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Ser Petyr Parker

Is Jon and Dany's blood relationship supposed to be a problem?

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On 9/4/2017 at 5:03 AM, Lord Varys said:

Well, isn't the whole consanguinity thing actually based on biblical texts?

Among Muslims, as I was talking about? Or Chinese people, as in the previous post?

Even in Catholic Europe, their incest taboos—and the laws that went with them—were clearly inherited from the Romans, while their religion enshrined taboos inherited from the Jews.

Attempts by the Catholic Church to change the definition of incest backfired every time. And they weren't changing it to anything based on the Old Testament anyway—as Lucy Mormont points out, those are all property-based rather than consanguinity-based. 

So it's not a matter of ignoring one line in Leviticus while enshrining another one as you're suggesting. There is nothing in Leviticus that can possibly be interpreted as saying that sixth cousins are incest, that's just something some bishop made up that the Pope approved of (possibly, as Luther charged, not even because he agreed with the bishop, just to make money for the Church).

On 9/4/2017 at 5:03 AM, Lord Varys said:

Do you have any examples for mammals having some sort of incest taboo? I'd be really interested in that. From what I know about those mammal species which keep harems - like lions - have a rather strong tendency to inbreed.

Not all mammal species avoid engaging in incest, but it's more common than not.

Mice are probably the best-studied. Female mice smell all the males around them and choose the most distantly-related one they can get. If the most distant relation is their brother, they will mate with their brother, but that only really happens in pet or lab situations. If a sufficiently more distantly-related male shows up, they will abandon their mate, and sometimes even spontaneously abort a pregnancy.

For something a little more human-like: In multiple primate species who live in bands, like chimps, young males regularly raid other bands to steal their daughters, only mating within their own band in desperation.

Some species do seem to use social setups to make incest uncommon rather than anything like a "taboo" against it. For example, if you put orangutans together in the zoo, they don't seem to distinguish, but in the wild, males travel far from home on reaching puberty, while females set up territories as close to their mothers as possible, so it just never happens. In the other direction, desert cat females wander very long distances whenever they go into heat, so it rarely comes up, but if they happen to end up in the territory of a close relative, they'll apparently mate with them.

And there are definitely some species that do inbreed frequently, and maybe even preferentially. There was an article about a mongoose species a few years ago: even when you put unrelated family groups together in the same enclosure, the males go out of their way to mate with their own daughters and sisters and avoid the foreign females. But that was news precisely because it's a rare exception, not the norm.

Anyway, different mammal species are different, but humans seem to be more like chimps than like mongooses (or mice).*

On 9/4/2017 at 5:03 AM, Lord Varys said:

Well, the difference there is that there are different concepts there - one is actual biological inbreeding which is measurable and can have real effects on the offspring of such unions - and the other are just arbitrary social norms.

Biological inbreeding is really not that big of a problem for most human societies. When you come down to the difference between a sixth-degree prohibition and and only-daughters-and-sisters prohibition, the effects are pretty minimal. And the only scant studies on this seemed to show that marrying mostly second cousins is actually better for avoiding birth defects than not marrying relatives at all.

Meanwhile, social norms aren't necessarily entirely arbitrary.

First, there are advantages and disadvantages to a society for different kinds of incest—and the biological effects are only one of many issues, and nowhere near the most important—and societies do, albeit very imperfectly, often tend toward solutions that work for their society.**

Second, there are some things that are clearly just built into humans, and disgust at incest seems to be one of them. Different societies have different definitions of incest, but every society has a concept of incest and a taboo against it.

Which brings us to the special cases:

On 9/4/2017 at 5:03 AM, Lord Varys said:

After all, there were societies where religion and state very much supported incestuous unions - ancient Persia, Egypt, etc.

Ancient Egypt did not support incestuous unions in general, only among the Pharaohs.

You can see that the Pharaonic rules were somewhat unusual from examples like Sobekneferu being required to take wives rather than husbands, because she's a Pharaoh and that's what they do, even though it was pretty obvious she wasn't going to produce an heir that way, and that could well lead to the end of the kingdom.** Obviously this doesn't mean ancient Egypt promoted lesbianism, it means they had very strict religious rules that they applied dogmatically.

Their religion said the Pharaohs were descended from the gods, and mixing their blood with humans would weaken them. It also had the social benefits of not breaking up the royal wealth (without a strong concept of primogeniture, the kids are always going to fight to do that), reducing the problem of powerful families competing to put their grandchildren on the throne, extending the length of their dynasties when they had to pass through a female Pharaoh (because there would usually be a cousin-nephew to take over after her), etc.

And yet, most Pharaohs took a number of other wives and/or concubines in addition to the sister they were required to take, and seemed to have a lot more kids with them.

---

* Which isn't necessarily because chimps are our closest relatives. Bonobos are completely different, and they're even closer to chimps than we are. I'd be willing to bet that there's a strong relationship between incest patterns and social structure—e.g., if there were a wolf species that lived in harems, they'd probably be more like lions than like other wolves—but I don't know of any surveys that establish that, it just seems like common sense.

** In fact, even much of what seems arbitrary may be a matter of a social group either reinforcing or diminishing a difference with their neighbors to either stay apart or assimilate. For example, the kosher rule on shellfish doesn't make much sense on their own, but when you consider that it makes it harder for an Israeli boy to marry into a Phoenician family, and the Jews believed their religion to pass through the female line, it starts to make more sense.

*** Which didn't quite happen, since her cousin took over and founded the Thirteenth Dynasty, which wasn't quite weak enough to collapse instantly, but instead only gradually lost all of Egypt over the next 150 years.

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Not completely unheard of. Aegon IV may have had sex with his own daughter, Jeyne Lothston. But still, unheard of in the marriage department. At least in Westeros. That tells us nothing about Dragonstone and nothing at all about Valyria. I'd be very surprised if stuff like that didn't happen over there. If a dragonlord house was on the decline they may have tried everything they could to produce more dragonlords.

And, of course, there is Craster, who marries his daughters, granddaughters, and possibly even great-granddaughters.

