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SFDanny

R+L=J v.166

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On 3/16/2019 at 3:33 PM, Frey family reunion said:

Assuming that Rhaegar’s conversation with Elia in the HOTU visions takes place after Harrenhal (and admittedly I’m very confused about the sequence of events) there doesn’t appear to be any significant split over Rhaegar crowning Lyanna.

It seems the discussion has moved past this, but I just saw this, and coincidentally, I was looking at the timeline of births around Robert's Rebellion the other day, and how they squared with various events in the war. 

The Tourney at Harrenhal was in 281 AC, not sure what time of year. Prince Aegon was born either towards the end of the year or the beginning of 282 AC. 282 AC is also the year Rhaegar took Lyanna. The HOTU vision indicates that Rhaegar was at the birth of Aegon, so if Aegon was born in 282, the abduction would have happened after his birth. If he was born in 281, then the abduction definitely happened after. 

So, Rhaegar would have had to have known before he abducted Lyanna that Elia could not bear any more children. But, he needed a third child as "the dragon has three heads". 

Rhaegar likely originally had expected Elia to have all of his children. When she couldn't, he decided he needed to find a second wife to bear the third child. I think he came to respect Lyanna at Harrenhal because he knew she was the Knight of the Laughing Tree, and that's why he crowned her Queen of Love and Beauty. I don't think he expected to do more than show his respect to her at that point; he was too honorable to cheat on Elia. That honor, though, would extend to not sleeping with her because he did not want to put her life in danger, but at the same time not putting her away/divorcing her. 

So, thinking of who would be a good second wife to bear the third head, he thought of Lyanna, a woman who knew to be strong, honorable, kind, and loyal, not to mention beautiful. She, like many of the women of the realm, was already attracted to Rhaegar, and agreed to marry him when he told her he'd be faithful to her physically (important to her) due to him not sleeping with Elia. 

I think Rhaegar would have told Elia his intentions, again as a matter of honor. She was, after all, as he believed, the mother of the prince that was promised. I think he planned to call a Great Council, overthrow Aerys, and bring Lyanna to King's Landing to crown her and Elia queens. Their children would be raised together. 

Best laid plans, though. I suspect the Daynes have some knowledge of what happened at the Tower of Joy, and maybe both Arthur and Ashara were there at Lyanna's death.

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16 minutes ago, anjulibai said:

It seems the discussion has moved past this, but I just saw this, and coincidentally, I was looking at the timeline of births around Robert's Rebellion the other day, and how they squared with various events in the war. 

They don’t. Not fully, anyway.

There is enough actual info to allow the reader to rule out a few options w/ a fair amount of certainty, but just short of incontestable proof - for anything, not even R+L=J. And I don’t care what the abomination has done or hasn’t done or simply just fucked up. :P

That said, R+L=J not being confirmed in the novels would be one of very few things that would utterly shock me. 

 

16 minutes ago, anjulibai said:

The Tourney at Harrenhal was in 281 AC, not sure what time of year. Prince Aegon was born either towards the end of the year or the beginning of 282 AC. 282 AC is also the year Rhaegar took Lyanna. The HOTU vision indicates that Rhaegar was at the birth of Aegon, so if Aegon was born in 282, the abduction would have happened after his birth. If he was born in 281, then the abduction definitely happened after. 

The tourney happened during the False Spring of 281, and we know the False Spring lasted two turns of the moon, and that as the year drew to a close, winter returned w/ a vengeance. This places the Tourney on the last two months of 281.

TWoIaF, The Year of the False Spring

“The False Spring of 281 AC lasted less than two turns. As the year drew to a close, winter returned to Westeros with a vengeance.”

.

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2 hours ago, anjulibai said:

It seems the discussion has moved past this, but I just saw this, and coincidentally, I was looking at the timeline of births around Robert's Rebellion the other day, and how they squared with various events in the war. 

The Tourney at Harrenhal was in 281 AC, not sure what time of year. Prince Aegon was born either towards the end of the year or the beginning of 282 AC. 282 AC is also the year Rhaegar took Lyanna. The HOTU vision indicates that Rhaegar was at the birth of Aegon, so if Aegon was born in 282, the abduction would have happened after his birth. If he was born in 281, then the abduction definitely happened after. 

So, Rhaegar would have had to have known before he abducted Lyanna that Elia could not bear any more children. But, he needed a third child as "the dragon has three heads". 

Rhaegar likely originally had expected Elia to have all of his children. When she couldn't, he decided he needed to find a second wife to bear the third child. I think he came to respect Lyanna at Harrenhal because he knew she was the Knight of the Laughing Tree, and that's why he crowned her Queen of Love and Beauty. I don't think he expected to do more than show his respect to her at that point; he was too honorable to cheat on Elia. That honor, though, would extend to not sleeping with her because he did not want to put her life in danger, but at the same time not putting her away/divorcing her. 

So, thinking of who would be a good second wife to bear the third head, he thought of Lyanna, a woman who knew to be strong, honorable, kind, and loyal, not to mention beautiful. She, like many of the women of the realm, was already attracted to Rhaegar, and agreed to marry him when he told her he'd be faithful to her physically (important to her) due to him not sleeping with Elia. 

I think Rhaegar would have told Elia his intentions, again as a matter of honor. She was, after all, as he believed, the mother of the prince that was promised. I think he planned to call a Great Council, overthrow Aerys, and bring Lyanna to King's Landing to crown her and Elia queens. Their children would be raised together. 

Best laid plans, though. I suspect the Daynes have some knowledge of what happened at the Tower of Joy, and maybe both Arthur and Ashara were there at Lyanna's death.

Much of this is covered in The World of Ice & Fire.

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The False Spring of 281 AC lasted less than two turns. As the year drew to a close, winter returned to Westeros with a vengeance. On the last day of the year, snow began to fall upon King's Landing, and a crust of ice formed atop the Blackwater Rush. The snowfall continued off and on for the best part of fortnight, by which time the Blackwater was hard frozen, and icicles draped the roofs and gutters of every tower in the city.

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 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.

But that tale is too well-known to warrant repeating here. (TWoI&F 127)

 

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On 3/19/2019 at 3:37 PM, corbon said:

Just to add to this part. 
It could be that if one did exactly this, some (Allyria), many, or all would turn to Wylla. Who may then look at them in puzzlement and say "I was his wetnurse, not his mother'. Or just go to the gates. But both of those entirely possible within what we know, though only one of those fits with the awkward questions and is actually consistent with both our raw data and the observed behavioural patterns.

Of course, that could be the response, but the point is that once Eddard tells Robert Wylla's name he has to know that Wylla will say what he tells the king. They have to be in agreement or the consequences for Ned and Ned's family would likely be catastrophic. Ned can't play games with his answers. He has to tell the truth or have others back his lies. What Ned Dayne tells us shows Wylla is telling the same story Ned Stark is to Robert, or a the vary least allowing the same story of her being Jon's mother to be told without contradicting it. It's a pretty horrible cover story if both Eddard and Wylla aren't on the same page in the story they are telling.

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Forgive me, @Frey family reunion, but I obviously got caught up in a discussion with others and failed to get back to a response I owed you. 

On 3/17/2019 at 7:39 AM, Frey family reunion said:

The Martells are referenced two sentences before, yet the Dornish troops are referenced one sentence before, so why couldn't Martin be referring to the Dornish troops' anger over Elia's treatment as opposed to the Martells?  For that matter, GRRM could have specified that it was the Martell's anger over Rhaegar's treatment of Elia, but he doesn't.  He uses the more general term "Dornishmen".  Now Dornishmen can refer to the Dornish troops, and the Martells, and generally refer to the people of Dorne.  Or Dornishmen could be just the Dornish troops but not the Martells.  :dunno:

I think GRRM is being purposely vague here for a reason.  He doesn't necessarily want to be that specific.  If he meant House Martell, I think he would have stated the Martells's anger over the treatment of Elia, and Doran's own cautiousness were the two factors that muted Dorne's initial response to the rebellion.  But nope he chooses not to.  Regardless, you are acting like Doran and the Martells can be separated from the wishes and feelings of the Dornish people.  But as we're made aware of in AFFC and ADWD, Doran is painfully aware of the overriding sentiment of the people of his nation.  So if Dorne as a whole were angry over Rhaegar's treatment of Elia, than that would certainly be a factor in Doran being reticent to commit troops to the war.

You see, I don't see it as vague at all. We have a context this conflict is set in that eliminates any vagueness on Martin's part. The world which Martin has constructed has a very rigid class structure, so unless we are talking about a time of open rebellion against the Martells - and we are not - the "Dornishmen" who make the decisions for Dorne are the Prince Doran, and his representatives. Whatever are the sentiments of the common soldiers, or even their commanders, about Rhaegar's treatment of Elia it is Doran Martell's sentiments and decisions that tell those troops what to do.

When we find out that there are 10,000 Dornishmen assembled on the Boneway, we can be sure that they haven't entered the effort to crush the Rebellion yet because of Doran's orders and not because they troops are pissed off about Rhaegar. We also can be sure that when Prince Lewyn brings his message to Doran reminding him that Aerys held Elia and her children that the threat was made to the Prince of Dorne, not to the common soldiers. And finally, we can be sure it is Doran that issues the command to Lewyn and his commanders in the field that they are to follow Prince Lewyn north to join up with Rhaegar's army to fight the rebels. So, no, no vagueness here.

Which doesn't mean every Dornishman or woman doesn't have an opinion on all of the political events of the day and what should be done about it. It just means they follow their ruling prince and no one else. There is a time in which we know Oberyn is trying to raise new troops to continue the fight against the rebels, but even then we don't know that Doran opposed those efforts. We just know that Jon Arryn travels to Sunspear and a peace of sorts is worked out. That is after Elia and her children are brutally murdered and their bodies displayed as trophies of war before the new rebel king.These are very different circumstances and we might think Doran's peace might not be wanted among all Dornishmen, but they follow his orders even then.

In the time Martin is talking about, there isn't even a hint that Dornishmen would rise against their prince. As to why the Martells would act as they did, well, I think I've already answered that. They have political goals and interests as well as family loyalties to their sister that make them hold back from committing their troops until Lewyn brings his letter. These goals, interests, and loyalties explain their actions as does Martin's note about Prince Doran's "innate caution."

On 3/17/2019 at 7:39 AM, Frey family reunion said:

But regardless it doesn't change my initial argument, that Starfall is a much more likely place to have put Elia than an old abandoned watchtower in a mountain pass, who's primary purpose during wartime is passage of troops to and from Dorne.

If Doran was angry at Rhaegar's treatment of Elia over Rhaegar's interest in Lyanna, then it seems completely loopy to put her in an old abandoned, broken (your words) lightly defended watchtower, where Doran Martells's army would pass back and forth.  Or to put Lyanna in the lands and control of House Fowler, one of the Martell's strongest allies in Dorne.

It would be much more probable that Lyanna would be in Starfall, though while in Dorne, it is certainly remote enough and protected enough from the mountains to be hidden from Doran's view.  And while there could be a danger of word leaking out (assuming the people in the castle actually know who Lyanna is) I think the danger is being overstated.  The people in the castle are either Daynes, their knights, or their servants, or the immediate family of their knights and servants.  Everyone has a vested interest in Starfall not being burned to the ground by Robert Baratheon.  We're not talking about a city, or even a town, this is a lone castle on an island in the mountains.  

