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Lord Varys

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  1. The Targaryens are actually ridiculously short-lived, especially their women who die like flies in childbirth. But even their men don't get old. The Conqueror and Jaehaerys I at least get past sixty, which is decent. Visenya is the oldest Targaryen in the first century. Alysanne younger and is very sick and spent in her last years. Aenys and Jaehaerys II die very early, and Baelon dies in his forties a stomach disease. Viserys I gets just above fifty, Aegon III dies very young, the same Baelor the Blessed, and Viserys II and Aegon IV both only live to the age of 49. Daeron II doesn't make it to sixty, either, and Aerys I dies in his fifties, too. Many others who die of unnatural causes and also don't get that old.
  2. Yes, of course, I never said it didn't happen before the marriage, I just corrected your claim that it happened before marriage and betrothal. The idea if we go with Harwin as father of the children would be that Rhaenyra offered Harwin the role of her protector and secret paramour when they had that first night. She seems to have had something like that in mind for Criston Cole and when he rejected her she went to the next best man. But in light of the fact that she seems to have been in love with Criston at that time chances are very low that her relationship with Harwin was rooted in love ... more like attraction and convenience. Because we can also be reasonably certain that Rhaenyra loathing Laenor to the degree she did made it very unlikely from the start she was willing to have a proper marriage with him ... even if he had been determined to do his part (which he apparently wasn't). Again, the idea is that this general impression people seem to have - that Harwin was an important person in Rhaenyra's life - is clearly not very well-founded by the text. Unlike the entire Laena thing. Of course, but so what? It was also vastly improper for both Daemon and Rhaenyra to marry as quickly after the deaths of their respective spouses, yet they did that, too. And we do not have to imagine this whole thing as something that was planned. Rhaenyra was there when Laena died, she and Daemon exchance memories of her, they start to drink, start to remember their own past, and then it happens. With their history that it isn't surprising at all. Of course, but this entire story has a lot of queer bedfellows, no? It starts with Corlys and Daemon preparing to start a succession war in 101 AC before the Great Council. And then later they team up because neither has the prominent place as the court of Viserys I they wanted ... and Daemon eventually even marries Corlys' daughter - a woman whose claim he was fighting against in 101 AC. In the 110s Laena Velaryon suddenly looked attractive to him. And it is actually somewhat similar with Rhaenyra. Originally in 103-105 AC Daemon viewed Rhaenyra as his own rival. He wanted to be his brother's heir, he wanted to be king one day. He did not want to be the prince/king consort at Rhaenyra's side. But when Rhaenyra was installed as the Heir Apparent Daemon quickly changed his approach, realizing his way to the Iron Throne now went through Rhaenyra, by seducing and marrying her. It is completely within the mindset of this man to forget the issues he had with Otto and Alicent and join their team if they would have him. Daemon Targaryen only becomes a Black in 120 AC when he marries Rhaenyra. Prior to that he wasn't part of either party, only sort of tangentially connected to Rhaenyra via Laena and Laenor. If we assume for a moment that Daemon doesn't marry Rhaenyra in 120 AC then a lot of things could have happened. If he had married Helaena he could have offered Baela and Rhaena to Aegon the Elder and Aemond, respectively. We also see those shifting alliances on the other side - originally Otto Hightower makes Rhaenyra the Heir Apparent and then later he does anything in his power to stop her. And Viserys I was also easy to persuade most of the time. He banished Daemon multiple times but always allowed him to return ... just as he dismissed Otto once only to recall him later. So we can also imagine that with Rhaenyra widowed Otto and Alicent would push the king again for the match they had suggested back in 113 AC - Rhaenyra marrying her half-brother Aegon the Elder. In light of everything that had gone wrong in 120 AC this could have been something Viserys I may have even accepted or considered a good idea now to bind this family closer together that clearly started to fray. What basically finally forms the two factions as we know them is Daemon marrying Rhaenyra in 120 AC and Aegon marrying Helaena a couple of years later.
