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Lord Wraith

R+L=J v.157

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I really don't know what this is about. My best guess is, as I've tried to mention above, that Rhaegar (and perhaps also his parents and Aemon/Jaehaerys) believed that the promised prince and his companions must be from the same generation. No idea how they would have reached such a conclusion, though. Could be that the prophecy text hinted at something like that or people concluded it because the talk about the dragon heads indicated the 'other heads' were very close to the promised prince.

In this case the same generation means the same thing as Rhaegar's children, unless the six year old or so Viserys is going to start producing children anytime soon. To Rhaegar it means he has to have a third child. Which fits like a glove to his conversation with Elia regarding the new born Aegon and his statement "there must be one more."

Moreover, this generational connection between the Prince Who Was Promised fits exactly with the second meaning of the sigil. The dragon has three heads because it had three heads in the case of Aegon and his Sisters. It is this history of these siblings, not an entire Targaryen generation, that forms the background of how the Targaryens view the world. The dragon has three heads, not four, to include Orys Baratheon, the sibling's bastard half brother.

Yet for Rhaegar, the closest he can come to replicating the three headed dragon in his children is with a half sibling to little Rhaenys and baby Aegon. Elia can have no more children or if she does it will kill her, so Rhaegar must figure out how his new understanding of prophecy is to fit with his children. He either must throw away his understanding of prophecy as fundamentally flawed, or he has to produce the needed "one more." He is not going to leave it to his crazy younger brother to do so, or for a sister he never anticipated, much less knew, to provide the answer.

All these imperfections must have frustrated Rhaegar to no end. He is trying to be the PwwP all of his life, until he thinks it is to be his son who will the Promised One. He believes his children must be the three headed dragon come again, but his wife can't give him a third child. What is he to do? Well, his attraction to Lyanna may have provided more clarity on what to do than all the readings of prophecy and visits to prophetic dreamers. Hell, having a child with Lyanna, sounds like a much better idea than trying to force Elia to have another child and sacrifice herself in the process. I don't care how much that sounds like Nissa Nissa's sacrifice. And you know what? In this he was right. Jon is going to play a crucial role in the War for the Dawn. It doesn't matter much that he is only a half brother to a dead sister, and, perhaps,to a dead supposed to be PwwP.

4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

This could the exclude Rhaegar himself because of his age, Aerys (and Rhaella, too) because they were the founders of the line which would bring forth the promised prince, not his destined companions. But Viserys is rather closely in age to Aegon, and he is much more closely related to Aerys and Rhaella than either Aegon or Rhaenys.

Viserys is of Rhaegar's generation, even given the age difference.

4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I have difficulty imagining that Rhaegar suddenly took upon the 'savior-creating thing' all on himself when there is (as of yet) no hint that he figured into the entire thing at all. All he could work with was the original prophecy and the Ghost's addendum to it, and that gave Aerys and Rhaella important roles, not Rhaegar. Whether Rhaegar and his line, Viserys and his line, or another future child of Aerys and Rhaella would bring forth the promised prince wasn't clear (not to mention that it could have been both lines interconnected due to cousin marriages in the next generations).

I imagine the expectations on Rhaegar following his birth and all the deaths at Summerhall were huge. We are told the shadows of Summerhall shaped and followed him all his life. The expectations of his entire family, from distant Maester Aemon to his own mother's suffering through a horrible marriage to produce the promised one, would have placed expectations and burdens on the young Prince Rhaegar that would be enough to make him crazy even without the "blood of his father" flowing through his veins.

4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

<snip>

Somewhat unrelated to that I might add that as things turn out prophecy doesn't seem to care about legitimate birth. Perhaps not even with the promised prince him-/herself. If Tyrion is one of the dragon heads he is neither of Aerys and Rhaella's line nor a royal prince. Unless we make the rather adventurous assumption that Rhaegar must have believed all the dragon heads have to be legitimate children there is no need to assume he would have had to marry Lyanna to produce the third head.

My understanding of the Tyrion as a Targaryen theories is that they center on Aerys being Tyrion's father. So, Tyrion would be of Aerys's line but not Rhaella's. And, yes, not legitimate. I'm not going to go into that debate here other than to say I agree legitimate/bastard has little to do with what prophecy will will out.

