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Floki of the Ironborn

What was the plan if House Targaryen died out?

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Re-reading "Fire and Blood", it occurs to me that the royal house came very close to extinction in the aftermath. Aegon and Viserys Targaryen were holed up in the Red Keep, starving, and Aegon was a hair's breath close to suicide at one point during the siege. Assuming that something had happened to their twin half-sisters as well, the house could very well have died. Before Viserys, the nobles were terrified at the idea of their being so few heirs who were too young to reproduce for a few years. 

What would have happened if the Targaryens had died with the dragons? Would the realm have split apart? Would the lords paramount in the south have battled over who had the most Targaryen blood in them? And what if the Targaryens had died but the dragons survived?

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Baela and Rhaena were still left, and if they had died, too, then Alyn Velaryon could have tried to claim the throne. Bastard or not, he was, officially at least, the son of Laenor Velaryon.

After him it would have been Baratheons - the eldest daughter Cassandra, possibly, considering her ambitions. She and Alyn and could have married each other.

Nobody wanted to rip apart the Realm at this point.

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I don't think the Targaryen cared what happened after the end of their bloodline. They cared about ruling Westeros, not about keeping the realm united without them...

About the rest of the nobility, some would shoot for the throne, while others would try to split from it...

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House Baratheon would become the royal house since orys was the half brother of aegon the conquerer they would have the most legitimate claim to the Iron throne or the realm would split apart.

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If Morning was still alive, then whoever bonded with her could put it down to Targaryen blood and claim the Throne...

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On 7/9/2019 at 4:40 PM, Cernunnos said:

House Baratheon would become the royal house since orys was the half brother of aegon the conquerer they would have the most legitimate claim to the Iron throne or the realm would split apart.

Orys being Aegon's half-brother is only a rumor, so no clear legitimate claim could arose from that.

But there's another problem: since Aegon won Westeros by rights of Conquest, it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the Iron Throne could be inherited by his descendants, but not his collaterals. In the scenario that the OP suggest, with Aegon III, Viserys, Baela and Rhaena dying before having children, Aegon the Conqueror's line would be completely extinguished.

On 5/30/2019 at 5:49 AM, Lord Varys said:

Nobody wanted to rip apart the Realm at this point.

It's a Realm of dozens of millions of people. Obviously someone would.

All the Great Lords would at the very least be tempted to claim the kingly title. "It was the dragons we married, and the dragons are all dead"....

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On 5/27/2019 at 3:35 PM, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Re-reading "Fire and Blood", it occurs to me that the royal house came very close to extinction in the aftermath. Aegon and Viserys Targaryen were holed up in the Red Keep, starving, and Aegon was a hair's breath close to suicide at one point during the siege. Assuming that something had happened to their twin half-sisters as well, the house could very well have died. Before Viserys, the nobles were terrified at the idea of their being so few heirs who were too young to reproduce for a few years. 

What would have happened if the Targaryens had died with the dragons? Would the realm have split apart? Would the lords paramount in the south have battled over who had the most Targaryen blood in them? And what if the Targaryens had died but the dragons survived?

Probably exactly whats happening right now in the story.  The Great Houses would fight for power and try and hold the kingdom together for the power the iron throne represents.  Although if the Targs had died out naturally, everyone would also be arguing that they have more targ blood than anyone else to justify their claims.

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3 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

Orys being Aegon's half-brother is only a rumor, so no clear legitimate claim could arose from that.

That is not how it is treated in the early years of Jaehaerys I. Gyldayn effectively treats Rogar Baratheon as a descendant of Lord Aerion Targaryen when describing people expecting him to be 'effectively king' as husband of a queen. More importantly, the Small Council implicitly grant Lord Rogar a legal to the Iron Throne when they ask whether he is going to take the throne after they have deposed Jaehaerys I. Rogar denies that he intends to usurp the throne, but he does not deny he has a legal claim to the Iron Throne.

But most importantly - in Gyldayn's narrative of the abolition of the First Night it is quite clear that Jaehaerys I believes Orys Baratheon was a bastard half-brother of the Conqueror, fathered by Lord Aerion Targaryen. It is unclear whether this happened in a First Night, but by this time it is accepted by the head of House Targaryen that the Baratheons are an illegitimate cadet branch of House Targaryen. The Baratheons don't need any written proof that they are Targaryen kin if the royal family themselves believes that to be the case.

