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Lord Varys

The Book of Swords - The Sons of the Dragon SPOILERS

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

This makes it pretty clear that people knew what Maegor was long before he usurped the throne:

How so? Prince Aerion shows the same type of savagery. He liked to kill people, too, and he wasn't the kind of guy you would expect a pardon from, either. And the stable boy is essentially a worse version of the Mycah incident. That's what Joffrey could have done, too, making it very clear that Maegor liked to torture people.

The head wound didn't change his behavior at all. 

As Ran has said above somewhere, Maegor was a monster in the service of his family. Aenys obviously had need for him and didn't fault him for how he dealt with his enemies. They were never close but they got along while Maegor was Hand. And it is not that Maegor did cause any war or conflicts during the decades his royal father, did he? Aerion could control himself, too, when Maekar was around.

Sorry but that quote doesn't sound overly cruel to me. In fact, it makes Maegor look more like a dialed-up version of Maekar. Also, I ask you again: If Maegor was the same monster before his reign as he was during it how was the realm not in a state of chaos given the fact that the only person who could rein Maegor in was Aenys the Ditherer?

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30 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Sorry but that quote doesn't sound overly cruel to me. In fact, it makes Maegor look more like a dialed-up version of Maekar. Also, I ask you again: If Maegor was the same monster before his reign as he was during it how was the realm not in a state of chaos given the fact that the only person who could rein Maegor in was Aenys the Ditherer?

Except that Aenys could not rein Maegor in, if he could not make him even return Blackfyre or abandon the "marriage" to Alys Harroway. 

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15 minutes ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

Except that Aenys could not rein Maegor in, if he could not make him even return Blackfyre or abandon the "marriage" to Alys Harroway. 

How was there peace for two years then?

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1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Sorry but that quote doesn't sound overly cruel to me. In fact, it makes Maegor look more like a dialed-up version of Maekar. Also, I ask you again: If Maegor was the same monster before his reign as he was during it how was the realm not in a state of chaos given the fact that the only person who could rein Maegor in was Aenys the Ditherer?

Why shouldn't there have been peace? How should Maegor have broken it? There is no hint that Maegor didn't, for the most part, live out his sadism behind closed doors and in the practice yard and during military campaigns, during which those things were acceptable to a point.

Maegor knew how to follow. He did that for most of his life. He followed his father's, mother's, and brother's lead. Until he did not. And then he fucked things up for Aenys with his second marriage.

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12 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Sorry but that quote doesn't sound overly cruel to me. In fact, it makes Maegor look more like a dialed-up version of Maekar. Also, I ask you again: If Maegor was the same monster before his reign as he was during it how was the realm not in a state of chaos given the fact that the only person who could rein Maegor in was Aenys the Ditherer?

Sorry for jumping into the middle of your discussion, but I don’t think it is that unusual that Maegor was a monster before his rule too. After all, Rose Bolton is a sadistic monster but keeps his acts quiet. Joffrey is hardly a shining beacon of morality (and it seems to be an open secret around court that this is the case) but the Realm is at peace until war breaks out (initially for reasons unrelated to Joff’s cruelty. Executing Ned only exacerbates things). So i’m Not sure it would be terribly unlikely that he was the monster he later became even before he became King

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11 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Sorry for jumping into the middle of your discussion, but I don’t think it is that unusual that Maegor was a monster before his rule too. After all, Rose Bolton is a sadistic monster but keeps his acts quiet. Joffrey is hardly a shining beacon of morality (and it seems to be an open secret around court that this is the case) but the Realm is at peace until war breaks out (initially for reasons unrelated to Joff’s cruelty. Executing Ned only exacerbates things). So i’m Not sure it would be terribly unlikely that he was the monster he later became even before he became King

Yeah, the best comparisons for Maegor are indeed Roose Bolton (not Ramsay or Gregor) and Aerion Brightflame. They are sadists and they like to torture, rape, and kill people when they get the chance to do it, but they know when to smile and when to behave, too.

