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James Steller

Would a Blackfyre dynasty have been so bad?

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Maybe it’s because we know so little of Daemon Blackfyre and his kids, but I can’t help wondering if it would have been better for the Seven Kingdoms if the Targaryens had been deposed.
 

And yes, I know, Daeron was a great king, but that’s one man. His best son died before he could ever be king, as did that son’s son. The throne went to men who, excusing Aegon V, were all sub par at best, Mad King at worst. 
 

It would have been easy for GRRM to make Daemon a completely awful figure, who lurks around like Richard III and dies screaming for a horse. Instead, he’s portrayed as being Aegon the Conqueror reborn. He’s handsome, well spoken, popular, and also one of the greatest warriors who ever lived. Obviously that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good king material, but by that logic, neither was Aegon himself when he carved out a kingdom for himself.

And we also don’t know the worth of his heirs apart from Daemon II, and he wouldn’t be his dad’s first heir anyway. His sons were brave enough to fight alongside their dad, Aenys was reasonable enough to put aside the rebellion to earnestly present his case before the Great Council.

And for those people bringing up the fact that Dorne would have been out of the Seven Kingdoms as soon as they finally entered it... honestly, they should never have entered in the first place, far as I’m concerned, because look at what getting involved in Seven Kingdoms politics gets them over the years. I’m sure Oberyn would have been thrilled for a timeline where his sister doesn’t have a horrifying death.

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I mean, I'd like to say that I'd have been okay with it, but then that's an entirely different story, and none of the characters we know in the story would exist if such a big change had happened. Not even the Northern characters would have been the same after all the stuff that changes. If Dorne is going to leave the Seven Kingdoms, maybe the North decides they can do the same thing? And the Iron Islands might decide to leave too. Daemon is going to want to fight all three of those regions and forcefully bring them back into the fold. That means whole new timeline, entirely different story. Daemon's dynasty lasts, or it doesn't. The Targaryens are wiped out, or not. Bloodraven goes North early, or he doesn't. Maybe the Seven Kingdoms somehow stay intact, maybe one region leaves, maybe they all split up. It's hard to say.

But given how chaotic the Dance of the Dragons and the War of Five Kings has become, I'm willing to bet that many regions will at least consider independence again once the Targaryens are overthrown. The Tullys, Baratheons, and Tyrells all owe their positions to the Iron Throne's power, so they'll be invested in keeping the kingdoms from splitting apart. Dorne, the Iron Islands, and the North are the most likely to detach because of their specific cultural divide with the other kingdoms. The Lannisters would likely decide that loyalty to the biggest faction is better than being part of the chaos, so they'd probably stay in the fold. The Vale might go either way in this scenario, I guess it would depend on how strong Daemon Blackfyre is when he's crowned king and whether the Targaryens are guaranteed gone. If there's even a single Targaryen left alive, Daemon's in trouble. All things considered, though, a Blackfyre dynasty would be a hell of a good spinoff starting point. 

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@Floki of the Ironborn makes a great point about the "kingdoms" probably taking advantage of any deposing of the Targs to make their own bids for independence.  However, we should not lose sight of the great support the Blackfyre movement had.  The Targs were clearly damaged people evidenced no better than the rule of Aegon IV.  I think the most important reason the Targs had rule of the land was dragons.  There were no dragons by the time Daemon decided he was fit to rule.  There is a quote somewhere about Daemon being the wonder and terror of his age.  

In this day and age so far from the rule of kings there is no reason to believe Daemon would have been any better or worse than any Targ.  I can look at Aegon IV and surmise Blackfyre would have been as corrupt and deadbeat as his father.  If all we have is Varys to judge by then I would think Daemon would have been a much better king than most of the Targs.  Then again, Varys didn't come from a ruling family--it appears you have to take out the birthright entitlement to get a good idea about ruling.  

