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TheTargaryenHistorian

Dragon taming: Blood of the dragon or sorcery?

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1 hour ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

If it wasnt positive why are there so many nuke stans who agree with Targaryen beliefs, that they are the supreme House who deserves to rule, and that the "blood of the dragon" needs to be restored?

What are you talking about it's one person. Maybe two

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2 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

I don't know how GRRM deals with it. If I was him I wouldn't want any supremacist eugenists thinking I was endorsing their views. I'd set them straight and tell them to go read someone else. 

But then ya get the people who’ll say, “Policing his audience is discriminatory and elitist!”

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20 minutes ago, Eliscat said:

But then ya get the people who’ll say, “Policing his audience is discriminatory and elitist!”

Haha probably. I really respected Kurt Cobain when he laid it all out, and let people know where he stood. “If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us — leave us the f--- alone! Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records....If you’re a sexist, racist, homophobe or basically an a--hole, don’t buy this CD. I don’t care if you like me, I hate you.”

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19 hours ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

Firstly, I’m a fan of yours on these forums and I’m honoured you’ve contributed to my first post. Your knowledge of all things Targaryen and dragon in Asoiaf is amazing.

Oh, well, you'll get there if you continue reading the books. It isn't all that complex compared to really complicated things.

19 hours ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

secondly, you seem to believe Nettles is definitely a dragonseed as you argue magic can’t tame dragons. You later contradict yourself and say magic could possibly tame dragons but we’ve not seen it done. I believe it’s probable she was a dragonseed, but could she not be our first case of a witch capable of taming dragons? If it’s possible to use magic to tame dragons, could it be argued Rhaenyra knew this due to passed down knowledge and therefore her accusation carried weight and was convincing to her council members and close family? She could be lying or distancing Nettles from herself and her family and ‘true’ dragonriders, but could she also incidentally be right?

Oh, the point I was trying to make is that we don't have actually positive evidence in-universe that the dragonriders we know actually used magics and spells not related to the innate magic of 'the blood of the dragon' to bond with the dragons.

That technically magic should be able to accomplish a lot of things - certainly everything the author wants it do - cannot really be in doubt.

Nettles isn't a real witch ... she is as much a witch as Poxy Jeyne Poore who was burned as a witch or Queen Rhaena who also became a reputed witch after she lived alone at Harrenhal (and there are even rumors she brought about Maegor's death with witchcraft). Even Queen Visenya we never actually see doing some sorcery (although I'm more inclined to believe the rumors in her case).

Nettles is just a humble young girl who got lucky for five minutes and then ended in obscurity again. The reason why the clansmen of the mountains viewed her as a witch simply has to do with her being a dragonrider and thus a larger-than-life figure who must have powers beyond that of normal people.

At least this would be my take on it. Nothing Nettles did indicates she used sorcery.

Her way of claiming a dragon isn't different from anybody else's we saw so far. The difference there is that Sheepstealer is the only wild dragon to be claimed, whereas the other dragonseeds and all the Targaryens before and after them effectively didn't mount dragons who were not familiar with humans.

But once/if you get to Dany mounting Drogon later in the series you will see how Dany herself needed ended up like Alyn Velaryn with Sheepstealer. When Dany claims Drogon is effectively a wild dragon himself ... he still remembers her, and that's why he doesn't kill her and she can mount him, but it is a very close thing.

Nettles realized that Sheepstealer wasn't like the castle dragons who had all been ridden previously - which allowed Hugh and Ulf and Addam to claim their dragons pretty easily - he was a wild dragon. So she first had to get close to him so he would not view her as a threat (or prey) and once that familiarity was established she could make her move and mount him without getting the kind of resistance Alyn Velaryon and the others who tried to claim Sheepstealer did.

There is nothing magical about that.

19 hours ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

I apologise, by ‘other bloodlines’ I meant the people in Volantis and the free cities with the blood of dragonlords. So we are agreed on Jaehaerys fears being about them.

Yes, Jaehaerys I is specifically concerned that the triarchs of Volantis could acquire dragons. He doesn't view this as a potentially positve development ... which tells us how far removed the Targaryens are from the Valyrian culture of the Free Cities.

19 hours ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

I also forgot about Rhaena’s concerns which I thought were odd when I read F&B, a Lannister dragonrider? How? but perhaps you’re right and the Targaryens are more special than they realise/ remember.

Rhaena is concerned because the Lannisters ask questions about the dragon eggs and want to acquire them. It doesn't seem that she believes they could never mount hatchlings coming from Dreamfyre's eggs. And we don't know that, either. Perhaps there is a chance that people caring for dragons from the days they hatched could be lucky and become dragonriders or find other ways to use them as weapons. Even if the Lannisters weren't dragonriders as such ... if they had dragons as pets in their menagerie their prestige would skyrocket. Possibly enough that they could challenge the Targaryens.

Also, part of Lord Lyman's ambition was to marry Rhaena to his bastard or his other sons ... and that would have given the Lannisters the blood of the dragon in addition to the dragons they were trying to buy from Rhaena. One imagines their plan was to give any dragon hatchlings they may have acquired to the Targaryen-Lannisters they were trying to breed.

But we also have to keep in mind that Rhaena Targaryen was most likely the Targaryen most free with her dragon. All her friends - and apparently technically even Androw, in the early days - were allow to join her own Dreamfyre, and that could have caused her to think of all the people who had previously ridden with her on Dreamfyre as potential dragonriders. Hence the reason why she may have thought Androw could mount a dragon at Dragonstone.

19 hours ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

the horns and sorcery are, I agree, not well understood, seemingly in universe or by us. We hear mention of them but only in rumours about the past. Who knows what dragonbinder will do in the story. As you say, probably something very different.

There is this rather ominous little line in FaB about the deaths of Aemon and Baelon being akin to the sounding of the 'hell-horns' of Valyria, indicating that Dragonbinder is not going to do something positive when it is finally sounded.