But it is pretty clear that Aegon knew what Maegor was. Else he would have spent more time with the boy and taken him with him on his many progresses. Chances are pretty good that he knew this wouldn't exactly help him win and keep the love of his people. If you are in town x and young Maegor ends up torturing and killing some sheep, or beats up/severely injures a bunch of boys for no good reason then this is not exactly helping the royal show to be a success.

I'd imagine Maegor was not exactly as spoiled or narcissistic as Joffrey, considering that he was never raised as the Heir Apparent. Maegor was the spare Aegon hid on Dragonstone, not the son he paraded around and gave everything he wanted. And while Visenya would have loved her son she wasn't that lovable a person, either. One would imagine she wasn't exactly warm with Maegor. Rather cold and demanding, making it clear from the start that nobody would give him anything for free, that he would have to fight for a place at the sun, etc.

It is pretty clear that those 'Targaryen men' among the Kingslanders and other smallfolk who were foolish enough to back Maegor and Visenya didn't really know Maegor as well as they should have. They knew Aegon, Aenys, his children, and Visenya. But they didn't know Maegor.

Edited by Lord Varys

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However, Lord Varys, I think that Aegon ought to know better that Visenya never accepted the fact that Aegon's love was Rhaenys and that Rhaenys' descendants were planned to rule, no matter the fact that Aegon had been obliged to marry her and that she was the oldest child of Aerion Targaryen.

With that in mind, Aenys' crown would never have been safe with them lurking around. As we see, Visenya quasi-encouraged people to be disloyal to Aegon's heir, by saying repeatedly that he was a fool and a weakling and that the fact Aenys bestowed Blackfyre to Maegor was a proof that even Aenys himself knew he was unfit to rule.

In the light of all this, I think that Aegon's long-term mistake was not forcing Maegor join the Night's Watch or something. Lest we forget, Maegor was dragonless at that point and Visenya would probably not initiate an uprising against her brother. 

As for the Crownlanders joining Visenya and Maegor, I think it can be understood this way: those people (the ones from Crackclaw Point, the Darklyns, the Masseys etc.) had been petty kings for centuries, but their small realms were never secure due to the presence of other mighty kings (Durrandons, Gardeners, Riverlander kings, etc.). The Targaryens, in fact, equated kings whose kingdom was smaller than a few days' ride out of their holdfasts with the mightiest and finest dynasties in Westeros. Furthermore, a handful of those Houses (Velaryons, Celtigars, Bar Emmons) had Valyrian blood, so they were genetically bound to support the nearest Targaryen in view.

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10 hours ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

However, Lord Varys, I think that Aegon ought to know better that Visenya never accepted the fact that Aegon's love was Rhaenys and that Rhaenys' descendants were planned to rule, no matter the fact that Aegon had been obliged to marry her and that she was the oldest child of Aerion Targaryen.

I think that is too simplified a view. Visenya, Aegon, and Rhaenys were full siblings. Yes, it seems Rhaenys was the one Aegon really romantically loved, but they were still all siblings. Rhaenys and Visenya weren't two stranger competing for the attention and love of the same husband in a polygamous marriage, they were also sisters who grew up together.

George puts full siblings very seldom against each other. Rhaenys-Aegon-Aenys and Visenya-Maegor are not Viserys-Rhaenyra and Otto-Alicent.

It seems as if Visenya had been content with not being the sister-wife who continued the Targaryen line. If we assume she did indeed use magic conceive or create Maegor then it is very odd that she didn't do that before Aenys was born. It is not that he was born very early in their marriage.

It is quite clear that Maegor is conceived/created as a spare in case Aenys should die - which was apparently a real possibility in 10-11 AC when the death of Rhaenys hit him very hard - not as a rival for Aenys. As it happens, Aenys recovered and Maegor was not really needed. But Visenya ended up forming a strong bond with her son.

