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RagnarokKing

What Should King Baelor Have Done With Dorne After Daeron's Death?

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One of the major themes of the series is the question of "what makes a good king?" With King Baelor Targaryen we see an example of a, quite frankly, bad king. A king who not merely failed, due to infertility on the part of himself or his queen, but outright refused to produce his own heirs. A king who greatly angered his lords by forcing them to do things they felt were demeaning. A king who harmed the very faith he was obsessed with, by twice over forcing through candidates for High Septon who were utterly unqualified for the job. I could go on, but I believe the point is made. The question I wish to discuss however is in regards to Baelor's earliest days and actions as King.

Baelor's reign began with the death of his brother, King Daeron I, in Dorne, a death that the means of which is the crux of the issue at hand I believe. Daeron was dealing with a rebellion by the Dornish whom he had conquered in the prior years, do note that Daeron had won his war of conquest, with the surrender, kneeling, and oath swearing of the Dornish Prince and many of his lords. The war Daeron was fighting was technically a subsequent war of rebellion by the Dornish after they had been conquered. After attempting to put down this uprising for some time, Daeron met with, presumably, Dornish lords and leadership under a banner of peace, where he was attacked and killed. A banner of peace, a truce and meeting to discuss peace, is where King Daeron was killed.

Now even if we consider Daeron's conquest to be an unjust war, and thus forgive the Dornish for the subsequent rebellion, the means by which they killed Daeron are extremely treacherous and despicable. The like of which we see in the Red Wedding in the main series. Baelor's response to this was to publicly forgive his brother's killers, release the Dornish hostages he had and return them to Dorne himself, with him doing a walk of penance on way (wearing sackcloth and no shoes). In Dorne he forged a peace with the Prince, one which obviously included the release of Dorne from the rule of the Iron Throne.

Now returning to the question of "what makes a good king?" I must say that when considering the means of Daeron's death, and the depth of self-humiliation Baelor went through to achieve peace, I am not convinced that these were the actions of a good king. So what should Baelor have done?

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Why would Baelor should've prolong a war they couldn't possible win, because they couldn't hold Dorne they could not hold its  people only to satisfy the Westerosi egos??

 

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11 minutes ago, frenin said:

Why would Baelor should've prolong a war they couldn't possible win, because they couldn't hold Dorne they could not hold its  people only to satisfy the Westerosi egos??

 

I'm not arguing Baelor should've continued the war. I am arguing that means of Daeron's death were unusual and despicable, and that Baelor's means of securing peace was not acceptable under those circumstances. I made a question of, what should Baelor have done? Not a statement of, Baelor should have continued the war.

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9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

He should have gave up on the conquest like he did, but then executed everybody involved on Dareon's death that he could get his hands on.

 

Basically this. It's near impossible to hold Dorne if they want to secede. But Alyn Velaryon alone could have made life pretty inhospitable for the Dornish by burning all along the banks of the Greenblood and blockading Dorne.

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13 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

He should have gave up on the conquest like he did, but then executed everybody involved on Dareon's death that he could get his hands on.

 

This is more along with what I was thinking. Peace, but a demand with the peace deal to hand over the perpetrators.

3 hours ago, Adam Yozza said:

Basically this. It's near impossible to hold Dorne if they want to secede. But Alyn Velaryon alone could have made life pretty inhospitable for the Dornish by burning all along the banks of the Greenblood and blockading Dorne.

And this is a good way to keep pressure on the Dornish, without risking more ground troop, until they accept said peace deal.

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Baelor essentially arranged Daeron II's union with Dorne. He laid the groundwork for that. He did the right thing. There is no reason to ask what he should have done differently.

Daeron I's death was pretty good for Westeros as a whole - he would have killed many more people had he lived longer. The sad thing is that the guy got his four years as king. He should have been killed a couple of years earlier - or Prince Viserys should have ruled as regent putting an end to his mad dreams of conquest.

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There's no real downside to Baelor's peace. There's no evidence that there was any real negative impact in Westeros to his not pursuing justice for Daeron's death. Indeed, it was a powerful message that the king himself chose to turn the other cheek, and given that it followed the deaths of tens of thousands, it seems likelier that most lords were probably rather weary of the failed conquest.

