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The Grey Wolf

Inconsistencies, plot holes, and missing details in TSOTD, TRP, and TPATQ

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We do know that Aenys died indeed very early in 42 AC. He removes himself to Dragonstone late in 41 AC, and is already sick when the new year begins.

I figured that was the case from the text, but I thought to mention it just in case. It does seem like written accounts from maesters are not always consistent with ages of characters, sometimes just subtracting the year to get the person's age, sometimes taking the time of the year they were born into account (not that this is the case for Aenys' children, since we don't know when any of their birthdays fell in the year). I might not be remembering this correctly, but I believe that Aegon III (for instance) was mentioned as having a birthday late in the year, yet the text did not always reflect this in The World of Ice and Fire.

 

13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Yeah. Ran/Linda caught that mistake for TWoIaF, and one should assume that this is also the way it is going to be printed in Fire and Blood.

Now that you mention it, I seem to recall Viserys being mentioned as dying at age 15 in The World of Ice and Fire, glad to know that was already taken care of.

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5 hours ago, Helled said:

I figured that was the case from the text, but I thought to mention it just in case. It does seem like written accounts from maesters are not always consistent with ages of characters, sometimes just subtracting the year to get the person's age, sometimes taking the time of the year they were born into account (not that this is the case for Aenys' children, since we don't know when any of their birthdays fell in the year). I might not be remembering this correctly, but I believe that Aegon III (for instance) was mentioned as having a birthday late in the year, yet the text did not always reflect this in The World of Ice and Fire.

You make an important point there. A professional historian wouldn't make such mistakes. He would know when a person of importance was born, and whether he or she died before or after his/her birthday in the year of her death.

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It's not so much professional history as real world history. Real historians have birth records, and broadly know the names of each month and the number of days in each month and so on. They'll be able to correlate dates from documents and accounts and associate them with others to build a pretty good timeline. And even now, you'll find historians uncertain as the exact birth dates of a lot of people -- even kings! 

 Folks will have noticed that the novels and histories largely lack such details, though. For the most part the closest you get is a year and maybe a reference to the start or end ofthe year having some relation to an event. 

Mistakes do happen, of course, and some have been pointed out here- But a lot of these date things are simply the nature of a created world with some aspects being more fleshed out than others. The timelines I've seen from George in the past have simply put things in rough order -- this and then this and then this -- and for all you know most of it happened in three months rather than being spread out across the entire year. 

It's fake history and fake historianship, thus. If someone wants a much more rigorous fake history that can be passed off as being the work of a "professional historian", they're going to have create a world with much more rigor than that of ASoIaF.

Edited by Ran

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44 minutes ago, Ran said:

It's not so much professional history as real world history. Real historians have birth records, and broadly know the names of each month and the number of days in each month and so on. They'll be able to correlate dates from documents and accounts and associate them with others to build a pretty good timeline. And even now, you'll find historians uncertain as the exact birth dates of a lot of people -- even kings! 

 Folks will have noticed that the novels and histories largely lack such details, though. For the most part the closest you get is a year and maybe a reference to the start or end ofthe year having some relation to an event. 

Mistakes do happen, of course, and some have been pointed out here- But a lot of these date things are simply the nature of a created world with some aspects being more fleshed out than others. The timelines I've seen from George in the past have simply put things in rough order -- this and then this and then this -- and for all you know most of it happened in three months rather than being spread out across the entire year. 

It's fake history and fake historianship, thus. If someone wants a much more rigorous fake history that can be passed off as being the work of a "professional historian", they're going to have create a world with much more rigor than that of ASoIaF.

Challenge accepted! 

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@Ran

I know how George usually plots out events, but if he is writing 'fake history' he has to go pin down things in a more precise manner. Else it is not going to be all that good fake history. He doesn't have to do that for the novels in the future, of course. But this fake history is simply a different genre than a novel or novella.

Nobody is expecting him to pin down things as precisely as a real world historian writing about events taking place in the age of cinema, say. But the way he conceived the Citadel and the maesters indicates that they are closer to professional modern academic historians (or at least the better Greek and Roman historians) than, say, the authors of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. After all, the Citadel is pretty much a medieval university.

The Targaryen history isn't exactly old history from the point of view of Gyldayn. We have no burning of the Red Keep or the citadel of Dragonstone or Oldtown which could have led to the loss of a lot of accumulated manuscripts. Without that, chances are simply not that high that a lot of knowledge would have been lost. Parchment lasts pretty long. It may be that Gyldayn could no longer personally consult letters written by Aegon, Visenya, Aenys, Maegor, etc. but chronicles and histories written in their time should be still in perfect shape in the third century.

The sources for the time of the Conquest and the years afterward can be fewer and somewhat more garbled than the sources Gyldayn has on the reigns of Aerys I and Maekar I, but basic dates - like the birth dates (or nameday dates) of the members of the royal family Gyldayn is writing about - should be known. Those would be things the royal chroniclers - septons and maesters alike - would actually write down. There would be feasts and celebrations whenever a royal child was born, and the entire Realm (aside from those hoping the Targaryens would remain a short episode in Westerosi history) would have rejoiced when Aenys and Maegor were born - due to the fact that the Conqueror must have tried for over a decade to produce an heir. And the children from the second generation would have been just as welcome.