I'm not saying it hasn't happened, I'm saying that it's universally taboo.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Since we have only two examples for those outside the Targaryen-Velaryon-Baratheon complex this is hardly a surprise. However, your second point there is wrong. Lynara Stark, the mother of Jonnel and Edric Stark was a Stark herself, meaning Jonnel and Edric were not only Sansa and Serena's half-uncles but also her cousins to an unspecified degree.

In addition, we don't know how closely all the brides bearing different names are related to the Starks (or Lannisters) at hand. We can only identify cousins through the male line. Cousins (and even aunts and uncles) through the female line are invisible to us.

Lynara was a Stark, but since her pedigree isn't outlined, she's a distant cousin which means my point stands in that there's still no example of successive generations of close relatives intermarrying. I'm not discussing the relationship of cousin in itself, I'm distinguishing that it's the number of bloodlines which matter to the Westerosi.

And as I've said before, I'm not speculating on what was never written, and what was never written can't be used as evidence for your position.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no basis for that assessment because we do not have a single representative genealogy of a noble house of Westeros and the degree to which it is interrelated with another house. 

That's my point. GRRM didn't write such a scenario for the readers and you have to wonder why...

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But what is clear is that neither the Lannisters nor the Starks (or the Tyrells-Redwynes, about whom we also know a little bit) pick the overwhelming majority of their spouses from a heavily interrelated gene pool, i.e. the nobility of the North and the West or the Reach. They do marry their own. They pick their spouses from the handful of families that are of equal standing, and pepper it with an exotic bride (a Norrey or Flint with the Starks, and a Webber with the Lannisters) here and there. That gives us no indication that they care about inbreeding, let alone strive to prevent it. Quite the contrary, actually.

Tricking yourself into believing that the Starks are not (somewhat distant) cousins to those Lockes, Karstarks, Manderlys, and Umbers they are wont to marry doesn't make a lot of sense - especially since we have no idea into what houses most of the Stark daughters actually did marry. A really complete family tree of House Stark would cover all the descendants of Lord Benjen and Lysa Locke down to the last female cadet branch, and such a picture would most likely reveal quite a few additional cousin marriages.

First cousin marriages =/= distant cousin marriages because the number of bloodlines differ drastically and my point is that the number of bloodlines is what makes it incest or not. There's no instance of approved successive first cousin marriages where the family tree starts to look funny despite this being a feudal society where this would be a benefit.

My positions are based on what GRRM did write, not speculation on what GRRM may have not gotten around to writing.

 

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3 hours ago, Faint said:

Although there is no way to verify the answer to how frequent these pairings happen among the aristocracy of Westeros, largely because we only have extensive family trees for two such families, I think the evidence that we do have leans heavily against your suppositions here.  

It is clear from Martin's books that, excepting the Targaryens, the aristocrats of Westeros marry in much the same fashion as the aristocrats of Europe married up until the 20th century. Even when they do not marry within the same house, members of such houses almost always marry among a handful of other houses, generation after generation, century after century. That being the case, marriages between cousins looks to be quite prevalent and marriages between uncles and nieces are probably not particularly extraordinary.  

I'm going off what was actually written, and despite intermarriage being greatly beneficial to feudal societies, Westeros has been careful that adequate new bloodlines are added to keep the trees well-branched. I don't doubt at all that distant cousins married distant cousins on a fairly regular basis, but this still means that new blood came with those distant cousins which wouldn't be the case with close cousin marriage and it's the new blood and the overall tree shape which defines whether it's ok or not.

If I'm incorrect, then GRRM failed to build precedents which actually reflect the Westerosi noble situation and views.

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@Lord Varys

Quote

It is noteworthy that we actually get the husbands of Serena's daughters unlike so many other Stark daughters in the family tree. Ran has told us that most of the women in the family tree were married, but George wasn't in the mood to invent names all that time (he said that referring to Black Aly's daughters, if I remember correctly). That could mean that Serena's daughters are important for the She-Wolves story - or not. We don't know.

However, while the Umbers clearly are not the most refined Northern house they are clearly among the more powerful. They are a former royal house and the only noble ruling the lands east of the Kingsroad/south of the Wall. That is a huge tract of land. Sure, there might be not all that many men up there but they are clearly prestigious and powerful. If I had to make some hierarchy of strength there the Umbers would still come behind the Manderlys, Karstarks, Dustins, and Boltons but they would still be a rather important house.

As to the Umber marriages - I'm not sure Serena married Jon Umber after Edric's death. I think it is the other way around. She was the eldest daughter of Rickon Stark, and that marriage may have been arranged before her father died - or at least before Lord Cregan had fathered his sons on Lynara Stark. Once it was decided that Winterfell would not go to the girls only Sansa was left to be married to the uncles, so they first decided to marry Sansa to Jonnel and only after Jon Umber died was Serena then given to Edric.

The Cerwyns aren't in the same league as the Umbers, of course, but their importance from a story-telling point of view is the closeness to Winterfell as well as the fact that they are a lordly house in their own right which means they should command a few forces of their own. If there is turmoil at Winterfell the Cerwyns could be there faster than anyone else, allowing them to settle any such dispute with (deadly) force long before another Northern house could react.

And therein lies power.

Well, to me Serena, Aregelle, Aranna, and their hypothetical children being dispossessed in favour of the male line offers enough turmoil.

Most of all, it seems hard to imagine that an uncle would have been able to ascend to the lordship over his male line nephews, children or not. These children would have grown up in a couple of years into young men that would not have been pleased with losing their inheritance. What is a chance that the Northern houses that are feeling overlooked or slighted by the current Lord Stark or that are simply ambitious, offer their daughters in marriage to these Stark boys and support them in getting back their birthright?

It would be like if Egg ascended to the throne without the Great Council, ignoring his nephew Maegor's claim.

