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New information in FaB and it's implications for the novels/novellas

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1 minute ago, Lord Varys said:

Kings are not really 'elected' at Great Councils in the series. Those are not Kingsmoots. Those are gatherings to discuss issues the king actually wants an opinion on, not be it the succession of the king or some other important issue. In that sense I think the concept might come up again in the future, but it would actually be a mistake to misinterpret especially the Great Council of 101 AC (what Yandel called the 'Great Council' of 136 AC in TWoIaF actually turned out not a Great Council as such but rather an informal gathering of a lot of lords that might be called a Great Council.

What was the point of delving into that non-issue, pray tell? In the end, they counted the lords for and against the claimants and the one with the most support won.

Call it whatever you will, the principle remains the same.

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2 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

What was the point of delving into that non-issue, pray tell? In the end, they counted the lords for and against the claimants and the one with the most support won.

Call it whatever you will, the principle remains the same.

The point is that the venue could just as well be used to discuss and address other things.

The idea that any venue but a Great Council could actually bring together what remains of Westeros by the time the Others have to be fought doesn't make much sense to me, the more I think about that. Why on earth should guy X  in castle Y care what lord Y at the far end of the Realm has to say on the matter by raven or messenger? If there is no universally accepted leader/ruler at that time - which seems very likely considering the point of the series at this point was to destroy unity and set everybody against everybody in pointless conflicts - then there will be no universally accepted authority and there will be no united effort/campaign against the Others.

Nor would half of the Realm or more even buy the story about the Others if they just hear rumors or reports via raven and don't meet/interact with witnesses, get some evidence, etc. Even if there were zombies down in the Reach or Dorne, so what? Perhaps that's witchcraft, or a sign that the apocalypse has come? Perhaps we have burn all the witches, forcefully convert everybody to our gods, or have to all flog ourselves to repent our sins so the gods no longer punish us with zombies or ice demons and winter, etc.? This is a medieval world and presented as such. People are superstitious and basically believe any shit you try to sell them - as is made evident again and again by all the weirdo rumors they believe about certain characters and events.

People have to get on the same page at one point. And a Great Council-like thing is, most likely, the best explanation for this kind of thing. If they want they can also discuss the completely irrelevant thing who has the best claim to the iron chair if they want to, I guess, but I see no reason why that thing is going to be a top priority while the Others are still out there. After all, the whole prophecy angle seems to imply they won't have much of a choice about who the Savior(s) are going to be. They will have to swallow them whole or die. And if they accept him/her/them, then there is no reason to believe they will get later another vote whether the people who saved humanity and the world also have the right to rule them.

How the guys should get on the same page about the Others thing without something like a Great Council I can honestly cannot even imagine.

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3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The point is that the venue could just as well be used to discuss and address other things.

The idea that any venue but a Great Council could actually bring together what remains of Westeros by the time the Others have to be fought doesn't make much sense to me, the more I think about that. Why on earth should guy X  in castle Y care what lord Y at the far end of the Realm has to say on the matter by raven or messenger? If there is no universally accepted leader/ruler at that time - which seems very likely considering the point of the series at this point was to destroy unity and set everybody against everybody in pointless conflicts - then there will be no universally accepted authority and there will be no united effort/campaign against the Others.

Nor would half of the Realm or more even buy the story about the Others if they just hear rumors or reports via raven and don't meet/interact with witnesses, get some evidence, etc. Even if there were zombies down in the Reach or Dorne, so what? Perhaps that's witchcraft, or a sign that the apocalypse has come? Perhaps we have burn all the witches, forcefully convert everybody to our gods, or have to all flog ourselves to repent our sins so the gods no longer punish us with zombies or ice demons and winter, etc.? This is a medieval world and presented as such. People are superstitious and basically believe any shit you try to sell them - as is made evident again and again by all the weirdo rumors they believe about certain characters and events.

People have to get on the same page at one point. And a Great Council-like thing is, most likely, the best explanation for this kind of thing. If they want they can also discuss the completely irrelevant thing who has the best claim to the iron chair if they want to, I guess, but I see no reason why that thing is going to be a top priority while the Others are still out there. After all, the whole prophecy angle seems to imply they won't have much of a choice about who the Savior(s) are going to be. They will have to swallow them whole or die. And if they accept him/her/them, then there is no reason to believe they will get later another vote whether the people who saved humanity and the world also have the right to rule them.

How the guys should get on the same page about the Others thing without something like a Great Council I can honestly cannot even imagine.

Far from it. I imagine the dead rising from local graveyards and battlefields all over Westeros will do wonders to get people believing in the Others from Oldtown to the Wall.

