SunfyreTheGolden

Who was the best Targaryen King?

164 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, LionoftheWest said:

We know that Fireball was chivalrous, as commented by Duncan the Tall himself (...).

That seems to be Dunk being kind and nice. Dunk is always very nice, not to mention that he doesn't have firsthand experience of any of those men. The men fighting for the Black Dragon and the men fighting for the Red Dragon are both part of the same songs and stories. And while Fireball did some great deeds and feat of arms, nothing indicates he was a 'true knight' in the sense of that word.

His alleged bastard son, Glendon Flowers, already seems to be a much better man than he ever was.

We also don't really know as of yet that Bittersteel ever had a wife. It is implied - and I think very likely - that he ended up marrying Calla Blackfyre but we don't know that yet. And, of course, if they married they most likely had children. If they had only daughters those might not have been important enough to be ever mentioned, but they could also have had sons who died serving with the Golden Company - or during either the Third or Fourth Rebellion. One also expects that some Blackfyre sons and grandsons may have died during pointless campaigns in Essos rather than during the rebellions. The life of a sellsword isn't exactly easy.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

(Also, I'm not sure Fireball remained master-at-arms once Daeron passed him over. I think this is an assumption based on his being in position to rescue Daemon, but it feels like if he was spending a lot of time with Daemon that he was probably not at court at lot.)

The idea isn't only based on that claim, but rather Egg's statement that Fireball was the master-at-arms who trained not only all the great bastards but also Daeron II's four sons, including Egg's own father.

Now, Baelor Breakspear may have been not far behind Daemon Blackfyre in 182-184 AC, but we don't know exactly when Aerys, Rhaegel, and Maekar were born (or rather: I don't know that - you might). We can, however, assume that each of Baelor's younger brothers was at least about a year younger than the elder brother, meaning that Aerys could have been thirteen, Rhaegel twelve, and Maekar eleven when their father took the throne in 184 AC. If we assume Fireball trained both Baelor and Maekar to knighthood, and if we assume they were made knights when they became adults (or around that time) one assumes Fireball would have remained master-at-arms at least for five years after Daeron II took the throne.

And if we assume he also saw Brynden Rivers to knighthood - which the man might also gotten around the age of sixteen - then we are talking about him remaining master-at-arms until the year 191 AC.

I guess the important question here would be when exactly Daeron II passed Fireball over. It is certainly possible that this day only came in the 190s. If Fireball showed his anger openly then, one could see Daeron II dismissing him as master-of-arms and replacing him with somebody else. If Fireball also played a crucial role in convincing Daemon to rebel it would also make sense if his resentment only began to fester in the 190s.

While it seems to be confirmed that Brynden Rivers may have been raised at court from birth - due to the fact that he and his mother were close to Daeron, Aemon, and Naerys - we do know that Aegor Rivers was raised at Stonehedge. That means that he only could have been trained by Fireball - and gotten close to Daemon - after Daeron II allowed him to live at court.

One also gets the impression that Daemon Blackfyre spent most of his days at court, anyway. We know that Daeron II gave him a tract of land (in the Crownlands, most likely) and the right to built a castle, but we don't know if he ever did that. Even if he did, a man like him wasn't made for the countryside and family life. He would have been where the action was - which means at court, and - of course - touring the Realm, showing his face, going from tourney to tourney, and basking in the admiration of the young men and women. Especially in the years leading up to the rebellion.

Once Fireball was no longer the master-at-arms one can see him hanging out with Daemon more. 

One imagines Daemon's attempted arrest took either place in the Red Keep itself, or at least in KL. Daemon's country castle - if it existed - is less likely. After all, Daeron II likely wouldn't have sent just the Kingsguard to arrest his half-brother if the man had the ability to bar himself in his castle - or attack the KG with his own sworn swords.

Edited by Lord Varys

Share this post


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

Sure, performative chivalry is a thing in Westeros. Jaime Lannister had it in spades. Criston Cole, too. Loras Tyrell is another example, and of course Renly. 

Jaime Lannister is going to be the standard for chivalry? The guy who throws a kid out of a window and threatens to catapult babies at castles? Again I'm not sure I've stressed the difference between martial prowess and chivalry enough here. Because clearly we aren't on the same page. 

Quote

Would I consider Fireball a "true knight", like Duncan the Tall (heh) or Prince Baelor? No.

Why not?

I'm just trying to understand where we get this idea... I know I build an image of characters in my head, I'm sure we all do, based on what information we have.

And I find I make parallels to other characters to help me fill in the gaps, is this always fair, probably not, and discussions like this help me see how others have put together a few lines about someone into what they are seeing.

Fireball being master at arms of the red keep and rescuing an "heir" from the incoming arrest is oddly reminiscent of Willem Darry, a good man and true but not of the kingsguard. And the boy who claimed to be his kid was super likeable, which helps a lot.

Quote

We see it from Daemon as well. Daemon  was probably a better person than Fireball was, for whatever that's worth. Neither of them seem to have been as consistently "good" as Baelor or the picture we have of Daeron. Aegor was a bad customer who had reasons for being angry at the world, but those are explanations rather than excuses, I think.

Not as "good" as Baelor (presumably you don't mean Baelor the blessed, because that might be a compliment), is just not something I know how I'd judge with the facts I have...

Daemon always appeared to me to have a lot in common with Rhaegar, the physical appearance, the odd ability to loom over the story without ever really appearing in it haha, not to mention the potential of multiple wives looming over them. 

But that he was easy to like and attractive, maybe I added the brooding melancholy in my head.

A man who should be king but didn't just take it, and in fact waited until they felt they had to, but it was already too late.

Aegor I just know so little about. I know he and Bloodraven hated each other, I know he felt shafted by court and by the love interest... but I guess I don't know where I'm getting the "bad customer" and angry at the world... by the end, in exile and defeated, sure, and the gold skull is a nice touch. 

I always got the impression he got a bad wrap as the guy on the losing side... but maybe he deserved it, maybe there are details I missed in this regard. But given the bias of the world book I'm hesitant to take character opinions from it at face value.

I see the anger, I guess I just don't see where the cruelty/malevolence/evil/bad-customer is coming from... there is room for it, maybe he really did just brood over perceived wrongs and pour poison in Daemons ear, but I didn't get that impression.

Edited by LiveFirstDieLater

Share this post


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

He was crowned and anointed. That's what makes you king, not your legitimate birth. King Aenys also ruled as king despite the fact that it is not that unlikely that he wasn't the Conqueror's seed.

This is a might makes right arguement... just because he was king doesn't make him "rightful" king... the winners write the history, doesn't mean the losers were always the bad guys. 

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:
19 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

I'm assuming you mean we can't know he was a bastard without proof, being a bastard or not isn't really dependent on proof being available later... nor can we ever expect to get proof either way.

Since there are no paternity tests in this world a bastard technically is only a person born outside of wedlock. A child born in wedlock is the child of the father unless he objects. And if he acknowledges a child as his it is not up to you - or anyone in this world - to challenge that.

Again, lack of proof doesn't change the truth of something...

Joff for instance is the same example, you can't prove he's a bastard... because Robert didn't disown him he's legitimate? Nonsense...

This is why I keep returning to the better man arguement, the reason I don't want Joff as king is that he sucks, nothing to do with his parentage.

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:
Quote

I'm a little confused, since it seems that Aegon did try to have Daeron publically proclaimed a bastard when he instigated (through a third party) the whole trial by combat where the Dragonknight won. However, he seemed to have some reason not to openly proclaim it, wether this was fear of the Dragonknight or some other repercussion, or just some evil scheme to cause chaos after his death... I can't say.

