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James Steller

Was there any bloodless way to resolve the succession crisis?

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Those things are mentioned, but they are not mentioned as binding the king.

We have examples of Kings who thought themselves unbound by such things, with disastrous results.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

, 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. 

GRRM is on the record saying that Winterfell was always ruled by men. Disinheriting Sansa would be just continuation of Starks' traditional ultra-mysogyny-plus.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That Rhaenyra avenges them by putting down the real traitors later on is in no way wrong.

The quote refers to the period after execution of the Small Council. Rhaenyra has been murdering enough people to have their heads mounted daily on city gates for half a year. Numbers blow up fast, it's hundreds or thousands of people we are talking about. There is just no green conspiracy vast enough to have that kind of manpower in the city. In fact the only Green conspirators in KL we know of - Larys, Perkin & his crew - remained completely untouched by Rhaenyra's purges. And since even paying one's taxes before Rhaenyra's arrival was considered treason, it is not hard to see where this army of "traitors" came from.

Branding citizens of a sympathetic city as traitors and mounting their heads on spikes turned the proverbial coin and eventually resulted in Rhaenyra's downfall.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

but pray do tell where she used her dragons to butcher innocents on a large scale like Aemond

She butchered population of her own capital and fed the bodies to dragons. Bonus points for friendly fire - Aemond burned his enemies' peasants.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Where did she eradicate entire houses for no reason aside from personal animosity like Aemond?

She tried to have Nettles and Adam murdered/tortured for the same reason as Aemond (baseless suspicion), which ended up costing her her head.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Where did she corrupt KGs into trying to murder queens and/or princes?

Since Rhaenyra was rather poor politician, she failed to corrupt many KGs - so she tried to corrupt a host into trying murder a guest and an innocent instead. Fortunately, she failed at that as well.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Where did she command and/or participate in cruel sacks of towns, causing the deaths of thousands? 

She did write Dalton a blank check for his campaign of rape, pillage, murder and mass enslavement, including sack of Lannisport, so there you go.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Rhaenyra has done better than Aemond.

As far as Fire and Blood Vol1 is concerned, she is at best somewhat less competent at her evil compared to Aemond.

Edited by Myrish Lace

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if your premise is after what is said and done in the rogue prince the answer is obviously no. it got impossible after rhaenyra and alicent brought their children into it and made it their war too, something a mother would never do! the hatred these people transfered and weaved to the core of their children because they wanted to have power threw any chance of peaceful transition right out of the window.

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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?

 

 that was the whole point of alicent marrying viserys. they wanted that crown its not like she married viserys out of her bigheartedness! and who better than viserys? a king with no male heir.


there were ways to prevent it. if viserys actually had more kingly brain than heart and could see how fragile her daughter position is as heir considering how he got to be king! so being the smart king he is he made even worse by his second marriage.

other way was for viserys to draw up laws to be put in effect if and when alicent bore him a son or sons so rhaenyra's position will be safe and clear even after that. but alas all he did was turning a deaf ear towards alicent persistence without getting suspicious and blind eyes towards what was happening right in front of him.

another way was that lady alicent kept her legs closed or if she didn't want that she should have drink moon tea. but we know she married for greed and popped out children left and right as soon as she could. nobody asked or pressured her into having children, the matter of heir was settled, everyone knew it,she knew it going in but that didn't stop her and that's saying something very obvious about her! and before someone says viserys is at fault... well i'm right with you there, he is! for marrying her and not taking her as paramour and because of his stupidity over such a simple thing, dance happened. because he didn't want to bother himself with anything. and anyone with a grain of intellect and observation skill could see that so did alicent and her father. 

 

rhaenyra was cruel yes but she was not the one who started this mess. she was a child back then and the adults of that situation took advantage of the inferiority of her gender when it comes to the throne and her father gullibility which was not her fault. i have a more intersting question for you. do you think alicent and otto would have pushed for viserys marriage if he already had a boy heir? my money is on NO. 

 

 

Edited by OneWingedAngel27

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7 hours 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.

There is nothing wrong with executing a traitor.

He wasn't a traitor he told the truth.

In fact Rhaneyra committed high treason , we as readers are more aware of this and can claim he was right. He is actually grandfather of Aegon III queen and that may not be a coincidence from writers point of view.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

She probably would have tortured confession from him , but alas he was son of the king.
In future she often resorted to that tool of power which is also documented.
That event is pointer that lives of her siblings were threatened.
 
It may be harsh world, but not void of morals, rules or laws. We can't look it as fans of either side, without using knowledge that we have from various sources that might have not been available at the time events unfolded or even other time periods in world to judge actions and characters.
7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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

 
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The exiled Braavosi betrothed remained an impediment, but not for long; Daemon mocked him to his face so savagely the boy had no choice but to call him to defend his words with steel. Armed with Dark Sister, the prince made short work of his rival, and wed Lady Laena Velaryon a fortnight later, abandoning his hardscrabble kingdom on the Stepstones. (Five other men followed him as Kings of the Narrow Sea, until the brief and bloody history of that savage sellsword “kingdom” ended for good and all.)

It is premeditated murder, using legal means , and documented event

It  shows that character is not above using killing as way to improve his social position , additionally enhanced with his underworld connections and criminalizing institutions in Westeros are all indicators of how would he influence opposition or possible threats to his position in society.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Baseless speculation.

It may be speculation as much as Your claim that Rhaenyra wouldn't banish, punish, or actually physically harm her siblings.

But unlike Your claim it is not baseless.

It is  substantiated by written material with claim of personality and character of people who wanted to rule Westeros even prior to the "coup" ( though fortunately never succeeded).

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

Lets please don't derail thread further with distorted theories like "Jaehaerys I also condemned his own mother to death by husband" you are more than entitled to make that thread.

Those potential dismissals are more or less trivial, and neither of those persons threaten future of her dynasty and I doubt that people would oppose her rule so much if only that would happen.

We have text showing  that her husband killed people to influence his marriage and position in society.

We also have evidence of her being spoiled, entitled, vengeful, obsessed with legitimacy of her children, and easily corrupted and influenced. With lot of it happening before war even started . 

What we lack is evidence of her good character and potential to be good ruler.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

 

Those events all happened after the war started so they can't be equalized with evidence of Black misrule or characterization of potential rulers of Westeros before the war .

Those are mostly sieges , that became increasingly bloody with events before driving them further in spiral of violence , retaliation, eye for eye etc.

To judge each event  it would be needed detailed evaluation to see how many soldiers or civilian casualties occurred and topic of its own.

I wonder though why you don't focus so much on atrocities that Black supporters have done like Greyjoys, Betrayers and their followers were on their own side as well as Ser Perkin , Goldcloaks taking the city by treachery  and killing their officers etc.  

Also I don't disregard that wining side have more chance to influence history in their favor to various degree, which is evident in romanticizing events at the end with "Lads" and wholly different atmosphere with romances that affected that peace flourish.
Fishfeed is cruel as any battle in war. It was waged with similar numbers and losses, it is clear proof that Lannisters were committed to the Green cause , their commander positioned them so that their backs would be protected but also they couldn't run unless swimming.

 

If you think that Blood and Cheese is proper retaliation, which was wrong on so many levels ( killing innocent instead of culprit, it increased intensity of conflict with little gain, in the long run it influenced the rebellion that removed Rhaenyra from power and killed bunch of dragons) you might need to reevaluate Your whole morale code (if any exists) when viewing this series.

 

 

 
Edited by Eltharion21

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3 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

We have examples of Kings who thought themselves unbound by such things, with disastrous results.

We have kings who failed to crush rebellions when they was still a chance. We don't have any kings where it is said that ruling on their own succession is considered to be wrong or a thing they are supposed to in accord with every self-absorbed lord in the Realm who thinks his opinion matters.

Or can you mention a king who is said to have been either bound by the precedent who allowed him to take the throne when he ruled on his own succession, or that he was legally obliged by the law to duly consider all previous precedents remotely relating to the decision, or to ask every man who may have wanted to offer his opinion on the subject?

I don't think so.

3 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

GRRM is on the record saying that Winterfell was always ruled by men. Disinheriting Sansa would be just continuation of Starks' traditional ultra-mysogyny-plus.

That isn't the point. The point is that Robb thought he could arbitrarily rule on his succession and, perhaps name some bastard of his father as his heir whom he would have first have to legitimize and then get out of the NW. Robb gives no indication that Sansa and Arya's claims to Winterfell are weaker than those of Brandon and Rickon, and he does not give any indication that he wouldn't cut them out of the succession as well if they had been married to some Lannister.

3 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

The quote refers to the period after execution of the Small Council. Rhaenyra has been murdering enough people to have their heads mounted daily on city gates for half a year. Numbers blow up fast, it's hundreds or thousands of people we are talking about. There is just no green conspiracy vast enough to have that kind of manpower in the city. In fact the only Green conspirators in KL we know of - Larys, Perkin & his crew - remained completely untouched by Rhaenyra's purges. And since even paying one's taxes before Rhaenyra's arrival was considered treason, it is not hard to see where this army of "traitors" came from.

Sorry, that's ridiculous. Rhaenyra was barely five months on the Iron Throne, even if she had executed ten new people each day during her reign, she would just have just killed 1,500 people, right. 5 months à 30 days are 150 days, meaning ten heads per day would mean 1,500 dead traitors in total.

The talk there is clearly hyperbole, the people not being happy that the cutting off heads continue. But this doesn't tell us anything whether those men where guilty or not.

You have no basis for the idea that those couldn't all have been traitors. There is also no indication whatsoever that the traders and captains who had to pay their fees all over were actually executed.

3 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

Branding citizens of a sympathetic city as traitors and mounting their heads on spikes turned the proverbial coin and eventually resulted in Rhaenyra's downfall.

Who cares what resulted in her downfall? This is not about her downfall it is about the her being right and her not being as cruel and ugly as her enemies.

But it was not her downfall. The Shepherd's uprising drove her out of the city, and the Shepherd was against all Targaryens and dragons. Perkin the Flea was a bought traitor, not representative of the people. The only genuine anti-Rhaenyra rebels seem to have been the gang who killed Celtigar. And they just disappeared. They caused nobody's downfall.

3 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

She butchered population of her own capital and fed the bodies to dragons. Bonus points for friendly fire - Aemond burned his enemies' peasants.

Rhaenyra executed traitors.

You have no evidence to prove she killed any innocents. But even if she did - she never arbitrarily burned smallfolk, and destroyed their fields and farms and homes, unlike Aemond.

3 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

She tried to have Nettles and Adam murdered/tortured for the same reason as Aemond (baseless suspicion), which ended up costing her her head.

Nettles and Addam didn't cost Rhaenyra her head. Sure, that was a stupid decision, but without the Shepherd this wouldn't have mattered one bit. Addam's innocence would have been proven at Tumbleton, and Corlys would have been freed from the dungeons. And then they would have put down the cripple on Dragonstone, ending the war.

