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The hairy bear

Was the Great Council of 101 rigged?

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

However, on the issue of succession we actually learn that Jaehaerys issued a law - the Widow's Law - which confirmed the succession of the eldest daughter in absence of a son - which he later didn't stick to when it came to settle his own succession after Aemon died.

IMHO, Jaehaerys chosing Baelon over Rhaenys doesn't contradict the Widow's Law - because Rhaenys wasn't the Conciliator's daughter and the law made no prescriptions concerning grandchildren. Aemon was the heir, but he didn't get to be king because he predeceased his father. It seems that in cases where promigeniture comes in conflict with proximity, there is a lot of uncertainty and leeway. It seems like the same arguments were later used in Lord Cregan's succession, where Winterfell went to his sons from the third marriage instead of through his granddaughters from the son born of his first wife.

OTOH, this complication was forseeable very much in advance, as Rhaenys remained Aemon's only child, and should have been headed off by marrying her to her cousin Viserys and therefore preemptively removing him as a possible rallying point for opposition - which he could have easily become against his will, as happened to various princes historically. 

It would have made much more sense, frankly, if Rhaenys had a younger brother who would have been Aemon's heir when she married Corlys, only to die afterwards. Because, surely, Jaehaerys, Alysanne, Aemon and Jocelyn should have all considered and discussed the situation over the years. I am really not sure why GRRM went for current bizarrre set-up.

 

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

Not doing that eventually caused the Great Council to make the rather absurd decision that only male and male line members of the royal family should sit the throne - which could easily enough create state crisis when a king has only daughters and no male line relations through the male line available.

Not to mention that for Targaryens specifically, they needed to keep enough dragonlord blood to retain the ability to reliably bond with dragons. So, pure salic succession should have been out of question. OTOH, I don't agree that the Great Council actually made sush a far-reaching decision - they decided only on one concrete question - Rhaenys or Laenor against Viserys. Where Jaehaerys's previous choice and Laenor's age played a big role and we have no idea how close it actually was, despite whatever maesters claimed. It is very suspicious that the votes, while cast secretly, weren't counted openly, like in NW. It was just the argument of the Greens that it somehow meant a precedent for all time. And the fact that Vaella's claim was considered again during the _next_ Great Council at Harrenhal is suggestive, IMHO. Also, that a male heir through the male line who was an infant was passed over too.

 

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

But it is the Great Council which forces Viserys I to do his great show and ceremony to declare Rhaenyra Princess of Dragonstone and Heir Apparent to the Iron Throne.

Not really - he could have just re-inforced the Widow's Law and reminded everybody that heirs of the body come before any other relatives. I.e. daughters before uncles - which has little to do with the choice between 2 grandchildren. Particularly since he intended to marry a woman in prime childbearing age very soon anyway. In fact, it almost seems like Otto and Alicent either weren't completely on the same page or Viserys's offer was somehow surprising to them - because Otto wasn't normally _that_ incompetent and there was no reason to rush Rhaenyra's proclamation as the Princess of Dragonstone, when there was every reason to hope that his own daughter could soon provide the king with a son.

In this, too there are some important differences with Rhaenys - who was never proclaimed as Jaehaerys's heir, nor named the Princess of Dragonstone.

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

In that sense, it is the Great Council which didn't resolve anything but instead helped to pave the path towards the Dance of the Dragons. Which is fitting for any council or tourney held at Harrenhal. The place is cursed.

So, you don't think that choice of Aegon V was a good thing either?

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

This, I think, can help to explain why Viserys I stuck with Rhaenyra as his heir - in addition to the fact that he also wanted her to succeed him. Even if he had changed his mind it may have been very difficult to enforce that change against Rhaenyra's followers.

Indeed. Which is why it was such a stupid thing for Otto to champion.

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5 hours ago, Maia said:

IMHO, Jaehaerys chosing Baelon over Rhaenys doesn't contradict the Widow's Law - because Rhaenys wasn't the Conciliator's daughter and the law made no prescriptions concerning grandchildren. Aemon was the heir, but he didn't get to be king because he predeceased his father. It seems that in cases where promigeniture comes in conflict with proximity, there is a lot of uncertainty and leeway. It seems like the same arguments were later used in Lord Cregan's succession, where Winterfell went to his sons from the third marriage instead of through his granddaughters from the son born of his first wife.