What could be much scarcer is knowledge about the private lives of the royals and what was going on behind the scenes. But basic dates - births, marriages, deaths, etc. should be very certain data in that context.

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Looks like maesters are simply going to be very bad historians. :)

Ultimately, the real problem is level of detail. Little detail = little chance for error and inconsistency. Lots of detail = greater chance for error of consistency. GRRM was moved to give fans lots of details that they did not know before, and in the course of it there are gaps and errors -- some deliberate, some not. And he's simply not interested in things like precise dates. I think he'd feel genuine pain if he tried to create a detailed chronology of births and deaths. ;)

I think George's measure of success with F&B is whether fans enjoy the book, and not whether it would pass muster in the American Historical Review, in the end. The areas where he lacks detail are always going to be there.

Edited by Ran

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

@Ran

I know how George usually plots out events, but if he is writing 'fake history' he has to go pin down things in a more precise manner. Else it is not going to be all that good fake history. He doesn't have to do that for the novels in the future, of course. But this fake history is simply a different genre than a novel or novella.

Nobody is expecting him to pin down things as precisely as a real world historian writing about events taking place in the age of cinema, say. But the way he conceived the Citadel and the maesters indicates that they are closer to professional modern academic historians (or at least the better Greek and Roman historians) than, say, the authors of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. After all, the Citadel is pretty much a medieval university.

The Targaryen history isn't exactly old history from the point of view of Gyldayn. We have no burning of the Red Keep or the citadel of Dragonstone or Oldtown which could have led to the loss of a lot of accumulated manuscripts. Without that, chances are simply not that high that a lot of knowledge would have been lost. Parchment lasts pretty long. It may be that Gyldayn could no longer personally consult letters written by Aegon, Visenya, Aenys, Maegor, etc. but chronicles and histories written in their time should be still in perfect shape in the third century.

The sources for the time of the Conquest and the years afterward can be fewer and somewhat more garbled than the sources Gyldayn has on the reigns of Aerys I and Maekar I, but basic dates - like the birth dates (or nameday dates) of the members of the royal family Gyldayn is writing about - should be known. Those would be things the royal chroniclers - septons and maesters alike - would actually write down. There would be feasts and celebrations whenever a royal child was born, and the entire Realm (aside from those hoping the Targaryens would remain a short episode in Westerosi history) would have rejoiced when Aenys and Maegor were born - due to the fact that the Conqueror must have tried for over a decade to produce an heir. And the children from the second generation would have been just as welcome.

What could be much scarcer is knowledge about the private lives of the royals and what was going on behind the scenes. But basic dates - births, marriages, deaths, etc. should be very certain data in that context.

Have you considered that maybe most people - including Martin - don't really care that much what the exact birth years of Maekar, Maegor, Aegor, Aeron and Aenus (hehe) really are? 

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4 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Have you considered that maybe most people - including Martin - don't really care that much what the exact birth years of Maekar, Maegor, Aegor, Aeron and Aenus (hehe) really are? 

If that was the case then Martin shouldn't make mistakes giving those birth years in the fake histories he writes. I think you should read TSotD before talking about it ;-).

@Ran

We are conflating two things here. I'm pretty happy with the way George deals with the dates. I just don't like mistakes. And neither do you.

What is the real issue with TSotD is that it reads pretty much like a first draft and isn't just full of factual mistakes but also contains quite a few plot holes that make the story told therein not exactly all that compelling. I don't really care how Prince Aegon acquired the dragon Quicksilver, I just want that part of the story covered. Just as I want to know how Alyssa Velaryon and her children could hide with two pretty big dragons while the same author tells us that Princess Rhaena and her dragon could not hide in a similar way. How Lord Baratheon thought it was a good idea to imply that Alyssa's children could defeat Balerion, etc.

Those are real flaws in the story. We wouldn't let George get off the hook if Shaggydog suddenly hung out with Bran or Arya for no good reason, right? And if Bran and Rickon cannot hide in some castle or village in the North - due to their direwolves giving their true identities away - then Alyssa and her children and their dragons could also not possibly hide in the Stormlands - or at Storm's End itself. That's just completely unbelievable. And if they had gone to Essos prior to returning to Westeros at a later date this wouldn't have been a rumor but common knowledge. Dragons are very conspicuous.

If George doesn't want to rewrite TSotD - fine. But then you guys should at least pitch the idea to have Yandel write commentaries on certain sections of that piece - and other pieces were things are unclear and controversial - to shed light on some of those things. The book could only profit from that. You also did that for TWoIaF when you added things like the speculation about Visenya-Aenys, Maegor's depression, etc. George can at least answer questions on those things and give his own best idea how to make sense of such conundrums.

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Have you considered that maybe most people - including Martin - don't really care that much what the exact birth years of Maekar, Maegor, Aegor, Aeron and Aenus (hehe) really are? 