Rhaenyra's suspicions of the bastards were not baseless. Hugh and Ulf had proved the treasonous nature of bastards, and Mysaria confirmed Nettles' treason. Those were not good reasons to turn against them, but her suspicions were not baseless.

3 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

Since Rhaenyra was rather poor politician, she failed to corrupt many KGs - so she tried to corrupt a host into trying murder a guest and an innocent instead. Fortunately, she failed at that as well.

Can you give an example where Rhaenyra tried to corrupt a KG during the Dance to murder a close relative? I don't think so. And Nettles was not innocent if she was sleeping with Daemon - which Rhaenyra was led to believe.

3 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

She did write Dalton a blank check for his campaign of rape, pillage, murder and mass enslavement, including sack of Lannisport, so there you go.

Can you provide us with textual evidence for that 'blank check' you talk about. She asked him to attack her enemies - which House Lannister and the Westermen happened to be from the day Lord Jason led an army against the loyalist Riverlords. Rhaenyra never commanded Dalton to enslave people or take half the wives of the West as salt wives. It would have been stupid of Rhaenyra to turn his overture down considering rejecting would have risked that her ships had to deal with both the Triarchy and the Ironborn in the Narrow Sea. Perhaps even the Redwyne fleet, if Dalton had 'persuaded' them to join him on his way around Westeros.

And as Dalton later reveals he just used 'being a Black' as a pretext here. When the regents command him to stop his raids he does not comply.

3 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

As far as Fire and Blood Vol1 is concerned, she is at best somewhat less competent at her evil compared to Aemond.

I'd like that to be true, actually. Rhaenyra is a pretty boring character in her averageness. It is a pity that she didn't take some pages out of Aemond's book. Would have made her a less pitiful and more interesting character.

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

He wasn't a traitor he told the truth.

In fact Rhaneyra committed high treason , we as readers are more aware of this and can claim he was right. He is actually grandfather of Aegon III queen and that may not be a coincidence from writers point of view.

We don't know anything of that sort. We do not know who the father or Rhaenyra's sons was. But even if it was Harwin Strong or some dude who wasn't Laenor - it would only be high treason if the king shared that view. Did Viserys I think the sons of his daughter were not the sons of his son-in-law?

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:
She probably would have tortured confession from him , but alas he was son of the king.
In future she often resorted to that tool of power which is also documented.
That event is pointer that lives of her siblings were threatened.

Rhaenyra had no power to actually torture her half-brother Aemond.

If that accusation threatened anyone, it threatened people - even members of the royal family - by the command of the king. When Viserys I decrees when he is going to rip some tongues out he deliberately included royals, meaning that Alicent and Aegon and Aemond, etc. would also have lost their tongues had they repeated publicly what Aemond said in 120 AC.

Rhaenyra herself says that she had no intention to kill her half-siblings, and we have no reason to doubt this in light of the fact that she spared both Helaena and Alicent - who would have been the first I'd have executed had I been in Rhaenyra's position.

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

It  shows that character is not above using killing as way to improve his social position , additionally enhanced with his underworld connections and criminalizing institutions in Westeros are all indicators of how would he influence opposition or possible threats to his position in society.

Daemon was an asshole, but he was not going to be king. He was just the consort of the queen.

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

It may be speculation as much as Your claim that Rhaenyra wouldn't banish, punish, or actually physically harm her siblings.

The latter is based on actual textual evidence given by the person we accuse to potentially do such things. Your speculation is based on analogy and does not take into account the passage of time - the Daemon of the 110s isn't the Daemon in 129-130 AC. 

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

But unlike Your claim it is not baseless.

It is  substantiated by written material with claim of personality and character of people who wanted to rule Westeros even prior to the "coup" ( though fortunately never succeeded).

Don't pretend it wasn't a coup. It was obviously a coup.

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

Lets please don't derail thread further with distorted theories like "Jaehaerys I also condemned his own mother to death by husband" you are more than entitled to make that thread.

Those potential dismissals are more or less trivial, and neither of those persons threaten future of her dynasty and I doubt that people would oppose her rule so much if only that would happen.

Your opinion is irrelevant. Even if the people involved had good reason to assume that Rhaenyra would eradicate House Hightower and her half-siblings after she took over this still doesn't mean they have a right to prevent her rise. She is the anointed heir, and those people are not the guardians of the state who can arbitrarily decide who is worthy to rule. Their place would be to beg for mercy, not to plot treason and murder.

Otto shows such presumptions very early on when he declares that Prince Daemon cannot allowed to succeed to the throne under any circumstances. Who does this landless knight think that he is? The king of kings? The guardian of the galaxy?

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

We have text showing  that her husband killed people to influence his marriage and position in society.

We also have evidence of her being spoiled, entitled, vengeful, obsessed with legitimacy of her children, and easily corrupted and influenced. With lot of it happening before war even started . 

What we lack is evidence of her good character and potential to be good ruler.

I never said she was sympathetic. All I'm saying is that she was obviously much better than Alicent's sons.

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

Those events all happened after the war started so they can't be equalized with evidence of Black misrule or characterization of potential rulers of Westeros before the war.

The war as such was also started by the Greens - when Aemond murdered Prince Lucerys at Storm's End. They are to be blamed for all that happened, Rhaenyra and her allies just fought for what was theirs by right - and for their survival.

You can point the finger at Daemon all day long, but Daemon wasn't ruling anything.

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

Those are mostly sieges , that became increasingly bloody with events before driving them further in spiral of violence , retaliation, eye for eye etc.

Violence was mostly started by the Greens. The only thing started by Rhaenyra was Daemon's taking of Harrenhal, and the plan to take KL. Everything else was Blacks reacting to Green attacks. 

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

To judge each event  it would be needed detailed evaluation to see how many soldiers or civilian casualties occurred and topic of its own.

We cannot quantify that, but we have enough numbers to know that the Sack of Tumbleton and the Gullet were likely the battles were most of the people died - the former is described as the cruelest sack ever, basically, with thousands drowning in the river, too, and the Gullet led to the destruction of a lot of ships which implies that many men drowned, too. In addition, High Tide was destroyed and Spicetown sacked.

Blacks also destroyed armies, to be sure. At the Butcher's Ball and the Fishfeed and at Second Tumbleton, etc. But they never deliberately targeted civilians, neither with armies nor dragonfire. They also did not capriciously take out their wrath on weak and defenseless targets like Rook's Rest or Duskendale.

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

I wonder though why you don't focus so much on atrocities that Black supporters have done like Greyjoys, Betrayers and their followers were on their own side as well as Ser Perkin , Goldcloaks taking the city by treachery  and killing their officers etc.

When the Two Betrayers burned Tumbleton they had turned green. The Greyjoys were not exactly Rhaenyra's loyal men as such, although I did not say this was not bad. However, not unprovoked considering that Lord Jason was a traitor leading an army against Rhaenyra's men.

The taking of the city was a pretty bloodless coup. Loyal men killing traitors is not really bad, is it?

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

Also I don't disregard that wining side have more chance to influence history in their favor to various degree, which is evident in romanticizing events at the end with "Lads" and wholly different atmosphere with romances that affected that peace flourish.
Fishfeed is cruel as any battle in war. It was waged with similar numbers and losses, it is clear proof that Lannisters were committed to the Green cause , their commander positioned them so that their backs would be protected but also they couldn't run unless swimming.

Their commander was a moron and they all paid with their lives for his mistake.

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

If you think that Blood and Cheese is proper retaliation, which was wrong on so many levels ( killing innocent instead of culprit, it increased intensity of conflict with little gain, in the long run it influenced the rebellion that removed Rhaenyra from power and killed bunch of dragons) you might need to reevaluate Your whole morale code (if any exists) when viewing this series.

If you don't show that you mean business in this world you are dead. That's the hard truth. If the Blacks had not avenged the murder of Lucerys they would have lost the war before it truly begun because nobody would jumped on the sinking ship.

Rhaenyra would have been devoured like Tytos was nearly devoured by the Westermen, or how Robb would have been devoured by his father's bannermen had he not done everything in his power to not appear weak.

When Rhaenyra took the city people welcomed here. Nobody gave a damn about dead Jaehaerys.

But as I said - Rhaenyra didn't authorize this, unlike Aegon II and Aemond who either celebrated murder, commanded it gleefully, did it with their own hands, or watched while it happened.

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11 hours 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. 

Viserys, while lacking in many regards, was considered to be a pleasant man by all accounts. Really, the only account we have of him being somewhat nasty is when he threatened to cut the tongues of the people who dared to call Rhaenyra's kids bastards. Which was true, hence the nasty bit. I don't know why we are suddenly trying to bend the text or the narrative to say something else.

He exalted Alicent to the position of Queen when he didn't have to do that if he wanted to have her. He wasn't gaining much politically by that move, on the contrary, he had more to lose as he wasted an opportunity to unite Rhaenys' line with his by marrying Laena. The only reason he had to make that move is because he cared about her in one way or the other and didn't want to use her as a paramour. His many attempts to make concessions between his daughter and his wife shows he cared about both and just wanted both of them to be pleased (which was impossible to achieve, ffs Viserys).
Even to the end he seemed to be a jolly man, telling stories to the grandchildren he had by Alicent. Rhaenyra herself admits her father loved her and in the memory of that she would not hurt her. Alicent doesn't seem to want to do anything in the memory of her late husband, which leads us to...

11 hours 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.

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. 

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

Exactly. Because she didn't care for him. You don't leave the corpse of someone you care about to rot in a room while you plot away. That disregard should show you the kind of woman she was. She shared a big part of her life with this man, had children by him, yet in the end couldn't give two shits about him or his wishes. 
 

11 hours 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? 

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. 

She married a king who had an heir. She wrongly thought that if she bore sons they would automatically replace Rhaenyra as heirs. That didn't sit well with Viserys and he doubled down on it. She married into the royal family, not every other noble family in Westeros. Kings can name their heirs and can disinherit/block children from the throne. They can go against laws and traditions established for millennia. Their decree stands on how well they can enforce it during their life and after their death. 

The point is that almost none of the adults in the Dance were 100% in the right. Their actions were not justifiable in the end and the realm and their family suffered for it.

Edited by Ellaena

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1 hour ago, Ellaena said:

Viserys, while lacking in many regards, was considered to be a pleasant man by all accounts. Really, the only account we have of him being somewhat nasty is when he threatened to cut the tongues of the people who dared to call Rhaenyra's kids bastards. Which was true, hence the nasty bit. I don't know why we are suddenly trying to bend the text or the narrative to say something else.

I'm not bending anything, I'm pointing out a fact, we have zero idea how happy their marriage was, whether he was good, bad or an average husband.  Him being a pleasant man means little, Robert's an incredibly pleasant man to be around yet a horrendous husband and father, Walder's an odious man yet seems to be a decent father. 

Quote the passage you think I've bent the truth and I will gladly explain my thought process. 

