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Damsel in Distress

Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

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Two points worth bearing in mind, are that:-

1. Mental illness doesn't mean that you go round chewing the carpet, in most cases (it did with Aerys II, but not generally).  Mental illness can go hand in hand with rational functional behaviour;

2. People who are brought up to believe that they are almost gods, and that no human authority can restrain them, are going to be prone to wild behaviour.

Overall, I don't think that genuine madness is more prevalent among the Targayrens than it was among, say, the House of Valois.

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15 hours ago, Alaynsa Starne said:

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.

I think I am too. 

4 hours ago, Jon's Queen Consort said:

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

Not sure what QFT means, but yes GRRM said that Jon will learn who his parents were. 

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2 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

I think I am too. 

Not sure what QFT means, but yes GRRM said that Jon will learn who his parents were. 

Quoted for truth, I was agreeing with you. My point is that since GRRM said that Jon will learn about his parents he cannot be dead.

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On 6.4.2017 at 0:35 PM, The hairy bear said:

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.

Maegor was born a sadistic and paranoid bastard. His head injury may have made it worse but nothing indicates that his upbringing made him as worse as he was. He is a dialed-up/more unhinged version of his mother. Visenya was sane and capable, but also distant and emotionally cold.

He grew up in a time of peace and prosperity, not war.

On 6.4.2017 at 0:35 PM, The hairy bear said:
  • 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?

I actually don't think she was seen differently by the Kingslanders and her people than Aegon II and his ilk. She basically did the same as Alicent (closing the gates, searching for traitors and imprisoning/executing them) and Otto had done when they were in power. In fact, the downfall of the Black regime in KL looks is pretty much mirrored by the Green downfall a few months earlier. The only difference is that Rhaenyra faced a chaotic public uprising while Alicent was brought down by a well-oiled and effective coup led by Daemon's men in the City Watch.

And insofar as extremes are concerned Aegon II seems to have gone father than Rhaenyra ever did. She never commanded the murder of children or women while Aegon II put her to death without a trial.

What we know about the history of the Targaryens and Westeros in general is that (highborn) women are never seen as combatants in war. They are neither slain in battle nor executed as traitors. Rhaenyra spared both Alicent (her worst enemy) as well as Helaena and even Maegor and Visenya never targeted Alyssa Velaryon herself or her daughters, only her sons.

On 6.4.2017 at 0:35 PM, The hairy bear said:
  • 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.

I think we know too little about the childhood of these two but one assumes that the influences that shaped their character had little to do with their father or uncle. Aegon III most likely never spent much time with any of his children, and when they were born the Realm should have recovered significantly. Else Daeron's war would never have been as popular as it became.

On 6.4.2017 at 0:35 PM, The hairy bear said:
  • 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.

I doubt that anybody saw Daeron and Baelor as more promising than Aegon. He was pushed back their births in the succession, of course, but Aegon was one of the most charismatic and wittiest men of his age, at least in his youth. That man never felt people were denying himself something. He took what he wanted, his entire life. Perhaps his father tried, in the end, to disinherit him or pass him over in the succession in favor of young Daeron, leading to his quick death, but aside from that Aegon really lived a princely life.

And in the beginning his reign wasn't as corrupt as it later became. He always had had a thing for women but his appetites all grew to those insane proportions during his reign. And considering his intelligence we have to conclude that the man knew what he was doing when he ruined the Realm.

On 6.4.2017 at 0:35 PM, The hairy bear said:
  • Aerys' II 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).

I don't think Aerys cared about any of those marriages. If he had he could have forbidden them (if his council believed Aerys could outlaw tourneys he certainly could have been able to prevent cousin Robert from marrying a Stark girl or something of that sort).

But in his case it is quite clear that he had paranoid delusions and manic episodes throughout his entire life. Prior to Duskendale he would regret any death sentences and the like he ordered during those but that didn't help the people he had tortured to death for invented crimes. Afterwards he was completely nuts, and a person with a more stable personality would have reacted quite differently to this trauma.

