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Lord Varys

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

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10 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

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

Attacking the hills was a mistake, too. Not to mention he should have known he would have to face Meraxes up there. Didn't he think about the dragon?

10 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

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.

I agree about the army numbers - @Ran's explanation should have Gyldayn's - or that of his sources - to account for the low numbers in the Dance.

As I said in relation to the Westermen army - we cannot pretend we have complete numbers on Lord Jason's army, allowing us to assume there were (much) more men with him originally. And I think that goes for some of the other armies as well. Not all of them but some.

But I really don't think we ever had any reason to believe that many men died in battle during the Dance - although in the Gullet many men from the Triarchy would have died as well as many Velaryon men - both fighting men and civilians. The same goes for Tumbleton. We knew the Dance was a great war but there was never any indication that tens of thousands of people were killed in the fighting. It was just a two year war. And they were fighting over a bloody succession. It makes no sense a majority of the lords, knights, and common men of Westeros were wanting to die over this whole thing.

10 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

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

Sure. Chances are not that great that he would have recovered his old self in 298 AC. He was too much of a drunk at that time to do that.

10 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

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.

Stannis only defeated the wildlings in a land battle. And they were an undisciplined foe he could surprise. For the Ironborn he had a plan but you cannot really influence/change things in the middle of a sea battle - at least to a much lesser degree than you can on the field - where you can decide when to deploy the reserve, command a retreat in order, etc.

 

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 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.

That was always the better reading. Mushroom's story was never very convincing there. Although it might very well be that Daemon's way to seduce Rhaenyra started with him giving her kissing lessons because she was in love with Cole. And Eustace's claim that Arryk Cargyll was the man finding Rhaenyra and Daemon abed together helps explain why he was willing/ended up going on his mission later on (or why he did not defect to Rhaenyra when he had the chance on Dragonstone during the negotiations).

9 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

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.

Rhaenyra seems to have been a complex woman insofar as her romances were concerned. That's not strange all that much. You can have two lovers at the same time, or been torn between two or even three people. I'd be surprised if Rhaenyra was all that much in love with either Daemon or Harwin, though. Cole seems to have been the guy she really wanted for most of her childhood/youth. The uncle and the big guy were only the second and third choice, presumably.

9 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

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.

Harwin is very much a question mark here. How close were they even if they had an affair? Was this only physical or was the man truly her confidant? We don't know. There is no hint that Rhaenyra was sad after Harwin had to leave her and then suddenly died.

9 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

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

Viserys I, Daemon, Rhaenyra, and basically all the characters from HotD don't have much depth - which really had me confused when George said Daemon was his favorite character from FaB. I mean, the guy doesn't have much of a character. He has no background and we don't really know what he was about. All we have are rumors and then a strange ending which is deliberately left obscure - both the exact nature of his relationship with Nettles as well as why he sent her away and did not accompany her. Not to mention that his earlier/new affair with Mysaria is never properly explained. What did he see in that woman?

We get more details on those guys during the Dance but that isn't enough to make them real characters.

4 hours ago, Maia said:

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. 

Well, she was the one to execute the plan to take KL. It was Jace's idea but he was dead so she took the lead there and without her it would have never happened. Daemon did his part, too, of course, but they would have taken the city with or without the turncloaks, and if the messages had gotten out Aemond would have rushed back at once, likely leading to Vhagar's death - she couldn't have stood against Vermithor, Silverwing, Caraxes, Syrax, and Seasmoke.

I agree that it would have been great had she actually shown more personal initiative but she was a woman in male dominated world and that shows. She should have been designed more as the warrior-woman type, or at least as less timid in certain crucial situations. George is very cruel there when he has her rule against female inheritance following Corlys Velaryon's stupid advice. That makes you really cringe.

4 hours ago, Maia said:

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.

Aegon II suffers from that as well, although he gets his spot in the sun, so to speak, by becoming the figurehead of Alfred Broom(s)'s conquest of Dragonstone (that was this man's accomplishment, not Aegon II's). But it is worth with Rhaenyra. She should have gotten one actual dragon battle. One where she actually won a victory in her own right.

Just as Princess Rhaenys should have accompanied Baelon to avenge her father - or accompanied Aemon when he was killed - and/or later helping Corlys and Daemon (occasionally) on the Stepstones.

4 hours ago, Maia said:

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.

