If you read our article on how Lyanna won Rhaegar's heart at the tourney at Harrenhal, you already know that a lot of amazing events happened just before Robert's Rebellion. Since a Rhaegar's flashback is rumored to be featured in the next episodes of "Game of Thrones" season 7, it looks like a good time to talk about the "Rhaegar's coup theory", a fascinating hypothesis which cast a new light on the Rhaegar-Aerys II relationship.

The theory recounts a story of politics, madness, war and love that we think you're going to like, as it comes straight from George R.R. Martin's brilliant mind.

Everyone loves Rhaegar, everyone hates Aerys

"At first, Rhaegar didn't want to believe that his father was incapable to rule, but in the end, even he saw that this was true" (Barristan Selmy, "A Dance With Dragons"). Have you ever wondered how could Rhaegar, who was loved by everyone, accept the cruelty of his father? If Barristan's words are to be believed, The Dragon Prince ultimately noticed what his father was going to do to the Seven Kingdoms.

According to a not-so-famous but very good theory, Rhaegar decided to save the realm from his father before Robert's Rebellion.

We have several pieces of evidence that support this theory. For example, how is it possible that three Kingsguard were with Rhaegar on more than one occasion instead of being with their King, where they were supposed to be? How is it possible that these legendary knights (Arthur Dayne, Oswell Whent, and Gerold Hightower), when Robert Baratheon was going to overthrow their king were located in a solitary tower in Dorne?

Well, there is a simple explanation: they were sworn to Rhaegar instead of the king. They were known as the paragons of honor and duty but they were loyal to Rhaegar. Why? Because they realized, just like the Dragon Prince, that if the Mad King would have continued to rule, that would have been catastrophic for the Seven Kingdoms.

According to this theory, around 280-281 AC Rhaegar was planning a coup against his father. And someone we know very well actually told the Mad King what was going to happen: Varys warned the king that the tourney at Harrenhal was a pretext for Rhaegar to plot against him ("A Dance With Dragons").

The Tourney at Harrenhal

The tourney at Harrenhal was held in 281 AC and was the greatest of its time. While most believed House Whent was displaying their splendor, some believed the family lacked the funding for the prizes and were instead supported by someone else, who was, according to Maester Yandel, Rhaegar Targaryen himself. Here's another interesting particular: the tourney was announced after Oswell Whent (one of the Kingsguard loyal to Rhaegar) paid a visit to his brother Lord Walter Whent.

It's a weird coincidence, isn't it?

The Mad King wasn't supposed to attend the event but he did when Varys told him that Rhaegar planned to use the tourney as a pretext to meet with more than a few high lords to discuss the king's removal from the throne in an informal Great Council. Aerys' presence at the tourney may have convinced Rhaegar and the other Lords to postpone the Great Council, but the plan to overthrow the king wasn't abandoned.

Lyanna enters the story

A really important event happened at the tourney: the meeting between Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark. We recounted everything about their meeting in one of our previous articles. Long story short: Lyanna saved a crannogman (probably Howland Reed) from a beating, and then decided to avenge him joining the tourney as the mysterious "Knight of the Laughing Tree".

Apparently, she liked Rhaegar (she wept when she heard him singing a sad song during one of the tourney's feasts). The Mad King decided that the mystery knight was an enemy of the crown and sent Rhaegar to find him. Rhaegar told everyone he only found the knight's shield, but a lot of fans think he actually met Lyanna for the first time during his searches. Shortly after, Rhaegar (who was married to Elia Martell) crowned Lyanna (who was betrothed to Robert Baratheon) as Queen of love and beauty, which was scandalous.

Lyanna's abduction

After several months, Lyanna and Rhaegar met again not far from Harrenhal. Rhaegar took her by him with the help of two Kingsguard. He was still planning to remove the Mad King from the Iron Throne, but her love for Lyanna was so great that he ran away with her and maybe he even married her in secret.

This is what led to Robert's Rebellion: enraged for what they thought was a kidnapping, Rickard and Eddard Stark went to King's Landing to face Rhaegar, but there they found Aerys, who burnt them alive. Shortly after, Robert and Eddard officially started the war.

In the end, Lyanna and Rhaegar's love story could save Westeros

According to this theory, Rhaegar's plan changed after he fell in love with Lyanna: he decided to remove his father from the throne after the Battle of the Trident, but, as we all know, during that battle Robert Baratheon found him on the battlefield and killed him with his warhammer.

You may think Lyanna and Rhaegar's love caused an incredible disaster, but if you consider the White Walkers' problem, maybe their love is what is going to save the Seven Kingdoms, as the greatest adversary of the Night's King is now their son, Jon Snow.