There is something to that, but I'd still say that the spirit of the law - as well as the 'a daughter comes before and uncle' thing - is that this also refers to - especially adult - grandchildren. An heir is a lord or king in waiting, and the children and grandchildren of an heir are naturally the next in line in a society that is based on primogeniture. And it seems things go this way more often than not - the succession of the Twins, Corlys Velaryon following his aged grandfather Daemon, etc.

How Lord Cregan's succession is going to turn we'll have to wait and see. But I'd not surprised if it turned out that Sansa and Serena were supposed to share in the lordship of their uncle-husbands (Edric never did become lord but Jonnel did).

5 hours ago, Maia said:

OTOH, this complication was forseeable very much in advance, as Rhaenys remained Aemon's only child, and should have been headed off by marrying her to her cousin Viserys and therefore preemptively removing him as a possible rallying point for opposition - which he could have easily become against his will, as happened to various princes historically.

Stuff like this very much implies they had really no plans made should Aemon die prematurely, and Rhaenys' match to Corlys Velaryon shows that they wanted to give her/allow her a worthy future prince consort. Corlys Velaryon was every Viserys Targaryen could never have to be. He was a man who likely overshadowed both Aemon and Baelon.

5 hours ago, Maia said:

It would have made much more sense, frankly, if Rhaenys had a younger brother who would have been Aemon's heir when she married Corlys, only to die afterwards. Because, surely, Jaehaerys, Alysanne, Aemon and Jocelyn should have all considered and discussed the situation over the years. I am really not sure why GRRM went for current bizarrre set-up.

The setup there is bizarre in a number of points. We never learn why Aemma was married this young to Viserys, why Baelon didn't marry his brother's widow Jocelyn either himself or to Viserys to draw the Baratheons in his camp, why Jocelyn only had this one child, etc.

But nothing really indicates they had a plan what to do should Aemon predecease his father.

5 hours ago, Maia said:

Not to mention that for Targaryens specifically, they needed to keep enough dragonlord blood to retain the ability to reliably bond with dragons. So, pure salic succession should have been out of question. OTOH, I don't agree that the Great Council actually made sush a far-reaching decision - they decided only on one concrete question - Rhaenys or Laenor against Viserys. Where Jaehaerys's previous choice and Laenor's age played a big role and we have no idea how close it actually was, despite whatever maesters claimed. It is very suspicious that the votes, while cast secretly, weren't counted openly, like in NW. It was just the argument of the Greens that it somehow meant a precedent for all time. And the fact that Vaella's claim was considered again during the _next_ Great Council at Harrenhal is suggestive, IMHO. Also, that a male heir through the male line who was an infant was passed over too.

First, the Great Council of 233 AC took place at KL, not Harrenhal, which is significant in the sense that it was apparently not cursed.

I agree that technically the Great Council of 101 AC only settled the concrete succession of Jaehaerys I and assessing all the various claimants on their individual merits. But the many people interpreted it a way that this was supposed to be seen as an iron precedent against both female inheritance as well as males through the female line.

It seems clear that the fact that Laenor was still so young was the true reason why he didn't have as much support as he could have had, but people who want to play the thing up overlook that.

And it is quite clear that Daemon was one of those - he sees himself as the heir to the Iron Throne in the years 103-105 AC, and even his enemies seem to acknowledge that - Viserys I himself doesn't name him Prince of Dragonstone because he intends to father a male heir, but even he doesn't deny that Daemon and not Rhaenyra is his presumptive heir (until he formally names Rhaenyra his heir).

5 hours ago, Maia said:

Not really - he could have just re-inforced the Widow's Law and reminded everybody that heirs of the body come before any other relatives. I.e. daughters before uncles - which has little to do with the choice between 2 grandchildren. Particularly since he intended to marry a woman in prime childbearing age very soon anyway. In fact, it almost seems like Otto and Alicent either weren't completely on the same page or Viserys's offer was somehow surprising to them - because Otto wasn't normally _that_ incompetent and there was no reason to rush Rhaenyra's proclamation as the Princess of Dragonstone, when there was every reason to hope that his own daughter could soon provide the king with a son.

I think the Alicent issue can only make sense if we assume a chronology like that:

Daemon and Otto's issues lead to Otto firmly oppose the prospect of Daemon succeeding Viserys I > he develops the idea to have Rhaenyra named heir to prevent Daemon claiming this exalted position for himself > Aemma's death Daemon's ugly comments > Viserys I following Otto's suggestion/deciding to name Rhaenyra his heir against the interpretation of the Great Council > great ceremony > thoughts of the king remarrying > Viserys falling in love with Alicent.

