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Damsel in Distress

Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

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On 4/3/2017 at 11:24 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. 

 

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.  

EDIT: I know other astute people have made similar observations as me, but wanted to express my opinion since a couple of other threads keep referencing this one.

I think your overall point may be that Targaryen madness is a political tool that can or has been used against them. Your genealogical observations, as others have pointed out, has some flaws...

Probably of more significant value than anything I'll say below is that Targaryen's themselves believe in their family's madness. Barristan Selmy, when speaking to Daenerys, mentions what King Jahaerys II had to say: "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."

The problem with your genealogy observations is that it only really addresses either rulers or major claimants, meaning that they are important in historical records. It is not an exhaustive list of Targaryens by any means. Add onto this that almost all Tagaryen rulers and claimants were male (Rhaenyra being the only major exception), women have never been placed under the same scrutiny as men in regards to their mental health. The only truly confirmed mad member of the Targaryen family was Aerys II; everyone else is just retrospective speculation. Not to mention that madness has a variety of meanings in a medieval context. It's the madness that interferes with a king's ability to rationally rule that becomes notable, such as in Aerys II's case.

Also note that Aerys II's madness was triggered by the Defiance of Duskendale. He was betrayed and imprisoned and afterwards delusionally saw everyone as an enemy plotting against him. There is also speculation regarding the connection between the dragon dreams and madness (check the wiki http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Targaryen_madness). While you personally don't see it happening, GRRM giving Daenerys dragon dreams in future books that start pulling at her sanity wouldn't be out of the blue for him. He's set the precedence and he can very well use it.

So, in sum: There have been no Targaryen female rulers (minus Rhaenyra, briefly, and Daenerys) for you to accurately make the claim that Targaryen women don't carry the insanity gene. Plus, you have to define what insanity would even mean in Daenerys' case before you could claim she won't be suffering from it. Has she not demonstrated that she is capable of the cruel callousness definitive of Maegor the Cruel? Did she not irrationally banish Ser Jorah even after all the things he has done to prove his loyalty? Regardless of if she's insane or not, it won't be hard for people to believe she is mad and seek to undermine her in Westeros. Characters in Westeros have already perceived her actions across the sea as mad, including Lord Tarly and Arianne Martell. Perhaps that will be the tragedy of her character.

Additional fun historical facts:  Henry VI of England was grandson (through his mother) to a French king (Charles VI) that was indeed suffering from mental illness (believing his body to be made of fragile glass, etc.). Though not as cruel as  Henry VI later himself was believed to have inherited, at minimum, mental instability due to him entering into unresponsive (catatonic) states during times he became extremely stressed or depressed. Even further, His son with Margaret of Anjou was actually described by chroniclers as being much like Joffrey: " This boy, though only thirteen years of age, already talks of nothing but of cutting off heads or making war, as if he had everything in his hands or was the god of battle or the peaceful occupant of that throne " Also noteworthy that these were all major players in the Wars of the Roses, a major inspiration for GRRM. So the point is that madness in the medieval sense can mean many things.

 

And to address your implications...

1. Not anymore... And I think people would have said the same thing about "GRRM wouldn't..." in the past only to be disturbingly surprised.

2. Targaryens fought a civil war against each other than ended up killing all of the strong dragons, hence the ones being as small as kittens. They didn't just cycle out of existence due to natural causes, Targaryens caused the demise of their dragons themselves.

3. Future children?... So she's not barren after all? Even she seems to think she is.

4. There are those that likely already do see him as mad... especially with his policies regarding wildlings.

 

 

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On ‎4‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 8:40 PM, Lady Blizzardborn said:

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.

  Reveal hidden contents

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. 

Actually, what I am saying is that the fandom in general is mistaking dragon dreams with dreams about dragons. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to this, but I have been putting together some evidence. To start I looked through all the literature to find where the term "dragon dream" is used. This term is used only once and it is used to refer to both of Dany's dreams about Drogon before he hatched. I don't think that these dreams fit the fan-created definition, but neither do I think GRRM was trying to create his own definition of this term. In order to explain more fully, I will return to these two Dany dreams later. First I need to discuss the "definition" given to "dragon dreams" by the fandom.

Here is the definition of "dragon dreams" cut and paste directly from the Wiki:

Quote

 

Dragon dreams affect those with the blood of the dragon, who are known to have premonition-like dream ability - they are no ordinary dreams. They often involve dragons but not always.

Dragon dreams appear to have haunted those with the blood of the dragon throughout the generations; some more than others.

Members of House Targaryen and House Blackfyre have had these dreams.

 

The first problem is with the idea that Targaryen prophetic abilities have anything to do with "blood of the dragon". While some people in the story may think that, we as readers should know that is utter bullshit. Every dragonlord that ever existed had "blood of the dragon", yet only the Targaryens survived the Doom. They only survived because of Daenys' prophetic abilities. This is proof that the prophetic abilities of some Targaryens has absolutely nothing to do with "blood of the dragon". Thus, the fan-created definition of "dragon dreams" has to be changed:

Dragon dreams affect Targaryens and their relatives, who are known to have premonition-like dream ability - they are no ordinary dreams. They often involve dragons but not always.

Dragon dreams appear to have haunted those with Targaryen heritage throughout the generations; some more than others.

Members of House Targaryen and House Blackfyre have had these dreams.

With the "blood of the dragon" removed, the fan-created definition falls apart. It is completely circular reasoning. How do you know it is a dragon dream? A Targaryen dreamt it. What do you call a dream by a Targaryen? A Dragon Dream. This is why you make the claim that:

Spoiler

Teora Toland must have a Targaryen ancestor. Just because she apparently had an either clairvoyant or prophetic dream involving dragons she is immediately suspected to be a Targaryen. Is there some sort of rule that green dreamers can't see dragons? Do you really think it possible that there is some force in the Westeros universe that makes dragons opaque to green dreamers? I have been reading your posts for a long time and I know you're reasonable person. Hopefully, you can now see that your claim that Teora had a "dragon dream" while Tyrion had a dream about dragons is simply arbitrary. In fact, once I have made my pitch for a workable definition of "dragon dream", you will see that Tyrion's dreams of dragons is far more likely to be "dragon dreams" and Teora's is definitely NOT a "dragon dream".

