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Chaircat Meow

[TWOIAF Spoilers] Aerys and Joanna II

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I've been doing some more thinking about Aerys and Joanna.

Below I'll lay out my account of what I think all the clues and hints we've had, both in the novels and the world book, point to.

Joanna was originally Aerys's paramour for four years until she married Tywin. The affair began consensually but Joanna came to want out. Tywin obviously liked her a lot, because not only was marrying her not politically advantageous, she was also known to have been the king's mistress, thus lowering her eligibility for marriage, especially to a lord as important as Tywin. Indeed, we're told accepting the king's 'leavings' was kind of a disgrace, but Tywin did anyway. However, Aerys was still possessive. He demonstrated this at the bedding ceremony, as Barristan reported and the world book repeated. He still thought he should be allowed to have his way with Joanna despite her marriage to Tywin. Initially Tywin and Joanna couldn't entirely break free of Aerys, so Joanna might have remained as his mistress. The Queen soon afterwards got Joanna dismissed and she was apparently in no hurry to return to king's landing.

Aerys was still interested in her though. This explains the significance of the royal stay at Casterly Rock in 267. Tytos had just died, and so when Tywin needed to remain for a time in the westerlands Aerys accompanied him but, significantly, without the Queen. Recall, it was the Queen who originally parted Aerys and Joanna in the first place and who disapproved of Aerys's antics. Therefore we should assume Aerys wanted to use the stay at Casterly Rock to renew his acquaintance with Joanna. I suspect such ambitions were thwarted though, and that that explains why everyone returned to king's landing in such a bad temper. In the heart of lannister power Tywin and Joanna were no longer as willing to give into Aerys as they had been in 263-4. At this time Aerys became increasingly spiteful towards Tywin.

In 272 Aerys finally turned on his hand completely and decided to make himself king again by 'reclaiming' Lady Joanna. Note that we're told about his meeting with Joanna just after the passage which told us Aerys had a plan to put Tywin in his place. Thus, when Aerys specifically summoned Joanna to King's Landing he already had a plan in mind; his remarks about her breasts didn't just get said in passing, or by chance. The invitation to King's Landing is very significant because it seems as though Joanna avoided the place, and, if I'm right, Aerys had found it difficult to carry through with his desires in the heart of lannister power. So he raped her in KL.

We don't hear much about how Joanna felt about this, but I think the weight of evidence is strongly towards her not wishing to have anything more to do with Aerys after she married Tywin. In SoS I am fairly sure (but if someone could check for me it would be appreciated) that it is said Tywin and Joanna loved each other, not just that Tywin loved Joanna. In the world book Joanna's only on page reaction is humiliation at being reminded she was once Aerys's mistress, so it seems that was something she wanted to put behind her. That means she's unlikely to have welcomed Aerys's continued advances.

I think Aerys's obsession with Joanna had to be pretty noticeable and had to continue while she was alive. Otherwise Barristan was unlikely to have mentioned it to Dany when asked who Aerys was interested in. And it also seems very likely, therefore, that the bedding incident was not the end of the story but only the beginning.

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As far as I know, the only time we are told of Joanna's affection for Tywin it is in SOS, when Oberyn tells Tyrion about the time he along with Elia and their mother visited KL.





A queer time to come visiting. His mother had died giving him birth, so the Martells would have found the Rock deep in mouming. His father especially. Lord Tywin seldom spoke of his wife, but Tyrion had heard his uncles talk of the love between them. In those days, his father had been Aerys’s Hand, and many people said that Lord Tywin Lannister ruled the Seven Kingdoms, but Lady Joanna ruled Lord Tywin. “He was not the same man after she died, imp,” his Uncle Gery told him once. “The best part of him died with her.” Gerion had been the youngest of Lord Tytos Lannister’s four sons, and the uncle Tyrion liked best.




I agree that it was unlikely for Aerys to seduce Joanna in CR, especially if one considers the fact that there were several Lannisters present, whereas KL was an ideal place.



I wonder if anyone else believes that Aerys' reaction when he was told that Joanna gave birth to healthy twins, the "I married the wrong woman" comment had any impact on Rhaegar, who just like his father married a woman whose health was frail.



I also agree that Joanna after she married Tywin, she wasn't eager to continue her affair with Aerys.



Before the TWOIAF was released, it was suggested that if Aerys had an affair with Joanna then Tywin wouldn't have insisted in arranged a marriage between Cersei and Rhaegar or even Viserys.



Nevertheless we know that despite Aerys' insults, Tywin still sought to marry Cersei to his sons.






When she was just a little girl, her father had promised her that she would marry Rhaegar. She could not have been more than six or seven. "Never speak of it, child," he had told her, smiling his secret smile that only Cersei ever saw. "Not until His Grace agrees to the betrothal. It must remain our secret for now."

