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Why “Wylla?” Meet Lyanna’s Dornish Doppelganger

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Why “Wylla?” Meet Lyanna’s Dornish Doppelganger.

Very Short Version:

  • The Daynes of Starfall claim that their nurse, Wylla, is Jon’s mother.
  • If Wylla isn’t Jon’s mother, why bother with this lie? Why not just claim she’s Jon’s nurse? Ned refuses to name Jon’s mother at Winterfell—why not refuse to name her at Starfall? It would leave Ned with no trace of Jon’s mother—easy peasy.
  • One very plausible reason for the Wylla lie: Jon was born at Starfall and the Daynes need to cover that up.
  • Evidence? GRRM has shown us repeatedly that:
    • Stark maids hide under disguises and aliases in plain sight and even in populated castles—not in isolated towers.
    • Doppelgangers work well to hide nobles, including Stark maids.
    • Starfall has a “Jon Snow origin story,” complete with casting. As yet, we don’t know why.
  • Combine the above with Wylla Manderly’s defiance against Rhaegar Frey and GRRM has given us a potential scenario:
    • Lyanna was “hidden” at Starfall under an alias (like Sansa and Arya), and gave birth under that alias—“Wylla.”
    • After her death, a doppelganger (like Jeyne or Rosamund) took Lyanna’s “Wylla” identity to hide Jon’s parentage and cover the dangerous memory.
  • Why would Starfall’s “Wylla” impersonate Jon’s mother for years? Because, like Wylla Manderly, she’s fiercely loyal to her ancient, ruling house: the Daynes.

NOTE: This theory works with multiple options for Jon’s parentage, including RLJ.

1. Wylla Manderly: Why is she green and angry with “Rhaegar?” She’s echoing Ned’s Wylla—the Wylla at Starfall, NOT loyal to Rhaegar.

  • Ned’s only mention of Jon’s mother’s name: Wylla. Edric Dayne “confirms” it—Starfall knows Wylla as Jon’s mother. “Wylla” is the cover story. Case closed.
  • But then we get Wylla Manderly: her blond hair dyed a garish green. A tough, mouthy 15 year old, fiercely loyal to the Starks—even if no Starks remain.
  • She says all of this to defy and insult a “Rhaegar”—Rhaegar Frey—a “smirking worm” with no obvious Rhaegar-like qualities—though he is looking for a new wife.
  • Rhaegar Frey is a widower—he’s at White Harbor for a new wife, Wynafryd Manderly. Yet Wylla, Wynafryd’s little sister, will not be silent—she doesn’t know that her father is only humoring the Freys until he can bake them into pies.
  • Why on earth include this scene with these names? As a marker. “Wylla” and “Rhaegar” aren’t common names in the books. The only other “Wyllas” (other than Ned’s and Edric’s) are Wylla of Wyl, a Dornish warrior maid in the World Book and Wylla Fenn—mother to a Stark bastard. Fenns are crannogmen—guarding the Neck with House Reed. Not unlike Wyls, who guard the Boneway with House Yronwood.
  • If GRRM just wanted to establish Manderly loyalty to the Starks, he could name Wyman’s daughter anything: Wyndy, Wyspyr, Wynette (standin’ by her Stark men!!!). GRRM chose “Wylla” for a reason—and had her defy “Rhaegar” for a reason. He’s telling us about Ned’s “Wylla” and her role.
  • GRRM could name Rhaegar Frey anything: Symeon, Aegon—any hero name would highlight his worminess. GRRM chose “Rhaegar” for a reason.

2. What does a defiant, dyed-hair girl tell us about Lyanna and Wylla? First up: how to hide a Stark maid. In Martinlandia, Stark maids don’t hide out in isolated towers. They hide in plain sight under aliases and disguises.

  • Arya: hides herself under aliases (Nan, Nymeria, etc.) and under disguise (Arry). She’s younger than Lyanna was, but shows how even a kid can maintain an alias.
    • Then: the brotherhood hides her under no name: at Acorn Hall, Lady Smallwood doesn’t ask Ary’s name. She just assumes the brotherhood has its reasons and helps because Arya’s a young, highborn girl. Only those actively hiding Arya (the brotherhood) know who she is and why they have her.
  • Sansa: hides under an alias (Alayne) and a disguise (hair dye) in plain sight at the Eyrie. Only Baelish and Lysa know who she is—until Baelish “Moon Doors” Lysa.
    • Sansa so subverts her identity under “Alayne” that she thinks of “Sansa” in the third person. Shows how well a young teen can embrace a disguise.
  • That leaves Lyanna—how to hide a Stark maid? Like her nieces.
    • Arya is like Lyanna in looks, temperament, skills, and interests.
    • Sansa is said to be following Lyanna’s original “plot”—and is tied to Lyanna symbolically with color, roses, and songs.
    • GRRM shows us how to hide a Stark maid. Lyanna likely “hid” like her nieces: in plain sight under an alias and maybe a disguise. NOT in an isolated tower.

3. How does Wylla Manderly fit in? As a marker for Ned’s/Starfall’s Wylla.

  • Well Manderly’s main characteristics: Stark loyalty, boldness (like a warrior maid), and blond hair dyed bright green.
  • As stated above, her speech about the Starks could have been spoken by any Manderly of any name. And she could have defied a Frey of any name. GRRM chose “Wylla” and “Rhaegar” for a reason: a narrative marker.
  • GRRM shows how a young teen can hold strong loyalty to her ancient ruling house. And thus be willing to risk others’ anger to defend that house. Even the anger of a stronger, over-ruling house.

