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Lord Varys

The Book of Swords - The Sons of the Dragon SPOILERS

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Inaccuracies aside, I love this story, GRRM gave us a special one here. I'm so enjoying reading of the duration and key moments of Maegor's conflict with the Faith Of The Seven. Definitely reminiscent to Henry VIII after Catherine Of Aragon.

Edited by RhaegoTheUnborn

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3 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I wonder why she didn't work a little voodoo on herself, so she could bear Maegor’s heir? 

Perhaps she tried and it didn't work? Perhaps she and Ceryse were truly barren while Alys, Elinor, and Jeyne were not? Perhaps she could help Maegor over come his fertility problem - he must have had real issues conceiving children or else he would have had at least a couple of bastards to legitimize - but could not repair herself? We know that magic comes at a cost, do we not? I'm pretty sure Melisandre is also unable to give birth to normal children...

2 hours ago, Jaak said:

How were the third or less of the brethren who beheaded their brethren selected?

Ask Maegor. I'm sure he'll at least hear you out... Honestly, what is the point of that kind of question? We don't know how Maegor did that, and you do know that, right?

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About Ser Morgan - he did not go to Wall alongside his brethren. Did he behead any of them? And afterwards? Did he hang around as a household member in Hightower family? As such, did he marry and father trueborn children, which his vows had blocked?

Ser Morgan was quickly killed by Ser Joffrey's people after he had received his royal pardon. He didn't marry nor did he father any children.

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Maegor would not behead ravens, though he could leave them unanswered.

Are you sure that Maegor would not behead ravens?

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But consider that there was a large number of lords who refused to join Faith rebellion at the head of their secular bannermen. Even Hightowers would not march.

There are no 'secular bannermen' in this world. The Andals all follow the Seven. There are just lords that are more pious and those who are less pious. And there are those who refused to get involved in this struggle - that's what most of the really great houses did. The men fighting with Maegor were mostly Targaryen men. The only time some really prominent houses involved themselves in the war was during the campaign against Prince Aegon. Then the Tullys showed their faces. But they did not march against the Faith Militant.

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From the sons and brethren of great lords who chose death, 7 got the honour of being beheaded by Maegor. And only Ser Morgan got "full pardon".

Sure, because the Hightowers - and perhaps even Ser Morgan himself - killed the High Septon.

2 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Lord Varys didn't mean the High Septon was sleeping around when he used the word f***.

Also, Loadows is a typo. It should read Lord Meadows.

Sounds convincing to me. I was wondering about that.

1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

How did Visenya and Rhaenys feel towards each other when they were children? When they were wed to their brother? When Aenys was born? when Rhaenys died? 

I'm very tempted to answer the same way I do to @Jaak's question.

We don't know, is the answer to the first question. The same to the second question. We don't know anything about their childhood nor about the circumstances leading up to or around their wedding. I assume that Rhaenys, Aegon, Visenya, and the entire court and Realm - aside from the people who still wanted the Targaryens gone - rejoiced when Aenys was born. Aegon needed an heir, so this would have been a very happy day. Visenya may have been somewhat unhappy that she wasn't the mother of the heir but the important point at that time would have been that they finally had an heir. And when Rhaenys died we know that both Visenya and Aegon were very angry. I think Aegon would have been more angry than Visenya since he was the one who really loved her very deeply, but she was still Visenya's sister. And even if Visenya had resented her with all her heart - for which there is no indication - then this would have been still a severe blow to House Targaryen and thus an issue that would cause her distress. Just as Tyrion's abduction did for Tywin.

1 hour ago, Jaak said:

If Septon Murmison had had the foresight to tell Aenys "Please, Your Grace, if you prefer to keep to Valyrian customs not Andal ones in who your children marry, it is better to also keep to those Valyrian customs in how your children marry, like your brother did.", would Aenys have beheaded him for that?

Septon Murmison was the Hand of the King. He wanted to serve and please King Aenys. There is no indication that he was forced to marry Aegon to Rhaena.

Back on Dragonstone whatever septons were there would have been exotic priests from a foreign land - this Westeros across the Narrow Sea. Prior to the Conquest Aegon wasn't the King of the Andals. Later he was. When Aegon and Aenys were Kings of the Andals it makes sense for them to want to marry the Andal way. But back on Dragonstone it is about as likely that they would want to be married by a priest who considered their marriage habits blasphemy as it is that the average Braavosi would go to the Sept-Beyond-the-Sea to get married.

33 minutes ago, RhaegoTheUnborn said:

Inaccuracies aside, I love this story, GRRM gave us a special one here. I'm so enjoying reading of the duration and key moments of Maegor's conflict with the Faith Of The Seven. Definitely reminiscent to Henry VIII after Catherine Of Aragon.

It seems that Henry VIII and the Anglican Church are pretty much the historical inspiration for this conflict. The Faith essentially became the Anglican Church after Maegor broke it, and the High Septon is essentially little more than the Archbishop of Canterbury - at least until the High Sparrow takes over.

However, the analogy doesn't fit perfectly. The High Septon loses a lot of real political power but he - and not the king - is formally still the head of the Faith. The Targaryen kings did not make themselves the heads of the Faith, thus uniting worldly and spiritual power in their hands. In that sense the High Septon always kept the foundation and legitimation of his ancient powers and authority, and thus the present High Septon can restore that power.

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20 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, sure, it is not completely impossible, I guess. But time line wise Prince Viserys would definitely have had the first shot to claim Quicksilver - assuming he was indeed dragonless, which I think he should not be - considering that he was with Aenys and Quicksilver when he died. And it would have taken Visenya quite some time to get to Maegor and bring him back. More than enough time for Viserys to claim her before they all left for Driftmark, right?

In addition, this idea that Aegon and Quicksilver were particularly close is completely unfounded. A dragon only seems to be close to one human being at a time - his or her rider, and no one else. And that was Aenys, not Aegon. Syrax killed the son of her rider, despite the fact that she must have been reasonably close to Joffrey.

