The truth about what happened between Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark has yet to be revealed on ‘Game of Thrones.’ Let’s take a look at what we know, and I’ll weigh in with what I think went down!
Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark have been mentioned a number of times over the course of seven seasons on Game of Thrones, but no one knows exactly what happened between these two. The suspense is KILLING me. The story that most people on the show believe is that Rhaegar, who was married to Elia Martell, kidnapped and raped Lyanna, who was promised to Robert Baratheon, after coming face-to-face at the Tourney at Harrenhal. As we all know, Lyanna eventually had a son, Jon Snow. HBO has confirmed that Jon Snow’s father is Rhaegar Targaryen. But I’m just not buying that Rhaegar Targaryen was this monster who Robert has portrayed him to be. After re-listening to all the scenes mentioning Rhaegar, it doesn’t add up.
In season 5, Littlefinger explained to Sansa what he saw at the Tourney at Harrenhal. “When Rhaegar won, everyone cheered for their prince,” Littlefinger said. “I remember the guards laughing when he took off his helmet and they saw that silver hair, how handsome he was. Until he rode right past his wife, Elia Martell, and all the smiles died. I’ve never seen so many people so quiet. He rode past his wife and he lay a crown of winter roses in Lyanna’s lap, blue as frost. How many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?” In response to Littlefinger’s story, Sansa said: “Yes, he chose her. And then he kidnapped her and raped her.” The look on Littlefinger’s face after Sansa’s response proves that is not the entire story.
Barristan Selmy gave us some of the best details about Rhaegar in season 5. “He liked to walk among the people, he liked to sing to them,” Barristan told Daenerys, who had never heard about this side of her eldest brother. Viserys had told her that Rhaegar was good at killing people. “Rhaegar never liked killing,” Barristan replied. “He loved singing.”
Season 6 gave us a glimpse at what happened at the Tower of Joy, where Rhaegar was allegedly holding Lyanna hostage. When Ned Stark and his men come upon the tower, they’re met by Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Gerold Hightower. Ned is shocked that two of Rhaegar’s best knights weren’t by his side protecting him at the Battle of Trident, where Rhaegar died. “Our prince wanted us here,” Arthur said. Why would Rhaegar sacrifice two of his best knights to stand idly by guarding a woman he had kidnapped and raped? Something’s not adding up. I think he knew if Robert had found his way to the Tower of Joy, he would have killed Jon Snow regardless of what happened between his mother and father. Lyanna knew that as well and made Ned promise to protect her son from Robert.
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire books add more context to Rhaegar and Lyanna’s relationship. While Robert repeated that Rhaegar had raped Lyanna countless times, Barristan said in A Dance With Dragons that “Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna and thousands died for it.”
Barristan was always an honorable man, just like Ned. Even when Robert went off on his tangent about what Rhaegar did to Lyanna in season 1, Ned never backed up Robert’s claim and encouraged him. He stayed silent. Wouldn’t you think Ned would be utterly and completely on Team Anti-Targaryen if Rhaegar had raped his beloved sister?
I think Ned knew the truth about what happened between Rhaegar and Lyanna. He was going to tell Jon everything when they saw each other again. He died knowing so much. He willingly let everyone believe that he had cheated on Catelyn just to fulfill his promise to Lyanna.
I believe that Rhaegar and Lyanna fell in love. These subtle hints about Rhaegar’s character mean something. Love makes people do crazy things, as we’ve seen countless times. My theory is that Rhaegar never kidnapped Lyanna. They ran away together. I hope they eloped so Jon Snow won’t technically be a bastard. That would bring everything full circle. Jon Snow has only seen the world through the eyes of a bastard, so to actually be a Targaryen prince would be poetic. I’m also hoping that we get to see what happened between Rhaegar and Lyanna through their eyes. That’s the only way we’re going to learn the truth. This secondhand information just doesn’t cut it.Their story could change everything on the show. I have a feeling the writers aren’t going to leave us hanging about these two. They’re too important to the series. Bring on Rhaegar and Lyanna!
HollywoodLifers, what do you think really happened between Rhaegar and Lyanna? Let me know!