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SFDanny

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  1. Robert seemed to think so. He feared that there might be enough secret Targaryen supporters to someday launch an attempt to put Viserys on his father's throne. As with all things Martin, it isn't just a black and white world, and he has real supporters of the Targaryen restoration trying to do just that - such as Doran Martell - and those who would fight to the death to stop that from happening. The maester's conspiracy might be the best example of that. Many others, like the Tyrells, fall in the category of "what do I get out of it?"
  2. SFDanny

    Harrenhal's tourney, then what?

    @Lord Varys, we have been down this road before. I don't want to hijack someone else's thread with all the issues that tie into the events of Harrenhal. What I do want to do is say that the idea that politics don't play into those events is foolish. Martin's world is a world of political intrigue. The influence of the so-called "STAB alliance" included. I post the above quote to show one more bit of evidence, one more hint, and one more clue that the Rickard's "southron ambitions" was not just a case of a new fad among the High Lords of Westeros. First, the quote is proof of in-world beliefs that the alliances where explicitly political and aimed at the Targaryens. Now, one can disagree with those beliefs, but one cannot dismiss them with a wave of the hand saying they did not exist. I think much of the evidence I've cited and much more supports the beliefs of these "misguided men." We also have in the quote the refutation of their views from a pro-Baratheon/Lannister source that gives us the view that seems - writing his history for King Robert and his heirs - to support the idea it is perfectly acceptable for the High Lords to have formed these ties in anticipation of the "Mad King's crimes." The alliances are long in making and predate any crime against the High Lords that we know. Not that they were an alliance to support each other economically. Not that they were an outbreak of love matches that got out of hand. But that they were formed to work together to work against at least one Targaryen king. This historian believes such a rendering of this history is acceptable to Robert's eyes. Hint. Clue. Evidence. Please don't insult my intelligence with any more nonsense of "nothing supports."The evidence is clearly there. If you disagree with what it tells you, that's fine. Argue why you think so, but don't tell me the evidence is not there.
  3. SFDanny

    Harrenhal's tourney, then what?