Yeah, that's the problem of HotD. There should have been more details added to that one.

I mean, think about how much less Rhaena would have been if she had been just suddenly a main character in the Jaehaerys material - without TSotD greatly adding to her biography. Daemon, Rhaenyra, and their families are just pale shadows thanks to HotD. And that shows in Baela and Rhaena, too. We have no clue how they got along with their stepmother and father. Not to mention the specter of that rumor that Daemon had Laenor murdered. How is it that this apparently did not cast any sort of shadow on Daemon's relationship with their Velaryons and his stepsons

 

54 minutes ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

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

Sure. Ryam Redwyne was also Hand and Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

54 minutes ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

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? 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.

He wanted to fire his grandfather and replace him with a stronger Hand. Otto was running the show before Cole took over.

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Re the Dance: Its supposed to be the bloodiest war in Targ and Westerosi history yet only 2K men died at the Fishfeed. That's bonkers, as is the idea that Lord Jason "came down with all his strength".

Argilac at least had some good ideas as well as explanations for his actions. The sight of the Targs on his hills angered him, he noted that he had more men + cavalry, and that the wind/rain was blowing in his enemies faces. Furthermore, when his cavalry charge founders he sends his foot up the hills instead, showing an ability to adapt to the situation and change tactics.

As for Meraxes maybe he wanted to force the dragon into a "hugging" situation, wherein Meraxes couldn't be brought to bear because Orys and his men would be between Rhaenys and Argilac's Stormlanders?

Contrast that with Borros, who just acts stupid for no other reason than GRRM just needed the Greens to lose at the Kingsroad and didn't care about plausible the details were.

Quite frankly, the Dance is the worst-plotted of GRRM's wars and even with the new material feels incomplete to me.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Re the Dance: Its supposed to be the bloodiest war in Targ and Westerosi history yet only 2K men died at the Fishfeed. That's bonkers, as is the idea that Lord Jason "came down with all his strength".

Well, I'm not sure how many men died in the Gullet and at Tumbleton, but the sailors plus the civilians at Tumbleton and on Driftmark alone could number in the tens of thousands. Corlys lost a third of his fleet, and the Triarchy nearly their entire fleet.

But I doubt that the Dance killed more people than either the First Dornish War or Daeron's Conquest. Aegon I lost both the entire Tyrell army and the Stormlander army (aside from the few noblemen the Wyl sent back).

As for Jason: 'All his strength' seem to refer to all marshaled strength - but, sure, the idea that less than 10,000 men are even remotely 'all the strength' of the Westerlands is a joke. Which is why I think we cannot really take Gyldayn seriously there. Munkun is not cited as a source for those numbers, after all.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Argilac at least had some good ideas as well as explanations for his actions. The sight of the Targs on his hills angered him, he noted that he had more men + cavalry, and that the wind/rain was blowing in his enemies faces. Furthermore, when his cavalry charge founders he sends his foot up the hills instead, showing an ability to adapt to the situation and change tactics.

As for Meraxes maybe he wanted to force the dragon into a "hugging" situation, wherein Meraxes couldn't be brought to bear because Orys and his men would be between Rhaenys and Argilac's Stormlanders?

Argilac was not as stupid as Borros, sure, but he could not possibly win that battle and he likely knew it. The entire campaign was him looking for a good exit, not him hoping for victory. Even if he had defeated the army, Rhaenys would have just turned Storm's End into another Harrenhal.

1 hour ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Contrast that with Borros, who just acts stupid for no other reason than GRRM just needed the Greens to lose at the Kingsroad and didn't care about plausible the details were.

Oh, I think this fits perfectly fine with Borros' character. The man wasn't even literate. How can such a person have a great understanding of warfare and tactics? There were no wars fought during his lifetime before the Dance, and if he couldn't even read about the great campaigns of the past.

The man seems to have been a great warrior - like many Baratheons were - but little more.

And honestly - how great a threat can boys and women be? How wrong was Borros to underestimate an army comprised of green boys and women? He had not good reason to assume those were warriors steeled in many campaigns.

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Again, him doing any three of the five mistakes he did is plausible because you can actually read up on RL battles where leaders made multiple bad decisions (such as Crecy for example) but all five is just ridiculous. At the very least we should have gotten a line where some Stormlander points out how stupid Borros's decision is but gets overruled. Then again, that would require GRRM to name which houses were actually in Borros's army, which, to my annoyance, he fails to do.

