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Werthead

The Lyanna + Rhaegar = Jon thread (Part IV)

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There was discussion on the previous version of this thread about the possibility that Rhaegar and Lyanna married at Harrenhal. I thought Sarella asked some excellent questions about that theory. It's hard for me to understand why Ned, who was at Harrenhal, wouldn't have been at the wedding (Benjen and Brandon weren't either, but Ned was closer to Lyanna). She would have to know that this would be explosive when it came out, particularly since she was engaged to Robert. Letting at least someone in her family know what was going on could have kept the subsequent gorefest down a bit. "Calm down, Brandon; they're married."

Ran says he thinks it was 4-6 months after Harrenhal before Rhaegar and Lyanna eloped. Why, if they were already married, would they wait so long?

The Silent Speak thought that there was little evidence that Lyanna wasn't abducted. The fact that she dies holding dead once-blue roses suggests to me that she wanted that reminder of Rhaegar around. The infamous Crown he gave her at Harrenhal was a crown of blue roses. I see no reason why it couldn't have lasted over a year; I have dried flowers that have been around longer than that. If Lyanna died holding the remnants of her lover's bouquet, I think that argues for her loving him.

The poster Aerys, I believe, had a question about Jon Snow being legitimized and then its discovered he isn't really Jon Snow. I think in that case he'd have to be legitimized again under his real name, whatever it might be. I would think that the original legitimizing document would have to identify Jon Snow (neither one a rare name) as "bastard son of the late Eddard Stark" or something of the sort. If he's not Ned's bastard son he can still be legitimized, of course.

There was a good bit of discussion on the most recent version of this thread about whether Lyanna would want to marry a married man when she mentioned to Ned that Robert would never be faithful to her. She was probably right about that, but in that conversation she didn't go on to say "and so I shall surely never marry him." She just made the point that Robert was profligate. It would be interesting to know whether her decision to run from that marriage was due to not wanting Robert or to wanting Rhaegar.

If she was in love with Rhaegar--and her tears when he sang at Harrenhal sounds like she was rather affected by him--then, even if her earlier comment meant that she didn't want to marry Robert and have him cat around, if she loved Rhaegar (or agreed with his urgency about creating a third head of the dragon) she might have thought it was worth sharing him in order to have him at all.

But I find myself wondering if R+E=sex after Aegon was born. On page 473 of my US paperback of Storm of Swords, Selmy tells Dany that "The Princess Elia was a good and gracious lady, though her health was ever delicate." On page 156 of my US paperback of SoS, Jaime PoV, Jaime thinks that Tywin may have been waiting for Elia to die so Cersei could marry Rhaegar: "Perhaps he was waiting for Rhaegar's wife to die in childbed. Elia of Dorne was never the healthiest of women." It sounds like Tywin, whose own wife died in childbirth, thinks it possible that Elia might die the same way. He may have seen some weakness in her that Joanna shared. I think it's possible that Rhaegar chose another woman because Elia either could not bear another child or did not want to. If her health was all that delicate, taking an abortifacient like tansy wouldn't do her any good. So I wonder if perhaps she asked for a celibate marriage. That would explain why we've never heard of her being upset about Lyanna.

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But I find myself wondering if R+E=sex after Aegon was born. On page of my US paperback of Storm of Swords, "Barristan" tells Dany that “The Princess Elia was a good and gracious lady, though her health was ever delicate.†Later, as Selmy, he tells Dany that Elia was good but of delicate health. On page 156 of my US paperback of SoS, Jaime PoV, Jaime thinks that Tywin may have been waiting for Elia to die so Cersei could marry Rhaegar: “Perhaps he was waiting for Rhaegar’s wife to die in childbed. Elia of Dorne was never the healthiest of women.†It sounds like Tywin, whose own wife died in childbirth, thinks it possible that Elia might die the same way. Jaime and Selmy were both in the Kingsguard but not close. I think it's possible that Rhaegar chose another woman because Elia either could not bear another child or did not want to. If her health was all that delicate, taking an abortifacient like tansy wouldn't do her any good. So I wonder if perhaps she asked for a celibate marriage. That would explain why we've never heard of her being upset about Lyanna.

Great summary! At the risk of sounding a bit conceited, I think we're a pretty smart bunch around here (even if I did include myself ;) ). And George was right - we definitely do think too much!

