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Incest Deficiencies, or lack thereof

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On 5/8/2018 at 7:52 PM, St Daga said:

 However, I speculate that the offspring of Craster carries something genetically that the Other's are interested it. That is why Craster is safe from them, and perhaps that is why Craster seems to be safe from other wildlings and even the Night's Watch. Inbreeding with his own daughters, would make the chance that this special genetic trait is expressed more strongly. Hard to say, but I would also speculate that Craster's first wives might have been his own sister's, and some people have speculated that his first wife might have been his own mother. It would not surprise me if that is revealed to us. There is a reason Craster was doing what he was doing, I doubt it was just because he is a creep!

What will happen when Craster dies then? Then the Others won't get their sacrifices. Atleast sacrifices that would be fathered by Craster or is ilk.

On 5/8/2018 at 7:52 PM, St Daga said:

Blood of the dragon is something we hear many times in this story. We also hear the term "wolf blooded" in relation to the Stark's, and I wonder if this is a clue to us that their power genetically might have come from inbreeding. The world book tells us they were smart enough to marry into several conquered houses in the north, including the crannogmen through the Marsh King, who might carry a green site gene, and the Stark males married the Warg King's daughters, which I think implies they were looking to bring those genes into their own bloodline. Once they had those genes, there is no reason to think they might not have continued to breed to keep those genes strong and expressed.

Starks have also married into other houses over the centuries, over the millenia. The genes of the Warg king and his daughters has probably spread and is not just concentrated in the Starks.

On 5/8/2018 at 7:52 PM, St Daga said:

Once I came to terms with the amount of incest in the story (and it's almost everywhere), and set aside the "eeww" factor, I came to see that it might be a tool that GRRM is going to use in this story for some big things. I think he is showing us in some instances (the Targaryen breeding practices or even in Jaime and Cersei's children) while keeping other hints on the down low, but planting them, none the less. I suspect that the "long face of the Stark's" is not unlike the trait that our world know's as the Hapsburg Jaw, and we might eventually find that before Aegon's conquest, Stark inbreeding might have been used to keep their blood line strong for the purpose of skinchanging!

Perhaps the entire nobility is a bit inbred? Thus even marriages outside the house and immediate family could contribute to inbreeding.

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On 5/8/2018 at 11:16 PM, Lord Varys said:

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

There are tests for people who suspect they may carry Tay Sachs, but not cure. If the test reveals that both prospective partners are positive for Tay Sachs, then the match is broken or the couple don't breed or does so knowing the risks.

Interesting video that is somewhat similar to the situation with Tay Sachs.

On 5/8/2018 at 11:16 PM, Lord Varys said:

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

Good point. Also the Brackens and Blackwoods have had a feud for centuries and they are also related. Often these houses seem to be about partisanship aswell as kinship.

On 5/8/2018 at 11:16 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Conquest may have broadened the gene pool somewhat, with nobility from all over the Seven Kingdoms starting to intermarry with each other, at least occasionally - Queen Rhaenys is famous for arranging some such matches.

Good point!

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On 5/10/2018 at 6:21 PM, St Daga said:

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

Sickle Cell Disease protects against Malaria. Perhaps Sickle Cell Disease is just an adaptation and not a defect?

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On 5/15/2018 at 3:07 AM, The Fattest Leech said:

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.

What is the North? A geographical region? A nation? A political entity? Is not Karstark of the North himself?

 

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14 hours ago, norwaywolf123 said:

Good point. Also the Brackens and Blackwoods have had a feud for centuries and they are also related. Often these houses seem to be about partisanship aswell as kinship.

A real eyeopener about the degree of inbreeding among the noble families of Westeros comes when we learn that there were nine marriages between the Tyrells and the Gardeners after the Tyrells rose to the position of hereditary Stewards of Highgarden. Nine marriages, and they are still considered to be too lowborn to rule the Reach by many of the older and more ancient lineages there.

How closely, then, must the other major houses of the Reach be related to the Gardeners? The Hightowers, Redwynes, Rowans, Oakhearts, Florents, etc.?

The fact that many of the ancient have 'distinct looks' - Starks, Tullys, Baratheons, Lannisters, Arryns, etc. - also implies that the degree of inbreeding is very high. Else nobody would attribute certain traits to specific families nor would they be able to preserve them.

The Lannisters likely retain their golden hair through the ages because they predominantly marry among houses of the West they are closely related to. They are a very fertile bunch, going back to the blessed days of Lann the Clever, so it is hardly surprising that their traits pretty much rule the West.

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No wonder why Aerys II freaked out. Families that had been marrying within each other for thousands of years all started to betroth their children to different lord paramounts and wardens children. Even Tywin wanted to marry his a heir to a Tully when Jaime probably had at least a dozens cousins with golden hair and green eyes of marrying age. 

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17 hours ago, norwaywolf123 said:

Sickle Cell Disease protects against Malaria. Perhaps Sickle Cell Disease is just an adaptation and not a defect?

