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James Steller

Was there any bloodless way to resolve the succession crisis?

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The first half of Viserys I's reign saw the succession trouble brewing involving the Velaryons and Daemon vs. King Viserys and his children (until Rhaenyra was married to Laenor to heal the rift between Velaryon and Targaryen).

In that sense, if Rhaenyra had not been able to draw the Velaryons into their party - and if Daemon had not been able to attach himself first to the Velaryon and then the Blacks - by marrying first Laena and then Rhaenyra, enabling them to betroth their children to each other - other factions would have developed - or rather the rift opened at the Great Council would have deepened.

Rhaenyra and Aegon could have certainly ended up leading a party against Daemon-Laena, with Laenor serving as their figurehead.

If Aegon had ever been Viserys I's chosen heir the Realm would not have rejoiced in the king's old age in light of the fact what kind of man Aegon II was.

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4 hours ago, James Steller said:

Why, though? Two people had been declared to be ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, both with spouses and both with heirs. By that point, how would one of them possibly be able to back down? 

Also, I find it hard to believe that Maris Baratheon was the only reason why Aemond attacked Lucerys. Aemond was itching for blood from the start of the war. I think something would have had to be done long before that point, probably even before Aemond lost his eye.

That's why I said unlikely.

But yeah best outcome would have probably been if Vhagar had turned and roasted Aemond on sight. Or if Criston Cole had taken a nasty head wound in a melee at some point or Lyonel Strong survives and continues on as Hand. There are many, many ways succession crisis could have been prevented. But the entire point of the Dance is that it was the culmination of about twenty different issues and grievences all exploding at the same time. You'd be very busy if you wanted to prevent it entirely.

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On 1/25/2019 at 9:44 AM, Adam Yozza said:

That's why I said unlikely.

But yeah best outcome would have probably been if Vhagar had turned and roasted Aemond on sight. Or if Criston Cole had taken a nasty head wound in a melee at some point or Lyonel Strong survives and continues on as Hand. There are many, many ways succession crisis could have been prevented. But the entire point of the Dance is that it was the culmination of about twenty different issues and grievences all exploding at the same time. You'd be very busy if you wanted to prevent it entirely.

The most obvious way would have been:

To not stage the coup. Rhaenyra had no intention to kill all of Alicent's brood, especially not had she peacefully ascended the Iron Throne. If the woman can spare the lives of Alicent and Helaena later on after all the things they did (and tried) to do to her - it is not just Lucerys, Rhaenys, and Jacaerys, it is also the insidious attempt of Ser Arryk Cargyll.

Rhaenyra's fault is that she didn't really try to end the war and restore peace when she could have - although she is less vindictive than Aegon II when he is a position of making peace with the Blacks still in the field (remember: Rhaenyra only insisted that Alicent's sons have to die, she was willing to offer pardons to the (major) Green lords once the armies of her half-brothers had been defeated; Aegon II actually went on to continue persecute his half-sister's followers even after Rhaenyra's death) - but she did not start this thing. She basically fought for what was hers by right and for the survival and continuation of her family.

She also didn't start the whole thing of executing lords on the wrong side. Remember who first started to behead people for staying true to their vows - Aegon II, on the behest of Ser Criston Cole (and let's not forget poor Lyman Beesbury!). That Rhaenyra followed his example is hardly surprising - or is it inherently wrong to execute traitors? Not in this world.

Edited by Lord Varys

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On 1/24/2019 at 1:13 PM, Lord Varys said:

Alicent, certainly. The woman was nothing but an ambitious social climber who feigned love for the man she seduced - the fact that she never speaks about Viserys I in her last days gives us the ugliest view into Alicent's character. There was, as it turns out, nothing redeemable about this woman aside from, perhaps, the fact that she realized that her own petty ambitious killed her entire family.

We also have to remember this is the woman who left her loving husband's corpse rot in a room until the servants started to smell it. The father of her children. All because she had to keep everything on the down-low while she was going against that very husband's wishes and fucking the realm in the process.

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28 minutes ago, Ellaena said:

We also have to remember this is the woman who left her loving husband's corpse rot in a room until the servants started to smell it. The father of her children. All because she had to keep everything on the down-low while she was going against that very husband's wishes and fucking the realm in the process.

Yeah, that's pretty telling, too. Since we have known that for a long time it didn't strike me as that new when reading FaB. But it is clearly the worst sign of disrespect a king gets in that book, even Cersei went through with the feast Robert had decreed for his own funeral - they did eat the boar, after all.

One should have thought they would have had silent sisters they could trust on the ready if they really felt they had to keep that secret. But, no, apparently everything was a priority but to care for the corpse of the king. That's really disgusting.

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32 minutes ago, Ellaena said:

We also have to remember this is the woman who left her loving husband's corpse rot in a room until the servants started to smell it.

Loving or lustful? 

Visery's fancied the 18 year old daughter of his Hand and Otto was only too happy to oblige. Love might not have came into it. 

In her last days the Queen Dowager seemed to become more lucid. “I want to see my sons again,” she told her septa, “and Helaena, my sweet girl, oh…and King Jaehaerys. I will read to him, as I did when I was little. He used to say I had a lovely voice.” (Strangely, in her final hours Queen Alicent spoke often of the Old King, but never of her husband, King Viserys.)

