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Incest Deficiencies, or lack thereof

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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).

@Sigella: Well, in the end all pregnancies are gambles. I'd agree that it is pretty cold-blooded to go along with a pregnancy if the chances are 25-50% that the child turns out to suffer from diseases that drastically reduce quality of life (or make the pregnancy as such a gamble with the child's life) but there are people doing that.

Just having one sibling incest thing isn't in that category, though. Especially if the siblings in question weren't at a heightened risk of transferring genes that might cause hereditary diseases and the like.

 

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

Well, the way ST dealt - or not deal until Bashir came along (I really realized how great I found that plot line on my last re-watch of DS9 - with genetic engineering is actually and interesting. Bashir is very much in the right that he is not, in fact, an abomination or a danger and if/when we are capable of creating Bashirs of our own there is no reason to do so.

The whole Eugenics Wars thing only was a thing because the people creating those specimen didn't really know what they were doing. Once people know how to create better humans - stronger, healthier, smarter ones - there isn't really a reason not to do this.

But that is another discussion entirely, and would have basically nothing to do with breeding and incest.

@Yukle

 

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.

Cleopatra VII actually seems to have been the daughter of a bastard cadet branch of the Ptolemian royal line, so she wasn't as inbred as many of her predecessors. Her father, Ptolemy XII Auletes wasn't a trueborn son of Ptolemy IX, so things are not as obvious there as one might think.

The Ptolemies also started the whole incest thing rather late in their reign - Ptolemy I didn't marry a sister, and while Ptolemy II did he only married said sister once she was a widow, long after he had children by his first wife. Ptolemy III was the first who actually had any children by his sister.

But indeed - what little we can gather from this history isn't that those close kin marriage had any problematic effect on the saneness or health issues on the members of the royal family.

And as I've said earlier - there are tax lists from the early Roman era of Egypt confirming that sibling incest was very common in Egypt at that time, making it not very likely that such practices have a lasting impact on the function of a society.

 

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.

Actually, polygamy can lead to inbred societies as the example of the horses I gave up there confirms. I saw an article a while back on one of those Mormon sects practicing polygamy in the US where the fact that many of the people in the community are descended from only one father - a man who has dozens or more wives - did cause a lot of hereditary diseases to spread in that community because the father spread them there.

Craster producing offspring on his own daughters would cause a similar problem, if he and his children carried defective/problematic genes, and ended up spreading them in a smaller community.

 

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. :(

Still, many an island population would have developed into a new species that way. As long as fertility doesn't disappear entirely life continues.

 

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.

Cousin to cousin over a long period of time is nearly/just as worse as a shorter period of sibling incest. And in that sense most of the nobility of Westeros are very much inbred, if not incestuous as such.

 

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.

I actually don't think we have sufficient evidence to make generalized statements such as this. In societies/circumstances where the survival of the family/clan - and the surroundings they considering their territory - can only support a certain number of people this makes sense, but what I was talking about was basically the days when humanity first spread around the globe. There would have been more than enough space and resources for everyone, and while people were only numbering a few in a given region they would simply not just separating for no reason.

I mean, if we imagine how we conduct business today it is not unlikely that larger expeditions and the like would have been made by close kin/families who cared for each other. Now, if a number of those roam new lands, seldom/never interacting with other people then you will have a population of hundreds of cousins who are all inbred to various degrees. That's pretty much inevitable.

Even if the original people starting this population weren't all that closely related to each other (already unlikely in a clan structure) then their descendants most certainly would be.

With all endangered species today it is basically the same. They are down to a few hundreds or dozens of individuals, and even they are not already inbred, their descendants most definitely will be.

Even species that are not endangered all that much - like cheetahs - are very much inbred because they went through a bottleneck some time in the past.

 

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.

There is some truth to that, as far as I know, with farming and grain making tooth decay a very important issue, but considering that life expectancy should still have been pretty low considering the prevalence of accidents, sickness, and exposure to the elements. It might have been somewhat better back over in Africa, but in Europe in the Ice Age things should have been different.

But be that as it may, there aren't really all that good data to assess that kind of thing.

The point I'm making is that individuals will mate with their parents, siblings, and cousins when there are no other sex partners around. That is inevitable considering the strength of sex drive and - in human beings - the desire for companionship and company.

And, of course, if things go awry then the population we are talking about might just die out, just as many dog breeds humanity created would in real life. But many other might survive.

I mean, you can do those studies in island populations. How many turtles, iguanas, finches, etc. originally made it to the Galapagos islands? Most likely not that many. Their descendants would all be interrelated - at least those who continued to breed amongst each other (many did not, explaining the differences between the various Darwin finches, turtles, etc. on the islands.

 

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.

The examples you give seem to come from rather extreme environments where food and resources are scarce. There this kind of thing makes sense. Not so much in regions where you simply have to stand up to find something edible (like a tropical forest or even some lush Asian or European forest).

And there are fossil remains testifying that the stone age people did care for their crippled and disabled just as any decent human being would - making it very likely that the general tendency to stick with your family rather than going on some sort of romantic knight errant venture was always a very strong tendency in our species. You go if you have to - but if you don't have to (and feel at home with your family) you remain with them until the day you die.

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59 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Cleopatra VII actually seems to have been the daughter of a bastard cadet branch of the Ptolemian royal line, so she wasn't as inbred as many of her predecessors. Her father, Ptolemy XII Auletes wasn't a trueborn son of Ptolemy IX, so things are not as obvious there as one might think.

The Ptolemies also started the whole incest thing rather late in their reign - Ptolemy I didn't marry a sister, and while Ptolemy II did he only married said sister once she was a widow, long after he had children by his first wife. Ptolemy III was the first who actually had any children by his sister.

...

And as I've said earlier - there are tax lists from the early Roman era of Egypt confirming that sibling incest was very common in Egypt at that time, making it not very likely that such practices have a lasting impact on the function of a society.

Actually, polygamy can lead to inbred societies as the example of the horses I gave up there confirms. I saw an article a while back on one of those Mormon sects practicing polygamy in the US where the fact that many of the people in the community are descended from only one father - a man who has dozens or more wives - did cause a lot of hereditary diseases to spread in that community because the father spread them there.

...

I actually don't think we have sufficient evidence to make generalized statements such as this. In societies/circumstances where the survival of the family/clan - and the surroundings they considering their territory - can only support a certain number of people this makes sense, but what I was talking about was basically the days when humanity first spread around the globe. There would have been more than enough space and resources for everyone, and while people were only numbering a few in a given region they would simply not just separating for no reason.

I mean, if we imagine how we conduct business today it is not unlikely that larger expeditions and the like would have been made by close kin/families who cared for each other. Now, if a number of those roam new lands, seldom/never interacting with other people then you will have a population of hundreds of cousins who are all inbred to various degrees. That's pretty much inevitable.

Even if the original people starting this population weren't all that closely related to each other (already unlikely in a clan structure) then their descendants most certainly would be.

With all endangered species today it is basically the same. They are down to a few hundreds or dozens of individuals, and even they are not already inbred, their descendants most definitely will be.

Even species that are not endangered all that much - like cheetahs - are very much inbred because they went through a bottleneck some time in the past.

There is some truth to that, as far as I know, with farming and grain making tooth decay a very important issue, but considering that life expectancy should still have been pretty low considering the prevalence of accidents, sickness, and exposure to the elements. It might have been somewhat better back over in Africa, but in Europe in the Ice Age things should have been different.

But be that as it may, there aren't really all that good data to assess that kind of thing.

...

And there are fossil remains testifying that the stone age people did care for their crippled and disabled just as any decent human being would - making it very likely that the general tendency to stick with your family rather than going on some sort of romantic knight errant venture was always a very strong tendency in our species. You go if you have to - but if you don't have to (and feel at home with your family) you remain with them until the day you die.

It's hard to use Roman written records for anything much because they didn't see siblings in the same way that we do now. You could sometimes decide somebody was your son or daughter through adoption. You were meant to include this in your name (so for instance Gaius Octavius became Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus) but the last name wasn't essential in written documents. Certainly in-breeding was common, but it rarely lasted longer than three generations as the babies often just can't survive pregnancy. It's not a certain thing, just the probability of genetic issues increases.

As for hunter-gatherer lifestyles, there's heaps of data, it's not too hard to find. It's not that hard to guess how old somebody was when they died if you have their skull. Also, while it's not perfect, it's not that hard to compare extant societies today with societies of the past. You have to assume some differences, of course. For instance, the people of North Africa who today live "traditionally" will often still collect wild millet. But that millet is based on the modern, specially bred millet that is far more nutritious than what existed 10,000 years ago.

In terms of data for in-breeding, it's true that a population of migrants will have more inbreeding than the population that didn't emigrate. That's a function of population size. But even having children with cousins is much less problematic than children with siblings. The existing skeletons and teeth we have show that most people can't have been genetic siblings when they bred. It's impossible to tell with the really old fossils, like 100,000 years old, but the ones much later, such as 20,000 years old can still have their mitochondrial DNA tested. It's not perfectly reliable, but it's good enough to tell that human groups had males and females who didn't descend from the same maternal line living in close proximity.

This is how, for instance, we know that humans in Eurasia bred with neanderthals but that humans in sub-Saharan Africa didn't. There are some assumptions that can be inferred from this, although we don't know them for certain. Firstly: sapiens and neanderthals probably must  have been close enough in brain and language capacity to interact intimately. They shared tools and even relationships. However, most of their children would have been infertile as they were different species. In order for there to eventually be fertile offspring from different species it generally takes many attempts. It's not impossible, just highly unlikely. So the probable outcome is that there was a high level of migration between the two species, with lots of crossover and movement. As a result, essentially all Eurasians have neanderthal DNA, and all such humans lived as part of societies with fluid migration.

Further evidence for life expectancy comes from looking at the bone density of skeletons, especially femurs. Another strange quirk of evolution is that humans of the past were stronger, more muscled and heavier than equivalent sized people today. Large bodies take energy and farming reduces the need for it, so it's not essential for us now. Foot prints uncovered in Tanzania and south-Eastern Australia indicate a typical man of 40,000 years ago was perhaps 190-200cm tall. They could sprint at 40-50km/h (which is Olympian fast), which is calculated from the depth of the depressions and lengths of the stride. In the case of the footprints found in Lake Mungo, Australia, it's even possible that a one-legged man was hunting and able to move at nearly the same speed!

The density of the femurs and healing of stress fractures indicate men were living to at least 50. There's always disputes, of course, hence the wide range of estimates, but some skulls and femurs suggest that people lived to 70. This was not necessarily typical, but certainly even the most pessimistic estimate has hunter-gatherers outliving farmers for millennia.

Brain sizes increased for a long time (and are now decreasing again, although it's also possible that brain wrinkling is increasing, so overall brain capacity is the same). Most large mammals seem to have defensive instincts that reject in-breeding. It's unrealistic that humans don't have the same thing. In terms of brain ability, humans 20,000 years ago were probably the same as us. They had generations of observations to tell them that inbreeding led to sick children.

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15 hours ago, Yukle said:

It's hard to use Roman written records for anything much because they didn't see siblings in the same way that we do now. You could sometimes decide somebody was your son or daughter through adoption. You were meant to include this in your name (so for instance Gaius Octavius became Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus) but the last name wasn't essential in written documents. Certainly in-breeding was common, but it rarely lasted longer than three generations as the babies often just can't survive pregnancy. It's not a certain thing, just the probability of genetic issues increases.

Those are actually tax lists and stuff from Egyptian papyri and the like, and while one can speculate whether those were actually sisters or not, etc., the fact remains that those things look like incestuous marriages on a rather large scale.

People have brought up this adoption idea but the fact remains, as this article here https://lirias.kuleuven.be/bitstream/123456789/208733/2/Journal concludes, that unions we would describe as incestuous (marriages among half-sibling, and the like) were very common in the area at that time.

But this is just Egypt. We have other cultures were those kinds of things were accepted and okay. That doesn't necessarily mean everybody did it, but then - if individuals survive and mate natural selection will either kill the next generation entirely, killing an incestuous bloodline, or only the defective individuals will die out, possibly creating a branch of individuals that work as fine as the others (or at least adequately enough to procreate.

Also note that even if devastating effects on the offspring were happening, then this mental leap to connect that to the incest may simply not have been made. While fertility and survival rate may have dropped there is no reason to assume that this led the people to draw the conclusion they should no longer marry their sisters.

I mean, the Hapsburg and other medieval inbreeding among nobility was never actually connected to them marrying their cousins and nieces again and again. The explanations put forth for madness and sickness were, as usual in such societies, curses, the wrath of god, etc.

Even in the 20th century Elizabeth II chose to marry a cousin of hers in Prince Philip (which, considering the amount of cousin marriages that should be found in the lineage of the British kings, not exactly be the best of ideas), while Prince Charles got off on the fact that Camilla was the descendant of one of the mistresses of his ancestors. 

If people had suspected that to marry amongst your own is bad they simply wouldn't have done it.

In fact, those cultures of today who still have many (arranged) cousin marriages usually adamantly refuse to believe that those marriage traditions are to be blamed for the health issues from hereditary diseases some of them are suffering from - after all, that would put the blame on the parents and grandparents arranging such matches, and people don't want to be responsible for the suffering of their children, no?

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As for hunter-gatherer lifestyles, there's heaps of data, it's not too hard to find. It's not that hard to guess how old somebody was when they died if you have their skull. Also, while it's not perfect, it's not that hard to compare extant societies today with societies of the past. You have to assume some differences, of course. For instance, the people of North Africa who today live "traditionally" will often still collect wild millet. But that millet is based on the modern, specially bred millet that is far more nutritious than what existed 10,000 years ago.

I'm not expert on that kind of thing, but I do know that fossils of human beings are, on average, not very well-preserved and that it always accidental what individual is (partially) preserved and found eventually. 

There certainly might be parallels between contemporary and extinct hunter-gatherer cultures, but we don't know that for a certainty - or rather: we don't know the extent of the parallels for a certainty.

