Lollygag

All of the Damned Incest: What's the Point?

315 posts in this topic

I believe GRRM's original plot had Jon and Arya falling in love, and later discovering that their love was not forbidden after all because they were cousins rather than siblings. This is a very old and hackneyed plot device, which may be one reason he ultimately rejected it. Another is that incest has become even more taboo recently because we associate it strongly with child abuse. However, incest within royal families is a historical fact and therefore respectable in the context of a pseudo-historical novel.

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, LIVIA said:

I'd like you not to call people's religious and moral principles "ignorant propaganda". Some things are detrimental to a personality regardless of an era, because human nature is always the same. The subject of this topic is among them. And as you probably have noticed, nobody calls your point of view "bestial dissolution", though there are many people thinking just so ;) Let's have some respect to each other.

I'm sorry, but I stand by my comment. Any religion - or moral principles - that persecutes an individual as an evil sinner for "making the choice of being gay" and uses arguments to support these beliefs, such as "homosexuals are responsible for the spread of STDs", or "a gay man is more likely to molest children than a strait man" is in fact guilty of spreading propaganda to support their ignorant religious beliefs.

My comment was in no way meant to be disrespectful to anyone. However, if you subscribe to, or support these types of views and beliefs, then I'm honestly not concerned with, nor would I acknowledge what you deem to be disrespectful to others. 

Edited by Darkstream

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Posted (edited)

16 hours ago, Darkstream said:

m sorry, but I stand by my comment. Any religion - or moral principles - that persecutes an individual as an evil sinner for "making the choice of being gay" and uses arguments to support these beliefs, such as "homosexuals are responsible for the spread of STDs", or "a gay man is more likely to molest children than a strait man" is in fact guilty of spreading propaganda to support their ignorant religious beliefs.

It seems that we have quite different ideas about a religious (or just moral) person. Yours is somewhat medieval, really:) I don't persecute or hate anybody, including gays; moreover, persecuting and judging other people is also considered as sin in Christianity. But everybody can have and voice his own opinion about CERTAIN DEEDS of people, about what is good and what is bad. No less and no more.

Regarding the topic, I agree with the starter at some points. But I don't find somewhat particular icky in the cases of Asha/Theon and Sansa/Petyr. The first one was only a vulgar jape, and in the second one Sansa understoods that she and Baelish just play relatives. Concerning Targs... If they are magically protected from the genetic consequences and raised their children with the right (at least, meant for creation of a true family, not just for easy fucking like it was with Jaime and Cercei) idea of what their future relations with bro/sis should be like, I can accept it. It's an old tradition of a fictional family, whom the author granted with weighty reasons to continue it. But even in Martin's fantasy world, Targs are still seen as humans and therefore are still liable for the results. For Aerys and his twisted abusive relations with Rhaella, for Viserys, for Aegon/Naerys, for Helaena's twins, ect. If you sold 100 perfect computers and sell the 101st being sure that it will work correctly, but in fact it doesn't, you'll have to pay anyway.

Edited by LIVIA

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On 12.8.2017 at 6:21 PM, Lady bonehead said:

I believe GRRM's original plot had Jon and Arya falling in love, and later discovering that their love was not forbidden after all because they were cousins rather than siblings. This is a very old and hackneyed plot device, which may be one reason he ultimately rejected it. Another is that incest has become even more taboo recently because we associate it strongly with child abuse. However, incest within royal families is a historical fact and therefore respectable in the context of a pseudo-historical novel.

That is pretty much it. The idea that Jon-Arya could have any issues with their romantic feelings and sexual desires for each other in the world George ended up creating is pretty much ridiculous. They suffered through so much and live in so a shitty world that they should have no second thoughts about taking what little pleasure they should be able to find in each other.

Which they never will in the series George is writing now.

Also, the very idea that Jon - who already ended up having an affair with a wildling woman despite his vows - would have any issues with another sexual relationship because of them also doesn't make any sense in the framework of the story George happened to write.

As to the relevant incest at hand - Daenerys-Jon - that is not really all that incestuous by Westerosi standards. The Faith defines incest as sexual intercourse between parents and children, and as intercourse among siblings, not as between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews or first and second cousins.

We have two uncle-niece matches in the Stark family tree as well as the occasional cousin marriage, and the latter certainly happens in every noble family. I mean, we know about quite a few matches between the Arryns and Royces, for instance, not to mention the many matches between the Brackens-Blackwoods, Lannisters-Reynes, Starks-Karstarks, etc. Paxter Redwyne is married to his first cousin Mina Tyrell

By the standards we judge the Hapsburgs and other European royal dynasties all of the royal and noble lines of Westeros should be similarly inbred. Many cousin marriages can have more or less the same effects as a few sibling marriages. Those lines stretch back thousands of years and they would all have gone through arranged marriages among the nobility for millennia. One can only guess at how 'rotten' and 'defective' all of them had to be in a real world setting with real world genetics.

And the Targaryens - well, they and the dragonlords should actually have bred themselves into a new race or species. At least if we assume that they practiced incest for at least 5,000-6,000 years. That's quite a few generations, after all. 

6 hours ago, LIVIA said:

Regarding the topic, I agree with the starter at some points. But I don't find somewhat particular icky in the cases of Asha/Theon and Sansa/Petyr. The first one was only a vulgar jape, and in the second one Sansa understoods that she and Baelish just play relatives. Concerning Targs... If they are magically protected from the genetic consequences and raised their children with the right (at least, meant for creation of a true family, not just for easy fucking like it was with Jaime and Cercei) idea of what their future relations with bro/sis should be like, I can accept it. It's an old tradition of a fictional family, whom the author granted with weighty reasons to continue it. But even in Martin's fantasy world, Targs are still seen as humans and therefore are still liable for the results. For Aerys and his twisted abusive relations with Rhaella, for Viserys, for Aegon/Naerys, for Helaena's twins, ect. If you sold 100 perfect computers and sell the 101st being sure that it will work correctly, but in fact it doesn't, you'll have to pay anyway.

