Angel Eyes

If Viserys I had proclaimed Rhaenyra as his heir,

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Why did he remarry and subsequently have sons that would complicate the succession?

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5 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

Why did he remarry and subsequently have sons that would complicate the succession?

Because he desired Alicent for sexual gratification. The text makes it evident that he did not care a damn for his sons and treated them as little more than legitimized royal bastards, much like Aegon the Unworthy. Viserys I was a very petty man, who tore out tongues for stating truths, allowed the maiming of his son and let an ungrateful and murderous brother roam the Seven Kingdoms.

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Because simply, he was a fucking idiot & one of the worst Targaryen kings.

@Knight of the Winged Pig 100% agreed, but what was he meant to do with Lucerys about Aemond? He was only 4-5, reacting to his 9-10 year old half-uncle bashing he & his brothers. It was absolutely the wrong thing to do, but he is so young, in a situation he should not have to be in, Viserys' own grandson, & the nominal heir to Driftmark. Who should've been punished was whoever allowed a preschool (or kindergarten) aged kid carry his own fucking dagger, especially in the presence of other royal children (even if they were actually great friends - Rodrik Cassel was quite right to not allow a 14-year-old son of Winterfell & 12-year-old prince to use live steel against each other in the training yard). At the very least, (seemingly) without the necessary education that should go with it. Even in such a martial culture. So Rhaenyra, Daemon, &/or the master-at-arms are the ones truly responsible, imo. Perhaps even Viserys himself.

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1 hour ago, Lord Corlys Velaryon said:

Because simply, he was a fucking idiot & one of the worst Targaryen kings.

@Knight of the Winged Pig 100% agreed, but what was he meant to do with Lucerys about Aemond? He was only 4-5, reacting to his 9-10 year old half-uncle bashing he & his brothers. It was absolutely the wrong thing to do, but he is so young, in a situation he should not have to be in, Viserys' own grandson, & the nominal heir to Driftmark. Who should've been punished was whoever allowed a preschool (or kindergarten) aged kid carry his own fucking dagger, especially in the presence of other royal children (even if they were actually great friends - Rodrik Cassel was quite right to not allow a 14-year-old son of Winterfell & 12-year-old prince to use live steel against each other in the training yard). At the very least, (seemingly) without the necessary education that should go with it. Even in such a martial culture. So Rhaenyra, Daemon, &/or the master-at-arms are the ones truly responsible, imo. Perhaps even Viserys himself.

I agree on that. Viserys was an idiot. To stay on topic, one has to say that Viserys had, in fact, no right to defy the very precedent by which he ascended to the Throne.

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37 minutes ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

I agree on that. Viserys was an idiot. To stay on topic, one has to say that Viserys had, in fact, no right to defy the very precedent by which he ascended to the Throne.

Absolutely! (And Rhaenys would've been a far, far better monarch than her bloody cousin, if perhaps having a reign troubled by some similar circumstances, like Daemon of course & Laenor's disinterest in fathering trueborn heirs - his sexuality wasn't particularly the problem, it was his attitude in such a society). And he was incredibly short-sighted & ignorant to believe the oaths that he had his vassals swear in 105AC, which were only technically (& literally) only against Daemon for Rhaenyra, would hold the same weight the next year & onwards when he remarried (to the daughter of such a man as Otto, his own Hand too, & of such a rich, powerful, & ambitious house as the Hightowers) & had sons. To so many, they counted for nothing wrt Aegon, his sons, Aemond, & Daeron. There would've been some (if not many) who fought for the Blacks not because of the oaths & the late king's wishes, but for more practical factors like the greater number of dragons they had & with such tested & skilled commanders as Daemon (as much as he would've turned perhaps as many to the other side), Rhaenys, & the Sea Snake, in contrast to the Greens.

Edited by Lord Corlys Velaryon

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Guys, you have to read that in context.

Viserys I wanted a son as his heir as any man in the Seven Kingdoms outside Dorne does. Women are not fit to rule, everybody knows that. But due to the fact that he was without a son his brother Daemon - who neither nor pretty much anyone in Westeros wanted to see on the Iron Throne - was his presumptive heir.

The reasons that led to Viserys I taking the throne in the first place made it very difficult to make Rhaenyra the heir. But when Daemon actually mocked the king's son Baelon who died after a day - along with the queen herself - Viserys couldn't take it anymore and made Rhaenyra his heir - the daughter he loved but wouldn't have named his heir had his brother not vexed him so much.

Once that was done Viserys remarried. Alicent's children were never seen as anything but spares. And Viserys I needed spares in case Rhaenyra herself (perhaps in childbirth, like her mother?) - not just to protect Rhaenyra and his throne against Daemon's ambitions but also ensure the continuation of House Targaryen. Daemon himself was stuck in a childless marriage and if Rhaenyra had turned out to be barren or had not been able to produce living children the future of House Targaryen would have looked worse than it did at the end of Maegor's rule - or at the beginning of the Conqueror's reign.

With hindsight Viserys I looks stupid. But in 105 AC he wasn't stupid at all.

The Dance wasn't inevitable. They could have found some sort of compromise. They could have arranged marriages between Rhaenyra's children and Alicent's grandchildren.

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Guys, you have to read that in context.

Viserys I wanted a son as his heir as any man in the Seven Kingdoms outside Dorne does. Women are not fit to rule, everybody knows that. But due to the fact that he was without a son his brother Daemon - who neither nor pretty much anyone in Westeros wanted to see on the Iron Throne - was his presumptive heir.

The reasons that led to Viserys I taking the throne in the first place made it very difficult to make Rhaenyra the heir. But when Daemon actually mocked the king's son Baelon who died after a day - along with the queen herself - Viserys couldn't take it anymore and made Rhaenyra his heir - the daughter he loved but wouldn't have named his heir had his brother not vexed him so much.

Once that was done Viserys remarried. Alicent's children were never seen as anything but spares. And Viserys I needed spares in case Rhaenyra herself (perhaps in childbirth, like her mother?) - not just to protect Rhaenyra and his throne against Daemon's ambitions but also ensure the continuation of House Targaryen. Daemon himself was stuck in a childless marriage and if Rhaenyra had turned out to be barren or had not been able to produce living children the future of House Targaryen would have looked worse than it did at the end of Maegor's rule - or at the beginning of the Conqueror's reign.

With hindsight Viserys I looks stupid. But in 105 AC he wasn't stupid at all.

The Dance wasn't inevitable. They could have found some sort of compromise. They could have arranged marriages between Rhaenyra's children and Alicent's grandchildren.

If he had declared Rhaenyra as Heir Presumptive and then undone his edict by a second one, yes, he would not seem stupid.Lest we foget, Lord Varys, that Viserys and Jaehaerys before him ascended to the Throne by the principle of agnatic primogeniture, which was also a tradition of millennia for both Andal and First Men law, confirmed by Aegon the Conqueror and further solidified by the Old King. Moreover, let's keep in mind that real-life medieval monarchs could not declare their daughters as successors, no matter if they were elder. In a martial culture, beit either Westeros as the Seven Kingdoms or Westeros under the dragons, women are not fit to rule, for they are unable to deal with the militaristic aspects of ruling. The reason that Viserys kept Rhaenyra his heir after Aegon II's birth caused the Dance, ie Viserys' stupidity  and Rhaenyra's lust for power.

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13 minutes ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

If he had declared Rhaenyra as Heir Presumptive and then undone his edict by a second one, yes, he would not seem stupid.

He couldn't really do that. Nobody would see Rhaenyra as Viserys' heir if he didn't make a real show out of that and had the lords actually swear to defend her rights, etc. A mere decree wouldn't have changed the view of the (irrelevant) majority who followed the male line thing and who would thus have favored Prince Daemon. And once you enter vows into the thing you sort of lose control of the issue. Those lords swearing to defend Rhaenyra's rights, etc. might have not cared about Viserys later changing the succession, right?

The issue here was to prevent a King Daemon.

And as soon as the Velaryon marriage enters the picture it becomes even more difficult to disinherit Rhaenyra. The Rhaenyra-Laenor marriage healed the rift between the younger male branch of the royal house and the senior female branch of Prince Aemon and Princess Rhaenys. Corlys and Rhaenys expected their son Laenor to sit at Queen Rhaenyra's side as prince (or king) consort.

When Otto Hightower returns as Hand in the 120s the Greens really gain power and support but prior to that Viserys could have created an entirely different mess - perhaps even a rebellion during his lifetime - if he had disinherited Rhaenyra (and thus also Laenor). Prior to 119 AC Laena Velaryon controlled the huge dragon Vhagar. Not to mention the fallout of the Aemond affair, etc.

At that point things get really ugly and peace and compromise seem to be impossible. If Rhaenyra hadn't taken Daemon as her second husband, she could have married Aegon the Elder. Or Helaena could have married Jacaerys Velaryon. Or they could have betrothed Jaehaera to one of Rhaenyra's sons, etc.

13 minutes ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

Lest we foget, Lord Varys, that Viserys and Jaehaerys before him ascended to the Throne by the principle of agnatic primogeniture, which was also a tradition of millennia for both Andal and First Men law, confirmed by Aegon the Conqueror and further solidified by the Old King.

There is actually no principle of agnatic primogeniture there. The Targaryens are absolutist rulers. They could (and did) do whatever the hell they liked. They are not responsible to any mundane or spiritual authority, especially not after Maegor and Jaehaerys broke the Faith.

Maegor and Jaehaerys both seized/won the throne in a time of crisis. Technically, the twin girls Aerea and Rhaella had better claims than Jaehaerys if we go by the right of primogeniture - especially if we see Prince Aegon as 'the rightful king', as TSotD tells us. TSotD also makes it clear that Aenys' daughters were all seen as having a claim - some people even thought they had a better claim than Maegor.

The king is above the law. He makes the law, and he is obviously not bound by tradition and precedent. Else Jaehaerys I could have never unified (i.e. changed) the laws of the kingdoms he ruled, nor could he have abolished things like the First Night. There were countless precedents for that one, weren't there, many of them within House Targaryen itself.

If Jaehaerys I can disinherit his granddaughter Rhaenys in favor of his second son - we don't know his rationale for that as of yet - then Viserys I would have been free to do that, too. Which he obviously was. Some people - like Daemon - were disgruntled but the main architect and supporter of Heir Apparent Rhaenyra Targaryen in 105 AC was Ser Otto Hightower, the Hand. He knew what kind of vow he was swearing there, and he knew that the king could have sons in the future, possibly even with his own daughter. He obviously didn't care about the possibility back then, did he? So why should Viserys?

