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Alyn Oakenfist

Who is more legitimate, Stannis or Aegon?

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11 minutes ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

They can oppose them through all out popular revolt, something that Cersei, the ultimate embodiment of the legitimacy by blood, will find out to her sorrow, when the population rebels against her for Aegon.

They can certainly try & they may even succeed but they may not. 

At any rate I was speaking of not being able to revolt against someone because they are too strong, have too much support to oppose. If Cersei had the allies & strength to do so, she would smack down any revolt that rises. 

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1 minute ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

If Cersei had the allies & strength to do so, she would smack down any revolt that rises. 

Yes for now that is the reality of Westeros. Popular revolts (for now the only means by which the people express their power) need very special circumstances to succeed. As I said I think that overthrowing Cersei is just going to be a first step. After Aegon becomes King (and probably the best king the continent has seen since Aegon V) and is then killed by Dany, who becomes a deeply unpopular ruler and is eventually killed by Jon, the people will for the first time realize their power. And when they finally figure out that power is actually theirs, well then it might take a while but there will be no way to stop the train leading to constitutional monarchy at the least if not an all out republic.

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Just now, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The North too. They would never have declared independence while the Targs were on the Throne. Tywin is also probably of the same mentality, it's just that his family is already on the Throne. While I do agree that blood still matters a little bit, it no longer matters as it did. A five way civil war would have been impossible in the time of the Targs. Don't get me wrong, legitimacy by blood has a lot, and I mean a lot of problems and it does often result in war, but it's a lot better then legitimacy by conquest. The best way is legitimacy from the people (I do know that all legitimacy ultimately stems fromt he people, but you also need the people to be aware of that, something which they still don't realize, yet) as it involves the least amount of game of thrones-ing.

They would just rebel against them, dethrone them  and oust them.  The reason for why they did not declare independence seems to be Ned and only Ned, not any sense of loyalty towards the 

A Five  way civil war comes from the specific context  of the it. Stannis wants the Throne but does not have the power to get it, Joffrey is a bastard but King nonetheless, Robb has ties  with the Riverlands, Renly wants the crown and he is the charismatic lord of the Stormlands so he already has a powerbase, and the Greyjoys always reap on unstability. In no other context  of Westeros a coctel so explosive  was made, but once made, it would've exploded in the face of absolutely everyone who sat in the IT.

 

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Legitimacy is near irrelevant. Like screamers to a khal or the free folk who'll never kneel to their king. Its all about power.

Euron isnt the first one without Valyrian roots to dream of subjugating Westeros, there were like half a dozen at least in the dance.

If Jaime never got up from that bloody chair, he might have been king. Lannister men were swarming the city and ready for further battle.

If Ned sat down, he too could have been king.

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Just to make a couple of things very clear:

The Baratheons effectively are Targaryens themselves. They just go by a different name and they have different looks. That's it. Their founder, Orys Baratheon, seems to have been an uncknowledged bastard son of Lord Aerion Targaryen, making them an illegitimate Targaryen cadet branch from the start - most likely also a cadet branch in unbroken male line, I might add (since it doesn't seem likely that Robert is descended from Orys through some girl).

Even if we were to discard the claim that Orys was Lord Aerion's son (which is believed by Archmaester Gyldayn and by Jaehaerys I according to Gyldayn's narrative) then Robert Baratheon and his father Steffon are still descended from King Aegon V Targaryen through his daughter Rhaelle.

They are Targaryens who go by a different name, just as Laenor and Laena Velaryon were effectively Targaryen who went by different names - Laenor is very much the Robert to Aerys II's Viserys I - the former is a king's great-grandson and the latter a king's grandson.

In that sense the overall framing of Robert's Rebellion as one dynasty replacing another makes no sense. Not in a meaningful sense at least. It is like differentiating between the House of Capet and the House of Valois or the House of Valois and the House Bourbon. Or between the House of Lancaster and the House of York - they are all the same.

I understand why people get this inclination that Baratheons are not Targaryens and that Robert's Rebellion really toppled a dynasty and established another - that's because in the first three novels there is no indication that Robert and Rhaegar were particularly close cousins. Renly even trumpets publicly that Targaryens and Baratheons are only very distantly related, indicating that the last marriage between those two houses took place a hundred years ago - and not just about 35 years before Robert's Rebellion.

If you follow my stuff then you know that I'm rather outspoken critic of Renly's ridiculous talk about his distant kinship with the Targaryens - because that makes a fool out of the man and goes about everything that's important to a true noblemen in a medieval setting - his family tree. And the people in that scene would mock Renly outright for pissing on his own exalted ancestry like that. Not every nobleman has a princess for a grandmother (especially not in Westeros where royal princesses are rather scarce).

We do have to come to terms with that - with George decision to make Robert and his brothers much closer Targaryen cousins than they were back when he wrote ACoK. This seems to be a rather significant decision on his part considering it is not only relevant on a dynastic level but also ties into the whole Azor Ahai/promised prince/savior stuff: It is Stannis Baratheon's rather recent descent from a Targaryen king which, in Maester Aemon's opinion, causes Melisandre of Asshai to conclude that Stannis might be the promised prince (it may not be Mel's only motivation and Aemon might be mistaken there, but Mel's talk with Jon Snow about Dragonstone in ADwD seem to confirm that).

On the political level this means to put a great emphasis on the Robert's blood claim and lesser emphasis on the fact that he won the war (or rather: the first round of the war since the Targaryens are coming back).

