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James Steller

Who was the Biggest Villain of the Dance?

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I had an argument with a couple of my friends recently over “Fire and Blood”, and the Dance of the Dragons. Specifically, who was the person most responsible for all that bloodshed. I maintained that it was Otto Hightower, since his ambitions pushed for Viserys’ wedding to his daughter. Not to mention that he spearheaded the coup which left Rhaenyra bereft of her birthright. My other friends were split between Alicent Hightower (given her two-faced conduct during the war and her desire for vengeance even after all her kids were dead) and Rhaenyra Targaryen (if only she’d known her place and hadn’t been so ambitious and bloodthirsty, plus the throne rejected her). I suppose that a good case could be made for Daemon Targaryen, Cristin Cole or Aemond Targaryen, but who do you all think was the biggest villain of that storyline?

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2 hours ago, James Steller said:

I had an argument with a couple of my friends recently over “Fire and Blood”, and the Dance of the Dragons. Specifically, who was the person most responsible for all that bloodshed. I maintained that it was Otto Hightower, since his ambitions pushed for Viserys’ wedding to his daughter. Not to mention that he spearheaded the coup which left Rhaenyra bereft of her birthright. My other friends were split between Alicent Hightower (given her two-faced conduct during the war and her desire for vengeance even after all her kids were dead) and Rhaenyra Targaryen (if only she’d known her place and hadn’t been so ambitious and bloodthirsty, plus the throne rejected her). I suppose that a good case could be made for Daemon Targaryen, Cristin Cole or Aemond Targaryen, but who do you all think was the biggest villain of that storyline?

Tbh of all the ones you suggested I'd say Aemond. Alicent and Cole were just as bad don't get me wrong but the fact that Aemond had a dragon made his capacity for death and destruction so much higher than the other and he took gleeful advantage of that.

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Posted (edited)

The biggest incompetent was Rhaenyra and in the lead up to it. Laena and Laenor Velaryon between them controlled Vhagar, the most powerful dragon alive at the time, and Seasmoke a very young dragon. Laena "died"(was likely murdered by Maesters) due to complications of childbirth, but Laenor?

Rhaenyra had the "Cersei Syndrome" which Arianne also seems to have to a lesser degree. Having a reasonable amount of intelligence, but being an utterly spoiled and entitled little shit, even by the standards of their station, and thinking primarily with their pussy and using bluster and bullshit to justify it. All while having a father that ignores and otherwise allows the bullcrap.

All Rhaenyra had to do was not fuck her bodyguard or even allow her bodyguards to fall in love with her, and then force herself on Laenor and conceive some kids. Yeah, it might be considered rape, but its also literally payment for Laenor to be king. Had Rhaenyra had legitimate children and had them with Laenor, and had she severed both hers and his connections with any former lovers, then the Dance after Viserys' death would have proceeded much, MUCH differently. A massive amount of the support for the Greens vanishes in a poof of smoke, and the other justification for forcing Aegon to try and take the throne dissappears, what with the children not being obvious bastards. I kind of wonder if Rhaenyra had been forced to name to first child a bastard and watch as all her lovers were castrated, and then be forced into a proper marriage, if the Dance could have been avoided.

In which case, the conspiracy to put Aegon II on the throne dies as soon as they reach their dragons and can lolnope their surrounding conspirating douchenuggets.

 

The only way it could have been better would be for Laena and Laenor to both be alive and well when Viserys dies. Other than that, I name Old Town, both Septons and Maesters, and their patrons the Hightowers, as the primary villains of the dance. 

Edited by Vashon

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8 hours ago, Vashon said:

The biggest incompetent was Rhaenyra and in the lead up to it. Laena and Laenor Velaryon between them controlled Vhagar, the most powerful dragon alive at the time, and Seasmoke a very young dragon. Laena "died"(was likely murdered by Maesters) due to complications of childbirth, but Laenor?

Rhaenyra had the "Cersei Syndrome" which Arianne also seems to have to a lesser degree. Having a reasonable amount of intelligence, but being an utterly spoiled and entitled little shit, even by the standards of their station, and thinking primarily with their pussy and using bluster and bullshit to justify it. All while having a father that ignores and otherwise allows the bullcrap.

All Rhaenyra had to do was not fuck her bodyguard or even allow her bodyguards to fall in love with her, and then force herself on Laenor and conceive some kids. Yeah, it might be considered rape, but its also literally payment for Laenor to be king. Had Rhaenyra had legitimate children and had them with Laenor, and had she severed both hers and his connections with any former lovers, then the Dance after Viserys' death would have proceeded much, MUCH differently. A massive amount of the support for the Greens vanishes in a poof of smoke, and the other justification for forcing Aegon to try and take the throne dissappears, what with the children not being obvious bastards. I kind of wonder if Rhaenyra had been forced to name to first child a bastard and watch as all her lovers were castrated, and then be forced into a proper marriage, if the Dance could have been avoided.

