Lord Varys

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  1. Ran, now that you are bringing this up - a theory that has been tossed around by various people - I have to ask: Is there any basis for this kind of legal talk in Gyldayn's writings on the end of the Dance and the Regency? The last update on that I read from you is that Corlys Velaryon effectively forced Aegon II to accept Aegon the Younger as his heir - and the betrothal to Jaehaera - due to political realities (the need for the Velaryon fleet, etc.). The last thing the Hightower-Targaryens and Greens at the end of the Dance would have wanted was that any child of Rhaenyra's or Daemon's - or both - ended up on the throne, no? After all, Daemon did not only kill Aemond but also arrange the whole Blood and Cheese thing. Alicent and Aegon II must have hated him even more than 'the whore'. In that sense, the proper thing to do for Aegon II and Alicent would have been to indeed acknowledge Princess Jaehaera as the king's presumptive heir until such time as his new Baratheon bride gave him sons. If the king has only (a) daughter(s) - and all the male kin of the king's are attainted traitors - then said daughter should be the heir. That this whole thing would have been rather ironic in light of the fact that a decent number of Green supporters supported Aegon II because he was the male claimant is obvious, but it couldn't have helped. The idea that we can count Aegon III's rise as him being the legal heir of Aegon II as a son of Daemon Targaryen makes little sense in light of the fact that Rhaenyra and Daemon - and all their children and kin - must have been attainted at the beginning of the Dance when Rhaenyra first refused Aegon II's terms. Vice versa, we also do know that Stannis Baratheon and Shireen Baratheon have been attainted by King Joffrey. They technically could receive a royal pardon - but if they don't, they are not eligible to inherit the throne should Tommen and Myrcella die without issue. The throne would have to go some other Targaryen cousins, presumably of the Tarth, Martell, Plumm, or Penrose variety. Unless, of course, people ignore the attainder issued against Stannis/Shireen. Now, if Aegon III had been some sort of compromise candidate at the end of the Dance - say, if the two factions had found each other without pretenders, and then decided that they could both settle on the boy as a figurehead to end the war - then this argument would make some sense. But as history went it doesn't seem to be all that likely. Although it is very likely that such an argument is used as a post hoc rationalization to find an explanation as to why Rhaenyra's son could rule if Rhaenyra herself hadn't been a queen and no male claimant through the female line was ever supposed to sit the throne (as per the 'iron precedent' interpretation thing). Laenor wasn't yet born in 92 AC. Laena is born in 93 AC and Laenor in 94 AC as far as we know, right? In that sense, it was a granddaughter who might have children by her husband, Corlys Velaryon, and the king's second son. Do you have any information as to why Rhaenys wasn't married to Viserys? The only way this makes sense is that Corlys-Rhaenys married before Prince Aemon died in 92 AC. The subsequent troubles could have been so easily avoided if they had just united those two branches of the family via a marriage. And chances are indeed pretty high that Laenor would have won in 101 AC had he been somewhat older. But we have proximity win the day again in 233 AC. Princess Vaella, Prince Maegor, and Maester Aemon are all favored by primogeniture, yet Aegon V wins the day.
  2. Sure, but chances are that pretty much no Targaryen loyalists turning against Tommen and Myrcella is going to care about Dany all that much in the near future. She is the Queen of Slaver's Bay now, and welcome to it, as Mace Tyrell put it in the Epilogue. Nobody cares about the claims of absent people - and even less so, when they are under the impression that these people have no intention to ever come to Westeros (Dany's marriage to Hizdahr will be seen as a confirmation that she is going to settle in Meereen). And when they disappear/are rumored to be dead, they will become complete non-factors in the decision-making process of the people half a world a way. Chances are, that Aegon will already have to sit (pretty) securely on the Iron Throne by the time Dany arrives - sort of like Aegon II sat there, when Rhaenyra learned that her father had died - (and also be married by that time, most likely to Arianne) or else they could resolve the entire issue by marriage or some other compromise. Then Aegon's side will play the whole 'no female claimant under any circumstances' card and Dany the 'I'm the sister and true heir of the last crowned Targaryen king, Viserys II - and the daughter rather than the grandchild of Aerys II' card combined with the claim that Aegon might not actually be Rhaegar's son. But one assumes she will have to have some justification as to why her claim is better than Aegon's should the man be the real deal. From a strictly legal point of view the Targaryen succession would indeed go Aerys II > Viserys III (son and chosen heir of Aerys II) > Daenerys Stormborn (only sibling and chosen heir of Viserys III) simply because they are the only Targaryens left. Aegon is a wildcard stepping into a void and power vacuum. If he can prove he is who he says he is - by winning battles, etc. - he is likely to steal all of Dany's thunder.
  3. @The Twinslayer We do know that kings name and anoint their heirs, even if there is a line of succession. King Aerys I named three Princes of Dragonstone throughout his reign. And he went strictly by the principle of primogeniture: first Rhaegel, then Aelor, then Maekar. It is also pretty clear that Valarr and Matarys were seen as the ones next in line after Baelor Breakspear - in fact, the whole thing is pretty much confirmed for Valarr who becomes his grandfather's heir after Baelor dies at Ashford. Proximity is also a strong principle, but it usually only wins the day if the royal (great-)grandchildren are far too young to rule in their own right. The succession of Maekar was apparently as contested as it was because King Maekar himself never got around to name and anoint an heir after Aerion - then likely Prince of Dragonstone - died in 232 AC. Without public confirmation from the king the succession usually isn't as clear as one might think. In that sense, your idea that there is a default setting on the succession unless the king intervenes doesn't make a lot of sense. We see this very strongly with Tyrion - technically he would be the heir to Casterly Rock, but with Tywin not publicly acknowledging this fact people neither see nor treat him as such. I'm with you that Dany's claim is rather strong due to the fact that her royal father named Viserys III his heir - who then was crowned the last Targaryen king on Dragonstone - and he, in turn, later named Daenerys Princess of Dragonstone and acknowledged her as his heir. Viserys and Daenerys are what's left of House Targaryen, both factually as well as because their father favored Viserys III rather than Rhaegar's children. It is rather likely that Dany is going to use that line of argumentation to push her own claim against Aegon's. If we assumed for a moment Viserys III had succeeded his father as King on the Iron Throne as Aerys II had wished, then it would have fallen to Viserys III to name his heir, in turn. We don't know if he had chosen Daenerys if he had had no children of his own body, but if he had done so then she would have succeeded him in Westeros, just as she did in exile. The contrary view would then be that Viserys III simply didn't know that there were still male Targaryens around - and that he would have named Aegon his heir had he known he was still alive. Or perhaps Aegon's followers are even going to claim Aegon had a better claim that Viserys III from the start, ignoring or dismissing the decision of the Mad King.
  4. Let us try rephrase the sentence in question to test what grammatical function 'that year' has in that sentence: 'Not until he was given the young dragon Quicksilver, a hatchling born that year on Dragonstone, did Aenys Targaryen begin to thrive.' > 'Not until he was given the young dragon Quicksilver, a hatchling born on Dragonstone in the year the hatchling was born, did Aenys Targaryen begin to thrive.' The sentence, as it stands, does not introduce any new information. It makes a reference to an earlier date, and the only date we are given in the context of the entire paragraph is 7 AC. If George had wanted to convey the information that Quicksilver was born in a later year he would have been forced to phrase the sentence much differently, somewhat along the lines of this: 'Not until a few years later [or: Not until the year X AC], when he was given the young dragon Quicksilver which hatched on Dragonstone that very same year, did Aenys Targaryen begin to thrive.' As to consolidate accounts between Ran/Linda's words and George's - we should not do that. George's words are canon. Yandel's words are essentially rephrasing the canon. The facts therein are canon but there are details missing, and at times the concise rephrasing introduces errors, uncertainties, and false impressions. That's inevitable. However, when we actually have George's original words we should go by them. Unless, of course, there are obvious errors in those words (which there are rather many in TSotD) or we have confirmation that TWoIaF introduced new information that wasn't yet present in George's original texts. Once we have 'Fire and Blood' all of that should go away, anyway, since that should be the final version of Gyldayn's history, properly edited and free of all errors.
