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James Steller

The Stupidity of Everyone during the Regency

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Someone pointed this out to me a while ago, but it still baffles me just how short sighted everyone is during Aegon’s regency. Sure, he’s deeply withdrawn and traumatized, and this takes place in a world before therapy, but apart from Tyland Lannister, Cregan Stark, and perhaps Torrhen Manderly, nobody is genuinely concerned about the king’s state of being. He’s just an annoyance or an obstacle or at best, something easily ignored. Was nobody thinking to the day when Aegon would become sixteen? His assumption of power is supremely satisfying to read about, but in hindsight it’s kind of baffling to think just how blindsided everyone is that this “sullen boy” doesn’t play ball after no attempts have been made to ingratiate themselves with him. What did they expect would happen??

And it’s not like Aegon is a forgiving type. He distrusts and despises Marston Waters, Gareth Long, Unwin Peake, and George Graceford. Just look at how he actually came to the trial to hear Gareth Long sentenced to death. I almost wish that Gareth, Marston, and Unwin had been around when Aegon came of age, just to make his abrupt assumption of power all the more satisfying.

See, at least Gareth Long was involved in a plot to depose or kill Aegon, so he must have known how cooked his goose would be when Aegon came of age. Marston talks a big game when he says he’ll fall on his own sword if the king commands it (I wonder whether he would have actually done it if Aegon demanded it of him). Unwin clearly tries to kill him too, but again, most of the regents seem to be so shortsighted when it comes to actually making the king ready for rule. Or, you know, trying to get on his good side so he might be inclined to treat them well. Just look at how well other Targaryen kings are flattered and celebrated before and after Aegon III. It’s like everyone just gave up and figured he’d do nothing at all, which is fine given his character ultimately, but surely people would have tried first? We get no evidence that anyone tried and failed to win him over. All we get is that Tyland Lannister- the man who wanted to kill Aegon III- manages to treat him with respect and deference and earns Aegon’s respect.

Edited by James Steller

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Sadly, Westeros probably doesn't have the same understanding of mental health, depression, PTSD, etc. as we currently do.

But I do think that is, in some ways, the point. Especially with regards to Jaehaera's death -- it was likely a murder, but couldn't one conceive of her trauma being so great that she really did jump into the moat of spikes after seeing her twin murdered, and going through the deaths of her parents, her other brother, her uncles, her grandmother, and seeing her family torn in two?

For a lot of the regent lords, the suffering probably didn't hit them as hard. Many lost fathers, brothers, sons, on the battlefield, but is that really the same as seeing your uncle's dragon devour your mother? I think GRRM works quite well to characterise a lot of these lords as conniving lickspittles who just use Aegon as a means to an end without even considering his personhood at all.

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17 minutes ago, James Steller said:

I almost wish that Gareth, Marston, and Unwin had been around when Aegon came of age, just to make his abrupt assumption of power all the more satisfying.

 

I'll grant you that Unwin was a bastard who deserved to die, but frankly, Gareth Long was right. Aegon III is clearly unfit to be the ruler of millions of people, nor does he show the slightest interest in learning how to be a good ruler. And what you're saying is you'd basically be happy to watch Aegon take the throne and abuse his power against a guy who used harsh disciplinary measures to help boys survive in a harsh world. The way you talk, you'd be happy to have seen Joffrey become king and carry out all his grudges as he saw fit.

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2 minutes ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

I'll grant you that Unwin was a bastard who deserved to die, but frankly, Gareth Long was right. Aegon III is clearly unfit to be the ruler of millions of people, nor does he show the slightest interest in learning how to be a good ruler. And what you're saying is you'd basically be happy to watch Aegon take the throne and abuse his power against a guy who used harsh disciplinary measures to help boys survive in a harsh world. The way you talk, you'd be happy to have seen Joffrey become king and carry out all his grudges as he saw fit.

Gareth Long and Unwin were both guilty of treason and conspiracy to murder Aegon and those closest to him. Aegon sending them to the Wall or death by execution would be as close to justice as this harsh world would allow. That’s not even in the same ballpark as Joffrey.

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25 minutes ago, Vaith said:

Sadly, Westeros probably doesn't have the same understanding of mental health, depression, PTSD, etc. as we currently do.

But I do think that is, in some ways, the point. Especially with regards to Jaehaera's death -- it was likely a murder, but couldn't one conceive of her trauma being so great that she really did jump into the moat of spikes after seeing her twin murdered, and going through the deaths of her parents, her other brother, her uncles, her grandmother, and seeing her family torn in two?

For a lot of the regent lords, the suffering probably didn't hit them as hard. Many lost fathers, brothers, sons, on the battlefield, but is that really the same as seeing your uncle's dragon devour your mother? I think GRRM works quite well to characterise a lot of these lords as conniving lickspittles who just use Aegon as a means to an end without even considering his personhood at all.

