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Ckram

What made Ser Gerold Stay?

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Ser Gerold Hightower was described as first and foremost a loyal man. And he was sent to bring Rhaegar from the Tower of Joy. Rhaegar returned to King's Landing, but Gerold stayed in the Red Mountains. What made Ser Gerold stay?

 

Was he obeying a direct order from Rhaegar to stay and protect his new family?

Was it because he recognized Rhaegar's son as legitimate and decided that the child needed an extra protector until his father had return from the Trident?

Or Rhaegar and Lyanna were Aerys's prisoners in the Tower of Joy, and the King ordered the White Bull not to return with Rhaegar because he knew that, of all his kingsguards, Gerold was the only one capable of obeying a cruel order (and that would make Rhaegar remain obedient)?

Or the White Bull, in telling James that he should not judge the king for killing Brandon and Rickard Stark, revealed his own inner thoughts via freudian slip, and from that point on an internal conflict took place, which culminated in a character change when Gerold finally met the pregnant sister and daughter of the men he silently watched being torture and die?

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I don't think we know what Hightower was doing or where he was in the time between Rhaegar's departure and Ned's arrival. He could have stayed at the ToJ but that is by no means certain. With Rhaegar, Aerys, and Aegon still alive Lyanna and her child shouldn't have been the Kingsguard's top priority, so I'd assume Ser Gerold left with Rhaegar and returned later.

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I think Rhaegar just commanded him to stay and he decided to follow that command. Hightower was present when Brandon and Rickard were so gruesomely executed, and maybe he was as conflicted about his vows as Jaime and Barristan are. Maybe he saw protecting Lyanna as an opportunity to somewhat redeem himself. 

What he told Jaime about not judging the king, it sounds like he was speaking from his own experience where he judged Aerys then tried to convince himself that his job was to protect the king, not judge his actions. Plus Gerold Hightower would have been in Aegon's V Kingsguard seeing as he was named Lord Commander, so on top of him possibly being at Summerhall the day it went up in flames, he must have witnessed and heard all sorts of shit (including in the small council) where he might have told himself that he was there to protect the king, counsel him as best as he could, and not judge him.

I wouldn't be surprised if his story doesn't mirror Jaime's in some ways and if he didn't see staying behind with Lyanna as a chance to return to the basics and try to redeem some of his honor in the process. 

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Those three Kingsguard were loyal and remained loyal to Aerys Targaryen.  Hightower was sent to force Rhaegar to fight.  Think about it.  The rebellion had already been fighting the royal forces for over a year and Rhaegar was not involved.  Aerys sent his KG to hold Lyanna and force Rhaegar to fight.  They would have taken her head if Aerys had ordered it.

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1 hour ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

Those three Kingsguard were loyal and remained loyal to Aerys Targaryen.  Hightower was sent to force Rhaegar to fight.  Think about it.  The rebellion had already been fighting the royal forces for over a year and Rhaegar was not involved.  Aerys sent his KG to hold Lyanna and force Rhaegar to fight.  They would have taken her head if Aerys had ordered it.

I could see this being the case with Hightower, although I suspect Whent and Dayne might have gone against Hightower if it came down to it. I do not think we will find out the answer though.

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Posted (edited)

The kingsguard of Aerys is just a bunch of hypocritical cunts who favorite hobby is to point fingers at other people, to deflect from their cowardice and lack of morality in obeying all kinds of monstruosity asked by Aerys.

Edited by Chancho

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2 hours ago, Chancho said:

The kingsguard of Aerys is just a bunch of hypocritical cunts who favorite hobby is to point fingers at other people, to deflect from their cowardice and lack of morality in obeying all kinds of monstruosity asked by Aerys.

They swore an oath to protect Aerys.  That is all that matters.  To right the world is not their job.  To protect its ruler is.  What is "Right" is very subjective.  Values are rarely universal when it comes to most subjects.  Hightower is a better man than Jaime Lannister.  

