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  1. ASwordAhai

    The Curse of Harrenhal

    That was a pulled punch? If that was a personal attack, it must have been the weakest one in the history of the internet. I said your line of thought was disingenuous, why is that so offensive? Because I wasn't trying to be. Honestly, it seemed as if you were being purposely contrarian just for argument's sake, which is pretty much the definition of disingenuous. To liken the pattern at Harrenhal to run of the mill sexual proclivities is not a sincere argument; i really hope not. As I've said, has any other single castle produced so many people that have had affairs with the Targaryens?
  2. Are you implying that lords have a *legal right* to raise an army against the King if they so choose? Certainly not. The King in Westeros' power seems to be in theory absolute. If he wants to attaint your entire house, he can. If he wants to cut your tongue out because he doesn't like what you say, he can. If he wants a fuck your wife, he can. How do you plan to stop him? The reality of that situation then comes down to whether or not you actually can stop him. And in that way the King's power in practice is limited by the obedience of his vassals. So yes, in practice not all of the power rests with the King, because his vassals can choose to disobey him and without his vassals he has very little power. But, if that's the territory we're entering, then talk of laws and legality is pointless, you are already going outside of the law and rebelling against the king. Legally, the King's power is absolute; in practice, the King's power is derived almost entirely from his vassals and is dependent upon them. All these posts and I have set to see one person provide a single legal limitation on the King's power. There are no legal limitations, only practical ones.
  3. ASwordAhai

    The Curse of Harrenhal

    Come on, you have to realize how disingenuous that is. You said it's that they were eliminated as a result of their scandal that is significant, but that ignores one thing. The fact that they tend to be summarily eliminated allows another house to move into harrenhal and fall prey to the exact same behavior. Meaning we're not talking about the sexual exploits of one house, we're talking about five different houses all in quick succession. All falling prey to essentially the same behavior. It's crazy to write that off as just par for the course. Is there any other castle that produced even 3 love affairs with the royal family? Where at....? So...maybe 4 affairs?
  4. ASwordAhai

    The Curse of Harrenhal

    But Arya herself notes an explanation for why that is. It may be true that they don't fit with the rest of the houses, but we're also explicitly given a reason why the Whents may not have fallen prey to the curse. I guess I really should have been more clear with what I consider the pattern to be here. The "becomes Hand" part was mostly just included to flesh out the similarities between many of the houses. It's true that when you keep adding details to the pattern, it disappears. But this post was never meant to be about the Hand of the King, it was meant to be about sex. And in that way I think it's a little disingenuous to say that there isn't really a pattern at all. Forget the Hand of the King, forget the small caveats about who the houses of Harrenhal had sex with and what their exact position was. The central pattern still remains. Every house of Harrenhal from Qoherys at least to Lothston had scandalous sexual exploits. I would think that basic fact warrant's further explanation, even if the rest of the similarities are cast aside. But on the topic of more specific patterns that don't quite describe every house, many of the deviations have pretty damn convenient explanations. At least twice they turn out to explain unexpected things; House Towers explains Gael Targaryen and House Lothston explains why the rest of the houses of Harrenhal were destroyed.
  5. ASwordAhai

    The Curse of Harrenhal

    This is very true. However, House Lothston of Harrenhal did begin with a scandalous affair with a member of the royal family, and then they had another. Every other house of Harrenhal had a similar affair as well. The only difference is that House Lothston wasn't immediately exterminated. I think your question may instead be the answer to another. The only House that held Harrenhal and wasn't eliminated after their affair quickly turned to the dark arts. Perhaps that's why the rest of the houses that held Harrenhal were exterminated after their affairs. Also, what are your thoughts on the bit about Gael Targaryen and House Towers? I'm aware that it is literally impossible for my assertion to be proven, but i feel like it makes so much sense. What is the purpose of Gael's existence, as a character? And why did the house in possession of the largest castle in the realm simply disappear from history around the same time? And both of those things are just bonuses, the main thing is that it means House Towers perfectly fits this pattern as well. It's like killing three birds with one stone it fits so well.
  6. ASwordAhai

    Was Aerion Brightflame really mad?

    It does depend on your definition of madness. People that are seen as insane often do cruel things. There are others that aren't cruel at all, and still somewhat insane, like Rhaegal. There could still be some reason that many of the Targaryens were 'insane'. It's entirely possible that the behavior we see as insane actually has some sanity behind it, but we as readers are just not privy to the information that some Targaryen's and other characters know. Which is why i say that Aerion might not be mad if it's defined as insanity, despite being mad if its defined as cruelty; there is legitimate reason to believe Aerion had the right idea with his cup of wildfire, but just incorrectly thought it applied to him. Still a horrible human being regardless.
  7. ASwordAhai

    Was Aerion Brightflame really mad?

