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Damsel in Distress

Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

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8 minutes ago, talvikorppi said:

I freely admit I haven't amassed book quotes for this idea.

It was just a passing thought. Such talk would be tried or be under wraps, But the truth will out. Maybe should be explored (or probably has). It's just something that sprang to my mind. I was just thinking in the common sense way. Whispers, then open talk of the "madness" of the ruling family - and it was open talk, even back in Dunk&Egg's day - undermine the central monarchy.

Let's put it this way. The Targ kings were not universally loved by the lords or the smallfolk. Add a few whispers of "madness" and you can see how the central government (king) is undermined, letting local lords seem the "sane" alternative, the good ones who provide for the people etc. Whispers or royal family "madness" would tie the smallfolk even tighter to their lord, actually letting local lords keep their power, if they keep faith and provide.. And we're talking about power here, aren't we?

I guess my point is that the "Targ madness" story was propagated and spread by powerful lords, because these rumors worked for them. Weakened the central goverment = let high lords have power and influence.

 

Barristan said this to Dany. Some Targs believed in the madness problem themselves, but they tied it to their potential for greatness.

"I am no maester to quote history at you, Your Grace. Swords have been my life, not books. But every child knows that the Targaryens have always danced too close to madness. Your father was not the first. King Jaehaerys once told me that madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land."

 

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3 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

Madness afflicted the family but not nearly to the extent people believed. It happened to other families too.  Lysa and Catelyn went mad.  We excuse  Cat due to aggravating factors but if the potential was not there, it would not have happened regardless of the stress.  Murdering jingle bells is the act of a mad woman and clawing her face was madness.

Strongly disagree with this statement. Much literature has been written exploring just how much stress it takes to break a strong person.

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17 minutes ago, talvikorppi said:

I freely admit I haven't amassed book quotes for this idea.

It was just a passing thought. Such talk would be tried or be under wraps, But the truth will out. Maybe should be explored (or probably has). It's just something that sprang to my mind. I was just thinking in the common sense way. Whispers, then open talk of the "madness" of the ruling family - and it was open talk, even back in Dunk&Egg's day - undermine the central monarchy.

Let's put it this way. The Targ kings were not universally loved by the lords or the smallfolk. Add a few whispers of "madness" and you can see how the central government (king) is undermined, letting local lords seem the "sane" alternative, the good ones who provide for the people etc. Whispers or royal family "madness" would tie the smallfolk even tighter to their lord, actually letting local lords keep their power, if they keep faith and provide.. And we're talking about power here, aren't we?

I guess my point is that the "Targ madness" story was propagated and spread by powerful lords, because these rumors worked for them. Weakened the central goverment = let high lords have power and influence.

Ah, alright.

It seems to me that the local lords would prefer to undermine "central" authority by using local tradition and inciting localism, or by pointing out their foreigness, but not by stiring the notion to the general population that the Authority -especially as a dynasty (bloodline)- may be questioned for its adequacy to rule and that, if they may be replaced if they don't measure up. Especially after they came to an 'understanding' with the Faith. If they do that, they open the doors for their own rule to be questioned and, in contrast to the central king, they are closer and more easily observed (and accordingly, evaluated) by the people they rule. Actually, the closer one is to their subjects, the less they'd be inclined to pass such thoughts to the puplic. After all, common people out of the capital care very little about the king and people tend to blame for their misfortunes those that are within reach. The lords are no fools to not understand this.

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On 4/4/2017 at 0:24 AM, 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 think Jon's arc is done.  We may see him talking to Bran through the weirwood trees but his arc as a human is finished.  To bring him back will only weaken the story.  George himself said Rings would have been better if Gandalf had stayed dead.  As far as the chances of going mad, I think Jon has the same chance as any other Targaryen.  Full blood or half blood doesn't make a difference as the family tree shows us.  It's random like a coin toss but the chance is very small.  Jaeherys was just talking out of his ass about the coin toss probability. 

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10 hours ago, Alaynsa Starne said:

<snip

Thanks for the correction, but the point still stands. Dany had no reason to believe based on her family's history that walking into the pyre was a good idea. 

