manchester_babe

Targaryens & Incest

39 posts in this topic

Welcome to the board.

This thread may have some answers for you:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aegon married his two sisters. Afterwards, Targ kings marry brother to sister (and later uncle to niece). The point is to keep the bloodline, the one from old Valyria, pure (sort of) and avoid dilution. But Targs have married non Targs when they didn't have sisters to marry or for love (like Dany's grandpa). Also, the incest follows a trend, brother marries sister close in age. It's not necessarily anyone who is related in any manner is marrying. 

It also keeps the foreseeing ability Targ ancestor Daenys the Dreamer had strong in the family. There are many Targs who have visions because of it. Some tragically, like Aerys the Mad King, who has visions that drives him positively psycho. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Targs are the last great house of Old Valyria, a place where all the great houses had dragons.

If the breeding stock of dragonlords takes a big hit i.e. The Doom the only thing left for Targaryens to do to continue being dragonlords was to keep their own bloodline pure.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Targs have magical powers that are hereditary. They are encouraged by their family to marry each other so that their kids will have the magical powers. But they forgot this is why and so a lot of them think they do it because they are inherently superior people or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/25/2017 at 10:02 PM, Ahl of the House Cutler said:

Targs are the last great house of Old Valyria, a place where all the great houses had dragons.

If the breeding stock of dragonlords takes a big hit i.e. The Doom the only thing left for Targaryens to do to continue being dragonlords was to keep their own bloodline pure. 

And yet incest is expressly called old Valyrian custom.

If old Valyria had 40 different dragonrider families and could 600 years before Doom deploy 300 combatants to Rhoyne, they could then have banned sibling marriages and required that every dragonlord marry someone from the other 39 families, like the other oligarchies do.

If incest was a Valyrian custom then they must have done differently even then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some theory goes that when the Valyrians started to tame dragons, thoose were bound to the blood of specific families with help of dragon horns. There were huge rivalries among the forty dragon riding families, so you  would not like members of other families to get your blood by marrying a daughter into their house, because this might enable them to claim a dragon from you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Jaak said:

And yet incest is expressly called old Valyrian custom.

If old Valyria had 40 different dragonrider families and could 600 years before Doom deploy 300 combatants to Rhoyne, they could then have banned sibling marriages and required that every dragonlord marry someone from the other 39 families, like the other oligarchies do.

If incest was a Valyrian custom then they must have done differently even then.

Old traditions die hard.

Even if incest had been a "necessity" - or PERCEIVED as such - for the breeding programme of the human side of the dragon+rider equation only at the beginning of "Project Dragon", over time it became an ingrained custom/tradition.

Good luck with changing that ...

 

 

Edited by TMIFairy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So does any of this explain why there were some non-viable lizard babies, i.e. Rhaego?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is quite clear that the Valyrian dragonlords began this idea that they were a superior race/group of people. They owned and ruled the world and were, quite literally, above anyone else, residing in their topless towers.

The Targaryens may have forgotten exactly why the traditional dragonlord incest began but they still know that it is necessary to keep the blood pure to retain control of the dragons. They never forgot that. And that's the important part. They went to great lengths to continue their family tradition as can be seen by Aenys I insisting that his heirs Aegon and Rhaena marry each other.

Sibling incest was seen as ideal but note that uncle/aunt-niece/nephew and cousin marriages were also done when sibling marriage was not possible. Unless we assume that the dragonlord families always had close kin around to marry to their children - which doesn't sound very convincing to me - there must have been some intermarriage between the various dragonlord houses. Continuous sibling incest is eating up your resources very quickly. To continue your bloodline in the ideal way you must produce at least one viable son and one viable daughter - something that's not always guaranteed. If you have more daughters than sons (or vice versa) then you have to look for spouses outside the (immediate) family if you want all your children to continue the line. And if you have only sons or only daughters you have to do that, too, or else the end of your bloodline is guaranteed.

Now, in a large and fertile dragonlord family there might be aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, first and second cousins within the own family around whose blood is as pure Targaryen or Belaerys or whatever dragonlord house we are talking about.

But if you are in a bottleneck situation - your two daughters are the children of an only child who himself is descended from two Targaryen sibling couples who also didn't have any siblings - then you would have to turn to more distant relations. And the chances are not all that unlikely that such more distant cousins would then be found among the other dragonlord families. If you have a spare daughter or son you cannot marry to another child, aunt, uncle, or first cousin the most appropriate spouse for such a person would be among the other dragonlord families of equal rank and standing. Marrying a dragonlord to anyone else would most likely be considered a morganatic marriage. Exceptions could perhaps include people of dragonlord blood who aren't dragonriders or, of course, members of the royal or imperial families of other empires like the imperial family of Yi Ti. They are - at least rank-wise - the equals of the Valyrian dragonlords.

