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Alyn Oakenfist

The many political mistakes of Daenaerys Targaryen

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2 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Crucifixion was a fate reserved for slaves and the low-born.  I don't actually think that the Roman upper classes were so depraved as to crucify slave children as a "f*uck you" to an enemy;

I agree, I've already said as much above. Also keep in mind that the cruxified ones were rebels. There was only ever one sentence for them, it was just that Crassus picked the most visible and painful method imaginable

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1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

Cruel kings are only tolerated as long as their cruelty is not aimless. Less Nero and more Vlad Dracul. Neither Aegon I or Jaehaerys I are what I would call cruel, much less monsters.

Oh, well, Nero was a nice guy, all things considered. Loved by the people, especially the people of Rome. He just had issue with the ambitious, degenerate senatorial class who were all dreaming about wearing the purple themselves.

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

If that happens, she will basically start a conflict where one could, potentially, have been avoided. Violence is not useless, but it should be the last option. That is how it actually worked in real Middle Ages: kings had diplomats, intelligence services and so on (yes, Byzantine Empire was the gold standard for such, but they were hardly unique). They already had layers of conflict avoidance - that is not a new thing. 

Of course, and I expect that she is going to be the one trying to talk to Aegon. He and Arianne (and Illyrio) won't listen. Nobody should talk to Euron or Cersei and Stannis is not important enough to be even considered as a serious pretender ... and he might be dead long by that time.

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

Oh, it definitely is going to do so. You really think Martin would condone war for a bloody chair? Nevermind the fact that Stannis actually has more right to it than Daenerys does, and he is not a sadist either.

Stannis would be a monstrous king. He wouldn't last a fortnight on the Iron Throne before somebody put him down. He cannot really work with the noble class of Westeros. They hate him. And the people don't like him either. He would be a dayfly Nero.

The main plot point of the story is the Others thing, of course. But George has no problem with characters trying to get what they think is theirs. Dany is not different in this regard than Tyrion, Bran, or Rickon.

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

No, Daenerys is not Maegor or Joffrey. But that doesn't mean she will necessarily be able to hold onto her ideals. Sooner or later, she will have to choose between her humanitarian ideals and identity, and the throne. That sort of conflict is what ASoIaF is all about.

You mean like Aegon I and Jaehaerys I had?

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

Or she is favoured by the fortunes while in Slaver's Bay precisely in order to allow her to survive and be placed in the Rhaenyra-like position. Did you think of that?

Of course - but that would only make sense if the plot was about the Iron Throne nonsense and not the Others ... and if there weren't a lot of prophecies pointing to Daenerys play a or the crucial role in the fight against said ice demons. Not to mention the rather concrete prophecies she will cast down fake saviors like Stannis, Aegon, and whoever the stone beast is (possibly Euron). That doesn't indicate she is going to help the other good guys dealing with the really bad guys.

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

Actually, that makes it more likely. Imagine a living god and [insert arm's length of titles here] be gainsaid by a mere lord, or God forbid, a king? She won't tolerate that, and may not even attempt the persuasion before going to compulsion.

But you only get pushed in this Rhaenyra-like role if you run out of options. If your only choices are to push on and survive and win or die trying ... because you cannot really retreat or yield because you know then your enemies will kill and/or your family.

But Dany will always have the option to just fly away and take the reins of power in her other Essosi empire. That kind of option no other pretender will have.

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

Option, yes, but will she take it?

Most likely not ... but not because she must have that ugly chair, but because she will go to Westeros because of the destiny that comes with being the prophesied savior. There is a reason why Marwyn is going to her right now. If she will ever try to take the Iron Throne it will be mainly because she feels it will be necessary for her actual job role as the promised princess/Azor Ahai, not because she must have that chair.

Especially if she were to realize that Westeros is actually a shitty place.

I mean, just think for a moment how it would like if Aegon became Dany's incentive to go to Westeros. She should learn about him around the time or after she has taken over the Dothraki, taking on yet another huge burden and responsibility. If she realizes that there is another Targaryen - her nephew at that - who could avenge the family on the filthy Usurper's Dogs then she would have no issue with that. It could allow her to do whatever she wanted. And we know that her actual desires have nothing to do with ruling with an iron fist or being some kind of Dark Lord.

She would only go if she believes that the Aegon guy is not destined to save the world ... and she would be right about that as far as we know.

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

Viserys was insane.

Viserys was mistaken and somewhat stupid, not insane. And the Targaryen name should always be enough to get a third or half of the lords of Westeros to declare for even a lackwit pretender. That's just how people living in a monarchy behave.

The comparison I was making was with Viserys' obsession about Westeros. He grew up at his father's court, knowing what it meant to be a royal prince, absorbing all the entitlement, etc. He wants back what is his right, his due, and he actually knows what he is missing. Dany has nothing of that. To her going to Westeros is a burden, something she has to do because her identity as noblewoman demands that she settles the score.

But she doesn't really want that at heart. If she could do what she really wanted she would go to Braavos and live out her life there as a simple woman together with Daario.

And if she doesn't do that then not because she embraces her nonexisting identity/destiny as scourge of the world or any such crap ... but rather her role in the prophecy. And that has her as the savior of mankind. The guys trying to destroy mankind are the Others.

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

I do not think Daenerys will become insane, but it is indeed likely that her actions (and maybe even thoughts) will grow closer to what Viserys was as she gets closer to Westeros and the Iron Throne. Iron Throne is GRRM's equivalent to the One Ring. It corrupts. In order for Daenerys to gain the throne, she will have to become everything she once hated. Remember how Frodo changed between Rivendell and Sammath Naur? How he slowly succumbed to the Ring as it grew stronger and stronger by approaching Orodruin? That is what I expect will happen to Daenerys, and by the time she comes to Westeros she will become unrecognizable. Smeagol will turn into Gollum. Iron Throne is the One Ring equivalent, except much less magical. I already wrote about it before.

Oh, come on, give up that stupid parallel. That makes no sense. Tolkien wrote a fairy-tale, and Martin writes a series about, let's say, a more complex political world with a consequentialist morality - the outcome decides what's good or bad, not some kind of superstition about the ontological nature of magical objects. Bad people can be good kings in Martinworld and vice versa, just as bad means/intentions can have positive results.

George wouldn't have characters like Stannis - who would be abominations if Tolkien had them (an adulterer enthralled by an evil sorcerer, murdering his brother, considering to murder his innocent nephew, using foul sorcerer to satisfy his petty ambition; he would be worse by principle than Sauron and Saruman both) - as grey characters whose actions so far did more good than harm. George even went on record doubting whether the murder of Renly was all that bad since it saved a lot of lives.

