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40 Thousand Skeletons

[TWOIAF Spoilers] Tyrion, Son of the Mad King

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Yandel doesn't differ in this from Gyldayn. She rode a dragon, ergo she must be a dragonseed.

Yeah. Since we are like Yandel in having no information about the lineages of these people who tried to tame dragons, let us all assume that the succesful ones were certainly dragonseeds and the losers had no Targ blood or they didnot have the "right drop".

Personally, I do not buy this approach. I think this is a major red herring and George will kick a lot of nuts in the next book. My nuts are well-protected.

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The idea that the dragonlord blood thing does not have anything to do with dragonriding/dragonbinding makes little to no sense to me. We now know that this belief goes back to Valyria, as does the whole incest thing.



It makes littles sense to assume that the Valyrians did not really understand the magics they themselves created, or did not know what they were doing when they successfully bound themselves to their dragons.



The idea that we'll get some other explanation for this whole thing (like 'anyone can become a dragonrider if he feeds him a lot of sheep') is ridiculous.



On the dragonseeds:



We don't know why Gormon Massey and Steffon Darklyn decided to try to claim a dragon. But there are only two options:



1. They did not have Targaryen/dragonlord blood and they did not believe that Targaryen/dragonlord blood was necessary to claim a dragon.



That is very unlikely, though, since that clearly was the prevalent belief about this whole thing on Dragonstone at that time, and it is very much hinted at/outright confirmed that the Targaryens of this day and age believed that. Thus we would have to deduce that if Gormon Massey and Ser Steffon believed that Targaryen/dragonblood was not necessary to claim a dragon they followed a theory that differed from 'the common view on the matter' held by the guys in charge (the Targaryens) which in itself is a very unlikely possibility, especially considering that Ser Steffon was the Lord Commander of the Queensguard.



More importantly, there is little reason to assume that Rhaenyra or Jace would allow important Black loyalists to throw away their lives if they believed that Targaryen/dragonblord blood was necessary. Thus we would have to believe that both Massey and Darklyn acted without Rhaenyra's or Jace's consent, or that they acted with their consent, but they would only have given their consent if



2. They did believe that Targaryen blood was necessary to claim a dragon, and they have a Targaryen ancestors somewhere down the line (either through a Targaryen daughter from before the Conquest - Aenar had cousins -, or through a more recent Velaryon/Baratheon match (a niece of Valaena Velaryon, a sister of Alyssa Velaryon, a daughter of Bormund Baratheon etc.).



[There is also the possibility that they had Targaryen/dragonlord blood and did not believe that it was necessary, but that would have not hindered the Targaryens to allow them to make to try to claim a dragon. The possibility that they did believe the special blood was necessary while believing that they themselves had no such blood would have resulted in them not trying to claim a dragon, which is contradicted by the actual events.]



Considering that Duskendale was the most important port at the east coast of Westeros prior to the Conquest a Darklyn-Targaryen match is not unlikely at all, especially during the time shortly after Aenar and his kin arrived on the island (we know that the Targaryens and their vassals grew rich off the trade that passed through the Narrow Sea - that in and of itself suggests close ties to nearby centers of trade and commerce, i.e. Duskendale).


We don't have to assume that a daughter/direct descendant of Aenar married into House Darklyn, just that for one of Aenar's nieces - or a closer or more distant cousin - was brokered such a match.



And there has to be an explanation for the fact that the Masseys stood with the Aegon even before the Conquest, instead of staying loyal to their lawful liege, King Argilac.



The same really goes for a Darklyn-Velaryon or Massey-Velaryon match. Both are effectively neighbors. There is no reason to not assume that such a marriage could not happen.


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The idea that the dragonlord blood thing does not have anything to do with dragonriding/dragonbinding makes little to no sense to me. We now know that this belief goes back to Valyria, as does the whole incest thing.

No we don't. Dragonlord families kept the practice of incest. They used sorcery and horns to bind dragons to themselves too. In addition to dragonlords, there were these sorcerer princes who generally practiced polygamy.

We do not know exactly why Dragonlord families practiced incest. Dragonriding is not the single thing they did.

On the dragonseeds:

We don't know why Gormon Massey and Steffon Darklyn decided to try to claim a dragon. But there are only two options:

1. They did not have Targaryen/dragonlord blood and they did not believe that Targaryen/dragonlord blood was necessary to claim a dragon.

