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Damsel in Distress

Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

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Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

 

 

The prevalence of the madness that runs in the family is exaggerated.  A careful study of the Targaryen lineage shows that this madness is not as prevalent as critics would have us believe. 

 

  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Maegor the Cruel
  • Arryn + Targaryen = Rhaenyra
  • Hightower + Targaryen = Aegon II
  • Rogare + Targaryen = Aegon IV
  • Velaryon + Targaryen = Baelor the Blessed
  • Dayne + Targaryen = Aerion Brightflame
  • Kiera + Targaryen = Vaela
  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Aerys II

 

Underlined - female parent.

 

Italics – unclear whether these people were mad or simply just cruel. Vaela is likely someone who just had a below average mental capacity. 

 

What interests me most is that the majority of the “mad” members of the family were not the direct result of T + T but rather the result of what appears to be normal pairings.  A second item of note is that the madness happens more often when the mother comes from outside the family.  This can mean that the carriers of the madness are the male Targaryens.  Thirdly, because we are dealing with a fantasy world in which real genetics may not completely hold true, we can safely assume that anyone whose father is a Targaryen will have an equal chance of going mad as any other member of the family with a Targaryen father.  Notice also that we have not had a female Targaryen of whom we can clearly point out as mad.  None.  Alright, Rhaenyra was a b* but being a difficult person does not make one mad.  Maegor was a cruel ass but that doesn’t mean he was mad.   

 

Probable implications are as follows:

 

  1. The Targaryens are the most prominent family in the whole of A Song of Ice and Fire.  I do not believe George R R Martin will end this family line.  I think the family just needed a fresh start and based on my theory that the males carry the potentially damaging gene it makes sense to eliminate the male line and begin anew with a Targaryen female.  Who is, of course, the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen.
  2. The Targaryen dragons also needed a refresh.  The Mother of Dragons delivers once more and hatched three eggs. 
  3. Daenerys Targaryen is just fine.  She will not go mad.  Her future children are not going to go mad as long as she picks a non-Targaryen to father them.  
  4. Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon.  Should this theory of his parentage prove to be true, that Rhaegar is the father, it is very possible that it will be Jon who will go mad. 

 My verdict?  Jon has a much greater chance of going mad than Daenerys.  

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I agree with your basic premise, but I'm not sure this argument is very convincing. My first look at that list was to go, "hmmm, what's the common denominator here?". Furthermore, the most famous madman in the series, Aerys, is the product of a Targaryen-Targaryen sibling union.

I think you touched on a better point: as you say, the Targaryens are one of, if not the most high profile family in ASOIAF. We should expect to see more mad Targaryens than anyone else, because we see more Targaryens than anyone else, and in any given group of people, some will have mental health issues. 

I also agree, many of the "Mad" Targaryens have other mental health issues. The simple dichotomy of "mad or not" is not a very useful framework for thinking about mental illness, IMO, though it makes sense in-universe, I think George had done a decent job of showing a wide diversity of people with different psychological, emotional, and learning issues of varying severity in and without House Targaryen.

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2 minutes ago, velo-knight said:

I agree with your basic premise, but I'm not sure this argument is very convincing. My first look at that list was to go, "hmmm, what's the common denominator here?". Furthermore, the most famous madman in the series, Aerys, is the product of a Targaryen-Targaryen sibling union.

It doesn't matter whether he's the most famous or not.  The lineage table is accurate.  The fact remains, if Jon is the son of Rhaegar, he has just as good a chance of going mad as Aerys.   

2 minutes ago, velo-knight said:

I think you touched on a better point: as you say, the Targaryens are one of, if not the most high profile family in ASOIAF. We should expect to see more mad Targaryens than anyone else, because we see more Targaryens than anyone else, and in any given group of people, some will have mental health issues. 

I also agree, many of the "Mad" Targaryens have other mental health issues. The simple dichotomy of "mad or not" is not a very useful framework for thinking about mental illness, IMO, though it makes sense in-universe, I think George had done a decent job of showing a wide diversity of people with different psychological, emotional, and learning issues of varying severity in and without House Targaryen.

