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The Tower of Joy

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21 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

I disagree. It’s exactly sending a [rather nasty] message to Dorne.

Actually, there is a difference there. The quote does not imply that Aerys II actually tried to blackmail the Prince of Dorne, he merely put his Kingsguard in place using this threat as a way to ensure that Lewyn did as he was told. The Dornish spears were already on their way. Aerys II didn't blackmail Doran into raising and sending them up.

1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

I agree that the App is just a concordance. It is supposed to be a resource with facts drawn from the books. Anything not found in the books should be edited out with updates, IMO. I also agree that GRRM never intended to reveal nor confirm specific theories in the App. Even if Elio and Linda do have access to additional information that is not published yet - how are we to confirm for ourselves how these words were taken into context if we don't also have access?

By now we seem to have pretty much all of the material that went into the App. Any weird stuff in there that's not confirmed in any of the publications is likely either a mistake already or will be confirmed as one such in the future.

1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

Where is it said that Dayne and Whent were with Rhaegar? This is another statement that I have been unable to locate in the text. The only thing I've noted are omissions. Their absence is never explained.

It is inferred from the fact that Rhaegar went on the journey that eventually led to Lyanna's abduction in the Riverlands with six companions. Dayne was Rhaegar's best friend and Whent had helped him conspired against his royal father with the tourney of Harrenhal thing. That's why people usually assume Whent and Dayne were among the men who were with Rhaegar when he took Lyanna. But this has not yet been explicitly confirmed.

It is pretty significant to find out who those men were and how long they were with Rhaegar because if Myles Mooton and Jon Connington and Richard Lonmouth were among them then Aerys II, his court, and all of Westeros actually have three good sources for the entire - or at least parts of - the Lyanna affair. Connington eventually served Aerys II as Hand, after all.

1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

I agree. The timing between the Battle of the Bells and the Battle at the Trident seem very close together. Rhaegar seems to have arrived back to Kings Landing sometime during or shortly after the Battle of the Bells. It's only said he returned from the south, but since the Dornishmen are already marching up the Kingsroad, it seems likely they were following him. Rhaegar was able to travel faster than the army, so he arrived first, encouraged his father to summon Tywin, rounded up some men without waiting on the Dornishmen, and then left for the Trident. Seems odd to me that he couldn't have waited for 10,000 men. That is probably why Aerys made that threat. He may have thought the 10,000 Dornish were meant for him.

Actually, we know there were months between the Battle of the Bells and the Trident. Rhaegar had to train new recruits after his return to KL before he could march against the rebels. But one assumes that the Dornishmen did only arrive shortly before the army marched to the Trident, especially since one assumes that Rhaegar may not have bothered training new recruits but would have taken the Dornishmen and the remnants from Connington's army to challenge Robert then and there.

The idea that Lewyn and his 10,000 men actually sat at KL for weeks or months while the king was keeping Elia and the children hostage is not very convincing. Things should have exploded in such a scenario - after all, Aerys II may have controlled Elia and the children, but with 10,000 men Lewyn could sack KL itself...

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Well, let's us make a thought experiment for a moment. Let's pretend that the three Kingsguard at the tower actually did see and crown Lyanna's son their king.

What would that mean if it were true?

1. It would mean that those men were in direct opposition to the decree and will of their king, Aerys II Targaryen, a guy the dream images of those guys actually still seem to hold in considerable esteem. It would be factually wrong to seem them as 'loyal' to Aerys II because Aerys II did not want Lyanna's child to succeed him on the Iron Throne or wear a crown.

Ever since it was revealed that Aerys II's chosen heir was Viserys III people have been trying to get rid of that information because it really destroys this entire theory. And it is pretty fun how people pretend that the Kingsguard at the tower must have had good information on Rhaegar, Aerys II, and the children but not on the fact that Aerys II had named his own son his new heir and successor while Aegon and Rhaenys were still alive.

2. If the Kingsguard at the tower proclaimed/crowned a new king then they would have betrayed not only the memory of their late king, but also their new king, Viserys III, and the Queen Dowager Rhaella Targaryen who crowned Viserys king with her own crown. Regardless when exactly the child was born, we can be reasonably certain that Rhaella on Dragonstone learned the news about her brother-husband's death much sooner than three guys in the middle of nowhere. Not only the fact that there is a rookery on Dragonstone makes that likely, but also the mere fact that Dragonstone is much closer to KL than a tower in the Red Mountains.

3. If the Kingsguard had presumed to proclaim/crown a new king without consulting with any member of the royal family they would show that they had been starting to play the game of thrones for its own sake rather than stick to their duty and protect some kings. It is quite clear that the Kingsguard cannot sink lower than actually actively entering the political arena. They would basically have become three worse versions of Ser Criston Cole.

Even Tyrion is smart enough to realize that crowning Myrcella is to kill her. If those three Kingsguard gave a damn about the life of Lyanna's son proclaiming or crowning him king would be the last thing they would do.

4. If the child at the tower was 'a king' then this king would have some sort of rudimentary administration deciding things on his behalf. Usually the mother of a minor king as a very strong claim to act as his regent considering that she would be the one who undoubtedly has his best interests at heart. If Lyanna had been acting as regent for her 'kingly son' then we would have to believe that Hightower, Dayne, and Whent actually attacked and tried to kill Ned and his companions not only on behalf of their 'infant king' but also under orders or with the approval of Lyanna Stark.

This is something I (and I think anyone who has given the matter much thought) simply cannot see. It would have fallen to Lyanna to decide who was a danger to her son, 'the king', not those Kingsguard, and it would have also fallen to her to decide what to do with such men she considered to be enemies. Yet the dream shows not even a trace of all that.

In fact, even a scenario where Lyanna's child is merely a prince and Lyanna as his mother his legal guardian faces huge problems at this point: If Rhaegar or Aerys II assigned the three Kingsguard to Lyanna as protectors then they would have been beholden to obey her commands, as any sworn shield is. In that sense - the mere fact that Ned and his companions had to fight those Kingsguard rather than Lyanna being able to stop that from happening strongly implies that they were not assigned to her as protectors but rather as gaolers.

When they were keeping brother away from sister they were not acting on their own authority but still following whatever instructions they had received from Aerys II and/or Rhaegar.

5. If Ser Gerold Hightower had presumed that he could himself act as 'regent' to 'the king' he had made, deciding by fiat that Lyanna Stark's assessment of her brother or her wishes and desires were irrelevant, then he would most likely be numbered among the worst Kingsguard ever. Lyanna Stark (and thus her son, too) had lost a (grand)father and an uncle/brother already thanks to the machinations of the Targaryens. It is the pinnacle of cynicism to pretend that these guys were 'protecting' Lyanna and/or her child from danger by killing Ned.

6. If those men did make their own 'king', why didn't they announce to the Realm/Targaryen loyalist that there was a new dragon king in the world? Why did they not call on the help of the loyalists in Dorne or the Reach to help defend this 'king'? What did they intend to do with their 'king', how to deal with the other, the rightful Targaryen king, Viserys III, on Dragonstone? Would they pit nephew against uncle against usurping cousin? If so, what kind of madness would have driven them to do such a thing?

If you are still stupid enough to be a Targaryen loyalist in 283 AC the worst thing you could do is proclaim and crown another Targaryen pretender. That's going to split the anti-Baratheon bloc in two. Are we to believe those guys were actually secretly fans of Robert?

How stupid would they have to be to think that anyone in Westeros would actually consider a newborn infant 'a king' worthy enough to rally around and support? No infant ever inherited the Iron Throne, not in peaceful times and most definitely not during war. Even children and boys usually struggle to actually get the throne and are passed over if their claim is not rock solid.

If they wanted to hide 'the king' and go into exile with him then actually making him a king would be nonsense. You proclaim a king when you actually want to win a throne or a crown, not when you slid away into exile and obscurity with your tail between your legs.

That in and of itself makes it nearly impossible that those men even thought about proclaiming a king. And we actually have good evidence for that in Prince Aegon of the books. Nobody proclaimed or crowned him king despite the fact that he is the rightful Targaryen heir and actually intends to take the Iron Throne of Westeros.

