Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Palfrey, Jun 7, 2012.
Couldn't have said it better...
It would be insulting if Jon is not R&L child.
This is what I was getting at with my "long bow" comment to KatG - it seems (at least to my level of understanding) that there is a reasonably likely non-magical answer. (As opposed to long seasons, etc, but I'm still smiling at saintjon's response. Totally know the too-many-coffees-oh-my-god-someone-is-wrong-on-the-internet feeling . If Neil Gaiman is sicced onto me, well, Neil Gaiman paid attention to me! )
In the real world, yes. In the real world, if Robert had children with brunettes, the likelihood is that some of those children would have dark brown hair, not black hair, like my daughter and some of my nieces and nephews, despite having black haired parents. In the real world, it is not impossible that a black haired man would somehow have a hidden blonde recessive and after having nothing but black haired children and no evidence of any blonde recessive in all of his relatives in past records dating back hundreds of years, somehow pop out three sperm with one blonde women that had that blonde recessive. Though the odds would be extremely low and near impossible.
But Westeros, as saintjon pithily pointed out, isn't the real world. In Westeros, magic is in the DNA of the characters and effects them. That's why Jon and the Stark children are all wargs, able to go into others' consciousnesses. That's why Dany has silver blonde hair, violet eyes, is fire proof and can communicate with and is bonded to dragons and was able to make their petrified eggs hatch. That's why the Reed children have powers, why the Mountain may be huge and brutal because of possible giant's blood, etc. Why the Nameless Men can change their faces entirely. In Westeros, Martin has long established that people's appearance -- their genetics -- is shaped by magic, magical destiny, including of parentage. And Martin has a long chain of only black haired Baratheons -- no brunettes, no blondes, etc. Which means it isn't possible in Westeros, because the stag is not just the symbol of their House. The stag, wolf, lion, etc. are part of the magic of the story. The wolf killed by a stag was the beginning image that Martin imagined the whole story from. So in Westeros, Robert cannot have a blonde haired child.
And again, as was also pointed out, the two men aren't geneticists. The records that Robert's kin always throw black would have been sufficient for them to raise the issue, given it's the royal succession. But Arryn first checks Robert's bastards to be utterly sure, and even then plans to broach the issue carefully. He's killed before doing that. When Ned discovers what Arryn was up to, he also checks the bastards before doing anything, and even then he goes to Cersei first to let her have a say, and Cersei admits the children aren't Robert's, which resolves the issue (well at least for Ned.)
So, while it's fun to talk hair genetics and horse breeding, it doesn't really matter for what Martin concocted. In his world, only the black haired kids exist in that line and that becomes sufficient evidence. It's not a long bow because Martin established it as the ground rules of how Robert's house functions, the same as Dany being fire proof.
Why would it be insulting? Because you guessed wrong? If that was the criteria, then Martin has routinely insulted a great many people.
If Jon is not Lyanna and Rhaegar's child, then we misunderstood the visions he set up. He may have wanted us to partly misunderstand them, but the reality is that there are a number of different rose issues in the book. The Tyrrells have the gold rose, (again, not just a symbol for Martin's families,) there is the blue winter rose connected to Lyanna and Danys' vision in the ice wall and Jon's dream of being draped in blue roses. There is the fact that the story is very loosely based on the War of the Roses, white and red (and Loras Tyrell throws white roses to the crowds and gives Sansa a red rose at the tourney.) In the War of the Roses, the York royal princes of the tower's parentage was questioned by their uncle, who seized the throne. The princes disappeared and were probably murdered. One of the possible murderers who supposedly confessed was named Sir James Tyrrell. One of the Houses in Song has a white rose for its banner. In one of Danys' visions, she sees a white lion running through tall grass, but the Lannister's lion is gold. And then there are of course the griffons -- stone statues, House symbol, connected to the dragon, Dany's visions and warnings she gets, etc. There is Ashara Dayne, who Belmy remembers as having gotten pregnant from Ned or Brandon, who flung herself off the tower, just like in the ballad in the North about the northern princess stolen away like Lyanna. She could also, possibly, be Jon's mother with Ned. The Daynes are important, they often had violet eyes, as Ashara did, and their sigil involves a sword and falling star, like a comet, and an actual comet plays a role in the sky, seen as an omen and guide, and on and on.
