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Why was Lyanna Stark willingly married to Rhaegar when he had not divorced Elia Martell?

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3 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:
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Davos seems like a poor choice to you due to his inexperience with high levels of command, but Stannis comes away with a lower opinion of the noblemen who held command under him at Blackwater, particularly his treasonous Hand Alester Florent and his aspiring brother Axell (who gives advice Stannis deems faulty, and wise of Davos to reject). Part of Stannis' reasoning isn't entirely naturalistic however, as he relies on Melisandre advising him to hear out Davos even though Davos wanted to kill her. And indeed Davos advising Stannis to go to the Wall instead of Claw Isle works out for him.

Davos can counsel Stannis without being the Hand. Like, @Minsc says, the tasks Davos filled as Hand were the exact same things Davos would have done earlier. Hell, it’s actually a liability, since now when Davos acts especially  humble towards towards a lord who in theory at least is Davos’ inferior given his actions reflect far more negativily on his master than they did when he was just Stannis’ errand boy. 

Honestly, Davos has no education in leading armies, no education in law, no great skill in politicking, no respect from Stannis’ other vassals(and he doesn’t really try to get it) he doesn’t have any quality that would make the man suitable to act in Stannis’ stead should Stannis be absent. 

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18 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Common law is made from precedent. The "constitution" of England is not some document in the US, but an evolved understanding. Bruce Ackerman has argued that the US constitution doesn't only change through the formal amendment process but also through "constitutional moments". Robert's Rebellion can be considered such a moment.

Sure, precedents form the law - and precedents do overturn other precedents, which is why there is truly no proper and binding modern law in Westeros. Whatever understanding of law 'the unwritten constitution' of Britain is, doesn't really matter here, because we are talking about a medieval world which, while based in large part on medieval England centuries away from a constitution of any sort, has been specifically designed to not have binding or even clear (succession) laws. That this kind of thing does not only extend to succession can be seen in the arbitrary manner in which various kings and lords in the series dispense justice - think of Robert, Stannis, Ned, Robb, Renly, Tarly, Dany, Roose, etc. There are legal guidelines and such, but whether criminals are cruelly punished or get away with a mild scolding is all in the hands of the royal/noble judges. Nobody can them make to stick to the letter of the law or care about whatever precedents can be found in old documents.

As for Robert's Rebellion constituting a legal event that's also far too modern for the medieval world of Westeros - no, that didn't happen, either.

Robert's usurpation was just that - an usurpation. As such it wasn't particularly significant aside from the fact that the coat of arms and the banners changed. The concept of usurpation is well known in Westeros, it happened before and after the Conquest. And it didn't overthrow the ruling dynasty as such. Robert Baratheon is a Targaryen descendant himself, both through the male line (through his ancestor Orys Baratheon and his alleged father Aerion Targaryen as well as through his grandmother Princess Rhaelle). That he does call himself 'Baratheon' rather than 'Targaryen' doesn't change that. He could have claimed the proper royal name, just as, we assume, Harrold Hardyng is not going to rule the Vale of Arryn as a Hardyng should her ever succeed to the Eyrie. In that sense his rise to the throne is legally in exactly the same sphere as Maegor the Cruel's rise to the throne, Jaehaerys I's ascension to the Iron Throne, or the coup that made Aegon II king.

From a legal perspective it is clear that the Westerosi people have a concept of tyranny, and also acknowledge the right of the lords (or people in general) to fight against an unjust tyrant (e.g. the High Septon denouncing King Aenys as one such, giving people permission/urging them to cast him down). But technically this should not (and never did involve historically - at least not in hereditary monarchies) the right to overthrow or disinherit the legal/chosen heirs of such an unjust tyrant. Which means, overall Robert's Rebellion was more or less okay as long as the goal was the arraignment or deposition or 'the Mad King' but not once the rebel leader decided his rebel-leading made him, due to his royal descent and strength of arms, the rightful king in place of Aerys II.

That's were the usurpation comes in, and that is, more or less, just a crime in Westeros, no matter how you spin it. Because while there is no clear succession law in Westeros, there is a very common practice that a son succeeds his father on his throne or in his castle. And the subjects or bannermen of that king or lord do not tell him that this is no longer the case. The fact that Robb lost Winterfell and eventually his life and kingdom did little to instill in the people of Westeros the belief that this constituted a legal event that invalidated the claims any surviving Stark descendants may have to Winterfell and the North.

