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R + L = J v.167

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On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

We have confirmation that at least one person in addition to Robert believes Wylla is Jon Snow's mother. A person where you would have to actually establish how and why Ned 'tricked them' into believing Wylla is the mother without actually saying it.

There is no reason Ned had to 'trick' anyone.

If he rides in to Starfall with Wylla and Jon in tow, has Jon treated as his son, he doesn't need to say anything at all. People will make their own conclusions, thats what people do.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

This is all irrelevant while you cannot tell me who Wylla actually is and where she was.

 

All we know about 'Wylla' is that there is no mention of her, or any other woman like her, on any connection with Ned except with Jon. 
There is no hint in Ned's thoughts, deeds or character, nor in anyone else's recollections who was around him, of him being 'with' any women. Robert thinks it was his 'one time' in other words, there were no times that Robert knows of, just this one that he wasn't around for. Robert literally complains Ned was a stick up his ass, too much honour, never a boy having fun, type, even in his youth.
There is also no mention of Wylla or any woman leading up to the Tower of Joy. Ned and 6 male companions rode up. No Wylla. Yet by the time he's at Starfall, Wylla is around and people are clearly guessing she's Jon's mother.

For Wylla to have been Jon;s mother, Ned's squeeze, she needs to have been around Ned before. And she hneeds to have a reason to have 'appeared' in Dorne between pre-ToJ and Starfall.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

That is neither 'the apparent' nor the 'most likely answer' - it is just something you pulled out of your ass. All we know about Wylla is that she ended up the wetnurse of Edric Dayne at Starfall. We don't know whether she was 'a Dornish native' nor that she lived at Starfall before she was Edric Dayne's wetnurse.

Thats right. I'm the one pulling answers out of my ass. Would those be statements like "people don't enquire about bastards, as we know"? If you ever had any credibility you loaded it into a cannon and blew it to shreds with that statement!
I'm not the one making definitive statements here. I'm pointing out entirely reasonable possibilities that counter definitive statements that have been made by others that simply don't fit the available evidence.

I agree we don't 'know' she was a Dornish native. Or that she had lived at Starfall before meeting Ned.

What we do know is that she first appears out of thin air (as far as we are concerned) somewhere in Dorne. She acts as Jon's wetnurse for a time. She later has a long term position at Starfall and was Edric Dayne's wetnurse.
Here are some interesting other data points.
i) Jon appeared after the ToJ fight and at or before Starfall.
ii) Starfall believes Wylla is his mother, not Ashara. 
iii) Lyanna Stark is very tightly connected to ToJ(by the title of Ned's dream and her voice there) and probably died there.
iv) a baby without a mother, or with a sick or weak mother, needs a wetnurse
v) Arthur Dayne was at ToJ.
Where did she come from and why was she chosen as Jon;s wetnurse by Ned or his predecessors as Jon's wetnurse?
Why is she given a position at Starfall after nursing Jon?

I don;t think its unreasonable to posit potential answers to these questions that fit well with these know facts and other data points.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

In fact, Ned would have to be an utter moron - especially in your weird scenario where everybody and their grandmother try to sniff out the truth behind lordly bastards

Thats you making shit up.
A small number of people try, sometimes. The rest make assumptions.
 

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

- to make the Wylla woman his bastard's mother in any scenario if he only met her at Starfall. Because then Ned would have arrived there with a child that was clearly motherless and, more importantly, could not possibly be Wylla's child. The entire castle would know that she wasn't Jon Snow's mother and it would make no sense that anyone would ever tell Edric Dayne that nonsensical story.

Exactly. Therefore Wylla was with Ned and Jon already when he arrived at Starfall.

Which perfectly explains why Starfall (and Robert) think Wylla is the mother.
Ned rides up with a baby and a woman nursing him. The woman is clearly not noble and not his wife, but he has the baby cared for as though his son. the obvious (only possibility with some support) inference, unless Ned says something, is that the woman is the child's mother.
Ned has no need to spin a story. He merely has the child treated as his bastard, and people will form their own conclusions in lieu of other evidence. 

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

None of the Daynes but, perhaps, Ashara had any reason to be complicit in some sort of weird 'protect Jon Snow scheme' - and Ashara Dayne died shortly thereafter, and was never the ruler of Starfall, anyway - especially since this Eddard Stark fellow actually slew Ser Arthur Dayne, Ashara's brother and the brother of the Lord of Starfall, Edric's father. Most people would have better things to do than to help this guy to obscure the identity of a child.

There is no 'protection racket'. No one is 'obscuring anything on Ned's behalf. They just make the most reasonable inferences from what they see.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Ned just shows who is boss in Winterfell and their marriage. He is the lord husband, and he calls the shots. He doesn't want to talk about Jon Snow, period. Especially not back then when the wounds were still fresh. I mean, if he wanted to do some more misdirection while not react less harshly and sort of allow Cat 'to conclude' that Ashara was Jon's mother?

Its pretty clear he's not just showing who calls the shots. He's icy angry and scares Cat for the only time. He's not hurting, protecting wounds, he's angry, protecting secrets.

As I've said, time and time again, Ned's not busy 'misdirecting' anything. His policy is 'shutting down' anything he can.
That incidentally results in people, everywhere, making their own guesses based on the limited information they have.
Thats why the 'story' is different everywhere.
Ned says as little as possible - to most people thats nothing at all except to call Jon his son or his blood.
At Starfall they say Wylla was the mother, but Ashara was the love - they saw the arrival, but added the Ashara bit out of Allyria's romanticism is my guess.
Harwin thinks the Ashara-lover story is unlikely.
Robert says Wylla was the mother (but ignores Ashara).
Cat hears about this beautiful and tragic noblewoman, and guesses Ashara.
The Stepstones put together the fisherman's daughter scenario.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Why not allow that rumor to thrive instead of shutting it down? That would fit much better with the idea that Ned didn't actually tell Robert Wylla was Jon's mother.

