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Lord Varys

[SPOILERS] Jaehaerys and Alysanne

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Otto actually only became Hand after the Great Council, meaning he wouldn't have had played that prominent a role (if he played a role at all) when the throne was secured for Viserys.

Before FaB we speculated that Otto as Hand may have played as prominent a role there as Bloodraven did when he presided over the Great Council of 233 AC. But this is clearly not the case now.

If a Hightower were considered as a bride for Prince Viserys - which makes little sense whatsoever to assume since we know nothing about the circumstances leading to his first marriage - then a daughter of Lord Hightower closer to Viserys' own age would have been considered - assuming such a girl existed.

The really irking thing is that George failed to address why Rhaenys was not betrothed and then married to Viserys, why her grandfather and father apparently allowed her to choose her own spouse (which is unusual and even somewhat odd), why Viserys was not betrothed to any of his aunts in childhood - Viserra and Gael would have both been possible - and why on earth they settled on Aemma.

If a girl five years younger than Viserys can marry him, then Gael - who was only three years younger would have worked, too - and if such a huge age gap is acceptable then Viserra would have worked, too, since she was six years older than Viserys.

Considering that Rhaenyra-Aegon and Vaegon and the younger daughters are on the table, as are Aemon and Alyssa, we are just lacking detail to what could and likely would have been an interesting story if George had cared to elaborate on it.

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9 hours ago, Endymion I Targaryen said:

Aemma was a very good match but if she was like her mother then pregnancy would be difficult to her (and it was). The same thoughts come to Catelyn Stark about whether Roslin would be healthy enough to bear children due to her Rosby heritage. Alicent is younger  but she seems healthier and Viserys could just wait to consumate the wedding. Later it was proved that she had no problem with pregnancy.

 

Aemma was an obvious match...if there were no other Targaryen princesses (which there were). Some people have speculated the Vale had to be brought into the fold for whatever reason.
Plus, she was 11 at the wedding and was bedded at 13 in a society which repeatedly says that young mothers tend to die, in a family which was not short of heirs or in a hard spot, dynastically speaking. Hell, Jaehaerys didn't bed Alysanne at 13- he waited 3 more years in a period when they were the only Targaryen couple and had a wilful niece as heir and a sister scarred by trauma.

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7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The really irking thing is that George failed to address why Rhaenys was not betrothed and then married to Viserys, why her grandfather and father apparently allowed her to choose her own spouse (which is unusual and even somewhat odd), why Viserys was not betrothed to any of his aunts in childhood - Viserra and Gael would have both been possible - and why on earth they settled on Aemma.

Jocelyn Baratheon could have played a role in that but we will never know because George deemed her not to be worth mentioning much. Nor is Aemon, but at least he gets some childhood moments and a death. It's such a shame to create a character and to never...use it. 

But I imagine they had to have had a part in it- house Velaryon was the richest one in all of Westeros for a while during that time due to the travels Corlys did. He was of Valyrian and Targaryen blood and Rhaenys did not have a brother. And it's also worth mentioning it seems Jocelyn's and Aemon's marriage was one for a love, not just political, which is why they might allow their daughter the same thing.

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3 hours ago, Ellaena said:

Jocelyn Baratheon could have played a role in that but we will never know because George deemed her not to be worth mentioning much. Nor is Aemon, but at least he gets some childhood moments and a death. It's such a shame to create a character and to never...use it. 

Yeah, I think Aemon was clearly introduced as a character he intended to flash out in greater detail later in the Jaehaerys material - we get his looks in detail, his character and interests - and then he basically just drops out of the narrative. And then there is the dragon egg in his cradle which disappears, too. It is the same with Jocelyn. I mean, honestly, who gives a rat's ass how she or Aemon looked and behaved as children? Their marriage, their relationship with their only child, their hopes and plans for her, the reason why they only had one child, and how that affected their marital life, etc. would have all been much more interesting than what Aemon and Baelon and Daenerys did as children.

