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Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire news, theories, and other nerdy goodness

Category: Theories

Will We Ever Know the Truth about Rhaegar and Lyanna?

Rhaegar Targaryen – the man, the myth, the legend. He is one of the most mysterious characters we never get to meet in A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones, but one who has a huge impact on the story before it even starts. Per the official history, Rhaegar abducted and raped Lyanna Stark, holding her captive at the Tower of Joy and igniting Robert’s Rebellion, which put an end to the Targaryen dynasty. However, a careful reading of the books paints another picture of Rhaegar – one at odds with this version of the story.

It all began at the Tourney of Harrenhal, when Rhaegar jousted his way to victory and proceeded to crown Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty. Later, it is said he fell upon her in the Riverlands and carried her off, but why? Did he see her at the tourney and fall hopelessly in love? Did she return his affection and run off with him willingly? She seemed less than enthusiastic about her betrothal to Robert Baratheon, but would she be so rash?

After reading several theories and piecing together information from the books (the main series as well as The World of Ice and Fire) – along with what we know of Rhaegar’s and Lyanna’s personalities – I have created my Grand Unified Theory about what really happened at Harrenhal, why Rhaegar took Lyanna, and what happened in the aftermath. There is still much we don’t know, but I have attempted to cover the bases as completely as possible. The following contains facts as well as speculation; if you want more in-depth analysis with references from the written material, please check out the four-part series The Harrenhal Conspiracy as well as Rescue at the Crossroads. I drew heavily from both theories and added my own thoughts and conclusions, and they are well worth your time.

The Tourney at Harrenhal

“Rhaegar had put his hand on Jaime’s shoulder. “When this battle’s done I mean to call a council. Changes will be made. I meant to do it long ago, but . . . well, it does no good to speak of roads not taken. We shall talk when I return.” – A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8 (Jaime)

By the time of the tourney (in the Year of the False Spring), opposition was growing against King Aerys due to his increasing paranoia and cruelty. Rhaegar – growing concerned about his father’s ability to rule – planned to call a Great Council to possibly force Aerys’ abdication. Meanwhile, the lords of the great houses (notably Stark, Tully, Arryn, and Baratheon) were attempting to strengthen their power and influence by forming alliances through marriages and fostering each other’s children. The Harrenhal Tourney appears to have been arranged to gather together as many of the lords as possible – promising a lavish spectacle and generous prizes that Lord Whent (the host) could not afford. Likely the secret benefactor was Rhaegar, possibly with help from Tywin Lannister. Tywin had already resigned as Hand of the King due to his anger at Aerys marrying Rhaegar to Elia Martell instead of Cersei, and naming Tywin’s heir Jaime to the Kingsguard.

Unfortunately for Rhaegar, Aerys decided to attend the tourney despite not having left the Red Keep in four years (ever since he had been held captive during the Defiance of Duskendale). Aerys was becoming suspicious of Rhaegar’s intentions, believing (correctly) that Rhaegar was plotting to take the throne. This threw a wrench in Rhaegar’s plan, but he may have gone ahead with a council anyway if he thought he had enough support.

The Three Factions

“Prince Rhaegar’s support came from the younger men at court, including Lord Jon Connington, Ser Myles Mooton of Maidenpool, and Ser Richard Lonmouth. The Dornishmen who had come to court with the Princess Elia were in the prince’s confidence as well, particularly Prince Lewyn Martell, Elia’s uncle and a Sworn Brother of the Kingsguard. But the most formidable of all Rhaegar’s friends and allies in King’s Landing was surely Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning”. – The World of Ice and Fire, The Year of the False Spring

Rhaegar knew he had the backing of Dorne (House Martell), some of the Crownland and Stormland houses, a few men of the court, at least three of the Kingsguard (Dayne, Whent, and Martell), and the love of the smallfolk. He presumably counted on House Lannister as well, given the bad blood between Aerys and Tywin. Support for Aerys came chiefly from his small council, who had great influence and the ability to use the king’s madness to their benefit. What Rhaegar needed to know was where the other great houses stood (Stark, Tully, Arryn, and Baratheon). If he could count on them to support his ascension, he would have the leverage he needed to oust his father from the throne.

It’s possible Rhaegar and Arthur Dayne enlisted the help of Arthur’s sister Ashara to gather the intel they needed. At the opening feast, she was noted to have danced with a “white sword” (probably Arthur giving her information and instructions), a “red snake” (Oberyn Martell, with assurances of Dorne’s support), the “lord of griffins” (Jon Connington, telling her which court members Rhaegar could count on), and lastly the “quiet wolf” (Ned Stark). The “wild wolf” (Brandon Stark) had spoken with Ashara, asking her to dance with Ned, who was too shy to approach her himself – but could he have told her something more?