Because Ned's not a master plotter, cleverly messing with everyone's heads, he's a simple guy doing his best to shut down talk around a dangerous secret he has.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Instead, Ned actually does something very stupid there - if Cat hadn't been in love with him she could have taken that freak outburst as pretext to dig deeper and uncover the mystery of Jon Snow's unknown mother.

Cat wasn't in love with him. She barely knew him.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

We have one - the Wylla story as told to us by Robert.

Which is told to us by Robert, not Ned.
All Ned says, in either conversation that we know of, is the name Wylla. Period.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

LOL, right. As if anyone ever even suggested that Eddard Stark should or would have to tell anyone who the hell that Wylla was or where exactly he met her or who her buddies were.

Certainly not me, but you love your straw men...

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

All we are talking about here is that Ned gave Robert the given name of a common woman

Thats what I'm saying, yes. You're saying he told Robert a whole lot more.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

- not her address, profession, or biography. How do you think anyone could track down a woman named Wylla who Eddard Stark met and fucked at some point during the war?

Umm, its not very hard. She's at Starfall, there's no secret there. Arya's tracked her down by accident.

Robert already 'knows' she was Ned's squeeze, the mother of his bastard. Its apparently no secret (generally speaking) that Ned rode away from Starfall with a bastard from somewhere in Dorne. Cat knows, Cersei knows, Robert knows there is no secret in that part.
So you start at Starfall, and what do you know, she's right there and its more or less common knowledge she was Ned's bastard's mother. Edric is surprised Arya doesn't know. Its not a secret there.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

I mean, when the hell do you think Ned talked to Robert about Wylla and his bastard the first time? Or when exactly do you think Ned mentioned to anyone he had a bastard? Do you think he informed Robert about that after his return from the south? That he wrote letters to court to mention he, a great lord, had fathered some bastard? He wouldn't do anything of this sort.

blah blah blah straw men.

We know they did talk, because Ned told Robert the name before. I guess it was when they reconciled over Lyanna's death, probably on the way back to Winterfell (but Robert didn't meet Wylla, so either she went on ahead with Jon, she stayed away from the castle, or Ned did change the wetnurse at Starfall, which seems unnecessary to me).

I don't think at all Ned went around 'broadcasting' he had a bastard. But he was travelling, and would want the child treated well, so its going to be obvious to people.

I don;t know if Ned would have informed Robert himself if he could avoid it. Its reasonably none of Robert's business and I suspect Ned could have used the 'shame' aspect particular to him to explain to Robert why he said nothing if necessary.

But I am sure Robert would have heard, one way or another. the King's best friend, the third or fourth greatest Lord in the land (Robert, Jon Arryn, Ned/Tywin), travelling with a bastard that may be his first child? There are going to be reports.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Ned would have told Robert what he could about Lya and the tower and stuff, but he wouldn't have taken the child nor talked about 'a bastard of his' while spending time with Robert

I agree. But if Robert broached the subject, having had reports (and no doubt being a bit gleeful that his stick up the ass friend was just like other men after all), Ned can;t exactly deny it. 
My thought is that Ned probably shuts down the conversation as best he could, giving as minimal information as possible, all of it being truthful and unimportant.
Apparent, despite that being exactly what we see from Ned later, some people here think thats impossible. Apparently Ned must have confessed a whole sordid false story. Apparently there is no other way Robert could have made the conclusions he obviously has made.
I think the people advocating that have paid zero attention to GRRM's characterisation of Ned and the clues he gives us in what he chooses to show us.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

... especially not if Cat was around there for the coronation and wedding and whatever the hell they were doing together after the war.

I don;t think Cat's back in the picture yet when Ned see's Robert. If it is a later visit, after Ned's already been home, then it ought to be easy enough for Ned and Robert to get some alone time away from Cat. 
Heck, I'd think even Robert would have enough sense to keep those sorts of questions to a private session.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

The Winterfell folk and Cat eventually realized that Jon Snow was a thing. But they lived at Winterfell, with Ned. Eventually, possibly even years later, news about the Bastard of Winterfell would have reached the court. And then Robert may have wondered who the hell the woman was who could seduce Eddard Stark. In fact, he could have first asked Ned about his bastard's mother - if he actually did that - as late as the Greyjoy Rebellion.

Thats possible I guess.
I think its wildly unlikely that the Master of Secrets couldn't find out the open secret that the King's best friend, the 3rd of 4th noble of the realm, had a bastard that he picked up 'down south' while doing some personal business.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

But guess what - Robert would have no idea how old Jon Snow was, nor when exactly he was born according Ned's story (the guy may not even know when his own children - bastards and Cersei's - were born) - so unless Ned actually told him that he fathered this Jon Snow child after he had married Catelyn at Riverrun Robert Baratheon would have no way of knowing when exactly Ned had his little fling.

Robert, I'm absolutely certain, will have had reports about Ned's visit to Starfall. Heck, Arthur Dayne is still in the mix somewhere without the story of Ned returning his sword to Starfall!
So Robert knows Jon was born already by then.

We don't know whether Robert already 'knew' Jon was conceived after Ned's wedding or not. Thats not clear from the conversation we saw. I don't really think it matters anyway.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Since Ned can only be the source for Ned actually being an adulterer when allegedly fathering Jon Snow, we can be reasonably sure that Ned actually specifically told Robert that he fucked Wylla after marrying Cat - just as he does again in AGoT when Robert asks him about her.

But there is no indication Robert already knew that before Ned told him in the second conversation.

And even if he did, I'm positing that the first conversation went much like the second - Robert comes in with pre-assumptions, having had a report about Ned's trip to Starfall, Ned gives minimal and unimportant information without lying and shuts down the conversation leaving Robert to believe his pre-assumptions.
And its not necessary that the conversation must have been like that. You're the one stating the 'fact' that Ned told Robert Wylla was Jon's mother. I'm merely pointing out a reasonable alternative that fits the facts (better than yours) and has Ned not at any time stating Wylla was Jon's mother, and still leads to the exact conversation we witnessed.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

I think that is Ned's deliberate excuse/pretext to have a reason not to talk about Wylla/Jon. It shamed him that he broke his marriage vows and he uses that as a shield to be able to not talk about the entire thing - which would be different if he had said he fathered Jon Snow before he married Catelyn at Riverrun - or even before he had agreed with Hoster Tully to marry Catelyn.