  3. You are confusing things here. Rhaenyra's fling with Daemon happened in 111 AC, after his temporary return from the Stepstones, Rhaenyra's one night with Harwin was the result of her break-up/whatever with Criston Cole, which took place at the same day as Viserys I forcing his daughter to go through with the Laenor marriage. Meaning they were already betrothed and scheduled to marry when the Harwin thing took place. And we have to take that with a grain of salt since the source in Mushroom - whose account on Rhaenyra-Daemon and Cole being 'as chaste as an old septa' is not exactly all that convincing. And this whole thing had nothing to do with fathering children but was a way to blow off steam. I'm not saying Rhaenyra had nothing going for Harwin ... just that he was clearly her third choice after her dear uncle and Criston Cole. And in the end only Daemon seems to have been viewed by her as the man worthy of her hand. Definitely not KG Cole, and also not Harwin Strong who was the heir to a great lordship. The man had proposed to her earlier as had other great heirs like the Lannister twins. Yes, and as I said - this kind of thing does happen even if the widower in question isn't just the hot uncle you had a thing for as a girl. It is not uncommon that people comfort each other if they were suffering from a loss and this results in them starting a relationship. And regardless of the Laena issue - this definitely illustrates the fact that Harwin still being there did not stop Rhaenyra from having sex with Daemon after Laena's death. The children were betrothed to each other ... and the marriages still over a decade or more away. Neither Baela nor Rhaena were ever married to any of Rhaenyra's sons. A lot of things could happen in the meantime ... betrothals can be dissolved, after all. By 120 AC none of Alicent's children were yet married. The Greens could have recruited Daemon to their side by offering him Helaena's hand ... and Rhaenyra could have ended up with Aegon or Aemond as a second husband for this or that reason. If that had happened they would have likely also dissolved those betrothals. As for political motivations in this - Daemon without Rhaenyra as his wife would just be a landless prince without influence or seat. Rhaenyra without Daemon would be without a strong man at her side. If there was ever going to be a conflict with the Green faction then Rhaenyra having Daemon on her side would make sense for her, no? Not to mention that the explanation we get for the rushed wedding is Rhaenyra's pregnancy ... although that's a bad theory in light of the fact that Rhaenyra could have passed Aegon the Younger as Laenor's final child. If she got pregnant before his death and while she was still comforting Daemon for Laena, Laenor could have been the father. And perhaps he was. We actually do not know ;-). After all, the man lived at High Tide, too, just as Daemon and Laena did at the time of Laena's death. And while we think about that - who is to say Harwin isn't the father of Aegon III? If Rhaenyra got pregnant before Laenor's death/Harwin's return to Harrenhal and she had sex with him at that time then this would certainly be possible. But, again, FaB really doesn't elaborate much about the family life there. We don't even get Rhaenyra's - or Aegon the Younger's or Baela/Rhaena's - reaction to Daemon's death at Harrenhal, nor what the children thought about the entire Nettles affair. We don't know if Daemon was still interested in power when the Dance began ... or whether that had changed over the years.
