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Lord Varys

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  1. Well, since Laenor acknowledged them, they weren't Strong bastards. I mean, if Corlys and Rhaenys had problems with Laenor's sons they could and would have said so. They wouldn't have waited until Corlys' old age made him weak. They could have pushed Viserys I to declare them bastards. Nobody would have fed them to any dragons. But then, as the text shows, the succession of Driftmark was unclear in the wake of Laenor's death. Corlys had not yet named a new heir, or else Rhaenyra wouldn't have begged her father-in-law to name Lucerys nor would have Vaemond Velaryon put forth his own claim (or rather: he would have put forth his own claim against against the heir Corlys had formally anointed and installed with Rhaenyra's and Viserys' blessing - and that is not what happened). Years had passed between Laenor's death and Corlys' short illness and no new heir was named. And with there not being a new heir it is possible that Corlys wasn't sure who would should succeed him on Driftmark. But then - perhaps it was only that Jacaerys being a double heir caused confusion. On his father's side he stood to inherit Driftmark from his grandfather, on his mother's side he would eventually succeed to the Iron Throne. They could have thought that it was unfair if Jace was first installed as Lord of Driftmark only to eventually succeed to the Iron Throne possibly after he himself had already children and grandchildren who would then have claims to Driftmark of their own ... while Rhaenyra's younger sons would get nothing. This kind of thing can get complicated. The royal family was getting ever larger - Rhaenyra had five sons when Corlys got sick, and to ensure that things go smoothly in the future all those royal princes need to have something to do. So it may have been that they had just not figured out which son of Laenor should be the new heir of Driftmark. The show would do well if they played up the fact that with Aegon, Aemond, and Daeron on the one hand, and Jace, Luke, Joff, Aegon, and Viserys on the other there were literally eight royal princes around. If they had all grown up to have children of their own, the Targaryen-Velaryon double family would have grown into a very large clan (even more since there very few girls to marry within the family, so even the younger princes could have married ambitious wives from great houses), and Viserys I or Rhaenyra would have been forced to keep all those male branches content and in line. If they want to develop the children some more, it might make sense to depict Aemond and especially Daeron as folks who really get the feeling their father neither needs them nor cares for them particularly, considering that his darling daughter had given him five strong grandsons. It is a pity George didn't allow such branches to develop in-between the reigns of the Conqueror and Viserys I since it could have been quite interesting how Jaehaerys I, say, had dealt with overbearing and grasping nephews and male cousins. The show certainly could add some more friction to the entire thing. What the promo material tells us about Rhaenys is that while she fully supports Rhaenyra's claim she isn't completely sure that she would make a good queen (or perhaps only as good a queen as she thought she might have been). Part of the friction there could be how things between Rhaenyra and Laenor went. I mean, let's say she is fine with each of them living their own lives, but still pissed that neither had the grace to actually conceive at least one child together (presumably the eldest, so nobody could mess with them). Insofar as the plot goes, I think the show will first have basically two power blocks in the royal family - Daemon and the Velaryons (who are going to make common cause when Rhaenyra is made Heir Apparent and Viserys I marries Alicent rather than Laena) on the one hand, and Viserys I, Rhaenyra, and the Hightowers on the other (of course, in the beginning Daemon might be his own faction, but once it his brother names Rhaenyra his Heir Apparent he has to look for allies). The show might try to convince the audience that Daemon marrying Laena (which could happen earlier in the show if they downplay or cut Rhea) will result in him and the Velaryons trying to steal the throne while Alicent and Otto are going to defend Rhaenyra who they are going to support in the beginning. Something like that might also be indicated by Laena and Laenor and Rhaenys joining Corlys and Daemon in their campaign on the Stepstones - which could easily be presented as some kind of test run for dragon warfare in Westeros should they want to stage a coup or uprising against Viserys I or Rhaenyra. We might then also see the Rhaenyra-Laenor betrothal as Viserys I's attempt to drive a wedge between Daemon and the Velaryons. If Laenor gets to be prince consort, Rhaenys and Corlys might be less inclined to stage a rebellion. The whole Green thing should be a pretty slow buildup and the prospect of Daemon-Velaryon coup should basically only end with the sudden and quite unexpected marriage of Rhaenyra and Daemon in the wake of the sudden deaths of Laena, Laenor, and Harwin. Then we suddenly have a situation where the Velaryons and Daemon are both firmly in Rhaenyra's camp and they all share a common goal. Had Daemon and Laena produced a son he could easily enough have pushed forth such a son against both Rhaenyra and her sons by Laenor who - as he might know or suspect - weren't actually fathered by Laenor as well as the Hightower-Targaryens. And Daemon's son by Laena would have had the blood of the dragon on both sides and would be supported by the rider of the largest surviving dragon.
  2. I expect they first introduce him as a kind of villain and (at first) a or the major threat to Rhaenyra, because he actually wants the throne for himself. That they end up getting married isn't something the audience should expect from the start (at least not if they tell the story chronologically). As he gets older, they should soften him more, show more likable aspects of his personality. Him being a good father to all his children (and his stepsons) could be part of that. Like, one could have a scene at the beginning of the war when Daemon leaves for Harrenhal and Jace for his mission in the north where Jace addresses him as 'father' and they have a conversation about how Daemon trusts Jace completely to keep Rhaenyra and the girls safe. Or Daemon could tell him that he sees the great Jaehaerys in Jace and regrets the fact that he will most likely not live to see Jacaerys I ascend the Iron Throne (because he would likely predecease Rhaenyra). There are all sorts of ways to give the guy a likable traits. He could also be grief-stricken when he learns about Viserys' alleged death, or try to comfort Aegon III later in KL when Rhaenyra has taken the place and they are all there. A more vulnerable aspect of his personality could also be his relationship to Viserys which is barely touched upon in the book. What to do with him during the war is difficult, considering he is either at Harrenhal or at Maidenpool, not doing all that much most of the time. Well, you have to really think what Laenor was - the son and heir of the richest man in Westeros, a dragonrider in his own right, a man who nearly was made king at a very young age. The guy had everything. In fact, he had so much that becoming king may have actually fucked up his life since that would mean responsibility and work, whereas he could just do whatever the hell he wants as a rich heir and Rhaenyra's consort. If you are king you are under a lot of pressure to sire an heir. But as a lord you are not, if there are other heirs around. And Corlys does have six nephews in the books. Driftmark would go to somebody even if Laenor and Laena both died childless (which is also the reason, one imagines, why Laena is not forced into an early marriage). And that goes for all the lords. The Reader doesn't have children, either, and it is no problem. Laenor and Rhaenyra would have had a problem if Laenor had not wanted that Rhaenyra have children that were not fathered by him ... but the way things went he had no problem at all. Such people do not really like to do what they do not want. And if Laenor doesn't want to have sex, he won't. It is as simple as that. Rhaenyra has to be literally forced into this marriage, and it seems clear that Laenor also only agreed to that under certain conditions ... and they clearly involved that he continue his previous lifestyle without any interference from anyone. And his family was fine with that, or else he his parents wouldn't have allowed him to remain at High Tide. Neither party there - not Viserys I on the Iron Throne, nor Rhaenys and Corlys at High Tide - forced either of their children to actually live together or pretend their marriage was more than, well, a legal contract. Else we would have gotten all kind of attempts to force the spouses to actually co-habit, to pretend they were deeply in love, to have sex in a manner which revealed to the public that they were having sex, etc.
