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To be honest, the "she was a traitor" line is only explicitly from Stannis, and he tends to take absolutist positions. I'm not sure I'd agree that the wide view was that she was a traitor, so much as the loser in a succession struggle. So as far as that goes, I think the Westerosi understanding is generally more nuanced. I mean, just look at Arys Oakheart thinking back on Criston Cole, agreeing that he "wrought great harm" with his role in the Dance. 

But regardless of that, yes, Rhaenyra is not part of the official succession of the Iron Throne. Aegon III is there as heir to Aegon II, not as heir to Rhaenyra. Aegon appears to have not attempted to push the matter of his mother's birthright being stolen or the fact that she was for a time crowned and seated queen, or if he did, he didn't get anywhere with it.

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@Ran

The fact that Stannis is pretty much wrong on the traitor thing can already be derived from the fact that Rhaenyra was never properly accused or sentenced to death for treason. She never got a trial. Her death was not a proper execution if Gyldayn's account can be believed, no witnesses against her came forth, no accuser came forth, no charges were laid before her, etc.

And even if there had been a sham trial, the fact that Aegon II was not exactly king at the time of her death would also give reasonable doubt whether he had had the right to sit in judgment over her at this point - after his restoration to the Iron Throne, sure, there this makes sense. But at the point she was killed this was at best a judicial murder and at the worst just completely unwarranted butchery.

Even Rickard and Brandon Stark were treated better than Rhaenyra insofar as procedure is concerned.

Also, we never hear anything about Aegon II (or Otto Hightower, as Hand, prior to the coronation of Aegon II) formally nullifying the decree of Viserys I naming Rhaenyra the heir to the Iron Throne. While that decree still stands it is pretty much impossible to accuse Rhaenyra of 'treason' since she basically has no other choice as a loyal subject of her father's to obey the commands and decrees he issued during his lifetime.

Unlike Stannis, say, who has the truth of the matter on his side without being able to proof it, Rhaenyra could always point to the fact that the king wanted her to succeed him, and that she had never been under any obligation whatsoever to acknowledge Aegon II as her rightful king. That makes pretty much impossible for her to commit an act of treason by laying claim to the throne.

Vice versa, any proper legal assessment of the case of the Green side is that they did no longer have the law on their side. If they felt that Viserys I had not the right to name Rhaenyra his heir - or to keep her after the birth of Alicent's sons - because of the Great Council, prior precedents, or even the ancient tradition, then the way to settle the issue would have been to challenge King Viserys I on that, and force him - by strength of arms, if necessary - to change that. By not doing that they implicitly confirmed that the king had the right to rule on his own succession, as countless other kings had done before. Even if one were to agree - in-universe or us readers - that the eldest son should always inherit then the way they got about pressing 'their right' comes across as very insidious and underhanded. They were not fighting with an open visor, so to speak, nor did they have the guts to actually try to resolve the matter openly and peacefully by the means of a Great Council (Alicent only suggests that when it appears as if Rhaenyra had won).

Any proper moral assessment of their actions would come to the conclusion what they did to accomplish their goals was wrong. Even by the fucked-up moral standards of Westeros. There is a reason why Eustace does his best to exonerate Aegon II of having played any active part in his grandfather's and mother's machinations during and before the coup.

I'm not sure we can say there is an official succession of the Iron Throne. The list you used for TWoIaF and that's reused for the appendix of FaB is from AGoT, sure, but those appendices are not *official* in the sense that they presume to actually rule on the validity of claims or purport to transport or express legal truths, majority opinions, or even official state fiction/propaganda. I don't think any official statement is ever made that being on the list means you cannot also be a usurper - or that being on the list means you most definitely are not a usurper and rose to the throne in a legally correct fashion and universally accepted manner.

After all, they do not list the fact that Cersei's children are, in fact, not Robert's children and do thus have no claim to the Iron Throne despite the fact that we all know that thanks to Cersei's confession to Ned. They only describe the superficial surface. If they were covering all the facts then *the narrator* of the appendices should have clearly marked Joffrey and Tommen as pretenders/usurpers who lay claim to the throne under false pretenses whereas the fact that Stannis is *the rightful* Baratheon pretender should have been mentioned there.