Thanks

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Well, we need to remember that there are many Targaryens who we have no idea what they were like.

I can't really find the thread right now, but someone once made a thread about Targaryen madness and actually compiled a list of Targaryens who were mad. The conclusion that they came to was the out of all the Targaryens that have existed, we have good descriptions of the personalities of only a few of them and most of them were not mad, and the ones who actually were mad appeared to have had external reasons for their madness; Aerys, for example, had a large ego in his youth, but he was not mad. His madness began when his and Rhaella's children died and he suspected murder and it only got worse from there.

 

And then there is also this "simple" trait. We have no idea what a person is like when they are referred to as "simple". Lollys Stokeworth is described as "simple" and through reading, we know she is rather dull and maybe doesn't think things through. According to the Wiki, she constantly gets food all over herself, so her maids, or rather Shae, have to clean her constantly. Another person, Helicent Uffering, from the Sworn Sword from the Dunk and Egg Tales, is similar to Lollys in that she is not a particularily intelligent person and needs assistance to dress herself.

There are also three Targaryen princesses who were described as "simple": Gael, Jaehaera and Vaella.

Gael became pregnant with the child of a traveling singer, which lead to her suicide. We get no real description of that her "simpleness" actually disabilitating her or making her seem mentally handicapped, like Lollys and Helicent, but considering that she committed suicide after being left pregnant and dishonoured, it gives us a clue that she understood that her naivety and trusting nature had been taken advantage of and what consequences it would have for her (and her child), so she decided to end herself (either because of broken-heart, shame, to not bring dishonour to her family or maybe for a mixture of all three), which could mean that she was not at all as "simple" as Lollys, who was raped "half a hundred" times and seemed to still not really unstand what was going on around her (though she did understand that she had been hurt).

Jaehaera was described as rather emotionless, even as a baby, but we get no real description of her other than that.

Vaella is simply described as "simple", but we get no further information than that.

But the thing about "simpleness" is that it we know it can indeed be faked, as we know with Mushroom and Dontos Hollard believes that Moon Boy is not "simple", but simply pretends to be. Dontos Hollard is also treated like he's "simple" or a lackwit, as he has become a jester, but we know he isn't "simple".

If "simpleness" can be faked, who's to say people can't lie about a person who is very trusting and naive, but not "simple" (Sansa was naive and trusting in the beginning and Cersei called her a fool and stupid many times).

 

We simply don't know how prevelant madness was in the Targaryen family and if you believe or know about the Maester Conspiracy Theory, you probably don't think it is as prevelant as the World Book is trying to make it seem.

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:agree:

6 hours ago, Damsel in Distress said:

Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

 

 

The prevalence of the madness that runs in the family is exaggerated.  A careful study of the Targaryen lineage shows that this madness is not as prevalent as critics would have us believe. 

 

  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Maegor the Cruel
  • Arryn + Targaryen = Rhaenyra
  • Hightower + Targaryen = Aegon II
  • Rogare + Targaryen = Aegon IV
  • Velaryon + Targaryen = Baelor the Blessed
  • Dayne + Targaryen = Aerion Brightflame
  • Kiera + Targaryen = Vaela
  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Aerys II

 

Underlined - female parent.

 

Italics – unclear whether these people were mad or simply just cruel. Vaela is likely someone who just had a below average mental capacity. 

 

What interests me most is that the majority of the “mad” members of the family were not the direct result of T + T but rather the result of what appears to be normal pairings.  A second item of note is that the madness happens more often when the mother comes from outside the family.  This can mean that the carriers of the madness are the male Targaryens.  Thirdly, because we are dealing with a fantasy world in which real genetics may not completely hold true, we can safely assume that anyone whose father is a Targaryen will have an equal chance of going mad as any other member of the family with a Targaryen father.  Notice also that we have not had a female Targaryen of whom we can clearly point out as mad.  None.  Alright, Rhaenyra was a b* but being a difficult person does not make one mad.  Maegor was a cruel ass but that doesn’t mean he was mad.   

