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16 hours ago, Tha Shiznit said:

I'm curious Ran, did George purposefully leave out polygamy of the Doctrine of Exceptionalism to further expand upon it in the main series, such as Winds of Winter or Dream of Spring. The world book mentions that Aegon IV was perhaps musing over whether or not to give his blessing into allowing Daemon to marry Daenerys. And it also mentions Aegon's murmurs wedding to Megette, aren't these both hints of bigamy/polygamy in series that will address in tales of Dunk and Egg. Odd that none of the main characters mention the Doctrine of Exceptionalism in the main asoiaf series or that why polygamy was outlawed?

I'm not Ran, but I'd say that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism is the theoretical background to explain the facts about 'Targaryen specialness' as believed by the people of Westeros throughout the main novels. We essentially get implicit references to the Doctrine whenever Cersei/Jaime discuss the Targaryen right to incestuous marriages and their own inability to follow their example - or when Dunk thinks about Targaryen incest as something they are entitled to do despite the fact that his abhorred by it, etc.

I think @Ran and others speculated that it might turn out that Rhaegar is going to cite the Doctrine of Exceptionalism as a way justify his marriage to Lyanna, but the way Gyldayn frames the Doctrine in FaB it is quite clear that its inventor, King Jaehaerys I, was both not in favor of bigamy or polygamy, nor viewing the Doctrine as a means to justify bigamy or polygamy - as he makes crystal clear when his daughter Saera fantasizes about having multiple husbands.

But the precedents of the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel remain, of course, and it is actually Maegor who first comes up with preliminary version of the Doctrine when he cites the blood of the dragon as a reason why he is not ruled by the strictures of the Faith and can thus take a second wife in Alys Harroway.

Whether it did Prince Rhaegar any good to actually cite the precedent of Maegor the Cruel in taking a second wife remains to be seen (I don't think it would, actually), citing the Conqueror would be more problematic since Aegon and his sisters married before the Conquest and may never have been married in a sept, anyway. Maegor is the first Targaryen who married in a sept - and in the Starry Sept at that, in a ceremony officiated by the High Septon himself - which essentially means forced monogamy and only monogamy - and then later broke the solemn marriage vows he swore in front of gods and men.

Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell is of similar gravitas. He was also married by the High Septon in a ceremony that took place in the Great Sept of Baelor. Repeating Maegor's example with Alys Harroway - which more or less is what he did (the parallels are rather striking) - is not exactly something that implies Westeros would have been fond of this kind of thing - assuming the marriage ever became public or court knowledge (which I actually think it did if it took place).

From the point of view of the Faith polygamy was actually never legal. Incestuous marriages for Targaryens became accepted via the Doctrine of Exceptionalism but none of the Seven Speakers or anyone else ever preached to the people of Westeros that those of the blood of the dragon also have the right to take more than one spouse at the same time.

How the issue of bigamy or polygamy will be raised in the era of the later kings should be covered in a future volume of FaB. In light of the fact that Jaehaerys I was not exactly in favor of polygamy and Lady Sam essentially ridiculed the concept by suggesting Aegon III should marry both her sisters I don't really see the chance of it being portrayed as a realistic concept in the later volume(s) of the Targaryen history.

However, there is an interesting possible spin there in the reign of Aegon IV. But I'll open another thread for that topic.

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17 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm not Ran, but I'd say that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism is the theoretical background to explain the facts about 'Targaryen specialness' as believed by the people of Westeros throughout the main novels. We essentially get implicit references to the Doctrine whenever Cersei/Jaime discuss the Targaryen right to incestuous marriages and their own inability to follow their example - or when Dunk thinks about Targaryen incest as something they are entitled to do despite the fact that his abhorred by it, etc.

I think @Ran and others speculated that it might turn out that Rhaegar is going to cite the Doctrine of Exceptionalism as a way justify his marriage to Lyanna, but the way Gyldayn frames the Doctrine in FaB it is quite clear that its inventor, King Jaehaerys I, was both not in favor of bigamy or polygamy, nor viewing the Doctrine as a means to justify bigamy or polygamy - as he makes crystal clear when his daughter Saera fantasizes about having multiple husbands.

But the precedents of the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel remain, of course, and it is actually Maegor who first comes up with preliminary version of the Doctrine when he cites the blood of the dragon as a reason why he is not ruled by the strictures of the Faith and can thus take a second wife in Alys Harroway.

Whether it did Prince Rhaegar any good to actually cite the precedent of Maegor the Cruel in taking a second wife remains to be seen (I don't think it would, actually), citing the Conqueror would be more problematic since Aegon and his sisters married before the Conquest and may never have been married in a sept, anyway. Maegor is the first Targaryen who married in a sept - and in the Starry Sept at that, in a ceremony officiated by the High Septon himself - which essentially means forced monogamy and only monogamy - and then later broke the solemn marriage vows he swore in front of gods and men.

Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell is of similar gravitas. He was also married by the High Septon in a ceremony that took place in the Great Sept of Baelor. Repeating Maegor's example with Alys Harroway - which more or less is what he did (the parallels are rather striking) - is not exactly something that implies Westeros would have been fond of this kind of thing - assuming the marriage ever became public or court knowledge (which I actually think it did if it took place).

From the point of view of the Faith polygamy was actually never legal. Incestuous marriages for Targaryens became accepted via the Doctrine of Exceptionalism but none of the Seven Speakers or anyone else ever preached to the people of Westeros that those of the blood of the dragon also have the right to take more than one spouse at the same time.

How the issue of bigamy or polygamy will be raised in the era of the later kings should be covered in a future volume of FaB. In light of the fact that Jaehaerys I was not exactly in favor of polygamy and Lady Sam essentially ridiculed the concept by suggesting Aegon III should marry both her sisters I don't really see the chance of it being portrayed as a realistic concept in the later volume(s) of the Targaryen history.

However, there is an interesting possible spin there in the reign of Aegon IV. But I'll open another thread for that topic.

I wouldn't say Jaehaerys views on polygamy are crystal clear. We see his reaction not to Saera fantasy of taking multiple husbands but her comparing herself to Maegor. Maegor a man Jaehaerys deeply hated. Lets not forget, Saera throws out the whole multiple husband idea after just being found out, that Saera and her friends were all sleeping around. Not really the right time to talk about having multiple husbands imo. If any Targs ever did take multiple wives or husbands, they'll probably try to use the Doctrine to justify it. If i'm remembering right, theres talk of Dany taking multiple husbands too.

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6 minutes ago, Daemon The Black Dragon said:

I wouldn't say Jaehaerys views on polygamy are crystal clear. We see his reaction not to Saera fantasy of taking multiple husbands but her comparing herself to Maegor. Maegor a man Jaehaerys deeply hated. Lets not forget, Saera throws out the whole multiple husband idea after just being found out, that Saera and her friends were all sleeping around. Not really the right time to talk about having multiple husbands imo. If any Targs ever did take multiple wives or husbands, they'll probably try to use the Doctrine to justify it. If i'm remembering right, theres talk of Dany taking multiple husbands too.

Saera cites uncle Maegor as a precedent for the kind of polygamy she herself wants to pursue. Those things are intertwined here. Jaehaerys I doesn't think his daughter is following in Maegor's footsteps in the cruelty department (he doesn't really seem to grasp that his daughter is a full-grown psychopath just like her granduncle), he is disgusted by her idea to have more than one husband, just like he was apparently disgusted by Maegor's many wives.

Jorah suggests Dany could take multiple husbands because the 'the dragon has three heads' stuff from the House of the Undying as interpreted by her and Jorah leads them to Aegon and his sister-wives. I certainly agree that Dany might be the character who reintroduces the concept of polygamy to Westerosi society and the series as such (Rhaegar's marriages should be little more than a footnote in the story), but I doubt this will have to do anything with the Doctrine of Excetionalism. In fact, chances are not that bad that Dany might have multiple husbands before she even sets foot on Westerosi soil.

The thread on the issue of Aegon IV is to be found here:

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/155616-could-aegon-iv-have-been-a-clandestine-bigamist/

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

I think @Ran and others speculated that it might turn out that Rhaegar is going to cite the Doctrine of Exceptionalism as a way justify his marriage to Lyanna, but the way Gyldayn frames the Doctrine in FaB it is quite clear that its inventor, King Jaehaerys I, was both not in favor of bigamy or polygamy, nor viewing the Doctrine as a means to justify bigamy or polygamy - as he makes crystal clear when his daughter Saera fantasizes about having multiple husbands.

LV, I think this misrepresents Jaehaerys's views on polygamy. What Jaehaerys objects to is not polygamy but the idea that his daughter would marry or conduct herself in ways he didn't approve. The issue that runs through all of the many examples in ASoI&F is the question of who decides, and is that decision respected and honored.The lord, be he the king or a petty noble or even the simple head of a small folk household holds the power of such decisions. Be that Tywin and Tyrion's marriage to Tysha, the broken vows of Robb or Duncan, Hoster's anger with the Blackfish, or on and on, this theme runs through all of Martin's world. If they are not respected it questions the whole structure of Westerosi society. So it is not a question of multiple wives or husbands. It is a question of power.

