Shiera Blackwood

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  1. I do! Thank you. You're right; I spoke about it in a hyperbolic way. There isn't any textual indication that every man, woman, and child knew, especially considering that apparently no word ever reached Cat. My opinion has been mainly based on the fact that Jon knew, seemingly before he accepted Hoster's offer of her hand. Jon Arryn could have been told privately that she was "soiled" ahead of time, but Lysa's hysteria in describing the way that she told her father the news always gave me the impression of a loud family row in a semi-public manner. The pregnancy announcement is described in such a way as to imply calculation (waiting until Petyr was sent away while the pregnancy progressed, then telling her father in the hopes that he'd be forced to let her marry Petyr), and it doesn't seem to have been a very private matter in the household. Several people had to have known, since Lysa refers to a "they" other than her father when describing the "murder" of the fetus, and the Riverrun maester was directly involved as well. However, in the course of re-thinking it, I agree that there isn't any evidence at all that it was widely known. Certainly, more than a few people had to have known most or all of the circumstances of her first pregnancy, but that doesn't mean that the story spread. I think I got the impression that it was public knowledge the first time I read about it, and just never considered it further. Jon Arryn was a stoic, proud man. He would have never allowed Petyr to enjoy his patronage and favors if he'd known the full truth, so it seems likely that the "whom" of the first pregnancy was a very well-kept secret. I just read AFFC again recently, and I completely forgot about this line! That makes sense, and is completely in keeping with the Fot7's position as a Vatican proxy in the story. I agree. I think modern "Plan B", and chemical abortion ("abortion pill"), and very unreliable herbal abortifacients (like pennyroyal, wormwort, evening primrose, etc.) are blended to form the asoiaf Moon Tea.
  2. 1. Moon Tea has a definite stigma in Westerosi society, though levels of approval/condemnation probably vary significantly from one group to the next. The first part of your question is one that is equally flexible in interpretation. Abortion is an inalienable right to some groups of people, and completely unacceptable to others. "Our world" isn't specific enough for that to be answered without a lot of qualifiers. Since the overall social structure in Westeros is supposed to be vaguely medieval, and the "worth" of women is largely dictated by their marriageability and fecundity in that setting, the practical use of a substance that could prevent or end an unwanted pregnancy would be appealing. Especially if it would allow someone to pass a young woman off as a virgin instead of the mother of one or more low-born bastards. However, it's worth noting that the most famous use of Moon Tea within the story completely subverts this: Lysa wasn't being passed of as a "unspoiled" to Jon Arryn. Jon knew that she'd been pregnant prior to their marriage, and actually may have been more inclined to marry her because she had successfully conceived at least once. The issue here wasn't the woman's perceived condition (especially since it seems clear that everyone for miles around knew that Lysa had been pregnant*, and it couldn't be hidden), but the unwanted association with the Baelish clan. The child served no viable political purpose at that time, and Hoster had the means and power to enforce his choice on his daughter. His resulting anguish over the following years seems to be mainly due to the harm that Lysa sustained from the experience, mentally and physically, rather than regret over the loss of the pregnancy itself. So to answer the second part of your question, in at least one case, the presence of a bastard was deemed far less desirable than the use of Moon Tea. I have absolutely no memory of clergy speaking out about abortifacients one way or the other in asoiaf.** However, I assume that the stigma against bastards in Westeros is similar to the social view of children born out of wedlock in some Earth cultures. Until a few generations ago, children born to unwed mothers (whether the father was known or not), posed a "threat" to social order. They were physical representations of human lust and weakness, and the care and support of bastards frequently fell to the community as a whole. (Please note: I'm speaking primarily from a western European/American frame of reference here.) Therefore, it would make sense for followers of the Fot7 to encourage marriage, and discourage bastard births. I'm not aware of a pro-life movement in Westeros either, but I would be surprised if there was such a thing. The examples of Moon Tea usage in the story make it seem as though access wasn't all that hard to come by (any woodswitch or maester, or even random women with basic midwifery skills in King's Landing, since Jaime found one without difficulty when Cersei needed Moon Tea), but the actual use of the substance seems to be very low-profile. Since it is generally administered in the home, there's no Westerosi Planned Parenthood to picket. People seem far more pragmatic about it in the story, and the personhood of the unborn is far from an accepted fact. It's worth noting that, despite the anathema towards kinslaying in all forms, aborting ones own fetus doesn't seem to be considered kinslaying. But just to complicate things, Maelys Blackfyre was called a kinslayer for absorbing his own twin in utero, and Lysa refers to the successful abortion of her own fetus as "murder". So at least in some circumstances, the life of an unborn child crosses the line into true personhood 2. The short answer is that, without knowing more about the specifics of how Moon Tea works and its limitations, we must assume that some women can't use it, don't want to use it, or have limited access to it, or that the dangers of using it far outweigh the benefits of terminating an unwanted pregnancy. (Also, to be fair, we have no idea how many bastards