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The R+L=J thread, part XI


Angalin

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If Melisandre finds out about R+L=J, I think she would be VERY interested in using his 'king's blood' for her assorted magic tricks. That, and she might dump Stannis to support Jon.

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I don't understand what you mean here. Are you saying that symbolically it's hard for Jon to be both Targ and Stark?

Im saying that symbolically, its hard for both to be important. They to me would be competing symbols where one would almost invariably overshadow the other, and make it less important.

You're assuming that Jon will ride a dragon, but we don't really know if he will. In fact, we don't know if he'll even accept his Targ heritage, or even if he'll find out about it.

No, im just looking for ways that the Targ thing could be significant. How does R+L=J impact the story going forward in a satisfying way. I just think its probably minimal in its effect, which makes the ultimate reveal lack punch for me.

How can Robb or Bran or Arya or Rickon be of the North, when they are also strongly tied to the Riverlands? (Notice I'm not including Sansa here, because she really isn't of the North despite her Stark heritage; similarly, Jon really is of the North, despite his presumed Targaryen heritage.)

Tell me what traits Robb or Bran or Arya or Rickon have that is "Tully". Tully is weak symbolically in this, its just not important. It has some political relevance for Robb, but its central to Robbs story. For the other children, its incidental.

What would Jon's mother being Ashara or Wylla illuminate about his character?

In the case of Ashara, it would mean Jon would be eligible for the title of sword of the morning, and have a claim on Dawn. It adds and does not compete with his status as a Stark bastard.

Questions of identity are an integral part of Jon's character. If he finds out about his true parentage (assuming R+L=J), I guarantee it'll floor him and throw everything he thought he knew about himself, and about what he wanted, into question. So really, I don't think it's true that this does nothing for his character.

That's even worse. "OMG, im a Targ! Time to screw this wall thing and take the Iron throne!"

If Jon

Ran is a Targ?!?! Wow, suddenly it all makes sense...:)

This confused me. Are you saying that Bran finding out he's really a Targ would make sense for his character, but not for Jon's? I'm sorry, but that strikes me as backwards.

My point with Bran was that if by some bizarre circumstance he was the one who was a Targ bastard, such a revelation would have implications on what he was and what he did next that could be significant while being in character and continuing with his arc. For Jon, I can only see it either breaking his current arc as defender of the wall, man of the knights watch, or not be significant, neither which to me are terribly satisfying to me.

And to Lady Mary, Ive said before, but I think the most satisfying mother for Jon for me would be Ashara Dayne, because that would also tie him to the mythos of The Sword of Morning and Dawn, both which I find compliment the mythos of the House Stark, as opposed to the mythos of the House Targ, which I feel competes.

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In the case of Ashara, it would mean Jon would be eligible for the title of sword of the morning, and have a claim on Dawn. It adds and does not compete with his status as a Stark bastard.

That's even worse. "OMG, im a Targ! Time to screw this wall thing and take the Iron throne!"

Don't you think those are very contradictary? You think it's bad if he said "screw this wall thing because I'm the rightful heir to the throne" (which I don't disagree with), but that it'd be okay for him to say screw this wall thing, I wanna go be Sword of the Morning? That's far worse. And if he's on the Wall he has no claim to Dawn or to the title.

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Im saying that symbolically, its hard for both to be important. They to me would be competing symbols where one would almost invariably overshadow the other, and make it less important.

It's their status as competing symbols which is one of the supports, recall the title of the series, and then recall the symbols of Stark and Targaryen.

No, im just looking for ways that the Targ thing could be significant. How does R+L=J impact the story going forward in a satisfying way. I just think its probably minimal in its effect, which makes the ultimate reveal lack punch for me.

By now, you shouldn't expect this story to be satisfying or direct. If Martin executes this properly, R+L=J won't be satisfying, but rather, the cause of great wounds. Furthermore, I don't see how Targ blood could possibly be minimal.

