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LmL

Was Aegon I Targaryen a Violent Psychopath?

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This isn't going to be one of those posts that pulls quotes and compiles evidence to build towards a grand thesis - we all know the events of the Conquest. What I would like to do is look at history with a critical eye, the way modern historians view all records of the past - keeping in mind that "history is written by the victors." I would also like to look at the conquest with an eye on its ramifications for morality and liberty.

Aegon the Conqueror planned to take over Westeros with sheer violence and brutality long before the business with Argilac the Arrogant - we know this because we know that Aegon made the painted table, symbolizing a unified Westeros, years before the invasion. And let's start calling it that - an invasion. It was an invasion by a hostile force, who was bent on using any amount of horrific violence necessary to seize power and authority for himself and his descendants. Aegon did not stop until he either received absolute submission, or a mysterious Dornish letter. He showed no hesitation to burn and murder on a mass scale. Did he conduct war ethically, and just have a better weapon? Or was just another one of history's butchers?

On the other hand, we should consider his rule. How did he effect the quality of life for those he ruled? Does that even matter, after you've used violence to rob people of the right of self-governance?

I believe all forms of true evil flow from the violation of another person's life and liberty. The golden rule really is the epitome of morality. If every person followed the golden rule, earth would a peaceful utopia. The only reason it is not, is because some people decide to use violence (violation of another) for personal gain. These people are psychopaths or sociopaths - they do not have empathy for others. Slavery, rape, domination, subjugation, coercion, brainwashing, torture, mental and spiritual abuse - these are all flowing from the same mindset.

The point of that brief statement of morality is to highlight the fact that leaders of nations who use force and violence to subjugate other peoples are committing the ultimate evil. It's violation of others life and liberty, on a massive scale.

And thus, I think we should look at Aegon the Conqueror and strip away the narrative - let's look at the facts of what he did and have a discussion. He seems very similar to Ghengis Khan in the fact that he was brutal and merciless (but not overly cruel - he didn't torture) to those who opposed his rule, but fairly open handed and decent to those who accepted. Aegon didn't really mess with the North after they submitted, nor Oldtown and Highgarden, etc. I still maintain that Aegon was a violent psychopath, but he didn't torture. He didn't wage ethnic cleansing. He may have been into that racial supremacy stuff - we all know about that. But he wasn't sending all the Crannogmen to be concentration camps or anything.

If George had given us that type of conqueror, it would be easy to come to a judgement about them. But instead, we have a more complex kind of conqueror, as I spelled out above.

I am calling him a violent psychopath, but I think it's open for discussion.

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I think we should also consider this discussion in light of what it means for Daenerys and her future choices and actions., as well as any and all other rulers and would be rulers.


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Violent? Yes. Psychopath? I would like to think not. Using military force to acomplish goals was perfectly acceptable in the time period, and Aegon didn't seem particularly brutal or cruel.

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I wouldn't call Genghis Khan a violent psychopath, and Aegon I was nowhere near as ruthless as that.

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You don’t think the willingness to use extreme force on a mass scale simply for the means of gaining personal power makes you at least a little psychotic or sociopathic? I mean, what kind of person decides to do that?


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I wouldn't call Genghis Khan a violent psychopath...

No?

The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.

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"They make a desert and call it peace."

Indeed. Clearly, this is an issue George is wrestling with. It basically gets down the morality of the existence of any state or government, which uses force to “keep the peace.” There isn’t an easy answer.

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Indeed. Clearly, this is an issue George is wrestling with. It basically gets down the morality of the existence of any state or government, which uses force to “keep the peace.” There isn’t an easy answer.

I think the Bush Doctrine has had a direct impact on his storyline, not joking.

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You don’t think the willingness to use extreme force on a mass scale simply for the means of gaining personal power makes you at least a little psychotic or sociopathic? I mean, what kind of person decides to do that?

History is all about people killing eachother for personal gain. Doesn't make them psychopaths.

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No?

The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.

I would call that the rationale of a sociopath. This person has elevated their own personal desires above the rights and lives of other people - that’s a basic disconnect with your humanity. I think all people that desire to rule others are somewhat sociopathic.

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History is all about people killing eachother for personal gain. Doesn't make them psychopaths.

What’s your reasoning here? Just because a lot of people have done it doesn’t mean anything in regards to its morality or rationale.

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I would call that the rationale of a sociopath. This person has elevated their own personal desires above the rights and lives of other people - that’s a basic disconnect with your humanity. I think all people that desire to rule others are somewhat sociopathic.

If your pleasure is other people's suffering, you're ticking several boxes.

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He gave every kingdom the opportunity to bend the knee. A violent psychopath would have went in dragons blazing, burning everything in his path, no questions asked. I don't think he was a psychopath at all. He was an ambitious conqueror. Other Targaryen kings were violent psychopaths, but not Aegon. At least with the information we have about him.

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I am making the case that anyone who is willing to coerce whole tribes or kingdoms of peoples by using violence has very diminished empathy, is exhibiting antisocial behavior (wholesale slaughter), a lack or remorse, and certainly disinhibited and bold behaviour.



We are also told that Aegon was reclusive. That’s another anti-social characteristic. By itself, sure, some people are reclusive. But it fits.


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The key is empathy. When one don’t feel sorrow at other’s pain, especially when they helped cause it... that’s the road to sociopathy.


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I wouldn't call him a psychopath, give anyone else the power he had and they would abuse it, badly, although I am a bit uncomfortable about how he dealt with dorne.

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