In which case, the conspiracy to put Aegon II on the throne dies as soon as they reach their dragons and can lolnope their surrounding conspirating douchenuggets.

 

The only way it could have been better would be for Laena and Laenor to both be alive and well when Viserys dies. Other than that, I name Old Town, both Septons and Maesters, and their patrons the Hightowers, as the primary villains of the dance. 

Go read the Dance again. Rhaenyra's kids supposedly being bastards is nothing more than the Green's justification for their actions. If this wasn't a factor they'd have found something else instead. And as long as Rhaenyra was not in Kings Landing at the time of Viserys death there's nothing she can do to stop it. Which leaves Aegon on the throne and wielding Blackfyre which gives him instant legitimacy. Neither Lannister, Baratheon or Hightower allied with Aegon because of Rhaenyras kids and between them they could force, buy or convince just as many houses to declare green regardless of whether Jace, Luke and Joff has purple eyes and silver hair.

Also as per F&B its become a little less obvious that the Velaryon boys are actually bastards at all. We don't get a description of Harwin and the only Strong we do get a description for is Lucamore; who is blonde. Meanwhile, Rhaenyras kids have Baratheon blood from their father (if it was actually Laenor) and Arryn blood from their mother. Nothing except flimsy Westerosi views on genetics says they aren't legitimate and showing traits from their grandparents/great-grand parents

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Posted (edited)

Easily Christon Cole. 

Some characters killed for their ambition, others for their family and others for their personal safety. But not Cole. Cole lacked all these things and seemed to have been driven purely by Rhaenyra rejecting him. Even if it was a more noble reasoning like looking down on Rhaneyra's lifestyle then it still wasn't his place to deny her the throne based on those objections. Cole seems like a pretty vile man while lacking any motive that might justify his actions. 

 

Edited by Daemon of the Blacks

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11 hours ago, Adam Yozza said:

Go read the Dance again. Rhaenyra's kids supposedly being bastards is nothing more than the Green's justification for their actions. If this wasn't a factor they'd have found something else instead.

And would not have had half the support they had garnished. The way the Dance got written makes it astoundingly clear that literally everything had to go the way of the Greens(Old Town) for them to win the war, and win they did, seeing the Targaryen and Velaryon power base destroyed and the dragons removed from play, reducing them to being leal lords of the Crownlands and not much else, with the Iron Throne being little more than a convenient lie. 

As far as genetics go, they look like neither parents, nor grandparents, all of whom were fair haired and fair eyed and had acquiline features, with such obvious bastardry that Viserys had to use force to keep the talk out of the Red Keep, because nothing else would or could, and GRRM pulling a Rowling to try and muddy the waters changes nothing. 

All Rhaenyra had to do was gather all her dragons and fly directly to King's Landing, roast the Red Keep, then set the dragons free. She had a proposterous advantage, only for conspiracy, bad luck and pettiness to piss it away, something GRRM likes to write. And it was stolen from her by a massive conspiracy and eventually her own petty incompetence. 

50 minutes ago, Daemon of the Blacks said:

Easily Christon Cole. 

Some characters killed for their ambition, others for their family and others for their personal safety. But not Cole. Cole lacked all these things and seemed to have been driven purely by Rhaenyra rejecting him. Even if it was a more noble reasoning like looking down on Rhaneyra's lifestyle then it still wasn't his place to deny her the throne based on those objections. Cole seems like a pretty vile man while lacking any motive that might justify his actions. 

 

Yeah its some really stupid crap, and had Viserys had a fucking brain would have resulted in Criston Cole being sent to the wall for the obvious danger he was to Rhaenyra. And Aegon II wouldn't have even claimed the throne had it not been for Criston Cole making an unveiled threat of violence right there. 

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1 hour ago, Vashon said:

And would not have had half the support they had garnished. The way the Dance got written makes it astoundingly clear that literally everything had to go the way of the Greens(Old Town) for them to win the war, and win they did, seeing the Targaryen and Velaryon power base destroyed and the dragons removed from play, reducing them to being leal lords of the Crownlands and not much else, with the Iron Throne being little more than a convenient lie. 

Hahahahahaha the Greens won? I guess thats why the Black alligned Princess' Baela and Rhaena are two of the most influential figures in the realm after the war? I suppose thats why its Rhaenyra's son who ends up on the throne? And of course the fact that the Blacks were in command of all the three armies left in the field by the end of the Dance, plus the nominal support of the Greyjoy's who were still destroying the West, somehow translates to a Green victory?

