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Posted (edited)
On 3/7/2019 at 2:47 AM, SFDanny said:

Yes, we can. We are told that Lord Tywin never responds to either sides attempts to contact him for support. Are we to suppose that a marriage proposal that would place Robert's commitment to Lyanna at odds with the alliance was being negotiated while he didn't respond? A fancy trick that.

No what I'm suggesting is that the marriage negotiations started after the Sack but before Eddard's battle at the tower of joy.  Robert already knew that Lyanna was forever lost to him because she had been pregnant.

On 3/7/2019 at 2:47 AM, SFDanny said:

This a huge step off into a rabbit hole. It's entirely speculation supported by nothing. Is this based on some supernatural powers Howland supposedly has? Because we don't know of them. He is never said to have dreams like his son, or powers to see through the Weirwoods like the Three-eyed Crow or Bran. He has powers likened to his daughter. Do these give him some ability to find Lyanna as she is held by Rhaegar or the Kingsguard? What evidence do you have that actually supports this wild speculation?

Boy you guys really like to downplay Howland.

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He grew up hunting and fishing and climbing trees, and learned all the magics of my people.

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"Did he have green dreams like Jojen?"

"No," said Meera, "but he could breathe mud and run on leaves, and change earth to water and water to earth with no more than a whispered word.  He could talk to trees and weave words and make castles appear and disappear."

What do you think it means to talk to trees?  Isn't that what Bran is learning to do?  After all Bran doesn't have prophetic dreams like Jojen, but he does have magic.  Talking to trees very well could mean a telepathic connection to the weirwoods.  So yes we do know that Howland is magical, we're specifically told that he's magical, and let us also not forget that:

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"The lad knew the magics of the crannogs," she continued, "but he wanted more. 

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"But this lad was bolder than most, and one day when he had grown to manhood he decided he would leave the crannogs and visit the Isle of Faces."

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"It was the green men he meant to find."

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"Did he meet the green men?"

"Yes," said Meera, "but that's another story, and not for me to tell."

In other words, he knew magic, but traveled to the Isle of Faces (where no one goes) so he could learn more magic.  And he stayed there for the entire winter...

As for weaving words, where have we also heard about weaving being related to magic?

Quote

Jon Snow turned to Melisandre.  "What sorcery is this?"

"Call it what you will. Glamor, seeming, illusion.  R'hllor is Lord of Light, Jon Snow, and it is given to his servants to weave with it, as others weave with thread."

ETA:  But to answer your question, yes I believe Howland knows magic, but I don’t think that would be necessary for him to find Lyanna.  

Edited by Frey family reunion

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There is no reason to assume that Robert couldn't have married a soiled Lyanna - and that's what he wanted to do, it seems. Widows can and do take second husbands in this world.

If Rogar Baratheon can marry a widowed Alyssa Velaryon then Robert Baratheon certainly could also have married a widowed Lyanna Stark.

Not to mention the widows Maegor the Cruel collected.

Robert makes it crystal clear that he did not marry after he had lost Lyanna, and that he most definitely did not marry Cersei. Jon Arryn pushed him, and ruled the lives of everyone in the process of that shitty idea.

If there is a guy who could have forgiven Lyanna for what she and Rhaegar did it is Robert. He loved her. More than anyone else. And Robert even loved Ned more than anyone else we know. Varys puts this very succinctly in AGoT:

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“No. I am what I am. The king makes use of me, but it shames him. A most puissant warrior is our Robert, and such a manly man has little love for sneaks and spies and eunuchs. If a day should come when Cersei whispers, ‘Kill that man,’ Ilyn Payne will snick my head off in a twinkling, and who will mourn poor Varys then? North or south, they sing no songs for spiders.” He reached out and touched Ned with a soft hand. “But you, Lord Stark … I think … no, I know … he would not kill you, not even for his queen, and there may lie our salvation.

This is true. Robert is a corrupt ass who allows himself to led around by the nose by people who like to cut out tongues and murder children if he can just get to his next gulp of wine, but he does love Ned. And he loved Lyanna even more, even if he never knew. He never knew Ned, either - or rather, he never seems to have a damn about his opinion or character. He was just his friend, despite the fact that they never had anything in common.

He doesn't need to know Lyanna or care about her character to treat her like he treated Ned. Which, even after he had become king, meant treating him as being closer than any of his actual brothers, much less his wife or his children.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no reason to assume that Robert couldn't have married a soiled Lyanna - and that's what he wanted to do, it seems. Widows can and do take second husbands in this world.

If Rogar Baratheon can marry a widowed Alyssa Velaryon then Robert Baratheon certainly could also have married a widowed Lyanna Stark.

Not to mention the widows Maegor the Cruel collected.

Robert makes it crystal clear that he did not marry after he had lost Lyanna, and that he most definitely did not marry Cersei. Jon Arryn pushed him, and ruled the lives of everyone in the process of that shitty idea.

If there is a guy who could have forgiven Lyanna for what she and Rhaegar did it is Robert. He loved her. More than anyone else. And Robert even loved Ned more than anyone else we know. Varys puts this very succinctly in AGoT:

I think there could have been  four significant reasons that marrying Lyanna would have been impossible if Robert found out she was pregnant with Rhaegar’s child:

1.  Lyanna’s health.  Assuming that Lyanna ultimately died because of health reasons related to her pregnancy, we’re probably looking at a difficult pregnancy, that left her bedridden, similar to Elia’s pregnancy or perhaps worse.  Worse case scenario, is that we’re looking at a medieval cesarean section.  It may have been fairly apparent that even if Lyanna survived she would never have another child.  

2.  Societal taboo.  The example you brought up re: Alyssa Velaryon is easily distinguishable from a pregnant Lyanna.  Alyssa was lawfully married and had children in wedlock.  A widow remarrying doesn’t have a social stigma.  It’s completely different from a woman who could be proven to have had intercourse before her marriage with another man.  Even far worse for a woman who was pregnant with another man’s child.  If their father could find a match for them at all it might be with a household knight.  It would probably disqualify Lyanna from being seen as a suitable choice as the queen of the realm.  If you recall, it was of significant importance that the Tyrells declared that Margaery was still “innocent”, despite her marriage to Renly, that she never consummated the marriage.  

Even if it’s not common knowledge that Lyanna was pregnant with Rhaegar’s child it appears to be common knownledge that they had sexual relations.  Even Bran seems aware that Rhaegar raped Lyanna.  It’s highly unlikely that Bran heard that tale from his father.  So Rhaegar raping Lyanna must have been talked about enough to have gotten to Bran.  And it’s even worse elsewhere, because the scuttlbutt doesn’t appear that Lyanna was raped by Rhaegar, instead it appears that Rhaegar and Lyanna was a love story.  In other words there appear to be many that believed Lyanna ran off with Rhaegar rather than marry Robert.  

