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[SPOILERS] Jaehaerys and Alysanne

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10 minutes ago, Maia said:

understand the need to secure succession, but it should have been easy to see that having too many sons, say, could lead to trouble. When Viserra was born, Vaegon was 8-9 - i.e. out of infancy and therefore very likely to live to adulthood. Aemon was pretty close to marrying - or even already married? I don't remember, and Baelon and Alyssa not far behind.  They also live in a world where reliable contraceptive in the form of the Moon Tea exists. After WoIaF, I thought that maybe Alysanne was exceptionally pious - if the High Sparrow is any example, the most rigid members of the Faith do condemn the Moon Tea use. But that doesn't seem to have been the case - and even if it was, the Faith doesn't demand that all marital sex should be procreative, like certain influential monotheistic religions. Alysanne had the clout to demand from her husband that he limit himself to practices less likely to get her pregnant - which are also satisfying and fun. So, I really don't understand this.

Maybe they just enjoyed having sex even later in life, i dunno.

11 minutes ago, Maia said:

And if Alysanne was worried about Daella's ability to birth a child, maybe she should have told Rodrik Arryn not to get her pregnant until she was 18 or 20? I mean, he didn't have need of more heirs and again, the Moon Tea and non-penetrative sex do exist in Westeros.

She WAS 18 when she died.

12 minutes ago, Maia said:

Also, if Daella and Saera are on Jaehaerys, Viserra and Gael are on Alysanne. I really don't understand why Alysanne insisted on making such a terrible marriage for the former - particularly since the whole drunken episode in Baelon's chambers shows, IMHO, that Viserra wasn't nearly the smooth operator that her mother saw her as. And yes, she may have been an ambitious and mean girl, but she was at her brattiest age and also a daughter with 2 older brothers. I don't see why she couldn't have been married to some lord or heir of her own age. If Alysanne was concerned with her behavior at court, she could have been sent somewhere while proper match(es) were selected for her. And Gael! Shouln't Alysanne have made sure that she was chaperoned better, both given the tragic histories with her other daughters and the girl's own limitations? It isn't like Gael could have outwitted or intimidated septas and ladies-in waiting.

Jaehaerys could have easily arrange for Viserra marriage with one of Daella's suitors like Tymond Lannister, Boremund Baratheon or one of those squires her sister rejected. Marrying her to Theomore made no sense at all. 

16 minutes ago, Maia said:

Finally, I surprisingly have  limited sympathy with Jaehaerys's dubiousness re: female heir after FaB. Neither his mother nor his elder sister covered themselves with glory as rulers and even Alysanne would withdraw from affairs of the realm due to gruief and family affairs. But why not marry Rhaenys to Viserys if he had such concerns?  

Rhaenys was already married to Corlys when Aemon died. And why he didn't arrange it before? Who knows. Honestly, Alysanne and Jaehaerys were quite bad at managing marriages of her own children.

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37 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Rhaenys was already married to Corlys when Aemon died. And why he didn't arrange it before? Who knows. Honestly, Alysanne and Jaehaerys were quite bad at managing marriages of her own children.

And she was 18. With no little brothers ever mentioned.

People were commenting on Aerea as heiress when she was 5, and Daenerys as heiress before she was 2.

Rhaenys flies to Shields on Meleys to present her future marriage to Jaehaerys as a decided fact. Jaehaerys approves, but obviously he was NOT consulted beforehands and no alternatives discussed with him. Then who WERE in? Rhaenys? Aemon? Jocelyn? Alysanne? Baelon?

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The reason why Rhaenys would marry Corlys over Viserys becomes kind of obvious when one compares the two grooms. Particularly if Aemon did intend for her to inherit. Corlys is both powerful and wealthy in his own right and as wouldn't overshadow Rhaenys as consort. 

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23 hours ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Maybe they just enjoyed having sex even later in life, i dunno.

And they could have done so without damaging Alysanne's health and risking her life. So, why didn't they? I mean, in Westeros some noble couples need male heirs, so it is considered worth the risk, some  husbands are pigs who don't care whether their wives die or are too suspicious to allow them moon tea, but too selfish to have sex with them in a manner less likely to get them pregnant. But Alysanne could make demands of her husband and even separate herself from him if they weren't met - so why did she agree to this after Vaegon was 8-9 and safely out of infancy? And what was Jaehaerys thinking, to unneccessarily put his beloved wife, who was the love of his life, at such risk? After the terrible death of their mother in childbirth, no less, which they both witnessed?! This just makes no sense to me.

Not to mention that they were pretty lucky that Saera wasn't born a boy!

23 hours ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Jaehaerys could have easily arrange for Viserra marriage with one of Daella's suitors like Tymond Lannister, Boremund Baratheon or one of those squires her sister rejected. Marrying her to Theomore made no sense at all.

 

Very much so. Even if those particular men were taken by that time, there surely were other young lords or heirs on offer. I guess that GRRM wanted some drama leading to her death - but wouldn't it have been more poignant, if she had been just taking leave of KL in her own way (like Bran) and it ended in tragedy? Or, even keeping the Manderly marriage - she could have been marrying Theomore's young, strapping (great)grandson and heir and still been unhappy to have to leave the capital and the royal court.

