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Ygrain

R + L = J v.167

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Posted (edited)

Reference guide

 

The R+L=J theory claims Jon Snow most probably is the son of crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna Stark.

 

The Tower of the Hand has an excellent analysis of this theory:

Jon Snow's Parents

 

And Westeros' Citadel also provides a summary:

Jon Snow's Parents

 

A Wiki of Ice and Fire:

Jon Snow Theories

 

Radio Westeros podcast:

A Dragon, a Wolf and a Rose

 

Kingmonkey's essay:

R+L=J

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

How can Jon be a Targaryen if ordinary fire burned his hand?

Targaryens are not immune to fire. It's a myth that has been refuted by a list of Targaryens being burned. Danaerys 'the unburnt' was indeed unscathed when she hatched the dragon eggs, but that has not stopped her being burned on other occasions. See this thread on Targaryen fire immunity.

 

Don't all Targaryens have hallmark Valryian silver-golden hair and purple eyes?

Not all of them: Valarr and Queen Alysanne had blue eyes. Bittersteel, who like Jon was half first men blood, had brown hair. Baelor Breakspear and his son(s) and Jon's own half-sister Rhaenys had the Dornish look (dark hair, black eyes, olive skin). Rhaenyra Targaryen's three sons all had brown hair and brown eyes even though both their parents had light silver-gold hair.

Had Jon Valyrian features, it would give his parentage away: "He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn, guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son." Tyrion got the bit about the mother wrong, though: his mother was the Stark.

 

If Jon isn't Ned's son, then why does he look so much like him?

Jon looks very like Arya, and Arya looks very like Lyanna. Jon is Ned's nephew, and Lyanna and Ned looked similar.

 

Ned is too honourable to lie. If he says Jon is his son, doesn't that mean he must be?

Ned tells Arya that sometimes lies can be honourable. His final words, a confession of his guilt, are a lie to protect Sansa. While a lie can be honourable, cheating on his wife isn't, so Ned's famed honour points to Jon not being his son.

 

How can Jon be half-Targaryen and have a direwolf?

He's also half Stark, through Lyanna. Ned's trueborn children are half Tully and that doesn't stop them having direwolves.

 

Why doesn't Ned ever think about Lyanna being Jon's mother?

Ned doesn't think about anyone being Jon's mother. If he did, there would be no mystery. He names 'Wylla' to Robert, but we do not see him thinking of Wylla being Jon's mother.

There's a hidden hint at who Jon's mother might be: In chapter 4, Eddard's internal monologue goes "Lyanna ... Ned had loved her with all his heart." and in chapter 6, Catelyn thinks "Whoever Jon's mother had been, Ned must have loved her fiercely".

 

How can Jon be Rhaegar's son if Ned hadn't thought of him in years?

In Eddard 9, Ned finds himself "remembering Rhaegar" the first time in years. However, he talks/thinks about Rhaegar in all his PoV chapters, therefore it is incorrect to equal "remember" with "a thought passing through Ned's mind" in this quote.

 

Why would Ned not at least tell Catelyn?

We don't have a list of what Ned promised to Lyanna, but know he takes his promises seriously. Maybe he promised not to tell anyone. In Chapter 45, Ned is uncertain what Cat would do if it came to Jon's life over that of her own children. If Catelyn knew that Jon was Rhaegar's son, she might feel that keeping him at Winterfell presented a serious risk to her own children. Ultimately, Catelyn did not need to know, so maybe Ned simply chose to be on the safe side.

 

Doesn't Ned refer to Robb and Jon as "my sons in the very first chapter?

In speech, not in thought. Ned is keeping Jon's parentage secret. He never thinks of Jon as his son: In Chapter 45, Ned thinks of his children "Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon and explicitly excludes Jon from the list. ADwD Chapter 34 has Bran's vision of younger Ned in the Winterfell godswood: "...let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them," he prayed, "and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive..." which not make sense if they are brothers.

 

Since Rhaegar was already married, wouldn't Jon still be a bastard?

He might, or might not. There was a tradition of polygamy among Targaryens in the past, so the possibility that Rhaegar and Lyanna married is not easily ruled out. A pro-legitimacy argument is this: The presence of the three kingsguards at the Tower of Joy is best explained if they were defending the heir to the throne, which Jon would only be if he was legitimate.

 

Can we be certain polygamy is not illegal?

Aegon I and Maegor I practised polygamy. In Westeros, unlike a constitutional monarchy, royals are not subject to the law. So if there ever was a law against it, it did not apply to the Targaryens: In Chapter 33 it says "like their dragons the Targaryens answered to neither gods nor men". Examples demonstrate that it was considered an option for Targaryens: Aegon IV and Daemon Blackfyre may have considered it for Daemon, Jorah Mormont suggested it to Daenerys as a viable option, and she said the same about Quentyn Martell.

George R.R. Martin says in this SSM: "If you have a dragon, you can have as many wives as you want". There is alsothis SSM predating the worldbook.

On Polygamy essay by Ygrain with additions by Rhaenys_Targaryen

 

Weren't the Kingsguard at Tower of Joy on the basis of an order from Aerys, to guard Lyanna as a hostage?

If so, why would they have apparently made no effort to use this leverage against Robert and Ned? Some argue their Kingsguard vows would have taken precedence and still have required them to leave the Tower to protect Viserys when he became heir -- unless there was another that took precedence [Jon]. Others think they were guarding Lyanna as a hostage at the Tower of Joy. Some say that makes little sense: She would better be kept hostage at King's Landing, and wouldn't require kingsguards to guard her. The mere presence of three kingsguards implies something more important: guarding members of the royal family or maybe the heir.

