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Ranking the houses power in each region

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24 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It is noteworthy, though, that Aegon did not grant Harrenhal - a royal seat of great prestige - not the Edmyn Tully but rather to his old master-at-arms. Here you can see that he did not trust the Tullys all that far, at least not back then.

I don't know if I completely agree with this assessment. Harrenhal was a burnt and ruined monstrosity of a castle which had only an insignificant legacy of rule. It's certainly a strong and well-situated castle, but I don't think the other lords of the Trident would necessarily look to it as a center of power. Riverrun is actually well-situated to rule the Trident as it is actually sitting on one of its main forks.

The Tyrell situation was pretty different as they were always stewards of Highgarden. They had intermarried with the Gardeners many times as well, so they claim close kinship with the former Kings of the Reach. As stewards, they'd also have a legacy within Highgarden itself. It's also possible that with the death of all the Gardeners at the Field of Fire, the Lord Tyrell could have been the closest cousin to the last Gardener King or at the very least he could probably have claimed a close enough kinship to that family as would not be too much different from the other lords of the Reach. So while, the name Tyrell was new, the center of power and the patterns of rule were all the same as before in the Reach, whereas the region formed in the Riverlands was completely new and unfamiliar to the lords there.

Riverrun would have been as good a place to rule from as any castle in the Riverlands and probably a better choice at that time than moving into Harrenhal, which never represented anything but cruelty to the lords of the Trident.

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7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Nobody ever said that the Tullys were weak. They were just nowhere near the strongest or wealthiest Riverlords. They were, though, undoubtedly the leaders of the pro-Targaryen movement in the Riverlands. They owe their exalted rank and reward to Edmyn Tully's courage to declare for the Conqueror and openly defy Black Harren first.

It is noteworthy, though, that Aegon did not grant Harrenhal - a royal seat of great prestige - not the Edmyn Tully but rather to his old master-at-arms. Here you can see that he did not trust the Tullys all that far, at least not back then. Rewarding Harlan Tyrell the way he did can be counted as a master stroke because the Tyrells were, for centuries, completely dependent of the good will and support of the Targaryen kings to keep the great seat of Highgarden because the old elite of the Reach looked down on them and were of the opinion that they had all a better claim to Highgarden than the Tyrells.

Except TWOIAF says they were the most powerful and wealthiest.

Also the Tullys already had their own castle, they didnt need or Want Harrenhal.  but to be clear, Aegon married his Master at Arms to Tully's daughter.  And made Tully his second Hand of the King. 

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On 5/15/2019 at 11:54 PM, Syl of Syl said:

I don't know if I completely agree with this assessment. Harrenhal was a burnt and ruined monstrosity of a castle which had only an insignificant legacy of rule. It's certainly a strong and well-situated castle, but I don't think the other lords of the Trident would necessarily look to it as a center of power. Riverrun is actually well-situated to rule the Trident as it is actually sitting on one of its main forks.

Tywin still looks to Harrenhal as one of the greatest and most prestigious seats in the Realm. He is furious when he hears that Cersei has granted Harrenhal to Janos Slynt. I follow his judgment here.

I agree that Harrenhal the castle as such wouldn't have been that prestigious after its recent burning, but it seems that there were rich lands attached to the castle, lands the Tullys could have used as well. Instead they - and the royal seat of Harren the Black - went to a childhood buddy of Aegon's of Valyrian descent. This is Aegon putting men he can trust into power.

It is also significant that Quenton Qoherys ends up marrying one of Lord Edmyn's daughters. This was a clearly a move by Aegon to bind his new lord paramount closer to him.

On 5/15/2019 at 11:54 PM, Syl of Syl said:

The Tyrell situation was pretty different as they were always stewards of Highgarden. They had intermarried with the Gardeners many times as well, so they claim close kinship with the former Kings of the Reach. As stewards, they'd also have a legacy within Highgarden itself. It's also possible that with the death of all the Gardeners at the Field of Fire, the Lord Tyrell could have been the closest cousin to the last Gardener King or at the very least he could probably have claimed a close enough kinship to that family as would not be too much different from the other lords of the Reach. So while, the name Tyrell was new, the center of power and the patterns of rule were all the same as before in the Reach, whereas the region formed in the Riverlands was completely new and unfamiliar to the lords there.

