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Lord Varys

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  1. Both as a discussion in general as well as an inquiry at @Ran I'd like to make sense of what we know at this point about the succession of Baelor I. TWoIaF implies that the succession of the septon-king was only addressed, discussed, and eventually decided after Baelor the Blessed had already died - which actually makes no sense from any realistic in-world POV we might take. For one, King Baelor should have formally recognized at least a presumptive heir possibly by the time he ascended the Iron Throne, at the latest when he annulled his marriage to his sister-wife Daena, making it clear to his court as well as the world at large that he would father any (legitimate) children in the near future. But when he decided to take the vows of a septon some time later, committing himself to celibacy for the remainder of his life, making it crystal clear he did not only intend to never take another wife in the future but effectively closing that door for good he would have been forced to name an heir apparent considering he would never have a son or a daughter. In light of the fact that pretty much any king before Baelor does have a presumptive heir before he names an heir apparent, and considering that kings whose succession is somewhat garbled (like Viserys I's in the first two years of his reign) have to rule on the matter as soon it becomes a vexing issue it is pretty much impossible that Baelor the Blessed could ignore this issue throughout his reign. And if he did ignore it, if he made no decision to between his uncle Prince Viserys and his former sister-wife Daena the Defiant, then we should actually expect a court being as split as it was before the Dance of the Dragons because nothing encourages factionalism more than uncertainty. Then there is the Maidenvault issue - but Baelor annulling his marriage as well as his decision to imprison his former sister-wife and other sisters can only be a strong sign that he never so much as entertained the notion that his sisters should sit the Iron Throne or that any of them should marry to give birth to sons who might succeed their holy royal uncle. Thus one would assume that King Baelor named his uncle Prince Viserys Heir Apparent to the Iron Throne, most likely around the time he annulled his marriage or when he took his septon's vows of celibacy. Back before the Viper Pit, when Baelor arranged the marriage between Prince Daeron and Princess Myriah he may have still intended continue his marriage and eventually father heirs of his own body. And if we assume that Daeron II and Maron essentially completed the work Baelor the Blessed started - which is implied by TWoIaF - then Baelor's plan may actually have been - once he was sure he would never have children - that a Targaryen prince married to a Dornish princess (and their children after him) would eventually inherit the Iron Throne, greatly increasing the chances that the Dornish problem could be resolved by peaceable means (something that wouldn't have happened if one of his sisters had succeeded him). That idea, too, would indicate that Baelor the Blessed would have made his uncle Heir Apparent so young Daeron could eventually succeed to the throne. There would certainly be a chance for a last minute change of heart in Baelor - say, the dying king trying the change the succession in favor of Daena or one of his other sisters (Rhaena, say, because she had become a septa and could thus continue his work much better than Viserys) - and something like muddying the succession to a degree, but I really cannot imagine it can be maintained that Baelor would not have ruled on his own succession throughout his entire reign. Especially in light of the fact that the unexpected death of the Young Dragon showed again the vulnerability of the dynasty to such events and putting great pressure on Baelor to continue the bloodline - something he refused to do, but something he may only be able to do because he was quite clear who would succeed him. One could perhaps fantasize about him being so far gone that he believed the Seven would make him immortal or would sort of miraculously create a successor when he was needed, but I don't think he was ever that far gone. As for Daeron I: After reading the Druon novels on the Kings of France I cannot help but wishing George would give Daeron I the wife back he once had - and give him a posthumous daughter to also deal with the issues that plague a monarchy when the (possible) heir of the throne has not yet left the womb when the king dies. Not to mention that such a child could also help to sort of unite the two branches of House Targaryen - say, by Dyanna Dayne being the daughter of such a daughter (that Elaena's Penrose girls never made it back into the Targaryen family tree wasn't exactly a tantalizing development in a family that is supposed to be inbred ;-). Not to mention that such a daughter (or one of them, if they were twins) could also be used for that messing Baratheon-Targaryen problem (Renly's talk) I keep talking about. We all can accept that Renly ignores or forgets his own grandmother when talking about the blood ties between the Baratheons and the Targaryens. But he also talks about those second sons and elder daughters. The main branch of House Baratheon of the main series being descended from the eldest/only daughter of Daeron I certainly would make both George and Renly look less inconsistent than they are looking now (and this is an inconsistency).
  2. Lord Varys