 

22 hours ago, Jaak said:

People were commenting on Aerea as heiress when she was 5, and Daenerys as heiress before she was 2.

Well, Rhaenys was a heir of a heir, one step removed from those 2 girls positions, but yes. And the possible issues with her inheriting, even if Aemon had reigned, should have been rather obvious as time passed and he didn't produce a son. Uniting Aemon's and Baelon's lines in such a case _should_ have been a no-brainer, particularly since Targaryens preferred first-cousin marriages if there was no likely sibling anyway. There were just 3 years between Rhaenys and Viserys - they should have already been betrothed as children.

22 hours ago, Jaak said:

Rhaenys flies to Shields on Meleys to present her future marriage to Jaehaerys as a decided fact. Jaehaerys approves, but obviously he was NOT consulted beforehands and no alternatives discussed with him. Then who WERE in? Rhaenys? Aemon? Jocelyn? Alysanne? Baelon?

And if he had doubts about the succession, he should have pointed them out _then_, no? I mean, as I have said in my previous post, I now kinda sorta have some understanding for his position - the women in his life didn't show the kind of staying power in affairs of the state that a queen regnant would need - of course neiother did most men, but he was a product of misogynistic society - add to that limitations of pregnancies, the risk of dying in childbirth and the fact that Jaehaerys knew very well that any new monarch would be tested and that a woman would be tested much harder than a man. But marrying his 2 grandchildren would have alleviated most of these concerns without creating problematic and confusing precedents for the future. Because Jaehaerys picking Baelon as his heir could have easily also been used as a pretext for any number of inheritance shenangians. And it was all so unneccessary.

And yea, I wish we had learned something, anything about Jocelyn as a person. And more about Aemon.

4 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

The reason why Rhaenys would marry Corlys over Viserys becomes kind of obvious when one compares the two grooms. Particularly if Aemon did intend for her to inherit. Corlys is both powerful and wealthy in his own right and as wouldn't overshadow Rhaenys as consort. 

Yea, Corlys is impressive, but it would have been a problem that he had so little Targaryen blood, when Rhaenys already had less than Baelon's children. Nor do I see how affable Viserys would have overshadowed Rhaenys - heck, they could have been named co-heirs like William and Mary, or it could have been like the case of empress Maria-Theresia of Austria and her husband Stephan von Lothringen, where she was the ruler and he was a consort and a convenient repository for the already worthless title of the Holy Roman Emperor.

Frankly, her marriage made much more sense when it seemed likely that Corlys was a son of Rhaena or even Aerea - _or_ when we could still imagine that she had a brother who died suddenly after she was already married. If this had been a younger brother _he_ could have been Daella's first betrothed, explaining the odd marital arrangements between Jaehaerys's grandchildren.

@Ran:

Was there ever a time during the writing of TWoIaF when Corlys was the descendant of Rhaena?

 

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1 hour ago, Maia said:

And they could have done so without damaging Alysanne's health and risking her life. So, why didn't they? I mean, in Westeros some noble couples need male heirs, so it is considered worth the risk, some  husbands are pigs who don't care whether their wives die or are too suspicious to allow them moon tea, but too selfish to have sex with them in a manner less likely to get them pregnant. But Alysanne could make demands of her husband and even separate herself from him if they weren't met - so why did she agree to this after Vaegon was 8-9 and safely out of infancy? And what was Jaehaerys thinking, to unneccessarily put his beloved wife, who was the love of his life, at such risk? After the terrible death of their mother in childbirth, no less, which they both witnessed?! This just makes no sense to me.

Not to mention that they were pretty lucky that Saera wasn't born a boy!

Moon tea is not riskless medicine. Just ask Lysa Tully. Abortion even today can have severe repercussions. 

Also:

On 11/28/2018 at 7:17 PM, Paxter Redwyne said:

According to this site I found by google search: http://birthnerd.blogspot.com/2011/07/pre-modern-death-in-childbirth.html there were about 25 deaths per 1000 live births from the 16th to 18th centuries so it's not as tragic as you may think. 

 

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On 12/5/2018 at 6:04 PM, Maia said:

That's something that I wanted to bring up too - this aspect of their relationship doesn't make a lot of sense to me - it didn't after we learned that they had all those kids in WoIaF and does even less now, with the new details of their mother's awful death and Alysanne's expressed reluctance and documented dismay re: her later pregnancies.

I'd take this entire thing actually as confirmation that people do not actually act rationally there, nor is moon tea and the like actually used for family planning and stuff like that. The role and purpose of (noble) women in this world is to give birth to as many children as possible as long as they are capable.

This is not a world where women have any right whatsoever to decide that they won't be mothers. It is their role in life, period.

This is not only reinforced with Alysanne but also with Elissa Farman. Thanks to Rhaena meddling with her she rebels against her role in life, and Lord Franklyn cannot have that. The same with Alyssa Velaryon and Rogar Baratheon. The only truly, well, 'modern woman' in a sense is Rhaena. She is the only one who treats other women as people, not as baby machines - even Alysanne has nothing better to suggest than offer Rhaena a fourth husband after everything that happened on Dragonstone, making it very clear that she thinks the only happiness a woman can hope to find lies with some husband. But even Rhaena played along with the role of mother, never mind her actual sexual preferences. Women are mothers in this world.