'Defect' is a completely relative term in this context since we are not 'designed' or 'made'. Traits and abilities that help us to live long enough to procreate better than other individuals will inevitably spread. 

Sickle Cell Disease becomes a pretty dominant trait in regions were Malaria greatly hinders the procreational success of 'healthy individuals' - hence it is a dominant trait there. But it is still not great to suffer from Sickle Cell Disease.

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On 5/8/2018 at 7:52 PM, St Daga said:

 Such as the recessive bleeding disorder's seen in  Queen Victoria of England, and the effects were seen in several generations of her royal descendants, perhaps most notably in the Romanov royal family of Russia. If you look at photo's of the Romanov family, you don't see hideous physical disabilities, and they were noted to be intelligent and it is a pretty good looking family. But the inbreeding in their line did increase the chances of haemophilia,

So, this is one of my pet peeves - haemophilia has nothing to do with inbreeding! Given that it is due to a mutation on the X-chromosome, if a woman is a carrier, half  of her daughters will all also be carriers and half of her sons will have the disease, statistically speaking, no matter who her husband is. He could be as unrelated as possible and it wouldn't change anything! Either Victoria or her mother had a spontaneous mutation in her reproductive cells and that was that.

BTW, when fairly evaluating the effects of inbreeding on historical royalty and nobility, one also has to take into account that they would have been almost universally infected with venereal diseases, which resulted in significant number of their children being born with congenital conditions related to that, on top of everything else. And, of course, stuff like heavy metals in cosmetics and medecines they used, lead poisonings due to them having privileged access to the early engineering experiments with running water, etc.

 

On 5/8/2018 at 7:52 PM, St Daga said:

However, I speculate that the offspring of Craster carries something genetically that the Other's are interested it. That is why Craster is safe from them, and perhaps that is why Craster seems to be safe from other wildlings and even the Night's Watch.

 

Personally, I doubt that. IMHO, the Others were protecting him because he was useful, both due to his location and to his willingness to secretly provide them with sacrifices - which, IMHO they use for their life-force, rather than anything else. We know that they were never really gone, but tried to be circumspect enough that even the majority of wildlings didn't see them as a big threat until some time shortly before the start of AGoT, so somebody providing them with sacrifices without a fuss and likely also with information from NW, whose favorite waypoint his keep was, would have been valuable to them.

And Craster was doing what he was doing because he didn't want rivals and needed the Others' protection. It isn't like he could afford to go away for months and try to steal extra wives, so he had to breed his own. There are hints in TWoIaF that there were small tribes on the Frozen Shore, who were also worshipping the Others, but far less circumspection was needed there.

 

On 5/8/2018 at 11:16 PM, Lord Varys said:

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

Lady Agnes Blackwood, who led the Riverlands resistance to Hoares seems to have had some form of prophetical gift. But I find it really interesting that according to BR's and CotF statistics, there should be a lot more skinchangers south of the Wall. Particularly since after TWoIaF we know that the First Man blood flows very strongly among the commoners of most of the southern kingdoms - and even the nobility is far less Andal than previously thought in most of them. There are also rumors of skin-changing running in certain families,  which I wouldn't dismiss out of hand.

That makes me wonder if people whose gift is not particularly strong can unconsciously or consciously repress it, seeming no more than just good with animals/occasionally having useful premonitions even to themselves . Or maybe that it can manifest at a range of ages, and Varamyr was just precocious, where somebody who was older when developing the talent may have been able to conceal or supress it.

Because on the face of it, it doesn't make sense that an allegedly strong warg like Jon didn't already begin to skin-change dogs years before they found the direwolf pups. According to Varamyr and Haggon his teacher, it is easier for a warg to skin-change a dog than a wolf, after all.

Bloodraven may have done something to nudge the Stark kids into being skinchangers, or it may have been fate, we don't know. Another possibility is that magic being very weak for decades prior to the arrival of the comet resulted in all but the strongest abilities being inhibited and not manifesting properly. Maybe some very confused skinchangers will pop up elsewhere in Westeros now.

 

On 5/12/2018 at 3:00 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

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.

Why? We learned in TWoIaF that Valyrians were very much into magically assisted breeding/gengeneering experiments - what makes you think that they wouldn't have applied it to themselves? In fact, it is almost certain that they did and that's one of the reasons why they were able to weather institutional incest among the elite as well as they did and considered it  desirable.

 

On 5/12/2018 at 3:00 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

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.

Likewise, exaggerating the dangers beyond what was demonstrated to us in the WoIaF setting seems to be at least partly motivated by the preferences for different ships :P.

 

On 5/15/2018 at 12:02 AM, Yukle said:

 

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... :(

Oh, there were more scientific attempts, apparently:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanzee#Reports_on_attempted_or_successful_hybridization

and allegedly the chinese one even resulted in pregnancy? There were also unsubstantiated rumors of an US experiment in the 20-ies, IIRC.