Since the Targaryens prophetic abilities have nothing to do with blood of the dragon, there is no reason to think they are any different than green dreams. Here from the Wiki is the definition of Greensight:
 

Quote

 

A person with greensight sometimes dreams as other people, but the green dreams are different, filled with symbolic meaning, images, and metaphors of what is to come.

The meaning behind the dreams is not always obvious, but the dreamer experiences the fulfillment of visions in the unfolding of events. Supposedly these dreams can concern the dreamer or another person, but the dreamer will be able to tell the difference. Greenseers might also dream of their own deaths. Wargs have been known to also possess this ability.

Greenseers, the wise men of the children of the forest, reputedly possessed the greensight. Some crannogmen are also known to have greensight. One of them is Jojen Reed, who has unnaturally green eyes. It is possible that this is the result of his advanced greensight abilities.

 

With the meaningless "blood of the dragon" removed from the Targaryen prophetic abilities, this definition of Greensight fits the Targaryens perfectly. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. There is no reason to think that the Targaryen prophetic abilities are anything but greensight. Greensight is a rare ability, which seems to reside most prominently in first men. Just like the assumption is made that people who have "dragon dreams" must be Targaryen, the assumption is made that everyone who has a green dream must be a first man. However, that is just an assumption. We don't actually know the "rules" behind who can be a green dreamer. What I propose is this, dragons were created as a counter measure to the others. Since dragons are fire made flesh, the dragonlords lived close to the fires from which dragons were made. When the greenseer(s) foresaw the destruction of Valyria, they reached out and contacted the ONE dragonlord who had the ability to receive their message and told her to leave Valyria with her family so that some dragons would survive. None of this violates what we know of greensight. The ability is still rare and runs in families. We have no idea of the deep history of the Targaryen, therefore, there is no reason to suppose that the Targaryen prophetic ability is anything other than greensight.

So is there a type of dream that is exclusive to only those with the "blood of the dragon"? The answer to that is yes. And most Targaryen (and dragonlords) had them. They are not prophetic. They are most similar to the dreams of an untrained skinchanger. The similarity between "dragon dreams" and "wolf dreams" (I'm using wolf as a stand in for any of the animals a skinchanger can inhabit), is that they indicate a bond is being created between the dreamer and animal. One difference is that skinchangers are sharing a consciousness with their animal while dragon riders bond is more of a telepathic connection, they don't actually share consciousness. Another difference between "dragon dreams" and "wolf dreams" is that skinchanging is an ability that someone is naturally born with while "dragon dreams" are a magically created bond. When the dragons were created, human riders needed to be bonded to these weapons in order to make them useful. Therefore, dragon riders were bonded through blood (not fire) magic to their dragons and this desire, longing, yearning for a dragon is a hallmark of a "dragon dream". So here are the only three "dragon dreams" I propose as being in the stories (I have not read TPATQ and The Rogue Prince, so there maybe some in there).
 

Quote

 

Viserys was hitting her, hurting her. She was naked, clumsy with fear. She ran from him, but her body seemed thick and ungainly. He struck her again. She stumbled and fell. He struck her again. She stumbled and fell. “You woke the dragon,” he screamed as he kicked her. “You woke the dragon, you woke the dragon.” Her thighs were slick with blood.

She closed her eyes and whimpered. As if in answer, there was a hideous ripping sound and the crackling of some great fire. When she looked again Viserys was gone, great columns of flame rose all around, and in the midst of them was the dragon. It turned its great head slowly. When its molten eyes found hers, she woke, shaking and covered with a fine sweat - AGOT Chapter 11

 

Quote

There was only her and the dragon. Its scales were black as night, wet and slick with blood. Her blood, Dany sensed. Its eyes were pools of molten magma, and when it opened its mouth, the flame came roaring out in a hot jet. She could hear it singing to her. She opened her arms to the fire, embraced it, let it swallow her whole, let it cleanse her cleanse her and temper her and scour her clean. She could feel her flesh sear and blacken and slough away, could feel her blood boil and turn to steam, and yet there was no pain. She felt strong and new and fierce. - AGOT Chapter 23

Quote

 

..."I remember, Sam. I still remember."

He is not making sense. "Remember what?"

"Dragons," Aemon whispered. "The grief and glory of my House, they were."

"The last dragon died before you were born," said Sam. "How could you remember them?"

"I see them in my dreams, Sam. I see a red star bleeding in the sky. I still remember red. I see their shadows on the snow, hear the crack of leathern wings, feel their hot breath. My brothers dreamed of dragons too, and the dreams killed them, every one. Sam, we tremble on the cusp of half-remembered prophecies, of wonders and terrors that no man now living could hope to comprehend ... or ..."

"Or?" said Sam.

"... or not." Aemon chuckled softly. "Or I am an old man, feverish and dying." - AFFC Chapter 26

 

I have provided more of the quote for Aemon to demonstrate that Aemon's dreams about dragons are about something different than prophecy. These dreams are about the desire to reach out and connect with a dragon. Therefore, I suggest that the definition of "dragon dreams" return to what was suggested by GRRM's placement of this term. A "dragon dream" is a dream where a dragon and a potential rider reach out to one another and begin forming a bond. The reason Dany didn't continue to have dreams about a dragon is because once Drogon was hatched, she could bond with him directly. The reason Aemon and his brothers continued to be plagued by these dreams is because their dragons never hatched. Aemon said that all his brother dreamed of dragons, but only Daeron had prophetic dreams. This is another clue that dreams about dragons is different than prophetic dreaming.