If they had had actually plans to convince Viserys I to marry Alicent in 105 AC then it makes very much no sense that Otto would have cared about settling the succession by naming Rhaenyra the heir.

As for just sticking to the Widow's Law thing - that doesn't seem to apply to the Iron Throne - or rather: the Great Council set a strong precedent against that. As did the ascension of Jaehaerys I against Aerea. After all, as it stands Aegon the Uncrowned is seen as 'the true king', not Maegor, and as such Aerea should have succeeded her father.

5 hours ago, Maia said:

So, you don't think that choice of Aegon V was a good thing either?

Aegon V wasn't chosen at Harrenhal. But what the issue in 233 AC was and what exactly the problem was in that year is still very unclear.

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I have thought myself a lot about the council of 101 and the result. maybe one day I will open a long thread about it. However, keep in mind, when discussing the council of 101, that the result of the council (no woman on the Iron Throne) are literally ignored all over Westeros and even among the fandom.

If you would take the council serious, Dany would not have a claim (claim as in "her father was king, we all know she has dragons and can make everyone not sharing her opinion dead) to the throne.

The insigificance of the council even goes so far, that Robert I does not know about it and sees a need to send killers out for Dany. Not for Viserys, for Dany. Because he fears her claim but not the claim of Viserys. That tells you everything about the council of 101: it has no lasting consequences.

 

Plus you have to treat the council of 101 as a semi-canon council. It is not in the primary source material. The only thing in the primary source material is a negative thought from Tywin about woman on the throne. 

I personally see the council of 101 as a failed attempt to bring salic law into the canon, as GRRM has talked in the past about the french succession crisis of 1316. 

Edited by SirArthur

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On 11/26/2018 at 5:53 PM, The hairy bear said:

I've been thinking about the Great Council of 101, and there's one piece of information that doesn't add up to me. The text tells us that "the maesters who counted the results never gave numbers, it was rumored that the Great Council had voted twenty to one in favor of Prince Viserys". It's also said that Driftmark and Storm's End accept the decision only because the results had been so indisputable.

But I'm suspicious of such a resounding result. We are told that Lord Corlys Velaryon, Lord Boremund Baratheon, Lord Ellard Stark, Lord Blackwood, Lord Bar Emmon, Lord Celtigar, the Dustins and the Manderlys all spoke for Laenor. One would expect that Yorbert Royce would also side with the Laenor camp: not only he was there representing Jeyne Arryn, whose rights to the Eyrie would be in question if female primogeniture was disregarded, but also his own seat of Runestone would soon be inherited by a woman (Rhea Royce).

If the votes had been public, one would expect that a great majority of lords would side with their liege lord (to gain their favor, if not to avoid reprisals). If so, the votes of the North, the Stormlands, the Vale and the Narrow Sea would go to Laenor. Viserys may still win with the votes of the Reach, the West and the Riverlands, but it would have been a close thing.

But probably, the votes were cast in secrecy (precisely to avoid the liege lords to unduly influence the outcome). If so, the maesters counting the votes (this is, the Citadel), would have absolute control of the election, and could choose to decide which candidate suited them the best. In fact, the idea of putting the issue to vote had been idea of one of them (Archmaester Vaegon), and was probably oversighted by the recently appointed Great Maester Runcifer.

Just after Viserys is elected, one could see that House Hightower (patrons of the Citadel), begins to gain prominence: the 'learned' brother of the Lord of Oldtown is chosen Hand of the King, and becomes the effective ruler of the realm (Jaehaerys was failing and bedridden at the time). And when king Viseryes remarries, he choses Alicent Hightower (Excluding Maegor, is the first instance of a Targaryen king or heir presumptive marrying someone without Targaryen blood). Another one who soon receives royal favor is the Lord of Harrenhal, Lyonel Strong. Not only he was the lord/heir of the castle where the election had been held, but he had also studied in the Citadel for some years and earned 6 links of his chain.

So, what do you think? Possible or crackpoty?

Its always possible, but the most easy explanation for me is that Laenor was for many people (who were in first instance not in favor of Viserys) not the heir but his mother or sister. So his Claim was not the best. You talk only by some houses in favor of him: The north or Winterfell is very underpopulated and the other houses are the best friends and family of the Valeryons, houses like celtigar, Storms End and Bar emmon. . It was anonymous, so liege lords didnt have much influence. Last by far the most populate regions are Riverlands, Reach and Westerlands, so if there is no mention of one lord from those regions in favor of Laenor, i think 20 to 1 is exactly the numbre.    

