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Lord Varys

[SPOILERS] Jaehaerys and Alysanne

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Alyssa Targaryen and Edmyn Tully's wife are two more examples. All things considered, F & B did add quite a few more women dead by childbirth. And wtf is up with Peake's daughter giving birth at the age of 12? That's gross, dumb, and as far as I know unrealistic.

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51 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Alyssa Targaryen and Edmyn Tully's wife are two more examples. All things considered, F & B did add quite a few more women dead by childbirth. And wtf is up with Peake's daughter giving birth at the age of 12? That's gross, dumb, and as far as I know unrealistic.

And it added quite a few women who did not die from childbirth.

12 year olds can have children, and can die from it. So I'm not sure what is "unrealistic" about it. If you mean by medieval standards, Margret Beaufort was pregnant at 12 and gave birth at 13, so.... yeah. Pretty sure she's a major example for George regarding these things.

As to the age, it's known in Westeros that you shouldn't consummate a marriage too early, and it is considered gross and inappropriate, but legally one can do so. So I think the idea here is that Peake made a marriage to some lout who ended up killing his daughter by impregnating her, perhaps an indicator of Peake's attitude towards his children as merely pawns in his politicking. I don't think we ever learn who the cruel husband was, but wouldn't be surprised if he was someone who remained in Peake's sphere of influence.

Edited by Ran

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29 minutes ago, Ran said:

And it added quite a few women who did not die from childbirth.

12 year olds can have children, and can die from it. So I'm not sure what is "unrealistic" about it. If you mean by medieval standards, Margret Beaufort was pregnant at 12 and gave birth at 13, so.... yeah. Pretty sure she's a major example for George regarding these things.

As to the age, it's known in Westeros that you shouldn't consummate a marriage too early, and it is considered gross and inappropriate, but legally one can do so. So I think the idea here is that Peake made a marriage to some lout who ended up killing his daughter by impregnating her, perhaps an indicator of Peake's attitude towards his children as merely pawns in his politicking. I don't think we ever learn who the cruel husband was, but wouldn't be surprised if he was someone who remained in Peake's sphere of influence.

Margaret Beaufort had no more children after giving birth to future Henry VII, probably because giving birth at such young age made her barren.

It is possible that husband of Unwin's daughter was one of the Caltrops, for example Jon Roxton, Tyler Norcross or Owen Fossoway. There are other examples of westerosi nobles marrying children(Viserys I for example), but to consummate it at such young age you have to be really disgusting. 

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1 minute ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Margaret Beaufort had no more children after giving birth to future Henry VII, probably because giving birth at such young age made her barren.

It is possible that husband of Unwin's daughter was one of the Caltrops, for example Jon Roxton, Tyler Norcross or Owen Fossoway. There are other examples of westerosi nobles marrying children(Viserys I for example), but to consummate it at such young age you have to be really disgusting. 

Isn’t it common knowledge that the bride should be at least sixteen to bear children?

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Just now, LadyTargaryen1 said:

Isn’t it common knowledge that the bride should be at least sixteen to bear children?

Well, it's also common knowledge that First Night was abolished and yet some nobles still practice it.

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20 minutes ago, LadyTargaryen1 said:

Isn’t it common knowledge that the bride should be at least sixteen to bear children?

It is well-known in Westeros. Doesn't seem to always stop the grosser types.

It's also possible, of course, that she was the case of an unfortunate consummation -- that is, it does seem generally believed that the marriage should be consummated so long as the girl is flowered, for legal reasons, but after that one should definitely wait to avoid the risk of pregnancy. But if that one time is enough, well, there you are, even if you otherwise didn't engage in sexual relations.

 

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11 minutes ago, Ran said:

It is well-known in Westeros. Doesn't seem to always stop the grosser types.

It's also possible, of course, that she was the case of an unfortunate consummation -- that is, it does seem generally believed that the marriage should be consummated so long as the girl is flowered, for legal reasons, but after that one should definitely wait to avoid the risk of pregnancy. But if that one time is enough, well, there you are, even if you otherwise didn't engage in sexual relations.

 

It could also be that her husband was also teenager and he didn't know that it would harm her.