    House of the Dragon Series Order Announced

    @The Dragon Demands Oh, I agree with you that one should keep and include as many non-white as possible in whatever small roles there are in the background. And you really hammered home that fact with your video on them cutting characters like Chataya and Alayaya and turning Dornish ladies into men (and Tanda Stokeworth). But this doesn't really change the fact that on a whole there is effectively not much racial diversity in the books. I mean, technically only the Salty Dornish look somewhat different than the other people of Westeros. The Stony Dornish are actually known for their fair skin and blond hair, being essentially no different from the Marcher people. There would be some darker skinned people at Sunspear - and especially within House Martell, but if we got, say, an accurate panorama shot of an assembled Dornish army then it should be about half or even two thirds white with only some of them looking like the Rhoynar. And if we had ever any scenes at Yronwood or Skyreach or with the Wyls then the people there would look exactly like the Westerosi people north of the Red Mountains. If you want to stay faithful to the source material then there is just not a lot racial diversity to be found there. But then, I'd really not mind if some characters who are not from Westeros were not exactly white - even characters like Mysaria who would, if we follow the book description, be just as pale and fair as any other Targaryen. One could even make Daenaera Velaryon a non-white person (and thus her children not exactly prototypical Targaryens) without causing any internal problems within the family tree considering the branch from which Dany and Jon are descended never absorbed any descendants of Aegon III back in their line. The way to introduce more overall racial diversity on a meaningfoul level would be to make Marilda of Hull and her children have some non-white ancestry - with Driftmark being that prosperous a place in those days she could have some non-Westerosi ancestry. And if Marilda and her boys looked somewhat Asian, say, then this wouldn't even mean that Monford and Monterys and Aurane from the books - if we pretended for a moment that show and books should be more or less the same thing (GoT never featured any Velaryons, so we don't know how they look there) - would have to look different than they are since I'm not sure that this would still be recognizable after so many generations. Hugh and Ulf could also look different, although that would feed the common narrative of non-white being the bad guys. Although one could certainly also make Two Betrayers much more sympathetic and more rounded characters, giving us an actual explanation for their betrayal rather than just speculation, not the mention that it would be possibly to shift the blame for the betrayal more to the Green agents recruiting them to their side rather than them being just disloyal turncloaks. And especially Hugh could be portrayed as a charismatic warrior-king type of guy, who does not only draw scum to his side. The real scum in that story are the Caltrops, Prince Daeron included.
  3. Lord Varys