    I'm not sure I understand your point here. Perhaps you could rephrase it, please? But, no, we don't see a lot of betrothals or marriages between houses of different kingdoms. It is exceedingly rare. In the case of the Great Houses we have 91+ marriages we know about after the Conquest. Of these only three are known to have occurred before Robert's Rebellion and be between the Great Houses themselves. The two in the tome Ned reads from in A Game of Thrones, and the forced marriage between the Starks and Arryns engineered by Rhaenys Targaryen. One forced by the Targaryens, and two that seem inconsequential to either House Lannister or Baratheon. By which I mean it looks like these latter are lesser branches of both houses who at most stand well back in line to inherit the Lordship. They then a very different from the Stark, Tully, Arryn, Baratheon, and Lannister ties during Rickard's day. But what is unique here is not that it can't happen, but that so much of it occurs during this one period of time under one Targaryen king. We have zero evidence such a thing happened before this in the the 281 years before the tourney. All evidence (hints, clues) point to this being unique. So the attentive reader has to ask why? As I've pointed out the expected marriage of a High Lord's children is to his vassal lord's children or cousins in the High Lord's own family. There are occasional marriages of the members of the Great Houses with vassals of other Hight Lords. These too are rare and are often understandable if they are either with houses that share some religious affinity (the Starks and the Royces for example) or are marriages of children far down in the line of succession (here the Arryn's niece that is carried off by the tribes of the Mountains of the Moon on her way to marry a Bracken is an example. But none of these fit Rickard's alliances. Rickard's alliances fit the pattern of the marriages of Robert's rebellion and those of the War of the Five Kings. They clearly are not love matches. Only Robert professes some love for his betrothed. If they are, as all clues point to, political alliances then one has to ask to what end are they intended. The fact that the Targaryens interfere in two of the betrothals at Harrenhal should tell us something about their aim. Why does House Targaryen object to these ties if they are normal run of the mill things? Because they are not normal, and because they build ties where none should be without royal approval. Do I need to remind you that Lord Walder's demands to have Big and Little Walder fostered at Winterfell was part of a rebellion against the Lannister hold on the Iron Throne? What we would expect in peaceful times is that the High Lord would have favored vassals's children fostered with the High Lord's family (Littlefinger) or the children of the High Lord would be fostered at the favored vassals residence (Brandon, or Quentyn.) This shores up the oaths of fealty between vassal and High Lord. That both the second son of the North and the heir to Storm's End are fostered with House Arryn is unusual to say the least. But here you don't ask the right follow up question. What does each Great House get in return for the marriage pacts and the fostering? Is it just friendship? If so why don't we see it happening before this? At Harrenhal we see two Targaryens being upset and doing something to interfere in the marriage pacts being formed between the Great Houses. That is a clue. It is a hint. It is evidence. Evidence that much more is going on at the tourney and in the political struggles in Westeros than you let on. As I've already pointed out, this case was forced by House Targaryen themselves for their own purposes. In the case of Rickard's web of alliances the Targaryens take move to stop the marriages. Not by a outright declaration saying no such marriages could occur, but by honoring Jaime and Lyanna to stop on marriage and declare royal displeasure with the other. Very different. And her bitterness means she isn't telling the truth? Yet we know Brandon and Catelyn's betrothal was not one of love. They hardly knew each other. So what was the aim of the marriage? Ask yourself what does each side get out of it? Hoster sees his beloved Catelyn move to the far North and what tangible thing does Rickard get for marrying his heir to a Tully? It can't be a pledge of swords or a share of the harvest because those are pledged to each High Lord and to the king. It can't be submitting to another lord's justice. Only the king can do that. What then is the bargain made for? Lady Dustin is bitter, but Lady Dustin is pointing us to the truth. We just don't have it all spelled out. We see things through Ned's eyes and read things through his thoughts and speeches, but we get very little from Ned about what Rickard planned in the time before the rebellion with his alliances. Dare I say the author doesn't want us to know too much, but occasionally drops some clues. Such as Lady Dustin remarks to Theon. If you're expecting Martin to have laid out the backstory for the reader already, then I think you may be reading the wrong author. He doesn't write that way. That Tywin might have plots to move Cersei back into possible line to marry the next Targaryen king I don't doubt. I also don't doubt that by this time he knew he had more to gain from Rickard's alliances than waiting on Aerys to change his mind. I'm not sure what the last half of this has to do with this discussion, but, yes, the success of Aerys's/Varys's scheme to get Jaime in the Kingsguard depends on the young Jaime accepting the post. They enroll his sister to help him be convinced to do so. Jaime's fifteen year old head is besotted with dreams of knightly honor and his sister's body. It takes one night to convince him to give up Casterly Rock. Not exactly a hard sale. Or did you think that Cersei really masterminded this on her own? If the five High Lords, or six if one counts the attempt to marry into the powerful families of the Reach, all reject their fealty to the Targaryens and pledge to support each others claim to kingships, then who is to stop them. Not Dorne. Not the focus allied with Dragonstone. Only the vassal lords of the High Lords themselves, if there are enough of them could do so. I would think that an alliance of six kingdoms would likely stop that before it started. But for my guess to be true, I think the main evidence is the character of the men. I just can't see men as different as Rickard Stark and Tywin Lannister would accept one of their equals to be elevated to the Iron Throne. In the case of the Tullys and the Baratheons it doesn't make them kings again, but it does fulfill a dream of kingship that both likely share. Why accept the Targaryens? The dragons are dead, and the king is mad.
  4. SFDanny

    Harrenhal's tourney, then what?

