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Chaircat Meow

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About Chaircat Meow

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  • Birthday 08/18/1989

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  1. Chaircat Meow

    U.S. Politics: The Marionette Presidency Edition

    In the West middle-aged keyboard warriors hunch over their sagging bellies and pen another online critique of President Donald Trump's foreign policy. In the East, on the other hand, Chinese experts stand in awe of the Orange Messiah's abilities and see in him a far more formidable foe than Obama or Clinton. Financial Times - The Chinese are wary of Donald Trump’s creative destruction
  2. Chaircat Meow

    U.S. Politics- SCOTUS 2: The Election Strikes Back

    Had I been Putin at that press conference I would have been on the floor in hysterical contortions. It is amazing he kept as straight a face as he did as that was so damn funny. Where is the server, where is the Pakistani gentleman, where are Hillary's emails!!!
  3. Chaircat Meow

    U.S. Politics: Kraving for Kavanaugh

    Maybe they were Leninists.
  4. Chaircat Meow

    Southron Ambitions question/observation

    The issue, as I explained to Lord Varys, is that the anti-Targaryen rebellion, on the southron ambition theory (at least in my version of it) involves replacing the Targaryens with a new Baratheon-Stark dynasty. The only way this cam happen is if Robert becomes king with Lyanna as his queen. The fact Lyanna has eloped with Rhaegar renders this impossible; Rickard's plan is in ruins. Furthermore, we don;t even know what Rickard and Robert thought Rhaegar and Lynanna were doing. Was it a love match, was it rape and abduction or was it a political message, from Lyanna, that she wasn't going to play ball in the southron plot? Of course we don't know but there is going to be a lot of context to Rickard's decision to go to King's Landing which we are missing. So saying southron ambitions is wrong because Rickard did not immediately raise the banner misfires, I think. As for Tywin, I totally agree with you regarding Pycelle's opinion but this alone does not make Tywin a viable candidate for the throne.
  5. Chaircat Meow