    Valyrian military

    We don't know anything about the Valyrian military, but it is clear they had such a military, considering they won a lot of wars, including the five Ghiscari Wars. It is also not the case, in my opinion, that the Essosi didn't develop in the military department. They would have been more advanced in Valyrian times, but the powerful Free Cities do have both a developed army and navy despite the fact that they also use free companies. There is also no indication that either the Dothraki and the Sarnori had not military development. And the Rhoynar are explicitly said to have been much more advanced that the Dornishmen they helped to conquer.
  4. I don't know. I think it is more a variation of the parentage theme we get with Cersei's children. You would have a point there if Rhaenyra's elder sons mounting their dragons would have somehow completely shut down those bastard rumors (which they did not) or if Hugh and Ulf - who ended up riding the most 'royal dragons' there were, Vermithor and Silverwing, the mounts of the Old King and the Good Queen - had profited in a meaningful manner from this fact. If dragons were truly important, Ulf wouldn't have been poisoned and Hugh wouldn't have been slain.
  5. Sure, but nobody actually believes those attainders are worth anything - just as nobody believes Robert sitting the Iron Throne means nobody believes or thinks the Targaryens are the rightful rulers of Westeros. These people think in the legal category of the noble house or the dynasty, not in modern categories like states, governments, or bureaucracies. A scion of an ancient house who has owned a property for centuries is not going to lose his claim to that just because somebody else takes it from him. And nobody would say that just because somebody wrote a documents *means* he has lost such a claim. Those blood claims are much stronger than written parchment or legal prattle. Not a single character in the books walks around and says just because somebody was attainted he or she no longer has a claim. In fact, the guy who walks around with a written grant signed and sealed by King Tommen (Emmon Frey) is actually supposed to seen as a caricature by the audience (and is ridiculed for doing that by his own wife). If a Targaryen tells any person in Westeros that the Iron Throne of Aegon the Conqueror is theirs by right then they will agree. Just as anybody talking to Bran and Rickon would agree that they are the rightful heirs of Winterfell and the North. Or anyone would agree that the Lannisters, Arryns, Baratheons, etc. would be the rightful heirs/owners of Casterly Rock, the Vale, Storm's End, etc. Those are simply the rules of the culture they live in. For anybody to lose such a claim decades or even centuries have to pass. The Starks have the advantage of time on their side, and the Targaryens the advantage of the greatest feat of Westerosi history. They made Seven Kingdoms into one, nobody else ever pulled that off. And anybody ever sitting on Aegon's throne would remember him and his descendants as the rightful rulers of this kingdom - even after all the entire Targaryen bloodline had long died out (assuming that ever happens).
  6. That's just in your head, not the way the characters in the books think.
  7. Not insofar as the people of Westeros are concerned, no. Not even the Lannisters think it matters what the Iron Throne decrees on the matter.
  8. Well, I'd never do that. And the OP is how the Targaryens were considered in-world after the Rebellion. In fact, modern categories simply do not apply. Even in modern monarchies it would be ridiculous to assume the subjects and rabble monarchs rule over can decide what belongs to the monarchs.
  9. That is the view of a man who is a traitor himself and who may already have died a traitor's death at Winterfell and whose ancestor was a traitor and coward who backed the usurper Aegon II. The idea that the fact that Aegon II killed Rhaenyra means he is somehow the rightful king is nonsense. He remains a usurper who is counted as a king because he ended up ruling - just as history and House Targaryen count Maegor the Cruel as a king despite the fact that he was a bloody usurper with no right to the throne. Just as history will count Robert and Joffrey and Tommen as kings, not Viserys II or Stannis or Renly or Robb because they were the ones who sat the Iron Throne. As for Andal customs: There are none such. Prior to the Conquest, there were seven independent kingdoms with their own laws and customs, including their own succession laws. Things were not the same in the Vale and the Reach and the North, etc. The best way to illustrate this is to point to Marla Sunderland who was Queen of the Three Sisters (and likely Lady of the Three Sisters prior to that) despite the fact that she had either an older or younger brother who, if they were following male primogeniture up there, should have been lord and king in her place (but wasn't). 'A daughter comes before an uncle' was not universally practiced in the Seven Kingdoms prior to the unification of the laws. And this idea that the First Men were more tolerant of female rule is laughable and completely without basis. The only kingdom which had a queen regnant was the Reach - in Andal, not First Men days! - whereas the First Men run North had never a queen regnant nor a ruling lady of Winterfell. But this has no bearing on the Targaryen succession - which is ruled upon and decided by House Targaryens and its kings. Comparing the situation of Aerea-Jaehaerys and Rhaenyra makes no sense whatsoever. Aerea was merely Maegor's presumptive heir - until such a time as a son was born to him - she was never his heir apparent like Rhaenyra. Not to mention that King Aenys' branch of House Targaryen - the rightful heirs to the Iron Throne - didn't care shit about Maegor's decrees, anyway. Especially not where the succession was concerned (Maegor did disinherit Jaehaerys, after all). Nothing indicates that a king lost the right/power to arbitrarily choose an heir after the Dance. Aegon IV and Aerys II knew they were not bound by any law to keep the heirs they had named, the concept of disinheriting an heir and picking an heir from your children is well-known and accepted in Westeros. Jeyne Arryn names a very distant cousin her heir rather than her closest male relation, Walder Frey indicates he could, if he wanted to, make his youngest son his heir, Tyrion is never acknowledged or considered Tywin's heir (that's Jaime), during the Conquest and when the marriage of Jaehaerys I is discussed adoption and the naming of unrelated people as heirs (Ronnel Arryn) is discussed as a realistic possibility. Things are not as easy as some readers want to believe.
  10. It is the prevalent worldview in Westeros. In fact, it is the only legal concept the people of the Seven Kingdoms seem to know. A noble dynasty conquers some lands and then they are theirs forever. And while you can steal it again - you do need the brute strength to keep it from the true owners to take it back. You can give up a crown and do homage to somebody else - but if you don't nobody is going to say you are not the rightful ruler. Else Bran and Rickon would be rightfully dispossessed nobodies right now, and not the rightful heirs of the North and Winterfell.
  11. Lord Varys

    Does Targaryen blood matter anymore?

