Free folk Daemon

Did Brandon Stark rape Ashara Dayne?

122 posts in this topic

I want to add one bit:

If Ashara's child conceived at Harrenhal was in fact stillborn as has been reported then that points to a Targaryen as the father.

Yes, I realize other people can have stillborn children too. But the one family in Westeros who we get told over and over that they have a history of stillborn children and other failed births (or early dying babies) are the Targaryens.

And we shouldn't make the mistake of ascribing this history of failing births solely to the female Targaryens. Yes, Rhaella was the mother Aerys held responsible for the problem in his marriage but really they came from the same family with the same medical history and there is no reason to believe he wasn't as much of a problem as she.

***

Now if the child really was stillborn is a question of course. But for the sake of the above argument lets assume it is.

(We have two babies in the story whose parentage is dubious (Jon and Aegon) and another one whose parentage is at least arguably not completely without doubt either (Dany). And we have four potential mothers (Rhaella, Elia, Lyanna and Ashara) and several potential fathers also. Then there is the timeline for each baby which may or may not in fact be what everyone thinks it is. So there are a lot of balls up in the air. Which is good since who knows how long we will have to keep entertaining ourselves in the absence of the story being finished.)

 

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Amris said:

I want to add one bit:

If Ashara's child conceived at Harrenhal was in fact stillborn as has been reported then that points to a Targaryen as the father.

Yes, I realize other people can have stillborn children too. But the one family in Westeros who we get told over and over that they have a history of stillborn children and other failed births (or early dying babies) are the Targaryens.

And we shouldn't make the mistake of ascribing this history of failing births solely to the female Targaryens. Yes, Rhaella was the mother Aerys held responsible for the problem in his marriage but really they came from the same family with the same medical history and there is no reason to believe he wasn't as much of a problem as she.

***

Now if the child really was stillborn is a question of course. But for the sake of the above argument lets assume it is.

(We have two babies in the story whose parentage is dubious (Jon and Aegon) and another one whose parentage is at least arguably not completely without doubt either (Dany). And we have four potential mothers (Rhaella, Elia, Lyanna and Ashara) and several potential fathers also. Then there is the timeline for each baby which may or may not in fact be what everyone thinks it is. So there are a lot of balls up in the air. Which is good since who knows how long we will have to keep entertaining ourselves in the absence of the story being finished.)

It is not surprising that we have more detail concerning Targaryen births than any other family, but your theory is faulty, in my opinion, because we have so much more information on the royal household than any other. In particular, we have a detailed account of the attempts of Aerys II Targaryen and his sister/wife Rhaella to have children:

Rhaegar born in 259 AC, miscarriage in 263, miscarriage in 264, stillborn Princess Shaena in 267, Prince Daeron born in  269, another stillbirth in 270, another miscarriage in 271, Prince Aegon born in 272, Prince Jaehaerys born in 274, Prince Viserys born in 276, Princess Daenerys born in 284.

Eleven conceptions and two stillbirths. We have no way of knowing if that is a ratio that is outside the norm for any other family because we have no such detailed information on any other family. Stillbirths are not recorded in any of the family trees we have been given, including the Targaryens. We also have no way of determining if the two stillbirths represent a propensity that is a genetic trait passed on through Targaryen generations. There could well be other environmental factors that could be behind the stillbirths and deaths of the royal children in infancy. Aerys himself, and the unhealthy environs of King's Landing potentially being two possible non-genetic factors.

All of which is to say, no, we can't say because Ashara's child is stillborn it is likely that Aerys was its father. Or Rhaegar. It makes no logical sense to jump to such a conclusion. On the other hand we have Selmy's clue of a relationship between Ashara and a Stark at Harrenhal that led to her "dishonor." That is something we can build on.

 

Edited by SFDanny

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Posted (edited)

Being dishonored isn't the same as being raped. I've just read about all sorts of British royals throughout medieval history, and what one reads about them is beyond belief...I'm a bit jealous really. Secret marriages, concubines, consorts, bigamy, lying about it all, changing one's mind and not lying about it all...all in the name of the law at the time and the person's persuasion at the time.