Of course there is a risk to Lord Dayne, I would even argue a tremendous risk, but to say that he would refuse a request from Rhaegar or more significantly a request from Lord Dayne's brother, the Sword of the Morning, unquestionably Starfall's favorite and most influential "son", I would disagree.

Nor do I find the argument that Rhaegar would not have put Lord Dayne in that position compelling.  Please.  We are acting like we really know Rhaegar and what he would do and wouldn't do.  If Rhaegar were such a fine and upstanding man, you would assume that he wouldn't take a 15 or 16 year old girl and hide her from her family, hiding her pregnancy from her family, and thus risking the outbreak of a war that is going to cause numerous deaths and suffering throughout the land, but here we are.

We will have to disagree on what would have been the better place to hide Lyanna. I'm guided in my assessment by Ned's thoughts on keeping secrets.

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Some secrets are safer kept hidden. Some secrets are too dangerous to share, even with those you love and trust.

The secret of where Lyanna was hidden away is something that Rhaegar had to keep to a very close number of people. That is an assessment made having nothing to do with Rhaegar's motives in the matter other than who would continue to have control of Lyanna. Hiding her in a place with as many eyes and ears as Starfall is, quite simply, counter to all of that. That doesn't mean it couldn't be done. It just means, in my judgement, it would be idiotic to do so, and I don't view Rhaegar as an idiot. Nor do I think any of the Kingsguard would be so foolish as to counsel such a move.

On top of which we have the evidence, which I find conclusive, that Lyanna dies at the Tower of Joy. We have nothing but a wild guess that ever places her in Starfall. What would be beyond idiotic would be to move a pregnant woman over a long journey through the Prince's Pass to Starfall. Given we have evidence, again conclusive in my judgement, that she was at the Tower of Joy it makes little to no sense to make her take such a journey unless it is to expose her to added danger and to induce an early labor. Even in your view of Rhaegar's motives, a forced march of a pregnant woman from Starfall to the Tower of Joy would seem to be contrary to what you think motivates him. One doesn't move a woman carrying the "Prince who was Promised" on such a long journey.

What does make sense is to find a place hidden away from as many eyes as possible and has some way of being supplied and kept informed of vital news. An abandoned watch tower overlooking the Prince's Pass whose local lord or lady can keep a secret seems ideal to maintain this secret that needs to be hidden away from so many different factions of the rebellion. Rhaegar hasn't the military might to keep others from taking  Lyanna by force. He has to rely on secrecy. That much seems evident, and Starfall as a hiding place is counter to those motives and to the ability to maintain the secret.

I do not necessarily disagree with you that House Dayne would follow an order by Rhaegar. I think we have reason to think they would. What we know of Ser Arthur, Lady Ashara, and the reaction of the Daynes to Ned Stark's visit to Starfall all gives evidence of the House as Rhaegar partisans. But this says nothing about the people of the area or those who might travel through the castle for other reasons. But the question isn't whether of not the Daynes would take the risk if Rhaegar asked them to, but given the need for secrecy and Lyanna's safety why would he be so foolish as to ask.

Now, I have to bring up one last topic here. The timing of Jon's conception. You know well Martin's remarks about the time difference between Jon's and Dany's namedays being "eight or nine months or thereabouts"  between each other. You also know the oft quoted thoughts of Daenerys placing her birth some "nine moons" after the flight to Dragonstone. This puts Jon's birth likely someplace around the eighth or ninth month of 283 AC. The Battle of the Bells likely takes place in the twelfth month of 282 to early 283. We know Rhaegar leaves sometime after that battle to go north. My question is does Rhaegar even know Lyanna is pregnant until after he leaves? Much of your concerns over Lyanna's safety, or rather, the safety of the prophesied child, would seem premature if the Prince doesn't even know he leaves Lyanna pregnant until word is somehow gotten to King's Landing to inform him.

On 3/17/2019 at 7:39 AM, Frey family reunion said:

My opinion is that Rhaegar's actions are influenced by the Prince that Was Promised prophecy, and the prophecy of bleeding stars, and being reborn in smoke and salt.  In other words, prophecies that are directly tied to the coming of a Long Night and a savior needed to win the battle for the dawn.  The same sacrifices he makes with his own kingdom, the same sacrifices he makes in risking war, and hiding a young girl, so she gives birth to someone integral in Rhaegar's plans, are the same sacrifices that would lead him to secrete her in Starfall so she and more importantly her unborn child can be properly cared for.

This is a very long topic for discussion. Let me just say I view Rhaegar as motivated by more than one thing. Love for Lyanna, love of his children, his sense of duty to the prophecy, and his own ambition to replace his father and build his kingdom as he wants it. I think he is likely an honorable man, but we really don't know which of these factors rule his motivations at any given time.

On 3/17/2019 at 7:39 AM, Frey family reunion said:

It seems that you are making as many assumptions as I am, perhaps even more.  But in reply to your argument, an abandoned old broken down watchtower is not suitable accommodations for a pregnant girl for an extended period of time.  Not if one is all concerned about her health, or the health of the child.  Nor can it be suitably defended.  But the other problem is that the Pass is where Doran gathers his army.  They don't just move through the pass, because of Doran's cautious nature, they actually stay in the Pass, and live there for a time.  To argue that no one would check out this tower, especially if there are signs that it's being manned, (and don't we have knights of the Kingsguard gaurding Lyanna under the your theory?) is unrealistic.  

Even if the army was just moving through it seems naive to think that no one would observe any knights about this tower, and go check it out.  So not only would Rhaegar risk someone discovering Lyanna, but perish the thought, he would risk Lyanna being discovered and raped by horny Dornishmen in the army.  Something that frequently happens during war time.  Heck maybe that's why Jon is so dark complected, his father is really a salty Dornish soldier :D.

But the problem is traveling to Starfall doesn't really cover Ned's tracks does it?  It would make more sense if Ned claimed that Jon was Ashara's son.  So he then goes to Starfall to explain where he got Jon.  But he doesn't.  In fact travelling to Starfall just causes Ned to come up with another story, that he was returning Arthur's sword to Starfall.  It also causes the rumor and speculation apparently, that Jon is Ashara's son, a rumor that really seems to anger Ned.

I also don't think that covering his tracks would be a very compelling reason for Ned to risk a trip to Starfall.  Especially if he had a baby in tow.  It seems a ridiculous unnecessary risk.  

There is only one reason in my mind, that Ned would travel to Starfall with a baby.  And the only reason is that Ned is trying to return the baby to his mother.

Could you show me any evidence of Dornish troops gathering in the Prince's Pass during this period. We know from Jaime that there are some 10,000 men gathered on the Boneway where they could join the siege of Storm's End or go north to King's Landing, but why would a Dornish army be gathered in the Prince's Pass to invade the Reach? Let me know if you find something, ok? I'm not saying there would not be people traveling the pass during this period, but you keep talking of armies being there and I don't think that is the case.

As to Ned's travels to Starfall, yes, it covers his tracks. If he arrives in Dorne with a woman nursing Jon and saying she is Jon's mother. There is substantial reason for the people of Starfall or other parts of Dorne to accept this is the case. If he arrives in Starfall with Jon and a woman nursing the baby and the Lady Ashara then the people of Dorne are still likely to believe Wylla's claim she is the mother because to believe Ashara is the mother would mean that she was gone from view by anyone who would be witness to her pregnancy over the last nine months. So unless you are proposing that Ashara was at the Tower for those nine months, then we have a problem with the people of Starfall and Dorne believing she is the mother. And that is exactly what we see. Acceptance of the story of Wylla as Jon's mother in Starfall, and questions about Ashara being the mother of Jon from people who are relying on old tales and have no eyewitnesses. Perhaps Ashara is not nailed to the floor in Dorne and has traveled away from Starfall, but one would expect someone has witnessed her condition over the past nine months and who would testify to her being pregnant. Unless she spent those nine months hidden away with Lyanna somewhere where the people of Starfall could not tell if she was pregnant or not.

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On 3/23/2019 at 7:48 AM, SFDanny said:

My friend, I don't  believe I am blinding myself with anything here, but I respect you saying why you think I'm wrong. Shall we go over this again?

Thanks. Yours is perhaps the opinion I most respect, definitely one of, on this forum.

And let me also add, much of this its not necessary to answer. I appreciate the time taken - I have to take it myself!

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My remembrance is that you and I disagree on the first part here. Up to Ned giving Robert Wylla's name. Please correct me if I'm wrong about this.

Oh, you're not wrong. :)

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Robert begins questions by making it clear he is asking about Ned's relationship with a common girl that was different than any other. He sets the parameters of the question as such, but he doesn't stop there. "And yet there was that one time ... what was her name, that common girl of yours?

Agreed. Except Robert doesn't ask questions, at least not that he doesn't answer himself. He asks one question and one question only.

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Then Robert makes it very clear what type of relationship Ned had with "that common girl of yours" by giving out names and saying, no with each name he gives, that those were names of Robert's common girls in which it is clearly implied he had relationships of a sexual nature. Speaking of a girl of "mine" with "sweet big eyes, you could drown in" is hardly a reference to a causal acquaintance. But Robert doesn't stop there.

Agreed.

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Robert also makes it clear he is searching for the name of a common girl Ned once had such a sexual relationship with, and that he told him about her once before. A very important piece of information. Robert says, "Yours was ... Aleena? No. You told me once? And then he goes on to narrow his inquiry down so there can be no mistaking whose name he his looking for when he says:

Agreed.

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To which Ned finally replies, "Her name was Wylla." (AGoT 122) bold emphasis added

Agreed.

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Here lies our first disagreement, I think. I believe Ned finally answers all of the questions Robert has asked, ending with one in which it is clear there is only one right answer, with the simple statement "Her name was Wylla." I also think that simple answer is a direct lie to his friend and his king.

Agreed that we disagree.
Its a technical truth that misleads. So in that respect you could argue that its a lie, but at the same time, its absolutely true. Robert does not ask more than one ("all of the") questions.

Robert has asked what "that girl"'s name is.
He tries to answer it himself, correcting himself twice and leaving the third He then makes sure Ned understands exactly which girl he is talking about

Lets break it down...

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"You were never the boy you were." Robert grumbled. "More's the pity.

Just to be clear, this is the beginning of the relevant part. Robert is grumbling about something else related (Ned's lack of an adventurous spirit, more or less). There is nothing further back relevant to this textual analysis.

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And yet there was that one time ... what was her name, that common girl of yours?

Robert asks the question. What was "her" name? and gives a minor clarification to who he is talking about - 'that common girl of yours'. The last part here is a statement of clarification by Robert. Not a claim by Ned.

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Becca?  No, she was one of mine, gods love her, black hair and these sweet big eyes, you could drown in them. 

Robert tries to self answer his question, knows he gets it wrong.

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Yours was ... Aleena? No.

Same again. Robert tries to self-answer, and gets it wrong.

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You told me once. Was it Merryl?

Robert makes another clarification statement, or perhaps just a self-memory check - 'you told me once'. Either way, its important information that Ned told him the name of the girl he's thinking of (so he should remember, damn it!) some time in the past. 
Then Robert tries to self-answer his single question again.

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You know the one I mean, your bastard's mother?

Finally, Robert makes another clarifying statement because he knows he's guessed wrong again. Its phrased as a question, but it isn't really. He's still asking the original question,  - 'you know the one I mean' (what is her name, that common woman of yours) just adding more detail to ('your bastard's mother' is a clarifying statement) it as a sign he's given up trying to self-answer.