Anyway, this last bit above strikes me as very interesting and plausible. I mean, just look at our own real world standards. How many people easily become involved with others who are "separated" from their spouses? They obviously have no problem believing that "it's over" with the spouse even though there are no official documents saying as much (i.e. the divorce isn't final yet). I'm not saying that's exactly what the situation was with Rhaegar, Elia, and Lyanna but it could have been something to that effect.

Perhaps it was something like what's stated above? I think fulfilling the prophecy and getting a third head of the dragon was paramount for Rhaegar and he is described as someone who could convince others of this need. Thus, I think it's plausible that Elia, knowing she couldn't have another child, would be on board with an alternate plan to "save the world". Also, there is the possibility that Rhaegar represented it in another way to Lyanna. For now, I think Rhaegar and Lyanna truly were in love and she only found out about the "third head of the dragon" begetting toward the end. Otherwise, she would have had to be on board with being a sort of "brood mare" for stud Rhaegar from the very beginning and I have a hard time believing this to be the case. The theory that Lyanna survived long enough to ask Ned to rescue/protect the baby folds in pretty well with this, I think...

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Thank you for your kind words, Prince. I'd be more willing to accept them if I hadn't accidentally put that post on this thread THREE TIMES. I think I've gotten rid of the alternate versions now. (Prince, I reworded some things since you quoted from my post.)

George said we think too much? Hey, WE'RE not the ones writing a humongous series!

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Guest Other-in-law
It's hard for me to understand why Ned, who was at Harrenhal, wouldn't have been at the wedding (Benjen and Brandon weren't either, but Ned was closer to Lyanna).

If she was determined to do something that was in defiance of her father's wishes (Lord Rickard would have been the one who negotiated the marriage with Robert, most like), she wouldn't want to give dutiful Ned the chance to thwart her plans by letting him know about them.

Which leads to the question of whether or not Ned would have been in on her being the KotLT, if she was. Ned seems like he would be a bit of a wet blanket for mischievous kids.

Another possibility that I've floated before, is that there could have been a return stop at Harrenhal after the abduction elsewhere (not sure where Lyanna would have gone after the tourney...straight to Riverrun? What was the actual location of the abduction?), a stop at a place with sentimental value for both of them, a convenient and rare weirwood tree, and a family with a son in the Kingsguard...a son who interestingly enough was also with Lyanna at the ToJ at the very end. Rhaegar may have specifically selected Oswell Whent to accompany him on the abduction in order to smooth the way at a return trip to Harrenhal.

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I agree that Ned may have been a bit of a wet blanket. But if Lyanna had any sense, she must have realized that wolf-blood Brandon would go ballistic if she just vanished and someone should be on hand to calm him down.

I always thought that the Starks, including Lyanna, went back to Winterfell after the Harrenhal tournament. Why would she have gone to Riverrun? Ran has said that it was 4-6 months after the tournament before the war broke out. And I believe he's also suggested that Lyanna disappeared from the South, not the North. I read that on the boards yesterday and can't remember where.

I think Lyanna dying while holding dead blue roses suggests the Crown of Love and Beauty Rhaegar gave her at Harrenhal, which doesn't sound to me like their relationship began with an abduction. She also wept when he sang at Harrenhal. Maybe he was all gangsta while she liked the Dixie Chicks, or maybe she was in love with him.

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Great summary! At the risk of sounding a bit conceited, I think we're a pretty smart bunch around here (even if I did include myself ;) ). And George was right - we definitely do think too much!

Anyway, this last bit above strikes me as very interesting and plausible. I mean, just look at our own real world standards. How many people easily become involved with others who are "separated" from their spouses? They obviously have no problem believing that "it's over" with the spouse even though there are no official documents saying as much (i.e. the divorce isn't final yet). I'm not saying that's exactly what the situation was with Rhaegar, Elia, and Lyanna but it could have been something to that effect.

Perhaps it was something like what's stated above? I think fulfilling the prophecy and getting a third head of the dragon was paramount for Rhaegar and he is described as someone who could convince others of this need. Thus, I think it's plausible that Elia, knowing she couldn't have another child, would be on board with an alternate plan to "save the world". Also, there is the possibility that Rhaegar represented it in another way to Lyanna. For now, I think Rhaegar and Lyanna truly were in love and she only found out about the "third head of the dragon" begetting toward the end. Otherwise, she would have had to be on board with being a sort of "brood mare" for stud Rhaegar from the very beginning and I have a hard time believing this to be the case. The theory that Lyanna survived long enough to ask Ned to rescue/protect the baby folds in pretty well with this, I think...

Very interesting. A few points I would like to make about this....