That is very unlikely, though, since that clearly was the prevalent belief about this whole thing on Dragonstone at that time, and it is very much hinted at/outright confirmed that the Targaryens of this day and age believed that. Thus we would have to deduce that if Gormon Massey and Ser Steffon believed that Targaryen/dragonblood was not necessary to claim a dragon they followed a theory that differed from 'the common view on the matter' held by the guys in charge (the Targaryens) which in itself is a very unlikely possibility, especially considering that Ser Steffon was the Lord Commander of the Queensguard.

More importantly, there is little reason to assume that Rhaenyra or Jace would allow important Black loyalists to throw away their lives if they believed that Targaryen/dragonblord blood was necessary. Thus we would have to believe that both Massey and Darklyn acted without Rhaenyra's or Jace's consent, or that they acted with their consent, but they would only have given their consent if

That is why they didnot believe that Targaryen blood was necessary. Do you have an idea why Septon Barth's book was banned by the Faith (do not tell me that it was Baelor's call)? Do you have an idea that Tyrion found a lot of dragonlore books which are full of BS whereas the real deal is hard to find? Do you not believe that the Citadel poisoned out the dragons? If so, what do you expect them to do with all those remaining dragon eggs waiting to be hatched? Sabotage? Obscuring the dragonlore by destroying true sources and producing dragonbooks containing BS? Changing the history books upon which they have strict monopoly?

Did not Marwyn make it pretty clear that a maester cannot write anything the grey sheep do not approve; otherwise they die from poisoned porridge?

The same really goes for a Darklyn-Velaryon or Massey-Velaryon match. Both are effectively neighbors. There is no reason to not assume that such a marriage could not happen.

These marriages do not normally happen because these are Targaryens with dragons. We know their marriage preferences well enough.

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Well, you have to do some deduction there.



1. Some ancient Valyrians may have used sorcery and magic horns to bind their dragons to them.



2. The Targaryen dynasty in Westeros did not.



3. Valyrian incest is a custom that originated with the Valyrian dragonlords (that's from 'The Sons of the Dragon', but I think Yandel quotes the same passage in the book).



Conclusion 1: Whatever the ancient Valyrians did lasted long enough to enable the Targaryens from Aenar to Aegon III to claim dragons by simply hanging out with them, saddling them, and jumping on their backs.



Conclusion 2: The fact that the Targaryens continued to practice incest in Westeros strongly suggests that this could be the explanation for the fact that all known Targaryens who tried to claim a dragon were successful.



I don't think we have yet reached a consensus as to how Valyrian society was organized, but my guess is that 'sorcerer princes' and certain sorcerers in general were as much at the top level of Valyrian society as the dragonlords. The really powerful family would have dragonlords, sorcerer who were dragonlords, and just plain sorcerers who did not give a shit about flying around.



I'm not sure why I should assume that the Faith was behind an anti-dragon disinformation campaign.



1. There would be little real/true knowledge about dragons and fire magic in Westeros in the first place, since Valyria never actually ruled Westeros. Whatever knowledge got there would have come with traders and eventually with the Targaryens (or rather, what they still retained at that point). There is no reason to assume that the dragonlords would share any of their secrets with barbarians from the end of the world, or is there?



2. There was no reason to continue to preserve existing books on dragonlore or write new ones after the last Targaryen dragon died? Who would read such books? Who would care?



3. It is entirely possible that burning Septon Barth's books originates with Baelor. Especially if his work did not only contain theories on magic the Faith did not actually like, but also a theory on, say, religion in general. Septon Barth's orthodoxy was even questioned while he was still alive, suggesting that he was not exactly following the common doctrine of the Faith of the Seven.



On the Massey/Darklyn matches with the Targaryens/Velaryons:



Come on now, don't try to appear to be stupid. You know as well as I that Aenar had only five dragons when he came from Valyria to Dragonstone. Four of them died, and at the Conquest they had only three. We don't know the number of the female siblings, nieces, aunts, and cousins Aenar had upon his arrival on Dragonstone, nor do we know how many 'spare daughters' all those relatives produced in later years. If a sister is there to marry a brother, a (distant) cousin can marry somebody else.


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On the Massey/Darklyn matches with the Targaryens/Velaryons:

Come on now, don't try to appear to be stupid. You know as well as I that Aenar had only five dragons when he came from Valyria to Dragonstone. Four of them died, and at the Conquest they had only three. We don't know the number of the female siblings, nieces, aunts, and cousins Aenar had upon his arrival on Dragonstone, nor do we know how many 'spare daughters' all those relatives produced in later years. If a sister is there to marry a brother, a (distant) cousin can marry somebody else.