Still, the whole thing could have been resolved and Maegor could have been included in the dynastic plans of the royal family. The suggestion that Maegor marry Rhaena was the first idea. And if Maegor and Ceryse's marriage had been blessed with children then Aenys' heir could have been married to one of Maegor's children.

10 hours ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

With that in mind, Aenys' crown would never have been safe with them lurking around. As we see, Visenya quasi-encouraged people to be disloyal to Aegon's heir, by saying repeatedly that he was a fool and a weakling and that the fact Aenys bestowed Blackfyre to Maegor was a proof that even Aenys himself knew he was unfit to rule.

That was problematic talk, sure, but she wasn't completely wrong with her assessment, either. Aenys wasn't the best possible king they could have. The idea that Maegor could be any better was even more wrong, of course, but Visenya apparently didn't want to see that. And she seems to have been very bitter at that point in her life.

10 hours ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

In the light of all this, I think that Aegon's long-term mistake was not forcing Maegor join the Night's Watch or something. Lest we forget, Maegor was dragonless at that point and Visenya would probably not initiate an uprising against her brother.

Aegon might actually have considered something like that after Aenys had 2-3 healthy sons of his own - keep in mind that Maegor was still necessary as a spare. Aegon/Visenya could technically die any day, being carried away by some sickness, plague, accident, etc., and then King Aenys would need a presumptive heir to keep the dogs at bay. Nothing causes more trouble for a newly established royal dynasty than the lack of a clear heir.

But before Aenys' firstborn son is even born the High Septon comes up with this Hightower marriage idea. And that was actually not so bad an idea all things considered, since the Targaryens really needed those good relations with Oldtown - at least for the time being so that they could finally resurrect the incestuous marriage policy with the Conqueror's grandchildren. That would have been always the longterm plan - else Aenys would never have come up with the idea to marry Aegon to Rhaena and see this whole thing through in light of the uproar and opposition it caused.

But as I've said, there might have been a place for Maegor's children by Ceryse in the grandchildren marriage policies.

If Maegor had remain unmarried I'm sure Aegon may have considered to remove him from the board by 'convincing' him to join the NW, or something similar. Especially if he had continued to enact is cruel fantasies.

10 hours ago, Knight of the Winged Pig said:

As for the Crownlanders joining Visenya and Maegor, I think it can be understood this way: those people (the ones from Crackclaw Point, the Darklyns, the Masseys etc.) had been petty kings for centuries, but their small realms were never secure due to the presence of other mighty kings (Durrandons, Gardeners, Riverlander kings, etc.). The Targaryens, in fact, equated kings whose kingdom was smaller than a few days' ride out of their holdfasts with the mightiest and finest dynasties in Westeros. Furthermore, a handful of those Houses (Velaryons, Celtigars, Bar Emmons) had Valyrian blood, so they were genetically bound to support the nearest Targaryen in view.

Oh, I actually meant men like Dick Bean. Kingslanders and other commoners who flocked to Maegor's banner upon his return to KL. The lords from the Crownlands and the adjacent regions were also very much Targaryen men, but they would have been more pragmatic about the entire thing - the smallfolk was not. Aegon and Aenys really built a great city and bettered their lives tremendously with all that prosperous trade in that region.

TSotD shows it very much that the Targaryens had strong support among the smallfolk from the beginning. And that's essentially true to this day as the lords will learn soon enough, now that Rhaegar's son has returned from death to save his people.

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

George puts full siblings very seldom against each other.

Hmm... I'm thinking about Robert, Stannis, and Renly, and Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion, and Sansa and Arya, although that latter relationship could end up nice, and even though Arianne was mistaken about Quentyn's intentions, she was ready to go to war with him. It will be interesting to see when the dragons start dancing and the people start dying whether brother will fight brother. 

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On 11/1/2017 at 8:40 AM, HelenaExMachina said:

Text

 

On 11/1/2017 at 9:41 AM, Lord Varys said:

Text

I guess for me the issue is threefold:

1. The head wound and coma. As someone currently studying neuroscience I just find difficult to believe that those two things in tandem wouldn't have some effect on Maegor's personality even if we factor in Tyanna's magic. After all, he was unconscious for almost a month before she arrived. Plus, we have another case of a Targ's personality being exaggerated in the form of Baelor I and there we at least get some speculation that the poison might be responsible for his latter instability.

