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The Jingo

What if Rhaegar had survived the Battle of the Trident?

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Canonically, this particular battle is a turning point. Rhaegar was killed and the royalist army collapsed, opening the way to King's Landing.

Yet I have to wonder, what if Rhaegar lived?

There are a bunch of different scenarios where this could occur:

1) Rhaegar lost the Trident, but survived.

2) Rhaegar won the Trident, but none of the rebel leaders died.

3) Rhaegar killed Robert and won the Trident

4) Rhaegar killed Robert but lost the Trident

And so on and so forth. I won't say there's a huge number of possibilities, but I do think we can make some broad statements:

- I think that if Robert had died then Stannis would be crowned  rebel leader, regardless of if the Trident was won or lost.

- I think if the royalists had won the Trident they'd have enough breathing room to displace Aerys

- I think if Rhaegar is not a rapist but actually loved Lyanna (not a sure thing) that he would offer terms to the rebels after the Trident, regardless of if he had won or lost

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I like this conversation and the options put forth for speculation.   Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe most of Rhaegar's true supporters (thinking Connington and Martel foremost here) were already gone or dead by the time Rhaegar met up with Robert?   I always wondered why Rhaegar even bothered to meet up with his rival at the Trident?   The odds were not in his favor.  There is no way Rhaegar could have stood against Robert in a simple 1:1 physical contest, armor be damned.  This does not sit right with me.    The rebels had to be dealt with eventually, but they seemed especially strong at this point.   Why not wait it out and let the foe numbers thin?   Rhaegar had no real support at the time.   Why meet in battle instead of trying diplomacy?  Gads, we know Robert can be talked to and with.  Wouldn't have been smarter to call for a treaty?   Was Rhaegar really that dumb?  No, I gotta believe he thought he had something up his sleeve.   He just wasn't that fabulous a fighter to go up against Robert.   

Back to your scenario...what if?  I have to check my conclusions against what history tells us.  Rhaegar was not the only heir and may have even been disinherited by the time he got to the Trident.  This says that Rhaegar himself was not the key to taking control of anything.   Aerys' death controlled everything.   Aerys' death created the void for (insert any name here) to fill.   Of course, if Rhaegar won all, the Trident and killed Robert, would it even matter if he was in fact disinherited?   We would have lousy freaking Viserys as king, with little Dany to follow as his sister wife.  Then we could have had a dance of Targaryens and who would come out on top there among the nobility?   

Had the war continued, I doubt Stannis would be crowned anything and expect the whole thing would fizzle out eventually so far as non-Targ rebellion goes.  Lyanna would have still died in childbirth, but had Rhaegar lived, Jon would have had a very interesting story in his true identity.   If Rhaegar won all and events still unfolded as they did at Kings Landing (death and more death), who would support him?  Jon Arryn was a big player in the rebellion, but he was also a diplomat.  He would have used all his influence for peace.  Would that be enough to prevent another civil war?  

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13 hours ago, The Jingo said:

1) Rhaegar lost the Trident, but survived.

I don't think anything would really change. By that point the rebels already wanted to crown Robert, and in his hatred he would clearly kill Rhaegar.

13 hours ago, The Jingo said:

2) Rhaegar won the Trident, but none of the rebel leaders died.

The rebels lose the initiative forever and are kicked out of Westeros proper. Tywin and Quelon join the loyalists, the Tully's are permanently screwed and Storm's end and the Stormlands falls to the loyalists. At this point only the North and the Vale stand against House Targaryen. In the meantime using the prestige from winning the war, Rhaegar probably deposes Aerys. At that point he would use the truth about Lyanna and the fact that Aerys is no longer king to settle a peace with the rebels. In all likeliness, Starks and Arryns go unpunished while The Tully's retain Riverrun but lose the Lord Paramountship of the Trident (Rhaegar would have to somehow smash the marriage web). Robert however, given that he wasn't trying to bring down an unjust king but rather usurp the Throne, would probably be sent to the Wall. Would be really interested to see what would happen to Jon. Probably he would have the same status in KL as in Winterfell (a bastard raised like a trueborn son)

13 hours ago, The Jingo said:

3) Rhaegar killed Robert and won the Trident

Exact same thing only faster. After the Trident Rhaegar would offer kind terms to the rebels. After that he would march on KL, and with support of the former rebels, and basically every loyalist who isn't Varys he would easily dethrone Aerys and mend the Kingdom.

 

13 hours ago, The Jingo said:

4) Rhaegar killed Robert but lost the Trident

I find this hard to believe, given how much the duel influenced the battle. Still for the sake of argument, at that point losing the Trident meant total defeat for the loyalists. This scenario has 2 sub-scenarios.

Case 1: Rhaegar is captured. This case starts the same, Tywin does the same shenanigans, and Rhaenys and Aegon are dead. In this timeline given that Rhaegar had his kids murdered, leaving house Targaryen on the Throne would be horrific new for several major houses so Rhaegar is either executed or sent to the Wall. Stannis becomes king and marries Cersei, which is something I would really like to see, given how fast Cersei would get her comeuppance in this scenario

Case 2: Rhaegar manages to retreat to KL with the remnants of his army. Upon finding out of the wildfire plot he would probably depose Aerys very quickly. When Tywin comes he would probably bar the gates and wait for the rebels to arrive. When they do he would come to them for terms. With Robert and Aerys dead, a Great Council would probably be held where The Reach, Dorne, The Crownlands, a good part of the Riverlands and Stormlands as well as the North (Ya'know, Lyanna) would support Rhaegar. I think Rhaegar would win at the Great Council and be named King. He would have the support of a large chunk of the realm with most other (except maybe Tywin) being amiable to him. So yeah as before Rhaegar would be King and start mending the Kingdom.

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Maybe if he survived he would have faked his death and made his way to the wall and joined the NW under an assumed name to keep an eye on his wee bairn being raised by an uncle Rhaegar only half trusts.

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21 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

I like this conversation and the options put forth for speculation.   Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe most of Rhaegar's true supporters (thinking Connington and Martel foremost here) were already gone or dead by the time Rhaegar met up with Robert?

If I'm not mistaken I am under the impression that Rhaegar had a broad or sort of 'generic' support. For instance, if you asked Mace Tyrell who he was fighting for and he was purely honest, he would probably say "Rhaegar". And I know you mean more specifically something like supporters at court rather than the general feelings of the loyalists, but even then I think Rhaegar had a relatively decent amount of power. The Kingsguard for instance seem to obey him rather than Aerys given how a good half of them were lurking around the Tower of Joy at Rhaegar's command rather than serving the King.

(And given how paranoid Aerys was and the talk of disinheriting Rhaegar, I think we can probably assume that Aerys would not have sent half his Kingsguard to guard Rhaegar's mistress)

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I always wondered why Rhaegar even bothered to meet up with his rival at the Trident?   The odds were not in his favor.  There is no way Rhaegar could have stood against Robert in a simple 1:1 physical contest, armor be damned.  This does not sit right with me.    The rebels had to be dealt with eventually, but they seemed especially strong at this point.   Why not wait it out and let the foe numbers thin?   Rhaegar had no real support at the time. 