That a percentage of people would always have reached a very old age I'd never deny. There is no question about that. And, frankly, I don't know how people reached the conclusion about the about 35 years life expectancy for the stone age. It is just a number I heard again quite recently when visiting this place close to the place I was born:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogelherd_Cave

They even found Neaderthals in there, although not at the same time as homo sapiens.

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In terms of data for in-breeding, it's true that a population of migrants will have more inbreeding than the population that didn't emigrate. That's a function of population size. But even having children with cousins is much less problematic than children with siblings. The existing skeletons and teeth we have show that most people can't have been genetic siblings when they bred. It's impossible to tell with the really old fossils, like 100,000 years old, but the ones much later, such as 20,000 years old can still have their mitochondrial DNA tested. It's not perfectly reliable, but it's good enough to tell that human groups had males and females who didn't descend from the same maternal line living in close proximity.

Just to clarify: I never said I think ancient people routinely had offspring with their siblings or parents. I'm just saying I'm pretty sure it happened, and I'm also pretty sure it may have happened more often than people would believe it did.

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This is how, for instance, we know that humans in Eurasia bred with neanderthals but that humans in sub-Saharan Africa didn't. There are some assumptions that can be inferred from this, although we don't know them for certain. Firstly: sapiens and neanderthals probably must  have been close enough in brain and language capacity to interact intimately. They shared tools and even relationships. However, most of their children would have been infertile as they were different species. In order for there to eventually be fertile offspring from different species it generally takes many attempts. It's not impossible, just highly unlikely. So the probable outcome is that there was a high level of migration between the two species, with lots of crossover and movement. As a result, essentially all Eurasians have neanderthal DNA, and all such humans lived as part of societies with fluid migration.

Oh, didn't they qualify the Neanderthals as sub-species of homo sapiens? Homo sapiens sapiens (us) and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis? 

Be that as it may, if they are just a sub-species then procreation is still possible. One has to keep in mind that differences in the present human population are so small that there is no taxonomic justification for talk about sub-species or races. Skin color, hair color, eye shape, etc. are not nearly enough to make such distinctions - and if you look at the various dog breeds you see how insanely different various sub-species can get while still retaining the ability to breed.

The amount of Neanderthal genes some present human populations retain to various degrees might also be to the fact that there were not many such unions, not many descendants from such unions happened to survive in the present, etc.

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Most large mammals seem to have defensive instincts that reject in-breeding. It's unrealistic that humans don't have the same thing.

I don't know enough about large animals to talk much about that, but the Westermarck effect seems to be more myth than fact - what stops from lying with out siblings are cultural factors, not so much biological reality. 

I can certainly see a modern group of siblings/close relations stranding on a lonely island successfully resisting the drive to have sex among each other due to their culturally ingrained incest taboo. But a culture lacking that taboo should have less of a problem with that.

The arbitrariness of the incest taboo can be seen by the fact that cultural institutions like marriage, adoption, etc. also figure into what you consider to be incestuous. Many cultures don't want people to marry their stepparents, adopted family members, the widows/widowers of dead siblings, etc., never mind that there is no biological reason whatsoever that could make this kind of thing even remotely problematic.

People are taught today to look at their family members differently than at 'the outside world'. But there is no reason to believe that this was always the case.

Edited by Lord Varys

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1 minute ago, Lord Varys said:

Those are actually tax lists and stuff from Egyptian papyri and the like, and while one can speculate whether those were actually sisters or not, etc., the fact remains that those things look like incestuous marriages on a rather large scale.

...

In fact, those cultures of today who still have many (arranged) cousin marriages usually adamantly refuse to believe that those marriage traditions are to be blamed for the health issues from hereditary diseases some of them are suffering from - after all, that would put the blame on the parents and grandparents arranging such matches, and people don't want to be responsible for the suffering of their children, no?

...

There certainly might be parallels between contemporary and extinct hunter-gatherer cultures, but we don't know that for a certainty - or rather: we don't know the extent of the parallels for a certainty.

...

They even found Neaderthals in there, although not at the same time as homo sapiens.

Just to clarify: I never said I think ancient people routinely had offspring with their siblings or parents. I'm just saying I'm pretty sure it happened, and I'm also pretty sure it may have happened more often than people would believe it did.

Oh, didn't they qualify the Neanderthals as sub-species of homo sapiens? Homo sapiens sapiens (us) and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis? 

 

Oh, I see. In that case, yes, in-breeding was widespread. Not so much brother-sister, but all other types yeah. Not common, not uncommon. Truth be told, one generation of brother-sister inbreeding - genetically - isn't supremely harmful (don't do it though, ew). Add in a second, though, and a third and so on.

Certainly it happened. The easiest way to prove it is to just run the maths backwards. You need two parents, four grandparents and eight great-grand parents and so. Estimates of how many humans have ever lived vary but more than 100 billion is a ballpark guess based on fossil records, food sources and so on.

Well, if you run the maths backwards for 100,000 years you have well and truly exceeded 100 billion unique humans, so in-breeding happened. Brother-sister probably not, but certainly cousins were probably normal.

You're right that there are limits to how present hunter-gatherers and ancient ones lived, but it's a good starting point. You then see if their lifestyle fits with what we find about fossils. The hardest part is that the areas that best preserve fossils are deserts and these are the areas that almost certainly had the fewest humans living in them. So there's a lot of extrapolation and speculation. Most reading I've done, though, is pretty consistent about family sizes and migrations and so on. Although there's always the caveat that desert populations migrated by necessity, as did the people living in Eurasia during the Ice Age. Outside of those times the fossil records are harder to find (without an ice age it's harder to preserve fossils) and so we have less to go on.

As for neanderthals being a different species, it doesn't help that the term "species" isn't entirely fixed. :P Normally it means two animals can breed and give birth to live young that are also fertile. But with enough attempts this can sometimes happen anyway. A mule, for instance, can very rarely be fertile.

Neanderthal skull structure, suggesting a nearly entirely carnivorous diet, their different limb shape, larger nasal cavities, increased muscle bulk and stockier stature - as well as DNA evidence, where their DNA sticks out like a sore bum - means they were probably a different species. But admittedly my ancient history reading is rusty (except Australia) since I don't have to do that for work at the moment. :P

You're entirely correct in that in-breeding happened, though. It's impossible to tell how often - and it was likely not brother-sister. But I'd be fairly confident that most human cultures didn't bother keeping track of who their cousins were. That's just my suspicion, though.

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14 hours ago, Yukle said:

Oh, I see. In that case, yes, in-breeding was widespread. Not so much brother-sister, but all other types yeah. Not common, not uncommon. Truth be told, one generation of brother-sister inbreeding - genetically - isn't supremely harmful (don't do it though, ew). Add in a second, though, and a third and so on.

Well, there have been investigations on the mummies of the rather strongly inbred members of the 18th dynasty (Akhenaten and company) and they seem to have been pretty viable. Higher child mortality/fertility/pregnancy issues doesn't necessarily mean no children are born. It just gets harder.

14 hours ago, Yukle said:

Well, if you run the maths backwards for 100,000 years you have well and truly exceeded 100 billion unique humans, so in-breeding happened. Brother-sister probably not, but certainly cousins were probably normal.

Well, there has been empirical research indicating that 20% of people or so actually do make incestuous erotic experiences throughout their lives - and that in modern day society. There is not much information on this kind of thing since very few people are forthcoming on this topic for obvious reasons. However, the whole thing about incestuous sibling couples who only chance upon each other later in life is very well-known - this happens again and again, and in our day and age there is really no reason to thing that this kind of thing deserves criminal punishment - or moral condemnation, etc.

So I daresay the chances are very high that this kind of thing happened much more often in societies where there was no cultural taboo on this kind of thing.

This doesn't mean all incestuous sexual acts have to lead to pregnancies, of course, but one assumes the chances was much higher back in the days when birth control was very unreliable or not really existing.

14 hours ago, Yukle said:

You're right that there are limits to how present hunter-gatherers and ancient ones lived, but it's a good starting point. You then see if their lifestyle fits with what we find about fossils. The hardest part is that the areas that best preserve fossils are deserts and these are the areas that almost certainly had the fewest humans living in them. So there's a lot of extrapolation and speculation. Most reading I've done, though, is pretty consistent about family sizes and migrations and so on. Although there's always the caveat that desert populations migrated by necessity, as did the people living in Eurasia during the Ice Age. Outside of those times the fossil records are harder to find (without an ice age it's harder to preserve fossils) and so we have less to go on.

What I'm skeptical about is more our ability to precisely determine how old the individuals whose fossils were found are, and what caused their deaths. Some illnesses affecting the bones can be determined, of course, but aside from that there must be a lot of speculation there.

But again, I'm not an expert on those matters. Making good guesses how many individuals lived at some place would be another matter.

14 hours ago, Yukle said:

As for neanderthals being a different species, it doesn't help that the term "species" isn't entirely fixed. :P Normally it means two animals can breed and give birth to live young that are also fertile. But with enough attempts this can sometimes happen anyway. A mule, for instance, can very rarely be fertile.

Sure, those are categories designed by humans, they do not necessarily fit with the details of biology ;-). I mean, as far as I know it has yet to be determined whether humans and apes can still procreate or not (in the lab, of course, not in real life). I'd be interested to find that out, but as of yet this wasn't tried (as far as I know) for ethical reasons. The gap is not that deep between chimps and humans, and one assumes that it was even less deep between present-day humans and all the varieties that were running around once.

14 hours ago, Yukle said:

Neanderthal skull structure, suggesting a nearly entirely carnivorous diet, their different limb shape, larger nasal cavities, increased muscle bulk and stockier stature - as well as DNA evidence, where their DNA sticks out like a sore bum - means they were probably a different species. But admittedly my ancient history reading is rusty (except Australia) since I don't have to do that for work at the moment. :P

Again, no expert on the matter. But if can get offspring out of tigers and lions I daresay Neanderthals and homo sapiens are much closer related ;-).

14 hours ago, Yukle said:

You're entirely correct in that in-breeding happened, though. It's impossible to tell how often - and it was likely not brother-sister. But I'd be fairly confident that most human cultures didn't bother keeping track of who their cousins were. That's just my suspicion, though.

Sure, the whole inbreeding thing I originally meant was also the whole clan structure thing. Take a population of originally already related, say, 20 individuals living in isolation for 200 years. By then they will be inbred rather heavily, no matter whether there were any sibling incest offspring there or not.

To get it back on track to ASoIaF we have here a series where inbreeding is not only part of the Targaryen back story (where also the whole 'blood of the dragon' thing features heavily, possibly adding more to the concept than just the incest custom) but also, simply by brute fact of biology and the passing of thousands of years, of the nobility of Westeros. The elites from which our characters come from are all heavily inbred to various degrees, and I think the point of those special Baratheon, Stark, Lannister, Tully, etc. looks we hear about is implicit confirmation/recognition of that fact.

The smallfolk bound to the land (for instance, those poor guys forced to live in the villages sworn to Eustace Osgrey in TSS) are also likely pretty inbred, too. Not only would rich peasants marry amongst their own (like the nobles do, too) but the poorer people, unable to travel around all that much, would marry their neighbors or the neighbors of their neighbors, and if your family has been stuck at the same place for a millennium, say, then those neighbors wouldn't only be your neighbors - they would also be your cousins.

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Do the posters think GRRM knows all this genetic stuff when he's writing the characters? It's seems to me that his understanding of genetics comes from simple Mendelian logic. Though geneticists now know that genes and heredity is more complicated.

I suppose most people not awfully familiar with genetics think that babies born of incest somehow come out deformed because of deliberate misinformation (like seriously, do majority of people need to told not to bang their siblings?) But most isolated or stationary populations, as several people here have pointed out, would actually be more inbred than they think they are. Especially populations stuck on islands or in small, isolated towns, where people would just marry others close by, who are likely to be related to them. 

In any case, GRRM is associating dragon affinity with some form of madness in Targs. So I guess that's the "deformity" associated with incest? 

This reminds me of this news article I recently read about an island of colorblind people. There's this tiny isolated island called Pingelap where an usually high percentage of the population is colorblind because of a common ancestor. The island suffered a tsunami back in the day that killed everyone except 20 people including the king, who was colorblind. The king then took it upon himself to repopulate the island by having as many children as possible. Then those children had children, passing down the colorblind trait. Now the island's population is up to 10% colorblind, a significantly high rate than the global average (I suppose country too). Reading that story reminded me of the Targs. 

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On 5/8/2018 at 10:26 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

I can say that in all of his writings that I have read (and it is a lot) that include incest, or the idea of interbreeding, it never wins. Ever. If incest is not outright rejected from the beginning (some societies chose to die off rather than practice incest), then it leads to a genetic depression of sorts and is the practice is then rejected.

I think you mean in GRRM's world. In real world, the opposite happens. 

On 5/8/2018 at 10:29 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

George also creates half-human hybrids which (despite me really wanting to have genetically spliced in wings to fly), that doesn't happen in the real world. It's all fantasy, baby!

I think us humans interbred with Neanderthals, which is inter-species mating. That's why we are how we are now. But I doubt GRRM knew this information way back in the nineties. 

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5 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

I think you mean in GRRM's world. In real world, the opposite happens. 

This is not true. 

Quote

I think us humans interbred with Neanderthals, which is inter-species mating. That's why we are how we are now. But I doubt GRRM knew this information way back in the nineties. 

We are talking about what’s GRRM does in his own world, yes.

In general, and not to you personally... These are his rules and to try to apply the genetic manipulation that humans to do dogs  to the Targaryens is, well, frickin ridiculous. It seems the only people that do this are readers who are handwaving the plenty of genetic negatives of incest because they are “shipping” a couple. They even go to the extent of INVENTING incest where it NEVER happens. Osgrey lands??? What the fuck? Can we stick to book cannon and not head cannon, please? 

Again, NEVER IN ANY OF GRRM’s work that has included incest real or implied, has incest ever won. It has always brought on the downfall of a dynasty or clan. Even in Bitterblooms and The Skin Trade. 