Cersei's memories are vague but that conversation likely occurred shortly before or after Joanna's visit to KL.



I always thought that Tywin also kept it a secret from Joanna as well, especially if we consider the fact that she intended to separate the twins by arranging a betrothal to the Martells. Perhaps Joanna also intended to keep the twins away from KL and Aerys.




In regards to the bedding, I think that it was Aerys' way of declaring that he is the king and he will do as he pleases, even if that means having an affair with the Hand's wife. I don't think that it was the beginning, but rather an insisting continuation of the affair.

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In regards to the bedding, I think that it was Aerys' way of declaring that he is the king and he will do as he pleases, even if that means having an affair with the Hand's wife. I don't think that it was the beginning, but rather an insisting continuation of the affair.

Yea, I agree with that. I was a bit unclear. I meant Barry's decision to talk to Dany about the bedding meant that that was the beginning of a bigger story about Aerys's continuing lust for Joanna and how that wrecked relations between Aerys and Tywin.

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I think that the OP lays out a fairly plausible theory. While we don't know for sure that anything happened in 272 and even if it did, we don't know for sure that Aerys is the father of Tyrion, the alternative explanations seem weak to me. Maybe GRRM is just trolling--but that seems beneath him. Maybe GRRM wants to give some reason for Tywin to doubt paternity even though Tywin turns out to be the real father--but that also seems like a lot of effort for very little payoff.



As to the SoS quote regarding the love between Tywin and Joanna--I read the passage as implying that Tywin's feelings for Joanna were stronger than Joanna's feelings for Tywin.


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On the OP:



There is a lot of problematic speculation in there. We don't know, for instance, that Joanna 'wanted out of her affair with Aerys'. The fact that Aerys himself presided over the Joanna-Tywin-marriage strongly suggests that he did not mind her marriage, nor do we really know that this match had even been brokered when Joanna came to court in 259 AC. Nor do we know if Aerys himself may have had a hand in that match. For instance, I could see Tywin hoping to marry Princess Rhaella prior to Jaehaerys' decision to marry her to Aerys.



The idea that rape was involved in this whole relationship is not backed by the text, either. What is hinted at, though, is that Joanna entered into an affair with Crown Prince when he was still very young (i.e. 15/16 in 259) and later was somewhat influential at court (she 'ruled as mistress' is the wording).



Whether Joanna's feelings for/attraction to Aerys were gone in 272 AC we cannot know for a certainty, either. The Tywin-Joanna-relationship is clearly idolized by the Lannisters and their cronies (Genna, Gerion, Pycelle, etc.), and Joanna herself as a person seems to be sanctified in CR - no wonder, considering Tywin's devotion to her. But this does not mean that she was as deeply in love with Tywin as he was with her, or that they never faced any crises. I imagine Joanna was not all that happy with her banishment from court, or the fact that her beloved husband spent most of his time in the capital (he would have, as Hand of the King).


Considering that they married after Tywin was appointed Hand, they effectively lived a long-distance-relationship. A fact that in and of itself should add additional question marks to the idea that they were all that close. And this thing about Joanna ruling Tywin could effectively also mean that Joanna, well, ruled Tywin. Made him do what she wanted to do. This, in a rigid interpretation, could mean that Tywin was effectively the Jaime to Joanna's Cersei.



The book also puts Lady Genna's opinions into perspective. We learn that, Kevan aside, Tywin was not very close to any of his siblings. He was dutiful, nothing more. Genna idolizes Tywin was the big brother who stood up for her, but she also frankly admits that she did not like the man he grew into, and I guess we can take her line to Tywin that 'Tyrion is your true son, not Jaime' as a pretty big hint with the sledgehammer that Genna was not even aware of the affair between Joanna and Aerys, nor did she hear anything about what happened between Aerys and Joanna in 272 AC. This could also explain why Tywin afterwards did not speak to Genna for over a year, because he was, well, very pissed about the fact that Aerys' bastard was supposedly his 'true son'.


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It would have been helpful if Yandel and Pycelle had given any info about what kind of person Joanna was instead of going on and on about Tywin and Aerys and merely describing her as one of the objects of contention between them.


If for example she were described as a woman who loved dancing, music and masked balls as did Aerys then I could see why she might have fallen for him as a young girl but since the only thing we know about her is that her and Tywin's love was mutual and Tywin and Aerys were pretty different men I'm not sure we can say anything about Joanna's early feelings about Aerys at all.


The one thing we do know is that being a maiden until their wedding day is incredibly important for highborn girls (see everyone's obsession with Margaery's maidenhead). I think it was common knowledge that Jaehaerys wanted Aerys and Rhaella to marry, wasn't it? So Joanna could have had no dreams or ambitions of becoming Queen herself. I'm just not sure that she ever thought it would be a good idea to actually sleep with Aerys, particularly be his semi-official mistress and thereby endangering her own future and finding a good match for herself.



