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The Bard of Banefort

Does Visenya Deserve More Criticism?

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34 minutes ago, frenin said:

That's humanizing, it's not only about make them more sympathetic and i am to suppose that the clain is irony,

It is an anecdote to give her a little bit more color. If that's humanizing her more to you - fine.

34 minutes ago, frenin said:

I know your idea, but since there hasn't been much difference and no one ever cites Maegor when they're going to usurp, they don't care about Maegor, because usurpation is long established  way to get what they want. Maegor is cited mostly for his feud with the Faith anyway.

Maegor is a rather dusty historical precedent by the time of the main series ... and as I said, the restoration of the legitimate branch of House Targaryen to the Iron Throne did much to counter/unmake the precedent he set (not to mention that he was a usurper who turned tyrant and was thus effectively deposed himself). But it did not completely erase it from history. Some people do cite Maegor as a historical precedent - Robb Stark of all people, for instance, to stress the nobility of his Jeyne Westerling.

But the point @The Bard of Banefort made is that Visenya should have known better than to support her monstrous son in his bid for the Iron Throne since that was endangering her own legacy and accomplishments as well as House Targaryen itself. Maegor nearly destroyed his own dynasty in the male branch.

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On 12/31/2019 at 8:04 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

We're not even given any real argument for why Visenya thought Maegor should rule instead of Aegon, aside from nepotism.

That is true. However, let's ask ourselves a question - what is the basis for Visenya's allegiance to Aegon and/or Targaryen kingdom's laws which guarantee his succession?

The answer is, of course, the same - nepotism. Visenya is expected to pledge herself to her grandnephew and his realm because he is a Targaryen, she is a Targaryen and she is presumed to back him up on that basis alone. Nobody asks her whether she would like to spend her life serving her brother's whims. Aegon I commanded Visenya's allegiance based on nepotism. She was his sister an wife, she was expected to obey. He handed over the crown to Rhaenys' line by marrying and favoring his younger sister (which is noted as unusual) due to nepotism. Aegon liked Rhaenys better, so her line gets the crown. Orys Baratheon, a man with no previous command experience, was granted command of the army and by extension opportunity to claim an entire kingdom of his own based on nepotism. Aegon liked Orys, so Orys got a position.

Nepotism was an inescapable part of feudal rule.

Aegon I built his realm by murdering and bullying other people into submission and re-distributing goodies based on nepotism. If you think about, Visenya did the same thing. She murdered and bullied people into accepting her son as King, thus re-distributing power in her favor.

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Nepotism is the wrong word for that. Family loyalty and obedience to your sovereign and lord husband are the right words. And Visenya failed at those basic traits.

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10 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Nepotism is the wrong word for that. Family loyalty and obedience to your sovereign and lord husband are the right words. And Visenya failed at those basic traits.

What if Aenys was on the point of destroying the dynasty, through his incompetence?

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4 minutes ago, SeanF said:

What if Aenys was on the point of destroying the dynasty, through his incompetence?

Then you bring back Maegor, make him Hand, Protector, and Lord Regent in the name of King Aenys (or young King Aegon II if King Aenys actually died of natural causes) ... and have him crush the rebellion as a good younger son/brother and uncle should do. Artos the Implacable also didn't think he should be the Lord of Winterfell after he avenged his brother and defeated Raymun Redbeard ... or did he?

And let's not forget that Maegor and Visenya actually share a huge chunk of the blame for the entire uprising thanks to their polygamy nonsense.

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6 hours ago, Myrish Lace said:

That is true. However, let's ask ourselves a question - what is the basis for Visenya's allegiance to Aegon and/or Targaryen kingdom's laws which guarantee his succession?

The answer is, of course, the same - nepotism. Visenya is expected to pledge herself to her grandnephew and his realm because he is a Targaryen, she is a Targaryen and she is presumed to back him up on that basis alone. Nobody asks her whether she would like to spend her life serving her brother's whims. Aegon I commanded Visenya's allegiance based on nepotism. She was his sister an wife, she was expected to obey. He handed over the crown to Rhaenys' line by marrying and favoring his younger sister (which is noted as unusual) due to nepotism. Aegon liked Rhaenys better, so her line gets the crown. Orys Baratheon, a man with no previous command experience, was granted command of the army and by extension opportunity to claim an entire kingdom of his own based on nepotism. Aegon liked Orys, so Orys got a position.

