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Canon Claude

How much did Rhaegar know about the domestic abuse of his mother?

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There’s always been this furious debate concerning Rhaegar and whether he was a hero, villain, something in between. But one thing I never hear being discussed by either his detractors or supporters is his position regarding the continued abuse of his mother by his father. We see the visceral impact it has on Jaime, how it helped push him to drive a sword through the king later on. But as far as I know, GRRM never really gave a clue about what living in such an abusive household did to Rhaegar. Did he not know? Did he ignore it? Did he ever object, or even challenge his father? Is that a reason why Aerys hated him so much later on? The only hints we really get are the fact that Rhaegar kept his family away from Aerys after Aerys made that racist jab, and of course the potential idea that Rhaegar was conspiring to remove Aerys from power. 

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4 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

is his position regarding the continued abuse of his mother by his father.

I mean unless the dude had a genuine dislike for his mother, i very much doubt that any son would be happy with that.

 

5 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

But as far as I know, GRRM never really gave a clue about what living in such an abusive household did to Rhaegar.

I think that Aerys only started to "really go" at Rhaella when he was really insane and by that point the son was an adult. 

He was always described as a depressed man since childhood so.

 

 

8 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

Did he not know?

Seems unlikely that he didn't.

Aerys was not exactly a subtle man nor he ever had a good reason to think he should be, especially once he went mad and Rhaegar was good pals with the kingsguard.

 

10 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

Did he ignore it? Did he ever object, or even challenge his father?

Impossible to know. It's not like it would amount to anything anyway, Aerys could do whatever he pleased with his wife and every action aiming to stop would be treason.

 

13 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

that a reason why Aerys hated him so much later on?

Not really, Aerys righfully believed that his son was out to get his throne and imo he had very sound reasons to suspect he had been done dirty in Duskendale.

It's perfectly plausible that Rhaella's abuse was the trigger for Rhaegar to start planning on how to get rid of his father.

 

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What exactly was Rhaegar supposed to do about it? If he even verbally objected, then Aerys could have him imprisoned or executed. The Kingsguard would have done it, even Arthur Dayne. They were all happy to stand by and watch Aerys commit bigger and bigger atrocities, even Jaime. Jaime didn't snap out of it until literally the war's end. 

Rhaegar's always been described as a depressed and melancholic guy; I wouldn't be surprised if a large part of that was due to him growing up in that abusive household. And it was absolutely abusive. His mother was being either neglected and rampantly cheated on, punished for her miscarriages, physically abused, even sexually assaulted. That absolutely left an impact on Rhaegar, whether GRRM is willing to talk about it or not.

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Rhaegar was good friends with several Kingsguard, so it seems unlikely that none ever mentioned it to him, especially Arthur Dayne. Perhaps it is among the reasons Rhaegar was working towards deposing his dad. open hostility towards the king could even inspire open and more severe reprisals from spite inflicted on the queen- so how he acted regarding it had to be subtle I assume

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No son would be happy with that, but men of the time were brutes. It's not unusual to have domestic abuse going on. 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

No son would be happy with that

I mean, if that’s how kids are raised, to treat that as normal, then maybe they don’t care? I just finished reading “The Marsh King’s Daughter” and that book is told from the perspective of a girl who was raised in isolation by a mother who was being held captive, raped, and abused by the protagonist’s father, and she’s totally on board with it as a normal occurrence. It made me wonder about Rhaegar’s psychology. Sure, he’s not living in a vacuum, but this isn’t a feminist paradise we’re talking about, here. And he himself isn’t the nicest to his own wife, all things considered.

Edited by Canon Claude

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As per Jaime's explanation, it seems as if Aerys only beated Rhaella after buring someone alive. And AWOIAF tells us that he started to do that very late in his reign, on 280. I imagine that the abuses developed gradually, and on 281 Rhaegar disapears with Lyanna. So I think it's possible that Rhaegar had already gone AWOL when Aerys started beating Rhaella.

33 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

 And he himself isn’t the nicest to his own wife, all things considered.

Given that Rhaegar believed that he a third child of his was needed to save the world, but still refrained to get Elia pregnant a third time because it may endanger her health, I'd say that he was nice enough. :)

Dany's vision on the HotU suggests Elia was on board with Rhaegar's belief in the prophecy. And the people from Dorne do not have as much perjudices with paramours.

