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Olenna's Targaryen Prince: Duncan the Small?


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#1 Apple Martini

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:03 PM

Nods for this one go to posters in the R+L=J thread for ... somehow ... landing on this topic. /biggrin.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':D' />

We know Olenna almost married a member of House Targaryen and she claims to have done everything possible in order prevent that from happening. The identity of her intended is never revealed. It seems commonly speculated that it was one of the, uh, nuttier Targaryens and that Olenna really did want to avoid the marriage at all costs.

However, what if it's the opposite, and Olenna was actually spurned? She's a very proud woman; rather than admit to someone like Sansa that her marriage contract was nullified, wouldn't she be just the sort to pull a sour grapes routine (she is a Redwyne ...) and say that no, it didn't happen because she didn't want it to? Wouldn't it be a boon for House Redwyne to marry any Targaryen?

We know that Duncan the Small fell in love with Jenny of Oldstones against his father's wishes and gave up his crown. This seems to suggest that Aegon V had another suit in mind when Duncan decided to be with Jenny.

Olenna obviously went on to marry Luthor Tyrell and, while it seems that she wasn't too impressed with him, she had his children and generally did her wifely duties. The "Queen of Thorns" ties her chiefly to House Tyrell, and it can be surmised, probably correctly in terms of her later life, that it's because of her sharp barbs and wit. But what if it was originally intended to be mocking? Olenna lost her chance to be Queen of Westeros and is now the Queen of "Thorns" (the Tyrells) instead. Loras isn't amused when Sansa refers to Olenna by this nickname — is it because Olenna herself, knowing its origins, isn't amused by it either? It seems like the sort of thing that's evolved to mean something else (again, her wit). Wouldn't Olenna embrace it or be fond of it, knowing that it's actually a compliment of sorts? Not if she knows that its origin is anything but complimentary.

This also begs the question as to why Aegon V would want to marry Duncan to a Redwyne in the first place. My answer to that is: probably the Redwyne navy, specifically that if Aegon V knew that the Blackfyres were making inroads in the Free Cities and possibly setting up to invade the Stepstones (War of the Ninepenny Kings), he would want to have a naval power in his pocket. While the Wot9PK occurred very late in Aegon's reign, it wouldn't surprise me if he had been preparing for such a conflict for a longer period of time by trying to consolidate a naval force, which might very well include a marriage contract with one of the most powerful naval families.

Finally, all of this goes a very long way toward explaining — beyond the usual reasons of power and wealth — why the Tyrells are so keen for Margaery to be queen. Mace is the head of the house, but Olenna's the real power and the one really making the big decisions or at least planting the seeds. Olenna loves her granddaughter and sees her as a protege. By making Margaery a queen, Olenna can live vicariously through her and put Margaery in a position that she was unable to attain.

#2 WinterKing

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:19 PM

How much later after Aegon V coming to power was the war of the Ninepenny kings?
ETA: Perfect Analysis,as always, AM!

Edited by WinterKing, 19 May 2013 - 03:21 PM.


#3 Mrs.Grumpy

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:20 PM

Love it !

#4 Mladen

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:21 PM

Apple, you nailed it again

The thing that always bugged me a bit is why does she hates her nickname? She has no problems of calling her son Lord Oaf, or puff-fish, she refers to Lannisters and Starks as lions and wolves, she called Oberyn viper, calls her guard Left and Right... So, why is she so against her nickname? The title Queen of Thorns might fit her witty personnality, and yet, Loras counsels Sansa not to use it in front of her. You would think she would grow up to like the given nickname? If it was just meant to be as atribute to her smartness, why does she hates it so much?

And that`s where your theory fits perfectly. Queen of Westeros became Queen of Thorns. One sits in Throne room, and is Queen of Iron Throne (sharp swords), and Olenna became Queen of Thorns. It`s like those swords were exchanged for thorns.

The reasons for this marriage is, as you said it, quite good. I can see Aegon trying to have the biggest fleet in the World - 2000 ships in his ranks. Also, I can see him politically maneuvering possible confrontations with Blackfyre and isolating as much as he can, the possible threat.