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But I imagine they had to have had a part in it- house Velaryon was the richest one in all of Westeros for a while during that time due to the travels Corlys did. He was of Valyrian and Targaryen blood and Rhaenys did not have a brother. And it's also worth mentioning it seems Jocelyn's and Aemon's marriage was one for a love, not just political, which is why they might allow their daughter the same thing.

I think we can be reasonably certain that Princess Rhaenys thought her soft cousin Viserys was beneath her. He was a couple of years younger, and there was, overall, nothing impressive about this guy. He was nice and kind and amicably and all, but as far as we know he was never a warrior, he didn't do anything of note in the time between his birth and the wedding of Princess Rhaenys.

Compared to the great and famous and manly and adventurous Corlys Velaryon Prince Viserys was complete joke. The Sea Snake is, by and far, an even more impressive man that King Jaehaerys I. Jaehaerys was a king and a dragonrider and all, but what did he do besides flying over his own lands, win a couple of insignificant wars, build some roads, and change some laws? Not all that much. He never even visited the Free Cities personally (unless Gyldayn forgot to mention that, or they actually went there when they hid from Maegor) and he was too timid to actually search for the Sun Chaser.

Corlys Velaryon saw the world, traveled to places no Westerosi had gone before, made a fortune, had adventures no living man had had before. He was the ultimate price for any princess, and the ideal consort for a future queen. A much more worthy sire of kings than cousin Viserys, especially since he was also of Valyrian descent.

The fact that this marriage did take place is a strong sign that Prince Aemon at least wanted his only child to succeed him. Corlys Velaryon arguably was the greatest man born in the 1st century after, perhaps, Aegon the Conqueror.

Still, while we can see why Rhaenys may have wanted Corlys, it is a much different question why Aemon and Jaehaerys I allowed her to marry him. Any personal preferences of Rhaenys' would have shown themselves not while she was a preteen girl, and one assumes that the time to decide to not marry her to the brother who was never born would have been around the time she turned ten. Thus this would also have been the time when the prospect of a match between her and Viserys came on the table. And then there would have been a reason why this road was not taken.

An easy and obvious to address and resolve this could have been if Aemon and Baelon had arranged such a match - only to see how Rhaenys was not happy with it as the years progressed. Enter the return of the great Sea Snake from the Jade Sea and one could see how such a betrothal could have gone awry. It would have been fun to see how Viserys lost first Rhaenys, then Viserra and/or Gael, only to be stuck with insignificant Aemma about who we know nothing about.

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On 2/6/2019 at 2:05 AM, Ellaena said:

Jocelyn Baratheon could have played a role in that but we will never know because George deemed her not to be worth mentioning much. Nor is Aemon, but at least he gets some childhood moments and a death. It's such a shame to create a character and to never...use it. 

One of my biggest pet peeves with this book. Jocelyn was the future queen for a good 22 years. She had so much potential, but GRRM decided she was better off as an one-note side character. He could have written about Alysanne training Jocelyn to be queen the way Jaehaerys appointed Aemon to the small council, Alysanne taking her with her in some 'women council', her spending time witn Alyssa the way Aemon and Baelon spent time together, etc. Instead, she only exists to cause her mother's death, give birth to Rhaenys, and be angry at Jaehaerys when he passes over Rhaenys, after which she just disappears. We've got no idea when and how she died, unlike Aemon. She doesn't utter a single word in the whole book! Why couldn't have we got Jocelyn interacting with her half sister Alysanne? With her half nieces? Why couldn't Alyssa survive Aegon's birth so we'd see how these women interacted after one's daughter, granddaughter and grandson was rejected in favour of the other's son? If we could have Aemon-Baelon, why not Jocelyn-Alyssa? Why was their possible story deemed inferior to the Aemon-Baelon dynamic (especially since we already had a similar one in the main books, with Jon and Robb)?

