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A+J=T v.8

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6 hours ago, A spoon of knife and fork said:


Well, I must say, I don't think King Tommen needs Maester Yandel's help in saving the reputation of his late maternal grandmother. His own elders most likely know much better how to deal with accusations like that...

I'm not saying 'the rumor cannot have been a rumor' I'm asking how it can be a rumor that Joanna enjoyed a reign as Aerys' paramour? How is that supposed to work? Are we to believe that people spreading that rumor tell us that Lady Joanna enjoyed a high rank at court, sat beside the king at table, kissed him in public, was escorted by the KG into his bedchamber at night, etc. (all things one would expect if Joanna 'enjoyed a reign as paramour') if all that wasn't the case?

That would be hard to believe. I mean, even Mushroom doesn't try to convince his readers of stories that obviously crap. His revelations mostly consist of stuff that happened behind closed doors and/or in otherwise in secret.

If the rumor was that Joanna 'had been Aerys' paramour in secret' or something like that one could see how it works as a mere rumor. But since she enjoyed a reign as paramour it is much more likely Pycelle (who may also be Yandel's source for the scurrilousness of the rumor) did not want anyone to believe that Joanna may have been Aerys' lover (and Yandel, too, in light of Joffrey and Tommen's reign), subsequently slandering this quite believable tale as a 'scurrilous rumor'.

The whole 'leavings' part pretty much hints into that direction. I mean, if George wanted us the believe that those rumors were false he would have either not included them at all or he would have chosen another source to dismiss them. Or even if he had wanted it to be Pycelle he would have given Pycelle any other line but a line which we know is blatantly false (that Tywin doesn't feast on another man's leavings).

He would have stressed the fact that Lady Joanna Lannisters was as much in love with her (future) husband than he was with her. But we never hear that. All we hear is how much Tywin was in love with Joanna, but nothing that confirms her deep love for him.

I mean, we know from the very structure of the book that a lot of truths are actually told in the shape of rumors. Granted, we cannot be 100% sure that rumors are true, but it is very likely that Rhaenyra's sons are not Laenor's but Harwin Strong's sons, it is also very likely that Mushroom's rumor about the true parentage of Addam and Alyn of Hull (Corlys and not Laenor) is correct, and it is pretty obvious that all those 'rumors' indicating that something sexual was going on between Rhaenyra and Daemon that led to Daemon's banishment is true. Not to forget the rumors about Aenys I and Viserys II being poisoned.

Even the more outlandish rumors about the dragon egg in Winterfell or even a dragon sleeping beneath the castle might have some (non-literal) truth to it, foreshadowing Jon Snow's true parentage.

Yandel's overall method doesn't seem to be to write a collection of kitchen gossip. When he includes rumors or bad scholarship then mostly to dismiss it. But it seems that the stuff he repeats is important enough to warrant his attention (e.g. the various outlandish theories of fringe maesters and/or the claims of storytellers and singers about ancient magics and peoples). In that sense I'd categorize the 'scurrilous rumors' about Aerys and Joanna as about as believable as the other rumors and fringe theories that are probably correct.

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You are putting the cart before the horse again.  Once more, there is no evidence whatsoever that

"Lady Joanna enjoyed a high rank at court, sat beside the king at table, kissed him in public, was escorted by the KG into his bedchamber at night"

if those things happened (especially kissing in public), it would not be a rumor, it would be a fact. It would simply be stated, "Johanna was Aerys paramour", because she was seen by many witnesses kissing him publickly and etc.  it would be pointless for Yandel to lie about this because there would be many people that would know about it that are still alive.

A "rumor" that she reigned as paramour could originate from a single event wherein, let's say, Aerys tried to get her to come to his chamber, but she refused.  Or she was forcibly brought there and had no choice.  Or Aerys talked about how he would have her often enough that people assumed that he eventually did (since kings usually get what they want).  Or he sent her lavish gifts or did inappropriate things in public like try to kiss her.  All of which would totally be in character for Aerys.

