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A pretty good way to rewrite things could have been to either give Viserys I a new dragon ... one who died shortly before the death of the old man, possibly being the first mysterious/odd dragon death, symbolizing the rot in the royal family.

Or George could have just given him Vermithor or Silverwing or even Dreamfyre (which Helaena could have claimed after her father's death, say, as part of the coronation ceremony in the Dragonpit).

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49 minutes ago, Ran said:

Probably because GRRM doesn't hold the view that Viserys having a dragon throughout his reign was of vital importance, so Balerion's early death marked the first reign of a king without one and that genuinely had no effect on anything because he was still the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and commanded the loyalty of what dragonriders there were.

Agreed. All dragonriders were his kin and sworn to him. It might be interesting to discuss why he did not take another dragon, but it is not interesting to discuss it as a flaw in the story, because it isn't.

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd rather have Viserys I having his own really big dragon, helping to explain why nobody ever challenged his rule.

I mean, if you really think about it then Daemon's exiles and Rhaenyra giving in to her father's demand to marry Laenor are kind of mysterious considering they have the dragons to resist while he lacks the dragons to force them. Yes, he could decree stuff and he has the men to arrest them, etc. ... but if they can get to their dragons they can use them to flee and/or burn down his castle and capital. Not to mention visiting his most powerful lords in their castles and convincing them that the fat dragonless 'king' has outlived his usefulness and they are either going to help them topple him or they will burn.

This whole thing is especially vexing with Daemon leaving Westeros after he married Laena. They have two dragons now, one of them Vhagar. They shouldn't have to fear a dragonless Viserys I.

George consistently said that the Targaryen kings were the most powerful when they were dragonriders and all ... but the most powerful Targaryen king, Viserys I, apparently wasn't a dragonrider. And we still are supposed to believe that he could control a virtual army of dragonriders, some of which had rather serious quarrels with him.

This is just weird when you think about it. It means that, in the end, we have to believe that Viserys I wearing a crown and sitting on the Iron Throne - like so many dragonless kings after him - was what gave him the authority he had, not so much a dragon he didn't ride. That would mean that the dragonriders weren't exactly very powerful in that era, since the kings could rather arbitrarily exile them. This starts with King Aenys sending Maegor into exile (although Aenys at least was a dragonrider himself, although Quicksilver was much smaller than Balerion) but it is really weird with Viserys I and his quarrels with both the Velaryons and Daemon.

One of the best things you can say about Daemon are all the things he didn’t do, when you take his reputation into consideration. He never challenged Viserys’ rule, he tried to seduce Rhaenyra but not hurt her, he didn’t try to do anything to his nephews prior to the war, and he stayed in a miserable marriage for twenty years rather than arrange some kind of “accident.” And when he did kill someone, he always did it openly: he slew Vaemond and Laena’s fiancé himself, and he never tried to hide his role in Blood & Cheese. Even being the ruthless bastard he was, Daemon did seem to have a line he wouldn’t cross. That’s why I don’t think he was behind either Qarl Correy’s or Harwin Strong’s deaths. 

Edited by The Bard of Banefort
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56 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Agreed. All dragonriders were his kin and sworn to him. It might be interesting to discuss why he did not take another dragon, but it is not interesting to discuss it as a flaw in the story, because it isn't.

Nah, this is clearly a conceptual flaw in the story. The author claims that 'dragons are power' pretty much in every interview the dragons come up ... but when he writes about the history of the dragons then dragons aren't exactly power but rather thrones and crowns and swords. George very much wants to send the message that dragons are power, that the dragons were the core of Targaryen power and prestige, the reason why they could conquer Westeros and continue to rule it after the Conqueror's death. But you don't do that by making the most powerful Targaryen king a dragonless guy. If you do that, you send the message that dragons are pretty much irrelevant to keep in power. Instead, what you need to do be the most powerful king in Westerosi history is to throw a lot of parties and entertain your people. Then everything is fine.

Conceptually, it makes no sense at all that a Targaryen (king) who has access to dragons and who isn't terrified of dragons (like Aegon III or Daella) wouldn't claim one. I mean, it is actually quite silly that I have to write this up, but the very scenario of a king suffering the humiliation to either have to be a passenger on the dragon of his daughter, daughter, son, or cousin if he wanted to go quickly to Dragonstone or move around in his kingdom quickly or would have to go there like a common man by ship or horse or (gods forbid!) on foot makes no sense.

Let's just think about Alicent for a moment. She was just a Targaryen-by-marriage, meaning she couldn't have a dragon of her own. If her royal husband had no dragon, she would have to fly either with Daemon or Rhaenyra (!) just as Viserys I himself would, or not at all. At least while the children of Alicent weren't old enough to have their own dragons (and those dragons weren't large enough to carry passengers in addition to their riders). Are we really believing Alicent Hightower would have liked this scenario? No. Instead, we would expect her to demand that her husband pick another dragon so neither he nor she were dependent on Daemon or Rhaenyra to move around on dragonback.