19 hours ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

the order of the greenhand argued that Targaryens were unique amongst the dragonlord families because they didn’t need horns or spells to tame dragons. I now realise this can’t be true, because there were 39 other ‘dragonlord’ families and George tells us the Targaryens were far from the most powerful or wealthy. If they were truly this unique EVERY other family would want to intermarry with them to gain this ability for themselves, and even if the Targaryens practiced incest to prevent the other families from doing this that still doesn’t explain why they weren’t powerful or rich.

Yes, that doesn't make much sense. Instead, we have to imagine the Targaryens as lesser or average dragonlords - say, the Freys or Dondarrions or Corbrays of Valyria. They were part of the elite but they were far from being the really big players.

19 hours ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

Overall then, Targaryen blood= Dragonlord blood and it is dragonlord blood that is crucial to taming dragons and this explains Jaehaerys fears, as this blood may be alive and well in Volantis and the free cities.

Yes, you can also see this with the Doctrine of Exceptionalism. Very few people have Valyrian looks in Westeros. They are unusual and rare and thus a good way to mark the special status of the royal family. But in Lys and Volantis many people look exactly like that, among them many prostitutes and slaves.

19 hours ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

There actually is evidence Nettles was a witch. We hear of a girl with a dragon leading a clan in the Vale, able to summon fire and burn men in rituals. This could be nettles and leaves open the possibility she was what Rhaenyra accused her of. It could be complete fiction or someone else. We don’t know.

Yes, but those are just the beliefs of the Burned Men. They pretty much worshiped Nettles and her dragon and made visits to her an integral part of their cultural/religious identity.

13 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

It is said that dragons were bound by magic originally or even created it by it. So if the blood of the dragonlords is necessary it would be because they made it so to the best of their ability. Maybe it is possible to tame one without being the descendant of a dragonlord. It must be exceedingly difficult if at all possible or others would have done it. Still the implication exists that if it was done once by magic it can be done again. 

Well, if you want to speculate about the beginning of all that it seems the Valyrians actually mated with dragons. They made themselves 'part dragon' in some way. And the affinity for each other - Valyrian dragonlords for dragons, dragons for Valyrian dragonlords and their descendants - is the foundation for everything that came later.

In light of that it makes sense to assume that this affinity was strongest with the Valyrians who literally had a dragon as parent or grandparent whereas things got more and more difficult the more the original 'blood of the dragon' was diluted.

And that is why they came up with the incest. That way the potential to bond with dragons can be preserved for millennia when mating with non-dragonlord folk on a regular basis would just dilute this potential to the point that the dragons would reject them.

13 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

I think the current Targaryens had the reason for the incest backwards. It is not because the purity of the blood matters, but because it doesn't. Case in a point Brown Ben Plum and all the dragonseeds in Dance. If a Valyrian dragonlord married a non dragonlord, a couple generations down the line there could be potentially dozens of his or her descendants who could claim the dragons of the house while having no real affiliation with it. That would raise the question why did they not marry into other dragonlord families. Perhaps they did, but did not get along well enough most of the for that to be the rule rather than the exception. Another reason could be that the dragonlords could only ride the dragons of their own house and not another house's so marrrying another dragonlord would mean that the descendants would have access to the dragons of both houses.

The way Valyria was set up it makes indeed little sense that they would not intermarry with each other. But they eventually settled on incest as the ideal for whatever reason. Possibly because they did not want dragons to leave the family.

Spreading out the potential of becoming a dragonrider among the rabble - which the Targaryens also did on Dragonstone with their first night stuff - wouldn't be a problem if you simply limit access to dragons. In Westeros people had relative easy access to dragons - all you needed to do, really, was to get on Dragonstone. Then you could get close to a dragon somehow, if only to a wild dragon.

But back in Valyria the dragonlords resided in their topless towers. They rarely even come down on the earth to walk about the humble Valyrians. Only people they would want to have around their dragons would get close to them. And if you cannot get close to a dragon, you can have the potential to become a dragonrider all day long. It is not going to make a difference.

After all, there are hints that Jaehaerys I had dozens of unclaimed dragons both on Dragonstone and in the Dragonpit later ... but after the Aerea disaster he only allowed three of his children dragons when he could have at least five or six dragonriders among his children. Daella may have never gotten around to it, but Maegelle, Vaegon, Saera, Viserra, and perhaps even Gael had the strength to do it, one imagines, even if it may no longer have been proper for Maegelle and Vaegon after they were sent to Oldtown.

13 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

All the screwing around the Targaryens did means that there are hundreds of people with the potential of riding a dragon, which is precisely the situation the dragonlords of Valyria were hoping to avoid with their inbreeding. 

No, the inbreeding didn't stop the dragonlords from sleeping around. That was what Lys was for, after all. And they flew there with their dragons. Also, with them having armies of slaves they would also have had armies of bastards from bedslaves and the like. Incestuous marriages do not stop people from sleeping around. It might even encourage that since very few Valyrians would have actually been deeply in love with their siblings.

It is already a stretch that Aegon had a thing for Rhaenys, that Jaehaerys-Alysanne and Baelon-Alyssa were so much into each other, etc. Most incestuous unions should be more like Aegon-Visenya or Aegon-Rhaena - cordial and affectionate because they were siblings and had a duty to each other, but nothing deeply romantic.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, well, you'll get there if you continue reading the books. It isn't all that complex compared to really complicated things.

I intend to, unfortunately I’ve been stuck on ACoK for a while due to reading other books but once I can read it again I will. And true, but I admire your apparently photogenic memory for the names and events, I may need to re read F&B a few times.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Oh, the point I was trying to make is that we don't have actually positive evidence in-universe that the dragonriders we know actually used magics and spells not related to the innate magic of 'the blood of the dragon' to bond with the dragons.

