Quora Question: What is the most outlandish, but weirdly supported, fan theory in ASOIAF/Game of Thrones?

Rhaegar Targaryen is Ghost – Part 2

Rhaegar Targaryen is Ghost – Part 2

“Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the son, so both die kings

“Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another.” – Albert Einstein

‘Ghost’ by definition means the soul of a dead person. I believe Rhaegar is currently living in Jon Snow’s direwolf, Ghost, and is working together with the Old Gods, the Lord of Light, and the Children of the Forest, in order to help keep Jon safe as best they can so that Jon may fulfill his role in the Great War to Come against the Others, and so Rhaegar himself may transition out of Ghost, to fulfill his role in the Great War to come – the third head of the dragon.

There are many quotes in the books which suggest foreshadowing regarding Rhaegar Targaryen’s return from the dead, which I will sprinkle throughout this post.

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This following quote comes from a Bran chapter in the first ASOIAF book in the series, A Game of Thrones. The entire paragraph in this quote lists many things which we know to be nothing more than untruths and gossip amongst the small folk and travellers. Notice the first sentence and the last sentence (in bold below) compared to the others:

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That was the one thing they could agree on, Bran and Rickon and Robb the Lord; they all wished Father was here.

But Lord Eddard was a thousand leagues away, a captive in some dungeon, a hunted fugitive running for his life, or even dead. No one seemed to know for certain; every traveler told a different tale, each more terrifying than the last. The heads of Father’s guardsmen were rotting on the walls of the Red Keep, impaled on spikes. King Robert was dead at Father’s hands. The Baratheons had laid siege to King’s Landing. Lord Eddard had fled south with the king’s wicked brother Renly. Arya and Sansa had been murdered by the Hound. Mother had killed Tyrion the Imp and hung his body from the walls of Riverrun. Lord Tywin Lannister was marching on the Eyrie, burning and slaughtering as he went. One wine-sodden taleteller even claimed that Rhaegar Targaryen had returned from the dead and was marshaling a vast host of ancient heroes on Dragonstone to reclaim his father’s throne. – A Game of Thrones – Bran VI

I believe it is these two sentences alone which contains truth (regarding Lord Eddard) and foreshadowing (of Rhaegar who has returned from the dead … only no one knows Rhaegar is in Ghost). These truths were intended to be read and dismissed as gossip and rumors by us fans and readers, which is why they were placed one at the beginning of and one at the end of a paragraph packed full of false-truths, lies and gossip. Oh GRRM and your sneaky deaky foreshadowing! Brilliant!

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Why does Rhaegar have such a vested interest in Jon Snow?

At of the end of season six, the show confirmed what many have speculated and what the books will confirm as well: R+L=J. Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark had a child, a child we know as Jon Snow. Therefore it makes sense while Rhaegar awaits his transition out of Ghost, he acts as a guardian angel for Jon Snow.

What has not been openly discussed or mentioned is the fact that both Rhaegar and Lyanna were each born of parents who were more closely related in each of their respective family lines than had been in recent decades. Rhaegar’s parents and Lyanna’s parents were either first cousins, or first cousins once removed, making each of their bloodlines more ‘pure’ than others born at that time.

  • Rhaegar is the product of two strong lines of Targaryen (fire) DNA.
  • Lyanna is the result of two strong lines of Stark (ice) DNA, complete with a healthy dose of wolfsblood.
  • Jon is therefore the offspring of two people representing the merging of the strongest and purest form of Ice and Fire DNA in Westeros.

Since Targaryens practiced polygamy, it is widely speculated we will at some point learn Rhaegar and Lyanna were in fact married in front of a weirwood tree prior to Jon’s birth. This marriage would be recognized in the eyes of the Old Gods and would make Jon Snow both a legitimate Targaryen heir, and the next Targaryen King by birthright and laws of succession, as of the moment he was born.