When you read AGoT and ACoK then one can come to the conclusion that the Rebellion did indeed overthrow one dynasty and replaced it with another - sort of like this or that Roman emperor overthrew a previous dynasty and replaced it with his own (or how Chinese emperors did that).

[ASoS is the first book putting cracks in that idea since there we hear Rhaegar talk Robert about his 'cousin' in Jaime's memory and have Olenna stress the 'Targaryen blood' of the Baratheons - both indicating a close and meaningful kinship.]

But that's not really what happened. Robert is more like Maegor the Cruel (or later Jaehaerys I) or how Daemon Blackfyre would have been if he had won, i.e. a scion from a cadet branch of the royal family who overthrow his cousins, than he is a member of a different dynasty.

It makes no sense to count Jaehaerys I's half-uncle Maegor as a member of his family and pretend that Rhaegar's second cousin Robert Baratheon was from a different family.

The only reason why Robert doesn't call himself 'Targaryen' or why he doesn't include the three-headed dragon in his banner (like Harrold Hardyng includes the moon-and-falcon of House Arryn in his arms) seems to be the fact that he very much loathes the branch of House Targaryen (his family) he overthrew and persecuted. That makes sense. But names are just names - they do not affect degree of kinship or unmake existing family relations. It is the same with Daemon Blackfyre and his so-called house. The man can reverse the colors of his sigil and he call himself and his descendants Blackfyre but he is still a Targaryen, descended from the same guy Daeron II is

And all this makes sense since the overwhelming legal principle of Westeros is rule by virtue of noble/royal blood. That's the guiding legal principle of this world. It is what separates the haves from the have-nots, it is what justifies the exploitation of 'the smallfolk', it is what keeps the rabble in place. To show deference to highborn people is something every Westerosi south of the Wall learns from infancy onwards. It is a cruel world and savage at times, but the foundations of the Westerosi feudal system are rock solid.

This is not a world were lords believe they can become kings just because they have the biggest club. This is a world where royal dynasties and noble bloodlines routinely last thousands (!) of years in (allegedly) unbroken male line. It is not a world where royalty is overthrown on a whim and replaced with a man who can only justify his arse sitting on the throne because has has a big sword.

The world where that kind of thing happens is the wildling world and, to a point, also the world of the Dothraki. There there is much more social mobility, there a man really can fight his way to the top. But in the Seven Kingdoms this doesn't work. One really has to accept that. Else one doesn't really operate within the legal framework of the fictional world George created.

On 3/24/2020 at 4:11 PM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Basically it's the old question that plagued England during and after the Civil War. Where does political legitimacy stem from? The people or God and blood. The english at the end decided that legitimacy stems from the people, and their choice to have a constitutional monarchy subservient to the people (not the other way around). Before that Charles I claimed that his legitimacy stems from God and his royal blood, and as such he could not be held accountable for all the stuff he did. Way before that Edward the Conqueror claimed legitimacy by right of conquest (sure he had some very weird pretext, concerning some promises, but all that was so thin that it didn't matter).

You have to distinguish between conquests and coups in all that. A conquest that worked means you declare war (or attack in a war-like fashion without declaring war), conquer land, and then formally establish yourself as the ruler of that country. This usually involves the submission of the defeated and them agreeing to accept you as their new ruler (else the war is never over and you simply do not really rule the conquered land)

Proper conquests we don't see very often in Westeros - Aegon I conquered six kingdoms but not Dorne. Dorne he presumed to have conquered but he was only talking to himself there, not the Dornishmen. Daeron I later conquered the Dornish nobility but never the Dornish people.

All the succession and civil wars we see are not conquests as such - as Westerosi in a united Realm beat up each other - they are struggles who should be the guy at the top. And that isn't really the right way to talk about 'conquest'. You do conquer foreign territory, you do not conquer your own country. That point is easily illustrated when one pretended that Roose 'conquered' the North via the Red Wedding and Tommen's decree - he is a Northman himself, he cannot conquer is own homeland. Instead, he pushed aside/murdered the people in charge. That is a different thing.

And from Maegor the Cruel to Tommen Baratheon the people vying for the Iron Throne were always (alleged) members of the royal family - they were Targaryens, Velaryons, alleged Targaryen bastards (or descendants of such bastards), legitimized bastards who had become princes, and Baratheons. They were never just arbitary noblemen who tried to seize the throne without having any blood claim they could use as a pretext.

This is why your idea that Renly or Euron claim 'right of conquest' as their guiding principle is wrong. Renly is a Targaryen descendant and a brother to the previous king. He has a very strong blood claim. Of course he needs to win a campaign to convince his fellow countrymen that his claim should be seen as the strongest when legal tradition doesn't exactly see him as the heir apparent to his brother, but that doesn't change the fact that no one can deny that Renly as a pretty strong claim to the Iron Throne compared to any other lord or knight who doesn't happen to be descended from King Aegon V.

And Euron plans to conquer Westeros with the help of Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons. He knows he will need force to take his throne but he is not entering the game without a blood claim - he likely intends to sit the Iron Throne by right of his Targaryen wife.

That Westerosi pretenders do rather strict with their blood claims can be seen with Robb sticking to the North and the Trident as his kingdoms (to which he would have had blood claims via his Stark and Tully blood) when a smarter move may have been to really go all in and try to take the Iron Throne (that way he may have been able to convince the Tyrells to join him after Renly's death), Harren the Red sticking to the Riverlands, Jonos Arryn sticking to the Vale, Lyonel Baratheon sticking to the Stormlands, etc.