4. Why would Starfall’s “Wylla” need such boldness? To be a doppelganger.

  • We’ve seen dyed hair (like Wylla’s): to hide Sansa. And to hide a doppelganger.
  • Rosamund Lannister is Myrcella’s doppelganger: disguised as Myrcella (curled hair) while Myrcella hides under hair dye during their voyage to Dorne on the Lady Lyanna.  And there’s an excellent chance the “Myrcella” returning to King’s Landing is actually Rosamund, hiding her cousin’s death/disappearance.
  • Jeyne Poole is Arya’s doppelganger. Theon and the Boltons know who she is. But most of the North believes the lie—fighting for “The Ned’s little girl.”
  • With Jeyne and Rosamund, the original girl has left home, then is captured or lost. The doppelganger is sent back home to hide the loss and any implications.
  • Thus: doppelgangers work—even with Stark maids. 

CONTINUED IN JUST ONE MORE POST

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Posted (edited)

5. Why does Starfall have a story about Jon’s mother? Because Starfall has something to hide.

  • If Ned just wanted to hide Jon’s mother, he could find a wet nurse, lie about Jon’s birth, then pay the nurse well and send her home. No trace of Jon’s mother. Period.
  • But the Daynes claim a woman at Starfall is not just Jon’s nurse, but Jon’s mother.
  • Why bother with this lie? There are a few options. But this lie makes more sense if there is a history at Starfall of Jon’s actual mother that needs hiding.
  • NOTE: this story is not told at Winterfell where Jon actually is. It’s not needed at Winterfell—Ned just won’t talk. And Ned doesn’t tell Robert where “Wylla” is.
    • This story, complete with casting, is only known to be told at Starfall—which means: Starfall needs the story for some reason: unlike Ned, the Daynes don’t/can’t keep silent or claim ignorance.
    • If Wylla was with Lyanna when she died and Ned brought baby and Wylla to Starfall, all Ned has to do is claim the baby’s mother died and that Wylla is the wetnurse. Then Ned could just refuse to name the mother—as he does at Winterfell. And Wylla could just keep up that lie.
    • There is no need for Ned to claim Wylla as Jon’s mother at Starfall—unless Starfall needs the lie.
  • Unlike the nameless “fisherman’s daughter” tale, Ned names Wylla. The Lord of Starfall has known her since birth—something’s up.
  • Potential case in point: Doran likely sent Rosamund back to King’s Landing in Myrcella’s place. Why? Because it’s known that Myrcella was in Dorne. Doran can’t just say, “Nothing to see.” He must create a story to cover what really happened. 
  • If Jon was born was at Starfall, that would explain why the Daynes need a cover story of a mother at Starfall, not just his wet nurse.

6. This part gets very speculative. But given what GRRM shows about doppelgangers and Stark maids, the following scenario is plausible:

  • Rhaegar and his KG end up with Lyanna—for multiple possible reasons.
  • Like the brotherhood and Baelish, they hide Lyanna under an alias: Wylla—a southron name local to Dorne. And possibly dye Lyanna’s hair (like Alayne).
  • They don’t hide in a tower. Like Baelish’s Drearfort, they use a tower as a way station to get their stories straight and set up Lyanna’s disguise.
  • They take Lyanna to Starfall as “Wylla”—like Baelish takes Sansa to the Eyrie as “Alayne.” And a bit like the brotherhood takes Arya to Acorn Hall.
  • Like Lysa Arryn and Lady Smallwood, the Daynes at Starfall know or suspect who “Wylla” is, but go along out of loyalty or to further their own plans.
  • The commoners just go about their business.
  • Ned returns Arthur’s sword around the time “Wylla” (Lyanna) has a baby (multiple options) and dies. Her death is obscured, as the Lannisters hide/use Arya’s disappearance with Jeyne. And as Doran likely hides Myrcella’s death or disappearance. The Daynes claim that Jon’s mother is alive, not the dead Lyanna.
  • Perhaps the baby is swapped out for another who died. GRRM shows how baby swaps can occur even in a crowded setting (Castle Black).
  • Ned takes Jon and a wet nurse north, a wet nurse now calling herself “Wylla”—Lyanna’s doppelganger takes Lyanna’s alias.
  • Or, Ned goes north with another wetnurse entirely, leaving “Wylla” behind.
  • “Wylla II” returns to Starfall and maintains her disguised identity, like Rosamund or Jeyne. Perhaps with dyed hair—echoing Rosamund and Wylla Manderly.
  • This covers Starfall’s story of “Wylla” and baby—Daynes claim “Wylla” is Jon’s mother, but Ned took him north. Daynes know the truth, but people slowly lose the real memory. Later Daynes (Edric) only learn the cover story.

7. Why bother covering Lyanna’s being at Starfall? “Danger, Will Robinson!”

  • The Daynes have heard that Robert condoned the murder of Rhaegar’s children.
  • The Daynes also know about the Reynes—and Tywin now has influence over Robert and will do dirty work for him—like killing babies.
  • If the Daynes been holding/hiding Lyanna, even under a disguise, they have very good reason to fear that story getting out.

8. Wouldn’t the locals know? Not if we go by precedent.

  • Jeyne returns to a place that somewhat knows both her and the “lost” girl she impersonates—and it works.
  • Plus, when Arya confronts Harwin, he doesn’t recognize her, though he’s known and seen her almost every day since she was born.
  • Like Jeyne, “Wylla” could claim the previous “Wylla’s” (Lyanna) story as her own.
  • Some locals might suspect—Myranda suspects “Alayne.” But Sansa has a price on her head—“Wylla” doesn’t. And Starfall seems even more isolated than the Eyrie.
  • As for Rosamund, if Doran scars her face like Myrcella’s is supposed to be, perhaps no one will look too close. Could still work.

9. Why would Starfall’s “Wylla” do this? Like Wylla Manderly: fierce loyalty.

  • “Wylla” might act out of fear and coercion like Jeyne and possibly Rosamund.
  • Or “Wylla” could have just gone to another place entirely, under any name, and Jon’s mother would just be a complete unknown, no way to check the story.
  • But “Wylla” has been staying at Starfall, known as Jon’s mother—why? Because there is a story at Starfall that needs hiding.
  • With Wylla Manderly, GRRM shows us why Starfall’s “Wylla” might pretend to be Jon’s mother: fierce loyalty to her ancient, ruling house.
  • And it is NOT out of loyalty to the Targs—Wylla Manderly defies “Rhaegar.” The Manderlys in general just humor the Freys—they hold to their older lords.
  • If this set of echoes holds, “Wylla” is loyal to the Daynes—perhaps even dying her blond Stony Dornish hair to look like Lyanna’s.