    Southron Ambitions question/observation

    So you’re asserting she dislikes maesters because she dislikes Walys, therefore the rest of the stuff she says about maesters can be discounted. Well, we have no reason to believe that. We don’t know when Dustin came to her opinions regarding the maesters and Walys in particular. You also have to think why a number of paragraphs sketching out the modus operandi of the maesters are included, at the same time as the author is detailing their schemes in a separate POV, if the aim is not to shed further light on their activity. On your view the only takeaway from Dustin’s maester-rant is that she is bitter and disappointed. However, GrrM has only a limited number of words in which to make the Citadel and its influence come to light, so it seems unreasonable to write off everything Dustin says. On the bolded, I’m not saying Barbery argues or believes there was a conspiracy to overthrown the Targaryens to banish magic (or dragon-magic, if you prefer). I have explained this. She’s being cited as evidence Walys tried to influence Rickard’s policies and that he did this in his capacity as a maester and as part of the Citadel. The take from this is that Rickard’s aims aligned with those of the Citadel. Barbery does not tell us what she thinks those aims were: she may not know. The actual quote is: ‘’Walys Flowers had a Hightower girl for a mother...and an archmaester of the Cidatel for a father, it was rumored. The grey rats are not as chaste as they would have us believe. Oldtown maesters are the worst of all. "Once he forged his chain, his secret father and his friends wasted no time dispatching him to Winterfell to fill Lord Rickard's ears with poisoned words as sweet as honey. The Tully marriage was his notion, never doubt it … ‘’ So the claim is that his secret father, the archmaester sent him to do what he did. Quote I had in mind was: "The world of the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. So, it’s more than dragons, it is sorcery and prophecy as a whole. Now perhaps this does just mean Valyrian magic or something but in any case that’s why I see it as anti-magic plan. It is surely more reasonable to assume Rickard was accused of something that made some kind of sense in ordinary moral terms, rather than something stupid. Except all the evidence we are discussing. Evidence is usually defined as the body of information determining whether a proposition is true or not. The link to the maesters, and the maesters’ anti-dragon scheme (explained by Marwyn) is the evidence for this, as you well know. That’s arguably just another way of saying what I said, dressed up so you can keep disagreeing. He is in favour of Robert’s dynasty, and the wrongful attack on the Starks is part of the chain of events that brought Robert to power. Robert was going to be Rickard’s son-in-law and went to war alongside Rickard’s surviving son. So Yandel would not be needlessly throwing dirt on Rickard. So let’s just dismiss anything we don’t like because it’s a medieval world right. In any case, I think rumours and nonsense are a different thing to what’s being argued here. The only reason the accusations of the misguided men are likely to be recorded is because they are bannermen, Yandel would not bother recording the blithering of some peasant. The opinion is not rumour or tall tales therefore but a judgement on Rickard’s behaviour by his immediate subordinates. Nah, your argument is that the misguided men think Rickard was to blame for the near annihilation of his house because his southron ambitions meant his family was in the south. Switching from blaming Rickard for the abduction of Lyanna, because his ambitions put her in the south, to blaming Rickard for Brandon’s reaction to Lyanna's abduction, as the abduction only happened because she was in the south makes no difference to the logic at play here. Here’s the interesting thing. If we don’t accept there was a scheme to make Robert king before the beginning of the war, various statements from the time become hard to understand. The lord of the three sisters tells Davos he thought Robert fought like a king during the attack on Gulltown, while his maester counselled Rhaegar would put the rebel down. Jon Connington thinks if he had killed Robert at Stony Sept the rebellion would have been over, but on the conventional theory Jon is wrong, Robert was raised to the kingship as a kind of afterthought, no one assumed he was making a bid for the throne at the beginning of the war, so the rebellion could not have been stopped by winning at Stony Sept. Yet contemporary testimony always pinpoints Robert as the heart of the rebellion; this is unlikely unless it was known he was thinking of declaring for the kingship before the war actually started. And just as Robert was crucial to the plan so was Lyanna. This is why Rickard’s plan collapsed when she eloped with Rhaegar and why Rhaegar chose to abduct her in the first place. The whole scheme was to replace the Targs with the Starks and the Baratheons, so once Lyanna was in Targaryen hands the plot was destroyed and Rickard went meekly to King’s Landing to try and save his children. The hints are what we are discussing. He'll be referring to the last generation of dragons, the ones born misshapen and no bigger than dogs Arya sees beneath the Red Keep. Having Dustin throw out some hints about the maesters does not build up their plot to go after Daenerys in any way – Marwyn already told us about it. The way Dustin’s speech affects what we already know about the maesters, or builds them up in any way, is to link them into events in the north and in the past. What argument do you imagine you are responding to here? I am genuinely curious. Do you think I don’t know the Baratheons don’t have Targaryen blood? Does not all this just go to show that culture and family tradition count for a lot and are ultimately more important than blood. Robert could have set himself up as another Aegon I but his mindset, conditioned by the family tradition of the Baratheons is such the thought likely never entered his head. This supports my argument not yours. Well, I think the crucial point is why the Targaryens thought interbreeding was a good idea, and also why the maesters thought that the Targaryens thought interbreeding was a good idea. If you want to keep the bloodlines pure to prevent other houses acquiring the ability to birth and control dragons bastard children do very much matter, as they create the opportunity for all non-valyrian houses to seize your unique ability. This is what you acknowledged in your last post. You said: ''I mean, the reason why the dragonlords started it could have been a combination of the idea that it would help to ensure that all children (and not only 70-80% of each generation, say) are born with the potential to become dragonlords but also part of the policy that the blood of the dragon be not spread to lesser men. If half of the Lands of the Long Summer had the potential to become dragonlords the foundation of Valyrian supremacy may have been in real jeopardy. I mean, we must keep in mind there were hundreds (or perhaps even thousands) of dragons in Valyria.'' The fact that there was no prohibition against sex outside of incestuous sex destroys this argument. You’ve now retreated to the notion that the Targaryens were not worried about spreading their blood to other houses, which is what you originally claimed, but that there was some legal reason they feared to marry with other houses. I actively don’t understand this. Every house aside from the Targaryens marries into other houses without fearing that their estates will be plundered and destroyed. If I, as a Targaryen dragonlord, marry the daughter of a non-Valyrian house all children of such a union are mine and in virtue of that fact Targaryens. Why would I be frightened that my children lay a claim on my estate. I meant Aegon’s plans were possible because his ancestors, through their practice of incest, had preserved in the dynasty enough dragon blood to make Aegon’s dabbling in magic, dragonlore and human sacrifice viable. What on earth does the point about the Astapori prove. What point are you arguing against? Well I think Marwyn is to be understood as noting why the grey sheep never encouraged Aemon to come back to the Citadel from his distant and lonely posting because they distrusted him. This is before they know of the rebirth of the dragons, so it appears their dislike of the Targaryens antedates the revival of the dragons. It has been given above. My argument all along has been is that you blood alone is not enough to pose a danger to the Citadel’s anti-magic plans. Perhaps the grey sheep would like to eradicate all dragon blood if they could but this is not practical and probably unnecessary. To control dragons, or revivify them you need to possess the self-belief, the knowledge of magic, the resources to acquire it and the eggs, the ruthlessness to engage in human sacrifice and so on. Dany’s upbringing and experience provided her with this; there is no reason to suppose once House Targaryen was extinguished any other westerosi lords would have randomly decided they were the blood of the dragon and the heirs to old Valyria. So, if everything about Stannis’s life was different he might have done what Dany did. So what? This proves my argument, not yours. Look, most sane people will not be convinced by some dreams they can birth dragons from stone and walk through fire. That’s just the way it is. Most people are not insane. An insistent dream to most people is just that, a nuisance. If you know who your ancestors are, on the other hand, and if your identity is conditioned by being part of a family of dragonriders things might be different. On Dany specifically, I think her decision to burn Mirri and walk into the blaze was part pure intuition and maybe to a degree sui generis. However, the rebirth involved human sacrifice, in some form or another (either Drogo, Rhaego, Mirri or all three). This is not something you just do off the back of a dream. Ok, the real thing you’re concerned about is as follows, right? Anyone with dragon blood could, in theory, get the idea they are they can control dragons or breed them. Even people without dragon blood get these ideas, like Euron. So the maester plan to extinguish magic by removing all possibility of the return of the dragons can’t work. The issue is the total lack of proportion. It is far more reasonable to be afraid of a family who are ultra-conscious of their special status as the heirs of Valyria, who intermarry to preserve the purity of their blood, who have many members obsessed with prophecy and dragonlore than a family who evince none of these traits. Oh, but you say, what if Robert Baratheon decided to declare he was Balerion the Black Dread reborn. He could, he has the blood. Well, what if I say I’m a marshmallow. How about that? I could, no one could stop me. The issue is people are concerned with reasonable fears and apprehensions. We all accept no plan is fool proof; decisions are made on what is most likely to bring about the best results. Why not? Why else marry brother to sister to preserve the blood. Aren’t most traits capable of being bred out by selective breading. Dany is, compared to everyone else, very inbred.
  6. Chaircat Meow