If we were to imagine that crowns came pretty cheap in Westeros - that they could be seized and defended by any lord who felt like it - then we would have seen more of that.

Instead it is quite clear that blood claims are what rule this world ... just as it is clear that people with royal and noble blood do not always agree that petty principles like primogeniture should prevent them from taking what they knew should be theirs by right. Meaning in the end it all bottles down to family squabbles. You may have to fear that your brother or cousin might try to usurp your place, but you don't really have to fear that some retainer or servant of yours would ever dream to sit in your lofty high seat or throne. That's something Westerosi society would simply never permit.

On 3/24/2020 at 4:11 PM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

It is my belief that the end of the story will bring this reform in which while inheritance might still be dynastic, the King's legititmacy I think will stem from the people in the form of Westeros's first constitution. The seeds of this are already there in the Sparrow movement, which while religious in nature does not claim legitimacy from the Gods as the rest of the church does, but from the people and their customs and wishes. The Sparrow movement will likely play a crucial role in establishing Aegon as king, by rising up against Cersei. After he is killed by Dany, and Dany becomes the ultimate representation of legitimacy by conquest, then for the first time people will be in outrage at the system that promotes blood and conquest over the people. After Dany eventually dies and the Long Night is done and dusted with, then the people of Westeros will for the first time be given a small measure of control over their rulers. It will be little at first, just a constitution and some rights, maybe even a little representation if they are lucky. But those will be the seeds that in time will turn Westeros into a true constitutional Monarchy, ad finally legitimacy will stem not from conquest, but from the people (blood will still matter, but the King will not be the absolute measure of the kingdom, but rather the people and as such legitimacy will stem from them rather then from the king).

The sparrow movement is a movement of commoners, yes, but like commoners in the middle ages they are not 'democrats' of any kind. They are religious zealots, and the Faith is effectively the antithesis of a progressive democratic movement (very much like the Catholic Church is despite the fact that the pope is an elected absolutist monarch). Instead, the High Septon is obviously an even more absolute ruler than any king in Westeros, considering he is seen as the living avatar of the Seven on Earth.

Also, the common people in a monarchy are rarely progressive, especially not in the sense that they would count them as a party who would profit from a weakening of royal power. They would profit if royal power increased because that would weaken the hold the lords have over them - who are their main exploiters, not the king. The king is the guy who enforces the King's Peace - which was continuously broken by evil lords and false pretender kings during the War of the Five Kings, triggering the entire sparrow movement.

And the sparrows are very much looking for a savior - they did install their guy as High Septon, but that's not going to restore peace. That's going to be the job for a Targaryen.

It would be a great story if the common people got some agency and there was some kind of revolution happening in this world. But that's not likely to happen. The commoners have no voice of their own, they are not featured among the POVs (Davos and Areo don't count having essentially become the pets of their lordly masters, aping their values), and it would be a very cheap ploy to suddenly introduce them shortly before the story ends. The sparrows and the new High Septon will play a role, but they won't democratize Westeros in a meaningful way.

The best one can hope for insofar as the people of Westeros are concerned is some kind of enlightened absolutist monarchy at the end - a ruler powerful enough to enact the reforms of Aegon V, to cull the power of the lords (who are really the root of all evil insofar as the well-being of the peasants is concerned), and to establish a working judiciary and law enforcement system that impartially deals with grievances, complaints, and criminal cases.

And I assume there is a considerable chance for such an outcomes since the defeat of the Others will necessitate a unification of Westeros under a single power, ruling with the necessary strength and effectiveness to really coordinate efforts to save mankind. Regardless whether this person or those persons will survive the series - they could establish a powerful system of government their successors could use to change Westeros for the better.

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26 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

Following the line of thinking that “Baratheons are Targs”, then all noble families are the same, they all have a drop of each other’s blood at this point. 

Indeed there are so many things wrong with LV's comment but since he's not addressing to anyone...

Who you guys think would have the better claim if the Baratheons died out and the Targs were defeated but not exterminated??  

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19 minutes ago, frenin said:

Indeed there are so many things wrong with LV's comment but since he's not addressing to anyone...

Who you guys think would have the better claim if the Baratheons died out and the Targs were defeated but not exterminated??  

I suppose it depends on who you're asking... I for one don't think a new ruler must have Targ blood. So for me it's whoever can take it and has support among the nobility (to be able to keep it). 

Or were you talking specifically about RR?

Edited by kissdbyfire

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10 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

Following the line of thinking that “Baratheons are Targs”, then all noble families are the same, they all have a drop of each other’s blood at this point. 

One could say that - but this becomes only relevant when there is something to claim. Robert Arryn isn't a Tully but people consider the possibility that the Blackfish could claim the Tully castle of Riverrun in his name because he is Lysa Tully's son and Hoster Tully's grandson.

Or take Amerei Frey-Darry - she is chosen as a bride for Lancel because of her blood. Something that wouldn't matter if they hadn't been trying to solidify their hold on Darry that way.

King Tommen is legally a Baratheon but with Cersei now being Lady of Casterly Rock he is also her heir - something that wouldn't be important if Casterly Rock had passed to Jaime or Tyrion.