    It is not just Dany who indicates that the blood of the dragon does still run pretty strong in the Targaryens, it is also the affinity Dany's dragons have for Brown Ben Plumm - whose Targaryen blood is very diluted even if his (great-)great-grandfather Lord Viserys Plumm was actually the son of Aegon IV and Elaena and not only Elaena's son by Ossifer Plumm. My guess would also be that 'purity of blood' isn't really the issue with the dragon thing - rather the fact that a limited gene pool ensures 'the dragonriding talent' is not bred out of the bloodline. It is not that 'lesser blood' would actually 'pollute' the blood of the dragon, but rather that too many ancestors who don't have the blood of the dragon will eventually create children who will no longer be capable to become dragonriders - or who will face more and more troubles when trying to claim a dragon. The whole thing is a magical issue that is expressed as an aristocratic/elitist concept. But the reasoning of the Valyrians would have been to ensure that they keep their magical powers - who were the basis for the political power. In the more primitive society of Westeros that then devolved to the 'royal blood is magical' nonsense which would have been prevalent there long before the Targaryens came. But I'd agree with you that the Velaryons wouldn't be that far behind the Targaryens insofar as their degree of dragonlord is concerned - unless, of course, the modern branch of House Velaryon is not descended from Alyn Velaryon and Baela Targaryen.
  12. Sure, Rhaenys may have married another person, but, again, we have no idea whether Aerion Targaryen even lived long enough to arrange a match for his youngest daughter. However, the idea that it was considered to marry Rhaenys to some savage Westerosi king rather than, say, to Aethan Velaryon or even Orys Baratheon (assuming the boy was Aerion's son) seems very far-fetched to me. The Targaryen came with five dragons to Dragonstone, yet no dragonriding Targaryen woman between the Doom and the Conquest ever married into a Westerosi royal family as far as we know. [It is pretty unconceivable that that happened, considering it would have allowed the Westerosi to actually learn how to deal with dragons before the Conquest.] See above. I really don't feel confident assuming Aerion lived very long after the birth of his children. But even if he did - we have no idea whether he had any ideas who his children should marry.
  13. Nah, that's you not looking on the facts. The Dance of the Dragons became only very likely in the constellation we get it after 120 AC, when it becomes clear that Daemon is now in team Rhaenyra for good and Alicent and her sons really start to loath Rhaenyra's sons on an altogether different level. Otto and Alicent had hectored Viserys I about the succession back around when Alicent's sons were born and Alicent had been trying to marry Aegon to Rhaenyra back when Rhaenyra's spouse was picked when she came of age - but there is no indication that anything of that sort continued in the 120s. Considering how aggressive Viserys I reacted when people tried to breach that subject (as is evident when he dealt with the Velaryon cousins the way he did) Otto wouldn't have lasted a day as reappointed Hand had he tried to talk with the king about the succession again. And there was no constant fighting. In fact, there was no fighting at all in the 120s between Alicent and Rhaenyra and their children lived apart. They rarely even met each other - and then they staged a show of friendship while the king was around. There was also no one ever suggesting to Viserys I to force the lords to swear another vow to ensure Rhaenyra's succession. That's only in your head. Marrying Rhaenyra to Aegon would have been a stupid decision. They were ten years apart, meaning Rhaenyra would have been in her twenties when they would have first thought about consummating the marriage. And it would have not resolved the Velaryon situation - which, before Laenor and Laena married Rhaenyra and Daemon, still had the potential to finally make a move to get one of their line on the Iron Throne. The people responsible for the Dance are the people fighting it, not the guy who died before it even started. Nobody forced them to give in to their baser natures. And those starting the war were Alicent, Otto, Cole, and Aemond. Rhaenyra and her family only fought back - and for their property and lives. How unprepared the Blacks were for the coup you can see in FaB - just as you also see there that apparently nobody on their side ever expected Otto and Alicent to crown another monarch or challenge Rhaenyra's ascension. Daemon and Rhaenyra were aware that Viserys I was ailing, even if they had not realized that he would die soon. If you expect trouble or a war of succession after your father's death you would prepare for that - but they did not. They had to search for allies after they learned of Viserys I's death. If they had expected a war of succession they would have been preparing for this - like Stannis prepared for his war after he left court after Jon Arryn's death. It is quite clear that this was a monstrous betrayal of trust on part of the Greens. He did not set up things so they would explode - and neither did Viserys I. I'm sure he never had any inclination that Renly would turn out such a monstrous traitor as to try to claim the throne from himself, just as he likely never expected Stannis to steal Joffrey's throne. But he should have known, no? Or rather - if Viserys I should have magically known that his family were to rip themselves apart then Robert certainly should also have known that.
  14. Lord Varys

