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It is basically just a more specialized version of the exceptionalism practiced by 'common' nobility/royalty. Nobles and royals in Westeros don't need the blood of the dragon to think they are better born with more noble blood than the smallfolk - that's the entire basis of their political system.

The Doctrine of Exceptionalism just uses this to justify Targaryen incest.

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6 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It is basically just a more specialized version of the exceptionalism practiced by 'common' nobility/royalty. Nobles and royals in Westeros don't need the blood of the dragon to think they are better born with more noble blood than the smallfolk - that's the entire basis of their political system.

The Doctrine of Exceptionalism just uses this to justify Targaryen incest.

Nobles in our world too believed to be inherently better than peasants but it wasn't sanctioned by the church and same is in Westeros. Jaehaerys needed reason to elevate Targaryens to higher status than other nobles.

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1 minute ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Nobles in our world too believed to be inherently better than peasants but it wasn't sanctioned by the church and same is in Westeros. Jaehaerys needed reason to elevate Targaryens to higher status than other nobles.

Only because incest was against Westerosi marriage customs and forbidden by the main religions.

The entire analogy of (the) god(s) creating different animals differently is essentially the same rationale people use(d) in the real world why our betters are born as out betters and the slave/commoner/servant/worker should stay where he is because that's where god put him/wanted him to be.

Royal and noble rule was most definitely supported and sanctioned by the Church. It still is, actually. No Christian church in the world is of the assumption that monarchy/aristocracy are against Christian doctrine (and the Catholic Church still is and always was a elective monarchy). Not to mention that neither god nor Jesus seem to be democrats...

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5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Only because incest was against Westerosi marriage customs and forbidden by the main religions.

The entire analogy of (the) god(s) creating different animals differently is essentially the same rationale people use(d) in the real world why our betters are born as out betters and the slave/commoner/servant/worker should stay where he is because that's where god put him/wanted him to be.

Royal and noble rule was most definitely supported and sanctioned by the Church. It still is, actually. No Christian church in the world is of the assumption that monarchy/aristocracy are against Christian doctrine (and the Catholic Church still is and always was a elective monarchy). Not to mention that neither god nor Jesus seem to be democrats...

Catholic Church was among the first ones to call for ending of slavery and humane treatment of natives in America. I am not sure what is your point with Jesus not being democrat(?), but if one wants to have discussion on the subject, one would need knowledge of the official Church stances and the Bible. I don't think it is the right place for discussion on this subject.

Anyway monarchies were not the worst types of goverment contrary to what some people may believe. Aristocracy isn't even against natural state of society as it's natural that some people who obtain power through their lives might want use their power and pass it on their children and children of their children.

And belief that who you are comes from God's will is mostly popular among dharmic religions and some protestant branches of the Church.

Anyway I am trying to argue from philosophical point of view and we know that in reality Church was very often used for political gains.

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2 hours ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Catholic Church was among the first ones to call for ending of slavery and humane treatment of natives in America.

That was basically just one guy in the 16th century. And he was not arguing against slavery as such but against the idea that one had a right to collectively enslave entire peoples.

If the church had had any issue with slavery, slavery in Christian countries would have ended in the 4th century - right along with paganism. But it did not.

And neither the Bible nor the Koran do condemn or outlaw slavery.

2 hours ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

I am not sure what is your point with Jesus not being democrat(?), but if one wants to have discussion on the subject, one would need knowledge of the official Church stances and the Bible. I don't think it is the right place for discussion on this subject.

That was just a funny remark: If the Christian god and the afterlife is not going to be democratically organized then why on earth should we humans organize ourselves that way? Shouldn't the order of creation be reflected by our civilization? If god is a king, then surely monarchy is the correct form of governance for a species created in god's image...

2 hours ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Anyway monarchies were not the worst types of goverment contrary to what some people may believe. Aristocracy isn't even against natural state of society as it's natural that some people who obtain power through their lives might want use their power and pass it on their children and children of their children.

This is not about worse or good governments - it is about the fact that the rationale of the Doctrine of Exceptionalism is a very common figure of argumentation to metaphysically justify real or imagined differences between people as differences being established as such by god and/or nature.

Presumably, exactly the same kind of argumentation is used when a brazen young acolyte at the Citadel - of common descent - asks why the lords and kings have a right to rule over the smallfolk. Some people are sheep to be shorn and slaughtered, and others are wolves and bears and lions and dragons.