Jeyne Marbrand or Marla Prester being granddaughters of Viserys Plumm is more likely than these supposed marriages and that way, you can keep your "right drop" theory as much as you like when Tyrion rides Viserion without A+J=T nonsense.

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No we don't. Dragonlord families kept the practice of incest. They used sorcery and horns to bind dragons to themselves too. In addition to dragonlords, there were these sorcerer princes who generally practiced polygamy.

We do not know exactly why Dragonlord families practiced incest. Dragonriding is not the single thing they did.

That is why they didnot believe that Targaryen blood was necessary. Do you have an idea why Septon Barth's book was banned by the Faith (do not tell me that it was Baelor's call)? Do you have an idea that Tyrion found a lot of dragonlore books which are full of BS whereas the real deal is hard to find? Do you not believe that the Citadel poisoned out the dragons? If so, what do you expect them to do with all those remaining dragon eggs waiting to be hatched? Sabotage? Obscuring the dragonlore by destroying true sources and producing dragonbooks containing BS? Changing the history books upon which they have strict monopoly?

Did not Marwyn make it pretty clear that a maester cannot write anything the grey sheep do not approve; otherwise they die from poisoned porridge?

These marriages do not normally happen because these are Targaryens with dragons. We know their marriage preferences well enough.

GRRM stated in an interview that the Targaryens practiced incest in order to "keep the bloodlines pure" and to "better control dragons." That is a pretty clear statement from him that the Targaryens believed they needed Targ blood to control dragons. Maybe the Targs were mistaken--but they did not have knowledge that Targ blood was not necessary and just keep it a secret. That does not seem plausible. And given that only Targs rode dragons, how could they even be sure a non-Targ could ride a dragon? So if Targ blood is not required to bond with a dragon--what is the secret? What will enable a non-Targ to bond with a dragon?

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I think if it were possible for anyone to ride a dragon George would have likely provided at least one semi-definitive example in TWOIAF. Because that is not the case, I'm sticking with the idea that the whole point of the incest is to be able to ride dragons, otherwise why bother with putting incest in the story? What is the point of the incest otherwise? If people look at the same info and come to a different conclusion, than I guess we will have to wait until at least TWOW to see who is right.





GRRM stated in an interview that the Targaryens practiced incest in order to "keep the bloodlines pure" and to "better control dragons." That is a pretty clear statement from him that the Targaryens believed they needed Targ blood to control dragons. Maybe the Targs were mistaken--but they did not have knowledge that Targ blood was not necessary and just keep it a secret. That does not seem plausible. And given that only Targs rode dragons, how could they even be sure a non-Targ could ride a dragon? So if Targ blood is not required to bond with a dragon--what is the secret? What will enable a non-Targ to bond with a dragon?




Exactly.


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If Targaryens were so adamant on practicing incestuous marriages even after adapting the Faith, there must have been some sort of reason for doing so. Maybe the 'right drop of blood' for dragonriding is something like a recessive gene: there's a chance an out-marriage can produce a child with the potential to become a dragonrider, but a higher chance if marrying someone else with the right blood (like a Targaryen or Velaryon.)



There's more Targaryen descendents than Aegon IV's bastards and Viserys Plumm. Elaena had four daughters by Ronnel Penrose and Rhaena, one of the last dragonriders, had six daughters by a Hightower. It wouldn't surprise me if many southern houses descend from the Targaryens just from being related to Elaena or Rhaena.



Since Joanna and Tywin are cousins, I personally think they both descend from a Targaryen ancestor. (House Webber is sworn to The Reach just like House Hightower. Maybe Rohanne Webber, a common ancestor Joanna and Tywin share, was a granddaughter of one of Rhaena's kids.) Tyrion obviously inherited a lot of funky recessive genes from them, like his pale blond and black hair. Maybe he also received the 'right' drop of blood for dragonriding too?


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I think if it were possible for anyone to ride a dragon George would have likely provided at least one semi-definitive example in TWOIAF. Because that is not the case, I'm sticking with the idea that the whole point of the incest is to be able to ride dragons, otherwise why bother with putting incest in the story? What is the point of the incest otherwise? If people look at the same info and come to a different conclusion, than I guess we will have to wait until at least TWOW to see who is right.