While it seems to be true that Viserys I and Alicent didn't make many progresses and such, they would have still moved around some portions of their Realm occasionally, especially Dragonstone and Driftmark. And there having a dragon really makes things easier ... while not having a dragon makes you look less like a Targaryen, which would have been especially humiliating for Alicent. If Viserys I had a dragon she could at least fly with him as his queen consort and appear nearly as royal as the other queens (we can assume that Aenys also let Alyssa fly on Quicksilver, just as Maegor may have allowed Alys or Tyanna to acccompany him on Balerion).

In addition, Viserys I would have been outshone by every dragonriding member of his family from the first day of his reign, something that would have gotten worse and worse overtime as he grew fat and sick while his children and grandchildren all acquired dragons of their own.

What kind of royal person would want that? Basically, no one. But even if we grant Viserys a pass on all that for some reason, it just makes no sense neither he nor his close advisers who had his best interests at heart wouldn't see that the king needed a dragon of his own to keep the Velaryons and Daemon in check should they ever threaten his rule or rise up against him.

And the Velaryons and Daemon may have been Viserys' kin, but they were not 'sworn to him'. Rhaenys and Corlys wanted the Iron Throne for themselves or for Laenor, just as Daemon wanted to be Viserys' heir. When the king named Rhaenyra his Heir Apparent in 105 AC the Velaryons and Daemon were absent. They didn't swear a vow to uphold her right to the throne and they were on the verge of rebellion when Laena was spurned and the king married Alicent, deciding to do the Stepstones thing instead.

Viserys I kept his throne because nobody in his family had the guts to depose him, not because he actually had the power to stop them. And that is a clear conceptual flaw because it means the only reason why Viserys I kept his throne was the cowardice/ineptitude of the rivals (which is basically a convenient plot device on George's part - he gives Viserys' rivals the actual means to depose him easily enough but this doesn't happen because he just ignores that . He himself had no power to even try to stop a hypothetical coup by his dragonriding kin.

And insofar as such conceptual flaws are concerned - there are more of those. If you look at the beginning of the Dance then the very idea that Oldtown and Lannisport would actually risk standing with the Greens and their coup is completely unrealistic. They knew how many dragons Rhaenyra controlled and they knew what dragons are capable of. Aegon II didn't have the means to protect their cities and they must have known that. What sane person would side with the Greens in that scenario? And in what defenseless city would a majority of the people let their leaders get away with such a suicidal policy?

25 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

One of the best things you can say about Daemon are all the things he didn’t do, when you take his reputation into consideration. He never challenged Viserys’ rule, he tried to seduce Rhaenyra but not hurt her, he didn’t try to do anything to his nephews prior to the war, and he stayed in a miserable marriage for twenty years rather than arrange some kind of “accident.” And when he did kill someone, he always did it openly: he slew Vaemond and Laena’s fiancé himself, and he never tried to hide his role in Blood & Cheese. Even being the ruthless bastard he was, Daemon did seem to have a line he wouldn’t cross. That’s why I don’t think he was behind either Qarl Correy’s or Harwin Strong’s deaths. 

Yes, Daemon might be good enough as a person to not actively turn against his brother - sort of like the one redeeming trait of Maegor seems to be that he never rebelled against Aenys or was actively involved in his murder (if he was murdered).

But that still doesn't change the setting. Viserys I couldn't do much or anything against Daemon if the latter used his dragon to start a rebellion. And while we may know enough about Daemon to assume that whatever he felt for his brother stopped him from turning against him, we don't know enough about Rhaenys and Corlys and Laena and Laenor to conclude that they liked Viserys I well enough so that an open rebellion was a no-go for them. I mean, it is there in the text - the Velaryons were humiliated in 92 AC, at the Great Council, when Rhaenyra was named Heir Apparent, and when Laena was spurned for Alicent. And they thought the Iron Throne was theirs by right.

And as I said - after Daemon married Laena, the rider of Vhagar, the power they controlled together reached a completely new level. And we are to believe that the dragonless king had the power to force them into exile? Seriously? I mean, even without dragons, what would Viserys I do? Send his non-existing fleet to Driftmark to try to arrest Daemon and Laena? Risk a war with his own own daughter who was the wife of Laena's brother, meaning Rhaenyra may have ended up supporting her sister-in-law and uncle and parents-in-law against her own father? That would mean a dragonless king would have to take on five dragonriders and the largest fleet in Westeros.

If that were an easy thing, then why the hell did the Westerosi lords accept the rule of the Targaryens again? Wasn't that because of the dragons they had?

I mean, even with Viserys I riding a big dragon the total number of dragonriders would make it difficult for the king to control them. But in such a scenario he would at least also have a dragon of his own. He would have real power rather than just the authority that comes with a crown. People trying to attack him on dragonback would at least have to fear that the old man mounted his own dragon and fought back.