But of course it would be wrong to tongue-in-cheek pretend this would make them all alike. There are real family trees. If you take the Stark family tree no Boltons show up - which, I think, is very significant because it prevents George from having to answer the question why the hell Roose and Ramsay have to go with 'Lady Arya' and not just lay claim to Winterfell as Ned's third cousins or something of that sort. If the Boltons had some Stark ancestor in the 3rd century then this definitely would help their power grab. [In fact, the fact that Ned's closest kin live in the Vale also helps to explain why there is no Northern lord who tries to challenge the Bolton power grab by styling himself a Stark and the rightful heir of the Young Wolf as, say, Robb's second or third cousin.] The same is true for the Targaryen-Baratheons - if Steffon had had, say, two sisters and Tommen's court right now were filled with his second cousins then there would be no power vacuum which Aegon and Dany could exploit.

If a family dies out in the main line then obscure female line descendants show up. We are likely going to see more of this if George continues 'the succession of Rosby' plot line he started in the Epilogue. Six claimants have come forth and one assumes that any who aren't alleged bastards of dear Lord Gyles are obscure Rosby kin allegedly descended from some aunt or great-aunt or cousin of Gyles's (people have suggested that Gyles's obscure ward who Cersei passed over was Olyvar Frey, son of Bethany Rosby - if this is true he might be one of the six claimants).

Or take the Hornwood succession or Cat's advice to Robb about the Stark cousins in the Vale - some of the people there might be great-grandchildren of Jocelyn Stark's.

With places like Rosby and Darry (where the castle/lordship has the same name as the noble house) it is pretty much a given that such heirs would take the name of their distant ancestors (Lancel Lannister may not have done that, but his children by Ami may have) and one also imagines that a seat as prestigious and anicent as Winterfell claimed by some Stark-Corbray, Stark-Waynwood, or Stark-Templeton would have taken on the Stark name (although I'm less certain about a very proud house like Lannister or Arryn doing that - if Sansa and Tyrion's descendants had inherited Winterfell they may have gone by 'Lannister of Winterfell').

Robert sort of pulled off the same thing. It wasn't a peaceful transition, of course, but he stood closest to the throne, anyway, coming directly after Aerys II's own children and grandchildren, and possibly even before the women (Rhaenys, Daenerys, and Rhaella). That he didn't take the dragon name and banner is pretty curious - especially since it is nothing new for the Baratheons to take new arms - but very easily explained by the fact that Robert loathed the particular Targaryens he overthrew (the branch of Aerys II) and really didn't want to identify with them. But he took their throne and castle and city, anyway. If he truly had wanted to establish a new dynasty having nothing to do with the old he would have established his court at Storm's End.

That's also the reason why stresses his 'war hammer claim' so much - at least that's how one should interpret it from AFfC onwards where it is made quite clear that the Baratheons were not just some distant Targaryen cousins but the closest ones around.

This doesn't really harm things much - all it does is that it pushes us to see Robert more in Maegor territory (a successful usurper from a cadet branch who ruled for a time) than as a guy who really established a new dynasty in the sense that there were no (significant) blood ties to the old dynasty.

And to be sure - that fits in very well with medieval royal dynasty - who were literally never overthrown by unrelated new dynasties but always challenged by claimants and pretenders from different branches of their own family, especially when the main branch died without a male heir, creating a power vacuum.

Trying to paint Robert as a 'new man' founding 'a new royal dynasty' unrelated the old dynasty creates a wrong picture, indicating that Westeros was a society where blood claims do not matter as much as they actually do. That would be a different society.

We can say that birth order, primogeniture, and even trueborn vs. bastard parentage aren't sacrosanct principles, but blood claims really are.

Nobody in Westeros seems to be of the notion that, say, a Beesbury could just decide he wanted to be Lord Florent because he felt like it (i.e. having no Florents among his more immediate ancestors) and men to rally to his banners, but the overwhelming majority of two kingdoms don't have the slightest issue with the presumptions of 'King Renly', and a similar thing can be said for the ambitions of Daemon Blackfyre.

That does tell us something.

3 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

I suppose it depends on who you're asking... I for one don't think a new ruler must have Targ blood. So for me it's whoever can take it and has support among the nobility (to be able to keep it).

That is really the wrong question - only people with a strong enough blood claim would be able to get enough members of the nobility on board. That's how those people are thinking.

Or do you honestly thinking that men like Tywin or Mace - who really have the power to dominate the Crown or even raise a strong enough army to defeat a king supported by 1-2 lesser regions of the Seven Kingdoms - would really be able to gain support among their noble peers if they flat-out declared they wanted to seize the Iron Throne?

Everything we know would indicate that such an enterprise would be doomed from the start. If this were a viable option then we could expect that these two people wouldn't have bothered with Renly or Joffrey and would have instead started a campaign to put themselves on the throne.

Instead, if the Targaryen-Baratheons died out people would likely look for some other cousins - most likely starting with other descendants of King Maekar (through his daughters). But, to be sure, if people believed the story about Orys being the Conqueror's half-brother all the Baratheons descendants from Orys on would have a claim they could push - which is sort of acknowledged as being viable when they discuss the deposition of Jaehaerys I in FaB. People would not expect Lord Rogar to usurp the throne himself if they did not see him as potential claimant/pretender to the throne.

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A lot has already been touched on here, but I just want to add that even Daenerys knows her father lost the throne. Aerys and the Targs were defeated by conquest. Now there might be a double meaning here that her father "lost" the throne. On a different symbolic level the Targs own that hunk of metal, as I mentioned before, and they own what it represents.