Jaehaerys owes his claim to the throne of Westeros to the polygamous second marriage of his grandfather. He can hardly object to that practice. Nor do we find any generalized objection by any Targaryen monarch to polygamy. Although one might suspect Baelor's devotion to the faith of the Seven might make him a candidate to do so. But what every Targaryen king or aspiring queen must ask themselves is does a marriage make the Crown stronger or weaker. Polygamy, by its nature, adds more potential claimants to the reins of power and wealth. It's not often that it therefore makes it a good choice. For instance, a marriage of Lyanna to Rhaegar may help fulfill a prophecy he believes is critical, but it also weakens the ties to Dorne. As a practical matter of succession polygamy isn't often good for building and maintaining alliances. I believe this is the core reason we see no Targaryen polygamy after Maegor, not that Jaehaerys or his Doctrine frowned on the practice. To the contrary, Jaehaerys by winning the battle against the Faith and the acceptance of his doctrine ensured, among other things, that the Targaryens had polygamy as an option. They just didn't find it useful in building and maintaining their power and the alliances that built that power.

 

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4 hours ago, SFDanny said:

LV, I think this misrepresents Jaehaerys's views on polygamy. What Jaehaerys objects to is not polygamy but the idea that his daughter would marry or conduct herself in ways he didn't approve.

That is so not the case. There is a point when Jaehaerys I talks about the conduct of his daughter:

Quote

“What have you done?” the king said, when at last the princess ran out of words. “Seven save us, what have you done? Have you given one of these boys your maidenhead? Tell me true.”

“True?” said Saera. It was in that moment, with that word, that the contempt came out. “No. I gave it to all three. They all think they were the first. Boys are such silly fools.”

Jaehaerys was so horrified he could not speak, but the queen kept her composure.

She only references both Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel, their harems and her intention to follow their examples later, and it is that point when Jaehaerys I explodes:

Quote

[Alysanne:]

e could not speak, but the queen kept her composure. “You are very proud of yourself, I see. A woman grown, and nearly seven-and-ten. I am sure you think you have been very clever, but it is one thing to be clever and another to be wise. What do you imagine will happen now, Saera?”

“I will be married,” the princess said. “Why shouldn’t I be? You were married at my age. I shall be wedded and bedded, but to whom? Jonah and Roy both love me, I could take one of them, but they are both such boys. Stinger does not love me, but he makes me laugh and sometimes makes me scream. I could marry all three of them, why not? Why should I have just one husband? The Conqueror had two wives, and Maegor had six or eight.

She had gone too far. Jaehaerys rose to his feet and descended from the Iron Throne, his face a mask of rage. “You would compare yourself to Maegor? Is that who you aspire to be?” His Grace had heard enough. “Take her back to her bedchamber,” he told his guards, “and keep her there until I send for her again.”

You cannot construe this as Jaehaerys I approving of bigamy or polygamy. Nobody doubts that Jaehaerys I also has other issues with his dear uncle besides him having six wives (and one them his own sister), but it is quite clear that he doesn't approve what Maegor did and what Saera wants to do. Perhaps this is because Maegor soiled bigamy/polygamy for the Targaryens (or at least Jaehaerys I), perhaps it is because Jaehaerys I, while a patriarch and somewhat of a misogynist, at least had the decency to acknowledge that a man - even a Targaryen - shouldn't have more than one wife at the same time. He never even entertained a mistress while Alysanne lived, not even when they lived apart, and it certainly seems that he believed in the sanctity of marriage, as did his wife, Queen Alysanne. If they believed in bigamy or polygamy they would have had likely not abolished the First Night.

What essentially seals the deal is that neither Jaehaerys I himself nor any of his Seven Speakers or other goons he puts in place to control the Faith for him ever cited bigamy or polygamy as something the Targaryens are entitled to do because the Seven set them apart from lesser men. They ride dragons because they are special, and they marry their sisters because they are special, but nobody ever preached or taught that their specialness also entitles them to take more than one wife. That was not part of the Doctrine of Exceptionalism as it was written by Jaehaerys I. And none of his dragonriding successor up until Aegon III had so much as an inclination to take more than one spouse at the same time, or allow any of their children to entertain such mad notions.

4 hours ago, SFDanny said:

So it is not a question of multiple wives or husbands. It is a question of power.

Actually, no. It was a question of taking multiple spouses. Saera had soiled herself and they were looking for a way to deal with her. Forcing the men who soil a girl to marry her is the usual way to deal with that (and actually something that's done/attempted with Saera's companions). If polygamy were a thing then Saera could have married all three of them, no? Especially if Jaehaerys I own doctrine actually taught stuff like that.

4 hours ago, SFDanny said:

Jaehaerys owes his claim to the throne of Westeros to the polygamous second marriage of his grandfather. He can hardly object to that practice.

Sure he can. Just as he could abolish the First Night and do many other things nobody did before him.

In fact, nowhere is Aegon the Conqueror's marriage to Queen Rhaenys referenced as a 'second marriage', nor does anyone ever cite the Conqueror's bigamy as a sanctified/accepted prerequisite to justify the fact that his grandson is wearing the crown. Jaehaerys I is the son of King Aenys and Queen Alyssa - his descent from that royal couple made him king, not the marriages of his grandfather who was long dead by the time Jaehaerys I ascended the throne.

Unlike Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives King Aenys' children grew up as followers of the Seven. They married in a sept in ceremonies conducted by septons, not in obscure Valyrian ceremonies conducted by family members. Aegon the Conqueror's marriages were never blessed by the High Septon or the Faith, indicating that Aegon and his sister-wives didn't marry in a sept, unlike their children and grandchildren.

The Targaryens succeeded in forcing the Westerosi to accept their incestuous ways, but Maegor's many marriages were violently opposed.

4 hours ago, SFDanny said:

Nor do we find any generalized objection by any Targaryen monarch to polygamy. Although one might suspect Baelor's devotion to the faith of the Seven might make him a candidate to do so. But what every Targaryen king or aspiring queen must ask themselves is does a marriage make the Crown stronger or weaker. Polygamy, by its nature, adds more potential claimants to the reins of power and wealth. It's not often that it therefore makes it a good choice. For instance, a marriage of Lyanna to Rhaegar may help fulfill a prophecy he believes is critical, but it also weakens the ties to Dorne. As a practical matter of succession polygamy isn't often good for building and maintaining alliances. I believe this is the core reason we see no Targaryen polygamy after Maegor, not that Jaehaerys or his Doctrine frowned on the practice. To the contrary, Jaehaerys by winning the battle against the Faith and the acceptance of his doctrine ensured, among other things, that the Targaryens had polygamy as an option. They just didn't find it useful in building and maintaining their power and the alliances that built that power.

If polygamy had been 'an option' as per the Doctrine of Exceptionalism then Archmaester Gyldayn would have mentioned that - after all, for it to be an option as per this doctrine the author of said doctrine should have mentioned it as one of the things that are special about the Targaryens. We learn there that they are special because they ride dragons, because of their special looks which make them more beautiful than lesser men, we learn they are (supposedly) immune to disease (which isn't completely true) - but we never learn that it is their gods-given right as scions of the blood of the dragon to take multiple spouses at the same time. That's never mentioned or taught.

As I conceded - this doesn't mean Rhaegar or Aegon IV or Daemon Blackfyre couldn't have had the mad idea that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism couldn't also be used to justify bigamy or polygamy - but doing that would be contrary to the intention of its author who clearly wasn't a fan of polygamy. He had a literal army of daughters yet he never had any intention of marrying more than one of them to any of his three sons. Prince Aemon certainly could have needed another wife considering that Lady Jocelyn wasn't able to give him a son.

He himself never had a mistress or a second wife, none of his children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren had more than one spouse - despite the fact that there is the well-known list of candidates for such unions:

- Prince Aemon (who could have used a second wife to get a son)

- Prince Viserys (who could have used a second wife to get a son while his first wife was still around)

- Prince Daemon (who, in 111 AC, would have married Rhaenyra in defiance of his royal brother if bigamy had been a possibility since he was still married to Rhea Royce at that point)

- Princess Rhaenyra (who would have married both Laenor Velaryon and Harwin Strong if that had been an option)

- Prince Jacaerys (who could have married both Sara Snow and Baela Targaryen if he could have had two wives)

- Prince Lucerys (who could have agreed to another betrothal if his betrothal to Rhaena Targaryen was no limiting him to one wife)

- King Aegon III (who could have married Myrielle Peake in addition Jaehaera Targaryen - meaning that Lord Unwin wouldn't have had an actual reason to murder Queen Jaehaera if royal bigamy had been an actual option; also: after the death of her husband Corwyn Corbray Rhaena Targaryen could have married either of her royal half-brother to help ensure the succession - she was much older than Queen Daenaera and could thus give the king an heir much earlier)

If the author were actually trying to send us the message that bigamy - or polygamy, even - was a realistic option for Targaryen kings and princes after the reign of Maegor the Cruel then he is doing a truly lousy job. Because he created many scenarios were bigamy would have been a real option, a means to resolve a tense situation or get out of some sort of entanglement. And the point is not really that it wasn't done - it is that no character in FaB ever brings it up as a possible solution to the many problems.