There might have been some kind of a royal decree, but the question is how that would have been supported. IMHO just the boys being young does not cut it. You can appoint a regent in such a case, in fact the Crown might have seen fit to send their own official to become some kind of Lord Protector (which the Northmen would not have welcomed, I imagine). Another issue is who was sitting on the Iron Throne at that time. I must say that exact years are foggy for me. We know that Cregan was a teen at the outbreak of the Dance and he came to be called "the Old Man in the North", so IMHO he must have died when he was at least seventy, with his oldest surviving son Jonnel succeeding him as the Lord of Winterfell. The problem is that around this time kings on the Iron Throne are changing quite rapidly with both Daeron and Baelor each going wild over his own area of interest, their uncle Viserys having his hands full of trying to manage the situation, followed by Aegon the Unworthy that simply couldn't give a fig. Somehow, I think that the Northern crisis (if there was any) might have gone relatively unnoticed as long as there wasn't an open civil war.

If after the dust settled the Northmen announced to Aegon that they want Brandon Stark and his sons instead of Serena Stark and her daughters, Aegon's answer might have been in the vein of, "Well, whatever suits you, chaps." If only Serena's girls survived, then I think it is all the more likely that Viserys and Aegon would have ruled in favour of Brandon and his line as they themselves ascended to the throne discarding their three nieces/female cousins in the process.

Regarding Serena's and Sansa's marriages, we don't know for sure iether way, but to me makes vastly more sense their having been married to their uncles first. Serena marrying Jon Umber first is Rhaenys, the Queen who Never Was, marrying Corlys Velaryon instead of Viserys all over again. I'd like to think that the Starks have learnt from the mistakes of the Targaryens in the previous generations, and Cregan and Rickon had not married off Serena to some guy before securing succession by getting a male heir (and spare) first.

Other than that, a very hypothetical point: Serena was the daughter of Jeyne Manderly, a member of probably the wealthiest, most sophisticated family in the North. For her to be married off to an Umber from the cold shadow of the Wall seems quite like an unplesant cultural change. Imagine Sansa getting married to the Smalljon. Even Arya might not have been all that happy among Umbers, if the rumours of their secretly raping maidens on their wedding night are based on truth. The Umbers and the clans seem to be merely a step above the wildlings culture-wise.

Of course, it is also possible that Serena had been much closer to her grandmother Arra Norrey than her mother Jeyne Manderly, and she was thrilled to marry Jon Umber, and after all the trouble she went through later, it became her heart's desire for her firstborn daughter to also marry an Umber and leave governance of the North to men. It is possible, but I find the other option more believable.

It is also worthwhile to note that Brandon Stark's firstborn son was married to Myriame Manderly, which to me suggest that he may have tried to bring the Manderlys to his side from Serena's and her daughters'.

Edit: I have just realized I forgot all about Barth Blacksword, who would have preceded Brandon. That said, it seems sort of unlikely he was Lord for long? He didn't even get around to marrying, although it may be that he didn't care for a marriage and was content to leave WF to his brother and nephews.

Edited by lojzelote

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On 9/4/2017 at 1:23 PM, Lord Varys said:

We have no reason to believe that they would have ended up with different lovers in the end or decided to conclude that they weren't destined to be together after all in the very end.

We also have no reason to believe the opposite. If we don't know the end, we don't know the end. You can believe or assume whatever you want, but that says nothing of GRRM's intentions with it.

On 9/4/2017 at 1:23 PM, Lord Varys said:

And thinking about that whole thing - I really think that remnants of this story/development were still there when George began writing the Arya chapters of ACoK. After all, from a narrative point of view one really, really expects that Arya eventually gets up north to Jon or at least to her family and/or Winterfell. Most of Arya's story there is a waste of pages and a drawn-on dead end. Yes, she interacts with interesting persons and goes through interesting things but she doesn't get anywhere. She goes in circles and circles, and one assumes that George really changed her story in medias res rather than actually knowing that she would eventually end up in Braavos when he wrote her first chapters on the road.

This is the strangest reading of Arya's storyline I've ever seen, except D&D's maybe. I don't think a single page is wasted there, and I also think that all of it is actually perfectly connected to her stay in Braavos. The fact that Jaqen is introduced in the very first Arya's chapter in ACOK speaks volumes and goes against your whole theory.

22 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

You don't seem to be following the original argument I made. It is that George has no trouble putting Jon Snow in a position where he loves his own sister. It causes issues for him in the original outline but those are not strong enough to erase or defeat his feelings for Arya.

And thus the very idea that avuncular thing is going to be much of a problem both in the books and the show is ridiculous. If Jon could fall in love with Arya knowing that she is his half-sister and then end up being (most likely) happy with her once he learns that they are first cousins he shouldn't have any problems with the fact that he is fucking his aunt.

The original outline obviously suffered a great number of changes. Among else, the entire twincest thing was added because Cersei didn't even exist in the original outline. If anything, that signals the way GRRM looks at incest. I'd be very surprised if he's okay with Jon/Dany.

And besides, you're putting too much emphasis on the original outline. Yes it's interesting to see where did GRRM come from, but in reality the story as published change way too much. Using the outline to explain something from the actual books doesn't make much sense.

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To add on to STEPSTARK 

 

If GRRM is anything like me, the time of that original outline could me a whole lot. Look at what I wrote and compare it to the original ideas and you have two near different stories. Sure, some characters may be tye same, but even those have changed a great deal, as thus the story has changed. And that isn't even touching on new characters and how they add to the plot. 

 

The original outline should be seen as just an interesting peek into the early stages of GRRMs creative process. Something to look at and go "Oh. So this great work had a shit beginning too. Maybe there is hope for my trash of I keep at it?" 

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7 hours ago, Lollygag said:

Lynara was a Stark, but since her pedigree isn't outlined, she's a distant cousin

How does that mean she's a distant cousin? There's almost nothing of the family tree above Cregan; all we know is that she's not first cousin or aunt, because the rest is just blank space.

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9 hours ago, falcotron said:

So it's not a matter of ignoring one line in Leviticus while enshrining another one as you're suggesting. There is nothing in Leviticus that can possibly be interpreted as saying that sixth cousins are incest, that's just something some bishop made up that the Pope approved of (possibly, as Luther charged, not even because he agreed with the bishop, just to make money for the Church).

Yeah, I'd really have to properly read all that stuff one day. It is just so bloody tedious. And, of course, the dispensation thing was invented and exploited so the Papacy could collect money. The Popes always needed money.