The issue of Elia, for whatever reason, not willingly bearing another child should be discussed. If Elia flat-out said, "Look, I don't want to risk another pregnancy, I could die, go find another mother of dragons" then Rhaegar, in being consistent with what we see in Dany, would not forcibly have sex with Elia (aversion to "rape"). However, I cannot imagine Elia refusing her husband sex for whatever reason. We see an abnormal example of marriage-gone-bad with Cersei and Robert, but otherwise, most women's goal in Westeros is to bear as many trueborn children as is physically possible until they die in childbed or die of exhaustion. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but it just seems like a badly fitted theory. IMHO it seems more likely that either Rhaegar wanted Elia to live and therefore didn't risk a pregnancy with her (hence the Lyanna situation) or they tried anyway and it just never happened. To me what is truly bizarre about the whole thing is Lyanna going along with it, when she was so against the idea of marrying Robert due to his infidelity. The only thing I can think of that would truly make sense would be if Rhaegar took out "The Jade Compendium" and read aloud, "and the wolf shall become the dragon's second wife, and she will bear him many strong sons" or some such nonsense, and Lyanna became completely convinced of her role in the "three heads" theory.

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I always thought that the Starks, including Lyanna, went back to Winterfell after the Harrenhal tournament. Why would she have gone to Riverrun? Ran has said that it was 4-6 months after the tournament before the war broke out.

Ah, interesting. Of course there's also a lot of time used up in all the other events, Brandon going berserk, Rickard responding to the summons, the trial, Ned traveling somewhat secretly back north, calling the northern muster, marching south, etc. Though I suppose the official start of the war would date from the very first skirmishes in the Vale (and then Robert's battles in the south), so maybe we should take out all the travel time for the northern host. Regardless, 4 to 6 months is quite a bit of time. So maybe Lyanna went all the way back to Winterfell and left with Rhaegar en route to Riverrun somewhere along the Red Fork (quite a long time, right there) or maybe it was still while they were on their way back to WF. Either way, I think a wedding stop at Harrenhal is perfectly viable.

I think Lyanna dying while holding dead blue roses suggests the Crown of Love and Beauty Rhaegar gave her at Harrenhal, which doesn't sound to me like their relationship began with an abduction.

Oh, I agree, actually. I just use the word abduction for convenience, since it's both the 'official' version and because the alternative is speculation, well-founded though it is...and it takes less time to type than having to add a disclaimer to that effect. ;)

sholtzma,

most women's goal in Westeros is to bear as many trueborn children as is physically possible until they die in childbed or die of exhaustion.

I really can't say that I agree with that generalisation at all. We've seen Cat pining for the chance to have more children with Ned...nothing unusual about that...but can you come up with even one single example of a women who wants to die in childbirth???

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We actually don't know much about Elia's personality and we know nothing about the R+E relationship. I don't think we have any way to judge whether Elia thought it was her duty or felt a desire to pound out as many children as possible. The main information we have about her in the books so far is that 1) she was never very healthy (and we hear this several times); 2) she was from Dorne, sister to Oberyn; 3) she was killed by Gregor Clegane during the Sack; 4) she gave Rhaegar two healthy children.

Scholtzma--if Rhaegar and Elia had stopped having sex due to her ill health, then Lyanna wasn't sharing Rhaegar with Elia sexually. Therefore there's no contradiction between what she said to Ned about Robert and her involvement with Rhaegar. This could also explain why, although we hear that Dorne was upset about Rhaegar's treatment of Elia, we have yet to hear that Elia herself was.

I agree with Other-in-law that I can't think of anything to support the idea that most women in Westeros wanted to bear children until they died of it--or thought that that was their duty. Cersei certainly didn't; she aborted Robert's children. The fact that tansy tea seems to be a well-known abortifacient sounds like it was in wide use, so clearly not all women felt obligated to give birth.

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Sigh. I can't get the quotes to split up right....here's response to Shewoman's three points...

1. Yes, we are all being speculative. Especially about Elia and Lyanna, but also about the core of the thread, R+L=J.

2. Fine line here. Elia may have been fine with it, but just because you stop having sex with your spouse doesn't mean everything's well and good. Walking past your wife in a very public tourney and crowning another woman the queen of love and beauty...well, that bites. He ruined the realm for whatever reason.

