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About Adelstein

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  1. Madness of Targaryens

    I think the best thing we have to go on there is the business with Aenys: bonding with a dragon seems to have a curative/palliative effect on him, and all future Targaryens descend from him. That the madness kicks in after the dragons go might conceivably be just a natural madness that gets expressed in dragon format because of their association with dragons, but there seems to be a magical component to the madness in at least two cases: both Daeron the drunkard and Daemon II Blackfyre pick up a kind of prophetic ability with their "dragon dreams". There's Bloodraven too, although that might be a First Men thing rather than a Targaryen thing. It is a good catch though that the madness only seems to occur after the disappearance of the dragons, and arguably the whole great/mad dichotomy dates from that point too (although there were still a fair few nonentities). The only really debatably mad Targaryens prior to the Dance were Maegor and Aemond, and in the latter case at least I think it's more just their being a jerkwad. (Maegor probably was mad, but likely because of the clout on the head rather than any other factor). After the Dance the madness starts to become much more expressive. Having said that, perhaps it would be worth looking at it another way: what if it isn't a dragon-related Targaryen madness at all, but something that got into the Targ bloodline from elsewhere and was then exacerbated through the incest. Since the madness appears to affect both Targaryens and Blackfyres equally it would have to have got into the family before Aegon IV - and therefore we can write the Martells off as suspects. The two candidates we're really looking at, then, are the Arryns (via Rhaenyra) and Larra Rogare, as they were the only external marriages made from which the rest of the Targ dynasty descends. The latter seems the more promising of the suspects, as we know very little about her or her family, while the Arryns appear to have been fairly stable. A later injection of madness also makes a little more sense, as otherwise we'd expect to see some trace of it among Rhaenyra's other descendants - that said, it could be argued Baelor was a bit nuts.
  2. The great bastards

    No, but string up a few as an example and the rest will soon fall into line, or at least that's the theory. We see in D&E that executing people for treasonous and seditious talk against the king and his Hand is fairly commonplace. And it's not a question of what people call them behind their backs; it's a question of which surname they use officially, after all.
  3. The great bastards

    That's basically treason, though. They're legitimised children of the king, princes of the blood. They're entitled to the same privileges and respect as Daeron's children. For the king to allow the nobles to disrespect his half-brothers is ultimately damaging to the prestige of the family - admittedly a prestige that's already been damaged by their existence and legitimisation, but once that's happened, Daeron has to deal with that. It seems though that they were granted their own titles and the like. Bloodraven's official title does appear to have been "Lord Rivers" rather than "Prince Brynden".
  4. The thing about this is that relatively few people who survived the war will have seen the boys with their own eyes. And Jace's and Luke's bodies were lost (Joffrey's may have been, but it's not clear), so unless there were contemporary portraits the truth of their appearance will have died with them. Even in the official account there are no records of any neutrals - even Lord Baratheon - raising the issue of bastardy as regards the Velaryon kids as potential betrothees. By the time someone comes to write the official history all they'll have to go on is contemporary accounts half of which are going to spout the official Green line that they don't even look like Targs. It does seem a bit of a far-fetched claim for the Greens to make though as it's pretty easy to disprove so long as the princes are alive. But it's the sort of thing that might play well with the smallfolk and minor lords who won't have seen the princes in person and won't have the opportunity to verify.
  5. It's certainly an interesting idea and one that I hadn't considered but like the idea of now I hear it. It's pretty crackpot, of course, but some of the best theories are. On the point above though specifically, I think it's to the advantage of the Velaryons to recognise Rhaenyra's children as Laenor's even if they suspect that they're not really his. Bloodline isn't as important in that context as allegiance: if they're raised believing they're Velaryons then when they come to the throne they'll show the Velaryons the same favour as they otherwise would have anyway. Kicking up a fuss over bastardy doesn't gain them anything except to make Laenor look a fool and a cuckold and potentially get the marriage dissolved. They might even gain a reputation for untrustworthiness and betraying their kin or something. Given that Viserys doesn't like people speaking against his daughter, too, it's worth them keeping their mouths shut and maintaining good relations with her in the expectation that they'll profit later even if they're quietly seething that she's seeing someone else on the side. On the other hand it would be cause for major political credit with the Greens if they were to side with Aegon and reveal the bastardy after Viserys's death. But probably still not as advantageous as siding with the Blacks: the Blacks seem to have a military advantage at the start of the war (albeit a Velaryon defection could reverse that quite easily) and the all-important prize of a "Velaryon" king is part of the Black manifesto. No matter how many rewards Aegon showers them with there's nothing he can offer them to make up for losing that, save marriage for one of his kids to yet another Velaryon. That's still one in the hand vs two in the bush though. The rest of it I can't find serious fault with. You make a particularly good point about Daemon's attitude towards his stepchildren and this is something I've always found interesting about his supposedly pretty dark moral character. Super-crackpot suggestion: Jace isn't Laenor's son, but he's not Harwin's either; he's Daemon's.
  6. The great bastards