It was just a trial about the adultery of the queen with her other brother, not about the paternity of the king's son. The insinuation there certainly was that - if Naerys was adulterous - Aegon might also not be Daeron's father, but the Dragonknight took care of the entire thing.

Ya I mean we don't really know how it went down, but it sure seemed to be about Daeron's parentage to me... it also seems that Aegon was afraid of or at least checked by the Dragonknight.

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:
Quote

After all, if Daeron's legitimacy is in question, Eustace's whole "better man" with better friends argument might hold a lot of water.

Not really. Then Daeron would be the son of a better man - Aemon the Dragonknight - and Daemon Blackfyre still be the illegitimate son of Aegon IV. Daeron would still be the better man - and most definitely the better king.

Wow... the whole point of this arguement is that who the man is is more important than who his parents are... being the better man doesn't have anything to do with who your daddy is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lord Varys,

He just trained his "uncles". Not clear this meant all of them, per se. Presumably the ones that actually matter in this are Baelor and Maekar, the two who could actually fight with any noted skill. But this doesn't mean he trained them through to knighthood. We just know he trained them as master-at-arms through some period of time. We know Daemon had other trainers besides Fireball -- TWoIaF explicitly notes Fireball was one among a number of masters-at-arms.

 

LFDL,

The anger at the world is per GRRM, who says that he was "pissed off all his life".

Edited by Ran

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Ran said:

The anger at the world is per GRRM, who says that he was "pissed off all his life".

Great little descriptions of the bastards appearance! I do prefer the newer arms for Bittersteel too! 

Im just not sure I equate anger with being a bad dude, especially since I don't like Bloodraven either... but thanks again, it helps me better understand!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Ran said:

Lord Varys,

He just trained his "uncles". Not clear this meant all of them, per se. Presumably the ones that actually matter in this are Baelor and Maekar, the two who could actually fight with any noted skill. But this doesn't mean he trained them through to knighthood. We just know he trained them as master-at-arms through some period of time. We know Daemon had other trainers besides Fireball -- TWoIaF explicitly notes Fireball was one among a number of masters-at-arms.

That is the quote from TMK:

Quote

Ser Quentyn Ball was the master-at-arms at the Red Keep. He taught my father and my uncles how to fight. The Great Bastards too.

I'd agree that Aerys and Rhaegel wouldn't have received all that much training, depending on their nature and talent (no idea when Rhaegel's madness first manifested itself).

Even if he didn't train Maekar and Brynden to knighthood, considering Brynden's age - and Maekar's, depending when he was born - one has to assume that Fireball served at least a few years as master-at-arms after 184 AC. Bloodraven would have been only 8-9 at Daeron's coronation, and if Bittersteel didn't live at court during the reign of his father (which is implied by TWoIaF, although not confirmed for the entire reign - although the Bethany Bracken episode makes it exceedingly unlikely that Aegor was welcome at court after that) then the whole training of Bittersteel and Bloodraven under Fireball would have taken place only after Daeron II became king.

And there is actually no problem with that considering that there are only seven Kingsguard and they do not necessarily die all that often.

In fact, it seems that the poison did fester for quite some time. One can have the Daemon-Daenerys romance in the 180s (perhaps sort of blossoming after Rohanne went back to Tyrosh for an extended visit with her parents after the birth of the twins), the growing rivalry between Brynden and Aegor, finally escalating with the flowering of Shiera Seastar, the greatest beauty of her age (which, one assumes, was in the early 190s).

If the Fireball thing happened in that timeframe - say, around 190-191 AC - we have more than enough time to see personal resentment slowly developing political qualities.

When thinking about what Daemon may have done in all those years the whole picture of the tourneys he may have attended and won really sticks in your head. Imagine Daemon Blackfyre in 190-194 AC attending tourneys in Lannisport, Highgarden, Oldtown, Harrenhal, Riverrun, KL, etc., showing of his abilities, face, and rising the sword of the kings in front of a cheering crowd.

It is not difficult at all to imagine how people might have come to the conclusion that this guy should be king.

Especially if Daeron II wasn't attending such tourneys, having better things to do. And while Baelor may have been there to represent his father, he wasn't exactly looking like a Targaryen, was he?

By the way: Do you have the death year for Daena the Defiant? I tossed around the idea that she may have been already dead when Aegon acknowledged Daemon. If that was true, it might even be that Aegon wasn't Daemon's father and just pretended he was so he could use him as a weapon against Daeron. That would be fun.

After all, it is pretty odd that he waited so long to acknowledge the boy even after he had become king.

29 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

This is a might makes right arguement... just because he was king doesn't make him "rightful" king... the winners write the history, doesn't mean the losers were always the bad guys. 

No, the point here is that a child born in wedlock usually is the child of the father, never mind who the actual father is. We don't even check the paternity of our children to this day on regular basis despite the fact that we can make paternity tests now.

If Aegon IV had believed that Daeron was not his son, he should have accused his sister-wife of adultery back in 153 AC when Daeron was born. And if he knew he wasn't the father - because he didn't consummate the marriage around the time his sister-wife got pregnant - then he should have told that to his father and King Aegon III back then, too.

There was no reason to be afraid of the Dragonknight back then.

In addition, even if Aemon and Naerys had an affair back then - this would still not prove that Daeron isn't Aegon's son. As things stand, Aegon did consummate his marriage around the time Daeron was conceived so he very well could be the father. Just as he is apparently the father of all of Naerys' stillborn and miscarried children, including the final pregnancy who killed her (not to mention that it is oddly never questioned that he is the father of Naerys' other child, Daenerys).

It is actually pretty obvious that this whole 'You may not be my son' thing is the king of thing a shitty father says to a son he has grown to resent. Aegon and Daeron apparently started quarreling even before - or only around - the time his father became king.

29 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Again, lack of proof doesn't change the truth of something...

The truth of something is irrelevant if it is a private matter. 

29 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Joff for instance is the same example, you can't prove he's a bastard... because Robert didn't disown him he's legitimate? Nonsense...

The parallel is pretty obvious here. Stannis has no proof that Robert's children are not his seed. What right does he have to claim the Iron Throne without such proof?

29 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Ya I mean we don't really know how it went down, but it sure seemed to be about Daeron's parentage to me... it also seems that Aegon was afraid of or at least checked by the Dragonknight.

The Dragonknight and Naerys both predeceased Aegon, so in the end there was pretty much nothing what could have stopped Aegon. But the whole family dynamics there are completely unknown to us. Aegon, Aemon, and Naerys were all siblings - and while they had severe issues, there might be moments when even Aegon and Aemon treated each other as brothers. Aemon died to save his brother, after all. He was not forced to do that, presumably.

And keep in mind - Aegon was really a nasty piece of shit. The man knew how people thought, and he may have been more interested in manipulating and confusing people, rather than making a point openly. And he very much succeeded at that. People wonder what it meant that Aegon gave Daemon 'the sword' - doing exactly what he wanted them to do.

29 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Wow... the whole point of this arguement is that who the man is is more important than who his parents are... being the better man doesn't have anything to do with who your daddy is.

Well, if Aemon was the father of Daeron II the better man would have been his father, no?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LV,

Yes. My point was that there's no evidence that Fireball remained master-at-arms once Daeron passed him over, which is a fairly different proposition than his having remained master-at-arms right up until he rescued Daemon. This is one of those things that George will likely expand on in F&B v2, or perhaps a future Dunk & Egg story if we see more of Glendon Flowers.