Perhaps Brandon told her that the Stark/Tully/Arryn/Baratheon alliance would throw their support to Rhaegar; maybe even sealing the deal with a promise of marriage – Ned (who was not yet betrothed and needed a suitable match) to Ashara. This would give Rhaegar enough confidence in his victory to call a council. I believe he arranged for himself to win the tourney and crown his wife Elia as the Queen of Love and Beauty as a signal that the council would convene as planned. After all, two of Rhaegar’s opponents (Brandon and Arthur) were involved in the conspiracy, and the others (Yohn Royce and Barristan Selmy) could have been given orders to take the fall.

The Knight of the Laughing Tree

“The mystery knight was short of stature, and clad in ill-fitting armor made up of bits and pieces. The device upon his shield was a heart tree of the old gods, a white weirwood with a laughing red face.” – A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24 (Bran)

So why didn’t the council happen? One of the key pieces of information about the tourney comes from A Storm of Swords, when Meera Reed recounts a tale she heard from her father Howland, about the Knight of the Laughing Tree. This mystery knight defeated three squires who had been bullying a crannogman (presumably Howland) before Lyanna put a stop to it and befriended him. While we don’t know for certain, the most widely accepted theory is that the knight was Lyanna in disguise. If so, this is a vital part of the Rhaegar and Lyanna relationship.

King Aerys, in his paranoia, believed the mystery knight was an enemy and a traitor – he thought the tree was laughing at him. He ordered Rhaegar to discover the knight’s identity, which almost certainly led him to Lyanna. She already seemed infatuated with him (like every other woman in Westeros); “the dragon prince sang a song so sad it made the wolf maid sniffle” at the opening feast. I think Rhaegar found Lyanna intriguing and admired her spirit, bravery, and selflessness in defending Howland. They probably developed a mutual attraction and respect, and Rhaegar promised to keep her secret.

How did this impact Rhaegar’s plan? It’s very possible that Lyanna had discovered the true motive behind the Stark/Tully/Arryn/Baratheon alliance – to force a council to be called and to switch their allegiance from Rhaegar to Robert Baratheon. After all, Robert was in the line of succession via his Targaryen grandmother, and his ascension would be a boon to those houses – they stood to wield much more power and influence that they would under Rhaegar. If she told this to Rhaegar, he would have had no choice but to postpone the council to avoid defeat.

Why would Lyanna betray her family? Maybe she didn’t want to be queen (she certainly wasn’t overjoyed about marrying Robert anyway). Maybe she just felt it was the right thing to do. Maybe she cared enough for Rhaegar that she didn’t want to see his family overthrown. We already know of her resemblance to Arya, but maybe she had a bit of Sansa’s romantic and naïve tendencies as well. Whatever the reason, it gives another layer to Rhaegar crowning Lyanna – acknowledging her bravery as the mystery knight, thanking her for divulging the truth, and signaling that there would be no council after all. No wonder “all the smiles died” – their scheming had been stopped in its tracks.

An Abduction, or a Rescue? 

“Someone told. Someone always tells.” – A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21 (The Queenmaker)

After the tourney, Rhaegar returned to Dragonstone with the pregnant Elia to prepare for their son’s impending arrival, and King Aerys returned to King’s Landing. Aerys had initially thought Jaime Lannister was the mystery knight at Harrenhal; that he had defied Aerys who had ordered him back to King’s Landing after taking his Kingsguard vows. Upon his return to the Red Keep, doubtless Aerys was informed that Jaime had been there for the duration of the tourney. It’s not likely Aerys would have forgotten his anger over the mystery knight, so either someone eventually found out the truth or he deduced it on his own. Either way, it’s very possible Aerys ordered Lyanna’s arrest as a traitor to the crown.

Around the time of her “abduction” Lyanna was in the Riverlands for Brandon and Catelyn Tully’s wedding. Her father Rickard was on his way from Winterfell, and Brandon was on his way from Riverrun to meet up with his party. Rhaegar had left Dragonstone and was journeying to the Riverlands with six companions – did he find out that Aerys sent men to arrest Lyanna? If so, he would have felt obligated to help her, knowing the fate that would have been in store for her. He would have also rightly assumed the arrest and execution of Lord Stark’s daughter would start a war, and would have wanted to avoid that at all costs.

If there was a confrontation, given everyone’s location at the time it would be reasonable to think it happened at the Inn at the Crossroads. The inn has served as the site of many momentous events throughout the course of the books, and this would certainly be one of them. A conflict between Targaryen soldiers and Lyanna’s and Rhaegar’s parties could have been misinterpreted (or deliberately reported) as an abduction. It’s also possible that Littlefinger was in the area, returning to the Vale from Riverrun after his duel with Brandon. Knowing Brandon’s rashness (and harboring resentment for the wounds he took from him), could Littlefinger have arranged for Brandon to be told about the “kidnapping” before he could hear the truth?