As for the Dance in general it really does appear to be small potatoes now. More men died at Redgrass Field alone than most of the Dance's major land battles put together. And the ongoing WOT5K is on a whole different level.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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2 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Re the Dance: Its supposed to be the bloodiest war in Targ and Westerosi history yet only 2K men died at the Fishfeed. That's bonkers, as is the idea that Lord Jason "came down with all his strength".

Argilac at least had some good ideas as well as explanations for his actions. The sight of the Targs on his hills angered him, he noted that he had more men + cavalry, and that the wind/rain was blowing in his enemies faces. Furthermore, when his cavalry charge founders he sends his foot up the hills instead, showing an ability to adapt to the situation and change tactics.

As for Meraxes maybe he wanted to force the dragon into a "hugging" situation, wherein Meraxes couldn't be brought to bear because Orys and his men would be between Rhaenys and Argilac's Stormlanders?

Contrast that with Borros, who just acts stupid for no other reason than GRRM just needed the Greens to lose at the Kingsroad and didn't care about plausible the details were.

Quite frankly, the Dance is the worst-plotted of GRRM's wars and even with the new material feels incomplete to me.

I agree with  You. What I find lacking is some kind of overview of more powerful banner men and their strengths at the time, also that most of the battles were usually one sided affairs, won by some sort of treachery.

What irks me the most is the general strength representation of Riverlands who had faced brunt of battles facing Lannisters, and then slaughtering Crownlanders being sent by Cole, and then being in both battles of Tumbletown and finally devastating Baratheons at the end. Huge losses that they had don't make plausible their gathering forces so fast.

Tone of the story changes to so sweet at the end of war with all marriages , I wanted to retch, it seemed like falsehood to be honest.

I am also not impressed with North and  Cregan Stark, they "honored" their oath for Rhaenyra by sending people who would most likely die anyway of winter instead of sending more support when was most necessary.

Lannisters were true to the Green cause but faced battle on two fronts, I find it odd that they always get surprised by Ironborn though.

In contrast I'm not  sure if Vale was involved at all, lot of Reach houses were pro black also.

I can't figure out Borros , he seems mostly interested to marry his daughters, but really doesn't seem very good tactician or strategist. Borros waited for dragons to kill each other so he isn't much of benefit for Greens.

Green side seem to be definitively underdog during most of the war. They even help inadvertently the Blacks by assassinating two betrayers. 

 

 

Edited by Eltharion21

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20 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Again, him doing any three of the five mistakes he did is plausible because you can actually read up on RL battles where leaders made multiple bad decisions (such as Crecy for example) but all five is just ridiculous. At the very least we should have gotten a line where some Stormlander points out how stupid Borros's decision is but gets overruled. Then again, that would require GRRM to name which houses were actually in Borros's army, which, to my annoyance, he fails to do.

Most of those Baratheons - even Stannis - are ruled by their emotions. They don't make rational choices nor do they think much or deep. That's part of what makes them so attractive. Medieval warriors are strong, not smart. And Borros and Robert and Rogar embody that.

But again - your points don't really matter if Borros had been right and the Riverlanders had been just led by green boys and women. Surely such people would have broken no matter their numbers, the ground they held, the weather, etc. His mistake was to dismiss his enemies based on their age and their sex. The great Tywin Lannister made that mistake, too, and the Red Lion before him...

Why should one proceed with caution when one faces enemies that cannot be a real threat, no matter how 'strong' they are in numbers or how well they are positioned?

Quote

As for the Dance in general it really does appear to be small potatoes now. More men died at Redgrass Field alone than most of the Dance's major land battles put together. And the ongoing WOT5K is on a whole different level.

Ah, well, we don't know how many men died in the Riverlands nor in the West - keep in mind that the Ironborn sacked Lannisport! And I think we can be reasonably certain that First Tumbleton killed all of Rhaenyra's men inside and outside of the town. And that would be 8,000 men according to Munkun, and that's townsfolk not included.

We don't hear anything about anyone taking prisoners there. Some may have gotten across the Mander, but most drowned there. It is even said that thousands burned and thousands drowned and the survivors were executed, raped, tortured, murdered, etc.