3.  Robert’s viewpoint.  I think it is fairly clear that Robert loves an image he has of Lyanna, as opposed to truly loving Lyanna as she really was.  Eddard even brings that point up to Robert.  This image consisted of a “pure” Lyanna who belonged solely to Robert.  This image would have been destroyed if she was pregnant with another man’s child, especially if that man was Rhaegar.  Even if Robert truly believed that Rhaegar raped her to accomplish this, the damage has been done.  Lyanna could never be “his” in Robert’s mind.

ETA: I think this quote illustrates my point:

Quote

“She should be on a hill somewhere, under a fruit tree, with the sun and clouds above her and the rain to wash her clean.”

So why does Robert believe that Lyanna needs to be “washed clean”.  I think he’s referring to the taint that Rhaegar left on Lyanna when he dishonored her.

4.  But more importantly, we also have to consider Lyanna’s viewpoint, and perhaps Eddard became aware of Lyanna’s mindset as well.  I think it’s highly possible that Lyanna never intended on marrying Robert despite the plans her father made.   After all Eddard seems to at least part of the blame of Lyanna’s early death on her “wildness” or her “wolf blood”.  Couple that with Lyanna’s seeming disapproval of the rumors surrounding Robert’s nature, and it seems highly possible, that Lyanna wasn’t really abducted.  That she willingly ran off with Rhaegar and his merry band, rather than acquiesce to her father’s wishes.  Depending on how much Eddard became aware of Lyanna’s circumstances before the Trident, Eddard may have come to the realization that Lyanna was never going to become Robert’s bride.  

So adding all of these factors together, if Lyanna was indeed found before the Trident, Robert could have very well have come to a conclusion that he lost Lyanna forever even if she was still alive at the time of the Trident.  And Robert lays the blame for this squarely at the feet of Rhaegar.  

Edited by Frey family reunion

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8 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

I think there could have been  four significant reasons that marrying Lyanna would have been impossible if Robert found out she was pregnant with Rhaegar’s child.

I'd agree if Robert's view also was that she had never been married. But a Lyanna soiled by marriage wouldn't be soiled at all. Rhaegar's whore could be seen as soiled goods, Rhaegar's wife not so much.

But we should also keep in mind that various women who had had affairs before their marriages did eventually marry - among them such notables as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Lysa Tully, Walder Frey's sister, Perianne Moore and Alys Turnberry, etc.

Princes and kings usually do not look for non-virgin brides, but Westeros isn't as fixated on female virginity as the real middle ages or certain real world cultures even to this day.

And we have to keep in mind that Robert was obsessed with Lyanna to a degree he wasn't obsessed with anybody else.

8 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

1.  Lyanna’s health.  Assuming that Lyanna ultimately died because of health reasons related to her pregnancy, we’re probably looking at a difficult pregnancy, that left her bedridden, similar to Elia’s pregnancy or perhaps worse.  Worse case scenario, is that we’re looking at a medieval cesarean section.  It may have been fairly apparent that even if Lyanna survived she would never have another child.

If that were the case, then, sure, a marriage would be rather inconvenient. Not impossible, though, considering that FaB revealed that adoption is a thing in Westeros, too:

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Daemon Velaryon, the lord admiral, suggested that Jaehaerys might marry the widowed Queen Elinor, of House Costayne. How better to show that Maegor’s supporters had been forgiven than by taking one of his Black Brides to queen, mayhaps even adopting her three sons by her first marriage. Queen Elinor’s proven fertility was another point in her favor, he argued.

Such adopted children could then be the heirs in a barren union, just as Sharra Arryn tried to convince the Conqueror to take her own as a third wife and acknowledge her son Ronnel as his heir in the process of that union.

Had Elia and her children survived there would have been people pushing Robert to marry her to heal the wounds of the war and ensure that the children that were passed over in favor of 'King Robert' might eventually get to the throne in the end.

A similar thing could have been done obviously with Lyanna, too. Even more so in light of the fact that Robert loved Lyanna.

We have to keep in mind that at this point the best explanation as to why Lyanna may have feared for the life of her children is the treatment of Aerys II, Elia, and the children by the victorious rebels. The idea that she would somehow in general fear for the life of her innocent child at the hands of a man who professed to love was never very convincing. If the fear that went away after Ned's promise was a fear for the life of her child - and that's just speculation at this point - then she must have had a (good) reason for that fear.

8 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

2.  Societal taboo.  The example you brought up re: Alyssa Velaryon is easily distinguishable from a pregnant Lyanna.  Alyssa was lawfully married and had children in wedlock.  A widow remarrying doesn’t have a social stigma.  It’s completely different from a woman who could be proven to have had intercourse before her marriage with another man.  Even far worse for a woman who was pregnant with another man’s child.  If their father could find a match for them at all it might be with a household knight.  It would probably disqualify Lyanna from being seen as a suitable choice as the queen of the realm.  If you recall, it was of significant importance that the Tyrells declared that Margaery was still “innocent”, despite her marriage to Renly, that she never consummated the marriage.

The Tyrell thing there is a completely different thing. The Tyrells were enemies of House Lannister ... until they suddenly weren't and wanted to marry their daughter to the king. They were not exactly trusted friends of Tywin and Cersei - Ned and House Stark, on the other hand, were trusted friends of Robert and and House Baratheon. In Margaery's case it would have been a great pretext to reject Margaery as Joffrey's wife if she was no longer a maiden - in Lyanna's case we are not talking about the same thing.

And we see how women who had originally been married to enemies of the king ended up marrying him - Rhaena Targaryen, Jeyne Westerling, etc.

8 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Even if it’s not common knowledge that Lyanna was pregnant with Rhaegar’s child it appears to be common knownledge that they had sexual relations.  Even Bran seems aware that Rhaegar raped Lyanna.  It’s highly unlikely that Bran heard that tale from his father.  So Rhaegar raping Lyanna must have been talked about enough to have gotten to Bran.  And it’s even worse elsewhere, because the scuttlbutt doesn’t appear that Lyanna was raped by Rhaegar, instead it appears that Rhaegar and Lyanna was a love story.  In other words there appear to be many that believed Lyanna ran off with Rhaegar rather than marry Robert.  

Actually, nobody spreads or believes in a 'Lyanna ran away with Rhaegar' story. That has yet to be mentioned in the books, and I doubt it will be. All evidence we have implies that there was an actual abduction. This doesn't mean that there was no love involved, but the idea that Lyanna ran away is just fan-made theory (or fantasy) at this point.