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43 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

It could also be that her husband was also teenager and he didn't know that it would harm her.

I find this doubtful, given that young newlyweds generally have their marriages arranged and supervised by older family members who would advise things, and there's always maesters about. But sure, it's not utterly impossible that the dope didn't believe what he was being told.

Here's GRRM on the subject of such things, in any case, regarding the norms.

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4 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

It's true that it seems that Daenera seems to have died young. She'd be 35 when Baelor closed her daughters at the Maidenvault, and one would expect her to have a say in the matter, if around. For what is worth, the MUSH already had her dead at the Conquest of Dorne, implying she didn't even reach the thirties.

George could give Daenaera Velaryon a second husband - I seem to recall I suggested Viserys II once - and I'd still like it if they ended up having some daughters (would mess with the family tree but not necessarily too much), but it may also be rather interesting to hook her up with a Baratheon  - perhaps Borros' son? - to give Renly's later statements about those Targaryen-Baratheon family ties more credence.

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But the other ones can easily be alive past their childbearing age: Daena would be 50 during the Blackfyre Rebellion, Myriah could still be alive during the reign of Aerys I, Betha would be 58 at Summerhall, and Shaera would be 53 during the Defiance of Duskendale.

Pretty sure Myriah is long dead in 209 AC. She not mentioned at all, and one should assume she would have been mentioned when Baelor Breakspear died and when the government and court of Aerys I is discussed. My default assumption would be that Maekar's birth killed her - just as the default assumption right now would be that Rhae's birth killed Dyanna Dayne.

Daena is confirmed to have died young (as per Amok's description). Not sure if it makes sense that Daemon's birth weakened her enough to die early in Aegon IV's reign, so perhaps she is one of the few women who didn't die in childbirth. The fact that she was apparently never married would support that idea. But perhaps she slept around some more and then died during a miscarriage or stillbirth.

I'm also very convinced that Shaera is going to die in childbirth, too. She should have been mentioned during Yandel's account on the reign of Aerys II - the fact that she wasn't indicates that she was already dead. George certainly could take another route without actually changing anything written by giving her some role in Gyldayn's account on Aerys II but I'm not holding my breath.

A widowed Shaera could also remarry and actually produce some Targaryen children through the female line - difficult in Westeros, though. Perhaps she went to Volantis, falling for some well-built, well-muscled, silver-golden haired triarch and Steffon was supposed to find a gorgeous half-aunt for Rhaegar to marry ;-)?

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As I see it, this study shows that in every century between the 11th and the 16th there was one or two queens who died at childbirth. It's about the same than with the Targaryens. And the fact that you can find 'explanations' for some of the deaths makes it no different: as said, Jeyne Westerling could have been poisoned, Alyssa and Naerys were old, Rhaella had reason to be stressed and traumatized....

There are two levels to this - one is the general tendency of male authors not to invent all that many important female characters (in George that tendency can be seen in the number of ruling ladies in Dorne - with equal primogeniture about half of them, give or take, should be female - which simply isn't the case) the other is the laziness in both the 'death in/due to childbirth' as well as how this is handled (essentially only childbed fever aside from Alyssa Velaryon (if we add the main series perhaps Joanna may have died from another cause during childbirth but even that's not clear at this point).

Nobody doubts that pregnancy and childbirth pose considerable risks for a woman's health and there is nothing wrong with making use of such things in the series. If we talk realism the scenario of Rhaenyra-Visenya (complicated birth, child stillborn) or those of Alysanne's children who died shortly after birth would work much better.

But the way George writes things it is actually a miracle that Alysanne did not just die giving birth to Gael or that Naerys actually lived as long as she did - deciding to kill her in childbirth was nonsense, too, if you ask me. Aegon being a mean prick could have been illustrated in a hundred of different ways.

And there is no narrative reason aside from laziness or a lack of imagination to have Alyssa Targaryen die as early as she did. Why couldn't she be around for the Great Council to champion her son's claim? Why couldn't she live into the 120s, say, supporting her granddaughter Rhaenyra against Alicent's party? She could have been even around until the Dance.