I think there is an overwhelming preponderance of evidence that Ned is not Jon's father, nor Wylla his mother. So there is no true shame on Ned's part for breaking his vows (perhaps shame for leading Cat to believe their whole married life that he did and how it affected their family).
But I agree he uses the 'shame' as a shield to avoid discussing it.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

This would be a very unsafe bet considering only Ned is the only good source of information for all things Jon Snow at Starfall we have so far. Especially if you believe Jon Snow was born at the tower of joy.

Nope.
Why would Ned say anything explicit at all at Starfall? He has no need to and we see how he avoids doing so even a decade and a half later.
All Ned has to do is ride and and have/ask/demand/ Jon to be treated as his son/blood. Starfall people will fill in the gaps themselves, especially if he refuses to discuss it. Thats what people do.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

I'm with you with the idea that Ned may have arrived with Wylla at Starfall. But I see no reason why he should have just allowed people to conclude that Wylla was the mother of his bastard - after all, he would have told the Daynes and Starfallians and eventually the world as such that this child there was Jon Snow, Eddard Stark's natural son.

See above. 
Why would he say anything?
If he did, why would he change policies later?

How can he control what people 'conclude' anyway? Especially outside of Winterfell. 
And why wouldn't he let them 'conclude' various scenarios. As long as those scenarios are not the truth of his secret, thats a good thing. People who have an answer stop looking for one. 
His only focus is on stopping talk. IMO because talk can lead to new thoughts, new conclusions. 

Its perfectly possible to hold there two thoughts at once, and they are even complimentary.
i) stop all discussion, becasue that leads to new or better ideas, or even the truth
ii) if people think a lie is true, who cares
And even hold them while being very careful about not lying yourself.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Or are you telling us now Jon Snow got that Snow name branding him a noble bastard for all his life also just because Eddard Stark 'allowed people to draw the conclusion that Jon was his child'? That he never formally and publicly acknowledged him as his child? I don't think so.

Formally? Maybe, but I doubt it.
Publicly? Clearly he did. At very least by deed, and maybe by word.

Quote

He did more than that. The Starks were not like other men. Ned brought his bastard home with him, and called him "son" for all the north to see. When the wars were over at last, and Catelyn rode to Winterfell, Jon and his wet nurse had already taken up residence.

What I see is that Ned had Jon treated as his bastard son. And casually included him in his 'sons' in public  (by which time mind you, Jon truly was his son, even if not from his seed). 
Ned may have formally, or informally, called Jon 'son'. In the North at least.
While still in the south, I can see lots of possibilities. But my guess is that in whichever one of them is the truth, Ned was very careful about what he said exactly and tried not to lie unless he had to.
 

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

For the people of Starfall to conclude that the child with Ned and Wylla - if we got by the idea of them arriving there together - was actually Eddard Stark's son (and not, you know, the late Lyanna's child) Eddard Stark would actually have to tell them at least that.

No he would not. As above. 

And even if he did, thats literally all he has to say on the matter. He is not obliged to give more detail to anyone except Robert , and maybe b=not even Robert.

 

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

As for the other stuff:

You are thinking about this too much. Varys reporting about - what? Starfall kitchen gossip?

Ned is the King's best friend and the 3rd or 4th ranked noble in the Kingdom. He's a very big deal, especially for those who don't know him. He's got some pretty high powers.
And he just 'disappeared' with a small band of close friends after accepting the surrender (thats one of those high powers) of the Tyrells at Storms End.
Then he 'reappears' at Starfall with Arthur-friggen-Dayne's sword. Oh, and a bastard from no-where.

Thats more than just kitchen gossip.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

And Robert in need of 'armor' to ask his old buddy about his bastard son and the flame who must have born the boy? Those are all additional assumptions nobody needs.

"Armor"?
Oh, 'pre-armed'. Wow, Thats a hell of a clanger on your part. No wonder its so painful trying to have a discussion with you.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

LOL, you don't seem to get it that Ned 'misdirecting Robert' about the mother of his bastard is exactly the same as him telling it outright if there is a situation where the king actually investigates Wylla, right? Robert wouldn't remember that he had been 'misdirected', he would, correctly, assume that Eddard Stark told him a lie.

You think so. 
I don't.

As an experienced user of this strategy (deliberately in my case, in games mostly), I know that having told the exact truth is a very very good defense against claims of lying to people. 

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

What can I say? That just makes no sense at all. Littlefinger's 'bastard' is Sansa Stark (who stands accused of regicide and is on the most wanted list of the two richest houses in Westeros), wearing literally no disguise but dye in her hair, yet nobody seems to notice her or care about her because she poses as a bastard.

The real ientity of a false bastard is not the reaosn for investigating the bastard - thats presupposing the knoweldge of the result.

No one cares because Littlefinger's bastard is of no interest because they all look down on Littlefinger. The only potential 'interest' she might possibly have is to use her to worm in with Littlefinger, in which case her identity as his bastard is the key to her values anyway.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Why on earth do you assume that in light of all that anyone (Ned included) would ever, ever think to investigate the parentage of Ned's bastard. That is just ridiculous.

Because people are curious, especially about those in power. And Ned's an important enough guy, with an interesting 'thing' who is tiht lipped? Thats much more 'mysterious' and 'interesting' than Littlefinger's easy non-chalance.

And it s not that they definitely would. Its that they might. the last thing Ned needs is having to answer to Robert why he lied about Jon Snow. Assuming he lied that is.

If he just to'd the truth, its a very very effective defense. And he still has the "I didn't want to discuss it with you because I'm ashamed, so I didn't argue with your beliefs defense up his sleeve.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

The important thing for Ned was to make Lya's child his bastard - which he simply did by claiming that the boy was his bastard. That was all.