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I think they were married, of course, but there is no need to overemphasize prophecy for that. It could just have been love. Just as choosing Lyanna as the mother of the third head may have just been love, not prophecy also pushing for her to be the ideal mother for this guy. Just as it apparently didn't matter all that much that Elia Martell was the mother of Aegon.

I agree

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5 hours ago, SFDanny said:

In this case the same generation means the same thing as Rhaegar's children, unless the six year old or so Viserys is going to start producing children anytime soon. To Rhaegar it means he has to have a third child. Which fits like a glove to his conversation with Elia regarding the new born Aegon and his statement "there must be one more."

Moreover, this generational connection between the Prince Who Was Promised fits exactly with the second meaning of the sigil. The dragon has three heads because it had three heads in the case of Aegon and his Sisters. It is this history of these siblings, not an entire Targaryen generation, that forms the background of how the Targaryens view the world. The dragon has three heads, not four, to include Orys Baratheon, the sibling's bastard half brother.

Yet for Rhaegar, the closest he can come to replicating the three headed dragon in his children is with a half sibling to little Rhaenys and baby Aegon. Elia can have no more children or if she does it will kill her, so Rhaegar must figure out how his new understanding of prophecy is to fit with his children. He either must throw away his understanding of prophecy as fundamentally flawed, or he has to produce the needed "one more." He is not going to leave it to his crazy younger brother to do so, or for a sister he never anticipated, much less knew, to provide the answer.

All these imperfections must have frustrated Rhaegar to no end. He is trying to be the PwwP all of his life, until he thinks it is to be his son who will the Promised One. He believes his children must be the three headed dragon come again, but his wife can't give him a third child. What is he to do? Well, his attraction to Lyanna may have provided more clarity on what to do than all the readings of prophecy and visits to prophetic dreamers. Hell, having a child with Lyanna, sounds like a much better idea than trying to force Elia to have another child and sacrifice herself in the process. I don't care how much that sounds like Nissa Nissa's sacrifice. And you know what? In this he was right. Jon is going to play a crucial role in the War for the Dawn. It doesn't matter much that he is only a half brother to a dead sister, and, perhaps,to a dead supposed to be PwwP.

Viserys is of Rhaegar's generation, even given the age difference.

I imagine the expectations on Rhaegar following his birth and all the deaths at Summerhall were huge. We are told the shadows of Summerhall shaped and followed him all his life. The expectations of his entire family, from distant Maester Aemon to his own mother's suffering through a horrible marriage to produce the promised one, would have placed expectations and burdens on the young Prince Rhaegar that would be enough to make him crazy even without the "blood of his father" flowing through his veins.

My understanding of the Tyrion as a Targaryen theories is that they center on Aerys being Tyrion's father. So, Tyrion would be of Aerys's line but not Rhaella's. And, yes, not legitimate. I'm not going to go into that debate here other than to say I agree legitimate/bastard has little to do with what prophecy will will out.

I agree

I think the point is that rhaegar did not need to elope and miss for one year no matter what has driven him to do so: love in lyanna or belief in prophecy. 

Many Targ betrayed their wives for love, and many did crazy things for prophecy, but nobody silently missed for one year without response, especially when he knew too well his father is mad enough to be deposed. 

As a crown prince, it is his duty to show up when there is a war (by the way which was caused by himself). At this point, a normal and sane person should go to deaL with the mess firstly and wait a little bit time to have sex with lyanna. But obviously rhaegar had different opinion. That is why he is a insane person. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, SFDanny said:

stuff

In German 'generation' usually means 'to belong to the same age group'. If your brother is already an adult when you are born you and your brother are technically not of the same generation. Vice versa, if your nephew happens to be roughly the same age as you, you are of the same generation despite the fact that there is also an aunt-nephew relationship (like there is with Dany and Jon, for instance).

Since siblings usually are much closer in age to each other than Viserys-Rhaegar (or Daeron II-Daenerys) we also refer to siblings being of the same generation as you yourself, but that doesn't have to be the case. Being of the same generation means you grew up in the same time, did (loosely) see and experience the same stuff at the same age, and so on, and neither really is the case for Viserys and Rhaegar.

No idea how this is done in the Anglo-American sphere, but I guess I've explained why I think Viserys and Aegon are in the same generation while Rhaegar is not.