    Southron Ambitions question/observation

    That’s not exactly clear; we don’t know whether she distrusts maesters because she distrusts Walys, or Walys because she distrusts maesters, or a bit of both. There is no reason to bring up this chicken and egg question, as far as I can see. Just to be clear, I never said she believed in the anti-Targ/kill the dragons and end magic conspiracy I argue existed. Or if she does she gives no reason for us to believe she believes this. However, as she does assert lots of maesters have ulterior motives, not just Walys, it is not unreasonable to conclude she does think the Citadel has a policy to influence the course of events in the realm. She could, I suppose, simply mean each maester, in virtue of the trust they come to be held in, start to get ideas above their station and pursue their own individual plans. However, I think it is more plausible to suppose she assumes some coordination from the Citadel, as she notes, in Walys’ case, his connection to both an archmaester and the ruling family of Oldtown. Well I think the point is that these allegiances determine the maester’s designs (why else are they relevant if they don’t condition action?). So we ought not to suppose Walys was acting on his own, but at the behest of the rulers of the Citadel. To be honest, I think it is hard to nurse hopes of bringing about a rational, non-magical world, when magic is still a strong force, especially in the east, unless you are prepared to fight fire with fire, to an extent. You have heard of the notion that to the pure all things are pure? So it would not surprise me that under certain conditions the grey sheep approved of magical studies, providing the ends were good. In fact there is quite a bit of evidence that the Citadel believes quite strongly that the ends justify the means. You are confusing causation with moral culpability. My recollection of Marwyn’s speech (I do not currently have access to my books) is that it was substantially more than just an anti-dragon approach from the Citadel, even if dragons were, so to speak, the sharp tip of the spear of sorcery. I also had the impression dragons either increase magic or their presence correlates with it, i.e. when they are present magic is stronger. I may misremember and this does not affect the point about southron ambitions too much, despite being an interesting subject. You need to consider the provenance of the source we have for the views of the misguided men. Yandell is pro-Stark insofar as he is pro-Baratheon, who are, as far as he is concerned, still the reigning dynasty. It therefore makes little sense to hint at the frivolous or foolish opinions some backwater bumpkins held about Rickard (and surely these people were fools if they thought Rickard deserved his own death and his children’s death for venturing south). On the contrary, Yandell calls out these misguided men because they are significant, and they have a case; there is no point in even giving them notice otherwise. You’re also mixing up causation and moral culpability. If I cross the road and get knocked down by a drunk and carless driver I was the cause of my own demise as far as I chose to cross the road at that particular place and moment in time. I’m not morally culpable though, because I should be able to cross the road at any place I like without being knocked down by an incapacitated driver. In a similar vein westeros is not Saudi Arabia. Ladies are not required to be continually sequestered from the male gaze lest the opprobrium for an abduction fall on them and their family. The blame for the abduction, as far as everyone will be concerned, is Rhaegar’s; Lyanna is not required to hide behind Moat Cailin in perpetuity lest some southron take a fancy to her. Sure, never denied this. I’m saying there is a need to explain why, when we know Rhaegar was aware of the perilous political situation of his house, and was trying to work against his father, he threw it all away to disappear with Lyanna. If, as according to my theory was the case, he was seizing the keystone in the arch of the anti-Targaryen conspiracy, Rhaegar’s desires do not conflict with his political concerns, Dustin implies Walys was serving the interests of the archmaester and maybe the Hightowers; there is no other reason to be so concerned about Walys family connections. The reason for supposing Rickard’s aims were the Citadel’s is the very fact Dustin presents the southron ambitions as cohering with the maesters’ designs. Your third sentence seems a reiteration of the second. If by proof you’re looking for a direct, textual statement, or something demonstrative, obviously this does not exist but I have never claimed it does. If you want someone to prove something you have to set a standard of proof, and that standard, considered reasonably, is different in different situations. I am, in any case, not saying I have proved anything. My case is that my theory is the best explanation current of the existing data we have. Marwyn already built the maesters up pretty well, (paraphrase) ‘who do you think killed the dragons last time, knights in shining armour?’ We’ve already been introduced to the Citadel plot, in the book prior the one in which we get the anti-maester speech from Dustin. Now you’re proposing to explain authorial intent by imagining a second plot/conspiracy will be revealed; why not just adopt the simpler course of believing we’re meant to link Dustin’s revelations with the scheme that already has been revealed. Allegedly there are only two more books. Nothing we know about the Baratheons suggests they were into the cultural practices of the Targaryens; people always speak of the House Targaryen keeping itself separate from the rest of the westerosi houses. Ned wonders what strange gods Aerys II might have worshipped. GrrM in the video linked on this thread describes how the Targaryens could be seen as alien interlopers, and how westerosi lords, such as Robert, came to doubt their superhuman status. So, there are two ways you can interpret GrrM’s statement that they interbred to control the dragons. a. Incest was necessary to prevent the dragon blood being passed onto anyone else, so no one but the Targaryen family could control dragons. b. Incest was necessary to ensure the dragon blood was not diluted and the ability to control and even birth dragons was not lost. There is a pretty easy way of telling which theory is right. If a is right we would expect Targaryens to have, in addition to a proclivity for incest, a prohibition on any intercourse outside incestuous marriage, or a blanket abortion policy in such cases. Obviously, if the reason for marrying brother to sister is so you don’t pass your blood onto anyone else bastards are a major problem. However, there is no Targrayen taboo against bastards, so a is wrong. B is therefore the correct theory. Incest is a family tradition; a custom inherited from the Targaryen forefathers which serves an obvious purpose. Yes, Aegon V didn’t adhere to it but he was only in a position to contemplate raising dragons again because his ancestors did adhere to it, and his descendants in their turn returned to the older practice. This is not, as I recall, correct. Marwyn says something like (paraphrase), ‘why do you think the grey sheep let Aemon rot on the wall all those years. His blood that’s why.’ So he’s talking about Citadel fears before the rebirth of the dragons. Moreover, the plan to purge the world of magic (or bad magic/dragon magic, if you prefer) is described as a long-standing design: it’s not something the Citadel only came up with after Dany’s dragons became general knowledge. Not really. You’ve decided that birthing dragons is something dragonblood essentially downloads into your brain via dreams. You’re going to demonstrate that this is the case because this is not how I how I see Daenery’s story at all. Stannis also hasn’t birthed dragons and has been persuaded to adhere to Mel for a variety of reasons, visions being among them, although said visions were not dragon dreams. There is in fact every reason to suppose a couple of dreams will fail to persuade anyone that they can hatch dragons from stone, walk through fire and ought to indulge in human sacrifice. I don’t even know where you get this from; to say Dany was persuaded by her dreams she could hatch dragons is not really true, there was a lot more going on there. House Targaryen has been in westeros for nigh on over three hundred years. That’s actually not a very impressive list of non-Targaryen ancestors given that. Had the family had normal breeding practices the list would be much more extensive and the dragon blood would have been more likely to have been bred out. I think we both agree dragon blood is not necessarily bred out immediately; it can take a while.
  7. Chaircat Meow