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

Not all mammal species avoid engaging in incest, but it's more common than not.

Mice are probably the best-studied. Female mice smell all the males around them and choose the most distantly-related one they can get. If the most distant relation is their brother, they will mate with their brother, but that only really happens in pet or lab situations. If a sufficiently more distantly-related male shows up, they will abandon their mate, and sometimes even spontaneously abort a pregnancy.

That is pretty interesting. And it could be a sign that certain species have developed a means to judge the fitness of potential partners very well. The open question is whether the whole thing works as a means to avoid closely related kin or rather to search for the partner that's considered best. I'd say the whole thing most likely works in this latter case because the sex drive is still overwhelming. You want to procreate and nothing stops that desire if you have to. What's getting refined by evolution is to get the best possible partner.

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

For something a little more human-like: In multiple primate species who live in bands, like chimps, young males regularly raid other bands to steal their daughters, only mating within their own band in desperation.

That is something that is certainly echoed in our species as well. Human males have a strong desire to spread their genes. Very few men - even such in a loving relationship - would say an exotic, attractive, or alluring doesn't interest them. Sisters, cousins, or other women you grew up with usually simply don't capture the sexual interest of the average man long enough to actually lead to a (lasting) relationship (assuming it is present at all) - and that's actually why I find this idea of 'incest love' in the Targaryens (and Jaime-Cersei, although the twin thing adds another layer to the whole thing) not very convincing.

But one really wonders if that's caused by an incest taboo or rather by a desire (and curiosity) for new and shiny things, so to speak.

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

Some species do seem to use social setups to make incest uncommon rather than anything like a "taboo" against it. For example, if you put orangutans together in the zoo, they don't seem to distinguish, but in the wild, males travel far from home on reaching puberty, while females set up territories as close to their mothers as possible, so it just never happens. In the other direction, desert cat females wander very long distances whenever they go into heat, so it rarely comes up, but if they happen to end up in the territory of a close relative, they'll apparently mate with them.

Yeah, that's certainly a trait that ends up reducing the chances of continued inbreeding, but one wonders how it came to be that such traits (especially in the orangs) developed. Many cat species are loners, defending their territories fiercely against rivals, and only seeking out company when they are in heat. 

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

Anyway, different mammal species are different, but humans seem to be more like chimps than like mongooses (or mice).*

That is clearly the case, and we may have to thank some very distant mammal ancestors for that where the groundwork for this kind of behavior was laid.

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

Biological inbreeding is really not that big of a problem for most human societies. When you come down to the difference between a sixth-degree prohibition and and only-daughters-and-sisters prohibition, the effects are pretty minimal. And the only scant studies on this seemed to show that marrying mostly second cousins is actually better for avoiding birth defects than not marrying relatives at all.

Oh, I meant the whole 'don't marry your father's widow or your brother's widow' there, not restrictions about marrying blood relatives.

And in general we have to differentiate here between the tendency to not sexually desire close relatives (or people you grew up with) and social norms regulating marriage. It may very well be that an overwhelming majority of people doesn't feel sexually attracted to close kin but that doesn't mean that social marriage customs have to reflect that.

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

Ancient Egypt did not support incestuous unions in general, only among the Pharaohs.

Well, that's where you are wrong. Incestuous marriages were apparently not only common among the royal families but also among the population at large, even in Roman times - from which there are actually tax documents preserved which prove this. The relevant article can be found here:

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history/article/brothersister-marriage-in-roman-egypt/0F8BFC428FF33B87A3213ACDBE24A654

The fact that this was done Roman days makes it not unlikely that it must have been a rather long tradition. There are attempts to interpret this as ceremonial incest or incest between adopted siblings, but similar things were also maintained about the Pharaohs until genetic research was done on the mummies.

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

You can see that the Pharaonic rules were somewhat unusual from examples like Sobekneferu being required to take wives rather than husbands, because she's a Pharaoh and that's what they do, even though it was pretty obvious she wasn't going to produce an heir that way, and that could well lead to the end of the kingdom.** Obviously this doesn't mean ancient Egypt promoted lesbianism, it means they had very strict religious rules that they applied dogmatically.

That has more to do with the fact that the Pharaoh was simply always the living Horus and the son of Re, etc. never mind the gender. It was a divine and religious office. By the way - the term 'Pharoah' meaning 'great house' only became relevant as a title for the king during the reign of Hatshetpsut since she was trying to find a gender-neutral way to speak of herself in light of the fact that she was, quite visibly, not male.

It is also not unlikely that the whole incest thing spread from the top to the bottom, and it is also quite clear that Ptolemies might have helped with that - incest with full siblings wasn't done all that often prior to the New Kingdom as far as we know. But the Persian kings were very much into that.

In Egypt the whole thing was of course also religiously sanctified and blessed with the union of Isis and Osiris.

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

Their religion said the Pharaohs were descended from the gods, and mixing their blood with humans would weaken them. It also had the social benefits of not breaking up the royal wealth (without a strong concept of primogeniture, the kids are always going to fight to do that), reducing the problem of powerful families competing to put their grandchildren on the throne, extending the length of their dynasties when they had to pass through a female Pharaoh (because there would usually be a cousin-nephew to take over after her), etc.

Sure, that is the tendency that actually inevitably to inbreeding among the ruling classes, especially if marriages are arranged - but not only then. Social pressure very effectively prevents billionaire heirs to enter into relationships with the poor.

And if we return to a society where both economic, political, military, and religious power is concentrated in the hands of a very small elite (which seems to be the overall tendency worldwide these days) then these people will eventually return to the practices of the Hapsburgs. And if they are lucky they will have the means to deal with the effects of inbreeding very effectively.

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

And yet, most Pharaohs took a number of other wives and/or concubines in addition to the sister they were required to take, and seemed to have a lot more kids with them.

Sure, but that's what polygamy is for. But that doesn't really help all that much because a population also becomes quickly very inbred if the majority of the people have the same father or grandfather. That is actually a problem in many of those polygamy sects. If you have a cult leader with hundreds of grandchildren and no outsiders to marry there will be many cousin marriages, and if a hereditary disease is present in the gene pool things can quickly get rather unpleasant.