That is very telling, especially in light of the rather detailed coverage many of the royal matches actually get in FaB. We get basically a ton of possible spouses for Jaehaerys I, Princess Daella, Aegon III, his half-sisters, and still a lot of detail on many of the other royal matches - yet no one ever suggests polygamy as a serious option? That is just not believable if the setting is supposed to be a world where polygamy is seen as a continuous and realistic option.

Instead, it is a world where incestuous unions are accepted, but polygamy is essentially as freakish and weird as it was in the European middle ages.

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Saera cites uncle Maegor as a precedent for the kind of polygamy she herself wants to pursue. Those things are intertwined here. Jaehaerys I doesn't think his daughter is following in Maegor's footsteps in the cruelty department (he doesn't really seem to grasp that his daughter is a full-grown psychopath just like her granduncle), he is disgusted by her idea to have more than one husband, just like he was apparently disgusted by Maegor's many wives.

Jorah suggests Dany could take multiple husbands because the 'the dragon has three heads' stuff from the House of the Undying as interpreted by her and Jorah leads them to Aegon and his sister-wives. I certainly agree that Dany might be the character who reintroduces the concept of polygamy to Westerosi society and the series as such (Rhaegar's marriages should be little more than a footnote in the story), but I doubt this will have to do anything with the Doctrine of Excetionalism. In fact, chances are not that bad that Dany might have multiple husbands before she even sets foot on Westerosi soil.

The thread on the issue of Aegon IV is to be found here:

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/155616-could-aegon-iv-have-been-a-clandestine-bigamist/

Saera uses both the Conqueror and Maegor as examples but Jaehaerys only seems to get mad about her using Maegor as a example she wants to follow. Jaehaerys was clearly already pissed, after finding out his daughter just admitted to having sex with 3 men. Then she throws out the idea of marrying a couple of them. To me Jaehaerys was in a rage over Saera sleeping around and mentioning Maegor name, not polygamy. We know of a few examples were Targs or their supporters bring up the idea of marrying multiple spouses. Aegon lll, Daemon Blackfyre and Dany pop into mind right away. I wouldn't be surprised if in F&B volume 2, we learn of a couple more Targs who thought about practicing polygamy but ultimately didn't go through with it for whatever reasons, the faith not being one of them.

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20 minutes ago, Daemon The Black Dragon said:

Saera uses both the Conqueror and Maegor as examples but Jaehaerys only seems to get mad about her using Maegor as a example she wants to follow. Jaehaerys was clearly already pissed, after finding out his daughter just admitted to having sex with 3 men. Then she throws out the idea of marrying a couple of them. To me Jaehaerys was in a rage over Saera sleeping around and mentioning Maegor name, not polygamy. We know of a few examples were Targs or their supporters bring up the idea of marrying multiple spouses. Aegon lll, Daemon Blackfyre and Dany pop into mind right away. I wouldn't be surprised if in F&B volume 2, we learn of a couple more Targs who thought about practicing polygamy but ultimately didn't go through with it for whatever reasons, the faith not being one of them.

Even if I were to agree that he had no issue with polygamy (which I definitely don't) then it is still a fact that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism was never used by Jaehaerys I - its author - or the people he used to popularize it and make it a tenet of the Faith to justify bigamy or polygamy.

If George wanted to send the message that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism does help justify or was used to justify bigamy or polygamy he should have given us bigamist and polygamists among Jaehaerys I's siblings, children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. But there are no such. And as I laid out above, there isn't even a scenario where anyone seriously considered bigamy or polygamy after Maegor the Cruel. And this is the crucial factor. No court official or other advisor of a king (nor any of the royal family) ever so much as considered the possibility that a king (let alone members of the royal family) could have more than one spouse at the same time. In a scenario where we get a lot of information on the various royal marriages and matches that were considered but, eventually, not pursued it is very telling that nobody seriously considered or suggested or even tried to arrange bigamous or polygamous union for a king or a prince.

And as I also laid out above there are many cases where bigamy or polygamy could actually have been a solution for the conundrums crucial protagonists in FaB faced - most notably Prince Daemon and Princess Rhaenyra.

And a little bit of history:

The question of Targaryen polygamy is a very old question in the fandom. Prior to TWoIaF we used to speculate whether Aegon I and Maegor were the only Targaryen polygamists or whether there were others we didn't know anything about. George himself fueled the fire when he did not shut that down after being asked about, and we always knew that the dragonriding Targaryens had more power over the Seven Kingdoms than the dragonless Targaryens. So it was always clear that if there were any other polygamists around it would have been before the Dance.

And as it turned out there were none.

Aside from Aegon IV there aren't even any candidates left to consider mad nonsense like this considering quite a few Targaryens after the Dance actually do lack spouses. Viserys II doesn't remarry after Larra leaves him and dies, the Dragonknight never married for obvious reasons, Daeron I died a bachelor, too, his sister Rhaena became a septa and his sister Daena, the mother of Daemon Blackfyre, apparently never married, either. King Aerys I apparently never consummated his marriage to his cousin, Queen Aelinor. King Maekar is already a widower in 209 AC, and apparently never takes another wife his entire life (he dies in 233 AC), Aerion Brightflame seems to have married a cousin ten years or more younger than he is - despite the fact that he is already sixteen in 209 AC his only legitimate child is born in 232 AC, and Prince Daeron, the son of Aegon V, refused to marry at all. Even Daeron the Drunk, the heir to Summerhall, is apparently both unmarried and unbetrothed in 209 AC at the age of eighteen (he later marries the widow of his cousin Valarr).

And of the kings - who would essentially be the only ones with the power and authority to perhaps force the Realm to accept that they had more than one wife - things look even worse:

Aegon III (no inclination)

Daeron I (died unmarried)

Baelor I (annulled his marriage and took a septon's vows to never be able to marry again)

Viserys II (brooding widower since he lost his wife)

Aegon IV (he may have had the inclination since he liked to sleep around)

Daeron II (no inclination)

Aerys I (most definitely no inclination)

Maekar (the second brooding widower)

Aegon V (happily married to a woman he espoused a decade before he became king)

Jaehaerys (happily married to his sister)

Aerys II (the other guy who may have had the inclination since he, like Aegon IV, liked to sleep around and was unhappily married to his sister)

If we look at Targaryen history it turns out those people are, for the most part, rather monogamous and prude. The Conqueror was no philanderer - in fact, he only had one sister-wife for 27 years of his reign. King Aenys followed in the footsteps of his alleged father, being devoted and faithful to his wife, Queen Alyssa, despite being very popular with the women in his youth. His son Aegon liked girls, but instead of seeing that as a sign of Targaryen virility the prospect of Aegon fathering a bastard was one of the reason why his marriage to his sister Rhaena was arranged. Jaehaerys I was devoted to his sister-wife Alysanne his entire life, never entertaining mistresses or, to our knowledge, allowing his children to sleep around (sons included). Viserys I and Daemon are the first Targaryens who (may have) had affairs - and in Daemon's case this seems to be partly motivated by the fact that his first marriage really didn't work out. Rhaenyra and Aegon II also had affairs, of course.

This is refreshingly conventional - men who may have had armies of bastards are exceedingly rare. There are Aegon IV, Aerys II, Maegor (who tried really, really hard) Aegon II (who had two acknowledged bastards) and Prince Daemon. Of the women there is Saera, Daena, and Elaena. That's it.

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm not Ran, but I'd say that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism is the theoretical background to explain the facts about 'Targaryen specialness' as believed by the people of Westeros throughout the main novels. We essentially get implicit references to the Doctrine whenever Cersei/Jaime discuss the Targaryen right to incestuous marriages and their own inability to follow their example - or when Dunk thinks about Targaryen incest as something they are entitled to do despite the fact that his abhorred by it, etc.

I think @Ran and others speculated that it might turn out that Rhaegar is going to cite the Doctrine of Exceptionalism as a way justify his marriage to Lyanna, but the way Gyldayn frames the Doctrine in FaB it is quite clear that its inventor, King Jaehaerys I, was both not in favor of bigamy or polygamy, nor viewing the Doctrine as a means to justify bigamy or polygamy - as he makes crystal clear when his daughter Saera fantasizes about having multiple husbands.

