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Lady Winter Rose

Targaryen family tree and incest

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Posted (edited)

For hypothetical question in which Westeros has access to RL DNA testing and Jon might be son of Rhaegar or Aerys - would DNA testing be able to untangle question who Jon father is?

Edited by Lady Winter Rose

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Lady Winter Rose said:

would DNA testing be able to untangle question who Jon father is?

Yes.

https://genetics.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/identifying-incest-dna

If you read to the part "Related Parents Have More in Common" and to the pictures "Related parents / Unrelated parents" - on that picture related parents (who are siblings like Aerys and Rhaella) in result of recombination (which was explained earlier in that article) have four identical areas in their DNA and four areas with different DNA. So even though Aerys and Rhaella are siblings, and their own parents are also siblings, and Rhaegar is a fruit of incest, he (Rhaegar) will have areas in his DNA with chromosomes that Aerys doesn't have, that's because Rhaegar got those chromosomes from his mother, and even though Aerys and Rhaella are siblings, they have different areas in their DNA/different chromosomes, some they share and some they don't.

So Jon will have chromosomes that he got from Rhaegar, and Aerys didn't had those chromosomes, because Rhaegar got them from his mother.

Edited by Megorova

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Kinola said:

...Did you suggest the possibility that Aerys is Jon's father?

I'm suggesting possibility there would be some confusion, not necessary valid.

Edited by Lady Winter Rose

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But before show aired with the answer, Aerys + Lyanna was relatively legit, but unpopular theory, further boosted by Theon's actor wording when he asked GRRM that question over bet.

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3 hours ago, Lady Winter Rose said:

For hypothetical question in which Westeros has access to RL DNA testing and Jon might be son of Rhaegar or Aerys - would DNA testing be able to untangle question who Jon father is?

Yes. As someone who learns biology, I can tell you it is not possible to mistake a grandfather with a father due to incest.

What doesn't makes sense tho is the diversity seen in such an incestuous family line. I mean: They should all look almost the same, almost as same as twins (mimically/facially), and all of them should also have the same physical buildup. George pretty much nailed this with the Targaryen females always being short, but you often can see how some male Targaryens are huge and muscular, others are rather small with thin libs, again other ones go fat. Some of these people are charming, beautiful, others are straight ugly, etc...

I mean, seriously: At this point (and I mean after thousands of years of incest) they should all look the same, like identical twins (I hope this is how you call the twins in english who look like each other).

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16 minutes ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Yes. As someone who learns biology, I can tell you it is not possible to mistake a grandfather with a father due to incest.

What doesn't makes sense tho is the diversity seen in such an incestuous family line. I mean: They should all look almost the same, almost as same as twins (mimically/facially), and all of them should also have the same physical buildup. George pretty much nailed this with the Targaryen females always being short, but you often can see how some male Targaryens are huge and muscular, others are rather small with thin libs, again other ones go fat. Some of these people are charming, beautiful, others are straight ugly, etc...

I mean, seriously: At this point (and I mean after thousands of years of incest) they should all look the same, like identical twins (I hope this is how you call the twins in english who look like each other).

Yet they don't have knowledge of DNA in Westeros.  They rely on whether or not you look like one of your parents.  To me this seems to be the purpose of the Book of Lineages.  So we have Renly who looks like a young Robert Baratheon, Gendry who looks like his father, Stannis who has the square jaw of the Baratheons.  Generally speaking, boys grow up to look more like their fathers even though 50% of their DNA comes from their mothers.  25% of DNA from grandfathers may show up.  We might also say the same about daughters who grow up to resemble their mothers.  Littlefinger points out that Sansa looks like Catelyn in her youth.  Arya looks like her aunt Lyanna, Jon looks like Ned.  Tyrion sees more of Catelyn in her offspring and nothing of Jon's mother in Jon.  They look for familial and parental resemblance in offspring.     

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Yet they don't have knowledge of DNA in Westeros.  They rely on whether or not you look like one of your parents.  To me this seems to be the purpose of the Book of Lineages.  So we have Renly who looks like a young Robert Baratheon, Gendry who looks like his father, Stannis who has the square jaw of the Baratheons.  Generally speaking, boys grow up to look more like their fathers even though 50% of their DNA comes from their mothers.  25% of DNA from grandfathers may show up.  We might also say the same about daughters who grow up to resemble their mothers.  Littlefinger points out that Sansa looks like Catelyn in her youth.  Arya looks like her aunt Lyanna, Jon looks like Ned.  Tyrion sees more of Catelyn in her offspring and nothing of Jon's mother in Jon.  They look for familial and parental resemblance in offspring.     

This again is not known to the people of Westeros (how could it be, honestly), but there's a thing I know: The physical traits of a male will always resemble the ones of his paternal ancestors (your paternal ancestors are your father, the father of your father, etc...)

For example: Here's me: People always say I don't resemble my father at all, altough I look exactly like his father (my grandfather). On the other hand, I also have the look of my mother (or my mother's family. This can well be seen how I look a lot like my cousins, the sons of one of my uncles). But either way, my descendants (and I mean my children and grandchildren) will be nothing like my mother, and even if they won't be similar to me, there will definitely be a similarity between them and my paternal ancestors/grandsires, even if their mother bears the dominant genes, and not me. This is the production of those genes (traits, if that way you understand it better) that are always being inherited on the paternal line. This most notably influences how your face looks, how tall you are, how muscular, etc..., and not the color of your skin, hair or eyes. This only applies on men, tho, on this matter women are a mistery to me.

What you may learn about all this bullshit? You may resemble your mother, but your descendants 200 years later will look more like your father anyway.

This is a "tool" that helps historians/scientists identify buried people, for example. This is why, for example (really just an example with no significancy), a DNA sample from Prince Charles will help identify a hungarian king from the 11th century.