You-know-the-one-I-mean,-your-bastard's-mother is not actually a question if you read it straight up. There is no question there, its a statement. It becomes a question because its referring back to the first question.

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My understanding of your position here is that Ned doesn't lie.Not that he never lies,

Agreed

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but in this exchange between he and Robert he merely responds to the series of questions with a name that could be a correct answer to one of the preliminary narrowing questions, and does not answer Robert's real question that is distilled into the "You know the one, I mean, your bastard's mother?" Am I correct is stating your position?

Close. Its not a series of questions. The answer is not to 'a preliminary question'. Its to the question. the three names Robert throws out are not new questions in truth, they are attempts to answer his original and dismissed himself without Ned needing to answer. The last is phrased as a question, but in in terms of how people actually communicate, its not a new question, its two statements about the original question that clarify it further and leave it open to be answered. 
The all 5 of Robert's "questions" are actually only one. Which Ned answers.
This is shown by the fact that Ned's single answer would actually answer all 5 of Robert's "questions". They are actually only one.

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Which then is the preliminary question that Ned has chosen to answer? That Ned knew a common woman once?

That he had a common woman once was not a question. It was a statement by Robert. 

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Ned has undoubtably known hundreds, if not thousands of common women over the course of his life. If Ned is answering that question only with one name, then he is lying to Robert.

Robert didn't ask if he 'had' a common woman. Robert stated that the woman he was asking about "was" Ned's - with the direct connotation of being in a relationship (sexual being inferred).
You imply Ned must give out hundreds or thousands of women or be lying. First, the actual question proves this implication wrong. Robert asked the name of that woman, a definitive singular. Ned can only answer with one name. Second, given that Ned 'was never the boy he was' and his attitudes in general, it seems unlikely that he's slept with hundreds or thousands of common women. Maybe a few, maybe not.

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If he answered with the all the names of the common women he has known, then that would be a truthful answer, but truncating an answer to make it seem he is answering truthfully to another question is just another way of lying.

This is simply false. It has to be a single name or the answer is not true.

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This isn't a game Robert and Ned are playing. As Robert so directly tells Arya, "It is a great crime to lie to a king" (AGoT 168.) Ned understands what Robert is asking, but he is forced to give up the name of Wylla. Why then did he choose that name of all the common women Ned has known? Is it because he knows that the answers Wylla will give if she is asked the same questions will be the same as Ned's answers? I think it is.

He chooses that name because he knows that she is the woman Robert is thinking of. He tells a simple truth that misleads Robert. But the deception is entirely Robert's fault. He's made statements and assumptions and has not actually sought clarification on those. He's asked one direct question, and gotten one direct answer.

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But perhaps there is a shorter list that Ned could give the name of Wylla as an answer that would not be a lie?

There can be only one for it not to be a lie. It has to be that one, the one Robert is thinking of.

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Perhaps a common woman that Ned knows that he loved, or lusted for, or even had sex with but who is not Jon's mother?

There may be such a woman. Or there may not. But it has to be the one Robert is thinking of, that fits in Roberts mind with the statements Robert has made.
It is possible that young Ned, never the boy he was, lusted after some common woman in the Vale, and told Robert of it. But its clear Robert thinks there's only one common woman that was ever "Ned's". And clear by the end of Robert's speech which one he means - not some woman of the vale Ned lusted after once long ago. It can only be the woman Robert thinks is Jon's mother.

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Here we have little evidence beyond this declaration that Ned ever had such a relationship with a woman called Wylla, but we do get some more evidence two books later from Arya's conversation with young Ned Dayne, the Lord of Starfall.

Agreed.

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But first let's finish looking at Robert and Ned's conversation amongst the Barrows of the First Men. I've highlighted two sections that I think are important. First, when Robert tells us that Ned "never told me what she looked like" this tells us that Wylla and Robert have never met. Combined with "You told me once" tells us that, while Robert and Wylla have never met, he knows her name.

Agreed.

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This is critical to understanding this conversation. While Robert seems to not remember Wylla's name from the first time Ned tells him her name, it would be a severe mistake on Ned's part to take a chance and give the king a different name than the one he did the first time. Indeed, as I've raised before it could be a test on Robert's part to see if Ned is being consistent in his answers. We have hints that Ned's story has been checked out by other sources and it would be unwise for Ned's Wylla story to change from the first time he told Robert the tale.

Agreed.

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The end of the conversation I've highlighted above, we know that Robert accepts Ned's story of the timing in which Ned is supposed to have met Wylla. After Ned and Catelyn were married following the Battle of the Bells, and after Ned leaves Catelyn pregnant with his child Robb. About this too it is critically important for Ned to be consistent in his answers. It lets Ned hide behind a facade of shame in refusing to go any further in the Wylla story.

Agreed.
But you haven't demonstrated anything to support your case yet. Where we differ (so far) is, as I see it, two areas. We've covered the differences in understanding Robert's questions and statements, I think that is clear. I'm not sure how someone as astute as you cannot see that there is really only one question and not understand Robert makes several statements there that are not actually questions. I'd like to see you break that down, because if you do, I can't see how you could maintain your position here. You're too honest to stand by the bald statements you'd have to make (as I see it) to maintain your current position, once you break it down. 
But the second thing you have not addressed. It is clear that Ned has told Robert Wylla's name before, and that Robert believes Wylla to be Jon's bastard before this conversation. You assume, but never address, that therefore in the prior conversation, Ned told Robert a more detailed story. I don't see how that assumption can be justified, and as I pointed out, it goes against everything we see from Ned and created inconsistencies in Ned's behaviour.
In order to relieve those inconsistencies, I posit that the earlier conversation went along similar lines as the current conversation. Ie, Robert mixes questions with assumed statements and Ned can get away with letting Robert think what he thinks without actually lying to him. 

 

Let me ask you this. 
Is the woman Robert is thinking of, is her name Wylla?
If yes, then Ned has told Robert only the truth. Not all the truth, but only truth, in this conversation at least.

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You know the second disagreement, I'm sure. This centers on what I think is a non-issue and you seem to think is vitally important. Does Ned Dayne actually say that Wylla told him that she is Jon's mom? No, that is not part of the dialogue.

Ok then, you admit that.

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What is part of the dialogue makes it clear that this is a fact what young lord Ned thinks is widely known

Or rather, Ned takes it for a fact and has never questioned it (why would he?) and therefore assumes others who are closer to it than he, also "know" the same thing he does. 
Note that Edric (I usually call him Edric to avoid confusion with Ned Stark) assumes Jon told Arya, but we know that Jon doesn't know his mothers name and probably has never heard of Wylla. 
Its not at all clear that Edric think's Jon's Snow's mother's name is 'widely known'. Just that Jon must know, and Jon's sister would have heard about it from him.

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and the strong likelihood is that he and Wylla have discussed it.

And why would Edric and Wylla have discussed it?
I don't understand why this is even likely, let alone strongly likely.
Why is Edric discussing Lord Stark's bastard with his own wetnurse? 
Why would Wylla bring up such a subject with him?
If he had not heard it elsewhere first (and we know his source is actually Allyria), why would he bring it up with Wylla? He may mention it, but if he's heard the story elsewhere first, how is that conversation likely to go when he brings it up?
I can't outright say its impossible that little Edric walked up to his old wetnurse and said "are you Jon Snow's mother?" But it seems a rather unlikely conversation. I can see him asking "am I milk brother to Jon Snow?" or similar, with a reasonable probability. 

I say again, there is no evidence that Wylla has made any claim to be Jon's Snow's mother. The source for Edric's information is Allyria, and its clearly children's gossip. Its possible he has talked about it with Wylla, but the likelihood he's actually discussed her being Jon's mother, as opposed to the two of them being milk brothers approaches zero. A milk brother is something of interest to a small boy. Some distant Lord's by-blow's origins, somewhat less so.

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By which we know that when young Lord Dayne was a child at the breast he was breastfed by a wet-nurse named Wylla, as was Jon Snow. Ned knows this how? Because it was common knowledge in his household which includes Wylla who has served there since before the young lord was born.

Agreed. Not just common knowledge, but surely a well established and indisputable fact with many witnesses, since Wylla is still with the Daynes. She has a place in the household, and that place is like a younger Old Nan's - wetnurse to the family.

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But not only is common knowledge that Lord Dayne and Jon Snow are milk brothers, but also that Wylla is Jon's mother.

It is not established that this is "common knowledge". It is only established that Allyria has told Edric this, and he believes her. And that he assumes Jon knows and therefore Arya knows.

I would not be at all surprised to find that it was 'common knowledge' as in 'common rumour that doesn't really come up much' around Starfall, that Wylla is Jon's mum. That would be a logical extension of Ned riding in to Starfall to return Dawn, with Wylla nursing Jon. It does not mean that Wylla has ever claimed that, and she may not even be aware that such is 'known'.

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That in this exchange it is not stated explicitly that Ned was told this fact by Wylla herself is unimportant.

It is when you insist that she has, but there is no reason she should or would have. 

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Ned knows this because it is a fact known to him as a member of House Dayne, and Wylla has served House Dayne since before he was born.

Agreed... "knows". As in its a general background fact never questioned, never needing any discussion.

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As such it is likely he does learn this from Wylla herself or from another member of his House

We know Allyria is his source for the other information. What makes you think this came from Wylla? Nothing in the text and nothing exclusive in reasonable supposition.
Why would Wylla tell him she was Jon's Snow's mother? Why would she bring up Jon Snow at all?

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and Wylla never contradicts this fact throughout Ned's childhood.

 

Agree. Wylla never contradicts that she is Jon Snow's mother, or Edric would not be as certain. But there is not reason her as Jon's Snow's mother ever needed to come up between them to be contradicted!

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Either of which make it clear that this is an important part of Wylla's history known to House Dayne. There is no trickery here with what Ned tells Arya.

Agreed.

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There is simply a repeating of the fact we first learn from Ned Stark in his discussions with Robert among the Barrows of the First Men.

Err, no. Its a slightly different set of facts, not the same fact.
Robert thinks Wylla was Ned's special woman, the one woman n all the world that was worth more to Ned than his precious honour.
Edric thinks Wylla is Ned's bit on the side, while his special woman was Ashara.

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It confirms that what Ned has told Robert will be the story the Daynes and Wylla tell if need be.

Except that its not. They don't tell the same story.

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That is the critical takeaway from this part of the conversation. That both what Ned Stark said to Robert, and what Wylla and the Daynes say about Jon's mother's identity match is the keystone for the reader.

Except they are telling yet more variations on the story, not the same story. What this actually tells us is that Robert and the Daynes believe different things about Ned's past history. For the casual reader it looks like we suddenly have two agreeing stories, but they are not, they very much are not. For the discerning reader, it shows that there is something there that leads to similar stories, but both parties don't actually know the truth and are filling in bits they know with bits they don't to flesh out their understanding.

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It also is likely a lie, or cover story if you'd rather, that both Ned Stark and House Dayne have agreed upon to tell anyone who asks.

Why do you posit they have "agreed" to tell this. They haven't actually told anyone. All Ned has given Robert is a name of the woman Robert thinks made his honour slip. All Edric has done is assume Arya knows basic information he thinks he knows about Jon. He wasn't 'telling her' a story, he assumed she already knew. then he answered her questions.

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It doesn't matter that the story as told by Lord Edric doesn't include a direct quote from Wylla explicitly stating she claims to be Jon's mother. It matters that both Lord Stark and Lord Dayne say the same.