What I gleaned is if you are of a gentry/station high enough in the echelons of nobility you have the ability...knowingly or not, to be rather bloody attractive when there's a king, prince, princess of Dorne, lords, ladies, knights, ladies, mock fights, frock smites, wine, mead and ale, and pitched tents prancing about the place. It appears to be a heady mix of spring fever hitting everyone over the head...really hard all at once!!!

Edited by Weirwood Ghost

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19 hours ago, SFDanny said:

What is the purpose of this rumor, and what evidence do you think points to Ser Barristan's knowledge being false? I would remind you that Selmy, as the new Lord Commander of Robert's Kingsguard sits on the small council and would hear any report of such happenings when the council is informed of it. It is always possible we are dealing with news intended to throw people of the track, but who would do this in this case? Unless, of course, you think Ashara faked her death. Selmy was at Harrenhal and presumably knows of the "dishonor" that occurred there. He was a member of the Kingsguard, and likely would know why Ashara left. He thinks she had a still born daughter, and is placed to know the truth of much of these "rumors."

Sorry, for my bad grammar in the previous post. 

I think it's a red herring for another possible child, and I find it unlikely that Brandon could rape her and get away with it. She had Arthur and Selmy, including her house. I doubt they would be so cordial with Ned if his brother raped their daughter resulting in a stillborn baby. Also, she was at Starfall when Ned returned dawn, I would think her child would have already have been born. She was supposed to commit suicide shortly after the birth. And was Selmy on the council during that time? I'm not sure. And I honestly haven't thought of anything beyond that.

But, your point is interesting, what if house Dayne pushed the story because they were concealing a secret? Having a stillborn doesn't seem like something anyone would tell easily. Even if Arthur and Selmy were brothers in KG, I would think he would keep his sisters' stillborn child a secret.

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17 hours ago, SFDanny said:

[snip] but your theory is faulty, in my opinion, because we have so much more information on the royal household than any other. In particular, we have a detailed account of the attempts of Aerys II Targaryen and his sister/wife Rhaella to have children:

[snip]

I respect your opinion which I probably would also subscribe to if we wehre talking about the real-world here.

But we aren't.

I think what you do not take into account is that contrary to the real-world GRRM has a free hand in what information about his fictional universe he gives us. He especially has a free hand in how he sets up the Targaryen family's history of births. Their history of struggle to raise healthy kids must have some meaning or he wouldn't have given it to us (Chekov's gun principle).

However I freely admit the reason may have nothing to do with my conclusion. That's why I was talking about it being a hint and not a foregone fact. Accusing me of 'jumping to conclusions' thus seems a little over the top.

 

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Posted (edited)

On 6/19/2017 at 5:46 PM, Crona said:

Sorry, for my bad grammar in the previous post. 

Absolutely no apology necessary. Your point was clear, and that is all that matters here. We all make spelling and grammar mistakes. I hope no one holds my many lapses against me.

On 6/19/2017 at 5:46 PM, Crona said:

I think it's a red herring for another possible child, and I find it unlikely that Brandon could rape her and get away with it. She had Arthur and Selmy, including her house. I doubt they would be so cordial with Ned if his brother raped their daughter resulting in a stillborn baby. Also, she was at Starfall when Ned returned dawn, I would think her child would have already have been born. She was supposed to commit suicide shortly after the birth. And was Selmy on the council during that time? I'm not sure. And I honestly haven't thought of anything beyond that.

I think you are correct that Brandon did not force himself on Ashara. I think it was a seduction, and possibly a mutual one. The "dishonor" being the too public nature of the affair, and the fact Brandon was, at the time, betrothed to the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands's daughter and became known in front of Lord Tully's own bannermen, and that Ashara was, at the time, a companion to the Princess Elia. All of these factors add up to be a scandal that shames the royal house, House Tully, and the Daynes. The degree to which it also would bring shame on House Stark is debatable, given the double standards towards men, and men of the Great Houses in particular.