If Quicksilver felt grief over the death of his rider - like Dreamfyre apparently expressed her feelings over the death of Queen Helaena - then it would be much more logical to assume she would have bonded with Viserys who was there, and actually would have felt the same pain over the death of his father as his dragon did.

In any case, one assumes that Quicksilver must have gotten away from Dragonstone before Maegor arrived there. One assumes he would have taken steps to prevent that she fell into the hands of his enemies. Either by killing her, or by taking chaining her up and leaving a contingent of loyal men there to guard her. That he should have done with any other dragons on Dragonstone, be they claimed or without riders.

If Alyssa and the children took her to Driftmark somehow a ship of the Velaryon fleet could have helped them to get her to the West - assuming a there were ships large enough to transport her and captains and sailors willing to take her. Which I honestly doubt. Being quarter the size of Balerion should still be way too large for a ship. And without a rider the dragon wouldn't even have understood what was expected of her and what the point of this whole transport was.

I might be misreading your reply, but it seems that you are argueing two positions that cannot co-exist. Either Prince Viserys was a dragonrider at the time of his father's death, or he was not. You seem to believe Viserys should have had a dragon of his own in 42 AC, yet you also argue that Quicksilver should have been claimed by Viserys on Dragonstone after Aenys's death.

Prince Viserys is not mentioned as having had a dragon, or even an egg, so for the moment, I am going to assume that he hadn't been offered to claim one yet - he was only thirteen at the time, and perhaps the fact that his older brother, the Prince of Dragonstone, did not yet have a dragon he was bonded to was reason enough for his parents to decide he should not yet claim one.

As for Quicksilver, when she left Dragonstone, we don't know. But if she had to flee, because Maegor or Visenya tried to attack her, or chain her up, her direction might not have been that strange. Aegon and Rhaena were two people she would have been familiar with, but perhaps even more importantly, aside from Dragonstone and KL, Crakehall Castle would have been the only place where another dragon resided, if I'm not mistaken.  It would not only have been Aegon she might have been drawn to.

As to why Viserys (and his younger siblings, for that matter), might not have attempted to claim a dragon of their own on Dragonstone after Visenya left... They had, at first, Aenys's cremation to deal with, saying goodbye to their father. After that, they left Dragonstone. "Within hours of [ Aenys's] funeral", Gyldayn writes. Alyssa seems to have made a clear choice: She'd rather ensure she and her children could flee to Driftmark, than risk still being at Dragonstone when Maegor and Visenya returned, only to attempt and claim a dragon.

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@Ran

To repeat Lord Varys's questions:

1. Where did you get the line in TWOIAF that Alyssa Velaryon has Targaryen blood on her mother's side from?
2. Where did you get in TWOIAF the line about Visenya having possibly poisoned Aenys from?
3. Where did you get in TWOIAF the line about Maegor descending into madness and being broken by the end of his reign from?

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

We don't know, is the answer to the first question. The same to the second question. We don't know anything about their childhood nor about the circumstances leading up to or around their wedding. I assume that Rhaenys, Aegon, Visenya, and the entire court and Realm - aside from the people who still wanted the Targaryens gone - rejoiced when Aenys was born. Aegon needed an heir, so this would have been a very happy day. Visenya may have been somewhat unhappy that she wasn't the mother of the heir but the important point at that time would have been that they finally had an heir. And when Rhaenys died we know that both Visenya and Aegon were very angry. I think Aegon would have been more angry than Visenya since he was the one who really loved her very deeply, but she was still Visenya's sister. And even if Visenya had resented her with all her heart - for which there is no indication - then this would have been still a severe blow to House Targaryen and thus an issue that would cause her distress. Just as Tyrion's abduction did for Tywin.

The only other sisterly relationship we see among young ones is Sansa and Arya. Like Visenya and Rhaenys, the Starkettes were opposites, with one hard as nails and the other soft as cheese, and in the case of the Starkettes they did not get along. I wonder if the author imagined something differenty for young Visenya and Rhaenys? 

There is the noted expectation that Aegon would only wed his older sister, but that Aegon wed Rhaenys too, for love. Shouldn't we assume that Visenya took that as a slight? And didn't Aegon spend more nights with Rhaenys? Even if Visenya didn't really care about waking Aegon's dragon, this was a slight, no? 

If we assume that Visenya was glad to see Aegon's heir born of Rhaenys, that would undermine, at least slightly, the argument that Visenya resorted to sorcery to conceive Maegor, no? The only remaining rationale would be that Visenya wanted to give Aenys an heir to secure a Targaryen succession. 

Of course we should expect Visenya to be enraged by what what happened to Rhaenys in Dorne, even if it was for reasons similar to Tywin's reaction to the Catnapping, as you suggest. But I wonder whether a part of her might have been satisfied. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Ask Maegor. I'm sure he'll at least hear you out... Honestly, what is the point of that kind of question? We don't know how Maegor did that, and you do know that, right?

The point is to challenge the unsupported assertion that Faith Militant did not have choice.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

There are no 'secular bannermen' in this world. The Andals all follow the Seven. There are just lords that are more pious and those who are less pious. And there are those who refused to get involved in this struggle - that's what most of the really great houses did.

There are lords and secular knights (as in, landowning bannermen or long term employed household knights and short term employed hedge knights) who are more or less pious. And there were Warrior´s Sons, sworn to follow Faith for life. At Great Fork of Blackwater, the army of Faith was 20 000: 13 200 of Faith Militant (13 000 Poor Fellows, 200 Warrior´s Sons), 6800 of household knights and feudal levies of 12 lords, of whom 3 are named. Note that fighting at Green Fork means the 12 lords were pious, not that their household knights or feudal levies were.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

The men fighting with Maegor were mostly Targaryen men.