That technically magic should be able to accomplish a lot of things - certainly everything the author wants it do - cannot really be in doubt.

Nettles isn't a real witch ... she is as much a witch as Poxy Jeyne Poore who was burned as a witch or Queen Rhaena who also became a reputed witch after she lived alone at Harrenhal (and there are even rumors she brought about Maegor's death with witchcraft). Even Queen Visenya we never actually see doing some sorcery (although I'm more inclined to believe the rumors in her case).

Nettles is just a humble young girl who got lucky for five minutes and then ended in obscurity again. The reason why the clansmen of the mountains viewed her as a witch simply has to do with her being a dragonrider and thus a larger-than-life figure who must have powers beyond that of normal people.

At least this would be my take on it. Nothing Nettles did indicates she used sorcery.

Her way of claiming a dragon isn't different from anybody else's we saw so far. The difference there is that Sheepstealer is the only wild dragon to be claimed, whereas the other dragonseeds and all the Targaryens before and after them effectively didn't mount dragons who were not familiar with humans.

But once/if you get to Dany mounting Drogon later in the series you will see how Dany herself needed ended up like Alyn Velaryn with Sheepstealer. When Dany claims Drogon is effectively a wild dragon himself ... he still remembers her, and that's why he doesn't kill her and she can mount him, but it is a very close thing.

Nettles realized that Sheepstealer wasn't like the castle dragons who had all been ridden previously - which allowed Hugh and Ulf and Addam to claim their dragons pretty easily - he was a wild dragon. So she first had to get close to him so he would not view her as a threat (or prey) and once that familiarity was established she could make her move and mount him without getting the kind of resistance Alyn Velaryon and the others who tried to claim Sheepstealer did.

There is nothing magical about that.

Again, on this we are agreed. As I say, it is my belief that Nettles was a dragonseed who succeeded in bonding with Sheepstealer because of her Targaryen ancestry. It seems then that Rhaenyra’s quote actually proves your point. Targaryens and dragonseeds tame dragons like people tame horses irl as George states. All three methods seen so far fit this: feeding, petting and riding for the first time. If the dragon is wild then it’s more difficult/ dangerous but if you can get it to let you mount it then hey presto, like a wild horse. They don’t use spells or horns, if they did this would certainly have been mentioned in F&B. They can just do it. 

So maybe what Rhaenyra accused Nettles of is possible, but she was wrong about Nettles and was just being mean and jealous. Her quote is still useful as it confirms our shared theory= dragonlord/ Targaryen blood is enough to tame dragons by itself, with no other magic, just normal methods for taming rideable animals.

One thing to ponder: I’m saying Targaryen blood allows you to bond with a dragon but it doesn’t seem to endear you to them. It is strongly implied that Vhagar, Vermithor and Silverwing were only relatively easy to tame for Aemond, Hugh and Ulf because they were already tamed by others in the past, NOT because of their blood. If having Targaryen blood made any dragons in your vicinity docile and easy to tame, then Alyn presumably wouldn’t have failed, Nettles wouldn’t have had to feed Sheepstealer before attempting to mount him and Dany wouldn’t have been burned and struggled with Drogon. In fact, Quentyn, if he had enough Targaryen blood, wouldn’t have been burned by Rhaegal.

Why is this important? Because it means Brown Ben Plum could be lying about his ancestry or he is mistaken about why the dragons like him. They probably like him because they’re young and if Dany trusts him then they will be at ease around him too. Syrax didn’t mind Joffrey climbing onto her initially because he was her riders son and she knew him. Balerion didn’t mind little Baelon hitting him because he was old, had been tamed twice and wasn’t wild.

Targaryen blood allows you to tame and ride dragons but the dragon is also a determining factor depending on their temperament and personality, neither of which will change if they are riderless and you approach them with Targaryen blood.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Yes, Jaehaerys I is specifically concerned that the triarchs of Volantis could acquire dragons. He doesn't view this as a potentially positve development ... which tells us how far removed the Targaryens are from the Valyrian culture of the Free Cities.

Rhaena is concerned because the Lannisters ask questions about the dragon eggs and want to acquire them. It doesn't seem that she believes they could never mount hatchlings coming from Dreamfyre's eggs. And we don't know that, either. Perhaps there is a chance that people caring for dragons from the days they hatched could be lucky and become dragonriders or find other ways to use them as weapons. Even if the Lannisters weren't dragonriders as such ... if they had dragons as pets in their menagerie their prestige would skyrocket. Possibly enough that they could challenge the Targaryens.

Also, part of Lord Lyman's ambition was to marry Rhaena to his bastard or his other sons ... and that would have given the Lannisters the blood of the dragon in addition to the dragons they were trying to buy from Rhaena. One imagines their plan was to give any dragon hatchlings they may have acquired to the Targaryen-Lannisters they were trying to breed.

But we also have to keep in mind that Rhaena Targaryen was most likely the Targaryen most free with her dragon. All her friends - and apparently technically even Androw, in the early days - were allow to join her own Dreamfyre, and that could have caused her to think of all the people who had previously ridden with her on Dreamfyre as potential dragonriders. Hence the reason why she may have thought Androw could mount a dragon at Dragonstone.

You make an interesting point, but I think Jaehaerys is just concerned about another family gaining dragons in Volantis because the Targaryens are special and nigh invincible at this point because they are the only known family in the world to own and control dragons. His fear over this changing says more about his family’s reliance on dragons to justify and maintain their power than it does any cultural split from Valyria or Volantis. 

Ah I see, so Rhaena is mistaken about others being able to tame dragons but her fears are not totally unfounded. I doubt the Lannisters could have challenged the Targaryens unless they were dragonriders. Having dragons as attractions in their menagerie would boost their popularity but there’s nothing to stop Jaehaerys from laying waste to Casterly Rock, freeing the dragons and taking them back to Dragonstone. If they’d arranged a marriage with Rhaena, she’d given them eggs and she’d had children, that’s different. Who knows what wars were avoided when she instead married Androw. It’s interesting she believed people without her family’s blood could mount dragons but she could simply be mistaken, and Dreamfyre allowing them to ride her whilst Rhaena was riding her seems a good enough reason for these fears, however unfounded they are.