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Just now, Free Northman Reborn said:

Far from it. I imagine the dead rising from local graveyards and battlefields all over Westeros will do wonders to get people believing in the Others from Oldtown to the Wall.

And why/how should they connect the dots there? And how figure out what to do about them? How to act in concert? How to do anything to actually fight the true enemy - the Others and whatever may be behind them - rather than some zombies?

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1 minute ago, Lord Varys said:

And why/how should they connect the dots there? And how figure out what to do about them? How to act in concert? How to do anything to actually fight the true enemy - the Others and whatever may be behind them - rather than some zombies?

I’m trying to understand your overarching point here. At a guess, it appears you are trying to suggest an alternative reason for a future Great Council, to shift the focus away from choosing a new King.

Well, I don’t see why the issues need to be mutually exclusive in the slightest. 

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19 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I’m trying to understand your overarching point here. At a guess, it appears you are trying to suggest an alternative reason for a future Great Council, to shift the focus away from choosing a new King.

Well, I don’t see why the issues need to be mutually exclusive in the slightest. 

The overarching point is the point in time and purpose of such a council would be.

Your point apparently is that people will do whatever the script tells them to do without any internal motivation of their own - but that's how the books have been written up to that point.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

The overarching point is the point in time and purpose of such a council would be.

Your point apparently is that people will do whatever the script tells them to do without any internal motivation of their own - but that's how the books have been written up to that point.

I’m confounded how you arrive at that conclusion, but ok.

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On 11/30/2018 at 6:33 PM, Ran said:

That's the root of it. The Doctrine of Exceptionalism provides an out for the Faith to support the offspring of a polygamous marriage as being legitimate if circumstances put them in a situation where the Faith had to make such a choice. They have a precedent for saying that those of Targaryen blood are a people apart, a people whom the gods judge differently than other men.

It certainly allows a lot of wiggle room.

Exactly, @Ran.

I think some people are rushing to jump ahead to speculate about how the Faith and the lords of 300 AC will or would judge things if or when Jon's identity and the circumstances of his birth are revealed.

Not that that isn't worth discussing and speculating about, but I think it is important to discuss and speculate about what Rhaegar did in 282-283 AC, and what he thought he could do, religious and politically, in 282-283 AC.

Religiously, we must acknowledge that the Faith from 52 AC to early 300 AC, including 282-283 AC, was a much different thing than the Faith from later in 300 AC, under the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant reborn.

It remains to be seen whether the Faith under the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant reborn will take a different view of Targaryen Exceptionalism than their predecessors, and whether they will retroactively void Targaryen Exceptionalism, and label people like Daenerys and Rhaegar abominations.

But back in 282-283 AC, the Faith had, under the Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism, been accepting and officiating Targaryen marriages that would be sinful and abominable for anyone else, which produced offspring that would be abominations for anyone else, for nearly two and a half centuries.

Rhaegar was the son of Targaryen siblings Aerys and Rhaella. Aerys and Rhaella were the children of Targaryen siblings Jaehaerys (II) and Shaera. Furthermore, Rhaegar and every other Targaryen and Targaryen king after the Conquest, except for the usurper Maegor, were descended from Aegon I's second wife Rhaenys. Rhaegar even named his first child after his ancestress, Aegon I's second wife Rhaenys.

Rhaegar was born, lived, and died in a world where the Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism was not in dispute, but was a long established fact and reality. It was all he knew.

Now, let's be clear that the Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism absolved the Targaryens from being guilty of sin and abomination for continuing the marital traditions they, as Valyrians, had always practiced, whether more (incest) or less (polygamy) frequently.

That is not the same as the Targaryens being free to commit any crime they wish, or free from the political consequences of insulting, offending, etc. the lords of Westeros. But religiously, they did not have to worry about the taint of sin or abomination for incest and polygamy.

As for why more Targaryens did not practice polygamy after Aegon I, this can easily be explained as something Targaryens avoided without any pressure or threat or taint of sin or abomination by the Faith, just as widowed Targaryens with heirs after Viserys I avoided taking and fathering children on more wives.

The usurpation and civil war launched by Maegor and Visenya, and the usurpation and civil war launched by Aegon II and Alicent demonstrate the dangers of fathering children on multiple wives, whether two wives at the same time, or a second wife after the first died.

And the attempted usurpation and civil war launched by Daemon Blackfyre and Aegor Rivers demonstrate the dangers that the powers of a king can produce even with a bastard fathered on a mistress.