Aegon had landed at the head of 1600 men. Even at Field of Fire, it was just 5000. At Blackwater, Maegor commanded 20 000.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Sure, because the Hightowers - and perhaps even Ser Morgan himself - killed the High Septon.

With dragon approaching.

They could have killed High Septon half a year before, as soon as Maegor summoned him to stand trial for treason. Or they could have avoided the "mysterious" death and come out on the side of dragons by giving High Septon the full Argella treatment - drag him naked, living and screaming curses at their impiety to face the judgement of Maegor and his sword or dragon and set a clear example of a High Septon tried and executed in cold blood.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

@Jaak

Back on Dragonstone whatever septons were there would have been exotic priests from a foreign land - this Westeros across the Narrow Sea. Prior to the Conquest Aegon wasn't the King of the Andals.

Only because he did not call himself king. The Valyrians were a ruling minority over Andal commoners, who had been followers of Faith before Valyrians arrived.

 

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First was a genuine error that crept in from the process of boiling things down. Second and third are ideas from discussion with GRRM and Anne about what maesters later on would make of these events. That histories would see Maegor as a madman, and read into the possibility that he sunk into despair to the point of killing himself in an ugly manner, is pretty self-evident.

Remember that "Sons of the Dragon" is itself a history written by Gyldayn well over 150 years after the fact, and though GRRM did not so thoroughly indulge in competing sources as he did in the Dance and Regency material, he was already very cognizant of the idea that Gyldayn's version of history is just one of many, dependent on many sources since he was not a contemporary. The broad outline of facts are generally going to be correct, but any and all editorialization -- from Gyldayn, Yandel, Mushroom, Eustace, and all the rest -- is just that.

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On 10/13/2017 at 5:30 PM, Ran said:

The early Targaryens settling Dragonstone were Valyrian foreigners bringing their customs. Aegon was a lord of the narrow sea attempting to forge a kingdom by to some degree assimilating -- a process that, in fact, was not something he started. So yes, he still married polygamously, but this was at a point where there were basically no Targaryens besides them. Polygamy fell out of fashion because it wasn't necessary at any point after that, essentially.

So this comes back to the "lack of Targaryens" thing, as other's pointed out this wasn't the last time there would only be a few of them left, or there would be a king without a son and heir. In fact for most of their time in Westeros there weren't a lot of Targs... 

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And then there's what happens when the offspring fight among themselves over who is heir. Which is pretty much what happened thanks to Aegon's polygamous marriage, and Visenya pushing Maegor ahead of Aenys's children. Polygamy is not "all upside". It proved better for the stability of the realm to avoid anything like polygamy. In fact, simply consider that Rhaenyra's relationship with Laenor Velaryon and Harwin Strong helped fuel the fire of the Dance considerably as another example; matters would not have been helped had Harwin been her legal husband. And then consider Aegon IV sleeping around and setting up the realm for five generations of hurt because of his elevation of his bastards to legitimacy. Imagine if they had all been legitimate to begin with -- do you _really_ think Daeron and Daemon and Bittersteel and Bloodraven wouldn't have had issues in that scenario?

Fights over succession happen for a lot of reasons, and frankly I'm not sure polygamy increases the odds of it happening (I'm not sure there is any reason to believe it would). It's an interesting theory, but I'm not sure I'm convinced it's true historically, but of course, you're the expert on Planetos.

To the first example, Rhaenyra and Harwin Strong... it might have made a huge difference regarding the perceived legitimacy of her children and their expectations for inheritance (I would expect that they would never have been in line, but at least there could have been a clearer ruling established ahead of time).

The root problem was that Viserys didn't have a clear heir though wasn't it? He ended up with multiple children from multiple wives, just not concurrently married... and who knows how things might have gone if he had married a Velaryon bride (as suggested) in addition to his Hightower bride after the death of his Arryn bride.

To the second, don't you think it would have been a good thing if Aegon IV had married the noble women he was sleeping with (sorry common ladies)? After all, he legitimized the children anyway... frankly while I don't condone his behavior, I don't blame him for the wars to come either. 

The difference between the Great Bastards being legitimate from the beginning, as opposed to being legitimized later, is really one of semantics at the end of the day. Yes, they probably would have fought (over their sister if nothing else...) but maybe fewer noble lords would have sided with Bloodraven. After all, once legitimized, wasn't Daemon the rightful heir (I understand there was/is/should be some disagreement about this)? Bloodraven certainly commits crimes against gods and men.

And maybe even more practical, if Daemon had been allowed his second wife (as apperantly he was promised) might the rebellions have been avoided all together? Perhaps the terror of Bloodraven's rule might have been avoided.

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So, yeah, there's a danger to polygamy that showed itself again and again. It doesn't mean that the Targaryens formally made it illegal for themselves. It just meant that they didn't bother with it because there were more stable solutions.

I'm not sure I follow, i don't see the danger of polygamy, and I don't see how it showed itself again and again... weren't all the Targaryen's before Aegon the Conqeror polygamous?

Since then there was only Maegor, his son, who had no children and none of the succession issues after his death that you are talking about... also, the dance of dragons and blackfyre rebellion might have been prevented with some well timed polygamous weddings.

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Maegor was a monster. Sometimes, early on, he was the monster who fought on behalf of the family... but  lets not pretend Maegor didn't also nearly destroyed the family at the same time by killing his own kin and setting the realm against himself.

Wait a second... Maegor was a monster, ok, but so was Aegon... they used might (and Balerion the Dread) to establish their rule. They both committed horrific acts of violence for their own benefit. And if we are going to say that establishing the Targaryen Dynasty was a "good" worthy of all the evils, then Meagor did what had to be done to solidify power. If he didn't return from Essos to claim the crown it seems the kingdom would have fallen apart. Nobody gave Westeros to Aegon, he took it. And while I'm not trying to whitewash what clearly seems to be a madman, I'm not sure polygamy can be blamed.