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A legitimized bastard is not the equal of a trueborn heir.  So the Blackfyres would have started their reign on the wrong foot and an unethical foundation.  It has nothing to do with whether they are as good as the Targaryens.  That is up to each individual among the two families.  But this is a dangerous can of worms to be opening.  If a legitimized bastard can challenge the legal ruler and win, well, can't another do the same to the lord paramounts.  An ambitious second son or third son might get it in his head that he is better than an older brother and should be the lord.  There is a potential to ignite a powder keg across Westeros which would have been devastating.  We know this because that is exactly what happened within the Baratheon family.  Renly had a good excuse to go around Stannis and ahead in the line.  After all, if Robert could fight his way to push past Rhaegar, well, why can't he do the same to Stannis.  Rebellions set a bad precedent.

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18 minutes ago, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

A legitimized bastard is not the equal of a trueborn heir.  So the Blackfyres would have started their reign on the wrong foot and an unethical foundation.  It has nothing to do with whether they are as good as the Targaryens.  That is up to each individual among the two families.  But this is a dangerous can of worms to be opening.  If a legitimized bastard can challenge the legal ruler and win, well, can't another do the same to the lord paramounts.  An ambitious second son or third son might get it in his head that he is better than an older brother and should be the lord.  There is a potential to ignite a powder keg across Westeros which would have been devastating.  We know this because that is exactly what happened within the Baratheon family.  Renly had a good excuse to go around Stannis and ahead in the line.  After all, if Robert could fight his way to push past Rhaegar, well, why can't he do the same to Stannis.  Rebellions set a bad precedent.

That’s a really good point. I should have especially remembered that because of the Baratheon situation. So that means there’s fireworks going off at a macro and micro level as people use the Usurper King as precedent for their own plots. Another century of blood, even without the Dothraki invoked.
 

And yet I also feel like Daemon would have to be incredibly popular to get as far as he did. He was the greatest threat to House Targaryen. Yes, greater than Robert because Daemon didn’t even have the backing of four regions of Westeros, he commanded men to his side by pure charisma, and admittedly a legitimized claim, but yeah. Daemon would surely be slightly better than his dad, given that he was described as having god like physique and he clearly isn’t a hot tempered man since it took him so long to actually rebel, and even then he could have been pushed into it due to Bloodraven targeting him as an enemy (and given how low my view of Bloodraven is, that should say something). 
 

If I’m rambling, I’ll say this: Daemon was clearly a remarkable man, and while he set a dangerous precedent, he could have possibly found a way to restore order and point out that he was a legitimized heir to his father since his dad had bestowed Blackfyre to him. And if the Targaryens are all dead, it’s the Black Dragon Era or it’s time for an all out massacre across the continent while the wildlings look over the wall and decide maybe they’ve got it good where they are.

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To be honest, I never liked those "what if" situations and topicson this forum that change the past. Things happened this way, there's no need of any more speculation of how thing would come out if Daemon wins.

Now, the thing worth mentioning is this: Is there any chance that in the not-so-far future in our story House Targaryen could make peace with House Blackfyre? This suggests that Aegon is a secret Blackfyre ( doesn't matter who his mother and father are), and even if he dies, he could make heirs before it, so: why not? Being a Blackfyre doesn't mean you gotta die. I see a way of future that makes peace between these 2 Valyrian houses, and House Blackfyre could finally be what he deserves: a proud cadet branch of the royal family, with lands and power, often gettig married with the Targaryens, just like the Velaryons did.

It may sound like a fairytale, but whoknows, the future isn't written in stone yet.

I personally think these things a worth of a discussion, not the "what if"s of the past, because those things won't change. Anyway, if we are discussing Daemon I Blackfyre, I'd like to share what I think about him, because it seems to me that he's hot misunderstood many times:

So he's a legitimized bastard of Aegon IV, etc. Let's jump to the rebellion part: He did not rebel against his brother unless he wasn't forced to do it. The Dornish conflict was on top, and those lords of the marches who were against the Dornish alliance used up Daemon to rebel, who did not want to rebel at all. So was he pushed into it? I think, yes. Then what's with the rumours of him and Daenerys (we know which one)? I don't have a f*cking clue, yet it seems to me that it happened this way.