Apart from possible magical requirements of pure blood to work sorcery other than dragonriding, they should have done it mainly to hold the power within the family. At least that is why real world incest was practiced by Ptolemaics. Dragonriding is one thing. Breeding dragons is something different. Given that TWOIAF made it very probable that Valyrian dragons were unnatural constructs, perhaps the sorceries required to hatch and breed dragons were the real necessity behind incest. We know that magical affinity is related to blood.

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I have the ebook while I wait for my HC to be delivered; what chapter forshadows Tyrion as the son of the Mad King? I was looking and read the chapters on Aerys II, and Lannisters under the Dragon Lords, and didn't see anything conclusive. Just hearsay about Tywin's bedding, and Joanna being dismissed, but was dismissed before conceiving Tyrion.

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I have the ebook while I wait for my HC to be delivered; what chapter forshadows Tyrion as the son of the Mad King? I was looking and read the chapters on Aerys II, and Lannisters under the Dragon Lords, and didn't see anything conclusive. Just hearsay about Tywin's bedding, and Joanna being dismissed, but was dismissed before conceiving Tyrion.

She visited KL in 272 AC for the Anniversary Tourney, the year before Tyrion's birth. And Aerys make an insulting remark about her breasts, and Tywin tried to resign, which seems like an excessive reaction to an insulting remark. So there is some speculation that something more sexual happened at that time in 272, which could have led to Tyrion being the biological son of Aerys.

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Well, the best idea would be that she may have been not sure whether it was Aerys' child or Tywin's. She would not want to kill Tywin's unborn child, or would she? Especially not if they had tried to have more children after the twins.

She also may have realised it very late she was pregnant, or realised too late the child she was expecting might be a result of the rape. Another possibility is she did not find it ethical (it was her child as well).

Possibilities, but I still think Tywin was perfectly capable of protecting his wife from rape and Aerys never got to her. He was powerful, he slept with her at night and a lady of her standing is never alone, Tywin would have made sure she was guarded after Aerys his statements. He knew Aerys pretty well, and so did she.

An affair seems impossible. Aerys his charming days were over by then, he had humiliated her and het husband. She was a strong woman, if anything ever had happened it was definately over on her side.

She visited KL in 272 AC for the Anniversary Tourney, the year before Tyrion's birth. And Aerys make an insulting remark about her breasts, and Tywin tried to resign, which seems like an excessive reaction to an insulting remark. So there is some speculation that something more sexual happened at that time in 272, which could have led to Tyrion being the biological son of Aerys.

Actually, that's not excessive. Their relationship had dtarted to fray since 268. The humilation of Joanna (which was a humilation of Tywin as well and probably meant as such) may have been a final drop. My guess is he only kept it on for the sake of his children (put Cersei on the throne).

If Tyrion wants to ride a dragon he should get that horn.

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She also may have realised it very late she was pregnant, or realised too late the child she was expecting might be a result of the rape. Another possibility is she did not find it ethical (it was her child as well).

Possibilities, but I still think Tywin was perfectly capable of protecting his wife from rape and Aerys never got to her. He was powerful, he slept with her at night and a lady of her standing is never alone, Tywin would have made sure she was guarded after Aerys his statements. He knew Aerys pretty well, and so did she.

An affair seems impossible. Aerys his charming days were over by then, he had humiliated her and het husband. She was a strong woman, if anything ever had happened it was definately over on her side.

Actually, that's not excessive. Their relationship had dtarted to fray since 268. The humilation of Joanna (which was a humilation of Tywin as well and probably meant as such) may have been a final drop. My guess is he only kept it on for the sake of his children (put Cersei on the throne).

If Tyrion wants to ride a dragon he should get that horn.

I doubt the horn works that way. GRRM included this event for some reason. While it does not guarantee that Aerys and Joanna had sex at that time, or even if they did, that Tyrion is the result of the encounter. But it put them together at what could have been the right time--a piece of the puzzle that was missing before. So this information makes it more likely that Aerys is the bio-dad.

As for protecting Joanna from rape--while in KL, if Aerys sends his guards to bring Joanna to his bed chambers, Tywin would not be in a position to stop it.

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I doubt the horn works that way. GRRM included this event for some reason. While it does not guarantee that Aerys and Joanna had sex at that time, or even if they did, that Tyrion is the result of the encounter. But it put them together at what could have been the right time--a piece of the puzzle that was missing before. So this information makes it more likely that Aerys is the bio-dad.