    Ah yeah, I forgot about that. Lord Rivers, after all. Well, who knows, then. Perhaps in either case it was to avoid the implicit competition with their half-brothers that would come with claiming the Targaryen name: in Bittersteel's case, with Daemon, and in Bloodraven's case, with Daeron. It might be my fault for bringing up the children, as since the four main GBs are principally known by nicknames the easiest way to tell what their actual surname was would be to see the name their children used. I had forgotten that Bloodraven was officially titled Lord Rivers, though.
  7. The great bastards

    Well, so far as we know the only one who didn't was Daemon Blackfyre, since his descendants used the Blackfyre name. Bloodraven and Bittersteel have no known offspring so could conceivably have used the Targaryen name, likewise Shiera. But it's a good question, all the same. If I had to guess, it would be some combination of having become known by/got used to their bastard names, and because taking up the Targaryen name would be an implicit challenge to Daeron (in the case of the rebels, before they were ready). Then by the time the rebellion happened the brand recognition of Daemon Blackfyre was sufficient that it wasn't worth changing. Westeros has an unusually specific system of house names/surnames for a medieval society compared to those IRL, otherwise I'd suggest that they were Targaryens all the same, but of the house of Blackfyre, as for instance the Bourbons were still Capetians IRL. But then you have the Beauforts, who were legitimised descendants of John of Gaunt but are always known as Beaufort rather than Plantagenet. IRL, however, surnames for royals weren't really a thing until very recently, and aren't even now really. In Westeros though they use surnames all the time. I guess IC it's comparable to the Greystarks or the Karstarks.
  8. Westeros=Medieval Europe

    For some reason this image is upside-down, but worth a look side-by-side: Lose Dorne and below the Neck it's a dead ringer, imo.
  9. The source of the Andals' name

    The Andal homeland is called Andalos. The similarity to Al-Andalus (or Andalusia; they are both pretty obviously from the same root and refer to essentially the same place) is inescapable. Whether it's intentional or not is a different question, and without word from GRRM we'll never know. Thematically they are probably more similar to the Anglo-Saxons, though the parallel isn't exact. The Romano-Brythonic Britain into which the Angles and Saxons arrived was much more advanced than the First Men appear to have been (well into the Iron Age, for starters). In some ways the Andals look a bit more like the Romans, or the Celtic Britons themselves. But inevitably the history of Westeros is rather simple compared to that of Britain.
  10. Why do some Essosi still use bronze?

    Bronze is a good metal, in many respects superior for weapons manufacture than iron. Good steel is superior, but in a setting like this good steel is still probably not that easy to come by. The main reason bronze fell out of common use wasn't that it was poor quality, but that it was far too expensive: specifically, the tin component is rare. If the Essosi have access to their own tin mines they might find it cheaper to outfit their soldiery in bronze and armour than in steel, and get better results from doing so than if they'd used cheaper mass-produced iron armour.
  11. The "saddle is a throne" thing comes up a few times (I think also with one of the Teague kings in the Riverlands). It may be one of GRRM's literary tics or of one of his co-writers on this project. (I felt that the WoIaF book was pretty replete with GRRM-isms in places). It might just also be representative of a failure of imagination when it comes to thinking up something different to say about so many prehistoric kings. On the Grey Emperor/Grey King it's worth considering, as the Grey King is one of the more egregiously fantastic characters in Westerosi pre-history and as I've noted elsewhere the purported Iron Islands timeline is completely out of whack with the rest of Westeros. But it's a hard one to swallow, especially given that Yi Ti and the Islands really are an awfully long way from one another.
  12. Princess Rhaenyra = Empress Matilda?