I imagine there was a great deal of resentment from Alicent towards Viserys, given (by Westerosi standards) he was treating her son like he was second class. While we rightly value equality between the genders, this was not the perception at the time. 

From her perception she did everything right, produced four children to the sonless Viserys, her children followed the royal customs marrying each other and producing legitimate grandchildren for the king unlike Rhaenyra.

Quote

 

The father of her children.

It was her children she was thinking of.  From her perception (and the laws of the land) their father was trying to rob them of their rightful inheritance. 

 

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On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 2:13 PM, Lord Varys said:

Alicent, certainly. The woman was nothing but an ambitious social climber who feigned love for the man she seduced - the fact that she never speaks about Viserys I in her last days gives us the ugliest view into Alicent's character. There was, as it turns out, nothing redeemable about this woman aside from, perhaps, the fact that she realized that her own petty ambitious killed her entire family.

Actually, when it comes to Alicent, I've had a suspicion - not the highest odds, mind you, but still a suspicion. She was there when Jahaerys died. Officially, reading him stuff. According to Mushroom, basically pleasuring him. Which might have been a subtle mushroomy way of hinting at the fact that she had a part in the Old King's death, but for some reason he didn't want to state straight off that she smothered him with a cushion, or something like that. But then, you'd have to understand that Mushroom might have been pro-black or anti-green, or hated people on both sides and liked people on both sides, and tended to make stuff up about people he likes just as about people he dislikes, specially if it makes for good (as in "salacious") reading. That said, I'm not sure of the reason why she would've killed him - maybe Otto Hightower wanted a weak king on the throne for his own personal benefit? Was Otto already hoping to put her daughter on the throne?

 

On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 2:42 PM, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Plus it would also help justify Helaena's madness and suicide. Rhaenyra didn't go mad when her children died, and neither did Aegon II or Alicent or Alysanne or Alyssa or Catelyn (not until her last one died anyway). The only person I can think of who did was Cersei and she already went mad years before that.

Helaena became mad when her first son was assassinated by Daemon's hired goons - and when she was forced to choose between sons, the instant guilt probably was what pushed her over the edge. Everything that happened afterwards had a minor impact, by comparison.

 

On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 3:04 PM, Floki of the Ironborn said:

To be honest, though, I don't want to argue this point very hard because I always disliked the inherent sexism of Westerosi monarchy. I understand that GRRM was making a point by portraying the medieval world (and let's be honest, our modern world too), but the idea of the Iron Throne turning against Rhaenyra and her father was a plot point that was unpleasant to read.

And yet Targaryen Westeros at least was less sexist than most human societies in the last few millennia, which goes to show how bad it was, too often.

 

On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 4:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

We know Larys Strong had more than a hand in those riots. They were not spontaneous. This is confirmed especially for the rabble of Ser Perkin the Flea.

We know the Citadel claims (not officially, mind you) to be a major cause of the extinction of dragons. The first chapters of the 2nd volume of F/B might hint at what happened at the very end, but I've wondered since the Princess and the Queen if the Shepherd wasn't an agent of the Citadel, or at the very least someone who had been heavily manipulated by them. The Storming of the Dragonpit is still the single biggest factor in the death of the Targaryen dragons. Or he might have been a Green agent tasked with making sure Rhaenyra couldn't defend against future green dragon attacks, but that seems unlikely.

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On 1/24/2019 at 3:56 AM, Bernie Mac said:

A Great Council

Rhaenyra is on the record not wanting a Great Council. Probably because the Council would vote the same way it did in 101 - for male claimant.

On 1/24/2019 at 3:56 AM, Bernie Mac said:

Not really, its supposed to be a debated issue, with no clear answer.  

  • When Viserys was adamant she would be his heir he had no sons
  • He asked for support for Rhaenyra to stop Daemon becoming a King due to him being unfit to rule; now they are married and he becomes defacto king
  • The laws of Westeros favor a son over a daughter
  • Jaehaerys Grand Council rubber stamps this law, Viserys is only king because of it 

There is also a matter of Jaehaerys himself.

Jaehaerys only got the throne by ignoring female heir chosen by his predecessor. He also dithered on the matter of Maegor-as-usurper vs Maegor-as-King - he judged Maegor's Kingsguard for abandoning the King and he did nothing to reverse Maegor's land redistribution. Thus Jaehaerys explicitly and implicitly acknowledged Maegor as King. And so Maegor ended up accepted as the third King with all the unfortunate baggage it would entail. Jaehaerys' ascension set up precedents - a precedent for ignoring previous King's wishes on succession and a precedent for eliminating female claimants in favor of more distant male one (an obvious forerunner for 101).

By reviving "succession via appointment" idea, Viserys I undermined himself and his own right to determine the succession. After all, if the King can appoint an heir all by his lonesome, then Jaehaerys is a dirty usurper and so is Viserys. By bringing up the matter of female/male succession he undermined both Jaehaerys (vs Aerea, the eldest child of eldest brother) and himself (vs Rhaenys, ditto). By ignoring Council of 101, he undermined his own Kingship - if the Council was was wrong, then Viserys was not the King.

He tried to pull a Samson act, so to speak.

Edited by Myrish Lace

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37 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Jaehaerys only got the throne by ignoring female heir chosen by his predecessor. He also dithered on the matter of Maegor-as-usurper vs Maegor-as-King - he judged Maegor's Kingsguard for abandoning the King and he did nothing to reverse Maegor's land redistribution.