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1 hour ago, The hairy bear said:

As per Jaime's explanation, it seems as if Aerys only beated Rhaella after buring someone alive

Jaime was with Aerys for a very brief time. And he was talking about sexual assaults which only occured when he got horny by burning people, not regular beatings anyways.

 

1 hour ago, The hairy bear said:

but still refrained to get Elia pregnant a third time because it may endanger her health, I'd say that he was nice enough. :)

Don't really think he had much choice on that one, Elia told him that the oven was closed and even if he forced himself onto her, Elia could always find moon tea and be done with the problem.

Besides of him needing her brother's political support. 

 

Spoiler

And paramours in Dorne are all bastards for a reason, because having a highborn paramour is just asking for trouble. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I always thought Rhaegar was the melancholy sort:

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Jaime I

Unless my brother murdered Varys too, and left his corpse to rot beneath the castle. Down there, it might be years before his bones were found. Jaime had led a dozen guards below, with torches and ropes and lanterns. For hours they had groped through twisting passages, narrow crawl spaces, hidden doors, secret steps, and shafts that plunged down into utter blackness. Seldom had he felt so utterly a cripple. A man takes much for granted when he has two hands. Ladders, for an instance. Even crawling did not come easy; not for nought do they speak of hands and knees. Nor could he hold a torch and climb, as others could.

And all for naught. They found only darkness, dust, and rats. And dragons, lurking down below. He remembered the sullen orange glow of the coals in the iron dragon's mouth. The brazier warmed a chamber at the bottom of a shaft where half a dozen tunnels met. On the floor he'd found a scuffed mosaic of the three-headed dragon of House Targaryen done in tiles of black and red. I know you, Kingslayer, the beast seemed to be saying. I have been here all the time, waiting for you to come to me. And it seemed to Jaime that he knew that voice, the iron tones that had once belonged to Rhaegar, Prince of Dragonstone.

Iron tones?  Also Jaime remembers Rhaegar down the shaft where a dozen chambers met.  So the Black Cells?  Maybe nobody knew where he was because he wasn't using the front door.   As for the question posed by the OP; I don't really have a clue except to say that I think Aerys was the monkey on Rhaegar's back. 

Edited by LynnS

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4 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

Given that Rhaegar believed that he a third child of his was needed to save the world, but still refrained to get Elia pregnant a third time because it may endanger her health, I'd say that he was nice enough. :)

From my point of view this makes him more mad than "nice". Why would he believe in that prophecy at all?

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, frenin said:

Jaime was with Aerys for a very brief time. And he was talking about sexual assaults which only occured when he got horny by burning people, not regular beatings anyways. 

But there's no indication that Aerys beat Rhaella in a non sexual context. Jaime says:

A king has no secrets from his Kingsguard. Relations between Aerys and his queen had been strained during the last years of his reign. They slept apart and did their best to avoid each other during the waking hours. But whenever Aerys gave a man to the flames, Queen Rhaella would have a visitor in the night. The day he burned his mace-and-dagger Hand, Jaime and Jon Darry had stood at guard outside her bedchamber whilst the king took his pleasure. "You're hurting me," they had heard Rhaella cry through the oaken door.

The picture I get from all this is that Aerys only abused Rhaella when they had sex, when he "visited her" after buring a man.

Jaime was Aerys' KG for 2 years. The fact that he only learned about the king's abuses towards his wife on the very last days of his reign confirms (at least in my view) that the beatings weren't that much usual, and only took place on specific times.

14 hours ago, frenin said:

Don't really think he had much choice on that one, Elia told him that the oven was closed and even if he forced himself onto her, Elia could always find moon tea and be done with the problem.

Besides of him needing her brother's political support.

I don't think this is the kind of relationship Rhaegar and Elia had.

11 hours ago, The Hoare said:

From my point of view this makes him more mad than "nice". Why would he believe in that prophecy at all?

Because they are a real thing in the world he lives in. There have been plenty of Targaryens who had prophetic dreams. In the Dunk&Egg novellas we've seen how both Daeron the Drunk and the second Daemon had actual prophetic visions, and of course there's Daenys the Dreamer foreseeing the Doom.