We have to separate (sexual) abuse and consensual sexual relations here. Theon's behavior towards Asha is not problematic because she is his sister (that is just embarrassing for him later on) but because he is crossing boundaries there. The same goes for Aerys-Rhaella or Aegon-Naerys. They should never have treated their wives the way they did, independently whether they were their sisters, aunts, cousins, or completely unrelated women.

Jaime-Cersei, Jaehaerys-Alysanne, Aegon-Rhaenys/Visenya, Jaehaerys-Shaera, etc. have healthy and happy sexual relationships and marriages, at least for a time or most of their lives. The only thing speaking against those relationships is a religious taboo that is not exactly well-founded within Westeros. 

Littlefinger-Sansa is sort of icky because of their weird father-daughter game which underlines the abusive aspect of their relationship (something we don't see in the same degree in Drogo-Dany although it is much worse there) but Sansa is actual fair game by the rules of Westeres considering that she has already had her first moon blood. That is about the age children can be married off without any legal problems in Westeros (and Martinworld in general, as Dany's marriage to the child molester and rapist Khal Drogo proves).

Many men are sexually interested in Sansa, not just Littlefinger - Joffrey, Sandor, Tyrion, Marillion, Harry, etc. They do not see this 12-13-year-old girl as a child. She is a young woman capable of bearing children and thus fair game for any man who wants to make her his lover/mistress or wife.

Tommen's case is actually much more awkward. He is still seen as a child and Cersei's fear that his wife Margaery is going to groom him into her creature isn't exactly that unrealistic. In our world we wouldn't consider it healthy or sane to marry an eight-year-old a sixteen-year-old and then have them play at sex as early as, say, the age of ten or eleven or whenever Margaery intended to have her royal husband 'deflower' her. That is sexual abuse.

And it is apparently seen in similar way in Westeros. Children usually are not married off if they have not yet reached adolescence. The only other royal marriages involving preteen children is Aegon III-Jaehaera and Aegon III-Daenaera and in both cases the survival of the royal house itself was at stake. But in both cases we have children married to children. Tommen is married to an adult woman.

In our world the incest taboo is pretty much outdated. We have very effective methods of birth control and contraception as well as means to ensure that we only carry those children to term we actually want to. We also have laws and regulations in place to ensure that parents and other guardians do not (sexually) abuse their children. Very few people want to marry or have sex with their siblings, parents, or other close relations. But if we don't forbid former teachers to marry their former students then their is no good reason to legally persecute close relations who want to have consensual sexual relations. Especially not those who enter into sexual relationships while not knowing that they are close kin, or who know but didn't grew up together. Stretching the taboo/persecution to adoptive or step siblings is even worse, and actually gives away the fact that the ideology how close family should see and treat each other is much more important than the physical health of the offspring from such unions.

The state has no right or duty to oversee the genetic fitness of a population. If that was the case we would have a number of obligatory genetic screenings before there is any sexual relation with the intention to produce children. But we don't have that kind of thing. Although one could argue whether this might be a good idea. So why should we prevent people who want to have children with their siblings when we allow people who will almost certainly produce children suffering from (a number of) hereditary diseases to have sex? That is just irrational and doesn't make any sense.

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8 hours ago, LIVIA said:

It seems that we have quite different ideas about a religious (or just moral) person. Yours is somewhat medieval, really:) I don't persecute or hate anybody, including gays; moreover, persecuting and judging other people is also considered as sin in Christianity. But everybody can have and voice his own opinion about CERTAIN DEEDS of people, about what is good and what is bad. No less and no more.

Not at all. I believe you may have missed the context of my original comment. Other posters were comparing the attitudes toward incest today, to the persecution of homosexuals in the past. Thus, my comment was referring to the views held in the past. With the knowledge we now have, I think it's fair to classify those past (or somewhat medevil) beliefs to be quite ignorant; whether they be religious beliefs, or just societal perceptions in general.

I hope that clears up the misunderstanding. :)

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1. Incest was common among many cultures in the past .

2 To get you comfortable with it , if Jon marries Dany ,and Jon is found to be Rhaegar or Aerys son or Dany is found to be Lyanna's daughter .

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Posted (edited)

I find this topic distasteful, and prefer to mostly not dwell on it too much. Let me just say that from a genetic point of view Jon is more closely related to Daenerys than to either Arya or Sansa. Arya and Sansa would be the equivalent to Daenerys's children, in terms of genetic proximity to Jon. Meaning the blood of Daenerys's husband would have diluted their closeness to Jon by half. In this case, Catelyn's blood has diluted Arya and Sansa's proximity to Jon by half, compared to his proximity to Daenerys.

Hence, from that point of view, it is preferable for Jon to marry Arya or Sansa than Daenerys, quite frankly.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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Posted (edited)

35 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Hence, from that point of view, it is preferable for Jon to marry Arya or Sansa than Daenerys, quite frankly.

...You know nothing, Jon Snow Free Northman Reborn. A true man steals a woman from afar, t' strengthen the clan. Women who bed brothers or fathers or clan kin offend the gods, and are cursed with weak and sickly children. Even monsters."

Quite frankly, I think what would be preferable, is for Jon to keep it in his pants while engaging in a relationship with any family members, regardless of the degree of relation.

Edited by Darkstream

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4 minutes ago, Darkstream said:

...You know nothing, Jon Snow Free Northman Reborn. A true man steals a woman from afar, t' strengthen the clan. Women who bed brothers or fathers or clan kin offend the gods, and are cursed with weak and sickly children. Even monsters."

Quite frankly, I think what would be preferable, is for Jon to keep it in his pants while engaging in a relationship with any family members, regardless of the degree of relation.