From what I recall of the text she wasn't thinking of her family's history. She was acting on instinct, and she was absolutely right.

This is consistent with those Targaryens who had prophetic abilities, and inconsistent with those who were mad (cause their instincts sucked big time).

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On 4/4/2017 at 1:50 PM, WSmith84 said:

We also have to acknowledge that, because of how much power a monarch wields (or is thought to wield, whatever the case may actually be), a monarch (particularly a young one) doesn't have the same restraints that a lesser person does. Thus they are capable of committing more extreme behaviour and getting away with it. And someone who realises that there is no restraint on him/her may very well commit the kinds of actions that could earn a person the moniker of 'mad' even though they may actually be mentally stable, albeit extremely cruel. And of course, unrestricted power could probably lead someone to madness.

By that same token the argument could be made that Joffrey isn't mad, just a really young kid who has unlimited power.  There's no evidence that Robert was a good father to him, and I sincerely doubt that Cersei ever said 'no' to him.  His behavior and the behavior of most Targaryens could have more to do with their upbringing than the fact that they are the products of incest.

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Given the fact that we don't have any evidence for what the Targaryens were like pre-Conquest we won't know how prone to madness the Targaryens were.  It could very well be that their inability to bond with dragons could be a reason for their mental instability.

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I have been thinking on this topic and popped back in to say, I think some people are using dragon dreams and prophetic abilities interchangeably. There is evidence that these are not the same. Dragon dreams are like those described by Aemon (which I quoted upthread) and Dany. These types of dreams are more an expression of the yearning between dragons and their potential riders. This is the bond created between dragons and their riders at the time dragons were created. All of the dragonlords of Valyria would have had dragon dreams.

I think eventually the Targaryens without dragons or dragon eggs would cease to hear the dragons. For instance, we know Aegon V, Aemon and all their brothers had dragon dreams and had dragon eggs in their cribs. The embryonic dragons and their Targaryens were forming bonds during that time. The Targaryens had simply forgotten how to hatch them. On the other hand, Viserys did not seem to have dragon dreams and didn't have any eggs. After Dany was given dragon eggs, she began having dragon dreams. Dany was able through her close ties with the dragon eggs to figure out how to hatch the eggs. This was essentially a miraculous event as GRRM has stated.

The prophetic ability is something different. This is the ability that separates the Targaryens from all of the other dragonlords. The proof that dragon dreams are not the same as the Targaryens psychic abilities is that only the Targaryens remain. If dragon dreams equated with psychic abilities, then more dragonlords would have survived. Instead the Targaryens were mocked by the other dragonlords for their actions. Although Alaynsa Starne dismissed the connection between Stannis and the Targaryens and Stannis' psychic ability, it is actually pretty significant. No where else in the story is a fire scryer able to "show" someone else what they see. Only those with the ability to see for themselves can see the images in the fire. This suggests the ability is within Stannis himself and that that ability comes through the Targaryen line. It is obvious through Stannis' description that he is in a trance-like state. Trances and sleep are both altered states of consciousness. I really think Stannis' ability to see into the fire was innate to him and came from his Targaryen heritage. Twenty-five percent Targaryen is really pretty large. The reason Melisandre insisted on Stannis looking for himself was because the Targaryens were famous for their prophetic abilities.

So why is this important? In one of my many threads that I never actually started I put forth the theory that Targaryens produce green dreamers. Yes, green dreamers like Jojen. The emphasis on the Targaryen prophetic abilities is that they are sleeping prophets. This suggests they are receiving messages from the greenseers. One of the reasons I think this is because of what Stannis saw. Notice the difference of the vision Stannis had vs. Melisandre's visions. Stannis' vision was so realistic that he could feel the cold, whereas Melisandre's visions were fragmentary and highly symbolic. If you have the eyes to see it, Stannis' vision was obviously very, very different than Melisandre's. That is why it is silly to think Melisandre was the one to send Stannis the vision. I believe that Stannis was sent the vision by Bloodraven, his Targaryen relative. It is because of this vision that Stannis is one of the first people south of the Wall to jump on the War for the Dawn bandwagon.