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From Jaehaerys on, Targaren incest was never an issue and caused no difficulties. Polygamy had proved potentially very dangerous, and so it went unused.

I don't understand this... the Faith was cool all of a sudden with incest but not polygamy? I guess that's the part I struggle with and am hoping to see resolved.

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That's not really damning -- it's like nuns all being "brides of Christ". It's not exactly literal -- it's a "mystical" betrothal rather than an actual. Can't really be equated.

Absolutely fair, just worth pointing out for fun, that the monogomy thing came from Roman tradition and not the "christian" part of the Roman Catholic tradition... nuns or priestesses being "married to god (or a god)" has a history of being rather more literal than I think you might have credited. When the Christian church was forming polygamy was still practiced among the Jewish people and monogamy was among the many parts of Roman culture appropriated for the new Catholic Church and no small point of contention. Men in power tend to not want to give up wives 2 through n (and their right to have a harem), this I was looking for a practice reason. Finally, I think it would be very hard to argue that monogamy solved or even helped solve succession issues in Medieval Europe.

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Polygamy is not a practice of modern northmen, and we've no examples over many centuries.

Craster, Ygon Oldfather are two examples of wildlings (First Men Culture still being practiced north of the wall, admittedly kinda an imperfect example) that had multiple wives... other old examples are the Gardner Kings and House Durrandon, two houses of first men kings.

It seems that it was the Andals who brought Monogomy with them along with the Faith... The Ironborn clearly don't mind a few extra wives, and I'm not sure about the Rhoynar tradition though...

My point was that almost every tradition in Westeros besides the Faith of the Seven seems to have accepted polygamy. And unlike incest (where there are practical genetic problems, that while not understood were recognized pretty early on), polygamy's downside comes purely from societal judgement.

I appreciate the thoughtful response, and it's probably worth pointing out I'm not pro-polygamy, just a devil's advocate, cheers.

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2 hours ago, Rhaenys_Targaryen said:

I might be misreading your reply, but it seems that you are argueing two positions that cannot co-exist. Either Prince Viserys was a dragonrider at the time of his father's death, or he was not. You seem to believe Viserys should have had a dragon of his own in 42 AC, yet you also argue that Quicksilver should have been claimed by Viserys on Dragonstone after Aenys's death.

Oh, those are two levels. I maintain the position that both Prince Aegon and Prince Viserys should have had dragons. But assuming they had not I think it makes more sense to assume that a dragonless Prince Viserys would claimed Quicksilver than to assume the dragon searched for Prince Aegon all by himself.

George usually has his characters act as if they were real people, and if you think how many people came forth to try to claim dragons during the Dance the idea that Alyssa did not consider her late husband's dragon when she fled is simply not very likely.

Hell, as a Velaryon she could have claimed Quicksilver herself. Or she could at least have tried.

2 hours ago, Rhaenys_Targaryen said:

Prince Viserys is not mentioned as having had a dragon, or even an egg, so for the moment, I am going to assume that he hadn't been offered to claim one yet - he was only thirteen at the time, and perhaps the fact that his older brother, the Prince of Dragonstone, did not yet have a dragon he was bonded to was reason enough for his parents to decide he should not yet claim one.

Since we know that the younger Jaehaerys and Alysanne as well as the elder Rhaena all had dragons would make that very odd. It could make sense if there hadn't been any dragons around in the years of the childhood of those two princes. But there were.

2 hours ago, Rhaenys_Targaryen said:

As for Quicksilver, when she left Dragonstone, we don't know. But if she had to flee, because Maegor or Visenya tried to attack her, or chain her up, her direction might not have been that strange. Aegon and Rhaena were two people she would have been familiar with, but perhaps even more importantly, aside from Dragonstone and KL, Crakehall Castle would have been the only place where another dragon resided, if I'm not mistaken.  It would not only have been Aegon she might have been drawn to.

Well, wouldn't she then have gone to Driftmark where Alyssa and the other Targaryens she knew went? In addition, don't you think Quicksilver was chained at Dragonstone? Aenys would have brought her with him to Dragonstone and to our knowledge dragons were usually chained in or close to castles.

2 hours ago, Rhaenys_Targaryen said:

As to why Viserys (and his younger siblings, for that matter), might not have attempted to claim a dragon of their own on Dragonstone after Visenya left... They had, at first, Aenys's cremation to deal with, saying goodbye to their father. After that, they left Dragonstone. "Within hours of [ Aenys's] funeral", Gyldayn writes. Alyssa seems to have made a clear choice: She'd rather ensure she and her children could flee to Driftmark, than risk still being at Dragonstone when Maegor and Visenya returned, only to attempt and claim a dragon.

Hours are more than enough time for that. Visenya would take hours to reach Pentos and then she and Maegor would also need hours to return.

1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

The only other sisterly relationship we see among young ones is Sansa and Arya. Like Visenya and Rhaenys, the Starkettes were opposites, with one hard as nails and the other soft as cheese, and in the case of the Starkettes they did not get along. I wonder if the author imagined something differenty for young Visenya and Rhaenys? 

Could very well be. But unlike Arya and Sansa Visenya and Rhaenys are both very beautiful. Visenya is just less charming due to her personality but she doesn't have a horse face or anything.

But there is talk about Visenya and Rhaenys competing for the attention of their brother-husband, etc. But as I usually say when we discuss those incest romances - those people are both romantic lovers and siblings. There is some sort of weird romantic bond there, but there is also a bond between siblings. That can make things very worse if the sibling relationship is totally fucked up, but it could also help them to relate on a different level.

Visenya and Rhaenys competing for Aegon isn't the same as, say, Alys and Tyanna competing for Maegor...

1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

There is the noted expectation that Aegon would only wed his older sister, but that Aegon wed Rhaenys too, for love. Shouldn't we assume that Visenya took that as a slight? And didn't Aegon spend more nights with Rhaenys? Even if Visenya didn't really care about waking Aegon's dragon, this was a slight, no? 