Edited by Seaserpent

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10 hours ago, SirArthur said:

I have thought myself a lot about the council of 101 and the result. maybe one day I will open a long thread about it. However, keep in mind, when discussing the council of 101, that the result of the council (no woman on the Iron Throne) are literally ignored all over Westeros and even among the fandom.

The most rigid interpretation - that no woman and no male through the female line - can sit the Iron Throne most definitely is ignored. Robert is a Targaryen through the female line, Princess Aelora was the heir to Aerys I until her death, various females are considered as claimants after the Dance, both after the death of Baelor I and Maekar I.

10 hours ago, SirArthur said:

If you would take the council serious, Dany would not have a claim (claim as in "her father was king, we all know she has dragons and can make everyone not sharing her opinion dead) to the throne.

Indeed. If anyone truly cared about the most rigid interpretation of the Great Council of 101 AC then Daenerys Targaryen would have no claim to the Iron Throne whatsoever and House Targaryen would have died with Viserys III.

10 hours ago, SirArthur said:

The insigificance of the council even goes so far, that Robert I does not know about it and sees a need to send killers out for Dany. Not for Viserys, for Dany. Because he fears her claim but not the claim of Viserys. That tells you everything about the council of 101: it has no lasting consequences.

Robert also fears the claim of Viserys III, but he is indeed more afraid of the claim a son of Dany's might by Drogo might have who would also have the support of the Dothraki.

10 hours ago, SirArthur said:

Plus you have to treat the council of 101 as a semi-canon council. It is not in the primary source material. The only thing in the primary source material is a negative thought from Tywin about woman on the throne. 

FaB is just as much 'primary source material' as the main series. The only difference is that it is not part of the main series and that it is filtered through the point of view of various historians. But there is no doubt about the fact of the Great Council of 101 AC.

 

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9 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The most rigid interpretation - that no woman and no male through the female line - can sit the Iron Throne most definitely is ignored.

I don't know if there if is a non rigid interpretation. What is there even to interpret ? Not even the salic law is that strict. The council outcome is flat out ignored because the created law is stupid. There is no soft interpretation. Any soft interpretation would ignore the outcome. 

And any ignored law ceases to exist.

Plus it is a specific law for the Iron Throne. One would think that the Iron Throne (as a subject) knows it's own inheritage rules. But even that is not the case. Apparently there are generation old books about the hair color of families, but no care about on of the most important topics in a monarchy: the succession. 

 

18 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

FaB is just as much 'primary source material' as the main series. The only difference is that it is not part of the main series and that it is filtered through the point of view of various historians. But there is no doubt about the fact of the Great Council of 101 AC.

Unless it is brought up in the books at any point in the future, it flat out contradicts the first book (AGoT). See Robert I, Viserys and Dany as Viserys' heir. And the book already has problems with the succession rules in general (see Rhaegar and Aegon(Rhaegar's son) vs Viserys). 

That is the reason why I call the council of 101 a failed attempt: it adds nothing to an already confusing succession story and is flat out ignored anyway.

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11 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

I don't know if there if is a non rigid interpretation. What is there even to interpret ? Not even the salic law is that strict. The council outcome is flat out ignored because the created law is stupid. There is no soft interpretation. Any soft interpretation would ignore the outcome. 

And any ignored law ceases to exist.

Plus it is a specific law for the Iron Throne. One would think that the Iron Throne (as a subject) knows it's own inheritage rules. But even that is not the case. Apparently there are generation old books about the hair color of families, but no care about on of the most important topics in a monarchy: the succession. 

Oh, the Great Council did not stipulate a law. There is no law of succession on the Iron Throne, just as there seem to be no proper laws of succession for lordships taking care of all possible cases and stipulating rules how to deal with any possible/imaginable succession crisis situation. For lordships there seem to be only pretty fixed rules for standard cases - primogeniture rules, sons come before daughters, daughters before uncles, etc.

But the Great Council set a precedent, and it seems that the rigid interpretation of this being 'an iron precedent' against female (line) inheritance may be based on the legal arguments presented by the supporters of Viserys at the Great Council. Many of those lords arguing for proximity rather than primogeniture - which is the standard legal principle in Westeros in matters of succession - must have given legal arguments as to why in this special case they were doing that rather than sticking to primogeniture, legal arguments that weren't 'Laenor is too young, we want a grown man as king' (which may have been the true reason why so many lords backed Viserys, but which weren't exactly 'legal arguments').