If a usurper is strong enough he can prevail, of course, and perhaps supplant (or physically eradicate) the legitimate branch for good, but men who steal thrones and lordships are not held in high esteem in this world.

Robert failed to kill all his rivals with better claims. During his reign, and more during the reign of his two 'sons', the belief and perception that the Targaryens Robert failed to kill are the true and rightful rulers of Westeros prevailed.

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On 3/2/2019 at 6:33 PM, FictionIsntReal said:

Even the one example of a polygamous Targaryen marriage in which there were children set the surviving Queen against her sister's offspring. This is basically a universal thing which emerges for understandable reasons and we should expect Elia to be similar by default.

Forgot to address this but yeah. It's natural for a mother to generally try to have it so their children are in the best position they could be in. The son of Lyanna could count on the familial allegiance of three of the 7 Kingdoms(He'd be the Nephew of the warden of Winterfel, whose also married to the daughter of the riverlands, and a man whose basically like a son towards the Warden of the east) and could easily secure another provinces allegiance with the promise of marriage. The son of Lyanna's mere existence would always be a  potential threat. 

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Lyanna would be basically Rhaegar's Rhaenys, and Elia his Visenya. Lyanna he loved, Elia he was only 'fond' of. That would have inevitably have had an effect of the children, with Rhaegar unconsciously favoring Lyanna's children, and Elia's children - being the elder, and the 'true children' of their father - being resentful of the way their father (had) treated their mother. It would have been a recipe for disaster, possibly worse than the Dance and Maegor's transgressions. Especially when we think of the generation of the grandchildren.

With the incest they could have married half-siblings to each other and thus bridge the rift that would have inevitably opened, but there is no guarantee that stuff like that would have worked.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/4/2019 at 8:02 PM, Minsc said:

Or those Stormlords that went over to Stannis did so because Stannis was right there after Renly died and Joffrey wasn't.  Moreover, even more people stayed with the Tyrells and sided with the Lannisters when agreeing to hit Stannis in the rear at Blackwater.

I do think physical presence matters for something: Stannis isolating himself on Dragonstone while Renly was gathering his forces resulted in fewer bannermen supporting him. The Reachermen follow their Lord Paramount, who had gambled on Renly making his daughter queen (an option not available to the already married Stannis, as divorce is less of an option than many here think). In the absence of a marital agreement between Highgarden & King's Landing, they would have stayed home rather than participated in the fighting. The only forces that supported Joffrey before then were from the Westerlands or Crownlands (and not even many of the latter). If I grant your premise that Joffrey's distance is the reason why none of the Stormlanders supported him, doesn't that suffice to show that Renly did not need to optimize his message to minimize Joffrey's appeal to his bannermen?

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None of that makes Davos a qualified pick.

Good judgment & loyal service are Davos' primary selling points, which Stannis holds in higher regard that being born & raised for a high position.

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Stannis wasn't even willing to concede to give Penrose a honorable death in exchange for Storm's End.

Penrose wanted to duel for Storm's End, and there was no reason for Stannis to agree to risk such a thing (even with a champion representing him) when he had (with the rest of the Stormlands behind him) enough strength to win a siege.

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He does the exact same to his Tully wife.

Jon is more directly a threat to Robert's regime, Cat isn't told the truth merely so she's not burdened with betraying the king.

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Yeah, people clearly don't care about blood claim when it goes against their interests as Renly said.

There have been hundreds of years of Targaryens on the throne, and usually the succession went according to blood (same thing with the other noble houses of Westeros). It's not some amazing coincidence that "interests" lined up with blood claims so frequently.

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The Hightower Kings and the fact that various lords and ladies believed it to be clearly possible.  Henry VIII hardly struggled to find brides and he created an entirely new church to make it easier for him to divorce his wives, when he wasn't executing them.