8 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

3.  Robert’s viewpoint.  I think it is fairly clear that Robert loves an image he has of Lyanna, as opposed to truly loving Lyanna as she really was.  Eddard even brings that point up to Robert.  This image consisted of a “pure” Lyanna who belonged solely to Robert.  This image would have been destroyed if she was pregnant with another man’s child, especially if that man was Rhaegar.  Even if Robert truly believed that Rhaegar raped her to accomplish this, the damage has been done.  Lyanna could never be “his” in Robert’s mind.

That is why I brought up Robert and Ned's relationship above. These two, too, have basically nothing in common. They don't have the same hobbies, they don't have the same view of life and the responsibilities that come with the burdens they shoulder, their views on promiscuity, brothels, upbringing of children, dealing with your spouse, justice, etc. couldn't be further apart ... yet they are the closest of friends and they love each other anyway.

If Robert can love Ned the way he does, he could also love a Lyanna who wasn't exactly like he envisioned her. He is aware of the fact that Ned isn't exactly like him, does not approve of pretty much everything he does, etc. but they are still friends.

If I were Ned or Robert I could never hang out with the other because I'd see him either see as a drunken, whoring moron or a bore as bad (or worse) than Stannis. But these two apparently could get passed that.

Even if we were to assume that Robert's love for Lyanna would have died after he had learned 'the truth' - he doesn't have to love her to honor the contract he had made with Lord Rickard Stark. The Starks do take their marriage contracts at least as seriously as the Baratheons do theirs. Ned wasn't just Robert's friend, he was also the Kingmaker in this entire enterprise. Robert could scarcely risk to antagonize one of his closest allies and friends over this issue - unlike him doing nothing about Elia and the children rejecting Lyanna would be a personal insult to the Lord of Winterfell and House Stark in general. It could very well mean the quick end of his kingship, but it most certainly would be the end of his friendship with Ned.

Do we believe he would really want to do that?

I mean, sure, if a surviving Lyanna and Ned, too, decided to (quietly) drop the marriage contract, and Robert was also happy with that then it wouldn't have been pursued, sure. But I don't think we can say that what happened to Lyanna during the war as such put an end to this thing. I mean, it seems that getting Lyanna back was a huge part of Robert's (and Ned's) motivation during the war. 

8 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

ETA: I think this quote illustrates my point:

So why does Robert believe that Lyanna needs to be “washed clean”.  I think he’s referring to the taint that Rhaegar left on Lyanna when he dishonored her.

Could also be a more general reference to a more peaceful and pleasant burial place. Robert apparently didn't think Lyanna deserved to lie in a dark crypt.

8 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

4.  But more importantly, we also have to consider Lyanna’s viewpoint, and perhaps Eddard became aware of Lyanna’s mindset as well.  I think it’s highly possible that Lyanna never intended on marrying Robert despite the plans her father made.   After all Eddard seems to at least part of the blame of Lyanna’s early death on her “wildness” or her “wolf blood”.  Couple that with Lyanna’s seeming disapproval of the rumors surrounding Robert’s nature, and it seems highly possible, that Lyanna wasn’t really abducted.  That she willingly ran off with Rhaegar and his merry band, rather than acquiesce to her father’s wishes.  Depending on how much Eddard became aware of Lyanna’s circumstances before the Trident, Eddard may have come to the realization that Lyanna was never going to become Robert’s bride.  

If Lyanna truly had decided to not do what was expected of her then it is very odd that she did not publicly say that. Lyanna seems to have been a dialed-up version of Arya. If she didn't want to do something, she would have said so. And if she had said so then the marriage would have been canceled, or it would have gotten much harder to go along with it.

It is also odd that we then get the abduction story. Lyanna was a great rider, she could have run away to meet with Rhaegar somewhere (or do other stuff) all by herself. She didn't need to meet with Rhaegar in a context where it could appear or misconstrued that he abducted her. Yet that's what happened.

In that sense, I think the far more likely scenario is that Lyanna did love Rhaegar, too, but never had any intention of becoming his mistress (or continuing the affair, if there was an actual romance at Harrenhal) or even his wife. She did not want to marry Robert, but she would have done her duty anyway.

Rhaegar, on the other hand, could allow that for some reason, hence the abduction. And after they were together and Lyanna no longer had another choice she was happy with the new thing - until she learned about her father and brother, most likely.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/8/2019 at 6:14 AM, Frey family reunion said:

ETA: I think this quote illustrates my point:

On 3/8/2019 at 6:14 AM, Frey family reunion said:

 

Quote

“She should be on a hill somewhere, under a fruit tree, with the sun and clouds above her and the rain to wash her clean.”

 

So why does Robert believe that Lyanna needs to be “washed clean”.  I think he’s referring to the taint that Rhaegar left on Lyanna when he dishonored her.

He is speaking of her stone carving on her tomb. If you don't truncate the quote, it is clear what the "wash her clean" is in reference to.

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There were three tombs, side by side. Lord Rickard Stark, Ned's father, had a long, stern face. The stonemason had know him well. He sat with quiet dignity, stone fingers holding tight to the sword across his lap, but in life all swords had failed him. In two smaller sepulchers on either side were his children. Brandon had been twenty when he died, strangled by order of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen only a few short days before he was to wed Catelyn Tully of Riverrun. His father had been forced to watch him die. He was the true heir, the eldest, born to rule.

Lyanna had only been sixteen, a child woman of surpassing loveliness. Ned had loved her with all his heart. Robert had loved her even more. She was to have been his bride. 

"She was more beautiful than that," the king said after a silence. His eyes lingered on Lyanna's face, as if he could will her back to life. Finally he rose, made awkward by his weight. "Ah, damn it, Ned, did you have to bury her in a place like this?" His voice was hoarse with remembered grief. "She deserved more than darkness ..."

"She was a Stark of Winterfell," Ned said quietly. "This is her place."

"She should be on a hill somewhere, under a fruit tree, with the sun and clouds above her and rain to wash her clean."

"I was with her when she died," Ned reminded the king. "She wanted to come home, to rest beside Brandon and Father."

Robert is complaining about the location of the tombs and the quality of the representation of Lyanna on her sepulcher's rendering of her image in the stone. The reference to "wash her clean" isn't towards any conduct by Lyanna with Rhaegar, but is simply that the presentation of her crypt needs to be as beautiful as she was. Do you really think Robert has chosen this moment to complain about Lyanna's bones needing to be "washed clean" of the taint of Rhaegar's sexual relations? Robert has his faults, but even he isn't that crass. In short, @Frey family reunion there is "no there there" to your point.

Edited by SFDanny
remove a "the" that should not be there

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I agree with FFR on that point.  Let's take a look at the text in a bit more detail:

27 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

"She was more beautiful than that," the king said after a silence.

"She" means the actual Lyanna. 

"That" means the stone.

27 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

"Ah, damn it, Ned, did you have to bury her in a place like this?"

"Her" means the actual Lyanna.  Not the stone.

