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Incest Deficiencies, or lack thereof

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What are we defining as incest? Because I'm not sure the author is condemning of cousin marriage in the text itself. I'm not sure I even consider first cousin marriage really that incestuous. 

Definitely sex with brother/sister, aunt/uncle, and parent/grandparent. But how far out are we casting the net for the purposes of the op?

 

Edit: My great grandparents were definitely first cousins once removed, lol. Don't judge me, haha. 

Edited by Bitterblooms

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6 hours ago, Sea Dragon said:

I just started reading some of Martin's stories other the Ice and Fire. I am reading the southern vampire story Fever Dream now. I noticed that the main good guy in that story has a long jaw too and wears grey and white. I don't think this is a inbred Stark disease, but I have not read the other stories yet. Which one has the incest that increases powers in it? I will see if I can read that next (between classes ^_^). Thank you. 

The is a short story/novella called The Skin Trade that deals with what you are asking for. It was actually mentioned up thread, and I don't want to spoil the story for you, but the story does imply that inbreeding between certain families keeps the pure breed much stronger and more powerful than half-breed's or mongrels. The story does imply that you can go too far with the inbreeding and create something not expected or desired.

As to the Targaryen's and them seeming to have a similar logic to inbreeding, which seems to imply that the purer the bloodlines, the greater control they will have over their dragons. Their words are Fire and Blood and they seem to want to keep the Blood of the Dragon pure. I have come to think that this includes the Velaryon family as well. Westeros has another house that claims blood of Valyria, and that is House Celtigar, but I have not come across any marriages of Targaryon or Velaryon to Celtigar, and I think there is some kind of clue in the choice of breeding, but it's not clear to me yet what it means.

5 hours ago, Sea Dragon said:

Oh I forgot to say that this dog was considered the best in show but his inbreeding made his body not functional. Sad because the inbreeding did worse to him than natural breeding. 

Truly, I would take a mutt dog over a pure breed dog any day related to health issues, although my mutt ate a bottle of ibuprofen as a puppy and cost me huge vet bills for her kidney damage over the years. Sometimes, medical bills are just part of the game.

4 hours ago, Sigella said:

 

@Lord Varys: we discussed incest in an earlier thread and I recall some of your arguments from there, and I agree that all grown people should be morally free to get with any other grown willing person they wish. But it isn't right making offspring when it risks a life in state that in animals would be euthanised. The offspring is innocent and inbreeding should be avoided just like drinking and smoking during pregnancy - for the exact same reasons.

Do you think this should apply to genetic traits such as Down's Syndrome, Sickle Cell Disease or Cystic Fibrosis? Because you are walking a very fine line that is similar to Nazi propaganda attempting to create a master race through eugenics. Breeding in certain traits is not unlike breeding out certain traits.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Don't they offer gene test for some such people who have a considerable risk of producing children suffering from such or similar diseases? I recall having heard that some time ago...

Yes, there are all sort's of genetic testing available now that wasn't available in the past. But that can tell you if you are a carrier, it doesn't necessarily tell you if your offspring would inherit that gene, as it can only inform you of a possibility. It can't stop people who are both carriers from having children. I suppose that would be like playing Russian roulette but people do that too.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Craster is, at best, likely the (great-)great-grandfather, grandfather, and father of his youngest children. That is not necessarily enough time for his children to show a lot of birth defects, especially since chances are not so bad that Craster's parents - a wildling and a brother of the Night's Watch (who could have been from anywhere in the Seven Kingdoms) - were not exactly closely related.

I think we might learn more about Craster's parents at some point, but my speculation is that Craster already carried something that the Other's were interested in. I have seen theories over the years that Craster is Bloodraven's child, or Maester Aemon's, but he could also be a Stark or another family who carries a skin changer gene. It makes sense to me that the Other's are interested in skin changers.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I recently heard that essentially all of modern-day horses are just descended from one stallion. The Romans bred using the stallions whereas the Greeks used the mares. But the gene pools in horses is very thin. And the same goes for most domesticated animals and plants.

I think that is probably incorrect about the horses coming from one stallion. Now, the modern thoroughbred lines are said to be descended through three stallions, the Godolphin Arabian, the Darley Arabian and the Byerley Turk. But these horses were bred to several mares, so the breeding is less specific than one stallion one mare, ore even three stallions and three mares. Still, thoroughbred's are certainly more inbreed than the two horses I have in my corral. That just applies to thoroughbred's however. There are many breeds of horses in our modern world. A quick internet search tells me there are over 350 breeds of horses currently in the world, but certain breeds might be very inbreed.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

One would also assume that offspring among closely related cousins and other relations was very common back in the stone age and the like, when people were living in small clans and populating new territory.

I think this is very probable, and it might still happen to an some extent. Last year I came across a documentary shot in the 70's about a hollow in New York state that is pretty much all comprised of the same family, breeding generation after generation. It was called The Hollow.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We can safely say that most of the noble houses of Westeros are very heavily interrelated - not on the Targaryen sibling incest level but definitely on the milder cousin-to-cousin marriage level of the European nobility (intermingled with the occasional avuncular marriage). Just look at the Stark family tree.

There are actually avuncular and cousin marriages through the male line in there - but how many Stark wives happened to be cousins of various degree through the female line is completely unclear. And the same goes for the Lannister - and any other - family tree. The most noble bloodlines effectively only have a couple of dozen (and perhaps even less) bloodlines they regularly intermarry with. There is always the occasional strange interloper - a love match, some younger son suddenly coming to the lordship who has married somebody of very modest pedigree, etc. - but all those houses the Lannisters and Starks married in the family trees we know must have had a literal army of Stark and Lannister ancestors among their own ancestors - and vice versa, of course.

You make a good point about Westeros in general. Lot's of marrying of the same families over and over again. As to the Stark family, we really only have abut 200 years of family tree to look at, and even less with the Lannister's, so I think there is a lot that GRRM has left missing from the picture. Missing on purpose, I would suspect.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But I'm not sure magic like greenseeing and skinchanging has much to do with this. Bloodraven and the Children give statistics as to how many people in a given population happen to turn out to be skinchangers and greenseers. They don't tell us that certain (inbred) bloodlines increase the probability of such offspring. Varamyr hopes for skinchanger offspring but never gets any - vice versa, his parents aren't skinchangers, either. There is no indication that Bloodraven's Targaryen or Blackwood kin ever were greenseers of skinchangers, etc.

The same with the talents of the Stark children. Their parents, grandparents, etc. weren't skinchangers or greenseers, either.

We don't know if the Stark children's parents or grandparent's didn't carry a gene, or were perhaps even skinchangers. We hear that both Lyanna and Brandon were nearly centaurs they could ride so well. I think that is a skinchanger hint. If Lyanna and Brandon carry that gene, Ned and Benjen could too. The difference in generations might not be the genes, it might be having direwolves available to help a skinchanger make an easier first bond.

Certainly, the fact that GRRM tells us that all of the Stark children are wargs indicates something special is going on. I don't know if inbreeding applies to that or not, but it would speculate that it would help. It is really not any different that what ever gene the Targaryen's carry that help them bond and control dragons.

I think that the woman is important in the skin-changing equation, and that might be where Varamyr went wrong. He never had a child with a woman who carried a skinchanger gene. It takes two to tango, they say!

50 minutes ago, Bitterblooms said:

Which stories are you thinking of that rely on inbreeding or incest to increase power? I'm drawing a blank, but I have certainly not read all of Martin's works. I can think of stories, like the story I stole my handle from, where incest happens but it is highly prized to have children from outside of the clan.

I also recommend Skin Trade. Its like a gritty detective story with werewolves. The story telling is really great. 

The Skin Trade is actually the one I am thinking of. The story implies that the pure breeding between four families creates werewolves that are larger and stronger than half breeds who are smaller than the pure breeds but still larger and stronger than mongols. This seems to affect not only their wolf state but also their human state. The story implies that perhaps this pure breeding also went a step to far.

37 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

This story actually shows how incestuous (or rather marriages among close cousins and kin, because it is not clear we are talking about actually siblings here) shows that both 'fresh blood' from the outside as well as procreation with one's own is done/necessary under the conditions those people live in.

And the romanticism of gatherings and the like aside, this is most likely how things were done back in the days humanity had yet to spread all over the globe. You sleep with the people you can sleep with, not the people you would like to sleep with if you could enforce your will on reality. Meaning that - when the next clan or family is hundreds of miles away you don't have a choice but to pick a cousin or a sibling. And it is not that clans and families who don't live together cannot also be related to each other to a significant degree - if keep tabs on each other, see each other once, twice a year at this or that spot, then you will be related to a pretty significant degree a couple of generations down the road.