So I think there are real questions as to what Rhaegar realistically thought he could get away with, or what consequences he did or didn't consider politically by abducting and wedding Lyanna, when it was likely to piss off at least four different parties:

- King Aerys II
- Lord Rickard Stark, and House Stark
- Lord Doran Martell, and House Martell
- Lord Robert Baratheon, and House Baratheon

But religiously, when it comes to the legitimacy of a second wife, or the child(ren) of a second wife, I don't think Rhaegar had any reason to believe that his marriage or child(ren) would be considered by the Faith as anything except legitimate. And Aerys could hardly call it into question on the grounds of sin and abomination without undermining his own marriage and ancestry, both recent and distant.

Edited by Bael's Bastard

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The Doctrine of Exceptionalism was never used to justify polygamy, and while it is possible that it might be used to justify a polygamous marriage, there is not the slightest hint of evidence that the Faith actually did that.

In the end, it doesn't really matter for the plot what a Prince Rhaegar or King Rhaegar thought he could force the Realm or the Faith or his family to accept, it matters what they actually knew and did accept - and what the High Sparrow/Faith and House Targaryen and the lords of the Realm will think and believe and accept about Jon Snow.

And chances are not that great that people just cheer this story like some good little toy soldiers. Especially not the sparrows and the High Septon. It should be so easy to get rid of this story - dismiss the entire thing as a lie, dismiss the claim that Jon Snow is this secret son of Rhaegar's, accept Jon Snow merely as a bastard considering that Rhaegar can only claim to be properly wed to Elia Martell, etc.

If there were some bigamy/polygamy fans among the Westerosi then they can, for all means, buy this story whole and all, but at this point we have no reason to believe that such people exist.

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5 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

But religiously, when it comes to the legitimacy of a second wife, or the child(ren) of a second wife, I don't think Rhaegar had any reason to believe that his marriage or child(ren) would be considered by the Faith as anything except legitimate. And Aerys could hardly call it into question on the grounds of sin and abomination without undermining his own marriage and ancestry, both recent and distant.

I'm right with you on this. If the Targaryens came out of the rebellion still in charge of things, there'd really be no difficulty in establishing the legitimacy of it. If they didn't, well, it'd be moot, seemingly. But the wheel turns, and now things could get very complicated, and it may all become quite relevant again.

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32 minutes ago, Ran said:

I'm right with you on this. If the Targaryens came out of the rebellion still in charge of things, there'd really be no difficulty in establishing the legitimacy of it. If they didn't, well, it'd be moot, seemingly. But the wheel turns, and now things could get very complicated, and it may all become quite relevant again.

There is no reason to believe Aerys II couldn't have treated Rhaegar exactly the same way Aenys treated Maegor over the Harroway affair. In fact, he may have done so, explaining Rhaegar and Lyanna's disappearance. Incest is not polygamy. And an incestuous Targaryen marriage officiated by the Faith is perfectly fine in the 280s thanks to the Doctrine of Exceptionalism - but the same is not true for polygamy. Rhaegar marrying a second time is an offense against the Seven (due to the fact that Rhaegar would have sworn to same marriage vows any groom who marries in a sept in Westeros does) and his proper wife Elia Martell and her family - neither of which is the case for an incestuous marriage.

There is no doubt that Aerys II could have also accepted Rhaegar the Bigamist. But for that we have no evidence at this point. Or Rhaegar could have used fire and sword to convince everyone of his point of view.

But the truly interesting question whether people go along with the notion that 'polygamy is great and it is perfectly normal for a prince to have two or wives and sons from such unions are, of course, seen as legitimate' if there is actually no powerful king/royal dynasty to force people to see things from that angle.

And that's exactly how things stand in the Jon Snow case. Why on earth should anyone think 'Well, if some people tell us that Rhaegar and this Stark girl were married, we'll pretend that two Targaryen kings having more than one wife at the same time means any Targaryen can do that and any such children are as legitimate as they can possibly be, never mind that there is actually no precedent for a Targaryen prince or king actually having had children from a polygamous marriage conducted by the Faith'.

One should also keep in mind that Maegor's later marriages officiated by the Faith were all made under duress - both the black brides were forced to marry him and the septons officiating at them. By any proper understanding of the concept of marriage those really weren't marriages.

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Just now, Lord Varys said:

There is no reason to believe Aerys II couldn't have treated Rhaegar exactly the same way Aenys treated Maegor over the Harroway affair.

In the case where Rhaegar managed to survive and win the war, it was clear that Aerys was not going to have any say over the matter, given his intention to arrange some sort of regency or council to run the realm as his father was incompetent due madness. 

