun and joined up with Rickard's party, and they were all on their way to Riverrun at the time Lyanna was allegedly abducted.

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On 2/18/2019 at 5:53 AM, SFDanny said:

Leaving aside an old argument about the app, let me address the other points. First, Brandon having left with his father from Winterfell doesn't mean he travelled with him to Riverrun. We know Brandon is in places during this period without Lord Rickard and his 200 men. He fights a duel with Littlefinger. He is on the road to Riverrun when he receives the word of Lyanna's abduction. And he and his companions (seven? no, I think five including Brandon) ride to King's Landing without Rickard and his men. So, even if we accept Bran's second hand account of Brandon leaving Winterfell with Rickard we have evidence that he did not stay with the party. 

@SFDanny

I agree. Even without the App, Catelyn's account of Brandon after the Harrenhal Tourney has him:

  • Dueling with Littlefinger at Riverrun (AGOT: Catelyn IV, VII)
     
  • Leaving Riverrun for some unstated purpose, and telling Catelyn they would wed on his return (AGOT: Catelyn X)
     
  • Riding back to Riverrun at the time he hears about Lyanna (ACOK: Catelyn VII)
     
  • Riding off to King's Landing after he hears about Lyanna (ACOK: Catelyn VII)

It seems likely that Rickard wasn't at Riverrun with Brandon, and we know that Rickard did not travel to King's Landing with Brandon and his companions.

I obviously suggest that Catelyn (AGOT: X, ACOK: VII) and the App indicate that Brandon left Riverrun to join up with Rickard's party, and that they were on their way back to Riverrun in the same party when Brandon heard about Lyanna.

But the point is that the App's statement that Brandon left Riverrun to join Rickard's party on its was south does not contradict Bran's statement any more than Catelyn's recollections do.

No matter how one slices it, we must account for the fact that, despite any indication from Bran's statement that Rickard and Brandon went south together, Catelyn's accounts don't feature Rickard.

Bran doesn't state that Rickard and Brandon left together and remained together until death. We know for a fact that they were not together at certain points. Bran might be being literal when he states that they went south together, in which case Brandon clearly separated from Rickard's party at some point(s). Or Bran could just be generalizing, whether out of ignorance or otherwise, based on the fact that Brandon and Rickard both went south never to return, and were in fact murdered together.

On 2/18/2019 at 5:53 AM, SFDanny said:

We have no evidence Lyanna was ever with Rickard on his travels south. It is curious that Bran leaves out her name and Ned's from his story. We are left to figure out just where these family members were and when after Harrenhal and before the  abduction.

We have no evidence about Lyanna other than that she attended the Harrenhal Tourney in late 281 AC, and that she was allegedly abducted not ten leagues from Harrenhal some time in 282 AC.

Bran isn't describing where every family member was after Harrenhall and during the abduction, he is only going through the family members that went south never to return, and have gone south but still haven't returned.

Which is why he mentions Ned, Arya, Sansa, Catelyn, etc. as having gone in current time, and that they hadn't come back either, and that Robb meant to go south to Riverrun as well.

Their grandfather, old Lord Rickard, had gone as well, with his son Brandon who was Father's brother, and two hundred of his best men. None had ever returned. And Father had gone south, with Arya and Sansa, and Jory and Hullen and Fat Tom and the rest, and later Mother and Ser Rodrik had gone, and they hadn't come back either. And now Robb meant to go. Not to King's Landing and not to swear fealty, but to Riverrun, with a sword in his hand. And if their lord father were truly a prisoner, that could mean his death for a certainty. It frightened Bran more than he could say.

- AGOT: Bran VI

But I agree that it sticks out that Bran doesn't mention Lyanna, as, whether Lyanna went south for the Harrenhal Tourney and remained in the south after, or whether Lyanna returned to Winterfell after the Harrenhal Tourney and went south with Rickard and his party, she certainly went south never to return. Or, as Bran's POV describes Sansa's direwolf Lady:

She had gone south, and only her bones had returned.

- AGOT: Bran VI

On 2/18/2019 at 5:53 AM, SFDanny said:

I agree with you the inclusion of Elbert Arryn, Kyle Royce, and even Jeffory Mallister in Brandon's party is an important clue. It could be that it shows their origins from the Vale. I think it does, but I also think it shows an even more important thing than where they are traveling from - the men's relationship to Brandon. I agree these are likely at least a part of the groom's wedding party, but more than that they are close men to Brandon himself. After all, all of them go on an extremely dangerous trip to the Red Keep as part of Brandon's challenge to the Crown Prince of the Realm. I don't think they are just men included as groomsmen because of their families, but rather because of the nature of their relationship to Brandon. They are his closest friends. But even more than that, I think what we are seeing, as first proposed by Steffen Stasse over at the Tower of the Hand, are foster brothers. Young men raised and trained together with Brandon. They are, I think, the equivalent of Robert to Ned when we are talking about  Brandon. Likely taken into a foster relationship about the same time Ned goes to the Vale. They are men who follow Brandon's lead unto death. Deaths, I can't but believe their father's must have thought as foolish as Hoster thought of Brandon's. All trained to fight alongside of Brandon by Lady Dustin's famous hero of the War of the Sevenpenny Kings.