  3. Yes, in-universe the best argument against the Daemon hypothesis is that Corlys and Rhaenys would really have to be utter morons if they never suspected or figured out that Daemon was the one behind that murder. They knew him much better than the historians and readers, and in this context it is clear that Corlys doesn't really need proof that Daemon was involved. All he and Rhaenys needed to not side with Rhaenyra during the Dance was the suspicion that Daemon may have been involved in their son's murder. And it is not that Daemon immediately marrying Rhaenyra doesn't provide them with such a suspicion - unless, of course, the in-universe characters are pretty sure that Daemon and Rhaenyra had nothing to do with Laenor's death. Neither Rhaenyra nor Daemon could force their hands. They were dependent on the Velaryon fleet and on Rhaenys' dragon, not the other way around. And if Corlys had offered Aegon II to hand him Rhaenyra and Daemon on a golden platter, he would likely gotten all the rewards he might have wished for, royal marriages included (Baela to Aemond or Daeron, say). I either lean towards that Vaemond hypothesis, Correy acting all by himself and disappearing because he had fallen in with actual criminals (or him actually getting away to some obscure place in Essos - if he jumped a ship bound to Yi Ti or Asshai this is certainly possible), or Correy having been on the payroll of Alicent or some other Green who was looking for dirt using against Rhaenyra ... and they got rid of him for good after he murdered Laenor and their involvement may have been revealed. But, honestly, I think as the story is presented it strikes one as most likely that Correy just snapped and murdered his friend there. He acted at a public place, meaning this is more likely to be 'a crime of passion' than a premeditated murder. Correy killed Laenor in such a manner that his chances of getting away in one piece were very low. If Daemon or anyone paid the guy to kill Laenor then he almost fucked it up. Insofar as Vaemond is concerned - as Corlys' brother they could model him on Borys Baratheon, Lyn Corbray, Ramsay Snow, etc. All men who had grown accustomed to their status as presumptive heirs, reacting not too kindly to the late arrival of unexpected heirs. In the book, we later learn that the Silent Five and Vaemond's sons joined the Greens ... and Corlys was hurt by that. But they do not show up during the Dance story, so they didn't seem to have played a big role in the book. The show could play up some of those Velaryons, of course. In part, that might hinge in part whether they plan or consider to go with Daenaera Velaryon as Aegon III's eventual wife or not. I think the entire episode with Viserys I on the Iron Throne cutting out tongues is a powerful scene, so we should have that. But I honestly don't think the matter of Rhaenyra's sons can or will be 'a bad thing' in the show. What I expect there is a working marriage of two people who agree to have no sex ... but with Laenor making it clear that Rhaenyra's children will be his children, anyway. This should be the antithesis of Robert and Cersei. Cersei betrayed Robert by secretly cuckolding him and having another man father his children ... whereas Laenor and Rhaenyra will agree that they won't have sex, but that their marriage is going to work perfectly, anyway, since they will effectively have an open marriage and each of them will be perfectly aware what the other is doing, and Rhaenyra's children will be acknowledged as Laenor's in any case. And if you look at it - there would have been no problem there if Laenor had not predeceased Viserys I. Who would dare to tell the dragonriding future prince/king consort that his children weren't his children? No one - and whoever dared it anyway would be risking his own life. Even in the book it is crystal clear that Laenor had no issue with the parentage his sons - he even wanted to name them after his dead friend Joffrey. Nobody fooled or betrayed or humiliated him ... so the thing shouldn't have been a problem for Rhaenyra and Laenor and their immediate family. If they were to turn this into pretty much a carbon copy of Robert-Cersei it would suck completely. Laenor would be turned into a complete moron who was fooled by his wife and whose homosexuality would have literally nothing to do with anything, because he would actually be trying to have children with Rhaenyra.
