Jon's Queen Consort

Jaehaerys I was a usurper.

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Since Aegon was Aenys’ heir and his daughters were his heirs Aerea and Rhalla were the legal heirs. Even if Aerea couldn’t take the Throne since Maegor had named her his heir from all we know Rhalla was still alive.  Thus since then we haven’t heard anything about the Targaryens salic law Jaehaerys had usurped Rhalla’s Throne and the fact that the twins seems to have disappeared they seemed to be the Westerosi Princesses in the Tower and he could had killed them.

Furthermore it is very interesting how it is Jaehaerys who chose to ignore Rhaenys’ right to the Throne in order to name the male heir of a younger son as his heir.

Edited by Jon's Queen Consort

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I wonder if this is the reason for his later - surprising - conservatism on the question of his own succession and in the Second Quarrel with Alyssane. Either he usurped because of some gender traditionalism here, or he favored male lines in his own succession because his own claim would be endangered otherwise.

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3 minutes ago, velo-knight said:

I wonder if this is the reason for his later - surprising - conservatism on the question of his own succession and in the Second Quarrel with Alyssane. Either he usurped because of some gender traditionalism here, or he favored male lines in his own succession because his own claim would be endangered otherwise.

That is interesting. Never thought of it that way. Wow. Gives me something to re-think about.

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19 minutes ago, velo-knight said:

I wonder if this is the reason for his later - surprising - conservatism on the question of his own succession and in the Second Quarrel with Alyssane. Either he usurped because of some gender traditionalism here, or he favored male lines in his own succession because his own claim would be endangered otherwise.

That was the reason why I started to rethink about it. I was wondering why he had to create a mess with disrespecting the Andal ant the First men law of succession in order to name his heir. He had usurped the Throne of his niece and by choosing a woman would mean that a daughter comes before a younger brother and his sons hence he is a usurper.

Edited by Jon's Queen Consort

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That isn't the case because Prince Aegon never was king. And the grandchildren or a king do not necessarily come before the (younger) son of a king.

In addition, there is the fact that the place of women in the succession wasn't clear yet. From 'The Sons of the Dragon' we know that, during the reign of the Conqueror, Aenys' sons Aegon, Viserys, and Jaehaerys were definitely seen to come in the succession after Aenys and before Maegor, but the same was not true for Aenys' daughters Rhaena and Alysanne. Some people thought they should come before Maegor, others thought Maegor could come before the girls.

This is why the birth of Rhaena, Aenys' first child, sort of caused stirred up the line of succession because it was unclear whether Maegor came still directly after Aenys or only after Aenys' infant daughter. That's why Visenya suggested to settle this issue by marrying the 13-year-old Maegor to the infant Rhaena.

We also have to keep in mind that outside the Reach we have no confirmed Queen Regnant in the Seven Kingdoms. Not one. That means the succession of women on the royal level was pretty much a no-go among both the Andals and the First Men. The fact that there were some ruling ladies is one thing, but the lords of no kingdom aside from the Reach seem to have been comfortable with the idea to swear fealty to a mere woman, making it not exactly a breach of protocol to favor Jaehaerys I over his sister Rhaena or her young daughters.

Especially considering that Rhaena and Alyssa Velaryon both supported young Jaehaerys.

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I'd have to agree with Lord Varys on this one. At the time, no precedent was set for those circumstance's and the Lords would probably be more comfortable following a fourteen year old King than a much younger Queen, especially given the troubles the crown was having with the Faith at the time. That Alyssa and Rhaena both supported him kind of cinched the deal.

Although, would it really matter if he was a usurper? He was the best King Westeros has ever seen and I doubt anyone else could have done as good a job.

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22 minutes ago, Adam Yozza said:

I'd have to agree with Lord Varys on this one. At the time, no precedent was set for those circumstance's and the Lords would probably be more comfortable following a fourteen year old King than a much younger Queen, especially given the troubles the crown was having with the Faith at the time.

That may be true, but in the absence of a formal great council decision it would still be a usurpation. Bobby B won the throne and reigned for a decade and a half and people still named him usurper.

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That Alyssa and Rhaena both supported him kind of cinched the deal.

Of his succession, yes. But - as Cat points out to Robb re: Jon - future female-line heirs to Aegon son of Aenys might not feel the same, and others might push that claim. This gives Jaehaerys a political motive to diminish the status of women in the succession.

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Although, would it really matter if he was a usurper? He was the best King Westeros has ever seen and I doubt anyone else could have done as good a job.

I mean, yes, he was, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't matter. For one, it sheds more light on the slow-moving succession crisis that followed him. It does diminish him, a bit, but it also makes him a man, and not the perfect figure we see, which I rather like.

