Angel Eyes

Brown Dragon and no Bittersteel

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I was surprised that Aegor “Bittersteel” Rivers was not present at the Second Blackfyre Rebellion. Any reason why? The only reason I can think of was that Bittersteel liked a good fight and subterfuge like the Tourney at Whitewalls wasn’t his way of staging a rebellion.

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That Daemon the Younger dreamed of becoming king is well-known, as is the fact that Bittersteeldid not support him in his effort to claim the throne. But why Bittersteel supported the father but refused the son remains a question that is sometimes argued over in the halls of the Citadel. Many will claim that Young Daemon and Lord Gormon could not convince Bittersteel that their plan was sound, and truth be told, it seems a fair argument; Peake was blind to reason in his thirst for revenge and the recovery of his seats, and Daemon was convinced that he would succeed no matter the odds. Yet others suggest that Bittersteel was a hard man who had little use for anything beyond war and mistrusted Daemon's dreams and his love of music and fine things. And others still raise an eyebrow at Daemon's close relationship to the young Lord Cockshaw, and suggest that this would have troubled Aegor Rivers enough to deny the young man his aid. (The World of Ice and Fire)

Edited by The Wondering Wolf

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I think there is a strong suggestion that Bittersteel did not favor Daemon Blackfyre's third son because he was gay and a bit of a fop. I also suspect that there might have been political infighting among the Blackfyre supporters led by Peake and Bittersteel. 

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14 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

I was surprised that Aegor “Bittersteel” Rivers was not present at the Second Blackfyre Rebellion. Any reason why? The only reason I can think of was that Bittersteel liked a good fight and subterfuge like the Tourney at Whitewalls wasn’t his way of staging a rebellion.

As noted in a previous response, the World Book states that Bittersteel did not support Daemon II's efforts to claim the throne. I think it is likely that he preferred Haegon to Daemon all along, but Daemon was eldest. I wouldn't be surprised if Bittersteel encouraged or manipulated Daemon into trying to claim the throne at Whitewalls, hoping he would get himself eliminated. Interestingly, Bittersteel did not form the Golden Company until 212 AC, the year after Daemon was imprisoned.

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50 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

As noted in a previous response, the World Book states that Bittersteel did not support Daemon II's efforts to claim the throne. I think it is likely that he preferred Haegon to Daemon all along, but Daemon was eldest. I wouldn't be surprised if Bittersteel encouraged or manipulated Daemon into trying to claim the throne at Whitewalls, hoping he would get himself eliminated. Interestingly, Bittersteel did not form the Golden Company until 212 AC, the year after Daemon was imprisoned.

I suspect Bittersteel and the other exiles were still trying to figure out what their purpose was, but Peake desperately wanted to recover his lost castles and prestige. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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There are two theories given - one the idea that Bittersteel didn't like Daemon all that much and/or the fact that he was homosexual). The other that he felt the plan was stupid.

And, in fact, that latter idea is the one that seems to be more sound.

Dunk overhears Peake and Heddle talking about Bittersteel at Whitewalls and the impression we get there doesn't imply Bittersteel would never join them. They are of the opinion that Daemon winning some victories is going to bring him over the water quickly enough.

And the other impression we get is that Peake didn't exactly trust Bittersteel all that much. We get him mentioning the fact that bastards cannot be trusted.

We have no idea how close Daemon the Younger and his half-uncle were or whether Bittersteel even was at Tyrosh (or wherever Daemon was) when he left Essos. He would have had the means to learn what Daemon was planning to do, etc. but we don't know whether he had the opportunity to actually try to talk some sense into him.

Vice versa, we have no idea how Daemon felt about Aegor. He never mentions him in TMK, unfortunately. And he was a man in his twenties by then. Even if he accepted Aegor as a surrogate and foster father the time the uncle could tell his king what to do would have been long over. Note how Aegon coming into his own changes the power dynamics between him and Connington.

The idea that Bittersteel may have preferred Haegon or Aenys (or the two other Blackfyre sons) to Daemon the Younger is as of yet speculation unsupported by the text. We don't know what kind of person Haegon was. Daemon the Younger looked good and didn't lack courage - he presumably wasn't even that bad of a fighter (although not that good of a jouster). How good a warrior/figurehead Haegon Blackfyre was is as of yet completely unclear.

The founding of the Golden Company in 212 AC clearly seems to be a reaction to Daemon's defeat. Whitewalls - especially due to the fact that Bloodraven could crush that stillborn rebellion so effectively and easily - must have been a major blow to the Blackfyre cause.