  4. Of course not, but if you check the use of 'more than fond' in FaB then the hint that Rhaenyra was in love with Laena is actually more explicit that the idea that Rhaena was a lesbian who actually had a number of affairs and sexual relationships with her favorites. That is in part due to the very condensed and superficial account we get on the reign of Viserys I. We do know a lot more about the inner workings of the marriage of Jaehaerys and Alysanne and Baelon and Alyssa and even Alyssa and Rogar than we do know about the inner workings of the marriages and affairs of Rhaenyra. I mean, thanks to the way things are written we don't even know what Daemon and Rhaenyra were to each other at the beginning of the Dance, nor how they got along with each other's children. There is less detail to that era/people than there is to most characters from the Regency era or the Jaehaerys material. Actually, the one good anecdote about Rhaenyra-Harwin from Mushroom - the claim that he found them abed together the night after the king forced Rhaenyra into the Laenor marriage - has this happened shortly before her marriage, i.e. definitely after her betrothal was already made. Anything detailed afterwards is contradictory. But that one thing would have been Rhaenyra blowing off steam after things with Criston ended. Chances are pretty good that Harwin was the kind of man Rhaenyra liked - powerfully built, strong, manly (Daemon and Criston Cole fit the same profile, after all) - meaning she may have been attracted to him. But the idea that she was deeply devoted to him is pretty much without basis. The one man Rhaenyra wanted to marry back in the day was her uncle Daemon - Cole was most likely rejected by her and Harwin Strong - who asked for her hand - had to content himself being a secret paramour (if anything happened) because Rhaenyra loved the Iron Throne more than any man. Daemon may have been the one wanting to profit from the situation. He was never in love with Rhaenyra as far as we know ... and people speculate that he may have arranged Laenor's murder. But it is also perfectly in line with Rhaenyra's character since it is basically also what she seems to have done when she broke up with Criston Cole. She immediately jumped to Harwin (at least for one night). In that sense - the idea that Laena's death could have resulted in her jumping right into another sexual relationship sounds exactly like something she would do. That is particularly unrealistic to assume. If we presuppose that Rhaenyra was in love with Laena and they had a very close relationship then chances are not that bad that a dying Laena wanted to take care of Laena's family, possibly even Daemon. It isn't exactly a rare thing that a man or woman take care and even marry a widowed in-law. They can bond over shared grief and bare economic or political necessities. And in Daemon and Rhaenyra's case you have both the Laena factor as well as Rhaenyra's past infatuation with her uncle and Daemon apparently deflowering her in 111 AC. These two do have a connection. But even if you ignore all that then these two binding their families closer together is a pretty smart move in any case. Much better than if either remained alone or married somebody from outside the family.
  5. If you go back then you'll see that I point out that lesbians are ignored/erased more than male homosexuals. This was an answer to the demand that there would (have to) be more explicit stories about lesbian sex if Rhaenyra and Laena had been a thing. And the point basically is that this isn't the case because we do not have anything explicit about any of the other lesbian/bisexual women in the story. What? The entire point of the Harwin thing is that Rhaenyra was looking for a man to father Laenor's children - because she either did not want to sleep with him at all, or, more likely, Laenor flat-out refused to have sex with her or even live with her. We don't know whether their marriage was pretty much impossible from the start (although Rhaenyra clearly opposed the marriage from the start) or whether Criston Cole ruining their wedding feast is what caused this rift. But the point of the marriage - and Rhaenyra's duty as a princess - was to produce children, so she had to find a father for those children if Laenor wasn't an option. We actually do have a strong hint that Laena and Rhaenyra may have had an affair with that 'more than fond' phrase. As I showed, this phrase is used thrice in FaB, and in both other instances it refers to something that isn't just a platonic friendship. Yes, but we have no indication that there was ever a romance or love going on between them - even if Harwin was the father of the children, he may have just been convenient for that job, being around Rhaenyra all the time, anyway. There is no indication she ever had deeper feelings for that man. Nobody ever says Rhaenyra 'was more than fond' of Harwin Strong. And the fact that Rhaenyra seems to have turned to Laena for a close companion in the years leading up to 120 AC as well as the fact that Rhaenyra turned to Daemon after the death of Laena also indicates that she didn't care much about Harwin - she never grieved for either him or Laenor. No, Rhaenyra had as many political reasons to marry Daemon as he had to marry her. As I said, this marriage bound both of the Targaryen-Velaryon branches tightly together - with Laenor's widow becoming the new mother of Laena's daughters while Laena's widower became the new father or Laenor's sons -, it ensured Rhaenyra was not forced to remarry outside the family, a man who might not be supporting her succeeding to the Iron Throne. But, of course, while chances are pretty high that Daemon Targaryen *never* loved his niece and always just viewed her as a means to get closer to the throne - the same way he may have viewed Laena - Rhaenyra Targaryen was very much infatuated with her uncle in her youth. But chances are that those original feelings had somewhat changed by the time of their marriage in 120 AC. Perhaps she still had the hots for him? Perhaps she just viewed him as the only proper consort to sit beside her when she took the Iron Throne? We don't know.