That is not so. Many of the traitors standing with the usurper had to buy their lives by giving up gold and land. Two of Maegor's KG - likely men who were given their cloaks by Maegor - were condemned as oathbreakers, but the others for serving Maegor and partaking in his crimes.

37 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Thus Jaehaerys explicitly and implicitly acknowledged Maegor as King. And so Maegor ended up accepted as the third King with all the unfortunate baggage it would entail.

There is no baggage there. Maegor simply was the king. He ruled the land for six years, not dead princes or the prince who hid under some rock clinging to his mother's skirt.

It would have been impractical to change all of Maegor's decrees or to rescind such laws which were actually pretty good (like the outlawing of the Faith Militant) but this doesn't mean the usurper is suddenly seen as legitimate.

And it is made crystal clear that neither Alyssa nor her royal son thought Maegor was anything but a usurper.

They also make it pretty clear that Aegon the Uncrowned was the rightful king.

If there were a Targaryen restoration in the books then the Baratheon kings would not just go away. Even Joffrey and Tommen would not just disappear if it were publicly declared Lannister bastards. They were crowned kings, after all.

The Targaryens would likely see Viserys III as the rightful or true king in exile, but that wouldn't change the fact that Robert and his sons sat the throne instead of him.

37 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

By reviving "succession via appointment" idea, Viserys I undermined himself and his own right to determine the succession. After all, if the King can appoint an heir all by his lonesome, then Jaehaerys is a dirty usurper and so is Viserys. By bringing up the matter of female/male succession he undermined both Jaehaerys (vs Aerea, the eldest child of eldest brother) and himself (vs Rhaenys, ditto). By ignoring Council of 101, he undermined his own Kingship - if the Council was was wrong, then Viserys was not the King.

That is not how it works. The king is the king when he is the king. He is not bound by a decision others made to make him king. He is the king, but that doesn't make him beholden to the decisions of other kings who are long dead. This is not a modern legal mindset and framework. This is personal and arbitrary rule, especially at the very top.

Jaehaerys stole the throne in a sense - not from his niece but from Maegor, who had stolen it before. Aerea was Aegon the Uncrowned's daughter, but she was never declared his heiress nor was she ever proclaimed queen by her mother after Aegon's death. Just as Prince Viserys never was proclaimed king and is thus not seen as a pretender despite the fact that he was technically next in line after Aegon.

Viserys I was in no way obligated to honor the Great Council's decision. Even if he had felt that way, the situation in 101 AC was completely different than the one he faced. The Great Council was about a struggle between grandchildren and great-grandchildren, basically, whereas Viserys I made a decision whether his brother or his daughter should be his heir. The Great Council never so much as addressed that question.

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22 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Rhaenyra is on the record not wanting a Great Council. Probably because the Council would vote the same way it did in 101 - for male claimant.

At that point in time she would have lost. 

Had Viserys called one he had both the time and power to influence a decision that he wanted.  Wealth, titles, marriages and royal favor are tools for him to use to get his way. 

22 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

There is also a matter of Jaehaerys himself.

Jaehaerys only got the throne by ignoring female heir chosen by his predecessor. He also dithered on the matter of Maegor-as-usurper vs Maegor-as-King - he judged Maegor's Kingsguard for abandoning the King and he did nothing to reverse Maegor's land redistribution. Thus Jaehaerys explicitly and implicitly acknowledged Maegor as King. And so Maegor ended up accepted as the third King with all the unfortunate baggage it would entail. Jaehaerys' ascension set up precedents - a precedent for ignoring previous King's wishes on succession and a precedent for eliminating female claimants in favor of more distant male one (an obvious forerunner for 101).

By reviving "succession via appointment" idea, Viserys I undermined himself and his own right to determine the succession. After all, if the King can appoint an heir all by his lonesome, then Jaehaerys is a dirty usurper and so is Viserys. By bringing up the matter of female/male succession he undermined both Jaehaerys (vs Aerea, the eldest child of eldest brother) and himself (vs Rhaenys, ditto). By ignoring Council of 101, he undermined his own Kingship - if the Council was was wrong, then Viserys was not the King.

He tried to pull a Samson act, so to speak.

True, it was a can of worms whatever he did.  

If he truly wanted her to be Queen then he should not have got married, instead taken a paramour who's sons would not be treated as Targs (no dragon eggs) but lords of their own Houses. 

If he was determined to remarry then he should have organized a smoother transition of power. Rhaenyra should have been appointed Hand or some other important position reflective of her status, she should have had a say in the Council appointments and a working relationship with the members.  

 

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On 1/24/2019 at 1:11 AM, James Steller said:

One thing that always struck me in “The Princess and the Queen” was how unwilling Aegon II was to steal the crown from Rhaenyra. By all rights, she was the heir, and she had five sons to succeed her. This complacency on Aegon’s part (before he went all-in for violence and total war) makes me wonder if there was a way to avoid the whole Dance of the Dragons. Could the greens have been content to be royals without crowns or maybe go to Essos and carve out their own kingdom? Would Rhaenyra have been tyrannical if she hadn’t been opposed so viciously by Queen Alicent and her ambitious father? 

Or was violence and the near extermination of an entire family literally the only way that things would move forward?