And speaking of Stannis - a pretender to the Iron Throne defending the Realm against Others and wildlings also sends the message loud and clear that coveting that chair isn't bad. Especially since George could easily enough have crafted the story so that Robb or Balon/Euron or another secessionist pretender could have gone to the Wall in Stannis' stead.

Not to mention that Robb/Balon/Euron could have been more successful/sympathetic in general.

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

Now, she might not intend for such a thing to happen. She may start a war by accident - everything goes fine between her and Aegon, then JonCon goes insane due to greyscale, Daenerys concludes that whatever he does was actually planned by Jon and Aegon instead of an accident, and boom! war. But ultimately, her quest for the Iron Throne will turn her into person she herself will have hated before, and will eventually come to hate once she calms down. Only question is how it will happen.

Nah, that's not the story. The Iron Throne is not important enough for anyone to hate himself over it.

1 hour ago, SeanF said:

I think the bigger risk of temptation for Daenerys is being seen as God's champion on Earth, by millions of people in the East.

That would only be a temptation if they wanted her to do something else ... which might be the case. But I rather expect Dany's movement to quickly become a grand exodus to Westeros where the followers of R'hllor will gladly die by the thousands in the service of Azor Ahai. Even more so if it means they will actually save the world and not just serve a temporal ruler trusting on Benerro's promise that they will be reborn in the future.

And they might not be alone in this. There is a reason, one assumes, why the Riverlanders are converting to R'hllor right now. Thoros' people are not likely to oppose Daenerys when she shows up ... even if Lady Stoneheart is still around at that time.

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33 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, well, Nero was a nice guy, all things considered. Loved by the people, especially the people of Rome. He just had issue with the ambitious, degenerate senatorial class who were all dreaming about wearing the purple themselves.

Excuse me, what the actual fuck???

Nero was a megalomaniacal bloodthirsty tyrant that resembles the Mad King more then any other character.

He fucked and then killed his own mother, the one that had played the game for so long just to get him on the Throne (basically Joffrey and Cersei)

The stuff he did with his wifes is unspeakable, and the less we say about his final wife/husband the better

He hosted several "Olympiads" all of which he won

He had a long streak of executing people just because

He appointed some of the most corrupt governors in Roman history. Corruption wouldn't be as bad again until the Crisis of the Third Century.

And he holds the dubious distinction of ending the first Roman Imperial Dynasty (Though his mother deserves a lot of credit for that too)

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3 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Excuse me, what the actual fuck???

Nero was a megalomaniacal bloodthirsty tyrant that resembles the Mad King more then any other character.

He fucked and then killed his own mother, the one that had played the game for so long just to get him on the Throne (basically Joffrey and Cersei)

The stuff he did with his wifes is unspeakable, and the less we say about his final wife/husband the better

He hosted several "Olympiads" all of which he won

He had a long streak of executing people just because

He appointed some of the most corrupt governors in Roman history. Corruption wouldn't be as bad again until the Crisis of the Third Century.

And he holds the dubious distinction of ending the first Roman Imperial Dynasty (Though his mother deserves a lot of credit for that too)

What the elite pricks do to each other is not all that relevant.

Court intrigue/gossip and the elimination of senators might be juicy and even annoying stuff for the senatorial class ... but certainly not the people of Rome or the people of the Roman Empire. Those are not the kind of criteria you use to judge good government.

Not to mention that the entire historiography of the Roman emperors rarely praises a guy as a good emperor when he was assassinated. Not all allegedly murdered emperors were condemned, but a significant number of them - just think of Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Elalgabal, Commodus, etc.

Doesn't mean Nero was the greatest guy around, but I'd not view him as a monster ... especially not for dispatching his own family members. Pretty much every emperor did that - both when he took power and then also always when family members started to become dangers. That started with Augustus and didn't even stop in Byzantine times.

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10 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Given that the guys couldn't keep his nobles in check, I don't think he's a good example. Just saying.

 

Actually, Vlad did keep nobles in check to an extent. Was it sufficient? Clearly not, given that he got ousted.

10 hours ago, SeanF said:

I don't think the Iron Throne = One Ring parallel works.

The One Ring corrupts everyone who uses it, however well-intentioned.  It is sentient, and has a will of its own.  It is attuned towards Sauron, but a powerful being could break the connection with Sauron - at the cost of becoming like Sauron.  And, it's the real deal.  For a powerful person, like Gandalf, Galadriel, Aragorn, owning the One Ring would give them the power to control the wills of thousands.  For Tolkien, the big sin is commanding other peoples' wills, however well=intentioned you might be. 

The Iron Throne is the symbol of power. It has no power of its own.  And, it does not corrupt those who sit on it.  There have been good, bad, and indifferent rulers of the Seven Kingdoms.

I think the bigger risk of temptation for Daenerys is being seen as God's champion on Earth, by millions of people in the East.

Iron Throne represents the exact thing which One Ring represents: the temptation of power, and the will to dominate other people. One is mundane, the other is magical, but they are both fundamentally the same from the storytelling perspective.

 

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

What the elite pricks do to each other is not all that relevant.

Court intrigue/gossip and the elimination of senators might be juicy and even annoying stuff for the senatorial class ... but certainly not the people of Rome or the people of the Roman Empire. Those are not the kind of criteria you use to judge good government.

Not to mention that the entire historiography of the Roman emperors rarely praises a guy as a good emperor when he was assassinated. Not all allegedly murdered emperors were condemned, but a significant number of them - just think of Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Elalgabal, Commodus, etc.

Doesn't mean Nero was the greatest guy around, but I'd not view him as a monster ... especially not for dispatching his own family members. Pretty much every emperor did that - both when he took power and then also always when family members started to become dangers. That started with Augustus and didn't even stop in Byzantine times.

You conveniently seem to forget the rampant government spending and the over the top corruption he brought about

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13 hours ago, SeanF said:

I don't think the Iron Throne = One Ring parallel works.

The One Ring corrupts everyone who uses it, however well-intentioned.  It is sentient, and has a will of its own.  It is attuned towards Sauron, but a powerful being could break the connection with Sauron - at the cost of becoming like Sauron.  And, it's the real deal.  For a powerful person, like Gandalf, Galadriel, Aragorn, owning the One Ring would give them the power to control the wills of thousands.  For Tolkien, the big sin is commanding other peoples' wills, however well=intentioned you might be. 

The Iron Throne is the symbol of power. It has no power of its own.  And, it does not corrupt those who sit on it.  There have been good, bad, and indifferent rulers of the Seven Kingdoms.

I think the bigger risk of temptation for Daenerys is being seen as God's champion on Earth, by millions of people in the East.

Both the One Ring and the Iron Throne are symbols for power, specifically power to rule. One Ring is the will of Sauron to dominate and rule the free people and it has an evil alignment. The Iron Throne too has an evil influence. It is literally the swords of the people Aegon burned with his dragons while he conquered Westeros. The key difference is that GRRM did not want to write a Sauron into his story, which is why he made his corrupting power symbol less-fantasy than the One Ring.