  6. The mental comment about Viserys there just is the final nail in the coffin of Dany's delusion that her brother was 'special'. Dany loved and fear Viserys all her life, and only when she joined the Dothraki did she realize how pitiful and abusive he actually was. It means that she and her son are the only hopes of House Targaryen left. Viserys was a dead end. It is quite clear the situation as it developed endangered not just Viserys but Dany and Jorah, too. Viserys was part of their party and Jorah is very much afraid that Viserys' drawn sword is going to get them all killed. Dany had no chance to defend her brother ... and also no reason/motivation to do so after he blatantly threatened her own life, the life of her unborn child, and blamed her for a marriage he himself arranged. Dany could have cared more for her brother in that moment ... but she was under no obligation of doing so. The guy destroyed their bond when he threatened to kill her and Rhaego. And if you guys read the books you also know that Viserys remained alive in Dany's mind all the time. She named one of her dragons after him, Viserys' knowledge about dragons helped her feed the hatchlings, and later still, in the Dothraki Sea, Viserys and Jorah show up as her visionary guides (and not, say, Drogo). Viserys is still very much on her mind and she doesn't enjoy it that he is dead ... nor did she want that for him.
  7. The Hightowers never wanted to take over the Reach. They were just acting on the orders of Aegon II to put down the rebellions in the Reach and later tried to depose Rhaenyra. By the time of Leo Longthorn Tyrell power should already have been very strong. They were still relatively weak when Jaehaerys I took the throne, but at the end of his reign they established themselves after they got the chance to serve on the council, and later still the Dance would also have played into their hands, weakening many of the great houses of the Reach.
  8. I don't think any of the stuff in that era is particularly noteworthy. Ned most likely ended up in the Vale because of his great-aunt there, and Robert may have gotten to the Vale because Steffon made some connection with Jon, possibly on the Stepstones. The Tully matches are part of Hoster's personal ambition, his desire to make truly special matches for his daughters. And the Princess of Dorne and Joanna's plans go back to ties they formed while being in Queen Rhaella's service. What exactly triggered Lord Rickard's interests in southern politics is so far unclear. Could have to do with that maester, could be connected to the wanderings of his father-in-law, the Wandering Wolf. Could be the simple fact that he realized that after the recent tragedies the Starks should have stronger ties with the south to ensure they would get more help during long winters, rebellions, wildling incursions and the like.
  9. Oh, I'm very aware about their build and stuff ... but you seem to be overlooking the fact that both lustiness as well as a powerful build are also strong Targaryen traits. Not all Targaryens look that way, mind you, but most do. Maegor the Cruel was a very powerfully built man as was Daemon Blackfyre, Maelys the Monstrous, and, presumably, the Dragonknight; and Aegon II, Aegon IV, and even Viserys I do also count as lusty lads ... as does Daemon who also fits the bill of the powerfully built warrior. Even men like Aegon the Uncrowned, his brother Viserys, Jaehaerys I, and Aemon & Baelon fit the bill of tall and muscular, very strong men. They may not have been as strong as Harwin Strong ... but Maegor the Cruel, Daemon Blackfyre, and Maelys the Monstrous should be pretty much in that category. There were Targaryens who were among the most powerful men of their generation. This isn't conclusive. And as I laid out, many of the non-Valyrian traits in the Targaryen family disappear without a trace or rarely show up again. We have no idea where Alyssa's mismatched eyes come from, but they do not become a trait that