Overall, a realistic depiction of the later reign of Jaehaerys I and the entirety of the reign of Viserys I would have seen a decline of the power of the Iron Throne, with the king facing more and more problems to control the many dragonriders in his own family. What could he possibly do if a couple of them banded together and challenged him? Pretty much nothing.

But instead we are expected to buy the scenario that a dragonless guy throwing parties could actually control over a dozen of dragonriders with ease.

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1 minute ago, Lord Varys said:

Nah, this is clearly a conceptual flaw in the story. The author claims that 'dragons are power' pretty much in every interview the dragons come up ... but when he writes about the history of the dragons then dragons aren't exactly power but rather thrones and crowns and swords. George very much wants to send the message that dragons are power, that the dragons were the core of Targaryen power and prestige, the reason why they could conquer Westeros and continue to rule it after the Conqueror's death. But you don't do that by making the most powerful Targaryen king a dragonless guy. If you do that, you send the message that dragons are pretty much irrelevant to keep in power. Instead, what you need to do be the most powerful king in Westerosi history is to throw a lot of parties and entertain your people. Then everything is fine.

Conceptually, it makes no sense at all that a Targaryen (king) who has access to dragons and who isn't terrified of dragons (like Aegon III or Daella) wouldn't claim one. I mean, it is actually quite silly that I have to write this up, but the very scenario of a king suffering the humiliation to either have to be a passenger on the dragon of his daughter, daughter, son, or cousin if he wanted to go quickly to Dragonstone or move around in his kingdom quickly or would have to go there like a common man by ship or horse or (gods forbid!) on foot makes no sense.

Let's just think about Alicent for a moment. She was just a Targaryen-by-marriage, meaning she couldn't have a dragon of her own. If her royal husband had no dragon, she would have to fly either with Daemon or Rhaenyra (!) just as Viserys I himself would, or not at all. At least while the children of Alicent weren't old enough to have their own dragons (and those dragons weren't large enough to carry passengers in addition to their riders). Are we really believing Alicent Hightower would have liked this scenario? No. Instead, we would expect her to demand that her husband pick another dragon so neither he nor she were dependent on Daemon or Rhaenyra to move around on dragonback.

While it seems to be true that Viserys I and Alicent didn't make many progresses and such, they would have still moved around some portions of their Realm occasionally, especially Dragonstone and Driftmark. And there having a dragon really makes things easier ... while not having a dragon makes you look less like a Targaryen, which would have been especially humiliating for Alicent. If Viserys I had a dragon she could at least fly with him as his queen consort and appear nearly as royal as the other queens (we can assume that Aenys also let Alyssa fly on Quicksilver, just as Maegor may have allowed Alys or Tyanna to acccompany him on Balerion).

In addition, Viserys I would have been outshone by every dragonriding member of his family from the first day of his reign, something that would have gotten worse and worse overtime as he grew fat and sick while his children and grandchildren all acquired dragons of their own.

What kind of royal person would want that? Basically, no one. But even if we grant Viserys a pass on all that for some reason, it just makes no sense neither he nor his close advisers who had his best interests at heart wouldn't see that the king needed a dragon of his own to keep the Velaryons and Daemon in check should they ever threaten his rule or rise up against him.

And the Velaryons and Daemon may have been Viserys' kin, but they were not 'sworn to him'. Rhaenys and Corlys wanted the Iron Throne for themselves or for Laenor, just as Daemon wanted to be Viserys' heir. When the king named Rhaenyra his Heir Apparent in 105 AC the Velaryons and Daemon were absent. They didn't swear a vow to uphold her right to the throne and they were on the verge of rebellion when Laena was spurned and the king married Alicent, deciding to do the Stepstones thing instead.

Viserys I kept his throne because nobody in his family had the guts to depose him, not because he actually had the power to stop them. And that is a clear conceptual flaw because it means the only reason why Viserys I kept his throne was the cowardice/ineptitude of the rivals (which is basically a convenient plot device on George's part - he gives Viserys' rivals the actual means to depose him easily enough but this doesn't happen because he just ignores that . He himself had no power to even try to stop a hypothetical coup by his dragonriding kin.

And insofar as such conceptual flaws are concerned - there are more of those. If you look at the beginning of the Dance then the very idea that Oldtown and Lannisport would actually risk standing with the Greens and their coup is completely unrealistic. They knew how many dragons Rhaenyra controlled and they knew what dragons are capable of. Aegon II didn't have the means to protect their cities and they must have known that. What sane person would side with the Greens in that scenario? And in what defenseless city would a majority of the people let their leaders get away with such a suicidal policy?

Yes, Daemon might be good enough as a person to not actively turn against his brother - sort of like the one redeeming trait of Maegor seems to be that he never rebelled against Aenys or was actively involved in his murder (if he was murdered).