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Posted (edited)

@Alyssa of House Arryn

I agree. F & B is a big disappointment for me. Another missed opportunity would be Alyssa Velaryon, who I was hoping would be the Dowager equivalent of her daughter Alysanne (to contrast with Visenya and Alicent being the ambitious/"evil" stepmother/Dowager) but instead GRRM retcons, silences, and then shoves her off-stage with nary a backwards glance. (Just look how Jaehaerys's reconciliation with Rogar gets a full transcript but his reconciliation with his own damn mother gets less than a paragraph and no dialogue.) Seriously, why would Alyssa marry a man like Rogar? Robar from TWOIAF, implied to be a nice and sensible guy, I can get behind but not F & B Rogar. Also, what is up with Jaehaerys's whole "I don't need another dad" schtick? It comes off as quite Oedipus-like given the fact his dad died when he was only eight. Furthermore, what is up with Barth's BS in A Surfeit of Rulers that Alyssa was an Aenys-like figure who only wished to be loved? She made fun of Maegor to his face in open court, defied him more than once during his reign, and only two chapters prior was calling for wholesale executions of Maegor's court!

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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4 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@Alyssa of House Arryn

I agree. F & B is a big disappointment for me. Another missed opportunity would be Alyssa Velaryon, who I was hoping would be the Dowager equivalent of her daughter Alysanne (to contrast with Visenya and Alicent being the ambitious/"evil" stepmother/Dowager) but instead GRRM retcons, silences, and then shoves her off-stage with nary a backwards glance. (Just look how Jaehaerys's reconciliation with Rogar gets a full transcript but his reconciliation with his own damn mother gets less than a paragraph and no dialogue.) Seriously, why would Alyssa marry a man like Rogar? Robar from TWOIAF, implied to be a nice and sensible guy, I can get behind but not F & B Rogar. Also, what is up with Jaehaerys's whole "I don't need another dad" schtick? It comes off as quite Oedipus-like given the fact his dad died when he was only eight. Furthermore, what is up with Barth's BS in A Surfeit of Rulers that Alyssa was an Aenys-like figure who only wished to be loved? She made fun of Maegor to his face in open court, defied him more than once during his reign, and only two chapters prior was calling for wholesale executions of Maegor's court!

Jocelyn Baratheon is really an utter disappointment.

Alyssa Velaryon not so much, actually, since in her case we see how misogyny works. She was neither weak nor stupid or ineffective, but the framing of the story is such that she isn't the hero of the story - since the story is that of Jaehaerys and Alysanne and their love, not the story of her mother.

Alyssa was Aenys Targaryen's wife so she people think or see her as being like him, no matter how she actually was. Barth's later analysis is the analysis of a man who may have never met Alyssa Velaryon in person (considering that he came to court only after she moved to Storm's End); perhaps they met a couple of times during visits and the like, but Barth wouldn't have known her intimately.

If we look at her actions was clearly not weak nor indecisive. She fought against and eventually toppled Maegor the Cruel. She kept her surviving children safe until Jaehaerys could claim the throne. When she opposed the incestuous marriage of Jaehaerys and Alysanne she was acting in the best interest of House Targaryen and the Crown - her children were the ones following their egoistical desires there. And unlike Jaehaerys and Alysanne - who were only seven and five when Aegon and Rhaena married and the war started - she knew what problems they had faced.

And her greatest moment is there when she puts her lord husband into place. That is one of the greatest moments in the entire book. There is no weakness there at all - she does not weep because she is 'weak', or anything, she weeps because her husband has shown his true colors there, revealing that he never loved her and had become a danger to her children.

She is also not weak because she didn't do anything after she had aborted Rogar's would-be rebellion - she is basically the ideal regent. She never wanted power for herself or anything, merely to prepare her son for his reign and manage the kingdom until he came of age.

The great windbag in the book is Lord Rogar, and that fact is hammered home again and again by showing the facts, without Gyldayn ever pointing it out. Strong and martial men cannot be 'weak', can they? But Rogar is, he is the weakest and most cowardly man in the entire book. A loud-mouth supposedly dreaming about fighting Maegor in single combat but making no move to fight against Maegor throughout the man's entire reign, despite the fact that the Faith Militant and especially Aegon the Uncrowned gave him ample opportunity. A man who is put into his place by his wife without actually doing anything to stop her, a man unable to attend his wife in her death because he is afraid of death, a man bragging how he isn't afraid of Queen Rhaena but showing in his actions that he very much was, etc.