We cannot even say that the ACoK appendix - covering the political situation at the time of the end of AGoT - reflects *the majority opinion* and thus lists Joffrey first. Only the West recognizes him as king at that point - the North, Riverlands, Narrow Sea, Stormlands, Highgarden, Dorne, and Vale either have not yet acknowledged him as king (and have been attainted as traitors for that) or are actively trying to overthrow him.

We can be reasonably sure that George didn't have plotted out the Dance in detail back when he wrote that list, but if he actually had wanted that the AGoT appendix list to cover official facts in the sense that only the monarchs on that were *legitimate* then he should, perhaps, have not decided to sit Rhaenyra on the Iron Throne or have her successfully lay claim to the title of queen - which is not now taken from her as per the final text of FaB. I'm sure that it was pointed out to George that he did take out that tidbit about Aegon II's unmaking Rhaenyra the queen from TPatQ in the final manuscript (do you know the reason for this, by any chance?) and that this creates somewhat of a problem since by any reasonably criteria of drawing up lists Rhaenyra actually looks much less a pretender now than any of the others:

- She was the chosen and anointed heir of her father, and nobody openly contested her right to the succession while her father yet lived - all the Greens did was to ask the king to change the succession, implicitly confirming that the king actually rules on his succession.

- She was crowned queen and she seized the throne and held it for a time.

- Her side defeated the last Green army in the field, causing both the murder of Aegon II and the defection of basically the entire 'Green party' at court to join the victorious Black side.

All the other pretenders we know of at this point do not fit all those criteria. Aegon the Uncrowned was the chosen and anointed heir of his father, King Aenys, but he was never crowned nor held the throne nor claimed (as far as we know) the title of king. Daemon Blackfyre and some of his descendants seem to have claimed the title of kings and some of them may have had coronations, but as far as we know neither of them ever seized and held the Iron Throne even for a brief time. But if it turned out that Daemon I or Haegon Blackfyre actually sat the Iron Throne for a couple of months in 196 AC or 219 AC then this should also cause honest historians to count them among the kings who sat the Iron Throne.

If any proper historian would look impartially at the various known pretenders to the Iron Throne and would try to make a list of monarchs who ruled then Aegon II would be mentioned to have been deposed in 130 AC, with his half-sister being queen there for about half a year, being followed by Aegon II's restoration in 131 AC. It would basically go:

Aegon II (129-130 AC, deposed)

Rhaenyra I (130 AC)

Aegon II (restored 131 AC)

That's how the facts of history are. The criteria that are usually used to differentiate pretenders from real proper monarchs (especially in the case of the multitude of would-be Roman Emperors, but also with popes and anti-popes or the various elected anti-kings in the HRE) is to look for the strength of claims, the ability to press such a claim, and, most importantly, the question whether they were factually able to exert the power they were pretending to.

Vice versa, kings who leave their thrones and literally hide under some rock are usually not counted as kings for that period. Henry VI was not king while he was imprisoned by Edward IV, never mind that he was later restored. Vice versa, Edward IV was not king while Henry VI had been restored and Edward IV was in exile in Flanders. Any historian ignoring that fact would be rightfully be identified as being biased as to the point of being a partisan of one of the warring factions. In that sense, pretty much no honest historian could refer to Aegon II as the ruling king during the time Rhaenyra sat the Iron Throne.

[The difference between Empress Matilda and Queen Rhaenyra is that the former never was properly crowned and thus lacks a very crucial defining feature in all English monarchs. Even more so in a time when a coronation was still necessary *to make you a monarch* which was later dropped in favor of the concept that the transfer of kingship took place immediately when the predecessor died (while the monarchs are still crowned that's no longer *necessary* for them to be king or rule - while they still did some ruling).]