I agree that she could very well have killed herself. It kind of surprises me that Aegon never tried to do so (though that made the Thaddeus Rowan confession scene all the more powerful).

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I think the simplest answer is the correct one - they used the king's withdrawal as an opportunity to seize power. Once they had it, they encouraged and/or bullied him to stay away, so they could keep it.

Edited by Tyrion's Third Wife

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7 hours ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

I'll grant you that Unwin was a bastard who deserved to die, but frankly, Gareth Long was right. Aegon III is clearly unfit to be the ruler of millions of people, nor does he show the slightest interest in learning how to be a good ruler. And what you're saying is you'd basically be happy to watch Aegon take the throne and abuse his power against a guy who used harsh disciplinary measures to help boys survive in a harsh world. The way you talk, you'd be happy to have seen Joffrey become king and carry out all his grudges as he saw fit.

I doubt old Gareth took anything into account aside from the boy's obvious lack of martial prowess. Of the conspirators no one seemed to have moved out of a genuine concern that Aegon was unfit. The rumored mastermind was acting out of wounded vanity and the others out of opportunism. 

Aegon III seems troubled but not entirely unfit. He seems to have had a good head on his shoulders and aside from the end of dragons(which wasn't really his fault) Aegon's reign seems to have been a solid ''meh'' at worst rather than a disaster. As for what the regents were thinking, I believe the clung strongly to the words a certain Lanister would one day utter in a TV show 
 

Quote

''A wise king listens to his counselors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. The wisest king continue to listen to them long afterwards'' 

I don't think many regents really believed their time as regents would come to an end. They might have thought they could either bully Aegon into inactivity or that he would chose that role on his own accord. Perhaps his sullen moods and lack in martial interest were taken as sign of weaknesses that suggested he'd remain a puppet. I suppose they could be genuinely surprised to see Aegon give them all the boot as soon as he turned 16. 

Edited by Daemon of the Blacks

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27 minutes ago, Daemon of the Blacks said:

I don't think many regents really believed their time as regents would come. They might have thought they could either bully Aegon into inactivity or that he would chose that role on his own accord. Perhaps his sullen moods and lack in martial interest were taken as sign of weaknesses that suggested he'd remain a puppet. I suppose they could be genuinely surprised to see Aegon give them all the boot as soon as he turned 16. 

Yeah, that was likely at least the view of Unwin Peake. That's also why he wanted to marry his daughter to Aegon III. The idea that the king's sixteenth nameday just magically gives him power at his own court is pretty baseless. If your men are everywhere you run the show, and Peake's men were everywhere. Cersei also thinks she will/might have to continue to run the show even after Tommen has come of age. In part such ideas seem to come from the fact that the kings are continued to be seen as children even after they have grown up.

Tyland Lannister and Thaddeus Rowan clearly wanted to prepare Aegon III for the day he would take the government into his own hands, but Peake (and Manderly, to a lesser degree) had little to no interest in doing that. They likely expected to continue as Hands once the king came of age, with the power dynamic not changing at all.

And a king as withdrawn as Aegon III was for the majority of his minority really should be very easy to control. You cannot interfere with the men who actually rule the Realm if you don't talk.

That Aegon III very quickly asserted control has a lot to do with the erosion of Peake power in the wake of the entire siege thing. Those three new regents and Lord Manderly did not have the time or opportunity to install their cronies everywhere at court.

And with the Kingsguard and Sandoq the Shadow on your side it is actually pretty hard to resist that kind of thing. The legal power lies with the king, not the Hand or other people, so the way to rule through a puppet king could only work if you actually have the trust of the monarch, not if you intimidate or threaten him.

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Aegon deserves compassion. As a child, he was a war victim, losing his parents, three brothers and his dragon in a short time. Despite this, he never lost courage, and to some degree he grow up to be an able king. Perhaps his rule wasn't what the lords hoped, but it was what the kingdom needed. A time of recovery until Daeron and Baelor foolishly wasted lives and riches with conquests and giant septs.

But Aegon needed some emotional support to (partialy) beat up his sadness. After he found it, with Viserys and Daenaera, he became less of a tool. THat's why Unwin Peake prepared his coup. He initially wanted to keep the king dominated through a marriage. Then after Aegon made 16 and the Regents loses their power, he could be a powerful Hand. 

We don't have proofs that Aegon was vengative. He clearly disliked Gareth Long, but allowed him to take the black. Also he didn't take any step against Unwin, at least AFAIK.

Marston Waters is a more complicated subject. I believe he was not a conspirator, but was manipulated. He wasn't really bright, and probably believed i a conspiration. Lately he did what he could to redeeem himself. I wonder what the White Book says about him...