  4. They will introduce the Velaryon house, though. They are a new family in the show universe, so folks have to know who they are ... and especially who Corlys Velaryon is. They certainly could make the skin color thing a non-issue ... but if they do not, then we should get some information as to why they don't look like the Targaryens. And unless they change things they cannot really ignore the historical family ties between the Velaryons and the Targaryens. The Old King's mother was a Velaryon (Corlys' own grandaunt), and the Conqueror's mother was as well. Whenever the show touches on the Rhaenys-Corlys match past marriages between the Targaryens and Velaryons are either implicitly or explicitly there ... or they are not. And when they are not there, one must assume they will be cut. [And then there might also be promo material and stuff where the history of various houses might be explained. If we get such stuff and the material doesn't mention Valaena or Alyssa then this will also be a statement. Because frankly - the defining trait of the Velaryons in ASoIaF basically is that they provided brides for at least three Targaryen princes. That's how they are introduced in ACoK.] But isn't that just alternative history stuff like Bridgerton? Or color-blind casting of the classics where it essentially no longer matters who plays who or how a character looks like because we have so many adaptations? In normal cases characters are gender-swapped or race-swapped and that can have (some) effects on the story. I agree that the looks of most characters are irrelevant. And in context the Valyrians would have made much more sense as black people, considering they look more like fairy-tale elves from the north than a people you would associate with a southern place. The issue I have is that the Velaryons pretty much are 'little Targaryens' in the books. They look the same, have the same ancestry and background. The show changing their looks inevitably changes that shared background. And the idea that Valyria was some kind of inclusive and diverse melting pot place is clearly wrong. The general population might have been mixed and there might have been foreigners from all over the world in Valyria. But the elites practiced incest for thousands of years - and not just the dragonlords but the entire 'old families gang'. And that means that they would all look alike sans some very special cases where an outsider married into a noble family. And, yes, as you say - that Corlys and his family are suddenly there as the only black house in Westeros is what is likely to trigger the kind of reception/interpretation I outlined above. It doesn't have to be explicit or implicit in the show for commentators to view the Velaryons as a black family in a more contempotary, real world sense, and subsequently highlight the fact that the woman who was passed over for a man at the Great Council - and this backstory definitely will be there in the show - was not just any woman, but the only woman married to a black man and the only woman with black children. And that's clearly not what George intended there. I don't think people are going to ignore this. Even if nobody talked about the Velaryons being black ... they will be black on screen, and folks are going to interpret things in the real world, not in Westeros. The fact that Vaemond Velaryon is going to play a larger role might indicate he will be a kind of villain. They could turn him into the real mastermind behind the murder of Laenor, for example (assuming they don't want to go with Daemon). In fact, that might even be a nice hypothesis for the book canon: If Vaemond truly wanted to have Driftmark for himself, then Laenor was a clear obstacle there. With him out of the way he would have gotten a lot closer to Driftmark. After all, we don't even know whether it is appropriate in Westeros that a prince/king consort actually has a lordship of his own. Laenor was Corlys' heir while he was not prince/king consort, but had Viserys I's predeceased Corlys would Laenor have remained his father's heir? We don't know. In Dorne it is clear that a future queen or king consort does not also inherit Dorne if they are the Heir Apparent. Myriah was originally the heir of Dorne but Maron inherited the place in her stead once she married the future King on the Iron Throne. And Doran planned the same for Arianne. Her being betrothed to Viserys meant she would one day be Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and not Princess of Dorne. If they go with such a scenario in the show - and if that was how Vaemond thought he might end up becoming the Lord of Driftmark - then this his story might be quite interesting. After all, Corlys may have even promised his brother/nephew back when he married Rhaenys that once Rhaenys sat on the Iron Throne in the Red Keep he and their children would join her there as the new royal consort and family, and Driftmark would then go to Vaemond ... like Storm's End went to Renly. Baelon's branch winning the day at the Great Council would have buried such dreams for good. In context it is quite clear that House Velaryon (i.e. Corlys and Rhaenys) viewed the actions of Vaemond and his kin as betrayal. Corlys liked his grandsons, and they were betrothed to his granddaughters ... and Vaemond and his kin wanted to steal Driftmark not only from Laenor's sons but from Laena's daughters as well. A faithful adaptation there would have the Targaryen-Velaryon clan under Rhaenyra's leadership as a kind of working patchwork family - not as a dysfunctional family where everybody schemed against the other. Else the Velaryons wouldn't have sided with Rhaenyra during the Dance.
  5. Hopefully they include that character at all. He is one of the few characters who show that the Rhaenyra actually had a solid base of supporters among the smallfolk in the Riverlands. One of the best parts of the story there is that the commoners force their lords to pick a side - just as a commoner motivated the nobles to fight for Maegor at the Trial of Seven. We have to wait and see. My impression seems to be that 'Black Valyrians' are a thing now, but that's solely based on the weirdo platinum-blonde wigs the Velaryons got for the show. One would imagine that they would have gone with black hair like it happens with most mixed children who also inherit dark(er) skin (I've no idea how it works in real life, but blond black/mixed people seem to be be pretty rare and the impression I get from the looks of the black Velaryons is that their 'family look' is dark skin + platinum blond locks). Of course, if that were the case, then the Velaryons are not just turned into black people but also are retconned into no longer being close Targaryen cousins since - as you pointed out - if the established family ties were kept for the show then all Targaryens should have been black/mixed race, since Aegon and his sisters had a Velaryon mother, and Aegon's son Aenys was also married to a Velaryon. The subsequent incest (Aegon-Rhaenys, Jaehaerys-Alysanne, Baelon-Alyssa) would have preserved the dark skin to a very high degree, so it would be frankly ridiculous to cast white actors for Viserys I, Daemon, Rhaenys and basically all the Targaryens we get in the show. The result of that would be that whether they want it or that ... the Velaryons are not going to be what they are in the books. Even if they were to throw in a couple of lines establishing the Velaryon history and Corlys' ancestors and kin repeatedly marrying into the Targaryen family ... I'd expect that the general (American) audience are going to perceive Corlys and his family as foreign outsiders (they were completely absent from GoT, after all) who are overreaching themselves by claiming the most auspicious royal princess and trying to put their mixed brood on a throne that doesn't belong to black people. Even if that's not the intent - and we have no idea of their intentions at this point -, I think there is a very good chance that this is going to be the way quite a few people will perceive or interpret this whole thing. After all, we cannot expect them to focus all that much on Aemon's death and the Great Council (even if there are truly going to be some scenes from the latter in the show), so the skin color of Laena and Laenor and Corlys might very well be one of the reasons why the lords supported Viserys I rather than the Velaryon claim. At least in the eyes of the public. And there is of course also a chance the writers drag real world racist issues into the show by having some racist bigot lords at the Great Council, say, dismissing Laenor's claim because of his skin color. On some (surface) level the succession issue is changed from exclusively sex-based discrimination (Corlys Velaryon is the perfect consort for a Targaryen queen in the books, being the greatest man of his generation - in the book him being Rhaenys' consort is a huge asset, not a potential obstacle) to an issue that's both about sex and (at least potentially in the eyes of the audience) also about race. Basically, that's why I have so much issue with those black Velaryons. They really have the potential to change the core conflict this series is about - and not in a good way. A Summer Islander parent for Corlys could at least prevent the damage to Alyssa and Valaena Velaryon ... but it would also strengthen the 'foreign outsiders/upstart narrative' I mentioned above. If they wanted to have black actors in the show - and I'm not opposed to that - why not make the Hightowers or the Strongs or Criston Cole black? That would have done less damage to the setting.
