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Canon Claude

Gareth Long and Unwin Peake were utter fools

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Posted (edited)

Did they really think they could mistreat and abuse Aegon III and never expect any kind of reprisals when he came of age? Gareth Long's idea of discipline was vulgar at best, horrific at worst, and it made him an enemy of Aegon III. What was he expecting when the boy king became 16? Would he forget all the hostility and anger towards his arms instructor? 

I get it, they were power-hungry in a backwards patriarchy, but they really seem so short-sighted in their pursuit of power. Aegon was going to become the king and then he would be free to order their deaths with a single command. Send them to the Wall, have them killed on some suicidal mission, even put them on trial for one reason or another (assuming they didn't conspire against him first), and since they didn't make any friends, nobody would have objected to that kind of revenge. 

Honestly, it makes sense that Peake and his cronies conspired to kill Aegon, given how terrified they must have been of his forthcoming vengeance for all the mistreatment, neglect, and abuse which he received at their hands.

Edited by Canon Claude

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5 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

Did they really think they could mistreat and abuse Aegon III and never expect any kind of reprisals when he came of age? Gareth Long's idea of discipline was vulgar at best, horrific at worst, and it made him an enemy of Aegon III. What was he expecting when the boy king became 16? Would he forget all the hostility and anger towards his arms instructor? 

I get it, they were power-hungry in a backwards patriarchy, but they really seem so short-sighted in their pursuit of power. Aegon was going to become the king and then he would be free to order their deaths with a single command. Send them to the Wall, have them killed on some suicidal mission, even put them on trial for one reason or another (assuming they didn't conspire against him first), and since they didn't make any friends, nobody would have objected to that kind of revenge. 

Honestly, it makes sense that Peake and his cronies conspired to kill Aegon, given how terrified they must have been of his forthcoming vengeance for all the mistreatment, neglect, and abuse which he received at their hands.

If Aegon was truly that petty that he'd kill or punish two former members of his court, then he'd deserve to be overthrown and conspired against. 

I do agree, though, those men were fools not to kill him sooner and spare Westeros the reign of the Broken King, the foolish warlord king, and the holy fool Baelor. We could have had years and years of Viserys as a ruler instead of a brooding emo boy and his useless sons.

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7 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

Did they really think they could mistreat and abuse Aegon III and never expect any kind of reprisals when he came of age? Gareth Long's idea of discipline was vulgar at best, horrific at worst, and it made him an enemy of Aegon III. What was he expecting when the boy king became 16? Would he forget all the hostility and anger towards his arms instructor? 

I get it, they were power-hungry in a backwards patriarchy, but they really seem so short-sighted in their pursuit of power. Aegon was going to become the king and then he would be free to order their deaths with a single command. Send them to the Wall, have them killed on some suicidal mission, even put them on trial for one reason or another (assuming they didn't conspire against him first), and since they didn't make any friends, nobody would have objected to that kind of revenge. 

Honestly, it makes sense that Peake and his cronies conspired to kill Aegon, given how terrified they must have been of his forthcoming vengeance for all the mistreatment, neglect, and abuse which he received at their hands.

You have to keep in mind that 'coming of age' doesn't necessarily mean that a person actually rules in his/her own right. Cersei indicates that she may be forced to continue running Tommen's government even after he comes of age, and Lord Cregan Stark wasn't allowed to rule in his own right after he came of age - he had to rise up and imprison his uncle and cousins to actually become the Lord of Winterfell in his own right.

It seems clear that Peake intended to run Aegon III's government long after the king came of age. He even did everything to encourage him to not attend his own council session. The plan to marry his daughter to Aegon III has to be seen in that context - Peake planned to stabilize his position as 'true king' by becoming the puppet king's father-in-law. Should the boy become too difficult but had already fathered children on Myrielle after he had come of age, he could always die - that Peake is capable of trying to murder his king and queen we see in FaB.

You actually show your own naiveté if you believe Aegon III could have taken power in his own hands automatically simply because he turned sixteen. He only could do that because the formal and informal power his regents and other courtiers had acquired during the Regency was broken due to their own infighting. If Peake's toadies still had had all their offices, if he himself had still had been Hand, regent, and Protector of the Realm, protected by his own guard, with his men dominating the Kingsguard, Aegon III would have continued to be his puppet ... and his hostage.