I'm also not sure why you would believe (or on what you base) your assumption that Rhaegar thought Viserys was crazy or not worthy of bringing forth the promised prince. Rhaegar himself is the son of a madman, and carries as much 'tainted mad blood' in his veins as both Viserys and Daenerys. While some people seem to believe Viserys wasn't exactly the stablest prince on earth, I personally see little in common between Viserys' behavior (a pitiful, anxious, frightened, and overall not very sympathetic character in AGoT) and what we know about his father's state of mind. Aerys II actually had a serious mental illness of some sort, while Viserys was shaped by life and circumstances into a less than ideal leader and figurehead, but I'd never actually consider Viserys to be crazy, sick, or insane.

We never learn whether Rhaegar was close to his brother - probably not so much (but then, we don't know how much time they spend together prior and during Duskendale) - but there is also no hint that Rhaegar ever thought he brother was of no use or unworthy or something like that.

I actually think it quite likely that Rhaegar needed another additional incentive to actually decide to father the third dragon head himself. People usually draw very quick lines and ignore that apparently quite a lot of time might have passed between Aegon's birth and the conversation and the actual abduction (and we know Rhaegar went on a journey before he ended up in the Riverlands). Rhaegar stating 'There must be one more' doesn't yet mean that he also thinks that he will be or has to be the one producing that person.

The idea about the identity of 'the first dragon head' (Viserys, Rhaenys, Rhaegar, whoever...) was already there at the point of the vision conversation, though.

I personally don't think that Rhaegar was stupid enough to think that fathering a child on Lyanna or marrying her was a great idea. He may have decided to do that if he became convinced it was predetermined by a prophecy. But by the time of the conversation with Elia that didn't seem to have been clear yet. He is still thinking about the whole thing.

In regards to the Conqueror thing I still don't see the mental gymnastics Rhaegar must have been forced to make to come to the idea that the other dragon heads must have been a mirror of Aegon's sister, surrounding the newborn promised prince.

Unless we go with Rhaegar having some special insight prior to the vision conversation - and we have no reason to assume such a thing - it just makes little sense to assume that Rhaegar would even think that was necessary. Granted, Rhaegar's parents desperately tried to have more children, at first most likely driven by the need to produce the other dragon heads. But they didn't name their eldest son Aegon in an attempt to recreate the Conqueror despite the fact that they and other Targaryens at that time (Aemon, possibly Jaehaerys II) believed that Rhaegar was the promised prince. More importantly, they couldn't have recreated the elder sister-younger sister symmetry with Rhaegar even if they wanted to, nor is there any reason to believe that Aerys and Rhaella wanted to have first two daughters before they wanted to have additional spares to ensure the future of the dynasty.

I'd say that George had the opportunity to introduce this whole concept in TWoIaF simply by Aerys/Rhaella actually wanting daughters instead or sons or something like that. Back when we the only Targaryens we basically knew were Aegon and his sisters the whole approach had a certain interesting symmetry. But then, right now I cannot really imagine that a learned man like Rhaegar would actually overemphasize the importance of the Conqueror and his sister-wives for the prophecy. They may have founded the royal Targaryen dynasty of Westeros, but they didn't found the dragonlord house of Targaryen back in Valyria, nor do they have anything to do with the prophecy of the promised prince as far as we know (besides from possibly being mistaken about being the ones who fulfilled it and/or conquering Westeros because they read the prophecy).

Whether Rhaegar (and Aerys, by the way, one could also defend his madness, his cruelty, his executions, and him raping his sister-wife repeatedly because it was all 'necessary' to bring forth the promised prince) can be excused for what he did is a tricky question. That basically depends on the question whether the promised prince or the third dragon head did really have to be Lyanna's son by Rhaegar to do what he is destined to do (I flat-out contest that until I see some evidence for it) and, more importantly, that the prophecy in itself isn't just descriptive. Perhaps the promised prince and the other dragon heads are just the guys who will save the world from the Others. That doesn't mean they have to have very special blood, have to be fathered on this or that woman, or couldn't be some other random people with Targaryen blood. The prophet simply may have foreseen that Daenerys, Jon Snow, and Tyrion will save the world but this doesn't mean that only this three people could possibly do what they are going to do.