We can assume that some lords ended up flocking to Haegon's banner during the Third Rebellion but one assumes the willingness to secretly plot and prepare a Blackfyre takeover in Westeros was at an all time low after Daemon's capture. The center of the Blackfyre partisans would have moved from Westeros to Essos - Whitewalls shows that the Blackfyres still had a decent number of loyalists who were willing to fight for them at this time. Perhaps more than they had in Essos. Else quite a few of those men would have come with Daemon the Younger. Without the Golden Company Bittersteel wouldn't have yet been the leader of the Blackfyre movement in Essos.

And we should never forget that the Golden Company does not only include Westerosi exiles from the First Blackfyre Rebellion, it also includes Westerosi exiles in general as well as sellswords in general.

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Personally, I think it was because Aegor thought that Daemon II was weak and he was not completely wrong; Daemon was no swordsman or jouster and relied on his is dreams as a plot armour for why he would succeed in his conquest. We, the readers, and a few characters in the series know that the dreams are prophetic, but in many cases such as Daemon's, they completely backfire on the dreamer.

Also, as others have already pointed out, Daemon was homosexual. We don't know how Aegor or even most of Westeros feel about homosexuality, the fact that our known homosexual characters aren't open about it could suggest that the general population isn't okay with it. Jon Connington seems to try hard to hide what he truly felt for Rhaegar, Satin is generally disliked for being a former whore (even if it was just gay-for-pay) and that the fact that the whore that Whoresbane killed was a man is something that they simply whisper about, seems to prove the general opinion of homosexuality in Westeros. It's going to be difficult to get the people's support if they generally frown upon a very important part of him.

Also, if he does somehow take the Iron Throne and keeps it, who will be his queen and how will they have children? If his homosexuality is well-known, then the true parentage of all of his children might be questioned.

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17 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

I was surprised that Aegor “Bittersteel” Rivers was not present at the Second Blackfyre Rebellion. Any reason why? The only reason I can think of was that Bittersteel liked a good fight and subterfuge like the Tourney at Whitewalls wasn’t his way of staging a rebellion.

I would assume that Aegor found Daemon II's plan so bad that he didn't want to go along with it. But personal dislike of lack of faith in Daemon could also have played in.

For my own part there' no way that I could base an entire rebellion or rebellion on the premise of a guy having a dream about something.

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Probably because he knew it would fail. Sounds like the men that fought in the 1st Blackfyre rebellion and left Westeros with Bittersteel and the Blackfyre's, were all going their separate ways around that time too. 

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3 hours ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

Personally, I think it was because Aegor thought that Daemon II was weak and he was not completely wrong; Daemon was no swordsman or jouster and relied on his is dreams as a plot armour for why he would succeed in his conquest. We, the readers, and a few characters in the series know that the dreams are prophetic, but in many cases such as Daemon's, they completely backfire on the dreamer.

Daemon the Younger was a capable jouster. He wasn't his father, just as Valarr wasn't Baelor, but he was not completely incompetent. If he had been, Peake would have been forced to bribe every jouster at Whitewalls, not to mention that Dunk would have seen that Daemon was pretty bad - as he does with Valarr. All we learn about Daemon is that there were some jousters who were better than Daemon - and they either had to be bribed or were in on the plan.

How good he was as a swordsman and warrior is completely unknown. Considering that he doesn't look physically weak and should have been trained at arms by very competent knights/fighters in Tyrosh I expect him to have been better than average.

3 hours ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

Also, as others have already pointed out, Daemon was homosexual. We don't know how Aegor or even most of Westeros feel about homosexuality, the fact that our known homosexual characters aren't open about it could suggest that the general population isn't okay with it. Jon Connington seems to try hard to hide what he truly felt for Rhaegar, Satin is generally disliked for being a former whore (even if it was just gay-for-pay) and that the fact that the whore that Whoresbane killed was a man is something that they simply whisper about, seems to prove the general opinion of homosexuality in Westeros. It's going to be difficult to get the people's support if they generally frown upon a very important part of him.

Satin may actually be homosexual, we don't know. The issue with him is that he is a former whore. That is a completely disreputable and despised person in a medieval setting.

Laenor Velaryon and Egg's son Daeron Targaryen were openly homosexual. 

Connington seems to have big issues with feelings for Rhaegar, less so with his own sexuality.

You have to keep in mind that homosexuality as such didn't exist in a medieval setting. People didn't have a sexual identity. They had sexual preferences. And marriage is a political and economic union, not something connected to feelings and romance. Homosexuals would marry just as regularly as non-homosexuals. And just as men like Stannis or Aerys I don't sleep with their wives men like Renly or Laenor Velaryon wouldn't sleep with their wives, either.

In that sense I doubt that Bittersteel or anyone cared a lot about that stuff.