The idea that the Valyrian dragonlords did not intermarry with their fellow dragonlords is not very likely if you ask me. It would not be seen as ideal to do something like that, of course, but marrying another person who has the blood of the dragon should have been seen as much better than to marry somebody who doesn't have the blood of the dragon.

In that sense we should see the match between Larra Rogare and Viserys II as a marriage between two ancient Valyrian families. It is not confirmed that the Rogares are of dragonlord stock but it is very likely. The fact that Aerys II searched for a bride for Rhaegar among the Volantenes is also a telling sign in that regard. Those are (would) not (have been) incestuous marriages, of course, but still marriages of a group which have common ancestors not that far back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's the Ying to the Yang of Craster's incest. The mighty kings and the lowly half-wildling savage. Both keep their lines pure while being at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. That's the meta explanation. 

 

The interesting part comes in to play when you consider WHY they may be doing this in-story. Craster clearly gives his incest children to the Others. Is there something special about his blood? If so, why do the Others want to keep it? Does any other northern family have this blood? (There's no evidence for this but I believe that this is the skinchanger ability that Craster/Others are trying to keep)

Same for the Targaryens. They have something at play there, perhaps involving their dragon riding. They desperately need to keep some aspect of their bloodline pure so that they can maintain their fiery supremacy. Other houses such as the Velaryon have had dragonriders too, so do they share the "fire" blood from Valyria? 

 

The question is- will this come into play? Are Crasters children and the Targaryens descendants of the combatants in the previous Long Night?

 

And is Jon right there in the middle? With "ice" blood shared with Craster/Northmen and "fire" blood shared with Dany/Valyrians?

Edited by ChuckPunch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

So does any of this explain why there were some non-viable lizard babies, i.e. Rhaego?

I tend to hypothesize that fetuses with skinchanger abilities benefit from special prenatal care. The main basis for this is that Maester Luwin has a Valyrian steel link in his chain, meaning he studied magic, and he was sent to the Starks right when Catelyn was first getting pregnant. He cared for her through every pregnancy and delivered all of her babies. Catelyn Stark has a whole lot of healthy skinchanger children. Maester Luwin seems to have accomplished precisely zero else that may have involved magic at all - except for trying to mentor Bran and maybe try to convince him to become a maester.

A lot of families with skinchanger abilities seem to have a lot of miscarriages, stillbirths, infant mortality, and kids with developmental problems.

But this isn't really proof - because there is also a correlation between families that we hear about at all, families we hear about miscarriages and stillbirths and such, families that are from royal or great houses, and families with skinchanger abilities. There isn't really a control group.

But a fair number of the prominent babies with developmental problems seem to be plausible dragonriders or skinchangers from women who would not have gotten pro-skinchanger prenatal care - Tyrion, Sweetrobin, and Rhaego come to mind - and Daenerys had a lot of stillborn or miscarried potential siblings.

But yeah - not really proof. No more than Rhaegar taking Lyanna to the Tower of Joy must necessarily have been about special specific things he knew he needed to do about her pregnancy for the baby to come to term successfully. It could have been for any number of reasons, or no reason at all.

Edited by GyantSpyder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, ChuckPunch said:

It's the Ying to the Yang of Craster's incest. The mighty kings and the lowly half-wildling savage. Both keep their lines pure while being at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. That's the meta explanation. 

Craster doesn't keep his blood 'pure'. He just fucks his daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters to produce as many sons as possible to give to the Others. Keep in mind that it seems as if the Others are demanding a lot of tribute from Craster and it doesn't seem likely that this kind of arrangement is something that's very popular with most of the wildlings in the days of Mance Rayder. Craster might have been forced to produce sons with his daughters and granddaughters because he could not risk looking for wives among other wildlings.

Not to mention the fact that a man like Craster isn't likely to be able to keep outside women as well under his thumb as he controls his daughters and granddaughters. Those women only serve two purposes - they serve as broodmares for the sons that go to the Others and they serve Craster. If they are groomed for those roles from childhood on they should accept their lot much easier.

However, we can be reasonably sure that the average wildling woman is not exactly keen to marry an ugly brute like Craster nor particularly eager to hand all her sons to the ice demons everybody hates, so Craster's chances to get himself a proper wife from outside his family should be very low. Still, chances are that the whole incest thing only began when the man reached middle age. The young Craster could have kept a couple of unrelated women as his sex slaves/wives. And once he had bred himself a stock of harem daughters there was less and less reason to look for women outside his own keep. At least while his daughters were able to produce what the Others wanted from him.

10 hours ago, ChuckPunch said:

The interesting part comes in to play when you consider WHY they may be doing this in-story. Craster clearly gives his incest children to the Others. Is there something special about his blood? If so, why do the Others want to keep it? Does any other northern family have this blood? (There's no evidence for this but I believe that this is the skinchanger ability that Craster/Others are trying to keep).

There is no reason to believe that Craster wants to keep anything pure. He never mentions anything about keeping his bloodlines pure.