And this is also very evident in the books as well. Cat looks forward to give Ned another child, never mind they already have five children, three of them male heirs, no married couple gives any indication they have a healthy sex life independent of the entire parenthood thing, and there is no indication that a couple in the main series uses moon tea to enjoy sex without children.

Overall, Jaehaerys and Alysanne are the only realistic royal couple in the fake Targaryen history thing (Aenys and Alyssa work pretty well, too, in this regard) because they actually try to have children throughout the time the wife is fertile. That's how it is done. Children are a sign of divine favor, of wealth, power, and prestige in such a setting. You don't care about the fact that too many children may mean trouble later on, you hope for the best and do you job in the marriage bed.

Moon tea seems to be mostly be used by whores and single women like Asha who sleep around. Noble and royal women do not have it and have to go through informal channels to get it - like with Cersei going through Jaime, or Margaery through Pycelle (!). It is not something the average noble girl/woman has access to, or else there wouldn't be as many noble bastards as there are both in FaB and the main series.

On 12/5/2018 at 6:04 PM, Maia said:

Also, what was the rush to  get Daella or Vaegon, for that matter, hitched? Were J&A worried that they might "turn" gay like their elder sister Rhaena, if they weren't married ASAP? I mean, neither was likely to cause trouble by marrying/carrying on with somebody inappropriate - and if Jaehaerys was still worried about male heirs and Alysanne was tired of child-bearing, didn't it make more sense to keep Vaegon in reserve, rather than sending him off to the Citadel at 15? I could have understood Jaehaerys's position re: Daella better if this had been post-Saera's antics, but as is this is very odd.

I understood this whole thing as Jaehaerys and (in part) Alysanne's lack of vision what the role in life of their children should be. Jaehaerys' assessment of his daughters has been discussed in depth already, but as I laid out in a discussion about Vaegon Jaehaerys' is hopelessly naive and blind insofar as Vaegon's autistic nature is concerned. He sees the boy the way he sees himself, having a very narrow view of male normalcy, expecting the boy would turn out the way 'a proper boy' would turn out.

Considering adulthood starts at the age of sixteen the future of a child is supposed to be settled by then. You arrange a match for them around that time, usually some years before (especially those incest matches). When that doesn't work, you have 'a problem'.

On 12/5/2018 at 6:04 PM, Maia said:

And if Alysanne was worried about Daella's ability to birth a child, maybe she should have told Rodrik Arryn not to get her pregnant until she was 18 or 20? I mean, he didn't have need of more heirs and again, the Moon Tea and non-penetrative sex do exist in Westeros.

Alysanne herself realized too late that Daella should have never been married to anyone. That's why she blames herself for her death, too, but more Jaehaerys, because he command the marriage. If she had realized that she would likely die in childbirth one should indeed imagine that she would have told Rodrik to take it slow - or not at all.

But we have to keep in mind that we have no idea whatsoever who initiated the sex there. Perhaps Daella finally wanted to consummate her marriage, to be a real wife and all. We don't know.

On 12/5/2018 at 6:04 PM, Maia said:

Also, if Daella and Saera are on Jaehaerys, Viserra and Gael are on Alysanne. I really don't understand why Alysanne insisted on making such a terrible marriage for the former - particularly since the whole drunken episode in Baelon's chambers shows, IMHO, that Viserra wasn't nearly the smooth operator that her mother saw her as. And yes, she may have been an ambitious and mean girl, but she was at her brattiest age and also a daughter with 2 older brothers.

As I laid out repeatedly, I think Viserra is actually vilified because of her inhuman/supernatural beauty. That she grows up to be a spoiled and vain young woman if she is the most beautiful member of a family famed for her inhuman beauty is hardly a surprise. And it is not unusual that very beautiful girls test how far they can push the boys sucking up to them.

I see her stunts in that light, not as a sign that she is very sly and calculating. And unlike Saera she doesn't seem to have a strong sex drive causing her to explore her sexuality at a very early age.

Her experience with alcohol in both episodes seem to me not indicate she has had much experience with that, either - and she would have definitely not passed the time getting herself drunk while waiting for Baelon. If I were Viserra and wanted to seduce my older brother I'd want to be alert and at my best when he finally shows up.

The way it is presented rather indicates the girl may have been actually in love with Baelon and may have hoped he could help to save her from the shitty marriage her mother is trying to force her into.

If George wanted her to be a real femme fatale he should have had her target Aemon and Jocelyn, trying to drive a wedge between these two, and/or perhaps even killing Jocelyn to free Aemon for her, only targeting Baelon after Aemon had rejected her, say. Also, it could have been good if Baelon were actually besotted with Viserra, causing Alysanne to actually arrange this match to get her away from her brother.