The most interesting aspect of these power symbols is that how the good or heroic characters are affected by pursuing or having them. We know where the quests of Stannis and Dany for the Iron Throne are taking them.

Tolkien in his Letter 246 talked about how certain good characters like Gandalf or Galadriel would be if they took the One Ring. He first speculated whether it would be possible for these characters to master the One Ring and bend it to their wills in a confrontation with Sauron. Tolkien suspected that only Gandalf could be expected to prove victor and master it.

Quote

 

“Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron. He would have remained ‘righteous’, but self-righteous. He would have continued to rule and order things for ‘good’, and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great).”

“Thus while Sauron multiplied [illegible word] evil, he left “good” clearly distinguishable from it. Gandalf would have made good detestable and seem evil.”

 

The danger with Gandalf as the Ring-Lord was that he would have eventually blurred the lines between good and evil. Gandalf would dominate the free wills of his subjects and force them to do good according to his great wisdom, hence making good detestable and seem evil. This, at least for Tolkien, is far worse than an evil Dark Lord, who is much easier to reject morally. Tolkien also made it clear that neither Sauron, nor his old master Morgoth were evil at their beginnings. Therefore, it would only be a matter of time before Gandalf turned into the next Dark Lord. Gandalf was aware that the One Ring would tempt him with his desire to do good. Galadriel was aware that the One Ring would tempt her with her desire to rule, be loved and obeyed by her subjects.

The corrupting effect of the Iron Throne on Stannis and Dany is very reminiscent of the One Ring. Dany is destined to turn into a failed Galadriel. Dany might choose to settle down in a house with a red door and lemon trees in the garden with people she can call family and friends. Isn’t that what she was longing for since the beginning? But she won't make that choice. She will keep pursuing the Iron Throne till she is consumed by it. It should not surprise us if GRRM ends his story by destroying his own One Ring.

Edited by Mithras

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1 hour ago, Mithras said:

Both the One Ring and the Iron Throne are symbols for power, specifically power to rule. One Ring is the will of Sauron to dominate and rule the free people and it has an evil alignment. The Iron Throne too has an evil influence. It is literally the swords of the people Aegon burned with his dragons while he conquered Westeros. The key difference is that GRRM did not want to write a Sauron into his story, which is why he made his corrupting power symbol less-fantasy than the One Ring.

The most interesting aspect of these power symbols is that how the good or heroic characters are affected by pursuing or having them. We know where the quests of Stannis and Dany for the Iron Throne are taking them.

Tolkien in his Letter 246 talked about how certain good characters like Gandalf or Galadriel would be if they took the One Ring. He first speculated whether it would be possible for these characters to master the One Ring and bend it to their wills in a confrontation with Sauron. Tolkien suspected that only Gandalf could be expected to prove victor and master it.

The danger with Gandalf as the Ring-Lord was that he would have eventually blurred the lines between good and evil. Gandalf would dominate the free wills of his subjects and force them to do good according to his great wisdom, hence making good detestable and seem evil. This, at least for Tolkien, is far worse than an evil Dark Lord, who is much easier to reject morally. Tolkien also made it clear that neither Sauron, nor his old master Morgoth were evil at their beginnings. Therefore, it would only be a matter of time before Gandalf turned into the next Dark Lord. Gandalf was aware that the One Ring would tempt him with his desire to do good. Galadriel was aware that the One Ring would tempt her with her desire to rule, be loved and obeyed by her subjects.

The corrupting effect of the Iron Throne on Stannis and Dany is very reminiscent of the One Ring. Dany is destined to turn into a failed Galadriel. Dany might choose to settle down in a house with a red door and lemon trees in the garden with people she can call family and friends. Isn’t that what she was longing for since the beginning? But she won't make that choice. She will keep pursuing the Iron Throne till she is consumed by it. It should not surprise us if GRRM ends his story by destroying his own One Ring.

As I said, there have been good rulers of the Seven Kingdoms, who sat the Iron Throne.  It does not corrupt everyone, unlike the Ring.

If Martin had written the Lord of the Rings, Sauron's enemies would have used the One Ring, because it took a very profound religious faith to refuse it (Tolkien himself commented in the Foreword that in real life, the Ring would have been used against Sauron).  The arguments for using the Ring are quite pragmatic. You choose between certain defeat at Sauron's hands, and probable corruption through using the Ring, but that process would take centuries. 

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

As I said, there have been good rulers of the Seven Kingdoms, who sat the Iron Throne.  It does not corrupt everyone, unlike the Ring.

This does not matter for the purpose of comparison. ASOIAF is not LotR. GRRM is not Tolkien. There are bound to be many differences and nuances.

What matters is that Tolkien's philosophy behind the ring is very real and relatable to GRRM. The state that One Ring leads to is a fascist dictatorship where all sorts of freedoms are suppressed. The Iron Throne is the symbol of an absolutist monarchy created through conquest and intimidation by a dynasty that is the only owner of nuclear weapons. It is the definition of unfair. It is a constant reminder to the subjects that they were conquered and subdued by a higher power.

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14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, well, Nero was a nice guy, all things considered. Loved by the people, especially the people of Rome. He just had issue with the ambitious, degenerate senatorial class who were all dreaming about wearing the purple themselves.

 

Maybe. It is true that Roman historiographers are often very hostile to emperors who entered into conflict with the Senate, as Nero did.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Of course, and I expect that she is going to be the one trying to talk to Aegon. He and Arianne (and Illyrio) won't listen. Nobody should talk to Euron or Cersei and Stannis is not important enough to be even considered as a serious pretender ... and he might be dead long by that time.

 

Or she will present unreasonable demands, or neither of them will listen, or maybe he will listen but something else will happen. There are many ways those talks could fail without him being an idiot.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Stannis would be a monstrous king. He wouldn't last a fortnight on the Iron Throne before somebody put him down. He cannot really work with the noble class of Westeros. They hate him. And the people don't like him either. He would be a dayfly Nero.

The main plot point of the story is the Others thing, of course. But George has no problem with characters trying to get what they think is theirs. Dany is not different in this regard than Tyrion, Bran, or Rickon.

Funny, one turn you support murdering nobles, the second one you call Stannis a monstruous king because he would... murder nobles.

Actually, George does have problem with characters trying to get what is theirs. Stannis has more legal right to the Iron Throne than Daenerys does - Targaryens were ousted in a rebellion supported by most of the kingdom, and thus neither Daenerys nor Aegon can call themselves legitimate rulers by default. That can only change by securing support of the people. Yet whole Stannis' story in the North is about letting go of the Throne in favour of immediately important stuff.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Of course - but that would only make sense if the plot was about the Iron Throne nonsense and not the Others ... and if there weren't a lot of prophecies pointing to Daenerys play a or the crucial role in the fight against said ice demons. Not to mention the rather concrete prophecies she will cast down fake saviors like Stannis, Aegon, and whoever the stone beast is (possibly Euron). That doesn't indicate she is going to help the other good guys dealing with the really bad guys.