Removed dragons from play? By the time of Aegon's death the Greens had 0 dragons and the Blacks had 1.

The Velaryon power base was hardly destroyed. Their wealth and complete control over the Royal Fleet was depleted but Alyn Oakenfist is remembered as one of the finest sea general's ever and was clearly held in high esteem by Aegon, his kids and Viserys. Plus he marries the heir to the Iron Throne (at the time, Viserys wasn't back yet). I'd hardly call that destroyed.

1 hour ago, Vashon said:

As far as genetics go, they look like neither parents, nor grandparents, all of whom were fair haired and fair eyed and had acquiline features, with such obvious bastardry that Viserys had to use force to keep the talk out of the Red Keep, because nothing else would or could, and GRRM pulling a Rowling to try and muddy the waters changes nothing.

Prove it. We never get a description of Harwin so we can't say for certain they're his, even if they are bastards. We never get a description of Aemma Arryn, so your argument falls apart there since it's more than possible for genetics to skip generations (albeit happening three times in succesion is unlikely, especially when children from a different marriage have features direct from the parents).

For the record, I think it's highly likely that Jace, Luke and Joff are not Laenor's. But with the canonical facts the author has given us in F&B you can't state it as definitive fact. And my point still stands. The bastard claims were a convenient excuse. If they all had silver hair, they'd likely still have put out rumours of them being bastard born but their main justification for crowning Aegon would have been something different; like 'Daemon is a murderous monster, he can't be King', 'King Viserys changed his mind on his deathbed. The faithful Hand, the noble Lord Commander and dutiful Grand Maester witnessed it.' or even just 'Rhaenyra is a woman. Women can't rule.'

These reason may have gathered more or less support for the Greens than they got in canon. We have no way of knowing. But with what we know about Alicent, Cole, Otto and potentially Aemond there would have been a play for power regardless.

2 hours ago, Vashon said:

All Rhaenyra had to do was gather all her dragons and fly directly to King's Landing, roast the Red Keep, then set the dragons free. She had a proposterous advantage, only for conspiracy, bad luck and pettiness to piss it away, something GRRM likes to write. And it was stolen from her by a massive conspiracy and eventually her own petty incompetence.

And how well would that go? For answer go look up the last Targaryen King to use dragons and brutality to end rebellions and see where he ends up (hint: it doesn't work out great for him). At the start of the war Rhaenyra has six tamed and rideable dragons available. She is recovering from a miscarriage and can't fly. So that leaves Rhaenys, Daemon and her Velaryon sons with their dragons. All of which are significantly smaller than Vhagar. And while I think this is a battle the Blacks would have won it would have been costly. The plan they use in canon is better and whats more it works even with back luck and enemy conspiricies causing a few unexpected setbacks (Rhaenys and Jace)

Besides if Rhaenyra 'roast's the red keep and then set the dragons free' she burns her own city and heritage to the ground while simultanously turning the entire populace against her. Not long after the rest of Westeros; including her previous allies; would also turn against her. Again I direct you to the last King to try this (Maegor if you couldn't figure this out)

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On 6/2/2019 at 6:32 PM, James Steller said:

I had an argument with a couple of my friends recently over “Fire and Blood”, and the Dance of the Dragons. Specifically, who was the person most responsible for all that bloodshed. I maintained that it was Otto Hightower, since his ambitions pushed for Viserys’ wedding to his daughter. Not to mention that he spearheaded the coup which left Rhaenyra bereft of her birthright. My other friends were split between Alicent Hightower (given her two-faced conduct during the war and her desire for vengeance even after all her kids were dead) and Rhaenyra Targaryen (if only she’d known her place and hadn’t been so ambitious and bloodthirsty, plus the throne rejected her). I suppose that a good case could be made for Daemon Targaryen, Cristin Cole or Aemond Targaryen, but who do you all think was the biggest villain of that storyline?

Basically, it is Alicent, Otto, Cole, Aegon II, and Aemond in that order. Alicent because she seems to have been little more than an ambitious social climber/whore, seducing the king with the intention to replace his chosen heir with her own children. Otto, for setting up the entire thing, including Rhaenyra as Heir Apparent in the first place, Cole for being the worst warmonger in the entire war, Aegon II for being the cruel ass that he was, and Aemond for being the cruel moron that he was.

Whatever faults the other side had - and there are faults, there, too, of course - they were not the warmongers. The Blacks only went to war because they had no other choice - and since the right were on their side they are as much at fault there as Robb or Stannis are during the War of the Five Kings. Nobody there wanted to annihilate the other side or was giving nonsense reasons to justify to kill the others to prevent them from killing them - nor did they actually ever kill relations on the other side after they had captured them.