Turning back to Westeros: The Baratheons of the present, even with their black hair and blue eyes, should (I'm not saying they do, they just should, if they bear that patrilinear line, and neved did a female Baratheon inherit, nor her son, etc...) resemble Lord Aerion Targaryen (father of Aegon the Conqueror) in a way. Not as much as the Targaryens (due to incest), but still.

Looking for the same physical traits as their ancestors' in a test of legitimacy makes sense. We don't know how this became a thing, we don't know IRL either when this began, but people realised this at some point. They also realised that incest is harmful to them (unless certain religions didn't claim the opposite), altough they did not understand the reason behind it.

Edited by Daeron the Daring

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38 minutes ago, Daeron the Daring said:

I mean, seriously: At this point (and I mean after thousands of years of incest) they should all look the same, like identical twins (I hope this is how you call the twins in english who look like each other).

What thousands of years of incest? House Targaryen migrated to Westeros only 414 years ago. Their founder, Aenar, wasn't married to one of his sisters, furthermore he had many wives, so his children, Daenys and her husband-brother - Daemon, were only half-siblings. Then their children, Aegon and Elaena, also married. So we have one couple who were half-siblings and their children who were full siblings. Then Aegon's son Aerys married with a woman who was not a Targaryen, Aerys' son Daemion also married with not a Targaryen, then Daemion's son Aerion married with a Velaryon woman. Etc.

So their family tree looked like this:

1. half-siblings (Aenar's children)

2. siblings

3. not siblings

4. not siblings

5. not siblings

6. siblings (Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives)

7. not siblings (Aenys + Velaryon wife)

8. siblings (Jaehaerys + Alysanne)

9. siblings (Baelon + Alyssa = Viserys I, Daemon)

10. cousins (Viserys I + Aemma Arryn)

11. uncle and niece (Rhaenyra + Daemon)

12. not siblings (Viserys II + Larra Rogare, Aegon III + Velaryon woman)

13. siblings (Aegon IV + Naerys)

14. not siblings (Daeron II + Myriah Martell)

15. not siblings (possibly third cousins - Maekar I + Dyanna Dayne)

16. not siblings (possibly first cousins once removed - Aegon V + Betha Blackwood)

17. siblings (Jaehaerys II + Shaera)

18. siblings (Aerys II + Rhaella)

19. not siblings (possibly third cousins - Rhaegar + Lyanna).

Half-siblings, first cousins, uncle and niece/nephew and aunt share about the same amount of common genes - approximately 25% (same as grandparents and granchildren).

So in the past 414 years on their family tree out of 19 generations there was 7 couples that had 50% of common DNA, 3 couples that had 25% of common DNA/shared chromosomes, and 9 couples that were (nearly) unrelated (or very distantly related, if Maekar and Dyanna and Rhaegar and Lyanna indeed were third cousins, then they had only 0,78-3% of shared DNA). So Targaryens between those generation in which siblings made incestuous couples afterwards had 3 generations of marriages with non-Targaryens, like - Jaehaerys I and Alysanne (siblings) married, and then their own children also married with their siblings, but then for 3 generations Targaryens married not with their siblings, then one marriage between siblings (Aegon IV and Naerys), but then again there were three marriages between non-siblings.

So they had added into their gene-pool substantial amount of a non-Targaryen DNA, to keep it diversified enough to avoid problems characteristic for inbreeding. Like in the areas at secluded locations like small villages in the mountains, or jungles or at the far North (real world) were local inhabitants for many generations had nearly the same and very limited gene-pool, they do begin looking alike and have all sorts of genetic diseases.

Targaryens didn't intermarried enough to have that kind of problems wit their genes. Their gene pool is still diversified enough for siblings not to look too much alike.

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@Megorova this would make sense if Aenar the Exile was the founder of House Targaryen. 

He wasn't, tho. House Targaryen was one of the 40 dragonlord houses.

Suggesting these people made their bond with dragons trough bloodmagic and given dragonlord houses could not obtain/ride other houses' dragons (if they could just ride and stole other houses' dragons, Valyria wouldn't have been a Freehold, but a complete anarchy, and they would've killed each other way earlier) the ancestors of these people likely bonded with different dragons. Otherwise it would make no sense. With all that comes incest as well. That actually means thousands of years.

And still, if Aenar was to be the founder of House Targaryen, he would still have ancestors, who practiced incest anyway, because that's what Valyrian Dragonlords did. That much is confirmed information.

This might be proven by the fact that they aren't affected by incest, which is proven to be the result of long-time incest/inbreeding.

And still, with the amount of inbreeding you just showed up with would be more than enough for such differences between siblings and half siblings to not show up.

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1 hour ago, Daeron the Daring said:

What doesn't makes sense tho is the diversity seen in such an incestuous family line. I mean: They should all look almost the same, almost as same as twins (mimically/facially), and all of them should also have the same physical buildup. George pretty much nailed this with the Targaryen females always being short, but you often can see how some male Targaryens are huge and muscular, others are rather small with thin libs, again other ones go fat. Some of these people are charming, beautiful, others are straight ugly, etc...

Incest is not that prevalent in the Targaryen Family tree. Aerys married her sister, and so did his father Jaehaerys II. But then we have three generations (Egg, Maekar and Daeron) that married unrelated wives. Then we have Aegon IV, who married her sister again, but was son of Viserys, who didn't.

In short, there is plenty of new genetic material coming inside the Targaryen to ensure that diverse individuals can be produced.

The degree of incest in the Targaryen family tree is actually lower than in some real life historical families, such as the Ptolomeans.

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7 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

Incest is not that prevalent in the Targaryen Family tree. Aerys married her sister, and so did his father Jaehaerys II. But then we have three generations (Egg, Maekar and Daeron) that married unrelated wives. Then we have Aegon IV, who married her sister again, but was son of Viserys, who didn't.