The question is not Aerys, it's the rest of the realm, and the Faith can easily side with Rhaegar and provide a religious cover to the issue, helping bring support to the matter.

 

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32 minutes ago, Ran said:

In the case where Rhaegar managed to survive and win the war, it was clear that Aerys was not going to have any say over the matter, given his intention to arrange some sort of regency or council to run the realm as his father was incompetent due madness.

After a won war, sure, that would have been possible. What I find more interesting is whether Aerys II/the Faith already knew what Rhaegar and Lyanna had done after the abduction, and condemned him thereafter. Whether this - and what this would have meant in Aerys' eyes (a confirmation of Rhaegar's treasonous conspiracy with the Starks) - actually was the cause of Rhaegar/Lyanna not going to court and instead hiding for some time.

Considering that Rhaegar later returned to court one would have to imagine some sort or reconciliation there, but how far this went we still don't know.

32 minutes ago, Ran said:

The question is not Aerys, it's the rest of the realm, and the Faith can easily side with Rhaegar and provide a religious cover to the issue, helping bring support to the matter.

It could - or not. It might actually be that the polygamy thing is going to turn out part of the fodder/propaganda of the rebels against the Targaryens - if people knew/figured out what Rhaegar and Lyanna had done.

As I said repeatedly the curious thing is that we know essentially nothing in detail about why Rhaegar and Lyanna felt the need to hide - and from whom exactly. Nor do we have any details about the things behind Brandon/Rickard's execution and the command to kill Ned and Robert.

And we should not underestimate the power the Faith still has, never mind that they lost the Faith Militant. The Most Devout and High Septons are usually bought, they are not forced to do this or that. The High Septon during the Regency could forbid Lord Hightower to marry his stepmother in his own city, never mind that His High Holiness was entirely at Lord Lyonel's mercy. During the days of Baelor the Faith seems to have reached the apex of its power without any Swords and Stars. And later still the High Septon plays a key role in ensuring that Duncan Targaryen does not become king.

What I don't buy is that even a High Septon preferring Rhaegar to Aerys would have anything good to say about polygamy.

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I think we'd only get a Great Council in ASOIAF if there were a balance of power between two potential claimants to the Iron Throne eg , Jon and Daenerys) or if all the potential claimants of stature have been eliminated.

Otherwise the IT goes to the most powerful claimant who can demonstrate a reasonable claim - most likely Daenerys.

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

I think we'd only get a Great Council in ASOIAF if there were a balance of power between two potential claimants to the Iron Throne eg , Jon and Daenerys) or if all the potential claimants of stature have been eliminated.

Otherwise the IT goes to the most powerful claimant who can demonstrate a reasonable claim - most likely Daenerys.

There would only be a need for that if there were actually rival claimants left who were challenging each other.

How likely is it that this happens after the War for the Dawn?

And if it is Targaryen claimants then they can resolve that in the family, especially if one is female and the other is male.

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OK, so is there a connection between Marilda of Hull being nicknamed "The Mouse" due to her small stature and Ser Shadrich "The Mad Mouse"? Is he Alyn's descendant, perchance?

I freely admit that I forgot that the second(?) Great Council where Aegon V was chosen happened in KL. Though I can't help but wonder in our Egg isn't an example of "a good man, but a bad king".

 

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@Maya

Let us be clear about what the Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism is and what it isn't. 

The Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism is an affirmation of the marital laws of the Seven, and the marital prohibitions decreed by the laws of the Seven, but with the caveat that the Targaryens are different, having their roots in Valyria of old, where different laws and traditions held sway.

Incest, and less often, polygamy were both Valyrian traditions practiced by the Valyrian lords before the Doom, traditions that the Targaryen lords of Dragonstone continued to practice after the Doom. Lord Aenar brought multiple wives from Valyria to Dragonstone, and Lord Aegon brought his two sisters and wives from Dragonstone to Westeros.

Though Gyldayn's explanation of the doctrine focuses on the much more common tradition of incest, there is no hint that the doctrine Jaehaerys I crafted with the help of septons Oswyck and Barth excluded the less common tradition of polygamy that produced his father, and which he, his wife, and all of his descendants were descended from.

The marriage of Prince Duncan and the commoner Jenny, and secret marriage and child of Aemond and Alys Rivers are not relevant to the Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism. These are not inherently religiously prohibited marriages, but politically problematic marriages.

Duncan didn't just wed a commoner, but insulted and offended a great lord with swords at his disposal in doing so, to the point that he renounced his fealty to the Iron Throne, declared himself a king, and went to war against the Targaryens. Jaehaerys and Shaera did the same to wed each other, in a marriage that would have been prohibited for any non-Targaryen, but the response of the Tullys and Tyrells was apparently not as openly belligerent.