The Rebellion

“Brandon had been twenty when he died, strangled by order of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen only a few short days before he was to wed Catelyn Tully of Riverrun. His father had been forced to watch him die. He was the true heir, the eldest, born to rule.” – A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4 (Eddard)

Brandon rushed to King’s Landing with his men and demanded for Rhaegar to “come out and die.” Of course, Rhaegar wasn’t there, but Aerys imprisoned them all for plotting to murder the prince and summoned their fathers to the capital. Rickard Stark arrived with 200 men, all of whom were executed by the Mad King.

The lone survivor was Brandon Stark’s squire, Ethan Glover. Could he have been spared because he divulged the plot to put Robert on the throne? Aerys wrote to Jon Arryn demanding the heads of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon. Ned makes sense given the “treason” of his brother and father, but why Robert, unless Aerys knew of their plan? Of course, Jon Arryn refused to give up his wards (and the potential claimant to the throne), which sparked the rebellion and led to the downfall of the dragon kings.

R+L=J

“Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna, and thousands died for it.” – A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67 (The Kingbreaker)

What of Rhaegar and Lyanna? After he rescued her from his father’s men, Rhaegar needed to get her someplace safe – eventually taking her to the Tower of Joy. If Rhaegar didn’t abduct her or run off with her out of love, how would Jon have been conceived? It’s possible that Rhaegar tried to get word to Lyanna’s family to keep war from breaking out, but it arrived too late, or not at all. Once Lyanna learned the news of her father’s and brother’s deaths, she would have been devastated. She may have turned to her rescuer for comfort, and perhaps it led to something more. Rhaegar must have named it the Tower of Joy for a reason.

Rhaegar would have found it difficult to reject a grieving girl, and perhaps the admiration he already felt for her grew into love. I don’t think he planned for it, or that he used her to fulfill a prophecy. I believe it was a similar situation to Robb Stark and Jeyne Westerling – she gave herself to Robb, and he married her so as not to dishonor her. Yes, Rhaegar was already married, but the Targaryens had practiced polygamy in the past. Perhaps he thought that once the rebellion was defeated and Aerys was deposed, he would have the power and ability to make the realm accept a second marriage. A union and a child with a Stark could also be used to ensure the loyalty of the North and the Riverlands.

Since King Aerys didn’t seem to have viewed Rhaegar absconding with Lyanna as an act of treason, Rhaegar must have sent word that he was holding her as a hostage in a secret location. Rhaegar believed he would be victorious and that he could take care of his father once the war was over. He may have still been communicating with Tywin Lannister to win his support, but Tywin stayed his hand to ensure he only backed the winning side. Unfortunately his decision likely led to Rhaegar’s death on the Trident, and the rest is history.

 

5 Game of Thrones Theories That Need to Die a Horrible Death in Season 7

Fan of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire certainly come up with some interesting theories – ranging from brilliant (R+L=J), to brilliantly tinfoil (D+D=T), to brilliantly idiotic (N+L=J). Sometimes they get a little too carried away and either create theories without much to back them up, or they hold onto theories despite all evidence to the contrary. Here are 5 theories I hope are put to rest after Season 7 airs next summer.

5 – Sansa is pregnant with Ramsay’s child

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Take some unflattering promotional photos, add some VERY circumstantial evidence, and you get this theory. Speculation began when the first Season 6 photos were released, and fans remarked on the possible baby bump Sansa appeared to be sporting. Once the season aired, people noticed Sansa didn’t appear to eat much (morning sickness?). Later she made a comment to Littlefinger about being able to physically feel inside what Ramsay did to her, and in episode 9 Ramsay told Sansa he would always be a part of her – fans took these remarks literally, assuming it meant a baby.

Setting aside the fact that physical and psychological torture, leaping from a castle wall, and being chased through snow and freezing water would likely lead to a miscarriage, enough time had passed that surely Sansa would be showing by season’s end. Even if she were pregnant, how would Ramsay know? I find it hard to believe she would have sent him a raven with the unhappy news. A Sansa pregnancy wouldn’t serve the plot in any meaningful way; given the limited time the show has left and the much more important storylines coming to a head, this theory doesn’t make much sense.

4 – Jon will marry Sansa

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Jon and Sansa’s reunion was one of the most touching moments of Season 6, evoking smiles, tears, and apparently, Jonsa shippers. There isn’t much to substantiate this theory aside from “chemistry” and “vibes” (I call it wishful thinking). Guys, I know incest is a thing on Game of Thrones, but this is just too much. To be fair, this particular pairing was circulated as a possibility among readers of A Song of Ice and Fire before their onscreen reunion, but I don’t want to see it happen in either medium. Now that Jon has been confirmed as Lyanna’s son we know he is Sansa’s cousin and not her half-brother (which is still a little icky though accepted in-universe), but they don’t know that. Besides, they grew up as siblings and didn’t even particularly like each other.