2. Apart from the stableboy we're not really given any genuine acts of cruelty. (One could argue his treatment of Jonos Arryn's supporters was just him being very harsh given that Savage Sam Tarly did something similar to the Vulture King.) Even if it was behind closed doors before his ascension shouldn't there have been rumors or stories going around? Or scholars projecting atrocities back into his princely days? For example, what does it mean that as Hand his response was ever "fire and steel" or "though his savagery in the field and his harshness toward defeated foes was oft remarked upon as well"? Is the latter referring to his time on the Stepstones? His hunting of robber knights? His participation in tourneys? Or did Maegor take part in some small-scale conflicts that just aren't worth mentioning given that he said to have lived for "war"?

3. Given that Aenys and Maegor are even further back in time than the Dance shouldn't we see even more conflicting sources? Given just the bare bones of Maegor's reign his historiography should really be controversial but I won't deny that's just my opinion. 

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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7 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Hmm... I'm thinking about Robert, Stannis, and Renly, and Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion, and Sansa and Arya, although that latter relationship could end up nice, and even though Arianne was mistaken about Quentyn's intentions, she was ready to go to war with him. It will be interesting to see when the dragons start dancing and the people start dying whether brother will fight brother. 

There are also Ronnel and Jonos Arryn. I'm aware that the thing happens. Although you have to keep in mind that most cases you cite here are either rooted in personal animosity or actual misunderstandings. Arianne, for instance, thought that Doran and Quentyn were plotting against her and her right to inherit Dorne, Stannis thinks that Robert's children aren't his, etc. Renly is an ambitious ass - but even he is not keen to seize the throne over Stannis' dead body. He only moves against him when Stannis besieges Storm's End.

But the setting here is younger full siblings actually trying to usurp the places of their elder siblings, and that is something that happens very rarely.

Younger siblings are groomed to follow, not to lead. And that would have been true with Maegor, too. Aegon was king, not Visenya. Visenya could favor her son all day long, but he was the spare, not the heir. And King Aegon couldn't have made that more explicit.

5 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

1. The head wound and coma. As someone currently studying neuroscience I just find difficult to believe that those two things in tandem wouldn't have some effect on Maegor's personality even if we factor in Tyanna's magic. After all, he was unconscious for almost a month before she arrived. Plus, we have another case of a Targ's personality being exaggerated in the form of Baelor I and there we at least get some speculation that the poison might be responsible for his latter instability.

I think you are overemphasizing the Baelor thing. The man had always been pious, and the viper incident was a huge trauma. I doubt that snake poison is making you mad in this world. It is rather that Baelor had some sort of near death experience and contributed his subsequent miraculous recovery to the divine intervention of the Seven, causing him to focus even more on his religion.

We see a similar thing happening in Lancel.

TSotD doesn't give us any indication that Maegor changed in the slightest due to the head injury. It could have been a nice idea to frame his narrative that way - sort of like Caligula supposedly changed dramatically after his near fatal illness - but that's not the road George took.

Quote

2. Apart from the stableboy we're not really given any genuine acts of cruelty. (One could argue his treatment of Jonos Arryn's supporters was just him being very harsh given that Savage Sam Tarly did something similar to the Vulture King.) Even if it was behind closed doors before his ascension shouldn't there have been rumors or stories going around? Or scholars projecting atrocities back into his princely days? For example, what does it mean that as Hand his response was ever "fire and steel" or "though his savagery in the field and his harshness toward defeated foes was oft remarked upon as well"? Is the latter referring to his time on the Stepstones? His hunting of robber knights? His participation in tourneys? Or did Maegor take part in some small-scale conflicts that just aren't worth mentioning given that he said to have lived for "war"?