 

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He exalted Alicent to the position of Queen when he didn't have to do that if he wanted to have her. He wasn't gaining much politically by that move, on the contrary, he had more to lose as he wasted an opportunity to unite Rhaenys' line with his by marrying Laena. The only reason he had to make that move is because he cared about her in one way or the other and didn't want to use her as a paramour. His many attempts to make concessions between his daughter and his wife shows he cared about both and just wanted both of them to be pleased (which was impossible to achieve, ffs Viserys).

He still married her, she and her children do not deserve to be treated as inferiors to his first marriage and child. 

Its basic human nature, the majority of us get upset in similar circumstances. To put up with that for 20 years is going to lead to a lot of resentment.

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Even to the end he seemed to be a jolly man, telling stories to the grandchildren he had by Alicent. Rhaenyra herself admits her father loved her and in the memory of that she would not hurt her. Alicent doesn't seem to want to do anything in the memory of her late husband, which leads us to...

To what? 

Quote

Exactly. Because she didn't care for him. You don't leave the corpse of someone you care about to rot in a room while you plot away. That disregard should show you the kind of woman she was. She shared a big part of her life with this man, had children by him, yet in the end couldn't give two shits about him or his wishes. 

She had bigger fish to fry. She wanted to secure the throne for her children, we have seen far greater crimes committed for lesser reasons. 

Viserys is a corpse, what does it matter if he's cremated a little later?  

 

Quote

She married a king who had an heir. She wrongly thought that if she bore sons they would automatically replace Rhaenyra as heirs. That didn't sit well with Viserys and he doubled down on it. She married into the royal family, not every other noble family in Westeros. Kings can name their heirs

We've yet to see a king successfully name an heir who actually succeeded them.  Robert hates the idea of Joffrey being king, yet doesn't think he can name someone else.

While kings are alive they can do what they want (within reason), once they are dead its another matter. Law's can be pretty elastic, a king has to go to great lengths to have the realm accept them, if they don't the law just snaps back to the status quo.

Quote

 

and can disinherit/block children from the throne.

With good cause. 

But yeah, a mother is obviously going to be pissed if that happened. I'm not sure your point, GRRM is not writing about robots who unquestionably accept the decisions of others. 

Quote

The point is that almost none of the adults in the Dance were 100% in the right. Their actions were not justifiable in the end and the realm and their family suffered for it.

Yeah, I've pretty much said the same in 10 posts these last few days. Everyone, barring one poster, accepts that both sides felt they were in the right, both sides can justify their actions.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

Except not technically true given Aemon's daughter and grandchildren were displaced in favor of Viserys.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We have no idea what happened to Cregan's granddaughters exactly,

We know they didn't inherit, we know they both married and Sansa had two marriages and at least four children. They were overlooked. 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

nor was there any proper ruling on the Hornwood succession by Robb.

I didn't claim there was, did I? 

I pointed out that she was not even considered as an option, it's pretty telling. 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

Jeyne Arryn, Anya Waynwood, Arwyn Oakheart and even Ermesande Hayford, Rohanne Webber, and Cerelle Lannister show how it is done.

No they don't, they show its a complicated matter with far more nuance than you are giving credit. GRRM's more than clear on it intentionally being vague. 

Well, the short answer is that the laws of inheritance in the Seven Kingdoms are modelled on those in real medieval history... which is to say, they were vague, uncodified, subject to varying interpertations, and often contradictory.

A man's eldest son was his heir. After that the next eldest son. Then the next, etc. Daughters were not considered while there was a living son, except in Dorne, where females had equal right of inheritance according to age.

After the sons, most would say that the eldest daughter is next in line. But there might be an argument from the dead man's brothers, say. Does a male sibling or a female child take precedence? Each side has a "claim."

What if there are no childen, only grandchildren and great grandchildren. Is precedence or proximity the more important principle? Do bastards have any rights? What about bastards who have been legitimized, do they go in at the end after the trueborn kids, or according to birth order? What about widows? And what about the will of the deceased? Can a lord disinherit one son, and name a younger son as heir? Or even a bastard?

There are no clear cut answers, either in Westeros or in real medieval history. Things were often decided on a case by case basis. A case might set a precedent for later cases... but as often as not, the precedents conflicted as much as the claims.

 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

We actually have no idea Corly's thoughts on the matter. Making them public could see a repeat of the punishment given to his Velaryon relatives.

Regardless, it was fucked up and not at all something that can be referred to as justice.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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

Well he did, it was not conclusive, but their physical appearance, little like either of their parents, grandparents or two younger brothers does suggest they were bastards. 

Vaemond actually has a stronger case than Stannis.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Rhaenyra was very popular in her youth, and she is still loved during the Dance, and even after her death.

She was not popular after her death. Kings Landing and Dragonstone turned on her, Driftmark likely hated her as well. 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Else the Lads would have hardly fought under the banner of a dead queen, or continued to fight in her name at all.

Yeah, possibly parts of the Riverlands not decimated by the war remember her fondly. 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

Addam was honourable and was worried about his father, he had reason to fight irrespective of what he thought of her.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon II was never popular or loved, and his ilk was actually not very popular in KL even before he became king.

They were not? 

I understand they were likely less popular than the Queen's delight, but that does not equal unpopularity, 

And 'ilk', can you calm your emotions? You are far too invested in the side you like being 'right'. 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Alicent was reasonably well-loved as a queen, and Helaena very much pitied after Blood and Cheese, but these guys weren't really popular.

You are going to have to provide more evidence than that.

It should be noted that the word popular comes up once in the Rogue Prince and the Princess and the Queen; its about Daeron, Alicent's youngest.

His little brother Prince Daeron was the most popular of the queen’s sons, as clever as he was courteous, and most comely as well. When he turned twelve in 126 AC, Daeron was sent to Oldtown to serve as cupbearer and squire to Lord Hightower.

Of all the dead Princes in the Dance he is likely the best remembered. Odd that you would ignore this. 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

https://asearchoficeandfire.com/?q=happy&scope[]=trp&scope[]=tpatq

There is zero evidence that it was a happy marriage or he was a good husband. Robert showers Edric with presents, it does not make him a good father. 

Viserys loving his wife and children is not what is  being debated, I assume he did, what is being questioned is if it was a happy marriage and if he was a good husband. Both of those are unanswered. 

 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It suggests she didn't love him, not that he didn't love her. He married her for love,

He married her because she was hot. He married for lust, at least thats how I took it. 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

She probably didn't at the end. Twenty years of being treated like an inferior version of marriage no1 will leave a feeling of resentment. 

Viserys, from what we know, did not want to confront problems, hoped they would go away and on at least one occasion violently overreacted towards Velaryon cousins. 

Problems fester. A partner choosing to ignore issues that concern the other is not a good partner. 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

What rights do have women in this world, anyway?

What on earth is your point? 

Alicent should just get over it and accept she's a woman, therefore inferior? 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

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

But they are not robots, they still react emotionally. 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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. 

Aegon and Jaehaerys worked hard to get that accepted,  Viserys did not. 

He was lazy and complacent, the realm suffered as a result. 

You rightly pointed out that his reign was great, yet his legacy is clearly not as well thought of as Daeron I& II, Jaehaerys, Aegon the Conqueror, even Baelor.  His failings are seen as fueling the Dance of the Dragons.

He had ruled for six-and-twenty years, reigning over the most prosperous era in the history of the Seven Kingdoms but seeding within it the disastrous decline of his house and the death of the last dragons.[7]

—writings of Yandel

The Maesters, who all our information on the matter derives from, are convinced he was at fault. I'm not sure, given our lack of any other sources, how you can continually challenge it. 

 

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Just now, Bernie Mac said:

Robert's an incredibly pleasant man to be around 

Not really? He may have been in his youth for the more bro-oriented crowd and for his childhood friends, but there were plenty of people who didn't find him so, starting with his brothers.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

He still married her, she and her children do not deserve to be treated as inferiors to his first marriage and child. 

She knew in advance that he already had a heir apparent when she married him, though, it wasn't some kind of unpleasant surprise. Yes, Rhaenyra was a girl, but thanks to Alicent's own father, she was elevated to the status that would normally only be conferred on a son. Oaths had been sworn to her by half the nobility of the realm, etc. There was no way to take that back and pretend that Rhaenyra was just a normal daughter. By the Widow's Law one can't desinherit a heir apparent from the first marriage in favor of children from the second. And all of this was Otto's fault in the first place, since he was so focused on preventing Daemon's claim that just public re-confirmation of the Widow's Law in respect to the royal succession - i.e. that heirs of the body come before other relatives, was not enough for him.

Furthermore, do you really think that if Rhaenyra had been male, Alicent wouldn't have tried to discredit "him" and push "him" aside? The usual accusations of bastardy would have been employed again - even if "he" had vintage Targaryen looks, as Daemon could have always been blamed, and all the gods help "him" if "he" took after his grandmother Alyssa or "his" Arryn ancestors.

I also think it very likely that if Viserys had married Laena Velaryon or anybody but Alicent, Otto would have been the first to champion Rhaenyra's continuing status as the heir, because he always supported whoever seemed likely to give most power to himself or his family and Laena's offspring would have come with the formidable Corlys Velaryon poised to take over the Handship.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

 We've yet to see a king successfully name an heir who actually succeeded them. 

Not a king, but Lady Jeyne Arryn's named heir did succeed over a closer relative.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

Except not technically true given Aemon's daughter and grandchildren were displaced in favor of Viserys.

We know they didn't inherit, we know they both married and Sansa had two marriages and at least four children. They were overlooked. 

In neither case is the Widow's Law applicable, however. It only rules on inheritance of children of a lord, not their grandchildren or other relatives - there is much more fluidity there. Ditto with Berena Hornwood - she was a sister of a lord, with some claim at inheriting from her brother, not a daughter directly inheriting from her father. Not to mention that her younger son was suggested so as to please yet another woman - Lady Hornwood, born Manderly and her family, and let her keep the regency of Hornwood lands for a few more years.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

We actually have no idea Corly's thoughts on the matter. Making them public could see a repeat of the punishment given to his Velaryon relatives.

Eh? Corlys was Rhaenyra's greatest supporter from the start and was visibly proud of her older sons.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

Well he did, it was not conclusive, but their physical appearance, little like either of their parents, grandparents or two younger brothers does suggest they were bastards. 

Really? We have no idea what Queen Aemma looked like, but _her_ father Roderik Arryn was dark-haired, IIRC. Meanwhile, the only Strong whose appearance was mentioned was actually blond and there is also a history of "common-looking" Targaryens being born to Valyrian-looking parents - i.e. Alysanne and Alyssa. To sum it up, accusing somebody of bastardy based on their appearance is slander, pure and simple. A means often enough used in an attempt to discredit somebody, but with no legal foundation.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

Vaemond actually has a stronger case than Stannis.

