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butterweedstrover

What Elia thought of Rhaegar

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There is a lot of ambiguity on this topic. Lyanna is frequently described as being kind and baring Elia no ill will. 

Elia herself was a meek women who found herself married to the crowned prince, a status above which she should ever have the right to dream for. 

Rhaegar was for the most part loyal to her. He gave her two children, and did not publicly disgrace her. He was also exceedingly beautiful and described as 'noble'. 

She had Ashara at her side as her lady-in-waiting who became her champion in many ways. 

But she was too weak to give Rhaegar a third child. The prophecy said the dragon has three heads, and Rhaegar was always obsessed with the prophecy. 

So why couldn't she give him this, let him be with another woman for once. Who was she besides? Just Elia Martell; she wasn't Cersei Lannister or even Catelyn Tully. 

What right did she have to complain? But we forget one thing, meek she may be, but she has dornish blood. And one thing we know about Dornish blood is it boils beneath the surface. 

In the fourth book we are introduced to her brother Doran Martell. He sighs, he whispers, and he can barely bring himself to raise a finger against those who would disgrace him. Arianne says the words we are all thinking, but then he tells us what he wants. Fire and Blood 

He is not so innocent as he seems. His sister is dead aye, but he wants to take everything from Tywin. Is that too much? Perhaps, but it is what he desires.  

So we return to Elia, this somewhat mysterious figure. She stands by as Lyanna listens to Rhaegar's harp, she stands by as he crowns her the queen of love and beauty. And in the end she tells him to take Lyanna. What is another marriage when Aegon the conqueror had two wives? In Dany's vision in the house of the undying she see's Elia speak about Aegon VI, "“Will you make a song for him ?” the woman asked."  

The song of ice and fire. Who is this woman to stop this man, the dragon prince? He wants to fulfill the dreams of Summerhall, while she had a "delicate heart" and a poor health. 

So, can she not give this one thing to him. He has been loyal, and Lyanna is a sweet girl. But then the war starts, and Rhaegar returns. 

I believe Jon's chapter in ADWD confirms the baby swap did happen (though I don't think YG is Aegon VI).  

But what do we have with Elia. She knows she is not suppose to hate Rhaegar, she loves Rhaegar. But he is with another woman, a woman who is sweet to her. How does this make her feel? Lyanna does not even allow her the reprieve of hating this other woman. She is so gentle and kind Elia must convince herself they are good people, and she should support them. 

She stays alone in Kingslanding, then her husband comes back. He has started a war over this woman, but Aegon VI is the prince who was promised. He wants him stowed away until the war is over. This man who asked nothing from her did so not out of respect, but out of kindness. 

You see in a relationship both partners expect to be equals, but when they are not it becomes difficult. Now Rhaegar has been wonderful, but only because he is kind. And this kindness borders on pity. All of society tells her she should be happy, by all rights she should not even be married to this man. So let him do what he wants. He does not ask her if they should send the child away, he tells her. 

But while he is gone, away in Dorne, Elia's birth place, with another woman, the baby was the center of her life. He returns not to embrace her, but to take him away. Because of a war he is responsible for. Him and his prophecy.  

Can't she just do this one thing? Perhaps, but you see, she must realize at some point that she has no self dignity. A washerwoman in Fleas bottom may not be made a queen, but at least she can stand on her own two feet and make her own decisions. The mind and heart need to believe they have agency in their own lives, and Elia has none. She is told to be happy because of how lucky she is. She cannot even complain for Lyanna is loving and wishes Elia only the best. Rhaegar has given her attention and love, but now he must take. For in truth that is what this relationship was, there is no illusion anymore. 

So what does this meek, delicate, woman with no allies do? What does she do when she is told to give away her son, the one thing she has dedicated her life to, even more than Rhaenys? 

Well George tells us. 

"Another woman would have shrieked at him, cursed him, damned him down to seven hells. Another woman might have flown at him in rage, slapped him, kicked him, raked at his eyes with her nails. Another woman might have thrown her defiance in his teeth." - Jon in ADWD 

Not Gilly, Gilly doesn't do this. Another woman. Elia. 