Edited by velo-knight
fixed typo

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20 minutes ago, velo-knight said:

That may be true, but in the absence of a formal great council decision it would still be a usurpation.

Maegor himself was a usurper. The succession was a complete mess at this point. Maegor could even sell his own ascension to the Iron Throne as another conquest, considering that Aenys I had sort of abdicated by leaving the capital and the Iron Throne to the Faith Militant, and retreating to Dragonstone. The whole Trial of Seven Maegor won would support such an interpretation.

But if we go with that then neither Prince Aegon nor any of the other children of Aenys I had any claim to the Iron Throne on their own. All they could hope for was to inherit the throne through their childless uncle Maegor who had reconquered Westeros and restored the kingdom and power of his father Aegon.

If you go with Aenys I dying a king and his decrees and decisions standing then Maegor was no king at all but a usurper, and Aenys' heirs were Aegon, Viserys, and Jaehaerys. With Aegon and Viserys both predeceasing the usurper Maegor Jaehaerys is the best heir in light of the fact that Aegon's twins are both very young and female.

A Great Council has nothing to do with any of that. The first Great Council was held in 101 AC. Back in the day there wasn't even a precedent for a Great Council, let alone the idea that the lords opinion on the succession mattered at all.

20 minutes ago, velo-knight said:

Bobby B won the throne and reigned for a decade and a half and people still named him usurper.

Of his succession, yes. But - as Cat points out to Robb re: Jon - future female-line heirs to Aegon son of Aenys might not feel the same, and others might push that claim. This gives Jaehaerys a political motive to diminish the status of women in the succession.

That sounds convincing but it isn't necessarily the case. We don't know whether there were any descendants of Aerea and Rhalla, nor whether anybody thought they had strong claims. If that had been the case then Jaehaerys I could actually have married them to one of his children or grandchildren.

Unlike his nieces Princess Rhaenys was in a much more comfortable and powerful position. She was the only child of the Prince of Dragonstone, and (most likely already) married to the richest and most famous man in Westeros. Rhaenys had friends and supporters, Aerea and Rhalla were supported by nobody, even her own mother and grandmother declared for Jaehaerys I.

20 minutes ago, velo-knight said:

I mean, yes, he was, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't matter. For one, it sheds more light on the slow-moving succession crisis that followed him. It does diminish him, a bit, but it also makes him a man, and not the perfect figure we see, which I rather like.

Jaehaerys I postponed the succession crisis that threatened to break out upon his death. That it came back during the Dance was, in part, inevitable, but also in part completely separate from this whole thing. 

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3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Maegor himself was a usurper. The succession was a complete mess at this point. Maegor could even sell his own ascension to the Iron Throne as another conquest, considering that Aenys I had sort of abdicated by leaving the capital and the Iron Throne to the Faith Militant, and retreating to Dragonstone. The whole Trial of Seven Maegor won would support such an interpretation.

But if we go with that then neither Prince Aegon nor any of the other children of Aenys I had any claim to the Iron Throne on their own. All they could hope for was to inherit the throne through their childless uncle Maegor who had reconquered Westeros and restored the kingdom and power of his father Aegon.

If you go with Aenys I dying a king and his decrees and decisions standing then Maegor was no king at all but a usurper, and Aenys' heirs were Aegon, Viserys, and Jaehaerys. With Aegon and Viserys both predeceasing the usurper Maegor Jaehaerys is the best heir in light of the fact that Aegon's twins are both very young and female.

I won't argue with your analysis, but I think we're going about things a little legalistically. All these people have claims of various strengths, but the law is nominally primogeniture with the role of gender ambiguous and disputed. You pointed out that the heir does not always wind up being the child of the previous heir, but I see no evidence that it isn't supposed to work that way. That's what I see the usurpation argument as being about, just as Robert is unable to shake the fact that he's jumped over 2 individuals with clearly stronger claims. He's still the King - as Jaehaerys was - but this could undermine him and his heirs, just as it could for Jaehaerys.

3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

A Great Council has nothing to do with any of that. The first Great Council was held in 101 AC. Back in the day there wasn't even a precedent for a Great Council, let alone the idea that the lords opinion on the succession mattered at all.

My primary point is that Councils appear to be the only consistent mechanism by which it's agreed an entire line can be disinherited. The only outlier - Prince Duncan - voluntarily surrendered his inheritance and his children have a commoner mother and therefore would never command lordly support. No council had been called by this point, but none was called in 100AC either, so I'm not sure what the counterargument is - there's a first time for everything.

3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That sounds convincing but it isn't necessarily the case. We don't know whether there were any descendants of Aerea and Rhalla, nor whether anybody thought they had strong claims.

