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Fanfic / The Open Way

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An A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic in which Robert's Rebellion failed and House Targaryen remained in power. King Rhaegar rules from the Iron Throne, but can't control his own family. Dorne still seethes because of his treatment of Elia, his courting of Cersei Lannister causes more division in court, and his children deal the fallout of his actions.

Can be read here. Written by Oberon Sexton.

  • Adapted Out: This is sort of the case, as a result of some of the characters fates being changed post Robert's Rebellion, certain characters were simply never born in this story. A great example is the Stark children, as since Ned went to the Wall, with the exception of Robb Stark, all of Ned Stark's children were simply never born. This mean's that there's no Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon Stark present in the story.
    • Actually, Sansa is here. Just not our version of her. Her dad was a Frey.
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  • Antagonist in Mourning: Despite everything, including him replacing her with two other women and her trying to kill him, Rhaegar was still deeply in love with Elia and couldn't bring himself to execute her. When she killed herself on his blade, he held her body close and wept.
  • Arranged Marriage: Stannis Baratheon and Janna Tyrell. Catelyn Tully and Aenys Frey. Viserys Targaryen and Margaery Tyrell.
  • Ascended Extra: Lysa and Tygett get their own story arc.
  • Awful Wedded Life:
    • Rhaegar and Elia, unsurprisingly, didn't get along very well once he got back from having sex with another woman. Now they're living apart.
    • Catelyn hasn't appeared in-person yet, but the fact that she was forced to marry Aenys Frey speaks for itself. Lysa mentions that he's been turning their children against her.
  • Badass Boast: When Melisandre admonishes Ser Oswell for petitioning against her plans by saying he's bringing them closer to the coming darkness, he replies, "I am a bat my lady, we quite like the dark."
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  • Because Destiny Says So: Rhaegar's justification for almost everything he does. Deconstructed in that it's not good enough for everyone else, and he alienates a lot of people.
  • Big Brother Bully: Viserys toward Daenerys and Jon, though Jon is his nephew.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Rhaegar left Elia for Lyanna, then abandoned Jon, then accused Elia of trying to kill him, and then married Cersei Lannister. Elia left for Dorne and is now sleeping with another man. Oh, and she murdered Aerys. Rhaella no longer trusts anything Rhaegar says and orders Oswell Whent to spy on Aegon. Rhaenys and Jon seem to be the only ones that really get along.
  • Big Sister Instinct/Cool Big Sis: Rhaenys adores Jon and gets pissed whenever someone so much as looks at him the wrong way. Not so much with Aegon since he doesn't really need anyone to look out for him.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: Gerold Hightower saves Rhaegar from the Martell's attempted assassination in chapter 48.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Ser Oswell and Queen Rhaella are very close. There's even a My Eyes Are Up Here moment at the end of chapter 7.
  • Call-Back: In-universe. Aemon, while talking to Ser Richard Lonmouth, compares Cersei to Alicent Hightower.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Early on, Rhaenys questions Rhaegar's poor treatment of Jon and his plan to marry Cersei.
    Rhaenys: After you marry that Lannister lady will we [she and Aegon] just become mistakes too? Will your new family be better than us?
  • The Chessmaster: Aenys Frey plans to kill Edmure because his children have a claim to Riverrun through their mother. He also kidnapped Gerion Lannister to exchange him for Robb, who would have been his Puppet Lord of Winterfell.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Subverted. Robb is technically Lord of Winterfell, but since he's been a hostage nearly his whole life, Benjen has done all the ruling in his place. So far, Robb hasn't even been to the North; he was born in Riverrun and raised in both King's Landing and Starfall.
  • The Chosen One: Melisandre believes that Aegon is Azor Ahai. Deconstructed in that Aegon has been told this his entire life by Rhaegar, and has no idea what he is supposed to do to actually save Westeros. So, when Melisandre shows up to give him advice, he happily accepts her as an advisor. There is also the fact he is slowly turning Ax-Crazy.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Aemon tricks Darkstar into drinking wildfire, causing his head to catch on fire.
  • Damsel in Distress: Lysa is captured by Lannister forces but later rescued by her uncle Brynden.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Canon says Oswell Whent was known for his dark humor and here we get to see it on display.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Robert, Hoster, and Jon Arryn were all killed during the failed rebellion.
    • Aerys dies sooner, thanks to Elia's poison.
  • Death by Childbirth: Lyanna.