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I've tried to look for actual statistics of childbirth deaths in the Middle Ages. Of course there is no hard data on the matter, but I've seen the estimation of 1,5 deaths per 100 pregnancies in several places such as here and here. This risk was repeated with every new pregnancy, so at the end the odds were terryfing. It's repeated many times that it was the first cause of death in women. This source says: "A study of Florence in the early fifteenth century has shown that close to one-fifth of all young married women died from childbirth-related causes".

That is where the fact of privileged medicine for the high and mighty Westerosi should and would (in a realistic setting) come into play. Maesters and sorcerers are not practicing the kind of medieval medicine that helped to get you better into your grave. I'm not saying no noble or royal women in Westeros should die in childbirth, I'm just saying it happens far too often and in a rather unimaginative manner.

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I'd agree with that. And this is worsened by the fact that the ratio of women is lower than it should be to begin with (at least in noble families, the sex ratio in Westeros is not 1:1, but more like 2:1 in favour of males.)

See the point on Dorne above, where this is really glaring. It is also quite clear that boys should be much more prone to dying in this world due to the lack of good medicine against severe injuries (from training at arms and blatant stupidity - hello there, Bran) as well as infectious diseases. Women do have a higher life expectancy than men which would mean that those actually living through their childbearing years should actually live into their seventies and eighties (especially when they lived privileged lives). Septa Rhaella, for instance, could have easily enough have been present at the Great Council of 101 AC, too. She would have been barely sixty, not that advanced an age. And her claim could have been dismissed because of her vows alongside that of Archmaester Vaegon.

Both should actually mean that there should be more ruling ladies even north of Dorne due to many a brother or nephew predeceasing the sister/aunt, causing her to eventually inherit a seat.

As for child bride:

Nobody forced George to fix the date of the - quite ridiculous - Viserys-Aemma marriage at 93 AC, when the girl was just eleven. There is a claim it wasn't consummated then, but it is said it may have been consummated too early. There is no reason given for any of this. We don't know why Viserys married this cousin of his and why this happened as early as it did.

Considering this match was arranged by the king/king or Prince Baelon (or at least done with their blessings) this casts a very bad light on marriage practices - both within House Targaryen and in general.

In fact, this stands as one of the stupidest matches in FaB - both for political and personal reasons. It is one of the things which actually needed an explanation to make sense. Not just that there is no good explanation why Rhaenys-Viserys never became a thing, but also there is no explanation why Viserys-Saera, Viserys-Viserra, and Viserys-Gael apparently were never even on the table. Hell, it is even clear why Daemon wasn't married to Gael. She was his aunt and roughly the same age as he was, and being 'simple' is apparently no reason to bar a woman from marriage (as Daella and Jaehaera and even Lollys show).

In the aftermath of Daella's death one could have seen Aemma becoming another ward of Jaehaerys I - like Jocelyn Baratheon before her - and then we go to marriage territory from there. If the wedding hadn't happened in 93 AC but rather in 95 AC, perhaps, and Aemma had been the antithesis of her mother - a bold and adventurous girl who knew she wanted Viserys since the day she first came to court - then such a match may have made sense.

But not in the way it is presented - neither Viserys nor Aemma would have wanted to marry each other, which means other people must have had a vested interest to make that marriage happen - and we know nothing about that.

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22 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

but it may also be rather interesting to hook her up with a Baratheon  - perhaps Borros' son? - to give Renly's later statements about those Targaryen-Baratheon family ties more credence.

If we believe Blood of Dragons, Olyver died as a teenager and was succeeded by his uncle Davos, ignoring his sister Cassandra. 

 

It's funny how little info we have about mothers of important characters like Eddard Stark, Balon Greyjoy or Doran Martell. Most of the time we don't even get their names. Mothers in Middle Ages often held huge influence over their sons. While most often women were barred from inheritance, they could become very powerful by influencing their husbands or sons.

Edited by Paxter Redwyne

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21 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

If we believe Blood of Dragons, Olyver died as a teenager and was succeeded by his uncle Davos, ignoring his sister Cassandra. 

With Ran not able to confirm/deny what they made up and what comes from George - and FaB now out - I say we completely ignore the MUSH from now on - at least insofar as the material from 136 AC onwards is concerned. The fact that Garmund Hightower is missing there should tell us something.