As for Gareth Long - I think that guy was merely a particularly harsh drill instructor. He would have seen it as his duty to train Aegon III the way he had trained any recruit up to this point, and there is really no indication that royal children are supposed to be treated gently or as special people in the training yard. It is clear that it was not particularly smart to antagonize the king instead of trying to befriend him, but Aegon III's character made it not easy to befriend him, anyway. One also assumes that Long wanted to do please Peake first and the impotent boy king second.

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

You have to keep in mind that 'coming of age' doesn't necessarily mean that a person actually rules in his/her own right. Cersei indicates that she may be forced to continue running Tommen's government even after he comes of age, and Lord Cregan Stark wasn't allowed to rule in his own right after he came of age - he had to rise up and imprison his uncle and cousins to actually become the Lord of Winterfell in his own right.

It seems clear that Peake intended to run Aegon III's government long after the king came of age. He even did everything to encourage him to not attend his own council session. The plan to marry his daughter to Aegon III has to be seen in that context - Peake planned to stabilize his position as 'true king' by becoming the puppet king's father-in-law. Should the boy become too difficult but had already fathered children on Myrielle after he had come of age, he could always die - that Peake is capable of trying to murder his king and queen we see in FaB.

You actually show your own naiveté if you believe Aegon III could have taken power in his own hands automatically simply because he turned sixteen. He only could do that because the formal and informal power his regents and other courtiers had acquired during the Regency was broken due to their own infighting. If Peake's toadies still had had all their offices, if he himself had still had been Hand, regent, and Protector of the Realm, protected by his own guard, with his men dominating the Kingsguard, Aegon III would have continued to be his puppet ... and his hostage.

As for Gareth Long - I think that guy was merely a particularly harsh drill instructor. He would have seen it as his duty to train Aegon III the way he had trained any recruit up to this point, and there is really no indication that royal children are supposed to be treated gently or as special people in the training yard. It is clear that it was not particularly smart to antagonize the king instead of trying to befriend him, but Aegon III's character made it not easy to befriend him, anyway. One also assumes that Long wanted to do please Peake first and the impotent boy king second.

Fair points, though I doubt Peake was ever going to become that powerful. Look at how the realm revolted on Aegon’s behalf when Peake tried to marry his daughter into the royal family. Look at how Baela and Rhaena Targaryen stepped in and undid all of Unwin’s  planning at the Cattle Show. And it wasn’t even the infighting which drove Peake out of King’s Landing. He was so angry about Viserys’ return to King’s Landing that he blustered his way into resigning as Hand of the King and nobody protested or stood up for him. He had to resort to underhanded dealings to make any real advancement, and even then it never worked out. The other regents weren’t his, and not even all the positions he filled up weren’t enough to stop Viserys and Aegon.

And really, Aegon’s epic takeover of power didn’t require any real kind of force. He knew his authority, the regents knew it, and even when he ruined months of planning, nothing was done in defiance except to gnash their teeth and obey the king’s commands. Aegon III gets an unfair rep as being weak, when he was clearly anything but. Through sheer confidence in his authority, he showed the regents that he was going to do exactly what he wanted, be damned the sensibilities of his treacherous nobles.

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3 hours ago, James Steller said:

Fair points, though I doubt Peake was ever going to become that powerful. Look at how the realm revolted on Aegon’s behalf when Peake tried to marry his daughter into the royal family. Look at how Baela and Rhaena Targaryen stepped in and undid all of Unwin’s  planning at the Cattle Show. And it wasn’t even the infighting which drove Peake out of King’s Landing. He was so angry about Viserys’ return to King’s Landing that he blustered his way into resigning as Hand of the King and nobody protested or stood up for him. He had to resort to underhanded dealings to make any real advancement, and even then it never worked out. The other regents weren’t his, and not even all the positions he filled up weren’t enough to stop Viserys and Aegon.

Oh, he obviously failed. But what I laid out above was clearly his plan. Various factors and people contributed to his downfall, of course, but that doesn't change what he wanted to accomplish. And an Aegon III ruling in his own right simply did not feature in those plans.

Peake's power was not broken by infighting, yes, but the power of the regents and their courtiers in general was. During the aegis of Lannister, Peake, and Rowan the power undoubtedly lay with the regents and (to a much larger degree) the Hands. But the rise and fall of the Rogares resulting in the Secret Siege, etc. really broke the power of the regency establishment - which, at this point, was still heavily under Peake's influence. The way things ended shifted power to Aegon III and, especially, Prince Viserys, as is evident in the latter's role during the informal Great Council. New regents were chosen by lot - which means they had no real power at all, serving as fronts - and the new Hand - who didn't have the time to build himself a proper power base at court.

