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Kandrax

Why are Rhaenyra and Aegon II considered mad Targs by some readers?

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On 23.3.2018. at 0:45 AM, Lord Varys said:

apparently regretted

I checked TWOIAF. It seems that he didn't regret killing every member of his paramour family, but having a paramour.

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16 minutes ago, Kandrax said:

I checked TWOIAF. It seems that he didn't regret killing every member of his paramour family, but having a paramour.

He also made that solemn promise to stick to Rhaella in the future, but one assumes he didn't go walk his capital in rags to make amends just because he was a foul adulterer. There is no indication the man was ever pious. The impression I get is that the death of Prince Jaehaerys caused him to have a rather great mad lapse from which he later recovered, realizing that he had done something terrible. And then he tried to make amends the way he thought he could. He was still the same self-absorbed he was before, making a great show out of his own grief/remorse, like most kings would, but unlike the real cruel Targaryens - like Aerion, Aemond, Daemon, or Maegor - Aerys II was actually capable of remorse, and willing to publicly express it.

It also implies that the pre-Duskendale Aerys II understood that he could (and did) make mistakes. He may have even understood that he was, at times, not really himself, just like some of his mad forebears had been.

The post-Duskendale Aerys II is completely different from that. And unlike cruel rulers like Maegor Aerys II was as dangerous as he was at that time because his behavior was completely unpredictable due to his radical mood swings. The reports from Harrenhal indicate that Aerys switched from laughing to weeping in a matter of moments. He was under great emotional stress (most likely brought about by his affliction), which means pretty much nobody could predict what he would feel and do next.

Keeping men like Maegor or Daemon sweet must have been an easy exercise compared to that.

Aerys II doesn't have an innate sadistic tendencies. The whole burning thing only begins after Duskendale, and harsh judgments prior to Duskendale seem to be exclusively connected to the deaths of the king's many children - which also greatly contributed to his mental instability.

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On 3/22/2018 at 8:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

Aegon III's two sons to qualify as mildly mad, though. Daeron I with his mad desire for conquest, and Baelor with his extreme piety and all the mad/extreme projects that sprang from that.

A desire for conquest isn't "mad" and especially not in the context of an explicitly martial feudal aristocracy.

But to the bigger question, neither Rhaenyra nor Aegon II were mad, in the sense that they were insane.  They were both stupid, greedy, vain, and cruel people who put their own desires ahead of the welfare of, well... everyone.

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4 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

A desire for conquest isn't "mad" and especially not in the context of an explicitly martial feudal aristocracy.

George indicated as much. Mad monarchs don't have to be doddering fools. They can also be people with extreme tendencies, and Daeron I apparently was obsessed with war and conquest for no good reason and had the charisma and personality to force everybody to accept his view despite his young age - the same is true for Baelor after him, although he went in a completely different direction.

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23 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

George indicated as much. Mad monarchs don't have to be doddering fools. They can also be people with extreme tendencies, and Daeron I apparently was obsessed with war and conquest for no good reason and had the charisma and personality to force everybody to accept his view despite his young age - the same is true for Baelor after him, although he went in a completely different direction.

Has he?  I'd like to read that interview quote, I couldn't find it.  There is nothing about Daeron I that says "obsessed with war and conquest".  Again, his society places a huge emphasis on war and martial pursuits.  But beyond that, he was literate and wrote a book, something many noblemen are unable to do, which certainly rounds out his character beyond "obsessed with war".  He was facing a difficult domestic situation, in that the power of the Targaryen monarchy had been dealt a shattering blow with the death of the last dragons.  Resuming the conquest of Dorne would be a powerful message about the viability of the monarchy in the absence of draconic power.  So there is no reasonable way to conclude that Daeron was insane or mad.

And as we see again and again and again, the Marcher Lords and the Reachmen especially don't need to be "forced" to accept a war against Dorne - the Stormlands and the Reach had been more or less constantly at war with the Dornish neighbors for thousands of years.

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I agree that Daeron should not be described as mad. Otherwise we would have to call mad every conqueror in history: Alexander, Caesar, Charlemane, Attila, Gengis Khan,...

Surely they all were aggressive, rashful, over proud, and probably megalomaniacs. But calling them mad is probably going to far.

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On 6/1/2018 at 2:50 PM, cpg2016 said:

Has he?  I'd like to read that interview quote, I couldn't find it.

The only thing that springs to mind is an old SSM where GRRM said the follies of Aegon III's sons nearly tore the realm apart.

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On 6/3/2018 at 6:02 AM, The Grey Wolf said:

The only thing that springs to mind is an old SSM where GRRM said the follies of Aegon III's sons nearly tore the realm apart.

Yeah, that one is it.

On 6/2/2018 at 9:09 PM, The hairy bear said:

I agree that Daeron should not be described as mad. Otherwise we would have to call mad every conqueror in history: Alexander, Caesar, Charlemane, Attila, Gengis Khan,...

Surely they all were aggressive, rashful, over proud, and probably megalomaniacs. But calling them mad is probably going to far.

We are talking about so-called 'mad monarchs' in this context, not clinically insane people. If we limit it to that then only Aerys II and Rhaegel would qualify (unless the latter wasn't trolling the court with eccentric behavior ;-)). Maegor, Aerion Brightflame, Baelor the Blessed aren't insane in that sense.

They were just extreme in a certain ways, but what earns monarchs and rulers the moniker 'mad king/emperor' is usually a shitty rule full of irrational and extreme choices which can, but don't have to be rooted in actual mental afflictions.

In that sense Daeron I (stupid war) and Baelor I (stupid policies based on extreme piety) both qualify as 'mad kings'. Aegon IV most likely, too, although he may have been completely rational in his decisions - but if you act as if you are madman you are seen as such.

Other Targaryens who may have been 'not well' mentally never got around to be 'mad kings' because their state of mind did little to influence the politics of the Realm.

Aerys I's obsession with books and ancient scrolls, for instance, is most likely a symptom of some mental affliction. Then there are those who weren't all that well but never got around to rule, etc.

There seems to be much and more of King Aenys in Prince Daemon, actually. Sure, Aenys was no great warrior, but Daemon seems to be as changeable as Aenys with the sole difference that this was seen as a weakness in Aenys whereas Daemon had his prowess as a warrior, etc. to counter it. Aerys II has a similar trait, and so on. 

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