exist in the story proportional to the population.) The long answer: Moon Tea seems to be widely used (or at least widely understood), and seems to be accessible to those who want it. However, it's not necessarily something that all women choose, even if they are carrying unwanted/unviable children, or bastards. Of the two examples you mentioned, Lollys' situation would make the most sense for Moon Tea treatment. My best guess for why she avoided it is a combination of her own ignorance, her mother Tanda's complete denial of the situation (trying to pass Lollys off as "sick" for months after the fact, for instance), and Lollys' own extreme fear of people and human contact following the rape. Even if Tanda had attempted to secure treatment for her, Lollys may not have been able to receive it due to her trauma. I suspect that the combination of a visiting maester/woodswitch/potion dealer along with some variety of pelvic exam would have been impossible under the circumstances. If Shae is to be believed, Lollys couldn't even clean herself properly for months after the rape. Tanda was more competent than Lollys, but not by much. She didn't have the moxie to stand up for her daughter's interests, but even if she had, there wasn't much to be gained from the effort. Tanda couldn't marry Lollys off even before she was brutalized and impregnated with a bastard. In contrast, the Florents didn't have much to gain by eliminating Delena's pregnancy. She was impregnated by the popular and prosperous King of Westeros, who was willing to acknowledge the child, and who went on to ensure that the boy had plenty of gifts and opportunities as he grew. Delena made a good marriage, and had two other children with her spouse. Edric created a rift in the Baratheon family due to the disrespect Robert showed to his brother in the way the child was conceived, but Edric himself was basically a golden ticket. The Florents apparently had every reason to believe that Robert would acknowledge Edric since they pressed the issue and made a point of establishing Delena's maidenhood before the pregnancy. This may speak to Robert's nature and their familiarity with it, since there hasn't been a consistent manner that royal bastards were treated historically. However, overall, it's better to be a royal bastard than any other kind. So in the case of this example, there simply was no incentive for Delena to abort the pregnancy. As a young woman in the power of her family in a patriarchal society, one must assume that her branch of the Florent family felt that this was the best course of action, whether Delena did or not. The same could be argued for Ramsay Bolton's mother, in a sense. She may have had access to Moon Tea, but chose to keep the child in the hopes of securing favors from Roose later. This would have been an insane gamble due to the brutal way that he treated her and her husband both, but Ramsay's mother doesn't seem to have been a very logical person. (Possible due to what Roose did to her.) I tend to believe that in this case, it's likely that she didn't realize she was pregnant in enough time to make use of Moon Tea safely. She'd not yet consummated her marriage when Roose raped her. It's entirely possible that the symptoms of pregnancy were masked by the physical effects of the rape coupled with her grief over the loss of her husband and the trauma sustained during the attack. Most chemically induced abortions (non-surgical) can not be reliably completed after about the 12-week mark with the modern abortion pill. After that, the likelihood of requiring some more invasive procedure increases dramatically. 12 weeks is well before the time that an expectant woman may first feel "quickening", which was historically the first true "proof" of pregnancy in past societies. Most women do not feel quickening until 16-20 weeks into a pregnancy. It's impossible to know if a single type of medical treatment in modern western society is even comparable to a fictional herbal abortifacient in GRRM's world, but I have no other ideas on how to establish a baseline on efficacy of Moon Tea. However, it seems to have been used primarily by women in the story who were in very early stages of pregnancy, or who were hoping to prevent a pregnancy that hadn't occurred, much like our modern abortion pill and "Plan B". Consequently, it's possible that Westerosi women who don't suspect they are pregnant early enough to take Moon Tea have no choice but to keep the pregnancy, or risk a very unsafe Moon Tea-activated partial-birth abortion. Lysa may be an example of a person who used it too late in the pregnancy for safety. She was insistent that her baby was a "him", and even her father (in his deathbed ramblings to Cat) cycles through a few rounds of contrasting Lysa's future true-born sons with the aborted fetus. If she was positive that her fetus was a male, then she probably saw its genitalia. That indicates a fetus that was at least 12-16 weeks into gestation, at a bare minimum. The text suggests that Petyr was too injured to be moved for a while after the duel, and then was shipped off to the Fingers BEFORE Lysa told Hoster about the baby, so there is definitely time for her to carry to 16 weeks (or beyond) before publicly acknowledging her pregnancy. If she took Moon Tea at an advanced state of pregnancy, it would have been a much more difficult process. Whatever the case, it seems clear that the abortion harmed her fertility, and that the mere sight of the blood and gore from Lysa's procedure haunted Hoster Tully (a veteran of several battles, and someone who had witnessed the death of his first wife due to a difficult childbirth) for the rest of his life. *Thanks to another poster (Lady Dacey), I reconsidered my belief on this. On second thought, there's far more evidence that it remained a pretty well-kept secret. **Lady Dacey mentioned the High Sparrow/High Septon quote from AFFC. He clearly considers the use of Moon Tea during pregnancy to be a form of murder, which is probably in line with the most extreme interpretation of Fot7 beliefs. Also, changed "months" to "weeks" on Lysa's pregnancy speculation. She's not an elephant.
