Rhaegar: was Jon’s father the true hero of Game of Thrones?

by birtanpublished on September 13, 2020

Game of thrones season 7 finally confirmed one of the biggest secrets in the series the father of jon snow is rhaegar targaryen rhaegar died some 15 years before the main story but he's an important and mysterious

Character connected to prophecy and political plots with complex relationships with lyanna stark and elia martell rhaegar's actions shape the course of the story

With the fall of house targaryen in robert's rebellion and the birth of jon snow to the fate of westeros in its fight against darkness so let's work out who rhaegar was and

What he means for the future of thrones before tommen and joffrey and robert the king of westeros was aerys targaryen prince rhaegar was aerys son and heir and he was the brother of daenerys and

Viserys rhaegar was married to elia martell the sister of ober and iran and they had two young children rhaenys and aegon but one day at a tournament at harrenhal rhaegar passed

Over his wife elia and crowned lyanna stark the sister of ned stark as rhaegar's queen of love and beauty when lyanna was promised to marry robert baratheon

So the baratheons starks and martels were mad about this and the next year things got worse when rhaegar ran off with lyanna and robert started a war to get her back king aerys was killed by jaime lannister

Daenerys and viserys fled east elliot rhaenys and aegon were killed by the mountain and armory lodge lyanna died giving birth to jon snow and rhaegar was killed in battle by robert

The targaryen dynasty who had ruled westeros for hundreds of years was over robert baratheon became the new king 15 years later the first book begins and it's a mystery exactly

What happened with rhaegar and lyanna king robert says that rhaegar abducted and raped lyanna but in season 7 we learned that that's a lie and that rhaegar and lyanna were in love there's this whole thing in the books

Hinting that lyanna rode in the harrenhal tournament in disguise as a mystery night and rhaegar was sent to go find her which was probably how they met so they fell in love secretly got

Married and ran away to this tower in dawn to have sex all day until rhaegar was forced to the war with robert where he died with lyanna's name on his lips while lyanna died in childbirth it's a

Tragic love story but it's also something more complicated because rhaegar risked everything with lyanna he not only left his wife and children he started a war that destroyed his family and his kingdom and his life

And the reasons behind this go deep into politics and prophecy and the fate of westeros when rhaegar took lyanna he knew he was risking conflict like we're told in the show that the war was built

On this lie that rhaegar kidnapped lyanna but even if people knew the truth that lyanna loved rhaegar they'd still be mad because this was not a society that let women choose who they

Could love lyanna was a political tool that the baratheons and starks were using to build a marriage alliance by taking lyanna rhaegar ruined those plans

He also insulted dorne by rejecting his wife elia so rhaegar had pissed off three of the most powerful families in the realm which is never a good idea but it was especially dangerous

At that time the political situation was super delicate because the king aerys targaryen was insane by the time of the tourney at harrenhal it was well known that aerys was mad he was violent and paranoid obsessed

With fire burning alive people he thought were his enemies he was a terrible king and lots of powerful people wanted him gone tywin lannister had beef with aerys and

Said he'd prefer rhaegar as king it's hinted that the baratheons starks aarons and tullys were forming an alliance against aerys marrying lyanna was part of that and rhaegar himself was apparently plotting

Against his father we're told that the whole tourney of harrenhal began as a plot so rhaegar could conspire with the great houses to force his dad into retirement so rhaegar was playing the political game

He knew how dangerous things were and he was carefully scheming to work with the houses to peacefully replace the mad king until he suddenly threw that all away by publicly crowning lyanna

Insulting the very families who could have been allies against aerys then by running off with lyanna he set off the chain of events causing war the starks came angry to king's landing the mad king

Killed those starks and demanded the heads of robert annette that was when the war began and it didn't seem to have much to do with the lie of an abduction it was caused by the tension between king aerys

And the great houses which rhaegar not only failed to fix but made much worse by taking lyanna why did rhaegar take such a terrible risk at such a dangerous time

To understand why we need to understand rhaegar from the very beginning we're told that rhaegar was good at everything that he did he was smart and a great warrior he played the harp he was beautiful