3 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

But there's another problem: since Aegon won Westeros by rights of Conquest, it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the Iron Throne could be inherited by his descendants, but not his collaterals. In the scenario that the OP suggest, with Aegon III, Viserys, Baela and Rhaena dying before having children, Aegon the Conqueror's line would be completely extinguished.

Prior to FaB I'd agreed with you that this is a possibility. But we have an (alleged) descendant of Gaemon the Glorious make a claim at the Great Council, and we have the implicit recognition of the Baratheon claim during Jaehaerys I's minority.

That certainly supports the idea that if the line of the Conqueror were to die out the guys people would turn to next - or the guys who would be able to exploit this power vacuum - would be the Baratheon and Velaryon cousins of House Targaryen. Hence the idea that Alyn Velaryon and Cassandra Baratheon could hook up and rule together if the Dance had completely eradicated House Targaryen.

3 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

It's a Realm of dozens of millions of people. Obviously someone would.

All the Great Lords would at the very least be tempted to claim the kingly title. "It was the dragons we married, and the dragons are all dead"....

At the end of the Dance none of them was. They were down to a singularly unsuited boy king and his two half-sisters very few men in the regency government wanted to see on the throne, yet none of the great houses so much as played with the idea of crowning themselves - or even to try to use the relative weakness of the Iron Throne to acquire more independence without actually claiming the title of king.

I very much doubt that a king as invisible as Aegon III had more integrative power than a non-existing king.

But, sure, there is a chance that the end of the Targaryen dynasty would have had a stronger effect. But I think at the end of the Dance people were too eager for peace to start secession wars.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

the Small Council implicitly grant Lord Rogar a legal to the Iron Throne when they ask whether he is going to take the throne after they have deposed Jaehaerys I. Rogar denies that he intends to usurp the throne, but he does not deny he has a legal claim to the Iron Throne.

My interpretation of the scene you describe is completely the opposite. The dialogue goes as follows:

Lord Rogar: "We were fools to crown Jaehaerys. He thinks only of himself, and he will be a worse king than his father was. Thank the gods that it is not too late. We must act now and put him aside.”

Lord Velaryon: “Have you taken leave of your senses?”

Lord Corbray: “My men will never stand for it.”

Lord Tully: “Do you mean to claim the Iron Throne for yourself, then?”

Lord Rogar: “Never. Do you take me for a usurper? I want only what is best for the Seven Kingdoms. No harm need come to Jaehaerys. We can send him to Oldtown, to the Citadel. He is a bookish boy, a maester’s chain will suit him.”

Lord Celtigar: “Then who shall sit the Iron Throne?”

Lord Rogar: "Princess Aerea"

I don't see any implicit grant of anything here. Prentys Tully was flat out asking if he was going to take the throne, and Rogar acknowledged that doing so would be an usurpation. And then remembers than the next-in-line was an underage girl. If anything, this passage reinforces the idea that the Baratheons have no claim to the Throne (at least that's how I see it).

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

 But we have an (alleged) descendant of Gaemon the Glorious make a claim at the Great Council

And this claim was dismissed. We are not told why, but it could easily be for that reason.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Hence the idea that Alyn Velaryon and Cassandra Baratheon could hook up and rule together if the Dance had completely eradicated House Targaryen.

Not a great fan of this idea. A recently acknowledged bastard and a young girl, both of them claiming the throne on the basis of some blood ties from a hundred fifty years ago. Both of them coming from houses that have suffered heavy casualties in the recent war. Not impossible, but hardly likely IMHO.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

none of the great houses so much as played with the idea of crowning themselves - or even to try to use the relative weakness of the Iron Throne to acquire more independence without actually claiming the title of king.

The later would be business as usual in any given moment of any time of history. Nobles trying to obtain more privileges from the king, the king trying to restrict the privileges of the nobles. Weak kings have to make more concessions, strong kings do not have to.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

 But I think at the end of the Dance people were too eager for peace to start secession wars.

I'd agree with that. But in some ways, returning to the original seven kingdoms would be more "peaceful" than choosing a new king.

Returning to the old kingdoms of all would allow for a smooth transition in the respective areas. All subjects would continue answering to the same lord, the balance of power wouldn't be suddenly altered, etc.

Meanwhile, while having a single monarch is surely a stabilizing force. But choosing a new one when there's no clear contender can be a source of huge conflicts.

In any case, I'm not saying it's a sure thing. I'm saying that the possibility should not be dismissed as an impossibility.