You suggested that I was confusing dragon dreams with dreams about dragons, but in reality I am saying that if there is no dragon in the dream and no bonding between dreamer and dragon occurs, then these are not dragon dreams. Dragon dreams are not prophetic (the three dreams I have quoted have foreshadowing, but not prophetic), they are the beginning process of turning the dreamer into a rider. Dreamers find their dreams of dragons to be inspiring and desirable. Dragon dreams only drive their dreamer crazy when the bonding can't be completed and the dreamer under goes extreme stress. The only other person in the stories who may have had dragon dreams is Tyrion. AGOT - Chapter 13:
 

Quote

 

"Dragons," Tyrion told him.

"What good is that? There are no more dragon," the boy said with the easy certainty of youth.

"So they say," Tyrion replied. "Sad, isn't it? When I was your age, I used to dream of having a dragon of my own."

"You did?" the boy said suspiciously. Perhaps he thought Tyrion was making fun of him.

"Oh, yes. Even a stunted, twisted ugly little boy can look down over the world when he's seated on a dragon's back." Tyrion pushed the bearskin aside and climbed to his feet. "I used to start fires in the bowels of Casterly Rock and stare at the flames for hours, pretending they were dragonfire. Sometimes I'd imagine my father burning. At other times, my sister." Jon Snow was staring at him, a look equal parts horror and fascination. Tyrion guffawed. "Don't look at me that way, bastard. I know your secret. You've dreamt the same kind of dreams."

"No." Jon Snow said, horrified. "I wouldn't..."

"No? Never?" Tyrion raised an eyebrow...

 

While there is not enough information here to determine if Tyrion really did have a dragon dream (under my definition), it is obvious that the Tyrion desired to bond with a dragon and the dreams brought him comfort.

Spoiler

Versus the Teora Toland who was terrified of the dragons (terror not being an appropriate response to a "dragon dream").

 

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On 4/4/2017 at 8:39 AM, Lord Varys said:

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.

I read a theory many years ago from another web forum and it is similar to yours.  The main idea says the dragons sending telepathic signals from the unhatched eggs.  Some Targaryens are more susceptible than others and some of those can't handle the incoming signal.  One of the criteria for dragon bonding is almost certainly mental strength.  The trees store the data and the greenseers can read it.  Direwolves wake up the warg ability.  In the same way, the dragons open up latent talents within the Targaryens.  Daenys had something similar to green sight and she can see past and future. 

Prophetic dreams can drive people mad.  Seeing visions that they don't understand is like having a constant dream.  The mind was designed to operate in linear time with one direction like an arrow but when the mind can see past, present, and future it is likely to get confused.  Those who are not strong get damaged.   

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On 20/04/2017 at 11:36 AM, Traverys said:

 Has she not demonstrated that she is capable of the cruel callousness definitive of Maegor the Cruel?

3. Future children?... So she's not barren after all? Even she seems to think she is.

Sorry when did dany demonstrate that she can be as destructive and unstable as Maegor? 

For what it's worth she had her blood in her last chapter which she hadn't had for quite sometime, this is an indication that she's no longer barren, it is sloppy writing for house targaryen to go extinct because danearys is barren, I don't think grrm would do that

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1 hour ago, Yucef Menaerys said:

Sorry when did dany demonstrate that she can be as destructive and unstable as Maegor? 

For what it's worth she had her blood in her last chapter which she hadn't had for quite sometime, this is an indication that she's no longer barren, it is sloppy writing for house targaryen to go extinct because danearys is barren, I don't think grrm would do that

To be honest, if I would go back and edit that post if I could. I got sidetracked from my main point which was: people will perceive her as these things, whether it's true or not, based on interpretations of what she's done. While it may seem fairly reasonable to us as readers for her to interact with the Ghiscari as she has, it wont serve her very well in Westeros. Blood/violence seems to be so embedded in Ghiscari culture (from methods of punishing slaves to the fighting pits) that, in the end, Daenerys' actions can be said to make sense. Many people believe her arc in ADwD to be about her learning to rule, and the method of ruling she's had to adopt in order to be successful in Meereen is not gonna fly in Westeros. On top of that, stories of her methods during her time in Slaver's Bay are likely to reach the ears when she journeys to Westeros. If not from her, then her army, or sailors/traders traveling from port to port. Of course, we also know how stories in the series are like a game of telephone; the details can very easily get skewed an exaggerated when traveling from person to person.

So, as far as information coming to Westeros that will make her look like Maegor (whether true/false, skewed, or exaggerated) we could use freeing the slaves of Astapor and killing the masters in Meereen.

  • In Astapor, Daenerys arranged a business deal to buy an army of unsullied. When the army was bound to her, she didn't follow through on her end of the deal and instead killed all the masters. While I understand this is supposed to be a crowning moment of awesome for the character (like Rob being crowned King or Doran's "fire and blood" speech), it could easily turn out to be a bittersweet moment like it did for Robb and likely will for Doran. Who is going to make a deal with her, now? It loosely reminds me of how Maegor feasted the Red Keep's builders for three days and then executed all of them to maintain its secrets. Then, when he wanted to build the dragon pit, he found all the builders in the city had fled.
  • Then, in Meereen, she has 163 masters nailed to posts. As mentioned above, this seems fairly reasonable to us as we're accustomed to how violent Ghiscari are as a culture. However, Westerosi will be aware of the stories regarding Maegor's butcher-like tendencies. One would be him presenting a mound of 2,000 skulls he claimed belonged to Faith Militant that continuously opposed him (though some speculate that the skulls actually belonged to innocent smallfolk). Is this a fair comparison? Probably not. Will the Westerosi have all the information to come to a conclusion that is fair to Daenerys? Probably not.

How will she be forced to respond if they won't treat with her or cooperate in any way? Fire and blood. How will those on the receiving end interpret this? Madness.