But the precedents of the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel remain, of course, and it is actually Maegor who first comes up with preliminary version of the Doctrine when he cites the blood of the dragon as a reason why he is not ruled by the strictures of the Faith and can thus take a second wife in Alys Harroway.

You're probably right that the DoE was just background material for the Targaryen's to display their specialness to the rest of the seven kingdoms. I personally suspect that Martin probably didn't put too thought into Doctrine of Exceptionalism before Fire & Blood's release, he was to busy with the main series and all. I originally used to believe before Fire & Blood's release that Jaehaerys simple reasoning was that incest is more important to the family into keeping the dragons within and because it is a more ancient tradition that Valyrian dragonlords practice. Incest is also a major taboo in the Faith of the Seven, taboo in the sense it was equated to being punched in the stomach for a pious follower of the Faith - and I guess you can say adding polygamy into the mix would be like kicking dirt into a man's eye when he is down on his knees. It would have been a major humiliation for the Seven. 

Jaehaerys simply prioritize what was more important to the dynasty survival, in this case, incest. And because of that, he was called the Conciliator for his wisdom into compromising with the Faith. Thus avoiding the last major conflict to his rule. 

Though you reasoning that Jaehaerys's hatred for Maegor could be right, him soiling polygamy for the entire dynasty probably didn't help either. I kinda wonder if Aemond One-Eye had any plans to revive the practice again, such has his secret marriage to Alys Rivers and his betrothal to lord Borros's daughters would have played out. 

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Even if I were to agree that he had no issue with polygamy (which I definitely don't) then it is still a fact that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism was never used by Jaehaerys I - its author - or the people he used to popularize it and make it a tenet of the Faith to justify bigamy or polygamy.

If George wanted to send the message that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism does help justify or was used to justify bigamy or polygamy he should have given us bigamist and polygamists among Jaehaerys I's siblings, children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. But there are no such. And as I laid out above, there isn't even a scenario where anyone seriously considered bigamy or polygamy after Maegor the Cruel. And this is the crucial factor. No court official or other advisor of a king (nor any of the royal family) ever so much as considered the possibility that a king (let alone members of the royal family) could have more than one spouse at the same time. In a scenario where we get a lot of information on the various royal marriages and matches that were considered but, eventually, not pursued it is very telling that nobody seriously considered or suggested or even tried to arrange bigamous or polygamous union for a king or a prince.

And as I also laid out above there are many cases where bigamy or polygamy could actually have been a solution for the conundrums crucial protagonists in FaB faced - most notably Prince Daemon and Princess Rhaenyra.

And a little bit of history:

The question of Targaryen polygamy is a very old question in the fandom. Prior to TWoIaF we used to speculate whether Aegon I and Maegor were the only Targaryen polygamists or whether there were others we didn't know anything about. George himself fueled the fire when he did not shut that down after being asked about, and we always knew that the dragonriding Targaryens had more power over the Seven Kingdoms than the dragonless Targaryens. So it was always clear that if there were any other polygamists around it would have been before the Dance.

And as it turned out there were none.

Aside from Aegon IV there aren't even any candidates left to consider mad nonsense like this considering quite a few Targaryens after the Dance actually do lack spouses. Viserys II doesn't remarry after Larra leaves him and dies, the Dragonknight never married for obvious reasons, Daeron I died a bachelor, too, his sister Rhaena became a septa and his sister Daena, the mother of Daemon Blackfyre, apparently never married, either. King Aerys I apparently never consummated his marriage to his cousin, Queen Aelinor. King Maekar is already a widower in 209 AC, and apparently never takes another wife his entire life (he dies in 233 AC), Aerion Brightflame seems to have married a cousin ten years or more younger than he is - despite the fact that he is already sixteen in 209 AC his only legitimate child is born in 232 AC, and Prince Daeron, the son of Aegon V, refused to marry at all. Even Daeron the Drunk, the heir to Summerhall, is apparently both unmarried and unbetrothed in 209 AC at the age of eighteen (he later marries the widow of his cousin Valarr).

And of the kings - who would essentially be the only ones with the power and authority to perhaps force the Realm to accept that they had more than one wife - things look even worse:

Aegon III (no inclination)

Daeron I (died unmarried)

Baelor I (annulled his marriage and took a septon's vows to never be able to marry again)

Viserys II (brooding widower since he lost his wife)

Aegon IV (he may have had the inclination since he liked to sleep around)

Daeron II (no inclination)

Aerys I (most definitely no inclination)

Maekar (the second brooding widower)

Aegon V (happily married to a woman he espoused a decade before he became king)

Jaehaerys (happily married to his sister)

Aerys II (the other guy who may have had the inclination since he, like Aegon IV, liked to sleep around and was unhappily married to his sister)

If we look at Targaryen history it turns out those people are, for the most part, rather monogamous and prude. The Conqueror was no philanderer - in fact, he only had one sister-wife for 27 years of his reign. King Aenys followed in the footsteps of his alleged father, being devoted and faithful to his wife, Queen Alyssa, despite being very popular with the women in his youth. His son Aegon liked girls, but instead of seeing that as a sign of Targaryen virility the prospect of Aegon fathering a bastard was one of the reason why his marriage to his sister Rhaena was arranged. Jaehaerys I was devoted to his sister-wife Alysanne his entire life, never entertaining mistresses or, to our knowledge, allowing his children to sleep around (sons included). Viserys I and Daemon are the first Targaryens who (may have) had affairs - and in Daemon's case this seems to be partly motivated by the fact that his first marriage really didn't work out. Rhaenyra and Aegon II also had affairs, of course.

This is refreshingly conventional - men who may have had armies of bastards are exceedingly rare. There are Aegon IV, Aerys II, Maegor (who tried really, really hard) Aegon II (who had two acknowledged bastards) and Prince Daemon. Of the women there is Saera, Daena, and Elaena. That's it.

Jaehaerys main concern at the time he and his council came up with the Doctrine, was incestuous marriage and getting the faith to go along with the Targaryens continued practice of it. That was the main focus with the doctrine, seeing how he married his sister already. I don't think we can say Jaehaerys was 100% against polygamy because he didn't use the doctrine to get the faith to go along with it like he did  with incestuous marriages. Is polygamy totally off the tables for the Targaryens because the doctrine doesn't outright mention it, I don't believe so. Polygamy wasn't common  in Valyria, so i'm not surprised it wasn't practiced much by the Targaryens.  Could Rhaegar use tthe doctrine as a reason why he could  marry Lyanna, it's possible. 

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9 hours ago, Tha Shiznit said:

You're probably right that the DoE was just background material for the Targaryen's to display their specialness to the rest of the seven kingdoms. I personally suspect that Martin probably didn't put too thought into Doctrine of Exceptionalism before Fire & Blood's release, he was to busy with the main series and all. I originally used to believe before Fire & Blood's release that Jaehaerys simple reasoning was that incest is more important to the family into keeping the dragons within and because it is a more ancient tradition that Valyrian dragonlords practice. Incest is also a major taboo in the Faith of the Seven, taboo in the sense it was equated to being punched in the stomach for a pious follower of the Faith - and I guess you can say adding polygamy into the mix would be like kicking dirt into a man's eye when he is down on his knees. It would have been a major humiliation for the Seven. 

To be clear, I think the Doctrine of Exceptionalism was definitely an invention George only came up with for FaB. But it serves very well as theoretical background explaining the Targaryen specialness we find throughout the entire sense. In that sense, pretty much all the books and the short series actually do reference the Doctrine implicitly without making it explicit because it was only invented in FaB.

If we look at FaB then the success of the Doctrine was guaranteed because the Seven Speakers and others constantly preached and taught that the Targaryens were different than other men and thus allowed to marry their sisters. This was constantly repeated to familiarize the people of the Seven Kingdoms with the concept so that, over time, the opposition to Targaryen incest died out during the reign of the Conciliator.

But it is equally clear that Jaehaerys I didn't have his propagandists spread the word that Targaryen specialness and the Doctrine of Exceptionalism allowed the Targaryens to take more than one spouse at the time. This was not part of the Doctrine and hence the Doctrine did nothing to familiarize the people of Westeros with the concept of royal bigamy or polygamy. Incestuous Targaryen marriages were normalized by the Doctrine, bigamy and polygamy were not.

If Targaryen bigamy and polygamy had been normalized as a concept, then the above mentioned members of the house who could have resolved their personal predicaments via bigamy and polygamy should have considered doing that. Daemon's way to claim Rhaenyra in 111 AC wouldn't have been to seduce her and then try to blackmail his royal brother into setting aside his marriage to Rhea Royce and allow him to marry his soiled niece. It would have been the Maegor routine: Marry Princess Rhaenyra in secret and make his, Daemon's, second wife and then tell the king and the court - just as Daemon did later when he married Laena Velaryon and then, later still, Princess Rhaenyra. These people wouldn't have behaved the way they did if bigamy or polygamy had been a real option for them. Even more so Rhaenyra when she was forced into a marriage with a gay husband she did not like - if bigamy had been a possibility she could have married both Laenor Velaryon and a man of her choosing. But this does not happen - in fact, it isn't even considered as a theoretical possibility. And this is very odd considering that Rhaenyra and her father (and other men in her life) really came to blows over the entire Laenor affair.