Which is why I think we should consider the possibillity that in her first couple of years at court she might have been flirting with Aerys and enjoying his attention but made it clear she wouldn't sleep with him. After her marriage with Tywin which meant her future was secure Aerys believed that now was the time and got more agressive and physical in persuing her. Which then led to Queen Rhaella 'dismissing' Joanna from court because she didn't want her ladies-in-waiting to be turned into whores (which in my opinion was her way of saving Joanna from the King's advances).



From then on I'd agree with the OP.


One other thing that makes me wonder whether Joanna and Aerys ever had sex before the rape in 72 is actually Aerys' continued obsession with her. We know Aerys loses interest quickly (in ideas/new projects as well as people). But all his life he was obsessed with a woman he had a several years long affair with already?


Also in his bizarre competition with Tywin he would have automatically been 'the winner' already. If Aerys had had Joanna first then Tywin only got 'the leavings' to use Pycelle's lovely turn of phrase.


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If true, this makes Aerys's decision to open up his gates to Tywin after the Trident even more baffling. "Your Grace, we are now officially the losing side of this war. In other news, the man whose wife you raped has an army outside the city. Should we let him in?" :dunce:



Granted, trusting Tywin at that point would have been an idiotic decision even without any hypothetical rape (they had plenty of other bad blood and Tywin was known for his ruthlessness), but still, for a "paranoid" figure like Aerys this makes little sense.


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On the OP:

There is a lot of problematic speculation in there. We don't know, for instance, that Joanna 'wanted out of her affair with Aerys'. The fact that Aerys himself presided over the Joanna-Tywin-marriage strongly suggests that he did not mind her marriage, nor do we really know that this match had even been brokered when Joanna came to court in 259 AC. Nor do we know if Aerys himself may have had a hand in that match. For instance, I could see Tywin hoping to marry Princess Rhaella prior to Jaehaerys' decision to marry her to Aerys.

Speculation based on her staying away from KL afterwards and her probable disinterest in his further affections when they were at Casterly Rock. The bedding incident suggests that Aerys hoped his liaisons with Joanna could continue after her marriage. He seems to have come to regret her marriage to Tywin later. I don't see much rides on whether the match was brokered before 259. I actually imagined myself that it had not, since it seemed to be a love match.

The idea that rape was involved in this whole relationship is not backed by the text, either. What is hinted at, though, is that Joanna entered into an affair with Crown Prince when he was still very young (i.e. 15/16 in 259) and later was somewhat influential at court (she 'ruled as mistress' is the wording).

Nah, it is hinted (very very strongly in my view) that Aerys was frustrated he couldn't be with Joanna again and that he summoned her specifically in 272 as part of his humiliate Tywin strategy. Add it all up and it is unlikely Aerys stopped at rude comments or that sex was consensual.

Whether Joanna's feelings for/attraction to Aerys were gone in 272 AC we cannot know for a certainty, either.

She avoided KL, and was humiliated when Aerys did his crude come on. Seems unlikely she was interested in him, as I said.

The Tywin-Joanna-relationship is clearly idolized by the Lannisters and their cronies (Genna, Gerion, Pycelle, etc.), and Joanna herself as a person seems to be sanctified in CR - no wonder, considering Tywin's devotion to her. But this does not mean that she was as deeply in love with Tywin as he was with her, or that they never faced any crises.

The only in text evidence suggests they were in love with each other. Granted it is not much but I am going on what we have.

edit: if your problem is this is not certain then that's fine. I am aware of that though. I maintain this is the best construction of the evidence available, nothing more.

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People need to stop using "Lannister cronies" or "Lannister bias" as an excuse to dismiss anything remotely positive about them. There is no evidence that Joanna didn't love Tywin back


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If true, this makes Aerys's decision to open up his gates to Tywin after the Trident even more baffling. "Your Grace, we are now officially the losing side of this war. In other news, the man whose wife you raped has an army outside the city. Should we let him in?" :dunce:

Granted, trusting Tywin at that point would have been an idiotic decision even without any hypothetical rape (they had plenty of other bad blood and Tywin was known for his ruthlessness), but still, for a "paranoid" figure like Aerys this makes little sense.

He was mad at the time though.

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He was mad at the time though.

True. But paranoia was always a key aspect of his insanity, especially re. Tywin. I suppose desperation played a big part

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I wonder if anyone else believes that Aerys' reaction when he was told that Joanna gave birth to healthy twins, the "I married the wrong woman" comment had any impact on Rhaegar, who just like his father married a woman whose health was frail.