These rumors would be plenty for people to fill in the gaps however it suited them.  Eventually the rumors were enough to piss off Rhaella, so she had the girl sent away.  She can't get rid of Aerys instead.  Or maybe Johanna even begged to be sent off since she figured she'd be raped eventually. Or maybe she was raped and some assholes at court decided that was "paramour".

i don't know why you're claiming that Yandels accounts are generally truthful but then going on to make your case on the idea that he is playing down the truth. I'm the one who is taking him at his word here.  A rumor is a rumor is a rumor, nothing more.  There are many scenarios besides "Johanna was Aerys public and willing lover" that lead to that particular rumor. 

My arguements is that Tommen is helped by knowing of these rumors even if they are nothing more than that. Because it is always useful to know what people could throw at you ahead of the fact, rather than being blindsided.  

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Regarding the other parentage rumors in the book I take a very different view.  I don't believe that we are meant to assume all (or any) of them are true.  What GRRM is doing is painting a picture of what it is like to be a woman in court.  Basically, it sucks.  If you're a perfect model queen who sits in her tower and truely loves the king and raises his heirs it's still not enough.  People with cause to do so (political cause) will claim you are sleeping around and not giving the King "true heirs".  Because there is every incentive in place. if they have a daughter of marraigeabLe age they will want you to divorce the "whore giving you horns".  If they have been promised land and power for supporting someone else for the throne then the queens/princesses children suddenly are illegitimate. 

That's essentially what you get In this fucked up system.  Since there are no parentage tests and no way to "prove" fidelity, unscrupulous people (which the court is packed with) will say what suits them personally.  It would have been a rare court indeed that there weren't at least some rumors about who's sleeping with who given the ridiculous importance placed on it by the very nature of heridotary feudalism.  

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11 minutes ago, A spoon of knife and fork said:


I've been trying to illustrate what 'enjoying a reign as the king's paramour' actually meant. That is a very interesting phrase with a completely different layer of meaning an information than a rumor only stating that 'Joanna Lannister supposedly was the king's mistress'.

'To reign as a mistress' has an additional quality, something that suggests public awareness of this whole thing, not just something that happened behind closed doors or not at all. The picture you paint (courtship stuff) would better be described by rumor that Aerys wanted to get Joanna in his bed or that she was showered with gifts and favors by the king. If George wanted the rumor to reinforce the idea from ADwD - that Aerys lusted after Joanna but had no chance to get her into his bed - then the rumor most likely would have been that he showered her with gifts or showed great favors to her, or something like that. 

People usually can separate rumors of the king trying to win somebody's affection from the rumor that he was actually fucking somebody. And there is no hint whatsoever that Aerys actually tried to win Joanna's favor. In fact, if he deflowered on the night of his father's coronation then they cut to the chase pretty quickly considering that we that Joanna Lannister only came to the court for Jaehaerys II coronation and then stayed there. Aerys and she may actually have first met during at this time.

Yandel omits facts from the recent past or distorts his account thereof on more than one occasion. I mean, come on, the Joanna-Aerys affair would be an old story in 298 AC. We can safely say that it is not a tale that is repeated in present-day Westeros because as of yet it still has to be mentioned in any of the books - which it certainly would have if it was still an entertaining story.

It is not difficult to imagine that both Aerys and Tywin - and then later Tywin and Cersei during Robert's reign - successfully pushed any rumors about Joanna Lannister out of the public sphere. A lot of other things happened which obviously play a much bigger role in people's minds, and we know that Tywin Lannister could reshape the public image of his family as he saw fit while he was alive.

In my opinion, Yandel only brings up the Joanna rumor in his book because anyone studying the reign of Aerys II in depth would stumble on this whole affair. If Joffrey or Tommen were prompted by Yandel's book to read other accounts (or perhaps even sources available in the royal archives) on the reign of the Mad King they might come across contemporary accounts that cast an entirely different light on Joanna's relationship to Aerys. By dismissing this stuff as 'scurrilous rumors' Yandel makes it clear that he doesn't believe any of this stuff.

