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Posted (edited)

I am going to use a secret eye tag for my entire post because in order to answer this effectively, I have to speak openly of other Martin stories and I don't want to give anymore spoilers than are already here.

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is just a difference of numbers. The werewolves intermarry within the four families, the Starks with, perhaps, a score of Northern noble families. 8,000 years of inbreeding would make them much worse than those werewolves.

The Starks and Karstarks are heavily interrelated, just as the Starks and most of the other northern houses are - especially those they actually intermarry with in the family tree, but not just those.

Please show me where. https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/House_Karstark

The first men came in waves, a variety of mini-cultures and peoples. Thousands of them. Then the Andals infiltrated to a large degree. I am open to being reminded if the text says so because I can't remember all 2 million words. I do remember that this issue has not happened anywhere else in the in-world. Wonder why?

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George never said the Karstarks and Starks were not related, George just said Lord Rickard Karstark's claim of Robb being 'a kinslayer' for executing him doesn't hold much water because kinslaying is something that's related for close family - i.e. children, parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and, possibly, first cousins. Nobody called Robert a kinslayer for killing Rhaegar, for instance, and they did share a great-grandfather.

Maybe because they are no longer related/tooo distantly related in ASOIAF world?

  • Q: A ton of us Boarders have been debating the taboo against kinslaying in Westeros, and have been trying to define exactly what "kinslaying" is. Is it limited only to the situation where you kill a kinsman by your own hand, or would it include anything that leads to the death of a kinsman? In other words, had Renly's army defeated Stannis', and Stannis died in the battle at the hands of Loras Tyrell, would Renly still be considered a "kinslayer"?

GRRM: Maybe by some, but that's a stretch.

There are degrees in kinslaying, as in anything else. Fighting a battle in which a brother dies might be frowned upon, but killing him with your own hand would be considered far worse.

In the scenario you propose, another factor might be whether Renly gave any orders in respect to Stannis. Did he command Loras to kill him, or offer a reward to whosoever slew his brother? Did he tell his men to see that his brother was taken alive? Did he not address the issue either way? There are obvious degrees of guilt, depending...

The other factor, which you haven't raised, is degree of kinship. Killing a parent is probably worse than killing a sibling, but either one is a lot worse than killing a distant cousin. Lord Karstark was stretching that aspect of it when he tried to accuse Robb of kinslaying... but of course he was hoping to save his head.

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I'm not sure you understand what I'm talking about here. I talk about population genetics and an actually inbred population of noble families. You don't need family trees and the like to know people are inbred if they intermarry almost exclusively in the same gene pool. This is what the wildlings say: You don't marry in your own village because you are related to all those people. Guess what: In the sense the wildlings are related to all their neighbors in their village the Starks are related to all the northern houses because they have exclusively intermarried with those for hundreds and thousands of years.

Yes, the land is one, as Jojen says. This is a major issue with losing history and beating the dead bush that the free folk are the "wildling enemy". That is CRAP! There are exceptions, and the Weeper and his crew are the exception. Jon learned this truth on his journeys.

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You are not just inbred when you intermarry with your siblings or first cousins for a couple of decades, you are equally inbred if your spouses are all your second or third or fourth cousins for hundreds and thousands of years. Your coefficient of relationship goes up higher when you intermarry with very close relations but it also goes up if you intermarry with not-so-closely-related people over a longer period of time.

I have no words for your years long obsession about incest. Put down the ruler, this story is not mapped out genetically as you claim it is. Each and every detail is included to help tell a story, real world anything be damned!

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And that's the norm in the North. The nobility there breed among themselves even after the Conquest, and the Starks even marry their own close nieces/cousins in addition to the normal fourth or fifth or sixth cousin when they take some Locke or Karstark or Manderly bride. If that's not inbreeding then I don't know what is.

There is nothing that points to this. Again, you are using a one-off power grab situation and claiming it as "the norm". It isn't. The only people who make this claim are... gasp... shippers! They do and say anything to make their ship valid, including ignoring the story and what it is showing us.

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Last time I looked the old man in 'The Skin Trade' still could work the change,

Oh boy. I am glad you called him the "old man", because he is of the "old blood", something I am getting to. Just as Daenerys calls out (to her supporters, not to her enemies) that she is the blood of "old Valyria" and Maegor the cruel. She can "work the change", hatch dragons by the use of blood and fire rituals, while Viserys could never <-Same meaning. 

By the way, this old man is named Jonathan Harmon. His screwed up inbred son is Steven (Ramsay Bolton) and his 'reek' is named Roy.