3. Of course women don't want to bear children until they die! That's not what I said. I said their goal was to bear as many trueborn children as they could. Of course, Cersei is an example of not wanting to have "trueborn" children, but she certainly loves having Jaime's children. This is medieval society. For women, having children is very important. I am certainly not saying that's every woman's goal in Westerosi society, but it is obviously important to many. Trust me, I would have had a little cannister of moon tea myself, especially if I was married to the wrong man....but in addition, my attitude probably would have gotten me a lot of my husband's bastards in the process.

Unfortunately, there are so many possibilities for complications in pregnancy. If you do any genealogy work you can see this happening as recently as 4-5 generations ago. I think that my main issue with Rhaegar is trying to figure out what in the world could have really happened with Elia and Lyanna, and make me actually like the guy. He seems to be well liked by people such as Ser Barristan, so I would like to know more of the true story. Was he largely misunderstood, or truly fair of face and foul of heart? Perhaps this year...

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Sigh. I can't get the quotes to split up right....here's response to Shewoman's three points...

1. Yes, we are all being speculative. Especially about Elia and Lyanna, but also about the core of the thread, R+L=J.

2. Fine line here. Elia may have been fine with it, but just because you stop having sex with your spouse doesn't mean everything's well and good. Walking past your wife in a very public tourney and crowning another woman the queen of love and beauty...well, that bites. He ruined the realm for whatever reason.

Yes, if Rhaegar had taken up with a mistress or a lady in waiting that would have been one thing. Crowning Lyanna the Queen of of the tourney was a huge embarrassment for the Martels and still would have been for Elia. Even if they were not sleeping with each other, Rhaegar having a public affair with the daughter of one of the greatest houses would have caused major problems even without the whole Lyanna and Rhaegar thing.

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Very interesting. A few points I would like to make about this....

The issue of Elia, for whatever reason, not willingly bearing another child should be discussed. If Elia flat-out said, "Look, I don't want to risk another pregnancy, I could die, go find another mother of dragons" then Rhaegar, in being consistent with what we see in Dany, would not forcibly have sex with Elia (aversion to "rape"). However, I cannot imagine Elia refusing her husband sex for whatever reason. We see an abnormal example of marriage-gone-bad with Cersei and Robert, but otherwise, most women's goal in Westeros is to bear as many trueborn children as is physically possible until they die in childbed or die of exhaustion. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but it just seems like a badly fitted theory. IMHO it seems more likely that either Rhaegar wanted Elia to live and therefore didn't risk a pregnancy with her (hence the Lyanna situation) or they tried anyway and it just never happened. To me what is truly bizarre about the whole thing is Lyanna going along with it, when she was so against the idea of marrying Robert due to his infidelity. The only thing I can think of that would truly make sense would be if Rhaegar took out "The Jade Compendium" and read aloud, "and the wolf shall become the dragon's second wife, and she will bear him many strong sons" or some such nonsense, and Lyanna became completely convinced of her role in the "three heads" theory.

(Emphasis mine)

You see, I find this scenario much less plausible than simply thinking Lyanna actually fell in love with Rhaegar. After all, he was described as very charismatic and handsome and, of course, was basically the most desirable man in the realms. I also think it bears noting that Rhaegar wasn't very old and Lyanna was even younger at the time. Youth can be rash and ruled by their emotions, no?

I also find it plausible that Rhaegar was not up front with Lyanna about the whole "third head of the dragon" begetting thing. As others have said, I don't think Lyanna seemed the type to willingly agree to be "brood mare" to "stud" Rhaegar. Her attitude towards Robert seems to indicate a desire for love and fidelity. But, you say, Rhaegar was already married! I know, but he was effectively separated from Elia at the time. Perhaps "true love" and raging hormones could overcome this little wrinkle for Lyanna? ;)

I do, however, believe Lyanna learned of the prophecy fulfilling plan before the end and that's what the crux of the promise she requested from Ned was: to save the child from being a pawn used to fulfill some crazy prophecy. I also have a theory that Lyanna's death was brought about a bit more "actively" than simply through complications of childbirth. I think things could have been "speeded up" due to Ned and company approaching the ToJ and, perhaps, because Lyanna did not want to cooperate at the end but that's another debate :)

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Scholtzma, I still don't see any evidence that most women in Westeros wanted to bear as many trueborn children as they could. Lysa values the one child she has to an abnormal degree, but I don't believe we ever hear her say she wants more. Catelyn at one point thinks of having more children, but there's no sense of "duty" about it---nor do we see duty ruling Cersei's having children by Jaime (she is, of course, unwilling to go public with their relationship). And we do have a good bit more information about what Lyanna was like than we do about Elia.

