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  1. FictionIsntReal

    Craster and the Others: Why?

    The Others are far, with less detail than the near. Individual members are not distinguished, they all just seem equally alien to the humans. They are a fantasy species constructed to be innately evil enemies of all life, even if that's not realistic for real people. They're like a natural disaster personified.
  2. They settled Driftmark before the Targaryens came to Dragonstone.
  3. The book series has fantasy genetics, which isn't terribly consistent and lets GRRM have things the way he thinks makes for a good story. Baratheons always having black hair regardless of who they marry over many generations doesn't make sense, but that's what he went with. If I were to attempt to be Watsonian, I could point out that schizophrenia can take a while to manifest* and perhaps Dany isn't old enough yet. But then the Targaryens have fantasy genetic madness rather than our world's schizophrenia. *The writer/director of "All Good Children", starring Jack Gleason, said that was why she had a protagonist at that age in an interview that I can't find now.
  4. Funny how it was the lords of the Reach, whose Lord Paramount sided with Renly and married his daughter to the king-to-be, who were so affected by Renly's popularity. The absence of lords from the majority of other kingdoms must be some odd coincidence. In fact we hear later in the story of lords who disagree with their ruler: Yohn Royce wanted to intervene in the war of the five kings, but Lysa forbade it and her lords obeyed her. Many in Dorne also agitate for war, but with Doran insisting on restraint at most Arianne is able to rope in as conspirators some heirs and a knight from a cadet branch. The generalization in this war is that lords obey their Lord Paramount (the Bolton & Frey betrayal is a notable deviation, and was arranged in secret). Renly had been lord of Storm's End after Robert granted Dragonstone (traditional seat of the heir since the Iron Throne was built) to Stannis, but as the eldest Baratheon brother, Stannis could claim the title. Stannis doesn't bother trying to recruit men from all the other kingdoms, because it's the Stormlanders who owe him loyalty. A duel to the death is not considered a compromise in anyone's book. A siege at least permits for a compromise to be made later. Robert's crude dismissal of Lannister forces murdering Targaryens (especially Rhaegar's children) played a role, but Ned would have had some reason to hide him if anyone else was on the throne. And the reason Ned hides him is because it's his sister's child. The shared interest between Ned & Hoster is that Catelyn's children are descended from both of them. The unusual fact that Cersei's children were not in fact Robert's set her interests fatally against his, as well as his brothers. The High Septon isn't able to excommunicate kings and make them beg for forgiveness, but the Faith still has authority over marriages (outside the North & Iron Islands). It is the allegation that Margaery broke her marriage vows via adultery which gave them an in against her. We were arguing over whether Robert was regarded as the legitimate king. Balon Greyjoy was the lone rebel under Robert's reign, and he just declared himself to be an independent king rather than insisting that the exiled Targaryens belonged on the throne. Aegon IV was a far worse king than Robert, but nobody disputed his legitimacy. The empty treasuries are what Littlefinger claims, rather than indicative of the waste of real resources that took place under Aerys II building "large structures" that never got completed. Maegor faced rebellion practically his entire reign, relying entirely on force & cruelty to stay in power (dominance without the disguise of prestige). Maegor only reigned six years, while Robert reigned more than twice as long and mostly amidst peace (with the Greyjoy rebellion being the one brief exception). Viserys tried to drum up support and typically got laughed at; he did have a promised marriage alliance with the Martells, but they rule one of the least populated kingdoms whose forte is defense rather than a force capable of putting him on the throne. Joffrey was perceived as lacking legitimacy because he's not actually Robert's, not because he wasn't a Targaryen. Most Westerosi lords don't care about anything going on with Essosi exiles. Future books don't actually exist, so you have no evidence to cite there. Most of the plot doesn't revolve around that, and is instead independent of anyone claiming to be a Targaryen. The important thing about the war of the five kings is that the seven kingdoms are bleeding each other dry while a larger threat is approaching north of the wall. The question of who sits on the Iron Throne is unimportant compared to that. Here is what GRRM has said: Jon has assumed his mother was lowborn, so learning that he's noble on both sides would be meaningful to him. We don't even know of Rhaegar advocating that. He certainly couldn't have a septon officiate. That's similar to one of the issues I have with a common theory about Young Griff. If his mother was a prostitute that Illyrio bought from a Lysene pleasure house, how credible would any claim made through her be? If anyone gave a damn about the female line descended from Daemon Blackfyre, why would they let that happen to her?