Jon is now King in the North in his own right, and marrying Sansa isn’t necessary to solidify his claim. She is ostensibly already his ally, so how would a union with her help him politically? It would benefit Sansa of course, as she would become Queen in the North, but that would likely cause Littlefinger to withdraw the Vale’s support (slimy little weasel that he is). Besides, Jon being available for a marriage alliance could help him bring other regions of Westeros to his side; he will need much more than the North to stop the White Walkers in  their tracks.

3 – Arya is actually the Waif

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Arya’s Season 6 storyline in Braavos wasn’t one of the highlights for me. It was a bit confusing, and – at times – boring (how many times can you watch someone get beaten with a stick anyway?). So I was glad to see Arya decide to head back home in episode 7…until she got shanked. That began one of the most unbelievable parts of her storyline – not only did she survive the initial stab wounds, she avoided infection despite not receiving adequate medical care, and then she was able to outrun the Waif through the streets of Braavos.

Even more incredibly, Arya was able to kill the Waif and remove her face, which she displayed in the Hall of Faces before having her mic drop moment with Jaqen. Some fans believe that Arya beating the Waif wasn’t actually unrealistic writing – they think the Waif killed Arya instead. They theorize that Arya would have been too tired and weak to defeat her, so the person we think is Arya is really the Waif wearing Arya’s face. There really isn’t any other evidence to support it, and I don’t think it would serve the plot for the Waif to act as Arya for the rest of the series. Plus, could the Waif really remove her own face? Somehow I doubt it.

2 – Bran was all the Brandon Starks

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Everyone was excited to see Bran back in Season 6, and we were anxious to see what impact he would have in the story. The answer to that question was, quite a lot (and most of it negative). Not only did he discover Jon isn’t Ned’s bastard and witness the origin of the White Walkers, he singlehandedly led to the deaths of the Three Eyed Raven, Summer, several Children of the Forest, and Hodor. If that weren’t bad enough, we also discovered that Bran was responsible for “Wyllis” becoming Hodor in the first place.

Now we know that not only can Bran see the past, he can interact with and influence it. That has led to speculation about other events he may have affected (such as driving King Aerys mad). Some fans believe Bran has skinchanged into all of the past Brandon Starks (Brandon the Builder, Brandon the Shipwright, Brandon the Breaker) and is responsible for their legendary deeds.

The support for this idea seems to be that they all have the same name, and that Old Nan confuses Bran with all the other Brandons she has known. Seriously, that’s it. There are several problems with this: one, skinchanging into humans with normal brain function is pretty much impossible (see what happened to Hodor as an example); two, why would Bran only do this with Brandons and not other important Starks of the past?; three, with all of the threats facing Westeros in the present, why would he spend time influencing past characters who don’t necessarily impact the current situation? We may well see Bran affecting other events, but for him to have been every Brandon Stark seems pointless and silly.

1 – Anything other than R+L=J

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Ever since the release of the first book, A Game of Thrones, fans have been theorizing about Jon’s Snow’s mother: was it Ashara Dayne, Wylla the wet nurse, or the fisherman’s daughter? It wasn’t long before people questioned whether Ned was even the father, leading to the theory that Jon was the son of Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark and her “abductor” Rhaegar Targaryen (R+L=J).

The evidence in the text is overwhelming once you know to look for it (there have even been hints on the show), and fans have had 20 years to put it all together. Of course 20 years of wondering has also allowed alternate theories to crop up like annoying little weeds – that Jon is the son of Ned’s brother Brandon and Ashara, or that Lyanna was his mother and someone other than Rhaegar was the father. Even confirming Jon’s parentage in the Season 6 finale (and via an HBO infographic) wasn’t enough to quiet the dissent; there are still people who wonder if Robert, Aerys, or (for the incest obsessed) Ned is Jon’s father.

Let me just say it – anything other than R+L=J MAKES NO SENSE. It doesn’t make sense with the timeline, it doesn’t make sense with the secrecy, and it doesn’t make sense in the story. I just pray Bran has a vision next season that includes Rhaegar with Lyanna and leaves no room for doubt. My peace of mind depends on it.

(Dis)Honorable Mention: Meera is Jon’s twin

This. Just, why? There is NO evidence. None. Having similar hair doesn’t make you related, I promise. And there was no second baby at the Tower of Joy, unless she was hidden away somewhere. Please people, let it go.

Game of Thrones Season 6 Finale – The Winds of Winter Predictions (Spoilery Speculation)

Believe it or not, tomorrow is the season finale of Game of Thrones. It seems to take forever for the season to start, and then those 10 weeks fly by. It will be even worse with a shorter season 7 and 8, but I’ll take what I can get.

