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Bran Vras

Rhaegar Targaryen: Early passion for the Lord of Light, Foul Play at Harrenhal, The Spearwife Princess

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Before stating a series of three theories, here is a little preamble, with Barristan Selmy answering a question of Danaerys:

“Did you know my brother Rhaegar as well?”

“It was said that no man ever knew Prince Rhaegar, truly.”

Early Passion for the Lord of Light

I think we should all agree that the colours worn by a knight for a tourney are always significant.

The first tourney that Rhaegar entered was held at Lannister, and organized by Tywin Lannister. Here is how it is remembered by Cersei in AFfC:

Seventeen and new to knighthood, Rhaegar Targaryen had worn black plate over golden ringmail when he cantered onto the lists. Long streamers of red and gold and orange silk had floated behind his helm, like flames. Two of her uncles fell before his lance, along with a dozen of her father’s finest jousters, the flower of the west. By night the prince played his silver harp and made her weep. When she had been presented to him, Cersei had almost drowned in the depths of his sad purple eyes. He has been wounded, she recalled thinking, but I will mend his hurt when we are wed. Next to Rhaegar, even her beautiful Jaime had seemed no more than a callow boy. The prince is going to be my husband, she had thought, giddy with excitement, and when the old king dies I’ll be the queen. Her aunt had confided that truth to her before the tourney. “You must be especially beautiful,” Lady Genna told her, fussing with her dress, “for at the final feast it shall be announced that you and Prince Rhaegar are betrothed.”

Of course, Tywin must have made sure that no knight of Westerland would beat Rhaegar. We'll return to Rhaegar's valor as a jouster later. What is of interest are the colours wore by Rhaegar: red, gold and orange. These are not Targaryen colours. The colours can represent two things of note in ASoIaF (and nothing else I could find):

-- The colours of House Martell: a golden spear with a red sun on an orange field. The combination of colours is usually not stressed by the Martells. However, Oberyn and Doran dressed in those colours on certain important occasions. But, it doesn't seem widely known that the combination of colours represent Dorne. The spear and the Sun on the banner seem more significant.

-- The colours are the colours of the Lord of Light: Stannis put them on his banner, they appear regularly when Stannis draws his magic sword, they are the colours of the temple in Volantis and the colours of the priesthood of R'hllor in Volantis, and possibly elsewhere as well. Note that Cersei associates the colours with flame.

I see two possibilities, not mutually incompatible:

-- Somehow Rhaegar expressed an early wish to marry Elia of Dorne and wore the colours of his lady.

-- More likely, Rhaegar has developped, perhaps as a bookish young man, perhaps through some influence, a passion for the Red religion. It might have only been a phase.

Indeed the Prince was quite bold and autonomous in the pursuits of his interests (Barristan, ASoS):

“As a young boy, the Prince of Dragonstone was bookish to a fault. He was reading so early that men said Queen Rhaella must have swallowed some books and a candle whilst he was in her womb. Rhaegar took no interest in the play of other children. The maesters were awed by his wits, but his father’s knights would jest sourly that Baelor the Blessed had been born again. Until one day Prince Rhaegar found something in his scrolls that changed him. No one knows what it might have been, only that the boy suddenly appeared early one morning in the yard as the knights were donning their steel. He walked up to Ser Willem Darry, the master-at-arms, and said, ‘I will require sword and armor. It seems I must be a warrior.’”

A case can be made for a recurrent interest for the red religion during the Targaryen dynasty. It wouldn't be so surprising since the Targaryens originated from Essos, they had few ties with the Faith of the Seven, besides a political agreement made by Jaehaerys, but they were free to develop their religious interests as individuals (Baleor the blessed, Bloodraven etc). I am not sure what to make of Black Crow's remark, in another thread, that the descriptions of the Red Temples in the Free Cities recall the Red Keep. More significantly, here is the description of Aerion Brightflame at Ashford Tourney:

Aerion bore a three-headed dragon on his shield, but it was rendered in colors much more vivid than Valarr’s; one head was orange, one yellow, one red, and the flames they breathed had the sheen of gold leaf.