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2 hours ago, U. B. Cool said:

They swore an oath to protect Aerys.  That is all that matters.  To right the world is not their job.  To protect its ruler is.  What is "Right" is very subjective.  Values are rarely universal when it comes to most subjects.  Hightower is a better man than Jaime Lannister.  

i'm sure they did protect aerys with prayers and wishes all the way from Dorne...

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11 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

I think Rhaegar just commanded him to stay and he decided to follow that command.

Yes, apparently.

"But eventually his father sent Ser Gerold Hightower to recall Rhaegar to his duties, though Rhaegar ordered Ser Gerold, Ser Arthur, and Ser Oswell to keep guard over Lyanna in the south" (APP, Rhaegar Targaryen).

The white Bull doesn't have an entry of his own.

11 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Gerold Hightower would have been in Aegon's V Kingsguard seeing as he was named Lord Commander

Nice.

11 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

I wouldn't be surprised if his story doesn't mirror Jaime's in some ways and if he didn't see staying behind with Lyanna as a chance to return to the basics and try to redeem some of his honor in the process. 

That'd be a good parallel, since Jaime claims Gerold was a better man than him (ACOK, Catelyn VII). It did strike me when I was rereading that Jaime worships Gerold and Arthur because the memories he has were from when he was 15 years old. Were he older perhaps he saw the cracks in the heroes' marble statues.

7 hours ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

Aerys sent his KG to hold Lyanna and force Rhaegar to fight.  They would have taken her head if Aerys had ordered it.

Hightower likely would. However we have the app issue:

"But eventually his father sent Ser Gerold Hightower to recall Rhaegar to his duties, though Rhaegar ordered Ser Gerold, Ser Arthur, and Ser Oswell to keep guard over Lyanna in the south" (APP, Rhaegar Targaryen).

It looks like he was on Rhaegar's side. How come?

6 hours ago, nyser1 said:

I do not think we will find out the answer though.

What about what the app says?

4 hours ago, Chancho said:

The kingsguard of Aerys is just a bunch of hypocritical cunts who favorite hobby is to point fingers at other people, to deflect from their cowardice and lack of morality in obeying all kinds of monstruosity asked by Aerys.

Sweet Sandor, is that you? *Little bird wet eyes*

2 hours ago, U. B. Cool said:

They swore an oath to protect Aerys.  That is all that matters.  To right the world is not their job.  To protect its ruler is.  What is "Right" is very subjective.  Values are rarely universal when it comes to most subjects.  Hightower is a better man than Jaime Lannister.  

They did swear, and accordingo to Barristan:

  • ADWD, The Queensguard

The first duty of the Kingsguard was to defend the king from harm or threat. The white knights were sworn to obey the king's commands as well, to keep his secrets, counsel him when counsel was requested and keep silent when it was not, serve his pleasure and defend his name and honor. Strictly speaking, it was purely the king's choice whether or not to extend Kingsguard protection to others, even those of royal blood. Some kings thought it right and proper to dispatch Kingsguard to serve and defend their wives and children, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins of greater and lesser degree, and occasionally even their lovers, mistresses, and bastards. But others preferred to use household knights and men-at-arms for those purposes, whilst keeping their seven as their own personal guard, never far from their sides.

So it's more a matter of what the king feels fit than the kingsguard subjectivity.

Aerys sent Gerold to recall Rhaegar, but he instead of returning to King's Landing, to his King, he stayed. How come the most loyal kingsguard stood by Rhaegar's side?

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52 minutes ago, BRANDON GREYSTARK said:

He was only obeying orders .

Since you see things clearer, I would be pleased if you could share your thoughts regarding a number of question I have:

  • According to the app (semi-canon), Aerys ordered him to to "recall Rhaegar to his duties".

And then what, not come back? Was the Mad King ok with Rhaegar having Kingsguard's Lord Commandant? Was Aerys not expecting that Gerold would return?

  • The app resumes: "though Rhaegar ordered Ser Gerold, Ser Arthur, and Ser Oswell to keep guard over Lyanna in the south".