So, yeah, I don't think he needed to do anything other than what he did. What he did laid the ground for the peaceful entry of Dorne into the realm. 

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47 minutes ago, Ran said:

There's no real downside to Baelor's peace. There's no evidence that there was any real negative impact in Westeros to his not pursuing justice for Daeron's death. Indeed, it was a powerful message that the king himself chose to turn the other cheek, and given that it followed the deaths of tens of thousands, it seems likelier that most lords were probably rather weary of the failed conquest.

So, yeah, I don't think he needed to do anything other than what he did. What he did laid the ground for the peaceful entry of Dorne into the realm. 

Yeah, the way Westeros is set up a youth like Baelor who was never groomed to be king nor expected to ever ascend the throne shouldn't have been able to make a peace if a broad movement in Westeros had demanded to continue the war - the lords and courtiers essentially had weeks to sabotage Baelor's peace plans while their loony king was waking to Sunspear. Ravens could have flown, swords could have been drawn, and blood could have been shed in the Red Mountains and King Baelor could have done literally nothing to stop the fighting.

In fact, if Prince Viserys had played his cards right he could have nudged/forced the Prince of Dorne to do away with his second royal nephew, too. All he would have needed to do for that was to launch a major invasion/attack on Dorne while Baelor was negotiating in Sunspear - this could have then been interpreted as betrayal on side of the Targaryens, meaning Baelor may have been dealt with like his older brother before him.

The best way to make sense of the Young Dragon's war is that this was brutal and silly war which accomplished, in the end, nothing but corpses on both sides, meaning both sides were as willing to continue it after Daeron I's death as the guys were to continue the Dance after the death of Aegon II.

The whole revanchist/payback movement would have been something that slowly gathered steam in the next years or decades, sort of like the resentment in Germany grew after the end of World War I, fueled by Aegon IV and his cronies and then even more more by others when they realized that the Dornish were 'rewarded' for their 'treason' by conditions in the pact Daeron II and Maron draw up rather than that the entire Targaryen Realm was already determined to continue a pointless war back in 161 AC.

I think we can take Theo Tyrell's reluctance to launch another invasion of Dorne back during the First Dornish War as a sign how most lords of Westeros would have felt after the death of Daeron I. The Reach and many other regions - especially those who didn't send that many men down with the Young Dragon to die in Dorne - certainly would have still had the strength to marshal other invasion armies (both back under Aegon I and under Daeron I) but if literally nobody returns from the Sands of Dorne you really think twice before you send another 30,000 men or more on a mission that may have the same result.

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

There's no real downside to Baelor's peace. There's no evidence that there was any real negative impact in Westeros to his not pursuing justice for Daeron's death. Indeed, it was a powerful message that the king himself chose to turn the other cheek, and given that it followed the deaths of tens of thousands, it seems likelier that most lords were probably rather weary of the failed conquest.

So, yeah, I don't think he needed to do anything other than what he did. What he did laid the ground for the peaceful entry of Dorne into the realm. 

Wasn't said that both the peace and Daeron's treaty with Dorne pissed off many lords?? 

 

Even as his lords and council cried for vengeance, Baelor publicly forgave his brother’s killers and declared that he meant to “bind up the wounds” of his brother’s war and make peace with Dorne. As an act of piety, he declared, he would go to Dorne “with neither sword nor army,” to return their hostages and sue for peace. And so he did, walking barefoot from King’s Landing to Sunspear, clad only in sackcloth, while the hostages rode fine horses behind him.

 

It's very hard to believe that those who cried out for vengeance were happy about it, just as no one in Westeros was happpy after the first peace treaty with Dorne.

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Thank you @frenin I was just about to give a similar response. While we are, not yet at least, given any show of blow back from the council and nobility, we are told that they wanted vengeance, and thats all we have to go on until Fire and Blood vol. 2. Thus with it stated they cried for vengeance, I must maintain that even had Baelor still strove for peace, which probably is the best course of action, he could have done so without humiliating himself to such a degree.

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29 minutes ago, RagnarokKing said:

Thank you @frenin I was just about to give a similar response. While we are, not yet at least, given any show of blow back from the council and nobility, we are told that they wanted vengeance, and thats all we have to go on until Fire and Blood vol. 2. Thus with it stated they cried for vengeance, I must maintain that even had Baelor still strove for peace, which probably is the best course of action, he could have done so without humiliating himself to such a degree.