He was able determined deliberate dutiful and single-minded jorah calls rhaegar the last dragon and says he fought valiantly nobly and honorably before he died cersei as a child had a big crush on

Rhaegar and hoped to marry him john connington also loves rhaegar his silver prince and rhaegar was popular with the common people who cheered him at tournaments so on the surface rhaegar seems like a

Golden boy who everyone loved but barristan says that no one truly knew rhaegar he had a private secretive side a melancholy and a sense of doom which was related to

Rhaegar's birth at summerhall summerhall was a targaryen palace in the south rhaegar's great-grandfather king aegon v brought his family there to celebrate the impending birth of rhaegar

But aegon also apparently tried to perform a fiery magic ritual to hatch some dragon eggs and the fire got out of control and killed king aegon and much of his family it was during this tragedy at

Summerhall amongst the flames the raela targaryen gave birth to rhaegar he was born in grief and that shadow hung over him all his days but it wasn't just grief that haunted

Rhaegar it was destiny the targaryens have always been guided by visions and prophecy the reason they survived the doom and came to westeros in the first place was because of the vision of rhaegar's

Ancestor denise the dreamer we see daeron and damon blackfire having prophetic dreams in dunk and egg and prophecy is the reason why rhaegar was born his parents aerys and raela got married

Because a witch said that the prince that was promised would be born of their line the prince that was promised or azor ahai is a hero prophesied to be reborn and save the world from darkness

Which seems to mean they'll fight the white walkers the prophecy is vague and complex and people interpret it in different ways melisandre for instance thinks stannis baratheon is azor ahai

Which doesn't work out while others think daenerys is the hero rhaegar was also into this prophecy and it guided him from a very young age as a boy rhaegar wasn't interested in playing with other kids

He just wanted to read books until one day rhaegar read about azor ahai and came to believe that he was the prophesied hero so young rhaegar went to the master at arms and said he needed a sword

It seems i must be a warrior he said he talked about this in letters with his great grand uncle maester aemon aemon agreed that rhaegar was azor ahai because according to prophecy azor ahai

Will be reborn amidst smoke and salt they thought the smoke was from the fire that burned summerhall when rhaegar was born and the salt was from the tears that were shed there

So rhaegar was convinced that he was azor ahai and since azor ahai is described as a warrior of fire who will lead the fight against the dark rhaegar trained and became a great fighter from a young age

Rhaegar was willing to shape his life around fulfilling the prophecy of azor ahai but his beliefs about that prophecy later changed aemon says rhaegar came to believe that

Azor ahai was not rhaegar but rhaegar's son aegon the baby he had with elia because the prophecy says that azor ahai will be born beneath a bleeding star and rhaegar and aemon thought that this

Star was a comet that was seen the night aegon was conceived this connects to a vision that daenerys has in book two she sees her brother rhaegar and his wife elia with their baby aegon

Rhaegar says aegon is the prince that was promised and there must be one more the dragon has three heads it's not clear how the heads of the dragon relate to the prophecy of azor

Ahai but the heads do connect to the symbolism of rhaegar's family the targaryens because their banner shows a dragon with three heads

Which represents the three siblings who led the house 300 years ago aegon rhaenys and visenya as daenerys points out these names connect to the names of rhaegar's children aegon and rhaenys

So when rhaegar says there must be one more it sounds like rhaegar wants a third child called visenya to complete the set of the dragon with three heads but there was a problem because

Rhaegar's wife elia was always frail and sickly and after giving birth to aegon she couldn't bear any more children so if rhaegar believed there must be one more he'd need

Another woman to produce his third child and that is where lyanna stark comes in it seems likely that part of the reason why rhaegar ran off with lyanna and father jon snow was that he wanted a third child

To fit the three heads of the dragon if he was planning for a daughter called visenya to fit aegon's sisters that didn't work out but he might have changed his mind about aegon and decided that this third child

Jon would be azor ahai because rhaegar says that azor ahai is connected to something called the song of ice and fire which happens to be the title of the book series lyanna stark of winterfell