And for Rhaenyra that's a yes on all the criteria. And the fact that Maegor was not basically erased from history by King Aenys' descendants basically buries the idea that the victorious side in Westeros erases losers from history. There is no damnatio memoriae there. Alyssa Velaryon and Jaehaerys I and their descendants see Aegon the Uncrowned as the rightful king, but they don't insist that he was the king because he, quite literally, was not. Nor is there any elaborate fiction spun and maintained that the rightful king after Aegon's death was then Prince Viserys until the throne passed from him directly to Prince Jaehaerys in 44 AC.

We also have no such elaborate fiction for Prince Aegon now, who could easily enough claim or be fed the idea that he is already king, either since the moment Aerys II died, or since the day the exiled king Viserys III died. Instead his followers make it crystal clear that he is still a prince, presumably because he has never been crowned and anointed nor been proclaimed king by anyone.

In that sense, an honest look at the facts means that Rhaenyra was the queen regnant of Westeros both in claim as well as in reality during the short period of her actual rule in 130 AC. Any other portrayal or depiction grossly twists the fact as described by George himself in FaB.

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Sixteen Targaryens followed Aegon the Dragon to the Iron Throne, before the dynasty was at last toppled in Robert’s Rebellion.

George's chosen chronicler of the Targaryen dynasty counts 17 Targaryen rulers, not 18.

And it's George who presented the 17 kings, so outside of the text, we have the authorial voice indicating 17 rulers.

And then we have a number of in-world examples where Rhaenyra is clearly not counted as one of the rightful kings.

As far as I'm concerned, this is sufficient to say that the typical opinion in Westeros is that she does not count as queen, that she lost the succession war, and that's that. Whether she was a "traitor" or merely someone who failed to defend her just claim by force of arms is besides the point. She is not part of the accepted canon of rulers.

I think this is now sufficiently off topic, and dealt with, that it does not need to be discussed here anymore. Start if a new thread if you must, but lets return this to the topic title.

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I'm sticking by the worst king being Aerys II. Yes he had two decades of relative peace and prosperity but his actions destroyed the Targaryen dynasty that lasted nearly three centuries and that cancels out any peace and prosperity he had in those 20 years. I'd say the same thing for Jaehaerys I if that had happened under his reign.  Burning Rickard Stark alive and strangling Brandon Stark is absolutely fucking ludicrous in our world and the ASOIAF world. I'd say Rhaegar put him in a tight spot and the Starks weren't exactly smart about the way they went about things, some may even say treasonous. But there were multiple ways that situation could have been handled - imprisonment, a proper trial by combat which was suggested by Lord Rickard in which there might not have even been a rebellion had he gotten a proper one and lost or actually finding out what the fuck was the deal with Rhaegar stealing Lyanna. He could have picked one where he didn't cause the destruction of his family. Lots of bad kings throughout the years though.

Aegon IV was pretty...unworthy. He was Robert without the ability to be a decent man and he was also Aerys II without the madness and paranoia. Legitimising all his bastards was a vindictive move but I'd rather have vindictive over insane any day of the week.

I'd have to read tPatQ + FaB again to make a proper assessment of Aegon II's reign but it seems like he would have been worse than Aegon IV had he been allowed to reign longer than he did. I guess The Dance really did a number on his mental health. He lost his wife and his sons (?) so it's not surprising. 

Aegon III's sons in Daeron I and Baelor the Blessed were pretty poor kings too but at least Daeron's ambition and Baelor's piety only fucked themselves up in the long run.

I'd say Maegor the 'Cruel' was dealt a pretty bad hand with the Faith who had gotten too big for their britches during Aenys I's reign. He didn't help matters with his multiple marriages but the Trial of the Seven should have shut the Faith up. Can't blame Maegor for treason.

Anyway in regards to Viserys I taking into account all these other kings I'd say he ranks low on the worst-bad kings list. The Dance of the Dragons was pretty bad but bad hindsight isn't worse than legitimate insanity. Plus he had 28 years of peace so there is that.