Frequently suggested readings: At the tower of joy by MtnLion and support of the toj analysis by Ygrain

 

Isn't there an SSM that says the 3 Kingsguard were following Rhaegar's orders though?

The SSM you may be thinking of is probably this: The King's Guards don't get to make up their own orders. They serve the king, they protect the king and the royal family, but they're also bound to obey their orders, and if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order, they would do that. They can't say, "No we don't like that order, we'll do something else."

We know from Barristan, protecting the king is the first and most important of all kingsguard duties. Jamie suggests some other KG to stay with the king when he wants to leave for the Trident and we also learn of a ritual that is performed when all KG meet and the king is guarded by someone who is not from the order.

"Protect vs Obey" is an ongoing subject of debate that is unlikely to be settled until we know more. Either viewpoint is compatible with R+L=J.

 

Wouldn't Viserys take precedence anyway? Rhaegar died without becoming king, and doesn't the world book call Viserys, not Aegon, Aerys' new heir?

No, in the case of an eldest son dying before the king dies, a grandson comes before a younger son. Even in the case the grandson is yet unborn at the time of death, he would succeed (heir apparent vs. heir presumptive). The world book is written with a Lannister bias (it may be propaganda to undermine Dornish support for the Targaryens) and in hindsightby maesters who have never learned all of what we know from Ned's dreams and memories. If it still turns out to be true... see the next answer.

 

Are matters of succession just as clear as presented here?

Succession quarrels are a part of medieval power play and even a very clear inheritance could well be contested. So maybe in King's Landing things did happen as the world book says. Rhaegar and Aerys may have been at odds over the succession. Rhaegar told Jaime before leaving for the Trident that he intended to call a council, and The Great Councils of the past have dealt with matters of succession. Who would have accepted such a change is a question worth asking.

 

Ned is dead. Who's going to tell anyone about it?

Bloodraven and Bran may have learned of it through the weirwood network. Benjen might know. Checkov's CrannogmanHowland Reed is the sole survivor of the encounter at the Tower of Joy, and George R.R. Martin has stated he has not yet appeared because he knows too much about the central mystery of the book. "They had found him [Ned] still holding her [Lyanna's] body" tells that there also was someone else besides Howland to find Ned.

 

Why is this important? What impact can it have on the story?

The careful way the mystery of Jon's parentage was created is reason to believe it's important. What impact it will have on the rest of the series is still unknown.

 

This theory is too obvious and too many people believe it to be fact. How can it be true?

It is not so obvious to the majority of readers. Some will get it on their first read, but most will not. Readers who go to online fan forums, such as this, still represent a very small minority of the readership. Also, A Game of Thrones has been out since 1996. That's more than 18 years of readers being able to piece together this mystery. Crowd-sourced internet-based mystery solving like this inevitably make solved mysteries seem more obvious in hindsight.

 

George R.R. Martin is a "breaker of tropes, there can be no hidden prince, it's simply too cliché.

In order to break a trope it needs to be installed in the first place. It is yet unknown what will happen to Jon in the future. Being the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar does not imply the fairy-tale style happy ending associated with the hidden prince trope.

 

Is there a list of all R+L=J clues that have been found?

There is a list of R+L=J hints, clues and foreshadowing compiled by sj4iy. (the link is currently inactive)

 

Since this theory has been refined so well, will Martin change the outcome of the story to surprise his fans?

He has stated that he won't change the outcome of the story just because some people have put together all the clues and solved the puzzle.

 

A thread for discussing strengths and weaknesses of the theory that Jon Snow's parents are Rhaegar and Lyanna.

Previous editions:

Please click on the spoiler below to reveal links to all previous editions of this thread

Spoiler

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (thread one)

Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (thread two)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part III) (thread three)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part IV) (thread four)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part V) (thread five)

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon Thread (Part VI) (thread six)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon Thread Part VII (thread seven)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part VIII (thread eight)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon thread, Part IX (thread nine)

The Rhaegar + Lyanna =Jon Thread, Part X(thread ten)

The R+L=J thread, part XI (thread eleven)

The R+L=J thread, part XII (thread twelve)

R+L=J Part XXIII (thread thirteen)

R+L=J Part XXIV (thread fourteen)

R+L=J XXV (thread fifteen)

R+L=J v.16 (thread sixteen)

R+L=J v.17 (thread seventeen)

R+L=J v.18 (thread eighteen)

R+L=J v.19 (thread nineteen)

R+L=J v.20 (thread twenty)

R+L=J v.21 (thread twenty-one)

R+L=J v.22 (thread twenty-two)

R+L=J v.22a (thread twenty-two (a))

R+L=J v.23 (thread twenty-three)

R+L=J v.24 (thread twenty-four)

R+L=J v.25 (thread twenty-five)

R+L=J v.26 (thread twenty-six)

R+L=J v.27 (thread twenty-seven)

R+L=J v.28 (thread twenty-eight)

R+L=J v.29 (thread twenty-nine)

R+L=J v.30 (thread thirty)

R+L=J v.31 (thread thirty-one)

R+L=J v.32 (thread thirty-two)

R+L=J v.33 (thread thirty-three)

R+L=J v.34 (thread thirty-four)

R+L=J v.35 (thread thirty-five)

R+L=J v.36 (thread thirty-six)

R+L=J v.37 (thread thirty-seven)

R+L=J v.38 (thread thirty-eight)

R+L=J v.39 (thread thirty-nine)

"R+L=J v.40" (thread forty)

"R+L=J v.41" (thread forty-one)

"R+L=J v.42" (thread forty-two)

