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How should Rhaegar have handled things differently?


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9 hours ago, Haus Berlin said:

Maybe all was never meant to be differently - if your main goal was to get rid of the realm’s most prominent father without becoming the kinslayer?

Yes, I think Rhaegar had to change plans when the Mad King turned up in Harrenhal. He might have planned to turn the biggest event of the realm into a Great Council. Now with the paranoid guy around, all he had left was: attention. And how he gained it, crowning some woman as queen (of love and beauty, never mind) and by kidnapping her along the way!

That Lyanna would be his partner in crime - this was something the prince could be sure of. Rhaegar was the one to investigate the Knight of the Laughing Tree‘s true identity. And maybe just maybe the poor lady who was despoiled during the tourney happened to be Lyanna… Who wept hearing the harp play because her fiancé decided not to wait till the wedding?

Matches: One wants to see her future husband dead, the other wants to see his father dead. All you need to do is to turn your enemies into weapons against each other. The unlikely couple had reason to believe that Robert would be the one challenging the king. 

Only… the Starks were prouder and the realm was overripe with a desire for change. Any reason would serve under given circumstances. So not everything went according to the plan. But in the end the king was dead - as was the unlucky-soon-to-be-bride. I guess both young people were willing to take that risk. The stakes were too high to not try.

The one to give us the last shreds of truth is someone who was properly built-up for the reveal: Howland Reed. Plus, what exactly Rhaegar’s intentions were is something that haunts Jaime who happens to also be in the process of making and unmaking kings (or queens). This was promised to him by Rhaegar:

When the battle’s done I mean to call a council. Changes will be made. I meant to do it long ago, but ... well, it does no good to speak of roads not taken. We shall talk when I return.”

So what if “promise me, Ned” was something far bigger than a wee babe but the only revolution Westeros has ever seen? And no, this wasn’t Robert’s Rebellion - it was Targaryen/Stark playwriting?

If it were their playwriting, is was an awfully suicidal and risky part on behalf of the Starks. Unless in this theory Lyanna was selling out her family minus potentially Benjen.

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Assuming Rhaegar immediately marries Lyanna, what he should do is, firstly, not let his crazy father deal with the fallout. He needs to come up with a plan to deal with the Starks, the Baratheons and the Martells.

The first to react is Brandon Stark. Rhaegar should be there to deal with him. He should greet Brandon unarmed and tell him calmly to put his sword away and to come in and we'll talk about this. Brandon's looking for a duel; he's not going to murder an unarmed man. Offer him bread and salt. He's not going to break guest right. If he refuses to back down, then have him arrested and summon Lord Rickard. We don't have much information about Lord Rickard, but surely he would be easier to deal with than hotheaded Brandon. Once Rhaegar explains to them that he's married Lyanna, the Starks really don't have much of a choice but to accept it for the sake of Lyanna's honour. They still have to kick up a fuss, mind, because Rickard did not authorise the marriage and Lyanna was married against her will (this will always be the Starks' official story, even if she tells them otherwise). Rickard is ambitious, so Rhaegar could exploit this and make sure the Starks benefit from the marriage (e.g. a seat on the council, a guaranteed supply of food in winter when Rhaegar is king).

Once Rhaegar has the Starks on his side, the threat of war pretty much goes away. The Martells will be pissed, but they have no friends, so they're not really a threat. They're still a problem, though. All Rhaegar can really do is assure them (and the rest of the realm) that Aegon is still his heir and make sure that the Martells get whatever the Starks get. This still sets up potential hostility between the Martells and the Starks but the fact that they're at opposite ends of the continent mitigates this somewhat.

That still leaves Robert. I'm not sure if there is any way to appease him, to be honest, but there's not much he can do on his own. Rhaegar could arrange another marriage for Robert (not sure with whom because Rhaenys and Arianne are still only babes at this point) and could take Renly as a squire/hostage, but I think his best bet is to get Jon Arryn to talk Robert down.

And he should publicly apologise to all parties involved.

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5 hours ago, nyser1 said:

What about Rhaegar making a deal with Rickard which would see his “Southern Ambitions” come to light? Heck, his daughter could be a Queen and grandchildren princes and princesses.

Well, that mistake's on Ned's head; he knew that Robert would disrespect Lyanna with his philandering behavior, yet still brought the suit to his father.

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Shouldn't Rhaegar have offered Aegon and Rhaenys up for marriage pact with the North? There was a marriage pact between Daeron II and Daenerys with House Martell. Why couldn't he have done the same, besides the words of whatever prophecy got him enthralled?

Edited by Kinola
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