Note that the TWoIaF speculation on the homosexuality thing mentions Daemon's relationship with Alyn Cockshaw. But that is something that only happened after Daemon returned to Westeros as part of the Peake plan. Alyn didn't go into exile with Daemon, and the last time the man saw his glorious black dragon was back when they both were eight-year-old boys. Alyn makes that perfectly clear when he talks to Dunk in TMK. At that time they did not have a sexual or romantic relationship.

In that sense, it seems that those men Yandel refers to in the sidebar seem to speculate the same way we do - and they seem to be wrong there, citing the fact that Daemon sort of hooked up with Alyn after he went to Westeros as a potential reason as to why Bittersteel may have disliked Daemon. But that is faulty reasoning.

If Daemon had had some sort of longtime lover/boyfriend back in Tyrosh in Bittersteel's company one could try to build such a case. But it doesn't work with Alyn Cockshaw as an example.

3 hours ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

Also, if he does somehow take the Iron Throne and keeps it, who will be his queen and how will they have children? If his homosexuality is well-known, then the true parentage of all of his children might be questioned.

So what? That is a problem many other kings face, too. People also don't believe Stannis fathered Shireen.

Daemon could choose to remain unmarried, for instance, naming one of his brothers or (many) nephews his heir. Or he could take some wife and have one of his brothers impregnate her so that the chances are pretty good that the child looks Valyrian. Or he could actually take it upon himself to father a child.

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I think that Bittersteel wasn't interested in Iron Throne, or becoming a King of 7K.

There were two main reason why he rebelled against Targaryens, and took active part in First Rebellion:

1. Aegon IV has sent away both Aegor and his mother, while even though his half-brother's Bloodraven's mother was also sent away, Bloodraven was allowed to stay at court, and was even given place at small councill of his half-brother King Daeron II.

He wanted to revenge Targaryens for throwing him away, and because of jealosy towards Bloodraven, whom they treated better than they treated Aegor.

Spoiler

"Aegor was born at King's Landing to one of King Aegon IV Targaryen's mistresses, Barba Bracken. When Queen Naerys Targaryen recovered her health, Prince Daeron and Aemon the Dragonknight forced Aegon to send Barba and child from the capital, and Aegor was instead raised at Stone Hedge in the riverlands.[2]

The angry Aegor reserved particular loathing for his half-brother Brynden Rivers, whose mother, Melissa Blackwood, had replaced his own as their father's favorite mistress.

Brynden was born in King's Landing[5] as the bastard son of King Aegon IV Targaryen and his sixth mistress, Lady Melissa Blackwood, who had replaced the king's fifth mistress, Barba Bracken.[12] Brynden's sisters were Mya and Gwenys Rivers.[4] Although Melissa was eventually dismissed by Aegon IV in favor of his seventh mistress, Bethany Bracken, Brynden was able to maintain close relations at court because of Melissa's popularity.[6]"

2. Bloodraven also won over woman that Bittersteel loved.

Spoiler

"Aegor loathed Brynden, who was known as Bloodraven, even further when Shiera Seastar, their beautiful half-sister and a fellow Great Bastard, chose Brynden over him. Their other half-brother, Daemon Blackfyre, agreed to wed his daughter Calla to Aegor. Aegor often urged Daemon to press his own claim to the Iron Throne."

During First Rebellion he supported his half-brother Daemon I Blackfyre, and fought to make him King of 7K. Instead Daemon died together with his two oldest sons Aegon and Aemon. Thus Bittersteel escaped from Westeros, and took with him Daemon's widow Rohanne, and her remaining children.

They went to Rohanne's homeland Tyrosh, and peacefully lived there for 15 years.

Then he started Third Rebellion, because of death of his nephew Daemon II.

Spoiler

Bittersteel just wasn't interested in continuing bloodbath. So when his nephew Daemon, wanted to go and fight for Iron Throne, he didn't supported him. Not because he didn't belived in plan of Gormon Peake, and not because he was supposedly troubled by his nephew's homosexuality, but because he didn't wanted to go to war again. After 15 years of peaceful life, why would he?

As result of Second Rebellion, Daemon was taken hostage and lived at Red Keep for a few years. And then he died some time between 211 and 219.

"In 219 AC, Ser Aegor Rivers, known as Bittersteel, launched a new invasion after crowning Haegon I Blackfyre, the fourthborn son of Daemon I Blackfyre."

I think that Daemon actually died in 219, and when his relatives, including Bittersteel, heard about his death, this is what caused him to crown his next in line nephew, Haegon I, and rebell again.This time they fought against Targaryens to avenge death of their brother/nephew.

As result of this rebellion, Haegon was also killed. Though Bittertsteel managed to escape back to Tyrosh, and less than a year later, crowned Haegon's son as Daemon III. Nevertheless, after that, both of them remained in Tyrosh for 14 more years, without going to war against Targaryens.