Well of course some people would want vengeance but they are lashing out in emotion. The Lord paramounts had no issues, so the smaller lords opinions really didn’t matter in this sense.

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36 minutes ago, frenin said:

Wasn't said that both the peace and Daeron's treaty with Dorne pissed off many lords?? 

 

Even as his lords and council cried for vengeance, Baelor publicly forgave his brother’s killers and declared that he meant to “bind up the wounds” of his brother’s war and make peace with Dorne. As an act of piety, he declared, he would go to Dorne “with neither sword nor army,” to return their hostages and sue for peace. And so he did, walking barefoot from King’s Landing to Sunspear, clad only in sackcloth, while the hostages rode fine horses behind him.

 

It's very hard to believe that those who cried out for vengeance were happy about it, just as no one in Westeros was happpy after the first peace treaty with Dorne.

The idea would be that there were a couple of guys at court - who were then shut down/put in their place by King Baelor and Prince Viserys. Sort of like Aegon the Conqueror effectively shut down all the people demanding 'no peace without submission' (even those in his own family) once he had made up his mind.

The idea that there was a broad movement demanding a continuation of the war is simply neither the case nor imaginable in light of the fact that the war wasn't continued.

[As I laid out above it should have been remarkably easy for both Prince Viserys as well as many Marcher and Reach lords to sabotage Baelor's peace efforts and enforce a continuation of the war.]

Demands to execute the hostages have to be seen in perspective, too. Killing the hostages in retaliation to the murder of the Young Dragon isn't the same as a continuation of the war. It would have been the standard procedure in the wake of such a betrayal but it is not equivalent to lords insisting on a continuation of the war. They can want to kill the hostages and still be not (completely) opposed to peace plans.

Also, if the king himself - Daeron I's brother at that - forgives his murderers and makes amends to Dornish for the brutal invasion of their kingdom then Baelor's subjects simply no longer have any right to demand vengeance or justice for Daeron. They cannot presume to have loved King Daeron I more than his own brother and successor.

If Jesus were to forgive Satan and welcome him back into heaven some low-ranking angel or saved soul in heaven also would have no right to complain.

Thus Baelor simply took the wind out of the sails of the warmongering faction.

27 minutes ago, RagnarokKing said:

Thank you @frenin I was just about to give a similar response. While we are, not yet at least, given any show of blow back from the council and nobility, we are told that they wanted vengeance, and thats all we have to go on until Fire and Blood vol. 2. Thus with it stated they cried for vengeance, I must maintain that even had Baelor still strove for peace, which probably is the best course of action, he could have done so without humiliating himself to such a degree.

Actually, Baelor did not really humiliate himself all that much. You have to see this whole thing through a medieval lense where acts of public repentance were used to great political effect.

Baelor's walk ensured that the Dornish had no other choice but to accept Baelor's peace, even if they desperately wanted to continue the war.

Baelor certainly can be counted as a mad monarch - but he was also one of the most powerful Targaryen kings because his acts of public piety and devotion made him more untouchable than any of his predecessors or successors. He may not have been all that effective and successful in his more ludicrous enterprises, but he had the broadest power base of all the kings of Westeros - the pious smallfolk and the Faith. He essentially ruled as a living saint, meaning that resistance against his desires and wishes would have been much closer to blasphemy and heresy and defiance of the Seven themselves than the resistance against any other king before or after.

Baelor certainly doesn't seem to have given himself this aura of holiness as a cynical power play - but it would have still worked on the political sphere. And we have to assume that Baelor wasn't yet completely over the edge prior the viper pit incident. He would have been pretty pious then, but the walk to Dorne - while extreme - certainly would have been announced with the king also being aware of the political advantages this gesture would give him over the Dornish.

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10 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea would be that there were a couple of guys at court - who were then shut down/put in their place by King Baelor and Prince Viserys. Sort of like Aegon the Conqueror effectively shut down all the people demanding 'no peace without submission' (even those in his own family) once he had made up his mind.

The idea that there was a broad movement demanding a continuation of the war is simply neither the case nor imaginable in light of the fact that the war wasn't continued.