Else Princess Saera could have quoted her father's own Doctrine (or one of his speakers) when suggesting she could marry all of her lovers (for instance, if polygamy had been a part of the Doctrine propaganda then there could have been an anecdote in the book where some peasant ask whether he can have more than one wife, and one of the Seven Speakers could have answered with the 'Go claim a dragon and I'll marry you to your lovers' routine - but there is nothing of that sort in the book; all we get is about incest). Instead, she had to cite the precedents of the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel.

9 hours ago, Tha Shiznit said:

Jaehaerys simply prioritize what was more important to the dynasty survival, in this case, incest. And because of that, he was called the Conciliator for his wisdom into compromising with the Faith. Thus avoiding the last major conflict to his rule. 

I'd add that both he and essentially all Targaryen men we see in FaB aside from Maegor and, perhaps, Daemon were monogamist at heart. Even the Conqueror. He didn't want to have a harem, he just wanted his sister Rhaenys more than his sister Visenya and for some reason chose to marry them both to keep everything in the family (especially the dragons), but he never had any affairs, and he never took another wife after Rhaenys' death (or an additional third wife while both his sister-wives were still alive). But as I lay out above - Aenys, Aegon the Uncrowned (after his marriage, at least) Jaehaerys, Aemon, Baelon, and Vaegon were all monogamous and never entertained any lovers. Even Viserys I - who may have had Alicent as a lover before his wife's death and who may have slept somewhat around later in life (if there is any truth to the claim that Trystane Truefyre might be the king's bastard) - was enforcing strict monogamy in his family.

There is simply no conceivable reason why any Targaryen king from Jaehaerys I to Aegon III should champion or consider bigamy or polygamy as a legitimate option for the members of the family. And this is actually rather striking if you consider that both Prince Aemon (stuck with a daughter as his only heir) and Viserys I (stuck with a daughter as his only heir) never so much as considered rectifying that problem by taking more than one wife at the same time. This certainly is not a society where kings think 'Well, if we face problems in the heirs department we can always take an additional wife' - no, they can't. It is not an option they considered.

And if you look at the history of the reign of Aerys II then it is also quite clear that this rather arrogant and presumptuous man bowed down to the laws of the Seven insofar as marriage conduct is concerned. He slept around in his youth, falsely accused his sister-wife of adultery, etc. - but after the death of his son Jaehaerys he humbed himself in front of gods and men and took a solemn vow to only share his bed with his lawful sister-wife ... which resulted in him finally producing a viable second son, something he likely interpreted as a gift from the Seven for his newfound fidelity and faithfulness.

The idea that a king with this background would ever condone or accept that his heir takes another wife at a point where he already has two healthy heirs - and thus breaks his marriage in a more ultimate way than Aerys II ever did - is actually not very likely (after all, Aerys II struggled to produce another heir for nearly two decades yet he apparently never once considered resolving this problem by making any of his many mistresses his second or third or fourth or fifth wife. In that sense, Rhaegar's chances to get through with a bigamist adventure are very slow indeed. This doesn't tell us anything whether he did it or not, of course, just that the societal climate throughout his last years would not exactly have been in favor of this kind of thing.

9 hours ago, Tha Shiznit said:

Though you reasoning that Jaehaerys's hatred for Maegor could be right, him soiling polygamy for the entire dynasty probably didn't help either. I kinda wonder if Aemond One-Eye had any plans to revive the practice again, such has his secret marriage to Alys Rivers and his betrothal to lord Borros's daughters would have played out. 

Actually, before FaB (when we only had TPatQ and the summary from TWoIaF) I always wondered why George didn't have Aemond marry one of the Baratheon girls - but FaB makes that clear when we learn that Aemond supposedly married Alys Rivers before his death. If his son by her ever tries to claim the Iron Throne as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne then this works much better if Alys Rivers is the only wife Aemond Targaryen ever had, and not the alleged second wife in the shadow of a Baratheon girl.

It is quite clear that the way Aemond is characterized that he was firmly in camp Alys when he died - he would have never taken another wife had he lived.

25 minutes ago, Daemon The Black Dragon said:

Jaehaerys main concern at the time he and his council came up with the Doctrine, was incestuous marriage and getting the faith to go along with the Targaryens continued practice of it. That was the main focus with the doctrine, seeing how he married his sister already. I don't think we can say Jaehaerys was 100% against polygamy because he didn't use the doctrine to get the faith to go along with it like he did  with incestuous marriages. Is polygamy totally off the tables for the Targaryens because the doctrine doesn't outright mention it, I don't believe so. Polygamy wasn't common  in Valyria, so i'm not surprised it wasn't practiced much by the Targaryens.  Could Rhaegar use tthe doctrine as a reason why he could  marry Lyanna, it's possible. 

We know that incestuous marriages and their acceptance was Jaehaerys I's only concern. That's why the Doctrine was drawn up.

We do know he was not in favor of polygamy because he never used his Doctrine to justify it, never considered taking another wife or mistress himself, never allowed any of his children or grandchildren to have more than one wife - a trend that continued into the 2nd century.

This doesn't mean mad Targaryens like Saera or Rhaegar cannot cite the precedents of the Conqueror or Maegor the Cruel to justify their desire to have multiple spouses - and they could also try to thwart the Doctrine of Exceptionalism to justify such designs. But the fact remains that its author never used it justify such perversions, nor was it ever used in the history of the dragonriding Targaryens to justify something like that.

This doesn't mean it cannot be abused by people in the future, of course. But the fact remains that a realistic depiction of a man like Rhaegar citing the Doctrine as justification or pretext why he can have a second wife would include scholarly and legal opposition because it has never been used in the history of House Targaryen to justify bigamy or polygamy. Any prince wanting to have more than one wife should cite the actual precedents of kings who had more than one wife, i.e. Aegon I and Maegor the Cruel. But citing Maegor as an example (who was the only king who took more than one wife as a follower of the Seven who had taken his first wife in a sept) is never going to be something that's going to make you popular. He was a usurper and tyrant who was overthrown by the grandson of the Conqueror, after all. Citing his example is like Elizabeth I citing the example of Richard III to justify any of her actions ... it wouldn't look good.

In fact, if polygamy comes back as a concept now that we see Targaryens show up and play an ever greater role in the story it is likely going to be Daenerys (who is the only one to have considered taking more than one husband at this point) and this kind of perversion - being even infinitely worse if a woman dares to presume to take multiple husbands - is going to be used as a means to vilify her.

Aegon, on the other hand, is likely going to follow the strictures of the Faith to the letter - in part this will make him look good, in part because he'll lack the power to antagonize the rearmed Faith.

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He might, but it's unlikely people fall that, neither the Doctrine was conceived as a way to justify polygamy, nor the Jaeharys' massive propaganda ever touched the polygamy, we see Westeros accepting and internalizing Targ incest but we actually never see the polygamy following that road and it pretty much died with Maegor, Daemon asked for his wife to be set aside and not just remarry for example, and as far as we know even the likes of Aegon IV, Aerys II or Robert Baratheon,  preferred not to touch that egg.

I can't honestly know a way in which Rhaegar could remarry and his marriage being actually valid, nor I can think of a reason why he'd do that, other than so Jon is "rightful heir", he could always just legitimize whatever kid he had and  be done with it.

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7 hours ago, frenin said:

He might, but it's unlikely people fall that, neither the Doctrine was conceived as a way to justify polygamy, nor the Jaeharys' massive propaganda ever touched the polygamy, we see Westeros accepting and internalizing Targ incest but we actually never see the polygamy following that road and it pretty much died with Maegor, Daemon asked for his wife to be set aside and not just remarry for example, and as far as we know even the likes of Aegon IV, Aerys II or Robert Baratheon,  preferred not to touch that egg.

It is not just that they didn't touch the egg, in the Targaryen reigns covered by FaB not even a single king or prince after Maegor the Cruel ever considers bigamy or polygamy as a serious option to resolve a problem - despite the fact that many had trouble conceiving male heirs (Aemon, Viserys I) and/or were stuck in loveless/unwanted marriages (Daemon, Rhaenyra).

Touching the egg would have been that someone seriously considered bigamy or polygamy and was dissuaded by his advisers, stopped by uprisings, or shut down by the king.

