Jump to content
lAPPYc

A tale of two Princes | Rulers making hard choices for their kingdoms

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

If I tell you to think about the guy in ASoIaF that splits the fandom, that one half of the fandom thinks that that guy has the sun shining out of his every orifice, and the other half thinks that he is a mad fanatic, who would you think of?

GRRM is known for his parallels, and his abilities aren't just constrained to the books. The description above fits two princes, both Princes of Dragonstone. Both Stannis and Rhaegar each have a worshipper club, and a hater club. Only GRRM can affect parallels outside of the books.

But for some reason, these respective camps don't coincide. No one immediately thinks of Stannis while thinking of Rhaegar, or vice versa. For me though, the stories of Stannis and Rhaegar are as similar as they could get without becoming redundant. Just consider this quote, which has Ser Barristan describing Rhaegar to Daenerys, but could just as well be applied to Stannis:

Quote

"Able. That above all. Determined, deliberate, dutiful, single-minded..."

ASOS, Dany I

And then here's GRRM literally declaring it in the first book itself:

Quote

Mother had killed Tyrion the Imp and hung his body from the walls of Riverrun. Lord Tywin Lannister was marching on the Eyrie, burning and slaughtering as he went. One wine-sodden taleteller even claimed that Rhaegar Targaryen had returned from the dead and was marshaling a vast host of ancient heroes on Dragonstone to reclaim his father's throne.

AGOT, Bran VI

Only, it was Stannis at Dragonstone, and it was his brother's throne he meant to claim. In fact, when Tywin is thinking about Stannis at Dragonstone, Tyrion tells him to take heart from the fact that at least Rhaegar is still dead. Yet the fact is missed by most. I believe, on the other hand, that the stories of these two characters are supposed to run parallel and along the same theme: Rulers making hard choices for their Kingdom. Moreover, I believe that the stories of Stannis and Rhaegar don't just run parallel, but they compliment each other, and will each be used to explain the other, in multiple areas.

But before we get there, let me list the parallels they share:

Stannis and Rhagear both were Princes of Dragonstone.

Both dabbled in prophecy and sorcery. Both had fiery, and dragoney, associations. The comet heralded both of them. (Okay the second comet could have heralded a multitude of people, and even Dany's dragons)

The both of them probably had a supernatural mentor; Stannis has Melisandre, Rhaegar most likely had the Ghost of High Heart, according to a theory by u/cantuse on Reddit.

The both of them were politically active against the establishment in their time; Stannis against Joffrey and other pretenders, and Rhaegar against Aerys, albeit secretly.

The both of them ignored their duties and hid from the realm in an important time, something the realm dearly paid for; Stannis when he wasn't made Hand by Robert, and Rhaegar at the Tower of Joy during the war.

Both were thought to be figures from prophecy; Stannis the Azor Ahai, and Rhaegar the Prince that was Promised.

And both were later found out to be not the prophecy figurines; Rhaegar later believed that his son/s was the Prince that was Promised, and Dany is supposed to slay the lie that Stannis is the Azor Ahai.

For both of them, the majority of their story time was concerned with political struggle, with a backdrop of a supernatural struggle, until the political struggle went out the window and they died for the supernatural struggle; Rhaegar studied prophecy and sired children to fulfill them, but by the time Jaime was given the white cloak, he was full on focused on working against his father, but then Lyanna happened - the political got supplanted by the supernatural. For Stannis, his battles against the Lannisters and Boltons are happening now, but soon he is supposed to burn Shireen to help against the Others (yes, I believe Stannis doesn't burn Shireen for a win in a fight against the Boltons. It doesn't fit his character, or the current logistics, or the story. Stannis has a huge chance of winning against the Boltons, and Melisendre burning Shireen to save Jon or something takes away everything from the Stannis's Edric arc. It is Stannis's story to burn Shireen).

And lastly, both did something (or are supposed to do) to a girl that doesn't go down well for them. Rhaegar died in that war, and Stannis most people think Stannis will die after burning Shireen.

As I've said, I believe that the stories of Stannis and Rhaegar are supposed to reinforce the understanding of each other's stories. So if Stannis burns Shireen to get a win over the Others, what does it tell us about what Rhaegar did to Lyanna? The love story scenario doesn't make sense to me, at least not politically. And the rape story fits in the supernatural story as well. Given the parallels between Stannis and Rhaegar, Rhaegar made a sacrifice mirroring that of Stannis's. As I outlined in the aforementioned post, Lyanna said no to carrying Rhaegar's child, and Rhaegar made the difficult choice for the good of his realm.