 

 

Share this post


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

LV,

Yes. My point was that there's no evidence that Fireball remained master-at-arms once Daeron passed him over, which is a fairly different proposition than his having remained master-at-arms right up until he rescued Daemon. This is one of those things that George will likely expand on in F&B v2, or perhaps a future Dunk & Egg story if we see more of Glendon Flowers.

Yeah, I'm with you there. I just wanted to point out that Fireball couldn't have been fired early on in Daeron II's reign.

By the way, having read the entire quote of Egg's again:

Quote

For his hot head and red hair. Ser Quentyn Ball was the master-at-arms at the Red Keep. He taught my father and my uncles how to fight. The Great Bastards too. King Aegon promised to raise him to the Kingsguard, so Fireball made his wife join the silent sisters, only by the time a place came open King Aegon was dead and King Daeron named Ser Willam Wylde instead. My father says that it was Fireball as much as Bittersteel who convinced Daemon Blackfyre to claim the crown and rescued him when Daeron sent the Kingsguard to arrest him. Later on, Fireball killed Lord Lefford at the gates of Lannisport and sent the Grey Lion running back to hide inside the Rock. At the crossing of the Mander he cut down the sons of Lady Penrose one by one. They say he spared the life of the youngest one as a kindness to his mother.

We see here Daeron II favoring the Stormlanders yet again. We have three royal marriages involving Stormlanders - two Penroses, one Dondarrion (the wife of the Prince of Dragonstone) and another Stormlander in the Kingsguard.

Even without the fact that Baelor arrived with an army of Stormlanders on the Redgrass Field, the chances that (m)any Stormlords ended up siding with Daemon Blackfyre is exceedingly unlikely at this point.

This kind of favoritism shown to an entire region is, if we exclude the Crownlands, unheard of.

Edited by Lord Varys

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Yeah, I'm with you there. I just wanted to point out that Fireball couldn't have been fired early on in Daeron II's reign.

By the way, having read the entire quote of Egg's again:

We see here Daeron II favoring the Stormlanders yet again. We have three royal marriages involving Stormlanders - two Penroses, one Dondarrion (the wife of the Prince of Dragonstone) and another Stormlander in the Kingsguard.

Even without the fact that Baelor arrived with an army of Stormlanders on the Redgrass Field, the chances that (m)any Stormlords ended up siding with Daemon Blackfyre is exceedingly unlikely at this point.

This kind of favoritism shown to an entire regions is, if we exclude the Crownlands, unheard of.

And yet this is exactly the period in which some are trying to claim that Daeron favored Dorne to an unheard of level (despite us only knowing of one marriage to Dorne that he was responsible for), which clearly does not stand up to scrutiny.

Share this post


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

No, the point here is that a child born in wedlock usually is the child of the father, never mind who the actual father is. We don't even check the paternity of our children to this day on regular basis despite the fact that we can make paternity tests now.

We don't base our system of government on people's paternity either... and saying we don't check unless we have a reason to is just common sense, I don't know what any of it has to do with the subject at hand.

Quote

If Aegon IV had believed that Daeron was not his son, he should have accused his sister-wife of adultery back in 153 AC when Daeron was born. And if he knew he wasn't the father - because he didn't consummate the marriage around the time his sister-wife got pregnant - then he should have told that to his father and King Aegon III back then, too.

Again I don't see how saying Aegon the Unworthy "should" have done is relevant... he probably should have slept around less and been more worthy... guy was terrible, his decisions shouldn't guide our judgements, especially since it seems he intentionally muddied the waters.

Quote

There was no reason to be afraid of the Dragonknight back then.

Why not? Guy was a hero, seems pretty universally respected... and Aegon is the unworthy... but we know very little of their relationship.

Quote

In addition, even if Aemon and Naerys had an affair back then - this would still not prove that Daeron isn't Aegon's son. As things stand, Aegon did consummate his marriage around the time Daeron was conceived so he very well could be the father. Just as he is apparently the father of all of Naerys' stillborn and miscarried children, including the final pregnancy who killed her (not to mention that it is oddly never questioned that he is the father of Naerys' other child, Daenerys).

It is actually pretty obvious that this whole 'You may not be my son' thing is the king of thing a shitty father says to a son he has grown to resent. Aegon and Daeron apparently started quarreling even before - or only around - the time his father became king.

Nothing about this is obvious, it's about as convoluted and blurry as imaginable.

Quote

The truth of something is irrelevant if it is a private matter. 

When you base a system of government on it, it stops being private.

But I can accept that we need to set the parentage question aside because it's so unclear and unlikely to be resolved.

Thus the "better man" arguement...

Quote

The parallel is pretty obvious here. Stannis has no proof that Robert's children are not his seed. What right does he have to claim the Iron Throne without such proof?

We know Stannis is right because Cersei has admitted as much... his lack of proof doesn't effect the facts.

I don't understand what you were trying to say.

Quote

The Dragonknight and Naerys both predeceased Aegon, so in the end there was pretty much nothing what could have stopped Aegon. But the whole family dynamics there are completely unknown to us. Aegon, Aemon, and Naerys were all siblings - and while they had severe issues, there might be moments when even Aegon and Aemon treated each other as brothers. Aemon died to save his brother, after all. He was not forced to do that, presumably.

And keep in mind - Aegon was really a nasty piece of shit. The man knew how people thought, and he may have been more interested in manipulating and confusing people, rather than making a point openly. And he very much succeeded at that. People wonder what it meant that Aegon gave Daemon 'the sword' - doing exactly what he wanted them to do.

Yes Aegon the Unworthy sucked... but he did what he did, he gave away the sword, he legitimized his kids, and he cast doubt on Daeron's legitimacy.

As Ran pointed out, had he named Daemon heir, it's quite possible Daeron would have moved against him immediately. Instead the conflict was delayed for over a decade until Daeron tried to have Daemon arrested.

Quote

Well, if Aemon was the father of Daeron II the better man would have been his father, no?

Are you trolling me? 

The "better man" arguement is based on the men in question, not who their fathers were.

Is that confusing? Or am I missing a joke or something?

Share this post


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

The wiki isn't canon. The actual quote is

Sorry, I am referring to the World of Ice and Fire as the Wiki, which is not right.  My mistake.

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is the majority opinion of the legal gang, but the king isn't bound by any of that. In the eyes of many Asha Greyjoy and Alys Karstark have strong claims to Pyke and Karhold, but Arnolf Karstark and Euron Greyjoy don't care about that. And neither did King Viserys.

The King IS bound by it.  He is only king because of this precedent!  If it is not an iron precedent, then his own kingship is invalid and therefore, any decision he makes is equally invalid.  Literally his entire platform of legitimacy rests on it.

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

His decision to ignore the Great Council would have set a precedent, too.

Viserys is also not bound by the way he himself came to the throne when he regulates his own succession. Maegor usurped the throne. Does that mean his successor also has to steal the throne from him?

Again, until you learn about feudal politics, this discussion is pointless.  It is a feudal contract.  There are rights and responsibilities on both sides.  The king on the Iron Throne is not an absolute monarch; Jaehaerys empowers the Great Council, which gives it's decisions the force of law.

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Robert's ascension is another blow to this 'iron precedent' interpretation. Obviously King Robert is a Targaryen through the female line, right? So what is he doing on the Iron Throne when he cannot take it?

Male-line inheritors take precedence in all cases over female line, but that doesn't mean the female line is completely disinherited.

And again, to my point - Aerys II violates the feudal contract, and is thus overthrown.  All of that is legal from a feudal standpoint; a king who does not respect law or property or tradition will be thrown down.  Which implicitly de-legitimizes his entire line.

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no indication that the Targaryen kings were limited by any legal institutions. Basically it is take the shit the king is serving you or openly rebel. But rebellion is treason, so you are down to zero legal options. There is no Parliament, no Magna Carta, nothing restricting the power of the king in any way.