In short, there is plenty of new genetic material coming inside the Targaryen to ensure that diverse individuals can be produced.

The degree of incest in the Targaryen family tree is actually lower than in some real life historical families, such as the Ptolomeans.

Well, I certainly don't have samples from any of these people to know that, but in the case of Targaryens there is a confirmation of  3-4 thousand-year old incest. They did it for such a long time inbreeding wasn't a problem anymore, whereas the Egyptian royal houses all died out after some time due to inbreeding.

Quote

Lord Aenar Targaryen took multiple wives with him when he left Valyria for Dragonstone. His descendant, King Aegon I Targaryen, took to wife both his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. This was unusual, as per tradition he was expected to wed only his older sister, but not without precedent. It was said by some that Aegon wed Visenya out of duty and Rhaenys out of desire.

This obviously means sibling marriages were traditional to valyrian dragonlords, unlike polygamy, which wasn't, but sometimes still happened.

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6 hours ago, Lady Winter Rose said:

For hypothetical question in which Westeros has access to RL DNA testing and Jon might be son of Rhaegar or Aerys - would DNA testing be able to untangle question who Jon father is?

Ned’s brother, Brandon, is Jon’s father. It creates a symmetry with Fire. Fire and Ice have symmetry and balance.  

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2 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

What doesn't makes sense tho is the diversity seen in such an incestuous family line. I mean: They should all look almost the same, almost as same as twins (mimically/facially), and all of them should also have the same physical buildup. George pretty much nailed this with the Targaryen females always being short, but you often can see how some male Targaryens are huge and muscular, others are rather small with thin libs, again other ones go fat. Some of these people are charming, beautiful, others are straight ugly, etc...

I mean, seriously: At this point (and I mean after thousands of years of incest) they should all look the same, like identical twins (I hope this is how you call the twins in english who look like each other).

Physically, most Targaryens seem to look very much alike - Viserys III and Rhaegar looked alike minus an irrelevant variation in eye color, and one should imagine that Rhaegar looked pretty much like his father looked in his youth. And both may have looked exactly like Aegon V, etc.

The FaB Targaryens also all resemble each other very closely. Rhaena seems to have been a mirror image of Rhaenys, Aegon the Uncrowned looked like Aegon the Conqueror, Jaehaerys I looked like Maegor, Aegon II looked like his father Viserys I, and so on.

Insofar as physiology is concerned there are basically two shapes that pop up again and again in the family. Physically well-built specimen like, especially, the Dragonknight and Daemon Blackfyre and then the sickly/weak type (who is still characteristically beautiful, though) like Aenys, Vaegon, Daeron II, Aerys I, etc.

Psychologically there are certain traits that pop up again and again, too. We have a sadistic trait that is often accompanied by psychopathy - Maegor, Saera, Daemon, Aemond, Aerion -, autism - Vaegon & Aerys I. The gluttony we see in Viserys I, Aegon II, Aegon IV, and possibly even Robert seems to be something the author is not necessarily viewing as an inherited trait but rather as something that is connected to the lifestyle of kings.

I guess the variety we get with the children of Jaehaerys I can easily explained by the fact that Alyssa Velaryon wasn't exactly Aenys' close cousin on the Targaryen side of the family tree. In addition, we can assume the Conqueror was also not the father of Aenys but some singer.

I guess the way to make sense of Targaryen incest is to assume that the Valyrians found a way to resolve most of the issues that come with severe inbreeding millennia ago, either by magical means or simply by outbreeding undesirable traits. We do have to imagine that Aenar is the result of millennia of inbreeding, and TWoIaF basically implies that the Valyrians artificially bred themselves into the platinum-blond pricks we know.

1 hour ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Suggesting these people made their bond with dragons trough bloodmagic and given dragonlord houses could not obtain/ride other houses' dragons (if they could just ride and stole other houses' dragons, Valyria wouldn't have been a Freehold, but a complete anarchy, and they would've killed each other way earlier) the ancestors of these people likely bonded with different dragons. Otherwise it would make no sense. With all that comes incest as well. That actually means thousands of years.

I suggested years ago that Valyrian incest may have also been a way to stop other dragonlord families from claiming your dragons - meaning a specific dragonlord bloodline was bound to a specific bloodline of dragons.

But FaB pretty much did away with that theory. When Rhaena and Jaehaerys I can assume other folks with dragonlord ancestors like the Volantene triarchs could bond with and claim dragons hatched from stolen Targaryen dragon eggs then nothing in Martinworld dragonlore suggests that the dragonlords established their incestuous marriage practices to stop other dragonlord families from claiming their own dragons.

Even without that, the blood of the dragon isn't connected to just a particular Valyrian family but all the dragonlord families ... and for the Targaryens other people of Valyrian descent - especially the Velaryons - were viewed as suitable spouses when no siblings and other close kin were around. That wouldn't be the case if only your own dragonlord family counted. You see this kind of thing very prominently with Daenaera Velaryon and Larra Rogare - neither was a Targaryen but looks-wise they were as Valyrian as you could possibly be.

2 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

Incest is not that prevalent in the Targaryen Family tree. Aerys married her sister, and so did his father Jaehaerys II. But then we have three generations (Egg, Maekar and Daeron) that married unrelated wives. Then we have Aegon IV, who married her sister again, but was son of Viserys, who didn't.

In short, there is plenty of new genetic material coming inside the Targaryen to ensure that diverse individuals can be produced.

The degree of incest in the Targaryen family tree is actually lower than in some real life historical families, such as the Ptolomeans.

That is only the case for the later Targaryens ... and there the fresh blood actually didn't create much variety considering how Valyrian the children of Maekar looked like and that Aegon V produced two Valyrian-looking sons and, one assumes, at least one Valyrian-looking daughter.