On 12/5/2018 at 6:04 PM, Maia said:

I don't see why she couldn't have been married to some lord or heir of her own age. If Alysanne was concerned with her behavior at court, she could have been sent somewhere while proper match(es) were selected for her. And Gael! Shouln't Alysanne have made sure that she was chaperoned better, both given the tragic histories with her other daughters and the girl's own limitations? It isn't like Gael could have outwitted or intimidated septas and ladies-in waiting.

There is no proper explanation as to why Viserra got this shitty marriage - and if it had to be a Manderly for some reason, why on earth not a son or grandson or perhaps even great-grandson of Lord Theomore?!

Gael seems to embody the maiden/spinster thing that's basically abused/groomed by the parents to stay at home and take care of her parents in old age. Alysanne uses her for comfort rather than preparing her for life. And considering she is a comfort indicates she couldn't have been much 'simpler' than Daella - which is why I originally asked somewhere whether we can take Daella as template for other Targaryen 'simpletons'.

If Gael had actually have a considerable/severe mental disability then she should have been that much of a comfort for grieving Alysanne, no?

On 12/5/2018 at 6:04 PM, Maia said:

Finally, I surprisingly have  limited sympathy with Jaehaerys's dubiousness re: female heir after FaB. Neither his mother nor his elder sister covered themselves with glory as rulers and even Alysanne would withdraw from affairs of the realm due to gruief and family affairs. But why not marry Rhaenys to Viserys if he had such concerns?    

Oh, I think Alyssa Velaryon did pretty well. And Rhaena didn't really rule all that much - her few assessments of politics seem to be pretty good to me. Jaehaerys and Alysanne seem to have had different personalities. He could overcome grief by getting back to/continue work, Alysanne was different. But Jaehaerys was completely shattered when he lost his two eldest son. Aemon's death hit him pretty hard, and Baelon (after Alysanne) seemed to have completely destroyed him.

I think the only way to make sense of that less than ideal presentation of the grandchildren marriages is to actually assume that nobody thought about the succession of King Aemon I or the succession should Aemon predecease Jaehaerys I. Else it makes literally no sense at all that neither widowed Baelon nor young Viserys were brought up as potential matches for Princess Rhaenys. If Jaehaerys had wanted Baelon to succeed him should Aemon predecease them both then the ideal way to make that a unanimous thing were to go with an uncle-niece match here. Rhaenys could give Baelon more heirs - possibly some half-sisters for Viserys or Daemon to marry - and Baelon could be the prince or king consort at Rhaenys' side, effectively ruling the Realm even if she were to inherit the crown.

By giving Alyssa Targaryen this ridiculous childbed fever death scene - and have that take place before Rhaenys' marriage to Corlys - things get even more fucked up than they were before.

But if we assume that nobody thought about the succession prior to 92 AC then Rhaenys (and Aemon, who I think must have been either been behind or in favor of the Corlys match) not marrying Rhaenys to Baelon or Viserys makes some sense. Baelon wanted no other wife, and Viserys was not only three years younger than Rhaenys, he was also not exactly a very impressing guy. Corlys Velaryon was the greatest man of his generation, outshining even his Targaryen father-in-law (and Baelon), and the best possible match for a future queen.

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On 11/21/2018 at 9:10 AM, SeanF said:

At the end of ADWD, Dany is extremely ill from sunstroke and eating the poisoned berries, but she seems to recover remarkably quickly in the presence of Drogon.  My own experience of suffering from vomiting and diorrhea simultaneously is that you feel utterly exhausted afterwards, and certainly not in any fit state to ride a dragon or eat horsemeat. So, magical creatures like dragons may well have some kind of healing property for their riders.

Yes!  It lies in the bond and IMO it can have an impact before the dragon is mounted.  This is the first we hear about Princess Daenerys I and when she comes down with the Shivers, Jaehaerys seems to have an epiphany:

Quote

Near dawn, Jaehaerys bolted to his feet shouting that a dragon was needed, that his daughter must have a dragon, and ravens took wing for Dragonstone, instructing the Dragonkeepers there to bring a hatchling to the Red Keep at once.

He doesn't bring her to Vermithor or Silverwing, but calls for a hatchling, an unattached dragon. 

We see the healing powers the dragons have on their bonded person with Dany/Drogon in AGoT III. 

Quote

And the next day, strangely, she did not seem to hurt quite so much. It was as if the gods had heard her and taken pity. Even her handmaids noticed the change. "Khaleesi," Jhiqui said, "what is wrong? Are you sick?"

"I was," she answered, standing over the dragon's eggs that Illyrio had given her when she wed. She touched one, the largest of the three, running her hand lightly over the shell. Black-and-scarlet, she thought, like the dragon in my dream. The stone felt strangely warm beneath her fingers … or was she still dreaming? She pulled her hand back nervously.

From that hour onward, each day was easier than the one before it. Her legs grew stronger; her blisters burst and her hands grew callused; her soft thighs toughened, supple as leather.

 

I really enjoyed the WF visit.  With a friend of mine, I recently discussed the differences between Silverwing not wanting to cross the Wall and not being physically able to pass the Wall.