Oh sure. I totally agree. I'm just commenting on the general prediction that Jon and Dany will end up together, and pointing out that in that case, Arya or Sansa would be a better option.

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Posted (edited)

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Jaime-Cersei, Jaehaerys-Alysanne, Aegon-Rhaenys/Visenya, Jaehaerys-Shaera, etc. have healthy and happy sexual relationships

I apologise but... what? Are you serious? Do you actually believe that being sexually drawn to your mirror image is healthy? Jaime and Cercei is the greatest example of what shit irl incest relations can be. Greedy, self-centered and cruel woman, droven only by her instincts and ambition, convinced his twin brother to betray their own father (by giving up all his heir's rights) and to make all his life null just to be ONE OF her fuckers - and you call it "healthy relations"? 

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We have very effective methods of birth control and contraception as well as means to ensure that we only carry those children to term we actually want to.

Effective contraception is not absolutely effective and have plenty of by-effects, which are harmful to reproductive system and can have negative effect on future children, if a woman once gets with intention to have them.

Though, if a person is ready to kill his own children like some bothering flies, he is welcome to fuck with his brother or sister, no doubt. 

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The state has no right or duty to oversee the genetic fitness of a population. If that was the case we would have a number of obligatory genetic screenings before there is any sexual relation with the intention to produce children. But we don't have that kind of thing. Although one could argue whether this might be a good idea. So why should we prevent people who want to have children with their siblings when we allow people who will almost certainly produce children suffering from (a number of) hereditary diseases to have sex? That is just irrational and doesn't make any sense

Here agree. But I am Russian, so here there is no problem.) It's only prohibited to wed brothers/sisters and direct ancestors/descendants here, but no one can be brought to account for having sex and children with any consenting adult.

Very few people actually have sexual attratrion towards their close kin, it's true. But unless the society treated such relations so negatively, they would spread through it rapidly, because the recent years made it clear that the perversive nature of some kind of relationships is not an obtacle when you're chasing more and more sexual pleasure. Luckily, the Eastern Europe society condemns incest so severely that there is no need in any legal punishment to prevent it from spreading. Those, who happen to desire their brothers, sisters and parents can satisfy there desires quietly and privately and I assure you, nobody would care about it much.

Edited by LIVIA

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, LIVIA said:

I apologise but... what? Are you serious? Do you actually believe that being sexually drawn to your mirror image is healthy? Jaime and Cercei is the greatest example of what shit irl incest relations can be. Greedy, self-centered and cruel woman, droven only by her instincts and ambition, convinced his twin brother to betray their own father (by giving up all his heir's rights) and to make all his life null just to be ONE OF her fuckers - and you call it "healthy relations"? 

Jaime and Cersei are deeply and truly in love since they are very small children. It is not just the bond between two attractive people who have the hots for each other, their romantic love developed out of their bond as twin siblings.

There is nothing abusive or bad about that, and Jaime never had any issues with how Cersei treated him until Tyrion poisoned his mind against her. If he is stupid enough to join the Kingsguard to be with his sister why is that a bad thing? He obviously didn't want to remain heir to Casterly Rock, right?

And the idea that Cersei did that to trick him out his legacy is insane. She wanted to be with him. If she had seen some other way to accomplish that she would have gone for that.

And, no, Jaime is not one of Cersei's 'fuckers'. The only men besides him she ever had sex with as far as we know are Robert, her husband, Lancel, her cousin, and the Kettleblacks - that's it. And she only turned to those other men after Jaime literally left her and got himself captured and nearly killed because he didn't have the discipline to think first once he heard about Tyrion's abduction.

It is also quite clear that Cersei never loved any of these men but Jaime. She didn't even love Rhaegar while she expected to marry him since that expectation ended in 276 AC when Cersei was ten years old. This whole thing was at best a preteen infatuation with an older man, something of the sort Sansa felt for Waymar Royce when he was at Winterfell, or Sansa felt for Joffrey before she got to know him truly.

Unless, of course, you want to convince us that children under/around ten years can be deeply and truly in love. Cersei may not even have seen all that much of Rhaegar before the tourney in 276 AC. Even when he father later took her to court to live with him there Rhaegar and Elia had permanently moved to Dragonstone. They wouldn't have interacted a lot.

The reason why Cersei and Jaime make the world burn around them, risk wars, kill people, etc. is because their love is forbidden and produced three children at least Cersei is going to do everything to protect. Jaime doesn't give shit about his children but Cersei does.

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Effective contraception is not absolutely effective and have plenty of by-effects, which are harmful to reproductive system and can have negative effect on future children, if a woman once gets with intention to have them.

Well, I'm living with a woman for six years now, we have sex on a very regular basis, no intention of ever getting children, and use just condoms and monitor the menstrual cycle of my girlfriend (which allows us to have a lot of sex without taking any precaution whatsoever most of the time). You don't have to be a rocket scientist to prevent a pregnancy, you know. It is very easy.

And I guess you know what a vasectomy is, right? In our day and age we have the ability to have sex with anybody and reduce the probability to have children to zero. If I were in love with a (non-existing) sister I sure as hell would not want a child with her. And sure as hell not a defective one. Since the risk is somewhat higher when you have children with a close relative I'd never risk that.

But it is not up to me to tell other people what to do. And sure as hell not 

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Here agree. But I am Russian, so here there is no problem.) It's only prohibited to wed brothers/sisters and direct ancestors/descendants here, but no one can be brought to account for having sex and children with any consenting adult.

Then you actually have one of the more progressive laws in that field. Over here we have had the case of this guy a while back. But then, you apparently also disallow stepparents and stepchildren to marry, something people might actually want to do more often than to marry their biological parents or siblings. After all, if your mother or father remarries later in life and the marriage only lasts for a couple of years there would actually be nothing strange if you and such a stepparent entered into a romantic relationship and wanted to marry and have children, right? Those kind of things do happen.