And considering that the only real legal reason to reject Laenor Velaryon's claim would be that it went through his mother Princess Rhaenys means that they actually had to go out of the way to justify his rejection by really devaluate both the claim of a woman (dismissing Rhaenys' own claim) as well as the claim a son inherits from his mother.

And that is pretty significant.

11 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

Unless it is brought up in the books at any point in the future, it flat out contradicts the first book (AGoT). See Robert I, Viserys and Dany as Viserys' heir. And the book already has problems with the succession rules in general (see Rhaegar and Aegon(Rhaegar's son) vs Viserys). 

It is clear that this 'rigid iron precedent interpretation' is not shared by anyone in the main series. After all, reality and politics will see to it that someone will sit the Iron Throne even if there is no male line male of House Targaryen to sit it.

We see this in FaB itself - when the regents repeatedly discuss the succession of Aegon III prior to the return of Prince Viserys. Munkun may be of the opinion that they should follow the Great Council and seat 'the male line claimant' on the throne, but since such a guy is non-existent it is quite clear that either Baela or Rhaena or any of their children would have taken the throne had Aegon III died without issue - perhaps even Jaehaera, depending on the circumstances - never mind what the Great Council said.

And it is quite clear that any king having to deal with another Daemon-Rhaenyra conundrum - meaning having an unsuited male line heir who wasn't a child of his body but rather a brother, uncle, cousin, etc. vs. a daughter - may have done exactly the same thing as Viserys I did - because in the end a child is a child, whereas some distant relations are distant relations.

And no king ever drew up a binding law of succession for the Iron Throne his successors were bound by. In the end laws are very flexible in Westeros, which is actually repeatedly enforced - e.g. Viserys I threatening to revisit the succession and name Aegon his heir rather than Rhaenyra when he forces her into marriage and Tommen overturning both Maegor's and Jaehaerys I's laws against the Faith Militant and the judicial privileges of the Faith.

Westeros is not imagined as a monarchy where kings have to go by whatever their predecessors established and treat it as 'sacred tradition', they can (and do) make innovations are rather big changes at times.

11 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

That is the reason why I call the council of 101 a failed attempt: it adds nothing to an already confusing succession story and is flat out ignored anyway.

It is still a powerful - perhaps the most powerful - precedent against female claims to the Iron Throne because it actually involved a lot of lords. The 'iron precedent stuff' seems to be mostly crap, though, having no lasting effect.

In fact, one can argue that the rise of Aegon III sort of set a strong precedent against this 'rigid interpretation' - while it is true that Aegon III has inherited a claim both from his mother, Queen Rhaenyra, and his father, Prince Daemon, it is quite clear that the only claim that matters to his followers and those who desert and kill Aegon II is that he is his mother's son and heir - not that he also is a claimant through the male line thanks to his late father.

Aegon III becomes king because the Blacks basically have won the war. His claim is not assessed purely on his legal merits but because his side and his followers won the war. Had Aegon II won the war only to fall down a flight of steps to break his neck chances are that Queen Jaehaera would have succeeded him, with Aegon the Younger being merely the prince consort at her side (if a victorious Aegon II had allowed Rhaenyra's son to live - which isn't very likely).

After all, it is quite clear that Alicent and Aegon II have no intention to allow Rhaenyra's line to continue or sit the Iron Throne. They did favor Jaehaera over any brat of Rhaenyra's and Daemon's.

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On 12/4/2018 at 11:15 AM, Lord Varys said:

Westeros is not imagined as a monarchy where kings have to go by whatever their predecessors established and treat it as 'sacred tradition', they can (and do) make innovations are rather big changes at times.

And I think this is a very good bottom line. As it also shows how it leaves out the established "house rules", that made most of the medieval world work. 

In my opinion there should be far more Targaryen rebellions under this non existent rule set. And in general more rebellions of second and third sons.

While it may work as intended in the short run to create the medieval image, if we think about about the rules and non rules of inheritance, it becomes very clear, that the aristocratic picture that is drawn so carefully, crumbles very fast, when there are no rules holding the aristocracy together. 

And it ultimately makes the entire series about throne succession ... pointless. As the wars are fought over ignored values anyway. 

Daemon Targaryen and the sword Blackfyre ? There is no value associated with the symbol, if rules don't count anyway. Ultimately the nihilism has to stop at some point and some serious rules have to be followed. Because breaking serious rules is what makes a good story, not nihilism. 