We don't even know how the whole thing started. Presumably the first couple of children Craster had were fathered on his first wife, a woman that was most likely not (closely) related to him. Keep in mind that the man is actually the bastard of a black brother, making it very unlikely he had any full siblings. The fact that Craster lives alone and the Whitetree folk (his mother was originally from Whitetree) joined Mance makes it very unlikely that Craster set his keep up originally with a bunch of half-sisters and cousins he married. It might even be that he was never popular in Whitetree and with other wildlings and that's why he eventually ended up serving the Others. If you have nobody else you most likely turn to them for help and protection in those dreadful, cold winters...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 25/09/2017 at 8:02 PM, Ahl of the House Cutler said:

Targs are the last great house of Old Valyria, a place where all the great houses had dragons.

If the breeding stock of dragonlords takes a big hit i.e. The Doom the only thing left for Targaryens to do to continue being dragonlords was to keep their own bloodline pure.  

 

Targs weren't a great house, they were a very minor house who only emerged after the fall of Valyria because they were the last with dragons.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, GyantSpyder said:

I tend to hypothesize that fetuses with skinchanger abilities benefit from special prenatal care. The main basis for this is that Maester Luwin has a Valyrian steel link in his chain, meaning he studied magic, and he was sent to the Starks right when Catelyn was first getting pregnant. He cared for her through every pregnancy and delivered all of her babies. Catelyn Stark has a whole lot of healthy skinchanger children. Maester Luwin seems to have accomplished precisely zero else that may have involved magic at all - except for trying to mentor Bran and maybe try to convince him to become a maester.

A lot of families with skinchanger abilities seem to have a lot of miscarriages, stillbirths, infant mortality, and kids with developmental problems.

But this isn't really proof - because there is also a correlation between families that we hear about at all, families we hear about miscarriages and stillbirths and such, families that are from royal or great houses, and families with skinchanger abilities. There isn't really a control group.

But a fair number of the prominent babies with developmental problems seem to be plausible dragonriders or skinchangers from women who would not have gotten pro-skinchanger prenatal care - Tyrion, Sweetrobin, and Rhaego come to mind - and Daenerys had a lot of stillborn or miscarried potential siblings.

But yeah - not really proof. No more than Rhaegar taking Lyanna to the Tower of Joy must necessarily have been about special specific things he knew he needed to do about her pregnancy for the baby to come to term successfully. It could have been for any number of reasons, or no reason at all.

Is Sansa a skinchanger? If she is, she's not a very good one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

Is Sansa a skinchanger? If she is, she's not a very good one.

Yeah, she has the talent. Her wolf is just dead.

In the books this is an open question, but GRRM cleared it up in real life, in 2001:
 

Quote

 

Are all the Stark children wargs/skin changers with their wolves?

To a greater or lesser degree, yes, but the amount of control varies widely.

 

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Quite_a_Few_Questions/

Edited by GyantSpyder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/27/2017 at 5:07 PM, Lord Varys said:

It is quite clear that the Valyrian dragonlords began this idea that they were a superior race/group of people. They owned and ruled the world and were, quite literally, above anyone else, residing in their topless towers.

Which required an idea that they were a group.

Also, Valyria had the idea of Freeholders. Which is problematic.

On 9/27/2017 at 5:07 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Targaryens may have forgotten exactly why the traditional dragonlord incest began but they still know that it is necessary to keep the blood pure to retain control of the dragons. They never forgot that. And that's the important part. They went to great lengths to continue their family tradition as can be seen by Aenys I insisting that his heirs Aegon and Rhaena marry each other.

Sibling incest was seen as ideal but note that uncle/aunt-niece/nephew and cousin marriages were also done when sibling marriage was not possible.

Had blood purity been the goal, the priorities should have been the opposite. Uncle/aunt-niece/nephew and cousin marriages by preference, sibling marriages if the aforesaid are not practical, then if neither work out, parent-child marriages, and only then resort to outbreeding.

On 9/27/2017 at 5:07 PM, Lord Varys said:

Unless we assume that the dragonlord families always had close kin around to marry to their children - which doesn't sound very convincing to me - there must have been some intermarriage between the various dragonlord houses. Continuous sibling incest is eating up your resources very quickly. To continue your bloodline in the ideal way you must produce at least one viable son and one viable daughter - something that's not always guaranteed. If you have more daughters than sons (or vice versa) then you have to look for spouses outside the (immediate) family if you want all your children to continue the line.

Or polygamy. Which was practiced by sorcerors, but not by dragonlords, including Targaryens pre-Aegon.

On 9/27/2017 at 5:07 PM, Lord Varys said:

And if you have only sons or only daughters you have to do that, too, or else the end of your bloodline is guaranteed.

Craster. You are available.

On 9/27/2017 at 5:07 PM, Lord Varys said:

Now, in a large and fertile dragonlord family there might be aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, first and second cousins within the own family around whose blood is as pure Targaryen or Belaerys or whatever dragonlord house we are talking about.