Agreed. Though I think he treated the boy as his bastard, which led people to assume it so that it became effectively true over time. And I allow plenty of room for the literal calling the boy his bastard too.
Just not for telling unnecessary lies about the bastard's origins which he is later extremely reluctant to discuss.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

There is no indication he ever feared or even thought anyone would ever 'investigate' this child once it was a bastard.

Really? Why is he so aggressive in shutting down any talk about it.  "Never ask me about Jon". 
Don't tell me shame and hurt - Jon's not actually his, so there is no actual shame and there is no indication anywhere of a past great love in Ned's head, or that sort of emotional pain - other than for/over his sister.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Even if they did - it would be his word, the word of one of the most powerful men in Westeros against whoever would want to doubt that.

Did you read the books?
Do you remember what KL is like as far as trust and the value of a man's word is?

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Even if a man like Stannis wrote a bunch of letters spilling out 'the true Jon Snow story' - the political fallout would be, most likely, nonexistent. Because Jon Snow doesn't look like a Targaryen, and no self-respecting lord in Westeros would want his prince or king to be a baseborn, motherless bastard - especially not while there was still proper royalty living in Essos.

Yeah, sure. No issue with Robert over Dragonspawn. No issue over Lyanna's son by Rhaegar. 

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Have you any evidence whatsoever that Jon Snow 'appeared' under strange 'circumstances'? There is nothing of this sort in the books at all. Nobody wonders how/why/that Ned Stark got himself a bastard during the war.

Suuure. Thats why there's a different rumour about it everywhere you listen. No one wonders how/why honourable Ned, the humourless stick up his ass friend of the king got himself a bastard.
But actually, I partially agree. No ne does wonder, much. Because they already have done the wondering and come up with answers that work for themselves so they stopped thinking about it (except Cat). They 'know' already. Nothing to puzzle out hear.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Ned's love for Robert shouldn't have survived Jon's arrival if Ned had actually been afraid that Robert, specifically, would harm to Jon. The fact that he still loves Robert in AGoT - and is not wary that Robert is going to come to Winterfell where he would see and interact with Jon Snow - is all the proof we need to conclude that Ned wasn't afraid for Jon's life because of Robert.

Rubbish. Its not proof, it not even particularly suggestive. And never mind that Jon has grown p to look like Ned and the dangers have massively lessened as a result.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Again, you are contradicting your own case there -

No, just your straw man.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Ashara was a 'misdirecting story' Ned could have used with Cat. He didn't. Because he knew he could do as he pleased with Cat, unlike Robert or other important people. Why do you think he shut down that story? If I had to guess it had much more to do with Ashara Dayne's memory than Jon Snow.

None of that scene reads like Ned bossing Cat 'because he could'. Its the same icy anger and shut down as he uses with Robert, but more forceful, because he has the power. Having the power is not the reason for the icy anger, it merely modifies how he deals with the situation.
He shut down that story IMO because any discussion of Jon's origins invites cross pollination of knowledge and new ideas. It carries danger. Suppose someone came up with the idea that Jon was Lyanna's? And Robert heard? Rhaegar frikken Targaryen's dragonspawn and Ned's betrayed him by hiding it!?!

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

This whole silly little story that Ned never told Cat or his children or Jon the truth is also a bunch of crap. The Reed children most likely know who Jon Snow actually is - just as they know the story about the mystery knight they expected Bran to know.

Howland Reed has his own knowledge and his own judgement on how to deal with it. He's not Ned, and not in the same situation as Ned.

On 7/4/2020 at 10:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Ned doesn't talk about Lya and stuff because it is too hurtful/he doesn't want to talk about, not because it is something he has to do to protect his family or Jon. We are talking about a man who has seven-year-old children of his watch him behead people, and three-year-olds remember that 'winter is coming'. He is not one to protect people from the truth if they have to face it.

As seems to be always the case, your arguments, made up out of whole cloth from what you feel should be, as opposed to what GRRM writes, are directly contradicted by the text.

Quote

And when you have it, what then? Some secrets are safer kept hidden. Some secrets are too dangerous to share, even with those you love and trust. Ned slid the dagger that Catelyn had brought him out of the sheath on his belt. The Imp's knife. Why would the dwarf want Bran dead? To silence him, surely. Another secret, or only a different strand of the same web?


 

 

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On 7/5/2020 at 12:25 PM, Lord Varys said:

Yeah, and the context here was that people like @corbon get too mixed up in the text - they project their knowledge about dates and ages and stuff on the characters when in fact the moment to consider that Robert or anyone would know or suspect when exactly Jon Snow was born or conceived is when we have clear indications that said people actually show any interest or knowledge in dates surrounding Jon Snow's birth, conception, and age.

What a lot of verbiage nonsense.
The moment people show interest in Jon Snow is the moment they find Ned Stark with a bastard he's not telling about.

On 7/5/2020 at 12:25 PM, Lord Varys said:

This is why the Alayne Stone comparison is so striking - here both a teenage bastard girl as well as her mother are invented out of thin air and nobody double-checks this, nor do the people doing it (Littlefinger and Sansa) actually expect it would be double-checked by any of the many enemies they have in the Vale.

Because
1) Alaynne is old enough for her mother to be irrelevant. A newborn sans mother, is not.
2) Because a mother is irrelevant, no one cares and Littlefinger doesn't need to address this.
3) No one gives a shit what Littlefinger did a decade and a half ago while he was nobody, either at his shithole 'castle' on the littlest of the Fingers or in the stews of Gulltown as a minor official.

On 7/5/2020 at 12:25 PM, Lord Varys said:

Once Ned had Jon Snow in his care, he would never announce to anyone day of birth or conception or age. He was under no pressure to tell Robert when exactly he allegedly fucked the Wylla woman.

Agreed. 

On 7/5/2020 at 12:25 PM, Lord Varys said:

He did this because he wanted to - he could have just as well claimed he fathered Jon Snow before his marriage to Catelyn.