Bitterblooms is another interesting story. I know it was mentioned up thread as an anti-incest story, but it is not, as far as i interpret it. It is a story about survival. People did what they needed to do to continue to create children. We are told at the start of the story that Shawn, the protagonist, has just buried a man who was her brother/father/lover. She is never reviled for that relationship, and even though she is only 16 at this time, we are not told how long she had been sexually active. Maybe years but maybe only months. As a matter of fact, when she is taken in by Morgan, she feels she cannot have a sexual relationship with even another woman because Morgan is not of her family, so that has nothing to do with procreation, since girls and girls do not a baby make! The only time people in the family seem to be able to have sexual relations with a non-family member is at "the gathering" which happens occasionally, but we don't know how often they occur.

Shawn will tell us that she has 9 children, but only 6 live, 2 of those 6 are from her family, 4 are from gatherings. Of the 3 that didn't live, we don't know if they were family or gathering. She is praised for the new blood but never shamed for having children from within her own family. Her eldest child, from a family relationship, she actually names after the man she buried at the start of the story. As I said, I see this as a story of survival and it has nothing to do with claiming incest or inbreeding is harmful or terrible or shameful.

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I don't think either Bitterblooms OR the Skin Trade are anti-incest....I think they both just show a preference for NOT inbreeding. Even in Skin Trade the purebred families do believe they are more noble and stronger, but in "taking it too far" they are just continuing the tradition of werewolves marrying werewolves. I'm not sure how this is NOT showing the bad of inbreeding, since the effects are magnified over generations...resulting in, well, you know. I don't want to spoil the story for those whose interest is piqued. Inbreeding can retain and reinforce positive characteristics, too, I don't think anyone is arguing against that. Similarly in Bitterblooms she is specifically honored for having kids with men from other clans. She is not shamed for her in clan relationships with men or women. (If I recall correctly she is even off limits to anyone from another family until she reaches a certain age, she's her family's property.) It is just preferable to bring in new blood. I think in these two examples we actually agree and for some reason are talking around each other. Incest is viewed as the norm and not shameful. But in both stories incest is less preferable to a wider gene pool. 

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27 minutes ago, Bitterblooms said:

I don't think either Bitterblooms OR the Skin Trade are anti-incest....I think they both just show a preference for NOT inbreeding.

I am not certain I agree with with a preference for NOT inbreeding but I will address in spoiler tags, as I don't want to ruin the stories for people who are interested in reading them some time

 

29 minutes ago, Bitterblooms said:

Even in Skin Trade the purebred families do believe they are more noble and stronger, but in "taking it too far" they are just continuing the tradition of werewolves marrying werewolves. I'm not sure how this is NOT showing the bad of inbreeding, since the effects are magnified over generations...resulting in, well, you know. I don't want to spoil the story for those whose interest is piqued. Inbreeding can retain and reinforce positive characteristics, too, I don't think anyone is arguing against that.

.As to The Skin Trade,

Spoiler

 

I can't find this online to cut and paste, so I am typing. Bear with me over any error's. 

"Perhaps I will come for you myself some night. You ought to see me, Miss Wade. My fur is white now, pale as snow, but the stature, the majesty, the power, those have not left me. Michael was a half-breed, and your Willie, he was hardly more than a dog. The pureblood is rather more. We are the direwolves, the nightmares who haunt your racial memories, and the dark shapes circling endlessly beyond the light of your fires." The Skin Trade by GRRM

This was said by Jonathan Harmon, a purebred, to a human. It implies to me that he is telling her that he, as a purebred is more of everything, in strength, size and stamina, than a half-breed Mike Rogoff was. The even less well bred mongrol Willie Flambeaux was less than all of them, according to this statement by Jonathan Harmon. We never see Jonathan turn, but Mike Rogoff, a half-breed, was a larger man and wolf than Willie, noted to be a mongrel of unknown amount of wolf blood, who is a small man and average sized wolf.

We are told the four founding families of the city (all are apparently werewolf blood) are Harmon, Rochmont, Anders and Flambeaux, and they had inbreed for hundreds of years to keep themselves strong. But there are also half-breeds, quarter-breeds and even less breeds. Most of these offspring can "work the change" which is what they seem to call the ability to turn werewolf and turn back to human, but Willie tells us he has heard of other's who cannot work the change at all, or who can change into wolves but never turn back. He doesn't seem to know any of these types of people but he has heard of them.

And then we have a character of Steven Harmon, son of Jonathan, who is reportedly a mistake, but we don't know what his genetics are. It is implied that he cannot "work the change" because he is too inbreed, but there is no proof that is why he has mental instability and unable to become a werewolf. The story implies his problem is over-inbreeding, but I am not sure I buy that. After all, Willie has heard of other's who can't "work the change" and it is never implied that they are over-inbred.

Steven Harmon is a messed up soul, but I am not sure that we can blame that on his breeding, even if it is implied. Honestly, I don't think anyone know's for sure why he is the way he is. Jeffrey Dahmer was a pretty messed up person who suffered from multiple mental health disorders, but we can't blame inbreeding or incest on the things he did, and I think the same argument could be made for Steven Harmon.

 

 

1 hour ago, Bitterblooms said:

Similarly in Bitterblooms she is specifically honored for having kids with men from other clans. She is not shamed for her in clan relationships with men or women. (If I recall correctly she is even off limits to anyone from another family until she reaches a certain age, she's her family's property.) It is just preferable to bring in new blood.

As for Bitterblooms, 

Spoiler

I think the family/clan recognizes a need for fresh blood at times. In this case, the family is Carin, and they control how much fresh blood comes into the family by limiting the times of conception. It seems like all of the family/clan's do this. They only allow outside genetics during the "gathering" and we don't know how often that is. There is no marriage by bringing new people into the clan, they only want some fresh blood added to their own. Therefore, they don't have to change their family/clan ways. If you truly were worried about inbreeding, then you would allow people in the clans to take spouses from other clans, or to at least have children with them more often than once every other year or so. So, my impression is that the family/clan wants to keep some of there own blood intact in the family/clan, otherwise why so tightly limit the times that new blood is introduced?

Where I am from, there are religious colonies of Hutterites, and inbreeding has become a problem in the past, even to the point where rumors exist of bringing in males to breed females for cash. And not just any sperm donor will do, as these donors are screened and questioned. I don't know if that is true or not as I am not a man and therefore can't sell my services to the colonies, but who you are allowed to marry is very important and is now approved by elder's from the colony. This is done to even out there genetic stock. There are rarely marriages within a colony (although that does still happen at times) but more often, people chose spouses from other colonies, and colonies that you don't  share a strong blood connection with. 

I see what the Hutterite colonies are doing by promoting and allowing new blood to enter their colony at any time  and very openly is different from the concept we are given in Bitterblooms, where the input of new blood is strictly limited, and only new children are allowed in by birth without the influence of the donor parent.

1 hour ago, Bitterblooms said:

I think in these two examples we actually agree and for some reason are talking around each other. Incest is viewed as the norm and not shameful. But in both stories incest is less preferable to a wider gene pool. 

i agree we are on the same page, but with slight variations. Still, a nice discussion on a very taboo subject. 

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1 hour ago, St Daga said:

I am not certain I agree with with a preference for NOT inbreeding but I will address in spoiler tags, as I don't want to ruin the stories for people who are interested in reading them some time

 

.As to The Skin Trade,

  Hide contents

 

I can't find this online to cut and paste, so I am typing. Bear with me over any error's. 

"Perhaps I will come for you myself some night. You ought to see me, Miss Wade. My fur is white now, pale as snow, but the stature, the majesty, the power, those have not left me. Michael was a half-breed, and your Willie, he was hardly more than a dog. The pureblood is rather more. We are the direwolves, the nightmares who haunt your racial memories, and the dark shapes circling endlessly beyond the light of your fires." The Skin Trade by GRRM

This was said by Jonathan Harmon, a purebred, to a human. It implies to me that he is telling her that he, as a purebred is more of everything, in strength, size and stamina, than a half-breed Mike Rogoff was. The even less well bred mongrol Willie Flambeaux was less than all of them, according to this statement by Jonathan Harmon. We never see Jonathan turn, but Mike Rogoff, a half-breed, was a larger man and wolf than Willie, noted to be a mongrel of unknown amount of wolf blood, who is a small man and average sized wolf.

We are told the four founding families of the city (all are apparently werewolf blood) are Harmon, Rochmont, Anders and Flambeaux, and they had inbreed for hundreds of years to keep themselves strong. But there are also half-breeds, quarter-breeds and even less breeds. Most of these offspring can "work the change" which is what they seem to call the ability to turn werewolf and turn back to human, but Willie tells us he has heard of other's who cannot work the change at all, or who can change into wolves but never turn back. He doesn't seem to know any of these types of people but he has heard of them.