You have to keep in mind that politics and alliances change constantly at such courts. It is a great irony that Daemon - Rhaenyra's greatest rival and enemy in her childhood, the man who wants the throne for himself - ends up as her ally and consort.

13 minutes ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

Moreover, let's keep in mind that real-life medieval monarchs could not declare their daughters as successors, no matter if they were elder. In a martial culture, beit either Westeros as the Seven Kingdoms or Westeros under the dragons, women are not fit to rule, for they are unable to deal with the militaristic aspects of ruling. The reason that Viserys kept Rhaenyra his heir after Aegon II's birth caused the Dance, ie Viserys' stupidity  and Rhaenyra's lust for power.

I guess you go back and get a broader view of history. There were cultures were women could not inherit, but there were also cultures - militaristic cultures, even - were women could rule. A very good example would be the Romanovs - although their rule only began in 1613 Russia essentially remained a medieval society until the 20th century. Yet the first female Czar seized power after the death of Peter the Great (not counting Peter's half-sister Sofia, who had acted as his and his brother Ivan's regent in their minority) and she wasn't even a Romanov herself, but Peter's widow, a peasant turned courtesan who became Peter's second wife.

The Dance is built on the English Anarchy, and just as the Anarchy was a betrayal - King Henry I's barons swearing a vow to defend Matilda's succession and then breaking that vow - the beginning of the Dance is also a betrayal. The very leader of the Green party - Ser Otto Hightower, the Hand who made Aegon II king - was also the one who made Rhaenyra Targaryen Heir Apparent to the Iron Throne and Princess of Dragonstone.

Rhaenyra's lust for power has not all that much to do with that. She never asked her father to make her his heir. But once she was it was her right to rule, certainly also her own wish but - more importantly - also the wish of her royal father. And a dutiful daughter follows the will of her father, no?

The funny thing is that this war could have been averted rather easily. For one, by not bringing Otto back as Hand. Second by arranging some marriages between the two branches of the families that had some chances of success - perhaps Jace-Helaena. But most importantly by keeping Rhaenyra at court and making her Hand instead of Otto. 

Rhaenyra had a temper but she hadn't a cruel streak. When she took the capital she didn't kill either Alicent - which is essentially a miracle considering their history - nor her sister Helaena. That is a very strong sign that her half-brothers would have been executed or anything upon her coronation. The Hightowers would have to go back home to Oldtown, losing all influence at court, yes, but they had not reason to believe they would all be killed.

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Are they absolutist? If they were, Jaehaerys would not have called for a Great Council, Aegon the Conqueror would not have retained the Starks, Arryns, Lannisters, etc. The monarchy was a rather weak one, especially if the Conqueror sought to imitate the past king when it came to delivering justice.

As for agnatic primogeniture, it was practiced in the whole of the realm the Targaryens ruled and they themselves had stuck to it. 

If Viserys wanted to just prevent Daemon from acquiring the Throne, he could just make Rhaenyra Heir Presumptive, until a son was born to him.

 

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1 minute ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

 

If Viserys wanted to just prevent Daemon from acquiring the Throne, he could just make Rhaenyra Heir Presumptive, until a son was born to him.

 

I thought Otto Hightower was the main opposition to "King" Daemon.

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43 minutes ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

Are they absolutist? If they were, Jaehaerys would not have called for a Great Council, Aegon the Conqueror would not have retained the Starks, Arryns, Lannisters, etc. The monarchy was a rather weak one, especially if the Conqueror sought to imitate the past king when it came to delivering justice.

George said they were. Especially the Targaryens with the dragons. The account on Maegor's reign shows how supremely the Targaryens ruled in their glorious days. They didn't even have to raise armies themselves. Maegor just spoke a word, and men took up arms and butchered the members of the Faith Militant. He led some of those armies himself, but not all of them.

Aegon showed mercy and kindness when he accepted the surrender of the Lannisters, Starks, Arryns, etc. But that doesn't mean he did not rule supreme. If the Starks, Lannisters, and Arryns hadn't behaved they could have ended like the Harroways or the Hoares.

Jaehaerys I isn't known as 'the Conciliator' because he didn't like consensus. He chose to hear the opinion of his lords on the matter of the succession to prevent a succession war upon his death - which was a real possibility at that point. But he didn't have to do that. He wasn't even bound by the ruling of the council - it is Jaehaerys I who named Viserys Prince of Dragonstone and Heir Apparent after the council. If Jaehaerys I had favored Laenor he would have named Laenor.

Not to mention, you know, that the lords must have known who Jaehaerys I preferred. After all, he did choose Baelon in 92 AC, and that means he also chose Viserys with him, considering that he was his eldest son and heir.

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As for agnatic primogeniture, it was practiced in the whole of the realm the Targaryens ruled and they themselves had stuck to it.

It was also practiced in Dorne for thousands of years - until it wasn't. And people in medieval contexts were not exactly really informed about their laws and customs. They had no idea how things were done a hundred years ago, let along a thousand years ago.

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If Viserys wanted to just prevent Daemon from acquiring the Throne, he could just make Rhaenyra Heir Presumptive, until a son was born to him.

Sure, but that's not what Otto Hightower and the other people not liking the idea of 'King Daemon' wanted him to do. And a woman as heir presumptive would also have been a bad position in comparison to her dashing uncle Daemon. He was male and an experienced warrior.

To make the lords and people accept Rhaenyra as Viserys' successor he had to make his wishes clear beyond the shadow of a doubt. And that's what they did.

Apparently people were really obsessed with the succession very early in Viserys' reign - which in and of itself is somewhat strange. Did they expect the man would die so soon?

If the issue was so important - and apparently it was - then you settle it permanently and for good. You don't name an heir and then build her (or him) up, groom her/him to rule, and then push her/him aside.

Rhaenyra was ten years older than Aegon and thus actually capable of taking over the government much sooner than Aegon could have - assuming Viserys had died early.

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I think that Viserys I being an idiot is rather clear for many reasons as he managed the impressive feat to set up the Dance of the Dragons for his own heir to fight. It could of course be that he was a real jackass who hate Rhaenyra in secet but he was probably just an idiot.

But Lord Varys is correct in that the kings of Westeros are absolute and thus what the king says, that's how it is. Regardless if he's Jaeahaerys the Old King, Daeron the Good or Viserys I "the idiot" Targaryen.

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And as soon as the Velaryon marriage enters the picture it becomes even more difficult to disinherit Rhaenyra. The Rhaenyra-Laenor marriage healed the rift between the younger male branch of the royal house and the senior female branch of Prince Aemon and Princess Rhaenys. Corlys and Rhaenys expected their son Laenor to sit at Queen Rhaenyra's side as prince (or king) consort.

What we don´t hear is how Rhaenys and Corlys regarded their son´s... interests, and their grandchildren by that son. Which is hugely relevant.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

When Otto Hightower returns as Hand in the 120s the Greens really gain power and support but prior to that Viserys could have created an entirely different mess - perhaps even a rebellion during his lifetime - if he had disinherited Rhaenyra (and thus also Laenor). Prior to 119 AC Laena Velaryon controlled the huge dragon Vhagar. Not to mention the fallout of the Aemond affair, etc.

At that point things get really ugly and peace and compromise seem to be impossible. If Rhaenyra hadn't taken Daemon as her second husband, she could have married Aegon the Elder. Or Helaena could have married Jacaerys Velaryon.

Helaena/Jacaerys was a sensible compromise even after the Aemond affair.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Rhaenyra's lust for power has not all that much to do with that. She never asked her father to make her his heir. But once she was it was her right to rule, certainly also her own wish but - more importantly - also the wish of her royal father. And a dutiful daughter follows the will of her father, no?

The funny thing is that this war could have been averted rather easily. For one, by not bringing Otto back as Hand. Second by arranging some marriages between the two branches of the families that had some chances of success - perhaps Jace-Helaena. But most importantly by keeping Rhaenyra at court and making her Hand instead of Otto. 

Rhaenyra had a temper but she hadn't a cruel streak. When she took the capital she didn't kill either Alicent - which is essentially a miracle considering their history - nor her sister Helaena. That is a very strong sign that her half-brothers would have been executed or anything upon her coronation. The Hightowers would have to go back home to Oldtown, losing all influence at court, yes, but they had not reason to believe they would all be killed.

And the named objection is that bringing Rhaenyra to court might have led to friction with Alicent´s sons!

Some time later, Daeron was sent to Oldtown as a ward anyway.

The logical response to Aemond affair would have been to send Aegon and Aemond away from court but keep Helaena and Daeron. And bring Rhaenyra and her children to court.

Making it clear to Alicent - the meek may not quite inherit the earth, but they will be taken care of, not trod over. Behave, like Helaena and Daeron, and Helaena would get to be Queen and mother of kings.

 

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On 11/9/2017 at 11:44 PM, Lord Varys said:

Women are not fit to rule, everybody knows that. But due to the fact that he was without a son his brother Daemon - who neither nor pretty much anyone in Westeros wanted to see on the Iron Throne - was his presumptive heir.

I know you're just saying this for context, but the previous century of the Targaryen dynasty - Rhaenys, Visenya, Alyssa, Rhaena, Alysanne, & Rhaenys - evidence o/w. (Not to mention, at least Daenys & Elaena on Dragonstone during the Century of Blood, plus Valaena who is not unlikely to have been a major influence on her daughters) Not just in terms of succession, the Dance & the death of the dragons definitely had a massive impact on the future ladies of House Targaryen (hell, straight away beginning with Baela & Rhaena), their (sometimes) role as co-ruling dragonriders (besides, unfortunately, Alyssa it seems) reduced to that of traditional Westerosi consorts (besides the incest where applicable),

Whilst it only began after Aemma's death, Viserys did not intend for Rhaenyra to be a mere placeholder heir against Daemon whilst still he was still widowed & after Alicent had Aegon, in having her gain early exposure to ruling as his cupbearer in council meetings. 

On 11/9/2017 at 11:44 PM, Lord Varys said:

The reasons that led to Viserys I taking the throne in the first place made it very difficult to make Rhaenyra the heir. But when Daemon actually mocked the king's son Baelon who died after a day - along with the queen herself - Viserys couldn't take it anymore and made Rhaenyra his heir - the daughter he loved but wouldn't have named his heir had his brother not vexed him so much.