    Southron Ambitions question/observation

    Her accusation against Walys come amidst a passage accusing the maesters in general of having nefarious ends and of pulling he wool over the eyes of the lords. Now, I don’t take this to mean she is saying anything about the anti-Targaryen plot I argue existed, no, but she is also not speaking of Walys as one individual; he’s being blamed because he is a maester and this is what maesters do. He is also, she believes, son of an archmaester and a Hightower girl, a fact she believes is significant, and so it seems reasonable to infer that the designs he promotes are those of the higher-ups in the Citadel in her mind. He is not presented as a lone operator and it also seems more plausible a maester sent far from his own home would be serving the interests of his corporate body when meddling in the affairs of lords and ladies, rather than his own interests (why would he even have a personal interest in who Lord Stark's heir married). This doesn’t address the point of why Rickard was felt to have brought his death on himself via his southron ambitions, which was the charge of the misguided men. Dustin claims Walys is the son of an archmaester and a Highhtower girl, and derives his importance from this. So his designs will be the archmaester’s designs, presumably. Also, as a maester it stands to reason his ends, when influencing great lords, are the Citadel’s, or those of factions within it. I don't recall saying the maesters hated magic for no reason. I maintain it is ludicrous to hold Rickard responsible for his daughter’s abduction, and his and his son’s own death because he brought about a situation where Lyanna came to bump into Rhaegar. It is just daft. I also didn’t mean Rhaegar had a plan to come to the north; this just spoke to the fact Rhaegar seeing Lyanna is not of necessity tied to any southron ambitions. Nobles meet each other: it happens. So this is not the charge of the misguided men, I think. It's not. We know Rhaegar abducted Lyanna and we have some hints towards reasons, such as love and the need to fulfil prophecy. We do also know that Rhaegar was rather dutiful and knew the political situation was delicate. It seems to work best if his abduction of Lyanna fitted into political goals, so he wasn't being wildly irresponsible. The hint is when you put two and two together and think why Walys and his archmaester father have these ambitions for the Starks, as this is obviously not explained or even known by Dustin. What does Marwyn tell us the Citadel designs to achieve, what is the only ongoing plan we know the Citadel has? I can see no reason on your view for Dustin’s rather long attack on the maesters to be included, in the context of the Sam chapters and the revelations of Marwyn, if we’re not meant to link the two. Well just look at them: are they into blowing themselves up trying to bring back dragons, drinking wildfire etc. We also know the Baratheons don’t go for incest, which is the main marker of trying to preseve your dragons genes. The Targs did. Yes, we’re supposing they thought there was a chance the Targaryens might succeed and it was better to be safe than sorry. We have reason to believe they do fear Targaryens from Marwyn’s comment on Aemon’s blood being untrustworthy. Why distrust the man from the magical dynasty if you don’t believe he can bring anything about with said magic? It was Mel who persuaded Stannis of this. This is what I meant when I said you need both blood and culture/belief to become a danger. And Stannis's conversion to the red god is not anything internal to the Baratheon house, like a family tradition: its due to foreign influence. The idea inbreeding helps you control the dragons is actually said directly by the author in the video someone uploaded to this thread. It is also almost certainly implied in the books but I do not have the reference now. Obviously you can still inherit dragon blood without an incestuous union but the idea will be that the odds of the magical ability being passed on diminish as time goes by.
  8. Chaircat Meow