Quote

Very few people actually have sexual attratrion towards their close kin, it's true. But unless the society treated such relations so negatively, they would spread through it rapidly, because the recent years made it clear that the perversive nature of some kind of relationships is not an obtacle when you're chasing more and more sexual pleasure. 

What kind of 'perverse relationship' (I think that's actually want you meant there, right?) do you mean? There is no reason to assume we need sexual taboos of any kind to prevent people from indulge in certain behavior, just as a healthy and happy child doesn't need to fear to be executed or imprisoned for murder to not develop into a murderer. If only fear keeps you in line then you are not a moral person in any meaningful manner, nor would you follow the law if you saw a chance to get away with a crime or improper behavior.

It is kind like the ridiculous religious notion that the fear of god and hell makes you follow the laws. You are morally bankrupt if that's your only motivation to be a moral person.

Quote

Luckily, the Eastern Europe society condemns incest so severely that there is no need in any legal punishment to prevent it from spreading. Those, who happen to desire their brothers, sisters and parents can satisfy there desires quietly and privately and I assure you, nobody would care about it much.

Well, the idea that this kind of non-existent intimidation from the state is a good thing if incest was actually a problem makes no sense. If it is so bad then it should actually be a crime and be persecuted as such. Especially to protect all those innocent children who may be seduced and/or raped by a parent or elder brother.

The idea that allowing some minorities like those actually indulging in incest (or those being gay) to marry is not going to result in the entire world feeling the need to do the same thing. My parents are married, my brother married his longterm girlfriend recently, but I'm not going to marry myself. And I sure as hell wouldn't start being gay or marry some dude (or my own brother) just because I can now. Those are the reasons why you marry someone. Just as people don't ran around leaving or divorcing their spouses since they can do without facing social repercussions - you do that kind of thing because you want to live with a person or you don't. Not just because it is a fancy new idea.

And the latter - the permission of divorce - actually led to a measurable drop in husband murders since wives actually have another option besides becoming a widow when they want to rid themselves of their husbands. Back in the 19th and early 20th century more wives murdered their husbands than today.

On 13.8.2017 at 11:13 PM, Free Northman Reborn said:

I find this topic distasteful, and prefer to mostly not dwell on it too much. Let me just say that from a genetic point of view Jon is more closely related to Daenerys than to either Arya or Sansa. Arya and Sansa would be the equivalent to Daenerys's children, in terms of genetic proximity to Jon. Meaning the blood of Daenerys's husband would have diluted their closeness to Jon by half. In this case, Catelyn's blood has diluted Arya and Sansa's proximity to Jon by half, compared to his proximity to Daenerys.

Hence, from that point of view, it is preferable for Jon to marry Arya or Sansa than Daenerys, quite frankly.

If that's so distasteful to you you actually shouldn't read the books. Because, you know, Jon and the other Targaryens as well as all the noble lines of Westeros are nothing but a inbred lot who all would suffer from very severe birth defects and hereditary diseases after what they went through if this whole thing was a realistic setting.

Jon is the grandson and great-grandson of incestuous couples, and that certainly would have left its mark on the boy if George had wanted it to be that bad in this series. If the Targaryens were, say, suffering from a couple of genetic disorders Jon would either suffer from that, too, or he would carry the genes to hand them down to his children and grandchildren to see them suffer from them.

But if you look at the Stark family tree you see the prevalence of uncle-niece and cousin marriages there - and those are only the cousin marriages we can identify as such because both spouses are born Stark. Many Stark daughters married into the prominent Northern houses who, in turn, provide brides for the heirs of House Stark. All Karstarks, Dustins, Umbers, Manderlys, etc. marrying into House Stark should be cousins of various and multiple degree to the male Starks they end up marrying.

That is inevitable if the setting of the world involves a homogeneous aristocratic society stretching back thousands of years. Very few new bloodlines and families ever rose to the august status the ancient bloodlines have in Westeros. And those families have intermarried for a very long time.

If we really imagine that this kind of practice stretches back for thousands of years then the Targaryens may still win the first price in the in inbred race (although they married completely unrelated people occasionally) but most of the very ancient noble lines wouldn't be that far behind. Nobility always marry amongst themselves, just as the elite always does. And in any particular region of Westeros the noble elite would be closely related cousins just after a passage of a hundred years or so, especially if they mostly marry amongst their own neighbors, basically, as the Starks and Lannisters seem to do according to the TWoIaF family trees.

That degree of close kinship would be continuously reinforced and strengthened throughout the millennia until there would be basically no genetic difference whatsoever between most of the Northern houses or, as they themselves admit, the Brackens and Blackwoods.

Edited by Lord Varys

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6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Jaime and Cersei are deeply and truly in love since they are very small children. It is not just the bond between two attractive people who have the hots for each other, their romantic love developed out of their bond as twin siblings.

Their is nothing abusive or bad about that, and Jaime never had any issues with how Cersei treated him until Tyrion poisoned his mind against him. If he is stupid enough to join the Kingsguard to be with his sister why is that a bad thing? He obviously didn't want to remain heir to Casterly Rock, right?

And the idea that Cersei did that to trick him out his legacy is insane. She wanted to be with him. If she had seen some other way to accomplish that she would have gone for that.

And, no, Jaime is not one of Cersei's 'fuckers'. The only men besides his she ever had sex with as far as we know are Robert, her husband, Lancel, her cousin, and the Kettleblacks - that it. And she only turned to those other men after Jaime literally left her and got himself captured and nearly killed because he didn't have the discipline to think first once he heard about Tyrion's abduction.

It is also quite clear that Cersei never loved any of these men but Jaime. She didn't even love Rhaegar while she expected to marry him since that expectation ended in 276 AC when Cersei was ten years old. This whole thing was at best preteen infatuation with an older man, something of the sort Sansa felt for Waymar Royce when he was at Winterfell, or Sansa felt for Joffrey before she got to know him truly.