 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

There is this rather ominous little line in FaB about the deaths of Aemon and Baelon being akin to the sounding of the 'hell-horns' of Valyria, indicating that Dragonbinder is not going to do something positive when it is finally sounded.

Yes, that doesn't make much sense. Instead, we have to imagine the Targaryens as lesser or average dragonlords - say, the Freys or Dondarrions or Corbrays of Valyria. They were part of the elite but they were far from being the really big players.

Yes, you can also see this with the Doctrine of Exceptionalism. Very few people have Valyrian looks in Westeros. They are unusual and rare and thus a good way to mark the special status of the royal family. But in Lys and Volantis many people look exactly like that, among them many prostitutes and slaves.

Yes, but those are just the beliefs of the Burned Men. They pretty much worshiped Nettles and her dragon and made visits to her an integral part of their cultural/religious identity.

I quite agree about dragonbinder. Even I’m excited for TWoW and I’m on the second book.

Your comment on the doctrine of exceptionalism and the appearance of the Targaryens makes sense. After all, let’s imagine: Jaehaerys creates a new doctrine to convince all of Westeros that his family’s practice of incest is actually fine and natural because of their appearance and their dragons, which make them totally unique. Then suddenly there is talk of a new dragonlord family in Volantis with three dragons that has taken control of the city and is preparing to conquer the free cities and possibly most of Essos, making them a mirror image of and possible threat to the Targaryens. Not a good look for Jaehaerys and the Targaryens and a failure of propaganda.

Also I find it interesting that MANY Targaryens and Velaryons don’t have these traits. Take Alyssa, Alysanne, Jocelyn and Rhaenys as a few. evidently these traits are recessive genetically speaking, and must be extremely so if even incest between very close relatives doesn’t guarantee them.

And yes it’s true the burned men (I forgot their name, thank you) could be lying or exaggerating to boost their own culture and reputation, if indeed they were the origin of the rumour about this witch. I think we can safely assume it is Nettles, George clearly wants us to think so, but you’re right she probably isn’t a witch. She could just be burning them using Sheepstealer’s fire.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, if you want to speculate about the beginning of all that it seems the Valyrians actually mated with dragons. They made themselves 'part dragon' in some way. And the affinity for each other - Valyrian dragonlords for dragons, dragons for Valyrian dragonlords and their descendants - is the foundation for everything that came later.

In light of that it makes sense to assume that this affinity was strongest with the Valyrians who literally had a dragon as parent or grandparent whereas things got more and more difficult the more the original 'blood of the dragon' was diluted.

And that is why they came up with the incest. That way the potential to bond with dragons can be preserved for millennia when mating with non-dragonlord folk on a regular basis would just dilute this potential to the point that the dragons would reject them.

The way Valyria was set up it makes indeed little sense that they would not intermarry with each other. But they eventually settled on incest as the ideal for whatever reason. Possibly because they did not want dragons to leave the family.

Spreading out the potential of becoming a dragonrider among the rabble - which the Targaryens also did on Dragonstone with their first night stuff - wouldn't be a problem if you simply limit access to dragons. In Westeros people had relative easy access to dragons - all you needed to do, really, was to get on Dragonstone. Then you could get close to a dragon somehow, if only to a wild dragon.

But back in Valyria the dragonlords resided in their topless towers. They rarely even come down on the earth to walk about the humble Valyrians. Only people they would want to have around their dragons would get close to them. And if you cannot get close to a dragon, you can have the potential to become a dragonrider all day long. It is not going to make a difference.

After all, there are hints that Jaehaerys I had dozens of unclaimed dragons both on Dragonstone and in the Dragonpit later ... but after the Aerea disaster he only allowed three of his children dragons when he could have at least five or six dragonriders among his children. Daella may have never gotten around to it, but Maegelle, Vaegon, Saera, Viserra, and perhaps even Gael had the strength to do it, one imagines, even if it may no longer have been proper for Maegelle and Vaegon after they were sent to Oldtown.

No, the inbreeding didn't stop the dragonlords from sleeping around. That was what Lys was for, after all. And they flew there with their dragons. Also, with them having armies of slaves they would also have had armies of bastards from bedslaves and the like. Incestuous marriages do not stop people from sleeping around. It might even encourage that since very few Valyrians would have actually been deeply in love with their siblings.

It is already a stretch that Aegon had a thing for Rhaenys, that Jaehaerys-Alysanne and Baelon-Alyssa were so much into each other, etc. Most incestuous unions should be more like Aegon-Visenya or Aegon-Rhaena - cordial and affectionate because they were siblings and had a duty to each other, but nothing deeply romantic.

I agree with most of this, especially your theory about dragonlord families actually being part dragon. This fits with the monstrous stillbirths the family sometimes experience.

It is certainly odd that more of Jaehaerys and Alysanne’s children didn’t become dragonriders. The incident with Aerea seems to have spooked them, and I’m guessing Caraxes and Meleys were chosen from the hatcheries on Dragonstone not just because of their symbolic red colouring but probably also their youth, less risk of them doing what Balerion did although I’m still intrigued by that whole event. Was Aerea in control of Balerion? It seems doubtful. Why did he go back to Valyria? Who knows.

Whilst I agree getting to a wild dragon on dragonstone was relatively easy compared to say in Old Valyria where they were probably kept much more secure, Jaehaerys created the order of the Dragonkeepers after the Aerea incident to guard all the hatcheries and lairs on Dragonstone and the Dragonpit. This even prevented Saerra stealing a dragon. The Valyrians may have done something similar, and this clearly had the desired effect of preventing unwanted bonding between dragons and anyone with the right blood who wanted a dragon.