On 5/15/2018 at 3:07 AM, The Fattest Leech said:

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.

So, do you consider Neds' parents marriage to be incestous too? Because the degree of cosanguinity between them is the same as between Cregan and Alys Karstark. In both cases they are first cousins once removed. I mean, there are other reasons to find forced marriage of Alys to Cregan objectionable, but it is no incest by the standards of the North or most of the world iRL currently.

 

On 5/16/2018 at 11:38 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Stark skinchangers (and the one greenseer they have brought forth in Bran) certainly seems to be a very rare coincidence - and there might be an explanation for this. Or not. I mean, it could be as vague as 'these are the troubled times prophecies spoke about; times in which heroes and legends come forth to fight the good fight and save humanity'.

Well, with the greenseers specifically, judging by Bloodraven it seems that they don't necessarily reveal themselves as such early in life if they are otherwise healthy and whole. Bran's trauma and ordeals made him very precocious in the development of his abilities - and I still think that Euron Greyjoy is a failed greenseer.

 

On 5/16/2018 at 11:38 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Stark children might be in a similar category, with the difference that the skinchanger/greenseer talent is not necessarily a talent that is inherited.

Or if it is, pattern of inheritance may be too complex for the CoTF or medieval-ish people to see it. Also, among humans it wasn't necessarily desirable to have these talents for a long time, so those who did probably wouldn't have wanted to breed for it, unless they lived in such marginal and secluded circumstances, as, say, the Farwynds. Who, I believe, really do consistently produce seal skinchangers among themselves, as hinted both in the worldbook and in the novels.

 

On 5/16/2018 at 11:38 PM, Lord Varys said:

 

Oh, I should have described the whole thing in more detail. The starting point of the idea is the very weird fact that Thoros only brings back Beric again and again when many other of their comrades and friends are dying around them left and right (and the sort dehumanizing effect of the resurrections only became clear when Beric had been brought back multiple times). Why aren't there more zombies in the Brotherhood without Banners? Perhaps Thoros tried to bring back others and it failed.

Actually, it is spelled out somewhere in ACoK, IIRC, that Thoros ressurected Beric by giving him the same death-rites that he gives to all the dead as a priest of R'llor. So, yes, there was something special about Beric particularly and Thoros can't just bring back whoever he choses. Jena Dondarrion may indeed be a hint at what it was - i.e. some distant Targaryen ancestry. I do wonder if Beric ressurecting Cat by passing his "animating force" or whatever into her was quite the same thing, though. It is possible that it wasn't and that the same prequisites don't apply.

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Geez! It's been longer than I thought since my previous post here.

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

TWoIaF (in a quote from FaB) made it clear that the belief that the incest is necessary to ensure the production of continuous dragonlords. In that sense, it is confirmed to be more than just the deluded beliefs of the andalized Targaryen kings.

A belief doesn't necessarily means it's confirmed, or correct. However, if there is a gene for dragon bonding/riding, then it makes sense to keep this gene be produced. By selective breeding, inbreeding, what ever you want to call it. I just don't see skinchanging as much different as far as genetic gifts go. Certainly, I could be wrong about that.

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

dragonriders can only ride one dragon at a time, cannot control the dragons mentally, cannot share their souls with them, do not live a second life in them, etc.

That is a very strong difference.

Do we know this for certain? That dragon's don't carry some of their riders's in them forever. If a dragon egg can absorb someones soul, then why can't a dragon? Certainly, we see some difference in what we think of skinchangers and dragonbinders, but that distinction could be said of wargs and skinchangers. Very similar but perhaps not exactly the same. Varamyr is both a warg and a skinchanger, and perhaps if he ever say a dragon, he could have bonded that animal, too. I think they are very alike and you don't see it that way. Which is fine. If we all agreed, this would get very boring.

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

Varamyr's siblings weren't skinchangers, either, though. Nor is there any indication that his parents ever had any skinchangers in their family, or else they wouldn't have handed the boy to some stranger, 'one of his kind'.

Well, they certainly knew who to give him to for training. Although Varamyr thinks that his siblings did not have the gift, it is possible he is wrong. He wasn't trained at that time, so  he didn't know much. I would guess that Lump had a different father than Bump and his sister. Things happen in life. The mother knew, and eventually the man who he knew has his father realized it. And then they gave the boy to Haggon. As to his siblings not having the gift, Little Bump, who became dog meat, and the older sister Meha, (who I think is probably Harma Dogshead), probably only shared a mother with Varamyr, not a father, and perhaps did not have the gift for that reason. Harma hates dog's perhaps because dog's killed her baby brother. I am not afraid of the tinfoil, but I don't expect anyone else to admire how shiny it is.

Also, I am not sure that Haggon was a stranger to Varamyr's parents, only he was a stranger to Lump.