And then we have a character of Steven Harmon, son of Jonathan, who is reportedly a mistake, but we don't know what his genetics are. It is implied that he cannot "work the change" because he is too inbreed, but there is no proof that is why he has mental instability and unable to become a werewolf. The story implies his problem is over-inbreeding, but I am not sure I buy that.

I'm not sure I buy that either because the story says rather plainly that plain ol'inbreeding is causing the deterioration of the change ability.

Quote

 

After all, Willie has heard of other's who can't "work the change" and it is never implied that they are over-inbred.

Steven Harmon is a messed up soul, but I am not sure that we can blame that on his breeding, even if it is implied. Honestly, I don't think anyone know's for sure why he is the way he is.

The set up for Steven being "mad" comes from the backstory of Roy Helander and what Roy did to his sister.

Spoiler

Remember, Roy (who was always "strange") raped and killed his sister. So we have another level of incest in conjunction with "madness". And Steven basically turned Roy in to his Reek, his Sour Billy Tipton. Steven, despite being a mistake of a pureborn, was rather messed up in the head and jealous in his way that he could not work the change, so he flayed the skins off of other werewolves to try and wear to "force" the change. Roy became disillusioned through his "madness" that it could change as well, and that is how Roy was killed. Roy was taking Joanie to the "secret place in the woods", which was the old house (Nightfort) of Blackstone, which was where Roy was killed by regular dogs... Ooooh, Ramsay better watch out ;).

This is just the story we get about the old Stark-Bolton rivalry from centuries past, which is foreshadowing for the Jon/Robb Stark- Ramsay/Roose Bolton fight we are getting now. There is even a garnet-ruby comparison in both books. Garnet is the "bastard" version of the royal/pureblood ruby.

And Jonathan is a bigoted elitist (typical GRRM antagonist) that is angry that his city has turned to "rust". This seems pretty clear not only with this quote, but also the history of the city in which the four families sit in fancy pyramids Victorian era houses a top the tall hills.

“Steven is dead,” Jonathan Harmon said.

“Good,” Randi spat. “Steven and Roy, they were doing it together, Willie said. For the skins. Steven hated the others, because they could work the change and he couldn’t. But once your son had his skin, he didn’t need Helander anymore, did he?”

“I can’t say I will mourn greatly. To be frank, Steven was never the sort of heir I might have wished for.” He went to the window, opened the curtains, and looked out. “This was once a great city, you know, a city of blood and iron. Now it’s all turned to rust.”

“Fuck your city,” Randi said. “What about Willie?”

Quote

 

Jeffrey Dahmer was a pretty messed up person who suffered from multiple mental health disorders, but we can't blame inbreeding or incest on the things he did, and I think the same argument could be made for Steven Harmon.

 


I get where you are going with this in real life, but this is not how GRRM is working it in his stories. Dahmer has nothing to do with this, thank the gods old and new :D.

Quote

As for Bitterblooms, 

  Hide contents

I think the family/clan recognizes a need for fresh blood at times. In this case, the family is Carin, and they control how much fresh blood comes into the family by limiting the times of conception. It seems like all of the family/clan's do this. They only allow outside genetics during the "gathering" and we don't know how often that is. There is no marriage by bringing new people into the clan, they only want some fresh blood added to their own. Therefore, they don't have to change their family/clan ways. If you truly were worried about inbreeding, then you would allow people in the clans to take spouses from other clans, or to at least have children with them more often than once every other year or so. So, my impression is that the family/clan wants to keep some of there own blood intact in the family/clan, otherwise why so tightly limit the times that new blood is introduced?


 

If I may ask, where are you getting the idea that clan Carin is limiting the times of conception?

Spoiler

The clan dropped to 40 and we only hear of three (maybe four?) adults dying of old age, so birth rates aren't great. Then Shawn started to have children with unrelated people, which is what she was honored for. Her first child may have been a from a relative of some degree because there are only 40 people total in the clan at the time, but then she starts to bring in the new blood.

Also, Shawn was a trader, so not home all of the time for each possible gathering. If Shawn is 17/18 when she has her first kid, and she has nine children, and needs time off between pregnancies, and she has a job, she will miss a lot of gatherings. This kind of reminds me how GRRM wrote Queen Alysanne as a touch impossible with all of her work, and multiple pregnancies, and dragon riding, etc.

Things were different at Carinhall after Shawn’s return. The family was smaller.

...

But not everything was sadness. Deepwinter was ending.
And, on a more personal level, Shawn found that her position in the family had changed. Now even Creg treated her with a rough respect. A year later, when thaw was well under way, she bore her first child, and was accepted as an equal into the councils of Carinhall. Shawn named her daughter Lane.
She settled easily into family life. When it was time for her to choose a permanent profession, she asked to be a trader, and was surprised to find that Creg did not speak against her choice. Rys took her as apprentice, and after three years she got an assignment of her own. Her work kept her on the road a great deal. When she was home in Carinhall, however, Shawn found to her surprise that she had become the favored family storyteller. The children said she knew the best stories of anyone. Creg, ever practical, said that her fancies set a bad example for the children and had no proper lesson to them. But by that time he was very sick, a victim of highsummer fever, and his opposition carried little weight. He died soon after, and Devin became Voice, a gentler and more moderate Voice than Creg. Family Carin had a generation of peace while he spoke for Carinhall, and their numbers increased from forty to nearly one hundred.
Shawn was frequently his lover. Her reading had improved a great deal by then, through long study, and Devin once yielded to her whim and showed her the secret library of the Voices, where each Voice for untold centuries had kept a journal detailing the events of his service

...

Devin honored her for bringing so much fresh blood into Carinhall, and later another Voice would name her for exceptional prowess as a trader. She traveled widely, met many families, saw waterfalls and volcanoes as well as seas and mountains, sailed halfway around the world on a Crien schooner. She had many lovers and much esteem. Jannis followed Devin as Voice, but she had a bitter unhappy time of it, and when she passed, the mothers and fathers of family Carin offered the position to Shawn. She turned it down. It would not have made her happy. Despite everything she had done, she was not a happy person. She remembered too much, and sometimes she could not sleep very well at night.
During the fourth deepwinter of her life, the family numbered two hundred and thirty-seven, fully a hundred of them children. But game was scarce, even in the third year after freeze, and Shawn could see the hard cold times approaching. The Voice was a kind woman who found it hard to make the decisions that had to be made, but Shawn knew what was coming. She was the second eldest of those in Carinhall. One night she stole some food -just enough, two weeks’ traveling supply - and a pair of skis, left Carinhall at dawn, and spared the Voice the giving of the order.
She was not so fast as she had been when she was young. The journey took closer to three weeks than to two, and she was lean and weak when she finally entered the ruined city.
But the ship was just as she had left it.

---and this is what trader's do---

She had seen one Gathering, down by the sea, when forty families came together to trade news and goods and love. But that had been years before her blood, so no one had taken her; she was not yet a woman, and thus untouchable.

--- and Morgan "full of crap magic", the liar, has to "glamour" Shawn in order to have sex with her. Morgan (Melisandre) has to show a fake vision, just as Melisandre shows Jon a fake vision of magic when she glamours herself to look like Ygritte. But Jon saw through that artifice. 

 

Edited by The Fattest Leech

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17 hours ago, Bitterblooms said:

What are we defining as incest? Because I'm not sure the author is condemning of cousin marriage in the text itself. I'm not sure I even consider first cousin marriage really that incestuous. 

In most countries of the world cousin marriages are not considered incest. In quite a few states of the US they are, making romantic relationships among first cousin a very weird thing that is seen as incestuous by quite a few people.

17 hours ago, Bitterblooms said:

Definitely sex with brother/sister, aunt/uncle, and parent/grandparent. But how far out are we casting the net for the purposes of the op?

Actually, avuncular marriages (uncle-niece/aunt-nephew) isn't seen as incest that is forbidden by law in all that many countries. That's usually only sibling, and (grand)parent-(grand)child incest. 

17 hours ago, Bitterblooms said:

Edit: My great grandparents were definitely first cousins once removed, lol. Don't judge me, haha. 

What?! You vile abomination! Where are the stones? Or the wildfire?!

No, everything alright. But then, my great-grandparents were only second cousins (and on the other side of the family there are various (half-) second cousins once removed - it is tricky family tree.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

Yes, there are all sort's of genetic testing available now that wasn't available in the past. But that can tell you if you are a carrier, it doesn't necessarily tell you if your offspring would inherit that gene, as it can only inform you of a possibility. It can't stop people who are both carriers from having children. I suppose that would be like playing Russian roulette but people do that too.

