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Lord Varys

[SPOILERS] The Dance (unabridged version) including the reign of Viserys I

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2 hours ago, Tha Shiznit said:

I'm pretty sure by now that Laenor and Rhaenyra had an open relationship. Laenor content of the relationship if it meant he could still be prince consort to the heir of the Iron Throne. There is no mention in the Princess and the Queen of Laenor's reaction to Alicent Hightower remark on his three sons not looking like him (I'm not sure about Fire & Blood not at the reign of King Viserys yet, still reading).

It would be great to know anything about Laenor Velaryon and his views on his own marriage, but we don't know anything. We don't even know whether he liked or resented Rhaenyra. From Rhaenyra we only know she was not exactly fond of Laenor when the marriage was announced, but how she viewed him later - and how she and Harwin and Laenor all got along is completely unclear.

It is quite clear, though, that Laenor had essentially no issue with whatever his wife may have done with Harwin Strong (and later his own sister - remember, there are hints that Rhaenyra and Laena had an affair, too) nor with his the looks of his three sons.

37 minutes ago, Eltharion21 said:

Though it isn't so much issue of cuckolding, more of Rhaenyra putting herself first over her duty as heir to the realm , that and later marrying Daemon without her father's consent , even though he explicitly named her his heir so he would never rule, that  among many other things shows her as horrible potential ruler arguably worse than Aegon II.

Rhaenyra marries her uncle for love, there is little wrong with that - aside from the fact that said uncle apparently never truly loved her. And Daemon didn't exactly call the shots at Rhaenyra's court. He advised her but she made the decision, not Daemon.

Compared to Aegon II - who ranks as the second worst king in the history of Westeros, in my opinion, beaten only by Aegon the Unworthy (and that only because George himself says he was the worst) - Rhaenyra was practically a genius.

Not only had Aegon II massive character flaws but he didn't come up with any notable policy decision himself, and whatever choices he made that were not stupid basically were things his advisers had either force or beg him to go along with.

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Was Aemond somehow in the wrong for mounting and bonding with Vhagar? Why did little Joffrey try to stop him? Was he more worried about Vhagar killing him or excepting him?

Why are Jacaerys and his two younger brothers named Velaryons instead of Targaryens? Wouldn't they take their mother's name instead of her consort's? Wouldn't have Rhaenyra's situation be like that of a ruling Princess of Dorne? Just like how Doran. Oberyn and Elia took their mother's name and not their father's. I can see maybe Lucerys or Joffrey taking the Velaryon name if it was thought that one was going to be named the Lord of Driftmark eventually, but Jacaerys was the heir's heir to House Targaryen so shouldn't he have been named Jacaerys Targaryen since birth?

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8 hours ago, Eltharion21 said:

Yes they did seem to get along ,both him and Harwin were present on childbirth, it does seems so also other Vaelryon's don't seem to mind to extent. 

Though it isn't so much issue of cuckolding, more of Rhaenyra putting herself first over her duty as heir to the realm , that and later marrying Daemon without her father's consent , even though he explicitly named her his heir so he would never rule, that  among many other things shows her as horrible potential ruler arguably worse than Aegon II.

Not sure how Rhaenyra having an affair that her husband may actually have consented to is putting her desires first. She does need an heir after all, and I feel Laenor doesn’t want to give her children she has to go elsewhere

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2 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Not sure how Rhaenyra having an affair that her husband may actually have consented to is putting her desires first. She does need an heir after all, and I feel Laenor doesn’t want to give her children she has to go elsewhere

If she wanted children for sake of them being her heirs, if her husband wasn't willing or unable , at least she should look for Valyrian looking lover , considering it is proven by children from her uncle and implied by stories of him seducing her as adolescent, she had no problem bedding the sort.

Most likely she had children from Harwin for love though, she had same consort for three children, and that produced problem mostly for them and to their place in society, considering the attitude various structures of Westerosi society have toward the bastards, also from not very powerful House , that also had Lucamore Strong as it's member which was quite scandal not very far back in time. 