  • Demoted to Extra: Daenerys and to lesser extent Viserys.
    • Catelyn and Edmure haven't even appeared yet.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Gerion Lannister is kidnapped by Aenys Frey and his brother Tygett goes off in search of him.
    • Robb, at this point a teenager, is captured by the ironborn while he's sailing north to take his place as Lord of Winterfell. He ends up as Asha Greyjoy's thrall.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Rhaegar does what he does because he has nightmares about the Second Long Night.
    • Ser Oswell, Ser Loras, Ser Jaime, and Ser Bryce Caron receive a prophecy from the Ghost of High Heart.
    "I dreamt of those with the black blood crawling from the cold depths of the sea, hungry for carnage and hungry for the souls of men, a wicked thing with ten long arms and a single blue eye destroying everything in his path, tearing the City of Kings apart and salting the earth beneath. I dreamt of a princess bleeding, dying in her young love's embrace. I dreamt of a gathering of beasts, Snake, Kraken, and Wolf, all together in the snow as the dead marched and light left the world. But mostly I keep dreaming of Dragons. When the King sits the throne for the sixth time, a red tear shall mark the sky, and it will be a sign that the three children of fire have come. From the south comes fire, from the north comes ice. In betwixt is suffering and death. An age of darkness shall be upon us, and only the Promised one will deliver us."
  • Driven to Suicide: Elia impales herself on Rhaegar's sword after she and Doran fail to assassinate him.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: In chapter 45, Rhaenys is stabbed in the chest by her lover, Gerris Drinkwater.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Harras Harlaw becomes disquieted by the increasing cruelty and depravity of his fellow Ironborn. Euron in particular absolutely disgusts him. When his comrades-in-arms attack Princess Visenya (who is still a child) and force her to watch as they try to rape her nursemaid, he turns his coat and kills them.
    Harras' thoughts: Is this what we've become, hungry beasts without restraint?
    • Elia, while she does resent Jon as a sign of Rhaegar's infidelity to her, is still appalled that Rhaegar just abandons him without a second glance.
  • The Exile: Ned was sent to the Night's Watch. Because of his vows, Catelyn is essentially a widow and was re-married to Aenys Frey.
  • Frame-Up: Tywin frames Elia for an attempt on Rhaegar's life and she is banished to Dorne.
  • The Fundamentalist: Septon Gwayne.
  • Gilded Cage: Ashara and Elia are imprisoned in the Maidenvault after an attempt on Rhaegar's life. They're later banished to Dorne.
  • A House Divided: The Targaryens are steadily headed toward this. Currently, Aegon is plotting to have his father dethroned and believes Rhaenys is plotting with the Dornishmen to inherit the throne before him. Rhaella doesn't trust Rhaegar or Aegon. Jon is the middle of everything, but trying to stay neutral. And everyone hates Cersei. Now, however, Aegon has burned Rhaegar alive after he tries to use his younger sister, Visenya, as a sacrifice to hatch a dragon. It worked, but Jon and Rhaenys now also have dragons, and, with Rhaenys planning to seize the throne, and Jon being forced into hiding as he learns to control his, things are only going to get worse.
  • Human Sacrifice: Melisandre convinces Aegon to burn his prisoners alive, even though he's not happy to do so. When she pushes for the burning of one of the Botleys, Ser Oswell steps in and puts a stop to it.
    • Later on, Melisandre convinces Aegon to burn Visenya to hatch a dragon egg, but ends up using his father, Rhaegar, instead.
    • Euron tries to use his niece, Asha, and a bunch of children to hatch some dragon eggs of his own. He's stopped, and ends up burning himself. Asha still dies though.
  • I Have Your Son/Nephew: Robb is taken as a hostage as a baby and raised alongside Aegon for a few years before being sent to live at Starfall. Catelyn, Edmure, Benjen, and the Blackfish are not happy with the arrangement.
    • This is what Aenys Frey had planned for Gerion Lannister, but it doesn't work out.
  • Irony: Jon has the legitimacy he always wanted in canon, but still gets stigmatized for the circumstances of his birth.
  • Lady Macbeth: Melisandre is seen as being this for Prince Aegon.
  • The Lost Lenore: Ned to Ashara.
  • Mama Bear: Rhaella and Elia.
  • Marry for Love: Subverted. Rhaegar marries Cersei against the advice of...everyone really, but he only wants her for her fertility. It's implied that he didn't really love Lyanna either, especially given his treatment of Jon.