Aerys II, Rhaella, and their children show no trace of being descended from Betha Blackwood, Dyanna Dayne and Myriah Martell.

2 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Well, I certainly don't have samples from any of these people to know that, but in the case of Targaryens there is a confirmation of  3-4 thousand-year old incest. They did it for such a long time inbreeding wasn't a problem anymore, whereas the Egyptian royal houses all died out after some time due to inbreeding.

From what I know there isn't much evidence of Egyptian dynasties dying out because of incest. Some did have fertility problems and had children which died young, etc. but if you look at the very inbred Ptolemies then they were still pretty fertile in Cleopatra's days. Earlier Egyptian dynasties mostly married half-siblings to each other, although full sibling marriages were not uncommon in the New Kingdom where you also had fathers marrying daughters.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Megorova said:

Yes.

https://genetics.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/identifying-incest-dna

If you read to the part "Related Parents Have More in Common" and to the pictures "Related parents / Unrelated parents" - on that picture related parents (who are siblings like Aerys and Rhaella) in result of recombination (which was explained earlier in that article) have four identical areas in their DNA and four areas with different DNA. So even though Aerys and Rhaella are siblings, and their own parents are also siblings, and Rhaegar is a fruit of incest, he (Rhaegar) will have areas in his DNA with chromosomes that Aerys doesn't have, that's because Rhaegar got those chromosomes from his mother, and even though Aerys and Rhaella are siblings, they have different areas in their DNA/different chromosomes, some they share and some they don't.

So Jon will have chromosomes that he got from Rhaegar, and Aerys didn't had those chromosomes, because Rhaegar got them from his mother.

I'm asking because I have a daydream in which I realized both Aerys and Rhaegar aren't available for DNA testing, if DNA testing existed in books. They bodies were burned, while Dany is only living relative.

 

Therefore, if Dany is half sib to Jon, or if Dany is aunt to Jon, DNA testing would be inconclusive to cross these options. Now we know what we know from the show, but situation in books doesn't necessary needs to be that simple.

 

I simply forgot incest won't significantly play role here.

Edited by Lady Winter Rose

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20 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

This obviously means sibling marriages were traditional to valyrian dragonlords, unlike polygamy, which wasn't, but sometimes still happened.

Targaryens prior the Doom not always married with their siblings. Yes, it was traditional for the next head of the House to marry with one of his sisters, though what if there was no sister?, or if the age difference between the two of them was too big, and by the time one of them was born, the other already was married? Rhaegar is a good example.

Or another example are Lord Aenar's great-grandchildren - he had two great-grandsons and no great-granddaughters. And in the next generation of their family there was also no girls. Aegon I had no daughters, and Queen Rhaenyra had sons but no daughters (Visenya doesn't count because she died same year as she was born).

So there were cases when there was no sisters for the next head to marry, or the opposite cases - the latest head had only daughters and no sons with whom those daughters could have married. Thus it's logical that in those thousands of years that Targaryens lived at Valyria they not always married sibling to sibling. Furthermore, even if those kind of marriages were frequent, who said that it was always the child of that incestuous marriage that continued the House, and not one of the head's other children?

I mean, for example, if the latest head married, as per tradition, with one of his sisters, but besides her he also married with another woman. And what if that other woman was his first wife, while his sister was his second or maybe even third wife, or fourth wife. Because they had big age difference between them, with the sister being much younger than the brother. So by the time when she was born, he was already married. And even though they did married later, when she got old enough to marry, the leadership of the House passed down from the latest head to the oldest son of his first wife, who was not the last head's sister. So even though the head did married with his sister, nevertheless the House was continued not by the children of those siblings, but by the next head who was not a fruit of incest. How about this option? It is likely, don't you think?

Also, let's not forget about the possibilities that in some cases there could have been instances in which even those two Targaryen siblings that did married, their marriage was just a formality, they didn't had sex and didn't had children, instead the guy also married with another woman and that woman's children continued their House, so they were not fruits of incest. And what if in the next generation there were only boys and no girls? Then those boys also married outside of the family. And let's not forget about political marriages. There's a likely possibility that in some cases for a Targaryen it was more beneficial to marry off his daughters to the sons of the heads of other Houses than to marry them with his own sons. So there's that. And many other possibilities.

Also, what I think is that even though it was traditional for a head of a dragonlord House to marry with his sister, it still doesn't mean that they ALWAYS did just that. Just look at the Targaryen family tree soon after the Doom - they frequently married with Velaryons and then with Baratheons, so it's not like they were against marriages with people that were not of their House. What they needed is blood of dragons, not necessary blood of Targaryens. It's just that after the Doom besides Targaryens and Velaryons (and then Baratheons) there was no one else left. Prior the Doom at Valyria there was more varied choice, so it's more than likely that while Targaryens lived at Valyria, they often married with members of the other dragonlord Houses.

Their tradition for the head of the House to marry with one of his sisters doesn't exclude the possibility of a polygamous marriages occurring in parallel with those incestuous marriages. And who knows which of their children continued the House - the child that was born by the head's sister-wife, or the child born by the head's other wife, who was not his sister.

Look at the Targaryen family tree after the Doom - even when there was only them and Velaryons (and then Baratheons) left, even then they not always married with their siblings. As I already wrote before - in the span of the last 414 years out of 19 generations of Targaryens amongst them there was only 7 incestuous marriages. Add to this that prior the Doom they had a more varied choice. The obvious conclusion is that the Targaryen gene-pool wasn't as inbreed as you think.

20 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:
20 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

The degree of incest in the Targaryen family tree is actually lower than in some real life historical families, such as the Ptolomeans.