  5. The point is still that Maegor's blood would have long dried on the spikes of the Iron Throne before said messenger even arrived at Oldtown if he had to travel all the way from KL. Storm's End is a lot closer to KL, and Jaehaerys had already proclaimed himself, causing Rhaena to flee KL with Aerea. The time passing thereafter until Maegor's death seems to be little more than the usual fortnight. The lords of the Crownlands assemble in KL and then they realize that they are the only people answering Maegor's summons. That shouldn't have taken two months. In two months the Stormlanders could have taken possession of KL multiple times.
  6. Aenys could also have begun to thrive in the year of his birth, though, and the death of Rhaenys could have affected him greatly with or without his dragon. 'That year' means that the author is referring to a year mentioned earlier, and there is not other year but 7 AC mentioned in the entire context. Nor is there any indication that the events depicted in that paragraph stretched beyond the first year of Aenys' life. We hear about him only being breastfed by his mother and we here about him being weaned - considering that he was born during the First Dornish War which saw a lot of action for Rhaenys and Meraxes, chances are not bad that Aenys wasn't breastfed all that long. Citing TWoIaF as a primary source to compare TSotD makes little sense in that context. TWoIaF is Ran/Linda's concise rewriting of TSotD. If we want to know what 'truly happened' we have to turn to George's own words, not the concise rewriting (unless we are talking about details by them that are nowhere mentioned in George's original texts). In that sense, we have no reason to believe that receiving Quicksilver had as much of an effect on Aenys' growth and health as TWoIaF implied. George himself uses the words 'began to thrive' not 'And as the dragon grew, so did Aenys'. That would really depend on how long a dragon hatchling is seen as a hatchling. But since we don't know when exactly Quicksilver was given to Aenys the question is really moot. For all we know the boy already had Quicksilver and still collapsed after the loss of his mother. That's not unlikely at all, actually.
  7. Only gold dragons. And the Blackfyre variety at that.
  8. I'd be willing to bet some money on possibility that they are something along the lines of 'The Morning will come' or 'We bring the Dawn'.
  9. I don't know that, but I pointed that whole thing out as mistake early on. A way to rectify it would to make it a letter by raven. Or, if one has to keep the messenger part, make it a messenger riding to Oldtown from some nearby castle after a dude there received a raven from the king. That has nothing to do with the problem at hand. Five months supposedly passed between Rhaenyra's flight from KL and her death on Dragonstone. With Alicent's sons apparently dead, the Green cause was essentially dead, too, until Aegon II revealed that he was still alive. Which was only realized on Dragonstone shortly before Rhaenyra's arrival there and publicly revealed only after Rhaenyra's death, as you correctly point out. Borros Baratheon and any other Green loyalists would have had no pretender in whose name he could fight in the meantime. And thus it is very unlikely that they did fight or do anything in the name of Aegon II. In fact, one assumes the belief that Aegon II, Aemond, and Daeron were all dead was part of the reason why Unwin Peake couldn't get the army in Tumbleton moving after Second Tumbleton. Why should they fight for dead people? No, we have Rhaenyra being outside the capital for nearly exactly five months before she arrived on Dragonstone and was killed there if we go by the text @The Grey Wolf gave us above. We are not here to invent scenarios how things might work (that's for other threads). We point out errors and inconsistencies here in an attempt to motivate the people in charge to make the text of 'Fire and Blood' better.
  10. The year in question in the paragraph can only be 7 AC. It is the only year mentioned the later sentence can refer to. Quicksilver's birth year doesn't mean the dragon was also given to Aenys in the same year. An infant as small and sickly as he would have no use for a dragon whatsoever. Which makes it not unlikely that Aenys only got Quicksilver after Rhaenys's death.
  11. I think we have to differentiate between anointing an heir and that heir actually taking the throne. Rhaenys and her children remain in the game until Viserys I is crowned king. Then they are still a powerful faction but they are no longer seen as real rivals to Viserys I and his branch. And we also have Viserys I making it clear to Rhaenyra that the king can change the succession how he sees fit when he forces her to marry Laenor. Once a king is crowned it would be weird to view a prince who has been passed over - and his descendants - as being at the top of the line of succession. It is a pity that we don't know what happened to Aerion's son Maegor - if he ever made an attempt to take the Iron Throne we could guess how good the claim of a prince was who was passed over. Prince Duncan's children - if they ever existed - were most likely seen as too lowborn to ever sit the Iron Throne. In that sense, Rhaegar's entire line is likely seen as being behind King Viserys III and his chosen heir, Daenerys, at least within the framework of legal argumentation. Now that Aegon has returned to Westeros, all he needs to do is prove his worth and claim by taking the Iron Throne from Tommen/Myrcella. Then everybody will worship no matter what Aerys II decreed once. One should note in that context that one version of the end of Elia and the royal children Yandel gives, is that Aerys II had them killed: The Mad King was clearly the kind of guy who would kill his kin rather than allow them to fall in enemy hands. Especially if said king had little more use for that kin than serve as hostages against the in-laws of his late eldest son.
  12. We have to differentiate there between Rhaegar's status after Duskendale - still the heir, but suspected to plot against the king with the help of Tywin and later the Starks -, Rhaegar at the beginning of the Rebellion - unclear, but perhaps rather controversial due to him and Lyanna going underground while the Realm literally burned around them -, and Rhaegar after his return to court - then the supreme commander of the loyalist armies, perhaps even have the office of the Protector of the Realm. That implies that Aerys turned around there, shedding the whole paranoia about Rhaegar plotting against him (the irony is that he was right there, at least to a point, in his interpretation of the tourney of Harrenhal). We see that beginning when Aerys apparently wanted to name Rhaegar as his new Hand after he fired Merryweather, turning to Jon Connington - Rhaegar's friend - only after he couldn't find Rhaegar. If Aerys and Rhaegar hadn't reconciled in some way after the latter's return Rhaegar would have never commanded the armies at the Trident. Aerys would instead have given the command to Chelsted, Selmy, or Darry, while burning Rhaegar as the traitor he thought he was. At that time Aerys II was no longer in a merciful mood. If it turned out that Rhaegar and Lyanna had to go underground because of Aerys seeing the abduction (and subsequent marriage, if it took place) as a sign that the grand rebellion against Aerys II led by Rhaegar was supposed to begin now, and if Brandon and Rickard and their companions had to die because they were seen as Rhaegar's co-conspirators - with Aerys insisting on the execution of Robert and Ned because they were seen as co-conspirators, too - then it is not unlikely that Rhaegar spent the first half of the Rebellion branded as an outlaw and traitor, only returning into the king's peace after his royal father realized that Rhaegar wasn't at the head of this rebellion, nor involved with them in any way. If that turns out to be how things are then chances are that Rhaegar may actually have not been Aerys' heir for quite some time - until he reconciled with his father. But the final decision of Aerys II does indeed involve the new heir after Rhaegar's death at the Trident. And there he ignored both Aegon and Rhaenys, and named Viserys the new heir instead. We should have long ago realized that Viserys was the new Prince of Dragonstone when he and Rhaella were sent there, and Aegon and Rhaenys had to remain as hostages against the Dornish in KL. A king seldom names the child he intends to use as a hostage his heir. That doesn't make any sense. And there are more than enough precedents favoring proximity over primogeniture if the eldest son of a king dies.
