Timeline for Robert’s Rebellion

GRRM is pretty fuzzy with dates, which can be rather annoying when you’re trying to work out who was where and when, and how long things took (and when babies were born…)

The Rebellion is one of these awkward, fuzzy, vague timelines. It took somewhere around 9-18 months? Maybe?

I got sick of not being sure, so I investigated procrastinated one night and worked it all out. because who needs to write their postgrad papers huh?

This is what I reckon happened, and when.

EDIT: Updated to include a clearer, shorter timetable/spreadsheet at the bottom.

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Why did Benjen take the black?

At least once a month, if not more on /r/asoiaf someone asks…

Hey guys – does anyone know why Benjen Stark took the black?

I mean, House Stark had just been decimated and sure, Ned was married but he only had one (legitimate) son and his wife was pretty pissed with him for bringing home a bastard… wouldn’t it be more prudent for Benjen to hang around, get married and supply some spare Starks?

Without fail. Every few weeks.

YES THIS IS A GOOD QUESTION. But from now on, I’m just going to copy/paste a link to this blog as my response.

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The problem with Rhaegar

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They had come together at the ford of the Trident while the battle crashed around them, Robert with his warhammer and his great antlered helm, the Targaryen prince armored all in black. On his breastplate was the three-headed dragon of his House, wrought all in rubies that flashed like fire in the sunlight. The waters of the Trident ran red around the hooves of their destriers as they circled and clashed, again and again, until at last a crushing blow from Robert’s hammer stove in the dragon and the chest beneath it. When Ned had finally come on the scene, Rhaegar lay dead in the stream, while men of both armies scrabbled in the swirling waters for rubies knocked free of his armor.

Rhaegar Targaryen is, to put it mildly, problematic.

At worst, he’s a kidnapping, prophecy-obsessed rapist. At best, he’s a fool in love who forgot everything political he knew (or ought to have known) to run off with 15 year old Lyanna Stark.

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CONFIRMED!

“Promise me Ned. Promise me.”

I might not be able to watch Game of Thrones season 6 until the DVD comes out (too poor for a Foxtel subscription!) but I do follow social media and am not afraid of spoilers.

Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon

His is the song of ice and fire.

I’m not even putting this behind a cut, because there’s no complex blog post. Just all the images that I can grab from the net.

“Lyanna lay dying in her bed of blood…”

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The Knight of the Laughing Tree

 

knight_of_the_laughing_tree_by_modji_33-d93qn4s

Art by Modji-33 on Deviant Art

One of the more interesting tales that Bran Stark hears is that of the Knight of the Laughing Tree. This is the story that Meera and Jojen Reed tell Bran in Chapter 24 of A Storm of Swords. The most interesting aspect about this story is that both Reed children are astounded that Ned Stark never told his children this story, it’s a story that the Reeds heard a hundred times or more from their father Howland.

I propose to explore why Ned didn’t tell the Stark kids this tale. It’s a simple reason: it was too dangerous to tell them. He couldn’t risk them asking inconvenient questions about two fictions that he was desperate for the children to believe.

  1. He only loved their mother, Catelyn Tully Stark; and
  2. Their aunt Lyanna was kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen, according to the official Robert Baratheon version of history.

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What is the “Song” at the heart of ASOIAF?

I’ve thrashed around some ideas in the past putting forward the hypothesis that GRRM is telling two stories within ASOIAF: the Song of Ice & Fire, and the Game of Thrones.

By taking the dual series names, I’m not advocating for book wank over TV fanboys. (Although I am, in general, a proud book wanker – as far as ASOIAF goes. Some of the changes made by the TV show are perplexing and remain to be seen if they are editorial shortcuts or just very bad ideas…)

What I mean is that two complex stories are being told within the one field of war: a mystical story that we don’t understand yet about the Song of Ice & Fire, and the War for the Dawn; against the political shenanigans which we do understand, with a plethora of interested parties duking it out for absolute monarchical control of Westeros.

The Game doesn’t really require extensive analysis, because it’s familiar to us. It’s the political machinations of King’s Landing, the chaos of Littlefinger, the long game of Varys: we recognise it because we see it daily, or can reflect upon history.

But the Song…. what is the Song? Is the Song about magic in all its forms? Or is it specifically about the Others and the Long Night? Is it about balance between Fire (Valyrian/dragon magic) and Ice (Winter/Others’ magic)? Or is it something else entirely?

Now, despite a litany of hilarious suggestions for appropriate ASOIAF music choices on reddit, I didn’t actually mean this question quite so literally. I don’t mean “what is the Song?” as in who is singing it and why, I mean what is the story at the heart of the more magical and metaphysical side of ASOIAF.

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Southron Ambitions – turned up to 11

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.

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Rhaegar v Robert, as depicted in The World of Ice & Fire

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