  • The Mole: Darkstar was a Lannister mole working to take down the Martells.
    • Rhaella sends Oswell Whent to ingratiate himself with Prince Aegon to find out what he and Melisandre are up to.
    • Aegon has Gerris Drinkwater spying on Rhaenys for him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rhaegar defies this, firm in his belief that saving the world justifies whatever actions he takes. He does for feel horrible about how he treated Jon, and wonders how he could face Lyanna in the afterlife knowing he abandoned their son.
  • Not So Different: When Robb tries to explain to Asha that killing people just to take their belongings is wrong, she points that most greenlanders commit similar or worse atrocities all the time, with a side of At Least I Admit It.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws:
    • The Martells can't stand Rhaegar, though he doesn't bear them much ill will. After Oberyn's death, Elia and Doran plot to kill Rhaegar.
    • And Tywin Lannister was plotting to murder Rhaegar, but Rhaegar killed him first.
    • Lysa hates Aenys so much she asks Tygett to murder him for her. Judging from the way he talks about her, the feeling appears to be mutual.
  • Oh, Crap!: Rhaella and Oswell share one when Melisandre announces that Aegon is Azor Ahai.
  • Off with His Head!: How Rhaegar executes Doran for attempted regicide.
  • Papa Wolf: The Blackfish and Benjen Stark are really pissed that Robb was taken as a hostage.
  • Parental Abandonment: Rhaegar took one look at Jon and handed him off to Rhaella.
  • Parental Substitute: Ashara Dayne loves Robb Stark because he's the last bit of Ned she has left. Robb considers her his real mother, not Catelyn.
  • Pet the Dog: To an extend. Asha keeps Robb's identity a secret and protects him from her fellow ironborn, but only because he's useful to her. And she does take some pleasure in having him as a slave.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Jon was raised on Dragonstone by his grandmother.
  • Rebel Leader:
    • There's no way the Blackfish is bowing to the king who killed his brother, widowed one of his nieces, and took another niece's son from her.
    • Balon Greyjoy leads a rebellion to succeed from the Seven Kingdoms, just as in canon.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Elia gives one to Rhaegar before her death.
    "You are the worst of your line Rhaegar Targaryen, worse even than your father. You will bring only misery and death to those around you."
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Rhaegar considers his plan to have a daughter with Lyanna to be this since they had a boy. The rest of the realm wonders why he went through the trouble of starting a war for her if he was just going to act like their child didn't exist.
  • Ship Tease: Between Lysa Tully and Tygett Lannister. She kisses him when she helps him escape from the Freys, but he says it would never work out between them.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Queen Rhaella is pretty tough and cunning.
    • Elia was well. She's the one who poisoned Aerys.
  • Spanner in the Works: Oberyn when Rhaegar is killing Lannisters. He dies because of it.
  • Spared By Adaptation: Most of the Targaryens, Aerys' Kingsguard, Richard Lonmouth, Ashara Dayne and others.
  • The Squire: Willas Tyrell is Ser Oswell's squire. He's hardworking, but kind of annoying.
  • Tomboy Princess: Visenya, Rhaegar and Cersei's daughter, likes horseback-riding and roughhousing.
  • Turncoat: Gerold Dayne was recruited by Tywin Lannister to "take care" of the Martells and Elia's children.
  • The Unfavorite: Rhaegar was hoping for another daughter to complete the "three heads of the dragon" prophecy, so when Jon turned out to be a boy, Rhaegar dumped him on Dragonstone with his mother and siblings. He outright calls Jon a mistake and doesn't like having his other children interact with him.
  • Unexpected Character: You didn't think Aemon would come down from the Wall, did you?
  • Wicked Stepmother: Downplayed. Elia does say that she would kill Jon if it meant protecting her children, but claims it's Nothing Personal.
  • Would Hurt a Child: While sneaking into the Red Keep, some Ironborn find eight-year old Princess Visenya trying to escape and discuss raping her. They decided not to, only because they figure Euron Greyjoy would be upset that he didn't get to rape her first.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Harras Harlaw, after changing sides in the middle of battle, guards the tunnel that Princess Visenya and her attendants are using to escape the city. He kills every Ironborn who tries to go that way, until one of them manages to stab him in the stomach, fatally wounding him. With the last of his strength, Harras goes to a sept at the mouth of the tunnel and sets it on fire to further safeguard the princess.

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