  5. FictionIsntReal

    Is death good? Why fight the Others?

    If there was a shortage of death, perhaps you might perceive some additional deaths as natural. But in fact the people of Planetos are born & die just fine without the help of the Others, who are just screwing things up by making the dead return as wights rather than letting the natural cycle proceed. GRRM has cited Heinlein's Starship Troopers, so I figured it's worth comparing that. The human officers don't actually make any claim to moral superiority over the Bugs. An historical process has led to all the nations of the world uniting (and remaining united even as humanity spread to other planets), and when they run into the Bugs and start fighting each species is able to support their fellows without worrying too much about which side is in the right. However, in the ethics course it's stated that the human ethical system could theoretically expand to cover other species. The last major military operation we hear about is not intended to destroy the Bugs' warfighting ability (the last major assault on them actually went very badly) but to capture a "brain bug" in order to learn, communicate* & negotiate things like the recovery of prisoners (the failure of the treaty in the war between the Anglo-American-Russian Alliance and the Chinese Hegemony to resolve the POW issue eventually led to the collapse of existing governments and the rise of the new veteran-led system). Right now there is no scope for negotiating, appeasing or cooperating with the Others. You might as well try to consider the ethics of battling a pandemic, or even a natural disaster. The Others do have a language, but considering all the conflicts between humans in the series and the apocalyptic nature of the previous Long Night, I don't think there's space for GRRM doing something more complicated than the expected. *One of the plot holes in the book is that the "Skinnies" have already been compelled to switch sides from being Bug allies to the human side, so presumably they already knew how to communicate with the Bugs and could have helped the humans do that. But I think the book was written for youngsters who'd be drawn in by the few whiz-bang space adventure elements and not likely to get ahead of Heinlein's reasoning there.
  6. FictionIsntReal

    Would Littlefinger have still “rescued” Sansa

    I think it's just in the show where LF seeks to marry Cat after she's widowed. I agree though that he's probably not hung up on her being a virgin, he's not relying on the lack of consummation for Tyrion's marriage to her.
  7. I do think physical presence matters for something: Stannis isolating himself on Dragonstone while Renly was gathering his forces resulted in fewer bannermen supporting him. The Reachermen follow their Lord Paramount, who had gambled on Renly making his daughter queen (an option not available to the already married Stannis, as divorce is less of an option than many here think). In the absence of a marital agreement between Highgarden & King's Landing, they would have stayed home rather than participated in the fighting. The only forces that supported Joffrey before then were from the Westerlands or Crownlands (and not even many of the latter). If I grant your premise that Joffrey's distance is the reason why none of the Stormlanders supported him, doesn't that suffice to show that Renly did not need to optimize his message to minimize Joffrey's appeal to his bannermen? Good judgment & loyal service are Davos' primary selling points, which Stannis holds in higher regard that being born & raised for a high position. Penrose wanted to duel for Storm's End, and there was no reason for Stannis to agree to risk such a thing (even with a champion representing him) when he had (with the rest of the Stormlands behind him) enough strength to win a siege. Jon is more directly a threat to Robert's regime, Cat isn't told the truth merely so she's not burdened with betraying the king. There have been hundreds of years of Targaryens on the throne, and