Ummm... what are the Great Councils, if not Parliaments?

And we have PLENTY of indication that the Targaryen kings were limited in their powers.  Aenys I nearly loses his crown because he went against the edicts of the Faith.  Maegor is forced into exile over his polygamy.  Aegon V plays the feudal politics game in order to gain support for his reforms because he can't just enforce them.  Earlier monarchs have dragons, which allows them to circumvent law and tradition, but as we see once the dragons die, the basic form of government in Westeros is weak feudal monarchy.

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There is ample evidence that precedents are not binding. That's why they are precedents, actually. A legal system based on precedents is never binding. A precedent has to be acknowledged and cited as such. And even if people recognize it as such, people could cite other precedents - or invent some, by taking obscure legal decisions and (re-)interpreting them.

Go learn medieval history.  Until you do, your words bear no weight.  Precedent and privilege essentially are law in a pre-modern society, because our current, highly litigious society would be unrecognizable to a feudal noble.

And yes, sometimes people try and manipulate precedent and tradition to portray radical new customs dressed up in the clothes of the old ones; Augustus takes absolute power in Rome by clothing himself in traditional roles and powers, not all of which are legal in nature.  Julius Caeser was a threat to the optimates in Rome as much because of the transcendental nature of his unofficial auctoritas as because of his tangible wealth.  Urban VI's Golden Bull of 1356 established the formal Electors for the Holy Roman Empire, positions of immense power and prestige, and it did so on the basis of "accounts and traditions from the ancients".

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I suggest you change your tone a little bit here. This is civil discussion.

Look.  You genuinely seem to have no idea what you're talking about, as you have displayed no knowledge of medieval history or scholarship, are blatantly confusing historical epochs, and just seem to assume that your opinion is fact.

On the other hand, I've been consistently citing scholarship, primary source documentation, and historical fact (or at the very least universally accepted historical opinion, since motivations are subject to discussion and aren't "fact" even if the person in question tells your their motivation outright).  Until you are capable of backing up your arguments with anything, even if that anything is to quote a Wikipedia page, I will be justified in calling your arguments less serious and more specious than my own.  That is literally the definition of how scholarship works; you need to cite to be taken seriously, even if only on a forum dedicated to a fantasy series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lets stay polite, folks.

FWIW, on the issue here, I believe that the question of precedents is much more complicated  than simply the king can do whatever he pleases. I've already spoken against the idea that the "absolute" part of the Targaryen monarchy meant that each individual king could do what he pleased. What I do believe is true is that the Targaryens did not create and invest any specific institution with counterbalancing authority. The Great Council is not a regular parliament. Jaehaerys used it as a consulting body to determine what was the broader will of the realm when he was feeling too old and in too precarious waters to simply make a decision as readily as he had done in 92 AC.

Yet it's worth pointing out that the idea that Great Council of 101 AC was an undisputed precedent is not in the text -- "many" saw it that way, but it's obviously not the case that Viserys did, and the question follows whether he was wrong to do this. One of the most interesting aspects of the Heirs of the Dragon is that Ser Otto Hightower strongly advocated for Rhaenyra to inherit ahead of Daemon Targaryen -- "Better the Realm's Delight than Lord Flea Bottom" -- when Rhaenyra was the only child. Obviously his views on this changed later, but suffice it to say, at one point at least he didn't consider it "iron clad precedent".

So, can a king violate precedent? Sure. A king can do all sorts of things, though, including commit crimes and injustices and so on. There's a complex interplay that follows. Precedents can matter, especially when they establish rights, but these things are fundamentally negotiable.

In the end, Westeros works like this. The Targaryen inheritance laws were not codified by anyone -- Jaehaerys didn't actually put down a law that was intended to bind his successors. The Great Council made a decree on a particular situation that provided support for an idea of a developing tradition, but it wasn't iron law. Rhaenyra might have succeeded to the throne if it hadn't been for the fact that Viserys went on to have sons, and perhaps even with those sons Viserys could have done something to insure Rhaenyra's succession (what that would be, I do not know).

Edited by Ran

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Ran said:

One of the most interesting aspects of the Heirs of the Dragon is that Ser Otto Hightower strongly advocated for Rhaenyra to inherit ahead of Daemon Targaryen -- "Better the Realm's Delight than Lord Flea Bottom" -- when Rhaenyra was the only child. Obviously his views on this changed later, but suffice it to say, at one point at least he didn't consider it "iron clad precedent".

Excellent point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

And yet this is exactly the period in which some are trying to claim that Daeron favored Dorne to an unheard of level (despite us only knowing of one marriage to Dorne that he was responsible for), which clearly does not stand up to scrutiny.

I'd really like to have more information on that whole thing, actually. One of the hugest letdowns in TWoIaF was effectively the fact that Queen Mariah Martell is a non-entity in the book. One assumed that she was a major player - and perhaps the most important advisor of her husband in all his reforms - but if that's the case we don't know any about that. For all we know she could have died in childbirth, delivering Maekar (although that would have meant she never was queen, after all, and I think that, at least, is confirmed).

4 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

We don't base our system of government on people's paternity either... and saying we don't check unless we have a reason to is just common sense, I don't know what any of it has to do with the subject at hand.

The idea is that this isn't exactly a public matter unless the authority in charge - the king or husband - makes it a public matter. If I'm Laenor Velaryon, say, and I have no inclination of ever consummate my so-called 'marriage', and I also like watching Harwin Strong fuck my so-called 'wife' then that's only my business.

If Robert had commanded Jaime to fuck Cersei to produce some royal children because he was impotent or disinterested or otherwise unwilling to have sex with her then this isn't Stannis' or Jon Arryn's or anyone's business. It is basically an invasion of privacy.

A king's or lord's children are the children the king or lord acknowledges as such. If he is very aware that they are not his seed then the whole 'betrayal' isn't a betrayal at all.

That's why Laenor Velaryon and Rhaenyra Targaryen had a working marriage - and perhaps Aegon the Conqueror and Rhaenys Targaryen, too. It is not unlikely that King Aenys was not, in fact, the Conqueror's seed.

4 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Why not? Guy was a hero, seems pretty universally respected... and Aegon is the unworthy... but we know very little of their relationship.

Aemon was still a rather young youth when Aegon and Naerys married in 153 AC. There is no reason to believe Aegon was afraid of him, then. Chances are that he was never really afraid of him, actually. After all, he constantly insisted to sleep with his sister-wife despite the fact that she didn't want that (meaning he raped her for most of their marriage), and he also seems to have done that with the intention to kill her by means of impregnating her. And he eventually succeeded at that.

If Aegon had been afraid of Aemon then one assumes that Naerys wouldn't have conceived children while Aemon was around. It could have killed her.

4 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

When you base a system of government on it, it stops being private.

You have an obligation to come forward with what you know if you have reason to believe a (royal) husband is unaware of the affair of his wife. In that sense, Ned was certainly honor-bound to go to Robert after he heard the truth from Cersei's own lips. But assume for a moment that Robert had lived to hear the truth from Ned - and had revealed to Ned and the reader that he was very aware of the entire thing and didn't care. Or that he was pissed and abhorred by the entire thing yet still decided to keep Joff as his heir as to prevent Stannis from taking the throne (which, from his POV, might have actually been worse than a King Joffrey under the tutelage and regency of Eddard Stark).

Could Ned then care about that if Robert had explicitly confirmed Joffrey Baratheon as his trueborn son and heir on his deathbed? A very hard question.

4 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

We know Stannis is right because Cersei has admitted as much... his lack of proof doesn't effect the facts.

