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10 minutes ago, Padraig O'Sullivan said:

Who inherits Barrowton if anything happens to Lady Dustin. Would it be one of her Ryswell brothers or a relative of her late husband 

We don't know. If there were no Dustin cousins around chances are not that bad that it would indeed pass to her Ryswell kin. After all, she seems to be ruling Barrowton as the widow of the previous lord, with no blood claim to the lordship, so her legal heirs might also be the legal heirs to Barrowton.

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We don't know. If there were no Dustin cousins around chances are not that bad that it would indeed pass to her Ryswell kin. After all, she seems to be ruling Barrowton as the widow of the previous lord, with no blood claim to the lordship, so her legal heirs might also be the legal heirs to Barrowton.

This. I'd also add that its possible that Lady Dustin and her brothers are the closest cousins to the Dustin's anyway.

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2 hours ago, Adam Yozza said:

This. I'd also add that its possible that Lady Dustin and her brothers are the closest cousins to the Dustin's anyway.

I'd expect that to have been mentioned. Lady Barbrey isn't the only Northern lady who took over her husband's estate after his death.

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So much for that ancient house, then. How is it so many of them seem to be on the cusp of extinction even without the War of the Five Kings?

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14 minutes ago, James Steller said:

So much for that ancient house, then. How is it so many of them seem to be on the cusp of extinction even without the War of the Five Kings?

Oh, I don't think the Dustins are necessarily extinct, neither in the male nor in the female line. They might just be so distant cousins to the late Lord Willam Dustin that Lord Eddard decreed that Barrowton and all its lands and incomes should go to his widow rather than some minor lordling or commoner. It is, of course, also possible that Lady Barbrey herself has Dustin blood through the female line, but chances are not that high that she is a first or second cousin to her husband since, I think, that would have been mentioned.

Also, the fact that there is no cousin or nephew around who is named heir of Barrowton, basically waiting for Barbrey to die to take over the estate makes it increasingly unlikely that whatever Dustins might still be around are eligible to inherit Barrowton.

Also, if Barbrey was a close Dustin cousin herself and thus actually the Lady of Barrowton by right of blood as well as by right of marriage/widowhood then it is odd that she never took a second husband to continue the line of House Dustin. That she chose to continue to rule as a widow can imply that she actually intends that her property go to her Ryswell kin upon her death

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2 hours ago, James Steller said:

So much for that ancient house, then. How is it so many of them seem to be on the cusp of extinction even without the War of the Five Kings?

I'm not sure how ancient Dustin is. It is stated that they are descended from the Barrow Kings, but we don't know if they are a direct line. There could have been other houses that have ruled Barrowton over the centuries and millenia. It seems likely that the Barrow Kings themselves had a different name than Dustin though (perhaps Barrow?), like the change from Gardener to Tyrell in Highgarden.

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3 hours ago, James Steller said:

So much for that ancient house, then. How is it so many of them seem to be on the cusp of extinction even without the War of the Five Kings?

The Starks are basically in the same boat: https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/The_Stark_Family

Hell when Robb starts asking about heirs (with Rickon and Bran "dead"), his mom starts rattling of some distant cousins whose names they don't know in ASoS. The reddit post actually lays out the relations in more detail.

 

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Posted (edited)

The difference is that Hornwood is an insignificant seat compared to Barrowton (Lady Hornwood being the example often used of a widow who retained some rights to her late Lord Husband’s seat). I doubt for example that a Redwynne widow of a Lord Hightower would inherit the seat of House Hightower, or that a Woolfield widow of a Lord Manderly would inherit  the seat of White Harbor if there are distant cousins of the former lord running around. Just like Catelyn would never inherit Winterfell if all Ned’s children died. It would be as absurd as Cersei inheriting the Iron Throne from Robert even if all her children died.

My personal opinion is that Lady Dustin’s mother or grandmother was from House Dustin, and that her father or brother is therefore the heir to Barrowton once she dies. I think it is likely that there were many marriages between these two neighbouring Houses in the past, leaving Lady Dustin with an actual blood link to House Dustin on top of her status as widow of Lord Dustin.

EDIT

Or (my pet fringe theory unlikely to be true), Lord Dustin is not really dead which is why Ned never brought his bones back.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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2 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The difference is that Hornwood is an insignificant seat compared to Barrowton (Lady Hornwood being the example often used of a widow who retained some rights to her late Lord Husband’s seat). I doubt for example that a Redwynne widow of a Lord Hightower would inherit the seat of House Hightower, or that a Woolfield widow of a Lord Manderly would inherit  the seat of White Harbor if there are distant cousins of the former lord running around. Just like Catelyn would never inherit Winterfell if all Ned’s children died. It would be as absurd as Cersei inheriting the Iron Throne from Robert even if all her children died.