Below are my predictions for The Winds of Winter. I used several sources to formulate my theories including filming information, previews, rumors, foreshadowing in previous episodes, and music from the recently released season 6 soundtrack (which is amazing by the way; you can download it on iTunes or order on Amazon).  Let’s see how accurate I am after it airs:

Meereen – Daenerys will tie up loose ends and make plans to return to Westeros. She will put a provisional government in place (Missandei? Grey Worm?) before she leaves, and she may leave Daario behind to help keep the peace. The final shot of Daenerys will be her sailing west with Yara and Theon (there is a track called The Winds of Winter which seems to be a mash up of Targaryen and Greyjoy music – possibly the final scene of the episode?)

The Riverlands – Jaime and Bronn travel to the Twins for some kind of Frey celebration (toasting the fall of Riverrun? Another wedding perhaps?). It’s possible that Lord Manderly will be there (or someone filling that role) and will give a rousing speech before turning on his host. The Brotherhood Without Banners, or maybe even Arya, could join in the slaughter in sort of a Red Wedding 2.0. Jaime will surely survive, but Bronn’s fate is up in the air.

Dorne? – Varys will meet with Ellaria and Olenna, I’m guessing in Dorne, but it may be the Reach instead. He will convince them to back Daenerys to help throw the Lannisters out of power. That may not be necessary however…

King’s Landing – Qyburn will have his little birds kill Pycelle and possibly Kevan to give Cersei more influence over her son. The High Sparrow will convene the trial of Cersei and Loras. While the sept fills up with people coming to witness the spectacle, Cersei will order men to ignite the hidden caches of wildfile, destroying the sept and killing several key characters – the High Sparrow for certain, and probably Lancel, Loras, and Margaery. Tommen will die indirectly, and as an unfortunate consequence of Cersei’s actions.

The North – Jon and Sansa will talk about her keeping secrets from him, and she will apologize for withholding the information about the Vale army. Littlefinger will tell Sansa he loves her and wants to marry her.  I’m not sure she will give him an answer yet, but if she learns the extent of his betrayal of her family, he may not be around much longer. Davos will confront Melisandre about the burning of Shireen, and he will ask Jon what her punishment should be. Jon won’t have the heart to execute the woman who brought him back to life, so perhaps she will be sent away instead. Sansa will be the new Lady of Winterfell, while Jon will be proclaimed King in the North.

Beyond the Wall – Bran, Meera, and Benjen will make their way toward Castle Black. Bran will have another vision finishing the sequence at the Tower of Joy. He will see his father find Lyanna in a “bed of blood,” dying after having given birth to a baby boy (there is a track called The Tower that will fit this scene perfectly). We probably won’t get the full reveal that it’s Jon, or that Rhaegar is the father, until next season. We will see the White Walkers again, and there is a slight possibility that the Wall will come down. It may be too early for that to happen, but the groundwork has definitely been laid for the possibility (see my previous post about that here).

I’m both excited and sad for Sunday to get here. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us on what’s sure to be an epic season finale! What are your predictions?

Visions and Prophecies – Deciphering the Mysteries in the House of the Undying

I am following up my previous post (analyzing Bran’s vision from last week’s episode of Game of Thrones) with a look at another vision – Daenerys in the House of the Undying. Since I have already touched upon the show version, I will focus on the book version from A Clash of Kings (book 2 in A Song of Ice and Fire). I discuss information from a sample chapter of The Winds of Winter, so please don’t read if you don’t wish to be spoiled.

Daenerys enters and passes a series of rooms which depict various scenes (past, present, and future):

  • A beautiful, naked woman being ravished by four little men (believed to be the War of the Five Kings – reduced to four as Renly has been killed by this time)
  • A feast of slaughtered corpses below a dead man with the head of a wolf, sitting on a throne and wearing an iron crown (the Red Wedding)
  • The house with the red door in Braavos where Daenerys spent her childhood
  • A throne room with dragon skulls where an old king (assumed to be Aerys II) sits on a towering throne, preparing to burn the city
  • A room where a man with silver-gold hair and indigo eyes (presumably Rhaegar Targaryen) names his son Aegon, calls him “the prince that was promised” whose song is “the song of ice and fire,” and says there must be another because “the dragon has three heads”

Daenerys ends up in a room with a “splendor of wizards” who claim to be the Undying. They tell her they have been waiting for her and offer food and knowledge. She begins to doubt this vision, and finds a hidden door which takes her to the real Undying, withered creatures in a dark room where a rotting blue heart floats over a long table.

The Undying Ones call Daenerys “mother of dragons…child of three” and echo Rhaegar’s assertion about the three heads of the dragon. Then then whisper prophecies to her: “three fires must you light…one for life and one for death and one to love,” “three mounts must you ride…one to bed and one to dread and one to love,” “three treasons will you know…once for blood and once for gold and once for love.”