28 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

"She was a Stark of Winterfell," Ned said quietly. "This is her place."

"She" and "her" mean the actual Lyanna.  Not the stone.

28 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

"She should be on a hill somewhere, under a fruit tree, with the sun and clouds above her and rain to wash her clean."

Continuing the clear pattern, "she" and "her" almost certainly mean the actual Lyanna in this remark by Robert. 

Not the stone, which Robert previously called "that."

30 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

"I was with her when she died," Ned reminded the king. "She wanted to come home, to rest beside Brandon and Father."

"Her" and "she" unquestionably mean the actual Lyanna, not the stone.

Now, exactly why Robert would think the actual Lyanna needs to be washed clean by the rain is, perhaps, a debatable question.  But I think it's pretty plain Robert did think that.

As to whether Robert would have been prepared to marry her, if she had survived physically unharmed and despite his belief that Rhaegar raped her many times, I think that's a very interesting question someone might ask GRRM sometime at a convention.  I bet nobody ever has.

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Posted (edited)

Again. Only in response to @JNR this time.

Quote

"She was more beautiful than that," the king said after a silence. His eyes lingered on Lyanna's face, as if he could will her back to life. Finally he rose, made awkward by his weight. "Ah, damn it, Ned, did you have to bury her in a place like this?" His voice was hoarse with remembered grief. "She deserved more than darkness ..."

Robert's complaint is that the carving is not as beautiful as Lyanna was. He then continues on his complaining about the darkness and the location in general of Lyanna's tomb. In that context he raises a hypothetical other more beautiful place for her bones to rest that would have the advantage of being washed clean by the rains, instead of the terrible sunless earthen place the Starks choose to bury their dead. Nowhere is there so much as the tiniest hint of Lyanna herself needing to be washed clean of her experience with Rhaegar.

The idea that Robert is taking the first opportunity to view Lyanna's resting place to complain about her moral "taint" is unsupported by anything in the conversation and is simply an outrageous stretch in order to desperately look for a hint that is not there for a thesis that is ephemeral.

Edited by SFDanny

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Posted (edited)
On 3/7/2019 at 2:29 PM, Frey family reunion said:

Boy you guys really like to downplay Howland.

Just me here, FFR. I don't have a committee I run my thoughts passed before I post. It would be helpful at times, but no it's just me. Sorry, again, for the late response to this post.

On 3/7/2019 at 2:29 PM, Frey family reunion said:

No what I'm suggesting is that the marriage negotiations started after the Sack but before Eddard's battle at the tower of joy.  Robert already knew that Lyanna was forever lost to him because she had been pregnant.

Marriage pacts go both ways. Not that Robert feels terribly bound on his end. It's likely he fathers at least two more children during the war, so the anger and rage Robert feels towards another man taking Lyanna isn't enough to stop him from exercising his "nature" while fighting for Lyanna's return. I doubt that means Robert has given up on his promises to the Starks, but it is something to note. It is not impossible that Tywin goes to Jon Arryn and secretly raises the question after Ned is gone. But the problem is that for the pact to be voided takes both sides and Ned is on his way to Storm's End.

Ned however is bound by the marriage pact, and as the new Lord of Winterfell it is his responsibility to get his sister to follow through on the Stark's promise. One would think if the pact had been voided by mutual agreement Ned would act differently. For one thing he wouldn't need the secrecy he shows when he goes to the tower. Yet he goes in secret to find his sister. 

On your timeline, one would think that Howland is with the Northern Host throughout the war, so when Ned leaves Robert after the Trident to go to King's Landing it is likely Howland is with him. Not back with Robert telling him secrets learned from the weir woods. When do you think Robert is informed by Howland because his remarks to Ned rule out Robert reaching such a decision until possibly after the Trident.

On 3/7/2019 at 2:29 PM, Frey family reunion said:

Boy you guys really like to downplay Howland.

What do you think it means to talk to trees?  Isn't that what Bran is learning to do?  After all Bran doesn't have prophetic dreams like Jojen, but he does have magic.  Talking to trees very well could mean a telepathic connection to the weirwoods.  So yes we do know that Howland is magical, we're specifically told that he's magical, and let us also not forget that:

In other words, he knew magic, but traveled to the Isle of Faces (where no one goes) so he could learn more magic.  And he stayed there for the entire winter...

As for weaving words, where have we also heard about weaving being related to magic? 

I never said he didn't know magic. I only question whether he knew the magic that could allow him to find Lyanna, particularly to find her remotely, and find out that she was pregnant. We have no example that shows he does, but let us assume for the sake of argument that "he can talk to trees" means he is able to look through weir woods and see Lyanna in the same way that Bran is learning to do. Where do we have evidence he did find this out? Not in Robert's conduct or in his words.

Edited by SFDanny

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2 hours ago, SFDanny said:

Nowhere is there so much as the tiniest hint of Lyanna herself needing to be washed clean of her experience with Rhaegar.

Again: nowhere in my post was there, either.

All the same, Robert did not refer to a stone likeness as "she," or express an interest in having the stone likeness washed clean by rains.  Robert's profound emotional investment is in Lyanna, not in the stone likeness.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SFDanny said:

Just me here, FFR. I don't have a committee I run my thoughts passed before I post. It would be helpful at times, but no it's just me. Sorry, again, for the late response to this post.

Marriage pacts go both ways. Not that Robert feels terribly bound on his end. It's likely he fathers at least two more children during the war, so the anger and rage Robert feels towards another man taking Lyanna isn't enough to stop him from exercising his "nature" while fighting for Lyanna's return. I doubt that means Robert has given up on his promises to the Starks, but it is something to note. It is not impossible that Tywin goes to Jon Arryn and secretly raises the question after Ned is gone. But the problem is that for the pact to be voided takes both sides and Ned is on his way to Storm's End.

Ned however is bound by the marriage pact, and as the new Lord of Winterfell it is his responsibility to get his sister to follow through on the Stark's promise. One would think if the pact had been voided by mutual agreement Ned would act differently. For one thing he wouldn't need the secrecy he shows when he goes to the tower. Yet he goes in secret to find his sister. 

On your timeline, one would think that Howland is with the Northern Host throughout the war, so when Ned leaves Robert after the Trident to go to King's Landing it is likely Howland is with him. Not back with Robert telling him secrets learned from the weir woods. When do you think Robert is informed by Howland because his remarks to Ned rule out Robert reaching such a decision until possibly after the Trident.

I never said he didn't know magic. I only question whether he knew the magic that could allow him to find Lyanna, particularly to find her remotely, and find out that she was pregnant. We have no example that shows he does, but let us assume for the sake of argument that "he can talk to trees" means he is able to look through weir woods and see Lyanna in the same way that Bran is learning to do. Where do we have evidence he did find this out? Not in Robert's conduct or in his words.