    I'm not sure why people think all of these things are mutually exclusive. Is the question whether he was cruel and a bad person, or whether he was delusional in his fantasies? Because both can be true; they are in no way mutually exclusive. Basically, can't it be true that Aerion had some unknown reason for believing that he would become a dragon, and that he was a cruel and horrible person? I mean other Targaryens are literally having dreams about dragons hatching at Whitewalls, so Aerion believing he would turn into a dragon is not entirely far fetched. Everyone would have thought walking into a funeral pyre with the dragon eggs was insane too, if it hadn't worked. It seems much more likely to me that Aerion wasn't mad in the true sense of the word; he wasn't insane and acting illogically. He was cruel and mean and a horrible person, but he was acting based on some logic that we are unaware of when he drank his cup of wildfire. One little flaw in his logic probably led to his delusions of grandeur, like Rhaegar when he first thought he was TPTWP
  8. The ruined castle of Harrenhal has a sinister reputation. Every House that is granted the castle soon goes extinct under mysterious circumstances, and every individual that holds it dies as well. Those that have held Harrenhal are often considered up-jumpers, and the ends that they would meet are often considered a result of being overly ambitious. They rose too fast and paid the price. There is a ring of truth to this, but such a characterization is also unfair. Harrenhal is usually given to those from the lower classes of nobility, houses or knights that previously held no castles of their own or had meager holdings. Because it is the largest castle in Westeros, to name any knight or lesser house as lord of Harrenhal is to make them up-jumpers by definition. Maybe ambition was the downfall of some Lords of Harrenhal, but every one? That answer seems like a cop-out, and does essentially nothing to further the storyline. This theory seeks to propose an alternative. The Houses that have held Harrenhal throughout history were brought down by their own ambitions, but very strangely specific ambitions. Let’s start with the circumstances under which Harrenhal is constructed. House Hoare Harrenhal is constructed by Harren the Black, of House Hoare, King of the Isle and the Rivers. Harren’s grandfather, Harwyn Hoare, was the first Ironborn King to conquer the riverlands and rule as King of the Isle and Rivers. The riverlands were held by the Storm King, Arrec Durrandon. They had been conquered some time earlier by a King Arlan III Durrandon, but by the time that King Arrec comes to power, they are weakly held. With the help of some riverlords, Harwyn defeats Arrec’s forces at Fairmarket and ends the Storm King’s rule over the riverlands. He then takes control of the riverlands himself, ruling from Fairmarket. Harwyn’s grandson, Harren the Black, desired a seat that better fit a King, and so began the construction of the greatest castle Westeros had ever seen: The construction of Harrenhal itself suggests some supernatural forces at work here. It is built on the shores of the God’s Eye, a very mysterious lake the houses the Isle of Faces. Weirwoods are desecrated and used as rafters for the castle. And on the very day it is completed, Aegon the Conqueror lands in Westeros. Many have wondered whether Aegon had invaded Westeros because of Harren the Black, but we’ll leave that up to speculation. While it’s not clear that Harrenhal was the direct cause of Aegon’s invasion of Westeros, it can certainly be said to have indirectly sparked the invasion: It is the conflict between the Storm King and the King of the Isle and Rivers that initially ropes Aegon into Westerosi politics. In the few centuries before Aegon’s Landing, the primary power struggle occuring in Westeros was between the Ironborn and the Storm Kings. The Storm King’s reach the height of their power under Arlan III, who conquered the riverlands. Arrec Durrandon loses the riverlands sometime later to Harwyn Hoare, now King of the Isle and Rivers. Harwyn’s grandson, Harren the Black, is the most feared lord in Westeros and beggars the riverlands to construct the grandest castle in the Seven Kingdoms. Argilac Durrandon, grandson of Arrec, leads an army against Volantis in the disputed lands, and kills the King of the Reach, Garse VII Gardener, but yet is still frightened of Harren’s control over the riverlands, and the grand castle of Harrenhal that he’s constructing. This conflict between the Ironborn and the Stormlands is interesting for a few reasons. The Ironborn are unique in Westeros in that they do not worship the Seven or the Old gods, but worship the Drowned God. And a second deity: So this conflict between the Ironborn and the Storm Kings may not be coincidental, and may have roots much deeper than just the recent conflict over the riverlands. In fact, House Durrandon tells an origin story that sounds extremely similar: So the origins of House Durrandon begin with a Sea God and a Wind Goddess having a daughter named Elenei. Durran Godsgrief “wins her heart”, but earns the enmity of the sea god and wind goddess. They send storms to tear down every castle he tried to build, until he eventually built Storm’s End, some say with the help of Bran the Builder. After building Storm’s End, he reigned as Storm King for a thousand years, the stories claim, as his children did after him, all the way until Argilac the Arrogant. The myths surrounding the creation of Storms End are much more fleshed out that the mythical conflict between the Drowned God and the Storm God, but they are a lot alike. . Other than the greater detail in the story of Elenei, the only main difference is that the Ironborn worship a Drowned God, and the story of Elenei speaks of a Sea God. Although this Sea God is defeated in the story of Elenei, so we might wonder whether the Sea God from the myths of the Stormlands became the Drowned God that the Ironborn worship. Both the Stormlands and the Ironborn seem to have a deep and ancient history of hatred between the two, stemming from this conflict between the sea and the storms. However, the conflict between the Storm Kings and the Ironborn is not meant to be the main topic of this post. Instead, I’d like to draw your attention to the more LotR-esque aspect of the story of Elenei. I would not be the first to point out the similarities between this story and the story of Arwen in Lord of the Rings: Elenei and Arwen gave up their immortality when they married a mortal