And old man Harmon is also suffering from a madness that he can't seem to stop- consuming children- a typical trait in the ASOIAF fire people (of all sorts) as well.

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and the mongrels had to flee from him, didn't they?

No. Willie actually confronts Harmon, face to face and on the phone. He is nervous, but he does it. The other ones we see "flee" from old blood Harmon are like the (hunter) cop, Joe Urquhart, and as he tells it in the story, it is because Harmon and the elites literally own everything and will kill his children if he doesn't comply. The name Urquhart means "portion of the shot", and that is symbolic in this story. Just as the name Pankowski does, and so on. But, I am sure you knew this.

Harmon gave the decision->Bow or burn. Harmon is obsessed with purity and a city built on "blood and iron". Sounds familiar. In fact, this same sentiment is repeated in the main series, the world book, and now even in Fire & Blood 1. Do you honestly think that this is the positive/winning/moral intent of this series?

  • Q:Would polygamous marriages be accepted in Westeros today, especially if Targaryens were involved?

    GRRM: If you have some huge fire-breathing dragons, you can get people to accept a lot of things that they might otherwise have problems with.

  • Stannis gave a derisive snort. "It glimmers prettily, I'll grant you, but on the Blackwater this magic sword served me no better than any common steel. A dragon would have turned that battle. Aegon once stood here as I do, looking down on this table. Do you think we would name him Aegon the Conqueror today if he had not had dragons?"

  • "The blood of the dragon must remain pure," the wisdom went. Some of the sorcerer princes also took more than one wife when it pleased them, though this was less common than incestuous marriage. In Valryia before the Doom, wise men wrote, a thousand gods were honored, but none were feared, so few dared to speak against these customs.
  • Fire & Blood-

    “Aye, and if I want to fuck my sister too, do I have your leave?” The septon smiled and replied, “Go to Dragonstone and claim a dragon. If you can do that, ser, I will marry you and your sister myself.”

     

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It is quite clear that the story is more complex than you make it out to be

Pah, I say, Pah! I am not the one that thinks this is a simple story about incest and the ultimate power it brings. No, it is the opposite and so much more. The same themes we see repeated across much of Martin's work, including ASOIAF.

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- the inbreeding produced both: great and powerfully-built pureblooded werewolves and freaks who were just humans.

What do you mean by powerfully-built? The purebreds are almost gone, week and dwindling. What does this powerfully-built do for them? I just checked and it is mentioned in this short story four times (minimum) that the purebloods can't work the change. But more on this in a minute.

  • The Skin Trade- Something is missing. Too inbred, maybe. Think about it. Anders and Rochmonts, Flambeauxes and Harmons, the four great founding families, all werewolves, marrying each other generation after generation to keep the lines pure, for how many centuries? They kept the lines pure all right. They bred themselves Steven. He didn’t kill those children. Roy Helander saw a wolf carry off his sister, and Steven can’t change into a wolf. He got the bloodlust, he got inhuman strength, he burns at the touch of silver, but that’s all. The last of the purebloods can’t work the change!”

One more thing here first. This is a concept you are completely missing in the story. Jonathan Harmon, whom you refer to as powerful, cannot change anyone, even his son, in to a werewolf- for good or bad. Harmon is disappointed in his son. 

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This is actually a proper depiction of inbreeding which you would know if you understood biology and genetics.

If you artificially breed a new race of dogs you inbreed them and select for desired traits. Because a decent number of the offspring from such unions have the traits you want, whereas others do not. They don't get to procreate, but those with the desired traits are paired again with their sibling until you get your great mastiffs or German Shepherds or pink poodles or whatever you want.

Seriously, LV? Grow up. You know nothing of my past schooling to be able to say this. Let's stay on topic, shall we? We do better together there.

As far as the second paragraph... jeeessus chribst. We have had this same convo a hundred times. Pre breeding any animal has long term negative consequences. Ya fuck with nature, she fucks back. You are confusing what humans desire for what nature determines necessary. Humans have messed up far more than what we seemingly have "improved". This argument is absolute rubbish and should never be included in a discussion about Martin and how he uses his own fantasy rules for his own stories because it is not simply about breeding.

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The werewolves are not part of breeder's program, of course,

Got a book quote for this?

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but they, too, get what they want, in part - great and powerful werewolves. That they also get freaks they do not desire is an unwanted side effect, but unlike humans breeding dogs or horses they do not just kill or discard the unwanted specimens. They are their children, after all. 

From what we see of old blood Harmon, he is still trying to get Steven to change, but Steven can't, and old blood Harmon is disappointed.