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32 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

My interpretation of the scene you describe is completely the opposite. The dialogue goes as follows:

Lord Rogar: "We were fools to crown Jaehaerys. He thinks only of himself, and he will be a worse king than his father was. Thank the gods that it is not too late. We must act now and put him aside.”

Lord Velaryon: “Have you taken leave of your senses?”

Lord Corbray: “My men will never stand for it.”

Lord Tully: “Do you mean to claim the Iron Throne for yourself, then?”

Lord Rogar: “Never. Do you take me for a usurper? I want only what is best for the Seven Kingdoms. No harm need come to Jaehaerys. We can send him to Oldtown, to the Citadel. He is a bookish boy, a maester’s chain will suit him.”

Lord Celtigar: “Then who shall sit the Iron Throne?”

Lord Rogar: "Princess Aerea"

I don't see any implicit grant of anything here. Prentys Tully was flat out asking if he was going to take the throne, and Rogar acknowledged that doing so would be an usurpation. And then remembers than the next-in-line was an underage girl. If anything, this passage reinforces the idea that the Baratheons have no claim to the Throne (at least that's how I see it).

If they had no claim, then Lord Prentys wouldn't have asked Lord Rogar whether he intended to claim it. He would have asked him whether he wanted to steal or usurp it. By the standards of those people - who live in a world where royal and noble families live and rule in unbroken lines for thousands of years - a person with no claim could simply not take a throne.

And as I laid out above - the Targaryens believed Lord Orys to be Aegon the Conqueror's half-brother, so even if we were to ignore the council session, we have Jaehaerys I's own word on the matter. Considering how naturally it comes to Robb Stark to consider his bastard half-brother as a potential heir despite the fact that said half-brother had no part in the establishment of his new kingdom and was no descendant of the new king or his Tully mother I daresay the Westerosi didn't care much about things like that.

32 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

And this claim was dismissed. We are not told why, but it could easily be for that reason.

The question is not why it was dismissed, the question is why the dude actually thought he had a claim in the first place. And I daresay that his claim was dismissed because there were still descendants of Aegon the Conqueror and Jaehaerys I around at the Great Council.

32 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

Not a great fan of this idea. A recently acknowledged bastard and a young girl, both of them claiming the throne on the basis of some blood ties from a hundred fifty years ago. Both of them coming from houses that have suffered heavy casualties in the recent war. Not impossible, but hardly likely IMHO.

Not a hundred fifty years ago - Alyn Velaryon is the legitimized son of Laenor Velaryon, a descendant of the oldest son of the Old King through the female line.

It would have come to that if Aegon III and his half-sisters had died of some freak accident a fortnight after the regency government had been established. There would have been no one else. Aside, perhaps, Gaemon Palehair ;-).

32 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

I'd agree with that. But in some ways, returning to the original seven kingdoms would be more "peaceful" than choosing a new king.

Don't think. Those kingdoms no longer exist. The Starks, Arryns, and Lannisters still have the gravitas to rule their lands unchallenged, but all of them may have ambitions to rule more than those lands. The Reach and the Riverlands have no former royal house left that could presume to retake an ancestral crown, and while the Baratheons have a good claim to the Stormlands they also have a blood claim to all the Seven Kingdoms and certainly the ambition to press those.

32 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

Meanwhile, while having a single monarch is surely a stabilizing force. But choosing a new one when there's no clear contender can be a source of huge conflicts.

There would be reasonably good claimants. The situation would be hardly more complicated than in 101 AC, say.

If there were no longer any Baratheons or Velaryons of Targaryen descent then things would get problematic.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

If they had no claim, then Lord Prentys wouldn't have asked Lord Rogar whether he intended to claim it. He would have asked him whether he wanted to steal or usurp it.

This is Tywin in AGOT: "Renly Baratheon wed Margaery Tyrell at Highgarden this fortnight past, and now he has claimed the crown."

Prentys asking Regar if he wants to claim the crown does not imply any legal assessment of Regar's right to the Throne, or lack of it.

 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

The question is not why it was dismissed, the question is why the dude actually thought he had a claim in the first place.

No less than three bastards born from an exiled whore thought that they had a claim to the throne. Everyone can dream. Everyone can be delusional.

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm interested in why it was dismissed.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Don't think. Those kingdoms no longer exist.