He didn't actually tell Robert exactly when he fucked Wylla. He just used his marriage vows and the 'shame' of breaking them as an excuse to shut down the conversation.

On 7/5/2020 at 12:25 PM, Lord Varys said:

In fact, he perhaps could have gone as far as claiming he did that 1-2 years prior to Rebellion if he felt that way, especially if he first talked with Robert about Jon and Wylla years after the Rebellion. At that point it would be remarkably easy to pin down Jon Snow's exact age if, say, the first reports about him at court circulated only years after the Rebellion, too.

he could have. Pretty damn stupid though, claiming Jon was several years older than he was when numerous eye-witness must have seen Jon as an extremely new infant at Starfall and even Winterfell.
Sure, probably its no big deal. But what if someone asks, or checks, or even just notices? Why lie unnecessarily? That shows you are hiding something when/if it gets found out.

On 7/5/2020 at 12:25 PM, Lord Varys said:

Some readers are obsessed with bastards here - but for decent people in Westeros bastards are not proper subjects. Nobody investigates them, instead people overlook them.

Jon Arryn. Stannis Baratheon. Ned Stark. All investigated bastards. Varys knew about Roberts, Cersei tracked many down and killed them. Lyanna even knew about Mya Stone.
LV simply talks about his own headcannon, not ASOIAF.

On 7/5/2020 at 12:25 PM, Lord Varys said:

The one reason people could have investigating Jon Snow would be if they had reason to believe Rhaegar and Lyanna had produced living offspring and had concluded that Ned Stark's bastard might be said offspring in disguise.

Yep, thats the only possible reason!
Curiosity? Not possible. Following up on conflicting information? Not possible. Being interested in the doings of the 3rd or 4th most powerful man in the realm? Nah, who gives a shit. Wanting something to 'use' on Ned as leverage or for the future? Who could possibly?

Oh, wait. We like to talk about ASoIaF here, not one individual's personal headcannon. Maybe there is more than one possibility? Maybe people in ASoIaF act like real people, and like the characterisations GRRM gave them? 

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11 hours ago, corbon said:

If he rides in to Starfall with Wylla and Jon in tow, has Jon treated as his son, he doesn't need to say anything at all. People will make their own conclusions, thats what people do.

That is just rubbish. People draw conclusions the way they want, and if the Daynes actually knew before Eddard Stark arrived there and told them the story about Ser Arthur and his sword that Lyanna Stark was pregnant the last time they saw her or talked to her and if they knew/concluded that Stark must have been with Dayne/Lyanna to get possession of Dawn then, well, the conclusion they would draw is not necessarily that this child was Ned's.

The idea that Ned used misdirection to convince that people would just conclude that a child in his care was his bastard is just crap.

As is the idea that Ned never formally acknowledged Jon Snow as his bastard son. He himself would have to publicly acknowledge him to make him a Snow. People couldn't do that.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

All we know about 'Wylla' is that there is no mention of her, or any other woman like her, on any connection with Ned except with Jon. 
There is no hint in Ned's thoughts, deeds or character, nor in anyone else's recollections who was around him, of him being 'with' any women. Robert thinks it was his 'one time' in other words, there were no times that Robert knows of, just this one that he wasn't around for. Robert literally complains Ned was a stick up his ass, too much honour, never a boy having fun, type, even in his youth.
There is also no mention of Wylla or any woman leading up to the Tower of Joy. Ned and 6 male companions rode up. No Wylla. Yet by the time he's at Starfall, Wylla is around and people are clearly guessing she's Jon's mother.

That's just your ass talking again. We don't know how Wylla did get to Starfall nor when. All we know is that she was there to serve Edric as wetnurse and that she allegedly is Jon's mother. She could have gotten to Starfall only after Ned left there and nobody there has to connect her to any infant - instead she could have merely told the people there that she was the mother of Eddard Stark's bastard.

She could have arrived with Ned at the tower, she could be a woman Ned called to the tower, she could have been a woman Ned picked up on his way to the tower, etc.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

For Wylla to have been Jon;s mother, Ned's squeeze, she needs to have been around Ned before. And she hneeds to have a reason to have 'appeared' in Dorne between pre-ToJ and Starfall.

No, people just need to believe she was around Ned at one point. They don't have to know.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Thats right. I'm the one pulling answers out of my ass. Would those be statements like "people don't enquire about bastards, as we know"? If you ever had any credibility you loaded it into a cannon and blew it to shreds with that statement!
I'm not the one making definitive statements here. I'm pointing out entirely reasonable possibilities that counter definitive statements that have been made by others that simply don't fit the available evidence.

That is what a man who actually knows his shit - Petyr Baelish - says. Nobody inquires or talks about bastards. Jon Arryn and Stannis also didn't investigates bastards, they investigated the king's trueborn children and his wife and brother-in-law. They didn't give a fig about Robert's by-blows or their mothers - they only cared how they looked in comparison to Cersei's children.

But this isn't an absolute statement, even if you read it that way. It is to point out that your idea that Ned had no reason to believe he had to obscure the parentage of his bastard. All he needed to do is to claim the child was his bastard. Period.

He had no reason to fear anyone would investigate the boy's parentage - and therefore also no reason to hide Wylla's identity or whereabouts.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

What we do know is that she first appears out of thin air (as far as we are concerned) somewhere in Dorne. She acts as Jon's wetnurse for a time. She later has a long term position at Starfall and was Edric Dayne's wetnurse.

We don't know whether Wylla ever was Jon's wetnurse. We have a claim she was his mother, not his wetnurse. And most of the other Wyllas we know of (Wylla Fell, Wylla Manderly) are Northwomen, certainly supporting the idea that Jon's Wylla may have been a Northwoman in Ned's retinue, too. A camp follower, say.