These Baratheons of the Robert type are all loud-mouths - they may also be pretty great warriors, but they cannot make difficult or unpleasant decisions in their personal lives.

In that sense, Alyssa Velaryon is clearly the steel in that relationship, not Rogar.

It would be good to know what Alyssa saw in her second husband, etc. - George really dropped the ball there. But it seems clear to me that she loved him whereas he never loved her.

The problem with the story here is that we simply get nothing on Alyssa, Rogar, Jaehaerys, and Alysanne during the reign of Maegor. Did they live with Rogar at Storm's End for about four years? If so, how close did they all get? The story of 48-50 AC should have been undercut with a summary or references to their life together under Maegor.

That we never learn what happened behind closed doors between Jaehaerys and his mother is fine with me. It is a private thing and should remain private. Rogar could be publicly taught his lesson, he wasn't really family. At least not anymore.

But it seems clear to me that the guy who was using his own standards judging people was Jaehaerys. He felt he could marry his sister no matter what his mother and regent said, whereas he apparently presumed he should have been consulted about his mother's second marriage - and that's clearly a double standard.

It may be that Jaehaerys was so pissed with his mother that he sent her to Storm's End as a punishment - or it may be that Alyssa herself decided to go there. We don't know. If we look at the facts then Jaehaerys I has to thank his mother twice for his throne. First because she put him there in 48 AC, and then because she ensured he remained there in 50 AC. If she had sided with Rogar they could have deposed Jaehaerys I again. And Jaehaerys I is not stupid enough, in my opinion, to not have realized this.

Bottom line is - George could have written the thing in a way more friendly to women in power, but the way he wrote it still makes clear that there were strong women in power, never mind how men later wrote about them. It is the same with Rhaena and Rhaenyra later on.

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16 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Bottom line is - George could have written the thing in a way more friendly to women in power, but the way he wrote it still makes clear that there were strong women in power, never mind how men later wrote about them. It is the same with Rhaena and Rhaenyra later on.

He does the same as Alyssa with Rhaenys as well - shoved offstage I mean. She kind of disappears after marrying the Sea Snake only to return briefly to glory and death while Rhaenyra dithered during the early part of the Dance. I guess Fire & Blood was the story of the Targaryen line though, so choices had to be made to focus on characters who actually had something to do with the Iron Throne.

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4 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

He does the same as Alyssa with Rhaenys as well - shoved offstage I mean. She kind of disappears after marrying the Sea Snake only to return briefly to glory and death while Rhaenyra dithered during the early part of the Dance. I guess Fire & Blood was the story of the Targaryen line though, so choices had to be made to focus on characters who actually had something to do with the Iron Throne.

Princess Rhaenys could have had a greater role, sure, As could have Laena and Jocelyn and Alyssa Targaryen.

The reason why Rhaenys and Laena and Jocelyn are such shadowy figures is due to George's refusal to rewrite or expand on 'Heirs of the Dragon'. That chapter doesn't fit well with the earlier Jaehaerys material nor with the later Dance and Regency material because it is as cursory as the earlier material on the Conqueror and his sister-wives (and, to a lesser degree, 'The Sons of the Dragon', too). There was great potential for stories involving Jocelyn and Aemon and Alyssa and Rhaenys and Viserys and Daemon and Laena during the later reign of Jaehaerys I and during the reign of Viserys I, too.

I mean, during most of the Jaehaerys material - as well as all of the Dance and Regency material - secondary and tertiary characters like various lords get proper given names and even personalities. But during TSotD and HotD this is not the case. And whereas TSotD at least covered some actual government stuff (Red Keep, Dragonpit, etc.) HotD focuses exclusively on court gossip relating to the buildup of the Dance. We certainly needed such buildup, but there should have been a chapter covering the actual reign of Viserys I, too.

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