If Rhaegar believed that (or if anyone comes up with the idea that Aerys had to rape his sister to save the world) then both would be mistaken. If a prophecy is true it will come true regardless what you do. Trying to fulfill it or trying to fuck with it is a very bad idea if it is a true prophecy. That is just like justifying cruel actions because some good came from them. It is abhorrent and morally corrupt. Neither Rhaegar nor Aerys had any real knowledge that their actions would/might save Westeros. Reading or interpreting a prophecy isn't sound knowledge. Especially not in a world with as fucked up and opaque prophecies as Westeros.

Chances are pretty good that had Jon Snow or Daenerys never be born somebody else would have brought back the dragons or defended the Realm against the Others. I never got my head around the idea that Dany is super-special just because she brought the dragons back. She intuitively was able work a spell that pulled that off but that doesn't mean that only she was able to do that. I maintain that any other sufficiently dragonlord-blooded Targaryen may have had the magical potential to do that if he also happened to do the other stuff (kill the people closest to you and add a little blood sacrifice for seasoning).

And the same goes for Jon Snow. Yes he seems to be the first direct offspring of a Targaryen and a Stark, but so what? That's not going to make a him a superman with super special royal blood. Certain bloodlines and people have certain special inherited magical traits, but that doesn't make them special. Their actions and decision will decide whether they are heroes, not their blood. We see this nowhere better than in ADwD where Dany nearly succeeds in throwing her destiny and future away. The promised princess can not only walk away from her destiny she can even die before she ever learns about it. That is a very interesting take on the whole destiny and prophesied hero thing.

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On February 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM, Lord Varys said:

In German 'generation' usually means 'to belong to the same age group'. If your brother is already an adult when you are born you and your brother are technically not of the same generation. Vice versa, if your nephew happens to be roughly the same age as you, you are of the same generation despite the fact that there is also an aunt-nephew relationship (like there is with Dany and Jon, for instance).

Since siblings usually are much closer in age to each other than Viserys-Rhaegar (or Daeron II-Daenerys) we also refer to siblings being of the same generation as you yourself, but that doesn't have to be the case. Being of the same generation means you grew up in the same time, did (loosely) see and experience the same stuff at the same age, and so on, and neither really is the case for Viserys and Rhaegar.

No idea how this is done in the Anglo-American sphere, but I guess I've explained why I think Viserys and Aegon are in the same generation while Rhaegar is not.

The use of the word "generation" becomes sloppy, loose, and inexact when it is applied to large groups of people who are unrelated. The baby boomer generation, millennials, etc. are names given to people of roughly the same age in recent history who we give this loosely defined and inexact use of the word "generation" to in order to speak to common experiences of these groups. That has nothing to do with what the word means when we are talking about an individual family, and it has nothing to do with this case. When we speak of a generation in a specific family we are talking about specific relationships between family members, usually defined from one person designated as "ego." For the Targaryens that founding generation is made up of Aegon the Conquer, Visenya, and Rhaenys, and Orys Baratheon. Their fellow members would be of that specific Targaryen generation would also be made up of any first cousins they may have had. Off the top of my head I know of none.

So, too, is Rhaegar's generation composed of himself, Viserys, and Daenerys - all siblings and of ages that place Rhaegar and Daenerys some twenty plus years apart. We, again, know of no cousins alive from this generation.

Looking to the next generation, Rhaegar's son, Aegon, his daughter Rhaenys, possibly Jon Snow, hypothetically any children Viserys could have had, and children Daenerys might have in the future all belong to this same generation.

But even here, while I said before that when we use the word generation when  we are talking about Rhaegar's children it is the same thing as talking about baby Aegon's generation, that is because, as far as we know, the two siblings are the only members of that generation of Targaryens. This convenient de facto overlap of meaning should not be used to muddle the water. When Rhaegar is talking about how there "must be one more" he is talking about another of his children. Not a hypothetical child the six year old Viserys may have in the future, and absolutely not Viserys himself.

While I'm sure you are right that both Anglo-American traditions and your own German traditions use of the word "generations" sometimes to unrelated groups of people of similar ages and experiences, I'm also fairly certain when applied to a specific family it is used in the way I have defined it. It is basic cultural anthropology and the study of kinship relationships and terms common across both of these traditions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but pretty sure I'm not.