I think "necessarily" is a key word here, though. We don't have information either way, and Jaehaerys own very strong kingship likely meant that any challenge to the succession would wait until after his death. The very fact that his succession was complex and unclear must have exaggerated this possible threat, even if only in his mind.

3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If that had been the case then Jaehaerys I could actually have married them to one of his children or grandchildren.

True, but an incomplete solution. First, you have to do it within one or two generations, before the number of people in the senior line is so many that any un-joined branches remain as a threat. Second, you need to hope that one of the joined branches ultimately succeeds, which at this point Jaehaerys may not have been confident of.

3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Unlike his nieces Princess Rhaenys was in a much more comfortable and powerful position. She was the only child of the Prince of Dragonstone, and (most likely already) married to the richest and most famous man in Westeros. Rhaenys had friends and supporters, Aerea and Rhalla were supported by nobody, even her own mother and grandmother declared for Jaehaerys I.

Well, I don't think anyone arguing here that the "usurpation" wasn't successful - it obviously was, and Aerea and Rhalla were sidelined.

3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Jaehaerys I postponed the succession crisis that threatened to break out upon his death. That it came back during the Dance was, in part, inevitable, but also in part completely separate from this whole thing. 

I suspect it would've been much more of an issue if not for the personal charisma and strength of Viserys I. I can see fighting and jockeying for power much earlier, even though he ultimately set the Dance in motion.

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48 minutes ago, velo-knight said:

I won't argue with your analysis, but I think we're going about things a little legalistically. All these people have claims of various strengths, but the law is nominally primogeniture with the role of gender ambiguous and disputed. You pointed out that the heir does not always wind up being the child of the previous heir, but I see no evidence that it isn't supposed to work that way. That's what I see the usurpation argument as being about, just as Robert is unable to shake the fact that he's jumped over 2 individuals with clearly stronger claims. He's still the King - as Jaehaerys was - but this could undermine him and his heirs, just as it could for Jaehaerys.

My primary point is that Councils appear to be the only consistent mechanism by which it's agreed an entire line can be disinherited. The only outlier - Prince Duncan - voluntarily surrendered his inheritance and his children have a commoner mother and therefore would never command lordly support. No council had been called by this point, but none was called in 100AC either, so I'm not sure what the counterargument is - there's a first time for everything.

 

Uh, no. He jumped over one person. Dany wasn't born yet. Assuming anyone not on Dragonstone even knew that Queen Rhaella was pregnant, her childbearing history made it extremely likely that the baby in question would die before it came of age, assuming it was even born alive. Viserys was already showing mini-Aerys tendencies in childhood, per Barristan, so Robert likely would have been offered the throne even if he hadn't decided at the Trident to go for it. If not him, Stannis would have been next in line.

It was called in 101 AC. That's not close enough?

As to the idea that Jaehaerys himself was a usurper, is thought-provoking on the surface, but ultimately worthy of dismissal. The royalty of Westeros can most closely be associated with that of medieval England, with Aegon the Conqueror being equivalent to William the Conqueror.  Prior to Matilda, there were no women who claimed the throne of England, and the Westerosi parallel is Rhaenyra who wouldn't come until three generations later.  You might as well say that King John of England usurped the throne from his sisters Matilda, Eleanor, and Joan. If you're going that far then Richard I usurped the throne from Matilda before John had a chance to do so. 

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13 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Uh, no. He jumped over one person. Dany wasn't born yet. Assuming anyone not on Dragonstone even knew that Queen Rhaella was pregnant, her childbearing history made it extremely likely that the baby in question would die before it came of age, assuming it was even born alive. Viserys was already showing mini-Aerys tendencies in childhood, per Barristan, so Robert likely would have been offered the throne even if he hadn't decided at the Trident to go for it. If not him, Stannis would have been next in line.

He jumped over Rhaella, who was also ahead of him. Rhaella or Dany, there were 2 until Viserys died.

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It was called in 101 AC. That's not close enough?

I'm not sure what you're arguing there. I was addressing @Lord Varys comment that when Jaehaerys took the throne, the Great Council hadn't been invented yet.

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As to the idea that Jaehaerys himself was a usurper, is thought-provoking on the surface, but ultimately worthy of dismissal. The royalty of Westeros can most closely be associated with that of medieval England, with Aegon the Conqueror being equivalent to William the Conqueror.  Prior to Matilda, there were no women who claimed the throne of England, and the Westerosi parallel is Rhaenyra who wouldn't come until three generations later.  You might as well say that King John of England usurped the throne from his sisters Matilda, Eleanor, and Joan. If you're going that far then Richard I usurped the throne from Matilda before John had a chance to do so. 

Again, I'm not sure what bearing this has. The parallels are widely commented on, but rarely perfect, and there's nothing at all that requires them to be in the same order. The fact that the Westerosi wars of the roses seem to be lasting about half the time as the real ones, and the big difference between the Dance and the Anarchy, are both clear proof that George is drawing inspiration, not making carbon copies.