It's again a tourney. Aerion's subsequent exile in Lys is compatible with his interest in the Red Religion. Note that Aerion had no passion for Dornish women, quite the contrary if we recall the incident with the puppeteer. In any case the coincidence of the choice of colours can't be an accident.

Moreover, Rhaegar might have found in the Religion of R'hllor a fulfillment for his passion for prophecies.

(Note: I have tried to look systematically at the occurences of the three colours in another thread.)

Foul Play at Harrenhal

From the Mystery Knight we know that

1) Tourney can be instrumentalised for political ends.

2) They can be rigged.

3) All might not be what it seems in what we see.

It's plausible that the Lannisport Tourney was rigged. But the tourney at Harrenhal is another matter. Rhaegar won against two formidable knights of the time: Arthur Dayne and Barristan Selmy. Arthur Dayne might have let his friend win, but we know that Barristan Selmy did his best in the final tilt, since he intended to crown Ashara Dayne queen of love and beauty.

It might not seem surprising that Rhaegar prevailed in the tourney. He was an exceptionnally gifted young man, probably very much motivated by his intention of crowning Lyanna, just like Lynesse Hightower inspired Jorah Mormont in a later tourney at Lannisport.

Was Rhaegar that good as a jouster? Dany asks specifically Barristan about that twice. Here is the first conversation.

“The Sword of the Morning!” said Dany, delighted. “Viserys used to talk about his wondrous white blade. He said Ser Arthur was the only knight in the realm who was our brother’s peer.”

Whitebeard bowed his head. “It is not my place to question the words of Prince Viserys.”

“King,” Dany corrected. “He was a king, though he never reigned. Viserys, the Third of His Name. But what do you mean?” His answer had not been one that she’d expected. “Ser Jorah named Rhaegar the last dragon once. He had to have been a peerless warrior to be called that, surely?”

“Your Grace,” said Whitebeard, “the Prince of Dragonstone was a most puissant warrior, but . . .”

“Go on,” she urged. “You may speak freely to me.”

“As you command.” The old man leaned upon his hardwood staff, his brow furrowed. “A warrior without peer . . . those are fine words, Your Grace, but words win no battles.”

“Swords win battles,” Ser Jorah said bluntly. “And Prince Rhaegar knew how to use one.”

“He did, ser, but . . . I have seen a hundred tournaments and more wars than I would wish, and however strong or fast or skilled a knight may be, there are others who can match him. A man will win one tourney, and fall quickly in the next. A slick spot in the grass may mean defeat, or what you ate for supper the night before. A change in the wind may bring the gift of victory.”

To have an idea of Barristan's answers to Dany's questions about her familiy, consider another exchange.

“And my father?” Dany said.

The old man hesitated before saying, “King Aerys is also remembered. He gave the realm many years of peace. [...]

Here is the second conversation between Dany and Barristan about Rhaegar's valor

“Tell me more of my brother Rhaegar, if you would. I liked the tale you told me on the ship, of how he decided that he must be a warrior.”

“Your Grace is kind to say so.”

“Viserys said that our brother won many tourneys.”

Arstan bowed his white head respectfully. “It is not meet for me to deny His Grace’s words . . .”

“But?” said Dany sharply. “Tell me. I command it.”

“Prince Rhaegar’s prowess was unquestioned, but he seldom entered the lists. He never loved the song of swords the way that Robert did, or Jaime Lannister. It was something he had to do, a task the world had set him. He did it well, for he did everything well. That was his nature. But he took no joy in it. Men said that he loved his harp much better than his lance.”

“He won some tourneys, surely,” said Dany, disappointed.

“When he was young, His Grace rode brilliantly in a tourney at Storm’s End, defeating Lord Steffon Baratheon, Lord Jason Mallister, the Red Viper of Dorne, and a mystery knight who proved to be the infamous Simon Toyne, chief of the kingswood outlaws. He broke twelve lances against Ser Arthur Dayne that day.”

“Was he the champion, then?”

“No, Your Grace. That honor went to another knight of the Kingsguard, who unhorsed Prince Rhaegar in the final tilt.” Dany did not want to hear about Rhaegar being unhorsed. “But what tourneys did my brother win?”

“Your Grace.” The old man hesitated. “He won the greatest tourney of them all.”