But that still doesn't change the setting. Viserys I couldn't do much or anything against Daemon if the latter used his dragon to start a rebellion. And while we may know enough about Daemon to assume that whatever he felt for his brother stopped him from turning against him, we don't know enough about Rhaenys and Corlys and Laena and Laenor to conclude that they liked Viserys I well enough so that an open rebellion was a no-go for them. I mean, it is there in the text - the Velaryons were humiliated in 92 AC, at the Great Council, when Rhaenyra was named Heir Apparent, and when Laena was spurned for Alicent. And they thought the Iron Throne was theirs by right.

And as I said - after Daemon married Laena, the rider of Vhagar, the power they controlled together reached a completely new level. And we are to believe that the dragonless king had the power to force them into exile? Seriously? I mean, even without dragons, what would Viserys I do? Send his non-existing fleet to Driftmark to try to arrest Daemon and Laena? Risk a war with his own own daughter who was the wife of Laena's brother, meaning Rhaenyra may have ended up supporting her sister-in-law and uncle and parents-in-law against her own father? That would mean a dragonless king would have to take on five dragonriders and the largest fleet in Westeros.

If that were an easy thing, then why the hell did the Westerosi lords accept the rule of the Targaryens again? Wasn't that because of the dragons they had?

I mean, even with Viserys I riding a big dragon the total number of dragonriders would make it difficult for the king to control them. But in such a scenario he would at least also have a dragon of his own. He would have real power rather than just the authority that comes with a crown. People trying to attack him on dragonback would at least have to fear that the old man mounted his own dragon and fought back.

Overall, a realistic depiction of the later reign of Jaehaerys I and the entirety of the reign of Viserys I would have seen a decline of the power of the Iron Throne, with the king facing more and more problems to control the many dragonriders in his own family. What could he possibly do if a couple of them banded together and challenged him? Pretty much nothing.

But instead we are expected to buy the scenario that a dragonless guy throwing parties could actually control over a dozen of dragonriders with ease.

Just no. As usual, you are too deep into your own fan fiction.

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3 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Just no. As usual, you are too deep into your own fan fiction.

LOL, that's not fan fiction, it is actual an honest and thorough assessment of the literary works we talk about here. I might take it farther than you are, and I might look closer at certain details and concepts than the author intended ... but the flaws are there, whether I point them out or not.

And since I'm in the mood right now I can even point out that the author basically agrees with me there. He addresses issues such as the ones discussed by me when he feels like, for instance in the early reign of Jaehaerys I:

When Rogar has issues with Jaehaerys' marriage, Alyssa points out that they cannot really turn against her son because he and Alysanne have dragons. The very fact that two minors are having dragons basically influences (or determines) the policy of the legitimate regency government of the Realm. Later George gives us the governmental principles of the king who ends being called 'the Conciliator' - the veiled threat. We see how he makes it perfectly clear what he is going to do to his dear stepdad if he ever steps out of line again and he and Alysanne repeat that kind of thing when they visit Oldtown later on, etc. Even Rhaena uses that approach, although in a much more straightforward manner.

If we imagine Viserys I in a similar situation - and I daresay that Jaehaerys I's early troubles are roughly comparable to the early reign of Viserys I, the rise of both kings was somewhat contested, they had issues with certain members of their family, etc. - then the problems jump you in the face immediately.

Let's say in 106 AC, when they were not exactly close friends, Viserys I and Rhaenys/Corlys have the kind of pissing contest Lady Rohanne talked about. They refuse to pay a certain tax, they do not give Alicent her due as queen (or Rhaenyra as the Heir Apparent), they openly mock the king at court during a feast, etc. Take your pick. How would Viserys I put them in their place? He couldn't walk them out to Vermithor and show them how his dragon was devouring a bull, could he? And even if he did that, Rhaenys may have pointed her dear cousin to Meleys doing the same, and Corlys may have mentioned how the shadow of Vhagar was covering all of Spicetown when Laena was flying her across the sun. But the brutal fact is that Viserys I wouldn't even have a dragon he could show them. All he would have to intimidate them is his own person and his royal attire. And this isn't me writing fan fiction. It is an integral part of the world George created that those in power are challenged by their lords and bannermen. They have to show and project strength, they have to prove themselves able and capable or else they are devoured alive. Granted, at this time the Targaryens as a dynasty are pretty much safe from their own lords and people. They wouldn't rebel. But an individual king wouldn't be save from the ambitious members in his own family. He has to control them.

How could this man possibly establish dominance over his family and lords the way Jaehaerys I did repeatedly? The answer is that he could not possibly do that. He could not even control Daemon if Daemon were to decide to pull an Aemond and burn the Riverlands until the king decided to give into his demands.

Or you can take Viserys I forcing Rhaenyra to marry Laenor. According to one source Rhaenyra spat into her father's face when she finally gave in. But what could the man have done if she hadn't given in? What if she had said: 'Well, disinherit me all you want, father, I'm mounting Syrax now, fly to the Stepstones, marry my uncle, and then I will come for you with fire and sword!' What would Viserys I do then? Ask the Velaryons for help? Beg his lords to risk their lives and their men in a fight against two gigantic dragons because he, the king, was too lazy to ever claim a dragon of his own?