10. Why make this so complicated? GRRM likes complicated plots—and tying up loose ends.

  • Baelish’s Jon Arryn plot shows that GRRM likes complicated plots. So do Doran’s plans (so far). There’s also the fAegon plot, and the Rosamund/Myrcella plot.
  • Baelish’s Arryn plot also shows that GRRM likes tying up loose ends. And this theory would help explain why GRRM shows readers:
    • How to hide Stark maids—no holing up in towers. Hide in plain sight.
    • How to work with doppelgangers—and that doppelgangers do work, even in the home of the original—Jeyne and Arya are known in the North. Myrcella and Rosamund are known at Kings’ Landing: the doppelgangering still works.
    • That Starfall has a “Jon Snow” origin story in the first place.
  • And it explains why GRRM creates Wylla Manderly and her scene with Rhaegar Frey, complete with their very conspicuous names.

11. Bottom Line: "Keep Reading."

  • GRRM sometimes evades questions by telling us to “keep reading.”
  • That’s not just an evasion: GRRM has been giving us info about the past all the way through the books. He puts in names, scenes, and scenarios for a reason. 
  • With Wylla, Stark maid disguises, and effective doppelgangers, GRRM has given us some potential clues as to what happened with Lyanna, Wylla, and Starfall.
  • It potentially shows why the Daynes would lie about Jon’s mother in the first place.
  • And why on earth we have Wylla Manderly mouthing off to Rhaegar Frey. “Keep reading,” indeed.

THE END

Edited by Sly Wren
bad grammar and spelling

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Posted (edited)

My guess would be that Ned originally hoped to leave Jon there, but changed his mind afterwards. Just had a wetnurse expected to be his pretend mother, and after a while he decided to take the child back to Winterfell, so the idea Jon's mother was at Starfall just stuck. I have nothing to back this up :)

Edited by NonoNono

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6 hours ago, NonoNono said:

My guess would be that Ned originally hoped to leave Jon there, but changed his mind afterwards. Just had a wetnurse expected to be his pretend mother, and after a while he decided to take the child back to Winterfell, so the idea Jon's mother was at Starfall just stuck.

I could go with this--if it weren't for a few things:

1. Ned didn't need to lie about Wylla's being Jon's mother. He could have just told the "truth"--"The baby's mother died. It's none of your business who she was. This woman (Wylla) is the wet-nurse." We know when Ned doesn't want to talk, he just doesn't. We see that at Winterfell. So. . . why not the same at Starfall?

2. If Wylla came with Ned to Starfall, why on earth leave her there? He's trying to hide Jon's identity (I think). Why not take her back to wherever she came from, leaving no "record" at Starfall?

And if she is from Starfall, again, why not just say she's Jon's wet-nurse and that the mother died and Ned won't talk? If Wylla will keep one lie, why not another?

It would leave Ned with no trace of Jon's mother. With Wylla at Starfall, there's a trace. A "record." If Ned's trying to hide Jon, why leave that trace unless he has to--because Jon was born at Starfall and Starfall has a memory of "Wylla" giving birth there.

3. Finally: Why on earth include that scene with Wylla Manderly and Rhaegar Frey? That's gotta be deliberate. Martin is telling us something--not sure my take on it is right. But we are being shown a fierce, anti-Rhaegar Wylla for some reason.

6 hours ago, NonoNono said:

I have nothing to back this up :)

Ha! That's half the fun of the forums! :cheers:

2 hours ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

As always, you bring up points I have never considered. Thank you.

:cheers: Thanks!

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A simpler scenario explains Wylla too though: all that's needed is RLJ + Daynes are Targaryen loyalists + Ned claims to be Jon's father.

Ned shows up at Starfall with Lyanna's and Rhaegar's baby. One thing that's very clear both to him and the Daynes is that a cover story is needed for baby Jon because if nothing is said then people will connect the dots - Rhaegar (male) was with Lyanna (female) - Ned goes to Lyanna, finds her dying and brings home a mysterious baby. Way too obvious.

So Ned needs to claim he is the father. So far so logical.

However now Ned and the Daynes are stuck with Ned as supposed father and his baby Jon being in Starfall but no mother. So naturally people in Starfall ask themselves who the mother is. That's how people are. They talk. They speculate. Especially when the topic is sex. 

Of course as you rightly point out Ned could simply refuse to name any names. And maybe he did.

That does not mean that people in Starfall don't come up with theories though. A lord with a bastard baby is too nice a topic.

Baby Jon is so little that he can not survive without a wetnurse. So a wetnurse is with Jon. And the wetnurse is the only woman people see the baby with. No other 'mother' ever appears. No other explanation is ever given. No other female (potential mother) is seen around Jon and Ned (well except Ashara. And she gets suspected too as we know). Ergo it's quite reasonable not all but a lot of people suspect the wetnurse (Wylla) is the mother.

From the Dayne's perspective that's just fine because it closes the question, and nicely deflects suspicion away from Lyanna and Rhaegar. So the story is being kept.

Conclusion: I don't think your theory is impossible. It is well thought out and I liked reading it. However I think everything would also fall into place naturally without that theory.

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Posted (edited)

I think the Daynes wanted the child to have a good upbringing, so they pushed Ashara to pretend the child was hers and Ned, and like we see how Cat felt about Jon, Ashara wanted nothing to do with it. Ashara dies/leaves. During all that time Wylla would have been the surrogate mother. Ned then realizes Jon is his responsibility, he brings him home as his own son because that’s how he must be raised.