"R+L=J v.43" (thread forty-three)

"R+L=J v.44" (thread forty-four)

"R+L=J v.45" (thread forty-five)

"R+L=J v.46" (thread forty-six)

"R+L=J v.47" (thread forty-seven)

"R+L=J v.48" (thread forty-eight)

"R+L=J v.49" (thread forty-nine)

"R+L=J v.50" (thread fifty)

"R+L=J v.51" (thread fifty-one)

"R+L=J v.52" (thread fifty-two)

"R+L=J v.53" (thread fifty-three)

"R+L=J v.54" (thread fifty-four)

"R+L=J v.55" (thread fifty-five)

"R+L=J v.56" (thread fifty-six)

"R+L=J v.57" (thread fifty-seven)

"R+L=J v.58" (thread fifty-eight)

"R+L=J v.59" (thread fifty-nine)

"R+L=J v.60" (thread sixty)

"R+L=J v.61" (thread sixty-one)

"R+L=J v.62" (thread sixty-two)

"R+L=J v.63" (thread sixty-three)

"R+L=J v.64" (thread sixty-four)

"R+L=J v.65" (thread sixty-five)

"R+L=J v.66" (thread sixty-six)

"R+L=J v.67" (thread sixty-seven)

"R+L=J v.68" (thread sixty-eight)

"R+L=J v.69" (thread sixty-nine)

"R+L=J v.70" (thread seventy)

"R+L=J v.71" (thread seventy-one)

"R+L=J v.72" (thread seventy-two)

"R+L=J v.73" (thread seventy-three)

"R+L=J v.74" (thread seventy-four)

"R+L=J v.75" (thread seventy-five)

"R+L=J v.76" (thread seventy-six)

"R+L=J v.77" (thread seventy-seven)

"R+L=J v.78" (thread seventy-eight)

"R+L=J v.79" (thread seventy-nine)

"R+L=J v.80" (thread eighty)

"R+L=J v.81" (thread eighty-one)

"R+L=J v.82" (thread eighty-two)

"R+L=J v.83" (thread eighty-three)

"R+L=J v.84" (thread eighty-four)

"R+L=J v.85" (thread eighty-five)

"R+L=J v.86" (thread eighty-six)

"R+L=J v.87" (thread eighty-seven)

"R+L=J v.88" (thread eighty-eight)

"R+L=J v.89" (thread eighty-nine)

"R+L=J v.90" (thread ninety)

"R+L=J v.91" (thread ninety-one)

"R+L=J v.92" (thread ninety-two)

"R+L=J v.93" (thread ninety-three)

R+L=J v.94" (thread ninety-four)

"R+L=J v.95" (thread ninety-five)

"R+L=J v.96" (thread ninety-six)

"R+L=J v.97" (thread ninety-seven)

"R+L=J v.98" (thread ninety-eight)

"R+L=J v.99" (thread ninety-nine)

"R+L=J v.100" (thread one hundred)

"R+L=J v.101" (thread one hundred one)

"R+L=J v.102" (thread one hundred two)

"R+L=J v.103" (thread one hundred three)

"R+L=J v.104" (thread one hundred four)

"R+L=J v.105" (thread one hundred five)

"R+L=J v.106" (thread one hundred six)

"R+L=J v.107" (thread one hundred seven)

"R+L=J v.108" (thread one hundred eight)

"R+L=J v.109" (thread one hundred nine)

"R+L=J v.110" (thread one hundred ten)

"R+L=J v.111" (thread one hundred eleven)

"R+L=J v.112" (thread one hundred twelve)

R+L=J v.113" (thread one hundred thirteen)

"R+L=J v.114" (thread one hundred fourteen)

The "[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J" threads were used to openly discuss spoilers from TWoIaF at the time we needed to protect that information.

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.1"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.2"

"[TWoIaF Spoilers] R+L=J v.3"

"R+L=J v.115" (thread one hundred fifteen)

"R+L=J v.116" (thread one hundred sixteen)

"R+L=J v.117" (thread one hundred seventeen)

"R+L=J v.118" (thread one hundred eighteen)

"R+L=J v.119" (thread one hundred nineteen)

"R+L=J v.120" (thread one hundred twenty)

"R+L=J v.121" (thread one hundred twenty one)

"R+L=J v.122" (thread one hundred twenty two)

"R+L=J v.123" (thread one hundred twenty three)

"R+L=J v.124" (thread one hundred twenty four)

"R+L=J v.125" (thread one hundred twenty five)

"R+L=J v.126" (thread one hundred twenty six)

"R+L=J v.127" (thread one hundred twenty seven)

"R+L=J v.128" (thread one hundred twenty eight)

"R+L=J v.129" (thread one hundred twenty nine)

"R+L=J v.130" (thread one hundred thirty)

"R+L=J v.131" (thread one hundred thirty one)

"R+L=J v.132" (thread one hundred thirty two)

"R+L=J v.133" (thread one hundred thirty three)

"R+L=J v.134" (thread one hundred thirty four)

"R+L=J v.135" (thread one hundred thirty five)

R+L=J v.136" (thread one hundred thirty six)

"R+L=J v.137" (thread one hundred thirty seven)

"R+L=J v.138"(thread one hundred thirty eight)

"R+L=J v.139" (thread one hundred thirty nine)

"R+L=J v.140" (thread one hundred forty)

"R+L=J v.141" (thread one hundred forty one)

"R+L=J v.142(thread one hundred forty two)

"R+L=J v.143" (thread one hundred forty three)

"R+L=J v.144" (thread one hundred forty four)

"R+L=J v.145" (thread one hundred forty five)