Jon definitely was cared for by different women - unless we assume the wetnurse Cat met at Winterfell wasn't Wylla, too, and she didn't just return to Starfall after she was no longer needed.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Which perfectly explains why Starfall (and Robert) think Wylla is the mother.
Ned rides up with a baby and a woman nursing him. The woman is clearly not noble and not his wife, but he has the baby cared for as though his son. the obvious (only possibility with some support) inference, unless Ned says something, is that the woman is the child's mother.
Ned has no need to spin a story. He merely has the child treated as his bastard, and people will form their own conclusions in lieu of other evidence. 

Again, your ass talking. Or rather: You talking to 'support' your weird idea that Ned wouldn't tell Robert deliberate lies about Wylla being Jon's mother.

If Ned were smart, he wouldn't even show the babe the people at Starfall nor the woman who should be his mother especially not if she were, as you speculate, connected to Starfall before she arrived there (via that Arthur Dayne nonsense you sprouted above). Because if she was with Lya when Jon was born and saved as wetnurse to her child, then she could only be Jon's mother in the eyes of the Starfallians if Ned and Wylla spent about nine months together before they came to Starfall with the babe together - and then Jon Snow would no longer be a newborn babe but about a year old already.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

There is no 'protection racket'. No one is 'obscuring anything on Ned's behalf. They just make the most reasonable inferences from what they see.

No, actually, if Wylla had a Starfall background - as you speculate - then the Daynes must have helped Ned to pass Rhaegar's child for his because nobody would have concluded that a woman serving Lya/Rhaegar would have had a child with Ned - especially if they hadn't had neither time nor opportunity.

Instead, Wylla either had no Starfall background and/or Ned, the Daynes, and their people deliberately spun the tale that the child Ned may have brought to Starfall were Wylla's child by Ned rather than Lyanna's by Rhaegar. There is also essentially no reason to believe why Ned would ever allow a woman who knew the truth about Jon Snow to remain at Starfall (even if she were originally of Starfall) if he wanted to keep that story a secret from other people.

Instead, the only reason why she would have been left at - or allowed to return to - Starfall is if the Daynes and perhaps other people at Starfall, too, were accomplices in the deception thing. Because if Ned allowed Wylla to go her own ways he could not prevent her from spreading her tale, could he?

Starfall isn't the Neck, people spreading rumors there would eventually reach court.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Its pretty clear he's not just showing who calls the shots. He's icy angry and scares Cat for the only time. He's not hurting, protecting wounds, he's angry, protecting secrets.

I honestly don't care about your insistence that 'icy anger' must mean what you think it does. He was certainly angry but what exactly triggered his anger - fear, anger, grief, a combination of all that - you don't know and don't get to tell me or anyone. If this were conclusive we would not need to discuss the issue.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

As I've said, time and time again, Ned's not busy 'misdirecting' anything. His policy is 'shutting down' anything he can.
That incidentally results in people, everywhere, making their own guesses based on the limited information they have.
Thats why the 'story' is different everywhere.
Ned says as little as possible - to most people thats nothing at all except to call Jon his son or his blood.
At Starfall they say Wylla was the mother, but Ashara was the love - they saw the arrival, but added the Ashara bit out of Allyria's romanticism is my guess.
Harwin thinks the Ashara-lover story is unlikely.
Robert says Wylla was the mother (but ignores Ashara).
Cat hears about this beautiful and tragic noblewoman, and guesses Ashara.
The Stepstones put together the fisherman's daughter scenario.

Crap, especially that tidbit about the Stepstones.

The problem with those examples here is that Ned actually told Robert the name Wylla - something he didn't have to do. He could have given him a fake name (how would Robert be able to track a nonexisting woman down if he wanted to?) but he did not. Instead, we know Wylla is intimately connected to Jon Snow and giving Robert her name could actually give Robert the pieces to uncover the actual truth if he dragged her to court and had her tortured (or just questioned nicely).

The bottom line there is - your idea that Ned just allowed Robert to reach the conclusion that a woman he likely never had an affair with but who may actually know the secret about Jon Snow and may have served the boy as a wetnurse was the mother of his bastard is just crap.

As is the idea that Robert actually had a report about the wetnurse/mother of some bastard from another source.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Umm, its not very hard. She's at Starfall, there's no secret there. Arya's tracked her down by accident.

LOL, no. Arya was told about Jon Snow's mother because at Starfall this isn't a secret. The idea that Ned also told Robert where to find his Wylla is just in your head.

The idea that anyone got reports about Ned at Starfall from anyone but Ned is just crap.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Robert already 'knows' she was Ned's squeeze, the mother of his bastard. Its apparently no secret (generally speaking) that Ned rode away from Starfall with a bastard from somewhere in Dorne. Cat knows, Cersei knows, Robert knows there is no secret in that part.
So you start at Starfall, and what do you know, she's right there and its more or less common knowledge she was Ned's bastard's mother. Edric is surprised Arya doesn't know. Its not a secret there.

Cat's sources are Winterfell people knowing Ned and other Stark business. Cersei has no sources at all aside from the idea that Ned fathered a bastard after his wedding and while he wasn't around Robert (i.e. down in Dorne after the Sack), meaning her source for this was likely Ned himself via Robert. Who, based on Ned's story, believes Ned fathered his bastard after his wedding.

You do recall that Robert didn't recall Wylla's name when he talked about her in AGoT. Meaning he could have told Cersei a garbled version of the original story Ned told him years ago when she bothered to ask question about Ned's bastard - which she may have done during their stay at Winterfell.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

We know they did talk, because Ned told Robert the name before. I guess it was when they reconciled over Lyanna's death, probably on the way back to Winterfell (but Robert didn't meet Wylla, so either she went on ahead with Jon, she stayed away from the castle, or Ned did change the wetnurse at Starfall, which seems unnecessary to me).

I think it might make sense that Ned took Wylla to Winterfell as wetnurse, but so far there is no evidence for that. But I very much doubt Ned traveled with Jon when he left Starfall - I expect him to have put Howland and Wylla and the child on ship up the west coast to go to Winterfell via the Rills or something along those lines.