 

Probable implications are as follows:

 

  1. The Targaryens are the most prominent family in the whole of A Song of Ice and Fire.  I do not believe George R R Martin will end this family line.  I think the family just needed a fresh start and based on my theory that the males carry the potentially damaging gene it makes sense to eliminate the male line and begin anew with a Targaryen female.  Who is, of course, the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen.
  2. The Targaryen dragons also needed a refresh.  The Mother of Dragons delivers once more and hatched three eggs. 
  3. Daenerys Targaryen is just fine.  She will not go mad.  Her future children are not going to go mad as long as she picks a non-Targaryen to father them.  
  4. Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon.  Should this theory of his parentage prove to be true, that Rhaegar is the father, it is very possible that it will be Jon who will go mad. 

 My verdict?  Jon has a much greater chance of going mad than Daenerys.  

:agree:

Nice job.  You're a scholar of A Song of ice and Fire. 

 

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7 hours ago, Damsel in Distress said:

Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

 

 

The prevalence of the madness that runs in the family is exaggerated.  A careful study of the Targaryen lineage shows that this madness is not as prevalent as critics would have us believe. 

 

  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Maegor the Cruel
  • Arryn + Targaryen = Rhaenyra
  • Hightower + Targaryen = Aegon II
  • Rogare + Targaryen = Aegon IV
  • Velaryon + Targaryen = Baelor the Blessed
  • Dayne + Targaryen = Aerion Brightflame
  • Kiera + Targaryen = Vaela
  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Aerys II

Aemma Arryn and Daenaera Velaryon both had Targaryen ancestors. And Larra Rogare has strong Valyrian looks, suggesting that she, too, has dragonlord ancestors.

There is also no reason to believe that the incest is causing madness. Rather that incest helps with ensuring the prevalent tendencies of madness in the Targaryen line were conserved and concentrated in the bloodline.

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7 hours ago, Damsel in Distress said:

Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

 

 

The prevalence of the madness that runs in the family is exaggerated.  A careful study of the Targaryen lineage shows that this madness is not as prevalent as critics would have us believe. 

 

  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Maegor the Cruel
  • Arryn + Targaryen = Rhaenyra
  • Hightower + Targaryen = Aegon II
  • Rogare + Targaryen = Aegon IV
  • Velaryon + Targaryen = Baelor the Blessed
  • Dayne + Targaryen = Aerion Brightflame
  • Kiera + Targaryen = Vaela
  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Aerys II

 

Underlined - female parent.

 

Italics – unclear whether these people were mad or simply just cruel. Vaela is likely someone who just had a below average mental capacity. 

 

What interests me most is that the majority of the “mad” members of the family were not the direct result of T + T but rather the result of what appears to be normal pairings.  A second item of note is that the madness happens more often when the mother comes from outside the family.  This can mean that the carriers of the madness are the male Targaryens.  Thirdly, because we are dealing with a fantasy world in which real genetics may not completely hold true, we can safely assume that anyone whose father is a Targaryen will have an equal chance of going mad as any other member of the family with a Targaryen father.  Notice also that we have not had a female Targaryen of whom we can clearly point out as mad.  None.  Alright, Rhaenyra was a b* but being a difficult person does not make one mad.  Maegor was a cruel ass but that doesn’t mean he was mad.   

 

Probable implications are as follows:

 

  1. The Targaryens are the most prominent family in the whole of A Song of Ice and Fire.  I do not believe George R R Martin will end this family line.  I think the family just needed a fresh start and based on my theory that the males carry the potentially damaging gene it makes sense to eliminate the male line and begin anew with a Targaryen female.  Who is, of course, the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen.
  2. The Targaryen dragons also needed a refresh.  The Mother of Dragons delivers once more and hatched three eggs. 
  3. Daenerys Targaryen is just fine.  She will not go mad.  Her future children are not going to go mad as long as she picks a non-Targaryen to father them.  
  4. Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon.  Should this theory of his parentage prove to be true, that Rhaegar is the father, it is very possible that it will be Jon who will go mad. 