Quote

Thrice I flew Silverwing high above Castle Black, and thrice I tried to take her north beyond the Wall, but every time she veered back south again and refused to go. Never before has she refused to take me where I wished to go. I laughed about it when I came down again, so the black brothers would not realize anything was amiss, but it troubled me then and it troubles me still.

IMO Silverwing is ignoring the wishes of Alyssane bc she doesn't want to pass the Wall.  She senses something "implacable that loves her not" (as Arya described the skulls in KL).  Had it been a physical barrier I would expect a more physical reaction from Silverwing other than aversion.  It also sounds a lot like Drogon refusing to take Dany where she wants to go. 

I have always liked the idea of a dragon and/or eggs in the WF crypts.  I have doubts about how a dragon such as Silverwing could gone have down in them unless by a larger, secondary entrance.  The notion of eggs being in the North have been mentioned too many times for nothing to "hatch" from them. 

I'm excited to see if Silverwing stayed at Red Lake.  She would be only 150-170 years old if still alive in the current timeline.  Not impossible considering the age of Balerion and Vhagar.

I've often found the Targ's incestuous relationships gross.  But the story of Jaehaerys & Alyssane had me cheering for them.  They had ups and downs and seemed more "real". 

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On 12/6/2018 at 7:50 PM, Paxter Redwyne said:

Moon tea is not riskless medicine. Just ask Lysa Tully. Abortion even today can have severe repercussions.

Moon tea in ASoIaF (unlike herbs that were used for the purpose iRL), when properly prepared by maesters and used as prevention/morning after pill is safe, as evidenced by Arianne's and Asha's PoVs. It seems likely that it wouldn't be 100% reliable, though, as even modern contraception isn't.

There is no reason why a married woman who already had enough kids and didn't want to further risk her health and life in pregnancy and childbirth shouldn't avail herself of it - apart from certain disapproval by the more rigid elements of the Faith and/or a husband forbidding it because he believed that prevention of inconvenient pregnancy could help her cover up adultery.

As to Lysa, given that Jon Arryn didn't manage to produce any living children with his previous 2 wives and didn't have any bastards, it should be clear that the problem was with him, not her. But even if it had been with her - what relevance would it have for Alysanne who already gave birth to 10 kids, 7 of whom survived infancy by the time of Viserra's birth?

As to your numbers about the ratio of maternal deaths in childbirth in 16th-18th century, quick googling shows that it is very incomplete because it correlates only "live births", who survived long enough to be baptized to women's deaths - and it was usually a few days between birth and baptism. As you can see here:

https://www.plimoth.org/sites/default/files/media/pdf/edmaterials_demographics.pdf

2% of live newborns died in the first day of life in 17th century England, 5% within the first week. If their mothers died also, they wouldn't be included in the statistics you mentioned. Not to mention all the deaths of pregnancy complications before childbirth, of miscarriages, stillbirths, of lingering health consequences, etc. Pregnancy was very dangerous in pre-modern times and GRRM certainly has enough women dying in or due to consequences of childbirth to ram the point home! Both Alysanne and Jaehaerys, if he really loved her and wanted her to continue living, had good reasons to say "enough is enough" after Viserra.

 

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

This is not a world where women have any right whatsoever to decide that they won't be mothers. It is their role in life, period.

Yet Alysanne, specifically, was continiously pushing for extending the roles that women could occupy in their society and the rights that they could enjoy! And Jaehaerys may not have supported her in this as much as she or many of us would have wished, but he still did do so. Certainly, Alysanne was in position to and did separate herself from him over issues that she felt strong enough about. Nor do I have any reason to think that he wanted his beloved wife dead.

 

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

This is not only reinforced with Alysanne but also with Elissa Farman. Thanks to Rhaena meddling with her she rebels against her role in life, and Lord Franklyn cannot have that.

Well, her father was rather supportibe too, while he lived. But yes, we already knew about lords forcing their family members to marry and throwing out those who resisted and how women were of course much more vulnerable to this than men.

 

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

The same with Alyssa Velaryon and Rogar Baratheon.

No, it is, IMHO, different in that Rogar didn't have children. He married a woman who was considered to be past childbearing and his compensation and reward for his previous help to her and her children was supposed to be closeness to the throne. After it all fell through and the miracle pregnancy happened Alyssa felt obligated to try to give him a heir and he, too, felt owed. That second pregnancy - that the maester suggested interrupting, BTW, was just Rogar being selfish and not caring that much for Alyssa's well-being, IMHO. But both the situation and the relationship of Jaehaerys and Alysanne after Viserra's birth were very different.

 

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

 Cat looks forward to give Ned another child, never mind they already have five children, three of them male heirs, no married couple gives any indication they have a healthy sex life independent of the entire parenthood thing, and there is no indication that a couple in the main series uses moon tea to enjoy sex without children.

Cat was only 33 at the time and Rickon was still in his infancy, so the succession situation was somewhat less secure. The 2 of them had had 5 kids, not 10. Not to mention that there was in Cat that nagging uncertainty re: Jon's continued presence and whether it might signify that Ned wasn't completely satisfied with _her_ sons. She likely wanted to finally produce a son with Ned's looks. Whether she would have been that eager if Arya had been a boy and whether Ned would have wanted her to take that risk we'll never know.