What case? Even if one were to discount Rhaenyra's sons on the basis of their appearance - which would make the whole notion of orderly hereditary transition of power unfeasible, Corlys still had granddaughters through his daughter. Why should a mere nephew inherit, when he had descendants? And why would his dragonrider of a wife let her blood get desinherited? And why would King Viserys stand for his daughter being accused and discredited like that? Basically, Vaemond was a grasping, entitled fool, likely manipulated by the Greens, who wanted to blow the question of succession to the Iron Throne open again.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

 Kings Landing and Dragonstone turned on her, Driftmark likely hated her as well. 

Yea, funnily enough, when somebody steals the whole treasury of the realm, it is hard to fund your army and government and yet remain popular. Who could have thought? Larys Strong was also very good at sabotage and propaganda and made good use of every opportunity.  "Dragonstone" didn't turn on her, it was a coup. Relations with Driftmark became tumultious, true, but could have been salvaged, as Baela and Rhaena still tied her to Velaryons. Not to say that Rhaenyra succumbing to the nearly unanimous pressure of her idiotic council and vengeful Mysaria to turn on Addam and Nettles wasn't a fateful mistake - it was. But it took a lot to bring her to that point, it wasn't just a bout of paranoia.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

It should be noted that the word popular comes up once in the Rogue Prince and the Princess and the Queen; its about Daeron, Alicent's youngest.

Wasn't he the one who ordered the brutal sack of Bitterbridge, even though the general populace there had zero to do with the death of Prince Maelor, and the culprits had all already been executed? Like all Alicent's sons, he was into mass slaughter of largely innocent bystanders when older, it seems. Nor was he popular enougth to take command of the army after the death of Lord Hightower.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

There is zero evidence that it was a happy marriage or he was a good husband. Robert showers Edric with presents, it does not make him a good father. 

You mean Varys, surely. Robert couldn't be bothered. Which wasn't the case with Viserys.

But IMHO the whole debacle is the evidence that Viserys _tried_ to keep his wife and younger children happy, except for his refusal to budge on succession. They were the ones living in the capital, while Rhaenyra and her sons were banished to Dragonstone, they had been given dragons, even though it would have been more prudent to desist, like Jaehaerys did with his younger children, etc. In fact, it was Viserys bending himself backwards to please Alicent and her kids that made the Dance possible at all.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

Viserys, from what we know, did not want to confront problems, hoped they would go away and on at least one occasion violently overreacted towards Velaryon cousins. 

How was this an overreaction? He acted exactly as he warned everybody that he would just a couple of years previously.

 

Just now, Bernie Mac said:

Aegon and Jaehaerys worked hard to get that accepted,  Viserys did not. 

He was lazy and complacent, the realm suffered as a result. 

 

Well, Jaehaerys mucking around with the succession and not forestalling the readily forseeable complications by marrying Aemon's and Baelon's heirs to each other created much of the issue in the first place.  But yes, Viserys was far too complacent. In fact, he was lucky that Daemon _wasn't_ like Maegor, after all, and didn't have the will to challenge him directly.

 

Oh, and I find personal comments like this:

Quote

And 'ilk', can you calm your emotions? You are far too invested in the side you like being 'right'. 

completely uncalled for and IIRC they are also against the forum rules.

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41 minutes ago, Maia said:

Not really? He may have been in his youth for the more bro-oriented crowd and for his childhood friends, but there were plenty of people who didn't find him so, starting with his brothers.

It' a generalization. Robert, in their misogynistic society, is popular and pleasant company. 

Viserys I Targaryen had a generous, amiable nature and was well loved by his lords and smallfolk alike. 

It's a description that could well be said about Robert, he too was generous, amiable and due to his tourneys popular. 

Robert wanted smiles and cheers, always, so he went where he found them, to his friends and his whores. Robert wanted to be loved. 

They are mirror images of each other, when Robert hears of Starks and Lannisters fighting in kings landing and the Riverlands he does nothing, goes hunting and allows the issue to escalate. Both are partially to blame for civil war that erupts after them.

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

She knew in advance that he already had a heir apparent when she married him,

All Kings have an heir apparent regardless if they are married. 

As a human being in a society were sons are favored she'd undeniably feel her son should be the heir. It's a view shared by half the realm. 

This is the point, both sides felt they were in the right, civil wars of this magnitude come off as corny if one side is right and the other wrong.

The Princess of Dragonstone remained his acknowledged heir, with half the lords of Westeros sworn to defend her rights. Those who asked, “What of the ruling of the Great Council of 101?” found their words falling on deaf ears. The matter had been decided, so far as King Viserys was concerned; it was not an issue His Grace cared to revisit.

The kingdom was split and Viserys simply ignored the issue. And rather than install his daughter as Hand and/or other pro Rhaenyra candidates onto the council he avoided it due to the bickering between the two branches.

I'd say both Queen and Princess were victims of a complacent king too lazy to work on an obvious problem. 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

though, it wasn't some kind of unpleasant surprise. Yes, Rhaenyra was a girl, but thanks to Alicent's own father, she was elevated to the status that would normally only be conferred on a son.

That's not true. Aerea also had that status. 

Otto worked hard to prevent Daemon gaining power.

“On no account can Prince Daemon be allowed to ascend to the Iron Throne,” the Hand wrote his brother, Lord of Oldtown. “He would be a second Maegor the Cruel, or worse.” It was Ser Otto’s wish (then) that Princess Rhaenyra succeed her father. “Better the Realm’s Delight than Lord Flea Bottom,” he wrote. Nor was he alone in his opinion. Yet his party faced a formidable hurdle. If the precedent set by the Great Council of 101 was followed, a male claimant must prevail over a female. In the absence of a trueborn son, the king’s brother would come before the king’s daughter, as Baelon had come before Rhaenys in 92 AC.

It had nothing to do with her coming before any sons the not yet remarried Viserys may have, it was down to Daemon. Him marrying Rhaenyra becomes another stumbling block.

His own court still wanted him to produce male heirs

Though Princess Rhaenyra had been proclaimed her father’s successor, there were many in the realm, at court and beyond it, who still hoped that Viserys might father a male heir, for the Young King was not yet thirty. Grand Maester Runciter was the first to urge His Grace to remarry, even suggesting a suitable choice: the Lady Laena Velaryon

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

Oaths had been sworn to her by half the nobility of the realm, etc.

Yes, half the realm 20 years ago, what about the other half? 

Ser Tyland pointed out that many of the lords who had sworn to defend the succession of Princess Rhaenyra were long dead. “It has been twenty-four years,” he said. “I myself swore no such oath. I was a child at the time.” Ironrod, the master of laws, cited the Great Council of 101 and the Old King’s choice of Baelon rather than Rhaenys in 92, then discoursed at length about Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters, and the hallowed Andal tradition wherein the rights of a trueborn son always came before the rights of a mere daughter.

24 years of inactivity, just hoping it will work out after him.

My point is not that naming Rhaenyra was bad, equality is always the best outcome, but that it was a huge social change with obvious road blocks ahead of it and Viserys did nothing to help her succeed the throne.

In the 24 years he could have

  • Organized a Great Council, spent years making sure through all the powers of the Throne (titles, wealth, marriages, royal favor etc.) that a decision would be made in her favor
  • Groomed her as an accepted ruler, Jaehaery's heirs were both on the Small Council. 
  • Set the Small Council up in her favor, it was overwhelmingly in favor of Aegon
  • Married Aegon to Rhaenyra, problem solved
  • If not Aegon and Rhaenyra, there was many children from the Greens and Blacks to be betrothed and help bridge the divide. 

There are probably other methods I can't think of right now, my point is he did nothing. Made a decision 24 years ago and moved on. 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

There was no way to take that back and pretend that Rhaenyra was just a normal daughter.

Of course there was, he had yet to have a son.

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

By the Widow's Law one can't desinherit a heir apparent from the first marriage in favor of children from the second. 

I'm sorry, but this is simply not true. 

To rectify these ills, King Jaehaerys in 52 AC promulgated the Widow’s Law, reaffirming the right of the eldest son (or eldest daughter, where there was no son) to inherit

The oldest son comes first, thats just an accepted fact in Westeros. 

Ironrod followed him to the block, still insisting that by law a king’s son must come before his daughter. 

The words of the man Viserys appointed his Master of Law back this up. If Viserys was serios on the matter, appointing a Master of Law who was in favor of it would be a start.

 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

Furthermore, do you really think that if Rhaenyra had been male, Alicent wouldn't have tried to discredit "him" and push "him" aside? The usual accusations of bastardy would have been employed again - even if "he" had vintage Targaryen looks, as Daemon could have always been blamed, and all the gods help "him" if "he" took after his grandmother Alyssa or "his" Arryn ancestors.

I'm not sure your point? 

If Rhaenyra was male the realm would not be divided, certainly not to the extreme it was. 

This is why people are allowing their emotions to dictate their response to the question. Alicent could be the worst human being to have ever lived, it does not change the fact that half the kingdom thought her son was the rightful heir. 

For the record I greatly prefer the Blacks, the Velaryons are my favourite House, Baela is easily the best character from Fire & Blood and Jace seemingly would have made an excellent king.  But there is no one side in the right on this matter, trying to paint it so is just wrong for the world they live in. 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

I also think it very likely that if Viserys had married Laena Velaryon or anybody but Alicent, Otto would have been the first to champion Rhaenyra's continuing status as the heir, because he always supported whoever seemed likely to give most power to himself or his family and Laena's offspring would have come with the formidable Corlys Velaryon poised to take over the Handship.

No one forced Viserys to rehire Aegon's grandfather to co-rule the realm.

The governance of the realm was a daunting task; the king needed a strong, capable Hand to shoulder some of his burdens. Briefly he considered sending for Princess Rhaenyra. Who better to rule with him than the daughter he meant to succeed him on the Iron Throne? But that would have meant bringing the princess and her sons back to King’s Landing, where more conflict with the queen and her own brood would have been inevitable. He considered his brother as well, until he recalled Prince Daemon’s previous stints on the small council. Grand Maester Mellos suggested bringing in some younger man, and put forward several names, but His Grace chose familiarity, and recalled to court Ser Otto Hightower, the queen’s father, who had filled the office before for both Viserys and the Old King.

Your echoing a point I've repeatedly made in this discussion, that a blind man could see that Otto was always going to favor his Grandson. 

Otto being Hand for the last years of Viserys life was an obvious mistake. 

 

 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

Not a king, but Lady Jeyne Arryn's named heir did succeed over a closer relative.

And it led to a civil war in the Vale, it was not just accepted. 

That's my whole point. 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

Eh? Corlys was Rhaenyra's greatest supporter from the start and was visibly proud of her older sons.

You don't think he had an issue with what happened to his nephew? 

He can't exactly go on record and complain about it, he's likely fond of his tongue and head.

Corly's granddaughter would be Queen, he got on well with the Blacks in general but that is not to say he approved/was ok with how his own kin were dealt with by King and Daughter.

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

Really? 

Yes really. 

Joffrey Velaryon was as big and red-faced and healthy as his brothers, but like them he had brown hair, brown eyes, and features that some at court called common

Are you really arguing that they were Laenor's? 