It doesn't change the facts, but it shows that acting on rumors and private beliefs which happen to strongly favor your position and ambition aren't exactly the kind of things one should act upon.

The truth isn't really important there. Public display of your belief is. Take the Tyrells, for example. Olenna makes it very clear she doesn't believe Cersei's children are Robert's. Yet Margaery is married to both Joffrey and then Tommen because that's profitable for House Tyrell. If House Tyrell felt it wasn't profitable they would publicly - and not only privately - believe Stannis' story.

4 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Are you trolling me? 

The "better man" arguement is based on the men in question, not who their fathers were.

Is that confusing? Or am I missing a joke or something?

It was somewhat of a joke.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

FWIW, on the issue here, I believe that the question of precedents is much more complicated  than simply the king can do whatever he pleases. I've already spoken against the idea that the "absolute" part of the Targaryen monarchy meant that each individual king could do what he pleased. What I do believe is true is that the Targaryens did not create and invest any specific institution with counterbalancing authority. The Great Council is not a regular parliament. Jaehaerys used it as a consulting body to determine what was the broader will of the realm when he was feeling too old and in too precarious waters to simply make a decision as readily as he had done in 92 AC.

That is basically the way I presented it above, too. The king is the ultimate authority, all power flows from the king, the king makes and unmakes lords, the king names and dismisses members of the Small Council at his will, the king's word is final on all matters, etc.

An absolute monarchy is a monarchy were exactly this is the case. Ideally, such a monarch would also have a powerful bureaucracy and standing military to enforce his will (which the Targaryens always lacked and which, in a sense, leaves them with their pants down after the dragons are gone) but that isn't really necessary for the monarchy to be 'absolute' in principle. Insofar as the legal argumentation and justification for the setup of the political system is concerned.

A feudal monarchy or constitutional monarchy would be an institution where there are other legal bodies and authorities limiting the power of a king. For instance, a system where the Small Council is an actual cabinet of ministers who do not only advise the king but also have the power to make their voices heard. Or a system where the great lords have a voice in the government qua birth (say, hereditary seats on the Small Council). Or a system where an assembly of the lords of the Realm - presided over by the king, perhaps - could actually issue decrees and proclamations binding the king, making such a legal institution - let's call it Great Council - the highest authority in the Realm.

But there are no such institutions. In fact, the Great Council has pretty much nothing in common with Parliament. It is called by the king, and only discusses issues laid before it by the king (or his representatives - Bloodraven, in the case of the Great Council of 233 AC, and Grand Maester Munkun in 126 AC). The lords have no right to call a Great Council all by themselves, nor are the decisions a Great Council reaches binding to the king in any way.

It is made perfectly clear that King Jaehaerys I decided to name Viserys Prince of Dragonstone and Heir Apparent after the lords reached their decision in 101 AC. There is no indication the man was forced to accept their ruling. If he had wanted he could have made Laenor or Laena or Rhaenys, or one of the lesser claimants his successor. It wouldn't have been all that advisable, of course - but then, a king usually calls such a council because he is interested what his lords have to say on the subject. In fact, he is likely also willing to go along with whatever they might say. Else there would be no need to call such a council in the first place.

I'm not sure whether Jaehaerys I couldn't have just named Viserys his heir in 101 AC and be done with it (by choosing Baelon in 92 AC he implicitly also chose Baelon's line, because the successor of a King Baelon would have been Prince Viserys, assuming he hadn't predeceased Baelon). But the important point is that he apparently felt there were real tensions and confusion about the succession, and to ensure a peaceful succession and prevent a civil war he laid the matter before the lords to great a broad consensus - which is something one would expect from a man famed as 'the Conciliator'. 

In that sense, the power of the Targaryen kings is really pretty absolute. King Aerys II can make fire the champion of House Targaryen in a trial-by-combat. Nobody contradicts him about that in public. Nobody says that this is a wise measure, but the fact that people can also rebel doesn't mean the king's power is technically restricted. Even the power of the Russian Czars or Louis XIV-XVI was restricted by the fact that their subjects could always rise up against them and depose them (which they eventually did).

Aerys II and Maegor being toppled by other kings doesn't mean the power of the monarchy as an institution was limited. In fact, nobody takes any precaution to limit Robert's power in any way, to be able to deal with him better should he - or one of his successors - become a mad king, too. And one sees this strange deference to the king as a person and institution even in their enemies. Aerys II may have been mad, but he was also the king, and nobody says anything about him 'losing the right to rule' or anything by becoming mad or a tyrant. In fact, his sworn enemy Eddard Stark basically wanted to avenge his death - just as Cregan Stark actually (sort of) avenged the death of his sworn enemy, Aegon II.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

Yet it's worth pointing out that the idea that Great Council of 101 AC was an undisputed precedent is not in the text -- "many" saw it that way, but it's obviously not the case that Viserys did, and the question follows whether he was wrong to do this. One of the most interesting aspects of the Heirs of the Dragon is that Ser Otto Hightower strongly advocated for Rhaenyra to inherit ahead of Daemon Targaryen -- "Better the Realm's Delight than Lord Flea Bottom" -- when Rhaenyra was the only child. Obviously his views on this changed later, but suffice it to say, at one point at least he didn't consider it "iron clad precedent".

Exactly. I was making the same point, too, above somewhere, but it is certainly helpful if you make the case, too.

And there are obvious consequences following from that. Otto Hightower pushing Viserys I to name Rhaenyra his Heir Apparent, ignoring the precedent of the Great Council, means he would have been one of the first men swearing the vow of obeisance to Rhaenyra. Which means Ser Otto is both a hypocrite and oath-breaker in 129 AC when he ignores all that. This kind of nonsensical/mad behavior likely is one of the things that earned Otto Hightower the reputation of being one of the worst Hands in history.

Vice versa, it is not that stupid of Viserys I to assume that a man who once supported him in making Rhaenyra his heir would, in the end, stand by that decision.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

So, can a king violate precedent? Sure. A king can do all sorts of things, though, including commit crimes and injustices and so on. There's a complex interplay that follows. Precedents can matter, especially when they establish rights, but these things are fundamentally negotiable.

One should keep in mind, though, that precedents are not established as such, they have been seen and cited and interpreted as such. History and individual rulings of the past, etc. are basically a convoluted mess, often contradictory and originally intended to just settle a concrete issue.

It is hardly surprising that quite a few people came to look to the first Great Council as setting an important precedent on the royal succession in general - after all, it was a huge and costly affair, involving many lords and dignitaries from the entire Realm. But in the end, it only advised King Jaehaerys I on his own succession, it didn't lay down rules and regulations how the succession should go in this or that hypothetical future scenario.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

In the end, Westeros works like this. The Targaryen inheritance laws were not codified by anyone -- Jaehaerys didn't actually put down a law that was intended to bind his successors. The Great Council made a decree on a particular situation that provided support for an idea of a developing tradition, but it wasn't iron law. Rhaenyra might have succeeded to the throne if it hadn't been for the fact that Viserys went on to have sons, and perhaps even with those sons Viserys could have done something to insure Rhaenyra's succession (what that would be, I do not know).

Well, the way it looks it would have been enough if she or one of her allies would have been Hand when her father died. Perhaps it would have been enough for her to be in the capital and not about to give birth.