    Southron Ambitions question/observation

    And another post came swirling down. It is important, at this stage in the argument, to take stock and redirect the enquiry to the heart of the case, rather than be side-tracked by minor issues. I adduced two fundamental struts for my southron ambitions theory: (although there are others) the woiaf’s report on the allegation of the 'misguided men' and Lady Dustin’s view that the maesters stood behind Lord Rickard’s southron ambitions. From the woiaf we can deduce that Lord Rickard’s policies were judged, by his own subjects, reason enough for the Mad King to put him to death. They were likely, therefore, to encompass an attempt on the throne. From Lady Dustin’s report we gather that Rickard’s schemes were also promoting the ends of the Citadel. We are told in AFFC that the maesters plan to eliminate magic in the world and kill Daenerys and her dragons, just as they have killed previous generations of Targaryen dragons. The logical way these ends tie into Rickard’s dynastic designs is for the whole plan to be about the extermination of House Targaryen: the principal threat to the magic-free world the Citadel was building. To assess the strength of the counterarguments we shall take Lord Varys' refutation of each strut in turn. Regarding the report on the 'misguided men' he claims that the misguided men might have thought that Lyanna simply being in close proximity to Rhaegar, thereby arousing his passions, was enough to charge Rickard with culpability in his own death and the near annihilation of his house. The southron ambitions are to blame because they are the reason, allegedly, Lyanna got close to Rhaegar (she wouldn't have been in the south without the Tully marriage). This is, on the face of it, totally absurd. For Lord Varys the misguided men think Rickard is culpable in his own death for allowing his daughter to get close to the man who abducted and (for all they know) raped her. Even if he hadn’t gone south Rhaegar could still have come north and got a glimpse of Lyanna. Very few people would think that a father whose daughter was abducted and went passively to try and sort things out was responsible for the near annihilation of his whole line just for allowing said daughter to get near her abductor. If this is really the case of the misguided men they were utterly unreasonable and we have to question why maester Yandel and by extension the author felt it was worthwhile to include their complaints in the woaif. The novels and histories, we must not forget, are created works, they have an author, and details do not fall as by random chance. It makes a lot more sense to blame Rickard for Lyanna’s abduction if his own plot made Lyanna central to the scheme against House Targaryen. This explains why Rhaegar would want to abduct her, or at least why Rhaegar’s desire, aroused by the Knight of the Laughing Tree escapade, cohered with his duty to his House and allowed this dutiful prince to seemingly abandon duty. It likewise explains why Aerys II murdered Rickard and Brandon when they were in King’s Landing and called for the heads of Ned and Robert: they were all deemed part of the same plot. In sum, Lord Varys alternative explanation for the charges brought against Lord Rickard by the misguided men does not bear scrutiny, and it makes much more sense, both of their charges and Rhaegar’s actions, to assume that their claims hinted at Rickard’s ambitions for the throne for his daughter. Turning to Lady Dustin’s allegations Lord Varys essentially reiterates the idea that Dustin is misguided and that there are lies involved, although in this case the source is said to be Brandon, who would rather blame his maester than his father for not carrying on with Barbery. The first thing to say about all this is that Dustin might be wrong, and that there is no definitive proof she isn’t. However, various considerations suggest we should take her seriously. The first is the dottiness of the lie. Why would either Dustin or Brandon be so keen to blame the maester for the Tully marriage. Why doesn’t Dustin just blame the Starks, why does Brandon not just blame his father. And why invent a big conspiracy theory to back it all up; Dustin alleges that many maesters rule rather than are ruled, not just Walys. The second consideration is what we can call argument to authorial intent. The books are written by GrrM; they are created by an intelligence, not just the products of random chance. So, we have to take notice of the fact that at just the time GrrM starts to reveal the inner workings of the Citadel and the designs of the maesters against Daenerys and her dragons in Sam’s chapters, he also has a character tie Rickard’s plan in with the Citadel’s schemes. This is not just chance, or randomness, we should seek to explain away at all costs, like Lord Varys does. We have to ask why the author chose to do this. So, although we can’t say there are no other explanations for the accusations of the misguided men, and the allegations of Dustin, it is best to take them seriously and ponder what they imply. Regarding some of the other points raised, the objection is still made that destroying House Targaryen will not reduce the chance of magic and dragons returning because other people also have dragon blood. This point has really already been answered, but the fact of the matter is that House Targaryen is the house most conscious of its Valyrian descent and has the strongest family traditions/culture supporting those magical links. It favours incestuous marriage to preserve the purity of the Valyrian blood, and its scions are the only people we know who drink wildfire and blow up their palaces in the name of waking the dragon. Ridding the world of these people makes it enormously less likely magic will make a return, even if it does not guarantee it. It is generally not smart to not take a course of action because there is a chance it will not be a 100% successful. The intelligent thing to do is to take if it makes you more likely to succeed in your aims. Anyway, there is no indication whatsoever the Baratheons have a family culture or historical awareness that leads them to think they are the blood of the dragon (they don't go around repeating this) even though they know they are descended from the Targaryens, and that that tie was renewed not so long ago. Stannis is not an exception here and his interest in magic and prophecy comes through a different framework. He has been (partly) convinced he is a divine saviour, and the basis of this is an eastern religion, desperation and the evidence he has of Melisandre’s powers. I don’t think he ever even had a dragon dream (although I could be wrong), although Shireen did. Mel shows Stannis visions instead. Finally, the Citadel know only the Targaryens lay such emphasis sibling marriage, another sign of the unique awareness they had of their magical heritage. As the Baratheons do not dragon blood will dilute and diminish in their line as time passes. I am happy to respond to the other points raised later but I think the arguments put forward speak to the heart of the issues.
  9. Chaircat Meow

