Nucky Thompson Posted December 31, 2013 Share Posted December 31, 2013 We are told that after the Brandon and Rickard incident at King's Landing, Aerys Targaryen demanded the heads of Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon. This led to Jon Arryn's refusal to do so and his subsequent rebellion. What seems strange here is the particular motivation behind the king's actions. Why did Aerys want the next in line of those two houses executed, when Benjen, and, respectively, Stannis would inherit the title and continue fighting the good fight? Yes, Aerys was mad, but there must have been some method to his madness and he would have wanted to achieve something by this particular course of action. Stannis says that he was at a crossroads as whether to remain loyal to the crown or to follow his brother in rebellion, but if Robert was summarily executed, I don't think that Stannis would've simply shrugged it off and would instead have immediately rebelled along with the others. The North, on the other hand, being the more threatening region, was sure to send an 'expeditionary force' south, and the only difference would've been that it would march under Roose Bolton's command (or under some other seasoned lord, all the while Benjen remains the Stark at Winterfell). Had Aerys stayed his hand, there would still be some (minimal) chance of avoiding a large-scale military conflict by making concessions and trying to appease the slighted houses. With one swift stroke, he made such a development impossible. Why did he do it? Was it because of Rickard Stark's southron ambitions? Was it because he didn't want Rhaegar's coup to succeed by antagonizing possible supporters further and forcing Rhaegar to back the Targaryen status quo? His aim might have been to remove the potentially militarily threatening members of the respective houses, but this would merely result in a bannerman being given command? Surely Aerys didn't think that he could successfully intimidate all the major bannermen in those two regions of Westeros. What seems most likely to me, is that the Mad King saw that a war was inevitable at this point and wanted to inflict as much damage to the opposing faction as possible, before they would be able to mobilize their armies and retaliate, a sort of preventive strike, so to say. The problem with such a strategy is that those two nobles were too valuable as hostage material and securing them in the black cells would do wonders as to dissuading the rebels from their wicked ways. Is it Aerys' madness at fault here, or was he somehow differently motivated? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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