 Nepotism was an inescapable part of feudal rule.

Aegon I built his realm by murdering and bullying other people into submission and re-distributing goodies based on nepotism. If you think about, Visenya did the same thing. She murdered and bullied people into accepting her son as King, thus re-distributing power in her favor.

She essentially agreed to spend her life serving her brother's whims when she joined him in his conquest of Westeros, placed a crown on his head, and remained at his side for 20+ years. Even if it was unusual for Aegon to take a second wife, Rhaenys' line got the crown solely because she gave birth to his first son. The method of succession for the Iron Throne was the same one that was already being used everywhere except Dorne (and even in Dorne, the crown passes to the ruler's eldest child, not their brother). As far as we know, that was also the standard on Dragonstone prior to the Conquest. 

 

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6 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

She essentially agreed to spend her life serving her brother's whims when she joined him in his conquest of Westeros, placed a crown on his head, and remained at his side for 20+ years. Even if it was unusual for Aegon to take a second wife, Rhaenys' line got the crown solely because she gave birth to his first son. The method of succession for the Iron Throne was the same one that was already being used everywhere except Dorne (and even in Dorne, the crown passes to the ruler's eldest child, not their brother). As far as we know, that was also the standard on Dragonstone prior to the Conquest.

If Visenya did not complain that Aegon I was her king rather than she his queen regnant because she was the elder, she definitely has no right whatsoever to claim that her son could come before his older half-brother or his half-brother's sons. They actually cite this fact as justification why Rhaena and other elder daughters of House Targaryen are passed over - male primogeniture seems to be a pre-Conquest Targaryen thing up to a point (although we cannot be completely sure while we don't know how exactly the various Lords of Dragonstone took power).

It is not Aegon's fault that Maegor turned out to be a second son (and a sadistic monster who couldn't produce living offspring with six wives and a harem of whores). They did try to conceive children for over a decade before Visenya's womb - quite miraculously - suddenly and expectedly quickened.

Visenya clearly grew into a bitter and resentful woman in old age, believing Aenys and his children stole from her and Maegor what should have been theirs - and that is just presumptuous and wrong.

Her real flaws come forth in her undermining King Aenys early in his reign, and her supporting Maegor in his mad quest to get a fertile wife (it might actually been as much her desire to have some grandchildren than Maegor's desire to have sons of his own that led to the Harroway marriage). There you see how Visenya and Maegor's petty personal desires endangered the dynasty and caused a war.

And Aegon basically sidelining/ignoring Visenya and Maegor later in life and favoring Aenys and his grandchildren all makes a lot of sense. Visenya was not suited to rule in her own right, and giving Maegor a role/place in the government or on the throne would have been insane considering his character and traits. He was a monster. A more calculating king like Jaehaerys I, say, may have actually taken real steps to remove Maegor from the succession (by sending him to the Wall, say) considering the danger unrest and turmoil in the Realm might cause for the dynasty and its accomlishments. Aenys had given his father five grandchildren by the time of his death, so Maegor was definitely expendable for the dynasty.

Even if Maegor had been the elder and Aenys the younger - Aegon I would have been well-advised to favor the younger over the elder in such a scenario because giving power to Maegor could only have led to a disaster. Aenys wasn't that great royal material, either, but if he had been surrounded by loyal and competent advisers and a family who did not try to undermine him (or get him into trouble by insulting the High Septon personally as well as the Faith in general) things could have turned out very differently. Things could have been much more stable once Aenys' children were old enough to take a more active role in government.

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21 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

No, I'm saying that the Valyrians not showing mercy to the Braavosi could have saved millions and millions of lives (many of them innocent slaves living in the Lands of the Long Summer). I'm pointing out how showing mercy can come back to haunt you, too. Just as it did Dany. She should have killed all the Wise Master of Yunkai rather than allowing them to keep their lives and wealth, just as she should have eradicated or dispossessed or exiled the entire elite of Meereen. Only that could have pacified her new kingdom. Compromise only makes sense if both sides want to compromise - and the Ghiscari never wanted to compromise. Not before Dany took their cities, and most definitely not thereafter.