In that sense it is quite clear that First Tumbleton was much more severe than the Fishfeed, although most of the atrocities seem to have been committed after the battle as such (when the Two Betrayers turned on the helpless city) whereas the Fishfeed was actually literally the bloodiest battle because it was very bloody work - men killing each other in battle and not just dragons burning a town.

We don't know how large Tumbleton was during the Dance. It is called a thriving market town - with this being the Reach I certainly could see about 10,000 people, perhaps even more, living there. No idea how large a town has to be to be called a city.

What my issue with the war is that it did not really affect much of Westeros.

Edited by Lord Varys

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22 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

What my issue with the war is that it did not really affect much of Westeros.

That much we agree on.

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On 12/23/2018 at 2:08 PM, Ran said:

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. 

Borros must've been extravagantly drunk that night Aemond and Luke came to bid his announcement.

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On 12/24/2018 at 3:49 PM, Lord Varys said:

Well, she was the one to execute the plan to take KL.

It was Daemon - she only landed once everything was secure. And IIRC, it was his idea to draw Aemond on Vhagar away and then swoop on the capital. And, somehow, managed to bleed on the Iron Throne despite wearing armor?!

On 12/24/2018 at 3:49 PM, Lord Varys said:

I agree that it would have been great had she actually shown more personal initiative but she was a woman in male dominated world and that shows. She should have been designed more as the warrior-woman type, or at least as less timid in certain crucial situations.

Well, I am all for giving female characters in ASoIaF a benefit of doubt due to them not having the same opportunities for gaining relevant education and experience, but this doesn't fly for Rhaenyra at all. She was educated as her father's heir, being present in councils and what not and had been able to learn to gain experience by exercising authority at a smaller scope as ruler of Dragonstone. Nor did she need to be a warrior per se to take active hand in the struggle for her own throne - Queen Rhaenys wasn't after all, yet was very much instrumental in the Conquest. Nor is it really necessary to be a warrior to be able to be a competent general - though it certainly helps with PR and to inspire the troops.

 

On 12/24/2018 at 3:49 PM, Lord Varys said:

George is very cruel there when he has her rule against female inheritance following Corlys Velaryon's stupid advice. That makes you really cringe.

It was stupid of her to execute the lords in question in the first place, instead of drafting them and their forces and making them prove their loyalty. A very Stannis-like move, which made certain that people would be afraid to change sides in her favor. And Corlys was right, IMHO - she was not in position to revamp the whole inheritance system at the time and it would have made many lords who would have otherwise supported her, turn against her.

On 12/24/2018 at 3:49 PM, Lord Varys said:

Aegon II suffers from that as well,

But there are legions of male characters who don't - even in his own family, so that's quite believable. He only needed to coast along, being propelled by other people. Rhaenyra had to be more proactive, though, to raise her claim against the seemingly overhelming advantage that her brother had by the virtue of already having the seat of government, treasury, royal regalia, etc. in his possession and being a male in a patriarchal society. Heck, _Alicent_ was much more decisive than Rhaenyra when she had opportunity, even through she had to mostly cede leadership to her stupid sons.

On 12/24/2018 at 3:49 PM, Lord Varys said:

She should have gotten one actual dragon battle. One where she actually won a victory in her own right.

Or she should at least have had some good ideas herself and implemented them. Again, she was ahead of her half-brothers who both jumped at bad advice and also had lots of bad ideas themselves, but still... 

On 12/24/2018 at 3:49 PM, Lord Varys said:

Just as Princess Rhaenys should have accompanied Baelon to avenge her father - or accompanied Aemon when he was killed - and/or later helping Corlys and Daemon (occasionally) on the Stepstones.

I have to say that I actually prefer that she didn't accompany her father and/or uncle - because it would have been even more painful and Jaehaerys would have needed to be a complete idiot to dismiss her as heir after she actually proved herself. It is a bit concerning re: Prince Aemon's plans for her that he told her that he wouldn't have allowed her to accompany him even if she wasn't pregnant, though. Surely he should have been aware that she, of all people, needed to prove herself  and she couldn't accomplish it by simple expedient of being good at weapons training and winning some jousts? But yea, she absolutely should have been helping Corlys on the Stepstones and even with generally providing protection to his shipping. So should have Laenor and Laena later on, now that I think about it. There are lots of hints in the text that Rhaenys was that impressive person and sure, she got a great death, but what did she do during her relatively long life? And what was she supposed to have done at age 22 at some point in the genesis of FaB?