He far more favors open relationships and polygamy because those spread the genes and are not controlling, like he writes in eat to be. Even in Bitterblooms when you actually read it you see how Voice Creg was basically Craster and it isn’t until after the controlling Creg dies does the population rebound. In the Skin Trade, despite the four families constantly inbreeding for decades, they die off and the mutts and mongrels survive. Being an elitist "great, powerfully built specimen" means FOQ ALL because they die off anyway. The mutts are the HEROES... which is just how GRRM says it should be in real life (in the interview I posted before). Ran even says incest is only a Targ thing, and despite their efforts to control their women by incest, they die off. 

I am so sick of this stupid topic and people defending something that has nothing to do with how the author has set up his own world, real life science be damned! FFS, he made up his own rules for devloping coats of arms that has almost nothing to do with real life rules, I think the SciFi author who has squishers in his story can do what he wants with genetics. 

Edited by The Fattest Leech
fixing ducking autocorrect

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4 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

Do the posters think GRRM knows all this genetic stuff when he's writing the characters? It's seems to me that his understanding of genetics comes from simple Mendelian logic. Though geneticists now know that genes and heredity is more complicated.

George knows that inbreeding produces both traits desired in a population (by an existing or hypothetical breeder) as well as undesirable traits which are then, for the most part, leave the gene pool because they are either not viable (many Targaryen children) or infertile (Maegor the Cruel, possibly Aegon the Conqueror).

More is really not necessary for ASoIaF - or 'The Skin Trade' where we basically have great, powerfully built specimen (the Targaryen equivalents to the Conqueror, Jaehaerys I, Maekar, etc.) and utter failures (which would be the equivalents to Aerys II, Rhaegel, etc.).

His SF stories deal more with the diversification of humanity in an era when humanity has colonized many worlds. There the selective pressure of natural selection increases while the methods of genetic manipulation and selective breeding also increase.

4 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

I suppose most people not awfully familiar with genetics think that babies born of incest somehow come out deformed because of deliberate misinformation (like seriously, do majority of people need to told not to bang their siblings?) 

As to the question - sure. I mean, you are aware how strong the incest taboo is in many societies - there are even posters here who go to great lengths to claim that George's entire work is somehow supposed to prove how bad incest is. Parents don't encourage siblings to sleep in the same bed, they usually don't have a neutral stance on sexual experiments among siblings or romantic attraction among their children, etc. It is very early shown in our society that it isn't okay to kiss your mother the way your father does, or you sister or brother the way you are supposed to be kiss an unrelated girlfriend, etc.

In an environment where entire clans/great families were sleeping huddled together in one small tent, cave, or whatever shelter our distant ancestors had, sexual attraction among very close relatives was bound to happen much more often - and to be much more visible than it is in our day and age.

If you put siblings who are very close to each other in the same bed throughout their entire adolescence in a society/scenario where there is no incest taboo then chances would be pretty high that some sexual things would be going on there. Perhaps they would not want to marry, but they care likely to do some sexual stuff which may or may not result in pregnancy depending what exactly they are going to do to prevent that.

4 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

But most isolated or stationary populations, as several people here have pointed out, would actually be more inbred than they think they are. Especially populations stuck on islands or in small, isolated towns, where people would just marry others close by, who are likely to be related to them.

I think I mentioned above that the entire original population of the Americas has been determined to go down to a number of individuals that is smaller than 100. The European settlers of the Americas remained very inbred for a very long period of time, considering that they would have married only among their own (most definitely not with those people who were there first and who they had come to eradicate and replace, and also not the slaves they were importing from Africa) - cousin marriages were very common in New England and the like until the 19th century.

Island populations of various animals are very much inbred, as are most endangered species (especially those who are continued to be bred by humans to preserve the species), most proper pet races, etc.

4 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

In any case, GRRM is associating dragon affinity with some form of madness in Targs. So I guess that's the "deformity" associated with incest?

The Targaryens are a special case of incest because of this whole dragon blood thing. We have no clue yet whether the physical and mental issues of some of them are due to the incest thing or due to their dragon blood. I mean, the Targaryens do not suffer from any hereditary disease we know of, nor is it common among inbred populations to dream of dragons - or to have prophetic dreams.

And many of their deformities (like scaled tails, rudimentary wings instead of arms, etc.) seem to be more reminiscent of the whole dragon blood thing - which could come to the fore more often and to a more devastating effect thanks to the continuous incest - than actual deformities caused by normal human beings who practice incest.

4 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

This reminds me of this news article I recently read about an island of colorblind people. There's this tiny isolated island called Pingelap where an usually high percentage of the population is colorblind because of a common ancestor. The island suffered a tsunami back in the day that killed everyone except 20 people including the king, who was colorblind. The king then took it upon himself to repopulate the island by having as many children as possible. Then those children had children, passing down the colorblind trait. Now the island's population is up to 10% colorblind, a significantly high rate than the global average (I suppose country too). Reading that story reminded me of the Targs. 

That is a consequence of inbreeding based on polygamous societies. I cited a similar example above, about hereditary diseases spreading in a Mormon sect in the US where many people are intermarrying among close cousins because many are the children of just one guy who has dozens of wives. That kind of thing can actually be much more damaging to an isolated community than incest among a few individuals (specially if their fertility drops heavily after a couple of generations) if the man having so many descendants actually spreads problematic traits that way.

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On 5/12/2018 at 11:41 AM, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

I think us humans interbred with Neanderthals, which is inter-species mating. That's why we are how we are now. But I doubt GRRM knew this information way back in the nineties. 

Neanderthals were humans. They were not necessarily a separate species but possibly only a sub-species. That is not clear. In fact, it is not even clear whether we can still produce offspring with chimps or not. They are very close cousins, after all.

Edited by Lord Varys

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On 5/12/2018 at 10:29 AM, Lord Varys said:

His SF stories deal more with the diversification of humanity in an era when humanity has colonized many worlds. There the selective pressure of natural selection increases while the methods of genetic manipulation and selective breeding also increase.

To the bold, I know a few weeks ago you mentioned that you started reading GRRM's older stories. I am not sure how far along you are now, but the genetic manipulation of incest and selective breeding is not a factor in most of the stories. If it is, then we see that that clan/lineage is dying out. The most we see it is in the Tuf Voyaging stories where there is a morality to playing with genetics, and it comes at a cost. Let's take a quick look at the different stories...

Spoiler

I will highlight the ones with any sort of incest issues.

1.The Hero- no sex or breeding mentioned at all. This is actually a really sad story.


2. Men of Greywater Station- no sex or breeding mentioned at all. There is definitely the theme of interfering with the natural order of things and the repercussions, among a few other themes.


3. Bitterblooms- as mentioned above, the main clan elder, Creg, is an overbearing control freak. It is not until after Creg dies, that the people of Carinhall start to rebound in population. Also, GRRM rarely uses the same names from story to story, but this is a rare case of using the name Creg again as Cregan Karstark, and we readers all know that the Arnolf and Cregan were going to try and push incest because they wanted power and control... it is all manipulation, that is it. The same reason why GRRM sais Tywin chose to marry Joanna- power and control (GREED!); "there is another clear motive, which is to reinforce the family's bloodline. The Targayren are the extreme example of that policy: they only marry within the family to keep the purity of the blood, and that way you avoid the problem of having several candidates for the throne or the rule of the family.---GRRM"  . And in ASOIAF, Jon puts an end to it before it happens.

And Shawn is honored for bringing in new blood:

  • Devin honored her for bringing so much fresh blood into Carinhall, and later another Voice would name her for exceptional prowess as a trader.


4. In the House of the Worm- while the yaga-la-hai are not explicitly noted as being an incestuous society, but there is enough to draw that conclusion among the limited elites. They all look the same and are supremely snobbish to any who rank "below" them (even though it is the "lowly" who provide the elite with their comforts). Annelyn even describes Caralee as looking like him in this scene:

  • “Don't you worry about the sun dying?” Caralee asked him, tossing blond curls easily as she turned to face him. She looked enough like Annelyn to be his sister-twin; perhaps that was why he wanted her so. “About the burrows growing cold?”
  • The Meatbringer laughed; his thick body shook and the cape of golden ringlets danced on his shoulders. “The Manworm! You want to know, Groff, not your mindless master. Why? Because among the yaga-la-hai I am something less than a man, because among grouns I am something less than a groun. I am the first of the Third People. The yaga-la-hai decline, as do the grouns, but I go among both and plant my seed,” he looked at Annelyn “in those like Caralee, and in the groun-women. Soon there will be others like me. That is why. And to know. I know more than your Manworm, or you, more than the Great Groun. You live lies, but I have seen and heard all who live in the House of the Worm, and I believe none of it. The White Worm is a lie, do you know that? And the Manworm. I think I even know how that came to be. A pleasant tale. Shall I tell you?"

And in the end, after Annelyn comes back from his "ranging" and he is armed with his new truths, he is laughed at even though the enemy is coming to eat them... just like Slynt and co. when Jon returns and they don't believe him, but Aemon does.And Annelyn also doesn't desire Caralee anymore after his "third eye" opens, just as we see Jaime is rejecting Cersei as he realizes what she is.

  • Afterward, he became a familiar figure among the yaga-la-hai, though he lost his flair for dress and much of his fine wit. Instead, he spoke endlessly and persuasively of forgotten crimes and the sins of bygone eons, painting deliciously dark pictures of monster worms who bred beneath the House and would one day rise to consume all. He was fond of telling the worm-children that they ought to lie with grouns, instead of cooking them, so that a new people might be fashioned to resist his nightmare worms.

Tuf Voyaging (listed 5-11)- none of the Tuf stories deal with incest specifically. They do, however, deal with plenty of moral issues such a genetic manipulation and ecological disasters, and being careful of what you wish for because you might just get it...
5. The Plague Star
6. Loaves and Fishes
7. Guardians
8. Second Helpings
9. A Beast For Norn
10. Call Him Moses
11. Manna From Heaven


12. Starlady - no incest, but plenty of open relationships and prostitution between all races and genders.


13. Nightflyers - This is more to the "implied" end of the spectrum. The main guy, Royd Eris, was created for the purpose of a future romantic relationship. The mother (a fire/Targ protoype, who flies around in a ship made of three eggs) ends up dying, but before that, the notion of incest doesn't go over very well and is rejected from the start as Royd never had sex with his "mother", and he is not technically her son.

  • They had boarded starships before, all of them, but never like this. Most ships docked flush against the station, but the craft that Karoly d’Branin had chartered for his mission was too large, and too singular in design. It loomed ahead, three small eggs side-by-side, two larger spheres beneath and at right angles, the cylinder of the driveroom between, lengths of tube connecting it all.
  • "Serious," he said, "but not dangerous. Hold three is a complete ruin, hanging from my ship like a broken metal eggshell, but the damage was confined.

And Melantha is an "improved model" because she comes from two smart scientist people from Prometheus. Here we see open/non-monogamous relationships again. This is that sexually strong feminist thing that GRRM favors writing about.

  • By the third week out she had sexed with all four of the men on board and two of the other women. Even in bed she was always active, exhausting most of her partners. Royd watched her with consuming interest.

Here Royd explains his origins as a lab created partner to his "mother":

My mother did not worry about how often she and her crews returned home. Her ships were her home. She seldom visited the same world twice if she could avoid it."
"Adventurous," Melantha said.
"No," said Royd. "Sociopathic. My mother did not like people, you see. Not at all. Her one great dream was to free herself from the necessity of crew. When she grew rich enough, she had it done. The Nightflyer was the result. After she boarded it at Newholme, she never touched a human being again, or walked a planet's surface. She did all her business from the compartments that are now mine. She was insane, but she did have an interesting life, even after that. The worlds she saw, Karoly! The things she might have told you! Your heart would break. She destroyed most of her records, however, for fear that other people might get some use or pleasure from her experience after her death. She was like that."
"And you?" the xenotech said.
"I should not call her my mother," Royd continued. "I am her cross-sex clone. After thirty years of flying this ship alone, she was bored. I was to be her companion and lover. She could shape me to be a perfect diversion.
She had no patience with children, however, and no desire to raise me herself. As an embryo, I was placed in a nurturant tank. The computer was my teacher. I was to be released when I had attained the age of puberty, at which time she guessed I would be fit company.
"Her death, a few months after the cloning, ruined the plan. She had programmed the ship for such an eventuality, however. It dropped out of drive and shut down, drifted in interstellar space for eleven years while the computer made a human being out of me. That was how I inherited the Nightftyer. When I was freed, it took me some years to puzzle out the operation of the ship and my own origins."
"Fascinating," said d'Branin.
"Yes," said the female linguist, "but it doesn't explain why you keep yourself in isolation."
"Ah, but it does," Melantha Jhirl said. "Captain, perhaps you should explain further for the less improved models?"
"My mother hated planets," Royd said. "She hated stinks and dirt and bacteria, the irregularity of the weather, the sight of other people. She engineered for us a flawless environment, as sterile as she could possibly make it. She disliked gravity as well. She was accustomed to weightlessness, and preferred it. These were the conditions under which I was born and raised.

And we read a few times how Royd is choosing Melantha, which makes the mother-ship jealous, but this makes Royd nervous with fear, because every time in the past that he has tried relationships with outside people, the mother-ship kills them. 

“I watched you copulating.”
She smiled. “Ah,” she said, “I’m good at it.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Royd said. “You’re good to watch.”
Silence. She tried not to hear the steady, faint dripping off to her right. “Yes,” she said after a long hesitation.
“Yes? What?”
“Yes, Royd,” she said, “I would probably sex with you if it were possible.”
“How did you know what I was thinking?” Royd’s voice was suddenly frightened, full of anxiety and something close to fear.


14. This Tower of Ashes - no incest, but a failed relationship... and weird white spiders.


15. And Seven Times Never Kill Man! - no sex or genetics at all. This is about dragons coming in with fire and burning out the indigenous, and the pyramids with Bakkalon having mind control over its worshipers.