All this in a world where Red Priests see things in flames, Bran has greensight and Maggy the Frog accurately predicts Cersei's future. Why shouldn't Rhaegar believe in a prophecy?

Edited by The hairy bear

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6 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

But there's no indication that Aerys beat Rhaella in a non sexual context. Jaime says:

A king has no secrets from his Kingsguard. Relations between Aerys and his queen had been strained during the last years of his reign. They slept apart and did their best to avoid each other during the waking hours. But whenever Aerys gave a man to the flames, Queen Rhaella would have a visitor in the night. The day he burned his mace-and-dagger Hand, Jaime and Jon Darry had stood at guard outside her bedchamber whilst the king took his pleasure. "You're hurting me," they had heard Rhaella cry through the oaken door.

The picture I get from all this is that Aerys only abused Rhaella when they had sex, when he "visited her" after buring a man.

Jaime was Aerys' KG for 2 years. The fact that he only learned about the king's abuses towards his wife on the very last days of his reign confirms (at least in my view) that the beatings weren't that much usual, and only took place on specific times.

I find this argument weird, Jaime is his kingsguard for less than two years, Aerys changed a lot. It's perfectly possible that he had other patterns that he would later forego and viceversa.

 

6 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

I don't think this is the kind of relationship Rhaegar and Elia had.


:P I'm not trying to change your mind on this one, just saying that as the books goes he didn't have much choice.

 

About prophecies and stuff.

Spoiler

I see them in my dreams, Sam. I see a red star bleeding in the sky. I still remember red. I see their shadows on the snow, hear the crack of leathern wings, feel their hot breath. My brothers dreamed of dragons too, and their dreams killed them, every one.

 

Spoiler

Gorghan of Old Ghis once wrote that a prophecy is like a treacherous woman. She takes your member in her mouth, and you moan with the pleasure of it and think, how sweet, how fine, how good this is... and then her teeth snap shut and your moans turn to screams. That is the nature of prophecy, said Gorghan. Prophecy will bite your prick off every time.

 

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23 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

I mean, if that’s how kids are raised, to treat that as normal, then maybe they don’t care? I just finished reading “The Marsh King’s Daughter” and that book is told from the perspective of a girl who was raised in isolation by a mother who was being held captive, raped, and abused by the protagonist’s father, and she’s totally on board with it as a normal occurrence. It made me wonder about Rhaegar’s psychology. Sure, he’s not living in a vacuum, but this isn’t a feminist paradise we’re talking about, here. And he himself isn’t the nicest to his own wife, all things considered.

Rhaegar was the husband who humiliated his wife at Harrenhal. 

Power is what matters. No man would have treated Visenya with contempt and brutality. 

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17 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

Why shouldn't Rhaegar believe in a prophecy?

Because he didn't dreamed about it himself, he read about it in a book

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

Power is what matters. No man would have treated Visenya with contempt and brutality. 

Maegor would have, if she ever crossed him. 

Edited by Canon Claude

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13 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

Rhaegar was the husband who humiliated his wife at Harrenhal. 

Power is what matters. No man would have treated Visenya with contempt and brutality. 

Probably helps if the woman has a dragon. Even so, Aegon did marry a second wife, their younger sister, and spend 8 nights out of 10 with her rather than Visenya.

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On 7/27/2021 at 7:23 PM, frenin said:

Jaime was with Aerys for a very brief time. And he was talking about sexual assaults which only occured when he got horny by burning people, not regular beatings anyways.

 

Don't really think he had much choice on that one, Elia told him that the oven was closed and even if he forced himself onto her, Elia could always find moon tea and be done with the problem.

Besides of him needing her brother's political support. 

 

  Hide contents

And paramours in Dorne are all bastards for a reason, because having a highborn paramour is just asking for trouble. 

 

 

Of course Rhaegar had a choice. He could've kept trying to get Elia pregnant after being told another pregnancy could kill her. Just like Aegon did with Naerys, which ultimately led to her death. 

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2 hours ago, Daemon The Black Dragon said:

Of course Rhaegar had a choice. He could've kept trying to get Elia pregnant after being told another pregnancy could kill her. Just like Aegon did with Naerys, which ultimately led to her death. 

If there were only foolproof abortifacents in this universe... Like Moon Tea.

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