 

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In a way, Viserys I was like Aenys - weak king trying to please everybody and his dog, which just wasn't possible. What made things actually worse with Viserys is that he was trying to please both sides that were locked in a succession struggle. That said, Otto Hightower and Criston Cole had a bigger role in screwing up the Targaryens than Viserys himself; one could say that the big mistake was to let them in such positions of power. What I also wonder is how Viserys didn't foresee that having the Greens in King's Landing while the Blacks were exiled at Dragonstone would easily sink Rhaenyra's hope of a peaceful succession; the guy was quite clueless, and probably way too optimistic about human nature. His lack of action eventually doomed his dynasty (let's face it, once the dragons had died off, it was just a matter of time before revolting Westerosis cast the Targs out), but his own actions were way less awful than a few other kings; Aegon IV deliberately acted to sabotage his succession and didn't give a damn if the Targaryens would survive as absolute rulers of the whole Seven Kingdoms, so I tend to think he probably deserves the top spot (the 2nd part of F/B might provide enough information for me to confirm or reassess my judgment).

Aegon II was messed up by the Dance, but it has to be said that Rhaenyra was just as messed up. I tend to think she was more legitimate, but by the time she actually rules in King's Landing, she's close to a trainwreck and is way too easily manipulated by some people that are more psychos than she or Aegon; her paranoia is her undoing, basically, undermining her rule in KL and pushing away or downright killing some loyal followers (including a dragonrider). Had she eventually triumphed and managed to outlive Aegon II, I wonder if her paranoia might have eventually been toned down. Heckm this makes me wonder if Larys Strong didn't come to the conclusion both pretenders would've ushered long bloody rules, so he actually manipulated both demises in the hope the next one wouldn't be a maniac.

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League Tables

Morally corrupt:

1. Aegon IV

Weak, inept, indecisive:

1. Viserys I

2. Aenys I

3. Aegon II

4. Baelor?

(Rhaenyra not being in the official list, doesn't count)

Mad, excessively cruel:

1. Aerys II

2. Maegor II

 

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Aegon IV really sounded like a piece of shit. I struggle to think of any positive reforms that can be attributed to him, so if there are any, someone please help me out. A dodgy person since he was a teenager, the man created so many enemies and caused full scale wars due to his own lack of judgement and self control. Also, his wooden dragons were mortifying - one can only imagine what the Conqueror would think.

Maegor was a brutal King, who, again, didn't seem to be responsible for anything beneficial to the realm. Did a whole lot to sully the overall reputation of his house, with his successor Jaehaerys and Alysayne having to do a whole heap of PR work to get things back on track.

Aerys the Mad King obviously lived up to his title and was a rotten ruler, but at least he is said to have had certain positive - if not ridiculously unrealistic - ambitions in his younger days, like "making the Dornish deserts bloom", if that was not code for something clandestine. He also seemed to have had a few good years with Tywin as Hand. That said, Aerys reign marked the downfall of his house, so there is that..

Hard to choose.

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33 minutes ago, Leo of House Cartel said:

Aegon IV really sounded like a piece of shit. I struggle to think of any positive reforms that can be attributed to him, so if there are any, someone please help me out. A dodgy person since he was a teenager, the man created so many enemies and caused full scale wars due to his own lack of judgement and self control. Also, his wooden dragons were mortifying - one can only imagine what the Conqueror would think.

Maegor was a brutal King, who, again, didn't seem to be responsible for anything beneficial to the realm. Did a whole lot to sully the overall reputation of his house, with his successor Jaehaerys and Alysayne having to do a whole heap of PR work to get things back on track.

Aerys the Mad King obviously lived up to his title and was a rotten ruler, but at least he is said to have had certain positive - if not ridiculously unrealistic - ambitions in his younger days, like "making the Dornish deserts bloom", if that was not code for something clandestine. He also seemed to have had a few good years with Tywin as Hand. That said, Aerys reign marked the downfall of his house, so there is that..

Hard to choose.

 

Half of what Maaegor did, ensured Jaehaerys could come in and use the diplomatic weapons to bring peace.

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12 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

Weak, inept, indecisive:

1. Viserys I

2. Aenys I

I'd interchange these two...

