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A Theory: The possibly game-changing secret beneath the Winterfell Crypts

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This is a great post and a reason why I really love this series. Every paragraph is so detailed with meaning and excitement. I think this has a good chance of being accurate.


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I remember reading this recently on reddit and being very impressed. I love the idea of Rhaegar's harp being down in the crypts. Personally, I'm leaning towards there being three items down there, because royal regalia comes in threes: Torrhen's crown, Rhaegar's harp, and a wedding cloak. One to represent his Stark bloodline, one to represent his Targaryen bloodline, and one to represent the meeting of the two.


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@J Stargaryen



I recently disputed this with another redditor. I explained that it was the reflective process of incarceration that made Ned realize he wanted to say something to Jon. Throughout a AGOT there is no evidence prior to prison that Ned wanted to tell Jon anything. My arguments are well articulated there, so here is a link: http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/1qllsy/spoilers_asos_knight_of_the_laughing_tree_chapter/cde1km9 and the comments under it.


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And like I mentioned, the Harp has the advantage of having been seen almost everywhere in Rhaegar's life. A wedding cloak (even authentic) could be disputed, the marriage argued as coerced, etc. The idea was that the harp in combination with something like a cloak PLUS witnesses is where the authority and authenticity lay.

But how would a harp belonging to Rhaegar in any way prove Jon is R+L's child?

As someone pointed out, it could be interpreted as simply a symbol of their love. I struggle to see how the harp being in the tombs would add to the testimony of any witnesses. Having said that, I do get the feeling it could be one part of a larger body of evidence, somehow - i just don't know how.

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@Shireen, Actually no, I envision (and frequently argue on Reddit) that Ned never wanted to tell Jon. I really like the comment about "Now it ends", although it's hard to say how much faith we can have in that dialogue.

Cool! But then wouldn't Ned leave the harp behind at ToJ?

Welcome to the forums. :cheers: This is a nice theory. I really like the line from LF.

You say you argue on reddit that Ned never wanted to tell Jon, so I wonder what is your response to the point of Ned wanting to send Jon a letter when he was in the black cells?

I think he wanted to tell him who his mother was eventually, he just didn't want to tell anyone else, or for Jon to start a war or sit on the throne. Also, I don't think that letter ever got written, we don't really know what its about right? I thought it could be a letter to Stannis.

I always thought "It is known". :(

Heh!

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I agree with you there yolkboy. I just think there is a high likelihood that the harp is there and that it will have some note-worthy impact, alone or as part of a larger assembly of 'evidence' I don't know.


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So what reasoning is Jon going to give for going down in the crypts of Winterfell and desecrating Lyanna's tomb? And if he does find something down there then what?


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I'm not opposed to the idea that there is an item in the crypts that lends credence to the truth of Jon's Targaryen lineage, but I think there would be significant problems transporting items that are either large (not easily concealed on one's person) or easily recognized as belonging to Rhaegar. Either category would raise a lot of questions. You'd also need an item that would stand up well against the dark and wet conditions of the crypt.


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Heh!

Sorry, maybe I sounded a little obnoxious there, it wasn't intentional.. I think it has been discussed before in R+L=J threads that either the harp or the crown or a dragon egg is there at the crypts to prove Jon's parentage/legitimacy. This is a very prevalent idea actually. The OP makes good arguments that it could be the Harp, but I'm open to the other two as well, or a combination of these. Lady Gwyn pointed out in the thread that three such heirlooms will be better as compared to one, three generally appear in coronation ceremonies etc, don't remember completely.

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If you *really* want to hammer your brain, consider this comment from a redditor:

You know what else this post made me see? Jon is literally promised. "Promise me, Ned." If she's talking about Jon, and he's truly rhaegars son, he is literally a prince promised.


And these passages from the books in light of this theory (bolded for effect):

"The castle is always empty." He had never told anyone of the dream, and he did not understand why he was telling Sam now, yet somehow it felt good to talk of it. "Even the ravens are gone from the rookery, and the stables are full of bones. That always scares me. I start to run then, throwing open doors, climbing the tower three steps at a time, screaming for someone, for anyone. And then I find myself in front of the door to the crypts. It's black inside, and I can see the steps spiraling down. Somehow I know I have to go down there, but I don't want to. I'm afraid of what might be waiting for me. The old Kings of Winter are down there, sitting on their thrones with stone wolves at their feet and iron swords across their laps, but it's not them I'm afraid of. I scream that I'm not a Stark, that this isn't my place, but it's no good, I have to go anyway, so I start down, feeling the walls as I descend, with no torch to light the way. It gets darker and darker, until I want to scream." He stopped, frowning, embarrassed. "That's when I always wake."

Also:

Last night he had dreamt the Winterfell dream again. He was wandering the empty castle, searching for his father, descending into the crypts. Only this time the dream had gone further than before. In the dark he’d heard the scrape of stone on stone. When he turned he saw that the vaults were opening, one after the other. As the dead kings came stumbling from their cold black graves, Jon had woken in pitchdark, his heart hammering.

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So what reasoning is Jon going to give for going down in the crypts of Winterfell and desecrating Lyanna's tomb? And if he does find something down there then what?

It will be worse if he finds nothing:

"Just checking" *bends down and carefully inspects Lyanna's skeleton* "Yep, as I expected. It appears she's dead"

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I'm not opposed to the idea that there is an item in the crypts that lends credence to the truth of Jon's Targaryen lineage, but I think there would be significant problems transporting items that are either large (not easily concealed on one's person) or easily recognized as belonging to Rhaegar. Either category would raise a lot of questions. You'd also need an item that would stand up well against the dark and wet conditions of the crypt.