Sure, yes, and while I - who doesn't want to have children anyway - would definitely not try to have some if the risk that my children would suffer from a hereditary disease was 25-50%. But considering that you never know for sure you actually can't blame people who still try to have children even under those conditions.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

I think we might learn more about Craster's parents at some point, but my speculation is that Craster already carried something that the Other's were interested in. I have seen theories over the years that Craster is Bloodraven's child, or Maester Aemon's, but he could also be a Stark or another family who carries a skin changer gene. It makes sense to me that the Other's are interested in skin changers.

Whilte that's not impossible I'd be surprised if Craster was in any way, shape, or form special. I'm inclined to believe the Others are interested in human children in general. That's also why Old Nan deals with those stories.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

I think that is probably incorrect about the horses coming from one stallion. Now, the modern thoroughbred lines are said to be descended through three stallions, the Godolphin Arabian, the Darley Arabian and the Byerley Turk. But these horses were bred to several mares, so the breeding is less specific than one stallion one mare, ore even three stallions and three mares. Still, thoroughbred's are certainly more inbreed than the two horses I have in my corral. That just applies to thoroughbred's however. There are many breeds of horses in our modern world. A quick internet search tells me there are over 350 breeds of horses currently in the world, but certain breeds might be very inbreed.

Not an expert on the matter. Just rehashing memories I have of an radio interview with a geneticists who is really into investigating the origin of modern horses why genetic investigations. And I listened to that interview while stuck in traffic jam for hours on a very hot day. So not exactly ideal conditions to remember stuff.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

I think this is very probable, and it might still happen to an some extent. Last year I came across a documentary shot in the 70's about a hollow in New York state that is pretty much all comprised of the same family, breeding generation after generation. It was called The Hollow.

Well, there are those many bottlenecks in the history of the human species, the fact that the original inhabitants of the Americas all descend from a group of people smaller than a hundred, etc.

Back before Europe and Asia were first populated by humans beings the genetic pool wouldn't have been that big. Only when new settlers from Africa arrived centuries or millennia later would more distant relations bring different genes and mutations into the mix.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

You make a good point about Westeros in general. Lot's of marrying of the same families over and over again. As to the Stark family, we really only have abut 200 years of family tree to look at, and even less with the Lannister's, so I think there is a lot that GRRM has left missing from the picture. Missing on purpose, I would suspect.

I don't think the degree of inbreeding among the noble families is ever going to become a relevant plot point. But it is a fact that is there, in the background, simply because the nobles all marry amongst themselves.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

We don't know if the Stark children's parents or grandparent's didn't carry a gene, or were perhaps even skinchangers. We hear that both Lyanna and Brandon were nearly centaurs they could ride so well. I think that is a skinchanger hint. If Lyanna and Brandon carry that gene, Ned and Benjen could too. The difference in generations might not be the genes, it might be having direwolves available to help a skinchanger make an easier first bond.

I really don't think that's a convincing hint. Skinchangers are skinchangers and not just good riders. When you can do stuff Varamyr or even Bran and his siblings then the power will manifest eventually, and then you will become an outcast, no matter your name or family.

I was looking forward to stories about warg and skinchanger Stark kings and lords, but we never got any. There may have been one Stark skinchanger in the distant past (the one who waged the war of the wolves) but that's not a trait or a tendency. Just like one Targaryen/Blackwood skinchanger doesn't mean the Targaryens or Blackwoods have 'the skinchanger/greenseer gene'.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

Certainly, the fact that GRRM tells us that all of the Stark children are wargs indicates something special is going on. I don't know if inbreeding applies to that or not, but it would speculate that it would help. It is really not any different that what ever gene the Targaryen's carry that help them bond and control dragons.

For the Targaryens we have more evidence for a magical talent running in the blood. With the skinchangers it simply isn't the same. I mean, the Children had to turn to giants and humans (!) to get themselves people who act as their greenseer. If you could breed skinchangers and greenseers they would have figured out how to do it long ago - but they apparently did not.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

I think that the woman is important in the skin-changing equation, and that might be where Varamyr went wrong. He never had a child with a woman who carried a skinchanger gene. It takes two to tango, they say!

Well, no indication that Catelyn Tully was special in this regard.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

The Skin Trade is actually the one I am thinking of. The story implies that the pure breeding between four families creates werewolves that are larger and stronger than half breeds who are smaller than the pure breeds but still larger and stronger than mongols. This seems to affect not only their wolf state but also their human state. The story implies that perhaps this pure breeding also went a step to far.

The point of 'The Skin Trade' seems to me the same as that with the Targaryen incest - power (dragons and great and powerful werewolves) comes at a price. You don't get it for free. If you want power it is not bad to go down that road. If you don't care about it and just want to live your life - fine, you can do that.

And it is, of course, a story about continuous inbreeding among a very small population, not a story about actually (sibling) incest but a story about inbreeding in a population.

In ASoIaF we have a background of long inbreeding among the Targaryens, but this is not really a problematic issue or main plot point in the story. The incest we see in the story - Jaime/Cersei (and the avuncular romance/marriage of Jon and Dany we are likely to see further down the road) are not condemned out of principle. Cersei and Jaime are not fucked up more than Robert-Cersei, Stannis-Selyse, Lysa-Jon, etc. just because they are twin siblings.

But if you do that you have to live with the fact that you are an average or even defective werewolf (or have no longer a good chance to become a dragonrider), and you can do nothing to become as powerful as the working/non-defective pure-bloods.

In that sense, the whole thing is ambivalent.

16 hours ago, St Daga said:

As I said, I see this as a story of survival and it has nothing to do with claiming incest or inbreeding is harmful or terrible or shameful.

Yeah, especially since it is unclear how closely those people in the families are actually related. Their family concept is way off from our own. Yet one should keep in mind that gatherings are only used for people to donate sperm, basically. You take in 'blood' from other families, but you don't include people from other families in your own.

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Well Hello @the fattest leech , good to see you. It has been a while since we have debated.

13 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

I'm not sure I buy that either because the story says rather plainly that plain ol'inbreeding is causing the deterioration of the change ability.

It hints about it, but never says it. And GRRM is very tricky with implications, so I have learned to be wary of them.

Spoiler tags, just in case ...

Spoiler

 

The text actually states about Steven "Steven is sicker than you think. Something is missing. To inbred, maybe." We don't actually know much about Steven's parentage, although Jonathan seems to be his father.  We know nothing about his mother, what family she might have belonged to. Has this caused him to be unable to "work the change", or is it something else? Certainly some of his mental heath issues lie in what his father forced upon him to help him "change" as a child, and later dosing with medications. But we don't know if any of this is the fault of inbreeding. 

What we do know about the inbreeding up to Jonathan's generation, is that Jonathan is the numero uno, and he is a large werewolf, a direwolf he calls himself, and superior in strength and size to half-breeds and mongrels. Jonathan tells us this, and Randi does not deny it. Since we don't know where things went wrong with Steven, we really can't say one way or another if his problems are related to inbreeding.

We are also told from Willie's POV that the pack is getting thin "but there are lot's of mongrels, half-breeds quarter breeds, what have you, the old families have their share of bastards. Some can work the change, some can't. I've heart of a few who change one day and never do manage to change back. And that is the one's from the old bloodlines, never mind the ones like Joanie". Joanie was a werewolf based on a bite that turned her, so the other's he refers to are werewolf by breeding, whether purebred or mongrel. There is some problem for many, no matter how they have become lycanthropes  when it comes to "working the change'.

Willie can "work the change" and so could Joanie. Willie's grandfather had Flambeaux blood, but it doesn't say if he was purebred or half. The story implies Willie's great-grandfather Flambeaux was purebred, or at least he held lot's of land and power. Perhaps it might come down to the Harmon "blood" is the problem, while the "Flabeaux" iron is not!

After all, it was Jonathan Harmon who killed those kids all those years ago, trying to force his son eat human meat to help "change" him, but once Jonathan got a taste... But it seems like Rogaff also seems to have gotten a taste and doesn't want to stop, and he is a half-breed and it is unknown how his parentage worked. I think it is not as simple as blaming this all on inbreeding.

 

 

13 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

I get where you are going with this in real life, but this is not how GRRM is working it in his stories. Dahmer has nothing to do with this, thank the gods old and new :D.

No, but GRRM takes inspiration from many places and real life is one of them. I thought of Jeffrey Dahmer because of his fetish with skinning and dismembering people, but the point I am trying to make, is that Dahmer was a psychotic murderer for many reasons, not of which had to do with inbreeding. Crazy people in the world don't all come from incest. Dahmer was certainly an abomination, however!

13 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

If I may ask, where are you getting the idea that clan Carin is limiting the times of conception?