Viserys I was indecisive in a diferent way, he was just lazy and did't think through the consecuences of his inaction, he just didn't have the balls to disgrace his wife and the Hightowers, nor disgrace his beloved doughter... But he knew how to deal with disobedience and defiance

Aenys I, just wanted to be loved, to throw parties and mascarades, but at the minimun threat he just got scared... A ruler in westeros needs to be loved, but also feared... nobody was afraid of Aenys and he had no balls to frighten anybody

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4 minutes ago, MushroomIsNoFool said:

I'd interchange these two...

Viserys I was indecisive in a diferent way, he was just lazy and did't think through the consecuences of his inaction, he just didn't have the balls to disgrace his wife and the Hightowers, nor disgrace his beloved doughter... But he knew how to deal with disobedience and defiance

Aenys I, just wanted to be loved, to throw parties and mascarades, but at the minimun threat he just got scared... A ruler in westeros needs to be loved, but also feared... nobody was afraid of Aenys and he had no balls to frighten anybody

Fair point, Viserys' weak point was his inability to control his own family. He did get a free pass though because of Jahaerys' long and prosperous rule and by now established institutions and traditions, while Aenys came to the throne when many in the realm spotted an opportunity to overthrow the recent invaders and the issue of incestuous unions had not yet been dealt with a still-powerful faith. Nevertheless the way he proceeded to make a complete shambles of the relativity low intensity rebellions he faced at first, should probably move him up the list, even given the tougher circumstances he faced, I agree.

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5 hours ago, MushroomIsNoFool said:

 

Viserys I was indecisive in a diferent way, he was just lazy and did't think through the consecuences of his inaction, he just didn't have the balls to disgrace his wife and the Hightowers, nor disgrace his beloved doughter... But he knew how to deal with disobedience and defiance

 

I have to disagree with you here.  He did not know how to deal with Daemon, who disrespected him on countless occasions, including violating his daughter.  Brother or no, Daemon should have been put to death or made to take the black.  Either of those actions may have saved his house from disaster.

Similarly, everyone could see that his daughter's sons were obviously Harwin Strong's bastards, borne of treason (given their looks and Laenor's obvious preferences), but he did nothing.  The proper thing would have been to solidify the succession within his own true born sons, not a diluted strain.  

Viserys was an utter disaster.  The peace and prosperity were all fruits of the well-oiled machine that his grandfather left him.  Nothing was done to improve upon it, and he negligently set the stage for its near destruction.

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18 hours ago, VVSINGOFTHECROSS said:

 

Half of what Maaegor did, ensured Jaehaerys could come in and use the diplomatic weapons to bring peace.

That's right.  Sometimes people unjustly condemn the person who had to dirty his hands in order for the next generation to have a chance to use their genteel ways.  Maegor did what he had to do.  The Faith was sticking its nose where it never should have been.  Maegor's brutality was justified.  Religion needed to be brought to heel.  He should have killed more of the Faith.  The ones going to the wall should have suffered a misfortune on the way there.  

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6 hours ago, Stallion That Mounts Texas said:

I have to disagree with you here.  He did not know how to deal with Daemon, who disrespected him on countless occasions, including 1)violating his daughter.  Brother or no, 2)Daemon should have been put to death or made to take the black.  Either of those actions may have saved his house from disaster.

1) I missed that part on the book... you sure?2) Daemon had a very high star... to much influence... the Lord of flea bottom, it can sound despective... but on the contrary, it means a great deal. It would be extremely negative for him firstly, to kill his own blood...

he knew how to deal with disobedience and defiance

Remember he warned about speaking of his grandchildren as bastards, he made efective that warning cutting tongues when needed to.

 

Edited by MushroomIsNoFool
:)

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3 hours ago, Allardyce said:

That's right.  Sometimes people unjustly condemn the person who had to dirty his hands in order for the next generation to have a chance to use their genteel ways.  Maegor did what he had to do.  The Faith was sticking its nose where it never should have been.  Maegor's brutality was justified.  Religion needed to be brought to heel.  He should have killed more of the Faith.  The ones going to the wall should have suffered a misfortune on the way there.  

are you being sarcastic?

Did he tried hard enough on the diplomatic field?

Targaryens where the invaders... It was a matter of slap the subjects hands, not of cuting their heads...