As what are the consequences now, I would say, QoT is very much keen to remain her protege on the Throne. remember the LF`s story, Mace showed desire, but QOT was asking the right questions. I imagine what those questions were? At the end, she didn`t blink on killing Joffrey right under the nose of entire Kingdom, so I imagine she is somewhat very proud woman. And I doubt it came only from her Redwyne blood. After all, she was perhaps, the it girl in Westeros.

#5 Dr. Pepper

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:23 PM

Finally, all of this goes a very long way toward explaining — beyond the usual reasons of power and wealth — why the Tyrells are so keen for Margaery to be queen. Mace is the head of the house, but Olenna's the real power and the one really making the big decisions or at least planting the seeds. Olenna loves her granddaughter and sees her as a protege. By making Margaery a queen, Olenna can live vicariously through her and put Margaery in a position that she was unable to attain.


Hmm, I can see this. I typically subscribed to the theory that she was meant for Aerion, but that relied on me believing everything the Queen of Thorns said. And you're right, giving her that moniker may have been a play on how a would-be queen was scorned in favor of Jenny With Flowers in Her Hair.

#6 Apple Martini

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:24 PM

How much later after Aegon V coming to power was the war of the Ninepenny kings?
ETA: Perfect Analysis,as always, AM!


The Wot9PK actually occurred pretty late in Aegon's reign, toward the end. However, it seems like the threat had been present or growing for a while, so I don't think it's out of the question for Aegon to try to build up naval power earlier in his reign even though the conflict happened later. I could be way offbase with the navy thing — and this entire theory, hah — but it just jumped out at me as a tangible advantage that House Redwyne has that Aegon would want.

#7 King of the Starks

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:27 PM

Once again great post Apple.

#8 KOM

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:28 PM

mmmaybe? (Love your stuff in gen, but idk about this yet.)

I'd prefer the Queen of Thorns to be more organic and individual (vs just about the Tyrells). That its her name because of all of her barbs and snipes and putdowns.
I like the Duncan the Small tie in though. It's a very high low contrast between Olenna and a common Jenny.

-- o/t tho, do we know what the "bride price in corpses" was that the Jenny Oldstones prophecy ref was about? Afaik there wasn't any war that broke out right after Prince Duncan renounced his crown.

#9 Sevumar

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:30 PM

Let's see if we can make the timeline work for this. We don't have a lot of exact dates, so it's going to be tricky.

Olenna Tyrell is "older than Hoster Tully," who was born in 235 A.L, so she must've been born before that date. Mace Tyrell is said to be "no more than 10 years older than Cersei," which puts his birth around 256 A.L. He is the eldest of Olenna Tyrell's children and it makes sense to assume his birth occurred fairly early in her marriage to Luthor Tyrell. Based on the information we have, she would have been at least 21 at the time of Mace's birth.

Aegon V, Duncan the Small's father, had children of his own by the time he came to the throne in 233 A.L. which means at least two (and possibly more) of his children were born prior to 233. We don't know how old these sons were by the time Aegon took the throne. Barristan Selmy was 10 when he was defeated by Duncan the Small during the tourney at Blackhaven in 247. By this point, Duncan would've had to be an adult and a knight, so he'd probably have been 16-20, putting his birth in the late 220s to early 230s.

If Olenna Tyrell was married by the time she was at least 21 in 256, Duncan would've been at least a couple of years older than that, and getting past the age where a match should have been made for him.

Edited by Sevumar, 19 May 2013 - 03:34 PM.


#10 Apple Martini

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:32 PM

mmmaybe? (Love your stuff in gen, but idk about this yet.)

I'd prefer the Queen of Thorns to be more organic and individual (vs just about the Tyrells). That its her name because of all of her barbs and snipes and putdowns.


Then why doesn't she like it? If it's meant to be complimentary or reverential, why is it a no-go?