  6. So far Aegon first has to properly establish himself ... something that's likely the work, but if it does it will work because he is a Targaryen pretender. And that, in turn, means that Daenerys could have tapped into the same potential of lingering Targaryen loyalty in Westeros as Aegon ... or that she will in the future. After all, if the Lannisters and Tyrells, Euron, Stannis, possibly even Jon are resisting Aegon's rise, then the lad might die long before Dany even decides to go to Westeros. I mean, sure, Aegon and Dany could dance as long as the dragons danced during the First Dance. But is that very likely to be George's plan there, if he wants to finish the series in two more volumes? I guess not. Meaning that we are likely talking about a Second Dance which will consist only of one or two decisive battles. Once Dany lands, people will see her dragons, and then they will decide whether to back her or Aegon. And whatever stories Aegon might spread about Dany - in the end people will choose the pretender who appears to be more powerful. They won't fault Dany that much for slaughtering slavers and barbarians ... that happened at a very far away place to people nobody in Westeros knows or cares about. Quaithe told Dany to trust none of her visitors - which isn't the same as her not trusting Quentyn, specifically. Well, my point was more that the show should really establish that the Targaryens are a family where arranged incestuous marriages are quite common. That wasn't really something GoT played up. But even if Dany and Jon were brother and sister, their romance/relationship isn't 'proper incest' since they didn't grow up as brother and sister. Being 'grossed out' by such a relationship is pretty weird in itself, since they don't view each other as close kin. It is weird to expect that couples who suddenly learn that they are close kin because of weirdo reasons should suddenly feel ashamed of the feelings they have for each other. The whole Daemon grooming thing is another issue, of course. I'm not sure we are going to get that, though, since the young Rhaenyra is clearly not as young as book Rhaenyra would be at the beginning of her father's reign. She is still a preteen girl when she is named Heir Apparent, after all. If we have the weirdo Mushroom thing from 111 AC in the show, then Rhaenyra is likely not going to be fourteen years old at that time - or not look as if she was still fourteen. I must say that I also found that George strangely underdeveloped this thing, just as he didn't seem to bother much with the marriages of Jaehaerys' grandchildren. The Jaehaerys material shows perfectly how the Targaryen incestuous marriage policy worked - you marry those children to each other who really like each other and who are close enough in age so that it doesn't look weird (the plan for Daenerys-Aemon, Aemon-Jocelyn, Baelon-Alyssa, and the plan for Vaegon-Daella). Even earlier Aenys and Aegon I seemed to have such plans for Rhaena-Aegon and Jaehaerys-Alysanne. How it is that Viserys was married to Aemma, Daemon to Rhea, and why Viserys I opposed a Daemon-Rhaenyra or later a Rhaenyra-Aegon match is not really clear. Daemon was much older than Rhaenyra, true, but politically that wouldn't have been that bad a match once Rhaenyra was named Heir Apparent. And the king naming her heir in 105 AC but not making a match for her until she came of age eight years later (!) makes very little sense. The Laenor match should have either been much earlier (i.e. when Viserys I spurned Laena in 106 AC) or Rhaenyra should have had another betrothed who died early so she would have to find a new husband when she came of age.
  7. The position of cupbearer to the king is one of the most prolific at court. It means you are very close to the king's person. This is not something that a common servant could aspire to become ... rather it is a position that's given to highborn children as part of their training. The first sign that Viserys I was grooming Rhaenyra to be his heir was when he made her his own cupbearer which happened before she was formally named Heir Apparent and Princess of Dragonstone. We also hear that Egg served as cupbearer during Small Council meetings in the reign of his grandfather. This position most definitely means advancement and career boosts, especially if given to you as a child. Had Gaemon Palehair lived, he might have very well ended up as a great lord in his own right, sitting on Aegon III's Small Council or even serving him as Hand. And as has pointed out already - Gaemon was only made a food taster and whipping boy later when the Peake gang took over the government. That wasn't in the interest of Aegon III or the court gang when the regency administration was set up. That is indeed strange. It means that whoever decided that must have at least associated Gaemon more with royalty than with his executed commonborn whore mother. We see how people put in Jeyne Poole with Sansa Stark ... but Jeyne wasn't a commoner nor a bastard but a minor noblewoman herself and Sansa's closest friend. And Cersei quickly corrects that mistake once she finds out - but nobody ever separated Aegon and Gaemon. Going on a little bit about the name Gaemon here. Gaemon the Glorious seems to be the guy Gaemon Palehair is named after, and one imagines that Essie could have only named her son after that guy if Aegon II had told her about some of his great ancestors. The average whore should not know all that much about the distant ancestors of Aegon the Conqueror. The idea that anyone would pick the name of one of the children of Alysanne who died in the cradle is not very likely.
  8. Granted, that was one of the lesser arguments in favor of this idea. Aegon III, who likely never wanted to be king, could have indeed just said: 'Well, when I'm gone, why not just re-crown the last remaining pretender king?' If Gaemon was truly Aegon II's son then Aegon II himself and the crucial members of his court (Alicent, Larys, Corlys, etc.) either knew themselves or may have learned the truth when the decision was made to not kill the boy and take him in as a ward of the Crown. And from any of those - especially Larys before his arrest and Corlys in the time before his death - Aegon III may have learned that Gaemon was indeed his cousin. This knowledge could also have led to their friendship. While we can assume that Aegon III may have bonded with pretty much any child reminding him of Viserys, him knowing/believing the boy was his cousin and the court knowing this as well, could explain why he was alllowed to spend time with the boy. I mean, the fact that a whore's bastard ends up becoming the close companion of a boy king is very weird in itself. I mean, sure, George tells that story to show that even unlikely things can happen, but in context something like that cannot happen if nobody at his court approves of such a friendship ... and we should assume that pretty much nobody would actually approve of it if Gaemon was truly just a whore's bastard. If Aegon's regents had decided that the king should not spend time with Gaemon, they would have been separated. Just as Gaemon would have been sent away from court if the regents had felt he was a bad influence on the king.
