Lyanna Stark’s Instagram
The text only provides hints for all of these things, without giving precise answers.
Lyanna was the Knight of the Laughing Tree; she was this spirited Northern girl whose personality was reminiscent of Visenya’s. Most people believe that Rhaegar was trying to complete his Three Heads of the Dragon, something like Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters come again. Rhaegar already had a Rhaenys and an Aegon; he just needed a Visenya.
From what we know, Elia was very good to Rhaegar. They were “fond” of each other. She “was a good and gracious lady, though her health was ever delicate.” However, Elia couldn’t give Rhaegar anymore children after Aegon, and Rhaegar obviously felt it was necessary to complete the prophecy and he was going to do that, regardless.
Some people argue that Rhaegar crowned Lyanna as Queen of Love & Beauty because he loved her, some say because he wanted to recognize her skill and bravery as the Knight of the Laughing Tree and QoL&B was the only award (normally) available to women at tourneys. Maybe Rhaegar was just trying to manipulate Lyanna and get her attention. We don’t know. Whatever his reasons, Rhaegar was an asshole when he publicly humiliated Elia.
Whether or not Rhaegar felt a romantic attraction to her, Lyanna — a daughter of Winterfell, the “ice” part of the Song of Ice and Fire that Rhaegar was aware of through prophecy — Lyanna must have seemed like a dream come true in terms of fulfilling the prophecy.
Did Rhaegar love Lyanna as a person? Did he just want her body as a baby-maker? Something in between? We don’t know. This post is a good exploration of the relationships at work here.
Did Rhaegar and Lyanna elope? Meaning, did they get married? Again, we don’t know. I personally don’t believe Rhaegar and Lyanna married, because I don’t think Jon’s problems of identity are going to go away that easily. Yeah, Jon will find out who his mom is, but he’ll still be a bastard.
I do think that Lyanna left the North with Rhaegar of her own free will, to escape the marriage she didn’t want with Robert Baratheon. I think women’s agency is an important theme in the books, so Lyanna choosing to go is important.
However, I think after her father and brother died, Lyanna had a change of heart about the whole thing. This is what I think happened.
But mostly we just don’t know for certain.
These tags might be helpful if you want to read more:
KNOWN QUEENS OF LOVE AND BEAUTY: In the Seven Kingdoms, tradition holds that the victor in a tournament may select any woman present and name her the queen of love and beauty, crowning her with a wreath of flowers and dedicating his victory to her. The victorious knight often chooses a woman he loves or intends to court, and it can be a source of scandal if the victor crowns a woman already bound to another man, or if a married man crowns someone other than his wife.
“Princess Elia was a good woman, Your Grace. She was kind and clever, with a gentle heart and a sweet wit. I know the prince was very fond of her.”
“In my dreams, I kill him every night. A thousand deaths will still be less than he deserves.”
“Love is sweet, dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man’s nature.”
targaryen meme | moments in targaryen history [1/6]: war of the usurper
The war first began when Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped Lyanna Stark and hid her away in the mountains of Dorne. Brandon Stark, the oldest son of House Stark, who at the time was on his way to Riverrun to marry Catelyn Tully, took this extremely hard. He gathered together a group of knights loyal to him and rode for the capital of King’s Landing. Riding up and down the streets they demanded Rhaegar answer for his crimes, and were immediately arrested. In the following months they were executed along with their fathers for their apparent treasons. Aerys II Targaryen the “Mad King”, realizing that his hold on Westeros was slipping, sent word to Jon Arryn that he was to surrender his foster children, Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon for execution.
Jon Arryn immeditely responded with a declaration of war, which was immediately joined by The North and The Stormlands. The Riverlands remained neutral for the time, but ultimately joined the rebels in a marriage pact between House Tully and the Starks and Arryns. House Greyjoy took no part in either side of the war. The next six months of war were a string of victories for the rebels, culminating in the Battle of the Bells, where the Hand of the King, Lord Jon Connington and the Royalist host were soundly beaten. The Royalist army reformed under Rhaegar, and joined by the Dornish set out for a final last ditch battle. The Battle of the Trident was a decisive conflict which saw the deaths of Rhaegar Targaryen, Kingsguard members Jonother Darry and Prince Lewyn Martell, and the devastation of The Targaryen army. Robert Baratheon himself killed Rhaegar, with his warhammer at The Ruby Ford. Further actions at Storms End and the Sack of King’s Landing solidified the rebels victory. Tywin Lannister finally joined the war, marching on King’s Landing. The death of the Mad King at the hands of Jaime Lannister proceeded the Sack of King’s Landing.
What remained of The Targaryen royal family fled to Dragonstone where Viserys Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen were able to escape to Pentos. This was narrowly in time, just as the Targaryen fleet was defeated at the hands of Stannis Baratheon’s navy.
Love is sweet, dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man’s nature.
asoiaf series: Lyanna Stark & Rhaegar Targaryen
Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna and thousands died for it.
Through the House of the Undying Ones and What Daenerys Targaryen Found There. ( Part I )