Because

Spoiler

They only allow conception outside of the family during gatherings, and going to gatherings are limited by when they occur and if the family chooses to go. That by itself limit's the time allowed for conception with people outside clan Carin. I don't know how often they have gatherings, but I assume it's not done during winter, and then probably no more often then once a year or every other year, perhaps.

And in response to some of your questions

Spoiler

 

The text tells us that Shawn had her first child after she returned from her time with Morgan, so she was probably 17 and had her first child (when the thaw was underway) a year later. Shawn has already started to strengthen her position in the family before she ever has a child. It also tells us that a vampire had taken away Leila, a young and strong women in the family, but that deep winter was finally ending. After having a child, Shawn is is accepted as an equal into the councils of Carinhall.

It doesn't tell us when she had her next child, but that she chose her profession as a trader but when she was home, she had become the favorite family story teller. By this time, Creg was ill and died, and Devin became Voice. The text states that Devin was a "gentler and more moderate Voice than Creg. Family Carin had a generation of peace while he spoke for Carinhall, and their numbers increased from forty to nearly one hundred."

So, it is during the time of Devin that numbers started to increase. I think this is for a couple of reasons. One, winter was over, therefore food should be more plentiful and probably less people died due to the harsh elements, which would make it easier for children to survive as well as adults. Also, we are told that Devin was "gentler and more moderate" and brought a generation of peace that also could have contributed to the rise in numbers of the clan. Winter is hard to survive through, which is what we learn in ASOIAF, but summer is time that allows life to flourish. I am certain the kinder season helped contribute to the rise of clan Carin's numbers more than one person having children.

Speculation, but perhaps Voice Creg ordered the death of infants that seemed weak or were otherwise undesirable, while Voice Devin, a gentler leader might have allowed all children to live. Speculation, but possible. This would also affect clan numbers.

We are told she traveled much, but I think per Carin clan rules, she could only have sex with family members or during a time of a gathering, and I doubt this applies to her time as a trader. I doubt she was skipping from gathering to gathering, as it seems like gatherings are large and important and do not seem to happen all that often. As you said, Morgan had to trick her into having sex and the two things that Morgan used to convince Shawn was 1)Morgan was family to Carin clan, and 2) pretend it's a gathering, and she eventually makes the magic window appear to be a gathering. Probably, Morgan was actually family of Carin clan, as she knew of the previous Voice named Beth.

I just think to attribute all of the numbers in the clan to Shawn's breeding outside the family defies logic and math. Even if Shawn has 6 daughters that can bred more children for clan Carin, it would take them a generation to have children, and if each of them have six children, we still have an increase of 6 members by Shawn and 36 members by her children, for a total of 42, and that would be after a full generation. If she has sons, that could mean less or more grandchildren for Shawn, depending on if they spread their seed within the clan or outside at gatherings. It is possible that there are generations of her grandchildren approaching childbearing years or even having children, depending on how old she is at the end of the story.

During Shawn's fourth deepwinter, the clan totaled 237 with 100 of those being children, she the second eldest of the clan makes a choice to leave the family, knowing it would probably mean her death but she prefers that to being a burden on food and other resources. Shawn leaves clan Carin. Hard to say how old she was at that time. We also don't know if the deep winter the story opens with is her first or second, or how many years it takes for deep winter to arrive.

As to the amount of pregnancies Shawn could have had, my great grandmother had 10 pregnancies, which resulted in 10 children, one miscarriage and one set of twins, so that evened her her children/pregnancy ratio. Her eldest daughter was married and had a child when her youngest daughter was born. She averaged a pregnancy every 2 to 2 1/2 years, so these numbers could work for Shawn, allowing her to have her last pregnancy somewhere between the age of 38 and 45, and around the same time her eldest child might have started having children. Hard to say when menopause would strike in this harsh world.

Again, you point out she was honored for bringing in fresh blood and I argue but that does not mean she was condemned for the children she bore from within the family. I am sure all children are valuable. I think that the clan wants to maintain some of it's own blood, otherwise they would have different rules on breeding with outsiders. By only allowing outside conception at the time of a gathering, that limits the amount of time a person could could conceive such a child. But not allowing outside influence in, the clan can maintain their own rules and structure, raising fresh-blooded children along with family-blood ed children by the same rules.

 

As to your connections between Morgan and Mel, and using trickery and magic, I would agree that is the case, but I am not sure how Shawns's character applies to Jon Snow since we are debating on a females ability to bring in fresh blood to her clan through conception at a gathering versus maintaining old blood through conception from a family member.

 

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33 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Whilte that's not impossible I'd be surprised if Craster was in any way, shape, or form special. I'm inclined to believe the Others are interested in human children in general. That's also why Old Nan deals with those stories.

Old Nan's stories are interesting. Perhaps the Other's were coming for children of certain blood during the Long Night, as well? Once they got what they wanted, perhaps they retreated? Not saying I believe that necessarily, but it's a possibility.   I think lot's of things are possible in this story, and GRRM only let's us know what he wants us to know, and then reveals the rest very slowly.

35 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Not an expert on the matter. Just rehashing memories I have of an radio interview with a geneticists who is really into investigating the origin of modern horses why genetic investigations. And I listened to that interview while stuck in traffic jam for hours on a very hot day. So not exactly ideal conditions to remember stuff.

It is possible the geneticist was discussing a much more modern stallion. I am no expert either.

38 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

For the Targaryens we have more evidence for a magical talent running in the blood. With the skinchangers it simply isn't the same. I mean, the Children had to turn to giants and humans (!) to get themselves people who act as their greenseer. If you could breed skinchangers and greenseers they would have figured out how to do it long ago - but they apparently did not.

The CotF might have figured it out, but they majority of them are dead now. Why they truly turned to the giants or humans is up to debate. Perhaps all the children with this gene were killed, forcing them to look elsewhere for the gene. And we know that this story tells us how important things are forgotten in time. Joer Mormont laments this often.

39 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I was looking forward to stories about warg and skinchanger Stark kings and lords, but we never got any. There may have been one Stark skinchanger in the distant past (the one who waged the war of the wolves) but that's not a trait or a tendency. Just like one Targaryen/Blackwood skinchanger doesn't mean the Targaryens or Blackwoods have 'the skinchanger/greenseer gene'.

We could still get this. It only takes GRRM a couple lines or a paragraph to affect the story in big ways.

40 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, no indication that Catelyn Tully was special in this regard.

I think she is. I think there is something in the Tully blood that might come down from the Lothston line. Speculation, of course, but I see Catelyn as having a sort of Cassandra complex, as if she knows things or has premonitions, but when she tries to affect things, it all goes from bad to worse. I think Lysa and Sweetrobin might have this same ability, and I think it is manifesting in Catelyn's children. Time will tell if I have cracked my pot, or not!

45 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Yeah, especially since it is unclear how closely those people in the families are actually related. Their family concept is way off from our own. Yet one should keep in mind that gatherings are only used for people to donate sperm, basically. You take in 'blood' from other families, but you don't include people from other families in your own.

Agreed, the gatherings are for bringing fresh dna into the clan, not people or ideas or customs. But if they are truly opposed to what might be viewed as weakened genes from inbreeding, than I think they would do more to encourage breeding from the outside and not the inside. And you are correct that we don't know how closely the family is related, however, Shawn does tell us that Lane was her father/brother/lover, which does imply some serious incest.

48 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But if you do that you have to live with the fact that you are an average or even defective werewolf (or have no longer a good chance to become a dragonrider), and you can do nothing to become as powerful as the working/non-defective pure-bloods.

I think there are always some parallel's we can take away from GRRM's short stories and apply to ASOIAF. The dragonrider/werewolf connection might be one of them. However, the werewolves also seem like a direct link to the Stark's. After all

Spoiler

in the Skin Trade we have a leader named Jonathan who turns into a white direwolf, described as pale as snow, with red eyes (I know they all have red eyes) while in ASOIAF we have Jon Snow, who has a white direwolf with red eyes. There are all sorts of little things to ponder in these short stories!

 

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18 hours ago, St Daga said:

Do you think this should apply to genetic traits such as Down's Syndrome, Sickle Cell Disease or Cystic Fibrosis? Because you are walking a very fine line that is similar to Nazi propaganda attempting to create a master race through eugenics. Breeding in certain traits is not unlike breeding out certain traits.

Firstly, pregnant women (in countries with decent healthcare) over 40 are offered tests in order to abort foetuses with down's and other medical issues as we speak, is that nazi too?

 Do you really think that all pregnant women who wishes for their kid to be healthy and avoids drink, smoke and drugs are nazis?

Secondly you completely missed my point, which was that inbreeding is super awful. Calling me a nazi is quite laughable. Eugenics is pro inbreeding you dip wad.