And then, in the lack of any further orders from Aerys, Gerold took orders from Rhaegar to stay? Or did he know that, although the king had not been explicit, Aerys expected him to return, but did he find this breach convenient to obey Rhaegar instead of his father?

  • Barristan said (canon) "The first duty of the Kingsguard was to defend the king from harm or threat ... Strictly speaking, it was purely the king's choice whether or not to extend Kingsguard protection to others, even those of royal blood."

Do we know what Aerys' choice was? We can make assumptions based on Whent and Dayne accompanying Rhaegar in the abduction of Lyanna, but can we be positive that they did not go rogue or something? Also, can we be sure that a member to which the kingsguard protection is not extended would retain the power to give orders to a given kingsguard?

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2 hours ago, Ckram said:

Since you see things clearer, I would be pleased if you could share your thoughts regarding a number of question I have:

  • According to the app (semi-canon), Aerys ordered him to to "recall Rhaegar to his duties".

And then what, not come back? Was the Mad King ok with Rhaegar having Kingsguard's Lord Commandant? Was Aerys not expecting that Gerold would return?

Given that the 3 KG clearly signify their continued loyalty to Aerys (not Rhaegar) in their conversation with Ned, it seems that Aerys did not directly order them to return.

I don't think its that unlikely. A simple to order to get Rhaegar back, without considering the after and explicitly telling Hightower to return with Rhaegar, its not an unreasonable possibility.

2 hours ago, Ckram said:
  • The app resumes: "though Rhaegar ordered Ser Gerold, Ser Arthur, and Ser Oswell to keep guard over Lyanna in the south".

And then, in the lack of any further orders from Aerys, Gerold took orders from Rhaegar to stay? Or did he know that, although the king had not been explicit, Aerys expected him to return, but did he find this breach convenient to obey Rhaegar instead of his father?

Possibly. Or perhaps Rhaegar made it a condition. Or perhaps the Hightower considered the explicit instruction to get Rhaegar to return more relevant than a merely possible implied wish for Hightower to return. 

2 hours ago, Ckram said:
  • Barristan said (canon) "The first duty of the Kingsguard was to defend the king from harm or threat ... Strictly speaking, it was purely the king's choice whether or not to extend Kingsguard protection to others, even those of royal blood."

Do we know what Aerys' choice was? We can make assumptions based on Whent and Dayne accompanying Rhaegar in the abduction of Lyanna, but can we be positive that they did not go rogue or something? Also, can we be sure that a member to which the kingsguard protection is not extended would retain the power to give orders to a given kingsguard?

We can not be sure. 
It seems a bit pointless to speculate in the absence of further information. We know Aerys ordered Hightower to get Rhaegar back. We know Rhaegar was in charge of the dispositions of the army and the KG after he returned (Jaime appealing to come with them and leave Darry, and Rhaegar explaining why he chose to leave Jaime behind and would not change that decision). I don't really see an issue with Hightower following Rhaegar's orders and not returning. We know he did that. There are several possibilities why, we can;t know which, but we can see that some at least are consistent with all we know.

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You seem to imply they were there for a long time.  I believe Gerold and Whent got there at the same time as Ned's party.  They were on a mission to find the Stark girl (they make good hostages for bargaining as repeated by Sansa's predicament) for King Aerys.  The king was already dead by the time they found her hiding place.  The Northmen got there soon after their arrival.  Hightower would have used Lyanna to bargain with the rebels on behalf of Prince Viserys if the boy was not already saved by Willem Darry.  They arrived at the tower but the mission was already obsolete because it was too late but they were still dedicated to apprehending Lyanna and using her to bargain with the rebels to put Viserys on the throne.  

 

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We have no idea what happened there. But it is quite clear that orders don't explain this. Or rather: We don't know why Gerold Hightower chose to obey whatever order he may have been given instead of returning at the side of his king where the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard actually belonged.

Regardless her status, for Lyanna a single KG would have been enough - just as Rhaenyra, the children of Aegon II or Myrcella also only got but a single KG for a sworn shield.

