Lord Varys

The Book of Swords - The Sons of the Dragon SPOILERS

577 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

The High Septon spoke out against Maegor wedding his niece as incestuous, but as @Lord Varys notes upthread, such avuncular marriages have been accepted at other times. Since the High Septon, the brother of Lord Hightower, proposed his own niece, we have at least an appearance of impropriety, a corruption of the office in favor of nepotism. 

So, was the chief motivation of the High Septon keeping this degree of incest away from the Iron Throne, or was it nepotism and using the power of his office to advance the interests of House Hightower? 

Lord Manfred Hightower is claimed to have offered his youngest daughter to Aegon I while he was already married to both of his sisters.

King Argilac Durrandun also offered his daughter to Aegon while he was already married to both sisters.

I don't remember the exact wording, but after Rhaenys died, it is said that a number of lords and knights presented their daughters to Aegon while he was still married to Visenya.

While I do not doubt that some in Westeros had genuine disgust about incest and perhaps even polygamy, it seems there were no shortage of great lords that were eager to marry the incestuous, polygamous royal family.

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32 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Lord Manfred Hightower is claimed to have offered his youngest daughter to Aegon I while he was already married to both of his sisters.

King Argilac Durrandun also offered his daughter to Aegon while he was already married to both sisters.

I don't remember the exact wording, but after Rhaenys died, it is said that a number of lords and knights presented their daughters to Aegon while he was still married to Visenya.

While I do not doubt that some in Westeros had genuine disgust about incest and perhaps even polygamy, it seems there were no shortage of great lords that were eager to marry the incestuous, polygamous royal family.

They were financially and politically rewarded. Human gluttony, basically.

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What's the point of the author writing that Visenya was said to have practiced dark sorcery other than to suggest to the reader that Maegor was conceived but such methods, and/or that she sustained Maegor by such methods following the trial by seven? Have there been any hints at other sorcerous acts by Visenya? 

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Forgot to include these other major plot holes/inconsistencies in my previous post.

1. The missing details from TWOIAF: (Visenya poisoning Aenys rumor, mason killing Maegor rumor, Maegor descending into madness due to the stillbirths)

2. How were Jaehaerys and Alysanne able to hide with their dragons at Storm's End when Rhaena couldn't hide Dreamfyre in the Westerlands and Tyanna found her daughters all the way on Fair Isle?

3. How is Vermithor the oldest and biggest dragon given the description of Dreamfyre?

4. How the hell did Lord Robar think Vermithor and Silverwing would be a match for Balerion? Even with Dreamfyre that's not enough firepower to match the Black Dread!

5. If uncle-niece marriages are not full-on incest per the definition given in TWOIAF and TSOTD why is it later said that Maegor had done that by wedding and bedding Rhaena?

There's other issues on top of these and the ones I already mentioned but they're not too important so I won't post them.

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1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

What's the point of the author writing that Visenya was said to have practiced dark sorcery other than to suggest to the reader that Maegor was conceived but such methods, and/or that she sustained Maegor by such methods following the trial by seven? Have there been any hints at other sorcerous acts by Visenya? 

I agree. Where are the rumors on that?

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I think Vermithor, Silverwing and Dreamfyre could have taken out Maegor. Balerion can really only engage one at a time. That dragon and it's rider would almost certainly die. But one of the others could swoop down at that moment and roast Maegor. No idea if Balerion would keep fighting after his rider died. 

Edited by RumHam

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Agree with RumHam here. If three dragonriders are coordinating, and bearing in mind a huge dragon like Balerion would not be the most maneuverable, the target would simply be to occupy the dragon with a target and spit fire at Maegor on his back.

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13 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

1. The missing details from TWOIAF: (Visenya poisoning Aenys rumor, mason killing Maegor rumor, Maegor descending into madness due to the stillbirths)

In my opinion these are no inconsistencies. Yandel and Gyldayn are two different historians who could have used different sources. What Yandel finds interesting and noteworthy Gyldayn could consider unconvincing.