How likely is the creation of a new pro-divorce church whose sacraments will be recognized? The Church of England was created after the Protestant Reformation had already kicked off (and after the schism between the, mostly Roman, Catholic churches and the archbishops of the east). First Men divorcing to take on Andal wives did not have existing marriages under the Seven, and at the time the Andals would have had contempt for any rites under the Old Gods.

On 3/4/2019 at 8:09 PM, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Davos can counsel Stannis without being the Hand. Like, @Minsc says, the tasks Davos filled as Hand were the exact same things Davos would have done earlier. Hell, it’s actually a liability, since now when Davos acts especially  humble towards towards a lord who in theory at least is Davos’ inferior given his actions reflect far more negativily on his master than they did when he was just Stannis’ errand boy. 

Honestly, Davos has no education in leading armies, no education in law, no great skill in politicking, no respect from Stannis’ other vassals(and he doesn’t really try to get it) he doesn’t have any quality that would make the man suitable to act in Stannis’ stead should Stannis be absent. 

One of the Florent brothers acting in Stannis' stead would have made a peace agreement with the Lannisters or attacked Claw Isle; Davos is chosen because he would not have.

On 3/4/2019 at 8:26 PM, Lord Varys said:

we are talking about a medieval world which, while based in large part on medieval England centuries away from a constitution of any sort, has been specifically designed to not have binding or even clear (succession) laws.

I think the elides how many successions aren't disputed.

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Which means, overall Robert's Rebellion was more or less okay as long as the goal was the arraignment or deposition or 'the Mad King' but not once the rebel leader decided his rebel-leading made him, due to his royal descent and strength of arms, the rightful king in place of Aerys II.

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Robert failed to kill all his rivals with better claims. During his reign, and more during the reign of his two 'sons', the belief and perception that the Targaryens Robert failed to kill are the true and rightful rulers of Westeros prevailed.

Now I find myself in the odd position of arguing for the more legal positivist approach, after previously arguing for the significance of law! Robert was acclaimed as king by nearly all the remaining lords. They recognized him as the "true and rightful ruler". Balon Greyjoy thought his rule was unsettled and tried to rebel (not under the name of any Targaryens, as his House had actually fought against the loyalists near the end of the war), but was made to bend the knee to Robert. His reign was not plagued throughout by civil war like Maegor's or Aegon II's. Even after his death the Brotherhood Without Banners holds him up as their true king rather than any of the living people claiming the title.

 

On 3/7/2019 at 9:32 PM, Lord Varys said:

Lyanna would be basically Rhaegar's Rhaenys, and Elia his Visenya. Lyanna he loved, Elia he was only 'fond' of. That would have inevitably have had an effect of the children, with Rhaegar unconsciously favoring Lyanna's children, and Elia's children - being the elder, and the 'true children' of their father - being resentful of the way their father (had) treated their mother. It would have been a recipe for disaster, possibly worse than the Dance and Maegor's transgressions. Especially when we think of the generation of the grandchildren.

With the incest they could have married half-siblings to each other and thus bridge the rift that would have inevitably opened, but there is no guarantee that stuff like that would have worked.

The difference is that Rhaenys & Visenya are sisters. The only culture in which polyandry (one wife, multiple husbands) is common is found in the Himalayas where some men can't afford a wife on their own, so two brothers share one. Their relatedness reduces the conflict that would normally present itself. Although that relatedness wasn't enough for Rhaenys & Visenya in terms of the succession. You're right that an incestous marriage of the children of the two wives would serve as the next closest thing.

Edited by FictionIsntReal
Removed superfluous newlines from first quote block

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20 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

One of the Florent brothers acting in Stannis' stead would have made a peace agreement with the Lannisters or attacked Claw Isle; Davos is chosen because he would not have.

Davos is chosen because he literally is Stannis’ only friend. He doesn’t have to be hand nor is he qualified to actually carry most of it’s functions. Davos played messenger before he was hand, he’s still doing now. He doesn’t need the handship to do the tasks Stannis sets for him. Honestly, if Davos was actually placed in position over Stannis’ noble followers he’ll probably be immediately disregarded if Stannis isn’t around-they near openly mock him at dinner. 

 

 I’m sure Davos would not be the only one to have not been inclined towards needlessly bloodying vassals that could prove useful in the future. 