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The mongrels don't have the power of the purebloods but they are slowly breeding out their werewolf potential as well.

Hmmmm, let's compare "power".

The idea of the four old houses was to keep the bloodlines pure. It isn't working. No matter how they tried, that inbrediness gave way to genetic depression (downfall of a dynasty stuff). Old blood Harmon tried ways to get Steven to change, but it never worked, even when consuming children. Steven and Roy (Ramsay and Reek) even flay other werewolves to try and wear their skin (hence the title Skin Trade) and it doesn't work. Old blood Harmon even bites Steven and it doesn't work. Why? Because this is a self-serving ideal that only benefits those few in charge. Taking (killing) from the small folk to feed the elite. Selfishness to the extreme.

Then there is mutt and mongrel, main male protag in the story, Willie Flambeaux. He needs and inhaler, sure, but not when he is a wolf. What does he do with his power? Eats squirrels, big whoop. Oh, and he befriends a crippled girl (Joanie) and shares his "power" with her because it benefits her in the end. BIG WHOOP! She comes alive with her new abilities and lives in a way she would never be able to otherwise. And we never, ever hear of her doing anything bad with her power. This mutt just gave power to the "small folk". Willie can work the change in himself as well as share it as a benefit to others (no incest breeding needed), a much more altruistic intent.

  • Willie hesitated briefly, looking in her eyes, those lovely eyes, wondering if she’d understand, and finally he plunged ahead. “Joanie was such a good kid, it broke my heart to see her in that chair. One night she told me that the hardest thing of all was realizing that she’d never know what it felt like to make love. She’d been a virgin when they hit that truck. We’d had a few drinks, she was crying, and … well, I couldn’t take it. I told her what I was and what I could do for her, she didn’t believe a word of it, so I had to show her. I bit her leg, she couldn’t feel a damned thing down there anyway, I bit her and I held the bite for a long time, worried it around good. Afterwards I nursed her myself. No doctors, no antiseptic, no rabies vaccine. We’re talking major-league infection here, there was a day or two when her fever was running so high I thought maybe I’d killed her; her leg had turned nearly black, you could see the stuff going up her veins. I got to admit it was pretty gross, I’m in no hurry to try it again, but it worked. The fever broke and Joanie changed.”

“You weren’t just friends,” Randi said with certainty. “You were lovers.”

“Yeah,” he said. “As wolves. I guess I look sexier in fur. I couldn’t even begin to keep up with her, though. Joanie was a pretty active wolf. We’re talking almost every night here.”

“As a human, she was still crippled,” Randi said.

 

So, who has the real "power"?

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And that is actually a good thing - considering that it is clearly no good thing that there are werewolves out there, be they mongrel breeds or pureblooded werewolves ;-).

Not so sure about this. The issue isn't having werewolves out there, it is the people who decide to use their powers as weapons of mass destruction and oppression. The ASOIAF choice of drinking from the cup of ice or cup of fire analogy.

Willie and Joanie and the Anders sisters were/are werewolves, as are the many, many other mutts still alive. Randi Wade was shocked to learn so many existed. The issue isn't there being a third race, but again, what they do with that power in the end.

Serve the self, or serve the many? This theme is repeated in various ways across ASOIAF. 

This brings me to the point of all this incest crap. The long and short of it is that this is how Martin is choosing to show corporate/governmental oppression in his stories. I have read all of his work and in that long list, only seven stories use this as a  means of telling and showing oppression- and it happens in each and everyone one of those stories that it is included. Never does it benefit anyone in any story ever and is not something to root for or use to validate a personal 'ship' (unless you want that ship to sink hard, fast, and ugly).

This incest breeding has nothing to do with German shepherds or horses, and only superficially to do with ancient Egyptian, English, German, Spanish royalties other than to show oppression- societal and genetic. This carries over from the larger plot points (Valyria/Targaryens) as the tell tale signs that some bad, fiery shit is about to happen to the lesser plotlines, such as Lysa Tully. Corruption. That is the reader clue that one should not miss or handwave (unless you want to for some odd reason).  The three levels of reveal that GRRM uses in ASOIAF that his editor told us about. Little nugget, larger chunk, here is the final boulder.

The corporate hand feeds the governmental hand, and so the first hand feeds the shit back to the king. On and on it goes as long as someone is getting paid. Corruption on every level.