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

Oh, it seems to be pretty clear that dragonriders are different from skinchangers.

Wargs are a type of skinchagner, and I think this goes for dragonriders, as well. Certainly, some might have a talent for a different animal to bond with, only one animal, or many types of animals. Varamyr talks about different types of skinchangers, and he put's wargs in a slightly different category, but not a different class. But he sets himself apart because of the amount and type of animals that he control's. Bran and Arya, at least, show this ability to bond with more than just wolves, and Bran can even wear the skin of Hodor. I see it kind of like a taxonomy pyramid.

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

there is no indication that skinchanging and greenseeing is based on the manipulation of one's blood.

Or that it's not!

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

That would be odd considering that being a greenseer seems to be build up as Bran's special ability. Bran contacting/reaching out to his siblings/kin might explain much of that, actually.

Bran's gift could be why his siblings are seeing things around the heart tree. That is one possibility.

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

Considering Bloodraven failed to send Ned messages/warnings he could actually understand I doubt he could do stuff like that. Not to mention Cat was supposed to marry Brandon, not Ned.

Well, it could be possible that it was Ned and Cat's blood that needed to be combined, and therefore Brandon had to die, leaving Ned and Cat to marry and mate and produce special offspring. And they are special, those Stark kids. I think there is a lot of manipulation that could have been caused by Bloodraven in people's dreams. Because Ned struggled to interpret his dreams, doesn't mean someone wasn't trying to tell him something. Perhaps Ned is a bit dense. He does tell us that he questions the gods; "If the gods frowned so on bastards, he thought dully, why did they fill men with such lusts?" Perhaps the God's (Bloodraven) sent Ned, or Robert, or Rhaegar certain "lusts" to help promote a certain bloodline?

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

Dunk & Egg aren't 'companion novellas', they are stories of their own, set in the same world, which also happen to contain important information on the books.

I think that is a pretty good definition of a companion novel. "A bonus book that gives reader's answers to questions they had about the book. Or gives reader's more information on interesting things from the book".

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

If you want to know who the three-eyed crow actually was before he turned into a tree man you have to read Dunk & Egg. With the whole Bloodraven connection it didn't really become optional to read those stories.

Anything is optional, it just depends on how deep you want to look at things. But you are correct about information on Bloodraven, as he get's very little explanation or time in the main novels, but his backstory is hashed out in other writings. Just last week I decided to read Sons of the Dragon. I have all of the books on my shelf, just never bothered to read them. It was quick reading, and pretty interesting. It helps my tinfoil, bit I still don't know if it is "necessary" reading.

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

I'm pretty sure we'll learn more about Aerea and Rhaella in FaB, but George has really gone out of his way to *not* establish a Targaryen-Stark link in the stuff we already know about the history. There was this Pact of Ice and Fire but no Targaryen ever married into House Stark - despite the fact that Baela or Rhaena could have done that (and later on also one of Aegon III's three daughters). Thus I'd be very surprised if it turned out that something like that happened.

I would think you are correct about Fire and Blood shedding some important information on Rhaena and her twins, which is one of the reasons I am looking a bit forward to that. Mostly, I am just irritated that it is not Winds of Winter. 

As to not establishing a Targ/Stark bloodline previously, I do think it's hinted at with Robert and Ned's discussion on who should have been king. Robert says it should have been Jon or Ned, but Ned says Robert had the better claim. Not the only claim, just the better one. And Robert's claim is through his Targaryen blood through his grandmother Rhaelle Targaryen. Oh, and conquest, which Jon and Ned had a huge part of. The Arryn's have some dragonblood and I think the Stark's do too. Time will tell, of course, and I understand that is not a popular idea with many readers. That would lesson the idea and importance of Jon being the Ice and Fire combo baby.

We are told that The Pact of Ice and Fire was never fulfilled, but that only apply's to what came after that pact. I think the Stark/Targrayen match came before, and Cregan Stark might have made that pact with Jacaerys Valeryon hoping to duplicate something from the past. And I have no proof of this, I understand. But there is a suspicious amount of time missing from the Stark lineage, and I think that is hiding something important. I also understand that I have only speculation and I don't blame people for not seeing it the way I do.

On 5/17/2018 at 4:32 AM, Lord Varys said:

Princess Rhaella wasn't given to the Hightowers but was made a novice in a motherhouse in Oldtown, indicating that she might have become a septa later in life. If that happened (which we don't know yet) it is very unlikely she is going to have any legitimate children.