    Southron Ambitions question/observation

    The ones you are responding to below. The actual quotation from the woiaf is: ‘When the Stark line was nearly obliterated by Mad King Aerys after Rhaegar’s abduction of Lyanna, some misguided men laid the blame at the feet of the late Lord Rickard, whose alliance by blood and friendship tied the great houses together and ensured they would act together in response to the Mad King’s crimes.’ So, the misguided men think Rickard was to blame for his death, Brandon’s and maybe Lyanna’s as well. We have to ask why someone would hold this opinion as Rickard was killed when he went to answer for Brandon seeking revenge for Rhaegar’s abduction of Lyanna. Rickard wasn’t meddling here; he was trying to support his son who was on trial for his life. So, unless there is more to the story than we know there is no reason to lay the blame for Rickard’s death on his southern ambitions; according to the barebones account of events we have he did not die for his southern designs. He didn’t go south to take up the handship and play politics; he didn’t go south with an army. The most likely explanation for the views of the misguided men, therefore, is that Rickard’s southron ambitions were actually blameworthy (i.e. conspiracy against the throne) and so brought about Aerys’ vengeance. If the ambitions were a harmless arrangement with the Tullys and Baratheons to secure food supplies the judgment of the misguided men is insanely harsh. It is of course possible Lady Dustin is not telling the truth or is misguided. There really isn’t much to say on this point save that there is no especially convincing reason to suppose she manufactured the maester involvement in Rickard’s southron schemes to salve her wounded pride. It is a somewhat out-there-thing to come up with to explain why you didn’t get the husband you wanted. There is also no particular reason why Walys, who was from the Reach, would favour a marriage between northerners and riverlanders just for the sake of it, or out of southern loyalty. Dustin’s suggestion is also very much that Walys was carrying out a maester design, not acting individually out of some weird and never hitherto seen sense of pan-southern loyalty. How does this work in practice though? Ned is married to Cat but we never see Ned have any say or influence in the governance of the riverlands. The marriage means the Starks and Tully support each other in times of crisis, that is the need for an alliance is based on the prospect of war, rivalry and power struggle. We do actually know, from Marwyn, that the Citadel engage in far-reaching plots to shape the world as they desire, so there is nothing weird about them trying to influence dynastic politics to bring about results favourable for themselves. It might be the case the author only included Dustin’s suggestion to shed light on her, and not on deeper issues but it is also equally likely that he did so intend it. He has not told us much about Rickard, or his plans, or even how the great lords felt about politics in the reign of Aerys and this is one of the few clues. It is strange to be so eager to discount it. No reason returns. Except the fact he departed from traditional policy and made some important marriage alliances in the south which prompts the questions: what did he want? Not really. If you hold the southron designs blameworthy you have to have some idea of what they were intended to achieve. If they were just marriages for the sake of it, undertaken from the vague goal of prestige, Rickard was not really participating in politics in a way that would threaten the throne. It is not impossible people still blamed him for this of course, but it makes more sense for him to be blamed given the idea his alliances were part of an ambitious scheme. I also believe Rickard's bannermen likely had an inkling of what the plans were; the marriages of Stark heirs is a matter of national importance for the north (ordinarily the bannermen think they will get the heirs for their own families). There are specific reasons that make the offer of a seat for Dorne make sense though. After the battle of Blackwater the Iron Throne was in hands of two houses the Dornish thought of as enemies. The Dornish allegiance to the realm was loose to begin with, ever since the sack of King’s Landing. The seat was a peace offering and a way of giving the Dornish a stake in the new regime. In and of itself a Lord Stark hankering after a council seat does not make sense. If, on the other hand, his family partially control the king, as the Tyrells and Lannisters both did, after BoBWB, greedily dividing up the government offices makes more sense. Yes, I think Rickard did plan to marry into the royal family, this is my whole argument. I just think there was not much chance of this happening with the current royal family, so he decided to marry into a new one. The Tyrells are a far weaker and less powerful house than the Starks. It is true that on paper they are stronger, both in wealth and manpower but their power is situated in GrrM’s rather platonic (in the sense of archetypal) feudal system and when considered in this way the Tyrells are weak. They are not the original ruling family of the Reach but owe their position to the Iron Throne and have numerous bannermen who think they have better claims to the over-lordship of the Reach. Loyalties in the Reach are thus not clear, many lords would answer a call from the Iron Throne and the Targaryen dynasty before they would answer one from the Tyrells. This was also the case in the Stormlands and Riverlands. The three central regions of the realm are all ruled by houses raised up House Targaryen, they cannot therefore depend on the uniform support of their bannermen in the event of war with the royal family (we see this during Robert’s rebellion). If they could there would be little point in an Iron Throne: a symbol of legitimacy that doesn’t legitimise your rule beyond the say-so of the seven greatest lords is not worth much. In any case, this is really beside the point. You may think the Citadel would have done better to pick Lord Tyrell, but was he willing to rise against the Iron Throne, did he have a personal grievance and a desire to be king, did he have a daughter who could marry a Baratheon etc. No, he set about making ties. The distinction is between dragon blood and the dynastic/social context in which it makes senses to use that dragon blood to engage in magical activities. You’ve decided that the latter is all about dreams but I didn’t say that. Tyrion has dragon dreams but this does not lead him to explore ancient prophecies, search out dragon eggs, drink wildfire and or blow up buildings. He dismisses the dreams as the fancies of a young unhappy child. If he had been brought up with Aegon V, Aerys II or Rhaegar as a father the dreams would have been proof of valyrian greatness of something. People don’t just decide they’re the blood of the dragon and should walk into flames or undertake human sacrifice to revive monsters because they have some dreams. You need to decide what the dreams mean, why they’re important, how to interpret them and how to act on them. This is what makes the family history and sense of identity so important. Stannis is only edging in this direction because his dragon blood has been put in a context for him, by Melisandre. I meant by proposed asked for her hand in marriage. Disagreement here is purely verbal. If the Starks hadn’t marched south it seems the Targaryens would have gone north. Or at the very least the Starks supposed they would have done: why else march to meet them? If the Iron Throne means anything at all it means some degree of power over all the seven kingdoms, even if that power is stronger in some regions (the three central ones) than in the North or in Dorne. If the Starks have nothing at all to fear from the Iron Throne why care about it at all. Tywin Lannister seemed to do away with the reforms but they will still have caused disquiet and the fear remained that the Targaryens might attempt something like this again. So the bonds uniting the royal family and its vassals began to fray. If one side has dragons and the other doesn’t that’s a really bad position for the dragonless side to be in.
  10. Chaircat Meow

    Southron Ambitions question/observation

    As you actually know there are hints in the texts that something more meaningful was going on, and that this was not just a big nothingburger. The woiaf notes that interest in southern affairs was a very unusual policy for the Starks and that some of Rickard’s subjects blamed him for his own death, which is pretty harsh if all he hoped to get out of those marriages was a small council seat. In addition, Lady Dustin lets us know that Rickard’s ambitions were encouraged by the maesters who clearly had their own ends. So, it is not possible to say there is nothing more to this than Rickard’s desire for southern spouses for his children, the text lets us know there likely was. I’d also say the objection against you is more that you’re not acknowledging diplomacy is always calibrated to certain ends. Influence is for something: to achieve something. So you need to say what Rickard wanted with these marriages, yes they brought influence but what did he intend to do with it? Yes, I’m assuming Lady Dustin didn’t invent a plot by the maesters to explain why Brandon didn’t marry her. I am OK with this. The ‘we are told’ referred to the unbelievers who are content with the idea marriages bring influence and influence is good and we don’t need to think what Rickard was actually trying to influence. Well here you are acknowledging you need influence to bring about outcomes but the only outcome you’ve come up with is food supplies, although this is fair enough I suppose. Maybe Rickard was really keen to avoid famine and thought marriages were the best way to achieve this. Although this does not fit so well with his subjects blaming him for his own death and the maesters apparently trying to facilitate the whole thing. A small council seat, on its own, is not really worth much though, certainly not for a Lord Stark who doesn’t need the king to enhance his power or prestige. For a more minor lord it works differently. I'd say it is a flaw in those arguments usually adduced against theories of southron ambitions like mine, that they are unable to posit convincing explanations of what Rickard was up to, yes. As has been said, posters sometimes content themselves with vague hand-waving about influence, without explaining what the influence was designed to achieve. Rickard Stark was one of the most powerful men in the realm simply in virtue of being Lord Stark. He did have the capacity to defy the Targaryens with impunity too, as sans dragons the north is quite hard to invade. Lord Hightower or Tyrell would both have needed alliances to confront the Targaryens too. In any case though, I’m not claiming to know how the conspiracy started or how it worked exactly. Rickard may not have been chosen as such, he may have chosen himself and the maesters, seeing this, encouraged and facilitated. I think you may not have grasped the distinction I was making. I’m not saying there is a difference in magical ability between Targaryens and other Valyrian lines, whatever that means. I’m saying to wake a dragon you need ability and the will/awareness of your heritage/destiny. People who go around repeating ‘I am the dragon,’ because their parents did, read wacky prophecies, have their throne room festooned with dragonheads etc are the ones likely to walk into fires and blow up buildings. As I also pointed out, the Citadel has to work within political reality, and that means they can’t butcher everyone with dragon blood or connive in favour of families with no links to the line of Aegon I. Wiping out the Targaryens makes it substantially less likely anyone will be trying to revive dragons in the future, so that's a win. I was merely pointing out that the app does not show the idea was purely Robert’s, only that he did the proposing. I think the Starks are likely to care about a dragonriding king, they presumably remember how Torrhen had to abase himself. As for Jon Arryn I think he was, at some point, part of the conspiracy yes.
  11. Chaircat Meow