[As I laid out above it should have been remarkably easy for both Prince Viserys as well as many Marcher and Reach lords to sabotage Baelor's peace efforts and enforce a continuation of the war.]

Demands to execute the hostages have to be seen in perspective, too. Killing the hostages in retaliation to the murder of the Young Dragon isn't the same as a continuation of the war. It would have been the standard procedure in the wake of such a betrayal but it is not equivalent to lords insisting on a continuation of the war. They can want to kill the hostages and still be not (completely) opposed to peace plans.

Also, if the king himself - Daeron I's brother at that - forgives his murderers and makes amends to Dornish for the brutal invasion of their kingdom then Baelor's subjects simply no longer have any right to demand vengeance or justice for Daeron. They cannot presume to have loved King Daeron I more than his own brother and successor.

If Jesus were to forgive Satan and welcome him back into heaven some low-ranking angel or saved soul in heaven also would have no right to complain.

Thus Baelor simply took the wind out of the sails of the warmongering faction.

Actually, Baelor did not really humiliate himself all that much. You have to see this whole thing through a medieval lense where acts of public repentance were used to great political effect.

Baelor's walk ensured that the Dornish had no other choice but to accept Baelor's peace, even if they desperately wanted to continue the war.

Baelor certainly can be counted as a mad monarch - but he was also one of the most powerful Targaryen kings because his acts of public piety and devotion made him more untouchable than any of his predecessors or successors. He may not have been all that effective and successful in his more ludicrous enterprises, but he had the broadest power base of all the kings of Westeros - the pious smallfolk and the Faith. He essentially ruled as a living saint, meaning that resistance against his desires and wishes would have been much closer to blasphemy and heresy and defiance of the Seven themselves than the resistance against any other king before or after.

Baelor certainly doesn't seem to have given himself this aura of holiness as a cynical power play - but it would have still worked on the political sphere. And we have to assume that Baelor wasn't yet completely over the edge prior the viper pit incident. He would have been pretty pious then, but the walk to Dorne - while extreme - certainly would have been announced with the king also being aware of the political advantages this gesture would give him over the Dornish.

A walk of penance is the definition of humility. That is not to say it cannot have political benefits, gaining favor from the church or getting an excommunication lifted were of enormous political benefit in our history. But it is still an act of humiliation. 

I also must disagree that it forced the Dornish to accept his peace. Killing a King on a penance walk to establish peace is no morally worse than killing a King under a banner of peace, and they already did that. So the fact that they didn't harm him, is more evidence that they too desired peace. This is also shown in how the Prince made every effort to see that Baelor was treated well on his return trip, so Viserys wouldn't use his death as an excuse to resume the war. Though the Wyls were antagonistic to be sure.

As for your interpretation of Baelor ruling as a living Saint, I find that to be a fascinating interpretation. And a excellent explanation as to why we don't see him facing much blow back during his reign. 

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea would be that there were a couple of guys at court - who were then shut down/put in their place by King Baelor and Prince Viserys. Sort of like Aegon the Conqueror effectively shut down all the people demanding 'no peace without submission' (even those in his own family) once he had made up his mind.

The idea that there was a broad movement demanding a continuation of the war is simply neither the case nor imaginable in light of the fact that the war wasn't continued.

[As I laid out above it should have been remarkably easy for both Prince Viserys as well as many Marcher and Reach lords to sabotage Baelor's peace efforts and enforce a continuation of the war.]

Demands to execute the hostages have to be seen in perspective, too. Killing the hostages in retaliation to the murder of the Young Dragon isn't the same as a continuation of the war. It would have been the standard procedure in the wake of such a betrayal but it is not equivalent to lords insisting on a continuation of the war. They can want to kill the hostages and still be not (completely) opposed to peace plans.

Also, if the king himself - Daeron I's brother at that - forgives his murderers and makes amends to Dornish for the brutal invasion of their kingdom then Baelor's subjects simply no longer have any right to demand vengeance or justice for Daeron. They cannot presume to have loved King Daeron I more than his own brother and successor.

If Jesus were to forgive Satan and welcome him back into heaven some low-ranking angel or saved soul in heaven also would have no right to complain.

Thus Baelor simply took the wind out of the sails of the warmongering faction.