Not giving Viserys I a dragon gets worse in light of the fact that George also decided to portray him as another version of King Aenys. A weak-willed man who most often follows the lead of his advisers rather than being the one to lead. By not granting Viserys I the one prop a Targaryen king can use to project strength and intimidate his lords and subjects - even if persoanlity-wise he is not exactly Aegon the Conqueror - George put Viserys I in a worse position than King Aenys. He faced rebellions because people, rightfully, judged he didn't have the stomach for dragon warfare. They knew he wouldn't turn Oldtown into another Harrenhal no matter what the Faith Militant did. But Viserys I could not even threaten to do something like that since he lacked a dragon. But more importantly he had no means to actually try to rein in those members of his family who had dragons.

Edited by Lord Varys
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On 10/22/2021 at 8:41 PM, Lord Varys said:

The big problem here is the setting - the idea that a dragonless King Viserys I is viewed as powerful enough to keep his dragonriding family in line. He wouldn't have the means to do this. Not his brother, not his cousins, not even his children. If push came to shove, his lords wouldn't have sided with their fat party king ... they would have sided with the prince or the princess riding the largest dragon. Or the group of Targaryens controlling the most dragons between them.

 

7 hours ago, Sotan said:

 

@Lord Varys

I wonder why GRRM didn't keep Balerion around and have him die days or months after Viserys death? Its not like the Greens had a potential drangonrider waiting around for a large dragon. 

 

I agree and think it would make more sense if either Viserys claimed another dragon or they kept Balerion alive longer.
Instead of Balerion dying, he could have become more lethargic and immobile but still capable of one more nuclear strike if needed. He could eventually die a couple years or right before Viserys. 

This would better explain why Daemon and the Velaryons never challenged his rule and why the realm was at peace with no Iron born and Dornishman testing the easy going party king.

Edited by The Merling King
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43 minutes ago, The Merling King said:

I agree and think it would make more sense if either Viserys claimed another dragon or they kept Balerion alive longer.
Instead of Balerion dying, he could have become more lethargic and immobile but still capable of one more nuclear strike if needed. He could eventually die a couple years or right before Viserys. 

This would better explain why Daemon and the Velaryons never challenged his rule and why the realm was at peace with no Iron born and Dornishman testing the easy going party king.

For the show, that would actually not be a bad idea. After all, they also seem to lose party king Viserys I for a rather stern man who is capable of wearing Blackfyre (something that would also be just a never used prop for George's Viserys I) as well as a man who actually dominates Daemon in the sense that the little brother craves love and recognition of his elder brother, the king.

And to be sure, there are remnants of that in George's text, for instance with Viserys I being rather dismissive and contemptuous of Daemon who is 'playing at war' which will 'keep him out of trouble'. Not to mention that Daemon himsel is effectively quite literally the odd relation who can never get a decent job, cannot properly establish himself in life, and constantly needs the support of his wealthy big brother.

But conceptually a dragonless Targaryen king ruling over a virtual army of dragonriders just makes little sense in a scenario where the reign of this king was completely peaceful and prosperous ... while at the same the man had issues with close relations and problems with his own succession throughout his entire reign. It isn't a reasonable scenario, it isn't a scenario anyone would expect ... and quite frankly, it just feels as if George forgot to give Viserys I a dragon when writing the first draft of 'Heirs of the Dragon'.

But I don't think they will go with this in the show, considering that, if the shots in the teaser depicting the dragon crypt or whatever aren't just shots made for the teaser, it seems that Daemon and Rhaenyra are paying their respects to the remnants of Balerion the Black Dread. And if that's the case then we can be reasonably confident that are going to keep the tidbit about Viserys I being his last rider. In fact, I'd expect that they are going to play this up a little bit, making Viserys' time with his dragon more meaningful and impressive than how George depicted them. Which was, as I wrote rather pitiful and weird.

I'll ask the question again: Why on earth would Prince Viserys want to claim a dragon who is effectively dying? Isn't the point of being a dragonrider to actually, you know, ride a dragon?

In any case, Viserys I can be made look pretty impressive if it is portrayed as a dangerous and daring and impressive feat to mount Balerion (but that isn't how George portrayed it at all). That certainly could also grant him some gravitas even after the dragon is long dead.

And while I'm at it, you can even continue poking holes at the whole setup. As the two Dance faction consolidated themselves 120 AC and the king slowly but surely grew ever weaker and the dragons of Rhaenyra's sons (and Daemon's daughter) on Dragonstone grew ever larger ... why the hell didn't Daemon and Rhaenyra and Rhaenys and the boys and the girl not fly all the dragons over to KL for one of those last big feasts, corner His Grace the king in his chambers one evening, telling him point blank that either Alicent, Otto, and their breed are gone from court tomorrow with their dragons staying behind safe and secure in the Dragonpit, while Rhaenyra or Daemon are invested as the new Hand to run the government of the Realm, or else Rhaenyra and Daemon will depose the old man and install Rhaenyra as the new monarch right then and there, with Viserys I living out the remainder of his life in a tower cell?

