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Lord Varys

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About Lord Varys

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    Most Devious 'Man' In The Seven Kingdoms
  • Birthday 11/25/1982

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    Male
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    Definitely somewhere in King's Landing

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  1. Lord Varys

    New Matrix movie in the works

    There was a lot of talk back then what it meant that he shone golden like the machines did in the city when we saw them take care of his body. Could be a sign that he ascended into 'machine heaven', could be that he was just dead. However, any real potential this story has would be to finally explore what machine life is like, how they differ from human society, and what kind of truce they established at the end of the trilogy. In that sense, Neo and Trinity showing up again in 'machine space' or a new version of the Matrix where humans and machines live together and interact on a friendly basis is the only scenario that would make sense for me narratively. They already sort of established such stuff with the whole plot of the 'human zoo' also serving as a refuge for exile programs from the machine world. Anything else would be just a rehash of the old stuff. And, frankly, there was a lot unused potential in the last two films - they always interacted with the artificial intelligences the machines put into place to control humanity (or rather, their power plant department). We never actually met a machine character until the Deus Ex Machina face in the city - and that guy wasn't particularly forthcoming or developed.
  2. Lord Varys

    New Matrix movie in the works

    I was really pissed that she apparently died there - her character was cool. As for Matrix 4 - I'm genuinely looking forward to this. I guess that means I'm officially getting old. It was sort of ambiguous whether Neo was truly dead, but the way to bring him and Trinity back would be in the Matrix, anyway - as programs or digital avatars rather than biological people.
  3. Lord Varys

    Doctrine of Exceptionalism

    To be clear, I think the Doctrine of Exceptionalism was definitely an invention George only came up with for FaB. But it serves very well as theoretical background explaining the Targaryen specialness we find throughout the entire sense. In that sense, pretty much all the books and the short series actually do reference the Doctrine implicitly without making it explicit because it was only invented in FaB. If we look at FaB then the success of the Doctrine was guaranteed because the Seven Speakers and others constantly preached and taught that the Targaryens were different than other men and thus allowed to marry their sisters. This was constantly repeated to familiarize the people of the Seven Kingdoms with the concept so that, over time, the opposition to Targaryen incest died out during the reign of the Conciliator. But it is equally clear that Jaehaerys I didn't have his propagandists spread the word that Targaryen specialness and the Doctrine of Exceptionalism allowed the Targaryens to take more than one spouse at the time. This was not part of the Doctrine and hence the Doctrine did nothing to familiarize the people of Westeros with the concept of royal bigamy or polygamy. Incestuous Targaryen marriages were normalized by the Doctrine, bigamy and polygamy were not. If Targaryen bigamy and polygamy had been normalized as a concept, then the above mentioned members of the house who could have resolved their personal predicaments via bigamy and polygamy should have considered doing that. Daemon's way to claim Rhaenyra in 111 AC wouldn't have been to seduce her and then try to blackmail his royal brother into setting aside his marriage to Rhea Royce and allow him to marry his soiled niece. It would have been the Maegor routine: Marry Princess Rhaenyra in secret and make his, Daemon's, second wife and then tell the king and the court - just as Daemon did later when he married Laena Velaryon and then, later still, Princess Rhaenyra. These people wouldn't have behaved the way they did if bigamy or polygamy had been a real option for them. Even more so Rhaenyra when she was forced into a marriage with a gay husband she did not like - if bigamy had been a possibility she could have married both Laenor Velaryon and a man of her choosing. But this does not happen - in fact, it isn't even considered as a theoretical possibility. And this is very odd considering that Rhaenyra and her father (and other men in her life) really came to blows over the entire Laenor affair. Else Princess Saera could have quoted her father's own Doctrine (or one of his speakers) when suggesting she could marry all of her lovers (for instance, if polygamy had been a part of the Doctrine propaganda then there could have been an anecdote in the book where some peasant ask whether he can have more than one wife, and one of the Seven Speakers could have answered with the 'Go claim a dragon and I'll marry you to your lovers' routine - but there is nothing of that sort in the book; all we get is about incest). Instead, she had to cite the precedents of the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel. I'd add that both he and essentially all Targaryen men we see in FaB aside from Maegor and, perhaps, Daemon were monogamist at heart. Even the Conqueror. He didn't want to have a harem, he just wanted his sister Rhaenys more than his sister Visenya and for some reason chose to marry them both to keep everything in the family (especially the dragons), but he never had any affairs, and he never took another wife after Rhaenys' death (or an additional third wife while both his sister-wives were still alive). But as I lay out above - Aenys, Aegon the Uncrowned (after his marriage, at least) Jaehaerys, Aemon, Baelon, and Vaegon were all monogamous and never entertained any lovers. Even Viserys I - who may have had Alicent as a lover before his wife's death and who may have slept somewhat around later in life (if there is any truth to the claim that Trystane Truefyre might be the king's bastard) - was enforcing strict monogamy in his family. There is simply no conceivable reason why any Targaryen king from Jaehaerys I to Aegon III should champion or consider bigamy or polygamy as a legitimate option for the members of the family. And this is actually rather striking if you consider that both Prince Aemon (stuck with a daughter as his only heir) and Viserys I (stuck with a daughter as his only heir) never so much as considered rectifying that problem by taking more than one wife at the same time. This certainly is not a society where kings think 'Well, if we face problems in the heirs department we can always take an additional wife' - no, they can't. It is not an option they considered. And if you look at the history of the reign of Aerys II then it is also quite clear that this rather arrogant and presumptuous man bowed down to the laws of the Seven insofar as marriage conduct is concerned. He slept around in his youth, falsely accused his sister-wife of adultery, etc. - but after the death of his son Jaehaerys he humbed himself in front of gods and men and took a solemn vow to only share his bed with his lawful sister-wife ... which resulted in him finally producing a viable second son, something he likely interpreted as a gift from the Seven for his newfound fidelity and faithfulness. The idea that a king with this background would ever condone or accept that his heir takes another wife at a point where he already has two healthy heirs - and thus breaks his marriage in a more ultimate way than Aerys II ever did - is actually not very likely (after all, Aerys II struggled to produce another heir for nearly two decades yet he apparently never once considered resolving this problem by making any of his many mistresses his second or third or fourth or fifth wife. In that sense, Rhaegar's chances to get through with a bigamist adventure are very slow indeed. This doesn't tell us anything whether he did it or not, of course, just that the societal climate throughout his last years would not exactly have been in favor of this kind of thing. Actually, before FaB (when we only had TPatQ and the summary from TWoIaF) I always wondered why George didn't have Aemond marry one of the Baratheon girls - but FaB makes that clear when we learn that Aemond supposedly married Alys Rivers before his death. If his son by her ever tries to claim the Iron Throne as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne then this works much better if Alys Rivers is the only wife Aemond Targaryen ever had, and not the alleged second wife in the shadow of a Baratheon girl. It is quite clear that the way Aemond is characterized that he was firmly in camp Alys when he died - he would have never taken another wife had he lived. We know that incestuous marriages and their acceptance was Jaehaerys I's only concern. That's why the Doctrine was drawn up. We do know he was not in favor of polygamy because he never used his Doctrine to justify it, never considered taking another wife or mistress himself, never allowed any of his children or grandchildren to have more than one wife - a trend that continued into the 2nd century. This doesn't mean mad Targaryens like Saera or Rhaegar cannot cite the precedents of the Conqueror or Maegor the Cruel to justify their desire to have multiple spouses - and they could also try to thwart the Doctrine of Exceptionalism to justify such designs. But the fact remains that its author never used it justify such perversions, nor was it ever used in the history of the dragonriding Targaryens to justify something like that. This doesn't mean it cannot be abused by people in the future, of course. But the fact remains that a realistic depiction of a man like Rhaegar citing the Doctrine as justification or pretext why he can have a second wife would include scholarly and legal opposition because it has never been used in the history of House Targaryen to justify bigamy or polygamy. Any prince wanting to have more than one wife should cite the actual precedents of kings who had more than one wife, i.e. Aegon I and Maegor the Cruel. But citing Maegor as an example (who was the only king who took more than one wife as a follower of the Seven who had taken his first wife in a sept) is never going to be something that's going to make you popular. He was a usurper and tyrant who was overthrown by the grandson of the Conqueror, after all. Citing his example is like Elizabeth I citing the example of Richard III to justify any of her actions ... it wouldn't look good. In fact, if polygamy comes back as a concept now that we see Targaryens show up and play an ever greater role in the story it is likely going to be Daenerys (who is the only one to have considered taking more than one husband at this point) and this kind of perversion - being even infinitely worse if a woman dares to presume to take multiple husbands - is going to be used as a means to vilify her. Aegon, on the other hand, is likely going to follow the strictures of the Faith to the letter - in part this will make him look good, in part because he'll lack the power to antagonize the rearmed Faith.
  4. Lord Varys