pops up all that often among her descendants. Rhaenys' Baratheon hair disappears without a trace, as do the traits of Myriah Martell and Betha Blackwood in (most of) their descendants. None of Maekar's sons resembled their grandmother, only Duncan looked like his mother, etc. In that sense it wouldn't be particularly weird if Laenor and Rhaenyra produced those brown-haired boys because of their specific set of inherited traits - something that didn't happen with Rhaenyra and Daemon - and even less so when both Daenaera Velaryon and, especially, Larra Rogare with her strong Valyrian lineage strengthened the royal bloodline again. Laenor Velaryon has comparatively thin Valyrian blood. George even deleted the line about him having the blood of the dragon on both sides of his lineage from FaB. He is a Targaryen through his mother, but Rhaenys had a Baratheon/Velaryon mother, and has thus all the non-Valyrian ancestors that go with that bloodline. Alyssa Velaryon has Velaryon and perhaps even Targaryens among her paternal ancestors, but her mother was a Massey which means her ancestors on that side of the family would be all over the place. Just as the Baratheon bloodline should have very obscure origins if you go beyond Orys Baratheon's unknown mother. And on the Durrandon side there should be basically ancestors from all over the Stormlands and eventually even the Reach and the Riverlands and Dorne, etc. On his father's side Laenor has Velaryon blood, but as we have discussed repeatedly here in this thread and elsewhere in relation to the casting, we don't know who his parents were, nor who his paternal grandmother was. There could have been a lot - really a lot! - of brown-haired, brown-eyed women among those people. And it could have been the same with the Arryns. Their fair hair doesn't seem to be that dominant considering that Jon Arryn's - who was a fair-haired Arryn - son and heir looks exactly like his Tully mother. And the various Arryn branches are heavily intermarried with their bannermen and other nobility, most of which wouldn't be predominantly blond.
  10. Oh, but this is fictional history. We do not assume things are going on that nobody talks about, and if a rumor develops over time then we look at when it is first mentioned. Anything else is writing fan fiction in your own head. The first recorded instance of the 'Laenor cannot father children' rumor started with the birth of Lucerys. The first time this rumor was actually publicly discussed was only in 120 AC when Aemond insulted his nephews, and Aegon the Elder admitted to have told his brother about that. And then the king made his ruling on the matter and people kept their tongues or lost them (as the Velaryons later did). Afterwards nobody repeated that rumor publicly considering the king had decreed he would even cut out royal tongues if they defied him. My point on the issue of Rhaenyra's children just is that the point of the text as written is that things are not supposed to be decided one side or the other. And part of that is the fact that it is not said Harwin Strong had brown hair, brown eyes, and a pug nose. Also, it is also clear that this entire thing is political - it is part of the Green agenda in that succession struggle, part of the ammunition they use to try to force Viserys I to change the succession. We have no reason to assume that Alicent and Aegon and Aemond are neutral in this, are just looking at the facts (i.e. the looks of the people they are targeting). They do have an agenda and would do and say almost anything to get what they want. We see this in the account of the first Green Council where they both reiterate their theories about the Velaryon boys as well as Laenor's sons supposedly inheriting their father's sexual preferences. They certainly could omit or not care about the looks of Harwin or Queen Aemma or Corlys Velaryon's mother. I'm not saying the boys aren't Harwin's, I just stress the point that we are not supposed to pretend we do know.