"R+L=J v.146" (thread one hundred forty six)

"R+L=J v.147" (thread one hundred forty seven)

"R+L=J v.148" (thread one hundred forty eight)

"R+L=J v.149"(thread one hundred forty nine)

"R+L=J v.150" (thread one hundred fifty)

"R+L=J v.151" (thread one hundred fifty one)

"R+L=J v.152" (thread one hundred fifty two)

"R+L=J v.153" (thread one hundred fifty three)

"R+L=J v.154" (thread one hundred fifty four)

"R+L=J v.155" (thread one hundred fifty five)

"R+L=J v.156" (thread one hundred fifty six)

"R+L=J v.157" (thread one hundred fifty seven)

"R+L=J v.158" (thread one hundred fifty eight)

"R+L=J v.159" (thread one hundred fifty nine)

"R+L=J v.160" (thread one hundred sixty) 

"R+L=J v.161" (thread one hundred sixty one)

"R+L=J v.162" (thread one hundred sixty two)

"R+L=J v.163" (thread one hundred sixty three)

"R+L=J v.164" (thread one hundred sixty four)

"R+L=J v.165" (thread one hundred sixty five)

"R+L=J v.166" (thread one hundred sixty six

 

Edited by Ygrain

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Thanks for starting v. 167 @Ygrain. May I suggest that we add something like this to the FAQ?

Quote

 

Q: How can Jon be Rhaegar's son if Ned hadn't thought of him in years?

A: Ned "recall[ed]" Rhaegar in Eddard VIII before Ned "remember[ed]" Rhaegar "for the first time in years" in Eddard IX. Therefore, it is not correct to interpret "remember" in Eddard IX to mean "think."

 

I find it to be a common talking point against R+L=J that annoyingly persists because it's easily shown to be wrong, yet some loud but misinformed fan channels keep pushing it.

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4 hours ago, Ygrain said:

royals are not subject to the law.

Maybe that's the case for the Kings but wasn't it said that Rhaenyra stood to be charged for treason if her affair was believed. 

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Wow.  I never considered this.  This is why I come to these forums.  Sure you see the same things posted day in and day out, but sometimes you come across a really original idea like this one.  I tell you, if you turn out to be right and Jon isn't Ned's son that could be huge.

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3 hours ago, lehutin said:

Thanks for starting v. 167 @Ygrain. May I suggest that we add something like this to the FAQ?

I find it to be a common talking point against R+L=J that annoyingly persists because it's easily shown to be wrong, yet some loud but misinformed fan channels keep pushing it.

Ned thinks and/or talks about Rhaegar in his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, and 15th chapters, so just about every single one of his 15 chapters.

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27 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Ned thinks and/or talks about Rhaegar in his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, and 15th chapters, so just about every single one of his 15 chapters.

It's easily disproved, yet the "Ned hadn't thought of Rhaegar in years" misquote is just so damn persistent. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, lehutin said:

It's easily disproved, yet the "Ned hadn't thought of Rhaegar in years" misquote is just so damn persistent. 

I agree, I come across it too often, and it clearly means something much different than how it is interpreted by those who take it and run with it without doing bare minimum research.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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16 hours ago, lehutin said:

Thanks for starting v. 167 @Ygrain. May I suggest that we add something like this to the FAQ?

I find it to be a common talking point against R+L=J that annoyingly persists because it's easily shown to be wrong, yet some loud but misinformed fan channels keep pushing it.

Funny, I'd swear that we had this point in the starting post... you're right, this common BS should be adressed. I'll edit the post.

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17 hours ago, Mithras said:

Oo, shiny!

Can we also add to the OP that X + L = J is confirmed?

Oh, come on, it's show-only :rolleyes:

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I take Ned not having thought of Rhaegar as to mean he hadn't dwelt on Rhaegar's character - in that chapter he was thinking about whether Rhaegar was the type of man to frequent brothels. A lot of the mentions in other chapters were facts about events involving Rhaegar, often for the benefit of the reader, so to Ned's mind he might have been recalling Rhaegar, but not thinking about him 

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2 hours ago, Buried Treasure said:

I take Ned not having thought of Rhaegar as to mean he hadn't dwelt on Rhaegar's character - in that chapter he was thinking about whether Rhaegar was the type of man to frequent brothels. A lot of the mentions in other chapters were facts about events involving Rhaegar, often for the benefit of the reader, so to Ned's mind he might have been recalling Rhaegar, but not thinking about him 

Exactly. It's just like with an ex - you can hardly avoid his presence in your thoughts if you have a child together, but that does not mean you delve into your knowledge about him, assess his character etc.

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I added the following to the FAQ:

How can Jon be Rhaegar's son if Ned hadn't thought of him in years?

In Eddard 9, Ned finds himself "remembering Rhaegar" the first time in years. However, he talks/thinks about Rhaegar in all his PoV chapters, therefore it is incorrect to equal "remember" with "a thought passing through Ned's mind" in this quote.

 

BTW, I don't know why we're still not pinned instead of the old thread, I asked the mods to pin the post right after I created the thread.

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Posted (edited)

Sorry, I keep being drawn away from the forums with real world problems, but I did want to deal with at least one point from the discussion on polygamy in the last thread. @Lord Varys and others seem to want to paint Jaehaerys I Targaryen as a hater of polygamy. Despite the fact we have absolutely no evidence of this idea. One of the main supposed supports for this is in the confrontation in Fire & Blood between Jaehaerys and his daughter Saera in the aftermath of the Blue Pearl scandal. So let's look at the text:

Quote

"What do you imagine will happen now, Saera?