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23 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Any weird stuff in there that's not confirmed in any of the publications is likely either a mistake already or will be confirmed as one such in the future. 

I'll say.  Some of the material that has seen the most discussion will be shown as fundamentally incorrect.

24 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It is inferred from the fact that Rhaegar went on the journey that eventually led to Lyanna's abduction in the Riverlands with six companions.

Thing is, this isn't really a fact.  It doesn't come from canon, and remains to be confirmed in its own right.  I have my doubts.

For instance, the World book's tale is that Rhaegar... having looked out his window at the very worst winter of his lifetime... said to himself "I feel like a long road trip," and immediately embarked on one.  And so, as

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the Blackwater was hard frozen, and icicles draped the roofs and gutters of every tower in the city

...Rhaegar and his six companions were out trotting around Westeros.  Uh huh.

Then there's the curious matter of how, if the World book's chronology is accurate,  Elia was either very pregnant at Harrenhal -- a thing never noted in canon -- or else she had given birth to Aegon immediately before it, and then somehow went to Harrenhal even though

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Prince Aegon's birth had almost been the death of her

So I suspect we'll learn in time that Yandel took some liberties with reality.

37 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Things should have exploded in such a scenario - after all, Aerys II may have controlled Elia and the children, but with 10,000 men Lewyn could sack KL itself...

I suppose it depends on whether such a sack would, in Lewyn's outlook, justify Elia, Aegon, and Rhaenys all almost certainly being murdered by Aerys in retaliation as it began... and also whether Lewyn would have been comfortable obliterating his oath to Aerys.   I honestly don't know how he would have felt on these points.

Tywin evidently had no problem with the possibility of Aerys murdering Jaime, which is why he authorized the Sack we actually got in canon. But I've always seen that as somewhat out of character for Tywin.

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30 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It is inferred from the fact that Rhaegar went on the journey that eventually led to Lyanna's abduction in the Riverlands with six companions. Dayne was Rhaegar's best friend and Whent had helped him conspired against his royal father with the tourney of Harrenhal thing. That's why people usually assume Whent and Dayne were among the men who were with Rhaegar when he took Lyanna. But this has not yet been explicitly confirmed.

It is pretty significant to find out who those men were and how long they were with Rhaegar because if Myles Mooton and Jon Connington and Richard Lonmouth were among them then Aerys II, his court, and all of Westeros actually have three good sources for the entire - or at least parts of - the Lyanna affair. Connington eventually served Aerys II as Hand, after all.

The World Book calls these six men 'Rhaegar's closest friends and confidants:

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

This is Maester Yandel's account for Robert whose position is that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna. He wants the historical record to assert this as fact, but I think it's telling that the account doesn't name the six, so they could be anyone. How are we to identify who Rhaegar's closest friends were? Barristan Selmy as Arstan in ADWD Daenerys I names four:

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"I make no such claim, ser. Myles Mooton was Prince Rhaegar's squire, and Richard Lonmouth after him. When they won their spurs, he knighted them himself, and they remained his close companions. Young Lord Connington was dear to the prince as well, but his oldest friend was Arthur Dayne."

It seems contradictory to assume that Jon Connington was one of the six though, because when Merryweather failed as Hand and Rhaegar couldn't be found - presumably replace him - JonCon seemed to be easily located and named Hand. Missing from this list of close companions are Hightower and Whent. Why should Hightower in particular be among the six when he was noted by Jaime to be particularly loyal to King Aerys? I do acknowledge that a slim argument might be made for Whent if his family was behind a plot to raise Rhaegar up by hosting the tourney at Harrenhal.

43 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Actually, we know there were months between the Battle of the Bells and the Trident. Rhaegar had to train new recruits after his return to KL before he could march against the rebels. But one assumes that the Dornishmen did only arrive shortly before the army marched to the Trident, especially since one assumes that Rhaegar may not have bothered training new recruits but would have taken the Dornishmen and the remnants from Connington's army to challenge Robert then and there.

I find it hard to believe that Rhaegar took 'months' to train men. How long do you think it would take to march from Dorne to Kings Landing? Because however long it does take, Rhaegar left before they arrived.

44 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea that Lewyn and his 10,000 men actually sat at KL for weeks or months while the king was keeping Elia and the children hostage is not very convincing. Things should have exploded in such a scenario - after all, Aerys II may have controlled Elia and the children, but with 10,000 men Lewyn could sack KL itself...

Exactly my point. 10,000 men would have been enough to Sack Kings Landing, and I suspect that this was the reason why Aerys felt the need to 'remind' Lewyn. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Ever since it was revealed that Aerys II's chosen heir was Viserys III people have been trying to get rid of that information because it really destroys this entire theory. And it is pretty fun how people pretend that the Kingsguard at the tower must have had good information on Rhaegar, Aerys II, and the children but not on the fact that Aerys II had named his own son his new heir and successor while Aegon and Rhaenys were still alive.

Couldn't agree more.

9 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That in and of itself makes it nearly impossible that those men even thought about proclaiming a king.

Assuming you still mean a baby Jon, hypothetically at the TOJ, I completely agree with this too.  (I can certainly picture them proclaiming Viserys III the king, though.)

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6 minutes ago, JNR said:

Thing is, this isn't really a fact.  It doesn't come from canon, and remains to be confirmed in its own right.  I have my doubts.

TWoIaF is canon. The App isn't. TWoIaF is, in a sense, even better canon than the main series, considering it is a book that exist in Westeros itself, whereas the main series does not exist there ;-).

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For instance, the World book's tale is that Rhaegar... having looked out his window at the very worst winter of his lifetime... said to himself "I feel like a long road trip," and immediately embarked on one.  And so, as

...Rhaegar and his six companions were out trotting around Westeros.  Uh huh.

You don't have to understand it to accept that it is true. I don't understand Victarion's POV half the time, either, yet I don't declare that he is too dumb to be real. There is no need to doubt the fact that Rhaegar went on some journey and took half a dozen companions with him. People can travel in snow in this world.

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Then there's the curious matter of how, if the World book's chronology is accurate,  Elia was either very pregnant at Harrenhal -- a thing never noted in canon -- or else she had given birth to Aegon immediately before it, and then somehow went to Harrenhal even though

So I suspect we'll learn in time that Yandel took some liberties with reality.

No, the chronology works pretty fine here. We know Elia had to recover half a year from Rhaenys' birth, allowing us to pinpoint the concept of Aegon's conception pretty precisely. There is a pretty big window for the Harrenhal tourney itself, though, and chances are that it took place while Elia was in the early phases of her pregnancy - say, 2-3 month, or so. At that phase even a woman as delicate as she could travel - and she may have wanted to be a Harrenhal to help Rhaegar with his covert Great Council plans, etc.

Chances that Harrenhal took place after Aegon's birth are zero. The context makes it perfectly clear that Aegon was born after Harrenhal and shortly before Rhaegar left Dragonstone.

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I suppose it depends on whether such a sack would, in Lewyn's outlook, justify Elia, Aegon, and Rhaenys all almost certainly being murdered by Aerys in retaliation as it began... and also whether Lewyn would have been comfortable obliterating his oath to Aerys.   I honestly don't know how he would have felt on these points.

I honestly don't think that Lewyn was considering treason. But Aerys II is the called the Mad King for a reason. But I do believe that Lewyn had made it clear to his king that neither he or the Dornishmen Doran was sending wanted to fight for/under Rhaegar. And I think here Aerys chose to be a dick enforce obedience his way.

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Tywin evidently had no problem with the possibility of Aerys murdering Jaime, which is why he authorized the Sack we actually got in canon. But I've always seen that as somewhat out of character for Tywin.

Oh, no, just look how Tywin writes off Jaime as dead a second time at the end of AGoT when he is in Stark captivity and they learn that Joff has just executed Ned. Tywin makes no attempt to save his son because he thinks he is already dead - because he knows that were he in Robb's position he would immediately cut off Jaime's head. Back during the Sack Tywin likely hoped his son would do something along the lines he actually did - prove that he was a true Lannister and help his dear father with his backstabbing. Which Jaime did.