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

* Which isn't necessarily because chimps are our closest relatives. Bonobos are completely different, and they're even closer to chimps than we are. I'd be willing to bet that there's a strong relationship between incest patterns and social structure—e.g., if there were a wolf species that lived in harems, they'd probably be more like lions than like other wolves—but I don't know of any surveys that establish that, it just seems like common sense.

Yeah, the sex life of Bonobos is very interesting, and one really wonders how different our societies would be if were a little bit more like them.

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9 hours ago, Lollygag said:

I'm not saying it hasn't happened, I'm saying that it's universally taboo.

Well, not among wildlings like Craster. And we don't actually know how many men like him are up there. Yandel tells us about wildling tribes who seem to worship the Others. Such men might have similar arrangements with them as Craster does.

9 hours ago, Lollygag said:

Lynara was a Stark, but since her pedigree isn't outlined, she's a distant cousin which means my point stands in that there's still no example of successive generations of close relatives intermarrying. I'm not discussing the relationship of cousin in itself, I'm distinguishing that it's the number of bloodlines which matter to the Westerosi.

No, your point does not stand. Those family trees are confirmed as being not exactly thorough or complete. For instance, we have reason to believe that Alyssa Velaryon may have been Aenys I's first cousin. Yet she is not identified as such on the family tree.

Lynara Stark could very well be a granddaughter of Bennard and Margaret Karstark, or a descendant of a hypothetical brother of Lord Benjen. We don't know. Second cousins are still close relatives, even more so if the descendants of second cousins end up marrying their own half-nieces.

9 hours ago, Lollygag said:

And as I've said before, I'm not speculating on what was never written, and what was never written can't be used as evidence for your position.

We don't need what has been never written to know what's going on here. We know the ancient and longstanding marriage customs of this feudal society. Blood is everything in Westeros. And marriages are arranged among noble and royal families of (roughly) equal standing. That means all the noble and royal families have marrying among each other for 8,000-6,000 years. Which means they are all inbred to the extreme.

This is implicitly confirmed by Hoster Blackwood in ADwD when he tells us about all those marriages between the Brackens and Blackwoods throughout the ages - even those deadly foes are basically cousins over and over again. What does this mean for houses who are closely allied and like to marry each other not just seal a peace but also to show affection and favors (like the Starks-Karstarks or Starks-Manderlys)?

9 hours ago, Lollygag said:

That's my point. GRRM didn't write such a scenario for the readers and you have to wonder why...

George isn't obsessed with genealogy and he didn't exactly think the implications of his world through. A stable feudal society stretching back 6,000-8,000 years operating under the marriage rules we see in the books simply has to be inbred to the core. We actually see this in those Lannister, Stark, Durrandon-Baratheon, Arryn, Tully, etc. looks. They are nearly as prominent as the Targaryens, and they are clearly the result of those people marrying a lot among their own.

9 hours ago, Lollygag said:

First cousin marriages =/= distant cousin marriages because the number of bloodlines differ drastically and my point is that the number of bloodlines is what makes it incest or not. There's no instance of approved successive first cousin marriages where the family tree starts to look funny despite this being a feudal society where this would be a benefit.

That is irrelevant, because they would still inbred if they marry a first cousin only a couple of generations. And again - we don't know anything about first or second cousins through the female line.

4 hours ago, lojzelote said:

@Lord Varys

Well, to me Serena, Aregelle, Aranna, and their hypothetical children being dispossessed in favour of the male line offers enough turmoil.

I honestly don't think that's enough. I doubt that women had much say up there in Winterfell, especially not when it came to claiming the castle in the North. The North never had a female ruler, and the Northmen only follow strength. It is not nice and cozy up there. The idea that Brandon Ice Eyes was truly the legal heir of Edrick Snowbeard is very unlikely. He might have been at the very end of the line of succession and just killed a bunch of uncles and cousins.

4 hours ago, lojzelote said:

Most of all, it seems hard to imagine that an uncle would have been able to ascend to the lordship over his male line nephews, children or not. These children would have grown up in a couple of years into young men that would not have been pleased with losing their inheritance. What is a chance that the Northern houses that are feeling overlooked or slighted by the current Lord Stark or that are simply ambitious, offer their daughters in marriage to these Stark boys and support them in getting back their birthright?

Well, if we assume Jonnel died during some sort of crisis, perhaps on the battlefield, and Edric died there with him, or had predeceased him, and the sons were too young to lead the North during the crisis then a son of Cregan Stark (and another Stark) would have been preferable to those pups.

4 hours ago, lojzelote said:

It would be like if Egg ascended to the throne without the Great Council, ignoring his nephew Maegor's claim.

Well, Viserys III would have after Aerys II named him heir. Chances are not that high that Aegon could have challenged that later on. The idea that the Northmen give all that much about the proper line of succession doesn't makes a lot of sense to me.

4 hours ago, lojzelote said:

There might have been some kind of a royal decree, but the question is how that would have been supported. IMHO just the boys being young does not cut it. You can appoint a regent in such a case, in fact the Crown might have seen fit to send their own official to become some kind of Lord Protector (which the Northmen would not have welcomed, I imagine). Another issue is who was sitting on the Iron Throne at that time. I must say that exact years are foggy for me. We know that Cregan was a teen at the outbreak of the Dance and he came to be called "the Old Man in the North", so IMHO he must have died when he was at least seventy, with his oldest surviving son Jonnel succeeding him as the Lord of Winterfell. The problem is that around this time kings on the Iron Throne are changing quite rapidly with both Daeron and Baelor each going wild over his own area of interest, their uncle Viserys having his hands full of trying to manage the situation, followed by Aegon the Unworthy that simply couldn't give a fig. Somehow, I think that the Northern crisis (if there was any) might have gone relatively unnoticed as long as there wasn't an open civil war.

I guess Cregan died during the reign of the Unworthy, with Jonnel dying during his last years, too. But even Daeron II might not have cared if it happened during his reign, considering that he was occupied with Dorne and Daemon Blackfyre.