That all depends on factual power. Inheritance and succession is shaped by the powerful men ruling on it, not by laws. It may be a rare occurrence that widows take power over (distant) cousins but it does happen. And it seems clear that Lady Barbrey did what she did with the connivance and support of Lord Eddard Stark and King Robert Baratheon who may have both ruled on the succession of Barrowton if there were powerful cousins insisting they should got the lordship.

Actually sitting at the side of a powerful gives you power in your own right, and if you play your cards well you could certainly end with the lordship in your hands, even in a place like Oldtown or Casterly Rock. It would depend on the absence of a clear acknowledged heir (i.e. a son, brother, nephew, or cousin) and the prominence and influence of the wife, and her connection to her own liege lord or the king.

If you are not acknowledged as an heir you may not even have a place at the castle we are talking about. And some half-peasants presuming to style themselves and trying to steal the property of the lady of the castle would be quickly put into place by the garrison of the castle. Loyalty in this world is personal, not institutional.

2 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

My personal opinion is that Lady Dustin’s mother or grandmother was from House Dustin, and that her father or brother is therefore the heir to Barrowton once she dies. I think it is likely that there were many marriages between these two neighbouring Houses in the past, leaving Lady Dustin with an actual blood link to House Dustin on top of her status as widow of Lord Dustin.

Without any evidence that Lady Barbrey is related to the Dustins in that manner it just doesn't make much sense to assume that this is the case. Also, we actually have no idea who Lady Barbrey put in their place when she took over Barrowton. Did Lord Willam have brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, or first cousins? We don't know. But it is possible. Perhaps those people were killed or suffered accidents along the way.

By the way, if Barbrey presumed to rule Barrowton because she is descended from Dustins then she has a very bad blood claim. After all, she had an older sister, Bethany, who married Roose Bolton, and three brothers. Since the North usually does not allow women to inherit, Barrowton should have either passed to Lord Rodrik Ryswell upon Lord Willam's death, to one of his sons, to his eldest daughter Bethany (and her husband, Lord Roose) or even to Lord Rodrik's grandson Domeric Bolton.

Bottom line is that it seems that widows tend to inherit in the North if there are no other clear heirs around - which isn't exactly uncommon in a primitive feudal society.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Bottom line is that it seems that widows tend to inherit in the North if there are no other clear heirs around - which isn't exactly uncommon in a primitive feudal society.

We see the same happen at the end of the Dance of Dragons. At the end of Fire & Blood, widows are ruling in Highgarden, Storm's End and Casterly Rock. Albeit, in those cases they rule as regents for their infant sons, but I think the case has some similarities.

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7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Dustin cousin herself and thus actually the Lady of Barrowton by right of blood as well as by right of marriage/widowhood then it is odd that she never took a second husband to continue the line of House Dustin. That she chose to continue to rule as a widow can imply that she actually intends that her property go to her Ryswell kin upon her death

There are also several women who are ruling in their own right in the South. 

Lady Sheila Whent of Harrenhal after marrying her cousin Lord Walter retains rule due to lack of male heirs. 

Lady Arwyn Oakheart of Old Oak, mother to Ser Arys Oakheart, 

Lady Arya Waynwood, Lady Alysanne Bulwer, Lady Alysanne Lefford. 

All these women are presumably ruling in their own right, and the first three seem to have married cousins. 

The most analogous woman in this situation is Lady Mary Mertyns who specifically the dowager Lady of Mistwood yet seems to be ruling there. 

As for the fate of House Dustin, there's some characters that have been left off the page (same with two branches of Stark cousins that have gone missing.) We know that as of 282 William Dustin had an uncle and a great-uncle, we don't know where this uncle and great-uncle are now though. We also don't know for sure that they were actually Dustins, they could have been maternal uncles. However, assuming that they were actually of House Dustin we also have to assume that they both died or were incapable of ruling. That still leaves multiple side branches that must have sprung up over the years. 

In all honesty Lady Dustin is most likely Lady of Barrowton for the same reasons that Cersei is Lady of Casterly Rock 1.) No one wants to make the effort to take it from her, just to shut her up, 2.) Proximity succession is a pain in the ass and it's a lot easier to just go with the one currently sitting in the seat.

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1 minute ago, CAllDSmith said:

There are also several women who are ruling in their own right in the South. 

Lady Sheila Whent of Harrenhal after marrying her cousin Lord Walter retains rule due to lack of male heirs. 

Lady Arwyn Oakheart of Old Oak, mother to Ser Arys Oakheart, 

Lady Arya Waynwood, Lady Alysanne Bulwer, Lady Alysanne Lefford. 

All these women are presumably ruling in their own right, and the first three seem to have married cousins. 