  13. Riding is never portrayed as something women aren't allowed to do in the Seven Kingdoms. The whole stuff about women losing their maidenhead on horseback also pretty much confirmed that noble ladies don't use a sidesaddle. Lyanna is hardly exceptional in her fondness of riding, if we compare her to Margaery and her cousins. And Daena the Defiant rode at rings, too. It may not have been the most common of recreations for noble ladies, but it seems to have been still within the framework of the spectrum of things that were tolerated. However, the idea a woman could enter the male arena of a tourney - or actually train at arms, making her equal to men - seems to be seen pretty much as an abomination if we consider the example of Brienne. The only other 'female knight' we encounter is Visenya Targaryen, and she is not exactly seen as a shining example of womanhood. Far to the contrary, actually. And even she didn't ride in tourneys. The idea that being a dragonrider freed women from the confines of their gender roles turned out to be pretty much nonsense. Most of the female dragonriders turned out to be rather conventional women, especially Rhaenyra and Laena Velaryon.
  14. We don't know whether Borros thought he also had to fight Cregan. The Lads were threatening KL. If they had been crushed Cregan may have bent the knee - or they could have held the capital until the sellswords arrived they hoped would come. Right now the Tyrell army in KL seems to outnumber the Golden Company three to four times (Mace could have 30,000-40,000 men with him). But that's no guarantee that he'll win a victory over the Golden Company, even if he sends all those men against them. Numbers mean pretty much nothing if the enemy has the better strategy. The men fighting a battle don't really know that they outnumber them, nor do they clearly see what happens during a battle. If Borros had 20,000 men on the Kingsroad and the Lads 10,000 it is not exactly surprising that he lost. Even if Borros hadn't made the glaring mistakes he apparently made a smaller force can still defeat a larger army if they play their cards right. We don't know why Ulf and Hugh switched sides, but one of the theories the historians give us indicate that they were bribed by Green agents. Nobody indicates that they changed sides all by themselves, and considering their prospects that's not very likely. If you killed my enemy without me asking you to do that I have little motivation to reward you, no? The loss of Lord Ormund Hightower and his cousin was a significant loss, but these were, in the end, just two men. They were replaceable. The fact that the Greens failed to do so, failed to establish a new chain of command, reflects bad on them but this has nothing to do with the outcome of the battle. I mean, they had a royal prince in the midst and another Hightower cousin, not to mention various branches of most of the noble houses of the Reach. If the leopard had been able to change his spots they could also have been able to make common cause with the Two Betrayers. With their help, they could have won this war decisively. But, no, they had to start fighting each other. Second Tumbleton was pretty much undecided. Addam Velaryon dealt the army a considerable blow but he did not crush them. They could have continued the war and marched to KL if they had wanted to. The men there decided to declare they were defeated, nobody forced them to do so. This whole episode pretty much shows what war can also lead to. If there is no clear leadership and no clear objective people just do what they want. And very few people actually care who sat the throne - or did want to face dragons in battle. They just wanted spoils.
  15. That is a rather significant victory. You have to keep in mind that Greens are facing a rebellion that is only slowly getting steam at the beginning of the Dance. They have not prepared for an all-out war nor were they intending to wage one. They hoped the whore would die in childbirth or that nobody would come to her defense. Technically, yes, but why should we assume the man marched the entire strength of the Stormlands to KL and the Kingsroad? That would be pretty dumb. And there is the weirdo Syrax-Byron Swann thing. Does this mean some lonely Stormlander hero tried to slay the evil dragon or was there some fighting involving Rhaenyra and Syrax in the Stormlands? We also don't know whether there were only Riverlanders in the army of the Lads. It was led by them, but there could have been some of those 10,000 Vale men who supported Rhaenyra according to Ran. But in general - you do know that numbers don't necessarily give you an advantage in a pitched battle, right? It also gives us crucial victories of the Greens, most notably the Gullet, First (and Second) Tumbleton, and the Battle of Rook's Rest. And we can be pretty sure that we'll get more detailed accounts on the things we early read about in brief in TWoIaF. 'The Death of the Dragons' doesn't seem to be 'The Sons of the Dragon'. And I'm sure someone will bring up the points we raised here during the editing process of 'Fire and Blood'. Ran is not going to ignore glaring inconsistencies and outright mistakes.
  16. @The Grey Wolf Now are you just expressing your own preferences. You have no right to demand that the Blacks and Greens are treated equally since there is no indication that George ever intended to portray them this way. And you are somewhat wrong in your assessment there, anyway. Rhaenyra herself is somewhat of an idiot, too, and Aegon II is rewarded for his, well, ability to survive pain and injury by being the pretender surviving the war until the very end. Cole wins some crucial victories before he is killed. And the depiction of armies losing experienced/clear generals is also pretty realistic. People die in war, and if the wrong people die the effect on the war effort can be more devastating than losing a quarter or more of the fighting men. Lord Ormund Hightower used very sound tactics while he was essentially subduing pretty much the entire Reach in the name of Aegon II. He is the only commander who properly made use of the dragonrider at his disposal. The Fishfeed was very costly and pretty pointless victory for the Blacks. The Winter Wolves volunteering to charge against the Westermen was, quite literally, suicide. It wasn't a sound but a stupid tactic. A good tactic would have been to deal with the Lannister army without losing as many men as they did. And especially the Black Riverlords lost more than their share of commanders. In the end the command passed literally to children because most of the adults were dead. Second Tumbleton wasn't a decisive victory. It was half a victory, at best, resulting in the death of important dragons as well as the commander of the Black army, Addam Velaryon. The Butcher's Ball is what happens if you presume to hang out too long in enemy territory. It is foreshadowing what's going to happen to Lannister armies in the Riverlands during the main series, too. They will all be killed, one way or another. The Kingsroad shows what happens if you are overconfident and a moron. Men who have learned to win battle and kill men the hard way - and that's what the Lads did - can exploit any weakness the enemy might show. And apparently Borros Baratheon showed more than one. A battle isn't the place for morons. And this guy sat out nearly the entire Dance, and nothing indicates he had ever been properly schooled in tactics or had any real experience in warfare. How should he, during the peaceful reign of Viserys I? We don't know that Borros' forces greatly outnumbered the Lads. Why do you think that? There are hints that they did that. Otto is bribing a lot of people in the beginning, and one assumes that the Triarchy would have stayed at home if they hadn't sent enormous sums to Essos. The Gullet was a major victory for the Greens, actually. Otto Hightower dealt the Velaryons a huge blow there, without risking the lives of single subject of Aegon II. That is part of the way the story is told at this point. One assumes that 'The Death of the Dragons' covers the movements of the Lannister army in greater detail. Cole was pretty smart and effective. He took Meleys and Rhaenys out of the game. If he had been given the regency after the Aegon II got injured (thanks to his plan there) the war would have gone much differently. Without Vhagar's help and stuck in enemy territory his army was no match for the Black Riverlanders. Most likely in no small part because Daemon left competent men in charge back in the Riverlands. He could tell, but George isn't going to rewrite this stuff just because you don't like it.