One of the reasons I finally decided to read Sons of the Dragon was to see how to respond to this comment. That book does report that Rhaella was sent for training to be a septa, not that she ever became one. She was probably 2 years old or less at that time. I was mistaken about her being housed with House Hightower, but they are given credit for keeping her alive. We don't know where she was when Maegor called for her death, only that Lord Hightower imprisoned the rider. And that he was ordered to take her head, which rather mirror's Jon Arryn being commanded by Aerys to take Ned and Robert's heads. Wards of his, or former wards, which hints to me that Rhaella was actually a ward of House Hightower. Actually, the whole idea that Maegor would give this Targaryen princess to the Faith is odd as hell. After all, the Faith caused huge problems for Aenys, and then Maegor. A huge bloody conflict followed. Why would Maegor ever give such a boon to the Faith? It really doesn't seem applicable to Maegor's attitude toward the Faith at all. Perhaps this information should be doubted or questioned, as we know that these writings from the Maester's could have some bias. 

I would think that Rhaelle and Aerea are great candidates to be married into the Stark or Lannister or Hightower lines, or even Rhaena, who had proven her fertility and was still young. I actually find it odd that Rhaena wasn't married to Jaecaerys. If you are going to have a sibling marriage, you might as well make it polygamous, as well. Who cares what the Faith thinks when you have dragons? I could very well be incorrect with my line of speculation, but I guess time will tell, like with most of the answers we are seeking from this story. 

Sorry about the delay in posting @Lord Varys. Work, life and some reading got in the way of a good discussion.

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5 hours ago, Maia said:

So, this is one of my pet peeves - haemophilia has nothing to do with inbreeding! Given that it is due to a mutation on the X-chromosome, if a woman is a carrier, half  of her daughters will all also be carriers and half of her sons will have the disease, statistically speaking, no matter who her husband is. He could be as unrelated as possible and it wouldn't change anything! Either Victoria or her mother had a spontaneous mutation in her reproductive cells and that was that.

BTW, when fairly evaluating the effects of inbreeding on historical royalty and nobility, one also has to take into account that they would have been almost universally infected with venereal diseases, which resulted in significant number of their children being born with congenital conditions related to that, on top of everything else. And, of course, stuff like heavy metals in cosmetics and medecines they used, lead poisonings due to them having privileged access to the early engineering experiments with running water, etc.

 

 

Personally, I doubt that. IMHO, the Others were protecting him because he was useful, both due to his location and to his willingness to secretly provide them with sacrifices - which, IMHO they use for their life-force, rather than anything else. We know that they were never really gone, but tried to be circumspect enough that even the majority of wildlings didn't see them as a big threat until some time shortly before the start of AGoT, so somebody providing them with sacrifices without a fuss and likely also with information from NW, whose favorite waypoint his keep was, would have been valuable to them.

And Craster was doing what he was doing because he didn't want rivals and needed the Others' protection. It isn't like he could afford to go away for months and try to steal extra wives, so he had to breed his own. There are hints in TWoIaF that there were small tribes on the Frozen Shore, who were also worshipping the Others, but far less circumspection was needed there.

 

I misspoke, or mistyped, about incest being the trigger with haemophilia.  It is said that Victoria's haemophilia was a spontaneous genetic mutation, but who can prove that? There is speculation about her parentage, or at least the identity of her biological father. For whatever reason, she was a carrier and she passed it on to several of her offspring, and they in turn passed it on to their children. But haemophilia is recessive, and inbreeding could increase any recessive trait's chance of being expressed. Just as with any recessive trait. However, a person can pass on recessive traits to their offspring without inbreeding or incest being a factor. All you need is two recessive carriers, who can be completely unrelated, which is often the case with many autosomal recessive disease processes like Tay Sachs disease, Sickle Cell Anemia or Cystic Fibrosis. Incest doesn't have to be involved, of course, but it could increase the chance of the genes being expressed in offspring. 

Thank you for helping me clarify my previous statement.

As to Craster, we have no confirmation of why he was doing what he was doing, or why the Other's are interested in his offspring. I do respect your opinion but right now, that is just as speculative as my own ideas. But I am open to all sorts of speculation, and think that almost anything is possible in this story. Time will tell, hopefully, and until then, all theories are valid.

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5 hours ago, Maia said:

Oh, there were more scientific attempts, apparently:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanzee#Reports_on_attempted_or_successful_hybridization

and allegedly the chinese one even resulted in pregnancy? There were also unsubstantiated rumors of an US experiment in the 20-ies, IIRC.

Yeah... not exactly pleasant. As far as is known, no embryo has developed into a live young, let alone a fertile one.

To be totally icky, if conjecture is true - and this is little better than rumour - then yes, apparently the USA has tried it. Similarly, the Chinese government released reports of making a fertilised embryo, but that's worth taking with some grains of salt given they claimed it but couldn't provide any proof.

Much more well known, sadly, are more... ad-hoc breeding attempts between people not exactly pursuing science but perhaps their depravity. *shudder*

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10 hours ago, St Daga said:

 Actually, the whole idea that Maegor would give this Targaryen princess to the Faith is odd as hell. After all, the Faith caused huge problems for Aenys, and then Maegor. A huge bloody conflict followed. Why would Maegor ever give such a boon to the Faith?

