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Ashara Dayne Theory


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My theory is that Ashara had a child with Rhaegar. Cersei and Barristan both mention that she had a child and most likely got pregnant at the Tourney at Harrenhal, which happened in 281. Jon and Dany were both born ~283, meaning they are most likely too young to be her baby. Young Griff was born ~282, making him the only known ‘Targaryen’ in the correct age range. With the show confirming Jon's true name as Aegon, I believe that Rhaegar (possibly with Elia's consent) decided to have another child with Ashara (since she was a handmaiden to Elia he would have had plenty of opportunities for this) and may have planned to name every boy Aegon (as ridiculous as that sounds). I would be completely on board with the books revealing a different name for him, however.

Maester Aemon tells Sam that he worked with Rhaegar to figure out Aegon the Conqueror’s prophecy and that they never considered that a girl could fulfill it. At some point Rhaegar determined that the prophecy was referring to 3 Targaryens, not one, but never considered a girl; meaning he must have thought he needed 3 sons to fulfill the prophecy. I believe that Rhaegar approached Ashara about having a baby when Elia was recovering from having their first daughter sometime in 280. Elia was frail and had difficulty giving birth, so Rhaegar may have already realized that there was no way he was going to have (at least) 3 more children with her to get the boys he needed.

After Elia and Rhaegar have Aegon (supposedly Young Griff) Rhaegar says there must be one more because the dragon has 3 heads, but Maesters told him that Elia couldn’t have any more children. As I established earlier, he hadn’t considered his daughter as a ‘prince’ who was promised (Side note- If he had changed his mind why would he not tell Aemon?) meaning that his Aergon with Elia was his SECOND son and he needed a third. Ashara may have been away from Court and Rhaegar after her child’s birth which was why he went after Lyanna since they’d had chemistry at Harrenhal; perhaps the end of the false spring (which ended ~282, also when he kidnapped Lyanna) made him feel like he was running out of time. 

Ashara could have been either at the Tower of Joy with her ~1 year old baby while Lyanna gave birth or Ned found them after at Starfall, noticed her baby was obviously Targaryen (since hair and eye color play such an important part in this story) and warned her that she needed to GTFO of Westeros before Robert found out. I think he may have even helped her escape; we know how protective he is of Jon, and he argues with Robert multiple times when Robert wants to/has facilitated the murders of young Targaryens. So he clearly is sympathetic to the surviving Targaryen children whether they're related to him or not. I also think he 'took the fall' for getting Ashara pregnant in order to further protect her. The rest of the Daynes know this and tell this altered version of events (that Ned and Ashara were in love, Ashara got pregnant, had a stillborn, and killed herself out of grief)  to protect Ashara and her child, and they later named Edric Dayne after Ned Stark to show their gratitude. In short, Young Griff may be Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar, but NOT Elia. Perhaps they decided to pass him off as Elia’s Aegon as his birth was public knowledge and Ashara’s Aegon was not. Maybe she and her baby are offscreen completely and may come back. Or, maybe she really did have a stillbirth and commit suicide and Ned learned the truth from surviving members of House Dayne and worked with them to create a cover story for Jon.

GRRM has hinted heavily that the Daynes are more involved with the plot than we suspect, with Dawn clearly bearing some importance and their house words being unrevealed because they’d be a spoiler. 

A related theory I have about this relates to what is in Lyanna’s tomb. It is hinted that there is something there Jon needs or needs to know. Some speculate that it could be Rhaegar’s harp, which I find plausible. Ned would have had to take Lyanna’s body to Starfall when he returned Dawn, and if Ashara and Rhaegar had been romantically involved it is possible that she had it and gave it to Ned to bury with Lyanna, so that Lyanna and Rhaegar could be together in death. 

A more tinfoil theory related to this theory is that Dawn is in Lyanna’s tomb. Perhaps the Daynes let Ned take it to keep it safe for Jon if they believed he was Azor Ahai and Dawn was Lightbringer (again, assuming Ashara was in on Rhaegar’s Prince Plan, though we know Arthur was). I enjoy the idea that Darkstar will attempt to steal Dawn from Starfall only to find out that it’s not there.

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