Instead, the impression we get is that House Targaryen really has internalized monogamy as the only concept of marriage there is more or less to the same degree our modern Western societies have. Taking more than one wife is something madmen and tyrants do (Maegor), and is only something unnatural, perverse women suggest (Saera, Lady Sam).

7 hours ago, frenin said:

I can't honestly know a way in which Rhaegar could remarry and his marriage being actually valid, nor I can think of a reason why he'd do that, other than so Jon is "rightful heir", he could always just legitimize whatever kid he had and  be done with it.

We can imagine quite a few reasons why he may have done that - basically the same kind of reason Duncan the Small would cite (love) - but as you say this does not mean that his father, the court, the Faith, or the Westerosi people would have considered such a marriage as valid or would have back then considered any child from that union as legitimate (or Jon Snow later should the people of Westeros ever believe the story of his parentage).

Rhaegar would have reintroduced the concept of royal polygamy nearly two centuries after the last polygamous king (a usurper and tyrant who was overthrown by Rhaegar's own ancestor) and that certainly should be as likely as big a scandal as Martin Luther signing off on the bigamy of some German prince back during the Reformation (citing Biblical precedents to justify polygamy).

The idea that people would just shrug and accept that isn't very likely - even more so since the only (sort of) accepted polygamist among the Targaryens were crowned and anointed kings. The Conqueror's marriages were not openly attacked (but also not blessed) because he was the king, but Prince Maegor's second marriage wasn't accepted by his royal brother, his court, the Faith, or the people of Westeros. He rode Balerion but he still had to go into exile because he presumed to take a second wife. Only after his return and his usurpation - and constant butchering - did he finally break the Faith and force them to officiate at his weddings. I mean, how much the Faith of the Andals abhorrs and detests polygamy can be drawn from quotes like this:

Quote

Maegor Targaryen and Tyanna of the Tower were wed atop the Hill of Rhaenys, amidst the ashes and bones of the Warrior’s Sons who had died there. It was said that Maegor had to put a dozen septons to death before he found one willing to perform the ceremony. Wat the Hewer, limbless, was kept alive to witness the marriage.

If polygamy was just some of minor sin and technically easily reconciled with Faith theology and marital law chances are rather low that a dozen septons would have chosen death rather than marrying the king - especially since monogamous incestuous unions never rose the same kind of opposition of the Faith. Septon Murmison married King Aenys' older children Rhaena and Aegon in 41 AC without offering any resistance, and Septon Oswyck didn't even have a problem or doubts about Jaehaerys I's desire to marry his sister Alysanne in 49 AC.

And when the Doctrine of Exceptionalism is drawn up it is also implied that Maegor's polygamous perversions were a bigger problem than the incestuous union(s) of King Aenys' children:

Quote

Jaehaerys had concluded that the violent opposition that had greeted his brother Aegon’s marriage had several causes. Their uncle Maegor’s taking of a second wife in 39 AC, in defiance of both the High Septon and his own brother, King Aenys, had shattered the delicate understanding between the Iron Throne and the Starry Sept, so the marriage of Aegon and Rhaena had been seen as a further outrage. The denunciation thus provoked had lit a fire across the land, and the Swords and Stars had taken up the torches, along with a score of pious lords who feared the gods more than their king. Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaena had been little known amongst the smallfolk, and they had begun their progress without dragons (in large part because Aegon was not yet a dragonrider), which left them vulnerable to the mobs that sprung up to attack them in the riverlands.

Aegon-Rhaena were just 'further outrage' - their wedding was not cause for the Faith Militant Uprising. That was Maegor's marriage to Alys Harroway.

Rhaegar is not exactly very likely to force Westeros to accept his views on marriage without both a dragon and a crown.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/23/2019 at 2:58 PM, Lord Varys said:

That is so not the case. There is a point when Jaehaerys I talks about the conduct of his daughter:

She only references both Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel, their harems and her intention to follow their examples later, and it is that point when Jaehaerys I explodes:

You cannot construe this as Jaehaerys I approving of bigamy or polygamy. Nobody doubts that Jaehaerys I also has other issues with his dear uncle besides him having six wives (and one them his own sister), but it is quite clear that he doesn't approve what Maegor did and what Saera wants to do. Perhaps this is because Maegor soiled bigamy/polygamy for the Targaryens (or at least Jaehaerys I), perhaps it is because Jaehaerys I, while a patriarch and somewhat of a misogynist, at least had the decency to acknowledge that a man - even a Targaryen - shouldn't have more than one wife at the same time. He never even entertained a mistress while Alysanne lived, not even when they lived apart, and it certainly seems that he believed in the sanctity of marriage, as did his wife, Queen Alysanne. If they believed in bigamy or polygamy they would have had likely not abolished the First Night.

This is a theory based on nothing. In no place does does Jaehaerys condemn polygamy. He condemns his daughter's conduct and her evoking of Maegor's name as an example to follow, but this in no way shows he condemns polygamy. It only shows his outrage over his daughter's conduct, her use of his brothers's murderer as an example, and her plan. It is an absurd plan that no Targaryen ruler would approve. But it has absolutely nothing to do with the institution of polygamy. His rejection of a polygamous marriage can't be seen as a generalized view, but it has everything to do with the Saera's shameful conduct, her lack of contrition, and the unsuitable character of her proposed "grooms." This is a conversation of a father chastising his wayward daughter and an attempt to control her and punish her. Not a discussion about the permissibility  of polygamy.

Once again, for any Targaryen ruler other than Maegor to reject polygamy would be a rejection of Aenys's line claim to the throne. It is a claim based on the validity of a second marriage. For this reason alone we don't see Jaehaerys reject polygamy, or any of his descendants do so. That is not to say they think it is a good idea in specific cases, but the idea they would reject the marriages of the Conquerer and his sister wives is nonsense.

And LV, what's with the invoking the use of the word "bigamy?" Bigamy is only illegal polygamy, and there is no question about polygamy being outlawed ever. There is absolutely nothing to suggest such was the case ever, and well known examples of it being considered by later Targaryens.

Edited by SFDanny

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I suspect that major problem with Maegor was that his first wife was a Hightower. Or if his wife had been somebody else (and not niece of High Septon) almost certainly the Faith would have been less aggressive and in case his second wife had been a Hightower they would have been very happy about idea.

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14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We can imagine quite a few reasons why he may have done that - basically the same kind of reason Duncan the Small would cite (love) - but as you say this does not mean that his father, the court, the Faith, or the Westerosi people would have considered such a marriage as valid or would have back then considered any child from that union as legitimate (or Jon Snow later should the people of Westeros ever believe the story of his parentage).

 

I can't honestly  think love is good reason but who knows,  a marriage that would be considered illegal by all is as valid as a no marriage, and if they both loved each other, who cares?? Would their alleged love not be true if they weren't married?? And if they knew the marriage would be considered a farse... why even bother??

11 hours ago, SFDanny said:

Once again, for any Targaryen ruler other than Maegor to reject polygamy would be a rejection of Aenys's line claim to the throne. It is a claim based on the validity of a second marriage. For this reason alone we don't see Jaehaerys reject polygamy, or any of his descendants do so. That is not to say they think it is a good idea in specific cases, but the idea they would reject the marriages of the Conquerer and his sister wives is nonsense.

 

No more than it was for Viserys naming Rhaenrya his apparent heir after the GC 101 decision, no one ever thought Viserys own reign was shaky because "he was decreeing agaisnt the Council that made King".

Aegon's marriage was  legal because it happened not in Westerosi soil, he entered in Westeros already a bigamist, so there was nothing the HS or any Andal could do about it, the fact that something was legal 30 years ago and made it illegal in the present doesn't make it illegal retroactively.

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If polygamy wasn't legal what was Rhaegar intention with Lyanna abscond with her? If his intent was to have another child, then a legitimatized child would have been the answer? Though I'm not sure Lyanna would want her child to be a bastard and her to be viewed as a whore or mistress by Westerosi society. A polygamist marriage seems to me would have been accepted if king Aerys allowed in the first place, and I don't think so. The two seem to have been odds with each other after Duskendale. And if Rhaegar was going with legitimatization route, the Starks would have undoubtedly been against it has it, as it would have sullied the honor of House Stark - who I remind everyone are Lords Paramount of the North and a great house, not unlike the Brackens and Blackwoods.  

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8 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

I suspect that major problem with Maegor was that his first wife was a Hightower. Or if his wife had been somebody else (and not niece of High Septon) almost certainly the Faith would have been less aggressive and in case his second wife had been a Hightower they would have been very happy about idea.

It is very likely that the fact that Maegor's first wife - and his only wife insofar as the Faith and King Aenys were concerned - was a Hightower and the High Septon's own niece made it essentially impossible for Maegor formally annul or set aside that marriage before he married Alys Harroway - the fact that Maegor declared that Ceryse was barren essentially confirmed he did not want to keep her as his wife (and obviously did not do that in any real sense of the word since it is clear that the marriage was later renewed with another wedding and bedding after their reconciliation). He wanted a fertile woman as a replacement wife, he did not want to start a harem.