 

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

Overall, Jaehaerys and Alysanne are the only realistic royal couple in the fake Targaryen history thing (Aenys and Alyssa work pretty well, too, in this regard) because they actually try to have children throughout the time the wife is fertile.

On the contrary, it is, IMHO, one of the instances where GRRM failed to take the differences between his setting and iRL history into account. A loving husband who has enough heirs and wants to continue having sex with his wife isn't going to risk her life in endless pregnancies if contraception is available and non-procreative sex isn't supposed to damn you to hell forever. Another such instance is his fondness for childbed fever, which really shouldn't be nearly as prevalent in that setting, as the maesters know the value of desinfection. In fact, death due to childbirth among the nobles should be reduced compared to iRL history because the maesters actually have a decent grasp of medicine. Etc.

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

 Noble and royal women do not have it and have to go through informal channels to get it - like with Cersei going through Jaime, or Margaery through Pycelle (!).

The fact that Margaery could just request it from Pycelle - if she in fact did so, shows that they have access if they chose to and their husband/father/guardian allows this. As to Cersei, I personally think that she had constant access to Moon Tea, since she had sex with Jaime even when Robert was elsewhere for weeks/months, not to mention that she also had sex with him before her marriage. IMHO, her need to resort to that woman's help was due to Moon Tea failing as a contraceptive in the face of Robert's super-fertility.

 

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

It is not something the average noble girl/woman has access to, or else there wouldn't be as many noble bastards as there are both in FaB and the main series.

Not sure about that - in many cases these noble girls were just too foolish or too afraid to take precautions. A maester would report them to their family, after all. And so could servants sent to procure the moon tea from other sources - which, BTW, may not be as effective and reliable as that of approved Citadel manufacture. And there weren't that many of them, really.

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

Jaehaerys' assessment of his daughters has been discussed in depth already, but as I laid out in a discussion about Vaegon Jaehaerys' is hopelessly naive and blind insofar as Vaegon's autistic nature is concerned. He sees the boy the way he sees himself, having a very narrow view of male normalcy, expecting the boy would turn out the way 'a proper boy' would turn out.

Given their family's history he was also very aware how lack of personal military prowess could lead to somebody being seen as "weak". But still - his best Hand was a septon, for Pete's sake! Surely he should have known that there are all kinds of strength.

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

Considering adulthood starts at the age of sixteen the future of a child is supposed to be settled by then. You arrange a match for them around that time, usually some years before (especially those incest matches).

Not for the males - there are plenty of lords and heirs in canon who were still unmarried and not betrothed in their late twenties, leave alone younger sons. I mean, Boremund was available as an option for Daella because of it. And even women aren't always betrothed or married at that age. I.e. Princess Rhaenys wasn't betrothed to her cousin. For that matter, if they were so set on finding a good incest match for Vaegon, why did they send away Maegaelle so soon? The 2 of them could have at least connected on intellectual level.

 

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

But we have to keep in mind that we have no idea whatsoever who initiated the sex there. Perhaps Daella finally wanted to consummate her marriage, to be a real wife and all. We don't know.

Well, we do know that the safest pregnancies are when woman is in her early twenties - as should maesters, and Alysanne could have cautioned Rodrik to take preventive measures before that if she had concerns.

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

Gael seems to embody the maiden/spinster thing that's basically abused/groomed by the parents to stay at home and take care of her parents in old age.

Would she have really slept with a singer and then killed herself when she discovered that she was pregnant, instead of asking her mother for help, if she wasn't "simple" in some way? And then, again, after Saera and Viserra how comes that she wasn't better watched? I wouldn't say that Alysanne expected her youngest daughter to remain single and take care of her - she just wasn't going to push her into any marriages - understandably after all the tragedies. Wasn't Gael like only 20 or so when she died?

 

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

Oh, I think Alyssa Velaryon did pretty well.

No. After dismissing Rogar, she handed off all her duties to her brother and moped in her chambers for a year. That's a rather poor performance as a regent.

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

And Rhaena didn't really rule all that much - her few assessments of politics seem to be pretty good to me.

She ruled Dragonstone for a few years - with disastrous results.

That's what made me understand Jaehaerys's choice against Rhaenys somewhat better after FaB - he was culturally prejudiced, sure, but he also had been exposed to any number of men in positions of authority - ranging from horrible to very good, but of the very few women ditto, most of them have done poorly in his experience and even Alysanne would repeatedly abandon affairs of state due to grief, family preoccupations, etc.

OTOH, I understand his failure to marry Rhaenys to Viserys even less, as it was a very traditional match that would have alleviated all his concerns re: succession. IMHO, GRRM could have played it in any number of ways that would have made sense - like Aemon having a younger son, who inconveniently died before him, but after Rhaenys was already married, Rhaenys having been betrothed to Viserys, but breaking the betrothal to marry Corlys, etc. As it is, the whole thing seems rather implausible and contrived.

 

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

Jaehaerys and Alysanne seem to have had different personalities. He could overcome grief by getting back to/continue work, Alysanne was different.