man, and doomed themselves to a mortal death. They became, for lack of a better word, *lesser*, in a spiritual or maybe divine dense. In contrast, Durran Godsgrief seems to gain something, to become somehow greater by virtue of having married the daughter of two gods; the stories claim that he ruled for a thousand years. We can’t be sure of what truth there is to Durran’s lifespan, but this is quite similar to the Lord of the Rings: Elros came to rule the Numenoreans, who were raised to a similar part-elf life existence that included longer life-spans: The only descendants of the Numenoreans left by the time of the LotR trilogy are the Dunedain, like Aragon, which might even be considered pretty similar to the name Durrandon. Whether or not GRRM intended that is irrelevant, but what is clear that is that the story of Elenei involves much more than just the conflict between the sea/wind gods and the Storm King, and seems to be GRRM's version of a similar story told by Tolkien. Elenei, the daughter of gods, becomes something lesser when she “loses her heart” to Durran, while Durran seems to become part god, at least greater than the normal human in some way. It is this dynamic that will be the main topic of this theory, an exchange of something supernatural between man and woman, one benefiting from the other. Catelyn Stark tells us a story of Elenei that is a lot more specific than Maester Yandel: Elenei gave her Maidenhead to Durran on her wedding night, and for that she became mortal. The gods were angry with this and killed Durran’s whole family, except for Durran. Durran was protected by Elenei from her parents wroth, and eventually built a castle strong enough to withstand the might of his divine in-laws. It is this dynamic that I want you to keep in mind as we read through the history of Harrenhal; Elenei losing her virginity on her wedding night and becoming mortal, while her husband became a grand and mythical King said to rule for a thousand years. Harrenhal was built amidst a conflict between two cultures that both seem to believe in some version of this myth. If this conflict between the Sea God/Drowned God and the Storm Kings does have some deeper magical meaning, it makes sense that Aegon the Conqueror chooses to intervene in Westeros right when this conflict seems destined to reach its boiling point; the very day that Harren the Black completes Harrenhal. It would also make sense that once Aegon lands, he more or less moves on Harrenhal immediately. He takes a few castles in the crownlands first, Rosby and Stokeworth, and Lords Darklyn and Mooton march on him in the first real battle of the Conquest, but all of these were necessities; in order to invade anywhere else, they must have a foothold in Westeros. After establishing that foothold, the first King that they march against is Harren the Black in Harrenhal. And Aegon seems quite prepared to eliminate his entire line when he treats with Harren, as if he knows that there is something truly dark about the black blood of House Hoare: Aegon then took flight on Belarion, and roasted the King and his surviving sons alive in their towers made of stone. As promised, the Black Line of House Hoare ended that night. The greatest castle in Westeros was ruined not long after it was completed; the stone that Harren thought impregnable was melted and charred by the heat of Belarion’s flames, as the King and his sons were cooked alive within the tallest tower of the castle. We could guess at the significance of Harren and his sons burning in Harrenhal, but right now it would be just that, a guess. Instead, let’s look at the history of Harrenhal after Aegon’s Conquest, and see if that provides any answers. All the while, keep in mind the story of Elenei and Durran Godsgrief. House Qoherys After House Hoare goes extinct, Harrenhal becomes a “white elephant”: So there is a logistical reason why Harrenhal should remain abandoned, and why no one has success holding it; it’s simply too big to garrison or maintain. But this still is not a sufficient explanation of the castle’s history, as we’ll soon see. Harren had even allegedly mixed blood with the mortar, which seems far fetched but may mean that blood sacrifice was somehow involved in its construction. Some say that he practiced horrors inside the towers of Harrenhal, and for this the castle is haunted. Whatever the truth, the houses of Harrenhal certainly meet a misfortune greater than just the logistical hurdles of maintaining the castle. Whatever the source of the Curse of Harrenhal, it seems almost certainly supernatural, and tied to the Black Blood that lived and died there. However, the biggest castle in Westeros can’t be left empty and unprotected in the middle of the riverlands, particularly when Aegon is trying to conquer and rule a continent. So Aegon grants Harrenhal to Quenton Qoherys, his master-at-arms on Dragonstone. House Qoherys is of Valyrian descent. Although Harrenhal is the largest castle in the realm, and certainly in the riverlands, and even though it is now commanded by one of Aegon’s closest friends and supporters, he names Lord Tully Lord Paramount of the Trident over Lord Quenton Qoherys. This could be seen as evidence that Aegon knew Harrenhal might be cursed, and didn’t want to give the new lord of this cursed castle too much power, although that’s speculative. If Aegon did know that the castle may be cursed, it also may be interesting that Aegon granted the castle to a House of Valyrian descent, one that might be best able to resist whatever darkness lies within the castle walls. What is more important is that House Qoherys goes on to rule Harrenhal until the reign of King Aenys I, when several rebellions threaten the rule of the new King. The grandson of Lord Quenton ruled Harrenhal, Gargon Qoherys. Gargon had a horrible...habit: The ‘First Night’ is a tradition in Westeros, a horribly backwards tradition: So Gargon is deflowering every woman that he can on their wedding night. Think back to the story of Elenei, where Durran become somehow greater upon taking Elenei’s maidenhead, while she became somehow lesser; he became Storm King, allegedly ruling for a thousand years, while Elenei became mortal. The surface interpretation of Gargon’s behavior is that he was just lusty and cruel. Though there may be something more to his actions. For now, we’ll move on to the next house to be granted Harrenhal. House Harroway After the extinction of House Qoherys in 37 AC, King Aenys I grants Harrenhal to House Harroway, and Lucas Harroway becomes Lord of Harrenhal. Two