My ultimate point is that Howland would not have needed to use any magical scryving to locate Lyanna.  (Even though I do believe we don’t have any real reason to disbelieve Meera when she said Howland knew “magic”).  

I think Howland could have either tracked Ashara down the old fashion way.

 Or, more interestingly, no one needed to actually find Lyanna.  The premise behind my theory is that Rhaegar and company wasn’t really interested in Lyanna.  Not to romance her, not to marry her, not to hold her hostage.  Instead my premise is that Rhaegar and company were only interested in a child that Lyanna could bear.  

So for arguments sake, let’s say that Rhaegar brought her to Starfall, so she could be properly cared for during the length of her pregnancy.  After the child is born one or more of the Kingsguards take the child and leave Starfall.  If Lyanna had suffered a difficult pregnancy, she’s bedridden at Starfall.  At this point, neither Rhaegar, nor presumably anyone in Starfall have any intention of harming Lyanna or keeping her there against her will.

 So after the Kingsguards leave with the child, or perhaps even before, it may have been the Lord of Starfall himself (or herself) who sends a raven to Eddard telling Eddard where Lyanna is and what her condition is.  Or perhaps Lyanna herself writes a message to Eddard explaining what’s happening.  As a gesture of good will Starfall invites Eddard to send a party to Starfall.  Eddard can’t go because he’s in the midst of the war.  So he sends Howland or a select group of northmen, one of whom being Howland.

And of course, I expect that one might argue, why the war would continue after Lyanna is secured.  Of course the answer is that the war wasn’t started because of Lyanna’s “abduction”, instead the war was started after Lord Rickard and Brandon were murdered.  And perhaps Arryn and Rickard were preparing the ground work for a rebellion even before Lyanna’s disappearance.  So her being located wouldn’t have stopped anything.

Instead if it was learned that she was pregnant, in Robert’s mind, the only conclusion is that she was raped multiple times.  It then become personal between Robert and Rhaegar, which explains Robert’s extreme reaction to the deaths of Rhaegar’s children.  

The time period is that squishy time period between the Battle of the Bells and the Battle at the Trident.  Everything seems to be paused during that time frame.  Rhaegar returns from wherever, to help Barristan and Darry gather up the remnants of Connington’s forces.  Robert’s been injured at the Battle of Bells.  Ned and Arryn have enough time for a quick wedding.  

It’s my guess that this is when Ned learns of Lyanna’s location.  I don’t think Howland took part at the Battle of the Trident, at least we don’t have anything to make that assumption at this point.  I think Howland instead would have been sent to Starfall to be with Lyanna.  And whatever Ned would have learned about Lyanna, her location, her condition, and her child would have probably been via raven, not weirwood. 

Edited by Frey family reunion

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6 hours ago, JNR said:

Again: nowhere in my post was there, either.

All the same, Robert did not refer to a stone likeness as "she," or express an interest in having the stone likeness washed clean by rains.  Robert's profound emotional investment is in Lyanna, not in the stone likeness.

That analysis was a serious case of overthinking.
If Lyanna was laid to rest on a hill somewhere, under a fruit tree etc etc, she'd still be buried in a grave or tomb or similar, with a likeness or headstone, just outdoors instead. Its still literally going to be the stone washed clean, not the real her - her bones are not going to be left exposed. 

Its very clear that Robert is referring to the stone being washed clean, since thats the only thing the rain would actually literally touch. He's also talking about her beauty and the dullness of the location as context, not her 'spiritual taint'.

He also knows underneath, although he won't consciously acknowledge it because that breaks his comfort fantasy, that Lyanna was not 'tainted' by Rhaegar but chose him. This is evidenced by his comment that "He (Rhaegar) has her now" meaning Rhaegar and Lyanna are united in death, while Robert is stuck with Cersei. You don't express victims being united with their abusers in death, you express lovers reunited in death.
Robert knows, even if subconsciously, that he lies to himself about Lyanna, he just refuses to acknowledge it.

Quote

"Rhaegar … Rhaegar won, damn him. I killed him, Ned, I drove the spike right through that black armor into his black heart, and he died at my feet. They made up songs about it. Yet somehow he still won. He has Lyanna now, and I have her." The king drained his cup.

Robert's profound emotional investment is in his fantasy.

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For what it's worth I always thought Robert meant Lya's body, not her gravestone nor her 'spiritual self' soiled by her losing her maidenhead to Rhaegar (Robert gives no impression whatsoever that he gives shit about a woman's virginity - if he had issues with Lyanna/Rhaegar then because he was hurt on personal emotional level, not because his another man had at a place only his cock should be).

It is a fitting and quite natural image that Robert is talking about Lyanna's actual body in the earth, being washed clean by the rainwater. It is silly, of course, because only Lya's bones lie there, but who cares? It is a touching moment and an expression of his love for Lyanna wishing that her 'life after death' would be more comfortable than rotting in the cold and damp crypt of the Starks of Winterfell - a place where women and non-kings/lords usually don't even get any sorts of physical representations.

But the idea that he was actually talking about a gravestone or statue is even more silly. I mean, nobody who goes to a cemetery 'to visit' or 'talk to' dead relatives actually identifies said relatives with their gravestones. They talk to the 'the dead people', never mind in what state their dead bodies are.

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8 hours ago, JNR said:

Again: nowhere in my post was there, either.

All the same, Robert did not refer to a stone likeness as "she," or express an interest in having the stone likeness washed clean by rains.  Robert's profound emotional investment is in Lyanna, not in the stone likeness.

I don't doubt Robert knows the difference between Lyanna, Lyanna'a remains, and the stone likeness of Lyanna. The point is Robert isn't complaining that Lyanna or her remains needs a wash. He is complaining that Ned buried her in a place that is dank, dirty, dark, and doesn't reflect Robert's idealized version of his memory of Lyanna. And he's right. No doubt servants aren't in and out of the crypts with feather dusters and spit shines of the marble (or whatever the stone is the tombs are made of) but Ned tells him this is her place to be buried with Starks going back generations upon generation to those whose tombs no longer are accessible because of inattention from the present generation of Starks. This is what the conversation between Ned and Robert is about, not Robert's want to spit shine Lyanna's soul and get the "Rhaegar" stain away.

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7 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

My ultimate point is that Howland would not have needed to use any magical scryving to locate Lyanna.  (Even though I do believe we don’t have any real reason to disbelieve Meera when she said Howland knew “magic”).  

I think Howland could have either tracked Ashara down the old fashion way.

 Or, more interestingly, no one needed to actually find Lyanna.  The premise behind my theory is that Rhaegar and company wasn’t really interested in Lyanna.  Not to romance her, not to marry her, not to hold her hostage.  Instead my premise is that Rhaegar and company were only interested in a child that Lyanna could bear.  