 

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10 hours ago, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

A legitimized bastard is not the equal of a trueborn heir.  So the Blackfyres would have started their reign on the wrong foot and an unethical foundation.  It has nothing to do with whether they are as good as the Targaryens.  That is up to each individual among the two families.  But this is a dangerous can of worms to be opening.  If a legitimized bastard can challenge the legal ruler and win, well, can't another do the same to the lord paramounts.  An ambitious second son or third son might get it in his head that he is better than an older brother and should be the lord.  There is a potential to ignite a powder keg across Westeros which would have been devastating.  We know this because that is exactly what happened within the Baratheon family.  Renly had a good excuse to go around Stannis and ahead in the line.  After all, if Robert could fight his way to push past Rhaegar, well, why can't he do the same to Stannis.  Rebellions set a bad precedent.

So, don't rebe and let things happen? The good immobility... 

I mean, it could go either way for them, just as with Targs, the first decades would've been rough, after that there shouldn't be any problem.

Then again, what's the context?? Are the Targs gone for good or they exile, How were the Great Houses treated, were they replaced?? 

How do the North and Dorne take that??

It's completely impossible to know.

Edited by frenin

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Here's my reading of GRRM's point in weaving the Blackfyre history into the story: balance is necessary. In every generation, the goal is to achieve a balance between competing extremes or polar opposites. Some forces resist that balance; others seek to promote it.

We see this with the unbalanced seasons in Westeros - it is not good to have winters that endure for years.

We see this with the three hills of King's Landing - the Red Keep on Aegon's Hill, the Great Sept of Baelor on Visenya's Hill and the burnt-out, shuttered ruin of the Dragon Pit on the Hill of Rhaenys.

We see this with the rivalry of Aegon IV's Blackwood and Bracken mistresses and their competing sons, Bloodraven and Bittersteel. Honey tree, Pennytree and the blackened weirwood at Raventree Hall.

We see this in the three forks of the Trident river - each has to stay within its banks and perform its function of watering crops, enabling travel and trade and/or limiting crossings from one area to another. Eventually, the separate forks have to flow together to create one river.

I think we may also see the need for balance in the wardens appointed by the king - west, north, east and south have to be balanced in strength or in the loyalty of their bannermen. It's not good when two of the wardens are Lannisters or when one of the wardens is a child. If two wardens team up for war and the other wardens do not, another kind of imbalance is created.

The Blackfyre / Targaryen rivalry begins, I believe, with the two sister wives of Aegon the Conqueror. The historians tell us that Aegon preferred Rhaenys, but he also kept up the relationship with Visenya, who certainly contributed important things to the family business. We never hear about the relationship between Visenya and Rhaenys. Then Rhaenys died a mysterious and untimely death. It was harder to maintain the balance. The decline began toward family rivalries over power, mental illness, stillborn children, infidelity, marital strife and violence, civil war and the dying of the dragons.

Long story short: I believe we see a number of attempts to bring together the "blood" or qualities of Blackfyres and Targaryens, necessary to restore a healthy balance in Westeros. In the A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms novellas there are many clues that Dunk is a Blackfyre bastard or hidden prince. I suspect Bloodraven recognizes him and wants him to be paired with Egg (Aegon V) in order to restore the family alchemy - but he doesn't want Dunk to know who he is or to seek power for himself. Working together, Dunk and Egg would embody physical strength and a quick mind; compassion for small folk and formal education; a sense of the land and experience with the court (sigils, lineages, etc.). I suspect there are some hidden qualities that haven't been spelled out but are hinted at: Egg has a dark magic feel to him, in my opinion, and Dunk seems to be able to pull out the powers of earth or elemental magic (oak and iron; water; green grass; stars). The two characters achieve a good balance and a stable basis for a monarchy.