There’s no good reason to put him as Hand and simply allow him to keep his current position where he’s already doing the tasks Stannis gives him as Hand.

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12 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I do think physical presence matters for something: Stannis isolating himself on Dragonstone while Renly was gathering his forces resulted in fewer bannermen supporting him. The Reachermen follow their Lord Paramount, who had gambled on Renly making his daughter queen (an option not available to the already married Stannis, as divorce is less of an option than many here think). In the absence of a marital agreement between Highgarden & King's Landing, they would have stayed home rather than participated in the fighting. The only forces that supported Joffrey before then were from the Westerlands or Crownlands (and not even many of the latter). If I grant your premise that Joffrey's distance is the reason why none of the Stormlanders supported him, doesn't that suffice to show that Renly did not need to optimize his message to minimize Joffrey's appeal to his bannermen?

Or the Stormlords followed Renly because he is generally popular and well liked better than either Joffrey or Stannis.  We see nothing indicating that Stannis is particularly liked better by the Stormlords than Joffrey.  The Reach lords generally followed Renly because he was also well liked by them that is why Penrose names individuals like Tarly, Rowan, and Lady Oakheart as those that loved Renly best.  The Reach lords still opposed Stannis after Renly's death and the martial agreement between Joffrey and Margaery.  Seen how Tarly and Loras felt open to arrest Stannis's envoys and put Florent men to the sword.  The only forces that supported Stannis were an even meager number of lords from the Crownlands.  You have yet show any need for Renly to optimize his message to minimize Stannis.

12 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Penrose wanted to duel for Storm's End, and there was no reason for Stannis to agree to risk such a thing (even with a champion representing him) when he had (with the rest of the Stormlands behind him) enough strength to win a siege.

Still shows Stannis as uncompromising.  

12 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Jon is more directly a threat to Robert's regime, Cat isn't told the truth merely so she's not burdened with betraying the king.

Ned wouldn't have revealed Jon's heritage if Hoster was king either.

12 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

How likely is the creation of a new pro-divorce church whose sacraments will be recognized? The Church of England was created after the Protestant Reformation had already kicked off (and after the schism between the, mostly Roman, Catholic churches and the archbishops of the east). First Men divorcing to take on Andal wives did not have existing marriages under the Seven, and at the time the Andals would have had contempt for any rites under the Old Gods.

The Faith of the Seven is no where as powerful as the Catholic Church was Medieval Europe that one needs a reformation to disregard their complaints.  Hell, the monarchy already appoints the High Septon in the series nor does the faith have any army.

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19 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Now I find myself in the odd position of arguing for the more legal positivist approach, after previously arguing for the significance of law! Robert was acclaimed as king by nearly all the remaining lords. They recognized him as the "true and rightful ruler". Balon Greyjoy thought his rule was unsettled and tried to rebel (not under the name of any Targaryens, as his House had actually fought against the loyalists near the end of the war), but was made to bend the knee to Robert. His reign was not plagued throughout by civil war like Maegor's or Aegon II's. Even after his death the Brotherhood Without Banners holds him up as their true king rather than any of the living people claiming the title.

Robert had to deal with at least one crucial rebellion. He won the day, but he wasn't a great or even successful king. He beggared the Crown which had had a full treasury when he took the throne. And there were no great enterprises done during his reign, like rebuilding KL, building streets, or new castles or other large structures.

Robert is about as 'rightful' a king as Maegor the Cruel was. Tentatively people swallow the fact that he rules, but they still all know who the rightful rulers are - Aenys' sons in Maegor's case, and Aerys II's children in Robert's case. Robert didn't live to see the day a Targaryen monarch dragged his sorry drunkard ass out of the Iron Throne and threw him down in the dry moat, but his brother and 'children' will see that day in future books.

But, sure, if the plot wasn't revolving around a Targaryen restoration of some sort then the 'kings across the water' may have eventually suffered the fate of the Blackfyre pretenders or the Jacobites.

19 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The difference is that Rhaenys & Visenya are sisters. The only culture in which polyandry (one wife, multiple husbands) is common is found in the Himalayas where some men can't afford a wife on their own, so two brothers share one. Their relatedness reduces the conflict that would normally present itself. Although that relatedness wasn't enough for Rhaenys & Visenya in terms of the succession. You're right that an incestous marriage of the children of the two wives would serve as the next closest thing.