 

edit: And that is why I think the council is a big error: it is never a serious thing that got broken. It is just flat out ignored. And as this is not in the primary source, it should have been broken in a serious action in the book it got introduced. Or be laughed at. 

Edited by SirArthur

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1 hour ago, SirArthur said:

And I think this is a very good bottom line. As it also shows how it leaves out the established "house rules", that made most of the medieval world work. 

In my opinion there should be far more Targaryen rebellions under this non existent rule set. And in general more rebellions of second and third sons.

Well, such house rules were only established when the need for them arose - the whole invention of Salic Law only happened when the succession of the French throne seemed to be questionable. The Golden Bull enshrining the election of the Holy Roman Emperor was also issued rather late.

And the succession of hereditary monarchies was usually only then regulated when there was no clear - which the Plantagenets and the French kings had for centuries, so there was little need to rule on such matters, especially not for all hypothetical scenarios.

And the Romanovs didn't even have a law on their succession until modern times. It can work that way, too, although this definitely does not exactly help the imperial family to feel safe when a czar dies.

With the Targaryens it is actually pretty similar. They didn't produce a single male cadet branch - rather the throne was always handed down to the youngest son of a given tree, thus reducing the chance of rebellions further down the road.

What was settled to the degree that this is now pretty much accepted is that women should not inherit.

What's not clear is whether the grandson of a king comes before a younger son if the eldest son predeceases the king. Here both the Great Council of 233 AC and later Aerys II in 283 AC ruled against the grandsons of the king through the elder male line.

1 hour ago, SirArthur said:

While it may work as intended in the short run to create the medieval image, if we think about about the rules and non rules of inheritance, it becomes very clear, that the aristocratic picture that is drawn so carefully, crumbles very fast, when there are no rules holding the aristocracy together.

What is effectively completely unbelievable is the idea that kingdoms as vast as the North or the Seven Kingdoms (in the latter case after the dragons were gone) would actually be kept together by a central monarchy.

The Holy Roman Empire began as a more strict monarchy where offices quickly became hereditary, being transformed into lordships and titles.

The idea that all those lords who once wore crowns would not see and style and rule as kings of their domains the very moment their conquerors look the other way goes completely utterly against the way actual noblemen behaved in the real world under similar circumstances.

1 hour ago, SirArthur said:

And it ultimately makes the entire series about throne succession ... pointless. As the wars are fought over ignored values anyway.

Well, there are guidelines, but rebellions like that of Daemon Blackfyre and Renly Baratheon pretty much show that nobody actually cares much about then - because under any scenario Daemon's claim was basically based on a rumor/lie and Renly's claim was obviously much weaker than both Joffrey's and Stannis'.

Any lord or knight marching with either of those men knew that what he was doing was basically nonsense from a legal viewpoint.

A similar thing should also go for Robb's proclamation to king. One could say that House Stark still has a strong claim to the North, but what right does a handful of lords have to speak for all the Riverlords and the Lord of the North on the matter who is going to rule them as king? All the lords not present at Riverrun are under no moral nor any legal obligation to accept Robb Stark as their king - which actually puts things into perspective if you think about how he is betrayed later.

1 hour ago, SirArthur said:

Daemon Targaryen and the sword Blackfyre ? There is no value associated with the symbol, if rules don't count anyway. Ultimately the nihilism has to stop at some point and some serious rules have to be followed. Because breaking serious rules is what makes a good story, not nihilism. 

Blackfyre developed into a symbol of kingship over the years. Back when Aenys gave it to Maegor it was just the sword of their father. It was, perhaps, unwise to give it to Maegor, but it wasn't yet a symbol of kingship - although Visenya made use of that gift to spread the tale it was more than just a mere gift.

But by the time of Aegon IV and Daeron II it really had become the sword of kings, in no small part most likely because it had been the sword of Jaehaerys I and Daeron I - who actually wielded the thing in war (Viserys I, Aegon II, Baelor I, Viserys II, and Aegon IV would have owned it but wouldn't have done much with it). What Aegon III is going to do with it remains to be seen.

It is still nothing that officially symbolized kingship, or else Aegon IV giving it Daemon Blackfyre would have made Daemon the new heir to the Iron Throne.

1 hour ago, SirArthur said:

edit: And that is why I think the council is a big error: it is never a serious thing that got broken. It is just flat out ignored. And as this is not in the primary source, it should have been broken in a serious action in the book it got introduced. Or be laughed at. 