Unless, of course, you want to convince us that children under/around ten years can be deeply and truly in love. Cersei may not even have seen all that much of Rhaegar before the tourney in 276 AC. Even when he father later took her to court to live with him there Rhaegar and Elia had permanently moved to Dragonstone. They wouldn't have interacted a lot.

The reason why Cersei and Jaime make the world burn around them, risk wars, kill people, etc. is because their love is forbidden and produced three children at least Cersei is going to do everything to protect. Jaime doesn't give shit about his children but Cersei does.

Thank you.  I don't think Cersei is a particularly good person, but I get tired of people acting like Jaime was somehow forced into the incest.  In both of their POVs they say that he generally initiates the sex, though it's always consensual.  But I think you may have contradicted yourself a little in saying that J&C were in love since they were children and then suggesting that it's not possible for children 10 years and younger to be deeply in love.  For the record, I don't think she loved Rhaegar, but rather that she was excited about the idea of marrying a handsome prince and becoming a queen.  

With regard to the OP, I think that:

1) As mentioned by others, some of the examples are not really incest.  In the case of Asha/Theon, I believe she batted his hands away as he tried to grope her.  Grabbing his genitals was less about sex and more about mocking him.  I think the idea is that since Asha has spent a lot of time with sailors and had to be one of the guys, and as a result she's rather coarse.

2) I think that incest is one of the few shocking things (to the modern reader) left that can also move a story forward.  

Adultery and homosexuality are no longer shocking.  Pedophilia is too taboo.  Other sex acts can't really be plot devices.  The incest between J&C started a war.  Yes, Cersei could have been having an affair with someone who wasn't her brother and have achieved the same thing. However, what man would have such easy access to the queen other than her brother? And if any of the kids looked like him no one would be surprised.  The Targ incest is also a plot point because it allows use to have a clear set of people who could potentially ride dragons.

3) I read an article a while back about why there is so much incest in literature (not just ASOIAF) and it suggested that the natural trust between siblings allows for people to experiment sexually with someone they trust.  (And it has the added benefit of not having to create new characters with different family backgrounds and stories.) I don't know if this is true, but if it is, it would doubly valid in a world where houses are constantly warring with each other and the aristocratic families live far from each other so it's hard to hook up with someone from a different family.

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31 minutes ago, nara said:

Thank you.  I don't think Cersei is a particularly good person, but I get tired of people acting like Jaime was somehow forced into the incest.  In both of their POVs they say that he generally initiates the sex, though it's always consensual.  But I think you may have contradicted yourself a little in saying that J&C were in love since they were children and then suggesting that it's not possible for children 10 years and younger to be deeply in love.  For the record, I don't think she loved Rhaegar, but rather that she was excited about the idea of marrying a handsome prince and becoming a queen.

Cersei-Jaime began their own sexual exploration around the age of 6-7 when Joanna was pregnant with Tyrion (272-73 AC). At that time the whole thing would have been them innocently mimicking the things they had overseen animals and their elders do. While they would have always loved each other as twins and siblings I doubt that what they did back then had deep romantic or sexual significance.

Their whole bond seems to grow out of their sibling relationship - it is not romantic love/sexual desire overshadowing or replacing the sibling bond, it is that the sibling bond is broadened to encompass romantic and sexual aspects, too, because they want to share everything.

When exactly they also saw themselves as a couple and not just as twins and each other's half is impossible.

But my point is that they wouldn't have been in love with each other in the romantic and hormone driven way you get in love with the beginning of adolescence while they were still 6-7 or even around ten. That aspect of their relationship must have grown and blossomed later, most likely during those long phases when they were apart due to the fact that Jaime spent time as a squire at Crakehall Castle. They would have longed for each other's company and the distance would have fueled the desire for each other, always culminating when Jaime was visiting Casterly Rock or Cersei with him.

One such episode is the later sex in KL, leading to Jaime's decision to join the KG.

And yes, the more narcissistic and predatory element in the relationship is clearly Jaime. He is the one who doesn't care what their relationship means for his own children. All he can think about is to be close to Cersei, and do with her whatever he wants. He is also the one who constantly initiates sexual intercourse, indicating that Cersei may have moved on long ago had Jaime not constantly insisted to continue the whole thing.

We do not know who had the grandiose idea to make all three of Robert's children Jaime's seed. Considering the stupidity of the entire thing I'm more inclined to believe that this was Jaime's brainchild. Supporting this would also the fact that it was apparently Jaime who helped Cersei to abort Robert's child - perhaps because he couldn't suffer the idea that Cersei would give birth to Robert's child?

And while we know that Cersei quickly grew to despise Robert one really wonders what part Jaime played to ensure that Cersei would quickly continue their affair after it became clear that they would both live at court together. Somehow I doubt that Cersei was the one making the first step there.

But this is a difficult topic because we don't really get a lot of detailed back story on these two as of yet. It is a very interesting relationship.

31 minutes ago, nara said:

3) I read an article a while back about why there is so much incest in literature (not just ASOIAF) and it suggested that the natural trust between siblings allows for people to experiment sexually with someone they trust.  (And it has the added benefit of not having to create new characters with different family backgrounds and stories.) I don't know if this is true, but if it is, it would doubly valid in a world where houses are constantly warring with each other and the aristocratic families live far from each other so it's hard to hook up with someone from a different family.

I think I linked some studies cited in wikipedia that confirm that incestuous erotic/sexual actions might be much more common among (adolescent) siblings than one should think, simply because it may be rather easy to sexually experiment with a sibling you are close with than with anybody else.

I doubt that many people form lasting romantic bonds this way but there are also hints that social pressure might actually play a much larger role than the Westermarck effect in preventing incestuous relationships.