So you can play ring around the mulberry bush with Martin's symbols and portents, which he drops every five seconds. (One of the reasons I find calling the series low magic a misnomer.) The likelihood is that Jon is R&L's son, not Ned's, from the various clues. But the clues could end up adding up elsewhere.
Or, it could be a red herring. Which is a perfectly acceptable thing for an author to do to keep an audience on their toes, as long as it is not done too often. It would not be insulting and in my opinion Jon being Ned's son actually better serves Ned's character.
It would actually be very similar to the Taimandred red herring that Jordan pulled, just on a larger scale.
Kat: Yeah, the violet eyes of the Dayne's threw me for a loop. I was actually theorizing that Ned Dayne was actually Aegon Targaryen because of them at one point.
If I guessed wrong I wouldn't be insulted, I would be impressed even more with Martin's ability to play me.
With that said, I tend to look at books like these from the outside, meaning, as someone who is an avid reader, maybe even a fantasy reader, but not the type of reader that sites like these consist of.
Sometimes I forget most readers, just read to read. I have friends and family who have read these books over the years from my recommendation. None frequent fantasy forums, none write fantasy, none will think about the books as soon as they are finished except that it kept them entertained. I forget the majority of readers are similar to my friends and family.
We (most of the folks here for example) go deeper. We are seasoned and passionate fantasy readers. We are going to look for the "blue rose in the wall" or "promise me Ned" as more than just words filling a page. My avid reader friend is just going to read the words and keep moving until the book is done and he or she is on to the next book.
The Dayne stuff does throw me and gets me wondering maybe Martin has another plan for Jon's parentage but the average avid reader will never go that deep. Jon is Ned's bastard and that's that.
We live and breath ASOIAF, we read and re-read. Martin knows this, but I think he also knows there are just "regular" fantasy readers out there. And more people will be stunned when we find out Jon is Rhaegar's and Lyanna's than not.
When I tell friends and family and co-workers the R+L=Jon theory their eyes light up and are wowed by how it all perfectly fits.
We see R+L=Jon as so obvious we figure there is no way it can be.
And this does not mean non forum going, passionate fantasy readers won't pick up on this, I just think lots of people read to be entertained and move on. So Martin is not going surprise 5% (making that number up) of the readers, but he will shock the 95% with the R+L=Jon.
Throwing a red herring to fool 5% makes no sense to me.
This is also not an elitist position I am taking nor do I think anyone here is an elitist. Good Lord, this thread alone has more posts on genetics and recessive traits than a fertility forum, I'd hardly call myself an elitist. Not sure what to call myself after reading this thread.
Double post. I have no idea what happened there.
I'll have it be noted that I did not bring up the genetics. I just rolled with it once it was brought up. Nor do I actually re-read Martin's works, although I do look things up and read Wert's re-caps and re-read the family appendixes to refresh my memory of who folk are. I have read each book only once over 15 years, and I'm watching the show, now, with my husband and now daughter, the show causing my husband after the first season to read all the books and my daughter now more slowly working her way through the first book and immersing herself in that geek audience online devoted to it, which is not really 5% of the audience but probably about 50% of the audience. It's the size of fantasy's core fan audience that allows there to be a category fantasy market and for that market to be quite huge. Martin is king of fantasy land at the moment, whether he likes it or not.
Martin does, however, like SFF fan readers. He wrote the series for them. He wrote something he thought would never be produced on film. He wrote a giant epic that got bigger as he went, but he's always known the ending, as most fantasy writers do. While it was expected, back in the late 1990's, that the books would do well, given Martin's standing in the field, and might appeal to non-regular fans, it's gone well beyond what anyone was expecting. And the extent that the series and now the show are talked about on the Internet is enormous. But would Martin torture his main fan base? Yes, especially as he started it out in 1996. Most of the fantasy authors would and do.