But we can be reasonably sure that Rhaegar with two wives/queens would have been a disaster, just as Maegor's many wives were a disaster, too - both for him and, especially, for the wives who raised the ire of Tyanna. If the thing hadn't blown up quickly, it would have blown up when the children were old enough to have their own opinion, and both women were from great houses. It would have become very ugly very fast.

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Posted (edited)

If Rheagar’s marriage isn’t valid to Lyanna even if R+L=J is real Jon is still a bastard. 

That would be kinda of a let down if Jon found out Instead of being the bastard of x important man he was instead the bastard of why y important man. 

Also, anyone else noticing just about every near person post Aegon I whose argued for Targyen to be able to take on more than one spouse has been morally reprehensible? Dalla, Maegor, Jorah. All terrible people. Rheagar appears to be the exception. 

I get the feeling Rheagar would try marrying Lyanna in front of a Weretree. 

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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14 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

If Rheagar’s marriage isn’t valid to Lyanna even if R+L=J is real Jon is still a bastard. 

Not necessarily. There may be some people in Westeros - just as there are people here - who interpret the marriage as valid, falling and on their knees and kissing the feet of 'the rightful king' whereas others may take a more, well, reasoned approach. Just at it will be with Aegon. Many will see him as 'the rightful king' come back to save them from certain doom. But not everybody.

But, sure, Ned branded Lyanna's son a bastard. That stain is never going to leave him. We see how Alyn Velaryon is not exactly welcome in the elite circle of nobility never mind the fact that Rhaenyra legitimized him, and Aegon IV's great bastards had the same issues. It should be Brynden Targaryen, but it is Brynden Rivers, even after the guy became Hand.

Thus even for people believing the marriage to be valid will not suddenly not treat Jon as a bastard or not see the bastard in him.

In Jon's case the main issue is not really the marriage but the question who actually is going to buy this story - i.e. that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married if that was done in secret, that she was pregnant, if that was unknown to the public, that she had a living child, and that said child happened to be the bastard of Eddard Stark.

You have to buy a lot to actually buy that Jon is a prince or even 'the rightful king'.

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On 3/9/2019 at 11:39 AM, Minsc said:

Or the Stormlords followed Renly because he is generally popular and well liked better than either Joffrey or Stannis.  We see nothing indicating that Stannis is particularly liked better by the Stormlords than Joffrey.  The Reach lords generally followed Renly because he was also well liked by them that is why Penrose names individuals like Tarly, Rowan, and Lady Oakheart as those that loved Renly best.  The Reach lords still opposed Stannis after Renly's death and the martial agreement between Joffrey and Margaery.  Seen how Tarly and Loras felt open to arrest Stannis's envoys and put Florent men to the sword.  The only forces that supported Stannis were an even meager number of lords from the Crownlands.  You have yet show any need for Renly to optimize his message to minimize Stannis.

Funny how it was the lords of the Reach, whose Lord Paramount sided with Renly and married his daughter to the king-to-be, who were so affected by Renly's popularity. The absence of lords from the majority of other kingdoms must be some odd coincidence. In fact we hear later in the story of lords who disagree with their ruler: Yohn Royce wanted to intervene in the war of the five kings, but Lysa forbade it and her lords obeyed her. Many in Dorne also agitate for war, but with Doran insisting on restraint at most Arianne is able to rope in as conspirators some heirs and a knight from a cadet branch. The generalization in this war is that lords obey their Lord Paramount (the Bolton & Frey betrayal is a notable deviation, and was arranged in secret). Renly had been lord of Storm's End after Robert granted Dragonstone (traditional seat of the heir since the Iron Throne was built) to Stannis, but as the eldest Baratheon brother, Stannis could claim the title. Stannis doesn't bother trying to recruit men from all the other kingdoms, because it's the Stormlanders who owe him loyalty.

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Still shows Stannis as uncompromising.

A duel to the death is not considered a compromise in anyone's book. A siege at least permits for a compromise to be made later.

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Ned wouldn't have revealed Jon's heritage if Hoster was king either.