    Timett will steal Alayne

    Don't see that as a particular difficulty. The Vale is eager for war, and nobody thinks Sansa/Littlefinger or the Vale is going to have to truly be loyal to this Aegon fellow. Not to mention that there is no lasting Targaryen hatred in the Vale that we know of, just as there was obviously no lasting Baratheon love (else people would have pushed Lysa to stay true to Robert's son or at least to declare for one of his brothers). And historically especially the Arryns - but not only them - had rather close ties to the dragons. There were three Targaryen-Arryn marriages, one Targaryen-Royce and one Targaryen-Corbray marriage. But the Vale could just use Aegon as a shield or pretext to go to war against the Lannisters. Before his arrival attacking the Boltons or Freys and harboring Sansa could be construed as treason and rebellion - but with a new pretender they can essentially hide behind him - that works even better if he is making himself a target which he is already doing. And considering their relative strength - the Vale's forces are untouched by war, meaning their men will be much fresher than anybody else's - they certainly could ignore or defy or threaten Aegon if they don't like what he is doing after he has taken the throne. And on the other hand: If play a crucial role in helping him on the throne - say, by taking KL in the rear before he can attack it - then they can demand whatever the hell they want. Both Sansa and Littlefinger should be able to figure that out. And Sansa knows that Cersei and Tommen are basically the biggest obstacles to overcome to allow her to publicly reveal herself. She only hides because she is afraid of Cersei. Well, he is called 'the Mad Mouse' (Varys' original agents were called 'the little mice'), he actually knows Varys and implies he works for him (him teaming up with Brienne may have been his way to ensure she doesn't mess with Varys' plans by finding Sansa), he comes from a shady place which also casts doubt on his reputation. He certainly could also be an independent operative, but that would be not all that interesting a story. Especially since anyone trying to abduct Sansa would be an utter moron, and anyone trying to sell her to Cersei or Tommen now that they are about fall down would be stupid. Thus we have to ask ourselves: Why the hell is this Shadrich fellow in the Vale now? What could be his narrative purpose? And the Varys connection is the most interesting answer to that.
  5. Lord Varys