Finally, although it is possible that Stannis received the vision as it was happening (2%) or after it had happened (13%), the most likely possibility is that Stannis received the vision before it happened (85%). These percentages come from the number of days before, during and after the event in which Stannis could have received the vision.

Cheers!

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On 4/4/2017 at 0:24 AM, 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.  

Interesting notions but Dany is more likely to go mad in my opinion. Retaking what is her's with Fire and Blood will end up doing it for her.

Granted not sure how being dead is going to effect Jon.

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7 minutes ago, Lord Wraith said:

Interesting notions but Dany is more likely to go mad in my opinion. Retaking what is her's with Fire and Blood will end up doing it for her.

Granted not sure how being dead is going to effect Jon.

I feel like there's a fairly strong argument for her being mad already. She walks into a fire thinking it will have positive results. Yes she was correct and remained unharmed, but there's something to be said about judging actions separately from their consequences. It's kind of like if someone held a loaded gun to their head and said I am going to pull the trigger but I will be okay because God will stop the bullet. They fire, the gun happens to jam, and now everyone believes they are not only sane, but also can talk with God. What if dany surviving was just the result of chance and that there was 99% chance she died, but she happens to be the 1%. Does it make her sane or insane and lucky?

but idk, as far as full blown madness we already have cersei. how many mad queens do we need lol

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4 hours ago, 300 H&H Magnum said:

I think Jon's arc is done.  We may see him talking to Bran through the weirwood trees but his arc as a human is finished.  To bring him back will only weaken the story.  George himself said Rings would have been better if Gandalf had stayed dead.  As far as the chances of going mad, I think Jon has the same chance as any other Targaryen.  Full blood or half blood doesn't make a difference as the family tree shows us.  It's random like a coin toss but the chance is very small.  Jaeherys was just talking out of his ass about the coin toss probability. 

He's the character with the second most chapters in the series. If R+L=J is confirmed he is literally the son of ice and fire. GRRM has been setting up his resurrection from Beric, with Ghost keeping him from going all Stoneheart. And you think his arc is done?

2 hours ago, The She-Wolf25 said:

By that same token the argument could be made that Joffrey isn't mad, just a really young kid who has unlimited power.  There's no evidence that Robert was a good father to him, and I sincerely doubt that Cersei ever said 'no' to him.  His behavior and the behavior of most Targaryens could have more to do with their upbringing than the fact that they are the products of incest.

Per the author, Joffrey is a spoiled-rotten 13 year old boy who has been handed essentially unlimited power. He's not mad.

There were literally mad Targaryens. Incest may or may not have anything to do with it, but it's probably not just how they were raised. 

2 hours ago, The She-Wolf25 said:

Given the fact that we don't have any evidence for what the Targaryens were like pre-Conquest we won't know how prone to madness the Targaryens were.  It could very well be that their inability to bond with dragons could be a reason for their mental instability.

Maegor rode Balerion. 

56 minutes ago, bent branch said:

I have been thinking on this topic and popped back in to say, I think some people are using dragon dreams and prophetic abilities interchangeably. There is evidence that these are not the same. Dragon dreams are like those described by Aemon (which I quoted upthread) and Dany. These types of dreams are more an expression of the yearning between dragons and their potential riders. This is the bond created between dragons and their riders at the time dragons were created. All of the dragonlords of Valyria would have had dragon dreams.

I think eventually the Targaryens without dragons or dragon eggs would cease to hear the dragons. For instance, we know Aegon V, Aemon and all their brothers had dragon dreams and had dragon eggs in their cribs. The embryonic dragons and their Targaryens were forming bonds during that time. The Targaryens had simply forgotten how to hatch them. On the other hand, Viserys did not seem to have dragon dreams and didn't have any eggs. After Dany was given dragon eggs, she began having dragon dreams. Dany was able through her close ties with the dragon eggs to figure out how to hatch the eggs. This was essentially a miraculous event as GRRM has stated.