By Westerosi law, which this part seems to be more Andal derived, it means Stannis is the next in line.

  • A Storm of Swords - Daenerys V

    Some of her sellswords smelled as if they had not washed or changed their clothes since her father lost the Iron Throne, but the Unsullied bathed each evening, even if they'd marched all day. When no water was available they cleansed themselves with sand, the Dothraki way.

The Baratheons are as much Targaryen as Karstarks are Starks, which is to say not that much at all despite maybe, rumored Orys (that could have more of a kindred-type brotherhood bond) and Rhaelle, who was only half-Targ. I think that's the point, though, that all the blood is mixing so the idea of tracing back to who is "rightful" by blood is going to have a hard time proving anything (this system is failing). 

Assuming the ruling system stays in place as it is now (no social progression), then who ever takes throne by conquest (maybe a council vote?) is the new ruler. As of right now it is Stannis.

  • GRRM clarifies that the Starks and Karstarks are two distinct families now: 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. here.

Aegon 1 achieved the massive expansionism he did because he had dragons. Not everyone was happy and accepting of them, and those that were wanted something of the power for themselves, which is why they tried to sell their frickin' daughters to get mixed in with the fire-power. Grasping "elites".

  • A Storm of Swords - Davos V

    "Power?" The king snorted. "I have thirteen hundred men on Dragonstone, another three hundred at Storm's End." His hand swept over the Painted Table. "The rest of Westeros is in the hands of my foes. I have no fleet but Salladhor Saan's. No coin to hire sellswords. No prospect of plunder or glory to lure freeriders to my cause."

    "Lord husband," said Queen Selyse, "you have more men than Aegon did three hundred years ago. All you lack are dragons."

  • A Storm of Swords - Davos V

    Melisandre swears that she has seen me in her flames, facing the dark with Lightbringer raised on high. Lightbringer!" 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?"

 

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1 hour ago, kissdbyfire said:

I suppose it depends on who you're asking... I for one don't think a new ruler must have Targ blood. So for me it's whoever can take it and has support among the nobility (to be able to keep it). 

Or were you talking specifically about RR?

Nah, I'm talking if in the offchance than Dany, Aegon and Jon were defeated by Stannis but he himself and Shireen died then what... Chaos??

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1 hour ago, The Fattest Leech said:

A lot has already been touched on here, but I just want to add that even Daenerys knows her father lost the throne.

Of course they 'lost' the physical throne. But that has nothing to do with their claim - just as the burning of Winterfell and Bran and Rickon's cowardly flight did not affect their claims to their father's seat.

The idea that anyone can lose a claim 'by conquest' is utter silliness since that doesn't really affect you unless you admit defeat and give up your claim (which you can do the way Maester Aemon or Duncan Targaryen did). Else Stannis would have 'lost his claim by conquest' when Joffrey whipped his ass on the Blackwater and sent him back running to Dragonstone like the doomed pretender that he is. It would also rob the Starks of all claims to Winterfell because their claims would have drowned in blood at the Red Wedding (and Bran and Rickon would have lost their claims when they ran and hid like cowards).

It makes no sense from any sort of political point of view to arbitarily mark a temporal setback (unless your formally yield and give up your claims, of course) as a decisive thing. In fact, it is repeatedly made clear that if you usurp somebody's throne or seat then you don't sit their securely until you have dealt with all the kin of the people who were originally in charge (that fact is very much hammered home with the Blackfyres who all had to go to give the Targaryens some peace). If the Targaryens lost their claims at the Trident or during the Sack we could all go home and stop reading the books because there would be no way how they could get back what they lost because everybody would universally say they lost the claim, and they could not get it back, and any attempt at conquest would be futile and doomed from the start because nobody would ever support them because the Baratheons were the rightful kings now, etc.

Instead, we see pretty much everybody agreeing that they still have a claim and acknowledging that they are the rightful royal family even if they are in exile right now - and even if not all the people who admit that would actually support them during a campaign to restore them to the throne. Just as not all the people knowing that Bran and Rickon are the rightful heirs to Winterfell (among them, of course, Roose and Ramsay themselves) would support their bid to reclaim the North.

But that is clearly not the case.

Nobody in the books ever says a defeat in battle means you lost a claim or have to accept the new political status quo. And nobody ever says the Targaryens lost any claims - and the fact that the Starks retain their claims to Winterfell is repeatedly and powerfully reinforced (by the Bolton marrying 'Arya', by the desire of the Tyrells and Lannisters to marry Sansa even before Robb's death,

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The Baratheons are as much Targaryen as Karstarks are Starks, which is to say not that much at all despite maybe, rumored Orys (that could have more of a kindred-type brotherhood bond) and Rhaelle, who was only half-Targ. I think that's the point, though, that all the blood is mixing so the idea of tracing back to who is "rightful" by blood is going to have a hard time proving anything (this system is failing). 

Sorry, no. It is irrelevant who Rhaelle's mother was (Robb is also a full Stark, never mind that his mother was a Tully - and Ned is not a 'fuller' Stark because he had two Starks as parents) - the important thing is that her father was King Aegon V Targaryen. Robert is the great-grandson of a king, just like Harry the Heir is the great-grandson of Lord Jasper Arryn. And he even presumes to include the moon-and-falcon sigil of House Arryn into his personal arms. He sees himself and is seen as an Arryn. If this can be the case then Robert is also very much a dragon ... but it is, of course, his call whether to include the three-headed dragon in his sigil or not. Nobody can force him to do that or to call himself 'Targaryen'. But if Harry ended up naming himself Arryn, if Laenor Velaryon had called himself 'Targaryen' if he had won the throne (as some people believe), then Robert certainly could also have called himself 'Targaryen' if he wanted to and would have faced no opposition whatsoever.