Quote

 

Daemon Blackfyre, the brothers Toyne, the Vulture King, Grand Maester Hareth... traitors have always paid with their lives... even Rhaenyra Targaryen. She was daughter to one king and mother to two more, yet she died a traitor's death for trying to usurp her brother's crown.[4]

—Stannis Baratheon, to Davos Seaworth

Your King seems to be disagreeing with You regarding Rhaenyra being rightful queen, I agree with him there.

Only person who had power to stop war was Viserys , either by marrying Aegon and Rhaenyra and removing Daemon. 

Second is Enforcing Rhaenyra's succession additionally since there were more than twenty years when lords swore an oath , and in the meantime she had birthed three children with dubious parentage and married Daemon ( she was named heir explicitly so he wouldn't rule by practice of succession).

He could have also respected Great Council and rule of primogeniture accepted by most lords , by which he got crown anyway , which would be rightful choice.

 

Edited by Eltharion21

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On 1/24/2019 at 10:53 AM, Lord Varys said:

Easy answer:

There wouldn't have been a conflict if the Greens hadn't staged a coup. Nothing in FaB indicates that Rhaenyra ever planned to banish, punish, or actually physically harm any of her half-siblings or her Hightower kin-by-marriage.

That is fallacious:

Rhaenyra executed  Vaemond Velaryon who claimed her children bastards  prior to conflict: "She sent Daemon to have his head removed, and fed his carcass to her dragon, Syrax".

When Aemond said her children were Strongs in quarrel that her son took out his eye at age of 10 , she demanded he would be "sharply questioned". Pointing out if that is true she would be guilty of high treason, She certainly would  have something against Aemond and other true-born children of  her Father considering her proneness to paranoia.

Her husband Daemon provoked and killed betrothed of his second wife in a duel. He also was likely involved in death of his first wife. Knowing that he would resort to murder to influence family relationship I don't doubt that Greens would be either provoked, humiliated or removed one by one to strengthen their own positions.  

In contrast we don't have similar indicators and patterns of murderous behavior, regarding the Targaryen-Hightower branch prior to the conflict.

Quote

The idea that the Greens had to move first to save the lives of Otto, Alicent, and Alicent's children is just a lie. The stupid leniency Rhaenyra shows to both Alicent and Helaena after they are in her power is all the proof we need for that.

What leniency Helaena got , she died while Rhaenyra held the city, she went through indescribable pain and torment caused by her sister and might have been killed by her minions or tormented to do that.

Alicent wasn't a threat. Only her children by Viserys have claim to the throne, herself she has little affect. She was being left alive so she could see all her children and grandchildren die, maybe similarly to fate of Elaria Sand in TV show, another similarity with Rhaenyra and Cersei.

 

Edited by Eltharion21

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5 minutes ago, Eltharion21 said:

That is fallacious:

Rhaenyra executed  Vaemond Velaryon who claimed her children bastards  prior to conflict: "She sent Daemon to have his head removed, and fed his carcass to her dragon, Syrax".

Vaemond Velaryon was a traitor, who was trying to claim a seat which didn't belong to him. Even if his claims had been true - which is unproven - then this doesn't make him the heir to Driftmark since Corlys Velaryon had two children, and two granddaughters by his eldest child, Laena.

There is nothing wrong with executing a traitor.

5 minutes ago, Eltharion21 said:

When Aemond said her children were Strongs in quarrel that her son took out his eye at age of 10 , she demanded he would be "sharply questioned". Pointing out if that is true she would be guilty of high treason, She certainly would  have something against Aemond and other true-born children of  her Father considering her proneness to paranoia.

Accusing the Princess of Dragonstone of adultery was high treason, so it was not uncalled for her to demand that the boy be forced to reveal who told him that. But demanding to torture a child is not exactly the same as torturing a child, is it? This is a harsh world where a lot of threats are made to loosen tongues.

5 minutes ago, Eltharion21 said:

Her husband Daemon provoked and killed betrothed of his second wife in a duel.

So what? Are duels suddenly unmanly or not allowed in this world?

5 minutes ago, Eltharion21 said:

He also was likely involved in death of his first wife.

Baseless speculation.

5 minutes ago, Eltharion21 said:

Knowing that he would resort to murder to influence family relationship I don't doubt that Greens would be either provoked, humiliated or removed one by one to strengthen their own positions.

Baseless speculation. It is certainly true that Rhaenyra would have immediately dismissed Otto as Hand, but the Handship is just an office, he had no right to keep that office as his own grandson later made clear. Alicent certainly would be shipped back to retirement in Oldtown - but so what? Jaehaerys I also condemned his own mother to death by husband at Storm's End. And Criston Cole may have been forced to take the black, but so what? He has sworn to obey his king and he betrayed him - him and the daughter he had chosen to succeed him.

We have ample evidence that Rhaenyra had no intention to kill her half-siblings after her ascension.

5 minutes ago, Eltharion21 said:

In contrast we don't have similar indicators and patterns of murderous behavior, regarding the Targaryen-Hightower branch prior to the confilct.

LOL. Instead we have evidence that the vilest and cruelest things in the war were all done at the behest of the Greens or their allies - Rook's Rest, the Gullet, the sack of Bitterbridge, First Tumbleton and the Sack, Ser Perkin's exploits.

Even the cruel things of the Blacks - Blood and Cheese, the Fishfeed, etc. were done in retaliation for things the Greens did before, or because of provocations done by them.

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46 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That is not how it works.