    Was Aegon The Conqueror to generous ?

    Aegon the Conqueror was remarkably generous and dealt with a bunch of cravens and weaklings, basically. Torrhen Stark bent the knee without any Targaryen man or dragon ever setting foot on the North, the Lannisters giving just because their king was captured, the Arryns submitting because they were visited by a woman, the Riverlords, Oldtown, Highgarden, etc. falling over themselves to do Aegon homage as their king. The only kingdom that was actually conquered are the Stormlands - and, perhaps, part of the Reach. The others basically said, well, this Aegon fellow seems to be a nice and just king. Why don't we take him, too? And it is utterly remarkable that no great house ever properly rebelled against the Targaryens during Aegon's reign or during the reigns of his immediate successors (Jonos Arryn doesn't count because he had to arrest and murder his own brother 'to take over the Vale' - he was done for as soon as he started, and not just because he rebelled against the dragons).
  15. Aegon the Elder was never removed from the succession - he just was never part of it. Nobody did Alicent's sons any harm since Rhaenyra was the Heir Apparent since before they were even born - not the presumptive heir, to be replaced by a half-brother should she ever have one, the Heir Apparent. And everybody knew that, Otto and Alicent Hightower include (with the former being one of the main architects to invest Rhaenyra as the Heir Apparent). How little issue Westeros as a whole actually had with Rhaenyra succeeding her father can be seen by the amount of people - especially commoners - ending up supporting her claim against overwhelming odds. The Greens had all the power yet they were unable to convince half the Realm or more to join a woman who was essentially a dispossessed princess on some rock in the Narrow Sea. They could have all stayed neutral and told her she and her dragons should win her the throne. But they did not. As for Viserys I being blamed for the Dance: That's just nonsense. It is like blaming Robert for Stannis and Renly killing each other or both his brothers planning to murder Robert's wife, Queen Cersei, and her children. He foresaw neither of that, despite the fact that there must have been many subtle signs that neither Renly nor Stannis nor Cersei should be trusted with any power and that Renly and Stannis were completely undeserving and unsuited for the honor to become lords in their own right. Viserys I was aware of the fact that his wife and father-in-law would have preferred it if Aegon was the king's heir - but him recalling Otto as Hand didn't mean he wanted Otto to steal Rhaenyra's throne and crown Aegon upon his own death. In fact, it meant that Viserys I believed that, despite what Otto and Alicent personally wished, they would accept the king's decision on the matter - like a good wife and subject would do. He was also aware that there was tension between Rhaenyra/her sons and her half-brothers as well as between Daemon and Otto - but he clearly did not have any reason to believe they would start to kill each other as soon as he died. Instead, he likely believed that they would find a way to live together, the same way he found a way to live with Daemon (with whom he also had quite a few arguments without intending to kill him). And we are told that they all did their best to keep the depth of their hatred from the king, pretending to be a real family when Viserys I was around. And in fact, we do know that neither side in the Dance wanted things to escalate things to the degree they did when they started it. Alicent and Otto are horrified and aghast by what Aemond did at Storm's End. If that had not happened the war may have been less personal and less cruel.