The simple fact is that female political strength should be at it's apogee in living memory of Aegon's conquest, 2 out of 3 of the most powerful people in the realm were women, and both were respected as warriors and lawmakers.

Edited by velo-knight
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43 minutes ago, velo-knight said:

He jumped over Rhaella, who was also ahead of him. Rhaella or Dany, there were 2 until Viserys died.

I'm not sure what you're arguing there. I was addressing @Lord Varys comment that when Jaehaerys took the throne, the Great Council hadn't been invented yet.

Again, I'm not sure what bearing this has. The parallels are widely commented on, but rarely perfect, and there's nothing at all that requires them to be in the same order. The fact that the Westerosi wars of the roses seem to be lasting about half the time as the real ones, and the big difference between the Dance and the Anarchy, are both clear proof that George is drawing inspiration, not making carbon copies. The simple fact is that female political strength should be at it's apogee in living memory of Aegon's conquest, 2 out of 3 of the most powerful people in the realm were women, and both were respected as warriors and lawmakers.

Rhaella may or may not have been ahead of him in line. The previous Great Councils established that trueborn males come before trueborn females. But there is no info on whether that holds within each surname or not. Therefore, Rhaella herself might have come after the Baratheon boys. You can't include a kid who wasn't born at the time of the usurping in the number of people who were skipped. 

Not arguing. Jaehaerys took the throne in 48 AC. He called a Great Council in 101 AC. I was just wondering what the significance was of stating that no Great Council was called in 100 AC, given that apparently nothing happened that year.

Thank you for bringing up the sister-wives of the Conqueror. Despite Visenya and Rhaenys being so powerful and respected, still neither one of them ruled in her own right, in fact neither of them even tried to do so. As with the scuffles over the throne in England, there is no precedent before The Anarchy/The Dance for a Queen Regnant. I wasn't suggesting a one-to-one parallel, which wouldn't work because there are actually more Targaryen kings than there were Norman/Angevin kings.

The salient point is cultural and societal expectation making it impossible for either Aerea or Rhalla to become queen at Maegor's death. The term "usurper" cannot be accurately applied to Jaehaerys when all of them lived in a culture that would not allow for a Queen Regnant. Add in the fact that Aerea and Rhalla's own mother supported Jaehaerys' claim to the throne (and impressively stole Blackfyre from Maegor to take to her brother), and the entire argument rings hollow. Then of course we could talk about the fact that the girls were at least 5 years old and at most 7 years old at the time of Maegor's death, which might be why nobody suggested either of them rule.

The definition of usurp in this usage is to take the throne illegally or by force. Jaehaerys did neither. 

Edited by Lady Blizzardborn

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Just out of curiosity, where does the idea that women would even fall in the line of succession occur? As far as I can tell, and I could be wrong, at the time the idea that a woman would sit the iron throne wouldn't have even been considered. It wasn't a question of a woman closer or a male further from the line, but rather "which is the closest male"

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2 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Rhaella may or may not have been ahead of him in line. The previous Great Councils established that trueborn males come before trueborn females. But there is no info on whether that holds within each surname or not. Therefore, Rhaella herself might have come after the Baratheon boys. You can't include a kid who wasn't born at the time of the usurping in the number of people who were skipped. 

I was responding to the line, "Uh, no. He jumped over one person. Dany wasn't born yet." I don't see how you can accept Dany as a person who's being usurped without accepting Rhaella.

It's not about surnames. The King is dead, as are his heir Rhaegar, and his Rhaegar's heirs. His next heirs are his other children and their lines. After that, you go up one level, does the previous king Jaehaerys II have any other heirs? He has a daughter, Rhaella. Rhaella Targaryen is unquestionably closer to the current throne of Westeros ca. 283 AC than her aunt Rhaelle Targaryen or her heirs. She "wins" by either proximity of blood or seniority of line.

Finally, agnatic succession usually discounts not just female claimants, but female lineages. I am not convinced that a male claimant from a significantly junior female line is superior to a female claimant from a senior line.

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Not arguing. Jaehaerys took the throne in 48 AC. He called a Great Council in 101 AC. I was just wondering what the significance was of stating that no Great Council was called in 100 AC, given that apparently nothing happened that year.

I'm arguing about the beginning of his reign, not the end. By bringing up 100 AC I illustrated that a grand council was no less a new idea then - before it actually happened - than early in his reign. Again, the issue here is whether Aerea and Rhalla's lines are superior claimants to Jaehaerys, and I mentioned that the only way we know of to conclusively settle the issue without obliterating them or intermarrying completely is a great council. It was argued that the great council had not been invented when Jaehaerys came to power; I'm arguing that's irrelevant. A rhetorical flourish which obviously did not communicate the desired sentiment.