    Doctrine of Exceptionalism

    Even if I were to agree that he had no issue with polygamy (which I definitely don't) then it is still a fact that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism was never used by Jaehaerys I - its author - or the people he used to popularize it and make it a tenet of the Faith to justify bigamy or polygamy. If George wanted to send the message that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism does help justify or was used to justify bigamy or polygamy he should have given us bigamist and polygamists among Jaehaerys I's siblings, children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. But there are no such. And as I laid out above, there isn't even a scenario where anyone seriously considered bigamy or polygamy after Maegor the Cruel. And this is the crucial factor. No court official or other advisor of a king (nor any of the royal family) ever so much as considered the possibility that a king (let alone members of the royal family) could have more than one spouse at the same time. In a scenario where we get a lot of information on the various royal marriages and matches that were considered but, eventually, not pursued it is very telling that nobody seriously considered or suggested or even tried to arrange bigamous or polygamous union for a king or a prince. And as I also laid out above there are many cases where bigamy or polygamy could actually have been a solution for the conundrums crucial protagonists in FaB faced - most notably Prince Daemon and Princess Rhaenyra. And a little bit of history: The question of Targaryen polygamy is a very old question in the fandom. Prior to TWoIaF we used to speculate whether Aegon I and Maegor were the only Targaryen polygamists or whether there were others we didn't know anything about. George himself fueled the fire when he did not shut that down after being asked about, and we always knew that the dragonriding Targaryens had more power over the Seven Kingdoms than the dragonless Targaryens. So it was always clear that if there were any other polygamists around it would have been before the Dance. And as it turned out there were none. Aside from Aegon IV there aren't even any candidates left to consider mad nonsense like this considering quite a few Targaryens after the Dance actually do lack spouses. Viserys II doesn't remarry after Larra leaves him and dies, the Dragonknight never married for obvious reasons, Daeron I died a bachelor, too, his sister Rhaena became a septa and his sister Daena, the mother of Daemon Blackfyre, apparently never married, either. King Aerys I apparently never consummated his marriage to his cousin, Queen Aelinor. King Maekar is already a widower in 209 AC, and apparently never takes another wife his entire life (he dies in 233 AC), Aerion Brightflame seems to have married a cousin ten years or more younger than he is - despite the fact that he is already sixteen in 209 AC his only legitimate child is born in 232 AC, and Prince Daeron, the son of Aegon V, refused to marry at all. Even Daeron the Drunk, the heir to Summerhall, is apparently both unmarried and unbetrothed in 209 AC at the age of eighteen (he later marries the widow of his cousin Valarr). And of the kings - who would essentially be the only ones with the power and authority to perhaps force the Realm to accept that they had more than one wife - things look even worse: Aegon III (no inclination) Daeron I (died unmarried) Baelor I (annulled his marriage and took a septon's vows to never be able to marry again) Viserys II (brooding widower since he lost his wife) Aegon IV (he may have had the inclination since he liked to sleep around) Daeron II (no inclination) Aerys I (most definitely no inclination) Maekar (the second brooding widower) Aegon V (happily married to a woman he espoused a decade before he became king) Jaehaerys (happily married to his sister) Aerys II (the other guy who may have had the inclination since he, like Aegon IV, liked to sleep around and was unhappily married to his sister) If we look at Targaryen history it turns out those people are, for the most part, rather monogamous and prude. The Conqueror was no philanderer - in fact, he only had one sister-wife for 27 years of his reign. King Aenys followed in the footsteps of his alleged father, being devoted and faithful to his wife, Queen Alyssa, despite being very popular with the women in his youth. His son Aegon liked girls, but instead of seeing that as a sign of Targaryen virility the prospect of Aegon fathering a bastard was one of the reason why his marriage to his sister Rhaena was arranged. Jaehaerys I was devoted to his sister-wife Alysanne his entire life, never entertaining mistresses or, to our knowledge, allowing his children to sleep around (sons included). Viserys I and Daemon are the first Targaryens who (may have) had affairs - and in Daemon's case this seems to be partly motivated by the fact that his first marriage really didn't work out. Rhaenyra and Aegon II also had affairs, of course. This is refreshingly conventional - men who may have had armies of bastards are exceedingly rare. There are Aegon IV, Aerys II, Maegor (who tried really, really hard) Aegon II (who had two acknowledged bastards) and Prince Daemon. Of the women there is Saera, Daena, and Elaena. That's it.
  6. Lord Varys