"I will be married," the princess said. "Why shouldn't I be? You were married at my age. I shall be wedded and bedded, but to whom? Jonah and Roy both love me, I could take one of them, but they are both such boys. Stinger does not love, but he makes me laugh and sometimes makes me scream. I could marry all three of them, why not? Why should I have just one husband? The Conqueror had two wives, and Maegor had six or eight."

She had gone too far. Jaehaerys rose to his feet and descended from the Iron Throne, his face a mask of rage. "You would compare yourself to Maegor? Is that who you aspire to be?" His Grace had heard enough. "Take her back to her bedchamber," he told his guards, "and keep her there until I send for her again." (Fire & Blood 322) bold emphasis added

This then is the critical quote for this false idea of Jaehaerys as a hater of polygamy. But we should make sure the discussion includes every part of Jaehaerys's reaction. One last quote then:

Quote

The king was angry and unyielding, for his shame was deeply felt, and he could not forget Saera's taunting words about his uncle's wives. "She is no longer my daughter," he said more than once. (Fire & Blood 322) bold emphasis added

In understanding this exchange it is crucial to note that Saera raises both the polygamous marriages of Aegon and Maegor. The two preceding examples of polygamy in the Targaryen family post-conquest. Yet it is NOT the practice of polygamy that upsets Jaehaerys so. It is the mention of Maegor as an example his daughter wants to follow. Maegor who usurps Jaehaerys's brother's throne and may well be complicit in Aenys's death.

Not a word or thought about polygamy as an evil practice. Not a thought about how the practice must be stopped, or how bad it was that Aegon wed his two sisters. In fact, everything here points to Jaehaerys's anger being based on Saera citing the hated Maegor as an example to follow, and nothing about the practice of polygamy. That and Jaehaerys's outrage in finding out his daughter was orchestrating a sexual funhouse under his father and mother's noses.

Trying to make this into what it isn't in order to make a case Jaehaerys was against polygamy is nothing more that pure speculation at best, and fan fiction at worst. All the evidence we have points to polygamy as an option for the Targaryens down to Rhaegar and Daenerys. Nothing supports the idea it was ever forbidden by any Targaryen ruler of Westeros. Nor did the Faith have any power after Jaehaerys's imposition of his reforms robbed them of most of their power.

Now, that does not mean it was considered as a preferred option. Obviously, that is not the case either. There are no polygamous marriages after Maegor. But if we are considering what Rhaegar chose to do about possibly taking Lyanna as his second wife, we have to recognize that this was a option open to the Crown Prince.

Edited by SFDanny

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As for the general thread thing:

Does it make any sense to continue to maintain such threads to discuss specifically the 'theory' that Rhaegar and Lyanna are Jon's parents when this is effectively a fact now? I'd keep them to generall discuss Rhaegar-Lyanna-Jon issues, but not so much with the intention of discussing something that is effectively settled.

56 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

Sorry, I keep being drawn away from the forums with real world problems, but I did want to deal with at least one point from the discussion on polygamy in the last thread. @Lord Varys and others seem to want to paint Jaehaerys I Targaryen as a hater of polygamy. Despite the fact we have absolutely no evidence of this idea. One of the main supposed supports for this is in the confrontation in Fire & Blood between Jaehaerys and his daughter Saera in the aftermath of the Blue Pearl scandal. So let's look at the text:

This then is the critical quote for this false idea of Jaehaerys as a hater of polygamy. But we should make sure the discussion includes every part of Jaehaerys's reaction. One last quote then:

In understanding this exchange it is crucial to note that Saera raises both the polygamous marriages of Aegon and Maegor. The two preceding examples of polygamy in the Targaryen family post-conquest. Yet it is NOT the practice of polygamy that upsets Jaehaerys so. It is the mention of Maegor as an example his daughter wants to follow. Maegor who usurps Jaehaerys's brother's throne and may well be complicit in Aenys's death.

The idea is that Jaehaerys I is condemning Maegor in part, not exclusively - I'm sure he also didn't like the fact that the man killed his two older brothers or persecuted him and Alysanne and their mother, etc. -, for taking many wives. This is not something he wishes his daughter or anyone repeat.

We do have an entire scenario and specific quotes which make it clear Jaehaerys I did not want to follow his daughter in the polygamy shoes of Uncle Maegor. That is just a fact.

To counter that there would have to be quotes indicating Jaehaerys I liked polygamy, thought it a viable thing, entertained it, etc.

But there is nothing to be there.

As I said above - I wanted there to be more polygamy than just Aenar and Aegon and Maegor in the history of the Targaryens. But there aren't any so far. And that's by the author's deliberate choice. In fact, the Jaehaerys I material is the stuff he wrote most recently. If I had to guess he throw the Saera episode in there to explain why later (see examples I give below) nobody ever entertains the notion of polygamy to resolve pretty serious issues - because it is dead as a concept. And that is is significant because Jaehaerys I's childen and grandchildren are only 2-3 generations after Maegor. If anybody should have been able to get away with polygamy it would have been them.

It doesn't fly to read this whole thing as the measured view of man who has a neutral or even positive view on polygamy.

And the idea one can explain what Jaehaerys I actually meant there doesn't fly either. All we have is the exchange, and that condemns Maegor and Saera both for their (attempted) polygamy. The idea that Saera aspires to be Maegor in any other way but the polygamy thing is also completely without basis. She isn't like Maegor in any other capacity. Oh, she is a psychopath and pathological liar and she has a strong sex drive, but she doesn't like to torture people nor did she ever try to usurp the throne/become queen, not even after her royal father called the Great Council.