He couldn't really do anything against this. He didn't have the dragons to challenge them - in fact, even if he tried to mount a dragon in his state he possibly couldn't do so.

A less drastic measure could have been to threaten the Green faction at court with the dragons, telling Alicent and Otto that they either move their asses out of KL or they will suffer dire consequences. Daemon could, for instance, threaten to burn down the Hightower and Oldtown if Otto insisted to continue as Hand or Alicent wanted to remain at court. Those are all threats previous Targaryens made. They are not unheard of or even unusual.

The very setup for the Dance of Rhaenyra's faction controlling the bulk of the dragons makes it extremely unlikely that the Greens could actually control the court, could stage a coup, or would be able to gain a lot of supporters among the lords and people. The deciding factor in a realistic take on this setting wouldn't be 'should the woman or the man rule?' but 'who controls the most dragons?' (and perhaps also: 'who has the most ruthless dragonrider?'). And if the answer to this question would be: 'The Blacks have the clear advantage in dragons' then, well, most lords would either declare for Rhaenyra, raise troops for her, pay lip service to her rule, or do their best to pretend no succession war takes place as long as they can.

They would not fall over themselves to get involved with the faction who has only four dragons, one of which is stuck in Oldtown and one of the others is ridden by a woman who is very unlikely to ever fly to battle. I mean, if you think about it - Borros Baratheon is the luckiest guy alive that Storm's End wasn't torched after what he pulled. And the idea that any lord this close to Dragonstone would not do everything in his power to prevent Aemond from killing Rhaenyra's son in manner that could imply that House Baratheon was involved in all that is just complete stupidity. If you look at the history of the Conquest then basically the only answer to Luke's death could and would have been the immediate destruction of Storm's End. Harrenhal burned because Harren defied Aegon - which was his right as a sovereign king. The castles of the supporters of the Faith Militant burned because they supported them but, most importantly, most Dornish castles burned repeatedly because the Dornishmen shot down Rhaenys and Meraxes.

If I were writing scripts in HoD and we were adapting Luke's death faithfully I'd be at a real loss to explain why the hell Rhaenyra, Daemon, and Rhaenys didn't immediately torch Storm's End.

And to get back to the original thing:

It is also quite telling as to how little effort George to really flesh out the reign of Viserys I and the characters during that era when we see how Hugh and Ulf quickly do develop their own delusions of grandeur during the Dance, using their dragons somewhat effectively to pursue their own goals. And that in a context where they are beholden to a dragonriding queen and her dragonriding prince consort.

But during the reign of Viserys I the Velaryons controlling the most and the largest dragon alive for the bulk of Viserys' reign didn't result in them using this clear advantage over Viserys I to try anything. They clearly had the poper to try to usurp the throne, at least after Daemon married Laena, but if we were to assume that this was to drastic a measure then they still could have used the raw power they had to dominate court, to take over the reins of government, to oust Alicent and her allies, to make the king a virtual prisoner in his own castle. Such coups are not exactly uncommon in a medieval setting, but that something like didn't happen in Westeros if a faction had ample motivation to try this and controlled most of the dragons that are (wrongly) compared to nukes is at the very least rather weird.

Edited by Lord Varys
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I'm not sure how one can't get why Viserys I never tamed a dragon after Balaerion. We are told. He felt like no other dragon could fill the space Balerion left behind in him. That's why he had a cat named Balerion as well. 

Other than that, we can assume many things. Why the Velaryons didn't push an agression against him, why Daemon didn't do it either, etc.., but the truth is that we often forget how horrible a crime kinslaying was, and the Dance happened the way it did because people began to not care about it anymlre once Aemond killed Luke. 

Why would anyone torch the Red Keep, with Viserys in it? Does it portray a good image? Maegor is the most horrible Targaryen people remember 300 years after too, he would've done such things. 

That being said, Viserys I could've tamed a dragon anytime he wanted to if he was to feel the need of it. It never seemed like he does, tho. He might've had his authority based on that as well. Ser Otto Hightower had a rivalry with Daemon because he saw him as the greatest threat to his rule. Daemon arguably would've had much more support than the Velaryons anytime, given that he was the actual heir to the Iron Throne, yet he seemed never to have tought on questioning his brother's rule. I'd say it was a reasonable thing, after all. (given how Viserys could've bonded with a dragon anytime he wanted). 

I'd suggest @Lord Varys what I've said before. If everyone is dumb, consider that the standard, so then noone is. 

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On 10/26/2021 at 12:04 AM, Bael's Bastard said:

Just no. As usual, you are too deep into your own fan fiction.

I do feel like a lot of people of late seem to be very focused on their personal head canons rather than working within the confines of the story as laid out by GRRM. 