It matter when you take it as an article of faith that is a pillar of a theory, that Wylla told the story, but we don't see any evidence she has told the story. 
And they don't say the same. Robert says Wylla is this amazing woman that was worth more than Ned's honor (but he dropped her anyway) and Edric says Wylla was a bit on the side to Ashara's amazing woman (whom Ned dropped anyway). Neither are internally consistent with what we know of Ned and neither are accurate since Lyanna is Jon's other.

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I think then I've explained my views on what I see as our disagreements, my friend. Please correct me where you think I'm wrong.

Heh. 
One thing you haven't done is address the awkward questions your theory creates? (ok, you did below, but not I think satisfactorily, to me at least.)

Your theory could be true. Although I disagree with some of the supporting statements you make, in simple factual data points it is not inconsistent with what we know.
My point is that it assumes factual data points we don't know - which is fine if you maintain consistency in all other ways. Where it fails, is that it creates inconsistencies of behavior and character. 
Therefore, I look for an explanation that still hits all the factual data points but is consistent across the board. I find that once you take away the assumptions you make that are not actual textual data points, a theory can fit which maintains total consistency across the board.

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To some of your other points or questions

Let me say again this is not just a casual conversation between old friends. Ned and Robert are old friends, nor were they when Ned answered this for the first time with Robert. This is also between king and subject. It is a very unwise thing to lie to your king. A very dangerous thing to do. Ned is not playing word games in order to get out of talking to his old friend Robert about a shameful topic.

Agreed.
However, Robert is giving Ned room. Its Robert who is at fault here (in terms of clarity and truth), making statements of assumption without questioning them. 
Ned does not have to lie. He merely tells the truth straight to Robert's face. 

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He is saying a name for which there are terrible possible consequences if Wylla does not back up what he says.

Well, this is subjective. Ned does not lie to Robert, so there are no consequences for lying. He dd not state Wylla was Jon's mother, so it is not important that Wylla also state she was Jon's mother. Both Wylla and Ned know this to be untrue anyway. Ned only needs Wylla to tell the truth about her relationship with Jon Snow, that she was a wetnurse for Ned Stark's bastard, nothing more. If she knows more he needs her to be silent on the more, but that goes to other loyalties he cannot command and cannot control beyond killing her, which he could not do and be Ned.

But first, Robert would have to bother questioning Wylla at all. Its almost certain Robert already had information about Ned's visit to Starfall to return Dawn. Why else would Wylla have come up at all in their conversation the first (off screen) time? Ned had no need to mention her or Jon, and he didn't bring her (them) to court for Robert to see. So its likely Robert brought  the subject up (just as he did the time we saw) and he could only do so after having heard something already. Therefore its likely Robert had a report (Varys, proving his worth to his new master?) that included the information  that Ned rode into Starfall with Wylla nursing Jon already. There is no reason to doubt this report, and any number of more easily accessed and relevant (independent) people than Wylla to confirm it. So why would Robert be questioning Wylla?

The only reason Robert's going to go hard at this, and not be easily dissuaded by Ned's accurate protestations of truth telling, is if he knows already Jon is dragonspawn. And at that point the purported risk Ned takes, which I don't think he even took, is irrelevant.

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There is no mistake about what Robert is asking. He says it point blank. Ned's answer better be the same as he said to Robert the first time,

Well apparently there is, since you seem to think he's asking many questions. I think its blindingly obvious, that he asked one. And Ned answered only one, and by defining his answer as 'her" rather than "my bastard's mother" its quite explicitly clear which "question" he answered. Robert is free to think otherwise, and Ned is content to let him, but Ned didn't lie to Robert.

You can't show me a lie Ned makes in this conversation.

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and the intelligence from Varys's spies, the Lannister's inquiries, or Stannis's report's of fishwife's sons better line up.

Err, no. We know that these don't line up. Ned can't possibly line up with them all since they are all different. Ned only has to lie up with Ned, and for it not to break with provable facts.

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This is why cover stories are invented and the affected parties all tell the same tale. Heads can be lost, as well has the wealth and prestige of Houses lasting thousands of years. So, no, you choose to go with a view of this that reduces it to word play, and that just doesn't work with the deadly background we have been given. This book isn't called the "Game of Thrones" for nothing.

Except that the stories are not consistent, and this isn't complex 'word play', its just Ned being accurate and minimalist in his answer, which exactly fits with his character and needs in this circumstances

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But before going on, what possibly within the exchange between Robert and Ned convinces you that this is the only interpretation one can have of this dialogue? As I've shown, there are a number of questions asked by Robert of Ned, all of which narrow the answer down to answering his last one, so why choose this one odd interpretation of the question Ned chose to answer?

You didn't show it. You stated it. Then I broke it down and showed above why you are wrong here. 

I'll summarize again.
Robert asks 5 "questions" in total (there are 5 question marks in the paragraph). The middle three are irrelevant, just Robert having a go at answering himself and getting it wrong. The only relevance in these is that Robert expects to know because Ned told him the name once before.
The first question asks the name of the woman Robert is thinking of, a special, common, unique woman relevant to Ned in a special way.
The last "question" does not even have a question in it, merely two statements by Robert that refer to the original, and only, question.

Ned's answer explicit references the first (and only) question by framing Wylla as "her", which fits the original question but not the last statements..

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It's not to save Ned's honor because all of the answers but the answer "Lyanna" to the final question would be lies to Robert's questions, I'm convinced.

If Ned answered Lyanna, he would be lying to Robert. She's not the one Robert means. "Her" (that common girl of yours, the one I mean) is not Lyanna, who is certainly not common and certainly not whom Robert is thinking of!

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There is no Wylla as Ned's lover in reality.

We agree on that. But Robert was asking about what was in his mind, not reality. He was making a recollection, and failing.

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Here let me just add that I think the semantic games you think Ned is playing with Robert is a serious misread of Ned's character.

They aren't just "semantic games" though. If they were convoluted, complicated, lies, or overly complex, I'd agree, thats not Ned's character.
What Ned answers is simple, minimalist truth that avoids giving Robert dangerous information, while telling the direct truth. I think thats in character totally.


What other answer could Ned possibly give here?
Not Lyanna - that would be disastrously dangerous, and its not the actual truth to what Robert asked anyway. Not any other name, they aren't the 'truth' that Robert is thinking of. 
There is no fancy word games here. Ned gives the only answer he can, which is simple and direct and precisely in his nature. He is lucky that Robert has given him this out, but give it Robert did (or GRRM did).

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I look at Ned Stark and see a character that has been forced to choose, as Maester Aemon tells Jon, between love and honor. He chooses love. He also uses honor and shame to hide his choice, but he chooses love when he promises to his sister to take Jon on as his own son and lie to the rest of the world about it, especially his best friend the new king.

I agree. I think he would lie about it if he needed to. But when he can get what he needs by saying nothing, or by telling misleading truths, he's more than happy to do that rather than lie. Strict truth is not only more honourable than a lie, its also safer. You don't have to remember what exact falsehoods you told before, and you can't be tripped up by being caught in a provable lie.

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Ned isn't worried about trying to find a way to give an answer to Robert's questions that could possibly pass some nonsense test of what is strictly true or not and thereby save his honor. He already made that choice long ago.

I agree.
H's not playing a game for honour here, he's playing a game for life and love. Robert is just so inept (Robert doesn't know its a game) that Ned gets to win by default almost.

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His answer is a straight up lie, and one contrived with others in order to ensure that Robert never found out the truth.

You make this statement, but its not backed up by anything.
Wylla is the woman Robert was thinking of, true or not?

What part of 'her name was Wylla' (or I'd sooner not speak of her) was untrue? Yet you call it a straight up lie. No way my friend.

You claim it was contrived with others, but we see that the story from others is different anyway, so thats not working.

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That Ned is lying to Robert should be of no surprise to anyone. He has already confessed in his private thoughts about the lies he has had to tell.

Agreed. And Ned knows he is deceiving Robert here even as he tells the truth. He's not comfortable with that, any more than the other lies he's had to tell - lies of omission, lies of deception, possibly even actual factual lies if needed.

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That Ned lied to Robert is an established fact, even if we can't agree to the full extent of those lies or what the lies fully entailed. Ned is not playing games about what question he is answering. He is lying to cover up the lies he has already told.

No. What his established fact is that he has lived lies for 14 years. He may or may not have told actual literal lies as part of that, to Robert or to others (I'm sure he did at one stage or another). You imply that this statement confirms he lied directly to Robert 14 years ago, but it does not.

Ned deceived Robert by telling him the truth. Ned told the absolute truth to Robert. He just didn't tell him all of it. Wylla was the woman Robert is thinking of. Wylla is the woman Robert believes is Ned's bastard's mother. But Ned did not say she was the mother of his bastard here. 
There are no games here for Ned, its much too dangerous a subject for that. But a limited truth is the safest possible path available to him. However, even telling the limit truth here is living a lie, if not telling one, if you deliberately allow others to keep a false belief about you..

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His answer to Robert is certainly a vitally important exception to this rule. It is the great thing about being a Hight Lord. You really don't have to answer any questions you don't want to with the one important exception being when those questions come from your king or his Hand. We have no evidence of Ned's answers to Jon Arryn, but to Robert he both lies and tries to stop the questioning.

He dd not lie. He deceived, but he did not lie. 
Or do you think Wylla was not the woman Robert was thinking of? :) 

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For the most part he is successful in hiding his lies.

Again, he is the High Lord of the North, he doesn't have to answer anyone's questions at this point other than Robert's. The best way to keep a secret is not talk about it, which is mostly what Ned does, with the notable exception of Robert.

Ahh, but even with Robert, he doesn't talk about it. He gives a single name, but that name is truth and all information around it comes from Robert, not Ned. Thats all he gives Robert here, and all we actually know he gave Robert before.
There is one other thing he says in this conversation though, other than shutting it down.
He admits that he dishonoured Catelyn in the sight of gods and men.  
And this too is a deceptive truth. By bringing Jon home and raising him as a brother to his own children, he clearly dishonoured Catelyn. In full sight of everyone, gods and men. It sounds as though he's talking about conceiving Jon. But that wasn't done in the sight of men and even Catelyn concedes that wouldn't have been much of a dishonour. No, he's talking about bringing Jon home. Thats what dishonoured her in the sight of Gods and men.

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Once again, the best way to keep a secret is not to talk about it.

Agreed.

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With Robert that isn't an option. He has to answer the questions Robert asks him and his attempt to get Robert to stop asking more questions is successful when he pleads for Robert to stop.

Agreed. Except its only one question, as I have demonstrated, and as Robert demonstrates by being satisfied with a single answer.

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He uses his supposed shame as the excuse for his plea and it works. So much the better.

Agreed

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We don't know the details Ned shared with Robert the first time he tells him Wylla's name, but the less time spent of the topic the better for hiding the lies.

Absolutely agreed. So why are you positing Ned shared it all freely with Robert the first time when there is no need, and no consistency, for that to be the case?