If Ceryse Hightower had been from a less prestigious house with less strong ties to the High Septon himself (who had also officiated at the marriage) then there may have been no need for Maegor to become a bigamist since he could have found a way to formally end or even annul his first marriage before he took a second wife.

But the outrage over bigamy and polygamy seems to be real and very strong. Again, I point you to the dozen septons who rather died than marry Maegor to Tyanna - which is really something considering that neither King Aenys nor King Jaehaerys I produced any septon-martyrs when they went through with their incestuous marriages.

In combination with the fact that Jaehaerys I identified Maegor's second marriage as the real/main cause for the Faith Militant Uprising I'd say that incestuous unions are apparently less reviled in the Faith's and the Westerosi eyes than bigamy and polygamy.

And in that sense I doubt that the Faith would have accepted Maegor taking a second wife if his first wife hadn't been Ceryse Hightower - rather, they would have found a way for him to end his first marriage so that he would not become a bigamist by taking another wife.

19 hours ago, SFDanny said:

This is a theory based on nothing. In no place does does Jaehaerys condemn polygamy. He condemns his daughter's conduct and her evoking of Maegor's name as an example to follow, but this in no way shows he condemns polygamy. It only shows his outrage over his daughter's conduct, her use of his brothers's murderer as an example, and her plan. It is an absurd plan that no Targaryen ruler would approve. But it has absolutely nothing to do with the institution of polygamy. His rejection of a polygamous marriage can't be seen as a generalized view, but it has everything to do with the Saera's shameful conduct, her lack of contrition, and the unsuitable character of her proposed "grooms." This is a conversation of a father chastising his wayward daughter and an attempt to control her and punish her. Not a discussion about the permissibility  of polygamy.

He and Queen Alysanne both condemn polygamy in the perversions of Ser Lucamore Strong. It is made quite clear that his marriage vows are not only seen as invalid because he is a knight of the Kingsguard but also because he has married more than one wife:

Quote

Then Queen Alysanne spoke up, saying, “You made a mockery of your oaths as a knight of the Kingsguard, but those were not the only vows you broke. You dishonored your marriage vows as well, not once but thrice. None of these women are lawfully wed, so these children I see behind you are bastards one and all. They are the true innocents in this, ser. Your wives were ignorant of one another, I am told, but each of them must surely have known that you were a White Sword, a knight of the Kingsguard. To that extent they share your guilt, as does whatever drunken septon you found to marry you. For them some mercy may be warranted, but for you…I will not have you near my lord, ser.”

There is no institution of polygamy in this world, there are just two kings who forced the world to turn a blind eye to their perversions - that's really it. Jaehaerys I created a religious doctrine to justify his family's tradition of incestuous marriages, but nobody ever created 'royal polygamy' as a legal institution.

If you wanted to make a case that Jaehaerys I was in favor of bigamy or polygamy you would have to be able to give us textual evidence for that. But there is none. Instead there is a lot of implicit and somewhat explicit evidence against that:

- Jaehaerys I never spoke favorable about bigamy or polygamy nor did he practice it himself or allow any of his children or grandchildren to take more than one spouse.

- Jaehaerys I did not list bigamy or polygamy among the practices (incestuous marriages, dragonriding) or special qualities (looks, immunity to diseases) that characterize the members of House Targaryen as per the Doctrine of Exceptionalism.

- Jaehaerys I did condemn a proven polygamist in Ser Lucamore Strong.

- Jaehaerys I also did condemn his daughter Saera very harshly when she started to talk about polygamy.

- Jaehaerys I also abolished the First Night (an ancient privilege that allowed many lords to sleep around).

There is just no evidence whatsoever that the only kind of marriage Jaehaerys I accepted was monogamy - which, basically, is the default view of pretty much any denizen of the mainland Seven Kingdoms. We don't need, say, Stannis to explicitly condemn polygamy as a practice to know that he never thought about taking more than one wife.

19 hours ago, SFDanny said:

Once again, for any Targaryen ruler other than Maegor to reject polygamy would be a rejection of Aenys's line claim to the throne. It is a claim based on the validity of a second marriage. For this reason alone we don't see Jaehaerys reject polygamy, or any of his descendants do so. That is not to say they think it is a good idea in specific cases, but the idea they would reject the marriages of the Conquerer and his sister wives is nonsense.

Can you give us any quote where the validity of the Conqueror's marriages is ever brought up or discussed to support the claim of King Aenys and his descendants? There are no so quotes.

Instead, as @frenin pointed out, we have a king in Viserys I who ruled against the precedent he owed his own throne to to ensure that his chosen successor could succeed to the throne. There is no indication that people in Westeros have to uphold or support all things their distant ancestors did to ensure they can keep their power and their seats. And Jaehaerys I definitely wasn't a blind observer or follower of traditions - he abolished ancient practices, he unified and changed the laws, he made new laws, etc.

And we do know that the status of the marriages of the Conqueror was actually not clear during his reign - just as the status of Prince Aenys was not clear, either (Aenys was rumored to be a bastard yet he still become Heir Apparent to the Iron Throne and succeeded his father - because the Conqueror made that happen with the power and authority that came with his conquest). But about his marriages we get this:

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Whilst the High Septons of King Aegon’s reign never spoke out against the king’s marriage to his sisters, neither did they declare it to be lawful. The humbler members of the Faith—village septons, holy sisters, begging brothers, Poor Fellows—still believed it sinful for brother to lie with sister, or for a man to take two wives.

Aegon the Conqueror's two marriages were tolerated, but they were never accepted.

And as I pointed out repeatedly we have no reason to assume that Aegon I married his two sisters in a ceremony conducted by the Faith. Aegon's marriage was likely done in a savage Valyrian ceremony, like Maegor later did it on Dragonstone when he married Alys Harroway (that he had to use his mother to marry his second wife is rather telling considering that Septon Oswyck - who had later no scruples to marry Jaehaerys I to his sister Alysanne - apparently refused to marry Maegor to a second wife). And before the Conquest (and to many perhaps even thereafter) such ceremonies should be as binding Faith-conducted ceremonies to the gods of Ghis (we get implicit confirmation for this when Lysandro Rogare has to make the validity of Prince Viserys' marriage to his daughter Larra part of his official negotiations with the Iron Throne - the Westerosi do not consider a foreign or savage marriage to be as binding as one done according to their own rules).

And it is quite clear that the original view of Aegon's marriage to his two sister-wives was that he was not married at all - after all, fucking your sister(s) is a sin, not a marriage in the eyes of the Faith, as is taking more than one wife.

Aegon's power caused them to sort of overlook the status of Aegon's marriages as well as the status of his sons.

And as I like to point out - Aegon the Conqueror was a strict monogamist for 27 years of his reign. Most of his subjects wouldn't have remembered him as a bigamist but the monogamist he became after Queen Rhaenys' death.

19 hours ago, SFDanny said:

And LV, what's with the invoking the use of the word "bigamy?" Bigamy is only illegal polygamy, and there is no question about polygamy being outlawed ever. There is absolutely nothing to suggest such was the case ever, and well known examples of it being considered by later Targaryens.

I'm using bigamy to make things more clear. Aegon the Conqueror was a bigamist because he had only two wives, just as Rhaegar would be if he married Lyanna. Polygamy involves more than two wives. In that sense Maegor was the only Targaryen polygamist, coming to a total of four wives at a given time.

7 hours ago, frenin said:

I can't honestly  think love is good reason but who knows,  a marriage that would be considered illegal by all is as valid as a no marriage, and if they both loved each other, who cares?? Would their alleged love not be true if they weren't married?? And if they knew the marriage would be considered a farse... why even bother??

The comparison to Duncan-Jenny is fitting precisely because Duncan also could have married his Baratheon girl and kept Jenny as a mistress - their love wouldn't have been less real in that case. Yet he apparently wanted to marry that woman, period. And he was willing to give up a crown for his marriage.

It might be that Lyanna and/or Rhaegar were not willing to consummate their relationship unless they were married at least in their own hearts - if they were prudish enough then this could be explanation enough.

You don't have to necessarily think the status and degree of acceptance of your marriage through before you enter into it - especially not if you actually want to be married. Not to mention that starting with a marriage should make it easier

7 hours ago, frenin said:

Aegon's marriage was  legal because it happened not in Westerosi soil, he entered in Westeros already a bigamist, so there was nothing the HS or any Andal could do about it, the fact that something was legal 30 years ago and made it illegal in the present doesn't make it illegal retroactively.

Oh, they certainly could have done something about it but they chose to ignore or sort of tolerate it instead of using it as a pretext to rebel. Yet it is quite clear that the issue was not settled during the reign of the Conqueror. And while Jaehaerys I eventually convinced the Faith and Westeros at large to accept Targaryen incest (using the Doctrine of Exceptionalism) no such victory was ever won for polygamy - which is simply not a Targaryen tradition.