Saying "this is not how it works" doesn't change the fact that this is exactly how it works - as demonstrated in the story many, many times. The fantasy of "personal and arbitrary" rule haunts Targaryen dynasty, but it always comes crashing down whenever the King tries to indulge. Maegor, Viserys, Aerys - it ends in tears every time. Why? Because a functional arbitrary rule by a monarch requires wide-spread bureaucracy and centralization way beyond anything Westeros has ever seen. Even Maegor, with his giant dragon and brutality, could not turn the tide.

Successful Targaryens avoided "personal and arbitrary" style like a plague, for a good reason.

34 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Rhaenyra should have been appointed Hand or some other important position reflective of her status, she should have had a say in the Council appointments and a working relationship with the members.   

Given Rhaenyra's abysmal showing both before and during the Dance, I doubt it would help. If anything, she would probably make even more enemies, alienate even more people and generally fertilize the ground for her opponents. Rhaenyra has a legal problem (established precedents are stacked against her) and a personal problem (she is a horrible person and suffers from exceedingly poor judgement). Viserys could try to solve the former, but I doubt anything could be done about the latter.

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11 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Loving or lustful? 

Visery's fancied the 18 year old daughter of his Hand and Otto was only too happy to oblige. Love might not have came into it. 

In her last days the Queen Dowager seemed to become more lucid. “I want to see my sons again,” she told her septa, “and Helaena, my sweet girl, oh…and King Jaehaerys. I will read to him, as I did when I was little. He used to say I had a lovely voice.” (Strangely, in her final hours Queen Alicent spoke often of the Old King, but never of her husband, King Viserys.)

I imagine there was a great deal of resentment from Alicent towards Viserys, given (by Westerosi standards) he was treating her son like he was second class. While we rightly value equality between the genders, this was not the perception at the time. 

From her perception she did everything right, produced four children to the sonless Viserys, her children followed the royal customs marrying each other and producing legitimate grandchildren for the king unlike Rhaenyra.

It was her children she was thinking of.  From her perception (and the laws of the land) their father was trying to rob them of their rightful inheritance. 

 

Loving or lustful he was a good husband to her. Yes, he didn't give in to her demands and ambitions and wasn't a good king because of his aversion to conflict, but there is nothing to indicate he didn't treasure her or treat her as a loving husband.

He was king. He could have taken her as a paramour and Otto would still have groveled for the honour. But he didn't, he married her, was faithfull to her by all accounts, gave her legitimate Targ children with all the perks the Targ children get. The only thing they didn't get was the throne ahead of Rhaenyra and it seems to be that was all she wanted.

The way the Greens acted leading to and after Viserys' death were not the actions of a faction who thought themselves to be in the right.

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5 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Saying "this is not how it works" doesn't change the fact that this is exactly how it works - as demonstrated in the story many, many times. The fantasy of "personal and arbitrary" rule haunts Targaryen dynasty, but it always comes crashing down whenever the King tries to indulge. Maegor, Viserys, Aerys - it ends in tears every time. Why? Because a functional arbitrary rule by a monarch requires wide-spread bureaucracy and centralization way beyond anything Westeros has ever seen. Even Maegor, with his giant dragon and brutality, could not turn the tide.

Robb Stark also arbitrarily ruled on his succession in his last will - at least that's what's implied, we don't know what it actually contains. Lord Webber added arbitrary caveats to his will and that will stood, etc.

There is no reason to believe that people give a damn about what dead kings decreed decades ago, nor is there ever any indication given that the way a king took the throne ever had to be mimicked or influence or be considered when the king ruled on his own succession.

And every king chose and anointed an heir. There is no automatism there, and no procedure a king has to follow. This is made evident when it is not clear who comes after Aenys in the line of succession. Aegon I anointed an heir, but he did not rule whether his second son came before or after his grandchildren. The majority opinion was that Maegor came definitely after Aegon, Viserys, and Jaehaerys, but if Aegon I had wanted to throw a bone to Visenya he could have decreed that Maegor was second in line.

Even Jaehaerys I later formally anoints Aemon and then later Baelon and Viserys his heirs.

5 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Successful Targaryens avoided "personal and arbitrary" style like a plague, for a good reason.

I'd say Jaehaerys I ruled very arbitrarily, as did Aegon I. They did what they wanted. Sure, they fooled people into believing they wanted it, too, and showed them their dragons when they thought that would convince them to see reason, but they did not rule by consensus. Aegon I even took away the ancient rights/powers of the lords to go to war against their neighbors or to tax their smallfolk as they saw fit, Jaehaerys I took away the First Night, forced his lords to care for widows they were not biologically related to, etc.

5 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Given Rhaenyra's abysmal showing both before and during the Dance, I doubt it would help. If anything, she would probably make even more enemies, alienate even more people and generally fertilize the ground for her opponents. Rhaenyra has a legal problem (established precedents are stacked against her) and a personal problem (she is a horrible person and suffers from exceedingly poor judgement). Viserys could try to solve the former, but I doubt anything could be done about the latter.

That's just nonsense. Rhaenyra is much better than the entire Hightower-Targaryen ilk, as Gyldayn depicts in detail. Even gentle Daeron is worse than her, he who sacked towns and conspired to poison his allies.

Personally, Rhaenyra didn't seem to have alienated anyone aside her scheming and power-grabbing Hightower stepmother and their kin. One assumes the tongueless Velaryons and their obscure didn't like her very much, but so what? Corlys Velaryon considered these people traitors, too.