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Read the last reply, and the following:

Right. But that doesn't answer why he was willing to talk about 'his story' last time. If not talking is the best policy now, why was it not the best policy then. 
And if he had to give 'a story' then (for which we have no evidence, just that he gave a name, same as this time), then why not be willing to repeat that story. Its not a secret, its been told, certainly, according to you, to Robert. No he's actually skirting greater risk in refusing to talk, and thus risking Robert's anger, than in just repeating the story he supposedly told before.
Certainly, if what you say is true, there is no risk in repeated the story he told Robert to Catelyn, and much to gain. He's already told Robert, so there's no risk of her slipping details out and them getting to ears they shouldn't. And if he'd told Catelyn, much familial heartache would have been resolved. She could accept him slipping up while on campaign with a peasant, and looking after Jon well in response (though she'd probably have been more forceful later in trying to get him away from Winterfell). It was the not knowing about the 'lost love he wouldn't talk about' that hurt her, and by extension the family as a whole.

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Ned wants confusion about the subject

No, Ned wants the subject to disappear. If he wanted confusion he'd allow the Ashara rumour to keep up while telling the Wylla story. And probably shower some fisherman in the Stepstones with a new boat if he heard about that rumour too!

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Simply because the Starfall addition is an invention based on two things. First, Ned's supposed attraction to Ashara, and secondly to Ashara's disappearing after Ned leaves Starfall. Ned and Wylla's stories are the same. What people invent because of Ashara's supposed plunge into the sea is another.  Just as it is in Winterfell among the returning soldiers and servants. I also think that Ned cannot play up what happened to Ashara for a number of reasons. Honoring Ashara's memory.  Not wanting to do anything to upset the Daynes. Undermining his own story of Wylla with Robert. Robert may have a different memory of which Stark was involved with Ashara at Winterfell. And Ned may not be in the know about everything to do with Ashara's "death."

Ok, thats reasonable, assuming Wylla is actually propagating a story. 1 out of 4, aint bad. ;)

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We will have to agree to disagree on this I'm afraid. I see my explanations as entirely reasonable and consistent with what we know.

Well, go back to the basics. You've made a number of false statements of fact to base your assumptions on. Hence our divergence over what is reasonable or not - it orginates from a differing understanding of the base facts.

I don;t think you satisfactorily explained 3 of my 4 basic 'awkward questions' at all, and the fourth relies on your unfounded assumption (which is fine, if you get the other three too, then its a coherent theory).

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I see your attempt to have Ned trying to play word games with Robert over Wylla's name as fairly unreasonable and inconsistent with what Ned tells us about himself.

They are not just word games though. I've explained that.

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As you know, much of this we agree upon. We don't agree about Ned not answering Robert's question about Jon's mother's name with the name of Wylla, and we disagree about the importance of Ned Dayne not saying specifically to Arya that Wylla told him she was Jon's mother.

Well, you assume it as a fact, when it is not indicated or necessary or even very likely. And your entire theory rests upon it. Thats makes it pretty important for you.

On 3/24/2019 at 1:29 AM, SFDanny said:

Of course, that could be the response, but the point is that once Eddard tells Robert Wylla's name he has to know that Wylla will say what he tells the king.

We disagree on that too, as I explained above.

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They have to be in agreement or the consequences for Ned and Ned's family would likely be catastrophic. Ned can't play games with his answers. He has to tell the truth or have others back his lies.

Yep. And he told the truth.

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What Ned Dayne tells us shows Wylla is telling the same story Ned Stark is to Robert, or a the vary least allowing the same story of her being Jon's mother to be told without contradicting it. It's a pretty horrible cover story if both Eddard and Wylla aren't on the same page in the story they are telling.

Well my answer to that is its not a cover story at all. Its two separate sets of assumptions with some common ground.

Edited by corbon

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5 hours ago, corbon said:

Thanks. Yours is perhaps the opinion I most respect, definitely one of, on this forum.

And let me also add, much of this its not necessary to answer. I appreciate the time taken - I have to take it myself!

corbon, thanks for the kind words - the respect is definitely mutual - and I will try to respond as quickly as I can. I probably won't go over every point in our discussion, but will try to deal with what I see as the most important points. I have to respond to a few others as well, so until then thanks for taking the time to go over these questions with me.

Danny

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Apologies to others for the walls of text. I think maybe I can cut this down, and break it up a bit, which will allow others perhaps more freedom to comment, as well as save time and energy for SFDanny if and when he gets time to reply.

I'll paraphrase (apologies for that, but its the most practical way) what seem to me the basic arguments SFDanny makes that I disagree with, and answer those. Apologies if you feel I get these inaccurate, I don't think I have,

Ned's conversation with Robert. 
1. SFDanny maintains that Ned is straight up lying to Robert here. I maintain he is telling the truth, but allowing Robert to deceive himself. 

Lets break it down...

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"You were never the boy you were." Robert grumbled. "More's the pity.

Just to be clear, this is the beginning of the relevant part. Robert is grumbling about something else related (Ned's lack of an adventurous spirit, more or less). There is nothing further back relevant to this textual analysis.

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And yet there was that one time ... what was her name, that common girl of yours?

Robert (eta: first makes a statement - there was that one time - then) asks the question. What was "her" name? and gives a minor clarification to who he is talking about - 'that common girl of yours'. The last part here is a statement of clarification by Robert. Not a claim by Ned.

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Becca?  No, she was one of mine, gods love her, black hair and these sweet big eyes, you could drown in them. 

Robert tries to self answer his question, knows he gets it wrong.

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Yours was ... Aleena? No.

Same again. Robert tries to self-answer, and gets it wrong.

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You told me once. Was it Merryl?

Robert makes another clarification statement, or perhaps just a self-memory check - 'you told me once'. Either way, its important information that Ned told him the name of the girl he's thinking of (so he should remember, damn it!) some time in the past. 
Then Robert tries to self-answer his single question again.

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You know the one I mean, your bastard's mother?

Finally, Robert makes another clarifying statement because he knows he's guessed wrong again. Its phrased as a question, but it isn't really. He's still asking the original question,  - 'you know the one I mean' (what is her name, that common woman of yours) just adding more detail to ('your bastard's mother' is a clarifying statement) it as a sign he's given up trying to self-answer.

You-know-the-one-I-mean,-your-bastard's-mother is not actually a question if you read it straight up. There is no question there, its a statement. It becomes a question because its referring back to the first question.

Thus all 5 of Robert's "questions" are actually only one. Which Ned answers.
This is shown by the fact that Ned's single answer would actually answer all 5 of Robert's "questions". They are actually only one.
Ned's answer explicitly references the first (and only) question by framing Wylla as "her", which fits the original question but not the final statements..

Robert didn't ask if he 'had' a common woman. Robert stated that the woman he was asking about "was" Ned's - with the direct connotation of being in a relationship (sexual being inferred).
You imply Ned must give out hundreds or thousands of women or be lying. First, the actual question proves this implication wrong. Robert asked the name of that woman, a definitive singular. Ned can only answer with one name. Second, given that Ned 'was never the boy he was' and his attitudes in general, it seems unlikely that he's slept with hundreds or thousands of common women. Maybe a few, maybe not.

There can be only one for it not to be a lie. It has to be that one, the one Robert is thinking of.
It is possible that young Ned, never the boy he was, lusted after some common woman in the Vale, and told Robert of it. But its clear Robert thinks there's only one common woman that was ever "Ned's". And clear by the end of Robert's speech which one he means - not some woman of the vale Ned lusted after once long ago. It can only be the woman Robert thinks is Jon's mother.

 I'd like to see you break this conversation down as I did, because if you do, I can't see how you could maintain your positions here. You're too honest to stand by the bald statements you'd have to make (as I see it) to maintain your current position, once you break it down. 

Let me ask you (anyone) this. 
The woman Robert is thinking of, is her name Wylla?
If yes, then Ned has told Robert only the truth. Not all the truth, but only truth, in this conversation at least. You cannot show me a lie by Ned in this conversation.

 

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2. He is saying a name for which there are terrible possible consequences if Wylla does not back up what he says.

Well, this is subjective. Ned does not lie to Robert, so there are no consequences for lying. He did not state Wylla was Jon's mother, so it is not important that Wylla also state she was Jon's mother. Both Wylla and Ned know this to be untrue anyway. Ned only needs Wylla to tell the truth about her relationship with Jon Snow, that she was a wetnurse for Ned Stark's bastard, nothing more. If she knows more he needs her to be silent on the more, but that goes to other loyalties he cannot command and cannot control beyond killing her, which he could not do and be Ned.

But first, Robert would have to bother questioning Wylla at all. Its almost certain Robert already had information about Ned's visit to Starfall to return Dawn by the time Ned and Robert got back together (and reconciled over Lyanna's death). Why else would Wylla have come up at all in their conversation the first (off screen) time? Ned had no need to mention her or Jon, and he didn't bring her (them) to court for Robert to see. So its likely Robert brought  the subject up (just as he did the time we saw) and he could only do so after having heard something already. Therefore its likely Robert had a report (Varys, proving his worth to his new master?) that included the information  that Ned rode into Starfall with Wylla nursing Jon already. There is no reason to doubt this report, and any number of more easily accessed and relevant (independent) people than Wylla to confirm it. So why would Robert be questioning Wylla? He'd be questioning independent witnesses to his report, not a as-far-as-we-know-silent participant.

The only reason Robert's going to go hard at this, and not be easily dissuaded by Ned's accurate protestations of truth telling, is if he knows already Jon is dragonspawn. And at that point the purported risk Ned takes, which I don't think he even took, is irrelevant.

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3. The semantic games here are not in Ned's nature or character

They aren't just "semantic games" though. If they were convoluted, complicated, lies, or overly complex, I'd agree, thats not Ned's character.
What Ned answers is simple, minimalist truth that avoids giving Robert dangerous information, while telling the direct truth. I think thats in character totally.

What other answer could Ned possibly give here?
Not Lyanna - that would be disastrously dangerous, and its not the actual truth to what Robert asked anyway. Not any other name, they aren't the 'truth' that Robert is thinking of. 
There is no fancy word games here. Ned gives the only answer he can, which is simple and direct and precisely in his nature. He is lucky that Robert has given him this out, but give it Robert did (or rather, GRRM did).

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3. We know Ned lied to Robert 14 years ago - he thinks to himself that he has lived lies for 14 years.

No. Ned has lived lies for 14 years. He may or may not have told actual literal lies as part of that, to Robert or to others (I'm sure he did at one stage or another, most likely). You imply that this statement confirms he lied directly to Robert 14 years ago, but it does not, any more than he told Robert a lie in the conversation we witnessed. He lived a lie in/after the conversation we witnessed, allowing Robert to continue to believe he he is Jon's father (and more), but he did not lie to Robert then, and there is no reason to assume he did before.

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5. Ned gave a story to Robert, and it matches that of Wylla

First, I'll go back to basics. Ned didn't give a story to Robert that we can see, or know of. He gave a name, no more. Similarly, Wylla hasn't given any information to anyone (thats the other post, which I doubt I'll get too for some time) that we know of.

Second, I'll point out that Robert and "Wylla" (Starfall) have not heard the same story. Robert thinks Wylla is some amazing woman that Ned lost his honour over, then dumped. Starfall thinks Wylla is some bit on the side while Ned's amazing woman was Ashara.
While I will concede that that is the one awkward question you almost answered satisfactorily - that it can originate as the same story but both Starfall and Robert add their own elements to it - that still doesn't really work. Wylla is telling Starfall she's Ned's 'woman', And Ned is telling Robert she's 'his woman', yet Starfall somehow doesn't believe Wylla and places Ashara as Ned's great love even though if anyone knows, they do, that Ned and Ashara were not close and hadn't been together for years - had in fact been on opposite sides during the war? Ned the rebel vs Ashara the friend of Elia and sister of Arthur.
No, that only really works, at the Starfall end, if Wylla is silent on her relationship with Ned.