As for protecting Joanna from rape--while in KL, if Aerys sends his guards to bring Joanna to his bed chambers, Tywin would not be in a position to stop it.

You mean the guy who started a war for the kidnapping of the son he hated? We see that Lyonel Baratheon started a war and declared himself king when a betrothal agreement was broken. Lannisters are proud. What you suggest does not make sense.

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We really have to keep in mind here that there is no way that 'royal rape' committed by Aerys II resembles anything a woman may face today. Aerys would neither harass nor assault his target on the streets or at work, and he would also not use his power in the way other powerful men do. He would just invite every woman he chanced to like into his bed chamber, and that was it.



In a society like Westeros you obey a royal command. If the Kingsguard comes calling and says the king is expecting you, you go. It does not matter whether you are a peasant girl, a Lannister of Casterly Rock, or even the lawful wife of the Hand of the King.



For Aerys and Joanna to be alone together we have to assume that he summoned her into his chambers. Anything else would have been really out of place, and a scenario in which drunken Aerys chanced upon Joanna in a hallway and took her then and there makes little sense to me (especially considering that no one would have been able to keep that even an ill-kept secret). And a scenario in which Aerys entered Tywin's bed chamber in the Tower of the Hand via the secret passageways demands, I think, that Tywin himself was occupied elsewhere (of which we have no indication of).



In my opinion there are a number of possibilities, but this is the scenario I prefer:



Joanna's marriage to Tywin was arranged. She did not like it, and was much more attracted to Aerys, with whom she had an on-off relationship in her youth. Whatever happened between Joanna and Aerys in 272 AC was as consensual as a sexual relationship between king and subject can be. Perhaps Joanna was still attracted to Aerys, perhaps she was disillusioned about Tywin, perhaps she was no longer interested in Aerys but could not resists him - the possibilities are really endless.


That is the version I prefer, as the whole Aerys-Joanna-attraction-thing would give the Tywin-Aerys-dynamic yet another motivational layer which would be absent if we go with 'happy Lannister marriage, and the evil Targaryen intruder/rapist'.


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You mean the guy who started a war for the kidnapping of the son he hated? We see that Lyonel Baratheon started a war and declared himself king when a betrothal agreement was broken. Lannisters are proud. What you suggest does not make sense.

I am saying he did not have the power to stop it at that time. He was in a very different position years later and after his grandson became king.

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My preferred scenario is that A+J didnot happen. This scenario does not depend on any assumption and does not seem to contradict with known facts.


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My preferred scenario is that A+J didnot happen. This scenario does not depend on any assumption and does not seem to contradict with known facts.

While you might be correct, there are a multitude of clues in favor of A+J=T such that they could not all have been put there by accident. You believe that are all red herrings. While possible, that is merely a way of casually dismissing the clues. But if A+J=T happened, it is not difficult to imagine that Aerys would have his guards bring Joanna to his chambers, and Joanna would not really have a choice (nor could Tywin stop it). Whether Joanna went completely willingly or not is a separate matter, and one on which we really can only speculate at this time. But to deny the overall theory of AJT requires an alternative explanation for all the clues, and a reason for GRRM to put so many such clues in the text. I am not suggesting that is impossible, but it more than merely saying that it depends on no assumptions and not contradictions. In a story like this one, the clues to any mystery such as AJT, if true, would be subject to alternative explanations--that is what keeps it a mystery until GRRM is ready to reveal.

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Alternative explanation for the clues: they are not clues. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Before TWOIAF, Daemon Lannister - Elaena Targaryen marriage theory made perfect sense. There were many clues as strong as those for A+J=T.


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Dragonbinder has clearly been introduce to pose a threat to Dany, her future dragonriders, and possibly even the dragons themselves. While it is possible that Dragonbinder becomes a tool to bind Tyrion (or anyone else) to a dragon, I'd be very surprised if the story goes that way.



Ran suggested that the dragon horns may have been a weapon the Valyrian dragonlords developed and used during their internal struggles for supremacy, to steal each other's dragons. All Dany knows is that the Valyrians had used 'magic horns' on their dragons, but the purpose of those horns has still be specified.



That makes actually the most sense to me, as the original dragonbinding process most likely involves something around 'actual blood mingling' or something like that.


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