  17. Yeah, it really seems that the rot leading up to the Dance came from Alicent's jealousy of Rhaenyra's status as the Heir Apparent. She (and perhaps Otto, too) fed their children their own hatred. It took root in Aegon and Aemond (in the wake of the Vhagar affair) although apparently not so much in Helaena and Daeron. Without that, things could have turned out reasonably fine. After all, if a family works really well together outsiders and schemers have much more difficulty turning them against each other. There would have still been the possibility of a struggle for supremacy within the marriage, but with Rhaenyra being the chosen heir and - perhaps - also the last Hand of her father, that struggle most likely would have ended up with Rhaenyra wearing the pants in the relationship. There are instances in real world history - most notably the deposition of Edward II by his own wife (or Catherine the Great's coup in Russia) were consorts seize power - but that would have been a different matter. A compromise could have been that Rhaenyra and Aegon co-rule the Realm as joint monarchs - as the Conqueror and the Old King seem to have done to a pretty high degree. But then - Rhaenyra as the Queen Regnant also had Daemon as her Protector of the Realm. That is also very close to a joint rule. Daemon wasn't the king consort, but as close as one can possibly get to that position. And if Aegon had also been Protector and Hand at Rhaenyra's side he would have shared as much in her power as one could possibly. That is also a rather likely scenario for a Dany-Jon co-rule if they ended up being married. Dany being the Queen Regnant, and Jon the Protector of the Realm leading her armies, and doing all the manly general stuff Dany doesn't really care all that much about. It would still mean Dany wears the pants, but she would share power to a very high degree. That she doesn't have a problem with that we see with the lengths she goes to allow Hizdahr a share in her government. She even allows him to calls himself king.
  18. That makes indeed little sense. But it could be rectified if one placed the riots and the Storming of the Dragonpit on the day the news about Daemon and Aemond's death had reached KL, not on the day the Battle Above the Gods Eye actually transpired. We do know that the news about the Battle Above the Gods Eye did not exactly travel all that quickly. The peasants around Harrenhal saw some dragons fighting and falling in the lake, etc. but only one person - Alys Rivers - actually knew what had transpired there. And even she wouldn't have really known for a certainty that Aemond and Daemon were both dead - or be in the mood or have the means to inform important quickly afterwards (and neither could the peasants). What could be confirmed would have been that Caraxes was dead and that Vhagar (supposedly) sunk into the lake (confirmation that she was truly dead would have been only given when her carcass washed up at the lake shore, also confirming that Aemond was dead). The whole theory of the heroic last stunt of Prince Daemon would have been deduced from the final 'resting place' of Dark Sister and the fact that Aemond was still chained to Vhagar's carcass. We know that the gang down in Tumbleton had no clue about the developments in KL (attempted arrest of Addam Velaryon; arrest of Corlys Velaryon; Storming of the Dragonpit) or the Riverlands (Nettles development; deaths of Daemon and Aemond) until quite some time after it transpired. That's what prevented them from pressing their advantage after First Tumbleton. If we indeed had the fifth moon be the moon in which Rhaenyra was driven out of KL then it makes no sense that she only died five moons later. She cannot have traveled the Crownlands for that long. Another similar mistake as this seems to be the account of Aegon II's stay on Dragonstone until Sunfyre died. TPatQ gives Rhaenyra's death as the 22nd day of the tenth moon, and Sunfyre's subsequent death at the ninth day of the twelfth moon. Aegon II wept for his dragon and only made plans to return to KL after his grief for his dragon had passed (which, considering their strong bond, might indicate at least another week, perhaps more). This is completely at odds with the idea of the Moon of the Three Kings - Trystane Truefyre, Gaemon Palehair, and Aegon II. Trystane was declared king during the riots, even before Rhaenyra's flight. One would then have seven months between Trystane claiming to be king and Aegon II's restoration to the Iron Throne. Borros Baratheon could have arrived in KL long before Aegon II himself left Dragonstone, of course, but one really wonders why the man would have done so while the world still believed Aegon to be dead. While Rhaenyra yet lived - those alleged five months between the riots and her death - Aegon II own survival on Dragonstone would have been a secret, too. Not to mention the fact that we also know Aegon II only took the citadel of Dragonstone shortly before the letter announcing Rhaenyra's immediate return to Dragonstone arrived - which indicates he took the citadel only weeks (or perhaps only days) before her arrival from Duskendale. That makes it rather unlikely that Borros Baratheon took KL in the name of Aegon II a mere month after Trystane Truefyre and Gaemon Palehair seized power there. The fact that Perkin the Flea entered into Aegon's service (and Aegon II himself commanded the execution of Trystane) indicates that order was restored in KL with the king being present - or at least with it done on his command, with him claim the authority to deal with the traitors and rebels as he saw fit after he had taken possession of the Iron Throne again. If Borros Baratheon had restored order in KL not knowing that any of Alicent's sons were still alive then he most likely would have put down all the traitors by his own authority. In fact, one would also assume that he would have claimed the throne in his own right under such circumstances, as a descendant of Orys Baratheon, and the grandson of Alyssa Velaryon and cousin of the Old King.
  19. As I said above, if Rhaenyra had become Aegon's foster mother as well as his betrothed from the day she was sixteen and he six things could have turned out pretty fine. A boy this young isn't set in his way, and if Viserys I had sent them both to Dragonstone to live there, away from Alicent Aegon may have become Rhaenyra's creature rather than his mother's. If Aegon had been willing to exert power as Rhaenyra's consort - perhaps also serving as her Protector of the Realm and Hand - then the Hightowers chance of a successful coup would have been pretty small. And while I don't buy the story that he did not want to steal his sister's throne - as Eustace apparently claimed - I'm willing to buy the idea that he was reluctant to take the throne. His mother and grandfather may have dreamed of seating him on the throne for years, but his royal father had had no such inclinations, and in this world the will of your (royal) father has more meaning than what your mother and maternal grandfather want you to do. Aegon II clearly wasn't a sympathetic person, but the kind of guy he was - interested in frequenting brothels and enjoying his food - indicates that he was perfectly happy enjoying his life and the wealth and privileges that came with being a Targaryen prince. Being king is a lot of work. And being crowned in that context means that you are very likely forced to fight a war to keep your crown.