On 12/24/2018 at 3:49 PM, Lord Varys said:

 Daemon, Rhaenyra, and their families are just pale shadows thanks to HotD. And that shows in Baela and Rhaena, too. We have no clue how they got along with their stepmother and father. Not to mention the specter of that rumor that Daemon had Laenor murdered. How is it that this apparently did not cast any sort of shadow on Daemon's relationship with their Velaryons and his stepsons

Yea, all of this had soo much potential... sigh. For that matter, it is also extremely injteresting that while Daemon cheated on Rhaenyra and basically used her to remain releveant and to finally have sons, he still obeyed her. It doesn't seem at all as if he would have been the one calling the shots if they won - all the Green fear-mongering notwithstanding.

On 12/24/2018 at 6:56 PM, The Grey Wolf said:

Contrast that with Borros, who just acts stupid for no other reason than GRRM just needed the Greens to lose at the Kingsroad and didn't care about plausible the details were.

Didn't Borros do pretty much exactly what Greatjon suggested they should try against Tywin?(!) Also, if you look at actual history, decisions like that were rather common, even among the supposedly more experienced generals. The stupid stuff that Belisarius's subordinates repeatedly pulled off against orders  to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory needs to be read to be believed. Argilac was an experienced commander, BTW, a veteran of 3 previous wars where he was the victor, IIRC. No wonder that he was better than Borros...

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11 minutes ago, Maia said:

It was Daemon - she only landed once everything was secure. And IIRC, it was his idea to draw Aemond on Vhagar away and then swoop on the capital. And, somehow, managed to bleed on the Iron Throne despite wearing armor?!

It was still the only moment in the entire war that Rhaenyra actually took charge. The attack was Jace's idea but she saw it through. She made the call to do it now:

Quote

On Dragonstone, an air of despondence and defeat hung over the black court when the disaster on the Honeywine became known to them. Lord Bar Emmon went so far as to suggest that mayhaps the time had come to bend their knees to Aegon II. The queen would have none of it, however. Only the gods truly know the hearts of men, and women are full as strange. Broken by the loss of one son, Rhaenyra Targaryen seemed to find new strength after the loss of a second. Jace’s death hardened her, burning away her fears, leaving only her anger and her hatred. Still possessed of more dragons than her half-brother, Her Grace now resolved to use them, no matter the cost. She would rain down fire and death upon Aegon and all those who supported him, she told the black council, and either tear him from the Iron Throne or die in the attempt.

Meanwhile, Prince Daemon Targaryen himself hastened south on the wings of his dragon, Caraxes. Flying above the western shore of the Gods Eye, well away from Ser Criston’s line of march, he evaded the enemy host, crossed the Blackwater, then turned east, following the river downstream to King’s Landing. And on Dragonstone, Rhaenyra Targaryen donned a suit of gleaming black scale, mounted Syrax, and took flight as a rainstorm lashed the waters of Blackwater Bay. High above the city the queen and her prince consort came together, circling over Aegon’s High Hill.

It was a combined effort, sure, but the men taking KL were Rhaenyra's. Half of them were Velaryon men, the other Rhaenyra's men from her other supporters - Lords of the Narrow Sea, most likely, possibly others. Daemon just came with his dragon. He certainly helped to convince Luthor Largent and the other gold cloaks to turn their cloaks, but it is pretty clear that Rhaenyra would have taken the city then and there no matter what.

As for the bleeding legs: Rhaenyra likely wore armor the first time in her life during that flight and her subsequent audience in the throne room. A person of her disposition should have been sore after a few hours in armor, and she didn't change her clothes for over 24 hours, presumably - flight from Dragonstone, taking of the city, and the subsequent hours-long audience. 

11 minutes ago, Maia said:

Well, I am all for giving female characters in ASoIaF a benefit of doubt due to them not having the same opportunities for gaining relevant education and experience, but this doesn't fly for Rhaenyra at all. She was educated as her father's heir, being present in councils and what not and had been able to learn to gain experience by exercising authority at a smaller scope as ruler of Dragonstone. Nor did she need to be a warrior per se to take active hand in the struggle for her own throne - Queen Rhaenys wasn't after all, yet was very much instrumental in the Conquest. Nor is it really necessary to be a warrior to be able to be a competent general - though it certainly helps with PR and to inspire the troops.