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@St Daga I had a really nice post ready to go when the forum just ate it :crying:

Maybe I will try again later.

I keep getting this message on a white screen that I will ask the mods about:

{"notifications":{"count":"0","data":[]},"messages":{"count":"0","data":[]}}
Edited by The Fattest Leech

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20 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, it would only come to that if a child is really, really suffering from a lot of problems, like it when we are talking about gene and birth defects which are caused by many a 'normal pregnancy' among (very) distantly related parents.

I never said people should only procreate with their siblings or something similarly ridiculous, I just argued for the right of people to have sex with whoever they want to have sex if they are consenting adults and know how to use modern birth control methods. Now, as long as I can fuck any woman I want without having to double-check that any offspring she and I might make has a (significantly) increased risk of suffering from a number of birth defects and health problems I really see no reason to prevent the very small percentage of incest couples who want to have biological children of their own to produce such children.

After all, it is not forbidden that people who carry genes who might result in offspring that suffers from (a number of) hereditary disease(s) but as long as it is perfectly legal to unknowingly and knowingly produce children suffering from diseases that will make their lives short and full of suffering I see no reason why incest couples should be forbidden from producing children if they want to do that.

If you ask my general view on procreation - I don't intend to have children of my own, and I think deciding to have children is (and should be in all human beings) a choice made with most utmost care. If I happened to be in an incestuous relationship (or some cousin relationship) I'd likely be more skeptical about having children than I am right now.

Discouraging certain individuals from having children with other individuals on the basis of the genes they carry might also be a good idea, helping humanity to breed out certain hereditary diseases altogether - especially since most people knowing that the risk is pretty high that children would be born sick would likely never want to have children in the first place, anyway.

But then, it might be that the future will allow us to resolve such issues via gene therapy or genetic manipulation, etc.

We are constantly neutralizing factors of natural selection via modern medicine and birth control. The fitting next step would be to actually design the traits we want to see in our offspring rather than breed them. But I guess we would need a pretty big cultural shift for that along with the means to properly do it.

To me its not only the medical issues (which can be truly devastating) but the act of someone willingly gambling with their offspring's life quality and seriously ruining their life-prospects that is repugnant. My argument doesn't apply for rape-victims in oppressive countries where abortions are illegal, but other than that I feel like it's not at all different from drinking and smoking and taking drugs (or beating the belly with a hammer or whatever).

 

:D Doctor Bashir from DS9 sends his regards :cool4:

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1 hour ago, Sigella said:

Firstly, pregnant women (in countries with decent healthcare) over 40 are offered tests in order to abort foetuses with down's and other medical issues as we speak, is that nazi too?

 Do you really think that all pregnant women who wishes for their kid to be healthy and avoids drink, smoke and drugs are nazis?

Secondly you completely missed my point, which was that inbreeding is super awful. Calling me a nazi is quite laughable. Eugenics is pro inbreeding you dip wad.

And that is a good thing. Right? Right?????????????

I mean, we have from the horse's mouth that we should all be mongrels, so that, to me, is all the answer I need irt Martin's views on incest. :D

 

1 hour ago, The Fattest Leech said:

@St Daga I had a really nice post ready to go when the forum just ate it :crying:

Maybe I will try again later.

I keep getting this message on a white screen that I will ask the mods about:

{"notifications":{"count":"0","data":[]},"messages":{"count":"0","data":[]}}

I'm getting that too! Whenever the computer goes to sleep, I have that on my screen. Weird, but at least now I know it's not my crappy internet! :lol:

 

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45 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

And that is a good thing. Right? Right?????????????

I mean, we have from the horse's mouth that we should all be mongrels, so that, to me, is all the answer I need irt Martin's views on incest. :D

Of course its good. Every down*-kid later born will be wanted and not abandoned in orphanages en masse (which happens in countries with bad healthcare and/or criminalised abortions).

Its only a bad thing if you value high prevalence of people with downs* higher than you do peoples wish not to have downs* themselves or wanting it for their offspring.

* I just wrote down's but it works for all the medical issues discussed.

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On 9 May 2018 at 5:51 AM, Corvo the Crow said:

Inbred strains resulting from 20 or more generations of incest are used in research. They are almost geneticall identical, making them clones of each other.

Incest is not necessarily a bad thing. Sure it will decrease variation and if you have defective genes or undesired traits, they may accumulate over time resulting in things like Habsburg jaw

I finally saw a program that was about someone who had done a genetic study of the Hapsburg's and concluded this much used example of inbreeding (their jaw) is not the result of inbreeding. It was in fact a dominant gene there from the very start - they were just damn ugly.

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On 5/9/2018 at 1:30 AM, Lord Varys said:

Continuous incest actually works the way George describes it in the series. It causes child/infant mortality to rise but also makes half of the children produced having the traits desired the breeder (incest is a much used method of human breeders producing the animal races they want to create - they just kill off the failures or at least don't allow them to procreate).

...

And it must be kept in mind that even in real life incest as such doesn't cause a problem - it just highly increases the risk that hereditary diseases, gene defects, and the like have a much higher likelihood to have a stronger effect on the offspring than they would have under other circumstances. But incest as such doesn't cause gene defects or hereditary diseases. That is a common misconception.

There were cultures where sibling incest wasn't uncommon at all - Egypt under Ptolemies, for instance, and even later in the early Roman times (not only the elite married their sisters but many common people, too), the Persian kings, and marriage among half-siblings also was a very common practice in Egypt prior to the Ptolemies.

Yes, this is correct. Incest also creates problems the more closely you are related.

Cleopatra VII's ancestors were mostly in-bred. In her case it didn't seem to have made much difference, but it's worth noting that she died before turning 40. It would have been interesting to see how long she'd have lived had she reached old age, as someone with her lifestyle should have expected somewhere her 60s or early 70s. An early death from natural causes would likely have been a side-effect of being an in-bred person.

As disgusting as they are, Craster's incestuous relationships would be genetically problematic, but not certainly so. If his children then bred among themselves again, though, the probability of genetic issues would rise.

After three generations of close in-breeding in real life, the most likely outcome is that the fertilised egg won't be viable. There's a very high chance it might develop a little, but then miscarry. :( 

The Targs were also breeding cousin to cousin, nephew to niece and so on. The high rate of brother-sister relationships, which are the most dangerous, is what led to the continuous madness among them.

Aerys is realistically portrayed. His early years seem to have been more or less fine, but he seems to have hit early onset dementia or a similar cognitive disorder that made him become mentally unstable as a young adult. This is a realistic outcome from close in-breeding, as the most detrimental effects aren't always seen until after childhood. Similarly, Viserys seems to have deteriorated as a young adult; Dany's descriptions of him as a child indicate he was independent and capable enough to survive on the streets while raising his younger sister.

In-breeding could also go a long way to explaining Dany's fertility problems. Beyond the damage caused by her stillbirth, it seems that she went a long time without ovulating. Her terrible miscarriage at the end of aDwD could be associated with the trauma she'd suffered, but it's also likely that she is more prone to having delicate pregnancies as a result of her genetics.

22 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And the romanticism of gatherings and the like aside, this is most likely how things were done back in the days humanity had yet to spread all over the globe. You sleep with the people you can sleep with, not the people you would like to sleep with if you could enforce your will on reality. Meaning that - when the next clan or family is hundreds of miles away you don't have a choice but to pick a cousin or a sibling...

One would also keep in mind that average life expectancy in our early days were not more than 35 years, give or take. That gives the people there 20+ years to procreate, not a very long time. You can't afford to be overly picky, nor do you have any reason to do so.

It does depend on the culture, but most human societies eject either men or women once they reach a certain age. Even non-human species do this; it's especially common among males.

As strange as it sounds, in neolithic times they probably had longer lifespans than humans after the agricultural revolution. There was a trade-off: a steady and reliable source of food, such as cereals, and potable water, in the form of alcohol, came at the expense of a varied diet. Farming gives you lots of food, but it doesn't guarantee the variety of that food. It didn't matter, of course, for population growth because needing to devote less time to gathering food gave more time to raising children. A hunter-gatherer family might only have 2-3 children reach adulthood in their lifetimes as they have very little food surplus. An agricultural family may have 3-5 children. A poor diet means they don't live as long, but overall the human population increases much faster and the generation turnover becomes much faster.

It's all about trade-offs, at least until modern medicines. Farming reduces life expectancy but speeds up the reproduction rate. It makes for a poorer diet, but also allows for less danger to face pregnant women. It increases the likelihood of diseases, but increases the overall human resistance to such diseases. And it allows for rapid scientific inquiry, which increases your chances of living past 5.