If Brandon had actually raped Ashara it would have be much, much more of a scandal, and I doubt Aerys would have let Brandon leave with his head attached. Nor would Ser Barristan exhibit the respect he has for Ned, or the lack of anger we would expect for the Stark who Ashara  was dishonored by. If Aerys didn't kill him, perhaps Selmy would have if Brandon had forced himself upon Ashara.

No, I think Brandon behaved like an entitled lord who expects to get what he wants. And I think he did so without regard to how his actions would look to the Crown Prince, or anyone else. Whether he did so knowingly in order to send a message of rejection of Rhaegar's proposed Great Council is the question that interests me.

Now, I can't answer your question exactly of when Selmy was put on the small council as the new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Much of this timeline is inexact, to say the least. But what we can say is that Selmy is on the council when he is sent to be part of Cersei's honor guard to come to King's Landing. That is almost certainly sometime in late 274, if I guess right from the dates of the wedding we are given. So, probably not long after Ned arrives in King's Landing to tell Robert of Lyanna's death. We also know that Ser Barristan isn't at Robert's coronation to be pardoned along with Jaime, Pycelle, and Varys, so he isn't made the Lord Commander in the immediate aftermath of the sack of King's Landing. That puts appointment sometime between when Ned leaves King's Landing - around the ninth month or so of 273 - and the marriage departure of Cersei's wedding escort from King's Landing.

But I should also add, that it is likely that any reports about Ashara's death or her stillborn daughter take place later than that during a time we would expect Ser Barristan to be on the council. Remember Cersei's words to Ned in the Red Keep's godswood, in which she accuses Ned of taking his and Ashara's child from her and causing her to commit suicide. Her knowledge on the subject, flawed as it is, would likely be from second hand reports of those who investigate Ned's story. Selmy's knowledge would be from hearing the report themselves, as well as his personal knowledge from being at Harrenhal and having paid special attention to the Lady Ashara there and at court, both before and after the tourney.

On 6/19/2017 at 5:46 PM, Crona said:

But, your point is interesting, what if house Dayne pushed the story because they were concealing a secret? Having a stillborn doesn't seem like something anyone would tell easily. Even if Arthur and Selmy were brothers in KG, I would think he would keep his sisters' stillborn child a secret.

My guess is that House Dayne doesn't push this story for a variety of reasons, but the time after the tourney and the departure of Ashara from Elia's service is not something that it would be easy to hide from Ser Barristan. If, as seems to be the case, Selmy views a dishonoring at Harrenhal to be the reason for Ashara leaving, then he is placed to know of her pregnancy. The knowledge of a stillbirth would come later after the downfall of Aerys. Arthur and Selmy are separated for the entirety of the rebellion, so he doesn't learn of this from him. He could learn of it from Rhaegar after the prince comes north from the tower of joy. Or he could learn it from Ashara herself if she comes back to King's Landing after her likely dismissal from court.

Here I should state openly that I'm one who thinks we are going to find out some of the answers to all of this because I think Ashara is still alive and living under the name of Septa Lemore. The why of that is a discussion for another thread.

Edited by SFDanny

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On 6/19/2017 at 11:22 PM, Amris said:

I respect your opinion which I probably would also subscribe to if we wehre talking about the real-world here.

But we aren't.

I think what you do not take into account is that contrary to the real-world GRRM has a free hand in what information about his fictional universe he gives us. He especially has a free hand in how he sets up the Targaryen family's history of births. Their history of struggle to raise healthy kids must have some meaning or he wouldn't have given it to us (Chekov's gun principle).

However I freely admit the reason may have nothing to do with my conclusion. That's why I was talking about it being a hint and not a foregone fact. Accusing me of 'jumping to conclusions' thus seems a little over the top.