The Wylla/Rhaegar argument you speak of could just be a way of saying that this is how Rhaegar was seen by Ashara when Jon was brought to her. The original Wylla was likely her maid or someone close to her. It’s a way to explain how Ashara felt without her being present to tell us.

Edited by NonoNono

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9 hours ago, Amris said:

A simpler scenario explains Wylla too though: all that's needed is RLJ + Daynes are Targaryen loyalists + Ned claims to be Jon's father.

Possibly--but we know for a fact that GRRM likes convoluted scenarios. And Wylla Manderly and Rhaegar Frey have to be there for a reason.

Quote

Ned shows up at Starfall with Lyanna's and Rhaegar's baby. One thing that's very clear both to him and the Daynes is that a cover story is needed for baby Jon because if nothing is said then people will connect the dots - Rhaegar (male) was with Lyanna (female) - Ned goes to Lyanna, finds her dying and brings home a mysterious baby. Way too obvious.

So Ned needs to claim he is the father. So far so logical.

Possible--but that means we have the complication of Lyanna's being elsewhere. Most popular among book readers: she's been holed up in a watch tower in the Prince's Pass. Which is complicated.

Plus, GRRM has shown us outright how to hide a stolen/missing/hiding Stark Maid: with Sansa and Arya, they are hidden in plain sight. Even in castles--seems like GRRM took the time to show that for a reason. If so, would make more sense for Rhaegar and Co. to hide her in plain sight under an alias and/or disguise.

Quote

However now Ned and the Daynes are stuck with Ned as supposed father and his baby Jon being in Starfall but no mother. So naturally people in Starfall ask themselves who the mother is. That's how people are. They talk. They speculate. Especially when the topic is sex. 

Of course as you rightly point out Ned could simply refuse to name any names. And maybe he did.

That does not mean that people in Starfall don't come up with theories though. A lord with a bastard baby is too nice a topic.

Absolutely. But we see how Ned deals with people who talk at Winterfell--quashes the gossip. And still won't talk.

But he does name Wylla to Robert--no other details like location, but he does names her--though never does so to anyone else. And the story has clearly not spread much: no one at Winterfell knows about Wylla; Cersei taunts Ned for taking Ashara's baby from her. Only Starfall has this story--even Robert only has a name.

If Starfall alone told the rumor, why is Ned repeating the name to Robert? For some reason, Ned is going along with the Starfall story. Not at Winterfell, where Jon is--there the story is moot. So, why maintain the story if it's just Starfall gossip? Why not just say nothing--which seems to be Ned's main MO?

Quote

Baby Jon is so little that he can not survive without a wetnurse. So a wetnurse is with Jon. And the wetnurse is the only woman people see the baby with. No other 'mother' ever appears. No other explanation is ever given. No other female (potential mother) is seen around Jon and Ned (well except Ashara. And she gets suspected too as we know). Ergo it's quite reasonable not all but a lot of people suspect the wetnurse (Wylla) is the mother.

Of course--but Wylla stays. And apparently never corrects anyone. Unless she's a mute (which would make the scene with Wylla Manderly rather odd), seems like she has to be going along with it.

So, not just a rumor--it's a story with casting.

Quote

From the Dayne's perspective that's just fine because it closes the question, and nicely deflects suspicion away from Lyanna and Rhaegar. So the story is being kept.

Agreed--but again, it is not needed. They could just say Ned showed up with baby and wet-nurse. Said mother had died. No other info. 

Plus, if this is the case, why did Wylla stay? So much easier if Ned took her back to where she had come from--unless she was as Starfall all along. And thus (like Jeyne) can be a doppelgänger.

Quote

Conclusion: I don't think your theory is impossible. It is well thought out and I liked reading it. However I think everything would also fall into place naturally without that theory.

And if we didn't have GRRM showing us how to hide a Stark maid (in plain sight, no isolated towers), the odd scene with Wylla Manderly, and Ned's repeating part of the Starfall story for no apparent reason (he really could just clam up with Robert), I'd be more inclined to agree.

Just really think GRRM put all of the above in for a reason.

Edited by Sly Wren
Nonsensical sentence structure

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4 hours ago, NonoNono said:

I think the Daynes wanted the child to have a good upbringing, so they pushed Ashara to pretend the child was hers and Ned, and like we see how Cat felt about Jon, Ashara wanted nothing to do with it. Ashara dies/leaves.

Interesting--the Daynes seems more engaged in Stark admiration (we see some of that with Ned Dayne) than clear Targ loyalty. . . or is there something specific you are thinking of that points to this?

And why on earth push Ashara to pretend that? She's a highborn daughter of an ancient, famous house. And drop dead gorgeous. Why on earth ruin her marriage prospects like that?

4 hours ago, NonoNono said:

During all that time Wylla would have been the surrogate mother. Ned then realizes Jon is his responsibility, he brings him home as his own son because that’s how he must be raised.

Possible--though it does leave the question of why Wylla must be going along with the story if it is so well known to the Daynes that the Lord of Starfall is surprised Arya doesn't know it.

And still leaves open why on earth we have that scene with Wylla Manderly and Rhaegar Frey.

4 hours ago, NonoNono said:

The Wylla/Rhaegar argument you speak of could just be a way of saying that this is how Rhaegar was seen by Ashara when Jon was brought to her. The original Wylla was likely her maid or someone close to her. It’s a way to explain how Ashara felt without her being present to tell us.

But Wylla Manderly's main thing is loyalty to an ancient house that is no longer ruling. Loyalty to those that saved them. Loyalty to oaths--and thus refusing to recognize the Boltons and Freys, who are just usurpers. And it eventually turns out her father was just as defiant--and bakes Rhaegar Frey into a pie. 

That doesn't sound like it's pointing to Starfall's Wylla being loyal to Targs. 

And how might all that fit with Ashara's refusing to take care of the baby?

I think I'm missing what you are seeing. Any chance you'd elaborate?