For hunter-gatherers, there is a high risk of dying before 2, a reduced but still high chance of dying before 5 and a very high chance of dying in childbirth or in a natural disaster such as drought. Infected wounds are less likely, since they don't live in very close proximity to animals (like, in the same room), but it's less likely they'll have any medicine to stave off whatever infections come.

Using indigenous Australians or the people of the Kalahari in Africa as a guide, a society that lives a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in a stable (or at least predictable) climate zone will have lifespans between 50-70 years. In Australia it was common for men to come of age and then leave their families. They'd travel over a few years with different groups until reaching one where they didn't really know anyone. As with many human societies living in such a way, the men would be a lot older than the women when they'd finally marry, as they'd spent a fair bit of time travelling to a new group.

I taught in a community where men couldn't marry into a family if they already had a sibling or cousin of the same generation within that family. That was likely common for most human societies.

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7 hours ago, Castellan said:

I finally saw a program that was about someone who had done a genetic study of the Hapsburg's and concluded this much used example of inbreeding (their jaw) is not the result of inbreeding. It was in fact a dominant gene there from the very start - they were just damn ugly.

Do you have a link for it please? I'd love to watch it.

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@St Daga I had a really nice post ready to go when the forum just ate it :crying:

Maybe I will try again later.

I keep getting this message on a white screen that I will ask the mods about:

{"notifications":{"count":"0","data":[]},"messages":{"count":"0","data":[]}}

That is so frustrating when that happens. Spending time on a post that disappears is rather like a gut punch. Uugghh. I am not on this forum much anymore but whatever upgrade they did yesterday caused some problems with my profile picture. But that message you are getting is not something I have seen so far. 

Hope you try again if you have time. I am always interested in what you have to say, and even though we have not always agreed, I have always appreciated your opinion and the way you state it.

Edited by St Daga
clarification and spelling

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we discussed incest in an earlier thread and I recall some of your arguments from there, and I agree that all grown people should be morally free to get with any other grown willing person they wish. But it isn't right making offspring when it risks a life in state that in animals would be euthanised. The offspring is innocent and inbreeding should be avoided just like drinking and smoking during pregnancy - for the exact same reasons.

 This was your original thought that I can across and it reads to me that you think it is cruel for a person to allow a child with the possibility of a disability to be born, and that you think less of them for not choosing to abort the fetus. I understand that your stance is from the inbreeding perspective, but not all children with disabilities are born from cases of inbreeding. And how do you know that people suffer from disabilities such as Downs Syndrome more than a person suffers from a life long history of asthma?

Let's look at a disease process of asthma. Asthma has a genetic/hereditary component. If a parent has asthma, there is a chance they could pass that on to any offspring. If both parents have asthma, the chance of passing this on to offspring increases. Asthma symptoms can be treated but it cannot be cured, and some people struggle every day of their lives with asthma. I am a nurse and I have seen people come close to dying from this disease, and I know that people can die from it. I am sure that people with asthma have fears about certain activities and environments that might affect the choices they make every day, and for their whole lives. Should parents with asthma not be allowed to risk passing asthma on to their own children?

You might think this is not an even comparison to Downs or Sickle Cell Disease or Cystic Fibrosis, but we walk a thin line deciding what is worth risking and what is not work risking. I agree that is an individual choice, but parents make decisions all the time that affect their children.

 

To me its not only the medical issues (which can be truly devastating) but the act of someone willingly gambling with their offspring's life quality and seriously ruining their life-prospects that is repugnant. My argument doesn't apply for rape-victims in oppressive countries where abortions are illegal, but other than that I feel like it's not at all different from drinking and smoking and taking drugs (or beating the belly with a hammer or whatever).

As to drinking or smoking during pregnancy, well I would say that most things done in moderation are acceptable and things not done in moderation are not. For many, many years in this world, people drank alcohol during pregnancy, and you will find doctor's today who allow moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, with children showing no ill effects from the consumption.  This can be said for societies that used tobacco, although modern cigarettes have many dangerous additives that plain tobacco doesn't have. If you would like to think of a woman who drinks a beer or smokes a cigarette during pregnancy as the same as hitting yourself in the abdomen with a hammer, there is nothing I can do to change your mind.

 

Firstly, pregnant women (in countries with decent healthcare) over 40 are offered tests in order to abort foetuses with down's and other medical issues as we speak, is that nazi too?

First of all, tests are offered to help possibly diagnose a chance of a genetic disorder. These tests have nothing to do with abortion, that would be a different step completely. And these tests are not 100% accurate by any means, meaning you could get an incorrect impression from said test, possibly choosing to abort a child that carried no disease process.

 

Do you really think that all pregnant women who wishes for their kid to be healthy and avoids drink, smoke and drugs are nazis?

Nope, nor do I think of pregnant crack heads as nazi's, even though they are making poor choices. However, I do compare the comments you made earlier about culling people with disabilities from being allowed a chance at life to be similar to the eugenics propaganda of the nazi party. 

 

Secondly you completely missed my point, which was that inbreeding is super awful. Calling me a nazi is quite laughable. Eugenics is pro inbreeding you dip wad.

I never called you a nazi but if you interpreted it that way, I guess that cannot be helped. I also am not sure about debating with a person who resorts to calling people names is worth my time, but would like to clarify for other people who might read these comments.

Eugenic's is not inbreeding, although it could be under certain conditions, I suppose. Eugenics is defined as the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or eencouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics).

Inbreeding is defined as the mating of closely related individuals, as cousins, sire-daughter,brother-sister, or self-fertilized plants, which tends to increase the number of individuals that are homozygous for a trait and therefore increases the appearance of recessive traits.

These are two different things. If you read the definition of eugenics, that sounds a lot like what you were proposing up thread. Again, I didn't call you a nazi, but I did compare eugenic's to the type of super human that the nazi party was after. While they had focus on race, this research also was based on hair and eye color, height, weight, and physical beauty, as well as health related issues. The nazi party used a term "racial hygeine" to describe their breeding plans but while looking for desired traits to pass on to offspring, they very strongly wanted to avoid inbreeding in the subjects they used.

 

Of course its good. Every down*-kid later born will be wanted and not abandoned in orphanages en masse (which happens in countries with bad healthcare and/or criminalised abortions).

Its only a bad thing if you value high prevalence of people with downs* higher than you do peoples wish not to have downs* themselves or wanting it for their offspring.

* I just wrote down's but it works for all the medical issues discussed.

My youngest brother has Down's Syndrome, so I believe that I speak with some personal knowledge and experience, and while I don't know your background, I do think mine is important in this argument. I don't care what you think, but I will tell you my brother has been the greatest blessing to my entire family. A person with special needs, while sometimes challenging and frustrating, can make you a better person, as it teaches you patience, understanding, acceptance, and unconditional love.

My parents did not know that he was going to be born with Down's, but have both plainly stated that had they known, they would have done nothing different and had him and raised him, just as they did.  Some people are given this choice and make a different choice than my parents. That is fine. I don't judge that. It is not an easy path to raise a special needs child. I will state that my brother, who is 40 this year, is moderately functioning, was mainlined into school classes and graduated from high school. He now lives individually in an apartment that is supervised by a group home (and my parents) to help with finances, shopping, transportation, etc. He has a job, and while you might not be impressed by it, he is loyal to it, and goes to work every day with pride.

Besides poor hearing related to smaller than average ear canals, and being shorter than average, my brother is perfectly healthy. He does not have cardiac issues or thyroid issues that can be prevalent with Down's people, nor issues with his musculoskeletal system. He does wear eye glasses but so do myself, my other brother, and both of my parents. 

As to the second part of your statement, yes, I do place a high value on people with Downs Syndrome, but no higher than I place on all people. Children all over the world can be abandoned to orphanages, although I am sure that children with disabilities do have a greater chance of this. My cousin adopted two girls from Russia approx 20 years ago, and while they have no genetic problems, they do have some mental scarring from life before their adoption which was a challenge to overcome at times. They were abandoned to an orphanage related to poverty and one parents death and the other being unable to support them. An orphanage was seen by the surviving parent as a better option for the sister's than being being raised in poverty. Down's is a medical condition, but any person can be abandoned at any time, and for many reasons.

Another genetic disorder is albinism. Albinism is something that could show up as a possible risk for genetic testing. Albinism carries risks factors for vision problems, skin diseases and lung diseases; some people are born with these problems, some are not. Albino's in some areas of Africa are often feared, reviled and even hunted, but that does not apply to all of Africa, or other places in the world. But do the people with this genetic disorder not deserve a chance at life? Perhaps if parent had a choice, they would not have children if they knew they carried this gene code, but perhaps they still would. If a child had a choice to live or die, he might rather be born an albino than to a household of alcoholic's or addict's. I suppose each case is very individual.