 My verdict?  Jon has a much greater chance of going mad than Daenerys.  

I enjoyed your essay and you made a lot of fair points.  Madness do run in the Targaryen family but it is not exclusive to them.  Look at Lysa Arryn and Robin Arryn.  Lysa is clearly mental.  I thank you for pointing out that Jon is as likely to go mad as any Targaryen.  I looked up the Targaryen family tree this morning and your observations are on point.  The males carry the madness gene and by eliminating them from the breeding pool you restart the Targaryen family with a clean slate.  The term "Mother of Dragons" have multiple meanings and I like it. 

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I agree the madness attributed to the Targaryens is greatly exaggerated. When slinging around political propaganda, madness is one of the easiest to allege. Particularly in a world like Westeros when most people will only ever know what they hear through gossip. There is one Targaryen trait that I think often gets mistaken for madness and that is the so-called "waking the dragon". In other words their bad tempers.

Anyway, Targaryens do hear something in their heads. I think it is the call of dragons. Even old Aemon says he's always heard the call of dragons. I suspect that when the dragons were created some people were bonded to them through blood magic and the descendants of those people still hear the dragon's call. I don't think that this trait is in and of itself proof of madness though. We know Aemon heard the call of dragons and wasn't at all mad. He didn't even have the Targaryen bad temper.

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I came in this thread to say what branch said above me. I'm sure there is a grain of truth in the madness attributed to Targs - Aerys definitely seemed to have issues. How much of the rest of it is truly madness or just propaganda?

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15 minutes ago, bent branch said:

I agree the madness attributed to the Targaryens is greatly exaggerated. When slinging around political propaganda, madness is one of the easiest to allege. Particularly in a world like Westeros when most people will only ever know what they hear through gossip. There is one Targaryen trait that I think often gets mistaken for madness and that is the so-called "waking the dragon". In other words their bad tempers.

Anyway, Targaryens do hear something in their heads. I think it is the call of dragons. Even old Aemon says he's always heard the call of dragons. I suspect that when the dragons were created some people were bonded to them through blood magic and the descendants of those people still hear the dragon's call. I don't think that this trait is in and of itself proof of madness though. We know Aemon heard the call of dragons and wasn't at all mad. He didn't even have the Targaryen bad temper.

I agree. I think the family's infamy and that they were viewed by the public as god-like when they had dragons also contributed to this idea of them being inherently mad. For the Westerosi it is easy to label these foreign, dragon-riding conquerors as mad. 

Your point about the dragon's call is dead on I think. For the latter generations it must have been hard to come to terms with that they were once the most powerful family in the known world. Hence, the arrogant and aggressive nature of some members, e.g. Aerion Brightflame; and the actions at Summerhall trying to regain their lost glory.

Another point to consider would be that all the "mad" Targs were members of a dynasty that had ruled for a long time. In a family that has ruled for so long and had so many members, you're bound to get a few mad ones. Regarding the list I wouldn't say any of them bar Aerys II and maybe Brightflame were actually mad. Maegor was bloodthirsty and cruel, but not mad. Rhaenyra was the darling of the realm before her half-brother stole her crown, similarly Aegon II doesn't seem to unhinged before the Dance either. The war made them do awful things but that's war. Aegon IV was just a dick, not mad. Baelor was a religious fanatic so I guess you could call him mad. If you call Brightflame mad then you have to call Aegon V mad because they both believed they could bring back dragons through sorcery. Aerys went straight up mad.

Maybe, the Targs have a tendency to do rash actions that make them mad rather being inherently insane. 

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13 minutes ago, theblackdragonI said:

If you call Brightflame mad then you have to call Aegon V mad because they both believed they could bring back dragons through sorcery. Aerys went straight up mad

I think it's less that Brightflame was mad for wanting to bring dragons back through sorcery (Dany did this exact same thing, except in her case it worked). It's more the method behind it. Aerion drank wildfire in the genuine belief that it would turn him into a dragon. Aegon tried to use magic to hatch a dragon egg. Brightflame's method screams insanity while Egg's seems more like a desperate, last ditch attempt to restore the power of the Targ dynasty.