Excesive cruelty,

Aegon I never needed to use such extreme brutality...

Edited by MushroomIsNoFool
:)

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Maegor is one of the worst kings Westeros ever had.

If you think about how to judge rulers, I've got some criteria, with the most important listed first:

1. Peace, prosperity, and stability for the highest number of his subjects over as long a time as possible.

2. Lasting legacies/great deeds that make the guy in charge a role model/hero in history.

3. Lasting reforms, improvements, changes that profited the majority of his subjects and not some rich clients.

4. If he sucked in any of that things then the amount of time he was *bad* or *cruel* has to be measured against the time things were fine, since people were prospering in the latter times. The same has to be done with good and bad acts. Those guys who have done good and bad things do not just completely suck because they failed at one thing, or did something really, really bad.

5. Insofar as cruelties and crimes are concerned those have to be compared to cruelties and crimes other kings have committed to create some sort of proper hierarchy.

6. Personal intention is important, too. Kings who wanted to be good but failed at that because they lacked in talent, intelligence, courage, good counsel, etc. are better than such kings who never gave a damn about being good kings or who deliberately tried to be very bad kings.

Those basically seem to be the criteria rulers are mostly judged by in the real world, too. In the case of great conquerors, etc. usually those get away the best if they did not only go to war and win, but also ruled for a long time or at least started something that lasted awhile.

In that sense it is quite clear why Aegon IV is the worst guy, it shows why Robert Baratheon ranks among the pretty bad kings, too, because he realized that things were pretty bad at his court but did not care to change them, it shows why King Aenys is clearly better than King Maegor, and why both King Viserys I and King Aerys II actually rank pretty much at top no matter what happened at the end/when they were dead.

It also shows why Rhaenyra was better than Aegon II if you have to compare these two, and why Jaehaerys I clearly was the best of the kings we have seen so far. Even better than Aegon the Conqueror (who killed a lot of people during his Conquest and then his stupid Dornish War).

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15 hours ago, Allardyce said:

That's right.  Sometimes people unjustly condemn the person who had to dirty his hands in order for the next generation to have a chance to use their genteel ways.  Maegor did what he had to do.  The Faith was sticking its nose where it never should have been.  Maegor's brutality was justified.  Religion needed to be brought to heel.  He should have killed more of the Faith.  The ones going to the wall should have suffered a misfortune on the way there.  

I agree that the faith were getting "too big for their boots" and needed to be dealt with, but Maegor seemed to fight his war to exclusively benefit his own self and his reign as King, as opposed to fighting on behalf of the realm or his nephews and nieces.

Yeah, if the Faith had successfully disposed of Maegor then I'd imagine Aenys' children, those "abominations," would not be safe, meaning the future of House Targaryen as a whole was in danger. Still, Maegor's highly negative relationship with his brother's children, combined with his never ending attempts to sire an heir of his own, indicates that the man was exclusively focused on destroying the Faith so he could secure his own personal line of succession.

(BTW, we don't know how much the Queen Regent Visenya might have actually been pulling her son's strings, so I'm going on the basis that the majority of Maegor's Kingly decisions were his own)

Consider how Maegor usurped his nephew Aegon's throne and went on to make enemies of family members like Alyssa, Rhaena and Jaehaerys. What was the need? Imagine how much trouble could have been averted had Maegor not claimed the IT and instead helped Aegon reign? With previous experience as Aenys' Hand, he might have done a commendable job. Also, let's not forget how quickly a unified Balerion, Vhagar, Quicksilver, Dreamfyre and Vermithor could have brought the Faith to heel. As a wise man once said "keep your dragons close".

The fact he eventually killed his nephew then forcefully wed the Prince's widow should serve as evidence enough that the Cruel King had no respect for the ideas of family, honour or peace. The whole business with the Black Brides benefited no one, and served as an example of the King's madness, cruelty, and lack of true political skill. 

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On 2/9/2019 at 10:00 PM, VVSINGOFTHECROSS said:

Half of what Maaegor did, ensured Jaehaerys could come in and use the diplomatic weapons to bring peace.