We actually have no idea who those women married, and Whent situation is somewhat convoluted. If it is the case that Arys and his siblings, Lady Anya's children, etc. got their names from their mother it is even more odd that Rhaenyra's sons weren't called 'Targaryen' considering they were the heirs of the Heir Apparent to the Iron Throne. After all, Lady Waynwood and Lady Oakheart may not have ruled their castles while their first children were born. They could have just been the heirs of the (presumptive) heir. Yet they all inherited the noble names of their mothers.

1 minute ago, CAllDSmith said:

The most analogous woman in this situation is Lady Mary Mertyns who specifically the dowager Lady of Mistwood yet seems to be ruling there. 

Well, that's in the absence of any males to rule, and she was presumably left as regent to rule while the men were off to war. But this is an important point and likely a hint how Lady Barbrey could take over Barrowton - there was no (clear) heir and she was granted the authority to rule Barrowton when her lord husband left her, so she was already in charge and could consolidate power.

37 minutes ago, Syl of Syl said:

We see the same happen at the end of the Dance of Dragons. At the end of Fire & Blood, widows are ruling in Highgarden, Storm's End and Casterly Rock. Albeit, in those cases they rule as regents for their infant sons, but I think the case has some similarities.

Yeah, there is a chance that some of these women could have taken over the lordships of their husbands in their own right if they didn't have male heirs left. For instance, Lady Sharis Footly effectively did that. And one expects that Lady Johanna Lannister and Lady Elenda Baratheon continued to rule their houses long after their sons had grown up.

1 minute ago, CAllDSmith said:

As for the fate of House Dustin, there's some characters that have been left off the page (same with two branches of Stark cousins that have gone missing.) We know that as of 282 William Dustin had an uncle and a great-uncle, we don't know where this uncle and great-uncle are now though. We also don't know for sure that they were actually Dustins, they could have been maternal uncles. However, assuming that they were actually of House Dustin we also have to assume that they both died or were incapable of ruling. That still leaves multiple side branches that must have sprung up over the years.

Well, those guys could all have died with Willam in the war.

1 minute ago, CAllDSmith said:

In all honesty Lady Dustin is most likely Lady of Barrowton for the same reasons that Cersei is Lady of Casterly Rock 1.) No one wants to make the effort to take it from her, just to shut her up, 2.) Proximity succession is a pain in the ass and it's a lot easier to just go with the one currently sitting in the seat.

Cersei was the only Lannister eligible to inherit Casterly Rock when Tywin died, and she was the Queen Regent at the time. Nobody could have taken the Rock from her even if they tried.

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36 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Cersei was the only Lannister eligible to inherit Casterly Rock when Tywin died, and she was the Queen Regent at the time. Nobody could have taken the Rock from her even if they tried.

If Lannisters were using Absolute Cognatic Primogeniture Kevan could inherit Castlerly rock. And considering Cersei was a regent and was busy in Kingslanding Kevan could also take it on basis of convince and to keep Castlerly Rock in Lannister hands, since after Cersei's death title goes to Baratheons. Even if she remarries and has children, Tommen still inherits Westerlands. 

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6 minutes ago, Tygett Lannister said:

If Lannisters were using Absolute Cognatic Primogeniture Kevan could inherit Castlerly rock. And considering Cersei was a regent and was busy in Kingslanding Kevan could also take it on basis of convince and to keep Castlerly Rock in Lannister hands, since after Cersei's death title goes to Baratheons. Even if she remarries and has children, Tommen still inherits Westerlands. 

But they don't. And it is quite clear that Kevan doesn't really have the right or the standing to try. He props himself up somewhat when he and Cersei have their little talk, but he doesn't even remotely have the same resources and assets Lord Tywin's daughter controls.

In fact, the fact that nobody even tries to question Cersei's succession to Casterly Rock shows how accepted it is in the West that a daughter inherits when she has no brothers who could inherit. Even after her walk of shame and her impending trial nobody thinks or tries to take her lordship away from her.

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6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, those guys could all have died with Willam in the war.

Cersei was the only Lannister eligible to inherit Casterly Rock when Tywin died, and she was the Queen Regent at the time. Nobody could have taken the Rock from her even if they tried.

I meant to make that first point, but I guess I forgot to. 

I'm more talking about how Tywin (After Jaime told him where to shove it.) should have immediately made it clear that Cersei was not going to inherit the Rock. It makes no sense for anyone in the Lannister family who does not know Tommen's actual parentage to advocate for Cersei inheriting. That Tywin essentially plots to make it so that no one can legally advocate for Tyrion inheriting is just one of the many examples of his bad governance I've counted in ASOS alone. At the end of the day, if Tywin did not die, Tommen would become lord of both Storm's End and Casterly Rock as a Baratheon, and eventually Tommen or Myrcella would realize just how stupid it is that they were raised as Lannister's considering they should have doubled down on Baratheon labelling after Stannis sent his letters. 