The only power base Aegon III had when he dismissed his Hand and regents were the new Kingsguard (cleansed of the Green and Peake influence by recent events) and Sandoq the Shadow.

3 hours ago, James Steller said:

And really, Aegon’s epic takeover of power didn’t require any real kind of force. He knew his authority, the regents knew it, and even when he ruined months of planning, nothing was done in defiance except to gnash their teeth and obey the king’s commands. Aegon III gets an unfair rep as being weak, when he was clearly anything but. Through sheer confidence in his authority, he showed the regents that he was going to do exactly what he wanted, be damned the sensibilities of his treacherous nobles.

That worked because the lot regents and Lord Manderly neither had a proper power base at court nor the intention to dominate the young king and his court. Unwin Peake wanted to do that and had the power base to try to do it had he lasted until the king's maturity. Manderly had no such designs (although he did want and thought he would continue as Hand) and the regents seemed to have been happy they could go back home.

If Peake had been running the show we can be sure Aegon III would have been commanded by his Kingsguard rather than the other way around. 

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, he obviously failed. But what I laid out above was clearly his plan. Various factors and people contributed to his downfall, of course, but that doesn't change what he wanted to accomplish. And an Aegon III ruling in his own right simply did not feature in those plans.

Peake's power was not broken by infighting, yes, but the power of the regents and their courtiers in general was. During the aegis of Lannister, Peake, and Rowan the power undoubtedly lay with the regents and (to a much larger degree) the Hands. But the rise and fall of the Rogares resulting in the Secret Siege, etc. really broke the power of the regency establishment - which, at this point, was still heavily under Peake's influence. The way things ended shifted power to Aegon III and, especially, Prince Viserys, as is evident in the latter's role during the informal Great Council. New regents were chosen by lot - which means they had no real power at all, serving as fronts - and the new Hand - who didn't have the time to build himself a proper power base at court.

The only power base Aegon III had when he dismissed his Hand and regents were the new Kingsguard (cleansed of the Green and Peake influence by recent events) and Sandoq the Shadow.

That worked because the lot regents and Lord Manderly neither had a proper power base at court nor the intention to dominate the young king and his court. Unwin Peake wanted to do that and had the power base to try to do it had he lasted until the king's maturity. Manderly had no such designs (although he did want and thought he would continue as Hand) and the regents seemed to have been happy they could go back home.

If Peake had been running the show we can be sure Aegon III would have been commanded by his Kingsguard rather than the other way around. 

Maybe. But I think Aegon would still have advantages over Peake. For one thing, nobody liked Peake. He was going it alone except for his cronies. By default, the nobility of Westeros would intervene on Aegon's behalf (for selfish reasons, of course). Another pair of wild cards were Viserys and Sandoq the Shadow. Sandoq was clearly the best fighter, perhaps the Hound or Areoh Hotah of his day. He was loyal only to the royal family thanks to Lara Rogare, and Aegon was clearly aware enough to use him against his own Kingsguard when they plotted against him. I’ll admit that Aegon wasn’t always strong, it was clearly something he had to grow into. But nothing Peake could do, even filling Aegon’s ranks with Greens, could have stopped that boy from growing up. He had seen too much as a boy to not grow up. He wasn’t a naive kid like Tommen, he had seen his mother die in front of him and had grown up in war. This was a child version of Stannis. And Stannis had a will of iron that couldn’t be bent. Actually, that’s part of the appeal to Aegon III’s story. He seems very much like what Stannis would be like if he ever became king. Unyielding, uninterested in toadies or playing the game, desiring to give peace and justice to the common people, that’s Stannis Baratheon at his best.

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@Ran, would you happen to know if Gareth comes from the same Long house which once held the Wolf's Den? Alternatively, maybe there have been multiple families of that name, like the Fishers (Misty Isle / Stony Shore), Holts (Dorne / north), Lakes (Dorne / north), Shells (Dorne / Vale), Towers (Harrenhal / north), or Wells (Dorne / north).

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We do not know. It seems to me that a name like Long could easily have shown up in several regions, though, so I think it unlikely. All the names we see where this happens are very simple, straightforward names.