usually the succession went according to blood (same thing with the other noble houses of Westeros). It's not some amazing coincidence that "interests" lined up with blood claims so frequently. How likely is the creation of a new pro-divorce church whose sacraments will be recognized? The Church of England was created after the Protestant Reformation had already kicked off (and after the schism between the, mostly Roman, Catholic churches and the archbishops of the east). First Men divorcing to take on Andal wives did not have existing marriages under the Seven, and at the time the Andals would have had contempt for any rites under the Old Gods. One of the Florent brothers acting in Stannis' stead would have made a peace agreement with the Lannisters or attacked Claw Isle; Davos is chosen because he would not have. I think the elides how many successions aren't disputed. Now I find myself in the odd position of arguing for the more legal positivist approach, after previously arguing for the significance of law! Robert was acclaimed as king by nearly all the remaining lords. They recognized him as the "true and rightful ruler". Balon Greyjoy thought his rule was unsettled and tried to rebel (not under the name of any Targaryens, as his House had actually fought against the loyalists near the end of the war), but was made to bend the knee to Robert. His reign was not plagued throughout by civil war like Maegor's or Aegon II's. Even after his death the Brotherhood Without Banners holds him up as their true king rather than any of the living people claiming the title. The difference is that Rhaenys & Visenya are sisters. The only culture in which polyandry (one wife, multiple husbands) is common is found in the Himalayas where some men can't afford a wife on their own, so two brothers share one. Their relatedness reduces the conflict that would normally present itself. Although that relatedness wasn't enough for Rhaenys & Visenya in terms of the succession. You're right that an incestous marriage of the children of the two wives would serve as the next closest thing.
  8. Common law is made from precedent. The "constitution" of England is not some document in the US, but an evolved understanding. Bruce Ackerman has argued that the US constitution doesn't only change through the formal amendment process but also through "constitutional moments". Robert's Rebellion can be considered such a moment. Merely sitting on the Iron Throne doesn't make one king. Jaime Lannister did it after killing Aerys, and unlike a Hand he wasn't doing it on behalf of anyone. No Stormlords support Joffrey until after Stannis loses the Battle of the Blackwater. He is the very last option after Renly & Stannis, which is why Renly is not terribly concerned with a stance that would make Joffrey seem more palatable to them. Davos seems like a poor choice to you due to his inexperience with high levels of command, but Stannis comes away with a lower opinion of the noblemen who held command under him at Blackwater, particularly his treasonous Hand Alester Florent and his aspiring brother Axell (who gives advice Stannis deems faulty, and wise of Davos to reject). Part of Stannis' reasoning isn't entirely naturalistic however, as he relies on Melisandre advising him to hear out Davos even though Davos wanted to kill her. And indeed Davos advising Stannis to go to the Wall instead of Claw Isle works out for him. The Lannisters & Starks had hostages of each other. That wasn't the case for the Baratheons. Ned & Robert like each other, but their interests aren't united by blood. In fact, per R+L=J, blood ties have compelled Ned to deceive Robert about Rhaegar's surviving son. People can care about multiple things, including not being beheaded by the king you install. If it's "yet another", then how many examples are there? And this particular example shows that marriage oaths under the Seven can bu superseded by oaths of celibacy (with the consent of the other spouse). Marital ties which can be undone easily would not be worth as much.