But if you are in a bottleneck situation - your two daughters are the children of an only child who himself is descended from two Targaryen sibling couples who also didn't have any siblings - then you would have to turn to more distant relations. And the chances are not all that unlikely that such more distant cousins would then be found among the other dragonlord families. If you have a spare daughter or son you cannot marry to another child, aunt, uncle, or first cousin the most appropriate spouse for such a person would be among the other dragonlord families of equal rank and standing. Marrying a dragonlord to anyone else would most likely be considered a morganatic marriage. Exceptions could perhaps include people of dragonlord blood who aren't dragonriders

The term "morganatic marriage" is German term. The rest of Europe did not have the concept.

Who do you think would Eddard Stark think an "equal-birth" spouse of his child? Some Lannister/Baratheon one? A major internal rival, like a Bolton? Or a safe but unimportant minor loyal servant, like a Cassel or a Poole?

On 9/27/2017 at 5:07 PM, Lord Varys said:

The idea that the Valyrian dragonlords did not intermarry with their fellow dragonlords is not very likely if you ask me. It would not be seen as ideal to do something like that, of course, but marrying another person who has the blood of the dragon should have been seen as much better than to marry somebody who doesn't have the blood of the dragon.

In that sense we should see the match between Larra Rogare and Viserys II as a marriage between two ancient Valyrian families. It is not confirmed that the Rogares are of dragonlord stock but it is very likely. The fact that Aerys II searched for a bride for Rhaegar among the Volantenes is also a telling sign in that regard. Those are (would) not (have been) incestuous marriages, of course, but still marriages of a group which have common ancestors not that far back.

IF the rivalries and mutual distrust between the 40 dragonlord families of Valyria commonly ran to the level where intermarriage was deterred by the prospect of having dragonblood in a rival family, someone with ability for dragon theft... then dragonless noble families were an obvious alternative. We are told that Velaryons were already Targaryen dependants pre-Exile.

Also, if impure blood of dragonriders is a threat - then so is impure blood of dragons!

Are dragons capable of parthenogenesis, or does each dragon have a mother and a father being different dragons even though the same dragon can be mother of some dragons and father of others?

Who was the last Targaryen dragon to be a bastard, fathered by a non-Targaryen dragon (Counting the post-Conquest wild dragons as Targaryen ones)?

The three dragons of Daenerys are not Targaryen dragons, the eggs were from Asshai. Targaryens have no special bond to these dragons, over the dragonless descendants of other dragonlord families.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jaak said:

Which required an idea that they were a group.

Eventually they were a group of people. The ruling class and elite of the city and Freehold they founded.

3 hours ago, Jaak said:

Also, Valyria had the idea of Freeholders. Which is problematic.

Landowners had a voice in the government - but the dragonlords and the other elites ruled it. There might have been non-dragonlord families with a lot of influence challenging or even surpassing the power of some of the dragonlord families but they would have been the exception, not the rule. Still, such people wouldn't have been in the same class as the dragonlords because they would be lacking dragons.

3 hours ago, Jaak said:

Had blood purity been the goal, the priorities should have been the opposite. Uncle/aunt-niece/nephew and cousin marriages by preference, sibling marriages if the aforesaid are not practical, then if neither work out, parent-child marriages, and only then resort to outbreeding.

Well, nobody ever said that the Valyrians were rational about that. We don't know their view on (grand-)parent-child incest but it would only be feasible among (grand-)daughters and (grand-)fathers. Female dragonlords who had their sons at the age of 35-40 were most likely no longer all that fertile when those sons were old enough to father children of their own.

And nobody ever said anything about the dragonlords insisting that there could only be marriages among pure-blooded dragonlords. Those are merely the preferred matches. From what I assume that the first dragonlords figured out empirically that they had to marry close kin to preserve the whole dragonriding thing. But the occasional infusion of fresh/unrelated blood is not necessarily quickly outbreeding the whole dragonrider gene thing.

3 hours ago, Jaak said:

Or polygamy. Which was practiced by sorcerors, but not by dragonlords, including Targaryens pre-Aegon.

Polygamy was practiced occasionally among those sorcerer princes - whoever they were - and one assumes that especially that kind of thing transcended the incestuous marriages thing. Meaning that a polygamous sorcerer prince may have married two or more sisters (or other close close kind) like Aegon later did in addition to other unrelated (and exotic/foreign) women of rank and title.

But this doesn't help in a bottleneck situation. If you have only one sister/close relation to marry polygamy doesn't help you to produce pure-blooded dragonlord offspring.

Also note the fact that there were many dragonlords with dragons around during the days of the destruction of the Rhoynar and the destruction of Qarlon the Great. But sibling incest greatly reduces the bloodlines. A sibling couple with three daughter and three sons marrying each other reduces the potential lines of grandchildren from six to three. 