years later, in 39 AC, then-Prince Maegor took Lucas’ daughter, Alys Harroway, as his second bride. For this he was exiled to Pentos for five years, and took Alys into exile with him. Maegor returned to King’s Landing two years earlier to seize the throne for himself, and Alys would return from Pentos a short time later, along with an Essosi sorceress named Tyanna of the Tower. Alys’ father, Lord Lucas Harroway, was named Hand of the King. Throughout his life, King Maegor would struggle and fail to produce an heir. He had Ceryse Hightower, Alys Harroway, and later Tyanna, all as his brides by 42 AC, yet none gave birth to a living child. For a while it would seem as if Alys might give Maegor the heir he wanted: Alys gives birth to a child, if it can be called that. It was a monster with twisted limbs and no eyes. Maegor is beset with grief, if he can feel such an emotion, and has the midwife, septas, and Grand Maester that attended to her all executed. However, his third wife, Tyanna of the Tower, convinces Maegor that there is another reason that Alys’ child was malformed: So Tyanna convinces Maegor that Alys’ child was not his, but was born from one of the other men she had been sleeping with instead. However, there is no scientific, biological reason that Alys’ fidelity would have any relationship to the health of her child. Tyanna’s logic assumes either that Maegor’s child could not have been disfigured, or that a random commoner’s child with Alys would necessarily be disfigured. Of course, perhaps she’s wrong, or lying. But if she is right, there is no biological, science based mechanism that would cause her baby to be born a monster simply because she had an affair. Tyanna is a sorceress, so maybe that shouldn’t be unexpected Whether or not she is wrong or lying about Alys’ child, she definitely seemed to be right about Alys’ affair. Most of the men confessed, and one even still had the gold he was paid. Maegor responds pretty harshly: King Maegor doesn’t just kill Alys, but he ruthlessly exterminates the entirety of House Harroway for the sins of Lucas and Alys. Alys’ death is particularly notable, as maester Yandel specifically avoids speaking about what was done to Alys during her torture. We do know that in the end, Alys’ body was cut into pieces and left to rot. Now anyone that has studied a decent bit of Greek Mythology will recognize this act as ‘sparagmos’: There are some really interesting parallels between ancient greek Eleusinian, Dionysian, and Orphic mysteries and the mysteries of ASOIAF, but that’s a discussion for another time. The reason that this greek concept of sparagmos is interesting can be found right on it’s wikipedia page that we linked to above: So the ancient greek concept of sparagmos was a form of castration. Alys is a woman, so she of course cannot be castrated in a traditional sense, but she can certainly be dismembered. If we view this dismemberment as an act of sparagmos, a form of castration, then some pretty simple parallels can be drawn between House Harroway and House Qoherys; both screwed the wrong people, literally, and were castrated and exterminated for it. After House Harroway is eliminated, Maegor declares that the strongest of his knights should receive Harrenhal. Ser Walton Towers receives the castle, but House Towers will fail in two generations. There is no reason given for why House Towers apparently just spontaneously failed, and no mention of them between gaining and losing Harrenhal, so for the moment we’ll pass over House Towers. Although, towards the end of this theory we will return to this house with an explanation. House Strong After House Towers mysteriously died out, Harrenhal is awarded to Lyonel Strong. King Viserys I eventually appoints Lyonel as his Hand of the King. Lyonel’s son, Ser Harwin Strong, was Commander of the City Watch, and also sworn shield to Princess Rhaenyra. It was also rumored that he was much more than that to Rhaenyra, for when she married Laenor Velaryon and gave birth to three stout young boys with brown hair and brown eyes, many speculated that Harwin Strong was the father instead of Laenor. Adding to the rumor was a widely held belief that Laenor preferred his own gender over woman. These rumors about the parentage of Rhaenyra’s children would go on to spark, or at least contribute to, the civil war known as the Dance of Dragons. Harwin and Lyonel Strong would never live to see the war, however, as both are killed in a fire at Harrenhal in 120 AC. The year 120 AC sees string of deaths that are very fortunate for Princess Rhaenyra and her uncle Prince Daemon. It is known as the Year of the Red Spring for the many deaths that occurred. Daemon is married to Laena Velaryon, the sister of Laenor, who dies after giving birth to a stillborn child. Laenor is slain in a quarrel with his friend, or possibly lover, Qarl Correy, in Spicetown. Harwin and Lyonel Strong are killed along with the rest of House Strong, as we had mentioned. To top it all off, Daemon and Rhaenyra wed that same year. Is it a coincidence that Daemon’s wife, Rhaenyra’s husband, and Rhaenyra’s rumored lover all died within the same year, and Daemon and Rhaenyra married that same year as well? I think not. The Testimony of Mushroom even goes so far as to accuse Daemon of arranging these murders, and the murder of Qarl Correy as well, who was never seen again after the murder of Laenor: Septon Eustace similarly accuses Prince Daemon of killing the Strongs as well: Whatever set the blaze at Harrenhal, it seems awfully coincidental that Rhaenyra’s rumored lover’s family is killed in this same year when everyone standing between Rhaenyra and Daemon seem to be dying. The same year they marry. Larys Strong is the last member of House Strong, and he is executed at the end of the Dance by Cregan Stark. The Dance itself was, in many ways, rooted in the rumors about Rhaenyra’s children. This is a very chaotic time period, and the truth of the allegations that are thrown around can’t be known for sure. However, there seems to be only one reason that House Strong is relevant to the drama surrounding the throne, and only one reason it was roped into the deaths of the Year of the Red Spring; because Harwin was the rumored father of Rhaenyra’s child. Just like House Qoherys and House Harroway, a member of House Strong had sex with the wrong person, or at least was so accused, and this almost certainly led to their downfall. Lyonel Strong also rises all the way to Hand of the King before he’s killed, just like Lucas Harroway. House Lothston After