  9. Being alive would be preferable to being dead for Elia, but as a general matter polygamy creates more conflict within a family than monogamy. In the Ottoman empire fratricide became institutionalized to eliminate rival claimants. The attempts to avert prophecies were what I was referring to regarding futility. The prophecy always comes true, even if you act specifically to prevent it. Brandon had to be physically restrained after Rhaegar merely made a symbolic gesture toward Lyanna. A previous Lord Baratheon went to war with the Iron Throne after a betrothal was broken (ending with another Targaryen spouse being substituted). He couldn't predict the exact actions Brandon & Aerys would take, but that the Starks & Baratheons would demand justice for his actions was entirely predictable. He wasn't at the castle out of "personal preference" but to obtain a political alliance, which marriages are commonly used for. His refusal and flight from the castle resulted in his death. I'm pretty sure that's not the outcome he preferred. We know that Cat is not spiteful by nature, and even forgives her husband for fathering a bastard after marrying her and even trying to care for said bastard. Jon's presence at Winterfell is really the one contention in their marriage. Cat & Cersei have wildly different personalities, but one thing they have in common is an objection to their husbands' bastards being around. The Sea Snake didn't acknowledge the Hull bastards (allegedly his son's, though universally believed to be his own) until after his wife died. Even the one example of a polygamous Targaryen marriage in which there were children set the surviving Queen against her sister's offspring. This is basically a universal thing which emerges for understandable reasons and we should expect Elia to be similar by default. That Renly takes the position that Joffrey isn't a bastard doesn't mean that all the lords of the Stormlands share that view. My argument has been that Renly is motivated not to accept Stannis' argument because it helps Stannis more than Renly in winning support. If they accept Stannis' argument, then they don't have to usurp anyone. If they don't, there is the option to support Joffrey but the stormlords don't do that for reasons I've already brought up. Davos was not some chum like Ned was to Robert. He was from a completely different social class who received a knighthood (and a punishment) after he provided a vital service during the siege of Storm's End. Davos is loyal to Stannis because Stannis has raised him up, and Stannis continues to promote Davos because he regards Davos as more loyal & honest than all the noblemen. Martyn Lannister was an unusual case because Karstark had just murdered his fellow hostage & brother Willem. The fear that Martyn might be killed as well reduces his value as a hostage, and the death of a Lannister hostage under Robb's watch incentivized him to demonstrate a good-faith willingness to trade rather than kill his hostages. Renly scoffs after Catelyn asks Stannis why he isn't a traitor, because she doesn't know the allegations that Joffrey is a bastard (Renly certainly wasn't going to tell her before demanding that Robb bend the knee). And again, I have always said that Renly argues for his superiority over Stannis rather than his equality. Marital ties are stronger than those of fostering, which is why great houses are more fixated on attaining them. I explained the sociobiological reasoning for this in the discussion about ants earlier. How are you going to overthrow Aerys and keep Viserys as his heir? Robert had the strongest blood claim among the rebels against Aerys, and anyone opposed to them would execute the rebels given the chance. The marriage was set aside so that both could take vows of celibacy under the Seven (as Naerys Targaryen sought to do after marrying Aegon but was denied permission). There's also no record of his marriage producing any children, as far as I'm aware. If a bunch of people declare a new head of state, and then manage to put him in power, I'd consider the old one overthrown whether he managed to flee or was murdered while rebels were seizing the capital. Allende was overthrown even if he shot himself rather than going through a more formal process of removal. Even Targaryen kings are subject to laws. For example, it was established precedent that one can designate an heir. However, the Iron Precedent says that a woman cannot inherit (nor even shall the throne pass through a woman to her children). Viserys I designated his daughter as heir, but the Greens refused to respect his command and even Rhaenyra's son's regime doesn't record her as ever being Queen (even though Maegor is officially listed as a king rather than the usurper he really was). This helped establish the precedent further. Maester Aemon turned down the opportunity to be king because he believed his vows as a maester prohibited it (and no Targaryen loyalists regarded him as the heir after Viserys died). Laws can change, as Robert overthrew Aerys and claimed the throne with only descent via his grandmother (and some Martells try to use Dornish laws to declare his presumed daughter Myrcella as Queen over Tommen).