We have no confirmation that any of the Greens on the council personally disliked Rhaenyra aside from Ser Criston Cole. And that's a personal story hardly representative of the Realm as a whole.

The problem is that schemers and traitors are in positions to move against her. Had that not happened, there would have been no visible opposition to her rise whatsoever. Her dragons would have seen to that.

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2 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Vaemond Velaryon was a traitor, who was trying to claim a seat which didn't belong to him. Even if his claims had been true - which is unproven - then this doesn't make him the heir to Driftmark since Corlys Velaryon had two children, and two granddaughters by his eldest child, Laena.

 

Just like Jaehaerys had nieces who came before him in the succession line, as did Viserys.

We can even look at what happened with Cregan's granddaughters or how  Berena Hornwood was ignored from the talk of succession in ACOK.

They had a right to make their case (and be told no), what happened to them was not justice.

 

3 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Given Rhaenyra's abysmal showing both before and during the Dance, I doubt it would help. If anything, she would probably make even more enemies, alienate even more people and generally fertilize the ground for her opponents. Rhaenyra has a legal problem (established precedents are stacked against her) and a personal problem (she is a horrible person and suffers from exceedingly poor judgement). Viserys could try to solve the former, but I doubt anything could be done about the latter.

She's actually quite popular in her early years, the 'realm's delight' may have prospered being slowly brought into the role.

Come the Dance she's an absolute trainwreck,  but she is dealing with a stillbirth, a dead family member every other month and a mega civil war. 

Neither Rhaenyra, Aegon, Daemon or Aemond come across as sympathetic or suitable rulers, but war does bring out the worst.  Had Jace lived longer perhaps the war would have brought out his uglier side.

 

10 minutes ago, Ellaena said:

Loving or lustful he was a good husband to her.

He was a husband to her, I don't see evidence of 'good' or 'bad'. 

What is your basis for 'good'? 

10 minutes ago, Ellaena said:

Yes, he didn't give in to her demands and ambitions and wasn't a good king because of his aversion to conflict, but there is nothing to indicate he didn't treasure her or treat her as a loving husband.

There is also nothing to suggest he did. An absence of evidence is not evidence. 

Alicent seems to have more fond memories for Jaehaerys than her husband, this does not suggest a loving relationship.

10 minutes ago, Ellaena said:

He was king. He could have taken her as a paramour and Otto would still have groveled for the honour.

Agreed. He didn't though. he married her. Should she and her children not have the rights of every other noble family in Westeros at the time? 

10 minutes ago, Ellaena said:

 

But he didn't, he married her, was faithfull to her by all accounts, gave her legitimate Targ children with all the perks the Targ children get.

Not all the perks. Aegon was his oldest son, never had a daughter came before a son in the Targ dynasty.

It's a huge reason why she likely resented her husband. This is a fairly common problem with husbands with second wives. they are often paranoid (sometimes justifiably so) about the children of the first wife getting preferential treatment. In Alicent's case it was not paranoia. 

10 minutes ago, Ellaena said:

The only thing they didn't get was the throne ahead of Rhaenyra and it seems to be that was all she wanted.

Wanting her son to get what was rightfully his is a pretty acceptable thing.

Rhaenyra had Daemon murder Vaemond for suggesting her sons were not her own, doesn't take a genius to come up with a scenario she does the same when she's Queen.

10 minutes ago, Ellaena said:

The way the Greens acted leading to and after Viserys' death were not the actions of a faction who thought themselves to be in the right.

That is not true. Knowing the situation is complicated and being pragmatic with it is not the same as believing you are right. 

Both sides believed they were right, it was a complicated matter that split the realm. GRRM has written it perfectly, a civil war should not be about good vs bad but two sides believing they are right. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Just like Jaehaerys had nieces who came before him in the succession line, as did Viserys.

Not sure how that is irrelevant. A daughter comes before an uncle is the standard modus of succession on the lordly since Jaehaerys I reaffirmed that in the Widow's Law.

There are certainly precedents against this, but the claims of Baela and Rhaena in their own right should certainly trump those of some nephew, especially in light of their connection to the king - who would ultimately rule on the succession if the ruling of the Princess of Dragonstone was ignored.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

We can even look at what happened with Cregan's granddaughters or how  Berena Hornwood was ignored from the talk of succession in ACOK.

They had a right to make their case (and be told no), what happened to them was not justice.

We have no idea what happened to Cregan's granddaughters exactly, nor was there any proper ruling on the Hornwood succession by Robb. Jeyne Arryn, Anya Waynwood, Arwyn Oakheart and even Ermesande Hayford, Rohanne Webber, and Cerelle Lannister show how it is done.

Vaemond Velaryon presumed to lay claim to a seat while his lord uncle was still alive, and he did so by insulting his cousin Laenor and his children, as well as the future queen of Westeros and his lord uncle. Lord Corlys had no inclination to see Vaemond Velaryon succeed him as Lord of Driftmark.

And Vaemond Velaryon had no evidence to back up his accusations.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

She's actually quite popular in her early years, the 'realm's delight' may have prospered being slowly brought into the role.

Come the Dance she's an absolute trainwreck,  but she is dealing with a stillbirth, a dead family member every other month and a mega civil war. 