4 hours ago, lojzelote said:

Regarding Serena's and Sansa's marriages, we don't know for sure iether way, but to me makes vastly more sense their having been married to their uncles first. Serena marrying Jon Umber first is Rhaenys, the Queen who Never Was, marrying Corlys Velaryon instead of Viserys all over again. I'd like to think that the Starks have learnt from the mistakes of the Targaryens in the previous generations, and Cregan and Rickon had not married off Serena to some guy before securing succession by getting a male heir (and spare) first.

Well, perhaps Cregan had already settled on his eldest son by Lynara as his new heir, and was intending to rid himself of Serena by shipping her off to Last Hearth? He might have only reconsidered to enter in those uncle matches when he realized that his granddaughters were stirring up trouble.

Sons are most likely closer to the heart of a man than granddaughters. Especially when it comes to the question who has the ability to rule and keep the North in line.

4 hours ago, lojzelote said:

Other than that, a very hypothetical point: Serena was the daughter of Jeyne Manderly, a member of probably the wealthiest, most sophisticated family in the North. For her to be married off to an Umber from the cold shadow of the Wall seems quite like an unplesant cultural change. Imagine Sansa getting married to the Smalljon. Even Arya might not have been all that happy among Umbers, if the rumours of their secretly raping maidens on their wedding night are based on truth. The Umbers and the clans seem to be merely a step above the wildlings culture-wise.

Well, I guess it depends whether Jon Umber was the Lord of the Last Hearth or not. But a Stark daughter cannot expect a lot more from life than to be married off to some vassal of her father's. And pretty much any place in the North but White Harbor would be more dreary than Winterfell. 

4 hours ago, lojzelote said:

It is also worthwhile to note that Brandon Stark's firstborn son was married to Myriame Manderly, which to me suggest that he may have tried to bring the Manderlys to his side from Serena's and her daughters'.

That is certainly possible. If many of these women are still alive during the She-Wolves setting even House Manderly might be split between two or more factions.

4 hours ago, lojzelote said:

Edit: I have just realized I forgot all about Barth Blacksword, who would have preceded Brandon. That said, it seems sort of unlikely he was Lord for long? He didn't even get around to marrying, although it may be that he didn't care for a marriage and was content to leave WF to his brother and nephews.

One could also go with those ideas that some of those Starks heirs were sickly or simple as I've done in the past. In fact, I've tossed around the idea that Beron and Lorra's eldest son Donnor may have been a simpleton. Beron had so many male heirs that his slow death of that wound shouldn't have caused that much of a problem but if his eldest son and heir would have been unable to rule in his own right, ever, this certainly would have weakened not only the North but also the legitimacy of the entire line. Especially if Serena (or whoever is going to challenge Lorra's role as regent) painted her as 'that foreign bitch from the Vale trying to set herself as the true ruler of the North behind her son'.

It is very odd that Lord Donnor Stark never married.

3 hours ago, StepStark said:

We also have no reason to believe the opposite. If we don't know the end, we don't know the end. You can believe or assume whatever you want, but that says nothing of GRRM's intentions with it.

LOL, if there is an incestuous love affair in an outline for a novel series that is resolved by revealing the incest as a cousin relationship then this is good enough for me.

3 hours ago, StepStark said:

This is the strangest reading of Arya's storyline I've ever seen, except D&D's maybe. I don't think a single page is wasted there, and I also think that all of it is actually perfectly connected to her stay in Braavos. The fact that Jaqen is introduced in the very first Arya's chapter in ACOK speaks volumes and goes against your whole theory.

No, because Jaqen really seems to be a breakout character. George doesn't outline his novels, so chances are that he very much surprised himself by the twist and turns of Arya's story. By the end of ACoK he would have made the decision where she would go, of course, but not in the beginning.

At it sure as hell is a waste of pages plot-wise because literally nothing happens in Arya's story. She goes nowhere.

3 hours ago, StepStark said:

The original outline obviously suffered a great number of changes. Among else, the entire twincest thing was added because Cersei didn't even exist in the original outline. If anything, that signals the way GRRM looks at incest. I'd be very surprised if he's okay with Jon/Dany.

Cersei is not mentioned. She certainly would have existed. After all, Joffrey did, too, and thus Robert must have had a wife, no? She just wasn't imagined as an important character.

3 hours ago, StepStark said:

And besides, you're putting too much emphasis on the original outline. Yes it's interesting to see where did GRRM come from, but in reality the story as published change way too much. Using the outline to explain something from the actual books doesn't make much sense.

I do not explain anything from the actual books using the outline. I point out that George R. R. Martin once considered having Jon Snow falling in love with a woman he believed to be his half-sister, knowing fully well that this was 'wrong'. That means the same guy should have no problem writing the same guy falling in love - and staying in love with - a woman that is revealed to be his aunt.

But even without this whole thing there is little reason to assume that the avuncular thing is going to be a problem for Jon. Especially not in the books.

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@Lord Varys

Quote

One could also go with those ideas that some of those Starks heirs were sickly or simple as I've done in the past. In fact, I've tossed around the idea that Beron and Lorra's eldest son Donnor may have been a simpleton. Beron had so many male heirs that his slow death of that wound shouldn't have caused that much of a problem but if his eldest son and heir would have been unable to rule in his own right, ever, this certainly would have weakened not only the North but also the legitimacy of the entire line. Especially if Serena (or whoever is going to challenge Lorra's role as regent) painted her as 'that foreign bitch from the Vale trying to set herself as the true ruler of the North behind her son'.

It is very odd that Lord Donnor Stark never married.

Well, I've read some speculation that D&E The Village Hero could be set in Raventree Hall with Egg meeting Betha for the first time. If it's true it's possible that the deal between the Starks and the Blackwoods have already been made and that it concerned Melantha and Donnor. Maybe the Starks are hoping that if one of them marries Bloodraven's kinswoman, they will get a bit of nepotism from him and he finally marshalls the royal army to get them rid off of the Ironborn. :D The chance is that D&E may join the bridal party going north. Anyhow, the boring option is that Donnor tried to avenge his dying father and wound up dead himself, and Melantha and Willam inherited each other after Donnor and Lyanne Glover died. The idea of Donnor being incapable of succeeding his father is interesting tho.