Tell me what traits Robb or Bran or Arya or Rickon have that is "Tully". Tully is weak symbolically in this, its just not important. It has some political relevance for Robb, but its central to Robbs story. For the other children, its incidental.

Arya, for a start, is emphasized as being stinted in her Tullyness. Sansa is obvious. Robb fought all his battles in the south, and lost his crown in part because he was half-Tully. Bran and Rickon have auburn hair, but 2/4 isn't bad, considering how they're half Tully, half stark.

In the case of Ashara, it would mean Jon would be eligible for the title of sword of the morning, and have a claim on Dawn. It adds and does not compete with his status as a Stark bastard.

Answered by Kyle.

That's even worse. "OMG, im a Targ! Time to screw this wall thing and take the Iron throne!"

If Jon

Answered by Kyle.

My point with Bran was that if by some bizarre circumstance he was the one who was a Targ bastard, such a revelation would have implications on what he was and what he did next that could be significant while being in character and continuing with his arc. For Jon, I can only see it either breaking his current arc as defender of the wall, man of the knights watch, or not be significant, neither which to me are terribly satisfying to me.

Explain. What characteristics of Bran are Targ? And furthermore, it competing obligations is a major component of Jon's character, so it would be weird if he had his future clearly lit by golden lanterns in a one-way street.

And to Lady Mary, Ive said before, but I think the most satisfying mother for Jon for me would be Ashara Dayne, because that would also tie him to the mythos of The Sword of Morning and Dawn, both which I find compliment the mythos of the House Stark, as opposed to the mythos of the House Targ, which I feel competes.

Explained above that not only can Jon not become Sword of the Morning anyways, but that competing mythos is a better thing for Jon than complementing mythos. And one more thing, how does the Dayne mythos complement the Stark mythos?

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That's even worse. "OMG, im a Targ! Time to screw this wall thing and take the Iron throne!"

I never said that Jon would definitely abandon the Wall for the Iron Throne, I said that the revelation of his true parentage would challenge him and conflict him. That's much more interesting than "Wow, my mom's Ahsara Dayne/a wetnurse named Wylla!...Ok, time to get back to fighting the Others."

Tell me what traits Robb or Bran or Arya or Rickon have that is "Tully". Tully is weak symbolically in this, its just not important. It has some political relevance for Robb, but its central to Robbs story. For the other children, its incidental.

My point was that all the Starks, indeed most of the characters, are children of two major houses, yet somehow the story deals with their having two conflicting symbols as their heritage.

In the case of Ashara, it would mean Jon would be eligible for the title of sword of the morning, and have a claim on Dawn. It adds and does not compete with his status as a Stark bastard.

Say whah? How could Jon be eligible for the title of sword of the morning when he's a bastard? Or can the Sword of the Morning be given to bastards as well?

My point with Bran was that if by some bizarre circumstance he was the one who was a Targ bastard, such a revelation would have implications on what he was and what he did next that could be significant while being in character and continuing with his arc.

This still doesn't make sense. How is it more in character for Bran to be part Targ? And if competing symbols is a problem for Jon being a Targ, why wouldn't it also be a problem for Bran being a Targ?

For Jon, I can only see it either breaking his current arc as defender of the wall, man of the knights watch, or not be significant, neither which to me are terribly satisfying to me.

So either the theory has no impact or it has a major impact, neither of which will satisfy you. Man, it's like this theory can't win with you.

And anyway, these aren't the only options. As I've said before, R+L=J will conflict Jon, making for a much more interesting story than any of the other major theories regarding his mother.

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I think it would very GRRM for us, the reader, to learn R+L=J, but for none of the relevant characters to learn about it.

Hard to do with a POV, but like if Sam learns of it, or Arya? Not a big reveal then.

exactly, or we could have a Howland Reed Prologue. As long as Jon and Dany don't know, it doesn't really matter who finds out. Or, he could kill off the character as soon as they learn it.

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Yeah we finally find out who killed Jon Arryn, but only two people now know and us learning this didn't change anything. We find out who tried to kill Bran. Didn't effect anything and never will. Bran remembers who threw him off the tower. It was irrelevant at that point and doesn't change anything.