Rhaenyra was very popular in her youth, and she is still loved during the Dance, and even after her death. Else the Lads would have hardly fought under the banner of a dead queen, or continued to fight in her name at all. Addam Velaryon would have never continued to fight for her if he had not believed that he could clear his name and be restored to the queen's favor.

Aegon II was never popular or loved, and his ilk was actually not very popular in KL even before he became king. Alicent was reasonably well-loved as a queen, and Helaena very much pitied after Blood and Cheese, but these guys weren't really popular.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Neither Rhaenyra, Aegon, Daemon or Aemond come across as sympathetic or suitable rulers, but war does bring out the worst.  Had Jace lived longer perhaps the war would have brought out his uglier side.

That supposes he had an ugly side. 

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

He was a husband to her, I don't see evidence of 'good' or 'bad'. 

What is your basis for 'good'? 

There is also nothing to suggest he did. An absence of evidence is not evidence. 

Check the facts. It is stated that Viserys always strove to keep his women happy, showering both Rhaenyra and Alicent with gifts. He was a good husband.

But, in the end, we know essentially nothing about Viserys' private life or his actual thoughts.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Alicent seems to have more fond memories for Jaehaerys than her husband, this does not suggest a loving relationship.

It suggests she didn't love him, not that he didn't love her. He married her for love, and we know that Rhaenyra even acknowledges that Viserys loved Alicent once, making it the reason why she spares her life. She never says Alicent loved Viserys, though.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Agreed. He didn't though. he married her. Should she and her children not have the rights of every other noble family in Westeros at the time?

What rights do have women in this world, anyway? And in Dorne, which is part of Westeros, too, Alicent's children wouldn't have been the heirs. And wasn't it Otto Hightower who ensured that his grandson would not be the heir to the Iron Throne by insisting the succession be settled once and for all while the king was still young? Doesn't the Widow's Law stipulate you cannot disinherit your children by a first wife in favor of the children from a later wife? Wasn't Rhaenyra Viserys I's anointed heir by the time Prince Aegon was born?

This is not a modern society where fixed rules are upheld, and people care about procedures.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Not all the perks. Aegon was his oldest son, never had a daughter came before a son in the Targ dynasty.

So what? Never had a king ruled over six of the Seven Kingdoms before Aegon. Never had a queen limited the beatings a wife could get, never had a king outlawed the First Night, etc. And I'm sure before Nymeria's daughter no daughter of House Martell had come before a son.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

It's a huge reason why she likely resented her husband. This is a fairly common problem with husbands with second wives. they are often paranoid (sometimes justifiably so) about the children of the first wife getting preferential treatment. In Alicent's case it was not paranoia. 

It is actually much more common that old guys shower their young wives and the children they get in old age with more affection than those they had in earlier years. In part, because it is great to be attractive enough to get a gorgeous trophy wife in old age, in part because you usually have more time to bond with your children in old age.

At this point we have no evidence whatsoever that Alicent loved or cared for her husband. The entire marriage seems to have been a sham.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Wanting her son to get what was rightfully his is a pretty acceptable thing.

But it is no longer rightfully his because his father decided before his birth to not give it to him. Children don't have fixed or granted rights in this world. They have to be content with the things their fathers give them.

Usually, you want your son to succeed you, but you don't have to want that. And if you don't want it to happen you can prevent it.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Rhaenyra had Daemon murder Vaemond for suggesting her sons were not her own, doesn't take a genius to come up with a scenario she does the same when she's Queen.

No, she had him executed as his liege lady. The Velaryons are sworn to Dragonstone and she ruled Dragonstone. This is not murder.

And she did that because Vaemond used unproven rumors as a pretext for a power grab. Vaemond was trying to steal Driftmark from Lord Corlys' actually heirs, even while Lord Corlys was still alive.

6 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

That is not true. Knowing the situation is complicated and being pragmatic with it is not the same as believing you are right. 

Both sides believed they were right, it was a complicated matter that split the realm. GRRM has written it perfectly, a civil war should not be about good vs bad but two sides believing they are right. 

If George had wanted to give the Greens good reason to believe they were right he should have not made their core cabal a bunch of people who were motivated by a lust for power and personal resentment. Otto hated Daemon, Alicent hated Rhaenyra, and Cole hated Rhaenyra, too.

We don't even know whether Alicent was more motivated by love/ambition for her children or by her hatred for Rhaenyra.

It would have been more nuanced if the person authorizing the coup had actually been Rhaenyra's friend on a personal level but had been deeply convinced that the guy should sit the throne. Say, if Lyonel Strong had been the Hand deciding to stage the coup. That would have added nuance and complexity and given the impression that the people involved actually cared about being right.

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1 minute ago, Bernie Mac said:

She's actually quite popular in her early years, the 'realm's delight'

Well, that's kinda the point - Rhaenyra remained as "Realm's delight" as long as daddy dragged her around and she had no power regarding day-to-day business of the realm. Both fiefs that she actually ruled ended up rebelling against her - her "delight" status could only last as long as people had no actual experience in her... unique flavor of governance.

5 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Had Jace lived longer perhaps the war would have brought out his uglier side

I doubt it. Jace's role in the narrative is one of likeable moron, so to speak. He is the sort of character that is supposed to fail with Benny Hill theme and laugh track playing in the background.