 

Have you even read the books? Plot literally is about the "Iron Throne nonsense". Then there is the fact that we have five books so far about war for the Iron Throne. Five books about Daenerys flailling around while learning to rule

The Others are literally "set dressing". Those are Martin's own words:

"I've always taken that as my guiding principle and the rest is just set dressing. You can have dragons in it, or aliens and starships, or a western about a gunslinger, or even literary fiction, and ultimately you're still writing about the human heart in conflict with itself."

The Others don't matter. Human feelings, ambition, politics and, yes, the Iron Throne do matter. The Others are just there to provide the moral of "if you are selfish, ice zombies will kill you all". The end.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But you only get pushed in this Rhaenyra-like role if you run out of options. If your only choices are to push on and survive and win or die trying ... because you cannot really retreat or yield because you know then your enemies will kill and/or your family.

But Dany will always have the option to just fly away and take the reins of power in her other Essosi empire. That kind of option no other pretender will have.

Not necessarily. Quite a few people have embraced such a role for sheer ambition, both within the story (Tywin, etc.) and in real life. Especially if she gets convinced that she is a Messiah, destined to save the Westeros, what do you think will happen?

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Most likely not ... but not because she must have that ugly chair, but because she will go to Westeros because of the destiny that comes with being the prophesied savior. There is a reason why Marwyn is going to her right now. If she will ever try to take the Iron Throne it will be mainly because she feels it will be necessary for her actual job role as the promised princess/Azor Ahai, not because she must have that chair.

Especially if she were to realize that Westeros is actually a shitty place.

I mean, just think for a moment how it would like if Aegon became Dany's incentive to go to Westeros. She should learn about him around the time or after she has taken over the Dothraki, taking on yet another huge burden and responsibility. If she realizes that there is another Targaryen - her nephew at that - who could avenge the family on the filthy Usurper's Dogs then she would have no issue with that. It could allow her to do whatever she wanted. And we know that her actual desires have nothing to do with ruling with an iron fist or being some kind of Dark Lord.

She would only go if she believes that the Aegon guy is not destined to save the world ... and she would be right about that as far as we know.

Oh, I do think chair is a big lure as well... but more importantly, think about how bolded part contradicts your previous point.

As for the rest of it, I actually agree... I just think that her "Savour complex / holy mission / whatever you want to call it" will lead to tragedy... and she may or may not pull it off in the end.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Viserys was mistaken and somewhat stupid, not insane. And the Targaryen name should always be enough to get a third or half of the lords of Westeros to declare for even a lackwit pretender. That's just how people living in a monarchy behave.

The comparison I was making was with Viserys' obsession about Westeros. He grew up at his father's court, knowing what it meant to be a royal prince, absorbing all the entitlement, etc. He wants back what is his right, his due, and he actually knows what he is missing. Dany has nothing of that. To her going to Westeros is a burden, something she has to do because her identity as noblewoman demands that she settles the score.

But she doesn't really want that at heart. If she could do what she really wanted she would go to Braavos and live out her life there as a simple woman together with Daario.

And if she doesn't do that then not because she embraces her nonexisting identity/destiny as scourge of the world or any such crap ... but rather her role in the prophecy. And that has her as the savior of mankind. The guys trying to destroy mankind are the Others.

"Somewhat" stupid? He got himself killed because he had a massive sister complex and was a control freak. That means that he was either completely disconnected from reality ("insane"), or else so stupid as to be mentally retarded. And Targaryen name would only be enough if people actually believed him to have a chance of winning... which, between his personality, his advisors and the fact that he had bloody Dothraki as a core of his force was basically impossible.

Now, it is true that Daenerys didn't grow up in the court... but she did grow up on Viserys' stories about their "right", "Usurper's dogs", "his throne" - which would be "her throne" seeing how he got himself killed. And she clearly saw the Iron Throne in the same way as Viserys:

The Dothraki would respect him more if he looked less a beggar, she hoped, and perhaps he would forgive her for shaming him that day in the grass. He was still her king, after all, and her brother. They were both blood of the dragon.

When her son sat the Iron Throne, she would see that he had bloodriders of his own to protect him against treachery in his Kingsguard.

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."

And that "when her son sat the Iron Throne" is interesting. She is Drogo's wife then, and Viserys clearly intends to take the IT to himself. So either she had already seen Viserys as useless and someone who wouldn't sit or last long on the Throne, or she dreamed of taking the Throne for herself, killing him in the process.

Now, she does mature as the story goes on... but I see no indication that her view of the Iron Throne has changed at all.

And remember that she is being actively pushed by Quaithe towards more violent role:

“Daenerys. Remember the Undying. Remember who you are.”
“The blood of the dragon.” But my dragons are roaring in the darkness. “I remember the Undying. Child of three, they called me. Three mounts they promised me, three fires, and three treasons. One for blood and one for gold and one for …”

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, come on, give up that stupid parallel. That makes no sense. Tolkien wrote a fairy-tale, and Martin writes a series about, let's say, a more complex political world with a consequentialist morality - the outcome decides what's good or bad, not some kind of superstition about the ontological nature of magical objects. Bad people can be good kings in Martinworld and vice versa, just as bad means/intentions can have positive results.

George wouldn't have characters like Stannis - who would be abominations if Tolkien had them (an adulterer enthralled by an evil sorcerer, murdering his brother, considering to murder his innocent nephew, using foul sorcerer to satisfy his petty ambition; he would be worse by principle than Sauron and Saruman both) - as grey characters whose actions so far did more good than harm. George even went on record doubting whether the murder of Renly was all that bad since it saved a lot of lives.

And speaking of Stannis - a pretender to the Iron Throne defending the Realm against Others and wildlings also sends the message loud and clear that coveting that chair isn't bad. Especially since George could easily enough have crafted the story so that Robb or Balon/Euron or another secessionist pretender could have gone to the Wall in Stannis' stead.

Not to mention that Robb/Balon/Euron could have been more successful/sympathetic in general.

I am not going to give up that parallel because a) it is not stupid and b) is almost certainly what George intended. Smeagol and Deagon killed each other over the Ring; and this type of "Cain and Abel" story appears many times in ASoIaF universe, most obviously with Stannis and Renly (Stannis kills Renly because they both want the throne - although to be fair, he did offer Renly reasonable terms, and Renly was going to kill him), but also quite a few other rebellions, including Robert's rebellion to an extent.