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50 minutes ago, Ran said:

Agree with RumHam here. If three dragonriders are coordinating, and bearing in mind a huge dragon like Balerion would not be the most maneuverable, the target would simply be to occupy the dragon with a target and spit fire at Maegor on his back.

The text doesn't make it clear that is the plan, which is a problem.

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49 minutes ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

In my opinion these are no inconsistencies. Yandel and Gyldayn are two different historians who could have used different sources. What Yandel finds interesting and noteworthy Gyldayn could consider unconvincing.

Technically speaking you're right. However, my larger point still stands. Those details should be included in TSOTD.

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3 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

What's the point of the author writing that Visenya was said to have practiced dark sorcery other than to suggest to the reader that Maegor was conceived but such methods, and/or that she sustained Maegor by such methods following the trial by seven? Have there been any hints at other sorcerous acts by Visenya? 

I'd say that is adding 'color' to the character. And strictly speaking, we still don't know that Bloodraven is a sorcerer and can wear a glamor to show up as one Ser Maynard Plumm, right? We would not expect to read stuff like that in a history book.

In that sense, it is up to the reader to decide what sorcery Visenya could or couldn't work, and whether she was a sorceress at all.

However, with 'Nightflyers' in mind I'd say the 'Maegor is her male clone' idea is something we can seriously consider. And the idea of the great Conqueror being sterile is just too tasty to dismiss, either. Aenys is the son of some blond mummer, and Maegor Visenya's male clone.

As another magical feat we could, perhaps, also consider the death of King Aenys. If Aenys actually improved for a time after Visenya took over his care she may not have used poisons but rather magic to kill. Not to mention that she may have cursed him to make him sick in the first place, or something of that sort. She was confined to her quarters, after all.

58 minutes ago, RumHam said:

I think Vermithor, Silverwing and Dreamfyre could have taken out Maegor. Balerion can really only engage one at a time. That dragon and it's rider would almost certainly die. But one of the others could swoop down at that moment and roast Maegor. No idea of Balerion would keep fighting after his rider died. 

 

55 minutes ago, Ran said:

Agree with RumHam here. If three dragonriders are coordinating, and bearing in mind a huge dragon like Balerion would not be the most maneuverable, the target would simply be to occupy the dragon with a target and spit fire at Maegor on his back.

Really not sure about that. It would depend on the sizes of the dragons, and one assumes they were all significantly smaller in 48 AC than Quicksilver was at her death. And we have to consider not just the dragons but the riders. Do we really think the 12-year-old Alysanne could have stood (or rather flown against) Balerion the Black Dread? And I'd not holding my breath for Jaehaerys, either.

Both children wouldn't have been experienced dragonriders at this point, since they had been in hiding for a couple of years - assuming they were dragonriders while they were hiding (which some people are willing to doubt).

I give it to you that Dreamfyre and Rhaena could have been big and experienced enough to dare attack Balerion directly. But then Dreamfyre would have died like Meleys did - or Moondancer. Sunfyre-Moondancer very much shows that the larger dragon will always defeat the smaller. Even Daemon had to use a suicidal ruse to bring down Vhagar. And he was a very experienced dragonrider, riding a dragon half the size of Vhagar.

Even if we imagined Rhaena, Jaehaerys, Alysanne, and their dragons to be some experienced team of dragonriders who can coordinate their attacks precisely and thus make use of the mobility and speed of the younger dragons, we know that the armor of older dragons is harder and the fires of older dragons burn hotter.

They might be able to fly away from Balerion, but they could never bring him down. Perhaps - perhaps they could kill Maegor on Balerion, but even that would have been a suicidal attack. Would Alyssa Velaryon allow her children to do something like that? Could they risk to kill their young pretender like that? Maegor did make short work out of Aegon and Quicksilver...

In that sense - no, I find the idea that Dreamfyre, Vermithor, and Silverwing were a threat to Maegor pretty much ridiculous. Especially in light of the fear and caution Vhagar provokes in Rhaenyra's people during the Dance. She was smaller than Balerion, and Rhaenyra's larger dragons - Meleys, Caraxes, Syrax - were all larger than Jaehaerys' dragons could have been in 48 AC.