  10. The Targaryens do answer to laws, even having a Master of Laws to promulgate them. When Aegon conquered (most of) Westeros he sought the acclaim of the kingdoms he wanted to rule over, and eventually accepted the Faith of the Seven, so his dynasty would answer to the gods. Maegor thought he could do whatever he wanted, but even with dragons that was not accepted. The reasoning you quote is that the gods themselves had made an exception for Targaryen incest, but none of that applies to polygamy (or any other non-incest doctrine of the Faith). The Faith promulgated a Doctrine of Exceptionalism so that Jaehaerys' marriage (and those of his descendants) would be compatible with the religion they professed to share with (most of) their subjects. If the Targaryens were going to exempt themselves totally, they just wouldn't accept the Faith. Marrying Jorah would also be political suicide, as he was sentenced to death in Westeros for selling slaves, which the Faith resolutely opposed even while they were still on Essos getting away from Valyrian expansionism. Jorah encourages Dany to buy slaves, which is acceptable in Essos but not Westeros. Jorah is one of the last people to be relied on for advice on adhering to Westerosi norms (even aside from being a Northerner rather than a follower of the Seven).
  11. Stannis alleges that Joffrey is a bastard, and without a real claim to the throne, his removal is not a usurpation. Did Robert exercise the Targaryen prerogative of selecting an heir, or did he just passively accept the default? Stannis chooses Davos over seemingly more qualified men because Davos gives Stannis good advice even when Stannis doesn't want to hear it, unlike the two-faced lords Stannis normally has to deal with. They attempt to make a deal with Robb, but he never accepts the terms, and Tyrion's treachery reveals the envoys to be false ones attempting to free Jaime. This action raises doubts about any subsequent envoy. When Catelyn brings up that Stannis has the right as the elder brother, at that point Renly says Robert had no right to the Iron Throne but simply enough force, which is what Renly now has. Catelyn had not received Stannis' letter accusing Cersei of incestuously cuckolding Robert to produce all three of her children. That's why she's surprised when Stannis says as much in front of her (Renly certainly hadn't told her). Earlier Renly had said none of the Baratheons had any legal claim, but when Stannis brings up the incest Renly questions the reliability of the claim. He later dismisses it as irrelevant even if true (he merely "may" have the better claim) as long as Renly has the larger army, but he's not actually going to agree with it if he doesn't have to. It is rather lawyerly on his part to both seek to undermine the reliability of someone's testimony along with trying to minimize its impact if accept. Robert was younger & likeable, but Tully had marital alliances with two other great houses (while Robert merely had a betrothal Rhaegar had subverted) and had a male heir. Hoster was not old enough that people expected him to die and Edmure to require a long regency. The rebel coalition regarded Aerys' crimes as forfeiting his right to the throne. The only practical candidate they can replace him with must be somebody complicit in overthrowing Aerys, or else the rebels themselves will be traitors to the new king and wind up like Roger Mortimer (who thought the queen would be able to protect him). When they overthrew Aerys, they also rejected his right to choose an heir. Quentyn Ball sought a Kingsguard position, and had his wife join the Silent Sisters to prevent his marriage from disqualifying him. During the Tourney at Ashford, Dunk was initially blocked from participating because his claim to knighthood was disbelieved. The difference between a polygamous marriage and a serial marriage after the death of a spouse is that the original spouse is still around to contest the claims of the new spouse. Alicent Hightower had a leg up in seizing power after the death of her husband, because the court in King's Landing was heavy with her Green supporters, while the Blacks were concentrated near Dragonstone & Driftmark. In ancient Greek myths, responses to prophecies are typically futile. Not that the westerosi would know about the Greeks! Ned & Cat were very close and loved each other, but Cat was still hurt by Jon's presence and wanted him gone. She regards bastards as threats to their trueborn half-siblings, citing the example of