I don't blame him at all for that. If anything, he should've been (far) harder on Daemon. Harwin Strong, the son & heir of Viserys' own Master of Laws, was probably gold cloaks captain who ratted on Daemon & whether or not (I doubt it was "the whore sitting in Daemon's lap" who did as that was most likely Mysaria, imo), Gyldayn treats Daemon's comments as fact, nor merely a rumour. What I do blame him for was remarrying whilst still retaining Rhaenyra as heir after he had sons - that was never going to work, especially with how he came to the throne. More heirs would help to keep Daemon further away from the Iron Throne, but House Targaryen was not going to fail even if his did (I wonder if he would've considered making Laenor his heir over Daemon in an AU where he doesn't remarry, Rhaenyra dies young, & he is dying or something). It's a (very) tough gig with someone like Daemon as a brother, but either Viserys should've never remarried or named Aegon the Prince of Dragonstone in his infancy/youth. Keeping Rhaenyra as his heir & having three half-Hightower sons (all dragonriders) after remarrying, along with a myriad of other stupidities throughout the rest of his reign, was the very height of short-sighted arrogance. He had his fucking head buried in the sand about the civil war that would occur after his death.

On 11/9/2017 at 11:44 PM, Lord Varys said:

Alicent's children were never seen as anything but spares.

By Viserys & the Blacks (well, not even that really wrt Rhaenyra & many of her court). Not by the Hightowers & the Greens. Not by many in the wider realm. The Blacks almost certainly gained more support during the Dance from things (if perhaps in sum) like their greater number of dragons, their outstanding commanders, & the support of Driftmark; than 25-year-old oaths Viserys had lords (or their fathers, etc) swear to Rhaenyra before her brothers were ever born (& not renewed afterwards). And then there would've been some number who didn't support her because of the obvious bastardy of her sons &/or Daemon being her husband & consort.

On 11/9/2017 at 11:44 PM, Lord Varys said:

And Viserys I needed spares in case Rhaenyra herself (perhaps in childbirth, like her mother?)

Aemma's problem was very likely at least in part due to Jaehaerys, Baelon, &/or Viserys insisting that he impregnate her when she wasn't/barely a teen. Probably Baelon imo - Viserys seemingly never had a dragon before Balerion & certainly had no desire to claim one after the Black Dread's death, despite all the positives it could've done for him. So, why the hell did he bond with Balerion in the first place? Whether the dragon had previously been Aemon's or not, I believe Baelon pressured Viserys to claim Balerion (& far too prematurely rape his cousin) in an effort to further consolidate his position as his father's heir. In fact, I'll be surprised if Aemma being married to Viserys at 10 or 11 didn't contribute to the Second Quarrel.

On 11/9/2017 at 11:44 PM, Lord Varys said:

Daemon himself was stuck in a childless marriage and if Rhaenyra had turned out to be barren or had not been able to produce living children the future of House Targaryen would have looked worse than it did at the end of Maegor's rule - or at the beginning of the Conqueror's reign.

Viserys refused to allow Daemon to end his marriage to Rhea, neither of them wanted it. Perhaps he didn't to honour his (grand)father for making it, but still. If Daemon became king, he would've ended it. If Rhaenyra became Queen, it's not unlikely he would've successfully had his wife put aside (perhaps even as his niece's Regent). Viserys bears some of the blame for not being an uncle for many years. The succession wasn't as bad at the end of Maegor's reign as it was at the beginning of his father's - Jaehaerys had two sisters & two nieces (the former two with their own dragons). It was even better early in the reign of Viserys - Rhaenyra, Daemon, Laenor, & Laena (all dragonriders & young, although Rhaenys should still have been before her son, imo). And that just before Aegon, Aemond, Daeron, & Helaena were even born. If the Targaryen dynasty was not a dracocracy, then the lesser claimants of 101AC would've been in the succession afterwards too (some perhaps able to claim a dragon if they had the chance anyway).

On 11/9/2017 at 11:44 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Dance wasn't inevitable. They could have found some sort of compromise. They could have arranged marriages between Rhaenyra's children and Alicent's grandchildren.

No way. Not with bloody Viserys at the helm, Rhaenyra & Aegon so outrageously entitled & enabled by Viserys/Daemon & Alicent/Otto respectively (of course, naturally tbf), the ambitions of the Hightowers (boo) & Velaryons (yay), & especially Daemon & Cole around. Jaehaera is the only (grandchild) princess on the side of the Greens & far too young for Jace. Helaena-Jace does sfa for the Greens with three dragonriding princes that have a superior claim to his mother, let alone him (obviously a bastard, despite his parents claiming o/w). Or for the Blacks for the same reason of Aegon, Aemond, & Daeron still being massive threats (as well as in the case of Jace-Jaehaera, of course). Matching Daemon's daughters with her half-brothers does nothing for Rhaenyra, only making them hostages & future brood mares for the Greens. I don't think it would've worked anyway, but there's simply far too many sons on both sides, far too few daughters, & large age gaps in some scenarios.

On 11/10/2017 at 4:37 AM, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

In a martial culture, be it either Westeros as the Seven Kingdoms or Westeros under the dragons, women are not fit to rule, for they are unable to deal with the militaristic aspects of ruling.

Tell that to Visenya & Rhaenys: conquerors & dragonriders, the former a highly-skilled warrior in her own right & who created the Kingsguard). And Alyssa, Rhaena, & Alysanne: all brilliant politicians, highly respected figures, & the latter two dragonriders. And the Queen Who Never Always Was (see above, & indeed not only her deeds during the Dance, but already with experience riding Meleys in battle in the War for the Stepstones - link & link, note the plurals - perhaps also with her father in 92AC).

On 11/10/2017 at 5:35 AM, Lord Varys said:

When Otto Hightower returns as Hand in the 120s the Greens really gain power and support but prior to that Viserys could have created an entirely different mess - perhaps even a rebellion during his lifetime - if he had disinherited Rhaenyra (and thus also Laenor).

This is really only a problem by such late timing & complete inaction. Aegon was 7 when Rhaenyra was wed to Laenor. After going through with marrying Alicent, their first son should've been named Prince of Dragonstone by the time their second son was born, at the very latest. Or you know, just married Laena (even if he waited a couple of years before trying for sons with her) in the first place, instead of thinking with his dick (possibly already having an affair with Alicent whilst Aemma was still alive). Although Gyldayn says o/w, I think Viserys may have even been influenced by Otto & Runciter to take Alicent as his wife, especially if he had already slept with her. It fits with what we know about the king & his Hand.

On 11/10/2017 at 5:35 AM, Lord Varys said:

If Rhaenyra hadn't taken Daemon as her second husband, she could have married Aegon the Elder.

Even if Rhaenyra only ever marries Aegon, not Laenor or Daemon, there would always be some form of power struggle. It may not lead to war, but it would not pretty at all. And Daemon & the Velaryons are left on the outer. If the Rogue Prince marries Laena & they have son/s, that's a big problem. Even if they still only have daughters, that's still some kind of threat which could only be negated if one (or more) was married to a son(s) of Rhaenyra & Aegon. In your scenario, Rhaenyra's "sons" by Laenor are still ahead in the succession to any children of the princess & her half-brother - unless forced by Viserys, this match wouldn't even lead to a wedding. And after the king's death, the dynasty is still bitterly divided. And would Rhaenyra even have trueborn kids with Aegon? Imagine the shitfight that could (& likely would) happen still in Viserys's reign if Rhaenyra was caught out cheating (which the Greens would be militant about). Most likely still with Daemon. Seven hells.

Mayhaps I'm off with the definition, but the dragonriding Targaryen kings (the later ones certainly weren't, @LionoftheWest, Daeron II especially) were not 100% absolute monarchs. Aegon's concessions, Aenys & Maegor's utter multitude of dynasty-threatening problems, & Jaehaerys I's legalistics very much suggest o/w, imo.

On 11/10/2017 at 5:35 AM, Lord Varys said:

Technically, the twin girls Aerea and Rhaella had better claims than Jaehaerys if we go by the right of primogeniture - especially if we see Prince Aegon as 'the rightful king', as TSotD tells us. TSotD also makes it clear that Aenys' daughters were all seen as having a claim - some people even thought they had a better claim than Maegor.

That they did, but in the eyes of many of their vassals, perhaps only by lordly inheritance, not (normal) royal succession. There's more than 160 named kings of the old Seven Kingdoms, save Dorne, & only 1 known successful Queen Regnant of the same - an unnamed Gardener. And we don't even know for certain if she was successful - not overthrown, or killed, or whatever. IIRC, there's none known for non-Dornish petty kingdoms. Seems to me like the First Men really did not like having ruling queens: that disparity, the Joffrey Lydden situation, & the more recent examples during & after Cregan's rule with the Starks (not to mention, George has outright said that there's never been a Queen or Lady of Winterfell in her own right). Either the Andals practiced the same, or did soon enough to better assimilate with their new First Men vassals. As much as I completely believe that the Old King made the wrong choice in passing over Rhaenys for Baelon & Viserys, I absolutely understand why he did with such ancient, continuous, & clear-cut precedents. And of course, coming to the throne himself over his nieces.

On 11/10/2017 at 5:35 AM, Lord Varys said:

The funny thing is that this war could have been averted rather easily. For one, by not bringing Otto back as Hand. Second by arranging some marriages between the two branches of the families that had some chances of success - perhaps Jace-Helaena. But most importantly by keeping Rhaenyra at court and making her Hand instead of Otto.

Keeping Otto the fuck away & Rhaenyra at court (particularly if on the Small Council) would've helped to some (small) degree, but it still doesn't address anywhere near all of the Hightower influence on the matter & most importantly, her three dragonriding brothers (or all the Blacks supporting Rhaenyra when they rebel). Some form of the Dance is still inevitable in this case.

On 11/10/2017 at 5:35 AM, Lord Varys said:

Rhaenyra had a temper but she hadn't a cruel streak. When she took the capital she didn't kill either Alicent - which is essentially a miracle considering their history - nor her sister Helaena. That is a very strong sign that her half-brothers would have been executed or anything upon her coronation. The Hightowers would have to go back home to Oldtown, losing all influence at court, yes, but they had not reason to believe they would all be killed.