“Which was that?” Dany demanded.

“The tourney Lord Whent staged at Harrenhal beside the Gods Eye, in the year of the false spring. A notable event. Besides the jousting, there was a mêlée in the old style fought between seven teams of knights, as well as archery and axe-throwing, a horse race, a tournament of singers, a mummer show, and many feasts and frolics. Lord Whent was as open handed as he was rich. The lavish purses he proclaimed drew hundreds of challengers. Even your royal father came to Harrenhal, when he had not left the Red Keep for long years. The greatest lords and mightiest champions of the Seven Kingdoms rode in that tourney, and the Prince of Dragonstone bested them all.”

Note that Barristan does not want speak ill of Rhaegar and Aerys before Dany. I perceive Barristan to be reticent to praise unquestionably Rhaegar.

Whatever the reality was about Rhaegar's valor, it was not possible for him to be sure that he would win the tourney. Barristan had beaten him before at Storm's End. Rhaegar was not an experimented jouster. And Barristan tells us that

"A man will win one tourney, and fall quickly in the next. A slick spot in the grass may mean defeat, or what you ate for supper the night before. A change in the wind may bring the gift of victory.”

Here is Ned Stark description of the tourney:

Yet when the jousting began, the day belonged to Rhaegar Targaryen. The crown prince wore the armor he would die in: gleaming black plate with the three-headed dragon of his House wrought in rubies on the breast. A plume of scarlet silk streamed behind him when he rode, and it seemed no lance could touch him. Brandon fell to him, and Bronze Yohn Royce, and even the splendid Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning.

Note that Rhaegar only wears the red silk at that point. The red silk is still an emblem of the Red God's priesthood. But the signification is not unequivocal.

Here is my theory: Rhaegar used glamour based on the rubies of the plate, and perhaps the red silk, so that "no lance could touch him".

We know that rubies can be magical and related to glamour (Mance and Melisandre). Harrenhal is place of magical nature alike the Wall (blood in the mortar etc) and the Wall enhanced Melisandre's glamour.

The strange reappearance of the rubies on the shore of the Quiet Isle seem to point to a magical nature of the stones.

Note : Aegon wore red silk on his cloak and rubies at his neck when he met the Golden Company. The magical nature of red silk has been discussed in the Mance Rayder thread.

The Spearwife Princess

I am not alone, I am sure, to perceive in Lyanna Stark something genuinely northern in her fierceness, not unlike some spearwives we see among the wildlings.

If Rhaegar was in love with Lyanna, why did he kidnap her? If he needed to have her at all cost, why not either repudiate Elia and marry Lyanna, or make her come to King's Landing and have her as a mistress. The second solution seems to be the standard one in a feudal society. Rhaegar, despite appearing to have been a thoughtful young man, chose the kidnapping with the disastrous consequences that we know.

The kidnapping was not only a badly thought out, it was against all customs of a feudal society, a profoundly barbaric act. I do not see any precedent in the Seven Kingdoms. The logic behing Rhaegar's behaviour might be revealed by Ygritte.

You never knew what t’ do after you stole me.”

Jon sat up. “Ygritte, I never stole you.”

“Aye, you did. You jumped down the mountain and killed Orell, and afore I could get my axe you had a knife at my throat. I thought you’d have me then, or kill me, or maybe both, but you never did. And when I told you the tale o’ Bael the Bard and how he plucked the rose o’ Winterfell, I thought you’d know to pluck me then for certain, but you didn’t. You know nothing, Jon Snow.” She gave him a shy smile. “You might be learning some, though.

Here is Ned Stark remembering Harrenhal again:

Ned remembered the moment when all the smiles died, when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen urged his horse past his own wife, the Dornish princess Elia Martell, to lay the queen of beauty’s laurel in Lyanna’s lap. He could see it still: a crown of winter roses, blue as frost.

It seems that Mance Rayder was not the only admirer of Bael the Bard. Ygritte tells us what Rhaegar was fearing when he "stole" Lyanna

Craster’s more your kind than ours. His father was a crow who stole a woman out of Whitetree village, but after he had her he flew back t’ his Wall. She went t’ Castle Black once t’ show the crow his son, but the brothers blew their horns and run her off. Craster’s blood is black, and he bears a heavy curse.”

