BRING OUT YOUR TINFOIL!
Southron Ambitions is the name for a much touted fan theory that Rickard Stark married off his sons and daughter to southern houses for the purpose of aligning with other Great Houses. It’s pretty well accepted because it fits with the recent history of ASOIAF:
- Brandon Stark was betrothed to Catelyn Tully
- Eddard Stark was fostered at the Eyrie by Jon Arryn
- Hoster Tully was negotiating with Tywin Lannister for Lysa to marry Jaime
- Lyanna Stark was betrothed to Robert Baratheon
- Oberyn Martell reminiscences with Tyrion about Oberyn and Elia visiting Casterly Rock with their mother, who had ambitions to match off her kids to the Lannister Twins (can you imagine Cersei and Oberyn? Hilarious.)
So we know for a fact that there was a lot of marriage alliances going on between all the major houses in Westeros, except for the Tyrells, who at that point didn’t have anyone of marriageable age (remember – Loras and Margaery are only 15-17 at the time of ASOS)
But I think there was more than just plans to get to know each other at the heart of these marriage alliances. Remember, in medieval times, marrying your sons and daughters off was the best way to seal a political union.
The TLDR version is:
- Bitter Lady Dustin is correct that Rickard Stark had “southron ambitions” in arranging Southron matches for his children
- but she doesn’t know the bigger picture: the Great Houses involved in these matches were preparing to overthrow the Targaryens for ever.
- plan was massively accelerated when Lyanna ran off with Rhaegar as Aerys’ over reaction to Brandon’s behaviour, and killing Brandon and Rickard, gave the would be rebels the perfect excuse to launch their planned rebellion.
Rhaegar v Robert, as depicted in The World of Ice & Fire