Rhaugar was married to Elia when he died. Jon will still be bastard that gave up the right to wed and own land when we find out who he is, whoever that may be. For this to change he'd need to be given the right to leave the Wall and be legitimised. Only a king can do that. And if we have a King in place who say so everyone accepts... we won't have much use for Jon's Targayan legacy.

Unless Stannis does on his deathbed after conquering the Seven Kingdoms, with lots of witnesses in the room or something.

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Yeah we finally find out who killed Jon Arryn, but only two people now know and us learning this didn't change anything. We find out who tried to kill Bran. Didn't effect anything and never will. Bran remembers who threw him off the tower. It was irrelevant at that point and doesn't change anything.

Rhaugar was married to Elia when he died. Jon will still be bastard that gave up the right to wed and own land when we find out who he is, whoever that may be. For this to change he'd need to be given the right to leave the Wall and be legitimised. Only a king can do that. And if we have a King in place who say so everyone accepts... we won't have much use for Jon's Targayan legacy.

Unless Stannis does on his deathbed after conquering the Seven Kingdoms, with lots of witnesses in the room or something.

Well, Jon's identity is arguably the raison d'etre of the series. I figure the reveal will be to someone else who then begins a race vs. the clock to tell him, before he does something drastic. But I've been wrong before.

As for a King letting him leave the wall, that's kind of a problem when that king by definition would be illegitimate, if Jon is indeed shown to the be the heir, isn't it?

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Targaryens were polygamous though, and if Rhaegar married Lyanna in the ToJ then that would make Jon legitimate. Of course, for that to work, someone has to have proof, e.g. Howland Reed or the Daynes.

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Targaryens were polygamous though...

Isn't Aegon the Conqueror's marriage with his two sisters the only polygamous Targaryen marriage we know of?

I wouldn't say there were polygamous, just that there was one precedent 300 years before.

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Isn't Aegon the Conqueror's marriage with his two sisters the only polygamous Targaryen marriage we know of?

I wouldn't say there were polygamous, just that there was one precedent 300 years before.

I think Maegor the Cruel also had more than one wife.

But to me, the fact there aren't a lot of examples of Targaryen polygamy is a point in favor of the theory that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married. After all, what's the point of including the polygamy stuff in such a small number of cases if it's not going to become important later?

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But to me, the fact there aren't a lot of examples of Targaryen polygamy is a point in favor of the theory that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married. After all, what's the point of including the polygamy stuff in such a small number of cases if it's not going to become important later?

Agreed, one certainly suspects that the TV Tropes article on Chekhov's Gun will have another example by the time the series is done.

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Don't you think those are very contradictary? You think it's bad if he said "screw this wall thing because I'm the rightful heir to the throne" (which I don't disagree with), but that it'd be okay for him to say screw this wall thing, I wanna go be Sword of the Morning? That's far worse. And if he's on the Wall he has no claim to Dawn or to the title.

Who said he doesn't? Being a Kingsguard didn't stop Artur Dayne, yet their oaths are near identical. Again, in this way Dawn (which seems like it could be important) is just a means to achieve his role as a man of the nights watch. However, being a prince is contradictory. Either he forsakes all claims and the royal connection is meaningless, or he abandons the oaths of the watch

I never said that Jon would definitely abandon the Wall for the Iron Throne, I said that the revelation of his true parentage would challenge him and conflict him. That's much more interesting than "Wow, my mom's Ahsara Dayne/a wetnurse named Wylla!...Ok, time to get back to fighting the Others."My point was that all the Starks, indeed most of the characters, are children of two major houses, yet somehow the story deals with their having two conflicting symbols as their heritage. Say whah? How could Jon be eligible for the title of sword of the morning when he's a bastard? Or can the Sword of the Morning be given to bastards as well?This still doesn't make sense. How is it more in character for Bran to be part Targ? And if competing symbols is a problem for Jon being a Targ, why wouldn't it also be a problem for Bran being a Targ?So either the theory has no impact or it has a major impact, neither of which will satisfy you. Man, it's like this theory can't win with you.And anyway, these aren't the only options. As I've said before, R+L=J will conflict Jon, making for a much more interesting story than any of the other major theories regarding his mother.