"during the Great Council in 233 AC, Daemon's uncle, Haegon's younger brother, Aenys Blackfyre, had tried to make his claim, and travelled to King's Landing, but he was arrested and killed on the orders of Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers.

Aegon's reign began during a harsh winter which lasted from 230 AC until 236 AC.

The end of winter saw the return of the Blackfyre Pretenders, with the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion taking place in 236 AC. Daemon III Blackfyre attempted to seize the Iron Throne with the Golden Company, but few rallied to his side. Aegon and his sons rode to meet and repel the invaders, and Duncan the Tall slew Daemon in single combat, ending the rebellion. Aegor Rivers, known as Bittersteel, managed to flee with the remnants of the Golden Company across the narrow sea.[11] "

<- Based on this, looks like Fourth Rebellion was Aegor's revenge for death of his nephew Aenys.

He was killed in 233, but Blackfyres couldn't go to Westeros because of harsh winter, and when the winter ended in 236, they immediately attacked Targaryens, as soon as they could.

Spoiler

"In 236 AC, Aegor landed on Massey's Hook at the head of the Golden Company with Daemon III, starting the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion. The rebellion was crushed at the battle of Wendwater Bridge, though Aegor managed to escape.[11][12] A few years after the Wendwater Bridge, Aegor reappeared in the Disputed Lands, where he fell during a skirmish between Tyrosh and Myr.[11] On his deathbed, he commanded the men of the Golden Company to boil the flesh from his skull, dip it in gold, and carry it before them when they cross the narrow sea to retake Westeros. The captains-general who have since led the Golden Company have followed Aegor's example.[13] "

Aegor died five years after that, in 241.

Spoiler

His relatives Daemon and Maelys Blackfyres, both were captain-generals of the Golden Company. Could be that they were Haegon's grandchildren. Either they were too young to lead an army, when Bittersteel died, or they couldn't decide which one of them should be next Blackfyre King. Then in 260 Maelys killed Daemon, and launched The War of the Ninepenny Kings, or the Fifth Blackfyre Rebellion. He was killed by Barristan Selmy, and with him ended male line of Daemon I Blackfyre.

Bittersteel was not a coward. In First Rebellion he supported claim of his half-brother Daemon I Blackfyre, after his death participated in Third and Fourth Rebellions to avenge death of Daemon's sons Daemon II and Aenys.

He didn't supported Daemon during Second Rebellion, but nevertheless he fought against Targaryens, to avenge Daemon II's death in imprisonment. If he was a coward, then he wouldn't have gone to fight twice more, after Blackfyres first failure and death of his half-brother. He wasn't even claiming Crown or Throne for himself, he supported his relatives, and fought for their claim.

Edited by Megorova

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If Aegor was truly loyal he would have given the sword to the boy when he came of age. That he did not is a statement of his character.

 

The reason why is less important than the fact itself that Bittersteel felt he should be deciding what the heir should be doing. I believe this goes to show that Bittersteel was likely similarly manipulative of his brother Daemon and forced his hand on certain things. He's certainly no coward, but Bittersteel was selective in his choice of battles and felt like his judgement was objectively the best.

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3 hours ago, ChuckPunch said:

If Aegor was truly loyal he would have given the sword to the boy when he came of age. That he did not is a statement of his character.

That is an important point. The fact that Bittersteel thought he could - and actually did - keep Blackfyre after Daemon II Blackfyre came of age is a telling - and actually pretty discomforting - sign.

It indicates that he may have used Daemon's sons and grandsons as much as pawns as he used Daemon himself. And that's a pretty ugly thing to do.

 

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29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That is an important point. The fact that Bittersteel thought he could - and actually did - keep Blackfyre after Daemon II Blackfyre came of age is a telling - and actually pretty discomforting - sign.

It indicates that he may have used Daemon's sons and grandsons as much as pawns as he used Daemon himself. And that's a pretty ugly thing to do.

 

Or Bittersteel didn't think Daemon ll was ready and thought Daemon ll would do something rash once he did have Blackfyre. Bittersteel didn't like Daemon ll and Lord Peake plan and if he would've given Daemon ll the sword and still didn't give his support, the Blackfyres would've lost their symbol of power Blackfyre. If he simply refused to give Daemon ll the sword because he didn't  like him, then it pretty telling of who was actually running the Blackfyre household. After Daemon died on Redgrass field we don't hear of any of his sons taking Blackfyre into battle, I think.

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12 hours ago, Daemon The Black Dragon said:

Or Bittersteel didn't think Daemon ll was ready and thought Daemon ll would do something rash once he did have Blackfyre. Bittersteel didn't like Daemon ll and Lord Peake plan and if he would've given Daemon ll the sword and still didn't give his support, the Blackfyres would've lost their symbol of power Blackfyre. If he simply refused to give Daemon ll the sword because he didn't  like him, then it pretty telling of who was actually running the Blackfyre household. After Daemon died on Redgrass field we don't hear of any of his sons taking Blackfyre into battle, I think.