The idea that Ned would have mentioned his bastard to anyone upon his return to court makes no sense to me - and is baseless assumption at this point because it actually makes no sense to assume he himself would want to connect the Lya story with the story about a newborn child - especially if people knew or suspected Rhaegar-Lya were married and/or Lya was pregnant when she died.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

But I am sure Robert would have heard, one way or another. the King's best friend, the third or fourth greatest Lord in the land (Robert, Jon Arryn, Ned/Tywin), travelling with a bastard that may be his first child? There are going to be reports.

There is no evidence they traveled together, just as there is no evidence that they actually traveled together to Starfall.

Even if they did travel together - it is just weird to assume people remember that some great lord had a child with him and would talk about that for ages.

The moment people would truly note that this child was Ned's bastard is when he actually said it was. And the point for that to become prominent was when the child was in Winterfell.

I'm not dismissing the possibility entirely that reports and rumors about Ned riding around with a child - if that's what happened - reached court eventually, too. But those would have been garbled reports months later, because rumors are not very reliable in this world.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

I agree. But if Robert broached the subject, having had reports (and no doubt being a bit gleeful that his stick up the ass friend was just like other men after all), Ned can;t exactly deny it. 
My thought is that Ned probably shuts down the conversation as best he could, giving as minimal information as possible, all of it being truthful and unimportant.
Apparent, despite that being exactly what we see from Ned later, some people here think thats impossible. Apparently Ned must have confessed a whole sordid false story. Apparently there is no other way Robert could have made the conclusions he obviously has made.
I think the people advocating that have paid zero attention to GRRM's characterisation of Ned and the clues he gives us in what he chooses to show us.

Man, all Robert needed to ask Ned about his bastard was the fact that Ned had a bastard which he never explicitly hid. If you had reason to assume they talked about this after Ned's return from the south and not years later - which you don't - then you would have a point.

Ned mentioning Wylla's name there makes no sense, though, if she is actually connected to the mystery in a meaningful way. And you beg the question to perpetuate your fantasy if you suppose that Robert heard rumors about Wylla/Jon prior to talking to Ned about his bastard's mother.

Ned actually gave something meaningful and dangerous away when he gave away Wylla's name. Wylla is one of the main keys to get to the bottom of the Jon Snow mystery.

My take on this is that Ned deliberately gave away Wylla's name because Wylla is on his side and accomplice in the cover story and the woman Ned wants people to go to if they insist on investigating this story. She is part of his cover story.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

I don;t think Cat's back in the picture yet when Ned see's Robert. If it is a later visit, after Ned's already been home, then it ought to be easy enough for Ned and Robert to get some alone time away from Cat. 
Heck, I'd think even Robert would have enough sense to keep those sorts of questions to a private session.

Of course this would have been a private conversation, but since I expect Ned to have lingered down south for Robert's wedding and Cat and Hoster and all the other rebels to have attended this great feast, I don't think Jon/Wylla were anywhere near this thing or else Cat's first memory of the bastard wouldn't have been her arrival at Winterfell with Jon and the wetnurse already being there.

I also don't think Ned would have spoken about his bastard at that time - I mean, the mindset is that bastards are shameful. You don't talk about them and if you even don't tell your best friend about them said friends - even if they are kings - cannot really fault you for that.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Thats possible I guess.
I think its wildly unlikely that the Master of Secrets couldn't find out the open secret that the King's best friend, the 3rd of 4th noble of the realm, had a bastard that he picked up 'down south' while doing some personal business.

That would presuppose Varys cares about stuff like that. And as you say - the whole thing wasn't exactly a secret, Ned himself never hid Jon Snow. And we do know that he told Robert himself that he fathered the boy after his wedding, i.e. 'down in the south' as a general direction.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Robert, I'm absolutely certain, will have had reports about Ned's visit to Starfall. Heck, Arthur Dayne is still in the mix somewhere without the story of Ned returning his sword to Starfall!
So Robert knows Jon was born already by then.

There is no reason to assume that Robert heard any other reports about Ned's journey aside from the report Ned himself gave him. He is the primary source on that thing, and Ned must have satisfied Robert's curiosity to Robert's satisfaction or else he would have indeed risked that Robert would have his people (Varys) investigate what 'actually happened down in the south'.

Robert should know everything about Lya's death and the death of the Kingsguard, etc. aside from the tiny little detail that her child survived.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

We don't know whether Robert already 'knew' Jon was conceived after Ned's wedding or not. Thats not clear from the conversation we saw. I don't really think it matters anyway.

Ned tells Robert again that he shamed Cat with the fathering of the bastard. Robert isn't surprised when this relative dating comes up, meaning this is old knowledge to him, just as the Wylla name was - he just had forgotten the latter.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

And even if he did, I'm positing that the first conversation went much like the second - Robert comes in with pre-assumptions, having had a report about Ned's trip to Starfall, Ned gives minimal and unimportant information without lying and shuts down the conversation leaving Robert to believe his pre-assumptions.

You have no reason to assume Robert had any such reports from any other source than Ned himself. Because Ned himself would have talked to Robert in detail about the death of his beloved Lyanna.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

And its not necessary that the conversation must have been like that. You're the one stating the 'fact' that Ned told Robert Wylla was Jon's mother. I'm merely pointing out a reasonable alternative that fits the facts (better than yours) and has Ned not at any time stating Wylla was Jon's mother, and still leads to the exact conversation we witnessed.

That goes against the text. Robert tells us point blank that Ned told him that Wylla is Jon Snow's mother. And he does that again when he repeats Wylla's name in AGoT.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

I think there is an overwhelming preponderance of evidence that Ned is not Jon's father, nor Wylla his mother. So there is no true shame on Ned's part for breaking his vows (perhaps shame for leading Cat to believe their whole married life that he did and how it affected their family).
But I agree he uses the 'shame' as a shield to avoid discussing it.

Of course, Wylla isn't Jon's mother! But Ned claims she is and that he fucked her after his wedding. He dated the alleged affair they had.