I think Daenerys will have more bad PR moments coming to us soon. Adam Feldman's essays are generally well-received, and his series extrapolating Daenerys' arc in Meereen are fairly neutral. His essay named "A Darker Daenerys" explores how dissatisfied she is with the peace she worked so hard and compromised for, and how her time in Meereen has been a struggle between the idea of peace and war. The essay isn't about her turning evil or going mad, but instead her coming to terms with the idea that, even though she tried very hard, peace is at odds with her goals and maybe even her personality.

Quote

 

“I had to take Meereen or see my children starve along the march.” Dany could still see the trail of corpses she had left behind her crossing the Red Waste. It was not a sight she wished to see again. “I had to take Meereen to feed my people.”

You took Meereen, he told her, yet still you lingered. “To be a queen.”

You are a queen, her bear said. In Westeros.

“It is such a long way,” she complained. “I was tired, Jorah. I was weary of war. I wanted to rest, to laugh, to plant trees and see them grow. I am only a young girl.”

No. You are the blood of the dragon. The whispering was growing fainter, as if Ser Jorah were falling farther behind. Dragons plant no trees. Remember that. Remember who you are, what you were made to be. Remember your words.

Fire and Blood,” Daenerys told the swaying grass.

 

 

I wish I would have left out my bit about her conquering for a throne when she can't have children as it was just a tangent. However, since it's too late: I don't know why people are so quick to reject the idea that she is incapable of having kids. Was MMD just spouting nonsense? What would she have gained from lying at that point? She stated that Drogo will be as he was when Daenerys' womb quickens (i.e., feels the child move in her womb) and gives birth to a living child. It doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for interpretation. Barren women can still have periods. Stress is a common reason why a woman would miss a period (other than pregnancy, of course), and she certainly was stressed trying to bring peace to Meereen.

Why couldn't her period be more symbolic? She was forcing herself to do things she absolutely had no desire to do in order to bring peace. Part of the reason why she tried so hard for peace was because she feared her own ability for violence (fire and blood) and Selmy's warning about Targaryen madness. Now that she (with the help of hallucinogenic berries and visions) has come to terms with this, suddenly her body's natural cycles kick back in.

It would seem more unlike GRRM to go back on the consequences he has already placed on her, especially when she's already had such ridiculous plot armor due to her slow progress towards Westeros.

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I would like to address some of the comments Traverys.

Bad PR

Well, PR is something every leader has to deal with.  Is that enough to turn people away?  I don't think so.  Take a look at the other potential leaders and they all have more negative PR than Dany.  Stannis sacrifices to the Red God, burned his own men, sent a shadow assassin to kill his brother, lost to Tyrion at Blackwater.  He's got more bad publicity than good.  Jon is almost as bad.  Lord commander betrayed the watch, let the wildlings in, let Mance walk unpunished, arranged marriage between a noble girl and a wildling.  That's bad for PR.  A wildlings will inherit Umber lands.  It's bad publicity.  Aegon can't prove his identity, he's coming in with blackfyre supporters and Jon C.  I get that Dany will have some negative publicity but so does the competition.

Is Dany barren?

The answer is, we don't know.  I agree with Yusef.  I don't think GM will end the Targaryen line.  I also agree with Damsel's essay on the dragon abilities passing down through the females.  It wouldn't be ASOIAF if there were no Targaryens and no dragons.  If she is barren then I can see Rhaego may be alive.  Imagine you're a Dothraki who believed this child is the great stallion and his mom is about to be forced to join the DK.  You would take that baby and protect it.  Hide it really good.  MMD might not be a baby murderer after all.  She just played along thinking the Dothraki might let her go.

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4 hours ago, Traverys said:

To be honest, if I would go back and edit that post if I could. I got sidetracked from my main point which was: people will perceive her as these things, whether it's true or not, based on interpretations of what she's done. While it may seem fairly reasonable to us as readers for her to interact with the Ghiscari as she has, it wont serve her very well in Westeros. Blood/violence seems to be so embedded in Ghiscari culture (from methods of punishing slaves to the fighting pits) that, in the end, Daenerys' actions can be said to make sense. Many people believe her arc in ADwD to be about her learning to rule, and the method of ruling she's had to adopt in order to be successful in Meereen is not gonna fly in Westeros. On top of that, stories of her methods during her time in Slaver's Bay are likely to reach the ears when she journeys to Westeros. If not from her, then her army, or sailors/traders traveling from port to port. Of course, we also know how stories in the series are like a game of telephone; the details can very easily get skewed an exaggerated when traveling from person to person.

So, as far as information coming to Westeros that will make her look like Maegor (whether true/false, skewed, or exaggerated) we could use freeing the slaves of Astapor and killing the masters in Meereen.

  • In Astapor, Daenerys arranged a business deal to buy an army of unsullied. When the army was bound to her, she didn't follow through on her end of the deal and instead killed all the masters. While I understand this is supposed to be a crowning moment of awesome for the character (like Rob being crowned King or Doran's "fire and blood" speech), it could easily turn out to be a bittersweet moment like it did for Robb and likely will for Doran. Who is going to make a deal with her, now? It loosely reminds me of how Maegor feasted the Red Keep's builders for three days and then executed all of them to maintain its secrets. Then, when he wanted to build the dragon pit, he found all the builders in the city had fled.
  • Then, in Meereen, she has 163 masters nailed to posts. As mentioned above, this seems fairly reasonable to us as we're accustomed to how violent Ghiscari are as a culture. However, Westerosi will be aware of the stories regarding Maegor's butcher-like tendencies. One would be him presenting a mound of 2,000 skulls he claimed belonged to Faith Militant that continuously opposed him (though some speculate that the skulls actually belonged to innocent smallfolk). Is this a fair comparison? Probably not. Will the Westerosi have all the information to come to a conclusion that is fair to Daenerys? Probably not.

How will she be forced to respond if they won't treat with her or cooperate in any way? Fire and blood. How will those on the receiving end interpret this? Madness.