The best idea here is that Hightower felt better with the rather pointless duty of guarding Lyanna Stark than with the prospect of returning to KL and watching his king burn more (innocent) people. It would have offered him a way out of that hell without actually breaking his vows or betraying his king on a meaningful level.

If he had wanted to return to KL Rhaegar couldn't have prevented that.

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6 hours ago, Unit A2 said:

You seem to imply they were there for a long time.  I believe Gerold and Whent got there at the same time as Ned's party. 

Based on what?

6 hours ago, Unit A2 said:

They were on a mission to find the Stark girl (they make good hostages for bargaining as repeated by Sansa's predicament) for King Aerys.  The king was already dead by the time they found her hiding place.  The Northmen got there soon after their arrival.  Hightower would have used Lyanna to bargain with the rebels on behalf of Prince Viserys if the boy was not already saved by Willem Darry.  They arrived at the tower but the mission was already obsolete because it was too late but they were still dedicated to apprehending Lyanna and using her to bargain with the rebels to put Viserys on the throne.  

 

Note that Hightower was sent by Aerys to get Rhaegar back. Apparently pretty much straight after the Battle of the Bells, which was during the first half of the war (3-6 months or so in).

So your idea, founded on... nothing textual?... is that Rhaegar came back on his own without Hightower finding him (but relatively not long after Hightower was sent), and coincidentally, Hightower turns up at the place Rhaegar was, just before Ned, after 6 months or so of wandering?

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We have no idea what happened there. But it is quite clear that orders don't explain this. Or rather: We don't know why Gerold Hightower chose to obey whatever order he may have been given instead of returning at the side of his king where the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard actually belonged.

The LC of the KG goes where he is ordered to, just as any KG.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Regardless her status, for Lyanna a single KG would have been enough - just as Rhaenyra, the children of Aegon II or Myrcella also only got but a single KG for a sworn shield.

Because a KG bodyguard is purely symbolic, no matter what the situation. One KG alone in an abandoned tower in the marches is identical to 1 KG with an impregnable keep, a walled city and thousands of soldiers.
:rolleyes:

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

If he had wanted to return to KL Rhaegar couldn't have prevented that.

Sure. 
On the other hand, if he wanted to actually carry out his mission and get Rhaegar to return to KL, Rhaegar has quite a say...

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, corbon said:

Given that the 3 KG clearly signify their continued loyalty to Aerys (not Rhaegar) in their conversation with Ned, it seems that Aerys did not directly order them to return.

I don't think its that unlikely. A simple to order to get Rhaegar back, without considering the after and explicitly telling Hightower to return with Rhaegar, its not an unreasonable possibility.

Fair point regarding the lasting loyalty. However, When I speculated that Gerold might have an internal conflict over Aerys, I didn't bring about a change of loyalty, just a conflict of character. In other words, he'd have allowed himself to judge the king.

For instance, if we assume that Gerold had second thoughts upon seeing Lyanna pregnant, it would not be unreasonable to think that all Gerold wanted was not to be forced to watch people die under torture again.

Since Rhaegar had been thinking on a legal expedient to take his father away from the Throne, Gerold's loyalty would not have to be put to the test and then he was cool with such plans.

I know, wild especulation. But what am I supposed to do? Even Oswell Whent has an entry on the APP while Gerold doesn't.

12 hours ago, corbon said:

Possibly. Or perhaps Rhaegar made it a condition. Or perhaps the Hightower considered the explicit instruction to get Rhaegar to return more relevant than a merely possible implied wish for Hightower to return.

Nice point on the condition. Regarind the relevance, he would need to weight the king's expectations against Rhaegar's orders.

Accordingo to Barristan, "it was purely the king's choice whether or not to extend Kingsguard protection to others, even those of royal blood". If Gerold was asked to protect Lyanna by Rhaegar, then Rhaegar was ordering something only the king himself can command.

GRRM said the kingsguard are obliged to obey Rhaegar in a 2005 interview (semi-canon), but Barristan said that in a 2011 book (canon).