If you think Tolkien didn't have complex political world, then you have clearly not read Tolkien. In fact, both Tolkien and Martin have the same moral lesson: that evil rarely pays off. Read Silmarillion. Or literally anything Tolkien wrote beyond Hobbit and Lord of the Rings themselves. If anything, his writings - limited as they are - show a world that is just as, if not more, complex than Martin's. Yes, Tolkien and Martin have different styles of writing and different priorities. Tolkien wrote mythology, whereas Martin writes historical accounts (and is ironically rather sloppy in doing so - his attempts to force "historicity" at some points significantly break immersion). And Tolkien only described and showed things that are immediately important, while Martin goes into piles of descriptions - with the result being that casual / inattentive readers believe that Martin's world is deeper than Tolkien's. But amount of words does not depth make.

Back to Stannis, he had to give up the throne in order to do his duty. So yes, focusing on the throne itself is clearly seen as bad.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, come on, give up that stupid parallel. That makes no sense. Tolkien wrote a fairy-tale, and Martin writes a series about, let's say, a more complex political world with a consequentialist morality - the outcome decides what's good or bad, not some kind of superstition about the ontological nature of magical objects. Bad people can be good kings in Martinworld and vice versa, just as bad means/intentions can have positive results.

George wouldn't have characters like Stannis - who would be abominations if Tolkien had them (an adulterer enthralled by an evil sorcerer, murdering his brother, considering to murder his innocent nephew, using foul sorcerer to satisfy his petty ambition; he would be worse by principle than Sauron and Saruman both) - as grey characters whose actions so far did more good than harm. George even went on record doubting whether the murder of Renly was all that bad since it saved a lot of lives.

And speaking of Stannis - a pretender to the Iron Throne defending the Realm against Others and wildlings also sends the message loud and clear that coveting that chair isn't bad. Especially since George could easily enough have crafted the story so that Robb or Balon/Euron or another secessionist pretender could have gone to the Wall in Stannis' stead.

Not to mention that Robb/Balon/Euron could have been more successful/sympathetic in general.

The f***? Fact that Iron Throne is not important means that she would be more likely to end up hating herself if she ends up killing people (and potential family to boot - I don't think she will ever discover whether Aegon is a real deal or not) for the sake of the throne.

EDIT:

2 hours ago, SeanF said:

Oh, come on, give up that stupid parallel. That makes no sense. Tolkien wrote a fairy-tale, and Martin writes a series about, let's say, a more complex political world with a consequentialist morality - the outcome decides what's good or bad, not some kind of superstition about the ontological nature of magical objects. Bad people can be good kings in Martinworld and vice versa, just as bad means/intentions can have positive results.

George wouldn't have characters like Stannis - who would be abominations if Tolkien had them (an adulterer enthralled by an evil sorcerer, murdering his brother, considering to murder his innocent nephew, using foul sorcerer to satisfy his petty ambition; he would be worse by principle than Sauron and Saruman both) - as grey characters whose actions so far did more good than harm. George even went on record doubting whether the murder of Renly was all that bad since it saved a lot of lives.

And speaking of Stannis - a pretender to the Iron Throne defending the Realm against Others and wildlings also sends the message loud and clear that coveting that chair isn't bad. Especially since George could easily enough have crafted the story so that Robb or Balon/Euron or another secessionist pretender could have gone to the Wall in Stannis' stead.

Not to mention that Robb/Balon/Euron could have been more successful/sympathetic in general.

Sorry to butt in, but you misunderstand the point. Yes, there were good rulers of Seven Kingdoms. But 7K are a hereditary monarchy - thus you can become a ruler and weild power without actively pursuing it. IN fact, this is precisely what happens in Lord of the Rings: Tolkien (through Gandalf) makes a point that the reason why Bilbo and Frodo were so little affected by the Ring was that they did not pursue it. Bilbo gained it almost by accident - he did not steal it, he found it; and Frodo inherited the Ring. Neither of them pursued the Ring. So if you inherit the power, but do not seek it, you are less likely to get corrupted.

And no, you cannot in fact use the One Ring to defeat Sauron. Even if you could, it would mean likely instant corruption - only a passive corrupton, which comes through possessing but not overtly using the Ring takes centuries. But if you use Ring overtly - that is, to dominate wills of others instead of just hiding from people - then it is very likely that process of corruption would take far shorter time. Keep in mind that neither Isildur, Smeagol, Frodo or Sam ever used the Ring for anything significant: but even so, Ring was slowly corrupting them (well, except Sam - Ring was apparently quite desperate while in Sam's possession - but even so Sam was wounded by it).

Edited by Aldarion

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34 minutes ago, Mithras said:

This does not matter for the purpose of comparison. ASOIAF is not LotR. GRRM is not Tolkien. There are bound to be many differences and nuances.

What matters is that Tolkien's philosophy behind the ring is very real and relatable to GRRM. The state that One Ring leads to is a fascist dictatorship where all sorts of freedoms are suppressed. The Iron Throne is the symbol of an absolutist monarchy created through conquest and intimidation by a dynasty that is the only owner of nuclear weapons. It is the definition of unfair. It is a constant reminder to the subjects that they were conquered and subdued by a higher power.

You mean suppressing such freedoms as the right to the first night, or the right to beat your wife to death?

The Kings who who bent the knee/ were defeated by Aegon were not upholders of individual freedom.

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4 minutes ago, SeanF said:

You mean suppressing such freedoms as the right to the first night, or the right to beat your wife to death?

The Kings who who bent the knee/ were defeated by Aegon were not upholders of individual freedom.

Aegon didn't set out to conquer Westeros for humanitarian purposes or individual freedom, just like US did not set out to become the global hegemon for anything other then their own benefit.

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13 minutes ago, Mithras said:

Aegon didn't set out to conquer Westeros for humanitarian purposes or individual freedom, just like US did not set out to become the global hegemon for anything other then their own benefit.

I’m sure that’s right.  Rather like Alfred, Athelstan and Edgar. But very few English people would want to recreate our own seven kingdoms.  I see little downside to unification.

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57 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

Especially if she gets convinced that she is a Messiah, destined to save the Westeros, what do you think will happen?

Has anyone seen Raul Julia playing M. Bison in Street Fighter? He also wants to "do good" with his superweapons. His motives speeches and demeanor reminded me so much of Daenerys.

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1 hour ago, Aldarion said:
 
 

Sorry to butt in, but you misunderstand the point. Yes, there were good rulers of Seven Kingdoms. But 7K are a hereditary monarchy - thus you can become a ruler and weild power without actively pursuing it. IN fact, this is precisely what happens in Lord of the Rings: Tolkien (through Gandalf) makes a point that the reason why Bilbo and Frodo were so little affected by the Ring was that they did not pursue it. Bilbo gained it almost by accident - he did not steal it, he found it; and Frodo inherited the Ring. Neither of them pursued the Ring. So if you inherit the power, but do not seek it, you are less likely to get corrupted.