But the issue here is not just the fact that Balerion should have been able to defeat those pet dragons, but also the idea that Maegor should have been desperate or even suicidal while he still had Balerion. Balerion is really a super weapon. Perhaps other dragons could threaten him, but if Maegor felt that was the case he was not forced to engage them in a fight. He could just take Balerion and burn essentially all the castles of all the rebels, beginning at Storm's End and Riverrun. And if he had the good sense to just show those would-be rebels his dragons quite a few - or perhaps all of them - would rather quickly realize that Maegor Targaryen was the rightful king after all.

Even if they did not do that he could have done what Aemond did during the Dance. Show the Realm that the pretender on the Iron Throne cannot protect the people from his wrath. If Balerion burned scores and villages and towns the people would inevitably turn against Jaehaerys and his new government. And then Maegor could come back.

3 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

While I do not doubt that some in Westeros had genuine disgust about incest and perhaps even polygamy, it seems there were no shortage of great lords that were eager to marry the incestuous, polygamous royal family.

This is an important point, and actually part of the reason why I find it odd that powerful lords did not try to follow in Aegon's and Maegor's footsteps after the Faith was finally broken. I mean, those men practice ridiculous stuff like the First Night. They really like to have a lot of women. Why not have multiple wives, too? If they were so willing to marry their daughters to a polygamist it is odd that they did not also like the idea themselves. Lord Celtigar gives the impression that taking more than one wife is completely normal.

Thinking about the First Night - could there be a chance that Alysanne really had issues with this polygamy thing? I could see her pushing her sons and grandsons to best bury that idea very deep.

Edited by Lord Varys

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd say that is adding 'color' to the character. And strictly speaking, we still don't know that Bloodraven is a sorcerer and can wear a glamor to show up as one Ser Maynard Plumm, right? We would not expect to read stuff like that in a history book.

In that sense, it is up to the reader to decide what sorcery Visenya could or couldn't work, and whether she was a sorceress at all.

However, with 'Nightflyers' in mind I'd say the 'Maegor is her male clone' idea is something we can seriously consider. And the idea of the great Conqueror being sterile is just too tasty to dismiss, either. Aenys is the son of some blond mummer, and Maegor Visenya's male clone.

As another magical feat we could, perhaps, also consider the death of King Aenys. If Aenys actually improved for a time after Visenya took over his care she may not have used poisons but rather magic to kill. Not to mention that she may have cursed him to make him sick in the first place, or something of that sort. She was confined to her quarters, after all.

 

Really not sure about that. It would depend on the sizes of the dragons, and one assumes they were all significantly smaller in 48 AC than Quicksilver was at her death. And we have to consider not just the dragons but the riders. Do we really think the 12-year-old Alysanne could have stood (or rather flown against) Balerion the Black Dread? And I'd not holding my breath for Jaehaerys, either.

Both children wouldn't have been experienced dragonriders at this point, since they had been in hiding for a couple of years - assuming they were dragonriders while they were hiding (which some people are willing to doubt).

I give it to you that Dreamfyre and Rhaena could have been big and experienced enough to dare attack Balerion directly. But then Dreamfyre would have died like Meleys did - or Moondancer. Sunfyre-Moondancer very much shows that the larger dragon will always defeat the smaller. Even Daemon had to use a suicidal ruse to bring down Vhagar. And he was a very experienced dragonrider, riding a dragon half the size of Vhagar.

Even if we imagined Rhaena, Jaehaerys, Alysanne, and their dragons to be some experienced team of dragonriders who can coordinate their attacks precisely and thus make use of the mobility and speed of the younger dragons, we know that the armor of older dragons is harder and the fires of older dragons burn hotter.

They might be able to fly away from Balerion, but they could never bring him down. Perhaps - perhaps they could kill Maegor on Balerion, but even that would have been a suicidal attack. Would Alyssa Velaryon allow her children to do something like that? Could they risk to kill their young pretender like that? Maegor did make short work out of Aegon and Quicksilver...