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Thank you for bringing up the sister-wives of the Conqueror. Despite Visenya and Rhaenys being so powerful and respected, still neither one of them ruled in her own right.

I don't think anyone's arguing that a sister comes before a brother, but primogeniture - the normal, though not universal - basis for succession does hold that a daughter comes before her uncle. Again, while not ruling in their own right, these women transcended traditional gender roles with impunity, and demonstrated clearly that in a society ruled by dragonriders, male physicality is fairly meaningless. One would expect that it would be more socially acceptable to support women's claims early in the Targaryen reign, close to these women and before any council precedent had been established to weaken women's standing.

I think a key here is that while succession to the Iron Throne has steadily become more agnatic over time, Jaehaerys had no way of knowing that when he took power. If his cousins had legitimate issue, it was in his clear political interest to weaken the claims of women relative to men.

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As with the scuffles over the throne in England, there is no precedent before The Anarchy/The Dance for a Queen Regnant. I wasn't suggesting a one-to-one parallel, which wouldn't work because there are actually more Targaryen kings than there were Norman/Angevin kings.

And because the nature of the Kingdom shifts very differently for the Anarchy and the Dance, with the pre-Dance Targaryens being a cross between medieval monarchs and the god-kings of Egypt or Rome. I recognize the similarity at issue, but I think they worked sort of in the opposite way: instead of being the first, semi-successful display of partial-cognatic inheritance that was tragically before it's time, I see the Dance as the last, desperate gasp of the relatively equitable role of male and female dragonlords when Viserys tried to force the realm to accept a de facto fully-cognatic system in reversal of the very precedent that made him king*.

Between the devastation caused by the dragons and the total loss of their draconic trump card, the Targaryens basically had to accept a more traditional role for women. This reversal was so quick that, even though Daemon Blackfyre used many different spurious arguments to justify his rebellion, he rarely mentions that his lineage is senior to Daeron II - because a female lineage is basically useless for inheritance to the Iron Throne.

Robert's rebellion actually seems to be an interesting reversal: even though he won his war with his hammer, he was high in the Targaryen succession in the female line and used that to justify seizing the throne. So there is now recent precedent for female successors being eligible to the Iron Throne, something Dany will likely solidify.

 

It's telling that Stannis, a man who names Rhaenyra a traitor, tells his men to crown Shireen in the event of his death.

*I mean, the UK only officially became fully cognatic and not male-preference cognatic what, this decade?

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The salient point is cultural and societal expectation making it impossible for either Aerea or Rhalla to become queen at Maegor's death. The term "usurper" cannot be accurately applied to Jaehaerys when all of them lived in a culture that would not allow for a Queen Regnant. Add in the fact that Aerea and Rhalla's own mother supported Jaehaerys' claim to the throne (and impressively stole Blackfyre from Maegor to take to her brother), and the entire argument rings hollow. Then of course we could talk about the fact that the girls were at least 5 years old and at most 7 years old at the time of Maegor's death, which might be why nobody suggested either of them rule.

The definition of usurp in this usage is to take the throne illegally or by force. Jaehaerys did neither. 

I think there's a little defensiveness here, so I'd like to clear up a few things on my part. I don't have anything against Jaehaerys and he's pretty much everyone's favorite Targ king, but I do think the possibility of female lines that might have a superior claim to his was a potential driver of his thinking, and might have shaped the succession crisis surrounding him and his heirs.

Edited by velo-knight

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10 hours ago, velo-knight said:

I won't argue with your analysis, but I think we're going about things a little legalistically. All these people have claims of various strengths, but the law is nominally primogeniture with the role of gender ambiguous and disputed.

I'm not sure that it is. I'd say what's clear to every thinking man in Westeros is that a father wishes his (eldest) son to succeed him. That's about it. That's what a 'normal man' thinks every other 'normal man' wants for himself. It is the ideal. But there certainly are cases where reality doesn't allow that to happen, say, because your eldest son is a lackwit, a drunkard, a cripple, or a fool, or because your eldest son predeceases you. Something that certainly isn't going to be a rare occasion in a world like Westeros.

10 hours ago, velo-knight said:

You pointed out that the heir does not always wind up being the child of the previous heir, but I see no evidence that it isn't supposed to work that way.

The way things turned in the history of the Targaryen kings actually show a strong sign that proximity is usually favored over primogeniture if a king's chosen heir (usually his eldest son) dies prematurely and the king has to pick a new heir.

We have Jaehaerys I over Aerea/Rhalla, Baelon over Rhaenys, Viserys I over Laenor, Aegon V, over Vaella and Maegor, and Viserys III over Aegon.