Here you seem to be mistaken. Sure, we learn there were nine marriages between the royal Gardeners and their loyal stewards since the reign of Mern VI, but we also learn that there were many (and still are some) noble houses in the Reach who consider(ed) their claim to Highgarden very weak and are of the opinion that other, more worthy houses should have gotten Highgarden and dominion over all the Reach.

In fact, the Florents' insistence that Highgarden should have been theirs strongly implies, I'd think, that the Lord Florent of Brightwater during the Conquest was either the son of a daughter or sister of King Mern IX himself. And considering how the great houses of the Reach (the Redwynes, for instance) still look down on the Tyrells during the reign of Jaehaerys I we can conclude, I'd think, that there are many other great houses in the Reach - the Hightowers, Redwynes, Rowans, Peakes, Oakhearts, etc. - that were closer related to the Gardeners than Harlan Tyrell.

In fact, I'd not be surprised if Septon Matheus was actually Septon Matheus Gardener-Florent (i.e. the son or grandson of Gardener princess marrying into House Florent).

A very interesting implication of those nine Gardener-Tyrell matches is that those noble houses must really be very interrelated indeed if this many matches actually do rather little to make the Tyrells close cousins to the Gardeners or strengthen their blood claim to Highgarden in comparison to other distinguished Reach houses...

On 5/15/2019 at 11:56 PM, dsjj251 said:

Except TWOIAF says they were the most powerful and wealthiest.

I tried to make sense of that already. If TWoIaF is at odds with FaB here - and it is - then George's own words in FaB should have more weight than those of Yandel.

On 5/15/2019 at 11:56 PM, dsjj251 said:

Also the Tullys already had their own castle, they didnt need or Want Harrenhal.  but to be clear, Aegon married his Master at Arms to Tully's daughter.  And made Tully his second Hand of the King. 

See above about the grant of Harrenhal. Increasing the Tully lands could have helped them, too. They didn't need Harrenhal as such to get Harrenhal lands.

It is quite clear that Aegon did trust Lord Edmyn to no small degree. But he did not serve as Hand all that long, did he?

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Tywin still looks to Harrenhal as one of the greatest and most prestigious seats in the Realm. He is furious when he hears that Cersei has granted Harrenhal to Janos Slynt. I follow his judgment here.

Sure. It plays a prominent and important role in many of the stories. Any time there is fighting in the Riverlands, we see the castle change hands. I think it definitely has a strategic location, particularly from the perspective of King's Landing, but I don't think that necessarily makes it a more attractive castle than Riverrun for the Tully's to rule the Riverlands from. After all, the whole reason that Tully was in a position on par with Blackwood and Bracken is because of Riverrun - its location and strength.

Of course Tywin is furious that Cersei granted Harrenhal to Slynt, just as he was angry that they raised the Hound to the Kingsguard. It's about wasting an appointment with political potential. That doesn't necessarily make Harrenhal more prestigious or attractive than Riverrun tho.

10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

In fact, the Florents' insistence that Highgarden should have been theirs strongly implies, I'd think, that the Lord Florent of Brightwater during the Conquest was either the son of a daughter or sister of King Mern IX himself.

Perhaps... or just sour grapes. I didn't get the sense that it is anything other than feeling their name is better than Tyrell's. Tyrell could have been the first cousin or maternal grandson and they'd still view them as upjumped stewards.

After 300 years of intermarriages with the other houses of the Reach and they still hold this view, so it clearly has little basis in the actuality of the way things are. In actuality, they are certainly all distant cousins to each other at this point, so what makes a Florent different from a Tyrell is simply the name.

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2 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

Sure. It plays a prominent and important role in many of the stories. Any time there is fighting in the Riverlands, we see the castle change hands. I think it definitely has a strategic location, particularly from the perspective of King's Landing, but I don't think that necessarily makes it a more attractive castle than Riverrun for the Tully's to rule the Riverlands from. After all, the whole reason that Tully was in a position on par with Blackwood and Bracken is because of Riverrun - its location and strength.

It is not its location and importance in the war, it is the fact that it was once the seat of kings that angers Tywin.

One can, perhaps, compare the pre-Conquest Tullys to the pre-Nymeria Martells. They are powerful and influential in their corner of the Riverlands but they are not part of most powerful houses. But they have not suffered as much as the more powerful Riverlords under the Ironborn, so they are ideally suited to lead the Riverlord uprising against Black Harren during the Conquest - or rather: it happens that they end up in leadership role there because Lord Edmyn is the first to declare for Aegon. That's why he is rewarded later on.