I agree it is weird so many marriages between Targaryen siblings were romantic and happy. Maybe it just seemed more normal to them because it was what the rest of their family had done/ were doing. And yes, as we see in Lys and Volantis, the dragonlords clearly didn’t care about spreading their bloodline, and this makes sense given what I’ve said above. If all your family’s dragons are secured and guarded, having illegitimate children in another city isn’t a problem. On Dragonstone sure these children and their descendants are closer and could take a wild dragon but there were dragonkeepers on Dragonstone too, and if that failed and this dragonseed caused issues they had all the other dragonriding Targaryens to deal with.

Edited by TheTargaryenHistorian
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1 hour ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

Again, on this we are agreed. As I say, it is my belief that Nettles was a dragonseed who succeeded in bonding with Sheepstealer because of her Targaryen ancestry. It seems then that Rhaenyra’s quote actually proves your point. Targaryens and dragonseeds tame dragons like people tame horses irl as George states. All three methods seen so far fit this: feeding, petting and riding for the first time. If the dragon is wild then it’s more difficult/ dangerous but if you can get it to let you mount it then hey presto, like a wild horse. They don’t use spells or horns, if they did this would certainly have been mentioned in F&B. They can just do it. 

Yes, and 'normal people' just can't do it. If they could, we would have seen dragonkeepers and dragon stableboys and dragon grooms, etc. among the dragonseed dragonriders. But we didn't. We don't even hear of any such people trying to mount a dragon ... possibly because they knew that this would be suicide. They would have known to what degree the dragons tolerated their presence and how far they could go with them.

I mean, if you think about it - quite a few Targaryen dragonriders weren't particularly close to their dragons. While Rhaenys and Rhaena and Aenys and Alyssa and Laena liked to fly, Aegon I just flew Balerion to battle and when he had to cross long distances. Viserys I flew Balerion just once, apparently. Rhaenyra flew on Syrax often in her youth but apparently not that often later in life, and we don't know how much time Helaena or Aegon II spent on their dragons.

And all the ruling business would have made it especially tedious for the kings and queens to actually take their dragons for a joyride. Meaning the dragons would have been more around the people who fed and took care of them and the Dragonpit and the yards on Dragonstone. And still the dragons bonded for life with those riders who were often distant, not with the people who took care of them on a day-to-day basis.

That is very telling.

1 hour ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

One thing to ponder: I’m saying Targaryen blood allows you to bond with a dragon but it doesn’t seem to endear you to them. It is strongly implied that Vhagar, Vermithor and Silverwing were only relatively easy to tame for Aemond, Hugh and Ulf because they were already tamed by others in the past, NOT because of their blood. If having Targaryen blood made any dragons in your vicinity docile and easy to tame, then Alyn presumably wouldn’t have failed, Nettles wouldn’t have had to feed Sheepstealer before attempting to mount him and Dany wouldn’t have been burned and struggled with Drogon. In fact, Quentyn, if he had enough Targaryen blood, wouldn’t have been burned by Rhaegal.

Oh, that's just an issue of temperament, I guess. Those bonds between dragon and rider last a lifetime. Once you do it, once you mount the dragon it is done. Then the dragon will never turn on you ... but you have to do that. Your blood gives you the ability to establish this lasting bond - which clearly is magical because if dragons were horses then everybody could ride them, just as a horse rider can ride multiple horses at the same time -
but it is still a risk doing it because the dragon can reject and/or kill you.

Although no Targaryen that we know of was actually ever rejected or killed by a dragon, so this seems to be a rare thing if it ever happened.

1 hour ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

Why is this important? Because it means Brown Ben Plum could be lying about his ancestry or he is mistaken about why the dragons like him. They probably like him because they’re young and if Dany trusts him then they will be at ease around him too. Syrax didn’t mind Joffrey climbing onto her initially because he was her riders son and she knew him. Balerion didn’t mind little Baelon hitting him because he was old, had been tamed twice and wasn’t wild.

No, with Ben it is really telling that he is liked because of his blood. He may be the grandson of Lord Viserys Plumm who is most likely a Targaryen on both sides, being the son of Elaena Targaryen by Aegon IV. That would give more than just a drop of Targaryen blood, he would have more than Quentyn and, most likely, more than Addam Velaryon.

It is actually quite curious and noteworthy that Ben is liked by the dragons ... while George goes out of his way to establish that the dragons do not like the people they grew up with, people who fed and cared for them as much as Daenerys, possibly more, to the same degree. The dragons do snap at Irri and Jhiqui but they do like Brown Ben Plumm.

Joffrey Velaryon's problem was that he did not only climb on Syrax, but tried to ride her. And that doesn't work when you are not bonded to a dragon, even if you are a Targaryen. Syrax likely didn't want to kill Joffrey because he was the son of her rider, she just didn't suffer him trying to control her.

Once Dany's dragons all have riders we will likely also have a scenario where the dragons continue to like Daenerys if she and those riders get along and are on the same page ... but if Dany were to try to mount Viserion or Rhaegal she would face the same problem as Joffrey did.

1 hour ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

You make an interesting point, but I think Jaehaerys is just concerned about another family gaining dragons in Volantis because the Targaryens are special and nigh invincible at this point because they are the only known family in the world to own and control dragons. His fear over this changing says more about his family’s reliance on dragons to justify and maintain their power than it does any cultural split from Valyria or Volantis.

Oh, I just meant that Jaehaerys I didn't view the Volantenes as potential allies and friends. He surely also guards access to his dragons rather well, unlike Viserys I who later allows every legitimate Targaryen and Velaryon child a dragon egg/hatchling/dragon (although he doesn't allow bastards to have dragon eggs).