 

 

 

 

Unwin Peake was a real Richelieu. He considered Aegon unfited to rule 

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21 hours ago, Vaith said:

Especially with regards to Jaehaera's death -- it was likely a murder, but couldn't one conceive of her trauma being so great that she really did jump into the moat of spikes after seeing her twin murdered, and going through the deaths of her parents, her other brother, her uncles, her grandmother, and seeing her family torn in two?

Why do you think the fatal falls of Helaena and Jaehaera out of windows of Maegor´s Holdfast were intentional, on anyone´s part?

Possible intents, in both cases, might have included climbing out of the window to escape alive a room they were held in. Or just leaning out of the window to get a better view of something outside.

The windows in question were not barred - no one took the lesson after Helaena.

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50 minutes ago, Jaak said:

Why do you think the fatal falls of Helaena and Jaehaera out of windows of Maegor´s Holdfast were intentional, on anyone´s part?

Possible intents, in both cases, might have included climbing out of the window to escape alive a room they were held in. Or just leaning out of the window to get a better view of something outside.

The windows in question were not barred - no one took the lesson after Helaena.

I said that Jaehaera's could have been a murder or suicide. I didn't say anything of Helaena's, but I'd think the same.

If it was an accident, we'd likely get a hint from Martin. We get good rationale for the deaths of both being murders or suicides: for Jaehaera, losing everyone in her family, or being disposed of so Aegon III could marry Myrielle Peake. For Helaena, losing her sons, and Rhaenyra getting rid of her before the Greens could retake the city. I think it'd be pretty convenient if it was revealed that during massive depression and a politically tense situation, Helaena actually just fell over the balcony. 

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1 hour ago, Vaith said:

 I think it'd be pretty convenient if it was revealed that during massive depression and a politically tense situation, Helaena actually just fell over the balcony. 

Depression and tense situation might also motivate Helaena to finally try and see if she could find handholds on the wall outside her window (and find she could not).

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54 minutes ago, Jaak said:

Depression and tense situation might also motivate Helaena to finally try and see if she could find handholds on the wall outside her window (and find she could not).

Honestly, I always figured Helaena was just trying to iron one of the curtains and she'd forgotten to take it off the window first.

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There is pretty much no way a girl as timid and afraid as Jaehaera would actually explore the place around her windows. She never even left her apartments throughout her entire tenure as queen. And she must have known how her mother died.

Suicide is not very common among eight-year-olds so the chance is very high that she was murdered.

With Helaena it is different. Rhaenyra could have easily enough executed her or simply make her disappear. Had she wanted her dead she would have never done it in that manner.

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Both cases are very suspicious, Helaena died only after half year of captivity.

Mushroom claims that events described in  Brothel Queens caused her to kill herself,  Munkun believes seeing execution of  Velaryon knights influenced it, Eustace claims Mysaria told her cruelly about way Maelor died.

Story in the city was that Luthor Largent was sent by Rhaenyra to kill her.

Quote

Could Helaena’s death have been murder? Possibly…but it seems unlikely Queen Rhaenyra was behind it. Helaena Targaryen was a broken creature who posed no threat to Her Grace. Nor do our sources speak of any special enmity between them. If Rhaenyra were intent on murder, surely it would have been the Dowager Queen Alicent flung down onto the spikes. Moreover, at the time of Queen Helaena’s death, we have abundant proof that Ser Luthor Largent, the purported killer, was eating with three hundred of his gold cloaks at the barracks by the Gate of the Gods.

I wonder which Maester is writing this part though, is it excerpt from Mushroom, Munkun of Gyldane humself?

It is certain she was threat as blood of Viserys unlike Alicent who didn't have any claim and isn't much of a threat.

Broken ? 

This writter says about broken:

Quote

“The stone is strong. Bran told himself, the roots of the trees go deep, and under the ground the Kings of Winter sit their thrones. So long as those remained, Winterfell remained. It was not dead, just broken. Like me, he thought. I'm not dead either.”

Rhaenyra also could have sent someone other than Largent , and she probably planed to torment Alicent with every member of her family dead, we allredy know she planed to kill Daeron, and her other siblings.

Regarding timing , city was under the threat of being besieged by Green army from Reach and even Stormlands , so some of Blacks might thought prudent to remove her.

Either way her death is on Rhaenyra's hands.

 Regarding Jaehaera , it seems more certain as murder.

 Despite number of suspect, mostly prominent Unwin Peake and  Tessario the Thumb in my opinion most likely culprit is House Velaryon .