the Dance of Dragons, King Aegon III rules with his brother, Prince Viserys, as Hand. Viserys’ son, Prince Aegon, later King Aegon IV, is found abed with Falena Stokeworth. Viserys apparently doesn’t approve of this relationship: So Falena is married off to Lucas Lothston, and both take their seat at Harrenhal. This is meant to keep Falena away from Aegon, but Aegon makes frequent visits to Harrenhal anyways. Falena never gave Aegon any acknowledged children, but there were rumors that these frequent visits spawned one child: Jeyne Lothston: Jeyne Lothston, while possibly being King Aegon IV’s daughter, was also his eighth mistress. It was said that Aegon slept with mother and daughter at the same time: Lucas Lothston is also made King Aegon’s Hand while he presumably has sex with Lucas’s wife and supposed daughter. Eventually all three are sent from King’s Landing because Aegon gives Jeyne the pox. But as generations pass the Lothstons gain a sinister reputation. It is unknown whether this Lord Lucas is the same as the Lord Lucas that married Falena, but regardless, his deeds are considered dark and shameful. His son Manfryd is even referred to as Manfryd of the Black Hood. Eventually, House Lothston meets its downfall during the reign of King Maekar I. There are rumors of her evil deeds in AFfC: So the line of House Lothston ends with Mad Danelle Lothston, who had turned to the dark arts and was killed by King Maekar I. Like the other houses of Harrenhal, the Lothstons were killed. And like Houses Harroway and (probably) Strong, they were killed by the Targaryens, the very people like appointed them to the seat in the first place. Also like Houses Harroway and Strong, one of their members, two actually, slept with the King or heir to the throne. Lord Lucas Lothston was also named Hand of the King, just like Lord Lucas Harroway and Lord Lyonel Strong. Perhaps there is some connection between Falena and Jeyne sleeping with King Aegon IV, and Mad Danelle Lothston eventually going crazy and turning to the Dark Arts. Even if there is not, and it was simply the mysterious curse of Harrenhal that drove the Lothstons crazy, Falena sleeping with Aegon is still the reason that they went sent to Harrenhal in the first place. Which means that just like House Qoherys, House Harroway, and House Strong, House Lothston was destroyed because one of their members had sex with the wrong person. This is a pretty clear pattern. The Houses that hold Harrenhal are definitely overly ambitious, but overly ambitious in a very specific way. Each of these houses has a member that has sex with the King or the King’s heir and another that rises to position as Hand of the King. House Qoherys is the only exception, but Gargon’s death can be even more so attributed to sleeping with the wrong women, just not a member of the royal family. A pretty strong pattern seems to be emerging. In light of this, we can possibly revisit House Towers. House Towers We have very little information about how House Towers met its end. We know that Ser Walton Towers won Harrenhal in a melee, but died shortly after, and two generations later House Towers was extinct. A generations is somewhere between 20-25 years, meaning two generations is somewhere around 40 or 50 years. So House Towers died out sometime approximately around 90 AC, late in the reign of King Jaehaerys I. The death of every other house that ruled Harrenhal has been caused by some member sleeping with someone they shouldn’t have, usually a member of the royal family. If that’s the case, perhaps this is why we know very little about the extinction of House Towers; the people responsible had good reason to keep their involvement secret. If House Towers is to fit into the same pattern as the other houses of Harrenhal, we would expect to see evidence of a Targaryen having a secret affair around the time that House Towers went extinct, sometime late in the first century AC. Meet Gael Targaryen, the Winter Child, the last child of King Jaehaerys I: Gael commits suicide by drowning herself in the Blackwater because she was pregnant with a bastard child. Summer fever is the official excuse, but those in the Red Keep must have seen her stomach, some maester must have attended to her to check if she was pregnant in the first place. The fact that she was pregnant isn’t a secret you can keep from the maesters and others in the Red Keep. What you can keep secret, is the real father. If Jaehaerys did not want the identity of the true father to become known, blaming some unknown traveling singer is a decent cover. House Towers coincidentally comes to their end around this same time, and the reason why that happened is a complete mystery. As if the real people behind their extinction wanted to keep their involvement a secret. What if Gael was impregnated by a member of House Towers, and King Jaehaerys orchestrated their elimination in response, just like every other Lord of Harrenhal. He blamed it on a traveling singer, not wanting the realm to know what really happened, and the reason for the extinction of House Towers was lost to history. Which brings us to Gael herself. Gael was a simple-minded woman. In that state, whatever her degree of disability, it is somewhat strange that she was so aware of the social consequences of fathering a bastard that she would take her own life. However, it is completely understandable that she would take her own life...if her own father had just orchestrated the death of her lover and his entire family. We wouldn’t expect someone that was ‘simple-minded’ to understand the social repercussions of having a bastard child, but we would certainly still expect them to grieve at the loss of a loved one. Not only is it possible that House Tower falls into the same pattern as the rest of the Houses of Harrenhal, but if it does, it fully explains the circumstance around Gael Targaryen’s suicide. The one common thread connecting Houses Qoherys, Harroway, (maybe) Towers, Strong, and Lothston is that they all had sex with someone that should not have, and all meet their end as a result. Many of them rose in influence at the same time, many Lords of Harrenhal serving as Hand of the King right around the time that their children were sleeping with a member of the royal family. Perhaps these lords were using sex to work their way to the top in the same way that people still do today, and have always done. However, some of the actions of the houses of Harrenhal suggest that some dark magic is involved instead. The Lothstons turn to dark magic, supposedly cannibalism