As Daemon Blackfyre's eldest son - and presumably the new Blackfyre pretender since Daemon's death on the Redgrass Field - Daemon the Younger should have gotten the sword from the day they arrived in exile. In the least Bittersteel would have been obliged to hand the sword to his king the day Daemon turned sixteen and came thus a man grown. Daemon II was a grown man for years and years before he went along with the Peake plan.

I expect Haegon to have had Blackfyre in 219 AC, and I also expect the Blackfyres lost it there, with the Targaryen reclaiming the weapon. Bittersteel and Haegon were both captured, and the latter even gave up his sword when he was captured and then killed.

Even if that didn't happen back then, chances are that it would have happened when Dunk killed Daemon III in 236 AC.

We have to reason to believe Blackfyre stayed with the Blackfyres during their entire exile. And it also makes little sense that they always kept it in Essos to ensure it could not fall into enemy hands. Then the entire Blackfyre cause would have been a joke. Sword of the kings my ass.

If the Targaryens regained it, it could have disappeared during the Sack. As swords of the kings it would have been with Aerys II, not Rhaegar.

If it remained with the Blackfyres it is very odd that the captain-generals of the Golden Company - first Myles Toyne, now Harry Strickland - don't own and wield it.

We all expect Blackfyre to be in one of the chests Illyrio gave Haldon and Duck, but if Illyrio previously had it is much more likely that Varys stole it from the Targaryens during the Sack rather than that it was handed down to Illyrio through the female Blackfyre line. Three Blackfyre pretenders - - Daemon II, Haegon, Daemon III (four if you count Aenys as a pretender) - died in Westeros. And Maelys was slain on the Stepstones in a setting that should have allowed the Targaryens to take the sword from his corpse if he had it - which doesn't seem to be all that likely considering that TWoIaF depicts Maelys without a sword in the duel with Barristan Selmy.

The idea that some obscure Blackfyre branch through the female line ended up with the sword of the kings isn't very likely.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

As Daemon Blackfyre's eldest son - and presumably the new Blackfyre pretender since Daemon's death on the Redgrass Field - Daemon the Younger should have gotten the sword from the day they arrived in exile. In the least Bittersteel would have been obliged to hand the sword to his king the day Daemon turned sixteen and came thus a man grown. Daemon II was a grown man for years and years before he went along with the Peake plan.

Wasn't there a precedent for, and even a tradition of, awarding Blackfyre to the better swordsman or warrior? In House Dayne we see that Dawn is awarded to the Sword of the Morning. Perhaps these swords, and Dark Sister too, should not be considered hereditary personal property but family heirlooms that must be earned to be wielded? That Daemon II did not carry Blackfyre was a huge signal to potential Blackfyre supporters by Bittersteel, and to the readers by the George, as to the worthiness of Daemon II. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

I expect Haegon to have had Blackfyre in 219 AC, and I also expect the Blackfyres lost it there, with the Targaryen reclaiming the weapon. Bittersteel and Haegon were both captured, and the latter even gave up his sword when he was captured and then killed.

Even if that didn't happen back then, chances are that it would have happened when Dunk killed Daemon III in 236 AC.

We have to reason to believe Blackfyre stayed with the Blackfyres during their entire exile. And it also makes little sense that they always kept it in Essos to ensure it could not fall into enemy hands. Then the entire Blackfyre cause would have been a joke. Sword of the kings my ass.

If the Targaryens regained it, it could have disappeared during the Sack. As swords of the kings it would have been with Aerys II, not Rhaegar.

Yet, there is no mention of it in the text again. All we can do is speculate. I would be shocked if Haegon did not wield it during the Third Blackfyre Rebellion. Even though they lost, the sword could have been smuggled out of Westeros, and the same thing could have happened after the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion. Or perhaps it was recovered and smuggled from the ruins of Sumerhall. Or perhaps there is a little backstory yet to be told. We do not know. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

If it remained with the Blackfyres it is very odd that the captain-generals of the Golden Company - first Myles Toyne, now Harry Strickland - don't own and wield it.

We all expect Blackfyre to be in one of the chests Illyrio gave Haldon and Duck, but if Illyrio previously had it is much more likely that Varys stole it from the Targaryens during the Sack rather than that it was handed down to Illyrio through the female Blackfyre line. Three Blackfyre pretenders - - Daemon II, Haegon, Daemon III (four if you count Aenys as a pretender) - died in Westeros. And Maelys was slain on the Stepstones in a setting that should have allowed the Targaryens to take the sword from his corpse if he had it - which doesn't seem to be all that likely considering that TWoIaF depicts Maelys without a sword in the duel with Barristan Selmy.