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Posted (edited)

22 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Jaime and Cersei are deeply and truly in love

No. Cercei's attitude towards Jaime has nothing to do with true love. When you truly love somebody, you at least will never sleep with anybody else (unless being forced to), especially behind his back. You'll also never mock at him and feel disgust, when he gets crippled. If Cercei ever truly loved Jaime, she would never encourage him to abandon all HIS rights so he could spend the rest of his life guarding the doors of her and Rhaegar's bedroom. She would abandon all HER rights, riches and ambitions to elope with him to Essos. But Cercei is a hopeless egoist and she is unable to love anybody. 

22 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

If only fear keeps you in line then you are not a moral person in any meaningful manner, nor would you follow the law if you saw a chance to get away with a crime or improper behavior.

It is kind like the ridiculous religious notion that the fear of god and hell makes you follow the laws. You are morally bankrupt if that's your only motivation to be a moral person.

And you see things too plainly. It's really very hard, almost impossible to deprive youself of real life pleasures just out of fear of some "ridiculous" and "unexisting", never seen by anybody punishment (though it's indeed the core of religion as a personal belief, not just a code of rules). So no, it's not only about fear. It's about inner world of a person, his soul, his feel of shame, consciense (I mean "совесть" - irrational, subconscious feeling what is good and what is bad), ect. It's impossible to explain such things to a person, who have no idea about them or deny their existence. 

22 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But then, you apparently also disallow stepparents and stepchildren to marry, something people might actually want to do more often than to marry their biological parents or siblings.

Unfortunately yes. 

22 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

What kind of 'perverse relationship' (I think that's actually want you meant there, right?) do you mean? There is no reason to assume we need sexual taboos of any kind to prevent people from indulge in certain behavior, just as a healthy and happy child doesn't need to fear to be executed or imprisoned for murder to not develop into a murderer.

Yes, I meant right that (I'm sorry for my imperfect English). Under "perverse sexual relationships" I mean all types of sexual relationships except thosr potentially resulting in healthy offspring. Sex isn't a visit to a toilette, and having a child isn't something like bying a car. Barrenness still turns tragedy to many women and their husbands (partners), who didn't want children in their twenties, but now - after years of taking pills and number of abortions - are already unable to change anything. I don't know, how old your gilfriend is and how she avoid pregnancy, but if she don't want children now, it doesn't mean that she won't want them later in her life. Absence of any taboos and limitations in sex sphere leads to moral degradation and dissolution, like it was in Roman Empire. If you find it OK, then I'm afraid we'd better end our discussion in this topic.

Edited by LIVIA

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4 hours ago, LIVIA said:

No. Cercei's attitude towards Jaime has nothing to do with true love. When you truly love somebody, you at least will never sleep with anybody else (unless being forced to). You'll also never mock at him and feel disgust, when he gets crippled. If Cercei ever truly loved Jaime, she would never encourage him to abandon all HIS rights so he could spend the rest of his life guarding the doors of her and Rhaegar's bedroom. She would abandon all HER rights, riches and ambitions to elope with him to Essos. But Cercei is a hopeless egoist and she is unable to love anybody. 

I really urge you to sit down and think a little bit about what you wrote there. Love comes in many shapes and forms. There are people who love people romantically but never have any sex with them. Such people wouldn't care all that much if those people had sex with other people. And even romantic relationships are not solely based on sex. Why should they?

The criteria you here give for love are actually those for being a nice and caring person. But you don't have to be nice or understanding to love someone. Not does 'loving somebody' mean you are somehow above all your petty desires and prejudices. If you are devout follower of this or that religion and your spouse decides to turn his or her back on most that is very dear to you your understanding for that is not likely to be all that great. The same goes for many other things.

People can love each other without meeting your standards of being perfect people. And no, they also don't have to give up all their other dreams and ambitions just to be with someone. Demanding that of somebody is pretty selfish. Cersei did that with Kingsguard idea but it is conjecture that she based it on the desire to get Casterly Rock herself (Tyrion was technically the next in line) and she sure as hell did not want Tywin to resign as Hand. Chances are that she was manipulated herself into doing this, most likely by Varys, who wanted to get rid of Tywin.

Cersei is certainly somewhat petty in her treatment of damaged Jaime but so is Jaime in his non-existent love for his own children. He basically cut his children out of his heart because he was not allowed to be their father. But he was still their uncle - and there is no reason why an uncle cannot be close to his sister's children.

4 hours ago, LIVIA said:

And you see things too plainly. It's really very hard, almost impossible to deprive youself of real life pleasures just out of fear of some "ridiculous" and "unexisting", never seen by anybody punishment (though it's indeed the core of religion as a personal belief, not just a code of rules). So no, it's not only about fear. It's about inner world of a man, his soul, his feel of shame, consciense (I mean "совесть" - irrational, subconscious feeling what is good and what is bad), ect. It's impossible to explain such things to a person, who have no idea about them or deny their existence. 

Well, you tell your children and other people that gods and angels and places like heaven and hell are 'real'. If there was evidence for god, eternal life, and divine punishment, etc. I'd suck up to him, too. I like the idea of living forever and being rewarded for my righteousness. But there is simply no evidence for that.

4 hours ago, LIVIA said:

Unfortunately yes. 

And that shows that historical the origin for this whole thing is not so much the idea to protect the population but simply the idea that family - regardless whether biologically related family or not - simply shouldn't have sex or enter into romantic relationships. Family (apart from the unrelated spouses, of course) should have a non-romantic love for each other. And that's something people want to see enforced on everyone, with no exceptions.

But there is no reason to believe that this is necessary to 'educate' the populace. Just as we don't need laws to enforce common decency and polite behavior. If your parents tell you should not fuck your brother you usually don't do that - unless the desire is very great. But then laws forbidding it won't stop you, either.

4 hours ago, LIVIA said:

Yes, I meant right that (I'm sorry for my imperfect English). Under "perverse sexual relationships" I mean all types of sexual relationships except thosr potentially resulting in healthy offspring. Sex isn't a visit to a toilette, and having a child isn't something like bying a car.