2 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

Perhaps... or just sour grapes. I didn't get the sense that it is anything other than feeling their name is better than Tyrell's. Tyrell could have been the first cousin or maternal grandson and they'd still view them as upjumped stewards.

No, because then he would actually have had the stronger claim. Stewards or not, if Harlan had been as closely related to King Mern IX he could have laid claim to Highgarden in his own right. He would have been the presumptive heir after the death of all the sons and grandsons and other close male kin. Instead it is crystal clear Tyrell only got Highgarden and the Reach because he delivered it to Aegon without bloodshed.

Also, Aegon raced to Highgarden very quickly after the Field of Fire to prevent somebody else from claiming it - implying that there were other people - some of which may not have been at the Field of Fire or who got away or who had relatives who weren't there - who had a strong claim to Highgarden now that the Gardeners were extinct in the male line.

2 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

After 300 years of intermarriages with the other houses of the Reach and they still hold this view, so it clearly has little basis in the actuality of the way things are. In actuality, they are certainly all distant cousins to each other at this point, so what makes a Florent different from a Tyrell is simply the name.

I doubt there was much, if any, intermarriage between the Tyrells and the Florents after the Conquest. FaB makes it very clear that the Tyrells are essentially new men. They were not part of the ruling elite despite their occasional intermarriage with the Gardeners (which could have involved rather obscure second cousin Gardeners intermarrying with the Tyrells rather than eldest daughters of a ruling monarch). And they successfully and effectively sidelined those old families they had no previous connections with or felt they didn't have to include. Just think of the back story of House Peake when Gyldayn discusses Lord Unwin. There were great houses the Tyrells had to suck up to - Hightowers, their bannermen, Redwynes, possibly also Oakhearts, Rowans, and Tarlys - but there were others like the Peakes and presumably the Florents they ignored. And that led to a slow erosion of power and prestige for those houses.

I mean, we have always speculated that Stannis marrying Selyse Florent was a message to the Tyrells as well. They were suspected to be Targaryen loyalists, so the new king showed favor to their most outspoken rivals. If the Tyrells had ever shown any open support for Viserys III and Robert had prevailed Lord Alester Florent would have likely been granted Highgarden and the Reach.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

It is not its location and importance in the war, it is the fact that it was once the seat of kings that angers Tywin.

I think this was just a turn of phrase to indicate his disgust with Cersei's decision. Harrenhal was never the "seat of kings" - it was the seat of one king who sat there less than a year.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

I doubt there was much, if any, intermarriage between the Tyrells and the Florents after the Conquest.

Really? We see how the current generation of Tyrells are intermarried with Redwyne, Hightower and Fossoway. I don't think there's any reason to believe this was not the norm during the majority of the Targaryen years. We know for instance that the Lord Tyrell who was Jaehaerys's master of coin was married to a Fossoway. Perhaps you are right and the Florents somehow managed to avoid intermarriage with their overlords. They still would have been making matches with Fossoways and the like some of whom would have been cousins with Tyrells. It's just unavoidable - the lords of the Reach are one big, extended family. The Florents would have had to consistently marry outside that circle to avoid being related to House Tyrell.

 

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5 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

I think this was just a turn of phrase to indicate his disgust with Cersei's decision. Harrenhal was never the "seat of kings" - it was the seat of one king who sat there less than a year.

Well, there was also Harren the Red and possibly Aemond's son (who is likely going to become a pretender king); and the fact that Queen Rhaena also made it her seat also added to its royal prestige, one assumes. But in principle one can say something is the 'x of kings' if only one king owned it, no?

5 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

Really? We see how the current generation of Tyrells are intermarried with Redwyne, Hightower and Fossoway. I don't think there's any reason to believe this was not the norm during the majority of the Targaryen years. We know for instance that the Lord Tyrell who was Jaehaerys's master of coin was married to a Fossoway. Perhaps you are right and the Florents somehow managed to avoid intermarriage with their overlords. They still would have been making matches with Fossoways and the like some of whom would have been cousins with Tyrells. It's just unavoidable - the lords of the Reach are one big, extended family. The Florents would have had to consistently marry outside that circle to avoid being related to House Tyrell.