Run out of time, hope this simplifies things a bit...

 

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On 3/25/2019 at 1:09 PM, corbon said:

Apologies to others for the walls of text. I think maybe I can cut this down, and break it up a bit, which will allow others perhaps more freedom to comment, as well as save time and energy for SFDanny if and when he gets time to reply.

corbon, I think I will only add a few remarks here and leave this discussion to another time or place. If you want to continue after this we can certainly do so by personal messages, but judging by the silence of our fellow posters, I think we may be boring others to death. I know that wasn't the intent either of us.

I would say that we have a very different read of Robert's comments to Ned. Part of the beauty of written language is we have ways to make clear what we are saying that sometimes gets lost in a verbal exchange. The use of punctuation helps tremendously in that regard, so when I read Robert's remarks and see question marks after question marks I see a series of question. Clarifying questions that end in on unequivocal question to be answered - "you know the one I mean, your bastard's mother?" I think Martin puts those question marks there as indications of what Robert is asking. So when you say these aren't really questions, I have to disagree. Some of these questions Robert answers himself as he arrives at the last a final question, which is his whole point. That's how I see it anyway.

I have called what I see your interpretation of Ned's response "semantic games" but perhaps this is more appropriately akin to a lawyer or witnesses under cross examination looking for a way to not perjure himself. I don't think that is what Ned is doing here, nor do I think that it would be acceptable to Robert for Ned to answer him in such a fashion. "The whole truth, and nothing but the truth" is the what a witness is called to do, and I think Robert expects that from Ned. I also think Ned can't give him that because of his promises to Lyanna, so Ned lies to his friend and his king. I would only remind you that the difference here and what an equivocating witness does in a search to not perjure himself is that a king doesn't have to prove the witness lied purposefully. The king can just have the witness's head removed and those of his family if he so chooses.

I think Ned knows all of this and he lies to protect the people he loves. Lyanna's memory and her secret, and the lives of Jon, Catelyn, and Ned's children.

I think I'll stop there, corbon, and thank you for a very interesting discussion - even if others did not think so.

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1 hour ago, SFDanny said:

corbon, I think I will only add a few remarks here and leave this discussion to another time or place. If you want to continue after this we can certainly do so by personal messages, but judging by the silence of our fellow posters, I think we may be boring others to death. I know that wasn't the intent either of us.

I would say that we have a very different read of Robert's comments to Ned. Part of the beauty of written language is we have ways to make clear what we are saying that sometimes gets lost in a verbal exchange. The use of punctuation helps tremendously in that regard, so when I read Robert's remarks and see question marks after question marks I see a series of question. Clarifying questions that end in on unequivocal question to be answered - "you know the one I mean, your bastard's mother?" I think Martin puts those question marks there as indications of what Robert is asking. So when you say these aren't really questions, I have to disagree. Some of these questions Robert answers himself as he arrives at the last a final question, which is his whole point. That's how I see it anyway.

Well, I broke it down and showed it. I can't see how you could do the same and hold your position, but you aren't going there, so we have to agree to disagree. But you haven't earned respect for your position (as opposed to for your self), so to speak.

I challenge you, or anyone, again. Where is the question in "You know the one I mean, your bastard's mother?"

Its not "is she your bastard's mother?". Its 'the one I mean'. What one? 'That common girl of yours'.

1 hour ago, SFDanny said:

I have called what I see your interpretation of Ned's response "semantic games" but perhaps this is more appropriately akin to a lawyer or witnesses under cross examination looking for a way to not perjure himself. I don't think that is what Ned is doing here, nor do I think that it would be acceptable to Robert for Ned to answer him in such a fashion. "The whole truth, and nothing but the truth" is the what a witness is called to do, and I think Robert expects that from Ned. I also think Ned can't give him that because of his promises to Lyanna, so Ned lies to his friend and his king. I would only remind you that the difference here and what an equivocating witness does in a search to not perjure himself is that a king doesn't have to prove the witness lied purposefully. The king can just have the witness's head removed and those of his family if he so chooses.

I think Ned knows all of this and he lies to protect the people he loves. Lyanna's memory and her secret, and the lives of Jon, Catelyn, and Ned's children.

I think I'll stop there, corbon, and thank you for a very interesting discussion - even if others did not think so.

And I agree, this is a lie Ned lives, here. But its not a lie he tells here.
And its not an interrogation, a courtroom, a "whole truth and nothing but the truth" situation. Its literally a (very) casual conversation between friends, even if one of them is a King.

If you think Ned doesn't believe (accurately) that Robert loves him enough to hear him out and recognise the truth if Ned has to point out that he never told Robert that Wylla was Jon's mum, rather than just take his head off for lying, I don't think you know Robert or Ned.

But thanks for your time, Friend.

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On 3/24/2019 at 7:27 PM, corbon said:

Thanks. Yours is perhaps the opinion I most respect, definitely one of, on this forum.

And let me also add, much of this its not necessary to answer. I appreciate the time taken - I have to take it myself!

Oh, you're not wrong. :)

Agreed. Except Robert doesn't ask questions, at least not that he doesn't answer himself. He asks one question and one question only.

Agreed.

Agreed.

Agreed.

Agreed that we disagree.
Its a technical truth that misleads. So in that respect you could argue that its a lie, but at the same time, its absolutely true. Robert does not ask more than one ("all of the") questions.

Robert has asked what "that girl"'s name is.
He tries to answer it himself, correcting himself twice and leaving the third He then makes sure Ned understands exactly which girl he is talking about

Lets break it down...

Just to be clear, this is the beginning of the relevant part. Robert is grumbling about something else related (Ned's lack of an adventurous spirit, more or less). There is nothing further back relevant to this textual analysis.

Robert asks the question. What was "her" name? and gives a minor clarification to who he is talking about - 'that common girl of yours'. The last part here is a statement of clarification by Robert. Not a claim by Ned.

Robert tries to self answer his question, knows he gets it wrong.

Same again. Robert tries to self-answer, and gets it wrong.

Robert makes another clarification statement, or perhaps just a self-memory check - 'you told me once'. Either way, its important information that Ned told him the name of the girl he's thinking of (so he should remember, damn it!) some time in the past. 
Then Robert tries to self-answer his single question again.

Finally, Robert makes another clarifying statement because he knows he's guessed wrong again. Its phrased as a question, but it isn't really. He's still asking the original question,  - 'you know the one I mean' (what is her name, that common woman of yours) just adding more detail to ('your bastard's mother' is a clarifying statement) it as a sign he's given up trying to self-answer.

You-know-the-one-I-mean,-your-bastard's-mother is not actually a question if you read it straight up. There is no question there, its a statement. It becomes a question because its referring back to the first question.

Agreed

Close. Its not a series of questions. The answer is not to 'a preliminary question'. Its to the question. the three names Robert throws out are not new questions in truth, they are attempts to answer his original and dismissed himself without Ned needing to answer. The last is phrased as a question, but in in terms of how people actually communicate, its not a new question, its two statements about the original question that clarify it further and leave it open to be answered. 
The all 5 of Robert's "questions" are actually only one. Which Ned answers.
This is shown by the fact that Ned's single answer would actually answer all 5 of Robert's "questions". They are actually only one.

That he had a common woman once was not a question. It was a statement by Robert. 

Robert didn't ask if he 'had' a common woman. Robert stated that the woman he was asking about "was" Ned's - with the direct connotation of being in a relationship (sexual being inferred).
You imply Ned must give out hundreds or thousands of women or be lying. First, the actual question proves this implication wrong. Robert asked the name of that woman, a definitive singular. Ned can only answer with one name. Second, given that Ned 'was never the boy he was' and his attitudes in general, it seems unlikely that he's slept with hundreds or thousands of common women. Maybe a few, maybe not.

This is simply false. It has to be a single name or the answer is not true.

He chooses that name because he knows that she is the woman Robert is thinking of. He tells a simple truth that misleads Robert. But the deception is entirely Robert's fault. He's made statements and assumptions and has not actually sought clarification on those. He's asked one direct question, and gotten one direct answer.

There can be only one for it not to be a lie. It has to be that one, the one Robert is thinking of.

There may be such a woman. Or there may not. But it has to be the one Robert is thinking of, that fits in Roberts mind with the statements Robert has made.
It is possible that young Ned, never the boy he was, lusted after some common woman in the Vale, and told Robert of it. But its clear Robert thinks there's only one common woman that was ever "Ned's". And clear by the end of Robert's speech which one he means - not some woman of the vale Ned lusted after once long ago. It can only be the woman Robert thinks is Jon's mother.

Agreed.

Agreed.

Agreed.

Agreed.
But you haven't demonstrated anything to support your case yet. Where we differ (so far) is, as I see it, two areas. We've covered the differences in understanding Robert's questions and statements, I think that is clear. I'm not sure how someone as astute as you cannot see that there is really only one question and not understand Robert makes several statements there that are not actually questions. I'd like to see you break that down, because if you do, I can't see how you could maintain your position here. You're too honest to stand by the bald statements you'd have to make (as I see it) to maintain your current position, once you break it down. 
But the second thing you have not addressed. It is clear that Ned has told Robert Wylla's name before, and that Robert believes Wylla to be Jon's bastard before this conversation. You assume, but never address, that therefore in the prior conversation, Ned told Robert a more detailed story. I don't see how that assumption can be justified, and as I pointed out, it goes against everything we see from Ned and created inconsistencies in Ned's behaviour.
In order to relieve those inconsistencies, I posit that the earlier conversation went along similar lines as the current conversation. Ie, Robert mixes questions with assumed statements and Ned can get away with letting Robert think what he thinks without actually lying to him. 

 

Let me ask you this. 
Is the woman Robert is thinking of, is her name Wylla?
If yes, then Ned has told Robert only the truth. Not all the truth, but only truth, in this conversation at least.

Ok then, you admit that.

Or rather, Ned takes it for a fact and has never questioned it (why would he?) and therefore assumes others who are closer to it than he, also "know" the same thing he does. 
Note that Edric (I usually call him Edric to avoid confusion with Ned Stark) assumes Jon told Arya, but we know that Jon doesn't know his mothers name and probably has never heard of Wylla. 
Its not at all clear that Edric think's Jon's Snow's mother's name is 'widely known'. Just that Jon must know, and Jon's sister would have heard about it from him.

And why would Edric and Wylla have discussed it?
I don't understand why this is even likely, let alone strongly likely.
Why is Edric discussing Lord Stark's bastard with his own wetnurse? 
Why would Wylla bring up such a subject with him?
If he had not heard it elsewhere first (and we know his source is actually Allyria), why would he bring it up with Wylla? He may mention it, but if he's heard the story elsewhere first, how is that conversation likely to go when he brings it up?
I can't outright say its impossible that little Edric walked up to his old wetnurse and said "are you Jon Snow's mother?" But it seems a rather unlikely conversation. I can see him asking "am I milk brother to Jon Snow?" or similar, with a reasonable probability. 

I say again, there is no evidence that Wylla has made any claim to be Jon's Snow's mother. The source for Edric's information is Allyria, and its clearly children's gossip. Its possible he has talked about it with Wylla, but the likelihood he's actually discussed her being Jon's mother, as opposed to the two of them being milk brothers approaches zero. A milk brother is something of interest to a small boy. Some distant Lord's by-blow's origins, somewhat less so.