With Volantis and Westeros not exactly squabbling over territory and stuff it is kind of odd that Jaehaerys I wouldn't view dragonlord triarchs as potential allies. They could rebuild some kind of dragonlord federation or something like that.

He doesn't feel personally threatened by them, in my opinion, but rather is worried what dragons in the hands of the triarchs or others would mean for the region. And he would feel responsible because it would be stolen Targaryen dragons.

1 hour ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

Ah I see, so Rhaena is mistaken about others being able to tame dragons but her fears are not totally unfounded. I doubt the Lannisters could have challenged the Targaryens unless they were dragonriders. Having dragons as attractions in their menagerie would boost their popularity but there’s nothing to stop Jaehaerys from laying waste to Casterly Rock, freeing the dragons and taking them back to Dragonstone. If they’d arranged a marriage with Rhaena, she’d given them eggs and she’d had children, that’s different. Who knows what wars were avoided when she instead married Androw. It’s interesting she believed people without her family’s blood could mount dragons but she could simply be mistaken, and Dreamfyre allowing them to ride her whilst Rhaena was riding her seems a good enough reason for these fears, however unfounded they are.

Well, they have a lot of money and prestige already, and they are very safe in their Rock. It would be difficult for them to overthrow the Targaryens, but if they had dragons of their own they would effectively become the other super house in Westeros, and people would start to view them differently ... even if they couldn't ride the dragons at first.

And then the Targaryens would have to take them closer to ensure they make no trouble, and then there would be marriages between them and so forth.

1 hour ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

Also I find it interesting that MANY Targaryens and Velaryons don’t have these traits. Take Alyssa, Alysanne, Jocelyn and Rhaenys as a few. evidently these traits are recessive genetically speaking, and must be extremely so if even incest between very close relatives doesn’t guarantee them.

Yeah, they most likely don't have much to do with the whole dragonrider thing. Else we would not even consider Jon Snow or Tyrion or Brown Ben as potential dragonriders.

1 hour ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

And yes it’s true the burned men (I forgot their name, thank you) could be lying or exaggerating to boost their own culture and reputation, if indeed they were the origin of the rumour about this witch. I think we can safely assume it is Nettles, George clearly wants us to think so, but you’re right she probably isn’t a witch. She could just be burning them using Sheepstealer’s fire.

Yeah, the idea is that Nettles is seen as a witch because she controls a dragon and is this mysterious hermit living all by herself. Pretty much like with Queen Rhaena at Harrenhal.

1 hour ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

It is certainly odd that more of Jaehaerys and Alysanne’s children didn’t become dragonriders. The incident with Aerea seems to have spooked them, and I’m guessing Caraxes and Meleys were chosen from the hatcheries on Dragonstone not just because of their symbolic red colouring but probably also their youth, less risk of them doing what Balerion did although I’m still intrigued by that whole event. Was Aerea in control of Balerion? It seems doubtful. Why did he go back to Valyria? Who knows.

Caraxes and Meleys were chosen by their riders at the Dragonpit. Alyssa had to be dissuaded from mounting Balerion, but it is not clear whether that was because somebody feared she couldn't handle the dragon or whether he was already no longer that impressive at that time.

As for Aerea, well, in my opinion the interpretation that she didn't master the dragon is wrong. He never left her and neither did she leave him, and he flew her back to KL which was likely the place she chose, not Balerion (his lair was on Dragonstone when Aerea claimed him, so if he was in charge we would expect him to fly back there not to KL).

The subtler clues beneath the interpretation Barth gives is that Aerea felt she had no place to go at all when she mounted her dragon. None at all. She didn't want Elissa, because she had abandoned her, meaning she wouldn't have looked for her, she broke with Alysanne during her visit, which means she wouldn't have flown to KL, and she no longer got along with her mother which was the reason why she fled in the first place.

What she wanted more than anything was adventures, though. So she either told Balerion to fly back to Valyria, knowing that this was his birthplace, or she allowed the dragon to pick their destination because she had no clue where she wanted to go. But exploring Valyria is the kind of thing a girl like Aerea would do. She was very much a dialed-up version of Arya - strong, willful, and pretty much without fear.

But the scenario definitely isn't: Aerea was too weak-willed to master the dragon and he dragged her to places she didn't wanted to go. If she wanted to go to KL, say, and Balerion flew across the Narrow Sea, then she could have abandoned the beast the first time he landed to sleep. Because there is no chance they flew to Valyria without stopping at least once (more likely they stopped multiple times).

So if you ask me the sentence she never finished wasn't: 'I never wanted to go to Valyria' but rather 'I never knew what Valyria was like or I'd not have gone' or 'I never should have flown to Valyria because there are monsters there.'

1 hour ago, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

I agree it is weird so many marriages between Targaryen siblings were romantic and happy. Maybe it just seemed more normal to them because it was what the rest of their family had done/ were doing. And yes, as we see in Lys and Volantis, the dragonlords clearly didn’t care about spreading their bloodline, and this makes sense given what I’ve said above. If all your family’s dragons are secured and guarded, having illegitimate children in another city isn’t a problem. On Dragonstone sure these children and their descendants are closer and could take a wild dragon but there were dragonkeepers on Dragonstone too, and if that failed and this dragonseed caused issues they had all the other dragonriding Targaryens to deal with.

Well, to be sure, another aspect in Valyria most likely was that one dragon wouldn't have been that big of a deal. There were hundreds of dragonlords, perhaps even thousands, and perhaps even more dragons than dragonlords. Some guy getting a dragon wouldn't have been that big of a deal. In fact, one imagines that illegitimate children of Valyrian dragonlords actually would have a decent chance to be adopted into the family if they claimed dragons, because chances are good that your prestige and power grew if your house had more dragonlords.

Collectively, the dragonlords were much more powerful than monarchs ever were, but at the same time they were all peers, and within families hierarchies wouldn't have been flatter than in Westeros where the king at the top does have any reason to believe some outsider dragonrider who isn't part of the family might try to topple him.