A good question. Though a young dragonless girl-child by herself wouldn't have been much of a threat or a rallying point. And the Faith could hardly denounce Maegor for being an abomination born of incest, yet champion Rhaella at the same time. In fact, it could be argued that among all the various powers of the realm, they were the least likely to try to use her against Maegor - particularly since, after his and Visenya's visit to Oldtown, only people amenable to his rule would  have remained at the top of the Faith hierarchy. It could have become tricky if he ever needed to retrieve her, though.

 

10 hours ago, St Daga said:

@Lord VarysI would think that Rhaelle and Aerea are great candidates to be married into the Stark or Lannister or Hightower lines, or even Rhaena, who had proven her fertility and was still young. I actually find it odd that Rhaena wasn't married to Jaecaerys. If you are going to have a sibling marriage, you might as well make it polygamous, as well. Who cares what the Faith thinks when you have dragons?

I no longer think that  Lannisters have Targaryen blood. I used to, and in their case it would have been really easy to provide them with a straightforward connection, given Lord Viserys Plumm (who was a son of Princess Elaena and almost certainly also of Aegon the Unworthy) and his descendants, but in TWoIaF Lannister genealogy Martin carefully avoided even a hint at something like that, and I can't help but think that it was for a reason.

To the lesser degree the same is true about the Starks - there are a couple of abortive Targaryen - northern matches shown in TWoIaF, but they never came to anything and that was likely on purpose too.

After problematic experiences of incestious polygamy of the Big Three, it is also easy to see why the Targaryens wouldn't have wanted to go that way again, absent an acute need. Not to mention, that they had to give the Faith some bone and needed to distinguish themselves from polygamous Maegor. Rhaena obviously didn't challenge Jaehaerys's claim to the throne on behalf of her daughters and that was that.

Yes, hers and Aerea's and possibly even Rhaella's lives afterwards are still unaccounted for, so surprises are still possible, but let's not forget that Laenor Velarion was supposed to have Targ blood on both sides of his parentage, so it would make sense if one of them eventually became Corlys's mother. Also, the "lesser claimants" at the Great Council of 103 AC needed to have  relevant ancestors - and if one of them had been a Stark we should have really heard about that in TWoIaF.

 

8 hours ago, St Daga said:

 But haemophilia is recessive, and inbreeding could increase any recessive trait's chance of being expressed. Just as with any recessive trait.

 

But it isn't! In human males, who only have one X chromosome and therefore only one copy of the responsible gene, inherited from their mother, it is dominant. Which is why inbreeding has zero to do with haemophilia's transmission to and expression in males and Victoria's husband could have been anybody with the same result. It is recessive in human females and thus subject to inbreeding, - but homozyguous haemphiliacs among them are very rare, for obvious reasons, and highly unlikely to have offspring in their turn. 

 

9 hours ago, Yukle said:

Yeah... not exactly pleasant. As far as is known, no embryo has developed into a live young, let alone a fertile one.

 

Well, it could have been worse. As a kid I have heard rumors about such experiments being conducted on female prisoners in labor camps during Stalin's repressions. With the goal of creating super-soldiers, of course. I am relieved that in truth Ivanov didn't manage to attract government support for his experiments, and that apparently nobody took up where he left off.

Though it would be an interesting world-building premise to have such hybrids be possible and as easy to obtain as mules are iRL in a secondary world SF.

9 hours ago, Yukle said:

Much more well known, sadly, are more... ad-hoc breeding attempts between people not exactly pursuing science but perhaps their depravity. *shudder*

But those can't have happened with sexually mature apes, surely? I mean, they are frighteningly strong and could easily pull a grown man apart limb from limb.

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11 hours ago, St Daga said:

with any recessive trait. However, a person can pass on recessive traits to their offspring without inbreeding or incest being a factor. All you need is two recessive carriers, who can be completely unrelated, which is often the case with many autosomal recessive disease processes like Tay Sachs disease, Sickle Cell Anemia or Cystic Fibrosis. Incest doesn't have to be involved, of course, but it could increase the chance of the genes being expressed in offspring. 

Nobody is completly unrelated.

 

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@norwaywolf123 Sorry I missed commenting on your post. I didn't look over the thread very well, I guess.

On 5/24/2018 at 3:54 PM, norwaywolf123 said:

What will happen when Craster dies then? Then the Others won't get their sacrifices. Atleast sacrifices that would be fathered by Craster or is ilk.

I am not sure how that would work for them after Craster's death, but it might not matter. I speculate that the Other's have been building to something over many years, for a generation at least, but perhaps more, so the son's of Craster, if they do have some special genetic component, are headed for some kind of climax. And we don't know what they actually do with his son's, so perhaps there would be one to remain to start the process over again.

Another option would be for a new man to take over Craster's position, which is actually what Chett thought about doing. If Chett, or some random man started having children with Craster's daughter/wives, the women would pass their genetic gift on to these children. They have the same thing the Other's are looking for, so it's possible that the "sacrifices" could be sustained in that way. I have seen speculation that question that Craster got his special genes from his Mother and it's passed down in the female line, so that would make the women important, not Craster.

