Quorra

Westerossi are tolerant of incest in Targs, but no one else

12 posts in this topic

In this book, it is pretty clear that all Westerossi, whether they be of the faith of 7, the God of Light, or the old gods, seem to have a strong fundamental aversion to incest, shouting "abomination! crime! shame!"



But how did they feel about this practice amongst the Targaryans? Did everyone simply, tolerantly, say "Well, they have a different culture and religion (or lack thereof) and we respect that?



I know people were anti-Targ but it seemed to be more based on a king-by-king basis than an opposition to Targaryans in general. Or, am I missing the part where people denounced the Targs as depraved for their practice?



Do the cultures see the Targs as almost a different race of human due to their dragon magic - just as the children of the forest and the giants are different races?




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Targaryens, pretty much do what they want because of dragons. Same applies to taking more than one wife.


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Like both of you, I agree that dragons & tradition have mostly to do with why the Targaryens wed brother and sister. I think the narrative in Catelyn IV sums it up quite nicely. It basically explains how incest is an abomination to both old and new gods, but the Targaryens answered to neither gods nor men. Apparently this was a common practice in old Valyria and the Targaryens took advantage of this practice to keep their bloodline strong.



I'm assuming that the people of the realm knew that the incest in the Targaryen family was unnatural, since their gods (old or new) frowned upon incest, but I don't think anyone had much power in telling the Targaryens how to live their life.


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Royal incest has a long history in our world, even though it's almost always taboo for commoners. Some dynasties of pharaohs famously wed brother to sister. When the Greek(-Macedonian) Ptolemy family became the pharaohs, even they continued the practice. I think the attitude is that once a family reaches such a height that they're basically divine, then who is fit to marry one of them, except one of their own?

I get thrills imagining who Daenerys will find worthy enough to be her next consort. I'm really rooting for the return of the old dynasty. There's a closed thread where people talk about skipping her chapters - I found myself skipping ahead, reading the next Dany chapter before I was supposed to, then reluctantly going back to catch up on the other chapters.

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The Targaryens were from Valyria.. A different place

They had dragons and when Aegon conquered Westeros...and bought all of this incest drama, I think the people would have dissented their practices but not publicly because they were so overwhelmingly powerful

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At first, Westeros *didn't* like Targaryen incest. The Faith didn't dare go against Aegon after the Conquest, but declared against his successor, Maegor the Cruel, on the grounds that he had been born of incest.

That... didn't go well.

After that, Westeros got used to Targaryen incest. By the time that they no longer had dragons, they were largely reconciled to it in the Targaryens, but not anywhere else.

And then, after Daeron II and the Dornish marriage, by and large the Targaryens *didn't* have so much incest. Daeron himself, and his rival Daemon Blackfyre, of course were born of incest themselves, but Daeron married a Dornishwoman: Daemon is said to have married Rohanne of Tyrosh.

After Daeron II: Baelor Breakspear married a Dondarrion: Valarr, his elder son, married a Tyroshi: Aerys I married Aelinor Penrose (I believe at one time Aelinor was said to be Aerys's sister, but being named as a Penrose implies she was unrelated: Rhaegal married Alys Arryn, Maekar married a Dayne.

Rhaegel's twin children, Aelor and Aelora, married each other, but both died young (Aelor at his wife's hand, said to be an accident: Aelora by suicide after being assaulted at a masked ball).

Aerion Brightflame married his first cousin - a degree of relation that was permitted in other families, although not always without comment: of course Tywin Lannister was another who married a first cousin.

Daeron the Drunken married a Tyroshi woman.

Aegon V married Betha Blackwood. His two sisters had apparently tried to seduce him when they were younger, but been rebuffed: it is not stated whether either had descendants, and if so, who they might be, but if they did, their husbands cannot have been Targaryens of a sufficiently close degree for it to be called incest since there were none such remaining for them to marry even if they wanted to.

Aegon himself actually officially banned incest between his own children, only for Jahaerys and Shaera to get away from their guardians, and apparently "marry" - not just have sex, but actually marry - presumably with the consent of a septon of the Faith, no less - and consummate the marriage by the time it was found out. He had arranged marriages for his children into houses Baratheon, Tully, Tyrell and Redwyne... and none were fulfilled.

(Barristan Selmy seems to recall, or believe, that "all three of the sons of the fifth Aegon had married for love"... although in fact only two did, namely Jahaerys to Princess Shaera, and Duncan the Small to Jenny of Oldstones: the third, Daeron, remained unwed and was never linked with any woman, though he had a "very close friendship" with Jeremy Norridge. One wonders if Selmy was open-minded enough to consider that a marriage of sorts: we may assume that, since he is musing to himself at the time, he is not consciously lying in his statement, whether because he remembers incorrectly or because he considers Daeron/Jeremy to be a marriage or equivalent to one. Incidentally, Olenna Redwyne - Prince Daeron's original fiancee - insists that it was she, not her Targaryen betrothed, that broke off the engagement. Of course, she may not be telling the truth to Sansa when she says this.)

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"But I don't think anyone had much power in telling the Targaryen's how to live their life." 

Nobody had the power AT ALL to tell the Targs what to do. Since they are the ruling royal family of Westeros, no one would dare tell the kings and queens how to go about their private lives. Not even the high Septons or Septas. 

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Only the faith of the seven were against incest. After aegon I death,they went at war vs the next two kings and were slaughtered en mass. It took the fourth king, the famous conciliator, to make peace with them, promising the survival of the faith, while the faith itself would be forbidden to take arms. So it is not for not daring, but to ensure they survival after they tried and failed.

Also, targs weren't the only one to incest. Tywin lannister married his cousin, for instance.

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On 8.11.2016 at 6:55 AM, naossano said:

Also, targs weren't the only one to incest. Tywin lannister married his cousin, for instance.

That's not considered incest in Westeros. In fact it's not even considered incest in most parts of the real world.

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Does the faith blames cerseir for lancel ? I don't think they know about Jaime?

Anyway, outside the faith of the seven,  I dont think anyone objects.

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GRRM told at least twice that Targaryens indeed suffered from the consequences of incest (if links are needed I can provide them). But really serious troubles apparently started after the death of dragons. Apart from the fact that dragons seems to have positive impact on their riders' health, their extinction made the Targaryens more dependent on Vesterosy nobility and urged them to marry out of their own house for political purposes.

And that was it. If both you and your brother have perfect genes, you can couple without any serious risk for your children, and so do they, and so do only-your grandchildren. But if one of your descendants decides to marry a girl from another family, you cannot say if his bride has perfect genes too. If not, their children will be already recommended to avoid inbreeding.

We know about at least five such causes in Targaryen family:

1) Aegon, Visenya and Rhaenys, children of Valaena Velaryon: very weak and sickly Aenys and sadistic Maegor.

2) Viserys and Aemma Arryn (his first cousin with Arryn blood): multiple miscarriages, one cradle death, a single survived child.

3) Aegon II and Helaena, children of Alicent Hightower: weak and mentally challenged Jaehaera and six-fingered Jaehaerys.

4) Aegon IV (Aemon) and Naerys, children of Larra Rogare: only two of six children survived, the son lacked height and strengh.

5) Jaehaerys and Shaera: two children, one of them mad and probably having problems with fertility.

So, the remaining Targaryens have either to carry perfect genes of Valyrian dragonlords or to give up their old tradition. And to be honest, I don't favour the last option, because too many dragonriders from all the Vesteros are fucking much more dangerous than too few. 

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