In this episode of the epic linear re-read of Game of Thrones the Vassals cover Cat 6, Ned 10, Ned 11 and Sansa 3, which sees Cat arriving at the Eyrie, Ned’s infamous Tower of Joy reminiscences and Sansa fatefully being told she is being sent away from King’s Landing. The Vassals discussing these chapters are Bina007, Nadia, Matt (Varley), Scott (Shaggydog) and Adam (Drownedsnow). We also have PetyrSlaylish15 chiming in by the power of Grayskull, I mean the power of pre-recording, as well as the lovely Ballad of the Tower of Joy as written by the Podcast Bard, Jed O’White Hart.
This episode discusses the books in spoiler-y detail but doesn’t give spoilers from the show. The aftershow starts at 2hrs in. For listeners playing along at home, the next episode will cover chapters Dany 5, Tyrion 5, Cat 7, Tyrion 6 and Bran 5.
Picture credit: The APOIAF Artbook of Game of Thrones, as drawn by Fishflight. Music credit: The Ballad of The Tower of Joy by Jed O’White Hart.
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Great podcast guys! However, I gotta disagree with this R+L=D theory. To me it just makes zero sense, logically and narratively.
Firstly, if Dany is a Stark, why wouldn’t Ned claim her as his own, or put her somewhere safe? Why would he have her pose as a slightly different Targaryen, when Robert is determined to slaughter every single living Taragryen? Why not claim her as his bastard by Ashara, either leaving her at Starfall or taking her with him back to Winterfell?
Secondly, there are too many witnesses to Rhaella’s birth on Dragonstone. What became of this child? Either it died shortly after birth, in which case it would be dead, and everyone on Dragonstone would have known it was dead. Or it didn’t die, in which case, Dany couldn’t/wouldn’t be swapped out for it. You’re assuming that Ned somehow knew that Rhaella’s daughter was going to die, and was able to perfectly time that death, swapping Dany into the crib while no one was looking. It would have taken months to sail there. And again, there would have been thousands of people on Dragonstone, hundreds of courtiers, soldiers, knights, sailors, all of fractious loyalty, as well as Willem Darry, who pretty much raised Dany. If Dany wasn’t Rhaellas daughter, it would have gotten out. The beauty of the Jon theory is that only Ned and Howland would have been privy to it. That’s how it remained a secret.
Thirdly, with the kingdoms at war and Stannis’ fleet patrolling the Narrow Sea, how exactly did Ned or the Daynes manage to smuggle this infant into Dragonstone or all the way to Braavos? More to the point, why would the Daynes even risk their necks to help the Targaryens. It’s the Martells who have set up the secret marriage pact. Ashara’s suicide suggests a sense of mourning at Starfall, not frantic scheming.
Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, what possible narrative value could this theory add. Instead of being Rhaegar’s sister, Dany is his daughter. So what? She’s still a Targaryen. She still considers herself the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. She’s still basing that campaign on her family name. She still comes from the same bloodline that the PTWP prophecy relies on. She’s still a princess and a “third child”. It would be a superfluous reveal, other than making her claim slightly firmer. On the other hand, the reveal that Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna would be a genuine revelation, since (1) he is a completely marginalized and isolated figure, who has no inkling that he was spawned from royalty and prophecy, and (2) Dany believes she is the last Targaryen left.
Finally, out of all the bits and pieces of info used to support R+L=J, the vision Dany has in the House of the Undying—a blue flower (Lyanna’s blue winter rose) growing out of a wall of ice—strikes me as a pretty firm nod to Jon being Lyanna’s son.
Suppose that Dany is Rhaegar and Lyanna’s daughter and someone (Ashara Dayne?) managed to smuggle her to Essos? Why would Derry and Viserys believe this story? Sure, she has the “Targaryen” features, but while those are rare outside the of the royal family, they are not unheard of. Ashara herself had the Valyrian eyes. This theory necessarily posits that Viserys have some motive to not want to acknowledge Dany as Rhaegar’s daughter, but if that is the case, why even believe the story in the first place.
Additionally, Viserys and Dany weren’t the only witnesses to Dany’s birth on Dragonstone. There was an entire garrison there that witnessed the birth, and was planning on selling Viserys and Dany to Robert until Derry absconded with them. Are we positing that the entire Dragonstone Garrison was in on the conspiracy?
I’m a little confused on why Ned would ever have any reason to keep Jon’s parentage such a secret if Jon is the son of Ashara and Brandon. There would be really no reason to keep any sort of secret about Jon….He’d be torturing his wife for absolutely no reason. He would have created unnecessary tension between Jon and Cat.
More episodes please! This is the best podcast