The impression we get is that there were a lot of her friends and allies at court - all those people Otto imprisoned while he pretended the king was still alive. With the help of those people the coup certainly could have been avoided. If Aegon II was never crowned, there may have been rebellions later on - and perhaps she may have been toppled, too, in the end - but with her being crowned and anointed in KL there would have been a precedent for a Queen Regnant, and that - in and of itself - would have changed the framework of the society, even if she had been overthrown a decade later or so. The weirdo destruction of 'Queen Rhaenyra' by Aegon's decree seems to have gone through because she was only crowned after Aegon, and eventually chased out of the city to die at her brother's hands, who was then restored to the throne. If Joff or Tommen 'hid under some rock' while a 'King Stannis' established a terror regime in KL for half a year, history would most likely not count Stannis as a regular king, either, because the rightfully crowned and anointed king was still out there.

But if you report the facts then Aegon II only ruled as king from 129-130 AC while he was in KL (if we count him as king while he was drugged in his bedchamber) and then from 131 AC onwards after he was restored to the Iron Throne. In the meantime Rhaenyra and the weirdo boy kings ruled.

In light of the misogyny in Westeros and the blatantly obvious fact that Viserys I had three legitimate sons it is rather surprising that she got as much support as she did. And that in and of itself shows that people don't have that much of an issue with a female monarch - even if there are trueborn male alternatives around.

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

The King IS bound by it.  He is only king because of this precedent!  If it is not an iron precedent, then his own kingship is invalid and therefore, any decision he makes is equally invalid.  Literally his entire platform of legitimacy rests on it.

Sorry, that's nowhere stated in this way anyway. You cannot make stuff up.

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Again, until you learn about feudal politics, this discussion is pointless.  It is a feudal contract.  There are rights and responsibilities on both sides.  The king on the Iron Throne is not an absolute monarch; Jaehaerys empowers the Great Council, which gives it's decisions the force of law.

No, it didn't. See above. Ran and I both elaborated on that issue.

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Male-line inheritors take precedence in all cases over female line, but that doesn't mean the female line is completely disinherited.

It does, if you share the view of the 'many' who saw the Great Council as setting an 'iron precedent'. They imply that no woman nor a son through the female might ever sit the Iron Throne. That already betrays their inflexibility - they never thought about a scenario where there are only female heirs around - or male heirs through the female line.

And, quite frankly, Robert Baratheon is effectively Laenor Velaryon all over again.

Toppling King Aerys II is one thing - but crowning Robert Baratheon is another. Viserys, Aegon, Rhaenys, Rhaella, and Daenerys were not involved in Aerys and Rhaegar's crimes. Aerys being a tyrant doesn't make Robert king.

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

And again, to my point - Aerys II violates the feudal contract, and is thus overthrown.  All of that is legal from a feudal standpoint; a king who does not respect law or property or tradition will be thrown down.  Which implicitly de-legitimizes his entire line.

Nope, it does not.

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Ummm... what are the Great Councils, if not Parliaments?

See above. But I give you a hint - they are Great Councils.

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

And we have PLENTY of indication that the Targaryen kings were limited in their powers.  Aenys I nearly loses his crown because he went against the edicts of the Faith.

King Aenys goes against the tenants of the Faith, at a time when the question about the ultimate authority in the Realm - Targaryen king or High Septon - is not yet decided. Maegor resolved that issue. Decisively.

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Maegor is forced into exile over his polygamy. 

While he is still a prince, and as such a subject of King Aenys.

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Aegon V plays the feudal politics game in order to gain support for his reforms because he can't just enforce them. 

Sure, there are some things kings apparently have difficulty doing. But we don't know the details of those reforms. The hints we have is that Aegon V did issue binding decrees - which his lords simply refused to obey. Civil disobedience is just as effective in a monarchy as it can be in a democracy.

And we are likely talking about rather radical changes here, interfering with the relationship between a lord and his property (i.e. peasants), which would have been a much more complicated and sensitive issue than the question of royal succession (which is interesting and all, but certainly not as important as the power a lord has over his peasants).

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Earlier monarchs have dragons, which allows them to circumvent law and tradition, but as we see once the dragons die, the basic form of government in Westeros is weak feudal monarchy.

If that was the case then the history and plot would have gone down much differently. I agree with you that technically there is no way the Targaryens could have had any real authority hundreds of miles away from their capital - not in the Vale, the West, or the Reach - and certainly not in the North - but the author doesn't really care about that. In a truly realistic setting the kings would either be little more than figureheads with the lords ruling their domains in their own right (all of them, in fact, not just the great lords - the idea that the Starks could have actually 'ruled' a kingdom as large the North is just as unrealistic as the whole Targaryen realm) or they would need a powerful royal bureaucracy accompanied by standing militia of some sort, keeping the lords in check. That is one of the major issues with the believability of the setting.

But we see how men like Aegon IV and Aerys II basically can do pretty much whatever they want, never mind that they don't have any dragons. Nobody is telling them no - until Aerys II goes too far. But if you think for a moment the things the man got away with - the fact how fucked-up and mad this man was while people were still doing everything the man was commanding them to do - you see how powerful those kings really were.

In addition, we see how people like Ned and Cat - who, as rulers of Winterfell, effectively should be viceroys of the North - are very wary of the power Robert has as king, and are very conscious of the fact that they should better not give him reason to doubt their loyalty. We also know that Robert can make Jaime Lannister Warden of the East (and it is even implied that Robert had the power to bar Robert Arryn from succeeding Jon as Lord of the Eyrie) on a whim, Doran Martell is con

3 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

And yes, sometimes people try and manipulate precedent and tradition to portray radical new customs dressed up in the clothes of the old ones; Augustus takes absolute power in Rome by clothing himself in traditional roles and powers, not all of which are legal in nature.  Julius Caeser was a threat to the optimates in Rome as much because of the transcendental nature of his unofficial auctoritas as because of his tangible wealth.  Urban VI's Golden Bull of 1356 established the formal Electors for the Holy Roman Empire, positions of immense power and prestige, and it did so on the basis of "accounts and traditions from the ancients".

That is how things are done in such societies, yes. The easiest way to interpret a precedent is to invent or fake one. That was the point of forgeries like the Donation of Constantine. The overwhelming majority of medieval documents are forgeries, precisely because people needed to look for/rewrite the past to deal with the problems of the present.

And by the way: Going around talking about the real middle ages doesn't really help you in such discussions all that much. We are talking about George's books, and how things are there. He is inspired by real world history, but that doesn't mean fact X from the real world middle ages can be transferred to Westeros without us having any reason to believe that George is aware of and/or inspired by that fact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Ran said:

Rhaenyra might have succeeded to the throne if it hadn't been for the fact that Viserys went on to have sons, and perhaps even with those sons Viserys could have done something to insure Rhaenyra's succession (what that would be, I do not know)

Married her to Aegon II when he came of age? :box:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure that would have resolved it, as it would simply have led for people to insist that Aegon was the intended ruler with Rhaenyra as his consort, rather than vice versa.

Better, perhaps, to have made various figures at court publicly swear to Rhaenyra as rightful heir and successor: Alicent, Otto, Aegon, Aemond. That would have done a little bit, at least, to weaken the claim. And for all we know, Aegon would have gone along with it.

Perhaps another, more radical solution would have been Viserys abdicating at some convenient point and making an official show of handing the power to Rhaenyra, and this of course being followed up with the lords of the realms and royal kin renewing their vows of fealty in a carefully managed operation. 

Would it have worked in the long term? Probably not, not with Criston Cole and Alicent there scheming as soon as they could. But still, it would have been something that might have shored up Rhaenyra sufficiently to make the outcomes different.

Share this post


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

Not sure that would have resolved it, as it would simply have led for people to insist that Aegon was the intended ruler with Rhaenyra as his consort, rather than vice versa.