At least it is very obvious that this figure of speech could be used to justify such differences, no?

In general, the most unrealistic aspect of George's world is the fact that commoners really are just sheep. In the real world, there were many uprisings against royal and aristocratic rule, taking various forms, of course, but in Westeros one thing is sure. The smallfolk is never going to rise against their betters. Not their lords, and not their kings.

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2 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If the church had had any issue with slavery, slavery in Christian countries would have ended in the 4th century - right along with paganism. But it did not.

Constantine the Great wasn't really devout christian, he used it as political leverage against his opponents. Paganism too was not fully ousted from Europe with the enforcement of Christianity. Rulers in every part of the World rarely listened to teachings of their own religion. There was one buddhist king(whose name I forgot) in south-eastern Asia who basically massacred most inhabitans of his neighbour nation when most of buddhist teachings about pacifism and kindness.

6 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That was just a funny remark: If the Christian god and the afterlife is not going to be democratically organized then why on earth should we humans organize ourselves that way? Shouldn't the order of creation be reflected by our civilization? If god is a king, then surely monarchy is the correct form of governance for a species created in god's image...

Well if you read Christian Theology of such people as Thomas Aquinus, you know that argument for God's existence is that God is first cause of everything and you cannot have multiple first causes. Many scientists for example assume that Big Bang was the first cause.

I don't recall any hierarchy in heaven for people who passed away, unless you claim that fact itself that God is above others as a example. Common metaphor in the Bible of Jesus/God being King of the Cration was mostly used as a way to describe in simple terms to common people the God. Jesus' apostles themselves were mostly uneducated peasants who from Bible texts didn't even understood most of what he told them.

17 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

This is not about worse or good governments - it is about the fact that the rationale of the Doctrine of Exceptionalism is a very common figure of argumentation to metaphysically justify real or imagined differences between people as differences being established as such by god and/or nature.

Presumably, exactly the same kind of argumentation is used when a brazen young acolyte at the Citadel - of common descent - asks why the lords and kings have a right to rule over the smallfolk. Some people are sheep to be shorn and slaughtered, and others are wolves and bears and lions and dragons.

At least it is very obvious that this figure of speech could be used to justify such differences, no?

In general, the most unrealistic aspect of George's world is the fact that commoners really are just sheep. In the real world, there were many uprisings against royal and aristocratic rule, taking various forms, of course, but in Westeros one thing is sure. The smallfolk is never going to rise against their betters. Not their lords, and not their kings.

Ah yes, it's indeed very common philosophy. To this day in some parts of the words, like in certain regions of India it is still widely believed.

Even during industrial revolution there were certain theories among Europeans of noble heritage about two different species of people. 

I think, I agree with you on this point and my issue was just your usage of words.

Anyway, commoners in Westeros are truly obedient to bizarre level. Random lynches every one hundred years is actually not very much. In France and England alone there were peasant uprising every two or three decades. Constant tax increase and prolonging wars or natural disasters in most cases ended up with turmoil amongst common people. While almost always they ended in victory of nobles/king, it certainly diminished country's stability. Their failure often came from the fact that while they hated nobility, they respected the King and thought that they can manage to reason with him, not realizing that he was noble himself.

When Tywin abolished Aegon V laws, I expected that there would be at least some minor uprising, but apparently peasants just didn't care.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

In general, the most unrealistic aspect of George's world is the fact that commoners really are just sheep. In the real world, there were many uprisings against royal and aristocratic rule, taking various forms, of course, but in Westeros one thing is sure. The smallfolk is never going to rise against their betters. Not their lords, and not their kings.

It is the same world that Dornish people - followers of Faith attacked the Oldtown - the seat of High Septon many times. Don't dig too much.

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46 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Constantine the Great wasn't really devout christian, he used it as political leverage against his opponents. Paganism too was not fully ousted from Europe with the enforcement of Christianity. Rulers in every part of the World rarely listened to teachings of their own religion. There was one buddhist king(whose name I forgot) in south-eastern Asia who basically massacred most inhabitans of his neighbour nation when most of buddhist teachings about pacifism and kindness.

Comparing early Christianity to some Buddhist ruler doesn't change what the Christian guys did. Constantine wasn't a Christian ruler, he just made Christianity a religion favored by the state - it is Theodosius the Great who later makes Christianity the only allowed religion in the Roman Empire. And while this did not make paganism go away instantly, it took only a another century to pretty much eradicate it completely. By the time of Justianian the work is almost complete. That it takes much longer in non-Roman territories is also clear, but that was dealt with later, too.