It can be seen as such. How much Visenya cared about such slights depends how strongly she was emotionally involved in that. Did she feel slighted by Aegon and Rhaenys or not? Did she actually want to marry Aegon at her own heart or was she, too, only following tradition by entering into this incestuous marriage? We don't know.

I think the most hilarious line in TSotD is Visenya calling Aegon 'my love'. She didn't love that man. It is a fiction she maintained for the public.

1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

If we assume that Visenya was glad to see Aegon's heir born of Rhaenys, that would undermine, at least slightly, the argument that Visenya resorted to sorcery to conceive Maegor, no? The only remaining rationale would be that Visenya wanted to give Aenys an heir to secure a Targaryen succession. 

TSotD sort of hints at the motivation as to why Visenya was finally compelled to create this 'male clone' of hers through sorcery. Aenys' health really deteriorated in the wake Rhaenys' death in Dorne in 10 AC, and her own position as queen was also in danger when the lords pushed Aegon to take another wife.

Thus the motivation to create Maegor would have been both to have a spare in case Aenys should follow his mother into the grave - which seemed to be very likely at the time - as well as to ensure that Aegon doesn't push her aside for a younger and beautiful queen. One who might also be fertile.

The fact that Maegor is five years younger than Aenys is also very telling in this regard. It doesn't seem that Visenya felt a strong need to produce children for Aegon - not the natural way, not the adulterous way (as Rhaenys may have done), not the magical way. She only did that when she had to.

And I think Maegor may have really trapped her there. Once she had a son - who may have been herself in a male body - she could not help but very much care for him, overlook his flaws, doing everything in her power to help his career, etc.

1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Of course we should expect Visenya to be enraged by what what happened to Rhaenys in Dorne, even if it was for reasons similar to Tywin's reaction to the Catnapping, as you suggest. But I wonder whether a part of her might have been satisfied. 

Could very well be. But I think Visenya deteriorated to the corpse queen she later become - in the end she is only a fraction better than Maegor and Tyanna - over time. Sort of like Tywin actually had a sense of humor once, in his youth, and grew sterner and harder as the years part. In that sense Visenya might be somewhat comparable to Viserys III who, according to Ran, was remarkable different as a youth from the cold and calculating Hand and king he later became.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

First was a genuine error that crept in from the process of boiling things down. Second and third are ideas from discussion with GRRM and Anne about what maesters later on would make of these events. That histories would see Maegor as a madman, and read into the possibility that he sunk into despair to the point of killing himself in an ugly manner, is pretty self-evident.

Any chance you might sort of retroactively retcon Alyssa into having a Targaryen mother due to the sentence in TWoIaF? Lord Aerion certainly could have had a sister the age of Visenya, who was married to Aethan Velaryon around the time of the Conquest...

The idea that the Targaryens should be down to exactly three people by the time of the Conquest always felt odd to me. At least without a good explanation as to why that is the case.

I think Maegor's end causes a massive motivational problem. He simply wasn't finished. He still had Balerion. The idea of a depression or some cognitive problems could have caused him to lose hope, but the real madman in this context is Lord Baratheon who actually tries to sell his men the idea that Vermithor and Silverwing (and Dreamfyre) could stand against Balerion. They could not. And people would have known that.

Public opinion could have turned against Maegor - and Maegor himself could have been afraid - if Vermithor, Silverwing, Dreamfyre, and Vhagar stood against him. But for that somebody in camp Jaehaerys would have to claim Vhagar...

A really great way to resolve the Balerion thing could also be the rumor or report that Maegor tried to find or mount his dragon to burn his enemies at Storm's End - or wherever - and he could either not find or not mount Balerion because he evaded or rejected him. No idea whether this could work within George's framework of dragonlore - that's why it could just be a rumor - but it would be a nice possible explanation as to why Maegor did not use his dragon against Jaehaerys.

The consensus among the debaters here on the basis of TSotD seems to be that Maegor was actually murdered - most likely by those four Kingsguard acting in concert -, and did not commit suicide.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

Remember that "Sons of the Dragon" is itself a history written by Gyldayn well over 150 years after the fact, and though GRRM did not so thoroughly indulge in competing sources as he did in the Dance and Regency material, he was already very cognizant of the idea that Gyldayn's version of history is just one of many, dependent on many sources since he was not a contemporary. The broad outline of facts are generally going to be correct, but any and all editorialization -- from Gyldayn, Yandel, Mushroom, Eustace, and all the rest -- is just that.

It would be greatly appreciated if the piece could have been enlarged some what, adding more details - especially on the whole Prince Aegon story -, as well as actually giving us more competing accounts and actually mentioning some sources. 'Fire and Blood' is going to stand as a book, and the later, more detailed accounts should fit well together with TSotD.

In light of the fact of the missing dragonfire campaign against the Reach - Visenya burned the Riverlands, not the Reach - it might also be fun to see an Osgrey mentioned when they turn against the Reach.

The same would also go on the history of Aegon's reign. The account on the Conquest is a very good read the way it is. But it covers only two years.

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So this comes back to the "lack of Targaryens" thing, as other's pointed out this wasn't the last time there would only be a few of them left, or there would be a king without a son and heir. In fact for most of their time in Westeros there weren't a lot of Targs... 

From Aenys on through to Aegon IV, there were always numerous Targaryens and immediate descendants. The situation became more fraught due to Aegon's two legitimate offspring (not counting his deathbed legitimization), but Daeron the Good restored that by having many sons who in turn had a number of children between them. Then you go through all the way to Aegon V and his many children before you get to a situation where the family suddenly thins down again. Jaehaerys was a love match with his sister, and you're literally just left with Aerys II who had, perhaps, the temperment and the willingness to maybe try and take on a second wife ... but given the likelihood that he very much had notions of the Targaryens being above all others, it's no surprise that he didn't. And then he ended up having another son besides Rhaegar, and Rhaegar had kids of his own...

