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Alyn Oakenfist

Westerosi high nobility is probably horribly inbred

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On 9/16/2020 at 6:22 PM, Lord Lannister said:

In our world you get the Habsburg chin. In ASoIaF you get purple anime eyes and silver hair.

You also get the extremely long faces of the Starks. 

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2 minutes ago, Skahaz mo Kandaq said:

You also get the extremely long faces of the Starks. 

Not all the Starks.

For instance, now only Jon and Arya have them

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On 9/16/2020 at 2:17 PM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

So all noble families are inbred, be it in Westeros or IRL. There are only so many people you can marry if you want to marry to your high status. But here Westeros is special. Their levels of elitism are through the roof. Take the Freys for example. They have been along for 600 years, and yet people consider them upstarts. So if the high lords are reticent to marry their children to someone with a meager 600 years pedigree, can you imagine how high the inbreeding coefficient must be. So what do you think? Is the fact that the entirety of Westerosi nobility doesn't have the Habsburg chin a plothole, or are they somehow less inbred then they seem?

They just look down on the Freys for being relatively new. They Freys have still married into many of the most prestigious and oldest houses in Westeros.

Edited by Lee-Sensei

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1 minute ago, Kiszka said:

Honestly I am surprised houses like the Targaryens don't have monarchs like Charles II of Spain who is probably the most inbred monarch ever.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_II_of_Spain

Compared to the Habsburgs most of the nobles aren't that bad from what we have seen. 

Magic perhaps.

Question: how long would it take for inbreeding problems to start happening to Craster's clan?

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14 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

Magic perhaps.

Question: how long would it take for inbreeding problems to start happening to Craster's clan?

Yea I didn't consider magic influencing genetics in Westeros. I think Craster's son with Gilly might be exhibiting signs of inbreeding. It is mentioned several times that Mance's son is stronger and more robust than monster. Of course Craster would definitely leave any children he considered monstrous to the Others.

Edited by Kiszka

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Marrying cousins for example hardly affects the chance of something going wrong. I think I read it went from a 2% chance of an abnormality to 4%. And 'any abnormality' would include minor abnormalities. 

And in the past there would be lots of shared genes because many people lived in small villages or hamlets and the amount of intermarriage with someone from far away was small. There just must have been enough to keep things rolling along. And a war or other change ever couple of hundred years would shake things up, although wars also spread horrible things like syphilis.

I think that that ongoing Iceland study showed that there is an advantage in some level of relationship - I think it was 3rd cousins, might have been 4th. 

These are just things that stuck in my brain as I read them - afraid I cannot cite!

 

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31 minutes ago, Castellan said:

Marrying cousins for example hardly affects the chance of something going wrong. I think I read it went from a 2% chance of an abnormality to 4%. And 'any abnormality' would include minor abnormalities. 

And in the past there would be lots of shared genes because many people lived in small villages or hamlets and the amount of intermarriage with someone from far away was small. There just must have been enough to keep things rolling along. And a war or other change ever couple of hundred years would shake things up, although wars also spread horrible things like syphilis.

I think that that ongoing Iceland study showed that there is an advantage in some level of relationship - I think it was 3rd cousins, might have been 4th. 

These are just things that stuck in my brain as I read them - afraid I cannot cite!

The inbreeding coefficient is different from the question whether the people do suffer any problems.

But it is the case that a couple of first cousin marriages look very much like sibling incest on the genetical level. Those kind of things do pile up.

If we take the Lannister and Stark family trees as an indication how things were back before the Conquest, then those houses - as well as their bannermen - are all heavily inbred and interrelated with each other. And we do have that kind of hints for the Reach as well - there being nine Peake queens at the side of the Gardener kings means those two houses alone are heavily interrelated, but they would both intermarry with the other Reach houses, they with each other, and all of them back again with the Peakes and Gardeners.

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27 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The inbreeding coefficient is different from the question whether the people do suffer any problems.

But it is the case that a couple of first cousin marriages look very much like sibling incest on the genetical level. Those kind of things do pile up.

If we take the Lannister and Stark family trees as an indication how things were back before the Conquest, then those houses - as well as their bannermen - are all heavily inbred and interrelated with each other. And we do have that kind of hints for the Reach as well - there being nine Peake queens at the side of the Gardener kings means those two houses alone are heavily interrelated, but they would both intermarry with the other Reach houses, they with each other, and all of them back again with the Peakes and Gardeners.

I take your point in that some pairs of first cousins may happen to have inherited very similar sets of genes from their grandparents whereas others may not. (Hope I am not mis-stating it)

I confess I am not really interested in the question of Westerosi inbreeding as its a fantasy novel and the genetics in it are fantasy so why quibble about it? In Westeros, as in the real world, there are deleterious effects from what I'd call psychological in-breeding - someone like Tywin comes along clearly genetically blessed if anything but with a psychological obsession that ruins his family. A personality disorder that compounds with generations until you get Joffrey.

 

Edited by Castellan

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On 9/18/2020 at 9:26 AM, Lee-Sensei said:

They just look down on the Freys for being relatively new. They Freys have still married into many of the most prestigious and oldest houses in Westeros.

A lot of looking down on the Freys is because they collected toll from everybody.  I feel like most of the negative opinions towards the Freys are undeserved and coming from resentment. 

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9 minutes ago, Jeeves said:

A lot of looking down on the Freys is because they collected toll from everybody.  I feel like most of the negative opinions towards the Freys are undeserved and coming from resentment. 

That’s probably part of it. Aristocrats look down on people for managing money.

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10 minutes ago, Lee-Sensei said:

That’s probably part of it. Aristocrats look down on people for managing money.

Exactly.  And some of the better business people are low ranking in the eyes of the aristocrats for daring to work.  Frey, Bealish comes to mind.  Though Manderly is savvy in that regard too.  The Westerlings are not. 

They admire fisticuffs and swordplays.  In our world, maybe that is the equivalent of hero worshipping athletes.

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2 minutes ago, Jeeves said:

Exactly.  And some of the better business people are low ranking in the eyes of the aristocrats for daring to work.  Frey, Bealish comes to mind.  Though Manderly is savvy in that regard too.  The Westerlings are not. 

They admire fisticuffs and swordplays.  In our world, maybe that is the equivalent of hero worshipping athletes.

True. It’s partially understandable in a world like Westeros where they seem to fight a major war at least once every generation. People that are physically active (like athletes), also tend to be more confident and sociable, so it would make sense that they’d be able to gather followings and unite people. Baelish actually had a habit of promoting minor nobles and merchants as Masters of Coin according to Tyrion. These people tended to be more competent than the Lords of higher birth that they were replacing and personally loyal to him. He’s also working on marrying of the Lords and Knights of the Vale to the daughters of merchants. I kind of wish George would go into more detail about the relationship between the aristocracy and the merchant class.

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