Hi! I love your blog and your meta, but I specially love your au tag, so I have a question for you. What do you think would have happened if both Rhaegar and Robert had died at the Trident? And if Aerys, for any cause, had also died? I just like to imagine a world where Elia is alive and ruling like a boss (maybe as Regent Queen?). She deserved so much better!
She did indeed. However, unfortunately your AU doesn’t make any changes to Tywin, and that’s what you need for Elia to live.
All right. Please see the Robert’s Rebellion timeline, or check the wiki, and follow along. At the Battle of the Trident, though Robert killed Rhaegar, he was also wounded. Let’s assume that those wounds kill him, but not before Ned leaves with the rebel army, marching down the Kingsroad as fast as possible to get to King’s Landing, chasing the remains of the loyalist army. Ned may be informed about Robert’s death by raven, if the maesters don’t cover it up, and at that point the question of who the rebels will acclaim as their new king is very important – Stannis (as Robert’s heir, though he’s besieged in Storm’s End and not anywhere near the army at that time), or Ned (as the most injured by Aerys’s mad despotic rule, and who Robert had wanted to be king, not him), or Jon Arryn (third most, also preferred by Robert) – but either way, it’s not certain that Tywin will be informed. And Tywin must already have his Westerlands army on the march, to reach King’s Landing before the rebel army does.
Now, if Tywin finds out about Robert’s death before he gets to KL, that isn’t necessarily a reason for him to support the Targaryens. He still hates Aerys, remember. (Who I cannot figure out how to kill before Jaime does it, short of Rhaella stabbing him (very unlikely) or him pulling a Maegor on the Iron Throne (extremely unlikely) so that’s going to stay the same.) And even if Tywin decides the rebels’ cause is lost, in his mind Elia is still “nothing”, and still the one who stole Rhaegar from Cersei. So, if Tywin chooses to stay nominally loyal to the Targaryens, I think he’ll still sack King’s Landing (under the excuse of removing the mad remains of Aerys’s rule) and have Elia killed in the chaos, so that he can be regent for Aegon, or possibly Viserys. Probably eventually Viserys, so that Cersei can marry him and be queen as the gods intended. (Though note Viserys is on Dragonstone at this point, not in King’s Landing, so Tywin would make sure to keep Aegon alive… for now.) And if Tywin still goes over to the rebels (if he doesn’t find out about Robert’s death until it’s too late), then the Sack proceeds with no changes at all.
Afterwards, the question of who will be chosen as the new king is a big one. If the rebel lords acclaim Stannis, then the relief of the Siege of Storm’s End becomes very very important. (And Mace Tyrell also becomes incredibly important, as he’s not just lazily besieging a rebel leader’s younger brothers, but the rebels’ new king.) If the rebels choose Ned or Jon Arryn (over the protests of maesters who say they don’t have a royal claim), then what’s relevant is how Tywin holds King’s Landing, either pro-rebel or pro-Targaryen and Aegon’s guardian. Actually, that’s highly relevant if Stannis is acclaimed too, so let’s get back to that point.
If Tywin is pro-rebel, then he has opened the gates to the rebel army, but Ned and Jon and/or Stannis are not nearly as grateful/forgiving of his Targaryen murders as Robert was in the original timeline. (Jaime would then go to the Wall, and Cersei’s not marrying anyone royal.) If pro-Targaryen, then Tywin has closed the gates and the war… happens some more, I’m not sure how exactly… until, most likely, a Great Council is called. At the Council, either Tywin will be convinced to go over to the rebel side (and Aegon and Rhaenys probably go to the Faith or Wall), or some sort of consensus is agreed regarding Aegon VI becoming king with a regency council much like Aegon III’s. Regarding the occasional AU meta post I’ve seen where someone states the rebels would never allow this, due to the fear of Aegon growing up to take revenge on them– you just control his education so that he grows up learning of the immoral and illegal activities of his father and grandfather and how good for Westeros it was that they were deposed. I mean, this obviously happened with Aegon III, as he never changed Aegon II’s declaration that Rhaenyra was never a queen, only a usurper, and his regency council was a mix of Blacks and Greens with no known revenge on the Greens once he came into his majority. And Aegon VI’s just a toddler, he’d be remarkably easy to influence as he grows up.
But unfortunately Elia is still dead, in any variation. :( Well… there might be a variation that could please you a bit more. I’ve answered the question of what if Robert and Rhaegar both died at the Trident before – and in that one I gave Tywin a bit more caution and less desire for revenge, so the Sack doesn’t happen. I think that this version in this post is slightly more probable, alas, because Tywin is Tywin in any history, and TWOIAF had not yet been released when I wrote that post… but choose what you like. (Though seriously, if you want Elia to live in a Robert’s Rebellion AU, you need to kill Tywin, not Robert. You’d end up with a much better Westeros on the whole, too. If you do it early enough, you might prevent Jaime and Cersei from being as badly warped, but doing it near the Rebellion saves Tyrion from quite a lot of damage, at least.) Hope that helps!