In that sense Viserys III was very much like his father. Viserys couldn't cope well with the stress his 'Beggar King lifestyle' forced upon him but Daenerys actually lived through and grew despite all the traumas and losses she suffered in AGoT alone. Aerys II and Viserys III would have been completely shattered by even one of such experiences, and in that sense there clearly is some truth to Jaehaerys II's talk about madness and greatness. 

Men like Rhaegel, Daeron the Drunk, Aerys I, Aenys I, Baelor I, etc. would have gone down the same road if they had been forced into such a bad position. But men like the Conqueror, Jaehaerys I, Daeron I, Viserys II, Baelor Breakspear, and Aegon V may have lived through such traumas just as well as Daenerys.

On 6.4.2017 at 0:35 PM, The hairy bear said:

(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,...)

Jaehaerys II is old enough to remember uncle Aerion and cousin Vaella. Not to mention that cousin Maegor may have turned out rather badly, as could have some children of Duncan's (if they exist(ed)) or Egg's sisters. We also have no idea how mentally stable his sister-wife Shaera and his sister Rhaelle were. Duncan and Daeron appear to be pretty sane but we don't have the full picture on them.

But the whole thing could boil down to Jaehaerys II just knowing his history.

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I like the theory.  End the male line and rebuild from a female.  Any ideas on the best male choices?  Khal Drogo was a good sire to build a strong foundation from.  Who else?  Gerris Drinkwater?  Tristane Martell in a few years.  Wylas Tyrell. 

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Spoiler

I was thinking this the other day. I think people assume that the madness was a result of incest. But the way I see it is, they were people with way too much power and that's what drove them mad. I mean we don't truly know what was the cause behind Aerys' madness. But I feel like some of the Targs were just power hungry, they had dragons and saw themselves as gods and everyone should bend to their will. There's "mad" people in the families of all the great houses. 

I mean some of theTargs appeared to do "mad" stuff because of Dragon dreams, but we don't know where these dreams are coming from but what we do know is a lot of those dreams we know of are essential to the wars to come, they have links and a knock on effect 

 

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6 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

It's not to be understood as an exaggeration, but foreshadowing. 

I had never thought about this in that way but you are right.

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11 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

It's not to be understood as an exaggeration, but foreshadowing. 

A foreshadowing for Jon going mad, yes.  If that is what you meant, you have my agreement. 

On 4/8/2017 at 9:27 PM, Tour De Force said:

I like the theory.  End the male line and rebuild from a female.  Any ideas on the best male choices?  Khal Drogo was a good sire to build a strong foundation from.  Who else?  Gerris Drinkwater?  Tristane Martell in a few years.  Wylas Tyrell. 

Gerris is a skilled knight and a fine physical specimen.  Tyrell was not born lame.  He is said to be smart.  He would do. 

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On 4/8/2017 at 9:27 PM, Tour De Force said:

I like the theory.  End the male line and rebuild from a female.  Any ideas on the best male choices?  Khal Drogo was a good sire to build a strong foundation from.  Who else?  Gerris Drinkwater?  Tristane Martell in a few years.  Wylas Tyrell. 

So the ones who went mad had Targaryen fathers.  Simple enough.  Just pick someone who isn't a Targaryen to father the next generation.  You wouldn't want to give the greatest family name in the world to just anybody though.  A legitimized bastard is too low in the social status.  If the liberal Martells are reluctant to marry one of their own to a bastard, a Targaryen should not even consider it.  A Targaryen > Martell.

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On 4/4/2017 at 11:27 AM, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Robert Arryn is a spoiled brat who also has health problems, and Lysa experienced sever mental and physical trauma. They have definite issues, but neither is on par with the Targ madness in the series. There is no reason to suspect that Targaryen women don't also carry the madness genes.

There is every reason to believe that the Targaryen women do not carry the madness gene.  Look at the list that the O/p gave you.  I checked it against the Targaryen family tree.  Facts do not lie. 