    Southron Ambitions question/observation

    Lord ‘there is no evidence/reason’ Varys has sallied forth and it falls on Chaircat to respond. First, Chaircat will concede that his argument is a theory, and it is speculation. We lack definitive proof. Nevertheless, it is informed speculation, derived from clues given in the text, synthesized with a framework which allows us to make judgements regarding the author’s intention. The principal charge against those who deny ‘southron ambitions’ entailed anything especially ambitious has been ably stated by the original poster. The unbelievers have yet to provide a convincing rationale for the policies of Rickard, which we are told amounted to an outright defiance of the traditions of House Stark. The unbeliever can give no reason regarding why Rickard wanted influence in the south; they always fail to answer what he hoped these alliances would achieve. We are told Rickard wanted a say in affairs in the Riverlands, or in the Stormlands. Nowhere in the books do we see that one lord derives any influence on policy in a given region because he has marriage ties there. Ned had no say in the Riverlands through a marriage to Catelyn; Robert had no say in the Westerlands in virtue of a marriage to Cersei. In addition, there is no reason (to use again that hallowed phrase of yours) that any great lord would want influence in a region other than his own, unless the reason was nefarious, or, at least, based on the need for security, such as flipping a key bannerman or something of that kind. The Starks in particular had nothing to gain from influence over the affairs of the Stormlands for its own sake. So, it falls to the unbelievers to offer some convincing rationale for Rickard’s actions, which they have thus far failed to do. Moving on, the second chief objection you have put forth regards the dragon blood of the Baratheons. You ask why a plot designed to purge westeros of a magical dynasty, with links to the magic of ancient Valyria, could alight on the Baratheons, a Targaryen cadet branch, as their chosen saviours. And the answer is twofold. Firstly, all political action must have regard to the prevailing forms of legitimacy. Power in westeros is inherited; it must be tied to family. Therefore, a new king and a new dynasty must have some ties by blood to the family to whom custom accords a right to rule all of westeros. There is no getting away from this, so while from our standpoint it might have been safer to support a totally non-Valyrian dynasty it was not actually a viable option. Secondly, blood is only part of the story. Doubtless there are plenty of nobles and commoners running around in westeros with Targaryen blood. Perhaps real extremists in the Citadel would want to exterminate them too. However, there is a crucial difference between what we would call genes and the membership of a specific family or dynasty possessed of those same genes. Only when both are united is there danger. The Targaryens had their family traditions and their ancestral memories, passed down from one generation to the next, which kept alive their links to Valyria and the old Valyrian magic, just as the Starks and Lannisters remember their ancestors. There is no sign that the Baratheons kept these traditions alive, so while they might be genetically capable of returning dragons to life it would never enter their heads to try to do so, and so they are no threat to the Citadel. Now, regarding the fact we are told, in the app apparently, that Robert proposed to Lyanna, this means little. It is customary for the male to propose to the female, and as we have seen with the Tyrell-Lannister marriage, the great lords often carefully prepare the ground and seed the imagination of those they hope to ally with through marriage, so that a proposal is forthcoming. In addition, according to Chaircat's theory, certain high-ranking maesters were guiding elements of Rickard's system of alliances, so they could have nurtured the idea in Robert's mind. Finally, you say that we have no evidence House Stark was opposed to Aegon V's reforms. That's true but it is only true because no particular house is ever mentioned by name as opposed to the reforms. It seems reasonable to infer that every great lord was opposed to Aegon V's schemes as they represented a colossal loss of power on their part and would, moreover, be enforced by dragons, if Aegon's dreams had become reality. Chaircat waits with baited breath for the response of Lord Varys.
  12. Chaircat Meow

    U. S Politics: I know why the caged babe screams.

    Time out, this is a whopping progressive porkie: there is no evidence that the British intended to abolish slavery in the American colonies and that this prompted the uprising being celebrated in the USA today. I appreciate this is a politics thread, not a history discussion, but I feel this is somewhat pertinent to the points I made earlier about the progressive idea of racism resting on the western world being founded on a system of racial (and others kinds of) oppression. Now, in the case of the black community in the USA this is obviously to a degree true. However, the historical falsehood being propagated by Sword of Doom is intended to enhance this vision of the west as a squalid racial supremacy and it is specifically designed to attack the United states at its core, polluting its foundation myth and denigrating its heroes. The truth is that there is no evidence whatsoever the British intended to abolish slavery in the colonies, or that this was a material reason for the revolt. There was no government policy to do so. There was no way the British state would have the resources or the will or the desire to enforce any such laws. Indeed, the only piece of evidence usually adduced to support the idea Britain was threatening slavery is the famous judgement of Lord Justice Mansfeld in the case of Somerset vs Stewart (1772). The learned judge, after much deliberation, refused a slave owner leave to take his slave, who was at the time with him in England, to Jamaica. The judgement itself stated that the slave owner was not permitted to do this as there was no law in England permitting slavery, implying thereby that slavery was illegal in the heart of the British Empire. In terms of explaining the causes for the revolt in 1776 though, the expression to bear in mind is that one swallow does not make a summer. Mansfeld’s judgement was not part of any consistent campaign by the British government to abolish slavery and it had no impact on the right of colonists or slave traders to own slaves in America or buy them from Africa and transport them across the sea. It has to also be noted that Britain’s actions in the war show the great importance she placed on maintaining control of the sugar islands (and the system of slavery which stood behind their profits) in the Caribbean. Major naval resources were always concentrated in the Caribbean to the detriment of the war in America and Europe, to prevent the French seizing the slave plantations there. These are not the actions of a power on the verge of abolishing slavery. Indeed, as it happened it took Britain 31 years after the beginning of the American revolt to ban the slave trade, and another 24 years to outlaw slavery in its tiny Caribbean colonies. Therefore, as much as I would personally prefer, being British myself, that the foundation of the United States was all an attempt to avoid righteous British abolitionism it is really just not true and is a myth designed to erode the legitimacy and good standing of the USA and its founders.
  13. Chaircat Meow

