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Why do the Starks want a Targaryen match?

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They aren’t ambitious, they’re proud man with the blood of the first men running heavy in their veins. So they made that deal during the Dance, which means it’s been in their minds for a while and something they look forward to. Why?

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1 hour ago, Freys Injustice said:

They aren’t ambitious, they’re proud man with the blood of the first men running heavy in their veins. So they made that deal during the Dance, which means it’s been in their minds for a while and something they look forward to. Why?

Because for all that Ned Stark is a deeply insular man who has been scarred by his experiences in the South, and just wants to keep his family close to home, the Starks and the North in general play the feudal game just as eagerly and adroitly as any Southerner.  Being married into the Targaryens means maybe having a Stark-blooded king on the Iron Throne, or at least a friendly and influential voice at court, which means more lands, titles, honors, and privileges flowing North.  Could mean more help in the winter (think Aegon V sending food), could mean the ability to post their bannermen's second or third sons in nice sinecures in the South, earning loyalty from vassals.  Could mean tax exemptions such as those granted to the Redwynes.

It's honestly kind of a stupid question

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2 hours ago, Freys Injustice said:

They aren’t ambitious, they’re proud man with the blood of the first men running heavy in their veins. So they made that deal during the Dance, which means it’s been in their minds for a while and something they look forward to. Why?

"The Starks" are not one eternal entity. As a 'political entity', they support whatever their head of House at the particular time of discussion happens to be about. One was adventurous with an eye at the sea, the next burned his fleet. One might be ambitious, the next isolationistic. So it's a rather sizeable leap to state that "the Starks" had some sort of long-standing agenda to marry with the Targaryens. Though, as the poster above notices, it is generally profitable to have such connections.

Now, regarding this particular pact during the Dance, my umfounded (and totally inconsequential) theory is that Cregan Stark was after a dragon (a literal one). Notice that it is specifically stated that a royal princess would marry into the Starks, not that a Stark daughter would marry a royal prince. That's before the death of the dragons, at a time when dragons were plenty and practically all royal children had their own dragon. So the princess would come north bringing her own dragon with her, and eventually (hopefully) she would pass her dragon-bonging blood to her Stark children - and, after her death, the dragon itself as well... that's my take on what Cregan could be aspiring to. 

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5 hours ago, Freys Injustice said:

it’s been in their minds for a while and something they look forward to.

Do you have any evidence for this?

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On 12/14/2017 at 4:19 PM, ShadowCat Rivers said:

"The Starks" are not one eternal entity. As a 'political entity', they support whatever their head of House at the particular time of discussion happens to be about. One was adventurous with an eye at the sea, the next burned his fleet. One might be ambitious, the next isolationistic. So it's a rather sizeable leap to state that "the Starks" had some sort of long-standing agenda to marry with the Targaryens. Though, as the poster above notices, it is generally profitable to have such connections.

Now, regarding this particular pact during the Dance, my umfounded (and totally inconsequential) theory is that Cregan Stark was after a dragon (a literal one). Notice that it is specifically stated that a royal princess would marry into the Starks, not that a Stark daughter would marry a royal prince. That's before the death of the dragons, at a time when dragons were plenty and practically all royal children had their own dragon. So the princess would come north bringing her own dragon with her, and eventually (hopefully) she would pass her dragon-bonging blood to her Stark children - and, after her death, the dragon itself as well... that's my take on what Cregan could be aspiring to. 

Fantastic post.  After all, we've all seen the fairly well-researched theories that there may be dragon eggs beneath Winterfell.  Of course, the Starks would need someone of Targaryan descent to ride said dragon(s). 

Enter Arya/Gendry...  "I have a son, you have a daughter.  We'll join our Houses"-Robert to Eddard, in Winterfell.

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3 minutes ago, LindsayLohan said:

Fantastic post.  After all, we've all seen the fairly well-researched theories that there may be dragon eggs beneath Winterfell.  Of course, the Starks would need someone of Targaryan descent to ride said dragon(s). 