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17 hours ago, Here's Looking At You, Kid said:

There is every reason to believe that the Targaryen women do not carry the madness gene.  Look at the list that the O/p gave you.  I checked it against the Targaryen family tree.  Facts do not lie. 

Facts do not lie, but you're not dealing with facts. You're dealing with inferences based on an incomplete picture. I'm afraid genetics are not that simple.

There are genes for certain genetic disorders that women carry but they rarely come down with the disorders themselves. They are called X-linked disorders, and Targ madness could very well be one--the women are carriers but don't usually develop the insanity. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend the film Lorenzo's Oil for an example. It's based on a true story about a boy with adrenoleukodystrophy, which is and X-linked disorder.

The cases of female insanity that we do have are trauma-induced, which probably indicates that those cases were a standard kind of mental break that could happen to anyone, but that doesn't mean those women didn't carry genes for another kind of madness.

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23 hours ago, Bowen Marsh said:

So the ones who went mad had Targaryen fathers.  Simple enough.  Just pick someone who isn't a Targaryen to father the next generation.  You wouldn't want to give the greatest family name in the world to just anybody though.  A legitimized bastard is too low in the social status.  If the liberal Martells are reluctant to marry one of their own to a bastard, a Targaryen should not even consider it.  A Targaryen > Martell.

It's preferable not to start off your line with even a bastard made legit.  It's better to be true born right from the start.  In terms of prestige for the most famous royal family in the world, Dany should not start off their new line with a bastard for a sire.  Go with Willas Tyrell.

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Thank you for posting this.  Yours is the best work I've read on this subject.  The possibility of a Targaryen going mad has been greatly exaggerated both within the POVs and on the fan discussions.  Three hundred years of recorded family history and not one confirmed female going mad.  All the loonies were men. 

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52 minutes ago, Ye Shall Be As Gods said:

Thank you for posting this.  Yours is the best work I've read on this subject.  The possibility of a Targaryen going mad has been greatly exaggerated both within the POVs and on the fan discussions.  Three hundred years of recorded family history and not one confirmed female going mad.  All the loonies were men. 

targaryen women didn't have as much power. And we don't know that much about them.

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4 hours ago, shockwave said:

targaryen women didn't have as much power. And we don't know that much about them.

Pretty much this. The men were the rulers and thusly most likely suffered from the stress of ruling.

And even in the World of Ice and Fire, we really don't get much information about what really happened to the women or how they were faring, mostly because they weren't rulers, so thusly they weren't "important" in the history book. For all we know, they could've been just as mad as their male counterparts, but because they were never rulers, the common people and nobles alike never got to experience their madness.

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9 hours ago, shockwave said:

targaryen women didn't have as much power. And we don't know that much about them.

We do know a lot about the targ women.  Targaryen history is just as much about the women as it is about the men.  None have gone mad over the course of 400 years. 

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12 hours ago, Holley 4 Barrel said:

We do know a lot about the targ women.  Targaryen history is just as much about the women as it is about the men.  None have gone mad over the course of 400 years. 

not as much. We still don't know how and when Daena the defiant died.

Rhaena, sister of Baelor the Befuddled, was probably as crazy as her brother.

Helaena and Rhaenyra showed some madness post-trauma.

 

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On 4/3/2017 at 9:24 PM, 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.

I think your list disproves your point. How many other Westerosi families could you so easily come up with such a list? Very, very few. I also think you leave out some demonstrably unstable Targaryens such as Egg's oldest brother, Daeron, or the Young Dragon, who was a brilliant military commander with delusions of invincibility that caused tens of thousands of deaths. Viserys should make your list as well.

All in all, the evidence shows the possibility of a Targaryen becoming sick from some inherited mental illness is far and away beyond what we see as normal amongst other Westerosi noble houses. Given the harm even one such monarch can cause, I don't think the fears concerning Targaryen madness are exaggerated. The odds don't even have to be the "coin flip" talked about in the series. I would think one in ten, or even less would be legitimate cause for concern. What one can do about those concerns is another matter altogether.

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