    Southron Ambitions question/observation

    In my view you are 100% correct. In fact I would go even further. I think southron ambitions ended up as a major conspiracy to dethrone Aerys II, destroy the Targaryen dynasty and replace it with a Stark-Baratheon monarchy. Nobles and maesters stood behind the scheme; the nobles feared Targaryen tyranny and resented the aloofness of the kings (few marriages were ever contracted between the great houses and the royal family) while the maesters desired to bring about a world without magic; royal arsonist Aegon V and his prophecy obsessed great-grandson suggested this could never happen while the kings of westeros were a magical dynasty. We know about the plans of the maesters from Marwyn. He tells us the grey rats destroyed the Targaryen dragons to end magic in the world. We can readily infer that once Aegon tried to revive them the knives came out of the cassocks once more. Lady Dustin reveals how the maesters’ schemes interweaved with the machinations of the great houses: it was Lord Rickard’s master who encouraged him with his policy of southern attachments. As for Lord Rickard himself he had ambition and wounded family pride; the Starks had been promised a marriage into the Targaryen royal house, the so-called pact of Ice and Fire but it never came. Like many other great nobles Rickard looked with disquiet on the royal family; the current king was mad, but his grandfather had been possessed of a different but even more dangerous kind of insanity. Aegon V’s plan had been to enforce Dany style social reform with his scaly wmds and the nobles could never be sure the plan would not resurface if House Targaryen remained in being. All the lords and ladies knew a king with dragons could rule as a supreme tyrant. As the woiaf confirms, the Starks had for centuries held themselves aloof from the affairs of the south, and this was held to be the source of their security. Yet, when Rickard was put to death in King’s Landing many of his subjects held his southern meddling accountable. The woiaf has this to say: When the Stark line was nearly obliterated by Mad King Aerys after Rhaegar’s abduction of Lyanna, some misguided men laid the blame at the feet of the late Lord Rickard, whose alliance by blood and friendship tied the great houses together and ensured they would act together in response to the Mad King’s crimes. The text is written by the pro-Robert (and pro-Lannister) maester Yandel, so we should not take too seriously his charge that the misguided men really were misguided. The quote above does not make it clear why the misguided men felt the way they did, but just prior to it comes the argument that the Starks preserved themselves by avoiding the power struggles of the south. The charge against Rickard then is that his death was a direct result of abandoning the tradition of his ancestors, and not an inexplicable mad act on the part of Aerys II. At this point we might ask why Rickard, who had assembled through ties of marriage and fosterhood this great alliance went meekly to his death in King’s Landing after he learned Prince Rhaegar had abducted Lyanna. And the answer is that the marriage between Robert and Lyanna was the keystone in the arch of the scheme. The royal marriage, promised many years ago to Cregan, was Rickard’s great prize but for the nobles and maesters too the marriage promised to fulfil all their desires. The magical dynasty which threatened them with tyranny, liberty for their peasants and a return of magic to the world would be swept away. The new king would have just enough Targaryen blood to justify the continuing unity of the realm (which was united by the Targaryen dynasty and nothing else) but was in all other respects as far away from the Targaryens as it was possible to be. Among the recent Baratheons there was no history of magic and prophecy obsession, no reluctance to wed with the other great houses and no stain of family madness. The monarchy would now exist as primus inter pares among the great houses and the remnants of the Targaryen supremacy, forged and upheld by the battlesteads of ancient Valyria, would be no more.
  14. Chaircat Meow

    What binds people together (?)

    Try this. Roger Scruton, possibly the foremost conservative philosopher in the western world, speech in Hungary on the importance of national loyalty to democracy, the secular rule of law and 'togetherness,' and how it differs from nationalism.
  15. Chaircat Meow

    U.S. Politics-Hope Floats 2: We All Float Down Here

    I like David Frum. He argues that the Republican elites failed to adapt to the end of the Cold War and their ideas, unchanged since the 1980s, became ossified. They needed to have answers to the growing inequalities in wealth, the pitfalls of globalisation and mass immigration. Under Paul Ryan they offered a kind of uber-classical liberalism and lost their party to Donald Trump. So, in essence, Frum thinks Trump was actually right to focus on aiding traditional industrial communities struggling to cope in the 21st century economy and on restricting immigration. This was the direction he wanted the Republicans to move in: Trump delivered this. In this respect Frum was a trumpkin before Trump. For Frum though, Trump’s lack of moral calibre makes him a threat to the preservation of the political culture that underpins democracy and the rule of law in the US. Trump is working to normalise incivility and corruption at all levels of the system, and the moral effects will be poisonous, degrading the character of the Americans and so ultimately undermining the nature of the Republic as an empire of laws not of men. The other sticking point is foreign policy. Frum is a staunch Atlanticist; Trump may well think the EU is a rival to the US. Upholding America’s system of alliances, on which American power, and to a degree maybe even world peace depends, seems to Frum a fundamentally conservative thing to do. To my knowledge though, Frum, although he now acknowledges the Iraq war was a mistake, has never addressed the argument coming from within the conservative tradition that sees the recent US interventions as part of a liberal-cosmopolitan moment, designed to bring about the end of history on liberal terms. He was wrong about the weapons, he admits, but apparently not on the extremely unconservative and utopian project of nation building in Iraq. Frum needs to reconcile his recognition of the necessity of nations for democracy and the rule of law with his support for the ludicrous attempt to bring democracy to the Middle East, a project which was undertaken in service to the same utopian liberal ideology that says there should be no borders. Anyway, I recommend reading Frum at the Atlantic, as I said he’s a good chap in my opinion.