I think Daenerys will have more bad PR moments coming to us soon. Adam Feldman's essays are generally well-received, and his series extrapolating Daenerys' arc in Meereen are fairly neutral. His essay named "A Darker Daenerys" explores how dissatisfied she is with the peace she worked so hard and compromised for, and how her time in Meereen has been a struggle between the idea of peace and war. The essay isn't about her turning evil or going mad, but instead her coming to terms with the idea that, even though she tried very hard, peace is at odds with her goals and maybe even her personality.

 

I wish I would have left out my bit about her conquering for a throne when she can't have children as it was just a tangent. However, since it's too late: I don't know why people are so quick to reject the idea that she is incapable of having kids. Was MMD just spouting nonsense? What would she have gained from lying at that point? She stated that Drogo will be as he was when Daenerys' womb quickens (i.e., feels the child move in her womb) and gives birth to a living child. It doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for interpretation. Barren women can still have periods. Stress is a common reason why a woman would miss a period (other than pregnancy, of course), and she certainly was stressed trying to bring peace to Meereen.

Why couldn't her period be more symbolic? She was forcing herself to do things she absolutely had no desire to do in order to bring peace. Part of the reason why she tried so hard for peace was because she feared her own ability for violence (fire and blood) and Selmy's warning about Targaryen madness. Now that she (with the help of hallucinogenic berries and visions) has come to terms with this, suddenly her body's natural cycles kick back in.

It would seem more unlike GRRM to go back on the consequences he has already placed on her, especially when she's already had such ridiculous plot armor due to her slow progress towards Westeros.

You seem to be over-emphasizing and giving too much importance to PR and how Dany will be percieved in westeros, PR and perceptions are nothing if you have three dragons and a large army, prince daemon was though of as a hot tempered and unstable guy who delighted in cutting off the hands and feet of thieves but men still followed him to battle, Maegor was considered a product of incest and kinslayer but at the beginning of his reign many lords still flocked to him and fought for him. At this point i dont think PR matters anymore besides many people in westeros are even waiting and wishing for the targaryens to come back like the old man that arya meets in harrenhall in CoK

Quote

“It’s a sin and a shame,” an old man hissed. “When the old king was still alive, he’d not have stood for this.”
“King Robert?” Arya asked, forgetting herself.
“King Aerys, gods grace him,” the old man said, too loudly.

And the trainees at the citadel toasting to her

Quote

“No,” said Alleras. “It was Prince Rhaegar’s young son Aegon whose head was dashed against the wall by the Lion of Lannister’s brave men. We speak of Rhaegar’s sister, born on Dragonstone before its fall. The one they called Daenerys.”
“The Stormborn. I recall her now.” Mollander lifted his tankard high, sloshing the cider that remained. “Here’s to her!” He gulped, slammed his empty tankard down, belched, and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

On daenerys becoming this fire and blood figure let me just say im glad that daenerys is finally embracing her heritage, im tired of her acting all too weak and succumbing to the slavers demands in ADWD even though she was a targaryen and a dragonlord, she couldn't have taken westeros with that weak attitude, to me the bit about daenerys remembering the dragons and who she is is the best part of her arc in ADWD and i'm glad it happened.

Daenerys is no longer barren believe it or not, and MMD did lie to Dany in the past and she betrayed her, it isn't the first time that she'd be lying to her, and even if she wasn't lying, she specified some conditions that will have to be fulfilled before daenerys becomes fertile again, and all of those conditions have come true.

Quote

“When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” said Mirri Maz Duur. “When the
seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens
again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.”

Trying to decipher and explain all of this will take too long to type so i will just quote Sunil Kumar's answer from quora ( here's the <a href="https://www.quora.com/Is-Daenerys-Targaryen-barren">source</a>

When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,

This refers to Quentyn Martell, who was born in Westeros, and as confirmed by Barristan, died after what happened with the dragons. In Essos. In Quaithe's prophecy, he was referred to as the sun's son.

“Sit, my friend.” When Belwas sat and crossed his arms, Ser Barristan went on. “Quentyn Martell died this morning, just before the dawn.”


When the seas go dry...

In her last chapter of ADwD, Dany walks through the Dothraki Sea, and realizes that it's no longer the deep green as she remembered. Winter is coming, and the sea of grass is drying up.

Even here autumn made its presence felt, and winter would not be far behind. The grass was paler than she remembered, a wan and sickly green on the verge of going yellow. After that would come brown. The grass was dying.


...and mountains blow in the wind like leaves,

After Quentyn released the dragons from captivity, they had been wreaking havoc throughout the city of Meereen. Some of the pyramids there, which stood like mountains, have been completely destroyed. 

The pyramid of Hazkar has collapsed into a smoking ruin, and many of that ancient line lie dead beneath its blackened stones.

Some think that it refers to Gregor Clegane, who is what he is now.

When my womb quickens again, and I bear a living child.

As Dany finds herself starving in the Dothraki Sea, she forces herself to drink the dirty water in the stream and chew on some berries that she finds to sate her hunger and thirst. That's quickly followed by severe stomach cramps, fever, and haemorrhage. Many believe that she had miscarried. I realize that none of the ingredients of moon tea - tansy and wormwood are asters, pennyroyal is a type of mint - will produce berries, but I still believe that it was those berries (maybe oleander?) that caused the miscarriage.

She was bleeding, but it was only woman’s blood. The moon is still a crescent, though. How can that be? She tried to remember the last time she had bled. The last full moon? The one before? The one before that? No, it cannot have been so long as that.
[...]
Moon blood, it’s only my moon blood, but she did not remember ever having such a heavy flow. Could it be the water? If it was the water, she was doomed. She had to drink or die of thirst.

If nothing else, this confirms that it wasn't the bloody flux, the disease that's gripping the city of Meereen. I would take it as the case for her womb quickening again.

Now we're left with Dany bearing a living child, and the return of her sun-and-stars. That's a story for another time, but the answer to your question, is no. Dany isn't barren.