Oh, on what do you base that it would be in character for Aerys to lie about his conquests or actually harass/stalk a woman? There is no evidence for any of that. The man later raped his sister-wife, but he was quite mad and deranged at this point, but there is no reason he ever treated his many mistresses badly or even disrespectful (aside from the one woman he executed, of course, but that clearly wasn't his usual modus operandi).

Even the unwonted liberties part during the bedding is a double-edged sword. Women are supposed to be fondled during the bedding, and Aerys was apparently drunk during the whole thing. One actually wonders what liberties he took there. It is custom to disrobe both bride and groom during the bedding and also to fondle both quite extensively during the whole ordeal. Aerys touching or caressing Joanna's breasts wouldn't have been all that exceptional. I remember suggesting once that he must have actually fingered her to cause a scandal Barristan Selmy remembered all those years later. I mean, we see how Walder's sister enjoys hitting on Dunk when he carries her into the bedchamber in TMK.

Rhaella sending Joanna away on the basis of some false rumors also makes little sense. I mean, we know that her brother-husband actually made her ladies his whores on occasion. That makes it not unlikely at all that Joanna suffered the same fate. Not to mention that Joanna might actually have started the whole thing if they actually had sex as early as the coronation feast.

It is special pleading to single out other paternity rumors in the book - there are many other rumors or fringe theories that in no way different from the paternity rumors. They are presented in the same way, often by the same or similar sources, and so on.

But even in the section of 'paternity rumors' only Rhaenyra's sons and possibly Prince Aenys' paternity could fall into a category you are describing. Marilda of Hull was a commoner and not a noblewoman, and in her case the interesting fact is the possible lie that Laenor Velaryon - the official father of her sons - was not, in fact, their father. Nobody ever doubted she was the mother of her sons. And in Rhaenyra's case the origin of that rumor has nothing to do with misogyny at all - Rhaenyra's sons did not look like their alleged father, said father did not even live with his wife but on another island, and said father was an open homosexual.

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Well as you probably know, I think Aerys was always an entitled, insecure person, and if he was denied something (like Johanna) I certainly would not put it past him to basically stalk her (though he wouldn't see it that way).  It's in line with the specific information on his personality we have about him from the main books and is only "contradicted" in accounts of him being "charming" as a young man.  Whih could mean that he enjoyed parties (ok who doesn't). 

Furthermore, anyone who would have multiple public affairs (even if fully consensual) in front of his wife is not a good person.  He's an entitled creep.  He's exactly the kind of person who would FREAK OUT if a woman (or anyone) denies him what he wants. Aerys inherent insecurity might lead him to brag about her as if he had her already, since he would feel emasculated if it came out instead that he'd tried to bed her and she said no.  

look if you start out with the idea that Johanna was a scheming social climber and that Aerys was a kindly and misunderstood romantic soul and that Tywin was a hapless cuckold then I see where you could extrapolate to these ideas.  Unfortunately those characterizations do not match what's in the books.

Furthermore it's very difficult to understand how GRRM would go about communicating this huge turn around in the characterization of three minor characters, all of whom are dead.  That would be some pretty damn inelegant info dumping.

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One more thing, you say:


People usually can separate rumors of the king trying to win somebody's affection from the rumor that he was actually fucking somebody.

They CAN probably separate these things, but WILL they?  If it suits someone politically to interpret things one way, then they will do that.  If people have a reason to want to believe that Johanna was Aerys willing mistress, then they will.

people who might want to believe this include anyone who wants to bring Tywin down a notch (so, like, everyone).  Also anyone who wants to curry favor with the king by turning a stalking into a consensual affair (so, like, everyone).  

And if they want this to be true then they will spread the rumor.  Those who don't want it to be true have no defense.  All they can do is stay silent or deny and if they choose the latter course the rumor mongers will say "of course they deny it!" as if a denial itself is proof.