In the North, children not properly conceived (because of incest, or rape etc) are accursed. Hence Rhaegar felt he should not offend the old gods and acted in accordance with their laws.

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Hmmm, I've always found it suspicious that Rhaegar could have defeated all those other knights! I like the theory Bran, especially as it relates to him wearing a glamour. I'm a bit confused on where you're heading with the Spearwife Princess theory though, or how it fits into the larger picture.

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I just find remarkable that Rhaegar chose to follow a wildling tradition of marriage to be united with Lyanna, Brashcandy. It seems that Harrenhal is a significant place for the Old Gods: proximity of the Isle of Faces, weirwood in the godswood, construction similar to the castles of the Wall (blood in the mortar). If Rhaegar thought his son would be a saviour of some sort, he might have found important to have the blessing of the Old Gods.

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With regard to the R'hllor connection we know that Rhaegar was bookish. It has been assumed that he read the family prophecy and believed in the prince who was promised. Melisandre in her conversation with Aemon believes that the Prince who was promised and Azor Ahai reborn are compatible beliefs - if Rhaegar shared that opinion then he must have believed in the power of the Red God.

You can hardly believe that you are, or are going to be the father of, the Prince who was promised and the champion of the red god - Azor Ahai reborn and not believe in R'hllor.

In Rhaegar's case belief in R'hllor and marriage to Elia of Dorne might have seemed, at first, the inevitable choice given the Martell's association with the sun as part of their heraldic device.

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Hmmm, I've always found it suspicious that Rhaegar could have defeated all those other knights! I like the theory Bran, especially as it relates to him wearing a glamour. I'm a bit confused on where you're heading with the Spearwife Princess theory though, or how it fits into the larger picture.

There's nothing to be suspicious of. When Rhaegar was only a child he trained as a warrior for years. And from the descriptions we are given of him "he would perfect anything he put his mind to".

Since we know Rhaegar was obsessed with the Azor Ahai/TPTWP prophecy, there's no doubt he would perfect the way of the warrior in order to prepare for The Others. What I'm trying to say is there's no doubt be Rhaegar was a pure warrior.

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I Rhaegar's "kidnapping" of Lyanna Stark was a compliance with the ways of the Old Gods and the North akin to Wildling bride raiding, why did/could Rhaegar not then simply publicly declare his marriage to Lyanna after the kidnapping & marriage were done??

Follow this interesting theory through to the post-kidnapping thoughts of Rhaegar.

Is there any indication that Aerys was told by rejected the idea (violently)? Or that Rhaegar was cut off and the war descended to quickly. He took a long time to join the war.

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There's nothing to be suspicious of. When Rhaegar was only a child he trained as a warrior for years. And from the descriptions we are given of him "he would perfect anything he put his mind to".

Since we know Rhaegar was obsessed with the Azor Ahai/TPTWP prophecy, there's no doubt he would perfect the way of the warrior in order to prepare for The Others. What I'm trying to say is there's no doubt be Rhaegar was a pure warrior.

Doesn't Barristan tell us that he started training as a knight late on in life, that for a long time he was known only as a bookish lad and that it was because of something he read that he decided that he had to learn how to fight? If he started his training as a teenager that would be quite a bit later than other nobles' sons.

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Doesn't Barristan tell us that he started training as a knight late on in life, that for a long time he was known only as a bookish lad and that it was because of something he read that he decided that he had to learn how to fight? If he started his training as a teenager that would be quite a bit later than other nobles' sons.

Precisely. And Barristan's words that he did everything well suggest that whilst he was a competent horseman, it would be a bit unrealistic to expect that he became some expert jouster. The interesting implication of the theory is that if Rhaegar was indeed using the rubies in some way to ensure his victory, it suggests that this is a man who would not be above stooping to other such means to secure what was needed for the prophecy. He seems to have been a naturally bookish young boy, but from the time he learnt about the PTWP/Azor Ahai prophecy, his actions definitely take on a more calculating nature.