Alysanne was his best example of a woman who had potential as a ruler - but a ruler needs to be able to do what he did, i.e. carry on in the face of tragedies. This must have only validated his cultural prejudices - even the best woman he knew didn't quite have what it takes. Yes, he eventually broke down too, but it took much more loss than that, and old age.

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

I think the only way to make sense of that less than ideal presentation of the grandchildren marriages is to actually assume that nobody thought about the succession of King Aemon I or the succession should Aemon predecease Jaehaerys I.

Which makes zero sense, though. Particularly given recent family history and all the inheritance cases that Jaehaerys must have judged during his career.

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

By giving Alyssa Targaryen this ridiculous childbed fever death scene - and have that take place before Rhaenys' marriage to Corlys - things get even more fucked up than they were before.

Yea, that was bad. I guess it was to limit the number of named dragons active in the story - though there are still dozens of hatchlings and unclaimed young dragons unaccounted for, but somebody could have ridden Balerion instead and Meleys could have been Raenys's hatchling. Also, I guess that GRRM thought that he needed it to set up Viserra's tragedy, but again, IMHO it was completely unneccessary. If he really wanted more drama with her, she could have pursued Baelon even while Alyssa was alive. That would have at least adequately explained the horrible marriage.

On 12/7/2018 at 2:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

 Baelon wanted no other wife, and Viserys was not only three years younger than Rhaenys, he was also not exactly a very impressing guy. Corlys Velaryon was the greatest man of his generation, outshining even his Targaryen father-in-law (and Baelon), and the best possible match for a future queen.

Are we seriously supposed to believe that Baelon mourned his wife for the rest of his life and never touched a woman again? Anyway, I think that Baelon - Rhaenys marriage would have been somewhat problematic in the sense of muddling inheritance because he already had 2 older sons. Viserys was 13 at the time, so it was difficult to say what he might have grown into, but the problem of Corlys as the prince-consort was that Rhaenys already had less Targaryen blood than her cousins and Corlys would dilute it even more in their offspring. This consideration, along with general desirability of not pitting female claim against male one should have favored Viserys as Rhaenys's match.

13 hours ago, DarkSister1001 said:

He doesn't bring her to Vermithor or Silverwing, but calls for a hatchling, an unattached dragon. 

We see the healing powers the dragons have on their bonded person with Dany/Drogon in AGoT III. 

Except that those powers are, somehow, ineffective against childbed fever in female dragonriders! Argh! This gaffe of GRRM's reminds me of other fantasy authors having magical healing that can quickly fix any mortal wound in their books... and then still have people, mostly women die of chidbirth and disease, because they are using a generic central casting version of Middle Ages where such things are supposed to happen and dead mothers/wives are a cheap way to add pathos to the narrative.

13 hours ago, DarkSister1001 said:

  Had it been a physical barrier I would expect a more physical reaction from Silverwing other than aversion. 

 I also wonder if Silverwing would have refused to go through the gates, if she could, and if it occured to Alysanne to take her through that way. Because when Jon and Ghost went out through the gate, their bond wasn't affected, but after Jon climbed over the Wall, he lost connection to Ghost. Maybe magical protection interferes with crossing of magical creatures in non-approved ways.

13 hours ago, DarkSister1001 said:

The notion of eggs being in the North have been mentioned too many times for nothing to "hatch" from them. 

Could just be allusion to Jon, though. Certainly, Jaenaerys and Alysanne kept tight control over the eggs and after the Dance something was done to remaining eggs to prevent them from hatching, I expect. There may be Jon's dragon egg hidden in Lyanna's crypt - but it will be one of the "poisoned" ones.

13 hours ago, DarkSister1001 said:

I'm excited to see if Silverwing stayed at Red Lake.  She would be only 150-170 years old if still alive in the current timeline.  Not impossible considering the age of Balerion and Vhagar.

Sadly, it is pretty much impossible for her to still be alive.

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2 minutes ago, Maia said:

Could just be allusion to Jon, though.

That's my only other conclusion. 

4 minutes ago, Maia said:

Sadly, it is pretty much impossible for her to still be alive.

I'd say it's unlikely given that we don't hear anything about a dragon in the area but I don't think "impossible".  Silverwing being on one of the islands calls to mind the Greenmen on the God's Eye. 

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Alyssa Targaryen's (lazy) death is a symptom of everything wrong with F & B, which also kind of summarizes all the things wrong with ASOIAF. That being said, F & B is nonetheless a good (and useful) read.

Going back to Alyssa though, why couldn't GRRM have had her take an arrow to the knee or shoulder during the Fourth Dornish War and then die when the wound became infected? 

Furthermore, why did Prince Aegon have to die? It would have made that line about Daemon being Rhaenyra's favorite uncle much better because it would then refer not only to a half-uncle who lives all the way in the Vale and never shows up on page but also to a full-blooded uncle who would be living right there in the Red Keep. Furthermore, if Prince Aegon had lived and gotten married that could have partly explain that BS line about there being "important matches outside the royal family" during the time of Jaehaerys I and Viserys I.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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Oh, and the fact GRRM covers most of Jaehaerys's reign all in the last chapter is irksome because of all the missing details. Honestly, despite being a purported "complete history" there sure could have been more on Aegon I, Aenys I, Maegor I, Jaehaerys I's reign after the Shivers + Third Dornish War, and Viserys I, whose chapter stands out badly sandwiched as it is between Jaehaerys and the Dance. That or a chapter covering Dragonstone before the Conquest would have been much better.