Well, I certainly don't have samples from any of these people to know that, but in the case of Targaryens there is a confirmation of  3-4 thousand-year old incest. They did it for such a long time inbreeding wasn't a problem anymore, whereas the Egyptian royal houses all died out after some time due to inbreeding.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelfth_Dynasty_of_Egypt_family_tree

<- Incestuous marriages in 3 out of 8 generations (approximately same level of inbreeding as in the Targaryen family. Targaryens had 2-4 incestuous marriages per every 8 generations).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighteenth_Dynasty_of_Egypt_family_tree

<- Here in 15 generations there was 5 incestuous marriages, 4 of them in a row. While amongst Targaryens there was maximum 2 incestuous marriage in a row.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteenth_Dynasty_of_Egypt_family_tree

<- In 5 generations there was 2 incestuous marriages, so % of inbreeding there is higher than in Targaryen case.

18 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Aerys II, Rhaella, and their children show no trace of being descended from Betha Blackwood, Dyanna Dayne and Myriah Martell.

That's because all three of those women possibly were partially Targaryens/Valyrians.

For example (it's my theory):

1. Aegon IV + Melissa Blackwood = Mya, Gwenys, Bloodraven.

Mya + Blackwood-husband = Melantha and Betha Blackwood.

Betha + Aegon V = Valyrian-looking children (because Egg and Betha were first cousins once removed, and Betha was 1/4 Targaryen).

2. Rhaena Targaryen + Garmund Hightower = six half-Targaryen daughters that were Aegon IV's first cousins.

The children of those daughters were second cousins of Daeron II, and their grandchildren were third cousins of Baelor Breakspear, Maekar I, etc.

In my opinion all four of Daeron II's children married with women that were their third cousins. So either 3 out of 6 of Princess Rhaena's daughters married with a members of House Dayne, Arryn and Dondarrion, or it was Rhaena's granddaughters who married with men from those three Houses. Eitherway Dyanna Dayne, Alys Arryn, Jena Dondarrion and Aelinor Penrose were their husbands' third cousins, and the first three of them (excluding Aelinor Penrose) were Princes Rhaena's great-granddaughters, so they were 1/8 Targaryens.

And Aelinor Penrose possibly was ->

Elaena Targaryen + Ronnel Penrose = Robin Penrose + wife = Aelinor Penrose + Aerys I.

Officially Princess Elaena was Aegon IV's first cousin

Spoiler

(though I think that Elaena's real father was Viserys II, not Aegon III, because Aegon III died in 135, he was poisoned by Larra Rogare and Viserys, and then replaced by Gaemon Palehair in shadow-glamour, because Larra Rogare was a shadowbinder - Serenei of Lys. The real Aegon III was killed with Tears of Lys, so his children were actually fathered by Viserys II and Gaemon Palehair. Baelor the Blessed and Rhaena the Pious were Gaemon's children, while the other three, including Elaena actually were Viserys' children, and thus Elaena was Aegon IV's sister nor his cousin),

so her son Robin was a second cousin of Aegon's son Daeron II, thus if my theory concerning their family tree is correct, then Aelinor was her husband's third cousin (or second cousin if the part about Aegon III is correct).

3. Drazenko Rogare + Aliandra Martell = son + wife = Myriah and Maron Martells.

Drazenko was Larra Rogare's paternal uncle, so the Prince of Dorne who agreed to marry his children to Daeron II and Princess Daenerys was Larra Rogare's first cousin. Myriah and Maron were Aegon IV's second cousins, so Myriah was her husband's second cousin once removed, and she was 1/4 Rogare, while Daeron II also was 1/4 Rogare thru his paternal grandmother Larra.

Or do you have a better explanation why Betha Blackwood, Dyanna Dayne and Myriah Martell had Valyrian-looking children?

3 hours ago, Lady Winter Rose said:

Therefore, if Dany is half sib to Jon, or if Dany is aunt to Jon, DNA testing would be inconclusive to cross these options.

No no, the testing will be conclusive. It won't matter that half-siblings share the same amount of DNA as uncle/niece or nephew/aunt, which is 25%. Finding out percentages of shared DNA is not the extent of what DNA-tests are able to find.

As I already mentioned before - Rhaegar had in his DNA chromosomes that he got from his mother and Aerys didn't had those chromosomes. The same applies to Rhaegar and Dany - even though they are siblings and their parents and grandparents were siblings, and thus R&D will have more than 50% of shared DNA, still she will have some chromosomes that she got from Queen Rhaella and Rhaegar didn't. But also there will be the opposite - Dany inherited from her father certain chromosomes that Rhaegar didn't, so because Rhaegar didn't had those specific chromosomes he couldn't have passed them to his son Jon. Thus there are similarities between Jon and Dany, but also there are differences. And even though we don't have Rhaegar's DNA to compare Jon's DNA with his, we have Bran, Sansa, Arya, etc. who are carriers of some chromosomes same as Lyanna's. So at least we will be able to separate in Jon's genome which of his chromosomes he got from his mother and the Starks and which chromosomes he got from his father and the Targaryens. Also not to mention that the chromosomes that he got from his mother will be all X, while those that he got from his father will be both X and Y, and all those Y Jon got from Rhaegar who got them only from Aerys (and not from Rhaella, because women have XX and men have XY), so all of Jon's Y chromosomes are definitely Targaryen-chromosomes. And it will be possible to distinguish with which of Jon's X-chromosomes were coupled those of his Y-chromosomes that he got from his father. That way it will be also possible to separate in his genome which of his X-chromosomes he also got from Targaryens and which from Starks. And Jon will have in his genome certain chromosomes that will be not the same as those that he share with the Starks, and some of those chromosomes will be the same as those that Dany has. But some of those of Jon's non-Stark chromosomes will be different from those that Dany has. Thus both those non-Stark chromosomes that Jon share with Dany and those non-Stark chromosomes that Jon doesn't share with Dany are both Targaryen chromosomes. Though Dany will have some of the same chromosomes and some of them she won't have, instead in certain parts of her genome (or maybe I'm using an incorrect terminology here, but whatever) she will have chromosomes different from Jon's, though even those different chromosomes still will be Targaryen-chromosomes, because unlike Jon, Dany is a 100% Targaryen with both of her parents Targaryen, so her entire genome consists only from Targaryen chromosomes, and she will have more of them and more varied genome than Jon. So those X-chromosomes that will be the same in Jon and Dany will be also Targaryen-chromosomes. So it will be possible to separate in Jon's genome that this X-chromosomes he got from Lyanna, this X-chromosomes from Rhaegar, and this Y-chromosomes from Rhaegar who got them from Aerys. If Jon's father is Aerys then Jon is supposed to have 50% of the same DNA as Aerys and 50% same as Lyanna's. Though if Aerys is Jon's grandfather, then they will have less than 50% of shared DNA. And because Dany is Aerys' daughter, in case if Jon is also Aerys' son, then Jon and Dany will have a higher percentage of shared DNA, and if they are not half-siblings then the percentage will be lower. 