I just find remarkable that Rhaegar chose to follow a wildling tradition of marriage to be united with Lyanna, Brashcandy. It seems that Harrenhal is a significant place for the Old Gods: proximity of the Isle of Faces, weirwood in the godswood, construction similar to the castles of the Wall (blood in the mortar). If Rhaegar thought his son would be a saviour of some sort, he might have found important to have the blessing of the Old Gods.

Thanks, I understand now :) And it makes sense. As I said above, everything Rhaegar has done since deciding to become a warrior seems to have been calculated and deliberate. His taking Lyanna in the wildling tradition could indeed have been part of this larger desire to make sure that he relied on the ice traditions as well as the fiery ones.

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I always got the feeling that the stealing of women is a wildling tradition and not a northern one. Lyanna was no wildling, she was a Stark. Also where is it said that you need to steal a woman to be in compliance with the Old Gods? The Starks/ the North followed marrying traditions not unlike the rest of Westeros and surely didnt steal all their women. Wouldnt Bran, Arya, Robb, Rickon and Sansa also have tainted black blood if this was true?

Rhaegar gave Lyanna blue winter roses, but isnt the more likely eyplanation that he fealt those roses would represent the north or her beauty as she was a northern woman? To me the connection to Bael the Bard is not very strong. Maybe you could elaborate on that.

And Rhaegar could not just make Lyanna his mistress. She was not some minor noble woman and already promised to someone else. He HAD to steal her.

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I don't know about the R'hllor connections. We know the colors of flame are not exclusive to that religion, as evidenced by the Martells. I think the flame=dragons connection is why he did it.

I do think Barristan's hesitancy to praise Rhaegar relentlessly is indicative of something. I don't think he's going to be this shining prince everyone thinks he is, that he was only demonized because he stole Robert's betrothed/Ned's sister. Ned described the bricks at the Tower of Joy as being bloody. I don't think one person would be enough to make the bricks noticeably bloody. I think there was some foul stuff going on in there and its naming is supposed to be an ironic play on its sinister nature.

Not sure about the wildling theory either, but I do find OP's theories to be the best researched and argued on this site.

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The whole theory does make sense, to a certain extent, except that we don't know for sure if he kidnapped Lyanna or if she went with him willingly.

Also, if he was using some kind of glamor through his rubies at Harrenhall, why wouldn't he do the same on the Trident? And if he was doing the same, would Robert even be able to hit him square on the chest, right at the rubies?

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Theres a few things i dont get about Rhaegar-everyone loved him but we dont see why.Well in saying that Robert Baratheon,a well connected and influential man in Targaryen times,thought him capable of rape.Is this just jealousy might it be truth?Neds suspiciously quiet on the subject when Robert rages on about it.

These glamours...see we dont know how skilled you have to be to make one.We know Mel does but shes a practiced sorceress.Wold Rhaegar be able to make his own?As an aside even if he did make a glamour in the Trident it doesnt make him invincible.Infact a warhammer like oberts is far more likely to hit him then a sword if you think about the fighting techniques

Nice theory.Almost up there with big Rooses!!

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Too many wild leaps to connect things ..again.

Martin has said that though magic becomes more prominent as the series progresses..at the end , magic still will not be as prevalent as it is at the outset of most fantasy novels. If half the flights of fancy that have been expounded on this site recently pan out ,it would test that premise sorely.

It's all just too much. For example , we've seen that the characters identify strongly with their house sigils , referring to themselves and each other as lions , wolves, dragons , etc. Dragons breathe fire, therefore it's not surprising that Rhaegar would wear a crest that evoked flame.But it's quite a leap to automatically assume he was a secret believer in R'hllor , especially when that religion is so into making a display.

Similarly , not everyone who may chance to gaze into a fire is trying to read the flames , and people who are seen tending fires may just be making sure it doesn't go out , since everyone needs to keep warm, cook their food ( and in the North , fend off wights. )

Red , not only red silk , is emblematic of R'hllor , but not every instance of the use of red implies a belief in the red religion. Nowhere has it been suggested that red silk ,in itself, has magical qualities.

Rhaegar was a prince , not a king , and would have needed his father's approval to make a second marriage alliance.With Aerys already suspecting that Rhaegar was thinking of seizing the throne , it may have been difficult to get him to approve anything.