What?! Martin outright says that "she was quick to anger & never forgot a slight" & a number of times in the text it's made abundantly clear how cruel Rhaenyra was at times:

  • She blatantly had an affair with Breakbones & upheld their three bastards as trueborn Velaryons. The system & her father are fucked for making her marry Laenor (his attitude being the problem, not his sexuality), but she still made the choices she did. And it's not even like she was being physically & sexually abused by Laenor like Cersei was by Robert. I don't need to note the sheer number of problems this caused.
  • She basically said that 10-year-old wounded Aemond should be tortured (at least, if he didn't answer solely spoken questions first) - with herself not unlikely bearing some responsibility for Luke taking out his eye, letting a fucking 5-year-old carry a dagger - to find out where he got the "Strongs" remark from.
  • She had Daemon murder Vaemond (whilst there's argument she had the right for him to be arrested with Driftmark sworn to Dragonstone, killing him without trial or anything is not lawful) & fed his corpse to Syrax. At the very least, that's incredibly cruel to Vaemond, his family, brothers, & nephews.
  • I'm biased as fuck with this one, but she (if only in hindsight) condemned Rhaenys to death by not allowing her sons to join her at Rook's Rest (or even calling Daemon back from Harrenhal for a bit to help instead).
  • She had an exceedingly lavish & expensive party when she made Joff the Prince of Dragonstone, with winter very near & the war really straining the capital & wider realm financially & with food stores. Frankly, that's cruel.
  • Biased again, but painting Addam & Nettles with the same brush as the Two Betrayers for them simply being bastards. In what may have partially come about by Daemon's outrageous suggestion to remove (i.e. kill) the Baratheons & Lannisters, replacing them with Ulf & Hugh respectively (the Sea Snake specifically said this would be cruel & foment mass rebellion, no less). Arresting her father in law for saving his LOYAL "grandson" from being executed on a false charge. Like Aerys II with Jon Arryn, demanding the Mootons fucking break guest right to eliminate Nettles.

I do admit it's weird that Rhaenyra did not have Alicent executed, but that could've also been a gender thing &/or political advice. But really, she could still be & was a hostage. Helaena was utterly broken from the Blood & Cheese affair, which Rhaenyra did not condemn (this would absolutely be cruel itself, but she could've thrown Mysaria under the bus). She was very much a non-threat, a potential hostage, & her survival ensured that an actual threat couldn't claim Dreamfyre (if their dragon died, say). Or Rhaenyra simply just wasn't cruel in this case. But IIRC, she says at least twice that her half-brothers have to die during the Dance. In the result of a peaceful transition of power after her father's death & being crowned unopposed (heh, rightio), how does she deal with two belligerent, ambitious, & petulant dragonriding brothers & a third who'd more likely than not follow them (if reluctantly) into rebellion? Actually moving away from my "Rhaenyra is cruel" argument, I think she would have to have them killed anyway.

On 11/10/2017 at 10:19 AM, Lord Varys said:

Apparently people were really obsessed with the succession very early in Viserys' reign - which in and of itself is somewhat strange. Did they expect the man would die so soon?

Well, Aenys was very clearly Aegon I's heir. There was speculation as to his in turn for a couple of years until Aegon 1.5 was born after Rhaena. The succession was all over the shop during Maegor's reign. Jaehaerys named each eldest surviving son in turn (although I do wonder who his heir was before Aegon was born, if one was named at all) & (by his wish) after the GC of 101, Viserys. Most people want a clear inheritance, especially a royal one. Meanwhile, Viserys was refusing to name obvious (but disdained by no few) candidate Daemon & after Aemma's death, took the unprecedented step of naming his daughter as his heir. There were also the whatever months where he was widowed, with speculation & discussion as to who he would take as a new wife.

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On 10.11.2017 at 7:04 AM, Jaak said:

What we don´t hear is how Rhaenys and Corlys regarded their son´s... interests, and their grandchildren by that son. Which is hugely relevant.

We have no reason to believe that Corlys and Rhaenys did not consider the sons Laenor acknowledged as his sons their grandsons. It is later Jacaerys Velaryon who makes his grandfather Lord Corlys the Hand of the Queen. They got along pretty well. And later still Jace is crucial in legitimizing Addam and Alyn of Hull.

If you have a homosexual son you can't expect that son to father any issue. Especially not a son who made it as clear as Laenor that he would not share the bed with Rhaenyra. He didn't even live with her on Dragonstone. If Rhaenys and Corlys had cared about 'biological grandsons' they should have forced their wastrel son to actually share the bed with his wife. Which they could have done - or at least tried to do.

The people who had issue with the succession of Laenor's sons to Driftmark were Corlys' nephew Vaemond Velaryon and his family. And that only became an issue because Laenor predeceased Corlys. If Laenor had succeeded to the lordship of Driftmark during the reign of Viserys I no one would have questioned the right of his sons to Driftmark.

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Helaena/Jacaerys was a sensible compromise even after the Aemond affair.

Perhaps. I'm not sure if it would have helped all that much unless the Hightowers really had given up their claim. Alicent's grandchildren by Jace-Helaena could then one day sit the throne. That should have been enough but I'm not sure it was.

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And the named objection is that bringing Rhaenyra to court might have led to friction with Alicent´s sons!

Some time later, Daeron was sent to Oldtown as a ward anyway.

The logical response to Aemond affair would have been to send Aegon and Aemond away from court but keep Helaena and Daeron. And bring Rhaenyra and her children to court.

Sure, it could also have worked to have Rhaenyra's sons stay on Dragonstone while she and Daemon live at court. Or, as you say, sent Alicent's sons as wards to Black families - to Lady Jeyne and the Velaryons, say.

On 11.11.2017 at 5:27 PM, Lord Corlys Velaryon said:

Whilst it only began after Aemma's death, Viserys did not intend for Rhaenyra to be a mere placeholder heir against Daemon whilst still he was still widowed & after Alicent had Aegon, in having her gain early exposure to ruling as his cupbearer in council meetings. 

My point there was just that Viserys I wasn't exactly the kind of guy who wanted his daughter to succeed. He favored Daemon more than Rhaenyra prior to the 'heir for a day' line. Rhaenyra was his only child and he and Aemma dearly loved her, but she wasn't his chosen heir or successor. She was just the only child he had and thus he doted on her. In and of itself the whole cup bearer and page thing doesn't mean all that much.

It was seen as a sign of royal favor, sure, but it may have actually been nothing more than the way Viserys chose to spend as much time with his daughter as he could.

Until 105 AC Viserys' presumptive heir is Daemon. He refused to name him Prince of Dragonstone - presumably because that's the title for the Heir Apparent, not the heir presumptive, and Viserys hoped to have (a) son(s) of his own body by Aemma.

People usually overlook that when they read TRP. But it is there.

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I don't blame him at all for that. If anything, he should've been (far) harder on Daemon. Harwin Strong, the son & heir of Viserys' own Master of Laws, was probably gold cloaks captain who ratted on Daemon & whether or not (I doubt it was "the whore sitting in Daemon's lap" who did as that was most likely Mysaria, imo), Gyldayn treats Daemon's comments as fact, nor merely a rumour.

We have no real confirmation of the informarer there, nor, in fact, that Daemon actually spoke that evil line. It fits with his character but since we have neither a source and at best speculation as to who was the informer this is far from clear.

The idea that the whole Daemon may have entertained there might have been Mysaria is completely unsupported. There is no reason to believe Daemon was ever faithful to that woman.

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What I do blame him for was remarrying whilst still retaining Rhaenyra as heir after he had sons - that was never going to work, especially with how he came to the throne. More heirs would help to keep Daemon further away from the Iron Throne, but House Targaryen was not going to fail even if his did (I wonder if he would've considered making Laenor his heir over Daemon in an AU where he doesn't remarry, Rhaenyra dies young, & he is dying or something). It's a (very) tough gig with someone like Daemon as a brother, but either Viserys should've never remarried or named Aegon the Prince of Dragonstone in his infancy/youth. Keeping Rhaenyra as his heir & having three half-Hightower sons (all dragonriders) after remarrying, along with a myriad of other stupidities throughout the rest of his reign, was the very height of short-sighted arrogance. He had his fucking head buried in the sand about the civil war that would occur after his death.

The fact that those were Hightowers and dragonriders was pretty irrelevant, actually. The Velaryons also had Vhagar with Laena and they did - nothing. Viserys I himself was a dragonless king yet nobody ever rebelled against him - neither some troublesome lords nor any of the dragonriders in his extended family.

And, of course, Viserys apparently couldn't imagine that Alicent and Otto would betray him the way they did. Nor could he imagine that his children and other kin hated each other so much that they would kill each other the way they did. Very few fathers can imagine that kind of thing.

He and the Velaryons could settle their disputes peacefully. Why on earth should he think his children couldn't do the same?

By the way - if things had turned out the way they did Daemon could have set himself into the ultimate pole position in the succession issues if he ended up marrying Laena the way he did. If Laena had lived then Daemon and Laena would have been their own faction at the time of Viserys' death - especially if Laena had given Daemon at least one son. 

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By Viserys & the Blacks (well, not even that really wrt Rhaenyra & many of her court). Not by the Hightowers & the Greens. Not by many in the wider realm. The Blacks almost certainly gained more support during the Dance from things (if perhaps in sum) like their greater number of dragons, their outstanding commanders, & the support of Driftmark; than 25-year-old oaths Viserys had lords (or their fathers, etc) swear to Rhaenyra before her brothers were ever born (& not renewed afterwards). And then there would've been some number who didn't support her because of the obvious bastardy of her sons &/or Daemon being her husband & consort.

Nobody saw Aegon the Elder as the heir of Viserys I because Viserys I had made it damned clear who the hell his heir was. This is a medieval setting. Power is where people believe it is. People are not loyal to institutions and states but to people. Viserys had made it clear that Rhaenyra was his heir. She was given special treatment ... Aegon was kept in the shadows, away from power. He whored himself to KL and ate a lot, but that was it. And Aemond and Daeron were younger sons.

The fact that the Alicent, Otto, the Kingsguard, and the Small Council have to arrange the coup while none of the Green dragonriders plays any role in that at all shows how powerless and irrelevant Alicent's children were until the moment their royal father died.

Once Otto has imprisoned half or more of the court and staged Aegon's public coronation the idea of a King Aegon II begins to sound really interesting in some ears. But even then the Greens get far less support than they hoped for - no Ironborn, only have the Reach, no Stormlords until victory seems certain, etc. Even most of the Crownlanders stand with Rhaenyra.