I don't think there is any cut-and-dry answer to how to best deal with rebellious lords. As Hoster Blackwood pointed out, dead lords often have angry sons looking to avenge them. You could kill off the entire family then, and maybe you'll end up like Tywin. . . . or maybe you'll end up like Maegor, assassinated on your own throne. (Not to mention that one of the reasons why Tywin got away with so many atrocities is because he was dealing with men like Doran Martell, who wanted to avoid further bloodshed. If Doran were more like Bittersteel or Lyonel Baratheon, things probably wouldn't have gone over as smoothly for him). There's also Daeron II, who was much harder on the Blackfyre rebels than expected (and Bloodraven, who was harsher still), and whose heirs still had to deal with four more rebellions afterwards. 

On the flip side, you've got Bobby B's relatively forgiving treatment of Balon. Balon didn't rebel again at any point in Robert's reign, but he seceded as soon as Robert died (granted, I'm not sure if Balon would have tried that had Robb, Stannis, and Renly not jumped in first). It really does seem to depend on the circumstances.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

LOL, it was. The US are just rebellious colonies who got away with their rebellion.

The idea is that if something actually happens in a legal system/state then it is more real and alive than it would be if it were just dead history. The US could become a monarchy or a military dictatorship tomorrow - that prospect is mostly theoretical right now. But it wouldn't be theoretical anymore if there was a real and rather recent historical precedent.

In a way, the American Revolution did set a troublesome precedent that came back to haunt us less than a century later. The Civil War was essentially a failed rebellion (and our bloodiest war to date), and the Confederacy used the Revolutionary War as one of their justifications for seceding from the Union. 

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33 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I don't think there is any cut-and-dry answer to how to best deal with rebellious lords. As Hoster Blackwood pointed out, dead lords often have angry sons looking to avenge them. You could kill off the entire family then, and maybe you'll end up like Tywin. . . . or maybe you'll end up like Maegor, assassinated on your own throne. (Not to mention that one of the reasons why Tywin got away with so many atrocities is because he was dealing with men like Doran Martell, who wanted to avoid further bloodshed. If Doran were more like Bittersteel or Lyonel Baratheon, things probably wouldn't have gone over as smoothly for him). There's also Daeron II, who was much harder on the Blackfyre rebels than expected (and Bloodraven, who was harsher still), and whose heirs still had to deal with four more rebellions afterwards. 

Tywin was never a king, but he dealt with his own bannermen the way he saw fit. And that worked. Now, I'm not saying you have to kill everybody, I merely pointing out that George actually has people advocate such a course (although Tywin himself isn't the greatest fan of 'the Tywin doctrine' - he wants Joff to show mercy, after all - Jaime is the one who actually makes that point).

And it is not wrong that this kind of thing can work. You just should not send the message you will kill everyone for the least reason - you have to find the middle ground between sternness and cruelty on the one hand, and forgiveness on the other.

Aegon I showed his sternness during the Conquest ... but afterwards he sort of dropped the ball. He let Dorne off the hook, and he could have settled the issue with the Faith during his lifetime, but he left that for his son - which wasn't the best of ideas.

But that's for a feudal setting - destroying an entire continent the way the Faceless Men may have done is genocide, and a revolution (like dealing with slavery) also demands you ensure you can deal with the backlash. Even when you conquer a kingdom or establish a new dynasty (like Robert sort of tried to do, at least in the sense that he wanted to kill the other Targaryens who had better claims) you also have to be more stern than when you simply do with a rebellion over a tax issue or something like that (and in that sense Aegon I is really the luckiest conqueror in all of fictional history).

33 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

On the flip side, you've got Bobby B's relatively forgiving treatment of Balon. Balon didn't rebel again at any point in Robert's reign, but he seceded as soon as Robert died (granted, I'm not sure if Balon would have tried that had Robb, Stannis, and Renly not jumped in first). It really does seem to depend on the circumstances.

It seems Balon had prepared for a considerable time by the time Theon arrived on Pyke - which wasn't that long after Robb was proclaimed king.

33 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

In a way, the American Revolution did set a troublesome precedent that came back to haunt us less than a century later. The Civil War was essentially a failed rebellion (and our bloodiest war to date), and the Confederacy used the Revolutionary War as one of their justifications for seceding from the Union. 

Didn't know that, but it actually makes sense. And one certainly could cite the very same precedent during another future civil war or even during a peaceful secession/fragmentation of the US in (somewhat distant) future.

Any state founded in a violent revolution has legitimation problems - especially if it also demands obedience from its subjects/citizens to a point. Those disappear over time, of course, but they don't go completely away (at least as long people still know about them/remember them).