We just have a short account on the lives of Aenys and Maegor. There should be more source material, I agree, but there simply is not. You are expressing a wish here that I very much share but we have to work with the stuff we have.

As king Maegor can do what he wants. As prince he had to control himself. I see no discontinuity there.

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3. Given that Aenys and Maegor are even further back in time than the Dance shouldn't we see even more conflicting sources? Given just the bare bones of Maegor's reign his historiography should really be controversial but I won't deny that's just my opinion. 

Would be interesting if that was the case. Although I'd say the sources should still be pretty thorough considering that we are talking only about a hundred years there and studies on the history of the Targaryens, etc. should have really blossomed during the long and prosperous reign of Jaehaerys I. Many people knowing Aegon, Visenya, Aenys, and Maegor would have lived and written during those years.

The idea that a man like Maegor would have had 'fans' or 'apologists' - like Richard III has today - is about zero, if you ask me. The man was just cruel and bloody tyrant.

Edited by Lord Varys

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11 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Text

1. A wasted opportunity if you ask me.

2. I agree the problem is the lack of detail.

3. I didn't mean revisionism. I meant more along the lines of "did Maegor do x atrocity or y atrocity and was it for Z reason or A reason?"

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4 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

1. A wasted opportunity if you ask me.

Yes, it is. If you ask me then 'Fire and Blood' is likely going to be a rather unbalanced book with the little details we have on Aenys and Maegor in comparison to the details on the Dance and the Regency of Aegon III.

If Gyldayn was really a competent historian - and not some amateur - his work should be not only be balanced but also have a narrative framework and structure, detailing what the point of his work is. Scholars usually do not just write things down.

4 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

3. I didn't mean revisionism. I meant more along the lines of "did Maegor do x atrocity or y atrocity and was it for Z reason or A reason?"

Well, a lot of his executions do make sense in his mindset, do they not? He doesn't like resistance, opposition, or people contradicting him. If you do that, you should not be surprised if you lose your head.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Yes, it is. If you ask me then 'Fire and Blood' is likely going to be a rather unbalanced book with the little details we have on Aenys and Maegor in comparison to the details on the Dance and the Regency of Aegon III.

If Gyldayn was really a competent historian - and not some amateur - his work should be not only be balanced but also have a narrative framework and structure, detailing what the point of his work is. Scholars usually do not just write things down.

Well, a lot of his executions do make sense in his mindset, do they not? He doesn't like resistance, opposition, or people contradicting him. If you do that, you should not be surprised if you lose your head.

To make matters worse there's no way to bring these issues to GRRM's attention directly nor any guarantee he would address them even if we could. *groans*

Re Maegor's historiography: I'll give an example of what I meant:

"Did King Maegor in the year 46 AC really behead a hundred Warrior's Sons captured near Riverrun as Grand Maester Bennifer reports he claimed in a letter to Queen Tyanna? None can say for sure given the fact House Mertyn's records claim His Grace was at the time hunting Poor Fellows in the Rainwood whereas House Royce's records claim he was burning the castles of pious Valemen in the aftermath of the sudden (and fiery) disbandment of Gulltown's chapterhouse. Complicating the issue of what truly happened that year even further is a fourth source in the form of certain letters here at the Citadel supposedly written by Ser Owen Bushy of the Kingsguard, who claims in these writings to have around this time accompanied the king on dragonback when he allegedly flew north to make the Lord of the Dreadfort's younger brother a knight of his Kingsguard (and others whisper, to give House Manderly a warning by dropping charred skulls out of the sky as he passed over White Harbor but a few Maesters cast doubt on this last particular detail, finding it out of character for a man such as Maegor the Cruel)."

As for a narrative framework and purpose I have an idea:

The book is meant for Aerys II and is intended to show him what separates a good king from a bad one.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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4 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Re Maegor's historiography: I'll give an example of what I meant.

That kind of framework would only make sense if the author had an event he did not actually want to pin down precisely. I'm not saying that wouldn't be an interesting approach to certain events - it certainly would - but I'm not sure George ever wanted to portray Maegor's atrocities as events that are seen as controversial by historians.