There is, however, this one line that leaves open the possilbility that Arik may have been in some sort of relationship with the bitter speaker Jaenshi female. Arik "cloaked" the bitter speaker. The cloak is a mic of grey Jaenshi fur and Arik's red hair. The second quote, (which is like the ASOAIF scene of the free folk paying homage to Jon as they pass through the gate), we see earlier in the story what that could mean here:

  • The bitter speaker stared at her. "Arik deathcloth. Gave."  Ryther nodded, abstractly. She had it now, hanging just above her bunk; a strange small thing, woven partly from Jaenshi fur and mostly from long silken strands of flame red hair. On it, gray against the red, was a crude but recognizable caricature of Arik neKrol. She had wondered at that, too. The tribute of a widow? A child? Or just a friend? What had happened to Arik during the year the Lights had been away? If only she had been back on time, then . . . but she'd lost three months on Jamison's World, checking dealer after dealer in an effort to unload the worthless statuettes. It had been middle autumn before the Lights of Jolostar returned to Corlos, to find neKrol's base in ruins, the Angels already gathering in their harvests.
  • Other workmen came and went as the morning turned to afternoon and the afternoon to dusk, setting their craft before him. He looked over each piece carefully, taking some and declining others, paying for what he took in salt. Before full darkness had descended, a small pile of goods sat by his right hand; a matched set of redstone knives, a gray deathcloth woven from the fur of an elderly Jaenshi by his widow and friends (with his face wrought upon it in the silky golden hairs of a pseudomonk), a bone spear with tracings that reminded neKrol of the runes of Old Earth legend; and statues.

16. The Way of Cross and Dragon - it has been a long, long time since I have read this one. There isn't any sex at all in this one, as it is more about the creating of "gods", and that to have worshipers is control, and lots about heresy.


17. Dying of the Light - plenty of relationship issues in this one, but none of them are about genetics or incest. Polygamy and poly-amorous relations are a huge theme. Gwen does say soemthing about a past society collapse because of incest/genetics, but it is one or two lines and doesn't really play in to the main story at all.

Also, here again we see GRRM using a "gathering" as a means to relationships and protection of people and such. This "gathering" idea is also seen in Bitterblooms and even in ASOIAF.

  • Vikary cradled his beer mug between two large hands and drank from it thoughtfully. "That is simple enough," he said. "I am a highbond Kavalar of the Ironjade Gathering, bonded to Gwen Delvano by jade-and-silver. My betheyn was sent to Worlorn by vote of the highbond council, so it is natural that I am here too, and my teyn. Do you understand?"

And we see a prototype to the free folk "stealing" and how the woman is in charge. And new blood means better survival and those who bring new blood are honored (like in Bitterblooms):

  • Other changes took root as well. Tara had been a religious world, home of the Irish-Roman Reformed Catholic Church, and the urge to monogamy died hard. The patterns appeared in two mutated forms; the strong emotional attachments that grew up between male hunting partners became the basis for the intense total relationship of teyn-and-teyn, while those men who desired a semi-exclusive bond with a woman created betheyns by capturing females from other holdfasts. The leaders encouraged such raidings, Jaan Vikary said; new women meant new blood, more children, a larger population, and thus a better chance of survival. It was unthinkable that any man take exclusive possession of one of the eyn-kethi; but a man who could bring a woman in from outside was rewarded with honors and a seat in the councils of leadership and, perhaps most importantly, the woman herself.


18. The Glass Flower - no incest, but the main Daenerys type girl, Cyrain of Ash, is in a relationship with a Daario guy, and while she was once a slave, she is now a slaver, but in a different way (mental enthrallment/worship). She tries to excuse it to make herself feel better about it.


19. The Stone City- no incest, but plenty of open relationships and prostitution between all races and genders. No genetics issues at all.


20. Nobody Leaves New Pittsburgh- No incest, no real relationship stuff at all. No genetics issues at all.


21. Override - No incest, but definitely brings to light the idea that Bran is stronger than Bloodraven in his talents. No genetics issues at all.


22. Meathouse Man- no incest, but plenty of failed human relationships, "prostitution" in a weird way. Truly a sad story in the end. No genetics issues at all.


23. Sandkings - no incest, but a failed past relationship with a girlfriend. Oh, and the main guy reeealllly wants to be worshiped. No genetics issues at all.


24. A Song for Lya - no incest, but a few male-female non-related relationships, and even the mention of "open" relationships in more than one form. No genetics issues at all. We do get the very clear idea for the first time that to touch someone creates a better psi-link bond, adn to have sex with someone creates the strongest psi-link bond of all.


25. Warship - No incest, but mentions of a past relationship with someone. No genetics issues at all.


26. The Runners - No incest or genetics issues, or breeding issues at all.

 

In the story For a Single Yesterday, despite a huge world war that has decimated almost all of the world's population, this one surviving group of people are not opting for incest. Instead, the hero in the end, Rob Winters, turns the struggling group around and saves it in the end. This is also another story where the Bloodraven-type man is used:

The years since then have been good ones, I guess. Winters is a better leader than I was. The timetrips never turned up any knowledge worth a damn, but the search expeditions proved fruitful. There are more than two hundred people in town now, most of them people that Winters brought in.

It’s a real town, too. We have electricity and a library, and plenty of food. And a doctor—a real doctor that Winters found a hundred miles from here. We got so prosperous that the Sons of the Blast heard about us and came back for a little fun. Winters had his militia beat them off and hunt down the ones who tried to escape.

And I often mentioned that some stories there in "implied" incest, and aside from House of the Worm being one, Portraits of His Children is another. There is no actual incest here, but the crazy main guy (crazy in the way Cersei, Lysa, and Arnolf Karstak are) fantasizes in a dreamlike sequence that this painting (one of a few) comes to life and calls him "daddy" and it gets supremely weird from there. All of these paintings that are being sent to him he considers his "children", and they come to life for him, and he is "mad" and he goes to his own mental "darkling stream". To cut to the end, he has a daughter in real life and his daughter ends up rejecting him like her mother (his wife) did... so, because of these inappropriate "relationships" the main character has with his "children", he brings on a downfall of his dynasty.

 

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1 hour ago, The Fattest Leech said:

 

To the bold, I know a few weeks ago you mentioned that you started reading GRRM's older stories. I am not sure how far along you are now, but the genetic manipulation of incest and selective breeding is not a factor in most of the stories. If it is, then we see that that clan/lineage is dying out. The most we see it is in the Tuf Voyaging stories where there is a morality to playing with genetics, and it comes at a cost. Let's take a quick look at the different stories...

  Reveal hidden contents

I will highlight the ones with any sort of incest issues.

1.The Hero- no sex or breeding mentioned at all. This is actually a really sad story.


2. Men of Greywater Station- no sex or breeding mentioned at all. There is definitely the theme of interfering with the natural order of things and the repercussions, among a few other themes.


3. Bitterblooms- as mentioned above, the main clan elder, Creg, is an overbearing control freak. It is not until after Creg dies, that the people of Carinhall start to rebound in population. Also, GRRM rarely uses the same names from story to story, but this is a rare case of using the name Creg again as Cregan Karstark, and we readers all know that the Arnolf and Cregan were going to try and push incest because they wanted power and control... it is all manipulation, that is it. The same reason why GRRM sais Tywin chose to marry Joanna- power and control (GREED!); "there is another clear motive, which is to reinforce the family's bloodline. The Targayren are the extreme example of that policy: they only marry within the family to keep the purity of the blood, and that way you avoid the problem of having several candidates for the throne or the rule of the family.---GRRM"  . And in ASOIAF, Jon puts an end to it before it happens.

And Shawn is honored for bringing in new blood:

  • Devin honored her for bringing so much fresh blood into Carinhall, and later another Voice would name her for exceptional prowess as a trader.


4. In the House of the Worm- while the yaga-la-hai are not explicitly noted as being an incestuous society, but there is enough to draw that conclusion among the limited elites. They all look the same and are supremely snobbish to any who rank "below" them (even though it is the "lowly" who provide the elite with their comforts). Annelyn even describes Caralee as looking like him in this scene:

  • “Don't you worry about the sun dying?” Caralee asked him, tossing blond curls easily as she turned to face him. She looked enough like Annelyn to be his sister-twin; perhaps that was why he wanted her so. “About the burrows growing cold?”
  • The Meatbringer laughed; his thick body shook and the cape of golden ringlets danced on his shoulders. “The Manworm! You want to know, Groff, not your mindless master. Why? Because among the yaga-la-hai I am something less than a man, because among grouns I am something less than a groun. I am the first of the Third People. The yaga-la-hai decline, as do the grouns, but I go among both and plant my seed,” he looked at Annelyn “in those like Caralee, and in the groun-women. Soon there will be others like me. That is why. And to know. I know more than your Manworm, or you, more than the Great Groun. You live lies, but I have seen and heard all who live in the House of the Worm, and I believe none of it. The White Worm is a lie, do you know that? And the Manworm. I think I even know how that came to be. A pleasant tale. Shall I tell you?"

And in the end, after Annelyn comes back from his "ranging" and he is armed with his new truths, he is laughed at even though the enemy is coming to eat them... just like Slynt and co. when Jon returns and they don't believe him, but Aemon does.And Annelyn also doesn't desire Caralee anymore after his "third eye" opens, just as we see Jaime is rejecting Cersei as he realizes what she is.

  • Afterward, he became a familiar figure among the yaga-la-hai, though he lost his flair for dress and much of his fine wit. Instead, he spoke endlessly and persuasively of forgotten crimes and the sins of bygone eons, painting deliciously dark pictures of monster worms who bred beneath the House and would one day rise to consume all. He was fond of telling the worm-children that they ought to lie with grouns, instead of cooking them, so that a new people might be fashioned to resist his nightmare worms.

Tuf Voyaging (listed 5-11)- none of the Tuf stories deal with incest specifically. They do, however, deal with plenty of moral issues such a genetic manipulation and ecological disasters, and being careful of what you wish for because you might just get it...
5. The Plague Star
6. Loaves and Fishes
7. Guardians
8. Second Helpings
9. A Beast For Norn
10. Call Him Moses
11. Manna From Heaven


12. Starlady - no incest, but plenty of open relationships and prostitution between all races and genders.


13. Nightflyers - This is more to the "implied" end of the spectrum. The main guy, Royd Eris, was created for the purpose of a future romantic relationship. The mother (a fire/Targ protoype, who flies around in a ship made of three eggs) ends up dying, but before that, the notion of incest doesn't go over very well and is rejected from the start as Royd never had sex with his "mother", and he is not technically her son.

  • They had boarded starships before, all of them, but never like this. Most ships docked flush against the station, but the craft that Karoly d’Branin had chartered for his mission was too large, and too singular in design. It loomed ahead, three small eggs side-by-side, two larger spheres beneath and at right angles, the cylinder of the driveroom between, lengths of tube connecting it all.
  • "Serious," he said, "but not dangerous. Hold three is a complete ruin, hanging from my ship like a broken metal eggshell, but the damage was confined.

And Melantha is an "improved model" because she comes from two smart scientist people from Prometheus. Here we see open/non-monogamous relationships again. This is that sexually strong feminist thing that GRRM favors writing about.

  • By the third week out she had sexed with all four of the men on board and two of the other women. Even in bed she was always active, exhausting most of her partners. Royd watched her with consuming interest.

Here Royd explains his origins as a lab created partner to his "mother":

My mother did not worry about how often she and her crews returned home. Her ships were her home. She seldom visited the same world twice if she could avoid it."
"Adventurous," Melantha said.
"No," said Royd. "Sociopathic. My mother did not like people, you see. Not at all. Her one great dream was to free herself from the necessity of crew. When she grew rich enough, she had it done. The Nightflyer was the result. After she boarded it at Newholme, she never touched a human being again, or walked a planet's surface. She did all her business from the compartments that are now mine. She was insane, but she did have an interesting life, even after that. The worlds she saw, Karoly! The things she might have told you! Your heart would break. She destroyed most of her records, however, for fear that other people might get some use or pleasure from her experience after her death. She was like that."
"And you?" the xenotech said.
"I should not call her my mother," Royd continued. "I am her cross-sex clone. After thirty years of flying this ship alone, she was bored. I was to be her companion and lover. She could shape me to be a perfect diversion.
She had no patience with children, however, and no desire to raise me herself. As an embryo, I was placed in a nurturant tank. The computer was my teacher. I was to be released when I had attained the age of puberty, at which time she guessed I would be fit company.
"Her death, a few months after the cloning, ruined the plan. She had programmed the ship for such an eventuality, however. It dropped out of drive and shut down, drifted in interstellar space for eleven years while the computer made a human being out of me. That was how I inherited the Nightftyer. When I was freed, it took me some years to puzzle out the operation of the ship and my own origins."
"Fascinating," said d'Branin.
"Yes," said the female linguist, "but it doesn't explain why you keep yourself in isolation."
"Ah, but it does," Melantha Jhirl said. "Captain, perhaps you should explain further for the less improved models?"
"My mother hated planets," Royd said. "She hated stinks and dirt and bacteria, the irregularity of the weather, the sight of other people. She engineered for us a flawless environment, as sterile as she could possibly make it. She disliked gravity as well. She was accustomed to weightlessness, and preferred it. These were the conditions under which I was born and raised.

And we read a few times how Royd is choosing Melantha, which makes the mother-ship jealous, but this makes Royd nervous with fear, because every time in the past that he has tried relationships with outside people, the mother-ship kills them. 

“I watched you copulating.”
She smiled. “Ah,” she said, “I’m good at it.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Royd said. “You’re good to watch.”
Silence. She tried not to hear the steady, faint dripping off to her right. “Yes,” she said after a long hesitation.
“Yes? What?”
“Yes, Royd,” she said, “I would probably sex with you if it were possible.”
“How did you know what I was thinking?” Royd’s voice was suddenly frightened, full of anxiety and something close to fear.


14. This Tower of Ashes - no incest, but a failed relationship... and weird white spiders.


15. And Seven Times Never Kill Man! - no sex or genetics at all. This is about dragons coming in with fire and burning out the indigenous, and the pyramids with Bakkalon having mind control over its worshipers.