    To you last point first, it is clear that the marriage pact had gone as far as discussing the dowry. Tywin, at this point, has to believe his schemes to marry Cersei into the royal house are dead and buried. He has gone as far as openly say before council that Rhaegar would be a better king, and he orders the attack on Duskendale knowing it will likely result in Aerys's death. Only Ser Barristan's heroics save him. So all bridges between King and Hand hang only by fraying threads. Yet Rhaegar has his own wife and isn't likely to set her aside for Cersei. No, I think by opening the negotiations for the marriage pact Tywin is clearly moved on to an alliance between the other Great Houses of Rickard's alliance. The genius of Aerys's move, probably thought of by Varys, is that it in one fell swoop it not only destroys the marriage pact, but it gives Tywin's heir over to the king as a hostage. I disagree with your first point here. One has to ask what is the purpose of this highly unusual, one can say unique, up to this point of these marriage pacts between High Lords? It is clearly a political set of alliances, to use all the power of these lords for some purpose. But I didn't say I thought this means the alliance is designed for open armed rebellion against the Targaryens or to put Robert on the throne. Martin has been clear that Robert is chosen to be the new king by the rebels until around the time of the Trident. My guess is that what unites these ambitious High Lords is to band together to do away with Targaryen overlordship, but not to set up a new king of Westeros. Tywin Lannister and Rickard Stark are highly unlikely to decide to put the other on the Iron Throne. But an alliance of High Lords to recreate kingdoms and create new kingdoms in which each has the title of king seems much more likely. Combine this with overtures to powerful lords in the Reach and one can see a plan in which six of the seven kingdoms renounce their fealty to House Targaryen in the belief that they can control the majority of their vassals in that endeavor. Only Dorne has a marriage tie to the Targaryens that would push them to support Aerys or Rhaegar. As to your point about Rhaegar being severely constrained, I agree. He is between a rock and a hard place with only his marriage to Elia, his charisma, his factional fighting skills, and his comparison to his father to help him.
  5. SFDanny

    Harrenhal's tourney, then what?

    There are, in fact, many hints, clues, whatever you want to call them that point towards this. The greatest being the unique character of the interlocking web of marriage pacts, attempts at marriage pacts, fostering of children between these Great Houses during this period. In the 281 years of Targaryen rule up to this point we see nothing like this. Yet the Starks, the Arryns, the Baratheons, and the Tullys make these ties all under the rule of one king. For what purpose? The only comparable examples we see in the books is in the run up to the War of the Five Kings the marriage alliances made between the Great Houses in order to win the throne. Margaery's marriages to Renly, Joffrey, and Tommen, and the marriage pact of Myrcella to Trystane look very much akin to the alliance of the Great Houses some twenty years previous. The later are openly alliances to seize the throne. Yet the alliance Rickard, Hoster, Jon, Robert, and almost Tywin made have only benign motives? I think not. I surely think the Targaryens could not think if all just fine business as normal. In fact it is anything but normal. In Martin's world the overwhelming majority of marriages of the Great Houses we know about are marriages between the High Lords and their children with vassal lords or within the High Lord's kin itself - marriages to cousins. There is good reason for this. There is an oath of fealty between the High Lord and his vassal. There can be no such thing between the Great Houses themselves. Or rather if there is such a oath of fealty between them it is a great concern for the king. If so, it is treason because they only are supposed to be bound by oaths to serve the king. So what is this phenomenon we see during Rickard's time? Just good friendship. A passing fad? No, we are told what it is "ambition." Another of those clues you think there is no hint about. One can go on and on about clues Martin lays out pointing to the profoundly political nature of Rickard's political alliances. What I don't understand is how one ignores them. What makes you think they knew nothing?
  6. SFDanny

    Harrenhal's tourney, then what?

    The problem here is the idea the Great Lords of the realm don't know of Aerys's madness well before Harrenhal. While it is true that this is the first time since Duskendale that Aerys leaves the Red Keep, it is not true he has been hidden so no one can see him since his release from captivity. It is a shock for the common folk who see their king in this state. It is not for the Great Lords of the realm who deal with King's Landing. They already know of the King's mental and physical state - even if they haven't seen it personally. As such, it is not part of Rhaegar's plan to use Aerys's appearance as part of preparations for the tourney. It is Aerys's own move, and quite likely Varys's own move, to prevent a dangerous gathering of nobles turning into what Rhaegar no doubt wanted - a de facto Great Council of the Realm. In that regard it would seem to have worked just as Aerys and Varys intended. But here one must ask the question "would Rhaegar's plan have worked if Aerys had not come to the tourney?" I think the answer is no. Rhaegar tries to bring the nobility of the realm together so he can plead his case to replace his father, but the politics of Westeros don't just work in a binary fashion. It is not just a choice between father and son. Others have their agendas. Most of the High Lords of the realm - Stark, Baratheon, Arryn, Tully, and Lannister - have already made a choice that doesn't include putting Rhaegar on his father's throne. That is what the marriage pacts, including the one destroyed by Aerys at the start of the tourney between House Lannister and House Tully are all about. What we see at Harrenhal is not just Aerys's display of power in taking Jaime away as a de facto hostage, but the refusal of House Stark and the others to abandon their "southron ambitions" and support Rhaegar. I think in this the dishonoring of Ashara Dayne by a Stark - most likely Brandon Stark - is a key part to understanding the political currents at play at Harrenhal. So too, is the crowning of Lyanna at the end of the tourney. It is Rhaegar's reply to House Stark and its allies that he stands with his father against their ambitions. That there are multiple layers of motives going on here doesn't change the fact Rhaegar tells Westeros he stands between the marriage of House Stark with House Baratheon. He does so by "honoring" Lyanna, just as Aerys "honors" Jaime, but the message is the same.
  7. SFDanny