Anyhoo, seems like I've steered away from the topic. But discussing all these possibilities of what might have gone down, it amuses me that people are so eager to jump to the conclusion that it is all about demonstrating that avuncular marriage is an evil practice lol.

Edited by lojzelote

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

LOL, if there is an incestuous love affair in an outline for a novel series that is resolved by revealing the incest as a cousin relationship then this is good enough for me.

You don't know that. You're assuming things again. Nothing is resolved, that's just your reading into it.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

No, because Jaqen really seems to be a breakout character. George doesn't outline his novels, so chances are that he very much surprised himself by the twist and turns of Arya's story. By the end of ACoK he would have made the decision where she would go, of course, but not in the beginning.

At it sure as hell is a waste of pages plot-wise because literally nothing happens in Arya's story. She goes nowhere.

I find it strange that anyone can say that "literally nothing happens in Arya's story". Nothing happens in Harrenhall? Really? LOL!!! That part is the best insight into the War of the Five Kings (apart from the Battle on the Blackwater, though it's only one battle, while in Arya's Harrenhall chapters the everyday effects of the war are in full display), and it's crucial for her character development.

But also, you seem all over the place. You're generally taking the outline for the series as if it's a gospel, but here you're saying that George doesn't outline his novels.

And yes, he possibly surprised himself with twists and turns in Arya's story, but way before he started writing ACOK, and possibly before AGOT even.

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1 hour ago, lojzelote said:

@Lord Varys

Well, I've read some speculation that D&E The Village Hero could be set in Raventree Hall with Egg meeting Betha for the first time. If it's true it's possible that the deal between the Starks and the Blackwoods have already been made and that it concerned Melantha and Donnor. Maybe the Starks are hoping that if one of them marries Bloodraven's kinswoman, they will get a bit of nepotism from him and he finally marshalls the royal army to get them rid off of the Ironborn. :D The chance is that D&E may join the bridal party going north. Anyhow, the boring option is that Donnor tried to avenge his dying father and wound up dead himself, and Melantha and Willam inherited each other after Donnor and Lyanne Glover died. The idea of Donnor being incapable of succeeding his father is interesting tho.

TVH most likely takes place in Pennytree, and the Blackwoods and Brackens might feature in that story, including Betha. But I very much doubt this sets the stage for their later marriage. Egg and Betha might not like each other particular at that time. They would be still 11-12-year-olds, and such people don't arrange betrothals or even marriages.

And Beron's children must all be still minors by the time their father slowly dies or else Donnor or Willam would have no trouble taking power in their own right. In fact, the role of their mother would be completely irrelevant then. There wouldn't be any potential for those she-wolves to do stuff. If Donnor was a lackwit in his early teens (or had recently become a lackwit or cripple in the wake of some accident/injury) things would be quite different.

I expect the Melantha-Willam only to take place after Betha and Egg married, possibly only during the reign of Maekar. If Lorra Royce ends up on top the succession/regency struggle in Winterfell she will most likely not want another rival in the wife of her lordly son(s), so there wouldn't be any early marriages. Nor would there be a need for such things considering that Lorra produced five Stark sons in total, including as famous men as Artos the Implacable and Rodrik the Wandering Wolf.

32 minutes ago, StepStark said:

You don't know that. You're assuming things again. Nothing is resolved, that's just your reading into it.

Sure, the problem of the incestuous passion is resolved when it comes out that they are not half-siblings.

32 minutes ago, StepStark said:

I find it strange that anyone can say that "literally nothing happens in Arya's story". Nothing happens in Harrenhall? Really? LOL!!! That part is the best insight into the War of the Five Kings (apart from the Battle on the Blackwater, though it's only one battle, while in Arya's Harrenhall chapters the everyday effects of the war are in full display), and it's crucial for her character development.

But who cares about what happens to peasants behind the front lines we are never going to see again? Arya's story doesn't move the plot along at all. There are some interesting things like Jaqen in her ACoK story but her ASoS story with the outlaws and Sandor is just a huge waste of pages. The result is that she leaves all of that behind, and the noble outlaws are then taken over by Lady Stoneheart. We didn't need to see all that in detail.

George went with that because he wanted Arya to witness the Red Wedding. But he could also have decided to have her to something of importance.

32 minutes ago, StepStark said:

But also, you seem all over the place. You're generally taking the outline for the series as if it's a gospel, but here you're saying that George doesn't outline his novels.

That's what he says. The only outline he wrote is the original outline. And that is not a very detailed outline but still eerily accurate in certain aspects of the story.

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5 hours ago, falcotron said:

How does that mean she's a distant cousin? There's almost nothing of the family tree above Cregan; all we know is that she's not first cousin or aunt, because the rest is just blank space.

It's about the number of bloodlines, not the word "cousin" which can mean 1st cousin or 5th cousin twice removed which are completely different things bloodline-wise.

Lynara Stark doesn't disprove the established pattern of the Westerosi being careful of bloodlines in close relative marriage because the genealogy neglects to make her a close relative, and beyond that, it fails to establish her relationship altogether.

GRRM could have easily established that Westeros would be rather ambivalent about groupings of close relative marriages where new blood was severely limited, but has never bothered to do so. If he comes out with a new story or says something in an interview which indicates otherwise, I'll stand corrected, but in the meantime, I'm only going with what we definitely know and not assumptions and speculation.

 

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, not among wildlings like Craster. And we don't actually know how many men like him are up there. Yandel tells us about wildling tribes who seem to worship the Others. Such men might have similar arrangements with them as Craster does.

By that logic pedophilia, canibalism, human trafficking and everything under the sun can't be described as taboo because somewhere there are people who engage in it and think it's ok. And Craster held his own daughters captive and repeatedly raped and abused them so I find your use of Craster to rationalize incest deeply offensive. 

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

I'm basing my view off what was actually written and I'll not bother discussing what random internet user #565,398,178 imagines may or may not be the case. If GRRM indicates otherwise, I'll stand corrected. But not until he actually writes it or says it.