12 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

How are we to identify who Rhaegar's closest friends were?

TWoIaF and ADwD gave us Whent as a close confidant, too, with his role in the Harrenhal thing. The fact that Rhaegar used Oswell as a go-between to establish contact with Lord Walter implies that he very much trusted the guy. Chances are also pretty high that Dayne and Whent were both KG assigned to Rhaegar and his family, enabling them to accompany Rhaegar on his travels.

Hightower is not among those friends. TWoIaF also adds Lewyn Martell to the close companions since he is named as a member of Rhaegar's party at court, but one assumes this ended with Lyanna's coronation at Harrenhal. But people have put forth the idea that Lewyn was one of the six companions, too.

12 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

It seems contradictory to assume that Jon Connington was one of the six though, because when Merryweather failed as Hand and Rhaegar couldn't be found - presumably replace him - JonCon seemed to be easily located and named Hand.

Both Mooton and Connington must have left Rhaegar and returned to court at one point during the journey. As you point out, Connington became Hand (and Aerys II didn't search for him as far as we know) and Myles Mooton fought and died at Stoney Sept. Richard Lonmouth is the only potential companion who may have remained with Rhaegar until he was found by Hightower - and he could have then returned to court with Rhaegar, knowing everything Rhaegar knew about the Lyanna thing.

The scenario I first put forth sometime after TWoIaF came out - operating under the assumption that Connington, Mooton, and Lonmouth were among Rhaegar's companions - is that Lyanna and Rhaegar went to Maidenpool after the abduction, marrying there, in the town and pool of Florian and Jonquil. From there Rhaegar sent Mooton and Connington to court to try to calm the waters there, since it seems a given to me that Aerys II must have originally interpreted the abduction (and possibly a subsequent public marriage of Rhaegar and Lyanna) as the starting point of this Rhaegar-Stark conspiracy he believed in. Rhaegar and Lyanna were then forced to flee, likely by ship, to eventually turn up in the south (they could have re-entered Westeros via Starfall) whereas Brandon and Rickard were executed in KL not because Brandon threatened Rhaegar but because Aerys II believed they were co-conspirators of Rhaegar's and so stubborn that they refused to even confess the truth.

But one could also imagine other scenarios.

12 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Missing from this list of close companions are Hightower and Whent. Why should Hightower in particular be among the six when he was noted by Jaime to be particularly loyal to King Aerys? I do acknowledge that a slim argument might be made for Whent if his family was behind a plot to raise Rhaegar up by hosting the tourney at Harrenhal.

Hightower wouldn't be one of the companions. He could have only started to loath serving alongside Aerys II, jumping on the chance to do some other honorable KG task.

12 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I find it hard to believe that Rhaegar took 'months' to train men. How long do you think it would take to march from Dorne to Kings Landing? Because however long it does take, Rhaegar left before they arrived.

That is how George set up the time line. There are some uncertainties there but you have to keep in mind that those short paragraphs detailing a number of events condense them. They do not necessarily tell us how much time passed or how long it took. I'd imagine that Doran Martell only raised those 10,000 Dornishmen after the Battle of the Bells. Prior to that he may have raised a smaller army to ensure the war does not spread from the Stormlands into Dorne, but Robert only grew into a real threat after Stoney Sept. 

12 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Exactly my point. 10,000 men would have been enough to Sack Kings Landing, and I suspect that this was the reason why Aerys felt the need to 'remind' Lewyn. 

Yeah, it was him being paranoid. And as I said, I don't think Lewyn would have betrayed him, but I do think Aerys II had sufficient reason to mistrust the Dornishmen not just because of his irrational bias against them but also simply because he knew they were very pissed because of what Rhaegar did.

29 minutes ago, JNR said:

Assuming you still mean a baby Jon, hypothetically at the TOJ, I completely agree with this too.  (I can certainly picture them proclaiming Viserys III the king, though.)

Viserys III was proclaimed king - but not by them, by his mother Rhaella and her attendants on Dragonstone. If they had been with Viserys III when that happened they would have stood witness to the event, but it does not fall to the Kingsguard to proclaim a crown a king.

And it is really a funny thing, too, how people insist that one of those KG should have gone to Viserys III - who was infinitely better protected on Dragonstone by the garrison and the Targaryen fleet as Lyanna's son could ever hope to be protected in his little tower - but never seem to think that if they had proclaimed a king they should have called on his 'leal subjects' to come to his 'residence' and help defend him against the rebels fighting in the name of Robert the Usurper and, presumably, Viserys the Pretender.

If I proclaimed a king I sure as hell would not delude myself into believing that three guys can defend him against all his enemies.

Not to mention, you know, that kings can actually name knights to their Kingsguard. Viserys III could actually have had his own KG on Dragonstone. We know that kings name new KG left and right without ever consulting the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard (e.g. during Jaime's absence in ACoK and ASoS).

In fact, I've seen people suggesting that Aerys II may have given Willem Darry a white cloak when he entrusted Rhaella and Viserys to his protection - he could have done that, considering that Lewyn and Darry died at the Trident.

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Posted (edited)

Aerys naming Viserys his new heir after the Trident fits perfectly with Aerys believing Ser Lewyn, and presumably the Dornishmen, somehow betrayed Rhaegar on the Trident. That last part comes from Jaime in his fourth Storm chapter. The point is that with Rhaegar dying the half-Dornish baby Aegon is the presumptive heir to the Iron Throne. In fact, if you believe Lewyn and the Dornishmen betrayed Rhaegar, this is one good way to make sense of it.

That probably seems paranoid to most of us. To a paranoid person, I think it would seem like motive. To a really paranoid person like Aerys II Targaryen, it might even seem like proof, or so near it that the difference would be indistinguishable. If the Mad King believed that the Martells were actively engaged in a plot to steal the Iron Throne via baby Aegon and/or his sister Rhaenys, then one way of attempting to thwart that plot would be to name a different heir. One who was not half Martell. At the time, Viserys was the only option. (Even assuming he knew about Lyanna, her child was unborn and of uncertain sex.)

Edited by J. Stargaryen

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1 minute ago, J. Stargaryen said:

Aerys naming Viserys his new heir after the Trident fits perfectly with Aerys believing Ser Lewyn, and presumably the Dornish, somehow betrayed Rhaegar on the Trident. That last part comes from Jaime in his fourth Storm chapter. The point is that with Rhaegar dying the half-Dornish baby Aegon is the presumptive heir to the Iron Throne. In fact, if you believe Lewyn and the Dornishmen betrayed Rhaegar, this is one good way to make sense of it.

That probably seems paranoid to most of us. To a paranoid person, I think it would seem like motive. To a really paranoid person like Aerys II Targaryen, it might even seem like proof, or so near it that the difference was indistinguishable. If the Mad King believed that the Martells were actively engaged in a plot to steal the Iron Throne via baby Aegon and/or his sister Rhaenys, then one way of attempting to thwart that plot would be to name a different heir.

That is likely a good chunk of his motivation, but the mere fact that Viserys was Aerys II own son, his flesh and blood, as beloved, or perhaps even more beloved, than Rhaegar. Jaehaerys I shows us how son can be dearer to the heart of a father than grandsons or great-grandsons. When his first son dies, his second son becomes his heir, and when the second son dies he wants to make the third son his heir - which doesn't happen because the third son rejects the offer. Only then does Jaehaerys I turn to the second generation.

Not to mention that Aegon and Rhaenys were both scarcely older than infants whereas Viserys was at least a seven-year-old boy in 283 AC. Naming a toddler your heir would be nonsense in the middle of a war.

If you name an heir in the middle of a war it is perfectly rational to ignore normal customs and settle on a solution that actually stabilizes and supports the cause of your house (e.g. Robb disinheriting Sansa in his will). 