And the point here simply is - we do have textual evidence that can be seen - and is seen - by most people I talked about that passage as Jaehaerys I not being in favor of polygamy, and no textual evidence supporting the idea that he was in favor of polygamy. If you want to present a case that the Targaryen kings following Maegor - especially those who still had dragons - actually were in favor of/could have gotten away with polygamy then you simply have no cards in your hand so far. I'm sorry that this is the case, but it is the case. I don't want it to be like that.

Nobody ever considered Maegor an accomplice in the death of King Aenys - he was in exile when Aenys died. Visenya may have killed Aenys, but Maegor had nothing to do with his death.

56 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

Not a word or thought about polygamy as an evil practice. Not a thought about how the practice must be stopped, or how bad it was that Aegon wed his two sisters. In fact, everything here points to Jaehaerys's anger being based on Saera citing the hated Maegor as an example to follow, and nothing about the practice of polygamy. That and Jaehaerys's outrage in finding out his daughter was orchestrating a sexual funhouse under his father and mother's noses.

See above. The only thing in which Saera wanted to follow Uncle Maegor's example was the polygamy thing. The fact that Jaehaerys I didn't condemn his grandfather's polygamy is rather obvious - he didn't really know the man (Aegon I died when Jaehaerys was three years old), and he never even met his grandmother Rhaenys who was dead since 10 AC. The Conqueror Aegon I 'knew' was a monogamous man living with only one sister-wife (sort of, at least).

One usually is disgusted by the people one knows, not by historical people one never actually knew personally. And Maegor's polygamy personally hurt Jaehaerys I and his family considering it helped to destroy the life of his sister Rhaena, who was forced to marry and share the man who murdered her own brother-husband earlier.

As I laid out in the last thread, the Targaryens of the first century are strictly monogamous aside from the two freaks - only monogamy is tolerated, not even affairs and bastard children prior to marriage (much less extramarital affairs). Aegon and Rhaena are married to prevent them from sleeping around and producing bastards, and the same goes for all the others aside from those who join the Faith or the Citadel.

The idea that a man living up to and enforcing such high marital standards would entertain polygamy is just not convincing.

And it is important how Jaehaerys I felt or thought about that since he invented that Doctrine of Exceptionalism - which simply was never used to justify polygamy, nor was its author a guy who practiced or permitted his children to do so.

I mean, seriously, if Jaehaerys I had had no issues with polygamy why didn't he permit Saera her three husbands? She was the blood of the dragon, no? She was soiled goods and as a princess it was her duty to marry. Why not give her three husbands if that was okay?

He could have just said 'Don't compare yourself to Maegor, I heard her the first time. Aegon had more than one spouse, and so can you.' That is what a man who hasn't any issues with polygamy would have done.

Instead it is quite clear that this idea of Saera's - that she could have multiple husbands - is what seals her fate. It is outrageous that she would even contemplate something like that.

56 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

Trying to make this into what it isn't in order to make a case Jaehaerys was against polygamy is nothing more that pure speculation at best, and fan fiction at worst. All the evidence we have points to polygamy as an option for the Targaryens down to Rhaegar and Daenerys. Nothing supports the idea it was ever forbidden by any Targaryen ruler of Westeros. Nor did the Faith have any power after Jaehaerys's imposition of his reforms robbed them of most of their power.

As I said for about a dozen times now - I'm saying anybody formally forbid anything by law. I'm saying the Faith of the Andals doesn't permit polygamy, and the Targaryens never used their Doctrine to claim polygamy was the same as the incest marriages Jaehaerys I and his children and grandchildren and so forth all practiced.

The marriage concept of the Faith does not allow for polygamy as the very marriage vows used in the books we all read show.

Nothing in the history of House Targaryen in Westeros indicates that polygamy was ever an accepted practice:

1. Aegon I's marriages were not blessed or acknowledged as such by the Faith. They were in-between, not lawful, not condemned which is what provided the background for the Faith Militant Uprising.

2. Maegor the Cruel's second marriage - the crucial one - wasn't just condemned by the Faith and House Hightower but also King Aenys himself, meaning House Targaryen agreed with incestuous marriage as cultural Targaryen thing, but not polygamy. This is important because Rhaegar, like Maegor in 39 AC, was just a prince and thus not a sovereign monarch. And Maegor, like Rhaegar, justified his second marriage with the claim his first wife was barren (now). Maegor's second marriage was condemned by all of Westeros, including House Targaryen.

3. There are many instances where polygamy could have resolved a succession or a different struggle/quarrel within the family, starting with:

- The marriage of Saera discussed above. Why not allow her her three husbands? Should have flown if this was still accepted.

- Prince Aemon only has one female child by his wife Jocelyn Baratheon. Why not take a second, third, fourth wife to ensure you produce sons to succeed you on the Iron Throne?

- When Prince Aemon dies in 92 AC Jaehaerys I decides to make his second son Baelon his heir, a widower for quite some time. Why didn't the king marry him as second husband to Princess Rhaenys, so she could be the queen at his side when he became king? That would have settled the succession issue without a Great Council. Another alternative would have been to marry Baelon's son Viserys to Rhaenys as a second husband, ensuring that Rhaenys and Baelon's son would rule jointly after Baelon's death.

- If Viserys I already had an affair with Alicent Hightower prior to his wife's death, why didn't he make her his second wife then and there? He needed/wanted a male heir, which two wives may have been able to do better than one. In fact, considering that Viserys failed to produce any male children with Aemma even before he became king, why didn't they give him a second or third wife them to increase his chances for a male heir?