Agreed. Not just common knowledge, but surely a well established and indisputable fact with many witnesses, since Wylla is still with the Daynes. She has a place in the household, and that place is like a younger Old Nan's - wetnurse to the family.

It is not established that this is "common knowledge". It is only established that Allyria has told Edric this, and he believes her. And that he assumes Jon knows and therefore Arya knows.

I would not be at all surprised to find that it was 'common knowledge' as in 'common rumour that doesn't really come up much' around Starfall, that Wylla is Jon's mum. That would be a logical extension of Ned riding in to Starfall to return Dawn, with Wylla nursing Jon. It does not mean that Wylla has ever claimed that, and she may not even be aware that such is 'known'.

It is when you insist that she has, but there is no reason she should or would have. 

Agreed... "knows". As in its a general background fact never questioned, never needing any discussion.

We know Allyria is his source for the other information. What makes you think this came from Wylla? Nothing in the text and nothing exclusive in reasonable supposition.
Why would Wylla tell him she was Jon's Snow's mother? Why would she bring up Jon Snow at all?

 

Agree. Wylla never contradicts that she is Jon Snow's mother, or Edric would not be as certain. But there is not reason her as Jon's Snow's mother ever needed to come up between them to be contradicted!

Agreed.

Err, no. Its a slightly different set of facts, not the same fact.
Robert thinks Wylla was Ned's special woman, the one woman n all the world that was worth more to Ned than his precious honour.
Edric thinks Wylla is Ned's bit on the side, while his special woman was Ashara.

Except that its not. They don't tell the same story.

Except they are telling yet more variations on the story, not the same story. What this actually tells us is that Robert and the Daynes believe different things about Ned's past history. For the casual reader it looks like we suddenly have two agreeing stories, but they are not, they very much are not. For the discerning reader, it shows that there is something there that leads to similar stories, but both parties don't actually know the truth and are filling in bits they know with bits they don't to flesh out their understanding.

Why do you posit they have "agreed" to tell this. They haven't actually told anyone. All Ned has given Robert is a name of the woman Robert thinks made his honour slip. All Edric has done is assume Arya knows basic information he thinks he knows about Jon. He wasn't 'telling her' a story, he assumed she already knew. then he answered her questions.

It matter when you take it as an article of faith that is a pillar of a theory, that Wylla told the story, but we don't see any evidence she has told the story. 
And they don't say the same. Robert says Wylla is this amazing woman that was worth more than Ned's honor (but he dropped her anyway) and Edric says Wylla was a bit on the side to Ashara's amazing woman (whom Ned dropped anyway). Neither are internally consistent with what we know of Ned and neither are accurate since Lyanna is Jon's other.

Heh. 
One thing you haven't done is address the awkward questions your theory creates? (ok, you did below, but not I think satisfactorily, to me at least.)

Your theory could be true. Although I disagree with some of the supporting statements you make, in simple factual data points it is not inconsistent with what we know.
My point is that it assumes factual data points we don't know - which is fine if you maintain consistency in all other ways. Where it fails, is that it creates inconsistencies of behavior and character. 
Therefore, I look for an explanation that still hits all the factual data points but is consistent across the board. I find that once you take away the assumptions you make that are not actual textual data points, a theory can fit which maintains total consistency across the board.

Agreed.
However, Robert is giving Ned room. Its Robert who is at fault here (in terms of clarity and truth), making statements of assumption without questioning them. 
Ned does not have to lie. He merely tells the truth straight to Robert's face. 

Well, this is subjective. Ned does not lie to Robert, so there are no consequences for lying. He dd not state Wylla was Jon's mother, so it is not important that Wylla also state she was Jon's mother. Both Wylla and Ned know this to be untrue anyway. Ned only needs Wylla to tell the truth about her relationship with Jon Snow, that she was a wetnurse for Ned Stark's bastard, nothing more. If she knows more he needs her to be silent on the more, but that goes to other loyalties he cannot command and cannot control beyond killing her, which he could not do and be Ned.

But first, Robert would have to bother questioning Wylla at all. Its almost certain Robert already had information about Ned's visit to Starfall to return Dawn. Why else would Wylla have come up at all in their conversation the first (off screen) time? Ned had no need to mention her or Jon, and he didn't bring her (them) to court for Robert to see. So its likely Robert brought  the subject up (just as he did the time we saw) and he could only do so after having heard something already. Therefore its likely Robert had a report (Varys, proving his worth to his new master?) that included the information  that Ned rode into Starfall with Wylla nursing Jon already. There is no reason to doubt this report, and any number of more easily accessed and relevant (independent) people than Wylla to confirm it. So why would Robert be questioning Wylla?

The only reason Robert's going to go hard at this, and not be easily dissuaded by Ned's accurate protestations of truth telling, is if he knows already Jon is dragonspawn. And at that point the purported risk Ned takes, which I don't think he even took, is irrelevant.

Well apparently there is, since you seem to think he's asking many questions. I think its blindingly obvious, that he asked one. And Ned answered only one, and by defining his answer as 'her" rather than "my bastard's mother" its quite explicitly clear which "question" he answered. Robert is free to think otherwise, and Ned is content to let him, but Ned didn't lie to Robert.

You can't show me a lie Ned makes in this conversation.

Err, no. We know that these don't line up. Ned can't possibly line up with them all since they are all different. Ned only has to lie up with Ned, and for it not to break with provable facts.

Except that the stories are not consistent, and this isn't complex 'word play', its just Ned being accurate and minimalist in his answer, which exactly fits with his character and needs in this circumstances

You didn't show it. You stated it. Then I broke it down and showed above why you are wrong here. 

I'll summarize again.
Robert asks 5 "questions" in total (there are 5 question marks in the paragraph). The middle three are irrelevant, just Robert having a go at answering himself and getting it wrong. The only relevance in these is that Robert expects to know because Ned told him the name once before.
The first question asks the name of the woman Robert is thinking of, a special, common, unique woman relevant to Ned in a special way.
The last "question" does not even have a question in it, merely two statements by Robert that refer to the original, and only, question.

Ned's answer explicit references the first (and only) question by framing Wylla as "her", which fits the original question but not the last statements..

If Ned answered Lyanna, he would be lying to Robert. She's not the one Robert means. "Her" (that common girl of yours, the one I mean) is not Lyanna, who is certainly not common and certainly not whom Robert is thinking of!

We agree on that. But Robert was asking about what was in his mind, not reality. He was making a recollection, and failing.

They aren't just "semantic games" though. If they were convoluted, complicated, lies, or overly complex, I'd agree, thats not Ned's character.
What Ned answers is simple, minimalist truth that avoids giving Robert dangerous information, while telling the direct truth. I think thats in character totally.


What other answer could Ned possibly give here?
Not Lyanna - that would be disastrously dangerous, and its not the actual truth to what Robert asked anyway. Not any other name, they aren't the 'truth' that Robert is thinking of. 
There is no fancy word games here. Ned gives the only answer he can, which is simple and direct and precisely in his nature. He is lucky that Robert has given him this out, but give it Robert did (or GRRM did).

I agree. I think he would lie about it if he needed to. But when he can get what he needs by saying nothing, or by telling misleading truths, he's more than happy to do that rather than lie. Strict truth is not only more honourable than a lie, its also safer. You don't have to remember what exact falsehoods you told before, and you can't be tripped up by being caught in a provable lie.

I agree.
H's not playing a game for honour here, he's playing a game for life and love. Robert is just so inept (Robert doesn't know its a game) that Ned gets to win by default almost.

You make this statement, but its not backed up by anything.
Wylla is the woman Robert was thinking of, true or not?

What part of 'her name was Wylla' (or I'd sooner not speak of her) was untrue? Yet you call it a straight up lie. No way my friend.

You claim it was contrived with others, but we see that the story from others is different anyway, so thats not working.

Agreed. And Ned knows he is deceiving Robert here even as he tells the truth. He's not comfortable with that, any more than the other lies he's had to tell - lies of omission, lies of deception, possibly even actual factual lies if needed.

No. What his established fact is that he has lived lies for 14 years. He may or may not have told actual literal lies as part of that, to Robert or to others (I'm sure he did at one stage or another). You imply that this statement confirms he lied directly to Robert 14 years ago, but it does not.

Ned deceived Robert by telling him the truth. Ned told the absolute truth to Robert. He just didn't tell him all of it. Wylla was the woman Robert is thinking of. Wylla is the woman Robert believes is Ned's bastard's mother. But Ned did not say she was the mother of his bastard here. 
There are no games here for Ned, its much too dangerous a subject for that. But a limited truth is the safest possible path available to him. However, even telling the limit truth here is living a lie, if not telling one, if you deliberately allow others to keep a false belief about you..

He dd not lie. He deceived, but he did not lie. 
Or do you think Wylla was not the woman Robert was thinking of? :) 

Ahh, but even with Robert, he doesn't talk about it. He gives a single name, but that name is truth and all information around it comes from Robert, not Ned. Thats all he gives Robert here, and all we actually know he gave Robert before.
There is one other thing he says in this conversation though, other than shutting it down.
He admits that he dishonoured Catelyn in the sight of gods and men.  
And this too is a deceptive truth. By bringing Jon home and raising him as a brother to his own children, he clearly dishonoured Catelyn. In full sight of everyone, gods and men. It sounds as though he's talking about conceiving Jon. But that wasn't done in the sight of men and even Catelyn concedes that wouldn't have been much of a dishonour. No, he's talking about bringing Jon home. Thats what dishonoured her in the sight of Gods and men.

Agreed.

Agreed. Except its only one question, as I have demonstrated, and as Robert demonstrates by being satisfied with a single answer.

Agreed

Absolutely agreed. So why are you positing Ned shared it all freely with Robert the first time when there is no need, and no consistency, for that to be the case?

Right. But that doesn't answer why he was willing to talk about 'his story' last time. If not talking is the best policy now, why was it not the best policy then. 
And if he had to give 'a story' then (for which we have no evidence, just that he gave a name, same as this time), then why not be willing to repeat that story. Its not a secret, its been told, certainly, according to you, to Robert. No he's actually skirting greater risk in refusing to talk, and thus risking Robert's anger, than in just repeating the story he supposedly told before.
Certainly, if what you say is true, there is no risk in repeated the story he told Robert to Catelyn, and much to gain. He's already told Robert, so there's no risk of her slipping details out and them getting to ears they shouldn't. And if he'd told Catelyn, much familial heartache would have been resolved. She could accept him slipping up while on campaign with a peasant, and looking after Jon well in response (though she'd probably have been more forceful later in trying to get him away from Winterfell). It was the not knowing about the 'lost love he wouldn't talk about' that hurt her, and by extension the family as a whole.

No, Ned wants the subject to disappear. If he wanted confusion he'd allow the Ashara rumour to keep up while telling the Wylla story. And probably shower some fisherman in the Stepstones with a new boat if he heard about that rumour too!

Ok, thats reasonable, assuming Wylla is actually propagating a story. 1 out of 4, aint bad. ;)

Well, go back to the basics. You've made a number of false statements of fact to base your assumptions on. Hence our divergence over what is reasonable or not - it orginates from a differing understanding of the base facts.

I don;t think you satisfactorily explained 3 of my 4 basic 'awkward questions' at all, and the fourth relies on your unfounded assumption (which is fine, if you get the other three too, then its a coherent theory).

They are not just word games though. I've explained that.

Well, you assume it as a fact, when it is not indicated or necessary or even very likely. And your entire theory rests upon it. Thats makes it pretty important for you.