And the Valyrians would have had means in place to prevent, say, the grandsons of unwanted bastards to ever get close enough to a dragon to try to claim him. Not to mention that the way to deal with dragon theft would also be relatively easy. Just kill the unworthy dragonrider. The bond lasts only for life, after all.

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On 1/3/2021 at 3:33 PM, TheTargaryenHistorian said:

Upon reading Fire and Blood, one key line supposedly quoted from Rhaenyra during the dance caught my attention instantly. There is an ongoing debate over how dragon taming works, and this line I think is useful to us for a number of reasons. This is Rhaenyra talking about Nettles upon learning that her and Daemon are sleeping together after the betrayal of Hugh and Ulf. 

’You need only look at her to know that she has no drop of dragon’s blood in her. It was with spells that she bound a dragon to her, and she has done the same with my lord husband.’ (F&B)

Unless I’ve missed something, this crucial line has been overlooked by others seeking to figure out dragon taming in Asoiaf. Yet it tells us three crucial things:

1. As far as Rhaenyra (A dragon rider herself and key member of the DragonLord family) is concerned, having ‘dragon’s blood’ is enough to tame a dragon (order of the greenhand seem to have got this idea right in their video on the topic).

2. Having Dragon’s blood and taming dragons with spells and sorcery are considered two separate methods. Rhaenyra’s whole point here is that she and all the other dragon riders at this time tamed their dragons by having dragon’s blood, while Nettles doesn’t and therefore needed spells. This draws a clear divide between the Targaryen dragon taming method and taming dragons with spells and sorcery.

3. Rhaenyra at least believes that it is actually possible to tame dragons using spells and sorcery, and thus achieve the same bond as having blood of the dragon does. 

Regarding the debate around whether or not Targaryen blood is needed to tame dragons, this quote seems to be a groundbreaking addition by George. We can now say with some level of certainty that, if Rhaenyra did indeed say this, and more importantly she is correct in her dragonlore (this is more reliable as this was at a time when almost all Targaryens rode dragons), then this means:

1. Targaryens don’t use spells or horns to tame dragons, they only need their blood, hence incestuous marriage. (Already known, but we now know they almost certainly never used these methods other dragonlords of old Valyria were known to use).

2. Jaehaerys’ fears over the stolen eggs giving rise to a new family of dragonlords in Essos were well founded; either another bloodline able to tame dragons without spells exists or sorcerers who knows the necessary spells to tame dragons do.

Regarding Nettles, I personally believe she is a dragonseed, and tamed Sheepstealer due to having dragon’s blood. But who knows, maybe she was a witch who knew the right spells? She possibly became a fire witch in the Vale after the dance after all.

I haven’t read all the main Asoiaf books, I’m reading ACoK, but I know the general story and this would suggest Dany actually only needs ‘a word and a whip’ as she puts it to control Drogon as that’s all the Targaryens appear to have used. 

Is this a useful revelation with implications for the main series, or am I trusting an untrustworthy source? Was Rhaenyra just speaking out of anger and suspicion?
 

Sheepstealer was not a Targaryen dragon.  He was wild.  It's a mystery where he hatched.

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6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The way Valyria was set up it makes indeed little sense that they would not intermarry with each other. But they eventually settled on incest as the ideal for whatever reason. Possibly because they did not want dragons to leave the family.

Spreading out the potential of becoming a dragonrider among the rabble - which the Targaryens also did on Dragonstone with their first night stuff - wouldn't be a problem if you simply limit access to dragons. In Westeros people had relative easy access to dragons - all you needed to do, really, was to get on Dragonstone. Then you could get close to a dragon somehow, if only to a wild dragon.

But back in Valyria the dragonlords resided in their topless towers. They rarely even come down on the earth to walk about the humble Valyrians. Only people they would want to have around their dragons would get close to them. And if you cannot get close to a dragon, you can have the potential to become a dragonrider all day long. It is not going to make a difference.

It doesn't make any kind of sense for the Valyrians to keep the majority of their dragons in the city proper. For logistical reasons, reasons of sanitation and basic safety. They do tend to get pretty huge after all and we are talking about potentially hundeds or even thousands of dragons, if we take the retaliatory force against the Rhoynar as indication. It wouldn't be practical to keep more than a couple in their residences for defense and transportation.

The majority of the dragons would have been kept on compounds on the fourteen flames as it is strongly indicated that volcanoes are instrumental to their reproduction growth and health. And lastly there would be populations of wild dragons both abroad but also in Valyria. So limiting access to dragons is easier said than done. Of course their dragons would be guarded but that can hardly be fullproof specially if the guards' grandmothers had been boinked by dragonlords.

6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

No, the inbreeding didn't stop the dragonlords from sleeping around. That was what Lys was for, after all. And they flew there with their dragons. Also, with them having armies of slaves they would also have had armies of bastards from bedslaves and the like. Incestuous marriages do not stop people from sleeping around. It might even encourage that since very few Valyrians would have actually been deeply in love with their siblings.

I don't imagine it did, or at least many of them. The army of bastards you are describing negates the point you are making, as it would mean potential dragonriders inside their own homes and close to the dragons they would have plent of access too. There is a way around that. Having sex with selected and closely monitored concubines and terminating potential pregancies or diposing of the infants. The same would apply in Lys as the dragonlords would presumably visit high class courtesans or slaves. What would have been frowned upon if not outright prohibited would be sleeping around with random women and leaving them to their fate. This is not a problem for female dragonlords. Their children would be potential dragonlords by definition rendering the paternity of their offspring largely irrelevent. I imagine there would have been the errant dragonrider now and again, but having to deal with them would only reinforce the practice. After all, even one could still a lot of damage before he was put down.

