Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tower of Joy - For the Record

Spoiler Alert: This piece may contain spoilers from any material of A Song of Ice and Fire.

   I want to get two mini-theories out there just for the record, because I haven't seen anyone suggest them yet.  Both of them have something to do with the Tower of Joy, and tie in well with the Mance Rhaegar theory.

   As you read, remember George's words regarding Ned's flashback: "Ned's account, which you refer to, was in the context of a dream... and a fever dream at that. Our dreams are not always literal."

1) Lyanna was kidnapped, but not by Rhaegar.

   Look.  Everyone is pointing out how stupid Rhaegar was to kidnap or elope with Lyanna.  I totally agree that it would be completely irresponsible and short-sighted.  We're also told in no uncertain terms that Rhaegar simply is not that stupid.  This is a contradiction that cannot be ignored.

   The most common attempts to reconcile this apparent contradiction are to suggest that Rhaegar was blinded by true love or an obsession with prophecy.  These are inadequate, to say the least.  Ser Barristan Selmy described Rhaegar as "Able. That above all. Determined, deliberate, dutiful, single-minded."  Such a man would have certainly taken more care in securing a third heir.  The Official Story just doesn't fit.

   What fits better?  This: the kingsguard (and perhaps Rhaegar with them) were on a rescue mission.  If someone else kidnapped Lyanna, there would be an element of urgency that much better explains Rhaegar's sudden absence.  Who would do such a thing?  Oberyn Martell.

   "My sister loved him. She bore his children. Swaddled them, rocked them, fed them at her own breast. Elia wouldn't let the wet nurse touch them. And beautiful, noble Rhaegar Targaryen... left her for another woman."

   Some have noted the similarities between the Tower of Joy and Joyous Gard.  Who did Lancelot confront at Joyous Gard?  The copper knight.

   Oberyn's love for his sister, Elia, is well known.  He, and all of Dorne, would have taken the crowning of Lyanna at Harrenhal as an insult.  Furthermore, we know how important Dorne's arranged marriages were to the ruling family.  Rhaegar's attention toward Lyanna would have been viewed as a threat to Dorne's power and influence.  Dorne simply could not permit a relationship between Rhaegar and Lyanna to grow.

   "But it is the grass that hides the viper from his enemies and shelters him until he strikes."

   The World of Ice and Fire tells us, "With the coming of the new year, the crown prince had taken to the road with half a dozen of his closest friends and confidants, on a journey that would ultimately lead him back to the riverlands. Not ten leagues from Harrenhal, Rhaegar fell upon Lyanna Stark of Winterfell, and carried her off, lighting a fire that would consume his house and kin and all those he loved—and half the realm besides."

   Lyanna was probably on the way to Brandon's wedding in Riverrun.  Rhaegar may have been too.  This would have been a great opportunity for Oberyn to strike as Lyanna had left the safety of Harrenhal where she was residing as a ward.  Rhaegar seems to have split his group and gone south after her.

   How, then, did the rumor of a kidnapping by Rhaegar originate?  Funny you should ask, because there just happened to be a bitter little snot whose path met the Crossroads Inn during this same timeframe.  Petyr Baelish had just received a good beating from Brandon Stark at Riverrun, and was on his way back to the Fingers to lick his wounds and rage about losing Catelyn forever.  Could he have witnessed the kidnapping?  Could he have even sped Rhaegar and friends on their way to rescue Lyanna?  And finally, could he have concocted the most convenient lie that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna and took her back to King's Landing - the lie that led to the immediate death of his most hated rival?

   After Brandon's death, Littlefinger sent a letter to Catelyn, which she promptly burned unopened.  What was in it, I wonder?

   If the kingsguard were indeed on a rescue mission, then the encounter at the Tower of Joy probably was not the duel to the death that many believe it to be.  This fits in quite well with the Mance Rhaegar theory, as well as a little something else...

The standard of House Wells Wull by Eagle of Seagard
2) Theodan Wells is Theo Wull.

   There is a very solid theory about Howland Reed being the High Sparrow.  (Also related: Goldilocks and the Three Bears.)  Given that, and given the possibility that there are more survivors from the Tower of Joy than we originally thought, (Lord Dustin's bones, anyone?) I submit that Theo Wull is still working with Howland Reed to this day.

   Theo was nicknamed "Buckets" because his house's sigil is three wooden buckets, brown on blue, with a border of grey and white checks.  It looks a lot like a fricken well.  Bricks on the outside, water inside, and buckets.  Seriously.

"Well, he is, but they just call him the Wull." - Bran

   Howland needs to be working with people he can implicitly trust.  Who better to be the captain of the Warrior's Sons than someone who has been in on the whole Mance Rhaegar conspiracy from the beginning?  Besides, the only account of his character is given by Ned Stark, and the one word Ned used to describe the man is "faithful."  That's cute, George.

   This is an extremely important revelation because, if true, there are almost certainly other survivors of the encounter at the tower.  I suspect that Ned's other companions are knee deep in these shenanigans.  Let me know if you spot any more.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tyrion Targaryen

Spoiler Alert: This piece may contain spoilers from any material of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Tyrion Lannister by winthersanna
   Face it; it's practically a fact.