And if the dragonlords had the same fertility problems the Targaryens of Westeros have most dragonlords wouldn't have that many healthy children anyway.

3 hours ago, Jaak said:

Craster. You are available.

Again, we don't know whether this kind of thing was done in Valyria. Especially not among the dragonlords. They did not practice polygamy so a dragonlord could only marry his daughter after his (sister-)wife had had died.

3 hours ago, Jaak said:

The term "morganatic marriage" is German term. The rest of Europe did not have the concept.

It exists in Westeros, though. Duncan and Jenny constitute a morganatic marriage. And we can be very sure that the concept was very much a thing among the Valyrians, too. The Old Blood of Volantis does not suffer foreigners and outside behind their black wall, just as the dragonlords most likely did not suffer 'lesser men' as equal spouses in their topless towers. There might have been many concubines and paramours and perhaps even secondary wives (among the sorcerer princes) from such lesser men, but this mongrel folk most likely did not usually inherit the property and dragons of a noble and ancient dragonlord bloodline. At least not while there were other heirs around.

But as I said - spare daughters and sons of a dragonlord who couldn't marry close kin could marry into other dragonlord houses or dragonless cadet branches of the same or other houses. That's how the Velaryons first acquired the blood of the dragon, apparently, and that also seems to be the origin of those cousins and kin of the dragonlords who founded and eventually ruled Volantis as the Old Blood.

3 hours ago, Jaak said:

Who do you think would Eddard Stark think an "equal-birth" spouse of his child? Some Lannister/Baratheon one? A major internal rival, like a Bolton? Or a safe but unimportant minor loyal servant, like a Cassel or a Poole?

The noble families of Westeros do marry noble blood. Younger sons and daughters can marry very insignificant nobility (like Rodrik Stark marrying mountain clan Flint) but heirs and eldest daughters usually marry scions of the nobler families.

But the nobility of Westeros is not as obsessed with the purity of blood as the dragonlords were. They do not only marry people of (roughly) equal rank but preferably their own most noble blood relations. To break with such rules the incentive must be very good indeed. Like it seems to have been with that Yi Tish one dragonlord family entered into. To marry your daughter to an Emperor of Yi Ti apparently was a acceptable match. But we don't know whether this was the eldest daughter or sister of the head of a dragonlord family or rather his or her second niece or cousin from an insignificant cadet branch of the family.

3 hours ago, Jaak said:

IF the rivalries and mutual distrust between the 40 dragonlord families of Valyria commonly ran to the level where intermarriage was deterred by the prospect of having dragonblood in a rival family, someone with ability for dragon theft... then dragonless noble families were an obvious alternative. We are told that Velaryons were already Targaryen dependants pre-Exile.

We have no reason to believe that. In fact, we have no reason to believe that people having 'the blood of the dragon' - which all dragonlord families do - are not able to claim any dragon they want. 

And there are hints that marriages might have happened to seal or strengthen the alliances between the houses we know existed. We know that Valyria was occasionally ruled by just one (dragonlord) house. But this was an exception, not the rule. Which means the rule would have been that a power bloc or coalition formed by a number of allied dragonlord houses would have dominated the Freehold. And the idea that no marriages took place between such allied houses - houses which might have forged alliances that lasted for decades or even centuries - doesn't convince me.

And if one such marriage took place the descendants of such a union were family, too, and thus eligible spouses for another marriages should your own children fail to provide you with the granddaughter or grandson you need to arrange the next close-kin marriage.

3 hours ago, Jaak said:

Also, if impure blood of dragonriders is a threat - then so is impure blood of dragons!

I don't understand that.

3 hours ago, Jaak said:

Are dragons capable of parthenogenesis, or does each dragon have a mother and a father being different dragons even though the same dragon can be mother of some dragons and father of others?

Who was the last Targaryen dragon to be a bastard, fathered by a non-Targaryen dragon (Counting the post-Conquest wild dragons as Targaryen ones)?

The three dragons of Daenerys are not Targaryen dragons, the eggs were from Asshai. Targaryens have no special bond to these dragons, over the dragonless descendants of other dragonlord families.

We don't know that there are differences between the various 'dragon bloodlines'. In fact, we don't even know whether the various dragonlord bloodlines were bound to a particular incestuous dragon bloodline or not simply to all the dragon bloodlines of Valyria. Not to mention that we don't know whether the forty dragonlord bloodlines did not all grow out of the various descendants of a core group of a handful or so people who originally acquired 'the blood of the dragon'. That could very well be the case, especially if the descendants of those people took a couple of decades or even centuries to figure out that they better marry their sisters if they wanted to remain dragonlords.

If the blood of the dragon first spread among the various tribes and clans living in the Lands of Long Summer around the place where they would build Valyria then this could explain why there eventually were about forty dragonlord families rather than, say, just ten or even fewer.

