Pre- A Song of Ice and Fire Greatest Love Stories: Rhaegar & Lyanna
“Passing over his own wife, he named Lyanna the Queen of Love & Beauty instead.”
“Promise me, Ned.” The haunting final words of the beautiful, spirited Lyanna Stark to her brother Eddard as she lay dying in the Tower of Joy. Rose petals spilled from her palm as she died; dead and black. But perhaps it could be said that a different set of petals were the bringer of such a death. Lyanna attended the Tourney at Harrenhal, where the handsome Prince Rhaegar Targaryen won the Tourney, and surprised all in attendance when he rode passed his own wife and laid the winter rose crown in Lyanna’s lap, thus revealing his feelings for her.
About a year later, it is believed that Rhaegar stole Lyanna from Winterfell, though some speculate the Stark beauty went willfully. The reasons as to why Rhaegar stole Lyanna are still unknown, but the event sparked Robert’s rebellion against the Targaryen dynasty. Brandon heard of his sister’s kidnapping and rode to King’s Landing to threaten Rhaegar’s life. He and his father were murdered by the King after being arrested.
Eddard and Robert were important leaders in the war, alongside their foster father Jon Arryn. The rebels defeated the royal army at the Trident where Rhaegar was killed, which decided the war. The Lannisters joined the rebels and took King’s Landing, while Ned, Howland and five other companions rode to the Tower of Joy; still being guarded by three Targaryen loyalists. They fought, and only Eddard and Howland survived, where they found Lyanna inside the tower dying. It is unknown as to what took her life, but her brother held her as she died, and she uttered those final words; a promise to her brother that lived with him for the rest of his life.
“Promise me, Ned.”
Pre- A Song of Ice and Fire Greatest Love Stories: Cersei & Jaime Lannister as youths
“We came into this world together. We belong together.”
Born into this world together; Jaime and Cersei were inseparable as children, and at times they couldn’t be told apart, even by their own parents. Cersei could not understand why they were suddenly treated differently as they grew older; Jaime was taught to fight and joust, while she learned to sing and dance. They began an incestuous relationship as children, and when discovered by a servant; their mother Joanna moved Jaime’s chambers to the other side of the castle.
Cersei left Casterly Rock with her father, and truly missed her brother. When he visited, she persuaded Jaime to join the King’s Guard so that they could stay together, only to be torn apart again when Tywin took her back to Casterly Rock.
Cersei later married Robert, who at first she loved before he called out the name “Lyanna” during their first night together. Jaime once again became her lover and only true ally; fathering all three of her children, a secret only just being uncovered by the rest of the realm.
Pre- A Song of Ice and Fire Greatest Love Stories: Barbrey Ryswell & Brandon Stark
“A bloody sword is a beautiful thing.”
When Brandon Stark was younger, he was fostered to Barrowton, spending much of his time riding the Rills, where he met Barbrey of House Ryswell. They soon became infatuated with one another, and Barbrey remembers fondly the night he took her maidenhead “It hurt, but it was a sweet pain”.
Of course, Brandon was later betrothed to Catelyn Tully, but on his way to wed her learned of his sister Lyanna’s abduction. He and his kinsmen rode to King’s Landing threatening Rhaegar Targaryen’s life. Their fathers were called to court to answer for their crimes when Brandon and his men were arrested for plotting to kill Rhaegar. Brandon was forced to watch as his father was cooked alive in his own armor. He was bound with a leather cord around his neck and a longsword just out of reach, and he strangled himself trying to get to the sword to save his father.
Barbrey claims that Brandon did not want to marry Catelyn, and that the match was made when Lord Rickard’s maester planted the idea in his head. Since then, she has become distrustful of maesters; referring to them as “grey rats”.
Pre- A Song of Ice and Fire Greatest Love Stories: Ashara Dayne & Eddard Stark
“Nothing could come of his desire for her.”
Ashara Dayne was one of the lady companions of Elia Martell and considered one of the most beautiful women in the Seven Kingdoms. She was tall, with dark hair and haunting violet eyes. She captured the hearts of many men; one being Ned Stark. They danced together at the Tourney At Harrenhal, and after Robert’s rebellion a rumor spread she could have been Jon Snow’s mother.
Ashara jumped from the top of one of the towers of Starfall; the Palestone Sword. Many believed it was because she was overcome with grief over the death of her brother Arthur. Her body was never recovered.
But ser Barristan Selmy revealed the truth. He himself was in love with Ashara, and planned to name her the Queen of Love and Beauty at the Harrenhal Tourney. Alas, Barristan was unhorsed by Rhaegar Targaryen, who named Lyanna Stark instead. This action led to a chain of events that started Robert’s rebellion, and to this day Barristan believes if he had beaten Rhaegar, the war would never have started.
He also believes that if he had won the tourney and crowned Ashara, she’d not have died; for ser Barristan revealed that Ashara took her life because she gave birth to a stillborn daughter, and was impregnanted by “a Stark”, thus being dishonored. It is unclear as to whether Eddard was the father, or if his older brother Brandon had dishonored Ashara at Harrenhal.
Pre- A Song of Ice and Fire Greatest Love Stories: Joanna & Tywin Lannister
“He ruled the 7 Kingdoms, but was ruled at home by his lady wife.”
Joanna was born into a cadet branch of House Lannister, and was sent to King’s Landing as one of Princess Rhaella’s ladies-in-waiting. She was promised to her cousin, Tywin; Lord of Casterly Rock, who would later be the Hand of King Aerys II Targaryen. On their wedding day, it was said that Tywin Lannister smiled; a rare occurrence as he mistrusted laughter after hearing too much directed at his father and House during his early years.
The marriage was considered a happy one; Joanna became Tywin’s trusted counselor and companion. However, Lady Joanna died whilst giving birth to their son, Tyrion. According to Tywin’s brother Gerion “the best part of Tywin died with her”.
Tywin never remarried, nor did he ever smile again.
Pre- A Song of Ice and Fire Greatest Love Stories: Jenny & Duncan Targaryen
“He gave up his claim for a commoner.”
Prince Duncan Targaryen was the heir to the Iron Throne and was due to marry whoever King Aegon V decided, when he met Jenny of Oldstones. She was supposedly a commoner, who wove flowers in her hair and was friends with the woods witch who prophesied the Prince that was Promised being born from Aerys and Rhaella’s line. Duncan (known as Duncan the Small) was so in love with Jenny, he gave up his crown by marrying her against his father’s wishes; thus he was known as the Prince of Dragonflies.
But soon after, Duncan died alongside his father and his namesake ser Duncan the Tall in the tragedy of Summerhall, where it was rumored a member of the House Targaryen attempted to hatch a dragon egg and set the castle on fire.
There is a song about Jenny of Oldstones and the Prince of Dragonflies, and it is unclear as to whether it is actually about Duncan the Small, or if he adopted the name from the song after he gave up his crown.
Pre- A Song of Ice and Fire Greatest Love Stories: Rhaella Targaryen & Bonifer Hasty
“Only the Maiden could replace Queen Rhaella in his heart.”
According to Barristan Selmy, when Rhaella was just a young girl, she and a knight named ser Bonifer Hasty were infatuated with one another. Ser Bonifer wore the princess’s favor at a tourney in which he defeated all challengers and named Rhaella the Queen of Love & Beauty.
Ser Bonifer was of too low birth to marry a Targaryen princess, and when a woods witch prophesied that the Prince that was Promised would be born from the line of Aerys and Rhaella, she was married to her brother and the lovers parted ways. Bonifer turned pious; dedicating himself to the Faith of the Seven.