I would say the reason that Rhaegar fought at the Trident was for the strategic position. If the royalists defeated the rebels there then they've trapped the rebels above the Green Fork. The only two crossings of the Green Fork are at the Ruby Ford and the Twins. The defeated rebels must either try to force another crossing at the ford or march back North and cross at the Twins. Either option gives the royalists significant breathing room.

And I would also say that Rhaegar did have support. Based on his last conversation with Jaime I'd say his plan was to win at the Trident then return to King's Landing to usurp Aerys and then try to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the rebels.

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Why meet in battle instead of trying diplomacy?  Gads, we know Robert can be talked to and with.  Wouldn't have been smarter to call for a treaty?   Was Rhaegar really that dumb?  No, I gotta believe he thought he had something up his sleeve.   He just wasn't that fabulous a fighter to go up against Robert.   

This is actually one of the reasons I tend to say rapist!Rhaegar has some justification. He could have tried diplomacy at any time and simply produced Lyanna to take the wind out of at least the Northern army's sails.

But theoretically at this point Rhaegar might be thinking that he needs to break the rebel momentum. A victory at the Trident would not end the rebel cause, but he needs to have a tangible victory against Robert - who is the other would-be king in Westeros. Defeating Robert in the field and then usurping Aerys would give him a stronger negotiating position than simply trying to come to terms with the rebels who have until now enjoyed ever increasing momentum.

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Back to your scenario...what if?  I have to check my conclusions against what history tells us.  Rhaegar was not the only heir and may have even been disinherited by the time he got to the Trident.  This says that Rhaegar himself was not the key to taking control of anything.   Aerys' death controlled everything.   Aerys' death created the void for (insert any name here) to fill.   Of course, if Rhaegar won all, the Trident and killed Robert, would it even matter if he was in fact disinherited?   We would have lousy freaking Viserys as king, with little Dany to follow as his sister wife.  Then we could have had a dance of Targaryens and who would come out on top there among the nobility?   

I don't think it would make much of a difference. Rhaegar planned to usurp Aerys anyway. So most likely he would have returned to the city and had his father imprisoned or killed, and I doubt even if Aerys proclaimed Viserys his heir that Rhaella would go along with it. She's probably simply deny the crown in Viserys' name.

Viserys of course would remain a possible threat in later years as a pretender, but during the Rebellion he's only a child with no one actually championing him.

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Had the war continued, I doubt Stannis would be crowned anything and expect the whole thing would fizzle out eventually so far as non-Targ rebellion goes.  Lyanna would have still died in childbirth, but had Rhaegar lived, Jon would have had a very interesting story in his true identity.   If Rhaegar won all and events still unfolded as they did at Kings Landing (death and more death), who would support him?  Jon Arryn was a big player in the rebellion, but he was also a diplomat.  He would have used all his influence for peace.  Would that be enough to prevent another civil war?   

Well the rebels had agreed that Robert would be their king because of his royal blood, and Robert had two male line heirs in Stannis and Renly.

I don't think that the rebels would necessarily fight on in Stannis' name to victory, but I do think they'd proclaim Stannis as king simply to ensure unity among the rebel forces. They would do it with an eye on possibly negotiating a settlement, but they would crown him.

Remember that from the rebel point of view Aerys is mad yes, but Rhaegar is accused of abduction and rape and hasn't made any efforts so far to reach out to the rebels and deny that claim. Unless Rhaegar offers negotiations immediately after a victory at the Trident, there is still a period of several moons where Rhaegar marches back down to King's Landing to usurp Aerys before trying to negotiate. In the meantime Stannis is probably proclaimed king simply to keep the rebels together.

20 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

I don't think anything would really change. By that point the rebels already wanted to crown Robert, and in his hatred he would clearly kill Rhaegar.

This is untrue if simply for the reality that while Robert hates Rhaegar and is crowned a rebel king, if Rhaegar wanted to negotiate they would probably at least meet under parlay. Robert might not be willing to kneel to Rhaegar, but Jon Arryn and Ned Stark might if Rhaegar made the right assurances (namely provided proof that Lyanna was not abducted and that he was willing to make concessions).

If Rhaegar lost but survived the Trident, the royalist cause isn't over. The Tyrells still have a large and mostly untouched army, and while Tywin would be hard to deal with I think that Rhaegar could buy him if he was willing to make the right deal (Jaime released from the Kingsguard, Aerys dead, Elia set aside and Cersei married to Rhaegar, Tywin as Hand of the King, a betrothal between Aegon and one of Cersei's daughters, ect).

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The rebels lose the initiative forever and are kicked out of Westeros proper. Tywin and Quelon join the loyalists, the Tully's are permanently screwed and Storm's end and the Stormlands falls to the loyalists. At this point only the North and the Vale stand against House Targaryen. In the meantime using the prestige from winning the war, Rhaegar probably deposes Aerys. At that point he would use the truth about Lyanna and the fact that Aerys is no longer king to settle a peace with the rebels. In all likeliness, Starks and Arryns go unpunished while The Tully's retain Riverrun but lose the Lord Paramountship of the Trident (Rhaegar would have to somehow smash the marriage web). Robert however, given that he wasn't trying to bring down an unjust king but rather usurp the Throne, would probably be sent to the Wall. Would be really interested to see what would happen to Jon. Probably he would have the same status in KL as in Winterfell (a bastard raised like a trueborn son)

I think similar to above. If the rebels lost but all the leaders survived then their cause isn't dead. The rebels would lose momentum but they wouldn't be defeated forever unless the Battle of the Trident was a complete and utter rout with the entire rebel army destroyed. Otherwise the rebels have to retreat but remain a threat. The Stormlands are probably lost but the rebels still hold the Riverlands above the Green Fork and depending on Walder Frey (who I think would go rebel if Hoster swallowed his pride and agreed to marry one of his daughters to Edmure) they might be able to use the crossing at the Twins to cross and fight for the southern Riverlands.

There is also the possibility that Jon Arryn convinces Robert to marry Cersei (probably saying something like "You can set her aside after the war if Lyanna is found, or you can have two brides, or ect") to gain Tywin's allegiance. Things go harder for the rebels but they can still fight and possibly still even win.

I doubt they would have to, simply because King Rhaegar would probably negotiate. But it would be some form of settlement rather than Rhaegar just going "Okay lemme just dispose all you guys and send all these doodz to the Wall even though I don't have actual military superiority yet". Especially since he doesn't actually need to smash the marriage web, just get his foot in the door himself. He could marry Lyanna (though she probably dies later), legitimize Jon (providing a blood tie to the Starks), offer his children or his siblings as spouses for Robb/Edmure/Renly/Sansa/ect. Tying all the families to his own like this actually has the amusing result of isolating Tywin from everybody else.

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Exact same thing only faster. After the Trident Rhaegar would offer kind terms to the rebels. After that he would march on KL, and with support of the former rebels, and basically every loyalist who isn't Varys he would easily dethrone Aerys and mend the Kingdom.

Agreed except I think that he'd try to take advantage of the marriage web even faster. Betroth Rhaenys to Robb and state his intent to marry Lyanna to get the North and Riverlands onside immediately. Stannis and Renly are unable to be a threat while under siege and Tywin is a wild factor, so he could offer pardons and marriages and basically steal the rebel army and make it his own before anyone gets any ideas of crowning Stannis.