Daemon Blackfyre. A half-sibling legitimized by marriage would be all the more threatening. What makes you think the "original plan" was any different from what he actually did? And she isn't merely faced with the fiscal issue of providing for the kids/household but the political backlash sparked by his actions, all while the realm is governed by a Mad King who rejects Rhaegar's children for "smell[ing] Dornish". It was practiced before the Faith of the Seven. The Ironborn (who worship the Drowned God instead) reject the customs of the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, which is why they have salt wives & thralls. Switching from Westeros to our world, the majority of human cultures have actually had polygyny. It's just that the ones which rejected it and established a norm of monogamy were able to spread. People don't typically neglect to prohibit polygamy because nobody attempts it (even among inland Alaskan natives who find it difficult to provide for multiple wives, some still do it). If there's no polygamy, it's generally because of the existence of a norm prohibiting it. His argument was not "I don't want to", but instead that he was bound by a pre-existing betrothal (even though those are sometimes broken). The texts should all be available at http://asearchoficeandfire.com/ so I recommend you search there to provide cites. Brandon didn't take that approach, but Rickard actually did follow the King's order to appear and answer for his son. His approach didn't work either, because the king had gone mad. The Doctrine of Exceptionalism was specific to incest and based on the Targaryens having always practiced it and (related to that) being the only dragonriders, whose very nature was marked by their appearance. Outbreeding would diminish their Valyrian blood in a way that monogamy would not. The Faith of the Seven declared that their laws continued to hold sway, with the one exception that the Targaryens were exempt from the prohibition on incest. The Targaryens would not claim themselves to be above any oaths sworn under the Seven (including marriage vows), as they came to affirm the Faith themselves (with Barth's modification). They didn't have to. All members of the Faith rejected it, and Maegor was only able to get any septons to bless such marriages because he kept executing ones who refused (and his many enemies among the Faith never accepted said marriages). As long as subsequent Targaryen kings lived by the Faith, they would not have the option of such marriages, which septons would continue to refuse. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence, as any Bayesian will tell you. What were those "good reasons"? I noted that the majority of human cultures accepted the practice, don't you find it odd that in all the generations after Maegor (who made enemies of everyone including his family and left no heirs) we never see another polygamous marriage? Polygamy provides a benefit to lower-status women by allowing them to become an additional wife of a higher-status male (like the Targaryens), with the ratio of polygamous marriages within a society often predictable by the amount of inequality. Sufficiently high degrees of inequality (which aren't as typical in the average human society as in relatively wealthy ones) give rise to a majority of men being unable to afford wives in a polygamous system. Western monogamy is typically traced back to ancient Rome, which had a republic and swore off kings forever (the emperors would deny being such though they were that in all but name only), borrowed into the Roman Catholic Church. Mizrahi Jews, living outside Roman law, continued to accept it (though sometimes restricted to four wives, like Muslims). The incentive of the men at the top of society is to grant themselves multiple wives, it's due to constraints (from norms such as those promulgated by a church) that they refrain from doing so. Ants are eusocial, with most members of a colony foregoing their own reproduction so the Queen can fill that purpose. A major reason why they can do that is because their haplodiploid genetics makes them more related than ordinary siblings. Half siblings are less related than ordinary siblings, so we would expect less cooperation and more conflict from them. The incentives of people to cooperate based on relatedness is why marriage alliances exist in the first place. The Targaryens accepted the Faith of the Seven, which continued to prohibit it. They did not accept it prior to leaving Dragonstone.