A similar balance was achieved after the Dance of the Dragons when Aegon III married the daughter of the his uncle, Aegon II. Through marriage, the two factions came together after all of the strife of the Civil War.

How is this relevant for the current story? I think Robert Baratheon was a symbolic Daemon Blackfyre. He was descended from Orys Baratheon, rumored half-brother of Aegon I. So the motif of the bastard brother is an echo of the Daemon Blackfyre story. Robert was also a handsome warrior before he became king and his Targaryen blood from his mother's side of the family is given as a reason that he became king after Robert's Rebellion. Robert's rule more-or-less coincided with a long summer in Westeros - the pendulum was swinging back from the extremes of Mad King Aerys to what became, unfortunately, the excesses of the other extreme: gluttony, excessive spending, marital strife, infidelity, corrupt advisors, etc.

The question now becomes whether a balance can be achieved for Westeros. Will there be a Targaryen / Blackfyre reunion? Or is there another way - perhaps an older way that predates Aegon I - that can put the realm on a balanced foundation?

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Since Blackfyres are just Targaryens with a stupid name, there would have been no meaningful general difference.

What we know about Daemon I & II makes it likely, though, that neither of them would have been a great king. The first Daemon was a good knight and nothing else, and the second Daemon wasn't even a good knight.

Aerys I wasn't that great, either, but he had a great Hand who ran things for him.

And of course a successful usurpation of a bastard pretender would have destabilized both the Realm and the dynasty, likely inviting Daemon's seven sons (and the army of grandsons he may have had if all of them had lived to breed) turning on each other.

Could have been a greater disaster than the Baratheon dynasty committing suicide during the War of the Five Kings.

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3 hours ago, Seams said:

I think Robert Baratheon was a symbolic Daemon Blackfyre. He was descended from Orys Baratheon, rumored half-brother of Aegon I. So the motif of the bastard brother is an echo of the Daemon Blackfyre story. Robert was also a handsome warrior before he became king and his Targaryen blood from his mother's side of the family is given as a reason that he became king after Robert's Rebellion. Robert's rule more-or-less coincided with a long summer in Westeros - the pendulum was swinging back from the extremes of Mad King Aerys to what became, unfortunately, the excesses of the other extreme: gluttony, excessive spending, marital strife, infidelity, corrupt advisors, etc.

A thorough analysis, but I can’t help point out something’s off. Aerys’ extremes were a lot more similar to Robert than you claim. Aerys was also guilty of marital strife, infidelity, corrupt advisors, and if Tywin hadn’t done his job, Aerys would have bankrupted the realm with those wild ideas of his. To be honest, Aerys’s frugality feels a bit off with the rest of his personality, but hey, fine.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

 

Could have been a greater disaster than the Baratheon dynasty committing suicide during the War of the Five Kings.

It would have had to be pretty bad for that to happen. The War or the Five Kings is doing more damage than the Dance of the godsdamn Dragons!

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23 minutes ago, the Other Wolf said:

:agree:

Why the need to change the story?

For those people who dislike “what if” scenarios, you’re not obligated to contribute to them. I simply ignore the many many threads that I don’t care about, and I only contribute if I have an actual opinion which moves the conversation. Do you also do this in real life? If you overheard a conversation talking about “what if” scenarios amongst themselves, would you step in and invalidate the topic to these invested people’s faces? Or would you move on?

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6 minutes ago, James Steller said:

For those people who dislike “what if” scenarios, you’re not obligated to contribute to them. I simply ignore the many many threads that I don’t care about, and I only contribute if I have an actual opinion which moves the conversation. Do you also do this in real life? If you overheard a conversation talking about “what if” scenarios amongst themselves, would you step in and invalidate the topic to these invested people’s faces? Or would you move on?

Well, what-ifs are the closest things to fanfic that aren't yet fanfic themselves.

Well, I have no serious problem with these type of topics, but wouldn't make more sense talking about how they could make a remark in our later story? Just askin.