Viserys don't seem like the type of man that would sabotage his nephews, he didn't do it with Daeron when he could've i don't believe he'd do it with Baelor, if Baelor ordered to stay put, Viserys would0ve stayed put and would make the lords do the same. And asbsolutely no one doubted that the war would just reestart when Baelor died in his pilgrim.

A more likelier idea is that, just as the first dornish wars, the King's decision trumped all others and the revanchists seethed from the Wall to Oldtown, just like the first time, the idea that after 60000 deads, they would just brush it off makes little sense.

The last comparation is way off, ofc they can presume to have loved Daeron more than his own brother and succesor.

 

 

 

Edited by frenin

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13 hours ago, RagnarokKing said:

A walk of penance is the definition of humility. That is not to say it cannot have political benefits, gaining favor from the church or getting an excommunication lifted were of enormous political benefit in our history. But it is still an act of humiliation. 

Humility, sure, but not humiliation. Nobody forced King Baelor to do what he did - by taking action and deciding to make this extreme a show of his humility and desire to peace and forgiveness he practically forced everyone to do what he wanted.

If you know HBO's 'Rome' think of the scene of Servilia humiliating herself in front of Atia's house - nobody forced her to do this but by doing that she kept the upper hand. She forced Atia to come to her so she could be cursed.

Baelor forced all of Westeros to accept his peace with his walk.

13 hours ago, RagnarokKing said:

I also must disagree that it forced the Dornish to accept his peace. Killing a King on a penance walk to establish peace is no morally worse than killing a King under a banner of peace, and they already did that. So the fact that they didn't harm him, is more evidence that they too desired peace. This is also shown in how the Prince made every effort to see that Baelor was treated well on his return trip, so Viserys wouldn't use his death as an excuse to resume the war. Though the Wyls were antagonistic to be sure.

There are obvious differences here. King Baelor never warred against Dorne, never attacked it, and likely opposed his brother's idea of a war from the start. The Dornish certainly could have killed him, too, but they never wanted war nor did they want to kill Targaryen kings - they just killed the guy who tried to conquer them yet again. The Martells are not as corrupt as just kill any Targaryen king they can lay their hands on.

But I'm sure that Dorne definitely wanted peace when Baelor came to Sunspear - in fact, they would have wanted peace from the start (unless it turns out that Daeron's Conquest started in retaliation to a major Fifth Dornish War fought during the reign of his father started by the Dornishmen - but chances are not that high that this is the case).

We hear that the Prince of Dorne fears Viserys may use Baelor's possible death as an excuse to continue the war but we don't know whether that's based on facts - we don't even know whether Prince Viserys even approved of his late nephew's plans for conquest. In fact, I'd be surprised if he did. He may have argued against the plan from the start - and although he may have been pleasantly surprised by Daeron's original success. The loss of Dorne and the king's death certainly could have convinced him that this war had been a foolish idea.

And while the murder of Daeron I certainly is bad form it is not all that bad a crime by comparison of Daeron I's was indeed an unprovoked war of aggression. You don't have to treat a man fairly who attacked your country without provocation.

13 hours ago, RagnarokKing said:

As for your interpretation of Baelor ruling as a living Saint, I find that to be a fascinating interpretation. And a excellent explanation as to why we don't see him facing much blow back during his reign. 

Yeah, he essentially could do what he wanted - he did massive charities, he burned books (and not just some of them but nearly all copies of certain works like Barth's Unnatural History), he forbid prostitution in KL and actually banished all the whores, he forced the Citadel to replace ravens with doves, he forced the Most Devout to make his choice the new High Septon twice, he imprisoned his own sisters just for their beauty, he forced Westeros to accept his peace with Dorne, he started the construction of the Great Sept, he (most likely) forced the High Septon to relocate to KL, he forced his cousin Aegon into effective exile to Braavos to separate him from his sister-wife, etc.

In fact, if you ask yourself what the most scary scenes at a Targaryen court would be it wouldn't be not Aerys II raging or Maegor glaring at you, it would be Baelor the Blessed softly saying that he weeps for your soul - that would be really scary because it could very well mean you are condemned for all eternity considering the standing this king would have had in his world.