So for arguments sake, let’s say that Rhaegar brought her to Starfall, so she could be properly cared for during the length of her pregnancy.  After the child is born one or more of the Kingsguards take the child and leave Starfall.  If Lyanna had suffered a difficult pregnancy, she’s bedridden at Starfall.  At this point, neither Rhaegar, nor presumably anyone in Starfall have any intention of harming Lyanna or keeping her there against her will.

 So after the Kingsguards leave with the child, or perhaps even before, it may have been the Lord of Starfall himself (or herself) who sends a raven to Eddard telling Eddard where Lyanna is and what her condition is.  Or perhaps Lyanna herself writes a message to Eddard explaining what’s happening.  As a gesture of good will Starfall invites Eddard to send a party to Starfall.  Eddard can’t go because he’s in the midst of the war.  So he sends Howland or a select group of northmen, one of whom being Howland.

And of course, I expect that one might argue, why the war would continue after Lyanna is secured.  Of course the answer is that the war wasn’t started because of Lyanna’s “abduction”, instead the war was started after Lord Rickard and Brandon were murdered.  And perhaps Arryn and Rickard were preparing the ground work for a rebellion even before Lyanna’s disappearance.  So her being located wouldn’t have stopped anything.

Instead if it was learned that she was pregnant, in Robert’s mind, the only conclusion is that she was raped multiple times.  It then become personal between Robert and Rhaegar, which explains Robert’s extreme reaction to the deaths of Rhaegar’s children.  

The time period is that squishy time period between the Battle of the Bells and the Battle at the Trident.  Everything seems to be paused during that time frame.  Rhaegar returns from wherever, to help Barristan and Darry gather up the remnants of Connington’s forces.  Robert’s been injured at the Battle of Bells.  Ned and Arryn have enough time for a quick wedding.  

It’s my guess that this is when Ned learns of Lyanna’s location.  I don’t think Howland took part at the Battle of the Trident, at least we don’t have anything to make that assumption at this point.  I think Howland instead would have been sent to Starfall to be with Lyanna.  And whatever Ned would have learned about Lyanna, her location, her condition, and her child would have probably been via raven, not weirwood. 

It's barely possible that Howland Reed, or any really skilled tracker given the right information and a fresh trail to follow could find where Lyanna has disappeared to into the Red Mountains of Dorne. This however is rather less than ideal conditions for the best tracker. A trail many months old and through a war. Not only does the tracker need superior skills of his trade, but Reed would need to be able to blend into many various types of Westerosi while he crosses zones of control. Unfortunately Reed does not "blend" well among other people. As a crannogman he stands out as someone special from a different land. I think it is very difficult to imagine Howland traveling from the Riverlands to the Summer Sea unnoticed. I think the same is true of Ned with Wylla and baby Jon even with Reed's skills. He better have some superior magics to do this trick.

Now, all of this could be changed if we have someone crossing the lines to deliver information to Ned or Robert, but we have no indication this happens. But here we enter in the realm os speculation based on no evidence. Which is where this theory is firmly entrenched at the moment. Nothing particularly wrong with that as a debating exercise, but plenty wrong with it as a sound working theory.

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As in the recent discussion of the word "avenged," we have people building a theory based on three words that not only has no support elsewhere in the story, but is actually refuted by information elsewhere in the story. Robert explicitly expresses that he prayed to the gods for Lyanna, safe, and his again. It's anyone's guess how Robert would have viewed Lyanna, or would have come to view Lyanna over time, had she lived and been made to wed him. But we can safely say that, as is, Robert shows no sign that he wouldn't have wed Lyanna had she been brought back alive. On the contrary, he explicitly states that he wanted Lyanna back, and that they would have wed had she lived.

"Come south with me, and I'll teach you how to laugh again," the king promised. "You helped me win this damnable throne, now help me hold it. We were meant to rule together. If Lyanna had lived, we should have been brothers, bound by blood as well as affection. Well, it is not too late. I have a son. You have a daughter. My Joff and your Sansa shall join our houses, as Lyanna and I might once have done."

- AGOT: Eddard I

As for the discussion about whether Robert is talking about Lyanna's statue, or her bones, or whatever, the statues are clearly spoken of like the people they represent. They are called by the names of the people they are made in the likeness of, and words like "he" and "her" are used to describe them. Whatever Robert might have meant, only Lyanna's statue and the tomb holding her remains would ever be touched by rain water, so the idea that Robert meant Lyanna's actual remains, or something deeper, is a non-starter.

There were three tombs, side by side. Lord Rickard Stark, Ned's father, had a long, stern face. The stonemason had known him well. He sat with quiet dignity, stone fingers holding tight to the sword across his lap, but in life all swords had failed him. In two smaller sepulchres on either side were his children.

"She was more beautiful than that," the king said after a silence. His eyes lingered on Lyanna's face, as if he could will her back to life. Finally he rose, made awkward by his weight. "Ah, damn it, Ned, did you have to bury her in a place like this?" His voice was hoarse with remembered grief. "She deserved more than darkness . . . "

The king touched her cheek, his fingers brushing across the rough stone as gently as if it were living flesh. "I vowed to kill Rhaegar for what he did to her."

- AGOT: Eddard I

He looked at the passing faces and the tales came back to him. The maester had told him the stories, and Old Nan had made them come alive. "That one is Jon Stark. When the sea raiders landed in the east, he drove them out and built the castle at White Harbor. His son was Rickard Stark, not my father's father but another Rickard, he took the Neck away from the Marsh King and married his daughter. Theon Stark's the real thin one with the long hair and the skinny beard. They called him the 'Hungry Wolf,' because he was always at war. That's a Brandon, the tall one with the dreamy face, he was Brandon the Shipwright, because he loved the sea. His tomb is empty. He tried to sail west across the Sunset Sea and was never seen again. His son was Brandon the Burner, because he put the torch to all his father's ships in grief. There's Rodrik Stark, who won Bear Island in a wrestling match and gave it to the Mormonts. And that's Torrhen Stark, the King Who Knelt. He was the last King in the North and the first Lord of Winterfell, after he yielded to Aegon the Conqueror. Oh, there, he's Cregan Stark. He fought with Prince Aemon once, and the Dragonknight said he'd never faced a finer swordsman." They were almost at the end now, and Bran felt a sadness creeping over him. "And there's my grandfather, Lord Rickard, who was beheaded by Mad King Aerys. His daughter Lyanna and his son Brandon are in the tombs beside him. Not me, another Brandon, my father's brother. They're not supposed to have statues, that's only for the lords and the kings, but my father loved them so much he had them done."

- AGOT: Bran VII

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12 hours ago, corbon said:

ts very clear that Robert is referring to the stone being washed clean, since thats the only thing the rain would actually literally touch

I'm just going to quote you:

12 hours ago, corbon said:

That analysis was a serious case of overthinking.