I know it's been a long wait, but it feels like every other thread we have lately are filled with this sort of tinfoily business where the story is twisted out of shape entirely to fit how a poster wants it to be rather than how it is. I'm not sure there's much to do about it, though, other than to not engage if one doesn't want to engage.

3 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

I'm not sure how one can't get why Viserys I never tamed a dragon after Balaerion. We are told. He felt like no other dragon could fill the space Balerion left behind in him. That's why he had a cat named Balerion as well. 

Indeed.

If you accept the confines of F&B, there is genuinely no question that Viserys did not need nor did not want to take another dragon. "Dragons are power" one may say... and Viserys stabled more dragons than any king before him in his Dragonpit and commanded the personal fealty of more dragonriders than any king before him. He has power the same way that Biden or Xi Jinping or Putin has power, even though none of them keep nuclear missiles in their living rooms.

The rule of the realm was vested in House Targaryen by dint of its dragons for half of its reign... and the rule of House Targaryen was vested in the head of the house, regardless of whether they had a dragon or not. 

 

Edited by Ran
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Interesting...Tom-Glynn Carney, who we've spotted on set and basically confirmed is Aegon II, made a curious post on Twitter today: "Big News" and a shush emoji.

House of the Dragon was first announced by HBO on October 29, 2019. It's possible they told Tom that they're planning another big announcement for it on the two year anniversary of that, this Friday - either another big set of casting announcements, or even a new trailer.

Check back frequently.

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34 minutes ago, The Dragon Demands said:

House of the Dragon was first announced by HBO on October 29, 2019. It's possible they told Tom that they're planning another big announcement for it on the two year anniversary of that, this Friday - either another big set of casting announcements, or even a new trailer.

I highly doubt a new trailer, not even a month from the last teaser. The show doesn't even have a release date, new trailer will probably come out 3-4 weeks before the premiere date. What I think we will get though is casting announcements, and maybe even photos of the cast in costume like we did in May. 

Edited by Sotan
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13 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

I'm not sure how one can't get why Viserys I never tamed a dragon after Balaerion. We are told. He felt like no other dragon could fill the space Balerion left behind in him. That's why he had a cat named Balerion as well. 

That seems to be only in your head. We only hear that Viserys I never claimed another dragon, but we are never told why. Viserys I didn't have a cat named Balerion in any of the material published by George.

The idea that Viserys I had a special bond with Balerion could have worked ... if it was given by the author. But as a fan theory - which is all that it is - it lacks a certain elegance in light of the way George described Viserys' time with Balerion. He gave them one pitiful ride where the aged, dying dragon was too weak to fly to Dragonstone. All Viserys could do was to pointlessly fly around KL one time. That's it. No indication Viserys I spend much time with the dying dragon afterwards, nor any indication that he mourned him after his passing.

13 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Other than that, we can assume many things. Why the Velaryons didn't push an agression against him, why Daemon didn't do it either, etc.., but the truth is that we often forget how horrible a crime kinslaying was, and the Dance happened the way it did because people began to not care about it anymlre once Aemond killed Luke. 

We are not talking kinslaying here, just using the power the dragons gave their riders to put pressure on the dragonless king. But to be sure, Maegor opened the door to both usurpation and kinslaying in 42-43 AC. That was already on the table and a succession war had been brewing in 101 AC before the Great Council.

13 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Why would anyone torch the Red Keep, with Viserys in it? Does it portray a good image? Maegor is the most horrible Targaryen people remember 300 years after too, he would've done such things. 

That would be the most extreme measure, of course. If you want it see it phrased differently: What did the Velaryons stop in, say, 118 AC from taking their dragons to KL and pulling the same stunt Rhaenyra and Daemon pulled early in 130 AC? They could have taken over the government in bloodless coup. The dragons would have ensured that the people in the city wouldn't offer much resistance.

13 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

That being said, Viserys I could've tamed a dragon anytime he wanted to if he was to feel the need of it. It never seemed like he does, tho. He might've had his authority based on that as well. Ser Otto Hightower had a rivalry with Daemon because he saw him as the greatest threat to his rule. Daemon arguably would've had much more support than the Velaryons anytime, given that he was the actual heir to the Iron Throne, yet he seemed never to have tought on questioning his brother's rule. I'd say it was a reasonable thing, after all. (given how Viserys could've bonded with a dragon anytime he wanted). 

Yes, he could have claimed another dragon. Or he could have tried. But if you are just a potential dragonrider you are not exactly in the same position as actual dragonriders, right? Even more so in light of the fact that basically all the riderless dragons seem to have been on Dragonstone during the bulk of Viserys I's reign. From the point Rhaenyra ruled Dragonstone in her own right she was controlling access to effectively all the riderless dragons - especially the big ones like Vermithor and Silverwing. So if our scenario has Rhaenyra and the Velaryons in opposition against Viserys I the old man would be caught with his pants down. But even in the 100s the power of the Velaryon fleet would allow them to cut off Viserys I from the dragons on Dragonstone while they could attack KL with the dragons they controlled.