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I find this hard to believe, given how much the duel influenced the battle. Still for the sake of argument, at that point losing the Trident meant total defeat for the loyalists. This scenario has 2 sub-scenarios.

Case 1: Rhaegar is captured. This case starts the same, Tywin does the same shenanigans, and Rhaenys and Aegon are dead. In this timeline given that Rhaegar had his kids murdered, leaving house Targaryen on the Throne would be horrific new for several major houses so Rhaegar is either executed or sent to the Wall. Stannis becomes king and marries Cersei, which is something I would really like to see, given how fast Cersei would get her comeuppance in this scenario

Case 2: Rhaegar manages to retreat to KL with the remnants of his army. Upon finding out of the wildfire plot he would probably depose Aerys very quickly. When Tywin comes he would probably bar the gates and wait for the rebels to arrive. When they do he would come to them for terms. With Robert and Aerys dead, a Great Council would probably be held where The Reach, Dorne, The Crownlands, a good part of the Riverlands and Stormlands as well as the North (Ya'know, Lyanna) would support Rhaegar. I think Rhaegar would win at the Great Council and be named King. He would have the support of a large chunk of the realm with most other (except maybe Tywin) being amiable to him. So yeah as before Rhaegar would be King and start mending the Kingdom.

I don't think the royalist cause died until Rhaegar did, and since Rhaegar lives I don't think Tywin would take the risk of totally committing to the rebels by taking part in the Sack. Or at the least, I don't see the Sack ending with the result of killing Elia and all her children. Tywin would probably instead take them into custody. This way he keeps his feet in both camps. To the rebels he can say "I took King's Landing and got rid of Aerys", while to Rhaegar he can say "I got rid of Aerys and made safe the city". He'd probably try to remain a wildcard and use his position to maximize profit.

Rhaegar's capture and Robert's death I also think opens the route for the rebels to make demands on Rhaegar while still preserving the dynasty. At this poiint they might say "Well Robert is dead and Stannis and Renly are under siege, and we have the popular throne heir right here", and then agree to let Rhaegar be King as long as he gives them a bunch of stuff like betrothals and council appointments and maybe a decree against Targaryen incest and ect, ect.

20 hours ago, Jay21 said:

Maybe if he survived he would have faked his death and made his way to the wall and joined the NW under an assumed name to keep an eye on his wee bairn being raised by an uncle Rhaegar only half trusts.

I don't consider this a serious possibility. Even if Rhaegar utterly lost the Throne, he's more likely to go into exile in Essos.

Edited by The Jingo

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30 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

This is untrue if simply for the reality that while Robert hates Rhaegar and is crowned a rebel king, if Rhaegar wanted to negotiate they would probably at least meet under parlay. Robert might not be willing to kneel to Rhaegar, but Jon Arryn and Ned Stark might if Rhaegar made the right assurances (namely provided proof that Lyanna was not abducted and that he was willing to make concessions).

I don't think that in the event of Rhaegar's capture Robert would show him any mercy. At this point he had crowned himself king which is the point of no return. Even if Robert and Rhaegar wanted to make peace whoever became king would face permanent opposition who would try to crown the other. After Robert crowned himself king, either him or Rhaegar had to go. Plus I doubt that after all that happened Ned and Jon would betray Robert at the first chance of a very bad peace when they had just decisively won the war.

 

34 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

If Rhaegar lost but survived the Trident, the royalist cause isn't over. The Tyrells still have a large and mostly untouched army, and while Tywin would be hard to deal with I think that Rhaegar could buy him if he was willing to make the right deal (Jaime released from the Kingsguard, Aerys dead, Elia set aside and Cersei married to Rhaegar, Tywin as Hand of the King, a betrothal between Aegon and one of Cersei's daughters, ect).

Not really. In case of a defeat, the only remaining army would be the Reach vs Stormlands, Vale, North and Riverlands (and very soon Westerlands and Iron Isles). Plus the Reach really tried (and succeeded) to not really do anything (they could have stormed Storm's End at any time, no pun intended). As for Tywin why would he join the losing side when he could get the exact same deal from the winners.

 

37 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

think similar to above. If the rebels lost but all the leaders survived then their cause isn't dead. The rebels would lose momentum but they wouldn't be defeated forever unless the Battle of the Trident was a complete and utter rout with the entire rebel army destroyed. Otherwise the rebels have to retreat but remain a threat. The Stormlands are probably lost but the rebels still hold the Riverlands above the Green Fork and depending on Walder Frey (who I think would go rebel if Hoster swallowed his pride and agreed to marry one of his daughters to Edmure) they might be able to use the crossing at the Twins to cross and fight for the southern Riverlands.

You forget that good ol Walder was keeping his army just behind the rebels at the Trident. If Rhaegar won, Hoster wouldn't have time to negotiate cause Walder would immediately massacre all the retreating rebels (probably after that demanding The Riverlands). So yeah, if they lost at the Trident the rebels wouldn't have any military power left and would be forced to retreat behind Moat Cailin and The Bloody Gate. Hoster and Stannis however would be left to face the Targ wrath (plus given their weak loyalties it's clear most of the Riverlands and Stormlands would jump ship). So yeah after Storm's End falls and the Reach joins the loyalist army, the rebels no longer have any offensive capabilities.

44 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

Agreed except I think that he'd try to take advantage of the marriage web even faster. Betroth Rhaenys to Robb and state his intent to marry Lyanna to get the North and Riverlands onside immediately. Stannis and Renly are unable to be a threat while under siege and Tywin is a wild factor, so he could offer pardons and marriages and basically steal the rebel army and make it his own before anyone gets any ideas of crowning Stannis.

He wouldn't have to do that. For the rebels there are two options at that point. Support Rhaegar and get off almost scott free or refuse to support him and face Aerys's fire.

50 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

I don't think the royalist cause died until Rhaegar did, and since Rhaegar lives I don't think Tywin would take the risk of totally committing to the rebels by taking part in the Sack. Or at the least, I don't see the Sack ending with the result of killing Elia and all her children. Tywin would probably instead take them into custody. This way he keeps his feet in both camps. To the rebels he can say "I took King's Landing and got rid of Aerys", while to Rhaegar he can say "I got rid of Aerys and made safe the city". He'd probably try to remain a wildcard and use his position to maximize profit.

Rhaegar's capture and Robert's death I also think opens the route for the rebels to make demands on Rhaegar while still preserving the dynasty. At this poiint they might say "Well Robert is dead and Stannis and Renly are under siege, and we have the popular throne heir right here", and then agree to let Rhaegar be King as long as he gives them a bunch of stuff like betrothals and council appointments and maybe a decree against Targaryen incest and ect, ect.

Come to think about it, I think you're right about the Sack so yeah, if Robert died even if the rebels won the battle Rhaegar would still be king, though a much weaker king.

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5 minutes ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

I don't think that in the event of Rhaegar's capture Robert would show him any mercy. At this point he had crowned himself king which is the point of no return. Even if Robert and Rhaegar wanted to make peace whoever became king would face permanent opposition who would try to crown the other. After Robert crowned himself king, either him or Rhaegar had to go. Plus I doubt that after all that happened Ned and Jon would betray Robert at the first chance of a very bad peace when they had just decisively won the war.