With Visenya/Maegor the usurpation certainly could have dealt Targaryen dynasty/Realm a pretty deep would - and that was rather irresponsible by Visenya.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

She essentially agreed to spend her life serving her brother's whims when she joined him in his conquest of Westeros, placed a crown on his head, and remained at his side for 20+ years.

"You helped me with X, Y and Z, so you and your line are now obligated to serve my interest in perpetuity" - that's not how agreement or consent work.

10 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

The method of succession for the Iron Throne was the same one that was already being used everywhere except Dorne (and even in Dorne, the crown passes to the ruler's eldest child, not their brother). As far as we know, that was also the standard on Dragonstone prior to the Conquest. 

Again, why is Visenya expected to pledge herself to laws of Dragonstone or Seven Kingdoms?

The Seven Kingdoms (Dorne excluded) were seized by Aegon without any legal justification whatsoever. He just had the capacity to murder and bully his way into power. Visenya would know - she was right there, murdering and bullying people to make it happen. The only reason Visenya is expected to pledge herself to Seven Kingdoms is nepotism. Her brother was King, so she is expected to fall in line. She didn't - she did the same thing Aegon did, seizing the kingdom by murder and bullying.

The Dragonstone is even more interesting case. Originally Dragonstone was a part of Valyrian Freehold. After the Doom Freehold was de-facto dissolved - most of its remaining territory was seized by rebels. Most Free Cities just declared independence and seized territory around them. Volantis went a step further - Volantene rulers attempted to seize power over the entire Freehold by the force of arms. They even tried to conquer Valyria itself. In essence, Dragonstone as an independent realm was created a mere century ago by Visenya's grand-grand something who had said "Fuck it!" to all previous rules and laws. Cause he could.

Both realms find their root in blatant power plays and disregard for previously established rules/laws. Might makes right, opportunity is to be seized regardless of the law. Visenya acted the same way Aegon I and Aenar had acted before her.

If the answer to the question "Why should a person reject nepotism?" is "Because nepotism", trouble is assured.

Edited by Myrish Lace

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Visenya just was the kind of shitty person Jon Snow would be if he was only loyal to Robb and not to Robb's sons - like Catelyn fears he would be if he was legitimized.

Visenya was loyal to Aegon, Maegor was loyal to Aenys (until they got him a second wife), but neither was loyal to Aegon's grandsons/Aenys' sons - and that's why they are shitty people. They don't know what family loyalty means, nor do they properly understand feudal bonds, honor, etc.

The most hilarious thing about Visenya in FaB is her claim that Aegon I was her 'love'. Aegon didn't love her as a wife, likely never did, but especially didn't love her in his last years. And it seems Visenya didn't love him either, especially not in his last years, if she did ever (which we don't really know).

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On 12/31/2019 at 2:04 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

Among ASOIAF fans, there's often a lot of talk about whether readers are too hard on certain characters (particularly female ones), but after re-reading the material on Aenys and Maegor, I've come to wonder if Visenya should be viewed in a more critical light, both on a Doylist and a Watsonian level. Even if she didn't kill Aenys, she committed treason by supplanting the rightful heir to the throne--Aegon the Uncrowned--with her own son, and in doing so, helped subject the realm to six years of terror on behalf of Maegor the Cruel. This puts her in the company of Renly Baratheon, who tried to take the Iron Throne simply because he wanted it, and would have therefore set a precedent that laws of inheritance didn't matter, permitting anyone with a following to wage war against the lawful heir. We're not even given any real argument for why Visenya thought Maegor should rule instead of Aegon, aside from nepotism. (Although Aenys was rumored to have been a bastard at birth, it's never brought up again in Fire and Blood, and it wasn't until after Aenys' death that Maegor moved to take the throne). 

Visenya saved the dynasty from a weak young man.  The Faith had no business sticking its nose in government matters.  The Targaryens had all the rights in the world to respond to them, in any way they saw fit, as soon as those religious nuts started interfering with the monarchs.  The monarchs after Maegor should have maintained the bounty on all members of the Faith who dared to stick its nose in the monarch's business.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Dothraki Khal said:

The Faith had no business sticking its nose in government matters

Nah, Visenya had no more right to stick her nose into the business of governance than the Faith did.