In that sense - no, I find the idea that Dreamfyre, Vermithor, and Silverwing were a threat to Maegor pretty much ridiculous. Especially in light of the fear and caution Vhagar provokes in Rhaenyra's people during the Dance. She was smaller than Balerion, and Rhaenyra's larger dragons - Meleys, Caraxes, Syrax - were all larger than Jaehaerys' dragons could have been in 48 AC.

But the issue here is not just the fact that Balerion should have been able to defeat those pet dragons, but also the idea that Maegor should have been desperate or even suicidal while he still had Balerion. Balerion is really a super weapon. Perhaps other dragons could threaten him, but if Maegor felt that was the case he was not forced to engage them in a fight. He could just take Balerion and burn essentially all the castles of all the rebels, beginning at Storm's End and Riverrun. And if he had the good sense to just show those would-be rebels his dragons quite a few - or perhaps all of them - would rather quickly realize that Maegor Targaryen was the rightful king after all.

Even if they did not do that he could have done what Aemond did during the Dance. Show the Realm that the pretender on the Iron Throne cannot protect the people from his wrath. If Balerion burned scores and villages and towns the people would inevitably turn against Jaehaerys and his new government. And then Maegor could come back.

This is an important point, and actually part of the reason why I find it odd that powerful lords did not try to follow in Aegon's and Maegor's footsteps after the Faith was finally broken. I mean, those men practice ridiculous stuff like the First Night. They really like to have a lot of women. Why not have multiple wives, too? If they were so willing to marry their daughters to a polygamist it is odd that they did not also like the idea themselves. Lord Celtigar gives the impression that taking more than one wife is completely normal.

Thinking about the First Night - could there be a chance that Alysanne really had issues with this polygamy thing? I could see her pushing her sons and grandsons to best bury that idea very deep.

It's entirely possible that Alysanne was against polygamy. But whatever the case, I think the lack of polygamy after Maegor was an internal Targaryen decision, and not acknowledgement of the Faith's prohibition applying to them. 

Jaehaerys knew very well the dangers of polygamy. All his elder brothers were murdered by the son of his father's other wife. His widowed sister was forced to marry the same man, who took possession of her daughters.

Granted, it is Rhaenys's line - including Jaehaerys - that would not exist without Aegon's polygamy. But the lessons of Aegon's multiple wives and the wars between their descendants are plain to see, and the consequences very fresh for Jaehaerys.

Aegon's polygamy produced heirs murdered and usurped by their half-sibling.

Maegor's polygamy produced no heirs at all.

But Jaehaerys and his successors had no need to concede the prohibition on polygamy to the Faith as applying to them.

If the Faith can suck it up when it comes to the incest that Targaryens intend to maintain, they can suck it up when it comes to the rare polygamous situation.

There is always the possibility that Targaryens may require it in the future to boost their numbers. Even if they shun it for decades or centuries, it makes no sense that they would prohibit themselves when they may one day require it.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Really not sure about that. It would depend on the sizes of the dragons, and one assumes they were all significantly smaller in 48 AC than Quicksilver was at her death. And we have to consider not just the dragons but the riders. Do we really think the 12-year-old Alysanne could have stood (or rather flown against) Balerion the Black Dread? And I'd not holding my breath for Jaehaerys, either.

Both children wouldn't have been experienced dragonriders at this point, since they had been in hiding for a couple of years - assuming they were dragonriders while they were hiding (which some people are willing to doubt).

I give it to you that Dreamfyre and Rhaena could have been big and experienced enough to dare attack Balerion directly. But then Dreamfyre would have died like Meleys did - or Moondancer. Sunfyre-Moondancer very much shows that the larger dragon will always defeat the smaller. Even Daemon had to use a suicidal ruse to bring down Vhagar. And he was a very experienced dragonrider, riding a dragon half the size of Vhagar.

Even if we imagined Rhaena, Jaehaerys, Alysanne, and their dragons to be some experienced team of dragonriders who can coordinate their attacks precisely and thus make use of the mobility and speed of the younger dragons, we know that the armor of older dragons is harder and the fires of older dragons burn hotter.