Enter Arya/Gendry...  "I have a son, you have a daughter.  We'll join our Houses"-Robert to Eddard, in Winterfell.

Oh well, thank you. I don't take my own theory very seriously though, just some idle speculation during the long wait, that's all.

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2 hours ago, LindsayLohan said:

Fantastic post.  After all, we've all seen the fairly well-researched theories that there may be dragon eggs beneath Winterfell.  Of course, the Starks would need someone of Targaryan descent to ride said dragon(s). 

Enter Arya/Gendry...  "I have a son, you have a daughter.  We'll join our Houses"-Robert to Eddard, in Winterfell.

Jon Snow

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On 14/12/2017 at 4:19 PM, Freys Injustice said:

They aren’t ambitious,

Have you forgot the part where Rickard Stark was selling his children left and right to make powerful alliances? the app itself describes Rickard Stark as an "ambitious man".

You can't pick Ned as an exemple of what Starks are, because Ned is Ned, and the Starks are the Starks. Also, you can't say that Ned was not ambitious, before the rebellion he convinced his father to betroth Lyanna to Robert. Ned was playing the Game of Thrones without even knowing, and he was playing very badly. It mirrors the fact that he always supports Robert first and his family later, until he realises it was a very bad move.

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5 hours ago, theMADdestScientist_ said:

Have you forgot the part where Rickard Stark was selling his children left and right to make powerful alliances? the app itself describes Rickard Stark as an "ambitious man".

You can't pick Ned as an exemple of what Starks are, because Ned is Ned, and the Starks are the Starks. Also, you can't say that Ned was not ambitious, before the rebellion he convinced his father to betroth Lyanna to Robert. Ned was playing the Game of Thrones without even knowing, and he was playing very badly. It mirrors the fact that he always supports Robert first and his family later, until he realises it was a very bad move.

He literally left Robert after the war extremely upset about the murders of a Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaenys.

When he came back to KL he attempted to take Arya and Sansa home and wanted to step down as hand. Ned did not blindly follow Robert, and certainly didn't pick Robert over his family. 

His worst Dad moment was leaving Bran but his son and heir was there and could keep him somewhat informed.

But another example of his loyalties are that he literally chose his family (his sister's son) over Robert 

Edited by One-eyed Misbehavin

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I haven't been aware of any evidence the Starks wanted a marriage alliance with the Targs.   Cregan was owed something for his spectacular performance as Hand of the King for the 12 hours he held the position.   The Starks proved loyal to the Blacks during and after the Dance of Dragons.  This pact of Ice and Fire was just supposed to cement that loyalty.   Didn't work out so well and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.   I think the whole thing was written to further the idea that there must be union between the families.  

The big question is why didn't the Starks or Targs go for a marriage alliance much earlier in the story.

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3 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

I haven't been aware of any evidence the Starks wanted a marriage alliance with the Targs.   Cregan was owed something for his spectacular performance as Hand of the King for the 12 hours he held the position.   The Starks proved loyal to the Blacks during and after the Dance of Dragons.  This pact of Ice and Fire was just supposed to cement that loyalty.   Didn't work out so well and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.   I think the whole thing was written to further the idea that there must be union between the families.  

The big question is why didn't the Starks or Targs go for a marriage alliance much earlier in the story.

Wasn't Cregan's condition to join the Blacks that he got a royal marriage with House Targaryen? Or am I misremembering...

Anyway I think that the Stark's distance and general uninvolvement with the affairs of the South has much to do with a lack of a royal marriage. The Starks for example don't seem to have stirred themselves for either the Faith Rebellion or the Blackfyre Rebellion, and in the Dance the Blacks had to court the Starks to make them move south, which they did to late to do just about anything before the Tullys had already won the war.

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2 hours ago, LionoftheWest said:

and in the Dance the Blacks had to court the Starks to make them move south, which they did to late to do just about anything before the Tullys had already won the war.