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Aemma's problem was very likely at least in part due to Jaehaerys, Baelon, &/or Viserys insisting that he impregnate her when she wasn't/barely a teen. Probably Baelon imo - Viserys seemingly never had a dragon before Balerion & certainly had no desire to claim one after the Black Dread's death, despite all the positives it could've done for him. So, why the hell did he bond with Balerion in the first place? Whether the dragon had previously been Aemon's or not, I believe Baelon pressured Viserys to claim Balerion (& far too prematurely rape his cousin) in an effort to further consolidate his position as his father's heir. In fact, I'll be surprised if Aemma being married to Viserys at 10 or 11 didn't contribute to the Second Quarrel.

That sounds like a lot of speculation to me. Speculation we have no evidence for. I'm not even sure we can go with this 93 AC date for the Viserys-Aemma marriage. All we have is this casual remark that Viserys and Aemma had been married for a decade by the time he became king. But we don't know whether this is supposed to be precisely a decade.

Aemma isn't alone with her pregnancy issues. Laena dies in childbirth, too. Rhaenyra nearly dies in childbirth, Naerys and Rhaella have similar issues, etc.

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Viserys refused to allow Daemon to end his marriage to Rhea, neither of them wanted it. Perhaps he didn't to honour his (grand)father for making it, but still. If Daemon became king, he would've ended it.

Sure, one assumes he would have done that. But that doesn't mean Daemon would have gotten a male heir of his own body, right. Rhea couldn't give him children, Mysaria couldn't, and Laena only gave him girls. He had to wait for Rhaenyra to get a son. There is no guarantee that a Daemon in his forties, say, would have been able to get himself a legitimate son easily.

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If Rhaenyra became Queen, it's not unlikely he would've successfully had his wife put aside (perhaps even as his niece's Regent). Viserys bears some of the blame for not being an uncle for many years. The succession wasn't as bad at the end of Maegor's reign as it was at the beginning of his father's - Jaehaerys had two sisters & two nieces (the former two with their own dragons). It was even better early in the reign of Viserys - Rhaenyra, Daemon, Laenor, & Laena (all dragonriders & young, although Rhaenys should still have been before her son, imo). And that just before Aegon, Aemond, Daeron, & Helaena were even born. If the Targaryen dynasty was not a dracocracy, then the lesser claimants of 101AC would've been in the succession afterwards too (some perhaps able to claim a dragon if they had the chance anyway).

Viserys didn't exactly like his Arryn wife, either. But he made good use of her. Daemon should have done the same with Rhea. The man was just unwilling to have sex with the woman, just as Laenor was with Rhaenyra.

If Maegor had extinguished the Targaryens in the male line they would have been finished. I don't doubt that Alyssa, Rhaena, and Alysanne would have tried - but they weren't Rhaenys and Visenya, and (as far as we know) neither of them ever rode either Vhagar or Balerion.

The Realm would have fractured again. In fact, it is pretty clear that Maegor wouldn't have gone the way he died - assuming he would have died at all in that scenario - if Jaehaerys hadn't challenged him the way he did.

A woman/girl is never going to rally an army to her side against a man like Maegor. Not in this patriarchal world.

In 103 AC House Targaryen seems down to two male lines - Viserys himself and Daemon, and neither is likely to produce any male heirs. Laenor Velaryon counts as a third branch, but only theory, since he is also not going to produce any heirs of his own body.

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No way. Not with bloody Viserys at the helm, Rhaenyra & Aegon so outrageously entitled & enabled by Viserys/Daemon & Alicent/Otto respectively (of course, naturally tbf), the ambitions of the Hightowers (boo) & Velaryons (yay), & especially Daemon & Cole around. Jaehaera is the only (grandchild) princess on the side of the Greens & far too young for Jace. Helaena-Jace does sfa for the Greens with three dragonriding princes that have a superior claim to his mother, let alone him (obviously a bastard, despite his parents claiming o/w). Or for the Blacks for the same reason of Aegon, Aemond, & Daeron still being massive threats (as well as in the case of Jace-Jaehaera, of course). Matching Daemon's daughters with her half-brothers does nothing for Rhaenyra, only making them hostages & future brood mares for the Greens. I don't think it would've worked anyway, but there's simply far too many sons on both sides, far too few daughters, & large age gaps in some scenarios.

So what? They could have ignored those age gaps to make a peace. Rhaenyra herself could have married Aegon or Aemond after the death of Laenor, you know. To get those blasted Hightowers under control.

The way for Aegon II to end (and survive) the Dance - and preserve a semblance of real dragon power for his family - would also have been to offer Rhaenyra a marriage in 130 AC when she came to Dragonstone. That would have stopped the fighting immediately. They could have ruled jointly, and named Aegon the Younger and Jaehaera their joint heirs, just as Aegon was later forced to do. That way the Realm would have been spared that dreadful regency mess, not to mention the loss of the last dragons. Not to mention that they could have produced some children together.

And they sure as hell could have arranged matches between grandchildren. Little Maelor could have been married to a daughter of Jace and Baela, say, assuming they had children in the very near future

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This is really only a problem by such late timing & complete inaction. Aegon was 7 when Rhaenyra was wed to Laenor. After going through with marrying Alicent, their first son should've been named Prince of Dragonstone by the time their second son was born, at the very latest. Or you know, just married Laena (even if he waited a couple of years before trying for sons with her) in the first place, instead of thinking with his dick (possibly already having an affair with Alicent whilst Aemma was still alive). Although Gyldayn says o/w, I think Viserys may have even been influenced by Otto & Runciter to take Alicent as his wife, especially if he had already slept with her. It fits with what we know about the king & his Hand.

Laena would have been another child bride - one who couldn't give her husband sons, either. If Rhaenyra had some half-sisters by Laena the succession mess would still remain the same.

It sounds like it was really Viserys' decision to marry Alicent. Otto certainly would have supported him in this, but I doubt the man allowed him to be pressured in such a decision. It is quite clear that he made up his own mind in that whole thing - and he followed his heart in the whole thing. And who knows? Perhaps Viserys and Alicent only began their affair after Rhaenyra had been named heir. It is not that this is impossible. It may be just a rumor that the affair had begun while Aemma was still alive - in that case it would be indeed be utter stupidity that Alicent and Otto would suggest to Viserys to make Rhaenyra his heir when the man was already free to marry Alicent.

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Even if Rhaenyra only ever marries Aegon, not Laenor or Daemon, there would always be some form of power struggle. It may not lead to war, but it would not pretty at all. And Daemon & the Velaryons are left on the outer. If the Rogue Prince marries Laena & they have son/s, that's a big problem. Even if they still only have daughters, that's still some kind of threat which could only be negated if one (or more) was married to a son(s) of Rhaenyra & Aegon. In your scenario, Rhaenyra's "sons" by Laenor are still ahead in the succession to any children of the princess & her half-brother - unless forced by Viserys, this match wouldn't even lead to a wedding. And after the king's death, the dynasty is still bitterly divided. And would Rhaenyra even have trueborn kids with Aegon? Imagine the shitfight that could (& likely would) happen still in Viserys's reign if Rhaenyra was caught out cheating (which the Greens would be militant about). Most likely still with Daemon. Seven hells.

If the sixteen-year old Rhaenyra had married the six-year-old Aegon there wouldn't have been a power struggle. The boy would have done what his elder sister told him to do. Or he would go to bed without supper.

There are quite a few sibling couples who really didn't get along - Aegon-Visenya, Aegon-Naerys, Aerys-Rhaella - but that doesn't mean there was a power struggle in there. Sure, Aegon could have tried to seize power, but would he have succeeded if Rhaenyra had been the unquestioned heir throughout their father's entire reign?

Would many people feel compelled to support a man in his squabble with his sister-wife, especially if they also had children with each other? It is not that Aegon would have necessarily been powerless at Rhaenyra's side. Daemon once wanted to be king in his own right, too. In the end he was quite happy with being prince consort. Why shouldn't Aegon be able to settle on the same thing?

Especially in light of the fact that he was really not all that interested in that ruling thing. Sure, he never liked 'the whore'. But that isn't the same as him wanting to be king his entire life.

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Mayhaps I'm off with the definition, but the dragonriding Targaryen kings (the later ones certainly weren't, @LionoftheWest, Daeron II especially) were not 100% absolute monarchs. Aegon's concessions, Aenys & Maegor's utter multitude of dynasty-threatening problems, & Jaehaerys I's legalistics very much suggest o/w, imo.

George recently came around and said that the Targaryens established an absolutist monarchy until things began to break down in Robert's Rebellion. Even without the dragons - whose loss certainly was a loss in power - it took a sneeze (death of Jaehaerys II), a madman (Aerys II), and a lovesick prince (Rhaegar) to bring them down - and they still had to lose a war to go away.

Robert is clearly no longer an absolutist king. But Aerys II still was - and there are countless hints that Targaryen power (and especially Aerys' power) far exceeded anything Robert could do. Just look how the Tywin and the Lannisters treat Robert and how they were in awe of Aerys and Rhaegar. Or think for a moment and ask yourself whether anyone would have treated Stannis Targaryen the way the Stormlords, etc. treated Stannis Baratheon.

The Targaryen power goes unquestioned. They are special in a sense the new royal dynasty isn't. You see that very strongly in the Dunk & Egg stories where the great noble houses are clearly in a completely different league than the Targaryens.

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That they did, but in the eyes of many of their vassals, perhaps only by lordly inheritance, not (normal) royal succession. There's more than 160 named kings of the old Seven Kingdoms, save Dorne, & only 1 known successful Queen Regnant of the same - an unnamed Gardener. And we don't even know for certain if she was successful - not overthrown, or killed, or whatever. IIRC, there's none known for non-Dornish petty kingdoms. Seems to me like the First Men really did not like having ruling queens: that disparity, the Joffrey Lydden situation, & the more recent examples during & after Cregan's rule with the Starks (not to mention, George has outright said that there's never been a Queen or Lady of Winterfell in her own right). Either the Andals practiced the same, or did soon enough to better assimilate with their new First Men vassals. As much as I completely believe that the Old King made the wrong choice in passing over Rhaenys for Baelon & Viserys, I absolutely understand why he did with such ancient, continuous, & clear-cut precedents. And of course, coming to the throne himself over his nieces.