There is, however, this one line that leaves open the possilbility that Arik may have been in some sort of relationship with the bitter speaker Jaenshi female. Arik "cloaked" the bitter speaker. The cloak is a mic of grey Jaenshi fur and Arik's red hair. The second quote, (which is like the ASOAIF scene of the free folk paying homage to Jon as they pass through the gate), we see earlier in the story what that could mean here:

  • The bitter speaker stared at her. "Arik deathcloth. Gave."  Ryther nodded, abstractly. She had it now, hanging just above her bunk; a strange small thing, woven partly from Jaenshi fur and mostly from long silken strands of flame red hair. On it, gray against the red, was a crude but recognizable caricature of Arik neKrol. She had wondered at that, too. The tribute of a widow? A child? Or just a friend? What had happened to Arik during the year the Lights had been away? If only she had been back on time, then . . . but she'd lost three months on Jamison's World, checking dealer after dealer in an effort to unload the worthless statuettes. It had been middle autumn before the Lights of Jolostar returned to Corlos, to find neKrol's base in ruins, the Angels already gathering in their harvests.
  • Other workmen came and went as the morning turned to afternoon and the afternoon to dusk, setting their craft before him. He looked over each piece carefully, taking some and declining others, paying for what he took in salt. Before full darkness had descended, a small pile of goods sat by his right hand; a matched set of redstone knives, a gray deathcloth woven from the fur of an elderly Jaenshi by his widow and friends (with his face wrought upon it in the silky golden hairs of a pseudomonk), a bone spear with tracings that reminded neKrol of the runes of Old Earth legend; and statues.

16. The Way of Cross and Dragon - it has been a long, long time since I have read this one. There isn't any sex at all in this one, as it is more about the creating of "gods", and that to have worshipers is control, and lots about heresy.


17. Dying of the Light - plenty of relationship issues in this one, but none of them are about genetics or incest. Polygamy and poly-amorous relations are a huge theme. Gwen does say soemthing about a past society collapse because of incest/genetics, but it is one or two lines and doesn't really play in to the main story at all.

Also, here again we see GRRM using a "gathering" as a means to relationships and protection of people and such. This "gathering" idea is also seen in Bitterblooms and even in ASOIAF.

  • Vikary cradled his beer mug between two large hands and drank from it thoughtfully. "That is simple enough," he said. "I am a highbond Kavalar of the Ironjade Gathering, bonded to Gwen Delvano by jade-and-silver. My betheyn was sent to Worlorn by vote of the highbond council, so it is natural that I am here too, and my teyn. Do you understand?"

And we see a prototype to the free folk "stealing" and how the woman is in charge. And new blood means better survival and those who bring new blood are honored (like in Bitterblooms):

  • Other changes took root as well. Tara had been a religious world, home of the Irish-Roman Reformed Catholic Church, and the urge to monogamy died hard. The patterns appeared in two mutated forms; the strong emotional attachments that grew up between male hunting partners became the basis for the intense total relationship of teyn-and-teyn, while those men who desired a semi-exclusive bond with a woman created betheyns by capturing females from other holdfasts. The leaders encouraged such raidings, Jaan Vikary said; new women meant new blood, more children, a larger population, and thus a better chance of survival. It was unthinkable that any man take exclusive possession of one of the eyn-kethi; but a man who could bring a woman in from outside was rewarded with honors and a seat in the councils of leadership and, perhaps most importantly, the woman herself.


18. The Glass Flower - no incest, but the main Daenerys type girl, Cyrain of Ash, is in a relationship with a Daario guy, and while she was once a slave, she is now a slaver, but in a different way (mental enthrallment/worship). She tries to excuse it to make herself feel better about it.


19. The Stone City- no incest, but plenty of open relationships and prostitution between all races and genders. No genetics issues at all.


20. Nobody Leaves New Pittsburgh- No incest, no real relationship stuff at all. No genetics issues at all.


21. Override - No incest, but definitely brings to light the idea that Bran is stronger than Bloodraven in his talents. No genetics issues at all.


22. Meathouse Man- no incest, but plenty of failed human relationships, "prostitution" in a weird way. Truly a sad story in the end. No genetics issues at all.


23. Sandkings - no incest, but a failed past relationship with a girlfriend. Oh, and the main guy reeealllly wants to be worshiped. No genetics issues at all.


24. A Song for Lya - no incest, but a few male-female non-related relationships, and even the mention of "open" relationships in more than one form. No genetics issues at all. We do get the very clear idea for the first time that to touch someone creates a better psi-link bond, adn to have sex with someone creates the strongest psi-link bond of all.


25. Warship - No incest, but mentions of a past relationship with someone. No genetics issues at all.


26. The Runners - No incest or genetics issues, or breeding issues at all.

 

In the story For a Single Yesterday, despite a huge world war that has decimated almost all of the world's population, this one surviving group of people are not opting for incest. Instead, the hero in the end, Rob Winters, turns the struggling group around and saves it in the end. This is also another story where the Bloodraven-type man is used:

The years since then have been good ones, I guess. Winters is a better leader than I was. The timetrips never turned up any knowledge worth a damn, but the search expeditions proved fruitful. There are more than two hundred people in town now, most of them people that Winters brought in.

It’s a real town, too. We have electricity and a library, and plenty of food. And a doctor—a real doctor that Winters found a hundred miles from here. We got so prosperous that the Sons of the Blast heard about us and came back for a little fun. Winters had his militia beat them off and hunt down the ones who tried to escape.

And I often mentioned that some stories there in "implied" incest, and aside from House of the Worm being one, Portraits of His Children is another. There is no actual incest here, but the crazy main guy (crazy in the way Cersei, Lysa, and Arnolf Karstak are) fantasizes in a dreamlike sequence that this painting (one of a few) comes to life and calls him "daddy" and it gets supremely weird from there. All of these paintings that are being sent to him he considers his "children", and they come to life for him, and he is "mad" and he goes to his own mental "darkling stream". To cut to the end, he has a daughter in real life and his daughter ends up rejecting him like her mother (his wife) did... so, because of these inappropriate "relationships" the main character has with his "children", he brings on a downfall of his dynasty.

 

The background of the Thousands Worlds cosmos has humanity taking different shapes and hues both culturally and genetically. That is the very background enabling stories like Dying of the Light where various humans clash both culturally and biologically (or think they do).

It isn't a main point in every story that there are human populations so different from others that they can't interbreed anymore - or are no longer seen as 'human' by some - but that is an important point in Dying of the Light.

And the protagonist in 'The Hero' as well as Melantha from 'Nightflyers' are clearly bred freaks. They are not normal human beings, yet that isn't an issue in the story. Melantha is a cool and strong heroine and the guy from 'The Hero' is at least some sort of tragic hero. Melantha being an improved model means she is from one of the worlds where people have been genetically engineered. That's why she is strong, has so much stamina, etc.

Royd's mother did what I think Visenya did to create Maegor - she made a male clone of herself (in 'Nightfylers' through science, in ASoIaF through magic). But this has nothing to do with incest or anything, but simply with the fact that this woman was pretty mad. For Visenya it may have been necessity (her brother-husband was sterile) in combination with pride.

Your allusions to ASoIaF in connection to those old stories often seem arbitrary and irrelevant to me. Cregan Karstark is named after Cregan Stark, one of the great Lords of Winterfell. And it is not his plan but the plan of his father Arnolf. George reuses names all the time. Is Gwen Jenny of Oldstones now? Or Jaan or Dirk t'Larien Duncan the Small? Even Arkin Ruark is not Littlefinger, never mind how similar their motivations are. There are echoes of themes and names and desires on part of the author - 'The Glass Flower' very much reveals how much George is into women who look like Daenerys Targaryen. 

Life of the people in 'Bitterblooms' didn't change. They still fuck their children, siblings, and parents in that world (if we assume that this is what happens there - which I'm not actually sure of since it is not really clear whether the concepts 'father', 'brother', etc. mean exactly the same thing than they do in our culture) while occasionally having sex outside the clan. It is not the fault of the guy the heroine has issues with. It is the tradition of the people on that world.

And by the way, we have no idea who the hell arranged Tywin's betrothal to Joanna Lannister. Lord Tytos arranged the marriage between Genna and Emmon Frey, so it is not unreasonable to assume that he did the same for Tywin. Cousin marriages are very common in Westeros, especially among the great families. Just as they are among nobility and royalty (and backwater peasants) and many other cultures in the real world.

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On 5/13/2018 at 12:30 AM, Lord Varys said:

Neanderthals were humans. They were not necessarily a separate species but possibly only a sub-species. That is not clear. In fact, it is not even clear whether we can still produce offspring with chimps or not. They are very close cousins, after all.

It's a minor point, but humans and chimps don't have the same number of chromosome pairs. Our karyotype is 22 + XX/XY, while theirs is 23 + XX/XY. We have only one 2 chromosome, which is a combination of two separate chromosomes with chimps. Even when you read we're "99%" related, this is only if you ignore the replications chimps have that we don't, or the ones we have that they don't. It also ignores that our DNA isn't in the same order, so when it comes to meiosis, an allele swap may occur at a place for two completely different genes.

If it is possible to produce offspring with chimps they'd be infertile, as the pairs won't be able to match up. It's not unusual for closely related species can produce young, the difference is having fertile young.

And not to be totally gross, but humans have tried this already. It may be the cause of one of the HIV spillovers that occurred in our history. Not to be absolutely disgusting... :( 

Going back to Westeros, though, humans seem to be a bit different to humans of the real world. For instance, the Baratheons always have black hair as a dominant trait. It helps for the purposes of the plot, but real humans don't have such strong genetics.

Edited by Yukle

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10 minutes ago, Yukle said:

And not to be totally gross, but humans have tried this already. It may be the cause of one of the HIV spillovers that occurred in our history. Not to be absolutely disgusting... :( 

I just meant it wasn't done in a proper scientific study in our day and age. I'm sure they could try to do it with artificial insemination and the like, and it would really be interesting to see whether it would work and how, well, human such a child would be.

But then, I'm really curious about a lot of things ;-).

Thinking about that - somebody should bring back Neanderthals, too. Then we'll see what we can do with them...

10 minutes ago, Yukle said:

Going back to Westeros, though, humans seem to be a bit different to humans of the real world. For instance, the Baratheons always have black hair as a dominant trait. It helps for the purposes of the plot, but real humans don't have such strong genetics.

That's where 'magical traits' enter into the story. The Lannisters and Starks are not much different. Continuous inbreeding for thousands of years could have helped with that, of course - Lann the Clever produced so many golden-haired children that literally the entire West must be Lannister cousins to various degree, and even more so among the nobility. And it might even be stronger in the Stormlands where many a fertile Durrandon would have put his seed in pretty much any woman he could lay his hands on - not just the bastard king Raynard Storm but the others as well.

But in the end there seem to certain traits in some of the ancient families that are not completely *normal*. The Durrandons are allegedly descended from a goddess, the Lannisters (via Lann and his brides) from the Casterlys who had a peculiar relationship to lions (and Lann had very hair and golden hair, etc.). And then are the freak lines at the fringe or human society - the curious Farwynds of Lonely Light, the Borrells (and other Sistermen) with their webbed hands and feet. Such strange are likely retained through the ages because there are some curious non-humans among the ancestors of these people, and the fact that the Sistermen would likely rarely intermarry with decent folk from other regions of Westeros explains how such traits persist among these populations.

Combine that with what we know about First Night we can be pretty sure that many a noble house is even closer related to the Starks, Lannisters, Arryns, or Durrandon-Baratheon than the official history of marriages between those houses and their vassals imply. If the First Night included the right of a lord or king to lay with the wife of a vassal or bannerman then many a king/lord or heir may have married (knowingly or unknowingly) his own daughter or half-sister.

That is how one would also explain how other *less magical looks* - like the Stark look - persisted throughout the ages (there might be some magical talent among the Starks, but their hairs and eyes are not even remotely as *magically strong* as the Durrandon-Baratheon trait.

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5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The background of the Thousands Worlds cosmos has humanity taking different shapes and hues both culturally and genetically. That is the very background enabling stories like Dying of the Light where various humans clash both culturally and biologically (or think they do).

It isn't a main point in every story that there are human populations so different from others that they can't interbreed anymore - or are no longer seen as 'human' by some - but that is an important point in Dying of the Light.

 

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And the protagonist in 'The Hero' as well as Melantha from 'Nightflyers' are clearly bred freaks.

But you see, Melantha is a human and she comes from two different "gene pools". There is never an oppressive incest issue going on here, either mentally or genetically, which is the point of what I am saying and the point of this thread.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

They are not normal human beings, yet that isn't an issue in the story. Melantha is a cool and strong heroine and the guy from 'The Hero' is at least some sort of tragic hero. Melantha being an improved model means she is from one of the worlds where people have been genetically engineered. That's why she is strong, has so much stamina, etc.

Yes, I know that. But there is the issue, they are not repressing anything or anyone. It is an expansion of traits. Prometheus and Promethians are not dying off, as we repeatedly see when the opposite happens- Targaryens, four families in Skin Trade, Carinhall clan under Voice Creg.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Royd's mother did what I think Visenya did to create Maegor - she made a male clone of herself (in 'Nightfylers' through science, in ASoIaF through magic). But this has nothing to do with incest or anything, but simply with the fact that this woman was pretty mad. For Visenya it may have been necessity (her brother-husband was sterile) in combination with pride.

I'm totally down with this idea :thumbsup:. I kinda really like it, and I am not even gonna shout, "proof or a quote from George or it didn't happen!!!!:tantrum:", because as you know, it is possible for something like this to happen in a Martinworld scenario because he has told this tale time and again. You see that possibility based on Martin's style.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Your allusions to ASoIaF in connection to those old stories often seem arbitrary and irrelevant to me.

Of course, because you don't like that the story may not fit your boxed idea, but also funny because you have used this "defense" in the past.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Cregan Karstark is named after Cregan Stark, one of the great Lords of Winterfell.