But LV, let's assume you are right. Let's put Viserys as part of baby Aegon's generation. What would that mean? It means when Rhaegar tells Elia there "must be one more" there need not be. Rhaenys, Aegon, and Viserys. A generation by your definition already exists. If Rhaegar is only looking for three Targaryens of the same generation, then by your definition of a generation, he already has them. There is no need for "one more." And it kind of ruins the whole logic of the scene.

 

On February 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM, Lord Varys said:

I'm also not sure why you would believe (or on what you base) your assumption that Rhaegar thought Viserys was crazy or not worthy of bringing forth the promised prince. Rhaegar himself is the son of a madman, and carries as much 'tainted mad blood' in his veins as both Viserys and Daenerys. While some people seem to believe Viserys wasn't exactly the stablest prince on earth, I personally see little in common between Viserys' behavior (a pitiful, anxious, frightened, and overall not very sympathetic character in AGoT) and what we know about his father's state of mind. Aerys II actually had a serious mental illness of some sort, while Viserys was shaped by life and circumstances into a less than ideal leader and figurehead, but I'd never actually consider Viserys to be crazy, sick, or insane.

We never learn whether Rhaegar was close to his brother - probably not so much (but then, we don't know how much time they spend together prior and during Duskendale) - but there is also no hint that Rhaegar ever thought he brother was of no use or unworthy or something like that.

My belief is from Ser Barristan assessment of young Viserys and his decision not to go to Viserys because he saw too much of the Mad King Aerys in his young son. We don't get specific examples from Selmy of Viserys's behavior but his assessment was that in Viserys's case the "coin flip" had landed on the insane side and that even as a young boy this was observable.

But perhaps you're right. Because Ser Barristan saw this, does not necessarily mean Rhaegar saw it. Rhaegar may not have spent that much time with Viserys from the time of his birth in 276 to Rhaegar's death in 283, but I would think word of Viserys's madness would spread amongst the Royal family and those close to them. Still it is an assumption on my part.

Regardless, of whether or not Rhaegar thought Viserys crazy, he knew he was only six, and was unable to father children for years. Nor did Viserys's future children fit into the context of the conversation around the "one more" that was needed with Elia upon her giving birth to Aegon.

On February 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM, Lord Varys said:

I actually think it quite likely that Rhaegar needed another additional incentive to actually decide to father the third dragon head himself. People usually draw very quick lines and ignore that apparently quite a lot of time might have passed between Aegon's birth and the conversation and the actual abduction (and we know Rhaegar went on a journey before he ended up in the Riverlands). Rhaegar stating 'There must be one more' doesn't yet mean that he also thinks that he will be or has to be the one producing that person.

The idea about the identity of 'the first dragon head' (Viserys, Rhaenys, Rhaegar, whoever...) was already there at the point of the vision conversation, though.

Oops, I think we just went off track. We are discussing your idea that Rhaegar had come to believe he needed three heads of the dragon from the same generation as opposed to my belief that Rhaegar had come to believe he must recreate in his children a new Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters, right? I've been trying to show you that because Rhaenys and Aegon are the only members of their generation of Targaryens it is essentially the same thing, but now you change your mind, right? ...ok.

We're bouncing about a bit here, but that's ok. To the bolded part. No it doesn't. Both the reference to a three headed dragon and the conversation taking place with Elia on the occasion of the naming of their new born son does. Once again, the three head dragon is a reference to three siblings, not to just any three Targaryens, as all the points I've made above have shown. Aegon is one head of the dragon and Rhaenys is another. Which leaves a third to be born later. The whole point of telling Elia "there must be one more" would seem to be to let her know her help in bringing forth the third head of the dragon is needed. It's not to tell her that "oh, it's ok, perhaps my little brother with get busy soon and make the last head of the dragon." It's to tell Elia, and the attentive reader who knows Elia is having problems giving birth, "we have a problem here." Martin could have shown us the vision of Rhaegar naming Aegon and being the PwwP and stopped there, but he adds the three headed dragon information and the telling of Elia the need to be "one more." It a bit disingenuous to believe this isn't all related.

On February 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM, Lord Varys said:

I personally don't think that Rhaegar was stupid enough to think that fathering a child on Lyanna or marrying her was a great idea. He may have decided to do that if he became convinced it was predetermined by a prophecy. But by the time of the conversation with Elia that didn't seem to have been clear yet. He is still thinking about the whole thing.