 

But Aragorn actively does pursue political power.  It's not just given to him because he's a very distant descendant of Isildur.  He first has to prove himself as a military leader (and is very fortunate that the two men who might have actively opposed him, Denethor and Boromir, died) .  And, while he loves Gondor and its people, he also wants to marry Arwen, and knows he can only do this is if he becomes king.  Aragorn is ambitious, accepts that war is a fact of his world, and that he will need to fight to attain the crown, and this is portrayed positively.

So, even in LOTR, seeking power is not necessarily a bad thing.  It's what you do with that matters. 

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18 minutes ago, SeanF said:

But Aragorn actively does pursue political power.  It's not just given to him because he's a very distant descendant of Isildur.  He first has to prove himself as a military leader (and is very fortunate that the two men who might have actively opposed him, Denethor and Boromir, died) .  And, while he loves Gondor and its people, he also wants to marry Arwen, and knows he can only do this is if he becomes king.  Aragorn is ambitious, accepts that war is a fact of his world, and that he will need to fight to attain the crown, and this is portrayed positively.

So, even in LOTR, seeking power is not necessarily a bad thing.  It's what you do with that matters. 

Not really. Yes, it is what you do with it that matters, but it is also what you do in order to gain it that matters. Read again what I wrote: Bilbo was not corrupted by the One Ring as much because he found the ring (whereas Smeagol killed for it), and Frodo inherited the Ring. In other words, while Bilbo did actively take the ring, he did no harm in the process. And this is what we see in Lord of the Rings as well. Aragorn and his ancestors for centuries refused to claim the crown of Gondor in order to avoid potential repeat of the Kinstrife, which makes them the exact opposite of basically all claimants to the Iron Throne. Yes, Aragorn did claim the throne of Gondor eventually - but look at how it happened. He did not march in muh inheritance; he first saved Gondor and then claimed the throne. Closest equivalent to Aragorn that is possible in ASoIaF would be Jon Snow resurrecting, leading defense against the Others, and then claiming the Iron Throne with agreement of Westerosi nobles as a a) recognition of his lineage and b) reward for his leadership in war. And Aragorn claiming the throne was not violent: it was dependant on the acceptance and gratitude of the people he had just saved. Had people of Gondor rejected him, Aragorn would have retreated, much like Arvedui had done centuries and centuries before.

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17 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

Not really. Yes, it is what you do with it that matters, but it is also what you do in order to gain it that matters. Read again what I wrote: Bilbo was not corrupted by the One Ring as much because he found the ring (whereas Smeagol killed for it), and Frodo inherited the Ring. In other words, while Bilbo did actively take the ring, he did no harm in the process. And this is what we see in Lord of the Rings as well. Aragorn and his ancestors for centuries refused to claim the crown of Gondor in order to avoid potential repeat of the Kinstrife, which makes them the exact opposite of basically all claimants to the Iron Throne. Yes, Aragorn did claim the throne of Gondor eventually - but look at how it happened. He did not march in muh inheritance; he first saved Gondor and then claimed the throne. Closest equivalent to Aragorn that is possible in ASoIaF would be Jon Snow resurrecting, leading defense against the Others, and then claiming the Iron Throne with agreement of Westerosi nobles as a a) recognition of his lineage and b) reward for his leadership in war. And Aragorn claiming the throne was not violent: it was dependant on the acceptance and gratitude of the people he had just saved. Had people of Gondor rejected him, Aragorn would have retreated, much like Arvedui had done centuries and centuries before.

Aragorn would never have fought - so long as Sauron remained undefeated.  But afterwards. had Denethor or Boromir remained alive and defied him?  I think Elrond would very much have expected him to do so, if he wished to marry Arwen. 

We've no reason to believe from the narrative that Eldacar was wrong to lead an army to Gondor to regain his throne, Nor that the dwarves were wrong to fight to reclaim their lost realms.

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I think most of dany problems arise from being indecisive, she constantly bounced between her family moto of fire and blood and wanting to be a gentle ruler and you really can’t be both. Someone who sacks a city isn’t responsible for setting up a ruling council after they sack it but dany choose to try but because she didn’t truly think it through or commit it fell apart. 
 

Just to be clear the problem is she wants to be a gentle ruler not a fair or honorable one. Ned, Jon, even one of dany ancestors the old king who were considered great and honorable rulers were not “gentle” they wouldn’t for example take hostages then not use them, there’s a reason why barriston’s job was “protect a guy” and nothing more complicated than that. 
 

dany other problem is she has to commit to wanting the seven kingdoms or being queen of Meereen, you could maybe have both one day but probably not in your generation, you have to commit to one or the other or else you fail at both. Having a lot of people in your Entourage having joined you to go back to the seven kingdoms also isnt the best of moves. If this was any other group that’d be a recipe for getting backstabbed and left to bleed out in the snow. 

 

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It is just ridiculous to try to differentiate between the Iron Throne and kingship or lordship in general. The King on the Iron Throne is not better or worse than the King in the North or the King of the Isles or the King, etc. just because he sits the Iron Throne.

In fact, the Iron Throne is a positive symbol of power since it is a throne that symbolize how justice for all can come from destruction. Aegon first burned the Seven Kingdoms and then he gave them peace, to the profit of all.

If the author wanted to send the message that the Iron Throne is bad then every king on it would have been bad, and structurally the Targaryens/Baratheons on it would all have been tyrants and exploiters of both nobility and smallfolk whereas a government run by the good and noble local nobility would be contrasted with shitty central rule, and its representatives (i.e. Robb, Balon, Euron) would be presented as great guys.

But this isn't the case. One can easily say that, for instance, Renly's take on kingship was overall much better than Robb's. He had a more consensual approach, didn't turn into a self-involved dictator who personally butchered his lead supporters and made lonely decisions like marrying a nobody or insisting to name a bastard his heir.

Bottom line just that the Iron Throne is just a big throne. And kings are shitty or great based on their personality, competence, the advice they get and the circumstances they live in, not on what kind of throne they sit.

This is not a childish fairy-tale story, it is more complex than that.

8 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

You conveniently seem to forget the rampant government spending and the over the top corruption he brought about

I'm not sure one can blame this young man for all that. It is rather curious how a guy like Seneca is still idealized today as a great philosopher when he was the tutor and minister of that 'monster' for a decent chunk of his reign. Corruption isn't the kind of thing personal rule alone can be blamed for, especially not if the political system is set up to support it.

3 hours ago, Mithras said:

This does not matter for the purpose of comparison. ASOIAF is not LotR. GRRM is not Tolkien. There are bound to be many differences and nuances.