This has nothing to do with the Starks and the Karstarks - the Karstarks and the Starks split a thousand years ago and so much time passed between them that the Karstarks even changed their name (just as the Greystarks of old did).

Rhaegar and Robert were as closely related as Robb and Bran would be related to the Blackfish's grandchildren if he had any. Robert's grandmother and Rhaegar's grandfather were siblings.

That is the very definition of family.

If you check the family tree then Robb and Rickard Karstark are by no means as closely related as Robert and Rhaegar.

The reason why Robb isn't a kinslayer when he kills Lord Rickard is not because of the Karhold Stark branch - but simply because the present-day Karstarks and the present-day Starks are not very closely related.

How distant you kinship has to be for you to be considered a kinslayer is likely a vague thing. I imagine one could still make a case for second or third cousins - especially, but not only, if they went by the same name.

But whether you are closely enough related to be called a kinslayer has no bearing on whether you are closely enough related to have a claim to a throne. Being the great-grandson of a king always puts you were far ahead in any line of succession compared to the people who don't have a king for a great-grandfather.

Edited by Lord Varys

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16 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Of course they 'lost' the physical throne. But that has nothing to do with their claim - just as the burning of Winterfell and Bran and Rickon's cowardly flight did not affect their claims to their father's seat.

Yeah! Those little shits, such cowards! Both of them, the 9 yr old and the 3 yr old! :lol:  :laugh: :lmao: :rofl: 

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25 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

Yeah! Those little shits, such cowards! Both of them, the 9 yr old and the 3 yr old! :lol:  :laugh: :lmao: :rofl: 

That is irony.

And you get the meaning - last time I looked Viserys III was about Bran's age when he was forced to leave Dragonstone (possibly against his will since he and his sister were effectively abducted) and Daenerys was still an infant.

If this kind of 'cowardly flight' has no affect on the standing of the Starks we have no reason to imagine that it does affect the standing of the Targaryens.

Just as we can all agree that the power of the legend of House Stark would not just evaporate to nothingness if Bran and Rickon or their siblings took about the time it takes George to write two books until they showed up to reclaim what is theirs.

Never mind how much the foolish war of 'King Robb' harmed the North and the Northmen - they lost about 15,000 men thanks to Robb's desire for vengeance, and had to contend with the Ironborn on their own turf. That should be enough for them to decide they had enough of those wolves ... but I doubt that it was.

Just as there is little doubt that if you asked the people of Westeros a majority of the people would tell you they preferred to the dragon to the stag (and most definitely to the lion).

Edited by Lord Varys

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9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The Baratheons effectively are Targaryens themselves. They just go by a different name and they have different looks. That's it. Their founder, Orys Baratheon, seems to have been an uncknowledged bastard son of Lord Aerion Targaryen, making them an illegitimate Targaryen cadet branch from the start - most likely also a cadet branch in unbroken male line, I might add (since it doesn't seem likely that Robert is descended from Orys through some girl).

The ,,their founder was a Targ so they are as well" argument doesn't really hold water when you consider the fact that Orys took the Durrandon coat of arms and words, as well as their castle, not to mention marrying Argella. He clearly wanted, and succeeded in taking a Durrandon identity.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

You have to distinguish between conquests and coups in all that. A conquest that worked means you declare war (or attack in a war-like fashion without declaring war), conquer land, and then formally establish yourself as the ruler of that country. This usually involves the submission of the defeated and them agreeing to accept you as their new ruler (else the war is never over and you simply do not really rule the conquered land)

Proper conquests we don't see very often in Westeros - Aegon I conquered six kingdoms but not Dorne. Dorne he presumed to have conquered but he was only talking to himself there, not the Dornishmen. Daeron I later conquered the Dornish nobility but never the Dornish people.

All the succession and civil wars we see are not conquests as such - as Westerosi in a united Realm beat up each other - they are struggles who should be the guy at the top. And that isn't really the right way to talk about 'conquest'. You do conquer foreign territory, you do not conquer your own country. That point is easily illustrated when one pretended that Roose 'conquered' the North via the Red Wedding and Tommen's decree - he is a Northman himself, he cannot conquer is own homeland. Instead, he pushed aside/murdered the people in charge. That is a different thing.

And from Maegor the Cruel to Tommen Baratheon the people vying for the Iron Throne were always (alleged) members of the royal family - they were Targaryens, Velaryons, alleged Targaryen bastards (or descendants of such bastards), legitimized bastards who had become princes, and Baratheons. They were never just arbitary noblemen who tried to seize the throne without having any blood claim they could use as a pretext.

This is why your idea that Renly or Euron claim 'right of conquest' as their guiding principle is wrong. Renly is a Targaryen descendant and a brother to the previous king. He has a very strong blood claim. Of course he needs to win a campaign to convince his fellow countrymen that his claim should be seen as the strongest when legal tradition doesn't exactly see him as the heir apparent to his brother, but that doesn't change the fact that no one can deny that Renly as a pretty strong claim to the Iron Throne compared to any other lord or knight who doesn't happen to be descended from King Aegon V.