 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

What case

Cersei and Robert's children look like their mother, Laenor and Rhaenyra's children look nothing like either. 

Vaemond's case is stronger. 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

Yea, funnily enough, when somebody steals the whole treasury of the realm, it is hard to fund your army and government and yet remain popular. 

Do you think that's the only reason she was unpopular? 

 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

Wasn't he the one who ordered the brutal sack of Bitterbridge, even though the general populace there had zero to do with the death of Prince Maelor, and the culprits had all already been executed? Like all Alicent's sons, he was into mass slaughter of largely innocent bystanders when older, it seems. Nor was he popular enougth to take command of the army after the death of Lord Hightower.

Are you really arguing that the text is wrong, that he was not popular?

 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

You mean Varys, surely. Robert couldn't be bothered.

Its the exact same thing. You are quibbling. 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

Which wasn't the case with Viserys.

He never had a subordinate choose gifts for him to give to his wife and children? Thats a bold claim!

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

How was this an overreaction? He acted exactly as he warned everybody that he would just a couple of years previously.

It was an overreaction. 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

Well, Jaehaerys mucking around with the succession and not forestalling the readily forseeable complications by marrying Aemon's and Baelon's heirs to each other created much of the issue in the first place.  But yes, Viserys was far too complacent. In fact, he was lucky that Daemon _wasn't_ like Maegor, after all, and didn't have the will to challenge him directly.

Exactly what I've been saying these past few pages.  We are in agreement. 

41 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

Oh, and I find personal comments like this:

completely uncalled for and IIRC they are also against the forum rules.

Why? 

There are some questions and topics that are entirely suitable for an emotional response, but judging one side as completely wrong and the other right in a civil war that divided the realm is taking an emotional viewpoint on the subject. 

 

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2 hours ago, Maia said:

Not really? He may have been in his youth for the more bro-oriented crowd and for his childhood friends, but there were plenty of people who didn't find him so, starting with his brothers.

Later Robert isn't even not pleasant for his friends to be around. Ned pretty much cringes all the time when he hangs out with him, doesn't like the informality, doesn't like the way the man does not manage things, etc.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

She knew in advance that he already had a heir apparent when she married him, though, it wasn't some kind of unpleasant surprise. Yes, Rhaenyra was a girl, but thanks to Alicent's own father, she was elevated to the status that would normally only be conferred on a son. Oaths had been sworn to her by half the nobility of the realm, etc. There was no way to take that back and pretend that Rhaenyra was just a normal daughter. By the Widow's Law one can't desinherit a heir apparent from the first marriage in favor of children from the second. And all of this was Otto's fault in the first place, since he was so focused on preventing Daemon's claim that just public re-confirmation of the Widow's Law in respect to the royal succession - i.e. that heirs of the body come before other relatives, was not enough for him.

I must have been crystal clear that the 105 AC decision was final for all time. Else the royal decree and the subsequent vows would have added the caveat that Maegor attached to the decree which made Aerea his heir. But Viserys I was done with waiting for sons. Regardless whether he would have any sons sometime in the future - he chose his successor in 105 AC, and that was that.

Rhaenyra was not a placeholder for a son, she was the chosen heir.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

Furthermore, do you really think that if Rhaenyra had been male, Alicent wouldn't have tried to discredit "him" and push "him" aside? The usual accusations of bastardy would have been employed again - even if "he" had vintage Targaryen looks, as Daemon could have always been blamed, and all the gods help "him" if "he" took after his grandmother Alyssa or "his" Arryn ancestors.

If Rhaenyra had been male Alicent and Otto would have likely searched for other ways to get rid of him - have him fight in some pointless quarrel and die of a festered wound, have him join Daemon on the Stepstones, try to create a rift between the king and his ingrate son, etc.

With FaB's picture of the dying Alicent it is now very, very unlikely that either Otto or Alicent ever cared much about Viserys I. This was always a power grab.

One can fault Viserys for not seeing through it if one looks for fault, but it is clear he was the guy in love whereas his wife may have been more attracted to his senile grandfather.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

I also think it very likely that if Viserys had married Laena Velaryon or anybody but Alicent, Otto would have been the first to champion Rhaenyra's continuing status as the heir, because he always supported whoever seemed likely to give most power to himself or his family and Laena's offspring would have come with the formidable Corlys Velaryon poised to take over the Handship.

One really wonders why nobody offered Rhaenyra a Hightower husband when the issue of her hand was discussed. One assumes that this had been the plan when she was made heir at Otto's behest. Get her installed and then take power through her and previously through Viserys-Alicent. But with Alicent having sons of her own Rhaenyra had become a dead end. They wanted her gone.

If Alicent had proved to be barren or had given Viserys only daughters and stillbirths like Aemma, they would have certainly pushed a brother or nephew of Alicent's on her, or possibly even Ormund or one of his brothers or cousins. That this was never suggested is quite telling.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

Not a king, but Lady Jeyne Arryn's named heir did succeed over a closer relative.

Yeah, that's a pretty strong indication that even lords can name their successors.

I mean, it is the standard that a man in this world wants his eldest son to inherit, so it is basically the normal thing that happened, but we also do know that Tywin not naming Tyrion his heir is not insignificant. Nobody ever refers to him as heir of Casterly Rock, meaning he simply isn't the heir. He has a strong claim and he certainly could push it after his father's death but he is still not the official heir. 

And we can be reasonably certain that Tywin could rather easily push the dwarf aside considering that Tyrion's traits might be inherited by his children, meaning that the great Lannisters of Casterly Rock would become a family of ugly dwarfs. That's not something anyone in the West or Westeros would want. For that thing alone Tywin could easily enough have named Kevan or one of his nephews his heir - or even Cersei, although it seems likely he would have passed her over, too. That he did not do that is apparently entirely due to the fact that he was certain he would get Jaime out of the KG.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

In neither case is the Widow's Law applicable, however. It only rules on inheritance of children of a lord, not their grandchildren or other relatives - there is much more fluidity there. Ditto with Berena Hornwood - she was a sister of a lord, with some claim at inheriting from her brother, not a daughter directly inheriting from her father. Not to mention that her younger son was suggested so as to please yet another woman - Lady Hornwood, born Manderly and her family, and let her keep the regency of Hornwood lands for a few more years.

Yeah, it is 'a daughter comes before an uncle', not 'a granddaughter through the elder line comes before a son' nor 'a great-grandson through the elder female line comes before a grandson through the younger male line'.

It seems to be pretty solid that sons come before daughters but daughters do come before uncles if we are talking about the children of lords. We even see that going smoothly and without issue when Cersei succeeds her father as Lady of Casterly Rock.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

Eh? Corlys was Rhaenyra's greatest supporter from the start and was visibly proud of her older sons.

Not only that, it is also referenced that he felt betrayed by Vaemond and the silent ones.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

Really? We have no idea what Queen Aemma looked like, but _her_ father Roderik Arryn was dark-haired, IIRC. Meanwhile, the only Strong whose appearance was mentioned was actually blond and there is also a history of "common-looking" Targaryens being born to Valyrian-looking parents - i.e. Alysanne and Alyssa. To sum it up, accusing somebody of bastardy based on their appearance is slander, pure and simple. A means often enough used in an attempt to discredit somebody, but with no legal foundation.

I don't think we have Lord Rodrik's hair color, we just know he didn't look very impressive - which sort of implies he did not have those prominent Andal-Arryn looks Harrold Hardyng apparently has - who supposedly very much resembles Jon Arryn in his youth.

Since it seems that Joffrey Arryn, Lady Jeyne's fourth cousin who continued the lordly branch of House Arryn, doesn't seem to be descended from Lord Rodrik (who seems to have been Jeyne's grandfather - she was the daughter of Rodrik's elder son, whereas Arnold is the son of Rodrik's younger son), it is not implausible that Lord Rodrik was not a prototypical blond Arryn. He wouldn't have passed down such looks to the present-day Arryns, anyway. At least not through the male line.

But example of Lucamore Strong clearly can be cited as evidence against the Strong hypothesis. The fact that he had blond hair makes it a little bit more likely that Harwin did not, in fact, resemble Rhaenyra's sons either in eye color or in hair color.

Even if Rhaenyra's sons weren't Laenor then there is still no case that Harwin was their father while it is unknown whether he even resembled the boys. And we simply don't know that. It might very well be that the Greens merely used the Strong calumny to throw dirt both at Rhaenyra and one of her strongest supporters, while there actually being no evidence that Harwin may have been their father insofar as looks were concerned.

All we have is that confirmation that the boys did not resemble Laenor Velaryon - but as you pointed out, Alyssa Targaryen didn't resemble any of her parents, either. Even Alysanne didn't come after either of her parents - they had both silver-gold hair and purple eyes, whereas Alysanne was just blond-haired and blue-eyed.

Perhaps Alyssa's green eye goes back to her Massey great-grandmother, or any of the other non-Valyrian ancestors the Velaryons (and some Targaryens of the past) must have? Or the true father or King Aenys, possibly a bastard singer from Lannisport?

If so, it would be same with Rhaenyra's sons. They could resemble Rodrik Arryn or his paternal and maternal ancestors, or even Corlys Velaryon's unknown mother or grandmother. We do now know that Laenor's maternal lineage is, unfortunately, completely unknown.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

What case? Even if one were to discount Rhaenyra's sons on the basis of their appearance - which would make the whole notion of orderly hereditary transition of power unfeasible, Corlys still had granddaughters through his daughter. Why should a mere nephew inherit, when he had descendants? And why would his dragonrider of a wife let her blood get desinherited? And why would King Viserys stand for his daughter being accused and discredited like that? Basically, Vaemond was a grasping, entitled fool, likely manipulated by the Greens, who wanted to blow the question of succession to the Iron Throne open again.

One can understand why he did it, though. Corlys was the richest man in the Realm, meaning that Driftmark was the ripest plume in all of Westeros. One can see why a man might stop at little to nothing to try to claim such a seat and fortune - and one also understands why Rhaenyra and Daemon do pretty much all in their power to fight back. This is not a minor issue.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

Yea, funnily enough, when somebody steals the whole treasury of the realm, it is hard to fund your army and government and yet remain popular. Who could have thought? Larys Strong was also very good at sabotage and propaganda and made good use of every opportunity.  "Dragonstone" didn't turn on her, it was a coup. Relations with Driftmark became tumultious, true, but could have been salvaged, as Baela and Rhaena still tied her to Velaryons. Not to say that Rhaenyra succumbing to the nearly unanimous pressure of her idiotic council and vengeful Mysaria to turn on Addam and Nettles wasn't a fateful mistake - it was. But it took a lot to bring her to that point, it wasn't just a bout of paranoia.

As I think I laid out in the other thread which is now about this topic, too, Rhaenyra could and likely would have reconciled with the Velaryons had the Shepherd not convinced her to abandon KL. Had she decided to stay there - she had sufficient men to hold the castle - the news of Second Tumbleton would have reached her soon enough, and then the tide would have changed in her favor. She would have released Corlys, and would have taken Dragonstone back with the help of the Velaryon fleet, putting the crippled pretender and his dying dragon out of their misery.