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8 hours ago, James Steller said:

Maybe. But I think Aegon would still have advantages over Peake. For one thing, nobody liked Peake. He was going it alone except for his cronies. By default, the nobility of Westeros would intervene on Aegon's behalf (for selfish reasons, of course). Another pair of wild cards were Viserys and Sandoq the Shadow. Sandoq was clearly the best fighter, perhaps the Hound or Areoh Hotah of his day. He was loyal only to the royal family thanks to Lara Rogare, and Aegon was clearly aware enough to use him against his own Kingsguard when they plotted against him. I’ll admit that Aegon wasn’t always strong, it was clearly something he had to grow into. But nothing Peake could do, even filling Aegon’s ranks with Greens, could have stopped that boy from growing up. He had seen too much as a boy to not grow up. He wasn’t a naive kid like Tommen, he had seen his mother die in front of him and had grown up in war. This was a child version of Stannis. And Stannis had a will of iron that couldn’t be bent. Actually, that’s part of the appeal to Aegon III’s story. He seems very much like what Stannis would be like if he ever became king. Unyielding, uninterested in toadies or playing the game, desiring to give peace and justice to the common people, that’s Stannis Baratheon at his best.

You give Aegon way too much credit. He didn't do anything meaningful. If it had been up to Aegon, he would have tossed himself off of the Red Keep when he heard Thadeus Rowan's "confession." Viserys was the one smart enough to see through the sham and he was the one who basically ruled while Aegon was busy brooding, just like every source on Aegon III says. And he was only man enough to take the Small Council with Sandoq the Shadow at his side, who again, was only loyal to Aegon because of Viserys.

No offense meant to you, Steller, but I'm just well and truly sick of people going on and on about what an interesting character Aegon III is, how they want to read all about his life, all while he's the Westerosi equivalent of a Millennial caricature, all while the one who should have been king the entire time is right there. Maybe if Viserys had just kept his mouth shut, Aegon could have flown out of the picture and we'd have gotten Viserys' glorious reign as king where there's no war with Dorne and no bullshit regarding Baelor Targaryen. 

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Posted (edited)

I think denigrating Aegon III as a caricature seems to take away just how traumatized he was by his experiences. His dragon was mortally wounded and died after it took him to safety, his brother he loved was thought lost, his father died, he was forced to witness his mother eaten alive by his uncle's dragon, he became a pawn that everyone had plans for, his only friend was poisoned, and so on.

He's definitely going to live in interesting times -- but those times will feature his brother as well, so surely that's something you're looking forward to! And it's perfectly reasonable that, reading about him, many feel very sympathetic to the tragedies he's suffered.

Edited by Ran

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10 hours ago, James Steller said:

Maybe. But I think Aegon would still have advantages over Peake. For one thing, nobody liked Peake. He was going it alone except for his cronies. By default, the nobility of Westeros would intervene on Aegon's behalf (for selfish reasons, of course).

Would they? If Aegon III continued to behave the way he did during Peake's reign in KL, doing whatever Lord Unwin commanded him to do, and then being escorted back to his chambers? Peake was perhaps not the most popular lord, but I daresay he was much more popular than the broken boy wearing the crown - who was not popular at all. He was a powerful lord in his own right, a veteran general of First and Second Tumbleton, the wielder of a Valyrian steel sword.

And Peake really controlled the entire court while he was regent, Hand, and Protector of the Realm. If that had continued nobody could have ousted him.

10 hours ago, James Steller said:

Another pair of wild cards were Viserys and Sandoq the Shadow. Sandoq was clearly the best fighter, perhaps the Hound or Areoh Hotah of his day. He was loyal only to the royal family thanks to Lara Rogare, and Aegon was clearly aware enough to use him against his own Kingsguard when they plotted against him.

Sure, but Viserys' return was something that was greatly contributing to Peake's downfall. Even if he hadn't resigned as Hand, 

10 hours ago, James Steller said:

I’ll admit that Aegon wasn’t always strong, it was clearly something he had to grow into. But nothing Peake could do, even filling Aegon’s ranks with Greens, could have stopped that boy from growing up. He had seen too much as a boy to not grow up. He wasn’t a naive kid like Tommen, he had seen his mother die in front of him and had grown up in war.

It is not about growing up, but about exerting power. If you control the court and the king's person, then you rule the king, regardless how old he is. And the way to ensure that this never changes would be to never permit the king any kind of freedom. No contact to outsiders, to people you don't trust, no active role in the government of the Realm, no progresses, public audiences, no royal favors granted by the king himself, no permission to write letters not drafted by Peake, etc.

And it should have been - and actually was - rather easy to push as troubled a person as Aegon III out of public life. He was never much inclined to lead or rule, anyway, and his entire character made it essentially impossible that he could ever successfully build up a party of his own. He would never befriend any powerful nobles or heirs or great knights even if he was allowed to hang out with them - because the boy barely talked. 