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

I read a theory many years ago from another web forum and it is similar to yours.  The main idea says the dragons sending telepathic signals from the unhatched eggs.  Some Targaryens are more susceptible than others and some of those can't handle the incoming signal.  One of the criteria for dragon bonding is almost certainly mental strength.  The trees store the data and the greenseers can read it.  Direwolves wake up the warg ability.  In the same way, the dragons open up latent talents within the Targaryens.  Daenys had something similar to green sight and she can see past and future.

Well, my idea is somewhat different since you don't have to be around dragon eggs to get mad. The problem is more, I think, that a dragonless Targaryen might on average feel that he or she is lacking something. The less stable ones are more affected by this thing lacking than the saner and more stable ones (like Viserys II, Daeron II, Baelor Breakspear, and Maekar).

The case of Maegor is especially interesting there since he rejected any dragon offered to him up until his father died (when he was twenty-five already) so that he could claim Balerion. If bonding with a dragon can have a positive effect on the (mental) health of a Targaryen then Maegor may have gotten his dragon simply too late (just as Aerys II most likely wouldn't have gotten all that better had he gotten a dragon around the year 280 AC.

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

Prophetic dreams can drive people mad.  Seeing visions that they don't understand is like having a constant dream.  The mind was designed to operate in linear time with one direction like an arrow but when the mind can see past, present, and future it is likely to get confused.  Those who are not strong get damaged.   

In the case of Daeron the Drunk this clearly would also have played a role. He could not cope with his prophetic dreams. But that in and of itself doesn't explain his drinking habits and his overall cowardice. He is just not a very impressive person.

As to the propaganda thing:

There is a strong chance that Aegon and his people (especially Arianne) will paint Dany as a mad tyrant. The tendency has already begun with Mace Tyrell declaring Daenerys to be as mad as her father. But people are not likely to care all that much about Slaver's Bay. If she also cruelly butchers the ruling classes of Volantis, Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh (or allows the rebelling slaves to do so) then this might be reason for concern for the people in Westeros. But the actually rumors and stories reaching Westeros won't only come from people hating or fighting against Daenerys, there will also come tales that she is ending slavery, etc. This could also be a hope for quite a few exploited peasants in Westeros.

But once Dany arrives it will likely become clear to a growing number of people that she didn't come to kill them all. And whether the people there will still have the strength or the determination left to oppose her all that much is still an open question. It will depend how great the wounds will be that Euron, Aegon, Littlefinger, Cersei, Stannis, Jon, the wildlings, etc. will deal the Realm. The North and the Riverlands are already pretty spent, and in the wars to come others will follow suit. In addition, Daenerys will most likely arrive in the middle of winter, at a time when it will be essentially impossible to move a large army from, say, Lannisport or Winterfell to KL or wherever Dany will land at the eastern coast of Westeros. That means that Westeros might simply logistically be incapable to answer the threat Daenerys poses after she has landed, even if quite a few people would like to do so and technically still command enough strength to do so.

Anti-Dany propaganda is not going to make the snow go away.

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On 4/14/2017 at 11:33 AM, shockwave said:

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

Targaryen women actually had power and played prominently in the affairs of the realm.  Visenya and Rhaenys were active in the governing.  The women had important roles unlike the other women of the times.  Allyssanne was an equal partner with her husband in the governing.  They are studied as well as the men by historians and not one of them has been confirmed crazy. 

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3 hours ago, Ye Shall Be As Gods said:

Targaryen women actually had power and played prominently in the affairs of the realm.  Visenya and Rhaenys were active in the governing.  The women had important roles unlike the other women of the times.  Allyssanne was an equal partner with her husband in the governing.  They are studied as well as the men by historians and not one of them has been confirmed crazy. 

That is true for Visenya, Rhaenys, Alyssa Velaryon (not a Targaryen by birth but still a Targaryen descendant), and Alysanne. Aemma Arryn, Alicent Hightower, and Helaena Targaryen had less direct influence.

That is a trend in the 2nd and 3rd century when some royal women were really treated like shit. Child puppet queens like Jaehaera Targaryen were murdered with impunity and women like Naerys, Baelor's sisters, and Rhaella were abused or even imprisoned.

There were still a few queens who seem to have been reasonably influential like Mariah Martell and Betha Blackwood but about the others (Aelinor Penrose, Shaera Targaryen) we know pretty much nothing.

Cersei Lannister clearly seems to be one of the more powerful queens consort in the history of the united Realm.

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I have avoided saying this, since it is pretty pointless to compare the real world with GRRM's world. However, in the real world, if there is an illness that presents itself almost entirely in the males of the family, then the illness is probably an X-linked trait. This means the woman is the carrier. If you wanted to clean up a family-line like is being proposed by some in this thread, then you would want to make a man who doesn't exhibit the undesirable trait marry someone outside the family. From then, only the individuals who descend from this one male would be allowed to marry each other.

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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 only ones who were mad are Aerys 2, Aerion, Aegon IV, and Baelor.  What interests me most is the fact that the ones who went mad had no dragon.  The bond with the dragon guards against madness. 

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Was wondering if the maesters have been messing with the minds of Targs they "advise" in an attempt to crash the dynasty.  Making them appear crazy so the people's loyalty wanes.  Anti magic as they are in that sciency maester posse.   We may learn the madness that led to roberts rebellion was something else, the king being more severely provoked behind the scenes, or dealing with realer threats to the realm than we realize because of our bias toward the old godded characters.   The prophecy based need to not boink the north, because a hybrid Jon is the key to opening the continent up for the Others to gobble humanity.  In other words we could be utterly wrong in our present understanding of the last Targ king.  ....... Corndog time!

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On 4/4/2017 at 8:39 AM, Lord Varys said:

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.

This was my first impression. Targaryen madness seemed to skyrocket after the dragons died out. Also, dragon dreams sound an awful lot like the dreams of a skinchanger like the Stark kids.