 

I agree the same rules in the real world don't apply to fiction, especially not fantasy novels.. Occam's Razor is an important guide in the real world but not here. The old rule of "if you hear hoofbeats think horses, not zebras" doesn't apply. Here it might well be unicorns trotting down the forest path.

But my objection to the idea of tying a stillborn child to the Targaryens, just based on the fact that Aerys and Rhaella had two stillbirths seems a lack of evidence or clues that point in that direction. We have clues about this from Ser Barrsitan that point elsewhere and and have much more support in the story.

Sorry, about the "jumping to conclusion" remark. It wasn't meant to be personal, and I understand you're floating an idea for discussion.. No problem in that. I'm just trying to say why I disagree.

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On 18/6/2017 at 7:44 PM, SFDanny said:

snip

What I don't understand is where you find the clues to think something like that, because it doesn't seem to be based at the text.

On 18/6/2017 at 7:44 PM, SFDanny said:

dishonor to Ashara's role as companion to Princess Elia.

You mean the same Elia who he dishonored and insulted for the whole Westeros to see?

On 18/6/2017 at 7:44 PM, SFDanny said:

It makes him a skilled politician

Robert's Rebellion and what came next prove that Rhaegar was a dreadful politician.

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Doesn't Selmy say Ashara was dishonored and turned to a Stark? Wasn't Selmy upset that she didn't come to him for help? I could be wrong about that tho. 

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13 minutes ago, Daemon The Black Dragon said:

Doesn't Selmy say Ashara was dishonored and turned to a Stark? Wasn't Selmy upset that she didn't come to him for help? I could be wrong about that tho. 

Barri's quote isn't very clear but this is what I was thinking too.

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2 hours ago, The Doctor's Consort said:

Barri's quote isn't very clear but this is what I was thinking too.

Yeah, i never got Brandon or any Stark raped Ashara from Selmys Pov. I always got Selmy was mad that someone dishonored Ashara, she turned to a Stark and Selmy was upset it wasn't him because he liked/loved her. Maybe i'll reread that Selmy chapter tho.

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It's one of my favourite chapters.

A Dance with Dragons - The Kingbreaker

Quote

Even after all these years, Ser Barristan could still recall Ashara's smile, the sound of her laughter. He had only to close his eyes to see her, with her long dark hair tumbling about her shoulders and those haunting purple eyes. Daenerys has the same eyes. Sometimes when the queen looked at him, he felt as if he were looking at Ashara's daughter …

But Ashara's daughter had been stillborn, and his fair lady had thrown herself from a tower soon after, mad with grief for the child she had lost, and perhaps for the man who had dishonored her at Harrenhal as well. She died never knowing that Ser Barristan had loved her. How could she? He was a knight of the Kingsguard, sworn to celibacy. No good could have come from telling her his feelings. No good came from silence either. If I had unhorsed Rhaegar and crowned Ashara queen of love and beauty, might she have looked to me instead of Stark?

He would never know. But of all his failures, none haunted Barristan Selmy so much as that.

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I read Ashara had a daughter. She killed herself because the baby was stillborn. And also because of the man who gave her the baby. You may read she lived long enough to give birth and then suicide. But I prefer to read she loved the man and expected to marry him, if she had this daughter. It was not rape, but love and abandon. Brandon was dead for some time. No hope this way. But Ned had just left Starfall. And at Harrenhal Ned was betrothed to no one, contrary to Brandon.

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Posted (edited)

20 hours ago, Daemon The Black Dragon said:

Yeah, i never got Brandon or any Stark raped Ashara from Selmys Pov. I always got Selmy was mad that someone dishonored Ashara, she turned to a Stark and Selmy was upset it wasn't him because he liked/loved her. Maybe i'll reread that Selmy chapter tho.