Apologies, I forgot the portion about this occurring after Rhaegar lost at the Trident but lived. I was focused too much on the "Robert hate" factor and in my mind I defaulted to Rhaegar offering parlay before the battle.

Yes, I'd say you're mostly right here. Robert might not kill Rhaegar immediately if simply because he wants to have Lyanna's location out of him. Rhaegar I think would live long enough for Lyanna to be reclaimed (dead or alive) and then executed.

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Not really. In case of a defeat, the only remaining army would be the Reach vs Stormlands, Vale, North and Riverlands (and very soon Westerlands and Iron Isles). Plus the Reach really tried (and succeeded) to not really do anything (they could have stormed Storm's End at any time, no pun intended). As for Tywin why would he join the losing side when he could get the exact same deal from the winners.

Those regions weren't unified. Part of the Vale, the Riverlands, and the Stormlands all remained loyal to the Targaryens. Only the North was actually unified behind the rebellion. A rebel victory at the Trident would sway the Greyjoys into siding with them, but I still maintain that Tywin is too much of an opportunist to throw himself so firmly in the rebel camp. He'd try to get the best deal, and a Rhaegar that lost the Trident but escaped might be the best person to shake a deal with.

There's also the possibility of Rheagar caving to the Tyrells. The Tyrells of course sieged Storm's End and really didn't want to get involved, but that doesn't mean they'd totally refuse. If Rhaegar sent a raven saying something like "I'll betroth Margaery to Aegon if you take Stannis and Renly as hostages" would probably be enough to convince Mace to order the walls of the castle stormed that very same day. Which wouldn't be enough to save the war effort but would help shore up the Targaryen position.

Don't get me wrong, a loss at the Trident puts Rhaegar in a bad position, but not a totally unsalvageable one if he puts his brain to work and makes the right choices.

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You forget that good ol Walder was keeping his army just behind the rebels at the Trident. If Rhaegar won, Hoster wouldn't have time to negotiate cause Walder would immediately massacre all the retreating rebels (probably after that demanding The Riverlands). So yeah, if they lost at the Trident the rebels wouldn't have any military power left and would be forced to retreat behind Moat Cailin and The Bloody Gate. Hoster and Stannis however would be left to face the Targ wrath (plus given their weak loyalties it's clear most of the Riverlands and Stormlands would jump ship). So yeah after Storm's End falls and the Reach joins the loyalist army, the rebels no longer have any offensive capabilities.

I disagree. I think Walder would have refused to give battle to the rebels but would have sworn to the Targaryens at that point. Remember that House Frey can only must around 4000 soldiers. Unless Rhaegar absolutely wrecked the rebels at the Trident and utterly routed all their hosts then the rebel forces would outnumber the Freys by a significant degree (the royalists had 40,000 at the Trident, and the rebels had 'less', but it can't be too much less or they wouldn't have been able to hold the crossing). Like five or six times their host, and I think Walder would be too cowardly to take that kind of risk.

Perhaps Walder would give battle if Rhaegar pursued the rebels after the Trident with the intent of forcing a battle of annihilation, but I'm not sure Rhaegar would do that. He is still ostensibly looking to usurp the throne and could consider at least Ned Stark a possible ally given his marriage to Lyanna (and he might want to preserve the Starks as a counterbalance to the Martells).

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He wouldn't have to do that. For the rebels there are two options at that point. Support Rhaegar and get off almost scott free or refuse to support him and face Aerys's fire. 

Yes, he wouldn't have to do that since unless they intend to crown Stannis and fight on the rebels have to negotiate a surrender. I'm saying it's smart politics. Unless Rhaegar intends to wed Rhaenys to Aegon, then he could swoop in and take advantage of the marriage web. Yes, perhaps he could smash it but that makes things more complicated for him.

Dethroning the Tullys without wiping them out means the Tullys would remain a focal point of resistance against his new chosen Riverlands overlords. And he can't wipe them out since that's an Aerys thing to do and he's trying to prove he isn't made.

A betrothal ties the Starks to the Throne and through them the Tullys and Arryns, turning the marriage web from Rickard Stark's source of unrest to a source of Rhaegar's power. Edmure is also a possible husband, but given that the rebellion started with the deaths of Rickard Stark and Brandon he's probably better off to honor the Starks first.

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Come to think about it, I think you're right about the Sack so yeah, if Robert died even if the rebels won the battle Rhaegar would still be king, though a much weaker king.

Might lead to the creation of the first Westerosi Parliament.

 

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19 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

Those regions weren't unified. Part of the Vale, the Riverlands, and the Stormlands all remained loyal to the Targaryens. Only the North was actually unified behind the rebellion.

In the Vale only Gulltown remained loyal and it was quickly stormed and subdued. As for the Riverlands and Stormlands, after such a smashing defeat they would clearly switch to the rebels. As for Tywin, if he didn't join the rebels Quelon would neutralize him by raiding him (remember Quelon's first target was the Westerlands). Plus Tywin would always side with the winners, so he would try and sack KL (tough if Rhaegar lived Tywin's ploy probably wouldn't have worked)

22 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

There's also the possibility of Rheagar caving to the Tyrells. The Tyrells of course sieged Storm's End and really didn't want to get involved, but that doesn't mean they'd totally refuse. If Rhaegar sent a raven saying something like "I'll betroth Margaery to Aegon if you take Stannis and Renly as hostages" would probably be enough to convince Mace to order the walls of the castle stormed that very same day. Which wouldn't be enough to save the war effort but would help shore up the Targaryen position.

First off I'm pretty sure Margaery wasn't born yet. Also for the Tyrells the risk wouldn't be worth it. They would have to fight every other Kingdom besides Dorne, alone. If they won, they would gain some power at court. If they lost (given how weak their claim on the Reach is) they would probably be replaced as Lord Paramounts by either the Florents or Hightowers.

 

28 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

I disagree. I think Walder would have refused to give battle to the rebels but would have sworn to the Targaryens at that point. Remember that House Frey can only must around 4000 soldiers. Unless Rhaegar absolutely wrecked the rebels at the Trident and utterly routed all their hosts then the rebel forces would outnumber the Freys by a significant degree (the royalists had 40,000 at the Trident, and the rebels had 'less', but it can't be too much less or they wouldn't have been able to hold the crossing). Like five or six times their host, and I think Walder would be too cowardly to take that kind of risk.

First off he would only have to slaughter disorganized stragglers trickling in. He would probably never be outnumbered, unless the rebels somehow pull off an orderly retreat (doubtful given how engaged they were in the battle). Even if they reorganize and attack him, all he would need to do is hold out for something like half an hour before Rhaegar's cavalry arrive and completely smash the rebel army between them and the Freys. So yeah either the Freys massacre all the routing soldiers unfortunate enough to come by them, or in the very unlikely case the rebels pull off an orderly retreat, the Freys would have to just hold until the royal army comes to smash them from behind.

 

33 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

Dethroning the Tullys without wiping them out means the Tullys would remain a focal point of resistance against his new chosen Riverlands overlords. And he can't wipe them out since that's an Aerys thing to do and he's trying to prove he isn't made.