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2 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That is likely a good chunk of his motivation, but the mere fact that Viserys was Aerys II own son, his flesh and blood, as beloved, or perhaps even more beloved, than Rhaegar. Jaehaerys I shows us how son can be dearer to the heart of a father than grandsons or great-grandsons. When his first son dies, his second son becomes his heir, and when the second son dies he wants to make the third son his heir - which doesn't happen because the third son rejects the offer. Only then does Jaehaerys I turn to the second generation.

Not to mention that Aegon and Rhaenys were both scarcely older than infants whereas Viserys was at least a seven-year-old boy in 283 AC. Naming a toddler your heir would be nonsense in the middle of a war.

If you name an heir in the middle of a war it is perfectly rational to ignore normal customs and settle on a solution that actually stabilizes and supports the cause of your house (e.g. Robb disinheriting Sansa in his will). 

This is all true as well, though I think the version I proposed is a bit more in character with the "Mad King." It just depends on how GRRM wants to play it. In any case, for a variety of reasons, it makes sense for Aerys to have named Viserys his heir. There are still some early-canon issues with Dany saying things like Aegon would have been king if he'd not been killed on a couple of occasions, so perhaps this version of Viserys-as-heir is something of a retcon. It doesn't really matter to me either way. I think the TWoIaF is most likely accurate on this issue.

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

No, the chronology works pretty fine here. We know Elia had to recover half a year from Rhaenys' birth, allowing us to pinpoint the concept of Aegon's conception pretty precisely. There is a pretty big window for the Harrenhal tourney itself, though, and chances are that it took place while Elia was in the early phases of her pregnancy - say, 2-3 month, or so. At that phase even a woman as delicate as she could travel - and she may have wanted to be a Harrenhal to help Rhaegar with his covert Great Council plans, etc.

Chances that Harrenhal took place after Aegon's birth are zero. The context makes it perfectly clear that Aegon was born after Harrenhal and shortly before Rhaegar left Dragonstone.

If we are to accept that the World Book is canon, (which in the author's opinion, it is not. He calls it 'semi-canon') then you should believe the World Book when it states that the False Spring encompassed all of two months at the end of 281, and that winter returned the first month of 282, which means Elia was at a minimum 5 months pregnant and as many as 7 months pregnant by November 281 when the tourney likely occurred. We all should know this (whether people acknowledge these facts or not) because Rhaenys was born the same year her parents married (280) making her birth month either Oct, Nov, or Dec of 280. Add six months recovery and the earliest month Elia conceived Aegon was April 281, (the latest being June 281) placing his earliest birth month at January 282 (the latest at March 282). Making it very likely that Rhaegar and Elia went to Dragonstone immediately after the tourney in preparation for the birth and that Rhaegar could not have kidnapped Lyanna, because he was busy attending Aegon's birth on Dragonstone.

56 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The scenario I first put forth sometime after TWoIaF came out - operating under the assumption that Connington, Mooton, and Lonmouth were among Rhaegar's companions - is that Lyanna and Rhaegar went to Maidenpool after the abduction, marrying there, in the town and pool of Florian and Jonquil. From there Rhaegar sent Mooton and Connington to court to try to calm the waters there, since it seems a given to me that Aerys II must have originally interpreted the abduction (and possibly a subsequent public marriage of Rhaegar and Lyanna) as the starting point of this Rhaegar-Stark conspiracy he believed in. Rhaegar and Lyanna were then forced to flee, likely by ship, to eventually turn up in the south (they could have re-entered Westeros via Starfall) whereas Brandon and Rickard were executed in KL not because Brandon threatened Rhaegar but because Aerys II believed they were co-conspirators of Rhaegar's and so stubborn that they refused to even confess the truth.

Imaginative, but not based on facts.

56 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But one could also imagine other scenarios.

We have examples within text of possible scenarios, a few of which seem quite striking: the instances where maiden's were abducted (Arya and Myrcella), and instances where people assumed a fake identity or disguise either wearing someone else's armor (Arys Oakheart's armor and Renly's armor), or wearing no armor and without flying any banners at all (Gregor Clegane).

 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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4 minutes ago, J. Stargaryen said:

This is all true as well, though I think the version I proposed is a bit more in character with the "Mad King." It just depends on how GRRM wants to play it. In any case, for a variety of reasons, it makes sense for Aerys to have named Viserys his heir. There are still some early-canon issues with Dany saying things like Aegon would have been king if he'd not been killed on a couple of occasions, so perhaps this version of Viserys-as-heir is something of a retcon. It doesn't really matter to me either way. I think the TWoIaF is most likely accurate on this issue.

Oh, but I think the way Aerys II is overly protective of young Viserys in TWoIaF (which we didn't know before) strongly implies that he had a much stronger bond with him than his stinking Dornish grandchildren. We can, I think, be pretty sure that Aerys II would have always preferred Viserys over any of his grandchildren, especially the Dornish ones.

Dany's belief aren't really an issue. We don't know what Viserys told her on the succession or what he actually understand/was told. Did they tell him he was now Prince of Dragonstone when his mother brought him to the island? Did he ever think about that Aegon should have been heir in his place? We don't know - and it is pretty irrelevant since Aegon actually died when Aerys II died, too.

In any case, the image Dany has of her family don't include any subtleties or tensions - nothing about the quarrel between her father and Rhaegar, little to nothing about the madness of the Mad King, and certainly nothing about her father rejecting or despising his Dornish grandchildren. Even if Viserys III would have remembered stuff like that - after the Sack he would have mourned for his sister-in-law and her children just as Doran Martell did.

And it is quite clear, I think, that Prince Aegon would have ruled as King Aegon VI had he not been killed - after all, he might still rule as king if he is still alive ;-). And he most likely would have succeeded his father Rhaegar had Rhaegar ever ruled as king. Aerys II wouldn't have ruled on the succession of a King Rhaegar I.

In fact, if Dany ends up using the fact that her father named Viserys III his heir, and Viserys III later named her his heir as legal justification for her own claims against Aegon's then I'm pretty sure that Tyrion or somebody else who knows about Aerys II's decision to make Viserys III his heir will suggest such a cause to her.

6 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

If we are to accept that the World Book is canon, (which in the author's opinion, it is not. He calls it 'semi-canon') then you should believe the World Book when it states that the False Spring encompassed all of two months at the end of 281, and that winter returned the first month of 282, which means Elia was at a minimum 5 months pregnant and as many as 7 months pregnant by November 281. We all should know this (whether people acknowledge these facts or not) because Rhaenys was born the same year her parents married (280) making her birth month either Oct, Nov, or Dec of 280. Add six months recovery and the earliest month Elia conceived Aegon was April 281, (the latest being June 281) placing his earliest birth month at January 282 (the latest at March 282). Making it very likely that Rhaegar and Elia went to Dragonstone immediately after the tourney in preparation for the birth and that Rhaegar could not have kidnapped Lyanna, because he was busy attending Aegon's birth on Dragonstone.

Oh, I know all that, I've done those calculations myself. But we don't know when exactly the tourney was, nor how much time - weeks, months? - passed between the end of the False Spring and sufficient cold to actually cause the Blackwater to freeze over. That implies really cold weather for a longer period of time, which means the tourney could have been in the summer months rather than the autumn months.

Rhaenys could have been born as early as September of 280 AC, considering that Rhaegar and Elia could have married and conceived Rhaenys in the first days of January. If that was the case then it makes sense for Aegon to have been conceived as early as March 281 AC.

And it is, of course, also possible that Elia went to Harrenhal in the fifth month of her pregnancy - or later still. She is a princess, she can travel comfortably. In fact, considering that she lived on Dragonstone she and Rhaegar could made most of the journey by ship, starting at Dragonstone and then switching to a river barge at Maidenpool.

6 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Imaginative, but not based on facts.

Oh, but I do make use of a lot of the holes in the narrative at this point. We have still no clue why exactly Brandon, his companions, their fathers, and especially Lord Rickard had to die. We also have no explanation at this point as to why Rhaegar and Lyanna thought they had to hide. They would need a reason for that, especially after the war had started.

And the fact that we now know that Aerys II suspected Rhaegar of conspiring against him with Stark assistance makes me very confident that it is going to turn out that this suspicion is what triggered the entire war - the execution of Brandon and Rickard, Rhaegar and Lyanna's need to disappear, and Aerys II command to execute Ned and Robert, too.