The prophetic ability is something different. This is the ability that separates the Targaryens from all of the other dragonlords. The proof that dragon dreams are not the same as the Targaryens psychic abilities is that only the Targaryens remain. If dragon dreams equated with psychic abilities, then more dragonlords would have survived. Instead the Targaryens were mocked by the other dragonlords for their actions. Although Alaynsa Starne dismissed the connection between Stannis and the Targaryens and Stannis' psychic ability, it is actually pretty significant. No where else in the story is a fire scryer able to "show" someone else what they see. Only those with the ability to see for themselves can see the images in the fire. This suggests the ability is within Stannis himself and that that ability comes through the Targaryen line. It is obvious through Stannis' description that he is in a trance-like state. Trances and sleep are both altered states of consciousness. I really think Stannis' ability to see into the fire was innate to him and came from his Targaryen heritage. Twenty-five percent Targaryen is really pretty large. The reason Melisandre insisted on Stannis looking for himself was because the Targaryens were famous for their prophetic abilities.

So why is this important? In one of my many threads that I never actually started I put forth the theory that Targaryens produce green dreamers. Yes, green dreamers like Jojen. The emphasis on the Targaryen prophetic abilities is that they are sleeping prophets. This suggests they are receiving messages from the greenseers. One of the reasons I think this is because of what Stannis saw. Notice the difference of the vision Stannis had vs. Melisandre's visions. Stannis' vision was so realistic that he could feel the cold, whereas Melisandre's visions were fragmentary and highly symbolic. If you have the eyes to see it, Stannis' vision was obviously very, very different than Melisandre's. That is why it is silly to think Melisandre was the one to send Stannis the vision. I believe that Stannis was sent the vision by Bloodraven, his Targaryen relative. It is because of this vision that Stannis is one of the first people south of the Wall to jump on the War for the Dawn bandwagon.

Finally, although it is possible that Stannis received the vision as it was happening (2%) or after it had happened (13%), the most likely possibility is that Stannis received the vision before it happened (85%). These percentages come from the number of days before, during and after the event in which Stannis could have received the vision.

Cheers!

I think you are confusing dragon dreams with dreams about dragons. They aren't the same thing. Tyrion had dreams about dragons, but no dragon dreams so far as we know.

No they didn't. There wasn't any "how to hatch them" back when they had the dragons. They just hatched. When magic left the world, the eggs stopped hatching. And it's possible that the maesters were doing something to make the dragons and their eggs less viable. If Targaryen dragons were poisoned, and Dany's eggs were not from Targaryen dragons, then the return of magic coupled with her having healthy eggs would be a slam dunk.

Spoiler

In TWOW a girl from House Toland has a dragon dream. She has neither dragons nor dragon eggs. It's not dependent on proximity to either. The girl is likely a descendant of Aegon VI of one of the "missing" Targaryens.

GRRM said Dany not dying in the flames was the miraculous event, and he said that to shoot down the idea that Dany or any other Targaryen is fire proof.

Are you referring to dragonriding as a psychic ability? Because it's probably not. Dragon bonds are magical, probably due to literal blood-bonding between the dragons and the dragonlords. 

That is an excellent point about Stannis.

Except that we have no evidence that Bloodraven can send such messages or vision to people who are conscious. It's always done through dreams. Hence the term greendreams. Greendreams are earth-magic. Dragons and Targaryens are fire magic. Two different kinds. Of course Bloodraven, being part-Targ could potentially use both. 

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16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

In that light many of the Targaryens we would not consider to be clinically mad but extreme in one way or another could be seen as mad in this broad sense.

Among those would be monarchs like Maegor the Cruel (extreme cruelty), Aegon II and Rhaenyra (paranoia and cruelty), Daeron I (an extreme war), Baelor the Blessed (extreme piety and erratic decisions), Aegon IV (extreme sex life and extremely bad reign), Aerys I (extreme scholarly disposition), Aegon V (obsession with dragons), Aerys II (paranoia, cruelty, erratic behavior).