Maegor's reign as Hand and King certainly benefited Jaehaerys's accession in a "good cop, bad cop" sort of way, but I don't think they were necessary for Jaehaerys to accomplish what he did.

Obviously, we can't underestimate the effects Maegor's murder and usurpation of Aegon and Viseys had on Jaehaerys's growth as a person, or the fact that Jaehaerys would have been less likely to become king had Aegon and Viserys not been murdered.

But as a king, Jaehaerys, like his grandfather Aegon I, was credibly capable of offering House Targaryen's opponents the carrot and the stick.  When it came to the stick, Maegor didn't know when to stop, and Aenys didn't know when to start.

Jaehaerys knew how to use violence, or the threat of violence, to get the realm to see the sense in negotiation and compromise, and he showed his willingness and ability to negotiate and compromise.

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There is no need to applaud Maegor for fighting the Faith. Without Maegor neither King Aenys nor King Maegor nor King Jaehaerys would have had that many problems with the Faith. It is Maegor's audacity and arrogance that hardens the High Septon and the Hightowers against the Targaryens.

Aegon and Rhaena added fuel to the fire, sure, but they were not the root of the trouble. Maegor was.

And, frankly, there was no reason for the Faith and the Iron Throne to fight things out. The Targaryens were not forced to continue their abominable incest, and there was clearly no reason but the petty desire of a petty and arrogant prince to have children of his own body that ignited this fire.

Gyldayn himself makes it clear that one could say, with hindsight in mind, that the war between the Faith and the Targaryens was inevitable, but that's not true. Had the Targaryens just dropped their abominable practices there wouldn't have been a war. Hindsight means you know the incest continued. But it is not a given that this had to happen as Queen Alyssa shows.

FaB very much shows that incestuous marriages are not the only matches the Targaryens entertained. Aegon was offered other brides, Aenys and Maegor married outside the (immediate) family (Alyssa is a closer Velaryon cousin than a Targaryen cousin just as Corlys and Rhaenys are closer related on the Velaryon side than the Targaryen side), Maegor considers and marries many other brides besides close kin, and there are various candidates considered for both Jaehaerys and Alysanne that are not exactly the closest of kin.

If Queen Alyssa's view had prevailed then Targaryen incest would have been abandoned. The same could have happened during the reign of Aenys had Maegor not fucked it up.

We are under no obligation to give Maegor the benefit of the doubt here and say that him crushing the Faith 'was a good thing'.

And it gets much, much worse when we discuss his actual wars, especially the start of them. The attack on the Sept of Remembrance was completely unprovoked and uncalled for. Maegor had won the Trial of Seven and the Warrior's Sons had accepted that. Maegor had neither a reason nor even a pretext to just slaughter them all.

Add the later wars against his own people, his eradication of entire noble houses for no good reason, his war against his own family (among them the rightful king he should have done homage to!), the ugly business of the building of the Red Keep, etc. and what remains is a man who simply has no real redeeming feature whatsoever.

The only reason why he isn't the worst king in history, in my opinion, is that he did leave some lasting legacies (Red Keep, starting of the building of the Dragonpit) and that he, in a sense, partially cleaned up his own mess by winning the war against the Faith his actions had begun.

Aegon II and Aegon IV are clearly much worse (the former obviously, the latter because George says so).

But a guy like Aerys II is much better than Maegor, simply because he didn't have as long nor as brutal a reign of terror as Maegor. Maegor's reign of terror stretched throughout his entire reign, whereas Aerys II only got worse after Duskendale and even then his true 'reign of terror' only started with the outbreak of the Rebellion. Prior to that he merely delivered cruel sentences and such, but the king only directly involves himself in trials in KL and so those couldn't have been that many people. That means Aerys' reign of terror encompasses about a year, whereas Maegor's six years and 66 days (minus the month he spend in a coma).

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16 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon II and Aegon IV are clearly much worse (the former obviously, the latter because George says so).

I think that in FaB2 we are going to know a lot of disturbing and disgusting stuff about Aegon the Unworthy...

take the worst of a Targaryen and add the worst of a Rogare, there you have...

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