The Fossoways seem to be not so prestigious a house; they could have been the kind of people the Tyrells even married before they became the Lords of Highgarden - they continue to intermarry with them in the present, too, as Mace's sister proves.

I did not want to say that I think the Florents avoided a marriage with the Tyrells, I wanted to say that I think that Tyrells ignored the Florents, refusing to intermarry with them.

Sure, the Tyrells and the Florents could still be pretty close cousins through the female line with some Tyrell marrying, say, a Fossoway, the Fossoway daughter then marrying a Rowan, and the Rowan daughter a Florent, but that kind of thing apparently does not seem to count for much when relations are discussed.

Lordly favor usually comes with direct intermarriage - meaning that if your daughter is married to a Tyrell or you marry a Tyrell daughter your relations with House Tyrell will be better. If a Lord Tyrell just happens to be your (great-)grandfather but has nothing to do with the marriage contracts that led to this kinship then little to nothing should come of that politically.

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:
10 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

I think this was just a turn of phrase to indicate his disgust with Cersei's decision. Harrenhal was never the "seat of kings" - it was the seat of one king who sat there less than a year.

Well, there was also Harren the Red and possibly Aemond's son (who is likely going to become a pretender king); and the fact that Queen Rhaena also made it her seat also added to its royal prestige, one assumes. But in principle one can say something is the 'x of kings' if only one king owned it, no?

Sure. An outlaw who stayed at Harrenhal for a few days and a possible pretender king who Tywin likely never thinks about. He's calling it the seat of kings because it was built by Harren the Black. Sure, he can call it seat of kings even though it's just one king. I'm just making the point that this is an exaggeration on Tywin's part and his way of expressing the vast discontinuity between the prestige of a castle like Harrenhal and the worthiness of Janos Slynt.

Look, I think there is certainly an argument to be made that Harrenhal is one of the strongest and most strategically placed castles in the entire realm. However, I just think that at that point in time, with Harrenhal fresh from being lit up like its towers were the candles on Balerion's birthday cake, it would not have been an attractive seat for Tully even had Aegon offered it. The fact that he gave it to his master-at-arms could mean that he didn't fully trust Tully as you say. It could be that no-one else wanted it or that he didn't have anyone better to bestow it on. It could be a mix of reasons. For all its obvious advantages, Harrenhal has some serious flaws from its massive size to its dire legacy.

4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I did not want to say that I think the Florents avoided a marriage with the Tyrells, I wanted to say that I think that Tyrells ignored the Florents, refusing to intermarry with them.

Sure, the Tyrells and the Florents could still be pretty close cousins through the female line with some Tyrell marrying, say, a Fossoway, the Fossoway daughter then marrying a Rowan, and the Rowan daughter a Florent, but that kind of thing apparently does not seem to count for much when relations are discussed.

Lordly favor usually comes with direct intermarriage - meaning that if your daughter is married to a Tyrell or you marry a Tyrell daughter your relations with House Tyrell will be better. If a Lord Tyrell just happens to be your (great-)grandfather but has nothing to do with the marriage contracts that led to this kinship then little to nothing should come of that politically.

I get what you are saying, and sure it is possible. Do we have any actual hints that the Tyrells have been actively ignoring the Florents for generations? I don't remember anything of the sort.

Regardless, the point I was trying to make is that the Florents can say their claim is better all they want. It doesn't make that the case. In the end, all the houses of the Reach claim descent from the Gardener kings through one female line or another. The actual differences are going to be negligible. I took the Florent complaint to be one about the name and the legacy it bears. The Florents have some legend about a founder who was a daughter of Garth Greenhand while the founder of House Tyrell was a landless Andal knight.

This is all bullshit and not a real thing to let affect serious political decisions. The serious political fact is that the Tyrells are the most powerful house in the Reach both because they hold the title of Lord Paramount granted to them by the crown and because they hold Highgarden which is the center of power in the Reach and has been for thousands of years.

I get that the Florents may not think of themselves as family, but several of their cousins will still see the Tyrells as their cousins, so the Florents don't have any leverage based on familial relationships that the Tyrells don't have and it all comes out even. Take the current (possibly ongoing) conflict at Brightwater Keep as an example. Garlan Tyrell is poised to take Brightwater Keep, so Alekyne Florent is seeking refuge in Oldtown where his sister is married to Lord Leyton Hightower. If it comes to making a decision on backing one or the other, who is Hightower going to choose - his grandson Garlan or his goodbrother, Alekyne? The family relationship card is a wash at best here.