That is a very strong pattern. The only counter examples to that are Valarr over Aerys and (possibly) Aelor over Maekar, but Aerys I is a special case considering that he was considered to be very ill-suited to be a king and had no children of his own body.

The best explanation for this obviously is that more often than not a grandchild or great-grandchild is likely to be very young and inexperienced when the king dies, whereas a younger son (or grandson) of the king might much better suited to take the Crown.

After all, your son, even if it is a younger son, is usually still closer to the heart of a man than a grandson or great-grandson who might have been raised in a different household by people the king didn't trust as much as his own.

10 hours ago, velo-knight said:

That's what I see the usurpation argument as being about, just as Robert is unable to shake the fact that he's jumped over 2 individuals with clearly stronger claims. He's still the King - as Jaehaerys was - but this could undermine him and his heirs, just as it could for Jaehaerys.

Viserys III was a crowned king, too. And he was the son of the last Targaryen king that was violently deposed. Aerea and Rhalla weren't playing in the same league, especially in light of the fact that the Realm seemed to have almost universally declared for Jaehaerys I. Maegor was abandoned by all his followers and nobody seems to have considered the daughters of Prince Aegon viable rival claimants.

Robert barely won a war where half the Realm had stood against him. Things were much different when Maegor fell. The man no longer had any support whatsoever.

10 hours ago, velo-knight said:

My primary point is that Councils appear to be the only consistent mechanism by which it's agreed an entire line can be disinherited.

No, that's not what happens when the Great Council talks about stuff. The Great Council of 101 AC just laid the opinions of the lords in the royal succession in front of the king, and the king then reached a decision with the opinion of the lords in mind. He followed their advice considering that Prince Viserys would have clearly been his choice as well, considering that he had previously named Viserys' father Baelon his heir, which sort of entailed that Baelon's eldest son Viserys would eventually follow King Baelon I on the Iron Throne.

An entire line is never disinherited. We see this quite strongly with the Velaryon claim still being a thing when the second marriage of Viserys I and the marriage of Princess Rhaenyra are discussed. There is a reason why people suggest both Laena and Laenor as spouses to Viserys and Rhaenyra. And if the Baelon's branch died out the Iron Throne certainly would have gone to Aemon's branch, just as Maegor or Vaella's descendants would have had another shot at the Iron Throne if the descendants of Aegon V had all died.

10 hours ago, velo-knight said:

I think "necessarily" is a key word here, though. We don't have information either way, and Jaehaerys own very strong kingship likely meant that any challenge to the succession would wait until after his death. The very fact that his succession was complex and unclear must have exaggerated this possible threat, even if only in his mind.

But there is no reason to believe any of this played a role there. Jaehaerys' problems seem to have come from the fact that he had too many grandchildren. The strife was in his own family, among the descendants of Aemon and the descendants of Baelon/Alyssa. Nothing suggests that the children or grandchildren of Aerea and Rhalla even figured into this whole thing. They might have been obscure footnotes on the Great Council considering we know that there were nine lesser claimants aside from Laenor and Viserys. Some of those are likely to have been children or grandchildren of Aerea and Rhalla, but not necessarily all of them. There could also have been other great-grandchildren of Aenys I through a bastard line (the man was popular with the women) or other acknowledged (or even legitimized) bastards of Aemon, Baelon, or Vaegon trying to take a shot at the Great Council.

You also have to keep in mind that the kings controlled the access to the dragons and the dragon eggs in those days. Any obscure Targaryen descendant Jaehaerys I disliked could easily enough have been refused to get access to the dynasty's main source of power and prestige. That in and of itself would make such claims very weak, even if they were based on a reasonably good legal foundation.

10 hours ago, velo-knight said:

True, but an incomplete solution. First, you have to do it within one or two generations, before the number of people in the senior line is so many that any un-joined branches remain as a threat. Second, you need to hope that one of the joined branches ultimately succeeds, which at this point Jaehaerys may not have been confident of.

Well, since nothing indicates there was a marriage between a descendant of Aerea/Rhalla and one of Jaehaerys I's children or grandchildren those people (if they existed) were apparently not considered to be a threat. Corlys Velaryon may be descended from either Aerea or Rhalla but that's a tough case; it is more likely that Rhaena Targaryen entered into a third marriage after Maegor's death, possibly marrying Corlys' father. What happened to the little girls is still unclear.

10 hours ago, velo-knight said:

I suspect it would've been much more of an issue if not for the personal charisma and strength of Viserys I. I can see fighting and jockeying for power much earlier, even though he ultimately set the Dance in motion.