They might be able to fly away from Balerion, but they could never bring him down. Perhaps - perhaps they could kill Maegor on Balerion, but even that would have been a suicidal attack. Would Alyssa Velaryon allow her children to do something like that? Could they risk to kill their young pretender like that? Maegor did make short work out of Aegon and Quicksilver...

In that sense - no, I find the idea that Dreamfyre, Vermithor, and Silverwing were a threat to Maegor pretty much ridiculous. Especially in light of the fear and caution Vhagar provokes in Rhaenyra's people during the Dance. She was smaller than Balerion, and Rhaenyra's larger dragons - Meleys, Caraxes, Syrax - were all larger than Jaehaerys' dragons could have been in 48 AC.

I'm not sure about it either, and it would be a really costly battle even if they won, I think. But it's hard to see it as a mistake when Martin knows how big and capable the dragons were and we do not. Obviously he think's it's not a ridiculous notion. I seem to recall it's been established before that dragons grow at different rates (or as the plot requires.) As for the age of the kids I'd just point out that it seems Westerosi kids are a lot tougher than real kids. (though some of that is probably just a result of the scrapped five year gap.) 

I do agree that Maegor would not have committed suicide while he had Balerion.

As for polygamy I don't think the Targaryens ever explicitly banned the practice among themselves, that would be weird. But I do think when Jaehaerys unified the laws of the realm it most likely would have been banned. If one kingdom had a law against it and another didn't, he'd have to make a ruling on the subject, and it seems unlikely that ruing would have been "it's fine."

But since the king is above the law and what one king does another can undo, any Targaryen king would still be able to arrange (or approve of after the fact) a polygamous marriage.  

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

This is an important point, and actually part of the reason why I find it odd that powerful lords did not try to follow in Aegon's and Maegor's footsteps after the Faith was finally broken. I mean, those men practice ridiculous stuff like the First Night. They really like to have a lot of women. Why not have multiple wives, too? If they were so willing to marry their daughters to a polygamist it is odd that they did not also like the idea themselves. Lord Celtigar gives the impression that taking more than one wife is completely normal.

Who precisely owed First Night? And to whom?

Just smallfolk? Or also nobles?

When people of different lords intermarried, was first night owed to the lord of bride or lord of groom?

Would a wedding in a Harrenhal domain owe First Night to Gargon the Guest, Edmyn Tully or Aegon Targaryen?

If powerful lords were pushing for Targaryens to contract polygamous marriages to their daughters, or themselves in case of Queen Sharra Arryn, did any lords volunteer to invite a Targaryen to their own wedding for First Night?

A child begotten in First Night is by the terms of the deal the child and, if a boy, the heir of the groom. With no inheritance rights towards the lord guest and his family. Did Faith hold any opinion about First Night? They celebrated the vows.

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12 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

While I do not doubt that some in Westeros had genuine disgust about incest and perhaps even polygamy, it seems there were no shortage of great lords that were eager to marry the incestuous, polygamous royal family.

Chalk it up to greed and prestige. Having their daughter be queen and sit at the right hand of the most powerful man in Westeros,  with the chance to get your own blood in the mix was too good a chance to pass up for those not outright disgusted by both the polygamy and the incest.  

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8 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

It's entirely possible that Alysanne was against polygamy. But whatever the case, I think the lack of polygamy after Maegor was an internal Targaryen decision, and not acknowledgement of the Faith's prohibition applying to them.

Well, in a sense it could be both, right? After all, the Faith's prohibition about polygamy was in effect long before the Targaryens came, and they did not really change their views on that - or the incest thing. It is just that the Targaryens got away with incestuous marriages because they were 'special'.

Incest is still a crime in Westeros, a crime I think the Targaryen kings could still allow the Faith and their own authorities to punish. For instance, I'm sure Aegon V could have not only persecuted Jaehaerys and Shaera for marrying without their leave he could have also punished them for committing incest.

It seems that even Targaryens need royal permission to arrange and/or enter into those incestuous unions of theirs.

And the same is clearly true for setting aside your wife - for which Prince Daemon needed and did not get the permission of his royal brother - or to take another wife (for which Daemon Blackfyre apparently would have needed the permission of either King Aegon or King Daeron).