We know that Rhaegar was inspired by the PtwP prophecy, and possibly / probably by the dwarf woman of High Heart, who seems more related to earth magic , not fire. We don't know if he knew of or lent much credence to Azor Ahai and Lightbringer..but he knew of the Song of Ice and Fire. And we know that Aemon thinks the Azor Ahai prophecy was simply an adapted version of the ( earlier ? ) original PtwP version.

I can believe that his fixation with the prophecy may have led him to be on the lookout for a Northern girl with a particular bloodline..or that that might be apt may have occurred to him after being smitten by Lyanna.

The blue roses are no doubt meant to make us equate R+L with Bael the Bard..but not necessarily that R was trying to incorporate wildling practices. It's a hint to us that it was more an elopement than a kidnapping. Ygritte tells Jon that a man can "own" a wife or a knife ..not both , since he must sleep sometime. Assuming Bael had to sleep , he couldn't have kept his Stark "bride" captive in the crypts beneath WF unless she was willing .

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Rhaegar most likely read in his scrolls something that made him think he was the PWP/ Azor ahai. I believe it states somewhere that this was his original belief, but later changes to him being the father hence the need for Lyanna and a third child as there must be three. I also think the Targs knew that the PTWP would come from their line and specifically latert on from Aerys. I also thing this is one reason or the reason Bloodraven was such a trag loyalist and against the blackfryes as if their rebellion succeeded that would be the end of the Trag line and hence the PTWP.

So the colours that Rhaegar wore would fit in with his initial belief he was the PTWP and therefore needed to be a great warrior. We know Azor Ahai was from somewhere in essos, we know the red lot think they need to find or have found him (Stannis - Mel). So their colours would be linked with him?

Later he knew he was not AA so the colours change but he knows he has to have Lyanna to be the ice to his fire, hence he has to win the tourney. He may have used some magic or glamour to this effect. He was well studied so no doubt knew about it, after all how did bloodraven get to be a sorcerer, its in the family. Barristan implies he was a good knight but not the equal of the sword of the morning, perhaps driven by his need he won or otherwise? So theye could be something in the rubys as they are given such promenance and we know what Mel does with them. Or it could just be the link to the red religion, or red was AA's colour?

As to the spearwife. I dont see the link between stark and wildling custom. Also we dont actually know what happened, there is only supposition and rumour. For all we realy know Lyanna could have forced him to run off with her.

BTW great post Bran Vars

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Precisely. And Barristan's words that he did everything well suggest that whilst he was a competent horseman, it would be a bit unrealistic to expect that he became some expert jouster. The interesting implication of the theory is that if Rhaegar was indeed using the rubies in some way to ensure his victory, it suggests that this is a man who would not be above stooping to other such means to secure what was needed for the prophecy. He seems to have been a naturally bookish young boy, but from the time he learnt about the PTWP/Azor Ahai prophecy, his actions definitely take on a more calculating nature.

His age was never stated all we know is that he was a child when he went to the master-at-arms Willem Darry,whose brother was in the KG. And being a good horsemen means you'll be a great/good Jouster,Jamie says Jousting is 3/4 horsemen skills.

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I Rhaegar's "kidnapping" of Lyanna Stark was a compliance with the ways of the Old Gods and the North akin to Wildling bride raiding, why did/could Rhaegar not then simply publicly declare his marriage to Lyanna after the kidnapping & marriage were done??

Follow this interesting theory through to the post-kidnapping thoughts of Rhaegar.

I always got the feeling that the stealing of women is a wildling tradition and not a northern one. Lyanna was no wildling, she was a Stark. Also where is it said that you need to steal a woman to be in compliance with the Old Gods? The Starks/ the North followed marrying traditions not unlike the rest of Westeros and surely didnt steal all their women. Wouldnt Bran, Arya, Robb, Rickon and Sansa also have tainted black blood if this was true?

Rhaegar gave Lyanna blue winter roses, but isnt the more likely eyplanation that he fealt those roses would represent the north or her beauty as she was a northern woman? To me the connection to Bael the Bard is not very strong. Maybe you could elaborate on that.