It's absurd to think Robert is deeply invested in, and worried about, the cleanliness of the stone likeness or would refer to it as "she."

Yes, Lyanna would be buried.  All the same, Robert is talking about Lyanna, when he says she should be out of the crypts and on a hill and under a fruit tree and washed clean.

10 hours ago, SFDanny said:

The point is Robert isn't complaining that Lyanna or her remains needs a wash.

This is possible, but is not the point of FFR's I was agreeing with. 

I'm strictly talking about what Robert means when he says "she."  His motive and what it says about Robert's sense of Lyanna as tainted by rape is another matter.

I wasn't being sarcastic when I said:

22 hours ago, JNR said:

As to whether Robert would have been prepared to marry her, if she had survived physically unharmed and despite his belief that Rhaegar raped her many times, I think that's a very interesting question someone might ask GRRM sometime at a convention.

I don't know the answer to this, I have no idea what GRRM would say, but would like to find out. I'd like to think he would still have married her, but Robert's thinking is not always very rational and his world is exceedingly unfair to women.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, JNR said:

I'm just going to quote you:

It's absurd to think Robert is deeply invested in, and worried about, the cleanliness of the stone likeness or would refer to it as "she."

Yes, Lyanna would be buried.  All the same, Robert is talking about Lyanna, when he says she should be out of the crypts and on a hill and under a fruit tree and washed clean.

This is possible, but is not the point of FFR's I was agreeing with. 

I'm strictly talking about what Robert means when he says "she."  His motive and what it says about Robert's sense of Lyanna as tainted by rape is another matter.

I wasn't being sarcastic when I said:

I don't know the answer to this, I have no idea what GRRM would say, but would like to find out. I'd like to think he would still have married her, but Robert's thinking is not always very rational and his world is exceedingly unfair to women.

Agreed.  I do think we have to stop thinking about these events with modern sensibilities.  This was a patriarchal society which was very unfair to women.  Women who were known to have had pre marital affairs were considered tainted.  While there were some exception to this, those seem to be exceptions as opposed to the general rule.  And it seemed to be even worse for women to have had children out of wedlock.  There was a reason that Hoster gave moon tea to Lysa against her will.

Having said that, if Robert merely suspected that Rhaegar raped Lyanna, I don't know in his mind if that would have caused her to be lost to him forever.  However, if Robert had a reason to believe that Lyanna bore Rhaegar's child, I think that would be an entirely different matter.  And I'm not sure that Robert would have ever come to the conclusion that Rhaegar raped Lyanna unless he was given some information that allowed him to draw no other conclusion.  The only conclusive evidence that might lead Robert to this nightmarish conclusion is that he found out Lyanna was pregnant.

And as horribly unfair as we might find it, Lyanna bearing Rhaegar's child even because of a rape, might forever taint Lyanna in Robert's mind, and taint her to an extent that she could never be his wife. 

So Robert loved a virginal Lyanna, the Lyanna that was supposed to be his and his alone.  While Rhaegar may not have killed Lyanna at the time of the Trident, Robert may have come to believe that Rhaegar may in effect had killed his virginal Lyanna, his bride to be.

So yes, Robert wishing for Lyanna to be on a hill, under a fruit tree, with the rain to wash her clean does not appear to be a literal wish for Robert.  If we take that to it's logical conclusion, even if Lyanna were buried outdoors, the rain would not wash her body clean.  She's still buried.

I think instead, Robert is speaking metaphorically and even a bit poetically here.  I think Robert may be referring to washing away a taint that Rhaegar left on Lyanna because he raped her.

Edited by Frey family reunion

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, SFDanny said:

It's barely possible that Howland Reed, or any really skilled tracker given the right information and a fresh trail to follow could find where Lyanna has disappeared to into the Red Mountains of Dorne. This however is rather less than ideal conditions for the best tracker. A trail many months old and through a war. Not only does the tracker need superior skills of his trade, but Reed would need to be able to blend into many various types of Westerosi while he crosses zones of control. Unfortunately Reed does not "blend" well among other people. As a crannogman he stands out as someone special from a different land. I think it is very difficult to imagine Howland traveling from the Riverlands to the Summer Sea unnoticed. I think the same is true of Ned with Wylla and baby Jon even with Reed's skills. He better have some superior magics to do this trick.

Now, all of this could be changed if we have someone crossing the lines to deliver information to Ned or Robert, but we have no indication this happens. But here we enter in the realm os speculation based on no evidence. Which is where this theory is firmly entrenched at the moment. Nothing particularly wrong with that as a debating exercise, but plenty wrong with it as a sound working theory.

It’s not too dissimilar to Brienne trying to track Sansa down is it?  Basically armed with some gold to try and bribe some info out the locals, and just being very persistent.  (Of course it didn’t appear to work out for too well for Brienne).

I think Howland mainly stuck out at the Harrenhal tourney because he did not appear high born.  The tourney was attended by rich lords and knights.  Howland probably did stick out like a sore thumb.  If he was just traveling amongst the commoners to try and bribe some info about the path that Rhaegar and company would have taken, I don’t think he would have really stuck out.  I mean Tom Sevenstrings and Shadrich are short eccentric guys who roam around Westeros without any problem, why would you think Howland would have stood out?

And as for traveling to  Starfall, it might not be as difficult for Howland as it might be for some.   He may have taken a similar path to Starfall as he did the Isle of Faces, travel via the rivers as much as he could and then pick up his boat and head to the next river.  We have a river which starts outside the red mountains and leads straight into the sea at Starfall.

Not saying that’s what happened, just merely pointing out the possibility.

And yes, much of this is speculation, but I’m merely trying to answer some of your objections to my very basic theory.

And my basic theory just tries to answer some of the questions that I think have been raised in the text.

Why does Robert seem so sure that Lyanna was raped by Rhaegar?  When he says he vowed to kill Rhaegar for what he did to Lyanna, what is he specifically referring to?  Why does Eddard believe that Robert got vengeance for Lyanna at the Trident?  Why doesn’t anyone, specifically Robert, seem concerned about Lyanna still being a hostage to the loyalist during the Sack?   Or at least their reactions to the killing of Elia and her children seem to indicate a complete indifference to the effect that would have on Lyanna’s safety.

Why does Eddard lead such a small, seemingly hand picked group of northern loyalists to the tower of joy?  Why would’t a larger force with some of Robert’s Men have accompanied them?  And for that matter, why wouldn’t Robert himself be there if this was a rescue mission for Lyanna?

And more practically, why would Rhaegar have placed Lyanna in the middle of a desert pass, which was primarily for passage of a Dornish army to invade Westeros.  A tower which was pulled down by Ned and used to make a measly 8 cairns.  