If Florent has no political clout from their familial relationships then what is the point of their claims? And surely this also shows that the Tyrells have more actual power than would be assumed based on the Florent perception of them, doesn't it?

 

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On 5/16/2019 at 5:56 AM, dsjj251 said:

Except TWOIAF says they were the most powerful and wealthiest.

Also the Tullys already had their own castle, they didnt need or Want Harrenhal.  but to be clear, Aegon married his Master at Arms to Tully's daughter.  And made Tully his second Hand of the King. 

F&B goes into detail on which Riverlords were more powerful than the Tullys, which were wealthier, which had prouder lineages and which had larger castles. It really is quite specific.

Difficult to argue with such details. 

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22 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

Sure. An outlaw who stayed at Harrenhal for a few days and a possible pretender king who Tywin likely never thinks about. He's calling it the seat of kings because it was built by Harren the Black. Sure, he can call it seat of kings even though it's just one king. I'm just making the point that this is an exaggeration on Tywin's part and his way of expressing the vast discontinuity between the prestige of a castle like Harrenhal and the worthiness of Janos Slynt.

It seems to me that Harrenhal is still a more prestigious seat than Riverrun during the main series. Riverrun is a strong and powerful castle, but Harrenhal, even in ruins, is the great castle of the Riverlands. It is as large - or perhaps even larger, in a sense - as Casterly Rock.

But Lord Edmyn not getting Harrenhal the castle isn't really the issue. It is that Aegon chose not to make him the most powerful lord of the Riverlands when he made him lord paramount of the Riverlands - unlike he did with Lord Harlan Tyrell (who got the castles and all the lands and incomes of House Gardener).

Aegon didn't need to give Edmyn the Hoare lands and castle - although he could have done both - he could also have reduced the lands of the most powerful Riverlords while increasing the Tully lands to strengthen their position in the Riverlands. But he didn't do that, either. The fact that he didn't do that makes the Tullys the weakest great house in the Riverlands in relation to their own bannermen.

22 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

I get what you are saying, and sure it is possible. Do we have any actual hints that the Tyrells have been actively ignoring the Florents for generations? I don't remember anything of the sort.

We do know that there is still bad blood between the Florents and the Tyrells during the War of the Five Kings - there is a reason why Mace ensures that Garlan is named Lord of Brightwater. One assumes that this wouldn't have been the case if they had been close cousins via proper Tyrell-Florent marriages.

And we definitely have no reason to believe there was ever a Tyrell-Florent marriage during the Targaryen reign. 

22 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

Regardless, the point I was trying to make is that the Florents can say their claim is better all they want. It doesn't make that the case. In the end, all the houses of the Reach claim descent from the Gardener kings through one female line or another. The actual differences are going to be negligible. I took the Florent complaint to be one about the name and the legacy it bears. The Florents have some legend about a founder who was a daughter of Garth Greenhand while the founder of House Tyrell was a landless Andal knight.

But the point of the relative weakness of the Tyrell claim seems to be that there are other Reach houses who are much more closely related to the King Mern IX's branch of House Gardener rather than some half-mythical kings of the distant past.

What we know of House Tyrell in the first century implies that their claim was seen as very weak back when Aegon gave them Highgarden and the Reach. They had to stage some scholar conference to dismiss during the first decades after the Conquest, and even during the reign of Jaehaerys I their more powerful bannermen actually dismiss and deride them in front of the king himself. Olenna married Luthor, and Paxter married Mina, but Manfryd's sons would have never married Tyrells back in the early days of Jaehaerys I, and the Hightowers may not have done so for another century or so.

22 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

This is all bullshit and not a real thing to let affect serious political decisions. The serious political fact is that the Tyrells are the most powerful house in the Reach both because they hold the title of Lord Paramount granted to them by the crown and because they hold Highgarden which is the center of power in the Reach and has been for thousands of years.

Sure, the Tyrells have more relative power compared to the Tullys due to the fact that they control greater lands and have a higher income, but it took them time to really be accepted as the liege lords of the prestigious houses of the Reach. Their position in the first century is pretty weak, but their position during the War of the Five Kings is very strong - we see this when Lord Alester Florent actually supports Renly despite his blood ties to Stannis. Not to mention that Renly essentially got all the lords of the Reach to jump on his bandwagon. Mace Tyrell delivered them to him.