Now, there would have also been instances where his influence on his own government would have been limited - while he was doing those massive mad fastings and such. But he still would have gotten everything he wanted while essentially keeping the love and devotion and worship of most of his subjects. If there was a king against whom open rebellion would have looked like suicide it would have been Baelor the Blessed, not Aegon the Conqueror or Jaehaerys I.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

And while the murder of Daeron I certainly is bad form it is not all that bad a crime by comparison of Daeron I's was indeed an unprovoked war of aggression. You don't have to treat a man fairly who attacked your country without provocation.

Conquest wars happen every time, that's how Dorne got united killing someone under a white flag is not something you always see or even accepted for both parts  of the war, in the 1st Dornish war, Nymor and  Deria  trusted on the peace banner to not get killed in KL, what we would've said if Aegon pulled the same trick to have Nymor by the balls?? I agree that the murder is as awful as the Red Wedding and  whereas  Daeron def had it coming, i don't believe that people were ok with Baelor.

 

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32 minutes ago, frenin said:

i don't believe that people were ok with Baelor.

You can refuse to believe it, but the evidence is that Baelor was in no way constrained in his reign by any ill-feeling. There are no known rebellions against him, no private wars with Dorne by angry lords, etc. The person most responsible for claiming vengeance chose not to do so, and there really isn't much anyone could say to that -- it would literally be treasonous to say he was wrong, and we certainly have no evidence of such treason.

I think this line of argument is not very fruitful. There's no evidence to back it up. Indeed, there's lots of circumstantial evidence against it, such as the fact that Daeron I's perfidious death is never cited by anyone as a cause to continue hostilities with Dorne -- Eustace Osgrey doesn't, for example, and yet he had plenty of opportunity to discuss how the murder of a king in his own lifetime was one of the reasons he joined the Blackfyre rebellion.We had a thread a couple of years ago where I and others got into similar ground that you may find useful, as it lays out many of the arguments in greater detail, and references the fact that in all the years that George knew about Daeron's manner of death (as I note in that thread, George's intentions were outlined about 20 years ago, and I've known about them for about that long),  George himself never cites it as being of any particular relevance to what happened in Daeron II's reign. 

Edited by Ran

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2 hours ago, Ran said:

You can refuse to believe it, but the evidence is that Baelor was in no way constrained in his reign by any ill-feeling. There are no known rebellions against him, no private wars with Dorne by angry lords, etc. The person most responsible for claiming vengeance chose not to do so, and there really isn't much anyone could say to that -- it would literally be treasonous to say he was wrong, and we certainly have no evidence of such treason.

I think this line of argument is not very fruitful. There's no evidence to back it up. Indeed, there's lots of circumstantial evidence against it, such as the fact that Daeron I's perfidious death is never cited by anyone as a cause to continue hostilities with Dorne -- Eustace Osgrey doesn't, for example, and yet he had plenty of opportunity to discuss how the murder of a king in his own lifetime was one of the reasons he joined the Blackfyre rebellion.We had a thread a couple of years ago where I and others got into similar ground that you may find useful, as it lays out many of the arguments in greater detail, and references the fact that in all the years that George knew about Daeron's manner of death (as I note in that thread, George's intentions were outlined about 20 years ago, and I've known about them for about that long),  George himself never cites it as being of any particular relevance to what happened in Daeron II's reign. 

In TWOIAF during the 1st Dornish War is just said that the Reach and  Stormlands would be angry with such treaty, we don't get to see the level of their hatred  and  resentment until F&B, where even they not rebel either.

The only want that we see how far in his hatred  had fallen was Orryn Baratheon, is believable that after 50k-60k deaths and  a the betrayal of a King they seemed to adore, people just waved it off??  We see how abhorred people is with the Red Wedding and  how in the North and  partes of the Riverlands people are just waiting to get even, how is that there is nothing similar here?? The anger of resentment Aegon 4 used against Dorne may just  be traditional hatred but given that the Conquest wasn't even 30 years ago and  the hatred  the 1st one left, is no wonder Daemon was so strong there.

Maybe you're right but i don't find logical that the hatred  Aegon's war left in Dorne was not matched  or even overcome  in Daeron's. The northmen  were said to have felt Rickon's death for years, how is that they were ok with their beloved  heir basically dying for nothing i can't imagine.

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