I don't think the Targaryens made a special law for themselves allowing incest and banning polygamy, or something of that sort, but rather that polygamy came up occasionally and was then - for various reasons - not allowed by the kings.

Take Egg's decision not to arrange incestuous marriages for his children as another example. He didn't formally ban Targaryen incest, either, but he also did not arrange such marriages for his children. If we assume that Prince Duncan also shared his view on that, and if we assumed for a moment Duncan had married his Baratheon girl and succeeded Aegon V as king, then Targaryen incest may have become impossible by the time King Duncan died. Because nobody would have allowed Jaehaerys and Shaera or Aerys and Rhaella to marry each other, and Duncan would also not have arranged marriages between his children and grandchildren.

8 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Jaehaerys knew very well the dangers of polygamy. All his elder brothers were murdered by the son of his father's other wife. His widowed sister was forced to marry the same man, who took possession of her daughters.

Granted, it is Rhaenys's line - including Jaehaerys - that would not exist without Aegon's polygamy. But the lessons of Aegon's multiple wives and the wars between their descendants are plain to see, and the consequences very fresh for Jaehaerys.

Aegon's polygamy produced heirs murdered and usurped by their half-sibling.

Maegor's polygamy produced no heirs at all.

But can we be sure - or rather: does it makes sense to assume - that the people at court blamed (Aegon's) polygamy for Maegor and the succession war?

Wasn't that, you know, something for which the personality and character of Maegor is to blame? A man like Maegor would have tried to take the throne in any case, regardless whether he was the son of Visenya or the son of Rhaenys.

The reason why I think quite a few people should have suggested to Jaehaerys I to follow in the footsteps of his royal grandfather and take both his sisters to wife also have to do with succession issues. Rhaena's daughters by Aegon have a better legal claim than Jaehaerys I, so it would be a good way to make them part of his family to prevent the issue from developing into a crisis.

Not to mention that the Targaryen incest tradition suggests that a male Targaryen marry his elder sister - Rhaena in that case - not the younger sister Alysanne.

In that sense one expects this scenario to come up in 48-50 AC and the author to give us a good reason as to why this wasn't done. Rhaena's wish to marry Androw Farman could be a reason why nothing came of that. And perhaps Jaehaerys and Alysanne also did not want him to have another wife, etc.

But I really don't see why they should, at that point, consider that polygamy was a problem in itself.

8 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

If the Faith can suck it up when it comes to the incest that Targaryens intend to maintain, they can suck it up when it comes to the rare polygamous situation.

That is certainly true. At least while the dragons are around. Afterwards it would be much more difficult to push the Faith and the Realm at large to accept something completely out of the ordinary. People are accustomed to Targaryen incest, but not to polygamy. And a king can no longer point to a large dragon when he meets resistance from his lords, knights, or smallfolk.

In that sense the balance of power would have been shifting back to the Faith - and, of course, the lords - during the later years of Targaryen reign, even if this was not really visible. The Faith wasn't controlled by brute force - or conciliatory tones behind which lurked brute force - but rather by corruption and money.

A king like, say, Aegon V could never have gotten away with polygamy if the thing had caused a major scandal and an uprising.

8 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

There is always the possibility that Targaryens may require it in the future to boost their numbers. Even if they shun it for decades or centuries, it makes no sense that they would prohibit themselves when they may one day require it.

Well, technically a king could ignore or push aside any such laws anyway. No king is bound by some ancient law. But I really don't think they felt the need to issue such laws. After all, the Faith already forbid polygamy, and that would have been enough. Vice versa, there would also not have been a Targaryen law allowing Targaryens to arrange incestuous marriages. They just did that. Or rather - the kings did.

The Velaryons apparently could not do that. Else Corlys Velaryon would most likely have betrothed Laena to Laenor rather than this Braavosi wastrel.