*see my above comments on asthma

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@St Daga:

 

Old Nan's stories are interesting. Perhaps the Other's were coming for children of certain blood during the Long Night, as well? Once they got what they wanted, perhaps they retreated? Not saying I believe that necessarily, but it's a possibility.   I think lot's of things are possible in this story, and GRRM only let's us know what he wants us to know, and then reveals the rest very slowly.

Sure, there are lots of possibilities, but the question I'd ask is why on earth we should consider those possibilities to be very likely. I mean, we do have strong evidence that a magical trait runs in the Targaryen family, but there are no so such hints at this point in relation to skinchanger/greenseer thing.

And then there is the fact that certain magics can actually be learned, like glamors, shadowbinding, blood magic, etc.

If we had gotten hints about multiple Stark kings or lords who were wargs I'd be the first to assume that this trait runs in the family. But there are no such cases.

What we have is evidence that there are family traits - looks, behavior, characteristics. There are cold and 'wolf-blooded' (i.e. hot-headed) Starks, blond, green-eyed, and arrogant Lannisters, some with cruel tendencies, belligerent, quarrelsome, and stubborn Durrandon-Baratheons, etc.

 

It is possible the geneticist was discussing a much more modern stallion. I am no expert either.

No, no, it was about the roots of horse-breeding back in ancient times.

 

The CotF might have figured it out, but they majority of them are dead now. Why they truly turned to the giants or humans is up to debate. Perhaps all the children with this gene were killed, forcing them to look elsewhere for the gene. And we know that this story tells us how important things are forgotten in time. Joer Mormont laments this often.

Or it is just as the Children tell Bran: A certain percentage of people are blessed/cursed with the gift of greenseeing. And there is no further explanation to the entire thing.

 

I think she is. I think there is something in the Tully blood that might come down from the Lothston line. Speculation, of course, but I see Catelyn as having a sort of Cassandra complex, as if she knows things or has premonitions, but when she tries to affect things, it all goes from bad to worse. I think Lysa and Sweetrobin might have this same ability, and I think it is manifesting in Catelyn's children. Time will tell if I have cracked my pot, or not!

Oh, I speculated about the Tullys having Lothston blood, too, but my take is that this might be there way to have some Targaryen blood (because the Lothston that married into House Tully may have descended from one of the Lothstons fathered by Aegon IV), possibly explaining how Beric could resurrect Catelyn.

The idea behind that is that only people with 'the blood of the dragon' can be brought back by the R'hllorian 'kiss of fire' thing which, as I speculated, may have been a spell originally created by Valyrian sorcerers.

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 This was your original thought that I can across and it reads to me that you think it is cruel for a person to allow a child with the possibility of a disability to be born, and that you think less of them for not choosing to abort the fetus. I understand that your stance is from the inbreeding perspective, but not all children with disabilities are born from cases of inbreeding. And how do you know that people suffer from disabilities such as Downs Syndrome more than a person suffers from a life long history of asthma?

Let's look at a disease process of asthma. Asthma has a genetic/hereditary component. If a parent has asthma, there is a chance they could pass that on to any offspring. If both parents have asthma, the chance of passing this on to offspring increases. Asthma symptoms can be treated but it cannot be cured, and some people struggle every day of their lives with asthma. I am a nurse and I have seen people come close to dying from this disease, and I know that people can die from it. I am sure that people with asthma have fears about certain activities and environments that might affect the choices they make every day, and for their whole lives. Should parents with asthma not be allowed to risk passing asthma on to their own children?

You might think this is not an even comparison to Downs or Sickle Cell Disease or Cystic Fibrosis, but we walk a thin line deciding what is worth risking and what is not work risking. I agree that is an individual choice, but parents make decisions all the time that affect their children.

As to drinking or smoking during pregnancy, well I would say that most things done in moderation are acceptable and things not done in moderation are not. For many, many years in this world, people drank alcohol during pregnancy, and you will find doctor's today who allow moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, with children showing no ill effects from the consumption.  This can be said for societies that used tobacco, although modern cigarettes have many dangerous additives that plain tobacco doesn't have. If you would like to think of a woman who drinks a beer or smokes a cigarette during pregnancy as the same as hitting yourself in the abdomen with a hammer, there is nothing I can do to change your mind.

First of all, tests are offered to help possibly diagnose a chance of a genetic disorder. These tests have nothing to do with abortion, that would be a different step completely. And these tests are not 100% accurate by any means, meaning you could get an incorrect impression from said test, possibly choosing to abort a child that carried no disease process.

Nope, nor do I think of pregnant crack heads as nazi's, even though they are making poor choices. However, I do compare the comments you made earlier about culling people with disabilities from being allowed a chance at life to be similar to the eugenics propaganda of the nazi party. 

I never called you a nazi but if you interpreted it that way, I guess that cannot be helped. I also am not sure about debating with a person who resorts to calling people names is worth my time, but would like to clarify for other people who might read these comments.

Eugenic's is not inbreeding, although it could be under certain conditions, I suppose. Eugenics is defined as the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or eencouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics).

Inbreeding is defined as the mating of closely related individuals, as cousins, sire-daughter,brother-sister, or self-fertilized plants, which tends to increase the number of individuals that are homozygous for a trait and therefore increases the appearance of recessive traits.

These are two different things. If you read the definition of eugenics, that sounds a lot like what you were proposing up thread. Again, I didn't call you a nazi, but I did compare eugenic's to the type of super human that the nazi party was after. While they had focus on race, this research also was based on hair and eye color, height, weight, and physical beauty, as well as health related issues. The nazi party used a term "racial hygeine" to describe their breeding plans but while looking for desired traits to pass on to offspring, they very strongly wanted to avoid inbreeding in the subjects they used.

My youngest brother has Down's Syndrome, so I believe that I speak with some personal knowledge and experience, and while I don't know your background, I do think mine is important in this argument. I don't care what you think, but I will tell you my brother has been the greatest blessing to my entire family. A person with special needs, while sometimes challenging and frustrating, can make you a better person, as it teaches you patience, understanding, acceptance, and unconditional love.

My parents did not know that he was going to be born with Down's, but have both plainly stated that had they known, they would have done nothing different and had him and raised him, just as they did.  Some people are given this choice and make a different choice than my parents. That is fine. I don't judge that. It is not an easy path to raise a special needs child. I will state that my brother, who is 40 this year, is moderately functioning, was mainlined into school classes and graduated from high school. He now lives individually in an apartment that is supervised by a group home (and my parents) to help with finances, shopping, transportation, etc. He has a job, and while you might not be impressed by it, he is loyal to it, and goes to work every day with pride.

Besides poor hearing related to smaller than average ear canals, and being shorter than average, my brother is perfectly healthy. He does not have cardiac issues or thyroid issues that can be prevalent with Down's people, nor issues with his musculoskeletal system. He does wear eye glasses but so do myself, my other brother, and both of my parents. 

As to the second part of your statement, yes, I do place a high value on people with Downs Syndrome, but no higher than I place on all people. Children all over the world can be abandoned to orphanages, although I am sure that children with disabilities do have a greater chance of this. My cousin adopted two girls from Russia approx 20 years ago, and while they have no genetic problems, they do have some mental scarring from life before their adoption which was a challenge to overcome at times. They were abandoned to an orphanage related to poverty and one parents death and the other being unable to support them. An orphanage was seen by the surviving parent as a better option for the sister's than being being raised in poverty. Down's is a medical condition, but any person can be abandoned at any time, and for many reasons.

Another genetic disorder is albinism. Albinism is something that could show up as a possible risk for genetic testing. Albinism carries risks factors for vision problems, skin diseases and lung diseases; some people are born with these problems, some are not. Albino's in some areas of Africa are often feared, reviled and even hunted, but that does not apply to all of Africa, or other places in the world. But do the people with this genetic disorder not deserve a chance at life? Perhaps if parent had a choice, they would not have children if they knew they carried this gene code, but perhaps they still would. If a child had a choice to live or die, he might rather be born an albino than to a household of alcoholic's or addict's. I suppose each case is very individual.

*see my above comments on asthma

Did I say Down's-people suffer more? And what difference would it make? No and none.

I find your argument quite oppressive: you'd bulldoze right over peoples wants and wishes just because YOU find high down's-prevalence in society great? 

And you don't think it matters what these unwanted children has to live through because normal kids can get abandoned too? Thats a logic fallacy I'm not buying.

I'm glad that your brother is fine and awesome by the sound of it. Most people with down's aren't so lucky.

 

I'm gonna summarise my argument for you: needless suffering should be avoided. Nobody has the right to squash another persons life prospects by recklessness or personal taste. If you disagree you are technically a dip wad.

 

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