There is a league of difference between not offering dates at all and giving inaccurate/inconsistent ones. Plus, that doesn't address the issue of plot holes or the imbalance of detail in TSOTD compared to the other texts we have.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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36. During the part covering the year 44 AC it is mentioned that the only heirs Maegor had were "the sons and grandsons of Aenys". Is that an error or an unusual phrasing?

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37. Was Ser Maladon Moore actually a knight of the Kingsguard?

EDIT: Ran just answered this in another thread. Yes he was.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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38. TWOIAF mentions "sporadic attempts to bring the Dornishmen into the realm continued all through King Aegon’s reign and well into the reigns of his sons" but TSOTD mentions nothing of the sort.

Care to clarify, @Ran?

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George wrote the Conquest piece that you're quoting, and The Sons of the Dragon too. We asked about it but never had an answer. However, the straightforward approach is to reconcile it this way: diplomatic efforts in Aenys's reign that go unmentioned due to Gyldayn's focus on the rebellions against him rather than on details of his rule outside of that, and that the business of the Vulture King -- described as leading a "rebellion" -- is what's being referred to in regards to both Aenys and Maegor.

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3 minutes ago, Ran said:

George wrote the Conquest piece that you're quoting, and The Sons of the Dragon too. We asked about it but never had an answer. However, the straightforward approach is to reconcile it this way: diplomatic efforts in Aenys's reign that go unmentioned due to Gyldayn's focus on the rebellions against him rather than on details of his rule outside of that, and that the business of the Vulture King -- described as leading a "rebellion" -- is what's being referred to in regards to both Aenys and Maegor.

Aenys attempting to incorporate Dorne through diplomacy would make his reign much more interesting to discuss if it were actually mentioned in the text as that could shed light on his relationship with Alyssa and Maegor as well as the latter's tenure as Hand.

Thanks for answering btw!

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8 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

39. When were the ashes of Rhaenys returned from Dorne?

I'd say one should phrase that better as a question:

Were Rhaenys' ashes ever returned from Dorne? Or is the claim in TSotD that Visenya's ashes were interred next to 'her brother and sister' a mistake? Perhaps it was just Aegon's ashes.

If Rhaenys' ashes were given back to the Targaryens Aegon and Aenys' visit in Sunspear provides us with an interesting opportunity for that.

And by the way:

As things stand now, we have the ashes of Rhaenys (?), Aegon, Visenya, Aenys, and Maegor interred on Dragonstone. It would be nice if the place/crypt/whatever where those ashes were kept would be featured in some of the future novels. It makes sense that Stannis didn't care much about that, but should Aegon or Daenerys ever set foot on Dragonstone in a future chapter of the series them visiting the place where their distant ancestors (sort of) rest could give the background for a powerful scene. Not just as a sign of personal piety and respect, etc. (as Robert does at Winterfell) but also as a way how those two people raised in foreign lands could reconnect with their roots.

And in that context it would be nice to know whether those Targaryens also rest besides the Dragonstonian Targaryens from Aerion back to Aenar. Queen Rhaella should be one of the few later Targaryens who ended up being buried on Dragonstone. Perhaps Rhaenyra, too. One definitely assumes she was given a proper burial by Aegon III due to the fact that parts of her leg remained. Those could have been cremated later on, separately. Perhaps even Aegon II saw to that after he had calmed down somewhat. Even Maegor got the decency of a proper burial, after all.

One also wonders whether Alyssa Velaryon ended up being buried in the Red Keep, on Dragonstone (at the side of her first husband), or whether she chose Storm's End as her final resting place (at the side of her second husband). It would be also interesting to know what happened to the remains of Prince Aegon and Prince Viserys. Did Aegon get some sort of burial? And what happened to Viserys' ashes? Where they the first to be interred beneath the Red Keep?

Vice versa, it would also be great to know where exactly in the Red Keep the place is where the urns/ashes of Alysanne and Jaehaerys I - and presumably all the Targaryens after them - are kept. Such a place must exist, too. It also makes sense that this place was not exactly highlighted during the Baratheon reign but just as the dragon skulls are still in the castle, the ashes and urns, etc. must be there somewhere, too.

We know Rhaegar was cremated after his death, and considering that something had to be done with the corpses of Elia and the children after Robert had seen them, one assumes they would have been burned, too, ending up at Rhaegar's (and Aerys') side. This is the first place Jon Connington should visit (perhaps with Aegon) after they take possession of the Red Keep. Jon to pay his respects to the friend he loved, and Aegon to connect with his parents and sister, and pay his respects to the boy who died in his stead. Those could be powerful scenes, too, allowing Jon Connington to really reminiscent about some memories related to Rhaegar, Elia, Aerys, etc. And we are pretty sure that such scenes are about to come.

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On 11/8/2017 at 7:37 AM, The Grey Wolf said:

34. Aenys is incorrectly referred to as "King of the Andals and the First Men" rather than "King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men".

Was that "incorrect", or was that actually a practice of perhaps varying commonness? We know that despite successful defence of Dorne, the claim WAS kept by Kings until Daeron finally made it good... but did Westerosi ever hesitate about it, or consider dropping the failed claim?

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