    R+L=J v.166

    While I think it is quite clear that Robert had taken the throne already before any marriage to Cersei was pursued, I don't think it is "clear" that Robert hears of Lyanna death before that takes place. I've argued for a long time that it is likely only after Robert hears the news of her death that this takes place, but unless you have information the rest of us don't I don't see how one can say this claim is "clear." Robert's obsession with Lyanna and getting her back is the best evidence we have that he wouldn't consider a marriage to Cersei until Lyanna's death is known. It is likely that Ned delivers that news on his return trip to the North from Starfall, which gives us an idea of when this takes place, but the details of this time period are very much up in the air and up for discussion.
  8. SFDanny

    Doctrine of Exceptionalism

    This is a theory based on nothing. In no place does does Jaehaerys condemn polygamy. He condemns his daughter's conduct and her evoking of Maegor's name as an example to follow, but this in no way shows he condemns polygamy. It only shows his outrage over his daughter's conduct, her use of his brothers's murderer as an example, and her plan. It is an absurd plan that no Targaryen ruler would approve. But it has absolutely nothing to do with the institution of polygamy. His rejection of a polygamous marriage can't be seen as a generalized view, but it has everything to do with the Saera's shameful conduct, her lack of contrition, and the unsuitable character of her proposed "grooms." This is a conversation of a father chastising his wayward daughter and an attempt to control her and punish her. Not a discussion about the permissibility of polygamy. Once again, for any Targaryen ruler other than Maegor to reject polygamy would be a rejection of Aenys's line claim to the throne. It is a claim based on the validity of a second marriage. For this reason alone we don't see Jaehaerys reject polygamy, or any of his descendants do so. That is not to say they think it is a good idea in specific cases, but the idea they would reject the marriages of the Conquerer and his sister wives is nonsense. And LV, what's with the invoking the use of the word "bigamy?" Bigamy is only illegal polygamy, and there is no question about polygamy being outlawed ever. There is absolutely nothing to suggest such was the case ever, and well known examples of it being considered by later Targaryens.
  9. SFDanny

    Doctrine of Exceptionalism

    LV, I think this misrepresents Jaehaerys's views on polygamy. What Jaehaerys objects to is not polygamy but the idea that his daughter would marry or conduct herself in ways he didn't approve. The issue that runs through all of the many examples in ASoI&F is the question of who decides, and is that decision respected and honored.The lord, be he the king or a petty noble or even the simple head of a small folk household holds the power of such decisions. Be that Tywin and Tyrion's marriage to Tysha, the broken vows of Robb or Duncan, Hoster's anger with the Blackfish, or on and on, this theme runs through all of Martin's world. If they are not respected it questions the whole structure of Westerosi society. So it is not a question of multiple wives or husbands. It is a question of power. Jaehaerys owes his claim to the throne of Westeros to the polygamous second marriage of his grandfather. He can hardly object to that practice. Nor do we find any generalized objection by any Targaryen monarch to polygamy. Although one might suspect Baelor's devotion to the faith of the Seven might make him a candidate to do so. But what every Targaryen king or aspiring queen must ask themselves is does a marriage make the Crown stronger or weaker. Polygamy, by its nature, adds more potential claimants to the reins of power and wealth. It's not often that it therefore makes it a good choice. For instance, a marriage of Lyanna to Rhaegar may help fulfill a prophecy he believes is critical, but it also weakens the ties to Dorne. As a practical matter of succession polygamy isn't often good for building and maintaining alliances. I believe this is the core reason we see no Targaryen polygamy after Maegor, not that Jaehaerys or his Doctrine frowned on the practice. To the contrary, Jaehaerys by winning the battle against the Faith and the acceptance of his doctrine ensured, among other things, that the Targaryens had polygamy as an option. They just didn't find it useful in building and maintaining their power and the alliances that built that power.
  10. SFDanny