Speaking of the Dornish Wars, there is an error involving the Second when it says no Dornish lords supported the Vulture King when we know for a fact Lord Walter Wyl in fact did.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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You need to provide quotes and pages. I don't recall anything about no Dornish lords supporting him, though.

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15 minutes ago, Ran said:

You need to provide quotes and pages. I don't recall anything about no Dornish lords supporting him, though.

Will do.

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I think it is page 67:

His death is generally accounted as the end of the Second Dornish War, though that is somewhat of a misnomer, since no Dornish lords ever took the field, and Princess Deria continued to vilify the Vulture King until his end and took no part in his campaigns.

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8 minutes ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

I think it is page 67:

His death is generally accounted as the end of the Second Dornish War, though that is somewhat of a misnomer, since no Dornish lords ever took the field, and Princess Deria continued to vilify the Vulture King until his end and took no part in his campaigns.

Correct.

The previous page mentions Lord Walter Wyl.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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33 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

 

Going back to Alyssa though, why couldn't GRRM have had her take an arrow to the knee or shoulder during the Fourth Dornish War and then die when the wound became infected? 

The Dornish killing a Targ is pretty noteworthy in the current series, had it been two it would have been mentioned. 

33 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Furthermore, why did Prince Aegon have to die? It would have made that line about Daemon being Rhaenyra's favorite uncle much better because it would then refer not only to a half-uncle who lives all the way in the Vale and never shows up on page but also to a full-blooded uncle who would be living right there in the Red Keep. 

Aemma at the time of birth had four siblings, at least two of them being brothers. Rodrik may well have had even more children after Daella's death. 

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2 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

The Dornish killing a Targ is pretty noteworthy in the current series, had it been two it would have been mentioned. 

Aemma at the time of birth had four siblings, at least two of them being brothers. Rodrik may well have had even more children after Daella's death. 

The Dornish are never said to have killed Rhaenys in ASOIAF. Either way, that would have been better than death by childbirth, which is as lazy as it gets.

A Targ uncle would work better and solve the problem of that pesky line though. 

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1 minute ago, The Grey Wolf said:

The Dornish are never said to have killed Rhaenys in ASOIAF. Either way, that would have been better than death by childbirth, which is as lazy as it gets.

Why is it lazy? Women were in danger in the period and aftermath of childbirth.  Out of all the Targaryen women and consorts what percentage should die via a cause of natural childbirth?

Should GRRM ignore the period he's set the series in?

1 minute ago, The Grey Wolf said:

A Targ uncle would work better and solve the problem of that pesky line though. 

You are nitpicking, she has multiple uncles and Daemon was her favourite. 

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10 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Why is it lazy? Women were in danger in the period and aftermath of childbirth.  Out of all the Targaryen women and consorts what percentage should die via a cause of natural childbirth?

Should GRRM ignore the period he's set the series in?

You are nitpicking, she has multiple uncles and Daemon was her favourite. 

Because it gets rid of an interesting character with plenty of potential for interesting drama for no good reason, which is otherwise known as fridging. Furthermore, it is redundant when you include Daella and Alyssa Velaryon. Just compare how many important female characters die in childbirth to the number of major male characters who die in battle and you'll see a difference. Finally, given the medicinal knowledge of the Maesters women should be dying less than in the RL Middle Ages but instead they die more.

Those multiple half-uncles don't explain the line from Heirs of the Dragon where it said that important matches outside the royal family were also made in addition to the traditional incest matches.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Because it gets rid of an interesting character with plenty of potential for interesting drama for no good reason, which is otherwise known as fridging.

All the children bar two died regardless of gender, trying to turn this into some kind of SJW debate while ignoring all the boys pointless and uninteresting deaths shows you are looking to be angry. 

The daughters of Jaehaerys are far more fleshed out than the sons. Same is true for the daughters of Aenys and in the regency Daemon's daughters outshine the king and his brother while the likes of Sabitha, Alys, Sam Hightower, Jeyne and Johanna Westerling are as interesting as their male counterparts. 

5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

 

 Furthermore, it is redundant when you include Daella and Alyssa Velaryon.

How is it redundant?  Medicine was not advanced, childbirth was incredibly dangerous, especially at Alyssa's age. 

It was hugely unfair and sexist for women, the author does not shirk away from that. It does a disservice if ignores it. 

5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Just compare how many important female characters die in childbirth to the number of major male characters who die in battle and you'll see a difference.

I'm not sure your point here. 

5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

 

Finally, given the medicinal knowledge of the Maesters women should be dying less than in the RL Middle Ages but instead they die more.

Evidence for this?

5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Those multiple half-uncles don't explain the line from Heirs of the Dragon where it said that important matches outside the royal family were also made in addition to the traditional incest matches.

Sorry, can you quote the line and add the context. 

 

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