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It would be great to know anything about Laenor Velaryon and his views on his own marriage, but we don't know anything. We don't even know whether he liked or resented Rhaenyra. From Rhaenyra we only know she was not exactly fond of Laenor when the marriage was announced, but how she viewed him later - and how she and Harwin and Laenor all got along is completely unclear.

It is quite clear, though, that Laenor had essentially no issue with whatever his wife may have done with Harwin Strong (and later his own sister - remember, there are hints that Rhaenyra and Laena had an affair, too) nor with his the looks of his three sons.

Rhaenyra marries her uncle for love, there is little wrong with that - aside from the fact that said uncle apparently never truly loved her. And Daemon didn't exactly call the shots at Rhaenyra's court. He advised her but she made the decision, not Daemon.

Compared to Aegon II - who ranks as the second worst king in the history of Westeros, in my opinion, beaten only by Aegon the Unworthy (and that only because George himself says he was the worst) - Rhaenyra was practically a genius.

Not only had Aegon II massive character flaws but he didn't come up with any notable policy decision himself, and whatever choices he made that were not stupid basically were things his advisers had either force or beg him to go along with.

Not sure it was love maybe comfort in time of death of their partners, security from intrigues she felt from the court , I feel she had nothing in killing of Rhea Royce, Harwin and his Father  and Laenor, though Daemon was known to provoke and kill betrothed of Laena with Corlys's consent, and Vaelryon's were hungry for the throne they felt were robbed off at 101AC, In that time i am not aware of any assassination connected or benefiting the greens.

Daemon did advise her  and using his tactics they had most of their victories and ultimately defeats, but also brought her more insidious tactics , scum like Mysaria, Blood and Cheese, Goldcloaks turncloaks , he suggested two Betrayers get Casterly Rock and Storms End that would turn even her allies against her.

Wise kings had dragons, but also had wits how to make foes accept terms without shedding needless blood, in this case her enemies had dragons too and she played Tyrant, Even show Cersei is better ruler than her.

What massive character flaws Aegon II had that Rhaenyra doesn't match or exceed?

Did Rhaenyra lack good advice or she choose path of Paranoia, Vengeance, Retaliation, Torture and Murder?

Did she loose Kings Landing not from the Greens but from people infuriated by her rule and she also manage to loose all her Dragons currently in the city?

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8 hours ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

Was Aemond somehow in the wrong for mounting and bonding with Vhagar? Why did little Joffrey try to stop him? Was he more worried about Vhagar killing him or excepting him?

Why are Jacaerys and his two younger brothers named Velaryons instead of Targaryens? Wouldn't they take their mother's name instead of her consort's? Wouldn't have Rhaenyra's situation be like that of a ruling Princess of Dorne? Just like how Doran. Oberyn and Elia took their mother's name and not their father's. I can see maybe Lucerys or Joffrey taking the Velaryon name if it was thought that one was going to be named the Lord of Driftmark eventually, but Jacaerys was the heir's heir to House Targaryen so shouldn't he have been named Jacaerys Targaryen since birth?

I think it had more to do with the Blacks and Greens hating each other so much that Joffrey was upset to see Aemond try to mount Laena's dragon so shortly after her death. 

We're not really given any definitive answer on this, but I suspect Jace probably would have taken the name Targaryen upon ascending to the throne. 

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How is Borros smart enough to defeat a Vulture King in the Red Mountains but stupid enough to charge with the sun setting at a strong defensive position on soft and muddy ground without first taking out those hilltop archers?!

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11 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

How is Borros smart enough to defeat a Vulture King in the Red Mountains but stupid enough to charge with the sun setting at a strong defensive position on soft and muddy ground without first taking out those hilltop archers?!

I suspect this so-called Vulture King was very weak sauce, given that he is never really mentioned as a threat -- Borros uses him as an excuse to stay out of the bulk of the fighting, so the timing of his moving against him suggests he was just a nuisance that no one cared about until it was convenient to pretend otherwise. 