22 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

I get that the Florents may not think of themselves as family, but several of their cousins will still see the Tyrells as their cousins, so the Florents don't have any leverage based on familial relationships that the Tyrells don't have and it all comes out even. Take the current (possibly ongoing) conflict at Brightwater Keep as an example. Garlan Tyrell is poised to take Brightwater Keep, so Alekyne Florent is seeking refuge in Oldtown where his sister is married to Lord Leyton Hightower. If it comes to making a decision on backing one or the other, who is Hightower going to choose - his grandson Garlan or his goodbrother, Alekyne? The family relationship card is a wash at best here.

I'd say Lord Leyton has already decided who to back. Nobody said he gave Alekyne an army, do they? Harboring a dispossessed kinsman isn't the same as supporting his claim.

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Crownlands

1. House Baratheon of Kings Landing or whoever is on the throne. Do I need to explain why?

2. House Baratheon of Dragonstone. Stannis has a good Navy and has the allegiance of the lords of the narrow sea. Dragonstone is also heavily fortified and Stannis is a brilliant military commander.

3. House Rykker of Duskendale. They are  the 2nd biggest harbour town in the Crownlands, second only to King’s Landing.

4. House Rosby. One of the main houses in the Crownlands and also wealthy, according to Cersei.

5. House Velaryon/ Celtigar. Good navies, stannis’ principal supporters.

6. House Mooton

7. House Stokeworth

8. House Bar Emmon

9. House Massey

10. House Staunton

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On 5/17/2019 at 10:53 PM, Free Northman Reborn said:

F&B goes into detail on which Riverlords were more powerful than the Tullys, which were wealthier, which had prouder lineages and which had larger castles. It really is quite specific.

Difficult to argue with such details. 

Again, the 2 texts contradict each other. And honestly it doesnt go all that much into detail.  the biggest contradiction is that the Tullys are Lords Paramount in the first place,

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On 5/16/2019 at 8:03 PM, Lord Varys said:

 

I tried to make sense of that already. If TWoIaF is at odds with FaB here - and it is - then George's own words in FaB should have more weight than those of Yandel.

See above about the grant of Harrenhal. Increasing the Tully lands could have helped them, too. They didn't need Harrenhal as such to get Harrenhal lands.

It is quite clear that Aegon did trust Lord Edmyn to no small degree. But he did not serve as Hand all that long, did he?

 

Im not sure who actually wrote FaB both in real life and in the fictional sense. We have had enough interviews to know much of it was written in conjunction with TWOIAF and enough contradictions between the 2 for me to doubt  what is really canon, as well as FaB having multiple points of views on some issues. 

As for Harrenhal, What was its original attended Lands ?  Clearly what has grown up around it now wasnt there 300 years ago. It was a less attractive seat back then . 

Lord Edmyn left the Handship when his wife died so he could raise his children, not because Aegon didnt trust him or something. 

 

Quote

Here you seem to be mistaken. Sure, we learn there were nine marriages between the royal Gardeners and their loyal stewards since the reign of Mern VI, but we also learn that there were many (and still are some) noble houses in the Reach who consider(ed) their claim to Highgarden very weak and are of the opinion that other, more worthy houses should have gotten Highgarden and dominion over all the Reach.

In fact, the Florents' insistence that Highgarden should have been theirs strongly implies, I'd think, that the Lord Florent of Brightwater during the Conquest was either the son of a daughter or sister of King Mern IX himself. And considering how the great houses of the Reach (the Redwynes, for instance) still look down on the Tyrells during the reign of Jaehaerys I we can conclude, I'd think, that there are many other great houses in the Reach - the Hightowers, Redwynes, Rowans, Peakes, Oakhearts, etc. - that were closer related to the Gardeners than Harlan Tyrell.

In fact, I'd not be surprised if Septon Matheus was actually Septon Matheus Gardener-Florent (i.e. the son or grandson of Gardener princess marrying into House Florent).

A very interesting implication of those nine Gardener-Tyrell matches is that those noble houses must really be very interrelated indeed if this many matches actually do rather little to make the Tyrells close cousins to the Gardeners or strengthen their blood claim to Highgarden in comparison to other distinguished Reach houses..

This seems more like a "Who's grandchild should get the castle" thing. We are told time and time again that the male line is dead. 