  20. Technically you are right there, but again - there are no paternity tests in this world. We have, for instance, Cersei's word that Robert isn't the father of her children. But in the end, even that's not proof. We do know that Cersei and Robert did have sex occasionally, and Robert must have had the impression that he had fucked Cersei around the time his children were conceived - or else the whole thing wouldn't have worked. Cersei claims she pleasured him in other ways and he was too drunk to remember the next day, but since we don't know what exactly happened there we don't know for certain that Robert can't be the father of the children. If we ignore that example for a moment and go to Laenor/Rhaenyra/Harwin and Aegon/Naerys/Aemon and assume that Rhaenyra/Naerys slept with the two men around the same time their children were conceived then there is simply no way anyone in this world could determine whose seed those children were - and that includes determining that those children were not the seed of the lawful husbands of those women. Or let's take the Conqueror and Rhaenys. We know the man had the hots for his sister-wife there, and slept ten times as often with Rhaenys than he slept with Visenya. Yet there are also rumors that Rhaenys slept around with her favorites while Aegon was with Visenya. If Rhaenys had had more than one sex partner - Aegon - around the time Aenys was conceived, it is certainly possible that Aegon wasn't the biological father of the boy. But there is no way to ever know. In the end men can only accuse their wives of adultery - and use that as a pretext to declare their own children bastards - but they can never be sure that they are not their seed, even if their wives had other lovers. And that is basically the entire problem of marriage. Men take wives to control their vagina. To ensure that no other man has access to them. Which is also the reason why adultery is such a heinous crime if the woman commits it. But as long as the woman appears to be a faithful wife the husband is stuck with the children she gave him. One assumes one can also just accuse a wife of adultery in a society like Westeros to get rid of her. But unless you refused to acknowledge the children of your wife as yours upon their birth you seem to be stuck with them. There is no way for you to prove that they are not yours. Even if you can prove your wife is an adulteress. The public knows who the parents of the royal children are. The king and the queen. That's all they need to know. It is the reason why the king married the queen in the first place. There are lots of stories and rumors about the 'true parentage' of certain children. Shireen is allegedly the seed of Patchface (a story invented by Littlefinger and denied by Stannis, but we don't know whether the story is true or not), Aegon the Unworthy allegedly is the true father of Ossifer Plumm's son Lord Viserys Plumm - yet Viserys Plumm still inherited the lands and titles of his father. Aegon the Unworthy may also be the true father of the children Lucas Lothston acknowledged as his own - yet those children were still called Lothston and inherited Harrenhal. Obviously nobody cared about 'the biological truth' there. And there is no indication that everybody and their grandmother has a right to investigate the private life of the lords and kings. It would fall to the husband to accuse his wife of adultery, or investigate such accusations if other men brought them forth. We see this with Laenor Velaryon, Aegon the Conqueror. and Aegon the Unworthy. There were rumors floating around, but only the Unworthy chose 'to investigate' things. Laenor could have called Rhaenyra an adulteress and a whore as soon as she was pregnant the first time (assuming their marriage were never consummated, as some people suggest) but he didn't do that. Adoption doesn't seem to be a concept that exists in Westeros. It would be interesting if it did but there are no examples for adoptions as of yet. Only the king could rule on the fidelity and faithfulness of the queen. Or the legitimacy of the king's own children. Which makes what both Stannis and Ned (try to) do very problematic. If Ned or Stannis - or anyone, really - had the right to doubt the legitimate birth of a prince or king acknowledged as his trueborn child by his (royal) rather then those people - and perhaps anybody else believing in or spreading rumors - could actually sit in judgment over kings and princes. That doesn't make sense in this world. You can talk about adultery and bastards born of adultery (and incest) but that's just besmirching the honor of a prince or king, it does not put you in the position to demand a trial to determine the status of the birth of a prince or king who has been acknowledged as such by his royal father. The Hand - speaking with the late king's voice - could technically have the authority to rule on such a question. But even then this would be a very risky business. Anyone else pretty much has to shut up in such a scenario. Even members of the royal family. Sure, without proof Stannis should, in fact, have bent the knee to Joffrey. What else should he do as the loyal younger brother of King Robert? A man usually swears only a vow to a king, personally, not to his line. But if he did swear an oath to his line then the king decides who constitutes that line by acknowledging the children of his wife as his children, or legitimizing some bastards he has. People can also acknowledge children as their bastards and legitimize them that aren't theirs at all (or something else of that sort). Just think of the example of Addam and Alyn of Hull - who most likely weren't Laenor Velaryon's sons yet legitimized as such. Olenna's belief are not the truth. Her private beliefs are not based on real facts. And as far as she knows she can never verify her beliefs anyway. Which is the whole point here. There are no paternity tests. Stannis' story is just a story. A convincing story, perhaps, but still not verifiable in this world. Which is why 'the real truth' isn't all that important. Important is what you publicly believe or claim to believe. It is actually the only thing you can do when confronted by a rumor, claim, or testimony that this or that person isn't really the child of this or that man, despite the fact that he has acknowledged him as such. Just take the Jon Snow example. Ned Stark acknowledged the boy, so he is his bastard. The truth that he may be Rhaegar and Lyanna's son has to believed by the people who will eventually hear it. They have to find it plausible and allow the testimony and evidence that's presented to convince them. If Wylla or Howland Reed end up being laughed out the hall or are ridiculed as liars and story-tellers this 'truth' about the parentage of Jon Snow would have as much impact on the political situation in Westeros as the story about Patches being Shireen's biological father. In the end, people have to believe what the royals tell them. People have sex behind closed doors. But it is enough for a father to acknowledge his wife's child as his to do that.
  21. I'd also assume that the context of this whole thing was little Rhaegar. Barristan may have talked with Jaehaerys about the boy once, resulting in Jaehaerys making his remark. While Jaehaerys seems to have been a smart guy, I doubt he thought his father may have gone mad or eccentric. Jaehaerys himself apparently was a mad nut, believing in prophecy, and using it as pretext to force his two children to marry each other. And considering that Jaehaerys himself was apparently also a very traditional Targaryen - being literally obsessed with incest - one also imagines he understood his father's desire to bring the dragons back and may have even shared it. Although there may be a chance that he thought his way - looking for/creating the promised prince - was the better way. How both Aegon V and Jaehaerys II saw young Prince Aerys is a very interesting question. One assumes they realized that he wasn't the sharpest knife in the box - nor the most promising Targaryen prince in history. But whatever the nature of his 'madness' was in his youth it must have been rather mild. Aerys is little more than an eccentric for the first half of his reign, and prior to Duskendale his madness wasn't causing any real problems for his family or the Realm. Unlike Aerion, Daemon, Maegor, etc. Aerys wasn't cruel or sadistic by nature. He only started to walk down that path after Duskendale. In that sense it would be rather odd if Aegon V or Jaehaerys II had any inclination what little Ary - or whatever they called the boy in his childhood - would turn into.