It's true that the kidnapping tradition belongs to the wildlings and not really to the northmen. But the two traditions are not clearly distinct. In the wildling tradition, kidnapping (a form of rape) is allowed, provided the kidnapper 1) is not beaten by the family of the woman, 2) is not gelded by the woman and 3) marries the woman and provides for the child. If not, the children born of such unions are accursed, as Ygritte tells us, and Craster and Ramsay testify by their existence. But we can find traces of this belief among the northmen, for instance Robbett Glover says of Ramsay (ADwD)

“The evil is in his blood,” said Robett Glover. “He is a bastard born of rape. A Snow, no matter what the boy king says.”

There is a similar pronouncement by... Jon Snow! In his account of Ramsay's birth from a rape, Roose says he should have thrown Ramsay into a well, after the mother came to him to present the baby. Same story with Craster's mother. There is a continuity between the beliefs of the Wildlings and the northmen. So, for the Old Gods of the north, any child born of Rhaegar and Lyanna would have been accursed if Rhaegar had just a short term liaison with Lyanna.

The story of Bael the Bard is an archetype of the kidnapping tradition. Ygritte uses it to make Jon understand he has stolen her, even if he did it unknowingly. Note that Bael's story is well known by both the northmen and the wildlings.

And Rhaegar could not just make Lyanna his mistress. She was not some minor noble woman and already promised to someone else. He HAD to steal her.

I must say that arranging for Lyanna to become his mistress would have been a challenge for Rhaegar. He could have named Robert Hand of the king to make the Barratheon couple come to King's Landing for instance :drunk: . However, stealing the daughter of a Great Lord is a casus belli. I repeat that I don't see any precedent in the story of the Seven Kingdoms. Any nobleman doing such a thing would become persona non grata, would dishonour his house etc.

Precisely. And Barristan's words that he did everything well suggest that whilst he was a competent horseman, it would be a bit unrealistic to expect that he became some expert jouster. The interesting implication of the theory is that if Rhaegar was indeed using the rubies in some way to ensure his victory, it suggests that this is a man who would not be above stooping to other such means to secure what was needed for the prophecy. He seems to have been a naturally bookish young boy, but from the time he learnt about the PTWP/Azor Ahai prophecy, his actions definitely take on a more calculating nature.

There is something unbelievable in Rhaegar's prowess as a jouster. All great warriors in the story have a passion for arms and fighting. How could a late beginner excel to the point of surpassing the best of the best, without some extraordinary motivation, and without much practice in tournaments? Note that I don't say that Rhaegar was mediocre. Note also the passage that I edited to put in bold in Ned Stark's account occurring in the opening post: "no lance could touch him". Moreover, as Loras Tyrell has shown us, knights use tricks sometimes to shine in tournaments.

I don't know about the R'hllor connections. We know the colors of flame are not exclusive to that religion, as evidenced by the Martells. I think the flame=dragons connection is why he did it.

Keep in mind that the Targaryen colours are Red and Black. Wearing other colours that could be interpreted as flames is equivocal, and, as I stressed, the colours worn are always significant for a knight. Stannis changed the Baratheon banner by putting exactly those colours to evoke the Red God. I have looked thoroughly and could not find anything these colours could refer to but House Martell and the Red God. And as Lummel says concisely

With regard to the R'hllor connection we know that Rhaegar was bookish. It has been assumed that he read the family prophecy and believed in the prince who was promised. Melisandre in her conversation with Aemon believes that the Prince who was promised and Azor Ahai reborn are compatible beliefs - if Rhaegar shared that opinion then he must have believed in the power of the Red God.

You can hardly believe that you are, or are going to be the father of, the Prince who was promised and the champion of the red god - Azor Ahai reborn and not believe in R'hllor.

In Rhaegar's case belief in R'hllor and marriage to Elia of Dorne might have seemed, at first, the inevitable choice given the Martell's association with the sun as part of their heraldic device.

it's not that unlikely that Rhaegar had an interest in R'hllor.

Theres a few things i dont get about Rhaegar-everyone loved him but we dont see why.Well in saying that Robert Baratheon,a well connected and influential man in Targaryen times,thought him capable of rape.Is this just jealousy might it be truth?Neds suspiciously quiet on the subject when Robert rages on about it.