    Although I guess it might not be common knowledge among non-UK readers, it's pretty clear that the inspiration for the Dance of the Dragons was indeed the Anarchy (the civil war between Matilda and Stephen), as the Wars of the Roses is for the main plot of ASoIaF. As the period has been fleshed out it's seemingly moved further from its origins, but the key elements are there. On this point though: Matilda had several half-brothers, but all were illegitimate. Henry did remarry after his first wife's death but had no surviving children by his second queen. Matilda did have one full brother, a year younger than her, who was Henry's first heir but died without issue several years before Henry himself.
  13. Blackwood>Bracken?

    The Brackens were one of the first houses to rise up against the Storm Kings when Harwyn Hoare invaded. Now, whether you count that as a virtue or not is debatable: the histories seem to suggest that the Riverlands were chafing against the Stormlands yoke and wanted rid of them, so rebelling could be seen as the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the Hoares turned out to be even worse. In The Mystery Knight the Brute of Bracken gets another mention when they're discussing whether he'll join them, and they anticipate he will, if only because it'll be hard for him not to, but he doesn't come to the tourney initially. Do we know if the Brackens fought for the Blackfyres? (Other than Bittersteel). It seems the Brackens have the family trait of "opportunism" but that might be because they're persistently worse off than the Blackwoods and will take any chance they get to regain the land and status they believe is rightfully theirs. If you're on the side of the Brackens the chances are they look a virtuous but unfortunate house who've been smacked down more times than anyone can care to mention but keep bouncing up off the canvas for another go rather than admitting defeat, while the Blackwoods have had a ridiculous run of luck and been granted all sorts of advantages and preferential treatment after sucking up to whoever's in charge at the time.
  14. Is it Stannis duty to please that booty?

    I find it hard to believe that any news of that has spread outside King's Landing, and probably not even within it. Very few of Robert's bastards are common knowledge: only the game-players in King's Landing really have any idea. Ned and Jon Arryn were as close to Bob as anyone, and they needed LF and Stannis to introduce them to Gendry. Gendry himself has no idea who his father is. The guards sent to kill Bob's children didn't know the significance of their targets. Which is, of course, the whole point. If everyone knew that Bob had so many bastards they might start wondering for themselves why they looked nothing like their "legitimate" half-siblings. The only two of Robert's bastards who are common knowledge are Edric and, more locally, Mya. And they're both fine. There is reason to be suspicious of Cersei and Joff, but for Joff to kill his half-brother is rather different than cutting Ned's head off; the taboo against kinslaying applies as much as anything else. Stannis on the other hand has made it pretty clear his intention is to kill Robert's children in King's Landing, and has very possibly just killed his brother. There's reason to believe that it would be better to hand Edric over to pretty much anyone but him. I would suspect that Penrose would prefer that it be the northerners who come to liberate him rather than the Lannisters. But "Anyone But Stannis" is a reasonable line for him to take at this point as regards Edric, I think.
  15. Is it Stannis duty to please that booty?

    It's not exactly a massive leap of logic, though, is it? Who had the greatest motive to kill Renly at that point? Who benefitted the most from his death? That people buy into the Brienne story so easily and go over to Stannis as a result doesn't speak all that highly of their intelligence. Even if you accept that Brienne could have killed Renly it doesn't strike anyone as a remarkable and truly exceptional coincidence that she did so right then? And that it's rather likely that even if she did kill Renly herself she almost certainly did so on Stannis's account? I think Penrose was justified in calling horseshit on the Brienne story and instead drawing his own conclusions. Especially since he was right.