That was the case of Stannis's choice explaining Rhaegar's. The reverse happens when we consider the outcome of these sacrifices. Many in the fandom think that Stannis' sacrifice won't work, and that he will die in the backlash that follows the burning of his daughter (the Northmen and King's Men vs. Queen's men divide?). But what happened when Rhaegar's actions generated a backlash? Despite whether Rhaegar did really rape Lyanna Stark or not, he got accused of it all the same and lost his kingdom, half his family, and his life. (That Stannis gets a backlash for something he did do reinforces the idea that Rhaegar got the backlash for something he did do. Namely, kidnapping and raping Lyanna Stark). And yet, something emerged from this sacrifice: Jon Snow, a direct link to the endgame. And so it will be for Stannis' sacrifice.

Quote

"This is Stannis Baratheon. The man will fight to the bitter end and then some."

ASOS, Jaime IX

Burning Shireen will be the 'bitter end'. Stannis will lose support and favor. But he will still fight, and so the 'then some' will be Stannis riding to his doom in his last fight, whatever that may be, just like Rhaegar rode to his doom after his sacrifice was complete. But just as Rhaegar's sacrificed worked, something will emerge from Stannis' sacrifice. In the end, both the Princes of Dragonstone will have lost everything and died, their houses nearly destroyed (or living through a bastard or two, because Dany probably can't conceive) and both will have made a brutal sacrifice that will affect the endgame, but won't be looked upon by the majority of characters, and indeed, by many in the fandom, in a favorable light.

 

Edited by lAPPYc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I don't find those two alike.  Take a closer look at two random characters in this ginormous tale and you can find parallels.  Just look at the examples.  

Daenerys and Bran.  Visions, prophecies, and dreams.  One can't walk and the other can't have a baby.  

Jorah and Jaime.  Both got the same punishment they gave.  Jorah got sold to slavers.  Jaime got crippled.

Brienne and Arya.  Out of touch women who doesn't fit in socially.  Awkward.  

So on and so on.  I fail to see any significance between Stannis and Rhaegar besides their fathering something strange.  Stannis fathered a shadowspawn.  Maybe Rhaegar fathered an ice spawn if he got Lyanna preggers.  Both children of the dark who brought disaster.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Yes as far. as the characters run parallel and help explain the other. Falling into the trap of believing in fated destinies and horrible things that commits them to do in a greater good.

No at the Rhaegar did make some sacrifice angle whatever that is about.

Rhaegar contemplated/intended at worst a sacrifice of his children, or at best just believed they were fated to die so that the world may be saved. I made a detailed post about it here.

Stannis is following in his footsteps, he will make the sacrifice. Something will come of it, but nothing good.

The same dilemma will pass to Jon and Dany with their child.

Edited by chrisdaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stannis and Tywin parallel each other because they can kill a kin to protect the family.  Stan killed Renly and Tywin would have killed Tyrion.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 4/12/2019 at 3:36 AM, Unit A2 said:

Honestly, I don't find those two alike.  Take a closer look at two random characters in this ginormous tale and you can find parallels.  Just look at the examples.  

Daenerys and Bran.  Visions, prophecies, and dreams.  One can't walk and the other can't have a baby.  

Jorah and Jaime.  Both got the same punishment they gave.  Jorah got sold to slavers.  Jaime got crippled.

Brienne and Arya.  Out of touch women who doesn't fit in socially.  Awkward.  

So on and so on.  I fail to see any significance between Stannis and Rhaegar besides their fathering something strange.  Stannis fathered a shadowspawn.  Maybe Rhaegar fathered an ice spawn if he got Lyanna preggers.  Both children of the dark who brought disaster.   

Brienne and Arya are (reverse) paralleled indeed in aSoS: Arya leaves HH escaping Bolton's clutches, Brienne ends up Bolton's prisoner at HH and into the bear-pit. Both are dressed up in dresses they feel awkward in, and both dresses get shredded. Brienne narrowly escapes capture by tBwB at the inn, Arya does get captured by tBwB in the same inn. Brienne initially wears a studded vest before she gets to wear a lace dress, Arya is given a studded vest after being made to wear a pretty dress. Oh and both have a bathing scene, though Arya's one where she fights off her bathers.

As for Jorah and Jaime: most get the punishment they gave. Slynt was beheaded, just like Ned. Vargo Hoat was turned into food, as much as he made people food for his bear, and he lost his limbs, just as he used to cut people's feet off. Plenty of hints that Craster murdered some of Benjen's rangers with an axe, with some of them ending up in the larder as food, and he ends up being killed by an axe. That's not some random coincidence. That's punishment fitting the crime with the mighty pen (instead of the sword).

Daenarys and Bran: magical powers, but physical limitations... fits "everything comes with a price" or "limiting power" theme. BR is the most powerful seer, but he's old and more than half a tree. Jon is bound to his NW vows. Arya can dream cross-continentally of RL events and see through cat-eyes but she's cut off entirely from everyone else, becoming no one. Mel can see stuff in her fires, but her enslavement into the red priesthood makes her a prisoner of her brainwashed beliefs so her interpretation abilities are severely lacking. And on it goes. 

So, basically, your examples are indeed examples of parallelism, which is fundamental for good layered writing.

Edited by sweetsunray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×