Hell, and if the whole 'blood of the dragon' thing goes back to a ritual or spell worked by a single couple or a single person then the descendants of this/those person(s) must have spread their blood first before those forty dragonlord families had any chance of rising to power.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Landowners had a voice in the government - but the dragonlords and the other elites ruled it. There might have been non-dragonlord families with a lot of influence challenging or even surpassing the power of some of the dragonlord families but they would have been the exception, not the rule. Still, such people wouldn't have been in the same class as the dragonlords because they would be lacking dragons.

We do not hear whether "sorcerors" were also dragonlords - as in, whether no sorcerors were dragonlords, all were, or some were and some were not. Or whether the non-dragonlord sorcerors, if existing, were a class below dragonlords, besides but outside dragonlords, among dragonlords or above them. We do know that there were non-sorceror dragonlords, Targaryens among them.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, nobody ever said that the Valyrians were rational about that. We don't know their view on (grand-)parent-child incest but it would only be feasible among (grand-)daughters and (grand-)fathers. Female dragonlords who had their sons at the age of 35-40 were most likely no longer all that fertile when those sons were old enough to father children of their own.

They would not have had as long or fruitful period of common fertility as father/daughter. But Rhaenyra was pregnant at her accession. Had she wanted, she could have had Jacaerys impregnate her. Or the other widows in mid-30s with teen sons... Catelyn was hoping for another baby before Eddard died, Cersei was fearing another baby after Robert died. Robb or Joffrey could have impregnated their mothers, had the mother wished for that.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And nobody ever said anything about the dragonlords insisting that there could only be marriages among pure-blooded dragonlords. Those are merely the preferred matches. From what I assume that the first dragonlords figured out empirically that they had to marry close kin to preserve the whole dragonriding thing. But the occasional infusion of fresh/unrelated blood is not necessarily quickly outbreeding the whole dragonrider gene thing.

But my point is the preference for close kin vs. distantly related but equally pure-blooded dragonlords.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Polygamy was practiced occasionally among those sorcerer princes - whoever they were - and one assumes that especially that kind of thing transcended the incestuous marriages thing. Meaning that a polygamous sorcerer prince may have married two or more sisters (or other close close kind) like Aegon later did in addition to other unrelated (and exotic/foreign) women of rank and title.

But this doesn't help in a bottleneck situation. If you have only one sister/close relation to marry polygamy doesn't help you to produce pure-blooded dragonlord offspring.

It does not help when it happens to be fertile women who happen to be running short - even polyandry adds no bellies. It does help when it is men who are running short. In case of obligate monogamy, women of childbearing age may be forced to stay celibate as old maids or unremarried young widows, or marry unsuitable men outside family. Like Aegon was the last Targaryen man left - Aerion was dead, and Aegon had no trueborn brethren. So Aegon married both his sisters... but did a poor job actually impregnating them.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also note the fact that there were many dragonlords with dragons around during the days of the destruction of the Rhoynar and the destruction of Qarlon the Great. But sibling incest greatly reduces the bloodlines. A sibling couple with three daughter and three sons marrying each other reduces the potential lines of grandchildren from six to three. 

Not really, not compared to cousin endogamy.

Say one brother, call him Aegon, has 2 sons and 2 daughters, and the other brother, call him Viserys, also has 2 sons and 2 daughters.

If sibling incest is practiced, as Valyrian preference, then Aegon´s children marry as 2 couples and Viserys´ children marry as also 2 couples. Total of 4 couples.

If incest is forbidden, as for Lannisters, but first cousin marriages are legal, then Aegon´s sons marry Viserys´ daughters and Aegon´s daughters marry Viserys´ sons. Also 4 couples total. No diminution of bloodlines here.

It would have been 8 couples if all 8 had married outsiders of no dragon blood.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It exists in Westeros, though. Duncan and Jenny constitute a morganatic marriage.

Not under German definition. Duncan was disinherited.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And we can be very sure that the concept was very much a thing among the Valyrians, too. The Old Blood of Volantis does not suffer foreigners and outside behind their black wall,

The express law quoted against Vogorro´s Whore was banning freedmen to live there. And that did not ban her from living there as Vogorro´s wife, only as a property owner. The Old Blood did not force out Vogorro in his lifetime.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

just as the dragonlords most likely did not suffer 'lesser men' as equal spouses in their topless towers. There might have been many concubines and paramours and perhaps even secondary wives (among the sorcerer princes) from such lesser men, but this mongrel folk most likely did not usually inherit the property and dragons of a noble and ancient dragonlord bloodline. At least not while there were other heirs around.

How was the ownership of riderless dragons defined, enforced and inherited in Valyria?

If a slave born of a slave mother (and presumably some dragon blooded father) successfully mounted a dragon and was accepted by the dragon, did acceptance of a rider by a dragon operate as legal manumission of the rider regardless of the opinion of the former owner of the slave?