The Iron Islands have tried to free themselves repeatedly. Dorne has fought for it's independence relentless, and only agrees to join the realm when the crown grants them an enormous degree of autonomy. The North secedes during the WOT5K, and the Riverlands are quick to join them.

It can be deemed unlikely, it can be deemed a position with small support among ruling lords, it can be deemed inconvenient for Westero's prosperity as a whole. But I honestly can't see why you dismiss as an impossibility something that has kept happening during the Westerosi history. :blink:

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

There would be reasonably good claimants. The situation would be hardly more complicated than in 101 AC, say. 

In 101 there was a living king, with the support of dragons and the court, who summoned the council and was prepared to enforce the result.

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On 7/9/2019 at 4:40 PM, Cernunnos said:

House Baratheon would become the royal house since orys was the half brother of aegon the conquerer they would have the most legitimate claim to the Iron throne or the realm would split apart.

Orys was a bastard though (and only rumored to be his brother), and not legitimized as a Targaryen. They would have a claim from Alyssa Velaryon's marriage to Lord Rogar, and that claim isn't as strong as that of the Velaryons themselves

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I agree with THB on this one. Rogar didn't see himself as having a legal claim to it, and Prentys Tully was merely making explicit the fact that Rogar was the most powerful/influential lord in the Seven Kingdoms at the time, and _could_ have intended to take over the rule. When Rogar says it'd be an usurpation, well, that says all we need to know.

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13 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

This is Tywin in AGOT: "Renly Baratheon wed Margaery Tyrell at Highgarden this fortnight past, and now he has claimed the crown."

Prentys asking Regar if he wants to claim the crown does not imply any legal assessment of Regar's right to the Throne, or lack of it.

But Renly has a claim to the Iron Throne. He is King Robert's brother, and a Targaryen descendant himself. He is not some dude with no claim. He doesn't have the best of claims, of course, and he knows that, but that doesn't prevent him from pressing his claim with force - unlike Lord Rogar, who continued to hide his power grab behind the idea of crowning Aerea.

But it is quite clear that Rogar's story - as well as Borys' story later on - is supposed to be a variation of suppressed Baratheon ambition.

13 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

No less than three bastards born from an exiled whore thought that they had a claim to the throne. Everyone can dream. Everyone can be delusional.

But that's not delusion. Saera's sons were the grandsons of King Jaehaerys I. It would be delusional if three random bastards who didn't claim to have Targaryen blood laid claim to the Iron Throne.

At this point, it never happened that a person with no blood claim whatsoever put forth a claim to the Iron Throne either in an attempted rebellion or at a Great Council. In fact, all claimants at the Great Council were either confirmed Targaryen descendants or claimed to be Targaryen descendants. Nobody said he should be king because he was the richest, strongest, most popular, most pious, etc. guy in the Realm.

13 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm interested in why it was dismissed.

And we don't know that, do we? The fact remains that nobody ever said anything that Targaryen relations from branches that split from Aegon's branch before the Conquest are not eligible to inherit or lay claim to the Iron Throne.

13 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

The Iron Islands have tried to free themselves repeatedly. Dorne has fought for it's independence relentless, and only agrees to join the realm when the crown grants them an enormous degree of autonomy. The North secedes during the WOT5K, and the Riverlands are quick to join them.

Yeah, the Iron Islands might secede. They don't constitute a proper kingdom all by themselves. Now, Dorne doesn't play into this at all at the point we are talking about, and it is quite clear that the North and the Riverlands secede from the Iron Throne during the War of the Five Kings because of very specific injustices committed by (the representatives of) King Joffrey. Neither Rhaenyra nor Aegon II executed great lords for bad reasons during the Dance of the Dragons. People were executed, but the Iron Throne did not antagonize any of the great houses to the point that they or their bannermen wanted to secede.

But my point is more that the more ambitious kings in those hypothetical independent kingdoms might not be happy that they did not also sit the Iron Throne as King of All, or at least be king not over only one but 2-3 of the Seven Kingdoms. 

13 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

It can be deemed unlikely, it can be deemed a position with small support among ruling lords, it can be deemed inconvenient for Westero's prosperity as a whole. But I honestly can't see why you dismiss as an impossibility something that has kept happening during the Westerosi history. :blink:

The impression I think we get at the end of the Dance is that people in charge - especially all those women who were running things behind the scenes - were doing everything in their power to ensure that war would not continue. And aside from Cregan Stark there was no man with the standing and gravitas to try to crown himself king of a secessionist kingdom (aside from Dalton Greyjoy, of course). Loreon Lannister was a child with a ruined land, Lady Jeyne had trouble keeping the Vale in line and lacked a clear heir, the Tullys were boys with no regal standing among their bannermen, Lord Tyrell was a babe.