Well, this is a very limited view of sexuality and one that is not corroborated by biological facts. Assuming you are a woman in real life (due to your nick) your own sexuality should provide you with ample evidence for that. Most of the sexual pleasure you are able to experience comes from the fact that you have a clitoris, an organ that doesn't have to be stimulated all that much (or at all) during vaginal intercourse.

Biologically, the ability to experience sexual pleasure is much broader than to the limited ways in which we can actually conceive children. If god had wanted it to be the way it is he certainly wanted us to do more than just breed.

4 hours ago, LIVIA said:

Barrenness still turns tragedy to many women and their husbands (partners), who didn't want children in their twenties, but now - after years of taking pills and number of abortions - are already unable to change anything. I don't know, how old your gilfriend is and how she avoid pregnancy, but if she don't want children now, it doesn't mean that she won't want them later in her life.

What can I say? We don't use the pill as a means of contraception. You can do rather well without that. And, quite frankly, only stupid/not properly educated couples ever have unwanted pregnancies (assuming they only have consensual sex, of course). If you educate young people and give them access to means of contraception the need to have an abortion will go down very quickly. 

And if you combine pretty sure means of contraception the chances that they don't work pretty quickly drop to almost zero.

My girlfriend suffers from Asperger syndrome. Autistic people make for very poor parents, especially in the early days considering that they have a lot of trouble dealing with noise. In addition, she is very uncomfortable around children, not being able to relate emotionally to them, and is also very much opposed to the idea of ever carrying a child in her own body.

She is a very special case there, but there are many non-autistic women who don't really like the idea of being a mother or being pregnant. But that's not a topic many women talk about openly, is it?

4 hours ago, LIVIA said:

Absence of any taboos and limitations in sex sphere leads to moral degradation and dissolution, like it was in Roman Empire. If you find it OK, then I'm afraid we'd better end our discussion in this topic.

I urge to actually read proper literature on the end of the Roman Empire. It had nothing to do with moral degradation and everything with continuous warfare and the erosion of public education and the unwillingness to deal with mundane/worldly matters - after all, didn't Christianity take over the empire right around the time everything went to hell, at least in the West? The Byzantine Empire survived for another thousand years in any case, even controlling significant portions of Italy until the 8th and 9th century. And doesn't the Russian historical narrative claim that Moscow is the third Rome, taking the Imperial torch from the Greeks after the fall of Constantinople?

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Incest in Westeros is often characterized as an is-or-isn’t thing by the fandom but when looking at how it’s practiced, we see that’s not how it’s viewed by the Westerosi themselves.

Parent-child: Universally considered incest. Taboo even for Targs.

Sibling-sibling: Practiced by Targs. Tolerated at best by non-Targ Westerosi. Deeply reviled by some characters.

For the rest of the options, we see that Westeros is very, very conscious of the fact that marrying within the family causes problems and the frequency of these unions and the fact that they are carefully considered within the context of past bloodlines and future bloodlines means that Westeros does in fact consider them a type of incest and they warrant very careful treatment for several generations both before the union and after the union to mitigate damage.

Uncle-Niece or Aunt-Nephew: These unions are not unheard of by some non-Targ Westerosi but you have to still dig deep to find examples of these due to extreme rarity. All that I can recall involve power-grabs or special circumstances. Basically, these unions are never anyone’s first or ideal choice and all had no interfamily marriage for a number of generations before or after indicating that Westerosi know that this union is very risky and to be avoided.

Cousin-Cousin: For how advantageous these unions can be for keeping family alliances or property within the family, these are still fairly rare. No one bats an eye at the presence of these unions, but you’ll notice that successive cousin-cousin marriages throughout generations is rare or non-existent. If a family decided on marrying cousin-to-cousin for successive generations, I’m betting that Westeros would come to see that as incest because over successive generations, not enough new bloodlines were being introduced. These unions are ok, but only if they're only sporadic.

Basically these Westerosi interfamily but non-incestuous marriages are only considered to not be incest because they are very careful to ensure new blood enters the line both before and after the union. Context is key for whether uncle-niece, aunt-nephew, or cousin-cousin unions are incestuous or not and they are not viewed as benign by the Westerosi population at all, or they would be a lot more common with less diligence paid to ensuring new blood enter the line in other generations. They absolutely do not have the blanket acceptance that is given to non-familial unions.

 

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2 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

Uncle-Niece or Aunt-Nephew: These unions are not unheard of by some non-Targ Westerosi but you have to still dig deep to find examples of these due to extreme rarity. All that I can recall involve power-grabs or special circumstances. Basically, these unions are never anyone’s first or ideal choice and all had no interfamily marriage for a number of generations before or after indicating that Westerosi know that this union is very risky and to be avoided.

We don't know how prevalent such marriages were among the old royal lines of Westeros. I'd be very surprised if the Lannisters, Arryns, Gardeners, etc. never did that back in the good old days. Especially when there was one of those long-lived kings producing many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with a couple of wives. Then you have to keep rein in the potential heirs somehow. And such marriages can help with that.

2 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

Cousin-Cousin: For how advantageous these unions can be for keeping family alliances or property within the family, these are still fairly rare. No one bats an eye at the presence of these unions, but you’ll notice that successive cousin-cousin marriages throughout generations is rare or non-existent. If a family decided on marrying cousin-to-cousin for successive generations, I’m betting that Westeros would come to see that as incest because over successive generations, not enough new bloodlines were being introduced. These unions are ok, but only if they're only sporadic.

That isn't true. Just look how often the Starks marry themselves some Karstarks, Manderlys, Umbers, etc. - families into which the Stark daughters also married into. Not all of them would be first cousins, of course, but they must be interrelated to a huge degree, and every such cousin makes them all more and more inbred.