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11 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

In fact, if Dany ends up using the fact that her father named Viserys III his heir, and Viserys III later named her his heir as legal justification for her own claims against Aegon's then I'm pretty sure that Tyrion or somebody else who knows about Aerys II's decision to make Viserys III his heir will suggest such a cause to her. 

I've mentioned this scenario before, as well. Not the part involving Tyrion, but that Dany will use her father naming Viserys his heir as a way to trump the claims of Young Griff and Jon Snow. We'll see how it plays out, but the possibility exists.

As for the rest, I think those are fair points, and it may be as you say. I don't think our ideas are necessarily contradictory, though. Mine just happens to be more specific regarding Aerys' (re)actions and motivations on this issue.

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11 minutes ago, J. Stargaryen said:

I've mentioned this scenario before, as well. Not the part involving Tyrion, but that Dany will use her father naming Viserys his heir as a way to trump the claims of Young Griff and Jon Snow.

Oh, I don't think she will need that to get Jon into line ;-).

But she will some justification as to why she, as a woman, has a right to supplant or overthrow her own nephew, the son of beloved Rhaegar. Targaryen history shows us that riding a large dragon doesn't exactly get you on the Iron Throne (although her dragons most definitely will help her claim, especially if her rivals don't acquire dragons of their own). She can also claim Aegon is an impostor, but it would come in handy if she also had a legal justification if he was actually the real deal.

But it should get rather unpleasant very quickly if Aegon is very secure on the Iron Throne by the time Dany approaches Westeros. She will be the Queen Who Came Too Late - unwanted, unnecessary, and useless. At least while the Others remain on their side of the Wall. Westeros doesn't like the idea of a Queen Regnant. If the Aegon and Dany both close the door on a marriage alliance and thus the possibility of a shared rule, more or less modeled on the example of the Conqueror and his sister-wives, war will be the only way to settle the issue.

And it is actually brilliant to give Dany her very own Targaryen opponent - because the way the story has been set up any Targaryen pretender making his move right now should win the love and the support of the people. If Dany had arrived in Westeros in ADwD she would have likely crushed all opposition in a matter of seconds.

But if people start to truly believe the story of Rhaegar's son then she will face massive problems.

11 minutes ago, J. Stargaryen said:

As for the rest, I think those are fair points, and it may be as you say. I don't think our ideas are necessarily contradictory, though. Mine just happens to be more specific regarding Aerys' (re)actions and motivations on this issue.

They are not contradictory. I just think that the motivational bundle is somewhat broader. However, I fully agree with you that the alleged Dornish betrayal likely was the most important reason. If that hadn't happened it would have been Viserys because he was his father's darling and didn't stink like Aegon and Rhaenys, and if Aerys II had loved Aegon as much as Viserys then it would have been the infant vs. young bed conundrum. 

We can be almost certain that no one at court would have asked the king to name an infant his new heir if there was a better alternative. A baby king is ridiculous in any scenario, but completely crippling in crisis or war. If there is an alternative you go with that.

I mean, if we go to the Dance then it is almost confirmed that Prince Aemond rather than Prince Maelor would have succeeded Aegon II had the king died at or in the aftermath of Rook's Rest. Aemond effectively is king while his brother is incapacitated, anyway, and no one at court would have wanted a two-year-old as figurehead against Rhaenyra and Daemon - they would have gone with the adult Prince Regent who rode Vhagar.

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6 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But it should get rather unpleasant very quickly if Aegon is very secure on the Iron Throne by the time Dany approaches Westeros.

Yes, as Aegon VI. Setting up Aegon VII. Will GRRM set up that scenario only to leave it be? I don't think so, and I know you disagree so we'll leave that discussion for another day and another place.

9 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

They are not contradictory. I just think that the motivational bundle is somewhat broader. However, I fully agree with you that the alleged Dornish betrayal likely was the most important reason. If that hadn't happened it would have been Viserys because he was his father's darling and didn't stink like Aegon and Rhaenys, and if Aerys II had loved Aegon as much as Viserys then it would have been the infant vs. young bed conundrum. 

Yes, I think the scenarios might work together this way.

16 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I mean, if we go to the Dance then it is almost confirmed that Prince Aemond rather than Prince Maelor would have succeeded Aegon II had the king died at or in the aftermath of Rook's Rest. Aemond effectively is king while his brother is incapacitated, anyway, and no one at court would have wanted a two-year-old as figurehead against Rhaenyra and Daemon - they would have gone with the adult Prince Regent who rode Vhagar.

I see your overall point regarding Viserys/Aegon and it may be correct, but I think this example is quite different. Partially due to some of the details you mentioned. Back to your overall point—Boy kings are bad, infant kings are worse, all agree.

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

But we don't know when exactly the tourney was, nor how much time - weeks, months? - passed between the end of the False Spring and sufficient cold to actually cause the Blackwater to freeze over. That implies really cold weather for a longer period of time, which means the tourney could have been in the summer months rather than the autumn months.

If the World Book is canon - even semi-canon - the tourney occurred in Nov or Dec of 281, because it occurred during the False Spring. The WB says it lasted "two turns" (two months) and that on the very last day of the year winter returned:

Quote

 

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 a fortnight, by which time the Blackwater was hard frozen, and icicles draped the roofs and gutters of every tower in the city.

 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Rhaenys could have been born as early as September of 280 AC, considering that Rhaegar and Elia could have married and conceived Rhaenys in the first days of January. If that was the case then it makes sense for Aegon to have been conceived as early as March 281 AC.

I suppose the very last week of September, although I don't recall any text saying she was born early. If Rhaegar and Elia were married January 1st of 280 - nine months later is still October 1st. 

Four, five, or even seven months pregnant by November 281 - does it really matter? She and Rhaegar would both know she was pregnant by the time the tourney occurred. The World Book also says Lyanna was abducted at the beginning of the new year:

Quote

With the coming of the new year, the crown prince had taken to the road with half a dozen of his closest friends and confidants, on a journey that would ultimately lead him back to the riverlands. Not ten leagues from Harrenhal, Rhaegar fell upon Lyanna Stark of Winterfell, and carried her off, lighting a fire that would consume his house and kin and all those he loved—and half the realm besides.

The official record is that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna. That is a detail that may or may not be true. Everybody believed it, so there's no reason to lie about when Lyanna went missing, therefore we can be relatively certain that it happened in January of 282. Therein lies the problem: motive and timing. 

Motive: Since Aegon was born during the first quarter of 282 (Jan, Feb, or Mar), Rhaegar wouldn't have had any motivating factors to want to kidnap Lyanna. If Aegon wasn't already delivered by the time Lyanna was abducted, the maester couldn't have told Rhaegar that Elia was unable to have further children.

Timing: Rhaegar obviously cannot be in two places at once. Either he attended Aegon's birth on Dragonstone or he was riding around the Riverlands with his closest friends. Which was it?

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And it is, of course, also possible that Elia went to Harrenhal in the fifth month of her pregnancy - or later still. She is a princess, she can travel comfortably. In fact, considering that she lived on Dragonstone she and Rhaegar could made most of the journey by ship, starting at Dragonstone and then switching to a river barge at Maidenpool.

Where are you getting this river barge to Maidenpool idea?

There does exist a direct route by ship from Kings Landing to Dragonstone and back. But since Rhaegar was said to have returned from the south, he couldn't have taken the most direct route from Dragonstone to Kings Landing. We're not told how it came to be that he returned from the south, but since Elia is from Dorne and there also happened to be 10,000 Dornishmen marching up the Kingsroad after him, I think we can reasonably speculate that Rhaegar and Elia sailed from Dragonstone to to Dorne after Aegon's birth.

If you look at the Lands of Ice and Fire maps, you'll notice that the Kingsroad ends at Storms End. There is no Kingsroad that continues southwest from Storms End to reach Dorne. Yes, there are two mountain passes: the Boneway, which is the traditional route for soldiers, and the Prince's Pass, which is further west, but these routes are less "roads" and more "paths".

