A Couple of What If Type Questions

A few questions that I have spent a little time thinking about:

1) Do we think had Ned lived and been sent to the Wall, that he would have told Jon the truth about his mother?  Ned did tell Jon that the next time they saw each other, they would discuss his mother.  But I wonder to what extent Ned would have told Jon the truth.  Would he had just spoken in general terms like "your mother was beautiful and she loved you very much" or would he have told Jon that his mother was Lyanna and that his father was Rhaegar?

2) Had Barristan Selmy survived and he learned the truth about who Jon's parents are, would he have switched sides and then tried to back Jon and convince Jon that he is the rightful heir?  Or would Barristan stay true to Dany?

For #1, I think Ned never tells Jon the truth and just says general stuff.  Maybe if Ned was on his death bed, he might be more willing to talk, but even then I have my doubts.  For #2, I think Barristan approaches Jon and does try to convince him that he needs to step up as the rightful king since he is Rhaegar's true son and should Jon agree, then Barristan supports him and leaves Dany.  Should Jon tell Barristan that he has no interest in pursuing the crown, then I think Barristan stays with Dany.



  • Thanks for the thoughts, and I largely agree-  I do not think Ned tells Jon the full truth in any event- once he let Jon take the black, the truth of Jon's regal birthright would be agonizing for the young man. Had Ned taken the black, much of Jon's rise would not have occurred.  Ned probably gets to be lord commander.

    Also, imagine if Ned had told his wife the truth.  Catelyn would not have fomented the hatred she had of the child and Jon probably does not end up going to the wall. 
  • To me, if Ned tells Catelyn, I think she ultimately lets the truth slip out at some point by accident.  I mean, she would have to live with Ned and everyone thinking he had bastard when she knew that he didn't.  I think that stress eventually gets to her and she ultimately ends up telling someone.  And then word might leak out and what happens when that word reaches Robert Baratheon's ears.....So at the very least, if Ned was going to say anything near the truth, Robert would have to be dead first.  It would have been curious though if after Robert died, if Stannis or Renly knew the truth and would they have declared that Jon needed to be killed?
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited August 2017
    I actually think Ned would have told Jon everything. I get that with him being a man of his word and telling Jon might be a betrayal of that, but I also think that Ned would recognize his right to know who he is now that he is of age and at a point where this knowledge might be important to him.

    Barristan is interesting... I'm honestly not sure. I'm a little fuzzy on all of the book stuff so there may be something in his character that I am ignoring by having forgotten it, but particularly with them not being in conflict I have a little trouble seeing him "swap horses" like that. I think it's kind of moot because I think that so long as he believes that the realm is in good hands I honestly don't think Jon wants the throne, but even assuming otherwise I think Barristan believed in Dany and had been backing her and would have stayed with it. I don't feel like a great source though because I haven't watched those seasons in quite a bit and I've forgotten a lot of what was in the books and I could be forgetting relevant stuff.

    I don't have any good answer for the Ned/Catelyn stuff, but I have certainly pondered it. I mean, think of how much happier his life would have been if he had just let her alone in on the secret. Think of what he put them both through to maintain it. There is honor and there is inflicting needless pain on people you love. I kind of chalk Ned's decision to not even tell his wife into the latter category.
  • In terms of Barristan, the reason I posed the question is because Barristan would have seem to follow Rhaegar had Rhaegar tried to usurp the Mad King.  I feel that Barristan was loyal to Rhaegar and that should he have learned that Rhaegar had another child and true born child no less, that he might have then decided that if that person (Jon/Aegon in this case) wanted the throne, that he would choose to back that person's claim over Dany's.  It's basically my thought that Barristan was loyal to Rhaegar first and then House Targaryen.