I dunno if it's fragility what caused all of those abortions and miscarriages. Rhaella isn't remembered as weak, while Elia being sickly is due to her being premature. Still, she delivered 2 of two pregnancies, and both kids were healthy (and who knows if her condition was exaggerated by Pycelle).

OTOH, Rhaegar got a lot of crap from his father: he didn't attend his wedding, he insulted his mother, his daughter and who knows what else. He still cared for him at the end. :/

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later was somewhat influential at court (she 'ruled as mistress' is the wording).

I don't have access to my book at the moment but I was sure the wording was, 'had a brief reign as his paramour.'

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The exact wording is 'enjoyed a brief reign as his paramour'.



The queen banished Joanna from court. She could not come back unless she was actually invited to come back.



The fallout/bad relations between Tywin and Aerys during the extended stay at CR may have something to do with Joanna - or they may not. It could just be the fact that Aerys was starting to get seriously annoyed with the fact that everything went well for Tywin, when he was apparently not even capable to father another child.



All we know about 272 AC is rude comments. That does not necessitate rape came next. It would not be impossible, but if we assume that Joanna got Tywin named Hand of the King in the first place, she may have gone to Aerys after those insult to have sex with him and convince him to not fire Tywin/accept his resignation. She may have tried to reconcile the two friends.



The idea that Aerys was all that obsessed with Joanna is also something I really don't see in Aerys' character. We have now learned that his madness was rooted in his mood swings - swings that also extended to his taste in women. Joanna may have been a woman he desired more than the others, but this may just be a wrong assumption. It is much more likely that Joanna was nothing to Aerys in the 260s/270s. He wasn't particularly sad about her death, suggesting that her sole importance for him was to use her as a means to an end in his bad marriage with Tywin (that relationship clearly is some sort or weird marriage kind of thing - no one can give ground or back down).



Whether he triumphed over Tywin by seducing or raping remains to be seen, but rape clearly remains a possibility. And would also draw a nice parallel to Dany and, possibly, Jon.


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The exact wording is 'enjoyed a brief reign as his paramour'.

That doesn't imply influence like 'ruled as mistress,' did.

The queen banished Joanna from court. She could not come back unless she was actually invited to come back.

No she was not banished and forbidden to go there. She dismissed her as a lady in waiting. Joannna then went to CR and seldom visited the court. That was her choice.

The fallout/bad relations between Tywin and Aerys during the extended stay at CR may have something to do with Joanna - or they may not. It could just be the fact that Aerys was starting to get seriously annoyed with the fact that everything went well for Tywin, when he was apparently not even capable to father another child.

Why though did relations go sour at CR and not in KL? The account seems to pin down fraying tempers and a change in Aery's attitude to Tywin to the stay at CR, where Joanna was present but unattainable.

All we know about 272 AC is rude comments. That does not necessitate rape came next. It would not be impossible, but if we assume that Joanna got Tywin named Hand of the King in the first place, she may have gone to Aerys after those insult to have sex with him and convince him to not fire Tywin/accept his resignation. She may have tried to reconcile the two friends.

It doesn't necessitate it but it is strongly implied. We do know Aerys wanted to humiliate Tywin, that he summoned her specifically even though she seldom visited court, that she was humiliated by the remarks and that Tywin offered to resign the next day. He had been insulted before and yet never took that course, so that implies something else happened after the breast comments.

Tywin resigned the day after the remarks as well, btw, so sleeping to ward off a resignation doesn't work. Given Aerys and Joanna would hardly have met since she left KL in 263-4 it is unlikely she was in the habit of sleeping with him to win favours for her husband. And although Joanna might have played a role in getting Tywin the handship we do know there were plenty of other reasons for giving Tywin the job too.

The idea that Aerys was all that obsessed with Joanna is also something I really don't see in Aerys' character. We have now learned that his madness was rooted in his mood swings - swings that also extended to his taste in women. Joanna may have been a woman he desired more than the others, but this may just be a wrong assumption. It is much more likely that Joanna was nothing to Aerys in the 260s/270s. He wasn't particularly sad about her death, suggesting that her sole importance for him was to use her as a means to an end in his bad marriage with Tywin (that relationship clearly is some sort or weird marriage kind of thing - no one can give ground or back down).

But Aerys mentions Joanna a lot and seems eager for her to go to king's landing. It is all over the account in the world book. She's the woman Barristan mentions when Dany asks who her father was interested in, and Barry makes it clear it was not love but a bit of a lustful obsession. I don't think the obsession was to do with madness either.

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I'm not a fan of the idea of A+J=T, as it seems to undercut Tyrion's arc with his father, but I have to admit it feels more likely now.


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I'm not a fan of the idea of A+J=T, as it seems to undercut Tyrion's arc with his father, but I have to admit it feels more likely now.

...that's what Martin wants you to believe...

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