This isnt just any two houses clashing that we are talking about. Its two diametricly opposed houses. Here, let me elaborate why Targaryen doesn't mix well with Stark in my mind.

The characteristics of house Targaryen:

- Foreign Conquerers

- Personal Ambition

- Fire

- Dragons

- Brilliance bordering on madness

- the seven

Characteristics of house Stark:

- First Men

- Duty to the North

- Winter

- Wolves

- Solidity of character

- Old Gods

Now, up to this point, which of these fits Jon like a glove, and which does he have absolutely no affinity for?

The thing about House Dayne that we know:

- Swords of the Morning/Dawn

- Ancient House

- Of the South? Dornish?

The point being that we only know a little about the house, but what defines the House is the sword Dawn. And Jon has been set up as a rather good swordsman. So yes, the House Dayne fits in well with the character. The reason why the House Targaryen isnt antithetical to my mind is that A) Bran has already been described as looking more like a Tully, a sense of duty in him has not been well established (a fascination with dragons has), his wolf is named of all things Summer. So he isnt the archetypal Stark. Hence, if it were revealed he were a Targ, it wouldnt require such a major break from his character for the archetypal Targ traits to crop up.

Now, again, part of the reason that I think his unknown parents house matters is because Martin has sat on the reveal for so long. You don't tease something for that long unless the reveal is important. If its not, it will be a letdown.

So the problem I have with R+L thematically is that for it to be relevant to Jon, it seems to have to attack who he is defined as a person. I dont see how it can be done without feeling too small or conversely redefining Jon too much so hes really not the same character anymore.

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Who said he doesn't? Being a Kingsguard didn't stop Artur Dayne, yet their oaths are near identical. Again, in this way Dawn (which seems like it could be important) is just a means to achieve his role as a man of the nights watch. However, being a prince is contradictory. Either he forsakes all claims and the royal connection is meaningless, or he abandons the oaths of the watch

No, they're very different. The Kingsguard give up lands and aren't allowed to get married...the Nights Watch give up EVERYTHING, which includes no glory, severing ties to their houses, etc. It's very, very different. Members of the Kingsguard are obviously still allowed to win glory (we've often seen evidence of them as battle commanders) and they clearly don't sever ties to their houses...they may not inherit, but that's a far cry from "We don't even want you talking to your family until it's clear there's no risk of you doing something stupid or leaving because of them". I don't see any possible way a man of the Nights Watch could be the Sword of the Morning, short of a strange scenario where the current Sword of the Morning is sent to the Nights Watch, keeps Dawn, and has it sent back after.

Aside from that, Jon is not a Dayne and there's virtually no way for him to ever be a Dayne. The idea that Jon is rightful heir would be based on either Rhaegar and Lyanna getting married in secret, or he's their bastard and someone legitimizes him. Even if Ned did sleep with Ashara, they weren't married, there's no real way they could have been married, which means Jon is a bastard, flat out...and even if Jon eventually got legitimized, he'd be a Stark.

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A few of my own thoughts, which when regarding aSoIaF are more often wrong than right.

I'd much rather Jon be Ned's son, as Ned was a better fellow Rhaegar, and preferably Ashara's son as well. Giving Jon the blood of the old kings and heroes. But, I believe otherwise, that R+L=J.

Regarding bloodlines, the blood of the first men, kings of the first men, weighs greater than that of any Targaryen. Targ's may have ruled Westeros for a few hundred years, and Old Valyria before that, but the Starks ruled for thousands of years and served as defenders of the north all along, where the Others come from.

Sansa was never a true Stark, and lost whatever "Starkness" she had when Lady died. I think she'll end the series "not a Stark".