The treason on Dragonstone also underline the fact that the Blacks had to deal much wore with petty betrayal and treason, essentially justifying Rhaenyra in her paranoia up to a point. If you are betrayed constantly you are better safe than sorry, especially when the people who might betray you do ride dragons.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

Wasn't he the one who ordered the brutal sack of Bitterbridge, even though the general populace there had zero to do with the death of Prince Maelor, and the culprits had all already been executed? Like all Alicent's sons, he was into mass slaughter of largely innocent bystanders when older, it seems. Nor was he popular enougth to take command of the army after the death of Lord Hightower.

Yes, that's the sympathetic guy.

Even the original quotes makes him merely the most popular guy in a group of people who are not very popular, so it would be wrong to conclude he was particular popular when compared to people who are actually referred to as being actually popular.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

You mean Varys, surely. Robert couldn't be bothered. Which wasn't the case with Viserys.

But IMHO the whole debacle is the evidence that Viserys _tried_ to keep his wife and younger children happy, except for his refusal to budge on succession. They were the ones living in the capital, while Rhaenyra and her sons were banished to Dragonstone, they had been given dragons, even though it would have been more prudent to desist, like Jaehaerys did with his younger children, etc. In fact, it was Viserys bending himself backwards to please Alicent and her kids that made the Dance possible at all.

Yeah, Viserys I comes across as a guy who really strove madly to keep his family and those around him happy, who was willing to forgive pretty much everything they did, and who simply could not fathom that his children would ever want to kill each other. Which is, I think, a completely natural reaction for any parent. Westeros is cruel, but it is not as cruel as, say, Rome was in the imperial days, when you simply had no other choice but to murder a lot of people, close family included, when you took power because there was simply not proper method of succession or transition of power aside from 'I'm a relation to the previous emperor' and 'The soldiers do like me'.

Targaryen Westeros is relatively harmless compared to that. Up until Aegon II the Targaryens had had only one bad apple, and no king was ever forced to kill other relations to ensure the succession of his chosen heir.

And he was actually not unsuccessful in keeping the peace - which is why the blame for the war that followed was not his fault but rather the fault or the people who started and fought it. They could have reached a modus vivendi, just as Stannis and Renly could have at Storm's End. They just did not want to do that.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

How was this an overreaction? He acted exactly as he warned everybody that he would just a couple of years previously.

Yes. If he had just let that slide he would have acted against the word he gave the world back on Driftmark at Laenor's funeral.

2 hours ago, Maia said:

Well, Jaehaerys mucking around with the succession and not forestalling the readily forseeable complications by marrying Aemon's and Baelon's heirs to each other created much of the issue in the first place.  But yes, Viserys was far too complacent. In fact, he was lucky that Daemon _wasn't_ like Maegor, after all, and didn't have the will to challenge him directly.

In a sense, though, this also shows that he must have had considerable skills as a moderator and an ability to bring out the best in people. He had not dragon of his own yet he commanded all the dragonriders. That's no small feature. A less forgiving man - or a man less able to keep and maintain peace - may failed to preserve the peace between Otto and Daemon in the beginning of his reign, much less what started to brew later.

And I really don't see the fault in a guy who has really no reason to assume the worst in people. He could not know what Alicent and Otto would do after his death. 

Jaehaerys I really let the ball drop when Aemon died. Antagonizing Corlys Velaryon was not a great idea, and could easily enough have led to war. And if Vaegon had not suggested the Great Council it would have likely come to war - a war the Velaryons would have likely won had it only started after Laena Velaryon had claimed Vhagar.

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20 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

He still married her, she and her children do not deserve to be treated as inferiors to his first marriage and child. 

Its basic human nature, the majority of us get upset in similar circumstances. To put up with that for 20 years is going to lead to a lot of resentment.

 

They weren't being treated as inferior though? They just didn't take precedence on the throne over the child of his first marriage and declared heir on account of their gender. The fact they were allowed to become dragonriders (all of them, including the grandkids) should speak volumes. They also got to reside in KG while Rhaenyra was on Dragonstone, although the fault in that lies on all sides, most of all Viserys who even in a moment of clarity when he thinks "maybe I should have my heir here to help me rule" dismisses that on the basis they would all be under one roof.

20 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Viserys loving his wife and children is not what is  being debated, I assume he did, what is being questioned is if it was a happy marriage and if he was a good husband. Both of those are unanswered. 

20 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

She had bigger fish to fry. She wanted to secure the throne for her children, we have seen far greater crimes committed for lesser reasons. 

Viserys is a corpse, what does it matter if he's cremated a little later?  

He married her because she was hot. He married for lust, at least thats how I took it. 

So did he marry her because he loved her or because she was hot? Which is it?

Robb is a corpse, what does it matter if his wolf's head is propped on his body? Catelyn is also a corpse, what does it matter that she gets thrown in the river? Like you said, she had bigger fish to fry. Her priorities are very clear, the rotting corpse of her loving husband, missing a finger or two, did not seem to weigh on her. 

I didn't say their marriage was a good or fulfilling one or that they were good partners for each other (by good I mean to say compatible). Only that he loved her and was a good husband to her on the account of exalting her to the position of Queen, being a pleasant and complacent man and giving their children all of the perks Targ children get. As far as kings get he seems to have cared about his Queen.

To give you another example, Androw Farman loved Rhaena and seems to have tried to be a good husband to her and make her happy. That doesn't change the fact they were not suited for each other and in the end that soured their relationship and brought the worst in both of them. A man/woman can be/try to be a good husband/wife, it doesn't mean their marriage will be a happy one by default.

Edited by Ellaena

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Now, just to make my position clear, I actually think GRR Martin has given me enough textual evidence to doubt the paternity of the Velaryon boys. Not that I care, but damn Rhaenyra, couldn't you just have had one of Laenor's just to cast some doubt? But then if she did, she wouldn't be Rhaenyra, just like Cersei wouldn't be Cersei if she had at least one of her kids be Robert's.

I think the fact the children she has had with Daemon have the Valyrian look, while the Velaryon ones all take "after their Arryn side" (maybe) is dubious. I wonder if Laenor ever tried to sleep with her, he seems to have been strictly interested in men. I also wonder what he thought of the boys. I mean, he names one of them after his dead lover.  How come Corlys doesn't care? One of them is supposed to inherit Driftmark, did he just turn a blind eye and chose to ignore what was right before him like Tywin? So many questions.

I find Daeron the Daring to be an ok lad, I don't know how fun it was to grow up with Aegon and Aemond.
 

9 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

There are some questions and topics that are entirely suitable for an emotional response, but judging one side as completely wrong and the other right in a civil war that divided the realm is taking an emotional viewpoint on the subject. 

Bringing this on the back of my last comment, but the source of the Dance might be stemming from Viserys and his predecessors, but the actions of the people who participated in it are their own, including Alicent's. 

9 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Its the exact same thing. You are quibbling. 

It's not though. If you are to compare and mirror Robert as a father to Viserys then do it based on textual facts. Robert was an absentee father. Viserys' last scene, right before his death, is of him telling stories to his grandchildren by Alicent. Quite the difference. That fact that he was complacent in the first place means he was trying to please everyone, while Robert lived to please himself mostly during the later years of his reign.

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1 hour ago, Ellaena said:

Now, just to make my position clear, I actually think GRR Martin has given me enough textual evidence to doubt the paternity of the Velaryon boys. Not that I care, but damn Rhaenyra, couldn't you just have had one of Laenor's just to cast some doubt? But then if she did, she wouldn't be Rhaenyra, just like Cersei wouldn't be Cersei if she had at least one of her kids be Robert's.

One can doubt, of course, the point I and others are pointing out is that there is no evidence or proof that Harwin is the father. There are only hints that Laenor may not be the father. This is a difference.

And we can, I think, be very sure that the bulk of the blame of this issue if Laenor's son were not Laenor's would have to be laid at the feet of Laenor. He was Rhaenyra's lord husband. Consummating his marriage is usually the duty of the husband. He does the literal consummating. If he categorically refused to ever sleep with her and flat-out told her to find a sperm-donor among the men of her retinue if she wanted children Rhaenyra basically had no other choice.

This is not a Robert-Cersei situation.

1 hour ago, Ellaena said:

I think the fact the children she has had with Daemon have the Valyrian look, while the Velaryon ones all take "after their Arryn side" (maybe) is dubious.

Since we don't have a description of Harwin and Larys and Lyonel to compare Rhaenyra's sons this claim/idea is about as dubious as the claim that they are or must be 'Strongs'.

Daemon is pure-blooded Targaryen of Valyrian descent, whereas both Rhaenyra and and Laenor Velaryon have a pretty mixed ancestry - Rhaenyra through Aemma and Rodrik and Laenor through both Rhaenys (via Jocelyn Baratheon and her Durrandon and Baratheon and ancestors) and Corlys (whose most recent Targaryen ancestors was, perhaps, Valaena Velaryon's Targaryen mother.

It is not really surprising that Rhaenyra's sons by Daemon have as striking Valyrian features as Daenerys, Aemon, and Baelon. But if Alysanne and Alyssa don't have true Valyrian features then it is hardly surprising if Laenor and Rhaenyra's sons don't resemble their parents all that much. Alyssa Targaryen basically has no resemblance with either her mother or her father or any of her ancestors we know of. And her sons and grandchildren also don't inherit any of her features - which would also be the case with Laenor and Rhaenyra's sons.

Those things are not as obvious as one might think.

1 hour ago, Ellaena said:

I wonder if Laenor ever tried to sleep with her, he seems to have been strictly interested in men. I also wonder what he thought of the boys. I mean, he names one of them after his dead lover.  How come Corlys doesn't care? One of them is supposed to inherit Driftmark, did he just turn a blind eye and chose to ignore what was right before him like Tywin? So many questions.

FaB makes it crystal clear that Rhaenyra's sons were his grandchildren - true Velaryons. This implies that all the speculations people had earlier that Corlys and Rhaenys may have resented what Rhaenyra may have done to Laenor and the fact that they may never have had trueborn grandsons, etc.

Family is not only blood, there are also adoptive family, etc. - and adoption is actually introduced as a legal concept in FaB. People in Westeros can adopt other people's children.

But the best explanation here likely is - if Laenor were not the father of Rhaenyra's sons - that Corlys and Rhaenys had long known - perhaps even before plans for Laenor's marriage were even made - that their son would *never* sleep with a woman or take it upon himself to father an heir of his own body on a woman. The entire marriage between Rhaenyra and Laenor may have been a sham. I mean, Laenor resided at High Tide throughout most of his marriage. Do we believe Corlys and Rhaenys didn't know that? They lived there, too. And if they had insisted on or cared about trueborn grandsons they would and should have forced their son to live with his wife and share her bed.

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By now, the answer to the topic's question should be quite obvious.