If Rhaegar and Elia did utilize ships - first to go from Kings Landing to Dragonstone, and then Dragonstone to Sunspear - then the fastest and safest return trip would be to sail from Sunspear to Storms End. Then the final leg of the trip is overland on the Kingsroad. Storms End should have been a safe place for them to land as long as it wasn't near the castle. Stannis was under siege by the Tyrells, so there would be friendly security ready and waiting for their arrival.

Of course this proposed route is speculative, because we lack sufficient information, but one thing is clear: both Rhaegar and Elia returned to Kings Landing at some point, but whether it was together or separate is another detail that we just don't know. Somehow Elia and the children got back to Kings Landing in order for Aerys to 'remind' Lewyn that he 'held them'.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, but I do make use of a lot of the holes in the narrative at this point. We have still no clue why exactly Brandon, his companions, their fathers, and especially Lord Rickard had to die. We also have no explanation at this point as to why Rhaegar and Lyanna thought they had to hide. They would need a reason for that, especially after the war had started.

I think there's enough evidence to conclude that King Aerys suspected a coup was in the works. The World Book states Aerys became more estranged from his son even as the engagement was announced in early 279. Rhaegar and Elia's decision to make Dragonstone their residence only made matters worse:

Quote

 

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

When Prince Rhaegar and his new wife chose to take up residence on Dragonstone instead of the Red Keep, rumors flew thick and fast across the Seven Kingdoms. Some claimed that the crown prince was planning to depose his father and seize the Iron Throne for himself, whilst others said that King Aerys meant to disinherit Rhaegar and name Viserys heir in his place. Nor did the birth of King Aerys's first grandchild, a girl named Rhaenys, born on Dragonstone in 280 AC, do aught to reconcile father and son. When Prince Rhaegar returned to the Red Keep to present his daughter to his own mother and father, Queen Rhaella embraced the babe warmly, but King Aerys refused to touch or hold the child and complained that she "smells Dornish."

 

It's only logical that Rhaegar and Elia would return to Dragonstone after the tourney since that is where they were living. So lets try to look at matters from Aerys perspective. When Brandon arrived to Kings Landing demanding Rhaegar to answer for his sister, Aerys red flags would have been waving. He was already estranged from Rhaegar, and this would have occurred only a few months after the tourney that Varys told him was to gather support for a coup, and now the brother to the woman that Rhaegar gave a laurel to is making an accusation against his son, when to the best of his knowledge, Rhaegar should be home on Dragonstone. King Aerys may have been mad, but he wasn't stupid. It wasn't that long ago when he was held hostage by Lord Darklyn during the Defiance of Duskendale. Tywin managed to have Barristan rescue him then, but Tywin wasn't his Hand any longer when Brandon arrived. 

It seems Aerys was planning on a trial when he summoned Lord Rickard, but Rickard demanded trial by battle, which is acceptable and was his right. Aerys granted him his request, but when Rickard showed up dressed in armor, Aerys declared that fire was his champion. If Rickard hadn't requested the trial by battle, Aerys may not have executed them both in such a public spectacle. Who knows how the trial would have progressed had Rickard allowed it to proceed.

 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It doesn't make sense at all that Aerys II would grant the ingrate, lazy, and treasonous son he saw as a would-be usurper just a year ago any authority without actually talking to him first. Rhaegar ended up commanding the royal army after his return to KL, not before. There is no reason to believe that a man as paranoid as Aerys II would actually grant Rhaegar the authority to subvert his royal commands before he could be sure he wouldn't do that - and he certainly couldn't be sure of that while Rhaegar wasn't in his power, no?

No. None of this makes any sense nor, matches what we see in the books.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Not to mention that Rhaegar commanding an army is actually not evidence that he had any formal authority at court. If Chelsted gave him a command he certainly would have been forced to obey that one considering that the man spoke with the King's Voice, right?

Not necessarily, no. Its way more complicated than that.

Its hard to even answer this and keep respectful. We see Rhaegar in command of the royal force, and disposing the Kingsguard as he sees fit (eg Jaime's appeal to replace Darry in the army heading toward the Trident) yet you argue that Rhaegar has no formal authority at court!

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

You are referring to a fever dream here. George makes it clear that this dream is not to be taken at face value.

Thats a lie. 
Heres the SSM quote.
I might mention, though, that Ned's account, which you refer to, was in the context of a dream... and a fever dream at that. Our dreams are not always literal.

GRRM says that dreams are not always literal. Sometimes they are, sometimes they are not. He did not indicate, let alone make clear, that this dream is not to be taken at face value. Indeed, certain parts of it clearly are not to be taken at face value (Lyanna calling him, which was Vayon Poole, the shadows and wraiths at the start which is the dream 'bleeding in', the storm of rose petals across a blood streaked sky, being examples)
GRRM was muddying the waters. The questioneer outright stated that Jon Snow was Lyanna and Rhaegar's daughter, implying that this was proven by the ToJ dream. In 2002. GRRM was definitely not ready to reveal that, so he tried an obfuscation. But he did not explicitly say not to trust this dream.

He was also deliberately misleading. This dream is not actually a 'fever dream', even though GRRM says it was here, and Ned was under a fever at the time (so this time it technically was a fever dream, so GRRM didn't exactly lie). However this is an old dream, a familiar, intimate dream that Ned knows well enough to recognise it instantly and name it before he even dreams it. So its not really a 'fever dream' at all.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Do you have any evidence that the dream conversation did take place as 'recorded' by the dream? No, you don't.

There are two "in the dream as it was in life"'s before the conversation. I think that counts enough as evidence, though not proof, that the conversation is an almost exact 'record' considering the lucid nature of it.

Do you have any evidence that the dream conversation did not take place as 'recorded? No, you don't.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

No, they restore their honor.

We disagree. Their vow is to 'protect' the king, not "or die for honour". Dying can be honourable, but doing it deliberately to avoid their duties is not honourable.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

This thing isn't about the future, it is about the past. If they gave a damn about the future neither Lyanna nor the child would have been in the middle of nowhere this late after the Trident. If one goes by the assumption that they were there for months then they had months to move them, and certainly more than adequate time to call upon loyalist aid from Dorne or the Reach to actually have sufficient manpower to defend a royal prince. They didn't do that. They could not know that Ned would just show up with some buddies, they would have to expect Robert to actually send a host of considerable size. Their fight with Ned and his guys has all the markings of a last stand, nothing else. They wouldn't even refer Rhaegar and Aerys II that much if they were acting on behalf of a newborn prince or a new king.

I disagree utterly with nearly every statement here.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But especially the latter would actually be a betrayal of their king because Aerys II had made Viserys III the new Targaryen (pretender) king. Anyone citing Aerys II and presuming the be loyal to him could *never* see Lyanna's child as the new king since Aerys II was crystal clear who should succeed him.

They have to know about that though, and how would they? Their information likely comes from that disseminated by the victorious rebels, who wouldn't care about disseminating the Mad King's meaningless proclamations. 

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And unlike Lyanna's child Viserys III was actually crowned king - which is actually a prerequisite of being called or seen as king in this world. Those men could not have possibly thought Lyanna's son was a king yet. A future king, perhaps, should Robert the Usurper fail or Viserys III die without issue or legal heirs, but if you want to think they were serving a new king then they would have actually been traitors to House Targaryen as such - since Viserys III was the anointed heir and crowned king - as well as to the memory and explicit wishes of their late king, Aerys II.

Same old irrelevant argument. And simply false.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We have no reason to believe these people had any clue about what transpired at KL. They never refer to the brutal murder of Rhaegar's children, do they? Not even in the dream.

First, I'm not relying on them  knowing about the brutal murders. I'm pointing out they don't know shit about Ned to trust him. He was a nonentity, a shy second son, well in Brandon's shadow. then the war came and suddenly he was a commander of the opposition. They must know that he's a rebel leader and a close friend of Robert, fostered with him in the vale, but its unlikely they know much more than that. I'm using a reasonable contrast to your unreasonable assumption that they can trust Ned enough to hand over their charge to him - because that is in effect what you suggest they should have done.
Ned's honest and incorruptible reputation is built on the final events of the war and post war. He wasn't born with it and its highly unlikely that they knew very much about him at all before he was suddenly thrust into Lordship and a major command position within the rebel hierarchy.