  11. The idea is that the boys looked 'common'. Harwin Strong isn't of Valyrian descent, so he is a conveniently candidate for this whole thing. It is certainly possible that he looked *somewhat* like the Velaryon boys. But it isn't confirmed. The thing is deliberately left vague by George and Gyldayn, to the point that when Joffrey Velaryon's death is described we still get both Laenor and Harwin mentioned as potential fathers. If you compare it to the story of the Hull boys I'd say there it is almost confirmed that Corlys was their true father. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence there. But with Laenor's sons it is deliberately less obvious. Vice versa, both Rhaenyra and Laenor aren't exactly pure-blooded Valyrians - we have no clue who Corlys' mother and grandmother are, and Princess Rhaenys inherited all the Durrandon and Baratheon blood from her mother Jocelyn and whatever is connected to that. Brown hair and brown eyes could have been passed down from that side of the family. And Rhaenyra is an Arryn on her mother's side - we don't know how Aemma looked, nor how her father Rodrik looked in the hair and eye department. Lord Rodrik Arryn is described in detail in FaB but George really (and perhaps rather deliberately) failed to give us his hair or eye color. Traditionally, the Arryns are fair-haired Andals - but Rodrik's and Aemma's entire branch seems to die out ... or rather to not continue the lordly branch due to Jeyne Arryn's decision to hand the Vale to her distant cousin Joffrey. Rodrik and all his descendants could have been brown-haired Arryns.
  12. The talk started as the non-Valyrian children of Rhaenyra's started to pile up. Alicent's first poisonous remark to Laenor is recorded at the birth of Lucerys. And again - it is not stated that Harwin Strong (or any Strong for that matter) was brown-haired, brown-eyed, and pug-nosed. That is merely the description of the children who didn't resemble their father Laenor. It is nowhere stated that they looked like Harwin Strong. The only Strong we have a description of is Lucamore Strong - and he was a blond bull. In that sense, it is entirely possible that the rumors Alicent spread is just a 'they don't look like their dad' story, pointing to the closest male confidant and friend of Rhaenyra as the likely true father. Kind of like Stannis jumped to the conclusion that Jaime must be the father of Cersei's children when he really never had any evidence for that that we know of. All he had was that the children didn't look like Robert ... but they could have inherited their golden hair and green eyes solely from their mother. The true father could have been Trant or Blount or any other man at court with access to Queen Cersei. I mean, it is kind of a wild and mad guess that Jaime would be the father of the children there. Incest is a vile sin, and not something the Lannisters or anyone whose name isn't Targaryen usually does. And he is Cersei twin brother, meaning him having a very close bond to his sweet sister is hardly suspicious or even unusual. Nobody but people with very ugly fantasies about twin sex should actually ever suspect that Cersei and Jaime do have sexual relations. Unless Stannis himself ever saw them having sex or exchanging kisses that were clearly not brotherly and sisterly ... or he had reports about such things he deemed credible. The Greens say the boys are Strongs, but they never say they look like Harwin (or Larys or Lyonel). Alicent just decided that Harwin Strong was 'the true father' and her sons aped her in this regard. If we had an actual description of Harwin Strong it would be different. And to be sure - it is very hard to imagine this whole thing working if Harwin truly was a carbon copy of the boys. Because then it would be painstakingly obvious for everyone. The entire Realm would gossip about this and it would have had some severe repercussions, never mind how much Viserys I loved his daughter. It works much better if it is an oddity that the boys don't look like their father (and mother) but not exactly like their mother's bodyguard.