The idea that some obscure Blackfyre branch through the female line ended up with the sword of the kings isn't very likely.

Although we cannot be sure it does seem unlikely that Maelys wielded, or even possessed, Blackfyre. I wonder if this had something to do with the little civil war between Maelys and his cousin Daemon. Perhaps Daemon's supporters managed to kept the sword from Maelys. And perhaps that is how some obscure Blackfyre branch through the female line ended up with the sword of the kings? We have to have some twists somewhere in this tale, don't we? And we do have precedent for smuggling Blackfyre from cruel or monstrous bearer, don't we? 

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11 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Wasn't there a precedent for, and even a tradition of, awarding Blackfyre to the better swordsman or warrior? In House Dayne we see that Dawn is awarded to the Sword of the Morning. Perhaps these swords, and Dark Sister too, should not be considered hereditary personal property but family heirlooms that must be earned to be wielded? That Daemon II did not carry Blackfyre was a huge signal to potential Blackfyre supporters by Bittersteel, and to the readers by the George, as to the worthiness of Daemon II. 

No, Blackfyre is traditionally the sword of the kings. Dark Sister is the one the Targaryens give to worthy warriors, it seems, but Blackfyre is the king's. The only diversion from the rule is when Aenys gives the sword to Maegor - but that is then used by Visenya as a pretext to start the 'sword of the kings' legend, considering that she claimed that Aenys giving the sword to Maegor meant that the man symbolically or subconsciously admitted, that he hadn't it in him to rule as king.

Aenys himself most likely meant it in the way you suggest - and the way that caused Visenya, Jaehaerys I, Daeron II, etc. to give Dark Sister to worthy warriors (and loyal kinsmen) - but that isn't the tale that was spun for Blackfyre.

There once was a line in TWoIaF in the section on Viserys II, I think, that stressed the fact that Dark Sister was once wielded by both Maegor and Jaehaerys I but I actually advised Ran to rephrase that because it gives the impression that the 'sword of the kings' which essentially symbolizes the kingdom wasn't exactly the favorite sword of the most prominent Targaryen kings didn't actually prefer or wielded that sword all that much (no idea if my input triggered the actual change there, of course).

The likes of Viserys I, Aegon II, Rhaenyra, Aegon III, Baelor the Blessed, Viserys II, and Aegon IV wouldn't be all that good example to establish the martial tradition of the king's sword symbolizing the kingdom.

11 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Yet, there is no mention of it in the text again. All we can do is speculate. I would be shocked if Haegon did not wield it during the Third Blackfyre Rebellion. Even though they lost, the sword could have been smuggled out of Westeros, and the same thing could have happened after the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion.

That is certainly a possibility, too. But with the Haegon line there, it is at least rather likely that the Targaryens regained the sword at least at one point. Assuming Haegon had it. Whether they could keep it is unclear - but then, it would be cool if Maekar and Aegon V had it, no?

The idea that it was smuggled out of KL/wherever it would have been kept after Haegon lost would also somewhat stretch credibility.

11 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Or perhaps it was recovered and smuggled from the ruins of Sumerhall. Or perhaps there is a little backstory yet to be told. We do not know. 

Summerhall would be an interesting place to lose it, but for plausibility reasons - assuming it was with Egg and thus burned inside the castle - one would assume that it was actually lost forever after such a catastrophe. I mean, this was a palace of considerable size, presumably, and the there would have been a lot of rabble there. Could be that people searched for it in the ruins but it would be awfully convenient if they actually found it. A sword isn't exactly a dragon carcass...

If I was George I'd not use Summerhall as the place where the sword was lost by one side and regained by another.

11 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Although we cannot be sure it does seem unlikely that Maelys wielded, or even possessed, Blackfyre. I wonder if this had something to do with the little civil war between Maelys and his cousin Daemon. Perhaps Daemon's supporters managed to kept the sword from Maelys. And perhaps that is how some obscure Blackfyre branch through the female line ended up with the sword of the kings? We have to have some twists somewhere in this tale, don't we? And we do have precedent for smuggling Blackfyre from cruel or monstrous bearer, don't we? 

There is no reason to believe this was a 'civil war' or anything. It was a duel between Daemon and Maelys which the latter clearly won. One assumes that the previous Blackfyre captain-general - perhaps the father of Daemon (IV) or uncle of both Daemon and Maelys - died and then a short conflict ensued who should lead the Golden Company after him. We are talking about a sellsword company here, not about a vast empire containing factions and the like.

And even if Daemon (IV) had Blackfyre at the time of his death, wouldn't one assume he had the sword at the time of his death, trying to use it to kill Maelys?