    Doctrine of Exceptionalism

    That is so not the case. There is a point when Jaehaerys I talks about the conduct of his daughter: She only references both Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel, their harems and her intention to follow their examples later, and it is that point when Jaehaerys I explodes: You cannot construe this as Jaehaerys I approving of bigamy or polygamy. Nobody doubts that Jaehaerys I also has other issues with his dear uncle besides him having six wives (and one them his own sister), but it is quite clear that he doesn't approve what Maegor did and what Saera wants to do. Perhaps this is because Maegor soiled bigamy/polygamy for the Targaryens (or at least Jaehaerys I), perhaps it is because Jaehaerys I, while a patriarch and somewhat of a misogynist, at least had the decency to acknowledge that a man - even a Targaryen - shouldn't have more than one wife at the same time. He never even entertained a mistress while Alysanne lived, not even when they lived apart, and it certainly seems that he believed in the sanctity of marriage, as did his wife, Queen Alysanne. If they believed in bigamy or polygamy they would have had likely not abolished the First Night. What essentially seals the deal is that neither Jaehaerys I himself nor any of his Seven Speakers or other goons he puts in place to control the Faith for him ever cited bigamy or polygamy as something the Targaryens are entitled to do because the Seven set them apart from lesser men. They ride dragons because they are special, and they marry their sisters because they are special, but nobody ever preached or taught that their specialness also entitles them to take more than one wife. That was not part of the Doctrine of Exceptionalism as it was written by Jaehaerys I. And none of his dragonriding successor up until Aegon III had so much as an inclination to take more than one spouse at the same time, or allow any of their children to entertain such mad notions. Actually, no. It was a question of taking multiple spouses. Saera had soiled herself and they were looking for a way to deal with her. Forcing the men who soil a girl to marry her is the usual way to deal with that (and actually something that's done/attempted with Saera's companions). If polygamy were a thing then Saera could have married all three of them, no? Especially if Jaehaerys I own doctrine actually taught stuff like that. Sure he can. Just as he could abolish the First Night and do many other things nobody did before him. In fact, nowhere is Aegon the Conqueror's marriage to Queen Rhaenys referenced as a 'second marriage', nor does anyone ever cite the Conqueror's bigamy as a sanctified/accepted prerequisite to justify the fact that his grandson is wearing the crown. Jaehaerys I is the son of King Aenys and Queen Alyssa - his descent from that royal couple made him king, not the marriages of his grandfather who was long dead by the time Jaehaerys I ascended the throne. Unlike Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives King Aenys' children grew up as followers of the Seven. They married in a sept in ceremonies conducted by septons, not in obscure Valyrian ceremonies conducted by family members. Aegon the Conqueror's marriages were never blessed by the High Septon or the Faith, indicating that Aegon and his sister-wives didn't marry in a sept, unlike their children and grandchildren. The Targaryens succeeded in forcing the Westerosi to accept their incestuous ways, but Maegor's many marriages were violently opposed. If polygamy had been 'an option' as per the Doctrine of Exceptionalism then Archmaester Gyldayn would have mentioned that - after all, for it to be an option as per this doctrine the author of said doctrine should have mentioned it as one of the things that are special about the Targaryens. We learn there that they are special because they ride dragons, because of their special looks which make them more beautiful than lesser men, we learn they are (supposedly) immune to disease (which isn't completely true) - but we never learn that it is their gods-given right as scions of the blood of the dragon to take multiple spouses at the same time. That's never mentioned or taught. As I conceded - this doesn't mean Rhaegar or Aegon IV or Daemon Blackfyre couldn't have had the mad idea that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism couldn't also be used to justify bigamy or polygamy - but doing that would be contrary to the intention of its author who clearly wasn't a fan of polygamy. He had a literal army of daughters yet he never had any intention of marrying more than one of them to any of his three sons. Prince Aemon certainly could have needed another wife considering that Lady Jocelyn wasn't able to give him a son. He himself never had a mistress or a second wife, none of his children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren had more than one spouse - despite the fact that there is the well-known list of candidates for such unions: - Prince Aemon (who could have used a second wife to get a son) - Prince Viserys (who could have used a second wife to get a son while his first wife was still around) - Prince Daemon (who, in 111 AC, would have married Rhaenyra in defiance of his royal brother if bigamy had been a possibility since he was still married to Rhea Royce at that point) - Princess Rhaenyra (who would have married both Laenor Velaryon and Harwin Strong if that had been an option) - Prince Jacaerys (who could have married both Sara Snow and Baela Targaryen if he could have had two wives) - Prince Lucerys (who could have agreed to another betrothal if his betrothal to Rhaena Targaryen was no limiting him to one wife) - King Aegon III (who could have married Myrielle Peake in addition Jaehaera Targaryen - meaning that Lord Unwin wouldn't have had an actual reason to murder Queen Jaehaera if royal bigamy had been an actual option; also: after the death of her husband Corwyn Corbray Rhaena Targaryen could have married either of her royal half-brother to help ensure the succession - she was much older than Queen Daenaera and could thus give the king an heir much earlier) If the author were actually trying to send us the message that bigamy - or polygamy, even - was a realistic option for Targaryen kings and princes after the reign of Maegor the Cruel then he is doing a truly lousy job. Because he created many scenarios were bigamy would have been a real option, a means to resolve a tense situation or get out of some sort of entanglement. And the point is not really that it wasn't done - it is that no character in FaB ever brings it up as a possible solution to the many problems. That is very telling, especially in light of the rather detailed coverage many of the royal matches actually get in FaB. We get basically a ton of possible spouses for Jaehaerys I, Princess Daella, Aegon III, his half-sisters, and still a lot of detail on many of the other royal matches - yet no one ever suggests polygamy as a serious option? That is just not believable if the setting is supposed to be a world where polygamy is seen as a continuous and realistic option. Instead, it is a world where incestuous unions are accepted, but polygamy is essentially as freakish and weird as it was in the European middle ages.
  7. Lord Varys