Exactly.

An additional indication that those "extreme behaviours" were not clinical madness is that all of them can be easily explained just  but the upbringing and environment each of those kings:

  • Maegor raised during the conquest, and grew as a prince of a unstable kingdom, surrounded by enemies. At Aegon's death, it fell to him the responsibility of saving the Targaryen kingdom and placating the multiple revolts. Many would agree that some cruelty, and specially gaining the reputation of being cruel, would be required of a monarch at those times.
  • Rhaenyra had been raised with the certainty that she would become queen. Then, in less than a year she lost her father, her unborn daughter, her husband, and four of her sons. Who wouldn't act erratic and become a little paranoid?
  • Daeron I and Baelor were born at at time were the realm was shattered after a civil war. The kingdom was depressed, and Aegon III and Viserys II were in a similar mood. They needed something to escape from their family and unite the realm again, and each found their way: a war against a common enemy, or the Faith.
  • Aegon IV was abandoned by his mother, was outshadowed by his cousins and brothers. He was treated as a disappointment since the beginning, so when he became king he only meet the expectations.
  • Aerys' I only appeared after he was imprisoned for more than a year fearing for his live, and had solid justifications (regions were allying to gain influence, and his son was planning to depose him).

My point is that each of the monarchs shortcomings appeared at the time and in the manner that one could expect them to appear. This does not correlate well with assuming a clinically caused "madness".

13 hours ago, Lollygag said:

"I am no maester to quote history at you, Your Grace. Swords have been my life, not books. But every child knows that the Targaryens have always danced too close to madness. Your father was not the first. King Jaehaerys once told me that madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land."

I don't buy Jaeharey's thesis. Having "potential for both madness and greatness" is something that can be said of any monarch. It's not a matter of genetics, it's a matter that absolute power amplify the repercussions of your decisions.

There's been plenty of Targaryens that were neither "great" nor "mad". Viserys I, Aegon III or Jaehaerys II himself were more or less mediocre guys.

(btw, I wonder why Jaehaerys mentioned that to Barristan, since he never knew of a "mad" Targaryen in his lifetime. Aerion Brightflame was dead, and all his contemporaries were not particularly great nor mad: Aegon, Duncan, Daeron,...)

13 hours ago, ShadowCat Rivers said:

It seems to me that the local lords would prefer to undermine "central" authority by using local tradition and inciting localism, or by pointing out their foreigness, but not by stiring the notion to the general population that the Authority -especially as a dynasty (bloodline)- may be questioned for its adequacy to rule and that, if they may be replaced if they don't measure up. Especially after they came to an 'understanding' with the Faith. If they do that, they open the doors for their own rule to be questioned and, in contrast to the central king, they are closer and more easily observed (and accordingly, evaluated) by the people they rule.

Someone trying to undermine a king will use every mean to achieve that. Surely they also promoted local tradition and rejected their foreignness, but why stop there?

Your argument is akin to assuming that politicians from the opposition would not accuse the government of corruption, because then when they rule they could be accused of it to. It doesn't work that way. Gaining power is very hard. People do anything they can to achieve it, and then they figure out what to do from there.

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43 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

Your argument is akin to assuming that politicians from the opposition would not accuse the government of corruption, because then when they rule they could be accused of it to. It doesn't work that way. Gaining power is very hard. People do anything they can to achieve it, and then they figure out what to do from there.

I don't think this is a good analogy. As I see it, it looks more like arming your potentially strongest (and really most fundamental enemy), to fight against a competitor and not expect them to use those guns against you. Sort of like what Cersei did with the Faith against the Tyrells.

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9 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

I don't buy Jaeharey's thesis. Having "potential for both madness and greatness" is something that can be said of any monarch. It's not a matter of genetics, it's a matter that absolute power amplify the repercussions of your decisions.

There's been plenty of Targaryens that were neither "great" nor "mad". Viserys I, Aegon III or Jaehaerys II himself were more or less mediocre guys.