6 hours ago, Unit A2 said:

You seem to imply they were there for a long time. 

Regarding the KG's journey, I'm backed by canon and semi-canon sources. Which even contradict the theory that Lyanna was being taken prisoner by Aerys.

Edited by Ckram
Included "Rhaegar" for clarification

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Regardless her status, for Lyanna a single KG would have been enough - just as Rhaenyra, the children of Aegon II or Myrcella also only got but a single KG for a sworn shield.

Here I have to side with Corbon.

We saw what happened to Prince Maelor being guarded solely by Sor Rickard Thorne in the field.

I'm not saying the circunstances are identical. Just arguing that we cannot compare the Red Keep to the The Tower of Joy,

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It would have offered him a way out of that hell without actually breaking his vows or betraying his king on a meaningful level.

Besides, It seems Rhaegar himself was looking for a legal way out. "I mean to call a council. Changes will be made."

33 minutes ago, corbon said:

On the other hand, if he wanted to actually carry out his mission and get Rhaegar to return to KL, Rhaegar has quite a say...

I did not understand. What you mean?

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35 minutes ago, corbon said:

The LC of the KG goes where he is ordered to, just as any KG.

Yeah, and once he has done his duty one assumes he returns to his king.

Quote

Because a KG bodyguard is purely symbolic, no matter what the situation. One KG alone in an abandoned tower in the marches is identical to 1 KG with an impregnable keep, a walled city and thousands of soldiers.
:rolleyes:

It still feels like a ridiculous overkill to assign three KG, the Lord Commander among them, to just one woman.

Quote

Sure. 
On the other hand, if he wanted to actually carry out his mission and get Rhaegar to return to KL, Rhaegar has quite a say...

Not really. I mean, Dany banished Jorah yet the guy found some dwarf-shaped pretext and came back. If Hightower had wanted to return to KL and ensure that Rhaegar went back, he could have accomplished both those things. In fact, he could have followed Rhaegar back to court a mere day's ride behind.

There is no need for far-fetched speculation. It is pretty simple. Rhaegar went back to KL because he wanted to, and Hightower and the others stayed with Lyanna because they wanted to do that, too.

20 minutes ago, Ckram said:

Fair point regarding the lasting loyalty. However, When I speculated that Gerold might have an internal conflict over Aerys, I didn't bring about a change of loyalty, just a conflict of character. In other words, he'd have allowed himself to judge the king.

The conversation with Ned is a fever dream conversation the author himself doesn't take particularly seriously. And it is from AGoT where there is no indication that Aerys II and Rhaegar did not get along - that only creeps into the story in ASoS, ADwD, and especially TWoIaF.

One cannot really cite the fever dream and say this must reflect or contain all the intricate details George came up with or elaborated on later (and it is quite clear that Rhaegar not being fine with Aerys II's government is a later development based on the fact that Rhaegar as a sane guy shouldn't have considered his dad's insane ways all that smart or praiseworthy to put it mildly.

Quote

For instance, if we assume that Gerold had second thoughts upon seeing Lyanna pregnant, it would not be unreasonable to think that all Gerold wanted was not to be forced to watch people die under torture again.

One can imagine that Hightower may have even volunteered for the task to protect Lyanna. Him wanting to do this is, in essence, much more likely than there being some reason which forced him to do this against his will.

If he had wanted to return to Aerys II he could have easily have taken Rhaegar by force or he could have lied to Rhaegar to follow a day's ride behind him.

The whole matter gets even more complicated if we take a step back and memorize who Ser Gerold Hightower actually was and how unlikely it is that he rode without a (sizable) retinue. If he had arrived with a contingent of sword swords, retainers, squires, etc. - which he should have done considering that it was war and both he and the Prince of Dragonstone might be in need of protection on their way back - then it should have been rather easy to take Rhaegar back by force.

All such things simply disappear if one assumes Hightower may have wanted to get away from Aerys II.

Quote

Since Rhaegar had been thinking on a legal expedient to take his father away from the Throne, Gerold's loyalty would not have to be put to the test and then he was cool with such plans.