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The fact Jon is the next in line true Targaryen King is further supported in the books when Ned travels to the Tower of Joy in Dorne, to free his sister who was being held there. To his surprise, Ned finds three members of the Kingsguard guarding the entrance to the tower: Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Oswell Whent, and Lord Commander Gerold Hightower:

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“I looked for you on the Trident,” Ned said to them.
“We were not there,” Ser Gerold answered.
“Woe to the Usurper if we had been,” said Ser Oswell.
“When King’s Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were.”
“Far away,” Ser Gerold said, “or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells.”
“I came down on Storm’s End to lift the siege,” Ned told them, and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and
all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them.”
“Our knees do not bend easily,” said Ser Arthur Dayne.
“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”
“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.
“But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”
“Then or now,”
said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.
We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.
Ned’s wraiths moved up beside him, with shadow swords in hand. They were seven against three.
“And now it begins,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.
“No,” Ned said with sadness in his voice. “Now it ends.”
– A Game of Thrones, Eddard X

Aegon (Rhaegars first born son) was killed during the Sack of King’s Landing, Prince Rhaegar was killed by Robert Baratheon on the Trident, and Mad King Aerys was killed by Jamie Lannister. The laws of succession and birthright state the eldest surviving son of Prince Rhaegar inherits the throne – making Jon Snow, who spent his entire life being raised a bastard, is in fact the true heir to the Iron Throne. This is why the Kingsguard were outside guarding the Tower of Joy, as it is their duty to guard the king and royal family – which in this case are Lyanna and baby Jon.

Jon Snow – the blue winter rose, ice and fire made flesh, wolfsblood warg, Watcher on the Wall, the king the Lord of Light is referring to in his flames, the rightful Targaryen King due to laws of succession and birthright, Lord Commander of the Nights Watch, King in the North, who has been resurrected once already, one of the dragon’s three heads, Azor Ahai.

It was no coincidence Ghost snuck away from the litter the day the direwolves were found – that was the work of the Old Gods. There was a reason only Ghost’s eyes were open long before a pup’s should be, long before his siblings’ eyes were open. If Ghost could not see, he could not sneak away, and this would increase his chances of ending up with the wrong Stark child. By allowing the other direwolves to be found and claimed first, this ensured Jon would end up with Ghost. Ghost was meant for Jon, and Jon alone. The Gods made that happen just as they enabled Rhaegar to reincarnate in Ghost.

Jon Snow and Ghost

It was no coincidence Rhaegar was the one to discover the prophecy during a time when Lyanna Stark, an exceptionally potent female Stark wolfsblood-warg, was both alive and of an ideal bloodline and age, to conceive and birth, the child who would save the world from darkness. The Old Gods played a hand in this as well.

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It is the way of prophecy to come in the form of riddles, the truth of prophecy to be fully realized as it unfolds.

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Prophecy is intended to act as a general head’s up in a certain direction or relating to a certain topic while maintaining its mystery. Prophecy does not come with a detailed playbook and decoder key laid out for all to see. We currently have access to just the tip of TPTWP prophecy iceberg, so to speak. In the spirit of attempting to solve an ASOIAF riddle, let us analyze the snippets of prophecy intel we do have.

This following prophecy quote comes from the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords, in which Stannis and Melisandre are talking:

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Melisandre put her hand on the king’s arm.

“The Lord of Light cherishes the innocent. There is no sacrifice more precious.

From his king’s blood and his untainted fire, a dragon shall be born.”

A Storm of Swords, Davos V, Stannis & Melisandre discuss sacrificing Stannis’ family

Dragons in prophecy are Targaryens. Based on the message in that quote, sacrificing an innocent who happens to have the correct king’s blood in his veins will wake a dragon. When it comes to ‘waking the dragon’ or ‘the dragon rises again’ in prophecy, this is not referring to a literal fire breathing dragon, but an actual Targaryen. There are not enough specifics in this quote to tell us whether the ‘dragon shall be born’ is a Targaryen from the past, or a current person who must die, and be brought back to life soon after.