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On 4/3/2017 at 11:46 PM, Damsel in Distress said:

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.   

Thanks

That's just not how genetics works sorry, Jon has only 43.75% of Aerys's (and Viserys's) DNA, while Dany has 87.5% of Aerys's (and Viserys's) DNA.

 

On 4/3/2017 at 11:24 PM, Damsel in Distress said:

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

Rhaenyra and Aegon II shouldn't be considered mad, yes one could say that they where brother and sister but honestly the Dance of the Dragons can really be linked back to the maesters. Also considering Vaela as mad isn't right as she was just born a lackwit, and every family is bound to have one at some point. I feel as though there are more mad ones aside from Maegor, Aegon IV, Aerion, Baelor, and Aerys though for some reason, oh wait I just remembered one, Viserys and he was a Targaryen + Targaryen.

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4 hours ago, Agent 326 said:

That's just not how genetics works sorry, Jon has only 43.75% of Aerys's (and Viserys's) DNA, while Dany has 87.5% of Aerys's (and Viserys's) DNA.

Madness and cruel tendencies often enough jumped over a generation or resurfaced in an apparently 'healthy' cadet branch. Daemon Targaryen could be considered instable and somewhat mad, yet both his sons were fine while their sons were all extreme to various degrees (Daeron I, Baelor, I, and Aegon IV). The only great son they brought forth was the Dragonknight. Aegon IV was an extreme douchebag yet Daeron II was a great man. Daeron II's four sons were a mixed bag - one great guy, one pretty good guy, one extreme eccentric, and one madman.

Aerion's son was later even inherited on the basis of his brother's madness yet Aegon V began a line that led down to Aerys II the Mad. Duncan and Daeron turned out reasonably well but Jaehaerys II was sickly and somewhat crippled (and we have no idea whatsoever about the (mental) health of his sister-wife Shaera). Rhaegar wasn't mad yet all his children have just as great a chance to get mad as Daeron II's sons.

If I had to guess both Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen (and Tyrion Lannister) appear to be mentally healthy. But if they get their own Duskendale experience that might change. We will have to wait and see how Jon's murder is going to affect him. It could open the door for madness, both because of the psychical breakdown as well as because of the very real danger that something like that might happen again. People who have been killed are not likely going to trust a lot of people thereafter. I wouldn't. Nor are they likely to be particularly forgiving.

We all know what happened to Catelyn after she came back. Jon's case will be somewhat different and not so bad, sure, but he should change considerably.

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There's a couple of underlying questions that need answering:

(1) is the madness related to the ability to hatch/ride dragons and do all types of "madness" have the same cause? For example, there is the kind of extreme cruelty we apparently see in Maegor, there's the paranoia of Aerys II, there's the monkey child thing etc. An obsession with dragons (believing they're a dragon, wanting to turn into a dragon) seems to be a red thread that appears after the dragons die out - which suggests that there may well be a link with dragonriding. But we shouldn't just discount the fact that stuff can happen that can "break" or warp a person who would otherwise be fine: was Rhaenyra's son Aegon "mad"? He certainly wasn't all there, but given what he'd experienced, are we surprised? And he may not be the only example: in the high-stakes world of an incestuous dragonriding royal house, the ultimate game of thrones, people are much more likely to be damaged than the average person.

(3) how accurate and complete is the information we actually have on the madness of past Targs, especially going far back? If a narrative is accepted that this bloodline has some madness in it, it's quite easy to explain everything strange or disliked as madness.

We have to keep in mind that there were several moments of disruption in the family story in the 300 years they were in Westeros: the Maegor succession conflict, the Dance and its aftermath, Baelor the Blessed's bookburning that followed a moment when all adult Targs (and thus the bearers of family lore) had died within a few years of each other. At each point, there's a chance that a particular spin is being put on these disruptive events that obscures something important (when wanting to delegitimise a defeated opponent in a civil war, for example).

Take Maegor. Was this a case of the "special Targaryen madness"? Because there's a good chance that he died and was brought back to life in a Lady Stoneheart fashion, and his "insanity" really kicks off there. We know LS is obsessed with the revenge, defined as she is by Catelyn's final moments - could the same be true of unMeagor? Before his "return", he may have just been your run-of-the-mill brute who was obsessed with inheriting the most powerful dragon. Not madness, just a sense of entitlement. Visenya had him late in life, it seems as a sort of insurance against the disappointing Aenys and the danger that the new Targ kingdom might not survive - so she was likely to have raised him to be very focused on ensuring the continuation of the Targ line and the survival of the family. If unMeagor is basically a distilled version of this obsession, it could explain his cruelty to his wives in the singleminded search to produce heirs. We don't go "aww poor Maegor", but there's a big difference between whether this is an insane man, or whether he's not a "man" at all (in the sense that Lady Stoneheart isn't really the woman Catelyn Stark anymore, but a revenant obsessed with what had tortured the living woman while she was alive).

Then, after the defeat of Maegor, his successors had no need to whitewash his legacy; on the contrary, there would have been a strong motive to dump all the negative stuff that had happened since Aegon's death on him: he was mad and evil, and we have done away with him and he was succeeded by a brilliant and good king and everyone is happy now.

I guess I would say there's a good chance the madness gets overused because you tend to find what you expect to find, and also because it's a useful way to delegitimise certain people or Targs in general (so it's something that would presumably become much more talked about in the Baratheon era, especially when the memory of Aerys is still so fresh).

But, I do think that there is something to the madness narrative, although it really starts after the dragons are gone. In any family, you will get mental illness, and there may be examples of that in the Targs who were "simply insane" and not "dragon insane". As was said above, it's probably that the Targs who are dragonriders feel compelled to bond to a dragon, but obviously can't find one.