The four inbred families of The Skin Trade each brought industry to the region. They cut down trees, paved roads, and scared away the indigenous (who saw these families as cursed for more than one reason). It was these four families that inbred with each other, and now only the mongrels are outliving the old blood. Progression. Jonathan Harmon represents the old blood/old money of the story. The incest is represented by the nepotism that plagues these families (real life and story life). To keep the tow in line, you lead by fear, bow or burn. Tywin was the same fiery way (and he was a Targophile). Tywin went against the societal 'norms' and married too close to his kin because he also wanted to keep the bloodlines pure. The norm is to marry from afar- whether clan to clan or house to house. This increases holdings, land, genetic stock, loyalties, etc. So when someone like Cregan, Tywin/Lannisters, Lysa, Olenna, Arianne, etc are dancing this close to madness, that is the reader clue something is not to be trusted with this person. Readers should know this because the outcome has been shown to us repeatedly. Funny enough, the supposed unwashed heathens of the story, the free folk, are the ones who have it right, but too many readers are falling for the rumors. Oh well.

  • Q: We see marriages that are almost always between families seeking to ally themselves to one another. Given this context, it always seemed strange that the marriage of Tywin Lannister was to a first cousin, and even stranger when you consider how pragmatic and ambitious Tywin was. Or was it truly a love match?

    GRRM: Noble houses usually make marriages of convenience to build alliances. As a matter of fact, it's a common practice not only among the noble class, but also among the middle class and even among peasants: If somebody has a piece of land, he marries his daughter with somebody who has an even bigger piece of land, in the hope that all that land will belong to his grandchildren some day.

    About Tywin......Probably.

    It could be love, but there is another clear motive, which is to reinforce the family's bloodline. The Targayren are the extreme example of that policy: they only marry within the family to keep the purity of the blood, and that way you avoid the problem of having several candidates for the throne or the rule of the family. If you have a generation of five brothers and each of them has several children (sons?), after two or three generations you could find yourself with thirty potential heirs: there could be thirty people named Lannister or Frey, and that produces confict, because all of them are going to get involved in hereditary fights for the throne. That's what originated the War of the Roses; An excess of candidates for the throne, all of them descendants of Edward III. Laking a heir (like Henry VIII) is just as bad as having too many of them. If you have five sons and you want to avoid that kind of problem, maybe it's not such a bad idea to marry the firstborn girl of the oldest son with the third son (or with the firstborn of the third son?), and that way you avoid fights and the bloodline remains united, so maybe that was the purpose of Tywin's marriage. Maybe it was Lord Tytos' idea, or maybe even Tywin's grandfather's idea, it depends on which was the exact time in which the marriage alliance was brokered, but I would have to check my notes because I can't remember.

To be clear, the fights for the throne is the issue here. War with your brother because you think you are more worthy somehow is the problem. War is not the answer. Corruption is not the answer. Have readers not seen this enough already in this series?

The throne is the problem. As GRRM has said many times, it represents oppression and blood and fire. It ISN'T something to be coveted, and those who covet such a position (CEO of the (male) Corportation) are to be questioned. Ozymandias and Darkness as GRRM has said.

Keeping the bloodlines pure is a lyrical way of saying controlling your woman and their reproductive freedoms. Dragons come from the moon, a metaphor for women birth dragons based on their moonblood (menstruation) cycles. Targs and dragonlords were incredibly jealous and covetous of any one other than them getting hold and the power of a dragon. If we follow GRRM's style, this is most definitely related to female genes. So the men had to control their women by keeping these women to themselves, therefore keeping the bloodlines pure. This is a plot detail used in those other stories by GRRM. The dude likes his own themes, what can I say?

Fire is a jealous god, as ASOIAF says. Again, incest shipping is not a good thing for readers to do. That misses the point entirely. Women are used as coin enough in the story, something that should and will stop by the end of the story (even if shown in an epilogue). Readers need to keep in mind who this author is in real life. There are going to be many ending aspects that several readers will dislike and even hate by the end.

Old blood Harmon is a dying breed- no matter how powerful he once was, the corporation is at an end. That story shows this very clearly. The Targaryens, the blood of old Valyria, are a dying breed. What we do have surviving and thriving are the young bloods, the new revolution that fueled Martin's younger hippie days, which is the main plot behind The Armageddon Rag that I highly recommend people to read (also a fire & ice type of story) The fiery hand of oppression will give way to the mutts and mongrels. It won't happen right away in ASOIAF, but a major change will be in play by story's end.

  • The Skin Trade- “Lycanthropes are skinchangers. We turn into wolves. Yeah, we’re carnivores, you got it, you don’t meet many vegetarians in the pack, but there’s meat and there’s meat. You won’t find nearly as many rats around here as you will in other cities this size. What I’m saying is the skin may change, but what you do is still up to the person inside. So stop thinking about werewolves and werewolf-killers and start thinking about murderers, ’cause that’s what we’re talking about.”