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24 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

How is Borros smart enough to defeat a Vulture King in the Red Mountains but stupid enough to charge with the sun setting at a strong defensive position on soft and muddy ground without first taking out those hilltop archers?!

I don't find him very smart , except for avoiding to fight against dragons , but his uncoordinated support to the Greens even though close proximity, is telling he was waiting others to spend their forces though. 

Since he waited so much  Vale and North weren't fully committed to war.  Blacks had upper hand at the moment of "Battle of the Kingsroad" , even if he won against Riverlanders without betrayal of his reserves or at least little better tactics  he would  certainly lose to either Vale or North army .

6 day's march from King's Landing he fought defensive battle on terms of his foes 

Riverlords had near 6000

Baratheons had 600 knights and 4000 foot, "bolstered by  levies from Stokeworth, Rosby, Hayford, and Duskendale, along with 2000 men and boys from the stews of Flea Bottom, hastily armed with spears and iron pot helms" which he kept as reserve.

Chronicles (maesters) emphasize the bravery of the "lads" , (fan service if I ever saw one) while downplaying  betrayal of his reserves:

"the men of Rosby, Stokeworth, and Hayford let fall the king’s golden dragons and remained unmoving"

"Rabble from King’s Landing scattered like geese"

"knights of Duskendale went over to the foe, attacking the stormlanders in the rear"

 

 

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Y'all make some good points but I still find Borros unbelievably stupid. If he had done one or two of the things he did I could believe it but not all four.

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15 hours ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

Was Aemond somehow in the wrong for mounting and bonding with Vhagar? Why did little Joffrey try to stop him? Was he more worried about Vhagar killing him or excepting him?

Pretty impossible to figure out. But one should keep in mind that Joffrey Velaryon was three (!!!) old at the time, meaning that the boy couldn't have that, well, complex a motivation there. He either thought uncle Aemond might get in trouble approaching Vhagar (both from the dragon and from their parents) or, more likely, he saw Vhagar as aunt Laena's dragon (i.e. a Velaryon dragon) and didn't think one of his mother's half-brothers should claim her.

In any case - this entire thing was just quarrel among children very much resembling the Joffrey-Arya-Mycah thing in AGoT insofar as what was at stake. And even the loss of Aemond's eye was an accident - the nonchalant manner in which Aemond himself dealt with that ('an eye for a dragon', basically) is one of the redeeming features in his character. That fits very well with his original reluctance to actually later kill Luke when they meet at Storm's End.

15 hours ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

Why are Jacaerys and his two younger brothers named Velaryons instead of Targaryens? Wouldn't they take their mother's name instead of her consort's? Wouldn't have Rhaenyra's situation be like that of a ruling Princess of Dorne? Just like how Doran. Oberyn and Elia took their mother's name and not their father's. I can see maybe Lucerys or Joffrey taking the Velaryon name if it was thought that one was going to be named the Lord of Driftmark eventually, but Jacaerys was the heir's heir to House Targaryen so shouldn't he have been named Jacaerys Targaryen since birth?

I've repeatedly laid out that I take this whole thing as a huge sign that children always inherit the names of their fathers - at least outside Dorne. And if the Velaryon name was good enough for Rhaenyra's heirs while they were her heirs then I see little reason for Jace to not ascend the Iron Throne as King Jacaerys Velaryon.

If ruling ladies were passing on their names to their children - like it seemed to be with the Oakhearts and Waynwoods - then there it very odd indeed that Rhaenyra's sons were Velaryons rather than Targaryens.

8 hours ago, Eltharion21 said:

If she wanted children for sake of them being her heirs, if her husband wasn't willing or unable , at least she should look for Valyrian looking lover , considering it is proven by children from her uncle and implied by stories of him seducing her as adolescent, she had no problem bedding the sort.

Again, Lucamore Strong was blond. Perhaps Harwin Strong was blond, too. We don't know.

This is not a world where outsiders have any right to question or otherwise investigate the parentage of royal children. If Laenor had challenged the parentage of his children or accused Rhaenyra of adultery there would have been an issue. Even if Alicent and her gang could have gotten anyone publicly accusing Rhaenyra of adultery - say, some servant at Dragonstone - then this in and of itself wouldn't have proved that Laenor's children weren't his unless people could also 'prove' that Laenor and Rhaenyra didn't have intercourse when the children were conceived.