21 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

It's funny how little info we have about mothers of important characters like Eddard Stark, Balon Greyjoy or Doran Martell. Most of the time we don't even get their names. Mothers in Middle Ages often held huge influence over their sons. While most often women were barred from inheritance, they could become very powerful by influencing their husbands or sons.

It is striking how many of those queens I looked through actually did serve as regents for their sons or husbands (while they were away) and how much power some of them wielded in their own right. Not to mention the fact that many of them actually survived their husbands and remarried later in life.

This is where George really dropped the ball. Only two Westerosi queens ever remarried, apparently - Alyssa Velaryon and Rhaena Targaryen (and the latter is the great character of the first half of FaB whereas the story of the latter doesn't turn out to be as interesting as it could have been) - whereas many historical queens actually did that.

Considering George's usual modus operandi it seems we really have to think of Daenaera Velaryon and Shaera Targaryen as living corpses already. If they outlived their husbands then their age alone would warrant that they remarry, and chances are that George cannot have that for narrative purposes.

Although both Daenaera-Viserys II (with or without additional children) or Daenaera-Lord Baratheon could certainly make sense and add more flavor to the family tree. Not to mention how a Daenaera/Viserys II match could have helped explain how Daeron I got around a proper regency government or why Viserys II never actually took one Aegon III's daughters as a second wife (him marrying or planning to marry Daena after he took the throne could also be an interesting scenario, now that I think of it).

And if some of Daeron II's sons actually married younger wives (Aerys I and Rhaegel could have) then their wives could actually be grandchildren of Viserys II and Daenaera.

And the idea of Shaera taking another husband if she outlived her brother-husband is on the table, too.

Her going to Volantis would make for an interesting story without actually putting any demand on her descendants of being of much significance - assuming she had any.

The same would also go for Daenora Targaryen (who could have married Ormund Baratheon's father if he was - as things appear - not a son but rather a grandson of Lord Lyonel - although that could also work with Vaella the Simple) and Aelinor Penrose - for how I already tossed around the idea that she could have become Maekar's second wife to allow her to retain her station after her husband's death. The idea that a king in a medieval setting remains without a consort is a very strange idea. That essentially never happened, and even if we were to concede that Viserys II and Maekar did not want to have more children (which makes sense for Maekar, I guess) then it is still pretty much impossible to rule as king without a queen at your side. It simply looks unnatural. Baelor would be a huge exception there, being a king turned septon.

One can only hope that George doesn't continue to go down that road where he can prevent it.

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Jaehaerys' sexism is definitely interesting, considering what we know of his life, especially his marriage with Alysanne. I guess he saw Alysanne as the "great woman behind every great man," rather than one-half of a great team the way she did. Granted, it makes him look especially bad when you consider that neither Tyrion nor Arys Oakheart thought Myrcella would struggle as a queen, yet Jaehaerys had no faith in Rhaenys. It also makes me wonder what Aemon would have thought if he knew his brother was to be his heir instead of his daughter, and if Baelon would have stepped aside had it been asked of him. 

The grossest thing about Viserra and Manderly--and this is applicable to Westeros at large, not just in this instance--is that she was was basically his reward for being a loyal lord: serve the king, get a hot chick. This became a pretty common conversation after season three of GOT, when Sansa was portrayed as being very sweet to Tyrion and some book readers started criticizing her book-counterpart for being a "bitch" to poor Tyrion. The basis of this debate was whether or not the showrunners were rewarding Tyrion for being a nice guy with getting a young, attractive wife who dotes on him, whereas the books showed a more realistic predicament, where even a kind husband such as Tyrion isn't going to find much happiness in his marriage when his pretty wife is a preteen whose family was murdered by his. But I digress. 

Daella's marriage seemed to be as much about sticking to the status quo--Daella had to get married because that's what Targaryen princesses did--as it was about Jaehaerys wanting to get her off his hands. Finding her a husband would essentially make her someone else's problem. 