    Worldcon 2020: Wellington New Zealand

    I do believe someone is testing my ability to endure a flight to New Zealand next year. My already extremely long non-stop flight back to San Francisco had six plus hours added to it because of "technical problems" with the aircraft and then more "technical problems" with a flight in front of us on the runway blocking us from taking off. Dublin just didn't want to let us go. Looong flight over and safely done. I hope everyone is enjoying Titancon and their own return home. Now if I can a figure out if I really can do New Zealand.
  11. SFDanny

    The whole "Tower of Joy" story is flawed

    I actually was not trying to deal with the question of the "nature" of Rhaegar's relationship and who knew about it although I've state my opinion on that topic many times in the past. I was trying to deal with the narrower issue of the fact we have nothing to show any threat to Lyanna's life over the time of her "captivity." From the "kidnapping" to her death. Even at the very end of the fight at the Tower of Joy we have nothing that points the Kingsguard using Lyanna as a hostage to Ned's retreat or surrender. I do think the evidence points to Ned knowing that Lyanna went willingly. I think so because all of Lyanna's brothers were at Harrenhal and they surely knew something of Lyanna's feelings to those events. I also think Ned knew much earlier of his sister's feelings towards Robert. He delivers the proposal to her and hears her words on love not changing a "man's nature." I do not think that knowledge means he told Robert about how Lyanna felt.
  12. SFDanny

    Small Questions v. 10106

    While a reference to Robert's warhammer would be funny, it seems extremely unNed like particularly in the context. I realize the author has changed things as his story grew, but unless I see something in the way of evidence I see the quote about Robert having a better claim as far back as in AGoT as fairly strong evidence Martin knew Robert's backstory well enough when he wrote it to reflect a Targaryen ancestor for the Baratheons.
  13. SFDanny

    Small Questions v. 10106

    Not Ran, but it would seem that the well known quote in A Game of Thrones would point to George having some idea.
  14. SFDanny

    The whole "Tower of Joy" story is flawed

    What exactly do marriage vows have to do with this discussion? Could you be more specific? Rhaegar's marriage vows, or someone else's? Or are you speaking of broken betrothals? Specifically the broken betrothal of Robert and Lyanna? I would also disagree that broken marriage vows have diminished Targaryen legitimacy. Many Targaryens have broken those vows and prior to Aerys's reign those broken vows had little to nothing to do with the strength of Targaryen rule. The loss of dragons? Very much so. Broken marriage vows? Not so much. My understanding of the point under discussion here was the question of why weren't Ned and Robert concerned about a threat on Lyanna's life in revenge for the killing of Elia and her children at the sack of King's Landing? My response is there is no evidence that Lyanna's life was threatened anytime after the "kidnapping." in order to change anyone's conduct in any way. To the contrary, what her "kidnappers" and "gaolers" do is one thing - to keep her hidden from everyone else. That is what we call a clue. A clue to the wants of Rhaegar, and maybe of Lyanna herself. It tells us that Rhaegar doesn't want to threaten Lyanna, and that his agenda is helped if Lyanna is not controlled by Aerys, Robert, Ned, Brandon, Rickard, the Martell brothers, or anyone else who would benefit by her location being known. If, on the other hand, Lyanna was in King's Landing under Aerys's control, we have ample evidence that he would us her as a hostage and threaten her life against the conduct of her family and Robert. What this should tell us is that the rebels know that despite Rhaegar coming north to join his father in the war against the rebellion, that control of Lyanna hasn't changed in order to allow her to be used as a hostage.
  15. I think we have a small sample size to grade Rhaegar's skill in actual combat, but that one duel with Robert at the Trident should remove any thoughts Rhaegar's skills were mere puffery from rigged tourneys. Tourney wins and displays of skill in the practice yard certainly built Rhaegar's reputation, and deservedly so. But it is at his death that Rhaegar proves he is a great warrior. Robert came to destroy Rhaegar, and it very nearly turned out to be the opposite. Personal Bravery? Master level skill with sword and lance? I think we can check all those boxes while acknowledging Rhaegar was up against a better foe.
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