Robert's crude dismissal of Lannister forces murdering Targaryens (especially Rhaegar's children) played a role, but Ned would have had some reason to hide him if anyone else was on the throne. And the reason Ned hides him is because it's his sister's child. The shared interest between Ned & Hoster is that Catelyn's children are descended from both of them. The unusual fact that Cersei's children were not in fact Robert's set her interests fatally against his, as well as his brothers.

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The Faith of the Seven is no where as powerful as the Catholic Church was Medieval Europe that one needs a reformation to disregard their complaints.  Hell, the monarchy already appoints the High Septon in the series nor does the faith have any army.

The High Septon isn't able to excommunicate kings and make them beg for forgiveness, but the Faith still has authority over marriages (outside the North & Iron Islands). It is the allegation that Margaery broke her marriage vows via adultery which gave them an in against her.

On 3/9/2019 at 6:24 PM, Lord Varys said:

Robert had to deal with at least one crucial rebellion. He won the day, but he wasn't a great or even successful king. He beggared the Crown which had had a full treasury when he took the throne. And there were no great enterprises done during his reign, like rebuilding KL, building streets, or new castles or other large structures.

We were arguing over whether Robert was regarded as the legitimate king. Balon Greyjoy was the lone rebel under Robert's reign, and he just declared himself to be an independent king rather than insisting that the exiled Targaryens belonged on the throne. Aegon IV was a far worse king than Robert, but nobody disputed his legitimacy. The empty treasuries are what Littlefinger claims, rather than indicative of the waste of real resources that took place under Aerys II building "large structures" that never got completed.

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Robert is about as 'rightful' a king as Maegor the Cruel was. Tentatively people swallow the fact that he rules, but they still all know who the rightful rulers are - Aenys' sons in Maegor's case, and Aerys II's children in Robert's case. Robert didn't live to see the day a Targaryen monarch dragged his sorry drunkard ass out of the Iron Throne and threw him down in the dry moat, but his brother and 'children' will see that day in future books.

Maegor faced rebellion practically his entire reign, relying entirely on force & cruelty to stay in power (dominance without the disguise of prestige). Maegor only reigned six years, while Robert reigned more than twice as long and mostly amidst peace (with the Greyjoy rebellion being the one brief exception). Viserys tried to drum up support and typically got laughed at; he did have a promised marriage alliance with the Martells, but they rule one of the least populated kingdoms whose forte is defense rather than a force capable of putting him on the throne. Joffrey was perceived as lacking legitimacy because he's not actually Robert's, not because he wasn't a Targaryen. Most Westerosi lords don't care about anything going on with Essosi exiles. Future books don't actually exist, so you have no evidence to cite there.

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But, sure, if the plot wasn't revolving around a Targaryen restoration of some sort then the 'kings across the water' may have eventually suffered the fate of the Blackfyre pretenders or the Jacobites.

Most of the plot doesn't revolve around that, and is instead independent of anyone claiming to be a Targaryen. The important thing about the war of the five kings is that the seven kingdoms are bleeding each other dry while a larger threat is approaching north of the wall. The question of who sits on the Iron Throne is unimportant compared to that. Here is what GRRM has said:

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And it is important that the individual books refer to the civil wars, but the series title reminds us constantly that the real issue lies in the North beyond the Wall. Stannis becomes one of the few characters fully to understand that, which is why in spite of everything he is a righteous man, and not just a version of Henry VII, Tiberius or Louis XI.

 

 

On 3/14/2019 at 4:41 AM, Varysblackfyre321 said:

If Rheagar’s marriage isn’t valid to Lyanna even if R+L=J is real Jon is still a bastard. 

That would be kinda of a let down if Jon found out Instead of being the bastard of x important man he was instead the bastard of why y important man.

Jon has assumed his mother was lowborn, so learning that he's noble on both sides would be meaningful to him.

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Also, anyone else noticing just about every near person post Aegon I whose argued for Targyen to be able to take on more than one spouse has been morally reprehensible? Dalla, Maegor, Jorah. All terrible people. Rheagar appears to be the exception.

We don't even know of Rhaegar advocating that.

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I get the feeling Rheagar would try marrying Lyanna in front of a Weretree. 