Arya, who could have been Lyanna's daughter; the wolf's blood, appearance, etc, will end the series as a "Stark", but will bring tragedy to her family much like Lyanna did falling for Rhaegar.

I think Dany is a red herring within the PwwP prophecy. Prophecies are misinterrupted more often than not, as Aemon said. I think her and her dragons will only add problems to an already problematic conflict. As I said (think, believe) it was the First Men (Starks) who battled the Others, not the Targaryens.

As to Jon, who I do think is the guy that the main war hinges on. Adding the blood of the Targaryen kings to that of the old kings of the First Men, only adds credence to him being the hero that is needed. Ice and Fire and all that. But does a hero of prophecies really have to be proclaimed to the world? Could he not do what needs doing while the realm just thinks he Ned's bastard? That would fit Martin's style to me. Maybe even we never know for sure, he is what he is, and does what is needed, does that mean everyone, readers and characters alike must know what he is?

Sorry if some of these things have been covered, pretty new to the board.

Edited to say, that pretty much throughout the series, Jon's story arc has been one of crisis of identity. From book one and being a lord's son but a bastard destined for the wall, while his brothers rule his father's land. And to book three, where he is embattled with loving a wilding and his duty to the Night's Watch. Should his identity become known to him, is it feasible to think that he would choose power and glory over duty and honor, when he already chose those beliefs over love? This isn't, to me, a typical series where the hero will become a king and everyone flocks to his cause. Jon will not marry, sit a throne, nor ride a dragon. He was meant for more than that. I think his lineage will become known to him, because the traits of a hero are more a burden than a blessing.

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Who said he doesn't? Being a Kingsguard didn't stop Artur Dayne, yet their oaths are near identical. Again, in this way Dawn (which seems like it could be important) is just a means to achieve his role as a man of the nights watch.

But is there any precedent for bastards inheriting Dawn? I doubt it.

This isnt just any two houses clashing that we are talking about. Its two diametricly opposed houses.

As zmflavius mentioned above, this actually works well with the "Song of Ice and Fire" title.

Now, up to this point, which of these fits Jon like a glove, and which does he have absolutely no affinity for?

Sansa is a Stark, but does she really act like a Stark? No, she acts more like a Southerner, at least at the beginning of the story. This is shown symbolically when she loses her wolf. Similarly, Jon's father is a Targ (assuming R+L=J), yet he acts more like a Stark. I really don't see what the problem here is.

The reason why the House Targaryen isnt antithetical to my mind is that A) Bran has already been described as looking more like a Tully, a sense of duty in him has not been well established (a fascination with dragons has), his wolf is named of all things Summer. So he isnt the archetypal Stark. Hence, if it were revealed he were a Targ, it wouldnt require such a major break from his character for the archetypal Targ traits to crop up.

I find it interesting that you try to excuse away the existence of Bran's wolf simply because his name happens to be "Summer," especially since in one of your last posts you said it would be weird for Jon to be a Targ because then riding a dragon would downplay his wolf. Is the same not true for Bran?

Look, Bran has a direwolf like all the other Starks, and on top of that he can warg. How much more Stark/First Men can you get?

Also, where was his fascination with dragons established? This is an honest question, I can't remember when this occurred.

So the problem I have with R+L thematically is that for it to be relevant to Jon, it seems to have to attack who he is defined as a person.

EXACTLY. Jon finding out his true parentage adds CONFLICT. It completely changes what he thought he knew about himself. And if he turns out to be a legitimate child of Rhaegar and not just a bastard, then his birthright will tempt him to leave the Night's Watch. This makes for a far more interesting storyline than if Wylla or Ashara are his mother.

I dont see how it can be done without feeling too small or conversely redefining Jon too much so hes really not the same character anymore.

I don't think those are the only two options. I think when Jon finds out that his heritage is radically different from what he thought it was, he'll realize that it ultimately doesn't matter. His parentage doesn't define him, his actions and attitudes do. I think he'll finally come to understand that at the end of the day he's a Stark where it counts, even if he doesn't have the name. Why would this sort of character growth be disappointing?

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