7 hours ago, Dothraki Khal said:

Visenya saved the dynasty from a weak young man

That would imply the dynasty was in a danger of being overthrown. That had never been the case.

Anti-Targaryen faction of the Faith commanded a lukewarm support of the Most Devout, one militant order with several hundreds of members, a number of minor lords and a several hosts of peasants. The Most Devout capitulated almost immediately. Warrior's Sons were completely smashed in a handful of engagements and were reduced to base criminality. There were devout lords who could contribute men and coin to the cause, yet there was only 1 (one!) House of note ready to support the Faith - the rest were nobodies. Real power players ignored the Faith. Peasant hosts had neither arms, nor training, no organization to wage an effective campaign - and they were swiftly massacred as a result, reduced to the same base criminality.

To illustrate how weak anti-Targaryen faction of the Faith was, you can take Aegon the Uncrowned. Poor guy was a sitting duck. His marriage was condemned by Faith and so was his father. He had Maegor hanging over him as a sword of Damocles. He had limited support from the nobility. And yet our poor sitting duck Aegon managed to muster more big Houses than the Faith could. In addition, he managed to summon support from Riverlands, Westerlands, Stormlands and the Vale. His supporters managed to march for hundreds of miles unmolested by Faith.

In short, anti-Targaryen faction of the Faith never had manpower, finances and organization to overthrow the Targaryens. Their conventional campaign ended with a whimper - they failed to muster even one proper army or to seize any territory of note. Their insurgency was completely ineffectual, killing a handful of nobodies. To say Visenya and Maegor saved the dynasty would be a gross misrepresentation of Faith's capabilities and commitment to a war against the Targaryens.

Edited by Myrish Lace

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7 minutes ago, Myrish Lace said:

Nah, Visenya had no more right to stick her nose into the business of governance than the Faith did.

It seems to me that queen Visenya was rather active. Or it was she who made offer to Arryns that they could not refuse. She took part of fighting and actually run the kingdom at Aegon's fort when king was away. Besides who would have dared to tell her that she should be a good girl and keep her nose away from any political activities.

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The Faith certainly was a serious danger for House Targaryen. It doesn't matter that the lords didn't really support them all that much - it is enough that they did not take up arms against the Faith. That some of them only did after Maegor had crushed the Faith Militant in KL - and that was an important victory.

If Maegor had lost the Trial of Seven and Visenya had been ripped to pieces by a couple of Poor Fellows we can be reasonably sure that the High Septon would have established a theocracy with Damon the Devout serving as Protector of the Realm or something like that. Alyssa and her children would then have been abandoned by the lukewarm supporters they had.

That Aegon the Uncrowned had any support goes back to the lesbian affairs of his sister-wife and the fact that Maegor was starting to look like a rather unpleasant tyrant even to those people who didn't care much about the Faith.

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I feel like many people here are applying modern logic to a system of Medieval systems that just isn’t compatible. 
 

The Targaryens and Lord of Westeros espouse a “Strongest is the one who should lead” type aspect. I mean look at legitimately all the hundreds of thousands that made Renly a King even if he had a laughable claim to the throne as when he put his name forward he seemingly had NO IDEA ABOUT THE INCEST AND THAT JOFFREY WAS A BASTARD. 
 

 

I mean in a certain light Aegon the Dragon is a Foreign Tyrant that killed and burned thousands of leal countrymen simply to place his family in power.  
Visenya is part of the Targaryen tapestry, which is essentially supposed to be a mix of the monarchs that existed in the real medieval world.  
 

the Faith Militant were absolutely a threat to the realm, and could have started a Second Crusade in which they would have endless warring with the North, genocide of all those who didn’t have the same Faith, and a rule of zealots that can be just as vicious as those who are considered tyrannical. This is shown in Cersei’s chapters with the High Sparrow. That guy is just as unhinged as Cersei.  
 

Visenya I think was embittered by the time after Aegon died.  She had been second to Rhaenys, she was barren for all intent and purposes, and as much of the books show, Aenys was not equipped for a war time King.  And she didn’t put Maegor as King until after Aenys had died which yes broke the succession but is very different than say Maegor killing him straight up and committing a true coupt.  Aenys didn’t even understand things like giving Maegor the sword Blackfyre which is a sword of KINGS. He was inept. 
 