That is a fair point, While in the short term he could just use gratitude and their need to survive Aerys's wrath in order to keep them on their side, after that the marriage web would be a problem. So there would be 2 solutions:

1. Strip the Tully Lord Paramountship (but let them keep Riverrun). This way the marriage web only contains the North the Vale and the neutered Tullys (Robert is dead so no marriage alliance between Stormlands and the North). The success of this idea is dependent on who he names as LP of the Trident (if he names the Freys he's screwed, Darrys could work however as they are both loyal and a pretty powerful and respected house). Whatever happened he couldn't impose any terms on the Vale and the North (because of Moat Cailin and the Bloody Gate) so that would be the only solution to kinda destroy the marriage web

2. Integrate himself in the web as you said, probably by offering Rhaenys to Robb.

41 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

Might lead to the creation of the first Westerosi Parliament.

Maybe later down the road, initially it would be more like the Magna Carta, with a small council of nobles checking the King's power.

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43 minutes ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

In the Vale only Gulltown remained loyal and it was quickly stormed and subdued. As for the Riverlands and Stormlands, after such a smashing defeat they would clearly switch to the rebels. As for Tywin, if he didn't join the rebels Quelon would neutralize him by raiding him (remember Quelon's first target was the Westerlands). Plus Tywin would always side with the winners, so he would try and sack KL (tough if Rhaegar lived Tywin's ploy probably wouldn't have worked)

Fair point about Gulltown, but questionable about the Riverlands and the Vale. I would depend on how significant the defeat is. If Rhaegar's army was annihilated as per canon, then that would probably be enough to convince some loyalists to switch sides. But if Rhaegar lived, it's possible he could have commanded an orderly retreat. He had an army 40,000 strong, and even half of that if he can keep them cohesive would be enough to remain in play.

And Tywin, again - I see him as willing to play both sides. A living Rhaegar means he might come down on the rebel side, or he might play his own game. His final aim was Cersei on the throne and Lannister blood ruling the Seven Kingdoms. He has several possible options and he'd choose the one that maximizes profit. With the Westerlands untouched and every other army bloodied, he's in the position to save or destroy the dynasty, and having the Targaryens at his mercy would appeal.

He was brutal in canon, but I think that was only because Rhaegar was dead and so Tywin knew the only real possibility of Cersei as queen was as Robert's wife.

As for Quellon - he died during the Battle at the Mander, so he can't be counted on. Balon might just crown himself king at that point, or turn to indiscriminate reaving.

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First off I'm pretty sure Margaery wasn't born yet. Also for the Tyrells the risk wouldn't be worth it. They would have to fight every other Kingdom besides Dorne, alone. If they won, they would gain some power at court. If they lost (given how weak their claim on the Reach is) they would probably be replaced as Lord Paramounts by either the Florents or Hightowers.

Like I said, it depends on how badly Rhaegar is defeated. If he retreats in good order the Tyrells might consider it worth it. Especially since even if they take Storm's End and Robert wins, they can just yield Stannis and Renly for a pardon. They might even get brownie points if they make sure to actually feed Robert's brothers rather than risking them starving to death.

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First off he would only have to slaughter disorganized stragglers trickling in. He would probably never be outnumbered, unless the rebels somehow pull off an orderly retreat (doubtful given how engaged they were in the battle). Even if they reorganize and attack him, all he would need to do is hold out for something like half an hour before Rhaegar's cavalry arrive and completely smash the rebel army between them and the Freys. So yeah either the Freys massacre all the routing soldiers unfortunate enough to come by them, or in the very unlikely case the rebels pull off an orderly retreat, the Freys would have to just hold until the royal army comes to smash them from behind.

Of the two armies it was Rhaegar's that tried to force a crossing while it was the rebels that were defending. So of the two, the rebels are more likely to make an orderly retreat if defeated. They were better rested and had better ground.

We also at this point don't actually know where Walder's army was. If he left the Twins heading south, then he wouldn't be able to cross again until the Ruby Ford, so he'd actually be coming up behind Rhaegar's host and be in no position to force the rebels to do anything. It's only if he marched from the northern gates of the Twins and then down the kingsroad that he'd be possibly in the way of the rebel retreat.

We also don't know how late Walder Frey was. He might have arrived at the tail end of the battle, or he might have been something like two or three days late, in which case the rebels even if disorganized might have time to reunite or sneak past to the Bloody Gate.

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That is a fair point, While in the short term he could just use gratitude and their need to survive Aerys's wrath in order to keep them on their side, after that the marriage web would be a problem. So there would be 2 solutions:

1. Strip the Tully Lord Paramountship (but let them keep Riverrun). This way the marriage web only contains the North the Vale and the neutered Tullys (Robert is dead so no marriage alliance between Stormlands and the North). The success of this idea is dependent on who he names as LP of the Trident (if he names the Freys he's screwed, Darrys could work however as they are both loyal and a pretty powerful and respected house). Whatever happened he couldn't impose any terms on the Vale and the North (because of Moat Cailin and the Bloody Gate) so that would be the only solution to kinda destroy the marriage web

2. Integrate himself in the web as you said, probably by offering Rhaenys to Robb.

I think it should also be remembered that even setting aside what exactly has to be done with the Tullys, Rhaegar might still be best suited to try to control the marriage web. As you say, it would be immensely difficult to impose terms on the Starks or Arryns if they manage to retreat behind the Gate/Moat.

And in this case, if he has to integrate into the marriage web to control the North and the Vale, might as well go whole hog and bind the Riverlands in by blood too rather than hoping mere gratitude of the new Lord Paramount would be enough to ensure loyalty to the dynasty.

Marry Robb to Rhaenys, take Edmure Tully and perhaps Harold Hardyng as 'wards'. 'Honor' Jon Arynn by keeping him (and his Tully wife) at court as an 'advisor'. Marry Lyanna himself. Have Renly Baratheon as a hostage as well. Would probably give him enough leverage over the rebels to sleep easy.

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8 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

As for Quellon - he died during the Battle at the Mander, so he can't be counted on.

He died on the Mander because he attacked the Reach after figuring out that the Westerlands were in the war on the rebel side. If Tywin had stayed neutral he would have attacked him and not died on the Mander.

9 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

And Tywin, again - I see him as willing to play both sides. A living Rhaegar means he might come down on the rebel side, or he might play his own game. His final aim was Cersei on the throne and Lannister blood ruling the Seven Kingdoms. He has several possible options and he'd choose the one that maximizes profit. With the Westerlands untouched and every other army bloodied, he's in the position to save or destroy the dynasty, and having the Targaryens at his mercy would appeal.

As I previously said. If he joins the rebels, it's one more nail in the coffin of the loyalists. If he stays neutral (very unlikely) or joins the loyalists he wouldn't be able to do anything because he would need his full strength to stop Quelon's raids. Either way the loyalists are still at the mercy of the Tyrells who would have the choice of either fighting the entire loyalist force alone and risk losing everything, or just bend the knee and maintain the Status Quo in the Reach. It wouldn't even be choice for them. At the end of the day the loyalists would lose and Rhaegar will either be executed or left as monarch, possibly after a Great Council, depending on whether Robert is alive or not.

20 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

And in this case, if he has to integrate into the marriage web to control the North and the Vale, might as well go whole hog and bind the Riverlands in by blood too rather than hoping mere gratitude of the new Lord Paramount would be enough to ensure loyalty to the dynasty.