Oh, I meant more like Rhaenys. Rhaenys is the only relevant female dragonrider in the entire history of House Targaryen aside from Visenya and, perhaps, Baela. They were not warriors as such, but they did ride to war on dragonback - Rhaena, Alysanne, Alyssa, Rhaenys, Laena, Rhaenyra, Helaena, and Rhaena (up to this point, at least) are all jokes compared to the male dragonriders. As leader of her movement Rhaenyra should have been with her troops, at least occasionally. Should have used her dragon to attack the enemy or at least put fear in the hearts of the enemy.

Rhaenys did this very effectively during the First Dornish War.

11 minutes ago, Maia said:

It was stupid of her to execute the lords in question in the first place, instead of drafting them and their forces and making them prove their loyalty. A very Stannis-like move, which made certain that people would be afraid to change sides in her favor. And Corlys was right, IMHO - she was not in position to revamp the whole inheritance system at the time and it would have made many lords who would have otherwise supported her, turn against her.

No, he was wrong there. George gleefully shows this when Rhaenyra's decision to back the established rules come back to haunt her when she flees the city. She could change the rules towards equal primogeniture without actually calling past decision into question. Or she could have just made a special ruling there, attainting the Rosbys and Stokeworths and granting the lordships to Hugh and Ulf, merely solidifying their claims by marrying them to the girls - like it is done with Lancel and Amerei Frey.

But if changes in the legal can't be made then it is very odd that this worked in Dorne. The rules were changed their gradually, too.

11 minutes ago, Maia said:

But there are legions of male characters who don't - even in his own family, so that's quite believable. He only needed to coast along, being propelled by other people. Rhaenyra had to be more proactive, though, to raise her claim against the seemingly overhelming advantage that her brother had by the virtue of already having the seat of government, treasury, royal regalia, etc. in his possession and being a male in a patriarchal society. Heck, _Alicent_ was much more decisive than Rhaenyra when she had opportunity, even through she had to mostly cede leadership to her stupid sons.

Alicent seems to be more decisive that Rhaenyra, yes, and I don't think that made Rhaenyra a very interesting character. She is more interesting that Aegon II due to her tragic story, but she could have been more interesting if she had been more active.

11 minutes ago, Maia said:

Or she should at least have had some good ideas herself and implemented them. Again, she was ahead of her half-brothers who both jumped at bad advice and also had lots of bad ideas themselves, but still...

Well, I like it how she took the Grand Maester chain from Orwyle and gave it Gerardys. That had style. But that doesn't seem to have been George's idea...

11 minutes ago, Maia said:

I have to say that I actually prefer that she didn't accompany her father and/or uncle - because it would have been even more painful and Jaehaerys would have needed to be a complete idiot to dismiss her as heir after she actually proved herself. It is a bit concerning re: Prince Aemon's plans for her that he told her that he wouldn't have allowed her to accompany him even if she wasn't pregnant, though. Surely he should have been aware that she, of all people, needed to prove herself  and she couldn't accomplish it by simple expedient of being good at weapons training and winning some jousts? But yea, she absolutely should have been helping Corlys on the Stepstones and even with generally providing protection to his shipping. So should have Laenor and Laena later on, now that I think about it. There are lots of hints in the text that Rhaenys was that impressive person and sure, she got a great death, but what did she do during her relatively long life? And what was she supposed to have done at age 22 at some point in the genesis of FaB?

Yeah, the Stepstones thing is the greater issue. Laenor and Laena could have participated in the later campaigns there, but not in the early ones. They were still pretty young back then.

11 minutes ago, Maia said:

Yea, all of this had soo much potential... sigh. For that matter, it is also extremely injteresting that while Daemon cheated on Rhaenyra and basically used her to remain releveant and to finally have sons, he still obeyed her. It doesn't seem at all as if he would have been the one calling the shots if they won - all the Green fear-mongering notwithstanding.

It is quite clear that Rhaenyra was calling the shots at her court. And as I see Daemon and Nettles as father-daughter rather than lovers, I think the way he throws away his life in the end actually shows he feels betrayed by both Mysaria (the whore) and Rhaenyra (his queen, wife, and niece) and that really breaks something in him.

If Nettles had been his lover and he had truly lost taste for the game in her presence I really don't understand why he did not run away with Nettles.