Assuming that Jon was in the tower, why would Eddard than risk a trip to Starfall through the red mountains with a baby, perhaps a wet nurse and his dead sister on the back of a horse?  Shouldn’t they have headed straight back to allied territory?  I mean Ned could have always arranged to have sent Dawn back by ship once he got his sister’s remains situated and figured out what to do with baby Jon.

And isn’t the idea of Ned riding into Starfall with his sister’s dead body a little ackward?  

If Eddard had located Lyanna, knew she wasn’t a hostage but knew she had been pregnant, that goes a long ways in answering these questions.  It explains Robert swearing bloody vengeance on Rhaegar, it explains why no one seemed concerned about the repercussions of killing Elia and her children on Lyanna.  It explains why Ned chose a small party of loyal northerners to accompany him to the tower of joy.  They weren’t seeking to free Lyanna, they were seeking to get her son back.  Something Ned didn’t want Robert to know about.  

It explains why Eddard took this risky journey back to Starfall.  He wasn’t bringing a sword back to Ashara,he was bringing Jon back to Lyanna.  And it explains why the appendix says that Lyanna died in the mountains of Dorne.  She didn’t die at the tower of joy, she died at Starfall which is also located in the mountains of Dorne.

 

Eta:  and before I forget, this also could explain another interesting tidbit.  Why did Lord Dayne name his son and heir after Eddard?  Because Eddard killed Arthur?  Because Eddard’s was rumored to have dishonored Ashara? Is it all because Eddard risked all to bring Dawn back?  Or is there a more compelling reason?  Perhaps Ned knew that Lyanna was taken to Starfall, and perhaps he kept this information from Robert, saving Starfall from Robert’s wraith.  Something Eddard would have only done if he was convinced that Starfall was blameless, and looked after his sister, to the best of their ability.

Edited by Frey family reunion

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21 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

It’s not too dissimilar to Brienne trying to track Sansa down is it?  Basically armed with some gold to try and bribe some info out the locals, and just being very persistent.  (Of course it didn’t appear to work out for too well for Brienne).

I think Howland mainly stuck out at the Harrenhal tourney because he did not appear high born.  The tourney was attended by rich lords and knights.  Howland probably did stick out like a sore thumb.  If he was just traveling amongst the commoners to try and bribe some info about the path that Rhaegar and company would have taken, I don’t think he would have really stuck out.  I mean Tom Sevenstrings and Shadrich are short eccentric guys who roam around Westeros without any problem, why would you think Howland would have stood out?

And as for traveling to  Starfall, it might not be as difficult for Howland as it might be for some.   He may have taken a similar path to Starfall as he did the Isle of Faces, travel via the rivers as much as he could and then pick up his boat and head to the next river.  We have a river which starts outside the red mountains and leads straight into the sea at Starfall.

Not saying that’s what happened, just merely pointing out the possibility.

And yes, much of this is speculation, but I’m merely trying to answer some of your objections to my very basic theory.

And my basic theory just tries to answer some of the questions that I think have been raised in the text.

Brienne in both her attempt to get Jaime to King's Landing across warring country and in her attempt to find Sansa ends quite badly for Brienne, and of course Jamie, Podrick, and Ser Hugh. Now, let's be fair to your point. Brienne has no magic. She's excellent in combat, but, as we see, that only gets her so far. She has some gold, and a letter from Jaime, but all that doesn't really help much. With the Sansa search she never really finds Sansa's trail and really blunders onto Arya's. But in both the Jaime and Sansa missions, they end in capture. I would note that they are both missions of much shorter duration than what you propose for Howland. But perhaps Reed's wilderness skills would help prevent him from being noticed in appropriate environs.

However, both Reed and Brienne stick out like sore thumbs in a crowd of people. Reed is set upon by the squires in Harrenhal for his obvious difference as a crannogman. While the antipathy he generates from those who hate his people may or may not be replicated in any run ins with the local populace on his way through the Reach and Dorne, I doubt they would be welcoming and trusting especially of obvious outsiders during a war.

On the question of river travel, I would only point out the huge difference between Howland's admitted skills among the bogs, fens, and slow moving waters of the Neck and the white waters of the Torrentine as it travels its course through the Red Mountains. I think it very likely Howland knows how to swim and paddle a boat, but other than that I can't think of skills that would have helped Reed very much.

I think your original idea of Howland finding Lyanna through the weirwoods has better possibilities. Not good possibilities, but better ones.

21 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Why does Robert seem so sure that Lyanna was raped by Rhaegar?  When he says he vowed to kill Rhaegar for what he did to Lyanna, what is he specifically referring to?  Why does Eddard believe that Robert got vengeance for Lyanna at the Trident?  Why doesn’t anyone, specifically Robert, seem concerned about Lyanna still being a hostage to the loyalist during the Sack?   Or at least their reactions to the killing of Elia and her children seem to indicate a complete indifference to the effect that would have on Lyanna’s safety.

I think I've already answered this. Robert is speaking about a man who has taken what is his property. As Robert repeatedly says, Lyanna was meant to be his, and no one else's. To Robert, rape includes anyone sleeping with his bride-to-be regardless of consent. That Lyanna is under Rhaegar's control, and not his, is the question, not whether or not Lyanna gives consent or that she is where she wants to be. The interesting quote by Robert I posted earlier, however, makes it clear that for much of the time, at least, while Lyanna is gone after the "kidnapping" Robert's interest is in getting her back and going through with the wedding. That and payback to Rhaegar for taking her in the first place and violating Robert's property rights to Lyanna.

To your question about Lyanna being held hostage during the sack, let me ask you a few questions. When and where do we hear a threat to Lyanna's life from the loyalists? Has there ever been a threat made on Lyanna's life if the rebels don't lay down their arms and surrender? I've no doubt Aerys would have made one if he ever had control of Lyanna, but, as far as we know, Rhaegar never did. Why would Robert then expect to receive such a threat after the Sack when both Rhaegar and Aerys are dead? If she is still a hostage why doesn't whoever holds her try to negotiate? No, the evidence points to Lyanna not being held hostage, but instead being hidden away with her consent.

I've already responded to the question of the rebels holding Elia and her children hostage, but let me repeat this a decision Tywin made and he has explained his reasoning for doing so in the quotes covering the subject with Tyrion.

Sorry, I have to run. Have a lunch date with my daughter and son. I'll try to finish later tonight.

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On 3/11/2019 at 3:56 PM, Frey family reunion said:

And isn’t the idea of Ned riding into Starfall with his sister’s dead body a little awkward?

It is to me.

The best explanation I've concocted is that (assuming she was at the TOJ at all), Ned rode her over to some local village with silent sisters, dropped her off, proceeded to Starfall, and then returned to find the silent sisters had finished.

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