In season 6 finale, the biggest fan theory of all times R+L = J was finally confirmed as Bran completed his vision of Tower of Joy and we now know that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Aisling Franciosi, the actress who played Lyanna Stark, clarified that she did speak a sentence in young Ned’s ear and it was about protecting Jon Snow.
Our interest in the character Rhaegar Targaryen has only grown which made us dig more information about him. And it turns out that he was the most honorable, strongest and kind person to have ever set foot in Westeros.
Here’re 10 reasons why Rhaegar Targaryen would have made the greatest ruler of Westeros and made the kingdom great again:
Rhaegar Targaryen was not his father:
Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was the son of King Aerys Targaryen aka Mad King but he didn’t have an eccentric streak in his personality. He was a man of peace and prosperity, not war and destruction. He would never have burnt the Starks (Brandon and Rickard) alive who came to him as Lyanna Stark was missing and allegedly kidnapped by his son Rhaegar, according to them. Prince Rhaegar was a man of his own and not a shadow of his father.
In Song of Ice & Fire books written by George R.R Martin, an event called “Tourney at Harrenhal” was arranged by Prince Rhaegar where Kings & Queens of the seven Kingdoms were invited. He was declared the champion of the joust after defeating four knights of the Kingsguard including Ser Barristan Selmy (who was the greatest warrior in Westeros), he chose Lyanna Stark as the new Queen of love and beauty, placing the crown of blue winter roses to her lap.
He knew that once he literally proposed Lyanna Stark in front of everyone present including his wife, the world would go upside down. So he already had this figured out and he decided to keep her at Tower of Joy leaving his best man behind Arthur Dayne (King’s guard) to safeguard the facility, but Ned Stark and his men reached there, he defeated Arthur Dayne and saw a child of his sisters’ and Rhaegar. But he covered it up and lied to everyone that it was his bastard.
Westeros comes first:
The old guard had a code of honor that guided them to think about the entire realm and not just their own house. It sounds idealistic as most of the rulers have been petty and self-centered but Prince Rhaegar was not among them. In fact, you will be shocked to know that the entire event “Tourney at Harrenhal” was organized by Rhaegar with the purpose of bringing everyone together to overthrow the Mad King’s tyrannical regime as he understood that he was a danger to the entire continent. But Lord Varys came to know about it and told the Mad King about his son’s intentions, as a result Mad King personally attended the event.
An Honorable Knight:
Despite major differences with his father’s style of leadership and governance, he didn’t betray him and fought against Robert’s rebellion. In the end, he died honorably in Battle of the Trident.
A Targaryen Rebel:
There is a section of fan community who believed that Lyanna was coerced into an affair by him and that it was part of some conspiratorial design. Some people say it was love at first sight while others say they knew each other for years and the love culminated at Harrenhal. The young Lyanna Stark was similar to Arya Stark, she consciously ran away with Rhaegar as she truly loved him and she didn’t want to settle with an old man like Robert Baratheon. In this way, Prince Rhaegar broke age-old traditions of Targaryen family for love.
Prince Rhaegar could have simply deserted his first wife Elia Martell for Lyanna Stark, but he loved her, comforted her and had two children with her. He decided to first file for annulment of their marriage and then only had Aegon Targaryen aka Jon Snow with his second wife.
He was the man of the people:
When Barristan Selmy left King’s landing and came to join Dany’s cause, he told her that her brother used to be so kind and affectionate to everyone around. He would sing and celebrate with ordinary folk and people respected him for that. In a way, he was a male version of Margery Tyrell who was a Queen of the people.
He didn’t have flaws of Dany or Jon Snow:
Rhaegar Targaryen is better than both his sister Dany and his son Aegon/Jon. Dany loses her temper and resorts to extreme measures such as burning Randall Tarly and Dickon Tarly alive, while Rhaegar was a man of reason. Jon, on the other hand, is King in the North but has no interest in governance, he is more a war-time ruler, but Prince Rhaegar was both an astute administrator and strong fighter.
He understood the importance of alliances:
Prince Rhaegar knew that House Targaryen can’t simply impose their rule on the rest without winning their hearts and minds.
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