Prior to TWoIaF I also assumed - without much thinking - that the Blackfyres would have had Blackfyre until Maelys. But if you actually begin to imagine the details of their history - and their constant defeats - that idea doesn't appear to be very compelling. Still, without the information we have on the deaths of Haegon and Daemon III - and the capture of Bittersteel in 219 AC - I'd not champion the idea that the Targaryens may have recaptured the sword.

And if Aegon ended up wearing 'the sword of kings' which was last in the possession of Aerys II (or Aegon V) then the propaganda effect of that would be much greater than if this sword had last been wielded by doomed pretenders and freaks like Daemon III and Maelys the Monstrous.

Blackfyre was the sword of kings back in the days of the Unworthy. But if Aegon IV was the last real king actually wielding it then, one assumes, its reputation isn't going to be the same in 300 AC.

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

As Daemon Blackfyre's eldest son - and presumably the new Blackfyre pretender since Daemon's death on the Redgrass Field - Daemon the Younger should have gotten the sword from the day they arrived in exile. In the least Bittersteel would have been obliged to hand the sword to his king the day Daemon turned sixteen and came thus a man grown. Daemon II was a grown man for years and years before he went along with the Peake plan.

I expect Haegon to have had Blackfyre in 219 AC, and I also expect the Blackfyres lost it there, with the Targaryen reclaiming the weapon. Bittersteel and Haegon were both captured, and the latter even gave up his sword when he was captured and then killed.

Even if that didn't happen back then, chances are that it would have happened when Dunk killed Daemon III in 236 AC.

We have to reason to believe Blackfyre stayed with the Blackfyres during their entire exile. And it also makes little sense that they always kept it in Essos to ensure it could not fall into enemy hands. Then the entire Blackfyre cause would have been a joke. Sword of the kings my ass.

If the Targaryens regained it, it could have disappeared during the Sack. As swords of the kings it would have been with Aerys II, not Rhaegar.

If it remained with the Blackfyres it is very odd that the captain-generals of the Golden Company - first Myles Toyne, now Harry Strickland - don't own and wield it.

We all expect Blackfyre to be in one of the chests Illyrio gave Haldon and Duck, but if Illyrio previously had it is much more likely that Varys stole it from the Targaryens during the Sack rather than that it was handed down to Illyrio through the female Blackfyre line. Three Blackfyre pretenders - - Daemon II, Haegon, Daemon III (four if you count Aenys as a pretender) - died in Westeros. And Maelys was slain on the Stepstones in a setting that should have allowed the Targaryens to take the sword from his corpse if he had it - which doesn't seem to be all that likely considering that TWoIaF depicts Maelys without a sword in the duel with Barristan Selmy.

The idea that some obscure Blackfyre branch through the female line ended up with the sword of the kings isn't very likely.

Yeah it would be odd if Haegon didn't use Blackfyre during the 3rd Blackfyre rebellion or Daemon lll during the 4th. We have no info that they did though, the last Blackfyre who we know actually used Blackfyre in battle was Daemon at Redgrass field. If the Targaryens regained Blackfyre from Haegon or Daemon lll, I would think we would've heard about it. Especially if Maekar or Aegon V were using Blackfyre during their reign.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

No, Blackfyre is traditionally the sword of the kings. Dark Sister is the one the Targaryens give to worthy warriors, it seems, but Blackfyre is the king's. The only diversion from the rule is when Aenys gives the sword to Maegor - but that is then used by Visenya as a pretext to start the 'sword of the kings' legend, considering that she claimed that Aenys giving the sword to Maegor meant that the man symbolically or subconsciously admitted, that he hadn't it in him to rule as king.

Aenys himself most likely meant it in the way you suggest - and the way that caused Visenya, Jaehaerys I, Daeron II, etc. to give Dark Sister to worthy warriors (and loyal kinsmen) - but that isn't the tale that was spun for Blackfyre.

There once was a line in TWoIaF in the section on Viserys II, I think, that stressed the fact that Dark Sister was once wielded by both Maegor and Jaehaerys I but I actually advised Ran to rephrase that because it gives the impression that the 'sword of the kings' which essentially symbolizes the kingdom wasn't exactly the favorite sword of the most prominent Targaryen kings didn't actually prefer or wielded that sword all that much (no idea if my input triggered the actual change there, of course).

The likes of Viserys I, Aegon II, Rhaenyra, Aegon III, Baelor the Blessed, Viserys II, and Aegon IV wouldn't be all that good example to establish the martial tradition of the king's sword symbolizing the kingdom.

In addition to Maegor, I seem to recall another non-heir apparent or king infamously bearing Blackfyre. And in that case, like Visenya, the bearer's supporters held up his wielding of Blackfyre, inter alia, as justification for his right to rule. Perhaps that's why the less martial kings might not have let a more martial kin wield the sword. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

That is certainly a possibility, too. But with the Haegon line there, it is at least rather likely that the Targaryens regained the sword at least at one point. Assuming Haegon had it. Whether they could keep it is unclear - but then, it would be cool if Maekar and Aegon V had it, no?