    Doctrine of Exceptionalism

    Saera cites uncle Maegor as a precedent for the kind of polygamy she herself wants to pursue. Those things are intertwined here. Jaehaerys I doesn't think his daughter is following in Maegor's footsteps in the cruelty department (he doesn't really seem to grasp that his daughter is a full-grown psychopath just like her granduncle), he is disgusted by her idea to have more than one husband, just like he was apparently disgusted by Maegor's many wives. Jorah suggests Dany could take multiple husbands because the 'the dragon has three heads' stuff from the House of the Undying as interpreted by her and Jorah leads them to Aegon and his sister-wives. I certainly agree that Dany might be the character who reintroduces the concept of polygamy to Westerosi society and the series as such (Rhaegar's marriages should be little more than a footnote in the story), but I doubt this will have to do anything with the Doctrine of Excetionalism. In fact, chances are not that bad that Dany might have multiple husbands before she even sets foot on Westerosi soil. The thread on the issue of Aegon IV is to be found here: https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/155616-could-aegon-iv-have-been-a-clandestine-bigamist/
  8. In light of the fact that Targaryen polygamy seems to have essentially died with Maegor the Cruel (thereafter it becomes basically a joke or a concept that only lusty psychopaths like Princess Saera entertain while the princes and princes who could have profited from a bigamous union - like Prince Daemon while he was stuck with Rhea Royce or Princess Rhaenyra while she was stuck with Laenor Velaryon - do not even consider such an idea) it seems to be unlikely that this concept ever saw a renaissance after him - who is basically the only Targaryen who, as king, could force the Faith to officiate at and bless polygamous unions (and needed brute force and the threat of dragonfire to do that). But there is the curious case of Aegon IV the Unworthy to consider. He was an exceptional promiscuous prince, sleeping with women left and right, and he apparently (or rather: supposedly) fed one of his own bastards the idea he could have more than one wife (with the second one of those supposedly being a royal princess, his own half-sister Daenerys). He also had his famous nine official mistresses, five of which 'reigned' at his side while he was king. It certainly is a mystery as to why this king did not actually marry any of those mistresses considering that he very much could have done so, especially as king? The standard ploy to explain (away) this apparent inconsistency - and it is an inconsistency in the sense that Aegon IV has gone on record saying that he actually loved all those nine women, making it not unlikely that he could have been inclined to marry either of them at certain points in his life - is that he didn't want to marry them. Another would be that he didn't dare marry them because he feared the backlash from his court, his son and brother, his lords, his people, and, especially, the Faith. Because it seems rather likely that the Faith and especially the High Septon was a rather powerful player/factor during most of the reign of Aegon IV, in spite of or in contrast to the king's wanton misrule and corruption. After all, Aegon IV sort of immediately succeeded his pious cousin, the septon-king Baelor the Blessed, who started the building of the Great Sept of Baelor (which seems to have continued throughout the reign of the Unworthy and which may have only been completed during the reign of Daeron II) brought the High Septon to King's Landing where he became a powerful figure at court. Baelor did not restore the Faith Militant, but it doesn't strike as unlikely that the pious and the Faith really grew very influential during those years, not only through Baelor's patronage but also through the continuous patronage of Aegon's pious wife, Queen Naerys (not to mention that Baelor's sister Rhaena became a septa and may have joined the Most Devout). In that kind of environment it cannot strike us as odd that King Aegon IV didn't provoke or anger the Faith and the pious lords by taking more than one wife. At least not openly. But what about the possibility that he married Barba Bracken, Melissa Blackwood, Bethany Bracken, Jeyne Lothston, or Serenei of Lys clandestinely? That could be a rather interesting prospect, especially since such clandestine marriages actually did happen rather often in real history when kings or nobles wanted to enter into morganatic marriages (a very good example would be Louis XIV of France) - although those wouldn't be bigamous unions, of course. Barba Bracken is not a very likely candidate for this, since she actually was supposed to marry King Aegon IV after Queen Naerys had died. Melissa Blackwood was the king's mistress for five years, so she might be a better candidate for such an idea. The fact that she got along rather well with Queen Naerys and Prince Daeron is not necessarily in contradiction to this (they may not have known). Bethany Bracken and Jeyne Lothston were royal mistresses only for a rather short period of time, but apparently nevertheless women the king loved. Serenei of Lys is perhaps the most interesting case, especially since we don't know whether she was Aegon's mistress while his wife Queen Naerys was still alive or only after her death - although I'd assume before that, considering we should assume that Shiera Seastar (whose birth killed Serenei) was not born after 180 AC, or else the talk about Bittersteel and Bloodraven vying for Shiera's attention and hand would devolve into a struggle over the hand of a 13-14 year-old-girl. Considering Serenei is supposed to have been some kind of sorceress/siren, she would be a pretty good candidate for such a clandestine marriage. The best one, though, would be one of the earlier mistresses - the peasant woman Megette, called Merry Meg, who Prince Aegon met in 155 AC, who gave him four daughters and who he allegedly did marry in a mock ceremony where a mummer played the role of the septon. It is rather easily imaginable that the mummer-septon was an actual septon, and Prince Viserys, then the Hand, later spread the tale of this having been all a sham to justify the way he treated Megette (he handed her back to her husband, a blacksmith, who beat her to death in year's course) and his granddaughters by her who he handed to the Faith. It is certainly also possible that the future Unworthy had the grace to not exactly take a commoner for a second wife, but considering his overall conduct he may not have had that particular grace. If Aegon IV actually did marry one or more of his nine mistresses in secret then this fact could also explain how he could actually entertain the notion that his son Daemon Blackfyre could take more than one wife - the same way his royal father had done. One could also assume that the influence of the Faith - which would have been very strong when Aegon IV took the throne - gradually waned throughout the reign of the Unworthy, so that Aegon IV may have actually thought he actually could do what he wanted more openly once he had finally rid himself of his heir, Prince Daeron, replacing him with Daemon Blackfyre - which I think he really intended to do eventually when he acknowledged the boy in 182 AC and gave him Blackfyre. His illness and death two years later would have cut such plans short. With the Dragonknight and Naerys in their graves and Daeron either dead or disgraced a King Aegon IV ruling another ten years or so, with Daemon Blackfyre as his heir, certainly could have done a lot of things the Unworthy dying in 184 AC could not. Any thoughts on those issues? Would you like to see the concept of Targaryen bigamy or polygamy resurface in such a fashion during the reign of Aegon the Unworthy?
  9. Lord Varys

    Doctrine of Exceptionalism

    I'm not Ran, but I'd say that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism is the theoretical background to explain the facts about 'Targaryen specialness' as believed by the people of Westeros throughout the main novels. We essentially get implicit references to the Doctrine whenever Cersei/Jaime discuss the Targaryen right to incestuous marriages and their own inability to follow their example - or when Dunk thinks about Targaryen incest as something they are entitled to do despite the fact that his abhorred by it, etc. I think @Ran and others speculated that it might turn out that Rhaegar is going to cite the Doctrine of Exceptionalism as a way justify his marriage to Lyanna, but the way Gyldayn frames the Doctrine in FaB it is quite clear that its inventor, King Jaehaerys I, was both not in favor of bigamy or polygamy, nor viewing the Doctrine as a means to justify bigamy or polygamy - as he makes crystal clear when his daughter Saera fantasizes about having multiple husbands. But the precedents of the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel remain, of course, and it is actually Maegor who first comes up with preliminary version of the Doctrine when he cites the blood of the dragon as a reason why he is not ruled by the strictures of the Faith and can thus take a second wife in Alys Harroway. Whether it did Prince Rhaegar any good to actually cite the precedent of Maegor the Cruel in taking a second wife remains to be seen (I don't think it would, actually), citing the Conqueror would be more problematic since Aegon and his sisters married before the Conquest and may never have been married in a sept, anyway. Maegor is the first Targaryen who married in a sept - and in the Starry Sept at that, in a ceremony officiated by the High Septon himself - which essentially means forced monogamy and only monogamy - and then later broke the solemn marriage vows he swore in front of gods and men. Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell is of similar gravitas. He was also married by the High Septon in a ceremony that took place in the Great Sept of Baelor. Repeating Maegor's example with Alys Harroway - which more or less is what he did (the parallels are rather striking) - is not exactly something that implies Westeros would have been fond of this kind of thing - assuming the marriage ever became public or court knowledge (which I actually think it did if it took place). From the point of view of the Faith polygamy was actually never legal. Incestuous marriages for Targaryens became accepted via the Doctrine of Exceptionalism but none of the Seven Speakers or anyone else ever preached to the people of Westeros that those of the blood of the dragon also have the right to take more than one spouse at the same time. How the issue of bigamy or polygamy will be raised in the era of the later kings should be covered in a future volume of FaB. In light of the fact that Jaehaerys I was not exactly in favor of polygamy and Lady Sam essentially ridiculed the concept by suggesting Aegon III should marry both her sisters I don't really see the chance of it being portrayed as a realistic concept in the later volume(s) of the Targaryen history. However, there is an interesting possible spin there in the reign of Aegon IV. But I'll open another thread for that topic.
  10. Lord Varys