53 minutes ago, Tha Shiznit said:

If polygamy wasn't legal what was Rhaegar intention with Lyanna abscond with her? If his intent was to have another child, then a legitimatized child would have been the answer? Though I'm not sure Lyanna would want her child to be a bastard and her to be viewed as a whore or mistress by Westerosi society. A polygamist marriage seems to me would have been accepted if king Aerys allowed in the first place, and I don't think so. The two seem to have been odds with each other after Duskendale. And if Rhaegar was going with legitimatization route, the Starks would have undoubtedly been against it has it, as it would have sullied the honor of House Stark - who I remind everyone are Lords Paramount of the North and a great house, not unlike the Brackens and Blackwoods.  

I actually expect us to learn that Rhaegar and Lyanna had to go underground after 'the abduction' because King Aerys II learned about the marriage and condemned it along with the two traitors. The only reason why Rhaegar and Lyanna would hide is that they were afraid the king and the Realm at large would not accept their bigamist union.

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56 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:
 
 
20 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I actually expect us to learn that Rhaegar and Lyanna had to go underground after 'the abduction' because King Aerys II learned about the marriage and condemned it along with the two traitors. The only reason why Rhaegar and Lyanna would hide is that they were afraid the king and the Realm at large would not accept their bigamist union.

This why I wonder what was his true intent with Lyanna. If he and Lyanna were afraid that the king and Realm would not accept their union, then it would be hopeless for him to be accepted by the realm after the rebellion. Rhaegar's council/roads not taken would not be given a second thought if the realm can't behind him and Lyanna bigamist union. Aerys was mad but it was Rhaegar cause the rebellion, the execution of Brandon and the other lords were the catalyst. He and Lyanna would ultimately be blamed for it.

Edited by Tha Shiznit
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13 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

I suspect that major problem with Maegor was that his first wife was a Hightower. Or if his wife had been somebody else (and not niece of High Septon) almost certainly the Faith would have been less aggressive and in case his second wife had been a Hightower they would have been very happy about idea.

Lord Manfred Hightower, a godly man according to Yandel, is said to have offered up the hand of his youngest daughter to Aegon I.

As both of Aegon's sister-wives were still alive at the time, Lord Manfred was offering his daughter up to be Aegon's third concurrent wife.

Prior to that, Lord Argilac Durrandon had offered his only daughter and heir to Aegon, again, while Aegon was already wed to both his sisters.

Queen Sharra Arryn had also offered herself up to Aegon while he was already wed to his sisters, provided Aegon named her son Ronnel his heir.

And even after Rhaenys died, and Aenys had been born, great lords and knights brought their daughters to court hoping to wed them to Aegon while he was still wed to Visenya.

The fact is, there is no evidence that there was widespread disgust at Targaryen polygamy among the great lords of Westeros. 

One or two High Septons, one with a serious axe to grind, tried to stir up opposition to Aenys and Maegor using it as a pretext, but that was short lived.

Targs had good reasons not to practice polygamy without ever accepting a ban on multiple wives, a ban that there is no hint of.

Fathering children with multiple wives proved to be a recipe for usurpation and civil war, whether from two wives wed at the same time (Aegon I), or with a new wife after the death of the first (Viserys I).

Hell, Aegon IV managed to unleash over half a century of on and off civil war just legitimizing bastards whose mothers he never bothered to wed.

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11 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

The fact is, there is no evidence that there was widespread disgust at Targaryen polygamy among the great lords of Westeros.

There is. Aegon the Conqueror's two wives were not married to him while he was the ruler of Westeros - it happened while he was the savage ruler of his 'kingdom' of Dragonstone where he could do what he wanted. This was not the case to the same degree after he had conquered the Seven Kingdoms and decided to uphold and defend most of their ways and customs. His sons and grandchildren were brought up in the ways of the Faith, and they also took their wives in a sept.

It is no contradiction that ambition overrules sense or good taste - we later also see sycophants and yes-men fuel Maegor's ambitions, attempting to reap favors and advantages for their families from his desire to finally have a fertile wife who can give him a (male) heir.

The crucial thing is that nobody asks or urges a king who hasn't already opened the disgusting door of polygamy to also marry his daughter/sister. Nobody asks King Aenys to take another wife in addition to Alyssa, nobody ask Jaehaerys I to take another wife in addition to Alysanne, etc.

The message here is that there are unscrupulous men who try to make the best for themselves out of the perversions of a king once they are evident - but this tells us nothing about how men with scruples and good taste should actually conduct themselves. We see this kind of thing again with Aegon IV - once it is clear that the guy likes to entertain mistresses and greatly favors the families of those mistresses every ambitious, scrupulous lord tries to exploit that royal weakness - to detriment of the honor (and, occasionally, the life) of the daughter involved.

There is also not really such a concept as 'Targaryen polygamy' when there were only two Targaryens who ever practiced polygamy in Westeros - and Aegon's case seems to be more a special case of sibling incest (marry both sisters so that everything stays in the family - he did not build a harem like Maegor).

11 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Targs had good reasons not to practice polygamy without ever accepting a ban on multiple wives, a ban that there is no hint of.

There is no reason for a ban, since polygamy was never formally allowed. It contradicts the teachings and strictures of the Faith and is contradictory to the marriage concept of the civilized people of Westeros (i.e. both the Andals and the First Men living south of the Wall).

The crucial thing is that the Doctrine of Exceptionalism clearly is not use justify or normalize polygamy. Jaehaerys I did not thing Targaryens were special enough to have more than one wife at the same time. He did not teach that those of the blood of the dragon can have more spouses than 'lesser men', or did he?

If there had been the occasional Targaryen polygamist between Maegor the Cruel and Aerys II we could see Rhaegar was following 'established precedents' or was well within Targaryen rights and traditions when he took Lyanna as a second wife - but as things are now his taking a second wife about 234 years after Maegor the Cruel - and with Maegor as the prime (or only) citable precedent (since Maegor is the only Targaryen who took a first wife in a sept with the ceremony conducted by a High Septon only to then later take additional wives) - looks like a very exceptional and, frankly, mad thing to do, something that certainly would have the potential to be met with the same kind of ire and disgust Prince Maegor's marriage to Alys Harroway was met with.

Especially since Prince Rhaegar lacked both Balerion and Visenya for a mother - and actually got along less well with his father King Aerys II than Maegor got along with his half-brother King Aenys (he was his Hand) when he took his second wife.

11 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Fathering children with multiple wives proved to be a recipe for usurpation and civil war, whether from two wives wed at the same time (Aegon I), or with a new wife after the death of the first (Viserys I).

Hell, Aegon IV managed to unleash over half a century of on and off civil war just legitimizing bastards whose mothers he never bothered to wed.

That problem would have been only evident after the Dance. There was also concern that Prince Aemon and Prince Baelon might not get along and repeat the Aenys-Maegor conundrum - confirming that in the mind of Westerosi scholars not only half-brothers but full brothers can also rip a kingdom apart.

But the crucial thing is that polygamy would have been the obvious the method of choice for quite a few Targaryen during the reign of Jaehaerys I and Viserys I to resolve their personal troubles with their wives and their lack of heirs - notably Prince Aemon (whose wife could only give him one female heir), Viserys I himself (who was stuck with Aemma until she died instead of taking another wife to father a son in the 90s or early 100s), Prince Daemon (who could have taken Rhaenyra as a second wife in 111 AC, or taken a woman of his own choosing - like Mysaria - in the years before to give him the sons he desired), and Rhaenyra (who, if polygamy had been a thing, wouldn't have been needed to pressured into the Velaryon marriage but who could have been allowed to marry whoever she wanted in addition to the dynastic marriage to Laenor Velaryon).

In fact, if polygamy had been a thing then the entire succession crisis of 101 AC could have been averted simply by drawing up a polygamous marriage contract between Prince Viserys Targaryen (already married to Aemma Arryn) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, stipulating that they would now marry each other in addition to the spouses they already had.

A similar thing could have at least been considered to end or prevent the Dance - i.e. somebody suggesting that Rhaenyra and Aegon II marry each other, both at the beginning of the hostilities or at one point during the war.

The fact that none of this is ever considered is all the confirmation we need that polygamy is about as dead as a concept as it is our modern Western world - and was basically also during most of the European middle ages.

It is not seen as something that the average guy would come up with to resolve dynastic or personal problems - instead it is clearly something only freaks and madmen (seriously) consider.

I don't like that, actually - I wanted there to be the occasional dragonriding Targaryen polygamist (and an army of children coming from such unions to branch out the family tree). But that didn't happen. And if the usurper and tyrant Maegor the Cruel was the last (and in a sense only) Targaryen to do this this certainly must have consequences to the way the practice is seen.

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