  9. Oh, of course, chances are pretty good that he was actually the father. Or at least that he could have been the father, i.e. that he was both a patron of the brothel and of Essie, specifically. Another crucial hint there seems to be the simple fact that Aegon II spared Gaemon's life while he executed Tystane (who may have been his half-brother). Granted, Gaemon was much younger and that could explain it, but his mother and her lover received no mercy, so why spare the child? More importantly: Why spare his life and take him into the royal household? If you spare him, why not give the boy to the Faith or just hand him over to some peasants? 'Gaemon' is also a Targaryen name ... not exactly the kind of name a whore would choose all on her own, indicating that Aegon may have still visited the brothel around the time the boy was born. And if the father was truly a Lysene sailor then a Lysene name seems more likely than a Targaryen name. Although a mundane Westerosi name would be most likely for an unacknwledged royal bastard - just look at most of Robert's children or even Trystane Truefyre. Aegon III's favoritism towards the boy could also indicate that he was truly of royal blood ... else his court might not have allowed him to spend so much time with the boy. And Aegon III even went as far as to suggest to name Gaemon his heir while he had no sons. We do have strong hints that Aegon III wasn't as clever as his brother Viserys ... but he cannot have been as stupid as to believe that some fake royal bastard had any claim to the Iron Throne or that it was proper to possibly hand his throne to such a person. If he had believed that he could have just as well said they should make Mushroom his heir. In context, chances are not that bad that Trystane Truefyre was a son of Viserys I. Perkin the Flea, the boy's master and, perhaps, his foster father was in service of Larys Strong ... and in the main series the Master of Whisperers was taking care of the royal bastards. If Viserys I did father any bastards one would imagine he would want to keep them away from Alicent (not so much because he thought she might harm them but rather because he may not have wanted to hurt her feelings), meaning it would make sense if he had his spy master deal with such things. And that would have given Larys the knowledge to prop up a genuine bastard pretender during the Dance. We have no idea about Trystane's background or looks, but the lad must have had Targaryen colors, possibly closely resembling Viserys I, or else chances are low that anyone would have followed him. Some black-haired or brown-haired boy wouldn't have been a very popular Targaryen pretender. Perkin and Larys must have told some story about Trystane's origins Gyldayn fails to mention - who his mother was, that the late king had had an affair with her, that sort of thing - or else their story would also not have been really believable. And considering that both pretenders were Kingslanders one imagines that it would have been very difficult to create such pretenders from scratch. Folks must have had (good) reasons to believe both stories, i.e. know that Aegon II visited Essie's brothel and be able to connect Trystane's mother to Viserys I in a meaningful capacity. But unfortunately we know nothing about her.
  10. Oh, well, he will have some success and be popular ... but Daenerys is the Slayer of Lies, not Aegon. He is one of the lies, so ultimately neither a good good nor a success as a pretender/savior. And regardless how much Varys' propaganda effort will make Aegon shine in the eyes of the public ... he isn't the Father of Dragons ... in fact, he doesn't even have a dragon. Dragons are power, especially if they are alive and *right there*, in front of your eyes. Once Daenerys is there she will be the better Targaryen pretender, never mind her being a woman. If Aegon hatched himself his own dragon he might be able to overcome that problem, but all the foreshadowing in ADwD indicates that Aegon will only play with/get elephants, not dragons. And if her were to claim one of Dany's dragons he would still be the guy profiting from the miracle-working Mother of Dragons, not establish himself as her equal. Although it would make him look more impressive. A short run is not making it likely they will stay all that faithful to the source material. Rather, it would indicate they streamline things, and merge or completely cut certain characters, events, and plotlines. For instance - they could completely cut the Ironborn side story. It is pretty much irrelevant for the main plot. Well, the very nature of the plot as presented is that lots and lots of characters just show up for five minutes, have some good lines and then they are off the stage again, many of the them permanently. Others because they go back home and nobody cares what Cregan Stark is doing all day. To repeat that in the show would be very weird, so one would imagine that, for instance, Baela and Rhaena are much more important in the show than they are in the book. Unwin Peake is a character they could introduce in season 2, so he wouldn't be that unknown, and Tyland Lannister will even be in season 1 ... but then, the guy spends most of the war in the a torture cell and only does really important things as Aegon III's blind and disfigured Hand. Chances are not that likely that he will spend as much time in a torture cell in the show - just as Rhaenyra is not likely going to be shown as a broken woman we are only going to see occassionally weeping in her chambers for an entire year of the war . Yes, but the Tullys only join the war at the very end, i.e. they would only show up properly in the last season depicting the actual Dance. And Kermit and Oscar are only the replacement of their dad Elmo who is going to die unceremoniously after Second Tumbleton from drinking infected water. Benjicot Blackwood and Black Aly are another matter, but they disappear during the Regency era, so they are not that important, either. If there was Regency stuff I'd say that we would have to see Aegon's half-sisters and Alyn Velaryon on the regency council, replacing some of the dudes who have little to no lines. Well, there isn't much to focus on in that department. Jaehaera is literally non-existent as a political player, Aegon III never says anything important ... and the girls are sidelined and/or leave court. He at least should write up and publish the reign of Aegon III so that the writers of the show could include the conclusion of the Alys Rivers and Unwin Peake (I assume he will eventually pay for his crimes) stories if they so choose. From a narrative viewpoint, FaB has no proper ending. Making a cut when Aegon III comes of age can make sense from a historian's POV (or simply because the book was getting to big) but there is no closure there. If you look at the book then the deaths of Alysanne and Jaehaerys I would have been much better points to end such a book. There one could say an entire era ended, with power being handed to a grandson of the Old King. The Regency material is just a monstrously blown-up epilogue to the Dance, narrative-wise. And one would have liked it if the author had focused as much on Rhaenyra or Aegon II or Alicent as he focused on the exploits of Unwin Peake or Tyland Lannister. They first have to properly establish the incest. There was pretty much only Lannister incest in GoT, and there isn't that much incest in the Dance era, either (I'd prefer it if Aemma Arryn were turned into Aemma Targaryen, a sister or aunt of Viserys I), aside from Aegon II and Helaena. All the other matches are avuncular or cousin marriages.