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2 hours ago, Adam Yozza said:

And how well would that go? For answer go look up the last Targaryen King to use dragons and brutality to end rebellions and see where he ends up (hint: it doesn't work out great for him).

Maegor half assed it and only had himself to really rely on

 

I aint even gonna address the rest, it doesn't deserve and the forums shit software makes splicing and dicing quotes a titanic pain in the ass

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6 hours ago, Vashon said:

Maegor half assed it and only had himself to really rely on

 

I aint even gonna address the rest, it doesn't deserve and the forums shit software makes splicing and dicing quotes a titanic pain in the ass

1) I can tell debating with you must be fun. You can't make an arguement and then ignore a counter argument on the basis of "It doesn't deserve it". That just comes across as petulant.

2) You said the Green's won. I listed off why that was completely and utterly untrue. You are now refusing to acknowledge those reasons.

3) I'd hardly say Maegor half assed it. He wiped out two rebellions against him. The problem was that his methods for doing so turned everyone against so when Jahaerys put a claim forward and was backed by the Stormlords, everyone flocked to him and Maegor was left alone.

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Basically, it is Alicent, Otto, Cole, Aegon II, and Aemond in that order. Alicent because she seems to have been little more than an ambitious social climber/whore, seducing the king with the intention to replace his chosen heir with her own children. Otto, for setting up the entire thing, including Rhaenyra as Heir Apparent in the first place, Cole for being the worst warmonger in the entire war, Aegon II for being the cruel ass that he was, and Aemond for being the cruel moron that he was.

I never saw Otto as that bad of a guy. He definitely played a very big role due to him scheming to increase the power of house Hightower. However he lacks a lot of traits that turn him into an actually malicious man. Maybe its the lack of screentime but he's never depicted as particularly cruel or vindictive. If anything his words imply he's driven to such lengths because he fears Daemon is the vindictive one and will kill him if he becomes king. The scheming definitely came to bring ruin on Westeros but that's hardly intentional and he doesn't really show any petty desires to actively bring down anyone with plots, except maybe Daemon. 

Otto seems a clear expy of Tywin but lacks both Tywin's ruthlessness and his immense stature. He plots and he schemes but gets demoted as Hand before really being able to show his mettle. Arranging an alliance with the Triarchy does imply competence but that's all he manages to do before Aegon fires him and Rheanya beheads him

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2 hours ago, Daemon of the Blacks said:

I never saw Otto as that bad of a guy. He definitely played a very big role due to him scheming to increase the power of house Hightower. However he lacks a lot of traits that turn him into an actually malicious man. Maybe its the lack of screentime but he's never depicted as particularly cruel or vindictive. If anything his words imply he's driven to such lengths because he fears Daemon is the vindictive one and will kill him if he becomes king. The scheming definitely came to bring ruin on Westeros but that's hardly intentional and he doesn't really show any petty desires to actively bring down anyone with plots, except maybe Daemon. 

I'd agree that Otto is definitely not as petty and cruel as his two grandsons Aegon II and Aemond, but the original question was about responsibility for the Dance - and here it is quite clear that Otto Hightower is basically to be blamed for the entire setup, beginning with the original decree to name Rhaenyra the Heir Apparent (had that never happened Aegon the Elder would have become the Heir Apparent in 107 AC!), continue with all the scheming and bitching during the reign of Viserys I, followed by the coup in 129 AC and the Green machinations throughout the first half of the Dance (which, aside from Cole's and Aemond's later endeavours, all go back to Otto).

Particular bad are here, in my opinion, Otto schemes to invite foreign powers to intervene on the Green behalf (i.e. his attempts to get the Dornish on Aegon II's side as well as his scheming with the Triarchy). That can and should be seen as a very vile form of treason considering that it clearly had the potential to escalate the entire war to drag the Free Cities into it as well.

And while Otto seems to be not as petty as his grandsons, his hatred of Daemon seems to be without basis (FaB does not include the tidbit about Daemon allegedly deflowering and discarding Alicent!), meaning this was just a petty rivalry the man apparently couldn't overcome. He is described as a very imperious and arrogant Hand, making it rather likely that he is as responsible for his relationship with Daemon as Daemon himself.

In the end it is quite clear that a royal official doesn't have the right in this world to kill the future monarch (or her consort) simply because he fears that said monarch (or her consort) will dismiss, punish, ruin, or destroy you. That is part of the game. If you want power you risk being destroyed by it. You cannot really complain about that. And nothing in the text indicates that Daemon (or anyone on the Black side) actually wanted to harm Alicent or Otto especially.