I like the Duncan the Small tie in though. It's a very high low contrast between Olenna and a common Jenny.

-- o/t tho, do we know what the "bride price in corpses" was that the Jenny Oldstones prophecy ref was about? Afaik there wasn't any war that broke out right after Prince Duncan renounced his crown.


I'm not trying to tie this to Summerhall or anything like that.

#11 Sevumar

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:42 PM

Continuing the timeline discussion from my post above, there is a significant chance that Duncan could have been born before the 230s when we consider the age and life progression of Aegon V. When Aegon took the Iron Throne, he was in his early or mid 30s. Depending on how much pressure there was for him to be married, he should have been married for at least a decade before taking the throne, so there is a substantial chance his children could be many years older than laid out in my initial post. This would mean that Aegon could have started looking for matches for Duncan around the time he took the throne, making Olenna Tyrell too young to be available as a partner. She could have been a potential partner for one of Aegon's younger sons if the youngest was substantially younger than his brothers.

With regard to Tyrell political ambitions, it makes sense that they'd want to marry into the Targaryen bloodline even without Olenna's personal story of a spurned match. They have long been among the most loyal and reliable Houses, empowered by the Targaryens and looking for acknowledgement of their role in the realm through a match with a member of the royal family. Lacking a royal heritage of their own, they'd be doubly eager to tie their line to that of the monarchy.

#12 Lady Gwynhyfvar

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:48 PM

Let's see if we can make the timeline work for this. We don't have a lot of exact dates, so it's going to be tricky.

Olenna Tyrell is "older than Hoster Tully," who was born in 235 A.L, so she must've been born before that date. Mace Tyrell is said to be "no more than 10 years older than Cersei," which puts his birth around 256 A.L. He is the eldest of Olenna Tyrell's children and it makes sense to assume his birth occurred fairly early in her marriage to Luthor Tyrell. Based on the information we have, she would have been at least 21 at the time of Mace's birth.

Aegon V, Duncan the Small's father, had children of his own by the time he came to the throne in 233 A.L. which means at least two (and possibly more) of his children were born prior to 233. We don't know how old these sons were by the time Aegon took the throne. Barristan Selmy was 10 when he was defeated by Duncan the Small during the tourney at Blackhaven in 247. By this point, Duncan would've had to be an adult and a knight, so he'd probably have been 16-20, putting his birth in the late 220s to early 230s.

If Olenna Tyrell was married by the time she was at least 21 in 256, Duncan would've been at least a couple of years older than that, and getting past the age where a match should have been made for him.

I think the timeline information we have to go on establishes that Duncan and Olenna were likely of an age. If there was a match suggested or even planned upon when the two were still in their early teens, but Duncan pulled a Robb Stark and married his Jenny some time later, I see no problem with the spurned Olenna going on to make a respectable match to Luthor Tyrell.
As for the need for naval strength, I can see it. Maelys Blackfyre had probably been Captain of the Golden Company for some time before TWot9PK. It seems reasonable that Aegon would have seen the necessity of preparing for yet another attempt by the Blackfyre loyalists.

#13 Sevumar

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:58 PM

I think the timeline information we have to go on establishes that Duncan and Olenna were likely of an age. If there was a match suggested or even planned upon when the two were still in their early teens, but Duncan pulled a Robb Stark and married his Jenny some time later, I see no problem with the spurned Olenna going on to make a respectable match to Luthor Tyrell.


It's certainly possible that they were of comparable age, but I think the timeline clues we're given point to a high chance that Duncan was at least a few years older than Olenna Redwyne and past the point where he would've been available for marriage by the time she came of age. The information points to the fact that she was at least 21 at the time of Mace's birth in 256.. That age is probably about right, since Mace was her first child and highborn women are usually married between age 16 and age 20.

Barristan's story about his joust against Prince Duncan at Blackhaven in 247 makes Duncan sound like a grown man, confident in his abilities, status, and knighthood. He accorded Selmy a lot of honor by treating the 10-year-old Barristan as a serious opponent in the match, which makes me think 20 is a fair estimate for his age at the time. That would make him substantially older than Olenna Tyrell and it wouldn't make sense for him to have been betrothed to her if she was only coming of age in the early 250s.