and blood sacrifice. Alys Harroway's stillborn children are blamed on her affair, despite the fact that there is no non-magical way that an affair could affect a woman’s children in such a way. The reign of Maegor is full of strange occurrences that are implied to be related to sex in some way. The story of Elenei is a lesser known myth-based example of magic related to sex, but there is a much more familiar example within the text of the main series. Melisandre Melisandre gives birth to a shadow child, fathered by Stannis. The birth of this shadow assassin comes at a cost to Stannis, as if Melisandre has taken something from him to father the shadow child: Melisandre seems to imply that her shadow child lessened Stannis’ life-fire, whatever that may be; a soul? Regardless, it’s not all that different from the story of Elenei and Duran Godsgrief; something seemed to be transferred between the two upon Duran taking Elenei’s virginity. All of the Houses of Harrenhal seem to have fallen prey to ambitions that very closely resemble this mysterious mechanism of gaining power through sex. In fact Harrenhal was built amidst a conflict between the Ironborn and the Storm Kings, the roots of which bring us right back to the story of Elenei. Viewing this history of Harrenhal with the story of Elenei in mind leads to some interesting interpretations. Gargon Qoherys made liberal use of his right to the first night, taking women’s virginity on their wedding day. Our theory suggests that there may be some magical significance to this habit, possibly Gargon attempting to gain control over his vassals in the same way that Duran gained supremacy over the storms. It might also explain why he was castrated; not only as revenge but in an effort to undo whatever Gorgon had done by exercising his right to the first night. Alys Harroway cheats on Maegor many times, and Tyanna suggests that this caused his child to be stillborn. The truth of the matter is murky, but further investigation would lead down a road that seems to end with Tyanna, Ceryse, and sex based magic as well. Lucas Harroway also rises in power and influence, becoming Hand to King Maegor. Alys is dismembered when Maegor discovers her affair, which strongly resembles the ancient greek ritual of sparagmos, a form of castration; just like Gargon Qoherys was castrated. The official history of House Towers is sparse, but this theory suggests that a member of House Towers impregnated Gael Targaryen, and King Jaehaerys secretly had the House exterminated while blaming the pregnancy on a generic traveling singer. Out of grief for her lost lover and hatred for her father, the simple-minded Gael drowned herself in the Blackwater. Harwin Strong was rumored to have fathered the bastard children of Princess Rhaenyra. House Strong is eliminated, except for Larys, in 120 AC, the Year of the Red Spring. The other two deaths, Laena and Laenor, seemed to serve the purpose of allowing Rhaenyra and Daemon to marry. Harwin and his families lives do not stand in the way of their marriage, however, not any legal sense. But if Harwin Strong had taken something from Rhaenyra, like Duran did from Elenei and Melisandre did from Stannis, then it might make sense for Daemon to arrange for the murder of his wife’s ex-lover before their marriage. Just like Lucas Harroway, Lyonel Strong rose in influence to the position of Hand before he died. House Lothston had a similar scandalous affair. Falena Stokeworth had sex with Prince Aegon, and was forced to marry Lucas Lothston and live at Harrenhal. Her daughter, Jeyne Lothston, would later grow up to have relationships with King Aegon IV as well, even though his last mistress could barely stand the sight of him. Why? Does she become his mistress simply because he is King? Or does she have something more Melisandre-esque in mind? On that note, did many of King Aegon IV’s other mistresses have similar schemes? Bethany Bracken was groomed to seduce Aegon with the help of Barba, Aegon’s former mistress, and her father Jonos Bracken, Hand of the King, despite the fact that she could not stand the King’s embraces. Lucas Lothston eventually rises to the position of Hand, just like Lucas Harroway and Lyonel Strong. But instead of being summarily executed at the peak of their power like the rest of the houses of Harrenhal, Lucas is removed as Hand, sent back to Harrenhal, and House Lothston lives on for generations. Until they become increasingly crazy, and Mad Danelle Lothston has to be executed for practicing the dark arts, her family is exterminated as well. No other family lives long enough for us to see the effects of their sexual exploits, if there were any. The only one that does, goes crazy. It would seem to me that the curse of Harrenhal is intimately related to the story of Elenei, and magic based on sex. Each house that ruled Harrenhal quickly rose to prominence and was then brought down by their sexual proclivities. This pattern has held well so far, so perhaps it’s time to examine a House that doesn’t fall prey to this pattern, and see if there is any reason why they had not. House Whent After the extermination of House Lothston, House Whent is granted Harrenhal. House Whent is a notable exception to the pattern we’ve discerned above. Tragedies befall them, but they were never overly ambitious or had any scandalous sexual exploits. Not only are they never exterminated, but that are relieved of their possession of Harrenhal and forced to flee. They are the only family to escape the curse of Harrenhal. While Arya serves at Harrenhal, she inadvertently discovered a good reason for this: There are five towers at Harrenhal, and Shella has completely abandoned three, while only using the lower third of the other two. Let’s recall the death of Harren the Black: Even Arya notes that if any place is to be haunted, it is the Kingspyre tower. Shella Whent only uses the lowest portions of two towers, which is likely why House Whent never fell prey to the same tendencies that other Lords of Harrenhal have. This implies that the curse of Harrenhal is related to the death of Harren the Black and his sons, in the highest towers of the castle, and that they haunt the upper towers still. This would somewhat explain why the curse also seems to manifest itself in ways that relate to the story of Elenei, because the story of Elenei was central to the feud between the Ironborn and the Storm Kings, which was reaching a boiling point as Harren was building Harrenhal. The black soul of Harren Hoare haunts the castle still, his desire for