Yes it would, but the lack of any mention of the sword after the Secon Blackfyre Rebellion suggests to me that the Targaryens did not retain the blade or that the George was keeping his options open. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea that it was smuggled out of KL/wherever it would have been kept after Haegon lost would also somewhat stretch credibility.

If Rhaenyra could do it, why not another? Blackfyre supporters were able to spring Bittersteel from taking the black. Why couldn't they smuggle a sword? 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Summerhall would be an interesting place to lose it, but for plausibility reasons - assuming it was with Egg and thus burned inside the castle - one would assume that it was actually lost forever after such a catastrophe. I mean, this was a palace of considerable size, presumably, and the there would have been a lot of rabble there. Could be that people searched for it in the ruins but it would be awfully convenient if they actually found it. A sword isn't exactly a dragon carcass...

Almost as convenient as stumbling upon a nest of petrified dragon’s eggs in the Dothraki Sea. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

If I was George I'd not use Summerhall as the place where the sword was lost by one side and regained by another.

Fortunately for the rest of us you are not. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no reason to believe this was a 'civil war' or anything. It was a duel between Daemon and Maelys which the latter clearly won. One assumes that the previous Blackfyre captain-general - perhaps the father of Daemon (IV) or uncle of both Daemon and Maelys - died and then a short conflict ensued who should lead the Golden Company after him. We are talking about a sellsword company here, not about a vast empire containing factions and the like.

Yeah, that's why I described the brief conflict (go ahead and look up the word if you need to, I will wait) as a little civil war between Maelys and his cousin Daemon. I assume they each had their supporters. Whether such supporters might have engaged in hostile acts against each other would be purely speculative, but not ruled out either. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

And even if Daemon (IV) had Blackfyre at the time of his death, wouldn't one assume he had the sword at the time of his death, trying to use it to kill Maelys?

Yes. And perhaps some supporter of Daemon's made off with it. It's all just guessing. It might have been lost, it might have been hung on a wall at the Red Keep, it might have been lost at Summerhall--who the heck knows? You? 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Prior to TWoIaF I also assumed - without much thinking - that the Blackfyres would have had Blackfyre until Maelys. But if you actually begin to imagine the details of their history - and their constant defeats - that idea doesn't appear to be very compelling. Still, without the information we have on the deaths of Haegon and Daemon III - and the capture of Bittersteel in 219 AC - I'd not champion the idea that the Targaryens may have recaptured the sword.

And if Aegon ended up wearing 'the sword of kings' which was last in the possession of Aerys II (or Aegon V) then the propaganda effect of that would be much greater than if this sword had last been wielded by doomed pretenders and freaks like Daemon III and Maelys the Monstrous.

Blackfyre was the sword of kings back in the days of the Unworthy. But if Aegon IV was the last real king actually wielding it then, one assumes, its reputation isn't going to be the same in 300 AC.

Did all that thinking make your head hurt? Have you been satisfied with everything the George has written so far, especially as to the backstory? You seemed pretty dissatisfied with The Sons of the Dragon. Perhaps you won't be so satisfied with the Blackfyre backstory. Who knows? 

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59 minutes ago, Daemon The Black Dragon said:

If the Targaryens regained Blackfyre from Haegon or Daemon lll, I would think we would've heard about it. Especially if Maekar or Aegon V were using Blackfyre during their reign.

That's the thing - we don't have to hear about stuff like that because George is gradually revealing the back story in this series. There are plot elements we technically should have heard a long time ago - but we don't, because it is part of the narrative structure of the series to reveal those things gradually.

Aside from very basic facts we virtually get no new information on the reigns of Aerys I, Maekar, and Aegon V. And that's no coincidence. It would have spoiled some future Dunk & Egg stories, but possibly also revelation George is setting up for the main series.

The back story of Blackfyre should better be dealt with in the novel in which it first appears - most likely TWoW - rather than some companion book. And even there we don't need a lot of back story - just some pieces of information how the sword ended up in Illyrio's hands. We don't need it's entire journey from Bittersteel on - that's for Dunk & Egg stories.

The same goes for Dark Sister. The sword featured heavily in the first half of TWoIaF but we didn't get any information on its whereabouts after it was given to Bloodraven. And there is a reason for that, too. George doesn't want to spoil this surprise, either. And chances are very likely that Dark Sister remained in the possession of the king after Aegon V sent Bloodraven to the Wall. Especially if Blackfyre was with the Blackfyres at that time. I mean, why on earth should any king give up the last Valyrian steel sword his family still possessed?

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