As has been said, Westeros like the Roman Empire didn't have a succession law. For "good" reason for Rome, since it wasn't formally an Empire, a monarchy, the Emperor being supposedly just an official of the Republic with a lot of various powers for life; with less good reasons for Westeros, except that laws weren't as clearly set up as in our modern world; they obviously never had lawmakers and scholars gathering to come up with an official rule like the Salic Law of succession - the time they did it in 101, it was a far larger gathering, and the aim wasn't to set the Law of the Kingdom forever but to have all the nobles picking the next ruler, basically like the Mongols did in 13/14th centuries.

So, the surest way to reduce the risk of succession crisis would've been to have a definitive Law of succession that would apply to all future successions on the Iron Throne. Though this would've been tricky to do; merely the King proclaiming it wouldn't be enough, odds are that he should have a strong cases backed by the maesters, the King's Council, and the 7 ruling houses.

By the way, I've also realised that, considering the final fate of Targaryens and their dragons, the cruel irony is that the best way to avoid the extinction of dragons and to reduce the bloodshed would've been to do what Daemon strongly opposed because it looked too risky to him: to have a general dragon engagement that would disable all the dragons on one side, ensuring dominance of the other one (providing they still had one fighting dragon left). With hindsight, it's clear that the blacks should've attacked early on, after Dreamfyre was taken off the table because Helaena went mad, and most probably right after Aegon and Sunfyre were wounded and unable to fight anymore, but definitely before the search for dragonseed riders - this means no risk of a dragonseed going rogue and ideally a quick end to the war, one way or the other; for the blacks, an actual victory in the war, or at least a decisive victory against the greens and possible withdrawal of the Free Cities from the fight would mean no death of Jacaerys and his dragon and no Viserys taken prisoner and taken East. For the greens, the less unfavourable moment was at the very beginning, as soon as Aemond killed Luce and his dragon and before Jace came back with his own; but considering the odds were always against them when it came to dragons, and they were apparently in control of nearly all Westeros, I can see why they didn't risk it - even a victory would've made them look like bloodthirsty maniacs who wiped out the opposition without serious provocation.

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On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

We don't know anything of that sort. We do not know who the father or Rhaenyra's sons was. But even if it was Harwin Strong or some dude who wasn't Laenor - it would only be high treason if the king shared that view. Did Viserys I think the sons of his daughter were not the sons of his son-in-law?

He had enough evidence to claim that with appearance of all three of her sons by Laenor, it is more conclusive than case with Cersei and Robert and that is proclaimed as reason enough by Lords Paramount to start a war.


 It would be high treason if various centers of power ( king chiefly but also lords,  faith , even population can influence little as seen with rebellions as such and additionally half of royal family) decide it is such.


If kings power was truly ultimate , we wouldn't have most of the events in that book or  throughout history of the kingdom, that is even more case here with both side having weapons of mass destruction.
Viserys knew about it, but like with many other decisions he chose for whatever reason to sweep it under the rug, that is what makes him one of the worst kings, knowing the problem exists but ignoring it.
 

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

Rhaenyra had no power to actually torture her half-brother Aemond.

If that accusation threatened anyone, it threatened people - even members of the royal family - by the command of the king. When Viserys I decrees when he is going to rip some tongues out he deliberately included royals, meaning that Alicent and Aegon and Aemond, etc. would also have lost their tongues had they repeated publicly what Aemond said in 120 AC.

Rhaenyra herself says that she had no intention to kill her half-siblings, and we have no reason to doubt this in light of the fact that she spared both Helaena and Alicent - who would have been the first I'd have executed had I been in Rhaenyra's position.

Yep she had no power, but she wanted to and would if given a chance, that isn't behavior of person who certainly would never harm her siblings.


And just after that event ,King falls and cuts himself on the Iron Throne, afterwards being afraid to sit in it. Writer may be trying to say something about that decision.

Rhaenyra claims one thing  but there is little to corroborate that with her actions before and during the war up until her end.

We have every reason to doubt her , with three members of opposing family died while she was in power , one killed, other died while she was hostage, third with bounty on his head, trying to escape head hunters in the location that supported her.
 

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

Daemon was an asshole, but he was not going to be king. He was just the consort of the queen.

At least on that we agree, though he had large influence on her , probably influencing some of the more cruel decisions, executions, and of course Mysaria was his ally and became trusted advisor of Rhaenyra.

He would worm his way to power if left unchecked I don't doubt that with claim to the throne , capricious nature he might have turned on Rhaenyras first born children if Greens didn't became a issue.

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

The latter is based on actual textual evidence given by the person we accuse to potentially do such things. Your speculation is based on analogy and does not take into account the passage of time - the Daemon of the 110s isn't the Daemon in 129-130 AC. 

Are you trying to say that only thing that vouches for Rhaenyra's action is Rhaenyra word?

While in contrast we have evidence that she is prone to tyranny even before any of her children dies and her liaisons with people who aren't above murder.

Deamon in 129 sent Blood and Cheese another assassination there is written evidence to that in world as well.

He also wanted to make Betrayers lord paramount , so he was most likely same possibly until his time with Nettles where there is some difference in his last stand.
 

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

Don't pretend it wasn't a coup. It was obviously a coup.

I say that coup started way back , with Deamons involvement and him marrying Rhaenyra, because the King was useless and didn't react other side decided not to go quietly in the cold night and fought back.

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

Your opinion is irrelevant. Even if the people involved had good reason to assume that Rhaenyra would eradicate House Hightower and her half-siblings after she took over this still doesn't mean they have a right to prevent her rise. She is the anointed heir, and those people are not the guardians of the state who can arbitrarily decide who is worthy to rule. Their place would be to beg for mercy, not to plot treason and murder.

Otto shows such presumptions very early on when he declares that Prince Daemon cannot allowed to succeed to the throne under any circumstances. Who does this landless knight think that he is? The king of kings? The guardian of the galaxy?

Actually most of the things you claim regarding this period are Your own opinions as well, clearly seen when faced with different versions of the events You choose one that suits Your preconceptions, possibly You probably have chosen your side even before the material was written and are stubborn to admit to be wrong even when faced with new information.


People are not automatons, they will follow law until they flnd it unjust , and certainly will fight for self preservation. They had reasonable claim, which they publicly stated to king and them making that decision isn't big surprise, what is surprising that Rhaenyra had no leverages of power on court, which is huge mistake of her side.


They didn't decide arbitrarily unlike Viserys, they follow law of succession dominant in Westeros, decisions of Grand Council that made Viserys himself  a king, additionally proven flawed personality of Rhaenyra  with her choice of consorts and her marriage to potential Tyrant moved scales to that choice. 


They gave her a generous terms , they didn't plot murder at the time and being the traitor is matter of perspective in this case. 

Regarding Otto:


"The Hand should speak with the king's voice."
King shared that opinion, judging from making Rhaenyra heir and banishing him several times.He served as hand in two final years of Jaehaerys I rule and later to Viserys twice, considering the prosperity of realm , he certainly tried to give good advice from his position, he publicly asked for Aegon to be heir and he was dismissed and returned later. King should have decide one thing and follow it through.
Do You really think Daemon would be good king. 
 

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

I never said she was sympathetic. All I'm saying is that she was obviously much better than Alicent's sons.

So you have no written material that confirms her to be virtuous, capable or just ruler? She wasn't better than all of her sons and certainly was worse in some aspects than the worst of them.

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

The war as such was also started by the Greens - when Aemond murdered Prince Lucerys at Storm's End. They are to be blamed for all that happened, Rhaenyra and her allies just fought for what was theirs by right - and for their survival.

You can point the finger at Daemon all day long, but Daemon wasn't ruling anything.

Aemond did commit the crime, he did it on his own volition and he had reason to hate Lucerys not that I excuse attacking weaker people on diplomatic mission , they could have asked for his head only or maybe Aegon as leader of the faction.


 Before that with terms sent by Aegon II she could have expanded and negotiated  instead of asking "throne or head".

I repeat again, Daemon influenced lot of Rhaenyras more cruel and stupid decisions himself or through his minions that she accepted as her own.
 

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

Violence was mostly started by the Greens. The only thing started by Rhaenyra was Daemon's taking of Harrenhal, and the plan to take KL. Everything else was Blacks reacting to Green attacks. 

Greens supposedly had more manpower , and Blacks had more dragons, one side was on offensive and used that advantage by waging war in territory of their enemy, with exception of Greyjoys , other  side fought defensive or guerrilla like war. Usually rules of sieges in lot of medieaval wars is that people holding castles who don't yield get executed.

Though Rhaenyras executions in Kings Landing and tyranny there point that if they had enough resource for land offensive they would do thing similarly execute people who didn't yield and in Rhaenyras case she torn tongues and executed those who tried to yield anyway.

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

We cannot quantify that, but we have enough numbers to know that the Sack of Tumbleton and the Gullet were likely the battles were most of the people died - the former is described as the cruelest sack ever, basically, with thousands drowning in the river, too, and the Gullet led to the destruction of a lot of ships which implies that many men drowned, too. In addition, High Tide was destroyed and Spicetown sacked.

Blacks also destroyed armies, to be sure. At the Butcher's Ball and the Fishfeed and at Second Tumbleton, etc. But they never deliberately targeted civilians, neither with armies nor dragonfire. They also did not capriciously take out their wrath on weak and defenseless targets like Rook's Rest or Duskendale.

As I say again it would require topic of its own, with more detail study of each event individually, to see if there is proof for war crimes, did people who got executed were soldiers or civilians , did they yield or not, who was commanding officer, could they control turn-cloaks armed with dragons, also bias against the loosing side can sometimes exaggerate destruction . 

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

When the Two Betrayers burned Tumbleton they had turned green. The Greyjoys were not exactly Rhaenyra's loyal men as such, although I did not say this was not bad. However, not unprovoked considering that Lord Jason was a traitor leading an army against Rhaenyra's men.

The taking of the city was a pretty bloodless coup. Loyal men killing traitors is not really bad, is it?

They killed their commanding officers , they were also "loyal" to Daemon not to Rhaenyra.

 if he wanted they would turn easily on her . Their cloak color can also be tied to loyalty for sale and piss for honor, they were corrupted from their founding  and are up to recent history in Westeros, kudos to few exceptions.


Yield of burn is what Rhaenyra demanded, and if Greens didn’t have sense to surrender unlike some of those who Green had to destroy, it would have happened.
 

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

Their commander was a moron and they all paid with their lives for his mistake.

That is debatable, Aemond was biggest moron of the Greens and other in his team are at fault for letting him have the last word. With better reconnaissance of the region or better informants he could have arrived fairly easily to their rescue or saved his troops at Butcher's Ball. 

On 2/6/2019 at 10:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

If you don't show that you mean business in this world you are dead. That's the hard truth. If the Blacks had not avenged the murder of Lucerys they would have lost the war before it truly begun because nobody would jumped on the sinking ship.