(btw, I wonder why Jaehaerys mentioned that to Barristan, since he never knew of a "mad" Targaryen in his lifetime. Aerion Brightflame was dead, and all his contemporaries were not particularly great nor mad: Aegon, Duncan, Daeron,...)

I have an art background, so for me madness/greatness are tightly bound (not personally!), and often the line is difficult to distinguish. I find it unusual that the author has applied this idea to politicians/monarchs, as it's usually more relevant to those in a creative or discovery fields: scientists, artists, mathematicians, musicians. For these people in real life, genetics is often relevant, but I do agree, it doesn't seem to fit in-story and applied to politicians/monarchs.

Regardless of whether any Targs are truly mad or not, and to what degree, the point of Barristan's statement - to the reader - is that any Targ in Westeros will be watched closely for signs for madness and it will no doubt affect their arcs, rightly or wrongly, because it's what every child (and implied every adult), and even some Targs believe.

Given how often Targ madness is brought up in-story and how wide-spread the belief is in it, I expect Dany, Jon, Aegon, and any other Targs will experience significant complications from this belief.

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I was having the same thoughts the other day. I agree the Targs madness is vastly overstated in-story and in fandom. Even some of the people mentioned in the OP I wouldn't consider mad. Rhaenyra had the situation while she was in labor, but I don't recall her doing anything exhibiting madness. Aegon II didn't do anything exhibiting madness either. He was vengeful but that personality flaw. Same with Aegon V. He was terrible king and lustful and greedy and spiteful, but that's a personality flaw not madness. Baelor was probably mad, along with Aerys and possibly Aerion. I think a lot of characters and readers combine personality flaws and madness into one thing, which is inaccurate. I think this happens because the Targs were kings and we always tend to pay more attention to what goes on in royalty so there a lot more stories about them. I'm sure if someone paid attention to and kept a running ledger of everything the Starks, Lannisters, or Tyrells have done throughout all of history, there would be a long line of morally flawed, ruthless, even crazy individuals  just like there is with Targs. But since people don't care we don't hear about it so it seems like it's occurring in Targs at a higher than normal when it probably isn't. In real life, the analogy would be celebrities. We hear about celebrity families having in-fighting or celebrities always getting divorced and etc so it seems like they're doing something different than regular, but if we take a step back and think about it, it happens in our lives too. We just don't have to do with everyone watching.

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On 4/4/2017 at 0:24 AM, 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.  

The list of mad Targaryens is actually smaller than yours.  Aerys and Aerion are the only ones that I consider mad.  None of the women lost their minds.  How interesting.  You may be right about women having immunity from madness.

As far as hearing voices in their heads.  Well that is not surprising when you consider that Seers do talk inside people's heads.  Telepathic communications happen in the world if ice and fire. 

 

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On 4/5/2017 at 7:42 PM, Lady Blizzardborn said:

From what I recall of the text she wasn't thinking of her family's history. She was acting on instinct, and she was absolutely right.

This is consistent with those Targaryens who had prophetic abilities, and inconsistent with those who were mad (cause their instincts sucked big time).

Then I'm not sure why your original point in response to my comment was that Dany was acting logically based on her family's history. If she wasn't thinking that her family has a history of prophets and she was simply acting on instinct, then she was certainly not being logical. I think I'm confused about what point you're trying to make here.

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On 4/5/2017 at 10:16 PM, The She-Wolf25 said:

Given the fact that we don't have any evidence for what the Targaryens were like pre-Conquest we won't know how prone to madness the Targaryens were.  It could very well be that their inability to bond with dragons could be a reason for their mental instability.

I doubt they could have achieved all that empire-building greatness if a significant portion of the family went crazy.  

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On 6/4/2017 at 7:40 AM, Lady Blizzardborn said:

He's the character with the second most chapters in the series. If R+L=J is confirmed he is literally the son of ice and fire. GRRM has been setting up his resurrection from Beric, with Ghost keeping him from going all Stoneheart. And you think his arc is done?

QFT. Also iirc didn't GRRM had told that Jon will learn about his parents?

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