power still manifesting in each new inhabitant. The fact that the curse of Harrenhal can be avoided even suggests that there may have been a reason why it was granted to certain houses. House Qoherys was from Valyria, so perhaps they were thought to most likely to resist the curse. Lord Quenton Qoherys was also Aegon the Conqueror’s, master-at-arms on Dragonstone. King Maegor, the very epitome of darwinism, gives Harrenhal to whichever of his knights is last standing in a great melee, as if to weed out the weak and give Harrenhal to the strongest candidate, and this happens to be House Towers. Osmund Strong constructed the defenses of King’s Landing, and well, it’s right there in the name. Lucas Lothston was Aegon IV’s master-at-arms in the Red Keep, like Quenton was on Dragonstone, and who better to look after the demon offspring of your son than the man that taught him how to fight? Many people associated with Harrenhal after the Whents are removed will meet untimely ends, but the castle is officially given to Janos Slynt. House Slynt Janos Slynt never steps foot in Harrenhal. Perhaps it is for that reason that he also does not fit our pattern well. Just as Shella Whent was seemingly able to avoid the curse by avoiding certain areas, perhaps so too did Janos avoid the curse because he never set foot in Harrenhal. Although, before Janos can even truly take possession of his new castle, Tyrion sends him to the Wall to take the Black. The oaths of the Night’s Watch prevent men from fathering children or having families, so of course Janos can’t act out Harren’s lust for power in the way that the rest of the houses of Harrenhal have. Although, he does grasp for power in his own way, refusing to obey the orders of the newly elected Lord Commander Jon Snow, for which he is executed. It’s not so clear that Janos avoided the curse of Harrenhal at all, it may have just manifested in a different fashion. This might then imply that Shella Whent did not avoid the curse either. On the surface she took no clear actions that involved a scandalous relationship. But her husband, Lord Walter Whent, organized the Tourney of Harrenhal in 281 AC, where Prince Rhaegar crowned Lyanna Stark Queen of Love and Beauty; the most scandalous love affair in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. Perhaps House Whent did fall prey to the curse of Harrenhal, and we’re not privy to the extent of their schemes. Which brings us to the final house to be granted Harrenhal... House Baelish House Baelish is really just Lord Petyr Baelish, granted Harrenhal after Jonos Slynt is sent to the Wall. While Littlefinger is the only member of his very new house, he’s working hard to change that. Many have speculated about the parentage of Robin and Littlefinger’s relationship with Lysa, which I won't discuss at length here. It is interesting that, like the rest of the inhabitants of Harrenhal, Littlefinger becomes the de facto ruler of the Vale through his relationship with Lysa. More significant than his relationship with Lysa, though, are his actions towards Sansa. The previous inhabitants of Harrenhal have all scandalous sexual relationships, and this theory proposes that their actions should be viewed in the light of the story of Elenei, in that they are trying to gain power and influence by usurping the life-fire of other Houses. Every other House of Harrenhal has seemingly attempted to gain power through a scandalous sexual relationship, and Littlefinger seems to be the absolute epitome of this phenomenon. Many people have drawn comparisons between Petyr Baelish and Bael the Bard, who both had eyes for a daughter of Lord Stark. It seems unlikely that their similar names and deeds would be coincidental, and almost certainly an indication that there is significance in the taking of a Lord’s daughter. Perhaps particularly the daughter of Winterfell. This theory suggest that the story of Elenei is not simply a myth, and that it’s not only relevant to Elenei, but is a description of a magical process that still happens to this day in the world of ASOIAF. I don’t claim to the know the precise workings of this process, only that something can be transferred from woman to man when they have sex, or visa versa. Melisandre calls this ‘something’ life-fire, and demonstrates for Davos one result of a woman taking life-fire from a man in the cave beneath Storm’s End, in a process that seems to be very much the opposite of whatever process took place in the story of Elenei. I also contend that the story of Elenei is central to the conflict between not only Duran and the Sea God, but also the Drowned God and the Storm God, and the conflict between the King of the Isle and Rivers and the Storm King that is occurring immediately prior to Aegon’s Conquest. (This ancient conflict is likely reflected elsewhere in the feud between the Walrus-men and the Antler-men north of the Wall, and possible the religion of the Three Sisters as well). The actions of the houses of Harrenhal suggest that this sex related transfer of life-fire does not only apply to Elenei, but is a process that occurs with other noble houses as well, at least House Targaryen and House Stark. Melisandre even suggests that lowly Davos the Onion Knight would be suitable. I make no claims to know the nature of this life-fire, who has it, or in what amounts, only that it is possible for life-fire to be exchanged during sex, with varying end results. The two ways in which we definitely know that this can happen, the story of Elenei and Melisandre’s shadow-child, seem very much like opposites. The story of Elenei also shares many things with the story of Azor Ahai, and may be of equal or even greater importance, despite the little attention it receives. Harren the Black, in a conflict with the Storm King and aware of this ancient myth that forms the foundation of their feud, has supernatural desires in accordance with what the story of Elenei implies. When he is roasted alive in the Kingspyre Tower, his soul, his *life-fire*, lives on in the melted stone of the tower, compelling the inhabitants to act upon the will of Harren the Black in his desire for power. Why Harren’s soul lived on, whether it was the weirwood rafters or the melted stone of the tower or some other reason, I’ll leave to another discussion. TL;DR: All of the houses of Harrenhal were brought down by their sexual exploits. The story of Elenei is the key to understanding the history of these houses, from House Hoare to House Baelish, and also solves many smaller mysteries along the way.
  9. ASwordAhai