He tries to kick his uncle's butt - ends up beaten up and causing a scandal (resulting in Rhaenyra's removal from court). He tries to rally Valemen to his mother's side - Valemen nod and then sit out the war. He tries to lure Manderleys with promises - Manderleys bring only hundred men, give terrible advice to Rhaenyra and then go home in the most dramatic moment of the war. He barters for Stark support - gets two thousands of old, poorly equipped guys (with ancient iron swords, no less!) commanded by a complete moron (Roddy commands five charges right into Lannister spearmen and loses two thirds of his host as casualties)... When he flies with five dragons and a fleet to fight Triarchy, you know he is going to fail.

Jace exists to fail in all of his undertakings - without being offensive.

20 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

There is no reason to believe that people give a damn about what dead kings decreed decades ago

You can continue make baseless statements contradicting known facts, but saying stuff like "there is no reason to believe" or adding "that's just nonsense" does not make it so. The Council of 101 does come up, traditions do come up, laws do come up. Even Webber's will conforms to overall trend of favoring male heirs over female ones (we can discuss Robb's will when we actually see one). Successful Kings operate mindful of their limitations - like Aegon who bases his rulings on previously established local laws and seeks Faith's support or Jaehaerys who understands shabby foundations of his power, pushes for male heirs and seeks to establish consent of his vassals in such precarious position. When the Kings try to act like they are dictators with absolute power, nothing good comes out of it.

38 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Rhaenyra is much better than the entire Hightower-Targaryen ilk

Considering gems like "fresh heads began appearing daily upon the spikes above the city gates" in a sympathetic city or her "masterful" handling of Velaryons...

Rhaenyra could be better than Aemond. Maybe.

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3 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

You can continue make baseless statements contradicting known facts, but saying stuff like "there is no reason to believe" or adding "that's just nonsense" does not make it so. The Council of 101 does come up, traditions do come up, laws do come up.

Those things are mentioned, but they are not mentioned as binding the king. That's the difference. The king should perhaps look at them, but he is not obliged to do so, just as he is not obliged to be sober when rendering a judgment, or to not favor his family and friends over foreigners.

And there is no law that comes in relation to the succession of the Iron Throne because there is none. The Great Council is not a law, nor did it stipulate a law. Some people interpret it as an iron precedent, others don't share that view. And such precedents are interpreted by the king himself, not lords who think their opinion matters.

3 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Even Webber's will conforms to overall trend of favoring male heirs over female ones (we can discuss Robb's will when we actually see one).

I don't care about the contents of Robb's will, I only care about the fact that Robb Stark as presumed that he could rule on his own succession and disinherit and pass over his trueborn siblings as he saw fit. None of his lords, not even his own mother, said that he could not possibly disinherit Sansa in favor of somebody else.

3 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Successful Kings operate mindful of their limitations - like Aegon who bases his rulings on previously established local laws and seeks Faith's support or Jaehaerys who understands shabby foundations of his power, pushes for male heirs and seeks to establish consent of his vassals in such precarious position. When the Kings try to act like they are dictators with absolute power, nothing good comes out of it.

Ruling on your on succession as you see fit does not make you a dictator, nor is it the case that the people are willing to go to war over such an issue if that's the only issue at stake. Viserys I wasn't a tyrant or dictator because he did not name any of his sons his heir, nor is he seen as such because of that.

Aegon I cared only about local traditions and such were his own interests (enforced via the King's Peace and the limits he set on taxation and other things) were not concerned. A king's succession is of paramount importance to the king himself, especially as he grows old and death approaches. You want a person to succeed you can trust.

And Jaehaerys I didn't care at all about the Faith, or the ancient traditions of the First Men First Night, etc.

3 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Considering gems like "fresh heads began appearing daily upon the spikes above the city gates" in a sympathetic city or her "masterful" handling of Velaryons...

Didn't she just continue the beheading started by Aegon II here?

Quote

Ser Criston wasted no time in proving his mettle. “It is not for you to plead for support from your lords, like a beggar pleading for alms,” he told Aegon. “You are the lawful king of Westeros, and those who deny it are traitors. It is past time they learned the price of treason.”
First to pay that price were the captive lords languishing in the dungeons under the Red Keep, men who had once sworn to defend the rights of Princess Rhaenyra and still stubbornly refused to bend the knee to King Aegon. One by one they were dragged out into the castle ward, where the King’s Justice awaited them with his axe. Each man was given one final chance to swear fealty to His Grace; only Lord Butterwell, Lord Stokeworth, and Lord Rosby chose to do so. Lord Hayford, Lord Merryweather, Lord Harte, Lord Buckler, Lord Caswell, and Lady Fell valued their sworn word more than their lives, and were beheaded each in turn, along with eight landed knights and twoscore servants and retainers. Their heads were mounted on spikes above the city’s gates. 

Those were all loyal men (and a loyal woman) who stayed true to their vows and died for them. 

That Rhaenyra avenges them by putting down the real traitors later on is in no way wrong. Justice is a bloody business in this world, as it is today in countries were traitors are still executed. It may not make you popular, but so what? 

Rhaenyra certainly has flaws, but pray do tell where she used her dragons to butcher innocents on a large scale like Aemond? Where did she eradicate entire houses for no reason aside from personal animosity like Aemond? Where did she corrupt KGs into trying to murder queens and/or princes? Where did she command and/or participate in cruel sacks of towns, causing the deaths of thousands?

3 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Rhaenyra could be better than Aemond. Maybe.

Rhaenyra has done better than Aemond. Anyone could do better than Aemond.

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