Is connected to ice and rhaegar of the targaryen dragonlords is connected to fire so a child of lyanna and rhaegar would be a song or a son of ice and fire there are

Many hints in the books that jon may be azor ahai melisandre prays for a glimpse of azor ahai and her god shows her jon there's smoke and salt and a bloody star on the scene where jon

Dies and ned promised to protect jon making jon a prince that was literally promised so john not aegon or rhaegar may be the true hero it might have been lyanna who realized this in the end

Maybe she named john aegon in the show what better name for the prince that was promised so it seems that in the end rhaegar achieved his goal his actions with lyanna led to the birth

Of jon who may be the hero who'll save the world but does that really justify rhaegar's actions couldn't he find a way to father jon

Without abandoning his family and causing a war that killed thousands how could he be certain that taking lyanna was the only way vague prophecy seems like a convenient excuse for rhaegar to do things that he

Probably wanted to do anyway like ignoring difficult political realities running away from his problems and shacking up with a teenager because remember lyanna was just 15 in

The books while rhaegar was a 20-something-year-old prince you can imagine his pitch to her like hey i'm married and you're engaged but if we don't bang the world will literally end and did i

Mention i play the harp and he takes her away to this tower he calls the tower of joy and they sit around making prophecy babies for like a year meanwhile the world is burning

Are these really the actions of a hero trying to save the world or was rhaegar just a selfish idiot who killed thousands because he was thinking with his dick there is one theory that ties things

Together in a way that could justify all of rhaegar's actions including the war and the deaths because part of the prophecy of azor ahai is that the hero will have a burning sword

Called lightbringer in book 2 we're told a story of how the original sword was forged apparently azor ahai tried three times the first sword broke when he tempered it in water the second sword broke when

He tempered it by stabbing the heart of a lion for the third sword he tempered by stabbing the heart of his beloved wife she cried with anguish and ecstasy and died but her

Strength went into the steel and that is how the true lightbringer was forged and the world was saved some readers have noticed that this story kind of mirrors the story of rhaegar

Like azor ahai he tried three times to fulfill prophecy first he believed that he himself was azor ahai but he ended up dying in the waters of the river trident second rhaegar believed that his son

Aegon would be azor ahai but aegon was killed in the war by the men of the lion of lannister taiwan the third and final time rhaegar made a child with his beloved wife lyanna

He plunged his sword into her conceiving jon and she died in childbirth so the first sword broke in water is rhaegar the second sword broke with a lion is aegon and the third sword the true

Lightbringer forged with the death of a beloved wife is jon snow the sword in the darkness the light that brings the dawn so while jon is the weapon who'll beat the white

Walkers the actual hero azor ahai is rhaegar dead years before the story even starts this theory suggests that each of these deaths everything that happened was necessary pre-destined to save the world

Lyanna needed to die in childbirth aegon needed to die in the war and rhaegar needed to die at the trident maybe he knew maybe rhaegar saw this stuff in dreams like

His targaryen ancestors did and part of him knew that his fate was to die and caused the deaths of everyone he loved and that's why he could never be happy

Never be known or fully love or explain himself to anyone that was his melancholy his sense of doom maybe his is the song of ice and fire and from the beginning he knew how it

Ends that's one theory anyway there's still lots that we don't know about rhaegar's goals the politics prophecy heads of the dragon and about lyanna and elia like how did ellia feel about her husband running off

With another woman was she in on the prophecy stuff and how much did lyanna know between lyanna and elia and rhaegar's mother raela there are a lot of women in this story whose only role is to be

Pretty give birth then die we know almost nothing about them so it'd be nice to learn some more about their stories what is clear is that rhaegar and his legacy are tied to the fate of westeros

And will keep seeing his influence until the end alt shift x now has a website at old shift x dot tv we made it with our sponsor squarespace which is an amazingly

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Of the ideas in this video are from the game of thrones community online so check out the posts and essays linked below thanks to the patrons including dillon geekerzoid senia kalanina thor alexander almelid leia

Blaise fairy queen aspen bjerk simon pollock reindeer prince david oakland and black clover cheers you

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