The Dance is pretty much the result of historical accidents. Nobody could foresee that Aemma wouldn't give Viserys I a healthy son, and while the Great Council greatly strengthened the position of Viserys I in comparison to Laenor Velaryon it also weakened his position considering that Viserys I only had a daughter who was now seen by many ineligible to inherit the throne under any circumstances. And Daemon sucked as a heir in the eyes of many.

The idea that you can exclude both women and males through the female line from the succession is other madness in light of the fact that the royal family is usually not all that fertile and prone to marry amongst themselves, greatly reducing the number of cadet branches. A stable succession after the Great Council would have meant that all the kings must henceforth have at least one son or else the Iron Throne must remain empty. That doesn't work.

If people had been less obsessed with Viserys I's succession so shortly after his ascension everything would have worked out fine. Aemma would have died, Viserys I would have remarried, and everybody (besides Daemon) would have rejoiced at the birth of Prince Aegon, the Golden Boy of the Realm. Then we wouldn't have had a civil war between Aegon and Rhaenyra but most likely between either some Velaryon branch and Aegon II, or between Aegon II and Daemon (who may have gone on to marry Laena and Rhaenyra as he does in our timeline, eventually challenging Aegon II on the grounds that he was unfit for the throne or that his children by Laena were of the elder Targaryen line, etc.).

The problem wasn't Jaehaerys I. It was the fact that there were too many Targaryen descendants (and dragons) around.

8 hours ago, velo-knight said:

I'm not sure what you're arguing there. I was addressing @Lord Varys comment that when Jaehaerys took the throne, the Great Council hadn't been invented yet.

The concept of the Great Council already existed. Aenys I planned to call one to discuss how to deal with the rebels. But we don't know whether his idea of a Great Council was the same as the idea of Jaehaerys I in 101 AC. However, a Great Council is clearly no authority on dealing with the succession. Two were call to talk about it because settling the succession peacefully was a pressing issue, but the Great Council of 136 AC apparently only dealt with appointing new regents for Aegon III.

8 hours ago, velo-knight said:

The simple fact is that female political strength should be at it's apogee in living memory of Aegon's conquest, 2 out of 3 of the most powerful people in the realm were women, and both were respected as warriors and lawmakers.

Power of the royal women quickly eroded, it seems. Rhaenys and Visenya were co-rulers of Aegon, sitting the Iron Throne in his stead and deciding matters of state in the king's name when he was absent. They clearly were on the same level as Aegon himself, with the advisers (the Hand included) on a lower level.

Alyssa Velaryon may have had a similar position at Aenys' side considering that her husband wasn't exactly the most determined of men. Yet we don't yet no whether she was a dragonrider (I think that's not unlikely) nor was she born with that magical Targaryen name or a direct descendant of the Conqueror. That would weakened her position somewhat. Still we can be reasonably sure that she was Maegor the Cruel's fiercest enemy, and the most powerful person in the Realm during the early years of Jaehaerys I's reign. As Queen Regent she might even have sat the Iron Throne.

Queen Alysanne was also very powerful but during Jaehaerys I's reign the office of the Hand seems to have grown really powerful. Who wielded more power at court, Septon Barth or the Good Queen? That's a very interesting question. Alysanne could also still have sat on the Iron Throne, but she may have been the last Targaryen queen to do so. Aemma and Alicent clearly didn't do anything of that sort, and most likely none of the queens to come.

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My assessment of Lord Varys's positions on almost every topic is that it ultimately supports a scenario which sees Daenerys as the legitimate heir to the Targeryen dynasty. In other words, of course he will argue against a scenario which supports Rhaegar's son as the obvious legitimate heir to the Throne, as it deligitimizes Daenerys's position.

We all have our biases. Nothing wrong with it. We are entitled to them.

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8 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Rhaella may or may not have been ahead of him in line. The previous Great Councils established that trueborn males come before trueborn females. But there is no info on whether that holds within each surname or not. Therefore, Rhaella herself might have come after the Baratheon boys. You can't include a kid who wasn't born at the time of the usurping in the number of people who were skipped. 

 

After the dance it was established that al trueborn males of the Targaryen royal family came before any female Targaryen or male decendant of a female Targaryen. The question then becomes what happens when there are no more male Targaryens, the most likely thing to do is then to go tho the female line that is closest to the last king and in that case Robert did yump over Rhaella.

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46 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

My assessment of Lord Varys's positions on almost every topic is that it ultimately supports a scenario which sees Daenerys as the legitimate heir to the Targeryen dynasty. In other words, of course he will argue against a scenario which supports Rhaegar's son as the obvious legitimate heir to the Throne, as it deligitimizes Daenerys's position.

We all have our biases. Nothing wrong with it. We are entitled to them.