Regardless of any speculation about the Valyrians about whom we have a chapter total and obscure references, the fact remains that the hundreds of people in Westeros and beyond with Targaryen ancestry pose a security risk for Dany and the practice of incest could have been meant as a means of preventing or limiting that.

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Others, such as Old Volantis and Lys, were trading colonies first and foremost, founded by wealthy merchants and nobles who purchased the right to rule themselves as clients of the Freehold rather than subjects.

The wolrd of Ice an Fire, Valyria's children.

The Lyseni and Volantenes are not dragonlords and never were.

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24 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

 

The wolrd of Ice an Fire, Valyria's children.

The Lyseni and Volantenes are not dragonlords and never were.

No, they are not. But they are noble Valyrian Houses. Such as House Velaryon with the case of Laena and Laenor, they had the chance to make themselves dragonlords. If things happened a different way, Laenor's descendants would all have a claim for riding a dragon, while still being members of House Velaryon and not House Targaryen.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, HerblYY said:

No, they are not. But they are noble Valyrian Houses. Such as House Velaryon with the case of Laena and Laenor, they had the chance to make themselves dragonlords. If things happened a different way, Laenor's descendants would all have a claim for riding a dragon, while still being members of House Velaryon and not House Targaryen.

Dragonlords would not have married with them prior to the Doom.

Edited by The Sleeper

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2 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

Dragonlords would not have married with them prior to the Doom.

That does not change that once they get their hands on a hatchling, they would claim themselves to be dragonlords. Before the Doom, however, they likely would have been slaugthered by dragonlords, as another dragonlord house was no good for them.

Jaehaerys wanted his eggs back for the exact same reason. If those stolen eggs would have ever hatched, and any Valyrian tamed those dragons, that would've made them dragonlords. House Targaryen would have had to fight to get back their own property. If not, then they would've let a way for another dragonlord house.

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7 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

Dragonlords would not have married with them prior to the Doom.

Not mention that there were a few dragonlords among the Free Cities during the Doom, but they've got killed. Then their dragons were either killed too or were tried to be tamed. Noone succeeded on that, and we don't even know what happened to those (probably like 6 or seven) dragons afterwards.

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12 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

I don't know how GRRM deals with it. If I was him I wouldn't want any supremacist eugenists thinking I was endorsing their views. I'd set them straight and tell them to go read someone else. 

Unless GRRM too is endorsing those views.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Mithras said:

Unless GRRM too is endorsing those views.

Do you seriously think he is writing the Valyrians as the good guys? Built on genocide, persecutions and widespread slavery? You really need someone to tell you outright that these things are bad?

ETA

It is none of my business to be Martin's apologist. However, it honestly baffles me how one could see raw depictions of death, destruction and widespread misery as an endorsement of the causes. 

Edited by The Sleeper

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13 minutes ago, HerblYY said:

That does not change that once they get their hands on a hatchling, they would claim themselves to be dragonlords. Before the Doom, however, they likely would have been slaugthered by dragonlords, as another dragonlord house was no good for them.

Jaehaerys wanted his eggs back for the exact same reason. If those stolen eggs would have ever hatched, and any Valyrian tamed those dragons, that would've made them dragonlords. House Targaryen would have had to fight to get back their own property. If not, then they would've let a way for another dragonlord house.

If they could tame it and ride it, sure. Why do you think they could have?

Much of it may be myths and based on erroneous beliefs. It would be unfeasible to practice only incest after all. What is indisputable is that dragonlords are meant to be an exclusive. 

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7 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

Do you seriously think he is writing the Valyrians as the good guys? Built on genocide, persecutions and widespread slavery? You really need someone to tell you outright that these things are bad?

He is writing the Valyrians, especially the Targaryens, as the cool guys. No doubt about that.

I think someone definitely needs to tell GRRM that the so-called Drogo-Dany "romance" is actually creepy AF. In that vein, maybe someone also needs to tell GRRM that all this blood of the dragon crap is racist AF. An old dude who started writing the books in the early 90s; who can't escape the pitfalls of orientalist tropes and racist stereotypes. What could possibly go wrong!..

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

Why do you think they could have?

They're part of the Valyrian race. Likely more pureblooded Valyrians than House Targaryen, since Targaryens intermarried with First Men and Andal people several times.

 

9 minutes ago, Mithras said:

He is writing the Valyrians, especially the Targaryens, as the cool guys. No doubt about that.

Not so much. Valyrians nowhere could have been considered good before the Doom. Afterwards, Targaryens got rid of slavery because of Westerosi culture. Essosi Valyrian didn't get rid of slavery because it's been in the core of Essosi culture.

And also: I don't get the racism thing in fantasy books. If it's written this way, then it is. Isn't warging and greenseeing also racist because it's related to first men blood? It is, but I don't get the problem with it. These are actual facts, they happened to be written this way, and that's it. The same goes for me with incest, slavery, feudalism and several other things. If it happens to be this way on Planetos, I'm fine with it. 

Edited by HerblYY

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45 minutes ago, Mithras said:

I think someone definitely needs to tell GRRM that the so-called Drogo-Dany "romance" is actually creepy AF.

:agree:

45 minutes ago, Mithras said:

In that vein, maybe someone also needs to tell GRRM that all this blood of the dragon crap is racist AF.

Not, sure about that, still holding out hope. I think GRRM is preparing us for a bit of a whammy when he reveals that, wait for it... having discount nukes is really not a good thing. I know how shocking.

46 minutes ago, Mithras said:

An old dude who started writing the books in the early 90s; who can't escape the pitfalls of orientalist tropes and racist stereotypes.

Tbf, Orientalism is something GRRM really subverts quite hard.

The Summer Islands are clearly a caricature of Orientalism. (either that or GRRM is thick as lead)

Qarth is another potential Orientalist trope, subverted however however by the Qarteen being the whitest thing imaginable

And in general the "mysterious and fantastical East" is shown to be more in the imagination and exaggerations of the Westerosi then in reality.

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