In fact, as I laid out in rather meticulous detail elsewhere we can lay the blame for the Dance entirely at the feet of the Greens because it is rather obvious that Rhaenyra and Daemon did not prepare for war despite the fact that Viserys I was sick and growing gradually worse. Apparently they assumed that Otto/Alicent would not try to usurp the crown. Compare that to, say, Stannis who started to prepare for war immediately after the death of Jon Arryn. Him not helping Robert and Ned to uncover things means he shares part of the blame not only for Robert's murder but also how things unfolded thereafter. The same thing cannot be said for Rhaenyra and her family. They did not expect Viserys I to die so quickly nor that his sudden death would be followed by a coup to steal Rhaenyra's throne.

If Rhaenyra/Daemon had been preparing there would have been no need for them to send out Rhaenyra's sons as messengers. They would have had their ducks in a row by then.

2 hours ago, Daemon of the Blacks said:

Otto seems a clear expy of Tywin but lacks both Tywin's ruthlessness and his immense stature. He plots and he schemes but gets demoted as Hand before really being able to show his mettle. Arranging an alliance with the Triarchy does imply competence but that's all he manages to do before Aegon fires him and Rheanya beheads him

I'd actually say Tywin and Otto are more alike than one assumes at first glance. Tywin certainly was more competent than Otto, but in the end Tywin was killed by his own son and his children (and others) will see to it that all he ever build and tried to accomplish (possibly even House Lannister) itself will be destroyed.

Tywin's desires were Otto's as well. To marry his daughter to the king and to effectively replaced the royal dynasty with his own descendants.

One imagines that Tywin Lannister is going to remembered as one of the worst Hands in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, too, considering his role during the War of the Five Kings - i.e. the Red Wedding, his inability to prevent the murder of King Joffrey, and everything that happened to House Lannister thereafter.

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I suppose that we're supposed to hate and loath every member or supporter of the Greens, and given my feelings of satisfaction regarding other parts of Asaoif and Westeros, I'll go along with what GRRM wants me to think regarding the issue.

Death to the Greens! Long live Rhaenyra!

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8 minutes ago, Lion of the West said:

I suppose that we're supposed to hate and loath every member or supporter of the Greens, and given my feelings of satisfaction regarding other parts of Asaoif and Westeros, I'll go along with what GRRM wants me to think regarding the issue.

Death to the Greens! Long live Rhaenyra!

My response was pure contrarianism.

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Otto Hightower.  He wanted to take something that was not his to take.  Criston Cole is another baddy.  Alicent and her children are on the side of wrong.  

That is, if  you believe Queen Rhaenyra's children were legitimate.  I know, I know.  Appearance is not proof.  But yeah.  It's enough to create doubt for any reasonable person given that the Targaryens had a unique look to them.   I am taking Rhaenyra's side on this because the burden of proof was on the Hightowers to prove her children were illegitimate.  The status quo was they are legit, so to change it, the Hightowers must prove they were not. 

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26 minutes ago, Lion of the West said:

Not sure I am getting what you mean, actually.

My response to GRRM's one-sided depiction has been to back Aegon II and the Greens out of willfulness.

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On 6/2/2019 at 12:32 PM, James Steller said:

I had an argument with a couple of my friends recently over “Fire and Blood”, and the Dance of the Dragons. Specifically, who was the person most responsible for all that bloodshed. I maintained that it was Otto Hightower, since his ambitions pushed for Viserys’ wedding to his daughter. Not to mention that he spearheaded the coup which left Rhaenyra bereft of her birthright. My other friends were split between Alicent Hightower (given her two-faced conduct during the war and her desire for vengeance even after all her kids were dead) and Rhaenyra Targaryen (if only she’d known her place and hadn’t been so ambitious and bloodthirsty, plus the throne rejected her). I suppose that a good case could be made for Daemon Targaryen, Cristin Cole or Aemond Targaryen, but who do you all think was the biggest villain of that storyline?

Aemond Targaryen, Alicent Hightower and Otto Hightower.  

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Aemond was clearly the most bloodthirsty character. Clearly a mad Targaryen. Everything about him claims "villain!": distinctive visuals (lacking an eye)? Check. Impressive power (having a dragon)? Check. Arrogant and foul-mouthed? Check. Cruel and vindictive? Check.

Many others had their part of guilt, but Aemond was clearly the most eeevil.

Rhaenyra was also bloodthirsty. But the narrative gives little exposition to her vile acts. We only hear "many heads appeared on pikes". Even the forced prostitution of her haf-sister and mother-in-law is only a rumour.

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