One certainly can make a case that the attempt to depose a king or force him to accept a regency is treason. And if Rhaegar was a traitor then it is quite clear where the Lord Commander and the entire Kingsguard would have to stand. Aerys II may have been a mad lunatic, but he didn't really persecute and kill his own family the same way, say, Maegor the Cruel did. Not did he gain his throne by usurping it.

There is no legal precedent in Westeros for a forced regency or a deposition on the grounds of madness - there is only a single precedent for a regency while the king was physically incapacitated (during Aegon II's poppy dreams). It is clear that Rhaegar would have quickly been installed as Prince Regent if Aerys II had fallen into a coma or had become so incoherent that nobody could make sense of his words or intentions, but it apparently never came to that.

But considering that Hightower actually must have known about the fears of Aerys II and his advisers (he himself sat on the Small Council, after all) in relation to Rhaegar's intentions back before Harrenhal it is quite clear that he must have known or suspected something about Rhaegar's ultimate goal - and if he did then his decision not to return to KL is definitely a statement against King Aerys II (unless Aerys II was actually the guy who ordered the KG to guard Lyanna - which is clearly not off the table at this point).

Quote

Nice point on the condition. Regarind the relevance, he would need to weight the king's expectations against Rhaegar's orders.

Accordingo to Barristan, "it was purely the king's choice whether or not to extend Kingsguard protection to others, even those of royal blood". If Gerold was asked to protect Lyanna by Rhaegar, then Rhaegar was ordering something only the king himself can command.

GRRM said the kingsguard are obliged to obey in a 2005 interview (semi-canon), but Barristan said that in a 2011 book (canon).

We see KG following the orders of a lot of various people in FaB, so it is certainly possible that a Prince of Dragonstone could order some KG to do something. The question here just depends what kind of man Ser Gerold Hightower was. Was he team Aerys II or team Rhaegar? We do know there were two parties at court at the time of Harrenhal, and nothing indicates that Hightower was, at that time, in team Rhaegar. If Gerold Hightower did not want to obey a command given to him by Rhaegar then he certainly could do that. He was the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and as such technically obliged to only obey the king himself and his legal representatives (especially the Hand, but also other members of the royal family or the king's government). But Rhaegar was basically a deserter or half-traitor who had fled court for reasons the readers don't yet fully understand. Even if Hightower was technically positively inclined toward Rhaegar it is difficult to believe he would have been willing to follow his orders if he himself wanted to return to court. And since Rhaegar had no way of knowing what kind of order Aerys II gave to Hightower when he left he could easily enough have just silenced Rhaegar and his buddies by claiming the king had commanded him to find Rhaegar, bring him back, and return himself to court immediately.

But in general we see how inventive and flexible to the point of treason Kingsguard can be. Just think of Marston Waters' ridiculous arguments why the Kingsguard do not have to obey the king. Waters actually presumed to besiege the king in his own castle.

The best example, though, is Barristan Selmy in ADwD. He uses the pretext that Dany has never formally included Hizdahr zo Loraq in KG protection to actually move against the king consort and arrest him. Selmy doesn't care what his queen wanted him to do, he just used a loophole to do what he wanted to do. If it turned out (it won't, of course, but it technically could) that Hizdahr was completely innocent and had had always Dany and Meereen's best interests at heart then his move against him was treason - and should result in him being fed to Drogon upon Dany's return. The situation would even be more dire for him if Hizdahr were to die while he was in Selmy's custody.

In that sense, the idea that George imagines (and is going to write) Hightower as one-dimensional moron who is not going to be motivated by his own desires and values and instead just more or less following orders is not particularly likely.

At this point, though, we have no way of properly resolving this question.

34 minutes ago, Ckram said:

Here I have to side with Corbon.

We saw what happened to Prince Maelor being guarded solely by Sor Rickard Thorne in the field.