Besides, Aerion was always unhinged, whereas Egg was quite normal as a kid.

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I've tossed around the idea that the lack of the dragons caused many Targaryens to go mad. Aerion and Aerys II clearly had issues because they had visions/dreams/delusions about this whole blood of the dragon thing. I doubt either of them would have wanted to transform himself into a living dragon if he had actually been a dragonrider.

There is something in the Targaryen blood that *wants* to bond with a dragon, and if it can't that's not healthy for the person.

We also have the hints that bonding with a dragon actually can improve your (mental) health. Aenys I grows stronger and more healthy after he bonds with Quicksilver as a toddler.

Prior to the Dance we actually have just two somewhat unbalanced Targaryens - Maegor the Cruel (who may have been severely twisted by his very birth) and Prince Daemon. Afterwards things go somewhat down the hill with the extreme guys - we have Daeron I, Baelor I, Aegon IV, Aerys I, Rhaegel, Aerion, and Aerys II.

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8 hours ago, Damsel in Distress said:

Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

 

 

The prevalence of the madness that runs in the family is exaggerated.  A careful study of the Targaryen lineage shows that this madness is not as prevalent as critics would have us believe. 

 

  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Maegor the Cruel
  • Arryn + Targaryen = Rhaenyra
  • Hightower + Targaryen = Aegon II
  • Rogare + Targaryen = Aegon IV
  • Velaryon + Targaryen = Baelor the Blessed
  • Dayne + Targaryen = Aerion Brightflame
  • Kiera + Targaryen = Vaela
  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Aerys II

 

Underlined - female parent.

 

Italics – unclear whether these people were mad or simply just cruel. Vaela is likely someone who just had a below average mental capacity. 

 

What interests me most is that the majority of the “mad” members of the family were not the direct result of T + T but rather the result of what appears to be normal pairings.  A second item of note is that the madness happens more often when the mother comes from outside the family.  This can mean that the carriers of the madness are the male Targaryens.  Thirdly, because we are dealing with a fantasy world in which real genetics may not completely hold true, we can safely assume that anyone whose father is a Targaryen will have an equal chance of going mad as any other member of the family with a Targaryen father.  Notice also that we have not had a female Targaryen of whom we can clearly point out as mad.  None.  Alright, Rhaenyra was a b* but being a difficult person does not make one mad.  Maegor was a cruel ass but that doesn’t mean he was mad.   

 

Probable implications are as follows:

 

  1. The Targaryens are the most prominent family in the whole of A Song of Ice and Fire.  I do not believe George R R Martin will end this family line.  I think the family just needed a fresh start and based on my theory that the males carry the potentially damaging gene it makes sense to eliminate the male line and begin anew with a Targaryen female.  Who is, of course, the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen.
  2. The Targaryen dragons also needed a refresh.  The Mother of Dragons delivers once more and hatched three eggs. 
  3. Daenerys Targaryen is just fine.  She will not go mad.  Her future children are not going to go mad as long as she picks a non-Targaryen to father them.  
  4. Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon.  Should this theory of his parentage prove to be true, that Rhaegar is the father, it is very possible that it will be Jon who will go mad. 

 My verdict?  Jon has a much greater chance of going mad than Daenerys.  

I don't think it's a male thing.

Your list of 'Mad Targaryen's' is a bit flawed, IMO. Maegor was a cruel tyrant but I wouldn't call him mad (though there may have been some instability in his mind, potentially from birth or, more likely, from that head wound he suffered in the trial of seven) . Rhaenyra and Aegon II also don't strike me as very unhinged. Both seemed quite in control of themselves; Rhaenyra turned from what seemed to be a decent person to a second Maegor due to the loss of her sons and the treason of her brother, and Aegon was a weak-willed, overly ambitious power grabbing p**** but not mad. Aegon IV was a horrible excuse for a human being but again, he didn't do anything that gives the impression that he was mad. Baelor was an idiot and there was definitely something wrong with his head, but that may be less something he was born with, and more something the effect of the snakes at Wyl. Vaela was simple not mad.