What matters is that Tolkien's philosophy behind the ring is very real and relatable to GRRM. The state that One Ring leads to is a fascist dictatorship where all sorts of freedoms are suppressed. The Iron Throne is the symbol of an absolutist monarchy created through conquest and intimidation by a dynasty that is the only owner of nuclear weapons. It is the definition of unfair. It is a constant reminder to the subjects that they were conquered and subdued by a higher power.

There is no structural issue with that since from the POV of the masses, i.e. the smallfolk, a powerful central rule (which never really existed in Westeros, anyway, nor did the dragons help with that) will always be better than aristocratic/feudal chaos.

This is perhaps best portrayed with the misrule of Lord Tytos who, in a small territory, fueled anarchy and civil war because he was unwilling to properly execute the powers he was supposed to wield as lord of the region. The weaker the shark is who is supposed to keep the smaller predators in line, the worse it gets for all the fish.

We also see that in AGoT when even Robert's rotten rule is infinitely better than the chaos the succession war causes. Life for the smallfolk is still pretty good under King Cuckold, and that is because of the authority of central rule.

George isn't a feudalist or aristocrat writing for the benefit or support of the noble class, defending the 'ancient rights' of of the likes of Robb Stark or Balon Greyjoy. He isn't championing the particular and selfish interests of such people. He can portray some of them positively, but he is not on their side.

In this world, central rule is the only positive route towards salvation ... or at least a lasting peace keeping the Ramsays and Gregors in line.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:
Or she will present unreasonable demands, or neither of them will listen, or maybe he will listen but something else will happen. There are many ways those talks could fail without him being an idiot.
 
Funny, one turn you support murdering nobles, the second one you call Stannis a monstruous king because he would... murder nobles.

Actually, George does have problem with characters trying to get what is theirs. Stannis has more legal right to the Iron Throne than Daenerys does - Targaryens were ousted in a rebellion supported by most of the kingdom, and thus neither Daenerys nor Aegon can call themselves legitimate rulers by default. That can only change by securing support of the people. Yet whole Stannis' story in the North is about letting go of the Throne in favour of immediately important stuff.

Stannis doesn't have 'more right' to anything - be the comparison Aegon or Euron or Daenerys. Joffrey/Tommen Baratheon are the crowned and anointed monarchs of the Seven Kingdoms, making Stannis the pretender and would-be usurper ... and his defeat in battle reinforced the fact that, he, Stannis is the wrong and Joff/Tommen are in the right.

Dany's belief her family should get back what's their right isn't different in the slightest from Stannis' delusion that he should be king ... or Bran's wish to take back Winterfell from Lord Ramsay, Asha's wish to oust Euron, Edmure's ambition to get back Riverrun, and so on.

I don't think Dany's desire to murder nobles is as great as Stannis' - who already dreamed to create lords of his own choosing while stuck on Dragonstone. Go, reread Theon 1. It shows in detail how shitty Stannis treats even the men closest to him firsthand.

Westeros is a world where kingship is still very personal. You have to be a likable guy to properly rule, to be able to inspire loyalty and keep your lords sweet. If you cannot do that you will fail.

Daenerys is infinitely better in that department than Stannis ... as the many men she draw to her cause by charisma, negotiation, etc. do testify. She will have support in that department even in Westeros.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Have you even read the books? Plot literally is about the "Iron Throne nonsense". Then there is the fact that we have five books so far about war for the Iron Throne. Five books about Daenerys flailling around while learning to rule

The Others are literally "set dressing". Those are Martin's own words:

"I've always taken that as my guiding principle and the rest is just set dressing. You can have dragons in it, or aliens and starships, or a western about a gunslinger, or even literary fiction, and ultimately you're still writing about the human heart in conflict with itself."

The Others don't matter. Human feelings, ambition, politics and, yes, the Iron Throne do matter. The Others are just there to provide the moral of "if you are selfish, ice zombies will kill you all". The end.

That is a rather simplistic view of things, even by the author himself. The Iron Throne does indeed not matter if there is a danger to the entire world. Of course, this is also a story about relationships and emotional conflicts and motivations, etc. ... which it why it is not as simplistic good vs. evil like Tolkien's writing. A character like Arya would just be an utter monster in Tolkien's works. But she isn't in ASoIaF, no?

The difference with Tolkien and Martin is that the Others aren't the only conflict - whereas with Tolkien everything is always about the Dark Lord.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Not necessarily. Quite a few people have embraced such a role for sheer ambition, both within the story (Tywin, etc.) and in real life. Especially if she gets convinced that she is a Messiah, destined to save the Westeros, what do you think will happen?

She will try to defeat the Others, not insist that she must have the Iron Throne or that all must love her. If Stannis can develop the notion that defeating the big bad can convince people that you might also be the rightful king, then she can reach that conclusion as well.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

"Somewhat" stupid? He got himself killed because he had a massive sister complex and was a control freak. That means that he was either completely disconnected from reality ("insane"), or else so stupid as to be mentally retarded. And Targaryen name would only be enough if people actually believed him to have a chance of winning... which, between his personality, his advisors and the fact that he had bloody Dothraki as a core of his force was basically impossible.

This is a monarchistic world. People will always believe that the original dynasty are the ones who are the rightful kings. Even the Baratheon fan boys know that in their hearts. It is just that part of the readership don't seem to get that. Just as the Northmen want the Starks back, the Westermen would want the Lannisters back if they were ousted (or the Vale the Arryns), Westeros as a whole wants the dragons back if the option is on the table.

Viserys could have been a lackwit cripple, and there would have still been some lords rising in his name if he had shown up. Doesn't mean he would have won a war, but there would have been a war.

I think this kind of thing is best portrayed in the first season of Rome, where Caesar really beats up Vorenus when he allows Pompey to leave. And that is still republic Rome - a society so steeped in medieval monarchism would as Westeros is not just going to collective with the newcoming usurpers.

The Baratheons would have to fear a Targaryen restoration even a hundred years after the Rebellion.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Now, it is true that Daenerys didn't grow up in the court... but she did grow up on Viserys' stories about their "right", "Usurper's dogs", "his throne" - which would be "her throne" seeing how he got himself killed. And she clearly saw the Iron Throne in the same way as Viserys:

The Dothraki would respect him more if he looked less a beggar, she hoped, and perhaps he would forgive her for shaming him that day in the grass. He was still her king, after all, and her brother. They were both blood of the dragon.

When her son sat the Iron Throne, she would see that he had bloodriders of his own to protect him against treachery in his Kingsguard.

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."

And that "when her son sat the Iron Throne" is interesting. She is Drogo's wife then, and Viserys clearly intends to take the IT to himself. So either she had already seen Viserys as useless and someone who wouldn't sit or last long on the Throne, or she dreamed of taking the Throne for herself, killing him in the process.