We disagree on that too, as I explained above.

Yep. And he told the truth.

Well my answer to that is its not a cover story at all. Its two separate sets of assumptions with some common ground.

76

If it were possible for a lot of what you did here I would shake your hand. Well done.

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First of all I will write what I think story of Lyanna & is Rhaegar is. Hope to not miss to include some info I think is part of the story, but may edit this post later on. 

First of all, I believe Lyanna wasn't in love with Rhaegar, but not in Robert either. She wasn't in love with anyone. She was just abducted by Rhaegar who was obsessed with the prophecy. 

I believe Lyanna was with Dayne's or some remote place, but not in Tower of Joy, as Martin said only Howland & Ned left there alive. 

Lyanna was assisted in birth by Marwin & milk maid Wylla, who were among those who were Lyanna's staff. Rhaegar hoped Lyanna carried a girl. He already had a son, Aegon, & daughter Rhaenys, so naturally he needed a Visenya. But his wish didn't come true, he got a second son post mortem. He definitely did marry Lyanna. Child she's is with Rhaegar hoped for a girl. 

When Ned finds out where Lyanna is located, he goes there, not knowing she was/is pregnant and on the way there he participated in TOJ battle. When he got to Lyanna, she's already dying & given birth, but in doubts about the child & name to bestow upon him. 

She begs Ned to build her a statue, as she was equal to all Lords there, for she was Princess by marriage, and possibly Rhaegar crowned himself & Lyanna. 

 

The rest later, my battery is near the end. 

Edited by Lady Winter Rose

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34 minutes ago, Lady Winter Rose said:

I believe Lyanna was with Dayne's or some remote place, but not in Tower of Joy, as Martin said only Howland & Ned left there alive.

Martin said that:

1) Ned and Howland were the only two to ride away out of the seven against three combatants, per the text of the book, and

2) they were the only two men to leave ToJ (at an event, for which I unfortunately do not have a link) which allows for an indefinite number of women and children to travel along

 

But this should really go to the pinned thread.

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22 minutes ago, Ygrain said:

2) they were the only two men to leave ToJ (at an event, for which I unfortunately do not have a link) which allows for an indefinite number of women and children to travel along

Only two horses fled from the wolves. That does not mean that 3 zebras also fled from the wolves. It's the old logic of "it may be possible" defended in a lengthy explanation with "it's the most simple answer we have". The simple answer is and will always be two horses.

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1 hour ago, SirArthur said:

Only two horses fled from the wolves. That does not mean that 3 zebras also fled from the wolves. It's the old logic of "it may be possible" defended in a lengthy explanation with "it's the most simple answer we have". The simple answer is and will always be two horses.

No. The quote is

Quote

but for Ned it was a bitter memory. They had been seven against three, yet only two had lived to ride away; Eddard Stark himself and the little crannogman, Howland Reed. 

The 'only two' is a direct reference to '7+3'. From those 10, only two rode away. That does not exclude any others who were in the tower.
To fit better to your analogy, 2 stallions fought three wolves, yet only one stallion lived at the end of the battle. That doesn't refer at all to the 5 mares and 3 foals that the two stallions were protecting. 

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25 minutes ago, corbon said:

No. The quote is

The 'only two' is a direct reference to '7+3'. From those 10, only two rode away. That does not exclude any others who were in the tower.
To fit better to your analogy, 2 stallions fought three wolves, yet only one stallion lived at the end of the battle. That doesn't refer at all to the 5 mares and 3 foals that the two stallions were protecting. 

The word "men" is not part of the relevant book quote but from the interview GRRM assumingly gave. I guess we need the complete interview. 

Also I really do not understand why there are mares in the tower now. There is also nowhere where that in written. It's an assumption. We are stacking assumptions again, defended as "simple answer". When the simple answer is that 10 men just tried to kill each other. It's mind boggling. 

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3 hours ago, SirArthur said:

Only two horses fled from the wolves. That does not mean that 3 zebras also fled from the wolves. It's the old logic of "it may be possible" defended in a lengthy explanation with "it's the most simple answer we have". The simple answer is and will always be two horses.

The person who asked the question specifically asked about "men" because he wanted to confirm or discard the theory that Arthur Dayne may be alive.

And yes, zebras, giraffes and gnus are indeed a possibility, unless you want to argue that the KG chose to make their stand in front of an empty tower in the middle of nowhere. Yet we know that Ned puts the tower in connection with Lyanna's death and that they found him holding Lyanna's dead hand, so unless the fight occured only after Lyanna's death, there must have been at least one zebra present along with Howland.

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On 3/24/2019 at 4:44 PM, SFDanny said:

Now, I have to bring up one last topic here. The timing of Jon's conception. You know well Martin's remarks about the time difference between Jon's and Dany's namedays being "eight or nine months or thereabouts"  between each other. You also know the oft quoted thoughts of Daenerys placing her birth some "nine moons" after the flight to Dragonstone. This puts Jon's birth likely someplace around the eighth or ninth month of 283 AC. The Battle of the Bells likely takes place in the twelfth month of 282 to early 283. We know Rhaegar leaves sometime after that battle to go north. My question is does Rhaegar even know Lyanna is pregnant until after he leaves? Much of your concerns over Lyanna's safety, or rather, the safety of the prophesied child, would seem premature if the Prince doesn't even know he leaves Lyanna pregnant until word is somehow gotten to King's Landing to inform him.

Heh, I was wondering when you would bring this up.  Ok, let’s take a look at GRRM’s quote and see if we can extrapolate a time when Jon may have been born.

GRRM may very well be lining up Jon’s birth with Dany’s conception.  And interestingly enough, we have a pretty good idea when Dany’s conception occurred.  It happened when Chelsted was burned and when Jaime and Jon Darry stood guard over the bedchamber as Rhaella was raped.  In other words before the Battle of the Trident.   It also probably occurred while Rhaegar was busy marshaling the troops.  

Quote

“Everything was done in the utmost secrecy by a handful of master pyromancers. They did not even trust their own acolytes to help. The queen’s eyes had been closed for years, and Rhaegar was busy marshaling an army. But Aerys’s new mace-and-dagger Hand was not utterly stupid, and with Rossart, Belis, and Garigus coming and going night and day, he became suspicious. Chelsted, that was his name, Lord Chelsted.” It had come back to him suddenly, with the telling. “I’d thought the man craven, but the day he confronted Aerys he found some courage somewhere. He did all he could to dissuade him. He reasoned, he jested, he threatened, and finally he begged. When that failed he took off his chain of office and flung it down on the floor. Aerys burnt him alive for that, and hung his chain about the neck of Rossart, his favorite pyromancer”

This time period makes sense in a way.  That Aerys worse moments occur when Rhaegar isn’t around.  Rhaegar is nowhere around when Aerys burned Brandon and Rickard, and it’s very likely that Rhaegar may have been away marshaling the troops when Aerys burned Chelsted and raped Rhaella.  The only thing that would dispute this is Jaime’s recollection that Rossart was named Hand after Chelsted.  But of course the simple explanation is that Aerys simply waited until Rhaegar’s death to name another Hand.  Aerys really only needed a Hand to fight the war, and Rhaegar then would serve as de facto Hand.  It seems unlikely that Aerys would have named someone else who could have interfered in his plans like Chelsted did.  So Aerys simply waits and names Rossart Hand when Aerys decides to go ahead with his plan to blow up King’s Landing.

It also probably places Dany’s conception a decent amount of time before the Battle of the Trident.  At least during the time when Rhaegar was still marshaling the troops.  

So in other words, it’s very possible that Jon was born during that nebulous time period between the Battle of Bells and the Battle of the Trident.  Enough time after the Battle of Bells for Rhaegar to return and be in the midst of marshaling the troops.  And this very long winded explanation is that yes, I think Rhaegar would have certainly known about Dany’s pregnancy before he returned to King’s Landing from the “south”.

Edited by Frey family reunion

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10 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Heh, I was wondering when you would bring this up.  Ok, let’s take a look at GRRM’s quote and see if we can extrapolate a time when Jon may have been born.

GRRM may very well be lining up Jon’s birth with Dany’s conception.  And interestingly enough, we have a pretty good idea when Dany’s conception occurred.  It happened when Chelsted was burned and when Jaime and Jon Darry stood guard over the bedchamber as Rhaella was raped.  In other words before the Battle of the Trident.   It also probably occurred while Rhaegar was busy marshaling the troops.  

This time period makes sense in a way.  That Aerys worse moments occur when Rhaegar isn’t around.  Rhaegar is nowhere around when Aerys burned Brandon and Rickard, and it’s very likely that Rhaegar may have been away marshaling the troops when Aerys burned Chelsted and raped Rhaella.  The only thing that would dispute this is Jaime’s recollection that Rossart was named Hand after Chelsted.  But of course the simple explanation is that Aerys simply waited until Rhaegar’s death to name another Hand.  Aerys really only needed a Hand to fight the war, and Rhaegar then would serve as de facto Hand.  It seems unlikely that Aerys would have named someone else who could have interfered in his plans like Chelsted did.  So Aerys simply waits and names Rossart Hand when Aerys decides to go ahead with his plan to blow up King’s Landing.

It also probably places Dany’s conception a decent amount of time before the Battle of the Trident.  At least during the time when Rhaegar was still marshaling the troops.  

So in other words, it’s very possible that Jon was born during that nebulous time period between the Battle of Bells and the Battle of the Trident.  Enough time after the Battle of Bells for Rhaegar to return and be in the midst of marshaling the troops.  And this very long winded explanation is that yes, I think Rhaegar would have certainly known about Dany’s pregnancy before he returned to King’s Landing from the “south”.

@Frey family reunion

It's safe to say that the burning of Chelsted and rape of Rhaella occurred at least one month prior to the sack, since it occurred before Rhaegar left for the Trident, and since Rossart, who was Hand for approximately a fortnight, wasn't appointed Hand until after Aerys received word of Rhaegar's death. It seems likely that Daenerys was conceived no less than a month before the Sack.

As for Jon, it seems highly unlikely to me that he was born before the Battle of the Trident.

  • It took Ned approximately two weeks to race from the Trident to King's Landing, and I think we can assume that it took Rhaegar's forces no less time to reach the Trident from KL before the battle
  • On the maps, the distance between the Trident and KL is similar to the distance between KL and Storm's End, where Ned lifted the Tyrell siege
  • On the maps, the distance between Storm's End and the TOJ by land is a little less than twice the distance between Trident/KL and KL/Storm's End, though Ned would have presumably been riding with his smaller force for this leg of things

I think between two and two-and-a-half months would be on the conservative side as to how much time passed between Rhaegar marching off to the Trident and Ned arriving at the Tower of Joy. And I doubt many days, let alone weeks, had passed since Lyanna gave birth when Ned arrived.

And depending on how Rhaegar traveled, it could have taken him half a month or more to get from the TOJ to KL.

All that said, unless Rhaegar left Lyanna a number of months before he rode off to the Trident, I am pretty sure he would have known that Lyanna was pregnant before he left.

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Hi RLJ crew :)

I have a question, a friend and I were discussing yesterday and neither of us could remember exactly.

Where was Robert on the day that Ned discovered Lyanna in the Tower?

Also Ned was there looking for Lyanna correct, he knew she was there right? Did Robert know Lyanna's location and if so why wasn't he there himself?

I just couldnt remember the exact global positioning of the characters to give her an answer.

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