He certainly couldn't have a septon officiate.

On 3/14/2019 at 7:49 PM, Lord Varys said:

In Jon's case the main issue is not really the marriage but the question who actually is going to buy this story - i.e. that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married if that was done in secret, that she was pregnant, if that was unknown to the public, that she had a living child, and that said child happened to be the bastard of Eddard Stark.

You have to buy a lot to actually buy that Jon is a prince or even 'the rightful king'.

That's similar to one of the issues I have with a common theory about Young Griff. If his mother was a prostitute that Illyrio bought from a Lysene pleasure house, how credible would any claim made through her be? If anyone gave a damn about the female line descended from Daemon Blackfyre, why would they let that happen to her?

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3 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

We were arguing over whether Robert was regarded as the legitimate king. Balon Greyjoy was the lone rebel under Robert's reign, and he just declared himself to be an independent king rather than insisting that the exiled Targaryens belonged on the throne. Aegon IV was a far worse king than Robert, but nobody disputed his legitimacy. The empty treasuries are what Littlefinger claims, rather than indicative of the waste of real resources that took place under Aerys II building "large structures" that never got completed.

Robert certainly is counted as a king. But he is just a successful usurper, not the legitimate heir/rightful king. Robert himself understands this when he points out that half the realm still calls him usurper.

Aegon IV certainly was the worst king on the Iron Throne ever, but nobody ever questioned his claim to the throne. And why should they? He was the oldest son of the last king, and he and his father (and his descendants) were the last Targaryens around.

Robert beggared the Crown. Littlefinger has (pretty much) nothing to do with that. The man is in his late twenties and only became Master of Coin later in Robert's reign. The idea that only he actually knows what's in Robert's treasury makes no sense. Littlefinger rose to prominence and power when Jon and Robert needed the incomes of the Crown to increase, to finance Robert's extravagances. They didn't bring in a nobody because anybody could do the job, they brought him in because he seemed to be able to give Robert what he wanted.

Littlefinger likely also steals from the Crown, but it is not because of him that Robert has to loan huge sums from Casterly Rock, Highgarden, the Faith, and the Iron Bank.

3 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Maegor faced rebellion practically his entire reign, relying entirely on force & cruelty to stay in power (dominance without the disguise of prestige).

Well, he was a Targaryen, sat the Iron Throne, completed a great castle and started to build the Dragonpit. He certainly liked prestige just as much as raw power. 

3 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Maegor only reigned six years, while Robert reigned more than twice as long and mostly amidst peace (with the Greyjoy rebellion being the one brief exception). Viserys tried to drum up support and typically got laughed at; he did have a promised marriage alliance with the Martells, but they rule one of the least populated kingdoms whose forte is defense rather than a force capable of putting him on the throne. Joffrey was perceived as lacking legitimacy because he's not actually Robert's, not because he wasn't a Targaryen. Most Westerosi lords don't care about anything going on with Essosi exiles. Future books don't actually exist, so you have no evidence to cite there.

Viserys III was a child when his exile began. He needed at least ten years to grow old enough to hope to do stuff on his own. Robert is afraid of the Dothraki alliance and even more of any children Dany and Drogo might have. We never see a popular and broad Targaryen uprising because no Targaryens have made a move until ADwD. But they will. The books are full of hints in that direction.

It would have been more difficult while Robert was still alive, but even then the alliance who put him into power was rotten to the core. The Lannisters and Starks are more interested in ripping each other to pieces, as are Robert's own brothers. And with Jon Arryn gone and Hoster Tully dying the Baratheons cannot really count on the Vale and the Riverlands, either.

And Robert himself was no longer the great manly warrior he had been in his early twenties. He was a fat drunkard who may no longer have been able to plan a proper campaign - nor able to count on any of the men around him. He himself admits to Ned that he is the only friend he has left.

As for Essosi exiles - there were four Blackfyre pretenders (five, if we count Aenys Blackfyre) who came from Essos. They were not without support - and unlike the Targaryens they never actually sat the throne nor were the ones who conquered the Seven Kingdoms and built the Iron Throne.