8 hours ago, Eltharion21 said:

Not sure it was love maybe comfort in time of death of their partners, security from intrigues she felt from the court , I feel she had nothing in killing of Rhea Royce, Harwin and his Father  and Laenor, though Daemon was known to provoke and kill betrothed of Laena with Corlys's consent, and Vaelryon's were hungry for the throne they felt were robbed off at 101AC, In that time i am not aware of any assassination connected or benefiting the greens.

Duels and the like do happen in this world. And Daemon only became a Black when he married Rhaenyra. Before that he was not attached to any faction. Or perhaps he was sort of Black after Laena and Rhaenyra grew close.

8 hours ago, Eltharion21 said:

Daemon did advise her  and using his tactics they had most of their victories and ultimately defeats, but also brought her more insidious tactics , scum like Mysaria, Blood and Cheese, Goldcloaks turncloaks , he suggested two Betrayers get Casterly Rock and Storms End that would turn even her allies against her.

Rhaenyra herself had little to nothing to do with any of that. And she didn't follow the advice to destroy the Lannisters and Baratheons.

8 hours ago, Eltharion21 said:

Wise kings had dragons, but also had wits how to make foes accept terms without shedding needless blood, in this case her enemies had dragons too and she played Tyrant, Even show Cersei is better ruler than her.

Perhaps it was a mistake to offer terms to the major Green houses when Corlys urged Rhaenyra to do so. But her decision to see her half-brothers dead was the right one. Offering dragonriders - especially Vhagar's rider - mercy cannot really walk. A dragonrider cannot really spend his days at the Wall. How should that work?

8 hours ago, Eltharion21 said:

What massive character flaws Aegon II had that Rhaenyra doesn't match or exceed?

Rhaenyra didn't murder any of her half-siblings. She didn't kill her stepmother, either, despite the fact that she must have resented her very much. Rhaenyra has flaws, too, she was too weak when she should have been strong (during the riots) and to rash when she should have listened to reason (Addam/Nettles).

But she doesn't depict any signs of wanton cruelty or stupidity of the scale of Aegon II.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Y'all make some good points but I still find Borros unbelievably stupid. If he had done one or two of the things he did I could believe it but not all four.

In addition to what @Ran has said nothing in FaB indicates Borros Baratheon had any talent/experience as a warrior or general. The guy seems to be about as much as a windbag as Lord Rogar. Most Baratheons seem to be great warrior but anything more complex than beating men into the mud seem to be too much for them.

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@Lord Varys

I fundamentally disagree. Robert and Stannis both demonstrate good military acumen. Furthermore, what Borros did requires either authorial fiat or him being mentally challenged, which he obviously isn't. 

To elaborate, this is what he did:

1. Attacked as the sun was setting without resting his troops

2. Charged headlong into a strong defensive position

3. Said charge was conducted on soft and muddy ground

4. Ignored the enemy archers on the nearby hill

5. Did not check for hidden enemy forces prior to engaging

I've read of men doing three of those things but all five? That requires a level of stupidity not corroborated by the rest of the text and should not exist in a martial aristocracy.

Beyond that the fact the Riverlords took minimal casualties makes no sense given how many men Borros alone killed and the fact the Stormlanders were mentioned to have "wrecked great havoc with sword, lance, and longaxe".

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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9 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

I fundamentally disagree. Robert and Stannis both demonstrate good military acumen.

Oh, I didn't mean these two. I more meant the historical Baratheons - Orys (Boneway fiasco), Rogar and his brothers, Borros). But I'd also add that while Robert was pretty good during his rebellion and when taught Balon a lesson he is only a shell of that men mere nine years later. The fat drunkard we meet in AGoT wouldn't have won any battles/wars had he been forced to fight them. If I had to assess Robert then I'd say he had pretty unusual/risky ideas as the reckless youth (hello there, Robb) that he was and the luck that those ideas worked.