  • FernNYC17FernNYC17 New York, NY
    If Stannis Wins the battle of the black water and takes the throne and then you jump to season 7 and the white Walkers are on the march through the wall (they somehow bring the wall down with or without a dragon) is Westeros in better or worse shape to take on the army of the dead? Does he execute the lannisters? does Manis Raider beat the Nights watch to get pass the wall? since there is no stannis this time to help. Does stannis after taking the throne then take on Rob The king of the North? Does Rob bend the knee to Stannis the person Ned was in Favor to sit on the throne? so many question.
  • I feel like Stannis winning in S2 would change so many things in the later seasons it's almost impossible to determine if Westeros would be better or worse by S7 with him on the throne without going really deep in the weeds and gaming out all the potential scenarios.
  • if stannis had won, everything would be perfect... fucking tyrion.
  • If Stannis wins, then Cersei is for sure dead but then he has to immediately battle the Lannisters and Tyrells (for argument's sake, let's say they arrive too late and Stannis has already occupied the castle).  I think Robb and his bannermen still come down and they probably help Stannis (afterall, Robb seem to get behind the idea that Stannis was the next rightful heir and we're going to say that Red Wedding doesn't occur as well).  So I think Robb and Stannis are able to team up and Robb ultimately bends the knee to Stannis.  From there, I think both Stannis and Robb re-inforce the wall.  But then this show would become how Stannis/Robb deal with Dany.
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    There was something a little too brittle about Stannis for me to believe in him as ruler material. I think he would have lasted longer had he thrown in with someone else and played his role for what he was good at and let them be the ruler.
  • I tend to agree, Stannis was just too inflexible to be good long term, he didn't want to be King for the sake of improving people's lives, he wanted to be King because it was his "duty" as the next in line with Joffrey et al being bastards, I mean a truly good King doesn't burn his own daughter alive when a fire witch tells him to. I think he'd probably be better than Cersei but that's a low bar to pass.
  • There was something a little too brittle about Stannis for me to believe in him as ruler material. I think he would have lasted longer had he thrown in with someone else and played his role for what he was good at and let them be the ruler.

    This was basically Renly's whole point on why he should be king over Stannis.  He basically wanted Stannis to continue being a soldier and let someone else more worthy rule.  In this case, him.
  • I think Stannis is definitely a better military adviser than leader, (although he really fucked up with his "fight the Boltons in winter" plan) but I also don't think Renly would've been a great king either, he's a little too flexible and totally in Loras' ( and as a result High Garden's) pocket.
  • Alkaid13Alkaid13 Georgia
    edited September 2017
    There's actually a quote by a Night's Watch blacksmith Donal Noye that goes:

    "Robert, he was true steel. Stannis is iron, hard and brittle, he'll break before he bends. Renly, that one, he is copper, shiny but not worth much."

    Which I think is a fairly accurate description of Renly and Stannis, although I think Robert's "true steel" rusted quite a bit by the time he became king.

    I guess my conclusion is that all three Brothers Baratheon (Broratheons? Too much?) lacked certain qualities individually that prevented them from being great kings, however, a Voltron fusion of the three of them (but like, stag robots instead of lions) would have been pretty great.
  • Renly and Stannis combined might have made a good king, but if I had to choose between the two, I'd definitely pick Stannis over Renly. Some fans (& Renly) say the people would not love Stannis, but the people want food on their table and safe roads to travel, and Stannis would see to that. He was the only one of the three brothers who (ultimately) cared about the bigger picture and the realm and went North. Book Stannis is far from perfect, of course, but he is also far more compelling and tragic than Show Stannis, whom Benioff & Weiss simply did not get. 

    Donal Noye said that about the Baratheons, but he hadn't seen them since the Rebellion, I think. Robert was a great warrior, but a shit king. Stannis was stubborn, but he made Davos his hand because he knew he needed him to be his Jiminy Cricket. A truly inflexible man would not do that. Robert realized that about Ned (that he needed to listen to a non-sycophant like Ned), but it was too late.

    Renly was vain and silly (hosting a tourney while war raged around him), and went to war against his own brother because his boyfriend Lady Macbeth'd in his ear. Renly had some good qualities, like he was nice to Brienne, but he would have been a weak king. 
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    I definitely would not have chosen Renly over Stannis. I guess if you're going with the traditional rules of succession, there were no good options.
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    I was #TeamStannis all the way until he set fire to his kid. He did have good reason to believe he was the rightful king, and he would have been a fair (if stuffy and humourless) ruler.
  • He really did fuck it all up there in the end huh. That's maybe the fastest turnaround I've gone on GoT from liking to hating a character in one episode.
  • That was definitely a case of "we need to get rid of this character and give his storyline to Jon and Sansa." I'm undecided if Book Stannis will burn Shireen, but if he does, it will be because he thinks it's necessary to save the world, not to melt a few snowflakes. Don't get me wrong -- it will still be awful, but at least it will make sense.