Edited by Eltharion21

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Going back to the original question, I always thought it was strange too that none of the lords considered that Aegon would be a man full grown and might enjoy finally getting a taste of power. Steller was right, I just re-read that part of the book and it really seems like the only people who weren't being short-sighted were Thaddeus Rowan, Torrhen Manderly, and Tyland Lannister. There's no stories of any of the regents trying to have a one-on-one with the boy, no mention of Unwin Peake even bothering to ingratiate himself to the boy and deciding that Aegon's a pushover, nothing like that at all. Especially after he got Viserys back, you'd think there would be some kind of incentive to try and get on Aegon's good side before he came of age, because if you want to stay in King's Landing, you'll need the king's approval.

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22 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

Going back to the original question, I always thought it was strange too that none of the lords considered that Aegon would be a man full grown and might enjoy finally getting a taste of power. Steller was right, I just re-read that part of the book and it really seems like the only people who weren't being short-sighted were Thaddeus Rowan, Torrhen Manderly, and Tyland Lannister. There's no stories of any of the regents trying to have a one-on-one with the boy, no mention of Unwin Peake even bothering to ingratiate himself to the boy and deciding that Aegon's a pushover, nothing like that at all. Especially after he got Viserys back, you'd think there would be some kind of incentive to try and get on Aegon's good side before he came of age, because if you want to stay in King's Landing, you'll need the king's approval.

Many people tries to befriend kings. That's easy with a king like Robert Baratheon or Aegon the Unworthy. You just feed his needs.  But Aegon was a difficult case. He didn't like hunting, riding, whoring, drinking, reading or fighting. Food, jewels and clothes were nothing to him. Even hundreds of pretty noble girls coming from all the Realms to dance with him didn't light a spark (and he was 14 years old at that moment...). Westeros is a warrior culture with little empathy with wounded people. Especialy with mental sanity problems. 

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So the Regents and the Hands had no idea of how to win his favor... Only a broken man, Tyland Lannister could empathize with him and obtain some reaction.  It must be noted that Myrielle Peake, by simply being friendly (her natural self), obtained a better reaction than most of his Hands. 

It's sad that everybody looked at him and saw only a future king, not a boy. Nobody cared for him.


About Helaena, I suspect suicide, but I don't discard she was murdered. Perhaps Rhaena wanted more blood to avenge his sons, and wanted to hurt Alicent more deeply. Or Larys Clubfoot was a really sneaky bastard.

About poor Jaehaera. Murder for sure. I can imagine a 8 years old girl killing herself (especially a retarded girl). She felt safe and at home. Why should she jump? But I can imagine Cassandra Baratheon whispering to her "just jump and you will be with your daddy and momma in heaven".

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Aegon III was approached and befriended by a number of his regents and Hands. Cregan Stark, Corlys Velaryon (the only man among the original regents he trusted explicitly), Tyland Lannister, Grand Maester Munkun, and Thaddeus Rowan. He was also pretty close to Alyn Velaryon.

Most of the other regents didn't really see the Regency as an opportunity to amass power for themselves - Jeyne Arryn, Manfryd Mooton, Royce Caron, Roland Westerling apparently had no interest in doing more than overseeing the government until the king was old enough to do that himself. The same goes for the lot regents in the end. Torrhen Manderly was in the former category, too, while he served as regent, but later when he returned as Hand he clearly wanted to keep the office after the king had reached his majority.

The regents didn't rule all that much. They ruled by council, which means they all had to convene to make decisions which they did less and less often even early on during the Regency. That's why first Tyland Lannister and then later Unwin Peake, Thaddeus Rowan, and eventually Torrhen Manderly basically run the show. The regents of Aegon III are, in that sense, not comparable to Alyssa Velaryon, Aemond Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, or even Kevan Lannister who effectively acted as monarchs in place of the minor/incapacitated kings. They ruled by council and consensus which weakened them and their hold day-to-day affairs in relation to the Hand, especially when in Unwin Peake one of their own members claimed the Handship.

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

Most of the other regents didn't really see the Regency as an opportunity to amass power for themselves - Jeyne Arryn, Manfryd Mooton, Royce Caron, Roland Westerling apparently had no interest in doing more than overseeing the government until the king was old enough to do that himself. The same goes for the lot regents in the end. Torrhen Manderly was in the former category, too, while he served as regent, but later when he returned as Hand he clearly wanted to keep the office after the king had reached his majority.

Did he? He seemed quick to leave King’s Landing the second that Aegon III told him he wasn’t needed. 

If that’s true, though, it’s bafflingly naive and shortsighted of Torrhen to think that the “sullen boy” would either agree to this royal procession which was organized without his opinion or consent, or keep Torrhen as a Hand after the nonexistent relationship they had. Neither of them liked the other at all. What did Torrhen think would happen when the introverted youth who had no interest in even trying to play ball finally obtained the power to run his own life?

 

Edited by James Steller

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