Stannis seems to be decent but he isn't exactly the veteran of a hundred battles he won or anything of that sort.

9 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

I've read of men doing three of those things but all four? That requires a level of stupidity not corroborated by the rest of the text and should not exist in a martial aristocracy.

Those Baratheons cannot control their temper. That's usually their undoing. And honestly - what was the point in making preparations or take an army led by boys and women (!!!) seriously? There was no chance that their like can stand against proper men, right?

Warfare is not necessarily done by men who think things through or make plans for any eventuality - Robert most definitely had no plan what to do at Stoney Sept or what he would have done if the lords gathering at Summerhall had been there before him. Winning makes you 'a genius' despite the fact that you were just lucky, whereas losing makes you a moron. In fact, most successful generals were men who risked everything on a whim, trusting (against reason and caution) that the enemy would not expect that they acted the way they did. If you are not prepared to risk everything and die in battle you should better stay at home and die in your bed.

9 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Beyond that the fact the Riverlords took minimal casualties makes no sense given how many men Borros alone killed and the fact the Stormlanders were mentioned to have "wrecked great havoc with sword, lance, and longaxe".

You always seem to think that losses must be much higher in a medieval battle than they actually were. Men only stand their ground/continue to fight until the men around them do not break. Then they break, too, and then the side whose men didn't break usually wins, never mind how many enemy have been actually killed.

That havoc only involved the men in the front of the shield wall of the Lads. Borros had no archers to affect the men further behind. The road was pretty narrow where battle was joined, so it would have been what - a few dozen or scores men per line? And not all of them would have died.

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Argilac the Arrogant had a temper too and he wasn't that stupid.

As for casualties we are talking about the Dance of the Dragons. The bodycount should be higher as should the size of the armies or at the very least the number of them in the field.

Robert is the Westerosi Edward IV. A great warrior and general who let himself go to waste.

As for Stannis, he demonstrates an impressive degree of flexibility. Holding a castle under siege, winning a battle on both land and sea, coordinating a near-succesful amphibious assault on a city, etc.

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Something I've been pondering is what the true story behind the fallout between Rhaenyra and Criston Cole was. It does seem to have hinged on one's rejection of the other, although we don't know which party did the rejecting. I've seen some people make the argument that Cole had a massive Madonna-whore complex, and that Rhaenyra trying to seduce him before her wedding soiled his opinion of her, but I'm turning against that interpretation. For one, Rhaenyra's virtue was already called into question before then (more on that later), and he didn't seem to have a problem serving Alicent, despite the rumors of her having affairs with both Viserys and Daemon prior to her marriage. That he fought in a "black fury" at her wedding tourney also suggests a scorned lover, so I think we can probably assume that Cole offered to run off with Rhaenyra, she turned him down, and this is what turned him against her. 

Going with this interpretation of their fallout makes me wonder what really happened a few years prior to that, however, when Viserys banished Daemon from court for a second time. Eustace said he and Rhaenyra were caught in bed together, whereas Mushroom claims that she tried to seduce Cole instead.  Her trying to seduce Cole would explain why he thought she would be willing to run off with him, but judging by how quickly Rhaenyra married Daemon after Laenor's death, it lends credence to the belief that she really was enamored with with her uncle. If Rhaenyra was in love with Daemon at this time though, it makes me wonder if she ever really loved Criston Cole to begin with, or if it was much more one-sided than we were led to believe.

And then there's Breakbones. Mushroom claims she turned to him after Cole spurned her, but if we're going with Eustace's version of the story, then we don't really know when or how the two of them came together. 

I wish we had more information. The details may not be that important to the greater story, but it definitely entices the reader. 

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On 22 December 2018 at 5:38 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

Originally, at least. In TRP and TPATQ, George seemed to be trying to make both the Blacks and the Greens responsible for the carnage, with Rhaenyra being something of a Cersei precursor who was selfish and only cared about her own desires.