    Ghost Grass

    Think the ghost grass is a dothraki metaphor for entropy.
  10. This one is particularly interesting, as Daena and Baelor didn't marry until three years into Daeron's reign. And it's not like Daeron was too young, because Baelor was a year younger. I would suggest a some what unorthodox answer, in that he hoped to take a Dornish bride. Aegon III and Prince Viserys were concerned with hatching dragons, I'm sure the entire House was desperate to get their dragons back. But for some reason they couldn't hatch any eggs. I think Daeron read or was taught about Nettles during the Dance and Rhaenys dying at Hellholt and decided that the answer to hatching dragons lied in a Dornish bride descended from Rhaenys. And so he went to war with Dorne in an attempt to take his bride. Daeron never fully succeeded but he did end the war with a set of Dornish captives. One of which, Cassella Vaith, would be taken as a mistress by King Aegon IV while he was still Prince Aegon, I suggest out of a belief similar to Daeron's.
  11. The idea that Aemon saw the possibility that the throne may fall to Aegon was really just secondary reasoning though. My thoughts were more along the lines of Aemon being so upset at the betrothal of Naerys that he would join the Kingsguard so he wouldn't have to marry someone else himself. Essentially, he loves Naerys and if he cannot marry her, he'll marry no one. Is it really that clear that Prince Aegon was favored over Rhaena? Yes, Aegon was named Aenys' heir, but Aegon was also betrothed to Rhaena. If the early Targaryens wanted the descendants of the eldest child to inherit the throne, marrying Rhaena to Aegon the best way to accomplish that in a society that favors male primogeniture. If they really wanted the descendents of Rhaena to inherit the throne, but knew that the lords of Westeros would never accept equal primogeniture, the best solution is then to marry Rhaena to her eldest brother and name him heir. Ah but perhaps it was much much more interesting! This is what I think. If Jaehaerys and Alysanne wanted the children of Alyssa to inherit, then the easiest way to go about that would be to marry Alyssa to Aemon; for the same reason I contend that Rhaena was betrothed to Aegon. So then the question once again becomes why didn't they betroth Alyssa to Aemon. In a way that's what I'm suggesting the First Quarrel was; by either reckoning Aemon should have been married to Alyssa. But it wasn't just that the marriage was never arranged that angered Alysanne, but why the marriage was never arranged. Jaehaerys desired something else over the traditional incestuous marriage. The something would seem to be pretty ostensibly a marriage with House Baratheon. Now, perhaps this marriage was for practical political purposes; they just wanted to forge closer ties with the Baratheons. But, perhaps there was a more significant reason. The origin of the Storm Kings is in the story of Elenei and Durran Godsgrief, where Elenei gave her virginity to Durran and became mortal while Durrani and his children became Storm Kings. When he took Elenei's virginity, he seemed to become something greater, while Elenei became mortal. Perhaps Jaehaerys wanted the blood of Storm Kings, through the Baratheons, to become a part of House Targaryen. And Alysanne was angered by this decision because it highly resembles the tradition of First Night, which she fought so strongly against. Not in the sense of a King claiming a woman before her wedding night, but in the sense of a King maintaining power over his vassals by claiming the virginity of any woman he wanted to. Only instead of King Jaehaerys just deflowering woman on their wedding nights, he's using his leverage as King to arrange marriages for the same purpose It was Jaehaerys desire to claim whatever power lie in the blood of House Baratheon for his own House, an action that Alysanne disagreed with and had outlawed when it manifested as the right of First Night, that started the first quarrel. Similarly, I believe the nature of the Second Quarrel is misunderstood along similar lines. Because the second quarrel could have easily been resolved by marrying Rhaenys to Viserys, and avoiding having to choose between Baelon and Rhaenys at all. There never should have been a quarrel in the first place. Instead, Jaehaerys desires that Viserys marry Aemma Arryn for similar reasons that he married Aemon to Jocelyn. It is not that Jaehaerys chose Baelon over Rhaenys, but that he avoided the obvious solution and made the choice at all, signaling that he didn't intend to marry Rhaenys to Viserys as would have been logical, and instead chose to once again integrate the blood of another noble house into house targaryen despite Alysannes objections to the practice. You had said that the marriage policy of Jaehaerys I seemed odd. So did I. So I took to reading and writing and reading more. This seems, at least to me, to make sense of something that doesn't make much sense at all.
  12. What about the possibility that the early generations of Targaryens favored equal primogeniture? In other words, they favored the eldest child regardless of gender and regardless of their public pronunciations. In that case the question is not eldest son, but eldest child in general, in which case the incestuous marriage pattern seems to hold through Jaehaerys. Perhaps his main concern was Alyssa, and he wanted Alyssa to marry one of her brothers as she was the eldest child. I suggest that the naming of Prince Aemon as heir over Princess Alyssa was the non-described First Quarrel that necessarily proceeded the Second Quarrel between Jaehaerys and Alysanne. I'd suggest that this is further supported by the fact that Viserys I names Rhaenyra his heir over Aegon.
  13. Isn't it implied that Aemon joined the Kingsguard because Naerys married Aegon. I had always assumed that the only reason Aemond joined the Kingsguard is because he was in love with Naerys. With the woman he wanted to marry instead married to Aegon, Aemond joins the Kingsguard. He may have even looked at Aegon III's side of the family, saw two sons that were just 4 and 5 years old, and understood that two children were the only things between Naerys being Queen.
  14. ASwordAhai

    Birth year of Quicksilver?

    Someone else above actually mentioned that TWOIAF actually does state it in precisely that manner: "He had begun life as a weak and sickly infant and remained so throughout his earliest years."