The point I was making there is that slavery would have gone the way paganism went in the early middle ages if Christianity had had an issue with slavery. It did not. Society declined and slaves basically became serfs. And foreigners/non-Christian could be enslaved until very modern times - just as most Roman slaves were enslaved barbarians captured in the conquered provinces.

46 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Well if you read Christian Theology of such people as Thomas Aquinus, you know that argument for God's existence is that God is first cause of everything and you cannot have multiple first causes. Many scientists for example assume that Big Bang was the first cause.

That argument concerns itself only with the origin of the universe, it has nothing to do with deities as defined/preached/revealed by religion. Even if we were to agree that the universe were created by a thinking agent (I see no reason to assume that this is the case) then this tells us nothing about what kind of an agent that being is.

46 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

I don't recall any hierarchy in heaven for people who passed away, unless you claim that fact itself that God is above others as a example. Common metaphor in the Bible of Jesus/God being King of the Cration was mostly used as a way to describe in simple terms to common people the God. Jesus' apostles themselves were mostly uneducated peasants who from Bible texts didn't even understood most of what he told them.

The idea is just that a religion using outdated mythology (metaphors of kings, etc.) to illustrate thing fit better with societies were proper monarchy is still an accepted form of government - Jesus doesn't seem to be a metaphorical constitutional monarch ;-).

46 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Ah yes, it's indeed very common philosophy. To this day in some parts of the words, like in certain regions of India it is still widely believed.

It was also the standard theological/philosophical argument used in medieval Europe to justify the hierarchal society there - which is the parallel we are talking about. The Targaryens are the most special animals in the metaphor, coming from Valyria, etc., but the (former) royalty and nobility of Westeros are just as *different* from the smallfolk as the Targaryens are *different* from them.

We even have this special blood nonsense in the discussion of the origin of the First Night. Lords do rule and have special semen any woman gladly wants to quicken inside her because they are all descended from great heroes, etc.

The difference is that up that the incest difference was not universally accepted prior to the Doctrine of Exceptionalism whereas the superiority of the nobility and royalty over the smallfolk is so much ingrained in the society that nobody even has to tell funny stories about animals to justify it.

46 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Even during industrial revolution there were certain theories among Europeans of noble heritage about two different species of people. 

We have that whole thing still. People rarely talk about that but it is still a thing.

46 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Anyway, commoners in Westeros are truly obedient to bizarre level. Random lynches every one hundred years is actually not very much.

Even those are not done by them, presumably. The great riots in KL during the Dance were all orchestrated by Larys Strong - both the Storming of the Dragonpit, presumably, as well as Ser Perkin's uprising as well as the Trystane Truefyre nonsense. The only riot in KL in the main series seems to have been arranged by Varys, and he may also control the sparrows to a certain point - although since the High Sparrow is a commoner, too, there they have at least some agenda, although the Faith as such is still dominated by the nobility and the new High Septon is not about social reform - strengthening the position of the commoners - but rather using the sparrow movement to strengthen the position of the Faith against the Crown and the nobility.

46 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

In France and England alone there were peasant uprising every two or three decades. Constant tax increase and prolonging wars or natural disasters in most cases ended up with turmoil amongst common people. While almost always they ended in victory of nobles/king, it certainly diminished country's stability. Their failure often came from the fact that while they hated nobility, they respected the King and thought that they can manage to reason with him, not realizing that he was noble himself.

Actually, kings as head of states are usually very different from the nobility, especially lower nobility. They have different agendas and basically no common interests. A weak king is always good for the lords, whereas a weak nobility is always great for the king unless the king is really dependent on the nobility to run things (which he can change).

Lords - especially such who exploit their peasants and tenants - and that's most lords, in actual kingdoms (in the HRE you had powerful lords as such who were also small princes in their own right in their petty kingdoms) - have no interest in freeing the serfs or granting privileges to towns and cities and the like. The modern absolutist monarchies - starting in the late middle ages - were formed by the kings with the help of the commoners who provided them with the means - the soldiers, the resources, the bureaucracy, the loans, etc.

In that sense George actually gets it right when he has makes the smallfolk great Targaryen fans - the king is above the lords and the lords are the ones mistreating and exploiting the smallfolk. And there is the fiction (and sometimes the truth) that the king guarantees justice for all, even the lowest of his subjects.