It’s unclear whether these are all predictions for the future or if some have already come to pass. However, if you put them in the context of the earlier scenes she witnesses and the visions that are shown later, they are likely a mix of both. There has been much debate over the meaning here, but my thoughts are as follows:

Three fires

I believe the one “for life” was the fire which hatched her dragons. The one “for death” probably hasn’t happened yet, but it could be related to the “pale mare” – the wasting plague that is spreading through camps outside Meereen. I’m not sure about the one “to love” – the wording is a bit different, implying this fire will be something she will take pleasure in. Perhaps she will have Drogon burn Euron? If she has been forced to marry him (which is certainly his goal and the reason his sent ships to her), his death would free her and would definitely be something to love.

Three mounts

Some people believe the “mounts” are lovers or husbands, but I think they are actual mounts, as in methods of conveyance. One “to bed” would be Dany’s silver horse that carries her to consummate her marriage to Drogo on her wedding night. One “to dread” could be an Ironborn ship that takes her to Westeros (possibly to Euron himself – definitely someone to dread), as we know Victarion is headed to Daenerys with a fleet. One “to love” is more difficult, but I’ll get into my opinion shortly – I think there may be a connection between this set of prophecies and three visions she is shown later.

Three treasons

The one ”for blood” was probably Mirri Maz Duur who sought vengeance for the slaughtering of her people by Khal Drogo’s khalasar. One “for gold” is sometimes assumed to be Jorah, but he betrayed her for a pardon and for home. I think it’s more likely Brown Ben Plumm – he’s betrayed her once already and may do it again, possibly selling a dragon to her “nephew” Aegon. One “for love” is harder to determine. I believe Daenerys is taking a darker turn at the end of A Dance with Dragons – and likely on Game of Thrones as well – but that she will eventually do what’s right for the realm. Perhaps someone who loves her will have to betray her in a way that forces her to realize she’s on a wrong path.

Daenerys is then shown a series of visions – each in sets of three – accompanied by titles given to her by the Undying:

Daughter of death

Daenerys sees Viserys with his molten crown of gold, a lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair in front of a burning city (most likely Rhaego if he had lived), and Rhaegar’s death at the Battle of the Trident. All of her close family has been killed.

Slayer of lies

She is shown a blue-eyed king who casts no shadow holding a red sword (Stannis – the false Azor Ahai Reborn), a cloth dragon on poles in a cheering crowd (“Aegon” – the possibly false prince and Blackfyre pretender), and a stone beast flying from a smoking tower, breathing shadow fire (possibly Jon Connington who has greyscale and whose sigil is a griffin). These are presumably lies that she will expose once she returns to Westeros. I’m not sure about the stone beast, since Jon Connington’s support of the false Aegon seems to be tied to the cloth dragon vision, but I don’t have another interpretation at the moment.

Bride of fire

I believe this series of visions may actually tie in with the three mounts prophecy. Daenerys sees her silver trotting to a stream beneath the stars (where she and Drogo consummated their marriage – a mount to bed). She was his bride of fire – she had to burn him upon his death.

Next she sees a corpse at the prow of a ship with grey lips smiling sadly (this appears to be Euron’s ship, the Silence – a mount to dread). In the new Aeron Greyjoy sample chapter that George R. R. Martin read at BaltiCon over Memorial Day weekend, we find out Aeron is now Euron’s prisoner. By the end of the chapter, Aeron is lashed to the prow of the Silence before they set sail, so there is a strong likelihood he is the corpse in this vision; that would mean Daenerys does indeed marry Euron. Bride of fire here may support my prediction that Daenerys will kill him with dragonfire.

Finally Daenerys sees a blue flower growing from a chink in a wall of ice (a blue winter rose representing Jon at the Wall, as he is almost certainly Lyanna’s son – the “chink” may be an ice cell where his body will be stored before his resurrection). I believe Jon will find out about his parentage during his death, as he may have warged into Ghost. If he did, Bran may be able to contact him in this state and share the truth about his birth (Bran will likely see a vision of the Tower of Joy). If these visions do relate to the three mounts, then that would mean the mount to love would take her to Jon, to be the bride of fire to his ice.

Perhaps she rides Drogon to the Wall because King’s Landing has been destroyed, and she has heard of the threat from the Others/White Walkers. If the House of the Undying vision as portrayed in Game of Thrones relates to her end game, it lends even more credence to this idea. In that episode, she enters a ruined throne room and reaches for the Iron Throne, but changes her mind and leaves. When she goes through the door, she appears at the Wall.

There is definitely evidence and foreshadowing which suggests that Daenerys will embrace violence, and the “Fire and Blood” mantra of House Targaryen. George R. R. Martin has stated there will be a second Dance of the Dragons, and it will probably be as destructive – maybe even more so – than the first. However, we also see throughout her arc a desire to be a just and benevolent ruler, with a peaceful and happy kingdom. The question is, which path will she ultimately choose? I believe there is enough evidence to support her making the right decision – hopefully before it’s too late.