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15 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

Interesting--the Daynes seems more engaged in Stark admiration (we see some of that with Ned Dayne) than clear Targ loyalty. . . or is there something specific you are thinking of that points to this?

And why on earth push Ashara to pretend that? She's a highborn daughter of an ancient, famous house. And drop dead gorgeous. Why on earth ruin her marriage prospects like that?

Possible--though it does leave the question of why Wylla must be going along with the story if it is so well known to the Daynes that the Lord of Starfall is surprised Arya doesn't know it.

And still leaves open why on earth we have that scene with Wylla Manderly and Rhaegar Frey.

But Wylla Manderly's main thing is loyalty to an ancient house that is no longer ruling. Loyalty to those that saved them. Loyalty to oaths--and thus refusing to recognize the Boltons and Freys, who are just usurpers. And it eventually turns out her father was just as defiant--and bakes Rhaegar Frey into a pie. 

That doesn't sound like it's pointing to Starfall's Wylla being loyal to Targs. 

And how might all that fit with Ashara's refusing to take care of the baby?

I think I'm missing what you are seeing. Any chance you'd elaborate?

Some say Ashara fell in love with Ned.

Her brother gave his life defending this child.

Some say Ashara killed herself because of a stillbirth, a stolen child, or grief for her brother's death. I don't know about the stolen child, but what if she was pregnant already of a bastard child? Ned's bastard. She learns of her brother's death, and loses her child as a result of grief, and kills herself. A surrogate mother would have been taking care of Jon during this time, and maybe Ned even thought Ashara could raise the child her brother gave his life protecting, as a brother to her own coming bastard, but when she loses her own child and kills herself he is left with no other option than take him back with him. Ashara might even have thought that after the war Ned would marry her, and he tells her he won't. All that together could have strung everything to her suicide and Ned's hope she would raise Jon.

Edited by NonoNono

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Very complicated and confusing. If I am understanding correctly though, Ned finds Lyanna at Starfall and not at the Tower of Joy. This doesn't explain why Ned and his companions find Hightower, Dayne and Whent at the Tower of Joy. What are they doing back at an empty Tower of Joy?

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2 hours ago, NonoNono said:

Some say Ashara fell in love with Ned.

Her brother gave his life defending this child.

Some say Ashara killed herself because of a stillbirth, a stolen child, or grief for her brother's death. I don't know about the stolen child, but what if she was pregnant already of a bastard child? Ned's bastard. She learns of her brother's death, and loses her child as a result of grief, and kills herself. A surrogate mother would have been taking care of Jon during this time, and maybe Ned even thought Ashara could raise the child her brother gave his life protecting, as a brother to her own coming bastard, but when she loses her own child and kills herself he is left with no other option than take him back with him. Ashara might even have thought that after the war Ned would marry her, and he tells her he won't. All that together could have strung everything to her suicide and Ned's hope she would raise Jon.

1. I'm liking this take on the potential Ashara+Ned romance. I'm not sold on its happening, but I would love it if it did, and the above is interesting.

2. The bolded, though--the Dornish are known for tolerance of bastards. But raising another person's bastard--not sure Jon would have been given a grand situation there. But it might work. 

3. But I must admit my prejudice: I think Ashara survived and that her baby is Dany via Rhaegar, so my ability to go with you on this is hampered.

4. That said--we have the precedent of the Stark Maids and how they are hidden (Arya and Sansa) and we have swapped out babies: Mance's baby for Gilly's. In the swap, the point is to send the baby away. I do think Ashara's baby was sent away. But sending Lyanna's away from the place she was supposed to have died (somewhere in the Red Mountains) seems important. 

5. And all of that still leaves us with the weirdness of Wylla Manderly. 

2 hours ago, NonoNono said:

It supports the idea that Dany is rejected at WF, leaves with Drogon (apparently to Dragonstone), only leaving Rhaegal and her army behind. After they lose WF, Jon would fly to her.

I believe her army is betrayed at WF, maybe not, but imagine if Jon comes back and tells her they lost WF, and her army was betrayed by northmen and possibly Sansa, most of them dead to the NK...

Maybe--though not sure why she'd leave a dragon at Winterfell. . . what are you thinking here that I'm missing?

And I think it very likely that Dany will get distracted fighting with fAegon. 

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1 hour ago, Syl of Syl said:

Very complicated and confusing.

Yes--sorry. I wanted to allow for contingencies. But that made it convoluted--like a lot of GRRM's plots.

1 hour ago, Syl of Syl said:

If I am understanding correctly though, Ned finds Lyanna at Starfall and not at the Tower of Joy.

Yes--this would assume that, like Arya and Sansa, Lyanna hid in plain sight under disguise and alias. And, like Sansa, left the abandoned tower she stayed in for a short time (toj for Lyanna, Drearfort for Sansa) and moved to a comfy, isolated castle (Starfall for Lyanna, Eyrie for Sansa).

1 hour ago, Syl of Syl said:

This doesn't explain why Ned and his companions find Hightower, Dayne and Whent at the Tower of Joy. What are they doing back at an empty Tower of Joy?

Meeting for a parlay that ends up being a fight. The toj would be the meeting place--away from Starfall and what the KG are actually defending. 

Like Stannis and Renly parlay. And Dunk, knowing he can't beat the Widow, asks for a parlay, too. Ending up in a ritualized fight.

Ned's got an army. The KG have each other. They cannot defeat Ned and his army--which leaves them with no way to fulfill their oath. But they may be able to defeat Ned and a small group. 

Like Jon is sent to kill Mance, the KG may have decided to double-cross the Usurper's dog from the start. Or they may have decided to try for it once Ned agreed to a parlay.

The KG start the fight--Arthur dons his helm and draws first. And Ned does not seem like he anticipated a fight--he just taunts them.

And the KG are waiting for them (it seems) in Ned's dream. Really seems likely the whole thing was an arranged meet.

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Interesting. I suppose this is possible. But I still think some of the details are a bit off.