  12. The norm that a son inherits is strong, but if succession is uncertain, then they can choose to avoid a regency. Joffrey never had any "seal of approval" from Robert, who told Ned he was staying on the throne just to keep Joffrey off it. Stannis & Renly were both granted castles & seats on the small council. Even if he didn't get along with Stannis, he still trusted him with defeating the Greyjoys at sea. And Davos serves as evidence that Stannis prioritizes good service over lineage (Cersei Lannister does promote Janos "son of a butcher" Slynt, but Tywin condemns this and Tyrion sends him to the wall for precisely the reason he was promoted). Stannis' objectives would serve as a barrier to any eventual peace, but I brought up more everyday negotiations like the exchange of prisoners after a battle. The Lannisters have a credibility problem where Stannis does not. Stannis was making the incest argument, and Renly did not want to grant it because it served Stannis over Renly. I have already said that Renly would not argue for his equality rather than his superiority. The Baratheons had also never been "kings" before, instead their founder was the alleged bastard half-brother of Aegon the conqueror. Viserys was the son of the very king they were trying to overthrow, he was far too young and would require a regency, and he was in the hands of the Mad King's regime (until Tywin sacked the city and the Mad King's wife fled to Dragonstone and then Essos). Additionally, anyone who overthrew the Mad King while keeping his young son as next in line might expect a fate like Roger Mortimer under Edward III. The Westerosi place legal weight on precedent, like the "iron precedent" that only a son can inherit the Iron Throne. Marriage under the Seven involves sacred oaths, which is why the Faith later put Margaery & Cersei on trial for violating said oaths. Robert is admittedly not too big on various formalities, hence his permitting non-knight Northerners to participate in a tourney alongside southron knights, but permitting the king to set aside a marriage under the Seven without anyone involved taking the costly step of swearing sacred oaths of celibacy undermines the reliability of the marital alliances at the core of westerosi politics (including the ties that bound together the victors of Robert's rebellion).
  13. FictionIsntReal

    Why did Ned leave the bodies of his companions in Dorne?

    I doubt it. GRRM seems like he had that part planned out beforehand, and this is why he said there would be no need for a prequel dealing with that (as it would all be explained by the end). The Meerenese Knot happened because of a change of plans while he was writing. Originally he was just going to skip over five years. He also planned at one point that Dany would go to Asshai.
  14. FictionIsntReal

    How did Tywin reach King’s Landing before the Rebel army?

    That's quite a risk. Rhaegar was officially fighting on behalf of his father, violently overthrowing said father (and sacking the city) doesn't sit very well with that. And if Rhaegar wins and Tywin supports him, Tywin doesn't need to race to beat him to King's Landing.
  15. They have acted to avoid a regency in the past. There isn't a comparable history of preventing disagreeable men from succeeding to the throne. It does seem plausible to me that R;hllorism would pose a problem, but in the book Renly just jokes about it and the "king's men" in Stannis' camp (like Davos) still adhere to the Seven. Even clergy of the Faith seem to accept the R'hllorist members of the Brotherhood Without Banners, with Thoros the Red Priest being blessed in the name of The Warrior. GRRM seems to minimize the importance of religion & the church in Westeros relative to medieval Europe, even as he borrows some of its trappings for The Faith. Joffrey was born in the crownlands and neglected by Robert. The court is full of Lannisters and their supporters. None of the Baratheon family supports Joffrey (in contrast with Rhaenyra's "Velaryon" offspring). Stormlanders can gain positions by supporting a legitimate Baratheon for the throne, and those on Robert's side in the rebellion (like Davos) particularly so if it's Stannis. There's the fact of opposition and then how difficult it will be to negotiate with an opposing party. The Lannisters try to negotiate to exchange prisoners (like Jaime), but this is difficult because they executed Ned and Tyrion's delegation tried to violently free Jaime while under a peace banner. Stannis hasn't done anything comparable to Tywin, much less Mace. When trying to win supporters, you argue in favor of your own superiority rather than equality. Renly does however claim Robert was king just because his army won, implying that his larger army will do the same for him rather than Stannis, ignoring that Robert (rather than any of his fellow Lords Paramount) was acclaimed king because he was the most Targaryen nobleman outside the crown family (whose two adult male members south of the wall had acted so as to lose their perceived legitimacy). So your one example of it actually happening (which you haven't specifically named) dates back to the Andal invasion, with an existing marriage that had not been ratified under the Seven, back when the Faith was rather fanatical about wiping out other religions? Additionally, while Merle I & his son Gwayne V did take Andal maidens for wives, I find no evidence of either being married prior to this. Merle's father, Garth IX, who had already married and had a child beforehand, did not set aside his wife as far as I can tell. My understanding was that Rhaegar was primarily influenced by pre-existing prophecies, rather than his own visions.