On 5/24/2018 at 3:54 PM, norwaywolf123 said:

Starks have also married into other houses over the centuries, over the millenia. The genes of the Warg king and his daughters has probably spread and is not just concentrated in the Starks.

Yes, this is true. But most of these families are first men families, and they marry children back to the Stark's as well, so that might keep a special gene pool less shallow than we might expect. Honestly, in many regions, the families of the lords have spent a lot of time marrying into a certain number of houses, which indicates a little bit of localized in breeding. Not unlike many aristocracies in the world. It is possible that before the Targeryen's conquered Westeros, most houses breed with other houses in their same region. Perhaps not exclusively, of course, but for the majority of the time. One example of a marriage outside a region was when Argilac Durrandon offered his daughter Argella to Aegon to be his third bride, but politics were at play with this, because Argilac was looking for a buffer (of dragons) between his lands and that of the Hoare's of Harrenhal.

However, I speculate that I skin changer gene is very similar to a dragon bonding gene, perhaps even the same thing, and that might be incentive for the Stark's to want to put some dragon blood in their line. Of course, there is no proof of that, just speculation, but hopefully someday we will get a few more answers about this.

On 5/24/2018 at 3:54 PM, norwaywolf123 said:

Perhaps the entire nobility is a bit inbred? Thus even marriages outside the house and immediate family could contribute to inbreeding.

To some extent, I would say that is a fair argument, although I know people who would disagree.

On 5/25/2018 at 12:07 AM, norwaywolf123 said:

Sickle Cell Disease protects against Malaria. Perhaps Sickle Cell Disease is just an adaptation and not a defect?

My understanding of Sickle Cell Disease and the Malaria connection isn't great, but that SCD could be protective in some ways against the malaria infection taking hold. And this does make sense, even if SCD is a genetic mutation, some mutations do cause protections or help with humans development. In the course of evolution, I would guess that genetic mutations (such as being able to tolerate the lactose of other species, such as some humans have developed) has allowed humans to thrive or flourish in a way they previously could not. So, SCD could help protect a person from a Malarial infection.  However, SCD on it's own is quite unpleasant and comes with anemia, episodes of terrible pain, damage to organs and muscles, issues with edema and increased risk of secondary infection. Much like cancer and chemotherapy, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease of you want to acquire SCD to protect your from Malaria.  

The protective vs disease process is affected by how many allele's a person carries for SCD. If a person carries one recessive allele, you would be a carrier from SCD but not affected, and would be protected from Malarial inheritance, but you would risk passing SCD to offspring if your partner also carries the allele. If you carried two allele's for SCD, then you would be affected with SCD and all of it's related health problems. 

It makes sense that in climates/regions that malaria thrives in, that the human body would develop an answer to help protect people, even if by accidental genetic mutation.

Again, I am no geneticist, so perhaps I have not described how this works in the best possible way.

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9 hours ago, Maia said:

A good question. Though a young dragonless girl-child by herself wouldn't have been much of a threat or a rallying point. And the Faith could hardly denounce Maegor for being an abomination born of incest, yet champion Rhaella at the same time. In fact, it could be argued that among all the various powers of the realm, they were the least likely to try to use her against Maegor - particularly since, after his and Visenya's visit to Oldtown, only people amenable to his rule would  have remained at the top of the Faith hierarchy. It could have become tricky if he ever needed to retrieve her, though.

Yes, there were changes made in the leadership of the Faith of the Seven. We are shown how important the High Septon is to the policies and actions of those below him. Just like the pope. Politic's and power play together. I suppose it's possible that giving Rhaella to the faith would have been some kind of concession that Maegor made to get the Faith's support. It ended up being difficult for Maegor to have her killed, although we are told that is related to Lord Hightower. Perhaps it would have been just as difficult for him to bring her back to Kings Landing. I just question the information we are given on Rhaella. Perhaps F&B will clarify this a bit, or perhaps it will not.

In a way, it seems like Maegor should have stashed those girls to possibly marry himself when they reached child-bearing age, or saved them to be wed to the son's he hoped to produce from his many wives. He doesn't seem stupid, although he does seem rash and temperamental. Maybe he wasn't thinking that far in the future, or he figured one of the twins, Aerea, could fulfill that position eventually. I guess all of that would depend on whether Maegor produced a viable son ever.

9 hours ago, Maia said:

I no longer think that  Lannisters have Targaryen blood. I used to, and in their case it would have been really easy to provide them with a straightforward connection, given Lord Viserys Plumm (who was a son of Princess Elaena and almost certainly also of Aegon the Unworthy) and his descendants, but in TWoIaF Lannister genealogy Martin carefully avoided even a hint at something like that, and I can't help but think that it was for a reason.