10 hours ago, James Steller said:

This was a child version of Stannis. And Stannis had a will of iron that couldn’t be bent. Actually, that’s part of the appeal to Aegon III’s story. He seems very much like what Stannis would be like if he ever became king. Unyielding, uninterested in toadies or playing the game, desiring to give peace and justice to the common people, that’s Stannis Baratheon at his best.

Oh, I don't think that's accurate. I agree that there is some steel in Aegon III, but he is basically a deep melancholic person with strong autistic tendencies. Stannis loathes women and most of the men he knows, but he understands how they think and work, and how he can use them to get what he wants. Aegon III doesn't understand such things. He is painstakingly naive, at times, as Gyldayn's account of him actually believing the Rowan charade illustrates - had Viserys not seen through that he would have bought what they fed him.

We can expect pretty good things from him during the rare moments he actually bothers to partake or involve himself in his own government. But those should be rare occurrences considering we already know the man didn't speak for days on occasion. That means most decisions made in his name would have been made by other people - his Hands, his queen (once Daenaera was old enough to play a more active role), Prince Viserys (before he became the Hand) his half-sisters and brothers-in-law, and other officials. Some of them may have been good, but some may also have been bad.

Killing the progress was a bad decision. Sure, the lords don't deserve that he honors or sucks up to them considering their previous conduct, but it could definitely have helped him and his queen personally to gain popularity and thus power in the Realm.

We can, I think, be pretty sure that the Broken King's reign will be troubled by a series of rebellions (various fake Daerons) culminating in the attempt of Alys Rivers and Aemond's son to wrest the Iron Throne from him in the late 140s or around 150 AC (leading to the deaths of the last great Targaryen dragons). And those are likely threats a stronger, more popular king could have easily killed in their infancy. But we can certainly see how a youth who saw his mother devoured by the dragon of his uncle, a boy who lived through the (alleged) deaths of four of his brothers will be even less keen than Aenys Targaryen to unleash dragons against Harrenhal or allow his leal lords and knights to murder his own innocent cousin. Aegon III knows what it means to live through a pointless civil war, he is not likely to start one. And that means he will either ignore Aemond's son until it is too late, or he'll actively try to placate Alys Rivers, thus fueling her ambitions.

6 hours ago, Nittanian said:

@Ran, would you happen to know if Gareth comes from the same Long house which once held the Wolf's Den? Alternatively, maybe there have been multiple families of that name, like the Fishers (Misty Isle / Stony Shore), Holts (Dorne / north), Lakes (Dorne / north), Shells (Dorne / Vale), Towers (Harrenhal / north), or Wells (Dorne / north).

I still like the idea that the Towers of Harrenhal are related to those in the North since Maegor could easily enough have had some Northmen among his sworn swords.

But Gareth Long one expects that guy to come from the Reach, so a relation to some Northmen there would be only very distant.

1 hour ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Maybe if Viserys had just kept his mouth shut, Aegon could have flown out of the picture and we'd have gotten Viserys' glorious reign as king where there's no war with Dorne and no bullshit regarding Baelor Targaryen. 

Then we would have still been stuck with the glutton shit-head king who would have undone all his daddy's great works in a fortnight.

But as I laid out above - the idea that he is going to have much impact on his own government is not very high, meaning that a good portion of the reign of Aegon III is likely going to be the reign of Viserys II, anyway. As seems to be most of the reigns of Daeron I and Baelor, too.

And the one advantage Aegon III has over his little brother is his physical and regal presence. Viserys is not that impressive physically, but Aegon III is tall and very beautiful, the proper image of a king. Whenever he bothered to do something he was making an impression. This can become important further down the road.

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Unwin Peake might be modelled after Lord Crichton or maybe Sir Livingston (the perpetrators of the 'Black Dinner' that the Red Wedding was inspired by) who sought to control James II of Scotland as a minor. Nigel Tranter's Black Douglas is an interesting read on the battle and intrigue to control the minor King. The ending is very GRRM-esque. It does not cover the Black Dinner itself though, taking place soon after.

So while Unwin probably is an utter fool (going back to the OP's question), this and other Tranter novels paint a picture of many real world nobles made from the same mould. Under a different set of circumstances (I.e. Viserys not being found, Corlys being successfully sidelined and perhaps without his twin half-sisters) Aemon could have well continued to be strongly influenced and controlled by a cabal of Nobles, and Peake might well have won that game of thrones, like Crichton in a way actually did (inspite of the Douglas' huge lands and army).

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