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57 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But who cares about what happens to peasants behind the front lines we are never going to see again? Arya's story doesn't move the plot along at all. There are some interesting things like Jaqen in her ACoK story but her ASoS story with the outlaws and Sandor is just a huge waste of pages. The result is that she leaves all of that behind, and the noble outlaws are then taken over by Lady Stoneheart. We didn't need to see all that in detail.

George went with that because he wanted Arya to witness the Red Wedding. But he could also have decided to have her to something of importance.

I'm just going to repeat that your interpretation is the weirdest one I ever heard of. You assume a lot about what George "really wanted", just for your theory to sound more legitimate. As they say, let's agree to disagree.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

That's what he says. The only outline he wrote is the original outline. And that is not a very detailed outline but still eerily accurate in certain aspects of the story.

It is accurate in certain aspects, but inaccurate in some other aspects. The incest clearly falls into the later, considering that practically nothing of the initial love triangle survived.

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12 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

By that logic pedophilia, canibalism, human trafficking and everything under the sun can't be described as taboo because somewhere there are people who engage in it and think it's ok. And Craster held his own daughters captive and repeatedly raped and abused them so I find your use of Craster to rationalize incest deeply offensive. 

You were claiming that parent-child incest is taboo everywhere in Westeros, were you not? And that is clearly not the case because there is the example of Craster. In his lands and keep such incest is not taboo but the rule. And while we are at it cannibalism human trafficking, and pedophilia are most definitely not taboo in Martinworld, either. Viserys sold his sister to Khal Drogo and he raped this 13-year-old girl into submission and called it 'marriage' and 'love'. Not to mention Sansa's marriage to Tyrion, Jaehaera's marriage to Aegon III, Aemma Arryn's marriage to Viserys I, etc.

Cannibalism is also practiced by certain tribes beyond the Wall.

That doesn't mean all cultures approve of those things. But some do.

12 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

I'm basing my view off what was actually written and I'll not bother discussing what random internet user #565,398,178 imagines may or may not be the case. If GRRM indicates otherwise, I'll stand corrected. But not until he actually writes it or says it.

You are basing your view on faulty reasoning. We have ample evidence that cousin marriages and avuncular marriage are rather common among the noble families of Westeros because we have evidence for this. In the Stark family tree as well as in the simple fact that it has to be the case if we assume that the marriage customs of the noble houses didn't suddenly change in the last two centuries.

But TWoIaF gives us a lot of indications that this is not the case with the many examples of marriages between the royal houses and their vassals. Hell, we do know there were nine marriages between the Tyrells and the Gardeners yet the other, more noble Reach houses still say the Tyrells have no claim to Highgarden. How heavily must they be interrelated with the Gardeners if those claims are supposed to have any merit?

Your own personal opinion is irrelevant/nothing but speculation when you not base it on things you actually know or can prove. And you do know the marriage customs of Westeros as well as I do.

24 minutes ago, StepStark said:

I'm just going to repeat that your interpretation is the weirdest one I ever heard of. You assume a lot about what George "really wanted", just for your theory to sound more legitimate. As they say, let's agree to disagree.

Well, I really don't like reading about people going nothing in the wild. There is merit to Arya's chapters on a reread but I really hated them when first reading ACoK/ASoS.

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I have not read all 13 pages of this thread, so I don't know if this point has been made already. Some posters in this thread have suggested that Jon being raised a Stark will be a problem because as a Stark, Jon would consider his relationship with Dany to be incest. BUT Jon being raised a Stark (rather than a Targ) should not create a problem regarding "incest" given that by Stark standards, an aunt/nephew union would not be incest -- assuming that the show is consistent with the books on this issue. In the official family tree for the Stark lineage, the family tree shows more than one uncle/niece marriage (they might have been "half-uncle"/"half-niece" but I don't think that distinction makes the difference regarding cultural norms as cultural norms are unlikely to regard this distinction as meaningful).

GRRM likely included these marriages in the family tree specifically to avoid any concern that Jon would consider his relationship with Dany to be incest or otherwise problematic. Apparently, the Stark "values" would make brother/sister or parent/child marriages forbidden incest -- but aunt/nephew marriages presumably would be perfectly permissible and not viewed as incest.

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12 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

You were claiming that parent-child incest is taboo everywhere in Westeros, were you not? And that is clearly not the case because there is the example of Craster. In his lands and keep such incest is not taboo but the rule. And while we are at it cannibalism human trafficking, and pedophilia are most definitely not taboo in Martinworld, either. Viserys sold his sister to Khal Drogo and he raped this 13-year-old girl into submission and called it 'marriage' and 'love'. Not to mention Sansa's marriage to Tyrion, Jaehaera's marriage to Aegon III, Aemma Arryn's marriage to Viserys I, etc.

Cannibalism is also practiced by certain tribes beyond the Wall.

That doesn't mean all cultures approve of those things. But some do.

 

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/taboo

If you don't know the definition of taboo, here it is. If you're willfully ignoring the definition of the word to suit your argument, we have nothing further to discuss.

17 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

You are basing your view on faulty reasoning. We have ample evidence that cousin marriages and avuncular marriage are rather common among the noble families of Westeros because we have evidence for this. In the Stark family tree as well as in the simple fact that it has to be the case if we assume that the marriage customs of the noble houses didn't suddenly change in the last two centuries.

But TWoIaF gives us a lot of indications that this is not the case with the many examples of marriages between the royal houses and their vassals. Hell, we do know there were nine marriages between the Tyrells and the Gardeners yet the other, more noble Reach houses still say the Tyrells have no claim to Highgarden. How heavily must they be interrelated with the Gardeners if those claims are supposed to have any merit?

Your own personal opinion is irrelevant/nothing but speculation when you not base it on things you actually know or can prove. And you do know the marriage customs of Westeros as well as I do.

I never said these marriages didn't happen. I said the text always shows them happening where there are sufficient new bloodlines introduced in preceding and successive generations to mitigate damage.

Prove me wrong with actual text from GRRM otherwise I've said all I have to say on the topic.

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