Second, we do have reason to believe they have some knowledge of what has happened elsewhere. In fact we know for certain that they have some knowledge, its just not clear much much.

What they know depends on what was sent out and when it was sent.

They know what the Trident reference means. Ned says he looked for them there, and without him saying another word Whent's response is "woe to the usurper if we were". So they've definitely had some news since then.
The display no surprise or shock at Ned telling them Jaime slew Aerys, so it seems they know about the Sack too. So the news they'd had definitely came after the Trident and probably after the Sack.

We have to consider how and why they got news, which influence the what was in it. And the when, which connects every aspect.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But if they had magical knowledge about everything that happened they sure as hell could also know that Robert and Ned had a huge falling-out over the murder of the royal children, right?

Its not magical knowledge. Its not everything that happened. They've clearly had some news. But given the timing, it must be news that was spread by raven (not to them, they aren't on the raven network, but to someone who knows how to contact them). Therefore its limited news, sticking to the key factors.

Who will spreading news far and wide after the Trident (and even more so, after the Sack)?
Not Rhaegar, he's dead. 
Not Aerys, he's got other priorities and wants to keep a lid on such news anyway. And after the Sack, he's dead too.
The victorious rebels have means motive and opportunity though. The war is over. The Targaryens are done. Rhaegar is dead, Aerys is dead, Aegon is dead, KL is taken, the Targaryen Army is defeated. Lewyn Martell is dead. Selmy is captured. Darry is dead. Stop fighting, come to KL and bend the knee to King Robert. These are the sorts of things that will be in a raven message sent Westeros-wide shortly after the sack. These are the sorts of things that could feasibly get to the KG at the ToJ.

Not "Ex-Rebel leaders Ned and Robert have fallen out over the murder of Aegon and Rhaenys", no. 
Just another nonsensical statement made with a straight face.

To be completely fair, they don;t necessarily know about the brutality of the murders of the Targaryen kids. But they might. They almost certainly know Ned was a rebel leader and therefore at least in part responsible though.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But it is utter silliness to assume the uncle of a prince is his mortal enemy by default. I think you do recall that kinslaying is a vile sin in this world, right, and that Ned would be a kinslayer if actually killed his nephew or sister or allowed Robert to kill them? Do you have any reason to assume they had a good reason Eddard Stark wanted to become a kinslayer?

Default? No. But he's a rebel and a murderer. Why not a kinslayer? They simply can't afford the chance. 
You are also incorrect about Ned allowing Robert to kill his nephew making him a kinslayer. If he takes Jon to Robert and then Robert kills Jon, then the blood is on King Robert's hands, not Ned's. So even if they don't think Ned would be willing to become a kinslayer, they still shouldn't give up their charge to him.

Even if they believed Ned was willing to back his nephew for the crown and declare war on all the rest of westeros, against Robert, against the Vale, against the Westlands, etc etc., they still shouldn't give up the babe. Because the war is lost and Ned can't win it. The time is not now. Now is the time to go into hiding in exile, wait for the babe to grow, rebuild resources and wait for a better time - as has been done with fAegon. Not to give their charge up to another and let their charge be used for another's purposes.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Not to mention that basic political thinking dictates that controlling a potential claimant to the throne means power. If the KG convinced Ned to take in and protect and nurture Rhaegar's son then House Stark could eventually control the Iron Throne and all of Westeros. Do you think that's a temptation that's easily turned down?

Yet as per the dream such an offer was not even made - which shows that this entire dream setup is not supposed to make sense.

I think, yes that is a temptation thats easily turned down, by many. Too much risk, the reward not worth it. Most people aren't willing to risk the utter destruction of everything they have and hold dear, for a slim to none chance of total power sometime in the future..
Its also one that would see the Kingsguard give control and protection of their charge entirely, utterly, into the hand of another - a rebel at that. I don't think they could do that. 

So I don't think that this offer should have been made, let alone not making it shows the dream "is not supposed to make sense"

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Ned just spent some years as Jon Arryn's ward. We know he and Lya were emotionally very close and Ned himself presumes he knew Lyanna better than Robert. That tells us something about their relationship.

Yep (although, its not just 'some years', its most of the time since he was 8, and she was 4? 5?)Ned knows her better than Robert, and she knows Ned enough  to love him and trust his word. 
But not enough to know for sure whether he'd choose Robert over Rhaegar's child, or not. Until he gave his word.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no reason to believe Lyanna was afraid of Ned or afraid how he would react.

No, reason, but the text. 
This is why its so exhausting engaging with you. Its all about voluminous answers relating to 'what you think', regardless of whats actually in the text. And what you think makes no sense at all much of the time, for all the intellect and erudition behind it.

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

If she was unsure about the character of her brother/didn't know whether she could trust him or whether he would do the right thing then his promise wouldn't be worth all that much, anyway, would it?

Not at all true. 
She can know him well enough to trust his given word completely, yet not know him well enough to predict with complete confidence how he will react when asked to choose between two things he holds dear.

Funnily enough, that kind of makes sense really, given she knows him as a brother, but also as a brother who has lived apart more often than together.

And the text clearly and explicitly tells us she's in this situation. She had fear in her eyes, which left when he made her promises.

 

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56 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

The World Book also says Lyanna was abducted at the beginning of the new year:

57 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

With the coming of the new year, the crown prince had taken to the road with half a dozen of his closest friends and confidants, on a journey that would ultimately lead him back to the riverlands. Not ten leagues from Harrenhal, Rhaegar fell upon Lyanna Stark of Winterfell, and carried her off, lighting a fire that would consume his house and kin and all those he loved—and half the realm besides.


The official record is that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna. That is a detail that may or may not be true. Everybody believed it, so there's no reason to lie about when Lyanna went missing, therefore we can be relatively certain that it happened in January of 282. 

What?

Read the quote. Rhaegar left KL in January. He went on a journey that would ultimately lead him back to the Riverlands (where he fell on Lyanna Stark).

There's no indication at all where he went before he fell on Lyanna Stark, or how long it took. It may have been the same month. It may have been three months. It may have been five months. Probably not that long, given other timings, obviously. But the point is that the World Book does not tell us that he fell on Lyanna Stark in January. It tells us that at the end of a long journey to parts unknown, that started in KL in January, he end up in the Riverlands and there fell on Lyanna Stark.

 

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16 hours ago, corbon said:

Wow. 

Lyanna is amazing. Moments away from death, lying in her bed of blood, feverish, so weak her voice was just a whisper, and she told Ned so much detailed information.

Ha ha.

Besides Lyanna, there were also other people at Starfall. Ashara, servants, Wylla's family. If Kingsguards took Jon, then they also took Wylla. If Wylla was wetnurse of Ashara's baby, or she was brought to Starfall to specifically become wetnurse of Lyanna's baby, then, most likely, Wylla's own child was also at Starfall, same as her husband. Thus, if those Kingsguards took Wylla with them, then her family was worried about her, and, obviously, before Wylla left, they found out as much information as possible, about where those Kingsgurads are intending to go. Or something like that. Eitherway, the point is, is that Ned knew where he will find those three, he wasn't just blindly running all over Dorne, hoping, that he will accidentally find them. If he knew, where to find them, then someone informed him about it, same as before that, someone informed him about Lyanna's whereabouts.

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10 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

If the World Book is canon - even semi-canon - the tourney occurred in Nov or Dec of 281, because it occurred during the False Spring. The WB says it lasted "two turns" (two months) and that on the very last day of the year winter returned.

Yeah, winter returned with a vengeance at the end of the False Spring, but it is not said that the end of the False Spring coincided with snow on KL. As 'the year draw to a close' is not exactly a very well defined time period, is it? It could be the last weeks of December, but it could also be the last 2-3 months of the year.

All we know for a fact is that it started to snow on KL at the last day of the year, but that day isn't said to have marked the end of the False Spring.