I thoroughly disagree. Rhaenyra never was presented as anything like Cersei apart from her crippling fear for her 2 remaining sons, IMHO. For one thing - and it is not a positive - Rhaenyra never had any ideas of her own, while Cersei brims with them, even if they are overwhelmingly bad. For another, Rhaenyra seemed to truly love her children and have both a functional patchwork family and real friends.  And with Laenor for a husband, it isn't like she truly had much choice about cheating. Admittedly, after Jace's birth, she really should have either resorted to a turkey baster and tried to have Laenor's kids that way or recruited old Corlys for the stud service, but see above. There is also a chance that some of her older sons actually _were_ Laenor's,  but have tragically drawn the Alysanne/Alyssa card. We have no descriptions either of Harwin or of queen Aemma, after all. Nor are there detailed descriptions of 3 kids except for Luke.

Alicent was the Cersei precursor there - only a considerably smarter one. 

Quote

Reading Fire and Blood, it felt like George just kind of went, "ah, f**k it," and made Rhaenyra a tragic figure whose life was ruined by sexism and the power-hungry Greens. I actually prefer sympathetic Rhaenyra, but she did feel like a different character to me this time. 

Frankly, I had less liking for Rhaenyra after FaB, because previously there was still hope that she had actually attempted to do something for herself during the Dance instead of being 100% reliant on other people, including several young teenage boys, for any and all plans and action. She did, for the most part, resist bad advice until she didn't and that is not nothing, and makes her much better than her brothers, but I am not happy that she wasn't allowed to own any of her side's successes, which were all due to somebody else or to pre-existing situation. Particularly since it appears to be Martin's MO with female characters, who aren't allowed to be tragic heroes with genuine accomplishments to their credit in the same mold as Ned, Robb, even Robert, etc. If he is doing it to bolster Dany and build her up, it is rather misguided, if he is doing it subconsciously, it is even worse. 

Nor did we learn anything more about the most unique aspect of Rhaenyra - how all the kids in her and Daemon's patchwork family apparently got along fine and there wasn't even any bad feeling between him and his stepsons. I really expected and hoped to see more about it in full FaB, but nada.

Edited by Maia

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Pretty impossible to figure out. But one should keep in mind that Joffrey Velaryon was three (!!!) old at the time, meaning that the boy couldn't have that, well, complex a motivation there. He either thought uncle Aemond might get in trouble approaching Vhagar (both from the dragon and from their parents) or, more likely, he saw Vhagar as aunt Laena's dragon (i.e. a Velaryon dragon) and didn't think one of his mother's half-brothers should claim her.

In any case - this entire thing was just quarrel among children very much resembling the Joffrey-Arya-Mycah thing in AGoT insofar as what was at stake. And even the loss of Aemond's eye was an accident - the nonchalant manner in which Aemond himself dealt with that ('an eye for a dragon', basically) is one of the redeeming features in his character. That fits very well with his original reluctance to actually later kill Luke when they meet at Storm's End.

I've repeatedly laid out that I take this whole thing as a huge sign that children always inherit the names of their fathers - at least outside Dorne. And if the Velaryon name was good enough for Rhaenyra's heirs while they were her heirs then I see little reason for Jace to not ascend the Iron Throne as King Jacaerys Velaryon.

If ruling ladies were passing on their names to their children - like it seemed to be with the Oakhearts and Waynwoods - then there it very odd indeed that Rhaenyra's sons were Velaryons rather than Targaryens.

Again, Lucamore Strong was blond. Perhaps Harwin Strong was blond, too. We don't know.

This is not a world where outsiders have any right to question or otherwise investigate the parentage of royal children. If Laenor had challenged the parentage of his children or accused Rhaenyra of adultery there would have been an issue. Even if Alicent and her gang could have gotten anyone publicly accusing Rhaenyra of adultery - say, some servant at Dragonstone - then this in and of itself wouldn't have proved that Laenor's children weren't his unless people could also 'prove' that Laenor and Rhaenyra didn't have intercourse when the children were conceived.