31 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

 The KG start the fight--Arthur dons his helm and draws first. And Ned does not seem like he anticipated a fight--he just taunts them.

 And the KG are waiting for them (it seems) in Ned's dream. Really seems likely the whole thing was an arranged meet.

From the dream you mention:

Quote

 Ned’s wraiths moved up beside him, with shadow swords in hand. They were seven against three.

 “And now it begins,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.

 “No,” Ned said with sadness in his voice. “Now it ends.” As they came together in a rush of steel and shadow, he could hear Lyanna screaming. “Eddard!” she called. A storm of rose petals blew across a blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eyes of death.

Ned's companions seem to have their swords drawn first. So it doesn't seem to me like there was any attempt at a parlay, at least in the dream.

And then at the end, he can hear Lyanna screaming as the fight begins, which is some indication that Lyanna was there in the tower.

I guess he could be remembering incorrectly or conflating two distinct memories, but I don't think the dream supports your theory that the KG trio used trickery to whittle the odds so they could take out Eddard. In addition to the dream, this doesn't fit with the characterization of those three men who were pretty universally respected for their honor.

And logically, why would they even have a desire to kill Eddard? I see standing guard over Lyanna and protecting Rhaegar's unborn child from any who would come there, but anticipating a threat from Lyanna's own brother and then setting up a meeting to waylay him far from Starfall seems overly convoluted. Why not stay at Starfall and have the backing of the entire castle garrison to protect Lyanna and the babe when Eddard arrives? They can certainly hold out against Eddard and his six inside Starfall and plan to take a ship once Lyanna and the babe are able to travel.

I get that GRRM's plots may seem convoluted at times, but they usually adhere to an internal logic. Characters tend to act in a way that is consistent with who they are. What would be the logic that Dayne and Hightower and Whent were following when they set up this parlay? Why would they see that as more likely to succeed in their goal of protecting Lyanna and Rhaegar's unborn child over the simpler more straightforward plan of staying holed up in Starfall? Also, while they travel to the Tower of Joy and wait there for Eddard, how can they be sure he or some other threat doesn't bypass them and arrive in Starfall while they are gone. Isn't it safer to stay close to the one they are charged with protecting?

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sly Wren said:

1. I'm liking this take on the potential Ashara+Ned romance. I'm not sold on its happening, but I would love it if it did, and the above is interesting.

2. The bolded, though--the Dornish are known for tolerance of bastards. But raising another person's bastard--not sure Jon would have been given a grand situation there. But it might work. 

3. But I must admit my prejudice: I think Ashara survived and that her baby is Dany via Rhaegar, so my ability to go with you on this is hampered.

4. That said--we have the precedent of the Stark Maids and how they are hidden (Arya and Sansa) and we have swapped out babies: Mance's baby for Gilly's. In the swap, the point is to send the baby away. I do think Ashara's baby was sent away. But sending Lyanna's away from the place she was supposed to have died (somewhere in the Red Mountains) seems important. 

5. And all of that still leaves us with the weirdness of Wylla Manderly.

Can you delete the quote of my quote? Somehow a show-related post ended up here, I deleted it (the one about Dany and Dragonstone). That must have been confusing lol.

Edited by NonoNono

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Sly Wren said:
  • If Wylla isn’t Jon’s mother, why bother with this lie? Why not just claim she’s Jon’s nurse? Ned refuses to name Jon’s mother at Winterfell—why not refuse to name her at Starfall? It would leave Ned with no trace of Jon’s mother—easy peasy.

Its not a lie, to them. Its what they believe to be the truth (I think). At least, nearly everyone at Starfall, including the children who are too young to be involved in "House Secrets"
Its the same reason for the other rumours. People take the small subset of data they know (or have heard), and fit a theory to it.
There is no evidence that Ned "named Wylla (as Jon's mother) at Starfall".

If Ned merely rode in to Starfall with Wylla nursing Jon, and refused to discuss them, the natural assumption is that Wylla is Jon's mother, Ned's 'bit on the side'.
If thats the 'gossip', and its not directed to Wylla's face, she doesn't even necessarily get the opportunity to deny it - if she felt she had to. Heck, as long as she's not promulgating it it probably adds to her status in a way, so why even refute it.

23 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

5. Why does Starfall have a story about Jon’s mother? Because Starfall has something to hide.

This is simply bad logic. 
Do the Sistermen need to lie? Does Cersei need to lie (about this)? Do the Winterfell staff/Catelyn need to lie? They all have stories, more or less.

Starfall has a story because its interesting and they know some facts. So they have a story that fits their facts.

But even then, its not so much that they have a "story", its that Edric Dayne "knows" something. Its not necessarily a promulgated story that is official at Starfall. For all we know it is just a random fact that he "knows" because he's heard it from somewhere and never doubted it.
Where would he hear it? Well, his other attributed source is his Aunt Allyria. Its likely she's the source for this too. Its possible Wylla is the source, but its not necessary, not indicated, and not likely when you assess the context. What do we know about Allyria Dayne? She's bee betrothed for 6 years or so to Lord Berric Dondarion, but not yet married - indicating she's likely far too young to have been around as a participant during those long ago times. In other words, she's a child born well after the things she tells Edric about. Its just gossip from a child, that doesn't actually make sense (I can't see Ned Stark being in love with Ashara and banging Wylla on the side, not after we've been inside his head and heard his character and past assessment of it by Robert) and is likely repeated from other gossip around the castle.

Its possible Edric has talked to Wylla directly about Jon. But I can very easily see him asking her if Jon was his milk brother, and her confirming that. Thats of interest to a small boy. Why he would ask her if she was Jon Snow's mother, makes no sense at all. What would a small boy care about who the mother is of some other small boy he's never met who's not related and a bastard to boot?