- When Viserys I remarries why didn't he marry both Laena Velaryon and Alicent Hightower? If polygamy was a thing, why not do it and heal the rift between the dragon and the seahorse? Viserys could have had the beloved mistress and the child bride both. A wife for the dynasty, and another for pleasure, like Aegon I.

- Why didn't Daemon make Rhaenyra his second wife while he was still married to Rhea Royce? She loved him, he wanted her. If polygamy was a thing they could have married in 111 AC with or without the permission of the king.

- Why didn't Rhaenyra marry both Laenor Velaryon and Harwin Strong? If polygamy was a thing she could have done that, preventing all those rumors about the parentage of her sons. And while we are at it - why didn't she also marry the Prince of Dorne. If she could have had two husbands, she could also have had three or four or five.

- Why did Alicent offer Aemond's and Aegon II's hand in marriage to Borros Baratheon's daughters if Aegon II could have taken a second wife in addition to Helaena?

- Why didn't Lucerys Velaryon offer Lord Borros to marry one of his daughters in addition to his cousin Rhaena to whom he was betrothed? Why didn't Jacaerys Velaryon marry both Sara Snow (if that happened) and Baela Targaryen?

- Why did Unwin Peake (likely) murder Queen Jaehaera to free King Aegon III for his daughter Myrielle and not just make Myrielle Aegon III's second wife? If polygamy was a thing this would have worked. Why a great ball to pick one bride if the king could have married six or twelve or scores of women? The same thing later - why did the conspirators feel they had to murder Daenaera and Aegon III and Larra Rogare when they could have just given Aegon III and Viserys II second wives in the women they wanted to see at their sides?

- This continues throughout the later years as well - why didn't Aegon IV not take more wives, why did the council of Aerys I ask him to annul his marriage to Aelinor rather than offer him a second, third, fourth wife in some other women to increase the chance that he might find one he might one to his taste? The most glaring later example are the children of Aegon V - all those scandals and rebellions wouldn't have happened if Duncan, Jaehaerys, Shaera, and Daeron had simply married their originally betrothed in addition to the people they wanted to marry for love. Duncan could have had Jenny and the Baratheon girl, Jaehaerys Shaera and Celia Tully, Shaera Jaehaerys and Luthor Tyrell (a funny polygamy network), and Daeron Jeremy Norridge and Olenna Redwyne. Surely polygamy would have preferrable to war.

Bottom line is, most of the plots George came up with in FaB don't work at all if we assume the people involved actually believed that they could practice polygamy. If that were a viable option it would have come again and again as a possible solution to the problems outlined above. But it didn't for the time period covered by FaB. It didn't even come up (Saera aside) as a solution that was seriously considered and then ultimately dismissed for some reason. Instead, the one time it is actually suggested as a solution the wrath of a king strikes down like a hammer on the girl suggesting it.

That is pretty hard to swallow, but unfortunately it is a fact that comes with the book as published.

56 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

Now, that does not mean it was considered as a preferred option. Obviously, that is not the case either. There are no polygamous marriages after Maegor. But if we are considering what Rhaegar chose to do about possibly taking Lyanna as his second wife, we have to recognize that this was a option open to the Crown Prince.

That is not what we know. Rhaegar doesn't need precedents to marry somebody. He could do whatever he wants. He could also be the first Targaryen to practice polygamy. It is not that people cannot do forbidden things in this world or make fools of themselves.

The point is, that we have no reason to assume polygamy if practiced by Rhaegar is something people would (universally) accept the way they all accept Targaryen incest. Precisely because the last precedent for this thing was Maegor the Cruel 250 years ago.

And if this is so then they doesn't make it very likely anybody would have cheered a child of Lyanna's as a royal prince. Instead, chances are pretty high that Lyanna - if ever presented to the court or the Realm at large as Rhaegar's wife - would have been treated exactly the same way as Alys Harroway was treated, i.e. being denounced as 'that whore of Stark' who bewitched our good prince with her evil heathen ways.

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On 6/26/2020 at 5:10 PM, lehutin said:

Thanks for starting v. 167 @Ygrain. May I suggest that we add something like this to the FAQ?

I find it to be a common talking point against R+L=J that annoyingly persists because it's easily shown to be wrong, yet some loud but misinformed fan channels keep pushing it.

I've never understood the claim that "not remembering" in that context means "not thinking" at all.

Even if Rhaegar wasn't the biological father of his nephew/adopted son, I'd find it pretty hard to believe that the guy who, without a doubt, kidnapped your sister shortly before her death would never ever cross your mind. Or the dead crown prince who was a pretty big player in the war. 

All in all it is a pretty trivial quote that has been milked to death so that naysayers can use it to represent their own theories.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, SFDanny said:

But if we are considering what Rhaegar chose to do about possibly taking Lyanna as his second wife, we have to recognize that this was a option open to the Crown Prince.

An option that would cause a shitstorm, of that I have no doubt, but since a shitstorm was coming, anyway, for making off with Lyanna... why not go for it? It has been argued that people would still see Lyanna as a mere concubine - but without the marriage, she is one, whereas with the marriage, there is a chance that at least some people would acknowledge her status as a second wife. It also forces the Starks into the fold - an uncertain second wife is definitely better than a certain concubine for their image :D

 

Also, on the supposed unacceptability of polygamy: let's compare the general notions and people's willingness to take up the custom:

Incest is both forbidden by the Faith AND a social/religious taboo from time immemorial everywhere in Westeros.