Anyway, if I was too offensive, sorry for that.

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1 minute ago, HerblYY said:

Well, what-ifs are the closest things to fanfic that aren't yet fanfic themselves.

Well, I have no serious problem with these type of topics, but wouldn't make more sense talking about how they could make a remark in our later story? Just askin.

Anyway, if I was too offensive, sorry for that.

It’s certainly possible to discuss that if you wish, but I take umbrage when people try to decide what others can or should discuss on a site dedicated to speculation and discussion and revelling in a work of fiction we all adore. We’ve all got enough tension in our lives, especially this year.

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Since Blackfyres are just Targaryens with a stupid name

Bite your tongue!

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

What we know about Daemon I & II makes it likely, though, that neither of them would have been a great king. The first Daemon was a good knight and nothing else, and the second Daemon wasn't even a good knight.

Daemon II doesn't matter to this scenario; he was 3rd in line to the throne, and assuming one of his older brothers survives, he'd probably become a maester instead.

And the only thing we know about his older brothers is that they picked on Daemon II as children and they died on the battlefield fighting alongside their father. That's not enough to make a judgement on them as candidates for leadership. 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And of course a successful usurpation of a bastard pretender would have destabilized both the Realm and the dynasty, likely inviting Daemon's seven sons (and the army of grandsons he may have had if all of them had lived to breed) turning on each other.

It took the Blackfyres several generations before they openly turned on each other, and when it happened, the guy who did it was that Cronenberg creation whose nickname was literally "Maelys the Monstrous." Daemon II didn't get Bittersteel's support, sure, but Gormon Peake was a fool to think that Daemon II would ever succeed where his father failed. And Aenys Blackfyre didn't betray his family through violence, he was just a naive idealist who trusted Bloodraven. We have no evidence of bloodshed and internal strife until Maelys, so I'd say that they managed to remain united far longer than House Targaryen ever managed. Because to be clear, Aegon I was still alive when the first rifts opened up within his family, and his sons usurped one another less than twenty years after Aegon I died.

Edited by Canon Claude

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1 hour ago, Canon Claude said:

Bite your tongue!

Nah, the Blackfyre name is the silliest in the entire series. They are Targaryens who think some sword is a better family than their actual family name. Thankfully, no Lannister bastard was stupid enough to name himself 'Brightroar'.

1 hour ago, Canon Claude said:

Daemon II doesn't matter to this scenario; he was 3rd in line to the throne, and assuming one of his older brothers survives, he'd probably become a maester instead.

The man didn't have the making of a maester, he was too stupid and frivolous for that.

1 hour ago, Canon Claude said:

And the only thing we know about his older brothers is that they picked on Daemon II as children and they died on the battlefield fighting alongside their father. That's not enough to make a judgement on them as candidates for leadership. 

No, but there is no guarantee that either of them would have lived to succeed Daemon I. Daemon became a father at the age of fourteen, meaning if he had lived to the age of sixty or seventy his sons may have predeceased him, like Aemon and Baelon predeceased Jaehaerys I. That means Daemon II could have succeeded his father.

1 hour ago, Canon Claude said:

It took the Blackfyres several generations before they openly turned on each other, and when it happened, the guy who did it was that Cronenberg creation whose nickname was literally "Maelys the Monstrous." Daemon II didn't get Bittersteel's support, sure, but Gormon Peake was a fool to think that Daemon II would ever succeed where his father failed. And Aenys Blackfyre didn't betray his family through violence, he was just a naive idealist who trusted Bloodraven. We have no evidence of bloodshed and internal strife until Maelys, so I'd say that they managed to remain united far longer than House Targaryen ever managed. Because to be clear, Aegon I was still alive when the first rifts opened up within his family, and his sons usurped one another less than twenty years after Aegon I died.