Fights over succession happen for a lot of reasons, and frankly I'm not sure polygamy increases the odds of it happening (I'm not sure there is any reason to believe it would).

Fratricide among the Ottomans comes to mind -- there's a tremendous number of murdered half-brothers, uncles, etc. when you read the histories of the successions to the sultancy. I can't think of any medieval European kingdom that had anything like that kind of inner family turmoil, and it's not like the Plantagenets or Valois were necessarily all that friendly with one another... In any case, a lot of it was genuinely because of polygamous marriage practice and the devaluation it caused in typical concepts of kinship and blood relation.

To the second, don't you think it would have been a good thing if Aegon IV had married the noble women he was sleeping with (sorry common ladies)? After all, he legitimized the children anyway... frankly while I don't condone his behavior, I don't blame him for the wars to come either. 

Not really. Instead of having Daemon Blackfyre and his offspring, it may well have been that the Blackwoods backed Bloodraven for the throne, and the Brackens Bittersteel, and so on and so on -- all of them claiming some reason why their legitimate son of Aegon was better suited to the throne. 

And maybe even more practical, if Daemon had been allowed his second wife (as apperantly he was promised) might the rebellions have been avoided all together? Perhaps the terror of Bloodraven's rule might have been avoided.

No chance. Having Daenerys as his wife would have merely strengthened his claim to the throne, and also likely would have left Dorne separate from the rest of the realm, meaning enmities could continue.

I'm not sure I follow, i don't see the danger of polygamy, and I don't see how it showed itself again and again... weren't all the Targaryen's before Aegon the Conqeror polygamous?

Polygamy is explicitly said to have been less common than incest in Valyria, so no, all Targaryens were not polygamous. We know Aenar was, that's about it.

Since then there was only Maegor, his son, who had no children and none of the succession issues after his death that you are talking about... also, the dance of dragons and blackfyre rebellion might have been prevented with some well timed polygamous weddings.

 

More likely they would have been exacerbated, as noted above. 

 And if we are going to say that establishing the Targaryen Dynasty was a "good" worthy of all the evils, then Meagor did what had to be done to solidify power. 

HIS power. He murdered off family members while he was at it, which gives the lie to the idea that he was driven by interest in the Targaryen family as a whole. His many brides were all about him and his heir. 

I don't understand this... the Faith was cool all of a sudden with incest but not polygamy? I guess that's the part I struggle with and am hoping to see resolved.

I'm not concerned with the Faith. After Jaehaerys, until the present time period, the Faith was toothless. No, it's the Targaryens themselves who veered away from polygamy.

Finally, I think it would be very hard to argue that monogamy solved or even helped solve succession issues in Medieval Europe..

I recall in my university studies coming across a book that posits just that, and specifically discussed the medieval arguments against polygamy as a harmful and destabilizing practice. A quick Google tells me it may be The Western Case for Monogamy Over Polygamy (it's more a legal treatise than a history, which fits what I recall, but runs through various eras).

Westeros is a place where certain succession ideas are not writ in stone -- in particular, we've come across many examples of women being passed over for men in their families, despite the law ostensibly placing a man's daughters ahead of his brothers or their offspring. Similarly, GRRM has noted that the place in a succession of a legitimized bastard is also up for debate in Westeros -- whether he enters in birth order, or if he's at the end, or whether he still gets ahead of daughters, etc. Polygamy complicates things even more so, presenting no strong reason to focus on birth order as determinant, so even the straightforward notion of Robb over Bran over Rickon could -- if each had had separate mothers who were simultaneously  Eddard Stark's wives -- have broken apart under the stress of competing outside interests (such as the families of their respective mothers).

Given how "flexible" everyone is in Westeros, and given the problems that post-Conquest polygamy caused for the Targaryens, it's no surprise that they chose to let it fall by the wayside.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Fights over succession happen for a lot of reasons, and frankly I'm not sure polygamy increases the odds of it happening (I'm not sure there is any reason to believe it would). It's an interesting theory, but I'm not sure I'm convinced it's true historically, but of course, you're the expert on Planetos.

That is why I pointed out that the suggestion that Jaehaerys I marry both his sisters should have been a very popular/compelling suggestion in 48 AC. Neither Maegor's nor Aegon's polygamy did immediately cause a succession crisis, nor did Maegor and his adviser see that problem when they had the council that led to the black brides marriage.

After the Dance we can say that too many women and too many children, etc. can greatly fuel succession struggles. But the persons to blame for the wars after the death of Aenys should be Visenya, Maegor, and the Faith Militant - not polygamy.

49 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

To the first example, Rhaenyra and Harwin Strong... it might have made a huge difference regarding the perceived legitimacy of her children and their expectations for inheritance (I would expect that they would never have been in line, but at least there could have been a clearer ruling established ahead of time).

If Rhaenyra had been married to both Laenor Velaryon and Harwin Strong then the succession of Driftmark may have been somewhat murky but Rhaenyra was the Heir Apparent to the Iron Throne - and thus her trueborn children would be her heirs, never mind who was the father of the children.

49 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

The root problem was that Viserys didn't have a clear heir though wasn't it? He ended up with multiple children from multiple wives, just not concurrently married... and who knows how things might have gone if he had married a Velaryon bride (as suggested) in addition to his Hightower bride after the death of his Arryn bride.

As I've said, I think there are hints that remarriage became an unofficial taboo for a Targaryen who already had heirs. Else it is very likely that both Viserys II and Maekar would have remarried. You do not marry for love, you marry for matters of state. And if you are in line to the throne or even the king then you have a moral duty to give the Realm also a queen.

49 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

To the second, don't you think it would have been a good thing if Aegon IV had married the noble women he was sleeping with (sorry common ladies)? After all, he legitimized the children anyway... frankly while I don't condone his behavior, I don't blame him for the wars to come either. 