  22. Because wars usually end with some kind of a peace treaty which stipulates conditions what's to be done with any prisoners of war the winning (and losing) side may have taken in the war? Those wars would have been mostly about territorial gains and access to resources, not the extermination of the losing side. In addition, most people fighting in battles were low nobility or commoners. The real nobility make up a rather small percentage - and even smaller percentage of them would have been captured during a war. Not to mention that you are actually the personal prisoner of the guy who captures you - not the prisoner of the supreme commander. Just take Jaime as an example, who is price of Vargo Hoat not Roose Bolton (or Robb Stark) in whose name Hoat is operating at that time. Hoat decides to hand Jaime over to Roose but he wasn't forced to do that. He could have reached a separate agreement with Lord Tywin or King Joffrey. It makes actually more sense when you are dealing with the subjects of an enemy or rival king. If you pardon such a person then this person owes you, personally. They might be inclined to follow you - or at least remain neutral - when you invade the neighboring kingdom in the future. If one of your subjects breaks the king's peace and rebels against your authority you have to set an example. That is why the people instigating a rebellion are seldom pardoned. So what? Doing that kind of thing would draw away manpower from a noble house. Imagine the Karstark sons - and all the other Northern prisoners taken by the forces of King Joffrey - were all sent to the Wall instead of being exchanged or ransomed by their families. That would essentially eradicate entire families by means of 'watching' them. Sons and fathers losing their fathers and sons that way would be completely contrary to the actual interests of the noble class - which basically is to keep the peasants in line and get out of the many wars they are fighting in better shape than their subjects. Which is how war is done in Westeros. Nobles and knights are captured in battle, but commoners are killed. The wars between the kingdoms would have been between various kings (back when there were powerful lords among the petty kings there would also have been wars between lords, presumably). Those kings send armies against each other, and when the war is over they decide what the winner gets and what the loser loses. Getting the noble warriors back would have been a pretty important point on each king's lists. After all, knights and lords are the commanders and major fighters of each army, not to mention the backbone of the society. If a king abandoned the sons and grandsons of his lords who were captured by the enemy he would not exactly be popular with his lords, would he? I'm not saying kings who lost a war would have gotten their noble prisoners of war back any time, but it would have been a priority. Just as it would have been a priority of the wealthy houses whose sons or grandsons were captured by an enemy to get them back, too. You are confusing things here. For one, it seems the New Gift was given to the Watch earlier during the reign of Jaehaerys I, so most definitely not around 101 AC. But in addition, this gift was not necessary to feed the Watch at that point but rather a gift to strengthen the Watch and halt its decline. It apparently didn't work the way it was supposed to, but that's because nobody joined the Watch, not because the Watch didn't have the resources to feed itself if more men had taken the black. As I've said multiple times - the reason the Watch is declining is that people simply no longer take the black. I never said said that the Watch would have to be exponentially stronger the farther back in time we go. That's a silly scenario. I think there was a tendency of gradual decline while the men in Westeros realized they could do other noble things besides taking the black. And there would, of course, always have been fluctuations in the strength of the Watch, caused by the length of winters, famine, plagues, etc. An event like the Great Spring Sickness or the Winter Fever would have affected the Watch to no small degree - not necessarily because so many people at the Watch died but also because the casualties throughout the Realm would have greatly reduced the number of men who might have entertained or considered the notion to take the black. There is little difference between Harren's brother being Lord Commander and Benjen Stark being First Ranger and Jeor Mormont commanding the Watch. Or Brynden Rivers being Lord Commander. He was the brother and son of a king, too, you know. And if Harren the Black is your brother chances are not that bad that Lord Commander Hoare did not exactly voluntarily decide to take the black. We don't know his story. Not really. The Andals and Rhoynar came, the Seven Kingdoms as we know them developed, etc. There was a lot of change there, too. We don't have to assume that, actually. The Valley of the Thenns is farther north still, and apparently a very fertile place. There are quite a few indications that there is more fertile and less fertile land in the North and in Westeros altogether. The Vale is much more fertile than the Stormlands, say, the Reach is more fertile than Dorne, and the Gifts may have been more fertile than the Barrowlands, say. There is presumably a reason why the Barrowlands crossed by Robert and Ned in AGoT are basically an empty wasteland. But we do know that the Gifts were once rather densely populated - something that only works if those lands are reasonably fertile. That is not true. We do know that Jon Snow plans to buy food from the Seven Kingdoms. He wouldn't consider that if that wasn't an option. Which indicates that there are established trade relations there. We also learn in ADwD that 'the lords' have been generous with their gifts, as Marsh puts it. I'm pretty sure that most of the game the Watch got comes from the North, but there is no reason to believe they do not also receive shipments of food from the Vale or further down south. Bronze Yohn Royce may not have arrived with empty hands when he accompanied his son Waymar to the Wall. And, quite frankly, the very idea that the Hundred/Seven Kingdoms allow their sons and brothers to join the Watch and then abandon them to their fate up there if they are lacking food and other resources is pretty much insane. That's like expecting the army to work for free. It is not going to happen. Actually, the Watch seems to predate the end of the Long Night, being actually founded by the men fighting alongside the Last Hero to defeat the Others. But the point still stands. This was the era of the Hundred Kingdoms and the Night's Watch as an institution decided to build and maintain the Wall rather than, you know, rule over the entire continent which they may have also been able to do. Once they had given up the power they may have had the Hundred Kingdoms were back again, but they still continue to support the Watch to this day. Because it is the right thing to do. The Watch would have only survived as long as it did if people actually believed it was a noble calling for most of the time and if it served a function in the eyes of the people living in the southern kingdoms. Else nobody down there would have been sent up north. In fact, your entire idea of sending noble prisoners of wars up to the Wall makes no sense from a strictly political viewpoint. If you don't really care about the purpose of the Watch anymore, then all you are doing there is strengthening the enemy in the north - the King in the North - by keeping the wildlings out of his backyard. Why would anyone in the south want to do that? They would have only done that if they believed in the Others. It is rather obvious that you are always allowed to take the black. That's a choice every man has. It is why even a criminal can be given that choice. Well, we have essentially invisible peasants living in the Gifts feed 1,000 watchmen in AGoT. Considering that there were a lot villages there and considering that the Gift is not exactly all that small, it is hardly surprising if there could have been tens of thousands of black brothers, living in 17-18 little towns along the Wall. You do recall that Castle Black has been built for much more than the 600 men that are manning it in AGoT, right? And you do know that the Nightfort is much larger than Castle Black? With 600 men at CB the Watch can even maintain the buildings and structures in that castle. Which gives you an indication how many men they once had, only at that place. CB has been built for thousands of men, as we later see when there is no mentioning of Stannis' army having to squeeze in the castle, or being forced to camp outside in the mud. That is just nonsense. If I could trace back my ancestry to some heathen king I'd still not be culturally the same as those ancients were. Society changed. The Andal-First Men houses of Westeros know where they come from, but they are no longer the people they once were. Even the Starks are not. They are as refined and modern as pretty much everybody else - we see this difference in Bran's vision of the past depicting how the real Starks were back in the old days. Wearing your heirlooms and showing them around doesn't mean you are not part of the Andal culture. There is a weirwood tree at the Citadel, too, yet the Starry Sept also stands in Oldtown. And the latter calls the shots culturally, not the tree. It is pretty clear that essentially all the culture in Westeros is Andalish. Even parts of the North. You see this when Bran wants to know how many knights are riding with his brother. The Royces are as much a house of First Men as of Andal descent. Robar Royce made it clear that he had to leave his home - Runestone and the Vale - to make a name of himself elsewhere. That's not a story of self-empowerment or anything, it is the sad story of a young man who had no place at his father's castle. For whatever reason. We don't know. But it is rather striking that the third son was sent to the Wall and the other basically out of the house to fend for himself. That's not the kind of thing the really wealthy houses do. Just look how much money Lazy Leo Tyrell has. LOL, no. You grow up with both of those stories as an Andal, which is made pretty obvious by what we know about the content of the songs and stories. And all followers of the Faith - which include all the First Men-Andal houses in the south (aside from the Blackwoods) - read the Seven-pointed Star and the other holy books. The First Men houses in the North wouldn't grow up with a lot of Andal stories, that's true. No, he makes it clear that those people are the same, at least in the south. That is ridiculous. Not even the Starks believe in the Others anymore. They still support the Watch like many other houses do, but that's essentially an empty tradition, not something they do because they believe in the fairy-tales. There are no ethnic or religious differences between the Andals and First Men in the south. That's what you are not getting. That's what they did, and that's why they are Andals now. Westeros itself is the land of the Andals now, not genetically but culturally and religiously. LOL, if you are taking your wife's name you are not exactly being all that patriarchal, are you? The Lannister name is more powerful than Andal culture. But that doesn't mean the Lannisters aren't Andals culturally and religiously nowadays. No, actually they realize and know that they are as much First Men as the Hightowers and Royces. They go back just as far, and they are descended from one of the First Men heroes. That is still very important in all the Seven Kingdoms. The most Andalish place - the Reach - has no problem parading around all their First Men founders, the many children of Garth the Green. It is perfectly fine doing that and still see yourself as being Andal.