It will be still possible to distinguish whether Jon and Dany are half-siblings or aunt and nephew. The simplified paternity or relation DNA tests are not so accurate to distingush those specifics, but more complex DNA tests will be able to tell more clearly how exactly Jon and Dany are related, what exact parts of their genome is the same and which is different, and based on those differences to establish whether they have the same father (Aerys) or different fathers (Aerys and Rhaegar). 

So even though we don't have Rhaegar's DNA, as long as we have Dany's, it is possible to find out how exactly/how closely Jon is related to Targaryens, whether he is Dany's nephew or her half-sibling.

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20 hours ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

Ned’s brother, Brandon, is Jon’s father. It creates a symmetry with Fire. Fire and Ice have symmetry and balance.  

Benjen! That's why Dad sent him to the wall.

 

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25 minutes ago, Megorova said:

Targaryens prior the Doom not always married with their siblings. Yes, it was traditional for the next head of the House to marry with one of his sisters, though what if there was no sister?, or if the age difference between the two of them was too big, and by the time one of them was born, the other already was married? Rhaegar is a good example.

Or another example are Lord Aenar's great-grandchildren - he had two great-grandsons and no great-granddaughters. And in the next generation of their family there was also no girls. Aegon I had no daughters, and Queen Rhaenyra had sons but no daughters (Visenya doesn't count because she died same year as she was born).

So there were cases when there was no sisters for the next head to marry, or the opposite cases - the latest head had only daughters and no sons with whom those daughters could have married. Thus it's logical that in those thousands of years that Targaryens lived at Valyria they not always married sibling to sibling. Furthermore, even if those kind of marriages were frequent, who said that it was always the child of that incestuous marriage that continued the House, and not one of the head's other children?

So, basically you're telling me that despite numerous Valyrian dragonlords marrying multiple women (just like Aenar the Exile did), they never had a sibling or a halfsibling to give to their son? Or a distant cousin, niece or aunt?

You're in denial. Come on man, this is so controversial.

He brang multiple wives and he only had two children? There is a reason we only know two Targaryens' names prior the Conquest: It is a tool of George to create more accurate historical accounts, where most of the time the name of women simply did not matter, so it wasn't written down.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Another thing most people don't know is that you share at least as much (but often more) of your DNA with your uncles/aunts/nephews/nieces as with a half sibling.

Another thing you don't seem to understand is that constant incest causes homozigosity (which then causes inbreeding btw). That basically means that in House Targaryen, as they practiced inced for thousands of years, siblings share much more than 50% of their DNA. I'm not here to guess, altough I'd like to think that a third cousin (which is probably the farthest kinship people still count as such) is sharing way more than 50% of his DNA with someone in House Targaryen. That of course applies on them before the Conquest, as they often married really distant or even unrelated people later on (I am not counting the Velaryons as distant relatives in this case).

You want an IRL example? King Charles II of Spain's homozigosity (which basically means one inherits the same from both sides) was at a slightly higher rate than it would normally be as an offspring of full siblings. But his parents were only cousins. That means they normally should've shared around 12-13% of their DNA. That number in their case was more than 50%. In just a few hundred years, without sibling marriages, and only a few uncle-niece ones.

Either way, I think people get what I mean: After thousands of years of incest, the diversity in House Targaryen shouldn't even be around. 

It still is, tho? I am not complaining about it, don't worry. Diversion is good for a story. Which reader would enjoy reading the same about everyone?

20 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I guess the way to make sense of Targaryen incest is to assume that the Valyrians found a way to resolve most of the issues that come with severe inbreeding millennia ago, either by magical means or simply by outbreeding undesirable traits. We do have to imagine that Aenar is the result of millennia of inbreeding, and TWoIaF basically implies that the Valyrians artificially bred themselves into the platinum-blond pricks we know.

Incest is only bad when bad genes are inherited from both sides. For the long term, it should leave behing the bad congenital things because the lucky ones who don't inherit bad stuff from their parents have a higher chance of survive and reproduce.

For a living example: In the Islamic countries, the entire population is more inbred (this word now you should interpret in a neutral way, not bad) than anywhere else. This isn't bad, as the entire population generally shares a slightly bigger amount of their DNA with each other due to cousin marriages (distant ones as well, not necesarilly first cousin marriages I mean here) still being really popular, just as they've been for a very-very long time. This affects the populations' health in general (we are talking about small numbers here), but not as much as it should, because it's been this way for such a long time. This basically means that them marrying a cousing is less dangerous than it is to other people around the world(the example could be any European country).

But let's not talk about this, because I'm gonna feel weird for knowing this much about all these things.

21 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

From what I know there isn't much evidence of Egyptian dynasties dying out because of incest. Some did have fertility problems and had children which died young, etc. but if you look at the very inbred Ptolemies then they were still pretty fertile in Cleopatra's days. Earlier Egyptian dynasties mostly married half-siblings to each other, although full sibling marriages were not uncommon in the New Kingdom where you also had fathers marrying daughters.