 

Edited by The Bard of Banefort

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35 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Jaehaerys' sexism is definitely interesting, considering what we know of his life, especially his marriage with Alysanne. I guess he saw Alysanne as the "great woman behind every great man," rather than one-half of a great team the way she did. Granted, it makes him look especially bad when you consider that neither Tyrion nor Arys Oakheart thought Myrcella would struggle as a queen, yet Jaehaerys had no faith in Rhaenys. It also makes me wonder what Aemon would have thought if he knew his brother was to be his heir instead of his daughter, and if Baelon would have stepped aside had it been asked of him. 

The grossest thing about Viserra and Manderly--and this is applicable to Westeros at large, not just in this instance--is that she was was basically his reward for being a loyal lord: serve the king, get a hot chick. This became a pretty common conversation after season three of GOT, when Sansa was portrayed as being very sweet to Tyrion and some book readers started criticizing her book-counterpart for being a "bitch" to poor Tyrion. The basis of this debate was whether or not the showrunners were rewarding Tyrion for being a nice guy with getting a young, attractive wife who dotes on him, whereas the books showed a more realistic predicament, where even a kind husband such as Tyrion isn't going to find much happiness in his marriage when his pretty wife is a preteen whose family was murdered by his. But I digress. 

Daella's marriage seemed to be as much about sticking to the status quo--Daella had to get married because that's what Targaryen princesses did--as it was about Jaehaerys wanting to get her off his hands. Finding her a husband would essentially make her someone else's problem. 

 

I've never understood why people like Tyrion, he's a whiny little twat. But on the topic, agreed, I wonder if Aemon had survived would he have fought harder for his daughter as his heir than anyone else did? Especially as Jaehaerys seemed to have fallen off the wagon after his death

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Jaehaerys' sexism is definitely interesting, considering what we know of his life, especially his marriage with Alysanne. I guess he saw Alysanne as the "great woman behind every great man," rather than one-half of a great team the way she did.

It is not just sexism, its also nepotism, he's likely closer to his son than he is to his teenage granddaughter and its also down to merit, given Baelon was the Hand, commander of the royal armies and hugely loved and respected. 

Once he had made Baelon king it opened another can of worms after he died. 

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Granted, it makes him look especially bad when you consider that neither Tyrion nor Arys Oakheart thought Myrcella would struggle as a queen, yet Jaehaerys had no faith in Rhaenys.

How do you know he had no faith? The line of succession was not clear, but Jaehaerys being king instead of his nieces was a precedent set. 

Jaehaerys did not make his decision lightly; he is known to have discussed the matter with his small council. Undoubtedly he consulted Septon Barth, as he did on all important matters, and the views of Grand Maester Elysar were given much weight. All were in accord. Baelon, a seasoned knight of thirty-five, was better suited for rule than the eighteen-year-old Princess Rhaenys or her unborn babe (who might or might not be a boy, whereas Prince Baelon had already sired two healthy sons, Viserys and Daemon). The love of the commons for Baelon the Brave was also cited

It should be pointed out Tyrion didn't want Myrcella to be Queen because of his faith in her, but because he wanted to hurt Cersei and pitch her children against each other. 

Arys is manipulated into making Myrcella Queen, though his thoughts on women, such as Myrcella, Cersei, Olenna and his mother, were the stronger sex.

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It also makes me wonder what Aemon would have thought if he knew his brother was to be his heir instead of his daughter, and if Baelon would have stepped aside had it been asked of him. 

Aemon would likely be hurt, Baelor, from what we know, probably would have obeyed his father and served his niece. 

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The grossest thing about Viserra and Manderly--and this is applicable to Westeros at large, not just in this instance--is that she was was basically his reward for being a loyal lord: serve the king, get a hot chick. 

Yeah, that was true of the time though you are overestimating the importance of looks as it was more 'serve the king, get a rich/well connected chick'. 

Viserra being hot would not be her selling point, it would be her birth. 

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Daella's marriage seemed to be as much about sticking to the status quo--Daella had to get married because that's what Targaryen princesses did--as it was about Jaehaerys wanting to get her off his hands. Finding her a husband would essentially make her someone else's problem. 

It's what noble women did. I think we all agree that it was a crap state of affairs, but Jaehaerys is no different to the average noble in ASOIAF.

 

On 12/21/2018 at 3:02 AM, anjulibai said:

If Alyssane was really worried about Rhaenys's inheritance, I wonder why she didn't try to arrange a marriage between her and Viserys when they were children. Seems like that would have solved a bunch of problems. 