I always thought that Barri was just jealous that Ashara prefered a Stark. I am not so sure about the dishonoring part. I do think that she had sex with a Stark, imnsho Ned, but it was Barri who was thinking that it as dishonoring

Edited by The Doctor's Consort

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On 2/5/2017 at 4:34 PM, JCRB's Honeypot said:

It's not only that. It's like people assume Ashara HAD to have sex with someone because she's "Dornish"* or because "muh empowerment". Is the idea of a noble lady not wanting to have sex somehow repressive or something? Cat married a virgin, as many other women do. Is this a bad thing? Not in my book. Being able to say "I don't want to" is also being in control of your own sexuality. But no, Ashara was beautiful and all men wanted her so she wanted to have sex despite House Dayne seems to be very respectful of honor and tradition. IICR, I counted 12 men she's been accused of having sex with. 

This irks me because it reminds me an article by a woman saying that, if women were once required to be sexually discreet, now we're required to be sexually open in order to appear "liberated". Both expectations are wrong, imo. It's easy to see Ashara's life as being regulated by the social norms of her time, but why is so hard to assume that she agreed on celibacy before marriage on her own? I mean, yes: it's likely that she indeed had a lover that she liked and got pregnant, but the other option is equally possible.

*Same applies for Elia.

With my entire heart, all of this.

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On 6/23/2017 at 0:02 PM, The Doctor's Consort said:

What I don't understand is where you find the clues to think something like that, because it doesn't seem to be based at the text.

If you tell me what you are referring to instead of "snip" I'd be happy to try explain my reasoning and show you the clues it is based on.

On 6/23/2017 at 0:02 PM, The Doctor's Consort said:

You mean the same Elia who he dishonored and insulted for the whole Westeros to see?

I think you may be missing the politics of Rhaegar's action, but, yes, as far as I know there is only one Elia of Dorne who was at Harrenhal.

On 6/23/2017 at 0:02 PM, The Doctor's Consort said:

Robert's Rebellion and what came next prove that Rhaegar was a dreadful politician.

Does it? It proves he was unsuccessful, not that he was dreadful. To judge that one has to know his goals and the strength of the forces he was working with. It seems to me he came within a sword stroke of killing Robert and quite possibly emerging from the Trident able to dictate his own terms for the future of his kingdom.

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Posted (edited)

On 27/6/2017 at 1:39 AM, SFDanny said:

I think you may be missing the politics of Rhaegar's action, but, yes, as far as I know there is only one Elia of Dorne who was at Harrenhal.

On 27/6/2017 at 1:39 AM, SFDanny said:

Does it? It proves he was unsuccessful, not tha

If he was at least smart when it comes to politics he wouldn't had eloped with Lyanna at least before overthrown his lunatic father and explain his actions.

On 27/6/2017 at 1:39 AM, SFDanny said:

To judge that one has to know his goals and the strength of the forces he was working with.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. No one would give a damn about what he was thinking, especially since he came from a family known for their madness, his actions created a chain reaction that ended up with the death of Elia, Aegon, Rhaenys, Lyanna and thousands more people. If he knew about politics he would had overthrown Aerys and then he would had married Lyanna in public for the whole Westeros to see.

On 27/6/2017 at 1:39 AM, SFDanny said:

 It seems to me he came within a sword stroke of killing Robert and quite possibly emerging from the Trident able to dictate his own terms for the future of his kingdom.

You are right, but this is just your opinion. For me it seems that Robert had participated in a war and was injured before his fight with Rhaegar and he still managed to annihilate him.

On 27/6/2017 at 1:39 AM, SFDanny said:

If you tell me what you are referring to instead of "snip" I'd be happy to try explain my reasoning and show you the clues it is based on.

By snip I just meant your quote nothing more.

Edited by The Doctor's Consort

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On 6/26/2017 at 3:39 PM, SFDanny said:

It seems to me he came within a sword stroke of killing Robert and quite possibly emerging from the Trident able to dictate his own terms for the future of his kingdom.

Betting the future of his family and the Kingdom in a duel with the Robert Baratheon doesn't seem like a prudent decision for king, prince or father. Robert fought that whole war like a man possessed.

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1 minute ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

Betting the future of his family and the Kingdom in a duel with the Robert Baratheon doesn't seem like a prudent decision for king, prince or father. Robert fought that whole war like a man possessed.