This was rather a problem in the earlier days of Egypt, but many lineages died out because they couldn't produce children who could inherit. 

And as weird as it may sound, considering that the Ptolemies did this stuff for at least 300 years (not gonna lie, all I know is that they were greek before, and they ended with the death of Cleopatra and her son with Caesar), they might had been at the stage where incest wasn't harmful to them anymore (basically they were lucky and their offsprings inherited the good things, or just were doing it for long enough to finally leave them behind), because yes, there is such a thing. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

So, basically you're telling me that despite numerous Valyrian dragonlords marrying multiple women (just like Aenar the Exile did), they never had a sibling or a halfsibling to give to their son? Or a distant cousin, niece or aunt?

You're in denial. Come on man, this is so controversial.

I'm not saying that there was no incest between Targaryens prior the Doom, what I'm saying is that it's likely that before the Doom the percentage of incestuous marriages between Targaryens was either lower than after the Doom or approximately the same as after the Doom. What I'm saying is that it's highly unlikely that before the Doom, when in Valyria there were many other non-Targaryens dragonlords, there would have been a particular reason for Targaryens to ALWAYS marry with their siblings. Because it's after the Doom is when they were left without a choice. They were the only remaining dragonlords, so if they wanted to keep the blood of the dragons in their family's gene pool, then they had to frequently marry brother+sister. 

It's a logical conclusion that the percentage of incestuous marriages in House Targaryen was not higher but instead nearly the same before and after the Doom, so approximately 7-out-of-19 ~ 37%.

5 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

He brang multiple wives and he only had two children? There is a reason we only know two Targaryens' names prior the Conquest: It is a tool of George to create more accurate historical accounts, where most of the time the name of women simply did not matter, so it wasn't written down.

Or there is an important reason why GRRM kept (for now) from the readers who were Aenar's wives, and who was his mistress, Orys Baratheon's mother.

For example, could be that Aenar married with a girl from House Hightower, and with a girl from House Dayne, and a Swann, and a Corbray. One of my theories is that founders of those four Houses and 40 Valyrian dragonlords were Azor Ahai's 44 sons born by Azor's five wives. 40 sons born by Azor's first wife settled at Valyria, and their 4 half-siblings born by Azor's other four wives founded those four Houses at Westeros. So it would have been logical for Aenar to marry with four women from those Houses and to migrate to Westeros. Then the firstborn son of Aenar's first wife continued House Targaryen (that's why him and his sister-wife are the only of Aenar's children who are on the Targaryen family tree), while the children of Aenar's other wives continued those other four Houses, or their children married back into those Houses and that way continued them.

It is possible that GRRM had "mapped" the Targaryen family tree as far back into the past as the First Long Night, and before that all the way back to the God-on-Earth, who was Azor Ahai's ancestor and an alien. You can read more on this topic in my theory here:

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/159080-swan-song-part-1616-exotic-fruits-on-family-trees/

5 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Either way, I think people get what I mean: After thousands of years of incest, the diversity in House Targaryen shouldn't even be around. 

That would have been so, only if they NEVER married with people from outside of their House. But they did, before the Doom and after. And it's not like Targaryen/Valyrian genes are super-dominant and would have always prevailed over non-Targaryen genes. Good examples of that are Myriah Martell (who possibly was 1/4 Rogare but looked like a typical Martell), Baelor Breakspear (who looked like his mostly (3/4) Dornish mother), little Rhaenys Targaryen (who looked like her mostly Martell mother), Jon Snow (who looks like his Stark mother not like his Targaryen father), etc.

I think that if Targaryens had two incestuous marriages and after that three non-incestuous, then shouldn't that ratio be enough to remove any negative effects of inbreeding? If only 37% of their ancestors were in incestuous marriages, while the remaining 63% were adding into their gene-pool new genes (Arryn, Martell, Dayne, Blackwood, Stark (thru Betha Blackwood who possibly was Mariah Stark's great-granddaughter)) then that amount of new genes added into their pool should be enough to add diversity into their looks. Just look at Targaryen portraits in the World Book - they look more different than Europian monarchs of Medieval Ages who frequently had marriages between first cousins. And that's not just a fluke on the artist's part, because GRRM did instructed how each Targaryen (and other characters) should look like.

Edited by Megorova

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7 hours ago, Megorova said:

Targaryens prior the Doom not always married with their siblings. Yes, it was traditional for the next head of the House to marry with one of his sisters, though what if there was no sister?, or if the age difference between the two of them was too big, and by the time one of them was born, the other already was married? Rhaegar is a good example.

We have no idea what exactly happened prior to the Doom, but what we do know as a general rule is that the dragonlords of Valyria as well as other members of the Valyrian elite married their siblings or, if there were no suitable siblings around, other close relations. And with there being about forty dragonlord families there would have always been scions of the blood of the dragon available if you couldn't find a spouse for your son or daughter among your own close kin. Then you would turn to distant cousins in other dragonlord families.

Of course, sibling incest was just the ideal. It couldn't and wouldn't have happened always. You need a sister or else you cannot marry her. And even if you have a sister there might be certain reasons why in this or that case such a marriage didn't take place.

But at this point we would assume that 80-90 per cent of the dragonlord marriages in Old Valyria would have been incestuous marriages - although not all necessarily sibling incest. The others could be love matches, marriages outside the family for this or that political reason, etc.

In those cases where some high-ranking Valyrian sorcerer prince practiced polygamy as well as incest it also stands to reason that not all of his wives would have been sisters or close kin. Instead, we would assume that such people did their duty to family by taking a sister as a first wife and then married for pleasure, love, or other reasons when they took a second or third wife.