That said, it should be noted that Duncan's marriage to Jenny was binding, and that King Aegon V, the High Septon, the Grand Maester, and the small council, all of whom opposed the marriage and sought to have it undone once they learned of it, had no power to undo the marriage without his consent. All Aegon could do was force Duncan to choose between the Iron Throne and Jenny. Which, Duncan chose Jenny, and Jaehaerys (II), wed to his sister, became Aegon's heir and successor.

I don't know what will happen in the future of the story. But I know that the Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism was and had been the religiously legal realty in Westeros for nearly two and a half centuries when Rhaegar abducted Lyanna, and those who choose to ignore that reality are ignoring a major possibility as to why Rhaegar could have thought that a marriage to a second wife, and children with a second wife, could not be undone or delegitimized without his consent.

None of this negates all of the possible political consequences, such as Aeys having the justification to remove Rhaegar and his descendants as his heirs, or to force Rhaegar to choose between the Iron Throne and Lyanna, or the possible reactions of the Martells, and/or Starks, and/or Baratheons, and/or any number of other consequences that Rhaegar either considered and went ahead anyway, or didn't consider.

But with the Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism we have a great reason for why Rhaegar, a product of Targaryen Exceptionalism, could have thought he had the ability to wed a second wife and father more children that neither the Faith nor his father could undo or delegitimize, whatever political consequences there may or may not be.

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1 hour ago, Bael's Bastard said:

The marriage of Prince Duncan and the commoner Jenny, and secret marriage and child of Aemond and Alys Rivers are not relevant to the Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism. These are not inherently religiously prohibited marriages, but politically problematic marriages.

Well, both of these marriages provide precedents that are relevant for Jon's situation. As you say, Duncan's marriage wasn't or couldn't be unmade, but it cost him and his hypothetical children their succession rights. Those are legal consequences that demonstrate that Exceptionalism doesn't automatically cover  unconventional marital choices that Targaryens might engage in. Both cases also feature broken betrothals to a Baratheon, but betrothals can broken in Westeros, as they could mostly be iRL.

Concerning Alys Rivers, we have an alleged secret marriage, without any witnesses, that won't be recognized.

In Jon's case, there are several hurdles - proof of marriage, question whether the doctrine applies, proof that there was a son and that Jon was that baby, etc. The problems being that written evidence can be easily faked in that world, that Howland Reed and Wylla the wetnurse don't make the most convincing witnesses and everybody else is dead and that FAegon is going to thoroughly poison "the hidden son of Rhaegar" pool.

Given all of the above, Jon isn't ging to have the clear-cut claim that many were  expecting.

 

1 hour ago, Bael's Bastard said:


But with the Doctrine of Targaryen Exceptionalism we have a great reason for why Rhaegar, a product of Targaryen Exceptionalism, could have thought he had the ability to wed a second wife and father more children that neither the Faith nor his father could undo or delegitimize, whatever political consequences there may or may not be.

Oh, absolutely, it explains why Rhaegar thought that it would work and shows that he wasn't mad to do so. OTOH, Brandon's reaction maybe shows that it would have been harder to convince people than he hoped.

Anyway, I now think that Tyrion's marriage to Tysha was likely legal and since it was reasonably well-known, if LF finds the septon and Tysha, he'd be able to prove that Sansa's marriage was never valid.

Is Cannibal's coloring being the same as Shaggy's just a tongue-in-cheek easter egg or a sign of things to come?

 

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I think one way GRRM could avoid having the next installment of Fire and Blood spoil Dunk and Egg is by having it cover the reigns of Aegon III to Daeron II, with Aerys I onward making up a third installment. I'm pretty sure that once George actually starts writing it, Aegon III to Aerys II will be too long to print as one volume without making significant cuts, so I don't find this that unrealistic. From an optimistic standpoint, F&B pt. 3 would then debut after the completion of Dunk and Egg. 

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7 hours ago, Maia said:

Is Cannibal's coloring being the same as Shaggy's just a tongue-in-cheek easter egg or a sign of things to come?

I think that it tells us that Martin finds the color scheme menacing. Shaggy, I think gets a bad rep. He's acting on Rickon's temper tantrums, but he hasn't seriously hurt anybody, which he might well have. In contrast Summer, killed when he was still a puppy and has been chomping down on wildlings, Ironborne and Thenns since with great efficiency. Who knows though? I do think though that there is something mystical going on with Shaggy which might turn to be the case with the Cannibal. 

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