When Melisandre says ‘from his king’s blood a dragon shall be born’ she has the message correct, she just doesn’t (yet) realize she has misinterpreted the Lord of Light’s flames. Stannis is not Azor Ahai, and therefore Stannis is not the king with the king’s blood which the prophecy requires. Melisandre is focussing on the wrong ‘king’.

Jon Snow is the king possessing the king’s blood the prophecy requires, as Jon is the ice and fire child, born a king the moment he entered the world. Jon Snow, Azor Ahai.

I propose the ‘innocent’ with king’s blood in his veins is also Jon Snow himself.

We can further speculate the actual ‘waking of the dragon’ in terms of this prophecy refers to one, or more, or all, of the following:

  • a rebirth (or significant change) in Jon who must die again in order to ‘wake a dragon’
  • a reincarnation or transmigration of the soul of a Targaryen from the past into the present
  • A combination of three events: the two listed above AND the literal waking of a dragon, or dragons, from stone as this could classify as three types of dragons rising and the number three is a number prophecy strongly associates with Targaryens.

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I propose waking the dragon in terms of this prophecy, will consist of a combination of all three events stated above.

I propose the three heads of the dragon are Jon, Daenerys and Rhaegar.

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“There must be one more,” he said, though whether he was speaking to her or the woman in the bed she could not say. “The dragon has three heads.” He went to the window seat, picked up a harp, and ran his fingers lightly

over its silvery strings. Sweet sadness filled the room as man and wife and babe faded like the morning mist,

only the music lingering behind to speed her on her way.– A Clash of Kings, Daenerys IV

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Regardless, all signs point to Jon must die again in order for the prophecy to unfold. Daenerys has walked into, and out of, a burning fire twice so far and emerges unscathed each time, setting the precedent death will likely elude her far more so than it will Jon. However as we have seen, when Jon dies, this quote applies:

‘What is dead may never die but rises again, harder and stronger’ – A Feast For Crows, The Prophet

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If the dragon being born, or reborn, is one from the past, it would make sense for that spirit to be close by, waiting for the moment, hanging out in the body of one who is closest to Jon, aka Azor Ahai.

Here is another return of Rhaegar foreshadowing quote, coming from Cersei, who had/has a deep infatuation with Rhaegar and was furious when her betrothal to him was not made official and Rhaegar chose the wolfmaid, Lyanna:

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It was not the first time the queen had made note of Waters, a lean young man with grey-green eyes and long silver-gold hair. The first time she had seen him, for half a heartbeat she had almost thought Rhaegar Targaryen had returned from the ashes. It is his hair, she told herself……… The Velaryons came from old Valyrian stock, however, and some had the same silvery hair as the dragonkings of old. – A Feast For Crows, Cersei III

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The Prologue chapter in A Dance With Dragons introduces us to Varamyr Sixskins, warg and skinchanger, who shows us how hard it is for an accomplished skinchanger such as himself to occupy another human, Thistle, for a very brief period of time, which he proves unsuccessful at. Such a talent seems to be reserved for powerful greenseers such as Bran Stark. A greenseer, Rhaegar is not.

Reincarnation – Transmigration of the Soul from One Living Being to Another

Occupying the body of a human would be rather inconvenient. First of all, humans keep dying all over the place in Westeros so body hopping from one to the next would need to be a quasi-regular thing to master, not to mention the inconvenience of it all. It would make it hard to stay close to Jon if Rhaegar had to body hop quasi-regularly from human to human without raising suspicion.

Occupying the body of a silent direwolf who never ever speaks or makes a sound, such as Ghost, now that would be a rather brilliant cover with a much longer life span than the average Westerosi, Jon included. Another huge plus supporting this possibility, people tend to fear direwolves as it is, which greatly reduce the chances of Jon’s direwolf being murdered, prolonging one’s longevity immensely.