I agree that Alyn Velaryon has a rather unworthy background on his mother's side - but his father is of the older line of the Old King, and Alyn could become a dragonrider (Morning would be there for the taking if we assume only the Targaryens are all dead, not their dragons, too). Borros' son is a babe, but his oldest daughter is, well, a woman grown and apparently rather ambitious. A union there could be the kind of compromise that prevents another civil war.

Or not. At least that's the only road I see people who want to continue the line of the kings on the Iron Throne and not risk to fragmentation of the Realm. That not everybody might agree with that goes without saying.

13 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

In 101 there was a living king, with the support of dragons and the court, who summoned the council and was prepared to enforce the result.

Actually, the Old King realized that he was no longer running the show. The reason why he called a Great Council was that he no longer had the authority needed to name an heir that would be accepted by his family and the Realm at large. And unlike we long believed it seems Prince Viserys was not actually the man Jaehaerys I wanted to succeed him - the rumors that Jaehaerys offered the throne to Vaegon only to see the offer being rejected implies to me that George wanted to send the message that Jaehaerys I really wanted to pass his throne to one of his sons, not a grandchild or even great-grandchild. And within the patriarchal setting this actually makes the a lot of sense.

19 minutes ago, Potsk said:

Orys was a bastard though (and only rumored to be his brother), and not legitimized as a Targaryen. They would have a claim from Alyssa Velaryon's marriage to Lord Rogar, and that claim isn't as strong as that of the Velaryons themselves

Sure, but bastards also do have claims, legitimized bastards just have stronger claims (their claims are more or less as strong as those of trueborn children). The advantage the Baratheons have over the Velaryons is that there seems to be an unbroken line of male descent from Aerion Targaryen and Orys Baratheon down to Cassandra Baratheon, whereas the Velaryons only are only descended from the Targaryens through the female (likely due to multiple intermarriages before the Conquest and possibly back in Old Valyria).

Rogar's descendants certainly also profit from the fact that they are the descendants of Alyssa Velaryon, too, who, as a former queen and Targaryen-by-marriage might give her descendants a better standing claim-wise than mere Velaryon descendants (although they did not acquire more Targaryen blood that way).

20 minutes ago, Ran said:

I agree with THB on this one. Rogar didn't see himself as having a legal claim to it, and Prentys Tully was merely making explicit the fact that Rogar was the most powerful/influential lord in the Seven Kingdoms at the time, and _could_ have intended to take over the rule. When Rogar says it'd be an usurpation, well, that says all we need to know.

Rogar doesn't reject that he has a claim, he rejects the idea that he wants to usurp the throne. This conversation could happen exactly in this manner with, say, Viserys II being Rogar and the king they want to depose being young Daeron I. Would we then also say Viserys would have no claim? Of course not. But he would still be a usurper if he deposed his nephew to take the throne himself.

As for Prentys, I think George would have phrased it differently if he had wanted to send the message that Prentys just saw Rogar as the most powerful lord at court. Gyldayn builds up Lord Rogar as the grandson of the Conqueror's half-brother when he talked about him earlier. He is not presented as just some powerful lord running the regency government. He is seen as a relative of House Targaryen.

We see another shameless power grab in FaB during the minority of Aegon III - but George has nobody ever ask or speculate about the possibility that Unwin Peake might take the Iron Throne for himself. And I'd say that this is the case because everybody in this world thought that this kind of thing was simply impossible. And while Peake making himself king is clearly something that is unthinkable it is still made very obvious that Peake was actually running the show and tried to make his daughter the new queen, intended to continue to rule the Realm as Hand long after Aegon III's regency was over, etc.

But even if we were to follow your interpretation here - that still doesn't change the fact that the Baratheons and Velaryons would be the natural (and only) heirs of the Targaryens had Aegon III, his half-sisters (and Viserys, across the water) all suddenly died early in 132 AC. Or would you suggest otherwise? In that sense I find the scenario of Alyn and Cassandra marrying each other to strengthen their claims and form a united power bloc more likely than these two houses opposing each other. And if Corlys Velaryon were still around - as he would be - I'm pretty sure he would also try to push something like that.

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