I'm not saying the circunstances are identical. Just arguing that we cannot compare the Red Keep to the The Tower of Joy,

The comparison doesn't fit, anyway, since Lyanna Stark was no princess of the blood. She had no royal blood herself. She was either a mistress or the wife of a prince. We know that those (as well as bastards) also had KG protection under certain kings, but it is still the case that it is very odd to assume that both a king or a prince would want to assign three KG to a prince's wife in the middle of a war while crucial members of the royal family did not have KG protection.

This is overkill on the KG level - it is certainly also odd/nonsensical to not assign a proper garrison to Lyanna but that's a separate question.

34 minutes ago, Ckram said:

Besides, It seems Rhaegar himself was looking for a legal way out. "I mean to call a council. Changes will be made."

As I think I laid out above those wouldn't have been 'a legal way out'. We know that Great Councils are convened by the king or the Hand as the King's Voice (the first one was convened by King Jaehaerys I and the second by Bloodraven acting as the Hand of the late King Maekar). The group of lords who chose new regents and a Hand for King Aegon III in 136 AC were just an informal gathering of lords, discussing issues in legal vacuum after the old order had broken down.

Rhaegar certainly could have tried to repeat the 136 AC gathering at Harrenhal (or later after he had won the war) but while people realized that Aerys II had mental issues it is quite clear that Westeros has no legal means to depose a king.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ckram said:

I did not understand. What you mean?

1. We are told Hightower's mission is to get Rhaegar to return to KL - and he appears to have succeeded in that mission.

2. We know Rhaegar, when he returned, was in charge of dispositions of the KG and army.

3. From what we know, it appears that Hightower effectively took Rhaegar's place with Lyanna. 

If Rhaegar tells Hightower that he will only return to KL and take command there iff (mathematical term, not spelling error) Hightower agrees to stay in Rhaegar's place, then how does Hightower fulfill his mission to get Rhaegar to return?
By agreeing. 

That is not disloyalty to Aerys, its fulfilling his mission. 

Heck, even if you think this is disloyalty, look at the fact that Rhaegar controls dispositions when he returns. Hightower may have known Rhaegar would have that power anyway, just as an example. He may have even been the one investing that power in Rhaegar, by the King's order (speculative, but possible and fits with the facts we have so far).
It is entirely speculative, from people who ignore inconvenient facts, that Hightower must have felt he 'should' return to KL in the first place!

Of course, it may also have been possible for Hightower to simply lie, agree to take Rhaegar's place, then follow him a day behind. Or take Rhaegar by force. It takes a certain kind of intellect to think that these are realistic options, but that kind of intellect does exist.

Quote

 

Nice point on the condition. Regarind the relevance, he would need to weight the king's expectations against Rhaegar's orders.

Perhaps. Or perhaps not. It depends on how much power Rhaegar is authorised to wield.
We did see later that Rhaegar appears to be authorised to wield full power over the KG and the army. 

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Accordingo to Barristan, "it was purely the king's choice whether or not to extend Kingsguard protection to others, even those of royal blood". If Gerold was asked to protect Lyanna by Rhaegar, then Rhaegar was ordering something only the king himself can command.

I'm not entirely sure on that. Sure, the King can effectively keep all the KG to himself, but having parceled any particular KG out, that KG is required to follow orders from their legitimate hierarchy, so long as they do not involve endangering the King.

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GRRM said the kingsguard are obliged to obey Rhaegar in a 2005 interview (semi-canon), but Barristan said that in a 2011 book (canon).

Right, but the two can be reconciled comfortably, so long as you are not a moron. I mean, if the King tells KG X that their job is to guard person Y, than that person Y, depending on circumstances, may well have some authority of their own over that KG - the King and/or LC won't be there to react to events and or make every decision for the KG.

I would expect Rhaegar, as an adult Crown Prince, to have such authority. He can order around the KG assigned to him as he sees fit, so long as he does not give them orders which endanger the King. And they have to obey his orders.
Heck, we even saw him ordering around the Kg not assigned to him (Jaime/Darry situation). 
I would not expect Myrcella, for example, a minor, to have such authority (at least not true authority).

Edited by corbon

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