 Polygamy is forbidden by the Faith but was previously acceptable in some parts of Westeros (and still is among the Wildlings, i.e. there is not a religious ban on it in the old gods worship). When the option is open, many lords happily hop on the bandwagon.

tl;dr version: :P

the Faith: incest bad, polygamy bad

people and incest: yuck

people and polygamy: oh, king, take my sister/daughter/aunt/cousin/grandma/all of them

 

 

Edited by Ygrain

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2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

It has been argued that people would still see Lyanna as a mere concubine - but without the marriage, she is one, whereas with the marriage, there is a chance that at least some people would acknowledge her status as a second wife. It also forces the Starks into the fold - an uncertain second wife is definitely better than a certain concubine for their image :D

 

A good point, that I hadn't considered before.

It also shouldn't be overlooked that legal status isn't the only aspect of marriage - if they were in love then they may have married for their own sakes, or to be wed in the sight of their gods. Lyanna wasn't even of the Faith, and although weirwoods are rare in the south, it seems any mature tree can substitute for a Heart Tree in a pinch. If Jon was legitimate there is a question about how we will learn of that as the most of the actors and witnesses are long dead,  which comes back to the theory they married before the weirwoods of the Isle of Faces, close to Harrenhal.

 

Another question is why Lyanna would have been to the second wife, rather than setting Elia aside or asking her to join a convent. My explanation is that Rhaegar wasn't planning anything - he eloped with Lyanna a year after first meeting her because he was acting rashly after learning that Aegon was not his son and the PWWP, but a changling (Elia's stillborn daughter / Ashara's healthy bastard boy). But I know that is a niche theory and not accepted by most, but for those that say he was planning for a legitimate son to be the third head of the dragon, why does his hasty abandonment of Elia show so little sign of planning?

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, SFDanny said:

All the evidence we have points to polygamy as an option for the Targaryens down to Rhaegar and Daenerys

We don't have such evidence, we have Jorah's desire to bang Dany and doing and saying anything to accomplish that desire, Jorah who is already used to bend the laws and who certainly doesn't care whether polygamy is legal or illegal as much as he doesn't care about the morality of slavery. And even then, Jorah himself makes no connection whatsoever between Dany doing polygamy and the Targs being allowed to do it.

And one rumour among many about Daemon and Daenerys.

 

 

14 hours ago, SFDanny said:

Nothing supports the idea it was ever forbidden by any Targaryen ruler of Westeros.

Except the fact that Polygamy was never made legal and a doctrine of the Faith.

Exceptionalism talks a lot about incest but not once about polygamy.

 

 

14 hours ago, SFDanny said:

Nor did the Faith have any power after Jaehaerys's imposition of his reforms robbed them of most of their power.

But they did have their prior influence. Which is why Jaeharys wanted to make sure that an Exceptionalist was made High Septon and that Mattheus never got anywhere near that crown.

The idea that the Faith posed no threat to the Targs completely clash with the lenghts Jaeharys went to get Exceptionalism approved and accepted by all.

You don't need armies to start a war. It's enough to wield enough influence over those who do have armies. That's why Jaeharys wasn't taking any chances with the Starry Sept.

 

 

14 hours ago, SFDanny said:

Now, that does not mean it was considered as a preferred option.

And why not?? Why would people like Aegon 4 who was bankrupt morally and enjoyed hurting his kin as much as he could never think about do polygamy?? 

 

8 hours ago, Ygrain said:

An option that would cause a shitstorm, of that I have no doubt, but since a shitstorm was coming, anyway, for making off with Lyanna...

A shitstorm that could've been handled by repaying the aggreviated parties but if you double down the bet by commiting heinous sins. It's seem like a pretty good plan.

 

 

8 hours ago, Ygrain said:

It has been argued that people would still see Lyanna as a mere concubine - but without the marriage, she is one, whereas with the marriage, there is a chance that at least some people would acknowledge her status as a second wife.

Who are those people??  Because as far as we can tell polygamy isn't a thing that Westeros acknowledges. And if Lyanna is going to be acknowledgeed by four dudes close to Rhaegar and their grandmother... Then what's the point??

If Rhaegar was so eager to please Lyanna and ignore everything and everyone, well screw Elia and annul his marriage, Dorne would've been pissed anyway...

 

8 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Polygamy is forbidden by the Faith but was previously acceptable in some parts of Westeros (and still is among the Wildlings, i.e. there is not a religious ban on it in the old gods worship). When the option is open, many lords happily hop on the bandwagon.

I don't know how you get to that conclusion, the First Men practiced slavery and thralldom for a very long time and now they abhorre slavery. Wildlings customs and believes are not North customs and believes.

And when the option is a fact, le a non avoidable one, people ofc use that to their advantage but people were also repulsed at the fact that Aegon was married to his sister and didn't mind Aegon marrying their daughters. Yet all this was only done to Aegon since both his children found fierce opposition trying to do either.

 

@Buried TreasureTreasure

 

Quote

Another question is why Lyanna would have been to the second wife, rather than setting Elia aside or asking her to join a convent.

He needs the King's permission to do that and Elia is Rhaegar's most important ally, without the Martell support all his plans to dethrone his father rather peacefully are doomed. Nor I ser any rational reason for Elia to accept such deal. 

Edited by frenin

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Posted (edited)

Did Rhaegar and Lyanna marry according to any given wedding ceremony?

This answer is either Yes or No. There is no but. It is immaterial how many people would consider that marriage legal, be it a Tywin Lannister or a random Pate from nowhere. It is also immaterial how many vocal readers find that marriage illegal.

If I were not on mobile, I would also give the quote from F&B about Cregan Stark and Sara Snow. He was furious at first when he heard that Sara slept with that Targaryen prince but after hearing that they had a wedding ceremony before the heart tree prior to bedding, he let his rage go.

Edited by Mithras

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