  11. I expect George wanted that because it is the most detailed - and still most interesting - historical era he has actually fleshed out to some degree. The audience - just as the readership back before this came out - would expect this Dance of the Dragons to be a really great spectacle ... but it isn't. It is a serious of badly planned, badly executed campaigns and a considerable number of pointless battles where the dragonriders all desperately try to get themselves killed (Rhaenys, Daemon & Aemond, Addam Velaryon, Joffrey Velaryon, Baela). If that is adapted faithfully, it might be unintentionally funny a lot of times (you can almost see Corlys Velaryon wringing his hands: 'But the children! Somebody must think about the children!') The Regency material would also make a very weird epilogue. Most characters there are not, in fact, Targaryens, and they are also mostly secondary or tertiary Dance characters who suddenly are prominent. Who cares about the Tully boys, Peakes gang of weirdos, Peake himself, or the unimpressive regents? Not to mention that George didn't finish the story there. We have no idea what happens to Unwin Peake, Baela and Rhaena, Alyn Velaryon, or, most importantly, Alys Rivers and her pretender boy. Most likely he will be her enemy, but that doesn't make him or his gang the heroes of the story. They are all tertiary characters, and I think we all agree that we don't really care all that much whether Jon Connington can avenge his non-lover Rhaegar or not. Equally, I don't think many people would view it as particularly cruel or evil if Daenerys were to capture and execute Aegon. He isn't a POV nor a particularly well-established character at this point. The idea that Daenerys will become some kind of all-out antagonist, i.e. the enemy of all the good guys/good POVs in the books is not that likely ... or rather it would be very difficult to turn her into such a character, especially in just two books.
  12. Nah, the Lich King of the show just seemed to be a childish videogame-like big bad addition. And the Others clearly are *the big threat* in the books. They are the long game, the threat that is built up since the prologue of the first book. Daenerys is not likely to work as *an evil threat* in the books, considering she is a POV character. I mean, at this point the author and we readers have just to make up the worst possible misunderstandings and accidents for there to be a real war between Aegon and Daenerys ... but to have Daenerys as an antagonist for all the good guys in the books is simply something that cannot really work in the setting as it is. Not to mention that at this point literally nobody would care much about mass executions or a dragon attack on a big city. We already got the Red Wedding, and we getting the merciless revenge of Lady Stoneheart and what ever Euron and Stannis and Littlefinger have still in store for the good guys. Mind you, there might still be political conflict between Daenerys and other people in Westeros while they fight the Others, but the constellations from the show just don't make any sense in the books. Well, the first and second season are actually the only seasons of HotD which have some potential to tell interesting stories. The first because we get sexy court intrigue, basically, which can be interesting, and the second because the beginning of the Dance is pretty interesting. But the middle and, especially, the end is just boring and anticlimactic as hell. The big battles/ugly things mostly happen in the first phase of the war, with the deciding battle of the war involving neither dragons nor Targaryens. If we imagine the final seasons of GoT (or the last books of ASoIaF) to focus on crippled dragons and crippled kings and frustrated women to scheme to backstab and poison each other and the guy to inherit everything will be a traumatized boy with pretty much no lines ... then this is not going to be the scenario we would have expected when starting watching the show or reading the books. And it won't be what the viewers of HotD expects. Even if they expect the dragons to die, they won't expect the kind of anticlimactic stuff FaB gave us. As I've said repeatedly - when George wrote that stuff he seemed to have tried to really invent a historical war - a war like it might have happened or did happen in real life, not something that was great novel or TV show material. Just think about the endless and ultimately completely pointless march of the Hightower army, Aemond having the greatest dragon in the world and doing literally nothing important with it, there being many battles which just kill people but are in no way decisive, folks popping up and being the heroes of one great battle only to die unceremoniously in the next. To make this whole thing work, to make the Dance of the Dragons work as a war story, there have to be massive changes, I think. At least if you want people to continue to watch. We cannot have Alicent Hightower in golden chains for entire seasons, we cannot have Aegon II disappear for an equally long time, we cannot have unclear or weird motivations for crucial characters, etc.
  13. The history of the Tudors or any other historical royal dynasty is not the history of a violent deposition and a subsequent drawn-out (and at times ridiculous) failed attempt to restore them to the throne. And they are, of course, also real world figures which gives them a completely different appeal. But if you have a series of books where the core plot element is restauration, revenge and payback. For the Targaryens that's their story from the start, but it is also the Stark story as the books progress, starting with Ned's murder, the burning of Winterfell, culiminating in the Red Wedding - and their story also ended with an effective end of their line (Rickon is dead, Bran impotent, Arya gone, and Sansa unmarried). For the Targaryens it is worse with Daenerys dead, and Jon an obscure guy beyond the Wall whose hypothetical bastards are not even worth to be mentioned. As things stand now, the Targaryens were not just historical failures and jokes (the entire Dance is just them fucking things up for themselves), they were also never really important in the magical department. If Dany/Jon had been really crucial in defeating the Others but ended up not surviving/ruling then the family as such would have had some real importance. They wouldn't have just been one among many failed royal dynasties. And then you have the recycled setting - another ambitious woman marrying into the royal family pushing for her children to take the throne, another maternal grandfather who served as Hand for decades, another KG with a weird sex life, etc. This isn't a new story. And I'm really not sure that folks actually want to watch GoT 2.0 ... 'now with more dragons, another mad dragon queen, another blond asshole prince.' This can fly, but it can sink just as easily.