Rhaenyra would have been devoured like Tytos was nearly devoured by the Westermen, or how Robb would have been devoured by his father's bannermen had he not done everything in his power to not appear weak.

When Rhaenyra took the city people welcomed here. Nobody gave a damn about dead Jaehaerys.

But as I said - Rhaenyra didn't authorize this, unlike Aegon II and Aemond who either celebrated murder, commanded it gleefully, did it with their own hands, or watched while it happened.

That act actually points their incapability to strike at culprit Aemond or leader  of that side responsible for actions of his underlings Aegon, instead they turn on the easy prey just to send message  is more a sign of weakness.


In the long run it did cost Rhaenyra loosing city with revolts of population as it was only widespread known and proven murder of  opposing family , along with other reports of mistreatment, torment or execution that may have been rumors , false or truths . 
Though her supporters had more success on battlefield ,and many were loyal to her cause , she managed to loose capitol, dragons, husband, most of her children and ultimately her life mostly thanks to her choices.


Rhaenyra by claim of some was deeply sorry and affected by all the deaths and destruction, but up until the end she resorted to tyrannical actions.

She planed murder or torture of loyal bastards without evidence, and imprisoned her own father in law. There are reoccurring patterns in her decisions even when we are not certain of some , other  actions support them.

Aegon II and Aemond were bad in slightly different sense, Though I don’t try to make only one side good or completely in the right  unlike You are trying. "There is good and bad in every conflict ever fought" as Tv Jorah says.


Doing execution yourself isn’t necessarily evil  “Man that passes the sentence, should swing the sword”:
In some cases it was wrong like Aemond killing Strong family in Harenhall with mock duel, I daresay he was 20 year old trying to emulate his uncle.
Aegon executing Shepard and his supporters I have no issue with.


Rhaenyra sending others to do her bidding doesn’t make her hands clean in contrast.
 



 

Edited by Eltharion21

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On 2/7/2019 at 5:14 PM, Lord Varys said:

Jaehaerys I really let the ball drop when Aemon died. Antagonizing Corlys Velaryon was not a great idea, and could easily enough have led to war. And if Vaegon had not suggested the Great Council it would have likely come to war - a war the Velaryons would have likely won had it only started after Laena Velaryon had claimed Vhagar.

A few years before.

By 85 or so, Rhaenys was 11, Jocelyn was 32 with no mention of further children after Rhaenys, Baelon was a widower of 28 or so, Viserys was 8, and Meleys riderless for unknown time.

Jaehaerys might have taken an initiative and done one of the below things:

1) Although Jocelyn, just 32, might yet have a son, or else die and Aemon marry another wife who does bear a son, after 11 years of no further children, they might continue without more children - or have just a little sister for Rhaenys. Thus, while Jaehaerys might not expect Aemon to die soon, he should realize that likely after King Aemon there would be Queen Rhaenys on Iron Throne - and make it clear to himself, Baelon, Viserys, Corlys and his councillors and lords that Rhaenys is the future Sovereign and should be treated, educated and expected to behave accordingly.

2) Precisely because Jaehaerys disliked woman rulers, he might have instead tried to make clear to Alysanne, Aemon, Jocelyn, Rhaenys and Corlys that Rhaenys is by sex disqualified from being Aemon´s heir and that unless Aemon (with or after Jocelyn) manages to make a boy finally, he´ll have to leave his throne to his brother not daughter

3) Foreseeing the eventual need to make a choice between Rhaenys and Baelon (sooner or later, in his reign or Aemon´s), and seeing that Baelon was a freshly available widower of just 28 (no one then knew he´d do without a new wife the remaining 16 years of his wife), potentially vulnerable to ambitious girls like Viserra or many other available noble ladies - try and arrange for Rhaenys to replace Alyssa atop both Meleys and Baelon. Corlys only appeared in picture a few years later.

4) Seeing how Baelon was 17 years Rhaenys´ senior but Viserys 3 years her junior - betroth Rhaenys to Viserys not Baelon.

 

All 4 had some problems. But we see that Jaehaerys did nothing at all. His reactions to when Rhaenys reported her betrothal to Corlys as a fait accompli, and when Aemon suddenly died, revealed complete lack of preparation on his part for the eventuality of his granddaughter´s marriage. It was his only granddaughter, she was a teen, and he was King and head of family - and he held no talks to his son, his daughter-in-law, his granddaughter and his prospective grandson-in-law about what he thought should be the expectations of the first husband of the Queen on Iron Throne.

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On 2/7/2019 at 11:57 AM, Maia said:

Well, Jaehaerys mucking around with the succession and not forestalling the readily forseeable complications by marrying Aemon's and Baelon's heirs to each other created much of the issue in the first place.  But yes, Viserys was far too complacent. In fact, he was lucky that Daemon _wasn't_ like Maegor, after all, and didn't have the will to challenge him directly.

Good point

On 2/9/2019 at 9:22 AM, Jaak said:

A few years before.

 By 85 or so, Rhaenys was 11, Jocelyn was 32 with no mention of further children after Rhaenys, Baelon was a widower of 28 or so, Viserys was 8, and Meleys riderless for unknown time.

Jaehaerys might have taken an initiative and done one of the below things:

Even more options here, but again only Rhaenys + Viserys really would solve the issue of not having competing branches in the first place.  Unfortunately, their personalities seem incompatible, Rhaenys would have needed 'leaning on' to do the right thing by the realm. Rhaenys + Baelon is actually a really bad solution as it potentially pits Viserys & Daemon against this new branch of step-brothers, who might claim the throne based on their mother's claim.

What might have driven Jahaerys' decision-making is not be seen as having usurped Rhaena and her daughters' claim and endanger his legacy, but that's a poor reason really - he came to the throne under different circumstances, while here Rhaenys actually might have made a good ruler. Beyond a point in time, no one in the realm was thinking that Rhaena or Aerea should have been the true rulers. In any event, he tried to build consensus around his preferred heir and the fact that civil war did not break out after his death points to his at least having done enough to ensure the success of his debatable inheritance preference. What he could not have foreseen was that Viserys would turn out to be a good natured dolt. 

This brings us to the options Viserys had:

1a

If Viserys had been a different man, after coming to power, he should married Laena upon Aemma's death and nominated the son of that marriage his heir under Andal custom and the ruling of the Great Council of 101. This wins his heir Corlys' and Rhaenys' support. Even if Daemon were to still marry Rhaenyra eventually, it will not give them support from anywhere to challenge Viserys and Laena's male heir. 

1b

If Viserys and Laena had only daughters, then Rhaenyra would still be heir obviously. This scenario is not without problems if in this timeline she had married Laenor first and then had children with rumours about their parentage. Also Daemon as step-father to the future king creates some instability, but it is not obvious this has to let to a civil war.

2 If Viserys absolutely had to marry Alicent, then he should just followed through and named his son Aegon his heir. It's misogyny of course, but under the circumstances he and Jahaerys both had come to power, there was no way out. He should have then bethroted Aegon to Rhaena, Aemond to Baela, Heleana to Jace and then Aegon's children to Jace's.

3 Go full Dragon on Dorne. Clearly, one part of the problem was a surfeit of dragon riders and this might be a way of reducing some of them, preferably Daemon and Aemond! This is not a bloodless solution as required by the OP though, but might have reduced the chance of a dance. Ok, this is not a serious suggestion, Viserys loved all his family, so even a smarter version wouldn't have done this.

Edited by Ser Hedge

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32 minutes ago, Ser Hedge said:

Good point

Even more - Laena rode the most powerful weapon of mass destruction in the world - while Viserys was dragonless. If a dragonrider chose to revolt in 105, Viserys had nobody to send in air except a 8 year old girl whose dragon was also a hatchling. Rhaenys/Meleys, Laenor/Seasmoke, Laena/Vhagar and Daemon/Caraxes were all alienated.

32 minutes ago, Ser Hedge said:

Even more options here, but again only Rhaenys + Viserys really would solve the issue of not having competing branches in the first place.  Unfortunately, their personalities seem incompatible, Rhaenys would have needed 'leaning on' to do the right thing by the realm.

Seem in retrospect, or seemed then? Jaehaerys and Alysanne could, in 87, think Viserra expected to somehow make Baelon King (with Aemon alive and well!)! Why not ask the then 13 year old Rhaenys to wait a couple of years and raise her then 10 year old future husband?

32 minutes ago, Ser Hedge said:

Rhaenys + Baelon is actually a really bad solution as it potentially pits Viserys & Daemon against this new branch of step-brothers, who might claim the throne based on their mother's claim.

What might have driven Jahaerys' decision-making is not be seen as having usurped Rhaena and her daughters' claim and endanger his legacy, but that's a poor reason really - he came to the throne under different circumstances, while here Rhaenys actually might have made a good ruler. Beyond a point in time, no one in the realm was thinking that Rhaena or Aerea should have been the true rulers. 

Also, who should Aerea have married if she hadn´t died? It was only after Aerea´s disappearance that Aemon was born. Jaehaerys might in retrospect claim that he would eventually have married Aemon to Aerea.

32 minutes ago, Ser Hedge said:

In any event, he tried to build consensus around his preferred heir and the fact that civil war did not break out after his death points to his at least having done enough to ensure the success of his debatable inheritance preference. What he could not have foreseen was that Viserys would turn out to be a good natured dolt.

Yes, but he started consensus-building too late. The time to do so would have been before Rhaenys picked a husband.

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On 1/23/2019 at 7:11 PM, 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?

Being an optimist, I believe there is usually a way to end an argument without the shedding of blood.  But then the question becomes, who will give up.  Who will roll over and take it up the arse for peace?  The better option is to handle it with as little bloodshed as possible and with little collateral damage that could impact the dragons and the innocents.  Rhaenyra had the Velaryon fortunes are her disposal and dragon eggs  to spare.  Why not hire the Faceless Men or the Sorrowful Men to strategically kill off the Hightowers.  That is what I would have done.  

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Smothering with pillows tend to be a rather ''bloodless' death. 

But the succession already was solved. There was no question to be had as the king made Rhaenyra his heir. There was no question to be answered nor ambiguity about his words. The problem wasn't that the succession wasn't solved but that Alicent and Otto refused to let the matter rest. Even Aegon himself seems to have resigned himself to it at first with Daeron probably following suit given what we know about him. 

Another hand might have been a good start. Otto naturally was in the pocket of his daughter and grandson so a man like Corlys Valerian might have been a good way to balance out the council. 

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On 2/10/2019 at 9:38 PM, Allardyce said:

Rhaenyra had the Velaryon fortunes are her disposal and dragon eggs  to spare.  Why not hire the Faceless Men or the Sorrowful Men to strategically kill off the Hightowers.  That is what I would have done.  

Rhaenyra wasn't going to take "the coward's way out". She thought the Iron Throne was hers by right, she felt entitled to it and wanted everyone to admit it and bow before the Realm's Delight. She also did not want to kill her relatives, not at first at least. 
Look at this almost like the conflict between Renly and Stannis at first.

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