It's certainly possible that some or all of Brandon's companions were either foster brothers to Brandon, or fostered near enough that they would have had ample opportunity to become close during their fosterings. Whatever the case, I think we can be reasonably certain they had developed a strong bond, not unlike the bond indicated between Jon and his friends/brothers Grenn, Pyp, Toad, and Halder in AGOT: Jon IX.

On 2/18/2019 at 5:53 AM, SFDanny said:

But they are also quite likely, other than Ethan Glover, to have been past their age of majority of sixteen and no longer fostered in the North, so a Vale start is quite likely as a starting point of Brandon's party's gathering.

Ned and Lord Robert were both well past being fostered, but they were still spending considerable time in the Vale with their foster father Lord Jon Arryn, and their foster brothers, rather than at their homes in the North and Stormlands. Who knows where Mallister, Royce, and Arryn were between Harrenhal and King's Landing. All we know is that they were with Brandon by the time he was riding back to Riverrun, heard about Lyanna, and rode to King's Landing instead.. They could have been with him from the time he originally went to Riverrun, whether he went there directly from Harrenhal, or returned North, or some other option like the Vale, as you suggest. Or they could have joined him after he left Riverrun promising to return.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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20 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

You bet. To each their own theory, I always say. :cheers: I've seen far too many fools on this board :bang: trying to disprove a negative.

I guess my only other question is why this would matter to the story going forward. So Lyanna was with the wedding party when she was taken rather than riding alone. And?

@John Suburbs

Details like where Lyanna was, what she was doing, and what was happening between the Harrenhal Tourney and her abduction not ten leagues from Harrenhal are interesting to some people. Whether or not any of that will matter to the story going forward doesn't factor into my interest in it and in discussing it.

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IMO Lyanna got spooked after Rhaegar crowned her queen of love and beauty, because she thought he must have suspected she had something to do with the Knight of the Laughing Tree. So she took off after the tourney to hide just as Arya hid with Nymeria after throwing Joffrey's sword in the Trident, which I believe is a sort of parallel metaphor for what Lyanna did. When Cersei declares they "have a wolf" it's a parallel for when Lyanna is captured.

The tourney at Harrenhal is what sparked the events that led into the Rebellion. If you understand that the titled chapters in AFFC and ADWD tell two stories with a second one hidden in the parallels, metaphors, and symbolism, then you might accept the idea that the reason why Arya as Cat of the Canals serves three nights out of every month at the House of Black and White is because the three nights are symbolic of the three knights the Knight of the Laughing Tree defeated, and the thirty days represent the length of time Lyanna managed to remain hidden until she was captured. 

Brandon had travelled to Riverrun to marry Catelyn, because it seems like it's a tradition to marry at the first of the year. If the tourney was held near the end of the year and Brandon's wedding was set for the first month of the year, then Lyanna was missing for about a month.

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57 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

SNIP because it seems like it's a tradition to marry at the first of the year.  SNIP

Nonsense. There is a total of 1 marriage in the books that happens at the first of the year and every single other marriage happens at another time. It doesn't "seem like" at all.

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22 minutes ago, Ser Leftwich said:

Nonsense. There is a total of 1 marriage in the books that happens at the first of the year and every single other marriage happens at another time. It doesn't "seem like" at all.

Rhaegar and Elia and Joffrey and Margaery were both said to have married at the beginning of the new year.

Quote

 

"I rather liked these accommodations. Have you set a date for this great wedding?"

"Joffrey and Margaery shall marry on the first day of the new year, which as it happens is also the first day of the new century. The ceremony will herald the dawn of a new era."

 

Quote

 

"I will thend it to hith lord father. I will tell him he muth pay one hundred thouthand dragonth, or we thall return the Kingthlayer to him pieth by pieth. And when we hath hith gold, we thall deliver Ther Jaime to Karthark, and collect a maiden too!" A roar of laughter went up from the Brave Companions.