I could certainly see some obscurer things - events that aren't even mentioned by Glydayn - be controversial because the sources contradict themselves there, but the big conflicts and battles throughout Maegor's reign should be pretty much rock solid history. After all, many chroniclers all across the Realm would record the battles against the Faith Militant, Prince Aegon, etc. And his major atrocities and many marriages would also have been recorded considering that people felt really very strongly about those.

4 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

As for a narrative framework and purpose I have an idea:

The book is meant for Aerys II and is intended to show him what separates a good king from a bad one.

Making the book a gift to Prince Aerys - it would have been Prince Aerys considering that Gyldayn wrote during the reign of Aegon V - is an interesting idea. But since George is not really investigating the question what makes a good king in the text we know it should more some sort of detailed history of House Targaryen.

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41 minutes ago, Falcon2909 said:

So why did Tyanna betray Maegor?

Maybe she did not. But if she did, presumably, it was out of jealously--not wanting any of Maegor's wives to bear his child. Are there any hints at other possible motives? 

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8 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Maybe she did not. But if she did, presumably, it was out of jealously--not wanting any of Maegor's wives to bear his child. Are there any hints at other possible motives? 

She could just have been completely rotten and evil. Gregor and Ramsay don't really need good motives, either. And her treatment of Alys - the woman she apparently also had a romantic and sexual relationship with - couldn't have been possibly worse.

It could be a somewhat more complex version of jealousy. When Alys and Ceryse were gone, Tyanna was Maegor's only queen and wife. Perhaps she grew to like that and become very angry when he not only no longer slept with her but also decided to take three new wives.

I'd not cheer my girlfriend if she brought three men I never saw home with her and told me I'd henceforth have to share with these guys.

The idea that any of the wives of Maegor - especially those who actually loved him - liked the fact that they stuck in a bloody polygamous marriage is not very likely. 

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12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Text

Honestly, I was really disappointed that there weren't more pitched battles during the Faith Militant Uprising.

As for Fire & Blood as a whole: I said King Aerys because I imagine Gyldayn died during his reign. Gyldayn served at Summerhall and most likely did not die in the fire given that he wrote about the event per that teaser in TWOIAF.

Since GRRM doesn't seem to really have a thematic underpinning of some sort for F & B the most logical in-universe explanation for Gyldayn writing the book IMO would be as a gift to Aerys upon his ascension (given that Jaehaerys II ruled for only three years), with the purpose of educating His Grace on the mistakes and successes of his predecessors.

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There should have been fans of Maegor because there were people who fought for Maegor when others did not. Like the lords who rallied to Maegor at the end with 4000 men, or the 4 Kingsguard who did not escape.

 

While the specific facts, like the precise whereabouts of Quicksilver after Aenys´ death should have been undisputed public knowledge, there must have been facts that were secret at the time and disputed afterwards. For example, did Maegor enter into negotiations with Aegon I,5 to get Aegon to give up his claim? Aegon I,5 was left alone in Westerlands for over a year. Addressing the threat by offer of negotiations would have made terms, yet if terms were in the end not reached, or were reached but remained unpublished till breached, that could be a matter of dispute.

 

Or atrocities. There could easily be disputes as to whether a specific atrocity was purely unjustified fault of Maegor, purely justified by the victim/s being completely guilty of what Maegor accused them of, or a fault of a third party creating false accusations to Maegor.

After all, once Harroways, Tyanna and Maegor were dead, they were unavailable for further vengeance. Meaning that the victims of Maegor´s atrocities had motives to point fingers at surviving henchmen of Maegor and accuse them not only of obeying Maegor when they shouldn´t have, but also of causing atrocities by deceiving Maegor to perpetrate them. And, on the other hand, the surviving henchmen had motives to point fingers at convenient scapegoats.

How many people liked, for example, to scapegoat Tyanna and in the process whitewash Maegor?

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