 It's like the whole thing with Obamas birth certificate.  He ignored the rumor for a long time because it was obviously ridiculous.  But then the "birthers" took that as proof he wasn't born in the US, since otherwise why wouldn't he show proof? Then when he gave out his birth certificate people turned around and said "well obviously it's fake" and he wouldn't have responded at all unless it was true.  Damn if you do damned if you don't.

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16 minutes ago, A spoon of knife and fork said:


Well, Aerys was the Crown Prince and the king most of his life. He was, of course, entitled the very core. That's what royals are, even to this day, with only very few exceptions. I'd agree that Aerys was treating his sister-wife like shit having all those affairs and all, but that was a regular thing to do for a king. He was stuck in an ugly and loveless incest marriage, and society permitted him affairs while Rhaella had to suffer silently. I had a sister and had to married her 'to produce the promised prince' or 'for the dynasty' I'd have big problems with the whole thing (first to actually sleep with my sister as well as being unable to actually marry a woman I actually love).

There is still a small chance that Joanna wasn't interested in Aerys at all. But only a very small chance. As a Lannister of Casterly Rock with a hold over Tywin she certainly could have removed herself from court as soon as she felt uncomfortable there. It would have been even more easy during the reign of Jaehaerys II since she could have approached the king, Queen Shaera, or even Princess Rhaella about this whole thing.

The one thing suggesting that Aerys might not, in fact, have had Joanna is the whole comment on the First Night during the wedding - but that could have had an ironic twist to it, since Aerys may actually have had 'the First Night' long before the wedding, and reminding Tywin of that would have pissed him. But if it was true then Aerys actually was willing to admit in public that Joanna did not sleep with him. So he wasn't as much an ass as claiming he had a woman if he did not.

I'm actually also not sure whether this kind of behavior is very common in power princes/kings in medieval settings. Women in those times cannot easily turn down a (powerful) man, and most certainly not the Crown Prince or the King. This type of besmirching the honor of a woman is more like the modus operandi of man lacking the power to actually force a woman into a sexual relationship - and I really think Aerys would have had that power. Especially before Joanna was married to Tywin (but perhaps even thereafter). If a man like Aerys would rape a (noble-)woman at court or in the street nobody would interfere. That is the sad truth.

And, again, I'm not trying to defend Aerys or make him a nice guy. He wasn't. But he was also not the worst king/guy in this series, nor was he necessarily intentionally evil. He was (also) suffering from a severe mental affliction, which not many of the other characters can cite in their defense.

But the Lannisters is a different matter. I really think there is a scheming and darker side to her than we know up to this point. That whole 'Joanna ruled Lord Tywin' thing has to have some meaning, after all. And the Lannisters being somehow above social climbing and all doesn't make any sense. Joanna's cunt may very well have been Aerys' price to appoint Tywin his Hand. Even if it was not, then the Lannisters are still social climbers since now, finally, they got in the pants of the royals and got the place they coveted at court. Tywin himself only got his position because he befriended Prince Aerys, after all.

George is continuing to put the picture we have of dead characters into perspective. We only began learning the truth about Tywin - his secret smiles, his laughs, his character as a young man - after he the actual man died. And the Lannisters certainly aren't the only characters getting this treatment. Brandon Stark's character was also elaborated on in ADwD.

If it turns out that Aerys' is Tyrion's father - and if George can include that revelation in the books - he could also further elaborate on the relationship between Joanna and Aerys. If there are no witnesses for that he could always invoke Bran's visions.

To believe that the rumors about Joanna and Aerys originated with some liar you have to presuppose this. There is a chance that those were slanders to somehow harm Tywin but then, they would also have cast a bad light on Aerys himself. Would the king just have kept silent on the rumor that he cuckolded his best friend (if we assume those rumors started while Joanna was still alive)? Did anyone think he could win Aerys favor by spreading such rumors? And would anyone have cared inventing such stuff after Joanna's early death?

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