  23. It would still have been some sort of interesting scenario. Rhaenyra was ten years older than Aegon, and if he had ended up in her 'care' when she came of age, being both her ward and betrothed on Dragonstone, then things could have turned out in her favor. It would have been rather difficult for anyone to crown Aegon instead of Rhaenyra if Aegon had been perfectly fine with his role as prince consort at Rhaenyra's side. It is a shame that George never explored the possibility of a struggle for power and dominance within an incestuous royal marriage. These people are all of royal blood. They all have claims to the throne, and you don't have to be the favorite child and chosen heir of your father to come to the conclusion that your brother-husband sucks at his job of being king, and you are much better at the whole thing. Having Alicent's children swear the vow, too, would have been a good idea. Also to bring Rhaenyra back to court and make her Hand in 119 AC - or later on during the 120s. With her calling the shots when Viserys I died, it is rather unlikely that anyone would have prevented her coronation. Another idea would have been to marry Helaena to Jacaerys and neutralize Aegon and Aemond by giving the former to the Faith or the Citadel, and the second to the Kingsguard. That seems to somewhat drastic, and is unknown in Westeros as a measure. But then - making Rhaenyra Hand (and perhaps even Protector of the Realm, as Baelor Breakspear was when he died at Ashford) effectively would have made her a viceroy and co-regent in all but name. She would have been the one sitting the Iron Throne while her father's health deteriorated more and more - not Otto Hightower. And just as Otto and Alicent took the steps to prepare their coup while Viserys slowly died (perhaps poisoned by Alicent) Rhaenyra as Hand could have taken the necessary steps that her dear stepmother and her brood would not interfere with her own coronation. I really wonder what Cole and Alicent would have done if Otto hadn't come back to court as Hand. The Hightowers are really grasping and all at the court of Viserys I, but Viserys' court isn't Robert's. The Hightowers are not everywhere. Otto seems to have gotten men of his choosing in the Small Council (Ironrod Wylde, Tyland Lannister, Larys Strong) but one assumes that wouldn't have happened if he hadn't returned as Hand. Especially a man like Cole - who was clearly driven by personal resentment - seems to have ended up as a tool of Alicent and Otto. One really wonders what he would have done if time had been given a chance to heal his wounds. You have to be a pretty shitty Kingsguard to go against the wishes of your king. The idea that 'tradition' can be more important to a Kingsguard than the express will of the king holds no water whatsoever. And Cole would also have been one of the first men to swear the vow in 105 AC.
  24. I'd really like to have more information on that whole thing, actually. One of the hugest letdowns in TWoIaF was effectively the fact that Queen Mariah Martell is a non-entity in the book. One assumed that she was a major player - and perhaps the most important advisor of her husband in all his reforms - but if that's the case we don't know any about that. For all we know she could have died in childbirth, delivering Maekar (although that would have meant she never was queen, after all, and I think that, at least, is confirmed). The idea is that this isn't exactly a public matter unless the authority in charge - the king or husband - makes it a public matter. If I'm Laenor Velaryon, say, and I have no inclination of ever consummate my so-called 'marriage', and I also like watching Harwin Strong fuck my so-called 'wife' then that's only my business. If Robert had commanded Jaime to fuck Cersei to produce some royal children because he was impotent or disinterested or otherwise unwilling to have sex with her then this isn't Stannis' or Jon Arryn's or anyone's business. It is basically an invasion of privacy. A king's or lord's children are the children the king or lord acknowledges as such. If he is very aware that they are not his seed then the whole 'betrayal' isn't a betrayal at all. That's why Laenor Velaryon and Rhaenyra Targaryen had a working marriage - and perhaps Aegon the Conqueror and Rhaenys Targaryen, too. It is not unlikely that King Aenys was not, in fact, the Conqueror's seed. Aemon was still a rather young youth when Aegon and Naerys married in 153 AC. There is no reason to believe Aegon was afraid of him, then. Chances are that he was never really afraid of him, actually. After all, he constantly insisted to sleep with his sister-wife despite the fact that she didn't want that (meaning he raped her for most of their marriage), and he also seems to have done that with the intention to kill her by means of impregnating her. And he eventually succeeded at that. If Aegon had been afraid of Aemon then one assumes that Naerys wouldn't have conceived children while Aemon was around. It could have killed her. You have an obligation to come forward with what you know if you have reason to believe a (royal) husband is unaware of the affair of his wife. In that sense, Ned was certainly honor-bound to go to Robert after he heard the truth from Cersei's own lips. But assume for a moment that Robert had lived to hear the truth from Ned - and had revealed to Ned and the reader that he was very aware of the entire thing and didn't care. Or that he was pissed and abhorred by the entire thing yet still decided to keep Joff as his heir as to prevent Stannis from taking the throne (which, from his POV, might have actually been worse than a King Joffrey under the tutelage and regency of Eddard Stark). Could Ned then care about that if Robert had explicitly confirmed Joffrey Baratheon as his trueborn son and heir on his deathbed? A very hard question. It doesn't change the facts, but it shows that acting on rumors and private beliefs which happen to strongly favor your position and ambition aren't exactly the kind of things one should act upon. The truth isn't really important there. Public display of your belief is. Take the Tyrells, for example. Olenna makes it very clear she doesn't believe Cersei's children are Robert's. Yet Margaery is married to both Joffrey and then Tommen because that's profitable for House Tyrell. If House Tyrell felt it wasn't profitable they would publicly - and not only privately - believe Stannis' story. It was somewhat of a joke. That is basically the way I presented it above, too. The king is the ultimate authority, all power flows from the king, the king makes and unmakes lords, the king names and dismisses members of the Small Council at his will, the king's word is final on all matters, etc. An absolute monarchy is a monarchy were exactly this is the case. Ideally, such a monarch would also have a powerful bureaucracy and standing military to enforce his will (which the Targaryens always lacked and which, in a sense, leaves them with their pants down after the dragons are gone) but that isn't really necessary for the monarchy to be 'absolute' in principle. Insofar as the legal argumentation and justification for the setup of the political system is concerned. A feudal monarchy or constitutional monarchy would be an institution where there are other legal bodies and authorities limiting the power of a king. For instance, a system where the Small Council is an actual cabinet of ministers who do not only advise the king but also have the power to make their voices heard. Or a system where the great lords have a voice in the government qua birth (say, hereditary seats on the Small Council). Or a system where an assembly of the lords of the Realm - presided over by the king, perhaps - could actually issue decrees and proclamations binding the king, making such a legal institution - let's call it Great Council - the highest authority in the Realm. But there are no such institutions. In fact, the Great Council has pretty much nothing in common with Parliament. It is called by the king, and only discusses issues laid before it by the king (or his representatives - Bloodraven, in the case of the Great Council of 233 AC, and Grand Maester Munkun in 126 AC). The lords have no right to call a Great Council all by themselves, nor are the decisions a Great Council reaches binding to the king in any way. It is made perfectly clear that King Jaehaerys I decided to name Viserys Prince of Dragonstone and Heir Apparent after the lords reached their decision in 101 AC. There is no indication the man was forced to accept their ruling. If he had wanted he could have made Laenor or Laena or Rhaenys, or one of the lesser claimants his successor. It wouldn't have been all that advisable, of course - but then, a king usually calls such a council because he is interested what his lords have to say on the subject. In fact, he is likely also willing to go along with whatever they might say. Else there would be no need to call such a council in the first place. I'm not sure whether Jaehaerys I couldn't have just named Viserys his heir in 101 AC and be done with it (by choosing Baelon in 92 AC he implicitly also chose Baelon's line, because the successor of a King Baelon would have been Prince Viserys, assuming he hadn't predeceased Baelon). But the important point is that he apparently felt there were real tensions and confusion about the succession, and to ensure a peaceful succession and prevent a civil war he laid the matter before the lords to great a broad consensus - which is something one would expect from a man famed as 'the Conciliator'. In that sense, the power of the