To me, this fits the broader principle in the story that nothing is free, and that to get power you have to sacrifice something huge and important to you. If the ability to be a dragonrider is seen as the ultimate power (which it probably is), then it makes sense for there to be a pretty big catch: it's not just an ability, but a need - a question of must, not of want. Once you tie your bloodline to dragons, your descendants will have great power, but they also will not have a choice: if they don't bond with a dragon, it will likely drive them mad.

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2 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

There's a couple of underlying questions that need answering:

(1) is the madness related to the ability to hatch/ride dragons and do all types of "madness" have the same cause? For example, there is the kind of extreme cruelty we apparently see in Maegor, there's the paranoia of Aerys II, there's the monkey child thing etc. An obsession with dragons (believing they're a dragon, wanting to turn into a dragon) seems to be a red thread that appears after the dragons die out - which suggests that there may well be a link with dragonriding. But we shouldn't just discount the fact that stuff can happen that can "break" or warp a person who would otherwise be fine: was Rhaenyra's son Aegon "mad"? He certainly wasn't all there, but given what he'd experienced, are we surprised? And he may not be the only example: in the high-stakes world of an incestuous dragonriding royal house, the ultimate game of thrones, people are much more likely to be damaged than the average person.

The trope of the 'the mad king' is much broader concept than just clinical madness. In that sense Maegor, Aegon II, Rhaenyra, Aegon III, Daeron I, Baelor I, Aegon IV, Aerys I, Aegon V, Aerys II, Robert and Joffrey Baratheon all qualify as mad kings to various degrees

And Daemon, Rhaegel, Aerion, Duncan, and Rhaegar could all be seen as 'mad princes' due to their erratic and extreme behavior. But since those were only princes they must have been pretty extreme to gain the reputation of being 'mad'. A prince is not as much a public person as a king.

And the fact that we know so little about the Targaryen women there is a pretty good chance that many of them were extreme in the same way as many of the men.

2 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

(3) how accurate and complete is the information we actually have on the madness of past Targs, especially going far back? If a narrative is accepted that this bloodline has some madness in it, it's quite easy to explain everything strange or disliked as madness.

We only have the information we have. But it doesn't seem that the madness narrative began immediately after the Conquest. We don't know anything about the characters of Aenys' children (aside from Jaehaerys and Alysanne) nor anything about his grandchildren (both from Aegon-Rhaena and Jaehaerys-Alysanne). Maegor certainly would have been seen as a mad king but he alone wouldn't be enough to establish the whole 'mad dynasty' narrative.

2 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

Take Maegor. Was this a case of the "special Targaryen madness"? Because there's a good chance that he died and was brought back to life in a Lady Stoneheart fashion, and his "insanity" really kicks off there. We know LS is obsessed with the revenge, defined as she is by Catelyn's final moments - could the same be true of unMeagor? Before his "return", he may have just been your run-of-the-mill brute who was obsessed with inheriting the most powerful dragon. Not madness, just a sense of entitlement. Visenya had him late in life, it seems as a sort of insurance against the disappointing Aenys and the danger that the new Targ kingdom might not survive - so she was likely to have raised him to be very focused on ensuring the continuation of the Targ line and the survival of the family. If unMeagor is basically a distilled version of this obsession, it could explain his cruelty to his wives in the singleminded search to produce heirs. We don't go "aww poor Maegor", but there's a big difference between whether this is an insane man, or whether he's not a "man" at all (in the sense that Lady Stoneheart isn't really the woman Catelyn Stark anymore, but a revenant obsessed with what had tortured the living woman while she was alive).

Maegor was cruel and sadistic from the start, and Visenya never gave Aenys I a chance. She was undermining his rule from the start, pushing Maegor against Aenys, never mind the fact that Aenys had three sons of his own. She was nothing but a bad stepmother to Aenys, and most likely also not exactly a warm-hearted grandaunt to Aenys' children. 

Maegor's injury certainly would have had an impact on him but nothing indicates he greatly changed after that. He was exceedingly cruel and unforgiving before, just as he always wanted to have sons of his own since his wedding at the age of thirteen.

2 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

Then, after the defeat of Maegor, his successors had no need to whitewash his legacy; on the contrary, there would have been a strong motive to dump all the negative stuff that had happened since Aegon's death on him: he was mad and evil, and we have done away with him and he was succeeded by a brilliant and good king and everyone is happy now.

Jaehaerys I didn't anything to whitewash his own father, though. There is not even an Aenys among his sons, and we have no hint that Maegor wasn't everything the historians say he was.

2 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

I guess I would say there's a good chance the madness gets overused because you tend to find what you expect to find, and also because it's a useful way to delegitimise certain people or Targs in general (so it's something that would presumably become much more talked about in the Baratheon era, especially when the memory of Aerys is still so fresh).

That is certainly true. But I really think Robert was so much like Aegon IV that he certainly can also be seen as 'mad', in a sense. And Joffrey most definitely, of course. He would have become a second Maegor had he grown to adulthood.

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14 hours ago, Green-Lipped Mussel said:

The only ones who were mad are Aerys 2, Aerion, Aegon IV, and Baelor.  What interests me most is the fact that the ones who went mad had no dragon.  The bond with the dragon guards against madness. 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I guess I would say there's a good chance the madness gets overused because you tend to find what you expect to find, and also because it's a useful way to delegitimise certain people or Targs in general (so it's something that would presumably become much more talked about in the Baratheon era, especially when the memory of Aerys is still so fresh).

All Robert would have to do is legitimize Gendry and tell everyone he's the new heir.  Cersei would contest.  The Waltz of the Stags would ensue and history would remember Robert as mad.

I will say the Valyrians of old did not suffer from madness.  They would not have been able to build the Freehold and rule among themselves if madness was prevalent.  I would even say that the Targaryens would not have been able to live among themselves in the tiny island of Dragonstone if madness had been prevalent.  So there is something to the loss of dragons having a negative impact on the family.

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On 04/04/2017 at 8:39 AM, Lord Varys said:

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.

I like it, a lot! 

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