It does not sound like she was worried about it when Aemon was still alive. Rhaenys was married two years before her father's death but its unknown how many years before it was arranged. It could also be possible that Rhaenys had a brother at one point or there was belief that Aemon would have sons.

It was also likely never an issue because Alyssane probably thought it was an eventuality decades away, that Aemon a and Rhaenys had time to secure their futures.

 

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12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

My default assumption would be that Maekar's birth killed her - just as the default assumption right now would be that Rhae's birth killed Dyanna Dayne.

Daeron II's section in TWoIaF mentions that Myriah became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms when he took the throne. Daeron became king in 184, and Maekar was born in 178 the latest (seeing how Daeron was born in 191), so I don't think Maekar's birth killed her. HOWEVER, George might decide to give Daeron and Myriah a surprise fifth baby some time after 184, and have Myriah die in childbirth. Not very likely, but I wouldn't put it past him.

 

edit: I'm sure we'll eventually learn that Dyanna died birthing Rhae, though.

Edited by Alyssa of House Arryn
forgot stuff

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42 minutes ago, Alyssa of House Arryn said:

Daeron II's section in TWoIaF mentions that Myriah became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms when he took the throne. Daeron became king in 184, and Maekar was born in 178 the latest (seeing how Daeron was born in 191), so I don't think Maekar's birth killed her. HOWEVER, George might decide to give Daeron and Myriah a surprise fifth baby some time after 184, and have Myriah die in childbirth. Not very likely, but I wouldn't put it past him.

 

edit: I'm sure we'll eventually learn that Dyanna died birthing Rhae, though.

His killing off of women in childbirth is really annoying. Some of these characters have such potential, like Alyssa Targaryen

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35 minutes ago, Alyssa of House Arryn said:

Daeron II's section in TWoIaF mentions that Myriah became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms when he took the throne. Daeron became king in 184, and Maekar was born in 178 the latest (seeing how Daeron was born in 191), so I don't think Maekar's birth killed her. HOWEVER, George might decide to give Daeron and Myriah a surprise fifth baby some time after 184, and have Myriah die in childbirth. Not very likely, but I wouldn't put it past him.

Oh, yeah, right. But there are always miscarriages and stillbirths to count upon.

35 minutes ago, Alyssa of House Arryn said:

edit: I'm sure we'll eventually learn that Dyanna died birthing Rhae, though.

Sure, no chance she died in any other way, no? We cannot have that. Aelinor Penrose is safe considering she remains a maiden, but Alys Arryn likely died giving birth to Daenora Targaryen - and Daenora likely died giving birth to little Maegor, now that I think of it - whereas Kiera of Tyrosh was killed by Vaella the Simple whereas Jena Dondarrion most definitely died giving birth to Matarys considering that Baelor's wife is nowhere in sight nor mentioned in THK (which is odd in the extreme considering that Dondarrions do feature rather prominently in that story).

Chances are also not that bad that Rhaelle Targaryen killed her mother Betha Blackwood (she is around for the brokering of the marriages of her elder children but we don't know when exactly little Rhaelle was born). While Summerhall could also kill Betha, some other unsuccessful pregnancy later in life is always an option, too.

We can also be very confident that Steffon Baratheon took care of his mother, Princess Rhaelle. It is conspicuous that Ormund and Rhaelle apparently had no other children after Steffon. If Daella ended up marrying Dunk - as I think he will - then their daughter (as per my idea the mother of Selwyn Tarth) may have killed her mother whereas Selwyn could then later take care of Dunk's daughter.

The silliness would there even have a sort of narrative sense considering the fact that Brienne seems to be pretty ignorant about her own ancestry.

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To be clear, I don't think Jaehaerys was some sort of horrible monster, nor do I think that of Alysanne. They both undeniably had good intentions, even if those intentions didn't lead to good results. 

Small side-question: was Rhaenys the first legitimate Targaryen who had dark hair? Targaryens with dark hair tend to make waves--notably Rhaenyra's sons and Baelor Breakspear--so I'm curious who the first one to grow up at the Red Keep was. 

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