It would be a slower and less obvious process as with the Targaryens but most of the noble families shouldn't be that far behind. Especially not those who existed for 8,000+ years, ruling kingdoms for millennia.

I mean, if you cut it down - how many families are there from which the Stark or Arryn heirs could get themselves some eligible brides? There are the other royal families and the most prestigious of their own bannermen. That's it. That's a dozen or at best a score of families with, perhaps, a broader scope for younger sons who can marry into more modest houses.

The fact just is - if you live in a medieval aristocratic setting then cousin marriages are what you do. You only marry your own peers, and when you have done that for a couple of generations you are all interrelated to various degrees. And since there is no social mobility in Westeros, and very seldom any change to the noble framework (houses rising and falling, etc.) every nobleman in a particular region should be everybody's cousin for centuries, if not millennia. The only truly foreign blood infusion the nobility got was the Andals. But they are there now also for millennia. 

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13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

We don't know how prevalent such marriages were among the old royal lines of Westeros. I'd be very surprised if the Lannisters, Arryns, Gardeners, etc. never did that back in the good old days. Especially when there was one of those long-lived kings producing many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with a couple of wives. Then you have to keep rein in the potential heirs somehow. And such marriages can help with that.

I can only go off what was chosen to be included in the series and what's missing from the series. GRRM's history shows that uncle-niece and aunt-nephew marriages are exceedingly rare and they're careful that new bloodlines are present both in previous and successive generations.

You can speculate all you want on what GRRM never wrote, but what's the point? It's debating fanfic.

18 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That isn't true. Just look how often the Starks marry themselves some Karstarks, Manderlys, Umbers, etc. - families into which the Stark daughters also married into. Not all of them would be first cousins, of course, but they must be interrelated to a huge degree, and every such cousin makes them all more and more inbred.

I'm obviously talking about first cousins, not about 5th cousins twice removed. Westeros doesn't do successive generations of close cousins intermarrying. Close cousin marriages are treated with great caution in regards to ensuring new blood is present both in earlier generations and following ones.

You're trying to by-pass my point that Westeros is exceedingly careful that new blood is present when there are "non-incestuous" inter-family unions meaning these unions are not really seen as benign as some like portray.

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4 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

I can only go off what was chosen to be included in the series and what's missing from the series. GRRM's history shows that uncle-niece and aunt-nephew marriages are exceedingly rare and they're careful that new bloodlines are present both in previous and successive generations.

You can speculate all you want on what GRRM never wrote, but what's the point? It's debating fanfic.

Well, I was surprised by those uncle-niece marriages in the Stark family tree. If such things happen during the days of the lordly Starks I don't want to see the family trees of the royal Starks.

4 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

I'm obviously talking about first cousins, not about 5th cousins twice removed. Westeros doesn't do successive generations of close cousins intermarrying. Close cousin marriages are treated with great caution in regards to ensuring new blood is present both in earlier generations and following ones.

How do you know that? We have Stark cousin marrying each other, we have Tywin marrying his first cousin, we have Paxter Redwyne marrying his first cousin. We don't know how closely related Alerie Hightower and Mace Tyrell are, how closely related Minisa Whent and Hoster Tully were, etc. Just because people have different female names doesn't mean they are not first and second cousins.

Were is your textual evidence that first cousin is uncommon? There is no textual evidence to support that.

And it is clear that cousin marriage in general is practiced for thousands of years. That is an implicit part of the feudal aristocratic setting of the series. Those lords must have had wives. And those wives would have come from other noble families in which your own daughters would inevitably marry.

4 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

You're trying to by-pass my point that Westeros is exceedingly careful that new blood is present when there are "non-incestuous" inter-family unions meaning these unions are not really seen as benign as some like portray.

Nobody there is exceedingly careful that new blood is present in a marriage. Or can you cite any passage where anyone in the Seven Kingdoms derided for marrying his first cousin? It is not seen as problematic and we don't even know how many of the main characters are married to their first cousins.

If George wanted to create a world where the nobility was not as heavily interrelated as it is he would have to give either introduced more prominent noble houses eligible to marry into the great houses or he would have to reduce the temporal scope of the story, making it less likely that they would be as heavily interrelated as they are. 

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31 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, I was surprised by those uncle-niece marriages in the Stark family tree. If such things happen during the days of the lordly Starks I don't want to see the family trees of the royal Starks.

 

32 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

How do you know that? We have Stark cousin marrying each other, we have Tywin marrying his first cousin, we have Paxter Redwyne marrying his first cousin. We don't know how closely related Alerie Hightower and Mace Tyrell are, how closely related Minisa Whent and Hoster Tully were, etc. Just because people have different female names doesn't mean they are not first and second cousins.

Again, I'm not going to speculate about what was never written.

33 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Were is your textual evidence that first cousin is uncommon? There is no textual evidence to support that.

I didn't say first cousin marriages are uncommon. They do appear and as I said, people don't bat an eye at them. It's successive generations of first cousin marriages which start to strip the branches from the family tree which are non-existent. It's incest if the tree loses too many branches. Westerosi don't bat an eye at first cousin marriages, but they're also very careful to introduce more blood before or after.

 

35 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Nobody there is exceedingly careful that new blood is present in a marriage. Or can you cite any passage where anyone in the Seven Kingdoms derided for marrying his first cousin? It is not seen as problematic and we don't even know how many of the main characters are married to their first cousins.

Again, I stated that it was successive generations of first cousin marriage is what's strictly avoided. It's in the genealogies of the World Book. Uncle-niece, aunt-nephew unions are exceedingly rare. Successive generations of close cousin marriages where new blood is limited are non-existent. Happy and very consistent accident through out all of the non-Targ genealogies? Nope. Cousin marriages aren't seen as a problem because the Westerosi are very careful that they don't become problems.

You keep arguing about things which aren't in the books or about points I didn't make.

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