I should be clear. I'm arguing what I think is Rhaegar's thinking concerning prophecy at a given point of his story. Understanding that gives us a greater understanding of the character. That does not mean I think he kidnapped Lyanna in order to fulfill the prophecy as he knew it. I think I've been clear in the past, so late me make it clear here again, I think Rhaegar rescues Lyanna following a chance encounter in the Riverlands. I think he does so because he feels he "owes" her for Harrenhal, and because something has provided a catalyst for why Lyanna must leave when they do. My guess is the wedding to Robert has been moved up to coincide with Brandon's and Catelyn's. The need of Rhaegar to have a third head of the dragon is only background to these events. It likely provides, along with an attraction between Lyanna and Rhaegar, a factor in their decision to have a child, but it is not the reason, I believe for the kidnapping. That happens because, I think, Rhaegar cannot say no to Lyanna's request for help.

So, no, I'd say Rhaegar doesn't think it is a great idea. I think he thinks it is the only way to prevent Lyanna from having to marry Robert. They plan to hide away to prevent this fate, and they fall in love, and Rhaegar needs another child, which Lyanna is more than happy to give him. It's a plan full of dangers for both of them, but it is not a plan for war, and given the options quite possibly the best plan available that does not entail accepting their fates as determined by others.

On February 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM, Lord Varys said:

In regards to the Conqueror thing I still don't see the mental gymnastics Rhaegar must have been forced to make to come to the idea that the other dragon heads must have been a mirror of Aegon's sister, surrounding the newborn promised prince.

Unless we go with Rhaegar having some special insight prior to the vision conversation - and we have no reason to assume such a thing - it just makes little sense to assume that Rhaegar would even think that was necessary. Granted, Rhaegar's parents desperately tried to have more children, at first most likely driven by the need to produce the other dragon heads. But they didn't name their eldest son Aegon in an attempt to recreate the Conqueror despite the fact that they and other Targaryens at that time (Aemon, possibly Jaehaerys II) believed that Rhaegar was the promised prince. More importantly, they couldn't have recreated the elder sister-younger sister symmetry with Rhaegar even if they wanted to, nor is there any reason to believe that Aerys and Rhaella wanted to have first two daughters before they wanted to have additional spares to ensure the future of the dynasty.

The Targaryens, and Rhaegar in particular, do think they have some special insight regarding the prophecy. That is obvious by Rhaegar's decision that Aegon is the PwwP, by the inclusion of the Targaryen sigil into the prophecy, and by the Ghost of High Heart's addition that the PwwP would spring from Aerys's and Rhaella's line. That doesn't mean Rhaegar's understanding doesn't change - we know it does.

I think you are looking for Rhaegar to have an understanding of the prophecy that makes perfect sense in all the particulars of all the additions and changes that have been glommed on to it over the centuries. I don't think prophecies work that way. Almost always those that think they understand it are wrong. Rhaegar is no different. It is only after the prophecy is fulfilled that one can look back and see how it was done. As Marwyn famously said, "prophecies will bite your prick off every time."

All I'm looking for are the clues that point to what Rhaegar believed about the prophecy at different times, in order to better understand him. The scene between Elia and Rhaegar, and what Rhaegar tells her is amongst the most insightful things we have to show what he was thinking.

On February 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM, Lord Varys said:

I'd say that George had the opportunity to introduce this whole concept in TWoIaF simply by Aerys/Rhaella actually wanting daughters instead or sons or something like that. Back when we the only Targaryens we basically knew were Aegon and his sisters the whole approach had a certain interesting symmetry. But then, right now I cannot really imagine that a learned man like Rhaegar would actually overemphasize the importance of the Conqueror and his sister-wives for the prophecy. They may have founded the royal Targaryen dynasty of Westeros, but they didn't found the dragonlord house of Targaryen back in Valyria, nor do they have anything to do with the prophecy of the promised prince as far as we know (besides from possibly being mistaken about being the ones who fulfilled it and/or conquering Westeros because they read the prophecy).