I'm not so sure it is going to be ignored all that much. I expect that when the decision is made to pass over Aegon III's daughters in favor of Viserys II the Great Council of 101 AC is going to be cited as a major precedent. The same for the dismissal of Princess Vaella at the Great Council of 233 AC.

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31 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, such house rules were only established when the need for them arose - the whole invention of Salic Law only happened when the succession of the French throne seemed to be questionable. The Golden Bull enshrining the election of the Holy Roman Emperor was also issued rather late.

The salic law is a 6th century law, predating Charlemagne. And even he followed the rule in dividing Franconia among his sons. The same goes for house rules on a lower level. The rule is very clear in that regard and in general the succession is very clear through the establishment of a crown prince.

The vagueness GRRM is so proud of does not help, as the historical situations do not arise from missing laws, but from a clash of laws. And the council of 101 establishes a ruleset, that never gets the chance to clash (because it is ignored). Thus it has no relevance. That is, what makes AGoT (the first book) so great in my opinion. It has a number of clashes on the question, if Joeffrey should become the new king. That's what makes it great. Not that Robert I has not told anyone who should inherit. 

 

31 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

ell, there are guidelines, but rebellions like that of Daemon Blackfyre and Renly Baratheon pretty much show that nobody actually cares much about then - because under any scenario Daemon's claim was basically based on a rumor/lie and Renly's claim was obviously much weaker than both Joffrey's and Stannis'.

Renly's claim is a contradiction in itself. Nobody cares, but we should care for the claim of Renly. He dug his own grave of ignorance and the only one caring for his death is Brienne.

 

31 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

A similar thing should also go for Robb's proclamation to king. One could say that House Stark still has a strong claim to the North, but what right does a handful of lords have to speak for all the Riverlords and the Lord of the North on the matter who is going to rule them as king? All the lords not present at Riverrun are under no moral nor any legal obligation to accept Robb Stark as their king - which actually puts things into perspective if you think about how he is betrayed later.

Robb is finally a rebellion we should get under the ruleset of whatever. The same goes with Bolton. And Ramsay's (film only) rebellion against Roose. Maybe someone will kill Ramsay and then that someone will face a rebellion against himself .... you get the point. 

At some point this is just not how aristocracy works.

The examples of Rickard Karstark and Eddard Stark show this best. They are (in the end) decapitated, because they operated against a ruleset. And the council of 101 is such a ruleset. And I expect from a series that works with rebellions, traitors and rule succession, to take more care about the succession rules, a council declares. And at least declare it invalid at the point the series takes place. 

Edited by SirArthur

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Just now, SirArthur said:

The salic law is a 6th century law, predating Charlemagne. And even he followed the rule in dividing Franconia among his sons. The same goes for house rules on a lower level. The rule is very clear in that regard and in general the succession is very clear through the establishment of a crown prince.

The Salic Law was actually amended later on to allow women to inherit if there were no sons. As a justification to not allow women or men through the female to take a throne it was only invoked/rediscovered late in the middle ages - meaning that this is an ad hoc justification to strengthen/weaken a particular claim against another.

After all, the French kings had sons to follow their fathers for centuries. There was no complicated situation there.

Unlike the real middle ages - where innovations and changes were usually implemented by using the fiction of restoring things to the way they supposedly were in the past (by faking/rediscovering ancient documents/traditions) - in Westeros kings can and do issue completely new laws.

Just now, SirArthur said:

The vagueness GRRM is so proud of does not help, as the historical situations do not arise from missing laws, but from a clash of laws. And the council of 101 establishes a ruleset, that never gets the chance to clash (because it is ignored). Thus it has no relevance. That is, what makes AGoT (the first book) so great in my opinion. It has a number of clashes on the question, if Joeffrey should become the new king. That's what makes it great. Not that Robert I has not told anyone who should inherit. 

The Great Council certainly clashes with Viserys I's decision to make Rhaenyra his heir in 105 AC - and it is certainly provides the Green with part of their arguments to justify their coup.

Just now, SirArthur said:

Renly's claim is a contradiction in itself. Nobody cares, but we should care for the claim of Renly. He dug his own grave of ignorance and the only one caring for his death is Brienne.

Why should we care about Renly's claim? If all the Lords of the Stormlands and the Reach support him this shows us how important claims are or can be to the people in Westeros. It makes no sense for us to make arbitrary rules and then complain that George's characters don't care about them.