Maekar was a monster in both personal and Kingship terms, but it would have taken a bloody King to battle against the Faith Militant. 
If Aenys had done say what Jaehaerys had did which was make many many royal progress and actually have friends within the Faith that could speak to the masses, Maegor would have never been needed and Aenys would have never been in the position he was.  Maegor would have simply stayed in exile. 

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9 hours ago, OberynBlackfyre said:

The Targaryens and Lord of Westeros espouse a “Strongest is the one who should lead” type aspect. I mean look at legitimately all the hundreds of thousands that made Renly a King even if he had a laughable claim to the throne as when he put his name forward he seemingly had NO IDEA ABOUT THE INCEST AND THAT JOFFREY WAS A BASTARD.

That is exactly not what they espouse. That's the wildling way - there are some remnants of this culture in the North, where a Stark actually has to be a strong leader to be taken seriously (which is the reason why the North never had a female ruler, one assumes).

Elsewhere the eldest son inherits, never mind whether he is suited to the crown or lordship or not. Else Jason Lannister not Tytos would have ruled Casterly Rock.

Renly takes advantage of Robert's usurpation (and his own justification for that which was that he took the throne by right of war hammer rather than his existing and pretty strong blood claim) when attempting his own. That is not normal in this society. It happens, but it doesn't happen often.

9 hours ago, OberynBlackfyre said:

I mean in a certain light Aegon the Dragon is a Foreign Tyrant that killed and burned thousands of leal countrymen simply to place his family in power.

Aegon the Conqueror was a foreign sovereign prince who declared war on the Seven Kingdoms and then conquered most of them. That's how war goes. You declare it, then you fight, then you make peace. And Aegon won and his defeated enemies agreed to accept him as their king.

9 hours ago, OberynBlackfyre said:

the Faith Militant were absolutely a threat to the realm, and could have started a Second Crusade in which they would have endless warring with the North, genocide of all those who didn’t have the same Faith, and a rule of zealots that can be just as vicious as those who are considered tyrannical. This is shown in Cersei’s chapters with the High Sparrow. That guy is just as unhinged as Cersei.

There is no indication anywhere in FaB that the High Septon and the Faith Militant had any intention of declaring war on the North (or the Iron Islands). All they wanted to do was to put down the abominations.

The High Septon/Faith Militant of the 1st century are not the High Sparrow's movement of the main series. The former was the old Faith establishment, part of the noble framework of the old days, with the Poor Fellows being under the thumb of the establishment. The latter are a movement grown out of commoner-dominated Poor Fellows fanatics, which apparently survived underground.

The new High Septon is a Poor Fellow septon himself, something that likely never happened during the days the High Septons resided at the Starry Sept. In that sense, those movements are not very alike.

9 hours ago, OberynBlackfyre said:

Visenya I think was embittered by the time after Aegon died.  She had been second to Rhaenys, she was barren for all intent and purposes, and as much of the books show, Aenys was not equipped for a war time King.  And she didn’t put Maegor as King until after Aenys had died which yes broke the succession but is very different than say Maegor killing him straight up and committing a true coupt.  Aenys didn’t even understand things like giving Maegor the sword Blackfyre which is a sword of KINGS. He was inept.

If Visenya straight out killed Aenys as is possible she sure as hell would have committed a true coup.

She and her son share the bulk of the blame for the troubles Aenys had with the Faith. And they were doing nothing constructive to help resolve it.

9 hours ago, OberynBlackfyre said:

Maekar was a monster in both personal and Kingship terms, but it would have taken a bloody King to battle against the Faith Militant. 
If Aenys had done say what Jaehaerys had did which was make many many royal progress and actually have friends within the Faith that could speak to the masses, Maegor would have never been needed and Aenys would have never been in the position he was.  Maegor would have simply stayed in exile. 

Maegor wasn't needed, nobody but his mother invited him back. And Aenys likely could have pacified the Hightowers and the Faith if he had taken his aunt's and his half-brother's heads for the slight they gave with that Harroway business. The core insult here was the personal slight done to both the High Septon and the Hightowers with the second marriage - if the incest had been that big of deal it would have never been possible to push through the Doctrine of Exceptionalism nor would the Seven Kingdoms have accepted the incest of the Conqueror and later that of Jaehaerys and Alysanne. In fact, not even Aegon and Rhaena would have gotten the support they had.

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Every person in a decision-making capacity can be opened to criticism.  Visenya did what was needed to protect the Targaryens from the demands of the religious fanatics.  

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