  3. Well, Jaime DID get a traditional Lannister name. Unlike some of the other big families that stick to a very narrow palette of naming patterns (looking at you, Targaryens with your endless ae diphthong), the Lannisters seem to have several different naming traditions that repeat from one generation to the next. The "Ty" names (mainly for men, but not exclusively) are the most recognizable, possibly because the past few heirs to Casterly Rock have had a Ty name. "Lan" and "Ge" names have historically been popular, along with "Cer" and "Ja/Jo" names. Jaime and Cersei have close ancestors named Cerelle and Jaesin, and first cousins named Cerenna and Janei. In other words, I don't think that Joanna and Tywin would have placed more importance on a "Ty" name than any other that followed a family pattern. All of their kids are steeped in the Lannister name Kool-Aid.
  4. I personally feel like the prophecy won't fully come true, one way or the other, but I don't think that Cersei would be able to shake it off in any event. Her fate is inexorable bound to the prophecy at this point, and every choice she makes draws the "inevitable" closer. The MtF prophecies that have come true so far were all the result of Cersei's direct meddling, with the possible exception of marrying a king rather than a prince. She is almost certainly responsible for Melara's young demise, and she dictated the number of children she ultimately had. We know with certainty that she could have given birth to at least four children, had she not sent Jaime for the moon tea the one time Robert successfully impregnated her. All of that said, there's the issue of prophecy being notoriously hard to interpret in asoiaf. We have the MtF prophecy from one source: Cersei's memory. No character in the series has a perfect memory, and Cersei may very well be "remembering" details of the prophecy that weren't originally included. Even if it happened exactly the way she remembers it, there's still the problem of interpretation. The prophecy doesn't say that her children will die young, or even within her lifetime. It says that they will have golden crowns (easy guess if they are children of a prince or a king), and golden shrouds (pretty much any CR Lannister in good family standing is going to have a golden shroud upon their death, regardless of age), but neither of those necessarily mean that Cersei's children will predecease her. The implication that her tears would "drown her" due to her grief is compelling, but she could be grieving for many reasons. Similarly, the prophecy doesn't say that Cersei will be supplanted by a younger Queen. It's possible that the "younger, more beautiful" person who will cast Cersei down is just about any female younger than herself at this point since beauty is subjective, and Cersei's looks are notably fading. It's easy to think that a younger female will come to power and knock Cersei off her throne, but perhaps this has already come true. Her obsession with Margaery, and belief that the Tyrell girl was the prophesied "beauty" has resulted in Cersei losing virtually everything she valued. Hency, Margaery's presence has resulted in Cersei being "cast down"... but again, this was Cersei acting to bring an event to fruition because she believed it was inevitable.
  5. Despite all of the fun we have with it as a fanbase, incest is used pretty sparingly in the story. Other than the Targaryens, Jaime and Cersei, and Craster, there aren't many high-profile incestuous relationships (that are closer than first cousins) described in the main series. I know GRRM likes to present common themes in new surroundings, but I just can't see a new case of brother-sister incest being pulled out of the hat at the 11th hour. After all of the time spent with Jaime and Cersei as POV characters, it wouldn't add a new story element. Incest and inbreeding seem to serve as a cautionary tale in the books. Cersei did it, and doomed the Baratheon line, and possibly her own. The Targaryens did it, and whether it truly led to the mental instability, infertility, and bad luck that plagued the family, the incest is certainly a convenient foil for blame within the story. Craster's incest with his daughters and granddaughters is presented as dark, twisted, and abusive, and unless more information is later provided, seems to have already served its narrative purpose. (Though I do find it interesting that there isn't much in the books to suggest that any of Craster's offspring are mentally unstable or physically deformed, whereas it was a constant issue for the Targs, and Joffrey is arguably mentally unsound from a very young age.) Jon seems to be set up as a real or decoy savior in the story. Either way, revealing that he's the byproduct of incest, whether it's consensual or not, would be kind of silly at this point.
  6. Lysa Arryn + Butterbumps = Joffrey The greatest love story never told.