The Stark bannermen did have some impact on the Dance. Roderick Dustin had command of the Winter Wolves. The Manderlys also sent their own force. I don't think this would happen without Cregan's say so.

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26 minutes ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

The Stark bannermen did have some impact on the Dance. Roderick Dustin had command of the Winter Wolves. The Manderlys also sent their own force. I don't think this would happen without Cregan's say so.

True that! The Winter Wolves and Manderlys made it to participate in the war. Although its my understanding that Cregan came with the main Northern army and THAT army was late for the war.

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3 hours ago, LionoftheWest said:

True that! The Winter Wolves and Manderlys made it to participate in the war. Although its my understanding that Cregan came with the main Northern army and THAT army was late for the war.

That is correct but isn't really Cregan's fault. He gathered up the entire north after sending a cavalry force into the Riverlands under Dustin and an infantry force (presumably) by sea to King's Landing under Manderly. He then had to march said army all the way to King's Landing through a war torn Riverlands at the tail end of winter. It just took a bit too long to get all this done.

Besides, Cregan made up for his lack of involvement when he expertly served as Hand for 12 hours.

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7 hours ago, LionoftheWest said:

Wasn't Cregan's condition to join the Blacks that he got a royal marriage with House Targaryen? Or am I misremembering...

 

I think that's right - the Pact of Ice and Fire or something to that effect. Either way, there is definitely a history of at least some of the Starks seeking Southron alliances. We really shouldn't see Ned as the catch-all for how Starks feel about political dealings outside of the North.

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45 minutes ago, Faera said:

I think that's right - the Pact of Ice and Fire or something to that effect. Either way, there is definitely a history of at least some of the Starks seeking Southron alliances. We really shouldn't see Ned as the catch-all for how Starks feel about political dealings outside of the North.

In fairness, most leaders of the North did seem to favour an isolationist policy towards the south. And I mean that in regards to the time before the Conquest too. As far as we know, the North never really tried to expand their kingdom below the Neck, Torrhen bent the knee and then; to the best of our knowledge; didn't venture south ever again, they didn't get involved in the Faith Wars; despite that being a golden opportunity to make the Old Gods the favoured religion of the Crown; and then kept out of nearly all the Blackfyre Rebellions. Rickard and Cregan seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

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Cregan Stark could have gotten his Targaryen princess. Daemon's daughters Baela and Rhaena were around at the end of the Dance. Rhaena could already have been married to Corwyn Corbray (although we don't know that) but Baela would have been available.

The decision not to marry either Baela or Rhaena was made by him. He seems to have been in love with Black Aly Blackwood considering that she agreed to marry him in exchange for doing her a favor.

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On 2017-12-17 at 1:34 PM, Adam Yozza said:

That is correct but isn't really Cregan's fault. He gathered up the entire north after sending a cavalry force into the Riverlands under Dustin and an infantry force (presumably) by sea to King's Landing under Manderly. He then had to march said army all the way to King's Landing through a war torn Riverlands at the tail end of winter. It just took a bit too long to get all this done.

Besides, Cregan made up for his lack of involvement when he expertly served as Hand for 12 hours.

Actually I think it is his fault. Robb and Eddard were able to raise armies to join the war before it had been decided in their own times and thus the fault for the North never adding more strength than it did to the Black cause is because Cregan sat around too long. If he wanted he could have marched south to join with the Tullys, in fact Cregan was even slower than Borros, who feared to face dragons.

On 2017-12-17 at 1:39 PM, Faera said:

I think that's right - the Pact of Ice and Fire or something to that effect. Either way, there is definitely a history of at least some of the Starks seeking Southron alliances. We really shouldn't see Ned as the catch-all for how Starks feel about political dealings outside of the North.

I agree. Eddard Stark is by far not any kind of "Average Stark". He is his own person in thought, act and deed.

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