Aerys and Aerion were both undeniably nutcases, but of the two only Aerion seems to have been born with it. Aerys was eccentric sure, but he didn't go mad until the deaths of so many of his children and the Defiance of Duskendale.

So I agree with the title of the thread, and will take it a step further to say that Targaryen madness is not only exaggerated, but also not actually a thing. It seems more like propaganda that came around as a result of Aerys' madness.

I do not agree with the theory you postulate in that the 'madness' is passed only through the male line. After all, Maegor; to use one of your own examples; was born to Aegon and Visenya. Yet Aenys; born to Aegon and Rhaenys; didn't seem to have any of that so called madness. Both were the children of the same man with different women, yet one went mad; according to you; and the other didn't. To me, this sort of contradicts your theory as it would imply that Visenya's blood was the deciding factor of Maegor's madness (if he was mad and not just cruel)

Overall, I agree with what many other posters have said above; it's not a genetic thing at all. In a family that large, some are bound to have some form of mental imbalance. Aerion was flat out insane; IMO; while Maegor was a sadist and Vaella seemed to have a lower mental capacity. The other's gained their 'madness' from external influence. Meaning that Jon and Daenerys actually have as much chance of going mad as each other, though Dany being the product of two generations of sibling incest doesn't count in her favor.

I also agree with @Lord Varys that bonding with a dragon helps stabilize the Targaryen mind and body. Aegon III was never the same after Stormcloud died, most dragonriders follow their mounts into death and Aenys I's health increased rapidly after bonding to Quicksilver.

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Dany is only presumed to be mentally stable because we never get an external POV of her. If, for example, we had a Jorah POV, and he watched her walk into the pyre rather than us reading it from her perspective, it wouldn't be a leap in logic to assume that she went mad with grief. Especially if her plan failed as so many Targ dragon rebirth attempts have. Dany has a tendancy to make huge decisions based on her dreams rather than on sound logic, experience, careful planning, or the counsel of her advisors. How long before we get an external POV, and we see that some characters do view her as mad? 

And, quite frankly, that's really all that matters. Our only experience with these other Targs are the external experiences of surrounding characters and what they think of their mental state. If others think that a Targ is mad, then the Targ is mad mad simply because that's all we have to go on. If others think that Dany is mad, it starts to skew how we view her own internal logic and introduces the madness aspect into her character. 

Additionally, we don't know whether the female Targs were mad in the same sense as king Targs because they didn't have the same degree of power, and so certain things like paranoia, dragon dreams, delusions of grandeur, etc. wouldn't have negatively impacted the populace. Rhaegel was similarly "simple" and we have to wonder whether he was benign because he never sat the throne or just because his mental health was in a very different state than that of his other family members.

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One should also keep in mind that the 'mad monarch trope' used by many ancient historians to describe Roman (and and other) rulers usually includes extreme/unhinged and cruel behavior going against established norms and customs, not exactly clearly defined mental disorders.

In that sense Maegor, Aegon II and Rhaenyra, Daeron I, Baelor the Blessed, Aegon IV, Aerys I, and Aerys II all qualify as mad rulers to various degrees.

The only clinical 'mad Targaryens' would be Rhaegel, Aerys II (in his later life), and, perhaps, Gael, Jaehaera, and Vaella the Simple.

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I agree that the madness in the family is exaggerated. It is there but it's not as common as the Anti-Targs would have you believe.  I also agree that Jon Snow has the same chance of going mad as any other male Targaryen.  

The Targaryen females do not go mad.  Rhaenyra's problem?  She was a spoiled brat.  Aegon IV was a father who loved his bastard and he just threw good judgment out the window and legitimized his favorite son.  He had a wandering love life and got around.  He was arrogant and defied good advice.  But those in of themselves do not make him mad.  Just a stubborn royal jerk.  Maegor the Cruel was just that, cruel.  Baelor is not much different from Aeron Greyjoy.  You can't call Baelor mad without calling Aeron Greyjoy mad.  