It didn't take them 'several generations', just one. Daemon's half-brother did not support Daemon II, his rightful king, and Aenys Blackfyre betrayed his rightful king, Daemon III. And those are just the more obvious betrayals. I'm not holding my breath for Daemon's sixth and seventh son standing by Haegon's sons and grandsons ... just as I don't expect Daemon III's brothers to stand with his children.

But it makes no sense to contrast Targaryens and Blackfyres as if they weren't the same people. The Blackfyres are Targaryens.

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17 hours ago, James Steller said:

That’s a really good point. I should have especially remembered that because of the Baratheon situation. So that means there’s fireworks going off at a macro and micro level as people use the Usurper King as precedent for their own plots. Another century of blood, even without the Dothraki invoked.
 

And yet I also feel like Daemon would have to be incredibly popular to get as far as he did. He was the greatest threat to House Targaryen. Yes, greater than Robert because Daemon didn’t even have the backing of four regions of Westeros, he commanded men to his side by pure charisma, and admittedly a legitimized claim, but yeah. Daemon would surely be slightly better than his dad, given that he was described as having god like physique and he clearly isn’t a hot tempered man since it took him so long to actually rebel, and even then he could have been pushed into it due to Bloodraven targeting him as an enemy (and given how low my view of Bloodraven is, that should say something). 
 

If I’m rambling, I’ll say this: Daemon was clearly a remarkable man, and while he set a dangerous precedent, he could have possibly found a way to restore order and point out that he was a legitimized heir to his father since his dad had bestowed Blackfyre to him. And if the Targaryens are all dead, it’s the Black Dragon Era or it’s time for an all out massacre across the continent while the wildlings look over the wall and decide maybe they’ve got it good where they are.

 

7 hours ago, frenin said:

So, don't rebe and let things happen? The good immobility... 

I mean, it could go either way for them, just as with Targs, the first decades would've been rough, after that there shouldn't be any problem.

Then again, what's the context?? Are the Targs gone for good or they exile, How were the Great Houses treated, were they replaced?? 

How do the North and Dorne take that??

It's completely impossible to know.

Questions arise which are rather slippery, I admit.  Hereditary right to rule has its problems.  So does rule by popularity.  Renly believed in rule by popularity.  There are no perfect systems out there even as much as we brag about ours (U.S.).  Many in this country believe the lawmakers have been bought by special interests and no longer serve the people.  See, even democracy has its big faults.  What is right is not always right for everybody.  What is right and good for one may not be so for another.  

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Nah, the Blackfyre name is the silliest in the entire series. 

Really? Brightroar is sillier, far as I'm concerned.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

 

The man didn't have the making of a maester, he was too stupid and frivolous for that.

 

I never said he'd be a good maester, but he's too proud to be a fool and too incompetent to be a military figure. 

 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

 

No, but there is no guarantee that either of them would have lived to succeed Daemon I. Daemon became a father at the age of fourteen, meaning if he had lived to the age of sixty or seventy his sons may have predeceased him, like Aemon and Baelon predeceased Jaehaerys I. That means Daemon II could have succeeded his father.

By that logic, Daemon II might predecease his father too, and maybe Haegon or Aenys takes the throne instead. And to be honest, I don't see Daemon I, no matter how successful, surviving to the age of seventy. In fact, the only Targaryen king I can think of who made it that far was Jaehaerys. Nobody else lived that long, not even the good kings like Daeron II or Aegon V. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

It didn't take them 'several generations', just one. Daemon's half-brother did not support Daemon II, his rightful king, and Aenys Blackfyre betrayed his rightful king, Daemon III. And those are just the more obvious betrayals. I'm not holding my breath for Daemon's sixth and seventh son standing by Haegon's sons and grandsons ... just as I don't expect Daemon III's brothers to stand with his children.

Until GRRM writes about the huge Blackfyre civil war that tore Essos apart, I'll say that Blackfyre family squabbles are less damaging than Targaryen squabbles. But I do agree that yes, the Blackfyres are Targaryens with a different banner, but for simplicity, I'm talking about the different factions as distinct families. 

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