But, yeah, pretty much anything could and did trigger a revolt in the actual middle ages, and there were many peasants wars and the like, some of which actually bettered things for a time.

46 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

When Tywin abolished Aegon V laws, I expected that there would be at least some minor uprising, but apparently peasants just didn't care.

Hopefully Aegon V won't be just an idealistic moron with a savior complex - meaning that there is actually going to be an actual commoner movements with key men and women demanding more rights and reforms which Aegon V and Dunk then just try to realize, rather than with Aegon V envisioning a better world in his study and then trying to make things a reality nobody really believes in or thinks can work.

How the smallfolk reacted to both Jaehaerys II and then later Aerys II together with Tywin abolishing the reforms should be covered in more details by Gyldayn. I'd not be surprised if there were some uprisings because of that, and they could have been during the reign of Jaehaerys II rather than Aerys II.

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7 hours ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Nobles in our world too believed to be inherently better than peasants but it wasn't sanctioned by the church and same is in Westeros. Jaehaerys needed reason to elevate Targaryens to higher status than other nobles.

 

I remember in the world book, one of the lords saying that “the Seven made them to rule over simple people” during some great council.

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On the whole this doctrine is about purity and extremism and I think this is negative in this story. The Faith/R'hllor also practiced extremism. And pure ice and pure fire magic are also extreme and radicalized.

Historical parallels stop when its used to make the blood magic stronger though - thats on a whole different level. Madness as a side-effect of incest is also dangerously unstable for a system of government. I think the incest could also be leading to their difficulties in fertility. 

Blood purity would bother me even without the incest. And anyway, I dont think the message of the series is that blood purity is the best way to be a leader and change the world. Otherwise GRRM wouldnt have forced the Targaryens to dilute their blood to secure Dorne. I'm sure he loved making the Targs solve that puzzle.  

 

 

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36 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The point I was making there is that slavery would have gone the way paganism went in the early middle ages if Christianity had had an issue with slavery.

Christianity was also against adultery, murder and theft and it still persisted in Christian nations to this day.

35 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Society declined and slaves basically became serfs.

Yes, but serfs and slaves are not the same.

38 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Even if we were to agree that the universe were created by a thinking agent (I see no reason to assume that this is the case) then this tells us nothing about what kind of an agent that being is.

I am not really interested in your beliefs, but at least by Christian view, God is not an evil and vengeful creator. I am not really trying to convince you of anything, just wanted to show Christian point of view.

40 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea is just that a religion using outdated mythology (metaphors of kings, etc.) to illustrate thing fit better with societies were proper monarchy is still an accepted form of government - Jesus doesn't seem to be a metaphorical constitutional monarch ;-).

Despotic monarchy was almost exclusive form of goverment in those ages so it make sense why Jesus used this metaphor. It would made no sense from theological perspective for God to not be above his Creation. It would be bizarre if someone could rule over God, heh.

51 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Hopefully Aegon V won't be just an idealistic moron with a savior complex - meaning that there is actually going to be an actual commoner movements with key men and women demanding more rights and reforms which Aegon V and Dunk then just try to realize, rather than with Aegon V envisioning a better world in his study and then trying to make things a reality nobody really believes in or thinks can work.

How the smallfolk reacted to both Jaehaerys II and then later Aerys II together with Tywin abolishing the reforms should be covered in more details by Gyldayn. I'd not be surprised if there were some uprisings because of that, and they could have been during the reign of Jaehaerys II rather than Aerys II.

If Aegon V truly wanted to end incest practice, he could try to end Exceptionalism Doctrine. There is a chance that Aegon V too believed himself to be above others and as you noted, just wanted to be viewed by smallfolk as their savior to feed his ego, but we don't have much info that would suggest that.

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1 minute ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

On the whole this doctrine is about purity and extremism and I think this is negative in this story. The Faith/R'hllor also practiced extremism. And pure ice and pure fire magic are also extreme and radicalized.

Historical parallels stop when its used to make the blood magic stronger though - thats on a whole different level. Madness as a side-effect of incest is also dangerously unstable for a system of government. I think the incest could also be leading to their difficulties in fertility. 

Blood purity would bother me even without the incest. And anyway, I dont think the message of the series is that blood purity is the best way to be a leader and change the world. Otherwise GRRM wouldnt have forced the Targaryens to dilute their blood to secure Dorne. I'm sure he loved making the Targs solve that puzzle.  