From what we know the people were thinking and talking about the royal succession when they compared Rhaena/Alysanne's claim to Maegor's.

But again, that is a technicality. Jaehaerys I and Maegor the Cruel both didn't take the throne in peaceful times. They had pretty good claims but the crucial part in their biographies is that they both essentially seized an empty throne after they had declared themselves kings (Maegor on Dragonstone, Jaehaerys at Storm's End).

As to the historical stuff:

Bran's vision in his last chapter shows that in the very ancient days women - especially Stark women - may have wielded more than a little bit of power. It is quite clear that the arrival of the Andals - as well as the gradual transformation of the various First Men cultures into the modern Seven Kingdoms/North resulted in quite a few social changes. After all, back around the time the Wall was built the First Men north and south of the Wall should have had very similar customs. And women can play important roles among the wildlings - both beyond the Wall and in the Mountains of the Moon - till this day.

In that sense it would not surprise me at all if the true rulers of Winterfell during before the Long Night and during the War of the Dawn - and for quite some time thereafter - may have been women. Even if they they technically never ruled as kings or lords.

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Keeping Otto the fuck away & Rhaenyra at court (particularly if on the Small Council) would've helped to some (small) degree, but it still doesn't address anywhere near all of the Hightower influence on the matter & most importantly, her three dragonriding brothers (or all the Blacks supporting Rhaenyra when they rebel). Some form of the Dance is still inevitable in this case.

The crucial bit here was the successful coup. Otto Hightower is essentially in a very similar position as Eddard Stark is in AGoT. Otto can do what Ned can't because Cersei is in the castle, unlike Rhaenyra who is far away on Dragonstone. Just assume for a moment that the Small Council had betrayed Otto/Alicent the way they did betray/abandon Ned in AGoT.

Then Rhaenyra would have been informed, Daemon, her sons, and the Velaryons would have come with their dragons in a day, and Rhaenyra would have been crowned within the usual fortnight - as soon as she could take a ship to KL. Alicent, Otto, Aegon, Helaena, and Aemond would have been imprisoned and separated from their dragons (or dead).

People need the feeling that they are in the right - and that they can win - to begin a war. And it was Aegon II's coronation that gave them that feeling. They were still morons, of course, considering the number of dragons Rhaenyra controlled - or might be able to control in the near future.

The Lannisters wouldn't have lifted a finger against Rhaenyra in such a scenario, just as the Baratheons would have kept quiet. The Hightowers may have caused some trouble, but the other Reach lords would have taken care of them.

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She blatantly had an affair with Breakbones & upheld their three bastards as trueborn Velaryons. The system & her father are fucked for making her marry Laenor (his attitude being the problem, not his sexuality), but she still made the choices she did. And it's not even like she was being physically & sexually abused by Laenor like Cersei was by Robert. I don't need to note the sheer number of problems this caused.

There is no issue with that whatsoever. Those sons were Laenor Velaryon's acknowledged sons. If he had no issue with how they looked why should anyone else? And you can be pretty sure that Viserys I also know who - most likely - the real father of the boys was. He was the one who forced Rhaenyra to marry gay Laenor in the first place. But Rhaenyra didn't marry Laenor so that he could impregnate her. She married him for reasons of state - to reunite the Velaryons and the Targaryens. And she accomplished that. Pretty much anyone knowing Laenor must have known that the man wouldn't be the biological father of any children Rhaenyra and he might have.

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  • She basically said that 10-year-old wounded Aemond should be tortured (at least, if he didn't answer solely spoken questions first) - with herself not unlikely bearing some responsibility for Luke taking out his eye, letting a fucking 5-year-old carry a dagger - to find out where he got the "Strongs" remark from.

Aemond spoke treason. She didn't demand his death - she wanted to know who taught the boy that treason. It is not surprising that royal princes should carry daggers at this age - especially if they were growing as 'strong' as those three boys apparently did.

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  • She had Daemon murder Vaemond (whilst there's argument she had the right for him to be arrested with Driftmark sworn to Dragonstone, killing him without trial or anything is not lawful) & fed his corpse to Syrax. At the very least, that's incredibly cruel to Vaemond, his family, brothers, & nephews.

This is the kind of crime you don't need a trial for. If you accuse your own liege lord - and the future queen at that - of adultery and fornication you do that at your own peril. What do you think Rhaenyra should have done? She would have presided over any trial the Vaemond fellow would have gotten. And it is quite clear that her royal father would have done something similar - just as he did later on with Vaemond's family.

You have to look at the context here. Vaemond was trying to make a power grab here. He used Corlys' health in an attempt to seize Driftmark for himself, not only usurping the place of Laenor's sons but also of Laena's daughters.

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  • I'm biased as fuck with this one, but she (if only in hindsight) condemned Rhaenys to death by not allowing her sons to join her at Rook's Rest (or even calling Daemon back from Harrenhal for a bit to help instead).

If there is someone who seems to have had an actual cruel streak it was Rhaenys, actually. She was apparently some sort of fighter as well as so fiery and hot-headed that her husband dared not to acknowledge the two bastards he had by Marilda of Hull.

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  • She had an exceedingly lavish & expensive party when she made Joff the Prince of Dragonstone, with winter very near & the war really straining the capital & wider realm financially & with food stores. Frankly, that's cruel.

She planned a lavish and expensive celebration, but there is no hint whatsoever that this ever took place. It is actually pretty unlikely that it did considering how quickly the tide turned against her.

And this kind of thing was necessary. Joffrey Velaryon was also one of Laenor's sons, so Rhaenyra had to make it perfectly clear that he had a right to succeed her as king one day.

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  • Biased again, but painting Addam & Nettles with the same brush as the Two Betrayers for them simply being bastards. In what may have partially come about by Daemon's outrageous suggestion to remove (i.e. kill) the Baratheons & Lannisters, replacing them with Ulf & Hugh respectively (the Sea Snake specifically said this would be cruel & foment mass rebellion, no less). Arresting her father in law for saving his LOYAL "grandson" from being executed on a false charge. Like Aerys II with Jon Arryn, demanding the Mootons fucking break guest right to eliminate Nettles.

That is stupidity but not exactly cruelty. And keep in mind that Rhaenyra's own advisers urged her to act in this manner. They were afraid of the bastard dragonriders, too. And I don't fault Rhaenyra for being pissed about the Nettles affair, either. In that kind of world the women suffer when men take themselves new lovers.

The move against Corlys was even more stupidity. I doubt she would have executed him but even arresting the man was stupid.

Guest right wouldn't apply there, would it? If you harbor a traitor you do that at your own peril, no? Else pretty much any murderer or other criminal could save his or her neck if he or she just got into their father's house - or any other close relation or good friend - asking for sanctuary there. Assuming the host continues to extend guest right to the person after learning the truth.

Not to mention that guest right isn't all that important in the south anyway.

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I do admit it's weird that Rhaenyra did not have Alicent executed, but that could've also been a gender thing &/or political advice. But really, she could still be & was a hostage. Helaena was utterly broken from the Blood & Cheese affair, which Rhaenyra did not condemn (this would absolutely be cruel itself, but she could've thrown Mysaria under the bus). She was very much a non-threat, a potential hostage, & her survival ensured that an actual threat couldn't claim Dreamfyre (if their dragon died, say). Or Rhaenyra simply just wasn't cruel in this case. But IIRC, she says at least twice that her half-brothers have to die during the Dance. In the result of a peaceful transition of power after her father's death & being crowned unopposed (heh, rightio), how does she deal with two belligerent, ambitious, & petulant dragonriding brothers & a third who'd more likely than not follow them (if reluctantly) into rebellion? Actually moving away from my "Rhaenyra is cruel" argument, I think she would have to have them killed anyway.

If she was known to be a cruel person she would have personally overseen the torture and eventual execution of Alicent. These two really hated each other. Yet her life was spared while Otto lost his head. We see how a really cruel king - like Maegor - treats men and women equally when he tortures and kills them.

Even Tyland Lannister was only sent to the torturers because he knew where the treasury was. Rhaenyra could have given Otto, Ironrod, and the others she executed to the torturers, too, before she executed them. But she did not do anything of that sort.

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Well, Aenys was very clearly Aegon I's heir. There was speculation as to his in turn for a couple of years until Aegon 1.5 was born after Rhaena. The succession was all over the shop during Maegor's reign. Jaehaerys named each eldest surviving son in turn (although I do wonder who his heir was before Aegon was born, if one was named at all) & (by his wish) after the GC of 101, Viserys. Most people want a clear inheritance, especially a royal one. Meanwhile, Viserys was refusing to name obvious (but disdained by no few) candidate Daemon & after Aemma's death, took the unprecedented step of naming his daughter as his heir. There were also the whatever months where he was widowed, with speculation & discussion as to who he would take as a new wife.

So what? The man was still in his twenties when he took the throne. There is no hint that Aegon and his sister-wives were pressured about naming an heir while Aenys wasn't born yet, and he was only born seven years after the Conquest.

Even Maegor never officially named an heir until he married Rhaena.

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17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We have no reason to believe that Corlys and Rhaenys did not consider the sons Laenor acknowledged as his sons their grandsons. It is later Jacaerys Velaryon who makes his grandfather Lord Corlys the Hand of the Queen. They got along pretty well. And later still Jace is crucial in legitimizing Addam and Alyn of Hull.

If you have a homosexual son you can't expect that son to father any issue. Especially not a son who made it as clear as Laenor that he would not share the bed with Rhaenyra. He didn't even live with her on Dragonstone. If Rhaenys and Corlys had cared about 'biological grandsons' they should have forced their wastrel son to actually share the bed with his wife. Which they could have done - or at least tried to do.

Or written off Laenor´s "children" and wife as no blood of theirs, and backed Laena´s children as certainly hers.

While Wall, septons and Citadel are inconvenient and dishonourable, Kingsguard vows do not actually forbid a Kingsguard brother from taking a husband. Had anyone done that before Loras, who was of Rainbow Guard anyway while taking a husband?

17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The people who had issue with the succession of Laenor's sons to Driftmark were Corlys' nephew Vaemond Velaryon and his family. And that only became an issue because Laenor predeceased Corlys. If Laenor had succeeded to the lordship of Driftmark during the reign of Viserys I no one would have questioned the right of his sons to Driftmark.

Perhaps. I'm not sure if it would have helped all that much unless the Hightowers really had given up their claim. Alicent's grandchildren by Jace-Helaena could then one day sit the throne. That should have been enough but I'm not sure it was.