Oh no I agree that blood matters, but it's mattering less and less, sadly for Westeros. I'm saying sadly due to the fact that the less it matters, the more lords will be fighting for the Throne. In the times of the Targs the war of the five kings would have maybe been between Stannis and Joffrey and not a five way civil war. Also while coups and conquest are different so are coups and civil wars.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And Euron plans to conquer Westeros with the help of Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons. He knows he will need force to take his throne but he is not entering the game without a blood claim - he likely intends to sit the Iron Throne by right of his Targaryen wife.

Mate, he only cares about Dany for the dragons, he doesn't give a squat about legitimacy. He even says he is going to conquer the seven kingdoms, not take his right or something like that but conquer.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The sparrow movement is a movement of commoners, yes, but like commoners in the middle ages they are not 'democrats' of any kind. They are religious zealots, and the Faith is effectively the antithesis of a progressive democratic movement (very much like the Catholic Church is despite the fact that the pope is an elected absolutist monarch). Instead, the High Septon is obviously an even more absolute ruler than any king in Westeros, considering he is seen as the living avatar of the Seven on Earth.

Also, the common people in a monarchy are rarely progressive, especially not in the sense that they would count them as a party who would profit from a weakening of royal power. They would profit if royal power increased because that would weaken the hold the lords have over them - who are their main exploiters, not the king. The king is the guy who enforces the King's Peace - which was continuously broken by evil lords and false pretender kings during the War of the Five Kings, triggering the entire sparrow movement.

Well limited royal authority can be either a good or a bad thing, depending on whom does the freed up power goes to. That's why the normal step towards progress was feudalism -> absolutism -> democracy

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The best one can hope for insofar as the people of Westeros are concerned is some kind of enlightened absolutist monarchy at the end - a ruler powerful enough to enact the reforms of Aegon V, to cull the power of the lords (who are really the root of all evil insofar as the well-being of the peasants is concerned), and to establish a working judiciary and law enforcement system that impartially deals with grievances, complaints, and criminal cases.

And I assume there is a considerable chance for such an outcomes since the defeat of the Others will necessitate a unification of Westeros under a single power, ruling with the necessary strength and effectiveness to really coordinate efforts to save mankind. Regardless whether this person or those persons will survive the series - they could establish a powerful system of government their successors could use to change Westeros for the better.

I dunno, absolutism if clearly better then the current feudalistic mess, but I think there is going to be enough when Dany comes in with the dragons. She would have absolute power due to them. And Dany's (probably short and bloody) rule is going to show the problems of absolutism. I think in the end the result will be a kind of constitutional absolutism, similar to the Tudors in England (though that was a bit weird seeing as it was never clear exactly who had the power seeing as King and Parliament almost always worked together. It wasn't until Charles that King and Parliament starting to have problems)

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Instead, we see pretty much everybody agreeing that they still have a claim and acknowledging that they are the rightful royal family even if they are in exile right now - and even if not all the people who admit that would actually support them during a campaign to restore them to the throne. Just as not all the people knowing that Bran and Rickon are the rightful heirs to Winterfell (among them, of course, Roose and Ramsay themselves) would support their bid to reclaim the North.

But that is clearly not the case.

That's again false.

You keep conflating the Stark case and the Targ without acknowledging the blatant diferencis between them.

 

 

13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Nobody in the books ever says a defeat in battle means you lost a claim or have to accept the new political status quo. And nobody ever says the Targaryens lost any claims - and the fact that the Starks retain their claims to Winterfell is repeatedly and powerfully reinforced (by the Bolton marrying 'Arya', by the desire of the Tyrells and Lannisters to marry Sansa even before Robb's death,

And when something similar happens to the Targs?? In the Stark case you have very important familes, friends and foes alike, that still acknowledge them as rightful rulers of Winterfell and tried to get Sansa on board, where that even to the Targs?? Sansa became the most desired prize in Westeros, for the Targs to be that Dany had to hatch dragons. 

 

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Never mind how much the foolish war of 'King Robb' harmed the North and the Northmen - they lost about 15,000 men thanks to Robb's desire for vengeance, and had to contend with the Ironborn on their own turf. That should be enough for them to decide they had enough of those wolves ... but I doubt that it was.

Yes in the Stark that may be not the case... now, 20 years with peace and a well liked king  can and do change the priorities of many,  but the Starks aren't the Targs and the loyaltie the North might feel for them=/ the loyalty Westeros feel for the Targs.

 

 

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 Just as there is little doubt that if you asked the people of Westeros a majority of the people would tell you they preferred to the dragon to the stag (and most definitely to the lion).

I'm sure that if i asked you that would be the answer, i'm far less sure about the people of Westeros.

 

 

5 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Well limited royal authority can be either a good or a bad thing, depending on whom does the freed up power goes to. That's why the normal step towards progress was feudalism -> absolutism -> democracy

Saying that the lords are the folk main exploiters but not the king is like saying that if we remove all the lorchs and rorges of Westeros, but not the Tywins and Ramsays, Westeros would be more peaceful. 

 

 

5 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

I dunno, absolutism if clearly better then the current feudalistic mess, but I think there is going to be enough when Dany comes in with the dragons. She would have absolute power due to them. And Dany's (probably short and bloody) rule is going to show the problems of absolutism. I think in the end the result will be a kind of constitutional absolutism, similar to the Tudors in England (though that was a bit weird seeing as it was never clear exactly who had the power seeing as King and Parliament almost always worked together. It wasn't until Charles that King and Parliament starting to have problems)

I agree here.