  14. Rhaena also got an egg when Baela got hers ... but Rhaena's original dragon was a broken hatchling who died shortly after it hatched. Rhaena then later got another egg when Syrax produced another clutch and that's the egg Morning hatched from. And that egg she only got years after Moondancer had hatched. You certainly can be suspicious ... but as I said, the Targaryens did have dozens of eggs in the Dance era, eggs which, for whatever reason, didn't hatch. And they were all *around* the Targaryens during the years when Rhaenyra and her family lived on Dragonstone. You don't have to believe that Viserys II's egg was messed with. It could just have been bad luck that his egg was the one in a hundred or so which wasn't viable. It is confirmed for Princess Daenerys, their eldest daughter, and implied for all the others save Aemon. Who supposedly got a dragon egg in his cradle but we don't learn anything about it ever hatching. All three dragonriding children of Jaehaerys and Alysanne have to go to the Dragonpit to choose their dragons. They haven't bonded earlier with any cradle egg dragons. And if they had had cradle egg dragons then Saera wouldn't have been forced to try to sneak inside the Dragonpit to mount a dragon - she would already have bonded with one. Maegelle and Vaegon would have had dragons, too, when the decision was made to give them to the Faith and the Citadel, respectively. Daella would have never been afraid of dragons if she had bonded with her cradle egg dragon as a toddler, etc. Chances are very low that such dragons would have been eaten by the Cannibal. He lived on Dragonstone, and Jaehaerys' grandchildren grew up in the Red Keep. If they had had cradle egg dragons at first they would have been with them in the castle or the Dragonpit, not on Dragonstone. Instead, George originally seemed to want to have Rhaena invent the cradle tradition and he wanted Jaehaerys and Alysanne to continue it - that's why Aemon got a dragon egg. But when he decided who among Jaehaerys' children would be a dragonrider he couldn't possibly go with all nine children having dragon eggs. That would mean too many new dragons. I think he certainly could have invented 1-2 more dragons who may have died of this or that cause during the later reign of Jaehaerys I and the reign of Viserys I ... but not that many. Of the known dragons, only Meleys and Caraxes could be dragons who were inherited by the grandchildren of Jaehaerys I. It seems to me that Daeron was actually the first of the children of Alicent who got a cradle egg. Aegon II's Sunfyre hatched on Dragonstone and was thus likely already hatchling when he was given to Aegon. Alicent may have pushed for that because Sunfyre was the most beautiful dragon around. Helaena then claimed old Dreamfyre, indicating that she, too, didn't have a cradle egg dragon. Aemond clearly hadn't gotten either a dragon egg nor a hatchling up until he claimed Vhagar ... and his father even said that he wouldn't get a dragon via a cradle egg but rather by ways of the court going to Dragonstone after the funeral so Aemond could mount one of the dragons there. I think the Shivers wasn't exactly a mundane disease, so Daenerys dying of that just proves that Targaryens are not immune to all diseases, just that they can better cope with certain infectious diseases than other people.
  15. It didn't seem to take Rhaena's egg that long to hatch, considering she was given her egg - and the others she took with her to the Vale - only shortly before the Dance began. Viserys' egg is certainly an oddity, but we shouldn't expect that all the dragon eggs ever hatched. This seems to have never happened since the Targaryens do have eggs aplenty during the Dance. The Rhaena story seems to be just a legend, since Jaehaerys & Alysanne didn't put (m)any eggs in the cradles of their children, nor did Rhaenys, Viserys, and Daemon ever bond with their non-existing cradle dragons. Viserys and Rhaena seem to be cases where an egg either didn't hatch or the hatchling didn't survive - but they seem to be exceptions from the rule compared to all the other dragonriding Targaryen children. The Targaryens don't seem to be that connected to the issue - up until the cradle eggs became a thing they only gave hatchlings to their children to bond with, meaning that those eggs seem to have hatched 'naturally', i.e. in the nest the dragon mother made, and not in the presence of their future riders. But since the Dance greatly reduced the number of the living dragons - and those who survived where spread out across Westeros (even on Dragonstone there were only two once Morning moved there with Rhaena) - this certainly could have had an effect on the viability of the dragon eggs.
  16. While that is in an interesting issue, we do know that even the last dragon had a chance to produce dragon eggs, indicating that sexual dragon reproduction still sort of worked even this late. My personal guess is that the last two dragons will turn out to be Morning's offspring. The eggs the Targaryens still have during the Regency still do hatch when put in a cradle (e.g. the egg in the cradle of the second Laena Velaryon producing a dragon monstrosity). My guess would be that the egg of the unfortunate Laena was one of the fresher ones, as we have learned that the eggs only slowly turn to stone, especially when removed from a hot place like Dragonstone. One imagines that the Targaryens still had quite a lot viable dragon eggs during the reign of Aegon III. This changed only in later years. If the maesters had something to do with the end of the dragons then they likely messed around with the eggs - which would have been rather easy while no Targaryen was permanently based on Dragonstone (Rhaena moves there at the end of FaB, but we don't know how long she is going to live there or if she will remain there after she marries Garmund Hightower). The last two dragons may turn out to be crippled because somebody messed around with their eggs but failed to make them completely unviable.
  17. Harrenhal started as the royal seat of the Hoares ... meaning originally the castle would have been maintained by a good part of the incomes of the King of the Rivers and the Islands. We can assume that Lord Quenton Qoherys had already trouble to maintain it properly, especially since Aegon torched it and Lord Quenton would have had lots of expenses simply to make the burned ruin habitable again. Later, King Maegor took certain lands from the lordship and granted them to the Darrys and Butterwells rather than allowing Lord Tower - who he made the new Lord of Harrenhal - to keep them. It doesn't seem that the Strongs had great lands of their own to add to their Harrenhal lordship, and neither the Lothstons and Whents afterwards, so the bottom line would be that the incomes of Harrenhal are to small to actually allow you to properly maintain the castle.
  18. One can speculate that the maesters may have started to mess with the dragon eggs starting during the late-Dance and early Regency era. We do have the first such suspicious incident when Aegon II wants a new dragon shortly before his death and the new maester of Dragonstone (the successor of the unfortunate Gerardys) is the one who chooses 'the most promising eggs' which are sent to the king in KL where he is trying to hatch them. That maester could have done something to the eggs to ensure they wouldn't hatch.