Marry Robb to Rhaenys, take Edmure Tully and perhaps Harold Hardyng as 'wards'. 'Honor' Jon Arynn by keeping him (and his Tully wife) at court as an 'advisor'. Marry Lyanna himself. Have Renly Baratheon as a hostage as well. Would probably give him enough leverage over the rebels to sleep easy.

Hostages are only a short to medium term solution (which due to the initial gratitude of being alive and not facing Aerys's wrath because of Rhaegar would not be a problem), tough they would allow enough time for tensions to simmer down. In the end as we dicussed there would only be 2 solutions. Either breakup the marriage web by neutering the Tullys. This reduces the web to 2 kingdoms and a high lord, which is manageable. However this alternative would create massive Riverlands instability. The other choice of course is as you mentioned to join in on the marriage web, and add a few hostages in there to let the tensions dissipate.

Also just as a side-note, I don't think Rhaegar would ever marry Lyanna. Personally I don't think he raped her, but I also don't think he really loved her. My personal theory is that he was very loyal to his wife, and wanted to be with her, but when she was left barren by the birth of Aegon, both of them agreed that he should have another child with someone else (ya know that whole prophecy thing). So i think he chose Lyanna after discovering she was the Knight of the laughing tree, but was never truly in love with her. I think he had a way more loving relationship (though more based on respect and friendship then romance with Elia). So yeah after collecting Jon I think he would have returned to Elia.

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20 minutes ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

He died on the Mander because he attacked the Reach after figuring out that the Westerlands were in the war on the rebel side. If Tywin had stayed neutral he would have attacked him and not died on the Mander.

Actually (take this with a grain of salt since I only looked at the wiki and not actual book material) - Quellon originally didn't want to enter the war at all. Rhaegar's death on the Trident inspired his sons to tell him to get moving so they could get some spoils. He left some of the fleet at home because he didn't know Tywin's intentions and wanted a defence just in case.

So Quellon was not actually interested in fighting the Westerlands. He considered it a possibility, but only if Tywin joined the royalists and even then it seems kind of more like "I'll wait and see if he attacks first". 

If Rhaegar lives at the Trident, then it depends on the circumstances of the loss I think. An orderly retreat with minimal casualties would probably result in more fence sitting. A rout would have much the same result as canon.

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As I previously said. If he joins the rebels, it's one more nail in the coffin of the loyalists. If he stays neutral (very unlikely) or joins the loyalists he wouldn't be able to do anything because he would need his full strength to stop Quelon's raids. Either way the loyalists are still at the mercy of the Tyrells who would have the choice of either fighting the entire loyalist force alone and risk losing everything, or just bend the knee and maintain the Status Quo in the Reach. It wouldn't even be choice for them. At the end of the day the loyalists would lose and Rhaegar will either be executed or left as monarch, possibly after a Great Council, depending on whether Robert is alive or not.

I don't know about that one. The Westerlands aren't like the North, they still have strength at sea to contend with the Ironborn if the Ironborn attack at all. And even if that was enough, they wouldn't need anywhere near full strength. The Ironborn are swift raiders but they struggle with land-based warfare. Tywin marched east with a host of 12,000 men, which still leaves 38,000 men in the West if they have to muster against the Ironborn.

As to the Tyrells - you're correct I think. You have a point in that it's a high risk for them for an uncertain reward. It would require a pretty compelling reason for them to stay in the field (like the unlikely scenario that Tywin comes out as a royalist).

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Hostages are only a short to medium term solution (which due to the initial gratitude of being alive and not facing Aerys's wrath because of Rhaegar would not be a problem), tough they would allow enough time for tensions to simmer down. In the end as we dicussed there would only be 2 solutions. Either breakup the marriage web by neutering the Tullys. This reduces the web to 2 kingdoms and a high lord, which is manageable. However this alternative would create massive Riverlands instability. The other choice of course is as you mentioned to join in on the marriage web, and add a few hostages in there to let the tensions dissipate.

Actually, I was just thinking that there are also nontraditional ways to punish the rebels and enhance the strength of the crown. What if Rhaegar:

1) Betrothed Robb to Rhaenys to get himself in the marriage web.

2) Took hostages from the rebels to ensure good behaviour.

3) Left the Tullys as Lord Paramount, but annexed the eastern portion of the Riverlands to the Crownlands. Say, everything south and east of the crossroads/ruby ford? This adds Saltpans and Maidenpool to the domain of the king (and Harrenhal depending on how the borders are delineated). The Targaryens are strengthened, and the Riverlands are permanently weakened, but the instability in minimized by preserving the Tullys are overlords of what remains.

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Also just as a side-note, I don't think Rhaegar would ever marry Lyanna. Personally I don't think he raped her, but I also don't think he really loved her. My personal theory is that he was very loyal to his wife, and wanted to be with her, but when she was left barren by the birth of Aegon, both of them agreed that he should have another child with someone else (ya know that whole prophecy thing). So i think he chose Lyanna after discovering she was the Knight of the laughing tree, but was never truly in love with her. I think he had a way more loving relationship (though more based on respect and friendship then romance with Elia). So yeah after collecting Jon I think he would have returned to Elia.

I disagree. I think Elia was done very dirty by Rhaegar. She deserved better than she got, and if Rhaegar loved her he never would have:

1) Shamed her so publicly at Harrenhal. If he was interested in Lyanna as a surrogate but loved his wife he would have paid any respects in regards to the Knight of the Laughing Tree in private. The Crown of the Queen of Love and Beauty is not something given for respect, the associations is has are explicitly romantic and crowning a girl is basically a public statement of the intent to court her.

2) Chosen Lyanna at all. The fact is any bastards/legitimized sons of Lyanna would end up being one of the most potent pretenders Westeros ever faced.  Not even Daemon Blackfyre had the support of a Great House when he revolted, and Lyanna's sons could very believably expect the loyalty of the North (which can muster more men than Elia's Dornish supporters) if they claimed the throne.

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5 hours ago, The Jingo said:

If I'm not mistaken I am under the impression that Rhaegar had a broad or sort of 'generic' support. For instance, if you asked Mace Tyrell who he was fighting for and he was purely honest, he would probably say "Rhaegar". And I know you mean more specifically something like supporters at court rather than the general feelings of the loyalists, but even then I think Rhaegar had a relatively decent amount of power. The Kingsguard for instance seem to obey him rather than Aerys given how a good half of them were lurking around the Tower of Joy at Rhaegar's command rather than serving the King.

(And given how paranoid Aerys was and the talk of disinheriting Rhaegar, I think we can probably assume that Aerys would not have sent half his Kingsguard to guard Rhaegar's mistress)

I would say the reason that Rhaegar fought at the Trident was for the strategic position. If the royalists defeated the rebels there then they've trapped the rebels above the Green Fork. The only two crossings of the Green Fork are at the Ruby Ford and the Twins. The defeated rebels must either try to force another crossing at the ford or march back North and cross at the Twins. Either option gives the royalists significant breathing room.

And I would also say that Rhaegar did have support. Based on his last conversation with Jaime I'd say his plan was to win at the Trident then return to King's Landing to usurp Aerys and then try to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the rebels.