Maybe you're thinking of a large harp, but some harps are pretty small. IDK if there's a description of Rhaegars, but I always assumed a small harp like in the picture, which could be bagged up and put on the back of a horse no problem.

And sure the wood might be damaged on the harp, but it might be be identifiable, and it does have unique silver strings.

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El Guapo, on 18 Nov 2013 - 12:29 AM, said:

So what reasoning is Jon going to give for going down in the crypts of Winterfell and desecrating Lyanna's tomb? And if he does find something down there then what?

That's always the most problematic part of Winterfell crypt theories. Bran could always use dream communication again I suppose.

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It will be worse if he finds nothing:

"Just checking" *bends down and carefully inspects Lyanna's skeleton* "Yep, as I expected. It appears she's dead"

All hail Jon! King in north, thief of the graves and the breaker of tombs!

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The Three-Eyed Crow spoke with Bran and Jojen both after near-death experiences. I wonder what he says in actual-death experiences? :D



Either way, my theory does cover precisely how Jon might learn this knowledge. You'll find it in the section on 'tomb selection'.



(Particularly to a possible Targaryen in light of a likely Blackfyre pretender going for the throne?)


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Sorry, maybe I sounded a little obnoxious there, it wasn't intentional.. I think it has been discussed before in R+L=J threads that either the harp or the crown or a dragon egg is there at the crypts to prove Jon's parentage/legitimacy. This is a very prevalent idea actually. The OP makes good arguments that it could be the Harp, but I'm open to the other two as well, or a combination of these. Lady Gwyn pointed out in the thread that three such heirlooms will be better as compared to one, three generally appear in coronation ceremonies etc, don't remember completely.

It's an interesting idea, but I wonder if we might not be more likely to find something like a signet if there is something in the tomb. That would be about the right size, the right material, and something that would be uniquely Rhaegar's.

Maybe you're thinking of a large harp, but some harps are pretty small. IDK if there's a description of Rhaegars, but I always assumed a small harp like in the picture, which could be bagged up and put on the back of a horse no problem.

And sure the wood might be damaged on the harp, but it might be be identifiable, and it does have unique silver strings.

Even that harp is pretty large to cart back from Dorne, and there is still the problem that the wood would likely rot away with the passage of nearly 20 years. Crypts of this type are not kind to organic material.

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@J Stargaryen

I recently disputed this with another redditor. I explained that it was the reflective process of incarceration that made Ned realize he wanted to say something to Jon. Throughout a AGOT there is no evidence prior to prison that Ned wanted to tell Jon anything. My arguments are well articulated there, so here is a link: http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/1qllsy/spoilers_asos_knight_of_the_laughing_tree_chapter/cde1km9 and the comments under it.

Okay, that seems reasonable. That Ned only decided to try and tell Jon about his parentage once war was imminent and Robert's reign had ended with no legitimate issue.

Based on the TV series, I always sort of had the idea that Ned meant to tell Jon after he had taken his vows.

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Sorry, maybe I sounded a little obnoxious there, it wasn't intentional.. I think it has been discussed before in R+L=J threads that either the harp or the crown or a dragon egg is there at the crypts to prove Jon's parentage/legitimacy. This is a very prevalent idea actually. The OP makes good arguments that it could be the Harp, but I'm open to the other two as well, or a combination of these. Lady Gwyn pointed out in the thread that three such heirlooms will be better as compared to one, three generally appear in coronation ceremonies etc, don't remember completely.

Oh, I thought you were making a joke. *sad face*. I like this thread.

Even that harp is pretty large to cart back from Dorne, and there is still the problem that the wood would likely rot away with the passage of nearly 20 years. Crypts of this type are not kind to organic material.

Unless its weirwood.

So what reasoning is Jon going to give for going down in the crypts of Winterfell and desecrating Lyanna's tomb? And if he does find something down there then what?

Well, he could do it in the middle of the night. Or if one of his siblings, like Bran, controls Winterfell they might give him permission. Or if he's KitN he can give himself permission.

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@Sevumar, the idea behind the harp is that it's something we've been introduced to several times from several POVs.



A signet, a cloak, a crown, I like them all but they all appear like macguffins, created solely for the legitimization of a Targaryen and possible coming off as a cheap narrative idea from Martin. But their legitimacy will be respected if the audience can be convinced it wasn't all some poor-man solution, and the most likely way is to invoke an item we've already come to believe is closely associated with Rhaegar. The reveal of the harp would be a 'holy shit' moment for readers; anything else would be a 'ooh kay, so when were you gonna tell me about this one?'.



@Anyone who asks, it's a small harp. Rhaegar picks it up, walks to a window and starts playing it in the HotU.



Per my theory about how since Lyanna doesn't have a sword across her lap (thereby pinning her spirit in the tomb), this would imply that her spirit is no longer there. Could this be the cause of Jon's dreams? More importantly, is this a subtle sign that her body might not even be in the tomb? Just some thoughts.


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It will be worse if he finds nothing:

"Just checking" *bends down and carefully inspects Lyanna's skeleton* "Yep, as I expected. It appears she's dead"

Heh heh - which is totally what I think would happen! Why would The Ned have kept proof of something he didn't intend to prove?

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