I have talked about little details concerning the series and about Martin more than I normally would have because Martin fans are obsessed. And the show has just created an entire new, bigger group of obsessed people. Does Martin have to produce hundreds of symbols in his books for the average reader? No. Does he do it anyway? Yes. Put it this way, I trust that most that is in Martin's work means something, but I don't trust him about what it means. He's one of the few writers I've read who can sneak things in on me, despite dropping lots of imagery clues. So I don't trust the possible truth of Jon's parentage based on clues for alert readers. I do, though, agree that who Jon's parents are has an impact on the plot.
I agree with most of what you said. But I will contest the 50%.
It certainly feels like 50% that much I agree. But when I remove myself from my passion, I realize it is a lot lower. Again this doesn't mean 50% are not reading it, I still believe 50% are not digging as deep.
And Kat, you may have only read it once. But as you said you did some research. You dug a bit. But you are one of my 5%. A seasoned passionate fantasy reader.
My brother in law who "picks things up and puts things down" in a gym all day read it too. He is NOT in that 5%.
I have no numbers to base it on except the people I surround myself with every day:
And I was about to go through each group of friends, family, acquaintances, training partners, etc...and do my best to tally it all up but I doubt sffworld wants to know how may cousin-in-laws I have and if any read ASOIAF.
I don't think the laws of nature in Westeros need to be different for Jon Arryn's and Ned's conclusion about Cersei's children to be valid. As I started off saying, they can't be expected to know about genetics. I just found it interesting that the scenario Martin proposed was the exact opposite of how it works in real life, and mentioned that in passing. I responded to KatG's discussion about genetics because a number of things she said were incorrect as far as I knew and I wondered if my knowledge needed to be updated. High school was many years ago for me.
To get back on topic, it just doesn't make sense to me that Ned would go so far as upsetting his wife and compromising his own honor just to protect a half-Targaryen nephew. He clearly was no fan of the Targaryens. Besides, if Jon's life was under threat from his parentage, it would have made more sense for Ned to bring him to Winterfell as a stable boy or some such - no one would have been interested in where he came from then.
But here's another theory I can believe: Coldhands is Benjen Stark.
At this point, in terms of pop culture in general, I don't think you can contest it. You're basing things on your personal circle -- a few hundred people, most of whom probably haven't read the books and aren't part of the audience -- against millions of people on the Internet. There are over 250,000 subscribers on Facebook, over 37 million Google results for the series alone, millions of hits just for the discussion of Jon's parentage, thousands of dedicated sites, thousands of works of fan art, fan fiction, improvised games, etc., some 7, 8 million copies sold, which with lending would estimate a reading audience of some thirty million possibly. And that number will greatly increase over the years of the t.v. show. Millions of people who go to comicons and film cons and SFF cons, millions of people who play games, etc. and a percentage of those millions read the books and so are going to be very detail oriented and likely obsessed. What you're arguing, in terms of numbers, is that maybe only 500,000 readers are interested in details. I'm saying that based on the sheer numbers of SFF culture and the fantasy category market, and Martin's place in both, that's impossibly low. There are millions of readers of the books who just read them casually -- only 20% of the population are regular readers of any books. But that's still a large pool and the bulk of Martin's audience are still diehard SFF fans who regularly buy SFFH. And detail is their middle name.
I'm not arguing that Martin doesn't have a sizable not-regular-SFF fan audience. He does. And with the t.v. show, he has even more. I'm just arguing that they do not make up the bulk of his reading audience. They certainly didn't in 1996 and they definitely don't now when people are finally accepting the fact -- and not freaking out about it so much -- that SFF is the main force of mainstream arts culture.