She realizes that Viserys couldn't do the job. She tries to use Rhaego to do it for them, the family. And to clear, with Viserys being childless so far, Dany and her unborn child are his heirs. But she expects that Viserys will fail even if/when Drogo gives him his army, meaning the job will eventually fall to her son.

But again - the bottom line here is that Dany is just sort of Viserys' echo there. She has no connection to Westeros, no personal stakes in getting even because people she knew and loved where killed there. It is all just a story to her. Back in AGoT a rather important story because it is the only one she ever knew.

But she isn't a little girl anymore, she came into her own now, and the Targaryen legacy in Westeros is pretty much in the background now. She has dragons now and can do what she wants ... and she does that. She has conquered other places Politically, Westeros is going to be the least interesting option to her. She would have to move her armies there instead of using them to build an empire where they are.

Aegon the Conqueror didn't live in Vaes Dothrak or the Red Waste when he mounted Balerion. And he didn't move them to the far ends of the world to conquer places there ... he just attacked his immediate neighbors.

Daenerys as a character obsessed with Westeros or the Iron Throne isn't a particularly likely scenario with that backstory.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Now, she does mature as the story goes on... but I see no indication that her view of the Iron Throne has changed at all.

And remember that she is being actively pushed by Quaithe towards more violent role:

“Daenerys. Remember the Undying. Remember who you are.”
“The blood of the dragon.” But my dragons are roaring in the darkness. “I remember the Undying. Child of three, they called me. Three mounts they promised me, three fires, and three treasons. One for blood and one for gold and one for …”

 

More violent rule is necessary. She is far too weak and merciful so far.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

I am not going to give up that parallel because a) it is not stupid and b) is almost certainly what George intended. Smeagol and Deagon killed each other over the Ring; and this type of "Cain and Abel" story appears many times in ASoIaF universe, most obviously with Stannis and Renly (Stannis kills Renly because they both want the throne - although to be fair, he did offer Renly reasonable terms, and Renly was going to kill him), but also quite a few other rebellions, including Robert's rebellion to an extent.

But unlike Gollum, Stannis wasn't 'corrupted' by some kind of magical thing to murder his brother. And he does it to steal Renly's army, provoking the entire conflict for that reason.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Back to Stannis, he had to give up the throne in order to do his duty. So yes, focusing on the throne itself is clearly seen as bad.

Stannis hasn't given up the throne. He still wants it very much and sees saving the world as a ploy to gain that chair. He isn't better than any of his rivals in that sense. And Daenerys won't be worse than him if she comes to Westeros to defeat the Others and do what she has to succeed at that.

If Dany is Azor Ahai - or whoever that is - then even burning your own daughter might turn out to be the right thing to do. For Stannis it won't, because he is a fake.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

The f***? Fact that Iron Throne is not important means that she would be more likely to end up hating herself if she ends up killing people (and potential family to boot - I don't think she will ever discover whether Aegon is a real deal or not) for the sake of the throne.

If Aegon attacks her then him being 'family' wouldn't be all that important. She doesn't know him, didn't grow up with him, and if he doesn't give her any other choice then ... so what? Not to mention that chances are very low that Dany is going to kill Aegon personally or that he'll die at her command. He is more likely to die in battle or end up as Euron's Reek if you ask me.

And of course Aegon's true identity and background will be revealed to the world. That's what secrets are for - to be revealed when the time is right. Daenerys most likely needs sufficient evidence that Aegon isn't the real deal to even consider challenging his claim.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Sorry to butt in, but you misunderstand the point. Yes, there were good rulers of Seven Kingdoms. But 7K are a hereditary monarchy - thus you can become a ruler and weild power without actively pursuing it. IN fact, this is precisely what happens in Lord of the Rings: Tolkien (through Gandalf) makes a point that the reason why Bilbo and Frodo were so little affected by the Ring was that they did not pursue it. Bilbo gained it almost by accident - he did not steal it, he found it; and Frodo inherited the Ring. Neither of them pursued the Ring. So if you inherit the power, but do not seek it, you are less likely to get corrupted.

George isn't of the view that people inheriting power or crowns are better because they don't want said power. That is why all his royal and noble families have good and bad rulers - because hereditary systems do not favor the people best suited for a role, but just caper to the whims of the hereditary system.

And the idea that a person not coveting power would be a great ruler is just nonsense. In Westeros that would mean that Hot Pie or Davos or Areo would be great kings ... but they wouldn't, because they have neither the personality nor ability nor talent to rule in such a world.

Personal rule is hard - you have to want to do it, and you have to prepare for it. A king like Jaehaerys I was no accident of history. The man had to prepare himself for this role, as did Alysanne. That is the entire point of the story of their early reign.

In the books you also see that with Robb - he eventually cracked under the pressure, but he could only get as far as did because he prepared himself for it. Bran and Rickon couldn't have done what he did because nobody ever groomed them for rule.

3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

And no, you cannot in fact use the One Ring to defeat Sauron. Even if you could, it would mean likely instant corruption - only a passive corrupton, which comes through possessing but not overtly using the Ring takes centuries. But if you use Ring overtly - that is, to dominate wills of others instead of just hiding from people - then it is very likely that process of corruption would take far shorter time. Keep in mind that neither Isildur, Smeagol, Frodo or Sam ever used the Ring for anything significant: but even so, Ring was slowly corrupting them (well, except Sam - Ring was apparently quite desperate while in Sam's possession - but even so Sam was wounded by it).

As per Tolkien's letters Gandalf could defeat Sauron using the Ring. And he wouldn't become a Sauron 2.0 doing that, but rather a Gandalf version of a Dark Lord - another type of dictatorship. Just as Galadriel would turn into the worst thing of all - an irresistable femme fatale.

And of course Aragorn actively pursued power. He didn't wage a war to conquer Minas Tirith and seize his throne, but he still wanted said throne and eventually took it.

It is rather funny how people can so misread ASoIaF as to view noble pricks bickering for a place at the sun or seceding from the central power as heroes or as being the downtrodden people. They are not. They are part of the problem of the entire system.

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54 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

 

I'm not sure one can blame this young man for all that. It is rather curious how a guy like Seneca is still idealized today as a great philosopher when he was the tutor and minister of that 'monster' for a decent chunk of his reign. Corruption isn't the kind of thing personal rule alone can be blamed for, especially not if the political system is set up to support it.

It is rather funny how people can so misread ASoIaF as to view noble pricks bickering for a place at the sun or seceding from the central power as heroes or as being the downtrodden people. They are not. They are part of the problem of the entire system.

Seneca's extortion is considered one of the prime causes of Boudicca's revolt.

Some nobles may be heroes, but as you say, they are part of the problem.  There is no evidence at all that life was better for the Smallfolk when the Vale, Stormlands etc. were independent kingdoms, any more than life would be better for the English if we revived Mercia, East Anglia etc. as independent kingdoms.  In essence, Westeros is England writ large. 

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