Elia may have been upset about Rhaegar's attentions to Lyanna. We don't know. But I find it interesting that we hear of Dorne's reaction to it and not a bit about hers. While Ned thinks that Rhaegar was not the kind of man to visit brothels, it is true that in monarchical societies in our medieval period (and before, and after) kings and princes did take mistresses and their wives were expected to accept it.

You may be right that Rhaegar was not upfront with Lyanna about the "third head of the dragon" business. On the other hand, her home was closer to the Wall than that of any other noble family and her House Words were "Winter is Coming." She might have had more interest in helping to overcome the Others than, say, Ashara or any other southern woman less endangered by whatever is beyond the Wall.

I didn't think Lyannna's comment about Robert necessarily indicated a desire for love and fidelity. She said he wouldn't be faithful to her, which shows her insight--but (at least at that time) she didn't draw any lines between that conclusion and her willingness (or not) to go through with the marriage.

Prince of the North, Meera's account of Harrenhal includes the statement that Lyanna cried when Rhaegar sang. I think she was in love with him--or at least heading in that direction--then. I do also think--as I've said in this post--that the fact that he foresaw a danger that would have affected her family before any other nobility might have also piqued her interest and concern.

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Shewoman,

That's a great point about how Rhaegar could have appealed to Lyanna through the threat of the Others effecting her family and the North before anyone else. It's definitely true that the northerners were basically the only people still remembering the Wall's purpose and trying to keep the institution functioning.

Also, maybe I'm reading too much into Lyanna's attitude about Robert (alright, I'm definitely reading too much into it :) ) But I think at least some of the impetus of her running away with Rhaegar was because she didn't want to be in an arranged, political marriage to a man who she knew would not be faithful.

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It may be. I think it's clear that she didn't love Robert. If she loved Rhaegar, for that reason she might have been willing to put up with another woman in his life in order to have him at all, while Robert wasn't worth it. Or Rhaegar's relationship with Elia may have no longer been sexual by that time.

I do think it's important to remember that Lyanna's comment to Ned about Robert's Clintonesque qualities (I speak here of Bill) and the unlikelihood that he would change just sort of hung there. She didn't say anything about how that influenced her feelings towards him or her interest in marrying him. It's possible that that's why she ditched him for Rhaegar, or perhaps she was simply more attracted to the Targaryen prince.

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I think Lyanna also might've been able to overlook flaws in Rhaegar if she found herself in love with or infatuated with him, whereas with Robert she wasn't in love with him as it was so her opinion was harsher/more objective (depending on how you look at it). She might've been able to peg Robert pretty neatly but that doesn't mean she herself would be above being blinded by love.

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It may be. I think it's clear that she didn't love Robert. If she loved Rhaegar, for that reason she might have been willing to put up with another woman in his life in order to have him at all, while Robert wasn't worth it. Or Rhaegar's relationship with Elia may have no longer been sexual by that time.

I agree with you. I mean, is it out of the question for Lyanna to have a perfectly wonderful relationship with a man who had fathered children with another woman? Of course not.

I do think it's important to remember that Lyanna's comment to Ned about Robert's Clintonesque qualities (I speak here of Bill) and the unlikelihood that he would change just sort of hung there. She didn't say anything about how that influenced her feelings towards him or her interest in marrying him. It's possible that that's why she ditched him for Rhaegar, or perhaps she was simply more attracted to the Targaryen prince.

You're right that Lyanna never actually said she didn't want to marry Robert, etc. I think it's likely due to my perception of the context of her remarks on his fidelity combined with my perception of Lyanna's independence. You see, I think she was the KotLT and was a woman of action. As such, she was less the demure damsel in distress of Sansa's wildest dreams (early on) and more the type of woman to grab a sword and start kickin' some ass in her own right :) No, I don't think Lyanna seemed the type to be on board with the arranged marriage and she seemed quite capable of doing her own thing - tradition and convention be damned! Also, Rhaegar was said to be someone who could accomplish anything he set his mind to. Well, I think he set his mind to wooing Lyanna and the rest, as they say, is history.

ETA: changed "seducing" to "wooing" because I'm not at all convinced Rhaegar had any nefarious intentions with Lyanna.

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I think Lyanna also might've been able to overlook flaws in Rhaegar if she found herself in love with or infatuated with him, whereas with Robert she wasn't in love with him as it was so her opinion was harsher/more objective (depending on how you look at it). She might've been able to peg Robert pretty neatly but that doesn't mean she herself would be above being blinded by love.

I agree. I think the hormones could have been running pretty high!

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