Edited by butterweedstrover

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That is a lot of subject to cover, butterweedstrover.  So onto the parts that interests me.  

Washerwomen do have more freedom in many ways.  But also do not overlook the fact that they are commoners.  Any lord can take her when he wished it.  I would not call that a good life.  A noble woman, despite the social expectations, is much better off.  Social expectations is not the same as restriction.  Elia could have slapped Rhaegar for his insults.  Rhaegar was an ass to his wife.  That was humiliation at Harrenhal.  I have a hunch that Rhaegar was ordered to do that.  The Targaryens needed to stop the Starks, Baratheons, and Tullys from blood bonding.  Lyanna would be the blood glue to hold the families together.  Rebellion is a dangerous thing and those families needed to know the others are not gonna back out and leave them to face the wrath of their King alone.  Stand or fall, a blood bond will make sure they stick together.  Aerys, Varys, and Rhaegar were attempting to prevent this sinister plot from getting off the ground.  I don't think Elia would have been privy to the Targaryen counter terrorism plans.  

Lords fooled around on their wives all the time.  But even a liberal Dornish woman would want to make sure any spawn from such an indiscretion would never be able to threaten her children's inheritance.  Elia would never consent to Rhaegar marrying another woman.  Aerys would never allow it.  Rhaegar does not have the authority to dissolve his own marriage.  Elia was probably ok with Rhaegar banging another woman because any nit from them would be bastards.  

Who is to say they would have been happier with other partners.  Rhaegar was self-absorbed and might have been better off as a single man.  Or with another man.  Elia seemed happy enough with her children.  I mean, what more can you expect.  She was part of the royal family.  All of her needs were attended to.  So she didn't have a strong emotional bond with her husband.  That's not unusual.  Her marriage had to have been better than Robert and Cersei's.  And a third child was not really needed.  That was all in Rhaegar's head.  

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We don't know what Elia thought about Rhaegar. Period. This is just wild assertions and assumptions and the only reference to the text at all is not about Elia or Rhaegar.

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57 minutes ago, Ser Leftwich said:

We don't know what Elia thought about Rhaegar. Period. This is just wild assertions and assumptions and the only reference to the text at all is not about Elia or Rhaegar.

There is more evidence, but much of it comes from other people. 

I relied only on my own observations for this post

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We don't know, but i hope we get to know. I mean this woman lived on Dragon stone for most of her marriage and had to deal with him and then his sick father calls her form there to use as a hostage. At the end she peobably only there for the children.

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Did Elia and Rheagar love each other? Romantically? No. Theirs was a political marriage, first and foremost. This is not the modern world, where people marry for love. This is Westros, where the whole point of marriage is to get your family some heirs and secure a place of power. The Martells benifitted from having a Queen in Elia and having her children be heairs to Iron Throne, and the Targaryens benefitted from having a male heir to inherit Rheagar. 

Where Elia and Rheagar fond of each other? Barristan seems to think so, and tells Dany as much. But remember, fondness isn't romantic love so much as it is plain old friendship. They liked and respected one another, and recognized their marriage for what it was.

Elia was an adult woman from Dorne, an egalitarian culture where women rule equally alongside men and where taking paramours is common. And she also was unable to bear Rheagar any more children. And the Targaryens are known to have been fine with polygamy, so Rheagar might not have seen much of a problem with taking Lyanna as a second wife. 

I think we need to avoid the temptation of assuming Elia was a weak, frail woman who needed to be protected and was easily submissive to her husbands wishes. That is what the outside, unreliable narrators who don't have necessary context think about Elia, not what she herself thinks. I don't think Elia was as much a pushover as many might assume. I think she supported Rheagar's desision to abscond with Lyanna, content in knowing that her own children were first in line before Lyanna's.

So, Elia and Rheagar were both adults, from cultures with unique marriage customs, who liked and respected one another but did not love each other romantically. Elia and her family would not have been nearly as offended by Rheagar's actions towards Lyanna as the other six kingdoms were. And Elia knew full well that her son would inherit the Iron Throne when his time came.  

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