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9 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

I'm more talking about how Tywin (After Jaime told him where to shove it.) should have immediately made it clear that Cersei was not going to inherit the Rock. It makes no sense for anyone in the Lannister family who does not know Tommen's actual parentage to advocate for Cersei inheriting. That Tywin essentially plots to make it so that no one can legally advocate for Tyrion inheriting is just one of the many examples of his bad governance I've counted in ASOS alone. At the end of the day, if Tywin did not die, Tommen would become lord of both Storm's End and Casterly Rock as a Baratheon, and eventually Tommen or Myrcella would realize just how stupid it is that they were raised as Lannister's considering they should have doubled down on Baratheon labelling after Stannis sent his letters. 

Why shouldn't Tywin prefer his daughter and Cersei's children over Kevan and his other relations? They are his offspring, after all. Not to mention that Tywin would have never accepted that Jaime had rejected him and Casterly Rock for good. They were not on speaking terms when Tywin died, but this wouldn't have necessarily lasted.

Tywin would, perhaps, eventually have decided to name Tommen heir to Casterly Rock (this seems to have been his plan before Joffrey died), or he could have decided to name a son of Tommen and Margaery heir to Casterly Rock - if Tywin had lived another 10-15 years he may certainly have had a couple of great-grandchildren by Tommen.

Storm's End would have gone to Tommen, too, of course, to be eventually bestowed on one of Tommen's sons.

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8 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Why shouldn't Tywin prefer his daughter and Cersei's children over Kevan and his other relations? They are his offspring, after all. Not to mention that Tywin would have never accepted that Jaime had rejected him and Casterly Rock for good. They were not on speaking terms when Tywin died, but this wouldn't have necessarily lasted.

Tywin would, perhaps, eventually have decided to name Tommen heir to Casterly Rock (this seems to have been his plan before Joffrey died), or he could have decided to name a son of Tommen and Margaery heir to Casterly Rock - if Tywin had lived another 10-15 years he may certainly have had a couple of great-grandchildren by Tommen.

Storm's End would have gone to Tommen, too, of course, to be eventually bestowed on one of Tommen's sons.

The difference between Storm's End and Casterly Rock is the difference between a stag and a lion. I'm not saying that Tywin should have preferred Kevan over Cersei because of gender (I'm a fairly ardent black.) but because of the optics of the move itself. Honestly I would rank Tywin's number 2, or number 3 dumbest statement in the series as: 

Quote

"And what were you telling him, pray? I did not fight a war to seat Robert the Second on the Iron Throne. You gave me to understand the boy cared nothing for his father."

 The moment Tywin first heard of Stannis's letter he should have dropped his Lannister branding for Joffrey and Tommen hard. They're fighting a war for the Baratheon throne, with a Baratheon claim. It's bad enough that everyone from Lannisport to Deep Den is laughing about "Joffrey Baratheon", but actively acting as if you're okay with your ancestral home going to another Great House does not seem like good policy. 

Even if Tywin had a couple great-grandchildren by Tommen, they still aren't Lannisters and never would be Lannisters unless there were a couple big changes to the system that conservative Tywin Lannister is never going to make. Why would any Baratheon member of the royal family wish to become a Lannister? Would a Targaryen do that? Honestly there's so much wrong with Tywin's policy of treating Cersei's kids like Lannisters that besides his own prejudices against Tyrion it's what lost them the war. 

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36 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Why shouldn't Tywin prefer his daughter and Cersei's children over Kevan and his other relations? They are his offspring, after all. Not to mention that Tywin would have never accepted that Jaime had rejected him and Casterly Rock for good. They were not on speaking terms when Tywin died, but this wouldn't have necessarily lasted.

Tywin would, perhaps, eventually have decided to name Tommen heir to Casterly Rock (this seems to have been his plan before Joffrey died), or he could have decided to name a son of Tommen and Margaery heir to Casterly Rock - if Tywin had lived another 10-15 years he may certainly have had a couple of great-grandchildren by Tommen.

Storm's End would have gone to Tommen, too, of course, to be eventually bestowed on one of Tommen's sons.

If Tywin left Casterly Rock to Tommen, Casterly Rock would in future belong to House Baratheon. That makes no sense whatsoever.

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38 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Storm's End would have gone to Tommen, too, of course, to be eventually bestowed on one of Tommen's sons.

Tommen's sons should inherit IT, Dragonstone and Storm's End. Prince with Baratheon surname to inherit Casterly Rock is worse than Tyrion for Tywin.

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