And if you recall Robert's memories about the woman whose name he cannot recall it is in the context of affairs. There is no indication that Robert even asked Ned about his bastard and the bastard's mother when they had their original conversation - instead, Robert could have just asked Ned about affairs and women and brothels, and the conversation could have resulted in Ned talking about his bastard's mother.

Quote

“Would that we could,” Ned said, “but we have duties now, my liege…to the realm, to our children, I to my lady wife and you to your queen. We are not the boys we were.”

“You were never the boy you were,” Robert grumbled. “More’s the pity. And yet there was that one time…what was her name, that common girl of yours? Becca? No, she was one of mine, gods love her, black hair and these sweet big eyes, you could drown in them. Yours was…Aleena? No. You told me once. Was it Merryl? You know the one I mean, your bastard’s mother?”

“Her name was Wylla,” Ned replied with cool courtesy, “and I would sooner not speak of her.”

“Wylla. Yes.” The king grinned. “She must have been a rare wench if she could make Lord Eddard Stark forget his honor, even for an hour. You never told me what she looked like…”

Ned’s mouth tightened in anger. “Nor will I. Leave it be, Robert, for the love you say you bear me. I dishonored myself and I dishonored Catelyn, in the sight of gods and men.”

“Gods have mercy, you scarcely knew Catelyn.”

“I had taken her to wife. She was carrying my child.”

“You are too hard on yourself, Ned. You always were. Damn it, no woman wants Baelor the Blessed in her bed.” He slapped a hand on his knee. “Well, I’ll not press you if you feel so strong about it, though I swear, at times you’re so prickly you ought to take the hedgehog as your sigil.”

Ned gives away when he allegedly fucked Wylla - after he had married and after he knew his wife was pregnant.

Also we know that Robert never saw the Wylla woman, not knowing what she looked like. That means she and Jon were never at court.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Formally? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Publicly? Clearly he did. At very least by deed, and maybe by word.

Those two things are the same. Jon would never be a Snow if Eddard Stark had not formally and publicly acknowledged him as his son.

He lies everyday about Jon's identity, there is nothing implicit there. It is all very explicit.

He doesn't want to repeat his public lie to Cat, stating that Jon is of his blood instead, but that's because she is his wife and he doesn't want to lie to her when she asks him directly.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Ned is the King's best friend and the 3rd or 4th ranked noble in the Kingdom. He's a very big deal, especially for those who don't know him. He's got some pretty high powers.

And he just 'disappeared' with a small band of close friends after accepting the surrender (thats one of those high powers) of the Tyrells at Storms End.
Then he 'reappears' at Starfall with Arthur-friggen-Dayne's sword. Oh, and a bastard from no-where.

Thats more than just kitchen gossip.

Talk about bastards is the very definition of kitchen gossip. Reports about Lya and the Kingsguard are other things - the idea that Ned didn't reveal everything he could about that is nonsense. If he didn't, then people would have investigated this, and would have found people who knew what happened at the tower.

And, no, we don't know that Ned appeared with a bastard at Starfall. We don't know he brought the child there.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

"Armor"?
Oh, 'pre-armed'. Wow, Thats a hell of a clanger on your part. No wonder its so painful trying to have a discussion with you.

Says the guy who actually types stuff like this:

Quote

The real ientity of a false bastard is not the reaosn for investigating the bastard

[...]

And Ned's an important enough guy, with an interesting 'thing' who is tiht lipped?

[...]

No ne does wonder, much.

[...]

And never mind that Jon has grown p to look like Ned and the dangers have massively lessened as a result.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

No one cares because Littlefinger's bastard is of no interest because they all look down on Littlefinger. The only potential 'interest' she might possibly have is to use her to worm in with Littlefinger, in which case her identity as his bastard is the key to her values anyway.

LOL, again - it is Sansa fucking Stark we are talking about here.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

And it s not that they definitely would. Its that they might. the last thing Ned needs is having to answer to Robert why he lied about Jon Snow. Assuming he lied that is.

Man, if I'm a king I'll take your head anytime, regardless whether you directly or indirectly lied or misdirected me. I'm the king, and you a fucking traitor. In fact, I'd even choose a crueler execution method for you if you gleefully told me that you never lied to me and that it is my fault/stupidity that made me draw the wrong conclusion.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Yeah, sure. No issue with Robert over Dragonspawn. No issue over Lyanna's son by Rhaegar. 

Ned had no reason to fear for Jon's life unless he had reason to believe Robert would see Jon as Rhaegar's trueborn son. If he was just a Targaryen bastard he would not have any reason to fear he would kill him. After all, there is no indication Robert looked for an executed alleged/acknowledged bastards of Rhaegar or Aerys II - and the latter may have a lot of those, actually, considering his many affairs in youth and early adulthood.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

Rubbish. Its not proof, it not even particularly suggestive. And never mind that Jon has grown p to look like Ned and the dangers have massively lessened as a result.

LOL, Jon Snow wouldn't have looked like a Targaryen when Ned first laid his eyes on him. Ned would have never made this boy his bastard child if he had looked like Rhaegar.

11 hours ago, corbon said:

None of that scene reads like Ned bossing Cat 'because he could'. Its the same icy anger and shut down as he uses with Robert, but more forceful, because he has the power. Having the power is not the reason for the icy anger, it merely modifies how he deals with the situation.
He shut down that story IMO because any discussion of Jon's origins invites cross pollination of knowledge and new ideas. It carries danger. Suppose someone came up with the idea that Jon was Lyanna's? And Robert heard? Rhaegar frikken Targaryen's dragonspawn and Ned's betrayed him by hiding it!?!

Unless Robert also believed Rhaegar and Lyanna were married this wouldn't have changed much.

In fact, the sole reason why it makes sense that Lya would fear for the life of her child - as she apparently did - is that she knew Robert knew she had married Rhaegar.

Else Ned could have told the world Jon Snow was Lya's bastard who he was raising at Winterfell with his own children.

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