Just now, SirArthur said:

Robb is finally a rebellion we should get under the ruleset of whatever. The same goes with Bolton. And Ramsay's (film only) rebellion against Roose. Maybe someone will kill Ramsay and then that someone will face a rebellion against himself .... you get the point. 

The point with Robb is that his power base for his acclamation as king is actually very slim. Only very few Northern lords (and not all Riverlords, either) are at Riverrun when this is done.

In the end, the relationship between a king and his lords is a personal one. Robb Stark cannot tell, say, Walder Frey or Roose Bolton that he is their king now because he and some other lords have decided that without so much as consulting them. And the same goes for other of Robb's alleged 'vassals' who were never asked/never did him homage.

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The more I think about it, the likelier it is that the Great Council _was_ rigged to make the choice look so overwhelming and that it was in reality much closer than that, what with memories of Alysanne still fresh and with Corlys being such a splendid consort. Which was an unpleasant surprise to the Greens, who, due to this, didn't expect Rhaenyra to have nearly as much support as she did. 

But isn't it odd that among all the scurillious claims, nobody came forth claiming to be a descendant of Aenys, who was popular with ladies before his marriage, Aegon the Uncrowned or even his younger brother Viserys? Both died at the ages, where they could have already become fathers.

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@Maia

Aenys was known to be a faithful husband (come to think of it, only bad Targaryens are ever confirmed to cheat on their wives) and anyone claiming to be a son or daughter of his elder two sons at the GC of 101 AC would have to be over sixty years old, by which point they'd probably be dead. That being said, I'm surprised Prince Aegon didn't leave a bastard or two behind given what we know about him.

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20 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@Maia

Aenys was known to be a faithful husband (come to think of it, only bad Targaryens are ever confirmed to cheat on their wives) and anyone claiming to be a son or daughter of his elder two sons at the GC of 101 AC would have to be over sixty years old, by which point they'd probably be dead. That being said, I'm surprised Prince Aegon didn't leave a bastard or two behind given what we know about him.

Apparently he didn't get around doing that. And, yeah, House Targaryen didn't really that whole bastard thing after the Conquest. Or at least those who wanted to have some weren't man enough - like Maegor - to actually father some.

The only Targaryens planting any dragonseeds after the Conquest and the end of the First Night would have been, I'd think, Prince Aemon (since we know nothing about him and Jocelyn that's possible), Viserys I, Daemon (for him bastards are implicitly confirmed), and Aegon II. Baelon seems to have been faithful to the memory of his dead sister-wife.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

The more I think about it, the likelier it is that the Great Council _was_ rigged to make the choice look so overwhelming and that it was in reality much closer than that, what with memories of Alysanne still fresh and with Corlys being such a splendid consort. Which was an unpleasant surprise to the Greens, who, due to this, didn't expect Rhaenyra to have nearly as much support as she did. 

I actually think the support for Rhaenyra had much more to do with the vow many lords swore and her popularity in the 100-110s. The entire Realm expected her to inherit and the people opposing her succession were a minority. Otto and Alicent clearly hoped that this would change after the coup and Aegon's coronation but they were wrong there.

George makes it very clear that the Black cause is, basically, the *better one* by giving us good and loyal commoners, men-at-arms, knights, and small lords in the Riverlands who declare for her because that's the right thing to do. The Greens don't get that. Aegon II has no modest followers that only declare for him because it is the right thing to do. The Blackwater men and the Dragonstonians siding with the Greens are basically all traitors, feigning allegiance to Rhaenyra and then backstabbing their allies.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

But isn't it odd that among all the scurillious claims, nobody came forth claiming to be a descendant of Aenys, who was popular with ladies before his marriage, Aegon the Uncrowned or even his younger brother Viserys? Both died at the ages, where they could have already become fathers.

Aenys and Alyssa married at the age of fifteen. Chances are not that great that he would have a bastard before that. Although George could have made it so. Could have been fun. And may have been a more believable story than claiming one is (descended from) a bastard of Maegor's.

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12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Aenys and Alyssa married at the age of fifteen. Chances are not that great that he would have a bastard before that. Although George could have made it so. Could have been fun. And may have been a more believable story than claiming one is (descended from) a bastard of Maegor's.

Caution for Young Girls!

Coryanne Wilde could have borne a child in Pentos and then claimed it was fathered by Jaehaerys, rather than the married knight she had eloped with.

And Caution for Young Girls was published "40 years after the events" - that is about 89-90. The principals - Jaehaerys and Alysanne - lived to read it. The voters at Great Council had had an opportunity to read it, too.

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