Sure, it could also have worked to have Rhaenyra's sons stay on Dragonstone while she and Daemon live at court. Or, as you say, sent Alicent's sons as wards to Black families - to Lady Jeyne and the Velaryons, say.

Not even necessarily Blacks.

But just consider Rhaenyra, her sons and Daemon at court, and Helaena married to Jacaerys, and Daeron at court. But Aegon and Aemond away.

And Hand either Rhaenyra, or one of the "younger men" picked by Rhaenyra.

As it was, Aegon´s coup made his accession and control of King´s Landing a fait accompli.

But now suppose that it is Rhaenyra´s accession that´s fait accompli.

Black dragons: Syrax, Caraxes, Vermax, Arrax, Tyraxes at Red Keep, Meleys available at Driftmark.

Available for Greens: Vhagar and Sunfyre

Dubious loyalty, at Red Keep: Dreamfyre and Tessarion.

With Helaena, Daeron and Alicent separated from Aegon and Aemond AND decently treated, they´d be reluctant to risk what they have by rebelling. If Helaena has a young baby by Jacaerys - a boy several years her junior - and the prospect of being Queen and mother of kings, would she back her brothers in rebellion? What would she stand to gain?

17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

My point there was just that Viserys I wasn't exactly the kind of guy who wanted his daughter to succeed. He favored Daemon more than Rhaenyra prior to the 'heir for a day' line. Rhaenyra was his only child and he and Aemma dearly loved her, but she wasn't his chosen heir or successor. She was just the only child he had and thus he doted on her. In and of itself the whole cup bearer and page thing doesn't mean all that much.

It was seen as a sign of royal favor, sure, but it may have actually been nothing more than the way Viserys chose to spend as much time with his daughter as he could.

Until 105 AC Viserys' presumptive heir is Daemon. He refused to name him Prince of Dragonstone - presumably because that's the title for the Heir Apparent, not the heir presumptive, and Viserys hoped to have (a) son(s) of his own body by Aemma.

People usually overlook that when they read TRP. But it is there.

We have no real confirmation of the informarer there, nor, in fact, that Daemon actually spoke that evil line. It fits with his character but since we have neither a source and at best speculation as to who was the informer this is far from clear.

The idea that the whole Daemon may have entertained there might have been Mysaria is completely unsupported. There is no reason to believe Daemon was ever faithful to that woman.

The fact that those were Hightowers and dragonriders was pretty irrelevant, actually. The Velaryons also had Vhagar with Laena and they did - nothing. Viserys I himself was a dragonless king yet nobody ever rebelled against him - neither some troublesome lords nor any of the dragonriders in his extended family.

And, of course, Viserys apparently couldn't imagine that Alicent and Otto would betray him the way they did. Nor could he imagine that his children and other kin hated each other so much that they would kill each other the way they did. Very few fathers can imagine that kind of thing.

He and the Velaryons could settle their disputes peacefully. Why on earth should he think his children couldn't do the same?

By the way - if things had turned out the way they did Daemon could have set himself into the ultimate pole position in the succession issues if he ended up marrying Laena the way he did. If Laena had lived then Daemon and Laena would have been their own faction at the time of Viserys' death - especially if Laena had given Daemon at least one son. 

Nobody saw Aegon the Elder as the heir of Viserys I because Viserys I had made it damned clear who the hell his heir was. This is a medieval setting. Power is where people believe it is. People are not loyal to institutions and states but to people. Viserys had made it clear that Rhaenyra was his heir. She was given special treatment ... Aegon was kept in the shadows, away from power. He whored himself to KL and ate a lot, but that was it. And Aemond and Daeron were younger sons.

The fact that the Alicent, Otto, the Kingsguard, and the Small Council have to arrange the coup while none of the Green dragonriders plays any role in that at all shows how powerless and irrelevant Alicent's children were until the moment their royal father died.

Once Otto has imprisoned half or more of the court and staged Aegon's public coronation the idea of a King Aegon II begins to sound really interesting in some ears. But even then the Greens get far less support than they hoped for - no Ironborn, only have the Reach, no Stormlords until victory seems certain, etc. Even most of the Crownlanders stand with Rhaenyra.

That sounds like a lot of speculation to me. Speculation we have no evidence for. I'm not even sure we can go with this 93 AC date for the Viserys-Aemma marriage. All we have is this casual remark that Viserys and Aemma had been married for a decade by the time he became king. But we don't know whether this is supposed to be precisely a decade.

Aemma isn't alone with her pregnancy issues. Laena dies in childbirth, too. Rhaenyra nearly dies in childbirth, Naerys and Rhaella have similar issues, etc.

Sure, one assumes he would have done that. But that doesn't mean Daemon would have gotten a male heir of his own body, right. Rhea couldn't give him children, Mysaria couldn't, and Laena only gave him girls. He had to wait for Rhaenyra to get a son. There is no guarantee that a Daemon in his forties, say, would have been able to get himself a legitimate son easily.

Viserys didn't exactly like his Arryn wife, either. But he made good use of her. Daemon should have done the same with Rhea. The man was just unwilling to have sex with the woman, just as Laenor was with Rhaenyra.

If Maegor had extinguished the Targaryens in the male line they would have been finished. I don't doubt that Alyssa, Rhaena, and Alysanne would have tried - but they weren't Rhaenys and Visenya, and (as far as we know) neither of them ever rode either Vhagar or Balerion.

The Realm would have fractured again. In fact, it is pretty clear that Maegor wouldn't have gone the way he died - assuming he would have died at all in that scenario - if Jaehaerys hadn't challenged him the way he did.

A woman/girl is never going to rally an army to her side against a man like Maegor. Not in this patriarchal world.

In 103 AC House Targaryen seems down to two male lines - Viserys himself and Daemon, and neither is likely to produce any male heirs. Laenor Velaryon counts as a third branch, but only theory, since he is also not going to produce any heirs of his own body.

He was what, 11. His inclinations may have been inherent, but this does not mean they would have been obvious to an observer, even a close one.

17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no issue with that whatsoever. Those sons were Laenor Velaryon's acknowledged sons. If he had no issue with how they looked why should anyone else? And you can be pretty sure that Viserys I also know who - most likely - the real father of the boys was. He was the one who forced Rhaenyra to marry gay Laenor in the first place. But Rhaenyra didn't marry Laenor so that he could impregnate her. She married him for reasons of state - to reunite the Velaryons and the Targaryens. And she accomplished that. Pretty much anyone knowing Laenor must have known that the man wouldn't be the biological father of any children Rhaenyra and he might have.

Again, the maester expressed doubts.

 

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18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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On the Dance: Have you ever stopped to think maybe Aegon II and/or Rhaenyra would reject marriage/co-rule out of hand given not only their dislike for one another but also their not-dissimilar personalities and probably preference/desire to see Jace/Jaehaerys succeed them?

On Rhaenyra: She wanted Aemond, a ten-year kid who just got his eye gouged out, to be "questioned sharply", which IS Westerosi speak for torture and with all due respect, I'd like to think you're not a Black partisan to the point you would support such an idea as being perfectly reasonable. Not to mention, since when is it normal for five year-old princes to be carrying daggers? Where in the text is this shown to be true?
As for Vaemond, he STILL deserved a trial, same as Bittersteel later got did under Aerys I even though the latter committed far more grievous "crimes" than the former. Seriously, Rhaenyra's stunt befits Aerys II.
As for the lavish celebration, her intention to go through with that demonstrates she didn't give two f*** about the people of King's Landing.
As for the legitimacy of the "Strong" bastards: Yes, technically they were Laenor's because he never spoke out but doesn't mean people can't put two-and-two together when the evidence is so obvious. Likewise, that doesn't mean people can't use it as justification because at least in this case there is some credence to the claim, which is just that. A claim. Not a statement of fact (because no way in Seven Hells are Rhaenyra/Laenor/Harwin going to tell the truth) but one that nonetheless has some amount of merit and/or proof behind it.
Also, for the record, not personally overseeing torture when you order it is NOT proof of non-cruelty.

As for Greens supporters: The Blacks hardly had any supporters before the war either.
The Starks? Nope. They had to be bribed.
The Greyjoys? Again, they had to be bribed.
The Tullys? The Greens had the misfortune (*cough*or GRRM constantly pressing the scales against them*cough) that the head of the house DID support them but was too old and sick to do anything while his own offspring defied him as well as his wishes.
The Baratheons? Yet again, bribery was mandated since Borros was clearly nothing like his father, which was a mistake on the Blacks' part to assume.
All in all, the only two houses that would have backed Rhaenyra for sure before the war kicked off were the Velaryons and Arryns (due to kinship and the fact Lady Jeyne's right to rule the Vale would look kind of awkward if she was fighting for the "iron precedent" of the Great Council of 101 AC. I would include the Baratheons but we don't know when Boremund died and Borros took over.)
Now, if we look at the Greens, we can say for certain that they too would have had the support of at least two houses: Hightower (duh) and Lannister (prominence at court through Green influence/power and/or because Rhaenyra rejected them for consorts).
Casterly Rock + Oldtown vs. The Eyrie + Driftmark (and the other lords of the Narrow Sea (+ Storm's End possibly?))? Doesn't sound one-sided to me at all.

As for dragons:
The Greens may have been outnumbered but the dragons they had were clearly superior to any one of the Blacks. Vhagar is the Balerion of the time, utterly unstoppable. Dreamfyre (had GRRM elected not to make Helaena another Cat/Alannys/Lysa/Cersei mother figure) was probably the third-biggest dragon after Vhagar and Vermithor at the time as well. Then we get to the undeniable badassery of Sunfyre, who manages to survive a battle with one older dragon, kill another dragon of roughly-equal size despite being wounded/slightly crippled, and then kill a third smaller dragon before dying shortly afterward. The Blue Queen on the other hand would clearly be more than a match for any one of the "Strong" kids' dragons.
All in all, the Greens had a chance, particularly before the dragonseeds thing.

As for Guest Right: Are you f****** kidding? TWOIAF makes clear that yes the North does value Guest Right more but do you not remember anything from AFFC/ADWD/F & B? The non-Frey Riverlords at the Siege of Riverrun, Tytos Blackwood at the Siege of Raventree Hall, the Vale lords statement to Ser Lyn Corbray when he drew his sword at a peaceful meeting, the desire of many south of the Neck to see the Freys punished in some manner as shown in one of Cersei's chapters, Lord Mooton in TPATQ, Jon Arryn before the series? Guest Right IS important south of the Neck thank you very much.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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1 hour ago, Jaak said:

Or written off Laenor´s "children" and wife as no blood of theirs, and backed Laena´s children as certainly hers.