I'd say strategies have to change with the circumstances. Once Jon Arryn raises his banners in rebellion, and Robert and Ned follow suit, it becomes much more likely that some military solution will decide the fate of the Targaryens. Of course, Rhaegar didn't decide any of those actions. His father decided to execute Rickard and Brandon, and demand Ned and Robert's heads from Lord Arryn. Brandon decided to ride into the Red Keep with Jon Arryn's heir and call for Rhaegar to "come out and die." Jon Arryn refuses to surrender his foster-sons, and war is the result.

Once it is clear that Aerys isn't winning this war, Rhaegar has to decide whether or not he joins the effort to put down the rebellion, and on what terms. I've suggested that part of that decision is quite likely based on Aerys having Elia and Rhaegar's children in King's Landing and used as hostages against Dorne's behavior, and, I believe, Rhaegar's own. I don't doubt that also part of that decision is based on the growing reality that House Targaryen might actually lose the throne, and whatever aims Rhaegar had as successor to his father would go up in smoke. Of interest to the reader, should also be that Rhaegar doesn't bring Lyanna with him to King's Landing to be used as a hostage against the rebellion. His decision to fight on his father's side didn't go so far as surrendering Lyanna to the king's tender mercies.

But Rhaegar's decision to join the war and take up command of a new army in opposition to the rebels places his ability to win against the combined might of the Starks, Tullys, Arryns, and Baratheons as the central focus of the loyalist strategy going forward. Given all of the above, Rhaegar nearly pulls it off. Before he was killed, he severely wounded Robert. I don't think anyone would doubt Robert's death would have been a huge setback for the rebels and a victory at the Trident would have meant a much stronger position for Rhaegar in dictating the terms of a post rebellion Westeros.

None of which means that this was Rhaegar's strategy after running off with Lyanna. If Aerys and Rhaegar had agreed with each other then Brandon would have found Lyanna locked in a tower cell in King's Landing where the King would be able to tell the rebels she would now be a ward of the crown in anticipation of the Lords Paramount renouncing their marriage contracts between them. No, Rhaegar obviously had some other goals in mind, which probably still included replacing Aerys. His actions of hiding out with Lyanna shows a goal beyond using her as a hostage.

To me, the key to understanding  Rhaegar's actions, or any other of the key players of the time is to look at their political goals and interests in the time, place, and circumstances they are operating in, and then see how the balance of forces can best be moved to accomplish those goals and interests. I'd submit, that when one does that Rhaegar comes off as a skilled politician and leader with a very narrow path to reach his goals. Whatever one thinks of those goals, I think it is right to look at how close he comes to getting there.

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26 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

he severely wounded Robert.

Not sure Robert was "severely" wounded as he was able to wait while his maester treated Barristan first.

27 minutes ago, SFDanny said:

To me, the key to understanding  Rhaegar's actions, or any other of the key players of the time is to look at their political goals and interests in the time, place, and circumstances they are operating in, and then see how the balance of forces can best be moved to accomplish those goals and interests. I'd submit, that when one does that Rhaegar comes off as a skilled politician and leader with a very narrow path to reach his goals. Whatever one thinks of those goals, I think it is right to look at how close he comes to getting there.

Rhaegar should have taken Robert's "fury" into account. He seem to fight that entire war just to get to Rhaegar. That's why after Bob killed Rhaegar he sent his maester to treat Barristan's wounds instead of his own then told Ned to take King's Landing. You think he would have done that if he won the Trident but Rhaegar wasn't there and instead was in King's Landing with Aerys? I doubt it. I think he'd tell the Maester to forget Barristan, patch him up, then he'd lead Ned and the rest to the capital. He's main goal was to kill Rhaegar from the start till he did it. Some might even say after he killed Rhaegar he cared little about anything else for the rest of life. Rhaegar not realizing what Robert being scorned would lead to was a huge oversight. IMO

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