Quote

 

  • NOTE: this story is not told at Winterfell where Jon actually is. It’s not needed at Winterfell—Ned just won’t talk. And Ned doesn’t tell Robert where “Wylla” is.
    • This story, complete with casting, is only known to be told at Starfall—which means: Starfall needs the story for some reason: unlike Ned, the Daynes don’t/can’t keep silent or claim ignorance.
    • If Wylla was with Lyanna when she died and Ned brought baby and Wylla to Starfall, all Ned has to do is claim the baby’s mother died and that Wylla is the wetnurse. Then Ned could just refuse to name the mother—as he does at Winterfell. And Wylla could just keep up that lie.

Starfall does not need the story, any more than Cersei, the Sistermen or Winterfell staff need a story.

But you did nail it here, IMO. Ned arrived at Starfall with Wylla and Jon, and didn't name a mother. Wylla has not, as far as we know, put herself forward as Jon's mother. And so Edric has a gossip-story that he has never questioned, but he's not heard it from Wylla's lips (that she was Jon's mother).

Quote
    • There is no need for Ned to claim Wylla as Jon’s mother at Starfall—unless Starfall needs the lie.

There is no indication that Ned did claim Wylla as Jon's mother at Starfall.

Quote
  • Unlike the nameless “fisherman’s daughter” tale, Ned names Wylla. The Lord of Starfall has known her since birth—something’s up.

Ned has told Robert Wylla's name, yes.
In the conversation we saw between Ned and Robert, Robert brought the subject up, and Robert told us (made assumptions about) everything. the only things we get from Ned there, are that the name of the woman Robert thinks is Jon's mother is Wylla, and that Ned told Robert that name once before (though Robert never met him.
We also know from this conversation and others, that Ned is strongly and angrily opposed to any discussions about Jon's origins, and halts them whenever he can with no information from him.

The only way I can see that we can maintain consistency between all the various stories and the attitude, actions, character and words of Ned Stark, is that when Ned and Robert met to reconcile after Lyanna's death, Robert the King had already had a report about Ned riding in to Starfall with Jon being nursed by Wylla. So Robert brought up the subject (Ned wouldn't) and Robert had already made the same assumption that Starfall did about Wylla being the mum, and just as we saw in the second conversation he made statements that Ned did not answer. He did ask the wetnurse's name, and Ned accurately gave him the name Wylla.

So, just as in the conversation we saw, Ned has never actually claimed Wylla is Jon's mum. But he has lived the lie, even if he didn't tell it, by allowing Robert to believe it.

This way Ned maintains consistency of character, action and word, and all the various stories, which are all slightly different, fit teh limited facts 'known' by those telling them.

Quote

10. Why make this so complicated? GRRM likes complicated plots—and tying up loose ends.

 

I believe GRRM likes relatively simple plots that are obscured and seem complicated by the realism of people only knowing bits of a story and filling in other bits themselves to suit.

Quote

11. Bottom Line: "Keep Reading."

  • GRRM sometimes evades questions by telling us to “keep reading.”
  • That’s not just an evasion: GRRM has been giving us info about the past all the way through the books. He puts in names, scenes, and scenarios for a reason. 
  • With Wylla, Stark maid disguises, and effective doppelgangers, GRRM has given us some potential clues as to what happened with Lyanna, Wylla, and Starfall.
  • It potentially shows why the Daynes would lie about Jon’s mother in the first place.
  • And why on earth we have Wylla Manderly mouthing off to Rhaegar Frey. “Keep reading,” indeed.

THE END

 

On this I absolutely agree.

16 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

I could go with this--if it weren't for a few things:

1. Ned didn't need to lie about Wylla's being Jon's mother. He could have just told the "truth"--"The baby's mother died. It's none of your business who she was. This woman (Wylla) is the wet-nurse." We know when Ned doesn't want to talk, he just doesn't. We see that at Winterfell. So. . . why not the same at Starfall?

I think this is exactly what he did (well almost exactly - I don't think he even say the baby's mother died!) 
You can't point to anything that indicates otherwise either.

Quote

2. If Wylla came with Ned to Starfall, why on earth leave her there? He's trying to hide Jon's identity (I think). Why not take her back to wherever she came from, leaving no "record" at Starfall?

Who said he left her there? I believe its likely she traveled on to Winterfell with him (why would he change wetnurses?) and after Jon was weaned Ned returned her to Starfall. Winterfell would not be a welcoming place for a southron unpopular with Catelyn, would it?

I think Starfall owes Ned enough for the return of Dawn that they'd hold a place for her in their household forever if he asked it.

Quote

It would leave Ned with no trace of Jon's mother. With Wylla at Starfall, there's a trace. A "record." If Ned's trying to hide Jon, why leave that trace unless he has to--because Jon was born at Starfall and Starfall has a memory of "Wylla" giving birth there.

I think the answer to this is that Ned could eliminate that trace only by killing Wylla, a faithful servant. And he couldn't do that and be Ned.
I think Ned has no problem with Wylla telling the truth of her relationship with Jon - his wetnurse only. The secret Wylla protects, if any, is that of the ToJ. I also doubt he'd have a problem with her saying she was Jon's mum.
But either way, its kill her, or let her live. And she's as safe in Starfall as in Winterfell, arguably safer (no Jon around to remind people of the connection).

Quote

3. Finally: Why on earth include that scene with Wylla Manderly and Rhaegar Frey? That's gotta be deliberate. Martin is telling us something--not sure my take on it is right. But we are being shown a fierce, anti-Rhaegar Wylla for some reason.

I don't believe in the parallels that you see in these having any more meaning than names being relatively common and repeated often. Wylla Manderley and Rhaegar Frey are in their own story for other reasons, nothing to do with Wylla-the-wetnurse and Rhaegar Targaryen.

I state this not to denigrate this aspect - each to their own - but to indicate why I don't answer these things (because they are not relevant or real for me).

4 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

But he does name Wylla to Robert--no other details like location, but he does names her--though never does so to anyone else. And the story has clearly not spread much: no one at Winterfell knows about Wylla; Cersei taunts Ned for taking Ashara's baby from her. Only Starfall has this story--even Robert only has a name.