 

An Analysis of Bran’s Vision from Game of Thrones Episode 6

At the beginning of Sunday’s episode, Blood of My Blood, Bran is still unconscious. We see that he is in vision mode, and a series of images flash rapidly across the screen. Many of the images repeat, but there seems to be importance to what Bran (and also the audience) is shown.

Here is a slowed down version:

The beginning contains several quick flashes that repeat throughout:

  • Jars of wildfire in some kind of storage room
  • A dragon flying over King’s Landing
  • Mad King Aerys
  • The Night King raising the dead at Hardhome
  • Bran falling
  • A winter landscape
  • The Red Wedding
  • Daenerys after hatching the dragons
  • The Night King turning a baby into a White Walker

Aside from these quick repeating flashes, we also get a few longer moments:

  • Ned Stark’s beheading
  • A flock of ravens
  • Alchemists pouring wildfire into jars
  • The Mad King yelling “burn them all”
  • Jaime Lannister killing the Mad King and then sitting on the throne
  • Young Ned at the Tower of Joy asking for his sister
  • A bloody hand over a bloody female body (Ned and Lyanna)
  • Leaf creating the first White Walker
  • Several scenes of the wights and White Walkers at Hardhome
  • Bran walking through the wight army and being touched by the Night King

Presumably these are all important moments that should tell us something about where the story is headed. Obviously there is a heavy focus on the wights and White Walkers, as that is the biggest threat to Westeros at the moment. Some of the other scenes – involving the Starks (Red Wedding and Ned’s execution) and the Mad King – have a common theme of betrayal. The Mad King’s plan to burn King’s Landing and Jaime subsequent killing of him sowed the seeds of discontent between the Starks and the Lannisters, which boiled over into outright war.

That conflict has ravaged and divided Westeros, making it woefully unprepared for the threat of winter and the White Walker invasion. They need to unite to survive, and perhaps Bran will later find out who could unite them (possibly the son of a Stark and a Targaryen). If Jon is Lyanna’s and Rhaegar’s child, he may be able to convince Daenerys to help him. Her dragons would be quite useful against the wight army.

Unfortunately, I think there will be more destruction ahead of the White Walker invasion – the wildfire explosion looks to be a future event, and I think Cersei will be responsible. In a previous post, I predicted she will use wildfire to burn down the Sept. If so, it will likely get out of control and kill many prominent characters – possibly including her son Tommen.

Perhaps if Daenerys arrives in a ruined King’s Landing, that will be more of an incentive for her to head North and try to salvage the rest of the realm. This may even have been foreshadowed in season three, during her visit to the House of the Undying. In the vision she has while inside, Daenerys walks into a ruined throne room with snow falling through the destroyed ceiling. She reaches out for the throne, but then turns away. As she exits, the door takes her to the Wall.

 

Will the White Walkers Breach the Wall in Season 6? (Spoilers and speculation)

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After watching the latest Game of Thrones episode, “The Door,” I’ve been thinking about the implications of Bran’s actions. In the episode, Bran enters a vision on his own only to encounter the White Walkers and their army of the dead. The Night’s King grabs his arm, leaving an icy blue mark. When Bran awakes, the Three Eyed Raven tells him that the White Walkers can now find Bran because of it, and that the magic surrounding the cave will no longer protect them.

When the White Walkers reach the cave, the Night’s King touches the ground and appears to send a shock wave toward the cave which “breaks” the magic. Now that Bran and Meera have escaped (assuming they will be able to outrun the White Walkers and their army), where will they go? The logical choice would be the Wall and the safety of Castle Black.

With Bran being marked, does that mean the Night’s King can find him anywhere? We know that the Wall is supposedly infused with magic to keep the White Walkers from passing; if Bran is on the other side, will the Night’s King be able to break that magic as well? I think it’s very likely we will see this happen, and that the Wall will come down by the end of the season.

Along these lines, did the Three Eyed Raven see that this would happen and purposely allow Bran to go into the vision on his own and be touched? Are he and the Children of the Forest really on the side of Men now, or were they using Bran all along? I’m not sure if we will get answers to these questions anytime soon. However, I do believe Bran and Meera will be allowed to escape, and that they will be intentionally driven toward the Wall so the White Walkers can use Bran to break through.

The possibility of the Wall falling is foreshadowed earlier in the episode, as Jon is leaving Castle Black. As Jon says his farewells, he walks over to his friend and acting Lord Commander, Dolorous Edd. Jon jokingly tells him, “Don’t knock it down while I’m gone.” I just hope Bran will give them enough of a warning to give them a fighting chance.

Who is the Prince that was Promised? (Spoilers and specuation)

During Game of Thrones episodes three and four – “Oathbreaker” and “Book of the Stranger” – Melisandre calls Jon the Prince that was Promised. Is she right? What is the Prince that was Promised anyway?