 

 

I highly suspect given GRRM favoritism towards Dany that she will end up on the throne and incest will start to be practiced again. He may not have intended this message but as a side effect it looks like blood purity is actually the best way to rule Westeros.

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1 hour ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

I highly suspect given GRRM favoritism towards Dany that she will end up on the throne and incest will start to be practiced again. He may not have intended this message but as a side effect it looks like blood purity is actually the best way to rule Westeros.

While I'm sure he likes Dany, I dont think affection will stop him from thwarting a pureblood Targaryen restoration. I think the infertility issues would end the line permanently anyway, because to be historically accurate, a dynasty based on incest shouldn't last that long. I doubt he is in favor of puritanical beliefs about exceptional humans or that he is a blood purity supremacist at heart. The bastard system is a form of blood purity and I doubt he believes that's a good system either. I doubt he believes that one group of humans is actually superior and the most beautiful and the most extraordinary and better than other humans. I doubt the legacy of "we are above the law" and "fire and blood" is the moral of the story. I doubt he really cares if the blood of Valyria got watered down. And I get the sense that he favors Jon, the half-breed and not Dany, for endgame ruler anyway.

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

Nobles in our world too believed to be inherently better than peasants but it wasn't sanctioned by the church and same is in Westeros. Jaehaerys needed reason to elevate Targaryens to higher status than other nobles.

Correct.  He needed to highlight the difference between them and the common man.  And he had a lot of good points.  After all, they came from a culture that practiced sibling marriages.  That culture pre-date the seven.  They ride dragons.  Something the common man can't do.  They look different.  

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8 minutes ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

While I'm sure he likes Dany, I dont think affection will stop him from thwarting a pureblood Targaryen restoration. I think the infertility issues would end the line permanently anyway, because to be historically accurate, a dynasty based on incest shouldn't last that long. I doubt he is in favor of puritanical beliefs about exceptional humans or that he is a blood purity supremacist at heart. The bastard system is a form of blood purity and I doubt he believes that's a good system either. I doubt he believes that one group of humans is actually superior and the most beautiful and the most extraordinary and better than other humans. I doubt the legacy of "we are above the law" and "fire and blood" is the moral of the story. I doubt he really cares if the blood of Valyria got watered down. And I get the sense that he favors Jon, the half-breed and not Dany, for endgame ruler anyway.

 

 

 

 

I doubt the author favors Jon as a ruler.  Jon is an idiot who thoroughly fucked up at the wall.  He can't manage a few thousand underlings.  He sure as hell won't be able to manage a kingdom.

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6 minutes ago, E.S. Dinah said:

I doubt the author favors Jon as a ruler.  Jon is an idiot who thoroughly fucked up at the wall.  He can't manage a few thousand underlings.  He sure as hell won't be able to manage a kingdom.

Jon has king foreshadowing in his first chapter and it continues throughout the novels. It's not thrown in there just for a fun puzzle box for readers to figure out and then goes nowhere. 

Jon defends the realms of men when everyone else is attacking it or doesn't give a shit. So that's a good start. He needs to be more ruthless - but that's solved by his resurrection and not coming back "nicer."

And no one can rule alone. He'll have his cousins, Sam, and others to help.

You're judging him on half an arc.

 

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6 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Jon has king foreshadowing in his first chapter and it continues throughout the novels. It's not thrown in there just for a fun puzzle box for readers to figure out and then goes nowhere. 

Jon defends the realms of men when everyone else is attacking it or doesn't give a shit. So that's a good start. He needs to be more ruthless - but that's solved by his resurrection and not coming back "nicer."

And no one can rule alone. He'll have his cousins, Sam, and others to help.

You're judging him on half an arc.

Whether GRRM favors more Dany or Jon, in both cases their claim comes from their Targaryen blood. It would also be ironic for GRRM to criticize "generic" fantasy books about chosen ones and main characters secretly being rightful monarchs, only to make Jon who at this moment still everyone think about as Eddard's bastard to son of prince Rhaegar(possibly also from bigamist marriage), Prince that was Promised, Azor Ahai and rightful King of Westeros.

I don't really like both options but I have already accepted that any option other than those two is basically impossible at this point. While GRRM may deny, it's clear than he heavily favors certain characters and make them immune to any repercussions.

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