 

 

 

Edited by frenin

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1 hour ago, frenin said:
6 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Well limited royal authority can be either a good or a bad thing, depending on whom does the freed up power goes to. That's why the normal step towards progress was feudalism -> absolutism -> democracy

Saying that the lords are the folk main exploiters but not the king is like saying that if we remove all the lorchs and rorges of Westeros, but not the Tywins and Ramsays, Westeros would be more peaceful. 

Your compassion is a bit forced, don't you think. What I'm saying is that the that feudalism is the worst, followed by absolutism and then by democracy. Absolutism has the King at his highest power so removing his power can lead in 2 directions, one good one bad.

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Of course they 'lost' the physical throne. But that has nothing to do with their claim - 

The issue here is not about claim but about rights, I think most posters here will agree that the Targaryens do have a claim to the IT but will disagree on whether they're still the rightful monarchs since the rebels defeated them fair and square and seized the throne just as Aegon the conqueror seized Westeros by defeating her various Kings irregardless of whether the defeated party admitted and accepted defeat, I saw you mention Dorne, well in that case Aegon was a pretender to Dorne not because the Martells didn't acknowledge house Targaryen as their overlords but because he didn't (couldn't) physically conquer Dorne, if he had then he would de facto be the leader of Dorne. 

13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Just as there is little doubt that if you asked the people of Westeros a majority of the people would tell you they preferred to the dragon to the stag (and most definitely to the lion).

Actually there's a very huge doubt as this is a grossly unsubstantiated claim on your part. Can you provide what evidence led you to this conclusion other than the few 2-4 incidences of the old man in Arya's chapter and the toast in the citadel, I think we can agree that these incidences do not definitively indicate that the majority of the Westerosi prefer Targaryens 

In anycase most of the Westerosi do not care at all whether there's a dragon or stag on the IT. 

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14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Of course they 'lost' the physical throne. But that has nothing to do with their claim - just as the burning of Winterfell and Bran and Rickon's cowardly flight did not affect their claims to their father's seat.

Not the same at all. Aside from Bran and Rickon being children when all of the uncertainty of what was happening to the Starks was happening, they weren't conquered by might. They were taken advantage of by trickery because the sitting Stark was a boy and was slightly misguided. Small infractions that should have meant nothing in normal times, but all added up to allow a breach in Winterfell. And by breach, the biggest trickster in the whole fiasco is Ramsay Snow.

Half the lords in Westeros know Cersei's children are Jaime's = NOT legit to being Baratheon nor "legit" to sit the throne and rule. But they follow because they get rewards and/or they fear Tywin (to narrow it down simply). This is a repeating theme amongst the lords, they are greedy and sit as "just watchers" when all the shit happens around them they know is wrong if it means they could survive. However, these twisted "watchers" don't last in the end:

 

  • A Storm of Swords - Catelyn III

Robb considered that a moment. "Did you know what Lord Rickard intended? Did you see the knives drawn? Did you hear the shouts, the screams, the cries for mercy?"

"Aye, I did, but I took no part. I was only the watcher, I swear it . . ."

"Lord Umber," said Robb, "this one was only the watcher. Hang him last, so he may watch the others die. Mother, Uncle, with me, if you please." He turned away as the Greatjon's men closed upon the prisoners and drove them from the hall at spearpoint. Outside the thunder crashed and boomed, so loud it sounded as if the castle were coming down about their ears. Is this the sound of a kingdom falling? Catelyn wondered.

So Ramsay "Bolton" is a fake, and he knows it, and he knows it so much that he knows he has to marry a Stark in order to get and keep Winterfell. Why? Because the Starks are legit and haven't lost everything. The lords of the north and mountains know this and are willing to fight for "the Ned's girl". Hell, even Theon always wanted to be a Stark, so his Stark cosplay was an act and we know and see he is coming back to his wits on the matter.

What happened at Winterfell is just exactly a mummer's farce as Martin sets up in this series, and no one in their right mind gives a mummer's fart about Ramsay and Stannis because they know this is all false crap.

Ramsay is to the Starks the icy version of the mummer's dragon that Aegon VI is to Daenerys; Ramsay is even associated narrative-wise with being a fiery person.

Quote

Sorry, no. It is irrelevant who Rhaelle's mother was (Robb is also a full Stark, never mind that his mother was a Tully - and Ned is not a 'fuller' Stark because he had two Starks as parents) -

Do you understand what the narrative purpose of Rob being most like a Tully? Born, named a not northern name, crowned, ruled, crown made in the riverlands, and died in the riverlands. This is a story where these ingrained details mean more than the perceived "rules". This isn't a measurable account of actual history, but a work of fiction told in a way that Martin wants it to be. His rules.

And the majority of Westeros is smallfolk, and the smallfolk just want to be left alone to live their lives. It is only the upper "elites" that care who is on the throne = who gives them favors... often taken at the cost of smallfolk.

  • A Game of Thrones - Daenerys III

    Dany rode close beside him. "Still," she said, "the common people are waiting for him. Magister Illyrio says they are sewing dragon banners and praying for Viserys to return from across the narrow sea to free them."

    "The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends," Ser Jorah told her. "It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace." He gave a shrug. "They never are."

    Dany rode along quietly for a time, working his words like a puzzle box. It went against everything that Viserys had ever told her to think that the people could care so little whether a true king or a usurper reigned over them. Yet the more she thought on Jorah's words, the more they rang of truth.

Edited by The Fattest Leech

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