And where did the name Creg/Cregan come from? Do you not see the similarities (that you have admitted to in past threads) at how Bitterblooms fits a current ASOAIF northern landscape and style? We are told that incest in ASOIAF is an abomination by the old gods and new, highborn and low, and yet, we have a "Creg" in the north that is willing to defy the gods to gain personal power... and you cannot see the connection??? I find that hard to be true. 

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And it is not his plan but the plan of his father Arnolf. George reuses names all the time. Is Gwen Jenny of Oldstones now? Or Jaan or Dirk t'Larien Duncan the Small? Even Arkin Ruark is not Littlefinger, never mind how similar their motivations are. There are echoes of themes and names and desires on part of the author -

It is looking at the repeated themes GRRM uses in his own writing, which makes far more sense than comparing him to another author or historian and saying, "SEE! Just the same as Tolkien!" It is GRRM's style we are talking about here.

Like I said, he rarely reuses names, but also like I said the reuse of 'Creg' as a dominating personality is there in a rare re-use that is almost direct. I have also said many times that when GRRM reuses a person from his past, they are ususally divided in to two for ASOAIF. Jon and Bran are the most repeated use of this. This Creg from Bitterblooms follows a division to both developing Craster and Arnolf/Cregan Karstak. And, you just brought up Jenny here, but decline to admit that GRRM is reusing a theme of his own. We have the same unattainable "Jenny" in Dying... as we do in ASOIAF.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

 

'The Glass Flower' very much reveals how much George is into women who look like Daenerys Targaryen. 

Oh boy. This is not correct. He uses this look once for Cyrain. The rest of the time the fantasy girls look like Ashara Dayne over and over again- taller, small waist, black/really dark hair, high cheekbones, purple eyes, etc.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Life of the people in 'Bitterblooms' didn't change. They still fuck their children, siblings, and parents in that world (if we assume that this is what happens there - which I'm not actually sure of since it is not really clear whether the concepts 'father', 'brother', etc.

To the bold, that is true because even Morgan tries to claim to be Shawn's mother and sister, etc. This seems to fall in line with what GRRM said about Catelyn claiming Robb has family in the Vale. They are not literal family, just like the Karstarks can't claim relations anymore:

He needs an heir and it's too soon for him to have a child yet. And so he tells her he needs an heir, and Catelyn replies that there are near relations. There's a relation in the Vale, from an aunt (in the sense of a female relation in general, not necessarily of the previous generation) of yours.

And then Morgan says this:

Morgan’s voice was gentle. “But you had a longknife and a sword, and you couldn’t kill the vampire, could you, child? No.” She came across the room. “You are mine, Shawn Carin, you are my lover and my daughter and my sister. You have to learn to trust. I have much to teach you. Here.” She took Shawn by the hand and led her to the window. “Stand here. Wait, Shawn, wait and watch, and I will show you more of Morgan’s magics.” At the far wall, smiling, she did something with her rings to a panel of bright metal and square dim lights.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

mean exactly the same thing than they do in our culture) while occasionally having sex outside the clan. It is not the fault of the guy the heroine has issues with. It is the tradition of the people on that world.

Sorry, LV, that is BS because the story says so. It was after Creg dies that there was, "a generation of peace," meaning no peace before, and that also after Cregan died, "their numbers increased from forty to nearly one hundred."

Shawn's issues with Creg come because of Creg and that he is repressive and controlling:

  • “You’re silly,” Shawn told her once. “You wouldn’t be so silly if you lived in Carinhall. Silly people die, you know, and they hurt their families. Everyone has to be useful, and you’re not useful. Creg would make you be useful. You’re lucky that you aren’t a Carin.”
  • I can fix a broken window, and Creg says I’m hardly good for anything at all.”
  • Lane would have been proud of her; Creg would only have asked what took her so long.
  • She remembered Creg, whose temper was awful if you asked him the wrong question. When Shawn was just a child, Creg had beaten her savagely for asking why old Tesenya had to go outside and die.
5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And by the way, we have no idea who the hell arranged Tywin's betrothal to Joanna Lannister. Lord Tytos arranged the marriage between Genna and Emmon Frey, so it is not unreasonable to assume that he did the same for Tywin.

Maybe, maybe not? Apparently GRRM doesn't think much on it...

Maybe it was Lord Tytos' idea, or maybe even Tywin's grandfather's idea, it depends on which was the exact time in which the marriage alliance was brokered, but I would have to check my notes because I can't remember.

 

But what GRRM did do was directly compare it to the Targaryens, because Tywin is a bit of a power hungry person, wouldn't you say?:

But there is another clear motive, which is to reinforce the family's bloodline. The Targayren are the extreme example of that policy: they only marry within the family to keep the purity of the blood, and that way you avoid the problem of having several candidates for the throne or the rule of the family.

Joanna seems horrified by the early Jaime/Cersei incest.

A Storm of Swords - Jaime III

"Safer but slower. I'm for Duskendale, coz. If truth be told, I'm bored with your company." You may be half Lannister, but you're a far cry from my sister.
He could never bear to be long apart from his twin. Even as children, they would creep into each other's beds and sleep with their arms entwined. Even in the womb. Long before his sister's flowering or the advent of his own manhood, they had seen mares and stallions in the fields and dogs and bitches in the kennels and played at doing the same. Once their mother's maid had caught them at it . . . he did not recall just what they had been doing, but whatever it was had horrified Lady Joanna. She'd sent the maid away, moved Jaime's bedchamber to the other side of Casterly Rock, set a guard outside Cersei's, and told them that they must never do that again or she would have no choice but to tell their lord father. They need not have feared, though. It was not long after that she died birthing Tyrion. Jaime barely remembered what his mother had looked like.
5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Cousin marriages are very common in Westeros, especially among the great families.

How very common? Who? We have the lineages.

GRRM sets it up as the normal thing to do it:

Noble houses usually make marriages of convenience to build alliances. As a matter of fact, it's a common practice not only among the noble class, but also among the middle class and even among peasants: If somebody has a piece of land, he marries his daughter with somebody who has an even bigger piece of land, in the hope that all that land will belong to his grandchildren some day.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Just as they are among nobility and royalty (and backwater peasants) and many other cultures in the real world.

Again, GRRM is using his own rules. FOR WHY do you keep bringing up stuff that is irrelevant to this imaginary world?

Now I have to go make dinner :cheers:

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11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

But you see, Melantha is a human and she comes from two different "gene pools". There is never an oppressive incest issue going on here, either mentally or genetically, which is the point of what I am saying and the point of this thread.

I never said the SF stories were about incest. I said they were, in part, about freaks of nature - cultural freaks, genetic freaks, other freaks - and that very weird stuff is going on on isolated worlds. How those freaks are created or bred we don't know. We don't know how the old earth empire created its soldiers or what has to be done to create an improved model like Melantha. Selective breeding could be part of that process. Or not. We don't know. The author never cares to explain any of that.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Yes, I know that. But there is the issue, they are not repressing anything or anyone. It is an expansion of traits. Prometheus and Promethians are not dying off, as we repeatedly see when the opposite happens- Targaryens, four families in Skin Trade, Carinhall clan under Voice Creg.

We don't know whether the Promethians thrive or don't thrive, actually. The Targaryens do pretty good, actually. There are more branches of them out there than there are Starks right now. Or Baratheons or Arryns. Or Tullys, now that I think of it.

The werewolves 'The Skin Trade' don't practice incest. They are just very much inbred, that's an important difference. There is no sibling or parent-children incest going on there. We don't even know how closely those werewolves are related to each other - there are just hints that they closely related. And what really is the issue with the evil guys is completely unclear - but then, it is also implied that our hero is a pretty fucked-up werewolf thanks to the mating habits of his parents.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

I'm totally down with this idea :thumbsup:. I kinda really like it, and I am not even gonna shout, "proof or a quote from George or it didn't happen!!!!:tantrum:", because as you know, it is possible for something like this to happen in a Martinworld scenario because he has told this tale time and again. You see that possibility based on Martin's style.

It is still just an idea. A possibility. It could have happened. It is certainly something I think George put in there to imply that it may have happened. But we don't know. And unless he is going to rewrite TSotD we will never know. But it would actually spoil the fun if we knew the truth about the parentage of both Aenys and Maegor.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Of course, because you don't like that the story may not fit your boxed idea, but also funny because you have used this "defense" in the past.

The way many of your views come across is that you give the impression that you know what the story is about and then you look for ways to 'prove' that. That's not the way I like to do things. I look for parallels and themes (which I actually happen to see from time to time) and then try to understand what the story is about from there.

And while it is obvious that George likes to reuse old concepts, names, themes, and ideas it is equally obvious that he doesn't go around and try to write the same story over and over again, or tries to use the same themes again and again. The man dabbled in many genres and wrote stories about many different topics and themes. There are often parallels but there are many differences as well.

A lot of the stuff he wrote went into ASoIaF, of course, but it is not (necessarily) the same there than it was back in one of the old stories, even if things are awfully similar.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

And where did the name Creg/Cregan come from? Do you not see the similarities (that you have admitted to in past threads) at how Bitterblooms fits a current ASOAIF northern landscape and style? We are told that incest in ASOIAF is an abomination by the old gods and new, highborn and low, and yet, we have a "Creg" in the north that is willing to defy the gods to gain personal power... and you cannot see the connection??? I find that hard to be true. 

Newflash - there is no indication that avuncular marriages are seen as incest in the North or the Seven Kingdoms, and our buddy Cregan Karstark happens to be the son of Alys Karstark's granduncle - which means he is her second uncle, if I get my relations right.

There is no indication in ADwD that this match is wrong because of Alys' close relation to Uncle Cregan. It is wrong because it is a power grab and a forced marriage, and because Arnolf and his ilk are trying to get Alys' brother killed and intend to betray Stannis to the Boltons.

If this was abominable incest people would mention it, one assumes.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

It is looking at the repeated themes GRRM uses in his own writing, which makes far more sense than comparing him to another author or historian and saying, "SEE! Just the same as Tolkien!" It is GRRM's style we are talking about here.

Comparing themes is great. And it is really fun to do that with the other stories. And we should actually have more space for stuff like that here.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Like I said, he rarely reuses names, but also like I said the reuse of 'Creg' as a dominating personality is there in a rare re-use that is almost direct. I have also said many times that when GRRM reuses a person from his past, they are ususally divided in to two for ASOAIF. Jon and Bran are the most repeated use of this. This Creg from Bitterblooms follows a division to both developing Craster and Arnolf/Cregan Karstak. And, you just brought up Jenny here, but decline to admit that GRRM is reusing a theme of his own. We have the same unattainable "Jenny" in Dying... as we do in ASOIAF.

But do we? Jenny of Oldtstones is a real Jenny - Gwen was never Dirk's Jenny. George has matured there. Gwen from Dying of the Light was still very much a male fantasy of a woman whereas his ASoIaF women are real people.

And reusing names pretty much means nothing. Or do you think Orys Baratheon and R'hllor and the other names he got from his early stories are still clichéd fantasy story characters he was too ashamed to continue writing once a guy in college read one of them?

I don't think so. Or that Sharra Arryn has anything to do with the Sharra from the other story?

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Oh boy. This is not correct. He uses this look once for Cyrain. The rest of the time the fantasy girls look like Ashara Dayne over and over again- taller, small waist, black/really dark hair, high cheekbones, purple eyes, etc.

'The Glass Flower' was written rather closely before AGoT. I never said the man was always dreaming about fucking Daenerys. But this story really has the child-woman who would become Dany sexualized in a pretty uncomfortable manner - not to mention that she is basically raped both mentally and physically.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

To the bold, that is true because even Morgan tries to claim to be Shawn's mother and sister, etc. This seems to fall in line with what GRRM said about Catelyn claiming Robb has family in the Vale. They are not literal family, just like the Karstarks can't claim relations anymore:

He needs an heir and it's too soon for him to have a child yet. And so he tells her he needs an heir, and Catelyn replies that there are near relations. There's a relation in the Vale, from an aunt (in the sense of a female relation in general, not necessarily of the previous generation) of yours.

What is it? Cregan Karstark is family to Alys when you want to condemn incest, but Jocelyn Stark's descendants are not family? They sure as hell are. Not exactly near family, true, but the kinship there is measurable. The fact that these people are nothing to Robb is true, of course, and thus they are not family in the sense that he doesn't know or care about them.

And the Karstarks sure as hell are pretty closely related to the Starks. There are quite a few Karstark-Stark marriages in the family tree, if you recall. They are not very close relations but they certainly are related. 

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

And then Morgan says this:

Morgan’s voice was gentle. “But you had a longknife and a sword, and you couldn’t kill the vampire, could you, child? No.” She came across the room. “You are mine, Shawn Carin, you are my lover and my daughter and my sister. You have to learn to trust. I have much to teach you. Here.” She took Shawn by the hand and led her to the window. “Stand here. Wait, Shawn, wait and watch, and I will show you more of Morgan’s magics.” At the far wall, smiling, she did something with her rings to a panel of bright metal and square dim lights.

Yeah, that's the thing I assume I based my rationale on. But it is still not clear how closely related the guys there are, or what Morgan is trying convey by her words. We don't really understand the culture there well enough.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Sorry, LV, that is BS because the story says so. It was after Creg dies that there was, "a generation of peace," meaning no peace before, and that also after Cregan died, "their numbers increased from forty to nearly one hundred."

That doesn't mean that they changed their incest customs, though. All of the clans on the world seem to live that way. That's why they have those gatherings.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Shawn's issues with Creg come because of Creg and that he is repressive and controlling:

  • “You’re silly,” Shawn told her once. “You wouldn’t be so silly if you lived in Carinhall. Silly people die, you know, and they hurt their families. Everyone has to be useful, and you’re not useful. Creg would make you be useful. You’re lucky that you aren’t a Carin.”
  • I can fix a broken window, and Creg says I’m hardly good for anything at all.”
  • Lane would have been proud of her; Creg would only have asked what took her so long.
  • She remembered Creg, whose temper was awful if you asked him the wrong question. When Shawn was just a child, Creg had beaten her savagely for asking why old Tesenya had to go outside and die.