*No German Shepherds were hurt in this process, unlike in real life.

Now, any responses from me will be slow this week (lotsa work and junk going on). Please don't take any quietness from me as anything other than no screen time.

 

P.S.

LV, it is 2019. Time to update your sig line.

Edited by The Fattest Leech

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Posted (edited)

Uncle-niece marriages happen now and then. Damphair wanted Victarion to marry Asha and rule together, but he never got the chance to tell them (it is in the Wind of Winter leaked chapter), and Arnolf Karstark wanted to force his niece Alys Karstark into a marriage in order to get her castle and lands.

On the other hand, people tend to think about it as something possible, but not really right... Alys ran from the marriage and Jon Snow helped her avoid it; Victarion thought about it, but he felt creeped out by his own lust, and avoided the subject; the Faith opposed Maegar marrying his own niece Rhaena.... etc.

Arianne sorta wanted to bang her uncle Oberyn, but she never did it, despite Oberyn having sex with anything that moves and Arianne having several lovers...

So in short, it is possible, but too close for comfort... kinda like marrying a first cousin in most of today's Europe: Technically legal, but sorta weird and off-putting...

Edited by Ser Lepus

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1 hour ago, Ser Lepus said:

Uncle-niece marriages happen now and then. Damphair wanted Victarion to marry Asha and rule together, but he never got the chance to tell them (it is in the Wind of Winter leaked chapter), and Arnolf Karstark wanted to force his niece Alys Karstark into a marriage in order to get her castle and lands.

Vic actually thinks Asha were offering herself to her when she asked him to be his Hand. He is surprised by the thought since he never thought of Asha as anything but his little niece he never had any inclination to marry - since he was also never trying to succeed his brother Balon -, but he is not abhorred or disgusted by the thought of marrying Asha.

The Karstark affair is problematic because Alys' relations try to steal Karhold (and get her older brother killed) by marrying her against her will. That's basically the same thing Ramsay pulled with Lady Donella - the fact that Arnolf and Cregan are her close relatives makes their betrayal, but the marriage among close kin is not problematic. Cregan Karstark could just as well have been the son of a castellan of Karhold who is not related to the Karstarks.

1 hour ago, Ser Lepus said:

On the other hand, people tend to think about it as something possible, but not really right... Alys ran from the marriage and Jon Snow helped her avoid it; Victarion thought about it, but he felt creeped out by his own lust, and avoided the subject; the Faith opposed Maegar marrying his own niece Rhaena.... etc.

It seems the Faith's opposition to the Maegor-Rhaena marriage was the fact that it would have been seen as a sign that Aegon I intended to continue the Targaryen incest marriage policy. As such, avuncular marriages are not seen as incest by the Faith.

1 hour ago, Ser Lepus said:

Arianne sorta wanted to bang her uncle Oberyn, but she never did it, despite Oberyn having sex with anything that moves and Arianne having several lovers...

She likely realized that it would be weird to fuck the uncle whose daughters she was rather close to - not to mention that there is a huge difference between lust and marriage in this world. Loving/sexually desiring a close relative certainly would be seen as odd, but marrying such a relative for political or economical reasons is a completely different thing.

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16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It seems the Faith's opposition to the Maegor-Rhaena marriage was the fact that it would have been seen as a sign that Aegon I intended to continue the Targaryen incest marriage policy. As such, avuncular marriages are not seen as incest by the Faith.

I suspect that real problem was that Maegor tried to evade marriage with a Hightower. Or if prince Maegor had not been engaged with relative of high septon then the faith would not have cared.

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16 minutes ago, Loose Bolt said:

I suspect that real problem was that Maegor tried to evade marriage with a Hightower. Or if prince Maegor had not been engaged with relative of high septon then the faith would not have cared.

I actually suspect that the Hightowers originally wanted to marry Ceryse to Prince Aenys - but here the Alyssa match was apparently set in stone since both were children. After all, Ceryse Hightower was much older than Maegor, and thus a much better match for Aenys.

But the Maegor-Rhaena betrothal gave them an opening to get Ceryse married to Maegor. The fact that Ceryse was the High Septon's niece was the main reason why things later exploded. But things could have gotten ugly, too, if Ceryse had given Maegor a couple of strong, healthy sons.

What do we think Visenya and the Hightowers and the Faith would have done in that case when the Conqueror died? Chances are very high that the Faith would have preferred a King Maegor over a King Aenys then and there...

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