Targaryen kings is really pretty absolute. King Aerys II can make fire the champion of House Targaryen in a trial-by-combat. Nobody contradicts him about that in public. Nobody says that this is a wise measure, but the fact that people can also rebel doesn't mean the king's power is technically restricted. Even the power of the Russian Czars or Louis XIV-XVI was restricted by the fact that their subjects could always rise up against them and depose them (which they eventually did). Aerys II and Maegor being toppled by other kings doesn't mean the power of the monarchy as an institution was limited. In fact, nobody takes any precaution to limit Robert's power in any way, to be able to deal with him better should he - or one of his successors - become a mad king, too. And one sees this strange deference to the king as a person and institution even in their enemies. Aerys II may have been mad, but he was also the king, and nobody says anything about him 'losing the right to rule' or anything by becoming mad or a tyrant. In fact, his sworn enemy Eddard Stark basically wanted to avenge his death - just as Cregan Stark actually (sort of) avenged the death of his sworn enemy, Aegon II. Exactly. I was making the same point, too, above somewhere, but it is certainly helpful if you make the case, too. And there are obvious consequences following from that. Otto Hightower pushing Viserys I to name Rhaenyra his Heir Apparent, ignoring the precedent of the Great Council, means he would have been one of the first men swearing the vow of obeisance to Rhaenyra. Which means Ser Otto is both a hypocrite and oath-breaker in 129 AC when he ignores all that. This kind of nonsensical/mad behavior likely is one of the things that earned Otto Hightower the reputation of being one of the worst Hands in history. Vice versa, it is not that stupid of Viserys I to assume that a man who once supported him in making Rhaenyra his heir would, in the end, stand by that decision. One should keep in mind, though, that precedents are not established as such, they have been seen and cited and interpreted as such. History and individual rulings of the past, etc. are basically a convoluted mess, often contradictory and originally intended to just settle a concrete issue. It is hardly surprising that quite a few people came to look to the first Great Council as setting an important precedent on the royal succession in general - after all, it was a huge and costly affair, involving many lords and dignitaries from the entire Realm. But in the end, it only advised King Jaehaerys I on his own succession, it didn't lay down rules and regulations how the succession should go in this or that hypothetical future scenario. Well, the way it looks it would have been enough if she or one of her allies would have been Hand when her father died. Perhaps it would have been enough for her to be in the capital and not about to give birth. The impression we get is that there were a lot of her friends and allies at court - all those people Otto imprisoned while he pretended the king was still alive. With the help of those people the coup certainly could have been avoided. If Aegon II was never crowned, there may have been rebellions later on - and perhaps she may have been toppled, too, in the end - but with her being crowned and anointed in KL there would have been a precedent for a Queen Regnant, and that - in and of itself - would have changed the framework of the society, even if she had been overthrown a decade later or so. The weirdo destruction of 'Queen Rhaenyra' by Aegon's decree seems to have gone through because she was only crowned after Aegon, and eventually chased out of the city to die at her brother's hands, who was then restored to the throne. If Joff or Tommen 'hid under some rock' while a 'King Stannis' established a terror regime in KL for half a year, history would most likely not count Stannis as a regular king, either, because the rightfully crowned and anointed king was still out there. But if you report the facts then Aegon II only ruled as king from 129-130 AC while he was in KL (if we count him as king while he was drugged in his bedchamber) and then from 131 AC onwards after he was restored to the Iron Throne. In the meantime Rhaenyra and the weirdo boy kings ruled. In light of the misogyny in Westeros and the blatantly obvious fact that Viserys I had three legitimate sons it is rather surprising that she got as much support as she did. And that in and of itself shows that people don't have that much of an issue with a female monarch - even if there are trueborn male alternatives around. Sorry, that's nowhere stated in this way anyway. You cannot make stuff up. No, it didn't. See above. Ran and I both elaborated on that issue. It does, if you share the view of the 'many' who saw the Great Council as setting an 'iron precedent'. They imply that no woman nor a son through the female might ever sit the Iron Throne. That already betrays their inflexibility - they never thought about a scenario where there are only female heirs around - or male heirs through the female line. And, quite frankly, Robert Baratheon is effectively Laenor Velaryon all over again. Toppling King Aerys II is one thing - but crowning Robert Baratheon is another. Viserys, Aegon, Rhaenys, Rhaella, and Daenerys were not involved in Aerys and Rhaegar's crimes. Aerys being a tyrant doesn't make Robert king. Nope, it does not. See above. But I give you a hint - they are Great Councils. King Aenys goes against the tenants of the Faith, at a time when the question about the ultimate authority in the Realm - Targaryen king or High Septon - is not yet decided. Maegor resolved that issue. Decisively. While he is still a prince, and as such a subject of King Aenys. Sure, there are some things kings apparently have difficulty doing. But we don't know the details of those reforms. The hints we have is that Aegon V did issue binding decrees - which his lords simply refused to obey. Civil disobedience is just as effective in a monarchy as it can be in a democracy. And we are likely talking about rather radical changes here, interfering with the relationship between a lord and his property (i.e. peasants), which would have been a much more complicated and sensitive issue than the question of royal succession (which is interesting and all, but certainly not as important as the power a lord has over his peasants). If that was the case then the history and plot would have gone down much differently. I agree with you that technically there is no way the Targaryens could have had any real authority hundreds of miles away from their capital - not in the Vale, the West, or the Reach - and certainly not in the North - but the author doesn't really care about that. In a truly realistic setting the kings would either be little more than figureheads with the lords ruling their domains in their own right (all of them, in fact, not just the great lords - the idea that the Starks could have actually 'ruled' a kingdom as large the North is just as unrealistic as the whole Targaryen realm) or they would need a powerful royal bureaucracy accompanied by standing militia of some sort, keeping the lords in check. That is one of the major issues with the believability of the setting. But we see how men like Aegon IV and Aerys II basically can do pretty much whatever they want, never mind that they don't have any dragons. Nobody is telling them no - until Aerys II goes too far. But if you think for a moment the things the man got away with - the fact how fucked-up and mad this man was while people were still doing everything the man was commanding them to do - you see how powerful those kings really were. In addition, we see how people like Ned and Cat - who, as rulers of Winterfell, effectively should be viceroys of the North - are very wary of the power Robert has as king, and are very conscious of the fact that they should better not give him reason to doubt their loyalty. We also know that Robert can make Jaime Lannister Warden of the East (and it is even implied that Robert had the power to bar Robert Arryn from succeeding Jon as Lord of the Eyrie) on a whim, Doran Martell is con That is how things are done in such societies, yes. The easiest way to interpret a precedent is to invent or fake one. That was the point of forgeries like the Donation of Constantine. The overwhelming majority of medieval documents are forgeries, precisely because people needed to look for/rewrite the past to deal with the problems of the present. And by the way: Going around talking about the real middle ages doesn't really help you in such discussions all that much. We are talking about George's books, and how things are there. He is inspired by real world history, but that doesn't mean fact X from the real world middle ages can be transferred to Westeros without us having any reason to believe that George is aware of and/or inspired by that fact.
  25. Yeah, I'm with you there. I just wanted to point out that Fireball couldn't have been fired early on in Daeron II's reign. By the way, having read the entire quote of Egg's again: We see here Daeron II favoring the Stormlanders yet again. We have three royal marriages involving Stormlanders - two Penroses, one Dondarrion (the wife of the Prince of Dragonstone) and another Stormlander in the Kingsguard. Even without the fact that Baelor arrived with an army of Stormlanders on the Redgrass Field, the chances that (m)any Stormlords ended up siding with Daemon Blackfyre is exceedingly unlikely at this point. This kind of favoritism shown to an entire region is, if we exclude the Crownlands, unheard of.