Quote

Or another example are Lord Aenar's great-grandchildren - he had two great-grandsons and no great-granddaughters. And in the next generation of their family there was also no girls. Aegon I had no daughters, and Queen Rhaenyra had sons but no daughters (Visenya doesn't count because she died same year as she was born).

That is not true. We don't know anything about the descendants and other relations of Aenar the Exile. All we do know are the names of the Lords of Dragonstone between Aenar and Aerion. We also know that Gaemon married Daenys and that Aegon and Elaena ruled Dragonstone together ... but we have no idea who Maegon, Aerys, Aelyx, Baelon, and Daemion married. That no sister-wives were mentioned for those lords doesn't mean they did not exist. We don't know how many sons Aegon and Elaena had - only that Maegon and Aerys succeeded each other and Dragonstone then passed to Aerys' three sons. But this doesn't mean that Maegon had no sons or daughters, nor that Aelyx and Baelon had no children - it just gives us the Lords of Dragonstone as they succeeded each other.

In addition, we have to imagine the Targaryens under Aenar on Dragonstone as a family clan rather than just a guy with two children. Aenar had wives, plural, meaning he could have had as many or more children as Jaehaerys and Alysanne, depending how fertile his wives were. The man also had siblings - meaning brothers and sisters (some of the latter but not all may have been among his wives) - and kin - which could include uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and cousins of various degree.

All that would imply that even if Maegon and Aerys and Aelyx and Baelon and Daemion didn't have sisters to marry they would have had cousins of various degree they could marry.

We have no reason to believe that Myriah Martell or Betha Blackwood have a Targaryen/Valyrian background - but even if they did this doesn't address the issue at hand. The fact is that Aerys/Rhaella and their children didn't inherit any traits from Myriah or Betha despite the fact that especially the two sibling incest matches of Jaehaerys-Shaera and Aerys-Rhaella should have favored Betha's traits as much as Aegon's.

6 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Incest is only bad when bad genes are inherited from both sides. For the long term, it should leave behing the bad congenital things because the lucky ones who don't inherit bad stuff from their parents have a higher chance of survive and reproduce.

Yes, that is the function incest has in dog-breeding and the like - you pair the closely related individuals whose traits you desire and remove the rest from the gene pool. And then you continue that kind of thing until you have turned a wolf into a poodle. Also, inbreeding seems to be the beginning of speciation in evolution, with a given population being permanently isolated so they can only breed amongst themselves.

The way to make sense of the Targaryens (and the other dragonlord families at the time of the Doom) is to assume that they got rid of most of their undesirable traits a long time ago. One would assume that fertility dropped drastically among the first incestuous dragonlords but with time that problem would have been overcome by pairing only healthy individuals with other healthy individuals. That the Valyrians seemed to have a rather rigid eugenics thing going on can, I think, be drawn from the fact that they all ended up having those unique Valyrian looks. It is not that likely that the Valyrians were famed for those looks, specifically, before they became dragonlords. Rather it seems to be a resulted of their marriage practices. And, assuming their ancestors were caring all sorts of recessive hereditary diseases and stuff (which one would assume since they weren't 'super humans' originally), then the incest practices would have also allowed to breed that out of the bloodline because they would have produced people who didn't inherit any bad recessive traits.

George actually seems to understand this kind of thing since he also has inbreeding as a plot device in 'The Skin Trade' where the werewolves do marry only among themselves to ensure their traits are preserved. This practice then produces both very fine and strong werewolf specimen while also producing freaks who can't even change. With the dragonlords one assumes it was similar in the early years, but the Valyrians successfully resolved the problem by breeding out nearly all of the bad traits.

6 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

This was rather a problem in the earlier days of Egypt, but many lineages died out because they couldn't produce children who could inherit. 

We don't have all that detailed information on the families of the older pharaohs, nor do we really have many instances where folks were it is confirmed that kings were childless. And they all had harems, so things only would have gotten really problematic if the pharoh in question was sterile. Which certainly could have happened occasionally, but from what I know it is mostly conjecture that some Egyptian dynasties died out because of fertility issues.

6 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

And as weird as it may sound, considering that the Ptolemies did this stuff for at least 300 years (not gonna lie, all I know is that they were greek before, and they ended with the death of Cleopatra and her son with Caesar), they might had been at the stage where incest wasn't harmful to them anymore (basically they were lucky and their offsprings inherited the good things, or just were doing it for long enough to finally leave them behind), because yes, there is such a thing. 

Cleopatra's father, Ptolemy XII, seems to have been a bastard of a previous king and she herself may not have been the daughter of the wife of her father but from another woman (the sources are so bad there that this cannot be said conclusively), so the last Ptolemies weren't necessarily as inbred as their immediate predecessors. But there is also no indication that those people suffered terribly from the inbreeding in the health department.

But you also have to consider that incest wasn't limited to the royals under the Ptolemies and in later Roman days. There are tax papyrii indicating that a considerable number of Egyptians were married to their sisters in the early centuries CE, which would make incest, perhaps, as common in Ancient Egypt as it was in Valyria - where the dragonlords led the way in the incest department but other wealthy and powerful people mimicked them (to the point that we have to assume incest is still the dominant marriage custom among the Old Blood of Volantis).

Traditionally a lot of historians tried to downplay the incestuous unions of the Egyptian and Persian kings, especially fathers marrying their own daughters - for which there are multiple instances confirmed, especially with the famous Rameses II) -, claiming that those may have just been done for religious or ritualistic reasons - and of course that would have been part of the whole thing - but this doesn't mean those marriages weren't also consummated and taken seriously as marriages.

And considering especially the incestuous practices of the Ptolemies - who were Greek invaders coming from a place where incest was only practiced by the gods - one can only assume that this kind of thing was deeply ingrained in Egyptian culture in the 300s BCE, or else Ptolemy I would have never married his children to each other.

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