What is sad is that we really don't get as close to Rhaenyra as a person as we get to Rhaena, Jaehaerys, and Alysanne, say. We don't get a real insight in her worries or fears and what drove her during the war.

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12 minutes ago, Mrs.Grumpy said:

We still don’t know why Larra left Westeros and how she died, right?

No, but we got very strong hints.

Those bigoted, racist Kingslanders hounded her out of Westeros the way they did with her brothers. Even if they were turning around suddenly trying to befriend her and make her comfortable in her new home the idea that this woman ever felt welcome in a land where her brothers were treated they were - and stories were spread about her the way they were - is completely unbelievable. And that very ugly statement of Torrhen Manderly during the Rogare trials very much embodies the Westerosi sentiment towards their Lyseni neighbors.

Lady Larra wasn't exactly comfortable in KL before the downfall of her brothers. I'm pretty sure Larra gives Viserys and ultimatum as soon as Naerys is born - either you accompany me back to Lys and live there with me and our children, or this marriage is over. And then this marriage was over, because the prince chose his brother and king over his wife.

Wouldn't be surprised if she took another husband and died in childbirth. Perhaps Serenei of Lys is going to turn out to be her daughter, after all ;-)? Not sure if she is going to get along in Lys if she doesn't remarry - House Rogare lost pretty much all their Lysene assets.

@Ran told us that Larra died in 145 AC in Lys.

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Why did the Redwynes do nothing despite declaring for Aegon II and being married to the Hightowers?

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3 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Why did the Redwynes do nothing despite declaring for Aegon II and being married to the Hightowers?

Because they were smart.

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Because they were smart.

Definitely. Lord Redwyne even took his sweet time bringing his fleet to Lord Oakenfist. I assume the Florents did the same during the Dance.

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Posted (edited)

It's just weird because if they'd stopped the Red Kraken the Lannisters could have fielded a second army in 131 AC for example. Plus, they were married to the Hightowers. If they were holding back to defend the Reach from the Red Kraken that would make sense but we're not told. Furthermore, how did Ormund and Daeron subdue the Shield Isles if they didn't have the Redwyne fleet with them?

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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9 hours ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Why did the Redwynes do nothing despite declaring for Aegon II and being married to the Hightowers?

I suspect Stepstones. After all that is a  base for piracy and very near of Arbor.

I also think that during the dance Velaryon navy was stronger than Redwynes navy.

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Posted (edited)

Here is the data from Alyn's Stepstones battle against pirates and later campaign against the Greyjoy ( after the Dance).

Royal fleet: eight new warships and some twenty older cogs and galleys
House Hightower Twenty war galleys

Shield Islands: 16 ships

Redwyne: 30 warships

Alyn Velaryon fleet  "bringing together sixty war galleys, thirty longships, and more than a hundred cogs and great cogs to meet the royal fleet as it swept out from King’s Landing."

That is also shortly after the dance where Velaryon lost 1/3 rd of the fleet in the Battle of Hullet against 90 warships of Triarchy.

Taking from that Redwyne and Hightower and Shield Islands couldn't deal with Velaryon fleet , also that Triarchy was already engaged there and proved ineffective against grouped dragons, though I wonder why they didn't try to relieve Lannisters from Greyjoy attacks .

Truth be told I am mostly seeing various banner-men avoiding to get engaged in war during the dance saving their strength like Tyrells, Baratheons who got at the end, i'm not sure Vale was involved in any battle, North even got late and sent people who were most likely to die during the winter.

Edited by Eltharion21

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And what was Daeron doing between Ormund marching and the Battle of the Honeywine? In The Red Dragon and the Gold Ormund sends word to KL that he "has need of your dragons...but he already had one in the form of Tessarion so what's up? Was Daeron delivering messages for his grandfather, Otto, in a parallel to Jace and Luke? Was he ordered by Ormund to stay away from the fighting in Oldtown because Ormund feared Daeron and Tessarion were too young/inexperienced and Daeron defied the order to arrive in time to save the day at the Honeywine, which would better explain him being called "the Daring"? Or did Ormund realize he wasn't going to get a dragon from KL and so decided to risk Daeron/Tessarion after all?

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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I expect Daeron and Tessarion originally stayed in Oldtown. The boy was barely fourteen, like Jace, in early 129 AC.

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