They couldn't have done that without publicly admitting that their only son was unwilling and incapable of fathering children and was perfectly fine with the fact that he was cuckolded by his wife, acknowledging some other man's sons as his.

In addition, it is quite clear that Corlys loved his son, or else the man would have been happy that the faggot was dead instead of trying to find his murderer.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

While Wall, septons and Citadel are inconvenient and dishonourable, Kingsguard vows do not actually forbid a Kingsguard brother from taking a husband. Had anyone done that before Loras, who was of Rainbow Guard anyway while taking a husband?

Loras didn't have 'a husband'. And Laenor was only knighted two weeks before his wedding so he had a title at all. The man couldn't fight. The very idea that such a guy could have joined the KG is ridiculous.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

Not even necessarily Blacks.

But just consider Rhaenyra, her sons and Daemon at court, and Helaena married to Jacaerys, and Daeron at court. But Aegon and Aemond away.

And Hand either Rhaenyra, or one of the "younger men" picked by Rhaenyra.

As it was, Aegon´s coup made his accession and control of King´s Landing a fait accompli.

But now suppose that it is Rhaenyra´s accession that´s fait accompli.

Black dragons: Syrax, Caraxes, Vermax, Arrax, Tyraxes at Red Keep, Meleys available at Driftmark.

Available for Greens: Vhagar and Sunfyre

Dubious loyalty, at Red Keep: Dreamfyre and Tessarion.

With Helaena, Daeron and Alicent separated from Aegon and Aemond AND decently treated, they´d be reluctant to risk what they have by rebelling. If Helaena has a young baby by Jacaerys - a boy several years her junior - and the prospect of being Queen and mother of kings, would she back her brothers in rebellion? What would she stand to gain?

That is too easy a scenario. The number of dragonriders, while not irrelevant, isn't what triggered the Dance. If Helaena had kept herself out of the war - or even teamed up with Rhaenyra's side - the Greens could have still staged a rebellion. It is pretty likely that they would have failed if Rhaenyra and not Aegon II had been crowned in the Dragonpit, but chances are that they would have still tried.

Just as people tried to topple Maegor.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

On the Dance: Have you ever stopped to think maybe Aegon II and/or Rhaenyra would reject marriage/co-rule out of hand given not only their dislike for one another but also their not-dissimilar personalities and probably preference/desire to see Jace/Jaehaerys succeed them?

Certainly. There are reasons why they didn't get together in the end.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

On Rhaenyra: She wanted Aemond, a ten-year kid who just got his eye gouged out, to be "questioned sharply", which IS Westerosi speak for torture and with all due respect, I'd like to think you're not a Black partisan to the point you would support such an idea as being perfectly reasonable. Not to mention, since when is it normal for five year-old princes to be carrying daggers? Where in the text is this shown to be true?

Well, it was apparently normal for Rhaenyra's sons to carry daggers. Those are royal princes.

It wasn't nice to threaten Aemond with torture, but the point there would have been to get to the bottom of his accusation. The boy most likely would have told the truth long before he was actually tortured.

Calling Rhaenyra's sons 'Strongs' was treason. The children of the Heir Apparent outrank other royal princes. Just recall how Aerion does not dare to challenge Prince Valarr.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

As for Vaemond, he STILL deserved a trial, same as Bittersteel later got did under Aerys I even though the latter committed far more grievous "crimes" than the former. Seriously, Rhaenyra's stunt befits Aerys II.

People don't get trials if they commit crimes against their rulers in their presence. Or they get only rather short trials. Last I looked Rickard Karstark didn't get a proper trial, either, no? Rhaenyra, Corlys/Rhaenys, and Viserys I couldn't afford to allow Vaemond to live after what he tried to pull off there.

Bittersteel's trial seems to have been some sort of show trial to dismiss and destroy the whole Blackfyre claim thing. 

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

As for the lavish celebration, her intention to go through with that demonstrates she didn't give two f*** about the people of King's Landing.

Not sure what those things have to do with each other. The plans were made when it looked as if Rhaenyra had effectively won the war. It is pretty clear that this went nowhere when things started to fall apart again. But, you know, those people are medieval royalty. They care first and foremost about themselves. Then somewhat about the people who help them keep their power. And then, perhaps, a little bit about the common people. They don't see themselves as rulers 'for the people'.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

As for the legitimacy of the "Strong" bastards: Yes, technically they were Laenor's because he never spoke out but doesn't mean people can't put two-and-two together when the evidence is so obvious. Likewise, that doesn't mean people can't use it as justification because at least in this case there is some credence to the claim, which is just that. A claim. Not a statement of fact (because no way in Seven Hells are Rhaenyra/Laenor/Harwin going to tell the truth) but one that nonetheless has some amount of merit and/or proof behind it.
Also, for the record, not personally overseeing torture when you order it is NOT proof of non-cruelty.

The thing is - if the king doesn't care who the biological father of his grandsons are, who are Alicent, Otto, and her children to presume to question the parentage of those children? A marriage is a private matter, and without proof you cannot challenge the parentage of a man's children.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

As for Greens supporters: The Blacks hardly had any supporters before the war either.

They had a lot. We just don't know them because Otto threw them all in the dungeons while his king and son-in-law rotted in his bed chamber. The entire Crownlands stood with Rhaenyra. The Rosbys and Stokeworth bent the knee to Aegon II and were executed later, but they were originally on Rhaenyra's side.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

The Baratheons? Yet again, bribery was mandated since Borros was clearly nothing like his father, which was a mistake on the Blacks' part to assume.

If Luke had arrived first Storm's End would have stood with Rhaenyra.

And you forget that half the Reach and the Iron Islands declared for Rhaenyra without getting all that much in return. In fact, the Reach lords attacking the Hightowers weren't offered anything as far as we know. They were just loyal to the wishes of their late king - and possibly to their vow they or their fathers swore back in 105 AC.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Now, if we look at the Greens, we can say for certain that they too would have had the support of at least two houses: Hightower (duh) and Lannister (prominence at court through Green influence/power and/or because Rhaenyra rejected them for consorts).
Casterly Rock + Oldtown vs. The Eyrie + Driftmark (and the other lords of the Narrow Sea (+ Storm's End possibly?))? Doesn't sound one-sided to me at all.

The decision to crown Aegon II was made only after Viserys' death. We don't know what the Lannisters would have done if that hadn't happened. Tyland may have only stood with Otto and Alicent because Rhaenyra and Daemon weren't there.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

As for dragons:
The Greens may have been outnumbered but the dragons they had were clearly superior to any one of the Blacks. Vhagar is the Balerion of the time, utterly unstoppable. Dreamfyre (had GRRM elected not to make Helaena another Cat/Alannys/Lysa/Cersei mother figure) was probably the third-biggest dragon after Vhagar and Vermithor at the time as well. Then we get to the undeniable badassery of Sunfyre, who manages to survive a battle with one older dragon, kill another dragon of roughly-equal size despite being wounded/slightly crippled, and then kill a third smaller dragon before dying shortly afterward. The Blue Queen on the other hand would clearly be more than a match for any one of the "Strong" kids' dragons.
All in all, the Greens had a chance, particularly before the dragonseeds thing.

You are conflating facts and potentialities here. Sunfyre turned out to be pretty cool but Dreamfyre was completely useless. And the fool Aemond completely failed to make good use of Vhagar, either.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

As for Guest Right: Are you f****** kidding? TWOIAF makes clear that yes the North does value Guest Right more but do you not remember anything from AFFC/ADWD/F & B? The non-Frey Riverlords at the Siege of Riverrun, Tytos Blackwood at the Siege of Raventree Hall, the Vale lords statement to Ser Lyn Corbray when he drew his sword at a peaceful meeting, the desire of many south of the Neck to see the Freys punished in some manner as shown in one of Cersei's chapters, Lord Mooton in TPATQ, Jon Arryn before the series? Guest Right IS important south of the Neck thank you very much.

Again, you don't extend guest rights to criminals/traitors - at least not to those who committed crimes against your own king/queen. Just imagine Lord Manderly extending guest right to Theon. Do you think Robb would be fine with that? Perhaps Lord Wyman wouldn't execute him while he was his guest, but there are ways - rather insidious ways - around such technicalities. Just give him a guest gift, escort him out of the city and then have your men butcher him before he can get away.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Text

On trials: Rickard deserved a trial and Aerys II's refusal to grant him a proper one is just one of his many tyrannical crimes. And I stand by what I said. Vaemond deserved a show trial at the very least, not blatantly thugish vigilantism.

On Rhaenyra: Simply calling for a ten year-old to be tortured is monstrous, even in a place like Westeros I'd imagine. Moreover, my point with regards to the lavish celebration is that it is (one of many) proof(s) that Rhaenyra was just as horrible a ruler as Aegon II.

On Bastardy: That never stopped anyone beforehand in Westeros (Aenys-Maegor) or afterward (Daeron-Daemon) so clearly people in-setting have a more nuanced view.

On Support: You're not serious are you? The support of the Crownlands is paltry at best. And for all we know those imprisoned supporters didn't amount to much given that after Rhaenyra took KL they didn't do a whole lot. As for the Baratheons, you do remember that Borros wanted a royal match and that only Aemond could offer him one right? The Iron Isles were given free license to raid the Westerlands and the Reach with impunity! That is hardly anything. As for the Reach, have you ever stopped to think maybe they fought not for oaths sworn by their fathers under different circumstances but simply out of fear that the Hightowers were gaining too much power? As for your assertion that we don't know what the Lannisters would have done prior to Aegon II's coronation, the same goes for Black supporters and more importantly, the fact that Tyland was willing to endure torture at Rhaenyra's hands signifies to me he wasn't afraid of her or her rogue prince.

On dragons: I WAS talking about potentialities. And Dreamfyre was only useless because, again, GRRM chose to make Helaena a Cersei/Cat/Alannys/Lysa mother figure rather than use her in a more active and involved capacity.

On Guest Right: YOU said, and I quote, "not to mention that guest right isn't all that important in the south anyway" (emphasis mine) despite clear textual proof to the contrary. 

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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