Insofar as dragons were concerned, Viserys I was completely defenseless in the first half of his reign while Daemon was on Dragonstone, in the Vale or on the Stepstones.

13 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

I'd suggest @Lord Varys what I've said before. If everyone is dumb, consider that the standard, so then noone is. 

Well, if we talk dumbness then it just jumps you in the face. The very idea that Otto Hightower would push Viserys I to name Rhaenyra his heir in defiance of the Great Council precedent and at a time where he could easily remarry and have an army of sons is just ridiculous if you think about it for five seconds. Especially since this guy described as a smart and learned guy by multiple sources. Even if he hadn't planned to marry Alicent to the king in 105 AC (which can be doubted) then the idea that the king would never remarry and never have legitimate sons when he was barely thirty is something that's a stretch, too.

But again - this is a conceptual issue: Not giving Viserys I a dragon when he is the king controlling an army of dragonriders some of which do actually not get along with him very well isn't a very good idea on George's part. Even more since we do know he actually wanted to send the message that 'dragons are power'. But that's clearly not the message of the reign of Viserys I. That story tells us being a dragonless king is more than enough to keep an army of dragonriders in their place. Even a family who thought they had the better claim to the throne and who controlled 3-5 dragons between them (if we count Daemon and Rhaenyra as part of their faction during the late 110s). And that is actually a rather weird lesson to take away from that in light of the fact that a succession war between dragonriders broke out the moment Viserys I died.

I mean, Jaehaerys I being called the Conciliator could have meant that he didn't bother with a dragon and instead ruled with soft words, compromise, and the letter of the law. That's something one could have believed easily enough. But the guy who kept the peace between two Targaryen factions who would eventually kill each other should have had more means to keep his family in line than just his good will and the fact that he was the anointed king.

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TBH I'm not all that bothered by the Velaryon's race being Summer Islander even though its lore breaking.

What I'm concerned about is the Rogue Prince's casting. He is supposed to be a handsome, dashing, absolute chad... but smh they got Matt Smith to play him. Matt is ugly af + has a hittable face.

This is what he's supposed to look like: https://i.redd.it/8h7yfm7lzrv71.jpg

 

Edited by Falcon2909
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Geeta Patel just posted on Instagram that her Cinematographer / Director of Photography is Catherine Goldschmidt.
 
Catherine Goldschmidt's agency's website has also been updated to confirm she's working on House of the Dragon...specifically on episode 8. Thus Patel is working on episode 8.
 
This matches the leaked list of which director is working on which episodes, which was:
  • Episode 1 - Miguel Sapochnik
  • Episodes 2 & 3 - Greg Yaitanes
  • Episodes 4 & 5 - Clare Kilner
  • Episodes 6 & 7 - Miguel Sapochnik
  • Episode 8 - Geeta Patel
  • Episode 9 - Clare Kilner 
  • Episode 10 - Greg Yaitanes

We also saw spy photos confirming Yaitanes is filming episodes 2 and 3, and very clearly that Kilner is working on episode 5. Now confirmation that Patel is working on episode 8. I wonder what's so different about episode 8 ? Three directors are doing three episodes each, but Patel is only doing that one episode.

UPDATE: I managed to track down ALL Cinematographers for Season 1, paired with each Director:

Sapochnik also confirmed that his cinematographer Fabien Wagner will return. The remaining two updated their CVs on their websites:

  • Miguel Sapochnik: DOP Fabien Wagner
  • Greg Yaitanes: DOP Pepe Avila del Pino
  • Claire Kilner: DOP Alejandro Martinez
  • Geeta Patel: DOP Catherine Goldschmidt

As for Film Editors, Tim Porter and Crispin Green are actually returning, but no word yet on Katie Weiland.

Edited by The Dragon Demands
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21 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

That's why he had a cat named Balerion as well. 

 

Errrrr...I believe you're thinking of Rhaegar's daughter? 

6 hours ago, Falcon2909 said:

What I'm concerned about is the Rogue Prince's casting. He is supposed to be a handsome, dashing, absolute chad... but smh they got Matt Smith to play him. Matt is ugly af + has a hittable face.

 

His face is far too narrow. Lee Pace (Thranduil) would be better IMO since he goes better with the silver hair and  he looks quite good in armor. 

Edited by Jaenara Belarys
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UPDATE: Intriguing, another CV has revealed that Geeta Patel's episode 8 is also using a different Film Editor: not Tim Porter or Crispin Green, but Christ Hunter, who has previously worked with Patel on "The Great" (Catherine the Great show). 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tx53h5i5reziji4/Chris Hunter .pdf?dl=0

Could these be the only 3 editors used in Season 1?  Sapochnik said he's only using Tim Porter.

So...could Green just edit the six episodes done by Kilner and Yaitanes?

Edited by The Dragon Demands
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