But if for example, 2 Gardener daughers married 2 Tyrell brothers, and then they married, that child(and those, the line after him) have more Gardner blood than say a future one generation removed Florent. 

Edited by dsjj251

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On 5/18/2019 at 9:26 PM, Lord Varys said:

But Lord Edmyn not getting Harrenhal the castle isn't really the issue. It is that Aegon chose not to make him the most powerful lord of the Riverlands when he made him lord paramount of the Riverlands - unlike he did with Lord Harlan Tyrell (who got the castles and all the lands and incomes of House Gardener).

Aegon didn't need to give Edmyn the Hoare lands and castle - although he could have done both - he could also have reduced the lands of the most powerful Riverlords while increasing the Tully lands to strengthen their position in the Riverlands. But he didn't do that, either. The fact that he didn't do that makes the Tullys the weakest great house in the Riverlands in relation to their own bannermen.

I don't understand where you get this from. He made Tully the Lord Paramount of the Trident and made them accept Tully as their liege lord - this includes Qoherys. Since Edmyn Tully accepted fealty directly from all the lords of the Trident and the lord of Harrenhal, he's clearly the most powerful person in the Riverlands other than Aegon himself. Being Lord Paramount means you get dominion over all the castles and lands of your region. There is no practical difference between what Aegon gave Tully and what he gave Tyrell. I don't see how you are reading the situation differently.

The differences come from the legacy that the Tully/Tyrell name brings and of that of their seat of power. The Tully name is perhaps slightly less proud than a few other names from the Riverlands since Blackwood and Bracken claim to have once ruled the land as kings and many of the other names are older, but I think the lords of the Reach many of whom claim descent from Garth Greenhand which indicates a very old and proud lineage clearly see a bigger gap between their own name and the Tyrell name which was the name of stewards.

As to the seat of power, Highgarden balances out that lack of name-power since it is the clear and obvious seat of power in the Reach, whereas the Riverlands does not have such a clear seat of power. Harrenhal was the seat of kings for only a short time and I'd argue even that its legacy would have made it reviled by the Riverlords and therefore its association with House Hoare was not necessarily an asset to the newly made liege lord of the Riverlands. We don't know where House Justman sat, but they were the last kings that the lords of the Trident would actually have positive feelings about. But that was quite some time ago, so Riverrun seems as good a place as any. It is smaller than most but it is clearly a strong and well-placed castle - hence the rise of House Tully despite not having the same proud lineage as the other primary houses of the Riverlands.

On 5/18/2019 at 9:26 PM, Lord Varys said:

But the point of the relative weakness of the Tyrell claim seems to be that there are other Reach houses who are much more closely related to the King Mern IX's branch of House Gardener rather than some half-mythical kings of the distant past.

What we know of House Tyrell in the first century implies that their claim was seen as very weak back when Aegon gave them Highgarden and the Reach. They had to stage some scholar conference to dismiss during the first decades after the Conquest, and even during the reign of Jaehaerys I their more powerful bannermen actually dismiss and deride them in front of the king himself. Olenna married Luthor, and Paxter married Mina, but Manfryd's sons would have never married Tyrells back in the early days of Jaehaerys I, and the Hightowers may not have done so for another century or so.

You could be right. That was not my reading of it. I always assumed that Florent felt they had a better claim because of their mythical founder who was supposed to be a daughter of Garth Greenhand. In the World book, they are listed amongst many other houses:

Afterward, a number of the other great houses of the Reach complained bitterly about being made vassals of an “upjumped steward” and insisted that their own blood was far nobler than that of the Tyrells. It cannot be denied that the Oakhearts of Old Oak, the Florents of Brightwater Keep, the Rowans of Goldengrove, the Peakes of Starpike, and the Redwynes of the Arbor all had older and more distinguished lineages than the Tyrells, and closer blood ties to House Gardener as well. Their protests were of no avail, however … mayhaps in part because all these houses had taken up arms against Aegon and his sisters on the Field of Fire, whereas the Tyrells had not.

Basically, every major house of the Reach had a problem at the time. I guess "closer blood ties" is what you are using here. I just think it is silly 300 years later to think that's still the case. Florent is clearly bitter, but that they somehow harbored this bitterness over the course of three centuries while other houses seem to have set it aside seems ludicrous. Perhaps this is still the source of enmity, but I would think there must be some more recent events that either led to the current state of things or at least some recent events that kept this feud going.

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