It would still have been some sort of interesting scenario. Rhaenyra was ten years older than Aegon, and if he had ended up in her 'care' when she came of age, being both her ward and betrothed on Dragonstone, then things could have turned out in her favor. It would have been rather difficult for anyone to crown Aegon instead of Rhaenyra if Aegon had been perfectly fine with his role as prince consort at Rhaenyra's side.

It is a shame that George never explored the possibility of a struggle for power and dominance within an incestuous royal marriage. These people are all of royal blood. They all have claims to the throne, and you don't have to be the favorite child and chosen heir of your father to come to the conclusion that your brother-husband sucks at his job of being king, and you are much better at the whole thing.

3 hours ago, Ran said:

Better, perhaps, to have made various figures at court publicly swear to Rhaenyra as rightful heir and successor: Alicent, Otto, Aegon, Aemond. That would have done a little bit, at least, to weaken the claim. And for all we know, Aegon would have gone along with it.

Having Alicent's children swear the vow, too, would have been a good idea. Also to bring Rhaenyra back to court and make her Hand in 119 AC - or later on during the 120s. With her calling the shots when Viserys I died, it is rather unlikely that anyone would have prevented her coronation.

Another idea would have been to marry Helaena to Jacaerys and neutralize Aegon and Aemond by giving the former to the Faith or the Citadel, and the second to the Kingsguard. 

3 hours ago, Ran said:

Perhaps another, more radical solution would have been Viserys abdicating at some convenient point and making an official show of handing the power to Rhaenyra, and this of course being followed up with the lords of the realms and royal kin renewing their vows of fealty in a carefully managed operation. 

That seems to somewhat drastic, and is unknown in Westeros as a measure. But then - making Rhaenyra Hand (and perhaps even Protector of the Realm, as Baelor Breakspear was when he died at Ashford) effectively would have made her a viceroy and co-regent in all but name. She would have been the one sitting the Iron Throne while her father's health deteriorated more and more - not Otto Hightower. And just as Otto and Alicent took the steps to prepare their coup while Viserys slowly died (perhaps poisoned by Alicent) Rhaenyra as Hand could have taken the necessary steps that her dear stepmother and her brood would not interfere with her own coronation.

3 hours ago, Ran said:

Would it have worked in the long term? Probably not, not with Criston Cole and Alicent there scheming as soon as they could. But still, it would have been something that might have shored up Rhaenyra sufficiently to make the outcomes different.

I really wonder what Cole and Alicent would have done if Otto hadn't come back to court as Hand. The Hightowers are really grasping and all at the court of Viserys I, but Viserys' court isn't Robert's. The Hightowers are not everywhere. Otto seems to have gotten men of his choosing in the Small Council (Ironrod Wylde, Tyland Lannister, Larys Strong) but one assumes that wouldn't have happened if he hadn't returned as Hand.

Especially a man like Cole - who was clearly driven by personal resentment - seems to have ended up as a tool of Alicent and Otto. One really wonders what he would have done if time had been given a chance to heal his wounds. You have to be a pretty shitty Kingsguard to go against the wishes of your king. The idea that 'tradition' can be more important to a Kingsguard than the express will of the king holds no water whatsoever. And Cole would also have been one of the first men to swear the vow in 105 AC.

Share this post


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

The idea is that this isn't exactly a public matter unless the authority in charge - the king or husband - makes it a public matter. If I'm Laenor Velaryon, say, and I have no inclination of ever consummate my so-called 'marriage', and I also like watching Harwin Strong fuck my so-called 'wife' then that's only my business.

If Robert had commanded Jaime to fuck Cersei to produce some royal children because he was impotent or disinterested or otherwise unwilling to have sex with her then this isn't Stannis' or Jon Arryn's or anyone's business. It is basically an invasion of privacy.

A king's or lord's children are the children the king or lord acknowledges as such. If he is very aware that they are not his seed then the whole 'betrayal' isn't a betrayal at all.

That's why Laenor Velaryon and Rhaenyra Targaryen had a working marriage - and perhaps Aegon the Conqueror and Rhaenys Targaryen, too. It is not unlikely that King Aenys was not, in fact, the Conqueror's seed.

So I think the issue here is you are assuming that royalty have a right to privacy in this matter... I most certainly do not.

If they are claiming a right to rule based on inheritance and bloodline, then it is inherently a public issue.

But even more basic, I don't see any promises of protecting anyone's privacy in this society, so I certainly don't think it applies to public figures.

A situation like Duncan Prince of Dragonflies, where he relinquished his claim, I can understand giving him privacy after.

But anyone standing line for the throne, or even a lordship, is claiming a right to rule based on who their parents are, thus it is in the public interest to know who their parents are... 

Just because there are situations where parentage might have been successfully hidden and the ruler concerned ended up ok doesn't change the principle.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:
Quote

Why not? Guy was a hero, seems pretty universally respected... and Aegon is the unworthy... but we know very little of their relationship.

Aemon was still a rather young youth when Aegon and Naerys married in 153 AC. There is no reason to believe Aegon was afraid of him, then. Chances are that he was never really afraid of him, actually. After all, he constantly insisted to sleep with his sister-wife despite the fact that she didn't want that (meaning he raped her for most of their marriage), and he also seems to have done that with the intention to kill her by means of impregnating her. And he eventually succeeded at that.

If Aegon had been afraid of Aemon then one assumes that Naerys wouldn't have conceived children while Aemon was around. It could have killed her.

Ya it's just not a family dynamic I understand yet, no real knowledge of what was going on and it seems there was a lot going on...

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:
Quote

When you base a system of government on it, it stops being private.

You have an obligation to come forward with what you know if you have reason to believe a (royal) husband is unaware of the affair of his wife. In that sense, Ned was certainly honor-bound to go to Robert after he heard the truth from Cersei's own lips. But assume for a moment that Robert had lived to hear the truth from Ned - and had revealed to Ned and the reader that he was very aware of the entire thing and didn't care. Or that he was pissed and abhorred by the entire thing yet still decided to keep Joff as his heir as to prevent Stannis from taking the throne (which, from his POV, might have actually been worse than a King Joffrey under the tutelage and regency of Eddard Stark).

Could Ned then care about that if Robert had explicitly confirmed Joffrey Baratheon as his trueborn son and heir on his deathbed? A very hard question.

A king can name an heir, can legitimize and adopt people... so I don't know what you're talking about.

It still doesn't provide any right to privacy, nor does it make parentage any less important in a society and government are by default determined by birth.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:
Quote

We know Stannis is right because Cersei has admitted as much... his lack of proof doesn't effect the facts.

It doesn't change the facts, but it shows that acting on rumors and private beliefs which happen to strongly favor your position and ambition aren't exactly the kind of things one should act upon.

What? Why? I don't think Stannis should have kneeled to Joff!!! And isn't this totally contradictory to what you are about to say about the Tyrells...

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The truth isn't really important there.

I couldn't disagree more... if a man swears an oath to his king and his king's line then it is the crux of his loyalty, honor and his oath.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Public display of your belief is. Take the Tyrells, for example. Olenna makes it very clear she doesn't believe Cersei's children are Robert's. Yet Margaery is married to both Joffrey and then Tommen because that's profitable for House Tyrell. If House Tyrell felt it wasn't profitable they would publicly - and not only privately - believe Stannis' story.

I will not base my moral judgments on characters who don't seem to have any.

I don't condone the Tyrell behavior, nor do I think being self serving is an acceptable excuse for murder, lies, dishonor, and lack of dignity.

This just reinforces why it is in the public interest to know the parentage of princes and princesses... otherwise it's all a subjective plotting snake pit.

I understand the moral relativism arguement... that the truth doesn't matter and only the results do. But I also think it's nonsense.