In a sense, he just did that. After all, legitimizing a bastard is essentially declaring that the child is trueborn. And that means that the parents were married.

49 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

I'm not sure I follow, i don't see the danger of polygamy, and I don't see how it showed itself again and again... weren't all the Targaryen's before Aegon the Conqeror polygamous?

No, polygamy was rare even in Valyria. It was not as common as incestuous marriage and mostly practiced by those mysterious sorcerer princes. The only polygamous Targaryen aside from Aegon and Maegor seems to be Aenar the Exile. He supposedly brought all his wives to Dragonstone.

49 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

I don't understand this... the Faith was cool all of a sudden with incest but not polygamy? I guess that's the part I struggle with and am hoping to see resolved.

As I've said, there has to be some explanation why polygamy fell out of favor. I'm not saying it has to be some law or decree, but rather a succession of situations where people entertain it and then dismiss it. Best would be if people actually were more horrified by polygamy than incest, so that the Targaryens simply were less inclined to push that issue. But especially during the dragon days the issue must have come up when there was a conundrum that could have actually have been resolved by polygamy. And those issues were obviously there - Prince Aemon could have done fine with a second wife (to get a son), Daemon could have been happy, Viserys I could have gotten a son, Rhaenyra could have been happier with a gay and a straight husband, etc.

49 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

 

Craster, Ygon Oldfather are two examples of wildlings (First Men Culture still being practiced north of the wall, admittedly kinda an imperfect example) that had multiple wives... other old examples are the Gardner Kings and House Durrandon, two houses of first men kings.

I think the wildling customs can't be cited as being relevant in the North. And strictly speaking we don't know whether the ancient First Men kings in the North had multiple wives as certain Gardener and Durrandon kings. It is not unlikely but as of yet unconfirmed.

For instance, it is pretty clear that cousin marriages among nobles are a non-issue in the North. Even avuncular marriages might be acceptable. That kind of thing seems to be very unpopular among the wildlings.

49 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

It seems that it was the Andals who brought Monogomy with them along with the Faith... The Ironborn clearly don't mind a few extra wives, and I'm not sure about the Rhoynar tradition though...

Rhoynar culture in Dorne is monogamous. You can have paramours and bastards but those are then paramours and bastards. The Andals seem to have been monogamous at least since they began their migration to Westeros. They have stories about Hugor having a lot of wives but those seem to be comparable to stories about fertility deities.

49 minutes ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

My point was that almost every tradition in Westeros besides the Faith of the Seven seems to have accepted polygamy. And unlike incest (where there are practical genetic problems, that while not understood were recognized pretty early on), polygamy's downside comes purely from societal judgement.

The condemnation of incest - both in Westeros as well as in primitive real world cultures - actually seems to be overwhelming religious/superstitious rather than founded in empirical knowledge. That is especially the case for continuous inbreeding. No on in Roman Egypt told the people there not to marry their sisters because that would cause problem for their descendants, nor did anyone advise the royal and noble families of Europe to stop their inbreeding. They had no idea that this was causing problems.

If a child was sick then this was an individual issue, god cursing the child, or demons or unclean spirits possessing them.

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@Ran

Is it confirmed that Maegor gave Lord Harroway's Town to Alton Butterwell? 

If it's true, I am curious when Butterwells lost it to Rootes. Could it be Ambrose Butterwell who finally lost Lord Harroway's Town?

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3 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@Ran

To repeat Lord Varys's questions:

1. Where did you get the line in TWOIAF that Alyssa Velaryon has Targaryen blood on her mother's side from?
2. Where did you get in TWOIAF the line about Visenya having possibly poisoned Aenys from?
3. Where did you get in TWOIAF the line about Maegor descending into madness and being broken by the end of his reign from?

 

1. In Aenys I passage, it says this, "...Prince Aenys was wed in 22 AC to Alyssa Velaryon, the daughter of the king's master of ships and lord admiral; though she was Targaryen upon her mother's side, this made her only a cousin. - Pg 53.

 

2. "In later days, after Visenya's death, it was suggested that King Aenys sudden demise was Visenya's doing." Thats on pg. 54, I think it's pretty obvious what the implication is, considering Aeny's died after coming into Visenya's care, after initially showing signs of improvement.

 

 

3. "His descent into true madness, some say, began with the first of these abominations."; and the second one, "..and perhaps even the loss of his mother's guidance, had left him in his own way as broken as Aenys." - Pg. 56-58

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@Lord Varys

I fully agree that in its current form TSOTD leaves a lot to be desired and is in dire need of some expansion.

To give just three examples:
Contrast the difference between Maegor's reaction to Alys's child and those of Jeyne + Elinor. In the former case he is horrified, mournful, enraged, and even depressed for a bit (going off of the fact Tyanna found him sitting the Iron Throne alone with the Grand Maester's head in his hands). In the case of the latter we get no reaction whatsoever.

Furthermore, I feel like Maegor's character is a bit inconsistent. For one, why is there no mention of his personality possibly being exaggerated by his head injury and coma a la Baelor I? In particular this feels off because to me at least Maegor appears much less monstrous before his Trial by Seven.

Even after that point though Maegor seems to vacillate between being completely crazy and remarkably reasonable. I mean the dude lets the Warrior's Sons of Oldtown and Poxy Jeyne's Poor Fellows take the black, gives the Faith Militant half a year to surrender after capturing Oldtown, only moves against his nephew after the latter directly challenges him, reconciles with Ceryse, initially refuses pretty strongly to believe that Alys had been unfaithful, and at Visenya's advice doesn't wipe out whole families after the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye the way TWOIAF says he did. Seriously, what is up with that? This is Maegor the Cruel we're talking about here!

There is an entire chapter of the Warrior's Sons in Gulltown and they do nothing throughout the whole rebellion!

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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18 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

@Ran

Is it confirmed that Maegor gave Lord Harroway's Town to Alton Butterwell? 