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And there are hints that marriages might have happened to seal or strengthen the alliances between the houses we know existed. We know that Valyria was occasionally ruled by just one (dragonlord) house. But this was an exception, not the rule. Which means the rule would have been that a power bloc or coalition formed by a number of allied dragonlord houses would have dominated the Freehold. And the idea that no marriages took place between such allied houses - houses which might have forged alliances that lasted for decades or even centuries - doesn't convince me.

And if one such marriage took place the descendants of such a union were family, too, and thus eligible spouses for another marriages should your own children fail to provide you with the granddaughter or grandson you need to arrange the next close-kin marriage.

My point is - if marriages with an allied dragonlord house were acceptable, why were they then accepted only grudgingly, when running out of sisters?

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I don't understand that.

We don't know that there are differences between the various 'dragon bloodlines'. In fact, we don't even know whether the various dragonlord bloodlines were bound to a particular incestuous dragon bloodline or not simply to all the dragon bloodlines of Valyria.

My point is that if dragon blood was generic, not that of specific dragon clans, why then did Valyrian people marry their sisters by preference to generally distantly related Valyrian dragonlords?

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Not to mention that we don't know whether the forty dragonlord bloodlines did not all grow out of the various descendants of a core group of a handful or so people who originally acquired 'the blood of the dragon'. That could very well be the case, especially if the descendants of those people took a couple of decades or even centuries to figure out that they better marry their sisters if they wanted to remain dragonlords.

Why did they then take to marrying their sisters and splitting into forty families?

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

If the blood of the dragon first spread among the various tribes and clans living in the Lands of Long Summer around the place where they would build Valyria then this could explain why there eventually were about forty dragonlord families rather than, say, just ten or even fewer.

Hell, and if the whole 'blood of the dragon' thing goes back to a ritual or spell worked by a single couple or a single person then the descendants of this/those person(s) must have spread their blood first before those forty dragonlord families had any chance of rising to power.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jaak said:

We do not hear whether "sorcerors" were also dragonlords - as in, whether no sorcerors were dragonlords, all were, or some were and some were not. Or whether the non-dragonlord sorcerors, if existing, were a class below dragonlords, besides but outside dragonlords, among dragonlords or above them. We do know that there were non-sorceror dragonlords, Targaryens among them.

We actually don't know whether there was a Targaryen sorcerer prince. Aenar had multiple wives but he could have been one of the few (Targaryen) dragonlords who followed in the footsteps of the sorcerer princes and had multiple wives.

But the vibe we get from the sorcerer princes practicing polygamy on a more regular basis is that they were an even more elite class of Valyrians than the dragonlords. Valyrian power was rooted in fire and blood magic, and those sorcerer princes would have been the Valyrians ruling and controlling the Valyrian mages and sorcerers. Those people could very well have been even more powerful than the dragonlords.

But it is of course possible that many sorcerer princes also happened to be dragonlords.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

They would not have had as long or fruitful period of common fertility as father/daughter. But Rhaenyra was pregnant at her accession. Had she wanted, she could have had Jacaerys impregnate her. Or the other widows in mid-30s with teen sons... Catelyn was hoping for another baby before Eddard died, Cersei was fearing another baby after Robert died. Robb or Joffrey could have impregnated their mothers, had the mother wished for that.

Sure, that is possible. You would have to ask George whether that ever happened, though. I could see it happening with a desperate widowed matriarch dragonlord. But it may be that parent-child incest was taboo even in Valyria. Or only practiced as a last resort. We don't know.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

But my point is the preference for close kin vs. distantly related but equally pure-blooded dragonlords.

Well, marrying your own close kind also helps keeping the land and property the family owns closely together. Valyria wasn't a feudal society where the eldest son inherited the entire estate. All children of a dragonlord would have inherited an equal share of their parents' property. And if too many such children marry in other families then the wealth the core families continues to control diminishes.

And you do know that cousin marriages come immediately behind the ideal of sibling marriages, right? Those could have always included cousin marriages among different dragonlord bloodlines. Just look how many Targaryen-Velaryon cousin marriages there were. Similar cousin marriages could have happened between many a dragonlord house back in the day.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

It does not help when it happens to be fertile women who happen to be running short - even polyandry adds no bellies. It does help when it is men who are running short. In case of obligate monogamy, women of childbearing age may be forced to stay celibate as old maids or unremarried young widows, or marry unsuitable men outside family. Like Aegon was the last Targaryen man left - Aerion was dead, and Aegon had no trueborn brethren. So Aegon married both his sisters... but did a poor job actually impregnating them.

I doubt that there were many female dragonlords who were first to live celibate lives or ended as old maids. That would have been the quick end of a dragonlord house. Dragons are power. If you don't produce another generation of dragonlords your family can technically own dozens of dragons - if those dragons are riderless they won't be able to defend you when your house of Valyria itself is threatened.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

Not really, not compared to cousin endogamy.