This is actually one of the reasons I tend to say rapist!Rhaegar has some justification. He could have tried diplomacy at any time and simply produced Lyanna to take the wind out of at least the Northern army's sails.

But theoretically at this point Rhaegar might be thinking that he needs to break the rebel momentum. A victory at the Trident would not end the rebel cause, but he needs to have a tangible victory against Robert - who is the other would-be king in Westeros. Defeating Robert in the field and then usurping Aerys would give him a stronger negotiating position than simply trying to come to terms with the rebels who have until now enjoyed ever increasing momentum.

I don't think it would make much of a difference. Rhaegar planned to usurp Aerys anyway. So most likely he would have returned to the city and had his father imprisoned or killed, and I doubt even if Aerys proclaimed Viserys his heir that Rhaella would go along with it. She's probably simply deny the crown in Viserys' name.

Viserys of course would remain a possible threat in later years as a pretender, but during the Rebellion he's only a child with no one actually championing him.

Well the rebels had agreed that Robert would be their king because of his royal blood, and Robert had two male line heirs in Stannis and Renly.

I don't think that the rebels would necessarily fight on in Stannis' name to victory, but I do think they'd proclaim Stannis as king simply to ensure unity among the rebel forces. They would do it with an eye on possibly negotiating a settlement, but they would crown him.

Remember that from the rebel point of view Aerys is mad yes, but Rhaegar is accused of abduction and rape and hasn't made any efforts so far to reach out to the rebels and deny that claim. Unless Rhaegar offers negotiations immediately after a victory at the Trident, there is still a period of several moons where Rhaegar marches back down to King's Landing to usurp Aerys before trying to negotiate. In the meantime Stannis is probably proclaimed king simply to keep the rebels together.

This is untrue if simply for the reality that while Robert hates Rhaegar and is crowned a rebel king, if Rhaegar wanted to negotiate they would probably at least meet under parlay. Robert might not be willing to kneel to Rhaegar, but Jon Arryn and Ned Stark might if Rhaegar made the right assurances (namely provided proof that Lyanna was not abducted and that he was willing to make concessions).

If Rhaegar lost but survived the Trident, the royalist cause isn't over. The Tyrells still have a large and mostly untouched army, and while Tywin would be hard to deal with I think that Rhaegar could buy him if he was willing to make the right deal (Jaime released from the Kingsguard, Aerys dead, Elia set aside and Cersei married to Rhaegar, Tywin as Hand of the King, a betrothal between Aegon and one of Cersei's daughters, ect).

Rhaegar had the support of the Crownlands, Reach and tentative Dorne.   The other 4 major players were rebelling and I stress that Dorne was only tentatively supporting Rhaegar as he'd already "dishonored" Elia at Harrenhal.   This is a guess based upon the statements of Doran and Oberyn and just a guess.  Either way, there was more populace and power against Rhaegar than with him.   I have to imagine that Rhaegar was pretty villainized by the time Rickard & Brandon were killed.   Rhaegar was absent for much of the fighting--whether he was in counsel or unaware of the turn of his favor among the masses.   Insofar as acts of war go, I think Aerys made the 1st cut in killing the Starks, but there is room for debate as Brandon did threaten to kill the crown prince right outside the gate.   Either way, Rhaegar already caused his own er fall from grace at Harrenhal.   Brandon was a hot head and Aerys was truly mad.   Aerys' actions for years prior to Harrenhal and the eventual rebellion were the reason for the alliances between the North, Vale and Riverlands as well as the interest of the Westerlands.   Tywin was pretty patient in joining the fray.  There was never an iota of inference that Tywin would come to Aery's aid.   My initial comments went to actual physical support, that is close friends and dependable allies at the Trident.   Robert had an impressive campaign going and I think Rhaegar was seriously out of touch with politics and Robert's support at the time.  Personally, I think he had a higher calling, but what do I know? 

Do you think Rhaegar would have had a better chance of surviving the Trident if his close friends, allies and Kingsguard were with him when he took Robert on?   I'm not sure even Robert could take all the Kingsguard on even to get to Rhaegar.   As I see this in my limited vision, Rhaegar either overestimated his place in prophecy or he was simply going through the motions.  The whole thing could have been handled much better and maybe without bloodshed.  

I'm not certain how many years younger than Robert Stannis is, but I'm thinking 2 years.   It's likely my modern view of manhood, but Robert was only 18 or 19 when he had 16 or 17 year-old Stannis commanding his ships.   Just a boy, but to your own argument, a damned successful commander for a kid.  Still just a kid, though.   But so was Robert.   Sigh.   To Viserys, I don't think Rhaella had the power to deny anything her husband said was so.  If Aerys said his younger son was heir, he was heir.   

I find little fault in your explanations and arguments and tip my hat to an interesting conversation, Ser.  

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On 1/15/2020 at 3:17 AM, The Jingo said:

Canonically, this particular battle is a turning point. Rhaegar was killed and the royalist army collapsed, opening the way to King's Landing.

Yet I have to wonder, what if Rhaegar lived?

There are a bunch of different scenarios where this could occur:

1) Rhaegar lost the Trident, but survived.

2) Rhaegar won the Trident, but none of the rebel leaders died.

3) Rhaegar killed Robert and won the Trident

4) Rhaegar killed Robert but lost the Trident

And so on and so forth. I won't say there's a huge number of possibilities, but I do think we can make some broad statements:

- I think that if Robert had died then Stannis would be crowned  rebel leader, regardless of if the Trident was won or lost.

- I think if the royalists had won the Trident they'd have enough breathing room to displace Aerys

- I think if Rhaegar is not a rapist but actually loved Lyanna (not a sure thing) that he would offer terms to the rebels after the Trident, regardless of if he had won or lost

1. Rhaegar lost, but survived.  His ass would have been sent to the wall.  I don't see this happening though, because Robert was too pissed off to let him live.  

2.  Rhaegar won at the Trident, but the rebels survived.  Pretty unlikely.  King Aerys 3, the rightful ruler of the land of Westeros, would demand the heads of the rebels.  And he would be correct to do so.  Aerys chose Prince Viserys to succeed him but this scenario, depending on Rhaegar's attitude and the situation with Lyanna, could change that.  Obviously, Aerys would never, ever wish to allow a half-Stark mongrel to get within a snot's sneeze of his precious throne.  I do not blame him.  So if R + L = J, as a few here believe, Aerys would absolutely for sure put Prince Viserys on the throne.  Aerys might even demand the death of the half-wolf.  

3.  Rhaegar killed Robert and won the Trident.  This gives him some leverage against King Aerys 3, but he is still just a prince and this is not a democracy.  Same as the number 2 above.

4.  Rhaegar killed Robert but lost the Trident.  Eddard, Jon, and Hoster are not going to throw down their arms.  The rebellion will continue for a long time.  Much will depend on what other resources King Aerys can draw from.  Given time, he might be able to get support from the Free Cities, whom we know have among the powerful among them, Targaryen supporters.  

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3 hours ago, Centurion Piso said:

1. Rhaegar lost, but survived.  His ass would have been sent to the wall.  I don't see this happening though, because Robert was too pissed off to let him live.  