In the A Song of Ice and Fire books, there are two saviors that are referenced – Azor Ahai Reborn and the Prince that was Promised. There are many overlapping qualities, and many people suspect they refer to the same person. There are prophecies associated with both, and they both concern saving the world from the Long Night/the darkness/the Others (White Walkers).

According to followers of R’hllor (The Lord of Light), Azor Ahai was a legendary hero who wielded a burning sword and fought the darkness that lay over the world. He may be connected to the Last Hero, who fought the Others during the Long Night with a blade of dragonsteel. Azor Ahai is prophesied to be reborn “after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.”

Melisandre also states “When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.” She seems to believe the dragons will be made out of stone, because she later tells Stannis that “only a king’s blood can wake the stone dragon.” Melisandre wants him to sacrifice his nephew Edric Storm (a bastard sired by Robert Baratheon – replaced by Gendry on the show) and his “dragon shall awaken and spread his stony wings.”

Melisandre uses the Prince that was Promised interchangeably with Azor Azai Reborn, so she obviously believes they are one and the same. We get very little information about the Prince that was Promised, other than that he will be instrumental in the war for the dawn (presumably the fight against the Others), will be born from the line of Aerys (the Mad King) and Rhaella, and that his song is the song of ice and fire.

Since there are many similarities between the two prophecies, for the sake of argument let’s assume they are about the same person. Is Melisandre right in thinking it’s Jon? She first believed it was Stannis which was obviously incorrect (and appears to be the case in the books as well), and on the surface Daenerys seems to be a better fit.

Daenerys was born (literally) amidst salt (the sea) when she was born on the island fortress of Dragonstone. She was born again (figuratively) amidst smoke when she walked unburnt out of the fire of Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre. The bleeding red star (comet) also appeared at this time, while the darkness (Others) were gathering beyond the Wall. She woke dragons out of stone when she hatched the stony eggs in the pyre (using the Khal’s blood), and the dragons could be metaphorical swords.

Melisandre may have believed that Stannis was The Prince that was Promised if she saw Dragonstone in hear flames. He was the current Lord of Dragonstone, so it would make sense for her to seek him out. She believed in this vision so strongly that she tried to force the prophecy to fit him, giving him an illusory “burning” sword. However, he is not from the line of Aerys and Rhaella (although he does have Targaryen ancestry). Daenerys is both from their line – their daughter – and was born on Dragonstone.

Everything seems to point to Daenerys, but George R. R. Martin is quoted as saying that prophecies shouldn’t be “too literal or too easy,” and that they should “come true in unexpected ways.” With that in mind, how could this be applied to Jon Snow?

If you believe he is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, then he would be the grandson of Aerys and Rhaella and potentially the heir to the Iron Throne (if legitimate). That would make him the Prince of Dragonstone as his father was before him, so if Dragonstone was the key to Melisandre’s vision – and she assumed it was associated with the Prince that was Promised – it could have been pointing toward Jon.

We don’t know much of the circumstances of his birth, but likely there were tears (salt). His resurrection hasn’t happened in A Song of Ice and Fire, but on Game of Thrones he was resurrected amidst smoke (Melisandre burning his hair). There has also been speculation that salt and smoke were used to describe snow and steamy breath in cold air by people that had never seen it. Additionally as Jon was stabbed in the books, Bowen Marsh was crying, and his wounds were “smoking.”

There are theories in the books about the red star bleeding – that it could be the knight with the star sigil who was torn apart by Wun Wun right before Jon’s murder, or that it could refer to Melisandre (the theory for that is detailed here). We haven’t seen much evidence for this in the show, but they could be simplifying it for television.

Regarding “waking dragons out of stone,” this is where is gets tricky. Since Jon is unlikely to find dragon eggs or a literal stone dragon, some believe that Shireen’s burning is what leads to Jon’s rebirth. Greyscale looks like the skin turning to stone, so using magic caused by burning her (releasing her king’s blood) would be waking a dragon (Targaryens are frequently referred to as dragons in both the books and the show) from stone.

My personal belief is that there is proof of Jon’s Targaryen lineage in Lyanna’s crypt. One very convincing theory is that it is Rhaegar’s harp. Discovery of this proof would be a metaphorical way of waking a dragon from stone. Blood is used many times to refer to a relative – not actual blood – so perhaps the king’s blood of the prophecy means a relative of the king. Perhaps you don’t need this person’s actual blood, but just their presence. Jon is a king’s “blood” so he may find the evidence himself, or Bran (related to King Robb Stark) could discover this proof in a vision.

Finally, Lyanna asks Ned to promise her something before she dies. Most likely she asks him to protect Jon, or preserve his heritage by burying evidence with her, or both. Assuming Jon truly is a prince (not bastard born), then he is literally a promised prince.

Do you think Jon will be the savior of Westeros? If not, who do you predict it will be?

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