10 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I suppose the very last week of September, although I don't recall any text saying she was born early. If Rhaegar and Elia were married January 1st of 280 - nine months later is still October 1st.

Yeah, okay, but pregnancies are only roughly nine months, not necessarily exactly nine months.

10 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Four, five, or even seven months pregnant by November 281 - does it really matter? She and Rhaegar would both know she was pregnant by the time the tourney occurred.

Sure, we know that. I was just making a point that Elia must not necessarily have been in the latest stages of her pregnancy during the tourney.

10 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

The World Book also says Lyanna was abducted at the beginning of the new year:

The official record is that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna. That is a detail that may or may not be true. Everybody believed it, so there's no reason to lie about when Lyanna went missing, therefore we can be relatively certain that it happened in January of 282. Therein lies the problem: motive and timing. 

Oh, we have good reason to believe that Rhaegar's journey started early in the new year, likely indeed in January, but this doesn't mean he also took Lyanna in the same months. The world 'ultimately' in the sentence allows for the possibility that the journey he undertook took a considerable time, possibly a month, perhaps even longer. It only ultimately led him back to the Riverlands. He did not leave Dragonstone with the desire to go there, apparently.

10 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Motive: Since Aegon was born during the first quarter of 282 (Jan, Feb, or Mar), Rhaegar wouldn't have had any motivating factors to want to kidnap Lyanna. If Aegon wasn't already delivered by the time Lyanna was abducted, the maester couldn't have told Rhaegar that Elia was unable to have further children.

Timing: Rhaegar obviously cannot be in two places at once. Either he attended Aegon's birth on Dragonstone or he was riding around the Riverlands with his closest friends. Which was it?

 

It is quite clear that Aegon must have been born already when Rhaegar left Dragonstone. There is no doubt about that. We have confirmation not only by the fact that the maesters told him she could no longer bear children but also by the vision from the House of the Undying.

The way I made sense of that is that only Aegon's actual birth, the confirmation that this child who was supposed to be the promised prince (as per Rhaegar's interpretation of the comet in the night of his conception) actually was male, a necessary prerequisite to be the promised prince (at least in his mind).

The fact that Aegon now was confirmed to be the promised prince triggered Rhaegar's belief as per the vision from the House of the Undying that there must be another dragon head (we don't know who the first head was, most people assume he thought it was his daughter Rhaenys, but I consider it equally likely that he thought Viserys, another son from the royal couple which is supposed to bring forth the promised prince, was the first dragon, or he, Rhaegar, himself). In any case, with the prophesied savior/magic guy finally born, the other parts of the prophecy - three dragon heads about who we know pretty much nothing at this time - needed to be there, too. With Elia no longer capable of bearing children Rhaegar needed to turn to other women - because in his mad and irrational mind he believed that he had to do the work there, and not his royal father and mother (who actually did produce Daenerys some time later) or his brother Viserys once he had grown older.

Many people assume that Rhaegar's journey was a search for the Ghost of High Heart who made the original addendum prophecy to the ancient promised prince prophecy stipulating that the promised prince would be born from the line of Aerys II and Rhaella. He may have wanted clarification on that and/or confirmation that his interpretation that his son Aegon was the promised prince was correct. What he got if he talked to her is unclear, but chances are that love or desire for Lyanna on his part was not the deciding factor in his decision to take her. If that had been the case he would have taken her at Harrenhal, not months later.

In that sense, chances are not that bad that the dwarf woman prophesied him that the woman he truly loved would give birth to the third head of the dragon he was looking for. It could even be that she specifically said his mother would be Lyanna, but I'd prefer it if Rhaegar himself had to realize that Lyanna was the woman he loved and thus had to be the one to fulfill prophecy with him.

It might even be that his obsession with prophecy is the reason why he had the three Kingsguard guard Lyanna in the middle of nowhere - if that's what happened - because he wanted to keep this 'miracle child' and his mother away from everybody else. He could have even changed his view on Aegon being the promised prince considering he didn't seem to care about him at all after his return from the south, making no preparations for protecting him aside from trusting Jaime.

10 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Where are you getting this river barge to Maidenpool idea?

The idea is that Elia could have traveled lightly to Harrenhal even if her pregnancy had been difficult and far-advanced at that point by making most of the journey by ship. We know that most trade and travel in the Riverlands is done by using the rivers there as waterways.

Rhaegar and Lyanna, I think, may have used a ship to elude King Aerys II and the rest of Westeros.

10 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Of course this proposed route is speculative, because we lack sufficient information, but one thing is clear: both Rhaegar and Elia returned to Kings Landing at some point, but whether it was together or separate is another detail that we just don't know. Somehow Elia and the children got back to Kings Landing in order for Aerys to 'remind' Lewyn that he 'held them'.

Elia and her children were still on Dragonstone when Rhaegar left them, so, yes, Aerys II must have either called her to KL, sent men to fetch her and the children, or Elia may have decided to leave her husband's fortress to take her children to court of her own free will. We don't know what happened, but some of that must have happened. Might even be that Rhaegar called her to court after his return from the south.

10 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I think there's enough evidence to conclude that King Aerys suspected a coup was in the works. The World Book states Aerys became more estranged from his son even as the engagement was announced in early 279. Rhaegar and Elia's decision to make Dragonstone their residence only made matters worse:

It's only logical that Rhaegar and Elia would return to Dragonstone after the tourney since that is where they were living. So lets try to look at matters from Aerys perspective. When Brandon arrived to Kings Landing demanding Rhaegar to answer for his sister, Aerys red flags would have been waving. He was already estranged from Rhaegar, and this would have occurred only a few months after the tourney that Varys told him was to gather support for a coup, and now the brother to the woman that Rhaegar gave a laurel to is making an accusation against his son, when to the best of his knowledge, Rhaegar should be home on Dragonstone. King Aerys may have been mad, but he wasn't stupid. It wasn't that long ago when he was held hostage by Lord Darklyn during the Defiance of Duskendale. Tywin managed to have Barristan rescue him then, but Tywin wasn't his Hand any longer when Brandon arrived. 

It seems Aerys was planning on a trial when he summoned Lord Rickard, but Rickard demanded trial by battle, which is acceptable and was his right. Aerys granted him his request, but when Rickard showed up dressed in armor, Aerys declared that fire was his champion. If Rickard hadn't requested the trial by battle, Aerys may not have executed them both in such a public spectacle. Who knows how the trial would have progressed had Rickard allowed it to proceed.

People used to assume that Aerys II had Brandon and Rickard and the others executed to defend his son and heir from the Stark threats, but with the new information from TWoIaF (and ASoS and ADwD before, where the seed for Rhaegar's conspiracy against his father was first sown) this is exceedingly unlikely. We have no good/detailed information on the events that led to the deaths of Brandon, Rickard, the others nor the events that led to the miraculous spare of Ethan Glover, and my take on that is that Aerys II's belief that Rhaegar was conspiring with the Starks against is to blame for all of that. In fact, the mistaken view of the king that Rhaegar was out there to get him with the help of the Starks also seems to be the reason why the court failed to grasp the true rebellion when it was started. One assumes that Aerys II focused very hard on trying to find Rhaegar and Lyanna in the first weeks of the war, considering the case of Ned and Robert merely as an afterthought, something that had to be done to stop 'Rhaegar's Rebellion'. The trouble in the Vale would have been seen as a side show, one assumes, until it dawned on Aerys II that Rhaegar had indeed nothing to do with Robert's Rebellion - which definitely was the case when he fired Merryweather and replaced him with Rhaegar's friend Connington.

At that time it must have been clear to everyone at court that Rhaegar was not leading those rebels.

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Not to throw a wrench into a lively discussion, but how about this:

The KG were at the ToJ not to protect Lyanna and/or baby Jon from Ned, but to protect baby Aegon. After all, we have a supposed changeling in King's Landing who had his head beaten in, so the real Aegon had to be removed somewhere. What better place than with the three top knights in the world who have sworn a vow to their good friend Rhaegar to protect his son, and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, with their lives?

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