   Aerys's infatuation with Joanna is well documented:

   The scurrilous rumor that Joanna Lannister gave up her maidenhead to Prince Aerys the night of his fathers coronation and enjoyed a brief reign after he ascended the Iron Throne as his paramour can  safely be discounted.
   It has been reliably reported, however, that King Aerys took unwonted liberties with Lady Joanna's person during her bedding ceremony, to Tywin's displeasure. Not long thereafter, Queen Rhaella dismissed Joanna Lannister from her service. No reason for this was ever given, but Lady Joanna departed at once for Casterly Rock and seldom visited King's Landing thereafter.
   - The World of Ice and Fire

   "Prince Aerys... as a youth, he was taken with a certain lady of Casterly Rock, a cousin of Tywin Lannister. When she and Tywin wed, your father drank too much wine at the wedding feast and was heard to say that it was a great pity that the lord's right to the first night had been abolished. A drunken jape, no more, but Tywin Lannister was not a man to forget such words, or the ... liberties your father took during the bedding."
   - Ser Barristan to Daenerys

   At the great Anniversary Tourney of 272 AC, held to commemorate Aerys's tenth year upon the Iron Throne, Joanna Lannister brought her six-year-old twins Jaime and Cersei from Casterly Rock to present before the court.  The king (very much in his cups) asked her if giving suck to them had "ruined your breasts, which were so high and proud."  The question greatly amused Lord Tywin's rivals, who were always pleased to see the Hand slighted or made mock of, but Lady Joanna was humiliated.  Tywin Lannister attempted to return his chain of office the next morning, but the king refused to accept his resignation.
   - The World of Ice and Fire

   Tyrion was born in the next year, so this tourney is when he was most likely conceived.  The only other time Tywin attempted to resign as Hand was when Tyrion was made his heir.  You see, this makes Aerys's appointment of Jaime to the Kingsguard especially cruel - it made his own bastard the heir to Casterly Rock.

   "Men’s laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors, since I cannot prove that you are not mine."

   After Aerys's death, Tywin's hatred for the man would rest solely on Tyrion.  Tywin's "payment" to Tyrion's "whore" wife was revenge for what Aerys did to Tywin's own wife.

   "You are on son of mine." - Tywin's last words to Tyrion

   When Tyrion had the last laugh, he didn't actually kill his own father.  He avenged his true father, in a manner of speaking.  Jaime is mad at Tyrion for killing his dad?  Perhaps someone should inform him that it was merely payback for slaying Tyrion's father.  Ouch.

   That Night Tyrion Lannister dreamed of a battle that turned the hills of Westeros as read as blood. He was in the midst of it, dealing death with an axe as big as he was, fighting side by side with Barristan the Bold and Bittersteel as dragons wheeled across the sky above them. In the dream he had two heads, both noseless. His father led the enemy, so he slew him once again. Then he killed his brother, Jamie, hacking at his face until it was a red ruin, laughing every time he struck a blow. Only when the fight was finished did he realize that his second head was weeping.

   One of Tyrion's halves is Targaryen, the other is Lannister.  It's right there in the text.  I'm not sure Martin can make it any more clear without literally drawing us a picture.  The two halves are also represented by his mismatched eyes, reminding us of the half-Targaryen Shiera Seastar.

   Tywin would go to great lengths to make Tyrion behave like a Lannister, because he certainly wouldn't be allowed to behave like a Targaryen.  Yet he did behave quite like a Targaryen, specifically Rhaegar.  Tyrion is bookish and excels at everything he sets out to do, even when cleaning the toilets of Casterly Rock.

   "Dragons," Moqorro said in the Common Tongue of Westeros... "Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark. And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of all."

   Tyrion also felt a connection to Jon Snow.  If R + L = J, it's not just because they're both rejects.

   "What the hell do you know about being a bastard?"
   "All dwarfs are bastards in their father's eyes."
   (Especially when they are, you know, actual bastards.)

   Tyrion may not have Rhaegar's skill in arms, but a dragon would be a great equalizer, wouldn't it?

   "Even a stunted, twisted, ugly little boy can look down over the world when he's seated on a dragon's back. I used to start fires in the bowels of Casterly Rock and stare at the flames for hours, pretending they were dragonfire. Sometimes I'd imagine my father burning. At other times, my sister. Don't look at me that way, bastard. I know your secret. You've dreamt the same kind of dreams."

   Moving forward, this will make Tyrion the perfect advisor for Daenerys.  He has extensively studied dragon lore, and he even has practice making unconventional saddles.  Just what she needs!  Maester Aemon thinks so, too:

   "Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke. The dragons prove it." Just talking of her seemed to make him stronger. "I must go to her. I must."
"Daenerys is our hope. Tell them that, at the Citadel. Make them listen. They must send her a maester. Daenerys must be counseled, taught, protected."

   Since the death of the dragons, much dragon lore has been lost to the Targaryen family.  Tyrion could not be in a better position to restore it now that the dragons have returned.