2.  Rhaegar won at the Trident, but the rebels survived.  Pretty unlikely.  King Aerys 3, the rightful ruler of the land of Westeros, would demand the heads of the rebels.  And he would be correct to do so.  Aerys chose Prince Viserys to succeed him but this scenario, depending on Rhaegar's attitude and the situation with Lyanna, could change that.  Obviously, Aerys would never, ever wish to allow a half-Stark mongrel to get within a snot's sneeze of his precious throne.  I do not blame him.  So if R + L = J, as a few here believe, Aerys would absolutely for sure put Prince Viserys on the throne.  Aerys might even demand the death of the half-wolf.  

3.  Rhaegar killed Robert and won the Trident.  This gives him some leverage against King Aerys 3, but he is still just a prince and this is not a democracy.  Same as the number 2 above.

4.  Rhaegar killed Robert but lost the Trident.  Eddard, Jon, and Hoster are not going to throw down their arms.  The rebellion will continue for a long time.  Much will depend on what other resources King Aerys can draw from.  Given time, he might be able to get support from the Free Cities, whom we know have among the powerful among them, Targaryen supporters.  

1) I suppose I agree.

2) This situation is not unlikely at all. All it requires is that the main rebel leaders not die and not be captured during the battle. As for Aerys, he's kind of irrelevant.

3) Same as above. Rhaegar would negotiate in his own right because Aerys is just a guy and everybody hates him. It doesn't matter if he's 'king', that doesn't preclude Rhaegar usurping him.

4) I agree. I'm not sure the rebellion would continue for a 'long time', but I doubt it would immediately cave as some people imagine.

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8 hours ago, The Jingo said:

3) Left the Tullys as Lord Paramount, but annexed the eastern portion of the Riverlands to the Crownlands. Say, everything south and east of the crossroads/ruby ford? This adds Saltpans and Maidenpool to the domain of the king (and Harrenhal depending on how the borders are delineated). The Targaryens are strengthened, and the Riverlands are permanently weakened, but the instability in minimized by preserving the Tullys are overlords of what remains.

Interesting idea. Pretty sure you can also do that in ck2 agot during Aegon's Conquest.

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18 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Interesting idea. Pretty sure you can also do that in ck2 agot during Aegon's Conquest.

Honestly, one of the decisions that baffles me is that the Crownlands aren't bigger than they are. The Crownlands produces one of if not the smallest number of levies in the realm. Presumably Aegon assumed the dragons would make up the difference but that's kind of risky. He should have taken advantage of the deaths of the Gardeners and Hoares to expand his direct domain.

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11 hours ago, The Jingo said:

Honestly, one of the decisions that baffles me is that the Crownlands aren't bigger than they are. The Crownlands produces one of if not the smallest number of levies in the realm. Presumably Aegon assumed the dragons would make up the difference but that's kind of risky. He should have taken advantage of the deaths of the Gardeners and Hoares to expand his direct domain.

Well for one I think that he was worried that one of his heirs would have very bad diplo and so exceed his vassal limit.

Though if we're being serious the explanation is pretty simple. You don't need large armies if you have dragons (the best example would be field of fire). Plus taking too much land would piss off the Great lords.

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I think the only option that is worth considering is if Rhaegar had simply won the battle of the Trident. 
 

For this to take place I believe this means that Robert and Rhaegar never personally battle, or that Robert is carted off after he is injured (which he was). 
 

The war would have gone on for MUCH MUCH longer. I believe that the Rebels at that point would retreat back to The Vale and maybe even to Moat Cailin. 
 

the interesting thing about that is that this puts them in a very good strategic advantage. With being in two places that essentially can’t be taken by siege, you leave the Targaryen army with nothing except to try and stomp out Rebels where they can. However I don’t think they will attack Riverun because that would leave their back exposed to the existing armies of Moat Cailin and the Vale. 
 

I think what this results in is perhaps the first “fleet” that the North has seen in centuries. They build ships at Gulltown and White Harbor, maybe even purchase sell sails  and then they make for Dragonstone or Blackwater. The Redwyne fleet would have to meet them, in which case Storms End would no longer be blockaded by sea. If they only make that feint then it’s enough of a distraction for the armies to come down from Riverrun Vale and Moat Cailin, with fresh levies. Not to mention perhaps more people in the Stormlands if Robert himself can land back in Storms End proper. 
 

if the Northern fleet (which would still be smaller than Redwynes I’m sure) can okay it smart, they keep up the threat of attacking Dragonstone and Kings Lansing, where Aerys will want them kept very close for protection. All the while they can be putting troops into Storms End. 
 

the remnants of Rhaegars host would be back at Kings Landing, but with Aerys being paranoid all the Rebel Lords would need would be either the Riverlands or Vale host to stay and “besiege” the city or at least threaten it, while the other armies go and face the Tyrells in battle. Against Mace Tyrell who won no notable victories and if the Rebel Lords played it right, will have the threat of sorties coming from Storms End to contend with as well. 

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On 1/16/2020 at 11:13 PM, Centurion Piso said:

1. Rhaegar lost, but survived.  His ass would have been sent to the wall.  I don't see this happening though, because Robert was too pissed off to let him live.  

2.  Rhaegar won at the Trident, but the rebels survived.  Pretty unlikely.  King Aerys 3, the rightful ruler of the land of Westeros, would demand the heads of the rebels.  And he would be correct to do so.  Aerys chose Prince Viserys to succeed him but this scenario, depending on Rhaegar's attitude and the situation with Lyanna, could change that.  Obviously, Aerys would never, ever wish to allow a half-Stark mongrel to get within a snot's sneeze of his precious throne.  I do not blame him.  So if R + L = J, as a few here believe, Aerys would absolutely for sure put Prince Viserys on the throne.  Aerys might even demand the death of the half-wolf.  

3.  Rhaegar killed Robert and won the Trident.  This gives him some leverage against King Aerys 3, but he is still just a prince and this is not a democracy.  Same as the number 2 above.

4.  Rhaegar killed Robert but lost the Trident.  Eddard, Jon, and Hoster are not going to throw down their arms.  The rebellion will continue for a long time.  Much will depend on what other resources King Aerys can draw from.  Given time, he might be able to get support from the Free Cities, whom we know have among the powerful among them, Targaryen supporters.  

Obviously.  He would not want the grandson of his enemy to inherit his throne.  

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On 1/15/2020 at 3:17 AM, The Jingo said:

1) Rhaegar lost the Trident, but survived.  King Dad would send him to the wall.  He was useless anyway.  Prince Viserys was the chosen successor to the throne.

2) Rhaegar won the Trident, but none of the rebel leaders died.   The Trident is but one battle.  Many mishaps contributed to the bad guys winning.  The Targaryens lost their armada.  Rhaegar would be executed if the rebels won eventually.

3) Rhaegar killed Robert and won the Trident.  Aerys might reconsider making him his heir again.  It depends.  If Rhaegar had children with a Stark, oh no.  Doran might ask to have the baby killed to ensure the throne passed to his kin, should something happen to the real Aegon.  Nobody would want the son of that mating to have any claim.  Assuming such a mating even took place.

4) Rhaegar killed Robert but lost the Trident.  It's going down badly for all the Targaryens if the rebels won the battles after the Trident though.  

 

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