    Timett will steal Alayne

    This is not AMAZING SANSA, it is merely Sansa Stark, daughter of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully, no longer Alayne Stone. Sansa is a beautiful girl on the cusp of womanhood, likely to become one of the most beautiful women of her generation. She is not going to need tantrum or dragons to enthrall (young) men - all she needs is an audience and the right moment to tell her story. Your comparison between Harry and Robert is way off in this regard. Yes, Harrold Hardyng is sleeping around, but as I laid out he is a NOBODY on his father's side. As the presumptive heir of the Vale - a temporal position he will only have until Lord Robert has children of his own (then he will descend rather quickly into obscurity) which nevertheless got into his head - he resents the fact that he is supposed to marry the bastard of a man who, despite being Lord of Harrenhal and Lord Protector of the Vale, still is of very low birth. But this will COMPLETELY CHANGE once Harry realizes who Alayne actually is. Then Sansa Stark will become the PERFECT WIFE to him, a wife who, thanks to Littlefinger's teachings, will definitely control every aspect of their relationship. It is also not exactly a coincidence, one assumes, that so many Waynwoods are there at the tourney - some or all of those Waynwoods might be Stark cousins through the female line (one of Lady Jocelyn Stark's daughters by Benedict Royce married a Waynwood). Sansa doesn't give a damn about Robert Arryn. She doesn't like his attitude, his groping, him treating her essentially as a replacement mother/Lysa, or him wanting to sleep in her bed. And as we pointed out already - she is complicit in his poisoning already and actually one of the people pushing for a continuation of the 'sweetmilk approach' to Lord Robert. Even if she had a change of heart in the future (which is not indicated nor very likely because Robert wouldn't have any symptoms causing her to change her mind - he would simply die peacefully in his sleep one night) she would still share a good chunk of the blame for his murder. Even if this were different - Lord Robert is a preteen boy. He will never do anything to influence Vale or Westerosi policy. He is a pawn and he will be nothing else during this series. If he didn't die (which is very unlikely) the series would have to jump about a decade into the future to make him a man grown - and considering his ugly character he would likely be about as worse as Joffrey at that time. And considering that nearly all characters having a lordship or a throne in those books have those powers because of their birthrights it is rather obvious that birthright is one of the crucial legal principles in this setting. Nobody gets anything because of merit, they get it because it is their birthright or because they are strong enough to take it and hold on to it until it becomes the birthright of their children or grandchildren. If the Starks ever get back Winterfell and the North it will be because both is their birthright - and because they are strong enough to retake it or convince other people to help them retake it. The Tyrells are well-established as the ruling family of the Reach during the main series. They just destroyed the Florents, they don't need Sansa to look more noble. But it is quite clear that Sansa is the presumptive heir of the doomed King Robb, so by securing her they certainly secure a claim to Winterfell and the North. And that means both power and prestige. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that Robb is a dead man walking after the Blackwater. They would have dealt with him somehow, even if there hadn't been a Red Wedding. There are also stupid fan fantasies that Shadrich is going to abduct Sansa. They are equally nonsensical as are all stupid fantasies about an abducted Sansa. However, Shadrich as a possible former little mouse and a knife/informer Varys placed in Littlefinger's court certainly can take steps to influence events in the Vale into a Varys/Aegon favorable direction - possible by pointing out to Alayne that a Targaryen king on the Iron Throne could really help her position. He could also raise Sansa's suspicions about Littlefinger or give her actual evidence pointing to his involvement in certain things (arrest and execution of Ned, say). The fact that Shadrich is Varys' agent is subtly implied in the new Alayne chapter when Sansa enters Littlefinger's study and the window is open and the papers on his desk seem to be in disorder due to the wind - it was the old modus operandi of Varys' little mice back in Pentos to climb through windows and chimneys to go through the papers of a target and memorize the contents to gain knowledge to blackmail or exploit them. And it is quite clear that a Vale entering the war on Aegon's side - or at least openly opposing/attacking the Lannisters/King Tommen - would be very much in Varys' interest at this point. Not to mention that Haldon mentioning the Vale as a likely neutral faction in the War of the Five Kings when he goes through the papers at Griffin's Roost implies that they will attempt to secure the allegiance of the Arryns sooner rather than later. I don't know what kind of behavior is appropriate between father and daughter in this world. It is clear that Sansa doesn't like the whole thing - but that's because Littlefinger is not actually her father. And we all get that you don't like this plot - which is irrelevant to what plot there's going to be. I was disgusted by the Dany-Drogo love story, but that didn't change it, did it? The point remains that Sansa is at the right place right now to actually make a difference and come into her own - and she definitely owes Littlefinger for that. Not to mention that the entire Harry plot makes it actually more likely he is not exactly all that keen to get under her gown - after all, he essentially urges her to enthrall or even seduce another man. If he was as obsessed with Sansa as you apparently believe he is he would have acted more like Marillion. And this is not really a fetish. A fetish an item or sexual practice that really gets you (exclusively) going, it is not you having a thing for the daughter of your dead love (and Littlefinger honestly believes Catelyn was his love, once). Littlefinger's mind is pretty warped, but it was, at least in all things Cat and Sansa, actually warped by love. The man he is to today was shaped by a tragic love triangle - which is what makes his story compelling and interesting. Without his background - which George basically stole from his own character Arkin Ruark from Dying of the Light - Littlefinger wouldn't be interesting at all. If you put yourself in Littlefinger's shoes for a moment it is quite clear he cannot but fall in love with/desire Sansa. That's who he is.
  11. Lord Varys