But with the War of the Five Kings now basically de-legitimizing the royal pretensions of the Baratheons, Lannisters, and Starks - all they gave the Seven Kingdoms were blood and carnage - the desire for nostalgia and the good old days should be very high. Robert's Rebellion didn't exactly end some sort of long reign of terror (Aerys II's reign was 20+ years of peace and plenty with considerable erratic behavior in the last couple of years). It started a civil war. Aerys II was burning people in his capital, but KL is a very small place in a large Realm. 99 % of the population had no issues with the Mad King nor anything to fear from him because the guy either did not know they existed or what they were doing. It would certainly have been an injustice to kill Ned and Robert, but those are just two men - against all those who died during the war. A war that ended with the murder of innocent women and children. In that sense, there is no reason to assume the majority of Westeros sees Robert Baratheon as 'a hero'.

3 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Most of the plot doesn't revolve around that, and is instead independent of anyone claiming to be a Targaryen. The important thing about the war of the five kings is that the seven kingdoms are bleeding each other dry while a larger threat is approaching north of the wall. The question of who sits on the Iron Throne is unimportant compared to that.

Sure, but people still don't care about the ice zombies and stuff. But they do care about the Targaryens. In the Riverlands, in Dorne, even in White Harbor. And apparently even in the Stormlands, as Aegon's example right now shows.

3 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

That's similar to one of the issues I have with a common theory about Young Griff. If his mother was a prostitute that Illyrio bought from a Lysene pleasure house, how credible would any claim made through her be? If anyone gave a damn about the female line descended from Daemon Blackfyre, why would they let that happen to her?

Who Aegon actually is is pretty much irrelevant. He is either going to fly as Rhaegar's son or not at all. Nobody in Westeros is going to support a Blackfyre descendant now. But chances are pretty much zero that Aegon's mother would be the one with the dragon blood. It would likely be Illyrio himself who chose to father his son on a woman who was likely to give the boy proper Valyrian features - which was necessary to create a fake Aegon.

Illyrio himself doesn't seem to have proper Valyrian features (and if he is some obscure descendant of Daemon Blackfyre through a couple of daughters, etc. then it is not exactly likely that his children would suddenly look like proper Targaryens) - but we know Rhaegar's Aegon had such features. If you saw a unique opportunity to create a fake prince due to the manner how the real child died then you would, in this world, likely fuck a dozen or more Lyseni prostitutes with silver-gold hair and purple eyes because you don't have much time to actually produce the child. It was a year old when it died, so even if you father one right away you will have to add another nine months which means your Aegon will be about two years younger than the real one (which is actually how Tyrion describes him - 15-16 years to the real Aegon's 18 in 300 AC). The window of opportunity isn't going to remain open for long. And you cannot be sure that your child will have the Valyrian features you need, you cannot even be sure that it will be male. So Illyrio likely had much fun with a dozen or a score of Lyseni prostitutes and then picked the boy (and the mother) who suited his desires best and discarded the rest.

If Illyrio ever married the Serra woman then this may have had more to do with the fact that he wanted his Aegon to be a legitimate child, entitled/able to easily inherit his vast estates upon his death should the Westeros plans be scrapped or postponed indefinitely or he simply to die before they are put into motion.

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On 2/5/2019 at 9:31 AM, Alexander Leonard said:

Do you believe that Lyanna Stark was not abducted but eloped with and later willingly marrried to Rhaegar Targaryen? Why would she do that when Rhaegar had not divorced Elia Martell? Do you think Rhargar had promised Lyanna that he would divorce Elia?

My guess is that on one hand she was infatuated with the handsome, cosmopolitan prince (she was after all a very young girl), on the other hand, she really didn't like Robert, and wanted to rebel against her family, because they were forcing her to marry him.  It really isn't that surprising IMO.

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On 2/5/2019 at 3:26 PM, Arthur Peres said:

If Lyanna went willing with Rhaegar (which I belive she did) than she is a big hypocrite, she didn't want Robert because he couldn't be loyal as husband but she was willing to be the mistress of a married men with 2 kids.

You can't blame a teenage girl for running away from a marriage she was being forced into with a man she didn't want.  Yes, that's how things were done in the world of ASOIAF, but her behavior was certainly justified.  Maybe if she had found someone else to run away with who wasn't married, she would have done that instead.

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