Nobody ever said that this guy was a nice guy. But his character has nothing to do with the marriage customs on this world which are shaped by the seasons and climate and resources on this world, not some guy.

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Maybe, maybe not? Apparently GRRM doesn't think much on it...

Maybe it was Lord Tytos' idea, or maybe even Tywin's grandfather's idea, it depends on which was the exact time in which the marriage alliance was brokered, but I would have to check my notes because I can't remember.

 

But what GRRM did do was directly compare it to the Targaryens, because Tywin is a bit of a power hungry person, wouldn't you say?:

But there is another clear motive, which is to reinforce the family's bloodline. The Targayren are the extreme example of that policy: they only marry within the family to keep the purity of the blood, and that way you avoid the problem of having several candidates for the throne or the rule of the family.

I know those quotes, and I actually hope George would finally answer the question who arranged the marriage between Tywin and Joanna in TWoIaF. But he did not. We don't know the answer to that question.

In those quotes George is just speculating himself.

And I've defended the Targaryen incest custom in relation to the succession issue and will do so again (although not now). It helped reduced the number of claimants and it helped to ensure that the subjects didn't try to topple and supplant the ruling dynasty.

And for similar reasons the Starks and Lannisters and Arryns also married their own when they could - although, due to the incest taboo, not their sisters but rather their cousins (and occasionally their aunts and nieces).

11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Joanna seems horrified by the early Jaime/Cersei incest.

Sure. She knows they are not Targaryens. Special rules don't apply to them. Not to mention that her twins were 6-7 years old when they first played at having sex. That is pretty early if you ask me. And, you know, Tywin apparently wasn't a fan of incest, either, considering that Joanna gives the impression that Tywin would be very angry if he found out what they did.

In this world there is a pretty big difference between a cousin marriage and sibling incest.

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There is no indication in ADwD that this match is wrong because of Alys' close relation to Uncle Cregan. It is wrong because it is a power grab and a forced marriage, and because Arnolf and his ilk are trying to get Alys' brother killed and intend to betray Stannis to the Boltons.

If this was abominable incest people would mention it, one assumes.

They don't have to because that would be spoonfeeding it to the readers, which is considered insulting in adult literature. GRRM has set up the rules and norms to this world through other POV's. He does not need everyone in the story to give a bullet-point list to every action just to make sure the reader doesn't forget. We don't have to wonder if people will think Tyrion is a kinslayer because of Tywin, we know they will because in this world it is established.

Actions speak louder than words. In literature you show, don't tell.

In addition, Arnolf Karstark is set to betray the north and the Starks. Between this and having Cregan partake in too closely related terms with a family member, he is doubling up on the abomination scale.

ADDING THIS AGAIN BECAUSE THE QUOTER KEEPS EATING IT:

Creg from Bitterblooms is a controlling person who condones incest, which is never mentioned as "normal" in that society as a whole. Creg is a very controlling old man and belittles his people much like Craster does, and much like Arnolf/Cregan Karstark do.

Cregan Stark from history also went against the norm in the north and #1, tried to work in the south and northern men "melt" in the south (not normal), and it was Cregan's two sons that were the only ones in noted history to commit incest when they married their half-nieces in an attempted power grab (that failed with Cregard Stark).

Cregan Karstark is also going against the northern norm and trying to force an incest marriage on his clan kin, Alys, as a means for a power grab. History repeats, people, history repeats. Arnolf is Cregan's father, and he is the one behind the power grab plan for Alys and the plan to kill the rightful heir, Harrion. Arnolf and Cregan are once again betraying the north.

Ultimately it comes down to what sounds right. And I struggle with that, finding the right name for a character. If I can't find the right name I don't know who the character is and I can't proceed." – George R.R. Martin

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Comparing themes is great. And it is really fun to do that with the other stories. And we should actually have more space for stuff like that here.

This is the only reason why I am still responding here.  We are actually discussing a wider book range of work by the same author and I find it fun and interesting. I DO wish it happened more often.

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But do we? Jenny of Oldtstones is a real Jenny - Gwen was never Dirk's Jenny. George has matured there. Gwen from Dying of the Light was still very much a male fantasy of a woman whereas his ASoIaF women are real people.

Well, I never said GRRM is ripping himself off. This is how the themes translates from one story to the next. The idea is there, but it now fits the fantasy narrative set in Planetos world.

We have a literal Jenny, and the fanciful 'Jenny' perfect girl that Petyr desires to see in Catelyn. Petyr has this unattainable perfect woman in his mind and he makes Cat his 'Jenny'. The unattainable perfect girl Jenny is what we saw in Dying...Light.

Incidentally, this is what the "glass flower" is in that story. Something so perfect and so unattainable that it is never "real". It doesn't exist the way the person wants it to.

A Storm of Swords - Catelyn V

"There's a song," he remembered. "'Jenny of Oldstones, with the flowers in her hair.'"
"We're all just songs in the end. If we are lucky." She had played at being Jenny that day, had even wound flowers in her hair. And Petyr had pretended to be her Prince of Dragonflies. Catelyn could not have been more than twelve, Petyr just a boy.
 
Just posting this here for anyone else to see what the discussion is referring to... no major spoilers at all...
Dying of the Light
Finally he reached to touch her, his hand unsure. She shrugged it away. "No," she said.
Dirk sighed and picked up a handful of cool sand, running it through his fingers as he thought. "Gwen." He hesitated. "Jenny, I don't know . . ."
She glanced at him and frowned. "That's not my name, Dirk. It never was. No one ever called me that except you."
He winced, hurt. "But why-"
"Because it isn't me!"
"No one else," he said. "It just came to me, back on Avalon, and it fit you and I called you that. I thought you liked it."
She shook her head. "Once. You don't understand. You never understand. It came to mean more to me than it did at first, Dirk. More and more and more, and the things that name meant to me were not good things. I tried to tell you, even then. But that was a long time ago. I was younger, a child. I didn't have the words."
"And now?" His voice was edged with overtones of anger. "Do you have the words now, Gwen?"
...and then...
"A lot," Gwen said, becoming very serious again. "When Jaan reached Avalon and people started calling him Vikary, he changed. He became Vikary, a hybrid of his own iconoclastic idols. That's what names can do, Dirk. And that was our downfall. I loved you, yes. Much. I loved you, and you loved Jenny."
"You were Jenny!"
"Yes, no. Your Jenny, your Guinevere. You said that, over and over again. You called me those names as often as you called me Gwen, but you were right. They were your names. Yes, I liked it. What did I know of names or naming? Jenny is pretty enough, and Guinevere has the glow of legend. What did I know?
"But I learned, even if I never had the words for it. The problem was that you loved Jenny-only Jenny wasn't me. Based on me, perhaps, but mostly she was a phantom, a wish, a dream you'd fashioned all on your own. You fastened her on me and loved us both, and in time I found myself becoming Jenny. Give a thing a name and it will somehow come to be. All truth is in naming, and all lies as well, for nothing distorts like a false name can, a false name that changes the reality as well as the seeming.
"I wanted you to love me, not her. I was Gwen Delvano, and I wanted to be the best Gwen Delvano I could be, but still myself. I fought being Jenny, and you fought to keep her, and never understood. And that was why I left you." She finished in a cool, even voice, her face a mask, and then she looked away from him again.
And he did understand, at last. For seven years he never had, but now, briefly, he grasped it. This then, he thought, was why she sent the whisperjewel. Not to call him back, no, not that. But to tell him, finally, why she had sent him away. And there was a sense to it. His anger had suddenly faded into weary melancholy. Sand ran cold and unheeded through his fingers.
She saw his face, and her voice softened. "I'm sorry, Dirk," she said. "But you called me Jenny again. And I had to tell you the truth. I have never forgotten, and I can't imagine you have, and I've thought of it over the years. It was so good, when it was good, I kept thinking. How could it go wrong? It scared me, Dirk.

 

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'The Glass Flower' was written rather closely before AGoT. I never said the man was always dreaming about fucking Daenerys. But this story really has the child-woman who would become Dany sexualized in a pretty uncomfortable manner

Hmmm, this Cyrain of Ash flips the script, doesn't she? Cyrain seems all cute and little and sweet, but she is a willing lover to her slaver Khar Dorian (there are those similar names again), and she too is a slaver, isn't she? And she shrugs it off and tells herself she isn't so bad. TO CLARIFY: Khar Dorian is Cyrain's "slaver" because that is his job, he works for her, he goes out and finds slaves, or "prizes", and brings them back to Cyrain for her to use in her 'game of mind'.

To the other point, this is a very touchy subject here on the forum and I am not going to anger the mods that be and talk about r*pe very much at all, but this Cyrain of Ash and Lilith starts off as an "old" Ashara looking character (then she has four other bodies mentioned) and only cons the young silver-haired child body out of someone else after the story starts... she steals bodies and minds.

The Glass Flower

“Cyrain of Ash,” he said. “How old are you?”
“In standard years?”
“Of course.”
I shrugged. “Close to two hundred. I've lost count.”
“You look like a child, like a girl close to puberty, no more.”
“I am older than my body,” I said.

...and then...

Morality is a closely knit garment that binds tightly when it binds at all, but the vastnesses that lie between the stars are prone to unraveling it, to plucking it apart into so many loose threads, each brightly colored, but forming no discernible pattern. The fashionable Vagabonder is a rustic spectacular on Cathaday, the Ymirian swelters on Vess, the Vessman freezes on Ymir, and the shifting lights the Fellanei wear instead of cloth provoke rape, riot, and murder on half a dozen worlds. So it is with morals. Good is no more constant than the cut of a lapel; the decision to take a sentient life weighs no more heavily than the decision to bare one's breasts, or hide them.
There are worlds on which I am a monster. I stopped caring a long time ago. I came to Croan'dhenni with my own fashion sense, and no concern for the aesthetic judgments of others.
Khar Dorian calls himself a slaver, and points out to me that we do, indeed, deal in human flesh. He can call himself what he likes. I am no slaver; the charge offends me. A slaver sells his clients into bondage and servitude, deprives them of freedom, mobility, and time, all precious commodities. I do no such thing. I am only a thief. Khar and his underlings bring them to me from the swollen cities of Lilith, from the harsh mountains and cold wastes of Dam Tullian, from the rotting tenements along the canals of Vess, from spaceport bars on Fellanora and Cymeranth and Shrike, from wherever he can find them, he takes them and brings them to me, and I steal from them and set them free.
A lot of them refuse to go.
They cluster outside my castle walls in the city they have built, toss gifts to me as I pass, call out my name, beg favors of me. I have left them freedom, mobility, and time, and they squander it all in futility, hoping to win back the one thing I have stolen.
I steal their bodies, but they lose their souls themselves.
And perhaps I am unduly harsh to call myself a thief. These victims Khar brings me are unwilling players in the game of mind, but no less players for all that. Others pay so very dearly and risk so very much for the same privilege. Some we call players and some we call prizes, but when the pain comes and the game of mind begins, we are all the same, all naked and alone without riches or health or status, armed with only the strength that lies within us. Win or lose, live or die, it is up to us and us alone.

I give them a chance. A few have even won. Very few, true, but how many thieves give their victims any chance at all?
The Steel Angels, whose worlds lie far from Croan'dhenni on the other side of human space, teach their children that strength is the only virtue and weakness the only sin, and preach that the truth of their faith is written large on the universe itself. It is a difficult point to argue. By their creed, I have every moral right to the bodies I take, because I am stronger and therefore better and more holy than those born to that flesh.
The little girl born in my present body was not a Steel Angel, unfortunately.

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- not to mention that she is basically raped both mentally and physically.

Yeah, but this happens to many of his characters, male and female. Not to diminish it for Daenerys, or Starchild, or any of the others it happens to, but it happens to more than just the Dany archetypes.

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What is it? Cregan Karstark is family to Alys when you want to condemn incest, but Jocelyn Stark's descendants are not family? They sure as hell are. Not exactly near family, true, but the kinship there is measurable. The fact that these people are nothing to Robb is true, of course, and thus they are not family in the sense that he doesn't know or care about them.

And the Karstarks sure as hell are pretty closely related to the Starks. There are quite a few Karstark-Stark marriages in the family tree, if you recall. They are not very close relations but they certainly are related. 

Yeah, that's the thing I assume I based my rationale on. But it is still not clear how closely related the guys there are, or what Morgan is trying convey by her words. We don't really understand the culture there well enough.

Gonna have to go with GRRM's idea on this one. This may help define what and who are actually "related" and how far back.

  • The other factor, which you haven't raised, is degree of kinship. Killing a parent is probably worse than killing a sibling, but either one is a lot worse than killing a distant cousin. Lord Karstark was stretching that aspect of it when he tried to accuse Robb of kinslaying... but of course he was hoping to save his head.
  • Q: There seem to be Lannisters and Freys under every rock, while the Starks are very scarce. Does Ned not have any distant relatives who could reclaim Winterfell? GRRM: The Starks do have distant relations, but the problem is how to define what you mean by "relations". You have some like the Karstarks, who are their own family and is basically a house founded by a son of House Stark, but this was more than a thousand years ago. And the Starks have certainly married other families. For example, it's mencioned in the books that when Robb believes Bran and Rickon are dead...
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That doesn't mean that they changed their incest customs, though. All of the clans on the world seem to live that way. That's why they have those gatherings.

Ya got some quotes to support this, because there is nothing in my copy that says anything to the like and for me to understand your idea on the story, I need to understand what you read.

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Nobody ever said that this guy was a nice guy. But his character has nothing to do with the marriage customs on this world which are shaped by the seasons and climate and resources on this world, not some guy.

Again, and I hate to ask this, but what specific lines in the story are telling you this?

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I know those quotes, and I actually hope George would finally answer the question who arranged the marriage between Tywin and Joanna in TWoIaF. But he did not. We don't know the answer to that question.

In those quotes George is just speculating himself.

I agree. Maybe we will get it, maybe not. All of those people are dead now, so will it matter :dunno:? We already see Jaime and Cersei as two sides of the double-stacked incest coin anyway. That is probably more important to the current story as we have it now.