LOL, man, you have to read my positions. They change. I was pretty much in support of the less refined standard positions on the succession prior to the publication of TWoIaF. I was pretty much in agreement with a lot of people that primogeniture is a fixed guideline that prevails always, enabling us to make establish long line of succession that would be followed to the letter in almost all circumstances (although even the SSM on the succession laws back then made it clear that George's view on that matter was much more complex).

But guess what? History turned out to be more complicated than that. All we can say is that the eldest son usually is considered his father's heir. That's it. Two Great Councils and at least two kings favored proximity over primogeniture when push came to shove, and that's a fact. After than you cannot stubbornly say that a grandson of a king always comes before a son. Or a great-grandson before a grandson.

Prior to that I was one of the people who considered it self-evident that Aerys II's heir after the death of Prince Rhaegar was Prince Aegon, and that Viserys III only took the throne because his nephew (and niece) were killed during the Sack alongside his royal father. I thought that Aegon and after him Jon Snow (if he was born in wedlock) would technically come before Viserys III and Daenerys. But we now know that this isn't true. Aerys II favored Viserys over Aegon, and that's an important historical fact that could (but doesn't have to) influence the story to come. And we also know that there were only two polygamous Targaryens, both of them kings. Prior to TWoIaF we also had reason to believe that there might have been more such Targaryens, princes as well as kings (because George once indicated that this might be the case). But that turned out to be wrong.

I think that Daenerys will conquer Westeros and sit the Iron Throne. But I don't give a fig about whether her legal claim is the strongest or not. She has a claim, on that everybody agrees, and her dragons and armies will see to it that this claim is accepted. End of story.

My take on the succession stuff is that it as basically all legal talk. There is no unanimous way to settle a contested succession. Some people will cite that precedent, others will cite a different precedent, some people will lean more in that direction, others in another. And most won't really care about the legal aspects of the whole thing but about the political realities. Who looks as if he could win the war? Who has already the most support? Who do I like and who do I hate? And so on.

While it is quite clear in your very nickname that you are very much biased in a certain direction I'm not biased in the same way. And it is not exactly good form to judge other people by your own standards. If I'd call myself 'Targaryens Subdue' or 'Dany Forever' you might have a point, but that's clearly not the case.

43 minutes ago, direpupy said:

After the dance it was established that al trueborn males of the Targaryen royal family came before any female Targaryen or male decendant of a female Targaryen. The question then becomes what happens when there are no more male Targaryens, the most likely thing to do is then to go tho the female line that is closest to the last king and in that case Robert did yump over Rhaella.

Nope, that isn't the case. George once gave us some SSM that stated this but TWoIaF made it clear that the actual history of Westeros is much more complex. The Dance is seen as another precedent against female inheritance and inheritance through the female line, after the Great Council of 101 AC, and Jaehaerys I's decision in 92 AC. But it did not mark the introduction of some new law forever barring females or males through the female from inheriting the throne. That would have been difficult to do in light of the fact that Aegon III was actually Rhaenyra's son.

When Baelor the Blessed died without issue there were people championing the cause of Princess Daena and her sisters. Not many and the throne passed to Viserys II. But the people ensuring Viserys II's rise to the throne did not claim that the girls had no claim at all, just that there were too many precedents against them inheriting. That trend continued when Maekar was named Prince of Dragonstone instead of Aelora or Daenora but there was no written law that a no female could ever take the Iron Throne.

But even if it did, what meaning could such a law have if there was a king whose only heirs were females? Would the throne then remain empty?

Some people held the view that the first Great Council set an iron precedent against both female inheritance and inheritance through the female line but that opinion wasn't shared by all as the support for Rhaenyra during the reign of Viserys I and the subsequent Dance proves.

Now, what happens if House Targaryen itself dies out in the male line (as it effectively did when Viserys III died without issue) isn't clear. Queen Rhaella is closer to the Iron Throne by far than Steffon's sons are. She could make a claim, and one actually assumes that the sister-wife of the previous king would have a much stronger claim than some second cousin through the female line. Rhaella could offer herself in marriage to some powerful lord - say, Tywin - and then they could rule the Realm together. That would work fine in peaceful times.

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it does look like he usurped his niece's crown.

Aegon's daughter should be the ruling queen.

he should install her as queen then marry her to his son.

This would be more correct.

Maybe this is the first quarrel between him and Alysanne?

 

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34 minutes ago, purple-eyes said:

Maybe this is the first quarrel between him and Alysanne?

Alysanne was 12 years old at this point.  And in any event, Jaehaerys wasn't even the prime mover in his taking office -- their mother, their soon-to-be-stepfather, and seemingly the entire realm wanted it.  Jaehaerys even had the supporting of Aerea and Rhalla's own mother.

There's also the stability issue.  The realm would have a clear preference for an almost adult male over two prepubescent girls.

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