    Timett will steal Alayne

    Sorry, but here your own fantasies seem to be getting the better of yourself. George has long ago stated that he is never going to write a rape scene in POV - and while there could be some sort of 'forced fellatio scene' offscreen I think it is quite clear that Littlefinger actually does not want to rape Sansa. The part of him that desires Sansa sexually (which is only a third of his personality, as per George - a part sees her as a pawn, a part sees her as his actual daughter, the one he and Cat should have had, and another part desires her sexual as a better and improved Catelyn) doesn't seem to be inclined to rush things. If he wanted her to be his sex bunny he could have long ago given her the Jeyne Poole treatment. I cannot see him suddenly raping Sansa or forcing him on her in a way that obliterates their fake father-daughter-relationship. The kisses they have are still within the framework of the affections that are proper between children and parents (the looks Littlefinger gives Sansa are not). Well, she is growing up. I also never thought it would be part of Arya's story to pose as a child prostitute to seduce and eventually murder a man. Yet that's what she did. Sansa finally realizing that her beauty properly used can her help manipulate and control people (especially men) certainly should be part of her arc - and it already is. It is part of her managing of Lord Robert, her future managing of Harry the Heir, and already her managing of Littlefinger - who is already fooled by Sansa when she uses the same sweet lies he tells others to fool him. Pretending that she, Sansa, actually loves Littlefinger would be the next step. And since that is clearly one of Littlefinger's greatest desires Sansa controlling him in this fashion would give her a lot of power. If something is going to allow a character to mess with Littlefinger it is going to be when the man is drunken with love and happiness. That's when he might make some mistakes, mistakes others could also exploit. It doesn't really have to start with sex (and doesn't really need to include sex) - it would be enough if she told Littlefinger that she is actually in love with him now and that she (eventually) wants to marry and live with him like her mother should have done. That could be enough, although some sort of erotic or sex scene with Sansa as the active part - Sansa the one initiating the entire thing - could also be very powerful. I mean, imagine the tourney at the Gates of the Moon, and we have the Aegon revelation there, and Sansa either directly or indirectly (through Harry) has the Vale lords and knights declare for Aegon and to assemble an army to crush the Lannisters. Afterwards, in private, Littlefinger is furious because Sansa acted without his knowledge/consent and, perhaps, even dared to real her true identity without consulting with him first ... and then she completely turns the table on him by telling him that she did all of them for them. Because she was in love with her dear dad Petyr and this was actually her design to ensure that they could be together in the future ... and eventually rule the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros as king and queen. That would be a really powerful scene, a moment where Sansa could truly be a plotter and a person with agency, somebody who controls events, who as a goal and a plan of her own. And Littlefinger would suspect nothing there ... because something like that should be, more or less, his heart's desire. And this is most definitely not an unlikely or impossible scenario at this point. All she needs to pull something along those lines is an audience. And she has that now with the people who attend the tourney.
  12. Lord Varys

    Targaryen Illness

    I don't think that's what implied, especially in light of the fact that Alyssa Velaryon pretty much counts as a, albeit distant, dragonlord descendant and Targaryen relative (like Corlys Velaryon later she is more closely related to her Targaryen spouse on the Velaryon side, but there is a Targaryen link there, too) considering her very striking Valyrian features. And we also have 1-2 Targaryens dying of illness before the reign of Jaehaerys I - Queen Visenya was apparently killed by a disease she caught in old age with caused her to lose a lot of weight before she died and King Aenys died of an disease of the stomach if he was not poisoned (by his aunt). Although one certainly can make the case that neither of those diseases was necessarily an infectious disease - both (and especially Visenya's cause of death) could have been cancer. If we want to believe that this heightened resilience against infectious diseases I talked about above goes back to back to the blood of the dragon, then one can speculate whether the dragonlords of Old Valyria (and the Targaryens among them) had a much stronger such resilience back when they were constantly strengthening their own 'magical blood' by only interbreeding with their peers (when they were not marrying their sisters). Incest as practiced by the Targaryens in Westeros also preserves the Westerosi bloodlines marrying into the family - e.g. Jaehaerys II and Shaera's incestuous union preserved the golden blood of Old Valyria as much as the blood of the Blackwoods, Daynes, and Martells due to the non-incestuous unions of their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. That certainly means their blood is 'less pure' than the blood of Aegon I and his sister-wives. But back in Jaehaerys I's things were still somewhat different. And as I said, there are Targaryens who are described as weak and sickly from birth - King Aenys, Aerea, Archmaester Vaegon, Jaehaerys and Jaehaera, King Aerys I, Jaehaerys II, etc. I'd say that the best take on that thing is that - just as there are more and less promising Targaryens insofar as physical and mental gifts are concerned - there are also such with heightened resilience to (infectious) diseases (i.e. such who rarely/never get sick in childhood, youth, and middle age) and such who have trouble with various vexing maladies and problems their entire lives.
  13. Lord Varys

    Why didn’t Varys kill Tommen?