Yep. And everything more than the name, Robert supplied, not Ned.

Quote

If Starfall alone told the rumor, why is Ned repeating the name to Robert? For some reason, Ned is going along with the Starfall story. Not at Winterfell, where Jon is--there the story is moot. So, why maintain the story if it's just Starfall gossip? Why not just say nothing--which seems to be Ned's main MO?

No, Ned is not going along with the Starfall story. The Starfall story is that Ned and Ashara were in love and Ned banged Wylla on the side. Robert's story is that Wylla was the amazing woman who made Ned Stark ignore his precious honour one time. Ned doesn't even 'go along' with Robert's story, really, he just doesn't fight it - he ignores it in fact. He accurately supplies the name of the woman Robert is thinking of, no more, no less.

Quote

Of course--but Wylla stays. And apparently never corrects anyone. Unless she's a mute (which would make the scene with Wylla Manderly rather odd), seems like she has to be going along with it.

There is no reason she has to be 'going along with it' (though its possible she has, certainly).

There is no indication in fact that its even been put in front of her!

If it has, and she has not refuted it, I suspect she does much as Ned does (perhaps less extreme though!) and simply lets people believe what they will. It would give her a certain status at Starfall after all.

4 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

And why on earth push Ashara to pretend that? She's a highborn daughter of an ancient, famous house. And drop dead gorgeous. Why on earth ruin her marriage prospects like that?

We don't know anyone ever pushed Ashara to pretend anything.

But we do know her marriage prospects were already somewhat dented. According to Barristan she'd been sent from court, and had an illegitimate baby. Stuff happened at Harrenhal, she looked to a Stark, things turned out badly for her. That certaily dented her marriageability.

Quote

Possible--though it does leave the question of why Wylla must be going along with the story if it is so well known to the Daynes that the Lord of Starfall is surprised Arya doesn't know it.

Well, all we know is that Edric Dayne, the boy who has been with Beric Dondarrion since he was 6, believes implicitly that Wylla is Jon's mum (but that Ned was in love with Ashara). We don't know who else at Starfall believes this, though obviously some people at least do (and certainly Allyria was Edric's source for some, if not all of it). We don't know if Edric has any evidence for this, or has just been told it once and never questioned it. 

 

Edited by corbon

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30 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

Interesting. I suppose this is possible. But I still think some of the details are a bit off.

From the dream you mention:

Ned's companions seem to have their swords drawn first. So it doesn't seem to me like there was any attempt at a parlay, at least in the dream.

And then at the end, he can hear Lyanna screaming as the fight begins, which is some indication that Lyanna was there in the tower.

I'd be very careful of the scream. Its clearly Vayon Poole calling Ned to wake up, bleeding into the dream.

I do think that the fact Ned's mind connects the scream as Lyanna's, is an indication that his mind believes her to be at this tower. I'm just not sure the scream actually happened as they came together.

30 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

I guess he could be remembering incorrectly or conflating two distinct memories, but I don't think the dream supports your theory that the KG trio used trickery to whittle the odds so they could take out Eddard.

I agree, not even a little bit.

30 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

In addition to the dream, this doesn't fit with the characterization of those three men who were pretty universally respected for their honor.

Indeed.

30 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

And logically, why would they even have a desire to kill Eddard? I see standing guard over Lyanna and protecting Rhaegar's unborn child from any who would come there, but anticipating a threat from Lyanna's own brother and then setting up a meeting to waylay him far from Starfall seems overly convoluted. Why not stay at Starfall and have the backing of the entire castle garrison to protect Lyanna and the babe when Eddard arrives? They can certainly hold out against Eddard and his six inside Starfall and plan to take a ship once Lyanna and the babe are able to travel.

They can't hold out forever at Starfall, and there will be a major cost to Starfall if they hold there openly even a little.
Hiding out at an isolated outpost is the only possible solution. Unless they get found. They got found.

30 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

I get that GRRM's plots may seem convoluted at times, but they usually adhere to an internal logic. Characters tend to act in a way that is consistent with who they are.

Exactly.

30 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

What would be the logic that Dayne and Hightower and Whent were following when they set up this parlay? Why would they see that as more likely to succeed in their goal of protecting Lyanna and Rhaegar's unborn child over the simpler more straightforward plan of staying holed up in Starfall? Also, while they travel to the Tower of Joy and wait there for Eddard, how can they be sure he or some other threat doesn't bypass them and arrive in Starfall while they are gone. Isn't it safer to stay close to the one they are charged with protecting?

You are entirely correct. The only theory that actually works, at least that I've seen so far, is that Lyanna was at the tower and they were protecting her and her newly born babe.

Coincidentally, its the one that fits the evidence as well!

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1 hour ago, corbon said:

The only theory that actually works, at least that I've seen so far, is that Lyanna was at the tower and they were protecting her and her newly born babe.

Quote

There is another.

-- Yoda

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Posted (edited)

GRRM often uses conflicting rumors to reveal a hidden truth to which they all contribute.

Ashara is said to have killed herself because of a still birth, a stolen child, grief for her dead brother.

If she was pregnant from Ned's child, Ned arrives with Jon and news that her brother is dead. She has a miscarriage due to grief and/or Ned telling her he's marrying Cate. Now I could be wrong, but I do think Ashara, if pregnant from Ned, could have thought Ned would marry her, but his brother's death changed everything. She is going to give birth to a bastard, Ned won't marry her, her brother is dead, she miscarries. During all this time a local wetnurse named Wylla is taking care of Jon. Ned leaves with Jon. Ashara kills herself. Some think Ned stole Ashara's child and she killed herself, but it's actually a little bit of all the rumors.

Not sure of the timing of when Ashara could have become pregnant from Ned and Ned arriving at Starfall, and him telling her he is marrying Catelyn.

Edited by NonoNono

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