8 hours ago, RumHam said:

I'm not sure about it either, and it would be a really costly battle even if they won, I think. But it's hard to see it as a mistake when Martin knows how big and capable the dragons were and we do not. Obviously he think's it's not a ridiculous notion. I seem to recall it's been established before that dragons grow at different rates (or as the plot requires.) As for the age of the kids I'd just point out that it seems Westerosi kids are a lot tougher than real kids. (though some of that is probably just a result of the scrapped five year gap.) 

Well, George would still be inconsistent with the way he describes things during the Dance, where Rhaenyra's three dragonriding sons are considered to be no match for Vhagar and the other Green dragonriders even if Caraxes and Meleys supported them. Which, by comparison, is very odd.

And it is not that the plot has Vermithor and Silverwing challenge Balerion. We just have Lord Baratheon claim they could do that. The issue is the question whether this is a claim anyone could believe that claim. I'd say there is no chance that anyone could believe it. Now, insofar as the man just lays out that they have two dragons while Maegor has only one he is correct. Whether that gives them any real advantage in battle between dragons is a completely different point.

If we consider that two dragons like Vermithor and Silverwing could have actually defeated Maegor on Balerion - by killing the rider - then it is even more odd that Dreamfyre and Rhaena were not with Aegon and Quicksilver at the Gods Eye. There is no explanation given as to why Rhaena and her dragon weren't there. Surely they must have known that Balerion and Maegor - and Vhagar and Visenya, too, by the way - might show up...

8 hours ago, RumHam said:

As for polygamy I don't think the Targaryens ever explicitly banned the practice among themselves, that would be weird. But I do think when Jaehaerys unified the laws of the realm it most likely would have been banned. If one kingdom had a law against it and another didn't, he'd have to make a ruling on the subject, and it seems unlikely that ruing would have been "it's fine."

But since the king is above the law and what one king does another can undo, any Targaryen king would still be able to arrange (or approve of after the fact) a polygamous marriage.  

I doubt that there were worldly laws regulating the marriages of the people. Those would have been religious laws. And we already know that the Faith's doctrines do not permit polygamy. In that sense, it was always not permitted unless you were a king who could get what he wanted there. But that essentially only First Men kings could. During the Andal days polygamy was essentially dead for the kings, too, until the Targaryens came.

It could be, though, that Jaehaerys I and Alysanne also forbid polygamy to the Northmen. We don't know the Stark marriage customs prior to the Conquest but it is possible that quite a few of them had more than one wife when they felt like it. That could have ended with the Conquest and unification of the laws.

But then, the fact that there was a Brandon Snow during the Conquest makes it likely that Torrhen's father had not been married to Brandon's mother.

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58 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, in a sense it could be both, right? After all, the Faith's prohibition about polygamy was in effect long before the Targaryens came, and they did not really change their views on that - or the incest thing. It is just that the Targaryens got away with incestuous marriages because they were 'special'.

Incest is still a crime in Westeros, a crime I think the Targaryen kings could still allow the Faith and their own authorities to punish.

Their own authorities, i. e. King, Master of Laws and lords? Sure. Faith courts? Questionable after Maegor.

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The reason why I think quite a few people should have suggested to Jaehaerys I to follow in the footsteps of his royal grandfather and take both his sisters to wife also have to do with succession issues. Rhaena's daughters by Aegon have a better legal claim than Jaehaerys I, so it would be a good way to make them part of his family to prevent the issue from developing into a crisis.

Not to mention that the Targaryen incest tradition suggests that a male Targaryen marry his elder sister - Rhaena in that case - not the younger sister Alysanne.

In that sense one expects this scenario to come up in 48-50 AC and the author to give us a good reason as to why this wasn't done. Rhaena's wish to marry Androw Farman could be a reason why nothing came of that. And perhaps Jaehaerys and Alysanne also did not want him to have another wife, etc.

But they could have dealt with the claim another way. Jaehaerys could have married Aerea instead, and that would even have been a niece not sister.

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I doubt that there were worldly laws regulating the marriages of the people. Those would have been religious laws.