 

 

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NightA lot of the accusations of madness could be political propaganda or simply regular people not understanding special abilities.  If Bran had told the Greatjon that he kept hearing the voice of a funky Raven with three eyes and one thousand, the big man would think him mad. 

I don't think Viserys was mad.    He just had a traumatic childhood.  He lost his home, his family, and his place in the world.   He's no different from Arya in that regards.  

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34 minutes ago, Alaynsa Starne said:

Dany is only presumed to be mentally stable because we never get an external POV of her. If, for example, we had a Jorah POV, and he watched her walk into the pyre rather than us reading it from her perspective, it wouldn't be a leap in logic to assume that she went mad with grief. Especially if her plan failed as so many Targ dragon rebirth attempts have. Dany has a tendancy to make huge decisions based on her dreams rather than on sound logic, experience, careful planning, or the counsel of her advisors. How long before we get an external POV, and we see that some characters do view her as mad?   

And, quite frankly, that's really all that matters. Our only experience with these other Targs are the external experiences of surrounding characters and what they think of their mental state. If others think that a Targ is mad, then the Targ is mad mad simply because that's all we have to go on. If others think that Dany is mad, it starts to skew how we view her own internal logic and introduces the madness aspect into her character. 

Well, you know, Bowen and company considered Jon's behavior at the wall crazy.  To the point they had to take him out to stop him from making the situation worse.  Does that mean Jon is already mad?  Based on your reasoning that the person is mad simply because the observer labeled them as such would support say he was.  

On that same line of reasoning,  Barristan is a man who has seen madness and its characteristics.  He would be a good judge of whether someone is mad or not.  Barristan doesn't think Dany is mad.

 

Additionally, we don't know whether the female Targs were mad in the same sense as king Targs because they didn't have the same degree of power, and so certain things like paranoia, dragon dreams, delusions of grandeur, etc. wouldn't have negatively impacted the populace. Rhaegel was similarly "simple" and we have to wonder whether he was benign because he never sat the throne or just because his mental health was in a very different state than that of his other family members. 

The Targaryens are the most famous family in the world.  People kept tabs on every Targaryen.  Maesters and historians have written volumes on the family.  I doubt the family would have been able to hide madness behind closed doors.  The Targaryens were very public and known throughout Planetos.  There have been no evidence to show that a Targaryen female went mad during the three hundred years they were in power.  The OP's conclusion is fair: female Targaryens do not succumb to madness.

 

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  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Maegor the Cruel
  • Arryn + Targaryen = Rhaenyra
  • Hightower + Targaryen = Aegon II
  • Rogare + Targaryen = Aegon IV
  • Velaryon + Targaryen = Baelor the Blessed
  • Dayne + Targaryen = Aerion Brightflame
  • Kiera + Targaryen = Vaela
  • Targaryen + Targaryen = Aerys II

Maegor the Cruel - mad

Rhaenryra - not mad, just awful

Aegon III - same as Rhaenyra

Aegon IV - not mad, just a skank who may have been traumatized by his mother's desertion and become unable to commit

Baelor the Blessed - mad

Aerion - definite nutcake

Vaella - not mad, just simple

Aerys II - definite nutcake

But these aren't all the Targaryens, you've left some out, like Rhaegel Targaryen who liked to dance naked in the Red Keep, and Viserys who showed mild symptoms of madness even during childhood.

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39 minutes ago, Mr. Bowen Marsh said:

NightA lot of the accusations of madness could be political propaganda or simply regular people not understanding special abilities.  If Bran had told the Greatjon that he kept hearing the voice of a funky Raven with three eyes and one thousand, the big man would think him mad. 

It's fortunate for Bran that he ended up with the Reeds who are equally weird.  If Jojen came up to you and started to talk.  You would think the guy was crazy.  

I don't think Viserys was mad.    He just had a traumatic childhood.  He lost his home, his family, and his place in the world.   He's no different from Arya in that regards.  

 

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