To the lesser degree the same is true about the Starks - there are a couple of abortive Targaryen - northern matches shown in TWoIaF, but they never came to anything and that was likely on purpose too.

I think those gaps in the lineage are purposefully hiding information from us. As to the Lannister's, if Tywin knew he carried some dragon blood, it might make him feel it was his duty or right to control the Iron Throne, and he seems most definitely drawn to the Iron Throne. I suspect this would have happened some time in the reign of Jaehaerys I, if it happened at all. One thing that detracts from that is the idea of Tyrion and his dragon dreams that he tells Jon about. If there was a known Targaryen/Lannister connection in the past, then that would explain Tyrion's fascination, and I would expect him to vocalize that. But perhaps not. If the Stark's also had this same connection in the past, then perhaps Tyrion was testing Jon to see if he had similar experiences, or knew of family that did. Perhaps the Westeros needed dragonblood, in however diluted a form in came to them, and after 300 years of Targaryen rule, there has to be more houses than we know of that share of drop of dragon blood. Perhaps that was the purpose of Daenys's dreams and Aegon's conquest? I admit that I allow speculation to run wild in my mind.

As to the Targaryen's sharing blood with the Lannister's or the Stark's, I used to think that the connections happened in the previous generation, but now I am not so sure. I think this mixing of blood (the first mixing, anyway) happened approximately 200+ years ago.

I know we have the planned Stark/Targaryen matches that have not come to fruition, such as The Pact of Ice and Fire, but I don't think those were the only attempts. I speculate (yes, I do that a lot) that part of Aegon and Torrhen's agreement on the Trident had to do with a marriage between the two families. I wonder if this also happened when Jaehaerys I ruled. He ruled for a long time, and I think he could have married one of his twin nieces, or his sister Rhaena, to a Stark. There is a lot we are missed in the Jaehaerys and Alysanne story, but I wonder about the dragon's they took north, and I wonder what kind of concession they gave to the Stark's for the Stark's to agree to ending the First Night tradition, as well as giving a huge swath of land to the Night's Watch. Perhaps it was a Targaryen princess? Just because we haven't been told it didn't happen, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Before Dance came out, no one would have suspected that Ned traveled from the Vale by ship to White Harbor via the Bite and Sisterton with a mystery woman until we get that information in a few lines in Davos chapters. There are things yet to be revealed, why not a Targaryen/Stark marriage in the past? I just don't think it could be discounted completely, and I do think GRRM still wants to surprise his readers.

9 hours ago, Maia said:

After problematic experiences of incestious polygamy of the Big Three, it is also easy to see why the Targaryens wouldn't have wanted to go that way again, absent an acute need. Not to mention, that they had to give the Faith some bone and needed to distinguish themselves from polygamous Maegor. Rhaena obviously didn't challenge Jaehaerys's claim to the throne on behalf of her daughters and that was that.

Well, marriage to your sister is just one step away from marriage to two of your sisters. I don't see polygamy as one step to far from the Faith's perspective, while incest is okay suddenly. But you do make a point about perhaps wanting to separate themselves from the idea of Maegor and his marriages. We don't see polygamy again for the Targaryen's, correct? Perhaps this was a deal that Jaehaerys struck with the faith, sibling marriage but only monogamous marriages from now on. 

9 hours ago, Maia said:

But it isn't! In human males, who only have one X chromosome and therefore only one copy of the responsible gene, inherited from their mother, it is dominant. Which is why inbreeding has zero to do with haemophilia's transmission to and expression in males and Victoria's husband could have been anybody with the same result. It is recessive in human females and thus subject to inbreeding, - but homozyguous haemphiliacs among them are very rare, for obvious reasons, and highly unlikely to have offspring in their turn. 

But a male can pass the carrier gene to his daughter. She would not express the haemophilia but she can carry and pass it on to her offspring. She might not be symptomatic, but she still has the gene (just like blue eyes or red hair). If her partner also has the haemophilia gene that is passed on, then the child would inherit the disease, 50% chance of being a carrier if female or 50% chance of being expressed if a boy. And while the mother passes the gene, it is the father (who also carries the gene) who determines the sex of the child, so, if the child is born a male, this child would have the gene as well as risk expressing it with a physical disease.

 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, norwaywolf123 said:

Nobody is completly unrelated.

 

Well that is true to some extent, but I am genetically more related to my siblings than I am to my 3rd or 4th cousins.  Or so Ancestry com tells me! 

Edited by St Daga

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1 hour ago, St Daga said:

Well that is true to some extent, but I am genetically more related to my siblings than I am to my 3rd or 4th cousins.  Or so Ancestry com tells me! 

That is true.

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On 6/1/2018 at 6:49 PM, Maia said:

But those can't have happened with sexually mature apes, surely? I mean, they are frighteningly strong and could easily pull a grown man apart limb from limb.

Maybe. :( It's one theory of how a HIV spillover happened. :(

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