As we move into later books we slowly get a bit more prophecy detail, a few more specifics and some very insightful prophecy intel. Here is a quote from the first Jon chapter in A Dance With Dragons:

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Burning dead children had ceased to trouble Jon Snow; live ones were another matter. Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the son, so both die kings. The words had been murmured by one of the queen’s men as Maester Aemon had cleaned his wounds. Jon had tried to dismiss them as his fever talking. Aemon had demurred. “There is power in a king’s blood,” the old maester had warned, “and better men than Stannis have done worse things than this.” The king can be harsh and unforgiving, aye, but a babe still on the breast? Only a monster would give a living child to the flames.

Jon pissed in darkness, filling his chamber pot as the Old Bear’s raven muttered complaints. The wolf dreams had been growing stronger, and he found himself remembering them even when awake. – A Dance with Dragons, Jon I

This is another GRRM writing technique I adore. Notice immediately after Jon is recalling comments regarding ‘two kings must die to wake the dragon’, the very next paragraph shows Jon thinking about his wolf dreams, noticing they have been growing stronger. Foreshadowing? Oh hell yea! This passage shows us the wolf dreams are directly connected to waking the dragon via death of two kings, first the father then the son. We know Jon was born a king based on timing of the deaths of Rhaegar, Aegon and King Aerys.

“Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the son, so both die kings

I propose Aegon V died a king (father of Mad King Aerys) and Mad King Aerys died a king (he was son of Aegon V) which triggered the ‘two kings must die to wake the dragon, first the father then the son, so both die kings to wake the dragon’ prophecy to begin to unfold – Rhaegar is the dragon (Targaryen) being woken, or rising again which is how he was able to transmigrate or reincarnate into Ghost.

To top it off, as we see in Game of Thrones S6E10, Jon Snow has been crowned King in The North, making him an now active king by vote in the north as well as (unknown to all) legitimate King by birthright, an aspect of the show which I believe will appear in the books. Since we all know being King is a dam deadly occupation in Westeros….

I propose Jon is dying again and rising again in book 6 (season 7) before the battle against the Others begins, further suggesting he is in fact Azor Ahai.

Ghost arrived in Jon’s life at the perfect time, under unique circumstances, shortly before a series of oh so very unfortunate events began to unfold for House Stark. Ghost has remained by Jon’s side the entire time, watching over him, protecting him, looking out for him, warning him of danger many times throughout the series, keeping him safe as best a four legged furry friend can. Ghost/Rhaegar is acting as a guardian angel from the Old Gods, the Gods of the First Men, the Gods of the Children of the Forest, and the Gods of the Starks, and the Lord of Light, to help ensure Jon is around for the final battle against the Others, and that Rhaegar Targaryen, is also close by ready to reincarnate and act as the third head of the dragon, thereby ensuring the good people of Westeros have the best fighting chance of surviving the impending war to come against the army of seriously hard to kill undead dead things, so that Good may prevail over Evil.

I propose Rhaegar is living inside Ghost, Jon Snow’s direwolf. This is why Ghost will prove to be as crucial a character as Jon Snow is to the ASOIAF story, which is why the show absolutely could not put Ghost in the Battle of the Bastards. It had nothing to do with CGI budget and everything to do with not giving away an essential component of the story.

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I also believe Ghost will live through the end of the ASOIAF tale. But who will Ghost be at that time? More foreshadowing from GRRM:

“Mance should have let me take the direwolf. There would be a second life worthy of a king.” -A Dance With Dragons, Prologue, the thoughts of Varamyr Sixskins

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Bittersweet ending indeed, if your name is Jon Snow 😉

Moral of the story – hug your dog, love your dog, you just never know

Hope you enjoyed the read, or were at least entertained…. more to come 🙂

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*Rhaegar Targaryen is Ghost Part 1

Ava Monroe’s answer to Could Coldhands be Rhaegar Targaryen?

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Starks of Winterfell: Significance Between the titles The Kings of Winter and The King in the North

Ava Monroe’s answer to What are the best Game of Thrones fan theories out there aside from R+L=J?

What is the most outlandish, but weirdly supported, fan theory in ASOIAF/Game of Thrones?

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