  13. Because Rhaenyra was a proud woman who didn't care much about what he dear stepmother said? Because she was the blood of the dragon, the beloved and cherished favorite child of her royal father who could do whatever she wanted? Such people do as they please, they do not have to bother thinking about how something might look in the eyes of lesser folks. And to reiterate something for the thousandth time - we don't know how Harwin Strong looked like. He could have been blond and blue-eyed for all we know. All we know is that the boys didn't look like Laenor ... nobody ever said they looked like Harwin Strong. The oddity is that Laenor and Rhaenyra do not have children looking Valyrian. It is explicitly not that they have children looking exactly like Rhaenyra's sworn shield. If the boys had been exact carbon copies of Harwin Strong then there wouldn't have been just slanders and rumors. My point is that aside from Harwin being Rhaenyra's sworn shield we have no indication that they had a close emotional connection. The way to hint at deep feelings is what we get for Joffrey Lonmouth - Laenor weeping like a girl for days and never leaving the man's bedside until his death. And his insistence to name one of his sons after Joffrey. If we had Rhaenyra collapse - like she did after Luke's death, say - when she heard about Harwin we could speculate about love. The same if Rhaenyra had insisted to name one of her sons after Harwin. Alysanne's many children are living testimony that even incestuous couples of Targaryen/Velaryon ancestry can produce a broad variety of children who look different. One brown-haired child of Rhaenyra's doesn't mean her second or third would have to look the same way ... just as there was no guarantee that Rhaenyra and Daemon would produce children with Valyrian features. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn't. We even have reverse cases where quite a few Targaryen children do not resemble their non-Valyrian, dark-haired parent - Baelor Breakspear looks like Myriah, but Aerys I and Maekar have very prominent Valyrian features (and Rhaegel perhaps, too), Duncan Targaryen resembles his mother, but Jaehaerys II and Daeron do not ... and none of the descendants of Jaehaerys II and Shaera do give any trace that they are descended from both Betha Blackwood and Myriah Martell (and Dyanna Dayne, who could also have had non-Valyrian features). Don't put the cart before the horse. People deal with problems when they present themselves, not when they lay the groundwork for them. We could just as well complain that there were Green and Black factions at all. Why didn't they work out their differences? Why didn't they get along? Were they stupid? They were family, after all...
  14. There is nothing to this. Robert asked for Lya's hand, not the other way around, and he was the best match a Stark could hope for. Much better than Cat for Brandon, who was just a Tully. Robert was the Lord of Storm's End, a man in whose veins flowed not only the blood of the Storm Kings but also the Targaryens ... and he was a close cousin of the present king making this an almost royal match. Rickard seems to have immediately agreed to such a match, considering no Stark has ever gotten as prestigious a match before, but there is no indication that this had anything to do with a conspiracy plan. Rickard supposedly had southron ambitions - he wanted that the Starks play a bigger role in the larger realm, that they are no longer backwater nobility marrying amongst themselves. He had no intention to overthrow or plot against the Targaryens ... he wanted a prominent seat at their table. A seat on the council, say, the Handship, or perhaps even a royal match if this were possible ... although that would be very difficult with a family that preferred royal incest.
  15. Well, if we follow the chronology then Laena would either replace Harwin as Rhaenyra's lover or be the person she falls in love with during her marriage to Laenor (who she clearly never loved). It wouldn't be that crowded in her bedchamber at that particular time. Overall, Rhaenyra is more serial monogamist than a person who has multiple affairs at the same time. Her first love was clearly her uncle Daemon, and Eustace's version of the events of 111 AC are much more consistent with everything else than Mushroom (who is the one who has her making out with Daemon to acquire the skills to seduce Criston), her second Criston Cole, her third (if it is true) Harwin Strong. Laena could be her fourth. She returned to Daemon in 120 AC but whether that was a marriage made from love or convenience and/or political necessity is completely unclear. Just because they may have had grief sex which got Rhaenyra pregnant with Aegon doesn't mean they were much in love. And for political reasons it was, apparently, necessary for both Rhaenyra and Daemon to bind her family and the Velaryons together, something that was also done by this marriage. This is also something people seem to be overlooking when thinking about the Velaryon bloodline issue: After Laena and Laenor are dead, Laenor's widow marries Laena's widower, binding those two families together in a way stronger than they were bound together by those promises that Jace and Luke would marry Laena's girls. Corlys' granddaughters have now a new mother in Rhaenyra, the future queen. They become an even closer family than they were before. Daemon later shows Rhaenyra how much he desires her (not at all) when he spends his time with aging harlots and ugly bastards, and Rhaenyra herself feels she needs Daemon but never stresses the fact that she loves him all that much. It is apparently somewhat sinful, but it seems that the basis for that is not that it is deeply unnatural behavior but rather falls in the category of standard fornication. The Faith's view seems to be that sexuality should only happen in marriage, and since men cannot marry men they should not have sex with each other. Incest and polygamy are clearly much more monstrous sins considering that those have caused a religious uprising.
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