But we are not comparing it to cousin endogamy, we are comparing it to normal marriage habits. The various dragonlord families would have been cousins, of course, if they occasionally intermarried, but if the ideal of sibling marriages worked most of the time they would have been rather distant cousins compared to a group of noble or royal families who constantly intermarried among themselves.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

Say one brother, call him Aegon, has 2 sons and 2 daughters, and the other brother, call him Viserys, also has 2 sons and 2 daughters.

If sibling incest is practiced, as Valyrian preference, then Aegon´s children marry as 2 couples and Viserys´ children marry as also 2 couples. Total of 4 couples.

If incest is forbidden, as for Lannisters, but first cousin marriages are legal, then Aegon´s sons marry Viserys´ daughters and Aegon´s daughters marry Viserys´ sons. Also 4 couples total. No diminution of bloodlines here.

It would have been 8 couples if all 8 had married outsiders of no dragon blood.

You are creating a rather ideal setting here, distributing males and females equally among the descendants. The issue I'm talking about happens when we have three daughters and one son, say, or three sons and one daughter. Or only daughters and only sons. Then you have to look elsewhere for brides.

However, if the sibling thing was considered to be ideal then cousin marriages among various dragonlord branches wouldn't have happened all that often. We see this with Aegon III's and Viserys II's children. They marry their siblings, not their cousins.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

Not under German definition. Duncan was disinherited.

The situation in Westeros seems to be even more extreme. Franz-Ferdinand of Hapsburg himself remained Franz-Joseph's heir but his children were cut out of the succession because of his morganatic marriage. In Westeros Duncan's marriage to Jenny made it impossible for him to be accepted as king.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

The express law quoted against Vogorro´s Whore was banning freedmen to live there. And that did not ban her from living there as Vogorro´s wife, only as a property owner. The Old Blood did not force out Vogorro in his lifetime.

How could they? He was one of them. The question is not who you fuck it is who inherits your property. And whores, slaves - presumably lesser men as well - did not have the right to claim the property of a dragonlord back in Valyria.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

How was the ownership of riderless dragons defined, enforced and inherited in Valyria?

If a slave born of a slave mother (and presumably some dragon blooded father) successfully mounted a dragon and was accepted by the dragon, did acceptance of a rider by a dragon operate as legal manumission of the rider regardless of the opinion of the former owner of the slave?

We don't know that but I doubt that being a dragonrider made you a dragonlord by the laws of Valyria. A dragon is just a dragon, and just as Ulf and Hugh did not magically become Targaryens when they claimed their dragons one assumes that some bastard a dragonlord fathered on a slave or whore who claimed a dragon did not suddenly become a fully accepted member in the elite club of the dragonlords. There were many dragonriders in Valyria, after all, and not all of them would have been equally powerful, wealthy, and influential. 

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

My point is - if marriages with an allied dragonlord house were acceptable, why were they then accepted only grudgingly, when running out of sisters?

See above. It may have more to do with the intention to keep the wealth of the house intact than with the blood purity thing. After all, other incestuous dragonlord families would have had as much or even more 'blood of the dragon' than your own family. And one assumes that a lesser dragonlord family - like the Targaryens - would have rejoiced at the prospect of marrying one of their children to the scion of one of the most powerful dragonlord families of the Freehold.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

My point is that if dragon blood was generic, not that of specific dragon clans, why then did Valyrian people marry their sisters by preference to generally distantly related Valyrian dragonlords?

See above.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

Why did they then take to marrying their sisters and splitting into forty families?

Well, if we assume they figured the whole kin and incestuous marriage thing out empirically then things could have gone like that:

The first dragonlord (couple) founds what is going to become the Freehold of Valyria. He/they have established the magical 'blood of the dragon' link to the dragons of the Fourteen Flames and have a couple of children. They take spouses of their own and have children of their own, etc. who make up the elite of the growing Freehold. A couple of generations down the line the dragonlord families have more and more difficulties to keep their dragons in line. A growing number of dragonlord descendants fails to bond with dragons and some cadet branches started by the original couple even die out. People realize that those dragonlord families who continuously intermarried with each other - to establish and seal alliances among the various houses - are much better off than those who didn't do that. They realize that the blood of the dragon must be kept pure if they want to continue to control the dragon. And if cousin marriages help then sibling marriages might be even better. That way about forty dragonlord families are in existence around the time of the Doom - one assumes that this number wasn't exactly stable throughout the millennia.

The idea that each dragonlord family bonded with a special dragon bloodline makes less sense considering the fact that this necessitates that the spell ritual how to do that was not a closely guarded secret. Establishing this original link between human beings and dragons must have been a very powerful, miraculous magical event. Perhaps even more singular a magical event than Dany hatching the dragon eggs. I doubt that forty families were able to perform that spell individually. Not to mention that the number of the dragonlord families might have slowly increased over time. Some spare daughters might have married other non-dragonlord Valyrians, founding a new dragonlord house using the family name of their husbands. Others might go back to legitimized (and very lucky) dragonlord bastards. And so on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now