If your government's and society's fundamental underpinning is based on right by birth, then the legitimacy of your system is fundamentally tied to knowing who your parents are.

Im not saying I like the system, but it is what it is and comes with its own logical baggage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

Married her to Aegon II when he came of age? :box:

How long would Aegon have been content to play consort as Rhaenyra sat the Iron Throne, especially with the Hightowers whispering in his ear? And how easily would they have rid themselves of Rhaenyra without Daemon and the Velaryons in place as her allies? Marrying Rhaenyra to Aegon would have been all but handing Aegon the Iron Throne.

Share this post


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

So I think the issue here is you are assuming that royalty have a right to privacy in this matter... I most certainly do not.

If they are claiming a right to rule based on inheritance and bloodline, then it is inherently a public issue.

Technically you are right there, but again - there are no paternity tests in this world. We have, for instance, Cersei's word that Robert isn't the father of her children. But in the end, even that's not proof. We do know that Cersei and Robert did have sex occasionally, and Robert must have had the impression that he had fucked Cersei around the time his children were conceived - or else the whole thing wouldn't have worked.

Cersei claims she pleasured him in other ways and he was too drunk to remember the next day, but since we don't know what exactly happened there we don't know for certain that Robert can't be the father of the children.

If we ignore that example for a moment and go to Laenor/Rhaenyra/Harwin and Aegon/Naerys/Aemon and assume that Rhaenyra/Naerys slept with the two men around the same time their children were conceived then there is simply no way anyone in this world could determine whose seed those children were - and that includes determining that those children were not the seed of the lawful husbands of those women.

Or let's take the Conqueror and Rhaenys. We know the man had the hots for his sister-wife there, and slept ten times as often with Rhaenys than he slept with Visenya. Yet there are also rumors that Rhaenys slept around with her favorites while Aegon was with Visenya.

If Rhaenys had had more than one sex partner - Aegon - around the time Aenys was conceived, it is certainly possible that Aegon wasn't the biological father of the boy. But there is no way to ever know.

In the end men can only accuse their wives of adultery - and use that as a pretext to declare their own children bastards - but they can never be sure that they are not their seed, even if their wives had other lovers.

And that is basically the entire problem of marriage. Men take wives to control their vagina. To ensure that no other man has access to them. Which is also the reason why adultery is such a heinous crime if the woman commits it. But as long as the woman appears to be a faithful wife the husband is stuck with the children she gave him.

One assumes one can also just accuse a wife of adultery in a society like Westeros to get rid of her. But unless you refused to acknowledge the children of your wife as yours upon their birth you seem to be stuck with them.

There is no way for you to prove that they are not yours. Even if you can prove your wife is an adulteress.

10 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

But anyone standing line for the throne, or even a lordship, is claiming a right to rule based on who their parents are, thus it is in the public interest to know who their parents are... 

The public knows who the parents of the royal children are. The king and the queen. That's all they need to know. It is the reason why the king married the queen in the first place.

There are lots of stories and rumors about the 'true parentage' of certain children. Shireen is allegedly the seed of Patchface (a story invented by Littlefinger and denied by Stannis, but we don't know whether the story is true or not), Aegon the Unworthy allegedly is the true father of Ossifer Plumm's son Lord Viserys Plumm - yet Viserys Plumm still inherited the lands and titles of his father. Aegon the Unworthy may also be the true father of the children Lucas Lothston acknowledged as his own - yet those children were still called Lothston and inherited Harrenhal. 

Obviously nobody cared about 'the biological truth' there. And there is no indication that everybody and their grandmother has a right to investigate the private life of the lords and kings.

10 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Just because there are situations where parentage might have been successfully hidden and the ruler concerned ended up ok doesn't change the principle.

It would fall to the husband to accuse his wife of adultery, or investigate such accusations if other men brought them forth. We see this with Laenor Velaryon, Aegon the Conqueror. and Aegon the Unworthy. There were rumors floating around, but only the Unworthy chose 'to investigate' things. Laenor could have called Rhaenyra an adulteress and a whore as soon as she was pregnant the first time (assuming their marriage were never consummated, as some people suggest) but he didn't do that.

10 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

A king can name an heir, can legitimize and adopt people... so I don't know what you're talking about.

Adoption doesn't seem to be a concept that exists in Westeros. It would be interesting if it did but there are no examples for adoptions as of yet.

10 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

It still doesn't provide any right to privacy, nor does it make parentage any less important in a society and government are by default determined by birth.

Only the king could rule on the fidelity and faithfulness of the queen. Or the legitimacy of the king's own children. Which makes what both Stannis and Ned (try to) do very problematic. If Ned or Stannis - or anyone, really - had the right to doubt the legitimate birth of a prince or king acknowledged as his trueborn child by his (royal) rather then those people - and perhaps anybody else believing in or spreading rumors - could actually sit in judgment over kings and princes.

That doesn't make sense in this world.

You can talk about adultery and bastards born of adultery (and incest) but that's just besmirching the honor of a prince or king, it does not put you in the position to demand a trial to determine the status of the birth of a prince or king who has been acknowledged as such by his royal father.

The Hand - speaking with the late king's voice - could technically have the authority to rule on such a question. But even then this would be a very risky business.

Anyone else pretty much has to shut up in such a scenario. Even members of the royal family.

10 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

What? Why? I don't think Stannis should have kneeled to Joff!!! And isn't this totally contradictory to what you are about to say about the Tyrells...

Sure, without proof Stannis should, in fact, have bent the knee to Joffrey. What else should he do as the loyal younger brother of King Robert?

10 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

I couldn't disagree more... if a man swears an oath to his king and his king's line then it is the crux of his loyalty, honor and his oath.

A man usually swears only a vow to a king, personally, not to his line. But if he did swear an oath to his line then the king decides who constitutes that line by acknowledging the children of his wife as his children, or legitimizing some bastards he has. People can also acknowledge children as their bastards and legitimize them that aren't theirs at all (or something else of that sort). Just think of the example of Addam and Alyn of Hull - who most likely weren't Laenor Velaryon's sons yet legitimized as such.

10 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

I will not base my moral judgments on characters who don't seem to have any.

I don't condone the Tyrell behavior, nor do I think being self serving is an acceptable excuse for murder, lies, dishonor, and lack of dignity.

Olenna's belief are not the truth. Her private beliefs are not based on real facts. And as far as she knows she can never verify her beliefs anyway. Which is the whole point here. There are no paternity tests. Stannis' story is just a story. A convincing story, perhaps, but still not verifiable in this world. Which is why 'the real truth' isn't all that important. Important is what you publicly believe or claim to believe. It is actually the only thing you can do when confronted by a rumor, claim, or testimony that this or that person isn't really the child of this or that man, despite the fact that he has acknowledged him as such.

Just take the Jon Snow example. Ned Stark acknowledged the boy, so he is his bastard. The truth that he may be Rhaegar and Lyanna's son has to believed by the people who will eventually hear it. They have to find it plausible and allow the testimony and evidence that's presented to convince them. If Wylla or Howland Reed end up being laughed out the hall or are ridiculed as liars and story-tellers this 'truth' about the parentage of Jon Snow would have as much impact on the political situation in Westeros as the story about Patches being Shireen's biological father.

10 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

This just reinforces why it is in the public interest to know the parentage of princes and princesses... otherwise it's all a subjective plotting snake pit.

In the end, people have to believe what the royals tell them. People have sex behind closed doors.

10 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

If your government's and society's fundamental underpinning is based on right by birth, then the legitimacy of your system is fundamentally tied to knowing who your parents are.

But it is enough for a father to acknowledge his wife's child as his to do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now