However, what we should not be doing as readers and posters on the forum is do things like making claims that it *did* go one way in-particular, 'cuz that wouldn't be true.

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And I've defended the Targaryen incest custom in relation to the succession issue and will do so again (although not now). It helped reduced the number of claimants and it helped to ensure that the subjects didn't try to topple and supplant the ruling dynasty.

But this is where you think that GRRM wants an all powerful, all around new world order. This is what I am showing over and over in his writing and his interviews that he is against.

 

Dude, write up a Visenya magicked Maegor hypothesis please. That conversation would be so very, extremely, astronomically more interesting than this rubbish of incest for purity :D I would defend this to the printed end :commie:

 

Edited by The Fattest Leech
quoter keeps eating my updates

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8 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

They don't have to because that would be spoonfeeding it to the readers, which is considered insulting in adult literature. GRRM has set up the rules and norms to this world through other POV's. He does not need everyone in the story to give a bullet-point list to every action just to make sure the reader doesn't forget. We don't have to wonder if people will think Tyrion is a kinslayer because of Tywin, we know they will because in this world it is established.

LOL, are you actually trying to convince me that one doesn't need textual evidence for something when it confirms with one's own pet theory?! Because then it is obvious that this is meant?! That's what you're saying here, basically.

You *know* somehow that Alys marrying Cregan is wrong in principle - and that this is so obvious that the author doesn't even have to tell us this.

Newsflash: The author usually spells everything out eventually so that the casual reader also gets what's going on. And if people practice incest or commit kinslaying this is, of course, also repeated back and forth. King Aenys marrying his son Aegon to his daughter Rhaena did cause a pretty big scandal, you know. Cersei and Jaime are aware and discuss the implications of their incest rather often, Craster's incest and the status of Gilly and her son as 'abominations' are addressed, too.

It is even mentioned repeatedly that the dwarf became a kinslayer after he murdered Tywin in ASoS.

But there is no reason to assume that Cregan marrying Alys counts as incest. Or that would be seen as wrong or ugly if they loved each other or Lord Rickard himself had arranged the match.

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Actions speak louder than words. In literature you show, don't tell.

In addition, Arnolf Karstark is set to betray the north and the Starks. Between this and having Cregan partake in too closely related terms with a family member, he is doubling up on the abomination scale.

Arnolf Karstark is set up to betray Stannis. Not the North or the Starks. The Starks are gone, and the only Stark anybody knows of is Lady Bolton now, which means Arnolf is actually pretty loyal to 'Arya Stark' considering who her lord husband is.

And in fact - the man would have a pretty good reason to betray the Starks considering how 'King Robb' treated his nephew, Lord Rickard Karstark.

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Well, I never said GRRM is ripping himself off. This is how the themes translates from one story to the next. The idea is there, but it now fits the fantasy narrative set in Planetos world.

We have a literal Jenny, and the fanciful 'Jenny' perfect girl that Petyr desires to see in Catelyn. Petyr has this unattainable perfect woman in his mind and he makes Cat his 'Jenny'. The unattainable perfect girl Jenny is what we saw in Dying...Light.

Oh, I meant the actual Jenny in the story - Jenny of Oldstones and Prince Duncan Targaryen. Not Cat or Littlefinger or any of the other characters. Jenny and Duncan are different in the sense that they actually were in love and there was nothing weird going on there about the guy loving a fantasy woman he tried to twist around so she fulfilled his fantasies. Catelyn and Littlefinger are a poor parallel to Dirk and Gwen because Gwen actually did love Dirk - whereas Cat never actually loved Littlefinger (not to mention they had never a relationship).

There is an echo of Gwen/Jenny in ASoIaF, but it spun completely different than in Dying of the Light. And that is actually a good thing.

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Incidentally, this is what the "glass flower" is in that story. Something so perfect and so unattainable that it is never "real". It doesn't exist the way the person wants it to.

Actually, the glass flower in 'The Glass Flower' seems to symbolize something completely different - immortality and unchangeability - and that's what the woman who stole Dany's body always looked for, and which she finally got after she got the cyborg body. Whether that's actually great or not remains unresolved - the cyborg thought life that way eventually sucks, but - hey, what the hell does the cyborg know, anyway?

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Hmmm, this Cyrain of Ash flips the script, doesn't she? Cyrain seems all cute and little and sweet, but she is a willing lover to her former slaver Khar Dorian (there are those similar names again), and she too is a slaver, isn't she? And she shrugs it off and tells herself she isn't so bad.

This woman isn't Daenerys, though. She stole her body. She is a completely different person. All I pointed out is that the body of the woman who was *Daenerys* in 'The Glass Flower' is described in a very sexualized manner. And that it is rather telling that George would continue using the exact same female body for a major heroine of his.

Cyrain is a completely different character.

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Yeah, but this happens to many of his characters, male and female. Not to diminish it for Daenerys, or Starchild, or any of the others it happens to, but it happens to more than just the Dany archetypes.

Nobody said that it didn't. I just pointed out that rather glaring issue there.

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Gonna have to go with GRRM's idea on this one. This may help define what and who are actually "related" and how far back.

Sorry, but those quotes seem to be pretty irrelevant now that we actually have a Stark family tree. There are three Karstarks marrying into House Stark in the family tree, and one of them - Alys Karstark, the wife of Lord Brandon Stark and mother of Lord Beron Stark - is an immediate ancestor of our Starks. And she lived barely a hundred years ago, so the Starks and Karstarks are pretty closely related, no matter what George said when he didn't have his notes with him.

If George runs around and refers to to the fact that House Karstark being founded by a younger son of House Stark as (pretty much) the only good reason that these two houses are related then he is, quite frankly, telling nonsense because he established that the Karstarks married back into House Stark.

And again - we don't have a complete family tree. We don't know how many Starks through the female line married into House Stark. If your great-grandmother had a sister who had a daughter marrying somebody, who had a daughter who happened to marry my father and give birth to me then we are still third cousins. If a Stark daughter married a Locke whose daughter married a Bolton whose daughter married a Dustin then the Starks and Dustins are as related through that connection as closely as through the male line.

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Ya got some quotes to support this, because there is nothing in my copy that says anything to the like and for me to understand your idea on the story, I need to understand what you read.

Again, and I hate to ask this, but what specific lines in the story are telling you this?

You take that out of the setting. Just as you take out of the setting that nothing really changed. Our heroine lives a decent/not-so-bad life on a shitty planet in a freak society and then goes back to the place where she was held prisoner for a time to die alone. That isn't a very positive story.

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I agree. Maybe we will get it, maybe not. All of those people are dead now, so will it matter :dunno:? We already see Jaime and Cersei as two sides of the double-stacked incest coin anyway. That is probably more important to the current story as we have it now.

LOL, Jaime and Cersei are a twin couple who have been in love since they were preteens. There is no indication whatsoever that their love for each other represents power-grabbing stuff and the like - or even the tendency to keep things in the family. They both happen to be arrogant pricks but that's just because they are the beautiful scions of the richest family in Westeros.

They never marry, and Jaime only ends up fathering 'Robert's children' because Robert is an asshole and Cersei's marriage is as wrong as it is. If just a single factor there would have been different - Jaime not being allowed to remain in the KG, Cersei liking Robert more, Robert not being an ass, Robert not being a drunkard, etc. - things could have been very different.

This whole thing is actually a real 'forbidden love story', not something that is arranged for political. And even quite a few of those Targaryen incest love stories are proper love stories - the Conqueror and Rhaenys, presumably, Jaehaerys I and Alysanne, Jaehaerys II and Shaera, Bloodraven and Shiera Seastar, not to mention the rumors about Queen Naerys and the Dragonknight.

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However, what we should not be doing as readers and posters on the forum is do things like making claims that it *did* go one way in-particular, 'cuz that wouldn't be true.

I never said I knew who arranged the Tywin-Joanna wedding. And there is a difference to how Tywin may have felt marrying his first cousin (he may have liked emulating the Targaryen incest custom there) and the actual arranging of such a cousin marriage.

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But this is where you think that GRRM wants an all powerful, all around new world order. This is what I am showing over and over in his writing and his interviews that he is against.

LOL, no. I just point out that things usually got very fucked up when the Targaryens were marrying outside the family, most notably when Viserys I married Alicent Hightower, and Aegon IV had too many children with women who weren't his sister-wife Naerys. Even allowing young spare daughter - like Princess Rhaelle Targaryen marrying Ormund Baratheon - to marry into a powerful great house who already could claim to have royal blood turned out to be rather detrimental for the Targaryens.

Looking for brides for sons outside isn't necessarily that problematic - although it can be if it results in bringing in people like the Lannisters or Hightowers - what is problematic is having too many children and then allow the spare daughters to spread the royal blood (and the blood claims that come with them) to too many families.

That way you trigger a succession crisis - and this also happens, of course, if you have only sons and they were all to marry the daughters of ambitious and powerful fathers. Look what happened when Renly *married* the daughter (or rather: the son) of Mace Tyrell.

This usually is also the reason why marriage among kin (and in extreme cases actual incest) became so common among so many really powerful dynasties. It is away to ensure that power remains in the family. It is a means to ensure stability in a system where the royal bloodline is very important. And Westeros simply is a world following such rules.

In addition, of course, to the whole 'dragonlord blood' thing which may actually need to be kept pure to properly work throughout the generations. Unlike the Persian or Egyptian kings the dragonlords of Valyria and the Targaryens after them really might have a pretty good reason as to why they started and continued to practice incest.

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Dude, write up a Visenya magicked Maegor hypothesis please. That conversation would be so very, extremely, astronomically more interesting than this rubbish of incest for purity :D I would defend this to the printed end :commie:

Well, there is not much theory there. Just the fact that George has Gyldayn talk about rumors that Visenya dabbled into sorcery and the like (making it possible that she actually could work some spells) and then the fact that she got pregnant rather late in life (and she was believed to be barren) knowing in advance she would give birth to a boy.

And then there is the curious case of Aegon the Conqueror having two wives but only two children, the first of which is only born seven years after the Conquest (which means the Targaryen siblings were married for at least a decade - they were already married before the Conquest began in 2 BC, nine years before the birth of Prince Aenys). That is very odd and indicative of the fact that Aegon may have been sterile - in fact, that's also hinted at when Queen Sharra of the Vale offers Aegon to marry him if he would name her son Ronnel his heir (an indication that she didn't expect him to father any children on his two sister-wives). For Rhaenys and Aenys there is the rumor that the boy's true father was one of Rhaenys' favorites, not the Conqueror. Since there are no rumors that Visenya ever entertained any lovers the idea here is that she may have used magic to make Aegon's semen work - or she just went through some spell and created a male clone of herself magically (which assumes that magics like that exist in Westeros - could be, or not).

Gyldayn essentially describes the sons of the Dragon as being Aegon the Conqueror ripped in two parts. Aenys got all the charisma and Maegor all the physical strength, basically. But if look more closely then Aenys is actually a dialed-up, male version of the playful, changeable Rhaenys whereas Maegor is just dialed-up, male version of the stern, unforgiving Visenya.

And who knows? Perhaps male clones created through spells by a rather weirdo dragonlord family also happens to increase the risk that such a clone isn't exactly all that fertile himself. Tyanna may or may not have messed with Maegor's pregnant wives but it is quite clear Maegor had severe issues impregnating women long before he even met Tyanna - and it is not that he didn't try to father bastards outside of wedlock.

I only read 'Nightflyers' after TSotD (or rather: after hearing the first portion of the piece dealing with Aenys and Maegor's childhood years ago) but that story really makes it clear that George actually once used the concept of a rather weird woman creating a male clone of herself to be her 'son', and that makes it even more likely that this idea may lurk there behind the official history, never to be revealed by the author, of course.

It is something somebody should George ask about in a casual conversation. I'm pretty sure he would like it if people did discover this possibility - as well as the idea that King Aenys wasn't the Conqueror's son, either, making no Targaryen to actually descend from their famous founder.

Edited by Lord Varys

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

LOL, are you actually trying to convince me that one doesn't need textual evidence for something when it confirms with one's own pet theory?! Because then it is obvious that this is meant?! That's what you're saying here, basically.

No, I “know” this based on the tellings of maesters and free folk that detail what incest is. You know the master quote as it is in the main series, world book, and Sons. I guess GRRM didn’t want readers to forget that it includes cousins and aunts, clan kin from the same village, etc? :dunno:

Aaannd with that, I see our conversation time has come to and end. Have a great day. 

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6 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

No, I “know” this based on the tellings of maesters and free folk that detail what incest is. You know the master quote as it is in the main series, world book, and Sons. I guess GRRM didn’t want readers to forget that it includes cousins and aunts, clan kin from the same village, etc? :dunno:

Aaannd with that, I see our conversation time has come to and end. Have a great day. 

As usual, you are conflating things. Ygritte thinks it is improper to marry a dude from her own village - never mind that they might not exactly be related if said dude was descended from stolen woman and a man only settled in said village a generation ago - but there is no such thing in the Seven Kingdoms.

The Faith and the Northmen both only view sexual relationships between parents-children and siblings as incest. Anything else isn't incest and thus not abominable (perhaps grandparents-grandchildren are incest, too, but if that's the case then we don't have confirmation of that at this point) or forbidden.

Nobody seems to frown on cousin marriages in the Seven Kingdoms, nor do avuncular marriages seem controversial. The Starks married their nieces, Victarion thought Asha wanted to marry him (he found it strange but not abominable).

There is also no reason to believe the author wants us to take the customs and opinions of the wildlings as a template for what's good and proper. Just because they think you shouldn't marry among your clan or in your village doesn't mean GRRM thinks that's how it is.

In fact, there is no indication that George condemns Jaime/Cersei for their love, or the happy Targaryen incest couples for theirs. One assumes he doesn't like that Naerys had to marry Aegon IV - but then he likely also doesn't approve of Jeyne marrying Ramsay, Lysa marrying Jon, or Stannis marrying Selyse.

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