I look stuff up because people ask questions and I don't know the answer immediately -- but I know there's a wealth of info available from people who do. And because my memory for a fifteen year old hugely complicated series isn't perfect, especially for names. I do that because I am one of those people who like to talk about SFF stuff and Martin's series is something that people like to talk about. But there are millions of these people. Wert is not a rare phenomena. (Not that he's not special.) I still argue that fully half of Martin's audience can beat you silly on details.
That wasn't really possible since Ned brought Jon to Winterfell when Jon was an infant. When you come home from campaigning with a strange baby, they are going to ask you where you got it from. It does not compromise Ned's honor to have a bastard son. Most of the noblemen have bastard children. Robert had dozens of them. It would, however, enormously compromise Lyanna's honor, as she is female and was kidnapped and possibly raped -- Lyanna who was the future king/king's beloved -- to have produced a son from the man who kidnapped her. Jon would have been a threat not only to the Targaryens, but to Robert and to the Lannisters and to a number of different factions in the civil war. Jon, as Rhaegar's child, could be taken from the Starks and could be killed since all Targaryens were being killed or fleeing. To protect Jon's life, to protect his sister's memory, to protect the Stark children, his family, his lands, the future of Westeros, the future of his friend to be King, etc. for endless number of reasons, Ned would need to hide Jon's parentage. The feelings of his bride, whom he didn't know that well yet, who was previously engaged to his brother, were less important than protecting Robb's life and the rest of his kids. Catelyn's dislike of Jon was less that Ned had slept with someone else and more that the child was raised with her own child and was a claimant threat to Robb, and this was probably the main reason that Ned didn't tell Catelyn the truth, if it is the truth, even though they grew to love each other. He wouldn't have been sure that Catelyn wouldn't take that opportunity to get Jon out of the way of Robb's position. There may also be other reasons concerning the circumstances for hiding Jon's identity that we don't know yet.
You have to ask yourself, why does Lyanna exist? She's completely unnecessary for the plot. Why does Rhaegar exist? His purpose in the plot is little and could have been handled differently. Why have Rhaegar kidnap Lyanna based on a prophecy about the future of the kingdom and her die mysteriously? Why is this backstory in the story at all? Why have a ballad of the North that tells a similar story? Why does Dany have the vision of a man she's sure is Rhaegar and a woman and a baby and Rhaegar saying what he says? Why does Ned refuse to tell anyone who Jon's mother is, only telling Robert that it was servant Wylla when Robert as king insisted? For those who read fiction, Martin seems to be setting up for a reveal of some sort. So it's not an illogical theory, I think. It just may not be the right theory.
It's interesting. Martin layers symbolism and foreshadowing very thick. My tip has always been the direwolves, who are pretty sure indicators of what will happen to their Stark. I think of Arya and the way her wolf was "driven away." I think of Sansa and Lady being sacrificed, basically, to the Lannisters. Bran's wolf being kept isolated... etc.
Jon has the only white wolf, and it was found "after the fact." White, to me, was a big hint at the Targaryens. If you remember, Ghost also matured faster than the other direwolves. He's quiet-- doesn't make sounds-- which indicates secrets, to me. Even his name references what remains after death (Jon's parents).
Digging this conversation.
And all the surviving direwolves are getting wilder, including Ghost. He's not always subtle about it. The vision Danys had in the House of the Undying of the man and woman who seem very likely to be Rhaegar and Lyanna is going to need some sort of explanation down the road, I think, as it was very explicit and contained a key prophecy. But as we saw with Aegon, there can be more than one surprise baby.
...if it's him
Wasn't it Rickon's wolf, Shaggydog, who had to be kept locked up because he was vicious? The problem with Summer was his howling.
Shaggydog was the problem, but Summer got locked up, as well. The two boys were also lumped together... unto the not-end.
They all react. Arya's wolf becomes wilder and wilder out with a pack. Ghost begins to act wild as the series progresses. Shaggydog gets very wild -- and is attached to the youngest Stark. Summer also has problems and as they travel North, is drawn into violence with a wild pack. Robb's wolf devastates troops and horses. Martin is definitely drawing that line and the wolves are connected to the Starks.