Edited by Sevumar, 19 May 2013 - 03:59 PM.


#14 Lion of Judah

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:00 PM

If this was indeed the case then something must have been done to smooth things over with the Redwyne's. They ended up being one of House Targaryen's most loyal, if not the most loyal bannermen during Robert's rebellion.

#15 Ragnorak

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:02 PM

Nice one, Apple.

I never did understand why "Queen of Thorns" was an apparent offense to Olenna. It struck me as an awesome moniker and one that I thought a character like Olenna would be quite pleased with.

Your scenario also sets up an interesting parallel between Sansa and Olenna as both would have had betrothals to make them queens only to be set aside for a Tyrell lord. That would make both Cersei and Olenna women who effectively inflict their own youthful injustices on Sansa so the scenario has a very nice thematic fit.

#16 The Sleeper

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:17 PM

Finally, all of this goes a very long way toward explaining — beyond the usual reasons of power and wealth — why the Tyrells are so keen for Margaery to be queen. Mace is the head of the house, but Olenna's the real power and the one really making the big decisions or at least planting the seeds. Olenna loves her granddaughter and sees her as a protege. By making Margaery a queen, Olenna can live vicariously through her and put Margaery in a position that she was unable to attain.

Interesting theory, but isn't making Margaery a queen Mace's preoccupation and not Olenna's? Besides the monicker,reffering to the barbs, would have been conceived as a praise. Even if she takes pride in it, she wouldn't tolerate people calling her so to her face as it would be disrespectfull.

#17 Apple Martini

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:20 PM

If this was indeed the case then something must have been done to smooth things over with the Redwyne's. They ended up being one of House Targaryen's most loyal, if not the most loyal bannermen during Robert's rebellion.


Maybe Aegon brokered the Tyrell marriage as a consolation prize.

Interesting theory, but isn't making Margaery a queen Mace's preoccupation and not Olenna's? Besides the monicker,reffering to the barbs, would have been conceived as a praise. Even if she takes pride in it, she wouldn't tolerate people calling her so to her face as it would be disrespectfull.


And where do you suppose Mace got the idea? Part of Olenna's power and success comes from her being able to pin her ideas on others and distance herself from being implicated.

#18 The Sleeper

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:29 PM

And where do you suppose Mace got the idea? Part of Olenna's power and success comes from her being able to pin her ideas on others and distance herself from being implicated.

Apparently from Sansa's POV in ASOS it appears she was against the whole thing. First with Renly and then with the Lannisters. She could always be lying I guess... Mace doesn't need to get the idea from anyone, it's simple ambition.

#19 RedBean

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:30 PM

That's an interesting theory, and very well thought out. But why would Olenna try to pretend that she jilted the Prince and not the other way around? Doesn't everyone in Westeros know that the Prince fell in love with Jenny? Would anyone really believe Olenna if she said otherwise?

#20 KOM

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:32 PM

Then why doesn't she like it? If it's meant to be complimentary or reverential, why is it a no-go?


Oh, I don't think she likes it. I don't think she chose it for herself, but it was her label as much for her own personality as it is for any Tyrell-ness. Imo, that'd probably be what her "frenemies" would call her behind her back. in AFFC(?) some lady is callling herself the "Queen of Whores" so, the Queen of X construction seems to be used fairly often, not just when people miss out on being betrothed to crown princes.



I'm not trying to tie this to Summerhall or anything like that.


(Yeah, it's an off topic question bc I never quite understood that Selmy(?) quote. And Prince of Dragonflies doesn't come up that often. /dunce.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunce:' /> )

About the other point, why the Redwynes... Reach has 4 fairly strong families: Tyrell, Hightower, Redwyne, Florent. It could also be a ploy to keep them separated. So that all the favors don't go through the Tyrells, ie.