"A fine plan," said Roose Bolton, the same way he might say, "A fine wine," to a dinner companion, "though Lord Karstark will not be giving you his daughter. King Robb has shortened him by a head, for treason and murder. As to Lord Tywin, he remains at King's Landing, and there he will stay till the new year, when his grandson takes for bride a daughter of Highgarden."

 

 
Quote

Meanwhile, King Aerys was becoming ever more estranged from his own son and heir. Early in the year 279 AC, Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone, was formally betrothed to Princess Elia Martell, the delicate young sister of Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne. They were wed the following year, in a lavish ceremony at the Great Sept of Baelor in King's Landing, but Aerys II did not attend. He told the small council that he feared an attempt upon his life if he left the confines of the Red Keep, even with his Kingsguard to protect him. Nor would he allow his younger son, Viserys, to attend his brother's wedding.

It's implied that Rhaegar and Elia married in the first month of 280 since it was a year after their betrothal in early 279.

Perhaps the reason why weddings may be reserved for the beginning of a new year has to do with deflowering a young maiden?

Quote

"What one king does, another may undo. In Pentos we have a prince, my friend. He presides at ball and feast and rides about the city in a palanquin of ivory and gold. Three heralds go before him with the golden scales of trade, the iron sword of war, and the silver scourge of justice. On the first day of each new year he must deflower the maid of the fields and the maid of the seas." Illyrio leaned forward, elbows on the table. "Yet should a crop fail or a war be lost, we cut his throat to appease the gods and choose a new prince from amongst the forty families."

The World book also asserts that Rhaegar came upon Lyanna early in the year:

Quote

As cold winds hammered the city, King Aerys II turned to his pyromancers, charging them to drive the winter off with their magics. Huge green fires burned along the walls of the Red Keep for a moon's turn. Prince Rhaegar was not in the city to observe them, however. Nor could he be found in Dragonstone with Princess Elia and their young son, Aegon. With the coming of the new year, the crown prince had taken to the road with half a dozen of his closest friends and confidants, on a journey that would ultimately lead him back to the riverlands. Not ten leagues from Harrenhal, Rhaegar fell upon Lyanna Stark of Winterfell, and carried her off, lighting a fire that would consume his house and kin and all those he loved—and half the realm besides.

If Lyanna went missing early in the year, it only makes sense that Brandon's wedding was also planned for the new year.

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On 2/18/2019 at 11:16 AM, Bael's Bastard said:

@Igziabeher

That it is possible to travel from Winterfell to Riverrun via the crossing of the Green Fork at the Twins does not mean that it is the route Lord Rickard and his party used. I acknowledge it's a possibility that can't be ruled out, but the possibility that they used the Kingsroad-Riverroad route cannot be ruled out either. We can be relatively certain they were already using the Kingsroad to travel from Winterfell into the Riverlands. If their primary motivation was getting to Riverrun as soon as possible, perhaps that would favor them paying the toll to cross at the Twins. Otherwise, the Kingsroad is one of the primary roads in Westeros, one on which they can be more easily joined by friends and allies from both Riverlands and Vale before crossing the Red Fork of the Trident.

I guess there is no evidence either way as to which route they would've chose.  Maybe if an envoy from the Vale would be going to the Wedding as well with Ned & Robert in tow, they could have met near the Inn at the Crossing and join the party as well.  Is there any reason as to why Ned would not have been present at the wedding of his brother if it were to happen?

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2 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

IMO Lyanna got spooked after Rhaegar crowned her queen of love and beauty, because she thought he must have suspected she had something to do with the Knight of the Laughing Tree. So she took off after the tourney to hide just as Arya hid with Nymeria after throwing Joffrey's sword in the Trident, which I believe is a sort of parallel metaphor for what Lyanna did. When Cersei declares they "have a wolf" it's a parallel for when Lyanna is captured.

The tourney at Harrenhal is what sparked the events that led into the Rebellion. If you understand that the titled chapters in AFFC and ADWD tell two stories with a second one hidden in the parallels, metaphors, and symbolism, then you might accept the idea that the reason why Arya as Cat of the Canals serves three nights out of every month at the House of Black and White is because the three nights are symbolic of the three knights the Knight of the Laughing Tree defeated, and the thirty days represent the length of time Lyanna managed to remain hidden until she was captured. 

Wouldn’t it be somewhat difficult for a high born maid to “remain hidden” for a whole month? 

2 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

 Brandon had travelled to Riverrun to marry Catelyn, because it seems like it's a tradition to marry at the first of the year. If the tourney was held near the end of the year and Brandon's wedding was set for the first month of the year, then Lyanna was missing for about a month.

I’m not sure I follow... So the idea here is that Lyanna takes off and hides for a month, and is immediately “ abducted” (or whatever)? W/o ever meeting anyone? Is that it?

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