Not sure about that. Were the details of laws about family or royal consent secular or religious ones? If religious, they could not have been the same between Andals and First Men. Was Sansa's marriage to Tyrion valid? Sansa pointed out that family consent was needed. If lack of Robb's consent invalidated Sansa/Tyrion, did lack of Tywin's consent invalidate Tyrion/Tysha? Seven have High Septon as their voice on earth to annul marriages, Old gods don't.

Edited by Jaak

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26 minutes ago, Jaak said:

Their own authorities, i. e. King, Master of Laws and lords? Sure. Faith courts? Questionable after Maegor.

It would have been lords and their authorities, of course, who punished such crimes after the Faith had no longer the right to do that by its own authority, but it would still have been the doctrines and moral and spiritual authority of the Faith which would have defined such crimes and laid out the punishments.

Just imagine some petty lord on the lands of Lord Ambrose Butterwell being caught abed with his sister or daughter. Who do you think would have told pious Lord Ambrose how to punish such abominable behavior?

26 minutes ago, Jaak said:

But they could have dealt with the claim another way. Jaehaerys could have married Aerea instead, and that would even have been a niece not sister.

Aerea was too young to marry King Jaehaerys in 48-50 AC. But, sure, she could have become Jaehaerys' third wife eventually, just as it is not unlikely that a maiden Aerea would have become King Maegor's seventh wife had he lived long enough to marry her, too.

26 minutes ago, Jaak said:

Not sure about that. Were the details of laws about family or royal consent secular or religious ones? If religious, they could not have been the same between Andals and First Men. Was Sansa's marriage to Tyrion valid? Sansa pointed out that family consent was needed. If lack of Robb's consent invalidated Sansa/Tyrion, did lack of Tywin's consent invalidate Tyrion/Tysha? Seven have High Septon as their voice on earth to annul marriages, Old gods don't.

Kings ruled both the religious and the worldly sphere after Maegor and Jaehaerys. But they did only make exceptions from religious laws for themselves and their own. They were not running around making exceptions for polygamous or incestuous smallfolk.

Marriage is a matter of religion both in the North and the Andal kingdoms. It is something you need the gods and/or septons for. Kings cannot marry people to each other, only septons, priests, or the old gods can.

In the North marriages are less sanctified than in the North.

Ran/Linda speculated that in the North - as well as among the wildlings - divorce should be remarkably easy. There are no vows exchanged there that one man and one woman are married for life. But that still doesn't mean that marriage is a secular thing up there. There is no secular sphere in a medieval society. Religion is everywhere, it influences and shapes all the customs and laws of such a society. And when a king or a lord does something he, too, is doing that within the framework of his religious culture.

The Targaryens only wanted exceptions for themselves in the whole incest thing - and that is very much a quasi-religious tradition within that family. In everything else they adopted Andal religion and culture. They changed a lot in that regard. We can be pretty sure that the dragonlords of Valyria would have laughed at those Targaryen calling themselves 'Ser', participating in savage and primitive tourneys, praying to those seven gods of the Andals, etc.

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So, I guess dragon fire is common fire.

When Maegor burns his father's corpse, Blackfyre is set on Aegon's pyre. The sword's blade is darkened but otherwise unharmed since no common fire can damage Valyrian steel. 

Vhagar supplied the flame to light the fire. 

(I guess we could assume that Vhagar merely ignited the fire, which was common fire after that.) 

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I recall this detail noted by @Lord Varysabove, that Aegon's crown had been described in TWOIAF as Valyrian steel and ruby, but in The Sons of the Dragon it was iron and ruby. Given what @Ranstated upthread about the separate editing processes, I guess we should assume that the original draft had a crown of iron and ruby, which was edited to Valyrian steel for TWOIAF, but left as iron and ruby for The Sons of the Dragon. 

Whatever its metal component, the Dragon's crown was lost in Dorne, but there is a theory that it will be presented to our wee Aegon in Winds of Winter, so we might read for ourselves what it's made from. On the other hand, this discrepancy will allow us to craft some theories to explain why the crown Aegon gets in Winds is not actually the crown of the Dragon. 

ETA

When Aegon was first crowned, Visenya placed the crown on the Dragon's head. She would do the same later for her son. But when Aenys was crowned, he donned the crown himself. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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