Duels and the like do happen in this world. And Daemon only became a Black when he married Rhaenyra. Before that he was not attached to any faction. Or perhaps he was sort of Black after Laena and Rhaenyra grew close.

Rhaenyra herself had little to nothing to do with any of that. And she didn't follow the advice to destroy the Lannisters and Baratheons.

Perhaps it was a mistake to offer terms to the major Green houses when Corlys urged Rhaenyra to do so. But her decision to see her half-brothers dead was the right one. Offering dragonriders - especially Vhagar's rider - mercy cannot really walk. A dragonrider cannot really spend his days at the Wall. How should that work?

Rhaenyra didn't murder any of her half-siblings. She didn't kill her stepmother, either, despite the fact that she must have resented her very much. Rhaenyra has flaws, too, she was too weak when she should have been strong (during the riots) and to rash when she should have listened to reason (Addam/Nettles).

But she doesn't depict any signs of wanton cruelty or stupidity of the scale of Aegon II.

In addition to what @Ran has said nothing in FaB indicates Borros Baratheon had any talent/experience as a warrior or general. The guy seems to be about as much as a windbag as Lord Rogar. Most Baratheons seem to be great warrior but anything more complex than beating men into the mud seem to be too much for them.

 

Sorry for formatting , still getting hang of this.

Following that logic father of her children might have been the Father himself, author has placed lot of clues, hints for people to look for and decide for themselves , it is style of how it is written , though I would love more clear cut answers for some of things.

Royal family itself is questioning parentage along with  Great Lords of the Realm , that Kingdom is made by men and ruled by them, society tends to follow some established rules or it falls into anarchy.
Bastardy of her children is but one of her many flaws and why leading Blacks were worse than greens , with difference is that their side  has won and histories are looking at them more favorably.


There is not gene test in Westeros only what people believe similarly to that riddle of Varys himself. People warred in dance for various reasons , most out of self interest, though we as readers have benefit of more insight and we can make better judgment than people involved.

In my opinion as a reader there is more than enough things pointing to their descent from Harwin Strong. 


If you want to rule whole nation then better take some responsibility for Your actions. Everything counts from the choice of consort, treating Kingsguard as personal harem, not disciplining Your children when they take eye out of member of their family, behaving like Tyrant when other side has same weapons as You, ignoring the plight of Your subjects. 
If she didn't have anything with waging war or ruling the kingdom, was she a queen at all?


All of her actions have consequence considering her position at top, one son takes eye of the boy - who takes vengeance later, second gets killed in a battle against Tryarchy that Daemon has started and hasn't finished. Third one dies because she tries too hard to protect him and he tries to do what she as good Queen should have done , she doesn't mount her dragon to defend Dragonpit or King's Landing , she kept Syrax chained and fed so the dragon forgot to hunt and went into melee. There was no order to set dragons free either . 

Blood and Cheese, Brothel Queens, Death of Dragons are the low points of The Dance and the bar was already set low.

There is song on my native language about WWI (rough translation):
"My Brother cursed culprits and the victims,
rifles and louses and mud filled trench
He said : You couldn't count the dead because the Emperors played the War
I'm sorry for the horses" 

That was similar feeling I felt toward many who had no say in madness , especially the dragons who are far better creatures then their Targaryen taskmasters.


She enjoyed in tormenting her victims more than simply killing them.
Blood of Jaehaerys, Maelor and Helaena are on her hands too, Tyland Lannister was tortured so much he horrified people at court later and he turned out to be quite the guy , "questioning sharply" was mentioned both for Aemond as a boy who just lost his eye and Addam Velaryon, Corlys was imprisoned to Black Cells and he was very close family member.
There are proofs in  mutilations, death for crimes of Blacks even though their side won their maesters can't hide blood stains. 

" Neither Aegon nor his brother, Aemond, had ever been much loved by the people of the city, and many Kingslanders had welcomed the queen’s return…but love and hate are two faces of the same coin, as fresh heads began appearing daily upon the spikes above the city gates, accompanied by ever more exacting taxes, the coin turned. The girl that they once cheered as the Realm’s Delight had grown into a grasping and vindictive woman, men said, a queen as cruel as any king before her. One wit named Rhaenyra “King Maegor with teats,” and for a hundred years thereafter “Maegor’s Teats” was a common curse amongst Kingslanders."