These glamours...see we dont know how skilled you have to be to make one.We know Mel does but shes a practiced sorceress.Wold Rhaegar be able to make his own?As an aside even if he did make a glamour in the Trident it doesnt make him invincible.Infact a warhammer like oberts is far more likely to hit him then a sword if you think about the fighting techniques

I think the glamour can be made by a third party, as we saw with Melisandre and Mance. So it's not necessary to assume that Rhaegar himself did the trick. You are right about the extraordinary charisma of Rhaegar: he made everybody cry when he played his harp (Cersei, Connington), he made Jaime look like a farm boy (Cersei) etc. That needs to be explained as well.

Also, if he was using some kind of glamor through his rubies at Harrenhall, why wouldn't he do the same on the Trident? And if he was doing the same, would Robert even be able to hit him square on the chest, right at the rubies?

I asked myself the same question Lady Octarina. Here is my additional speculation. Rhaegar was confident that he would prevail on the Trident. (He mentioned big changes that would happen upon his return to King's Landing to Jaime as he left.) If my suggestion that the rubies are tools of deception is correct, Rhaegar thought that the rubies would protect him again. But something unexpected happened. But what? Did Robert receive some help? When Robert regrets having hit Cersei, he is drunk and says something that I find thought provoking

“I was always strong... no one could stand before me, no one. How do you fight someone if you can’t hit them?” Confused, the king shook his head. “Rhaegar... Rhaegar won, damn him. I killed him, Ned, I drove the spike right through that black armor into his black heart, and he died at my feet.

I might be looking for something that isn't there, but I wonder whether there is a double meaning in the sentence in bold (Robert does not know how to fight his wife without blows and Rhaegar was impossible to hit).

I don't think we ever had a first hand account of the fight on the Trident. When Ned arrived it was over. I think Roose Bolton, Lyn Corbray were there, possibly the Blackfish too. I think Barristan was already wounded. Who else among people still alive?

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Bran, your posts are always so interesting. In order to understand the colors Rhaegar used at the Lannister and Harrenhal tourneys, it is important to remember how closely AA is attached to the red religion. If AA were to have colors, they would undoubtedly be the colors of R'hllor. Indeed, this is why Stannis now uses these colors. Rhaegar used these colors at the Lannister tourney because at that time he still believed he was AA. By the time of Harrenhal, he no longer believed he was AA and so went back to wearing simply the Targaryen colors. Because Rhaegar stopped using the R'hllor colors once he no longer believed he was AA, I think the use of the colors never indicated any interest in the Red Religion on his part.

As to your other two ideas, I am still digesting. :-)

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Well that quote by Robert gives me pause too. Especially because he says "How do you fight someone if you can’t hit them?" and then immediately thinks of Rhaegar. Good find! Maybe you are on to something there.Thats the second quote you provided where someone states that you could not hit Rheagar. Find one more and you have me convinced ;)

But I would like to reread that quote in context. Where did you find it?

About the stealing thing: I always thougt that Rhaegar was so into the whole prophecy thing that he just did not care what his running away with Lyanna would do to the realm. Think about it. If you believe that your son with Ice will save the whole freaking world than everything else becomes secondary. And I believe that is also what propelled him to win the tournament at Harrenhal. He just wanted it the most and won despite not being the very best. Just like Jorah did. He certainely was a good horsemen and not much worse than the best jousters.

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Outside the carved hardwood doors to the king’s chambers stood Steel-skin, a younger pit

fighter, not yet regarded as of the first rank. His cheeks and brow were scarred with intricate tattoos ingreen and black, ancient Valyrian sorcerer’s signs that supposedly made his flesh and skin as hard as steel. Similar markings covered his chest and arms, though whether they would actually stop a sword oraxe remained to be seen.

Even without them, Steelskin looked formidable

So Valyrian's did / does have sorcery to protect and Ser Barristan knew exactly what it was meant for / to be. This could be only one way to practise this spell or whatever it is.

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It's amazing how many instances of ice and fire Martin has been able to fit into the books, Rhaegars wives is one I had not picked up on before.

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