Whether Rhaegar (and Aerys, by the way, one could also defend his madness, his cruelty, his executions, and him raping his sister-wife repeatedly because it was all 'necessary' to bring forth the promised prince) can be excused for what he did is a tricky question. That basically depends on the question whether the promised prince or the third dragon head did really have to be Lyanna's son by Rhaegar to do what he is destined to do (I flat-out contest that until I see some evidence for it) and, more importantly, that the prophecy in itself isn't just descriptive. Perhaps the promised prince and the other dragon heads are just the guys who will save the world from the Others. That doesn't mean they have to have very special blood, have to be fathered on this or that woman, or couldn't be some other random people with Targaryen blood. The prophet simply may have foreseen that Daenerys, Jon Snow, and Tyrion will save the world but this doesn't mean that only this three people could possibly do what they are going to do.

If Rhaegar believed that (or if anyone comes up with the idea that Aerys had to rape his sister to save the world) then both would be mistaken. If a prophecy is true it will come true regardless what you do. Trying to fulfill it or trying to fuck with it is a very bad idea if it is a true prophecy. That is just like justifying cruel actions because some good came from them. It is abhorrent and morally corrupt. Neither Rhaegar nor Aerys had any real knowledge that their actions would/might save Westeros. Reading or interpreting a prophecy isn't sound knowledge. Especially not in a world with as fucked up and opaque prophecies as Westeros.

Chances are pretty good that had Jon Snow or Daenerys never be born somebody else would have brought back the dragons or defended the Realm against the Others. I never got my head around the idea that Dany is super-special just because she brought the dragons back. She intuitively was able work a spell that pulled that off but that doesn't mean that only she was able to do that. I maintain that any other sufficiently dragonlord-blooded Targaryen may have had the magical potential to do that if he also happened to do the other stuff (kill the people closest to you and add a little blood sacrifice for seasoning).

And the same goes for Jon Snow. Yes he seems to be the first direct offspring of a Targaryen and a Stark, but so what? That's not going to make a him a superman with super special royal blood. Certain bloodlines and people have certain special inherited magical traits, but that doesn't make them special. Their actions and decision will decide whether they are heroes, not their blood. We see this nowhere better than in ADwD where Dany nearly succeeds in throwing her destiny and future away. The promised princess can not only walk away from her destiny she can even die before she ever learns about it. That is a very interesting take on the whole destiny and prophesied hero thing.

I actually agree with much of this, LV. Let me just say one thing about "special inherited magical traits." I think it is all about the dragons. We have evidence that dragons are more apt to "like" those with "dragon-blood." Targaryen descendants seem to be able to bond with dragons, or a least some of them are, in ways most other people are not. I think this trait is the whole reason for the theme of Targaryen incest in the books. It is an attempt by the Targaryens, and other Valyrians to continue the ability to control dragons in future generations.

The Starks bring a different type of magic to them - warging. The prophecy may well turn out to be an explanation of why both traits may be needed in order to control dragons and to defeat the others. I would like to see the "winged wolf" - Bran - try to skin change with a dragon. and see what happens. I don't know, obviously, where this story is going, but I think this will be important.

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On 2/2/2016 at 9:27 PM, corbon said:

But its not different to its actual meaning, its just different to its common idiomatic usage.

In other words, despite the evidence to the contrary, you maintain that because GRRM is a modern american his writing must be interpreted in modern americanese?
Regardless of the internal evidence that his writing is actually rather different from modern americanese?

This seems somewhat contrarian.

Well, some people are worth pushing back to (and some aren't). The point is that some people are insisting on a limited and limiting viewpoint, despite evidence against them, just because its what they are familiar with.
I tend to push back against such unreasonable limitations.

Except that I showed he doesn't use the same phrases we typically use for inexact observations. He doesn't use 'around' as an approximation (my most common one I think) and very very rarely used 'about' for an approximation. He doesn't use 'approximate'. He uses 'nearly' sometimes, always meaning 'not quite' when in terms of a measurement or value. He uses 'close on' or 'close to' a few times in reference to milestones but in some cases they clearly reference 'either side' (eg close to someone's age clearly could be a little younger or older) so, given the absence of other terms that allow a certain idiomatic inference to be applied to 'close to', it seems that he is using 'close' in its literal sense without the inference of one side or the other of a milestone.