If it's true, I am curious when Butterwells lost it to Rootes. Could it be Ambrose Butterwell who finally lost Lord Harroway's Town?

That is what one would expect.

@The Grey Wolf

Aside from the Quicksilver conundrum and the dragonrider problem I find the account of the events at Oldtown to be the most incoherent. We get no ultimatum triggering the death of the High Septon, no talk about a Targaryen army in the Reach, etc. While it makes technically sense that Vhagar and Balerion could have subdued Oldtown, the people in the city must have known that Maegor was coming to act, and they must have acted expecting that killing the High Septon and yielding the city would make a difference. For that they need an ultimatum.

And if Maegor and Visenya only showed up with their dragons then they would be completely helpless and vulnerable once they were separated from them. Or are we to expect that they just accepted the word of the Oldtowners and Hightowers that they were yielding. Raising the Targaryen banner doesn't mean you are honestly supporting the Targaryens, either. They must have brought an army of considerable size that's nowhere mentioned.

That's where the Tyrells could come in, by the way, since they are very likely to side with their Targaryen overlords in this situation to ensure that they can keep Highgarden. Thus they could have raised 10,000 or more men to sack Oldtown on Maegor's command, if necessary.

As to Maegor's personality, I think most of his less monstrous actions are things Visenya told him to do. One should expect Maegor to have wanted to burn down all of Oldtown and Visenya convincing him to give them an ultimatum and allow the Warriors's Sons to take the black, etc.

Still, it is actually odd that Oldtown wasn't burned. The Sept of Remembrance was burned, too, and there is really no reason given why Maegor thought this was necessary. And later Visenya and Maegor both burned dozens of castles. 

But there are actually hints that the man was completely nuts. Note those 'half a year of trials and executions' that followed the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye? That makes it likely that Maegor had thousands of people executed, effectively - if not in reality - extinguishing quite a few houses. The idea he originally had might have been to treat the houses of all the people fighting with Aegon the way he later treated the Harroways.

The absence of the Vale is really odd in the story. The Reach is the heart of chivalry, but the Vale the oldest Andal kingdom. There should be quite some pious people over there, and we know that the Warrior's Sons had a chapter there. A fleet controlled by Warrior's Sons could have attacked KL, or something like that.

His reaction to the child of Alys seems to be a hint that he really loved that woman. The same wasn't really true for Jeyne and Elinor.

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11 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Text

That's why I want more clarification from TSOTD because rn it is a mess compared to TRP and TPATQ, which merely suffer from edits as opposed to their actual content.

Re Maegor: I agree it would make more sense if Maegor's more "merciful" actions were actually motivated by his mother. As for the stillbirths I still maintain that him having NO reaction to Elinor/Jeyne feels off given how strong his reaction to Alys was.

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Thats a good point that injury could have driven Maegor even more over the edge but this is a guy that mocked his own King's power darign him to even try and take blackfyre and had no qualm about even torturing his nephew although he knew he didn't know where alyssa went. I mean they do hint his cruelty was exaggerated, but with how he wiped out the Horrways and killed Tyanna. along with holding the grand maesters head for comfort yea Cruel seems an understatement. Still as many said he was shown to at least value people at first the world book said he took his mother's death in strides, but we see him making it a point to make sure she joined her brother and sisters ashes. Did actually listen to her counsel as well. 

Man who would have thought Blackfyre would play a role for choosing a king again even before the blackfyre rebellion. Why would Visenya of all people think Aenys giving Maegor the sword proved he was fit to rule.

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, those are two levels. I maintain the position that both Prince Aegon and Prince Viserys should have had dragons. But assuming they had not I think it makes more sense to assume that a dragonless Prince Viserys would claimed Quicksilver than to assume the dragon searched for Prince Aegon all by himself.

And yet, the dragonless Viserys  did not claim his father's dragon. That we know, because if he had, Aegon would not have been able to claim the dragon later on. Viserys outlived his older brother, after all.

 

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

George usually has his characters act as if they were real people, and if you think how many people came forth to try to claim dragons during the Dance the idea that Alyssa did not consider her late husband's dragon when she fled is simply not very likely.

She saw the safety of her children as more important than immediately trying to claim a dragon. A dragon is difficult to hide, after all.

 

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Hell, as a Velaryon she could have claimed Quicksilver herself. Or she could at least have tried.

And risk leaving her children orphans? 

 

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Since we know that the younger Jaehaerys and Alysanne as well as the elder Rhaena all had dragons would make that very odd. It could make sense if there hadn't been any dragons around in the years of the childhood of those two princes. But there were.

As far as I am aware, we don't know when Jaehaerys and Alysanne claimed their dragons. All we know is that by 48 AC, when Jaehaerys ascended the throne, they had bonded with their dragons, but that doesn't mean that they already had in early 42 AC.

 

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, wouldn't she then have gone to Driftmark where Alyssa and the other Targaryens she knew went? In addition, don't you think Quicksilver was chained at Dragonstone? Aenys would have brought her with him to Dragonstone and to our knowledge dragons were usually chained in or close to castles.

Dragons who have a rider are chained. Quicksilver had loat her rider, and thus might not have been anymore. She could have been roaming the Dragonmont freely, like the other rudderless dragon (both wild and previously ridden) did during the reign of Viserys I.

As to choosing Crakehall over Driftmark,  who knows? At Crakehall there was another dragon, at Driftmark not, as far as we know. That might have made a difference. And the Targaryens on Driftmark were reasonably safe, whereas Aegon and Rhaena were besieged.

But dragons are intelligent creatures, so I can't say it is fair to assume that they cannot act on their own.

 

8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Hours are more than enough time for that. Visenya would take hours to reach Pentos and then she and Maegor would also need hours to return.

Again, Alyssa's priorities might have been her children, not her husband's  dragon. And I would think that she would have wanted to have arrived at Driftmark, not still be at sea. And acting fast would have been important. Alyssa could not predict how long Visenya would be gone.

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