    I do love Stephen Dillane in the role, no matter what.
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    @pavlovsbell Have you seen The Tunnel? Stephen Dillane is so good in it - it's mainly why I always liked Stannis, I was projecting the charm and likeability of his character in that show onto his more cranky GoT character.
  • @Dee  Yes, but only Series/Season 1 -- I don't think S2 is out here yet. I loved him in that -- I've liked him in everything I've seen him in, even the dull but pretty The Crown. I'd really like to see him on stage.

    I rather like Stannis' crankiness and teeth grinding, but it's his pedantic nature that I find most endearing. 
  • Did stuff get deleted from this thread?  I seem to recall a few posts that were here but are now not showing up for me?  Didn't think any of those violated any rules or anything.  Just curious.
  • Rather than start a new topic, I'll post this question (apologies if it's been discussed elsewhere in a different thread, I don't recall though):

    At what point or do we think, that Ned actually realized that Lyanna went willingly with Rhaegar and that perhaps she actually loved Rhaegar?  I'm basing this question/assumption off of the scene where Lyanna tells Ned what Jon's real name is and that mainly because you'd think that if Lyanna didn't like Rhaegar, that she wasn't going to give her baby a "Targaryen" name.  Are we to assume that as soon as Ned heard the name, he knew that Lyanna hadn't been adbucted or do we think that it was later or much later that Ned pieced it together and realized that part of the reason of Robert's Rebellion was an actual lie.  Although, it's not like Ned didn't have a reason to go to war since his father and brother had just been killed by the Mad King and I think the Mad King was calling for Ned to be brought to him so he could kill him as well.  So just curious as to thoughts of when Ned figured it out or it anyone thinks that he never figured it out.

  • dochielomn- I think that Ned went to the Tower of Joy thinking that Lyanna had been kidnapped.  Otherwise, I would think that he would have implored Arthur Dayne to visit his sister, rather than letting the encounter quickly escalate to bloodshed.  

    I also think Lyanna uttered words to Ned that give more context to her relationship with Rhaegar. She told Ned to make a promise to her- she had to have given him some details that let Ned understand the nature of the promise.

    I also think the women in attendance were given an opportunity to become Silent Sisters (who don't speak but prepare dead bodies like undertakers).
  • @just_Brian , it's more of when did Ned figure it out.  Clearly, before seeing his sister, Ned had no clue and thought what Robert thought and that was Rhaegar kidnapped his sister.  But clearly when he sees his sister, he realizes that something is up.  He obviously knows that R + L = a baby that Lyanna wants to protect (because she knows if Robert Baratheon finds out, he's going to have that baby immediately killed.  But I'm wondering if Ned figured it all out in that moment or if on the journey back to Winterfell Ned figured it out or if it was years later and suddenly the light bulb turned on. 
  • pavlovsbellpavlovsbell Brooklyn, NY
    edited September 2017
    Ned knew something was up because there were Kingsguard there, including Rhaegar's best friend and most accomplished swordsman, Arthur Dayne. Ned questioned Dayne about why they were there and not protecting the royal family. But surely, as soon as Lyanna told him Jon's name, Aegon Targaryen, the lightbulb went off. The infant would not bear the Targaryen surname if Lyanna and Rhaegar were not married -- Lyanna would have just said, "Aegon." And from what little we saw of younger Lyanna in S6, she was headstrong and independent, very much like Arya and not one to marry someone she didn't want to, or give her child the surname of her rapist.

    There are details in the book which hint at when Ned realized the tragic misunderstanding, but because Jon's parentage is the central mystery of the series, they are just hints. It was probably most definitely before Ned returned to Winterfell, based on his actions while still in Dorne.
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    It's an interesting question because of the nature of noblewomen's roles in marriage in this universe and the kind of parallel historical universe- They and their fertility were commodities, and even if they were forced into marriage or sex, their children became commodities as well. So I can see a way that Ned wouldn't have realized she wasn't kidnapped and raped, but still raised her child because he was a Stark and some form of aristocracy even if he was a "bastard." And he could have let him live his life with the title of Ned's "bastard" because he thought he was a product of an out-of-wedlock union and being his "bastard" gave Jon a bit more prestige than being - whatever is the equivalent for a noblewoman's "bastard?" Do they have something for that? And there was that whole thing of - even if he was known to be a Targ bastard he might have still been killed.

    But I assumed that she told him she was in love with Rhaegar (and now that we know they were married, about their marriage) in the Tower of Joy.
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