To clarify:
Modern americanese idiomatically allows an inference (mostly) of 'just short of the mark' (whichever side is short) when using the term 'close to' in reference to a milestone. However, it is allowed that inference only by the use of a number of other terms which are substituted for the literal meaning of 'close to'. These typically include 'around', 'about', 'approximately' and the like. The absence, or extreme rarity, of these other terms in ASoIaF shows that we cannot apply the same idiomatic inference to 'close to' to mean 'just short' in ASoIaF because we don't have any other terms to cover the literal meaning of 'close to'.
Just to reinforce this, the phrase 'close to' is used several times to reference indeterminate values (random people's ages) which clearly shows that it is used in a literal manner and not a modern amercanese idiomatic manner. Street kids 'close to' Arya's age are surely not defined as 'just short' of her age, but as 'approximately' her age, with some possibly younger and some possibly older.

Agreed.

Agreed.
Except I think its important not to falsely narrow our accounting by insisting on specific idiomatic inferences. Its meant to be inexact, to deliberately narrow it down using tight inferences that aren't supportable within the text simply doesn't make sense.

 

 

So I'm pretty new to all this, but I really truly believe trying to figure out important plotlines (like R+L=J) and if theories are possible, by breaking down timelines and trying to figure out how the author meant this phrase or that phrase is next to impossible. Im sure this won't be popular, but we need to remember that when George started this endeavor he had no idea it would get this big and be this popular. He probably in his wildest dreams never thought something like WoIaF would be necessary, let alone hugely popular. No matter how much he gives us, we will want more. When/If aSoIaF is finished, we will clamor for more D&E.  If that is done we will want a Bobby's rebellion book or books. It will never end. When George is gone, people will write new stories set in this world. Some probably much better than others. We will want all our answers, We probably won't get them. Not all of them at least.

 

I say that to say this. George is vague in many places for good reason. Especially when addressing events that took place before these books, and more especially when he first started writing them. It made sense for him to do this because at the time even he didn't know exactly where the story was going (which is very obvious if you read his original outline).  So trying to nail down exactly when an event took place by trying to figure out what precisely George meant by 'close to' seems like an exercise in futility. Fun to read though. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, TheSnowInWinterfell said:

 

 

So I'm pretty new to all this, but I really truly believe trying to figure out important plotlines (like R+L=J) and if theories are possible, by breaking down timelines and trying to figure out how the author meant this phrase or that phrase is next to impossible. Im sure this won't be popular, but we need to remember that when George started this endeavor he had no idea it would get this big and be this popular. He probably in his wildest dreams never thought something like WoIaF would be necessary, let alone hugely popular. No matter how much he gives us, we will want more. When/If aSoIaF is finished, we will clamor for more D&E.  If that is done we will want a Bobby's rebellion book or books. It will never end. When George is gone, people will write new stories set in this world. Some probably much better than others. We will want all our answers, We probably won't get them. Not all of them at least.

 

I say that to say this. George is vague in many places for good reason. Especially when addressing events that took place before these books, and more especially when he first started writing them. It made sense for him to do this because at the time even he didn't know exactly where the story was going (which is very obvious if you read his original outline).  So trying to nail down exactly when an event took place by trying to figure out what precisely George meant by 'close to' seems like an exercise in futility. Fun to read though. 

 

 

As to the bolded -- I think that view is quite popular. In fact, I agree with pretty much all that you have stated -- and I think it is the majority view (hope that is not just confirmation bias at work). Keep in mind that after years of waiting for a new book to be released -- the topics left to discuss get more and more obscure. Also notice that in the end we all agreed that we cannot be sure what GRRM meant by that particular phrase.

Although I was arguing for a particular "common usage" of that phrase in different contexts, my objection to what some others had written was the characterization that some people were making regarding how it is used in the "real world" in normal conversation. I thought some people were mischaracterizing the "typical" use and being dismissive of points of view that were basically being quite accurate and perceptive. They were ignoring that in some contexts, the phrase "close to" most likely means approaching but not quite reaching a reference point target. 

But that conversation essentially was "off topic" as it was not really primarily about how the phrase was being used in the book (other than to note that GRRM is an American and thus would know how an American audience would be likely to understand the phrase in a particular context and usage). But once the conversation got back to the narrow issue of what GRRM would have meant in that particular passage -- we all pretty much agreed with what you have stated -- we cannot be sure.

So hope that you continue to enjoy this board. :cheers:

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