    Varys only kills Kevan because Aegon has arrived. As an impotent boy king Tommen himself is irrelevant. The important point is that his government cannot make a united or concentrated effort to destroy Aegon.
  14. Lord Varys

    Timett will steal Alayne

    The tourney is not at the Bloody Gate but at the Gates of the Moon - which are, essentially, the very heart of the Vale of Arryn. The idea that people are about to be surprised or attacked there is not very likely. I'm not entirely dismissing the idea that the clansmen might become a danger for the Vale in the future - but only after the bulk of the Vale's strength has left the Vale to fight elsewhere in Westeros. If, say, Sansa/Harry and/or Littlefinger have gotten the Vale to fight for Aegon then Tyrion could later activate/use his clansmen buddies to strike at the Vale. But just some good weapons is not going to change the power dynamic there - especially not while the clans are not united under a single leader (and Shagga and his gang are still in the Kingswood). If Tyrion flies with a dragon into the Mountains of the Moon he could make them his in a heartbeat. But until then we cannot expect much from them aside from usual (and likely ever more desperate) raiding for survival as the cruel winter advances... The short term goals were that Robert behaves, is managable, and doesn't embarrass the Lord Protector or his daughter. We get that back in AFfC where Robert has to be drugged to be able to receive various dignitaries and to be able to travel down the Giant's Lance. But you certainly are right that Sansa has adopted Littlefinger's own rationale in the matter - that Robert is a weak and sickly child who is going to die early, anyway, that it is more important for them to secure their own survival and well-being than the longterm survival and well-being of the boy lord they are technically serving, etc. This is very evident in her last conversation with Maester Colemon on the matter where she actually insists that he be given another dose, either not understanding or not caring how great a risk this is at this point. When Colemon objects she tells him to take the matter up with her father - that's not the talk of a person who prioritizes the life of her cousin. The alert reader does realize that sweetsleep accumulates in the body - whether Sansa exactly understands what this means isn't clear. I'd not be surprised if Robert is going to die in his sleep early in TWoW, after Sansa gave him another dose of his sweetmilk for this or that arbitrary reason. Littlefinger has set up this whole thing rather brilliantly, converting a potential lethal poison into a tool his staff can use to manage the boy lord who is most of the time either a tyrant or a nuisance. The very nature of the dynamic there is going to mean they will use it more and more, and Sansa is actually one of the people pushing for this kind of solution. Whether she understands that she is killing her cousin this way and doesn't really care or whether she actually underestimates the risk isn't clear at this point. I guess we'll only get her thoughts on the matter when she is confronted with Robert's cold corpse. But considering that this will mean that she will control both Harry and the Vale thereafter I very much doubt she will have (m)any second thoughts. She never liked Robert Arryn in the first place.
  15. Lord Varys

    Timett will steal Alayne

    She is complicit in the poisoning plot already. I don't think she will actually want to kill Robert, but she already rationalized endangering his life for short term goals. I don't expect her to become a vile poisoner - merely someone who follows the path she is on where it leads her. Nobody said anything about power for its own sake ... power can be a means to an end. To avenge herself on Cersei, say. To restore House Stark to its former glory. To finally show the people who pushed her around what she can do. To get Winterfell back on her terms. And so on. Sansa is one of the few characters who actually could use power as a means to an end, not for its own sake. And it is quite clear that her picking up on Littlefinger's methods is preparing her to both understand politics and power plays as well as to exert power in a similar fashion. She is really good at playing the lady/queen and Littlefinger's whole subtle approach to power is really ideal for somebody like Sansa. She could really become a great player if she walks in his footsteps. And, no, this doesn't mean she also has to become a psychopath. I'd not count on Sansa destroying Littlefinger - there are others with better claims, most notably Sansa's undead mother. But Tyrion, too. It is a standard fan fantasy that Sansa will somehow magically discover Littlefinger's evil deeds and then cause his downfall, etc. But if we look realistically at this guy then he is so well-prepared that he always has an exit strategy. I can see Sansa unmasking Littlefinger or thwarting his ultimate plans to rule Westeros, but I don't see her destroying him - or at least not before he moves from 'secret villain' to 'public/unhinged villain'. There is infinite narrative potential in him making common cause with Euron/Cersei, say, when he no longer can play the nice-guy routine. And Sansa's immediate future seems to be rather obvious to me - get the Vale to declare for Aegon or turn against the Lannisters in his name. That is going to free Sansa from all the chains that bind her right now. Once Tommen is gone (or they turn on him) she can be herself again, with the nominal support of a new King on the Iron Throne she could be restored to Winterfell and the North and see all the enemies of her family destroyed. And it is not difficult to predict where exactly Littlefinger's and Sansa's agendas and goals might differ in all that. In fact, I can already see her outmaneuvering Littlefinger by getting the Vale to declare for Aegon. She could do that by manipulating Harry and the others or, if one wants her in a more active role, by publicly revealing her true identity during one of the tourney feasts, and urging the assembled brave men to finally get off their asses and do something. She could both shame them into action by pointing out that their cowardice got her brother and mother killed as well as appeal to their knightly honor to defend the damsel in distress - once she reveals herself it is clear that Tommen/the Lannisters will eventually come for her (after all, Sansa Stark stands accused of regicide). And the chances are very slim that - especially the young knights and lords - just shrug off something like that. They will fall over themselves to offer Sansa Stark their swords. She could a much greater scene then Robb ever did when he was proclaimed king - without Sansa actually being offered a crown there. And if the Young Falcon (Harry) is on board with her plan nobody would be able to stop them. But he would not help her plot. She would be stuck with a man who cannot offer her anything of substance. And I'm not only talking about things he cannot offer Sansa the person but also Sansa the fictional character. Any abduction scenario involving Sansa would be a completely pointless and nonsensical plot at this point. And Sansa is not a real person. Many characters in those books are abused or harmed or have to deal with unwanted attention - this didn't cause the author to not write such stories. And in comparison to others Littlefinger's advances are relatively mild - and might actually not need to a rape. In fact, the way things stand right now I actually could see Sansa mastering Littlefinger by really turning the table on him - taking the initiative to seduce him at a point when he is not expecting this. The way to defeat Littlefinger is to actually make him forget that Sansa is also a pawn to him. If Sansa could make those parts of his personality win who want her as his daughter and his lover/husband she would become the one ruling him, not the other way around, because he would finally start doing things to actually please her. The crucial thing is that she reveals her true identity - then she can come into her own in the Vale. Harry is a joke in comparison to her. He is descended from an Arryn on his mother's side, but his father was a nobody, and he must know this. Sansa, on the other hand, is the scion of two of the noblest families in the Realm, the former betrothed of a king.
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