  19. I expect that Dany freeing the Volantene slaves will trigger slave uprisings in the other Free Cities as well ... but the Three Daughters may be able to crush them for the time being with the help of their sellswords. I also expect that the Three Daughters will eventually form a Euron-led coalition against Daenerys - or at least Tyrosh and Lys will, since they are based on islands. Myr can be taken by the Dothraki, just like Pentos and Norvos and Qohor can. The only way to try to stop her will be at sea. If she gets the Dothraki she will be unstoppable with conventional means on land (then only the Others would stand a chance, and they only if they have truly gigantic armies of wights), so if we see her facing serious opposition it will have to be at sea. I don't think Dany will go to Yi Ti nor do I expect the YiTish to bother with her. Dany might return to Qarth, though. I think she has to, in the wake of what Xaro pulled at Meereen. Drogon will make her much more mobile and once she has the Dothraki she can send out multiple khalasars in different directions.
  20. Well, I guess the Volantene system still worked somehow, perhaps because it developed in Valyrian times. And we don't know if the tiger soldiers are brutalized all that much. They are not Unsullied, after all, and it is possibly that they are privileged elite slaves who are treated very well. But so far we don't know anything about them. One could imagine, perhaps, that a tiger soldier is only a slave for, say, 10-20 service years, and then has a chance to be freed and become an officer in the army and/or become a free citizen of Volantis. That way the system could work. What we do know, however, is that their religious faith - R'hllorism - is a potential problem for their loyalty not so much the fact that slaves are not treated all that kindly by their masters. So far George sends the message that Benerro declaring Daenerys a religious icon is what might turn the tiger soldiers to rebel/refuse to attack Meereen. In the Three Daughters slavery is also a crucial part of the culture, but the ratio is not as bad as in Volantis - in Volantis you have five slaves for every free citizen whereas in the Three Daughters it is three slaves for every free citizen. That said - FaB confirmed for Lys that they have a standing military and are not solely dependent on sellswords and sellsails. One imagines that it is similar in Myr and Tyrosh. And while the bulk of the Volantene soldiers seem to be the tiger slave soldiers ... one expects that they also have contingents of free soldiers who joined the army, especially among the officers. It looks like it, but we have no details about that.
  21. Littlefinger himself tells Sansa that he did this. Apparently, to lay the groundwork for the poisoning plot. He and Olenna started to work together to that end even before Littlefinger returned to KL. It may be that there is more gossip than we see ... but the war would have made it more difficult to get together and talk about the luminaries of the Realm. And in light of the fact that Joff is still a minor and the Queen Regent and the Hand are actually running the government, it would be very difficult for an observer to really determine whether Joff is set up to do something by the adults who run his government or whether he himself actually decided to do something ugly. For instance, we who are aware for the inner workings of the court know that Cersei and her council did not, in fact, set up Joff to execute Ned. But who outside the inner circle actually knows and believes this? And who would talk about that with others? Joff mistreating Sansa is him mistreating the daughter/sister of a traitor who also is a hostage against a rebel ... quite a few people who are aware of some of Joff's episodes there might not really have big issues with them because of who Sansa is.
  22. There is some of that in Volantis, but not that much. And such arguments don't seem to be made by the Qartheen. The Triarchs don't really seem to grasp the severity of the situation - they rely on a standing army of slaves who are mostly followers of R'hllor whose High Priest has declared Daenerys the savior of the world. And they are still using that very army to try to conquer Meereen and cast Daenerys down? That is just stupidity. If Dany came west to Volantis - as folks originally expected she would - then this could cause a slave uprising as the Widow of the Waterfront expects and works for (presumably) ... but merely Dany's existence as Queen of Meereen clearly does not. It is her presence and her being viewed as a prophesied savior. It also didn't stop the Astapori and the Yunkai'i from reintroducing slavery (although the Astapori at least enslaved the former masters with the former slaves being the masters in charge ... which is at least justified revenge) nor is there any indication other slaver societies are getting nervous that their social order might be collapsing (no indication that the Norvoshi or Qohorik or Three Sisters are concerned by that).
  23. They already knew about Joff's true personality because Littlefinger had his people spread rumors at Highgarden. Which means that Joff's true nature was not common knowledge in Highgarden. Olenna and Margaery felt they needed firsthand information about Joff before proceeding with the plan to assassinate him. Joffrey isn't yet 'Joffrey the Cruel' or 'Joffrey the Mad' in the eyes of the public. Far to the contrary, actually.
  24. That is actually not how it is framed. Volantis and Qarth and the other nations declaring war on Meereen do so because of their involvement in the international slave trade. They worry about their profits, they do not fear that some mad queen at the far end of the world is threatening their rule. After all, most of those nations are not exactly immediate neighbors of Meereen. And the Yunkai'i want payback and revenge. Not sure why we should matter how history is going to view this conflict since we will never know that. However, the present situation is pretty clear. Queen Daenerys and the Great Masters were in agreement that slavery in Meereen was abolished. They agreed to it, Hizdahr later also agrees to it, etc.
  25. Westeros at large doesn't view him as a monster. As I said, even the Tyrells felt the need to question Sansa directly about her experiences with Joffrey - confirming that his attitude was neither broadly known or believed. And far away from court nobody even mentions Joffrey's cruelty - not the Dornish, not the Ironborn, not the folks in the Vale or the people in Essos. Robb has personal issues with Joff - but that's about Ned's execution, not about his general conduct. He doesn't care that Joff likes to force folks to fight to death over some land, or that he abuses his smallfolk. The Lannisters with a bad reputation are Lord Tywin, the Kingslayer, the twisted little monkey demon, and Queen Cersei (to a point - Cersei seems to be viewed as arrogant and haughty but not exactly as cruel or monstrous). And as I said - I also don't think Joff was necessarily a monstrous king in the making. He would have been a very bad king with the potential to becoming a tyrant. But he was also pretty stupid and easily distracted. A competent Hand like Tywin could make use of that and prevent Joff from fucking up his own government too much. I don't think that's all that likely, but Joff definitely was better in this regard than, say, somebody like Stannis or Maegor.
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