 

 

 

Edited by Eltharion21

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8 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Something I've been pondering is what the true story behind the fallout between Rhaenyra and Criston Cole was. It does seem to have hinged on one's rejection of the other, although we don't know which party did the rejecting. I've seen some people make the argument that Cole had a massive Madonna-whore complex, and that Rhaenyra trying to seduce him before her wedding soiled his opinion of her, but I'm turning against that interpretation. For one, Rhaenyra's virtue was already called into question before then (more on that later), and he didn't seem to have a problem serving Alicent, despite the rumors of her having affairs with both Viserys and Daemon prior to her marriage. That he fought in a "black fury" at her wedding tourney also suggests a scorned lover, so I think we can probably assume that Cole offered to run off with Rhaenyra, she turned him down, and this is what turned him against her. 

Going with this interpretation of their fallout makes me wonder what really happened a few years prior to that, however, when Viserys banished Daemon from court for a second time. Eustace said he and Rhaenyra were caught in bed together, whereas Mushroom claims that she tried to seduce Cole instead.  Her trying to seduce Cole would explain why he thought she would be willing to run off with him, but judging by how quickly Rhaenyra married Daemon after Laenor's death, it lends credence to the belief that she really was enamored with with her uncle. If Rhaenyra was in love with Daemon at this time though, it makes me wonder if she ever really loved Criston Cole to begin with, or if it was much more one-sided than we were led to believe.

And then there's Breakbones. Mushroom claims she turned to him after Cole spurned her, but if we're going with Eustace's version of the story, then we don't really know when or how the two of them came together. 

I wish we had more information. The details may not be that important to the greater story, but it definitely entices the reader. 

-edited Wrongly quoted first time

 

 

It is one of more interesting stories, I would also like to know more, although unlike many in the "fandom" I don't see conclusive evidence of Ser Criston being a villain.

There are contradicting writings about him in several instances. Though most of his actions during the war point out that he was there as advisor and  subservient to the commands of his King and later Aemond as regent with their word being the last. He reminds me of Jaime somehow.

 

Regarding Rhaenyras marriage to Damon it was alliance of power also including the Deamon's dead wife  and maybe confort for deaths of their partners. If she was so in-love they would continue affair after her retreat to Dragonstone since Viserys had problem with enforcing his own banishment and him having Dragon and visiting Driftmark they could continue their "love" which wasn't the case.
She seemed to be more concerned with loyalty and honesty than other things, probably intrigues of the court have taken the toll on her.


"Lords Rosby and Stokeworth, blacks who had gone green to avoid the dungeons, attempted to turn black again, but the queen declared that faithless friends were worse than foes and ordered their “lying tongues” be removed before their executions. "

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9 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Something I've been pondering is what the true story behind the fallout between Rhaenyra and Criston Cole

Wasn't Criston Cole her sworn sword since she was a little girl? That means he would have been around her everyday and seen her grow up from a girl to a woman in almost a parent type role, making him a creep if he wanted her sexually, IMO.

On the topic of Criston Cole, after he was made Hand was he still technically a KG member?

Was it really necessary for Aegon II to name Cole his Hand anyway? He was LC of the KG already and had a position on the small council where he could give Aegon his opinion on how to fight the war and lead his armies. He was already fully committed to the Greens, he was "the Kingmaker". How did his role of Hand really change things as he already had more power than any LC of the KG ever had before or since? Did Aegon II do it as a reward for Cole's prior service and loyalty? I mean shouldn't have Aegon offered the position of Hand of the King to a lord who had yet to commit to a side as a way to bring them to his alliance. Naming Cole Hand just seemed like a lateral move.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That fits very well with his original reluctance to actually later kill Luke when they meet at Storm's End.

That was a pretty harsh burn from the Baratheon daughter that triggered him.

Edited by Ralphis Baratheon

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