Right, we don't know right now. But his parentage is also kind of important. Gendry's parentage is important, etc.
Having recently finished re-reading the books I have to give my two cents to this topic.
In my mind there is no doubt the Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.
I know it cannot be completely ruled out that Ned is the father, possibly by Ashara Dayne as Barristan Selmy speculates or by an unknown "wench" as the habour master at one of The Tree Sisters believes (he has a conversation with Davos Seaworth when he is shipwrecked by Salla on his way to talk to Lord Manderly on behalf of Stannis). But most "evidence" (I guess real evidence is rare from Martin...) point to Lyanna+Rhaegar.
We know that Rhaegar wanted Lyanna and did what he could to get her. It is called an abduction and a possible rape but who says this? Lyanna apparently never did, but Robert claims it for the truth. And why not? He obviously loved her. But nothing indicates any feelings from her towards him. It was an arranged marriage and she was going to do her duty. Until Rhaegar came and proclaimed his love.
I think she ran away with Rhaegar and wanted to have his child. He even gave her 3 of the Kingsguard to protect her. We all have read about the famous fight that only Ned and Howland Reed survived. Why would Aerys (Rhaegar) send his best bodyguards and fighters to protect Lyanna in the middle of a rebellion if not to protect the royal blood? If it had just been Lyanna I am sure the Kingsguard would have stayed at Dragonstone, Kings Landing or into the field with R. It was after all The Sword of the Morning who guarded her...
She bleeds to dead. Most likely from giving birth even though Robert seems to indicate that Rhaegar killed her. She says the Ned "Promise me Ned!" and he keeps coming back to the promise(s) he made. We never hear him tell what it was but my guess is this: To take care of her child, and given that he (Jon) is a Stark it should be no problem (the family seems to have a thing for honor). To never tell Robert the truth (Robert believed to the end that she loved him and why ruin his friend's joy?). Robert would obviously have gone crazy and tried to kill the child. For personal reasons and to destroy the last available Targaryen. And I am not sure the relationship between Stark and Baratheon would not have been tainted just a little bit by the betrayal Robert would have seen.
So all in all Ned did his duty. To his House (by keeping Lyanna's secret), to his blood (by protecting the child) and to his king (by hiding the true origin of Jon from everybody). Jon lived and Robert reigned. And know Ned is dead and no one can tell the truth. Oh wait, one person can. And he has been absent for 5 books despite a very interesting backstory. Well maybe his children know something and can tell Bran while they wait for winter to come...
I only just read this theory yesterday. It'd never even crossed my mind because I hadn't bothered to study the story in minute detail. In other things that I read I do go into great depth, becoming an expert on the text, but with Martin I just enjoyed the ride.
I like the theory, and it probably all makes sense based on the subtextual clues. But I'm also of the opinion that the writer of the story should not necessarily dot every i and cross every t: this means that every single thing written shouldn't be absolutely part of the larger story. Life doesn't work like that and, therefore, a story should have elements which are tangents that don't really matter and where sub-plots don't resolve. Since Martin seems to also be one of the pioneers of this gritty real-life style of fantasy story-telling, I would think that he might be mindful of this.
Based on what I know of history, when events like those depicted in Ice and Fire happen, the person who ends up on top is some random who wasn't involved in the initial plot and therefore expended few resources while the other powerful people exhausted themselves. After one of the initial people came out on top, they generally make too many changes for those remaining to accept and are too weak to resist when the random steps in and unseats them.
Of course, I don't expect this outcome from Martin. He doesn't really go that far with the realism.
Not necessarily. There must always be three. But then he suddenly pulled one of Elya's children in book 5, so it's hard to know really where he might hide another. So you can't count them and say, oh, one is missing, it must be Jon.
Jon being a Targaryen seems very credible. Maybe he ends up marrying Daenerys and they rule the seven kingdoms together... Those Targaryens do love their incestuous relationships.
Separate names with a comma.